Jamaica Observer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/ JamaicaObserver.com, the most concise and in-depth website for news coverage on Jamaica and the Caribbean. Updated daily 7 days a week, 24 hours a day en-us copyright Jamaica Observer, 2011 Lobbying against FATCA on Capitol Hill http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Lobbying-against-FATCA-on-Capitol-Hill_90022 The countries of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) are facing a major challenge of executing international payments as foreign banks reduce and/or eliminate correspondent banking services to some financial institutions in this region. <br /> <br /> This situation has been brought about by the passage by the United States Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in 2010, the intention to increase tax revenue from US citizens with foreign bank accounts and investments and reduce money laundering. <br /> <br /> To ensure compliance with FATCA, banks are required &mdash; on pain of penalties &mdash; to report information to the US Treasury. In order to avoid penalties, US banks have reduced services to some banks in the region, giving rise to the term &ldquo;de-risking&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The Caribbean has been particularly hard hit and could suffer even more, arising from the fact that international financing affects trade, investment, credit card payments, debt servicing, and remittances. These are the very economic lifeblood of Caribbean economies.<br /> <br /> The Caricom heads of government, through Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne, announced that the community is considering hiring a US firm to lobby the Trump Administration and Congress on FATCA.<br /> <br /> The governments of the Caribbean have never fully appreciated the value of the services of lobbyists. Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago employed lobbyists briefly in the early 1990s to lobby on the trade benefits of the Caribbean Basin Initiative. The foreign ministries fought to eliminate fees for lobbyists because the payments came from their budgets. They argued that they could do the job through their embassies. <br /> <br /> The last time Caricom hired a lobbyist was during the fight to preserve the European Union preferential regime for bananas. The US and Latin American producers succeeded in dismantling the regime through the World Trade Organization. The US could not be persuaded to desist after Chiquita made a large donation to the Bill Clinton presidential re-election campaign, as well as to the Republican party whose losing candidate in that election was Bob Dole.<br /> <br /> Now, the Caricom heads of government obviously think that their current representatives cannot do the job and hence they need a lobbyist. There are three questions: Do we need a lobbyist? Who will pay the lobbyist? Who should be the lobbyist?<br /> <br /> It is also reasonable to ask why do we need a lobbyist if we have ambassadors and fully staffed embassies. What are they doing? Should they be spending less time on the social circuit and more time on Capitol Hill?<br /> <br /> The Caricom leaders are apparently expecting the banking sector to pay for the services of a lobbying firm. Good luck with that, since it is the smallest banks that have suffered the greatest loss from FATCA, while the large locally owned banks and subsidiaries of foreign-owned banks are largely unaffected.<br /> <br /> Interestingly, the front- runner for the lobbying contract is a firm headed by former US Attorney General Eric Holder, a democrat and black American with one immigrant parent (Barbados) who would have been part of the US apparatus for enforcement. Perhaps there is some sense in that. Who better to deal with FATCA than he who enforced it? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9137972/caricom_w300.jpg Editorial Sunday, February 19, 2017 12:00 AM Good reasons to smile http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Good-reasons-to-smile_89983 Recent days have been pretty good for Jamaican cricket and football.<br /> <br /> Most readers will probably be aware that the Jamaica Scorpions, led by their unflappable Captain Mr Nikita Miller, stormed into today&rsquo;s final of the Regional Super50 cricket tournament with an astonishing, record-breaking 292-run win over last season&rsquo;s champions Trinidad and Tobago Red Force at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua. <br /> <br /> And, in football, Jamaica&rsquo;s Reggae Boyz followed up an encouraging recent performance &mdash; a 0-1 defeat in a friendly international against the USA in Tennessee &mdash; with a 1-0 friendly international win over pre-game favourites Honduras, in Houston, Texas, on Thursday night.<br /> <br /> Those quick to find fault will undoubtedly argue that the Hondurans were below strength, given the unavailability of leading Europe-based professionals. However, the sceptics should also remember that the Jamaicans &mdash; in a rebuilding phase following their catastrophic elimination from CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers &mdash; are also young and very inexperienced without hardened British-based professionals.<br /> <br /> In the circumstances, this newspaper would have been satisfied with a drawn result in Houston. <br /> <br /> As it turned out, the lone goal by Mr Damion Lowe, son of Mr Onandi Lowe &mdash; who readers will recall as a star of the 1998 Reggae Boyz World Cup campaign &mdash; has given Jamaica a huge boost ahead of the Caribbean Cup and the CONCACAF Gold Cup later this year.<br /> <br /> There is a long road ahead, and it would be unwise to read too much into friendly internationals. Nonetheless, we think it is fair to applaud Head Coach Mr Theodore Whitmore and his staff for a good start (since late last year), to his second stint in charge of the Reggae Boyz; and also to the players for their focus and commitment thus far. <br /> <br /> Now to cricket: Even should the Jamaica Scorpions lose today to powerful Barbados Pride in the final of the Regional Super50, this newspaper believes they have done themselves proud.<br /> <br /> The Scorpions&rsquo; victory over the Red Force in their semi-final game was sensational. The Jamaican franchise first piled up 434-4 in their 50 overs, which is a record in regional limited-overs cricket and the ninth highest List A total ever. Messrs Chadwick Walton and Jermaine Blackwood made centuries while Mr Steven Taylor &mdash; born in the USA of Jamaican parents &mdash; and Mr Rovman Powell made half centuries. <br /> <br /> The Jamaican bowlers also delivered, dismissing the defending champions for 142, meaning Jamaica Scorpions won the game by 292 runs. <br /> <br /> By itself, the Scorpions&rsquo; semi-final performance deserves great praise. But just as commendable, we think, has been their strength of character. Readers will recall that the Scorpions started off with a humbling loss to the Combined Campuses and Colleges Marooners in the very first game.<br /> <br /> But under the calming influence of Mr Miller and coach Mr Robert Samuels, the Scorpions have improved with every step, showing composure, determination and considerable talent.<br /> <br /> Regardless of what happens today, the Jamaica Scorpions have done well. May these young cricketers continue to progress for the greater good of themselves, Jamaica and West Indies cricket. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13647149/258697_85292_repro_w300.jpg Editorial Saturday, February 18, 2017 3:00 AM Exploiting Kingston&rsquo;s appeal to tourists http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Exploiting-Kingston-s-appeal-to-tourists_89765 We are encouraged by news this week of plans to improve Kingston&rsquo;s appeal to tourists. For while our tourism administrators have long promoted the capital city as a visitor destination, tourists tend to prefer staying on the island&rsquo;s northern, western and southern coasts in greater numbers.<br /> <br /> That is understandable, given that the bulk of Jamaica&rsquo;s tourism plant is sited in those areas, and, quite frankly, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Negril are more recognisable among foreigners as vacation resort towns.<br /> <br /> The truth, though, is that Kingston has a lot to offer, especially to visitors eager to experience Jamaica&rsquo;s rich history of culture, sports, heritage, and religion.<br /> <br /> In that regard, the announcement by Kingston Mayor Senator Delroy Williams that the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) will be spending $40 million to renovate Ward Theatre in downtown Kingston is most welcome, even though the mayor acknowledged that to truly upgrade the Ward to First-World standards would cost US$6 million.<br /> <br /> It will be important therefore for the KSAC to ensure that the money allocated for the renovation is well-spent, and that on completion of the work the theatre will be able to comfortably and safely host events that will make it a source of steady revenue for the city.<br /> <br /> We note, as well, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett&rsquo;s commitment to the development of Victoria Craft Market, Rockfort Mineral Bath, and the Rae Town fishing village, where each Sunday Jamaicans and visitors enjoy themselves at a street dance known for good music.<br /> <br /> Minister Bartlett has also said he wants to see Devon House, already a tourist attraction, develop into a gastronomy centre. We can&rsquo;t argue with that vision. At the same time, we hope that the minister, and indeed the city and tourism planners, will give serious thought to a complete redevelopment of Port Royal, which is arguably the Caribbean&rsquo;s most historic town.<br /> <br /> We recall that in September 2015 the Urban Development Corporation reported that it was near completion of phase one of rehabilitative work on the Old Naval Hospital in Port Royal. That $80-million project, which was being financed through the Tourism Enhancement Fund, formed part of the Port Royal Museum and Historic Walk Way Project, which, it was hoped, would act as a catalyst for future development in that town.<br /> <br /> Our hope is that those plans have not been shelved with the change in administration, as Port Royal has the potential to pull large numbers of tourists annually if the town and its attractions are properly developed, managed and promoted, especially to the cruise market that in 2015 provided 1,568,702 passengers to Jamaica &mdash; an increase of 10.2 per cent over the previous year.<br /> <br /> And, with new hotel rooms coming on stream soon, Kingston and St Andrew will no doubt be able to improve on the 258,799 room nights sold in 2015 which, according to Jamaica Tourist Board data, represented a 5.5 per cent increase on the 2014 total.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Although acts of violence against tourists are negligible, we agree with Minister Bartlett that much more needs to be done to improve security in Kingston. That, we hold, is not a job solely for the constabulary and the Government. It requires the attention all law-abiding residents of the capital, in much the same way that every Jamaican needs to accept that we all have a stake in the safety and security of the entire country.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13640897/Delroy-Williams--Official-_w300.jpg Editorial Friday, February 17, 2017 12:00 AM Playing political football with the NHT http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Playing-political-football-with-the-NHT_89734 The debate about whether any Government should be dipping into the coffers of the State-run National Housing Trust (NHT) is, foolishly, occurring in a vacuum.<br /> <br /> From the very beginning, party politics has robbed us of a sober, cerebral discussion on the merits and necessity of pulling money from the Trust to support the national budget at a time when resources are pitifully scarce. But, truth be told, we just love to play political football in this country.<br /> <br /> So news claiming that the present Government is looking to take money from the NHT to help fund the 2017/18 budget has set the game in motion once again. This time, however, the shoe is on the other foot, in respect of the Andrew Holness Administration.<br /> <br /> Many will recall that in 2013 the Portia Simpson Miller Government amended the NHT Act to make it possible to extract $44 billion over four years from the Trust at the behest of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).<br /> <br /> Acknowledging that the size of the withdrawal would affect the NHT&rsquo;s housing programme, then Chairman Dr Carlton Davis suggested that the move would be &ldquo;congruous with the national good&rdquo; and was based on agreement with the IMF to lower the country&rsquo;s primary surplus from 7.5 per cent to seven per cent of gross domestic product by fiscal year 2016/17.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;If we didn&rsquo;t meet the fiscal target and reduce the level of borrowing we would be in serious trouble, and one hopes that at the end of March in 2017 that the drawdown would be history,&rdquo; Dr Davis said at the time. He did not foresee the arrangement going beyond March 2017 at which time a decision should be taken on whether to extend the drawdown.<br /> <br /> Regrettably, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Opposition ripped into the decision, describing it as a raid on the NHT, and mobilised a general campaign against the move, arguing that it would rob poor people of housing.<br /> <br /> Time moves quickly, and we are at that point where a decision has to be taken about extending or not the withdrawal of money from the NHT to support this year&rsquo;s budget. Unconfirmed reports have suggested that the Holness Government is contemplating its continuation on similar grounds as the previous Administration.<br /> <br /> Predictably, the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) is harshly critical of the JLP, not saying that the withdrawal is wrong, but that the JLP, in Opposition, had so severely criticised the PNP for doing it. It&rsquo;s payback time!<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is a fair comment and reasonable assumption that Prime Minister Holness is showing the country that what was said on the campaign trail by the JLP was nothing more than a three-card trick by a team desperate for power,&rdquo; the PNP&rsquo;s spokesman on housing, Mr Luther Buchanan said in a press statement.<br /> <br /> We, in this space, do not join the argument that the NHT funds should only be used for housing development at all times, irrespective of the state of the economy. The larger question is where would we get the money from to meet the primary surplus target, if not from the NHT?<br /> <br /> It is one country and one economy. If the rest of the country is going to ruin, building more houses is hardly going to matter seriously. For economic growth, we have to create additional fiscal space to facilitate capital projects, while paying down the national debt.<br /> <br /> This is whether it is the PNP or the JLP in power. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13553694/251324_w300.jpg Editorial Thursday, February 16, 2017 12:00 AM Government response to rumours too lackadaisical http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Government-response-to-rumours-too-lackadaisical_89635 It is one of the stranger mysteries of life that human beings delight so much in rumour-mongering, and of late the Jamaican rumour mill has been in constant overdrive, fanned by social media which has an insatiable appetite for it.<br /> <br /> We are obviously never going to be able to eradicate rumour-mongering, which thrives on the sensational and the salacious. Understanding the motivation of those who indulge is for the psychiatrists and mind readers to fathom. But we have the clear impression that there are those who spread rumour in order to carry out political sabotage.<br /> <br /> Some rumours can be quite ruinous to a country. Two of the latest &mdash; and very dangerous &mdash; rumours are that the recent spate of killings and missing persons, especially females, is to satisfy the demand for human organs which, presumably, are being harvested and sold; and that negotiations are underway between Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the United States Government to make Jamaica a territory of the US, much like Puerto Rico and Guam.<br /> <br /> While rumours will always be a part of life, and some should by no means be dignified with a response, the Jamaican Government&rsquo;s communication apparatus needs to be more proactive in scotching the ones which, if left to run free, can pose a threat to the well-being of our nation.<br /> <br /> For example, the first of the two abovementioned rumours &mdash; both of which have taken on a life of their own and have been spreading like wildfire &mdash; has spooked many Jamaicans in the United States who are saying they are afraid to visit the island for fear of being harmed. Imagine what harm that could also do to our tourist industry and to investment in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> The second rumour, while not as devastating, is fooling people into believing that Jamaica will no longer be an independent country, and giving false hope to those who would like to visit America that visas will no longer be a requirement for travel.<br /> <br /> Belatedly, National Security Minister Robert &ldquo;Bobby&rdquo; Montague moved Sunday to debunk the rumour about the harvesting of human organs. But it was important that he did it even if the horse had already bolted through the gate. Social media gives mighty wings to circulation of any type of information, real or imagined.<br /> <br /> The various levels of the Government communication entities, especially the public relations consultants attached to ministries, need to get into action once these rumours are born. In fact, this should be part of the remit of the information minister, who is just too quiet for such a portfolio.<br /> <br /> Senator Ruel Reid has his talents in the education portfolio but seems hesitant about his role as information minister. He is rarely heard beyond the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing, which is important, but not created to respond with the speed necessary to scotch rumours.<br /> <br /> Responsible Jamaicans who love their country should resist the temptation to spread these rumours, even if you don&rsquo;t like the Government in power.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13638741/Bobby-Montague-3_w300.jpg Editorial Wednesday, February 15, 2017 12:00 AM Hands down, SVL takeover of racing a good move http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Hands-down--SVL-takeover-of-racing-a-good-move_89497 Local horse racing can only benefit from the transfer of Caymanas Track Limited&rsquo;s assets to Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL), a company that has proven its ability to successfully operate in the gaming industry which, quite frankly, relies on the discretionary leisure spend of people who enjoy making a flutter.<br /> <br /> As was reported in the Jamaica Observer&rsquo;s Complete Racing Guide last Friday, since 1987 at least five previous attempts to privatise the cash-strapped company failed. However, after the Government decided in 2007 to place the transaction on hold, in March 2011 a multifaceted task force was mandated to develop a policy framework and strategy for the divestment.<br /> <br /> Supreme Ventures&rsquo; takeover of the business, we are told, will allow for a positive annual cash flow of approximately $42 million to the operations of the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), the body that regulates the sport.<br /> <br /> Those funds, it was reported, will not only be used for regulation, but in particular, towards development projects.<br /> <br /> The Ministry of Finance has said that the benefits of the divestment include payment of gross profit tax into the Consolidated Fund, which is currently two per cent of gross profits; contribution to the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission, currently one per cent of gross profits; and contribution to the JRC, which is currently four per cent of gross profits.<br /> <br /> At last Friday&rsquo;s signing of the deal, it was revealed that Supreme Ventures plans to include the diversification of betting channels, gaming offerings, as well as other entertainment products which will attract a larger customer base of Jamaicans and tourists, as well as Jamaicans in the Diaspora, to Caymanas Park.<br /> <br /> The idea, we are told, is to develop the facilities on the 197-acre Caymanas Park property in order to attract foreigners, whether through betting directly at Caymanas Park or using the Internet, an untapped source that hitherto we have not been able to truly exploit.<br /> <br /> Gaming and entertainment, with its many betting options, are big businesses in many countries, and with the divestment, SVL &mdash; which turned the popular but unregulated Jamaican pastime of &lsquo;drop-hand&rsquo; into the highly successful Cash Pot game &mdash; has the opportunity of creating new revenue streams for itself and the country.<br /> <br /> A 2012 Deloitte report on the economic impact of horse racing in the United Kingdom showed that the industry generated more than &pound;275 million in tax revenues for the Exchequer. In addition, the core industry expenditure amounted to more than &pound;1.1 billion, while the total impact of the industry stood at &pound;3.45 billion.<br /> <br /> While we highlight those figures with the full knowledge that Britain has 60 licensed racecourses, the information speaks to the fact that horse racing, if properly managed, can be a profitable business that provides benefit to the State, the investors, and the range of other individuals engaged in the sport.<br /> <br /> We get the feeling that SVL is champing at the bit and will inject the operations at Caymans Park with its unique brand of management that will pull all its stakeholders on board.<br /> <br /> Hands down, the divestment is a good move. We wish them all the best. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13641653/caymans_w300.jpg Editorial Tuesday, February 14, 2017 12:00 AM That task of restoring participatory democracy to the PNP http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/That-task-of-restoring-participatory-democracy-to-the-PNP_89367 We note with interest Dr Peter Phillips&rsquo;s insistence that there was no special deal as prelude to the stepping down of Mrs Portia Simpson Miller as president of the Opposition People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP).<br /> <br /> And further, that &ldquo;the party is not the personal property of mine or anybody else&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> The PNP has long prided itself as an organisation based on strong internal participatory democracy and discipline, accountable to a constitution established by its founding fathers. <br /> <br /> Hence Dr Phillips&rsquo;s assertion that, &ldquo;There are democratic structures provided for in the constitution of the PNP which will provide the guide for any decisions that the party will have to make going forward.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> In truth, though, there has been the strong perception over many years, and more especially over the last decade, that the basic organisational principles which guided the PNP for most of its history are being gradually eroded.<br /> <br /> Indeed, there&rsquo;s been a sense over the last 10 years, especially, that decisions which in the past would have been heavily influenced by &ldquo;democratic structures&rdquo; had become subject to the whims and fancies of leadership.<br /> <br /> That erosion of foundational party principles, we suspect, partially influenced the prolonged internal quarrels, disagreements, and extreme unease among many PNP delegates in regard to constituency standard-bearers ahead of the February 2016 parliamentary elections. <br /> <br /> The experiences of recent years mean that many people are likely to continue to believe those stories so roundly dismissed by Dr Phillips in yesterday&rsquo;s Sunday Observer article.<br /> <br /> It underlines the need for Dr Phillips, a former PNP general secretary and long-standing election campaign director, to move swiftly, on taking the reins of the PNP in late March, to reorganise internal structures so that internal democracy and accountability are strengthened.<br /> <br /> This newspaper expects he will place priority on the redirection and revitalisation of badly run-down party groups, which form the traditional cornerstone of the PNP&rsquo;s connection and two-way contact at community and grass-roots level.<br /> <br /> Political parties, by dint of their organisational structures, must ensure that they are listening to the people at all times. <br /> <br /> We are encouraged by Dr Phillips&rsquo;s comments to this newspaper&rsquo;s Executive Editor Mr Vernon Davidson last September regarding two-way dialogue with communities and the party&rsquo;s grass roots.<br /> <br /> Said he: &ldquo;I came from a generation that believes in participatory democracy, and still do; that there is much to be learnt from the two-way flow of ideas between the leadership in the party and the wider community, as well as between the leadership and members of the party&hellip;&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Well said, Dr Phillips. Now is the big challenge to get it done. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13630295/257268_83936_repro_w300.jpg Editorial Monday, February 13, 2017 12:00 AM FATCA hurting Caribbean: Revoke it, Mr Trump http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/FATCA-hurting-Caribbean--Revoke-it--Mr-Trump_89267 FATCA requires US persons, including those living abroad, to file yearly reports on their non-US financial accounts to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. It also requires all foreign financial institutions to provide information on assets and transactions of US persons to the US Department of the Treasury.<br /> <br /> The definition of US persons includes foreigners holding upwards of US$50,000 in accounts with financial institutions.<br /> <br /> The motivation for FATCA is two-fold: First, improved tax compliance and tax revenue collection, and second, to cut off or reduce funds getting to terrorist organisations. Nothing is wrong with either motive.<br /> <br /> But the US is inadvertently causing serious damage to the small, developing economies of the Caribbean, who are its strong allies, because of the highly open nature of their economies and their dependence on international financial intermediation by foreign commercial banks. <br /> <br /> Many in the region, however, believe that the US action was also related to the fact that it has listed 15 Caribbean countries as tax havens. FATCA adversely affects all international financing provided by correspondent banks. Adverse impacts include choking international investment flows, trade financing, transfers of remittances, debt servicing, transfers of profits and royalties.<br /> <br /> Some US banks have either withdrawn or restricted some of these services to 16 banks in the Caribbean in spite of FATCA compliance by Caribbean jurisdictions. There have been meetings between the US Treasury and Caribbean ministers, but the region feels that there is insufficient empathy. <br /> <br /> Jamaica&rsquo;s Finance Minister Audley Shaw made a strong statement when Caribbean finance ministers met with the US Treasury and the International Monetary Fund late last year. Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda hosted a special conference shortly thereafter.<br /> <br /> Recently, the leader of the Opposition in Trinidad and Tobago Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar did something almost unheard of by writing to then President-elect Donald Trump to remind him that in his presidential campaign he indicated that he would abolish FATCA. The Wall Street Journal took up the issue in an editorial. <br /> <br /> Latest development is that a seminar is scheduled for tomorrow at the SUNY-UWI Centre for Governance and Sustainable Development in New York to mobilise support for a change in US policy. The strong Caribbean team includes Sir Kenneth Hall; former prime minister of Barbados Owen Arthur; Ambassador Dr Richard Bernal, pro-vice chancellor of global affairs at UWI; former president of the Caribbean Development Bank Professor Compton Bourne; and Dr Damien King of the UWI Economics Department.<br /> <br /> Combating money laundering and terrorist financing is a goal shared by this newspaper and Caribbean governments. Suitable arrangements have to be put in place to ensure that this can be attained while allowing normality in international financing. Hopefully, the SUNY-UWI seminar will help influence the US to repeal FATCA.<br /> <br /> We wish the team well in their mission. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10877230/fatca_w300.jpg Editorial Sunday, February 12, 2017 3:00 AM Reggae Boyz&rsquo; display against USA gives reason for hope http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Reggae-Boyz--display-against-USA-gives-reason-for-hope_89234 Even after the most cruel of setbacks life goes on, and it is natural human instinct to make the very best of it.<br /> <br /> We are reminded of that truism having watched the Reggae Boyz&rsquo; performance in a 0-1 loss to the United States a week ago on a cold night in Chattanooga, Tennessee.<br /> <br /> Readers will recall the sour taste after Jamaica&rsquo;s national team was dumped last year at the semi-final stage of CONCACAF qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.<br /> <br /> Much has changed since then.<br /> <br /> Mr Theodore Whitmore, who replaced Mr Winfried Schaefer of Germany as head coach, has turned to local-based players and several of those born and raised in Jamaica who now campaign professionally in North America. Most of the current players are inexperienced at the international level &mdash; some quite young.<br /> <br /> Readers will recall the heavy reliance on hardened professionals born and groomed in Britain by Mr Schaefer and others before him.<br /> <br /> Mr Whitmore&rsquo;s current charges were good enough to ensure Jamaica&rsquo;s qualification for the final round of the Scotiabank CFU Men&rsquo;s Caribbean Cup as well as the CONCACAF Gold Cup later this year.<br /> <br /> That notwithstanding, some experts viewed with trepidation the Reggae Boyz chances against an experienced and hungry USA last weekend.<br /> <br /> Truthfully, the Reggae Boyz were guilty too often of tactical naivete, making wrong choices and giving the ball away far too often. It&rsquo;s obvious that there is great need for tactical as well as technical improvement. Yet, the players&rsquo; positive approach against the USA was pleasing. To begin with, they showed no fear, and great commitment. Also, they demonstrated significant speed and verve, especially on the counter, but also in defence.<br /> <br /> In football, speed is no panacea. It does not guarantee success, but if it&rsquo;s used wisely it provides a huge advantage.<br /> <br /> This newspaper believes the experiences thus far in the CFU qualification tournament and against the USA suggest the Jamaica Football Federation and Mr Whitmore are on the right path in seeking to rely more on youth and on locally groomed personnel. That does not mean that, all of a sudden, players born and groomed in Britain and elsewhere with an interest in playing for Jamaica should be ignored. On the contrary, as we have said in this space previously, the Jamaican Diaspora has an important role in national development &mdash; in sport, as in everything else. The immense value of the diaspora is part and parcel of the Jamaican experience.<br /> <br /> However, those who administer the national programme should be extremely methodical and careful in their selection of all players, including those from distant places. It can&rsquo;t be that a player is invited at great expense to represent Jamaica purely on the basis that he plays professionally in one of the world&rsquo;s top leagues. It seems to us that commitment, desire, and talent should be carefully &mdash; even painstakingly &mdash; assessed in equal measure.<br /> <br /> Next Thursday, the Reggae Boyz, largely unchanged, will face Honduras in another friendly assignment in Houston, Texas. The expectation should be that they will continue to give their best and show improvement. We can&rsquo;t reasonably ask for more.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13616482/256254_w300.jpg Editorial Saturday, February 11, 2017 3:00 AM Scratching the surface on crime http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Scratching-the-surface-on-crime_89008 Quite frankly, there was no need for the Government and the police to hold a press conference to tell us that they were now going to insist that the country&rsquo;s laws are enforced.<br /> <br /> Ensuring compliance is actually a part of their remit. However, we can understand the need to be seen to be doing something in the face of the barbaric acts of violence being committed, especially those targeting women and teenaged girls.<br /> <br /> In an obvious response to growing public concerns, the Administration heightened anticipation that it had fashioned a number of strategies to deal with, not just the attacks on women and girls, but crime in general, when the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) issued a news release late Tuesday headlined &lsquo;National Security Council recommends decisive measures to deal with crime&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> The release told us that Prime Minister Andrew Holness had, that day, &ldquo;convened a meeting of the National Security Council, which lasted all day, to address the national crime situation&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The meeting did an assessment of the current trends including crimes against women and children and the emerging practice of circulating videos depicting the commission of crimes,&rdquo; the OPM release added.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;After careful deliberation and assessment of options that can be immediately implemented, the National Security Council has made certain recommendations for the consideration and approval of Cabinet,&rdquo; it stated further, adding that a special meeting of the Cabinet was scheduled for Wednesday, February 8 at which the recommendations of the National Security Council would be considered for approval.<br /> <br /> On Wednesday, the prime minister, his national security minister and the attorney general told journalists that the Administration would utilise existing laws to enforce a zero-tolerance approach towards perpetrators of domestic violence, sexual abuse and grooming of minors.<br /> <br /> Among the laws to be utilised is that allowing for preventative detention &ldquo;in live and imminent situations of domestic violence, sexual abuse and grooming of minors to remove aggressors from the scene, thereby de-escalating the situation&rdquo;, the prime minister explained.<br /> <br /> Acting Police Commissioner Novelette Grant, addressing the same press conference, said that 400 cops had already been trained to mediate in cases of domestic disagreement and another 400 are to be afforded similar training soon.<br /> <br /> All that is good and, we hope, will help to reduce the number of violent acts triggered by domestic disputes. Of course, we accept that not all such acts can be prevented, as the police cannot be everywhere all the time. However, if even one life can be saved, the investment will be worth the effort.<br /> <br /> Still, the Administration needs to get cracking on greater strategies to reduce murders that do not have their foundation in domestic matters. Because, as we all agree, that is one of the largest inhibitors to economic growth.<br /> <br /> We appreciate the added benefits that recently acquired equipment, such as the fleet of Damen County Class Vessels and the Maritime Patrol Aircraft, will bring to Jamaica&rsquo;s crime-fighting efforts, and we encourage the Government to continue on that path of providing the security forces with modern equipment and technology.<br /> <br /> However, we&rsquo;re merely scratching the surface. Therefore, we will await the prime minister&rsquo;s Budget presentation for more substance to the crime plan. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13608364/Holness_w300.jpg Editorial Friday, February 10, 2017 12:00 AM Prime Minister Holness, please hear the children&rsquo;s cry http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Prime-Minister-Holness--please-hear-the-children-s-cry-------_88979 With the new year barely a week old last month, Mrs Betty Ann Blaine, the tigress of child rights in Jamaica, urged Prime Minister Andrew Holness to convene an emergency child summit, bringing together all critical stakeholders, to agree lasting measures to improve the lot of the nation&rsquo;s children and to keep them safe.<br /> <br /> We in this space supported the call for obvious reasons. This country will be worth zilch if all we can do is throw our hands up in the air and do nothing to protect our children from the monsters who roam and kill at will in communities right across the island.<br /> <br /> Mrs Blaine also urged the Government to seek to partner with the country&rsquo;s churches, and a critical international body such as UNICEF Jamaica, to &ldquo;carry out a national child social audit which would look specifically at living conditions in homes and communities, including a range of extremely negative conditions like the serious levels of poverty and woefully inadequate parenting skills&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> We don&rsquo;t believe that Mr Holness can take on every suggestion made by every Jamaican because of the heavy schedule a prime minister carries. Yet we believe this is one issue he must put atop his list of tasks to pursue. He may have already done so, but decided there was no need to respond publicly to Mrs Blaine.<br /> <br /> As head of Hear The Children&rsquo;s Cry, the child rights organisation, Mrs Blaine has again called on the prime minister to take a public stand on behalf of the children to, at least, send a message that his Government will not stand by and watch helplessly as this wanton violence and abuse of children, especially defenceless girls, continue unabated.<br /> <br /> Her words to the prime minister goes to all of us and must not go unheeded:<br /> <br /> &ldquo;&hellip;We cannot allow the carnage of our children to become the new normal of the society. We know that you cannot fix men&rsquo;s hearts, but we know that you can restrain the heartless by making sure that child killers are hunted down and brought to justice. It cannot be that child murderers and child serial killers are walking around scot-free in the society to kill again and with absolutely no regard or consequence for their crimes.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Sir, we believe you have the power to strengthen the penalties for child abusers and murderers. We believe you have the power to utilise your substantial communications networks to consistently teach children how to protect themselves and to teach better parenting skills.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We believe you have the power to establish a Children&rsquo;s Rapid Response Police Search Unit which will &lsquo;kick in&rsquo; the minute the Ananda Alert is activated, since our best chances of finding our children alive are within a few hours of their disappearance.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Sir, we believe you have the power to regulate the proliferation of &lsquo;robot taxis&rsquo; transporting children at great potential harm to life and limb. We believe you have the power to declare a national zero tolerance campaign for child abusers and murderers. We believe you have the power to marshal the resources, both human and financial, to address this escalating crisis.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Mr PM, you cannot let this cry go unheard. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13503618/eu-pm_w300.jpg Editorial Thursday, February 09, 2017 12:00 AM Caricom Science Award to the &lsquo;diabetes professor&rsquo; is well deserved http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Caricom-Science-Award-to-the--diabetes-professor--is-well-deserved_88879 The 2017 Caribbean Community (Caricom) Science Award could not have gone to a more deserving person than Professor Dalip Ragoobirsingh, the director of The University of the West Indies (UWI) Diabetes Education Programme at Mona, Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Dr Ragoobirsingh, who is also professor of medical biochemistry and diabetology at The UWI, has just been named joint recipient of the Caricom Science Award with Trinidad-based Dr Samuel Ramsewak, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology and former dean of the Faculty of Medicine at St Augustine.<br /> <br /> Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Ragoobirsingh, affectionately called Dr Singh, adopted Jamaica as his home 30 years ago and has worked tirelessly in the battle against diabetes, colloquially referred to as &lsquo;sugar&rsquo;, the marauding disease that has raged across the Caribbean on the backs of cultural practices that support poor dietary habits.<br /> <br /> The award recognises leading scientists of the region and is a joint effort between CARISCIENCE and the Caricom Secretariat to provide visibility for outstanding scientific achievements by individuals from the regional countries. It was first introduced in 2006 by the then Grenadian Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell who had responsibility for science and technology in Caricom.<br /> <br /> Selection of awardees is carried out by a jury of internationally renowned scientists and overseen by a board comprising representatives of the regional grouping and CARISCIENCE, a subregional network of scientists working to upgrade the academic excellence of research and development programmes in the Caribbean.<br /> <br /> We are pleased to note that CARISCIENCE was launched in June 1999 in Jamaica and operates under the auspices of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Educational Organization.<br /> <br /> In making the award, CARISCIENCE noted that Professor Ragoobirsingh led a multifaceted team which conducted the first all-island survey of diabetes mellitus in Jamaica in 1993. His efforts established the effects of indigenous diets and cultural practices in the Caribbean on blood sugar levels leading to the development of diabetes that ravages the kidney.<br /> <br /> He was later invited to the Unit of Noncommunicable Diseases, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) headquarters, Washington, DC, USA, to frame a diabetes education curriculum predicated on his research findings. Professor Ragoobirsingh delivered lectures from that curriculum while serving as a consultant in a PAHO initiative in 10 Caribbean territories.<br /> <br /> He also worked along with health planners and providers from the local ministries of health in Antigua, Anguilla, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago to achieve real and sustained improvements in diabetes care.<br /> <br /> From this PAHO Caribbean initiative the region now benefits from 14 technical reports, a major collaborative manual on diabetes education, and the Caribbean Chronic Disease Passport &mdash; a patient-held medical record developed now being implemented in these territories.<br /> <br /> Professor Ragoobirsingh&rsquo;s contributions are significant as they have been translated into practice, improving patient care, increasing public awareness and/or informing policy, impacting education as well as health across the region.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12936789/Keith_Mitchell_w300.jpg Editorial Wednesday, February 08, 2017 12:00 AM Thank you, Mrs Portia Simpson Miller http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Thank-you--Mrs-Portia-Simpson-Miller_88773 It's obvious that Mrs Portia Simpson Miller badly miscalculated by choosing to stay on as president of the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) following the party&rsquo;s loss at the polls last February.<br /> <br /> Indeed, to have expected she could have continued to command not just grass roots support but, crucially, also that of leadership through lower, middle and upper organisational structures of the PNP suggests political naivete unbecoming for one with such vast experience.<br /> <br /> Furthermore, it does not speak well for those closest to her, who presumably would have had her ear.<br /> <br /> That Mrs Simpson Miller failed to walk away immediately after her party comprehensively lost the parish council election last November only compounded the initial error, in this newspaper&rsquo;s view.<br /> <br /> It is against that backdrop that some of the barbs and derogatory statements being aimed at her in much of the public space should be seen.<br /> <br /> All that said, this newspaper does not agree with those who would have us believe that these errors mean history will be unkind to her.<br /> <br /> It seems to us that her wonderful example in overcoming hardships and deep-rooted gender bias to ascend to the highest political office in the land, not once, but twice, will serve as lasting inspiration to all Jamaicans.<br /> <br /> To get there, Mrs Simpson Miller developed a bond with the mass of the people &mdash; from whence she sprung &mdash; which made her the envy of politicians of all stripes.<br /> <br /> Even at the height of austerity programmes, as her Government battled to streamline the dysfunctional &lsquo;bang belly&rsquo; Jamaican economy in 2012-16, Mrs Simpson Miller&rsquo;s favourability remained high.<br /> <br /> This allowed her Government to push through tough belt-tightening programmes in line with the dictates of the International Monetary Fund that would have been far more difficult otherwise.<br /> <br /> It is to Mrs Simpson Miller&rsquo;s great credit that she stood by her Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips as he supervised the push towards macroeconomic stability. Her Administration laid the platform for the current Government of the Jamaica Labour Party, led by Mr Andrew Holness, to push for sustainable and meaningful economic growth, even while recognising that it must maintain strict fiscal discipline.<br /> <br /> As we have said before in this space, her support for Dr Phillips was even more commendable, since he was twice her rival in leadership contests.<br /> <br /> Further, Mrs Simpson Miller oversaw a Cabinet and Government that, from this distance, appeared to have functioned smoothly and effectively.<br /> <br /> Like everyone else, Mrs Simpson Miller made mistakes, but we believe her achievements were such that this nation should be eternally grateful.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13541827/245503__w300.jpg Editorial Tuesday, February 07, 2017 12:00 AM Dr Phillips has heavy lifting to do http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Dr-Phillips-has-heavy-lifting-to-do_88665 Now that the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) has settled on a date for a special delegates&rsquo; conference to elect a new president we expect that the organisation will be more settled, especially given that there appears to be only one candidate for the job.<br /> <br /> News out of the Opposition party&rsquo;s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Manchester yesterday is that the election will be held on March 26. At that time, barring any other nominations between today and Friday when that process is scheduled to close, Dr Peter Phillips will become the fifth president of the party since it was founded in September 1938.<br /> <br /> When he eventually assumes leadership of the party, Dr Phillips will have a difficult task of healing the wounds from the last general election that are still affecting the party&rsquo;s ability to function as an effective Opposition.<br /> <br /> For even though the current president, Mrs Portia Simpson Miller, has signalled her intention to step down, some of her dedicated supporters believe that she is being pushed by other factions in the party who are drunk with ambition and are simply power hungry.<br /> <br /> Dr Phillips will need to rely on every ounce of his diplomatic skills to calm the Simpson Miller loyalists, some of whom party insiders have described as irrelevant without her holding the leadership.<br /> <br /> He will also be required to discourage his ardent supporters from engaging in a purge of those among the Portia diehards who, it is felt, have damaged the party over the 10 years that Mrs Simpson Miller has held the presidency.<br /> <br /> For it was during that period that the PNP saw the emergence and growth of a pursuit of narrow self-interest that spawned the indiscipline that coloured internal party disputes leading into the last general election.<br /> <br /> Indeed, Dr Phillips, in an interview with this newspaper some months ago, lamented that this pursuit of personal ambition reflected a failure by the party to adequately exercise its responsibilities to lead a national debate, as the PNP was accustomed to doing, in which the party helps the country to understand what is happening to it in relation to global events.<br /> <br /> But an even greater task that awaits Dr Phillips is getting the party to turn its face against the increasing role of money in the electoral process, which he described in that interview as &ldquo;corrosive&rdquo; and one that &ldquo;alienates a lot of the young people who are crying out for inspiration, for an opportunity to belong to something larger than themselves&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> That, we accept, will not be easy, but Dr Phillips, as we have pointed out before in this space, has developed a reputation as a man who can get things done.<br /> <br /> We expect, as he has said previously, that he will work at renewing the PNP&rsquo;s philosophical direction. In addition, we trust that he will use his tenure as president to recommit the party to its 21st century mission which, he pointed out, will require the organisation to ensure that it meets its social agenda alongside the building of a competitive market-driven society.<br /> <br /> There is, of course, more that Dr Phillips will need to do to make the PNP attractive again. He certainly has some heavy lifting to do.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13606369/255201_82125_repro_w300.jpg Editorial Monday, February 06, 2017 12:00 AM Someone has to pay for the &lsquo;free&rsquo; lunch http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Someone-has-to-pay-for-the--free--lunch_88582 Too many Jamaicans suffer from an acute freeness mentality which extends to almost every human need and aspect of life, insisting that someone must provide for them. <br /> <br /> The spirit of self-reliance for which Jamaicans used to be famous is gradually disappearing. But no society can develop if the majority of people do not feel a sense of responsibility for their own lives and see themselves as the primary agent of their destiny.<br /> <br /> There is no denying that there is need and there is great poverty, but far too many have transformed need into a perverted sense of entitlement used to justify begging, stealing or engaging in illegal activity, usually at the expense of someone who worked hard for what they have.<br /> <br /> It is a mentality that sees one-third of Jamaicans saying that there is nothing wrong with scamming. After all, &ldquo;man haffi eat a food&rdquo;. Rather than seeking employment, many young people are prepared to live off their hard-working parents and relatives. <br /> <br /> The favourite target for every human need that Jamaicans have is &ldquo;the Government&rdquo;. Too many people think the Government should provide free health care, education, water, electricity, housing and land. Fulfilling these demands is impossible for a government in a small developing country like Jamaica. Indeed, no country in the world can afford to provide all of this to its population.<br /> <br /> There are services, however that only a government can provide and that citizens are entitled to demand. The best example is national security, but even at the minimum, successive governments have not been able to provide law and order.<br /> <br /> In the midst of our 30-year economic crisis, and being one of the most heavily indebted countries in the world, there are people in Jamaica complaining about the cost of university education and the cost of the luxury of living on the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (The UWI). <br /> <br /> A university education is a most desirable thing, but it is not an entitlement. Not even in the United States is university education free. The Jamaican Government simply cannot afford this and, in fact, is doing less and less every year for higher education in real terms.<br /> <br /> Government contributes about 25 per cent of the operating expenses of The UWI, which means that The UWI has to earn 75 per cent of its operating expenses from fees, including for accommodation. In this respect, Professor Archibald McDonald has done an outstanding job in economising. For example, The UWI gets all its water from its own wells and, in a public-private partnership, has replaced some of the dilapidated accommodations with modern structures. These have to be paid for.<br /> <br /> Living on the Mona campus is desirable but not necessary to get an education. The UWI has accommodation costing from $18,000 to $50,000. Those who cannot afford it should continue living somewhere more affordable as others have done since the 1960s.<br /> <br /> Student leaders who know these facts should refrain from trying to embarrass their university. Instead, they should hone their political ambitions so that they can become responsible leaders. <br /> <br /> Our ancestors left slavery with nothing, but they made a life for themselves and their families. They had pride and self-reliance. Today, too many are looking for a handout, instead of a hand-up. This freeness mentality pandemic undermines the prospect of Jamaica becoming an economically independent country. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13602649/ZZ15D94DC0_w300.jpg Editorial Sunday, February 05, 2017 12:00 AM Abide by the rules, it&rsquo;s a simple principle http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Abide-by-the-rules--it-s-a-simple-principle_88526 A week ago in this space, this newspaper reminded readers of track coach Mr Glen Mills&rsquo; description of the situation surrounding prohibited and banned substances as a &ldquo;minefield&rdquo; for athletes.<br /> <br /> We were commenting then on the ruling that the Olympic men&rsquo;s sprint relay gold medal for 2008 should be taken from Jamaica following a retroactive positive test finding for relay team member Mr Nesta Carter.<br /> <br /> Mr Carter had tested positive for methylhexaneamine, a banned stimulant, in a reanalysis of samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.<br /> <br /> This week, Jamaicans got a fresh perspective on that minefield out there. Mr Andre Russell, a top Jamaica and West Indies cricketer and among the stars of the money-spinning Twenty20 version of cricket, has been banned for a year &ndash; not for allegedly ingesting any banned or prohibited substance but for breaching anti-doping whereabouts rules.<br /> <br /> As has been repeatedly explained in this newspaper and elsewhere, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules require that athletes make their whereabouts known to local anti-doping agencies to facilitate testing.<br /> <br /> Under WADA regulations, three filing failures during a one-year period amount to a failed test, which may attract a ban of up to 24 months.<br /> <br /> Members of the anti-doping disciplinary panel, Mr Hugh Faulkner (chairman), Dr Marjorie Vassell, and former national cricketer Mr Dixeth Palmer, decided on the 12-month ban after agreeing with the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission that Mr Russell had breached rules by not filing his his whereabouts on three occasions during a 12-month span in 2015.<br /> <br /> Mr Russell&rsquo;s defence was that he had not been properly trained to file whereabouts and had delegated the responsibility to others.<br /> <br /> We note word from the tribunal that Mr Russell avoided the maximum possible sanction because his conduct did not &ldquo;raise a serious suspicion&rdquo; that he was &ldquo;trying to avoid&rdquo; being tested.<br /> <br /> So we give thanks for small mercies.<br /> <br /> Naturally, Mr Russell must be extremely disappointed, and regardless of whether he appeals successfully or not, it&rsquo;s clear he will lose substantial revenue during the period of the ban. But also, he will be aware that the punishment could have been far more severe. <br /> <br /> Again, as in Mr Carter&rsquo;s case, there are valuable lessons here. Athletes, especially professional athletes, must be on alert at all times for pitfalls and minefields.<br /> <br /> President of the Jamaica Cricket Association Mr Billy Heaven, in specific reference to Mr Russell&rsquo;s casenotes, &ldquo;If there is anything to take from this for all our cricketers &mdash; male and female &mdash; it is to try at all times to abide by the rules.&rdquo; We would urge all our athletes to abide by that simple principle and for all their support staff, friends, relatives &ndash; all those close to them &ndash; to help ensure adherence. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13597796/254434_81296_repro_w300.jpg Editorial Saturday, February 04, 2017 3:00 AM Sound ganja advice from Mr Seiveright http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Sound-ganja-advice-from-Mr-Seiveright_88352 Anyone who doubted the soundness of the advice offered by Mr Delano Seiveright to marijuana growers in Jamaica, to look beyond mere farming of ganja, should avail themselves of some of the latest developments in the cannabis industry in the United States.<br /> <br /> Just two days ago, a release published by NetworkNewsWire revealed that the cannabis industry in the US, buoyed by an estimated US$7 billion in transactions last year, is lobbying for the removal of marijuana from the list of Schedule I drugs, which includes heroin, ecstasy and LSD.<br /> <br /> Gaining that federal reclassification, they argue, would see massive benefits trickling through to reach cannabis-related product manufacturers.<br /> <br /> In addition, the release stated that 10 prominent lawmakers are pressing for banking reform to allow cannabis and related businesses access to financial services. So far, the group has asked the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to issue clear guidance on the matter in order to make it easier for the industry to access banking services.<br /> <br /> According to the release, the industry has been described as the fastest growing, in recent years, in America where 28 states have so far legalised marijuana for medical and/or recreational purposes. In fact, last September Bloomberg News reported that the legal cannabis industry in the US may grow to US$50 billion in the next decade, expanding to more than eight times its current size.<br /> <br /> The NetworkNewsWire release also told us that research firm Cannabiz Media has revealed that the marijuana industry went into 2017 with more than 4,300 cultivators, over 2,500 producers, 3,300 dispensaries, and almost 4,000 retailers across the United States.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The numbers are expected to grow significantly in light of the recent vote by eight more states to legalise medical or recreational marijuana use. Driven by this impressive growth, the industry will look to make a bigger impact this year, primarily by gaining federal acceptance,&rdquo; the release stated.<br /> <br /> It also noted that, while it may take four to eight years to gain federal acceptance, experts have said that the tide is in favour of the industry and, ultimately, the Government will likely adhere to the wishes of the American majority.<br /> <br /> However, they do admit that President Donald Trump, who they said spoke in favour of the industry while he was campaigning, is yet to make his official position known.<br /> <br /> Another bit of interesting information in that news release relates to a profitable California-based company called Convectium that, they say, has created the world&rsquo;s first oil-filling machine focused on the cannabis industry. That machine, we are told, is capable of filling and packaging up to 100 cartridges or disposable vape pens within 30 seconds for wholesale distribution to dispensaries.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The company forecasts revenues for 2017 at US$3.5 million, which would be a 150 per cent increase over revenue of US$1.4 million for 2016,&rdquo; the report stated.<br /> <br /> All that in just one jurisdiction where the marijuana industry is being developed.<br /> <br /> Mr Seiveright, who is a director of the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), therefore knows that locally we need to treat the marijuana industry as a serious business. Let&rsquo;s hope he will use his position on the CLA to push that agenda and ensure that Jamaica captures its fair share of this industry.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12694405/188019_17659_repro_w300.jpg Editorial Friday, February 03, 2017 12:00 AM Nursing shortage: The Pied Piper of London, Washington and Ottawa http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Nursing-shortage--The-Pied-Piper-of-London--Washington-and-Ottawa_88301 Dr Christopher Tufton, the Jamaican health minister, must be very heartened by the verbal support he has received from his counterparts in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada in his lamentations about the island&rsquo;s tragic loss of critical nurses to greener pastures.<br /> <br /> Recognising that Jamaica&rsquo;s options are extremely limited, he took his concerns to a recent meeting of the High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland.<br /> <br /> There he made the following sensible suggestions:<br /> <br /> &bull; Governments should take urgent steps to mitigate the adverse effects of migration of health personnel through the effective implementation of the WHO Global Code of Practice.<br /> <br /> &bull; Developed and developing nations should be encouraged to adopt a more self-sufficient approach to health human resources management, and pursue enhanced dialogue and partnerships, including bilateral agreements, where appropriate, to address the acute challenges facing source countries.<br /> <br /> &bull; Agreements should address enhanced training of skilled personnel from source countries and provide frameworks for orderly movement of skilled health personnel to address the needs of destination countries without undermining heath security in source countries.<br /> <br /> However, as sensible as those suggestions sound, we feel certain that, despite the applause, the black-slapping and handshakes that Dr Tufton received after his presentation, they will not provide any significant relief, if any, to Jamaica in the short or medium term.<br /> <br /> The very people who were telling him what a great presentation it was are the very ones who have crafted attractive packages to lure away Jamaican nurses, not unlike the Pied Piper of Hamlin &mdash; in this case the Pied Piper of the US, UK and Canada.<br /> <br /> What it really boils down to is a shortage of critical care nurses, not only in Jamaica, but in many countries including the trio which are the main ones offering sweets to our nurses.<br /> <br /> Importantly, we have no criticism of those nurses who migrate in search of a better life for themselves and their families. That is what human beings do, and there is nothing unpatriotic about that. We are also seeing that pattern of migration among doctors, teachers, especially in mathematics and policemen, to mention a few.<br /> <br /> The explanation for the historically low remuneration for categories of workers, including nurses, teachers and policemen, is not clear. But we know that demand is a key factor in determining compensation levels for many professionals. We may just now as a country have to face the fact that we have to pay better salaries and benefits or continue to make doubtful presentations to international commissions.<br /> <br /> We think that a more feasible approach, especially in the cases of the nurses and teachers, is to invest in serious training to make up for the loss which we will continue to have into the foreseeable future. Dr Tufton should try to persuade the US, UK and Canada to invest in that training here.<br /> <br /> The investment will pay off for Jamaica when those professionals send back remittances, which represent the island&rsquo;s largest foreign exchange intake. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13599695/CHRISTOPHER-TUFTON-PIC-2_w300.jpg Editorial Thursday, February 02, 2017 12:00 AM A tourism opportunity we just must not miss http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/A-tourism-opportunity-we-just-must-not-miss_88144 Going by the numbers alone, it makes absolute sense for the Government to target the health and wellness tourism market.<br /> <br /> Eminent Jamaican doctors Henry Lowe, Guyan Arscott and Winston Davidson told this newspaper last week that the health and wellness market is valued at US$3 trillion.<br /> <br /> Based on our own short research, that could be a conservative figure. Data published from travel advisor service Virtuoso tell us that travellers take 586 million wellness trips each year. In addition, wellness travellers spend more than the average traveller by 130 per cent.<br /> <br /> According to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), the spend in this industry in the United States alone is an estimated US$202 billion annually when inbound and domestic tourism are combined.<br /> <br /> The institute notes that China is showing the fastest growth in this industry with combined domestic and international revenues climbing to US$30 billion between 2013 and 2015.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Chinese consumer&rsquo;s appetite for wellness-focused travel is huge and growing,&rdquo; states the GWI website, which also lists the other top wellness tourism destinations as Germany (US$60 billion), France (US$30 billion), Austria (US$15 billion), Canada (US$14 billion), and the United Kingdom ($13 billion).<br /> <br /> A new study by the German Economic Institute for Tourism at the University of Munich tells us that Bavarian health and wellness tourism is flourishing.<br /> <br /> According to the study, wellness tourism in Bavaria brings in annual revenue of 4.5 billion euros with spas accounting for 58 per cent of local tourism revenue.<br /> <br /> Of course, there are other countries that have developed spas and spa towns as attractions as the number of travellers who are paying greater attention to their health grows.<br /> <br /> Dr Arscott, who sits on the Government-appointed Health and Wellness Network Committee, which is chaired by Dr Lowe, told us last week that not many countries are blessed with spas that have the potency of Jamaica&rsquo;s mineral baths. In fact, Jamaica, he said, is probably in the top five or the top three worldwide.<br /> <br /> However, Dr Arscott noted that Jamaica&rsquo;s intention to capture its fair share of the health and wellness tourism market is being hobbled by poor infrastructure.<br /> <br /> We recall that in 2015 the then Government allotted $50 million for a rehabilitation project at the Milk River Bath and Spa in Clarendon. But that, we have learnt, just brushed the surface of what needs to be done there.<br /> <br /> As it now stands, Milk River, and Bath in St Thomas, need heavy investment in order to upgrade them to the point where health and wellness visitors will flock the island.<br /> <br /> Both facilities hold tremendous earning potential for the country, and more Jamaicans could benefit from their spin-off effects if we go the route, as the Health and Wellness Network Committee is thinking, of developing spa towns around these spas.<br /> <br /> This is not something on which the State bureaucrats should drag their feet. We need to get it going quickly and, as Dr Lowe pointed out, ensure that international standards are met.<br /> <br /> Jamaica should not miss out on this opportunity. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13593108/254116_80953_repro_w300.jpg Editorial Wednesday, February 01, 2017 12:00 AM JN Bank opens at an interesting time http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/JN-Bank-opens-at-an-interesting-time_88112 Jamaica will tomorrow welcome its newest financial entity when Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) opens its doors as JN Bank.<br /> <br /> The opening of the new bank comes at a most interesting time when the issue of fees and charges are now being hotly debated arising from a private member&rsquo;s Bill tabled in Parliament by Opposition legislator Mr Fitz Jackson.<br /> <br /> The Bill seeks to amend the Banking Services Act to have the Bank of Jamaica regulate the financial institutions&rsquo; use of fees and charges to protect customers.<br /> <br /> Mr Jackson has indeed struck a chord with many Jamaicans with his argument that bank fees are exorbitant and unreasonable. <br /> <br /> We share Mr Jackson&rsquo;s view that a &ldquo;profitable and viable&rdquo; banking industry is indispensable to modern societies. At the same time, we commend him for his zeal on this matter of fees and charges, as it has opened a healthy and vibrant debate on an issue that is very important to individuals and businesses.<br /> <br /> What will become of Mr Jackson&rsquo;s Bill is yet to be seen. However, we note that JN Bank has signalled that it intends to compete aggressively for business.<br /> <br /> According to Managing Director Maureen Hayden-Cater, JN Bank will be offering its members auto loans, a lower-cost credit card, and unsecured loans all at rates which are below market average.<br /> <br /> Mrs Hayden-Cater also told this newspaper that, across the board, fees for services will be lower than market average, while some services will not attract fees at all.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We want to provide access to those who are being underserved or not served,&rdquo; Mrs Hayden-Cater said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have taken the time to make sure that we are coming to the market with a different kind of company. Everyone that does business with us is a shareholder. That drives our behaviour,&rdquo; she added.<br /> <br /> In the current environment that is refreshing news to many Jamaicans, and it is left to be seen how many customers will be attracted by these offers which, we expect, will be supported by service that will make customers feel comfortable and that the bank truly appreciates their business.<br /> <br /> Competition, we hold, is good for all sectors, and the products and services being rolled out by JN Bank tomorrow will no doubt nudge its competitors to take another look at what they are offering and, hopefully, give customers competitive options.<br /> <br /> The new bank, we note, will open its innings on a very solid wicket with total assets of $146 billion, placing it third on the totem pole as National Commercial Bank holds the top spot with close to $447 billion as at September 30, 2016, while Scotiabank Jamaica occupies second place with $318 billion.<br /> <br /> Everyone involved in getting Jamaica National to this stage is to be commended. It was long in coming, but nothing, it is said, happens before its time.<br /> <br /> The market will now decide.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13221043/222839_w300.jpg Editorial Tuesday, January 31, 2017 12:00 AM Role models for all http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Role-models-for-all_87990 We strongly suspect that apart from their roles as broadcasters, the late Messrs Peter Abrahams and Lindy Delapenha were very dissimilar in terms of personalities and interests.<br /> <br /> However, the two who died recently, within days of each other &mdash; Mr Abrahams at 97 and Mr Delapenha at 89 &mdash; will be long remembered for their outstanding contributions in a range of areas.<br /> <br /> A journalist, author and thoughtful commentator on social and political issues, the South African-born Mr Abrahams came to Jamaica in the 1950s and stayed.<br /> <br /> He skilfully used the pen to great effect to advance global awareness of dehumanising racial oppression and the fascist system of Apartheid in his native South Africa, and he also championed the cause for decolonisation throughout Africa and elsewhere.<br /> <br /> Caught up in the always fascinating and intricate web cast by life in Jamaica, Mr Abrahams became a voice of reason respected by all.<br /> <br /> At a time of only two radio stations, RJR and JBC, Mr Abrahams&rsquo; evening commentaries became a must-hear for people of every stripe; from the lowly casual labourer, small farmer and factory worker to the champions of business, public administration and politics.<br /> <br /> He seemed always to strike a note of good sense and moderation, while remaining essentially progressive at core. Indeed, his thoughts and suggestions consistently formed a kind of template, an august standard, for a young nation striving to find its way.<br /> <br /> Educated at Munro College, atop Potsdam in the hills of Malvern, Mr Delapenha was the supreme athlete and could have excelled at any sport. In the end, football turned out to be his true calling, as having joined the British armed forces he was seen by club scouts parading his skills.<br /> <br /> He became the first Jamaican to play professional football in England, breaking the race/colour barrier in the process. His skill, speed and goalscoring prowess won great admiration as Mr Delapenha campaigned at Derby County, Middlesbrough and Portsmouth. Some will even argue that he was the most talented Jamaican footballer ever to play in England.<br /> <br /> Certainly, Mr Delapenha paved the way for the acceptance of black overseas players in British professional football.<br /> <br /> On his return to Jamaica in the 1960s, Mr Delapenha joined the JBC Sports Department and rapidly became a household name on radio and television with his insights and great knowledge of competitive sport proving extremely valuable. Long before the famous Brazilian coach Mr Rene Simoes passionately lamented the poor state of Jamaican football fields, Mr Delapenha consistently said that it was unfair to players to expect good football on such surfaces.<br /> <br /> Relaxed and good humoured, with a dominant sense of fun, Mr Delapenha was made for broadcasting. No surprise, then, that with the passage of time his role broadened to include aspects of programming other than sport, not least the popular Television Jamaica show, Morning Time.<br /> <br /> This newspaper can say with great certainty that Messrs Abrahams and Delapenha have lived their lives in a manner that should be an inspiration to all Jamaicans. <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13606313/255263_82119_repro_w300.jpg Editorial Monday, January 30, 2017 12:00 AM Unregulated foreign investment can be harmful http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Unregulated-foreign-investment-can-be-harmful_87952 One of the factors hampering Jamaica&rsquo;s ability to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) is the xenophobic suspicion that foreign companies doing business here are adversely exploiting workers and resources. <br /> <br /> We feel we have been exploited by the British, then the Americans, and now the Chinese. Unfortunately, it is accompanied by an anti-business attitude among many Jamaicans who often vilify successful businessmen as rapacious and dishonest and believe their wealth is attributed to ganja exporting. <br /> <br /> This attitude is also part of a wider social envy directed at people who have raised themselves to middle class status.<br /> <br /> Developing countries are perennially short of capital and Jamaica has been able to boost its economic development by inflows of foreign investment, notably the bauxite-alumina and tourism industries.<br /> <br /> Foreign investment has costs and benefits and the ledger has to be tallied in regard to the net impact on production, productive capacity, profits, employment, taxation, exports, foreign exchange, use of local materials, worker rights, local culture, environment and national sovereignty.<br /> <br /> No investor, foreign or local, is perfect or without fault. It is the role of the Government to regulate how investors operate to ensure that, while they make a reasonable return, the country is the net beneficiary. <br /> <br /> What determines if Jamaica benefits from foreign investments and by how much depends on three key factors:<br /> <br /> First, the Government of Jamaica must establish the rules under which foreign investors operate and must negotiate the specific terms and conditions governing the operation of each specific investment project. <br /> <br /> Second, investors have to be monitored by the Government to ensure that the laws of the land are being fully complied with and third, there is no point just monitoring if there are no consequences for breaches.<br /> <br /> Successive governments of Jamaica have known these requirements but the record of application leaves much to be desired. A good illustration is foreign investment in bauxite mining and alumina processing. Jamaica benefited tremendously but there are lessons to be learnt. <br /> <br /> The Government did not establish clear and comprehensive conditions &mdash;possibly because of incompetence or desperation to get the investment, hence the low tax revenue from the deal as well as the environmentally unfriendly mud lakes. And even when there was some monitoring, there were no consequences for not cleaning up the red mud.<br /> <br /> Local investors can also operate in a way which is harmful. A good example is the cement company when it was Jamaican-owned. <br /> <br /> Anxious to have cement produced in Jamaica, the Government of the day allowed the company to be established at Rockfort in East Kingston. The company has never been held to account for adding to the pollution of the seventh- largest natural harbour in the world and creating an unhealthy fog over Kingston. <br /> <br /> Foreign investment is essential for the economic development of Jamaica but unregulated investment &mdash; foreign or local &mdash; can be detrimental to our national interests. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485354/245644_72042_repro_w300.jpg Editorial Sunday, January 29, 2017 12:00 AM We have to learn the hard lessons http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/We-have-to-learn-the-hard-lessons_87918 Back in 2013, celebrated track coach Mr Glen Mills described the situation regarding prohibited and banned substances as a &ldquo;minefield&rdquo; for athletes.<br /> <br /> Jamaicans got a painful reminder of the extent of that &ldquo;minefield&rdquo; this week with news that Jamaica has lost the Olympic men&rsquo;s sprint relay gold medal for 2008 following a positive test finding for Mr Nesta Carter.<br /> <br /> Mr Carter tested positive for methylhexaneamine, a banned stimulant, in a re-analysis of samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.<br /> <br /> The international and local media have understandably made much of the fact that superstar Mr Usain Bolt has lost one of his nine Olympic Gold medals as a result of this latest development. But, of course, other members of the that gold medal winning relay team, Messrs Michael Frater and Asafa Powell and Dwight Thomas, who would have run relay heats, are also affected.<br /> <br /> And while Jamaicans lament what many consider to be injustices in the retesting process, and also seeming inconsistencies in the approach to alleged doping down the years, let&rsquo;s not forget that even though Jamaican athletics lost big time this week as a result of controversial sample re-testing, it also gained.<br /> <br /> In fact, though many were not paying attention, or have not heard, US-based Jamaican long jumper Ms Chelsea Hammond is now the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist after Russian athlete Ms Tatyana Lebedeva, who had placed second, was bounced, having tested positive for the steroid Turinabol.<br /> <br /> Many will argue that an essential difference is that Turinabol is a proven performance-enhancing steroid, while methylhexaneamine is a mere stimulant, the presence of which Mr Carter claims to have been unaware when he took supplements all those years ago.<br /> <br /> We well remember the extraordinary scenario in 2010 when another Jamaican Olympic legend, Mrs Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, was sanctioned after reportedly using a painkiller for a toothache &mdash; though the medication with the offending substance would have served as a depressant rather than a stimulant.<br /> <br /> But as Mr Bolt said yesterday, &ldquo;Rules are rules.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> We are aware that the International Olympic Committee verdict affecting Mr Carter and his relay teammates will be appealed, and we expect Mr Carter will have the best possible support, legally and otherwise.<br /> <br /> Regardless of the result of that appeal, Mr Carter, his teammates, and all Jamaica will have to move on &mdash; but with more hard lessons learnt.<br /> <br /> As we have said many times before in this space, it is incumbent on athletes to watch their backs and to be very careful with all they ingest. The authorities have made it very clear that ultimately it&rsquo;s the athletes who will be held responsible.<br /> <br /> For this newspaper, it is also clear that staff, including coaches and managers, as well as relatives and friends must be very, very vigilant and very protective of athletes in order to help them avoid that minefield out there. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13602654/4x100-relay-team_w300.jpg Editorial Saturday, January 28, 2017 3:00 AM Kudos to Sandals, a net earner of hard currency for Jamaica http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Kudos-to-Sandals--a-net-earner-of-hard-currency-for-Jamaica_87723 It is easy to take for granted the now unquantifiable contribution of the investments in Jamaica by the Sandals/ATL Group, the country&rsquo;s largest single private earner of foreign currency.<br /> <br /> Truly &ldquo;a prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house&rdquo;, if we can borrow from Saint Luke, the disciple regarded by some as the foremost journalist of his day.<br /> <br /> But it is hard not to notice the continued fervour and confidence in Jamaica by the group&rsquo;s founder and Chairman Gordon &lsquo;Butch&rsquo; Stewart after the latest round of announcements of new billion-dollar investments that will greatly enhance efforts to secure the economic growth that has so far eluded us.<br /> <br /> Ground was broken last week for a US$50-million complex in Kingston that will house a full-scale BMW/MINI international showroom and service centre, as well as a 220-room Marriott AC brand hotel at Lady Musgrave Road near New Kingston.<br /> <br /> Importantly, it is being undertaken through a partnership among Sandals Resorts International (SRI); ATL Automotive, the official importer of BMW and MINI in the Caribbean; and Marriott International, the largest hotel chain in the world with just over 6,000 properties.<br /> <br /> At the same ground-breaking ceremony, it was also announced that Sandals will this year begin reconstruction of the old Dragon Bay hotel in Portland, transforming it into a 157-suite six-star boutique family resort at a cost of US$100 million.<br /> <br /> The real story though is the fact that since it opened its first hotel in 1981, Sandals has been a net earner of foreign exchange, meaning that it uses less hard currency for its operations than it brings into the country every year. <br /> <br /> This is a fact that Chairman Stewart, who is also the publisher of this newspaper, regards as his achievement of greatest pride. Readers will pardon us this indulgence if we appear to be equally proud.<br /> <br /> The Marriott AC brand hotel will be SRI&rsquo;s 12th hotel in Jamaica, plus three villas that it operates. The decision to ensure that the company did not become a burden on Jamaicans was Mr Stewart&rsquo;s strategy from the very inception. In fact, what might not be as well known is that his venture into the hotel sector was in search of hard currency to finance imports by ATL, the flagship company, at a time when there was a foreign exchange drought, coming out of the troubled 1970s. <br /> <br /> That was also the driving force behind the decision to open hotels outside of Jamaica, beginning with Antigua and Barbuda and now including Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, St Lucia and the Turks and Caicos Islands, with Trinidad and Tobago soon to be added.<br /> <br /> From seeking foreign exchange for its own businesses, the Sandals/ATL vision expanded to cover Jamaica&rsquo;s dire need for hard currency, buttressed by the belief that without a vibrant export sector, the country will be hard-pressed to experience economic growth.<br /> <br /> With the fall-out in the bauxite-alumina sector, lower prices for banana and sugar on the world market, tourism has become the lifeblood of the economy and the leading exporter, selling Jamaican labour, attractions, a wide array of products and brand Jamaica. <br /> <br /> Indeed, we believe that not enough appreciation is being shown to our indigenous export sector which is being relied upon more and more to build our economy. That we must correct.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13587525/253756_80595_repro_w300.jpg Editorial Friday, January 27, 2017 12:00 AM Do we need a public sex registry in Jamaica? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Do-we-need-a-public-sex-registry-in-Jamaica-_87624 The recent sexual accusations against clergymen have sparked calls for a sex registry in which the information about convicted sex offenders is accessible to the general public, as one means of protecting young girls in their communities.<br /> <br /> Several countries have resorted to the establishment of sex registries containing information on convicted sex offenders, including their names, addresses and photographs, restrictions of their movements and activities in which they are not allowed to participate, perhaps for as long as they live, on grounds that they pose a danger to females.<br /> <br /> It is our view that, given the high rate of rape in country, everything must be done to protect our women and girls and to punish convicted sex offenders. Sex registries can assist in this regard. We in this space find rape to be among the most heinous crimes. However, the decision to make the information on these offenders public must be accompanied by great sobriety.<br /> <br /> The ideal is to have criminals, including rapists, rehabilitated during their incarceration with the aim of returning them to society to be productive citizens who pose no danger to society. Public registries can defeat efforts at rehabilitation by keeping the stigma perpetually in place.<br /> <br /> There are also other factors that must be considered if a public registry is to be established in Jamaica. Note, for example, that in some places, sex registry laws bans the offenders from practising their religion or to even petition their government representative.<br /> <br /> Some registries impose added penalties after conviction and sentencing, for example by extending the years an offender must register. There are cases where all offenders are branded as dangerous to young children while not providing any way for them to challenge such claims.<br /> <br /> In some extreme cases, countries have expanded the registries to include sexually active teenagers and people arrested for public urination. Last month, the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, overruled prohibitions against offenders going to places where minors gather for educational, recreational or social programmes, or being within 300 feet of locations where children are supervised. The likelihood of danger from sex offenders was not established.<br /> <br /> Some studies have shown that there were no public safety benefits to public registries, yet they cause damage to offenders&rsquo; ability to live a useful life and cause much pain and suffering to family members. It is necessary to bear in mind, as well, that not all people convicted of a sex offence are guilty, although it is our view that too many of the guilty get off because of the difficulty of proving things like carnal abuse.<br /> <br /> We believe that any decision to have public sex registries should be preceded by adequate public education to prepare Jamaicans to handle the possible repercussions. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11578351/ZZ33E9CC57_w300.jpg Editorial Thursday, January 26, 2017 12:00 AM