THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
UN TO IMPLEMENT GUN CONTROL MEASURE IN JAMAICA—06/23/07
The coming election and its associated political tension has prompted the United Nations (UN) to prepare a gun-control program for the island. This program will not coincide with the election, but it is part of a wider focus of the UN on the issue of security in Jamaica, says Arturo Hein-Caceres, UN country representative. The program will be run by the UN Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UN-LiREC). It is designed to bring changes in behavior. The legislation also impacts special security matters. The coming election may result in violence getting out of hand as a result of illegal guns.
ST JAMES BECOMING RAPE CENTER—06/23/07
The murder rate is decreasing in the St. James Police Division for the first time since 2004. However, robberies and rapes are increasing in number, according to Superintendent Steve McGregor. He also says that St. James is becoming the “rape capital” of Jamaica. Since the beginning of 2007, St. James has recorded 53 rapes. This is the highest rape rate in the country. The parish has increased the number of people working with the staff and plans to start a public-education campaign.
PNP and JLP BOTH GAIN FOUR PERCENTAGE POINTS SINCE MAY—06/24/07
According to a recent poll, the PNP and the JLP have both gained percentage points since poll results were released in May 2007. The People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) have each gained four points since May. The PNP has maintained its seven-point lead. Thirty-eight percent of those polled said they would vote for the PNP, compared to 31 percent for the JLP. People are making up their minds carefully about this election and do not want input from any source.
GOLDING GAINS GROUND IN POLLS—06/25/07
Bruce Golding, the leader of the Opposition Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), which has not been in power since 1989, received his highest favorability rating since March of 2006. His rating now stands at 35 percent. The increase in popularity reflects an increase of three percent since May 2006. In contrast, Portia Simpson Miller, has lost some of her attraction for the electorate. Simpson Miller’s favorability rating currently stands at 54 percent, down four percentage points since May.
CONTRACTOR GENERAL WARNS GOVERNMENT ABOUT PRECEDENT—06/26/07
Greg Christie, Contractor General, has warned the government that relenting in the face of pressure and awarding a contract worth over $2 billion to Life of Jamaica (LoJ) would result in a dangerous precedent. Christie argues that failing to follow through on the recommendation from the Ministry of Finance and Planning would have a devastating effect on Jamaica’s already damaged contract awards process. The Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) passed a resolution to condemn the Ministry’s action, however. The JTA is the second of several public-sector organizations to condemn a possible change in health insurance carrier.
ZAILA SWORN IN AS FIRST FEMALE CHIEF JUSTICE—06/27/07
ZAILA McCalla has been sworn in as the first woman to become Jamaica’s Chief Justice. She told those in attendance at her swearing-in ceremony that she plans to “hit the ground running.” McCalla was chosen to become the eighth Chief Justice by Portia Simpson Miller, the Prime Minister. She was sworn in by Kenneth Hall, Governor-General, who also awarded her the Order of Jamaica, the nation’s fourth-highest civic honor.
FINANCE MINISTER SAYS HEALTH PLAN SELECTION PROCESS FLAWED—06/28/07
The Finance and Planning Ministry, under pressure from unions that represent 67,000 public-sector employees, admits the process for selecting health insurance was flawed and that the $2 billion plan may need to go back to tender for a third time. In spite of the backing of Contractor General Greg Christie, the president of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association, Hopeton Henry, reports that Dr. Omar Davies admitted the process was skewed.
SURVEY SHOWS MOST OPPOSE ALIMONY FOR MEN—06/29/07
Two years after a law was enacted to provide alimony payments to men when a marriage or equivalent relationship ends, most Jamaicans are still opposed to the legislation. Sixty-five percent of people recently surveyed say they opposed a man receiving alimony, and only 30 percent supported the law’s provision. Eighty-one percent of female respondents stated opposition to the payments, compared to 15 percent who agreed. Fifty-one percent of men did not agree with the payment of alimony to men.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN JOURNALIST WRITES CONTROVERSIAL BOOK—06/24/07
George Graham, originally from Jamaica, has worked on Caribbean and North American newspapers for 50 years, and he has written a book that is likely to prompt political controversy in Jamaica. Graham is a founding editor of the Jamaica Daily News, and he is no stranger to controversy. In the 1970s, he wrote a column railing against the political and cultural direction the “barefoot island” was going. In this column, he says he is “voting with his feet.” He then emigrated to Toronto, Canada, and has held various editorial positions in Ontario and Florida. He retired from the Tampa Tribune in 2006. His book is titled “Hill-an’-Gully Rider.”
BARRINGTON IRVING YOUNGEST TO FLY AROUND THE WORLD SOLO—06/25/07
Twenty-three-year-old Barrington Irving, who was born in Jamaica and raised in Miami, Florida, from the age of six, is the youngest pilot and the first black pilot to fly around the world alone. Barrington comes from a Miami neighborhood in which more than 24 young people under age 21 were murdered by other young people, also under 21, in the past year.
120 SWISS ENJOY JAMAICA ASSOCIATION SOIREE IN GENEVA—06/26/07
Participants in the third annual Jamaica Association in Switzerland (JAS) party danced to the music of featured artists Ras Kenyatta and Ras Charmer, who communicated universal messages of peace among Jamaicans in their communities in Switzerland. Food served at the soiree included jerked chicken, rice and peas, and stewed peas. Red Stripe beer was welcomed by the crowd. The event was held to further efforts to obtain educational materials for students at rural Jamaican schools. The JAS is also committed to promoting Jamaican culture in Switzerland and advancing the education system on the island. The first JAS fete was held in 2005.
JAMAICAN CHARGED IN ECTASY CASE—06/27/07
The Durham, North Carolina, Police Department has arrested a Jamaican man who had previously been deported. Gary Gayle, 41, of Kingston, Jamaica, was charged with possession of Ecstasy and other crimes after being pulled over on Interstate 85 because he was speeding in a rented Dodge Charger. Gayle had been deported from the U.S. in 1998 after a murder. He had re-entered the country illegally. Gayle was found with over 2,495 Ecstasy pills, which had an estimated street value of $65,000. He also had marijuana and over $12,000 in cash when he was arrested.
ASAFA POWELL RECEIVES INJURY DURING 100-METER WIN—06/24/07
Asafa Powell, world record-holder, received a slight injury to the groin when he won the 100-meter contest at the Jamaica athletics championships. Powell slowed down twice during the last 60 meters, but still managed to win the race in 10.04 seconds. When he crossed the finish line, he had to rest on the ground for several minutes before being helped to stand.
CAMPBELL WINS 200M AT CHAMPIONSHIPS—06/2507
Veronica Campbell won the women’s 200-meter at the Jamaican athletics championships. She had a time of 22.39 seconds. Campbell is an Olympic 200-meter champion and had won the 100 meter with 10.89 seconds, the season’s best time for that race. She returned to win the 200 meter contest. Campbell says it was a good race with good competition and that she is pleased with her results.
REAL MADRID TO AID IN BUILDING YOUTH SOCCER ACADEMY—06/26/07
The nine-time European soccer champion Real Madrid plans to help with the building of a training academy for youth in a western Jamaican parish. The academy will target children between the ages of 7 and 15, says Carlos Abella, director general of the Real Madrid Foundation. Abella says that much of the money for building the academy will come from Spanish companies like Iberostar. Aaron Lawrence, former Jamaican national team goalkeeper, will manage the training facility. It will be built in Rose Hall, a community in rural St. James parish. No date has been set as yet for the start of construction.
USAIN BOLT DETERMINED TO WIN A TITLE—06/27/07
Usain Bolt, who has just become Jamaica’s 200-meter champion, wants to be taken seriously. Bolt, 20 years old and 6-foot 6-inches tall, is preparing for the 2007 iAAF World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan. According to Bolt, he is “hungry” for a title. He says he has learned a lot since winning the 2002 IAAF championship at 15 and is better at maintaining his focus.
Praying One for the Other
I often chuckle when as a part of greeting another, how often the words “How are you?” are used. I chuckle, not so much because I think it is funny, but because the question seem more one of social etiquette than it is of genuine care. Think about the times you used those words, and ask yourself the question, “Did I really want to know?”. Chances are, we really didn’t, but the question seemed a good filler at the time.
I think the same thing applies among brethren when it comes to prayer. How many times have we committed to praying for someone, and promptly forgot to do so once we put the phone down, or the person has left our presence? It is a tragedy of our times that we are so often occupied with our own lives, that we can hardly make the time to invest in the spiritual well being of another, and especially, to pray for them. How many times have someone crossed our minds without our giving any thought to whether or not that person needed to be prayed for at that moment? It could be that the Holy Spirit allowed that intrusion in our thoughts so we could intercede on that person’s behalf.
Praying one for the other is an integral part of Christian fellowship. James reminds us “…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (5:16), and we see the Apostle Paul reassuring Philemon: “I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers….That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus” (Philemon 4,6). We should be reminded that “the power of prayer is not the result of the person praying. Rather, the power resides in the God who is being prayed to.” For God to act, He needs the cooperation of someone praying a prayer; making that request known. He most definitely listens to prayers, answers prayers, and moves in response to prayers.
Jesus spent a lot of time in prayer, and John recorded Him praying, “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine” (John 17:9). If He found it necessary to pray for the disciples then, and seeing He continues to intercede on our behalf (Romans 8:34), how much more are we to pray for one for the other?
I challenge you to think about this the next time you commit to pray for someone, or someone crosses your mind. May God grant us sensitive hearts, and the conviction, to be obedient to that which the Holy Spirit has prompted us to do. Each one of us may be that link to another person’s breakthrough.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.