THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
JAMAICAN EXPORTS NOT WORTH EXPENSE OF IMPORTED FUEL—12/15/12
According to recent data, the value of Jamaica’s exports from January 2012 to August 2012 would not cover the costs of importing petroleum products during the same months. Total exports were valued at US$1.1 billion, and imported petroleum products were valued at US$1.6 billion. This was a trade deficit of US$500 million in just the petroleum products alone. These products included the fuels used by the Jamaica Public Service Company, gas used for cooking, and fuels used in automobiles, boats, and plans.
STUDENTS LOSE YEARS OF SCHOOLING DUE TO LACK OF SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS—12/16/12
The Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC) has determined that students lose years’ worth of teaching and learning because there is a lack of substitute teachers ready to replace those who go on casual leave or who become ill. The statistics are part of a report prepared by the Council two years ago that was designed to urge Jamaica’s government to implement a substitute teacher program.
FIVE JAMAICAN BOATERS RESCURED BY CRUISE SHIP—12/17/12
The Island Princess cruise ship of the Princess Cruises line rescued five Jamaicans who said they had been adrift in a small boat on the Caribbean for three weeks. Spokesperson Susanne Ferrull did not know what condition of those rescued or their ages. The individuals told cruise ship workers that they were going to a barbeque and ran out of fuel. They asked for fuel, but were informed by the crew that they were not allowed to do that. Instead, officials in Jamaica were notified of their circumstances.
CORPORAL’S MURDER TO BE INVESTIGATED AT HIGH LEVEL—12/18/12
The murder of Corporal Ransford Durrant of the St. James Division was condemned by the Police High Command, and a high-level investigation was scheduled to look into the crime. Durrant was shot and killed in Windsor, St. Ann’s Bay. Police had yet to establish a motive for the crime, but reports suggest that the person or persons responsible fled with Durrant’s licensed firearm.
EXPANDED CDA ROLE CONSIDERED BY CABINET—12/19/12
Jamaica’s Cabinet is reviewing changes to the Child Development Agency’s (CDA) legal jurisdiction. The changes could provide the agency with authority over children held in police jails and correctional facilities. Lisa Hanna, Minister of Youth and Culture, announced the potential changes while updating the country on efforts by the group charged with examining the issues associated with children who come into contact with legal authorities. Currently, the CDA has no legal jurisdiction for children in lockups.
GOVERNMENT WARNED OF ISSUES RELATED TO SCRAP METAL TRADE—12/20/12
Anthony Hylton, Jamaica’s Minister of Industry has been warned by the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) that the government must ensure that no mistakes are made during the creation of a framework designed to govern the reopening of the scrap metal trade. Hylton said that the trade will reopen in January 2013 and that it makes important contributions to the economy of the country. The scrap metal trade provides jobs, earns foreign exchange, and improves the environment by removing derelict cars and other metal objects.
JAMAICANS TO SEE HIV TRAINING MANUAL—12/20/12
Stakeholders in the National HIV/STI Program (NHP) hope that Jamaica’s citizens will better understand the connection between gender equality and the incidence of HIV via exposure to a new HIV training manual. The reference and training manual, entitled “The Role of Gender Equality/Relations in Handling and Reversing HIV in Jamaica,” focuses on the link between gender and HIV. The project represents collaboration between the Ministry of Health and the United Nations Women and European Commission. The goal of the program is to ensure gender equality and human rights in plans and budgets addressing HIV/AIDS on the national level.
FIRE STATION REHABILITATED IN TRENCH TOWN—12/21/12
The Ministry of Local Government has completed rehabilitation work on the Trench Town Fire Station in Kingston. The project cost more than $2 million. The station was closed earlier in 2012 in order to make reconstruction of the roof possible. The original roof had contained asbestos materials, which had been deemed a serious health risk. Nocthline Traders Ltd. was contracted to perform the work in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government’s Technical Services Team, the Jamaica Fire Brigade, and stakeholders from the private sector.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
CALGARY CELEBRATES JAMAICA’S INDEPENDENCE—12/15/12
During 2012, Calgary, Canada, was involved in the celebration of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence. In December, Calgary residents plan to top off the year of celebration with a New Year’s Gala sponsored by the Jamaican Canadian Association of Alberta. The province sponsored various events throughout the year, including a brunch, family picnic, youth sports day, and film festival.
JAMAICA’S HIGH COMMISSIONER RECEIVES RECOGNITION—12/16/12
Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, Jamaica’s High Commissioner, who visited Gloucester in the United Kingdom for the first time in November 2012 to launch the Jamaican Hurricane Appeal Fund, took a serious interest in a particular article in The Citizen newspaper. The article involved a flag-raising, and in recognition of her efforts and interest, the Chairman of the Afro-Caribbean Association, Howard Francis, had the article framed and presented it to Ndombet-Assamba. The High Commissioner wants to begin the appeal fund as soon as possible, since Jamaica received relatively little publicity during Hurricane Sandy because of the presidential elections in the United States.
JOHNSON TO PLAY FOR PORTLAND TIMBERS—12/17/12
Jamaican Ryan Johnson has joined the Portland Timbers major league soccer team. Johnson, 28, was selected as part of an effort to improve the Oregon team’s overall mix, said general manager Gavin Wilkinson. The club wanted to get a good goal scorer and a player with experience, such as Ryan, who, according to Wilkinson, will add to the offensive side and create goals in several ways. Ryan is also a versatile player who can play any number of positions, said the general manager.
GOLD MEDALIST REVEALS FATHER’S EXPERIENCE WITH RACISM IN UK—12/18/12
Jessica Ennis, the Olympic gold medalist, has revealed that her Jamaican father was once denied the chance to purchase a house in the United Kingdom because of his color. Ennis, who says she has never experienced prejudice as a mixed-race individual in the UK, noted that the times were different in the 1960s, when her father had his experience. She believes the UK has moved on since then and cannot imagine anything similar happening now.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
CAYMANS BUSH BLAMES LEGAL WOES ON SUPPORT FOR JAMAICAN IMMIGRANTS—12/15/12
GAY MARRIAGE LEGALIZED IN SABA—12/16/12
CARIBBEAN TO SEE NEW TWENTY20 LEAGUE—12/17/12
CARICOM STATES, U.S. EXTEND SECURITY PARTNERSHIP—12/18/12
CUBA WINS FIRST CARIBBEAN CUP—12/19/12
CARIBBEAN REGION OF GUATEMALA DECIMATED BY DEFORESTATION—12/20/12
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BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
HYLTON TO RETIRE IN 2013—12/18/12
Noel Hylton, 81, has served as CEO and chairman of the Port Authority of Jamaica since 1975. He is now scheduled to retire from this post in 2013. The Ministry of Transport and Works has created a transition plan to prepare for Hylton’s departure, which will come in about ten months. Dr. Omar Davies, Minister of Transport and Works, said that a search for a new chief operations officer is part of the transition program, but would not provide more details of the plan.
GUARDIAN HOLDINGS COMMITTED TO JAMAICA INVESTMENTS—12/19/12
Guardian Holdings Ltd. (GHL) reports that it has made investments totaling US$53 million in Jamaica over the past 18 months and that this indicated the firm’s commitment to continuing business with the island in the future. According to Jeffrey Mack, CEO of GHL, Jamaica is an important country for the company and its investment initiatives.
CARIBBEAN TOURISM INDUSTRY SEES INCREASES FROM U.S., CANADA—12/20/12
The tourism industry in the Caribbean showed signs of recovery during 2012, chiefly due to increased tourist traffic from the United States and Canada. This increase mitigated the lower numbers of tourists coming from the United Kingdom. Total arrivals from the U.S. and Canada grew by 5.3 percent each, while arrivals from the UK saw a decline of more than six percent during 2012. The Air Passenger Duty (APD) continues to have a negative impact on the tourism sector as well.
FREIGHT STAKEHOLDERS FACE DIFFICULTIES MOVING CARGO—12/21/12
Stakeholders in the freight industry have urged the government of Jamaica to address the issues linked to intra-island cargo transport. This is critical now that the government is trying to make Jamaica a global logistics hub. According to Denise Lyn-Fatt of Freight Handlers Ltd., this is a critical issue for the country, and she noted that there were major problems associated with moving cargo just from Montego Bay to Kingston. Freight handlers are not allowed to move cargo over land, but are required to transport it along the coast, which adds to delivery time, Lyn-Fatt said.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
ONLINE GSAT TO BE PROVIDED—12/18/12
LIME TO INVEST HEAVILY IN CUSTOMER SERVICE IPROVEMENTS—12/19/12
JAMAICA URGED TO LOOK FOR CHEAPER, MORE EFFICIENT ENERGY SOURCES—12/20/12
COMMUNICATIONS SECTOR TO BE EXCITING IN 2013, SAY TREND WATCHERS—12/21/12
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TV SHOW MEANT FOR JAMAICAN RESIDENTS OF DERBY—12/17/12
Residents of Derby in the United Kingdom who have roots in Jamaica will be featured in a current affairs television program as part of the celebration of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence. The program is hosted by Des Coleman, whose parents immigrated to the UK from Jamaica after World War II, as did thousands of other Jamaicans looking for work. About 8,000 people in Derby are from Jamaica or have Jamaican heritage and are important to the history of the nation, according to George Mighty, chairman of the Derby West Indian Community Association, which will also be featured in the program.
KONSHENS ADDED TO STING 2012—12/18/12
Konshens, the Jamaican dancehall superstar, will headline STING 2012 on December 26, 2012, in Portmore, St. Catherine. This is the biggest stage show for fans of dancehall, and while Konshens had initially said he would not participate in the event, he decided to perform at its 29th edition because he is satisfied with the new direction the event appears to be taking. It will be his first appearance at STING, a show that has seen its share of controversy in the past.
NEW ARTIST VHANDIVA THANKS BEYONCE—12/20/12
The new Jamaican recording artist VhanDiva is making a splash in the United States, Europe, and on her home island with her style and “Diva appeal.” She is working on her first album and looking for a good label distribution deal. She says that she respects what Beyonce has done for female artists worldwide and especially thanks Beyonce for reaching out to her. VhanDiva has released a single and music video called “Pack Yuh Tings” in Jamaica, which is getting significant play on local stations.
BUSY SIGNAL TO TOUR IN EUROPE—12/21/12
Busy Signal is making a major tour of Europe beginning in March 2013, in spite of his legal issues. He was arrested and extradited to the United States in May 2012, just after his new album was released. While the album has been sold out for over six months, it is still in high demand. Busy Signal says that reggae albums have a “two-year life span” so the album is still relatively new. The album “Reggae Music Again” was ranked among the top 25 albums of 2012 by music critics at the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and is the only reggae album on this list.
FEMALE ATHLETES FROM JAMAICA, COLOMBIA SHARE LEADERSHIP—12/15/12
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica and Mariana Pajon of Colombia shared the women’s leadership in the Prensa Latina sports poll, which was designed to select the best athletes in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2012. Fraser-Pryce won three gold medals at the London Olympics in 2012 and received the support of several Latin American newspapers in the poll.
ATKINSON WINS TWO SILVER MEDALS—12/18/12
Alia Atkinson, Jamaican swimming star, has finished the 11th FINA World Swimming Championships meet by winning two silver medals. In the women’s 200 meters, Atkinson swam the distance in 2:21.64. In the final 200-meter breaststroke, she placed fifth with a time of 2:21.69. She is the first Jamaican to medal in these five-day championships, taking second place in the 50-meter and 100-meter breaststroke.
HURDLER BUCKLEY LOOKING FOR REVIVAL—12/20/12
Markino Buckley, 400-meter hurdler, has had a difficult few years, but is ready to make a comeback by returning to the MVP Track Club. Buckley left the MVP in 2010 to join the Racers Track Club, but suffered several injuries and a loss of motivation during his time there. He has described the hurdles program at Racers as “weak.” He now plans to revert to the MVP to improve his performance.
DALEY ELECTED PRESIDENT OF SAINT JAMES FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION—12/21/12
Gregory Daley has been elected president of the St. James Football Association (StJFA). The former coach and referee of the Herbert Morrison Technical High School football team, which won the daCosta Cup in 2012, beat his challenger Steve Bucknor 67 votes to 25 votes. Bucknor is a former ICC umpire and referee in the FIFA. Daley intends to bring St. James football back to its “glory days,” focusing on youth development.
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Joy of the World
The night was probably quiet as the sheep rested in the field, the shepherds keeping vigilant watch over them and perhaps trading stories they had repeated many times before. Just another night in the life of a shepherd, or so they thought. Unknown to them, this was no ordinary night for while they engaged in the ordinary the extraordinary was taking place.
Luke tells us that as the shepherds kept their watch,”Lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:9-14, KJV).
It was a celebration like none other. A multitude of heavenly host, a chorus of voices giving glory to God and announcing His peace and good will toward men. As the angels returned to heaven (v.15), we can only imagine the rejoicing as millions of their counterparts joined in the celebration, no doubt watching in awe as the related events unfolded on earth. The world did not know it then but in the birth of the little boy, joy had come into the world; a joy that was not known before and one that has not been known since. Through Him the light had come and the glory of the LORD had risen upon us (Isaiah 60:1). God had introduced Himself to the world in the person of His Son Jesus. Its been over thousand years since and we are still celebrating God’s most precious gift to the world. It is true that for far too many the reason for the season is buried under the avalanche of commerce, but for those of us who have accepted Jesus as Lord, we are forever grateful that God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son.
As we open our gifts this Christmas, let us remember the most treasured of gifts – JESUS. He is the reason for the season. From my house to yours, a very Merry Christmas.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.