THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
DYER WANTS TO CHANGE THE FACE OF TOURISM—11/24/07
Godfrey Dyer, the new Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) in Jamaica is on a mission to change Jamaica’s tourism approach. At the end of his three-year term, Godfrey says he expects to be proud of his accomplishments in Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios, Kingston, the South Coast, and all of the island’s resort areas. Godfrey has 29 years of experience in Jamaica’s tourism industry and was twice the president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association.
CANADA ASKED TO HELP WITH RETURNED CRIMINALS—11/24/07
Jamaica’s resources are being stretched by a steady influx of Jamaicans deported from their adopted nations because they are convicted criminals. Over 33,000 such individuals have entered Jamaica in the past 15 years, with nearly all of them coming from Canada, Britain, and the United States. Jamaica lobbied Canada for years to end this practice, but in a recent change of tactics, the nation is demanding funds to establish programs to help deportees reintegrate into Jamaican culture. Some of the deportees have not been on the island since their childhood years.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INCREASES IN JAMAICA—11/25/07
The domestic violence rate in Jamaica is rising, according to the Constabulary Statistics Department. Murders related to domestic incidents increased by 20 percent between 2005 and the end of 2006. Police received 4,149 reports of domestic wounding and 4,568 reports of domestic assault in 2004. In 2005, 49 of the 1,674 murders reported in Jamaica were related to domestic incidents. And by the end of 2006, 61 domestic-related murders had been investigated by police. This was 12 more than in 2005. Between 2001 and 2006, 17 percent of all murders in Jamaica were committed in the home. In most cases, women were the victims.
JLP COUNCILLOR SHOT—11/26/07
Rosalie Hamilton, Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) Councilor, was shot in the chest with less than two weeks remaining before the local government elections take place. Political tensions have been rising in central Kingston as a result of the shooting. The JLP claims that the shooting was politically motivated, but the Kingston Central police have yet to find a motive for the shooting. Rosalie Hamilton, incumbent councilor for the Rae Town division in Kingston, was treated at a hospital for the bullet wound. Desmond McKenzie, chairman of the JLP’s Area Council One, has warned against any reprisals, saying the only retaliation the party will take is with votes on December 5.
JAMAICAN FAMILY VICTIMS OF GUNFIRE—11/27/07
In the latest incidence of violence in Jamaica, two gunmen entered a home in the Mountain Avenue area. The residence was the home of a man, his girlfriend, and three children aged 4, 6, and 8. The gunmen fired shots that wounded all five members of the family. In another incident in a neighboring community, police put up a roadblock after reports of a shooting. No further details were available about this second crime. According to police officials, there have been 1,300 murders since the beginning of 2007, an increase of 14 percent compared to the same period in 2006.
GOVERNMENT TO PUT STOPS TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION—11/28/07
The Jamaican government plans to clamp down on illegal foreign workers. The inspection team of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security will have stronger authority to deal with the matter. Pearnel Charles, Labor Minister, says that the team has been strengthened and will be on the move shortly, so individuals who do not have work permits will find themselves in trouble shortly. The government will require all foreign workers on the island to have appropriate work permits as stated in the law, says Charles.
GOLDING MORE POPULAR THAN PORTIA NOW—11/29/07
Portia Simpson Miller, Opposition Leader, has fallen in popularity among Jamaicans, and is now second to Prime Minister Bruce Golding. According to a poll of 84 communities across the island, Simpson Miller’s popularity rating has dropped by nine percentage points since the general elections. Golding has dropped by one percent, but Simpson Miller’s more rapid decline in popularity has created a four-percentage-point difference between them.
ASSISTANT POLICE COMMISSIONER MURDERED—11/30/07
Assistant Commissioner of Police, Gilbert Kameka, was murdered in Irish Town, St. Andrew. He is the 18th policeman to be killed since the beginning of 2007, and the second in one day. Dr. Peter Phillips, Opposition Spokesman on National Security, called it a “dark day in the country’s history.” At least 12 individuals were murdered in the past two days, and two of these were police officers.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICANS OFTEN ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES IN ARIZONA—11/24/07
Jamaican Anthony Brown brought $97,000 in cash to Tucson, Arizona to buy 242 pounds of marijuana in 2006. However, his deal went wrong, led to gunfire, and authorities became involved. They found the marijuana and the money and made arrests in the case. Brown was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison. Brown is not the first Jamaican to be prosecuted for drug-related activities in southern Arizona. Local officials say that Jamaican drug traffickers have a major role in the area’s marijuana business.
JAMAICAN AUTHOR USES MODERN HISTORY IN NEW NOVEL—11/25/07
Margaret Cezair-Thompson uses a little known event in the life of actor Errol Flynn to illustrate the themes of race, color, politics, class, and fame in her native Jamaica. Her second novel, “The Pirate’s Daughter,” is based on the true story of Errol Flynn’s shipwreck in Jamaica during a hurricane in 1946. Flynn ultimately bought an island near the north coast and entertained many famous actors and writers there.
JAMAICAN CONVICTED ON SEVERAL CHARGES IN ANTIGUA, BARBUDA—11/26/07
Garnet Mansfield, a Jamaican national accused of entering Antigua and Barbuda under another name, was convicted and sentenced for three other crimes when he appeared in court. Mansfield faced charges of battery, larceny, and disorderly conduct in a public place, plus being armed with an “offensive weapon.” Mansfield is a maintenance man by profession, and he was sentence to two months in prison for battery, plus a three-month sentence for larceny, and another three months for the weapons charge. His prison sentences are to run concurrently.
BROADCASTER/ACTRESS HONORED IN NEW YORK—11/27/07
Leonie Forbes, a veteran broadcaster and actress received honors from the Jamaican community in New York for the 50 years she has dedicated herself to professional excellence in broadcasting, theater, and film. Forbes was presented with a certificate of merit from the Consulate General and a citation from Ed Towns, U.S. Congressman from Brooklyn, who acknowledged her “outstanding” work.
FILM SERIES IN U.S. TO FEATURE JAMAICAN SURFER—11/26/07
One of the top surfers in Jamaica may feature in a television series proposed by action-sports producer Rick Coyle. The series is called “Voyage of Discovery” and is designed to raise awareness of issues faced by coastal communities. The series will follow four world-class surfers on a mission to gain a better understanding of the many cultures existing in remote island locations.
HERB McKENLEY, OLYMPIC CHAMPION, DIES AT 85—11/27/07
Herb McKenley, former Jamaican Olympic champion and athletics administrator, died after a two-week hospitalization at the age of 85. McKenley was a member of the Jamaican team that won a gold medal in the 4×400 meter relay at the Olympic Games in 1952 in Helsinki, Finland. He also won a silver medal in the 400 meters. He won a silver medal in the 400 meters in 1948 at the London Olympics as well. At one time, McKenley held the record time for that distance at 45.9 seconds.
BRENTON PARCHMENT NAMED TO WINDIES TOUR OF SOUTH AFRICA—11/28/07
Brenton Parchment, former West Indies Under-19 caption and A team representative, is on his first senior assignment with the Windies in Zimbabwe. The team will place five one-dayers before its South African tour. Chris Gayle will stay on as team captain, while Ramnaresh Sarwan is still on the sidelines with an injury to his foot.
ASAFA POWELL TO TRAIN IN AUSTRALIA FOR OLYMPICS—11/29/07
Asafa Powell’s love for Australia has moved him to begin his race for a gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in that country. Powell, who holds the 100-meter world record and who has been called the world’s fastest man, will train in Australia and compete in the Sydney Grand Prix in February, as well as the World Athletics Tour in Melbourne the same month. This activity represents a critical step in Powell’s attempt to become the first Jamaican to win the 100-meter title at the Beijing, China Olympics.
Finding Our True Purpose
Recently I was reflecting on Job’s poignant observation recorded in Job 14:1, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble”, and I was immediately reminded of the question posed in James 4:14b, “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” It occurred to me then that when each of us got out of bed this morning, there were many others who did not make it through the night. There are many who will not make it through to the end of today, whether through a timely or an untimely demise, but at some time or another, we all have an irrevocable appointment that we all must keep (Ecc. 3:2; Heb. 9:27a).
That God allowed us to be living in the moment, when He could have easily done otherwise, provokes the question, why? I firmly believe that we are all placed here for a reason. To the Israelites in Babylonian captivity the LORD said, “For I know the plans I have for you” (Jeremiah 29:11a), and I believe this knowing on God’s part is applicable to each and every believer’s life. It is no stroke of good fortune that God allowed our eyes to open this morning. He did it for a purpose, and lest we forget who we are and what that purpose is, Peter reminds us, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Jesus told His disciples, and every disciple since, “You are the salt of the world … you are the light of the world … Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” (Matt. 5:13a, 14a; 28:19a).
It seems clear to me that our purpose for our allotted time here on earth has been clearly defined. Among other things We are to 1) be witnesses for Christ – wherever we are – in words and deeds, 2) show the way of Christ to a darkness filled world, 3) make disciples, and 4) to demonstrate the richness of a life that is fully surrendered to the Lordship of Christ. In the “few days” that you have been given, how effectively are you fulfilling your purpose? May God teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:10), and so commit ourselves to the fulfilling our true purpose.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.