THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
JAMAICA TO SEND LAID-OFF WORKERS TO CANADA, U.S.—04/18/09
Pearnel Charles, Jamaica’s Minister of Labor, says that the government will train Jamaican workers who have been laid off from their jobs for work in the hospitality, agriculture, and construction sectors in the United States and Canada via a work-abroad program. While Charles could not say how many workers would be trained, he estimated that 13,000 Jamaicans have lost their jobs since December 2008. This is the first time the government has focused on the unemployed for participation in the work-abroad program.
JAMAICAN JUSTICE SYSTEM TO BENEFIT FROM MODERNIZATION—04/19/09
One of the key issues for Stephen Harper, Canada’s Prime Minister, on his visit to Jamaica will be the provision of aid to modernize the justice system on the island. According to a statement from the office of Bruce Golding, Jamaican Prime Minister, he and Harper will sign a Memorandum of Understanding in regard to a commitment of CND$18.5 million from the Canadian government for the reform process. Most of this money will come from the Canadian International Development Agency.
GOLDING, HARPER LAUD TROOPS FOR HIJACK END—04/20/09
Bruce Golding, Jamaican Prime Minister, and Stephen Harper, Canada’s Prime Minister, both praised the efforts of Jamaican troops in regard to the peaceful ending of the charter flight hijacking. Members of the Jamaica Defense Force Counter Terrorism Operations Group succeeded in freeing six crew members held hostage and arresting the hijacker of CanJet Flight 918 after attempts at negotiating with the gunman broke down.
FOOD FOR THE POOR ORGANIZATION HELPS WITH HOUSING—04/21/09
Food for the Poor, an international charity with connections to Jamaica although based in the United States, is joining with donors from the U.S., Jamaica, and around the world to provide safe and secure housing to thousands of Jamaicans who cannot afford a home of their own. In 2008, the organization built 8,417 housing units for families needing shelter; 2,300 of those were donated to Jamaican families. The charity currently has more than 12,000 applications for housing from needy Jamaicans.
JAMAICAN MUSIC MUSEUM TO BE “REVITALIZED”—04/22/09
According to Herbie Miller, the director and curator of the Jamaica Music Museum, the museum project is currently undergoing revitalization. The idea for the museum is not new, he says, being established in 2001, but the concept was “underdeveloped and under-promoted” for one reason or another. Now, things are moving forward. Miller made his remarks at a symposium to announce the list of top 100 Jamaican popular songs, which was held at the University of the West Indies.
NO NEW TAXES, SAYS MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY GROUP—04/22/09
Omar Azan, the president of the Jamaica Manufacturing Association, says he does not want to see new taxes, since this would slow the island’s economic recovery. Instead, the manufacturing group wants the creation of an “incentive-filled” budget. According to Azan, the manufacturing sector already pays nearly $13.5 billion in taxes. A budget geared toward job creation would be a better alternative, says Azar.
JOHNSON WANTS U.S. HELP TO STEM SMALL ARMS TRAFFICKING—04/23/09
Anthony Johnson, ambassador to the United States from Jamaica, is asking the U.S. government to pass legislation designed to stop the trafficking of small arms to Jamaica and the Caribbean region. Johnson is the Permanent Representative from Jamaica to the Organization of American States (OAS).
SHAW ANNOUNCES GAS TAX FOR JAMAICA—04/24/09
A tax will be imposed on gasoline in Jamaica as part of finance measures to address the $18.3 billion shortfall in the nation’s budget. Audley Shaw, Finance Minister, also announced that the tax on telephones would rise to 20 percent next week. The current rate is 16.5 percent. Ralston Hyman, a financial analyst, believes the gas tax announcement will pressure consumers despite a doubling of the income tax threshold.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
ROBINSON VISITS JAMAICAN DIASPORA IN NEW YORK—04/18/09
Jamaica’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade will visit the Bronx Westchester Community Church in Mt. Vernon, New York. Dr. Ronald A. Robinson will attend the first annual worship service for the Union of Jamaican Alumni Associations (UJAA). Senator Robinson has overseen the development of the Jamaica Diaspora Foundation, the Jamaica Diaspora Institute, and the Jamaica Diaspora Bond.
JAMAICANS IN CANADA LOOKING FOR ISLAND INVESTMENTS—04/19/09
Jamaicans living in Canada want to find new investment opportunities in Jamaica in order to make the bond between the two nations stronger. According to Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams, president of the Canadian Diaspora Association, Jamaicans want to own a piece of the island, and those living abroad want to collaborate with Jamaicans to create new investment opportunities. Tourism investments are of particular interest to investors, including health tourism and ecotourism.
6,000 JAMAICANS TO WORK ON FARMS IN CANADA IN 2009—04/20/09
Larkland Stone, Chief Liaison Officer at Jamaica’s Liaison Service (JLS), says the about 6,000 Jamaican workers will have jobs on Canadian farms during 2009. The JLS oversees the Farm Work Program in Canada. This number is approximately the same as that for 2008.
JAMAICAN AMBASSADOR TO RECOGNIZE MEDICAL VOLUNTEERS—04/23/09
The Honorable Anthony Johnson, Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States, will be the honorary guest speaker at a benefit held to raise funds and awareness for the Jamaican Children’s Heart Fund Inc. (JCHF). The benefit, called “A Heartfelt Journey,” will be held in Orlando, Florida, on May 8, 2009, and feature music by Ernie Smith and Pluto Shervington.
U.S. VERSUS JAMAICA AT PENN RELAYS—04/19/09
Jamaican high school and potential Olympic athletes will face their American peers at the annual Penn Relays track meet in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 2009 meet is expected to be extraordinary because of Jamaica’s record-breaking performance at the 2008 Olympics. Thousands of track and field fans from around the world will travel to Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania to watch the highly anticipated Jamaica-USA match ups.
BOLT TO VISIT CRYSTAL PALACE IN LONDON IN JULY—04/21/09
Usain Bolt, Olympic gold medalist, is scheduled to run the 100 meters at London’s Grand Prix at Crystal Palace on July 24 and 25, 2009. This meet occurs three weeks before he competes for gold in the 100-meters, 200-meters, and 4×100-meter relay at the World Championships in Berlin, Germany. Bolt says he normally bases himself in London during the summer months.
JAMAICA PLANS TO KEEP UNDER-16 NETBALL TITLE —04/22/09
According to Joan Cargill, the coach of Jamaica’s Under-16 netball players, she and her team are optimistic about their chances of winning the 2009 Caribbean Under-16 Championships. She communicated her confidence after a press conference recognizing Seprod’s support of the regional championship. Seprod presented a check for $899,000 to Marva Bernard, president of the Jamaica Netball Association, which helps to fund hosting for the championship.
OLYMPIC REUNION FOR JAMAICA, U.S. AT 115TH PENN RELAYS—04/23/09
Beijing Olympic relay gold medalists from the United States and Jamaica will participate in the 115th Penn Relays to be held at the University of Pennsylvania on the 23-25 of April 2009. Allyson Felix, silver medalist at the Olympics, will run the women’s 4×100-meters and 4×400-meter relays. Jamaica’s 4×400-meter team features Melaine Walker, who set a record at the Olympics in Beijing, while the 4×100-meters will feature Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser and Kerron Stewart.
“Naked” Before Him
When was the last time you told God how you really felt? Not the last time you spoke to Him, but the last time you bared your soul and emotions? It seems every time someone is asked “How are you?”, a “I am fine” or something similar is guaranteed. We have become very good at masking our feelings, our inner selves; not wanting anyone to know what is really going on with us. Unfortunately, we take that into our relationship with God as well. Sure we talk to Him at different times, but how many of those prayers were petitions for things on our laundry list of needs? If we didn’t have physical and/or material needs we have to rely on Him to meet, would we still have a reason to talk to God?
Yet, even as we try to put our best selves on public display, in the quietness of our thoughts we are intimately acquainted with our fears, our anxieties, and all the things that perplexes our minds. We know who we really are, and in the event that we have “forgotten”, so does God. There is nothing to be gained by hiding our innermost feelings from Him because there is nothing about us that surprises Him. For most of us, we are not always on top of the mountain spiritually or otherwise. Despite our best efforts the challenges of life not only wear on us, they also wear us down. We doubt ourselves, we doubt our faith, and if truth be know, we doubt God.
These thoughts came to mind as I read Jeremiah’s, “But thou, O LORD, knowest me: thou hast seen me, and tried mine heart toward thee” (12:3, KJV). In context, these words are a part of his prayer to God as he questioned “Why do bad people have it so good? Why do con artists make it big?” (v.1, The Message), questions we ourselves may have pondered at different times, but we can borrow his words because of the timelessness of the truths espoused. So if there is nothing about us that God doesn’t know, doesn’t it make sense that the next time we talk to Him we tell it like it really is?
That is the kind of relationship He wants us to have with Him. David writes, “What you’re after is truth from the inside out” (Psalm 51:6, The Message), and it really doesn’t matter what that “truth” is. It will not frighten or intimidate God who invites us to come boldly into His presence and not be ashamed. The next time you prepare yourself for prayer, resolve to come clean and tell Him exactly how you feel. Not only can He handle it, but collectively it is only then that we will genuinely experience His peace standing guard over our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6-7), and the fullness of joy that comes with being in His presence as He works all things together for our good and for His pleasure (Psalm 16:11; Romans 8:28; Philippians 2:13).
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.