THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
CASINO GAMBLING COULD BECOME LEGAL IN JAMAICA—06/27/09
In the future, travelers to Jamaica could be able to participate in indoor, casino gambling activities. Jamaica’s Parliament is debating the legalization of gambling casinos, and two firms have already expressed an interest in bringing casinos to the island. The government’s consideration of legalized gambling reflects its desire to find ways to improve Jamaica’s economic condition.
HEALTH MINISTER RAISES H1N1 CONCERNS AT ODI—06/28/09
Jamaica’s Health Minister, Rudy Spencer, issued a warning involving the spread of the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, before the second ODI between the West Indies and India. Spencer urged people with the flu to stay away from the stadium and the hotel where the players are staying. Forty officials have been tapped to protect the players during their trip. Jamaica has had 21 confirmed cases of H1N1 to date.
U.S. THE SOURCE FOR MANY OF JAMAICA’S ILLEGAL GUNS—06/29/09
Handguns, rifles, and bullets coming from the United States are fueling Jamaica’s murder rate, one of the highest in the world. Members of the Jamaica Contraband Enforcement Team report that the volume of illegal firearm imports is less than that going from the U.S. to Mexico, but 80 percent of those discovered in Jamaica can be traced to the States as the point of origin. Jamaica’s law enforcement officers fear higher rates of guns coming onto the island as the U.S. cracks down on firearm shipments to Mexico.
JAMAICAN HIJACKER CAN STAND TRIAL—06/30/09
Stephen Fray, 21, the man who hijacked a Canadian airliner filled with tourists and kept them as hostages for several hours in Jamaica in April 2009, has been declared mentally fit to stand trial. Fray is facing more than 20 charges. His father is facing a charge of criminal negligence for allowing his gun to be stolen and used in the hijacking. While the court found Fray competent to stand trial, it also called him a “paranoid schizophrenic” who had “delusions.”
GOLDING SAYS HANGING TO RESUME—07/01/09
Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding states that hangings will again be used in the country, in keeping with a promise made by Parliament in 2008. Golding said his administration must wait for the results of the appeals process before the nine people on death row can be executed by hanging, however.
FOUR DIE IN DRIVE-BY SHOOTING AT NIGHTCLUB—07/02/09
Police in Jamaica report that a drive-by shooting has resulted in the deaths of four individuals at a nightclub outside Kingston. Gunmen in two cars shot the victims as they stood outside a bar in St. Catherine parish. No suspects have been arrested as yet. Over 650 people have been murdered in Jamaica thus far in 2009.
POOR ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IMPACT CARIBBEAN REGION—07/02/09
The Caribbean region, which depends on tourists from the United States for much of its economic well being, is being impacted to a great degree by the recession in the United States. The bad American economy threatens to damage tourism in Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean as airline ticket prices rise and flights are reduced in number. Customs revenues account for 50 percent of the government’s budget, but have dropped to about 25 percent. The number of tourists traveling to Jamaica has fallen by 20 percent.
FORMER PRIME MINISTER PRAISES BOOK ON MICHAEL MANLEY—07/03/09
P.J. Patterson, Jamaica’s former Prime Minister, has given his praise to the author Delano Franklyn for completing a book of speeches by the late Michael Manley, also a former Prime Minister of Jamaica. Patterson called the book “admirable and welcomed” and added that the book showed the results of diligent research.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
TORONTO JAMAICAN CONSULATE OFFERS OUTREACH—06/27/09
In Toronto, Canada, Jamaica’s Consulate General offered a community outreach program for Jamaicans living in Hamilton, about 60 kilometers from Toronto. Hamilton residents could submit applications for passports via the outreach program, as well as receive information on various topics, including tax registration numbers, birth and death certificates, customs duties, dual citizenship, and doing business in Jamaica.
JAMAICAN ON AID SHIP FACE ISRAELI MILITARY FORCES—06/30/09
Jamaican-born journalist Ishmahil Blagrove is allegedly among 21 human rights activists on an aid ship that was intercepted by Israeli authorities while trying to delivery medical supplies. Blagrove, who lives in the United Kingdom, is one of eight British and Irish individuals on the human rights team. Israeli warships stopped the aid boat with threats of gunfire, according to reports.
JAMAICA TO BE REPRESENTED AT SWINE FLU CONFERENCE—07/02/09
Jamaica will be represented at a global conference aimed at addressing the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flue. Aundre Franklin, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health will participate in the conference, which will be held in Cancun, Mexico, in July 2009. The conference is being organized by Mexico, the location of the first case of the flu virus.
JAMAICAN ARTIST EXHIBITS IN FLORIDA—07/03/09
Elgo, a Jamaican artist, has mounted a one-man show featuring many colorful paintings and a collection of sculptures at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The exhibit showcases various human art forms in many styles. Elgo, who is well known internationally, is a favorite of the Jamaican Tourist Board.
BOLT, POWELL RIVALS AT JAMAICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS—06/27/09
Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell, both champions, have progressed through the heats at the Jamaican Championships. Bolt, the current world record holder, ran the 100 meters in 10.14 seconds. Powell, former world record holder, ran the distance in 10.36 seconds, setting the stage for a head-to-head competition at the meet.
JAMAICAN TITLE GOES TO BOLT—06/28/09
Usain Bolt, Olympic gold medalist and world record holder, defeated Asafa Powell to achieve victory in the 100-meter race at the Jamaican Championships in Kingston. Bolt, 22, won with the fastest time in the world this year with 9.86 seconds. Powell, who continues to suffer from an ankle injury, took second place with 9.97 seconds.
WINDIES DEFEAT INDIA IN SERIES LEVELER—06/29/09
The West Indies won an eight-wicket victory against India in the second one-day cricket international held at Sabina Park. The four-match series stands at 1-1, as India and the Windies move on to St. Lucia for the final two matches.
BOLT WINS 200 METERS—06/30/09
Usain Bolt, 22, Olympic gold medalist and world record holder, was victorious in the Jamaican Championship 200-meter race. This was Bolt’s first attempt at the 200-meter distance in 2009. Bolt finished with a time of 20.25 seconds, almost one second away from his world record of 19.30 seconds achieved in Beijing in 2008.
“Keep your eyes on the goal”, is pretty good advice that most of us have heard or been given at one time or another. Keeping a goal or an objective in mind allows us to focus our actions towards its accomplishment. We know what we want to do and despite whatever distractions there may be, being focused provides the encouragement to stay the course.
I believe this was the attitude taken by the Apostle Paul when he wrote to the Philippians, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you” (3:13-15, KJV). Eugene Peterson captures the essence of this in his paraphrase, “Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward–to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision–you’ll see it yet!” (The Message).
“So let us keep focused” – what beautiful words! Everyone of us have a story; things that have happened in our past, or even earlier today, that could throw us off course. Some of us may have been blown off course by the winds of adversity, but Paul encourages us to forget “those things which are behind”. It could be that in order to do so we need to spend some time confessing our hurts to Christ and claiming His healing in the deep places of our emotions where we are still affected. If that is the case, today is a good time to do that because we need to clear those obstacles in order to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Like a world class athlete running towards the prize, we are to run the most important “race” of our lives encumbered by worry and care. In this life we will have them, but thank God we have a Savior who bids us to cast all our cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7). We can forget those things which are behind.
It helps to remember that our lives will go in the direction in which we are focused. To lack focus is to wander aimlessly. With that in mind, where is your focus? Can you say like David, “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved” (Psalm 16:8). If you’re not there yet, today is a good time to chance course. God is faithful, and He stands ready to help those who ask it of Him.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.