JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending March 2nd, 2007

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THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
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PASSAGE OF PROCEEDS OF CRIME BILL HAILED BY HINDS—02/24/07
Glenmore Hinds, Assistant Commissioner of Police and head of Operation Kingfish, strongly supports the passage of the Proceeds of Crime Bill. Hinds believes the law will help police to target major organized from in Jamaica. Law enforcement agencies will now be able to leverage the power of the law as it relates to taking proceeds from crime in cases where there is evidence that property has been obtained from criminal proceeds.

FEWER COLLEGE STUDENTS IN JAMAICA FOR SPRING BREAK—02/25/07
The 50-percent reduction in Jamaica’s spring-break market is causing some in the tourism industry to worry. Six years ago, 25,000 spring breakers came to the island, but in 2007, their number is expected to total only about 5,000. In 2006, 10,000 students spent spring break in Jamaica. The tourism sector blames the trend, in part, on the recent requirement imposed by authorities in the United States that Americans re-entering the country present passports under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Competition from cruise ships and from Florida, coupled with relatively poor marketing by the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) are also cited as reasons for the downturn in number of spring breakers.

DROUGHT CONDITIONS AFFECT PRODUCTION TARGET FOR CWC—02/26/07
Roger Clarke, Agriculture Minister, says the existing drought in parts of the island affect its ability to meet production targets for the Cricket World Cup (CWC). Fruits and vegetables have been most affected, says Clarke, but systems are operating to provide imported products to fill any shortfalls. Clarke believes there will be enough food for the CWC.

CHURCH MEMBERS PROTEST PASTOR”S TRANSFER—02/26/07
Church authorities at the Balaclava New Testament Church of God faced angry church members, who held demonstrations to show their disapproval of the church hierarchy’s decision to transfer Rev. Keith Dallas. Church members and residents participated in a large demonstration that resulted in the suspension of church services on Sunday morning when protesters locked the gate and doors to the church. Protesters said Rev. Dallas has been involved in some development projects in the community, and they called him a ‘hard worker’ and a person who understands the needs of the community.

$31 MILLION DONATION TO PNP TO BE RETURNED—02/27/07
Portia Simpson Miller, Prime Minister and president of the People’s National Party (PNP), promised that the $31 million donation to the party from Trafigura Beheer, a Dutch oil trader, would be returned. She made that promise on October 8, 2006, and 142 days later, the money was returned to Trafigura. The PNP faced numerous obstacles in its attempts to return the funds, which ultimately led to pressure on the administration of Simpson Miller to make good on its pledge.

DEMONSTRATIONS AND FIRE AT FIESTA HOTEL CONSTRUCTION SITE—02/28/07
Anarchy reigned at the construction site of the Fiesta Hotel at Point, Hanover, as fires burned, and smoke rose high in the air. About 2,000 construction workers held a protest after hearing the news that a colleague, Anthony Williams, 57, of Prospect in the parish, had allegedly been shot by police. The workers protested their treatment by the site manager, who told security guards to lock out workers without identification and who come to work later than 7:30 AM, although they are contracted to being work at 8:00 AM. When workers arrived on February 27, 2007, they were locked out of the site, and one worker was paying his taxi driver when he was shot in the head. Donovan Williams, a security officer for Acid Security Firm, said it was unclear who shot Mr. Williams. According to him, the workers first fired several shots, and police and security guards responded.

JCF READY FOR CRICKET WORLD CUP—03/01/07
Officers of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) completed their preparations for the ICC Cricket World Cup with a briefing at which they discussed the nation’s security plan for the tournament. The first teams will begin to arrive on March 2, 2007, and the police have deployed more than 200 personnel to Trelawny and St. James to help those who have already arrived, said Owen Ellington, Assistant Commissioner. Part of the preparations involved police personnel who have complete strategic training in specific areas, and 168 new graduates of the Police Academy, who were trained especially for the World Cup, which starts in 10 days.

PARENTS ARRESTED FOR AIDING AND ABETTING ASSAULT OF DAUGHTER—03/02/07
Santa Cruz police charged a 36-year-old woman and her 40-year-old common-law husband with aiding and abetting the sexual assault of her 12-year-old daughter. A 30-year-old neighbor, who has fled the scene, has been accused in the assault. Police say they have evidence proving that the 12-year-old girl was traded for a piece of land on which her mother and step-father built a one-room zinc shack as a home for eight people. The girl was sent to live with the 30-year-old son of the landowner.

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JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
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BRUCE GOLDING TO VISIT ATLANTA, GEORGIA—02/24/07
Bruce Golding, Opposition leader, and his wife Lorna plans to visit Atlanta, Georgia in the company of Audley Shaw, Opposition Spokesman on Finance, and Senator Shirley Williams. Golding will be met on arrival Vin Martin, Jamaica’s honorary counsel to Atlanta and former Labor Party Senator. Golding was invited to Atlanta by the Bustamante Atlanta Southern Associates. He will also visit Georgia’s governor, Sonny Perdue, and the mayor of Atlanta, Shirley Franklyn, and address a fund-raising reception at the Capital Club.

COURT IN UK CONVICTS JAMAICAN OF DECEPTION—02/24/07
A court in the United Kingdom has convicted Gene Morrison, a 48-year-old Jamaican-born man, of deception following his falsely giving sworn testimony as a forensic psychologist. Morrison, in spite of having no formal training as a psychologist, gave his opinion in hundreds of criminal cases in the UK over a period of nearly 30 years. He fooled legal experts and court officials, and he was paid at least $488,000 for court appearances. He was convicted on 20 charges, including perjury and perverting the cause of justice.

AIR JAMAICA CELEBRATES 25 YEARS FLYING BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON—02/28/07
Sharon Miller, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Jamaican Embassy in Washington, D.C., praised Air Jamaica for its 25 years of excellent service in flights to the Baltimore/Washington area. She said the Air Jamaica team in Washington has done a “remarkable job” and the Air Jamaica showed over the years that it is the “human factor” that is important in achieving success. According to George deMercado, Vice President of Sales for Air Jamaica, the airline has carried over 1 million passengers from Baltimore/Washington International Airport to Jamaica over the past 25 years.

FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN JAMAICA AND MEXICO CELEBRATED—03/02/07
Jamaica and Mexico have had a mutually beneficial friendship for 40 years. The two countries first established diplomatic ties in 1967. A joint reception held by the Embassy of Mexico and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica marked the 40th anniversary. H.E. Leonora Rueda, Ambassador for Mexico, and Senator the Hon. Deland Franklyn, minister of state in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, were the hosts of a gathering of diplomats who joined in the celebration.

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SPORTS
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KENSINGTON OVAL READY FOR ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP FINAL—02/24/07
Over 12,000 people attended the grand reopening of the Kensington Oval venue, which will be the site of the ICC Cricket World Cup final 2007. The large crowd is seen as a good omen for the tournament by Stephen Price, the event’s commercial director. Price praised the Barbados Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for its work and for the ‘spectacular ambience’ at the stadium.

KERRON STEWART BREAKS RECORDS AT SEC INDOOR TRACK MEET—02/26/07
At the SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships held at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky, Jamaican Kerron Stewart ran a world-leading time and broke records. Stewart, who represents Auburn, ran the 200 meters in 22.76 and then ran the same course at 22.46, the fastest time this season worldwide. She know holds four of the top fastest-female 200-meter times, according to the IAAF Top List. She is also the third fastest Jamaican ever in the 200-meter indoor and the 10th fastest woman ever indoors.

HARBOR VIEW TO MEET BOYS’ TOWN IN FINAL OF TOURNAMENT—02/27/07
Harbor View is ready to take on Boys’ Town in the final match of the Western Union/SAFA Jackie Bell Knockout competition after handing defeat to Waterhouse at National Stadium 1-0. Harbor View led the premier league by three points at the beginning of the third round and hoped to win three major titles in the league. Harbor View coach Lenworth Hyde recognizes the team will have to fight for a win. Boys’ Town is playing well, he said, but Harbor View will be ready for them.

ASAFA POWELL NOMINATED FOR 2007 SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR—02/28/07
Asafa Powell has received a nomination to receive the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award for 2007. Powell won the 100m gold medal in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006, and since then, he has met his own World Record of 9.77 seconds twice, once at Gateshead in June 2006 and once in Zurich in August 2006. He also won at each of the six Golden League meets during the summer. Power has run under 10 seconds 25 times during his career. He was named 2006 IAAF Athlete of the Year in November.

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DEVOTIONAL
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What’s In Your Bucket? II

Thinking of the heart as a container, like a bucket, from which all things flow, the words of Jeremiah regarding the state of the unregenerated heart is somewhat chilling; “…deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (17:9). The Christian is not immune from this affliction. If we performed an honest self-evaluation, we would probably find in our buckets, traces of bitterness, conceit, unforgiveness, pride, anger, jealousy, self-pity, envy, among other things. Some of these may have been in there for years, yet on the outside, we put on a spiritual face that mask our inner realities.

David came face to face with an important truth when he declared, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). Some have abused this verse in thinking that as long as they do not voice what is in their hearts, then God cannot hear (know) it. Of course, that is not what David meant. Sins of the heart are known by God. The important truth, according to Bible Commentator Matthew Henry, is that “iniquity, regarded in the heart, will certainly spoil the comfort and success of prayer.” It doesn’t matter how much we wrap ourselves in spiritual clichés, or how much of a righteous face we show to others, it is an undeniably truth that God knows what’s in our buckets, and it is He who declares it acceptable or not. It is not by chance that God would have Jeremiah use the word “deceitful” to describe the heart, suggesting the need for constant vigilance to root out those things that are blockages to spiritual progress. The Proverbs provide us with the warning, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (4:23).

In what must have been a moment of reflection, David prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:22, 23). He had previously declared, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4). I believe he knew that achieving intimacy with God required transparency. His most earnest desire to seek after the things of God was so great that he was willing to have God examine his bucket! How about you? What is your most earnest desire? What’s in your bucket?

CEW

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