Rainy Sunday: May 18, 2014


We returned from a funeral in the country on Sunday, with everywhere (including our home city) soaked in rain. Who’s complaining? We needed it so badly…

The Portland Bight Protected Area contains the largest intact mangrove forest in Jamaica. (Photo: Robin Moore, Fellow at the International League for Conservation Photographers, for National Geographic)
The Portland Bight Protected Area contains the largest intact mangrove forest in Jamaica. (Photo: Robin Moore, Fellow at the International League for Conservation Photographers, for National Geographic)

Goat Islands update: Minister Omar Davies declared that there is nothing “ambivalent” (?) about plans to build a port and coal-fired power plant in a beautiful protected area. That’s not it, Minister. The issue is lack of transparency and secrecy. Minister Davies assured us that the Government plans to go ahead with the project, so whatever “due processes” it goes through, he intends to make it happen. Will Cabinet just be a rubber stamp, then? Will the Government railroad it through, regardless? For a host of reasons, we are serious about implementing this project,” said Minister Davies. Minister, why don’t you give us an idea of one or two of these reasons? Why? Why Goat Islands?

Signatories to the online petition (http://www.change.org/petitions/prime-minister-portia-simpson-miller-et-al-no-trans-shipping-port-portland-bight-protected-area-jamaicanow number over 8,000 people around the world as well as in Jamaica. The Facebook page No! to Port on Goat Island, Jamaica has 2,300 members. The campaign is gaining strength and if you haven’t already watched Robin Moore’s beautiful little video from Old Harbour, please do so here:https://vimeo.com/93621704#login  Mr. Moore, a highly accomplished conservation photographer, recently visited the area and captured some striking and moving images for National Geographic. “There is so much passion around this issue. I really hope it makes a difference,” he notes.

Thank you, Ziggy, for supporting the campaign to stop China Harbour Engineering Company from building a port on our Portland Bight Protected Area.
Thank you, Ziggy, for supporting the campaign to stop China Harbour Engineering Company from building a port on our Portland Bight Protected Area. (What a smile he has!)

IMF gives us the thumbs up again: Despite the Jamaican Dollar creeping up to $111 to US$1 (frightening!) everything was upbeat as our supervisors, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave us a passing grade for its third review period, noting that things are improving, and we are “on track.” Our Finance Minister has not yet grasped a few nettles though; one of the most painful might be public sector reform, which the IMF says “needs to be stepped up without delay.” The Sunday Gleaner editorial notes that Ms. Veniece Pottinger-Scott is in charge of public sector transformation (appointed in January). You can read the IMF’s full statement here: http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pr/2014/pr14230.htm

Senior Superintendent of Police James Forbes.
Senior Superintendent of Police James Forbes.

James Forbes paid his fine within two hours: The senior superintendent of police convicted of perverting the course of justice, James Forbes, was fined J$800,000. Many expressed relief that he did not receive a custodial sentence; he was much respected and even admired. Broadcaster Fae Ellington was among his character witnesses. Now his future is uncertain.

Yachts from the Clipper Race started arriving in Port Antonio over the weekend. (Photo: clipperroundtheworld.com)
Yachts from the Clipper Race started arriving in Port Antonio over the weekend. (Photo: clipperroundtheworld.com)

Did you know that yachts from the “Spirit of Jamaica Chase” in the round-the-world Clipper Race arrived in Port Antonio over the weekend? Did you also know that during the Clipper Race’s stay at the Errol Flynn Marina there, there will be several opportunities for public to get on board and explore the Clipper 70 yachts during Open Boat tours? These tours are free of charge and will take place daily on May 20, 21 and 22 from 10.00 – 18.00. Of course, the Jamaica Tourist Board et al don’t seem to think the Jamaican public will be interested. We are only – almost exclusively – interested in track athletics, the Jamaican Government believes. With a bit of football and cricket thrown in. Other sporting events, including highly successful Jamaican athletes, are ignored. You can see many gorgeous photos from Port Antonio here: http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/gallery/74/1798

The crew of "Jamaica Get All Right" does a Usain Bolt pose… To The Worl' …. from the Clipper Race website, where there is a gorgeous photo gallery.
The crew of “Jamaica Get All Right” does a Usain Bolt pose… To The Worl’ …. from the Clipper Race website, where there is a gorgeous photo gallery.

Cheers, drum rolls and blaring trumpets for the following…

Senator Imani Duncan-Price speaking at a recent meeting of the 51% Coalition. (My photo)
Senator Imani Duncan-Price speaking at a recent meeting of the 51% Coalition. (My photo)
  • Senator Imani Duncan-Price, whose motion entitled “Gender Equity: Motion to Advance Women’s Leadership in Politics and Decision-Making,” was passed in the Senate on Friday. I have been following the progress of this in my blog. This was a tremendous achievement. Kudos to the male AND female Senators on both sides of the House who supported the motion. A Joint Select Committee will be convened to study ways in which this intention can be furthered.
Executive Director of J-FLAG Dane Lewis (left) withDane Lewis, executive director, J-FLAG with Christopher J Degnan, Public Affairs Officer and Robert Piehel, Political Officer at the US Embassy Kingston at the J-FLAG forum last Friday. Other diplomats from Canada and elsewhere also attended. (Photo: J-FLAG)
Executive Director of J-FLAG Dane Lewis (left) withDane Lewis, executive director, J-FLAG with Christopher J Degnan, Public Affairs Officer and Robert Piehel, Political Officer at the US Embassy Kingston at the J-FLAG forum last Friday. Diplomats from Canada and elsewhere also attended. (Photo: J-FLAG)
  • J-FLAG for once again pushing the boundaries at a forum on Friday with four marvelous women speakers, in recognition of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). There were fascinating insights, rich dialogue with audience members, and much wit and humor. The theme: “Exploring Identity in Jamaica: Personhood, Sexual Citizenship and Religion.”
A student trainee in WMW's PowHerHouse training at last week's celebration with  Empress Golding of the "Talk Up Yout" show. It was a terrific evening! (My photo)
A student trainee in WMW’s PowHerHouse training at last week’s celebration with Empress Golding of the “Talk Up Yout” show. It was a terrific evening! (My photo)
  • WMW Jamaica for its great work empowering young women in the field of media and communications. WMW’s PowHERHouse program recently trained high school students in a program called “Her Voice, Her Power.” 
The winning goal by Aaron Ramsey…and time to flatten the goal-scorer. Dear readers, you will be happy to know that this will be the last mention of that wonderful team, for now. The season has ended.
The winning goal by Aaron Ramsey…and time to flatten the goal-scorer. Dear readers, you will be happy to know that this will be the last mention of that wonderful team, for now. The season has ended. Ah, but the World Cup awaits!
  • Arsenal Football Club, my beloved team, for winning silverware at last after nine long years! The FA Cup. I wish I had been in my old home – north London – celebrating with the lads…
Volunteers from Projects Abroad clean up the Alligator Pond beach. (Photo: Helena Jalkner/Jamaica Observer)
Volunteers from Projects Abroad clean up the Alligator Pond beach. (Photo: Helena Jalkner/Jamaica Observer)
  • The volunteers from Projects Abroad, who cleaned up Alligator Pond beach recently. It is really sad that overseas volunteers have to come and clean up our mess. The litter on the beach is a constant headache for Everald “Blackie” Christian, owner of the popular Little Ochi Restaurant. Why don’t we care about keeping our environment clean when we are in a public space? I remember my mother when on holiday here years ago refusing to sit down on a public beach (which I shall not name) because it was covered in garbage.
Kick-off at the National Stadium Monday evening. (Photo: Petre Williams-Raynor/Twitter)
Kick-off at the National Stadium Monday evening. (Photo: Petre Williams-Raynor/Twitter)
  • Montego Bay United (the underdogs) who beat Kingston team Waterhouse in the Jamaican Premier League final at the National Stadium this evening with an emphatic 5-2 scoreline! Congratulations to the Western team!

It saddens me to again share with you the following list of Jamaican citizens who have lost their lives violently in the past four or five days. My condolences to the family and loved ones… (This list seems rather long, to me).

Kimberley King, 27, Duhaney Park, Kingston

Unidentified woman, Portmore Lane/Portmore, St. Catherine

Livingston Garvey, 68, Mandela Highway, St. Catherine

Mario Cross, 26, Mandela Highway, St. Catherine

Ryan Whyte, 26, Gordon Pen, St. Catherine

Damion Battum, 24, Dovecot Memorial Park, St. Catherine

Sharon Thomas, 56, Browns Hall, St. Catherine

Kevin Simpson, 24, Exchange District, St. Ann

Dwayne Walker, 35, Negril Spot, Westmoreland

Donovan Johnson, 43, Harbour Street/Montego Bay, St. James

On the road: Among other accidents, a bus crashed into the back of a parked truck in Buff Bay, Portland; one passenger was thrown out of the bus and killed, and the driver is in serious condition. Was he not paying attention? Also, a 61-year-old man died after being knocked down by a car on Norman Manley Boulevard, Negril recently. This main road through Negril has been the scene of many fatal accidents involving pedestrians – locals and tourists; something needs to be done about the speed at which cars drive through the busy area.


18 thoughts on “Rainy Sunday: May 18, 2014

    1. Yes, and most of them seem to be caused by speeding and sheer carelessness! Having said that, pedestrians also tend to wander in the road, especially it seems in rural areas where many of these accidents take place…

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      1. RJR this morning was making a plea to pedestrians trying to cross Washington Blvd, by waving their hands at oncoming cars, to use the overhead pedestrian crosswalk that was a few yards away. I leave that story as pregnant as I got it…

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  1. Hi Petchary’s Blog,

    It seems that the Jamaica Tourist Board has been integrally involved in the Clipper RTWR’s arrival in Port Antonio. Their mandate however is to market the destination to tourists … I think perhaps that the Ministry of Sport would best shine the spotlight on yachting/ boating for our residents. Or better yet, Port Antonio as a community could throw open her doors with packages and events that would encourage Jamaicans to visit and partake in the Clipper experience.

    … Government can’t do everything.

    On another note, thank you so much for your blog … It has blessed my mind and thoughts in innumerable ways. Gratitude, Nicky

    >

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    1. Yes – I agree, the Port Antonio community should make sure that all residents are involved in this lovely event and have a chance to participate. I am glad they are having tours of the yachts over the next 2 or 3 days, which will be enjoyable, I am sure. I hope schools and groups of youngsters will take advantage of that. I understand the JTB’s role and that they would be appealing to a different audience. Port Antonio would be a lovely place to have an annual regatta for locals people – which I have seen in the Eastern Caribbean. But sadly Jamaica does not have any tradition of yachting/boating (I say “sadly” perhaps because my father was a yachtsman all his life, sailing, and racing single-handed!) Thank you so much for your kind words, Nicky. I am glad that you enjoy my blog. Keep reading!

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      1. From the radio feature on RJR this morning, the audience is foreign tourists, with beautiful Port Antonio as the backdrop. That means that, while ‘we’ can see it, it’s not really for ‘us’. I will ponder that, as it applies to some other areas.

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  2. Officer Forbes’s case will cause many to scratch their heads, and not just about the verdict (I wont repeat Gordon Robinson’s inappropriate impressions about the speed of payment of the fine). Could so many clear-headed people be so wrong about a policeman’s integrity?

    Sport diversity and interest. What can I say? Read my blog, http://jamaicapoliticaleconomy.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/incentives-incentives-sport-development-disconnection/, for a take on one aspect 🙂

    I don’t think the overseas volunteers HAD to come to clean up the beaches. Why local volunteers were not mobilised is a story. Maybe they were, and it needs regular effort, which would not be surprising. We know that there are many local efforts to do so; may even see a bevy of them this coming Labour Day. If local effort is to be mobilised, is it better left to individuals & organizations to react randomly, or JET to step up its efforts, or government to try to manage/coordinate efforts?

    Go, MoBay United! It was fitting that with the deluge that hit MoBay over the weekend, MU should wash away Waterhouse 🙂

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    1. As far as SSP Forbes is concerned – we are all human, we all make mistakes. He did make a serious mistake and has paid for it. People’s perceptions about “integrity” are often just that – perceptions, however well you think you know the person…. I will read your post about sports – I must have missed it. No, I am not saying the volunteers had to go and clean up the beaches. From the article it’s clear that they picked it as a “get your hands dirty” project while they are here. Projects Abroad is an excellent organization. Local volunteers would have to be cleaning up every week if they could be rallied to the cause – but they would not be willing or able to do so. The point is that people who use the beach and enjoy it need to KEEP THE PLACE CLEAN! No sense of pride in their lovely surroundings. At least Little Ochi are trying, but it is in their interest to do so. Others just don’t bother. A bevy of people coming out once a year for one day is neither here nor there, in my view. Many worthy projects are identified and pursued, many of them not finished in a day, and there is a lot of fanfare. JET is a very small team – very small – and could not take on the organization of beach cleaning on a regular basis but local environmental organizations could I suppose. Some do. JET can – and does – try to educate people on keeping the place clean, though. Little Ochi should put up signs – but then, people always say Jamaicans don’t pay any attention to signs! :-/

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      1. As you note, people really do things that is in their interest, however they have identified them. Why keeping the beaches clear is not in the interest to locals is worth thinking about. It’s being public is not a trivial consideration.

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      2. On Forbes, we see again the wavering moral compass, with police high command spokesperson commenting about him after the verdict as if he needs to be exonerated. Say nothing, or “We accept the court’s judgement.” But, people like to muddy the water by continue to stick their fingers in.

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