THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
MEDICINAL GANJA COULD BE BENEFIT TO JAMAICA—08/010/13
Paul Chang, chairman of the Ganja Law Reform Coalition (GLRC), believes that Jamaica should follow the example of Uruguay and generate tax revenues through medicinal cannabis. Chang says Jamaica has a major tourist market that comprises a large percentage of people who want to consumer cannabis. Reform legislation could be written to permit licensed medical cannabis patients who have permits issued in their home countries to way to legally consume the medicine while they are in Jamaica.
MAYOR OF FALMOUTH PROMOTES PRESERVATION OF JAMAICAN CULTURE—08/011/13
Garth Wilkinson, the Mayor of Falmouth, wants Jamaicans to learn more about their culture and to take action to preserve it. Wilkinson called the preservation of culture a duty for all Jamaicans. He noted that independence means pride in being Jamaican.
JAMAICAN OBEAH RESURGES—08/012/13
Jamaicans have been prohibited by law for many years, but practitioners and supporters of Obeah are now acting to get the law overturned. Jamaican law has provided for punishment by flogging or imprisonment for the practice of Jamaica’s form of “voodoo,” but the government has abolished the punishments which date from the colonial era on the island. The government’s activity has prompted calls for a de-criminalization of Obeah as well. The proposal to allow Obeah is opposed by Christian elements in Jamaica, which view the practice as black magic.
ELECTRICIANS GROUP WARNS AGAINST UNLICENSED CONTRACTORS—08/013/13
The Jamaica Licensed Electricians Association (JLEA) has issued a warning to home owners and businesses to avoid using the services of unlicensed electricians, saying the use of such contractors could increase their costs significantly over time. JEAL representatives said hiring unlicensed contracts often means that consumers get shoddy work that may result in higher energy costs or even serious physical damage.
KELLIER SAYS MORE JAMAICANS SHOULD GET OVERSEAS JOB OPPORTUNITIES—08/014/13
The Jamaican government wants to expand its overseas employment program, and Derrick Kellier, Minister of Labor and Social Security, says there is a growing demand for skilled Jamaican workers in Canada and the United States. New legislation supported by the Obama Administration could provide more opportunities for Jamaicans to work in the U.S. if it becomes law.
GOVERNMENT TO ELIMINATE PRISON OPTION FROM CHILD CARE ACT—08/014/13
The Cabinet of Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has given its approval to changes in legislation that may eliminate a controversial provision of the Child Care and Protection Act. This provision allows judges to imprison a child who has been deemed “beyond control.” The legislative changes will result in judges not having that option when sentencing children to correctional facilities.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE HEAD OPPOSES CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT—08/015/13
The president of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Francis Kennedy, is advising against the implementation of a citizenship-by-investment program, stating that such a program could have a negative impact on employment in Jamaica. According to Kennedy, there should not be an invasion of people who don’t hire or train Jamaican workers because of what he characterized as “isolated entities” doing business on the island.
JAMAICA SUFFERS AS SKILLED WORKERS GO TO CANADA—08/016/13
Jamaica is losing its best workers through the skilled worker program, which encourages them to travel to Canada for jobs. This is causing concerns among local sector leaders that industries could “crumble” if Jamaica does not act to retain skilled technicians, truckers, and port workers. According to Captain Mike Belcher, managing director at the Kingston Container Terminal, his facility is in constant competition with Canadian recruiters for skilled employees. He noted this could cause major problems for the terminal in the future if Jamaica does not keep enough port workers in the country to serve its own needs.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN EMBASSY EXHIBITS ART TO MARK INDEPENDENCE—08/010/13
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Stephen Vasciannie joined with other officials to commemorate the 51st anniversary of Jamaican independence at an art exhibit featuring paintings by Jamaican artists Webster and Charlene Campbell. The exhibit is called “Back When…” and opened officially on August 5, 2013. The pieces feature the island’s geography, history and culture.
JAMAICAN CONSUL GENERAL IN MIAMI DESIGNATED AMBASSADOR TO MEXICO—08/012/13
Sandra Grant Griffiths, the Consul General of Jamaica in Miami, Florida, has been named as the new Ambassador to the United Mexican States. Senator Arnold J. Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, made the announcement. Griffiths began her career in the Foreign Service 30 years ago and also served at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and the Office of the Prime Minister at the same time. She was appointed Consul General to the Southern United States, Cayman Islands and the Bahamas in August 2008.
CASE OF JAMAICAN KILLED BY NEW YORK POLICE TO BE REVIEWED—08/015/13
United States federal prosecutors will review the case of Jamaican Ramarley Graham, 18, who was shot by police officer Richard Haste in February 2012. Federal authorities will determine whether Graham’s civil rights were violated in the case. The announcement was made after a grand jury in the Bronx, New York, refused to re-indict the police officer, who shot Graham in his Bronx home. Graham was unarmed at the time of the shooting.
JUDGE IN U.S. RULES AGAINST STOP-AND-FRISK OF CARIBBEAN IMMIGRANTS IN NY—08/016/13
A federal district judge in the United States has ruled against the stop-and-frisk policy of the New York Police Department, which is used against Caribbean immigrant and other minorities. Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that the policy is unconstitutional and appointed a monitor to make reforms. She called the policy “indirect racial profiling” since it targeted racially defined groups for stops.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
BIGGEST WATER COMPANY IN CARIBBEAN SEES PROFITS RISE—08/010/13
2013 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO FILM FESTIVAL TO SCREEN 22 CARIBBEAN FEATURES—08/011/13
DOMINCAN REPUBLIC HAS HIGH TRAFFIC DEATH RATE—08/013/13
1ST CARIBBEAN FESTIVAL HELD IN NORTHERN ISLAND MARKS EMANCIPATION DAY—08/014/13
ACTIVISTS DEMAND JUSTICE FOR INCARCERATED MEN—08/015/13
TRAVEL WARNINGS FOR HAITI SOFTENED BY U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT—08/016/13
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BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
TOP GOAT FARMER IN JAMAICA—08/010/13
Goat farmer Devon Sayers’ goat won the Best Native-Bred Female Goat in the over two-years-old category at the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in Clarendon. Grant began his business in 2005 at his home after being unemployed right after attending teachers’ college. His decision to take up goat farming has led to a good business. He now has 125 goats and has been recognized as one of the best farmers in his region.
BUSINESS, ENTERTAINMENT SECTORS SUPPORT “90 DAYS OF SUMMER”—08/011/13
A plan by the Jamaican government to attract more visitors to the country between May and August has earned the support and praise of leaders in the business and entertainment sectors. The “90 Days of Summer” initiative could mean significant additional revenue for Jamaica, according to Clive “Cubba” Pringle, promoter of the Bob Marley Birthday Bash. More visitors means more attention for Jamaica, and that means increased revenues for the country.
INVESTMENTS HOPED TO RESULT FROM BLACK RIVER DAY—08/012/13
A new focus on the Town of Black River in St. Elizabeth has been initiated with the goal of attracting more investment for its business community. Black River Day for 2013 was organized through the cooperation of the Black River Chapter of the St. Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce and the St. Elizabeth Parish Council. The first staging of this event was held in 2012, and the 2013 event is designed to capitalize on the historic nature of the town.
JAMAICAN TO BOLSTER TOURISM VIA LINKS WITH BRAZIL—08/014/13
Since the establishment of Jamaica’s embassy in Brazil in 2012, the government has indicated that it will act to ensure that the relationship between the two countries fosters investment opportunities for the island. According to Jamaica’s ambassador to Brazil, Alison Stone Roofe, Brazil is enjoying economic growth, and its population of 200 million views Jamaica as an excellent brand. The middle class in Brazil is growing along with its spending power, and Jamaica is well-positioned to reap tourism revenue from this market.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
BERMUDA SHOULD HAVE MARINE RESERVE AREA—08/010/13
JPS RECOGNIZED FOR BEST SAFETY PERFORMANCE—08/011/13
CAPE PUPILS STUMPED BY ELECTRICAL PAPER—08/012/13
HIGHER TEMPERATURES MEAN MORE VIOLENCE—08/015/13
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FIRST GOSPEL MOVIE WINS BEST FILM AWARD—08/010/13
The first gospel movie made in Jamaica, “Just Another Friday,” won the Best Jamaica Feature Film award at the 2013 Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival in Ocho Rios. The win was a boost for Judith Falloon Reid, television producer, as it was her first feature film for which she was the director, executive producer, and screenwriter. The film is about family relationships and decisions and how choices impact what happens in life.
BOOK BY VYBZ KARTEL PART OF UNIVERSITY LIBRARY—08/011/13
While “Voice of the Ghetto,” the book by dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel and Michael Dawson, his business associate, has been the subject of controversy in Jamaica. Now the book has been honored by having been selected by Princeton University for inclusion in its library. Princeton is one of the most prestigious universities in the United States and will now offer the book to its students through its library system.
SUN FEST UK FANS ENJOY JAMAICAN ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS—08/012/13
Participants at the United Kingdom’s Sun Fest UK 13 enjoyed the combination of music, food, poetry, and sports featured during the event’s celebration of the 51st anniversary of Jamaican independence at the Highfields Community Center. Guests at the festival included Ted Cassidy, city councilor, and Rendall Monroe, the boxer. Lydia Unsudimi, 18, was one of the performers, and although she is not of Jamaican heritage, she said her entire family supported the way the Jamaican community celebrated the anniversary. The event was organized by the Leicester Jamaica Community Service Group and other community associations.
TOP JAMAICAN ARTISTES MAY PERFORM IN KENYA—08/015/13
Major dancehall music artistes like Cecile, Mavado and Chris Martin could be performing on the same stage in September 2013 in Kenya. The online entertainment and fashion magazine, Evolve, which is based in the United Kingdom, is traveling to Nairobi to sponsor a writers’ photographers’ and beauty contest. The magazine has been called the top online magazine in the UK and will act as media sponsor for Make A Change, a charity initiative. The event will feature a major music concert with top music talent from around the world.
WEIR TOUTS CAMARADERIE AMONG JAMAICANS AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS—08/010/13
Warren Weir, the 200-meter Olympic bronze medalist from Jamaica, has praised the positive feelings found among the Jamaican athletes competing at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow. Weir believes the camaraderie will help Jamaica’s athletes perform to the best of their ability. Jamaica is missing some of its top athletes because they tested positive for banned substances, but Weir says he is encouraged by the atmosphere at the competition and thinks it will ease the nerves of many competitors who are performing at the Worlds for the first time.
WILLIAMS-MILLS BACK AFTER BATTLE WITH CANCER—08/011/13
Jamaican track star Novlene Williams-Mills will participate at the world championships in Moscow as a flag-bearer for breast cancer sufferers around the world. Williams-Mills, 31, is a 400-meter runner and has been an inspiration for athletes. Just before the 2012 Olympics, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, but still competed at the games, receiving a 4×400 meter relay bronze medal. She later returned home and had several rounds of surgery, her latest in January 2013. Just 20 days later, she was back at the track. She hopes her story will provide hope to other cancer victims.
BOLT EASILY GETS SPOT IN 100 METER SEMI-FINALS—08/012/13
Usain Bolt, legendary Jamaican sprinter and Olympic champion, is on his way to regaining his 100-meter world title. Bolt, 26, easily qualified for the semi-finals with a time of 10.07 seconds at the Moscow World Championships. Because Bolt’s chief rival Tyson Gay has been barred after failing dope tests, the chief competition for Bolt is the American, Justin Gatlin.
ALL THREE JAMAICAN WOMEN SPRINT HURDLERS TO RUN—08/015/13
All of the three Jamaican women running the sprint hurdles will run at the World Championships for the first time. Danielle and Shermaine Williams, who are sisters, and Andrea Bliss, will be competing at the Moscow games. Shermaine Williams just missed out on the finals at the 2012 London Olympics. She received a silver medal at the 2008 World Junior Championships in Poland. Danielle Williams has had the best season of the three in 2013, winning the JAAA National Trials with a personal best of 12.69 seconds.
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Abiding In the Vine
Several days after cutting the grass in my backyard, I noticed that the grass clippings were no longer green but brown. Of course, that made perfect sense because having being cut off from their source of food and nutrients, they could not survive. As I looked out at this natural occurrence, I thought of the words of Jesus as recorded in John 15:1, 4b-5: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman….As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me….I am the vine, ye are the branches…without me ye can do nothing.”
In our increasingly secular humanistic age where reliance on self and one’s abilities are highly touted, the Christian, if not careful, can lose sight of this profound spiritual truth. Some of us know or at least have heard those words spoken by Jesus, but have we taken the time to really understand them? The word “abide” implies staying/remaining in a given place or state, and Jesus used the word seven times in the first seven verses. Talk about emphasizing a point! The successful Christian is not the one who sings/prays the loudest, have the biggest Bible, speaks spiritualese, or have a perfect record of Church attendance. It is the one who constantly stays connected to the source of all that pertains to life and godliness, Jesus Christ, the true Vine.
The aforementioned grass clippings did not have a choice to stay connected to their life source, but when He spoke the words “If ye abide in me” (v.7), Jesus made abiding in Him a matter of personal choice. Amidst the hustle and bustle of our days and the many distractions we experience, we must make the time to nurture this most important of relationships. Disconnected from Christ we wither away spiritually, and in many other ways, yet it does not have to be that way. Jesus made it possible for us to experience the richness that flows from Him for as long as we choose to stay connected to Him. As you examine your own life, what choice does it reflect?
“Without me ye can do nothing.” Lord, may the profoundness and reality of that truth provoke us to do whatever it takes to stay connected to you.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.