JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending December 16th, 2011

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THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
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OVER 200 JAMAICAN POLICE FAIL POLYGRAPH—12/10/11
According to Justin Felice, Jamaica’s Assistant Commissioner of Police, 217 police officers who volunteered to take lie-detector tests failed those tests in 2011. This represents 60 percent of the total 362 police who took the polygraphs. Felice did not say if the officers who failed would be subject to disciplinary action. Jamaica’s police force has relied on lie-detector testing in its vetting process since 2008. In 2011, 62 officers were denied the right to re-enlist, while another 34 were charged with corruption, and seven were dismissed for failing the test.

PAROLE BOARD WANTS JOB RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED ON SEX OFFENDERS—12/11/11
The Parole Board in Jamaica wants the government to keep sex offenders from getting jobs in certain sectors once they have been released from prison. The Board wants the restrictions imposed particularly on criminals convicted in carnal abuse cases. According to retired judge Aven McKain, chair of the Parole Board, prevention is better than trying to cure the offenders. It has been reported that taxi and bus drivers, as well as conductors, have preyed on minors, luring them with the promise of free rides and quick money. The Board would bar sex offenders from working in these jobs.

CORNWAL REGIONAL HOSPITAL RECEIVES NEW BUS—12/12/11
A new Toyota bus has been received by the Cornwall Regional Hospital. The bus will be used to help with mental health care. According to Ken Douglas, regional director for the Western Regional Health Authority, a single bus is not adequate to fill the needs of the community, but the hospital plans to maximize the opportunity presented to serve the community. It plans to forge more partnerships to improve critical services like transportation in the area.

PENGELLEY CALLS FOR DEFINED JOB DESCRIPTION, QUALIFICATIONS FOR MP POST—12/13/11
Brian Pengelley, the president of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association, is supporting a call for a defined job description and list of qualifications for individuals who want to be elected as members of Parliament. Pengelley says that people aspiring to be MPs should receive clearly defined job descriptions and present quality profiles when they want to be elected representatives and legislators.  The main qualification should be that these individuals are in good standing with Jamaica’s laws, said Pengelley.

POLITICAL OMBUDSMAN READY TO TAKE ACTION—12/14/11
Herro Blair, political ombudsman, says that he has received at least 30 complaints involving shootings, bribes, injury, intimidation, and other violent acts in a single week of political campaigning across Jamaica. His office also received reports of party buses being stoned, damage being done to vehicles, and defacing of candidate billboards, says Blair. He noted that everyone is aware that the office of ombudsman now exists, and it is actively investigating reported incidents. Blair also plans to meet with both main political parties to establish standards of conduct for candidates and their supporters.

JAMAICAN ELECTIONS TO BE OBSERVED BY OAS—12/15/11
The Organization of American States (OAS) will be sending an Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) to observe Jamaica’s General Parliamentary Elections, which are scheduled for December 29, 2011. The participation of the OAS was initiated via an invitation from the Electoral Commission of Jamaica. Lisa Shoman of Belize has been designated by OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza to act as Chief of Mission.

JLP GAINS SIX PERCENTAGE POINTS TO SURGE INTO LEAD—12/16/11
The Jamaica Labor Party appears on track to win the general election on December 29, 2011, gaining six percentage points in a month to take the lead over the Opposition. According to a recent poll, if the election were held today, 31 percent of voters said they would vote for the JLP, and another five percent said they probably would do so. Twenty-nine percent said they would vote for the People’s National Party (PNP). This is the first time the PNP has trailed the JLP in a similar poll since 2007.

HOLNESS POPULAR CHOICE WITH MOST JAMAICANS—12/16/11
Almost half of Jamaicans polled believe they are in worse shape now than they were in 2007 when the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) was elected. However, most Jamaicans view the JLP as the better of the two major parties and more capable of managing the nation’s affairs at this critical time. Forty-one percent believe the JLP will do a better job of governing, and 55 percent believe that Andrew Holness, current Prime Minister, deserves to be returned to his post.

 

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JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
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JAMAICAN GETS POST ON ONTARIO COURT OF JUSTICE—12/10/11
Aston Hall, who was born in Jamaica, has been appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice in Canada. He moved to Canada a year after the Charter of Rights and Freedoms became the nation’s bill of rights in 1982. His appointment reflects the diversity of Canada and a major personal milestone for Hall. According to Audrey Campbell, president of the Jamaican Canadian Association, Hall is a “shining example” of what can be done with hard work and a commitment to excellence.

JAMAICAN DIES IN TRINIDAD WITH KILO OF MARIJUANA IN STOMACH—12/11/11
Glenmore Dufus, a Jamaican national who had complained of feeling ill when he arrived in Trinidad, but who refused medical attention at that time, was found dead at a home in San Juan with one kilo of high-potency marijuana in pellets in his stomach. Investigators were told that Dufus said he felt unwell on November 26, one day after arriving in Trinidad, but he refused all attempts to take him to a doctor. He was found dead of acute marijuana poisoning as the result of a ruptured stomach at his friend’s home on November 27, 2011.

AMERICAN WOMAN AND HER JAMAICAN HUSBAND SEPARATED BY VISA RULES—12/12/11
Questions were raised by staff at the United States Embassy when a Jamaican man married a woman from Los Angeles who is 15 years older than he is. Jenny and Jason Messam were wed in January 2010 in Jamaica, but he has been unable to receive a visa that would allow him to move to the U.S. Immigration officials had originally approved the visa petition, but workers at the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica became suspicious about the motives of the couple after interviewing them and examining phone records, photos, and emails. The workers suspected that the marriage was a fraud, but the Messams say that despite appearances to the contrary, their marriage is real.

UK SEES CELEBRATIONS OF JAMAICA 50—12/14/11
The United Kingdom is ready to celebrate the British portion of the global celebrations to honor Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence. The celebration is scheduled to begin in January 2012 and continue throughout the entire year. Several major cities in the UK will participate, including London, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, and Reading. The celebration will include concerts, fashion shows, sports events, lectures, balls, dinners, and a cultural summer camp for young people.

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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
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CARIBBEAN NATIONS WANT END TO U.S. EMBARGO OF CUBA—12/10/11

OPRAH WINFREY, LOUIS FARRAKHAN TO MAKE SEPARATE VISITS TO HAITI—12/11/11

SUGA INDUSTRY WORRIED ABOUT SUGAR QUOTA ABOLITION BY EC—12/12/11

OPRAH WINFREY SAYS PRESIDENT OF HAITI ASKED HER TO RETURN—12/13/11

PRISON GUARDS IN HAITI WAIT FOR VERDICT IN MASSACRE CASE—12/14/11

CARIBBEAN-CUBA SUMMIT SUCCESSFUL, SAYS CARICOM CHAIRMAN—12/15/11

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BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
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BAUXITE SECTOR EXPECTED TO STABILIZE IN 2012—12/10/11
The Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Company has predicted a stable year for 2012 due to a rise in sales, which increased by 27 percent to US$115 million from January to September 2011. The prediction is based on future orders. While the firm’s customers continue to be cautious about 2012, indications suggest that the consumption rates in North America are stable, according to Noranda management.

INTERNET SHOPPING SERVICE LAUNCHED BY EDA—12/11/11
The only all-cargo airline in Jamaica, Exec Direct Aviation Services Ltd. (EDA), is diversifying in its product offerings to include a new online shopping, package, and mail forwarding service. The firm has introduced “ShipMe,” a service providing its clients with access to Internet shopping. The service is different from its competition because it can integrate its own aircraft for the transportation of customers’ purchases from the United States to Jamaica. This is a faster and more efficient means of delivery for such purchases.

JRC SELLS OFF ASSETS TO FINANCE RAIL SERVICES—12/12/11
The Jamaica Railway Corporation (JRC) is selling off its non-core assets in order to fund a reinstatement of rail services to certain communities across the country. Officials state that the sell-off includes property valued at approximately $3 billion. The firm wants to sell four land parcels valued at $274.1 million. The proceeds of the sales will be used to rehabilitate and maintain locomotives, passenger cars, station buildings, and other facilities providing services to the public.

JAMAICA WANTS TO REDUCE TRADE GAP WITH JAPAN—12/13/11
The global recession has been cited as the reason for the large decrease in foreign direct investment (FDI) in Jamaica and highlights the importance of the Japan-Caricom Economic Investment Mission to Jamaica. FDI has dropped from US$1436.6 in 2008 to $227.7 in 2010. Dr. Kenneth Baugh, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and Dr. Christopher Tufton, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, have given credit to Japan’s ambassador to Jamaica, Hiroshi Yamaguchi, for having a major role in arranging the mission to Jamaica, which is designed to find investment opportunities.

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CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IS ANSWER TO UNEMPLOYMENT, SAYS BUCHANAN—12/11/11

JUNIPER NETWORKS CHOSEN BY LIME FOR ADVANCED TV SERVICES—12/12/11

EUROPEAN AUTHORITIES, U.S. BUILT “WALL” AGAINST DRUG TRAFFICKERS—12/14/11

NORANDA ENCOURAGES GREENHOUSE TECHNOLOGY—12/15/11

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TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY
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POWERFUL SOLAR ARRAY MADE OF TINY SOLAR CELL “DOTS”—12/15/11
Engineers are using a technique first created for printing flexible electronics to reinvent the way solar energy is concentrated. Semprius has designed very small solar cells, each one the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen, to convert 41 percent of solar energy into electricity, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Semprius is building a factory in North Carolina to make these concentrating solar arrays via “micro-transfer printing.” The method can be used to improve LED lighting, computer hard drives, and sensors for medical devices as well.

EXPERT SAY EVEN HANDS-FREE DEVICES DANGEROUS WHILE DRIVING—12/16/11
Recommendations from auto safety experts now promote a total ban on cell phone use by drivers. The recommendation extends to hands-free devices as well, as studies continue to show that distracted drivers cause accidents and threaten the public’s safety. All five members of the National Transportation Safety Board in the United States approved the ban after a highway crash in Missouri in which two people died. The driver of the vehicle was found to have sent and receive 11 text messages in the 11 minutes before the accident.

 

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ENTERTAINMENT
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JAMAICAN MUSIC WEBSITE STARTS ONLINE DISTRIBUTION—12/11/11
Jamaicanmusic.com has expanded into digital distribution, leveraging the site’s popularity to increase sales of Jamaican music. The site wants to encourage people to buy the music in addition to providing a venue for music promotion. It is partnership with Dubshot, a digital distributor for several record labels.

CELINE DION TO PLAY JAZZ AND BLUES FEST IN JAMAICA—12/12/11
Celine Dion as agreed to perform at the 16th annual Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, scheduled to January 26-28, 2012, at Greenfield Multi Purpose Stadium in Trelawny. Cee-Lo Green, the Temptations Revue, and Earl Klugh will also perform at the festival.

VYBA KARTEL FACES YET ANOTHER NEW CHARGE—12/14/11
Vybz Kartel, Jamaican dancehall entertainer, has been charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, as well as attempting to pervert the course of justice. Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, is being charged along with Vanessa Saddler (Gaza Slim). Saddler told police that she had been assaulted by Clive “Lizard” Williams, the man allegedly murdered by Kartel. It has been alleged that she made up the story to help with the defense of Kartel in the murder case.

JAMAICAN JAZZ AND BLUES SUPPORTED BY SHAGGY—12/15/11
Shaggy, Jamaican dancehall star, has hailed the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival as one of the last places supporting reggae music and other musical genres and culture. He has spoken about the importance of the 2012 festival in the promotion of reggae music around the world. Shaggy is scheduled to appear at the Festival in Trelawney, which will be held from January 26-28, 2012.

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SPORTS
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GAYLE LIKELY TO MISS T20—12/10/11
Chris Gayle will likely not play for the home team of Jamaica in the Caribbean Twenty20 Championship in January 2012. It has been reported that Gayle will not be released by the Sydney Thunders franchise during the Big Bash, which will be underway in Australia at the same time as the regional tournament is going on. The unavailability of Gayle for the Twenty20 nearly rules him out of the Twenty20 World Cup in September 2012 in Sri Lanka as well.

BLAKE NAMED TOP MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR—12/11/11
Yohan Blake was named as the top male athlete of 2011, ahead of his training partner Usain Bolt, by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA). Bolt was name the World Male Athlete of the Year. The JAAA felt that Bolt did not do enough to best Blake in this competition. Blake won the World 100 title in South Korea after Bolt’s false start disqualified him from the race. Blake also had the second-fastest 200-meter performance of all time at 19:26 seconds.

MCCARTHY THE ONLY NEWCOMER TO JAMAICA IN REGIONAL T20—12/12/11
Andre McCarthy, a middle order batsman, is the only newcomer to Jamaica’s senior cricket squad of 14 members scheduled to compete in the Caribbean Twenty20 tournament in Antigua and Barbados. McCarthy, 24, plays for Melbourne and had previously missed the chance to make the Jamaican team.

JORDAN MAY MAKE ATTEMPT AT NBA—12/13/11
Jamaican Jerome Jordan could return to the New York Knicks basketball team by Christmas 2011 and play for the NBA. He has spent about a year and a half in Europe on loan to Krka of Slovenia for the season. However, due to an opt-out clause in his contract, Jordan is allowed to return to the Knicks when the lockout ends.

 

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DEVOTIONAL
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What Is On God’s Mind?
 
With just over a week before Christmas, the shopping malls are a buzz of activity. Retailers are trying hard to separate shoppers from their hard-earned dollars, and astute shoppers are mall hopping in search of the best deals. In some places the strains of Christmas carols seem to be everywhere, much to the delight of those who love this time of year and to the chagrin of those who are thinking “enough already!” Some people bemoan the commercialization of Christmas, and with good reason. For the most part, it seems many people have forgotten what it is all about.
 
Christians, generally speaking, are not immune from being caught up in the pre-Christmas hustle and bustle.  Yet as we go about shopping for gifts for the people in our lives we hold dear, and making plans for family dinners and get-togethers, I find myself wondering, “What would be on God’s mind?” In Matthew 25, after a series of parables, we read of Jesus telling His disciples about the separation of nations as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; the sheep on the right and the goats on the left (vv. 31-33). The narrative continues, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (vv. 34-40, KJV).
 
I believe what is on God’s mind is that as we prepare for Christmas, let us take some time to remember those who are less fortunate. Maybe we can buy an extra gift to donate to a toy drive, donate some food to our local food banks, or reach out to someone or a family in need.  It will not ruin your Christmas. I guarantee you, it will make you feel a lot better to know you have made a difference in at least one person’s life.
 
“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Our challenge is to go out there and do it.

 

 

CEW

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CREDITS/SOURCES
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The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.