THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
KENYA DETAINS JAMAICAN MUSLIM CLERIC INCOMMUNICADO—01/02/10
Abdullah al-Faisal, a Jamaican Muslim cleric, has been detained by the anti-terrorism authorities in Kenya after being arrested in Mombasa on New Year’s Eve. While police have not formally stated why al-Faisal is being held, they claim he has violated his tourist visa by giving lectures and speaking to congregations in Mosques.
CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY SEEKS TO CLEAR THE AIR—01/03/10
Jamaica’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) wants to clarify reports about approach lights at the Norman Manley International Airport. Reports have claimed that these lights were malfunctioning when an American Airlines plans slid off the runway when attempting to land in December 2009.
AIRPORT IN JAMAICA MAY SUE AIRLINE FOR DAMAGES—01/04/10
The operators of the Norman Manly International Airport plan to sue American Airlines for damages if the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation into the incident involving the Flight AA331 finds the airline to be at fault. The plane slid off the runway, injuring 44 passengers and causing serious disruptions to other airport flights.
JAMAICAN AIRLINE FLIGHT DELAYED BY ISLAMIC DVD—01/05/10
A Virgin Atlantic flight from Jamaica was delayed on New Year’s Eve 2009 when a DVD with Islamic content was found on the plane. The discovery resulted in the re-screening of many passengers who were boarding a flight for the United Kingdom. The DVD reportedly made the flight crew “uncomfortable,” said John McFarlane, the Kingston airport’s security chief.
MINISTER SAYS CHURCH “FAILING” JAMAICA—01/06/10
According to Glenmore Hinds, Jamaica’s acting Deputy Commissioner of Police, too many Jamaicans and Jamaica organizations, including the church, are doing too little to help fight crime on the island. The church, Hinds said, “does not come in a fulsome way to tell all it knows about crime and criminals.”
TONS OF COCAINE FOUND IN NETHERLANDS ON SHIP FROM JAMAICA—01/07/10
Authorities in the Netherlands have confiscated over a ton of cocaine that was hidden among whiskey containers on a cargo ship from Jamaica. This seizure represents the largest every made from a Jamaican ship. The drug had a street value of over 30 million euros. The cocaine was found in Rotterdam, the largest port in Europe.
BUJU MOVES TO TAMPA—01/08/10
Buju Banton, Jamaican reggae musician, has moved to Tampa, Florida, in advance of his court appearance for drug charges. Gargamel Music Inc., Banton’s music label, reported that the star has selected David Oscar Markus, Miami defense attorney, to represent him against charges of involvement in a conspiracy to traffic over five kilograms of cocaine.
ZERBY IS FIRST WHITE FEMALE DANCEHALL REGGAE ARTIST—01/08/10
Zerby, who was born and raised in the Midwest of the United States, has defied all the odds and showed her talent as a reggae dancehall deejay. After spending nine months in the studio, Zerby has released “Ready Now” on her own label, Hotness Records. The CD will be available on January 12, 2010.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN ATTORNEY IN NY SCEPTICAL OF IMF AGREEMENT—01/02/10
Donald P. Vernon, a Jamaican attorney and head of Vernon and Associates in New York, is concerned about Jamaica’s decision to return to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Many Jamaican nationals worry that the decision will have a negative impact on the homeland. The new agreement with the IMF is worth US$1.2 billion.
JAMAICAN-AMERICAN LAWMAKER HAPPY ABOUT AIRPORT REVIEW—01/03/10
Yvette D. Clarke, Jamaican-American Democratic Congresswoman, is happy the United States President Barack Obama has ordered a review of all security measures associated with the failed Christmas Day terrorist act on Northwest Airline’s Flight 253. According to Clarke, the failed bombing has emphasized several gaps in the security and information sharing processes currently in place to find potential terrorists.
JAMAICANS IN UNITED STATES EXPECT LITTLE PROGRESS IN 2010—01/04/10
Jamaicans living in the United States do not expect to see major changes in the New Year and note the potential agreement between Jamaica and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as an illustration of their concern. They also cite previous failure to control the rising murder rate and little sustained effort toward sustainable growth on the island.
JAMAICAN-BORN SCIENTISTS MAKES PROGRESS IN NERVE STUDY—01/05/10
Dr. Patrice Smith, a Jamaican-born scientist who lives in Canada, has found a new method for repairing damaged nerves. Dr. Smith, a native of Darliston, Westmoreland, and her colleagues at Harvard University have found a way to repair nerves that involves letting the adult brain respond to signals induced after the injury.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY
CUBA MARKS 51 YEARS SINCE REVOLUTION—01/02/10
Cuba will celebrate the 51st anniversary of the revolution in 2010. The revolution created the only socialist country in the Americas and transformed Cuba from an outpost of casinos operated by American gangsters. Cuba has made some impressive progress in terms of education and health care, but its citizens have grown impatient with the government’s massive bureaucracy and poor economy.
PRESIDENT OF HAITI ASSURES FAIRNESS IN ELECTION—01/03/10
Rene Preval, president of Haiti, has promised that the upcoming elections will be conducted fairly. His speech on Independence Day did not mention the disqualification of 15 political organizations, however. This action has prompted criticism from the international community and threats from the opposition to disrupt the elections on February 28, 2010.
ACCUSATIONS FROM VENEZUELA REJECTED BY NETHERLANDS—01/04/10
Accusations made by the Venezuelan government against the Netherlands have been rejected by the Dutch foreign minister. Venezuela has accused the Netherlands of allowing planes from the United States to use its Caribbean islands for spying and potential attacks. Maxime Verhagen, Dutch foreign minister, has called these claims “baseless.”
CARIBBEAN-AMERICANS WANT TO REJUVENTATE BOB MARLEY BLVD.—01/05/10
A group of Caribbean-Americans in New York wants to make Bob Marley Boulevard in Brooklyn into a vital economic area. The West Indian American Progressive Action Council will post a number of Caribbean flags along the street from East 98th to Flatbush Avenue and host a series of community events and projects in partnership with residents and merchants during Caribbean Week in June 2010.
JAMAICA TO MONITOR DEPORTED MUSLIM CLERIC—01/06/10
Sheik Abdullah el-Faisal, a Jamaican-born Muslim cleric who once spent time in jail in the United Kingdom for advocating the killing of Americans, Hindus, and Jews, represents a security problem for Jamaica when he is deported from Kenya. Glenmore Hinds, assistant police chief in Jamaica, said the sheik has not committed any crimes on the island, but he will be monitored because of history of urging violence. While there is no radical Muslim community in Jamaica, the cleric is known to have preached radicalization in other nations, so he will be a concern to the government, Said Hinds.
PILOT WHALE FROM CURACAO LANDS IN CALIFORNIA—01/07/10
A pilot whale that had been stranded in Curacao and was nursed back to health there is now at home at SeaWorld in San Diego. The Southern Caribbean Cetacean Network reported that the whale had been flown to California in a cargo plane. Biologists decided that it would not survive if released in the wild because it would not rejoin the whale pods in the ocean. The whale will live with two other pilot whales at SeaWorld.
BOLT LEADS 400-RELAY TEAM TO A WIN—01/02/10
Usain Bolt and his teammates ran the 400-relay in the fourth-fastest time in history at the London Grand Prix. Bolt, triple Olympic gold medalist, said it was a good race and a good effort by the team. Bolt anchored the team, which included Jamaicans Yohan Blake and Mario Forsythe and Daniel Bailey from Antigua. The team represented Kingston’s Racers Track Club.
BROWN SAYS TENNIS GETS NO SUPPORT IN JAMAICA—01/03/10
Jamaica’s top tennis player, Dustin Brown, has criticized the system on the island that does not give enough support tennis. Jamaicans have earned 38 Commonwealth gold medals and12 World Championships golds, but not many of its 2.6 million citizens know much about the sport. Brown, ranked 140th in the world, is playing at the Aircel Chennai Open tournament.
BOLT UNLIKELY TO RACE JOHNSON—01/04/10
Usain Bolt, Jamaica’s triple Olympic champion, and Chris Johnson, sixth player in the NFL to rush over 2,000 yards, are not likely to face off in a head-to-head race. A race over a distance of less than 100 meters, where Bolt holds a world record, is unlikely to happen, said Johnson. Bolt will only consider the 100 meters and not the 50, Johnson reported.
JAMAICAN SURFERS HAPPY ON NEW YEAR’S DAY—01/05/10
Surfers in Jamaica received a nice gift from the ocean on New Year’s Day, have a “great swell,” according to participating surfers. There were perfect glassy conditions and great waves all day, and surfers hope that this was a harbinger of things to come for the rest of the year.
In the Hands of the Potter
One of the things I used to do as a kid was to help my mother when she was baking (yes, I do know how to cook!). I liked playing with the dough and sometimes made all kinds of characters and shapes with it. When one was not to my liking, I simply crushed it up and did it all over again. In primary school, we did the same thing with clay. We would try to mould an object and if it was not pleasing to the eye, we would not throw it away but we simply rolled it up and started over. Once, twice, and so on, until we got it just right. I could do whatever I wanted with the dough and the clay and I only had to think about what pleased me. Those thoughts came to mind as I reflected on Jeremiah 18:4-6, ““And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hands, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel” (KJV).
In the events leading up to our reference text, we see a people that had gone contrary to the will of God. Of them the Lord said “…. they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction” (17:23). It would be safe to say that they walked in their own ways, totally forsaking the instructions and commandments of their God. Yet, despite their rebellion and spiritual adultery, like the potter, God did not throw them away but rather sought to remould them in a manner that pleased Him. We could ask the question “After experiencing all that the Lord had done for them, His many blessings and benefits, how could they not become the people that He intended?” As I pondered that question, I could not help but think that a significant number of us who call ourselves children of God are guilty of the same thing. As the Spirit of God seeks to direct our lives, sometimes moving us away from the things we think we need, and our respective comfort zones, we too often seek alternative paths. It is not unusual to often times walk in our own ways while keeping one eye open expecting God’s approval. Be it our choice of profession, mate, or goals in life, in the words of Frank Sinatra, we want to do it “My Way”. We want to be in control.
It is very difficult to not be in control. Like the clay in the hands of the potter, we have no say in the final outcome; we have no control over how often we are moulded or how often we are crushed. Isaiah reminds us “Woe unto the man that striveth with his Maker! …… Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makes thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?” ……But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” (45:9, 64:8). What we do know however is that however He chooses to mould our lives – through sadness, disappointments, heartaches, or pleasures – when He is through, it will be a job well done and one He will approve of. Come to think of it, all that is important is His approval. Nothing else really matters.
Are you willing to submit to His moulding and remoulding you after His will?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.