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Dion Smith: Nassau Village 'Frighteningly Poor'

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Dion Smith

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

 IN the House of Assembly yesterday PLP MP Dion Smith told the Christie administration that his constituents in “frighteningly” poor Nassau Village complain of not being able to “feel” the government.

Mr Smith, who is the MP for Nassau Village and deputy speaker of the House, said there are many residents who are experiencing the same hardships of Grand Bahamians, but feel overlooked.

He said there are declining conditions in his constituency because the government does not appreciate the real status of poverty in the area, which he defined as “dense”.

“This suffering knows no party lines,” Mr Smith said. “It knows no social grouping, it knows no family names, and it has no barriers. You will be surprised to know what is truly happening in many of our homes. I call for us to stop and stop this minute to put our finger on the pulse of the nation. Because somehow and some way we must turn this around.

“The most hurtful part is they go home to a house where children are crying from hunger and they have nothing to eat. This is real talk, this is real life and this is really happening in my constituency.

“The people of the Nassau Village constituency demand our fair share of this budget. Grand Bahama has gotten their fair share of this budget, but the people of the Nassau Village constituency are saying that they are in a similar state of that of Grand Bahama and they demand the attention of this government.”

Mr Smith called on the government to uphold all of the promises made during the PLP’s election campaign, specifically job creation 

“The cry in my constituency is jobs,” he said, as he made his contribution to the 2014/2015 budget debate. “Every time I find one job, 10 more constituents come seeking employment. The density of poverty is so severe that it is frightening.

“Too many people in the Nassau Village constituency go home to a house with no light, Mr Speaker, too many go home to a house with no water, or to a cupboard with no food.

“They have told me they will not sit silently in anticipation of relief. They want to make sure they get their just due of the 5,000 new permanent jobs to be created at Baha Mar and the spin off jobs to be created as a result of this new mega resort.”

He said that his constituents have also complained that the area received far fewer home repairs from Urban Renewal when compared to other areas in New Providence.

In addition he said there is a need for drains, speed bumps and pot hole repairs in the area.

Comments

DillyTree 4 months, 1 week ago

I applaud Mr. Smith for speaking out. At least the dire conditions in this country are being acknowledged while much of the government seems to have turned a blind eye or is totally out of touch with reality. But before we get too excited over Mr. Smith's ephiphany, this is nothing the average Bahamian doesn't already know.

What we do want to know is what is being done to fix this and alleviate the suffering?

In the old days a community would have rallied together to help each other. Where is that same concern for our neighbours today? Where are the churches? Where are the community leaders? Waiting for government to fix things has not proven effective -- at least not in recent times.

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sheeprunner12 4 months, 1 week ago

Nassau Village is poor........... and crime ridden, and full of Haitians, and lack recreational facilities, and lacks police patrols and........... its a glorified neo-Bain Town

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John 4 months, 1 week ago

you flourish in your ignorance, again!

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mangogirl01 4 months, 1 week ago

True! Depending entirely on the government of the day is never the answer but didn't he joined his colleagues during the election campaign promising pipe dreams!! Now the harsh reality of life is coming home to haunt these young Politicians!

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Reality_Check 4 months, 1 week ago

Sadly, thanks to the failed immigration policies of both the Ingraham and Christie administrations, most of the volunteer organizations that at one time had the resources to step in and help out are now just too overwhelmed and on the down and out themselves. Both Christie and Ingraham should be made to live a week in the heart of the Nassau Village area to feel the pain inflicted on our society by their corrupt system of politics. They have greatly failed the people by just about any measure of common decency while handsomely rewarding a new small uncaring ruling elite of black Bahamians that make the old white UBP boys of yesterday seem like angels in comparison. A country with so much promise run into the ground by unworthy greedy politicians who are content to manipulate for themselves and their business cronies the dumbed-down electorate they have created through the destruction of our once proud public educational system.

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Cobalt 4 months, 1 week ago

True words. But we "the citizens" of the Bahamas need to shoulder some of the blame aswell. Nassau Village and other poverty stricken areas around Nassau are usually the direct result of "poor choices" by the individuals who inhabit them. I agree that both governments have failed in that job opportunities have not become readily available to the average Bahamian. We could probably write a book on the historical failures of the Bahamian government. But from an objective point of view, I also think that many Bahamians expect the government to be responsible for their choices. Bahamians need to understand that the government is not a baby-sitting entity. Many of these ghettos are occupied by decendants of illegal Haitians who have chosen a life of crime and poverty. Bahamians are demanding jobs, but many of them refuse to enhance their knowledge base and skills needed to fill available positions. And there's really no excuse seeing that education and knowledge is so readily available. I grew up poor aswell.... but my mother always warned me that if I didn't do well in school I would never find a job. So instead of picking up a gun, I picked up a book. Now.... employers are constantly calling. Before we can criticize the government, we need to consider how we're contributing to the problem.

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John 4 months, 1 week ago

So it is ok to support the foreign "white" man who comes here helping to build the Bahamas, but we must deport the Haitians. Gross ignorance. Black people for 500 years were taught and whipped into believing that their place was out in the fields doing slave labor. Opening a book for a black person could mean death, being hung by the neck from the nearest tree. That will not change overnight. Some of the best and brightest minds came out of what you call 'the ghetto's" . Bahamians were comfortable living there and enjoyed living there until 'those behind the scenes' manipulated the hip hop music and sold messages like 'it is wrong to be poor', "you aint no real 'nigga' unless you packin heat or until you burn someone. or unless you been to jail." They used black music and artists to drive their message home. Do you know they are trying to pass laws in the great ole USA that will make it a crime to be homeless? America, the land of milk and honey and the land of opportunity. Most of the first black businessmen in this country left school at 6 grade or before. They had no choice because they had to go out and help support their families. They did what was necessary to become successful by instinct, not by reading books that they were previously banned from reading...and some people didn't like that.

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Cobalt 4 months, 1 week ago

@John. All illegals should be deported whether they're black, white, purple, green, blue, orange, red, etc. Illegal immigration is an illegal activity needing stiffer penalties not predicated upon color, or nationality. It's not a black or white issue. You can't break the law and then expect the government to provide you a good life! All I'm saying is that while most Bahamians are demanding a better Bahamas in terms of employment, many of them aren't taking necessary steps to improve themselves. There are many job opportunities available in the Bahamas of which the average Bahamian has not equipped themselves to do. When I first returned to the Bahamas I was apprehensive because I had heard that the economy was bad and the government wasn't hiring much. Yet, to my surprise, both private and government personnel have been calling non stop. Initially I was confused and decided to ask an HR director how are these jobs available yet people are claiming lack of employment in both public and private sectors. She had to explain to me that jobs are available, but I've been the only one that they've interviewed in three years that's qualified. The longer I stay in the Bahamas and observe these people, the more I realize that she's correct. Even now I'm trying to hire someone as a pharmacy technician who is skilled in dosage based drug calculation and drug competence. And let me tell you.... I can't find ONE. Every applicant that I've interviewed has either an F GPA or no high school diploma at all. Some of them can't even read, yet they expect a job. How can this be??? Yes, I agree that both governments have done a terrible job by not creating much opportunities. But all I'm saying is that if Bahamians want any type of worth-while job, then they must improve their knowledge base before criticizing the government. After all... what's the point of creating opportunity when there aren't any competent people available to fill them???

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John 4 months, 1 week ago

What you write here is complete bullwash and you know it. I know of many Bahamians who returned here after finishing college only to find that no jobs were available for them. Some returned to the US where they enrolled in a master's program and were able to get jobs that way. Others got it other programs. I know of many Bahamians who have lost jobs over the past few years and have been searching ever since. The economy is bad, not putting the blame on no one, and while there are signs of improvement it will be a while before the hurting stops. You try to belittle Bahamians in a underhanded kind of way. If you were truly looking for a pharmacy tech, as you said, why would persons with an "F" or no high school diploma apply? Obviously you would have listed the necessary qualifications, so it does no compute. Many Bahamians who have low GPA's or no high school diploma are not dumb people. Maybe they are not book smart but when given the opportunity to be industrious, they will excel. Some young men earn $500.00 a week driving heavy equipment, and others earn thousands a month during crawfish season. A man from Spanish Wells use to say, "the average young boy round here may not know how to read and write, but I bet he could show you his bank book with thousands a dollars on it." But we allow others to kill that spirit. They tell us you must have their education to be successful. Not everyone wants to be rich and not everyone wants to wear a coat suit and tie to work. We need to stop throwing away people who do not fit into that mold. This is a culture that was imported when foreign companies did not want to hire Bahamian people. So they called them dumb, unqualified and not hirable, and unfortunately a lot of our government fell for it. Name me ONE profession in this country that a Bahamian is not doing, just one. And descendants of illegal Haitians, born in the Bahamas, weather we accept it or not, are Bahamians. It is because we try to tell them otherwise and/or deny them their status in this country that cause them to rebel and become anti-social. How many persons you know that were born in the Bahamas and were deported to Haiti after they turned 18?

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Cobalt 4 months, 1 week ago

Bull wash???? I'm telling you what's going on this country! I'm not making this up!! The masses of Bahamian people who complain about unemployment are grossly under qualified. Students who return to the Bahamas from the U.S. usually possess degrees that are not in high demand in the Bahamas. Yes, the economy is bad, and NO I'm not belittling Bahamians. As an employer, you must fairly review every applicant as a potential hire. But why unqualified people fill out my applications, I don't know.... maybe you can ask them. But I can only speak of what I see on a daily basis, and YES it does not compute! I did not call anyone dumb but many of the applicants could not read! Furthermore, I think my words were "under qualified " and "lacking necessary skills." Maybe that's your conscience talking. I agree that many industrious Bahamians don't possess a college education but still have the potential to excel. As a matter of fact, some of them are my relatives.... and they're certainly not dumb. In your rhetoric I guess you missed the fundamental point..... there are lots of job opportunities here in the Bahamas. Bahamians need to do their part to fill them. End of story.

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John 4 months, 1 week ago

Your creditability is lacking, to say the least. Most foreign employers come here and belittle Bahamians, despise them even, because they hate to see a black man excel. They want to bring in foreign workers, pay them more and give them more benefits. This is not true just in the Bahamas but throughout the Caribbean. Just by the way you have addressed me in your post confirms that you despise Bahamians. Based on the attitude you have displayed in your post, I would not work for you if your job was paying a million dollars a day! If you cannot respect me as a person, then I don't need your job!

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Cobalt 4 months, 1 week ago

Credibility??? How can you discern credibility, or the lack there of, based upon a blog??? You sound like a typical black Bahamian attempting to play plantation politics in an effort to disguise your own personal shortcomings. Save your "black man, white man," jargon for your foolish counterparts. You, like many black Bahamians, try to play the race card whenever you're confronted by the facts of your own ineptitudes. How can I despise Bahamians when I'm a Bahamian myself. Why would any employer initiate a higher payroll by hiring a foreigner simply because of a racial bias towards black Bahamians??? If anything... he would hire a person whom he doesn't have to pay much because it would be in his best financial interest. Why do you think contractors hire so many Haitians??? You're talking utter nonsense. Black, qualified Bahamians are doing just fine in this country and not feeling the pinch of the recession simply because they've made prudent decisions with their lives. Many Bahamians need to realize that they're unemployed because of the poor choices they continue to make. If you're currently unemployed, then maybe you should qualify yourself to occupy a demanding field. Stop blaming the government for everything and get up off your lazy behinds and make something of yourselves. And for the record.... I don't really care if you need my job or not, because chances are, your not qualified either.

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Cobalt 4 months, 1 week ago

Many years ago a friend of mine was unemployed and living in the Bahamas aswell. His light was off for months and he ate ramen noodles every night for dinner and was grateful. He would catch the bus around nassau for years looking for work until he finally found a school willing to hire him as a custodian. From there he became a security officer before becoming a teachers aide. He finally became an elementary school teacher and was able to eventually acquire a university degree in clinical phlebotomy. And if he can do it.... anybody can. Bahamians need to rid themselves of the idea that the government owes them everything. The only thing promised to anyone is death and bills! Life is hard and you have to work harder than the person next to you if you wish to survive. Stop making excuses and point the finger at the man in the mirror... not the government.

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John 4 months, 1 week ago

The more you post and rant and rave, the more you demonstrate who you really are. Read your posts and see how many times you contridict your own statements. Are Bahamians the only people suffering through this global recession? You could not be a Bahamian and despise them and their leaders so much. BTW do they have custodians in the Bahamas or just janitors and janitresses?

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Cobalt 4 months, 1 week ago

I think I've made my point. If we want our government to enhance themselves, then we need to enhance ourselves as well. It's a two way street... plain and simple. And BTW, I use the term "custodian" as a euphemism. After all... I don't want to "belittle" Bahamians.

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TalRussell 4 months, 1 week ago

Comrade Tal was never the one lost needing to be found. Comrade Deputy Speaker Dion, I no longer feel like a lone wolf warning Prime Minister Christie and his much too comfortable Cabinet Colleagues how they had become too detached to the cries of the poor. How they tried make it out like I was but a fool and should just walk away from the poor.

"The cries of the Red Shirts Wolves aimed at me for over 2 long years"

...../////http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqMWAE...

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SP 4 months, 1 week ago

Prime Minister Christie made a serious blunder in 2012 when he refused to implement renewable energy & net metering solar systems to those without power in the lower income bracket of our society.

The IDB and MANY others offered the PLP assistance in rapidly implementing solar net metering energy which would have provided power for the 1000's of Bahamians whose lights were off due to unemployment rendering them unable to pay.

P.M. Christie could have simultaneously brought relief to 1000's, created over 2000 jobs and would have been hailed as a hero of the people had he followed the advise of the IDB and other renewable energy suppliers by implementing net metering solar systems.

Ironically, Perry Christie has long ago had solar power systems in his home but decided the poorest of the poor are not worthy of the same.

The PLP have sacrificed the needs of the people for the needs of special interest groups and crony's.

The Rawson Square FOIA march this week is the beginning of serious problems for the government. If they had any sense they would realize that many countries have ejected non preforming governments starting with similar "small peaceful" marches which escalated to mass civil unrest.

A word to the wise is sufficient.

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Cobalt 4 months, 1 week ago

Good point. But the simple truth is that the PLP really doesn't care. As far as they're concerned the Bahamian public has no choice but to flip back and forth between them and the FNM. With this knowledge in mind, they continue to pillage and consume the countries resources without discretion or regards concerning the victims. The Bahamas is in dire need of a legitimate third party that can oust both the FNM and PLP. But by the time as they're organized enough to convince the Bahamian electorate, the Bahamas would have been irreversibly destroyed. Either Brandville McCartney, or some other upstanding, potential political leader needs to step forward immediately. Our country depends on it and time is just about out. Bahamians have a very serious choice ahead of them in 2017.

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ThisIsOurs 4 months, 1 week ago

Simply because Branville is "there" does not make him a good alternative. His reason for leaving the FNM does not impress me. He basically was not given the respect he felt he was due as "Branville McCartney". In addition, his publicity seeking stunts while a sitting MP leave much to be desired. Another Fred Mitchell in the wings. No I don't have an alternative but LBT nor BM fit the bill. I like Dr Sands, he is thoughtful clear and measured..right now I don't need a Mr/Ms Popularity, I need someone who can actually do the work.

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John 4 months, 1 week ago

@ COBOLT..ARE THESE NOT YOUR WORDS POSTED ABOVE? . "And if he can do it.... anybody can. Bahamians need to rid themselves of the idea that the government owes them everything"

go figure!

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Cobalt 4 months, 1 week ago

Oh geez John. Listen.... the only point that I'm trying to make is that YES, the PLP has failed and YES, the FNM has failed. But don't neglect the fact that the CITIZENS of the Bahamas are also failing. The blame cannot rest solely on the Bahamian government although I agree that both governments have done a horrible job of stimulating the economy. Some politicians have even tried to make excuses in an effort to rationalize their lack of performance and unfulfilled promises. No one believes their excuses and God knows they don't have any. However, the citizens of the Bahamas must shoulder some or the blame for the condition of our country too. While the government is responsible for providing a certain level of subsidies for the people, they are not responsible for giving us everything. This is not a one track issue, which is why I'm critical of both entities. Our country is in a poor state because the people continue to fail as well as our government. It seems that we the people often forget to include ourselves when we criticize the condition of the Bahamas. If we're going to turn our country around , then we need to start with ourselves. This was my initial argument regarding this headline. What's so hard to understand about that?

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generalcrazy 4 months, 1 week ago

If you take a look at the countries that have "ejected non performing governments" you will see that they do that solely based on political affiliations (to get their equally as worthless and corrupt party back in power), and have been doing it for decades - they are barbaric undemocratic countries and hardly the ones to follow. Besides 10 people with a permit to hang around a tourist spot (Rawson square) is barely a protest let alone something that will escalate to mass civil unrest - they are simply a couple disgruntled supporters of the other political party, who for some reason think they shit don't stink. Most of the other supporters know their shit stinks and will not open that can of worms. And let's see them "camp out" in Fox Hill park if they think they are serious.

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TalRussell 4 months, 1 week ago

Comrade SP there are no excuses worthy of validation why our Bahamaland is and cannot enjoy "full employment at decent wage levels" and live under manageable levels of crime. We did it before and we can damn well do it again. But we better unite as one peoples to return back to the peoples the world once so admired - but before our dollar is devalued down to $2 Bahamaland dollars to buy $1 US dollar. External forces now control our Bahamaland dollar and they alone have the power to do what they wish to affect its value. Try selling or buying a home or running a business under a declining in value Bahamaland dollar.

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ChefSmith 4 months, 1 week ago

What with all the concerns ; if we pool our resources , and find meaningful way to help. Then the government will feel less powerful because we are not too dependent on them. If we get self independent , by forming groups or organizations to lobby our concerns , then we will be more effective. We must focus on honesty , reality , true and hard work , then their promises of a pie in the sky will become meaningless !

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John 4 months, 1 week ago

The problem is we, because of outside influences, have built a Bahamas that Bahamians can no longer afford. One time ago Bahamians in New Providence always had families on some family island where they could send their children during the summer. They would send grocery items to them and the family on the island would have a farm or do fishing, so they would send fresh fish or produce to the family in New Providence. There was no need for the exchange of money. That has now changed. Many people on the family islands have stopped farming and fishing and everyone depend on getting most of what they eat from the us some other country. The 'one village' community spirit is gone.

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jt 4 months, 1 week ago

@Cobalt, how is it that the descendants of illegal Haitians (with no papers) are "choosing" a life of poverty?

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Cobalt 4 months, 1 week ago

Whenever someone enters a country illegally and attempts to live there, problems are bound to occur. These Haitian descendant who have no papers need to fault their Haitian parents for coming here illegally. Maybe I should have used the word "confined" to a life of poverty rather than "choosing.

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GrassRoot 4 months, 1 week ago

100% disagree. A Haitian that works harder than anybody else and is an overachiever, has more standing than any underachieving one of us.

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Cobalt 4 months, 1 week ago

Why are you referring to nationality??? Nationality is not the issue. Color is not the issue. The issue is ILlEGAL occupation of a country. No matter how hard you work; no matter how overachieving one may be. The bottom line is that they are breaking our laws while expecting our government to make provisions for them. It does not and should not work.

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GrassRoot 4 months, 1 week ago

We are all Bahamians only by Passport. It is a useless discussion to bring up illegal immigrants. They work like dogs and live in inhuman conditions. You know the saying: you learn everything about the master how he treats his servants. Immigrants are only here because we use them, call them and make them work. cleaning the cars, cleaning up our dirt, building our houses. This is a discussion that only helps a useless government, that is not even able to keep the illegals out, ensure we have power without interruption, and can keep our mothers, wives and daughters safe. Shame on us to blame the illegals.

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TheMadHatter 4 months, 1 week ago

It is not only the illegals - which are taking away jobs from Bahamians - BUT ALSO the Bahamians in Nassau Village who are breeding like rabbits (without concern for where their children will work when they grow up ) AND giving all their money to the churches instead of paying their customs duty and other taxes so their community can be maintained.

The biggest problem in this country is not the illegals BUT the church which tells everyone to worry about what's going to happen to them when they die. How many times do you hear people say "Well, thank God for life." REALLY ????????????? Are you kidding me? Then maybe the starving children in Nassau Village and the women there who may be victims of rape and physical violence, and all the young men (and women) who cannot find jobs etc etc etc should just thank God for life and SHUT UP. Give your money to the church and worry about when you die. Live like a dog in the meantime.

If all the churches would disappear overnight, the Bahamas would spring to life and prosperity within 3 months.

When Jesus said to give unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's - he DID NOT mean to just give unto God what is God's. He ALSO meant give unto Caesar what is Caesar's.

Drive around Nassau and look at the architectural designs and the sizes of the churches!!!!!! Then drive around and look at the same for the public schools. WHY the difference? It shows where THE PEOPLE are putting their focus. And so they get exactly what they ask for.

TheMadHatter*

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John 4 months, 1 week ago

If it wasn't for the church keeping the conscience of our people stimulated, you would not like the Bahamas we would become. If it was not for churches operating soup centers and clothing distribution centers and visiting the sick and the shut ins, the discomfort level in this country would escalate times what it is now. Most children born in the Bahamas are baptized into the Christain faith, most weddings are of a Christain nature and ninetynine percent of the people who die in the Bahamas has a church funeral and a Christain burial. Part of the reason why Bahamians are under attack is because they have turned away from the true and living God. They are worshipping gods of paper, and metal and stone and wood and glass. .Psalms 115:4 "3But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases. 4Their idols are silver and gold, The work of man's hands. 5They have mouths, but they cannot speak; They have eyes, but they cannot see;…" And God is calling his people back to his fold: . 2 Chronicles 7:14 "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." . We must also remember: . "3 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. . "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

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SP 4 months, 1 week ago

Antigua and Barbuda just soundly kicked out an "all for me & da boys dem" government and voted in a new government & Prime Minister who promises prosperity for all.

http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Dawn-of-a-new-day%2C-says-new-Antigua-Barbuda-PM-21563.html

Good luck to them!

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generalcrazy 4 months, 1 week ago

So is Fox Hill, Kemp Road, etc - except for the drug dealers ofcourse.

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