THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
CHILREN IN ST.ANN AIDED BY THREAD FOUNDATION—12/29/12
The THREAD Foundation provided a day of fun for children in St. Ann’s Bay at the Jonas Reiner Sports Center. The activities were sponsored by Scotiabank, Spicy Nice, and other contributors and were the second such event. The initial success of the event in 2011 prompted the organization to hold another fun day for about 100 children, who were treated to donkey rides, games, races, and food. The organization plans to provide even more sports for the event in the future.
RUSH FOR JAMAICANS SEEKING TRAFFIC TICKET AMNESTY—12/30/12
Traffic headquarters in Kingston were opened to permit motorists to check on traffic tickets prior to going to the tax offices to pay their fees. According to Radcliffe Lewis, senior superintendent of the Police Traffic Division, everything possible was in place to facilitate things for motorists who want to meet the amnesty deadline. In previous days, there had been chaos at some traffic offices as people were told there would be no extension of the amnesty and those missing the deadline would see the “full extent of the law” applied to them.
GAY RIGHTS LAWYER SAYS NEWSPAPER MUST STOP USING HOMOPHOBIC IMAGES—12/31/12
Maurice Tomlinson, a Jamaican gay rights attorney, has called upon the Jamaica Observer newspaper to stop printing what he has characterized as homophobic imagery. Tomlinson is also involved in the challenges to the immigration laws of Belize and Trinidad and Tobago, which ban homosexual individuals from entering the country. Tomlinson referenced a cartoon run by the Observer on Christmas Day, which he said is the latest in a series in the paper that stigmatize gay Jamaicans with negative imagery.
POLICE IN JAMAICA ARREST FUGITIVE FROM CAYMANS—12/31/12
A man wanted by the Cayman Islands on several criminal charges was captured by Jamaican police in St. Ann. Dainian Henry, 31, also known as “Yellow,” is wanted by the Caymans for possessing an unregistered firearm, possession of cocaine with intent to supply, escaping custody, attempted robbery, threatening violence, resisting arrest, and providing a fake name and birth date to police. He was captured by the St. Ann operational support team during an operation in Bamboo after being on the run since October 2012.
FOOD FOR THE POOR HELPS TO BOOST FLEET OF MARINE POLICE—01/01/12
The Food for the Poor (FFP) organization has enhanced the capabilities of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Marine Division by presenting the force with a refurbished Contender Police Boat. The 32-foo-long boat will have an important part in help the fishing villages of Food for the Poor as well. FFP has 17 fishing villages across Jamaica as part of a project designed to empower poorer communities and help them become self-sufficient and independent. FFP refurbished the police boat in part to ensure that its villages would receive help if needed in emergencies or in case of crime.
CABINET REFERRED BY CONTRACTOR GENERAL FOR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION—01/02/12
Jamaica’s Office of the Contractor General (OCG) has formally referred the Cabinet of Jamaica for criminal prosecution for its failure to comply with legal requirements related to requisitions in several large investment projects. The OCG stated that it had tried over a number of months to contact the Office of the Cabinet in writing to request information about at least four government projects and had extended the deadline for provision of the information several times, but the final deadline expired on December 21, 2012.
RUM WARS IN CARIBBEAN TO BE PROLONGED BY NEW U.S. BUDGET—01/03/12
A new budget agreement implemented in the United States could prolong the so-called rum wars in the Caribbean. Rum producers in the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) could face serious ramifications from the new deal, which includes tax extensions for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. An excise tax of US$13.50 per proof-gallon on rum will now be extended for two more years. This revenue has permitted the U.S. territories to offer tax breaks to international producers with plants on the islands.
$340 MILLION OBTAINED VIA TRAFFIC TICKET AMNESTY PROGRAM—01/04/12
Jamaica’s government has received about $340 million from its six-month-long amnesty plan for traffic tickets. According to Peter Bunting, Minister of National Security, over 60 percent of the total monies were received on the final day of the amnesty. Motorists waited until the last possible moment to take advantage of the plan, with some 21, 000 individuals showing up at tax offices across the island on December 31, 2012.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
CARIBBEAN CARNIVAL FUNDRAISER HONORED IN LEICESTER—12/29/12
Janet Gaskell, 71, has been appointed MBE for her services to the Caribbean Carnival and the Caribbean community in Leicester in the United Kingdom. She has raised thousands of pounds for the event since its inception in 1985. She now organizes artists and bands for the event as well and is treasurer of the local cancer research branch and chairs a victim support group.
CARIBBEAN AMERICAN GROUP IN ALABAMA HOSTS EVENT—12/30/12
The Central Alabama Caribbean American Organization (CACAO) hosted its second annual dinner-dance event on December 15, 2012. The event was attended by special guests, including the mayor of Birmingham, William Bell, and Theodora Britton, the Congressional Medal of Honor winner. Over 200 people from Atlanta, Huntsville, Nashville, and Auburn attended the dinner. Shirley Squires of the Honorary Consul Jamaica office arranged a silent auction for luxury trips to Jamaica and the Caribbean as part of the event.
CARIBBEAN DESIGN TRADESHOW TO BE HELD IN BAHAMAS—01/02/12
A multicultural Caribbean Design Tradeshow event will be held in 2013 in Grand Bahama. It will bring together interested parties from Jamaica and the entire Caribbean to discuss the sourcing and selling of services and products. It will include distributors, hoteliers, manufacturers, and wholesalers who want to acquire authentic Caribbean goods.
EDUCATION SECRETARY IN UK REMOVES JAMAICAN FROM CURRICULUM—01/03/12
Jamaica’s Mary Seacole has been removed from the National Curriculum in the United Kingdom by Britain’s Education Secretary Michael Gove. The move has prompted outrage in the UK, and a social media campaign to reinstate Seacole has been started. Operation Black Vote is circulating a petition to reinstate her as well. Mary Seacole was a critical figure in the Crimean War, which justifies her inclusion in teaching about the Victorian era in the schools.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
FIRE DESTROYS PART OF POPULAR MARKET IN HAITI—12/29/12
LEADER OF HAITI SINGS WITH JULIO IGLESIAS—12/30/12
CARICOM CHAIRMAN CALLS FOR HALT IN SHIPPING OF HAZARDOUS WASTE—12/31/12
LARGEST DEBT GROWTH IN CARIBBEAN SEEN BY BAHAMAS—01/01/12
OFFICIALS FROM BAHAMAS ATTEND RULE OF LAW CONFERENCE—01/02/12
IMF BACKS CARIBBEAN VIA INTEREST-FREE LOANS—01/03/12
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BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
YACHTS REGISTERED IN JAMAICA GET SIMPLER TAX REGIME—12/29/12
The Cabinet of Jamaica approved the introduction of a yearly fee to replace the many fees currently levied on yachts registered in Jamaica. The action is intended to make the local registry more attractive to owners. Under the proposals, a yearly fee will replace existing customs duty, customs user fee, environmental fee, and General Consumption Tax charges on Jamaica-registered flags. This offers a streamlined regime for boat owners. For yachts under 25 feet long, registration and safety inspection fees are waived for the first two years of registration.
JAMAICA’S COCOA SECTOR TO BE REVITALIZED—12/30/12
A grant designed to provide support to a project aiding rural farmers in the specialty cocoa space in Jamaica to expand their business into high-value markets and global supply chains. The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank, approved a grant totaling $1,817,500 initially. The $2.5 million project will help the cocoa sector of Jamaica recovery by giving small farmers the chance to participate in the larger overall value chain and will be implemented by the JCFA, a nonprofit farmers’ organization. There are about 11,000 small farmers on the island who grow cocoa commercially on lands of under five acres.
JAMAICAN FARM WORKERS DEPART FOR CANADA—01/02/12
The first group of farm workers for 2013 is slated to leave Jamaica for Canada soon. Over 100 workers will be addressed by Derrick Kellier, Minister of Labor and Social Security, during an event at the Ministry’s Overseas Employment Services Sector prior to departure. The event marks continued efforts by the Ministry to take advantage of work opportunities outside of Jamaica and to expand the overseas farm and factory program that began over 40 years ago.
CHAVEZ CANCER BATTLE ENDANGERS $7 BILLION IN OIL FUNDING FOR REGION—01/03/12
Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, continues his battle against cancer, and the situation is threatening $7 billion in subsidies for oil exports. These exports help to maintain the economy of Cuba and control inflation in several Caribbean countries, including Jamaica. Chavez sent Cuba $3.6 billion in oil during 2011 via the Petrocaribe program. This program serves 70 million people in Central America and the Caribbean area. Concerns have arisen about the continuation of the program if Chavez does not recover.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
CARIBBEAN IMPACTED BY GLOBAL WARMING—12/29/12
OLDER PEOPLE MUST BE CONSIDERED IN DISASTER PLANNING—12/30/12
HEALTH MINISTRY BUYS FOGGING MACHINES TO CONTROL DENGUE OUTBREAK—12/31/12
REPORT PREDICTS BOOST TO CARIBBEAN SOLAR MARKETS—01/02/12
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JAMAICA’S MUSIC LEGENDS IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO FOR TRIBUTE EVENT—12/29/12
Caribbean Musical Explosion (CME) will stage the largest calypso tribute ever seen in Trinidad and Tobago. Elsworth James, the promoter of the event and an entertainer himself, said the calypso tribute will be the first major calypso production in the country. It will honor calypso’s past and present stars, with each honoree receiving $50,000.
JAMAICAN DJ IN HARARE FOR NEW YEAR’S SHOW—12/30/12
Andrae Sutherland, Jamaican Dancehall deejay who is known as Popcaan, has traveled to Zimbabwe in advance of a show in which he will participate on New Year’s Eve at the Harare International Conference Center. This will be the first appearance in Africa for Popcaan. Other local dancehall and reggae artistes will also participate, including Mike Madamombe and Guspy Warrior.
JAMAICAN REGGAE SINGER LLOYD CHARMERS DIES—12/31/12
Lloyd Charmers, the Jamaican reggae singing star whose real name was Lloyd Terell) died of a heart attack while driving in London. He was 74 years of age. Charmers was taken to Homerton Hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival. He was a keyboard player and singer born in Trenchtown, Jamaica. HIs career began in 1962 when performing as The Charmers with Roy Willis. He released two solo albums in 1970 and started his own label, Splash, and became a producer.
DIONNE WARWICK TO PERFORM AT FESTIVAL—01/03/12
Dionne Warwick, one of the top women vocalists of the rock era, is scheduled to perform at the 17th annual Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, which will run from January 24 to 26, 2013, at the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium. She will be joined by Monica, Arturo Tappin, Mary J. Blige, John Legend, and Michael Bolton.
JAMAICAN SPRINTER INVOLVED IN VEHICLE ACCIDENT ON CHRISTMAS DAY—12/29/12
Shereefa Lloyd, 30, a Jamaican quarter-mile sprinter who was a member of the nation’s Olympic bronze medal team at the London games in 2012, lost control of her vehicle on Highway 2000 on her way to May Pen, crashing into two poles. She was not seriously injured in the crash. This was the same highway on which Usain Bolt, triple Olympic gold medalist and sprint world record holder, damaged his car in 2009. Bolt also walked away from his accident uninjured. Lloyd was also a member of the Jamaican team that won bronze at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
JAMAICA RUGBY GOING STRONG—01/02/12
A rugby league was introduced in Jamaica just eight years ago, but the team sport has thrived and grown in popularity on the island. When it began, there were only four teams; by the end of 2012, there were 12 high schools, some primary schools, eight clubs competing nationally, and a five-team intercollegiate championship in existence playing rugby. Romeo Monteith, director of rugby at the JRLA and rugby league European development manager for the Caribbean, believes the sport will continue to grow and receive more recognition in the near future as officials and coaches are trained and educated.
THWAITES TO DISCUSS SCHOOLBOY FOOTBALLERS ISSUE—01/03/12
Ronald Thwaites, Jamaica’s Minister of Education, is planning to discuss schoolboy footballer maters with the issue’s key stakeholders. Thwaites wants to obtain a clear understanding of the subject and has invited Coach Neville “Bertis” Bell to a meeting that will also include representatives of the Inter-Secondary Sports Association (ISSA). Thwaites wants to improve the understanding of how transfers of student athletes can occur without the hostility that has marked discussions to date.
BRAZILIAN COACHES FIRED BY JFF—01/04/12
The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) fired two of its Brazilian coaches after receiving recommendations from the Technical and Development Committee. Walter Gama, technical director, and Armando Bracali, goalkeeper coach, were fired for what the committee said was a “lack of proactive technical leadership.” Two other Brazilians, Luciano Gama and Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore’s assistant, Alfredo Montesso, kept their jobs. The review was ordered after the Reggae Boyz’ devastating performance at the CFU Caribbean Championships in Antigua and Barbuda.
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“In the Beginning God…”
In the first week of yet another year, I am reminded of the first four words from the book of Genesis, “In the beginning God,” and it occurred to me that there is no greater way to start the year than by getting God involved at the very beginning of it. If we look back over the past twelve months on how we did when we tried to manage things on our own, some of us would see our pathways littered with mistakes, disappointments, failures, hurts, among other things. For others, it has been a difficult year in other areas as it seems we have been tossed to and fro by life’s contrary winds. Nothing up to now seems to make any sense.
Yet there is something comforting about having God by our side. This does not guarantee that we will not experience challenges because living in a fallen world is a challenge within itself; however, God assured the nation of Israel, “O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour” (Isaiah 43:1-3a, KJV). Because we serve Him who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), we can trust Him that the same promise He made to Israel can be applied to our lives. It is important to note the use of the word “when” because it affirms that we will go through some challenging times. However, if we engage God at the beginning we have His word that He will be with us in and through every situation.
The importance of engaging God is brought out the Psalmist who reminds us, “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain” (Psalm 127:1). This principle can be applied in and to every area of our lives. Unless the Lord builds our homes, our relationships, our marriages, our businesses, our careers, our futures, we labor in vain who try to build them ourselves. Because everything is under God’s control, we are ultimately dependent on Him for our success. With that in mind, it makes sense that as we deliberate our plans for the New Year, the most important decision we can make is to engage God.
Moses also understood how important this was. Leading the nation of Israel in the exodus from Egypt, he was not prepared to go anywhere unless God was with them – “If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence” (Exodus 33:15). It is my prayer that we will adopt the same attitude as we navigate our respective journeys, “Lord if you are not going to be with me in this thing I want/have to do, do not let me do it.” Doing anything without Him is never, ever a good idea.
“In the beginning God.” Engage Him.
God’s very best to you and yours for a blessed and successful 2013.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.