Queen Victoria allegedly said this, using the royal “we.” It’s not clear what did not amuse her, but I don’t think it was her politicians. Do you know who does not amuse me? One guess.
- Are our political leaders incompetent, or just plain crafty? I don’t know. I became so impatient with the Minister of Transport and Works’ performance (and it was a performance) on CVM Television’s “Live at Seven” this week that I spilled my cup of tea all over everything, and then cursed. Minister Davies talks in a series of casual non sequiturs. He never finishes a sentence, so you get fragments, interspersed with throwaway lines that I think are intended to be humorous. He finds himself very amusing. The overall effect is a) offhand; b) incredibly condescending; and c) confusing – deliberately so?
- Meanwhile, what I called the Megawatt Muddle seems to be descending into ever murkier depths. Minister Phillip Paulwell has said very little. He has not held out a lifeline to the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), which seems to be sinking deeper into the quagmire the more it struggles. Azurest Cambridge (the preferred bidder, which failed to come up with the deposit on time) made some comments that made me think this does not look good to any other firm interested in investing in Jamaica. Meanwhile, what of the local bidding consortium, Energize Jamaica? Since they came up with their proposal on time (by the March deadline – yes, March?) should not they be the one to move to the preferred spot, as the Contractor General suggested in his report?
- But then, the CG’s reports on both the Azan shambles and the power project have been generally overruled, undermined and/or ignored by all and sundry.
- I do share Minister Paulwell’s concern about the inadequate take-up for renewable energy included in the power package. Why did this happen? Altogether, the OUR comes out with egg all over its face. Can we revisit the renewable issue, too? Should we just wipe the slate clean with this energy bid, and start all over again? (Insert sigh of frustration here…)
- “We are actually desperate now,” Minister Paulwell told the Gleaner last week with his usual disarming frankness. Aren’t we all?
- So, do we expect the Mayor of May Pen to resign, despite being charged for misleading the Contractor General in the course of his investigations into the Spaldings shops? No? I thought not. Moving on…
- On a more encouraging note, Jamaican Shanique Myrie won her case in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) against the Barbadian government for the degrading treatment she received at Bridgetown’s airport from immigration officers. This should be a wake-up call for Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries. “It’s not about the money, it’s about equal rights and justice,” said Ms. Myrie after the ruling. The money, by the way, translated from Barbadian dollars into Jamaican, highlighting the extreme weakness of our currency compared to our neighbors to the east. But besides that, I hope and believe that Barbados will take the necessary action, legal or otherwise, to ensure this does not happen again.
- I am glad Mr. Martin Henry focused on the World Bank’s recent “Jamaica Parliamentary Oversight of Public Finances – An Institutional Review” – which has been largely ignored by local media. Our Parliament is remarkably unproductive, as we probably know, and has been for years. I found Mr. Henry’s final dig at civil society groups (the latest section of society to make snide comments about) and the media (which people have always made snide comments about) quite unnecessary, but pretty much par for the course among newspaper columnists and the like.
- Another Sunday columnist whom I often don’t agree with (but that’s OK), Professor Carolyn Cooper, came up trumps today. She started her column: “In Jamaica today, a woman who ends up in hospital as a result of complications from an illegal abortion can actually be handcuffed to her bed as a suspected felon. Upon conviction of inducing abortion, she may be condemned to life sentence with hard labour. That’s the law.” This law is Section 72 of the Offences Against the Person 1864. Yes, 1864!
- And good news for our much-loved athlete Veronica Campbell-Brown, as Jamaican officials have ruled that “a reprimand without any period of ineligibility would be appropriate”
after her positive doping result from an invitational on May 4. Hopefully this will be upheld and all will be well. Just shows how careful you have to be.
Three cheers to all of these…
- The tireless and persistent host of “Live at Seven” Simon Crosskill, who scores 10 out of 10 for his dogged questioning of Minister Davies on “development” projects. The Minister employed his usual confusing, obfuscating tactics (see my earlier comment above). When Mr. Crosskill asked if we (Jamaicans) could see a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding on the logistics hub that was apparently signed in China, the Minister said condescendingly, “It’s boring…” (So why do you ordinary people want to bother your heads with it? It’s all legal stuff). Anyway, thank you Mr. Crosskill for trying, and major kudos to your excellent production team for this and all your programs. Keep up the good work!
- Brandon Allwood, one of our bright young Jamaicans studying overseas, who was among eight international undergraduates to receive the Toronto Excellence Awards recently. I first met Brandon when he was sixteen years old and editing the “Teen Observer.” When I asked him what issues he was interested in, he told me immediately, “Children’s rights.” He has retained that focus and is not only a savvy communicator and media person but focused and genuinely kind. He has a great deal to offer Jamaica.
- All those who participated in the Jamaica Startup Weekend in Kingston. From the tweets I have seen, it looks pretty intense as participants make their final pitches this evening. I am glad to see more women there in the mix, too. IT does not have to be a male preserve, does it! And congratulations once again to Ingrid Riley, the tireless organizer and energy behind this effort.
- Kudos to two young television journalists who have done a good job this week: Television Jamaica‘s Dashan Hendricks did some enlightening and useful reporting on the energy bid issue (which is fairly complex); and CVM Television’s Joel Crosskill reported sensitively on the renewed violence in Western Kingston. Good journalism.
- And personal thanks from my husband and I to Palace Amusement – our local cinema – for screening a new series of simulcasts from the Metropolitan Opera of New York. The audience was small, but it was an absolute treat and worth every cent! More on the passionate and powerful performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” in another blog post. But we really appreciated it and will not miss another one in the series…
The police claim to be getting a grip on crime in West Kingston, where gang violence has become more commonplace in recent months. However, the issue will not be solved through shootouts in which two or three alleged “wanted men” get killed. It just will not. Haven’t we “been there, done that”? My condolences are with the families of all those who have died (I am afraid two are still unidentified – the media do not really seem to see them all as human beings with names, it seems).
Unidentified man, Sunrise Crescent/Red Hills Road, Kingston
Unidentified, Bull Bay, St. Andrew
Andrea Blythe, 43, Glasgow, Westmoreland
Killed by police:
Fitzroy Gaynor, Hannah Town, Kingston
Demar Cameron, Hannah Town, Kingston
Troy Anthony Vassell, Upper Regent Street, Kingston
Related articles and links:
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131003/lead/lead4.html Transport Minister shields China Harbour from parliamentary committee: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/NEPA-received-no-application-for-Goat-Islands-development NEPA received no application for Goat Islands development: Jamaica Observer
http://www.caribjournal.com/2013/10/04/op-ed-jamaica-china-and-goat-island/ Jamaica, China and Goat Islands: David P. Rowe op-ed/Carib Journal
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/As-global-warming-accelerates—_15178056 As global warming accelerates… Jamaica Observer editorial
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/LIME-Foundation-adopts-part-of-forest-reserve-_15190271 LIME Foundation adopts part of forest reserve: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131004/lead/lead24.html No word on waste-to-energy plants: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131005/letters/letters1.html Letter of the Day from Frank Phipps: OUR must revisit renewable energy capacity offer: Sunday Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131003/lead/lead5.html PSOJ questions process used to select Azurest for 360MW venture: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131005/lead/lead2.html Azurest says OUR’s refusal to extend deadline robs Jamaicans of best energy solution: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131003/lead/lead6.html Paulwell wants OUR to revise decision on 115MW project bids: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131006/focus/focus5.html Make Parliament more effective: Martin Henry column/Sunday Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131003/news/news1.html First Global makes sweet music at Tarrant Primary: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131005/news/news2.html Marcus Garvey Choir boosts school morale: Gleaner
http://jamaicajournal.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/jacques-road-finished-project/ Jacques Road finished project: Jamaican Journal
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131004/lead/lead8.html Jamaican MSMs speak out: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131005/lead/lead1.html “Speak up for your rights”: Shanique Myrie elated at CCJ ruling: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Executive-Summary-of-the-judgement-in-Shanique-Myre-case Executive Summary of the judgment in Shanique Myrie case: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131006/cleisure/cleisure3.html Policing women’s bodies: Carolyn Cooper column/Sunday Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131004/lead/lead25.html INDECOM wants power to take samples from cops: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=48419 Angry George’s Plain residents set canefield fire to capture gunmen: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Jamaican-Brandon-Allwood-receives-International-student-award-in-Toronto Former TEENage Club president receives international student award in Toronto: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131003/lead/lead1.html Warning for Veronica Campbell-Brown: Gleaner