THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
OPPOSITION WIN CONFIRMED IN JAMAICAN GENERAL ELECTIONS—09/08/07
The Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) is ready to assume power once again after 18 years. The JLP’s Bruce Golding was confirmed as the winner of the General Election. Certified election results indicate that the JLP headed by Golding won 33 seats, compared to 27 seats for the People’s National Party (PNP). Golding will be sworn in as Prime Minister in about a week. Current Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller accepted the election’s outcome, but had suggested that her party might challenge some of the results. The election was delayed one week after Hurricane Dean caused damage throughout the island. The JLP received a two-seat lead in preliminary results, so election workers spent three days recounting the ballots to confirm the party’s win.
JAMAICA A LEADER IN THE CALL-CENTER INDUSTRY—09/09/07
Companies like AOL, a unit of Time Warner Inc., from the United States are making the Caribbean a new international “hub” for call centers. Decreasing communications costs, employees who can relate to American customers, and the famous hospitality in the region are attracting more American companies and enhancing the job outlook for the “nearshore” service industry. Jamaica has about 14,000 people working in this sector. Robert Goodwin, manager of AOL, says the Caribbean seems positive “as opposed to the surly attitudes you have in some of the other places.” He says the area has “cheery weather” and “cheery people.”
JAMAICA INN RANKED AMONG TOP 100 HOTELS IN THE WORLD—09/10/07
Jamaica Inn received a ranking of 49 among the world’s best hotels as listed by Travel+Leisure magazine’s 12th annual World’s Best awards readers’ survey. According to Mary Phillips, who has managed the hotel for five and a half years, part of the Inn’s charm is its location, but much of the appeal of the hotel has to do with its service and hospitality. Phillips calls her staff “amazing” and says they work “incredibly hard.” Jamaica Inn enjoys a 60-percent repeat business. Phillips speculates that many of the guests return because of the hugs given out by the staff. “They call us the ‘huggy hotel,’ she laughs.
ALCOA DAMAGES FROM HURRICANE REACH $10 MILLION—09/11/07
Alcoa Inc. estimates that damages Hurricane Dean made to a Jamaican port and refinery will cost the firm approximately $10 million in business interruption, lost production, and repairs. The company expects to account for most of the costs in its third quarter. A recently completed damage assessment of Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals refinery and port in Jamaica, known as Jamalco, happened at the port and will need major repairs and temporary logistical support while repairs are going on. Alcoa is limiting production to half of capacity, but plans for full operation by early in November 2007.
GOVERNMENT MINISTRIES SHREDDING DOCUMENTS AFTER ELECTION—09/11/07
A number of government ministries have started to shred official, political, and personal documents ahead of the coming change in Jamaica’s administration. The destruction of the documents is viewed by some observers as a deliberate attempt to hid potential evidence of corruption. However, Dr. Carlton Davis, Cabinet secretary, says the document shredding represents a protocol of long duration and dates back to the 1950s. The Cabinet papers of ministers leaving office are usually destroyed, according to Dr. Davis. Davis also noted that any administration can obtain the contents of the documents because there is a permanent record of them in the Cabinet Office.
UK, NEW JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT TO REASSERT TIES—09/12/07
Margaret (Meg) Munn, Foreign Office Minister of Britain, cemented diplomatic ties with the new Government of Jamaica as she ended a four-day visit to the island. Munn, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State, met with Prime Minister designate Bruce Golding. Noting that this is a time of change, Munn said the UK was interested in talking with the new government as soon as possible in order to continue the work being done with Jamaica. The UK sees Jamaica as a “key area” in the Caribbean.
GOLDING PROMISES TOUGH APPROACH ON CRIME—09/13/07
Bruce Golding, Jamaica’s new Prime Minister, has promised to take a harder line with crime. He wants to resume executions, give police officers improved forensics training and equipment, put more police into “trouble spots,” and modernize the backlogged judicial system. Golding has long been a critic of his political opponents, saying they have been “falling backward” on crime. Golding wants to address crime’s “social causes” by creating jobs and improving basic services as well.
GOLDING NAMES CABINET OF 18 MEMBERS—09/14/07
Making good on his promise to eliminate the Ministry of Local Government, Prime Minister Bruce Golding named 18 individuals to his new Cabinet, four more members than were named by his predecessor, Portia Simpson Miller. Golding’s Cabinet will include 15 ministries, up from the 13 created by Simpson Miller. Golding will take the portfolios of Defense, Planning, and Development as well as the position of Prime Minister. Audley Shaw will be Minister of Finance and Public Service. Derrick Smith was named Minister of National Security. Dr. Kenneth Baugh will take the position of deputy prime minister and the job of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. Delroy Chuck, Spokesman on Justice for the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), will receive the nomination for Speaker of the House, while Dorothy Lightbourne has been named the first woman Attorney-General for the country, as well as Justice Minister.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN STUDENTS WIN ESSAY COMPETITION IN FLORIDA—09/08/07
Salome Messam, 18, and Briana M. Wright, 12, have won the annual Jamaica Independence Essay Competition. The contest is organized by the Jamaica Information Service’s (JIS) office in Miami. The essay competition challenges students to write about the history and culture of Jamaica, as well as to address issues that affect Jamaican communities overseas. Salome wrote her impression of how Jamaicans in the Diaspora contributed to nation-building. Briana wrote about the excellent work being done by charitable organizations in her area.
JAMAICA PROGRESSIVE LEAGUE HONORS SEVEN IN NEW YORK—09/09/07
Seven individuals will be honored at the 71st anniversary dinner and awards presentation ceremony of the Jamaica Progressive League (JPL) in New York. The seven, who include former Governor-General Sir Howard Cooke, are recognized for supporting the organization and providing outstanding service to the Jamaican community in New York for a number of years. Other honorees include Adolfo Carrion, president of the Borough of the Bronx; Dr. Karl Rodney, publisher of the Carib News in New York and a former president of the JPL: Dr. Basil K. Bryan, consul-general of Jamaica; Dr. Julius Garvey, community activist and son of Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican national hero; Robert “Bob” DeSouza, CEO of Trans-Continental Express Shippers; and Solomon Goodrich, historian and chair of the Southeast Queens Association in New York.
REGGAE MUSICIAN CONQUERS SPANISH AUDIENCES—09/10/07
I Jah Bones, reggae musician, performs his songs in Spanish for chiefly Spanish fans. Also known as Ronald Thomas, I Jah Bones was born in Jamaica, but now lives in New York and often travels to countries in Latin America. Thomas never thought he would spread reggae to Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and Venezuela. He has learned to speak fluent Spanish and plays with Spanish reggae artists.
FUNDRAISER FOR JAMAICAN WORKERS TO BE HELD IN NOVA SCOTIA—09/13/07
The Erskine United Church in Glenholme, Nova Scotia, will hold a musical variety night on September 23 to support the Jamaican workers living in Glenholme whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Dean. Reverend Don McQueen said the church wanted to hold the benefit to show community support for the workers. The evening will feature a 28-member Jamaican gospel choir.
JAMAICAN ATHLETES PERFORMED WELL IN JAPAN—09/08/07
The depth of Jamaica’s track and field athletes was on display at the 11th IAAF Championships in Osaka, Japan. The athletes brought back a record number of medals from Nagai Stadium. Jamaicans won ten medals and took overall eighth position in a field of 203 nations. The top performer was Veronica Campbell, who won the only gold medal. Campbell took the gold in the 100 meters and silver medals in the 200 meters and the 4×100 meter relay.
ASAFA POWELL BETTERS HIS OWN WORLD RECORD—09/09/07
The “fastest man in the world,” Jamaica’s Asafa Powell, improved upon his own world record in the 100 meters at the Rieti Grand Prix in Rieti, Italy. Powell ran the 100 meters in 9.74 seconds. Powell said his performance improved when he started to “listen to the coach.” Powell wanted to remind his fans that he is “still here,” saying “I made a couple of mistakes, and I corrected them.”
OUTGOING, INCOMING PRIME MINISTERS CONGRATULATE POWELL—09/10/07
Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, who will leave office following her defeat in the General Election, and Prime Minister designate, Bruce Golding, both offered congratulations to Asafa Powell for his recording-breaking victory in Rieti, Italy. Simpson Miller noted Powell’world-record run of 9.74 seconds in the IAAF Grand Prix contest, saying that his race “underpins the true Jamaican spirit” in his “ability to rebound after a major disappointment.” Bruce Golding, Prime Minister designate, lauded Powell’s lowering of his own world record. It showed his “resilience and ability to bounce back,” said Golding.
U-23 FOOTBALLERS MOVE ON TO CFU OLYMPIC GAMES QUALIFIERS—09/12/07
The Under-23 footballers of Jamaica have essentially achieved a place in the next stage of the CFU Olympic Games qualifiers by defeating Barbados at the Complehjo Deportive Guillermo Trinidad. The Jamaicans won 1 to 0. Ricardo Cousins, stand-in skipper, scored the goal with an excellent 25-yeard freekick, which received cheers of appreciation from the crowd of fans watching the match in Oranjestad, Aruba.
Looking At Ourselves
Someone once said, “Beware of no man more than thyself”, and there’s a lot of truth in that statement. Left to our own devices, we’re bent on seeing ourselves through rose colored glasses; not as good as we ought to be, but not as bad as the other guy. We’re prone to self-deceit, thinking of ourselves to be things that we’re not; quick to see that which is wrong in others, while being totally blind to those things which are wrong in us. Our perspective is flawed, and we’re woefully ignorant to it.
Yet none of this is new. Solomon reminds us, “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes” (Proverbs 16:2a). Bible Commentator Matthew Henry noted, “We are all apt to be partial in judging of ourselves: All the ways of a man, all his designs, all his doings, are clean in his own eyes, and he sees nothing amiss in them, nothing for which to condemn himself.” In and of itself, this is the greatest tragedy because by not recognizing our own shortcomings, we are in no position to ask God to help us to correct them. It’s no wonder Thomas Benton Brooks prayed, “Deliver me, O Lord, from that evil man, myself.”
Scripture reminds us, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). When we accept Jesus as Lord, He forgives our sins and covers us with His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21), but let’s not lose sight of the fact that we are who we are, in Christ, because of God’s grace. So, as we rub shoulders with others who may be struggling in different areas of their lives, let us think often of our own sin. It is only then we can be lenient to the sins and failures of others.
Have you ever looked at yourself using the Word as a mirror? Are you able to see yourself for who you truly are?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.