JAMAICAN NEWS: October 25th – 31st, 2014

GOLDING CALLS FOR “LINGERING” LEGAL CASES TO BE DUMPED—10/25/14
Jamaica’s Minister of Justice Mark Golding wants to see legal cases that have lingered in the court system for more than two years to be thrown out. A new law will require such cases to be dumped after two years, and once the deadline has passed, the case will be dismissed. Golding said a submission has been prepared on the matter for consideration by the Cabinet.

BLOOD BANK COULD FACE PROBLEMS DUE TO CHIK-V—10/26/14
The outbreak of chikungunya in Jamaica could mean challenges for the Blood Bank, just at the time of year when there is a high demand for blood. Medical professionals are unsure about when victims of the virus may donate blood, but there is agreement that they should be banned from giving blood for a period of between two weeks and several months. The National Blood Transfusion Service has stated that victims of the virus should be banned from donating blood for at least one month.

HIGH CELL PHONE BILLS FOR JAMAICAN MINISTERS CAUSE CONCERN—10/27/14
The high cell phone bills incurred by the members of Jamaica’s Cabinet are causing concerns among the Opposition. Members of the Opposition party are calling for the current administration to explain the high charges. According to an investigation by RJR Group, the government has paid over US$35,000 on cell phone charges in eleven Ministries between July 2013 and June 2014.

EXPERTS FROM CUBA TO HELP JAMAICA PREPARE FOR EBOLA—10/28/14
Two Cuban medical experts will travel to Jamaica to help the island train health care workers about appropriate responses to the Ebola virus. The experts will arrive via a Memorandum of Understanding between Cuba and Jamaica, formalizing Cuba’s promise to provide technical aid to make Jamaica’s response to Ebola stronger.

COMPANY IN U.S. WANTS TO GUIDE GOVERNMENT ON GANJA LAWS—10/29/14
A company based in Colorado is interested in sharing its regulatory expertise with the Jamaican government in regard to decriminalizing the use of marijuana. Franwell Incorporated is in Jamaica together with the Cannabis Global Initiative (CBI) to help the country create a viable ganja industry. Franwell was instrumental in developing a regulatory framework for the industry in Colorado.

CHILDREN’S ADVOCATE CALLS FOR ADDITION TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT—10/30/14
The Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) in Jamaica believes that the definition of domestic violence should include “financial abuse.” According to Diahann Gordon-Harrison, the Domestic Violence Act (DVA), one of four laws under review by Parliament, should be changed to address other relevant situations, including financial abuse. Financial abuse is extremely prevalent in Jamaica, she said.

WILLIAMS CALLS FOR STUDY ON ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF GANJA LEGALIZATION—10/31/14
Densil Williams, the executive director of the Mona School of Business at the University of the West Indies, believes that a study should be conducted to identify the economic benefits of marijuana legalization. Williams says it is important that Jamaica understands the value chain and does not believe that officials are clear at present on where the value added exists on the chain for marijuana production.

BROWN DEFENDS HIGH CELL PHONE BILL—10/31/14
Arnaldo Brown, Jamaica’s Junior Foreign Affairs Minister, said that the cell phone charges he incurred on his government-issued cell phone were justified. Brown’s charges totaled $1 million, and while he agreed these charges were high, he attributed them to the high cost of roaming for data and voice services. Brown admitted to his high cell phone charges after Television Jamaica issued a report showing that his phone bill represented a large part of the $5 million total charges incurred by 11 ministries of the government.

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“The Woman You Gave Me”

According to the Genesis narrative, when questioned by God regarding his awareness of his nakedness and whether he had eaten from the forbidden tree, Adam seemed to have had no reservations about blaming Eve. In response to God’s questions, Adam replied: “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (Genesis 3:12, KJV). In other words, “I ate of the tree but it is not my fault. My wife and companion, the woman you gave me, she gave me of the tree.”  With these words, Adam demonstrated an instinctive response that has been characteristic of every human being since. When confronted with a deviant behaviour or a wrong for which we are responsible, blame someone else.  The sequence of events in the garden that day affirmed this tendency.  When God confronted Eve, she blamed the serpent (v.13).  And so it continues.

These thoughts came to mind as I reflected on the words of the Psalmist, “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts” (Psalm 51:6a). David wrote those words after his transgression with Bathsheba (see 2 Samuel 11). He did not try to hide his wrong nor did he blame Bathsheba, a beautiful woman he saw naked while she was out on the roof having a bath, for their adulterous affair. When confronted by the prophet Nathan, he threw himself on God’s mercy: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest” (Psalm 51:1-4).  Change is only possible when we first take steps to acknowledge our wrong and take personal responsibility for our behaviours. For the believer this is an important first step.  David reminds us of God’s delight: “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (vv. 16-17).

Blaming others is easy. In doing so we irrationally believe that we do not have to take responsibility for our behaviours or our part in any disagreements. Instead of asking ourselves “What did I do to contribute to this problem?” “Is there something I could and should have done differently?”, like Adam we hide by blaming. Without even realizing it, we immediately start losing respect for those we deem blameworthy, we treat them with disrespect, and we come out of a stinky situation smelling like roses.  However, we fail to recognize that while it may make us feel good about ourselves, irrationally blaming others retards our personal and spiritual growth. There is no going forward until we come clean with ourselves, with others, and with God.

We all make mistakes and engage in regrettable actions. But by failing to take personal responsibility the road to constructive change is blocked. Better to blame others than to admit culpability. From our perspective, making mistakes means being flawed and being flawed means being unworthy of respect so we preserve self at all cost. But God does not see it that way. Walking with Him requires “a clean heart” and a “right spirit”; that includes taking responsibility for the wrongs we do. No matter the transgression, as long as we bare ourselves before Him, He is still in the business of forgiving. Just ask David.

 

CEW

 

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