Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Marijuana Healthier Than Cigarettes

“…those who occasionally smoked marijuana as compared to smoking cigarettes had less damages to their lungs than the participants who smoked cigarettes.”

Alcohol and tobacco use have been legal in our societies for many years now. marijuana use, though, is out lawed and sometimes seen as a taboo. Yet many persons who support marijuana use strongly contend that alcohol and cigarettes use are statistically more damaging and deadly than use of marijuana.
Marijuana activists seem to have been given a shot in the arm from the results of a new study just released in the
Journal of the American Medical Association. Over the last twenty years, the study worked with some five thousand Americans who engaged in smoking marijuana and smoking cigarettes. The striking results show that those who occasionally smoked marijuana as compared to smoking cigarettes had less damages to their lungs than the participants who smoked cigarettes.
I can just imagine that marijuana defenders would be all delighted with this new study; however, this news has to be accepted with a “spliff” of caution. Yes, smoking little amounts of marijuana is not as dangerous to your health as smoking cigarettes. This is true if one smokes marijuana in moderation about once per week.
Even before this new study was released, it was already scientifically proven that marijuana as a substance does have some chemicals that are actually good for your health. For example, marijuana has proven to be a good reliever of pains. There are some four hundred or so chemicals in the marijuana plant; however, just about twenty-five per cent of these chemicals are good for the body. So the problem lies with the majority of chemicals. No one can say how these “bad” chemicals will affect the smoker, and the effect on no two smokers is the same.
According to the Journal persons who smoked marijuana on a daily basis were in just as bad a position where their lungs were concerned as those who indulged in cigarette smoking. So we should not take this new study as a license to proliferate even more the use of marijuana.
Maybe what can be done is that the pharmaceutical industry can extract the beneficial chemicals out of the marijuana plant and offer these chemicals for public use. Or, at the very least, step up the public education campaign about the good and bad chemicals/benefits from marijuana use.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Why You Should Have Sex

Sex is indeed a sweet, honorable, decent and pure act that climaxes the expression of mutual love. However, with the constant public overkill of the sex topic it seems that the word “sex” has become a four letter word; on the contrary it is a common acronym For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge that has become a dirty word but refers to the act of sex.
I am presenting to you some of my reasons why sex has always been and will continue to be a very positive and healthy activity. I hope you not only read but also think deeply on the rest content of this blog post.
Sex is one of (but not) the most enjoyable act you will ever take part in
• Sex offers you the chance to show that you are ready to start your family
• Sex allows you to share with someone special what you hide from everybody else
• Sex is the best human way to bond and be committed to another person
• Sex is God’s gift to you to ensure you are HAPPY with someone else while you live
• Sex is the ultimate act that shows your innocent childhood days are forever gone
• Sex is the final act that shows your days of adult responsibilities have come
• That when you take off your clothes to have sex, you are also taking off your innocent childhood and your simple happy future as a teenager or young adult
• That the blood spilled by a virgin during sex is the blood of a covenant established by God, binding the persons having sex together forever
• That covenants are God’s trademark when dealing with humans
Virgins find it hard/impossible to love anyone else the way they love the man whom they gave their virginity to
• That when you take a girl’s virginity you are robbing her future husband
• That many women “butt” their boyfriends/husbands because they cannot forget about the man who took their virginity away
• That God expects you to stay forever with the FIRST person you have sex with
• That having your first sex in marriage is the best way to make your marriage work
• That a man is less committed to a woman because he didn’t take her virginity
• That whoever you have sex with remains a part of you forever, even if you break up
• That men and women alike say if they could live over their lives they would wait until an older age (and for another person) to have their first sex
• That the person you choose at 15 is not the person you will choose at 25
• That if you play with the Sex Covenant, God WILL curse your life
• That if you honour the Sex Covenant, God WILL bless your life

Girls Breasts IRONED To Keep Away Boys

I guess there is no parent who finds it easy to relinquish their protective hold on their growing children, particularly the girl children. It is nature that from the onset of puberty and the activation of hormonal changes, the child now enters a world of some experiences that at first may be scary or unwelcomed. I am certain if you quiz a sample of the ladies you know about their reactions to their first menstrual cycle, or “period,” you will almost certainly get at least one tale of a very frightened little girl who was scared to death because she believed she was about to die from bleeding.
And that female baptism into puberty has propelled many a parent to say to their baby girl, “You can’t play with boys anymore now.” The confused child is left wondering why.
But in some parts of Africa, the motherland of us Blacks here in the Caribbean, parents have found an easier way to safeguard their young adolescent girls against an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy.
As soon as the girl begins to develop physically into the coca-cola shaped adult, she will begin to have a daily dose of breast ironing.
Older readers may recall rural life before electricity and the electric iron. Do you remember having to keep the “iron” in the coalpot until it was red-hot? Two alternating irons would be used to maintain the required heat at all times during the ironing process.
Well, for these girls in Africa, it was not school uniforms or church clothes that are being pressed; it is their precious growing breasts. (Their parents really do not want the girls shaking what God gave them.)
The idea behind the ironing of the breasts is that the repeating exposure to the intense heat would slow the growth of the breasts; therefore, if the breasts do not become protruding or give rise to cleavidge, then the boys and young men will find the girls less sexually attractive and will not pursue any relationships with them.
You will have to determine if the ends justifies the means.
There are also documented situations among tribal groups in Africa where, instead of ironing the breasts at puberty’s inception, an older male relative of the girl will have sex with her and make her pregnant, thereby averting any future relationships with the boys in the village.
Again, you decide if the ends justifies the means.
So, most of us are in the Caribbean because our foreparents came across the Atlantic as slaves. Who knows, if not for slavery, maybe you would have been in Africa right now under a hot iron, having your breasts ironed.
Slavery actually has some good in it, right?
On the other hand, the annual statistics released from the statistical department continues to show that teenage girls in this country continue to give over 300 births. That is a staggering realization. Each year, over 300 of our age 13-16 girls are getting pregnant.
And if you can get pregnant then you can also get a sexually transmitted infection like AIDS.
In 2000, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Family Planning Association conducted a research called Save the Nation’s Face in which they found out that by age 13, one of every four (25%) Vincentians was already having sex; by age 18, three of every four (75%) Vincentians were having sex.
In light of the just mentioned figures, will our society benefit if we start the practice of ironing the breasts of our young girls here in St Vincent and the Grenadines?
The above stats will mean that only 25% or one-quarter of the Vincentian population at the legal adult age are virgins. But that was almost twenty years ago. There has been a proliferation of condoms, even for women today, so one might probably be safe to assume that the percentage of Vincentian virgins has decreased since the early 2000s.
So, was a former Vincentian prime minister right when he said that Jesus could not have been born in St Vincent because there are no virgins on the island?

Hang Them High

The debate on capital punishment in developing countries is a never-ending one. In St Vincent and the Grenadines capital punishment has existed in one form: hanging by the neck until dead. This form of capital punishment is as old as the island’s colonial history. In fact, hanging would have been the means of execution in the commonwealth nations because it was borrowed, like so many other things, from Britain.
The socio-economic development of nations have given birth to human rights organizations. Unfortunately (or fortunately) a popular area of contention as held by these human rights groups has been that of capital punishment. They have always argued that no human being should be executed. It amounts to murder. So even if the state carries out an order from the courts it is a murderer just like the executed. Well, the term executed implies here that is being taken for granted that capital punishment is on the law books for the offense of murder or treason. That is the case in our Caribbean territories.
Persons who have been angered by the voicing of the human rights groups’ opposition to capital punishment has always asked why should we protect the rights of the convicted murderer when that murderer did not extend that privilege to the victim. And that is quite understandable. When one reads of some of the premeditated acts of brutal violence and murder it often leaves one feeling that there must be an eye for an eye. I recall several years ago when a young man used a rope in the way that cowboys would to catch a wild animal, and pulled a young lady out of a public transport vehicle in the capital city. In the presence of all he proceeded merrily to use his cutlass and remove the young lady’s head from her shoulders.
Some said he even smiled in the process.
Crimes like these seem to want to make the average law-abiding citizen become a hang man or executioner. But since 1995 we have not seen an execution in these parts. A significant cause of this has been the ruling of the Privy Council in England that after a person has spent five years on death row their sentence is to be automatically commuted to life imprisonment. The rationale is that after waiting and wondering for five years when you will have your neck popped, then that is enough psychological torture and suffering.
Since that ruling it seems all on death row have filed one constitutional motion after another, sometimes on the most trivial of grounds such s lack of protein in the form of beef on a Sunday. So the system of due process has seen the five-year period elapse with no execution being done.
Those in favour of capital punishment have always said that it is a deterrent to committing violent crimes; that if someone knows he will be hanged then he will think twice. As it is now, convicted murderers of some of the most heinous crimes have been released on parole for good behaviour. The sting seems to be that the family of the victim is never in any way compensated or put in a position to make life easier because of their loss.
An interesting situation has developed in the UK recently where an attempt to allow the public to be actively involved in determining what their elected officials discuss has brought up the topic of capital punishment and hangings. In an e-petition poll conducted it was revealed that 53% of those who participated were in support of the reintroduction of hangings. This is interesting. The politicians and House of Commons will be discussing it later this year.England has not hanged anyone since 1964.
Let’s suppose that the public gets its way and the execution of persons through capital punishment is reintroduced then all in the Caribbean will be expecting that the old barricade from the Privy Council be removed immediately. In fact the Caribbean has also been trying to get its own final court up and running–The Caribbean Court of Justice or the CCJ as it is commonly called.
There are others a well who believe that it is the method of capital punishment that should be changed, not the total removal of capital punishment. In that light they claim that it is time to execute persons by more humane means such as a lethal injection. I suspect that whatever the outcome of the debate in England later this year that the saga will continue. However, whenever any mechanism that acts as a check and balance is removed or made inoperative then common sense will dictate that some other equally or even more effective means of achieving the same goal be put in its place.

Remembering LIAT Flight 319

This year, 2011,  marks exactly twenty-five (25) years since Vincentians at home and abroad were plunged into their most horrifically tragic air disaster in the history of commercial air flight in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
It was on August 3, 1986, that LIAT flight 319 disappeared while attempting to land at the Arnos Vale airport (now renamed The ET Joshua Airport). While all incidents that result in loss of lives are tragic, the untimely deaths of the thirteen souls on board were particularly stinging to all sections of the Vincentian society. That single flight combined a unique mix of some of the most progressive nation builders in our country at the time.
Quite possibly the face that comes to the minds of those of us who were around twenty-five years ago and now recall that stormy Sunday night, is that of Donna Young. Donna epitomized the youthful beauty, charm, female empowerment and potential of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Donna was a bank worker. She had just turned age twenty. She had won the Miss SVG and Miss Carival show right here at home in St Vincent during the same year. Her smile lit up the stage like no other. One could not help but love Donna Young. To fully appreciate the connection that the Vincentian public had with Donna Young, think of her as the late Princess Diana of the UK or of President John F. Kennedy (JFK) of the United States of America.. Indeed, Donna was our own Vincentian Princess. She was royal.
Also on that ill-fated flight was a watchmaker who wa physically challenged in that he was an amputee. Imagine a gentleman in his wheel chair and is out and about daily taking orders and repairing watches. Disability was never going to be his inability!
Then there was an entire family of husband, wife and twelve-year-old son who perished that August night. Again, it is expected that anybody’s death will be mourned, but, alas, this was not the average Vincentian family. At just seven years into its political independence from Great Britain, St Vincent and the Grenadines was unfortunate to lose its political opposition leader and his family. Hudson Tannis, along with his wife and son, were returning from a wedding in St Lucia and happened to be aboard flight 319.
The Grenadines also felt the loss of lives because a native of Bequia was returning home with his fiance, both of whom were soon to tie the knot in holy matrimony. But that was never to be.
It has been said that the pilot captaining the flight, although he had been to SVG before, was now doing so as the pilot in command. Apparently, he had an idea where the runway was. Unfortunately, owning to the mountainous terrain of the country, the airport is right next to the Caribbean Sea. Because of the rainfall that night, the place was foggy. Later, residents of Cane Garden will say that they heard the aircraft circling and then the sound of a sputtering engine.
For days and weeks after, all able-bodied man, woman and child, took to the sea and shore to do what they could to find any signs of remains. Apart from a sighting of some floating oil, the remnants of that plane was never to be seen again. At least up to this day. It is said that the waters in the Grenadines are among some of the deepest in the hemisphere.
The following weekend one of the largest and most sombre memorial services was held at the Victoria Park, where everybody who is anybody in St Vincent turned out to sympathize with a grieving nation.
This is the last recorded air mishap that LIAT has had which had a direct impact on Vincentians. For more information on this historic day in the life of St Vincent and the Grenadines feel free to check our national archives.
I hope that our younger generation will at least take a moment today and pause in reflection of the wealth of human and Vincentian potential that we all lost that night. One cannot help but feel that somehow our lives in St Vincent would have been better off as a result of the contributions made by the “unlucky 13″ of LIAT flight 319 back on August 3, 1986.

How To be Encouraged

To be encouraged is to be filled with inner hope. And hope is life. People and animals will kill themselves if they find no hope in or around them. I tell you that hope is just the self knowledge that the end of a situation is going to be good, or at least better than the present reality.

Do you know anyone who does not want to be hopeful?

Do you know anyone who does not want to be encouraged?

I believe it is safe to say that the minor and major problems we face as individuals, as families, as villages, as towns, as cities, as constituencies, as parishes, as states, as countries, as nations and as a planet have to do with lack of hope within one or both parties in the conflict.

I dedicate this blog to truths from my life and experiences. I am sharing with you a method of encouragement that has worked for me and I will put my life on the line that it will work for you as well.

I am a product of faith and divine selection and it is from my Saviour, Jesus Christ, my method of encouragement comes. Now, don’t be too eager to close the browser because you read the name of Jesus. After all, won’t you agree that anyone who is mature and independent will not be scared or frightened away by a simple name?

Thanks for being a real person who is not afraid to learn something.

A simple father had his daughter sick and dying. He asked Jesus to come and help. All his other “hopes” had failed. A drowning man will snatch at a straw in a bid to save his life. People often do not take Jesus seriously until they know for a fact that nothing or no one else can help.

And Jesus does not mind that at all. In fact, God will have it no other way. God begins and takes over when human beings end and give up.

As the loving daddy who asked Jesus to come help his very sick daughter get better started back home with Jesus, guess what happened? A message came from home that the daughter had died.

Daddy was overcome with grief and lost all hope. But then Jesus told him,”Don’t be afraid. Just believe.”

Follow me here. Whenever hope is lost or dying, it automatically calls on its tag team partner of fear to occupy the heart.

If you are seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling or experiencing news that is killing your hope, then I say to you to continue to believe. Do not be afraid.

Someone once said that FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real

I have come to find out that feeling afraid DOES NOT change the circumstances. In fact, when you allow yourself to be afraid all you are doing is paralyzing your will and sending up your blood pressure by worrying.

Listen, if fear does not change the conditions that make you afraid then might as well you use the same energy it takes to be afraid and use that energy to believe…to keep hope alive in your heart—for your own peace of mind and wellbeing.

The second lesson on the road to your own encouragement is in the next action of Jesus.

After He told daddy not to be afraid, He stopped all the people who were following just to be observers and have something to talk about. Jesus continued to the house where the dead girl now was with only three persons, apart from daddy.

Hear this. If you are serious about getting to new, unchartered, virgin experiences and levels of happiness that you have not before experienced, then you have to allow for some measure of loneliness and unpopular trails.

Imagine the guts it took for daddy to stay walking with Jesus when everyone else there was saying Jesus has to be crazy. Who ever heard of somebody helping a DEAD person?

Do you have what it takes to walk the road less travelled in order to receive the encouragement and success that no one else enjoys?

But there is another lesson in our story. When daddy arrived back at the house he saw all his neighbours and friends comforting his wife and crying as well.

Daddy then heard Jesus saying something that didn’t make sense. Jesus was telling them, “The girl is not dead.”

The folks who were there and had already seen the girl, knew she was dead. So how did they respond to what Jesus, who had just physically arrived, said?

The people LAUGHED JESUS TO SCORN. Yes, that is right. No one there thought anything sensible of Jesus. Daddy had a choice to make. He was seeing all his friends and family laughing at Jesus as though Jesus was the most stupid person on the planet. Daddy knew to stand with Jesus meant that his friends will also laugh him to scorn.

But he wanted to give Jesus a chance to do His do. After all, what more could he lose at this time?

Our next lesson is from Jesus’ next action. He put everybody who was laughing out of the house.

You must understand, as you get close to your place of miracle, to your ground zero, to your ashes from where the phoenix is about to rise, that no ordinary human being can stand in support of you there.

To see hope when the average person sees hopelessness is not going to put you on the popular list. It is not going to send you viral and increase your “likes” or followers on social networks.

just the opposite might happen. Your number of friends may suddenly dwindle.

And it was at this time when daddy was really alone Jesus did for him what no one else could have done. Because daddy was man enough to stand with Jesus and allow Jesus a chance to help, his daughter was brought back to life.

I want to say, finally, that no body can stop you from believing what you choose to believe. But no body can stop Jesus from doing what He does when a person believes and waits on Him.

People spend hundreds of dollars to hear motivational speeches. But you know what? All the feel good advice you will ever need is in the Bible. Read Mark chapter 5 to see what I am talking about.

Be encouraged!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Vincentian Traditional Sunday Mornings

You know when you look on a map of the world and you only see nothing more than a dot representing the size and location of your island home, it can be quite disconcerting at first. Nonetheless, St Vincent and the Grenadines has been a comparatively tiny island that held much golden humanitarian values for its approximately 100 000 inhabitants over the years.

Sunday mornings were a special time of family, friends, food and faith that sowed some irreplaceable seeds of universal values within us while we wee young and growing up.

I can still recall that on a Sunday morning very much like this one, as children we would awake to the sound of our parents in their bedroom having their extended morning devotions. If you paid attention long enough you would really think it was an early version of the Sunday service which we would all later attend. Daddy would be quoting scriptures and giving his interpretations and mini exhortations pretty much as a pastor would do. My mother would be the song and worship leader. They would go back and forth between singing and reading of scriptures.

When the sun began to knock on our windows all of us children would be told to awake at that time. Sleeping in after sunrise was never allowed it seems. So beginning with my oldest brother, we would each have to kneel at our bedside and "say the Our Father Prayer" and a prayer dictated by either parent. Our parents would not leave the bedroom until they themselves had prayed; this was the time that we would hear our mother praying extensively for each of us in the family.

Sunday breakfast was also a uniquely anticipated time in the family as well. After Saturday grocery shopping in town mommy would have brought back some tasty bread and condiments which would be our Sunday treats. It was the norm that you ate meals on Sundays that you would not usually consume during the rest of the week. Back in those growing years the kitchen would have been a wooden structure separate from the "wood house" as we called it.

My mother and my sole sister would proceed to the kitchen and commence the making of chocolate tea, flavoured with cinnamon and ginger. I always had my chocolate volcano hot--never liked tea at any other temperature. My mother would then prepare the bread and fried fish or other protein servings which would accompany the bread.

During all this time, my brothers and I would be sweeping the yard or washing the dishes from Saturday evening dinner. Sometimes as well, we would have to be about the backyard and even the garden collecting wood or pieces of dried sticks to be used for roasting breadfruit, if that was on the menu for that day.

By mid morning all movements would be to get to church. At one time we attended church with our parents but that changed because their church was located so far from where we lived. So as children we would walk across to a nearby village to participate in Sunday School and later on morning worship service. It was an adventure getting to church, especially on wet mornings. You see, the path to the church was really a shortcut--a dirt track through shrubs and uncultivated lands. We also had to cross a river by jumping across stones. To slip from a stone because of its slippery surface was to have your "Sunday best" shoes, socks and pants foot drenched in the muddy water of the river.

But through it all we learned some lessons in those days that are still embedded in us as adults today. I, along with my siblings, would have been left with a heritage of prayer and motivation to keep working. Because living conditions may not be the ideal today does not mean that tomorrow will not be better. We all must keep on moving.

Another thing that stands out about our Sundays long ago is the neighbourly sharing of Sunday lunches. Food was always in abundance, and we always knew what the neighbours were eating, and vice versa.

Sundays were the quietest of days. All commercial and business activities ceased for that day. Public transportation was at a halt. Shops were closed. Loud music was silenced. Farmers stayed out of their mountain lands. t was the Lord's Day. It was family day. It is now that we are all grown up and gone physically apart, mommy is in heaven, and yet life goes on that I appreciate the significance of those old and seemingly insignificant Sundays back then. Family and good parenting are essential inputs into the life of a growing child.

It is my hope that my readers are able to appreciate their own Sundays and other occasions when their family is sowing good things in their lives that will help them to stand productively as future adults.