Jamaica Gleaner / Many times within the society, you will hear statements about growing the economy. We are told about goals and targets, but in the midst of growing an economy, the poor are not in the equation. They are long forgotten by politicians and business people, and even some global agencies that promise to deal with charity and such issues.
Oftentimes, the advisers themselves have no idea what it is to be poor. They simply make decisions, oblivious of the realities. Sometimes you will see statements made by various countries regarding poverty eradication. They even have international-level conferences where they discuss and make statements to those assembled, and based on the statements, you wonder if they know where they are living.
Decisions have been made to make the investors happy, while the poor are very unhappy. In fact, they are dying under pressure.
Sadly, the younger generation is drowning under debt, burdened by the weight of what the previous generations left behind. This is not a legacy, this is a yoke.
God showed me a vision where a group of politicians and investors were crossing a river. They were all excited at the prospect of new business deals, but in the midst of all that, the Lord showed that there were two generations. The older generation was trying to catch up, but they could not. While the young generation was in the river trying to cross, the politicians were trying to extend their hands in a simple gesture, but it was only for show.
They didn’t realise, however, that in crossing the river at the pace to grow the economy and please the investors, there were different levels of the riverbed and that the children were drowning; the only alternative was for the Church to step in and save them. The politicians and business people did not even realise what was happening. There are other meanings, however, that will be discussed in articles to come.
One cannot drive an economy at the pace of investors and international lenders. Even when the nation passes the test, the people are failing the test. If we want to see the economy grow, we must put plans and measures in place to rescue the poor.
DEATH BECAUSE OF POVERTY
One billion children worldwide are living in poverty. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty.
In 2011, 165 million children under the age five were stunted (reduced rate of growth and development) due to chronic malnutrition.
The World Food Programme says, “the poor are hungry and their hunger traps them in poverty”. Hunger is the number one cause of death in the world, killing more than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.
The Bible, specifically and strongly, outlines in Proverbs 31: 8-9: “Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” Take a look also at Proverbs 22: 22-23, Psalm 12:5, and Isaiah 10: 1-3, which is a very serious scripture.
No nation must have any laws or decrees that would bring any kind of oppression or further hardship on the poor. When God establishes a leader in office, God judges them based on the burdens borne by the poor of the nation. In fact, that is what defines one’s legacy or the duration of the administration; and when we focus on pleasing the investors and the poor are forgotten, then it brings serious consequences and curses over the nation.
The country urgently needs to revisit the economic policies that it is pursuing.
The Government needs to set up JA Monetary Fund for the Poor. This will assist the poor, for example, with basic items, furniture, education, burial, and health bills.
– It needs to provide nurses’ aides for seniors, especially for the disabled children and adults.
– Coordinate with the private sector to donate skimmed milk powder and diapers to the newborn babies of poor families.
– Have a flat rate on water for the poor.
– Reduce GCT.
– Increase the minimum wage.
– Restore and revamp the free zone.
– Build more shelters for the homeless.
– Have a flat rate for electricity in low-income areas.
– Give more support for farming, not only in promoting it as a viable means of income, but also in subsidising the cost of tools and equipment.
– Lower insurance rates for second-hand vehicles.
– Implement a no-tax policy for new companies for the first three years.
There is much more we can do for the poor, particularly if we want to see the next generation rise to meet the challenges and overcome them for the growth and development of the nation.
– Steve Lyston is a biblical economics consultant and author of several books, including ‘End Time Finance’ and ‘The New Millionaire’.