The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Yuletide Musings

Jeff Cumberbatch - New Chairman of the FTC

Jeff Cumberbatch – New Chairman of the FTC

As the excesses of the Christmas Day just past recede in the national consciousness, we prepare this week to welcome in 2016. At the close of this year, there seems to be a popular consensus that the local economy is on the up, although this assertion remains unsupported on most occasions by any evidence, persuasive or at all.

I suppose a healthy optimism is in itself a Very Good Thing, although the more cautious among us would wish for more authoritative empirical proof of this most fortunate event.

In this, the final column for 2015, I propose to touch on some matters across the region, fully cognizant of the risk that I may be accused by some of the citizens of those states of interference in their national affairs. That is, of course, provided they disagree with my views, as the Ambassador of the European Union would have discovered recently when he dared to offer an opinion on corporal punishment that differed radically from the antediluvian views of some locals who will not be swayed one jot or tittle from their simplistic and fundamentalist literalism that the “rod” in Proverbs 13:34 sounds too much like the “tambrin” (tamarind) rod, a favoured instrument for the parental infliction of pain in my youth, to mean anything else.

Clearly, the Ambassador’s opinion would be considered interference only because it conflicts with theirs; readers will recall that there was no such allegation against former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan when he cryptically, but supposedly flatteringly, claimed that Barbados punched above its weight in international fora.

It might have ever been thus. Chafed at criticism of the policy of racial segregation operative in Alabama some years ago, the then Governor George Wallace is reported to have said, “We shall continue to maintain segregation in Alabama completely and absolutely without violence or ill-will…We ask for patience and tolerance and make an earnest request that we be allowed to handle state and local affairs without outside interference…” The patent distinction here, of course, is that the Governor was far more gracious in his disagreement than the locals.

In any event, the accusation of external interference leveled at Mr. seems particularly misplaced given the context in which His Excellency spoke. As I have been urging for some time, the issue of state sovereignty should scarcely arise in a circumstance where the critical issue is compliance with the provisions of a voluntarily ratified international treaty, unless the accusers are prepared to argue that we possess the geopolitical clout to be international floutlaws of sacred global pacts. I am almost certain that this is not what Mr. Annan meant by “punching above our weight”.

When is a year nine months only?

I was intrigued by a report in the Barbados Advocate on Tuesday last week that Justice Errol Thomas of the Dominica High Court had called on prison authorities to stop what he called “the unlawful practice of reducing prison sentences without the authority of the court”. It may be widely known that the prison year is commonly thought of as a period of nine, instead of the calendar twelve, months.

In response to the assertion of the Superintendent of Prisons that “on arrival at the prison, the convicted person is given a one-third reduction to the sentence that is re-imposed only for misbehaviour during his time there”, the learned judge posited, “The only person authorized to reduce a sentence is the judge. No prison judge or officer has the right to reduce any sentence as soon as a prisoner enters the prison…it’s unlawful…that cannot be right…You are undermining the judgment of the court…” The Superintendent’s appeal to custom and practice –“it’s been happening for 31 years …if it’s a bad practice, it [has been] bad long time…” availed nothing. Thomas J reiterated his point about its unlawfulness.

I am not aware whether the matter has as yet been satisfactorily resolved in Dominica, but it is a nice point. I also do not know whether the identical position obtains there, but in Barbados the Prison Rules 1974, made under the Prisons Act, Cap 168, provides for the lawfulness of this procedure. According to rule 41, where relevant, “…arrangements shall be made by which a prisoner who is serving a sentence of imprisonment whether by one sentence or by consecutive sentences, for a period exceeding one month… may by good conduct and industry become eligible for discharge when a portion of his sentence not exceeding one-fourth of the whole sentence has yet to run…”

There would thus seem to be some lacunae in the popular thought. First, the sentence does not appear to be commuted, as the Dominican prison official claimed, “upon arrival at the prisons”, but rather it appears that a decision has to be made, at the time when at least three-quarters of the sentence has been served, as to whether the remaining period should be commuted or not. This is dependent upon “good conduct and industry” having been exhibited by the prisoner during his sojourn there.

Further, contrary to the view of the learned judge that it undermines the judgment of the court, it seems rather to be a matter of constitutional jurisdiction. While the court sentences the convicted person to a period on imprisonment; the prison authorities are empowered to determine the precise extent of that period. The current arrangement would appear to contemplate an inbuilt remission of sentence, although this is conditional on the prisoner’s good behaviour and industry.

Where a similar statute applies, and the sentencing court feels strongly enough about the issue, the necessary mathematical calculation will have to be effected by the judicial officer. Since one prison year may eventually be nine (9) months, then, in order to ensure a convicted person actually serves a total of five (5) years, the formally imposed sentence should be at least seven (7) years. Interesting!

Who is entitled to the Myrie benefits?

Recent reports about the substantial fiscal benefits realized by those regional jurisdictions that grant citizenship to foreign nationals (and their immediate families) who are prepared to invest handsome sums into their economies have caused me to wonder whether the decision to do so should not have been a collective CARICOM decision, given the legal implications for the other jurisdictions in that regional grouping that do not offer this entitlement on similar terms.

My musing is based on the fact that the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, at Article 32 (5), provides that “a person shall be regarded as a national of a Member State if such person (i) is a citizen of that State…”

And in its judgment in 2013 in the case brought by Shanique Myrie against Barbados, the Caribbean Court of Justice asserted that both the rights of establishment and of the provision of services “presume of necessity the right of movement of Community nationals without being obstructed by unreasonable restrictions” and that “an essential element of the right of free movement is the entry and stay of a Community national in another Member State hassle free, that is to say, without harassment or the imposition of impediments…” (My emphasis)

Since the economic citizen and his family would become citizens under the Revised Treaty, they should logically be entitled to those rights aforementioned on entry into any other Member State.

I note that Article 32 also provides that “the competent Organ shall establish basic criteria for Member States in order to safeguard against manipulation or abuse of such rights so as to gain an unfair advantage against other Member States…in the area of nationality criteria…” However, I have serious doubts as to whether this adequately covers the point that I am making here.

It would appear that by permitting or suffering certain states to create citizens through other than the ordinarily accepted means, the other CARICOM members may have unwittingly enlarged their treaty responsibilities in terms of entry of persons into their countries. Intriguing!

To you dear reader, a blessed, thoughtful, healthful and prosperous 2016.

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317 Comments on “The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Yuletide Musings”

  1. Donna January 10, 2016 at 10:07 AM #

    The opposite of eternal life is eternal death.


  2. Zoe January 10, 2016 at 10:26 AM #

    “Why? Though there MAY have been a city called Sodom that was destroyed GOD was NOT the destroyer. This story is not to be taken literally.”

    Really! Jesus, God incarnate, TAUGHT otherwise, that the OT narrative of Sodom WAS A LITERAL event in history; and NOT as these Codrington psuedo-scholars do!

    Having a Doctorate as these TWISTERS of God’s Word at Codrington do, CORRUPTING His Word, misleading people like you, INVALIDATES their doctorates.

    Degrees do NOT validate what is spoken or written, NO,NO,NO! Rather, what is TRUTHFULLY taught in accordance WITH God’s WORD, validates one’s degrees!

    The Symbol in the New Testament

    Jesus taught that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was a literal, historical event, not a myth, parable, fable, or fairy tale. When Jesus stressed the importance of being watchful and prepared for God to exercise judgment, he referred to the historical events of “the days of Noah” and of “the days of Lot.”

    Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all (Lk. 17:28-29).
    Then, he added,

    “Remember Lot’s wife” (v. 32). Jesus referred to the destruction of Sodom on a specific day (“the same day that Lot went out of Sodom”), by a specific means (“it rained fire and brimstone from heaven”), and with a specific result (“destroyed them all”). Jesus used Sodom to reinforce the lesson that men must take seriously God’s warning of judgment.

    When Jesus sent his disciples out on the limited commission, he said of those people who refused God’s Word, “Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city” (Matt. 10:15; cf. Mk. 6:11; Lk. 10:12).

    Jesus made the same statement concerning cities which heard his teaching, saw many “mighty works” which confirmed the truth of his teaching, and still “repented not.” Capernaum would be brought down from its exalted position to the suffering of the wicked in hades, just as Sodom was (Matt. 11:20-24).

    Sodom had heard the truth, and seen it confirmed through Abraham and Melchizedek. This opportunity should have brought Sodom to repentance, but they hardened their hearts against it. The people of Capernaum had heard the truth, had seen it confirmed by Jesus Christ himself, and yet had hardened their hearts. In rejecting the fuller revelation and greater blessings of the gospel, they made themselves worse than Sodom.

    Such comparisons were designed to impress the people with the shame and disgrace of their sins, and with the certainty of God’s judgment against them.

    Notice that Jesus taught that the people of Sodom were not annihilated. They are in hades, awaiting the final judgment. They will be raised from the dead to give an account of themselves “in the day of judgment.” The people of Capernaum and all other people will be there. When Jesus says,

    “It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city,” he does not mean that the Sodomites will be excused and exonerated, nor that hell will be cooler or shorter in duration for them than for others. Sodom is symbolic of the certainty of God’s wrath against sin, and of the utter and awful punishment brought about by sin.

    Sodom is the preeminent example of God’s wrath. To say that someone’s sins are worse than Sodom’s, or that it will be “more tolerable” for Sodom, does not make Sodom’s punishment any less certain or severe. It simply underscores the absolute certainty and awful severity of the punishment promised in the comparison!

    Jesus came to warn of judgment to come, but also to save us from it. He told his Apostles to preach salvation from sin and eternal torment:

    And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (Mk. 16:15-16).

    “He that believeth not shall be damned” means that hell is real. When Jesus comes again, he will judge the world and deliver his people (Acts 17:31; 2 Thess. 1:7-9).

    When Jude warned against the subtle and corrupt influence of apostates and their doctrines, he also warned that they lead men to destruction in the day of judgment. He underscored the certainty and the severity of divine judgment with three examples: the Jews “that believed not” during the wilderness wanderings, the angels who fell and who are “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day,” and finally Sodom and Gomorrah (Jude 4-7).

    Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire (v. 7).

    Following a similar pattern which points to Sodom as the preeminent example, Peter warned against false teachers and the judgment to come by pointing to three examples: the angels, Noah’s generation, and finally Sodom and Gomorrah (2 Pet. 2:1-8).

    And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly (v. 6).
    When God rained “brimstone and fire” upon Sodom, He literally turned the city “into ashes” (Gen. 19:24; 2 Pet. 2:6).

    He did it in such a fashion as to demonstrate that this fire came from God, not from man. Whether men like it or not, God destroyed Sodom in such a way as to memorialize for all time his hatred of immorality, especially homosexuality. Furthermore, he sent such a horrible, unrelenting, unquenchable fire as to necessarily imply “the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7).

    The fire of God’s anger pursued the Sodomites on earth, still torments them in hades, and will punish them throughout all eternity.

    The spirit of Sodom is still alive, but is doomed to defeat. In establishing the church, God sent out men to reveal the gospel and to spread it throughout the world. In an effort to destroy the church, Satan killed many of these faithful witnesses to the truth of the gospel. John pictured the scene of this slaughter in these words: “and their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” (Rev. 11: 8).

    The city which serves Satan is immoral and obstinate like Sodom, binds people in sin as Egypt bound the Jews, and rejects the truth and its author. The witnesses and the cause of truth were raised. Christ conquered his enemies, and the city fell. The last book of the Bible reminds us of the symbol given in the first book. The spirit of Sodom is doomed to utter and eternal defeat.

    Whether the lusts of Sodom attract us, or its wickedness afflicts us, let us remember that it is “set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7). It is the sign and symbol of eternal torment!


  3. Zoe January 10, 2016 at 11:09 AM #

    Donna January 10, 2016 at 10:07 AM #

    The opposite of eternal life is eternal death.

    It is vitally important to understand the meanings of the words ‘DEATH” and ‘LIFE’ in the New Testament Greek, that the Holy Spirit used to convey the TRUTH of of Eternal Life, and Eternal Death.

    The root meanings for the words ‘death’ and ‘life’ (death Gk. Thanatos, in its verb form ‘Apothenesko’, and ‘life’ Zoe or its verb form ‘Zac) are respectively:

    Thanatos, means ‘separation FROM, or to SEPARATE, from communion or fellowship.

    The Scriptures describe TWO types of DEATH, physical and spiritual, the former being the SEPARATION of the BODY from the soul/spirit, and the latter being the SEPARATION of the SOUL/SPIRIT of man, FROM God as a result of SIN, in Eternal Punishment.

    Also, TWO kinds of LIFE are spoken of in the New Testament: physical LIFE ( bios), which is union and communion of BODY and SOUL; and SPIRITUAL life ( Zoe), which is communion or fellowship of the soul with God.

    The Greek word for DEATH, Thanatos, is NEVER in any Greek Lexicon, EVER given as meaning, cessation of CONSCIOUSNESS, or Annihilation.


  4. ac January 10, 2016 at 11:34 AM #

    so the people of Sodom and Gomorrah suffered a fiery death at the hands of God. Now am i to believe that at the day of judgement the people of Sodom and Gomorrah would again suffer another fiery death in hell


  5. Zoe January 10, 2016 at 1:00 PM #

    ac January 10, 2016 at 11:34 AM #
    so the people of Sodom and Gomorrah suffered a fiery death at the hands of God. Now am i to believe that at the day of judgement the people of Sodom and Gomorrah would again suffer another fiery death in hell

    In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word used to describe the realm of the dead is sheol. It simply means “the place of the dead” or “the place of departed souls/spirits.” The New Testament Greek equivalent to sheol is hades, which is also a general reference to “the place of the dead.”

    The Greek word gehenna is used in the New Testament for “hell” and is derived from the Hebrew word hinnom. Other Scriptures in the New Testament indicated that sheol/hades is a temporary place where souls are kept as they await the final resurrection.

    The souls of the righteous, at death, go directly into the presence of God—the part of sheol called “heaven,” “paradise,” or “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23).

    The lake of fire, mentioned only in Revelation 19:20 and 20:10, 14-15, is the final hell, the place of eternal punishment for all unrepentant rebels, both angelic and human (Matthew 25:41).

    It is described as a place of burning sulfur, and those in it experience eternal, unspeakable agony of an unrelenting nature (Luke 16:24; Mark 9:45-46). Those who have rejected Christ and are in the temporary abode of the dead in hades/sheol have the lake of fire as their final destination.

    But those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life should have no fear of this terrible fate. By faith in Christ and His blood shed on the cross for our sins, we are destined to live eternally in the presence of God.


  6. ac January 10, 2016 at 2:13 PM #

    From a read of your comment i therefore asserts that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah whose immoral acts gave God reason to judge and destroyed the city by fire ///// souls of the dead now lie in the grave awaiting a second judgement destined to hells fire .
    By all accounts the bible states that it is “appointed for man once to die and after death is the judgement
    i am persuaded to ask did not the people of sodom and Gommorah already endured both death and eternal damnation through fire and why should there souls be resurrected and be subjected for a secondary fate ,isnt that a form of unequal justice or genocide


  7. Zoe January 10, 2016 at 6:24 PM #

    ac January 10, 2016 at 2:13 PM #

    From a read of your comment i therefore asserts that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah whose immoral acts gave God reason to judge and destroyed the city by fire ///// souls of the dead now lie in the grave awaiting a second judgement destined to hells fire .

    By all accounts the bible states that it is “appointed for man once to die and after death is the judgement

    i am persuaded to ask did not the people of sodom and Gommorah already endured both death and eternal damnation through fire and why should there souls be resurrected and be subjected for a secondary fate ,isnt that a form of unequal justice or genocide/

    No, the souls of the dead, are in Hell. It is their BODIES that are in the graves, awaiting the resurrection to be taken to The Great White Throne Judgment, to be cast into the Lake of Fire.

    Yes, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgement.” (Hebrews 9:27)

    Physical DEATH, happens ONCE, on earth, that’s when the Soul/Spirit, IS separated FROM the body. The Soul/Spirit goes to Hell in consciousness, while the BODY remains in the grave.


  8. ac January 10, 2016 at 6:51 PM #

    now it begs the question what is the composition of the soul ?


  9. Zoe January 10, 2016 at 8:15 PM #

    @ Donna, What are the Gifts and Ministries in the New Testament Church?


  10. Zoe January 10, 2016 at 8:59 PM #

    The soul of man constitutes the Mind, Intellect, Will, Emotions, etc. That immaterial part of man, in BOTH the ‘Saved’ and the un-Saved man, that allows all of us to function, daily, EITHER in positive, constructive ways, OR, in destructive, evil, sinful ways,

    The Spirit and Soul of man, are not substantively different, BUT, rather, are FUNCTIONALLY different. The Spirit of the un-Saved man, is DEAD, and needs the New ‘Birth’ being ‘Born Again’ from ABOVE, to be regenerated spiritually, and brought ALIVE.

    1Th 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    This Bible verse clearly identifies all of the key parts of the basic created human composition. The three main components are listed in their proper order of sequenced priority.

    This order is from the greatest or most important human feature descending to the least important part of every human. Not very many Christians put humans into this order but that is what God says, learn it.

    This verse declares every human is to be first, a spirit that second has a soul and third lives in a physical body. Spirit, soul and body represent three different realms of human existence that require our attention and God’s attention according to this statement.

    Consider the declaration being made by God closely. God says He desires that your whole being be made holy and then He lists three separate areas for this act to take place. Did you see what God just said?

    God just told you that you were designed to be a triune being and that you definitely have a spirit using the exact same Greek word that was proclaimed as God’s Holy Spirit in many other verses. The fact that God chooses to use the same word for spirit to describe Himself and man makes man the likeness of God. Do you understand that point?

    NOTE: Made in the LIKENESS of God, does NOT, and will NEVER make man a God, or as Bush Tea has declared, “I WILL BE GOD.”

    Right here in this single verse we have just confirmed the existence of two unseen features for the created man being made in the image and likeness of God.

    Using this foundational information we understand that the human spirit is not the human soul, the human soul is not the human body, the human spirit is not the physical body and all of these in the vice versa.

    To emphasize this point again I’ll restate it using basic math terms. The human spirit is not equal to the human soul, the human spirit is not equal to the human body, and the human soul is not equal to the human body.

    These are very simple truths and this is very profound information for us all to learn. Each component is a separate and distinct part of the whole man and that is why I never use the terms soul and spirit interchangeably. This triune pattern revealed as a whole man is the repeated design from the trinity nature of God. Like I said before I’m not going to teach the subject of the trinity of God in this lesson; I have other lessons on that subject. Therefore, if you still do not understand that God declares Himself as One God in the form of three unique titled personalities then you are in need of knowing the truth.


  11. Vincent Haynes January 10, 2016 at 9:22 PM #

    @Zoe January 10, 2016 at 8:59 PM #

    Chuckle……just a reminder to any one reading these posts,that your premise/basis for discussion is incorrect,hence all that you spew is garbage……a friendly reminder that I will post from time to time.


  12. Zoe January 11, 2016 at 7:33 AM #

    “Today, if you will HEAR His voice, Do not harden your hearts.” (Psalm 95: 7,8)

    The Word Discovers Our Condition

    “For the WORD of God is LIVING and POWERFUL, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and IS a DISCERNER of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

    “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but ALL things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” ( Hebrews 4: 12, 13) Emphasis added.

    This text is among the foremost in understanding faith’s call to “confess” the Word of God.

    In this context, the Bible describes itself: “The Word of God is living and powerful.”

    The term for “word” here is the Greek word ‘logos’ which commonly indicates the expression of a complete idea, and is used in referring to the Holy Scriptures. It contrast with ‘rhema’, which generally refers to a ‘word’ spoken or given.


  13. Donna January 11, 2016 at 10:31 AM #


    Was waiting for that question. Sooooo predictable you are..


  14. Donna January 11, 2016 at 10:34 AM #

    Nothing to be gained here. This Bible brimbler is out!


  15. Zoe January 12, 2016 at 7:05 PM #

    Donna January 11, 2016 at 10:34 AM #

    Nothing to be gained here. This Bible brimbler is out!

    True to FORM…typical Anglican!


  16. Hants January 12, 2016 at 7:19 PM #

    From a brimbler…..

    Judging Others

    1“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

    3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

    6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”


  17. Vincent Haynes January 12, 2016 at 8:53 PM #

    Chuckle……….Religion the opiate of the masses…….fire and brimstone…..distill fear…..enjoy believers of the bible or any such rubbish……..Zoe&GP,yuh gine good.


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