Our kitchen is now filled with flu medication. My husband has six, and I have a mere four different types. It’s ridiculous (and costly). But this flu bug is so evil that one has to throw everything at it. The Ministry of Health has said very little about it, but I have heard that this is no ordinary flu.
A French farce: After the sweetness and light of Sunday’s vote, where people said such nice things about “unity,” things suddenly lurched uncertainly into chaos and confusion in the Jamaica Labour Party. On Tuesday the re-elected leader Andrew Holness announced his shadow Cabinet. But things quickly became murky. Holness announced he wanted all his Senators to resign en bloc (what? why? is this even constitutional?). Then former Finance spokesman Audley Shaw declined an offer to be in Holness’ Cabinet, until certain things are set right. His letter appeared in the media. Holness now has a same-old, same-old Cabinet (all the dinosaurs are there) and what of Mr. Shaw? Oh, Edmund Bartlett has also politely declined; read more here: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=49222 The plot thickens!
Many Jamaicans are completely underwhelmed by all of this. A bad soap opera? Or perhaps a French farce – the kind where one character after another runs across the stage, waving his/her arms in the air and shouting. Exit left, then enter right, pursued by… Oh! I give up. All we need now is a little toy dog running around, yapping. Seriously though, as columnist Jean Lowrie-Chin observes, the JLP’s challenge now will be to persuade the Jamaican people that they have what it takes to run the country’s affairs. That will take some time I would think. Read Jean here: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/As-the-dust-settles_15420966
Another farce? Or perhaps a sick joke… Reports floated in this evening that former junior minister Richard Azan, who resigned two months ago in the wake of a scandal over the illegal construction of shops, will be reinstated and sworn in again tomorrow. This would make a mockery of the report and recommendations of the Office of the Contractor General, which investigates corruption in this area, and all the subsequent discussions and concerns. But I understand Azan is one of our Prime Minister’s favorites and has had “the Party’s” full support from the outset. When asked about it earlier this evening, Mr. Azan said he was “not aware” of any plan to reinstate him. All I can say is, if this is true: What a nerve.
Finance Minister Peter Phillips (Remember him? He only speaks about, or in tandem with, the International Monetary Fund) spoke with the IMF representative today. He brought the good news that the economy has grown by less than one per cent in the last quarter. (Pause for applause). The IMF rep Jan Kees Martijn said Jamaica has passed the test (to be confirmed by Washington) for the second quarter (July to September). For the future, reducing energy costs is on the agenda among other items. You hear, Minister Paulwell? Here is the IMF statement: http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pr/2013/pr13446.htm
Stepping up the hype: A shiny new four-minute infomercial on the logistics hub has popped up on our television screens. It describes a fantasy world that bears no relation to the Jamaica I know. Now, raw sewage has been flowing on Red Hills Road for the past two weeks; and a grandmother is stabbed to death and her grandson abducted by her murderer. Which Jamaica is real? Or will the Jamaica I see every day somehow transform into the glossy video one? You can find the video on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10153412929000085 “The hub means wealth creation…Every Jamaican stands to benefit,” says a smiling Industry and Investment Minister at the end. Jamaica Logistics Hub now has a strong social media presence; see Facebook, Twitter, YouTube… A website, an email address. Yes, Jamaica is “open for business” !
Court supports INDECOM: We were distracted by the JLP shenanigans (not to mention Tessanne Chin on “The Voice”) but the Constitutional Court struck out an appeal by eight policemen, who in 2010 contended that the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) did not have the power to request statements from them. I am not sure how any entity can conduct an investigation without obtaining statements from the people it is investigating, but… http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=49217
Glad to see that the Commissioner of Police is putting his foot down over the non-availability of witnesses. After a judge made a fuss about it the other day, the police produced the sole witness in the case immediately. Good to see that the Commissioner is taking these matters seriously; otherwise more cases will fall apart because of sloppy procedure and follow-up. Read more: http://jamaica-star.com/thestar/20131112/news/news4.htm
Underweight boys: I am perturbed and a little puzzled by a report noting an apparent increase in the number of schoolboys aged 12 to 14 years old who are underweight for their age. The head of the Jamaica Diabetes Association, which has been doing a lot of testing, says children are hungry and are going to school without eating breakfast. But would this not apply to girls too? Read more here: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131112/lead/lead4.html
The Prime Minister has started watching the television news, after all (some time ago she said she didn’t, remember?) She came up with a message of sympathy to the people of the Philippines after the devastating Typhoon Haiyan today – somewhat late. I hope she realizes that if a hurricane anywhere near this size and strength hit Jamaica, most of our coastal areas would be completely wiped out. Logistics hub (destroying protective mangroves) or not.
Hey! Huge “big ups” to:
- The magical Tessanne Chin, who continues to progress through various stages of the competition on NBC’s “The Voice.” Every week she has been thrilling Jamaicans with her masterful singing. She has great range, great control, and a lot of power. Plus she is beautiful, inside and out. We are all proud of her for progressing so far already.
- Seventeen-year-old Rusea’s High School student Jordan Samms, who has launched Jamaica’s first anti-bullying organization under the slogan “Transforming Lives Positively.” The official launch will take place in January. Not so long ago, J-FLAG held an anti-bullying forum, where the Minister of Education spoke. BUT only one school (American International School of Kingston) attended; every other school declined the invitation. But there is no doubt that bullying is a major problem – whatever the gender or sexuality of the students is. I remember the AISK students spoke a lot about cyber-bullying among middle-class children. Congrats to Jordan on this initiative!
- Roslyn Ellison, Sweets, Joan and other staff at the Trench Town Reading Centre, which is celebrating twenty exciting years. Join us on Saturday, November 23 between 12:00 and 4:00 p.m. for a music-filled, book-filled, happy celebration! The Centre is built on true dedication…and love.
The first three days of this week have brought more sadness and grief to the loved ones of those whose lives have been torn from them. My deepest condolences to them all as they mourn:
Nathlee Hamilton, 63, Beecher Town, St. Ann
Javore Elleston, 14, Riverton City, Kingston
Henry Hong, Oxford Road, New Kingston (Chinese national)
Virgilin Williams, 26, Caymanas Bay, St. Catherine
Leonard Clarke, 31, Angel Heights/Spanish Town, St. Catherine
Leroy Gordon, 52, Angel Heights/Spanish Town, St. Catherine
Unidentified man, Little London, Westmoreland
Killed by the police:
Winston Williams, 36, Port Morant, St. Thomas
A few more articles of interest:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/athletics/24900565 Jamaica doping scandals tip of iceberg, says senior drug tester: BBC
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Give-it-a-rest–INDECOM-naysayers_15423778 Give it a rest, INDECOM naysayers
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Crawford-takes-issue-with-Anti-gang-Bill-clause_15417366 Crawford takes issue with anti-gang bill clause: Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/-p-PNP-councillor-questioned-in-Whitmore-son-s-death–p—_15423853 PNP councilor questioned in Whitmore son’s death: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131112/lead/lead3.html Influx of deportees concerns police: Gleaner
Campaigning and Corruption: Sunday, September 29, 2013 (petchary.wordpress.com)
JLP FALLOUT after Leadership Election (alricwill.wordpress.com)
Avast, ye varlet! Shaw is not backing down, yet (jamaicapoliticaleconomy.wordpress.com)
Tessanne Chin Thrills “The Voice” Again, Releases “Anything’s Possible” (repeatingislands.com)