It’s been a pretty hectic week so far. Will things slow down before Christmas? Well, at least we will have the never-ending Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leadership race out of the way by then. That will be a blessing.
Chewing over the JLP election loss: The apparent leaking of a post-mortem report on the reasons for the JLP’s crushing defeat in the 2011 elections made good fodder for the local broadcast and print media. Political finger-pointing is hot news, apparently. But it is pretty obvious that the fundamental factor was a series of failures of leadership (that is, very poor decisions, at times indecisiveness, divisiveness etc). Opposition Senator Marlene Malahoo Forte discussed the Jamaican leadership difficulty this week. She pointed to the abdication of leadership by many Jamaicans: “So many people step aside…and say it’s not their business.” And yet when someone does step forward, “We are quick to point fingers,” the Senator added. I listen to her excellent program most mornings on Power 106 FM and it is streamed live on their website.
Sorry, Dr. Chang? Meanwhile Dr. Horace Chang, coordinator of the leadership race, told Nationwide News Network last night that the current leader Andrew Holness will definitely win – and he went into considerable detail. He has since backed down from his role. I cannot imagine what possessed him. Did he think this was appropriate? Why not just say “Let the best man win” or words to that effect?
Full speed ahead: So now the Government is embarking on a smoothing-over PR job on the logistics hub – since it appears that the Portland Bight Protected Area will be devastated (and I don’t use that word lightly) by the development. Minister Hylton’s shindig with the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, scheduled for November 12, has been postponed until January 2014, when an even glossier event is envisaged (at several thousand Jamaican dollars per head). But never fear – the new head of the Port Authority of Jamaica, Professor Gordon Shirley, will hold a wonderful forum on the subject, including “renowned specialists” in various fields. It’s the first in a series and it will take place at the Caribbean Maritime Institute on Saturday beginning at 9:00 a.m. The theme of this forum? ‘The Logistics Hub: The Economy vs The Environment?’ Ha ha ha ha ha… (sound of my hollow laughter). Read more: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131105/news/news4.html And here is a good letter on the topic, too, that asks some questions: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131106/letters/letters3.html More on this in a separate post… Oh by the way, Professor Shirley’s event promises to be “intellectually stimulating”…(more hollow laughter).
Defamation Act passed: The local broadcast media is so obsessed with the JLP leadership race that they may not have noticed that a very important piece of legislation affecting their profession was passed in Parliament this week, at long, long last: the Defamation Act! Read more: http://jis.gov.jm/defamation-act-passed-house-representatives/ There was the burning issue of the wire service defense (a media house could be sued for printing/reporting an AP story for example) and I’m glad it has been resolved. The Press Association of Jamaica has welcomed the passage of the bill.
Broadband costs: I agree with Technology Minister Phillip Paulwell over the need to reduced broadband costs. There are some fairly silly comments on the page where you will find this article: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=49079 But I do believe that there is room for more competition. We love our speedy broadband at home in Kingston, but know that we are among the lucky few who can afford it, or who have access to it.
Is it my imagination, or does columnist and attorney-at-law Gordon Robinson have a thing against women? At least he didn’t describe her in the disgusting, sexualized terms he used towards environmental activist Diana McCaulay over the weekend – but he has now had a go at the Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn. Of course, she’s a powerful woman. Robinson has a legal beef with her, but laces his criticisms of Ms. Llewellyn with personal attacks, complaining that she appears “frequently in front of cameras making smiley faces,” etc. Yes, she is often in front of TV cameras and yes, she does have a big smile. But please stop, already! http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131105/cleisure/cleisure2.html
Undermining: Meanwhile, the subtle and not-so-subtle undermining of the authority of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) continues. The Commissioner Terrence Williams has spoken clearly and firmly in his defense, and has certainly not lost his cool. But as I mentioned before, even the Minister himself appears to be at it… Come on now, in the face of our terrifying crime rate, don’t you think it would be good if you could all work together for the good of the Jamaican people? Hang in there, Mr. Williams! Here’s one report from earlier today: http://rjrnewsonline.com/local/national-security-ministry-concerend-about-indecoms-handling-of-forensic-material
I’m handing out several bouquets to:
- The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) who have told us that they seized a record number of illegal firearms in October. They seized 77, bringing the number seized this year so far to a grand total of 601 – an increase of twenty per cent over last year. This is a quite remarkable achievement; hopefully the removal of these weapons will lead to a reduction in our violent crime. Read more: http://jablogz.com/2013/11/record-number-of-illegal-firearms-recovered-by-police/
- Young Gleaner columnist Jaevion Nelson, whose column last week is well-written, thoughtful and solutions-oriented. Jaevion is never afraid to tackle difficult topics and to bring his own unique perspective to them, every Thursday. Read Jaevion’s thoughts on the YouTube video of high school students that sparked consternation among Jamaicans, here: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131031/cleisure/cleisure3.html
- Farm Up Jamaica: An initiative of Jamaicans living in the United States to encourage organic farming in Jamaica. I think this is an area rich with possibilities. Already some projects are under way and I hope this goes from strength to strength. Big ups (and good luck) to New York-based entrepreneur Neil Curtis, who heads Farm Up Jamaica.
- The Jamaica Fire Brigade – and in particular the brave officer who had to don breathing equipment and was lowered into a deep pit to retrieve the body of a young man (another murder victim) in St. James. These officers struggle with inadequate equipment and in very difficult situations (car crashes etc. with huge crowds gathered round) and I would like to big them up. I hope they get well paid for their often heroic efforts; but wonder if they do.
- Ms. Wendy Freckleton and the Manchester Chamber of Commerce (always one of the most forward-thinking in my view), Member of Parliament Mikael Phillips, Food for the Poor, Jamaica Public Service Company and all other partners involved in the construction of the D Frank Early Childhood Institute in Greenvale. Read about the project here: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/D-Frank-Manchester-s-big-shining-light_15378426 Oh, now I see that Ms. Freckleton has left the Chamber and is about to enter politics, as a People’s National Party candidate. Good luck to her!
- CVM Television’s news anchor/reporter Kerlyn Brown and the California-based Great Shape! Inc 100 Smiles project for transforming fourteen-year-old Shakare Thompson’s teeth, so that she could smile again. Kerlyn has a very thoughtfully-designed feature called Inspire Jamaica, which aims to get practical help for children from financially challenged families who suffer from various illnesses. Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Shakare-Thompson-can-smile-again_15378682#ixzz2jjNcBcwb
- John Rollins Success Primary School in St. James, which seems to be doing some good work in literacy and numeracy through fun competitions and the like. Congratulations to the teachers (and students). It seems like a very forward-looking institution that does not simply follow the “learning by rote” formula that Jamaican educators have clung to in the past. Read more: http://jis.gov.jm/john-rollins-success-primary-boosting-literacy-numeracy-quiz-competitions/
The beautiful parish of Westmoreland has been bathed in blood in the past few days. I don’t know how else to describe it, when five people are killed in the space of 24 hours down there. Something is desperately wrong. My condolences to all those who are shedding tears for these citizens of Jamaica, who have died violently in the past three days (yes, just three days).
Ricardo Wright, Rose Town, Kingston
“Dan Dan,” Rose Town, Kingston
Britney Ebanks, 19 (“Luke”), Central Village, St. Catherine
Paul Campbell, Quarry Hill, St. Catherine
Luke Euell, 19, Caymanas Bay, St. Catherine
Lebert Dennis, 60, Garlands, St. James
Kerry-Ann Kelly, 32, Negril, Westmoreland
George McIntosh, Prospect/Burnt Savannah, Westmoreland
Lashawn Dunn, 17, Mango Hall, Westmoreland
Mark Green, Darliston, Westmoreland
Unidentified man, Seaton Crescent, Westmoreland
Killed by the police:
Dwayne Wilson, 24, Donmair Close/Red Hills Road, Kingston
Unidentified man, Newlands Heights/Ewarton, St. Catherine
Horace Parkins, 20, St. Catherine
Additional articles of interest: Those highlighted in purple are local blogs.
http://jablogz.com/2013/11/persons-forced-to-fight-each-other-by-police/ Persons forced to fight each other by police: jablogz.com
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131105/lead/lead4.html Address how cops treat mentally ill – Yvonne McCalla Sobers: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131106/lead/lead1.html Sabotage of INDECOM: Strong opposition hits IOC’s move to probe police excesses: Gleaner
http://wordsfrompetre.webs.com/apps/blog/entries/show/34882533-disasters-and-the-disabled Disasters and the disabled: wordsfrompetre
http://newsandviewsbydjmillerja.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/andrew-v-audley/ Andrew vs Audley: newsandviewsbydjmillerja.wordpress.com
http://www.caribjournal.com/2013/11/01/a-new-way-for-trinidad-and-jamaica-to-work-together/ A new way for Trinidad and Jamaica to work together: op-ed/Carib Journal
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Climate-change-said-taking-toll-on-Negril-beaches_15358213 Climate change said taking toll on Negril beaches: Jamaica Observer