THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
SPECIAL OLYMPICS DONATION COVERS SHORTFALL—08/13/11
A donation totaling $650,000 will cover a shortfall experienced by Special Olympics Jamaica when it sent Jamaican athletes to a competition in Greece during June 2011. The organization receives funding from several entities, but these were unable to cover the total costs of athletes’ needs during the games in Athens. United Way of Jamaica has made the donation to cover those costs.
SMITH OF OLINT GETS 30-YEAR SENTENCE—08/14/11
Jamaican David Smith, the man who led Olint, the failed investment program, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison by a United States District Court in Orlando, Florida. He was accused of defrauding thousands of individuals of more than US$220 million and pleaded guilty to 18 counts of money laundering. Smith also pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He will spend 24 years in an American prison, but will first be returned to Turk and Caicos, where he pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy as well to serve his sentence there.
REGGAE MUSICIAN FAVORS GAY RIGHTS—08/15/11
Mista Mahaj P, a Jamaican-born reggae singer based in the United States, has made an album in support of gay rights. In doing so, he has broken one of the major taboos among reggae musicians. Mista Mahaj P says he made the album to address homophobia and the hypocritical attitudes about gays held in his native homeland and around the world. He has designed the album to educate people about gay rights.
JAMAICANS TEND TO SUPPORT ISRAEL OVER PALESTINIANS, SAYS SURVEY—08/16/11
A survey sponsored by The Israel Project found that 42 percent of Jamaicans want the government to provide support to Israel, compared to nine percent who favor Palestinian interests. In October, 2011, Jamaica, along with the rest of the world, is slated to vote on a unilateral Palestinian effort for state recognition without the need for negotiations with Israel. According to the poll, a large majority of Jamaicans believe that this effort will only “harden” extremists on both sides of the issue and make peace even more difficult to obtain.
JAMAICA’S DEBT IMPACTS HOSPITALS AND SCHOOLS—08/17/11
The large amount of debt owed by Jamaica has had a significant impact on the operations of schools and hospitals on the island. Both types of organizations have learned to “make do” with less because paying of the national debt is a top priority. Jamaica owes $18.2 billion to its creditors. This exceeds the entire production of the domestic economy in a year, or 132 percent of gross domestic product, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
SUGAR WORKERS TO BE JAMAICAN, SAYS COMPLANT—08/17/11
According to Tang Jianguo, the chief executive officer of the COMPLANT Group of Companies, the Chinese organization that bought Jamaica’s sugar factories, most of the management and workers at the factories will be Jamaicans. The firm expects Chinese and local workers to integrate cultures and provide examples of cooperation. Day-to-day operations will be handled chiefly by local Jamaican workers, Tang said.
LITERACY MONITORING PROGRAM WELCOMED BY HOLNESS—08/18/11
Andrew Holness, Jamaica’s Minister of Education, has characterized a new literacy monitoring program in Jamaica as one of major importance, since the government has had a difficult time obtaining accurate adult literacy figures. By developing a national plan to attain universal literacy, Jamaica becomes the first nation in the Caribbean to attempt accurate measurement of literacy levels.
JAMAICA RANKS FIRST IN RECOVERY OF TOURISM INDUSTRY—08/19/11
Jamaica leads the recovery of the tourism industry in the Caribbean and will be recognized during the World Travel Awards later in 2011. The awards are known as the “Oscars of the travel industry,” and note the growth in number of visitor arrivals in Jamaica during the year. Visitors to the island increased by five percent in 2011 over 2010 totals. The awards ceremony will occur in October at Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island in Montego Bay.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICANS HELD ON DRUG CHARGES IN ARIZONA—08/13/11
Police in Chandler, Arizona, have identified a number of Jamaican drug dealers traveling to their town to buy large quantities of marijuana. The dealers then mail the drug back to the Northeast. Police have arrested over 130 suspected drug dealers and confiscated over $3 million in cash from 30 deals being conducted in 2011 alone. According to John Shearer, police lieutenant in Chandler, many of those arrested are Jamaicans who live in New York and travel to the Southwest to get their marijuana.
JAMAICA ASSOCIATION IN GEORGIA HONORS OUTSTANDING JAMAICAN—08/14/11
The Atlanta Jamaica Association (AJA) marked the island’s 49th independence anniversary by honoring Elaine Grant Bryan in recognition of the contributions she has made to the positive image of Jamaica. She was named an outstanding Jamaican in Atlanta, Georgia. Bryan has received a number of awards for her work in the field of education. She is currently working on a doctorate in Educational Leadership.
GUILTY PLEA FROM JAMAICAN CHARGED WITH ILLEGAL ENTRY TO U.S.—08/15/11
Christopher Lawrence, 46, was deported from the United States in 2006. He has now pleaded guilty to reentering the U.S. illegally. Lawrence was detained after a car accident because of problems police identified with his driver’s license. It was found through fingerprinting that Lawrence had been deported from Miami in 2006 after a conviction relating to drug charges. He will be sentenced in December 2011.
DIASPORA IN SOUTH FLORIDA LAUNCHES INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATIONS—08/18/11
The South Florida Jamaican Diaspora has announced an evening event featuring Jamaican culture to launch preparations for the Golden Jubilee of the island’s independence. The ceremonial event was introduced by Tomas Regalado, the mayor of Miami, and Sandra Grant, Jamaica’s Consul General, who announced the beginning of plans for the jubilee celebrations. The events will begin run from January to December 2012.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
KLASS SUSPENDED BY FIFA—08/13/11
TABLE TENNIS COMPETITION WELCOMED TO GUYANA—08/14/11
OFFICIAL FROM DOMINICA BECOMES NEW CHIEF OF CARICOM—08/15/11
BROOKLYN TO CELEBRATE WEST INDIAN DAY WITH PARADE—08/16/11
RESEARCH FINDS HUMAN WASTE KILLS CORAL—08/18/11
TWO NEW TAX AGREEMENTS REACHED IN BAHAMAS—08/19/11
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BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
TAX EXPERTS CONCERNED ABOUT REFORMS—08/13/11
Several tax experts have criticized recent tax reforms due to their potential effect on low-income wage earners. According to Ena Wong Sang, local business owner, the tax reform shifts taxes to the people in society who are less able to pay. Sang emphasized the need for provisions to mitigate this potential problem. In general, government discussion on tax reform favors a move toward more indirect taxation, a broadening of the tax base, and a lowering of the general consumption tax rate.
PWC DECISION REVERSED BY JAMAICAN APPEALS COURT—08/14/11
A court decision against PricewaterhouseCoopers Jamaica (PwC), which cleared the audit and consultancy company of negligence for advice it provided to Caribbean Steel Company Ltd., has been reversed by a Jamaican appellate court. The PwC advice ultimately cost the steel firm millions of dollars. The appeals court ruling clears the company of a judgment totaling J$13.8 million. The original judgment was imposed in 2006.
TRADE AGREEMENT WITH COSTA RICA TO BE APPROVED—08/15/11
The Jamaican government intends to approve the total implementation of the CARICOM/Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement. Dr. Kenneth Baugh, deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, stated that Jamaica has applied the agreement provisionally and decided on full implementation. The agreement is designed to increase trading between CARICOM and Costa Rica through the granting of duty-free, preferential access for a wide range of products on a reciprocal basis.
PROBE OF JPS PLANNED—08/17/11
Winston Hay, the former head of OUR, the Office of Utilities Regulation, has warned that any investigation of the billing practices in force at Jamaica public Service Company Ltd. (JPS) must be clearly defined in order to provide results that will be meaningful. The Cabinet has conducted discussions designed to establish a commission to examine the billing practices of the light and power company, according to Clive Mullings, Minister of Energy and Mining. Billing mechanisms and the firm’s new meter system would be the focus of the inquiry.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
PRIMARY SCHOOLS TO RECEIVE COMPUTERS—08/13/11
LEADER OF CAPNET WANTS PUBLISHING TO MOVE FORWARD—08/14/11
TOURISM MINISTRY IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC HAS TOP-RATED WEB SITE—08/15/11
LIME ADDS NEW PLAN TO ENCOURAGE INTERNET ACCESS—08/17/11
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TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY
GOOGLE MAPS ADDS WEATHER LAYER—08/18/11
The Google Maps application now features a weather layer that displays the current weather conditions for locations around the world. Users can hover over a widget to view current cloud cover and conditions for even the smallest towns. The weather data is obtained courtesy of the United States Naval Research Lab. The weather layer is not yet supported on Android systems.
OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY ADDS WORDS FROM TECH, SOCIAL MEDIA—08/19/11
The Concise Oxford English Dictionary celebrates its 100th anniversary in August 2011, and concurrently, has added over 400 new entries, most of which reflect the prevalence of technology in modern society. Editor Angus Stevenson has included new meanings for the word “follower” that note the popularity of Twitter; Twitter was also the source of the new entry “retweet.” Other technologically inspired words include “noob” for an Internet neophyte and “woot,” used to express enthusiasm in electronic communications.
BURRELL SEVERS TIES WITH BROWN—08/13/11
The well-known dancehall music producer Cordel “Skatta” Burrell has ended his relationships with Clifton “Clif-Twang” Brown, an Internet star. Brown’s video, which vaulted him to prominence, had more than 1.6 million hits on YouTube. Burrell helped Brown to negotiate various deals as a result of his video popularity, but will no longer manage the musician.
INTERNATIONAL REGGAE WINE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCED—08/14/11
Montego Bay will be the setting for the first annual International Reggae Wine Festival. The event is being touted as the “ultimate” wine experience and will feature some of the best wines in the world. Jamaican wine producers will be highlighted along with international purveyors. The festival will also showcase fashion, food, and the arts, along with major reggae music performers.
REGGAE PRODUCER KILLED BY GUNMEN IN KINGSTON—08/17/11
Joel Chin, a leading producer of reggae music, was shot and killed near his upscale home in Kingston. Police report that the attack occurred late at night as Chin exited his automobile in the driveway of his own home. No motive has been given for the crime. Chin, 35, was the grandson of Vincent “Randy” Chin, a pioneer reggae producer and founder of VP Records in New York.
LEGEND “MONTY” MORRIS TO APPEAR IN LOS ANGELES—08/18/11
Eric “Monty” Morris, Jamaica’s legendary Ska musician, plans a return to Southern California at the end of August to play his fifth show in Los Angeles. Morris will be honored with a tribute as a “living legend” at a popular reggae venue. Morris has just returned from his first European tour in support of a full-length album called “The Living Legends Collection.”
MULLINGS FAILS DRUG TEST—08/13/11
Steve Mullings, Jamaican runner, has tested positive for drugs ahead of the world championship meet in Daegu, South Korea. Mullings has been rated as the third-fastest man and could face a lifetime ban from the sport as a result of testing positive for the masking agent furosemide. This drug is generally used to hide the presence of banned substances. This was Mullings’ second drug offense.
JAMAICAN DEPENDS ON TAYLOR, DALEY FOR WIN VS. T&T—08/14/11
The final of the West Indies Cricket Board Women’s League will feature Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. Both teams have played excellent cricket throughout the tournament, and T&T is the two-time defending champion. Jamaica is depending on Stafanie Taylor and Shanel Daley to lead them to the win. Taylor is the most successful women’s player in West Indies history, having more than 1,400 runs and 45 wickets in 36 ODIs.
WOMEN’S FOOTBALLERS LACK SUPPORT IN JAMAICA—08/15/11
Organizations like the Jamaica Football Federation provide a lesser degree of support for female football players than for their male counterparts. Female football teams continue to struggle with lack of support and lack of funding. However, Jamaican women in football have a high level of enthusiasm and commitment, reflecting the fact that the sport is the fastest growing female sport in the world. Some 26 million females play the sport worldwide. Sherwin Williams West Indies Ltd. has been the only firm in Jamaica for the past ten years to make a tangible investment in women’s football programs.
JAMAICANS TO COMPETE FOR CYCLING CHAMPIONSHIP—08/16/11
Five Jamaicans are ready to represent the homeland in the two-day Junior Caribbean Cycling Championships in Puerto Rico. Shacquille Sinclair and Oshane Williams will lead the Jamaican contingent in the time trials and 17-to-18 road race age category. Also racing will be Dervin Myers, Jermar Brissett, and Owen Cardoza Jr. All are competing in the championships for the first time.
Standing Up For Christ
In an environment where anything goes, standing up for one’s beliefs can be costly. In some countries around the world, Christians who face persecution and resulting hardships every day because of their faith are far more aware of this than we are in the West. Yet, they stand firm in the face of difficult circumstances while holding fast to the profession of their faith.
It is not easy swimming upstream when it seems everybody else is swimming downstream. It is not easy to say “no” when it seems everybody else is saying “yes”. It is no wonder genuine Christians stick out like sore thumbs; they find it impossible to accept and embrace much of what society deems acceptable simply because certain behaviors and attitudes are contrary to the Word of God. Unfortunately, some professing Christians choose to remain silent and in the process they unintentionally allow the perpetuation of those behaviours and attitudes. It is so easy to go along with the crowd instead of “rocking the boat” by taking a stand.
John the Baptist had other ideas. In a culture where criticizing the king was to sign one’s death warrant, he had openly rebuked King Herod for taking his sister-in-law, Herodias, as his own wife. Fearing that John’s preaching would start a revolt against him, Herod had him thrown in jail. According to the narrative, Mark 4:1-29, Herodias, who was smoldering with hate and wanted John killed, completed a series of manipulative moves that boxed the king in a corner. After a couple glasses of wine too many, he had promised Herodias’ daughter anything she wanted. The mother promptly saw her opportunity and told her to ask for the head of John the Baptist (V.24). Not willing to take a stand, Mark tells us, “And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother” (vv. 26-28, KJV). We can only imagine that she looked at it with immense satisfaction. She had silenced the voice of rebuke. This despite the fact that having John killed did not change the reality of the inappropriateness of her marriage to the king.
Standing up and speaking out cost John his head. He knew the probable consequences but instead of compromising by remaining silent, he chose to stand up for truth and righteousness. In a culture of darkness, his light shone brightly. What about your light? When things are going the wrong way in your spheres of influence – your offices, your homes, your churches – and when things get out of hand, do you speak up? Christians are supposed to be the light of the world (Mark 5:14) and the whole purpose of light is to repel darkness. If you are not shining where you are and if no one knows what you stand for, then something is wrong. Maybe it is time for a light check?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.