THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
VISA POLICY RELAXATION WELCOMED BY UN TOURISM AGENCY—03/16/13
The tourism agency of the United Nations has welcomed a decision by the Jamaican government to relax visa rules for tourists from Eastern European nations. The government also extended current visa waiver policy to nationals from some countries in Latin America as well The visa waiver will affect tourists from the Czech Republic, Russia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Ukraine, who plan to visit the island for up to 30 days.
GOVERNMENT SEEKS LEGAL COSTS FROM ATTORNEYS IN NHT CASE—03/17/13
Jamaica’s government and the National Housing Trust (NHT) are taking the two attorneys who represented a member of the Citizens Action for Principle and Integrity group (CAPI) to pay legal costs associated with the case. Hugh Wildman and Marvalyn Taylor-Wright represented Mario Harley in a lawsuit, which was ultimately aborted. The attorneys say they will be defending their position in court, believing that a citizen has a constitutional right to bring action in a public interest matter and should not be threatened or intimidated for doing so.
SOCIAL WORKER PLEADS FOR AN END TO VIOLENT DEATHS OF CHILDREN—03/18/13
Berthlyn Plummer, a senior social worker in Allman Town, Kingston, pleaded with the people of Jamaica to talk about their differences instead of resorting to violence in disputes. She made her remarks while attending the funeral of Rushawn Burford, a four-year-old who was shot and killed in January 2013 after a dispute between Marlon “Shooty” McMillan and members of the child’s family. Plummer said she and her coworkers are tired of having to respond to cases involving the violent deaths of children, urging people to contact the Dispute Resolution Foundation for help.
BUSINESS MAN IN COURT IN CONNECTION WITH SEVERAL CRIMES—03/19/13
Uriel Humphrey James, also known as “Rooksie,” a business man from the Corporate Area, will appear in court in connection with cases of murder, shootings, money laundering, and additional crimes. James was taken into custody by members of the Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Task Force. It has been alleged that members of the police may be working for James, but the Police High Command has promised to investigate and prosecute the officers if this is found to be true.
JAMAICA CONCERNED THAT ISLANDERS NOT RETURNING HOME FROM OVERSEAS—03/20/13
The Jamaican government is growing concerned about the fact that fewer Jamaicans return home from New York, London, or Toronto after traveling to these places to look for work in their younger years. In the past two decades, the yearly total of “returning nationals” has decreased by more than 50 percent. In 2011, just over 1,000 of these individuals returned to the home island.
CHANG WANTS JAMAICANS EDUCATED ABOUT WATER CONSERVATION—03/20/13
Dr. Horace Change, Jamaica’s Opposition spokesperson on water, land, and housing, is calling for a stronger approach to dealing with the island’s drought. Chang wants the government to launch a serious program of public education designed to educate Jamaicans about water conservation. A more aggressive program aimed at handling the technical losses of the NWC, which should include replacement of leaky pipes, is also supported by Dr. Chang.
MANCHESTER NAMED “HAPPIEST PARISH”—03/21/13
Manchester has been deemed the “happiest parish” in Jamaica in a survey of residents conducted by the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper. On a scale of zero to 10, Manchester got a ranking of 8.3, compared to just 8.0 for St. Ann and Trelawny. The cooler climate was cited as a top reason for the high satisfaction rate of residents in the parish.
BARBADOS OFFICIALS SAY MYRIE NOT CAVITY-SEARCHED—03/22/13
Sirphine Carrington, a female drug squad officer in Barbados, repeatedly denied the claim by Jamaican Shanique Myrie that Myrie was subjected to a cavity search when she arrived at the airport on March 11, 2011. Carrington testified on the last day of the Barbados portion of the hearing before the Caribbean Court of Justice on Myrie’s discrimination case against the government of Barbados.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
PROTEST IN NY OVER KILLING OF CARIBBEAN BOY BY POLICE—03/16/13
Some 18 people were arrested during a clash between New York Police and residents of East Flatbush in Brooklyn over the police shooting death of Kimani “Kiki” Gray, a 16-year-old son of Guyanese and Jamaican parents. The crowd at a peaceful demonstration erupted into violence when they found out Gray has been shot in the back Police alleged that the teen pointed a gun at two officers in plain clothes. Gray was shot seven times, three times in the back, according to autopsy results.
MORE CARIBBEAN IMMIGRANTS RELEASED BY U.S. THAN PREVIOUSLY STATED—03/17/13
Immigration officials in the United States now say that they released more Caribbean and other immigrants from detention centers and jails throughout the country than originally announced. In February and early March 2013, 2,228 illegal immigrants were released, rather than the “several hundred” originally announced by authorities.
MOTHER OF TEEN SHOT BY NY POLICE CALLS FOR PEACE—03/18/13
Carol Gray, the Jamaican-born mother of Kimani “Kiki” Gray, the 16-year-old boy shot and killed by New York police in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, has called for an end to the violent protests occurring in response to the incident. The East Flatbush site of the protests is a predominantly Caribbean district. Eyewitnesses to the shooting dispute the police claim that Kimani Gray pointed a gun at two plainclothes officers prior to being shot and killed. Carol Gray also denied reports that her son was a member of a street gang.
AMBASSADOR TO U.S. EMPHASIZES JAMAICA’S RESOLVE IN ENDING SCAMS—03/19/13
Stephen Vasciannie, Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States, stated that the island’s government is focused on ending the lottery scam, which has targeted elderly individuals in the U.S. Vasciannie said the government has put several measures in place to fight the illicit actions of scammers, who are located chiefly at the western end of Jamaica. A comprehensive five-point plan has been implemented to target the scammers. It includes public education, enhanced enforcement of new laws, stronger judicial rules, and restitution for victims.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
EU TO PROVIDE FUNDING FOR CARIBBEAN AGRICULTURE—03/16/13
U.S. WANTS MORE DONE TO STOP DRUG TRADE IN THE CARIBBEAN—03/17/13
HAITI AT TOP OF FIFA RANKINGS—03/18/13
ALL-CARIBBEAN WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC SET UP BY DOMINICAN REPUBLIC—03/19/13
PRIME MINISTER OF ST. VINCENT CALLS FOR CARIBBEAN REPARATIONS GROUP—03/20/13
FIRST GOLD REFINERY IN CARIBBEAN COULD EARN BILLIONS—03/21/13
BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
PAN-CARIBBEAN SUGAR LOOKING FOR MARKET IN ITALY—03/16/13
Raw sugar from the Pan-Caribbean Sugar Company could soon be available in supermarkets in Italy. The firm has already obtained a market for raw sugar exports to Italy via a European Union food agency. Soon, raw sugar from Jamaica will be sold in Italian stores, according to Francis He, CEO of Pan-Caribbean Sugar Company.
ROBINSON SAYS LOTTERY SCAM RAISES COSTS OF DOING BUSINESS—03/17/13
Julian Robinson, Jamaican Junior Minister in the Ministry of National Security, states that the damage caused by lottery scammers has increase the cost of doing business in the country. This is especially the case for the call-center industry, he noted. Robinson stated that the impact of the lottery scam has added a requirement for everyone in the industry to be fingerprinted, for example, which imposes a significant cost on employers. Companies must also administer polygraph tests at a cost of about US$160 each.
BUSINESSES WARY OF PROPOSED TAXES—03/18/13
Private sector businesses in western Jamaica are concerned about the higher levy on imported goods. The levy was announced by the government and could have a negative impact on many regional businesses. The western Jamaican interests say they are being asked to pay an extra transshipment cost that is not imposed on their counterparts in Kingston. According to Montego Bay officials, containers sent there cost more because of additional freight charges associated with transferring cargo from Kingston.
JAMAICA DROPS IN TOURISM COMPETITIVENESS—03/19/13
While Jamaica is world-renowned for its music and sports attractions, the island fell by two spots in a ranking of 140 countries is regard to tourism competitiveness. Jamaica’s drop to 67 from 69 was noted in the 2013 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report. Poor scores in culture and environmental sustainability led to the lower ranking. However, according to a report from the World Economic Forum, Jamaica’s total tourism earnings and jobs related to tourism increased at the same time.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
E-BOOKS BECOME MORE POPULAR IN JAMAICA—03/16/13
CAYMAN ISLANDS JOINS IN TSUNAMI EXERCISE—03/17/13
NEW MOBILE DEVICES AVAILABLE IN MARKETPLACE—03/18/13
BIOCHAR OVEN CONVERTS TRASH INTO BIO-OIL, CHARCOAL—03/19/13
FILMMAKERS DOCUMENT STORY OF JAMAICAN DEPORTEES—03/16/13
Jennifer Holness, film producer, and Sudz Sutherland, director, of Toronto, are telling the story of what happens to Jamaicans who are deported from Canada under its stringent immigration laws. As children of Jamaican migrants, they were inspired by true stories about he plight of the deportees, who often end up homeless and vulnerable living on the streets in Jamaica. Many become murder victims. The film was shot in Trinidad to take advantage of tax credits, but it is meant to portray a neighborhood in Kingston. The film, called “Home Again,” illustrates the limbo in which deportees find themselves when they are sent back to a “home” they have never known.
VELMA POLLARD LAUNCHES NEW POETRY COLLECTION—03/18/13
Dr. Velma Pollard introduced her new collection of poems at Neville Hall Lecture Theatre at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus. The book, “And Caret Bay Again: New and Selected Poems,” was discussed and analyzed by Dr. Michael Bucknor, head of the Department of Literatures in English, and Dr. Anthea Morrison. Selections from the book were read.
CELEBRATION FOR DENNIS BROWN—03/19/13
The Dennis Brown tribute concert was postponed twice in 2013, but what would have been Brown’s 58th birthday was celebrated by musicians Richie Stephens, Beres Hammond, and Coca Tea. A street concert on Ocean Boulevard in downtown Kingston was lauded for its improved aesthetics and greater audience space, as well as for its more attractive venue, which provided a view of Kingston Harbor. The celebration has previously been held outside Big Yard on Orange Street.
CONCERT HOSTED TO RAISE MONEY FOR MARY SEACOLE STATUE—03/20/13
The Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal is hosting a concert on March 24, 2013, to raise money for a statue to commemorate the work of Jamaican-born Mary Seacole at St. Thomas Hospital in London. The statue will be three meters high, taller than the other statues of London nurses. The organization has raised 158,000 pounds thus far, but is short 500,000 pounds. Seacole established a facility that treated thousands of wounded soldiers in the Crimean War, and she inspired the creation of the National Health Service in the United Kingdom.
JAMAICAN’S MISSING SLED DOG FOUND 150 MILES FROM CHECKPOINT—03/16/13
After going missing for a week, May, a sled dog working with Jamaican Iditarod musher Newton Marshall, was found 150 miles away from where she disappeared. As Marshall tried to untangle a line, the dog ran off. Those familiar with the dog say she was likely making a run for the race starting point or her home kennel. When found, she had lost weight and had sore feet, but was in good health otherwise.
TAYLOR NAMED TO ROSTER FOR QUALIFYING MATCHES—03/17/13
Jermaine Taylor was named to the 25-man roster for Jamaica’s upcoming World Cup qualifying matches against Panama and Costa Rica. Taylor, 28, has been a stalwart member for the Reggae Boyz senior squad for some time, earning over 50 caps in his international career.
ASAFA POWELL TO BE FEATURED AT EASTR FUN KIDS NIGHT—03/20/13
Asafa Powell, Jamaican track star, is scheduled to appear at Sandown Park on Easter Thursday to participate in Easter Fun Kids Night. Powell, who has more under-10-second 100-meter races than anyone in the world, will be “king of the kids” at the event, which will allow children to meet with the famous sprinter. The event is free and will feature rides, face painting, and a barbeque.
ORANE SAYS IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE IN WIC GOVERNANCE—03/21/13
According to Douglas Orane, it is time for all involved with the West Indies Crick Board to make a dramatic change in the Board’s structure and governance. He challenged the WICB to implement the suggestions recorded in the Patterson Report of 2007. The report called for a major overhaul of West Indies Cricket, specifically mentioning the governance structure. Orane said there was “universal disappointment and frustration” that these measures were not implemented. He called on the Caribbean people to be more vocal in advocating changes in the WICB.
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“I Thank God for You”
I have been blessed to have people in my life, past and present, who in their own unique ways have added, and continue to add, measures of richness to my life that has blessed me tremendously. When I think of these people I do so in ways that often make me smile, and at times, with mixed emotions. Some of the lessons learnt over the years have been invaluable, and in the hustle and bustle of everyday living they have served me well in many different ways.
These thoughts came to mind as I reflected on a couple of Paul’s salutations to his friends. To the Philippians he writes, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy” (1:3, 4), and to Philemon, “I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers” (1:4). Friends that cross our paths through divine appointments are priceless. Whether for a reason, a season, or a lifetime, these are the people who usually see us at our best and often times at our worse. They are always thinking of us and even without always knowing what is going on at any given moment, they are often holding us up in prayer. Our greatest joy is their greatest delight, and when we are bruised and wounded by life’s events, we can count on them to be there in our hours of need.
Someone once said, “A friend is one who strengthens you with prayers, blesses you with love, and encourages you with hope.” There is a lot of truth in that statement, and I believe this was some of what the Apostle experienced with those he addressed, prayed for, loved, and encouraged. People who bring out the best of who we are and who are delightful to be around for all the right reasons. Do you have proven friends like that? Today is as good a time as any to send them a note to say “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you … making mention of you always in my prayers.” And while you’re at it, make sure to really thank God for them.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.