JAMAICAN NEWS: January 31st – February 6th, 2015

AUTHORITIES ISSUE APPEAL FOR MEASLES IMMUNIZATIONS—01/31/15
Health authorities in Jamaica are urging parents to have their children vaccinated against measles and other preventable diseases. The warning from the Ministry of Health follows a recent outbreak of the disease in the United States and Mexico. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 84 individuals in 14 states contracted measles in the first 28 days of 2015.

UWI PLAGUED WITH GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE—02/01/15
The University of the West Indies, Mona, has experienced a high rate of gender-based violence, including sexual harassment and other incidents, for some time. In 2014, the university advertized for someone to act as a counselor or sexual harassment advisor to deal with this problem. However, no one has been hired to fill this position to date. Experts note that because 70 percent of the UWI population is female, the area represents an attractive target for those who want to harass and assault women. The university administration stated that it is unaware of wide-scale cases of gender-based violence on its campus.

OPPOSITION BELIEVES MARIJUANA BILL COULD LEAD TO DISCRIMINATION—02/02/15
In the Jamaican Senate, Opposition members are warning that a bill designed to decriminalize the medicinal or religious use of marijuana could result in discrimination. According to Senator Tom Taveres-Finson, the bill gives the Minister of Justice the power to authorize groups he recognizes as Rastafarian to grow the herb on designated land. This gives the Minster the authority to decide who is Rasta and who is not, said Tavares-Finson, elevating the rights of some people over those of other Jamaicans.

JADCO HEAD SAYS AGENCY WILL INTRODUCE BLOOD TESTING—02/03/15
Casey Brown, the executive director of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), says that the agency is likely to introduce blood testing by the end of fiscal 2014-2015. He announced the plan at a ‘think tank” of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) in Kingston. According to Casey, JADCO is putting in place systems and protocols designed to take the agency where it wants to go o the matter. With funding from UNESCO, testing will be conducted by phlebotomy firms; several doping control officers, chaperones, and blood collection officers have already been trained.

JPS GETS OK TO BUILD 190 MW POWER PLANT—02/04/15
Although the Jamaica Public Service company (JPS) has been criticized by the Office of Utilities Regulations (OUR) and received disapproval from that agency for a request for rate hikes, it will go ahead with its plans to build a 190 MW power plant. Dr. Vincent Lawrence, chairman of the Electricity Sector Enterprise Team (ESET), said his organization is committed to adding 380 MW to Jamaica’s grid by 2017 and that the 190 MW plant is part of that program.

LOWE WARNS MARIJUANA FARMERS ABOUT POTENTIAL SCAMS—02/05/15
Dr. Henry Lowe, the chief executive officer and founder of Medicanja, the first medicinal cannabis firm in the Caribbean, is warning growers about scammers who only want to get as much as they can. He compared these scammers to the carpetbaggers who appeared after the Civil War in the United States who tried to take advantage of the conditions by making promises they had no intention of keeping. Dr. Lowe warned ganja farmers to be “wary of bad weeds in the ganja bush.”

INDECOM TO INVESTIGATE ELLINGTON LINK TO “DEATH SQUAD” POLICE—02/06/15
Jamaica’s Independent Commission of Investigators (INDECOM) has confirmed that it is probing former Police Commissioner Owen Ellington in connection with the alleged police “death squad” killings in Clarendon. Terrence Williams, commissioner with INDECOM, said, however, that Ellington is not the subject of a criminal investigation.

JAMAICA TO HELP WITH BARBADOS EGG SHORTAGE—02/06/15
The Jamaica Egg Farmers Association sold 300,000 eggs to Barbados already and is now waiting for word about whether that country will accept 200,000 more eggs to help with its egg shortage. The Barbados Agricultural Society president, James Paul, said the organization is attempting to determine whether it is feasible to do business with Jamaica rather than sourcing the product from the United States. Barbados would prefer buying eggs from a Caribbean nation, he said.

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DEVOTIONAL
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It’s A Heart Thing

There is something delightfully pleasing about doing something with one’s ‘whole’ heart. Even the dreariest of task can take on meaning and purpose when we put all of ourselves, so to speak, into it. It is the highest expression of effort, and even if the end results were not as expected, not very many people would argue with maximum effort. We can deduce therefore, that it is possible to do a thing halfheartedly, or even without much ‘heart’ into it. Sort of like going through the motions, just because.

I thought of this as I read and reread David’s “I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart” (Psalm 9:1a, KJV), and took note of two important determinations in that desire. Firstly, a casual reading of the verse does not capture the emphatic nature of the expression “I will”. The “will” is the mental faculty by which we deliberately choose or decide upon a course of action, and therefore implies a diligent purposefulness. Among all the options available to the Psalmist, he chose, diligently and purposely, to praise. That totally ignores whatever circumstances he found himself in at the time. His praise would not be situational. Secondly, he wasn’t just content to praise, but he purposed to do so “with my whole heart”. On this verse, I agree with noted Bible Scholar Matthew Henry who writes, “If we would praise God acceptably, we must praise him in sincerity, with our hearts, and not only with our lips, and be lively and fervent in the duty, with our whole heart.”

In Old Testament times, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Joel, to name a few, all challenged the people to serve/love God “with all your heart”. Through Jeremiah, God declares, “ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (29:13). When Jesus was asked which was the great commandment in the law, He mentioned two, the first being, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37). God has not changed. What He desired then, He still desires now: nothing but the very best of ourselves, all of our hearts, in love, in praise, and in worship.

It is not enough to merely go through the motions as God takes no delight in such actions. In this quiet time of reflection, now is as good a time as any for a heart check. “I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart”; can you say that? Remember, it is not based on situations or emotions.  It is a heart thing.

 

CEW

 

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