THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
POLICE FIND THREE BODIES AT CONSTRUCTION SITE—12/11/10
Police in Jamaica have found three bodies in shallow graves at a construction site on the outskirts of Kingston. According to Les Green, assistant police commissioner, the bodies were discovered in an area where it is believed to be the location of gang battles. Developers found the bodies as they worked to construct a private hospital.
FIRST JAMAICAN NAMED COPA EXECUTIVE—12/12/10
Othneil Lawrence was elected vice-president of the Parliamentary Confederation of the Americas (COPA) for the Caribbean. He was named representative for Jamaica in 2008 and was elected to the Executive Committee and vice-presidency in November 2010. He is the first Jamaican to be elected to the executive. Lawrence is the Northwest St. Ann Member of Parliament.
AIRPORT IN JAMAICA NAMED FOR IAN FLEMING—12/13/10
Ian Fleming, the writer famous for creating the James Bond novels, will have his name placed on Jamaica’s third international airport. Previously called Boscobel Airstrip, the expanded airport will be used by visitors who arrive on the island in private jets. The official opening of the Ian Fleming airport will take place in December 2010.
GOLDING ATTENDS DISASTER MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE—12/13/10
Prime Minister Bruce Golding was among the 250 participants from 20 nations attending the Fifth Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management in Montego Bay. According to Ronald Jackson, director general of the Office of Disaster Preparedness, several organizations attended the conference, representing a wide range of interests and people. The conference is designed to review and assess the progress of the region in comprehensive disaster management.
WIKILEAKS CABLES ACCUSE JAMAICA OF SUPPORTING DRUG SMUGGLERS—12/14/10
Cables from the United States Embassy publicized by WikiLeaks include claims that officials in Jamaica are bribed by drug traffickers to allow them to operate freely throughout the Caribbean region. Anti-drug officials in Cuba have made these accusations against Jamaica, according to a secret U.S. diplomatic cable. The accusation strengthens suspicions that drug lords have the cooperation of Jamaica’s law enforcement officials and politicians.
OAS TO H ELP JAMAICA FIGHT TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS—12/15/10
Forty police and immigration officials will receive training sponsored by the Organization of American States (OAS) in order to raise their awareness of human trafficking and make their efforts to prevent the crime stronger. Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery and violates basic human rights. The OAS program is titled “Strengthening the Capacity of Law Enforcement Officials Judges and Prosecutors in the Caribbean to Identify and Combat Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children.” The two-day program is being presented in 13 English-speaking nations in the Caribbean region.
JAMAICAN RESPONSE TO WIKILEAKS CALLED WEAK BY PNP—12/16/10
The People’s National Party (PNP) has strongly criticized the response by Jamaica’s government, as well as that of Dwight Nelson, Security Minister, to a cable from the United States made public by WikiLeaks. The cable reveals concerns by Cuba that Jamaica is in league with drug traffickers. The PNP has called for Bruce Golding, Jamaican Prime Minister, to respond to the matter with “greater clarity.”
BE CAREFUL WITH FIRE, JAMAICANS WARNED—12/17/10
The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, together with the Jamaica
Fire Brigade, warn the people of Jamaica about the dangers of burning garbage and utilizing open flames during the strong winds currently linked to a cold front. The public has urged to take several precautions if they must burn. These include not using open flames in dry, grassy areas; avoid burning cleared land, and to take steps to control sparks that could be driven by the winds.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN WOMEN IN WASHINGTON PRAISED—12/11/10
Jamaican Women of Washington, an organization based in the United States capital, has received high praise from Jamaica’s ambassador to the U.S. and the mayor of the District of Columbia for its support of charitable groups. The organization has provided support to 59 groups over the past eight years and donated some US$75,000 during that period.
ART JAMAICA EXHIBIT SHOWCASES JAMAICAN WORKS IN UK—12/13/10
Art Jamaica, an exhibit of Jamaican artists, features works brought from the island to the United Kingdom 5,000 miles away. The exhibit is being held at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge University. It was organized by Jamaican-born Theresa Roberts, a real estate professional who has a passion for Jamaican culture. She loaned several pieces from her private collection to the exhibit, which features works by Edna Manley, David Boxer, Carl Abrahams, and Alexander Cooper.
JAMAICAN DRUG SMUGGLER FOUND DEAD IN BERMUDA—12/14/10
The body of Hugh Melwood, 35, was found in a house in Pembroke in the Bahamas. The Jamaican’s body contained pellets holding drugs, and police believe he was a “drug mule.” Melwood had just returned from a trip abroad. Police believe the internal pellets containing drugs contributed to Melwood’s death and noted that the health risks to smugglers cannot be ignored.
JAMAICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY RESOLUTION PASSED IN ONTARIO—12/15/10
The legislature in Ontario, Canada, has passed legislation declaring August 6 to be Jamaican Independence Day in the province. The resolution, introduced by Jamaican-born Margarett Best, Minister of Health Promotion, was passed unanimously. Supporters argued that the outstanding contributions made by Ontario residents of Jamaican heritage merited recognition and celebration on an annual basis. Jamaicans first migrated to Canada in 1796.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
CHANGES IN CLIMATE INCREASING TOXINS IN CARIBBEAN—12/11/10
DEPORTATIONS TO HAITI TO RESUME IN UNITED STATES—12/12/10
17 CUBAN REFUGEES REPATRIATED BY UNITED STATES—12/13/10
TURKS AND CAICOS BATTLE AMERICAN BILLIONAIRE OVER TAXES—12/14/10
CYPRESS EQUITIES TO BUY SILLERMAN’S ANGUILLA RESORT—12/15/10
GONSALVES KEEPS POWER AFTER ST. VINCENT ELECTION—12/16/10
BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
CARICOM RECOMMENDS AN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS OFFICE—12/11/10
Firms in the Caribbean will be able to access European programs aimed at supporting small and mid-sized enterprise innovations under a new partnership agreement. The Economic Partnership Agreement will provide a real advantage, according to Matthew Spence, intellectual property specialist. Reforming the legal framework in the Bahamas is necessary if intellectual property is to be effectively protected.
JAMAICA CREATES STRUCTURE FOR MOBILE FINANCIAL SERVICES—12/12/10
Stakeholders in Jamaica’s local banking and telecommunications sectors are working with international experts to create an infrastructure capable of delivering mobile financial services on the island. The Mobile Financial Services (MFS) Conference is designed to assess regulatory, commercial, and technical issues relating to the development of mobile banking services.
TOURISM FROM EMERGING MARKETS TARGETED BY JAMAICA—12/14/10
Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, plans to place more focus on marketing efforts that target emerging markets, including those in Asia. Bartlett notes the research that indicates emerging economies like India, China, Russia, and Brazil, have growth rates that outpace those of the United States, Germany, Japan, or the United Kingdom, among others. Emerging markets are estimated to grow by nine percent in 2010, compared to five percent for developed nations.
RED STRIPE ANGRY ABOUT TAX REVISIONS—12/16/10
Red Stripe, the Jamaican beer making company, is angry about Audley Shaw’s reversal on
alcohol taxation measures. After learning of the Finance Minister’s about-face on the issue, Red Stripe issued a warning that it will have to raise the price of its products after the holiday season. The firm also said it will move its export business from Jamaica in the next six months if the government does not change the announced tax measures. Shaw plans to impose a revenue-neutral rate per liter of pure alcohol for beer and stout.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY
LOCAL CELL CLIENTS OF BTC OVERPAY BY 20 TO 30 PERCENT, SAYS SHAW—12/11/10
According to David Shaw, the head of Cable and Wireless (LIME) Caribbean, Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) is charging its customers who use their devices just to make local calls tariffs that are “20 to 30 percent higher” than they should be in comparison to Caribbean standards. Shaw said the LIME will attempt to reduce BTC’s prices to more competitive levels, adding that more diversified streams of revenue would aid BTC in competing against rival operators as well.
FREE MOBILE TV SERVICE INTRODUCED BY LIME—12/12/10
LIME, the telecommunications company, has launched the first mobile television service ever available in Jamaica and the Caribbean. The company says its service is nothing less than a “mobile revolution” and will provide free television channels for an introductory period. Customers in Kingston and St. Catherine will be the first to take advantage of the service. Available channels will include CNN, ESPN, NBC, and the Cartoon Channel. More channels and a pay-per-view option will be added to the service in the near future.
SHAW SAYS NEW TECHNOLOGY NEEDED TO STAY COMPETITIVE IN BANKING—12/13/10
Audley Shaw, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and the Public Service, states that “cutting-edge technology” like mobile banking is a necessity if the country plans to compete successfully in the global business environment. According to Shaw, electronic commerce and transaction are not “new-wave buzzwords,” but represent a necessary reality for the delivery of cost-effective and competitive services.
LARGEST CARIBBEAN CASINO DEPLOYS HIGH-TECH SURVEILLANCE—12/16/10
The Royal Beach Casino in St. Kitts, the largest casino in the Caribbean, has implemented state-of-the-art digital surveillance technology that it credits with contributing to more efficient business operations. The company installed an IP video solution from IndigoVision, which involves 349 digital cameras. The new system guarantees that no video frames will be lost in the recorded surveillance, making dispute resolution much more reliable.
TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY
PROFESSORS SAY AIRPORT SCANNERS EASY TO FOOL—12/14/10
Professors at the University of California in San Francisco say that the new scanners deployed at airports are not foolproof. According to Leon Kaufman and Joseph W. Carlson, it is very easy to fool a body scanner. The professors found it likely that a large and irregularly shaped “pancake” with beveled edges that is taped to a person’s abdomen will not be detected by the scanner simply because it will “see” it as part of normal human anatomy.
U.S. CELLULAR OFFERING PHONES AT NO COST—12/15/10
U.S. Cellular, a regional carrier, is giving away cell phones for one day as part of the firm’s “All Phones Free” event. Between December 17 and 24, all messaging phones and smartphones, including Android and Blackberry, will be on sale, and new smartphone customers will receive a $100 credit for joining the carrier for the first time or for adding a smartphone to an existing plan.
The free phones will be available only as long as supplies last, and customers will have to pay for a monthly data plan.
UPDATE AT HOTMAIL ALLOWS SURFING INSIDE EMAIL—12/16/10
Hotmail is introducing a new platform, known as Active Views, which will permit users to surf certain Web sites from inside an email message. Microsoft has made partnerships with some companies as part of the launch of the new platform that will give users a method for searching and managing accounts as well. Orbitz and Monster.com are already on board, with Netflix and LinkedIn available soon.
FACEBOOK TO PROVIDE FACE RECOGNITION FOR TAGGING PHOTOS—12/17/10
Facebook will use face recognition software to make the tagging of photos easier, announced company chief executive Mark Zuckerberg. The new service is designed to recognize pictures of members’ friends on the basis of facial features. The new service will not change privacy settings associated with tagging, and the tagging will not be automatic. Users will also be able to opt out of having their names suggested during the tagging process.
JAMAICA COLLEGE MAKES HISTORY—12/12/10
Jamaica College made history in Montego Bay when they finished the Manning Cup, Walker Cup, and Olivier Shield for the first time. The team was coached by Alfred Henry, who said the plan was to avoid falling to Rusea High. He said the boys did a lot of hard work during the season and deserve their victories.
LAMBERT DISAPPOINTED AT BEING DROPPED FROM TEAM—12/13/10
Tamar Lambert, former captain of Jamaica’s team, expressed disappointment at being eliminated from the team for the second staging of the Caribbean Twenty20 Tournament in January 2011. He believes he could have made a real contribution to the team in its effort to win its first regional title in the newest game format. Lambert was one of two senior players dropped from the team representing Jamaica last year. Wavell Hinds replaced Lambert as captain.
SWIMMING STAR QUALIFIES FOR BREASTSTROKE FINAL—12/16/10
Alia Atkinson, Jamaica’s swimming star, hopes to win the first medal for the country at the 2010 FINA World Championships in Dubai. She won a place in the 50-meter breaststroke competition, reaching a personal best for the distance of 30.19 seconds. This was good enough for a second-place finish, just behind the American Rebecca Soni, in the semi-final. Atkinson, 22, had a previous personal best of 31.91 seconds in the 50-meter race. Atkinson won four gold medals at the Central American and Caribbean games in 2010.
JAMAICANS DRAW WITH TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO—12/17/10
The Jamaicans were drawn in the Zone C competition with their arch-rivals Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala for the 2011 12-team CONCACAF Under-17 Football Tournament. The games will be hosted in western Jamaica in February. Captain Horace Burrell, head of the Jamaica Football Federation, was pleased with the group, but he said it will not be an easy competition for Jamaica and will take considerable effort to be among the qualifiers.
The Value In Trials
Isaac Newton reportedly once said, “Trials are medicines which our gracious and wise Physician prescribes because we need them; and he proportions the frequency and weight of them to what the case requires. Let us trust his skill and thank him for his prescription.” Even as some of us read those words, we recognize that being thankful and trusting in the midst of trials is easier said than done.
I have often wondered what was going through James’ mind when he wrote to the scattered tribes of Israel, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4, KJV). Eugene Peterson paraphrases those verses, “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way” (The Message). If trials are “a sheer gift,” it is the gift that nobody wants. However, we find the Apostle Paul reminding the Roman church that we not only rejoice in times of prosperity, and of health, “but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed” (Romans 5:3-5a). This was not someone speaking from head knowledge but personal experience.
From God’s perspective there is an intrinsic value to the trials we experience. Somehow our trials are the means of exercising and increasing our patience, whicn produces experience, which produces a hope that will not disappoint or deceive. Paul affirms that the Christian hope is such that it will be fulfilled “because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5b). Albert Barnes notes, “Long afflictions borne patiently show a Christian what he is; they test his religion, and prove that it is genuine. Afflictions are often sent for this purpose, and patience in the midst of them shows that the religion which can sustain them is from God. The result of such long trial is to produce hope. They show that religion is genuine; that it is from God; and not only so, but they direct the mind onward to another world; and sustain the soul by the prospect of a glorious immortality there.”
It seems Newton was on to something. Trials are medicines which the Great Physician prescribes for our benefit and He decides how much, how often, and for how long. To echo Peterson, “So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” I believe if our Sovereign God allows trials and tribulations to come our way, He will give us the grace to stand tall amidst them all. Our God can be trusted and I pray you will find that to be your experience as you deal with the things and circumstances that challenge you.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.