JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending May 25th, 2007

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THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
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MARY LYNCH RELEASED AFTER 14 YEARS IN PRISON—05/19/07
Mary Doyley Lynch, 66, a former housewife in upper St. Andrew, has been freed from Fort Augusta Adult Correctional Center after 14 years. Lynch was sentenced to prison for the murder of her husband Leary in 1992. According to reports, Leary was “chopped to death” with a machete. Lynch maintained she killed him in self-defense. Officials at the prison said Lynch was “an exemplary inmate” and stated they would miss her.

PNP PULLS AHEAD, HOLDS LEAD OF SEVEN POINTS—05/20/07
The People’s National Party (PNP) has shown a resurgence after ten months of decline among voters by leading the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) by seven points in the latest surveys. The JLP has experienced a downturn as the election nears. According to a survey of 1,008 Jamaicans performed between May 5 and 6, 34 percent of those polled said they would vote for the PNP, compared to 27 percent for the JLP.

CRIME KINGPIN KILLED IN GUNFIGHT—05/21/07
Rohan Gordon, known as “Don,” was killed in a gunfight with police. Gordon was on the most-wanted list in St. James after acting as the head of a gang that has plagued the Norwood community and other parts of the parish with crime. The Stone Crushergang is considered responsible for a wave of murders in Montego Bay and nearby communities starting in 2005. According to Superintendent Steve McGreggor, the commanding office in charge of St. James, the police have taken down the most wanted criminal in the parish. McGreggor was disappointed that he was not able to bring Gordon to justice, however.

PRIME MINISTER, OPPOSITION LEADER IN SHOW OF UNITY—05/22/07
As Jamaica nears a general election, Portia Simpson Miller, Prime Minister, and Bruce Golding, Opposition Leader, joined in signaling supporters of both parties that they would do whatever is necessary to ensure peaceful campaigning and a violence-free national election. Both leaders called on party workers and supporters to join in the peace initiative. Simpson Miller and Golding made their remarks at a peace conference organized by the Peace Management Initiative (PMI).

CHILDREN IMPACTED BY AIDS DISTRUSTFUL, AFRAID TO TALK—05/23/07
Children who are affected by HIV/AIDS report that they rarely confide in guidance counselors or teachers because they are afraid that their personal information will not be kept confidential. Advocates urge that stronger penalties be imposed on educators who breach confidentiality.

PASSPORT FEES TO INCREASE—05/23/07
The Jamaican Consulate in Miami announced an increase in passport fees that will reflect the recent increase in rates for postal service imposed by the United States Postal Service. The new fees will go into effect on Monday, May 21. Passport renewals for adults will cost US$110 and those for children under 18 will cost US$80. The cost of replacement passports will be US$190 for adults and US$130 for children. These fees include the mandatory mailing costs for all processed passports. The time for processing applications will remain at about six weeks.

JAMAICAN PUBLIC UNSURE IF PARTIES CAN ADDRESS CRIME PROBLEM—05/24/07
About half of Jamaica’s registered voters feel unsure concerning whether the ruling People’s National Party (PNP) or the opposition Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) can really fight crime. In a poll conducted in May 2007, 32 percent of those surveyed did not believe that either party would do a better job of addressing the problem of crime. Another 20 percent could not say which party had a better understanding of the crime situation.

AIR JAMAICA LONDON ROUTE UNSUSTAINABLE, SAYS HEAD OF JTB—05/25/07
Air Jamaica, the national airline, operates at a loss of US$20 million every year on the route to Heathrow, London, says Dennis Morrison, Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) chairman. This is unsustainable, according to Morrison, who reports the airline is investigating its options with Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. The government wants to ensure that the airlift into Montego Bay from the UK and Europe is maintained, regardless of what other arrangements are made.

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JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
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JAMAICAN FACES DRUG CHARGES IN U.S.—05/19/07
Jamaican Marc George, 42, faces indictment for alleged money laundering and drug trafficking in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. An alleged accomplice, Dr. Jose Covarrubias, 49, was also indicted in regard to a marijuana dealing operation in Harrisburg. According to the charges, the Mexican physician surgically removed the fingerprints of drug traffickers, substituting skin from the sole of their feet, so they could avoid being arrested. Covarrubias is thought to have performed such surgery on George, whose hands remain mangled from the procedure, in 2005.

JAMAICAN MOTHER WINS FIGHT TO REMAIN IN THE UK—05/20/07
A Jamaican mother who left England after her abusive husband threatened to kill her has won her battle to stay in the UK. Joy Bowman, 49, and her daughter Chena, 15, have been given indefinite leave to stay in England, two months after their application for asylum was reviewed by the British Home Office. Bowman left the UK in 2001, but has had the benefit of a campaign created by friends and supporters who wanted to prevent her deportation.

FIRST RASTAFARIAN COMPETES IN MISS UNIVERSE PAGEANT—05/21/07
Zahra Redwood, 25, is the first Rastafarian to win the Miss Jamaica title, and she plans to counter the stereotype that members of the minority faith are interested only in marijuana and reggae. She is also shaking up many Rastas, who believe that beauty pageants should be avoided because they are degrading to women. Redwood, who has a degree in biotechnology and zoology, says that people tend to criticize what they don’t know or understand and develop preconceptions. “I have gone against what they’ve developed as a stereotype,” she says. Redwood is in Mexico City for the Miss Universe final, which will be held on May 28, 2007.

DEFENSE FORCE OFFICERS TO GO TO UK FOR CEREMONIAL DUTIES—05/22/07
A contingent of officers from the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) discussed plans with their counterparts in the British military to have JDF members help the army with its public duties and ceremonial guard mounts in July and August 2007. According to the plan, the JDF contingent will perform guard duties at Buckingham Palace, St. James Palace, Windsor Castle, and the Tower of London. The contingent will include members of the Jamaica Regiment Band and the Jamaica Military Band, who will perform at several events during the summer.

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SPORTS
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WEST INDIES BAD PERFORMANCE LIMITED BY STOPPED PLAY—05/19/07
On the second day of the opening Test in London, the West Indies team exhibited inconsistent bowling, sloppy fielding, and handed England three more hundreds. Bad light stopped the play 12 overs early, which spared the team any further disgrace. England had 553 for five in their first innings. The match was the first in which four England batsmen scored a century in an innings since 1938.

WINDIES FIGHTING BACK AT TEST IN UK—05/20/07
A half-century obtained by Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who showed his international experience, was the cornerstone of the West Indies, which avoided the follow-on after their top-order batting was crippled in the opening Test against England. Chanderpaul was unbeaten on 63 when stumps were drawn on the third day at Lord’s.

WEST INDIES CAPTAIN PRAISES TEAM AFTER OPENING DRAW IN TEST—05/22/07
Ramnaresh Sarwan, captain of the West Indies, had praise for his team members after the opening draw at the Test in London. Sarwan believes the result gives tourists additional confidence about the second encounter to come at Headingley later in the week. West Indies had a good batting performance in the first innings and scored 437 against England’s 553 for five declared.

VERONICA CAMPBELL TO COMPETE IN NYC IN JUNE—05/25/07
Veronica “VC” Campbell, top Jamaican sprinter and four-time Olympic medallist, will compete at the 2007 Reebok Grand Prix Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York on June 2. Campbell is the only woman to win both the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints at the same world youth championship.

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DEVOTIONAL
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A God of All Comfort

There are very few of us that have not been hit with at least one of life’s tragedies. Whether the loss of something or someone we hold dear, or dealing with an event we never expected to happen, it is the kind of thing that leaves us scrambling for answers. Deep within, we feel inexplicable pain and would welcome a shoulder to lean on, and if necessary, to cry on.

The writer of the book of Hebrews reminds us of one of the many attributes of God. He wrote “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities…” (4:15), and it is a great source of comfort to know that regardless of what we are going through, God can fully identify with our feelings. In the Greek, the word translated “infirmities” actually means “feebleness of body or mind”, and therefore it is not just our physical infirmities that touches God, but also the mental, emotional, and psychological things we have to deal with.

The good news is not just that He can identify with our feelings, but He is also able to provide comfort (relief) from those stresses. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation” (2 Cor. 1:3-4a). Again, the word translated “tribulation” actually means, among other things, “pressure, trouble”. The God of all comfort is able to comfort us in all our troubles; in all the situations that pressures our bodies and minds.

It is no wonder that we are encouraged to cast our cares / burdens upon the Lord; we are assured that He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). I believe that caring extends to every area of our lives, and so during the times when we need Him most, He is always there with open arms of comfort. Even when it doesn’t seem like it, He is there. As we deal with our individual circumstances, may we find peace of mind and heart in that care, and relief from life’s stresses when we find ourselves in our valleys of life’s experiences.
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.