THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
JAMAICAN READY FOR ELECTIONS, ACCORDING TO OAS—09/01/07
Albert R. Ramdin, Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) and head of the OAS’ Electoral Observation Mission to Jamaica, reports that authorities have addressed the problems associated with Hurricane Dean. The country is ready to hold the General Elections, says Ramdin, who also welcomed the call made jointly by the political parties for an end to election violence. Ramdin encouraged citizens to vote in a peaceful and orderly way, noting that a vote is a “privilege and a responsibility” in a democratic country.
GOVERNMENT LIBERALIZATION BOOSTS TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY—09/02/07
The telecommunications industry of Jamaica has become increasingly important since the government liberalized the market in 1999. The liberalization has created a major group of service providers, which has grown from one provider in 2000 to over 200 providers and associated firms in 2007. The Telecommunications Act of 2000 helped to increase competition, enhance the focus on customers, reduce costs in some instances, and enrich the number of service choices.
HURRICANE DEAN IS A POLITICAL FORCE IN GENERAL ELECTION—09/02/07
Although Hurricane Dean hit Jamaica two weeks ago, it remains a political force that could help to remove Portia Simpson Miller, the nation’s first woman prime minister, from office and end almost 20 years of rule by the People’s National Party (PNP). The storm factors into what was already a tight race between Simpson Miller of the PNP and Bruce Golding, leader of the opposition Jamaica Labor Party (JLP). Both parties have criticized each other’s reaction to Hurricane Dean, but polls indicate that the Prime Minister has taken the brunt of the criticism. According to recent polls, 42 percent of votes favor the JLP, compared to 38 percent for the PNP.
POLITICAL VIOLENCE HINDERS JAMAICAN DEVELOPMENT—09/03/07
Jamaica has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Over 1,600 Jamaicans were killed in 2005, most of them young men murdered in gang-related shootings. According to the World Bank, if Jamaica lowered its murder rate by one-third, it would see double its current economic growth. Gangs are not the only killers on the island, and the government itself has found that police killed 277 individuals in 2006. In recent weeks, there has been a police killing almost every day.
SIMPSON MILLER DEMANDS VOTE RECOUNT—09/04/07
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller asked for a recount of the General Election votes after a narrow win was given to the opposition Jamaican Labor Party (JLP). Simpson Miller says that the difference is so small in the vote tally – 31 to 29 – that she “cannot accept” defeat until the votes are counted again. The recount could last as long as three days. Simpson Miller says there were “too many irregularities” that call the election results into question. The final count provided 31 legislative seats to the JLP and 29 to the PNP.
JAMAICANS ARE WORLD DOMINO CHAMPIONS FOR 2007—09/05/07
Arnett Ramsey and Rohan Lynch, both Jamaican nationals, won the title with a 3-1 victory in the best of five sets finale at the championships. Ramsey and Lynch played in a field of domino players representing six countries. Over 100 players participated for cash and other incentive, as well as the chance to compete for the title of World Domino Championships of 2007.
JLP APPEARS TO WIN GENERAL ELECTION BY NARROW MARGIN—09/06/07
The Jamaica Labor Party will effectively end the 18-year reign of the People’s National Party as a result of its narrow victory in Jamaica’s general election. According to preliminary counts, the JLP will receive 31 of the 60 seats in parliament
GOLDING MUST WAIT TO BE SWORN IN AS PRIME MINISTER—09/07/07
Bruce Golding, leader of the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), which won the general election, may have to wait a week before being sworn into his new position as Prime Minister. According to the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ), returning officers must wait for a period of seven days after declaring a candidate “elected” before returning the writ of election to the Director of Elections. The seventh day from the final count in most constituencies is September 13.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
GOLDEN KRUST FOUNDATION HONORS JAMAICANS—09/01/07
The Mavis & Ephraim Hawthorne Golden Krust Foundation, based in New York, has honored Gordon Shirley, Ambassador to the United States, and Dr. Basil K. Bryan, Consul General to New York, and other Jamaican professionals in the U.S. for their achievements in education, justice, entertainment, government, and business. Dr. Bryan was honored for his “selfless commitment” to uplifting the Jamaican community and for performing his duties with dignity.
JAMAICAN MUSICIANS REACH OUT AROUND THE WORLD—09/02/07
Jamaican reggae and dancehall musicians are having an impact on nations as far away from the island as China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Middle East. Reggae, in spite of being the youngest of musical genres, is very influential. Glen Browne, bass player, says that Israel is a good place for touring as well.
JAMAICAN-BORN PHYSICIST MAKES GOOD—09/03/07
Dr. Lisa Borland, who was born in Jamaica but left the island with her parents due to political unrest in the 1970s, works with theoretical ideas from physics to understand patterns and dynamics in financial systems. She works with Evnine & Associates Inc. in San Francisco, California, in the new field of econo-physics. This field applies physical principles to economic problems. Dr. Borland is one of the first physicists to work in the financial industry.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA READY TO WORK WITH JLP AFTER ELECTION—09/04/07
The diasporic community of Jamaica is prepared to work with the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) if it wins the General Election and forms a new government. Dr. Harold Mignott, representative of the Jamaican Diaspora Northeast chapter, which includes a million Jamaicans in the states of New York, Washington D.C., New Jersey, Boston, Connecticut, and Maryland, says his organization congratulates the JPS for its election victory and said he is eager to work with the new government to move the nation forward.
CAMPBELL OBTAINS SEASON’S BEST IN 100 METERS IN JAPAN—09/01/07
Veronica Campbell of Jamaica had a time of 22.34 seconds in the 100 meters to reach the season’s best time and to receive her second medal at the 11th Annual IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan. Campbell was second only to the American Allyson Felix, who obtained a personal best with 21.81 for the gold medal in the 100 meters. Campbell said it was a great race and that she is happy with how she performed. “I have achieved a lot in these championships,” she said.
USAIN BOLT PLEDGES TO BEAT TYSON GAY—09/02/07
Usain Bolt, a top Jamaican 200-meter runner, has promised to defeat Tyson Gay of the United States “eventually.” Bolt recognizes that the America is the leader in the 200-meter environment for the moment, but he pledges to beat Gay next season. Gay won the gold medal and completed the sprint double by winning the half-lap sprint in 19.76 seconds, a championship record. Bolt ran with a time of 19.91 seconds and received a silver medal for the event.
JAMAICAN MANAGER PRAISES IAAF TEAM—09/03/07
The manager of Jamaica’s 46 team athletes who traveled to competed in the 11th IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan, calls the country’s winning of 10 medals a “major success.” Manager Watts believes the overall performance of the athletes was “quite good,” although he noted that there were “quite a few areas” that could have been improved. Jamaica finished the Championships with one gold medal, six silver medals, and three bronze medals. Veronica Campbell was the top individual performer for Jamaica. She received a gold medal for the 100 meters and a silver medal for the 200 meters.
KERR TO PARTICIPATE IN CYCLING CHAMPIONSHIPS IN BARBADOS—09/05/07
Ricardo Kerr is slated to become Jamaica’s only representative to the rescheduled second Caribbean Junior Road race. Kenneth Kerr is recovering from the injuries he received in a recent auto accident.
Praying For Our Ministers
In recent times, the Body of Christ in North America has been hit with a series of high profile scandals involving some in high profiled positions. From sex scandals, divorces, domestic violence, financial impropriety, to name a few, these behaviors have been hurtful, not only to those who are victims, but also to the whole Church. These revelations have caused much public comment, not only from those with legitimate concerns, but also those who are its constant critics. All told, it is as if the Church is under siege. Unfortunately, this is not a new phenomenon. Looking back over the centuries, the Church has both suffered and survived devastating experiences caused by errant clergy / ministers.
In this uneasy environment, it is easy to lose hope. If these Christian leaders, who we assume are close to God, are failing, what hope is there for the rest of us? Yet these difficult times serves as a great reminder for us to look closely at in whom is our faith based. When our faith is based on the Church’s ministers, it can be destroyed as their failures come to light. The Old Testament is a great resource in which to find flawed messengers of God, yet the most compelling thing is not so much the messenger, as it is the message. Our faith must be rooted in God and His Word. No matter how many body blows it suffers, Jesus emphatically stated of the Church, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18, KJV), or as in the Amplified, “shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it].”
Despite how it looks, God is still in control. Paul wrote to Timothy, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Tim. 1:12, KJV). We do not have to lose heart in the face of the scandals and criticism. The Church is still the Body of Christ, and I’m sure He knows just exactly how to take care of it. As we anchor our faith in our Lord only, we are best reminded of the words of Henry Ward Beecher: “The Church is not a gallery for the exhibition of eminent Christians, but a school for the education of imperfect ones.”
Let us be in much prayer for ministers who are still standing true to their calling, and while praying, let’s also remember those who have fallen; that God will bring healing and restoration, and that restitution will take place where necessary. Regardless of what we may think of them, they are still our brothers and sisters in the Lord.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.