GOAT ISLANDS STILL UNDER CONSIDERATION FOR DEVELOPMENT—09/27/14
In spite of strong opposition from environmentalists, the Jamaican government is considering the development of the Goat Islands. Concerns about developing the environmentally sensitive area have been publicized since May 2014. Critics believe that a secret deal was made with a Chinese firm to construct a mega-freighter port in what is the largest natural protected area in Jamaica, endangering the tourism industry as well as the island environment.
JAMAICANS DISMISS SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATIONS FOR CHIKUNGUNYA VIRUS—09/28/14
Many Jamaicans are dismissing medical and scientific explanations for the spread of the chikungunya virus. They believe that the virus is air-borne and easily spread, rather than accept the explanation from doctors and scientists that mosquitoes are the chief spreaders of the virus. Investigators have found that even highly educated people in Jamaica are ignoring the evidence presented by science that mosquitoes are to blame for the virus outbreak.
GOVERNMENT TO USE TECHNOLOGY TO TRACK PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS—09/29/14
Jamaica’s government plans to use a human capital management enterprise system (HCMES) to keep track of public sector human resources activities. The system’s implementation has been delayed until November 2014. The date is three months later than that agreed upon by the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). No vendor has been selected to date, but there is a short list of providers, said Wayne Jones, deputy financial secretary in charge of human resources management. the system will cost US$15 million to design.
GOLDING SAYS LEGISLATION DRAFTED FOR DECRIMINALIZATION OF MARIJUANA—09/30/14
Mark Golding, Jamaica’s Minister of Justice, said that legislation has been written with the goal of decriminalizing marijuana in the country. The draft legislation would make possession of two ounces or less of the substance a petty offense by the end of 2014. Golding also expects decriminalization for religious use to be given the go-ahead by then as well.
ISIS CRIMES LEAD MONTAGUE TO TABLE MOTION IN SENATE—10/01/14
The beheadings of prisoners conducted by the Islamic State (IS) has resulted in Opposition Senator Robert Montague to table a motion about seeking information on Jamaicans who are detained overseas. Montague has called for A.J. Nicholson, Jamaican Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, to disclose how many Jamaicans are held in custody overseas, particularly in Muslim nations, and if these individuals are visited regularly by representatives from Jamaica.
DISAGREEMENT OVER STATE FUNDING OF POLITICAL PARTIES—10/02/14
Parlimentarians Everald Warmington and D. K. Duncan disagree over whether pending legislation to allow state funding of political parties in Jamaica would provide protection for the island’s democracy or whether it would push Jamaicans further into poverty. Duncan, representative for East Hanover, believes that financing political parties may reflect a “dangerous” type of populism. Those responsible for formulating the bill say political party registration and funding must be address because Jamaica’s democracy is at risk.
DOCTORS IN JAMAICA SAY THEY ARE NOT READY TO HANDLE EBOLA—10/03/14
Physicians at Jamaica’s hospitals, especially those at the University Hospital of the West Indies, say that they do not have the right equipment for handling the Ebola virus should an outbreak occur on the island. Some doctors say that they will not expose themselves by treating patients with Ebola. Concerns arose at a workshop on the disease when participants discovered that health officials on the island do not have the required hazard-management gear or personal protection equipment for handling Ebola that has been approved by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The current equipment used by first responders, physicians and other emergency workers are “useless” against the virus, according to doctors.
LONG DELAYS FOR TREATMENT AT HOSPITALS IN KINGSTON DUE TO PROTESTS—10/03/14
Patients wanting to access health care treatment at the largest public health facilities in Jamaica were expected to face long waits as administrative staff at the Kingston Public and Victoria Jubilee hospitals continued their protest actions. The protestors are participating in a sit-in demonstration to call attention to the fact that they are forced to work without the equipment required to do their jobs. Workers say that they do not have adequate resources to battle the Ebola virus as recommended by experts, for example.
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Baring The Soul
When was the last time you told God how you really felt? Not the last time you spoke to Him, but the last time you bared your soul and told Him exactly how you felt? It seems every time someone is asked “How are you?”, a “I am fine” or something similar is guaranteed. We have become very good at masking our feelings, our innerselves, and unfortunately we take that into our relationship with God as well. Sure we talk to Him at different times but how many of those prayers were petitions for things on our laundry list of needs? If we didn’t have physical and/or material needs that we have to rely on Him to meet, would we find a reason to talk to God?
These thoughts came to mind as I read David’s cry, “Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak” (Psalm 6:2a, KJV), and it occurred to me that we could just as easily substitute a number of words in place of “weak”. For starters, how about “worried”, “frustrated”, “angry”, “discouraged”, “fearful”, “troubled”, “overwhelmed”, “heartbroken”? For some of us, these are emotions that often go unacknowledged in our prayer times because we fail to realize and appreciate that God cares about how we feel. This is even more important in these challenging economic times when despite our best intentions we find ourselves troubled by life’s uncertainties. However, regardless of whatever emotions we experience, we can rest assured that “As parents feel for their children, GOD feels for those who fear [H]im. He knows us inside and out, keeps in mind that we’re made of mud” (Psalm 103:13-14, The Message). In other words, nothing about what we feel or the way we feel will surprises Him.
Someone may ask, “If nothing surprises Him why do we need to tell Him still?” One of the characteristics of functional relationships is vulnerability, the state of being vulnerable or exposed. In our natural relationships we want the people we care about to “expose” themselves to us when they are having those valley experiences that seem to sap their mental, emotional, and physical resources. Truth be told, we are hurt if they do not trust us enough to share those difficult times. It is that same kind of open relationship that God desires to have with us; one in which we trust Him enough to tell Him not only what is going on with us, but exactly how we feel.
From personal experience I can assure you that there is no greater balm for the soul than to bare our soul to the one who invites us to do so. The next time you speak with your Father, why not give it a try?