THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
TWO WORKERS KILLED, SIX INJURED OUTSIDE CHURCH—02/27/10
Jamaican police have reported the killing of two people by gunmen outside of a Baptist church in Spanish Town near Kingston. Six others were injured in the drive-by shooting that appeared to target construction workers renovating the church. According to Corporal Beverlyn Howell, a van with armed men drove up to the church, and the men started firing. No arrests have yet been made in the incident.
AIR JAMAICA GROUP AGAINST WAIVER—02/27/10
The Air Jamaica Staff Acquisition Group (AJSAG) has found that the government filed a request with authorities in the United States to obtain a waiver under the Open Skies Agreement between the two countries. The request for the waiver is related to the government’s attempt to privatize Air Jamaica to Caribbean Airlines. The waiver stipulates that airlines designated by either nation under the Agreement must be substantially owned and operated by nationals of the requesting party. AJSAG has issued a strong objection to the waiver and to the government’s attempt to make Caribbean Airlines the exclusive national carrier of Jamaica.
JAMAICA SIGNS LOAN AGREEMENT WORTH US$45 MILLION—02/28/10
The government of Jamaica has signed a US$45 million loan agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) at the bank’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Audley Shaw, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and Public Service, signed on behalf of the government, while Luis Alberto Moreno signed for the bank. The loan is meant for educational improvements in Jamaica.
GRANGE SAYS JAMAICAN “LOSING ITS GRIP” ON REGGAE—03/01/10
Jamaica’s Culture Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange says that Jamaica must take steps to reclaim reggae, which is increasingly owned, created, and distributed by non-Jamaicans. Grange says actions must be taken or the island will “lose its grip” on the music that it created. She called for creative initiatives designed to improve an infrastructure that would support Jamaican music.
HAITI OFFERED JAMAICA’S BUILDING CODE—03/02/10
Engineers and planning professionals from Jamaica have offered the use of the island’s building codes and processes to the government of Haiti as part of that nation’s rebuilding projects. The Jamaican Institution of Engineers has made the Building Code available, while the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation offered their development application and approval procedures. Patrick Delatour, Haiti’s Minister of Tourism, received the offers when he called on Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding at the end of February 2010.
JAMAICA’S RELIABILITY IN DRUG BATTLE QUESTIONED BY U.S.—03/03/10
The United States has raised questions about Jamaica’s reliability as an ally in the battle against drug trafficking, citing the island’s reluctance to extradite Christopher “Dudus” Coke, an alleged drug lord. The United States Justice Department has called Coke one of the world’s most dangerous drug kingpins, and the U.S. State Department has suggested that corruption in Jamaica could be holding up the extradition process.
CONSULATE IN FLORIDA HOLDS COMMUNITY OUTREACH DAY—03/04/10
Jamaican nationals in Lauderhill and its neighboring areas are expected to reap the benefits of a Community Outreach Day to be held at the City Commission . Services will address Jamaican passport processing and citizenship applications. Resources will be available to direct individuals to other client services.
GOLDING REPORTS ON “DUDUS” EXTRADITION—03/05/10
Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding has reported to Parliament regarding the United States request for the extradition of Christopher “Dudus” Coke, alleged drug lord of Tivoli Gardens. The report recognizes the cooperation between Jamaican and U.S. law enforcement, but offers negative notes on the effectiveness of Jamaica’s efforts to fight organized crime, drug trafficking, and corruption, along with the delays in passing laws to enhance those efforts.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
CALGARY POLICE START NEW CULTURAL DIVERSITY PROGRAM—02/27/10
The police in Calgary in Canada have implemented a new program designed to reflect the area’s cultural diversity more accurately. Teams have been created to help new police officers in the various communities in Calgary and to convince people in these communities to consider pursuing careers in police work. According to S/Sgt. Craig Skelton, a Calgary Jamaican Community volunteer, this is the first time a program like this has been designed to provide a long-term solution to the area’s problems.
JAMAICANS TO BECOME MORE ASSERTIVE IN RELATIONSHIP WITH BRITAIN—02/28/10
The Jamaican community in the United Kingdom, along with other Caribbean nationals living there, must become more assertive and more involved in nurturing the special relationships evident between Britain and Caribbean nations. This topic was addressed at the first Caribbean Question Time event in London, which was moderated by Bishop Dr. Joe Aldred and included Joy Nichol, a business woman, and Jamaican-born Reverend Rose Hudson Wilkins.
HUNGER STRIKE CONDUCTED BY JAMAICAN WOMEN IN UK PRISONS—03/01/10
Thirty-eight Jamaican women have undertaken a hunger strike in detention centers and prisons in the United Kingdom to protest their deportation to Jamaica. The women are all seeking asylum, and some have lived in the UK for as many as ten years. They fled their home island due to fear for the lives, being either threatened witnesses in murder cases or having had relatives killed in violent crimes in Jamaica.UK authorities say some of the women are convicted drug offenders, while others have overstayed their visa periods.
REGGAE STAR RESCUES FANS IN ZIMBABWE—03/02/10
Sizzla Kalonji, a Jamaican reggae musician, came to the rescue of fans in Zimbabwe who were being beaten by riot police, soldiers, and young people from the Border Gezi Youth Training Camps. Sizzla was performing at the 21st February Movement gala and appeared on stage under heavy security. Excited fans broke a barricade formed by police as Sizzla performed.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY
CUBA WILL NOT ATTEND CARIBBEAN GAMES—02/27/10
Cuba has decided not to participate in the Central American and Caribbean Games to be held in Puerto Rico because of its objections to visa restrictions and other rules. According to the Cuban Olympic Committee, it was forced to make this decision because of the “failure to meet demands” presented by the event’s organizers, which included extending visas to all the officials Cuba wanted to bring, providing adequate security, and not imposing extra screening on Cuba delegates.
DENGUE FEVER HITS PUERTO RICO—02/28/10
Puerto Rican health officials have declared an epidemic of dengue fever as 210 cases have been confirmed for January 2010. This was over three times the number of cases reported in January 2007. Dengue is a tropical virus that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against the disease, which typically causes fever, headaches, joint and muscle pain. Victims usually recover after a week.
LEADERS AGREE TO CREATE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY—03/01/10
One of the agreements reached by the 25 heads of state attending the Second Plenary Session of the Summit on Latin American and Caribbean Unity is designed to create the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States as a regional group that includes all the nations in the region. Mexico’s president Felipe Calderon said the agreement shows the world that these countries have decided to unit and find ways to understand each other.
NURSE SHORTAGE DAMAGES GROWTH IN CARIBBEAN—03/02/10
The continuing shortage of nurses in the English-speaking nations of the Caribbean limits the quality of health care and could even hamper the region’s development, according to the World Bank. The region is losing nurses to the United States, Canada, and Britain because of higher pay in those countries. The World Bank estimates that 7,800 nurses work in English-speaking Caribbean countries, which is about one-tenth the concentration of nurses in other advanced economies.
RAINY SEASON WILL CAUSE PROBLEMS IN HAITI—03/03/10
Haiti’s recovery from the devastating earthquake of January 2010 could be endangered by the beginning of the rainy season. Heavy rains have already created problems like flooding and mudslides on the island. Thirteen people in Les Cayes were killed recently from rain-related incidents.
POWER OUTAGE STOPS WORK AT REFINERY IN CURACAO—03/04/10
Hundreds of employees at an oil refinery in Curacao held demonstrations because of another work stoppage due to a power outage. The latest blackout at the Venezuelan-operated plant occurred at the Isla oil refinery, which had five temporary shut-downs in 2009 because of power outages. The blackouts mean that union workers will not receive productivity bonuses, and this was the main cause of the demonstrations at the plant.
CAMPBELL-BROWN WINS AT ARMORY—02/27/10
Veronica Campbell-Brown, Jamaican Olympic champion, won the women’s 60 meter race at the NYU Fasttrack Invitations with a time of 7.14 seconds. This was the third-fastest time in the world for 2010 and a season’s best time, but Campbell was disappointed with the result. She had hoped to run faster than 7.1 seconds. “I strive for excellence,” she said.
BOLT’S RELAY TEAM LOSES 4 X 400—02/28/10
Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man and the anchor of the men’s 4 x 400 meter relay team at the Gibson Relays, led the team to a fourth place finish with a time of 43.58 seconds. The team finished about 20 meters behind the winners. Bolt said he and the team just attended the meet for fun, and their run was not about proving anything.
JAMAICAN TO ENTER FIRST IDITAROD RACE—03/01/10
Newton Marshall, Jamaica’s rookie Iditarod musher, plans to make his own history when he runs in the famous Alaskan dogsled race. His love of dogs led him to take up the sport and he has been looking forward to running the Iditarod for some time.
CAMPBELL-BROWN A LEADING CONTENDER FOR MEDAL IN DOHA—03/02/10
Jamaica’s Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown will lead the Jamaican team at the World Indoor Championships in Doha. This will be her first appearance at these championships and will run the 60 meters. Campbell-Brown is fourth in the world rankings and has a season’s best time of 7.14. The Jamaican team will also include Nesta Carter and Novlene Williams Mills.
For the Glory of God
Lazarus of Bethany was sick, and his sisters Mary and Martha had sent an interesting message to Jesus to let Him know. According to Luke’s gospel the message was simply, “Lord, behold he whom thou lovest is sick” (11:3, KJV), and without even being told a name, Jesus not only knew exactly who it was, but He also knew the exact nature of the illness. There are many profound truths in the realization of that truth, but for our purposes we note Jesus’ immediate response – “When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” (v.4).
In a time when Christians are tempted to think that their walk with Christ should be characterized by material blessings and a life free of illnesses and difficulties, Jesus’ statement is a sobering reminder of our place in the unfolding of the plan of God. While we see and judge things from our human perspective, God sees and judges them from His divine perspective. Through the prophet Isaiah He declared, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (55:8), or as The Message paraphrases it, “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” Neither the sisters, nor Lazarus, knew of the workings of God in their circumstances, but through the sickness, God would be glorified.
This is great encouragement for the believer. Because the steps of those who are in right standing with the Lord are ordered by Him (Psalm 37:23), the events in our lives are not by chance or coincidence but are opportunities for God to demonstrate His glory through us. Paul got a hold of this truth when in writing about God’s denial of His request to remove his thorn in the flesh, he told the brethren, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
Instead of complaining when things do not seem to be going right from our vintage point, let us keep in mind that God is at work in our lives. The events of Job’s life seemed all out of control, yet God was in control. So it was with him, so it is with us. As Sovereign God, He can orchestrate events that are designed for no other purpose than to bring Him glory, and for Him to demonstrate that glory in our sphere of influence. “Lord, as difficult as this situation seems, let your will be done in my life, and may you be glorified through it. For in my moments of weakness your grace makes me strong. I yield me and my life, all for your glory.” Isn’t that a good way to pray?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.