THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
HOLNESS OPPOSES CONDOMS IN SCHOOLS—02/14/09
Minister of Education Andrew Holness continues to oppose the distribution of condoms in Jamaican schools. He believes it is the responsibility of the schools to tell students about the choices they have to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. The revised health and family education program that will soon be implemented in secondary schools will provide the means by which students may make healthy lifestyle choices.
CHINA PROVIDES $118 MILLION IN LOANS TO JAMAICA—02/15/09
China has promised to give Jamaica loans totaling $118 million to boost farming, trade, and growth during the global financial crisis. Xi Jinping, Vice President of China, says $100 million in credit will go to finance trade, much of it with China. Another $1.1 million will aid farmers in buying equipment.
BANK TO LEND GOVERNMENT MILLIONS—02/16/09
Scotia Bank Jamaica will provide a multi-million dollar loan to the Jamaican government. The loan will allow the government to better meet its obligations on debt servicing. Scotia Bank loaned the government US$100 million, earmarked to use toward servicing the national debt and debt arising from granting a large bond.
KING AND QUEEN OF SPAIN VISIT JAMAICA—02/17/09
King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain are spending two days on a state visit to Jamaica. They were greeted at Norman Manley International Airport by Governor General Kenneth Hall and Prime Minister Bruce Golding. The King visited the Institute of Jamaica Museum and addressed Jamaican lawmakers in a speech to Parliament.
SAMUDA CRITICIZES PNP—02/18/09
Karl Samuda, Jamaica’s Industry Minister, has leveled criticism at the People’s National Party (PNP), describing the party’s statements about his capital control measures as “abject foolishness.” Samuda questioned how the party could misinterpret his remarks about capital outflow, given his strong position favoring the removal of foreign exchange controls during the 1990s.
CHURCH ORGANIZAATION CRITICIZES DANCEHALL MUSIC—02/19/09
The Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) has joined the controversy over the “purification” of Jamaican dancehall music. The JCC wants to impose an additional ban on street and community dances that encourage sexually crude and explicit lyrics in songs. The church organization has also called on police to take a zero-tolerance approach to vehicles with tinted windows that play loud and vulgar music.
PNP CHASTISES SMITH ON GAY STANCE—02/19/09
Ernst Smith, Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) Member of Parliament for South West St. Ann, has been chastised in regard to comments he made calling homosexuals “violent” and stating that the police force was “overrun with gays.” He also called for the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), a gay rights organization, to be outlawed. Smith has issued an apology to the police.
BANK OF JAMAICA DISMISSES MANUFACTURERS RECOMMENDATION—02/20/09
Derick Latibeaudiere, Governor of the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ), has dismissed a recommendation made by the Jamaica Manufacturer’s Association (JMA) that the bank use $2 billion of its cash reserves to provide loans to the manufacturing sector. The JMA noted that the bank’s high interest rate is having a negative impact on the industry.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
PARK IN ENGLAND RENAMED FOR JAMAICAN-BORN COUNCILLOR—02/14/09
Buslingthorpe Park in Chapeltown, Leeds, England, has received a new name. It will now be known as Norma Hutchinson Park to honor the Jamaican-born Councillor and community activist who died five years ago. Many residents of the city attended the renaming ceremony. Burchell Whiteman, Jamaica’s High Commissioner to London, was a special guest at the renaming and stated that Hutchinson was an example of “service before self.”
NO BAIL FOR JAMAICAN WOMAN—02/16/09
Glenda Harriet, 42, a Jamaican housewife, was denied bail during an appearance before a Justice of the Peace in Trinidad & Tobago. Harriet, who lives in Culloden Whitehouse, Westmore Land, is charged with trafficking in cocaine. She was arrested as she was preparing to board a Caribbean Airlines flight to Jamaica carrying 3.66 grams of cocaine, which has an estimated street value of $1.5 million.
JAMAICAN-BORN PROMOTER FOUND DEAD IN GEORGIA—02/17/09
Marc Stewart, 38, was found dead inside a parked car in Gwinnet County, Georgia. Stewart had been missing for several days when his body was discovered by a passer-by. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of Stewart’s death. He was the president and CEO of Island Coast Entertainment, an event planning firm in Atlanta.
JAMAICAN GIRL IN NEW YORK NEEDS HELP—02/18/09
Courtney-Ann Brown, the daughter of two Jamaican parents, needs humanitarian aid to save her life. She needs a bone marrow transplant in order to stay alive. She is receiving help from Leaf of Life of New York, but the cost of the transplant is almost US$500,000. Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, NY, will perform an evaluation for free to determine if they can treat the girl at a reduced cost.
JAMAICAN TAKES LEAD OVER GUYANA IN REGIONAL—02/14/09
Jamaica had a century lead and consolidated their lead over Guyana in the second day of a sixth-round Regional Four-Day Game at Georgetown. The Jamaicans extended their 149 for three to 441 for eight, before declaring. The Guyana team was 22 for one at the end of play.
BOLT VICTORIOUS IN 400 METERS AT CAMPERDOWN CLASSIC—02/15/09
Usain Bolt won the 400 meters at the Jamaica Camperdown Classic in Kingston, marking a victory in his first race of 2009. Bolt ran the 400 meters in 46.34 seconds. He said he was “not really in the best of shape,” commenting on his slowed performance in the final 100 meters of the race.
JAMAICAN SURFERS GET SPONSORSHIP DEAL—02/16/09
The Jamaican Surfing Association will be sponsored by IPATH, a top footwear firm. The sponsorship contract will run for two years and total more than $J1 million per year. It includes cash, travel, and product support, along with photo incentives and a percentage of sales of a shoe designed specifically for the JSA to be available in 2010.
BOLT RECEIVES SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD—02/17/09
Usain Bolt was awarded the title of Jamaican Sportsman of the Year 2008 at the RJR Sports Foundation. Bolt, the world’s fastest human, broke several records at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Veronica Campbell-Brown and Melaine Walker shared the Sportswoman of the Year title.
He’s Still on the Throne
In Isaiah 6, we read the wonderful narrative of Isaiah’s vision and commissioning. In this vision, he had a glimpse of the wonders of heaven – angels crying “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory” (v.3) as they flew with covered faces around the throne of God. On this throne was the Lord, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple, a sight so majestic that Isaiah wrote, “And the posts of the door moved at the voice of [H]im that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (vv.4-5, KJV).
As I reflected on this portion of text, the profound truth of the first verse, and the implications for us as believers, came alive in my being. Isaiah’s vision began with him seeing the Lord sitting upon a throne. The theology in this text is far greater than we need for our purposes, but what we can take way is the fact that the throne in heaven has not been abdicated, a word defined as to “give up, such as power, as of monarchs and emperors, or duties and obligations.” Not only was the Lord sitting on his throne, but He was high and lifted up. The Apostle Paul spoke of this exaltation of Christ was he wrote that not only had God raised Him from the dead, but He “set [H]im at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under [H]is feet” (Ephesians 1:20b-22a).
Amidst the tough economic times, and the different challenges we all have to deal with, it is reassuring to know that the Lord is still on the throne. He has not abdicated, and despite Satan’s best efforts, He has not been overthrown; nobody else but our Lord sits there. Yes, at times it seems like things are out of control, and the enemy of our souls would have us believe that God is unable to do anything about what is going on. Yet we can take comfort in knowing that our Lord is high above all else, His eyes is still watching over us, He sees our struggles, our tears, our fears, and He knows our pain. There is never a moment that we are out of His sight, there is never a time when we are without His love.
The writer of the book of Hebrews reminds us, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (4:15-16). The next time you approach the throne, isn’t it reassuring to know that it is not empty?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.