THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
OPPOSITION WINS LANDSLIDE ELECTION—12/31/11
Jamaica replaced the ruling party in the General Election on December 29, 2011, and gave a landslide victory to the opposition People’s National Party (PNP). The PNP’s campaign successfully tapped into the discontent and disillusionment felt by Jamaica’s population. The election victory marks a major comeback for former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller. Miller, 66, is known as “Sista P” and was the first woman leader in Jamaica during a 1.5-year tenure in office that came to an end in 2007.
SIMPSON MILLER TO BECOME NEW PRIME MINISTER—12/31/11
Portia Simpson Miller will become Jamaica’s new Prime Minister following a landslide victory in the General Election for the People’s National Party (PNP). Simpson Miller became the first female Prime Minister in Jamaica in 2006, and she is viewed as one of the most popular politicians in the country. She is recognized as a champion of social programs, with some Jamaicans referring to her as “the poor people’s politician.” She was head of the Labor Ministry under previous governments and served as Minister of Welfare and Sports.
SCANDAL INVOLVING “DUDUS” COKE DOOMED THE JLP IN ELECTIONS—01/01/12
Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding was embroiled in a scandal involving Christopher “Dudus” Coke, who was facing charges in the United States for trafficking in drugs and firearms. His actions in handling U.S. extradition requests and the way he misled the Jamaican people ultimately resulted in his resignation and doomed his party, the Jamaica Labor Party, to a massive defeat in the General Election. Karl Samuda, Jamaica Labor Party leader, said his party underestimated the effect that the Coke issue had on its image, and this resulted in the victory of the opposition People’s National Party (PNP) in the election.
WOMEN’S COALITION OFFERS CONGRATULATIONS TO SIMPSON MILLER—01/02/12
Newly designated Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller received the congratulations of the 51% Coalition on her party’s victory in the General Election. At the same time, the group renewed its call for more attention to be given to gender issues. The group noted that it shared the hope of Simpson Miller, the first woman to become Prime Minister of Jamaica, that the victory would result in renewed attention to sustainable human development in the country and for gender issues to be given priority by the new government.
JAMAICANS FOR JUSTICE WANTS PEOPLE TO DECIDE ABOUT CCJ—01/03/12
Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ), a local advocacy group, has called for the new government to initiate a referendum concerning the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and whether it should be established as the country’s final court of appeal. Dr. Carolyn Gomes, JFJ executive director, stated that the issue is so critical that Jamaican citizens should have the chance to decide whether the CCJ will be the final appellate court for Jamaica.
OPPOSITION TAKES 2-TO-1 MARGIN IN PARLIAMENT—01/04/12
The first woman Prime Minister in Jamaica led her People’s National Party (PNP) to victory in the General Election, and the final results show a two-to-one margin in Parliament for the party. The PNP took 42 seats in the 63-seat Parliament, compared to the incumbent Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), which had 21. These were the final official results from the December 29, 2011 election.
COURT APPEARANCE FOR ALLEGED CHILD TRAFFICKER—01/05/12
Hyacinth Ford-Dryden, a Jamaican woman who allegedly trafficked a number of Jamaican children to the United States, appeared the Resident Magistrate’s Court in the Corporate Area. She was denied bail by Judith Pusey, Senior Resident Magistrate, and was ordered to reappear in court on January 26, 2012. Ford-Dryden, 53, operates a bar in Bog Walk, St. Catherine, and is charged with possessing forged documents, with human trafficking charges pending.
NEW PRIME MINISTER TO BE SWORN IN, PROMISES REVIEW OF ANTI-GAY LAW—01/05/12
Portia Simpson Miller, the new Prime Minister, stated that she plans to review laws that criminalize homosexuality in the country. She said she would not forbid gay people from serving in her cabinet, in contrast to former Prime Minister Bruce Golding, who had prohibited the participation of gays in his cabinet. Simpson Miller is returning to power – she held the position of Prime Minister in 2005 and 2007 - after a big victory for the People’s National Party in the General Election.
NEW PRIME MINISTER SAYS COUNTRY WILL BECOME A REPUBLIC—01/06/12
Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica’s newly elected Prime Minister, promises to eliminate the British Queen as head of state. Having been sworn in for the second time as Jamaica’s leader, Simpson Miller also promised to provide relief from poverty, improve the economy, and heal political division. Her center-left People’s National Party won a two-to-one victory margin over the incumbent Jamaica Labor Party. In her inaugural speech, Simpson Miller said that her government would abandon the British monarch as the official head of Jamaica and adopt a republican type of government instead.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN DIASPORA PLEDGES TO TACKLE PROBLEMS IN 2012—01/01/12
The New Year’s message from a representative of the Advisory Board of the Jamaican Diaspora-Southern USA, Dr. Susan Lycett Davis, stated the organization plans to be of service to fellow Jamaicans during 2012 and work to foster fellowship and prosperity among all Jamaicans. Davis also congratulated Portia Simpson Miller and the People’s National Party on their election victory. The group plans to be very active in honoring Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence in 2012 and will organize various events to commemorate the occasion.
PICKERSGILL ELECTED TO HEAD CHINA FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION—01/02/12
Fay Pickersgill of Jamaica is the first Caribbean woman elected to head the Federation of Latin American and Caribbean Associations for Friendship with China. Pickersgill is president of the Jamaica China Friendship Association (JCFA) and is not one of two new vice-presidents of the federation. She joins seven other women on a 13-member executive. This is the first time women represent the majority of leaders of the organization. Pickersgill is responsible for the Caribbean region and promised to further the cause of peace, respect, and friendship among the nations.
JAMAICAN 9/11 VICTIMS TO RECEIVE PERMANENT MEMORIAL IN NEW YORK—01/03/12
The Jamaican nationals who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York will be honored with a permanent memorial at the British Garden in Hanover Square in lower Manhattan. Jamaica and the other Commonwealth nations are responsible for creating the memorial. Geneive Brown Metzger, Jamaica’s Consul General to New York, laid a wreath in honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11 on Memorial Day 2011. The British Garden is a joint project of the British Consulate and St. George’s Society in New York and was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2010.. I
JAMAICAN TEAM WINS JUNIOR INTERNATIONAL CHESS TOURNEY IN MIAMI—01/04/12
The Reggae Chess Kidz of Jamaica beat the United States, Venezuela, Mexico, Trinidad, and Ecuador to take first and second places in the Miami Junior Orange Bowl International Scholastic Chess Championships. The Jamaicans won 12 trophies and several other prizes during the three-day event.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
JACK WARNER ACCUSES FIFA OFFICIALS OF ‘CAVING’ TO PRESIDENT—12/31/11
AUTHOR BELIEVES SOME CHILD ABUSE CASES INVOLVING PARENTS OVERBLOWN—01/01/12
132 FISH SPECIES IN CARIBBEAN NOW PROTECTED—01/02/12
GRENADA POLICE OFFICERS FACE CHARGES IN BEATING DEATH OF CANADIAN—01/03/12
HOWARD CHSEN AS CONCACAF ACTING GENERAL SECRETARY—01/04/12
PRIME MINISTER OF TRINIDAD MAKES HISTORIC TRIP TO INDIA—01/05/12
BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
ECONOMIST SAYS JAMAICANS NEED IMPROVED FINANCIAL ACCESS—12/31/11
Economist Dr. Dawn Elliott says that over 75 percent of Jamaicans have limited access to secure and inexpensive payment channels. Most Jamaicans have bank accounts, but only a very few have access to financial services that let them participate in the economy, Most Jamaican make their payments in cash, Elliott said, and only 12 percent have accounts through which they may transfer money, write checks, or made credit card payments.
CULTURAL INDUSTRIES HAVE STRONG EARNING CAPACITY—01/01/12
At a recent conference organized by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association, participants noted the millions of dollars that can be made in the music industry. Jean Smith, general manager of the Jamaica Exporters’ Association, is confident about the potential of Jamaica’s music industry to make significant contributions to the country’s economy. Music is one of the eight priority industries identified by her group, which is looking for ways to expand these areas and their capacity to improve the welfare of Jamaica.
HOTEL AND TOURISM GROUP OPPOSES PRIVATE SECTOR PROPOSAL—01/02/12
The Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association (JHTA) and the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) have both made separate objections to a draft proposal from the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ). The proposals would essentially eliminate tax waivers. The JHTA and JSE believe such an action would have a damaging effect on businesses. The PSOJ says that the concerns of the two organizations are premature and that the final proposal is likely to be very different from the current draft version.
NCBJ SHARE TRADE BROKERED BY NCBCM—01/04/12
Parties associated with the National Commerce Bank of Jamaica (MCBJ) sold J$60 million in bank shares in two transactions in a two-week period. This is the largest sale of such shares by connected parties in nine months. Analysts would only confirm that the deal was brokered by NCB Capital Markets and would not disclose the reason for the sale or the shareholder.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
ISLAND TOURISM AUTHORITY TOUTING VACATION WITHOUT GADGETS—01/03/12
FAIR TRADE COMMISSION TO STOP MERGER OF CLARO AND DIGICEL—01/04/12
CARIBBEAN EXPO SHOWCASES DIGITAL MARKETING—01/05/12
MANYCAST, MIRIFICE TO OFFER SERVICE DELIVERY INTELLIGENCE—01/06/12
TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY
ROBOTICS FIRM CREATES CAT-GROOMING ROBOT—01/04/12
A remote-controlled robot known as Next-Gen NAO is the first product from Aldebaran Robotics. It is a remote-controlled robot that can be triggered into use through remote human gestures. Roboticist Taylor Valtrop of Aldebaran, a French company, has demonstrated the ability of a two-foot-tall NAO robot to become a remotely controlled cat-grooming machine. While cat-grooming may seem an odd choice for a robotics project, it illustrates the idea of an autonomous and affordable robot that could act as a personal assistant and perform tasks requiring a certain amount of finesse.
AT THE END OF 2011, 6 BILLION MOBILE PHONE SUBSCRIPTIONS—01/05/12
By the end of 2011, the number of mobile phone subscriptions totaled 5.9 billion, which is impressive considering there are 7 billion people in the world. The International Telecommunications Union found that subscriptions for mobile phones have penetrated 87 percent of the whole world and 79 percent of all developing nations. Mobile broadband subscriptions totaled 1.2 billion, an increase of 45 percent each year for the past four years. Korea has the fastest broadband access and the entire nation enjoys speeds of more than 10 Mbps. One-third of all people on earth use the Internet, with 45 percent of them under age 25.
JAMAICAN HOUSE MUSIC MOVEMENT FUELED BY MARIO C—12/31/11
Mario C, a Dancehall producer, is leading a music movement known as Jam House. He believes this music will make a significant statement in local dance music circles and on the international level. House music has become increasingly popular and outsells most established music genres. The growth in popularity has been attributed to music from Rihanna, Martin Sloveig and Dragonette, and Pitbull. The music is called Jam House because it is a combination of dancehall and house music.
LAURYN HILL PREPARES TO PERFORM AT CHARITY CONCERT—01/04/12
Singer, songwriter and actress Lauryn Hill came to Jamaica to perform in the Shaggy and Friends Charity Concert on January 7, 2012. The concert will feature other international recording starts like Ne-Yo and Deniece Williams. It will be presented on the lawns of Jamaica House and is designed to raise funds for the Bustamante Hospital for Children, which is a beneficiary of the Shaggy Make a Difference Foundation. Hill, 36, arrived with her six children and made the trip thanks to LIME, which has provided nearly $8 million to the Foundation.
SHAGGY TO “MAKE A DIFFERENCE” AS LONG AS HE IS NEEDED—01/05/12
Shaggy will provide another entertainment spectacular at Jamaica House on January 7, 2012. The line-up at this year’s Shaggy Make a Different Foundation concert will include Grammy award winning gospel singer Deniece Williams. Shaggy’s foundation, which is chaired by his partner Rebecca Packer, has attracted a line-up of major starts performing for free to benefit the Bustamante Hospital for Children. He said he would continue to operate the benefit event as long as his efforts are needed.
TONY REBEL LAUNCHES PEPSI REBEL SALUTE 2012—01/06/12
Tony Rebel of Flames Productions launched his Pepsi Rebel Salute 2012 at the Wyndham in New Kingston, aligning his personal anniversary with that of Jamaica’s Independence. He said that Pepsi Rebel Salute 19 will differ from previous incarnations because of the independence celebration. Participating in the event will be Tarrus Riley and Queen Ifrica, Johnny Clarke, Yami Bolo, Gramps Morgan, and Luciano, among others.
JAMAICANS PARTICIPATE IN U.S. OPEN COMPETITION—01/03/12
Jason Richardson, world 110-meters hurdles champion, and Jamaican Dwight Thomas are scheduled to face David Oliver in a 50-meter hurdles contest at the U.S. Open athletics competition. The first edition of the indoor meet is slated for January 28, 2012. Asafa Powell and Veronica Campbell-Brown, both of Jamaica, will also participate at the Open competition.
BOLT RANKED AS TOP JAMAICAN SPRINTER IN 2011—01/04/12
Usain Bolt has been named the top male athlete for 2011 by the international track and field website www.all-athletics.com. The awards are based on the database website’s overall ranking system.
COLLINS READY TO MEET POWELL IN SHOWDOWN—01/05/12
Kim Collins, sprint star from St. Kitts and Nevis, said he is looking forward to having a “showdown” with former World 100-meter record holder, Jamaica’s Asafa Powell. Collins says he plans to take advantage of Powell’s unfamiliarity with indoor competitions. He wants to “test” Powell over 60 meters, he said.
LORD COE ARRIVES FOR RACERS TRACK CLUB FUND-RAISER—01/06/12
The head of the committee organizing the Olympic Games in London for 2012, Lord Sebastian Coe, arrived in Jamaica to participate in the inaugural Racers Track Club fund-raiser and Zenith Awards Banquet. Coe who is also the senior vice-president of the IAAF and who had a major role in London’s successful bid for the 2012 Olympics, was invited by the University of the West Indies club and is slated to give the keynote address at the event.
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Pressing Forward to Knowing Christ
The calendar has rolled over and with that, 2011 is now in the past. As we close in on the first week of 2012, for some of us it seems nothing has changed. For others, there is a sense of expectancy as we anticipate the unfolding of the days and months ahead and the achievement of cherished goals and dreams. Armed with a new attitude and a new resolve, we feel assured that our faith in God will continue to allow us to live purposeful and rewarding lives. Regardless of how we choose to approach the New Year, one thing we cannot afford is to be complacent.
The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines complacency as “self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.” Whenever the child of God settles into this state, the enemy rubs his hands with glee. The apostle Paul demonstrated his unwillingness to be complacent when he wrote to the brethren in Philippi, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14, KJV). Like a runner exerting every bit of effort to get to the finishing line, Paul resolved to push ahead, to pursue and take hold of the prize.
In verses 7-11, the narrative speaks of the cherished prize. Here we see Paul forsaking and forgetting everything he was and had accomplished in his life. This he did “for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
Amidst everything else we desire for this year, what greater pursuit than to know Christ? Everything else pales in comparison. As Paul concludes, “So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also” (v. 15, The Amplified). This is a call not just to a head knowledge of Christ, but an intimate one; one that is rooted in the heart and ultimately transform the way we live. I invite all of us to pursue that above all else.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.