JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending December 28th, 2007

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THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
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MINISTRY OF LABOR AND SOCIAL SECURITY TO BACK CERTIFICATION—12/22/07
Through the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, the government of Jamaica plans to facilitate Red Seal certification for skilled worked recruited for jobs in Canada. Pearnel Charles, Minister of Labor, announced the program, noting that the certification is the highest trade qualification available in Canada. It is also recognized by other nations, including the United States.

BERBICK NEPHEW FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER—12/23/07
Harold Berbick, the nephew of murdered world heavyweight boxing champion Trevor Berbick, was found guilty of the boxer’s death. His accomplice, Kenton Gordon, was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2006 incident. Trevor Berbick was the first Jamaican to hold a world heavyweight title.

JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER WANTS TO IMPROVE PARENTING—12/24/07
Bruce Golding, Jamaica’s Prime Minister, plans to invite representatives from religious groups to collaborate with the Government in creating a program that will improve parenting standards and skills across the nation. Golding believes such a program will also restore values and positive attitudes among young people.

BARTLETT PROMOTES JAMAICA TOURISM—12/25/07
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett has been enthusiastically promoting, creating, and enhancing Jamaica’s tourism product. He organized a mini trade show in September 2007, which saw the participation of 80 travel agents and 10 gateways in the United States. The event was developed by the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and showcased vacation packages from hotel properties across the island.

JOHNSON APPOINTED AMBASSADOR TO U.S.—12/25/07
Anthony Johnson, a former senator and Member of Parliament from the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), has been named as the Jamaican ambassador to the United States. He will take on his new post in early 2008. Johnson, who is a senior lecturer in Management Studies at the University of the West Indies, will succeed Gordon Shirley.

TUFTON WANTS REVENUE FROM CESS USED FOR ROAD REPAIR—12/26/07
Dr. Christopher Tufton, Minister of Agriculture and Lands, wants the revenue the Government receives from the cess on imported raw sugar to be applied to repairing of the cane roads. Tufton says the Ministry has asked the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service for approval in using a cess collected on imported raw sugar. The funds would be released shortly for critical cane road repairs.

JAMAICAN KILLED AT DANCE IN ST. ELIZABETH—12/27/07
Devon Austin, 35, was shot and killed at a dance in the community of St. Elizabeth when a dispute arose between the victim and another man. The man pulled out a gun and shot several times into the crowd at the dance. After the shooting stopped, it was found that Austin and three other participants had been shot. They were taken to a hospital, where Austin was pronounced dead. The other victims, one a District Constable, are in stable condition.

LEWIN URGES CAUTION ON ADDITIONAL POLICING POWERS FOR MILITARY—12/28/07
Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin has changed his position on the issue of granting additional police powers to the nation’s military. He has said it may not be necessary to change the law to permit members of the military to act on their own while they are on duty. Lewin has previously supported the additional powers, but he expects conditions to change “dramatically” within a year and is now urging caution instead.

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JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
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JAMAICANS – MOTHER AND SON – EXHIBIT ART IN FLORIDA—12/24/07
The Broward County South Regional Library in Florida will exhibit the artwork of Lisa Narcisse and Sean Narcisse Spence, Jamaican mother and son. Lisa Narcisse will showcase nearly 50 landscape paintings, while her son Sean will exhibit works involving body forms in oil on canvas. Lisa Narcisse a native of Kingston, decided to take up painting after 28 years as a corporate executive in South Florida. Her works are reminiscent of her homeland.

JAMAICAN-BORN COMMISSIONER SUSPENDED—12/25/07
Charlie Crist, Governor of Florida, suspended Fitzroy Salesman, 50, commissioner for Miramar, pending a trial for charges that Salesman pulled a gun on a shopper at a supermarket. Salesman has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and if convicted, he would serve a mandatory 3-year prison sentence.

JAMAICAN DIASPORA ADVISOR TO PRAY FOR SUSPENDED COMMISSIONER—12/26/07
Marlon Hill, an attorney and member of the advisory board of the Jamaican Diaspora of the Southern U.S., is praying for Fitzroy Salesman, who has been suspended from his position as commissioner of Miramar in South Florida. Salesman has been charged with aggravated assault in a case arising from his alleged pulling of a gun on a shopper at a Winn Dixie supermarket. The Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, suspended Salesman pending his trial on the charges.

JAMAICAN FACES PRISON AND DEPORTATION AFTER GUILTY PLEA—12/27/07
Jamaro J. Ritchie, 22, also known as Dwayne Alvest Brown, has pleaded guilty to robbing several gas stations in Tampa, Florida. As a result of his plea, he faces a minimum of 32 years in prison and deportation back to his homeland of Jamaica. Sentencing has been set for March 7, 2008. A judge has also ordered Ritchie to pay $1,772 in restitution.

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SPORTS
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JAMAICAN TAKES CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP—12/22/07
Jomo Pitterson, National Master and three-time Jamaica National Champion, was victorious over Maurice Ashley, International Grandmaster, in the last round of the JMMB/Burger King Frederick Cameron Chess Open. Pitterson’s victory gave him the top honors in the match.

MIRACLE REQUIRED FOR WEST INDIES AGAINST SOUTH AFRICA—12/26/07
The Windies will face South Africa in the first of a three-match Test series in Port Elizabeth. The match is expected to be a contest between Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul of the West Indies. The Windies have won two of 19 matches, compared to 12 wins for South Africa. The Windies record in South Africa, as everywhere away from home, has been called “dismal and embarrassing.”

SAMUELS DISMISSED JUST SHORT OF CENTURE—12/27/07
Marlon Samuels was just six runs short of a century when he was dismissed just as the West Indies showed resilience in the first day of the first Test against South Africa. Samuels was out for 94 in the fourth over before the close. Bad light forced six overs early. West Indies was on 281 for four. Samuels said he was “very disappointed” to have missed out on another century. He has scored on century in his 44 Test innings.

WINDIES ON TOP IN FIRST TEST VERSUS SOUTH AFRICA—12/28/07
Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Daren Powell led the West Indies to a decisive victory over South Africa in the first Test in Port Elizabeth. Chanderpaul became the third player to score half-centuries in seven consecutive Test innings. He had 104 in the tam’s first innings of 408, faced 253 balls, and hit 12 boundaries in an innings that lasted over six hours.

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DEVOTIONAL
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The Unspeakable Gift

Christmas is over, and soon the trees will come down, as will the decorations and the lights. For some, there’s really nothing quite like the excitement of Christmas morning – anxious kids, sleepy-eyed adults, the exchanging and opening of gifts. Some were opened to much delight as the peeling away of wrappings revealed something much desired or delightfully unexpected. Others were opened to a twinge of disappointment. Yes, the recipient was grateful but it wasn’t quite what they were hoping for, and so Some gifts will be returned, others will be exchanged. Such is some of the drama around Christmas.

Yet amidst all of this, the celebration of Christmas for some was more than just trees, lights, decorations, presents, or even family and friends. It was a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s gift to the world. The wrappings on that gift wasn’t fancy. Born in a stable to a virgin girl and her startled husband, wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in a feeding box, how could one believe that this was no ordinary baby but rather the “Saviour, which is Christ the Lord”? But it was true! This gift, so nondescript as it seemed then, was one that superseded all other gifts imaginable. It could not be returned, or exchanged, only refused, and to refuse it would be the biggest mistake that an individual could make. It was impossible to be fully reconciled to God without this gift as He later said of himself, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, ESV). While we may not be particularly thankful for some of the gifts we receive at Christmas, here was one we could always thankful for. By sending His Son into the world, God flung the doors wide open for our redemption. Judgement and condemnation were escapable because while the wages of sin is death, the gift of God, obtainable through Jesus Christ, was everlasting life. Given our spiritual alienation from God, and the things of God, could there have been a greater gift?

As we leave this Christmas 2007 behind us, may we be constantly reminded that God’s gift to us is not only good at Christmas, but all throughout the year. Accepting that gift makes the world of difference in our lives, and so like the Apostle Paul we can say, and should say, with a heart of gratitude, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15).

CEW

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CREDITS/SOURCES
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The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.