THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
JAMAICA TO OPEN EMBASSY IN BRAZIL—06/08/13
Arnold J. Nicholson, Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, will officially open the new Jamaican Embassy in Brazil on June 14, 2013. He will be visiting Brazil from June 10 to 15, and will be joined by Paul Robotham, ambassador, Claude Duncan and Jodi-Kaye Smith of JAMPRO, and Oliver Chen of Jamaica’s Chamber of Commerce. Nicholson’s trip will focus on trade and investment opportunities.
JAMAICAN RESISTANCE TO EMPLOYER LIE DETECTOR TESTS WANING—06/09/13
According to the Jamaica Polygraph Association, fewer Jamaicans are protesting the idea of taking a workplace lie detector test, and fewer people are refusing to take the tests mandated by their employers. Deryck Dwyer, the president of the polygraph organization and the managing director of Global Integrity Services, says the change is due to the fact that people become more receptive to the idea after they gain a greater understanding of why employers use the tests.
JAMAICA AND CHINA FOCUS ON SIMILAR GOALS—06/10/13
Chinese president Xi Jinping has stated that his country is dreaming of a time when all people have equality, equity, and material plenty. On his visit to the Caribbean, he spoke of a “Chinese dream” that involved the rejuvenation of China centering on prosperity and happiness of its people. China’s dream is similar to that of Jamaican leaders and to peoples around the world: lasting peace and prosperity for all. Xi recognized that China cannot develop this dream in isolation, however, and is committed to international cooperation.
WHITE POWDER IN JAMAICAN EMBASSY NOT DANGEROUS—06/11/13
A suspicious white powder was discovered in an envelope at Jamaica’s embassy in Washington, D. C. The discovery closed the street by the embassy to traffic for over 90 minutes. Firefighters from the District of Columbia responded to calls from the embassy and closed the street about 12:30 pm. It was reopened at 2 pm after authorities and investigators deemed that the white powder was not a danger to the area.
U.S. COURT FINDS JAMAICAN WIRETAP NOT COVERED BY 4TH AMENDMENT—06/12/13
The United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals found that the continuing formal relationship between a U.S. law enforcement agency and its counterpart in another country does not create enough of an agency relationship to implicate the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment on searches performed outside the U.S. The case involved a claim by Stephen Lee, a U.S. citizen and convicted smuggler of marijuana, who was caught on tape during a Jamaican wiretap talking about shipping drugs to New York.
PROTECTED FORESTS IN JAMAICA THREATENED BY CHARCOAL TRADE—06/12/13
Being a charcoal burner in Jamaica offers much-needed work for many citizens, but the trade is endangering many of the island’s unique plants, animals, and insects. Efforts to protect the environment have been inadequate to stop charcoal burners from conducting their business. Since 17 percent of Jamaica’s 2.7 million residents live below the poverty line, many cut down trees to make their living from charcoal. Environmentalists are alarmed by the rate of deforestation and erosion occurring in Jamaica, comparing the country Haiti, which has suffered much devastation.
IMF: JAMAICA NEEDS CHANGE IN POLICY TO IMPROVE ECONOMIC CONDITIONS—06/13/13
According to Dr. Gene Leon, the outgoing senior representative for the International Monetary Fund in Jamaica, the nation must develop appropriate policies in order to move out from under its serious economic burdens. Even if all Jamaica’s debt disappeared overnight, it would be back in a few years if the right policies are not put in place to protect the economy in the future.
CONSERVATION EFFORTS IN COCKPIT COUNTRY DIFFICULT TO IMPLEMENT—06/14/13
Jamaica’s Cockpit Country is home to environmental damage from pollution, timber cutting, and charcoal burning, and conservation workers in the area grow increasingly frustrated as they try to stop individuals and companies that cause harm to the unique ecology and culture of the area. The Cockpit Country comprises Trelawny, St. James, and Manchester, and leaders of these parishes are calling for more protection against major destruction from mining or quarrying there.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICANS HOPEFUL ABOUT DIASPORA CONFERENCE—06/11/13
The Jamaican community in New York is optimistic about the Biennial Diaspora conference to be held at the Montego Bay Convention Center in St. James, beginning on June 16, 2013. According to Irwin Clare, head of the Diaspora Advisory Board for the Northeast United States, says that the four-day conference will cover more than “shop talk.” Clare said the conference is seen as one that will implement ideas designed to make a real impact on the development of Jamaica, as well as strengthen the Diaspora movement. Security, education, and health are three major issues to be addressed at the conference.
HERITAGE MONTH CELEBRATED BY CARIBBEAN STUDENT ASSOCIATION—06/12/13
Caribbean-American Heritage Month will be celebrated with a launch event on June 5, 2013, by the Caribbean Student Association in Florida. June was named the official month for this heritage group by President George W. Bush in 2006. This is the eighth year of the nationally recognized celebration, which will feature recognition of Caribbean ancestry through music, food, and displays of traditional attired.
JAMAICAN AMERICAN CULTURAL ASSOCIATION HOLDS YEARLY GALA EVENT—06/13/13
On June 1, 2013, the Jamaican American Cultural Association (JACA) in North Carolina held its Scholarship Gala to provide students in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area with educational scholarships. The nonprofit group seeks to help students obtain scholarships in Jamaica. Jason Reid, Brandon Blasse, Alma Paez, and Jasmine Smith were the recipients of the scholarships for 2013.
Annual Jamaican American Cultural Association Gala
JAMAICAN’S FILM TO BE SCREENED AT AMERICAN BLACK FILM FESTIVAL—06/14/13
“The Heart of Summer,” a film made by Jamaican-born filmmakers in South Florida, will be screened at the American Black Film Festival on June 23, 2013, in South Beach, Florida. The film, which was written by Ray Balgrove and Mark Bridge, with a screenplay by Tedric Huff, was directed by Adrian Allen. It will be part of the event, which also will feature a poetry presentation by Omari Hardwick. The festival is in its 17th year and usually draws more than 3,000 films, as well as professionals in the television and entertainment industry.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
NO BIRD FLU IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, SAYS OFFICIAL—06/08/13
OFFSHORE ACCOUNTS OF CARIBBEAN BANK INVESTIGATED BY IRS—06/09/13
INDIA HELPING TO RESTORE COCNUT FARMING IN TRINIDAD—06/11/13
TRINIDAD TRADE MINISTER DEFENDS JAMAICAN COUNTERPART—06/12/13
WTO SAYS CARIBBEAN MUST AVAIL ITSELF OF TRADE OPPORTUNITIES—06/13/13
CUBA TO REJOIN CARIBBEAN SERIES—06/14/13
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BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
PRIVATE SECTOR RESPONDS TO TRADE MINISTER COMMENTS—06/10/13
A.J. Nicholson, Jamaica’s Foreign Trade Minister, has called for the Opposition in Parliament to stop “bickering” with Trinidad and Tobago about alleged unfair trade practices. These remarks have raised ire among some in the island’s manufacturing sector. Christopher Zacca, president of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ), expressed concerns about the tone of Nicholson’s comment, arguing that the senator should remember he is representing Jamaica and its people. Zacca noted that Jamaica has experienced job losses, increased poverty, and economic woes for several years, and Nicholson should remember these things when he discusses international trade policies.
MANUFACTURER GROUP WANTS NICHOLSON TO RESIGN—06/12/13
The Jamaica Manufacturers Association (JMA) has called on A.J. Nicholson, Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, to leave his post or take another approach to the trade dispute between the country and Trinidad and Tobago. The JMA had a strong reaction to Nicholson’s comments in the Senate, in which he criticized the group for its criticism of T&T’s trade practices. The JMA believes that Nicholson contradicted statements made earlier by Anthony Hylton, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, who promised to bring the trade problems to the Caribbean Court of Justice if necessary.
BANK OF JAMAICA TO ISSUE SPECIAL CERTIFICATES OF DEPOSIT—06/13/13
The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has decided to issue two special certificates of deposit (CDs). The CDs will have variable rates and are designed for taking cash out of the system. The special issues will be available for subscription between June 12 and June 18, 2013. The rates are higher than one percentage point over the regular CD issued by the BOJ. The offer represents a tool of the central bank that seeks to be an alternative for investors who would otherwise put their money into the foreign exchange market.
PROMOTION FROM LIME ATTRACTS 20,000 JAMAICANS—06/14/13
More than 20,000 individuals wanted to get in on the special offer from LIME Jamaica, which provided for a free cell phone with the purchase of J$1,000 in credit. The promotion, which lasted just two days, brought an overwhelming response for the telecommunications firm. According to Stephen Price, head of LIME Jamaica, the company expected a high degree of interest, but the massive number of customers looking for value was “phenomenal.”
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
JAMAICA WANTS BILLIONS IN INVESTMENT FOR DEVELOPMENT OF BIO-FUEL—06/10/13
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT WORKS WITH HACKERS TO IMPROVE CYBER SECURITY—06/11/13
RESEARCHERS FROM U.S. EXPLORE DEEP REEFS IN CARIBBEAN—06/13/13
EVENT HELPS CARIBBEAN STUDENTS FIND SCIENCE, MATH CAREERS—06/14/13
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SAVE DANCEHALL, MAVADO TELLS JAMAICAN AUTHORITIES—06/09/13
Mavado, a famous dancehall artiste, has called on authorities in Jamaica to save dancehall music following the enactment of the Noise Abatement Act. This new law imposes stringent noise and time limits on the street dance culture of Jamaica, as well as other kinds of entertainment on the island. Mavado believes this is killing dancehall culture, and with that, Jamaican culture as a whole. The Noise Abatement Act has been very controversial for the dancehall community from the start.
BUSTA RHYMES, NICKI MINAJ PERFORM NEW SONG SOLELY IN PATOIS—06/10/13
Popular rap music artistes Nicki Minaj and Busta Rhymes have joined their talents and Caribbean heritage to create a new recorded single that is performed completely in Jamaican patois. They recorded a remix of “Twerk It,” a Busta Rhymes single, voicing the song in the Jamaica dialect. The lyrics pay tribute to Jamaica’s dancehall stars, such as Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, and Vybz Kartel.
INTERNATIONAL REGGAE DAY GOES “VIRTUAL”—06/11/13
On July 1, 2013, the 19th annual International Reggae Day (IRD) will be celebrated. IRD should not be confused with Reggae Month, which is February, since it has different goals and initiatives, says founder Andrea Davis of Jamaica Arts Holdings. IRD features several activities around the world that are meant to “maximize the power of music, media, technology, and experiential event marketing.” It is a global and local event that highlights the best of Jamaica’s creative industries and the reggae community around the world. In 2013, the event will be completely “virtual” at reggaeday.com, Facebook, and Twitter.
SUMFEST 2013 ANNOUNCES LINE-UP OF STARS—06/12/13
Organizers of Reggae Sumfest 2013, scheduled for July in Montego Bay, have announced the first artistes performing at the event. They include Miguel, Beres Hammond, I-Octane, Damian Marley, and Barrington Levy. Dancehall Night will be held on July 25, with Beenie Man, Lady Saw, Tifa, Bounty Killer, and Baby Tash. On closing night, July 27, organizers expect Miguel to perform in the finale. According to Johnny Gourzong, executive director of Summerfest Productions, this year is one of the best line-ups of talent in its history.
MORE MONEY FOR DRUG TESTING OF ATHLETES—06/08/13
The government of Jamaica is committing more funds toward the global fight against doping in sports by creating a budget of J$16 million for drug testing of athletes. According to Natalie Neita Headley, Minister with the responsibility for sports, said the funds represent an increase of 14 percent and will be utilized by the Jamaica Anti-doping Commission to conduct tests both within and outside of competitions. The money will also be used for public education programs.
ATHLETES HOPE TO COMPETE AT WORLD GAMES IN RUSSIA—06/12/13
Although several world-class Jamaican athletes and their coaches have prepared to compete at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia, in the summer of 2013, they may not be able to participate, since there is only enough money to send a few of them to the biennial event. The games are sponsored by the International University Sports Federation, and thousands of students from over 170 nations compete in more than 20 events. In 2011, Jamaica’s athletes finished in 11th place and won six gold medals, two silver, and a bronze at the games.
BLAKE BANNED FOR SIX YEARS FOR DOPING—06/13/13
Dominique Blake, Jamaica’s 400-meter runner, was banned from track for six years after failing a doping test. In 2012, Blake tested positive for a stimulant that is often used to treat nasal congestion. However, methyhexaneamine is not allowed during competition. The Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel ruled that Blake would be banned for the positive test during Olympic trials, in which she finished sixth in the 400-meter race. Blake was also banned for nine months in 2006 after testing positive for ephedrine.
CUNNINGHAM LOOKING FOR “GRAND SLAM” IN MARTIAL ARTS—06/14/13
Sheckema Cunningham, 28, top-ranked female martial artist from Jamaica, plans to win all three “grand slam” events on the international competition circuit in 2013. She will begin her competition at the Sports Karate Association United States Open in Orlando, Florida, in July. She will then compete at the International Taekwondo Federation World Championships in Spain, and the ISKA Worlds in Cyprus. Cunningham is undefeated in her three outings for 2013 thus far.
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Coming Boldly to the Throne of Grace
In his letter to the Hebrews, the writer exhorts the brethren, and by extension us, to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (4:16, KJV). Most of us are familiar with this verse and it has served us well in our prayer lives. It is a wonderful thing to know that we do not have to feel intimidated or be afraid to approach the throne of grace. Not only are we invited to approach it boldly, but we are assured that there “we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
In reflecting on some of the reasons the child of God may feel a sense of fear or reluctance in approaching God, it occurred to me that this is a direct result of our awareness of our shortcomings and failures. At least this has been the case in my own life. Despite our best intentions, we are not always where we long to be in our walk with Him and there are times when feelings of guilt and shame overwhelm the words “come boldly.” Lost in the process is the realization thatcGod knows us exactly for who we are and despite what He sees in us, He still says “Come”.
In looking closer at our reference text, the writer makes such an argument. He writes, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (vv. 12-15). The realization that “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do,” serves to demonstrate that not only are we invited to come boldly but we can come as we are.
Having been tempted as we are being, Christ understands our humanity. He understands our failures. David said of Him as God, “He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). There is nothing about us that will surprise Him; nothing that we can tell Him that He doesn’t already know. Therefore, “come boldly”. It is an invitation I gladly accept; one I find powerfully liberating. It is my prayer that you will too.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.