THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
WORKERS IN JAMAICA TO GET HIKE IN MINIMUM WAGE—05/02/09
The minimum wage in Jamaica will be raised by 10 percent in order to stimulate the nation’s economy and provide some aid to poor families. Jamaican workers will earn at least $46 per week under the increase. There are about 1.3 million employed persons in Jamaica. The unemployment rate is approximately 10 percent.
BOOK INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION CONCERNED ABOUT BOOK TAX—05/03/09
The Book Industry Association of Jamaica (BIAJ) has expressed worries that a general-consumption tax on general books (not academic or religious books) could have serious implications for literacy, education, and national development.
MINISTRY OF HEALTH REPORTS NO SWINE FLU ON ISLAND—05/04/09
While the Ministry of Health knows there are reports of alleged cases of swine flu in Jamaica, the agency assures the public that there is no truth to these reports. Testing of persons exhibiting flu-like symptoms continues at health facilities, and all tests have been negative for swine flu to date.
GOLDING TO DEFEND BUDGET—05/05/09
Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding is set to defend his government’s JA$555.7 billion budget, which will be presented to the National Assembly by Audley Shaw, Finance Minister and Public Service Minister. The budget is $9 billion higher than that of 2008 and imposes a gasoline tax of 8.75 percent. The fuel tax has been strongly criticized by the Opposition Party.
REAL ESTATE IN JAMAICA TO SEE HIGHER CAPITALIZATION—05/05/09
Capitalization rates for Jamaican real estate are set to double in 2010 due to the rollback of stamp duty and transfer taxes by the island’s government. According to Colin Scott, vice president of RealEstateInJamaica.com, this will increase the supply of housing in Jamaica.
HIJACK SUSPECT TO RECEIVE PSYCHIATRIC EVALUATION—05/06/09
Stephen Fray, 21, the Jamaican man accused of attempting to hijack a Canadian airliner, will remain in jail, pending a request by his defense attorney for a psychiatric evaluation. Fray faces charges of robbery and assault for the April 19 hostage-taking involving a CanJet Airlines plane at the airport in Montego Bay.
GOVERNMENT CHANGES POSITION ON BOOK, SALT TAX—05/07/09
Audley Shaw, Jamaican Finance Minister, has changed his mind in regard to imposing a general consumption tax (GCT) on all printed materials, including books. Shaw also says the proposed tax on salt, syrup, fish soup, noodle soups, rolled oats, and other things will be lifted as well. Portia Simpson Miller, leader of the Opposition, believes the rollback of the tax is “a victory for Jamaica.”
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT TO POINT TO ‘CHILD FRIENDLY’ CONTRACEPTION—05/08/09
A referral system established by the government of Jamaica is being planned to allow sexually active students in schools to obtain services through which they may get contraceptives. The public schools will not distribute birth control pills or condoms, but a referral system will be in place to point students toward a place where they can obtain contraceptives.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
NONPROFIT TO HOLD EVENTS IN GERMANY—05/05/09
HELP Jamaica! (Help Establish Library Project in Jamaica!), a registered nonprofit organization, will celebrate Charity Month by holding charity events to raise money in 13 cities throughout Germany in June 2009. The cities of Maastricht and Budapest will also see HELP Jamaica! events.
JAMAICAN-BORN ENGINEER DEVELOPS SYNTHETIC TURF—05/06/09
Charles Williams is leading researchers in a project to create environmentally friendly synthetic turf for golf greens. Williams invented “performance roll” technology, which simulates the multidirectional features of natural grass. The “grass” created by the Jamaican-born Williams is free of lead and 70 percent recycled.
JAMAICAN CHARITY IN NEW YORK TO VISIT ISLAND—05/07/09
Representatives of the New York-based Children of Jamaica Outreach (COJO) Inc. will visit Jamaica as part of the celebration of Child Month. The nonprofit organization is focused on improving the health, education, and general well being of underprivileged children. The representatives of COJO will present computers, printers, projectors, school supplies, and clothes to two schools and one institution in Jamaica during their visit.
TOP JAMAICAN COMEDIAN BRINGS PLAY TO U.S.—05/08/09
Oliver Samuels, Jamaica’s top comedian, will bring a new play to his Caribbean fans in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C. The play is called “Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing” and starts Glen “Titus” Campbell, Camille Davis, Courtney Wilson, and Sharee McDonald Russell, in addition to Samuels.
POWELL TO MISS IAAF MEET IN DOHA—05/02/09
Asafa Powell, who missed the IAAF Super Grand Prix in Doha in 2008, will also miss it this year due to a sprained ankle. Powell injured his ankle at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia. He joins Usain Bolt in being out of commission for Doha due to injuries.
FRASER TO IMPROVE PERFORMANCE—05/03/09
Shelly-Ann Fraser, Olympic 100-meter champion, believes she will outdo her performance at the UTech Classic when she competes at the Ministry of Sports, Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association Jamaica Invitational. Fraser is the first Jamaican woman to win a gold medal at the Olympics in the 100 meters. She clocked 10.78 seconds in Beijing in 2008.
DAWN HARPER VICTORIOUS IN !00-METER HURDLES—05/04/09
Olympic champion Dawn Harper achieved first place in the women’s 100-meter hurdles at the Jamaica International Invitational in Kingston. She ran the hurdles in 12.78 seconds. Second place was won by Jamaica’s Vonette Dixon, who ran 12.80 seconds.
THREE YEARS AFTER ACCIDENT, SWIMMER COMPETES IN MIAMI—05/06/09
Three years after a motorcycle accident left Dwight Montgomery with one leg, the Jamaica competed in his first Nike Swim Miami competition, finishing in just over two hours. Even though he finished 174th out of 182 swimmers, Montgomery, 48, said the crowd made him feel “as if I won the race.” He is training for more challenges and will compete in the Last Chance Short Course Meet at Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.
As a part of our getting dressed routine, most people spend a bit of time in front of the mirror. Whether we are staying indoors all day or going out to face the world, we want to make sure we do the best with what we have been blessed with. The mirror allows us to see ourselves as we really are, and gives us opportunities to “fix” what needs fixing. For some of us the time spent in the mirror is determined by any number of factors, but as we are all conscious of what we look like, and how others see us, we primp and preen for as long as it takes; until we are satisfied that the “imperfections” have been taken care of.
As it is in the natural, so it should be in the spiritual. Every believer who desires to grow in Christ, and who desires to experience a deepening of his or her relationship with Him, must constantly check themselves in the mirror of the Word. In James 1:23-25 we read, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (KJV). The true test of how well we are doing in our walk with Christ is not based on what others say about us, but on the what the Word reveals about who we are.
In his commentary on this portion of text, Bible Scholar Matthew Henry writes: “As a looking-glass shows us the spots and defilements upon our faces, that they may be remedied and washed off, so the word of God shows us our sins, that we may repent of them and get them pardoned; it shows us what is amiss, that it may be amended. There are glasses that will flatter people; but that which is truly the word of God is no flattering glass. If you flatter yourselves, it is your own fault; the truth, as it is in Jesus, flatters no man. Let the word of truth be carefully attended to, and it will set before you the corruption of your nature, the disorders of your hearts and lives; it will tell you plainly what you are.”
As we go about our day to day preparations, let us remember to spend some time before the looking-glass of the Word. It will not flatter, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12), but we can rest assured that if we look in it sincerely, what we see of ourselves – strengths and weaknesses – is exactly what is there. It is only then that we can ask for help and trust our Lord to help us in those areas that need “fixing”. When was the last time you tried it?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.