Sat | Jan 19, 2019

Carolyn Cooper | Back on the highway of holiness!

Published:Sunday | December 9, 2018 | 12:00 AM

The highway of holiness is a long distance away from all of the broad roads now being constructed by the China Harbour Engineering Company. And causing so much chaos!

There's one road project, completed by local contractors, that has not attracted much public scrutiny. Unlike all the media attention given to the prime minister's house and its extravagant retaining wall, there has been little talk about the extensive widening of a section of Beverly Drive leading to the fort-like residence; and to the much more modest house of another MP.

A few weeks ago, one of my friends asked if I really wasn't going to write about this highly selective roadwork. For full disclosure, I must admit that I'm a resident of Beverly Hills. The widening of part of Beverly Drive is a major improvement. The prime minister seems, coincidentally, to be a beneficiary of this good fortune.

All the same, I'm so sorry the Holnesses didn't build their fortress on Montclair Drive. We would probably have been able to restore the dead end at the top of the road and maintain the security of our community.

Montclair Drive is now a through road for residents of the Long Mountain Country Club. The original cul-de-sac at the top of Montclair Drive was supposed to have been temporarily opened up to facilitate construction of houses on protected public lands. A whole other story! There's even a drawing of the proposed cut-stone wall that was to have been built to close back off Montclair Drive. But the Selective Homes Group of Companies, headed by Robert Cartade, failed to construct one of the main roads that was on the approved plan for the development. Successive governments have refused to enforce compliance.

NO SIDEWALK!

What hurt mi to heart is that after all of the road widening, primarily for the benefit of the prime minister, there is no functional sidewalk on Beverly Drive. So many domestic workers and gardeners walk up and down Beverly Drive every day! And they have to scamper to safety out of the way of speeding vehicles, mostly going in and out of Long Mountain Country Club. A white line has been put in to separate the road from an irregular strip of verge. But this cannot possibly be a substitute for a proper sidewalk.

One of my friends almost fell to her death on Beverly Drive. On her morning walk, she slipped on material left over from the roadwork. Is the grace of God that she was not hit by a passing car. How can the three MPs living in Beverly Hills drive up and down 'Prosperity Highway', as I call it, every single day, without any concern for pedestrians?

And the other side of Beverly Drive has been largely left in its original dangerous state, with huge rocks jutting out into the road. Apparently, the prime minister and his entourage do not intend to use that route.

The broad road that was custom-built, for the benefit of the prime minister and other residents and commuters, illustrates the wide gap between the rich and the poor in Jamaica today. By contrast, the highway of holiness is supposed to lead to a heavenly destination where social justice prevails. Every saint will live on a street paved with gold. There will be no potholes.

Well, that's if you believe in a heaven in the sky. Sceptics hope for justice in the here and now. We are not content with vague promises of pie in the sky. We keep on questioning unlikely stories about free-flowing milk and honey. I suppose those black people who were lactose-intolerant on Earth will have no problems with gas and bloating in heaven.

DODGING THE BULLET

Then, as was to be expected, I got a lot abuse in response to my columns on the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Within hours of publication of the first column on the crisis in the Church, a husband-and-wife team of fiery ministers called down damnation on my head. Their condemnation beautifully illustrated the zealous fundamentalism I'd highlighted. They posted an inflammatory video on YouTube. In response, one viewer described me as "an agent of Satan".

I got a lovely email from a compassionate gentleman: "I appeal to you, madam, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, to hurry up and complete the detour. Get back on the Highway of Holiness without which no one can see God. Return to the Faith of Our Fathers, for there is abundant love awaiting you.

"Remember in God's word no change appears. 'Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever' (Hebrews 13:8 ). Hence there could be no post-Adventist for you. I still regard you as a Seventh-day Adventist sister to whom I now express brotherly love and encouragement. I am convinced you still believe in Jesus and the Old Rugged Cross."

Another man posted this warning on The Gleaner's website: "most people indoctrinated in a particular religion return to it as they get older. Can you dodge the bullet? Only time will tell." I certainly hope I'll be saved by grace.

- Carolyn Cooper, PhD, is a specialist on culture and development. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and karokupa@gmail.com.