THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
BIODIVERSITY IN JAMAICA THREATENED—05/12/12
Authorities in Jamaica are trying to achieve environmental sustainability to minimize the impacts of climate change on the island’s local biodiversity. Researchers believe that there should be up-to-date inventories of the flora and fauna in Jamaica and a new commitment to obtaining data collection devices so that climate impact studies can begin and adaptation planning can be implemented. Andrea Donalson, ecosystems managers at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), said that the organization is aware of the impacts of climate change and continues to take steps to protect local biodiversity.
MORE FOCUS ON HEALTH, SAYS SIMPSON MILLER—05/13/12
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has called for the island’s citizens to take more responsibility for their own health. Over 50 percent of the population is currently obese, and about the same percentage of local deaths can be attributed to chronic non-communicable diseases. According to Simpson Miller, obesity accounts for 56 percent of the total disease burden on the island. She said this epidemic should be not allowed to take over Jamaicans’ lives and must be reversed by practicing health lifestyles. She is especially concerned about poor eating habits passed down from parents to children.
PROMINENT CRIME FIGHTER TO LEAVE POLICE FORCE IN 2013—05/14/12
Superintendent of Police Cornwall “Bigga” Ford, one of the most prominent crime fighters in Jamaica, said he will take early retirement in 2013. Ford, who is 56, has already told his superiors of his intention. He says he has put in 35 years on the police force and has done all he can. Ford joined the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) in 1976.
TURKS AND CAICOS COURT NAMES PNP AND JLP AS BENEFICIARIES OF SMITH—05/15/12
A Confiscation Order was issued by the Supreme Court of Turks and Caicos, which named the two main political parties of Jamaica and several prominent politicians as having benefited from the former financial empire of David Smith and Olint. Although former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson and former Information Minister Daryl Vaz, along with the People’s National Party and the Jamaica Labor Party, have issued denials of the allegations, the charges stand. Patterson said no money came into any account owned or controlled by him. Vaz stated that any donation in his name was a donation to the political party and not a personal gift.
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT TO INCREASE CAPACITY TO REDUCE DRUG TRAFFICKING—05/16/12
Jamaica’s government will allocate $252 million to the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative in an attempt to reduce the growing, production, and trafficking of illegal drugs. The amount is included in the 2012-2013 Estimates of Expenditures, which is now before the House of Representatives. The project, which is funded by the United States Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, seeks to improve Jamaica’s capacity for disrupting and deterring money laundering and other financial crimes. It also seeks to enhance efforts at prosecution through training special prosecutors.
JAMAICAN MUSICIANS CREATE NEW THEME SONG FOR REGGAE BOYZ—05/17/12
Several leading musicians in Jamaica are contributing their talents to recording a new theme song for the Reggae Boyz, the island’s national football team. The Boyz will start the second round of qualifiers in June against Guatemala and will try to make the 2014 World Cup event in Brazil. To encourage the team, Jamaica’s Dancehall and Reggae artistes are creating a new theme song. The song is called “Fever Taking Over,” and it features Luciano, Mr. Vegas, Natel, G Blunt, and Utras.
EIGHT INDIVIDUALS ARRESTED FOR LOTTERY SCAM IN JAMAICA—05/17/12
Eight people suspected of defrauding citizens of the United States via a multi-national lottery scam were arrested during raids in Kingston. According to a statement from police, six males and two females were detained during the raid in Havendale. Also seized in the raid was about $150,000 in jewelry and cash, eight flat-screen televisions, and five automobiles. Owen Ellington, police commissioner, said that an increasing number of high-school-age youth in Jamaica are joining telemarketing scam rings that target the elderly.
FERTILIZER DISTRIBUTED TO COFFEE FARMERS TO INCREASE CROP YIELDS—05/18/12
The Coffee Industry Board (CIB) in Jamaica plans to distribute fertilizer to between 5,000 and 6,000 registered farmers in the country through licensed coffee dealers. The new delivery is in addition to that of 12,000 pounds of fertilizer valued at $20 million. This is part of a $29 million grant promised to the coffee sector by Roger Clarke, Minister of Agriculture. The fertilizer is produced by Newport East, Kingston, and includes special ingredients designed to increase crop production.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
NEW YORK FILMMAKER FOCUSES ON JAMAICAN HOMOPHOBIA—05/12/12
Selena Blake, a filmmaker living in Queens, New York, has made a documentary that discusses violence against homosexuals in Jamaica. The film “Taboo Yardies” took four years to make and cost Blake her friends and family. The film presents the stories of gays and lesbians who have been the victims of violent acts relating to their sexuality. The film presents former Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding who compared same-sex relations to incest and bestiality.
TEN JAMAICAN MEN WHO LEFT THE BAHAMAS FOR MIAMI NOW MISSING—05/13/12
According to Jamaica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ten Jamaican men who were thought to have left the Bahamas for Miami, Florida, between late February and early March of 2012, have apparently disappeared without a trace. The Ministry issued a request for information about the men after hearing reports from family members who said they have not heard from their relatives since that time. Investigations initiated by the families turned up no boating or other accidents or any detention records of the men in the Bahamas, Jamaica, or the United States.
ASSAMBA FOCUSES ON DIASPORA GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS—05/14/12
Aloun Assamba, Jamaica’s High Commissioner Designate is ready to focus her attention on the interests of the Diaspora. She will participate in the third biennial Jamaican Diaspora UK Conference on Diaspora Day, June 16, 2012, in London. About 800 participants are expected at the event. Assamba believes the conference will provide a chance to listen to the goals and hopes of the Diaspora and to receive suggestions about how to improve the lot of Jamaicans in the UK.
ANTI-GAY JAMAICANS IN UK STOPPED FROM FOSTERING 16TH CHILD—05/16/12
A British couple who were both born in Jamaica have been told by the United Kingdom’s government that they will not be allowed to foster a 16th child in their home because of their anti-gay views. Owen and Eunice Johns are Christians and believe homosexuality is wrong. They are back in Jamaica preparing to take the issue to the European Court of Justice. They are supported by a number of Christian groups who oppose the gay lifestyle and believe homosexuals have been provided more rights than Christians. The couple has fostered 15 Jamaica children in the UK since 1992.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
VENEZUELA INVESTIGATES ALLEDGED “CROSSWORD PLOT”—05/12/12
MARTELLY MARKS FIRST YEAR WITH MODEST GAINS—05/13/12
GAY RIGHTS MARCH IN CUBA LED BY RAUL CASTRO’S DAUGHTER—05/14/12
FREE WEB SERVICE TO BE EXPANDED IN PUERTO RICO—05/15/12
KIDNAPPED RADIO NEWS DIRECTOR FOUND DEAD IN HONDURAS—05/16/12
DEA ASKED TO LEAVE HONDURAS AFTER GUNFIRE INCIDENT—05/17/12
BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
JAMAICAN TOURISM BOOSTED BY “EXPERIENCE JAMAICA” CAMPAIGN—05/13/12
Dr. Wykeham McNeill, Jamaican Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, introduced the Experience Jamaica 2012 campaign the first week of May. The campaign seeks to encourage individuals who live and work in Jamaica to vacation there as well instead of traveling overseas. The yearly campaign is sponsored by the Jamaica Tourist Board, and in 2012 it will be in effect from May 1 to December 15. McNeill said that too few Jamaicans experience what their home country has to offer in terms of leisure and vacation attractions.
JAMPRO, HYLTON HEAD EXPORT MISSION TO TRINIDAD TRADE CONVENTION—05/14/12
Anthony Hylton, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce from Jamaica, and the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) are heading a delegation of exporters to Trinidad’s Trade and Investment Convention in mid May. The convention is one of the biggest business-to-business meetings in the Caribbean region. It includes a trade show, business education program, and various networking events.
JAMAICAN STOCK EXCHANGE SEEKS FOREIGN-BASED FIRMS—05/15/12
The Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) is attempting to enhance its strategic growth by courting foreign-based firms, including companies that are owned and operated by Jamaicans in the United Kingdom and United States. According to Marlene Street-Forrest, the major targets of the JSE are firms owned and operated by members of the Jamaican Diaspora.
DEPORTED JAMAICAN CONVICTED IN UK WINS WRONGFUL DETENTION SUIT—05/16/12
A Jamaican man who was convicted in the United Kingdom has received a judgment of £1 in damages from the UK Home Office. The man said he was detained illegally before he was deported and brought his case to the High Court and the Court of Appeal after he was deported. The judges found that he had been technically unlawfully detained, since there were no monthly reviews of his custody in 2006.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
JAMAICANS TO GET “MICROWORK”—05/12/12
CARIBBEAN SOLAR PROJECT TO RECEIVE INVERTERS FROM SATCON—05/14/12
COSTA RICA HAS NEW IBM DELIVERY CENTER—05/13/12
MOBILE APP ATTEMPTS TO INCREASE ORGAN DONATION—05/16/12
DANCEHALL STAR SEAN PAUL TO MARRY MEDIA PERSONALITY “JINX” STEWART—05/12/12
Sean Paul, the internationally renowned Dancehall star will marry the well-known Jamaican media personality Jodi “Jinx” Stewart. Stewart is the long-time host of Reggae Entertainment Television (RETV). There will be a private ceremony later in May 2012. Preparations for the wedding have been low-key, and invited guests do not know the exact location of the ceremony as yet. There had been rumors of a marriage between the two stars since the beginning of 2012.
MUSICOLOGIST LOOKING FOR RESPECT FOR JAMAICA’S ARTISTES—05/14/12
Vaughn “Bunny” Goodison, musicologist, thinks it would be appropriate to honor the many Jamaican musicians who have been ignored over the years during the Jamaica 50 anniversary celebrations. Goodison would like pioneer musicians to be treated with the same level of respect as politicians or leaders in the private sector when selections for the National Honors and Awards ceremony are considered. He noted Delroy Wilson, Owen Gray, Eric “Monty” Morris, and Laurel Aitken, all of whom were part of the ska era in the 1960s and who are deserving of a high level of recognition for their talents and contributions.
JAMAICA 50 PAGENTRY JOINED BY MISS JAMAICA WORLD—05/15/12
Regina Beavers, the former beauty queen who is now serving her first year as the director of the Miss Jamaica World pageant, plans to integrate Jamaica 50 into the coronation show, which will be held June 23, 2012. The theme of the show is “We Celebrate 50 – Jamaica Unite.” Thirty-seven women who have received training for the event, although they are not guaranteed a spot among the 20 finalists in the show. Beavers said the reason for the pre-selection process is to help the entrants prepare for the competition.
OCHO RIOS FESTIVAL TO HIGHLIGHT JAMAICAN JAZZ—05/16/12
Between June 9 and June 17, 2012, Jamaican jazz will be in the spotlight at the Jamaica International Ocho Rios Jazz Festival. Included musicians are Jimmy James of the Vagabonds. He will be the headliner for opening night at Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston. The main focus of the festival in 2012 will be on Jamaicans to mark the 50th anniversary of the nation’s independence. This is the 22nd year that festival has been held.
POWELL LOSES TO AMERICAN JUSTIN GATLIN—05/12/12
Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell lost to the American runner Justin Gatlin and finished second in the 100-meter race at the Diamond League season opener. Powell, 29, started well and seemed to have the win in hand, but lost out to Gatlin’s late burst of speed. Powell blamed the loss on jet lag.
LANCE LAING JOINS JAMAICAN TEAM—05/14/12
Defender Lance Laing of the Fort Lauderdale (Florida) Strikers is joining the National Senior Team of Jamaica in preparations for qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which will be held in Brazil. The team will play three international friendly games against Guyana and Panama over the coming three weeks. Laing considers his new post “a big opportunity” to represent his country. Laing played for the Jamaican U-17 national team in 2004 and 2005 and was recognized in NASL All-Star team after his first season with the Strikers in 2011.
BOLT FOCUSES ON OLYMPICS, ENDS RELATIONSHIP WITH LUBICA—05/15/12
Usain Bolt, Jamaica’s Olympic champion sprinter, has broken off his relationship with Lubica Slovak in order to give all of his attention to preparing for the London Olympics in 2012. Bolt is focusing on winning more gold medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter competitions at the 2012 games.
WINDIES TO FACE DIFFICULT OPPONENT—05/17/12
The West Indies will play the first game of the opening Test versus England, the top team in the world. The Windies will enter the series after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Australia. The team has been plagued by a run of bad luck involving players’ late arrival, cold weather, and erratic form. This makes the team an underdog, but according to Darren Sammy, captain, the players have the character and attitude to overcome their odds.
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Learning What Not To Do
According to the narrative, on Jesus’ instructions the disciples had taken a boat and were to meet Him on the other side of the lake. Sometime during the night, a storm rose up and the disciples were afraid. It continues, “And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered Him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And He said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me” (Matthew 14:25-30, KJV).
For years I thought Peter had failed and some may share that same thought. However, did he really fail? As a fisherman, he was probably used to storms on the lake but for sure he had never tried walking on water! Stepping out of that boat into the dark embrace of howling winds and raging waters, simply because he heard the voice of his friend and Lord say “Come,” was quite the step of faith. Who could blame him for taking his eyes off his destination, the place from where he heard the voice, when faced with the reality of what was happening around him? In some respects, isn’t Peter really us? We hear and have the Word of God and even after stepping out in faith, we are still overwhelmed by our different circumstances? Like Peter, some of us have not only started to sink but we have sunk! Yes, we heard the voice of Jesus say “Come” but … but … but ….
Interestingly, Jesus did not rebuke Peter for looking everywhere else except upon Him; He rebuked him for his lack of faith (v.31). No matter how the storm was raging, he should have kept his faith instead of being afraid. The presence of fear signals uncertainty; a weakness in faith. Despite our best intentions, our fear often gets the better of us. In one respect, Peter failed. However, in another aspect he had learnt what not to do. Faith in God allows us to look at our challenges without being afraid. When overwhelmed we turn to the rock that is higher than ourselves (Psalm 61:2).
The application for us? Whenever you have a “Peter moment”, whether in your relationship with the Lord or with others, use failure as a stepping stone for success. How so? At least, now you know what not to do. Learning what not to do is just as important as learning what to do, and sometimes we do so through failing. Ralph Marston writes, “Failure is not the opposite of success. Failure is an important component of success.” Just ask Peter.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.