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JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending November 3rd, 2006

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A group of inmates at Fort Augusta Prison in St. Catherine are exhibiting cult-like behavior and are believed to be practicing cult activities. Evidence includes self-inflicted wounds and the use of blood to paint their bodies. A former prison doctor has been speaking with the inmates’ relatives and reports the group recently tried to kill an inmate because they wanted to use him as a sacrifice. According to the head of the Department of Correctional Services, cult behavior is not known about at the prison, but did say that a group of wards from the Armandale Juvenile Center is suffering from serious behavioral disorders but were getting treatment. The youths were transferred to the adult prison due to overcrowding at the juvenile center.

Former World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Trevor Berbick was found murdered near his doorstep in Norwich yesterday morning. Berbick’s body was discovered at about 5 a.m. lying face down in a pool of blood. A church deacon who had gone to open the doors of the Norwich Baptist Chapel near the boxer’s home found the body. A senior detective reported that the boxer was last seen alive about 2 a.m. Saturday at the local pub in the district, where he spent the better part of Friday night partying with friends. He reportedly left one of the local night spots and was headed for home. The body had four wounds to the back of the head. Police theorize that a machete was used. Robbery has been ruled out as the motive. Berbick rose to prominence in the early 1980s after defeating Pinklon Thomas for the WBC title. He was the last boxer to have defeated Muhammad Ali.

Yesterday’s death of an 18-year-old woman is being blamed on the popular “Dutty Wine” dance. The St. Catherine woman was attending a “school uniform” party at Beacon Hill, Thompson Pen, about 4 a.m. Sunday morning when, while doing the dance, she collapsed and was rushed to the nearby Spanish Town hospital where she was pronounced dead. Officials have warned the public for some time about the dangers of the dance, but have not been heeded. Doctors have warned that the dance is dangerous, possibly causing serious neck injuries and lifelong pain. Performed mostly by women, the dance involves a rapid rotation of the neck and posterior simultaneously. Local residents expressed shock over the teen’s death and considered it a warning to young people that they must stop performing the dance.

Portland police have taken into custody two men believed to be directly connected to the murder of former World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Trevor Berbick. According to police, the men were picked up during the night and are being interrogated. While details are not being made public, police believe they have made a major breakthrough. The murder appears to be a reprisal killing as Berbick may have had some clashes with people in the Norwich community who may have decided to take revenge. Area residents lauded the police for their quick response to the killing and were jubilant after learning of the capture of the two men. The killing has sparked national and international interest as overseas media have taken note of the developments of the case.

Police found a 19-month-old girl alive after she was reported stolen last week from the family home in Pyke district, Manchester. The girl’s 20-year-old mother was overjoyed to be reunited with her only child. She reported that on October 24 the child was left at home in the care of a 15-year-old girl who was staying at the family’s home for a short time. The mother returned after a short time and found the girl and the baby missing. Andrea Morgan, the baby’s mother, received a call on Sunday saying that her child had been found at Eltham Park, St. Catherine. The family plans to have the baby thoroughly checked by doctors to make sure she is completely healthy.

The heavily armed Jamaica Defense Force was dispatched to the terrain of Rockfort, in east Kingston yesterday, where gunmen had sections of the community under siege since Monday night. According to police the gunmen had set several houses on fire on Monday evening. A fire unit was escorted into the area to put out the blaze and was fired upon after attempting to leave. The sporadic shootings continued into yesterday morning and forced residents to stay indoors until the police and military personnel swooped into the area. Reports are that the violence has claimed the lives of at least 11 people since September 23. Several men have been picked up by the police during their operation.

Air Jamaica’s top executives will have to begin again to devise a more credible business plan for the airline, which has been faced with increasing debt. The Air Jamaica board met with a Cabinet subcommittee chaired by Finance and Planning Minister Dr. Omar Davies earlier this week, attempting to sell its latest business plan aimed at keeping the airline afloat. In the end the subcommittee instructed the team to modify its recommendations and return with an effective plan. The government does not plan to close the airline, which transports nearly 50 percent of Jamaica’s passengers and about one third of all tourists to the island. In 2005 Air Jamaica accumulated losses of US $136 million, prompting the International Monetary Fund to suggest radical decisions regarding closure. Air Jamaica is expected to provide options with respect to a change in the airline’s fleet and to examine its current lease and sublease arrangements for more competitive rates.

Four local government election candidates of the governing People’s National Party have resigned. The candidates are in South East St. Elizabeth. The four resigned following news that the party’s Member of Parliament and chairman for the constituency, Lenworth Blake, is to be replaced by former Jamaica Labour Party Senator, Norman Horne. Blake has been called to a meeting to be told of his replacement, but says he will not be attending. He says that since the presidential race, others have been trying to undermine him and remove him. The resignations are said to be in protest of the action against Blake.

A service of Thanksgiving and an exhibition on the life of Jamaica’s National Heroes took place at the Hillside Presbyterian Church in Decatur, Georgia yesterday evening. The service and exhibition, organized by the Atlanta Jamaican Association’s Cultural Committee, is under the patronage of the Honorary Consul of Jamaica in Atlanta, Dr. Vin Martin. Special tribute was paid to the National Heroes by Dr. Chris Parker, Vice President of the Integrity Children’s Fund. The event was the first of its kind to be held in Atlanta. The event was an opportunity for Jamaicans living in America to pause and reflect on the part played by the National Heroes in Jamaica’s history.

Jamaican businessman Michael Lee-Chin is the 2006 Distinguished Awardee of the Chicago Concerned Jamaicans, Inc. in recognition of his outstanding philanthropic work. The award will be presented November 4 at the organization’s 19th annual dinner and gala. Lee-Chin is expected to meet with leaders of Chicago’s business community at a networking event slated for Saturday. Lee-Chin is ranked among the 500 wealthiest people in the world and is chairman of National Commercial Bank and owner of the Canadian-based AIC Limited, one of the largest mutual fund companies in Canada. Lee-Chin is also known for giving generously to numerous philanthropic causes in Canada as well as in Jamaica. He recently lent his support to the creation of the Jamaican Educational Initiative to help raise funds to ensure that all Jamaican children have access to tertiary education.

Minister of Education and Youth Maxine Henry Wilson has urged Jamaican students attending universities in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia to promote the positive values of their homeland. The Minister was addressing more than 200 students from 19 universities and colleges at a student reception hosted by the Jamaican embassy at the Organization of American States Museum of the Americas. She appealed to the students to consider returning to Jamaica when they graduate, in order to contribute to the country’s further development. Numerous officials and educators attended, as did students from a myriad of universities, including Howard, American, George Mason and Georgetown.

Injuries halted Jamaica’s progress at the World Cup of Tae Kwon Do in Benidorm, Spain but not before the five-man senior team pulled off a stunning upset over Poland, ending the Europeans’ eight-year dominance in team fighting. Jamaica rewrote history by stopping the unbeaten Poles 3-0 at the tournament attended by 38 countries. The event is the largest Tae Kwon Do Federation World cup staged in recent times, with more than 800 athletes attending. Jamaica’s team first went up against Japan and bested them 3-0. All three Jamaicans received serious injuries in their respective bouts, with injuries sustained in the Polish match-up forcing the squad to withdraw from further competition.

Eltham High won their first schoolboy football title, beating Jamaica College 1-0 to capture the JN/Pepsi/ISSA Walker Cup at Stadium East playing field yesterday. Dwayne Hunter brought in a goal in the 45th minute, enabling the Spanish Town-based school to create history in their second season of competitive football. Eltham, formed only five years ago, have also won the Grace Shield senior and junior cricket competitions and added the cup to their list of achievements. Jamaica College, the team with the most wins in Manning Cup history with 19 titles, remained winless in the knockout tournament and in the football doldrums for the last 32 years. Jamaica College gave everything they had but couldn’t change the tide.

Arnett Gardens added to their resurgence in the 2006-07 Wray & Nephew Premier League football competition on Sunday night when goals by Kevin Wilson and Leon Strickland gave them a 2-0 win over Seba United in a game at Jarrett Park. With the win, Arnett moved into the top three with 13 points. Seba, having a rollercoaster season, remain in the middle of the pack with nine points. Arnett’s coach was happy with the win but even happier with the unity shown by the team on the field. He complimented the team on their communication and teamwork, while Seba’s coach expressed dismay with the absence of any real strength in the offensive side of the team. The game saw a lackluster first half that was competitive even so. The second half saw scores in the 50th and 76th minutes.

Former champions Excelsior had to fight hard against Jonathan Grant yesterday in the second round of the ISSA/Pepsi/JN Manning Cup at National Stadium. The team held off a late surge by Jonathan Grant to capture the 2-1 win. Akeem Nelson put the team in the lead in the 43rd minute and Jermaine killed the game off when he broke free of his defender and took one in in the 81st minute. Jonathan Grant scored a goal in the 88th minute but it wasn’t enough to secure victory. In the second game of a doubleheader, Bridgeport put up a fierce battle against Camperdown and took a share of the points with a 3-3 draw.

Defending champions Calabar and last year’s defeated finalist Norman Manley are both in good position to advance from the ISSA/Pepsi/JN Manning Cup Group Two, following 2-0 wins over Wolmer’s and Waterford respectively at the Stadium East field yesterday. The titleholders surged ahead in the first half with help from Cleyon Brown, who had been previously absent from the team due to injury. The game found him sneaking his way past defenders to toe past Wolmer’s. Ten minutes later found Calabar scored through penalty. Two first half goals by Romario Campbell and Rushane Berry were good enough for Norman Manley as they got by Waterford. Calabar and Norman Manley now move to the top of the group with three points.

Starting the Right Way!

“In the beginning God…” (Genesis 1:1a, KJV)

I just love the first four words of the book of Genesis! We could borrow those words and greatly improve our day-to-day lives by trusting God at the beginning of all we do. A lot of people, Christians included, call on God after they have made a mess of things; after all our efforts to be independent of Him have created nothing but
bigger problems. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way.

How about if we start everything with God? Before we make decisions regarding our important daily activities, a life partner, a career change, to name a few, what if we sought His guidance and direction? My thinking is that because He sees from the beginning to the end of our lives, and our circumstances, He knows what is best for us. We can trust His leading even if we do not always understand His ways.

May I challenge you to start whatever it is that you do with God. It will make the world of a difference in the final outcome.


The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.

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