THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
JPS “ARROGANT” ACCORDING TO PAULWELL—05/19/12
Phillip Paulwell, Jamaica’s Energy Minister, believes the government could sell the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) to new investors as an option, rather than let the utility company maintain what he calls its “monopolistic arrogance.” He did not mention how Jamaica could force a sale of the energy company, however. A sale would probably require a takeover if its owners do not support the plan because the government has a minority holding of nine percent. This latest effort to end the monopoly of the JPS on the distribution of power follows a remark by the company’s CEO Kelly Tomblin that the country would probably have to buy out the majority holders if it wanted to liberalize its operations.
U.S. JUSTICE BREYER VICTIMIZED BY BURLARY A SECOND TIME—05/19/12
United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, whose Caribbean home was burglarized in February 2012 by a man carrying a machete, has had his home in Washington D.C. broken into as well. No one was in the home at the time of the break-in, which was discovered on May 4, 2012. When in the United States, Supreme Court justices rely on the Court’s security officials; when traveling outside of Washington, the U.S. Marshals Service has the responsibility for their security. No details were provided about the latest crime against Breyer because the investigation is ongoing.
HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP IN JAMAICA GLAD OF POLICE APOLOGY TO DIGICEL—05/20/12
Jamaicans For Justice (JFJ) praised the Police High Command for apologizing to Digicel about the behavior of police participating in a raid conducted by tax authorities on the telecommunications firm. The JFJ now expects the same courtesy be given to other Jamaicans if it is found that police act in an unprofessional manner. According to the head of the JFJ, Carolyn Gomes, if the police can apologize in one situation, they can treat similar situations in the same way.
JAMAICA AWARDED FIRST SAFETY AWARD—05/21/12
Jamaica’s Ministry of Transport, Works, and Housing has received the first International Road Federation (IRF) Decade of Action Find A Way Award. The Ministry, led by Dr. Omar Davies, has acted as overseer of a regulatory overhaul and infrastructure improvement plan under the national Save 300 Lives campaign. The campaign seeks to provide safe traffic conditions for all the users of Jamaica’s roads. The award was given in recognition of a decision by the Ministry to disallow the use of fishtail or turned-down barrier terminals on new road projects. This follows guidelines issued by the IRF for safe roadside design.
CRIMINALS IN JAMAICA BUY COSTLY BOAT PASSAGE TO U.S.—05/22/12
Jamaican criminals have found a new way to avoid local law enforcement officials and travel to the United States. They buy safe passage to the U.S. via local fishermen who work with their counterparts in the Bahamas and Miami, Florida. Many suspected drug and gang leaders are using this method to escape arrest. Local fishermen have been involved in similar activities in the past. Criminals know that the 106 miles between the Bahamas and Miami offers cover, since individuals travel legally along this route.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL LAMENTS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN JAMAICA—05/23/12
The 2012 report from Amnesty International has called attention to the fact that there has been no accountability for the alleged violations of human rights that occurred under the 2010 state of emergency. The Public Defender conducted an independent probe into the alleged violations, but had not submitted a report of findings as of the end of 2011. The organization noted that the number of individuals killed by police in the first six months of 2011 dropped by 32 percent over the same period in 2010. However, several of those that were killed seem to have been the victims of “extra-judicial” executions.
TAX MEASURES ANNOUNCED BY GOVERNMENT—05/24/12
Dr. Peter Phillips, Jamaican Minister of Finance, announced the creation of new measures designed to raise $23.4 billion in additional tax revenues. The General Consumption Tax (GCT) will be reduced by one percentage point from 17.5 percent to16.5 percent, but more items will lose their exemption from the CGT. For example, milk-based products and condensed milk, along with saltfish, will be taxed. Chicken and sanitary napkins will continue with the tax-free status, said Phillips. There will be a special tax of $9.50 imposed on each liter of alcoholic beverage under the new tax regime.
“DUDUS” TO BE SENTENCED ON JUNE 8, 2012—05/25/12
Jamaican drug kingpin Christopher “Dudus” Coke will be sentenced on June 8, 2012, in a New York court. He faces 23 years in prison in the United States after being convicted on charges of racketeering and conspiracy. Prosecutors in the U.S. used the testimony of Anthony Brown, former assistant track and field coach at a St. Catherine high school, to strengthen their case against Coke. Brown said he left Jamaica in 2001 because he was afraid Coke would murder him.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
FELLOW JAMAICAN TESTIFIES AGAINST “DUDUS”—05/22/12
Jermaine Cohen, 37, testified in the case of Jamaican crime boss Christopher “Dudus” Coke, telling the court about how Coke drafted him into his drug gang. Cohen described the Coke system during a sentencing hearing. Prosecutors called Cohen to the stand in an attempt to convince the judge to sentence Coke to the maximum of 23 years for his conviction on racketeering and assault charges.
JAMAICAN CRIMINALS SMUGGLED FROM BAHAMAS—05/23/12
A search for a group of missing Jamaicans has brought to light an illegal trafficking plan that used the waters around the Bahamas to smuggle criminals into the United States. The alleged smuggling route goes from Grand Bahama and Florida, allowing Jamaican criminals a safe way to avoid law enforcement. This is a plan used by high-profile gang and drug trafficking leaders. The police in the Bahamas remain silent on the matter of the missing Jamaican men, whom they believed were trying to enter the U.S. illegally at a cost of $5,000 each.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA CONVENTION SPARKS BOOK GIFT—05/24/12
Kevin O’Brien Chang is the author of “Jamaica Fi Real.” He presented a copy of this book to Marlene Malahoo Forte, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in Jamaica. The book’s presentation is a prologue to the upcoming Jamaican Diaspora Convention, which will be held between June 15 and June 17, 2012, in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Chang is a member of the Jamaican Diaspora who lived in Canada for 15 years, but who has returned home to Jamaica. The Jamaican Diaspora totals some 3.3 million people and is an important part of Jamaica’s global plans.
JAMAICAN WINS GOLD MEDAL AT UK’S CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW—05/25/12[
The Jamaican Horticultural Society received a gold medal for Plant of the Year and the Royal Horticultural Chelsea Show in the United Kingdom. The Jamaican team was greeted by Queen Elizabeth II at the special. Team members said they had hoped to take first place after winning 11 Silver Gifts Awards over the past 16 years of entries. The team comprises volunteers from the island.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
HUNDREDS OF FORMER SOLDIERS MARCH ON HAITIAN CAPITAL—05/19/12
TWO AMERICAN MEN ARRESTED IN HAITI AT PRO-ARMY MARCH—05/20/12
DOMINICANS CHOOSE NEW PRESIDENT—05/21/12
PRIME MINISTER OF BARBADOS PRAISES CARIBBEAN WRITERS—05/22/12
MYSTERY SURROUNDS CUBA’S UNDERSEA INTERNET CABLE—05/23/12
CONCACAF ATTEMPT TO GET BLAZER OUT OF FIFA—05/24/12
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BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
TOYOTA JAMAICA EXPANDS OPERATIONS TO MONTEGO BAY—05/19/12
Company operations will be expanded beyond Kingston to Montego Bay in August 2012, according to Tom Connor, head of the dealership of Toyota Jamaica Limited. The firm is actively recruiting administrative, technical, and sales staff, along with a branch manager, for its new 1.5-acre facility. The timing of the expansion was prompted by the moves of a competitor to the area. Eighty percent of Toyota Jamaica is owned by the Toyota Tshusho Corporation of Japan and 20 percent by Janet Panton. The firm sold 1,700 units in Jamaica in 2011, which shows that about 20 percent of its business comes from western Jamaica. The new operations will better serve this market, said Connor.
MAHARAJ WANTS AATT CONTRACTS INVESTIGATED—05/20/12
The Transport Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Devant Maharaj, would like the Integrity Commission to investigate a board member of the Airports Authority of T&T (AATT) for allegedly giving contracts to companies that he owns. The revelations were made during a media interview after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Caribbean Airlines and the University of T&T. According to Maharaj, a board member of the AATT made decisions, along with two other board members and the chairman, concerning human resource contracts. The member in question received three contracts at a cost of $4 million.
ELECTRICITY MONITORS CAN LEAD TO MORE EFFICIENT ENERGY USE—05/23/12
Solarbuzz Jamaica wants to help individuals reduce their electricity costs. The firm is ready to help consumers attain a desired level of energy used by installing an Owl Electricity Monitor. The monitor allows users to see and keep track of their energy consumption. It plugs into the break panel and shows how much electricity each appliance at a location uses. The initial cost of installation is $24,000, but in the first month, customers can see a reduction of 20 percent to 30 percent in their electricity consumption.
PAN JAMAICAN INVESTMENT TRUST BUYS SHARE OF CHUKKA CARIBBEAN—05/24/12
Pan Jamaican Investment Trust has acquired a 20 percent stake in Chukka Caribbean, a tour operator held by the Melville family. Pan Jamaican paid US$4 million for its share in the company. According to Stephen Facey, president and CEO of Pan Jam, the price was only disclosed after directors from both organizations met to discuss the issue in the corporate office in New Kingston. Pan Jam’s new investment strategy involves targeting profitable organizations that earn foreign exchange.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
JN FINANCIAL SERVICES LAUNCHES NEW TYPE OF CASH MACHINE—05/19/12
LOYALTY TO BLACKBERRY DEVICES LESSENS AMONG JAMAICANS—05/20/12
FIRST ENERGY INSTITUTE OPENS IN CARIBBEAN—05/22/12
JAMAICAN NEWSPAPER GROUP TO FOCUS ON DIGITAL STRATEGY—05/23/12
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BEENIE MAN APOLOGIZES TO GAY COMMUNITY—05/19/12
The Jamaican reggae artiste Beenie Man has issued an apology to the gay community for his “homophobic” lyrics. In a new video, Beenie Man says that he has nothing against anyone and that he respects every human being, regardless of their beliefs or sexual preferences. He asked the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community not to base opinions of him on song he sang 20 years ago.
FEWER JAMAICAN MUSIC ACTS INVITED TO ZIMBABWE—05/20/12
Following a number of concerts that featured Jamaican reggae and dancehall musicians, music promoters in Zimbabwe have decided to book more African acts for concerts in their nation. According to unnamed promoters, people in Zimbabwe are tired of Jamaican reggae artistes taking over the international shows. The trend was started by Bob Marley when he performed in Zimbabwe in 1980 in a concert that honored the nation’s anniversary of independence.
SEAN PAUL UNVEILS NEW SINGLE FOR OLYMPIC GAMES—05/21/12
Sean Paul, a Grammy-winning Dancehall star, has created a new single that is designed to boost the enthusiasm of Jamaica’s athletes and fans at the 2012 summer Olympics in London. The single, “Hold On,” from Paul’s album “Tomahawk Technique,” is an Olympic anthem for Jamaican athletes in particular and international athletes generally. It speaks of the goals that Jamaican artistes have for the games and provides inspiration to people to do their best in whatever they may do.
JAMAICAN MUSIC STARS TO PERFORM AT ADIDAS JAMBOREE IN NEW YORK—05/22/12
A number of top dancehall and reggae artistes will participate in the Adidas Jamboree concert on Randall’s Island, New York, on June 9, 2012. Among them are Shabba, Shaggy, Richie Stephens, and Fay Ann Lyons. The concert will be a celebration of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence and will occur after the yearly Adidas Grand Prix track event.
WINTER OLYMPIC HOCKEY TEAM HOPES FOR JAMAICA ENHANCED—05/19/12
The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) accepted Jamaica and Qatar as its 71st and 72nd members at the organization’s Annual Congress for 2012. While not known for their cold weather, the two countries join a number of non-traditional hockey nations included in the IIHF membership. There is only one ice rink in Jamaica and just 20 players, but acceptance into the IIHF represents a first step toward larger goals. The Jamaica Olympic Ice Hockey Federation was founded in the winter of 2011.
JAMAICAN WOMEN GOLFERS COMPETE IN CARIBBEAN CLASSIC—05/20/12
Six Jamaican women will compete in the 2012 Caribbean Classic golf tournament May 24-26 in the Dominican Republic. The site of the tourney is the Casa de Campo Resort and Golf Club in La Romana. The team event includes groups of unlimited number from each member nation participating in the Caribbean Gold Association (CGA). They play 188 holes each day of the competition. The Jamaican women’s team includes Jodi Munn-Barrow, Michelle Gabay, Leiz Munn-Blakely, Rowena Coe, Shelley Hendrickson, and Celsa Nuno.
JAMAICANS IMPRESSIVE IN SHANGHAI DIAMOND LEAGUE MEET—05/21/12
Jamaicans Veronica Campbell-Brown and Novlene Williams won with impressive results in the 200 meter and 400 meter races, respectively, at the Shanghai Diamond League in China. Fellow countryman Asafa Powell achieved an easy victory in the men’s 100 meters as well, defeating Michael Rodgers on a wet and windy day. Campbell-Brown ran the 200 meters in 22.50 seconds, while Powell won his race with 10.02 seconds.
BOLT SET TO IMPROVE SEASON’S BEST TIME—05/22/12
Usain Bolt, Jamaican sprint champion, plans to improve upon his best performance in the 100 meters thus far this season when he races in his first competition in Europe before the 2012 Olympics in London. Bolt won three gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and clocked 9.32 seconds in a 100-meter race in Kingston, Jamaica on May 5. Bolt says he definitely wants to run the distance faster, maybe 9.7 seconds.
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Doing Whatever It Takes
The house in which Jesus was teaching was packed with people who had come from all over Capernaum to hear Him speak. It was then that the four men came. Even if they were by themselves there was no room for them because not only was the house packed, but its entrance was so jammed that “no one could get in or out” (Mark 2:2, The Message). But they were not alone; they had brought with them a man, perhaps a family member or friend, who was sick with the palsy and whom only Jesus could heal. The problem was they were not likely to receive any sympathy from those present; no one was going to let them in.
In an act of creative desperation, the friends decided there was only one way to get Jesus’ attention. The narrative continues, “When they weren’t able to get in because of the crowd, they removed part of the roof and lowered the paraplegic on his stretcher” (v.4). Back in the day, houses in the east were generally flat-roofed and people engaged in social activities on them (remember David strolling on the roof of the palace when he saw Bathsheba – 2 Samuel 11:2). A trap door led from the roof into the house and it was this door that the men removed. If they could not get him in through the door, they were going to use the next best available option. They would do whatever it took to ensure Jesus was aware of the man with the palsy. After all, the fact that he had to be carried said a lot about his condition.
We are not told that the man or his friends professed faith in Jesus’ ability to heal him. In fact, up to this point no words were exchanged between them and Jesus. However, in this instance words were not necessary because their actions spoke volumes about their faith. It could not have been easy to get the man on his stretcher, which was “probably a mattress, or perhaps a mere blanket spread to lie on, so as to be easily borne” to the roof but they did it. The text tells us, “When Jesus saw their faith” and after responding to the religious leaders on some points of objection they raised, He said to the man, “Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion” (vv. 11-12, KJV).
The situation was desperate and it demanded desperate action. These men could have been easily discouraged by the crowd present but to have done so they would have missed Jesus’s miracle. Nowhere in the text are we told that anybody else was healed while He was in the house. These men knew where He was and were not prepared to allow obstacles to stop them from reaching Him. Do you have that desperate kind of faith? Is there something pressing you need that only God can provide? No, we do not have to take off roofs to reach Him but what was true then is still true today; faith moves the hand of God and without it, it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6).
Are you prepared to do whatever it takes to get your miracle? If so, what is stopping you from doing it?