Today is Malcolm X’s birthday; he would have been 88 years old. Tragically, his young grandson, Malcolm Shabazz, was murdered on May 9 at a Mexico City nightclub. But here’s a little Caribbean connection: Malcolm X’s mother Louise was born in Grenada - but she had a very sad life, too.
Well, with that useful and important fact stored away, let’s look at the last few days in Jamaica…
The voice of morality: Our pious Minister of Education, the Reverend Ronald Thwaites, told Parliament this week that he is not going to allow young Jamaican students to be “groomed” towards homosexuality (demonstrating his own mistaken beliefs on the subject); and that although he approves of (the right kind of) sex education, condoms in schools are out. None of us were surprised at this, were we – after all, the Minister’s Catholic faith strongly influences his prescriptions for our youth. The television program All Angles confronted the issue of condoms in schools last week with youth activist/commentator Jaevion Nelson, retired school principal Esther Tyson and the head of the guidance counseling association. The latter two both toed the Minister’s line as expected; were confused by the statistics Mr. Nelson produced to strengthen his case for contraceptive assistance in schools; and clumsily tried to catch him out, once or twice.
But a big, big silver lining: The same Minister folded his hands, turned his eyes to heaven and announced a change in government policy towards pregnant teens in school. Amendments to the Education Act and Regulations attached thereto will ensure that schools will keep open a space for a child who has had to leave due to pregnancy, so that she may continue her education afterwards. Huge kudos to Opposition Senator Kamina Johnson Smith for her strong lobbying on this issue; and to the Minister for seeing the sense and fairness of it. The Minister also announced a couple of pending measures that have ruffled the feathers of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association; more on that, probably, later. I don’t always agree with our overly preachy Minister; but at least he is trying to right some of the hundreds of wrongs afflicting our education system, one by one. He has some tricky issues to tackle, indeed.
“I’m so frustrated by this experience”: A quote from CEO of the Jamaica Public Service Company Kelly Tomblin on the seemingly very long and slow deliberations by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) on who should receive the contract for a new 350 mw power plant. I can imagine how she feels. I often fail to see whether government agencies like the OUR, the Bureau of Standards (of toilet tissue infamy), the Urban Development Corporation and others do any good for the Jamaican people. I guess they provide jobs. How else do they serve our interests?
The truth is swimming away: In an enlightening radio interview with a frequently stuttering Transport and Works Minister Omar Davies on Thursday morning, it transpired that Davies’ junior minister Richard Azan told him two different stories about whether or not he knew that rental money was being collected at his (Azan’s) own constituency office for illegally constructed shops. There actually appear to be three different versions of this conversation, all aired on broadcast media. However, clearly Minister Davies seems to think that his junior minister means well, even if he has broken the law. He is eager to do good in the community, so let’s “give him a bligh,” nuh. The grammatically challenged Junior Minister had told Nationwide in an earlier interview, “Yes, I make a mistake for building the shops” (sic). But saying “My bad” sometimes has consequences, right?
This is a true patriot, Rev. Redwood: As I noted in my last blog post, the now-departed-on-a-jet-plane Senate President Reverend Stanley Redwood only dug a deeper hole for himself by responding to the cutting criticism of a Gleaner column in a letter to the newspaper. He actually called himself a patriotic Jamaican. The acerbic columnist Gordon Robinson today gives us a better idea of a patriotic Jamaican – one who has no choice but to struggle through our ramshackle health, justice and education systems with no special privileges, but who tries to help his fellow Jamaicans and ensure his family thrives.
Fresh face: Members of the 51% Coalition (including myself) are delighted at the appointment of a young attorney-at-law, Sophia Frazer-Binns. Great to see another woman in the Senate, and we look forward to her contribution. We note also that Ms. Frazer-Binns has some experience of working with youth. Good, too.
Two key meetings: J-FLAG and the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition (JCSC) had two key meetings this week: in recognition of International Day Against Homophobia, J-FLAG held a forum on homelessness and forced migration among the LGBT population; and the JCSC launched two publications arising from its lengthy series of consultations with communities on “People Participation in the National Budget Making Process.” Congratulations to both organizations for their efforts to keep seeking solutions to some of Jamaican society’s most intractable problems. I will be writing more on these meetings in the next week – in particular, on the “disconnects” between Jamaicans and Jamaicans. Need to overcome these…
Rooting for the children: Huge big-ups to the JN Foundation for providing desperately-needed funding for the Spanish Town-based non-governmental organization Children First. I had the honor of working with this organization on several occasions and have always been impressed by founder Claudette Richardson-Pious’ deep understanding of and clear-eyed focus on the complex and difficult lives of youth at risk. Since it is still Child Month, here are two other individuals who are quietly working on behalf of children: Deika Morrison of Crayons Count; and youth advocate Kemesha Kelly, who works with young people in St. Ann. Great role models.
Collecting: And Help JA Children, the lobby group formed one year ago, is busy collecting items for children in state care this month. Take your food, toiletries, clothes, books, magazines and other goodies to Kia Motors c/o HJC, 2 Chelsea Ave, Kgn 10. Tel: 920-5000. It will be hugely appreciated!
Kudos to Vaz: It’s Labour Day on Wednesday, when people undertake all kinds of tasks to make life better for their fellow-Jamaicans. One of former Prime Minister Michael Manley‘s better ideas, I think. Across the island, the infirmaries that are funded by local parish councils are in a terrible state of repair – often colonial-era buildings that have seen much better days. Now, a couple of months ago Member of Parliament for East Portland Daryl Vaz announced that he was going to give up five per cent of his salary, as a gesture of sacrifice in these tough times. He was praised in a half-hearted way by some. But now he has met with Port Antonio’s Mayor and decided the money he gives up will be earmarked for the Portland Infirmary, which is in a bad state. I really do like this. Did any other political representative follow Mr. Vaz’ example? I think not…
A waste of space: I am sometimes baffled by the sheer inanity and trivia that gets published in the newspapers each week. The random thoughts of commentators with nothing meaningful to say; the grinning men and women with wineglasses in their hands at an uptown party; yet another PR piece about some reggae/dancehall singer who is “making waves” overseas (playing in tiny clubs in the suburbs of big cities). If it’s online, at least with a click you can forget/delete it. But good trees are chopped down for this worthless nonsense.
Jamaican bloggers, sharpen your keyboards! Wednesday, May 23 – the third anniversary of the Tivoli Gardens Massacre – is Jamaica Blog Day, a “Day of Action for Jamaican bloggers on police and security force abuses.” The great little (growing) blogging community on the island, including myself, will be researching and writing and photographing on this subject. It’s going to be meaningful stuff. Do read and support our bloggers!
Coming up fast and not to be missed! The Fulbright Academy of Science and Technology will hold its 2013 Conference on Global Health in Montego Bay from May 24-27. It is open to the public. Important themes covered will be: Public Policy, Law and Economics in healthcare; Public Health and the Impact of Technology and Social Media; Emerging & Reemerging Infectious Diseases; Education, Sport and Wellness; Environmental Health (Global water supply & safety, Climate Change, Urban planning, engineering); and Human Sexuality. Visit the conference website at http://www.fulbrightacademy.org/page/HealthSummit/index.v3page;jsessionid=4j4dleqsqk0m4 And while I’m at it, big shout-out to all the fabulous Jamaican Fulbrighters (including Marcia Forbes, who will be presenting at the conference)… You make us proud!
I am relieved that the week, which started off so badly with homicides, has ended (hopefully) on a more peaceful note. However, my sympathies go out to the families and friends of Kenneth Kerr and Abasco Foster, who are grieving at this time. I hope that Mr. Foster’s companion recovers from serious injuries.
Kenneth Kerr, 54, Spanish Town, St. Catherine
Abasco Foster, 27, George’s Plain, Westmoreland
Related articles/links and local blogs in purple:
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130517/business/business4.html Economy contracts in March quarter: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130519/lead/lead6.html Kelly speaks her mind: Urges speedy decision on new power supplier: Sunday Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Stadium-built-with-Chinese-money-in-ruins_14278481 Stadium built with Chinese money in ruins: Sunday Observer
http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=20784 Jamaica: Three years on, state of emergency still an open wound: Amnesty International
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130518/lead/lead1.html ”Act on Tivoli”: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130519/cleisure/cleisure2.html The methods of war have failed: Claude Clarke column/Sunday Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130518/letters/letters1.html INDECOM needs more power: Letter of the Day/Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130517/lead/lead2.html Cops to be charged for schoolgirl’s murder: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Cop-dodges-court-as-DNA-shatters-lie-that-arrested-man-had-spliff_14284218 Cop dodges court as DNA shatters lie: Jamaica Observer
http://www.jis.gov.jm/news/leads-122/33915 Senate elects first visually impaired President: Jamaica Information Service
http://www.jis.gov.jm/news/leads-122/33919 Attorney-at-law appointed to the Senate: Jamaica Information Service
http://www.jis.gov.jm/news/leads/33909 Contribution to 2013 Sectoral Debate: Mikael Phillips, MP: Jamaica Information Service
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130519/cleisure/cleisure2.html Of patriots and sellouts: Gordon Robinson column/Sunday Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130519/focus/focus6.html Saying goodbye and diaspora relations: Christopher Tufton op-ed/Sunday Gleaner
http://chatychaty.com/2013/05/jamaica-not-grooming-students-for-same-sex-unions-marriage-is-between-a-man-and-a-woman/ ”Jamaica not grooming students for same sex unions, marriage is between a man and a woman”: chatychaty.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-o2el_Gw8O8 Stop being naïve about sex! Jamaican high school students speak: YouTube
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/teen-mothers-to-be-reintegrated-in-school-system?utm_source=rjr&utm_medium=news Teen mothers to be reintegrated in school system: RJR News
http://keimiller.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/the-little-wine-that-hurt-somebody-or-soca-and-the-bad-behaving-gays-of-jamaica/ The little wine that hurt somebody; or, soca and the bad-behaving gays of Jamaica: Under the Saltire Flag blog
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130517/lead/lead1.html ”I give up!” Some parents no longer care about their runaway children: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130519/news/news1.html Cruel by choice: Thousands of Jamaican children intentionally injured by adults annually: Sunday Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130519/lead/lead2.html Young and loveless: Teenage prostitute pushing for a fresh start: Sunday Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130519/focus/focus3.html Condoms in schools: Martin Henry column/Sunday Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130516/news/news1.html Ananda Alert to be displayed on billboards: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130519/lead/lead8.html Rescue for Children First: JN Foundation comes to the assistance of charity set up to help Jamaica’s most needy youths: Sunday Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130519/news/news5.html Portland infirmary to get Vaz salary cut: Sunday Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130517/lead/lead Suspected dengue cases climb to 475, two confirmed deaths: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130517/news/news1.html Moneague Primary & Junior High cops LASCO environmental award: Gleaner
http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2013/05/16/3012766/caribbean-talks-conservation-on.html Caribbean talks conservation on Branson’s island: AP
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130516/news/news7.html Public gets say in Cockpit Country boundary debate: Gleaner
http://jamaica-star.com/thestar/20130516/news/news1.html Eleven-year-old escapes croc attack, reptile snatches dog instead: Jamaica Star
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130516/news/news3.html KSAC, handcart men agree on registration fee: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130519/ent/ent1.html Balancing the act: Crawford seeks compromise between “want to eat” and “want to sleep”: Sunday Gleaner
An IDAHO State of Mind (petchary.wordpress.com)
May 15, 2013 (petchary.wordpress.com)
My week got off to a great start with a donation to Eve for Life from the Optimist Club of Sunset, Liguanea on Monday morning. We are indeed tremendously grateful for the gifts donated, and it was a huge pleasure to welcome President Lavern Brown, three members of the Walker family and Patrick Prendergast, a Facebook friend I had never met before! There are indeed some good and kind people in the world. Pictures to follow…
Are they serious? The Bureau of Standards, whose mission is (presumably) to maintain standards for us poor ignorant consumers, has been busy testing more toilet tissue. Remember the #TissueIssue? And guess what? It has found five more brands that are contaminated. This makes…four plus five…nine brands that are on their “No-Wipe” list. Problem is, the Bureau in its wisdom will not reveal the names of this new batch of miscreants, either. It is concerned about lawsuits from the manufacturers. So let’s worry about the manufacturers then. We will just sit there like idiots, in the dark.
Won’t happen again: It is incredibly sad that a World War I cannon has been stolen from a resident of Gordon Town, who treasured this as a memory of old friends as well as for its historical/cultural value. But no, the vampires are at it again, tiefing everything in sight. Presumably this is the scrap metal trade at work again. And speaking of scrap metal, we have learnt that the Transport Authority, in its wisdom, sold hundreds of motor cars that it had impounded for many years, mostly for scrap, in 2008. It says it did not profit from this sale. A representative said that they will make sure in future to obey their own rules – to auction cars every six months. Which they clearly had not been doing.
Murders this month: According to the Gleaner’s intrepid and seasoned crime reporter Glenroy Sinclair, up to May 13 we have already had thirty murders, give or take one or two. What is happening? Some seem to be domestic matters, others gangs, many others robberies. Most of the time, the motive is not clear. One thing we do know is that most of the murders will not be “cleared up” - in other words, solved - although if an alleged murderer is shot dead by the police, I think they count it as a clear-up. February has been the bloodiest month this year so far, with 92.
Random: The violence seems to just leap out at you. A man kills his partner because of jealousy or some argument; a policeman allegedly attacks a schoolboy who was studying with his daughter at his house and caught “in a compromising position” with said daughter; a man is shot dead while trying to rescue his neighbors from their burning house. If you care to look, these random acts of violence and aggression continue, day after day. If not reported in the traditional media, you soon hear on the social media when one of these crimes gets too close to home for one of your online friends – like the discovery of a woman’s body next to the Marcus Garvey Youth Information Centre in St. Ann’s Bay where one of my young friends works. I have shared several links below to individual stories, so you get the picture. These incidents have all occurred in the last two or three days.
Jamaica Blog Day: Anniversaries are difficult times for us all when they are remembrances of things that should never have happened. The pain returns. So it is with two adjoining anniversaries next week: On May 22, 2009, fire broke out at the Armadale Juvenile Correctional Centre in St. Ann in the “Office Dormitory” – a space big enough for five people. At the Commission of Enquiry in 2010, Justice Paul Harrison castigated the then Commissioner of Corrections for taking the decision to house 23 girls in this space. On that night, the girls were locked in, because they had been misbehaving. A policeman who actually threw a tear gas canister in the window allegedly exacerbated the fire. Five girls were killed that night and eleven injured; two more girls died later in hospital. Then, on May 23, 2010, security forces invaded the community of Tivoli Gardens in West Kingston in search of Christopher “Dudus” Coke, for whom there was an extradition warrant. We know that at least 75 civilians were killed and many injured; many still bear the physical and psychological wounds. The interim report of the Public Defender into the matter has just been released, and the Simpson Miller administration has announced that it will establish a Commission of Enquiry. No date has yet been set and we do not yet know the parameters of the enquiry. Jamaican bloggers will be writing about police abuses on May 23rd. If you are a blogger, or would like to post an article on Facebook or elsewhere, please join us. We must never forget. We want to make an impact!
The wonderful world of Twitter: I spend some time every day (and sometimes rather late at night) in Twitterland. It is an extraordinary place. There can be flashes of illumination, surprises, much amusement, even shocks. One of my followers, the wonderful comedian, writer and all-round creative person Owen “Blakka” Ellis received a severe jolt when I retweeted an article recently. I am an inveterate retweeter and like to share provocative viewpoints as well as useful information. The tweet asserted,“Black men think that hypermasculinity, sports obsession, extreme homophobia, sexism and belittling women makes a man, a man”. Now, this damning, sweeping generalization struck poor Mr. Ellis to the core. He responded to the original tweeter, and got slapped down at least twice more. Ouch! And ouch again! This compelled Mr. Ellis to write the article below. For the record, I feel Mr. Ellis had a right to protest and was treated harshly. (Oh, you can follow me on @petchary).
Scrambling for jobs: Figures released by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica this week show a 37 per cent unemployment rate among youth. The overall rate is 14.2 per cent. However, we know that these numbers are even higher in inner city communities and rural districts where jobs are extremely scarce. The large and profitable Jamaican firm GraceKennedy (GK) recently advertised ten internships, and received 780 applications. Yes, the job situation is desperate. As GK’s CEO Don Wehby says, local firms should offer more internships. At least, then, young people would have something on their resumé (how do you get work experience if there are no jobs?)
Boundless patriotism: Meanwhile the great patriot Rev. Stanley Redwood, who just stepped down as President of the Senate, has responded to a very sarcastic article in the Gleaner regarding his pending migration to Canada. Reverend Redwood clearly does not have much faith in the Jamaican education system. He pleads, “Many Jamaicans have sought opportunities for their children overseas. I do not believe there is any shame in seeking the best for my talented children. I am sure you would have done no differently.” But then, it is a fact that most government ministers and members of Parliament do send their children to school overseas; and when they are sick, they go overseas for treatment. They have such touching faith in the Jamaican education and health systems. And in fact, in Jamaica itself. And yet, we must “unite and build…”
The Sufferer: On top of all that, during a speech this week our Prime Minister decided to take up the cross of suffering, pointing out that she is the most criticized person in Jamaica, upon whose head all “negativity” is heaped. This was part of a speech in which she was encouraging her audience to hold their heads up high in the face of adversity. Madam Prime Minister, this air of martyrdom does not become you. In fact, it is embarrassing and unnecessary. Almost as embarrassing and unnecessary as those sinister-looking sunglasses that she has been wearing for years now. Not a good look. Where are her advisors?
The Silent One: I have not seen or heard Minister of National Security Peter Bunting on any newscast recently. Is he OK?
Since Sunday the following murders have been reported. It is heart-breaking. My condolences to the families and friends.
Shelly-Ann Maxwell, 21, Bombay Stud Farm/Bernard Lodge, St. Catherine
Cordel Steer, 22, Bombay Stud Farm/Bernard Lodge, St. Catherine
Unidentified man, George Lane, Kingston
Garth Simpson, 39, Gayle, St. Mary
Janice Burrell, 38, Islington, St. Mary
Leroy Robinson, 54, Little London, Westmoreland
Adina Bell, 36, St. Ann’s Bay, St. Ann
Killed by police:
Desmond McCalla, Bull Bay, St. Andrew
http://jablogday.tumblr.com Jamaica Blog Day
http://www.solarbuzzjamaica.com/2013/05/removal-of-illegal-connections-to-sugar-factories-to-cost-govt-200m-no-more-free-light/ Removal of illegal connections to sugar factories to cost government $200 million. No more free light! solarbuzzjamaica.com
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/five-toilet-paper-brands-pulled-due-to-high-levels-of-bacteria Five toilet paper brands pulled due to high levels of bacteria: RJR News
http://delanoseiv.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/wanted-full-disclosure-in-ritz-carlton-affair/ Wanted: Full disclosure in Ritz-Carlton affair: delanoseiv.wordpress.com
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130513/lead/lead22.html Playa replaces Ritz with Park Hyatt: Gleaner
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/protest-action-escalates-at-complant Protest action escalates at COMPLANT: RJR News
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/-We-will-not-flinch-_142522042013-05-14T00-04-44 BITU head asserts commitment to workers’ rights: Jamaica Observer
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/new-law-paves-way-for-government-to-pass-imf-test New law paves way for government to pass IMF test: RJR News
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130515/news/news1.html Exploring logistics hubs: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/The-rightness-of-the-Tivoli-enquiry_14252198 The rightness of the Tivoli enquiry: Jamaica Observer editorial
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Let-us-have-a-Garrison-Enquiry_14251339 Let us have a garrison enquiry: Jean Lowrie-Chin column/Jamaica Observer
http://digjamaica.com/blog/2013/05/13/a-look-at-jamaicas-human-rights-situation/ A look at Jamaica‘s human rights situation: diGJamaica.com
http://jamaica-star.com/thestar/20130513/news/news12.html Wanted fugitive killed in shoot-out: Jamaica Star
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130514/lead/lead8.html Two persons killed per day: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Terror-in-Clifton_14268531 Gunmen invade community, fire-bomb five houses: Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Murdered-for-good-deed_14271138 Gunman kills hotel worker trying to rescue neighbor: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=43114 Policeman allegedly attacks schoolboy with pipe iron and gun: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130515/lead/lead1.html Massive MoBay raid: Drugs, cash seized in 11-hour operation; Canadian held: Gleaner
http://speakmytruthwritemylife.blogspot.com/2012/11/let-he-that-is-without-sin-cast-first.html Let he that is without sin cast the first stone: speakmytruthwritemylife.blogspot.com
http://jamaica-star.com/thestar/20130513/news/news10.html Residents shocked by chopping death: Jamaica Star
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130514/letters/letters1.html Don’t push gay men into closet marriages: Letter of the Day/Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Cars-sold-as-scrap-metal_14263174 Cars sold as scrap metal: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130515/lead/lead93.html ”No profit made”: Transport Authority did not gain from sale of impounded motor vehicles: Gleaner
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/mobay-mayor-lashes-out-at-detractors MoBay Mayor lashes out at detractors: RJR News
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130514/cleisure/cleisure1.html The Redwood factor: Gleaner editorial
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130515/letters/letters2.html I’m a patriot, but family comes first: Letter to the Editor from Rev. Stanley Redwood
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130513/news/news1.html Redwood’s resignation and Vision 2030/The Gavel: Gleaner
http://www.jis.gov.jm/news/leads-117/33851 Prime Minister urges Jamaicans to assist the most vulnerable: Jamaica Information Service
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Prison-programme-providing-women-with-useful-skills_14260950 Prison program providing women with useful skills: Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Amradale-report Brutal! Judge blames cop for starting deadly fire (February, 2010): Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-star.com/thestar/20130515/features/features1.html Damning declaration about black men: Blakka Ellis column/Jamaica Star
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/The-cost-of-inaction_14223127 The cost of inaction on climate change: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130514/lead/lead6.html World War I cannon stolen: Gleaner
http://cbcburke9.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/dancehall-mashing-up-hell-knows/ Dancehall mashing up hell knows: cbcburke9.wordpress.com
http://digjamaica.com/blog/2013/05/10/image-of-the-week-seaforths-artistic-excellence/ Image of the Week: Seaforth’s artistic excellence: diGJamaica.com
It’s a hot afternoon. It’s Mother’s Day in Jamaica, and the air is sleepy. Our gardener did some serious work yesterday and the yard looks scrupulously tidy. For now. Recent rain has brought back the many shades of green; and to my surprise, winter visitor warblers can still be seen flitting in the bushes. Time to travel north, young warblers!
Thinking about Tivoli: In the past few days since I last wrote, we have all been thinking more deeply about the Simpson Miller administration’s (wise) decision to hold a Commission of Enquiry into the massacre in Tivoli Gardens in May, 2010. There is some insightful commentary in the Sunday papers, and an indication that, three years later, many Jamaicans are more aware of the grave injustice and the horror of that day, when at least 77 Jamaicans lost their lives (we still do not know the exact figure; several people remain missing). For that, we at least partly have to thank the American journalist Mattathias Schwartz of the New Yorker; and the Public Defender Earl Witter, who finally produced the report. Today, Sunday Observer columnist Tamara Scott-Williams quotes the Jamaican president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Judge Patrick Robinson: “The simple, plain truth is that in no country with a Constitution that entrenches the right to life can 70 people be killed in peacetime in a single incident, whether by the security forces or by private persons, and national life and affairs continue as though nothing unusual has taken place.”
How can a monopoly not be viable? But that’s the way it apparently is with the Jamaica Public Service Company, according to its straight-talking CEO Kelly Tomblin. The eternal problem of widespread theft of electricity has still not been fully addressed; but as Ms. Tomblin said on radio, it is not just a question of devising ingenious ways of combating theft, but about lifting the company out of debt. Oh, two state-owned sugar companies were reportedly complicit in allowing neighboring communities to steal up to J$100 million worth. What kind of madness is that? Meanwhile, Ms. Tomblin has her work cut out – I am sure she has been aware of this for some time.
Leadership failures: The week’s fiasco involving the People’s National Party Youth Organization suggests, at the very least, weak leadership in the organization. Did President Alrick Campbell consult with his chapter leaders before sending out a press release that surprisingly refused to support the announced Commission of Enquiry into the Tivoli Gardens massacre? Similarly, Mayor of Montego Bay Glendon Harris is under pressure after a series of dreadful faux pas, culminating in the hospital re-naming fiasco. Do these people have any idea of public relations, either? Clueless.
NHT again: The whole National Housing Trust (NHT) business is still bugging me. It all seems wrong. One of my “tweeps” observed today, “How can the NHT force employers to make mortgage deductions from workers? Shoudn’t that be an arrangement between the Trust and its clients?” Very good question…
Blood on the streets: As usual, the social media was ahead of the traditional media on Friday morning, as several photos were pasted on Facebook of two apparently lifeless bodies – young men allegedly shot by the police in a parking lot in downtown Kingston. Reports appeared at least two hours later on the newspaper websites, noting a police report that ”brazen gunmen” had made a robbery attempt, and that three ”were in hospital” (dead on arrival?) According to the eye witnesses who posted the photos, the bodies were collected and loaded into vans within minutes, before the Crime Scene investigation unit or INDECOM (the Independent Commission of Investigations) arrived. Onlookers say the men were unarmed. I have shared the photos below. Meanwhile, the print media coverage of what actually happened in the middle of the day on Friday in busy downtown was muddled and lacking in detail.
Harassing the handcarts: Some genius at the Kingston & St. Andrew Corporation has come up with the startlingly brilliant idea of taxing handcart operators. These are rough-hewn carts with a primitive steering-wheel attached, operated by men in Kingston and most towns to transport small quantities of goods (and sometimes people). When I see men pushing and navigating these carts, sweating and straining in the hot sun, I think “what a hard life.” These are, basically, poor people. How could the Mayor think of doing such a thing?
I’m off now, but you guys can stay: President of the Senate Stanley Redwood is migrating to Canada, and made farewell comments last week before his departure. Methinks he doth protest too much. “No other Jamaican should be forced or feel forced to make the choice I have to make this month,” said the Senator, who has been beating himself up over departing for greener pastures for some time. It’s OK for me to go – but you guys stay here, stick it out… Not impressed, I’m afraid.
Power walks: While blood still stained the streets of downtown Kingston, a couple of miles away uptowners were preparing for two charity walks on Saturday – both good causes. Due to ongoing back problems, I was unable to participate in either. But I hope lots of money was raised for Dress for Success and the Nuttall Memorial Hospital, respectively. Next time!
Sick of them: There are certain things that always upset me when I watch the evening news on television. Of course, the ongoing bloodshed is one of those things. What also depresses me is the greed and selfishness of thieves who, like vampires, feed on hard-working Jamaicans. It seems that every week a school is broken into, and we see the anxious principal, his/her face creased with anxiety and stress, detailing all the items the school lost – of course, all the most valuable things that they can least afford to replace, many of them donated by kind-hearted people. Then there are the poor farmers, who go to the fields in the morning to see their precious animals hacked to pieces or their crops pulled out of the ground. On Friday, we heard that the bus belonging to Alpha Boys School was stolen in Spanish Town. I don’t know if they have found it. Alpha nurtures abandoned and orphaned boys, and is famous for its school band that has produced many great Jamaican musicians. Shame on you all, you vampires.
Pit latrines in schools: As I noted in my post of August 12, 2012, around 200 schools across Jamaica still have pit latrines. I doubt that much has changed since then. Perhaps we should consider this as a priority over tablets, Minister Paulwell? (Much as I love your tablets). The “sanitary conveniences” at St. Mary’s Primary School in rural St. Elizabeth are as old as the school itself (44 years) and pose a serious health risk. For a start, if a young child slips he/she can fall into them. The Florida-based Andrew Dixon Foundation is seeking to raise funds to replace them.
I was wondering… about the over 4,000 online jobs that the World Bank says it has created for young Jamaicans. The World Bank provides more details on its Digital Jam 2.0 program at the link below. It includes internships and fellowships at Howard University, pilot projects, incubators and so on. Brilliant!
Sports vs academics: The Gleaner recently published a table ranking Jamaica’s high schools in terms of their CSEC examination results. I’m trying to find a link to it. It was noticeable, however, that almost all the traditional boys’ high schools did quite poorly; unsurprisingly, the co-educational Kingston high school Campion College came out on top. A columnist yesterday pointed out that the low-performing boys’ schools are those that compete furiously and loudly at “Champs” (the high school athletics championships) and tout their sporting prowess. Is there a conflict here?
Less abatement? As I have noted before, Jamaica/Kingston is Party Central, and the noise must go on. I see the Ministry of National Security and Ministry of Entertainment as it seems to call itself are holding a public consultation on “changes to the Noise Abatement Act” on Wednesday at the Jamaica Conference Centre. What changes? Where? Is the noise to go on longer? I am suspicious of the “entertainment zones” that have been mentioned a few times by our enthusiastic Junior Minister Damion Crawford, who is young and therefore fond of “shelling dung” as the saying goes. And hey, do you think there may be more important things to be worrying about? I can only assume that, like the building of housing for poor people, this is a populist, vote-getting exercise.
Yohan Blake/boys home: I am very pleased with our young Olympian Yohan Blake, whose YB Afraid Foundation continues to support the Mount Olivet Boys’ Home in Manchester, in all kinds of important ways. The home’s infrastructure is steadily improving as a result. Thanks to Mr. Blake; you have a good, good heart.
It is very sad to report that in the past three days the following Jamaicans have been killed. My heart goes out to their families. Too much trouble in the world.
Clifton Drummonds, 55, John’s Town, St. Thomas (mob killing)
Winston Robinson, Mannings Hill Road, Kingston
Tiffany Shirley, Mannings Hill Road, Kingston
Killed by police:
Unidentified man, Pechon Street/Beckford Street, Kingston
Unidentified man, Matthews Lane, Kingston
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/JPS-facing-death_14238670 Electricity theft, debt threaten company’s viability, says Tomblin: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130511/cleisure/cleisure1.html Power thieves must be stopped: Gleaner editorial
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Samuda-labels-logistics-hub-a–pipe-dream-_14239407 Samuda labels logistics hub a “pipe dream”: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130510/business/business5.html Jamaica Broilers invests $300 million in new plant: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130510/cleisure/cleisure1.html What, really, are agro parks? Gleaner editorial
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130510/business/business1.html Palmyra parent firm deemed a squatter: Gleaner
http://www.worldbank.org/en/results/2013/04/24/creating-employment-solutions-young-jamaicans Creating employment solutions for young Jamaicans in the virtual economy: worldbank.org
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Rating-Agency-reacts-to-IMF-Jamaica-agreement_14244183 Rating agency reacts to IMF-Jamaica agreement: Sunday Observer
http://www.caribjournal.com/2013/05/11/forbes-the-business-of-sport-in-jamaica/ The business of sport in Jamaica: Marcia Forbes op-ed/caribjournal.com
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/No-unlicensed-cable-operator-in-Jamaica_14239648 No unlicensed cable operator in Jamaica/Broadcasting Commission
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/No-justification-for-NWC-rate-hike_14237953 No justification for NWC rate hike: Jamaica Observer editorial
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130510/letters/letters1.html Handcart permit regime off the deep end: Letter of the Day/Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Stop-the-bickering-_14239553 Pryce chides PNPYO for washing dirty linen in public: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130510/lead/lead10.html Montego Bay mayor faces no-confidence vote: Gleaner
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/arscott-defends-cost-of-local-government-delegation-to-uganda Arscott defends cost of local government delegation to Uganda: RJR News
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130512/focus/focus5.html Whose plan for Jamaica is it anyway? Jamaica Civil Society Coalition op-ed/Sunday Gleaner
http://www.caribjournal.com/2013/05/09/op-ed-does-jamaica-need-outside-help-to-deal-with-crime/ Does Jamaica need outside help to deal with crime? caribjournal.com
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/man-implicated-in-murder-chopped-to-death Man implicated in murder chopped to death: RJR News
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130511/lead/lead2.html Daylight gun battles cause mayhem downtown: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Deadly-end—-Robbery-foiled–cops-kill-one-gunman–injure-another_14239031 Deadly end! Robbery foiled, cops kill one gunman, injure another: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130512/lead/lead5.html Deadlock blanks downtown CCTV plan: Sunday Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Why-the-Tivoli-enquiry-is-important_14246024 Why the Tivoli enquiry is important: Claude Robinson column/Sunday Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Forget-the-enquiry–make-a-movie-instead_14246048 Forget the enquiry; make a movie instead: Tamara Scott-Williams column/Sunday Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Pain-still-lingers-for-Tivoli-man–family_14247384 Pain still lingers for Tivoli man, family: Sunday Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130510/news/news2.html West Kingston rejoices after cops kill thug: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Mothers-mourn-loss-of-son–daughter Mothers mourn loss of son, daughter: Sunday Observer
http://www.caribjournal.com/2013/05/09/op-ed-from-haiti-to-cuba-a-vision-for-the-caribbean-in-2030/ From Haiti to Cuba: A vision for the Caribbean in 2030: caribjournal.com
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/complant-workers-protest COMPLANT workers protest: RJR News
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130511/lead/lead6.html Pit latrines pose public health risk at St. Mary’s Primary: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130511/letters/letters8.html No water for farmers in Llandewey for decades: Letter to the Editor/Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130511/letters/letters2.html Emergency call to action for Child Month: Letter from Jamaica Youth Action Network to the Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130512/lead/lead61.html Condoms or abstinence: Guidance counselors ponder the best fit for schools: Sunday Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/High-school-standard-bearers-of-excellence-_14239025 High school standard bearers of excellence? Lascelve Graham op-ed/Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130511/lead/lead5.html Mount Olivet Boys’ Home a refuge from abuse: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Saturday-Social_14239033 Saturday Social: Jamaica Observer
http://www.jis.gov.jm/news/leads-107/33829 More assistance for local exporters: Jamaica Information Service
This week is Education Week. I posted a few of my rather random thoughts on the matter, inspired by yesterday’s visit to a primary school that sits right in the shadow of the General Penitentiary. There are always “feel good” events, much praise for teachers, etc. And major kudos to the private sector for its support for education. And then there are the voices of young people themselves, such as in a letter to the Gleaner, below. The tone is pleading, wistful:
“We the young people are looking for the slightest glimmer of hope to hold on to…Many of us die a little every day on the inside from the knowledge that our true potential may never be realized…On behalf of all the young people out there – the potential leaders, scientists, inventors and innovators – please give us a reason to continue to hold on. We are the future: make decisions now that will give us a true fighting chance.”
The can of worms is open: Since the final publication of the Public Defender‘s interim report on the Tivoli Gardens massacre almost three years ago, things have started happening rather suddenly. On Monday, Cabinet took a decision (which I believe is the correct one) to hold a Commission of Enquiry, on the recommendation of the Public Defender. The question now is, what does the Commission wish to achieve? What do the people of Tivoli Gardens want? We do know that the family of Keith Clarke would really like a public apology from the Jamaican Government – at this stage, it seems so late as to be laughable, but it would help. Mr. Clarke, the brother of a former government minister, died in a hail of bullets at his home in the “upscale” hills above Kingston on May 27, 2010, while the security forces were searching for former Tivoli “don” Christopher “Dudus” Coke. The print media has been delving deeply into the potentially negative political repercussions of such an enquiry; both the Jamaica Defence Force and the Jamaica Constabulary Force
What happened to the PNPYO? Our budding young politicians at the People’s National Party Youth Organization (PNPYO) seem to have had some kind of brainstorm yesterday, issuing a press release on the Tivoli affair and then contradicting themselves. Radio journalist Dionne Jackson-Miller attempted to have a sensible interview with one of them, but we were none the wiser. He didn’t seem to be listening to what she said. In the end she gave up. Meanwhile the Kingston chapter of the organization sought to distance itself from the President’s astonishingly crass press release, in which he referred to those who died in Tivoli Gardens as “casualties of war.” And has been suspended.
Are we policing downtown? For quite a while now we have been hearing about the numerous (daylight) robberies of businesses and individuals. Now the police are reporting quite a dramatic increase. If we are to revive Kingston’s downtown area (the building of Digicel’s new head office has been a pioneering move in many ways) then surely the first thing is to ensure good security? The two main hospitals are especially suffering. Just get more police on the beat down there, for heaven’s sake.
I LIKE Minister Paulwell: I was encouraged to hear Minister Phillip Paulwell speak at GTECH’s donation of computers to St. Michael’s Primary School yesterday. It was refreshing to hear a politician, in a manner completely devoid of pomposity, elaborate a clear vision for the future of technology in education. With sincere enthusiasm, too. He was especially excited about his proposed distribution of tablets to teachers and students; some (like Opposition Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith, below) are not completely sold. It was quite a small gathering at the school, but the Minister connected with his audience – and did not read from any notes. And it’s nice to hear from someone with vision, who doesn’t spout the usual well-worn platitudes. Another gold star for him was his defusing of a threatened gas tanker strike today; he called an emergency meeting with the union, and the drivers went back to work. You’ve had a good week, Minister.
Going downmarket? I was very sad to hear of the closure of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montego Bay. It is a beautiful property and a luxury brand (virtually the only one left on the island). Now it has been sold to another firm that plans to add more rooms and turn it into yet another all-inclusive. So what the tourism marketing people like to call the “Elegant Corridor” in Montego Bay – a beautiful stretch of road going into the town – will be less elegant in the future. And especially with the recent sad demise of the luxury Palmyra development; I would love to know what is happening with the Palmyra, which fell into financial difficulties. There is one part that is not yet completed. What is the latest on this? I had the pleasure of staying there just before it closed – beautifully designed, splendidly luxurious, it deserved to be filled with well-heeled visitors (and Jamaicans) every night. But it was lonely and sad.
Tourism looking wobbly: It really seems all is not well in the tourism sector. I can’t quite put my finger on why. Junior Minister Damian Crawford said on radio this morning that tourism is down by four per cent up until the end of March, and looks to be down a little in April, too. He explained the downturn on hotels doing refurbishing; but why would any hotel close for that purpose during the winter tourist season? Something doesn’t quite add up. Meanwhile, the Caribbean Tourism Association has predicted a 4-5 per cent increase regionally this year. Several Caribbean countries show increases already this year (Belize, Cayman Islands and others). Barbados is doing worse than us though, presumably because of a slump in the UK market. But… what is the plan?
Those tubers again: The Agriculture Minister seems a nice man, but he tends to ramble. Now he wants farmers to plant more cassava. But I thought that one of his predecessors in a previous administration, Christopher Tufton, was laughed at for his obsession with cassava a few years back? Maybe he whispered the magic word in the Minister’s ear. But there is good news – food exports have gone up over the past year, and imports are just a fraction up. Hold on a minute though – when the Chinese firm Complant took over some sugar estates a few years ago there was much talk of increased production and efficiency. This year production is falling. Why? And Blue Mountain Tea? Well, Minister Clarke, let’s get Blue Mountain Coffee sorted out first, shall we?
Breathtaking… The speed with which a man was charged, convicted and sentenced (to two years in prison) for house-breaking and larceny from a country villa where National Security Minister Peter Bunting was staying over the Easter holiday weekend. That’s just a matter of a few weeks. In the normal scheme of things, this could have taken many months.
Plummeting… Jamaica’s Net International Reserves fell to a thirteen-year low in April. We now have twelve weeks’ worth of money. Financial guru Owen James tells me that things should improve, now that the International Monetary Fund agreement has been signed. Hope so.
The children: We had an interesting Twitter chat yesterday with UNICEF Jamaica and Eve for Life on the sexual abuse of children. Did you know that 33% of girls and 18% of boys aged 10-15 did not consent to their first sexual encounter? And the excellent Live at Seven hosted by Simon Crosskill kept its focus on children’s rights with a discussion with the velvet-toned Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna and the head of the Child Development Agency – the government agency ostensibly in charge of children’s homes. The former seemed defensive at times; the latter was afraid to look at the camera, or anyone – and when asked a question looked nervously at her boss before answering, even at one point asking her for permission to speak. They did not greatly enlighten us. Mr. Crosskill brought in the issue of homeless gay youth; and wrapped up the program with scathing comments on the Christian fundamentalists among us who use the Bible to justify their opposition to gays – citing the numerous other common practices punishable by stoning according to the Good Book. Ha! Good stuff, Mr. Crosskill.
Deepest condolences to the family and friends of the following Jamaicans, who have added to the homicide statistics in the past four days. It is too sad.
Unidentified man, Tower Street, Kingston
Joseph Lyons, 55, Tivoli Gardens, Kingston
Milton Chisholm, 41, Seaview Gardens, Kingston
Killed by police:
Unidentified man, Matthews Lane, Kingston
George Moxam, 25, Waltham Park Road, Kingston
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130509/lead/lead1.html Bruce didn’t trust JDF: Golding sought U.S. aid in verifying Tivoli claims of abuse by soldiers: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130508/cleisure/cleisure1.html Route to a worthy Tivoli enquiry: Gleaner editorial
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/jfj-appalled-at-casualties-of-war-statement-by-pnpyo JFJ appalled at casualties of war statement by PNPYO: RJR News
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130509/news/news1.html Tech boost for St. Michael’s: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Are-Paulwell-s-tablets-the-right-prescription-_14206450 Are Paulwell’s tablets the right prescription? Kamina Johnson-Smith op-ed/Ja. Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130508/business/business1.html Start-ups want mobile money now: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Unlicensed-cable-company-lands-Ja-on-IP-watch-list_14224992 Unlicensed cable operator lands Jamaica on IP watch list: Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Ritz-Carlton-leaving–400-jobs-in-doubt_14231797 Ritz-Carlton leaving; 400 jobs in doubt: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=44734 ”Loss of Ritz-Carlton brand detracts from Jamaica’s offering”: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130509/letters/letters1.html Jamaica the modern-day Animal Farm: Letter of the Day/Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130509/letters/letters4.html IMF deal brings an opportunity to build, renew: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Time-for-a-more-promising-future-for-Jamaica_13863318 Time for a more promising future for Jamaica: Gene Leon op-ed/Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Did-she-say-that-with-a-straight-face-_14217848 Did she say that with a straight face? Letter to the Editor/Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130508/cleisure/cleisure2.html The squinting Prime Minister: George Davis column/Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130509/lead/lead7.html Clarke wants more focus on cassava: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130509/lead/lead4.html Robberies on the rise in Kingston: Gleaner
We had rain! Yes, you know, that wet stuff that makes you wet. It was glorious in Kingston, splashing around for a bit. The cooler temperature is delightful. Our whole garden has woken up again.
The week so far has been fairly quiet. But here are a few things to ponder:
Time for “Man a Yaad”: Opposition Spokesman on Finance Audley Shaw made an interesting contribution to the Budget Debate in Parliament yesterday. As he often does, he alternated between throwaway jibes and humor and heavy, somber pronouncements. In between, he put forward some alternatives, some solutions. This was refreshing. We didn’t really get any from the Finance Minister last week; his “no new taxes” presentation was predictably dull. But then, it’s easier for the Opposition to be more interesting and engaging, whichever one of the parties it is. One just wishes these budget speeches didn’t go on so darn long.
Gloom and doom: As the signing of the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) finally appears on the horizon – within striking distance now – it seems Jamaican consumers are none too cheerful. Although business confidence is reportedly up a little, 47 per cent of consumers in the latest Jamaica Chamber of Commerce quarterly survey are pessimistic about the economy. There has been a significant increase in gloom and doom compared to a year ago. IMF or no IMF.
“Bun and cheese politics”: This is how the Jamaica Observer’s editorial describes the current style of governance in Montego Bay. I would love to hear a really nice, inspiring story coming out of that city. Please. In particular, the leadership of the current Mayor Glendon Harris (People’s National Party) worries me. The former mayor, the Jamaica Labour Party‘s Charles Sinclair (who is a great deal more articulate than his successor) alleges that at Easter time the Parish Council over which Mayor Harris presides gave $20,000 to each council member to buy bun and cheese; and that it is also funding a Monday night public street dance. There was a bit of a shadow over the Council after the ridiculous and prolonged to-do last year over a Jamaican flag – minus the green – draped above a stage at an official function. Of course, the absent green is the Jamaica Labour Party’s color. That unpleasant little episode remains a little murky to this day, but fingers were pointed here and there…
The renaming of the ‘Ospital: Yes, the ‘Ealth Minister has, at last, spoken on the issue of the renaming of the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay. He and the Prime Minister are pouring gallons of oil on troubled waters, stirred up by the aforesaid Mayor Harris. Whose name, you may ask? Why, only that of the man who almost single-handedly brought the hospital into being to serve western Jamaica. Dr. Herbert Eldemire died three years ago. He was Minister of Health from 1962-72 under the Jamaica Labour Party and served as party chairman for a few years; but was never known as a “tribalist.” Cabinet approved the renaming of the hospital in August, 2011. The current administration has said it had intended to proceed with the official renaming soon. This does not seem to sit well with the Mayor, who last week decided to “consult” with Montegonians on the matter. The Prime Minister has intervened and spoken to Dr. Eldemire’s daughter Denise, but it seems it is too late. The family is clearly deeply offended and hurt by the Mayor’s attitude and does not want the renaming to happen; see their statement below. This seems to me petty, reeking of political tribalism. By all accounts, Dr. Herbert Eldemire served his country extremely well. If not for him, the hospital might well not exist.
But no, the forces of political partisanship have won again, and soured what might have been a positive and celebratory move. Then again, maybe it would be best not to name anywhere at all after politicians, anywhere on the island. Not even a lamp post.
FINSAC report: The creation of the Financial Sector Adjustment Company (FINSAC) during the financial crash of the 1990s shattered many lives. This is a known fact. Opposition Spokesman Audley Shaw caused quite a rumpus in Parliament this week when he insisted that the Government must find the J$10-15 million needed to complete and publish the report of the Commission of Enquiry into FINSAC. Of course, there is politics at work here; FINSAC was presided over by the now Transport and Works Minister Omar Davies, who was Finance Minister in 1997. But for heaven’s sake, just find the money please and let’s bring closure. By the way, FINSAC has a nice website in patriotic Jamaican colors: http://www.finsac.com. I am sure it does not refer to the suicides, family breakups and destitution it left in its wake.
…and the other one: Another painful and shameful episode in Jamaica’s recent history was, of course, the massacre of over seventy Jamaican citizens in Tivoli Gardens in May, 2010. Yes, we are approaching the third anniversary of this horror, and still the Public Defender‘s interim report is not forthcoming. I am beginning to feel sorry for Mr. Michael Peart, the House Speaker, who is now insisting he will receive it by month-end, ready or not.
A little warming: The Prime Minister actually smiled at a journalist yesterday. CVM Television’s Andrew Cannon managed to have a chat with her, while her security man peered over her shoulder. On the Azan matter (which still rankles) the Prime Minister, in a disarming manner, pointed out that there was an ongoing “investigation” (a favorite word) and suggested poor Mr. Azan may “per’aps” have made an error. So no budging in the position there. It also appears that a microphone did not come into contact with Mrs. Simpson Miller’s mouth (a bit of dramatic license there perhaps on the part of the Information Minister). The Prime Minister merely backed away from the over-enthusiastic, unknown reporter; no physical contact. Speaker of the House Michael Peart, in the same TV report, seemed to have also let the cat out of the bag by saying he was unaware of any shooting incident that may have made the PM’s security even more uptight than usual. Did he not get the memo?
…but not so lovable these days? As a result of this public relations fiasco, I find the Prime Minister’s demeanor has become cold and distant. It may be a defense mechanism, but it is really strange and unexpected. She has been making almost no effort to “woo” either the media or the public at large. Her Information Minister is becoming far too schoolmistressy – and so condescending it leaves you breathless. It is all about protecting the Prime Minister from the rest of us, it seems. That’s fine, but can the Prime Minister’s entourage of advisors, support team etc. – whatever they call themselves – just lighten up a little? We are not zombies rampaging across the land. We are ordinary people seeking information! Minister Falconer, try smiling sometimes? The media and the public are not your enemies.
But hey, some awesome things have already happened this week: Top of my list, the donation of a gorgeous, shining white bus by UNICEF to Eve for Life, the non-governmental organization that supports teen mothers living with HIV. As the organization’s chair, I was happy to be able to thank UNICEF for this generosity and for their ongoing support and faith in the incredible Eve family – especially the indefatigable Joy Crawford and Pat Watson, who are so dedicated and hard-working it’s not true. The bus was loaded up with provisions today for the young ladies in Montego Bay – its inaugural trip out of town! SO exciting.
Then there is the current visit of the African American artist Kehinde Wiley, who creates breathtaking (and often huge) canvases of young urban males of various ethnicities in the striking poses of Western art traditions. I remember being stunned by a huge painting of LL Cool J sitting imperiously on a throne, against an ornate background, at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC some years ago. It’s a thrill to have Mr. Wiley here (his first visit to Jamaica) as part of his “World Stage” project. Can’t wait to see the results!
Speaking of art… Don’t forget the National Gallery will be having its monthly free Sunday opening on April 28th. It promises to be fun and stimulating, as usual.
And an intrepid group of Jamaicans has started the ball rolling on what I know will be an ongoing discussion on gender equity in Jamaica and what can be done to redress the balance. According to official figures, 34% of women are unemployed, compared to 10% for men (the actual figures are very likely higher). I have a feeling that the #leaninJA conversation will likely translate into action. Congratulations to Marcia Forbes et al for sharpening the focus!
Question: Is the drug trade on the rise again in Jamaica? See the reports below. I hope not, I really do.
My condolences to the families of the following Jamaicans who were killed recently. I want this to end…
Ann-Marie Campbell, 39, Black River, St. Elizabeth
Barrington Bennett, 61, Highfield, St. Catherine (British national) – last week.
Related articles (local blog posts in purple):
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130422/letters/letters1.html Richard Azan a law unto himself: Letter of the Day/Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130422/cleisure/cleisure1.html Azan’s specter haunts the Budget: Is PM a coward? Gleaner editorial
http://constructedthoughts.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/time-come-portia-time-come/ Time come, Portia, time come: constructedthoughts.wordpress.com
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130422/lead/lead1.html ”White Lady” is back: cops say cocaine trade resurfacing in Jamaica: Gleaner
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/men-linked-to-international-drug-network-remanded Men linked to international drug network remanded: RJR News
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/marijuana-seized-on-navy-island Marijuana seized on Navy Island: RJR News
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/guardsman-suspends-contractors-in-wake-on-multimillion-dollar-cocaine-find Guardsman suspends contractors in wake of multimillion dollar cocaine find: RJR News
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130423/lead/lead7.html PM to intervene in Cornwall Regional Hospital renaming issue: Gleaner
http://delanoseiv.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/statement-from-the-eldemire-family-regarding-the-renaming-of-the-cornwall-regional-hospital/ Statement from the Eldemire family regarding the renaming of the Cornwall Regional Hospital: delanoseiv.wordpress.com
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Rise-above-the-fray_14138564 Rise above the fray: Letter to the Editor from Lloyd B. Smith, MP/Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Bun-and-cheese-politics-in-MoBay_14138493 Bun and cheese politics in MoBay: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130422/letters/letters2.html No progress on murder halt: Letter to the Editor/Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130423/cleisure/cleisure4.html Focus on safety, not war: Letter to the Editor from Yvonne McCalla Sobers/Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Rev-Al-Miller-faces-court-in–Dudus–case Rev Al Miller faces court in “Dudus” case: Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Peart-insists-Tivoli-Report-will-be-tabled-by-month-end Peart insists Tivoli report will be tabled by month-end: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130422/cleisure/cleisure4.html Jamaicans enjoy living on the edge: Robert Lalah column/Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=44343 Jamaica hoping for talks on PetroCaribe soon: Gleaner
http://jamaica-star.com/thestar/20130422/news/news9.html Entrepreneur reports growth and success in Tel-Aviv: Jamaica Star
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130424/news/news4.html Visas, air service hindering Chinese tourists to Jamaica: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Reclaiming-water–A-solution-to-one-of-Jamaica-s-problems_14126106 Reclaiming water: A solution to one of Jamaica’s problems: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130423/lead/lead1.html Pastor says: Use more contraception – calls for use of “morning after” pill… Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130422/lead/lead2.html Politicians afraid to tell poor not to have kids – Reid: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130424/news/news2.html Teachers learn to use music in class: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/God-s-way-not-gay_14130077 God’s way not gay: Letter to the Editor/Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/-Mr-Commissioner–oh-where-art-thou–_14138406 ”Mr. Commissioner, oh where art thou?” Akay Hendricks op-ed/Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130424/lead/lead1.html ”Bang belly” economy: Shaw claims present state of affairs hostile to growth: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130424/business/business4.html Businesses more optimistic than consumers ahead of IMF agreement: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Pledge-FINSAC-assets-to-NHT–Shaw-suggests_14138289 Pledge FINSAC assets to NHT, Shaw suggests: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130424/lead/lead4.html Shaw rips Government to shreds over incomplete FINSAC report: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130422/news/news5.html Women entrepreneurs link with global network: Gleaner
http://chatychaty.com/2013/04/reggae-legend-toots-hibbert-makes-on-the-spot-donation-towards-purchase-of-vital-medical-equipment/ Reggae legend, Toots Hibbert makes on the spot donation towards purchase of vital medical equipment: chatychaty.com
Here’s the second half of the week: April 21, 2013 (petchary.wordpress.com)
Exclusion versus Empowerment (petchary.wordpress.com)
Well, dear readers, the first part of my weekly review can be found here: http://petchary.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/midweek-special-a-jamaican-news-update-for-april-17-2013/
Here is Part Two…
“No new taxes”…today: The presentation of the Budget came and went without much fanfare. Local media diligently reported, analyzed and tweeted highlights. But we do know that this annual ritual is…just that. There are likely to be supplemental budgets, adjustments, and the “allocated” amounts may, in fact, never be allocated for their specific purposes, at least not in full. One did however feel irritated by this announcement of “no new taxes” in Parliament. The Finance Minister was duly applauded for it, with the usual loud banging of desks, on his side. The Opposition was not so amused, pointing out that we are still reeling from a huge (J$16 billion) tax package announced in February. And we have a sneaking feeling that there may be more taxes in the offing in the next few months. At least, many callers to radio talk shows seem perturbed about the huge increase in property taxes. We are worried, too. My retired mother-in-law, who is on a pension, has just been hit with a 130 per cent increase. Ours is likely to be similar; and Minister Phillips says properties may be re-evaluated, and taxes increased again on the new valuations.
What about all those who don’t pay? This is just an obsession of mine, but it really bugs me that there are hundreds – nay, thousands – of individuals and organizations out there in society (and you know who you are) who are simply not paying their way. The National Water Commission has just applied for a 19 per cent rate increase, and at the same time we know that huge amounts of water are lost (about thirty per cent I believe) due to theft – and their own carelessness… We know all about the widespread theft of electricity, mainly in inner city communities, many of whom have never paid a “light bill” in their life. And then there are the non-taxpayers. The St. Catherine Parish Council now has to pay for its services – street lights, garbage collection etc – from property taxes only. And it has only ever collected fifty per cent of its property taxes… I wish them luck. Meanwhile, law-abiding Jamaicans have to pay for all this waste and thievery.
At arms’ length: The Prime Minister’s support team kept journalists at a distance as she departed from the Budget debate. For security reasons, it was said. More on this below.
Yes, and the tiefing continues: I thought receiving stolen property was an offense; can someone clarify this please? In any case, the Gleaner reported that a former Mayor has returned a nice Rolex watch he received from a “political activist” who is among five charged with committing a robbery at Swiss Stores in downtown Kingston recently. This is all such inspiring stuff, eh?
Poor farmers: Another kind of thieving that financial analyst Dennis Chung referred to in an interview is what is called “praedial larceny” (a term I had never heard until I came to Jamaica). This means stealing farm produce and livestock, which hard-working farmers have reared and grown. In other words, taking their livelihood away from them. Like Dennis, I cannot understand why this criminal act, which goes on year after year unabated, is not taken more seriously by law enforcement and the courts. Perhaps it is because it affects rural residents, and we really only care about what happens in Kingston and a couple of other towns. I don’t know. But I believe the penalties should be much higher and the pursuit of these criminals should be aggressive and unrelenting. This isn’t happening. And when someone spots an alleged goat thief, an angry and frustrated mob attacks him.
Negative, negative (negative?) Having successfully side-stepped journalists on the way to making a speech, our Prime Minister and leader Portia Simpson Miller referred to the Azan issue. She used the first part of her speech to talk about the prevailing “negative, negative” attitude towards politicians (only one repeat this time – usually it’s two, as in “working, working, working.”) Her stony face and strident tone certainly had a negative effect on me. Why was the Prime Minister so upset?
Young Turks: Veteran journalist Barbara Gloudon is concerned at the prelude to all of this – the post-Cabinet press briefing during which the Information Minister bravely fended off an enthusiastic “tag team” of young broadcast journalists. Minister Falconer wasn’t entirely successful. I described this lively encounter in my Wednesday post. Ms. Gloudon (and government officials, as well as other traditional journalists) are all concerned about this apparent shift in the dynamics of media. But didn’t we all see this new era arriving? Ms. Gloudon writes in her weekly column: “There is very little which does not end up broadcast far and wide, and it doesn’t need old media to do it. Everybody has become his/her own reporter and to hell with the niceties. Everyone has his/her own truth and it can be stretched either way.”
Blame social media: Of course, the dreaded social media is to blame for all this. I trust that no one is thinking of “regulating” it. Russia and China have their own sanitized versions of the social media, while other countries simply throw bloggers in jail, or block the social media. I’m a little concerned – but hopefully with no good reason.
The “gladiators”: The Prime Minister was apparently ruffled at the behavior of our over-zealous “gladiators” as Ms. Gloudon calls them. Ms. Simpson Miller will not comment on the issue of Minister Richard Azan and the seemingly illegal shops, as she says an investigation is going on. The Prime Minister observed, “Why should I make a comment?” adding, somewhat obscurely, “The time has come when we should put country ahead of any personal ambition… I have given all of my adult life to the service of this country…” (Who was she referring to? Over-ambitious journalists? Did she not have ambitions in her long political career, or was it all purely selfless?) The occasion was the opening of a new business showroom. “This should be the news, not anything else!” declared Prime Minister. OK, journalists – you have been told what the news is to be.
Procedure is important: The Prime Minister’s team believe that procedure is important in the interaction between politicians and journalists. Maybe they need to revisit procedures, together.
Laughing it off: Meanwhile, CVM Television’s Andrew Cannon is not letting this go. He did catch Minister Azan and sought to question him, but Azan’s response was, “I sent a release, and that is enough. Have a good evening.” He repeated the last sentence several times and then seemed to find this highly amusing, walking off chuckling with one of his sidekicks. No success for the gladiator there; he did not seem to get the joke. But Mr. Azan seems to have plenty of supporters, mainly members of the People’s National Party. The head of that party’s youth organization (the PNPYO) said it was a “very humanitarian move” to build the shops.
Opening a small can of worms: The #Tissue#Issue has basically remained unresolved. We are really none the wiser. But it seems to have provoked a mini-trade war with Trinidad & Tobago. The issue may go to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for resolution. What a tangled web of toilet paper we weave; a bit like that ad when the whole thing unrolls…
Digicel Foundation: The Digicel Foundation is doing so much good work that it’s hard to keep up with them. Their focus on literacy is excellent and commendable. Now they have teamed up with USAID on an enrichment program that will benefit 40,000. We have to keep fighting the literacy fight.
Crayons do count: And most awesomely (is there such a word?) the local Continental Bakery has donated J$50 million – no mean sum indeed! – to the wonderful Crayons Count program initiated by Ms. Deika Morrison. Of course, she is over the moon. I liked what Continental CEO Gary “Butch” Hendrickson says: “We cannot lose another generation of children in this country; we have lost too many.” For more on the program which is a huge enhancer for early childhood education, go to this website: http://dogoodjamaica.org/crayonscount/ Congratulations to Ms. Morrison – this is her passion. And kudos to Continental!
Ralston Hyman has a dry style. I love his program on Power 106 FM, “Real Business.” I learn a great deal from it. And it’s streamed live on their website, too.
Sadly, more Jamaican citizens are no longer with us. The following have been murdered since my last post on Wednesday:
Michael Coombs, 50, Spanish Town, St. Catherine
Wentworth Patterson, 50, Spanish Town, St. Catherine
Unidentified woman, 20, Greater Portmore, St. Catherine
Garnett Gray, 29, Waterford, St. Catherine
Silbeta Brown, 52, Hopeton District, Manchester
Kareem Hines, 29, Montego Bay, St. James
Carlton Stone, 39, Montego Bay, St. James
Bryan English, 42, Robin’s Bay, St. Mary
Killed by police
Michael Robinson, 41, Molynes Road, Kingston
Errol Irvin, 22, St. Catherine North
Related articles. Local blog posts are in purple…
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130419/lead/lead1.html The nation welcomes…no new taxes: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Shaw-accuses-Gov-t-of-deception-after-Phillips–announcement_14101004 No new taxes? Shaw accuses Government of deception after Phillips announcement
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/February-tax-package-no-secret—Phillips_14115125 February tax package no secret – Phillips: Sunday Observer
http://rjrnewsonline.com/business/full-text-of-budget-presentation-by-finance-minister-dr-peter-phillips Full text of budget presentation by Finance Minister Dr. Peter Phillips: RJR News
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=44217 Phillips can’t say if property taxes will go up again: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130419/lead/lead2.html IMF deal by early May: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130421/focus/focus5.html Beyond the IMF: Ten things we must do to stimulate growth: Michael Ennis column/Sunday Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130419/lead/lead9.html Unemployment on the rise: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130419/letters/letters7.html A dry dock facility, seriously? Letter to the Editor/Gleaner from Jamaica Welding Institute
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/opposition-demands-removal-of-restrictions-to-interviewing-prime-minister Opposition demands removal of restrictions to interviewing Prime Minister: RJR News
https://www.facebook.com/notes/think-jamaica/to-the-21st-century-journalists/372179526232136 To the 21st century journalists: Facebook Note by Durie Dee
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Tag-teaming-the-minister-_14100136 Tag teaming the minister: Barbara Gloudon column/Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Honourable-means-honourable_14083533 Honorable means honorable: Letter to the Editor/Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130419/letters/letters3.html Questions on Azan-Spaldings Market saga: Letter to the Editor/Gleaner from Paul Ashley
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130421/cleisure/cleisure2.html Azan, defiance and impeachment: Gary Spaulding article/Sunday Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Leadership–governance-and-the-reform-agenda_14110492 Leadership, governance and the reform agenda: Claude Robinson column/Sunday Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Runwiddit–again_14101237 Runwiddit, again: Tamara Scott-Williams column/Sunday Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130421/lead/lead4.html Poorly-paid politicians: Jamaican political leaders among the worst paid in the region: Sunday Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130419/lead/lead7.html Ex-Mayor returns Rolex: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=44251 Guardsman confirms arrest of a contractor in St. James drug bust: Sunday Gleaner
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/arrest-warrant-issued-for-movado Arrest warrant issued for Mavado: RJR News
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Penwood-student-didn-t-have-to-die_14109184 Penwood student didn’t have to die: Sunday Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130421/lead/lead5.html Annual national survey on prisons shows mega increase in career criminals: Sunday Gleaner
http://dcjottings.blogspot.com/2013/04/if-we-are-to-solve-our-crime-problem.html If we are to solve our crime problem: dcjottings.blogspot.com
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=44255 Holness says state must adopt pro-citizen stance: Sunday Gleaner
http://jamaica-star.com/thestar/20130419/news/news4.html Colin Mann freed of charges: Jamaica Star
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130421/news/news1.html Lessons from Boston – cops want more CCTVs: Sunday Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130420/cleisure/cleisure1.html The new gun ID fallacy: Gleaner Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Gov-t-tables-CCJ-Bills_14100593 Government tables CCJ Bills: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-star.com/thestar/20130419/news/news1.html Gay students overrun school! Jamaica Star
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130421/ent/ent1.html Gender gap still hurts: Entertainers feel there is a far way to go before equality obtains: Sunday Gleaner
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/row-deepens-over-renaming-of-cornwall-regional-hospital Row deepens over renaming of Cornwall Regional Hospital: RJR News
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=44207 Theft of JPS cables resulted in corporate area water problems: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130421/lead/lead7.html Help coming for 40,000 students: Digicel Foundation and USAID join forces to increase literacy levels: Sunday Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130419/cleisure/cleisure1.html The toilet paper debate: Gleaner editorial
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/toilet-paper-row-dispute-between-jamaica-and-tt-heading-to-caricom Toilet paper row dispute between Jamaica and TT heading to CARICOM: RJR News
A belated Happy Easter, everyone. Whatever it means to you, I hope it has been a good one.
Easter is a strange time for me. I usually miss chocolate Easter eggs, and daffodils and hot cross buns. Here in Jamaica it is a long weekend, a nice spring break, the weather’s getting hotter and party central is in full gear (see my previous blog post https://petchary.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/jamaica-is-party-central/). The religious among us, and there are many, make special trips to church. And we all eat lots of bun and cheese. In fact, I am eating a piece right now…
Bit of an odd mixture this week, but here goes…
- The shock: Good Friday got off to a terrible start with a murder in my neighborhood – just round the corner from our house. We were sleeping late and sadly unaware. Gregory Archer, a network engineer at Digicel, was shot while taking an early morning walk with his young son, and died later in hospital. His son was unharmed. For some reason, this tragedy was only reported by one radio station; the local media ignored it until three days later, even though it was discussed at length in the social media. I guess the “traditional” media has gone to sleep for Easter; after all, at least one broadcast journalist recently admitted that he didn’t know anything about Twitter, etc! Meanwhile, our “upscale” uptown semi-residential neighborhood is not, for me, a safe place to walk any more. How very sad. And media, please wake up. A reader on the Jamaica Observer website alleges that other murders, especially in the Bog Walk area of St. Catherine, have not been reported. He mentioned a particular murder last Thursday night. Explanations are needed, I think.
- The prior actions: I’m rather worried about this. Can we have a list of them? If Jamaica has fulfilled all of them – something which our Finance Minister has mentioned several times – then why hasn’t the agreement being signed? I am sure I am missing something, and wish I really understood what is going on in the grinding saga of the International Monetary Fund. I cannot imagine what Minister Phillips’ blood pressure must be like.
- Surprise! Minister Phillips conceded that, contrary to his predictions/hopes/assurances, a formal deal with the IMF was not going to happen by the end of March, after all. I realize that he is now making lots of statements, in his efforts to keep us updated; the Jamaican public had earlier complained about lack of details. But we are now…confused. Or is it just me?
- Mum PM: Meanwhile, our Prime Minister is saying almost nothing about anything, except for the occasional exhortation for us all to be united. Oh, I think she cut another ribbon last week.
- A bit of a dig: I see that former senator and People’s National Party stalwart Delano Franklyn, in an article in the Sunday Observer, goes out of his way to takes quite a vicious dig at a media house that had the temerity to criticize the recent Government retreat. Mr Franklyn notes that said media house owes lots of taxes.
- The dilemma: Our Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, appears to be on the horns of one. The horns are the two different parts of his portfolio. On the one hand, he wants to improve the reportedly flagging tourism figures. On the other hand, he wants to keep his constituents in the tourist resort of Negril happy. But the tourists are not too pleased with the decibel level in Negril, according to a CVM Television report a few days ago; they have been complaining. It appears that local promoters are allowed to go on after the legal 2:00 a.m., with special permission. Now the Minister tells us that he has made some proposals to change the Noise Abatement Act. In a CVM interview (the link is below) he says: “We have to find a balance,” and that he wants to “regularize” the situation. We shall see how this turns out. It’s a tricky one!
- Those scammers: Last week, the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Task Force (MOCA), which sounds like a cup of coffee, made some arrests in Montego Bay. Once again, we saw “high-end vehicles” that had been seized, etc. As the anti-lottery scam legislation has only just been passed, I wonder if any charges are going to be made, and whether they will stick.
- As predicted: The group of Haitians and fellow CARICOM nationals who arrived on our shores recently were “processed” (finger-printed like criminals) and shipped straight back last week. I told you so.
- Mi Happy (again): The Jamaica Tourist Board has regrettably brought out another video with the man from Minnesota (the VW ad). This is really milking it. You can find the link below, and well… It’s actually not as painful as the first one. What are your thoughts, dear readers?
- Mi Not Happy: With the weather. In eastern Jamaica, a bridge was washed away and hundreds stranded for a day or two by a swollen river after heavy rains. On the other side of the island, in Kingston at least, barely a drop has fallen. Mi wasn’t happy, either, with the long power cut on Saturday that affected almost the entire island. It seems that, on the energy front too, something’s got to give. The Jamaica Public Service Company is still awaiting word on its latest expansion proposal from the Government. What is really happening on energy, especially the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project? I’m confused, again. Meanwhile, financial analyst Dennis Chung tweeted that he is basically off the grid and did not suffer… Sensible man, went for solar power.
- The patriarchy strikes back: Roman Catholic deacon Peter Espeut, a “human rights advocate,” responded in somewhat heavy-handed fashion to fellow Gleaner columnist Jaevion Nelson’s column advocating for a change in the abortion laws. Well, Mr. Espeut is Roman Catholic, so we might expect that he would be anti-abortion. But it is a patronizing put-down (“Young Jaevion needs to put a little more balance in his writing, and his editors should guide him”!) of a bright, forward-thinking activist, who is trying to find solutions. Mr. Espeut concludes: “Thank God Jaevion Nelson is not typical of Jamaican young people, or I would despair where our beloved country might end up.” So that’s “young Jaevion” put in his place, good and proper. He’s not typical, Mr. Espeut claims; and since he is not, we can dismiss his opinions. Mr. Espeut says he works with young people, and I trust they are subservient.
- “From Coral Gardens to Tivoli Gardens”: The Rastafarian community last week marched through downtown Kingston to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of a violent incident in Coral Gardens, Montego Bay on Holy Thursday, 1963. At that time, Rastafarians suffered from widespread discrimination and abuse from the police force and general public. But the march (seeking compensation for Rastafarian elders who are still suffering, and an apology from the Government) was about more than the Coral Gardens injustice. It was about the human rights situation in Jamaica right here and now (the quote above was from a placard I saw held up). According to one participant, the actual theme was “Outrage against an unjust Justice system; Landlesness; Police Brutality” - it was never just a “Rasta thing” as some media characterized it. ”The people reach the stage where the State a do what dem used to do to Rastafari to dem,” said poet/activist Mutabaruka at the group’s rally in Half Way Tree. In other words, if they come for me in the morning, they will come for you in the evening.
- Fairness: In a comment on a recent blog post of mine, a fellow-blogger discussed “equality” when I was talking about “equity.” Of course, they are not the same thing at all. I recommend to you a column by Lawrence Powell of World Watch in yesterday’s Sunday Gleaner (link below), in which the writer makes an apposite comment: “It looks like [Minister] Omar [Davies] and the People’s National Party (PNP) will find themselves going against the grain of popular sentiment if they assume shared sacrifice is politically irrelevant, and that the perceived disparities between treatment of privileged and underprivileged groups are “frivolous”, and don’t matter.” Against the grain, indeed, and the tide of popular opinion.
- Poster comeback: So glad to see that overseas-based Jamaican Michael Thompson has launched the second annual International Reggae Poster Competition 2013. The theme is: Toward a Reggae Hall of Fame: Celebrating Great Jamaican Music. Deadline is April 21. More details at http://www.reggaepostercontest.com. Really hope the Reggae Hall of Fame comes to fruition, some time in the near future. And I really hope we will get more Jamaican entries this time!
- Yummy postscript: Drop by the Tea Tree Creperie (in my ‘hood) for delicious nibbles, including homemade hummus with fresh-baked pesto pita chips! http://www.teatreecreperie.com
- Good work: The Jamaica 50 Photo Album was a really good product from the Jamaica Information Service, and I am glad it has won an award in the U.S. I bought a few items for friends and family at home in the UK last year… Their favorites though were the Jamaica 50 glasses!
I am sick and tired of posting this sad list of names every week. But I don’t want us to forget those Jamaicans, young and old, who have lost their lives – and the grieving families and friends they leave behind, week after week. My condolences to them all. By the way, a comment following the online report on Gregory Archer’s death noted that several murders have gone unreported in local media, including that of Kirk
Vivian Grant, 29, Waltham Park Road, Kingston
Unidentified, Lopez/Bryden Streets, Kingston
Gregory Archer, 33, Upper Montrose Road/Vale Royal, Kingston
Unidentified man, Ferry, St. Andrew
Korine Bailey, 43, Linstead, St. Catherine
Sheldon Pennant, 38, Linstead, St. Catherine
Unidentified, Lennox Bigwoods/Darliston, Westmoreland
District Constable Brian Gray, 32, Mount Salem, St. James
Maxine Campbell, 37, Green Island, Hanover
Cornel Grizzle, 46, Comfort Hall, Trelawny
Beres Thompson, 32, Victoria Town, Manchester
Killed by police:
Basil Blackwood, 27, Spanish Town, St. Catherine
Unidentified man, Westport/Portmore, St. Catherine
Unidentified man, Texton Road, Kingston 14
Related articles (Local blogs are in purple):
http://digjamaica.com/blog/2013/03/25/chart-of-the-week-number-of-persons-fatal-shootings-by-the-police/ Chart: Number of fatal shootings by the police: diGJamaica.com
http://petchary.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/jamaica-is-party-central/ Jamaica is Party Central: petchary.wordpress.com
http://petchary.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/exclusion-versus-empowerment/ Exclusion versus empowerment: petchary.wordpress.com
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Gregory-Archer-s-wife-a-broken-woman_13980114 Gregory Archer’s wife a broken woman: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130327/cleisure/cleisure2.html Only in this country! George Davis column/Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130330/letters/letters1.html Salvaging what’s left of Jamaica: Letter to the Editor/Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130331/cleisure/cleisure1.html The next act against the scammers: Sunday Gleaner editorial
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-Cabinet-retreat-and-the-country-s-economic-challenges_13970514 The Cabinet retreat and the country’s economic challenges: Delano Franklyn op-ed/Sunday Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130331/focus/focus4.html Trust deficit: Government, IMF and Haiti: Orville Taylor column/Sunday Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Is-Jamaica-destined-to-be-poor-forever_13962991 Is Jamaica destined to be poor forever? Mark Wignall column/Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130328/cleisure/cleisure2.html Terminating pregnancies should be legal: Jaevion Nelson column/Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130330/cleisure/cleisure4.html Advocating youth responsibility: Peter Espeut column/Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Contraceptives-in-schools–Let-s-at-least-discuss-it_13941256 Contraceptives in schools? Let’s at least discuss it: Jamaica Observer editorial
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=43689 NDX2 or PEX? GraceKennedy confirms participation: Gleaner
http://delanoseiv.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/peter-phillips-the-imf-must-read-t-h-i-n-k-jamaica/ Peter Phillips and the IMF: delanoseiv.wordpress.com
http://www.caribjournal.com/2013/03/25/construction-on-trinidad-barbados-gas-pipeline-could-begin-next-year/ Construction on Trinidad-Barbados gas pipeline could begin next year: Carib Journal
http://www.caribjournal.com/2013/03/27/op-ed-bringing-google-to-jamaica/ Op-ed: Bringing Google to Jamaica: Carib Journal
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=43706 Nurses await further discussions on wage claims: Gleaner
http://www.cvmtv.com/videos_1.php?id=985§ion=watch CVM Television report on noise nuisance in Negril (10 minutes into newscast)
http://www.cvmtv.com/videos_1.php?id=987§ion=watch CVM Television report on Tourism Minister’s response to noise complaints (17 minutes into newscast)
http://soundclash.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/party-circuit/ Party circuit: soundclash.wordpress.com
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130327/lead/lead5.html Two mobile licenses to be put on auction – Paulwell: Gleaner
http://www.jis.gov.jm/news/leads/33339 Foreign Minister wants rethinking of treatment of middle income countries: Jamaica Information Service
http://www.jis.gov.jm/news/leads/33358 Access to information progress lauded: Jamaica Information Service
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/thirty-three-haitians-to-be-transported-home-today Thirty-three Haitians to be transported home today: RJR News
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Let-peace-reign_13964282b West Kingston residents decry deadly power struggle among criminals: Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/No-longer-just-a-Rasta-thing_13974690 No longer just a Rasta thing: Claude Robinson op-ed/Sunday Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130330/lead/lead1.html Police to charge popular sports personality after Montego Bay raids: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130327/lead/lead8.html ”Woeful lack of leadership”: Gleaner
http://www.caribjournal.com/2013/03/07/women-and-the-jamaican-work-force/ Women and the Jamaican work force: Marcia Forbes op-ed/Carib Journal
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130326/ent/ent4.html Flow, Jamaicans happy with Earth Hour concert: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130330/letters/letters4.html Wake up and smell the smog! Letter to the Editor/Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/NWC-to-address-city-s-sewer-problems_13894839 NWC to address city’s sewer problems: Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Tamarind-and-beetroot-shine–but-what-happens-after-_13975042 Tamarind and beetroot shine, but what happens after? Joan Francis op-ed/Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=43739 Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Thomas worst hit by drought: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=43749 Belvedere residents remain cut off: Gleaner
- Jamaica is Party Central (petchary.wordpress.com)
- Exclusion versus Empowerment (petchary.wordpress.com)
- My Birthday: Sunday, March 24, 2013 (petchary.wordpress.com)
Actually, the Ides of March were on Friday, March 15, just two days ago. We often hear the phrase “Beware the Ides of March,” without even understanding the sense of it. Blame Shakespeare. As a former student of Latin language and literature, I can assure you that the Romans were a highly superstitious lot, and very fond of omens. Reading animals’ entrails, birds, the weather, and all that. This period was not short of prophets of doom – and we have a few of those around ourselves, here in Jamaica.
It’s true that things are not looking rosy, in general. We were overwhelmed this week (and we knew it was coming) by the broadcast of a documentary on AXS TV on the “lotto scam,” narrated by Dan Rather, who visited Jamaica earlier this year. Segments were aired on CBS News and NBC News, and it was heavily publicized through Mr. Rather’s (and others’) social media outlets. Segments were, of course, aired on local television – including an interview with a young scammer in Montego Bay, who ran away when the journalist revealed that they were U.S. media. His face was clearly shown. I am not sure if you can download the full program somewhere – I’m not finding it online.
I understand that Mr. Rather is planning further investigations, so this may not be the end of this negative publicity. National Security Minister Peter Bunting had a sense of foreboding about this one, and rightly so. Since the testimony, and the documentary, there has been much discussion about the impact on so-called “Brand Jamaica.” Now, to me, Brand Jamaica is a fabrication of the politicians and tourism officials. How attractive is Brand Jamaica to ordinary Jamaicans, one of my friends asked on Twitter this week – “that is the real measure.” Indeed, but that is for another discussion. The government has naturally been scrambling to do “damage control,” according to local media. No reported “fallout” – yet.
But, why do the Americans have to clean up our mess again, other Jamaicans are asking? There are odd echoes of the “Dudus” affair… The same level of discomfort and a kind of humiliation. We are the bad guys, again. We are a very small nation, and we feel it. Yes, we take it to heart, even if we pretend not to.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, headed by Democrat Bill Nelson of Florida, sat on Wednesday to consider the matter, at the urging of advocacy groups such as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Minister Bunting had submitted written testimony. The recorded conversations between the criminals in Jamaica (what else can you call them?) and their sad, distressed elderly victims in Maine and other U.S. states; and the television interviews with them and their families – all made me cringe. It was very, very uncomfortable to watch and hear. A feeling of collective guilt infused many of the discussions on the matter – on radio talk shows, many expressed shame and at the very least, embarrassment. “Jamaica, the Nigeria of the Caribbean” was one online comment. We wondered how these old people could be so lonely, happy to hear the sound of a human voice even if it was that of a stranger with evil intent (I actually do consider the scammers evil, not a word I use lightly). Some called them “gullible” and “suckers” which I find unkind. Elderly people are vulnerable, almost like children.
My questions are: Why was the lotto scam allowed to continue for five or six years without any effective action being taken by the Jamaican government? Was the legislation – which the Senate will debate next week – only put together at the behest of the U.S. government? Who was/is benefiting from the lotto scam? Local politicians, businessmen, who exactly? Will they be brought to book? We all knew that Montego Bay has been booming for the last few years…How long will it take to extradite even one Jamaican – and how many are actually involved? Was someone “higher up” orchestrating the whole thing? Will the IT/call center business ever recover? Why was the local media, with some exceptions, unwilling to investigate over these past few years – were they under pressure?
According to at least one Opposition member, tourism is already in decline, even without all this unpleasantness. This is not good for our foreign exchange inflows, and I had heard that stopover visitors are seriously lagging behind cruise ship arrivals, even in the current winter tourist season. Suggestions are that cultural issues and environmental degradation are having a negative impact on visitors. Brand Jamaica is a tarnished mirror, in which we can hardly see ourselves any more, no matter how hard we try to wipe it clean. Let’s forget it.
And we should forget this one – quickly. Jamaica Tourist Board, what were you thinking? Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9KSiitCnXg (Mr. Nicolaisen, I don’t blame you – you are an actor and you are making a living, but...)
There is no doubt that the lotto scam comes under the heading “organized crime” and must be dealt with accordingly. Extradition to the United States is fine in my book, so long as they are given a fair trial and brought to justice. And talking of organized crime, what is going on in west Kingston, the former domain of the aforementioned extraditee Christopher “Dudus” Coke? I hear rumblings that a new power structure is in place. If you visit Coronation Market regularly, you may have seen the signs.
Meanwhile, the police have taken a Kingston businessman into custody and he could face numerous charges, including murder and money laundering. But he doesn’t have a name – so he must be a “big man.” I am sure if he was from Arnett Gardens or Denham Town, we would all know his name, address and aliases right away.
Talking of foreign exchange: some local manufacturers are among those complaining about a shortage of foreign exchange. Former head of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association Omar Azan says the banks have waiting lists, and he was not able to get all the U.S. Dollars he needed to import raw materials. If this is a growing trend and it continues, there will be layoffs as production is cut. Opposition Finance Spokesman Audley Shaw already notes a “thriving black market” - he has been banging on about this for some time. More doom and gloom (if possibly exaggerated…in Audley Shaw’s somber tone…)
Do we need to be reminded of the “Cuban light bulb scandal”? It occurred during the previous People’s National Party administration, resulting in a corruption trial that is still not concluded. But hey! The program to provide free energy-saving bulbs from Cuba to poor households through Minister Phillip Paulwell’s energy ministry is back! That’s all we needed. Former junior minister Kern Spencer (who cried in Parliament when his Opposition counterpart accused him) has had his trial successfully postponed a number of times; he was first arrested over five years ago.
Well, I was on television myself last week. I appeared on CVM Television’s “Live at Seven.” I hope some of you were able to watch the program, which focused on whether pregnant teens should be “excluded” (in other words, kicked out) of high school or allowed to continue their education before and after giving birth. As Chair of Eve for Life Jamaica, I am firmly of the latter view. Education is empowerment, and many of these girls have suffered from rape, abuse, incest and are being punished for it. My co-panelist, the President-elect of the Jamaica Teachers Association, suggested that everything was fine and the girls can, at principals’ discretion, return to school (or a different school) afterwards. He also said that the state-funded Women’s Centre of Jamaica was most effective in supporting these vulnerable girls. In other words (as is often the case in these discussions on the media) one would be led to believe that all is hunky dory, and the system works perfectly… Unless one knew better, of course. In columnist Barbara Gloudon’s words, “It is the girl who must pay the price.” See her take on the issue, below…
More on this in another blog. Suffice it to say I was nervous as hell, this being my first television appearance; but I was impressed by Mr. Simon Crosskill, host of the program, and his great young production team. An excellent program. You can find the latest edition online here: http://www.cvmtv.com/videos_1.php?id=921§ion=live7 - updated daily.
A young lady I know and think highly of was also a guest on Power 106 FM’s youth program yesterday. Ms. Kemesha Kelly, who comes from a humble family in rural St. Ann, is a former Miss Jamaica Festival Queen. She is highly intelligent, enthusiastic and a terrific role model for girls. As usual, Ms. Kelly was overflowing with energy during her interview, discussing the “SWAG” (Something Worthwhile a Gwaan) initiative that she spearheads at the Marcus Garvey Youth Information Centre in St. Ann’s Bay. (A common refrain among youth is “Nutten Naah Gwaan” (nothing is going on). The project needs more funding support; if you are a local business or individual who would like to help, get in touch with Kemesha (or me).
When asked about the main challenges for Jamaican youth, Kemesha noted employment opportunities (lacking); crime and violence – youth are so often the victims and the perpetrators; and access to higher education, which she considers crucial. She is an aspiring human rights lawyer. I wish her all the very best…
More young people doing great (amazing) things: Over the last few days, the hotly-contested 103rd ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships has taken the National Stadium by storm. Records broke left right and center, to the deafening sound of vuvuzelas (yes, they are still in use over here, unfortunately – we could hear them from our house!) Many congratulations to Calabar High School, who again came out on top, with two other Kingston boys’ schools, Jamaica College and Kingston College hot on their heels. The girls of Holmwood Technical High School overtook Edwin Allen High School, with St. Jago High School girls in third place – all, interestingly “out of town” schools in Manchester, Clarendon and St. Catherine respectively. Many, many congratulations to all! As someone observed, our successful athletes always rise above the divisiveness of Jamaican society. Do we care what political party they support, or which area of Kingston they come from? Of course not! They have transcended that political tribalism that breeds nothing but mediocrity.
And congratulations to all the winners of the Prime Minister’s Youth Awards. Special congratulations are due to Kimroy Bailey, a young engineer and fellow (award-winning) blogger who is highly focused on alternative energy. Let’s encourage those young people, in the sciences and other fields, who are doing the hands-on stuff and trying to raise awareness! We need those ideas. And action.
P.S. Just a word to journalists, especially the younger ones who are sometimes a little hurt when they are criticized. “Everyone tells us how to do our job,” one complained last week. Well, I for one will continue to criticize. As purveyors of the media product, you should also listen to what we – your consumers – have to say! I still maintain that there are far too many errors of spelling, grammar and pronunciation (some of them really embarrassing). And I also feel that browsing through the social media, commenting on what so-and-so is saying about such-and-such and reading it out, doth not good journalism make. It’s different if you are organizing feedback on a specific issue; fine. Otherwise, it looks like you are wasting time, and it’s irritating. It’s also not news – unless you suspect that the social media is more newsworthy than what your own radio/television station or newspaper produces?
This has been another week of terrible grief. The killing of three family members (including a fireman) in Westmoreland has traumatized the community where they live – and where they were setting up a small business, a cook shop. Residents of the lovely town of Lucea were horrified by a terrible murder/suicide (the suicide taking place in a busy public shopping plaza) which seems to have been the result of a woman trying to end an abusive relationship. My deepest condolences to the families, friends and neighbors. Whole communities in shock. We will all need group counseling, soon…
Omario Bryan, 17, Havannah Heights, Clarendon
Winston “Charlie” Dawkins, 63, Osbourne Store, Clarendon
Sean Powell, 31, Spanish Town, St. Catherine
Shane Stanley, 37, Green Acres, St. Catherine
Unidentified, Dyke Road/Portmore, St. Catherine
Unidentified, Dyke Road/Portmore, St. Catherine
Cameka Duhaney, 23, Lucea, Hanover
Sydney Smith, 43, Lucea, Hanover
Killed by police
Andrew Brydson, 28, Shrewsbury, Westmoreland
Tristan Brydson, 24, Shrewsbury, Westmoreland
Kingsley Green, 38, Shrewsbury, Westmoreland
Related articles: Local blogs in purple
http://www.cvmtv.com/videos_1.php?id=900§ion=live7 Live at Seven on teen pregnancy/March 12, 2013: CVM Television
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RznaKL7n1Ss Javed Jaghai talks about human rights in Jamaica: youtube.com
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=43373 Police Federation awaits word from Cabinet: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Cops-kill-fireman–brother-and-cousin_13873042 Cops kill fireman, brother and cousin: Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Murderous-rampage-in-Lucea_13877726 Murderous rampage in Lucea: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130311/lead/lead5.html Defense attorney troubled by lottery scam law: Gleaner
http://www.jis.gov.jm/news/leads-112/33244 Government pushes public awareness on lottery scam impact: Jamaica Information Service
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/govt-dismisses-claims-of-being-slow-in-addressing-lottery-scam?utm_source=rjr&utm_medium=news Government dismisses claims of being slow in addressing lottery scam: RJR News
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=43472 Opposition supports extradition of scammers: Gleaner
http://www.aging.senate.gov/hearing_detail.cfm?id=340977& United States Senate Special Committee on Aging – Hearing on Lotto Scam: http://www.aging.senate.gov/ – Video and audio here: http://www.aging.senate.gov/hearing_detail.cfm?id=339898&
http://anniepaul.net/2013/03/15/doubletake-first-mattathias-schwartz-now-dan-rather-what-ails-jamaican-media/ Doubletake: First Mattathias Schwartz, now Dan Rather – what ails Jamaican media? anniepaul.net
http://chatychaty.com/2013/03/dan-rather-talks-about-investigating-the-jamaican-lottery-scam/ Dan Rather talks about investigating the Jamaican lottery scam: chatychaty.com
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130315/letters/letters2.html Americans continue to clean our house: Letter to Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Make-the-scammers–lives-hell_13860009 Make the scammers’ lives hell: Observer editorial
http://www.jis.gov.jm/news/leads-122/33255 Debate on lottery scam bill to continue on March 21: Jamaica Information Service
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Lottery-scammers-are-not-operating-alone_13865327 Lottery scammers are not operating alone: Mark Wignall column/Sunday Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Eradicate-the-culture-of-impunity-around-the-lottery-scam_13872254 Eradicate the culture of impunity around the lottery scam: Claude Robinson column/Sunday Observer
Dudus Part#2 – The Jamaican Lotto Scam extradition requests. (commonsenseja.wordpress.com) Dudus Part 2: The Jamaican lotto scam extradition requests: commonsenseja.wordpress.com
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/dpp-advises-police-to-charge-world-wise-operators DPP advises police to charge World Wise operators: RJR News
http://www.caribjournal.com/2013/03/15/jamaica-waives-visa-requirements-for-eastern-european-tourists/ Jamaica waives visa requirements for Eastern European tourists: caribjournal.com
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130313/letters/letters4.html Gangster country: Letter to the Editor/Gleaner
http://jamaica-star.com/thestar/20130313/news/news2.html Cops fight at police station: Jamaica Star
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130317/lead/lead2.html Businessman held in money laundering, murder probe: Sunday Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130317/lead/lead5.html Help needed: West Kingston’s plea: Sunday Gleaner
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/fears-of-a-child-trafficking-ring-dismissed-by-police Fears of a child trafficking ring dismissed by police: RJR News
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Baby-Madda–story-come-back-again_13865068 ”Baby Madda” story come back again: Barbara Gloudon column/Jamaica Observer
http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/03/12/an-open-letter-to-caribbean-men-from-caribbean-women/?goback=%2Egde_118853_member_223341878#sthash%2EIhg06iZI%2Edpuf An open letter to Caribbean men from Caribbean women: rhrealitycheck.org
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130316/lead/lead6.html Nicola Hamilton on a mission to empower women: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130314/cleisure/cleisure3.html Do homosexuals have a place in Jamaica? Jaevion Nelson column/Gleaner
http://jamaica-star.com/thestar/20130316/news/news1.html Men beaten for “funny behavior”: Jamaica Star
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130315/letters/letters4.html Haitians were treated fairly: Letter to the Gleaner from Jamaican immigration chief
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130311/lead/lead2.html New China road deal: Gleaner
http://delanoseiv.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/tourism-in-major-decline-concerns-about-crisis/ Tourism in major decline: Concerns about crisis: delanoseiv.wordpress.com
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/rural-st-andrew-water-sources-fall-short-of-who-guidelines Rural St. Andrew water sources fall short of WHO guidelines: RJR News
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130313/lead/lead4.html Residents say bills too high: Gleaner
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/controversial-cuban-light-bulb-project-to-be-reintroduced Controversial Cuban light bulb project to be reintroduced: RJR News
http://www.jis.gov.jm/news/leads-103/33221 Growth in export earnings: Jamaica Information Service
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Only-25–of-NHT-contributors-have-benefitted-in-37-years_13863877 Only 25% of NHT contributors have benefitted in 37 years: Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Too-many-hypocrites-in-Jamaica_13800895 Too many hypocrites in Jamaica: Letter to the Editor/Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-star.com/thestar/20130313/news/news1.html 68-year-old killed in shark attack: Jamaica Star
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130316/business/business3.html Turning trash into treasure: Biochar oven: Gleaner
http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/trip-to-chavez-funeral-no-cost-to-government Trip to Chavez funeral no cost to government: RJR News
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Politicians-must-sacrifice-too_13626549 Politicians must sacrifice too: Francis J Mafar op-ed/Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Manley-Duncan–Shift-to–a-sacred-place-_13805888 Manley-Duncan: Shift to a “sacred place”: Jean Lowrie-Chin column/Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Change-is-possible—change-is-happening_13805613 Change is possible and change is happening: All Woman/Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/What-can-we-do-when-the–mother–school-system-fails_13782498 What can we do when the “mother” school system fails? Tashion Hewitt op-ed/Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130316/lead/lead3.html The wisdom of Old Folly – St. Ann residents unite for model community: Gleaner
http://carolynjoycooper.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/michael-freestylee-thompson-exhibits-at-the-university-of-the-west-indies-museum/ Michael “Freestylee” Thompson exhibits at the University of the West Indies Museum
http://www.tallawahmagazine.com/2013/03/home-front-christopher-john-farley.html Christopher John Farley keeps an open mind in life and art: Tallawahmagazine.com
It’s an odd time of year. I often feel confused, but the predominant feeling is sheer, unadulterated laziness. I ought to be doing something constructive, I don’t know what. But I don’t feel like doing it. I want to continue slumped on the sofa, watching DVDs and finishing off the amazing box of dark chocolates (Christmas presents). Preferably with husband (who is never as lazy as me).
I know I can’t go on like this. But I want to.
There are resolutions to ponder, plans to make. OK, I know. The heart is willing, but the mind is very weak. And the body…even weaker. Especially after a decadent Christmas Day Brunch at Kingston’s Terra Nova Hotel. I ate about six different kinds of meat (and not a chicken in sight), and haven’t quite recovered. Maybe not such a great idea, but too late now.
Resolutions: Basically my resolutions all fall into one category: finish off all the projects I should have completed this year, but didn’t. This includes several short stories – more to be added; try to get my novel published (that was last year’s resolution by the way); get the front of the house painted a decent color (at the moment it is a hybrid - an underlying pinkish color half-covered with white primer. Not very fetching). Promise to myself that I will remember all relatives’ birthdays and at least send them an e-card (thank God for the e-card). Call my sister in the UK once a week. Skype/email my brother in Australia at least once every two weeks (Skype is a struggle with Oz; for some reason my dearest brother and sister-in-law usually appear upside-down. Well, they are Down Under, after all). Most of all, be a more “engaged” mother to our son in London. Don’t know how to do this. Working on it. Try to laugh more at my husband’s simply dreadful jokes.
All of the above is pretty hard to achieve. Any one of these items is, in fact, much harder than it looks…Herculean. But, at least I am keeping them in mind. If I achieve even one of them, I will feel quite pleased with myself.
OK, that’s enough of resolutions. How to spend these doldrum times, as New Year crawls slowly up to the horizon? Well, Jamaicans know how to spend these days. Whether they have any money left or not, there is always partying, or some entertainment event to attend. And Jamaicans know how to have a good time, as Singapore’s prime minister Lee Kuan Yew wryly observed after visiting Jamaica in 1975: “Theirs was a relaxed culture. The people were full of song and dance, spoke eloquently, danced vigorously, and drank copiously. Hard work they had left behind with slavery.”
For example, there is the annual celebration of dancehall culture known as Sting (no, not the middle-aged, pretentious British pop star-cum-folk-singer). Weird things tend to happen at this show, which is probably why many people go – to see what sparks will fly. It surely could not be for the “music,” ninety per cent of which is of very poor quality (I make exception for singers like Etana, who are actually trying to sing, write songs, play musical instruments etc). For dancehall is not about musicality; it is about “culture.” As such, it is studied very seriously at the University of the West Indies.
Anyway, Sting is all about “clashes.” There used to be sound system clashes; now it is deejays etc. The idea is to “diss” your opponent musically (or with lyrics) until he/she runs for cover. The audience, of course, have their favorites. If there is no clash, it is most disappointing. One female deejay turned up (with a donkey in tow) all ready to dish out some unpleasantness; but her rival did not turn up. Such a let-down, when the aggressor was all steamed up and ready for it…
Other highlights of this annual ritual (which begins around midnight and ends well past sun-up) included the latest dancehall fad, a man called Tommy Lee Sparta. If you have the stomach for it (I don’t) you can read some of his “lyrics” at the link below. Then there was the evergreen, turbaned Sizzla, who could not help but resort to spouting his usual offensive, homophobic lyrics (he also did not have anything nice to say about the police, or child molesters). And don’t forget Busy Signal, who spent some time in a U.S. jail but has bounced back!! Another regular at this event is a strange figure called Ninja Man, one of the original deejays, a tall skinny man with hollow eyes who has also done time in a Jamaican jail and is (I think?) now out on bail with his son, on a murder charge. Another dancehall fave, a bleached and tattoed man called Vybz Kartel, is currently behind bars awaiting trial for not one, but two murders, along with members of his gang… sorry, “crew.” So Vybz couldn’t make it this year… maybe next.
A charming and attractive bunch, you will agree. Then, at the other end of the spectrum, there are the uptown parties, where everyone who is anyone is seen, and hopefully photographed – to appear in the social pages of our revered national newspapers. The women wear skirts as short as possible, and unfortunately among older women, the one-shouldered look is still de rigueur. There was a party called “A-List,” another called… OK, you’re bored, I can tell. So am I…
Well, the fun season isn’t quite over until the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival 2013 is done. This annual event takes place in Montego Bay in mid-January every year. For Kingstonians, this normally necessitates taking at least one or two days off work, to get the full benefit. Although it is/was intended to attract foreign visitors to Jamaican shores with its all-star lineup, it has morphed over the years into yet another party opportunity for the well-heeled, who flock there in their hundreds in their SUVs, causing traffic jams for miles. Although the festival is named “jazz and blues,” any jazz or blues fan would be disappointed at the musical fare that is dished up – a mish-mash of local reggae acts and ageing pop/R&B singers looking to escape to a tropical island in mid-winter.
I don’t think Michael Bolton could be called a jazz or blues singer, could he? At a stretch? Errrrrr… No!
When I (and others) complain about this complete misnomer, I am told rather forcefully that the Festival (which, like Sting, has been around for many years) is a “brand” and therefore the name cannot be changed. All the local firms have booths there, where the uptowners imbibe local drinks and – again – make sure they get themselves photographed for the local papers. The resulting photos keep the social pages going for at least a couple of weeks, afterwards. And the local firms get their publicity in, while the true fans of the old pop singers get to swoon over their old hits.
Well, this year, at least they’ve got Mary J. Blige, too. She could sing jazz, if she tried.
So, you see, the time is usefully spent here on the island of Jamaica. By the end of January, perhaps, we will all be let gently down to earth as the crime rate starts to bite again, and the latest bad economic news starts to trickle in… I guess, after all, we will still be talking about the International Monetary Fund in 2013.
And me? I think I will just do mentally what I used to do when I was a kid: freewheel along, bike pedals spinning, legs stuck out on either side. At some point, I will take control again. But…not just yet.
Happy in-between times! And Happy 2013 when it finally heaves into view!
Related articles for your reading pleasure:
http://www.stingjamaica.com.jm (Sting website)
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121228/ent/ent2.html (Varied, successful Sting 2012: Gleaner)
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/Sting-2012–the-best-in-years_13281271 (Sting 2012: The best in years: Observer)
http://www.dancehallreggaeworld.com/tommy-lee-psycho-lyrics.html (Tommy Lee Psycho lyrics)
http://jamaicajazzandblues.com (Jamaica Jazz and Blues 2013 website)
I’m calling this “Sunday Sneezes” because I have been snuffling for the past few days with a seasonal bug. Not serious, but enough to irritate. My husband has been playing a Mariah Carey Christmas CD several times a day, which probably hasn’t helped…
Meanwhile, Christmas is in the air…isn’t it? Our usually-absent neighbors have finally come home to roost for a few days, and in uptown Kingston the little darlings of the privileged, who are all at school/college overseas are home for the holidays. The streets and shopping plazas are filled with struggling, sweating shoppers, most of whom can’t really afford Christmas shopping at all…
And the Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, has been dancing “Gangnam Style.” I am not sure where this photo was taken, but I picked it up on Twitter. Rumors of our leader’s ill health are greatly exaggerated, perhaps… Well, it’s the time of year for having fun and forgetting our worries. Let’s postpone our looming crises until 2013, shall we?
Or can we? A former government minister, Claude Clarke, wants to know about the mission. “We’re on a Mission,” remember? That song that we have all forgotten about since August. Mr. Clarke takes a side swipe at the Simpson Miller administration’s recently tabled White Paper on tax reform, which he says merely “lays out an effective strategy for collecting as much taxes as possible. A framework for economic development it is not.” Taxation (in particular, the issuing of waivers and incentives) is a major area of concern for the International Monetary Fund, whose presence grows ever closer. One can almost feel their breath on our faces. In fact, the entire IMF team is riding on one of those elephants in Jamaica’s living room, now.
And it seems that the Minister of Finance is also feeling very uncomfortable. CVM Television reported the goodly minister tearing up at a Christmas treat in his constituency. He pointed out that he was wearing suit and tie to address the audience of mostly children with their mothers, because he had just come from an IMF meeting and was going back to one afterwards. The tears welled in his eyes as he said how good he felt to be there. The man is under severe pressure. And his counterpart, Opposition Finance Spokesman Audley Shaw, still maintains that there will be no agreement before December 31. Didn’t that always seem unlikely, though?
But hold on. Didn’t our Prime Minister say her administration would sign an agreement with the IMF two weeks after she came into office? But that was just campaign silliness. How churlish of me to bring it up…
Kudos though to Nationwide News Network, who have made a determined effort to wrestle with the economic elephant in the past week or two. Cliff Hughes and his intrepid co-presenters Emily Crooks and George Davis gathered together interesting and knowledgeable panelists for discussions on different aspects of the economic conundrum, including the tax waiver issue. They pointed out, though, that the Finance Minister declined all their invitations to participate in the discussions. I hope he was at least listening in…
Meanwhile, a real estate dealer is blaming the lack of an IMF agreement for his inability to sell telecoms giant Digicel’s buildings in New Kingston. Digicel is all set to move downtown, but has delayed the move until early next year. It is getting to that stage now… “When the agreement is signed…” Some are now saying “If the agreement is signed,” or even, “What if it isn’t signed?” Uncertainty is not healthy, and we are getting mixed signals – or no signals at all – from the political administration. As usual, I enjoy reading and listening to our calm, balanced financial analyst Dennis Chung, who is very good at summing up the situation in clear and simple terms.
The aforementioned Cliff Hughes says the last year has been “wasted political capital.” Certainly, it appears, the Prime Minister has not spent any of her substantial amount of PC. The Sunday Gleaner today seems to agree that she needs to open her purse and start spending it now. One thing she could do, the editors assert, is to pursue “full, candid and continuous communication” on the issue of public sector reform and other economic matters. We can’t beat about the bush any more, can we? Or we do so at our peril… As financial analyst Keith Collister (and others) have been saying for some time, “The time for action is now.” And keep us informed, please!
Crime is an issue. Yes, that particular elephant remains in the room, trunk swaying gently, despite the Jamaica Constabulary Force‘s year-end efforts to tout its successes. The picture has been very mixed in terms of major crimes, it seems. Clarendon has seen an upsurge (sadly it lost its highly effective police chief, who died suddenly and mysteriously in his 40s earlier this year – do we know the cause of death?) Other parishes have seen improvement; and as usual, beautiful Portland emerges as – by far – the Most Peaceful Parish.
In fact, by my weekly count, it has been the police who have killed the most Jamaicans this week. See the list below. I guess everyone is too busy with their Christmas socializing and credit cards to notice. (But they are only poor people anyway?) What is the reason for this sudden upsurge – eight Jamaicans shot dead by the police in a week? The Police Commissioner has been very quiet over an extended period of time – we finally heard from him this week. No word about police killings. Meanwhile, the Jamaica Observer only reports on the murder of middle-class Jamaicans, such as poor Jascinth Brae. Every death is a tragedy.
Meanwhile, on the political scene… The People’s National Party has given itself a big “thumbs up” for its performance after close to a year in office. It doesn’t seem to know (or care?) what the Jamaican people think. Has the PNP looked at what is being said in the social media recently? I think it should, and it hasn’t been pretty. Interestingly this week, two of our younger (and brighter) politicians, Christopher Tufton (Jamaica Labour Party) and Julian Robinson (my PNP Member of Parliament, actually) seem to agree on the need for a new political culture. Of course, this has been discussed a thousand times before; but things could change if politicians like Dr. Tufton (see his article below) started practicing what they preach. It might catch on. Pandering to the poor, as he puts it, needs to go out of the window, for a start.
Now to the Unfinished Business… Can you please tell me, Mr. Public Defender, Sir, what has happened to the interim report on the massacre in Tivoli Gardens in May 2010? Just to remind you, Speaker of the House of Representatives Michael Peart said on December 6 in Parliament that the report would be ready in two weeks. He may have a different calendar than me, but according to mine, it would have been due three days ago. Any word? Or are we too busy with Christmas? And if the report is complete, why is it necessary to print and “collate” hard copies? Hey, we have email!! And why should it take so long?
The other loose ends are the matter of the FINSAC Commission of Enquiry; and the issue of children in state care. Since the FINSAC débacle (I have to call it that) of the 1990s happened under a previous PNP administration, it is increasingly clear that this PNP administration is reluctant to see the enquiry concluded. So, it has not made the funds available for the commission to wind things up and print their report (which, one suspects, may not show the political leaders of the day in a very favorable light). However, the Association of FINSAC’d Entrepreneurs, many of whom were plunged into financial ruin by then Finance Minister Omar Davies’ actions, is not giving up. The Association is alleging that the government wants to keep the report secret. Meanwhile, the commissioners have reportedly requested an additional J$20 million to complete their work. But it’s hardly likely to be a priority for this administration…
Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna finally spoke to the media properly this week at a press conference – where she was backed up by a protective Minister of Justice, who hovered in the background anxiously; and a stone-faced Commissioner of Corrections. Minister Hanna announced that a new correctional facility for girls is to be built – but where are the hundreds of millions of dollars to come from? Moreover, she is proposing to build juvenile holding centers for minors at police lock-ups. And the South Camp Correctional Centre (possibly one of the most unpleasant correctional centers in the island) is to be “upgraded” to accommodate young persons – something we already knew, but were not too happy with. But children are not supposed to be confined in adult facilities, Minister Hanna… Lobby group Jamaicans for Justice – which has been doggedly pursuing this issue – was not impressed – there were no timelines, no real commitments.
Since it’s now officially party time, I am not expecting anything anytime soon from the Public Defender’s office. Maybe by December 31? Meanwhile, the families of the more than seventy Jamaicans killed during the Tivoli “incursion” will spend another Christmas (the third) without any sense of closure or feeling that anyone cares… at all.
But so much to praise, this week… Firstly, it was an honor to spend time working with the JN Foundation and their volunteers (especially Neville Charlton and The Positive Organization, and the Jamaica National Building Society’s Corporate Communications Department). We had an amazing time with the Alpha Boys (who gave their own interesting interpretations of “Gangnam Style,” by the way). And the senior citizens at the Golden Age Home’s Cluster H thoroughly enjoyed their Christmas treat, with delicious ham, sorrel, songs, and even a fair bit of dancing… as well as holding hands. Congratulations to JN Foundation and all the other non-governmental organizations for the amazing work you do…
Panos Caribbean recently sent seven Jamaicans (two young politicians and five journalists) to Vancouver to study ways in which that liberal-minded Canadian city treats its marginalized populations, including sexual minorities. This excellent, focused non-governmental organization gave a press conference on their findings – although very few press representatives considered the issue important enough to turn up (not even the journalists’ own media houses). I am hoping to see much more about this Knowledge Exchange; the participants made some very interesting discoveries and there were many “aha!” moments. I will be writing about it shortly, so look out for a blog post! Meanwhile, congratulations to Panos’ Executive Director Jan Voorduow and the dedicated Indi McLymont for putting together such a meaningful project. You can read more here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/emma-caroline-lewis/jamaicans-participate-in-knowledge-exchange-with-vancouver-on-hiv-gay-stigmatiza/10151290664209555.
When I first visited the Hope Zoo, it was quite a depressing place. A lonely lion (now deceased) languished in a cage, and would roar for his supper every evening. Now the Hope Zoo Preservation Foundation (led by businessman Kenny Benjamin, who is known for his love of animals) has received J$25 million from local telecoms Flow for the ongoing upgrading of the zoo. There will be a strong educational component in Flow’s Learning and Resource Centre, to be established there. Many congratulations to Mr. Benjamin, the Foundation and Flow for your wonderful vision!
I applaud the two investors, Mark Tucci and his wife Frances, for supporting artist Ian “Ras Natango” Williams, his wife Tamika and son Ayale, owners of the Ras Natango Gallery and Garden in Camrose, near Montego Bay. They have bought them a really beautiful bus to transport tourists. For some time now I have been wondering why the Jamaica Tourist Board does not support lovely community tourism efforts like this. Tamika is herself an artist and teaches local children the value of art, conducting craft classes. She is also, like me, a great lover of birds and nature. Their garden is beautiful. Thank you, the Tuccis!
I have to ask, before I go…What IS going on at the Ministry of Health? Shouldn’t an alleged sexual harassment issue, which seems to have been going on for quite a while, be addressed as soon as possible? Somehow, the print media seem reluctant to investigate, but one television station is still asking questions…
And as the Ward Theatre celebrates 100 years, why is it now unusable? It’s tragic, says dramatist and creator of the annual pantomime Barbara Gloudon (and so do I). No wonder the celebrations were so low-key as to be almost non-existent. By the way, the new pantomime, “Skoolaz,” opens on Boxing Day at the Little Theatre and promises to be tremendous fun, as always.
By the way, do take a read of an article by Suzanne Charles-Watson (a member of the inestimable 51% Coalition, of which I have written before) – on gender and education. Note, for example, that in a recent review of Caribbean history text books, “Males were consistently afforded pride of place over women in terms of text and visuals.” The link is listed below. Much food for thought.
P.S. The good news is that the Mayan Apocalypse we were all looking forward to… never happened. Otherwise, I would, of course, not be writing this blog post, nor would you be reading it. It was the subject of many tweets this week. I just saw one from the Apocalypse itself (@kabooooooom): “Sorry everyone, running a bit late.”
Let’s not be late for 2013. My final Sunday post for the year will appear, all being well, on December 30.
My heart goes out to the families and friends of all those Jamaicans who lost their lives to violence in the past week. This is going to be a very hard Christmas for them. Please spare a thought for those who are sad, who are still grieving and missing loved ones during this period of festivities. It’s not a jolly, happy time for everyone.
Detective Corporal Ransford Durant, Windsor Heights, St. Ann
Richard Gibbs, 22, Montego Bay, St. James
Jascinth Brae, 37, Spanish Town, St. Catherine
Dennis Brown, 23, Norwood, St. James
Gregory Plummer, 31, Norwood, St. James
Unidentified woman, Palisadoes, Kingston
Carlos Baker, Albion/Montego Bay, St. James
Killed by the police:
Unidentified man, Causeway Fishing Village/Dyke Road, Portmore, St. Catherine
Unidentified man, Causeway Fishing Village/Dyke Road, St. Catherine
Unidentified man, Federal Gardens, Kingston
Dane Mason, Mountain View Avenue, Kingston
Wayne Brown, 39, Montpelier, St. Elizabeth
Unidentified man, Trench Town, Kingston
Laurent Lawrence, 22, Mandeville, Manchester
Leroy Campbell, 42, Mahogany Hill, St. Elixabeth
- Sunday Stupor: December 16, 2012 (petchary.wordpress.com)
- Sunday Wonders: November 25, 2012 (petchary.wordpress.com)
- Sunday Elephants: November 11, 2012 (petchary.wordpress.com)
- http://petchary.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/tivoli-gardens-on-may-24-2010-the-people-were-deading/ (Tivoli Gardens: On May 24, 2010, the people were “deading”: petchary.wordpress.com)
- http://petchary.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/they-always-come-at-christmas-the-jn-foundations-acton-volunteers/ (“They always come at Christmas”: The JN Foundation’s Act!on volunteers: petchary)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121221/lead/lead4.html (PNP gives thumbs up to first year in power: Gleaner)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121223/cleisure/cleisure1.html (The PM’s New Year resolution: Sunday Gleaner editorial)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121223/focus/focus6.html (When the winner takes all – time to rethink our brand of competitive politics? Christopher Tufton op-ed, Sunday Gleaner)
- http://www.caribjournal.com/2012/12/21/op-ed-corruption-in-the-caribbean/ (Corruption in the Caribbean: David P. Rowe op-ed)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121217/lead/lead1.html (Huge trade deficit: Gleaner)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121220/lead/lead4.html (Moving cargo across Jamaica a hassle for freight stakeholders: Gleaner)
- http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/It-can-t-be-business-as-usual-in-Jamaica_13253996 (It can’t be business as usual in Jamaica: Keith Collister column: Observer)
- http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/The-economy-in-2013_13251784 (The economy in 2013: Dennis Chung column: Observer)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=41860 (Hylton responds to scrap metal concerns: Gleaner)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121220/lead/lead1.html (No room for error: Government cautioned ahead of scrap metal trade reopening: Gleaner)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121221/business/business3.html (Group alleges conspiracy of secrecy over delayed FINSAC report: Gleaner)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121223/business/business1.html (No deals yet for Digicel New Kingston properties: Sunday Gleaner)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121223/cleisure/cleisure2.html (On a Mission: What Mission? Claude Clarke op-ed, Sunday Gleaner)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121217/lead/lead5.html (Conversion for Redemption: Gleaner)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121217/lead/lead51.html (“Renovate the Ward Theatre”: Gleaner)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121219/cleisure/cleisure1.html (The Ward’s disrepair as metaphor for Jamaica: Gleaner editorial)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121217/news/news1.html (The Government of God: Apostle Steve Lyston op-ed/Gleaner)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121217/news/news3.html (Deborah Chen working for the heart: Gleaner)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121223/focus/focus3.html (Restructuring values and attitudes: Martin Henry column: Sunday Gleaner)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121217/ent/ent2.html (Alpha Boys’ School willed valuable equipment: Gleaner)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121218/cleisure/cleisure4.html (Give mandate to master principals: André Wright article: Gleaner)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121223/focus/focus7.html (Gender equity and education: Suzanne Charles op-ed, Sunday Gleaner)
- http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Flow-pumps–25m-into-upgrading-Hope-Zoo_13241492 (Flow pumps $25million into upgrading Hope Zoo: Observer)
- http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/OCG-warns-Cabinet-of–criminal-offence-_13237247 (Office of the Contractor General warns Cabinet of criminal offense: Observer)
- http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/For-our-children-s-sake–Minister-Hanna—_13229742 (For our children’s sake, Minister Hanna: Observer editorial)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=41856 (Youth council disagrees with Hanna’s plans: Gleaner)
- http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Children-s-homes-abusers-charged–fired–says-Hanna_13242078 (Children’s home abusers charged, fired, says Hanna: Observer)
- http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Hanna-says-correctional-centre-for-girls-to-be-built_13241715 (Hanna says correctional centre for girls to be built: Observer)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121219/lead/lead1.html (Cabinet considers expanding Child Development Agency role: Gleaner)
- http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/government-refutes-claims-of-no-support-to-vanessa-wints-family (Government refutes claim of no support to Vanessa Wint’s family: RJR)
- http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Elderly-at-risk_13254472 (Elderly at risk: Observer)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121221/cleisure/cleisure2.html (Homophobia exposed! Peter Espeut column/Gleaner)
- http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Well-done–Professor-Hopeton-Dunn_13241777 (Well done, Professor Hopeton Dunn: Observer editorial)
- http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/westernnews/Big-boost-for-community-tourism_13245908 (Big boost for community tourism: Observer West)
- http://-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121222/cleisure/cleisure1.html (Time to get creative, YMCA: Gleaner editorial)
- http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Pit-latrines-must-go-_13247796 (Pit latrines must go! Observer)
- http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Building-a-cathedral_13240261 (Building a cathedral: Grace Virtue op-ed: Observer)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121222/news/news1.html (Natty to the rescue: Gleaner)
- http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121219/cleisure/cleisure3.html (Too many Doctors and Masters of Ginnalship: George Davis column/Gleaner)