CHUCK SAYS REMOVING CORPORAL PUNISHMENT OF CHILDREN MEANS CHAOS—11/29/14
Jamaican Opposition legislator Delroy Chuck says that if corporal punishment of children is removed from the Sexual Offenses Act it would mean “chaos” in society and make criminals of most parents on the island. He cited a study from 2012 in which the United Nations Children’s Fund found that 89 percent of Jamaican parents used corporal punishment to discipline their children.
PROTESTORS OBJECT TO GOVERNMENT “DISRESPECTING” THE PEOPLE—11/30/14
Some 50 protestors gathered in Emancipation Park in New Kingston to demonstrate against the Jamaican government’s method of handling the controversy surrounding the National Housing Trust (NHT). The protestors called for a need for more accountability and respect for Jamaican citizens. They also expressed their frustration at how the nation is governed.
SURVEY FINDS POVERTY INCREASING IN JAMAICA—12/01/14
According to the Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions for 2012, poverty on the island increased to cover 20 percent of the nation’s population. Most increases in poverty were in urban areas, while most rural areas saw a drop in the poverty numbers. Researchers believe this shows higher earnings coming from agriculture. St. Thomas is the poorest parish, with a 32.5 percent poverty prevalence rate. St. Mary had the lowest rate at 9.4 percent.
SURVEY FINDS JAMAICA’S POPULATION AGING—12/02/14
Researchers found that the population of Jamaica is aging. According to a 2012 study from the Planning Institute of Jamaica, the trend toward an aging population continues, and the number of children per household continues to impact household size. The metropolitan Kingston area had fewer children than other towns and rural locations with similar conditions. This area also had the largest percentage of working age people between 15 and 64 years old. Rural areas had the largest percentage of elderly individuals.
PRIME MINISTER REQUESTS UPDATES ON NATIONAL HOUSING TRUST—12/03/14
Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has instructed the board of the National Housing Trust (NHT) to keep her up to date on developments occurring at the agency. She sent a letter to the NHT requesting she receive all the minutes of any meetings in which decisions are reached. Also, the accounting officer will keep strict oversight of what is happening from reviewing those minutes.
TIVOLI GARDENS ENQUIRY HEARS FROM WITNESS TO JDF ACTIONS—12/04/14
A resident of Tivoli Gardens testified to the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry in Kingston concerning his observation of a member of the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) grabbing another man and using him to smash a number of windows in a house during the operations conducted by the force in the community in 2010. Maurice Tomlinson described a number of acts of brutality he witnessed and experienced at the hands of the JDF on May 24, 2010.
MILLER SUMMONED TO EXPLAIN HER WORK AS CHIEF ACCOUNTING OFFICER—12/05/14
The permanent secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Onika Miller, has been asked to return to Jamaica’s Parliament to explain how she has been performing her job as the chief accounting officer. She was summoned pursuant to a request by Raymond Pryce, a member of the People’s National Party (PNP). Pryce was supported in his request by the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee. She is to respond to questions about her responsibilities of her job, particularly in regard to the controversy surrounding the Outameni situation.
MEMBERS OF OPPOSITION PARTY ABSENT FROM JAMAICAN SENATE—12/05/14
The members of the Opposition party did not attend the start of the upper house session, although it was unknown whether they were boycotting the session in protest of its scheduling without first consulting the Opposition about the timing. Senator Tom Tavares-Finson, leader of the Opposition, had criticized the decision to meet without first consulting his party and mentioned last week that he might not be available to attend.
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God’s Word, Our Response (Part II)
The Israelites experienced forty years of wilderness wandering because of unbelief. They allowed themselves to be influenced not by the word of the LORD but by what they heard from their peers. How many of us make that same mistake today? “Search the land of Canaan, which I [the LORD] give unto the children of Israel” (Numbers 13:2, KJV). The Word was not “which I *will* give” but rather “which I give.” That they had the land was already a done deal and all they had to from this point on was to follow the LORD’s instructions.
To walk in God’s promises and assurances requires us to see things and situations from His perspective. His track record is of such that nothing that He has ordained has failed to come to pass. Six times in Genesis 1 we read, “And God said … and it was so.” From our perspective, it does not always look like things make a lot of sense, and when we look around at what God says is ours, we are often filled with doubt. However, there are times when we receive a Word from the LORD that others do not always understand, but as long as that Word is consistent with what God has revealed of Himself, the child of God can stand with conviction on it. It is interesting to note that when some of the spies saw the land filled with giants, they immediately saw themselves not as the LORD’s children doing what He had instructed but reported “we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight (vv. Numbers 13:32b-33). Their inability to see themselves as the LORD saw them defined who they were, and they presumed others saw them as they saw themselves.
If God says you’re strong, then you are. If He declares you an overcomer, you are. If He says you can and that you will, you can and you will. Whatever He says of you, that is what and who you are. The issue is not so much what others say or believe about you, or even what you believe about yourself, or the different challenging situations you find yourself in. The challenge to every believer is this: what and whose report are you going to believe? The Israelites chose to believe the bad report and by doing so, they angered the LORD.
What does the LORD say of Himself? In Isaiah 55:8-11 we read, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (ESV).
If He says it, we can believe it. Anything else outside of that is irrelevant.