THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
WYNTER PROMISES RESURGENCE OF JMD—08/25/12
Although the Jamaican currency is dropping close the J$90 mark against the American dollar, Brian Wynter, governor of the central bank, says that this is only the result of “short-term jitters,” which will end later in 2012. Normalcy is predicted in the foreign exchange market, including appreciation of the Jamaican dollar, once more capital flows in from multinational corporations, according to Wynter. These monies are linked to a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) due later in the year.
SUPPORTERS OF PATOIS WANT AN END TO ITS “DEMONIZATION”—08/26/12
Jamaica’s Minister of Education has lamented the fact that Jamaican students fell short in a CSEC English A exam, suggesting too great an emphasis on memorization, and believes that too little attention is given to higher forms of intellectual thinking. These issues only occur when there is an English language barrier. Most Jamaicans speak Jamaican, a Creole language with a grammar very different from English. Several experts, including the principal of Campion College and the president of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association, have noted that English is not the native language for most Jamaicans and that the Jamaican language should be recognized as the official language of the country in addition to English.
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT FAILS TO REDUCE MATERNAL MORTALITY RATES—08/27/12
The government of Jamaica confirmed that it will fail to reduce the nation’s maternal mortality rate to 25 in 100,000 live births. This rate was established in the 2015 millennium development goal (MDG). In spite of their best health efforts, this rate will not be met, according to Sandrea Falconer, Minister with Responsibility for Information. The current maternal mortality rate in Jamaica is 78 per 100,000 live births. The death rate was attributed to lifestyle diseases like hypertension, hemorrhages, and unsafe abortions. Indirect causes included cardiac disease, HIV/AIDS, and violence.
PRIME MINISTER ADDRESSES FOOD CRISIS—08/28/12
The Cabinet of Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has created a committee designed to address responses to the possibility of a major increase in food prices on the island. The increase is expected to occur due to a severe drought, which has affected large sections of the United States. This drought has already resulted in a record price of US$8.49 a bushel for corn. Several nations are taking steps to oversee their grain exports to ensure their own people have sufficient supplies.
CARIBBEAN AIRLINES DENIES NOT HIRING JAMAICANS—08/28/12
Clive Forbes, general manager of Caribbean Airlines (CAL), Jamaica Operations, is dismissing claims that the company refuses to hire Jamaicans. According to Forbes, the airline, which operates the Air Jamaica brand, promotes the best of skill sets in the Caribbean and involves using the best services and crew members. He said CAL is an “integrated” airline and that most of its employees are from Air Jamaica. Staff is rotated through different routes as part of the integration process, Forbes said. The airline employs more than 60 Jamaican pilots and over 140 Jamaica flight attendants.
JAMAICAN FARM WORKER’S FAMILY COMPENSATED—08/29/12
The Jamaican government will compensate the family of a Jamaican farm worker who died in Canada in August 2012. Horace Clarke, 42, died after a van in which he was riding veered into a ditch along the side of the road. Minister of Labor and Social Security Derrick Kellier met with Clarke’s family, telling family members the government will cover funeral expenses with funds from the Jamaica Liaison Insurance Plan. This plan offers welfare services to farm workers during the time of their employment.
DIVESTMENT STRATEGY MAY CHANGE—08/30/12
The government of Jamaica is considering a change in its strategy after three years’ of failure in offloading loss-making assets. The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) is refining the divestment policy and will go to the Cabinet in September 2012 to gain approval for a new policy. The goal is to make deals that are more attractive to private investors, said Milverton Reynolds, managing director of DBJ.
COUNTER-APPEAL FILED AGAINST JPS—08/31/12
The lawyer who represents claimants in a class action suit against the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) will file a counter suit with the Court of appeal after the JPS filed an appeal of the judges’ ruling. Justice Bryan Sykes found that the exclusive license provided to JPS is invalid, but JPS argues that the judge erred and his ruling should be dismissed. Hugh Wildman, lawyer for the claimants, is asking the court to find that the Sykes’ ruling was correct. No date has been set for the appeal.
JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
CARIBBEAN DIASPORA MUSEUM MOVES TO EAST HARLEM—08/25/12
The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute is moving its art, artifacts, and programming to a temporary facility on New York’s Park Avenue and 125th Street in preparation for its reinstallation at the permanent location, a firehouse in Harlem. The new facility, an 8,500-square-foot venue, is located between Lenox and Seventh Avenues on 125th Street. The museum is eager to remove itself from Midtown to “where we need to be,” said Marta Moreno Vaga, president of the institute. The move is made possible by a $5.2 million grant from the New York City Economic Development Corporation in 2008.
AUTHOR GIVES OVERVIEW OF JAMAICAN HERITAGE—08/26/12
Olive Senior, Jamaican-Canadian author, offered an overview of Jamaica’s heritage during the final lecture in a series associated with the exhibit of Jamaican art at Mississauga Art Gallery. The program was presented in partnership with the National Gallery of Jamaica. Senior is the author of the “Encyclopedia of Jamaica Heritage.” She is based in Toronto, Canada, but was born and raised in Jamaica.
JAMAICA DEFENSE FORCE WELCOMED BY D.C. NATIONAL GUARD—08/28/12
Representatives of the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) were welcomed to Washington, D.C., on an official visit to the United States Defense Department, U.S. Army, and District of Columbia National Guard. Major General Antony B. Anderson, chief of the defense staff of the JDF, and two of his staff members visited Washington to discuss goals for Jamaica and its part of the National Guard State Partnership Program. The visit is intended to strengthen professional ties between the two entities.
MEXICAN NAVY RESCUES JAMAICAN FISHERMEN—08/30/12
Three Jamaican fishermen, adrift at sea for 18 days, were picked up near Cozumel, Mexico, by the Mexican navy. Glenval Hall, Patrick Warren, and Nakaya Bennett, had been fishing abroad a 36-foot canoe when the boat had engine trouble. While attempting to fix the problem, the engine fell overboard, stranding the fishermen. After rescue, they were taken to the Immigration Center in Cozumel and examined by a physician before transfer to another immigration center in Mexico. Jamaica’s ambassador in that country facilitated their return to Jamaica.
CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
CARIBBEAN UNITES WITH LATIN AMERICA IN SUPPORT OF ECUADOR—08/25/12
19 DEATHS IN HAITI DUE TO TROPICAL STORM ISAAC—08/27/12
FLAMINGOS, WILDLIFE IN CURACAO THREATENED BY OIL SPILL—08/28/12
41 DEAD IN VENEZUELA OIL REFINERY FIRE—08/29/12
CATHOLIC AGENCIES ASSESS DAMAGE AFTER ISAAC—08/30/12
COUNTRIES IN CARIBBEAN PARTNER TO BATTLE MARINE POLLUTION—08/31/12
BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
JAMAICA IGNORING TRADE PORTION OF PETROCARIBE PACT—08/27/12
The PetroCaribe Agreement went into effect in 2006, and since that time, private sector companies have not availed themselves of a chance to repay part of Jamaica’s debt to Venezuela. This is the most important concessionary bilateral facility for Jamaica. According to Sharon Weber, manager of the PetroCaribe fund, $2.6 billion has been accrued to Jamaica as a rebate, and there is a trade component of the agreement by which nations can pay for oil with goods and services. Jamaica has yet to utilize this provision.
CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORIY “VIBRANT” IN JAMAICA—08/28/12
Jamaica is celebrating the historically “vibrant” civil aviation industry on the island as part of the Golden Jubilee, hosting an exhibit focusing on the importance of this industry to the island. The exhibit, “Aviation on a Mission,” has been mounted at the Winchester Road offices of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA). The first reported flight in Jamaica took place in December, 1911, and the first commercial flight landed in Kingston Harbor in December of 1930.
RECYCLING FIRM BASED IN CANADA EMPLOYS WORKERS IN JAMAICA—08/29/12
The Canadian recycling company Panther Corporation has provided 200 job openings for workers in western Jamaica. The project involves building the first solar-powered recycling center in the Caribbean at Montego Bay. The firm has invested US$26 million to build and equip the modular facility in Retirement, St. James. The plant covers 30,000 square feet.
SOCIAL PROGRAM FINANCED BY PETROCARIBE—08/30/12
According to Sharon Weber, the manager of the PetroCaribe Development Fund, reports that study scholarships and community projects supported by Venezuela as part of PetroCaribe are providing significant benefits to Jamaica. Most of the benefits can be found in the education and community development sectors, such as sanitation works in urban schools.
CARIBBEAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS SUMMARY provided by Caribbeantopnews.com
JAMAICANS VICTORIOUS IN REGIONAL ENERGY COMPETITION—08/25/12
FORMER AMBASSADOR WANTS TO ENCOURAGE A CULTURE OF INNOVATION—08/27/12
ORGANIZATION REPORT CREATES STIR—08/28/12
ELECTRICITY THEFT GOES HIGH-TECH—08/29/12
JAPANESE ANIMATION POPULAR IN JAMAICA—08/25/12
Anime, a form of Japanese animation, has become very popular among Jamaicans. Recently, a convention was held in St. Andrew that attracted over 300 participants dressed as their favorite anime characters. The Third Annual Anime Convention was sponsored by the Japanese embassy in Jamaica in partnership with JA Cosplayaz. Anime features dramatic storytelling and highly stylized characters with very large eyes, unique hair styling, and small bodies.
U.S. MUSIC SHOWS JAMAICAN ROOTS—08/27/12
A new book is following the influence of Jamaican music on the music of the United States. “Gil Scott Heron: A Father and Son Story” presents the life of the American music star Gil Scott-Heron and his father, Gil Heron, the first black football player in the Scottish Glasgow Celtic team. The book was written by Leslie Gordon Goffe, BBC world service correspondent. Scott-Heron died in May 2011 and is considered to be the “godfather of rap.” Jamaicans believe rap music has its origins in “toasting.”
BANTON GETS NEW ATTORNEY—08/29/12
Jamaican reggae artiste Buju Banton has retained a new lawyer, discontinuing the services of David Oscar Markus who has represented Banton, whose real name is Michael Myrie, since 2009 in Florida. The new lawyer, Chokwe Lumumba, 40, is from Mississippi. Banton’s case stems from a 2009 arrest on gun and drug charges. He is scheduled for sentencing in October 2012.
BUNNY RUGS SINGS FOR CHARITY—08/30/12
Bunny Rugs’ single “Land We Love” is ready to have a role in benefitting Jamaica. Rugs said the proceeds of the single will be marked to aid the Jamaica Children’s Heart Fund/Chain of Hope. The tune is available digitally. These two organizations perform open heart surgery on children at no cost and are endorsed by Rugs and his band.
BOLT, BLAKE THE STARS AT LAUSANNE MEET—08/25/12
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt ran the fastest 200 meters ever at the track in Lausanne for first place. Training partner Yohan Blake of Jamaica clocked 9.69 seconds in the 100 meters to be the joint second-fastest man in history. Bolt’s time in the 200 meters was 19.58 seconds.
RODMAN WINS FIRST ROUND AT T&T ABRAHAM—08/27/12
Jamaica’s Marloe Rodman was the victor in the one-kilometer hill time trial at T&T Abraham cycling competition with a time of one hour and 52.30 seconds. Rodman broke his own record and set a new one in that race.
ASHMEADE WINS 200 METERS IN BIRMINGHAM, FRASER-PRYCE TAKES SECOND—08/28/12
Nickel Ashmeade of Jamaica won the 200 meter competition at the Birmingham Diamond League meet, clocking 20.12 seconds. In second place was Tyson Gay of the United States. Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce finished second in the women’s 200 with a time of 10.90.
SPENCER SETS NEW MEET RECORD AT IAAF DIAMOND LEAGUE—08/29/12
Kaliese Spencer set a new meet record at the IAAF Diamond League in the women’s 400 meters. Spencer took the top prize at the meet in 2011 and had to wait after winning the 2012 competition after she was disqualified for a breach of the rules, but then reinstated following an appeal by Bruce James, MVP president. She won with at time of 53.78.
USAIN BOLT, YOHAN BLAKE SET MEET RECORDS; SHELLY-ANN FRASER-PRYCE IS THE 2012 DIAMOND LEAGUE CHAMPION – 08/30/12
Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake set new Weltklasse meet records in Zurich on Thursday. Bolt won the men’s 200 meters in 19.66 seconds the fastest half-lap race seen in Zurich. Blake blazed to a victory in 9.76 seconds in the men’s 100 meters. Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce won the women’s 100m in 10.83 seconds confirming her as the 2012 Diamond League champion.
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When Urgency Provokes Disobedience
Saul figured he could not wait. Earlier, in response to the Philistine threat, he had amassed Israel’s first standing army of three thousand men – two thousand with him and a thousand with his son, Johnathan (1 Samuel 13:1-2). According to the narrative, Israel had become an abomination to the Philistines. As along as Israel stayed a weak and subjected people, the Philistines were fine with that. However, as soon as the Israelites show some boldness in the LORD and were willing to fight against the LORD’s enemies, as Johnathan had shown in an initial attack, the Philistines considered them an abomination (vv. 3-4).
The Philistine army was formidable. “Thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the seashore in multitude . . . When the men of Israel saw that they were in danger (for the people were distressed), then the people hid in caves, in thickets, in rocks, in holes, and in pits. And some of the Hebrews crossed over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead” (vv. 5-7). Samuel, the prophet who had months before anointed him before the people, had set a time of seven days to return to preside over sacrifices but he hid not come (v.8). Feeling he was in a crisis with a frightened people and a large enemy amassed against him, Saul did the unthinkable. He said, “‘Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me.’ And he offered the burnt offering” (v.9).
There were two problems with this course of action. First, Saul plainly disobeyed Samuel. Second, he was a king, not a priest, and only priests were to offer sacrifices. He had no business doing what only a priest should do. When Samuel finally showed up, his first question was, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, then I said, ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the Lord [to seek His favour].’ Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering. And Samuel said to Saul, ‘You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you’” (vv. 13-14).
What terrible consequences! We cannot allow what we deem to be urgent to take precedence over that which is right. The temptation to cut corners are many! Yes, the human mind will always try to rationalize and justify our disobedience, but the acts of disobedience remain. Undoubtedly, Saul’s intentions were good but good intent that contradicts God’s Word has no legs on which to stand.
God honours obedience to His Word. Had Saul remembered that, he would not have lost his kingdom and more importantly, God’s favour. We are faced with the same dilemma today. Amidst the many competing priorities and decisions to be made, all not necessarily in keeping with God’s standards, what choices do we make? How much are you prepared to lose?
The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.