THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
JEVENE BENT TO ACT AS HEAD OF JAMAICA CONSTABULARY FORCE—10/20/07
Deputy Commissioner of Police Jevene Bent has been named to act as the head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) until a new Police Commissioner is appointed. The new commissioner will replace Lucius Thomas who will leave office at the end of October. Bent is a 31-year veteran of the police force and the highest ranked woman in the local police force and in the Caribbean region. She made history in 2004 when she first acted as Police Commissioner.
DR. UNA CLARKE OPPOSES NATURALIZED AMERICANS IN OFFICE—10/21/07
Dr. Una Tomlinson-Clarke, the first Caribbean woman to be on the Council of the 40th District, Brooklyn, New York, is urging Jamaicans to return to their roots in order to restore Jamaica’s social and psychological health. “Jamaica must uphold her own values, her own mission,” says Clarke. It is not possible to be an American and a Jamaican at the same time, she says. Clarke opposes naturalized Americans who return to Jamaica and try to run for public office.
MICHAEL STERN IN GUYANA FOR RICE CHECK—10/22/07
Michael Stern, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Investment of Jamaica, is visiting Guyana to determine that nation’s ability to provide rice for the market in Jamaica. The island needs more rice from Guyana, says Stern. An earlier meeting had been held to discuss the rice trade between Guyana and Jamaica after Jamaica indicated that it would import rice from the United States. Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud assured the Ministers at that meeting that Guyana had the potential to meet Jamaica’s demand and would expand its supply to the country. Stern has traveled to Guyana to confirm that commitment and to observe developments in the rice industry.
DR. OMAR DAVIES DESCRIBES CHALLENGES FACING GOVERNMENT—10/23/07
Dr. Omar Davies, former Finance Minister, says that the existence of several macroeconomic variables will mean serious difficulties for the new government and its efforts to grow Jamaica’s economy. Davies has been critical of the new administration for making lots of “promises” but not addressing critical issues in an open manner.
JAMAICAN PATHOLOGIST SAYS WOOLMER WAS STRANGLED—10/23/07
Dr. Ere Sheshiah, Jamaican government pathologist, performed the autopsy on Bob Woolmer, Pakistan cricket coach, who died in March 2007 at a Jamaican hotel. Dr. Sheshiah maintains that Woolmer, 58, was strangled and died of asphyxia and pesticide poisoning. He holds to his conclusion despite testimony from foreign pathologists stating that the Jamaican doctor’s techniques did not meet international standards or that the autopsy findings were misinterpreted.
COURT IN JAMAICA WANTS BEENIE MAN ARRESTED—10/24/07
A Jamaican court magistrate has issued a warrant for the arrest of reggae and dancehall star, Moses Davis, who is better known as “Beenie Man.” The judge issued the warrant after Davis did not appear at a court hearing to answer charges of tax evasion. Owen Parkin, Resident Magistrate presiding over the case, says he was surprised that Davis did not show up in court. According to the Revenue Department, Davis owes US$661,971.
JAMAICANS SADDENED BY MURDER OF LUCKY DUBE—10/25/07
The murder of Lucky Dube, reggae singer from South Africa, has had an emotional impact on Jamaicans, who knew and appreciate his music and his message of peace and goodwill. Lucky Dube was killed by carjackers in front of his children in Rosettenville, a suburb of Johannesburg. Lucky Dube was inspired by Jamaica’s Peter Tosh, who was murdered by gunmen at his home in Barbican, St. Andrew in 1987.
JLP AND PNP SEPARATED BY ONLY FOUR SEATS—10/26/07
The governing Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) and the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) are separated by four seats following a court declaration that Dr. D.K. Duncan won the Eastern Hanover seat. The JLP has 32 seats in the House of Representatives, which has a total of 60 seats. The PNP has moved up to 28 seats in the House.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICANS HARVEST FRUIT IN VERMONT—10/20/07
A crew of 50 Jamaican men harvests apples at Southern Vermont Orchards in Bennington, Vermont. By the middle of October, only eight men remain on the job. The others have returned to the island before the first frost. The remaining workers pick strawberries and raspberries. Some of these men have been coming to work in the orchards since 1980, and all entered an agriculture program sponsored by the Ministry of Labor in Jamaica. The program places the men randomly on American farms as orders come in for work. If their employer likes their work, the men in the program can be asked back every year until they can no longer work due to age. The motivation of the men for leaving their home is a dream of a better future for their children.
BOTTLE OF RUM FROM 1940s TO GO ON DISPLAY—10/21/07
A bottle of rum made by Wray and Nephew, Jamaican distillers, was bottled in the 1940s using different blends. One of the blends was approximately 25 years old at the time, which means that some of the liquid in the bottle dates to about 1915. It is believed to be the most expensive bottle of rum in the world and is valued at 26,000 English pounds. It is one of only four unopened bottles in the world, and it will be displayed at RumFest, Europe’s first rum festival, in London. Supplies of this rum ran out after the Mai Tai cocktail was invented in 1934. The cocktail used the 17-year-old Wray and Nephew rum.
CONSTRUCTION WORKERS HAPPY IN CANADA—10/22/07
Barrington Bailey, Deputy Chief Liaison Officers for the Canadian Overseas Employment Program, reports that 11 young construction workers are doing “exceptionally well” in Canada and feel they are “ambassadors” for their country. The workers left Jamaican in September for jobs in British Columbia. Bailey says the workers have adapted well to the climate and are motivating other workers there.
NEW GOVERNMENT ASKS DIASPORA TO HELP WITH TOURISM—10/23/07
The newly elected administration headed by Bruce Golding is appealing to Jamaicans in the Diaspora for aid in improving the island’s tourism sector. Edmund Bartlett, Tourism Minister, was in New York at the Jamaica Consulate where he stated that nationals have a “very important” role in Jamaica’s development. The Diaspora is “central” to building tourism and ensuring that tourism drives the island’s economy, Bartlett says.
JAMAICA VICTORIOUS OVER WEST INDIES UNDER-19s—10/20/07
A 71 from Chris Gayle led Jamaica to a nine-wicket win over the West Indies Under-19s at Enmore. The victory confirms the team’s place in the KFC Cup semi-finals. The Jamaican skipper was Man-of-the-Match and had 50-ball innings as Jamaica reached 112 for one in 13 overs after the West Indies Under-19s crashed to 110 all out in 36.4 overs.
JAMAICA’S FEMALE FOOTBALLERS PLAY IN COLLEGE LEAGUE IN U.S.—10/23/07
Omolyn Davis and Kimmia Parker are “kicking up a storm” with the Blue Raiders from Lindsey Wilson College in the United States. Davis, a midfielder, scored twice in a 3-0 victory over Auburn University Montgomery. This puts her total at nine goals from 16 games. Davis has 10 assists, which makes her the top player on the team at 28 points. Parker has 10 goals and six assists for a total of 26 points.
JAMAICAN BATSMAN’S FUTURE UNCERTAIN—10/24/07
The international future of Wavell Hinds, Jamaican batsman, could be in doubt because of his signing a one-year contract with the English Derbyshire side as a Kolpak player. Under the Kolpak agreement, Hinds will not be listed as a player based overseas. Hinds is currently missing a regional one-day match because of an earlier suspension by the Jamaica Cricket Association. If Hinds is called to the regional side, he will be required to rescind the non-overseas status and his contract.
JAMAICAN BOXERS LOOK FOR PLACE AT OLYMPIC GAMES—10/2407
Nicholas Walters, Jamaican and Caribbean featherweight boxing champion, and Ricardo Smith, bronze medalist at the Pan American games, have started their efforts at the AIBA World Boxing Championship in Chicago with a weigh-in and draw. The match is the first qualifying event for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which will be attended by boxers from 109 nations.
What would you do if after leaving your home this morning, and arriving at your destination, you received a series of phone calls that everything you owned, loved, and cherished, including the people nearest and dearest to your heart, were all destroyed? For most of us, it is something we’ve never thought about because not only is it hard to know just exactly how we would react, but the thought of such losses is simply unimaginable. Some of us would simply lose our minds, some would be in life-long therapy, for others, there would be nothing left worth living for. In Proverbs 18:14 sums it up well, “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?”
The situation above speaks directly to the experiences of Job, of whom God said, “there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil” (Job 1:8). In some quarters, there would have been those who would have thought surely Job must have some sins in his life for all that tragedy to come upon him, yet that was definitely not the case. Bad things do happen to good people, but the challenge is in the response to the situation. Job’s initial reaction wasn’t to go running to his neighbours for support and sympathy, or to shake his fist in the face of God screaming “Why?”, but he “arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped” (1:20). His personal world had fallen apart, but he worshipped! Instead of thinking horizontally, even in the midst of calamity he maintained his vertical thinking. He worshipped, saying, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (v.21). What tremendous spiritual conviction! Unlike what some of us would do, he refused to blame God for the events, choosing instead to acknowledge God’s Sovereignty over his life. God giveth, and He also had the power to take, but in all things, blessed be the name of the Lord. Despite his grief, we are told “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (v.22).
Just what exactly did Job lose? Ten children, seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred she asses, and a very great household, “so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east” (vv.2-3). Is your faith of such that you could worship God in the midst of such incalculable personal loss? Everything we own is simply on loan, and we would do well to hold on to them lightly. The benevolent God who gave them to us can just as quickly take them away. Of course, Job was not aware that this was a test, but he would later discover that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
Steadfast faith. How would yours hold up? I pray God that we will all be able to demonstrate it, when called upon.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.