THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
HEALTH MINISTER LAUDS JAMAICA’S HEALTH PERFORMANCE—12/08/12
Dr. Fenton Ferguson, Jamaica’s Minister of Health, says that the health outcomes in the country are good, in spite of few resources. Speaking at a convention on public health in Cuba, Ferguson stated that Jamaica spends an average of 4.7 percent of its Gross Domestic Product on health care, or less than half of the recommended ten percent amount. Despite this, Jamaica has done better than its neighbors in regard to health outcomes.
ELLINGTON PRAISES POLICE IN MANCHESTER FOR BIG GANJA BUST—12/09/12
Police in Manchester have seized 3,500 pounds of ganja in parish’s Alligator Pond area, and Owen Ellington, Commissioner of Police has commended the police personnel for their success. The drug was found as police were conducting a routine check at the area beach, and a number of packages containing compressed ganja were discovered. No arrests were made in connection with the discovery.
FINANCIAL ANALYST SAYS UNCERTAINTY ABOUT IMF BAD FOR DEBT RESOLUTION—12/10/12
Errol Gregory, a financial analyst, believes that the uncertainty linked to an agreement between Jamaica and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is partly to blame for the rising national debt. Jamaica accrued $81.9 billion in additional debt between January and September of 2012. Everyone is waiting and seeing what will happen, says Gregory, and in the meantime, the government must borrow monies to fund its expenditures.
PROTESTS OVER ATTACK ON ALLEGED GAY MARK ATTITUDE SHIFT, SAYS VIRGO—12/10/12
The outrage of Jamaica’s public over an attack on an allegedly gay man on the campus of The University of Technology showed a “phenomenal shift” in opinion, according to Collin Virgo of the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP). Virgo said this is the first time he can remember that the public’s opinion was not against homosexuals and homosexual acts. A video of the attack shows the man pleading with security personnel, who slap, punch, and kick him in front of a crowd, some of whom encouraged the attack.
NEW PLANS FOR RURAL SCHOOL BUS SYSTEM SOUGHT—12/11/12
Dr. Omar Davies, Jamaica’s Minister of Transport, Works, and Housing, says there is no guarantee that a feasible system of rural school buses will be created, despite calls for proposals to develop strategic implementation plans. Davies says the government is committed to providing a system for rural students, but that there is no data available on the extent of the problem. Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has tasked Davies and Education Minister Ronald Thwaites with investigating the possibility of a national school bus system in response to cost and safety concerns about current systems.
STUDENT OBJECTS TO LINK BETWEEN EXAM, AUXILLIARY FEES—12/12/12
A student in the fifth form of Edith Dalton James High School in St. Andrew says he was barred from taking an examination because he had not yet paid his auxiliary fees. According to the student, he was in class minutes before the exam was to start when he and other students who owed the fees said they would not be permitted to take the examination. Ray Howell, principal of the school, said the facility was trying to find “innovative” ways to collect the $7,000 auxiliary fees. He was unaware of the alleged incident at the examination, he said.
TEACHERS PAID TO LEARN SPANISH CAN’T FIND JOBS—12/13/12
Over 150 teachers who receive paid training from the government to prepare them for teaching Spanish in primary schools now have a difficult time finding a job, since Jamaica’s Ministry of Education has failed to live up to a commitment that it would offer the subject at the primary level. The teachers were trained on the belief that they would teach three years on bond in the public system. However, five years after the scholarship program began, Spanish has not yet been included in the curriculum of primary schools. Only 76 of the 231 teachers trained in the program currently have employment.
CONTRACTOR GENERAL OFFICE WORRIED ABOUT CABINET’S COMMITMENT—12/14/12
The Office of the Contractor General (OCG) in Jamaica is concerned about what it perceives as a failure of the Cabinet to comply with a number of its requisitions in the past several months. The agency has stated its concerns in a 28-page report that was submitted to the Houses of Parliament. No details of the document have been made public, but the OCG describes the failure of the Cabinet Office to provide it with data about major projects being conducted by the Government These include the north-south portion of Highway 2000, the Gordon Cay container trans-shipment hub, and the Fort Augusta container terminal.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
SOUTHERN USA DIASPORA PROVIDES GENEROUS DONATIONS—12/08/12
The fundraising programs of the Jamaica Diaspora Southern USA in Florida have been made possible by generous donations from businesses in the community. The funds are meant to go toward Hurricane Sandy relief, providing blood pressure machines in every hospital and clinic in Jamaica, building a basic school on the island together with Food for the Poor, and providing support for the Reggae Girlz and female athletes in football.
FORMER JAMAICAN PRIME MINISTER VISITS PRIME MINISTER OF THE BAHAMAS—12/10/12
Form Jamaican Prime Minister Percival Noel James Patterson called on Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie in Cable Beach, Nassau, as one of several representatives of Digicel, the telecommunications firm. Patterson presented Christie with business proposals and plans the company has to serve the Bahamian market. Patterson was the sixth Prime Minister of Jamaica and served between 1992 and 2006, leading the People’s National Party during those years as well.
JAMAICAN PROTESTS DEPORTATION FROM CANADA—12/11/12
John McLeod, a Jamaican who is serving prison time in Canada for murder, is challenging the constitutionality of a deportation ordered issued to him. McLeod believes he should not be deported until “the end of his life sentence. He became eligible for day parole in 2008 and is currently entitled to full parole, but if he accepts parole, he become subject to the deportation order. He was convicted in 2001 after killing his girlfriend in Toronto, putting the body in a suitcase, and leaving the suitcase alongside a highway.
STUDENTS IN UK LEARN ABOUT JAMAICAN-STYLE CHRISTMAS—12/12/12
Children and teachers from eight primary schools in London were welcomed at the Jamaican High Commission in that city to experience a Jamaican-style Christmas. They were told about the history of traditional drumming, storytelling, dance, and music in Jamaica. Over 50 children, many of whom are learning about Jamaica for school projects, heard from a variety of speakers about their Christmas traditions on the island and then receive a traditional Jamaican Christmas feast of chicken, rice and peas, and fried plantains.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
PUERTO RICANS BATTLE CAIMANS—12/08/12
HAITI EXPERIENCES WIDESPREAD HUNGER FOLLOWING STORMS—12/09/12
GOVERNOR OF PUERTO RICO URGES STATEHOOD—12/10/12
ANTIGUA TO PURSUE SANCTIONS AGAINST U.S.—12/11/12
LEADER OF CAYMAN ISLANDS RELEASED ON BAIL—12/12/12
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, HAITI MOVE INTO CARIBBEAN CUP FINALS—12/13/12
Visit Caribbeantopnews.com for the weekly Caribbean News Summary, Caribbean Events & Announcements and Caribbean Recipes.
BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
TOURISM MINISTRY OBSERVES TOURISM AWARENESS WEEK—12/08/12
Jamaica is preparing for the beginning of the winter tourist season. The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment will highlight the season by holding Tourism Awareness Week from December 9 to December 15, 2012. The events of the week will emphasize the contributions made by the tourism sector to the country and its impact on Jamaica’s economic development.
CANE FARMERS IN JAMAICA COULD SEE WINDFALL FROM FAIRTRADE PLAN—12/09/12
Jamaican cane farmers could get a windfall from using environmentally sustainable cultivation procedures. These could result in the farmers receiving a premium of US$60,000 per ton up to 20 tons of local cane. This is what Tate and Lyle has promised to purchase this year under the Fairtrade plan. The firm has already worked with farmers in Guyana, Fiji, and Belize to help them get Fairtrade status.
JAMAICAN EXPORT COMPLIANCE TO BE FUNDED BY EUROPEAN UNION—12/11/12
The European Union will provide the support needed for agricultural exports from Jamaica to be in compliance with international quality standards. The European Partnership Agreement (EPA) Capacity Building Project is designed to increase and diversify exports of agricultural and agro-processed products from Jamaica and to bring these exports into compliance with global quality standards.
SUGAR MARKET IMPACTED BY PAN CARIBBEAN ACTIONS—12/12/12
Roger Clarke, Minister of Agriculture, has partnered with cane farmers in criticizing the business practices of the Pan Caribbean Sugar Company (PCSC) of China. The actions and operations of this firm seem to diverge from traditional commerce arrangements. According to reports, the company has cancelled prepayments on the cane crop and imposed a different system for distributing fertilizer. Clarke, who is a cane farmer, said the company lacks transparency in its operations as well and has held back information from farmers concerning sugar prices.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
JAMAICA N DOHA DELEGATION URGES NEW EMISSION TARGETS—12/08/12
GENUINE BIO-FUEL TO BUILT PLAN IN PUERTO RICO TO SERVE AREA MARKET—12/12/12
GEOLOGISTS WARN OF CARIBBEAN TSUNAMI RISK—12/13/12
LIME CONTACT CENTER TO EMPLOY 180 PEOPLE—12/14/12
Visit Caribbeantopnews.com for the weekly Caribbean News Summary, Caribbean Events & Announcements and Caribbean Recipes.
JIMMY CLIFF RELEASES NEW ALBUM—12/08/12
The legendary reggae star Jimmy Cliff says he is motivated to write about sociopolitical issues and personal relationships. Cliff has released a new album entitled “Rebirth” with Tim Armstrong of Rancid, a ska-punk band. Cliff is touring as the opening act for part of the Dave Matthews Band tour. He was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.
JAN CAREW, GUYANESE NOVELIST, DIES—12/09/12
Jan Rynvekd Carew, Guyanese novelist, has died at age 92. Carew wrote several landmark novels set in the Caribbean and Guyana. He was also a playwright and educator. He was born in Guyana and in his lifetime, he wrote for children and the British Broadcasting Corporation, and for the British and Caribbean Pan Africanist Movement. He traveled the world and lived and worked in many countries. The Guyana Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport called him “a citizen of the world” whose early life was spent as a “gentle revolutionary” working in Black activist organizations with W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, and Paul Robeson.
EVENT AT UTECH HONORS MUSIC INDUSTRY IN JAMAICA—12/10/12
A star-studded event at the University of Technology focused on the history and contributions of Jamaica’s music industry. The event celebrated the opening of the first recording studio on the island in 1951, which recorded “mento music.” When Jamaica gained independence in 1962, ska became rocksteady. Reggae developed in the 1960s. The history of Jamaican music was the highlight of the UTech gala.
JAH CURE RELEASES NEW ALBUM—12/12/12
Jah Cure, the international Jamaican recording artiste, has launched his new “World Cry” album and is preparing for two live performances on two continents. The album, which has been much anticipated by fans, was overdue because of a variety of setbacks. The album represents hard work on the part of the musicians. Jah Cure was also the producer on the album and believes that it is one of his best works yet. The album has 15 tracks and features Jasmine Sullivan, Rick Ross and Tupac.
FRENCH GUYANA BEATS JAMAICA IN CARIBBEAN CUP—12/08/12
French Guyana was victorious at the Caribbean Cup in Antigua, defeating Jamaica, the two-time defending champion by 2 to 1 in the opening match of the Group 8 competition. Gary Pigree had his eighth goal in seven games in opening scoring. Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz had a good second half, but it was not enough to stem French Guyana’s momentum.
WALTERS FIRST BOXER TO WIN CHAMPIONSHIP ON LOCAL SOIL—12/10/12
Nicholas “The Axeman” Walters brought home to Jamaica the featherweight boxing championship, the first Jamaican to do so on local soil. He won in the main bout of a five-fight event promoted by SportsMax and approved by the World Boxing Association (WBA). Walters obtained a TKO in the seventh round to beat Daulis Prescott of Colombia. Walters said he especially wanted the victory in recognition of Jamaica’s 50 anniversary of independence.
ATKINSON WINS FIRST JAMAICAN MEDAL IN FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS—12/13/12
Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson cored the first medal for her country at the 11th FINA World Swimming Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. She won a silver medal in the 50-meter breaststroke competition with a time of 29.67 seconds, just over her personal best of 29.62.
MICHAEL FRATER QUITS MVP TRACK CLUB—12/14/12
Newly elected vice-president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Michael Frater, has quite the MVP Track Club because he says he is being disrespected by Stephen Francis, the head coach, after his decision to run for the JAAA position. Reports emerged that Francis was not happy about Frater becoming involved in the politics of the sport and was concerned about conflicts of interest. Frater is the third vice president of the JAAA and won 204 of the 370 available votes during elections.
CREDIT CONTROL OFFICER
INFANT SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT
Visit JAMAICAN JOBS.
“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.