THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
JAMAICAN PLACES FOURTH IN SCRIPPS SPELLING BEE—06/02/12
Jamaican Gifton Wright of Spanish Town was the second Jamaican in the history of the Scripps National Spelling Bee history to win a place among the finalists. Wright ended up ranking fourth in the competition, which was won by Snighda Nadipati of San Diego, California. Grifton Wright was selected as a finalist from among 278 competitors. He received a standing ovation from his fellow spellers upon his departure from the competition.
JAMAICA FACES AUSTERITY AND ECONOMIC GROWTH—06/03/12
Policy makers in Jamaica are watching the economic situation in Europe closely for clues about whether to pursue austerity measures or encourage economic growth in order to bring the nation out of recession. Supporters of austerity believe that the government needs to reduce the deficit by cutting expenditures. Proponents of growth strategies say that cutting public expenditures during an economic downturn will only result in a further contraction of the economy and foster sustained recession.
ALLEN SAYS JAMAICA WILL ALWAYS HAVE HIGH REGARD FOR BRITISH QUEEN—06/04/12
Sir Patrick Allen, the governor general of Jamaica, told the Jamaican Diaspora in the United Kingdom that the island nation will always have close ties with the UK and its Queen, in spite of any constitutional changes that may occur in the future. Allen was referring to remarks made in the inaugural address by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller that the Queen should be replaced as Jamaica’s head of state. Allen, in the UK to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, said Jamaicans understand the difference between constitutional systems and human relationships.
EVERY JAMAICAN OWES $600,000 DUE TO NATION’S PUBLIC DEBT—06/05/12
According to Dr. Peter Phillips, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and Planning, Jamaica has compensated for years of weak economic growth by building up a huge and unsustainable public debt, which currently totals $1.7 trillion. The debt represents a growing burden on Jamaican citizens and holds the nation back from further development. Every Jamaican man, woman, and child now owes $600,000 as a share of the public debt.
PRIME MINISTER SAYS GOVERNMENT COMMITTED TO SECURITY—06/06/12
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has stated that the government is committed to providing greater security in the country. Security efforts are slated for expansion, according to the Prime Minister, and the government will implement a major strategy designed to make crime unprofitable. The capacity of security forces to confront the criminal element in Jamaica will be strengthened, and social intervention programs will be improved. The country’s new National Security Policy will be finished in 2012 and will offer guidance to the national security agencies and the criminal justice system so they can improve their effectiveness.
PRIME MINISTER LAUNCHES PROGRAM TO HELP THE POOR—06/07/12
Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica’s Prime Minister, says the government plans to focus on supporting the efforts of the National Housing Trust (NHT) to make housing affordable. The Prime Minister introduced several measures designed to stimulate the economy. Interest rates for the two lowest income levels for the NHT will be reduced as of September 1, 2012, and those who qualify for loans currently at three-percent interest will pay just one percent. The reduced rates will be in place for three years.
SAMUDA WANTS LNG FROM TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO—06/08/12
Jamaican Member of Parliament Karl Samuda is calling on Trinidad and Tobago to provide Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) to Jamaica in the same way it plans to provide the material to Barbados. Samuda says just because T&T are lucky enough to have oil does not eliminate their obligation as a CARICOM member state to share the wealth. He has called for a review of the terms defined in the Treaty of Chaguaramas relating to trade between the two nations. He has also questioned the benefit Jamaica derives from being a member of CARICOM.
ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS REMEMBER MISS LOU—06/08/12
During the celebrations held in Jamaica in 2012 to mark the 50th anniversary of independence, the nation is recognizing the contributions of the Honorable Louise Bennett-Coverley, OM, a legendary actress, singer, folklorist, and social commentator popularly known as “Miss Lou.” She was called the queen of Jamaican theater and a national treasure. She received the Order of Merit (OM) from the government in 2001.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
FORMER JAMAICAN POLICEMAN DEPORTED FROM SEATTLE—06/02/12
Authorities in the United States have repatriated a former Jamaican police officer who has been charged with murder. Carlington David Richards, 34, left Jamaica just days before his scheduled court appearance in 2011. Richards entered the U.S. as a visitor, but his visa has since expired. He was arrested in Seattle, Washington, in March 2012 as part of a nationwide immigration operation that discovered over 3,000 criminal suspects living in the U.S.
JAMAICANS AMONG THOSE HONORED AT DIAMOND JUBILEE—06/03/12
Two Jamaicans are among the 60 persons to be honored at the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The individuals, Mrs. Doreen Lawrence and Professor Stuart Hall, were born and raised in Jamaica and have made significant contributions to the country. The 60 honored individuals are known as the New Elizabethans because of their contributions to the United Kingdom during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.
PROGRAM IN NIAGRA SUPPORTS JAMAICAN WORKERS—06/04/12
Caribbean Workers Outreach Project has been in operation for 20 years. It helps migrant workers who come to Niagara, New York, to feel more at home, especially for the first two months the Jamaicans are in the United States. Under the program, ministers from Jamaica and the Cayman Islands are brought to town to hold services. The organization arranges transportation for the Jamaican migrant workers and sponsors cultural events during the summer with them in mind. The program brings Jamaicans in the region together and helps to counter the feeling of invisibility so many migrants feel.
JAMAICAN TRACK & FIELD WEAR SHOWCASED BY USAIN BOLT, CEDELLA MARLEY—06/07/12
The uniforms that the Jamaica Olympic team will wear in London 2012 have been designed by Cedella Marley, daughter of Bob Marley, reggae music icon. Marley introduced her designs with the help of Jamaican sprint champion Usain Bolt in London. The entire Jamaican Olympic team will wear the designs, which were commissioned with Marley by PUMA, a brand that has a long-running commitment to Jamaica.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
INDIAN ROOTS CELEBRATED IN ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES—06/02/12
RICHARD BRANSON TO BE HONORED DURING CARIBBEAN INVESTMENT FORUM—06/03/12
FARMWORKERS IN HONDURAS TO STAY ON LAND—06/04/12
CUBA, UNITED STATES IN DISPUTE OVER RUM TRADEMARK—06/05/12
CARIBBEAN AIRLINES NAMES OFFICIAL CARRIER OF CARIBBEAN WEEK IN NY—06/06/12
NEW YORK CELEBRATES CARIBBEAN-AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH—06/08/12
BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
HEALTH CARE DELIVERY IN JAMAICA RANKS HIGH AMONG DEVELOPING NATIONS—06/02/12
Since 1962, Jamaica’s health care sector has been noted for its high levels of training, progress in immunizations, and expanding infrastructure. Jamaica has a high ranking among development countries in health care and life expectancy at birth, which rose from 38 years in 1900 to over 72 years in 2008. The success of the island’s health care system rests on the creation of a primary health care system that focuses on prevention. The nation’s development of the landmark Alma Ata Declaration of 1978 represented a milestone in 20th century public health. It stated that primary health care was key to the goal of achieving health for everyone.
CARIBBEAN AIRLINES TO LAY OFF 90 EMPLOYEES—06/03/12
Ninety Jamaican workers will lose their jobs as Caribbean Airlines Ltd. makes their positions redundant. This is the most recent round of redundancies to be implmented by the airline, which is based in Trinidad. Included among those who will soon be unemployed are 30 aircraft mechanics, human resource officers, customer relations staff, and finance personnel. According to one source at the airline, aircraft maintenance in Jamaica could disappear altogether, since this was the last carrier to employ Jamaica aircraft maintenance workers. The action will close the Kingston aircraft hangar, as well as administration and ground equipment facilities. Only ten original workers will remain at Sangster International Airport.
ENTREPRENEURS SAY TAX PACKAGE WILL HURT BUSINESS, CAUSE JOB LOSSES—06/05/12
Some of the largest tourism and business interests in the country strongly criticized the Jamaican government for its tax policies, which they believe will hinder business growth and cause the loss of jobs. Additionally, the business people also offered to help the government to understand what they are facing, so that it could develop more helpful policies. Dimitris Kosvogiannis, country manager for Fiesta, a Spanish hotel group, said his organization is already facing problems due to the high cost of utilities. The imposition of the new tax measure is making Fiesta’s position unsustainable. His organization is ready to help the government find more tenable tax approaches that will benefit both Jamaica and the business sector.
JAMAICAN SUPERMARKETS PLAGUED BY SHOPLIFTING—06/07/12
Supermarket and store owners in Jamaica say that there has been a significant increase in the incidence of shoplifting. Some store operators are concerned that things could get worse as a result of the high unemployment rate in the country. A grocery store owner in the Corporate Area said that the businesses were already being asked to bear a portion of the costs associated with hiring additional security staff or the deployment of electronic monitoring services. The situation is critical in the Corporate Area, but supermarkets in other high-populated areas like Spanish Town and May Pen are also seeing higher shoplifting rates.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
COSTA RICA THE MOST INNOVATIVE NATION IN LATIN AMERICA—06/02/12
CABLE TV/INTERNET PROVIDER IN ANGUILLA TO LAUNCH DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY—06/05/12
FARMERS IN BARBADOS SHOULD CONTINUE INVESTING IN TECHNOLOGY—06/07/12
CARIBBEAN DIGITAL ACCESS REQUIRES ENABLING POLICIES TO GROW—06/08/12
GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE AID TO CREATIVE SECTOR—06/05/12
The government of Jamaica plans to develop a National Commission on Cultural and Creative Industries. Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller announced the commission, which is designed to help the government establish policies and legislative structures that will maximize the benefits of the island’s creative and cultural sectors. These sectors encompass music, dance, art and food, and they all have strong economic potential, said Simpson Miller. The commission represents a new approach in how cultural elements will be handled in Jamaica.
WITH ONLY A FEW VIEWERS, DIRECTOR OF “BLIND SHOTTA” STILL ENTHUSIASTIC—06/06/12
“Blind Shotta,” the first film headed by Diavallan Fearon, local movie director, premiered in New Kingston at Stages Theater, but there were only a handful of viewers. The low-budget production tells the story of a blind area leader. While the low turnout was disappointing, Fearon and his crew are not unhappy. Fearon says he is proud of the film, which is his first, and attributes the small audiences partly to the venue. Stages is not a location known for playing movies, and many people can’t even find it, said Fearon.
SUMFEST ACTS ANNOUNCED—06/07/12
Summerfest Productions announced the names of some of the artistes who will perform at the 2012 Sumfest event, which has been called the greatest reggae show on the planet. Sumfest will take place between July 15 and July 21 at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay. Performing will be Damian “Jr Gong” Marley, Tarrus Riley and Third World. Others performing will be Chris Martin Konshens, I-Octane, Popcaan, and Adonia.
JAZZ FESTIVAL OPENS WITH “LADIES ON KEYS”—06/08/12
The Jamaica Ocho Rios International Jazz Festival will feature several women keyboardists on its opening night in a showcase entitled “Ladies on Keys.” Performing at the event will be Dr. Carol Ball-Thompson, a classical pianist and violinist who will be making a foray into the world of jazz piano. Ball-Thompson has served as conductor of the University Singers at the University of the West Indies, Mona. The event will take place in Kingston at the Courtleigh Hotel.
BLACKWOOD HAPPY TO BE ACCEPTED TO HPC PROGRAM—06/02/12
Jamaican Jermaine Blackwood, 20, is glad he has been given the chance to participate in the Sagicor High Performance Center academy program. Blackwood, a former West Indies Under-19 player, has been accepted into the second run of the program, which begins in Barbados in July 2012. He will be given the opportunity to develop his cricket skills and plans to make the most of the program. The HPC program is designed to develop the talents of young players in a systematic way.
TAYLOR OF HOUSTON DYNAMOS TO PLAY FOR JAMAICA IN WORLD CUP QUALIFIER—06/04/12
Jermaine Taylor, defender with the Houston Dynamos, will play for Jamaica in the country’s second World Cup qualifying competition on June 12, 2012. Jamaica’s foes in the match will be Antigua and Barbuda. Taylor said he is looking forward to playing for Jamaica.
BOLT WORKS HARD FOR OSLO VICTORY—06/07/12
Jamaica’s champion sprinter Usain Bolt attributed the difficulty he had winning the 100 meters in Oslo’s Diamond League competition to a new kind of starting block. For some time, Bolt ran second to fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell. With ten meters to go, Bolt managed the win with a meet record time of 9.79 seconds. Bolt said he is unhappy with the new blocks and may return to the old blocks.
JAAA MEN’S FINAL COMPETITION STRONG—06/08/12
The 2012 staging of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association/Supreme Ventures National Senior Championships, which will be held between June 28 and July 1, 2012 at National Stadium will feature a hotly contested and closely watched men’s 100-meter final. The competition will include the top men and women athletes in the world. According to Dr. Warren Blake, JAAA president, the senior men’s 100-meter final could be more competitive than the same distance race at the Olympics in London.
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Redeeming the Time
For a while, I loved watching the introduction; the imagery and sounds of which come readily to mind over twenty years later. Still showing in some areas over 50 years after it first came to television screens, the title sequence of the popular soap opera “Days of our Lives” features an hourglass, with sand slowly trickling to the bottom against the backdrop of a partly cloudy sky. Along with it, the trademark voiceover: “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.”
Hourglasses measure the passage of time, a few minutes or an hour, and were commonly used to measure sermons, cooking time, and so on. Today, scaled down models are in practical use as timers for cooking eggs, teaching children how long to brush their teeth, and timing board games, to name a few. When the sand runs out of one end, time is up. If necessary, the hourglass is then inverted to re-start the timing process.
My mind went back to the previously mentioned voiceover as I reflected on the words from Proverbs 14:1a, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days” (KJV). Science and common sense tell us that if we eat properly, get in our recommended exercise, and take care of ourselves as best in the other domain of our lives, we improve our chances of living longer. They are many who can testify to the usefulness of such advice. However, in some ways we are simply postponing the inevitable. At the core, there is a frailty and feebleness to our nature that tells us eventually the sand will run out.
Our individual hourglasses are not uniformed; some will have more time than others will. Nevertheless, it is not so much the amount of time (though that is important) as it is what we do with the time we have been given. Christians are not called to live wasted lives but lives of purpose. Paul reminds us, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (KJV). We live purposeful lives when we walk in the purpose for which we were created. It is not enough to simply meet a need; it is important to walk in our purpose. Our reality is that we have only limited time in which to do so. For some of us the sand will run out while we are still trying to decide which steps to follow.
The challenge for us is to use our time wisely; to make the most of every opportunity. Let us purpose not to leave any God-given task undone. For like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives. Every day is important. Every minute counts.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.