JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending April 20th, 2007

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THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
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NATIONAL ROAD COMPANY POSTS LARGE LOSSES FOR 2006—04/14/07
The concessionaire for Highway 2000, National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC), reported losses totaling over $1.6 billion in the 2006/2007 fiscal year. The company projects losses of over $2.4 billion for fiscal 2007/2008. Since the firm began operating in 2003, it has not yet posted a profit or earned toll fees. Dr. Omar Davies, Finance and Planning Minister, says NROCC wants access to loans at concessionary rates to apply to its high-cost debt.

PORTMORE GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVE POSITION OPEN—04/15/07
In St. Catherine South East, a constituency that has traditionally supported the winning party in general elections, is showing a statistical tie between the representatives of the two major political parties. The constituency holds mostly older communities in Portmore, and it has voted for the People’s National Party (PNP) to create a government on five occasions since 1976.

SOME TOXICOLOGY RESULTS BACK IN WOOLMER CASE—04/15/07
A team from Scotland Yard, which had been sent from the UK to review the investigation conducted into the murder of Bob Woolmer, Pakistan cricket coach, will return home. It has submitted its report to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). Mark Shields, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), says investigators have obtained some results from the toxicology testing performed on Woolmer’s body.

JAMAICA’S HOTELS EXPERIENCE DECLINE IN TOURISTS—04/16/07
Reports from Horace Peterkin, the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association’s president, show a decline in visitors for the winter tourist season. Jamaica was visited by about 12,000 fewer tourists, representing potential losses totaling US$12 million in revenue. The 2006-2007 winter tourist season saw some properties doing better than their previous year’s totals. The new, large Spanish hotels experience very high occupancy levels. Many existing hotels of all sizes did not do as well, however. Small indigenous hotels had the worst showing.

FOREIGN CHEMICAL SUBSTANCE FOUND IN WOOLMER”S BODY—04/17/07
Toxicology test results have allegedly found a “foreign substance” in the body of Bob Woolmer, Pakistan cricket coach who was found dead in his hotel room during the cricket World Cup. Government officials say the substance is believed to be poison. It was discovered in samples taken from Woolmer’s stomach, urine, and blood. Scotland Yard has been asked to help in analyzing the results.

FOUR DEAD IN BATTLE BETWEEN POLICE AND GUNMENT IN TIVOLI, DENHAM—04/18/07
Gunfire resulted in the deaths of four people in Kingston, and police have taken responsibility for one of the deaths. Western Kingston was the site of a major operation, but police said they are waiting for forensic experts to discover who killed a man caught in the crossfire. Police were making a foot patrol in Denham Town when they began to take fire from gunmen. Police returned their fire, hitting a man who later had a 9-mm pistol taken away from him.

MIRANT AGREES TO SELL STAKE IN JAMAICA PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY—04/19/07
Mirant Corporation will sell its controlling interest in the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) and all Caribbean assets to the Marubeni Corporation of Japan. The sale will total US$1.082 billion. Dr. Omar Davies, Finance Minister, said that JPS is being sold for US$800 million, acquiring an 80-percent interest in the power firm for US$210 million in 2001. Mirant, which is based in the United States, has had problems in Jamaica in the past. Customers frequently complained of inflated bills.

CALM REIGNS AFTER GUN BATTLE AT DENHAM TOWN PRIMARY SCHOOL—04/20/07
Two days after a gun battle allegedly broke out between police and shooters in West Kingston, a calmer atmosphere prevailed. Over 1,000 students settled in, and Everton Jones, their principal, supervised counseling sessions for those affected by the violence. Jones is accustomed to taking this role, since he has seen much violence in his 35 years at Denham. While Jones recalled a number of violent incidents, he said it has never been as bad as this most recent action in which gunfire continued for nearly three hours, and police reported two dead as a result of the shooting.

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JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
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HALF PINT HONORED AT INTERNATIONAL REGGAE/WORLD MUSIC AWARDS—04/14/07
Half Pint, who has provided some of the most melodic, classic dancehall tunes, is scheduled for honors at the 26th Annual International Reggae and World Music Awards. The Awards will be held at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York, on May 5, 2007. The program recognizes the best in reggae and world beat music. It will give the “Producers Respect Award” to Jamaicans Half Pint and Gregory Issacs, and to Doug E. Fresh, American hip-hop legend.

SACRAMENTO WARMS TO REGGAE MUSIC—04/14/07
The Jamaican reggae phenomenon has taken root in Sacramento, California, where reggae-themed nights have become popular at town clubs. The reggae culture in this northern California city has typically thrived underground, but now it has started to enter the music mainstream.

CANADIAN FILM FESTICAL HONORS LEONIE FORBES—04/15/07
The 2007 ReelWorld Film Festival, which runs from April 11 to April 16 in Toronto, Canada, will highlight Jamaica, showing seven films about the island’s lifestyle and culture. The festival will also honor Jamaican actress Leonie Forbes with the ReelWorld Award of Excellence for her more than 50 years in the industry. Forbes is known as Jamaica’s “first lady of theater and film,” and she starts in “A Winter Tale,” a film that will be have its world premiere at the festival.

IMMIGRATION POINT SYSTEM TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN BRITAIN IN 2008—04/15/07
A new five-level points system designed to regulate workers who compete with British workers in the unskilled labor market will go into effect in 2008, according to a time schedule released by Liam Byrne, Immigration Minister. The system is based on an Australian model, and it will only permit workers who have skills needed in Britain to enter the country and remain there. Other measures are also being implemented to make it harder for immigrants to enter Britain or to obtain British citizenship.

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SPORTS
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SARWAN READY TO BECOME CAPTAIN OF THE WEST INDIES—04/16/07
Vice-captain of the West Indies cricket team, Ramnaresh Sarwan, believes he is ready to become the leader of the team if given the chance. Brian Lara, the team’s current captain, is scheduled to retire from one-day cricket at the end of the World Cup. Sarwan says he is ready to “grab it with both hands” if he is given the opportunity to take the position of captain.

ASAFA POWELL WANTS WORLD RECORD—04/17/07
Asafa Powell has made it his priority to win a world title instead of another world record at the World Championships in Japan. Powell has twice reached his own 100-meter world record of 9.77 seconds last season. He is determined to win a gold medal at the World Championships.

SHERONE SIMPSON, VERONICA CAMPBELL RACE SEPARATELY—04/18/07
The two fastest women runners in Jamaica, Sherone Simpson and Veronica Campbell, will be separated at the 2007 Jamaica International Invitational Meet at National Stadium on May 5. Donald Quarrie, director, said it was best to keep the two runners apart. Quarrie said Simpson and Campbell were both Jamaicans and that there should not be a rivalry between them. Simpson will race against Debbie Ferguson of the Bahamas and Rachelle Boone-Smith in the 200 meters. Campbell will race Ferguson in the 100-meter match.

BRIAN LARA RETIRES FROM INTERNATIONAL CRICKET—04/20/07
Brian Lara, captain of the West Indies cricket team, announced his retirement. This marks the end of his record-breaking career as a batsman. Lara, 37, is from Trinidad, and he holds the record for the highest Test score. He collected 11,953 runs in 131 Tests, as well as 10,387 runs in 298 one-day internationals.

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DEVOTIONAL
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God’s Net Worth

Once again, Bill Gates has been named the world’s richest man. The ability to acquire just about any material thing imaginable is a great position be in, even if the average person cannot quite wrap their heads around that kind of financial net worth. In a world where values are often times skewed, we have come to determine richness as the possession of worldly wealth. Some would think, “If only I was a distant relative of Bill!” as they imagine how different their lives might have been.

Interestingly, the Christian is a relative of someone who is even richer than Mr. Gates. While there is a value to how much he is worth, how can one put a value on God’s net worth? The Psalmist David reminds us “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (24:1). What is even more exciting is that the child of God not only hears about God, but do have a personal relationship with Him, being sons and daughters of the Most High. The true extent of our relationship is that we are heirs and joint-heirs with Christ! Just about everything the Father has is ours, and we have the assurance that “no good thing will he
withheld from them that walk uprightly” (84:11).

Ih his letter to the Church, James wrote, “…ye have not, because ye ask not” (4:2). Speaking from his personal experience, David wrote in another Psalm, “I have been young,and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” (35:25). We serve a God who has more than enough to take care of His own. Not only that, but as heirs and joint-heirs, we have a right to the storehouses of our Heavenly Father. Whatever we need has already been provided. May He, Our Father, grant us the grace to reach out in faith, and claim all those things that are rightfully ours.

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.