THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
NEW BUDGET, HIGHER TAXES—04/11/09
Higher taxes will be imposed on motorists, cigarette smokers, and individuals who hold licenses for firearms in the new budget developed by the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) government. According to Audley Shaw, Minister of Finance, $538 million the $2.99 billion in projected money from tobacco taxes will go to the National Health Fund. A 50-percent increase in the motor vehicle license fee will go into effect on May 1, 2009.
COURT NULLIFIES ELECTION OF VAZ AS MP—04/12/09
While Daryl Vaz vows to be the candidate of the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) for Western Portland, a judgment from Chief Justice Zaila McCalla makes this more difficult. Chief Justice McCalla ruled that Vaz is not qualified to be a Member of Parliament because of his United States citizenship. A by-election was ordered as a result of the ruling.
ALMOST HALF OF JAMAICAN TEEN GIRLS FORCED TO HAVE SEX—04/13/09
According to a study (“The Influence of Early Sexual Debut and Sexual Violence on Adolescent Pregnancy: A Matched Case-Control Study in Jamaica”), 49 percent of girls between the ages of 15 and 17 in Kingston, Jamaica, reported experiencing sexual coercion or violence. One-third of the girls said they had been persuaded or forced into their first sexual experience. The study also revealed a widespread incidence of gender-based violence in Jamaica. Ninety-four percent of pregnant teens surveyed said their pregnancies were unintended.
GAY JAMAICAN GROUP NOT IN SUPPORT OF BOYCOTT—04/14/09
The Jamaican Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays (JFLAG) does not support the boycott of Jamaica called for by gays in the United States. A national boycott of Jamaica has been announced in the U.S., scheduled to begin at the Stonewall Bar in New York City, the birthplace of the gay rights movement. A boycott of Jamaica has also been announced in California. JFLAG says it appreciates the support of international gays, but believes the boycott to be “unfortunate.”
EARLY ELECTIONS LIKELY AS RESULT OF COURT CASES—04/15/09
The Jamaican government has not ruled out the possibility of holding an early general election due to a potential crisis looming from the removal of Daryl Vaz as West Portland’s Member of Parliament and other attempts to remove parliamentarians due to alleged dual citizenships. The People’s National Party has said it is ready in the event of an early election.
MILLIONS SET ASIDE TO FUND REHABILITATION PROGRAM FOR DEPORTEES—04/16/09
About $225 million has been marked in the 2009/2010 Estimates of Expenditure for the funding of a program designed to reintegrate and rehabilitate local offenders and deported individuals to Jamaica. The program wants to improve the reintegration of nationals deported from the United Kingdom into Jamaica society. It also seeks to build up the capacity of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).
EDUCATION SALARIES TAKE UP 70 PERCENT OF MINISTRY BUDGET—04/16/09
Andrew Holness, Jamaica’s Minister of Education, reports that the payment of salaries represents 70 percent of the entire Ministry budget. While high, this represents an improvement from 2003/2004 when the Ministry paid 98 percent of its budget for salaries. The high percentage of money going for salaries means that little is left for capital projects such as adding classrooms, building schools, or purchasing new equipment, however.
ATTIRE OF SIMPSON-MILLER TURNS HEADS AT GORDON HOUSE—04/17/09
Portia Simpson-Miller, Opposition Leader, took the spotlight at a meeting of the Standing Finance Committee by wearing a jeans suit. Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, Deputy Speaker of the House, was particularly astonished and was viewed consulting with the deputy clerk to the Houses of Parliament about concerns regarding Simpson-Miller’s dress. While the rules of Parliament do not address the clothing of parliamentarians in specific, their dress has traditionally been business attire.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
RANGLIN TO HEAD UK SUBSIDIARY OF GK FOODS—04/11/09
Michael Ranglin, deputy head of the food division of GraceKennedy, will replace Irwin Burton as the chief executive officer of WT Foods, the United Kingdom subsidiary of GraceKennedy. Burton has been promoted to deputy group CEO and will keep his job as CEO of the food division, GK Foods.
RICKETTS NAMED MLS PLAYER OF THE WEEK—04/13/09
Jamaican Donovan Ricketts, goalkeeper for the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team, has been voted the Player of the Week for the fourth week of the 2009 season. He has had five saves and withstood 12 shots during a play to a 0-0 draw with Chivas USA in the first installment of the SuperClasico.
JAMAICAN TEACHER CHANGES SCHOOLS IN ATLANTA—04/14/09
Dr. Beverly Hall has been selected as National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators. While she almost quit the profession in her first year of teaching, she now has the recognition of her peers, who have called her the “best schools’ chief” in the United States.
JAMAICAN TO BE DEAN OF SCHOOL IN CANADA—04/15/09
G. Raymond Chang, an academic whose parents are from Jamaica, has been named the dean of the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The school is named for the university’s chancellor who was born on the island. Chang is also the chairman of the third largest investment fund firm in Canada and the second largest publicly traded fund company, CI Financia. He was a student at St. George’s College.
BOLT LOOKS TO REVITALIZE THE SPORT OF TRACK—04/11/09
Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world and arguably the most famous Jamaican athlete after his record-breaking performance at the 2008 Olympics, wants to use his celebrity and good-humored personality to “revitalize” track. The sport of track has been declining in popularity worldwide. Another goal for Bolt is to be the first track star to earn $10 million per year in prize money, endorsements, and appearance fees by the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London.
JAMAICA DOMINATES 400M RACE AT CARIFTA—04/12/09
Athletes from Jamaica dominated the 400-meter events on the second day of the 38th Carifta Games. Jamaica, defending champions, won 23 medals: 12 gold, seven silver, and four bronze. Jodiann Muir ran 53.49 to win the Under-20 girls’ category, while fellow Jamaica Danielle Dowie placed second with 53.96.
JAMAICA KEEPS TITLE IN UNDER-15 CRICKET CHAMPIONSHIP—04/13/09
While Trinidad and Tobago took a five-wicket win over Barbados in the last round of the West Indies Under-15 Cricket Championships in Balmain Couva, defending champion Jamaica also won its final round versus the Windward Island by seven wickets. This assured their second title in a row in the Championships and their fifth overall in the tournament.
JEROME TAYLOR TO BE ASSESSED—04/16/09
The West Indies cricket team traveled to England without fast bowler Jerome Taylor, who must undergo an assessment of his physical fitness before continuing to play. Taylor missed the last one-day international match versus England with injuries and was involved in an automobile accident that kept him out of the Kings XI Punjab team for the Indian Premier League as well.
Return to Sender
Have you ever felt like some of your prayers were intercepted somewhere between earth and heaven, and got stamped “Return to Sender”? Recently I was thinking about that, and it occurred to me that the devil is in the business of intercepting our prayers, or the answers to them, and carting them off into his camp while leaving us to doubt or blame God when we do not see the expected results of those prayers. Of course, that is assuming that we are praying in the will of God as guided by the Holy Spirit (Jude 20). I like the fact though, that despite the enemy’s best efforts, we can go into his camp and take back what he has stolen from us! I think if we could ever see his backyard, it would be filled with stuff, and within that stuff are things that belong to us; our health, our finances, our relationships, our family members, our careers, and all the other things we committed to our Heavenly Father.
So, let us put on the whole armor of God and wage war with the one who would dare take what is not his. A closer look at the armor shows how marvelous an arsenal God has given us!
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” (Eph. 6:11-18a, KJV)
That really excites me. As long as we have on the whole armor of God, we have nothing to fear. We can stare the enemy down, knowing fully well that with the Lord on our side, we will have the victory. The devil is no match for us who are on God’s side. What he has stolen, he has to give it back. Those prayers prayed in the will of God marked “Return to Sender” are bogus. With sword in hand, and praise on our lips, we will march into the enemy’s camp and we will not leave until we take back all of that which is rightfully ours. Halleujah!
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.