May 15, 2013

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 TwitterI 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

One of the five houses burned down when gunmen invaded the community of Clifton in St. Catherine. (Photo: Bryan Cummings/Jamaica Observer)
One of the five houses burned down when gunmen invaded the community of Clifton in St. Catherine. (Photo: Bryan Cummings/Jamaica Observer)
The house in Little London where hotel worker Leroy Robinson was shot dead while trying to rescue the inhabitants - who escaped unhurt. (Photo: Phillip Lemonte/Jamaica Observer)
The house in Little London where hotel worker Leroy Robinson was shot dead while trying to rescue the inhabitants – who escaped unhurt. (Photo: Phillip Lemonte/Jamaica Observer)
Senators Sandrea Falconer and Navel Clarke escort Senator Reverend Stanley Redwood (center) to his seat as President in January, 2012. This was five years after he and his family applied to migrate to Canada."This office is not about us, we are just God's temporary instruments in the service of a higher cause. We are servant leaders," said Senator Redwood at the time. (Photo: Ricardo Makyn/Gleaner)
Senators Sandrea Falconer and Navel Clarke escort Senator Reverend Stanley Redwood (center) to his seat as President in January, 2012. This was five years after he and his family applied to migrate to Canada.”This office is not about us, we are just God’s temporary instruments in the service of a higher cause. We are servant leaders,” said Senator Redwood at the time. (Photo: Ricardo Makyn/Gleaner)
CEO of the Grace Kennedy Group Don Wehby. (Photo: businesssuiteonline.com)
CEO of the Grace Kennedy Group Don Wehby wants more local firms to offer internships. (Photo: businessuiteonline.com)
Eighty-year-old retired army sergeant Peter Williams with his beloved World War I cannon - stolen from his home recently. (Photo: Gleaner)
Eighty-year-old retired army sergeant Peter Williams with his beloved World War I cannon – stolen from his home recently. (Photo: Gleaner)
The Prime Minister in her favorite shades. (Photo: Gleaner)
The Prime Minister in her favorite shades. (Photo: Gleaner)
The inside of the dormitory at the Armadale Juvenile Correctional Centre after the fire in May, 2009, which caused the deaths of seven girls and injured 11 others. (Photo: Gleaner)
The inside of the dormitory at the Armadale Juvenile Correctional Centre after the fire in May, 2009, which caused the deaths of seven girls and injured 11 others. (Photo: Gleaner)

5 thoughts on “May 15, 2013

  1. Can’t believe the #TissueIssue and the Gov’ts refusal to name and shame! So much for putting the people first.
    And I have to say I agree with Jack above. Perhaps if it were mandatory for for those in Gov’t to use the country’s services they’d do more to bring them to an acceptable standard – it would, at the very least, make them reconsider their priorities.

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    1. Goodness. They would certainly see things differently. But they are completely isolated/insulated from the harsh reality that is all around them… I’m afraid our government professes to put people first (I think that was actually an election slogan of the party currently in power, some years ago) but does exactly the reverse. Own personal interests first, wherever possible. Then the interests of cronies and supporters. The rest of us…

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  2. I’ve always thought that if the rich and influential had to use the same services as the rest of us (health, education, etc) we’d soon see them improve.

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    1. Of course! And most of our Members of Parliament don’t even live in their constituencies. If the PM was house-hunting in her constituency she would not find one single decent house. She represents a slum, or series of slums. Yes, if they or their family get sick, they hop on a plane to Miami, pronto!

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