PATTERSON WINS LIBEL CASE—11/01/14
P.J. Patterson received an award of J$12.5 million in damages from the Nationwide News Network and Cliff Hughes, the head of the network. The award was the result of a 2009 news article about a special charter flight from Norman Manley International Airport to Cuba among whose passengers was Mr. Patterson. Patterson had charged the network with committing libel against him.
KNIGHT NOTES MORE MEN REPORTING BEING VICTIMIZED BY WOMEN—11/02/14
Dr, Sandra Knight, the chairperson of the National Family Planning Board, states that men in Jamaica are now making reports of rape, accusing older women of the crime. Knight noted that men aged 16 to 20 are making rape reports, and those aged 30 to 35 are saying that those raping them are older women. Critics are leery of the information, believing that it is physically impossible for a woman to rape a man; they can only “seduce” them. Critics go on to say that “the willing” cannot be raped.
WICkHAM TOP EXAM PERFORMER—11/03/14
Fitzroy Wickham of York Castle has been named the top Jamaican student in the 2014 Caribbean Secondary Education Certification exam. He passed in 12 subjects, including 11 distinctions, at the grade-one level. Wickham said he felt “good, accomplished and surprised” at his performance. He received his award from Dr. Dayton Campbell, the Member of Parliament for North West St. Ann.
SIMPSON MILLER PRAISES USAID ORGANIZATION—11/04/14
Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller praised the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and its service to people around the world for more than 50 years. Her remarks came on the 53rd anniversary of the organization’s creation by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. Simpson Miller said the world is a “better place” because of USAID actions.
MORE ARRESTS OF BUSINESS OPERATORS REPORTED BY JPS—11/05/14
The Jamaica Public Service (JPS) has reported higher numbers of arrests of business operators following its partnership with Crime Stop Jamaica. There were eight arrests as of the start of October 2014, but since that date, the number of arrests has climbed to 20 as reports of electricity theft are investigated. The partnership represents part of JPS efforts to reduce electricity theft, particularly among businesses.
WLECC MINISTRY ACCOUNTING LACKS OVERSIGHT—11/06/14
According to reports, there is little interest among officials of publicly owned firms to produce timely account reports. The last accounts for the Ministry of Water, Land Environment and Climate Change (WLECC) were last provided in 2005/2006, and there is no board currently in place. The WLECC is overseen by Robert Pickersgill, Ian Hayles, and Alven Hales. The Ministry appears to have implemented procedures to ensure the timely provision of accounts when time guidelines for producing those accounts are not met.
FRAZER SAYS NO MORE SEX EDUCATION AT CHILDREN’S HOMES—11/07/14
Susan Frazer, the director of St. John Bosco and the Alpha Boy’s Children’s Home, says there will no longer sex education classes taught at the children’s homes. Frazer believes this will be a disadvantage to the children, but the lessons have been discontinued in the light of a backlash from public controversy about the programs and the legal implications for staff members and children at the institutions.
CHURCH LEADERS URGE COMMUNITIES TO JOIN IN FIGHT AGAINST DISEASES—11/07/14
Church leaders in Jamaica want the whole church community to participate in the public education campaigns designed to fight against the diseases of chikungunya and Ebola. According to Pastor Evertt Brown, the president of the Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, the church should be concerned about the physical and mental health of its people as well as their spiritual health. The church has an obligation to help educate its congregation about these serious diseases.
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Denied By A Friend
Jesus had warned him but it seemed he had forgotten. In the aftermath of Jesus’ betrayal and arrest, he sat outside the palace contemplating the turn of events when he was accused of being one of Jesus’ followers. He denied it. Two more times similar accusations were made and on both occasions, he did the same thing. Immediately after the third denial, mixed with cursing and swearing, the cock crew. According to the narrative, “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, ‘Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.’ And he went out, and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75, KJV).
Peter must have been devastated. He was one of Jesus’ most solid supporters. It was he who had acclaimed of Jesus, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). He was there at Jesus’ transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-6). He had witnessed just about every miracle. Jesus was not only his Lord but also his friend. He had meant it when he said earlier, “Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee” (Matthew 26:35). Yet when faced with the reality of the cost of following Jesus, the pressure got to him. He denied his friend; denied even knowing Him. He was unfaithful at a time when he faithfulness was required.
Fast forward almost two thousand years and as disciples of Jesus living in a world increasingly hostile to Christ and His followers, our challenge is no different than Peter’s. Filled with good intentions of standing up for and with Jesus, how do we respond when those around us challenge our stand? Do the people in our sphere of influence even know we are with Jesus? Peter knew that if he admitted being one of Jesus’ disciples, he would be arrested and possibly killed. To save himself, he denied any association with Him. At a time when it is not cool to be a Jesus follower, do we take our stand with Him or do we give Him up when we deem the cost of standing with Him to be too high?
The next time you sing Israel Houghton’s “I am a friend of God,” ask yourself exactly what does that mean. Jesus was both betrayed and denied not by people who were hostile to Him but by friends. What kind of a friend are you to Him? Friend enough to say, regardless of cost and circumstances, “I am with Him”?