JAMAICAN NEWS: January 17th – 23rd, 2015

TRAVELERS TO EBOLA COUNTRIES QUARANTINED—01/17/15
Jamaica’s Ministry of Health has initiated the successful quarantine of eight travelers visiting the island from nations with outbreaks of the Ebola virus. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, Minister of Health, said the quarantines were implemented to protect Jamaica’s population and to minimize the risk that the virus would be introduced in the country.

UN TO CONDUCT REVIEW OF JAMAICA’S TREATMENT OF CHILDREN—01/18/15
The United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of the Child will conduct a review of Jamaica’s handling of children’s rights. Among the issues to be investigated are the state of children’s homes on the island and the treatment of children who are wards of the state. A Jamaican delegation to the UN, led by Lisa Hanna, Youth Minister, will answer questions during a session held in Geneva, Switzerland. Jamaica is required to submit reports on its progress in creating measures to promote the rights of children under the UN Convention of Rights of the Child, which Jamaica ratified in 1991.

PRIME MINISTER SAYS TIME IS RIPE FOR BUSINESS EXPANSION—01/19/15
Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is encouraging businesses to invest and expand operations on the island right now. She believes this is an excellent time for business expansion because the nation’s economy is being managed better and because of the lowering of global oil prices.  Simpson Miller madder her remarks on a tour of a new Lasco plant in St. Catherine.

COMPLIANCE NOT IMPROVED BY EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT—01/20/15
The government of Jamaica implemented a plan designed to give taxpayers an incentive to file their monthly tax returns on time. The employment tax credit (ETC) has made only a minimal impact on compliance rates during the year it has been in operation, however.  Since the plan was introduced, only some 30 percent of employers have met the deadlines for paying statutory deductions each month.

PARLIAMENT WILL VOTE ON MOVING TO CARIBBEAN COURT OF JUSTICE—01/21/15
Since 1962, Jamaica has made final appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. However, the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on legislation that will make the Caribbean court of Justice the highest appellate court for Jamaica. On April 28, 2015, the House will vote on proposals to move the appeals process from the Privy Council to the Caribbean Court of Justice. Jamaica’s constitution requires a two-thirds majority to make this change. Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has supported the change since winning the 2012 election.

GOVERNMENT CONSIDERING BILL TO DECRIMINALIZE POT POSSESSION—01/22/15
The Cabinet of Jamaica has given its approval to a bill comprising drug law amendments that would eliminate criminal charges for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The amendments would also smooth the path for a legal medical marijuana industry in the country. According to Minister of Justice Mark Golding, the legislation will be introduced to the Senate by the end of the week.

JPS TO USE NEW TOOL TO DISCOVER THEFT OF ELECTRICITY—01/23/15f
The Jamaica Public Service company (JPS) will obtain a new tool that will allow it to know when electricity is being stolen. Under a contract with the World Bank and Impact Lab, an analytical application tool will be developed for the agency to use. The contract totals US$60,000, with the pilot phase of the tool’s implementation to begin by the end of 2015’s first quarter.

BRITON STRANDED IN JAMAICA TO BE AIDED BY UK HIGH COMMISSION—01/23/15
A British resident has been stranded in Jamaica after a visit because of his immigration status. Lloyd Bogle, 64, now says he is “encouraged” since the British High Commission in Jamaica will investigate his situation. Bogle has been living in England for over 50 years and came on a two-week visit to Jamaica in September 2014. Since he does not have British citizenship, Bogle needs a visa to return to England. He was denied such a visa by the British High Commission in Jamaica, however. Now Sandrea Falconer , Jamaica’s Information Senator, will also be helping by contacting Jamaica’s High Commissioner to London for assistance in the matter.

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DEVOTIONAL
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“Send Me”

It is not unusual to hear someone say they wished there were more than 24 hours in a day. That’s usually because there is so much to do in what seems like so little time. The demands of life presses in on us so much so that trying to find balance is like trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack. So many things and people calling for our attention, and to take on anymore responsibilities means that something else will have to give. For some of us, our lives are that full.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the believer’s day, there is a call that often time goes unheard, or unnoticed. Maybe it is one that we hear but somehow ignore, not so much because we want to, but because it too requires that precious commodity, time, to get completed. It is the same call that echoed in the ears of the prophet Isaiah, who as he stood amidst the demands of his day, beheld the glory and holiness of the LORD and “heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isa. 6:8a, KJV) Could any other call be any more important? The prophet certainly did not think so as he immediately responded, “Here am I; send me” (v. 8b). In the busyness of your day, and life, how would you have responded?

God is looking for men and women who are willing to make themselves available to Him for service. When Isaiah made himself available, the LORD directed him to “Go, and tell this people…” (v. 9a). Every day, in our spheres of influence – at work, at school, or play – there are those to whom God would send a word. As His representatives on the earth, we have the responsibility of making ourselves available to carry that Word. Our call may not come in the manner of a vision like Isaiah’s, but if we ensure that the peace of God stands guard over our hearts and minds (Phil. 4:7), we just might hear the Holy Spirit’s whisper enquiring of our availability. We cannot afford for our lives to be so full that we become insensitive to the inner promptings of His work.

“Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” I pray God that every one of us who hears that question will respond: “Here am I, send me”. Other than the call to salvation, there really is no other call in this life that is more important.

 

CEW

 

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