Saharan Dust, Heil Hitlers and UC Rusal: Sunday, July 13, 2014

The World Cup final was exhausting and I must admit I could not have taken much more stress. It was a hot afternoon, we had the fans turned up full and ate mangoes and drank coconut water at half time. This did not help Argentina to a victory, sadly. But all the Jamaicans who suddenly started supporting Germany after their demolition job on Brazil last week were happy, and it was a good reason for a Sunday afternoon party, for some.

Russian Neo-Nazis chant "sieg heil" in Moscow during a demonstration to celebrate Hitler’s birthday. Russia is experiencing a surge of extremism, sometimes resulting in violent attacks on foreigners. Yes, CVM Television, nazism is alive and well. How insensitive and ignorant of you.
Russian Neo-Nazis chant “sieg heil” in Moscow during a demonstration to celebrate Hitler’’s birthday. Russia is experiencing a surge of extremism, sometimes resulting in violent attacks on foreigners. (Yes, CVM Television, nazism is alive and well. How insensitive and ignorant of you).

A dampener: Our local television station, which had exclusive rights to the World Cup, managed to destroy all the good feelings when one sports reporter decided it would be very amusing to give a Nazi salute and a couple of “Heil Hitlers” following Germany’s win. If this was in the U.S. or many other countries, the journalist would have been fired. But this man will likely be let off the hook (or in Jamaican parlance “get a bly”). Does this sports expert know about the historic moment when the African American Jesse Owens won races at the Berlin Olympics, and Hitler’s reaction? Does he know that Hitler exterminated not only Jews (if you care not for their sensibilities) but also blacks, Roma people, disabled, homosexuals? And does he know that neo-Nazism is flourishing in Europe, the United States and elsewhere, and that Nazi salutes are illegal in many countries? But this is Jamaica! Mediocrity rules… A half-hearted apology will do, it seems.

How will the German Embassy in Kingston respond? Because surely, respond they must.

Now, I’m looking forward to the start of the English Premier League season. Go Arsenal! Roll on, August 16!

Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell. (Photo: Gleaner)
Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell is wielding a big stick at UC Rusal. (Photo: Gleaner)

UC Rusal is in Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell’s bad books. The Minister told Parliament last week he gave the Russian bauxite company an ultimatum in a letter dated July 1, which states:“It is my intention to revoke the special mining leases in respect of the Alpart and Kirkvine refineries in the event that bona fide mining operations do not commence within six months.”

An aerial view of the UC Rusal Windalco Kirkvine bauxite plant in Manchester, which has been closed for five years now. (Photo: Gleaner)
An aerial view of the UC Rusal Windalco Kirkvine bauxite plant in Manchester, which has been closed for five years now. (Photo: Gleaner)

But UC Rusal is reportedly restructuring its huge debt and last week announced the launch of a huge mining project in Dian-Dian, Guinea  – involving the construction and putting into operation by 2016 of a bauxite mine with an annual capacity of 3 million tonnes with the potential for a further increase of up to 6 million tonnes. UC Rusal says Dian-Dian is “the world’s largest bauxite deposit with reserves of 564 million tonnes.”  UC Rusal has just invested many millions in one of its smelters. Minister Paulwell, for all our blustering, aren’t we small fry? The Jamaica Labour Party wants greater transparency. Do we know the terms of the Government’s agreement with UC Rusal? And is the Government hoping a Chinese firm will step into the breach, as suggested in a Gleaner editorial this week?

Lips are sealed: Meanwhile, no further comment from anyone on the resignation/retirement of Police Commissioner Owen Ellington. Only continued speculation and remarks by unnamed “sources” in one or two of our media houses. Will we ever know the truth?

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

Gearing up: Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has told her party’s women’s organization to start preparing for local government elections, due in the first quarter of next year. I suppose we will have to wait until then for the Portmore mayoral election, ma’am? Already three months overdue – by law.

A view from space of an African dust storm crossing the Atlantic and heading for the Caribbean.
A view from space of an African dust storm crossing the Atlantic and heading for the Caribbean.

We are under a thick haze, apparently a blanket of Saharan dust. It actually blows on the strong trade winds all the way from Africa and settles on us in the Caribbean, exacerbating our drought conditions. If you want to know anything about the weather, just tweet @JamaicaWeather and you will receive a detailed but not too technical answers to your queries. Genius! By the way, he calls this “climate variability” – not “climate change.” Now, the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is concerned about poor air quality in parts of Kingston. Could NEPA release some of their findings? We hear about “monitoring” but that means little to those who have to breathe the stuff in. 

And the heat goes on…

The Jamaica Observer’s Crime Reporter, Karyl Walker, is an experienced reporter with a gay obsession. So he is at it again in today’s edition of the newspaper, with the headline “Police hunt gay murder suspect.” I suppose we should be grateful the headline was not “homo murder suspect,” . The article sparked the usual flood of mostly ignorant comments online. Mr. Walker, were you not taught in journalism school that this kind of reporting is unethical and unprofessional? Or may I suggest a refresher course? Anyway, I look forward to the headline “Police hunt heterosexual murder suspect,” one day soon.

I believe good sense will prevail and Jamaicans for Justice will emerge stronger.
I believe good sense will prevail and Jamaicans for Justice will emerge stronger.

Jamaicans for Justice has problems: I just hope (and believe) they will be resolved soon. Thanks to the Sunday Gleaner for its balanced reporting on the internal governance issues of the important human rights lobby group.

This is my idea of a parlor.
This is my idea of a parlor.

A rotting parlor: Mayor of Kingston & St. Andrew Angela Brown-Burke says her parlor (that is, her office I suppose) was rotting, so she had to get it fixed at a cost of J$1.7 million. It doesn’t seem a lot of money to me, quite frankly. We wouldn’t want the Mayor to fall through the floor. But some councilors think we can’t afford it. By the way, in Jamaica mayors have “parlors.” It reminds me of Victorian households, cluttered with the best furniture and china.

The JDF training camp in Newcastle. An amazing place but don't let it fall down. Please!
The JDF training camp in Newcastle. An amazing place but don’t let it fall down. Please!

Talking of rotting, I hear the historic Jamaica Defence Force training camp up in the beautiful Blue Mountains, Newcastle, is in a very bad condition. Can’t some of the soldiers at least do a few repairs?

Major bouquets to:

Joni Jackson's birthday invitation…to donate blood.
Joni Jackson’s birthday invitation…to donate blood.

Joni Jackson, who celebrated her thirtieth birthday by inviting friends to donate blood at the National Chest Hospital. She even wrote about it – and the importance of giving blood – on a blog. She is hoping this will start a trend. I hope so, too. (Please give blood whenever you can. It is safe and painless and you will likely save a life!)

In the past two or three days, the following Jamaicans have lost their lives through violence. My condolences to all their relatives and friends who mourn…

Rasheed Samuda, 18, New Kingston

Hewit Jarrett, 44, Gayle, St. Mary

Vivian Fletcher, 54, Adelphi, St. James

Unidentified man, Greater Portmore, St. Catherine, killed in an alleged shootout with the police

On the roads: A visitor from the UK was killed attempting to cross the main road last night in Rose Hall, Montego Bay, at the pedestrian crossing. There are conflicting stories as to whether this was a “hit and run.” This road, where several large hotels are located, is a race track, and not very well lit. This is certainly not the first time a tourist has been killed trying to cross the road in our tourist resorts. Negril’s Norman Manley Boulevard is quite notorious. The motorists simply do not slow down for anyone!

A British woman was killed by a speeding car on the Rose Hall main road in Montego Bay last night. Was this a hit and run? Details are scarce. (Photo: Janet Silvera/Gleaner)
A British woman was killed by a speeding car on the Rose Hall main road in Montego Bay last night. Was this a hit and run? Details are scarce. (Photo: Janet Silvera/Gleaner)

12 thoughts on “Saharan Dust, Heil Hitlers and UC Rusal: Sunday, July 13, 2014

  1. Couldn’t believe my ears and eyes when I heard that Hitler thing…also was dumbstruck when I heard the Mayor of Kingston saying (on TVJ’s news Wed. July 9) that a TENANT’s assets can be seized if the OWNER of the place they’re renting doesn’t pay their property tax !She said this is the law. How can this be right /legal/logical ? She then proceeded to mess with my head even more when she said that if you visit someone whose property tax is in arrears and you park ” your nice BMW” outside you might find that your (the VISITOR’s) vehicle has been seized !! Why am I not seeing any reaction to this…a jus me one find this crazy and disturbing?!

    Like

    1. Ah!! You mentioned something else that I heard about but did not see the report. It is VERY disturbing. This cannot be legal, surely. And absolute abuse. Thanks for reminding me of this, Mbala.
      I must look it up and give it a mention in my next article.

      Like

  2. Lots of interesting points in your post today, Petchary.

    Wow. What ignorance displayed by the CVM TV reporter. Somehow, it does not surprise me. Lack of wit, “compensated” for by cavalier, nonsensical utterances, seems to be par for the course for that team of broadcasters. That gesture was not just an insult to those who suffered under the Nazis, but it is an insult to today’s Germany, to equate it with Hitler and Nazism, when in fact, there is probably no other country that is as vigilant and punitive against Nazism as Germany.

    As for that crime reporter, that has always baffled me – why someone’s sexuality makes the headline. I would wager that nearly 99% of the murders carried out in Jamaica are done by heterosexuals, but I’ve never seen a headline about a heterosexual murderer or squatter.

    Like

    1. I absolutely agree with you, Narda! Many sports broadcasters are pretty much loose cannons at the best of times, I suppose. Do they go to journalism school, I wonder? They always seem so casual – as if because it’s sports, it can just be easy-going. No professionalism. It is true, it is an insult to so many countries and racial groups – and definitely including the Germans. Thanks so much for your comments!

      Like

    1. I noted how effectively placed and used they are in Suriname, especially on their major highways, passing through towns. They are contoured and spaced differently according the speed limits and are very effective. From an cost point of view, they are also very efficient. Why don’t we do something similar??

      Like

  3. Nice post Petchary.
    Regarding the road accident in Rose Hall where the person was killed, this is sad. Recently while in Paramaribo, Surinam, I saw the simple solution to this problem of motorists not obeying the speed limits. It is called a “DREMPEL”. Simply known as a “Speed Bump” in our lingo. They are placed in the areas where the traffic speed has to be reduced and where there is heavy pedestrian activity. No police monitoring or radar guns are needed, minimal maintenance, electric power not needed, and drivers obey them or face damage to their own vehicles. The road safety in Jamaica would be greatly improved if these were used.

    Like

    1. Thanks for your comment, Errol. There are a few roads with speed bumps here, and the campuses of the University of the West Indies and University of Technology have dozens of them! But this is one of those fairly smooth, straight stretches of road where people simply put their foot down and drive too fast. I think we should have more of them. As you say, no maintenance required!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.