Hey Thou I walk

The daily drama experienced in my island paradise has provided new meaning to one of my favorite bible verses, as daily my refrain has become, “hey thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for thou art with me”. This verse has become very apt in my daily life, as each day I experience the forces of evil from quarters that one would not imagine, and in order to survive -“walk through the valley of the shadow of death” there are strategies that must be deployed, namely, seeking divine blood covering. For the person without a relationship with God, the question will be asked what does that looks like? 

Thanking God 

Lord I want yo thank you for your many gifts, you promised me Joy in my soul and moments by moments new mercies I see. All I have needed my God has provided, my son found a beautiful person who became his wife in a beautiful ceremony December 7. They are expecting their first child a son who the Lord has blessed, he will be called Joel Joseph Joscelyn James.  Joel meaning Yahweh is God, Joseph meaning increase/addition, Joscelyn being the 1st offspring 

Staying in authenticity

Recently, I have been reflecting on the root causes of the violence that permeates the society and I have identified a single factor that I know will be met with great controversy and contradictions. Over the years I have been privileged to conduct my own informal research on what is the single factor that is constant in man’s life whether he chooses or not is Woman. Comedians have said it in many forms and got away with it but scholars have not been so fortune as this is indeed serious business. Even with all the scientific breakthrough it still requires a woman to bring a child into this world be it boy or girl. In most instances during the very early phases of life we are socialized by women, they are our first teachers.

Go Ye

The Holy Spirit commands Believers to “Go Ye” and make disciples of all nations—-, (Matt 28:19) but we can only go if our souls say yes. We cannot go on the battlefield unprepared, we must take the Holy Spirit with us. Not being a Theologian, one might ask what qualifies me to speak with such authority about the awesomeness of God, and the workings of the Holy Spirit, but, He says, His Grace is sufficient.

Recently, I have been listening Sonnie Badu’s, “My Soul Says Yes” and it resonated, causing me to reflect on my Christian journey, an experience that started with me saying Yes to a call to come as I am. It was a Sunday morning when I was invited by the Holy Spirit to go to church and after a little urging I said yes, little did I know that this was the beginning of my new life.

Ironically, the call was for a big assignment that would eventually convict me as I was guided by the Holy Spirit to lead a powerful soul to say yes. Incidentally, at the time I was still only a visitor to church living large. I knew I had purpose because the Lord would give me big assignments that was demonstrably impossible by mortal man. He would also protect me from imminent harm and danger at times in the presence of my enemies. I got everything I wanted and I could regale you with the many incidents of hearing voices and being protected as I walked through the valley of the shadow of death.

I was teaching and transforming lives all over the world, in places that others would not dare to go but not necessarily winning souls because at points I thought it was about me. I thought life was beautiful, had all the material things I desired and was hype but empty, as I sought joy in worldly acquisitions and pleasures. So, to get my attention, the Lord removed my “idols”, first to go was the BiG seven figure salary and for seven years he used lack to humble me. This pervasive state of lack caused me to not only recognize but to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour, my only protector and provider, my everything. As it was through PRAYER, my daily talk with God that I survived each day with new found peace and joy.

Daily, I commune with the Holy Spirit and we are developing a beautiful relationship as I get to know him more. He provides the teachings as I evolve and grow and I am encouraged to impart HIs love everyday through my interactions. It’s such a beautiful feeling to wake up every day confident of God’s protection and provision. I have found peace in the storm, as I did not know one could be happy when broke but with the Lord as my Shepherd I never want. He has shown up for me in amazing ways and as I always say I’m not always compliant to man’s desires but I’m obedient to the Holy Spirit. I have found God for myself and daily I encourage others to find him and develop their own relationship.

Sharene E McKenzie

Road Safety a FiWi Choice a fiyu Choice to

As we continue to kill each other on the roads with our careless driving I just want to share a little p with you. 
Di killing on the road must stop, let’s all believe dat

if you late and speed you’ll be jus dat

Walk, ride and drive for life

speed is a dead end no need fi fly

Tek di plug outta yu ayes and stop gaze, car a cum get outta di way 

Mi ave a secret dat must be told, stop di one fi di road, obey di code

Safety a fiwi choice and fi yu choice too, bike mek fi two no carry few

Doh yu late no badda tailgate dat dey habit wi cause yu fate 
Mi heed yu advise mi a preserve life, di one wi save wi multiply 

Jamaica too great fi sum much a wi late, keep pon di left and be right always

Yu memba aunt Enid and uncle Ben a crash bring about dem end 

Heed di speed and no overtek round di bend 
Road safety a FiWi choice a fi yu choice too let’s look out fi others a dat wi fi do    
Written by Sharene NcKenzie


A Female Commissioner of Police

The Jamaica Constabulary Force in its 150th year has a female Acting Commissioner in the person of Novelette Grant. One might ask what is the significance of her ascension at this time. Some say its fortuitous others say it’s divine but only time will tell.

The JCF has come a long way since its establishment in 1867 when only men were enlisted to keep the rebellious subjects in check. It took ninety-seven (97) years, almost a century before women were allowed to join. Three females Sylvia Myers, Florence Nelson and Iris Tulloch joined in 1949. Of note is that one of the glass ceiling breaking trio retired in 1980 about the same time that Novelette Grant joined the Constabulary.

Women have made significant contributions in the evolution of this noble institution, and there have been a number of firsts recorded by females. Some of the more renown females that have blazed impressive trails include, Winnifred Hall-Wray, first female to break into the Commissioning rank, Jevene Bent, the first female to be promoted to the rank of Deputy Commissioner and first female to act as Commissioner, Rosie McDonald-Barker, the first female on a Prime Minister’s close protection detail, Ionie Ramsay-Nelson, the first female motorcyclist and many more keep breaking new grounds.

After sixty eight (68) years, there is an opportunity for Jamaica to appoint Novelette Grant as the first female Commissioner. We are not advocating that selection of the new Commissioner should be made based on gender or association but should take into consideration the current realities and the best person to bring about sustainable change.

It is noticeable, that for the first time in recent history, the appointment of the Police Commissioner has generated great interest through out the society. Various sector leaders have publicly and in private conversations stated the desired characteristics and qualifications that the next Commissioner must possess. The desired traits include, toughness, objectivity, fairness, accountability, integrity, and excellent communication skills to mention a few.

The new Commissioner will be expected to drastically reduce the current levels of crime and violence, decrease the high attrition rate, boost morale, engender trust and inspire and motivate colleagues to give of their best. With all that is required it seems they are looking for a super woman or the messiah.

The Police Services Commission has advertised for the position and the Minister of National Security has made it mandatory for applicants to submit a “crime plan”. It is noteworthy that the applicants will have to demonstrate their ability to address the abnormal crime and violence phenomena before taking office. We as citizens look forward to being engaged in process that produces a comprehensive national safety and security plan. Such a process should involve policymakers, the new Commissioner, the Chief of Defense and other key stakeholders.

The naysayers would want us to believe that finding all the desired traits in any one person or even worse, within the JCF is impossible. They would want us to believe that there is no end to our suffering but I beg to differ. The current crime and violence situation seems daunting and cannot be transformed overnight as only a miracle could achieve this, but with effective problem solving partnerships and forthright leadership, Jamaica, land we love can be the place to live, work, do business and raise family. Let’s play our part, think outside the box.

Bank Robbery 

We want Justice …..The Government (opposition and civil society) needs to rescue the citizens of this country from the rapacious banks, or run the risk of being complicit. What the banks are doing under the guise of (For Ease of Evading Service) fees is very similar to scamming…..taking people’s’ money without providing service and taking money that does not belong to you and boasting about it is not only immoral but should be illegal. As citizens we are trapped in a vicious situation, as we are forced by Government rules to take our money to these institutions and when we take it there we are abused without any mediation. I got up this morning to read my emails and was greeted with the news that effective March 20 a particular building society will join the game of oppression, they have posted increase FEES. We must stop the double standard, it is the behavior displayed by these institutions that is being mimicked in the wider society. It is contributing to the “madness” in the society, imagine having a savings account wiped out because you did no transaction and sadly if you did any transactions you would still have to pay. This is one of the only institutions that I know that you are required to pay to enter, pay while your in and pay to come out, this is akin to an abusive marriage. As the one with the power flaunts Billions of dollars for the other pain. Sadly, we call that Domestic Violence. I am all for business making profits and contributing to the society but as a people we must not be hypocrites, if you take people’s money for doing nothing, this is “corporate scamming” and it must STOP. I am pleading with Government, opposition and civil society please rescue us from these Banks. The church is too silent on this matter when there are biblical teachings that say this is wrong. Lev. 6 1-7. I know persons are afraid to speak out in fear of being punished but Enough is Enough, break the silence. The Lord is my Shepherd. 

Incentives for Peace Recently, we celebrated the absence of murder in the August Town community and we congratulate all the stakeholders in this effort. The fact that the community experienced no murder for 365 days is a demonstration that peace building initiatives can work.  However, it is of concern that the absence of murder in a community is an aberration and not the norm. The community of August Town ought to be commended for the novel approach of celebrating the accomplishment, as this will engender pride in the residents. In commending the effort we should also encourage other communities to share their stories of peace building so that others can experience the benefits of peace and come to recognize the consequences of violence. We applaud the Policy makers and others that seek the framework as we aim to stop the bloodletting in our society. Sadly, there is no one size fit all and while there are many variables that are replicable a key factor is community leadership. Each community is unique and while there are striking commonalities including the prevalence of murders, the socio-economic realities are oftentimes disparate. The question that must be asked; Now that we have experienced peace how will we sustain and replicate it. As a society we must develop new messages to communicate the behaviors we seek. We should invite all stakeholders not to focus on murders and mayhems but instead promote safety and security as we tend to receive what we give prominence. Let us make the August Town experience the norm. If we want to change behaviors for the better we must implement relevant socio-economic initiatives and endeavor that leaders model the behavior we seek. August Town has managed to effectively coordinate and implement the various social development initiatives that have resulted in a change in behavior.  We must also recognize that this is a continuation of efforts started many years ago that had its genesis in the earlier partnerships with the University of the West Indies and organizations such as the Peace Management Initiative (PMI), a testament that peace-building is a continuous process. So while we commend August Town we should never lose sight of the ultimate goal which is to sustain and build on the achievements. We must also recognize that communities at different times with strategic leadership have experience relative calm and improvement in their socioeconomic fortunes. The communities of Flanker in St. James and Craig Town in Kingston are two communities that in time past boasted no murders for extended periods while implementing a coordinated community development Programme. It was the experience of these communities that served as the catalyst for effectively engaging communities and resulted in the convening of 1st Inner-city Conference and the establishment of the Partnership for Peace initiative. As a society we must provide historical contexts as this is how we will be able to inform our young people of the past and mitigate errors We should also guard against reinventing the wheel especially in an environment of scarcity. We must tell other communities that there is great incentives in the promotion of peace. Let the August Town experience and others demonstrate that community transformation is a reality. 

Living In Hell

Jamaica, the once dubbed paradise is now a living hell where the utility companies, the telecoms and the banks prey on the citizens. Can you imagine a typical day when you are haggling with the National Water Commission who sends a bill for $12,000 for 2 bedroom, I bathroom apartment where 2 octogenarians reside for 1 month. If that was not enough, Digicel sends a bill for almost $5000 for a post paid mobile, this is after much conservation. Upon investigation it was revealed that the free nights and weekends that I was charged for was not receiving the service but instead was being charged fully on the nights and weekend. Well, for this I was assured by a supervisor that I will be reimbursed. If that was not enough imagine being charged over $26,000 after you thought you paid your credit card bill in full. I need to know if this is the way that these institutions are able to feast on their clients without any redress. We the citizens need to be more vigilant when we interact with these institutions.

The Jamaican Dya spora

It is very disheartening to see Jamaicans who proudly declare that they have been living else where for many decades and have done very little or nothing positive for JamaIca get up on soap box to bad mouth the country. I am the first to say that we are going through challenging times, that our crime rate is having a debilitating effect on our country’s growth and development but I will also be the first to proffer a solution and seek ways to implement that solution.

One such solution that I would like to put to our brothers and sisters in the diaspora is how about some real Foriegn direct investments for community development. How about contributing capital, a paltry amount of one dollar per month to help strengthen a Jamaican organization that is prepared to provide loans at lower interest rates with more creative collaterals and grants to budding entreperneurs. How about providing technical assistance to nascent businesses so that they thrive and employ more young people. How can you help us with the development of a real values and attitude campaign that engenders national pride so that we start valuing each other and make senseless murders a thing of the past. How can you help us provide tools for agriculture so that it becomes attractive for young people to farm instead of being praedial thieves. How can you mobilize your districts to become model communities with vibrant cottage industries supported by our diaspora. There is so much more to be said and I look forward to the opportunity to raise some of these issues. Let us take the rhetoric down a couple notches and tun up the action, I’m ready are you?