THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
UNITED NATIONS, OTHERS JOIN TO FIGHT ILLEGAL GUNS—11/10/07
Jamaica’s homicide rate went over 1,000 in October 2007, and a number of community leaders and church representatives have joined forces with the United Nations to battle the problem of illegal guns on the streets. Three workshops addressing the problem will be held. The workshops are designed to bring together people with common interests and experiences in order to find a solution to the problem. The workshops are organized by the UN Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UN-LiREC).
EXPERT TESTIFIES NO PESTICIDE IN WOOLMER SAMPLES—11/11/07
Das Gupta, an expert witness in the inquest concerning the death of Bob Woolmer, Pakistan cricket coach, said he could not find any trace of cypermethrin, a deadly pesticide, in samples taken from Woolmer’s body. Gupta is the head of the pesticide research lab at the University of the West Indies.
JAMAICAN STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN SERVICE DAY ACTIVITIES—11/12/07
Many of Jamaica’s high school student leaders participated in the 2007 Duke of Edinburgh National Day of service by working at hospitals and other locations on the island. In Kingston, students and teachers went to the Bustamante Hospital for Children to do painting and clean-up chores. Schools conducted similar activities at the May Pen and St. Ann’s Bay hospitals as well.
WOMAN COMMITS SUICIDE AFTER LOTTERY SCAM LOSS—11/13/07
Ann Mowle, 72, reportedly committed suicide after losing all of her life savings in a lottery scam based in Jamaica. The American grandmother, who lived in New Jersey, lost $248,000 after receiving a promise of a payout worth $2.5 million. After losing her money, Mowle is believed to have donated her clothes to charity, left her toy poodle at a dog groomer’s, and drove to Spring Lake, where police found her body at the edge of a jetty.
POLICE IN JAMAICAN FIND NO EVIDENCE OF MATCH FIXING—11/14/07
Mark Shields, deputy commissioner of police in Jamaica, testified that he could find no sign of match fixing associated with the death of Bob Woolmer, Pakistan cricket coach. Shields was called to testify at the inquest investigating the cause of Woolmer’s death. Shields noted that investigators considered the book that Woolmer was in the process of publishing when they made their determinations.
HINCHCLIFFE RECEIVES FOURTH THREATENING LETTER—11/15/07
Audrey Hinchcliffe, chief executive officers of Manpower and Maintenance Services Ltd., has received a fourth letter threatening her life. The letter states that Hinchcliffe’s decision to make the contents of the first three letters public would do nothing to prevent her death. The letter was allegedly written by a “concerned nurse” and states that the individual who ordered Hinchcliffe’s death sent US$9,285 (J$659,000) to a hit man to do the job.
SMITH ACCUSES PNP MEMBERS OF MISUSE OF PUBLIC FUNDS—11/16/07
Derrick Smith, Minister of National Security, believes that some members of the People’s National Party (PNP) in the previous government misused public funds. Smith plans to put some of them in jail. He says he is finding evidence every day that some people stole money when they were in office. When his investigation confirms that these individuals are guilty of theft, he plans to “lock them up.” Smith says they have robbed Jamaica for a long time, and it is time for the activity to stop.
TROUBLE AT THE RIVERTON LANDFILL—11/16/07
Angry scrap metal dealers blockaded the road leading to the Riverton dump in protest of new regulations. Since the new regulatory system was imposed some three weeks ago, traders at the landfill can no longer do business. The scrap metal business at the dump has stopped because the area is not on the list of approved sites for loading containers. The traders worry that they will not be able to earn a legitimate living due to the new regulations.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY GRANTS ASYLUM TO GAY JAMAICAN—11/10/07
Ven Messam, a gay Jamaican man, was granted asylum by the Department of Homeland Security in the United States. Messam fear persecution if he was forced to return to Jamaica. He said his life on the island was constantly in danger and that he faced death threats from “angry mobs carrying machetes, stones, knives, and guns” because he is gay. Messam said he found no support from Jamaican police, who threatened to arrest him and told him to leave the country if he wanted to be safe.
TINESTA ROWE AWARDED TENNIS HONOR—11/11/07
Tinesta Rowe, a junior at Fresno State University in California, was named Western Athletic Conference Women’s Tennis Player of the Month. The honor came after several excellent performances by Rowe in October 2007. Rowe, 21, and her partner Melanie Gloria, won the women’s doubles title at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Northwest Regional Championships in October. They won five straight victories at the tournament.
JAMAICAN TO BE ON EQUALITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION IN UK—11/14/07
Rev. Joel Edwards, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance, has received an appointment as Commissioner of the newly organized Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in the United Kingdom. The Commission was established by the Equity Act of 2006. It is designed to eliminate discrimination, reduce inequality, protect human rights, and build good relations.
JAMAICAN ARRESTED FOR STEALING FROM EMPLOYER IN NEW YORK—11/15/07
Dorrell Grant, 49, has been charged with stealing at least $2 million from the First American Title Insurance Company of New York where he had been employed. Grant was released on $500,000 bail after being accused by federal prosecutors that he committed theft by submitting fake invoices for office supplies. He then allegedly transferred the money to Jamaica in a series of wire transfers between 2004 and 2007.
CARIB CUP RESULTS MIXED FOR JAMAICANS—11/10/07
Trinidad & Tobago defeated Jamaica 9 to 0 on the opening day of the Caribbean Hockey Cup held in Tacarigua. The Jamaican women’s team surprised the host women’s team and battled to a victory in difficult conditions.
FENNELL RE-ELECTED HEAD OF CGF—11/11/07
Mike Fennell, a Jamaica, has been re-elected as the head of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) for another four-year term. Fennell was one of three Caribbean sports administrators elected to the Executive Board of the organization in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
JAMAICAN ATTORNEY WORKS TO GET DAVIS FINE DISMISSED—11/12/07
Hyacinth Smith, team manager of the Sunshine Girls, reports that a Jamaican lawyer in Auckland, New Zealand seeks to have the fine imposed on Elaine Davis, team captain, dismissed. The fine of $NZ200 was applied when Davis did not declare an apple that was found in her luggage. New Zealand has very strict biosecurity laws, and all individuals entering the country must declare any food or animal products they are bringing in.
JAMAICA WINS 57 MEDALS AT SPECIAL OLYMPIC WORLD GAMES—11/13/07
Jamaica received 57 medals, a record number, at the 12th Special Olympic World Games in China. The previous record was 37 medals, which were won in Ireland in 2003. Jamaicans participated in Track and Field, Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Bocce, Badminton, Swimming, and Roller Skating.
Bowing The Knees
A couple days ago I was reflecting on the account of Daniel’s friends – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – before King Nebuchadnezzar as recorded in Daniel 3. Those familiar with the passage will recall that the king made an image of gold, and amidst much pomp and ceremony at the image’s dedication, the announcement went out: “To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace” (vv. 4-6). The people did as commanded, but not all of them. Three Jewish boys remained standing, much to the chagrin of some of the king’s men. They quickly went to the king and reported, “These men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (v. 12b), and after ordering the boys appear before him, the king reiterated the command to the boys – fall down and worship the image or be thrown in the furnace.
As I read the text, I greatly admired the boys’ convictions and their response to Nebuchadnezzar: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (vv. 16-18). I camped on those verses for a while, after which certain words literally jumped out at me: “…our God whom we serve is able to…and he will”. There was absolutely no doubt in their minds as to what their God could and would do, but even if He didn’t do it, they would not serve the other gods. In the face of possible death, what steadfastness! What conviction!
It occurred to me then that we are faced with the same choices today, albeit of a different nature. As the world system builds its gods – those of self, pleasure, money, hedonism, to name a few – and as everyone dances to the music in celebration of those gods, how do you respond as child of God? Have you bowed the knees, or are you still standing? Standing for Christ in the face of adversity, especially when the consequences could include losing a job, one’s life, friends, or whatever else, is not easy. But the child of God, firm in conviction as to what God can and could do, speaks with conviction: “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us … and he will deliver us … But if not, be it known … that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image.” That kind of conviction doesn’t come without a cost. In an age of self-preservation and looking our for number one, are you willing to pay the price? That really is the cost of discipleship.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.