THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
SIGHTINGS OF LIONFISH DROP BY 66 PERCENT—04/12/14
According to reports from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), sightings of the Pacific lionfish have significantly lessened in the waters around Jamaica. The lionfish, a ferocious predator that was introduced to the region in 1992, threatening the livelihood of fishermen and the island’s fish exports, has been targeted by the National Lionfish Project for removal since 2000 in order to restore balance to the marine environment.
JAMAICANS NOT REPORTING CHILD ABUSE—04/13/14
Information from Jamaica’s Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) and UNICEF indicate that Jamaicans do not report known or suspected incidents of child abuse. An island-wide survey found that only 30 percent of children and 11 percent of adult Jamaicans have ever made a report of child abuse, compared with 76 percent of professionals who work with children. Those who did not report child abuse tended to fear being victimized or did not believe that the child care and protection systems could address the abuse appropriately.
GANJA FARMERS IN WESTMORELAND TO HEAR PROFESSOR FROM HARVARD—04/14/14
The Westmoreland Hemp and Ganja Farmers’ Association has received positive responses from pro-ganja advocates around the world, and now the organization will hear about the legal issues surrounding the relationships between Jamaica and other nations in the Third World and with the United states. Professor Charles Nesson of Harvard University will be the keynote speaker at the Association’s second monthly meeting in Negril. He will address claims by the U.S. that there nations have signed international treaties on narcotics that preclude involvement with marijuana.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACTIVIST ASKS JAMAICA TO SHIP GANJA OIL—04/15/14
Alan Gordon, a pro-medical marijuana advocate has requested a permit to export a sufficient quantity of medical ganja oil from Jamaica to treat some 300 cancer patients in Bermuda. Gordon wrote an open letter to Jamaica’s Health Minister about providing 18,000 large doses of the drug over a period of two to three months. Gordon says that the government of Bermuda has previously approved similar import permits on a case-by-case basis. He also noted that the oil had to be grown organically by Rastafarians as a matter of fair trade and social justice.
MCKENZIE BODYGUARDS ATTACKED BY GUNMEN—04/16/14
Two bodyguards for Desmond McKenzie, opposition Jamaica Labor Party legislator for West Kingston, were shot at while waiting outside a funeral where McKenzie was holding a meeting. The bodyguards were reported to have returned fire, but whether the attackers were injured remains unknown. Earlier in April 2014, demonstrators in Tivoli Gardens burned shirts bearing the image of McKenzie because they believe he is acting unfairly in a community dispute.
FINANCE MINISTER CALLS FOR EXCHANGE RATE DEBATE—04/17/14
Jamaican Finance Minister Dr. Pete Phillips is calling for a debate on the exchange rate that would work to resolve some of the confusion around the nation on the issue. Phillips said the value of Jamaica’s dollar is currently determined by the market and that this will continue to be the situation in the future. The Jamaican dollar has fallen 10.8 percent over 2013 rates in the past year. The government will not ration the foreign exchange or ban imports, he said.
TUFTON URGES DIFFERENT APPROACH TO GROWTH, INVESTMENT—04/18/14
Dr. Christopher Tufton, the co-executive director of the Caribbean Policy Research Institute, believes that Jamaica should take a different approach in its attempts to increase investment and enhance growth. Tufton says the nation is caught in a “debt trap,” which links its fortunes to those who have the power to influence lending, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
URBAN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION LOOKS FOR PROPOSALS—04/18/14
Jamaica’s Urban Development Corporation (UDC) is asking for applications for the lease of the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex in Montego Bay. The site comprises 18.89 acres, and the agency says it will consider applications for the rehabilitation, leasing, operation, and maintenance of the site as a venue focused on public entertainment, cultural development and recreational use.
JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER MARKS PASSING OF ROBINSON IN TRINIDAD—04/18/14
Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica’s Prime Minister, and Sir Patrick Allen, Governor General of Jamaica, traveled to Trinidad and Tobago to visit the High Commission to mourn the death of that nation’s former Prime Minister and President ANR Robinson. Simpson Miller was also accompanied by members of her Cabinet, including Patrick Atkinson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and Senator Arnold Nicholson.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN WOMAN FACES DRUG CHARGES IN BAHAMAS—04/12/14
A Jamaican woman was arrested at the international airport in the Bahamas upon arriving there from Panama. The Drug Enforcement Unit, taking action on a tip it received, searched the woman and found she was carrying drugs with a street value estimated at US$16,000. Police in the Bahamas also arrested another Jamaican woman on possession charges at a hotel.
JAMAICAN FARMER BECOMES MEMBER OF AMERICAN AIR FORCE—04/13/14
United States Air Force Master Sergeant Kenry Peart of the 633rd Communications Squadron knowledge operations section began his life in Manchester, Jamaica, tending cattle and crops. He was raised by his great-aunt Hilda Blake, who also raised his mother, until he was ten years old. Peart stated that his family strongly supported him during his entire journey toward living his dream of becoming an airman.
STUDENT AT BARRY UNIVERSITY WINS YOUTH AWARD—04/14/14
John Powell, a freshman at Barry University, was named a recipient of the Jamaican Prime Minister’s Youth Awards for Excellence for 2014. At a ceremony in Kingston, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller presented the award to 23 young Jamaicans in recognition of their achievements in agriculture, arts, service, sports, leadership, journalism, international achievement, and entrepreneurship. Powell, 20, also received the Stamps Leadership Scholarship. He is the first native of Jamaica to receive that award.
TALBOT RECOGNIZED AT L.RON HUBBARD ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS—04/15/14
Jamaica’s Michael Talbot, 20, was recognized for his achievement in illustration at the 30th annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Growing up in Mona and graduating from Ardenne High School, he is now a sophomore at Lesley University College of Art and Design in Massachusetts. He was one of 12 illustrators from around the world selected for the Achievement Award. Talbot won US$5,000 and a trip to Los Angeles for five days that featured workshops, as well as the awards ceremony.
INAUGURAL CARIBBEAN YOUTH SUMMIT TO BE HELD IN PHILADELPHIA—04/16/14
The first Caribbean Youth Summit will be held on April 25, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The theme of the summit is “Reclaiming Our Caribbean Identity.” The event is headed by several youth-led organizations in the Caribbean, including the Institute of Caribbean Studies, Haiti in Transition, and the Jamaican Heritage Society. The summit is designed to provide a forum for young people of Caribbean descent to discuss topics important to the Caribbean and its Diaspora.
STUDENTS FROM JAMAICA SHINE AT TAEKWONDO COMPETITION IN NEW JERSEY—04/17/14
Two students from Jamaica’s University of Technology (UTech) and the University of the West Indies (UWI) won individual gold medals during the New Jersey portion of the northern United States international Taekwon-Do Federation Circuit Tournament. Nicholas Dussard of UTech and Tashauna Grannum of UWI received gold medals, while Richard Stone, also of UWI, won gold in his division.
JAMAICAN ASSOCIATION IN NEW YORK TO HONOR FIVE LOCAL WOMEN—04/18/14
On Mother’s Day, May 10, 2014, the Jamaican Civic and Cultural Association of Rockland (JAMCAR) in New York will honor five local women for their contributions to the community’s care in the areas of health, disaster relief, outreach to senior citizens, fundraising, and support of cultural organizations. The women to be honored are althea Hutchinson, Sonia Nelson, Ann Marie Blackwood, Lesleyann Samuel, and Vivian Street.
DELAWARE CITY HONORS MESSAGE OF MARLEY WITH “ONE LOVE PARK”—04/18/14
The song “One Love” by Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley provided the inspiration for a new name for a park in Wilmington City, Delaware. The city council voted to rename Tatnall Playground as “One Love Park” in honor of Marley’s message of peace and unity. According to council president Theo Gregory, ‘We all need to be reminded from time to time about the importance of love in our hearts for our children and for each other.”
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
WHALERS IN EASTERN CARIBBEAN CARRY ON TRADITION OF 139 YEARS—04/12/14
CARIBBEAN REMITTANCES STILL STRONG DESPITE MORE DEPORTATIONS—04/13/14
DOMINICAN CHILDREN OF HAITIAN DESCENT FACE LIMITED SCHOOL ACCESS—04/14/14
CARIBBEAN CARGO SHIP IN TROUBLE OFF SCOTTISH COAST—04/15/14
SINGLEWICKET TOURNAMENT RETURNS TO CARIBBEAN—04/16/14
COAST GUARD SEIZES 3,300 KILOS OF COCAINE—04/17/14
BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
GRACEKENNEDY AWARD RECOGNIZES HOUSEHOLD WORKERS—04/13/14
The first GraceKennedy/Heather Little-White Household Worker Award was launched to recognize and reward some of the best workers in Jamaica. It also was designed to reflect the company’s efforts to perform actions that are good for the island. According to the firm’ CEO Don Wehby, the company added Dr. Little-White’s name to the award due to her contributions to GraceKennedy and work she had done in regard to training household workers.
PRICESMART MEMBERSHIP SUSPENSION IN JAMAICA PROTESTED BY CUBA—04/14/14
The decision by PriceSmart Inc., a shopping warehouse based in the United States, to suspend the memberships of Jamaicans is being protested by Cuba. According to a diplomatic source, PriceSmart may suspect that large purchases were being made on behalf of contractors for the Cuban government, which would violate the embargo.
JAMPRO SEMINAR FOCUSES ON AQUACULTURE—04/15/14
More than 40 local business representatives attended a seminar on aquaculture organized by JAMPRO. The event was designed to allow participants to investigate the potential for Jamaica’s tilapia industry. According to Robert Scott, vice president of Export and Market Development at JAMPRO, aquaculture is the most rapidly growing food production system in the world, and there are significant business opportunities associated with it.
LICENSE FOR NATURAL GAS PROJECT AWARDED TO HONG KONG FIRM—04/16/14
Jamaican Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell announced that a company based in Hong Kong has been awarded a license to go ahead with a new power project on the island. Energy World international will supply 381 megawatts of natural gas-fired generating capacity for the power grid in Jamaica. Paulwell believes the project is a “game changer” in reducing the island’s dependence on petroleum and diesel fuel imports.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
UK TO VIEW CARIBBEAN PROGRAMMING ON TELEVISION—04/12/14
A new television channel that focuses on Caribbean news and entertainment programming will be introduced in the United Kingdom beginning May 3, 2014. JamTV will broadcast every weekend from 5 PM until midnight. It will feature news, children’s storytelling, school quiz programs, cooking, talent competitions, religious, and comedy shows. There is currently no authentic Caribbean programming originating in the Caribbean available to UK viewers, said Ricardo Allen, CEO of Caribbean Media House.
EDDY THOMAS, CO-FOUNDER OF JAMAICAN DANCE COMPANY, DEAD AT 82—04/13/14
The co-founder of Jamaica’s National Dance Theater Company (NDTC), Eddy Thomas, has died at the age of 82. He died at his home in Montego Bay. Thomas formed the company in 1962 in partnership with Rex Nettleford, a choreographer and scholar. They wanted to develop a dance group that reflected the African roots of Jamaica’s black majority popular by using African and Caribbean folk traditions in combination with modern dance. The NDTC was the country’s first major dance company.
COOPER SAYS BIGGEST CHALLENGE TO LOCAL FILM PRODUCERS IS FUNDING—04/14/14
According to Kingsley Cooper, the chairman of Jamaica’s Entertainment Advisory Board, getting funding represents the biggest challenge to the island’s local film producers. He believes that making treaties with foreign governments could improve the local sector. Olivia “Babsy” Grange, opposition spokesperson on culture, criticized Jamaica’s government for not doing enough to encourage growth in the film sector.
ACTOR BOY AWARDS EVENT GROWING—04/17/14
The 2014 Actor Boy Awards (ABA) recognized three individuals for their contributions to the industry but who are not well known to the public. In keeping with the theme of “Unsung Heroes,” the event honored Patrick Russell, set designer, as a special honoree. The 2014 event was marked by an increase in participation and other improvements in its overall production quality.
2018 CAMPAIGN BEGINS FOR JAMAICA BOBSLED FEDERATION—04/12/14
The Jamaica Bobsled Federation (JBF) announced that it will begin team trials on May 10, 2014, in St. Catherine at the GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sport. The selections will be open to men and women of Jamaican descent between the ages of 18 and 26. The organization is looking for athletes with speed and power than can be developed into top bobsled athletes. They will represent Jamaica in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.
COURT OF ARBITRATION FOR SPORT CITES FLAWS IN CAMPBELL-BROWN CASE—04/15/14
According to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the highest appeals body in the world, Jamaican sprint champion Veronica Campbell-Brown was cleared of doping charges because there were blatant flaws in how test samples were taken and processed. The court cited “environmental contamination” of the athlete’s samples as possible. The 58-page report from CAS upheld Campbell-Brown’s appeal of her conviction and two-year ban for doping.
JAMAICAN HIGH JUMPER BANNED FOR DOPING—04/16/14
Damar Robinson, a high jumper from Jamaica, is the latest athlete to be given a one-year ban in connection with doping. The Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel’s chairman, Ken Pantry, handed down the sanction just three days after Olympians Asafa Power and Sherone Simpson and discus thrower Allison Randal all received long bans from sport for doping.
PROCEDURES NOT CONSISTENT WITH STANDARDS, JADCO ADMITS—04/17/14
Its procedures were not consistent with the standards of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), says the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), referring to its collection of samples in 2013. The admission follows the release of reasons why the Court of Arbitration for Sport cleared sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown of a doping violation. The Court called the mistakes made by JADCO as “deplorable.”
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When Justice Meets Grace & Mercy
Our legal system, and by extension our society, is built upon a system of justice; the notion that persons who are accused of violating certain standards of pre-defined acceptable behavior should face a jury of their peers to determine guilt or innocence, and where appropriate, to be sentenced to a suitable form of punishment as prescribed in law. As many can attest, the system isn’t perfect but for the most part it works.
I thought of this as I read the Psalmist’s “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us” (103:8-12, KJV). If God were to demand justice of transgressors the way society does, none would be found innocent. Just in case anyone of us think differently about it, not only does Paul reminds us that we “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), but that having been found guilty, the sentence of death follows – “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). Under our legal system, each individual has to bear the consequences of his own actions; no substitutions are allowed. But thank God, He doesn’t treat us that way but sent His only begotten Son and “made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Being made the righteousness of God in Christ means we do not have a “criminal record” associated with our name, but we are in right standing with Him. Through His grace and mercy, God takes our confessed sins and as far as the east is from the west, that far He has removed them from us. From my limited perspective, that distance is immeasurable!
We have a lot to be thankful for and especially so today, Good Friday, as we reflect on Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. A great place to start is to thank our Heavenly Father for His unfathomable and unfailing love; for His unspeakable gift. When was the last time you did that?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.