THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
GOVERNMENT TO ADDRESS CRITICISM OF TAX ON PRINTED MATERIAL—05/26/12
Dr. Peter Phillips announced that the Jamaican government plans to impose the General Consumption Tax (GCT) on printed materials like school books. Phillips also said that there are measures in development that will militate against the impact of the GCT on school children. An arrangement is in the works with the Minister of Education for books to be purchased through that ministry for schools. Children who need them can then obtain the books without paying the GCT.
POLICE KEPT BUSY BY JAMAICAN BLACKMAILERS—05/27/12
Jamaica’s Organized Crime Investigation Division (OCID) has made a regular task of shutting down porn sites on the Internet since blackmailers have started publishing sexually explicit photos of Jamaican women online. Dwight Daley, Deputy Superintendent of OCID, said that since the beginning of 2012, police have contacted Internet hosts like Google about twice a month to ask for the removal of these websites. They are responding to multiple complaints from Jamaican women whose photos have been posted without their permission. Blackmailers are targeting these women, hacking into email accounts and finding the pictures, which makes the issue of great concern to police.
POLICE IN ST.ANN SEEK TO REASSURE RESIDENTS CONCERNED ABOUT CRIME—05/28/12
Dudley Scott, acting commanding officers in charge of the police in St. Ann, wants to reassure residents that his office has control of crime in the area. Residents and businesses in St. Ann have been worried about what they perceive as an increase in crime. They have asked the police to take steps to control the criminal activity in the parish. Businessman and president of the St. Ann Chamber of Commerce Kumar Sujanani expressed concern on the part of the organization, since the undesirable trend in crime is having a negative impact on businesses and the island’s tourism industry.
SENIOR POLICE OFFICER’S DEATH TO BE INVESTIGATED—05/29/12
The death of the former head of the police in Clarendon, Senior Superintendent Dathan Henry, will be investigated by the Major Investigation Task Force (MIT). Glenmore Hinds, Deputy Commissioner of Police announced the investigation amid concerns that Henry might have been a victim of poisoning. According to Hinds, there is no deadline for the MIT to complete its investigation. Henry died at the Kingston Public Hospital after a short illness. He had been on the Jamaica Constabulary Force for 27 years.
HERITAGE STATUS SOUGHT FOR SUNKEN PORT ROYAL—05/30/12
Archaeologists in Jamaica plan to ask the cultural agency of the United Nations to give world heritage status to Port Royal. Port Royal comprises the remains of a historic port on the island that was known as the “wickedest city on Earth” 300 years ago. The port’s remains are mostly submerged in water. The 17th century city was where buccaneers like Henry Morgan docked. It was the main city of the British colony of Jamaica until an earthquake and tsunami drowned two-thirds of the city and its population of 7,000 in 1692.
DIVORCES IN JAMAICA INCREASING—05/31/12
Nearly 2,000 divorces were granted by the Supreme Court in 2011, according to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN). Of the 1,960 divorces, 53 percent were to individuals married between five and 14 years. Researchers believe the data indicates that 78 percent of those how got divorced were married under 20 years, and while the divorce rate rises, the rate of marriage is not keeping up with it. In 2011, 20,400 people got married, or about five percent fewer than in 2009. St. James and St. Ann parishes had the highest number of marriages in 2011.
JAMAICAN REACHES FINALS FOR SCRIPPS SPELLING BEE—05/31/12
Gifton Wright, the winner of the Jamaica Gleaner’s Children’s Own Spelling Bee, is among eight participants in the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. Wright was among 50 individuals in the semi-finals and earned his spot in the final eight. About 278 spellers entered the Scripps competition.
SAMUDA SAYS JAMAICA SHOULD LEAVE CARICOM—06/01/12
Karl Samuda, Member of Parliament for North Central St. Andrew, believes that Jamaica should tell Trinidad and Tobago that it will no long receive its goods. According to Samuda, they need to understand that Jamaica is not their “breadbasket.” They should no longer be able to receive benefits without giving anything in return. Jamaica has not benefitted from its CARICOM membership, says Samuda, and has suggested the country leave the group. Samuda’s criticism focused on what he calls “cherry-picking” by T&T in regard to choosing the countries to which it sells natural gas.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
RMP GROUP TO JOIN DIASPORA PANEL IN JAMAICA—05/26/12
The RMP Group has been invited to participate at the strategic conference held by the Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League in Montego Bay. The conference theme is “Shared Efficiencies through Transformation and Innovation. The group is celebrating its 70th anniversary at the event. David Mullings, business development manager, will join a panel focusing on how to leverage the Jamaican Diaspora for development and economic transformation on the home island.
TWO JAMAICANS RECEIVE CANADIAN MEDALS OF BRAVERY—05/27/12
Canada’s medal of bravery will be given to two Jamaican men who saved a Canadian citizen from drowning in Negril in December of 2008. The awards come from the Office of the Canadian Governor General Sir Patrick Allen and will be given to Jubal Daley and Wayne Reynolds at the official residence of the Canadian High Commissioner in Kingston. The men braved strong currents in the Caribbean Sea to rescue a Canadian who was pulled off a cliff near her hotel by a huge wave that dragged her out to sea.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP TO BE ENCOURAGED IN UK’S JAMAICAN DIASPORA—05/28/12
According to Douglas Crane, chairman of Grace Kennedy, the Caribbean food company, more Jamaicans living in the United Kingdom should follow the example of their counterparts in the United States and Canada and “take the leap” and go into business for themselves. The hesitancy among the Jamaican Diaspora in the UK stems from the fact that the migration from the island to the UK began earlier and comprised more rural people who wanted jobs. Those traveling to the U.S. went later and were more educated and had ties to commerce that they capitalized on. Crane said it is time for Jamaicans in the UK to become entrepreneurs, rather than to look for a nine-to-five job.
ANN SCOTT NAMED HIGH COMMISSIONER TO NIGERIA—05/29/12
Senator A.J. Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, announced that Ann Scott has been appointed as the new High Commissioner in Nigeria. This is the first appointment as a head of mission for Scott, who replaces Robert Miller. Miller was posted to Nigeria in 2008. Scott entered the Jamaican Foreign Service in 1982 and since 2005, she has been the deputy permanent representative to the permanent mission of Jamaica to the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, D.C. From 1998 to 2005, she was assistant director of the Caribbean and Americas department at the headquarters in New Kingston.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
THREE TOP POLICE OFFICIALS IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC FACE DRUG CHARGES—05/26/12
CUBA HOPES OIL WILL BE THE ECONOMY’S SAVIOR—05/27/12
HONDURAN PRISONS CORRUPT, RUN BY INMATES—05/28/12
POLICE WOUNDED IN U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, SUSPECT SHOT AND KILLED—05/29/12
MAIN AIRPORT IN GUYANA INVESTIGATES RING OF COCAINE SMUGGLERS—05/30/12
CUBAN OIL WELL DRY, BLOW TO NATIONAL ENERGY, ECONOMY HOPES—05/31/12
BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT LOOKS FOR EXTRA REVENUE FROM GCT, OTHER TAXES—05/26/12
Jamaica’s government is expecting to obtain an extra $23.4 billion in taxes in order to pay down the nation’s $1.7 trillion debt, says Peter Phillips, Minister of Finance. Attempts to address this debt will include a wider application of the General Consumption Tax (GCT) and revoking some recently announced savings on mobile phone calls. Additional monies are also slated to come from changes in the GCT paid by tourism firms, changes to asset taxes paid by financial institutions, and reduced tax breaks for businesses called discretionary waivers. Tourists will pay a new room tax, and motor vehicle license costs will rise as well.
IMPOSED GCT ON FISH BUT NOT ON CHICKEN UNFAIR, SAYS JARDIM—05/27/12
While he has no problem with the Jamaican government applying the General Consumption Tax (GCT) on products he sells, Jardim, the CEO of Rainforest Seafoods, believes that it is unfair that fish will be taxed, while chicken, another major protein source, will not. The tax on fish skews the protein market, say Jardim. The tax of 16.5 percent is to be applied on June 1, 2012. He is concerned that the inequitable application of the tax will have a negative impact on his business, which is the largest distributor of fish and seafood products in the Caribbean area.
BOOK INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION WANTS TAX RESCINDED—05/28/12
The Book Industry Association of Jamaica (BIAJ) has called its members to an emergency meeting to focus on matters related to the general consumption tax (GCT), which will be imposed on books as of June 1, 2012. Minister of Finance Dr. Peter Phillips agreed to speak with the group. Previous governments had made attempts to tax books in 2003, 2005, and 2009, but the BIAJ successfully fought off those efforts. The organization hopes that it can do the same in 2012.
JAMAICA MONEY MARKET BROKERS TO ACQUIRE CAPITAL AND CREDIT FINANCIAL—05/29/12
In a deal comprising 70 percent cash and 30 percent new shares of Jamaica Money Market Brokers Ltd. (JMMB), JMMB will acquire total control of another Jamaican financial services firm, Capital and Credit Financial Group Ltd. (CCFG). The offer opened on May 25, 2012, and closes on Jun 15, 2012. According to reports from CCFG, shareholders accounting for more than 81 percent of the issued ordinary share capital of the firm are willing to take the JMMB offer.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
GRENADA, ST.VINCENT, ST.LUCIA TO RECEIVE IMPROVED BROADBAND—05/26/12
GRENADA SEEKS TECHNOLOGY, AGRICULTURE INTEGRATION—05/28/12
MEMBERS OFCARICOM REAP BENEFITS FROM WORKSHOP ON RENEWABLE ENERGY—05/29/12
ADVANCED CLOUD-BASED SERVICES LAUNCHED BY CTEX—05/30/12
JAMAICA 50 INSPIRES MANY SONGS—05/27/12
A number of artistes have written and released songs on their own to celebrate Jamaica’s 50 years of independence in 2012. While Mikey Bennett was given the responsibility of creating a song for the celebrations and developed the collaboration of 15 artistes in “Find the Flag,” his efforts may be ignored due to the change in Jamaica’s political leadership. However, other artistes have taken it upon themselves to create music for Jamaica 50. A new effort is led by Mr. Vegas with “Sweet Jamaica,” scheduled for release at the end of May 2012.
POETRY SOCIETY OF JAMAICA PRESENTS D’BI YOUNG—05/28/12
The Poetry Society of Jamaica held an event at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts that features D’bi Young, Jamaican-Canadian dub poet and theater practitioner. The event is held in honor of the group’s 23rd anniversary. Young’s performance will include a dub theater mix of poetry and drama, she says. The audience will experience celebration. Love, and challenges in the national language.
REGGAE GOES CROSS-CULTURAL—05/29/12
A panel discussion covering the impact of reggae music around the world was held at Liberty Hall in Kingston. The event was inspired by a documentary by Noel Dernesch and Moritz Springer and featured the theme “Cultural Cross-Currents: European and Jamaican Artistes, Escaping Roots or Extending Consciousness.” Three artistes, two from Europe and one from Jamaica, were featured in a discussion led by Carolyn Cooper, professor of Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of West Indies, Mona. The artistes included Alberto D’Ascola who is known as Alborosie in Italy, Gentleman of Germany, and Terry Lynn of Jamaica.
CALABASH LITERARY FESTIVAL FEATURED NONTRADITIONAL ACTS—05/30/12
Raging Fyah and No-Maddz both performed on the opening night of the Calabash Literary Festival and satisfied the crowed with their high-energy performances. Raging Fyah performed 11 songs, including an instrumental solo by Kumar, a debut of “Sunshine,” an original piece produced by Bobby Digital. The audience was impressed and connected with the performance, dancing and singing along to the songs they knew.
BOLT WINS 100 METERS AT GOLDEN SPIKE—05/26/12
Usain Bolt, Jamaica’s three-time Olympic champion, ran the 100 meters in 10.04 seconds at the Golden Spike competition in Ostrava, Czech Republic. This was his first European victory in the run-up to the London Olympics. Bolt at a slow start, but managed to get ahead in the final meters. He did not improve upon his season’s best time of 9.82 seconds, however, and said he really didn’t know what went wrong at the Golden Spike to cause his slow time.
JAMAICAN MARTIAL ARTS TEAM DOMINATE TAEKWONDO INTERNATIONAL—05/27/12
Jamaican Nicholas Dussard won gold in the black belt lightweight competition, while the McKay Lady Knights swept the female division at the Taekwondo International tourney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dussard was victorious over Muhammad Ali of the United States in the lightweight final, successfully defending his title. Dussard seeks to win four international gold medals in the current season, and he said he is dedicating his wins to Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence.
DONOVAN RICKETTS TO HELP REGGAE BOYZ—05/31/12
Donovan Ricketts, 35, remains Jamaica’s first-choice goalkeeper. He is expected to play the role of elder statesman to the current Reggae Boyz team as they attempt to qualify for the FIFA World Cup Finals in Brazil in 2014. If Ricketts joins the team and other active veterans are not recalled, and if the Boyz qualify, he would be the only member of the French 1998 World Cup squad surviving, and the only Jamaican to have attended two senior World Cup events.
BOLT WINS MEN’S 100 METERS AT DIAMOND LEAGUE—06/01/12
Jamaican sprint champion Usain Bolt achieved a solid victory in the men’s 100 meter event at the Diamond League meet, returning to his high level of performance after a disappointing race in Ostrava. Bolt clocked 9.76 seconds at the Diamond League, compared to a 10.04 second race in Ostrava. Bolt noted he had gotten extra sleep in preparation for the recent competition in order to put his Ostrava sluggishness behind him.
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Back in 1923 when Thomas Obadiah Chisolm put pen to paper and started to write, he had no idea that almost 90 years later, his poem, put to music by William M. Runyan, would continue to be sung by christians all over the world. As one of Chisolm’s more than 1200 poems, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” stands as the standard on the theme of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Kenneth W. Osbeck observes, “While many hymns are born out of a particular dramatic experience, this hymn was simply the result of the author’s ‘morning by morning realization of God’s personal faithfulness.'”
According to Osbeck, in a letter dated 1941 Chisolm writes, “My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me until now. Although I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.” What a great attitude! Amidst the challenging circumstances, he did not lose sight of what God, a covenant-keeping God, was doing in his life. We sometimes forget that our relationship with our God is a covenant and not a contract. When we fulfill our side of this ‘two-way promise,’ He is able to apply His infinite power and wisdom to our problems and trials. However, in our imperfection and no matter how many times we fail Him, His mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness remains unfailing (Lamentations 3:22-23).
How great is this faithfulness? Chisolm writes, “Summer and winter and spring time and harvest / Sun, moon and stars in thier courses above / Join with all nature in manifold witness / To thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.” Everything speaks of this faithfulness. Why is this important? Because we can rely on it! As God has been in the Scriptures, He forever will be. Remember, He is a covenant-keeping God; with Him, there is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17, KJV).
Amidst the hustle and bustle of life, God’s faithfulness is the only constant. If you take the time to count your blessings, you will find many wonderful displays of it right where you are. Are you simply lucky or is it that God has been faithful?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.