Whirling Wednesday, February 5, 2014

 It’s midweek already and there are lots of stories and discussions whirling and swirling around. Never a dull moment!

The beauty of Goat Islands in the Portland Bight Protected Area, now threatened by a Chinese-built transshipment port. (Photo: Max Earle)
The beauty of Goat Islands in the Portland Bight Protected Area, now threatened by a Chinese-built transshipment port. (Photo: Max Earle)

Land grabs: I have to quote a Jamaican tweet: “So we are building townhouses on 10 acres of King’s House lawns, selling Goat Islands and bulldozing Pinnacle.” So much for our government’s respect for historical, natural and cultural heritage, which belongs to us – Jamaicans. Thanks to all concerned, on behalf of current and future generations of Jamaicans, for continuing to pillage our heritage. (Oh, that was sarcasm).

Why does PetroCaribe need a new, larger office in New Kingston, costing close to J$1 million per month? Please ask Dr. Wesley Hughes, who is taking on more staff. Is this in accordance with a government commitment to reduce public sector spending? Or isn’t there such a commitment?

The Pinnacle settlement overlooks other communities in St Catherine. (Photo: Michael Gordon)
The Pinnacle settlement overlooks other communities in St Catherine. It is the site of the home of Leonard Howell, the founder of Rastafari.  (Photo: Michael Gordon/Jamaica Observer)

The issue of Pinnacle seems to be opening a Pandora’s Box of issues, including claims of conflict of interest on the part of the Jamaican Government. “Live at Seven,” hosted by the dogged and determined Simon Crosskill, took another crack at it the other night. I think that if the Rastafarian community who have lived there for decades had paid their taxes they might have been able to claim ownership of the property – a windswept hilltop with a beautiful view of St. Catherine. And it all depends on who has the title. But apart from the legalities, there are many other issues woven in. This story is by no means over.

The relationship between taxi drivers and law enforcement officials has often been uneasy. Now cab drivers in Mandeville are angry after witnessing the alleged beating and pepper spraying of one of their colleagues by the police, after he refused to accept a summons they were serving. Police say the man behaved aggressively; but they really need to get a grip on this concept of “community policing.”

So the People’s National Party Youth Organization (PNPYO) likes the idea of “political clubs” in high schools. Recently, a student of St Jago High School used the school’s PA system to invite students to a PNPYO meeting. Thankfully, the Education Minister has scotched the idea. Economics clubs, human rights clubs, etc… Fine. But not partisan political clubs. No need to brainwash our young people that early.

Mr. King derides his fellow Jamaicans who love watching those awful American reality shows. We'd better not catch him watching one… (Photo: Gleaner)
Mr. King derides his fellow Jamaicans who love watching those awful American reality shows. We’d better not catch him watching one… (Photo: Gleaner)

The snide Mr. King: Keiran King (“playwright and actor”) wrote a guest column in the Gleaner today. It has caused a stir. Mr. King says Jamaicans were a total embarrassment in their excited response to Tessanne Chin’s win in “The Voice.”  We settle for so little, but then, we are used to being “irrelevant.” Really? Taking side-swipes at American TV shows (clearly he is far too intellectual for such stuff, but hey, many enjoy them!) he went on to denigrate those enthusiastic Jamaicans supporting Tessanne as “hyperactive schoolgirls.”  He omits to mention many positive spin-offs from Tessanne’s win: the inspiration and hope she gave to many; the successful uniting of the Jamaican diaspora during the contest; and her own role in supporting Shaggy’s fund-raising efforts. And some of us just aren’t able to “lift ourselves up.” Some of us actually do need help, hope and inspiration. We can’t all “grow where we’re planted.” Unless, of course, we’re planted in privilege.

It’s a man’s world: Mr. King is the latest in a series of smart middle-class young men that the Gleaner deems suitable for airplay because they are smart, privileged, young and… well, men. You are hardly likely to see a woman in their opinion pages, although women can actually write very well indeed. Several names spring to mind. But then, the newspaper only just dropped its “Man of the Year” award, so now lucky women can get awards! (Oh. Eleven men and three women won prizes this year from the dear old Gleaner. Well, that’s progress).

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller. (Photo: Bryan Cummings/Jamaica Observer)
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller. (Photo: Bryan Cummings/Jamaica Observer)

Another nauseating column (in a different way) was Desmond Allen’s lengthy, fawning biographical piece on our Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in the Jamaica Observer. He tells us that our leader is “possessed of endless charisma, an enchanting personality and a bewitching aura…” Well, that’s just lovely, isn’t it.  And talking of  our Prime Minister (who is, in case you didn’t know, in charge of Women’s Affairs) – it would be so nice for her to issue a statement on the continued abuse and murder of Jamaican women and girls, often by their partner or former partner. But I won’t hold my breath on that one.

Jamaican bobsledders Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon haven't been able to practice after their luggage -- which included their clothes and equipment -- was lost on the way to Sochi Winter Olympics. AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko
Jamaican bobsledders Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon haven’t been able to practice after their luggage — which included their clothes and equipment — was lost on the way to Sochi Winter Olympics. Here Mr. Watts is wondering where on earth their bags have gone… AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko

Frustration for our athletes: Having successfully raised enough money to get to the Sochi Winter Olympics, Jamaica’s bobsled team arrived minus their delayed luggage, which prevented them from practicing. I gather they are now reunited with it. What a struggle! Meanwhile, sprinter Sherone Simpson’s drugs hearing in front of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) was postponed today until February 25. Apparently lab reports were delayed and the JADCO people cannot interpret the “highly technical” documents. Meanwhile, eight months after Ms. Simpson’s adverse test finding, her life and career are still on hold.

Sherone Simpson arrives for her hearing in Kingston, which began last month.
Sherone Simpson arrives for her hearing in Kingston, which began last month.
Bunny Rugs in his younger days, wearing his trademark beret.
Bunny Rugs in his younger days, wearing his trademark beret.

A unique voice: Last Sunday William “Bunny Rugs” Clarke passed away. Bunny was the lead singer of Third World, a great band with a classic seventies reggae sound, a cool rock guitar and Bunny’s soulful voice. If you don’t know them, try “96 Degrees in the Shade” and “Journey to Addis.” Rest in peace, Bunny.

Kudos to SSP Steve McGregor: I like his idea of a “child curfew” in West Kingston. I know he is quite tough (he always gets assigned the toughest police divisions too) but I think he is a community-minded person, who tries really hard.

Senior Superintendent of Police Steve McGregor (left) listens to residents yesterday as they protest the death of a detainee in the Darling Street Police lock-up in West Kingston. (Photo: Jamaica Observer)
Senior Superintendent of Police Steve McGregor (left) listens to residents yesterday as they protest the death of a detainee in the Darling Street Police lock-up in West Kingston. (Photo: Jamaica Observer)

Selena Edmund, 8, Top Hill, St.Thomas

Amoy Patterson, 18, Jew Hill/Lucea, Hanover

Unidentified man, Springvale/Bog Walk, St. Catherine

Christopher McFarlane, St. John’s Road, Spanish Town, St. Catherine

Judith Anderson, 43, Carey Park/Duncans, Trelawny

On the road: A female student of the William Knibb Memorial High School was hospitalized in stable condition following a motor vehicle collision along the Daniel Town main road in Trelawny on Monday morning. Reports are that a passenger bus was heading towards Falmouth at 7:45 am, when it collided with a truck travelling in the opposite direction. Other students escaped unhurt.

Nineteen-year-old Tamara Channer was killed when her car overturned in Greenvale, Manchester on Tuesday night. (Photo: On The Ground News Reports)
Nineteen-year-old Tamara Channer was killed when her car overturned in Greenvale, Manchester on Tuesday night. (Photo: On The Ground News Reports)
Eight-year-old Selena Edmond, a student of Whitehall Primary School, was raped and murdered.
Eight-year-old Selena Edmond, a student of Whitehall Primary School in St. Thomas, was raped and murdered.
A mob burned down the house of the alleged killer of eight-year-old Selena Edmond on Tuesday. (Photo: Jamaica Observer)
A mob burned down the house of the alleged killer of eight-year-old Selena Edmond on Tuesday. (Photo: Jamaica Observer)
A crush of mourners in rural Thornton, St. Elizabeth, when two 15-year-old boys, Desrick Williams and Ashnell Coke, were laid to rest on the weekend. The boys were chopped to death on January 8 while tending their fish pots at a nearby river. (Photo: Gregory Bennett/Jamaica Observer)
A crush of mourners in rural Thornton, St. Elizabeth, when two 15-year-old boys, Desrick Williams and Ashnell Coke, were laid to rest on the weekend. The boys were chopped to death on January 8 while tending their fish pots at a nearby river. (Photo: Gregory Bennett/Jamaica Observer)
Disgruntled taxi operators in Mandeville shortly after a beating incident involving their colleague. (Photo: Jamaica Observer)
Disgruntled taxi operators in Mandeville shortly after a beating incident involving their colleague. (Photo: Jamaica Observer)

3 thoughts on “Whirling Wednesday, February 5, 2014

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