Fri | Jan 19, 2018

‘Fortune tellers’ paradise - Many said to be foreigners, making big money by selling a peek into the future

Published:Sunday | December 17, 2017 | 12:47 AMErica Virtue

Over recent weeks, local television has been flooded with persons selling themselves as fortune tellers and offering Jamaicans a look into the future through face and palm readings, birthdates and playing cards, as well as various other means.

Many of the ads show persons with Indian accents and seemingly of Indian descent, offering their services at a huge cost.

With fees of $10,000 and upwards, scores of Jamaicans are going for a glimpse into their future. One of the advertised fortune tellers told our news team that he was booked for all of the late evenings last week.

The soothsayers have set up shops in the major urban centres in Kingston and St Andrew, while others have branched out to Linstead, St Catherine; and Mandeville, Manchester.

According to the fortune teller who spoke with our news team, the reporter would have to travel to a designated supermarket on Red Hills Road in St Andrew, and from there call for directions on where to meet him.

With his heavy Indian accent, there was no indication that he was a Jamaican, and efforts to determine if he was in possession of a work permit to operate in Jamaica were unsuccessful.
 

WHAT THE LAW SAYS

Under the Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Act, a foreigner shall not engage in any occupation in Jamaica for reward or profit, or be employed in the island, unless he/she has a valid work permit and he/she operates within the terms and conditions which may be specified in the permit.

Any foreigner who engages in any occupation in Jamaica or is employed in the island in contravention of the law is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $200 or to imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding six months, or to both a fine and imprisonment.

Efforts to get information from the Ministry of Labour on whether work permits have been issued to foreign fortune tellers have so far been unsuccessful.

Questions sent to Lisa Ann Grant in the Work Permit Section of the ministry, its public relations unit, and Permanent Secretary Colette Roberts-Risden remain unanswered after more than three weeks.

But Sunday Gleaner sources say the advertised clairvoyants are operating illegally in Jamaica if they are not Jamaicans, as the ministry has issued no such work permits.

“The ministry has not issued any work permit for Indian obeah men. That service is already available in Jamaica. But remember obeah is illegal in Jamaica, and that’s what they are, obeah men.

“If the ministry gave work permits, it would be tantamount to legalising something that is illegal,” said a labour ministry official, who asked not to be named as he is not authorised to speak on behalf of the ministry.

He argued that the foreign fortune tellers could be operating illegally in Jamaica as they would have applied for, and been granted, work permits as businessmen.

Philosopher, theologian, and pastor of the Sligoville Baptist Church, the Reverend Dr Clinton Chisholm, last week scoffed at the fortune tellers.

“The best reading of it is plain old psychological hocus-pocus. But the demonic/satanic or the evil side of it has to be factored in as well. Someone has to now ask, are they accurate?

“The devil knows some things, but he is not all-knowing. Many are just pure bogus, what they tell you will happen, never happens,” said Chisholm.

“A guy did his master’s degree in France by writing  daily horoscopes. He just kept recycling them and no one was the wiser, they didn’t check, because they didn’t care. But you are still hooked on it, man read yuh foot-bottom, hand middle, and all this foolishness.

“They are capitalising on our gullibility and they know us better than we know ourselves,” added Chisholm.

CULTURE A FACTOR

He said that part of the gullibility may be cultural, but a large part is because as a people, Jamaicans are uncritical of what they hear.

For Pastor Kavan Allen of Fellowship Tabernacle, the issue has raised serious concerns and has caused many persons to wonder why Jamaica is so attractive to evil.

“I have heard it. It has been a topic of discussion, and I also hear that the local media, especially television, is flooded with advertisements. The service they are offering is not of God. If it is not of God, it is evil,” said Allen.

“Persons are waiting to hear the voice of the Church on the issue, but for many, the Church only comes awake when it has to do with issues such as homosexuality and abortion because there is a fear that laws may be changed to make those legal,” added Allen.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com