THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
PHILLIPS SUPPORTS CURRENT IMF AGREEMENT—04/19/14
Jamaica’s Minister of Finance Dr. Peter Phillips is supportive of the existing agreement between Jamaican and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) because it is encouraging people to live within their means. Maintaining Jamaica’s flexible exchange rate improves the payment balance by limiting demand for foreign products and boosting production of substitutes for imports.
FOUNDER OF ADVOCACY GROUP FOR THE POOR RETIRES—04/20/14
Father Richard Ho Lung, the leader and founder of Missionaries of the Poor in Kingston, is leaving his post after 33 years and being succeeded by Brother Augusto Silot. The new head was born in the Philippines but is now a naturalized Jamaican citizen. Father Ho Lung said it was time for younger men to lead the Missions of the Poor.
OFFICIAL ON ANTI-DOPING PANEL GUILTY OF PROSTITUTION CHARGES—04/21/14
Lennox Gayle, the deputy chairman of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel, has been found guilty of prostitution charges following an arrest arising from a raid at a massage parlor he is said to own. Police in Jamaica confirmed the charges against Gayle for alleged violations of local sex offenses in the past two years. Gayle led the panel that found Asafa Powell guilty of doping.
RURAL JAMAICANS GET CHANCE AT HOME OWNERSHIP—04/22/14
Jamaica’s National Housing Trust (NHT) has launched its first mobile service. “Mobile NHT” or “NHT on Wheel” seeks to increase awareness of the agency in rural areas in order to make home ownership more of a reality for all Jamaicans. The mobile initiative centers on a bus that is equipped with computers and electronic payment capabilities. The service will first target rural areas in St. Elizabeth, Clarendon, Trelawny and Manchester.
GOVERNMENT TO IMPOSE TAX ON BANK WITHDRAWALS—04/23/14
The government of Jamaica plans to implement a new measure that would tax withdrawals made from banks as part of its revenue-raising program. The new tax is designed to address the country’s high debt. It will be charged to all withdrawals from financial institutions that take deposits via electronic banking, point-of-sale transactions, ABMs, checks, ATMs, Internet transfers and over-the-counter transactions. For amounts under US$9,128, the rate is 0.1 percent, or approximately US$9.10. For withdrawals of US$10, the rate is about ten cents.
SETBACK IN SEIZURE OF DRUG ASSETS BY JAMAICA—04/24/14
The Financial Investigations Division (FID) in Jamaica has experienced two significant setbacks in its effort to seize about J$1 billion in property and other assets from three Jamaicans currently in prison on drug charges in the United States and Canada. A High Court judge has refused separate applications for restraint orders. These orders attempted to keep relatives and other associates of the convicted offenders from disposing of the assets before the FID has them forfeited to the state.
CRITICS SAYJAMAICA TURNS ITS BACK ON CONSERVATION WITH SECRETIVE DEAL—04/25/14
Jamaica has been promised investments totaling $1.5 billion and 10,000 jobs in what opponents call a “secretive deal” with a Chinese firm in exchange for the rights to construct a mega-freighter seaport in one of the country’s biggest natural protected areas, the Goat Islands. Opponents of the deal say it jeopardizes tourism, the top economic sector in Jamaica, and the nation’s reputation in the global community. The China Harbor Engineering Company is part of a conglomerate that has been blacklisted by the World Bank’s Fraud and Corruption Sanctioning Policy.
MORE FARMERS URGED TO REGISTER WITH AGRICULTURAL BUSINESS SYSTEM—04/25/14
Jamaica’s Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) wants more farmers to register with its Agricultural Business Information System (ABIS) to further its attempts to address praedial larceny. ABIS is designed to offer information to agricultural interests and provide specialized data and technical services to those in need.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
LAWMAKERS IN NY URGE PROBE INTO SHOOTING OF UNARMED JAMAICAN BOY—04/19/14
The Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, has been contacted by minority caucuses from the New York State Legislature and the City Council concerning a 2012 police shooting of Ramarley Graham, an unarmed Jamaican boy, in 2012. Graham died as a result of the shooting. The representatives want an extensive investigation of the incident, which occurred when police stormed into the boy’s house in the Bronx after hearing that Graham had a gun. No weapon was ever found, however.
JAMAICANS FRUSTRATED WHEN APPLYING FOR DRIVER’S LICENSES IN JAPAN—04/20/14
Some Jamaicans who live in Japan are having a difficult time obtaining driver’s licenses there due to a frustrating driving examination system. Japan requires that a 30-question test be completed within 30 minutes, after which the applicant must find someone who already has a license to provide ten hours driving on the road. Then applicants must complete a 100-question test within an hour and take the driving test with their trainer. Many Jamaicans give up on trying to get the license and stop driving in Japan.
JAMAICAN-BORN POET WINS JACKSON PRIZE—04/21/14
Jamaican-born Claudia Rankine has won the Jackson Poetry Prize for her experimental verse and social commentary. The prize, which totals US$50,000, was announced by Poets & Writers in New York. It is meant to give Rankine and her work more attention from the general public. The award is given to “exceptional” poets who deserve greater publicity. Judges praised Rankine for her “moral vision.”
STUDENTS FROM JAMAICA VISIT U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT—04/22/14
A group of seven students from the parishes of St. Catherine and Clarendon got the chance to speak at the United States Department of State on what they believe to be the biggest security issue facing their country. Under the guidance of R.S. Johnson and Marsha Watson, the students told an audience comprising diplomats and other young people from the Caribbean, that Jamaica’s biggest security issue involved “boys dropping out of school.” Orville Levy, the group’s leader and deputy head at Old Harbor High School, noted that the drop-out rate for boys was limiting the country’s progress.
HOME OFFICE IN THE UK REVERSES KIDNEY-DONATION DECISION—04/23/14
When Keisha Rushton, who lives in Jamaica, was found to be a compatible match for a kidney donation to her brother, who lives in Britain, she was thwarted in her efforts by the denial of a visa by the Home Office. The visa request was denied on grounds that it was possible she would not return to Jamaica after the operation. The ruling caused significant outrage, and after an online petition was launched asking the authorities to reconsider the situation and issue a temporary visa, the Home Office reversed its decision and will allow Keisha Rushton to travel to the UK to help her brother.
CHEF IN TORONTO PUBLISHES JAMAICAN FUSION COOKBOOK—04/24/14
Jamaican-Canadian chef Selwyn Richards has published his first cookbook, “The Art of Cooking: Soul of the Caribbean,” a reflection of his 30 years of experience. Richards, 53, is ready to share his knowledge with the world. He is the recipient of the Harry Jerome Award from the Black Business and Professionals Association in recognition for his work as chef and caterer.
FOUR JAMAICAN STUDENTS TRAVEL TO SCOTLAND FOR JOURNALISM MEETING—04/25/14
Four students from Jamaica are among 300 individuals from around the world who are meeting in Scotland for the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Program, which is held before the Commonwealth Games. The students are Kimone Payne and Jamar Salomon from Holland High School in Trelawny, Kayla Webb from the University of the West Indies in Mona, and Twila Wheelan from the Caribbean institute of Media and Communication. The program is sponsored by the British Council and is designed to provide young writers with instruction from some of the best journalists in the world about the art and ethics of news writing.
JOHNSON RECOGNIZED BY TEAM JAMAICA BICKLE IN NEW YORK—04/25/14
Legendary Jamaican track athlete Dr. Dennis Johnson was honored by Team Jamaica Bickle (TJB) at its yearly reception and awards ceremony in Brooklyn, New York. Johnson received the Pioneer Award from the organization. He was also part of a history-making recognition by three branches of the United States government as a “true icon” of the Caribbean.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
CATCH RATES FOR GREEN TURTLES DECREASE—04/19/14
CARIBBEAN CUP SEMI-FINAL TO BE HOSTED BY T&T—04/20/14
HAITI WELCOMES MORE CANADIAN TOURISTS—04/21/14
NO PART FOR UK IN CARIBBEAN MARIJUANA DEBATE—04/22/14
CONCH, LOBSTER TRADE IN CARIBBEAN THREATENED—04/23/14
NEW GLOBAL FUND MODEL SUPPORTED IN CARIBBEAN—04/24/14
BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
JAMAICA MEDIA GROUP CONDEMNS THREATS AGAINST JOURNALISTS—04/19/14
The Media Association Jamaica Limited (MAJ) is strongly condemning reports of threats being made against journalists. Christopher Barnes, chairman of the association, stated that journalists must be permitted to do their work and inform the public without fear for their lives. He noted that Jamaica’s ranking on the 2014 World Press Freedom Index fell three places from its position in 2013.
NEW USE FOR PLASTIC BOTTLES AT AVIOLA ACCESSORIES—04/20/14
Melissa Preddie, 33, or Manchester, has discovered an innovative use for plastic bottles. She makes a line of plastic fashion accessories, starting her business with help from the Jamaica Business Development Center (JBDC) in Mandeville. Preddie got her idea for Aviola Accessories when she was unemployed and had time on her hands. She noticed her family had lots of plastic water bottles and decided to find out what she could do with all this material. She began making plastic hair accessories, which she sold to family members, but ultimately, research led her to the profitable niche of jeweler design and creation.
CLICKMARKET GIVES JAMAICANS ACCESS TO LOCAL ONLINE SHOPPING—04/23/14
Clickmarket provides access to a local online marketplace where Jamaicans can purchase goods with or without a credit card and have the merchandise delivered within two days. According to managing director Vivienne Reynolds, Clickmarket is similar to Amazon, an online marketplace in the United States. The operation started in December 2013 and connects buyers and sellers, making it easier for everyone to do business.
AQUAPONICS BENEFITS COMMUNITIES AND SCHOOLS IN WESTERN JAMAICA—04/24/14
A number of community organizations and schools in Western Jamaica are receiving the benefits of aquaponics systems, a combination of fish farming and hydroponics, from the Jamaica Adaptive Agricultural Program (JAAP). The program is an initiative sponsored by INMED Caribbean with funding from the United States Agency for International Development. The project raises awareness of climate change among farmers and other stakeholders.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH FOR CARIBBEAN MUSIC NOTED—04/19/14
The iTunes Music Store, a division of Apple Inc., announced that calypso and soca have been designated as their own music categories on the Internet marketplace. This represents a significant milestone for the genres on the global market. The two Trinidad-based genres had previously been listed without being categorized in a formal manner, either under reggae, Latin, or Caribbean categories. Dr. Geoffrey Dunn, filmmaker and author, called the iTunes move a “major step forward.”
MOLLER ITEMS ADDED TO COLLECTION AT JAMAICA MUSIC MUSEUM—04/20/14
The Jamaica Music Museum (JaMM) has received contributions from the family of the late Vernon “Von Mullo” Moller, who is considered one of the best Jamaican trombonists. The contributions include his trombone, manuscript, and photographs, which are donated in order to preserve Moller’s legacy and to keep his memory alive.
MERVYN MORRIS NAMED POET LAUREATE—04/21/14
Jamaica has chosen a poet laureate for the first time in more than 50 years. Mervyn Morris, professor emeritus of Creative Writing and West Indian Literature at the University of the West Indies, is the recipient of the title. He is the author of six books of poetry, as well as other academic works. He was born in Kingston, studied at Munro College, the University College of the West Indies, and was a Rhodes Scholar at St. Edmund Hall at Oxford in the UK. He was awarded the Order of Merit in 2009.
DOCUMENTARY FILM ON BEDWARD SLATED FOR RELEASE AT AUGUST TOWN FEST—04/22/14
A documentary about Alexander Bedward, a historical and religious figure whose life spanned the years from 1859 to 1931 will be released as part of a series of events leading up to the Greater August Town Film Festival (GATFFEST) on April 24-27, 2014. The festival will open with the premiere screening of the film “Alexander Bedward: A Jamaican Legend.” The documentary seeks to correct many of the “silly stories” associated with Bedward and instead presents him as a Jamaican hero.
SIX JAMAICANS LEAD THEIR EVENTS AT IAAF JUNIOR OUTDOORS LISTING—04/19/14
Six Jamaicans are at the top of their respective events on the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) junior outdoors performance list for the season. Nathon Allen I400 meter runner), Tyler Mason and Jaheel Hyde (hurdlers), and Christoff Bryan (high jump), along with Claudette Allen and Tamara Moncrieff (high jump), were listed first in their events.
JAMAICANS WIN 88 MEDALS AT CARIFTA GAMES—04/22/14
Jamaican athletes have won 88 medals at the 43rd staging of the Carifta Games in Martinique. Neil Harrison, head coach of the 84-member team from the island, which is the largest team in history to participate in the games, said there were high expectations for the 2014 team before the games. Jamaicans dominated the 26 other competing nations, winning 42 gold medals, 34 silver medals, and 12 bronze medals.
REGGAE GIRLZ MOUNT CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN—04/23/14
Following the successful funding example of Jamaica’s bobsled team, which used the Internet to get the money it needed to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Reggae Girlz, Jamaica’s national women’s soccer team, plans to use crowdfunding to help them with funding for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The competition will be held in Canada, and the Jamaican Football Federation has established a campaign on GoFundMe, a crowdfunding website, to help the team with costs for training camps, travel, and housing at the competition.
COVER OF PENN RELAYS PROGRAM CELEBRATES JAMAICA’S PARTICIPATION—04/24/14
The cover of the program for the 2014 Penn Relays marks 50 years of participation by Jamaican high school athletes. The Penn Relays for 2014 will be the 120th staging of the event. The cover shows the first Jamaican high school team from Kingston College and the 2013 photo finish in the high school boys’ 4×400-meter relay between Javon Francis and Delano Williams.
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“If the Lord is With Us, Why…?”
Under the oppression of the Midianites, the people of Israel, God’s people, were reduced to starvation. According to the narrative, “Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, [raiders] from Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east would attack Israel, camping in the land and destroying crops as far away as Gaza. They left the Israelites with nothing to eat, taking all the sheep, goats, cattle, and donkeys. These enemy hordes, coming with their livestock and tents, were as thick as locusts; they arrived on droves of camels too numerous to count. And they stayed until the land was stripped bare” (Judges 6:3-6, NLT). It was as if God had abandoned them.
It is no wonder then that when the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon with the message, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” that Gideon, fully aware of Israel’s state, replied, “Sir, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites” (vv. 12, 13). Gideon’s question could just as easily have been “Sir, where is God in all this mess?” For some of us, as we look around at our lives and circumstances, we have asked or we are asking that very same question.
Yet despite Gideon’s protestations, it was not the Lord who had abandoned Israel but Israel who had abandoned Him. The writer tells us, “The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight. So the Lord handed them over to the Midianites for seven years” (v. 1). In other words, God’s people were reaping the consequences of their disobedience which ultimately led to their sins (see vv. 7-10). Unfortunately, instead of repenting of their idolatrous ways and turning back to God, they blamed Him for their state of affairs. They expected His protection and blessings to flow despite their waywardness. They neglected to accept any responsibility for the situation in which they found themselves.
What does that have to do with us? As it was with them, so it is with us at times. When bad things happen to God’s people, it is not always the devil’s fault and it is not necessarily that God has “abandoned” us. In fact, His promise to Israel to never to leave nor forsake them is one that we too can claim (see Hebrews 13:5). However, if we consistently refuse to walk in His ways, we are likely to experience His displeasure. Like a loving father, He does not allow us to get away with rebellion but “disciplines those He loves, and He punishes each one He accepts as His child” (Hebrews 12:16). Yes, we do have a part to play and we do reap the benefits of our obedience as well as the consequences of our disobedience.
Have you found yourself in a tight spot or two lately? How is your obedience to the Word of God?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.