CHINESE ENGINEERING FIRM DONATES BUS AND TRUCK TO POLICE—12/20/14
The China Harbor Engineering Company Limited has made a donation of a Toyota Hiace bus and a Toyota pickup truck to the Jamaica Constabulary force (JCF). The donation is designed to enhance the police’s capability in providing traffic management and security on the North-South portion of Highway 2000. The vehicles will be used to provide security during the construction of the highway, as well as being used for security purposes for users of the highway later on
PARLIAMENT PASSES LAW INCREASING POWER OF ANTI-DOPING AGENCY—12/21/14
Jamaica’s Parliament has enacted a new law that makes structural changes designed to improve the operation of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO). The move is viewed as key to improving approaches to anti-doping on the island following a number of failures in recent times. The Anti-Doping in Sport Bill will also ensure that Jamaica complies with the World Anti-Doping Code, which will go into effect on January 1, 2015.
EXPERT BELIEVE GANJA SHOULD BE INTEGRAQTED WITH TOURISM—12/22/14
Ethan Nadelmann, a drug activist from the United States and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, believes that Jamaica could benefit by integrating ganja use with its tourism product. This would maximize the benefits of the drug’s legalization, he said. He also warned that Jamaica needs to create stronger penalties for the export of ganja, since any deal with the United States requires that no increase in exports to that nation would occur.
RESIDENTS OF CLARENDON URGED TO EMBRACE OLD VALUES—12/23/14
Winchroy Buddoo, the assistant commissioner of police in Longville Park, Clarendon, is encouraging the residents of the housing scheme there to embrace old values as taught by his parents and grandparents. He worried that the old time Christmas traditions and other values were being lost. He urged residents to “stick to our traditions” as well as to be “vigilant” about their safety.
GOVERNMENT URGING SAFETY OF WOMAN ALLEGEDLY ABUSED BY IMMIGRATION—12/24/14
Jamaica’s government has written to Bahamian leaders to urge that authorities take all precautions necessary to protect a Jamaican woman allegedly raped by an immigration official. The woman says she has been “in hiding” since the attack because her request for safe housing during the investigation has not been handled with any urgency by the Royal Bahamas Police Force, from whom she requested aid. She said she would not return to her home in the Bahamas because she fears for her safety.
LIME AWARDS WOMAN US$10,000 FOR CHRISTMAS—12/25/14
Crystal Edwards, a hairdresser, could not travel to New York City to celebrate New Year’s despite winning the LIME Jamaica MVP grand prize because she did have a United States visa. As an alternative, LIME provided her with the monetary value of the paid trip for two. She received a call from LIME telling her of her prize, but she thought it was a scam. She then called the head office and verified the reality of her good fortune.
GREATER PENALTIES FOR LITTERING IN 2015—12/25/14
Noel Arscott, a local government minister, stated that in 2015 there will be higher fines for individuals who litter in Jamaica. According to Arscott, he will present Parliament with a range of substantial fines to be levied on persons who breach Jamaica’s anti-litter law.
TELECOM COMPANIES WANT STRONGER SANCTIONS FOR COPPER THEFT—12/26/14
LIME Jamaica has suggested taking action against copper thieves, who have caused considerable problems for the telecommunications industry for some ten years. Stronger penalties may provide the answer in stopping individuals who steal copper wire, said Elon Parkinson, corporate communications manager at LIME. He also noted that in addition to the theft of the wire, the thieves put national security at risk, since the system is inoperable without the wires.
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“Remember Ye Not the Former Things”
As we stand on the threshold of another new year, some look back wistfully at the past year. Most of us would probably say the year has been one of mixed blessings; some successes interlaced with some failures. For others, it was a year of “what might have been.” There are things we wished we had done differently, things we probably regretted saying and doing. Regardless of where we direct our thoughts, one thing is clear – we cannot go back in time and change anything that was or was not done.
In his reflection on time, American poet and educator Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) writes, “Look not mournfully into the past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear.” However, centuries before, words to the same effect were spoken by the prophet Isaiah to the nation of Israel, “Thus saith the LORD . . . Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:16a, 18-19, KJV). There is something about focusing on the past that can often leaves us in a position of complacency and some of us can attest to that. We can become thoroughly satisfied with our successes or mentally and emotionally crippled by our failures. We can spend so much time looking backward that we fail to move forward timely and effectively. There is a reason the rearview mirror in cars are so small relative to the windshield. We glance back every now and again but we look in front. There are important lessons we can learn from our experiences and we should learn them, but let us not build tents around those experiences.
What are some of the things God wants us to forget? Our past losses, sorrows and sufferings; associations and traditions that hindered His working in our lives; the focus on self; past accomplishments and achievements that would distract us from offering glory to Him; and our failures, to name a few. As we begin the new year, God stands poised yet again to do new things that shall “spring forth.” If 2013 has been a year of failure and broken dreams, 2014 can be the opposite; if it was successful, there are more victories to be celebrated. We serve an awesome God to whom nothing is impossible (Jeremiah 32:26-27; Matthew 19:26).
Let us take God at His Word. Forgetting the former things and looking forward to the “new thing” He will be doing in our heart and lives. It is my prayer that He surprises us in ways far beyond anything we could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20), and I pray that especially for you and yours for this New Year. He is faithful that promised (Hebrews 10:23).