THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
MALARIA OUTBREAK: RESIDENTS URGED TO SELF-IMPOSE QUARANTINE—12/09.06
The government’s Ministry of Health wants residents in areas impacted by the malaria outbreak to implement a self-imposed quarantine. The Health Ministry has also prohibited all public gatherings in Denham Town, Tivoli Gardens, Trench Town, and Delacree Park in its effort to lower current disease transmission rates. Currently there is an average of seven new cases of malaria reported every day. People living in affected areas are being advised to limit their travel and attendance at gatherings in non-affected areas as well. Travelers to Jamaica do not need to use anti-malaria drugs, however, since the disease is confined to Kingston 12, 13, and 14.
1,400 TECHNOLOGY JOBS IN ST. JAMES THREATENED BY LOTTERY SCAM—12/10/06
The local information communication technology (ICT) industry could be irreparably damaged as a result of a deadly, money-making lottery scam. ICT workers are suspected of providing personal information about American clients to local scam artists. Lynda Langford, country operations manager with Affiliated Computer Services, says her company may leave Jamaica, taking its 1,400 jobs with it, because it cannot operate under the current conditions. In 2006, there was a record total of 168 killings in the area. Six of these were connected to the lottery scam, which has robbed U.S. citizens of millions of dollars. Sources say the money obtained from the scam is used to buy illegal guns.
TOURIST HARASSMENT OCCURS AGAIN IN OCHO RIOS—12/10/06
Visitors to Ocho Rios are forced to return to their ship or stay inside their hotels to avoid being harassed. The business community is very upset, and many business people want to bring back the resort patrol to help police crack down on offenders. According to Jim Lakhwani, a businessman, it can be challenging to police a resort town, and if there are not enough officers, there is no way to keep up with the problems that occur in the streets. The resort patrol was eliminated almost seven years ago because the government said there were inadequate resources to support it. Police have complained that it is difficult to monitor the tourist areas while simultaneously handling their everyday police work.
BODLES ESTATE EVICTS SQUATTERS—12/11/06
Nadine Brown and her four sons are living in a shack she built after the house they had been living in was torn down by the Bodles Estate in St. Catherine. The estate had issued an eviction notice to squatters living on the land, and these individuals were advised to relocate, but 19 people remained after the houses were destroyed. They are now living in one room and taking turns sleeping. The squatters are concerned about the health of their children because of the malaria outbreak in Kingston and St. Catherine. The children are living on cane from a neighboring field and have not attended school for a week.
ENDEMIC JAMAICAN PLANTS OFFER CANCER HOPE—12/12/06
Dr. Henry Lowe and Dr. Joseph Bryant of the University of Maryland Institute of Human Virology (IHV) believe that two Jamaican plants can help to cure five different kinds of cancer: B-16 melanoma, breast cancer, prostrate cancer, kaposi sarcoma, and a b-cell lymphona. Their discovery could mean Jamaica will ultimately share in the lucrative worldwide market for chemotherapy drugs. Dr. Lowe hopes the discovery will provide a Jamaican alternative to Taxol, a current cancer drug, which would have enormous financial ramifications for the tax revenues and foreign exchange earnings of Jamaica. Drs. Lowe and Bryant want to use the potential profits to create an institute for research and training in the use of Jamaican plants. An international patent covering the plants and the drug compounds used in the experiments has already been submitted.
GOVERNMENT ADMITS INADEQUACY IN MALARIA TESTING, CANADA TO HELP—12/13/06
There are over 1,500 blood samples from individuals living in areas infected with malaria that have not yet been tested. This has prompted the Opposition Jamaica Labor Party to suggest that the total number of cases is higher than the 61 confirmed by Horace Dalley, Health Minister. Dalley admitted there was a backlog of blood samples waiting to be tested. Some samples have been sent to Canada for testing, he said. When Derrick Smith, Leader of Opposition Business in the House, requested specific information about the status of the sample backlog and the number of samples shipped to Canada, Dalley did not provide any answers as of the end of the sitting.
POLICE MAKE MORE BUSTS IN MONTEGO BAY LOTTERY SCAM—12/14/06
Montego Bay police arrested eight more people allegedly linked to the lottery scam in St. James. According to Superintendent John Morris, acting commanding officer for St. James, operations in the parish, chiefly in the Granville, Bogue Village, and Bogue Heights locations, have been ongoing. The latest arrests come after two Montego Bay policemen were detained for taking a total of $97,000 from two individuals with major roles in the lottery scam without putting them under arrest. These policemen remain in custody until a ruling from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is made.
POLICE TO IMPLEMENT ELECTRONIC TRAFFIC TICKETING SYSTEM—12/15/06
The police will deploy an electronic traffic ticketing system in early 2007 as part of their effort to improve the way prosecution for road traffic violations is handled. Claude Reynolds, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), says the system will initially be used in a pilot program in Kingston and St. Catherine. The system will eliminate the paper work associated with current procedures, and it will help with an anti-corruption drive designed to target problems with some police personnel. Once an electronic ticket is written, the information goes immediately into the system, and officers cannot do anything to change it, says Reynolds.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN IMMIGRANT FACES DEATH SENTENCE FOR SMUGGLING ATTEMPT—12/09/06
On Monday, a jury in Houston, Texas, found Tyrone Williams, a Jamaican migrant, guilty of 58 counts of conspiracy, harboring, and transporting illegal immigrants. Now jurors are deciding whether Williams should receive the death penalty for his crimes. Williams is the only person of 13 involved in the crime to face the death penalty. According to testimony, Williams was illegally transporting 70 migrant workers from Mexico, Central America, and the Dominican Republic in his airtight trailer truck in 2003. Nineteen of the workers died. Prosecutors say Williams should die for his part in the deadly smuggling attempt, but defense attorneys disagree, saying he did not know that the 19 individuals were dying. Williams was convicted in 2005 of 38 transporting counts, but avoided the death penalty. On appeal, the court found this verdict should not apply because the jury did not specify William’s role in the crime.
JAMAICAN MAY BE DEPORTED FROM NEW YORK—12/15/06
A migrant greencard holder from Jamaica, whose name was not released, was caught by agents of U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE) in Westchester County, New York, after serving six months for rape. The man was also sentenced to a probation period of ten years and faces deportation back to Jamaica. The man’s arrest was made as part of Operation Predator. This is an ongoing ICE program that is designed to apprehend Internet pornographers, international sex tourists, and child predators.
P.J. PATTERSON, FORMER JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER, CHAIRS MEETING—12/09/06
The former Prime Minister of Jamaica, P.J. Patterson, was the chairperson of the Committee on Commonwealth membership. The Committee was under a mandate by the Commonwealth Heads of Government, who will receive its report in Kampala, Uganda, in 2007. Many nations have expressed a great interest in the Commonwealth, according to Don McKinnon, Commonwealth Secretary-General. Their interest includes applications to join, so the Committee believes it is time to review membership issues and the ways in which the Commonwealth interacts with non-members. No new members have been admitted since 1995.
BUSINESSES SEE STAFFING PROBLEMS FROM LOSS OF JAMAICANS—12/15/06
Businesses in Nantucket, Massachusetts, are preparing themselves for the exodus of the hundreds of Jamaican workers who come to the island on nine-month, seasonal H2-B visas. These visas are set to expire on December 15. In an illustration of the problem, the Downyflake restaurant and bakery will lose its entire kitchen staff, and this winter, the restaurant’s owners cannot find replacement workers. The owners say they may have to close from mid December to mid March due to the lack of willing workers. About 75 percent of Nantucket’s Jamaican population carries the H2-B visa. These individuals will have to leave before the deadline on December 15, but most are likely to return in March when a new nine-month visa will be issued.
WEST INDIES TEAM CHOOSE NEW VICE-CAPTAIN—12/09/06
Chris Gayle will be the new vice-captain of the West Indies team for the remainder of the One-Day International Series. Gayle, at 27 years of age, is one of the most experienced players on the team. He has participated in 64 Tests and 152 ODIs, scoring 4,259 runs in Tests and another 5,576 runs in ODIs. Gayle was appointed ahead of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who resigned as team captain earlier in the year. Gayle has already received a public endorsement from Lara for his leadership qualities, and he has emerged as a key player in the team’s batting line-up. Gayle was appointed following the injury of Ramnaresh Sarwan, the regular vice-captain, who received a hairline fracture in his right foot during the second innings of the third and final Test last week.
JAMAICANS DISAPPOINTED BY GOLF TOURNAMENT PERFORMANCE—12/11/06
Just when the Jamaican players appeared to hit their stride, a rain delay of almost two hours ultimately put them in last place at the Barbados World Cup of the World Golf Championship at Sandy Lane. The Jamaicans got off to a bad start on the front nine holes of the tournament. Peter Horrobin and Delroy Cambridge, paired with Thomas Bjorn and Sven Hansen of Denmark, bogeyed the first three par-4 holes, and then did the same on the six, seven, and nine holes. When the Jamaicans started to rally, heavy rains put an end to their efforts.
HOLMWOOD AND DENBIGH RURAL NETBALL CHAMPIONS—12/12/06
Holmwood Technical senior girls defeated Edwin Allen Comprehensive 32-24 to win the ISSA/Digicel rural high school girls (under-19) final netball game at G.C. Foster College. Denbigh won the junior title by overcoming Holmwood 22-14. Holmwood will play Dunoon, Corporate Area senior champions, in the all-island finals, while Denbigh will play Queen’s.
BRIAN LARA DEFENDED AS OPENER IN ONE-DAY INTERNATIONAL—12/13/06
Bennett King, West Indies head coach, defended Brian Lara’s role as opener in the One-Day International against Pakistan, saying the team wanted a strong start, and Lara had opened the innings several times in the past and performed well. Lara was dismissed for a first-ball duck, and the West Indies lost the match by seven wickets under the Duckworth/Lewis method. Lara averages 46 at the top of the order.
I Will Bless The Lord
If you are like most people, there are days when you just don’t feel like doing a lot of things. Personally, on Mondays I do not want to get out of bed, but get up I must so though I do not feel like it, I reluctantly drag myself out of bed to get on with the things that pertains to life. There are not many of us that can call our bosses and get away with saying: “I’m sorry, but I’m not coming in today because I really don’t feel like it.”
In the spiritual realm we go through some of those lethargic moments. Maybe we are simply overwhelmed by the demands of life, going through a time of mental, physical, or emotional challenges, or we may have simply lost our joy. Whatever the cause, we just do not seem to have it in us to bless (praise, speak well of, glorify) the Lord. We don’t feel like it. I think the Psalmist David had similar moments, but instead of giving in to that emotion, he challenged himself. He declared: “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1, KJV).
Do note his determination: “I will”; and do not when: “at all times”. It is easy to praise when things are going well, but what about when we are in the valleys? God has enabled each of us to be as determined. He is always deserving of our praise, and even when we physically do not feel like it, we too can speak to our emotions and command it to do the things we want it to do. So, regardless of whatever circumstances life may throw at you, on any given day, may you purpose in your heart that you will bless the Lord at all times. I am sure that God will be pleased with a genuine effort.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.