JAMAICAN NEWS: January 24th – 30th, 2015

weekly-news

U.S. TO HELP JAMAICA GET INTERNET COVERAGE ISLANDWIDE—01/24/15
Jamaica’s government is getting support from the United States that allows it to increase access to the Internet in rural areas and to implement initiatives designed to enhance sustainable energy options. The support is provided through two Memoranda of Understanding. One involves taking advantage of the unused television band spectrum. The other describes technical collaboration related to implementing clean energy resources in Jamaica.

IN 2014, OVER 900 CHILDREN SEXUALLY ASSAULTED IN JAMAICA—01/25/15
According to the Center for the Investigation of Sexual Offenses and Child Abuse (CISOCA) sexual offenses against children represented 907 of 1, 228 cases reported to the agency in 2014. Of those, over 500 involved intercourse with children under age 16 and 88 involved sexual touching. Enid Rose, the new head of the agency, stated she is very concerned about the high number of cases involving sexual assault of minors and plans to implement special initiatives to address the problem.

ON THE 2014 MISERY INDEX, JAMAICA RANKS NINTH—01/26/15
Jamaica is the ninth most miserable nation in the world, according to Cato’s Misery Index for 2014. However, Dr. Orville Taylor, sociologist, believes the measurement used in the ranking is not adequate to give a complete picture. The index lists 108 nations on the basis of information from the Economist Intelligence Unit, along with calculations made by Steve Hanke, professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University. The index considers inflation, loan rates, unemployment, and gross domestic product per capita. Taylor believes that the calculation method represents a flawed indication of development, since it does not consider freedom of movement, freedom of expression, or other types of sociological variables.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM GROUP OPENED BY ADVENTISTS—01/27/15
The Seventh-Day Adventist Church has launched a Jamaican chapter of the International Religious Liberty Association. The group defends the rights of all religions and faiths. The opening of the group in Jamaica was announced at Jamaica’s first Festival of Religious Freedom. Senior officials from the government as well as thousands of Jamaicans participated in the festival at National Arena in Kingston.

SCIENCE MINISTER WANTS TO MAKE JAMAICA A GLOBAL LEADER IN GANJA—01/28/15
Phillip Paulwell, Jamaica’s Minister of Science and Technology, Energy and Mining, reports that the government is committed to ensuring that the country is a global leader in exploiting the economic value of ganja and its derivatives. He said the framework for preserving and enhancing Jamaica’s position in terms of ganja initiatives is being created and that his Ministry will have an important part in developing medical marijuana.

GANJA INDUSTRY IMPACTED BY NEW BILL—01/29/15
Amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act brought by Jamaican Senator Mark Golding will prepare the way for decriminalizing marijuana for religious, medicinal, and personal use. The amendments will make possession of small amounts of the drug a non-arrestable infraction of the law. Such possession would remain “ticketable,” however. The legislation, which is expected to pass, will also allow Jamaica to exploit the economic value of marijuana derivatives.

YOUTH MINISTER FACES CRITICISM OVER PHOTO—01/30/15
Lisa Hanna, Jamaica’s Minister of Youth and Culture, is being criticized for posting a picture of herself in a bikini on her Facebook page. Some have called the photo of Hanna, 39, “inappropriate for a minister.” This is not the first time Hanna has appeared in a bikini, however; she won the Miss World competition for Jamaica in 1993. She has been involved in politics since 2007. Hanna’s supporters find nothing wrong with the photo, noting the fact that she was at the beach when it was taken.

VISIT PLANNED FOR STATE MINISTER OF INDIA—01/30/15
General Vijay Kumar Singh, India’s minister of state for external affairs, will make an official visit to Jamaica in February 2015 to strengthen ties between the two countries. Singh, who is also the state minister of the North East Region in the National Democratic Alliance government of Narendra Damodardas Modi, was involved in discussing with journalists in 2014 how diplomatic ties could be enhanced between India and Jamaica.

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Unfailing Faithfulness

Back in 1923 when Thomas Obadiah Chisolm put pen to paper and started to write, he had no idea that almost 90 years later, his poem, put to music by William M. Runyan, would continue to be sung by christians all over the world. As one of Chisolm’s more than 1200 poems, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” stands as the standard on the theme of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Kenneth W. Osbeck observes, “While many hymns are born out of a particular dramatic experience, this hymn was simply the result of the author’s ‘morning by morning realization of God’s personal faithfulness.'”

According to Osbeck, Chisolm, in a 1941 letter, writes, “My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me until now. Although I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.” What a great attitude! Amidst the challenging circumstances, he did not lose sight of what God, a covenant-keeping God, was doing in his life. We sometimes forget that our relationship with our God is a covenant and not a contract. When we fulfill our side of this ‘two-way promise,’ He is able to apply His infinite power and wisdom to our problems and trials. However, in our imperfection and no matter how many times we fail Him, His mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness remains unfailing (Lamentations 3:22-23).

How great is this faithfulness? Chisolm writes, “Summer and winter and spring time and harvest / Sun, moon and stars in their courses above / Join with all nature in manifold witness / To thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.” Everything speaks of this faithfulness. Why is this important? Because we can rely on it! As God has been in the Scriptures, He forever will be. Remember, He is a covenant-keeping God; with Him, there is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17, KJV), or as Eugene Peterson paraphrases it: “There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle” (The Message).

Amidst the hustle and bustle of life, God’s faithfulness is the only constant. If you take the time to count your blessings, you will find many wonderful displays of it right where you are. Are you simply lucky or is it that God has been faithful?

CEW