JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending July 6th, 2007

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THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
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STUDENT KILLED NEAR TARRANT HIGH SCHOOL—06/30/07
A student was killed just before the end of the school year at Tarrant High School, St. Andrew. Gary Pierce, son of Veronica Wallace, was murdered near the entrance of the school. He was the victim of a shooting, which also killed Donovan McLean, a construction worker who lived on Tarrant Drive. Another individual thought to be a student of the Haile Selassie High School in Kingston was hospitalized with stab wounds as well.

PNP NOT POPULAR, ELECTION TO BE CLOSE IN MANY AREAS—07/01/07
Candidates of the People’s National Party (PNP) are viewed more unfavorably than candidates from the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), according to a recent survey of 1,008 residents in 84 communities. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed had an unfavorable view of PNP candidates, compared to 36 percent for candidates of the JLP. The negative views of PNP candidates tended to increase where these candidates are also sitting MPs. This may reflect unhappiness with the performance of Government MPs. JLP candidates who are sitting MPs are viewed more positively than their PNP rivals.

MOST JAMAICANS SAY FORCED SEX IN MARRIAGE IS RAPE—07/02/07
Sixty-six percent of individuals surveyed say that men commit rape if they violently force their wives or common-law partners to have sex against their will. Thirty-one percent said such action did not constitute rape, and three percent were undecided. Eighty percent of females polled say marital rape was feasible in these circumstances, while only 53 percent of men said these actions would constitute rape.

CONTROVERSY ARISES OVER FUNDS FROM INCOMING PHONE CALLS—07/03/07
There are conflicting views about the status of over $28 million in legal fees paid to an attorney from the Universal Access Fund. This payment is considered by some to be outside of established government procurement guidelines. Adrian Strachan, Auditor General, maintains the money in the Fund is public money, but Minett Palmer, attorney-at-law who received the payments, says the money does not belong to the State.

UNEMPLOYED MOTHERS CAN HELP ADDRESS CHILD POVERTY—07/04/07
Betty-Ann Blaine of the advocacy group, Hear The Children’s Cry, believes that giving jobs to unemployed mothers is a major factor in addressing child poverty. According to the Office of the Children’s Advocate, the local child poverty rate is higher than the national incidence rate by 7.7 percent. The child poverty rate totals 22 percent. If mothers are given jobs, says Blaine, their children will be taken care of.

JLP ACCUSES GOVERNMENT OF ABUSE OF TRUST—07/05/07
Karl Samuda, General Secretary of the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), accuses the Ministry of Industry, Technology, Energy, and Commerce of abusing the public trust by publishing achievements of the Ministry in a newspaper supplement. Samuda says the publication gives the government an unfair advantage at a time when there is a contest for state power. Samuda has asked Bishop Herro Blair, the Political Ombudsman, to investigate the issue and make a ruling.

TEACHERS RECEIVE GOLDEN TORCH AWARDS—07/06/07
Yvonne Malabver, who lost her sight to diabetes in 2003, continued to teach mathematics in her classroom for an additional five months before taking early retirement in 2004. The former senior teacher at Spanish Town High School, and 273 other educators from across Jamaica, were honored with Golden Torch Awards at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston. The award was established by the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) in 1991 to honor those who have been teaching for 35 years or longer.

YOUNG PEOPLE WILL VOTE IF POLITICIANS TALK ABOUT ISSUES—07/06/07
Some young people in Jamaica say they will not participate in the upcoming election until the major parties provide a clear vision for the country’s future. Sriya Smalling, a student at Northern Caribbean University (NCU) demands a vision and practical information telling her what her role is in changing the country. Smalling has decided not to vote, citing the lack of clearly articulated plans from both the People’s National Party and the Jamaica Labor Party.

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JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
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YOUNG JAMAICAN PILOT COMPLETES SOLO FLIGHT—06/30/07
Captain Barrington Irving, Jr., 23, completed his 97-day solo flight around the world, landing at the Opa Locka Airport in Miami. Captain Irving, who is Jamaican born, is the youngest and first black individual to make such a solo flight. He said his mission was to inspire inner city children so they could fulfill their dreams. Irving faced snowstorms, sandstorms, hurricanes, and monsoons on his trip, which took him across 27 countries.

JAMAICAN MAN IN ALABAMA ARRESTED ON SEX CHARGE—06/30/07
Euyclyn Ellis, 21, an employee at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Alabama, has been charged with second-degree sodomy for an incident involving a 13-year-old girl. Investigators said the alleged crime occurred on hotel grounds, but Ellis was not working at the time, and the girl was not a guest at the hotel. It is unclear why either was on hotel property at the time. The girl, who lives in a neighboring community, reported the incident to police. Ellis has been suspended from his job and could lose it permanently, since being on hotel grounds after working hours is considered employee misconduct.

FEWER JAMAICANS RECEIVE IMMIGRANT VISAS TO UK, US, AND CANADA—07/01/07
According to the Planning Institute of Jamaica, there was a 34-percent decrease in the migration from Jamaica between 1995 and 2006. There was an even sharper decrease between 2004 and 2006. The decline in 2006 was the lowest since the 1961 pre-Independence era. The figures reflect the fact that fewer Jamaicans are obtaining immigrant visas to the United States, Britain, and Canada as a result of stricter border controls and more stringent immigration policies by those countries.

ACTIVE ELECTION ROLE DESIRED BY JAMAICAN DIASPORA—07/03/07
Jamaicans in the Diaspora are not eligible to vote, but they say they refuse to be left out of the activities linked to the General Election. Marlon Hill, a representative of the Jamaican Diaspora in Southern Florida, says Jamaicans in the Diaspora can make a valuable contribution, despite not being able to affect the vote directly. Hill says that Jamaicans overseas will be engaged in the election process, will be listening to the public and private sector, and have moved to engage with candidates in the coming poll.

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SPORTS
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JAMAICAN SWIMMERS EARN 13 MEDALS IN EL SALVADOR—07/02/07
Swimmers from Jamaican brought home 13 medals after six days of competition at the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championship in El Salvador. The Jamaican team won three gold medals, six silver medals, and four bronze medals. The team finished twelfth in the medal count and ninth overall, earning 146 points. Natasha Moodie won a gold medal in the 15-17 girls’ 50-meter freestyle competition, achieving a new national record of 26.61 seconds.

REGGAE BOYZ DEFEATED BY IRAN—07/03/07
The Reggae Boyz of Jamaica experienced a terrible loss by 49th-ranked Iran at the end of a four-game tour of Asia in Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran. The Boyz lost 8 to 1 in what has been characterized as a “gutless display.” The Jamaicans, who are ranked 68th in the world, received one of the worst defeats in the country’s history.

JAMAICANS TO COMPETE IN PAN AM GAMES—07/03/07
Jamaica will be represented at the 15th Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by 156 individuals, including 110 athletes and 46 officials. The games will be held from July 12 to 26, 2007. Jamaica plans to compete in ten areas, including women’s football and equestrian.

JAMAICAN WANTS TO PROMOTE CYCLING IN HOME COUNTRY—07/04/07
Ricardo Lynch, who used to live in Jamaica, says his country has few cycling coaches, no junior cycling programs, and very few opportunities for adult cyclists. Lynch wants to change all this and plans to rejuvenate cycling in Jamaica by become the nation’s first rider to win an Olympic medal in a sport other than track and field. The last rider to do so was David Weller in 1980.

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DEVOTIONAL
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Making Things Right

During my formative years attending Sunday School, I liked the Biblical character Zacchaeus (Luke 19). Here was a short, rich publican, a sinner, who had to climb up into a sycamore tree to see Jesus as He passed through his town. I do not know what provoked his curiosity, but I’m sure he didn’t realize that his encounter with the Son of God would change his life from the day forward. Isn’t that just like Jesus? Any genuine encounter with Him, and a person cannot stay the same.

On this particular day as Zacchaeus perched in the tree, Luke tells us that Jesus, having got to where the tree was, looked up, and said unto him “Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully” (vv. 5, 6). What intrigues me is what followed: “Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold” (V.8). That latter half of that verse speaks to restitution – the act of restoring to a previous state. It is a tragedy of our times that the Church has lost this practice. It is not unusual for brethren to hurt / offend each other, sometimes unknowingly, but the ball and chain tied to our feet and retarding our spiritual progress is our inability to go and make things right with a brother or sister.

It is instructive that Jesus coupled restitution and reconciliation as a crucial part of genuine worship: “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Matthew 5:22, 23). Maybe somewhere within, Zacchaeus knew that there was no way he could have meaningful fellowship with Christ without first making things right with his fellow men.

There is something in that for all of us. Is there someone you need to make things right with? Sure there may be many reasons why you may not want to do it, but bear in mind that it is your relationship with the Lord that is at stake. May God give us the grace to step out in faith, and reach out to that someone, so we can be free to worship in spirit, and just as importantly, in truth. The Father seeketh such to worship Him (John 4:23).

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.