JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending March 16th, 2012

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THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
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KILLINGS BY POLICE CAUSE OUTRAGE IN JAMAICA—03/10/12
Jamaicans are expressing their outrage over several killings committed by police officers during shootouts in Denham Town in West Kingston. Two elderly men, a 13-year-old girl, and three other individuals were shot in the area, which had been under curfew during a law enforcement operation to find illegal fire arms and fugitives. The police have been accused of being “trigger happy” by human rights organizations in Jamaica.

PROSECUTORS IN U.S. TO HELP JAMAICA BATTLE ORGANIZED CRIME—03/11/12
Jamaican authorities will receive aid from the United States in their fight to stem the operations of organized crime on the island. According to Julissa Reynoso, deputy assistant secretary for the United States State Department’s western affairs division, announced that cooperation between Jamaica and the U.S. is “deepening,” and the U.S. will send prosecutors to Jamaica to help various government ministries built their capacity to bring justice to those who commit crimes.

22 JAMAICANS HELD IN LOTTERY SCAM INVESTIGATION—03/12/12
Jamaican police are holding 22 individuals who have an alleged involvement with a lottery scam worth many millions of dollars. Investigators arrested 22 Jamaicans following raids on eight homes in St. James, including the resort of Montego Bay. According to authorities, many of the lottery scams spreading throughout the island are based in St. James. Police seized $800,000, computers, and 16 cars in the raids.

ILLICIT ANIMAL TRADE POSES THREAT TO JAMAICA’S WILDLIFE—03/13/12
Jamaican authorities were shocked to learn that a zoo in Vienna, Austria included 23 Yellow-Billed Parrots and 22 Black-Billed Parrots, both endangered species. The birds were hatched from eggs smuggled off the island in rum-cake boxes by tourists traveling back to Austria from Jamaica. Conservationists are afraid that as demand for rare wildlife increases, authorities in Jamaica will not be able to protect the island’s indigenous animal resources.

PRIME MINISTER SAYS CARICOM MUST CHANGE—03/13/12
Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica’s Prime Minister, believes that it is not possible for CARICOM to remain “static” and that the organization should not be afraid to change. Simpson Miller made her remarks after returning to Jamaica from a meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government. She believes the organization needs a “people-centered approach” and should increase its efforts to promote CARICOM among the region’s residents.

AID TO POOR IMPACTED BY CRIME—03/14/12
The high level of violence and crime in Jamaica is creating obstacles to the higher rate of local and foreign investment the nation requires to fund benefits for the poor and to create more employment. Crime and violence have a dampening effect on investment, according to the Mayberry Investment Forum held in Kingston. The government must succeed in its efforts to reduce crime so that it can improve conditions for the poor and provide jobs for more Jamaicans.

HILL RESIGNS AS TENNIS JAMAICA PRESIDENT—03/15/12
Aubyn Hill, former banker and financier, has resigned his position as president of Tennis Jamaica. His resignation will take effect immediately. Hill cited a significant rise in his business responsibilities as the reason for leaving the post. He has been president of the organization since August 2010. The board of directors is seeking an interim president.

SENTENCING OF COKE IN U.S. WATCHED CLOSELY BY JAMAICANS—03/16/12
Jamaican drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke is in New York awaiting sentencing for the crimes of federal racketeering and assault. He could receive 23 years in prison after pleading guilty to these charges. Residents of Tivoli Gardens in West Kingston where Coke was once the neighborhood’s ruler have mixed feelings about him. Some note that they used to feel safer when Coke was in charge, since he offered protection and enforced order in the area. Since his arrest, residents say the robbery rate has climbed, and the environment has become increasingly lawless. Some even yearn for his return, although they understand this is unlikely to happen.

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JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
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JAMAICANS IN SOUTH FLORIDA CELEBRATE INDEPENDENCE WITH REGGAE—03/10/12
As Jamaican prepares to celebrate its 50 years of Independence from Britain, Jamaicans in South Florida has already started their celebrations with a high number of reggae festivals. Other cultural events have also occurred including poetry readings, a food and culture festival in Palm Beach, and the raising of the Jamaican flag at Miramar. Jamaica has declared the entirety of 2012 a celebration, according to Luther McKenzie, production manager for the Icons of Reggae concert, and the 300,000 Jamaicans living in South Florida are more than ready to participate.

JAMAICA’S CULTURE TO BE ON DISPLAY IN NEW YORK—03/11/12
Individuals of West Indian heritage are expected to attend the Jamaican musical and comedy production “Wheel An’ Come Again,” which will be held in Jamaica, Queens. Andrew Clarke is the Jamaican singer and producer who directed the performance, which will feature the Braata Folk Singers. The show played to rave reviews in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Toronto. The show offers audiences the chance to hear many Jamaican and Caribbean folk songs.

WORLD BANK AND JAMAICAN JOIN TO FLOAT DIASPORA BOND—03/12/12
The Jamaican government and the World Bank are making an effort to offer a bond to the Jamaican Diaspora. The bond is designed to access the annual savings of the Diaspora group that have been estimated at US$5.4 billion. The development bond would make investments in education and health care, as well as be used to retire debt. Diaspora bonds have been used in the past by Israel and India.

KNIGHT BELIEVES JAMAICA DAY SHOULD BE CELEBRATED BY DIASPORA—03/14/12
According to Senator K.D. Knight, Jamaica day should be recognized and celebrate among the individuals in the Jamaican Diaspora as well as observed locally by school children. Knight says he would like to see a Jamaica Day that other school systems in other countries would recognize as an opportunity to showcase the island’s culture. Opposition Senator Kamina Johnson Smith has called for the Ministry of Education to find ways that Jamaica Day can be more fully coordinated in different locations in order to “embed” the nation’s heritage in the education system.

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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
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NEW STRATEGIES TO PREVENT WATER RATIONING—03/10/12

U.S., CARIBBEAN NATIONS COMBINE EFFORTS TO FIGHT DRUG TRAFFICKING—03/12/12

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO FILM FESTIVAL SCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 2012—03/13/12

CARIBBEAN CHARMED BY BRITAIN’S PRINCE HARRY—03/14/12

CARIBBEAN FASHION WEEK TO BE HELD IN JUNE—03/15/12

COAST DISAPPEARING IN ANGUILLA—03/16/12

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BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
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JAMAICAN MACROECONOMIC OUTLOOK STABLIZES, SAYS FITCH—03/13/12
Fitch Ratings, a ratings agency based in New York, issued a report stating that Jamaica’s foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) remains at B-. Its short-term IDR remains at B, while its country ceiling is also at B. The report indicates improvements in the macroeconomic stability and institutional strength of Jamaica.

JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT TO ENSURE EQUAL ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY FOR ALL—03/14/12
The government of Jamaica wants to ensure that all Jamaicans have the same access to technology. Phillip Paulwell, Minister of Science and Technology, says the government is committed to “leveling the playing field” and will ensure that the entire island has broadband access and every school has computers and Internet access. He believes the ability of people to use science and technology is necessary for economic advancement in Jamaica.

JAMAICA TO FLOAT BILLION-DOLLAR BOND IN UNITED STATES—03/15/12
Jamaica registered a plan to float as much as US$1 billion of debt in the United States market. The activity was registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and is intended to finance Jamaica’s budgetary needs. According to the prospectus, the debt securities will represent direct, general, unsecured, and unconditional obligations of Jamaica.

RJR DOMINANT IN JAMAICA STOCK MARKET TRADING—03/16/12
Radio Jamaica Ltd. dominated the trading activity at the Jamaica Stock Exchange on March 16, 2012, remaining at J$2.56 after some 6.7 million units were traded as a single block transaction. This represented over 71 percent of the market’s total volume. Thirty-three stocks were traded in total for a value of J$38.95 million. 

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CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
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NEW MAGAZINE DEDUCATED TO EXPLORATION OF WEST INDIES EXPERIENCE—03/10/12

BARBADOS LAUNCHES TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION CONFERENCE—03/12/12

CUBA OBTAINS ADVANCED DOPPLER WEATHER RADAR—03/14/12

ZYCUS CHOSEN BY NORANDA AS SPEND ANALYSIS SOLUTION—03/15/12

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ENTERTAINMENT
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HALSE HALL IN CLARDENDON SITE OF FASHION SHOW—03/10/12
The Halse Hall Great House in Clarendon was the location of the first Saint International-create Clarendon Fashion Escape. Dewight Peters, CEO and founder of Saint International in Jamaica, said the event was designed to focus on the positive features of his home parish and to provide an image of the parish that counters the stereotypical view of the place as unprogressive and infested with crime. Peters noted that Clarendon is the home of several educational institutions, including Glenmuir High School, Vere Technical, and Clarendon College. He also stated that people in Clarendon were hard-working and stylish.

LAWYER FOR BUJU BANTON RESPONDS TO APPEALS COURT RULING—03/12/12
David Oscar Markus, attorney for Jamaican artiste Buju Banton, is not giving up his quest to win an appeal for his client. Markus filed an appeal with a United States court in February 2012, stating that the state had not provided sufficient evidence to convict Banton, who real name is Mark Myrie. James Preston, Assistant U.S. Attorney, said there was more than enough evidence to support the conviction. Markus has responded to this by restating his claim that Banton was entrapped, that his right to a speedy trial was violated, and that Banton’s acquittal on a gun charge was the appropriate ruling.

LAWMAKER FROM ST. VINCENT WANTS RULES TO PROTECT CONCERT-GOERS—03/13/12
St. Clair Leacock, Opposition lawmaker from St. Vincent, has called for new regulations after Jamaican artiste Jah Cure refused to perform because the organizer of the concert could not meet contractual obligations. The situation meant that thousands of concert-goers left Victoria Park without hearing Jah Cure perform; many were angry and threw bottles at the stage. There was gunfire as police shot into the air to keep order in the crowd. Fans had paid US$18.50 per person to see the artiste. The promoter said he could not make the final payment of the US$15,000 due the singer because of fake tickets that were collected at the gate.

BASS ODYSSEY, BLACK KAT BATTLE FOR TOP SOUND HONOR—03/16/12
A continuing feud to determine whether Bass Odyssey or Black Kat represents the top country sound in Jamaica will be carried on in New York at the World Clash New York R.E.S.E.T. in April. Both groups come from remote regions of Jamaica, St. Ann and Christiana, respectively, and both are far from the seat of Dancehall in Kingston. Bass Odyssey and Black Kat will face off before thousands of clash fans at the New York event.

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SPORTS
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CLARKE, DIXON FAIL TO PROGRESS AT IAAF INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS—03/10/12
Problems with acoustics sank the hopes of Jamaicans Lerone Clarke and Vonette Dixon at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. Clarke, national 60-meter record holder, and Dixon, 60-meter hurdler, both had difficulty hearing the starter gun inside Atakoy Arena, which resulted in their failure to move up in their scheduled events. While IAAF officials said the starting equipment had been tested and worked perfectly, they did acknowledge acoustical problems in the recently constructed Atakoy Arena where the events were held. Several athletes had complained about difficulty hearing the starter’s gun.

NESTA CARTER WINS FIRST MEDAL FOR JAMAICA AT IAAF INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS—03/11/12
Jamaica’s Nesta Carter was victorious in taking the first medal for his home island at the 14th IAAF World Indoor Championships at Atakoy Arena in Istanbul, Turkey. Carter won silver in the men’s 60-meter race, running the distance in 6.56 seconds. Justin Gatlin of the United States took first place with 6.54 seconds.

CAMPBELL-BROWN WINS GOLD IN IAAF 60 METERS—03/12/12
Veronica Campbell-Brown is Jamaica’s top women’s sprinter, and now she has bested her competitors in Istanbul, Turkey, winning the IAAF World Indoor Championship women’s 60-meter race and claiming the gold medal for the event. Campbell-Brown ran the distance in 7.01 seconds.

JAMAICAN SURFING DOMINATED BY TAYLOR—03/14/12
Akeem Taylor won the third stage in the National Open Series of the Jamaica Surfing Association at Copa Surfing Beach. The competition included 30 surfers vying for 1000 points in total. National junior surfers Akeem Taylor, Shama Beckford, and Ivah Wilmot made it to the semifinals.

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DEVOTIONAL
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Praying With Thanksgiving
 
How do you pray? No, not the position you assume for prayer, the tone of voice or type of language used, whether loudly or quietly, for an audience of one or a thousand, but what do your prayers reveal about the condition of your heart?  After all, as the Scriptures remind us, it is from the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).
 
For some of us, prayer is the presentation of a laundry list of petitions to God.  For sure, we add the right amount of religiosity to our petitions but the essence of those prayers remains the same. Always about us, our needs and wants, and for good measure we throw in that of some family members, maybe our local church, and a few other people we embrace as friends.  Interestingly, when it comes to basic needs, Jesus was rather clear: “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? . . . Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (Matthew 6:25-26, 30, KJV).
 
This does not mean that we should not take our petitions and cares to our heavenly Father. He invites us to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). However, lest we forget, ours is a relationship. God is not a cosmic genie catering to our every wish, but He is the King of kings and Lord of lords; one worthy of our praise and adoration.  It is no wonder the apostle Paul reminded the church at Colossae, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2, ESV), or as The Amplified Bible puts it, “Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer [life], being [both] alert and intent in [your praying] with thanksgiving.”
 
We have much for which to be thankful. To paraphrase the words of the hymn-writer, were we to stop and count our blessings we would be surprised at what the Lord has done. The next time you pray, instead of just offering a list of petitions, how about wrapping those petitions in thanksgiving? Even when we do not understand the twist and turns along our paths, we can thank Him that He can use all things for our good and His glory.  Remember, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  “In every thing” includes even while in prayer.  Now is as good a time as any to start doing so.

 

CEW

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CREDITS/SOURCES
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The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.