THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
UNDER NEW LAW, PARENTS COULD BE CHARGED WITH HUMAN TRAFFICKING—01/27/06
Parents and guardian may charged with human trafficking if they surrender custody of their children for payment, benefit, or exploitation. The Trafficking in Persons Act passed in the Senate could also require persons convicted of this offense to pay restitution to their victims. Jamaican remains on the ‘Special Watch List’ issued by the United States for human trafficking.
IN SEVEN MONTHS, PRIME MINISTER’S TRAVEL BILL TOTALS $10 MILLION—01/28/06
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has been Prime Minister for just seven months, but she and the members of her delegation have spent nearly $10 million traveling on official overseas business. The Government approved some $1.4 million each month between April and October. Members of the public have expressed mixed reactions about the costs of the trips. Economist and publisher John Jackson has questioned the size of the delegation as well as the need for them to stay in 5-star hotels
POLICE IN MONTEGO BAY KILL FIVE GUNMEN IN CONFRONTATIONS—01/2906
Police in Montego Bay report that they have cracked down on the operations of the Collin Palmer gang, killing five of its members in a shootout. The gang is based in Tucker/Irwin, St. James. A home-made shotgun, two 9mm handguns, and an imitation fun were recovered after the shootings. Three of the fatalities were identified as Collin Palmer, the gang’s leader, Kirk ‘Joe’ Thomas, and Stratty McLeod. The gang was suspected of involvement in several shootings, robberies, and murders in the parish, said Superintendent Wilford Gayle, the head of the Area One Crime Management Unit.
NO NEED FOR NEW CRIME PLAN SAYS NATIONAL SECURITY MINISTER—01/30/06
Dr. Peter Phillips, National Security Minister, says the Jamaican Government will ‘stay the course’ when it comes to fighting crime. Many Jamaicans are alarmed at the dramatic increase in the murder rate, with 128 murders since the beginning of 2007. The Government has been asked to take corrective action to address the situation. According to Dr. Phillips, the Government will continue its reforms of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the strategies that resulted in a 20-percent decrease in the murder rate in 2006.
NARCOTICS POLICE PROBE DRUG NETWORK AT KINGSTON PORTS—01/30/06
Over US$7.6 million (J$509 million) in compressed ganja and hash oil was seized by narcotics police in Kingston and Clarendon. As a result of the seizure, the police are investigating a major drug operation at the Kingston ports. Carlton Wilson, Senior Superintendent and head of the Narcotics Department, suspects there are several people at the ports who are facilitating the drug shipments.
15,000 LBS. OF GANJA SEIZED BY NARCOTICS DETECTIVES—01/31/06
The illegal drug trade suffered a major blow when narcotics detectives found 15,000 pounds of compressed ganja in 250 boxes labeled ‘Jamaica Produce” in Kingston’s Mountain View Avenue area. The find was one of the largest of the past ten years. According to the police, the estimated street value of the drug, which was discovered with a large amount of hash oil, is more than J$2 billion.
MURDERS TO BE REDUCED BY 7 PERCENT, SAYS POLICE COMMISSIONER—02/01/06
Luicus Thomas, Police Commissioner, predicts that the murder rate will fall by seven percent in 2007 as a result of renewed police efforts to limit the movements of criminals. Thomas said police will monitor the roads to “disrupt the movement of criminals” and promised a stronger approach by police on the roads in general. Thomas said towns like Ocho Rios in St. Ann could become problems like Montego Bay, St. James, if the mobility of criminals is not brought under control.
PRIME MINISTER SAYS CRITICS UNFAIR—02/02/06
Portia Simpson Miller, speaking to supporters of the Peoples National Party (PNP), said that her critics are unfair and malicious. Simpson Miller referred to a newspaper article discussing the amount of money spent for overseas travel overseas since she took office. She quoted Marcus Garvey, saying that as a leader, she had to be prepared for criticisms of the ‘uncharitable and the unjust.’ She also said she did not have the time to pay attention to such critics because she was focusing on bettering conditions for the poor.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
CANADIAN DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAM AIMED AT NURSING STUDENTS —01/28/06
Nursing students in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean will be able to take advantage of a new distance learning program developed collaboratively between Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, and the University of the West Indies Mona campus in Jamaica. The program is designed to alleviate a nursing shortage in the Caribbean. Raymond Chang, a Jamaican and the chancellor of Ryerson University, donated C$750,000 to pay for the program’s first three years.
FLORIDA EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTORS EXPLOIT VULNERABLE WORKERS —01/28/06
All over Daytona Beach, Florida, Jamaican workers who came to earn money cleaning rooms in oceanfront hotels are virtually slaves to the employment contractor who brought them to the United States. They arrived with valid work visas, but Peter Ntankeh, a native of West Africa who had only a limited knowledge of immigration law did not update the visas, despite the fact that the Jamaican workers gave him $250 each to get extensions. Fearing the authorities, the Jamaicans continued to work for Ntankeh for very low wages. Ocean Waters, the largest hotel operator in the area, was unaware that the workers’ visas had expired.
ANOTHER JAMAICAN-BORN SOLDIER DIES IN IRAQ—01/30/06
Sgt. Gregroy Wright, father of a 3-year-old daughter, was killed in the United States war on terror when an improvised explosive device went off near his vehicle in Muqdadiyah, Iraq. The 28-year-old Jamaican immigrated to Boston in 1997 at the age of 19. He enlisted in the Army National Guard at age 21, and in 2004, he went on active duty with the U.S. Army. Wright was awarded full citizenship posthumously, according to the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. “He loved America,” said Conroy Wright, his father.
JAMAICA-BORN COUNCILMAN IN NYC AIMS TO ABOLISH ‘N-WORD’—01/31/06
Leroy Comrie, a member of the New York City Council who was born in Jamaica, wants a formal resolution to ban the use of the ‘N-word’ during February, which is Black History Month in the United States. Comrie is joined in his effort by other Council members, clergy, and community supporters.
ASAFA POWELL, SHERONE SIMPSON TO HEADLINE TRACK MEET—01/27/06
Asafa Powell, who holds the world’s 100m record, and the fastest female in both short sprints, Sherone Simpson, will headlines the Queen’s/Grack Jackson Track Meet at the Stadium East Complex. Both will compete in the longest sprint over 400m, beginning their endurance program. The endurance program is an important element in their 2007 run to the World Athletics Championships.
IN CHENNAI, WEST INDIES WIN VICTORY OVER INDIA—01/28/06
While the West Indies had some anxious moments during the four-match series, Marlon Samuels and Brian Lara helped the team to a three-wicket win over India at Chennai. The win put West Indies back into the series after losses to Nagpur and Cuttack.
NORTH COAST HIGHWAY WILL NOT BE DONE IN TIME FOR ICC WORLD CUP—01/30/06
The North Coast Highway between Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay and Greenside, Trelawny, will not be completed by the time the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 begins. The National Works Agency (NWA) has confirmed the delay. The Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) president, Pauline Reid, was critical of both the NWA and Pihl, the Danish contractors, for making promises they could not keep.
JAMAICAN DREAMS END AT CARIB BEER SERIES—01/31/06
Jamaica were defeated by Barbados at the Carib Beer Cup tournament. Jamaica began the round in second place, falling nine points behind Barbados, then lost the match by an innings and 31 runs. The final scores were Jamaica 132 and 135; Barbados 298.
The first verse of Luke 11 fascinates me. It reads, “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” Lest we forget, these men were Jews and would have prayed prayers of adoration, blessings, praise and so on while attending the synagogues. Yet there was something distinctive about the way John’s disciples, and Jesus prayed. The very fact that they enquired of Jesus such teaching, after he finished praying, suggests that they recognized the difference in the prayers they prayed, and what they were hearing. Not only that, but they saw the results of Jesus’ prayers first-hand.
Bible Scholar & Commentator Matthew Henry posited, “‘Their request is, ‘Lord, teach us to pray; give us a rule or model by which to go in praying, and put words into our mouths.” Note, It becomes the disciples of Christ to apply themselves to him for instruction in prayer. Lord, teach us to pray, is itself a good prayer, and a very needful one, for it is a hard thing to pray well and it is Jesus Christ only that can teach us, by his word and Spirit, how to pray. ‘Lord, teach me what it is to pray; Lord, excite and quicken me to the duty; Lord, direct me what to pray for; Lord, give me praying graces, that I may serve God acceptably in prayer; Lord, teach me to pray in proper words; give me a mouth and wisdom in prayer, that I may speak as I ought; teach me what I shall say.'”
I quite like that; “Lord, teach me to pray in proper words…teach me what I shall say.” It is quite possible to be praying (saying prayers) in the wrong way. It is no wonder Paul encourages us to pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit (Eph. 6:18). In other words, let our prayers be be guided or directed by the Spirit. If He guides our prayers, it is fair to say that we will always be praying in the will of God, and I believe that those are the prayers that moves the hand of God. Do you want to pray effectively and not just be saying words? Maybe a good place to start in our next devotional moment is with the words, “Lord, teach me to pray” and allow Him to do so. If anyone knew how to pray effectively, He did. Think about it.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.