THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
HOSPITAL RETURNS TO NORMAL—01/31/09
Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) announced that conditions were “back to normal” at Jamaica’s top health care facility, saying that the high rate of admissions had eased up. Management insisted that the uptick in admissions between January 12 to 17 did not have a negative impact on delivery of health care services. During that period, it was reported that the high number of male admissions required the hospital to house men and women in the same ward.
PETROCARIBE TO APPROVE JAMAICAN ENERGY PROJECTS—02/01/09
The Jamaican government is waiting for final approval on funding approved by PetroCaribe for 13 renewable energy efficiency projects on the island. The funding, which totals US$160 million, will be offered either as soft loans or grants, depending on decisions reached at the PetroCaribe Summit, which has not yet been officially scheduled. According to Fitzory Vidal, senior engineer at the Ministry of Energy, the projects will diversity fuel sources, introduce renewable energy products, and educate the public. Included in the projects is a plan to take Jamaica’s schools off the national electric grid by using solar power.
JAMAICA HAS HIGH INFANT MORTALITY RATE—02/02/09
An estimated 31 of every 1,000 infants born in Jamaica every year will probably die before reaching the age of five, according to the 2009 edition of UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children report. In the report, Jamaica ranks 86 out of 189 nations worldwide in the under-five mortality rate. Nutritional intake was cited as a possible cause for the high mortality rate of babies.
INVESTORS WORRIED A HIGGINS WARNER LEAVES JAMAICA—02/03/09
Reports that Higgins Warner Investment Club has relocated its Jamaican operations to its headquarters in Argentina left local investors shocked and concerned. Many of the investors had advanced between US$5,000 and US$300,000 to the foreign exchange trading firm went to its offices in Montego Bay, St. James, only to find the doors chained shut and notices stating that the company no longer has an office in Jamaica. Investors were instructed to visit the company’s website for more information.
ONE LOVE SHUTTLE TO IMPROVE LINKS IN NEGRIL—02/04/09
The introduction of the One Love Shuttle Service tour, sponsored by the Negril chapter of the Micro Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) group, is expected to give local businesses in the West End a significant boost. The free shuttle bus was financed by a $20 million grant from Jamaica’s Private Sector Development Program. It will run from RIU Hotel along Norman Manley Boulevard to the Negril Lighthouse, stopping at small businesses along the route.
JAMAICANS MUST KNOW MORE ABOUT HEART DISEASE—02/04/09
The Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) began Heart Month by urging Jamaicans be become more educated and aware of the risks leading to heart disease. According to the chairman of the HFJ, Dr. Knox Hagley, heart disease is a top cause of chronic illness and death in Jamaica.
RAPPER CHARGED WITH RUNNING SEVEN RED LIGHTS—02/05/09
According to Jamaica Traffic Court spokesperson, Alicia Dennis, the rapper Bounty Hunter stands accused of running seven red lights, and police have also charged him with refusing to take a breathalyzer test, obstructing traffic, and disobeying a right light. The rapper appeared is scheduled for trial on May 12, 2009. Bounty Hunter has already been in trouble with the law for using profanity while performing at the Reggae Sumfest in July.
ECONOMIC CRISIS COULD IMPACT AIR JAMAICA PLAN—02/06/09
The board of directors of financially troubled Air Jamaica feel that the plan in place to restructure the airline into a more efficient, if smaller, organization will lead to a break-even point in 2010. Managers of Air Jamaica say, however, that this plan for financial viability has been significantly challenged by the worldwide financial crisis, which has limited access to cash.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
BROWARD CHARMETTES HONOR ‘LADY C’—01/31/09
A prominent South Florida Jamaican, Winsome “Lady C” Charlton, will be honored by the Charmettes of Broward County at the 51st Annual Ebony Fashion Fair Extravaganza in Fort Lauderdale. She will be recognized for her contributions to the community in South Florida, being instrumental in creating Caribbean programming for radio industry there. She also volunteers on many boards of charitable institutions, including the Jamaica USA Chamber of Commerce.
JAMAICAN WIDOW DENIED PERMANENT RESIDENCY IN NY—02/02/09
Osserritta Robinson, the widow of man who died in the Staten Island ferry crash in 2003, has seen her application for permanent residency denied by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The court found that the woman, who had been married to the man for less than two years before he died, could have her pending residency application terminated. The couple had been married for eight months at the time of his death.
DOCUMENTARY FILM FEATURING JAMAICANS WINS AWARD—02/03/09
The winner of the Best Feature Documentary for 2008 at the Queens International Film Festival in New York was “Seasons in the Valley,” directed by Adam Matalon and narrated by Elliott Gould. The documentary is an exploration of the relationships between apple farmers in New York’s Hudson Valley and the Jamaican workers who come to the United States under the H2-A temporary agricultural labor program sponsored by the U.S. government.
FLORIDA LIBRARY TO CELEBRATE MISS LOU—02/05/09
Dr. the Honorable Barbara Gloudon, a playwright and journalist, said that it is important to keep Jamaica’s culture alive and “not keep it to ourselves.” She spoke at the second annual Louise Bennett Reading Festival at the South Regional Library at Broward College in Pembroke Pines, Florida. The event launched activities schedules for Black History Month and was designed to highlight the life and work of the late Hon. Louise Bennett Coverley, O.J., “Miss Lou,” and the impact she had on Jamaicans.
HINDS, HIBBERT, BROWN SAVE JAMAICA AT WICB—02/01/09
Lead by the efforts of West Indies batsman Wavell Hinds, wicketkeeper batsman Keith Hibbert, and off-spinner Bevon Brown, Jamaica secured the pole position in their WICB Four-Day Championship match against Barbados at Kensington Park. Fast bowler Andrew Richardson, in a last gasp, added 45 runs for the last wicket.
POWELL VICTORIOUS IN 400-METERS AT SEASON OPENER—02/02/09
Asafa Powell, former 100-meter world record holder, along with Shelly-Ann Fraser, Olympic 100-meter champion, opened their racing seasons with 400 meter contests at a track and field meet in Kingston. The meet is held every year to honor Grace Jackson, 1988 Olympic 200-meter silver medalist. Powell won the first heat of the men’s 400-meter race in 47.75 seconds. Fraser was second in the women’s 400 meters after Brigitte Foster-Hylton.
BOOK ON HISTORY OF JAMAICA’S CRICKET PUBLISHED—02/03/09
Historian Arnold Bertram’s book “Jamaica at the Wicket” will soon be on the market. The study, numbering 700 pages, traces the development of cricket from its first appearance in the post-emancipation period to the 21st century. In its early days, cricket was played exclusively by the white planter-merchant class of Jamaica. The book explores the role of cricket in the shaping of Jamaican society and includes profiles of the island’s first cricketers.
JAMAICAN DOGSLED TEAM PREPARES IN CANADA—02/04/09
The Jamaican Dogsled Team, comprising musher Damion Robb, coach Ken Davis, and the dogs, has arrived in Marmora, Canada. Robb was recruited two years ago just after high school and says being a musher is his first real job. Jamaica’s Dogsled Team was created in 2005 by Jamaican entrepreneur Danny Melville, CEO of Chukka Caribbean Adventures. The team boasts musician Jimmy Buffet as one of its sponsors.
It is hard for Christians in Western countries to really appreciate the level of self-denial required of true disciples of Christ. We live in a society where emphasis is on the self and individual rights, a message so ingrained in our psyche that though we sing “All to Jesus I Surrender”, some of us really have no intention of surrendering control of our lives, and all that pertains to us, to Him. We admire those who take charge of their lives, make the decisive decisions that needs to be made, and who are successful as a result of their efforts.
Yet in the kingdom of God things work in the opposite way. Jesus told His disciples, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?” (Matthew 16:24-26, The Message). In other words, the principles that work in our society have no place in God’s scheme of things because once we accept Jesus as Lord, our lives are no longer our own (1 Corinthians 6:19), and we are subject to a different set of principles. In commenting on this portion of text, Bible Commentator Adam Clarke noted the principles of the Christian life Jesus put forth: 1) Having a sincere desire to belong to Him; 2) A renouncing of self-dependence and selfish pursuits; 3) To embrace conditions (troubles and difficulties) God has appointed for us to meet in walking the Christian road; and 4) To imitate Christ and do and suffer all in His Spirit.
No one could accuse Jesus of sugar-coating the cost of discipleship, but the disciples were not to be denied; they stood their ground. It was the same conviction with which Paul wrote, “Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant–dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ–God’s righteousness. I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself” (Philippians 3:8-10).
As it was with the first century believers, so it is with us today. We are called to surrender our lives, our goals, our aspirations, all that we hold dear, to the cause of Christ. He has to lead, He has to be in control, for our union with Him to be effective. How much of you, and everything to do with you, are you still in control of?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.