Our strange, moody weather continues. Murky clouds hang over Kingston, dripping rain here and there. And it’s open season on mosquitoes in our house.
The doping saga: The UK media are keeping tabs on the saga of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO). Reports now emerge that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is furious that JADCO politely declined their request to visit Jamaica for an extraordinary audit this year and put them off until January 2014. It is particularly puzzling since I understood that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (who is our Sports Minister) invited WADA to come. Does the left hand know what the right is doing? Why are we making such a mess of all this? Now it appears that WADA will visit October 28-30, but some JADCO members will be overseas then… Can someone wave a magic wand and make it all go away please?
Closer ties with the “Commies”: (That’s a phrase from the Cold War – tongue in cheek). Members of the ruling People’s National Party (PNP) are currently en route to China, to forge closer ties with the political regime there. PNP General Secretary Robert Pickersgill (yes, our Environment Minister) is heading the delegation. Perhaps he will say something about the Portland Bight Protected Area/Goat Islands while he is there, like last time. He will not say anything about it in Jamaica. Read more: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=48793
Cronyism, nepotism, tribalism? Two items struck me this week: the suggestion by former PNP government minister Arnold Bertram that Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay be renamed after a PNP politician, Allan George Coombs. Donald Sangster was a former Jamaica Labour Party Prime Minister (Jamaica’s second) who died after only a few weeks in office. We also learn that former head of the PNP Youth Organisation (PNPYO) Mr. Junior Rose has been appointed Senior Director of Strategic Planning, Policy Research and Local Government Reform in the Ministry of Local Government. Is this jobs for the boys? Was this position advertised? (I have been increasingly unconvinced of any need for a Local Government Ministry in the first place). A career civil servant was pushed out to make way for Mr. Rose, the Opposition alleges. Read here: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/HONOUR-DENIED_15283812 and here: http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/controversy-surrounds-local-government-appointment
Former Contractor General Greg Christie reminded us this week of a great Gleaner article by Christopher Serju (which I missed – I was away) with some very relevant remarks by Professor Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large for Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Not sure that Singapore (or anywhere) has “zero corruption,” but he pointed to the cost of it all. Adding, tellingly (and relevantly to the above): “…practise meritocracy (where) no one is appointed to a job because he knows somebody..” Another key arrow in Singapore’s armory was/is, of course, education. Read here: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130721/lead/lead3.html
I have a question: Why was the leader of the Opposition absent from Monday’s National Heroes Day ceremonies (wreath-laying and awards)? I do hope it wasn’t because his leadership rival Audley Shaw was receiving a national honor. I am perturbed by Mr. Holness’ apparent lack of maturity during this leadership race. Someone told me, “It’s important to have a young leader,” but youth in itself is not an asset. You’ve got to have some sense, too. He is making his aged (61 year-old) opponent look better and better…
For the fifth time! The corruption trial of former junior minister Kern Spencer and Colleen Wright was postponed for the fifth time yesterday. The Resident’s Magistrate’s was annoyed. The case is now nearly five years old and has been dragging on interminably. Of course, it didn’t help that the RM spent a long time wrangling with Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn, half way through, creating considerable delay. The defense team is using every trick in the book, too. Our justice system is becoming a farce, isn’t it?
…and hot air: Meanwhile, with so many pressing matters afflicting the nation, Parliament decided to debate a resolution for the U.S. embargo on Cuba to be lifted. The lawmakers do this every year, with much pontificating, and they all agree. Many of the Opposition members were absent – apparently either campaigning, still on holiday, or both.
The price of fame: “Ras Puddler” found himself on the front page of the Jamaica Observer today photographed puffing on a chilum pipe. He was chilling on the beach in Belmont, Westmoreland on Sunday, during the town’s annual celebrations of Peter Tosh’s birthday, and sharing his views on the legalization of ganja – which I have to say made much sense to me. Alas, Ras Puddler’s fifteen minutes of fame were soon over, as the police arrested him today. He will be charged with possession of the aforementioned pipe, three pounds of ganja and some seedlings. I suppose it was rather foolish of him. But I confess I am a little confused by the current state of play on ganja legislation.
“The fact is that the family structure in Jamaica is dysfunctional”, Police Commissioner Owen Ellington says. Mothers reject their sons and drive them onto the streets because they can’t cope, he adds. So the answer is for the police to engage them in shootouts, right? Understanding the root of the crime problem is a good start, I suppose. Now, apply the right solutions.
I believe the police are overwhelmed by the burgeoning crime rate. The Commissioner speaks calmly but with barely disguised frustration in his voice. And Minister of National Security Peter Bunting, what say you? I have not heard HIS voice lately.
Congratulations to two women for their awesomeness:
- Diana McCaulay’s column in response to Gordon Robinson’s ill-informed nonsense about the Portland Bight Protected Area/Goat Islands is simply marvelous. Mr. Robinson, much as I often admire your satirical pieces, you were way off the mark on this one, and did not do your homework either. Ms. McCaulay has put you firmly in your place! A must-read: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131022/cleisure/cleisure2.html
- Petre Williams Raynor, who looks as if she has a forest growing out of her head in the photo below (sorry, Petre!). Petre was one of four “Forest Heroes” at a special award ceremony last week organized by the Forestry Department. Petre is now working with the non-governmental organization Panos Caribbean.
There have been many murders and shootings in the past few days. Our National Heroes must be turning in their graves, upon which wreaths were reverently placed on Monday. I wish I could send wreaths and flowers to the families of all those who have died in the past three days. Yes, just three days. Police Commissioner Owen Ellington told Parliament yesterday that seven were killed in one day.These are all sad, sad stories. My condolences…
Hopeton Livingston, St. Andrew
Douglas Folkes, 35, Padmore, St. Andrew
Odane Dacres, 17, National Stadium, Kingston
Lloyd Brown, 41, Tucker Avenue, Kingston
Setron Clarke, 41, Mandeville, Manchester
Sasha-Gaye Coffie, 27, Cumberland, St. Catherine
Flavius Forbes, De La Vega City, St. Catherine
Desmond Campbell, 44, Dam Head, St. Catherine
Winston Green, 17, Granville, St. James
Aston Atkinson, 48, Kenilworth HEART Academy, Hanover
Killed by police:
Solomon Johnson, 51, Dumfries, St. Thomas
Unidentified man, Greater Portmore, St. Catherine
Stephen Mason, 20, Stony Hill, St. Andrew
Melburn Campbell, 29, Stony Hill, St. Andrew
Here are a few additional articles of interest:
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=48783 Rare earth project plant expected by month-end, says Energy Minister: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131023/news/news1.html Debt-to-GDP ratio: an insurmountable task: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Shaw-wants-to-reform-JLP_15275954 Shaw wants to reform JLP: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131021/cleisure/cleisure4.html How not to build a nation: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131023/cleisure/cleisure1.html High praise, more work for the PM: Gleaner editorial
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/Woman-of-Merit_15295674 Woman of Merit: Dr. Olive Lewin: Jamaica Observer