THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
ETANA WANTS TO BRIDGE GAP BETWEEN RASTAFARIANS AND CHRISTIANS—06/06/09
Etana, Jamaican reggae singer, has allegedly been baptized a Christian, despite being a child of Rastafari. The singer took this step after performing at the Miss Labour Queen Show in St. Kitts, where she explained to the audience her lack of locked hair. Etana, whose real name is Shauna McKenzie, became famous in 2005 with her debut single “Wrong Address.” She is known for her cultural chic dress choices and her steadfast belief in the tenets of Rastafari.
MORE MEN THAN WOMEN ATTRACTED TO RASTAFARIANISM—06/07/09
The Rastafarian religion has attracted many members since its explosion on Jamaica’s local scene in the 1930s, but what is especially notable is that there is a definite disparity between the numbers of males gravitating toward Rastafarianism compared to the number of females. Surveys have indicated that Christian denominations are sometimes viewed as “not macho enough” for men. Judaism and Islam also attract more Jamaican males than Jamaican females, who tend to join Christian churches.
HOLNESS DECRIES POOR QUALITY OF STUDENTS IN TEACHERS’ COLLEGES—06/08/09
In response to reports indicating that the standard of primary education is a problem in Jamaica, Andrew Holness, Education Minister, stated that the poor quality of students who are accepted by the teachers’ colleges is a major issue. According to the Planning Institute of Jamaica, many students who graduate from the sixth grade in Jamaica cannot spell their own names. Holness believes it is the poor quality intake into teachers’ colleges that is partly to blame for this situation.
FARMERS IN JAMAICA DONATE PERCENTAGE OF BEAN CROP TO POOR—06/09/09
Bean seeds provided by Food for the Poor were planted in St. Catherine, Jamaica, by a farmers’ cooperative with 12 members. The farmers received the seeds, tools, fertilizer and training to grow kidney beans, protein-rich staple food in the Jamaican diet. When combined with rice, the beans provide a nutritionally balanced meal at little cost. Because the harvest was abundant, the farmers decided to express their thanks to Food for the Poor by donating back 20 percent of the bean crop to the organization.
AIR JAMAICA GETS LOAN, FACES PRIVATIZATION DEADLINE—06/10/09
Jamaica’s national air carrier has been approved for an $8 million loan as its deadline for privatizing looms closer. The funds will help Air Jamaica post a profit for 2010, says Audley Shaw, Finance Minister. Shaw also said the government is participating in “aggressive negotiations” with two potential buyers for the airline, but declined to name these overseas companies.
INDUSTRY MINISTER PROMISES TO FIGHT UNFAIR TRADE—06/10/09
Karl Samuda, Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, says he will fight governments in the Caribbean region in order to prevent approved Jamaican products from entering their markets. He favors intra-regional trade to be conducted according to internationally recognized standards and rules, Samuda told fellow ministers in CARICOM.
SHAW SAYS JAMAICA TRANSFORMING ITS ECONOMY—06/11/09
The Honorable Audley Shaw, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and the Public Service, has stated that Jamaica will use the period of the global economic downturn to transform its economy in ways that will reduce its dependence on foreign exchange. The changes will include improved management of debt and fiscal operation, elimination of waste and corruption, tax reforms, and a more effective public sector.
GOVERNMENT TO REDUCE BUREAUCRACIES—06/12/09
Karl Samuda, Jamaican Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, has affirmed the government’s commitment to removing unhelpful bureaucracies. Samuda applauded the support of Jamaica’s Prime Minister for the process of reducing bureaucracies so that good products can be produced at good prices. He noted there was no division on the issue between the Ministry of Industry and the Office of the Prime Minister.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
COLLEGE TO HELP JAMAICAN STUDENTS—06/06/09
The College of North Atlantic (CNA) is partnering with Jamaica to create a program under which Jamaican students will be able to study in Newfoundland, Canada. Corinne Dunne, vice president of CNA, says meetings with three Jamaican principals in Newfoundland are the first step in creating the educational partnership.
CANE WORKERS TRY TO RECOVER FLORIDA WAGES—06/08/09
Jamaican cane workers are trying to recover wages from one of the most powerful sugar firms in the United States, Osceola Farms Company, a subsidiary of the Fanjul family’s Flo-Sun Inc., which is also the owner of Domino Sugar. The lawsuit is the last in a series of cases first brought before the courts in 1989 against five sugar companies. The workers want Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal in Palm Beach County to reverse a lower court ruling that upholds a 19th-century Florida law requiring the workers to put up bond in order to sue for back wages. The workers now farm or sell fruit or charcoal and can barely feed their families on what they earn.
UK AWARD GIVEN TO JAMAICAN-BORN MAYOR—06/09/09
Community activist and the first black mayor of South London’s Southwark Borough, Sam King, has been awarded a commemorative Blue Plaque by the Southwark Council. King was born in Portland, Jamaica, in 1926. He first lived in England during World War II, volunteering to join the royal Air Force in 1944. He returned to England in 1948 and became a Councilor in 1983, also being the only black mayor in Britain at that time.
JAMAICANS ON CBS TO KICK OFF CARIBBEAN WEEK—06/12/09
Ano Okera, Jamaican entertainer, appeared on the “Early Show” on CBS in New York following the kick-off celebration for Caribbean Week. Okera joined friends and Jamaican community members on the plaza in the middle of Manhattan on the CBS television program.
POWELL ON ROAD TO RECOVERY—06/06/09
Asafa Powell, former world record holder, believes competing in the Prefontaine Classic 100 meter race in Portland, Oregon will represent a major step in his recovery from an ankle injury. He trained without any problems, according to is agent, Paul Doyle. Powell, 26, came in seventh at a grand prix event in New York the previous week.
NO CHAMPIONS FOR JAMAICA AT PREFONTAINE CLASSIC—06/07/09
Jamaica’s Olympic champions Shelly Ann Fraser and former world record holder Asafa Powell had to settle for less than first place at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon. Fraser came in fourth in the women’s 100 meters, while Kerron Stewart took second place. Powell settled for second in the men’s 100 meters “A” race.
BARNES QUITS AS JAMAICA’S SOCCER COACH—06/08/09
John Barnes has quit his job as soccer coach of Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz. With his resignation, Barnes will become the manager of a third-tier soccer club in the United Kingdom. Barnes had been criticized when the Boyz did not qualify for the 2010 World Cup match. Barnes will join Tranmere in League One in England.
WORLD SPORTSMAN AWARD GIVEN TO BOLT—06/10/09
Usain Bolt, Jamaican Olympic triple gold medalist, was awarded the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year prize for his record-breaking performance at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. He was the first man to win a gold medal in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and 400-meter relay, clocking world-record times in each race in the same Olympiad.
“What Are They Among So Many?”
Like the rest of the multitude that day, he had followed Jesus over the sea of Galilee. They had seen His miracles on them that were diseased and were so enthralled that they must have lost track of time for it was almost time for the passover feast. Out in the middle of nowhere, the disciples were faced with the greatest of challenges – how would they feed the people? Caught up in the excitement around him, the little lad had not eaten his lunch. When he left home that morning, he had no idea that the lunch his mother had packed for him, five barley loaves and two small fishes, would be the source for one of Jesus’ miracles.
But there he was standing among the disciples and before Jesus, the only one among the multitude with anything to eat. It was not enough to satisfy a grown man, and the disciples asked the question everyone was thinking, “What are they [five barley loaves and two small fishes] among so many?” (John 6:9, KJV). John tells us that after the men had sat down as directed by Jesus, “[He] took the loaves; and when [H]e had given thanks, [H]e distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, [H]e said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten” (vv. 11-13). In the hands of the disciples the lunch was not enough. However, in Jesus’ hands it was all that He needed; it was more than enough.
Have you ever felt like doing something for God but thought that what you had to offer was too small? John’s narrative reminds us that it is not the size of the “lunch” that matters but the willingness to give to God what we have. If the boy had not given what he had, we would be reading a different story. Whether it is our time, talents, finances, or some other resource, God can use whatever we give Him to bring glory to Himself. The little you have may be all that is needed to trigger a miracle in your sphere of influence. What will you do with your “lunch”?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.