THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
JAMAICA LIBRARY SERVICES RECEIVES US$2 MILLION GRANT—12/21/13
The Jamaica Library Service (JLS) has received a grant totaling US$2 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help the library service enhance information and communication technology (ICT) resources in the island’s public libraries. The grant will be combined with US$1.1 million from Jamaica’s government and allow for more training for users and staff members, as well as provide support for programs and advocacy.
POLICE KILL THREE SUSPECTED GANG MEMBERS IN WESTMORELAND—12/22/13
According to Jamaican authorities, three suspected gang members were shot and killed by police during security operations in Westmoreland. The Jamaica Constabulary Force said shots were exchanged when officers were searching for local gang members and were confronted by men with high-powered firearms, including an M-16 assault rifle.
COLOMBIA CONCERNED THAT JAMAICANS ARE NOT APPLYING FOR SCHOLARSHIPS—12/23/13
The government of Colombia has tried for some years to convince Jamaicans to study in that country, but a senior diplomat reports that no one has applied for any of the scholarships available to do so. According to William Bush, Deputy Head of Mission at the Colombian Embassy in Kingston, Colombia has 15 scholarships available each year, but no one applies for them.
MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATION LINKED TO FORMER JAMAICAN POLICEMAN—12/23/13
An attorney based in Kingston is being held in the United States in connection with a multi-million-dollar money laundering scheme investigation. Local law enforcement believes there are links between the crime and Andrew Hamilton, an admitted Jamaican drug dealer. Hamilton formerly worked as a postal employee and as a member of the Jamaican Constabulary Force. He pleaded guilty in California to drug charges, firearms charges, and money laundering.
TESSANNE ENCOURAGED BY BOLT’S ATTENDANCE AT “THE VOICE”—12/24/13
Usain Bolt, Olympic champion sprinter, attended “The Voice” television program in the United States on November 18, 2013, to give encouragement to Jamaica’s Tessanne Chin, a leading contestant and ultimate winner of the singing competition. Tessanne said she did not know he was there until she saw him on her way onstage and “nearly lost it.” She said she considered his presence an honor and welcomed his words of encouragement after the show.
TWO JAMAICANS FILE OFFICIAL COMPLAINTS IN T&T ABOUT ENTRY DENIALS—12/25/13
Two Jamaicans have made official complaints to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Trinidad and Tobago due to their denial of entry to that country in November 2013. There were also 11 other individuals from Jamaica who were denied entry on the same day. They are requesting a refund of their airfare, and others have are considering additional redress for the action.
IMMIGRATION ISSUE “BADLY HANDLED” BY TRINIDAD, SAYS WARNER—12/26/13
Austin “Jack” Warner, former national security ministry in the administration of Kamla Persad-Bissessar in Trinidad and Tobago, said the way the immigration matter involving a denial of entry to the country of a number of Jamaican travelers was handled badly. He said things would have been different if he were still in charge of immigration in T&T, calling the action “inhumane.”
POOR, HOMELESS HELPED BY FOOD FOR THE POOR, SALVATION ARMY—12/27/13
Food for the Poor (FFP) in Jamaica partnered with the Salvation Army to reach out to the most vulnerable members of society during the Christmas season. The yearly Christmas treat was held in Emmet Park in Kingston, and beneficiaries included the individuals who are served meals daily by the Salvation Army. They received hot food, entertainment, and gifts containing basic food items and toiletries.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
NEW VILLAGE IN JAMAICA TO HONOR “FATHER TONY”—12/21/13
Reverent Tony Palazzolo, “Father Tony,” is being honored by his friends and family with a fund-raising effort designed to obtain the money needed to build a village in Jamaica consisting of 40 homes. The village is to recognize his 20 years as a priest and missionary. Palazzolo, 82, spends his time on missions and traveling in the United States to speak about the needs of the poor. Father Tony’s Faith Village will be located in St. Elizabeth.
MEMBERS OF DIASPORA LOOKING FOR INVESTMENT DEALS—12/22/13
Members of the Caribbean Diaspora are searching for investments in real estate and other business ventures in the region. According to a survey by the World Bank’s consultants, 25 percent of the Diaspora have already made investments in the Caribbean, and others participating in the survey are looking for deals but are uncertain about where to find them.
TRUCK DRIVERS FROM JAMAICA BRAVING WINTER IN WINNIPEG—12/23/13
Wayne Howell is a long-haul truck driver who has been recruited from Jamaica to work in Canada. He says the icy roads and freezing temperatures present challenges to the drivers from Jamaica, but that they are glad to have the work. Howell said his family understands why he took the job in Canada, and he sends money home to his mother, wife and children, which goes much further in Jamaica than in Canada. Canada is having a hard time finding drivers, according to Rob Wensel of Arnold Brothers Transport, who said the country is short between 16,000 and 18,000 drivers.
CLARKE PRAISES DECISION OF NY GOVERNOR TO KEEP HOSPITAL OPEN—12/24/13
Yvette D. Clarke, Caribbean-American Congresswoman from Brooklyn, is glad that New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, is keeping open a hospital in the Caribbean community for an additional 30 days. Interfaith Medical Center, which is located on the border of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant, provides work for hundreds of Caribbean healthcare professionals. Keeping the hospital open means that over 200,000 individuals who depend on its services will continue to receive care.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
TRINIDAD AT TOP OF FIFA RANKINGS—12/21/13
OPPOSITION LEADERS IN BARBADOS WANT RESIGNATION OF FINANCE MINISTER—12/22/13
GOOD POTENTIAL FOR CASH CROPS IN CARIBBEAN IN 2014—12/23/13
PLAN TO END HUNGER AND POVERTY ADOPTED—12/24/13
EIGHT DIE IN FLOODING, LANDSLIDES IN ST. VINCENT—12/25/13
MIGRANT BOAT CAPSIZES, DROWNING 18 HAITIANS—12/26/13
BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
CARIB CEMENT BEGINS SHIPMENTGS TO VENEZUELA—12/21/13
Jamaica is using the trade compensation mechanism of the Petrocaribe agreement through the Caribbean Cement Company. The firm will send its first shipment of clinker to Venezuela in an action that has major implications for other industries and other exports from Jamaica.
NEW PROJECT SEEKS TO “TRANSFORM” OCHO RIOS—12/22/13
Minister of Tourism Dr. Wykeham McNeil believes that a new US$3.8 million project will “transform” Jamaica’s Ocho Rios. The project includes work on the cruise terminal and Turtle River Road construction. The project will continue until October 2014. Buildings and parking areas will be upgraded, and shops will be developed. The road project will provide for “pedestrialization” and landscaping.
CARICOM USES UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES—12/26/13
Unfair trade practices at CARICOM may involve several situations that are not allowed under the Treaty of Chaguaramas. These include unauthorized subsidies, dumping, abuse of monopoly, failing to meet rules of origin criteria, denials of effective access for qualified goods and services., extending benefits by members in unauthorized ways. Breaches or perceived breaches of the agreement are addresses in the Revised Treaty.
NONSTOP AIR SERVICE FROM DENVER TO MONTEGO BAY LAUNCHED—12/27/13
Frontier Airlines has added a nonstop flight from Denver, Colorado, to Montego Bay in Jamaica for travelers who want to escape winter weather. The new service began on December 22, 2013, and will be available on a weekly basis. To mark the initial flight, Blue Mountain coffee was service to passengers, along with Jamaican pastries, courtesy of the Jamaica Tourist Board.
Caribbean Science and Technology News provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
LOCAL TELEVISION REQUIREMENTS UNCLEAR—12/21/13
TTST ENTERS REGIONAL MOBILE CAMPAIGN—12/22/13
RISK OF TSUNAMI, EARTHQUAKE HIGHER IN CARIBBEAN THAN THOUGHT—12/24/13
UNDER -SEA FIBER ASSETS ACQUIRED BY DIGICEL—12/25/13
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
ELECTRONIC DANCE MUSIC EVENT SCHEDULED—12/21/13
In recognition of the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) popularity, SKYY Vodka, Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum, and promoter Adam Gomes will stage the first Electronic Dance Xposed (EDX) event. Three international acts will be featured, including DJ Tydi of Australia, Vika Koneva or Russia, and DJ Lema from the United States. They will perform at the Cayamanas Polo Club.
BOOK FEATURES POEMS, PHOTOS COLLECTED OVER 30 YEARS—12/22/13
Photographs and poems gathered over a 30-year period are featured in the book “Island Reliquaries,” by Margaret Reckford Bernal. The book is sponsored by the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) and follows Bernal’s experiences working on the island. She has dedicated the work to “ordinary extraordinary” people across Jamaica who made contributions to the construction and development of the island’s landscape.
CRITICS SAY RADIO BOSSES AND DJs ARE STIFLING JAMAICA’S MUSIC—12/23/13
The winning performances of Tessanne Chin on “The Voice” have given rise to criticism about the lack of support among local DJs to Jamaican music. Critics say radio stations have talented DJs but they tend to ignore new musical talent and the island’s music is paying the price. Jamaicans are not getting the chance to hear new voices, new ideas, or new lyrics because new music is not played on the radio.
TESSANNE HELPED BY FELLOW JAMAICAN, SOCIAL MEDIA—12/25/13
Despite not being a lover of television or reality programming, David Muir of South Florida was inspired by fellow Jamaican Tessanne Chin’s performances on “The Voice” to take action. He used all ten phone lines in his photography business, his wife’s phone, and his children’s phone to call in to support Tessanne as she moved through the singing competition. He also encouraged others to call in support of the Jamaican songstress. His efforts, and those of many other Jamaicans at home and overseas, ultimately paid off, making Chin the winner of the contest.
FRASER-PRYCE, BOLT AWARDED TOP LATIN AMERICAN TITLES—12/24/13
Jamaican runners Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce were voted to the top position in a ranking of sports personalities in Latin America and the Caribbean. The titles were awarded by AIPS America, the Continental unit of the International Sports Press Association. Ballots were case by sports journalists.
BROWN CALLED “X-FACTOR” OF TIGERS—12/25/13
Xavier Brown, a Jamaican sprinter who trained with Usain Bolt, is being called the “x-factor” at Wests Tigers in the United Kingdom. Brown was once on the same relay team as Bolt and Yohan Blake, and he has spent several months working with the Tigers. Brown, 30, has run the 100-meters in under ten seconds.
WILLIAMS SISTERS CONDUCT TENNIS CLINIC IN ST. ELIZABETH—12/26/13
Tennis champions Serena and Venus Williams visited St. Elizabeth to conduct a tennis clinic at the Treasure Beach Sports Park. The park has a single tennis court, but it is new and hardly used. The Williams sisters taught tennis tips to about 40 children at the clinic and said they were inspired by the amount of potential tennis talent they found in Jamaica.
NEWSPAPER IN UK ACCUSES JAMAICA OF PROTECTING ATHLETES FROM SCANDAL—12/27/13
A story published in the Daily Mail newspaper in the United Kingdom alleges that Jamaicans are afraid to discuss the possibility that athletes are cheating on drug tests. According to the article, critics of the athletes fear retribution, as evidence by the low price for murder-for-hire crimes on the island. The article noted that the doping scandal is haunting Jamaica’s athletes and hurting the reputation they have for providing championship track and field performances.
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“Remember Ye Not the Former Things”
As we stand on the threshold of another new year, some look back wistfully at the past year. Most of us would probably say the year has been one of mixed blessings; some successes interlaced with some failures. For others, it was a year of “what might have been.” There are things we wished we had done differently, things we probably regretted saying and doing. Regardless of where we direct our thoughts, one thing is clear – we cannot go back in time and change anything that was or was not done.
In his reflection on time, American poet and educator Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) writes, “Look not mournfully into the past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear.” However, centuries before, words to the same effect were spoken by the prophet Isaiah to the nation of Israel, “Thus saith the LORD . . . Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:16a, 18-19, KJV). There is something about focusing on the past that can often leaves us in a position of complacency and some of us can attest to that. We can become thoroughly satisfied with our successes or mentally and emotionally crippled by our failures. We can spend so much time looking backward that we fail to move forward timely and effectively. There is a reason the rearview mirror in cars are so small relative to the windshield. We glance back every now and again but we look in front. There are important lessons we can learn from our experiences and we should learn them, but let us not build tents around those experiences.
What are some of the things God wants us to forget? Our past losses, sorrows and sufferings; associations and traditions that hindered His working in our lives; the focus on self; past accomplishments and achievements that would distract us from offering glory to Him; and our failures, to name a few. As we begin the new year, God stands poised yet again to do new things that shall “spring forth.” If 2013 has been a year of failure and broken dreams, 2014 can be the opposite; if it was successful, there are more victories to be celebrated. We serve an awesome God to whom nothing is impossible (Jeremiah 32:26-27; Matthew 19:26).
Let us take God at His Word. Forgetting the former things and looking forward to the “new thing” He will be doing in our heart and lives. It is my prayer that He surprises us in ways far beyond anything we could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20), and I pray that especially for you and yours for this New Year. He is faithful that promised (Hebrews 10:23).
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.