THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
TEACHERS’ MONEY AVAILABLE—04/25/09
The Jamaican government has made an addition of $4 billion to the 2009-2010 fiscal year budget in order to pay teachers their outstanding amounts. Audley Shaw, Finance Minister, announced the addition while explaining why the budget now totals $555 billion rather than the $547 billion initially approved by the House of Representatives.
CANADIAN ARMY HELPS SCHOOLS IN JAMAICA—04/26/09
The Canadian Army has donated educational items to the Port Royal Primary and Junior High School. The value of the donation totals CA$2000. Kimberly Hardy, Master Corporal in the Army, said it is happy to provide help to Jamaican children.
PORK IMPORTS FROM CANADA, U.S. MAY BE BANNED—04/27/09
Jamaica may ban pork products and live pigs from the United States and Canada in order to prevent the spread of swine flu, according to Dr Osbil Watson, director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ division of veterinary services. While no ban has been imposed as yet, the agency is monitoring the situation closely and will ban the import of live swine, semen, pork and pork products from these two countries if necessary.
GOLDING REJECTS REQUEST FROM PNPYO—04/28/09
Bruce Golding, Jamaican Prime Minister, has rejected a request from the People’s National Party Youth Organization (PNPYO) to discuss alternatives to an $18 billion tax program recently announced by the government. Damion Crawford, PNPYO president, led several protesters to Jamaica House to deliver a letter reportedly containing alternatives to the proposed tax measures. Golding said he expected the objections from the opposition party.
SCHOOLS IN JAMAICA PREPARE FOR STUDENT QUARANTINES—04/28/09
The Ministry of Education in Jamaica has directed schools to create quarantine areas in advance of a local outbreak of swine flue. According to a news release issued by the Ministry of Education, any student showing flu-like symptoms is to be quarantined, parents are to be called, and the student removed from school. The illness must be reported to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health as well.
JAMAICANS PROTEST FUEL TAX—04/29/09
Demonstrators in Jamaica have created roadblocks and started fires over their opposition to new tax imposed on gasoline. Seven people were arrested for blocking the roads in Spanish Town and Kingston. Jamaican police and the army were alerted for trouble since Audley Shaw, Finance Minister, announced the new 18-percent tax on fuel. The tax is designed to help fill a budget gap. Portia Simpson Miller, opposition leader, has called the tax increase “irresponsible” and urged more peaceful protests.
JAMAICAN BOBSLED TEAM TO FEATURE IN WII GAME—04/30/09
SouthPeak Games will publish a game called Sled Shred for the Wii game device. The game focuses on downhill sled racing and will give players a chance to race and compete with the Jamaican Bobsled Team. Members of the team will be present in the game’s story to coach and challenge Wii players.
SIMPSON MILLER CRITICIZES GOVERNMENT BUDGET—05/01/09
Portia Simpson Miller, leader of the Opposition Party, has strongly criticized the government of Prime Minister Bruce Golding and its plans to raise $18 billion in taxes. Simpson Miller says the budget will rob Jamaicans of their “joy.” She particularly opposes the $8.75 per liter fuel tax. She also notes that the budget imposes no tax on luxury goods, but does tax things like salt and syrup.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
FARMER IN CANADA CREDITS HIS BUSINESS TO JAMAICAN WORKERS—04/27/09
According to John Smith, farmer and owner of H.W. Smith Holdings Ltd. in Canada, he would not be in business if it were not for the Jamaican/Canadian Farm Work Program, which began in 1966. Smith’s farm was one of the first to hire Jamaican workers when the program started. Eight of the first 264 Jamaicans traveling to Canada in 1966 worked on Smith’s farm, which is located in St. Catharine, Ontario.
JAMAICAN POET PENS MEMOIR IN PROSE—04/28/09
Staceyann Chin, Jamaican and Chinese poet, has written a memoir called “The Other Side of Paradise,” which chronicles her life as a girl abandoned by her Jamaican mother and unclaimed by her Chinese father. She was raised in Jamaica by her Christian grandmother. Chin achieved success on Broadway as part of Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam and a one-woman show, “Border/Clash: A Litany of Desires.” She has also appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
JAMAICAN CHEFS COOK FOR NORWEGIANS—04/30/09
Anthony Miller and Colin Hylton, Jamaican chefs, visited Norway as part of a prize package won in the Seafood from Norway Culinary Challenge 2009 competition. The chefs visited Norwegian fish farms and processing plants. Norway exports approximately 80 percent of the fish known as saltfish in Jamaica. The chefs prepared a feast for their hosts in appreciation for their trip.
JAMAICAN CONSULTATE CONTINUES OUTREACH IN ATLANTA—05/01/09
Community outreach continues from the Jamaica Consulate General in Miami, Florida, focusing on Atlanta, Georgia Jamaican nationals. Vin Martin, Jamaica’s Honorary Consul in Atlanta, has appealed to Jamaicans in the area to participate in the outreach program. Sandra Grant Griffiths, Consul General, will meet with nationals at a Town Hall meeting in Stone Mountain, and resource personnel will be on hand to answer questions about passports, visas, and citizenship issues.
POWELL TO COMPETE DESPITE INJURY—04/27/09
Asafa Powell, former 100-meter world record holder, will run at a grand prix competition in Doha in May in spite of an ankle injury, according to his agent Paul Doyle. Powell aggravated the injury while anchoring the 4×100 meter Jamaican relay team at the Penn Relays in the United States.
BOLT HOSPITALIZED AFTER AUTO ACCIDENT—04/29/09
Usain Bolt, Jamaica’s Olympic gold medalist and world record holder received treatment at a hospital near Kingston after a car crash. According to a doctor at Spanish Town Hospital, Bolt’s injuries were not serious, but declined to provide details. Reports stated that the sprint champion was involved in an accident on Highway 2000 on the outskirts of Kingston.
POWELL AND FRASER ADDED TO REEBOK GRAND PRIX—04/30/09
Olympic gold medalists, the Jamaicans Asafa Powell and Shelly-Ann Fraser are scheduled to compete at the 2009 Reebok Grand Prix in New York City on May 30, 2009.
BOLT TO SKIP KINGSTON INTERNATIONAL MEET—05/01/09
Usain Bolt, 22, Jamaica’s Olympic sprint champion, will not compete in a track meet on the island after suffering injuries in an automobile crash near Kingston. Bolt sustained injuries to his left foot when he stepped on some thorns getting out of his wrecked car. Ricky Simms, Bolt’s agent, says it is too soon to know whether the sprinter’s participation in other meets will be affected by the injuries.
Off at the Next “Exit”
It was another afternoon’s commute just like all the others. Or so it started out. God, as He often does, uses things around us to teach spiritual lessons and today would be one of those days. The highway traffic was moving fairly well in what was a pleasant drive, and as I prepared for the exit ramps that would take me home, the lesson went off in my being. Exit ramps along every highway were absolutely important; without them we would end up in places we didn’t intend, and if we were headed in the wrong direction, there would be no way to get off in order to find alternate ways to turn around.
In that moment I was reminded of Paul’s encouragement to the Corinthians: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13, KJV). The word translated “temptation” means “solicitation to do evil”, and presents the picture of the believer being solicited (courted, romanced, wooed) to go against God and the things of God by the Adversary. However, isn’t it comforting to know that God, in His sovereignty, not only knew that as we navigated through this life there would be all kinds of solicitations along the way, but He lovingly and graciously made provisions along the way for us to escape?
As I meditated on this, it occurred to me that the “way to escape” was God’s exit ramp. These are not ramps that like exits ramps on an airplane we hope not to use, but God places them there because He knows that despite our best effors to walk in His ways, from time to time we will need to use them. As believers we are not immune to the temptations “common to man”; we are just as prone to demonstrating the fruit of the flesh as we yield to the Adversary’s romancing (see Galatians 5:19-21). Our Heavenly Father knows that we do not always avail ourselves of His sustaining grace, and so while our testings may be equal to our abilities to bear them, we often find ourselves headed in the wrong direction. His “exit ramps” assures us that we can escape before we give in, but if we do give in they also provide ways for us to get out so we can get turned around and headed back in the right direction.
We can only stand in awe of God’s love and care. “Like as a father pitieth [H]is children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear [H]im. For [H]e knoweth our frame; [H]e remembereth that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13-14, KJV). Are you making use of your exit ramps, or are you speeding contentedly along in the wrong direction?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.