We are Bleeding, and it’s June 9, 2013

Jamaica is bleeding. I feel it is not only the blood seeping from the veins of those who have been murdered by their fellow citizens – including the police. It is the slow and exhausting drip, drip, drip of life-giving energy from the country. Since I wrote my mid-week update on June 5, I have had a growing sense of this. Maybe it’s the increasing heat of early summer that’s getting to me.

Dead children: The Director of UNICEF in Jamaica, Robert Fuderich, is a forthright man – which I love. He gave a speech this week, expressing distress at the murder and abuse of Jamaican children. So, the head of UNICEF is upset. So are many Jamaicans, by the way. Is the Prime Minister upset, one wonders? She is a woman who, as I have said before, has often expressed her love of children in speeches. Could she have made a statement about the recent shocking murders? Even that? Better still, could she have visited the families and the communities affected, to grieve with them and to express her condolences? I am not demanding that Portia Simpson Miller responds in every case, but a nice appropriate public gesture would have been good. Too late now, by the way.

…and neglected: The National Road Safety Council is expressing deep concern at a huge (400%) increase in child pedestrian fatalities on the road this year. But this does not surprise me. Yesterday, the Gleaner’s front page story reported that children are being dumped on other people to look after, etc. As if this is news? Why don’t we realize that children aren’t adults. They are vulnerable.

Where is the Prime Minister? Have we seen or heard from her since her return from Africa? I have scoured the Jamaica Information Service pages, looked under the Office of the Prime Minister – and find nothing at all that relates to her. Has she made any speeches? Maybe I missed something. No ribbon-cuttings or ground-breakings? Is she sick? Is she on vacation? (I am not trying to start rumors – just trying to explore possible explanations).

Women suffering too: You may have noticed that women are murdered every week. Whatever the motivation – sometimes a jealous lover, other times gang violence – it is becoming increasingly common. I remember when the murder of a woman was a shocking and unusual occurrence – now it’s commonplace. The Jamaica Observer’s Karyl Walker (whom I have criticized recently) wrote a very painful report in today’s newspaper about a young woman who has ended up on the street, abused and unwanted. Can someone please help?

And talking of trips: I know, I am obsessed. As I asked in my last bulletin, what actually took place in Africa? What did the Prime Minister and her large delegation achieve? Since we paid J$8.6 million for the trip, I am still hoping for a report card. But it’s been two weeks or so since they all came home, laden with souvenirs no doubt. So, I don’t hold out much hope. Now, we understand that our amiable Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke will soon be off to China, with a small delegation, at the invitation of the Chinese Government (hopefully the Chinese are paying, so taxpayers don’t need to dig into their pockets again for this one).

Dusting off the begging bowl: Meanwhile, the Finance Minister has just returned from a trip round Europe – he might have to wait for the flood waters to subside, though.  I am afraid he may end up getting us into deeper debt (although Europe is not exactly flush with funds at the moment). It’s just a thought, but if we are going for growth rather than plunging ourselves into deeper debt, perhaps a trade and investment team, with a few private sector representatives, would have been be smarter? He has at least commented on the trip, though. See below.

Psychological barrier: On Friday morning word went out that the J$ had reached 100/US$1. It closed slightly above. A collective shudder went through the Twittersphere and radio talk shows. This is the end, we all declared – or the beginning of the end. In theory, of course, the devaluation might benefit us by making exports cheaper. Oh, but…We’re not exporting anything are we? Where is the Jamaica Exporters’ Association? Long time, no hear.

Elusive growth: As Dr. Damien King, economics prof and head of our local think tank CaPRI tweeted a few days ago, The average growth rate of the world’s poor countries over the last decade was 6%, cutting worldwide poverty by half during that time.” But again – that doesn’t apply to Jamaica, does it? We can’t manage any growth at all, at the moment. None in sight; and more worryingly, no clear strategy for growth.

“We don’t want INDECOM, we want outcome!” The police killed five people, since I last wrote, and in the space of a little over 24 hours. This was the cry of one resident – which made me laugh a little, as Jamaicans have such a way with words. But very serious too. I know that the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) is working as hard as it can but is hampered (by very late police reports, for example) – but can’t blame people for getting impatient.

Another twist: You may be tired of hearing about this saga by now, but just to let you know that Doran “mongrel dog” Dixon is back in the race for the presidency of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association, who have changed their mind and allowed him to run, after all. Meanwhile Mr. Paul “cocaine injection” Adams is not suffering any ill effects (he’s not running, anyway). I only hope that a sensible woman is elected to the presidency. I am tired of the male egos…

Earth matters: You know I am a big fan of CVM Television’s “Live at Seven.” I am glad that the program turned its attention to a whole bunch of niggling environmental issues that are not going to go away – the beach at Negril, for example.

Untouchable Usain: Some of my tweeps have been following the French Open tennis tournament, and were thrilled to see our very own Usain Bolt presenting the trophy to Rafal Nadal. I was a bit surprised. I thought it was usually rather dull officials (or royalty in the case of Wimbledon) who did this. The spotlight is supposed to be on the winner of the trophy – not on the presenter. I am told that Bolt is a “celebrity” so it is acceptable, and we are all proud of his achievements. But celebrities have a habit of popping up all over the place, like Kim Kardashian. I just thought it inappropriate, and upset several people on my Twitter timeline by suggesting that it was. Don’t get me wrong – I love Usain as much as anyone and have often praised him in my blog, but I don’t want it to get to the point where people say, “Oh no – not him again!” whenever he makes an appearance. He is worth more than that.

Still so much good things to say about…

  • Dr Jean Beaumont, who has been doing great work as head of the USAID/Jamaica Basic Education Project. What could be more important than reading?
  • Health writer Eulalee Thompson, who has a new blog and a new consulting practice. Find her at http://kingstontherapist.wordpress.com.
  • Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater, who delivered a terrific speech on women’s leadership at the University of the West Indies‘ Faculty of Law on Thursday evening. I couldn’t make it, but hear the place was packed. I do have a copy of the speech, which I intend to post on this blog shortly.
  • Dr. Rosalea Hamilton for her piece on nine-day wonders – with specific reference to the Richard Azan/Spaldings shops issue. Dr. Hamilton concludes, It is time we move beyond complaining about our situation and seriously press for governance that is accountable to the people of this country.” Make your voice heard and put some pressure on.
  • The Jamaica Medical Mission. We do tend to take this almost continuous stream of visiting medical teams, mostly from the United States, for granted. They often pay their way and sacrifice their vacations etc. to come over here and help Jamaicans who simply cannot afford to access our public health system. They are absolutely marvelous. I know the Jamaicans whom they treat appreciate their work; I hope the rest of us do, too. (This group of 157 doctors, nurses etc comes over every year and will treat at least 3,000 indigent Jamaicans).
  • Nice to see an interesting report by environmental reporter Petre Williams-Raynor, now with the Gleaner. Check out her attractive blog, too. By the way, public consultations on the boundaries of our precious Cockpit Country are still ongoing. There is one in Kingston this week – I must check details.
  • The Gleaner for two things: Firstly, its editorials have really hit the nail on the head in the past week. It’s worth reading them all. Secondly, on Friday evening its continuous, accurate tweeting of the World Cup qualifying match between Jamaica and the United States was streets ahead of the competition. Sprinkled, too, with marvelous photos from one of my favorite photogs, Mr. Ricardo Makyn. See a couple of the photos below…Hats off!

Petchary’s Pet Hate of the Week: Mosquitoes are plaguing us. Thank God for the electrifying plastic tennis racket – or the zapper, as it’s called in our house.

Petchary’s Quote of the Week: “Children are not just the future, they are the present” – Robert Fuderich, Director, UNICEF Jamaica.

The tragedies continue. Each Jamaican’s death is a tragedy for the families, friends. The following Jamaicans have died violently just in the past FOUR days:

Sophia Smith, 47, Mandeville, Manchester

Dwight Robinson, 28, Seaview Gardens, Kingston

Jerome Anthony Gooden, 33, Seaview Gardens, Kingston

Ricardo Lawes, 28, Seaview Gardens, Kingston

Omar Smith, 32, Seaview Gardens, Kingston

Killed by police:

Unidentified man, Kitson Town, St. Catherine

Junior Guy, Waterloo Villas/Tredegar Park, St. Catherine

André Ledgister, Waterloo Villas/Tredegar Park, St. Catherine

Kemar Thompson, Waterloo Villas/Tredegar Park, St. Catherine

Jevon Reid, 21, Granville, Trelawny

Related links and articles:

World Environment Day: June 5, 2013 (petchary.wordpress.com)

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130606/business/business2.html Jamaica narrows trade deficit: Gleaner

http://thinkjamaica.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/thanksgiving-service-for-the-jamaican-dollar-will-be-held-at/ Thanksgiving service for the Jamaican Dollar will be held at… ThinkJamaica.wordpress.com

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130607/news/news2.html “Jamaica debt burden a threat to human development” – UNDP: Gleaner

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130609/lead/lead1.html “Don’t panic over sliding dollar”: Gleaner

Final chance for Jamaica, says Financial Times (commonsenseja.wordpress.com)

http://www.jis.gov.jm/component/content/article/111-ministry-of-science-technology-energy-and-mining/34169-minister-paulwell-urges-jamaicans-to-access-energy-fund- Minister Paulwell urges Jamaicans to access energy fund: Jamaica Information Service

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130607/business/business2.html Port divestment proceeds to dredge Kingston Harbour: Gleaner

http://www.jis.gov.jm/news/leads/34162 Minister Hylton sets record straight on logistics hub: Jamaica Information Service

http://sonofstmary.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/democracy/ Anti-gay Christian groups undermine democracy: sonofstmary.wordpress.com

http://newsandviewsbydjmillerja.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/gay-rights-activist-seeks-to-challenge-belize-and-tt-laws/ Gay rights activist seeks to challenge Belize and TT laws: newsandviewsbydjmillerja.wordpress.com

http://perceptualpost.com/jamaica-observer-accused-of-staging-story-involving-gays-observer-report-tells-all/ Jamaica Observer accused of staging story involving gays: Perceptual Post

http://www.televisionjamaica.com/Programmes/AllAngles.aspx/Videos/26956 Discusion on homosexuality/All Angles/Television Jamaica, June 5, 2013

http://drtammyhaynes.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/homosexuality-choice-or-innate/ Homosexuality: Choice or innate: Dr. Tammy Haynes blog

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130606/lead/lead1.html “We have the numbers”: Church leaders confident enough religious Jamaicans in island to prevent change to buggery law: Gleaner

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Woman-beaten–robbed–raped-in-Kingston_14442076 Woman beaten, robbed, raped in Kingston: Sunday Observer

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Handling-of-rape-cases-irks-Montague_14444584 Handling of rape cases irks Montague: Sunday Observer

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Allman-Town-wants-closure-to-boy-s-murder_14426032 Allman Town wants closure to boy’s murder: Sunday Observer

http://delanoseiv.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/g2k-writes-to-ocg-regarding-dead-silent-richard-azan-probe/ G2K writes to OCG regarding dead silent Richard Azan probe: delanoseiv.wordpress.com

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130416/lead/lead92.html Another nine-day wonder? Rosalea Hamilton op-ed/Gleaner

http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/more-work-needed-on-spaldings-market-probe-arscott More work needed on Spaldings market probe – Arscott: RJR News

http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/more-road-blocks-in-claremont-as-residents-continue-protest More road blocks in Claremont as residents continue protest: RJR News

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Jamaica-leading-project-to-address-underachievement-in-boys_14424128 Jamaica leading project to address underachievement in boys: Jamaica Observer

http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/montaque-questions-nicholson-on-status-of-reported-rape-cases Montaque questions Nicholson on status of reported rape cases: RJR News

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130606/cleisure/cleisure3.html Condoms aren’t aphrodisiacs: Jaevion Nelson column/Gleaner

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130606/cleisure/cleisure4.html The crime of “uncontrollable”: Patrick Lalor op-ed/Gleaner

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Cabinet-approves-new-policy-for-pregnant-schoolgirls_14434151 Cabinet approves new policy for pregnant schoolgirls: Jamaica Observer

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/UNICEF-concerned-about-child-killings_14424458 UNICEF concerned about child killings: Jamaica Observer

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130607/lead/lead4.html Disabled, elderly should get free health care – CaPRI study: Gleaner

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130606/news/news4.html Reading coaches initiative making a positive difference: Gleaner

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130607/lead/lead5.html Dixon back in the race: Gleaner

https://blogs.worldbank.org/latinamerica/animation-could-mean-jobs-and-serious-business-jamaican-youths Animation could mean jobs and serious business for Jamaican youths: World Bank

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130607/lead/lead3.html Trench Town Ceramics and Art Centre – Using art to save the youth: Gleaner

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Downtown-Kingston-vendors-protest_14434985 Downtown Kingston vendors protest: Jamaica Observer

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130607/news/news3.html 3,000 indigents to benefit from medical mission: Gleaner

http://wordsfrompetre.webs.com Petre Williams-Raynor environmental blog

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130607/news/news1.html Inside Cockpit Country: Project eyes conservation of key biodiversity areas: Gleaner

Dr. Jean Beaumont, the very able and dedicated director of the USAID/Jamaica Basic Education Project. (Photo: Gleaner)
Dr. Jean Beaumont, the very able and dedicated director of the USAID/Jamaica Basic Education Project. (Photo: Gleaner)
Usain Bolt presents the trophy to Rafael Nadal at the French Open today. (Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Usain Bolt presents the trophy to Rafael Nadal at the French Open today. (Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Woman in danger: 28-year-old Simone Edwards says she has been robbed, raped and abused on the streets of Kingston. (Photo: Jamaica Observer)
Woman in danger: 28-year-old Simone Edwards says she has been robbed, raped and abused on the streets of Kingston. (Photo: Jamaica Observer)
UNICEF representative in Jamaica Robert Fuderich. (Photo: Gleaner)
UNICEF representative in Jamaica Robert Fuderich. (Photo: Gleaner)
It was standing room only at U.S. Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater's lecture on women's leadership on Thursday night. (Photo: Marcia Forbes)
It was standing room only at U.S. Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater’s lecture on women’s leadership on Thursday night. (Photo: Marcia Forbes)
Let the game begin! Another great photo of the Jamaica vs. U.S. game, which was quite gripping in its final stages. Final score: U.S. 2 - Jamaica 1.
Let the game begin! Another great photo of the Jamaica vs. U.S. game, which was quite gripping in its final stages. Final score: U.S. 2 – Jamaica 1.
One of the great photos by Ricardo Makyn tweeted by the Gleaner on Friday evening at the Jamaica vs U.S. football game.
One of the great photos by Ricardo Makyn tweeted by the Gleaner on Friday evening at the Jamaica vs U.S. football game.
Junior Minister Richard Azan looks happy! No pressure... (Photo: Jamaica Observer)
Junior Minister Richard Azan looks happy! No pressure… (Photo: Jamaica Observer)


11 thoughts on “We are Bleeding, and it’s June 9, 2013

  1. I certainly dread the days after my flight home tomorrow. I am afraid to spend the few remaining USD I have, and I am afraid of the frustration that will come when I resume watching the nightly news with barely an appearance from the one we have chosen to lead us. Also, they broke into a car at my house yesterday. Jamaica is frustrating.


    1. Yes. It is frustrating and the nightly news is stressful! People may consider my approach too negative and cynical – but basically I always want and expect more from Jamaica. It’s a bit like having a child whom you have devoted so much effort too, but doesn’t seem to care – it hurts so bad, sometimes. (That’s NOT true of my “one son” I hasten to add!!) You know what I mean. It is really very strange though how inaccessible and totally silent the PM is. Supposing David Cameron or Barack Obama didn’t speak for weeks? Be careful and make sure you are secure at home…


  2. On target as usual. I tried the link to Kingston Therapist but it didn’t work. Also tried the Google – but couldn’t find her! Can you post a link to her page on facebook? Would love to follow her. I have never been able to find a ‘search’ function on wordpress! Have a great week – keep hydrated!


    1. Oh goodness. Yes, I will post a link on Facebook. I will have to go back and fix that link too. Is there a search on the WordPress reader? Yes, it is getting hotter every day, I drink plenty water!! Hope all’s well with you Bethany!


  3. Thanks for the big up! Enjoy reading your comprehensive blogs as usual. Agree that the crime feel like it is engulfing us again… but on Bolt, he is such a treasure and spark to our days, I feel like almost sacrilege to say anything negative about him ..hahaha … but I understand the point.


    1. You are most welcome, Eulalee! Hope all is going well. I know what you mean about Usain Bolt – I love him dearly too, but that’s why I don’t want him to become a “media celebrity” – I want him to be recognized and appreciated for his achievements. You are right, it does almost seem like sacrilege – and he is an absolutely lovely person – but at some level I felt it was wrong. Just a small point, really…


    1. Thanks so much for your comment. Not many would agree with us! I think usually some rather dull official presents the trophy, thus not taking the limelight away from the winner. And I am afraid of this “celebrity syndrome” that Bolt seems to be getting into. I want him to be loved and appreciated for his athletic achievements – not for jetting around the world in designer clothing and appearing here, there and everywhere. I guess I am old-fashioned!


      1. I tend to agree. I don’t know if he IS a tennis fan. By “old-fashioned,” I mean that I don’t particularly care for the modern trend of people like Bolt being “marketed” – he is almost a commodity these days. But he is a great athlete, that’s what matters to me!


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