THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
PNP DISTANCING ITSELF FROM KERN SPENCER—02/07/09
The People’s National Party (PNP) seems to be distancing itself from Kern Spencer, former state minister, in three areas of the contractor general’s report. The report pointed a finger at Spencer, saying he committed major breaches of governmental procurement guidelines and accusing him of nepotism. The PNP’s new general secretary, Peter Bunting, says the party will allow the legal process to take its course and will not comment on the matter.
LIME CARIB TO INVEST BILLIONS IN JAMAICA—02/08/09
Geoff Houston, LIME country manager for Jamaica, says that the island will become the hub of its regional operations and that as much as one-quarter of a designated pool of funds will be put into Jamaica, which is the organization’s most lucrative market. Jamaica is slated to receive US$100 million of the total US$400 million investment because LINE is “committed to continuing to keep Jamaica as the core hub for our Caribbean regional business,” said Houston.
REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL TO BE POSTPONED—02/09/09
The second Reggae Film Festival has been postponed to a later date, according to Barbara Blake Hannah, the festival’s director. She said the decision to postpone the festival “was one of the saddest” she has ever made, but it had to be done because of funding difficulties.
JAMAICA PRAISED FOR EFFORTS TO REDUCE CHILD LABOR—02/10/09
Dr. Ana Teresa Romero, the director of the International Labor Organization’s Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean, has praised the government’s attempts to reduce the incidence of child labor on the island. Dr. Romero stated that strengthening the allocation of resources and enhancing institutional capacity showed tangible proof of the government’s commitment to addressing the child labor issue.
GOVERNMENT TRIES TO STOP CURRENCY DEVALUATION—02/11/09
New policies are being put in place in an attempt to halt the rapid decline in value of Jamaica’s dollar, says Prime Minister Bruce Golding. Since the beginning of 2009, the Jamaican dollar has lost nine percent of its value, which is causing concerns in the foreign exchange market. It currently costs nearly J$90 to buy one U.S. dollar. Golding also said that the government is signing an agreement with China for a US$100 million line of credit, which will be routed through the Export-Import Bank.
TOP JOBS FOR JAMAICANS IN A SHRINKING MARKET—02/11/09
Being a teacher is still a good career option in Jamaica, with job openings for teachers, directors, and sales representatives topping the listings in advertised vacancies between May 2002 and October 2008. The service sector advertised the greatest number of jobs, with positions in education, administration, and hospitality high on the list.
MARLEY FAMILY LICENSES BOB MARLEY LIKENESS—02/12/09
The family of legendary Jamaican musician Bob Marley has made an agreement with Hilco Consumer Capital, a private equity company, to license Marley’s face and other trademarks for use on retail products. Hilco will use Marley’s image on luggage, video games, musical instruments, stationery, and collectibles. Bob Marley died in 1981 at the age of 36.
CONSUMERS COULD FACE MAJOR TAX INCREASE—02/13/09
Consumers in Jamaica may be paying a much higher General Consumption Tax (GCT) in April 2009 if the Government approves a tax hike of 4.5 percent. The current rate of the GCT is 16.5 percent, and the increase would make a total of 21 percent. To mitigate the proposed increase, the Government is considering a reduction in the income tax rate.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN FATHER AND SON BRAWL, LAND IN COURT—02/10/09
Andrew Nemdhard, 40, and Dwayne Nemdhard of Huntum’s Ghut in the Virgin Islands, appeared in court after a brawl in their apartment, each charged with separate offenses. The father faced charges of wounding, while the son was charged with destroying and damaging property. Both men work in construction. Andrew stated that he acted in self-defense when he hit his son in the head with a baseball bat.
CONSULATE GENERAL IN NY TO FEATURE JAMAICAN COOKBOOK—02/11/09
The Consulate General in New York is featuring the book “Nyam Jamaica” in its Arts and Literary Salon series. The book by Rosemary Parkinson numbers 424 pages and offers a tour of Jamaican cuisine using stories, photographs, and recipes to highlight the best cuisine in each parish.
JAMAICA SENDS YOUTH TO UNITED NATIONS—02/12/09
Jamaica is the only country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) that includes youths in its delegation to the United Nations General Assembly. Jamaica does so because participation by young members of society leads to improvements in decision making and is part of a democratic society.
TORONTO PROCLAIMS BOB MARLEY DAY—02/13/09
The Mayor of Toronto in Canada has proclaimed February 6 as Bob Marley Day. This is the 19th year that the proclamation has been made, and David Miller is the fifth Toronto mayor to issue it in honor of the Jamaican music icon.
WINDIES MOVE AHEAD IN FIRST TEST—02/07/09
The Windies took a 34-run lead on the third day of the First Test at Sabina Park in Jamaica. Only 192 runs were scored in this test. England claimed six wickets, which left Jamaica with a slight advantage in a game that continues to be in the balance.
JAMAICAN LIKELY AS FIRST-ROUND NBA DRAFT CHOICE—02/10/09
Jerome Jordan, a 7-footer from Jamaica, scored 22 points and 14 rebounds for the University of Tulsa, heading the win against the University of Texas-El Paso 76-65. Jordan, a 22-year-old center on the Tulsa team, is dominating Conference USA with an average of 20 points and 11 rebounds. Scouts are swarming around Jordan and indications are that he could be a first-round draft pick in the summer for the NBA.
AMERICAN COLLEGE COACH “AWED” BY JAMAICAN ATHLETES—02/11/09
A growing number of Jamaican athletes are choosing to train and attend local universities stead of taking scholarships to study overseas. As a result, American college coaches are increasing their recruiting efforts in Jamaica. Stanley Redwine, head coach at the University of Kansas, saw his first races on a grass track at the 17th JAAA/PUMA Development Meet at the Jamaica Sports Club in Clarendon as part of his evaluation of athletes. He was very impressed with the Jamaicans’ performance.
WINDIES CAPTAIN TELLS TEAM “DON’T DWELL” ON VICTORY—02/12/09
Chris Gayle, captain of the West Indies team, is urging his team not to dwell on its first test win while preparing to meet England in the second test. Gayle says the team needs to keep its feet on the ground because it will essentially be starting from scratch in the second test. Gayle is happy to have the 1-0 lead in the four-match environment, but he is worried about a rebounding England.
Not For Stuff
If God were to take away every thing that you hold dear – your health, your family, your finances, all your earthly possessions – would you still praise Him? Instinctively most of us would be tempted to respond with a tentative “yes”, tentative because so far we haven’t been placed in that position. However, in a culture where good health and material possessions are perceived as things to which Christians are entitled, and the basis on which we testify that “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good”, would we still think He is good if He allowed the enemy the take it all away?
Satan, the one who accuses us before our God day and night (Revelation 12:10), doesn’t think so. Consider this conversation between he and God: “Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.’ ‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied. ‘Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.’ The LORD said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’ Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD” (Job 1:8-12, NIV). Those familiar with the story know the tragedies that came upon Job, one of the richest men of his day, as a result. He lost ten children, seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred donkeys, all but a few of his servants, and he himself was covered with sores all over his body. Lest we forget, God Himself said of him, “There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil”. If anyone deserved good health and material blessings, it was Job.
If we are honest with ourselves, facing the same set of circumstances, most of us would have abandoned God. We need look no further at how we react when something doesn’t go the way we planned, or something bad happens unexpectedly. The reaction of Job’s wife mirrors the human frailities, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (2:9). Unlike us reading his story, Job wasn’t aware of Satan’s accusation, or of the confidence God had in the fact that his worship of Him was not the result of the stuff He had blessed him with. But as the last messenger told him of the death of his sons and daughters, we read, “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised. In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing” (1:20-22).
In the midst of circumstances we cannot begin to imagine, Job knew enough of God to know that He was still to be praised, He was still to be worshipped. It is one thing to praise God for all He has done in our lives, but it is something else to praise and worship Him because of who He is. The next time you offer up praise, consider what is it based on. Are you praising Him because regardless of what is going on in your life He is worthy to be praised, or are you praising Him because He has blessed you with stuff?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.