POLICE COMMISSIONER ANNOUNCES NEW POLICE UNIT—01/03/15
Dr. Carl Williams, former police commissioner, plans to announce that three important divisions in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will merge in order to create an elite investigative unit charges with looking into organized crime. The new unit is expected to combine the Organized Crime Investigation Division, the flying Squad and portions of the Transnational Crime and Narcotics Division. Devon Watkins, assistant commissioner, will head the new unit.
TRANSIT COMPANY TO ADDRESS ABUSE OF AUTOMATED FARE SYSTEM—01/04/15
According to the Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited (JUTC), people are abusing the automated fare collection system. The system depends on the use of concession cards by passengers who ride the buses. Clinton Clarke, marketing and communications manager, says that children are operating businesses using concession cards to pay their friends.
NATIONAL HEALTH FUND PROVIDED $3.6 BILLION IN SUBSIDIES IN 2014—01/05/15
With new beneficiary enrollments totaling about 38,000 in 2014, Jamaica’s National Health Fund (NHF) provided $3.6 billion in subsidies to fill over 3.7 million prescriptions. According to Everton Anderson, CEO of the NHF, the agency is continuing to reach out to those who have certain chronic illnesses and enrolling them in the Card and Jamaica Drug for the Elderly Program (JADEP).
PHYSICIANS CITE LACK OF RESOURCES AS REASON FOR POOR HEALTH CARE—01/06/15
Physicians responding to newspaper story that exposed the conditions that doctors at Kingston Public Hospital and Spanish Town Hospital must work put the blame for poor health care provided in Jamaica on a lack of resources. Among the incidents cited was the cancellation of 11 elective surgeries at the Kingston hospital in June 2014 because repairs required for elevators.
KINGSTON HOSPITAL GETS US$100,000 ASPIRATOR—01/07/15
Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) received an ultrasonic surgical aspirator valued at US$100,000 from the Canadian Jamaican Medical Assistance Society. The equipment breaks up tumors in the body, allowing for efficient testing. Dr. Natalie Whylie, senior medical officer, accepted the aspirator on behalf of the hospital, noting that it will ensure safer removal of tumors, shorter times in surgery for patients, and fewer complications.
JACKSON WANTS PARLIAMENTARIANS TO SPEND MORE TIME IIN HOUSE—01/08/15
Fitz Jackson, a government backbencher, is calling for members of Parliament to spend more time doing business in the House and less time in their constituencies. Jackson made his remarks at the first meeting of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC). Jackson said he told his constituents that they would not be seeing much of him because he was going to focus on doing his parliamentary work.
JAMAICANS FACE VISA CHANGES IN UK—01/09/15
In the United Kingdom, Home Secretary Theresa May stated that changes to immigration regulations would stop visa abuse. Jamaicans applying for visas to enter the UK may be barred by stricter Home Office rules. Discussing the changes with the Home Secretary is Jamaica’s High Commissioner in London, Aloun Assamba, who acknowledged the changes could make this difficult for individuals who abuse the system.
AGENCY REJECTS JPS APPLICATION FOR RATE INCREASE—01/09/15
Jamaica’s Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) has decided to reject the application made by the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) to raise its rates. Instead, OUR plans to reduce electricity rates by two percent on average. Kelly Tomblin, CEO of JPS, said the firm was relieved that a decision was reached, but was also disappointed at the rejection of the rate increase.
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Setting Your Sails
In his account of Paul’s journey to Rome, Luke tells of a brewing storm – a very strong wind blowing down from the island of Crete (Acts 27:14). He continues, “It hit the ship, and since it was impossible to keep the ship headed into the wind, we gave up trying and let it be carried along by the wind. We got some shelter when we passed to the south of the little island of Cauda. There, with some difficulty we managed to make the ship’s boat secure. They pulled it aboard and then fastened some ropes tight around the ship. They were afraid that they might run into the sandbanks off the coast of Libya, so they lowered the sail and let the ship be carried by the wind” (vv. 15-17, Good News Bible).
The last phrase is crucial. In light of the circumstances and to prevent the ship running into the sandbanks, “they lowered the sail and let the ship be carried by the wind.” In that sentence lies a profound truth – the setting of the sail determines the direction in which the ship goes. This truth is carried over into life in that it is our response to the situations around us that determines the direction and effectiveness of our lives. To every situation we bring a preconceived set of ideas and beliefs; a worldview that determines or influences our attitudes and behaviours. What one person perceives as an insult may be viewed by another as a compliment. Two persons looking a cup that is half-full may walk away with one person thinking it is half-empty. In other words, our perspective, the way our sails are set, determines our direction – our responses to our experiences.
In her poem, ‘Tis the Set of the Sail, Ella Wheeler-Wilcox writes: “But to every man there openeth / A high way and a low / And every mind decideth that way his soul shall go / One ship sails East and another West / By the self-same winds that blow / ‘Tis the set of the sails and not the gales / That tells the way we go / Like the winds of the sea / And the waves of time / As we journey along through life / ‘Tis the set of the soul / That determines the goal / And not the calm or the strife.” Notice, both ships are in the same body of water facing the same set of circumstances; the same wind causes one ship to go East and another West. “Tis the set of the sails and not the gales that tells the way [they] go.”
We do not have to be victims of our circumstances. We do not have to run uncontrollably into the “sandbanks” of life. Regardless of what we face, the contrary winds of life that are blowing, we ultimately decide how we set our sails; we always get the opportunity to do so (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). If we decide not to set them, they simply stay in whatever position they are in and we are at the mercy of the winds. We risk becoming shipwrecked. What will our response and attitude be in the face of hurts, provocations, trying times, discouragements, to name a few? It is easy to blame the circumstance for our actions and reactions, yet we must remember “tis the set of the soul that determines the goal and not the calm or the strife.”
Given the winds of life blowing where you are, have your checked your sails lately? In which direction are you going?