THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
ELECTION CONCERNS CLOUD HOLIDAY SEASON—12/17/11
According to Jamaican vendors and shoppers, the pending general election is having a depressing impact on the holiday season, limiting shoppers’ excitement and joy about celebrations. Some individuals interviewed about their feelings said they would have rather hand the election later in 2012 because having it so early “ruined Christmas.” The election has focused attention on concerns about crime and violence and economic conditions in the country.
MEDICS FROM BURMA ENJOY JAMAICA VISIT—12/18/11
Thirty physicians from Burma decided to celebrate their medical school reunion in Jamaica. The group entered medical school in 1971 and get together every year. The doctors came from as far away as Taiwan, the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada. After taking in the cultural sights of the island during their visit, the doctors were treated to a farewell dinner by Jamaican physicians Soe Naung and wife Thwe in Montego Bay.
STORY OF JAMAICAN MAROONS TOLD IN FILM—12/20/11
Roy T. Anderson will soon release his film “Akwantu,” the story of Jamaican Maroons. Anderson provided the funding for the film and narrated and directed it. The story takes viewers on a journey through Maroon, African, and Jamaican history. Vivian Crawford, executive director of the Institute of Jamaica, is happy the film was previewed during the Christmas season because this is the time to celebrate ancestry, she said. Colonel Frank Lunsden spoke on behalf of the Maroon community at the preview, saying Anderson’s work showed “genuine passion.”
SIMPSON MILLER WANTS JAMAICAN QUEEN AS NATION’S HEAD OF STATE—12/20/11
Portia Simpson Miller, Opposition leader, has called for the Queen of England to be removed as Jamaica’s head of state. She has suggested replacing the English queen with a Jamaican Queen. Simpson Miller made her remarks in response to a question during a leadership debate. The question asked whether she believed Jamaica should move away from the Westminster government model. Simpson Miller said her party would act to remove the Queen of England as Jamaica’s head of state, creating an opening for a potential Jamaican Queen.
JAMAICA MORE FOCUSED ON ENVIRONMENTAL MANGEMENT—12/21/11
A study from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) suggests that, since 2008, Jamaica has focused more attention on making improvements to environmental management in the country. According to the study report, this has occurred via the creation of new standards and regulations, enforcement of existing rules, greater environmental monitoring, and increased awareness among citizens and stakeholders. The report was developed in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). It is the first report of its kind to be published in Jamaica since 2001.
MILLER SAYS ELECTORAL SYSTEM REFORM A GREAT ACHIEVEMENT—12/22/11
Errol Miller, Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ), believes that Jamaica should be proud of its electoral system. The system has been improved considerably since universal adult suffrage was implemented in 1944. Miller said that the reform of the electoral process represents one of the great achievements of the Jamaican people since they gained independence. Miller noted that between 1944 and 1979, the electoral process in the country was managed in “colonial style” with a winner-take-all policy.
AGRICULTURE SECTOR ENHANCEMENTS A PRIORITY FOR JLP—12/23/11
The Jamaica Labor Party has stated that the most important priority it has for the Jamaican agricultural sector is to increased productivity by using technology, improved farming practices, and better access to markets. The JLP says it is committed to a broad application of technology to raise production. This will include greenhouses, hydroponics, and tissue culture, all of which seek to improve crop quality and yields, as well as to rationalize the utilization of scarce water resources on the island.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
OLD HARBOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS GET FUNDING FROM DIASPORA—12/17/11
The Jamaican American Cultural Association (JACA), which is based in North Carolina in the United States, focuses on providing educational aid to children living in Charlotte, North Carolina, and in Jamaica. The association was created a decade ago as a social group for Jamaicans living in the Charlotte area. It has recently provided scholarships for Christopher and Shantell Phoenix, brother and sister, Christopher Cameron and Sanjay Smith. The group began helping students in Charlotte and then expanded to provide aid to the Jamaican community.
SUSPECT IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING ARRESTED AT U.S. EMBASSY IN KINGSTON—12/18/11
Jamaican police, with the aid of United States law enforcement, are attempting to find 17 Jamaican children between the ages of five and 16 who were adopted and shipped to the U.S. by a woman believed to be part of a human trafficking ring operating in both nations. The scheme was discovered when the 53-year-old woman from the Pleasant District in Bog Walk, St. Catherine, was arrested at the U.S. Embassy in Kingston. Her arrest occurred when she presented forged documentation to get an American visa for a 16-year-old girl she had recently adopted. The woman is believed to have operated the trafficking scheme for two years.
JAMAICAN WOMEN CLAIM “ROUGHING UP” BY ANTIGUA IMMIGRATION OFFICERS—12/19/11
Erica Atkinson and Shauntell Ferguson of Jamaica reported being badly treated by immigration authorities in Antigua. The women claim there were jailed, taunted, ridiculed, and exposed to dangerous health risks while in Antigua. The two traveled to Antigua to celebrate Atkinson’s birthday; Ferguson said it was her first time leaving Jamaica. When they arrived at V.C. Bird International Airport in Antigua, they were among a group of mostly female Jamaicans who were taken out of the immigration check-in lines and told to wait for a supervisor. After half an hour, a male supervisor and other immigration workers arrived and began searching the women, asking questions about their travel to the country and the people who were meeting them. Atkinson and Ferguson described the situation as “hell,” citing poor treatment by these authorities.
NEW BOOK CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF JAMAICA’S HISTORY—12/20/11
A new book, “In Praise of Jamaica,” examines the ancestry of the island and celebrates the achievements that individuals of Jamaican heritage have made over the past 50 years since Independence. The book was written by George Meikle, and it contains a mix of stories and photos. Its target audience is the large Jamaican Diaspora community and the travelers and tourists who visit Jamaica. The forward to the book was written by Judge Patrick Robinson, president of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
LEEWARDS INCLUDE SIX ANTIGUANS ON T20 SQUAD—12/17/11
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC HAS ONLY CARIBBEAN EMBASSY IN KOREA—12/18/11
GROUP CLAIMING TO “CURE” GAYS SETS SIGHTS ON CARIBBEAN—12/20/11
ANTIGUA IMMIGRATION OFFICIALS RESPOND TO MISTREATMENT CLAIMS—12/21/11
CARIBBEAN FOOTBALL UNION TO IMPOSE ORDER AT FIFA—12/22/11
DUTCH MAGAZINE APOLOGIZES FOR RACIST SLUR AGAINST RIHANNA—12/23/11
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BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
JAMAICA UTILIZES SMART AID—12/18/11
Partnerships between the public and private sectors in Jamaica will be able to support small enterprises, bring technology to its schools, and make improvements in sanitation and clean water needs on the island. United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that aid to developing nations should be considered an investment that will encourage self-sustaining progress. USAID’s work in Jamaica includes the creation of three public-private partnerships to enhance small enterprises, improve school technology offerings, and bring better sanitation and clean water to its citizens.
HOLNESS ENCOURAGES JAMAICANS TO USE NATURAL ASSETS—12/19/11
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who is also leader of the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), calls on Jamaicans to use their country’s national assets to create a better life. Holness believes that the pending elections are intended to select the political party that will maximize Jamaica’s talent and potential. He believes that the JLP is better suited to lead Jamaica to a more prosperous future and that it is the party that can deliver on its promises.
RED STRIPE SEES STRONG SALES IN CANADA—12/21/11
Diageo Plc has attributed a 15-percent increase in beer revenues in Canada to local subsidiary Red Stripe Jamaica. The increase has occurred despite an overall sales decrease in the nearby United States market. Consumers in the Canadian market drank more beer – specifically Red Stripe and Harp, an Irish beer – but fewer spirits during the year ending in July 2011. Canada, which has almost 10 times the population of Jamaica, represents a large, high-end market for the brand.
PROPOSED SUPER-MERGER OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES SUPPORTED—12/22/11
A proposals to merge three government agencies into a single mega-agency to promote investment, finance and marketing, is getting the support of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) and the Jamaica Exporters’ Association (JEA). Plans for the merger were introduced by the Jamaica Labor Party and include joining operations of Jampro, National Import-Export Bank of Jamaica (EXIM) and the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ). The merger was introduced as part of the party’s election manifesto. The merger would result in cost savings and gains in efficiency, say supporters.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
JAMAICAN BROADBAND TO IMPROVE—12/20/11
ENERGY PLANT INVESTMENT BY WISYNCO TO TOAL J$1 BILLION—12/21/11
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA’S MANSOOR DISCLOSES TECHNOLOGY PLANS FOR 2012—12/22/11
HBO, FLOW TO PARTNER AND PROMOTE JAZZ AND BLUES FESTIVAL—12/23/11
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TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY
SPRINT TO DISABLE CARRIER IQ ON ITS PHONES—12/17/11
Sprint has decided to disable the Carrier IQ software on its mobile phones in response to customer concerns about privacy. While the company had defended the use of the software, Sprint decided that customer perception was more important than the data collected by Carrier IQ. When asked what “disabling” the software meant, spokesperson Stephanie Vinge-Walsh said that Sprint is no longer collecting any of the diagnostic information previously provided by Carrier IQ.
FOUNDER OF XEROX PARC DIES—12/22/11
Jacob Goldman, a physicist who founded the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), has died in Connecticut. Goldman was 90 years of age. He was known as a leader and supporter of innovative technology. He began PARC in 1970, a location famous in computer history for being the center that developed many technologies common today, including the first modern PC, laser printing, Ethernet, the graphical user interface (GUI), and the first WYSIWYG editor.
BUJU BANTON CONTINUES HIS BATTLE AGAINST HIS DRUG CONVICTION—12/17/11
Reggae star Buju Banton is challenging his conviction on drug-related charges, and attorneys have filed an appeal in the United States. Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, is being represented by three lawyers led by David Oscar Markus. Banton was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, firearms possession in the furtherance of a drug trafficking offense, and using a phone to facilitate a drug trafficking offense. The gun charge was dropped, and Banton is facing 10 years in prison for his conviction on the other charges. The defense claims he did not conspire to commit these offenses and that the United States government sought to entrap him.
JAMAICAN MUSIC INDUSTRY NOT “PURE,” SAYS I-WAYNE—12/18/11
Reggae musician Clifford “I-Wayne” Taylor is not shy about saying what he thinks, and he is insisting that Jamaica’s music industry lacks purity and substance. He issued remarks on the matter after the local release of his third studio album, “Life Teachings.” I-Wayne said his time away from the local music scene has allowed him to see that it is not “authentic.” He also believes fans enjoy the “nastiness” represented by current music, which is says is full of “filth.” I-Wayne says he cannot allow fans to continue on this path because the future of younger generations is at risk.
SHAGGY EXCITED ABOUT 2012, GRAMMY NOMINATION—12/19/11
Orville “Shaggy” Burrell, international dancehall and reggae star, is continuing to enjoy a career and popularity that has spanned almost 20 years in the industry. He is hoping to build on his past glory by promoting his 10th studio album “Summer in Kingston,” his fourth Grammy nomination for this album and a number of singles. His most recent Grammy nomination for Best Reggae Album represents a “humbling’ acknowledgement of everyone who worked to make the new album successful.
KARTEL TO PAY $15 MILLION IN DAMAGES, SAYS COURT—12/20/11
Vybz Kartel, popular deejay who is facing two murder charges, was ordered by the Supreme Court to pay damages totaling $15 million to Alton Salmon, Jamaican promoter, for failure to perform at a concert in Turks and Caicos in August 2009. Because Kartel breached his contract, Salmon says he suffered significant losses, due to presold tickets and a riot that occurred when Kartel did not perform as expected.
WATSON SAYS JAMAICAN CLUBS SHOULD TARGET U.S. MAJOR SOCCER LEAGUES—12/17/11
JeVaughn Watson, member of the Reggae Boyz, believes that the Premier League clubs in Jamaica should target United States Major League Soccer (MLS) as a transitional market for players, rather than sending them to Europe. Some 14 Jamaicans currently play in the MLS, and three of them are involved in this season’s championship game. Watson believes the U.S. developing status makes it a better fit for Jamaican players than Europe.
BLAKE RECEIVES NOMINATION FOR LAUREUS AWARD—12/18/11
Yohan Blake, Jamaica’s IAAF World Championships 100-meter gold medal winner, has become the second Jamaican nominated for the Laureus Sports Award in the category of World Breakthrough of the Year. Blake took advantage of Usain Bolt’s disqualification in the finals of the Daegu, South Korea, competition to become the youngest winner in history. He was 21. Blake also ran the second fastest 200-meter race ever, clocking 19.26 seconds in Brussels.
SAMUELS SCORES 15 IN PRE-SEASON WIN FOR CAVS—12/19/11
Samardo Samuels, a Jamaican who plays with the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team, scored 15 points, seven rebounds, and three steals to help his team beat the Detroit Pistons 91 to 87 in an NBA pre-season game in Detroit. Eleven of the points were obtained via free throws.
BOLT STILL KING OF THE TRACK—12/20/11
Usain Bolt, Jamaica’s super sprint star, is looking to win four gold medals at the London Olympics in 2012. Bolt is one of the world’s most marketable sports personalities. He came back from a false start fiasco in Korean and plans to win four golds in London. Bolt, 25, made a strong comeback after being disqualified for a false start in the 100-meter final in Daegu, of which he was the defending champion. He went on to anchor the 4×100-meter relay team and brought the Jamaicans a new world record of 37/04 seconds in Daegu’s final event.
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Reflections on Joseph, at Christmas
His part in the “Christmas story” seems rather insignificant. After all, he was not even the baby’s father, just the betrothed husband of Mary, divinely chosen to be the mother of Jesus. According to Matthew’s narrative, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 1:18, KJV). Joseph, who had not been sexually intimate with Mary, must have been stunned to find out his bride-to-be was pregnant. In the Jewish culture of the day, a violation of betrothal was considered adultery and breaking a betrothal required a formal divorce. It is no wonder that he “being a just and upright man and not willing to expose [Mary] publicly and to shame and disgrace her, decided to repudiate and dismiss (divorce) her quietly and secretly” (v. 19, The Amplified). Who could blame him? She could not hide the pregnancy. Soon everyone would know he had left her because of her perceived unfaithfulness.
“But as he was thinking this over, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary [as] your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of (from, out of) the Holy Spirit. . . . Then Joseph, being aroused from his sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him: he took [her to his side as] his wife. But he had no union with her as her husband until she had borne her firstborn Son; and he called His name Jesus” (vv. 20, 24-25). In one sense, this seemed like the perfect ending but it really was not. The gossip around the birth of Jesus continued for years as some of his hearers taunted him, “We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God” (see John 8:37-41, KJV). There were two major implications – Jesus was the product of fornication and they did not know who His father was. Traditionally, some suggested His father was a Roman soldier with whom Mary had an affair. Joseph had to live with the gossip and scandal as well. To those on the outside, he had married an adulteress.
We do not hear anything much of Joseph after the birth of Jesus. Yet isn’t it amazing how his life and world were turned “upside down”? However, it was all part of a bigger plan; a divinely orchestrated plan by a God who steps into time and intervenes to accomplish His purposes. He found Himself a virgin who was a willing servant (Luke 1:26-38), and a just and upright man who would remain faithful despite the personal cost.
As we celebrate Christmas, and more importantly, the reason for the season, let us remember that the God who orchestrated events around the birth of Christ is the same God we serve today. Should He desire to order events in our lives and turn our worlds upside down to accomplish His purpose, would He find us willing? Just? Upright? That kind of surrender comes with a cost; just ask Joseph. Even so, I cannot think of a better place to be than in the nucleus of God’s will. Can you?
From my house to yours, a safe and blessed Christmas.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.