THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
TEACHERS PROTEST GOVERNMENT OFFER—05/01/10
Teachers are protesting the government’s latest offer to pay $1 billion by July 2010 and the remainder of the $8 billion owed over the next four years. Public sector teachers plan an industrial action to send a strong signal of their opposition to the government offer, according to Michael Stewart, president of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association.
JAMAICAN FARMS TO RECEIVE MORE FUNDING—05/02/10
Scotiabank and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries have agreed to provide J$100 million in loans to farmers growing cash crops on a concessionary basis over an eight-month period. A similar agreement has been made with National Commercial Bank for J$250 million as part of the government’s Financial Access for Responsible Farmers program. The loans have a rate of 9.95 percent and are designed to encourage farmers to bring more land into the production of crops to reduce the cost of food imports and increase the amount of food exports.
JAMAICAN CHILDREN EASILY INFLUENCED BY EXTREMISTS—05/03/10
A study by Dr. Claudette Crawford-Brown of the Violence Prevention Program at the University of the West Indies in Mona have found that children in Jamaica are easily exploited by extremists in ways similar to those found in the radicalized Arab world. The study notes that many Jamaican children, even those as young as four years of age, are receiving training in committing crimes. These children are exposed to criminal activities in an environment that encourages future criminal actions, says Crawford-Brown.
JOB PROGRAM HELPS YOUNG PEOPLE AVOID CRIME—05/04/10
Unemployed young people in Jamaica are vulnerable to crime, but the Citizen Security and Justice Program is designed to steer them away from crime and into jobs where they can gain work experience through internships. The Employment Internship Program, which began in 2008, develops partnerships with public and private sector organizations to employ young people with an eye to future full-time work. The program seeks to build self-esteem, lower unemployment rates, and limit the stigma faced by job seekers from the inner city.
HEALTH MINISTRY HALTS SALE OF SOME CHILDREN’S MEDICATIONS—05/05/10
Jamaica’s Ministry of Health has advised retailers, wholesalers, and distributors of certain children’s medications that the sale of these drugs will be suspended until further notice. The medications include Tylenol, Tylenol Plus, Motrin, Zyrtec, and Benadryl. The advisory was issued following a recall of these products by McNeil Consumer HealthCare, a firm in the United States, because they did not meet specific quality requirements.
BARTLETT CALLS FOR REGIONAL SUPPLY CENTER FOR FARMERS—05/06/10
Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s tourism minister, wants a regional agricultural supply center created to aid farmers in the Caribbean retain their independence. Bartlett announced his plans by arguing that consolidation of agricultural products in the Caribbean region would generate increased revenues for the tourist sector. This sector currently accounts for just three percent of sales of agricultural products from farmers in Jamaica.
FIFTY JAMAICAN FARM WORKERS SENT TO U.S.—05/06/10
Fifty farm workers from Jamaica will travel to Washington, D.C. to clear the way for additional Jamaicans to go to that city for employment. The workers were charged with the task by Pearnel Charles, Minister of Labor and Social Security. The 50 men are members of a group totaling 300 that will sent to Gebbers Farm, which currently employs 900 Mexicans. This is the first time Gebbers is participating in Jamaica’s Overseas Agricultural Program.
“DUDUS” REMAINS OUT—05/07/10
The ultimate disposition of an extradition motion involving Christopher “Dudus” Coke depends on a ruling from Judge Roy Jones of the Supreme Court. The ruling will decide if Portia Simpson Miller, leader of the Opposition, will remain a defendant in the court case. Dorothy Lightbourne, Attorney General and Justice Minister, asked the court for a determination on her authority under the Extradition Act and named Simpson Miller as one of three defendants in the case.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
TORONTO POLICE CONDUCT RAIDS ON GANGS—05/04/10
Police in Toronto, Canada, have targeted gangs with links to a Jamaican criminal organization, the Shower Posse. The United States government believes the Shower Posse has influence with Jamaica’s ruling Labor Party and bears responsibility for over 1,400 drug-related killings. Toronto police claims the organization provides weapons to street gangs and controls them. Over 1,000 police across Ontario acted on 105 search warrants, which resulted in 79 arrests. They also seized $30,000 in cash, 19 guns, cocaine, body armor, diamonds, and over 10,000 ecstasy pills.
JAMAICAN-BORN PHYSICIAN JOINS PRACTICE IN BROOKLYN—05/05/10
Carolle Chapman, Jamaican-born naturopathic doctor, is joining the neighborhood practice at the Brooklyn Natural Health Clinic. The doctor has degrees from three universities and received two scholarships. Dr. Chapman states that she learned to appreciate the healing powers of natural remedies early in her life, as her grandparents were experts in tropical plant medicine.
COLOMBIAN NAVY DETAINS JAMAICAN BOAT FOR FISHING ILLEGALLY—05/06/10
The Colombian navy stopped a Jamaican fishing boat holding some three tons of fish in Colombian waters. The boat, the “Captain Romeo,” had twenty Jamaicans on board. It was detained 20 miles from the Serranilla Islands in the Caribbean, reportedly suffering from a mechanical problem. The captain said he had not received required permissions from authorities in Jamaica to enter Colombian waters. The area surrounding the Serranilla Islands has long been a subject of maritime disputes.
REGGAE STAR RECEIVES FARM FROM MUGABE—05/07/10
Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe has given Sizzla Kalonji, Jamaican reggae star, a farm in payment for singing at Mugabe’s 86th birthday party in February 2010. Instead of paying his bill, Mugabe gave Kalonji a farm in Chegulu. Mugabe has seized over 4,000 farms from white farmers since launching his reform program in 2000.Kalonji, 34, has asked Mugabe to be champion for the African people living at “the gates of hell” in Jamaica and the Caribbean.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
THREE PUERTO RICAN BANKS CLOSED—05/01/10
GUTIERREZ SAYS NO TO PUERTO RICAN STATEHOOD—05/02/10
SUPREME COURT WILL NOT REVIEW GRANDMOTHER CASE—05/03/10
GRANADA MAN BRINGS POLICE A BUCKET OF HUMAN HEADS—05/04/10
U.S. TRADE BILL APPROVED, WILL AID HAITI—05/05/10
ELECTION IN UK UNLIKELY TO HAVE IMPACT ON CARIBBEAN—05/06/10
JETER BEATS JAMAICANS AT INVITATIONAL—05/01/10
Carmelita Jeter of the United States was victorious over her Jamaican rivals at the JN Jamaican International Invitational at National Stadium in Kingston. Jeter clocked 10.94 seconds for the win, while Jamaica’s Kerron Stewart had a time of 10.96 seconds.
BOLT RUNS FASTEST TIME ON HOME GROUND—05/03/10
Triple gold medal winner Usain Bolt ran the fourth fastest 200-meter time in history at National Stadium in the Jamaica International Invitational. Bolt clocked 19.57 seconds in the race in front of a crowd of 30,000. This was his best time ever on Jamaican soil.
WINDIES WOMEN LOSE TO PAKISTAN—05/04/10
Jamaican Stafanie Taylor gave a good performance, but the West Indies team lost to Pakistan by six wickets in the first officials warm-up match in preparation for the Women’s World Twenty20 Championship. Taylor, 18, struck 41 to help the hosts to 117 for six, but it was not enough to beat the Pakistan squad.
JN STRIVES TO IMPROVE JAMAICAN BRAND—05/07/10
Jamaica National (JN), sponsors of the Jamaica International Invitational track and field meet at National Stadium in Kingston, said the sponsorship forms part of their holistic program to help make Jamaica the top athletic brand in the world by 2012. JN plans to partner with the event for the next two years. Earl Jarrett, JN general manager, said the 2012 Olympics and Jamaica’s 50th anniversary in the same year, means the island has a great opportunity to showcase itself to the world.
A Thankful Heart
It may be a cliché but there is a lot of truth to it; our attitude determines our altitude. Whether we journey through life angry and proud or are true representatives of Christ living a life of joy, prayer, and gratitude is largely dependent on our attitude. In his letter to church in Colossia, the Apostle Paul writes, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Colossians 3:15, KJV). This was not unlike his message to the church in Thessalonica, “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Notice the words – “Be ye thankful” and “In everything give thanks.” Paul, more than anyone else, knew that life is not a bed of roses; it isn’t always fair. There are pressures, challenges, disappointments, hurts, ups and downs, but Paul is saying that when something goes wrong in life, we should not lose our joy over it. Amidst all the bad stuff we should remember that God is in us, we are heaven-bound, and we have a responsibility to let the world know of our faith by our attitude. It seems to be a human tendency to complain and grumble when things are not going well. As believers, we are called to go against the tide and to give thanks in everything. Usually, that being thankful during those times is the last thing on our minds. Yet Paul did not leave us with an option. His admonition, spoken under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, is quite clear. Be ye thankful! Rejoice always! In everything give thanks!
It is instructive to note that this attitude “is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Francis Frangipane says it well, “Thanksgiving is the language of faith.” The faith in God that says, “I do not understand all that is going on at the moment but I trust you that you know what you are doing, and all of this is going to work out for my good and for your glory.” Frangipane continues, “The moment we spend time thanking the Lord, we begin to see more clearly what He is actually doing. Our eyes are open as our hearts open.”
The Psalmist declares that we must enter the gates of the LORD “with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name” (Psalm 100:4). As we bless His name, He blesses us but our capacity to receive God’s blessing is only as functional as our ability to be grateful for them. Remember, a thankful heart is the gateway through which the blessings of God enter our lives.
As you consider your own attitude amidst life’s challenges, how thankful are you?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.