THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
GOVERNMENT ENCOURAGED TO ENLARGE TAX BASE—10/08/11
Ethlyn Norton-Coke, a tax consultant and the head of the Taxation Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica (ICAJ), is encouraging the government’s tax reform committee to include individuals working in the informal economy in any reform measure. Norton-Coke says the nation needs to obtain more money from the informal sector. He pointed to taxi operators as a good example of workers who make money but do not pay their fair share of taxes.
BIBLE SOCIETY SAYS PATOIS BIBLE A VALID TRANSLATION—10/08/11
According to the Bible Society of the West Indies, the translation of the Bible into Jamaican patois represents a valid effort. The Society disagrees with Dr. Franklin Johnston who has characterized the patois translation as a waste of time. The Society’s patois translation was made from the Greek New Testament published by the United Bible Societies.
FAIR ELECTIONS DEPEND ON REFORM OF CAMPAIGN FINANCING—10/09/11
At the invitation of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ), Jamaicans United for Sustainable Development has made several proposals designed to enhance the country’s democracy and avoid the problems presented by previous unfair and corrupt election campaigns. The proposals want to prevent governments from being beholden to financial backers, using political office to obtain financial benefits, being obligated to foreign financial donors, and having attachments to financial donors from narco- trafficking and/or money-laundering activities.
TWO ANGLICANS HONORED FOR 50 YEARS IN THE PRIESTHOOD—10/10/11
Over 500 Anglicans and their friends met to honor the Right Reverends E. Don Taylor and Alfred Reid who both celebrated 50 years of service in the priesthood. The men were praised by leaders in the political, religious, and business communities at a celebratory banquet held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in St. Andrew. Taylor and Reid have also been close friends for 50 years and have both served in many positions within the Anglican Church.
VYBZ KARTEL LAUNCHES SKIN-BLEACHING PRODUCTS FOR MEN—10/11/11
Although dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel is awaiting trial on conspiracy to murder charges, he has gone ahead with his plans to introduce a line of skin-whitening products aimed especially at men. This has placed Kartel at the center of controversy once again by providing products made according to his own formula for bleaching his skin. Kartel has been an advocate of skin-bleaching for some time. Historian Elsa Goveia notes that skin-whitening in general has negative connotations for race matters and self- confidence issues. Kartel believes it is no different from getting a tan or straightening hair.
PIECE OF PORTLAND’S HERITAGE FOUND IN PORT ANTONIO—10/12/11
An anchor thought to be many hundreds of years old was discovered at the marina facility of the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) in Port Antonio. Elliott Skyers, a lifeguard and captain of a scuba boat, found the anchor during a dive in the Errol Flynn mega-yacht marina. The anchor is believed to have been used by a large vessel and is much older than anyone currently living in Portland.
JAMAICAN COURTS FALLING PREY TO CORRUPTION, SAYS JUSTICE MINISTER—10/13/11
Delroy Chuck, Jamaican Justice Minister, is expressing his concern regarding what he believes to be a proliferation of corruption in the legal system of the country. Chuck says the legal system is facing a crisis and needs immediate attention. He says that police are paid to say they cannot find witnesses, people are paid to destroy critical documents, and cases languish for years without progressing through the courts.
LOW SELLING PRICE FOR NEGRIL BEACH PROPERTY EXAMINED—10/14/11
The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) will have its decision to sell a Negril property for much less than its original valuation price is being studied by the Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC). The committee wants the agency to explain why the actual sale price was so much lower than the initial valuation.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
JAMAICAN ART DISPLAYED IN LONDON GALLERY—10/10/11
Jamaican artists will have a six-day exhibit of their works in London. The show is meant to coincide with the launch of the Black Circle Gallery by Jamaican Theresa Roberts. The exhibit, entitled “Spirit of Jamaica,” will feature works by Laura Facey-Cooper, Phillip Thomas, Laura Hamilton, Kristina Rowe, and Monique Lofters. The gallery will promote artists that are generally underrepresented in Europe, says Roberts.
JAMAICAN EDUCATOR RECOGNIZED AS “OUTSTANDING” IN WASHINGTON, D.C.—10/11/11
Eleasia Charles, a Jamaican teacher, has been singled out as an outstanding educator in Washington, D.C., after only one year in the district. Charles was selected from hundreds of applicants to be a teaching fellow who will teach in a high-needs school in the southeastern section of the city. Charles was recognized for her performance as a teacher.
CHESS GRANDMASTER PROMOTES GAME TO CHILDREN—10/12/11
Maurice Ashley, a Jamaican-born New Yorker, is the first African American to win the title of international chess grandmaster. And now he is promoting the game of kings as a pastime for children. He travels across the United States to encourage children to learn chess. He noted that 37 percent of the members of the U.S. Chess Federation are under 13 years old, which indicates a strong interest in the game among elementary school children. Chess is a “young man’s game,” says Chuck Lovingood, who has oversight on national tournaments for the Federation. Children also have the ability to “empty their minds” and give total concentration to the game.
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT WANTS HEALTH PARTNERS IN DIASPORA—10/13/11
According to Marlene Malahoo-Forte, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in Jamaica, more partnerships between members of the Diaspora and the nation’s government will improve the quality of health care on the island. She made her remarks during the launch of the Jamaican Diaspora and Friends of Jamaica Healthcare fact-finding mission, which was held in New Kingston. The meeting was designed to find answers to the problems facing Jamaica’s current healthcare system.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
SUBSIDIARY OF EMERA INC. CRITICIZED FOR POWER OVER-CHARGE—10/08/11
EXPROPRIATION OF ISLANDS BY CHAVEZ TO HAVE LITTLE EFFECT ON RESIDENTS—10/09/11
CARIBBEAN OFFICIALS TO FACE FIFA IN ZURICH—10/10/11
CHAVEZ TO RETURN TO CUBA FOR TESTS—10/11/11
MINISTER OF ANTIGUA PROMOTES 4G TECHNOLOGY—10/12/11
CENTRAL BANK OF BARBADOS WARNS GOVERNMENT ABOUT TAX INCREASES—10/13/11
BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
RED STRIPE WILL REDUCE OUTPUT AT KINGSTON PLANT—10/09/11
Red Stripe Jamaica will send part of its production to North America and decrease output at its plant in Kingston by as many as 3.5 million cases. This will mean the elimination of 70 jobs. The action is being taken to save the bottom line, which has been a victim of the revised excise tax structure, a poor showing in the domestic beer market, and higher costs for energy. Richard Byles, chairman of Red Stripe, says the firm can product its product in North America at about half the cost it pays in Jamaica.
CEMENT PRODUCERS LOOKING AT COAL TO SAVE MONEY—10/10/11
Cement producers in Jamaica could save about US$37 million per year if they construct their own coal power plant rather than buy oil fuel. Caribbean Cement Company Limited, which is the only cement manufacturer on the island, believes it can save at least US$8 million each year if it builds a 40-megawatt plant at a cost of US$70 million. Electricity represents the single biggest cost to the cement manufacturing business, according to ken Wiltshire, operations manager at Caribbean Cement.
BANK OF JAMAICA SUPPORTS GOVERNMENT’S ECONOMIC PLANS—10/11/11
Brian Wynter, head of the Bank of Jamaica, believes the nation’s economy is experiencing a transition to macroeconomic stability, lower interest rates, and sustained growth rates in spite of the challenges it faces. Wynter said the government’s comprehensive economic transformation program, which started in 2009, will secure long-term stability and create an atmosphere that will foster lower interest rates and long-term investments.
EARNINGS OF TRANSIT FIRM LAG BEHIND EXPENDITURES—10/12/11
The revenue obtained by the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), which is owned by the state, has not kept up with the multi-billions it costs to operate the business. During the three fiscal years ending in March 2011, the agency earned nearly $6.9 billion. However, this was just 34 percent of its combined operating costs and government subvention during the same period. The service benefits urban and suburban working-class individuals, however, with an average of 285 buses used per day, chiefly in the Kingston, St. Andrew, and St. Catherine areas.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
LARGEST SOLAR PROJECT IN CARIBBEAN TO RISE IN PUERTO RICO—10/08/11
CARIBBEAN ENJOYS DIGITAL BILLBOARDS—10/09/11
JAMAICAN GAMERS TO RECEIVE INFORMATION THROUGH “THE LAB”—10/10/11
AMERICAN FIRM TO TEST SOLAR TECHNOLOGY IN JAMAICA—10/11/11
TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY
KINDLE FIRE TABLET HIT WITH PATENT LAWSUIT—10/11/11
While the new Kindle Fire tablet from Amazon will not be available to consumers until November 2011, it has already become the target of a patent lawsuit. Smartphone Technologies has filed suit against Amazon in the District Court for the District of East Texas, charging that the tablet violates four of its patents. The firm is owned by Acacia Research, a company that purchases and licenses patents. It is viewed by many in the industry as a “patent troll” and has launched many lawsuits against large players like Apple and Research In Motion.
DENNIS RITCHIE, CREATOR OF C PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE, DIES—10/13/11
Dennis Ritchie, computer scientist and creator of the popular C programming language, has died. He was 70 years old. Ritchie died at home. He was well respected internationally for his accomplishments. As well as creating C, Ritchie wrote the definitive book on C and made major contributions in the development of the Unix operating system. He received the Turing Award in 1983 and the National Medal of Technology in 1999.
DENROY MORGAN ARRESTED ON MARIJUANA CHARGE—10/08/11
Jamaican singer Denroy Morgan, known for his disco-reggae tune “I’ll Do Anything for Your” in 1981, was arrested in September 2011 for possession of marijuana. Creator of the reggae group Morgan Heritage, Morgan, 66, was carrying a brick of compressed marijuana at the time of his arrest in the Bronx, New York. Police followed his car and pulled him over when he ran a stop sign. Smelling the marijuana, the police found two bags of the drug weighing about 25 pounds. They then returned to the house in the Bronx and found 310 pounds of the drug. Morgan was released on $8,000 bail.
ALISON HINDS, SOCA QUEEN, DISAPPOINTED IN MIAMI CARNIVAL—10/10/11
Alison Hinds, known as the “queen” of soca, criticized the disorganization that kept her from performing at the Miami Broward One Carnival. The singer, who is from Barbados, was very upset that she was not allowed to perform. She attributes the cancelled performance to the actions of the Carnival organizers, but is giving them a chance to explain what happened.
DESIGNER SUES ELEPHANT MAN—10/12/11
Dancehall artiste Oneil “Elephant Man” Bryan is facing a lawsuit stemming from an alleged failure to pay a Jamaican designer JA$1 million for clothing. The designer’s attorney is preparing a case against the musician if he does not pay his overdue bills. This is not the first time Bryan has faced financial problems. In 2010, his Mercedes Benz was seized from his home by the Tax Administration Department for failure to pay taxes, and he was charged with stealing electricity by the Jamaica Public Service agency.
SKATALITES POPULAR WITH YOUNG FANS—10/13/11
The pioneer Jamaican band Skatalites has found new fans among the younger generation in Canada. Lester “Ska” Sterling, 75, says he feels good playing among younger groups. Sterling is playing with eight new band members, since drummer Lloyd Knibb has died, and bassist Lloyd Brevett has retired. The group includes vocalist Doreen Shaffer, who worked with the original band in 1964-1965.
FOOTBALL COACH MARK MENDEL DIES—10/08/11
Mark Mendel, football coach, administrator, and business executive, died suddenly of a heart attack, closing another period of Jamaican football history. Mendel was born in Romania and held Israeli and Jamaican citizenship. He was responsible for changing the local football establishment in the 1980s and 1990s. He introduced the first professional football team in Jamaica, the Swallowfield Football Club.
JAMAICAN EQUESTRIAN HAPPY TO COMPETE IN PAN AM GAMES—10/09/11
Samantha Albert, Jamaican equestrian, is pleased that she will be able to join the competition at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in October 2011. She will be allowed to compete because the European Union lifted a ban on horses coming from Central America due to an outbreak of Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis. Albert says she is excited about going to the Pan Am Games. The Jamaican lives in the United Kingdom and will travel with a bay gelding, Culture Couture and compete in cross-country and show jumping.
JAMAICAN GYNMASTS TURNS IN GOOD PERFORMANCES IN JAPAN—10/10/11
Jaida Lawrence and Toni-Ann Williams placed 152nd and 167th, respectively, during the individual all-around qualification at the 43rd Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Tokyo, Japan. Lawrence finished 30th overall in the vault, 185th in the uneven bars and balance beam, and 181st in floor exercise. Toni-Ann had her best performance ever on the balance beam despite tearing out the middle of the palm of her right hand during the competition. She placed 86th in the competition. Physicians taped up her hand and she went on to compete in all four events.
SEPARATE FALLING SOCCER GOAL POST INCIDENTS KILL 3 CHILDREN—10/12/11
Jamaican authorities report that a 6-year-old has been killed by a falling soccer goal post in the third such accident in 2011. Jevaughn Bailey was playing on the field at his school in St. Ann when a post fell on him. A 7-year-old died in January 2011 at another school when a post fell on him, while a 9-year-old died in March 2011 when a gust of wind caused a goal post to fall on him.
Checking the Owner’s Manual
The warning light on the car’s instrument panel was one I had never seen before. My ignorance of what it meant at the time did not change the fact that it was “telling me” something was wrong. I had two choices. I could ignore it and hope it went away, or I could investigate and find out what it meant and take the necessary action. There was a good chance the first option could cost me much more than I would bargain for, my safety and wallet included, so that was not very appealing. It was also irresponsible. So considering myself a responsible person, I took the second option. There was only one place to check what the light meant and that was in the car’s manual. There I discovered that the light indicated low tire pressure. I took a walk around the car and the tires looked fine. Nevertheless, I figured that while it could have been a malfunction, the car manufacturers knew far more about the vehicle than I did, so at the nearest gas station, I put in the recommended pressure in all four tires. Sure enough, once the car started, the warning light went off.
As I settled into my seat, it occurred to me that this particular experience had a couple of significant spiritual lessons. The Holy Spirit is like the car’s instrument panel and because a part of his role is to guide us into all truth (John 16:13a), when something is wrong he warns us that we are straying or have strayed off course. That warning comes in different ways; maybe a check or feeling of restraint in our spirit, a discomfort with a particular decision, a “no” where we were expecting a “yes,” to name a few. How do we respond then? We can either ignore what He is saying, or we can refer to the Christian’s manual, The Bible, for corrective action. Either way, the choice is ours.
What is interesting about the Holy Spirit’s warnings is that they usually “stay on” for quite some time. Just like when I looked at the tires they seemed fine, we may do our own self-check and feel everything is fine. The thing we are pondering seems very advantageous to us; the decision we made seems and feels right. Yet, the warning is still there. It is God’s way of alerting us to something we need to attend to.
As you make your way along your Christian journey, have you checked your “instrument panel” lately? Are there any “warning lights” that you have been ignoring? If so, I encourage you to check your “owner’s manual.” It is far more reliable than your feelings.
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.