THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
CHARLES SAYS NO WORK PERMITS ISSUED TO UNSKILLED EXPATRIATES—12/03/11
Pearnel Charles, Jamaica’s Minister of Labor, says his ministry has not issued work permits to unskilled expatriates to work for China Harbor Engineering Ltd. on the Palisadoes Shoreline Project. Phillip Paulwell, People’s National Party Member of Parliament for East Kingston and Port Royal, said problems were occurring because of an imbalance in the number of Chinese workers on the project compared to Jamaican workers. Paulwell says he has pictures of Chinese individuals performing manual labor at the Palisadoes site. Charles says only 24 work permits were issued for that project, and these were for professional engineers from China. Work permits are not granted to unskilled expatriates, he said.
HIGH SCHOOL HOSTS LOCAL JAMAICAN FOOD EVENT—12/03/11
Bog Walk High School in St. Catherine was the site of a showcase of traditional Jamaican foods at the Eat Jamaican Day Expo. The event was hosted by the Jamaican Agricultural Society (JAS). Students helped to prepare several dishes and pastries, including cassava pudding and ginger bulla. Denise Fullwood, head of the home economics department, led the cooking efforts, stating that the school wanted to show off creative and unique Jamaican foods.
CPI RANKING STILL LABELS JAMAICA AS CORRUPT—12/04/11
Jamaica had scored 3.3 out of a possible 10 and a country ranking of 85 out of 182 countries in the 2011 Global Corruption Perception Index (CPI) Rankings. In 2010, Jamaica had a CPI score of 3.3 as well and ranked 87 out of 178 countries. The index ranks nations according to the perceived level of corruption in the public sector. This is determined through surveys and other assessments involving questions about bribery of public officials, embezzlement of public funds, and kickbacks in public dealings.
HOLNESS ANNOUNCES ELECTIONS TO BE HELD DECEMBER 29, 2011—12/05/11
Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica, who has been in office less than two months, has announced that general elections will be held on December 29, 2011. Holness became Prime Minister when the former office holder Bruce Golding resigned. Holness said the nation is ready for progress and development and a positive future. Nominations for the election will be held on December 12. The two main parties in Jamaica will field more than 120 candidates for Parliament combined.
CHANG BELIEVES DOCUMENT DESTRUCTION SUSPICIOUS—12/06/11
Dr. Horace Chang, Minister of Housing, Environment, Water and Local Government, says the destruction of documents at the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) is suspicious, and he wants to know why the documents were destroyed at the agency. Mystery surrounds the NSWMA just a day after gunmen entered its offices, tied up a security guard, stole computers, and then set fire to files. Chang believes it is strange that someone would want to damage the documents, and he says he needs to know the reason. Police and fire officials are conducting investigations, with reports expected in the near future.
AMERICAN SPY PLANE SECRETLY VIDEO-TAPED TIVOLI GARDENS MASSACRE—12/07/11
Somewhere in the United States’ Department of Homeland Security there is a videotape that was taken by a secret spy plane during the battle of Tivoli Gardens on May 24, 2010. This tape could shed light on whether security forces in Jamaica killed 73 members of a crime syndicate that day, or innocent residents who were victims of house-to-house fighting. More than 500 Jamaican soldiers went into the neighborhood on a mission to capture Christopher “Dudus” Coke, local gang leader. The mission resulted from pressure from the U.S. to take Coke, since he had been indicted on charges of operating an international drug ring. The contents of the video have never been revealed to the public.
GRANGE INTERVENES IN CASE OF ACKEE THIEF—12/08/11
Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Jamaican Minister of Youth, Sports, and Culture, has intervened in the case of Junior Christie, 30, who was sentenced to three months in prison for stealing ackees from a farm on the property of King’s House, the home of the Governor-General of Jamaica. Grange acknowledged that the theft was serious, but also believed there was “room for compassion” and that bail should be granted to Christie. As a result of her action, Christie was given a bail of $30,000 by Judge Judith Pusey, the same judge who had handed down his earlier sentence. He will be able to stay out of jail while his case is in appeal.
DESPITE EARLIER DENIALS, HOLNESS ADMITS JAMAICA APPROVED SPY PLANE USE—12/09/11
In spite of earlier denials by Dwight Nelson, Jamaica’s National Security Minister, Prime Minister Andrew Holness admitted that Jamaica made an agreement with the government of the United States to perform surveillance during security operations in Tivoli Gardens during Coke extradition process. A spy plane from the United States was conducting surveillance in Tivoli Gardens on May 24, 2010, during the security operation. In 2010, Daryl Vaz, who was the Information Minister at the time, also denied that Jamaica received any external help during the mission.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
ZOO IN VIENNA FEATURES SMUGGLED JAMAICAN PARROTS—12/06/11
A shipment of rare Jamaican parrots smuggled off the island as eggs was intercepted at a Vienna, Austria airport. The eggs were discovered in the suitcases of two Slovak men who posed as tourists returning from a vacation in Jamaica. The price for such parrots on the global black market ranges from 4,000 euros to 15,000 euros each, compared to 500 euros per egg in Jamaica. The discovery of the eggs indicates that customs officials are having considerable success in protecting endangered animals from smugglers.
CARIBBEAN LAWMAKERS UPSET ABOUT RACIST FACEBOOK COMMENTS—12/07/11
Caribbean legislators in New York are outraged about racist comments posted on Facebook by some New York City police officers who had been assigned to work at the West Indian American Day Carnival Parade in Brooklyn in September 2011. Some of the officers called the parade-goers “animals” and “savages.” Yvette D. Clarke, United States Congresswoman from the 11th District in Brooklyn and daughter of Jamaican immigrants, expressed her outrage at these Facebook posts. She said the comments illustrate that some police have bigoted perceptions of the communities they are sworn to serve, which has negative implications for people living in those communities.
HOTELIERS UPSET AT UK’S 8-PERCENT INCREASE IN “AIRLIFT TAX”—12/08/11
Caribbean hoteliers have expressed their anger at the decision of the United Kingdom to alter the Air Passenger Duty (APD) banding structure and impose an increase of eight percent beginning in April 2012. The increase will apply to access costs to the Bahamas for visitors from Britain and Europe. This is about eight percent of the total stop-over visitors to the Bahamas, according to the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA). The decision runs counter to the UK’s stated goal of improving relations with independent Caribbean nations and British Overseas Territories.
STUDENT SENSITIVITY TRAINING COMPLETED AFTER BLACK-FACE INCIDENT—12/09/11
About 30 students at HEC Montreal who had painted their faces black in order to pretend to be Jamaican champion sprinter Usain Bolt during a freshman event have now finished classes in racial sensitivity training. The incident, which was posted on YouTube, received nationwide attention and prompted an official apology from the school. HEC created a special racial awareness program that was designed in part by Vivian Barbot, Haitian-born former Member of Parliament and specialist in intercultural training.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
LATIN AMERICAN LEADERS DISCUSS ECONOMY AT CELAC MEETING—12/03/11
VENEZUELA PLANS TO BOOST OIL REFINING, STORAGE IN CARIBBEAN—12/04/11
NEW PRIME MINISTER IN ST. LUCIA SEES CHALLENGING FUTURE—12/05/11
CHAVEZ CONFIRMS DEAL WITH EMBRAER FOR 20 COMMERCIAL PLANES—12/06/11
COURT IN CARIBBEAN TAKES SIDE OF U.S. INVESTORS—12/07/11
FOR TORONTO, DECEMBER 5-10 IS CARIBBEAN WEEK—12/08/11
BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
JAMAICA MISSES OUT ON $500 MILLION GINGER EXPORT DEAL—12/03/11
Jamaica has missed an opportunity to obtain US$6 million per year to supply ginger to a drinks company based in the United States and listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange, the largest in the world by market capitalization. Currently, Jamaica provides only 10 percent of its potential export demand. According to Chris Reed, founder and CEO or Reed’s, he had tried to use authentic Jamaican ginger but could find no consistent suppliers. He also ran into problems linked with suppliers’ getting an export license for ginger.
AMERICA MOVIL, DIGICEL AGREE TO ASSET SWAP—12/04/11
Digicel and America Movil (AM), a mobile firm based in Mexico, have agreed to transfer assets in Honduras and Jamaica. AM will acquire Digicel’s mobile unit in Honduras and agreed to sell Claro, its Jamaican subsidiary to Digicel. In March 2011, AM agreed to acquire all of Digicel’s operations in Honduras and El Salvador.
GOVERNMENT TO BOOST TOURISM IN JAMAICA—12/07/11
The Jamaican government will spend substantial amounts of money to enhance its tourism industry in order to create more jobs in the country. Andrew Holness, Jamaican Prime Minister, stated that the government initiatives will create as many as 20,000 new jobs. Investments in the tourism industry will encourage additional growth, according to Easyvoyage, a local online travel review firm.
OHIO-BASED FIRM TO BUILD CALL CENTER IN JAMAICA—12/08/11
According to Christopher Tufton, Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, a global outsourcing firm based in Ohio, Convergys Corporation, plans to construct a call center expected to employ 1,000 Jamaicans. The building will start in 2012, and the company is putting $20 million into the project in Montego Bay. Currently, call centers in Jamaica employ some 11,000 workers.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
HOTELS MAKE EFFORT TO “GO GREEN”—12/04/11
TECHNOLOGY FORUM SPONSORED BY IDB—12/07/11
ICT GAINS MOMENTRUM IN CARIBBEAN—12/08/11
NET BILLING OPENS THE DOOR FOR GREATER USE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY—12/09/11
TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY
FACEBOOK TO INTRODUCE TIMELINE FEATURE IN NEW ZEALAND—12/07/11
Facebook’s long-awaited Timeline is being introduced to users in New Zealand, hoping for a broader roll-out in the near future. Timeline reflects Facebook’s total overhaul of user profiles and its effort to give people a way to represent their entire life in one place. They will be able to go to a single location to see friends, photos, relationship status, and other items. These are shown in chronological order, so users can view a month, a day, or a year.
SETI PROGRAM RESTARTS, TARGETS KEPLER 22-B—12/08/11
The search for intelligent life in the universe is back on track with the restarting of SETI’s Allen Telescope Array (ATA). ATA ceased operation in April 2011 due to budgetary constraints at the University of California, but SETI is now back in business because of fund-raising efforts on the Internet. The SETIStars program has raised over $200,000 in online donations. The program will focus on Keplet 22-b, a planet 600 light years away from Earth with a temperate climate that some scientists believe could host life.
STUDIO 38 CELEBRATES ITS SUCCESS—12/03/11
Founded in 2009, Studio 38 has managed to become the center of entertainment for a wide range of music lovers who recognize the bistro for its excellent musical offerings. Since its opening, Studio 38 has hosted over 50 concerts that featured the greatest Jamaican acts available. The club focuses on presenting major Jamaican and international acts in intimate settings. Beres Hammond, Melba Moore and Freddie Jackson, Assassin, Etana, Chalice, and Beenie Man are just a few of the acts that have been featured at Studio 38.
BROTHER, SISTER WANT TO CARVE OWN NICHE IN MUSIC VIDEO INDUSTRY—12/06/11
Adrian and Amanda Lopez are a brother and sister who hope to create their own niche in Jamaica’s growing music video industry. The siblings started Liquid Light Digital, a production company based on their training and experience about 11 years ago and were one of the first firms to bring animation and special effects expertise to Jamaica at a time when most of the work was outsourced to other countries. Beginning with a focus on computer-generated imagery (CGI), they have expanded into episodic television and continue to push the creative envelope to make their work stand out.
MUSIC PUBLISHING STARTUP WANTS TO RAISE $140 MILLION IN IPO—12/07/11
Caribbean 2 World (C2W), a startup music publishing company, is planning to raise as much as $140 million by offering 25 percent of the firm to the public. The firm plans for an IPO in late December 2011 or early January 2012 on the Junior Stock Exchange. The company has yet to generate any revenue, but expects to be profitable in its third year of operations. Shares will be listed at about $1.20 each.
PHILIP “FATIS” BURRELL, RECORD PRODUCER, DIES—12/08/11
The Jamaican record producer, Philip “Fatis” Burrell, who died of a stroke at age 57, was one of the most important producers in the era of digital dancehall music. He was admired for the quality of his work during a time when Jamaican music was produced chiefly with quick profits in mind. He was chiefly responsible for promoting the careers of artistes like Luciano, Sizzla Kolanji, and Capleton.
DEAF ATHLETES COMPETE IN NATIONAL SPORTS DAY—12/03/11
Deaf athletes from all over Jamaica met at Manchester High School to participate in National Sports Day. This was the second year of the event, which was organized by Deaf Sports Jamaica (DSJ). The event included netball, basketball, recreational table tennis, six-a-side football, and athletics, and all competitions were conducted fairly and with fun. Some 350 athletes participated in the event, most coming from Kingston, Brown’s Town, May Pen, and Mandeville.
PYNE, HENRY MOVE UP IN WORLD BADMINTON RANKINGS—12/06/11
Jamaicans Charles Pyne and Gareth Henry have both moved up the ranks among world badminton stars. Pyne has risen from 131 to 115, while Henry moved from 158 to 154. Both players will next compete in the Yonex Canadian International Challenge, which is scheduled for December 13 to 17, 2011.
PHILLIPS, AUSTIN MAKING GOOD SHOWING IN NORWAY—12/07/11
Jamaican infielders Rodolph Austin and Demar Phillips each scored seven goals at the 2011 Norwegian Premier League, the Tippeligaen. Austin, 26, had a solid performance for SK Brann, finishing fourth in the league by providing four assists and four penalty conversions. Phillips, 28, had seven goals in 22 matches for Aalesunds FK.
POTENTIAL EARLY 2012 RACE BETWEEN BOLT, BLAKE—12/08/11
According to Glen Mills, the trainer of Jamaican runners Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, the two sprinters could be pitted against each other in a race earlier than expected in 2012. This would offer fans a preview of events at the London Olympics. Bolt and Blake are scheduled to compete at the Jamaican Olympics in June 2012 and in London in August, but Mills indicated they could meet before then, depending on their managers’ agreements and the money involved.
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“God Hath Made Me to Laugh”
When was the last time God did something for you that was so ridiculously miraculous that you just had to laugh? You know, one of those situations in which everybody who could offer an opinion declared the situation dead and buried, but God came through as He said He would. It was a time when it would have been easy to have given up on God, to look at the realities of situations that seemed so out of line with the promises of God, to yield to the voice of those who like Job’s wife pose the question, “Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die” (Job 2:9, KJV). Yet, we held on. Not necessarily because we were not tempted to give up, but just because we kept on believing that if God said it, regardless of how things may seem, He can be trusted to bring it to pass.
Those thoughts came to mind as I reflected on Sarah’s response to the birth of her son, Isaac. By this time her husband, Abraham, was one hundred years old and she, ninety. Not being able to bear children in her younger days, it was now humanly impossible for her to conceive in her twilight years. The narrative affirmed, “Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age” (Genesis 18:11), so much so that a year earlier when the LORD renewed His promise that they would be parents, Sarah laughed within herself and mused, “An old woman like me? Get pregnant? With this old man of a husband?” (Genesis 18:12, The Message). If anything was dead, her womb certainly was and as far as she was concerned, her husband’s virility as well.
Yet, if ever there was a situation that was perfect for a miracle, this was it. It would be fair to say that this golden-aged couple, spurred on my the promise of God, did what they had to do and in a matter of months, Sarah did conceive and later on gave birth to Isaac just as the LORD said she would. The narrative tells us, “And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age” (Genesis 21:6-7, KJV). Her former laughter was one filled with incredulity, her latter laughter was one of thanksgiving.
“And Sarah said, God hath made to laugh.” That could be your testimony as well. In the midst of the hopeless situation you face, what has He told you? If you can stay the course with Him while doing your part, He will make you laugh and those who hear will laugh with you. Just ask Sarah.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.