THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
THWAITES SAYS YOUTH CULTURE NOT “CONDUCIVE” TO STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT—05/10/14
According to Jamaica’s Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites, the youth culture in the country is not “conducive” to achievement among students. He believes the government should face the issue and decide what can be done to change things. Thwaites said the Ministry plans to implement new programs that will support behavior modification and will be overseen by a national steering committee headed by Professor Fred Hickling.
KINGSTON SEES MAJOR POLICE PRESENCE—05/11/14
Jamaican authorities are making a large security presence in East Kingston. The police say their presence has increased in response to an incident in which two men shot at police officers in the Rockfort community. Residents in the area created roadblocks in the neighborhood to protest the killing of two men by the Jamaica Constabulary Force. In contrast to the police version of the shooting, residents believe the men were killed in cold blood.
SENIOR POLICE SUPERINTENDENT CONVICTED OF CORRUPTION—05/12/14
James Forbes, Senior Superintendent of Police has been convicted of trying to “pervert the course of justice.” Stephanie Jackson-Haisley, Corporate Area Magistrate, announced the guilty verdict that makes Forbes the most senior officer of the Jamaica Constabulary Force to be convicted on charges of corruption.
EU PROVIDES J$11.5 BILLION IN AID TO JAMAICA—05/13/14
The government of Jamaica and the European Union (EU) have signed six support agreements that will provide J$11.5 billion in grant funding. The funds will be used to expand several programs already supported by the EU in the sugar industry, community development, poverty reduction, justice, income generation, and governance. The agreements also target the creation of more technical capacity.
MITCHELL TELS GOVERNMENT TO TEACH HISTORY AND CIVICS—05/14/14
Leon Mitchell, the assistant general manager of the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), believes that Jamaica should leverage its global appeal with local efforts and develop the nation’s brand. He believes this can be accomplished by teaching history to students so they grow up with a greater appreciation of the struggles that have created modern Jamaica. He noted the achievements of Bob Marley, Marcus Garvey, and Colin Powell as leaders recognized throughout the world and representatives of what Jamaica stands for.
PLAN FOR NATIONAL PRISON REVISED—05/15/14
The government of Jamaica has revised its plans for constructing a new national corrections facility. A smaller facility that will accommodate inmates at Tower Street and Spanish Town prisons will be built instead. Peter Bunting, Minister of National Security, said the construction will not begin for some 18 months, but a business study about the facility will be finished in June 2014.
FORBES SENTENCED TO SIX MONTHS HARD LABOR OR FINE OF $800,000—05/16/14
James Forbes, Jamaica’s Senior Superintendent of Police, has received his sentence after being convicted on corruption charges. Forbes must either pay a fine of $800,000 or spend six months in prison. His conviction involved charges of perverting the course of justice by facilitating a meeting between businessman Bruce Bicknell and two police officers who had given him a ticket for speeding in 2012.
AIRLINES FLYING AGAIN AFTER HUGE FIRE AT SANGSTER INTERNATIONAL—05/16/14
A large fire at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay disrupted flights and caused serious concerns for the resort destination. The fire, which began about 8 PM at AJAS Limited, destroyed a section of the airport. AJAS Ltd. is an aircraft ground handling firm. The ramp attendant crew room was completed razed. Nine fire trucks responded to the blaze, which was under control in about an hour.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN SINGERS PARTICIPATE IN GAMBIA ROOTS FESTIVAL—05/10/14
Sizzla Kalonji and Mutabaruka, both Jamaican singers, are among the performers at the 11th staging of the International Roots Homecoming Festival in Gambia. The event is organized by the nation’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture and its goal is to “celebrate unity through culture.” It offers a point of connection between Africans and those in the Diaspora and highlights the history of the people who suffered during the colonial slave trade era in the “new world.”
UK TO HOLD FOURTH BIENNIAL JAMAICAN DIASPORA CONFERENCE—05/11/14
In 2014, the United Kingdom will be the host of the fourth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference. Leaders are emphasizing the vision of the Jamaican government in facilitating the Diaspora movement, recognizing the importance of the Diaspora and that there are likely more Jamaicans living beyond the home island than reside there. The Diaspora community is important to Jamaica in the form of its remittances, which represent one of the biggest sources of foreign exchange for the country.
NEW YORK TO BE SITE OF GRACE JAMAICAN JERK FESTIVAL—05/12/14
Because of the great success enjoyed by the 2013 Jamaican Jerk Festival, which attracted about 16,000 participants, the producers of VP Records and Jamaican Jerk Festival USA have committed to providing another festival in New York in 2014. The event will take place in Queens on July 20 and feature cooking competitions, musical performances, cultural activities and family-friendly events.
JAMAICAN LESBIAN LEADER TO VISIT CALIFORNIA TO DISCUSS ACTIVISM—05/13/14
Angeline Jackson, Jamaican lesbian leader, will travel to several cities in California between May25 and June 8, 2014, to discuss her work and her new organization “Quality of Citizenship Jamaica (QCJ).” She will discuss ways that activists in the United States can be involved in changing the law that still makes homosexuality illegal in Jamaica.
HOMELESS JAMAICAN MAN IN UK REFUSES MONEY RAISED TO HELP HIM—05/14/14
Jenny Baker, 23, of South London, decided to raise money for a homeless Jamaican man she knows as “Michael” so he could return to his home island. She started a social media campaign to get the funds to buy him a ticket back to Jamaica and managed to raise £10,000 for the cause. When she tried to give Michael the money, however, he refused her charity and then disappeared. Baker has promised to return all the funds to donors around the world if Michael does not reappear by July 2014. She continues to raise money for Thames Reach, a homeless charity organization.
JAMAICAN JAZZ SINGER PERFORMS IN FLORIDA—05/15/14
Myrna Hague, known as Jamaica’s First Lady of Jazz, will perform in Florida as part of the Caribbean Jazz Matazz event scheduled for June 8, 2014. The show will also feature Richie Stephens and guitarist Eugene Grey. The proceeds of the event will be put towards providing scholarships for students with financial needs at the University of the West Indies.
LEGALIZE CANNABIS, JAMAICAN POET TELLS GAMBIA—05/16/14
Mutabaruka, a well known Jamaican musician and poet, is calling for Gambian authorities to legalize cannabis. He says the drug should be legalized because of its beneficial medicinal properties. Currently, cannabis is illegal in Gambia where users and dealers can face large fines or prison sentences if caught. Mutabaruka is in Gambia to attend the 11th annual International Roots Homecoming Festival.
WEB PLATFORM LAUNCHED BY JAMPRO TO ENHANCE GLOBAL REACH—05/16/14
The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) is working to enhance its dealings with the international business community by launching an interactive web-based platform known as “Global Business Connect.” The endeavor can be accessed online and is designed to facilitate forums, webinars, and live discussions among business investors, exporters, buyers, distributors, government diplomats, foreign services, and the Jamaican Diaspora. It is expected to generate investment and trade inquiries that can be converted to leads and business contracts.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
SMALL CARIBBEAN STATES COULD LOSE A STRONG SUPPORTER—05/10/14
SPANISH COURT CALLS CARIBBEAN GANG OFFSHOOT “CRIMINAL”—05/12/14
CARIBBEAN WANTS MORE INDIVIDUAL ACTION IN REGARD TO CLIMATE CHANGE—05/13/14
HUMAN TRAFFICKING RING FOILED IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC—05/15/14
CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY INVITED TO CREATE DIPLOMATIC MISSION IN UAE—05/16/14
DEATHS OF CARIBBEAN BOATPEOPLE SHOW DRAMATIC INCREASE—05/16/14
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BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
JPS TO REDUCE POWER TO COMMUNITIES WHERE THEFT IS COMMON—05/13/14
The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), the only power company in Jamaica, will reduce electricity services to entire communities in which the theft of power is a common problem. The main opposition party strongly criticized the move, and Jamaica’s utility regulator has asked for a meeting with JPS because of the negative impact the action will have on legitimate electricity customers. JPS says it has tried a variety of solutions, but none have worked. Now it is forced to reduce the hours that power is provided in places where over 70 percent of the electricity provided is stolen.
HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL AIDS JAMAICAN ORPHANS—05/14/14
Harvard Business School has donated commercial-grade kitchen equipment that was once used at Kresge Hall to 13 Mustard Seed Communities across Jamaica. These entities benefit the 400 abandoned or orphans children who are living with a variety of disabilities, including HIV/AIDS. According to Fr. Gavin M. Augustine, executive director of Mustard Seed Communities International, the kitchen equipment is welcomed by the children’s homes and will raise the moral of staff as well. The equipment became available due to the scheduled demolition of Kresge Hall.
CONSUMERS REJECT BANANA PRICE INCREASE—05/15/14
Complaints from consumers have forced the Jamaica Producers Group, a large banana producer, to take back its proposal to impose a 20-percent increase on local banana prices. The organization will revert to the charge of $100 instead of $120 for the five fingers of bananas, which it had implemented during the last week of April 2014.
FIRST GLOBAL FIXES PROBLEM WITH ONLINE BANKING—05/16/14
First Global Bank was able to reinstate its online banking platform after taking it offline for several days due to a technical issue. Bank president Maureen Hayden-Cater said that all the bank’s functions are again available to customers. While the problem was being fixed, customers had to go to a branch location in order to conduct their business.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
11 PARTICIPANTS FROM DESIGN CARIBBEAN TO JOIN CALABASH FESTIVAL—05/10/14
Eleven participants from nine countries will participate in the Calabash Literary Festival at the Design Caribbean stand from May 30 to June 1, 2014. Design Caribbean will highlight the works of some of the best regional craftsmen. The Calabash Festival features the most highly regarded writers from the Caribbean and also provides an outlet for crafts people to showcase and their products.
MAXI PRIEST TO PERFORM DURING CARIBBEAN FASHIONWEEK—05/11/14
Maxi Priest, the British reggae singer, is slated to give a live performance at Caribbean FashionWeek 2014, which will be held from June 11 to June 16. He joins many other international stars who have appeared at the event since its origin in 2001. Caribbean FashionWeek is the biggest and most important fashion event in the region, and it showcases the top Caribbean designers along with respected stylists from other parts of the world.
JAMAICAN ARTISTES LEND SUPPORT TO KIDNAPPED NIGERIAN GIRLS—05/12/14
Many Jamaican artistes are supporting the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign, which is designed to call attention to the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria from their secondary school by members of the militant Boko Haram faction. World leaders have also condemned the crime. Among the Jamaicans lending support is Queen Ifrica, who expressed her concern for the families, being herself a mother of three children.
JAMAICA’S POET LAUREATE TO JOIN CALABASH FESTIVAL—05/14/14
Mervyn Morris, Jamaica’s poet laureate, was one of the first writers to take part in the original Calabash event in 2001. At that time, some 300 people participated in the event. Now, in 2014, Morris is Jamaica’s poet laureate, the first in 50 years, and the Calabash Festival is considered one of the most successful Jamaican cultural events. Thousands of people have attended the event in previous years.
ASHMEADE WINS DOHA 200 METERS—05/10/14
Nickel Ashmeade of Jamaica won the victory over his teammate Warren Weir in the 200 meter competition at the first Diamond League meet of 2014. Ashmeade ran the distance in 20.13 seconds, beating Weir’s 20.31 seconds.
FRASER-PRYCE WINS 100 METER AT DOHA OPENER—05/11/14
Jamaican runner Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took the top spot at the Diamond League opener in Doha in the 100 meter race. She clocked 11.13 seconds for the 100 meter distance. While it was not one of her fastest times, it was still fast enough to beat out her competitors.
THREE JAMAICANS VICTORIOUS AT CAYMAN INVITATIONAL—05/12/14
Jamaicans Novlene Williams-Mills ran the second-fastest time in the world at the Cayman Invitational in Gerogetown, clocking 50.26 seconds. She was one of three Jamaican winners at the meet. Bobbi-Gay Wilkins was second in the event with 52.93. Veronica Campbell-Brown finished fourth in the women’s 100 meters.
LONGEST OCEAN RACE IN THE WORLD TO MOOR IN JAMAICA—05/13/14
Jamaica is preparing to welcome a fleet from the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, planning a week’s worth of festivities running from May 17 to 24, 2014. The Jamaica Tourist Board noted that the fleet will moor at the Errol Flynn Marina in Port Antonio
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Standing before king Nebuchadnezzar and facing his wrath for their refusal to worship the image according to the instructions heralded to all (Daniel 3:4), the three Jewish boys were offered a deal that would spare them being thrown into the burning fiery furnace. To compound the severity of their non-compliance, certain Chaldeans accused them before the king of having “not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (v. 12, KJV).
There was no ambiguity to the deal. When they heard the sound of the music, “Now if . . . ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” In other words, dance or die. However, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not intimidated. They knew that this was a bad deal and so “answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (vv. 16-18). In other words, no deal! Thanks, but not thanks! The fiery furnace is nothing for our God to deliver us from and even if He doesn’t, we will not compromise our beliefs or turn our backs on the God we serve.
What tremendous commitment! One could argue that such commitment is lacking among some professed believers who time and time again dance to the music and worship various images in an attempt to preserve popularity, their relationships, and personal ambitions. Instead of standing firmly for Christ regardless of cost, it is often easier to compromise our beliefs and values. Who wants to be ridiculed? To be ostracized?
What we know is that after being thrown in the furnace, heated seven times more than it was initially, the boys’ faith in God was rewarded and they were delivered (vv. 19-30). Miraculously, “the fire had no power [upon their bodies], nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them” (v.27). God rewarded their faithfulness and their testimony was of such that it transformed the worship practices of the Babylonians (vv. 28-29). We should never discount the power of individuals standing for Christ and what He is able to do in and through them in those difficult circumstances.
Christians everywhere are in somewhat similar positions today. Compromise or be ridiculed? Stand for Christ or be scorned? Oh, lest I forget, we get to choose. We must choose. Deal or no deal? How do you choose?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.