THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
SCHOOLGIRL PLEADS GUILTY IN ACID ATTACK INCIDENT—07/14/07
A 16-year-old Jamaican schoolgirl has been remanded for sentencing on July 31, 2007, in connection with throwing a corrosive substance on five children and two adults in May 2007. The girl has pled guilty to a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent. The incident occurred in Torrington Park in Kingston.
NEW PLAN TO HELP THE HOMELESS TO BE IMPLEMENTED—07/15/07
The Government has increased its role in providing support for homeless people in Jamaica. It latest effort involves the drafting of a new strategic plan to create and improve shelters and care facilities in all of the country’s parishes. A pilot project is already underway near the Bellevue Hospital on Windward Road in East Kingston.
PRIME MINISTER CALLS FOR ELECTION “MATURITY”—07/16/07
Portia Simpson Miller, Prime Minister, rebuked Bruce Golding, Opposition Leader, for his comments predicting stronger political tensions. She insists that Jamaicans are not “irredeemably violent.” Simpson Miller was responding to criticisms that the very long election campaign period, which does not end until the poll on August 27, 2007, may lead to bloodshed.
PARTY LEADERS DENOUNCE VIOLENCE< INTIMIDATION—07/17/07
Jamaica’s two major political partiers, the People’s National Party (PNP) and the Opposition Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), expressed serious concern about the acts of political violence and intimidation and other breaches of the Political Code of Conduct occurring during the election campaign. The general secretary of the JLP, Karl Samuda, and Dr. Paul Robertson, campaign director for the PNP, said they are “very concerned” with the number of violent incidents that have occurred thus far. There are still 41 days before the national polls on August 27, and both parties have accused each other of breaches of the Code of Conduct.
KISSES FROM THE PRIME MINISTER—07/18/07
Derrick Smith, Member of Parliament for North West St. Andrew and the deputy leader of the Jamaica Labor Party, received seven kisses from Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller at a symbolic signing of the Political Code of Conduct for the five constituencies. The date of the signing may have been selected to reflect Simpson Miller’s apparent fascination for the number 7.
The number 7 has been discussed often since July 8, 2007, when Simpson Miller announced the date of the general election, August 27, and Nomination Day, August 7. She also announced a 7-day period of prayer, which suggested that she was giving a nod to the Law of the Sevens from Pastor Phillip Phinn. Simpson Miller is Jamaica’s 7th Prime Minister, and Phinn said she has been chosen by God to govern a country that has 7×2 parishes, the 7th-best natural harbor in the world, and seven national heroes.
SOLDIERS OF JDF TO PERFORM DUTIES AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE—07/19/07
Soldiers from the First Battalion Jamaica Regiment will mount the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace on alternate days for the period of one month. The soldiers will also guard Windsor Castle on several days. The commander of the regiment, Colonel Derek Robinson, says there is strong competition for the chance to come to London and mount the Queen’s Guard. It also requires intense training, and Robinson says his men look forward to the honor of guarding the Queen.
JAMAICAN MUST FACE U.S. DRUG CHARGES—07/19/07
Gareth Lewis, a Jamaican described by prosecutors in the United States as a “major player” in the international drug trade, will be extradited by the Corporate Area Criminal Court. Lewis will not fight his extradition, but his father Jeffrey Lewis, 78 years old and blind, who is also wanted by the U.S. government, will continue his fight against being extradited. The two men were arrested in 2006 during an international anti-drug operation that involved Jamaica and five other nations. Prosecutors in the United States say that the men are members of an international drug network that shipped 1000s of kilograms of cocaine from Colombia into the U.S. since 2005.
UNIVERSITY LECTURER FOUND DEAD—07/20/07
The body of Dr. Peter Vogel, a lecturer at the University of the West Indies (UWI), was found at his home in College Common, Mona, St. Andrew. Vogel’s body was found bound and gagged on the floor of his study by his 10-year-old daughter. While there were no visible marks on his body, police suspect that he was murdered. The incident is being investigated as a robbery at present. Vogel was an award-winning lecturer in zoology at UWI. Much of his work involved the discovery of the Jamaican Iguana in the Hellshire Hills of St. Catherine.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN DIASPORA SOUTHERN U.S. TO CONDUCT FORUM ON ELECTIONS—07/14/07
A community conversation and town hall meeting concerning the national elections in Jamaica will be held by the Jamaican Diaspora Southern United States on July 26, 2007 in Miramar, Florida. Representatives from Jamaica’s two major political parties are invited to discuss the elections with local media and community leaders.
CALLAM TO LEAD BAPTIST WORLD ALLIANCE—07/15/07
The Baptist World Alliance will be led by the Rev. Neville Callam, 56, of Jamaica. Callam is the organization’s first black General Secretary. He is a Jamaican theologian and the first individual outside of North America or Europe to lead the global Baptist organization. Callam has written five books and is a senior pastor in Kingston, Jamaica. He was elected at the Alliance’s General Council on July 6, 2007.
JDF BAND TO PLAY AT CELEBRATIONS IN LONDON—07/15/07
The combined Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) band will highlight the Emancipation and Independence celebrations this year in the United Kingdom. The Jamaica Military and Jamaica Regiment Band, which is in the UK to support the JDF band, engaging in ceremonial duties, which include the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, beginning on July 19, 2007. The orchestra will play additional performances in and around Central London as well.
NYC POLICE SHOOTERS INCLUDE A JAMAICAN—07/16/07
Robert Ellis, 34, a Jamaican migrant, is among those to be charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of a New York City policeman. Ellis is suspected of being the ringleader of a trio of men involved in the shooting, car theft, and other crimes. Ellis served prison sentences for a variety of crimes in the past, including rape, sodomy, burglary, and assault. He was born in St. Andrew, Jamaica.
JAMAICANS WIN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MEDALS—07/14/07
Latoya McDermott and Misha-Gayle DaCosta won two sliver medals at the Fifth IAAF World Youth Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic. McDermott ran the girls’ 400-meter final with a time of 54.12 seconds, the best time ever for Jamaica in this event. Dexter Lee won a gold medal in the 100 meters with a time of 10.50 seconds, while Nickel Ashmeade won a silver medal in the same run with a time of 10.54 seconds. Jamaica has received one gold and three silver medals so far, surpassing its performance at the last Championship match.
JAMAICANS GO FORWARD IN U-19 RUGBY TOURNAMENT—07/16/07
The largest rugby tournament of its kind in the Caribbean region was held in Grand Cayman. The Caribbean portion of the Under-19 competition was run by the International Rugby Board. Six teams competed for a single spot in the next round of the World Cup, which ends in 2008 in Nigeria or France. Jamaica beat Guyana, while the Cayman Islands took third place.
ASAFA POWELL WINS IN ROME—07/16/07
Jamaican Asafa Powell, the world’s fastest man, gained a victory in the 100-meters in the Rome Golden League meet. He won a gold medal with a time of 10.02. His victory came after three weeks of absence from competition due to a groin injury suffered at the Jamaica Invitational in June.
REGGAE BOYZ BEAT ARGENTINA—07/19/07
The Reggae Boyz defeated South America’s Argentina 2-0 in Group C of the men’s competition in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Unfortunately, the Reggae Girls lost 11-1 to Canada in the women’s Group A games. Kaemmar Daley scored both goals for the Boyz in the 80th and 90th minutes. Wendell Downswell, coach of the Reggae Boyz, was very happy with his team’s win. It gives Jamaica the top spot in their group and guarantees them a place in the semi-finals.
American Comedian, the late Clerow “Flip” Wilson, once played a character named Geraldine during which time he uttered the now immortal line, “The Devil made me do it!” As I think of that, I’m reminded of another situation that occurred almost 6,000 years ago in the garden of Eden. According to Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree, they discovered they were naked, hid themselves from God, and when He called out to Adam and asked him what he had done, he replied, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat”. When God questioned Eve, she replied, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” In other words, “The Devil made me do it!” There, from the earliest times in human history, each person passing on the blame. Not much has changed since. In the words of Solomon, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, KJV).
There’s no denying that the Devil tempted Eve, but we should know that he could not make her sin. That ultimate decision was hers to make, and so we read that “when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” God, in His wisdom, had Moses record the three areas of appeal; the tree was good for food, it was pleasant to the eyes, and it would make one wise. Having put all those factors together, and unable to contain her now awakened desire, Eve plucked the fruit from the tree, took the first bite, then shared the rest with her husband.
As tempting and as convenient as it seems, we cannot shift the blame for the choices we make. Sure we are greatly tempted and provoked, but as James reminds us, “every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (1:14). Well meaning ministers speak of the spirit of this, and the spirit of that, as if we are helpless beings being victimized by those spirits into doing things we are not responsible for. We cannot hide behind that thinking. At the end of the day, we are ultimately responsible; we are the ones who will be required to account for our actions.
How do you stack up? Is your excuse like that of the character Geraldine, or can you say like David “I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me” (Psalm 51:3)? When God calls to us, as He did Adam, it is worth remembering that “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart” (v.17), and those He will not despise. May He grant us the grace to accept responsibility for our actions, and having done so, seek to make it right with Him, and those we may have hurt in the process.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.