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IS EBOLA A CURSE FROM GOD OR A NATURAL DISASTER? (PART FOUR): HUMAN RESPONSIBILITY

first_imgThe focus of this fourth article of the series centered on the question of whether Ebola is a curse or a natural or man-made virus is on the role of human responsibility in Ebola prevention and care.  How much responsibility is required of man in steering his affairs and in caring for the environment? How does human responsibility fit in with divine providence and divine powers available to believers? Is having implicit trust in God contrary to doing what one is able to do? Should we have total confidence in God and at the same time take preventive measures stipulated by health experts? Let us examine in some detail below. The third article on divine providence highlighted the following main point:Providence then is the belief that God never leaves us alone for a moment but that he can use the bad things that happen to us (caused by ourselves or others) to refine our character and fulfill his purposes. This does not in any way excuse human responsibility. People will suffer the consequences of their actions but that God can bring some good out of those actions.Some believers wrongly think that human responsibility and divine support are incompatible. No, they are mistaken. The premise of this fourth article is that divine help and human efforts go hand in hand. We should not choose between the two. We make judicious use of both. Right from the beginning of creation God gave man privileges and responsibilities. He created man in his image and likeness and blessed him with reason, memory, freedom, creativity, and put him in charge of the Garden of Eden. He commanded man to cultivate and care for the soil. In other words man was made a caretaker of the earth to look after it and to enjoy some of its fruits (Genesis 1 and 2).Jesus himself teaches us: “To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48).So every human being is blessed with creativity (reason), freewill, and has access to some possessions and potentials generally to make use of in order to make life better for self and others.This brings us to the Ebola crisis. It poses a serious challenge to our way of life and very existence leaving aside the arguments about whatever its source is and whoever is responsible. We all (the affected countries and the international community) must face the challenge head on. Thanks be to God and the international community that lots of support are coming in now. The health experts and our leaders agree that the best scenario is containment and care for those who have already fallen victims.The biggest challenge and gap in this fight against Ebola, at least in Liberia, is to break the chain of transmission. We seem to be losing the fight as the rate of infection is increasing rapidly. To break the chain in transmission requires the involvement of everyone—especially individuals and communities. The outsiders can help with the building of more treatment centers, movement of equipment and medicines, lots of experts and preventive materials but the behavior change that is required has to be taught and effected by communities.Communities and individuals must use a lot of common sense and advice from the health workers to prevent themselves and help their neighbors do so. In this wise community leadership structure should be actively involved with every effort to fight and defeat Ebola. The National Taskforce is to decentralize by heavily involving the communities by sharing authority, resources, expertise and experience. The health workers who are in the frontline of this war must be given adequate support in every way: protective gears, compensation and insurance in case the worse happens. Efforts must also be put into taking care of illnesses and medical needs other than Ebola.Churches and mosques are encouraged to get involved with effecting behavior change. They and the communities they live in can help educate and create isolation centers using schools, homes and other vacant buildings and to ensure that those who are isolated in centers and in their homes are given basic necessities and counseling without physical contacts. The message must get through that isolation/quarantine is to help those affected and the larger society and not to hurt anyone. To successfully fight Ebola we all need lots of prayer and earnest and honest efforts on everyone’s part. It cannot be either prayer or work. We need both.Martin Luther King, Jr. once noted that to depend on our works and our works alone without any reference to God is atheism. Conversely, to sit and do nothing and expect God to do everything for us is not faith but presumption. Christianity is both trust in God and hard work. St. Augustine of Hippo put it like this: “Without God we cannot. Without us God will not”. In other words apart from God we can nothing. But though God can do without us, yet he has chosen to work through us mortals.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Major companies interested in closed sugar estates – Hughes

first_imgBy Michael YoungeSeveral major local, regional and international companies have already submitted proposals or are in the process of doing so to the Government’s Special Purpose Unit (SPU) which was set up to manage the affairs of the three closed sugar estates and its assets.The entity is also tasked with looking at practical investments and divestment proposals from stakeholders who would like to embark on ventures following the closure of several of the country’s sugar estates.Public Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes confirmed that already the response has been encouraging as she implored scores of dismissed workers toMinister Cathy Hughes addressed the fired sugar workers at Enmore on Fridaylook to their futures and move past the past.“We have a range of tremendous opportunities today… Let us stop the screaming and shouting and let us try to make the best with what is happening today,” Hughes said, as she referred to the behavioural patterns of some workers who only seem to see gloom and doom following their dismissals from the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).“We have learnt the hard way that we can’t continue to put our money into something that is no longer profitable… not because of us but because the world is changing… we have to move with the times,” she stressed.She promised workers that “Guyana will always have some element of sugar but we have to reorganise. We will always need sugar for our local consumption… we will also need sugar for DDL… We are not going to throw that away… now is not the time to focus on all that happened in the past but how we were moving forward”.The Public Telecommunications Minister said it was time for the sugar industry to be modernised with a view of enhancing its productivity and competitiveness so downsizing the industry is just one step in a long overhaul process to arrive at the desired changes at GuySuCo.“The last six months instead of thinking about what we were going to do as we are going to be laid, we as sugar workers, were shouting ‘we got to get out severance… We have a range of individuals and international companies that are interested in Guyana and our sugar industry… you would have read that DDL said that they are interested… workers would be needed for that…”, she stressed.Explaining the mandate of the SPU, Hughes reiterated her point that here are several international companies that have already indicated to SPU that they are interested in Guyana.She said Government created that Unit because that is the entity that any company in any part of the world that are interested can come with their proposals.“There are big companies like Pepsi Cola and other companies that are already saying to SPU that we are working on our numbers and our plans… we coming and the SPU is taking their time to ensure that we have the best deal for Guyana… we don’t want no hurry work and then we realise that we can get a better deal.”“My friends at Nand Persaud have also said they have their own ideas about how they can invest,” the Minister disclosed. Workers, who have the skills will get the jobs, she related before saying, “I am trying to show that you have value and your skills are a commodity.”She disclosed that companies in India and Trinidad and Tobago have already approached the SPU about investment in Guyana and the now closed estates in order to roll out new projects.“I can’t come and give you the names of who the people are… I’ve got to wait for them to sow-up the deal because I don’t want to jeopardise their investments,” she said calmly.“I promise that this a process that we will be with you… All your knowledge is going to be available to all of those companies that are coming in the new sugar industry we are creating,” Minister Hughes insisted.last_img read more

Rio safe for athletes despite pollution concerns, says IOC

first_imgThe Rio Games will be safe for athletes despite concerns over polluted water, the head of the International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday.Biologists said in 2014 that rivers leading into Rio’s Guanabara bay contained superbacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and can cause urinary, gastrointestinal and pulmonary infections.The cleaning of its polluted waters was a key part of Rio’s bid pledge to host the Summer Games and has long been a goal of successive local governments.”We are very confident that the competition area for the athletes will offer safe and fair conditions,” IOC president Thomas Bach told reporters.”The city, the state and the organising committee are undertaking many efforts and what we see now is that 60 percent of the surface is clean. Without the Games it would be zero.”When Rio bid to host the 2016 Olympics, the city said it would cut the amount of raw sewage flowing into the bay by 80 percent but has since confirmed it will not meet that target.”The last stretch is always the most difficult one and also there are challenges, but … we’re very confident (they) will be excellent Games,” Bach said.last_img read more