THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
MEADOWS LECTURES MEDIA—04/09/11
In a debate concerning the Small Committee’s report on the Jamaican defamation law, Senator Dennis Meadows claimed that the media has been “infiltrated” by “undesirable” elements. These elements do not care about the public’s interest, but are only serving their own agendas, said Meadows. He called for the media to protect the profession of journalism from those who served their own interests rather than those of the public.
MURDER RATE DROPS—04/10/11
According to Jamaican officials, the murder rate on the island is decreasing. However, Jamaicans for Justice, a human rights organization, noted that abuse committed by security forces and extra-judicial killings have increased in number since police and military forces have concentrated their efforts in areas with highest rates of crime. Government officials said the island’s murder rate for the first three months of 2011 fell by 44 percent from the same period in 2010.
COMMISSIONER TO DISARM EMOTIONALLY UNSTABLE POLICE OFFICERS—04/11/11
Police Commissioner Owen Ellington has told commanding officers to disarm any members of the police force who exhibit signs of emotional instability. His instructions were given one day after Corporal Wayne Llewellyn shot his wife and killed his mother-in-law, father-in-law, and stepdaughter before killing himself. Llewellyn was reportedly facing marital problems.
GOVERNMENT REDUCES GAS TAXES—04/12/11
The administration of Prime Minister Bruce Golding has decided to reduce the ad valorem fuel tax to ten percent, down from the previous 15 percent. The action was taken to prevent protests at the national level, according to reports. The temporary reduction will lower the price of gas by four to five dollars per liter. Before the announcement of the reduction, the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) indicated it would protest the tax in the streets.
ENDING ILLITERACY THE GOAL OF JAMAICAN FOUNDATION—04/13/11
Tools for improving the literacy rate in the schools have been provided by the Jamaica Partnership for Education (JPE), a plan sponsored by the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS). The JNBS started to raise funds to eliminate illiteracy in the schools in 2009. Eight primary schools in rural areas have received computer-based “enrichment carts” and interactive software from the organization to aid in their literacy efforts.
LLEWELLYN TESTIFIES IN KERN TRIAL—04/13/11
Paula Llewellyn, the Director of Public Prosecutions, has been subpoenaed to appear in the capacity of witness in the trial examining the Cuban light bulb scandal. The trial is underway in the Corporate Area Magistrate Court. The court decided to bar Llewellyn from hearing testimony of Rodney Chin by having her removed from the courtroom. Chin is the chief prosecution witness in the corruption trial brought against Colleen Wright and Kern Spencer, former junior minister. Llewellyn said she will not comply with the court ruling, stating she cannot be barred from the courtroom.
PRIVATE SECTOR ORGANIZATION, CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WORKING—04/14/11
After nine months, Jamaica’s government, the Opposition party, private sector and union interests and reading to restart talks to address issues of national interest. The Private Sector Organization of Jamaica and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce both encouraged the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) and the government to begin their dialogue anew. The PNP said he still has serious concerns about meeting with the government, however.
TRAVEL TO ST. MAARTEN RESTRICTED FOR JAMAICANS—04/15/11
The government of St. Maarten has decided that Jamaican travelers will need visas to visit that nation. Roland Duncan, Minister of Justice in St. Maarten, confirmed the visa requirement but did not provide a reason for his decision. According to private sources, the new requirement is based on statistics, which show that Jamaican and Guyanese visitors overstay their entry time in St. Maarten. The new visas will be granted only for a period of three months. The government is implementing border controls to ensure its new policy is being followed.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
POLICE IN BARBADOS CHARGED WITH INDECENCY—04/10/11
Barbados police officer Jonathon Barrow has been charged with “serious indecency” for his role in the alleged sexual assault of a Jamaican woman arrested at the airport on suspicion of transporting drugs. Barrow and fellow officer Melanie Denny, faces charges of aiding and abetting the assault, were ordered to appear in court in September 2011. The arrests followed demands from the Jamaican government for Barbados to investigate the case of another Jamaican woman claiming verbal humiliation and sexual assault at the Barbados airport.
BIENNIAL DIASPORTA CONVENTION HOSTED BY JAMAICA—04/12/11
Jamaicans in the Diaspora will meet from June 15 to June 17, 2011 in Kingston at the fourth biennial Jamaican Diaspora Convention. Delegates are expected to come from Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and other countries around the world. Bruce Golding, Jamaica’s Prime Minister, will be the guest speaker at the event’s opening ceremony. The convention will also give the Diaspora community a chance to engage with the new minister responsible for Diaspora Affairs, Senator Marlene Malahoo Forte, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.
STUDENTS IN BELIZE ADDRESSED BY JAMAICAN PUBLISHER—04/13/11
Jamaican Shirley Carby, a Caribbean textbook publisher, lectured students on copyright issues at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts. Carby told the high school students attending the event that copyright aims to nurture creativity while protecting the publishing industry. Copyright is one form of intellectual property, Carby noted, and there are numerous career opportunities in the field of intellectual property, which includes industrial design, patents, folklore and traditional knowledge.
ANOTHER JAMAICAN WOMAN REPORTS MISTREATMENT IN BARBADOS—04/14/11
Donna Benjamin-McLean has come forward with allegations of abuse at the hands of Barbados authorities at Grantley Adams International Airport. Her claims stem from an incident in September 2004, but she is expressing her solidarity with Shanique Myrie, who was allegedly abused at the airport recently. Benjamin-McLean’s complaint involves acts committed by airport authorities and treatment similar to that alleged by Myrie.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO FIRMS TO ESTABLISH OPERATIONS IN JAMAICA—04/10/11
SPAIN, JAMAICA EXHIBIT CUBAN SOLIDARITY—04/11/11
NO BARBADOS AIRLINE MAY CREATE ROUTE TO UNITED STATES—04/12/11
RESIDENTS OF EASTERN CARIBBEAN SURPRISED BY HEAVY RAIN, FLOODS—04/13/11
ST. VINCENT GOVERNMENT ASKED TO ADDRESS BRITISH-AMERICAN ISSUE—04/14/11
T&T REPRESENTATIVES MEET TO DEBATE HUMAN TRAFFICKING LAW—04/15/11
BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
LIME TO EXPAND IN REGION—04/09/11
LIME is the only full-service provider of telecommunications services in the Caribbean, and it plans to increase its regional coverage by taking over the management of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC). The company received the required approvals to obtain a 51-percent stake in BTC. This means that LIME will now have 14 business units in the Caribbean, providing telecommunications services to most of the markets in which it has operations.
PEGASUS HOTEL TO BE UPGRADED—04/10/11
Quivin Holdings Limited, the new majority owner of Pegasus Hotels of Jamaica Ltd., is no longer interested in delisting the firm, but says it will do so if the mandatory offer to minority shareholders provides subscriptions above the 80 percent limit. Additionally, Kevin Hendrickson, owner of Quivin, is ready to put J$800 million into the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel to purchase its old fixtures and equipment and upgrade the hotel over the next three years. He is looking for a 25-year lease of the property in exchange, worth US$48 million by some estimates.
JPS NOW 40 PERCENT OWNED BY KOREAN COMPANY—04/11/11
The Marubeni Corporation has sold a stake in the Jamaica Public Service Company totaling 40 percent to a Korean energy firm. The deal provides for Marubeni to give up the large percentage of its holdings in the utility to Korea East West Power Company Ltd. The transaction is similar to Marubeni’s deal with former partner TAQA, although the details of the arrangement have not been disclosed.
JAMAICAN JOBS CUT BY CARIBBEAN AIRLINES LTD.—04/12/11
Caribbean Airlines Ltd. (CAL) plans to make major reductions in the number of former employees of Air Jamaica who currently work for the airline in Jamaica. CAL says it is centralizing its operations in Trinidad and Tobago. Contracts for Jamaican workers expire on April 30, 2011, and will not be renewed. This means about 300 jobs in accounting and information technology will be lost. Reservation agents have been marked for the next round of eliminations by CAL.
TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY
BADGE IN ROBOTICS NOW AVAILABLE TO BOY SCOUTS—04/10/11
The Boy Scouts of America have decided to award a merit badge for robotics. The new badge is one of 31 science, technology, and mathematics (STEM) badges in the Boy Scout curriculum. The new STEM program’s robotics badge is being offered in recognition of the growing impact of robots on society. To earn the badge, a scout must design, build, program, and test a robot; demonstrate it, share engineering notes, and either participate in a robotics competition or perform research on robotics contests.
SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT SAYS IPAD MORE IMPORTANT THAN BOOKS—04/11/11
The school superintendent of Auburn, Maine, Tom Morrill, believes that the iPad has become more important to students than a book. Morrill has made it possible for every student in Auburn’s elementary public schools will receive a new iPad 2. Apple provided the devices to Morrill at a price of $475 each. He believes the iPad is indispensable as a learning tool.
IPHONE USED TO SEND POSTCARDS—04/12/11
Matt Brezina, the co-founder of Xobni, has introduced a product that allows users of iPhones to send physical postcards directly from the device via an app called Postagram. The application uses the API from Instagram and requires users to have an Instagram log-in. The cost of sending a postcard over the iPhone is 99 cents, which can be paid with a credit card.
FIRST PREPAID AT&T SMARTPHONE TO BE THE LG THRIVE—04/13/11
AT&T has introduced the LG Thrive smartphone. This is the first such product available on the firm’s GoPhone prepaid service. The LG Thrive uses Android 2.2. It is scheduled for shipping on April 17, 2011 at a cost of $179.99. It will also require users to have a GoPhone data package for $25, $15, or $5, depending on number of megabytes. The Thrive has a 3.2-inch 320×480 touch screen, a 600 MHz processor, and a 3.2-megapixel camera.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
REGULATORS CONCERNED ABOUT DIGICEL-CLARO AGREEMENT—04/09/11
GOVERMENT JOINS WITH LIME, FLOW TO PROVIDE HIGH-SPEED NETWORK—04/10/11
MOU SIGNED BETWEEN ITALY, CARICOM—04/12/11
UNIVERSITY PLANS “GREENER” TECHNOLOGY CENTER—04/13/11
BAHAMAS QUESTION JAMAICAN CHALLENGE REGARDING CARIFTA TEAM—04/09/11
Executives from the Bahamas 2011 Carifta team claim that Jamaican representatives have challenged the field, suggesting that no other nation will be winning gold medals at the junior track and field meet. According to Harrison Petty, BAAA sponsor and president of the BAAA Parents Association, Jamaica has “dared” the Bahamas to win gold and noted that this “trash talk” will be used as a catalyst to motivate the Bahamian team.
JAMAICANS PARTICIPATE IN PENN RELAYS 2011—04/10/11
The 117th Penn Relays represent one of the largest and most important sporting events for Jamaicans. Jamaicans have always had a major role in the success of the event, and Grace Foods, top food producer and distributor in the Caribbean, will continue its proud sponsorship of the 2011 games. Jamaican athletes compete with those from U.S. high schools and colleges, and yearly, many Jamaicans travel to the games to support the island’s high school track heroes.
DIGICEL SERIES 2011 LAUNCHED—04/11/11
The West Indies cricket series sponsored by Digicel experienced its official launch with an event in Kingston. The event saw more than 400 guests, who included representatives of the West Indies Cricket Board, several legendary cricket players, officials from the business community, and government representatives. A film “Fire in Babylon” that showed the triumph of the West Indies cricket team over its colonial masters was shown at the event as well.
BOYS’ TOWN, TIVOLI GARDENS MEET AT DIGICEL GAMES—04/14/11
The pacesetting Tivoli Gardens and Boys’ Town will step up their performance at the Digicel Premier League meet. Tivoli has a three-point lead over Boys’ Town in the race. However, recent results may indicate that the team from west Kingston may have lost some energy. Alvin Shaw, Tivoli assistant coach, says the team has not slowed down and is not worried about the Boys’ Town rivals.
In the Hands of the Potter
One of the things I used to do as a child was to help my mother when she was baking (yes, I do know how to cook!). I liked playing with the dough and sometimes made all kinds of characters and shapes with it. When one was not to my liking, I simply crushed it up and did it all over again. I could do whatever I wanted with the dough and I only had to think about what pleased me.
Those memories came back to mind as I reflected on Jeremiah’s narration of his trip to the potters house in Jeremiah 18:4-6, “And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hands, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.” This was the imagery that God intended for Jeremiah to see as He sought to remind the prophet of His right to remold His people into what He intended for them to be.
In the events leading up to our text, we see a people that had gone contrary to the will of God. Of them the Lord said “They obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction” (17:23). It would be safe to say that they walked in their own ways, totally forsaking the instructions and commandments of their God. Yet, despite their rebellion and spiritual adultery, like the potter, God did not throw them away but rather sought to remold them in a manner that pleased Him. We could ask the question: “After experiencing all that the Lord had done for them, His many blessings and benefits, how could they not become the people that He intended?” As I pondered that question, I could not help but think that a significant number of us who call ourselves children of God are guilty of the same thing. As the Spirit of God seeks to direct our lives, sometimes moving us away from the things we think we need, and our respective comfort zones, we too often seek alternative paths. It is not unusual to often times walk in our own ways while keeping one eye open expecting God’s approval. Be it our choice of profession, mate, or goals in life, in the words of Frank Sinatra, we want to do it “My Way”. We want to be in control.
But God reserves the right to do what He wants to do with and in our lives. The struggle for most of us is that in wanting to do it our way, we are consciously aware that the real children of God are those that are led by His Spirit. To be led by His Spirit is to place ourselves in the hands of the Potter; to have Him mould and fashion our lives in a way that pleases Him, and in a way that will bring Him the most pleasure and glory. As we reflect on the goodness of our God, isn’t it about time that we who declare ourselves followers of Christ, yield ourselves in His hands? God desires to fellowship with us but on His terms, and the greatest prerequisite to that kind of fellowship is a yielding of body and soul. In and of ourselves, we are failures. We are prone to wander from His presence; we are prone to leave the God we love. But as clay is in the hands of the potter, so we can allow ourselves to be molded and remolded until the beauty of Jesus is seen in us. Even better is to be shaped by God in a way that will bring Him the utmost joy and pleasure. During my reflection, God reminded me that regardless of what I thought, my only purpose for being here was to declare His glory; to show forth the praises of Him who had so graciously called me out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).
It is very difficult to not be in control. Like the clay, we have no say in the final outcome. We have no control over how often we are molded or how often we are crushed. Isaiah reminds us: “Woe unto the man that striveth with his Maker! …… Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makes thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? . . . But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” (45:9, 64:8). What we do know, however, is that however He chooses to mould our lives – through sadness, disappointments, heartaches, or pleasures – when He is through, it will be a job well done and one He will approve of. Come to think of it, all that is important is His approval. Nothing else really matters.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.