THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
OPPOSITION PARTY RESPONDS TO NEW TAXES—12/19/09
The People’s National Party (PNP) is deciding how to respond to the new tax regime announced by the government. Party president Portia Simpson Miller has not ruled out a national demonstration led by the PNP.
NURSES, OTHER PROFESSIONALS LEAVING JAMAICA—12/20/09
Nearly 300,000 university-educated Jamaicans left the island between 1999 and 2009, while 89,000 stayed. Young professionals in both private and public sectors say that if the government does not change its ways and rescind its new tax package, even greater migration with occur.
GOLDING PRESSURED TO REASSESS TAX PACKAGE—12/21/09
Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding and his government face major criticism and opposition from the public and the People’s National Party (PNP) concerning his announced tax package. While Golding has maintained that his choices are very limited, he may eliminate some of the measures due to pressure from the opposition.
GOVERNMENT MAY BAN CORPORAL PUNISHMENT IN SCHOOLS—12/21/09
The Jamaican Minister of Education, Andrew Holness, has stated that the government m ay investigate the possibility of passing legislation that would ban corporal punishment in the schools. Such punishment is already illegal in 109 nations.
BUJU BANTON SEES HIS SUPPORT FADING—12/22/09
Support for musician Buju Banton may be slipping in South Florida. Banton and two others were arrested in Tampa in December for allegedly purchasing 11 pounds of cocaine from a drug agent. He was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, but he denied the charges. Support for Banton as indicated by radio audiences appears to have dropped significantly since his arrest.
GOVERNMENT IN JAMAICA TO DIVEST SEVERAL FIRMS—12/23/09
Jamaica’s government plans to divest several companies in which it has ownership. According to Bruce Golding, Jamaica’s Prime Minister, the firms to be divested include Central Waste Water Treatment Plant, Air Jamaica, Montego Bay Convention Center, Sugar Company of Jamaica, Sabina Park, Trelawney Stadium, and Jamaica Public Service Company.
PASSENGERS HURT AS PLANE MOVES PAST RUNWAY BOUNDARY—12/24/09
Over 90 passengers were transported to a hospital after an incident in which an American Airlines plane overran its runway at the Kingston airport during bad weather. The plane ultimately crashed into a fence. Flight 331 was coming from Miami, Florida. None of the injuries was life-threatening.
US AIR HAS FLIGHTS TO MONTEGO BAY—12/25/09
Jamaica’s tourist sector continues to show signs of strength as evidenced by the inaugural flight of US Airways between Phoenix, Arizona, and Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. This flight was the first of a daily non-stop winter service between the two locations. About 92,000 passengers are expected to reach Jamaica via this flight.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
BUJU IN BIGGEST FLIGHT OF HIS LIFE—12/19/09
Buju Banton, Jamaican musician, could face a serious battle in attempting to prove his innocence of a drug charge imposed by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Banton waived a bail hearing in Miami, Florida, and has decided to go to court in Tampa instead. The case was filed in Tampa.
ART PROFESSOR WORKS FEATURED IN NEW YORK TIMES—12/21/09
The works of Ebony g. Patterson, assistant professor of painting at the University of Kentucky’s art department, has been featured in the art review of the New York Times. The Jamaican’s mixed-media pieces were reviewed by Benjamin Genocchio.
HUTCHINSON DOES IT AGAIN—12/22/09
Joan Andrea Hutchinson continues to document and preserve Jamaican culture with a new book and CD entitled “Kin Teet Kibba Heart Bun.” The book and CD focus on the resourcefulness and creativity of relatively poor Jamaicans who have found ways to raise their families on limited budgets.
WIDOW OBTAINS RESIDENCY—12/23/09
Osserritta Robinson, a Jamaican woman whose American spouse died in 2003, has been granted permanent residency in the United States. She fought a ruling that required individuals to be deported if their spouses died within two years of the marriage before applications for permanent residency had received approval. Since the government approved her application now, she has dropped her appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY
VENEZUELA BELIEVES U.S. A THREAT TO DUTCH ISLANDS—12/19/09
President Cesar Chavez of Venezuela has accused the Netherlands of negative intent in granting permission to United States troops to access Dutch islands near his country’s Caribbean coastline. Chavez had no evidence to support his claim that the islands were being utilized for a military attack on Venezuela. The Dutch government had no comment on the issue.
OAS SUGGESTS WAYS TO IMPROVE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS—12/20/09
Independent election observers from the Organization of American States (OAS) praised the Dominican election process, but also made several suggestions for improving it. These included the use of registration cards for voters. OAS representatives visited all polling sites in Dominica and had “extremely positive” impressions of its electoral processes.
CASTRO CALLS CLIMATE AGREEMENT UNDEMOCRATIC—12/21/09
Fidel Castro of Cuba has characterized an agreement created at the United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, as “undemocratic.” He has called on United States president Barack Obama’s speech at the conference “misleading” as well. Castro’s main criticism is that the agreement encourages rather than requires major polluters to make steep cuts in emissions.
AIR TRAN TO MAKE NEW CARIBBEAN FLIGHTS—12/22/09
Air Tran Airways, the lost-cost carrier, has scheduled several new flights to the Caribbean including service from Orlando, Florida, and Atlanta, Georgia, to Aruba. The carrier will also provide service to Nassau, Bahamas, from Atlanta, Baltimore, and Orlando.
THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN IN HAITI WORK AS SLAVES, SAYS REPORT—12/23/09
According to a report from the Pan American Development Foundation, 225,000 children in the cities of Haiti are forced to work as unpaid servants due to poverty. The report also stated that some children, chiefly girls, experience sexual, psychological, and physical abuse while working under serious hardships in slave conditions.
TIGER WOODS SAILING WITH FRIENDS IN CARIBBEAN—12/24/09
Tiger Woods has left the controversy in the United States behind. Woods is traveling to the Caribbean for the holidays, and his 155-foot yacht left North Palm Beach heading toward the Bahamas with friends.
GRANGE MOURNS SYD BARTLETT—12/20/09
Olivia Grange, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, reported deep sadness at hearing of the death of Sydney Bartlett, one of Jamaica’s major football stars. Grange said Bartlett should be
JAMAICAN TABLE TENNIS ATHLETES ADVANCE—12/21/09
Mona University of the West Indies was the site of a successful ITTF Level Two course between December 14 and December 19, 2009. The expert was Georg Siberschmidt of Switzerland. Grace Jackson, Olympic silver medalist, expressed delight at the results coaches had obtained.
JAMAICAN SKIER MOVES ON TO OLYMPICS—12/22/09
Errol Kerr, member of Jamaica’s Winter Olympic team, has qualified to ski in 2010. Kerr is the latest of Jamaica’s world-class athletes to gain global attention and hopes to make his mark in the new Olympic sport of skicross. Kerr’s father is Jamaican, and he grew up in Lake Tahoe, California, and Westmoreland, Jamaica, with dual citizenship.
JAMAICA SUPPORTS WICB EXPERIMENT—12/23/09
The Jamaican board favors the innovations expected in this season’s four-day first-class tournament, including the use of day-night games. Concerns were expressed about the quality of the pink balls that would be used in these games. The WICB is imposing the changes in order to revive interest in the first-class game of cricket among sponsors and spectators.
Joy to the World
The night was probably quiet as the sheep rested in the field, the shepherds keeping vigilant watch over them and perhaps trading stories they had repeated many times before. Just another night in the life of a shepherd, or so they thought. Unknown to them, this was no ordinary night for while they engaged in the ordinary the extra-ordinary was taking place.
Luke tells us that as the shepherds kept their watch,”Lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (2:9-14, KJV).
It was a celebration like none other. A multitude of heavenly host, a chorus of voices giving glory to God and announcing His peace and good will toward men. As the angels returned to heaven (v.15) we can only imagine the rejoicing as millions of their counterparts joined in the celebration, no doubt watching in awe as the related events unfolded on earth. The world didn’t know it then but in the birth of the little boy, joy had come into the world; a joy that was not known before and one that has not been known since. Through Him the light had come and the glory of the LORD had risen upon us (Isaiah 60:1). God had introduced Himself to the world in the person of His Son Jesus. It’s been over thousand years since and we are still celebrating God’s most precious gift to the world. It is true that for far too many the reason for the season is buried under the avalanche of commerce, but for those of us who have accepted Jesus as Lord, we are forever grateful that God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son. As we open our gifts this Christmas, let us remember the most treasured of gifts – JESUS. He is the reason for the season.
From my house to yours, a very Merry Christmas.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.