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 End of a time http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/End-of-a-time_82752 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> For at least the past 18 months the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) has leapfrogged from the pinnacle of one disastrous mistake to the pinnacle of another. Not since its 1980 electoral defeat has its stocks been lower.<br /> <br /> Now that Portia Simpson Miller has announced her departure, the party will almost certainly triple-jump to the pinnacle of yet another disastrous mistake.<br /> <br /> Let me posit two obvious political facts. One is that the two parties merely turning out the diehard Labourites or Comrades is not enough to win a general election. It is the young, aspiring, thinking, tech-savvy millennials, who have not made lifelong commitments to either party, who will make the difference. That much should be obvious from the February 25, 2016 General Election.<br /> <br /> The second political fact, which either party ignores at its peril, is that this young generation will not elect any political dinosaur as prime minister, unless of course the present one skids on a banana peel and falls flat on his face before the next election &mdash; So far he has shown no sign of doing so. Whether that view stems from blatant age discrimination or disillusionment at how the dinosaurs have performed over the past 54 years, or both, is debatable. But it is what is it. The millennial deciders want someone who looks, sounds and acts like them.<br /> <br /> Ignoring those two political facts and summoning the arsonist of February 25 to put out the fire is a guarantee of a long sojourn in the political wilderness for the PNP.<br /> <br /> Errol W A Townshend<br /> <br /> Ontario, Canada<br /> <br /> ewat@rogers.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13482924/237876_71847_repro_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, December 06, 2016 12:00 AM Fidel Castro: The passing of an icon http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Fidel-Castro--The-passing-of-an-icon_82361 Dear Editor, <br /> <br /> This is indeed a sad time for the Cuban people for their revered icon Fidel Castro is dead at the ripe old age of 90. Castro has no doubt left an enduring legacy which started to take shape in 1959 when he liberated Cuba from the brutal jaws of that corrupt and oppressive dictator, Fulgencio Batista.<br /> <br /> With the full backing of the United States, Batista established an unprecedented reign of terror for about 25 years. Under his tyrannical rule the rich and powerful wallowed in the ever-increasing abundance of their wealth, while the burgeoning mass of the poor and powerless sank deeper and deeper into the cavernous abyss of abject poverty and utter despair.<br /> <br /> While the rich and famous lived and reclined in palatial mansions, the wretched of the earth spent long agonising hours in hut-like dwellings. While the affluent and their offspring enjoyed the best educational facilities and health care services in Cuba, the impoverished masses were utterly deprived of these opportunities.<br /> <br /> Indeed, Cuba was a society in decay, badly tarnished with overt prostitution, contaminated with criminal elements, and bedeviled with the deep-seated evils of casino gambling. In a nutshell, this was the type of decadent, failed society the Fidel Castro inherited.<br /> <br /> After the overthrow of Batista, Castro wasted no time in reconstructing the socio-economic fabric of Cuba. It was a Herculean task of the greatest magnitude. And yet, Castro managed to clean up the &ldquo;Augean Stables&rdquo;. Thanks to the strong resolve of Castro and his cohorts, the refuse of prostitution and criminality have been contained.<br /> <br /> The Cuban people may not enjoy all the trappings of middle class Americans and Canadians, but by all accounts the vast majority of the people are better housed, better educated and better off health-wise than ever before.<br /> <br /> It is well documented that Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the world because of its totally free and efficient educational policy. It is also well documented that Cuba has an ample supply of well-trained and qualified doctors and nurses, and a wide array of excellent health care services &mdash; all free of cost.<br /> <br /> It is sad to say that in 1960 the American regime imposed a very punitive embargo system on Cuba designed to bring down the Castro Government. It is also sad to say that, although this punitive policy has failed, it is still in place.<br /> <br /> In spite of the democratic shortcomings of the Castro regime, it may be said that Fidel Castro and his Government have the interest of the Cuban people at heart in providing them with a manifold of social services.<br /> <br /> I hope the process of political normalisation between Cuba and the US (that was initiated by President Barack Obama) will continue, and that this process will eventually lead to the end of the punitive embargo system.<br /> <br /> Rupert Johnson<br /> <br /> Toronto, Canada<br /> <br /> r.b.johnson@sympatico.ca<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13461475/243667_70229_repro_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, December 06, 2016 12:00 AM Get popcorn, tune in to PNP channel http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Get-popcorn--tune-in-to-PNP-channel_82756 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It appears that the Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller&rsquo;s political career has been spent for many months since her defeats in the general election on February 25, 2016 and now her party recent loss in the local government election on November 28, 2016.<br /> <br /> The writing has been on the wall for a while now &mdash; though Simpson Miller failed to read the sign and interpret it as a signal for her to step down gracefully.<br /> <br /> In addition, there has been a major backlash within her People National Party (PNP) with regard to her recent outburst against Comrades in St Ann, when she threatened constituency members, by stating that she knows who to bring with her when she returns. I am of the view that this statement, her back-to-back election losses &mdash; along with her failure to address PNP supporters after the local election loss, opting to attend Comrade Fidel Castro&rsquo;s funeral instead &mdash; have finally placed the nail in her orange coffin.<br /> <br /> She must understand that her style of up in your face, bad man/bad gyal style of politics is archaic and is now frowned upon by the people of Jamaica. Many Jamaicans has observed how statesmanlike Prime Minister Andrew Holness conducts himself, both nationally and on political platforms as well. PNP supporters has stated that they wished Simpson Miller was as polished as Holness. For Simpson Miller, the bottom could no longer hold.<br /> <br /> It is time for renewal in Jamaica&rsquo;s politics and the retirement (ouster) of Simpson Miller is one of the first steps in the process.<br /> <br /> Now, over to Peter Bunting and Peter Phillips, because the Jamaican citizens are waiting with bated breath and popcorn to see the crab-in-barrel war for leadership of the PNP.<br /> <br /> Patrick Callum<br /> <br /> patrickcallum@yahoo.com <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13479728/Portia_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, December 06, 2016 12:00 AM Little Chrismus Breeze and no electricity http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Little-Chrismus-Breeze-and-no-electricity_81651 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> &rsquo;Tis an ill wind that blows nobody good.<br /> <br /> The good people who live on the Newcastle main road between mile posts eight and 20 (and possibly beyond) experienced daily loss of electricity as a result of complete failure or low voltage every single night between Saturday, November 19 to Tuesday, November 22, 2016 due to what can only be considered as Chrismus Breeze.<br /> <br /> The affected areas include, but may not be limited to: Belcour Lodge, Ellerslie, Robinfisher Way, Berry Hill, Dustry Road, Irish Town, Wiltshire, Redlight, Bermuda Mount, Craighton and Rose Hill. These areas are served by different distribution lines suggesting that the problem is not localised but more widespread.<br /> <br /> The power outage on Monday, November 21, 2016 extended all the way through the following day, Tuesday, November 22, 2016, until 5:00 pm or thereabout. One expected that the prolonged outage was due to work being done to prevent a recurrence as the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) was already out in my books based on the &lsquo;three strikes, you&rsquo;re out rule&rsquo;. But alas, JPS decided to exceed their service standard and within a mere four hours there was a fourth outage.<br /> <br /> These incidents mean that the traditional Chrismus Breeze brings no joy as we now know to start the countdown when the wind picks up for as the saying goes &lsquo;you can put you pot pon fire&rsquo; power will be lost. Wind is not the only problem, heavy showers are also potential triggers for a loss of electricity in these areas. This loss of electricity has a potential trickle-down effect on telephone and Internet communication. This inconveniences all everyone, but more so those who operate small businesses or who work from home.<br /> <br /> I do hope that JPS can effect the necessary repairs to their infrastructure and/or carry out the required level of bushing to ensure that trees and other vegetation do not come in contact with wires and other equipment since their system should not be so vulnerable to &lsquo;a likkle Chrismus Breeze&rsquo; as in the scheme of things it is Category Zero wind.<br /> <br /> Looking for brighter days.<br /> <br /> Thera Edwards<br /> <br /> theraedwards@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13344142/233526_60661_repro_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, December 06, 2016 12:00 AM Expose NCU&rsquo;s worth to the community to stymie crime http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Expose-NCU-s-worth-to-the-community-to-stymie-crime_82552 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> In recent times, the Mandeville area, specifically surrounding Northern Caribbean University (NCU), have become a hot spot for crime. These crimes are normally in the form of robberies. The attacks now number, on average, about two to three daily; students are mostly the victims. Sometimes the students are not only robbed, but are wounded.<br /> <br /> Consequently, many students find it rather difficult to remain on campus during off-peak hours. This curtails the time allowed to go to the library as if one stays late, it increases the risk of being robbed.<br /> <br /> The university administration and the United Student Movement (student government) [USM] have responded with a bus shuttle system. Though a good initiative, it is still not enough to &lsquo;rescue&rsquo; our students from the gruesome attacks. Some students are robbed at midday, the evening shuttles don&rsquo;t help them.<br /> <br /> Could it be that what we are doing is addressing the effect and not the cause?<br /> <br /> I believe, based on all that has been happening, the local community in Mandeville does not know the value of the university within their community. Could it be that a workable strategy to countering crime is to educate the people on the benefits of the university to them? During periods when NCU is on holiday, Mandeville is like a remote area &mdash; businesses suffer, taxis suffer, the effects continue.<br /> <br /> Perhaps, we could initiate a community drive that would seek to demolish the walls between &lsquo;us&rsquo; and &lsquo;them&rsquo;. Perhaps NCU students will need to start being more polite, down to earth and courteous to those living around them. How about little acts of kindness to the people in their community? I am convinced that the NCU administration and the USM do not realise that the complexity of solution is as simple as exposing the worth of the university to the community.<br /> <br /> I appeal to all stakeholders to get on board with the anti-crime movement in an attempt to protect your greatest assets &mdash; the students. Talk of us having community meetings sound really great but the question is, how effective are these community meetings? How about staging a few protests prior to these meetings? We could use these protests to get the attention of the community, then we call for a meeting. How about even a community fair or a sports day, or something being held on the campus with great emphasis being placed on community involvement?<br /> <br /> Wrenae Hudson<br /> <br /> wrenae@stu.ncu.edu.jm<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12966358/203804_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, December 05, 2016 12:00 AM Bay Front not disconnected http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Bay-Front-not-disconnected_81664 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> We write to correct several inaccuracies and clarify statements made in the Jamaica Observer article &lsquo;NWC cuts off water to Forum residents&rsquo;, published on Friday, November 18, 2016.<br /> <br /> 1. The National Water Commission (NWC) provides potable water to the Bay Front development households under a bulk meter supply. This is not a &ldquo;negotiated&rdquo; arrangement by the developer as the NWC supplies several developments throughout Jamaica under this same service policy.<br /> <br /> 2. Construction water is facilitated by a separate metered supply that is billed to the developer.<br /> <br /> 3. There is a direct connection for potable water through the NWC bulk meter and raw sewage is delivered to the NWC system through the development&rsquo;s own sump house. Both systems were tested and retested before being put into commission, and have satisfied all requirements made by the NWC or the Portmore Municipal Council.<br /> <br /> 4. As of June 7, 2016, the bulk meter account was transferred to the Bay Front Citizens Association (BFVCA) with a zero balance. The amount due to NWC is an accumulation of usage that has not been addressed by the BFVCA, and for which the developers have no responsibility.<br /> <br /> 5. All homeowners have opened accounts with the NWC. The NWC has not initiated the subtractive billing under which each homeowner will receive their own water bill. Until then, the BFVCA is responsible for collecting charges for water usage from each homeowner.<br /> <br /> 6. A standby generator has been ordered and will be installed in the near term. Since the development is not fully occupied, it would require a JPS outage of at least 24 hours before any overflow would occur. Additionally, the sump system was designed with a backup procedure to address any occurrence of this type.<br /> <br /> We understand that the BFVCA is working assiduously to rectify this unfortunate situation with the NWC, and for the good of all concerned, we have facilitated whenever possible.<br /> <br /> Gina Harrison<br /> <br /> Project General Manager<br /> <br /> Portmore Marina Developments<br /> <br /> Bay Front Villas & Apartments<br /> <br /> gharrisonwork@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13441854/241675_71686_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, December 05, 2016 12:00 AM &lsquo;Double Days&rsquo; will return http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/-Double-Days--will-return_82555 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited (JUTC) notes the concerns of letter writer Claudette Harris in the Jamaica Observer issue of Tuesday, November 29, 2016.<br /> <br /> In respect of our periodic &lsquo;Double Day&rsquo; promotions, to which Ms Harris referred, the company did not have one, as was initially planned, for the back-to-school period in early September of this year. <br /> <br /> A number of issues, especially the limited bus run-out for some time, prompted the decision to postpone the promotion in September, and have similarly kept us from doing so since then.<br /> <br /> But, thankfully, the run-out challenges which have beset the company for some time now are projected to change gradually between the end of December and early next year. This is because of the scheduled acquisition of the necessary spare parts to repair and better maintain the fleet, which will allow the JUTC to gloriously resume the much-loved Double Day promotion.<br /> <br /> We certainly appreciate the heightened public anticipation for the resumption of the promotion, and use this opportunity to state that, contrary to assertions from some quarters, no decision has been taken by the company to discontinue the promotion.<br /> <br /> The JUTC therefore looks forward to the staging of a grand Double Day early next year.<br /> <br /> Reginald Allen<br /> <br /> Marketing and Communications Manager<br /> <br /> Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited<br /> <br /> RAllen@jutc.com.jm<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13465201/244010_71687_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, December 05, 2016 12:00 AM To a new and improved PNP http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/To-a-new-and-improved-PNP_82106 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The crisis of leadership in the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) makes interesting study as it brings into view the need for strategic succession planning that will not lead to leaders going into diminishing, anticlimactic mode.<br /> <br /> Let&rsquo;s pick up the story from Michael Manley.<br /> <br /> The Manley/Edward Seaga era was one of keen intellect and the splendid parading of oratorical prowess. Indeed, those were &ldquo;the best of times, (and) the worst of times&rdquo;. Fate was kind to Manley in that his exit from the stage coincided conveniently with him occupying the seat of power. His was an &ldquo;honourable&rdquo; exit; this was good for his ego &mdash; some would say dignity.<br /> <br /> Now, although it was entirely possible for Seaga to have been blinded by an insatiable greed for power, I rather believe that he knew his time had come but only desired an exit that rivalled that of his perennial opponent. He waited for his winning a last election, but it never came. It looked like someone on stage who had forgotten his/her lines. In cricketing terms, you&rsquo;d say a &ldquo;soft dismissal&rdquo; &mdash; not good for the ego.<br /> <br /> P J Patterson exited after near two decades of dominance &mdash; arguably the most successful politician this country has seen in terms of winning elections. He, like Manley, was afforded a &ldquo;dignified&rdquo; departure.<br /> <br /> Enter Portia Simpson Miller. Although full of promise, complete with the prospect of winning the heart of the nation, who wanted to see her do well, she had obvious ability issues. She never did quite command the respect of her party, and seemed only to have succeeded in retaining power because of party principles. You know, David&rsquo;s &ldquo;Touch not the Lord&rsquo;s anointed&rdquo; statement?<br /> <br /> Mind you, her ascendency to the head of her party was not without merit. She had strong social collateral that did, for a time, woo the nation, and her party may have disingenuously sought to exploit this collateral. But she has totally exhausted her social capital, and foreclosure proceedings must commence forthwith. A new party leader must now be found.<br /> <br /> The PNP must take the time to correct inherent challenges (not excluding succession planning), even as it must offer a way into the new approach to the practise of politics in Jamaica. For believe it or not, we&rsquo;re still in the old mould. Economic growth, though vitally important, isn&rsquo;t the end-all of building a nation.<br /> <br /> Unfortunately Simpson Miller will not be afforded the graceful exit she would much prefer; her time has come and will no longer be put off. Party loyalty must take a secondary seat to patriotism; support of a party must only be in so far as it will advance the country.<br /> <br /> As such, then, I do look forward to the new and improved PNP &mdash; leader and all.<br /> <br /> Charles Evans<br /> <br /> charles.evans@ncu.edu.jm<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9852972/pnp-logo_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, December 05, 2016 12:00 AM Dancehall doesn&rsquo;t have to offend http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Dancehall-doesn-t-have-to-offend_82551 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> When it suits us we boast a rich and creatively versatile genre. Like anything else with variation, some varieties of an entity lend to particular purposes better than others. Like a personality, there are some basic traits and values that we all generally share. Like a personality, we have things unique to us in a positive way and others in a perceived negative one. I&rsquo;d hope that we&rsquo;d have realised in life by now that highlighting the faults of someone else (or another genre for this matter) doesn&rsquo;t stop ours from existing or being noticed.<br /> <br /> The annual telephone directory is meant for every business, every office, every household &mdash; indeed, every Jamaican. The variety of dancehall depicted on the 2016 cover was not. Why one might think, from their personal beliefs, that it is fitting for everyone else is another discussion.<br /> <br /> If you are a true champion of dancehall, if you believe that it is indeed rich in creativity and versatility, why not be upset then that another depiction was not chosen? One that wasn&rsquo;t so limiting, one that didn&rsquo;t allow, yet again, for the whole genre to be relegated to the view of being inappropriate and overly sexual? Or is it that that one depiction of dancehall is all it is to you, the champions of dancehall as well?<br /> <br /> In my assessment, everything was fine with the image for mass distribution minus the girl in short dress with legs open bracing on a man, as well as the other female in the yellow tights. Dancehall is broader than that and has been used many times before to advertise many things without offending.<br /> <br /> Jodi-ann Johnson<br /> <br /> Kingston 19<br /> <br /> three-jays@live.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12180468/how-to_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, December 05, 2016 12:00 AM Power of the religious right http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Power-of-the-religious-right_82116 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The political world is seemingly still in shock about Donald Trump beating Senator Hillary Clinton in the USA elections on November 8. How could this have happened, they have been asking<br /> <br /> Exit polls showed a third of Latinos voted Trump despite the pre-election rhetoric; eight per cent of African Americans voted Trump, and some analysts believe that it could be as much as 15 per cent, as a full seven per cent of African Americans refused to participate in exit polls.<br /> <br /> The group, however, which seemed to have swung the election for Trump was white evangelicals who voted 80 per cent - 20 per cent in favour of Trump. Some within the media and general public are shouting &ldquo;racism&rdquo;, but this seems like faulty analysis because the bulk of this subset voted twice for President Barack Obama. Senator Hillary Clinton lost the race decisively because the religious right, including some African Americans, turned against the Democratic Party because of the party&rsquo;s extreme positions on abortion and gay rights. Some conservatives were not planning to vote Trump but the exchange at the third debate on partial birth abortion gave them a perfect reason not to necessarily vote for Trump, but against Clinton.<br /> <br /> The discussion on abortion went like this at the third debate: <br /> <br /> Chris Wallace (moderator): &hellip;You have been quoted as saying that the foetus has no constitutional rights. You also voted against a ban on late-term, partial birth abortions. Why?<br /> <br /> Hillary Clinton: Because Roe v Wade very clearly sets out that there can be regulations on abortion so long as the life and the health of the mother are taken into the account. And when I voted as a senator, I did not think that that was the case. The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make. I have met with women who have toward the end of their pregnancy, get the worst news one could get. That their health is in jeopardy if they continue to term. Or that something terrible has happened or just been discovered about the pregnancy. <br /> <br /> CW: Mr Trump, your reaction, particularly on this issue of late-term, partial birth abortion. <br /> <br /> Donald Trump: Well, I think it is terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month you can take baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. Now, you can say that that is okay, and Hillary can say that that is okay, but it&rsquo;s not okay with me. Because based on what she is saying and based on where she&rsquo;s going and where she&rsquo;s been, you take baby and rip the baby out of the womb. In the ninth month? On the final day? And that&rsquo;s not acceptable. <br /> <br /> There you have it! Trump won the election with seven lines! The religious right not only moved towards Trump, but organised themselves and made a great difference in states such as Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.<br /> <br /> The result of the election in the USA holds a lesson for some politicians in Jamaica who seem to think that the views of Jamaicans on abortion and gay rights should be ignored. The presidential election in the USA shows the power of an organised religious right and presents a teachable moment for our local politicians.<br /> <br /> Marsha Thomas<br /> <br /> marshburns@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13435525/241048_67616_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM Vybz Kartel, the voice of a generation? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Vybz-Kartel--the-voice-of-a-generation_82309 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It has been almost five years since the artiste Adidja &ldquo;Vybz Kartel&rdquo; Palmer was arrested, and two years since he was convicted, and yet he continues to top local charts while maintaining his presence in international music. More importantly, he remains a critical cultural touchstone for the youth who listen to his music.<br /> <br /> Why is this?<br /> <br /> It is my opinion that this is so because he says what the youth feel in their heart but are afraid to say, or don&rsquo;t have the platform to speak on.<br /> <br /> As it relates to social issues, no artiste as popular as Vybz Kartel, in a long time, can boast as lengthy a catalogue of &lsquo;conscious tunes&rsquo;. This may come as a shock to many who are not acquainted with dancehall music, but he speaks consciously at times.<br /> <br /> He continually calls for educating those living in squalor, calls for free managed health care and education. He highlights the plight of nurses, teachers and all the oppressed as seen in his book, while shining a light on how the nation reached the depths we are at now. In short, he says out loud what many have been saying quietly for years about the country.<br /> <br /> We then hit upon his more crass side, his &lsquo;gyal tunes&rsquo;. A lot of his songs can be called nothing short of lewd, others would go so far as to say offensive even, but why sing them? The answer is simple, that&rsquo;s how people interact with one another nowadays. How many times have we heard people on the street make utter sentences that would make a sailor blush? How many times do we hear women openly endorsing &lsquo;slackness&rsquo;? What&rsquo;s more, this type of music is nothing new, just review Prince Buster&rsquo;s song list from the 60s for proof.<br /> <br /> Then we hit out against his hugely popular &lsquo;gangster tunes&rsquo;. Again the answer as to why they are popular is staring us in the face. We are a traumatised people, from slavery to crown colony to independent people. Violence has been with us every step of the way. Not only have we idealised the gangster life (something first begun in the 70s), the gangster is seen to embody all things, protector, breadwinner, patron, and Robin Hood. This is what much of the youth aspire to and that&rsquo;s why those songs are huge hits.<br /> <br /> In short, Vybz Kartel remains influential because he continues to be everything to everybody. He represents the underclass and dispossessed, he represents for the &lsquo;gyalis&rsquo; and he also represents for the gangster.<br /> <br /> He does this at times with witty lyrics and at other times with words that feel like a sledgehammer on the ear. He can be soft, yet brutal. He is, in my opinion, the embodiment of the Jamaican experience thus far, incredibly brilliant, yet patently insane. Love him or loathe him, he is the voice of a generation.<br /> <br /> Alexander Scott<br /> <br /> alexanderwjscott90@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12804089/193696_67998_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM Stop turning up your noses at dancehall! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Stop-turning-up-your-noses-at-dancehall_82294 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Dancehall is here to stay. It has a fixed and relevant place within the Jamaican society, economy and culture. And it presents an opportunity for advancement, entertainment and community development in many spaces within the Jamaican society.<br /> <br /> I say this because I am tired of those who turn up their noses at dancehall, being at the helm of decision-making within our society. I am turned off by the fact that the who&rsquo;s who of government and private corporations fail to recognise the inherent value of dancehall.<br /> <br /> Dancehall is an internationally recognised, Jamaican-bred genre of music which, for many, illustrates the truth of their lived realities. That there are some people who are offended by a beautiful representation of Jamaican realities being on the cover of a Jamaican telephone book seriously concerns me.<br /> <br /> Personally, I have seen enough covers with high-rise buildings and random faces of employable Jamaicans, and so I was pleased to see that finally dancehall and its culture was being represented in that form. This is undoubtedly an issue of class.<br /> <br /> I am not greatly surprised by the attitudes of what the Twitter community calls &ldquo;Alieu Jamaicans&rdquo;. These are the Jamaicans who don&rsquo;t believe patois should be a recognised language, who maybe live in a gated community and who would willingly &ldquo;give up their rights to the police&rdquo;, even though the police have never kicked in their doors and shot their relatives without just cause. Alieu Jamaicans are those with privilege who, even though they employ &ldquo;ghetto people&rdquo; &mdash; the people largely represented in and associated with dancehall music &mdash; in their boutiques, convenience stores, offices, and homes as domestic workers, they frown upon the culture of the people who facilitate their enrichment.<br /> <br /> To the Alieu I ask: How do you benefit from a society with a large population of poor people and then turn around and tell them that their culture is not good enough to be seen? These people are the consumers of your imported goods, the drivers of your economy, and the people who borrow your money to achieve life goals. They are the &ldquo;vibrant people&rdquo; that our tourism advertisements speak about. So how is it then that pictures of you may be represented in media, but not pictures of dancehall culture?<br /> <br /> Glenroy Murray<br /> <br /> glenroy.am.murray@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13474021/yellow-pages_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM Mama P, please go! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Mama-P--please-go_82299 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I write in support of Danielle Kelly&rsquo;s letter to the editor published December 1, 2016, #ComradeForLife, but IAmNotWithHer&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> Portia Simpson Miller has been a remarkable politician and leader. She has made an indelible mark on the country, and by extension the world.<br /> <br /> I was an avid supporter of the idea of having a female prime minister, and without a doubt voted for her presidency and her leadership for the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) in 2006. To say the least, it was a joy as a woman and motivated leader to experience and participate in the rise of Simpson Miller to power and prestige. It was truly another venerable mark in our history.<br /> <br /> Not to put a fine point on it, Portia Simpson Miller has received several local and international awards and accolades:<br /> <br /> * She was ranked by Time magazine as among its &ldquo;100 Most Influential Persons in the World&rdquo; in 2012.<br /> <br /> * She was named &lsquo;Person of the Year&rsquo; by multiple media houses.<br /> <br /> * She has been a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an international network of current and former female presidents and prime ministers.<br /> <br /> * She, in 2013, was elected vice-president of Socialist International following a conference in Cape Town, South Africa.<br /> <br /> In retrospect, Portia Simpson Miller, a high achiever, has been an inspiration, notwithstanding her recent unfavourable performance and mannerism.<br /> <br /> Against all this, in all prudence, I advocate the suggestion for her to graciously resign as leader and president of the PNP before her reputation descends to the dust.<br /> <br /> Kerry-Ann Williams<br /> <br /> Kerryannwilliams09@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13454872/Portia-1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM &iexcl;Hasta siempre! Comandante! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/-Hasta-siempre--Comandante-_82203 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> This is an open letter to Cuba&rsquo;s President Raul Castro Ruz:<br /> <br /> On behalf of my family, I would like to express my sincere condolence to you and the Cuban people as you mourn the passing of our beloved Comandante Fidel. I pray that God&rsquo;s mercy and grace, which is always sufficient, will comfort and heal you all in the ensuing days ahead.<br /> <br /> I would like to express profound gratitude to the Government and people of Cuba for a scholarship, in 1978, to study medicine in Cuba. I witnessed daily the sacrifices of the citizens of your great country, denying themselves innumerable material goods and services, to give tens of thousands of students the opportunity to pursue university and college programmes in your beautiful country.<br /> <br /> I experienced repeatedly the love and generosity of countless families which opened the doors of their homes and shared their meals and warm hospitality.<br /> <br /> That experience was a part of the culture shock which many of us experienced, having been told so many negative things about Comandante Fidel Castro while we were children growing up in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> I was pleasantly surprised, upon arriving in the country, that I could take the bus and travel to anywhere I wanted to go at any time. During my seven years of living and studying in Cuba, I visited every province and the Isle of Youth. I always felt safe and was never stopped or harassed by a police officer.<br /> <br /> In addition to my medical degree studies, I was given the opportunity to represent my university in track and field, represented the Jamaican students at civic ceremonies, and participated in voluntary work days &mdash; cutting sugar cane and picking coffee. All those experiences have helped to mould me into the person who I am today. I will always be indebted to Comandante Fidel and the Cuban people.<br /> <br /> During our stay in Cuba, we forged friendships with people from every continent, since in our classrooms had students from several countries across the globe. This is an enduring legacy for contributing to the creation of peace worldwide.<br /> <br /> The resilience of the Cuban people was tried, tested and proven indomitable during the chemical warfare attack on your livestock industry, causing you to slaughter and destroy all the pigs in your country. I saw, up close, the pain and suffering endured by hundreds of farmers and thousands of rural folk. During all of those struggles, Comandante Fidel was front and centre of your recovery efforts and triumphs.<br /> <br /> I salute him for taking his people from the poverty and ignorance of the Batista regime to a revered country in today&rsquo;s world, boasting some of the highest levels of literacy and health care. I salute the courageous leader Fidel who liberated Angola and defeated the South African army, which contributed to the dismantling of apartheid.<br /> <br /> I salute Comandante Fidel for his genuine love and respect for the poor, notwithstanding his privileged upbringing.<br /> <br /> Long live the ideals for which he fought and defended &mdash; peace, justice, respect, honesty, kindness, educational opportunities to the tertiary level, First-World health care, employment, care of the elderly and the physically and mentally challenged &mdash; and above all, he did it with love.<br /> <br /> Comandante Fidel&rsquo;s love for humanity is your enduring legacy which will continue to inspire millions worldwide.<br /> <br /> Dr Donald Rhodd<br /> <br /> Graduate, Superior Institute of Medical Sciences<br /> <br /> Santiago de Cuba, 1985.<br /> <br /> Former ember of Parliament & minister of state<br /> <br /> donrhodd@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13461583/243636_70242_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 01, 2016 12:00 AM #ComradeForLife, but #IAmNotWithHer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/-ComradeForLife--but--IAmNotWithHer_82118 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) lost the local government elections on November 28, 2016 because its supporters seek to silently scream the need for a new party president.<br /> <br /> Portia Simpson Miller is an excellent politician. She is for the people and I personally commend her in that regard. She is, however, a terrible leader. Her manners, her language, her decorum and her overall way of dealing with situations in this day and age is absolutely unacceptable. Madam party president is nothing short of a ticking time bomb.<br /> <br /> We, the party&rsquo;s supporters, have been through enough embarrassment with her, and my personal opinion is that a resignation is in order. She has done her time. She may remain a party advisor of some sort, but not leader. Deep down we all know it. The gentlemen in the party simple need to &ldquo;grow a pair&rdquo; and stand up for the people.<br /> <br /> The supporters of Simpson Miller come off, to me, as encouragement for her to embarrass herself. It is okay to be loyal, but enabling downfall is simply sad. I posted these sentiments on the wall of a PNP private group on Facebook and was taken to task. One gentleman did not mince his words in immediately accusing me of being a &ldquo;J Hell P&rdquo; supporter and said I had no reasoning abilities.<br /> <br /> This is the exact reason others are so afraid to voice their opinions.<br /> <br /> If a company fails, its CEO and management team are held accountable. If a team of football players fail, their coach is held accountable. If a student fails, the teacher is held accountable. Why then isn&rsquo;t Simpson Miller being held accountable for the downfall of the PNP?<br /> <br /> There are so many capable and competent leaders within the party. Our party needs our brilliant, open-minded Comrades back in active rolls.<br /> <br /> I apologise if I may come off as harsh, but we have allowed this to go on for long enough. Simpson Miller is still incapable of doing some introspection, and if she does she should agree that her time has come.<br /> <br /> I have always been a defender of the PNP ask anyone who knows me. I stand firm in support of my party, and I will forever commend and show appreciation for Simpson Miller&rsquo;s contribution to the party, but enough is enough.<br /> <br /> #ComradeForLife but #IAmNotWithHer<br /> <br /> Danielle Kelly<br /> <br /> danielle.m.kelly@live.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9852972/pnp-logo_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 01, 2016 12:00 AM Now is not the time to ease off the pedal regarding HIV http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Now-is-not-the-time-to-ease-off-the-pedal-regarding-HIV_82004 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It has been more than three decades since the HIV virus was first identified by the scientific community, however, in spite of the advances in medicine, stigma and discrimination continue to be major barriers in accessing treatment and services for those affected and impacted. Today, World AIDS Day, provides an opportunity to show support for people living with HIV, as well as to raise awareness of the struggles and prejudice those with the virus face daily. <br /> <br /> According to UNAIDS more than 35 million people have died from AIDS-related illnesses. It is estimated that more than 36 million people are living with HIV. Sadly, a significant number of people living with HIV remain without antiretroviral therapy, including sex workers, young people, women and girls, transgender people, men who have sex with other men, people who use drugs and other key populations within the wider society. UNAIDS expects that US $26.2 billion will be required for AIDS response in 2020.<br /> <br /> However, we need a cultural change in as much as we need to find additional financial resources in the fight against preventing HIV/AIDS. Many of the barriers those living with HIV face are rooted in patriarchy and cultural biases which render women powerless and voiceless in their sexual relations. Disturbingly, in many situations adolescent girls&rsquo; right to privacy and control over their bodies is not respected as a significant number of them report that their first sexual experience was forced. According to the United Nations, of the 250, 000 new HIV infections cases in 2013, more than two-thirds were adolescent girls. This shows how vulnerable females are regarding contracting HIV.<br /> <br /> A major study examining how antiretrovirals reduce the risk of HIV transmission among heterosexuals has found that no participant with a fully suppressed viral load infected his or her long-term HIV negative partner. These final results from the HPTN 052 study of 1,763 mixed HIV status heterosexual couples were presented at the Eighth International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Vancouver, British Columbia in 2015. <br /> <br /> The time has come for the international community in general, and Jamaica specifically, to do more to close the HIV prevention gap which disproportionately affects lower- and middle-income countries more due to budgetary constraints. Unfortunately, more than two million are infected with HIV yearly. The international community should be mindful that now is not the time to ease off the pedal regarding HIV prevention campaigns. We have seen a resurgence of HIV in key populations and this should be taken as wake up call to action.<br /> <br /> According to a recent report by Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, there is very little knowledge about the HIV prevalence among transgender women in Jamaica. However, the National HIV/STI programme estimates HIV prevalence rate of 0.4 and 0.5 per cent in adolescent boys and girls between ages 15-19 years. According to the United Nations, as of 2013, 2.1 million adolescents were living with HIV. It cannot be business as per usual. It bears thought that given Jamaica&rsquo;s strong Judeo-Christian customs many parents will without hesitation put out their transgendered children. Undoubtedly, these &lsquo;trans&rsquo; individuals will be more at risk as they navigate the rough and challenging public space in an effort make a living. It is not uncommon for social issues such as homelessness, sexual abuse and depression to be high among this key population of any society making them more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. <br /> <br /> There needs to be more intervention programmes between the ministries of health and education, youth and information to address adolescent pregnancies and the reproductive health of teenagers. According to the news, economic hardship was forcing many schoolgirls into teenage pregnancy. This is a dangerous trend and has the potential to expose the girls to HIV/AIDS.<br /> <br /> While the society has made much positive strides in the attitude of health care workers towards those living with HIV, more needs to be done to remove the remaining discrimination which is still meted out to some people living with the virus. Governments and non-governmental organisations must remain vigilant so as not to lose out on the gains made in tacking HIV/AIDS.<br /> <br /> We all know someone who has died from AIDS-related illness or who is currently inflicted by the virus. As a society we should not give into our personal fears which, in most instances, emerge as a result of our biases and lack of knowledge. We need to work assiduously to foster and engender a culture of zero-discrimination and care towards those who are impacted with HIV/AIDS as well as strive towards empowering such individuals in their endeavours. Let us also continue in educating the public so that the many myths about HIV/AIDS can be dispelled.<br /> <br /> On this World AIDS Day show your support by wearing a red ribbon which is the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV. <br /> <br /> Wayne Campbell<br /> <br /> waykam@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> @WayneCamo<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13470552/244422_70897_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 01, 2016 12:00 AM PNP needs #renewal http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/PNP-needs--renewal_82090 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Member of Parliament Daryl Vaz, in a statement recently, said, &ldquo;Once you serve the people, the people will serve you.&rdquo; Powerful words on the heels of another devastating blow to the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) in the recent parish council elections.<br /> <br /> The ruling party JLP took 8 of the 13 parish councils, including Kingston & St Andrew. The JLP, which has been doing very well in its first year of administration, must be encouraged by this endorsement. The PNP now has some serious soul searching to do, as the blow serves as a rejection of the &lsquo;same old&rsquo; and the old-time divisive politics and leadership of which most people have grown tired.<br /> <br /> The fact that Portia Simpson Miller failed to show up at PNP Headquarters after the defeat spoke volumes about her inadequacies as a leader. Her recent comments about &ldquo;no bwoy, no gyal cannot trouble&rdquo; her didn&rsquo;t help either; if nothing else, it reminded us that, as a people, we are who we elect.<br /> <br /> Although the ruling JLP is in control, the word &lsquo;control&rsquo; is never a good thing in a democracy. We do need a vibrant Opposition for our democracy to work.<br /> <br /> It was Lisa Hanna who trended the hashtag &lsquo;renewal&rsquo; in a bid to secure one of the party&rsquo;s vice-presidential posts recently. Hanna and her message were rejected by the party&rsquo;s membership. The PNP now needs a proper cleansing and new energy to emerge if it is to be taken seriously. All organisations must grow and renew over time. The renewal of the PNP must start at the top and work its way right down. And the time to do it is now.<br /> <br /> In the best interest of the party and the country, there should be no fear to do the right thing and challenge Portia Simpson Miller, whose time has long past. The PNP&rsquo;s leadership must be challenged, and the party needs to take some time to completely reorganise and overhaul itself if it is to emerge once again as a party that is reputable and can function effectively as Opposition, and become a viable option to form a Government.<br /> <br /> P Chin<br /> <br /> chin_p@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13294255/VP-and-presi_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, November 30, 2016 12:00 AM Biggest losers were Holness and democracy http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Biggest-losers-were-Holness-and-democracy_82096 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The results of Monday&rsquo;s local government election bring into sharp focus an electorate that has become battle weary in trying to get our political leaders to believe that governance can&rsquo;t be business as usual. Therefore, the biggest losers in the election were Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Democracy.<br /> <br /> I say this against the background that Holness is our first political leader to be born after Independence, and he has blown a wind of change and difference and promised prosperity for all and a Government that is accountable, transparent and inclusive. With all these bold promises he has not been able to bring more people to the electoral process. In fact, the preliminary results show that a mere 30 per cent of the electorate cast votes, raising grave doubts that the electorate has bought into Holness&rsquo;s promises.<br /> <br /> Why, as a young, new and different leader, Holness has not been able to get more of the electorate out of the loop of apathy?<br /> <br /> Holness did himself no good when, on the eve of the election, he unleashed a questionable $600-million project of drain cleaning and de-bushing. This turned off many would-be voters. The electorate was looking to Holness to come with a different type of politics.<br /> <br /> Our democracy is on life support. A close look at the preliminary results, none of the 228 elected councillors increased their votes over 2012 numbers. In fact, some councillors who were defeated in 2012 won with far less votes than they got when they were defeated.<br /> <br /> As one voter said to me, &ldquo;Our democracy and governance are on a slippery slope, and their downward slide is being accelerated by Government and political leaders who fail to listen to the voice of the people.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> What our leaders must realise is that we now have an adequately informed electorate who can get by without politics and politicians, and that is why they leave electing a Government to those who only want a one-day bushing work, a dozen chickens, half bag of fertilizer, a one book voucher, and a bottle of white rum for a bereaved family member.<br /> <br /> Fernandez Smith<br /> <br /> fgeesmith@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13465540/244064_70547_repro_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, November 30, 2016 12:00 AM Where&rsquo;s the &lsquo;Double Bubble&rsquo;, JUTC? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Where-s-the--Double-Bubble---JUTC-_81977 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The &lsquo;Double Bubble&rsquo; promotions by the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) have been a blessing over the months to the travelling public.<br /> <br /> It was postponed the last time and is sadly missed by people like myself, and am anxiously awaiting the next &lsquo;Double Bubble&rsquo; day.<br /> <br /> The last word was, it was postponed indefinitely. Is this permanent?<br /> <br /> Claudette Harris<br /> <br /> claudetteharris52@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13465201/244010_71687_repro_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, November 29, 2016 12:00 AM Let&rsquo;s not pretend Fidel Castro was a saint http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Let-s-not-pretend-Fidel-Castro-was-a-saint_81983 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> My attitude towards death is not generally affected by the literal acceptance of the adage, &ldquo;Do not speak ill of the dead.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> It&rsquo;s not that negative comments about a dead person are off-limits, but moreso, in my view, that no untruths should be said of the deceased. In other words, do not tell lies, whether positive or negative, on the dead.<br /> <br /> For most of us, it is socially abhorrent, if not a cardinal sin, to criticise a dead person; however truthfully done. It appears far more important to those of us so believing to commit to such a principle most fervently than to embrace the truth concerning the life lived by the deceased.<br /> <br /> While even the worst of us still have some amount of positives in us, and the positives should be highlighted, I have a problem when the negatives are pushed under the rug and only the positives are highlighted.<br /> <br /> The recent death of former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro is a classic case in point. There are seemingly too many apologists, including several in this country, who have rendered glowing tributes with very little if any reference to any of his most despicable or unfortunate undertakings.<br /> <br /> Fidel Castro was a brutal dictator who mistreated or oppressed the Cuban people by denying them fundamental rights and freedoms that we Jamaicans, for instance, often take for granted. He is reported to have imprisoned, tortured and killed many who dared to oppose him.<br /> <br /> The man must be called out for who he really was &mdash; a man who lived an opulent lifestyle, while ensuring the average Cuban remained in abject poverty, and falsely giving the impression he was living in similar circumstances like his people.<br /> <br /> Castro&rsquo;s lifestyle was a classic reminder that the nonsensical political and economic theory of socialism was nothing but organised fraud &mdash; the very kind that Castro&rsquo;s Comrade in arms Michael Manley attempted to perpetrate on us &mdash; where the rulers live quite differently from the ruled.<br /> <br /> I was heartened to hear at least former Prime Minister Edward Seaga being honest enough to remember the person Castro really was &mdash; not the saint-like being others would have us believe.<br /> <br /> Castro&rsquo;s positive efforts on especially some social initiatives, particularly in the fields of health and education in Cuba, are worthy of some adulation. Likewise, we in this country should be appreciative of his contributions towards especially the education and health sectors in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> To put it simply, though, I do not find joy in the death of Castro. However, let us not conveniently try to elevate the man by seeking to advance only such memories that would prove advantageous, when his life, in its totality, was filled with many negatives that should be equally highlighted. <br /> <br /> Kevin KO Sangster<br /> <br /> sangstek@msn.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13461485/243653_70344_repro_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, November 29, 2016 12:00 AM Miguel Coley understands how to lead a team http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Miguel-Coley-understands-how-to-lead-a-team_81969 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I took time out of my busy schedule this season to watch Jamaica College train, and yes, from the get-go they embodied a team determined to take home a championship.<br /> <br /> But, surprisingly, I was more impressed with the coach, than the players. Miguel Coley understands how to lead a team, and he&rsquo;s shown that for the four years he has been employed at the school.<br /> <br /> Winning is important to Coley, winning is important to JC. Winning is a culture Coley has instilled in the young boys, but he possesses more than just the attitude of winning, he has a strong sense of leadership; he believes in himself and this brings assurance to the team.<br /> <br /> The success of the &ldquo;True Blues&rdquo; is all due to his strong leadership. Four seasons, four Manning Cup titles, two Walker Cup titles, one Flow Super Cup, and three Olivier shields give credence to the strength of the man behind Jamaica College&rsquo;s success. It should come as no surprise that Jamaica College showed class as they dispatched the red hot Wolmerians. The game was all but done after Jamaica College netted in the first half and showed their class, having tactically manoeuvred through the rounds guided by the careful hands of Coley. This, the 28th title win, was awesome, just fantastic.<br /> <br /> Jamaica College is in good hands under Miguel Coley&rsquo;s leadership. Well done, Jamaica College.<br /> <br /> Rohan D B Walsh<br /> <br /> rohandbwalsh@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13461783/243704_70261_repro_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, November 29, 2016 12:00 AM Local government pantomime http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Local-government-pantomime_81972 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I note the<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer report of the current mayor of Kingston saying that local government remains relevant.<br /> <br /> I had no idea.<br /> <br /> I wish to report to the mayor that, based on the councillors&rsquo; performance, their presence as administrators is not visible, except at the Ministry of Finance that pays them to operate the pantomime they call the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation.<br /> <br /> From my observation &mdash; and I doubt many people close to Kingston will disagree &mdash; whether they were in office or on Mars, the sitting councillors have not improved the state of the capital city, nor seem to have any idea of how to go about improving it.<br /> <br /> Relevance is measured by having the effect on and ability to change. No action by the mayor or council has improved the city of Kingston. There is not even a stated vision for its improvement.<br /> <br /> The registration of handcarts cannot be considered relevant. This is a Band-Aid on a severe wound called lack of vision and poor management.<br /> <br /> In my opinion, the mayor and all the councillors might as well have been on vacation, in retirement, or on Mars. I have concluded that the people we need in Government are those with vision and capacity to achieve the objectives of a well-planned and forward-thinking country.<br /> <br /> In the meantime, local government is a waste of my taxes, and their continued existence is a drain on my resources.<br /> <br /> So, in my opinion, local government in Jamaica is irrelevant, not based on the intent that formed the system of local government created by the colonial powers, but based on the current personnel holding the offices.<br /> <br /> Hugh M Dunbar<br /> <br /> hmdenergy@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13465408/PNP_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, November 29, 2016 12:00 AM President-elect Trump &mdash; my hunch http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/President-elect-Trump---my-hunch_81773 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Though what happens elsewhere is international news, and thus should attract our interest, it seems to me that criticisms of American political realities from non-Americans is tinged with impertinence. So I stand indicted, like so many of us here.<br /> <br /> The day of the United States elections I told my family and two deacons in our church that my gut instinct is that Donald Trump would win. This had no more prophetic portent than the &lsquo;gut instincts&rsquo; of Gibbs in NCIS, but it just worked out to be so.<br /> <br /> Well, from the result was made known I have had this other gut instinct, or hunch, that he will not actually be inaugurated as president of the United States.<br /> <br /> My gut has not said what will happen, but something will block his inauguration. A tad sub-rational it certainly was, but my hunch was somewhat aggravated by my watching the Netflix series,<br /> <br /> Designated Survivor, the same day of the results.<br /> <br /> What is embarrassing for me, as a clergyman, is that I cannot say God has said anything to me in all of this, and worse I have no hunch at all about local government elections here at home.<br /> <br /> I guess I am no closer to God than the biblical Balaam (see Numbers 22), whose Jenny ass had to be used by God to block danger ahead of them both. So, despite the self-indictment overtones, I would have to say, in Numbers 22, the real ass in the account was Balaam, thus a Jack ass was riding and rescued by a Jenny ass!<br /> <br /> Call me crazy, and I readily plead guilty, but this text for me is easily the most humorous yet insightful account in the whole<br /> <br /> Bible.<br /> <br /> Well, let&rsquo;s see what will happen in USA politics up to January next year. <br /> <br /> Rev Clinton Chisholm<br /> <br /> clintchis@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13464247/donald-trump_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, November 29, 2016 12:00 AM We will not forget... http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/We-will-not-forget---_81873 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Querido compa&ntilde;ero,<br /> <br /> We celebrate you knowing that you have fulfilled the role you were sent to execute among us mortals.<br /> <br /> You liberated not just your own country, but sought to liberate those oppressed by imperialists, preying on their wealth of resources. We will not forget how you went into Africa to help and not exploit as many capitalists did before.<br /> <br /> We will not forget how you stood up to the mighty US. We will not forget how you never compromised what you stood for.<br /> <br /> We will never forget your role in dismantling the colonial forces and guaranteeing the independence of Angola. We will not forget your tricontinental conference in the 1960s which encouraged and supported the armed struggle against colonialists in Asia, Africa and Latin America. We will not forget your role in seeking freedom for Mandela and ending apartheid, even while powerful states supported the oppressive Government.<br /> <br /> We will not forget the words of Comrade Mandela on you service to his continent: &ldquo;The Cuban internationalists have made a contribution to African Independence, freedom and justice unparalleled for its principled and selfless character&hellip; We in Africa are used to being victims of countries wanting to carve up our territory or subvert our sovereignty. It is unparalleled in African history to have another people rise to the defence of one of us.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> We will never forget how you crafted a health system that surpassed, in every regard, that of a country that placed a total economic blockade against your people.<br /> <br /> We will not forget the many plots that you overcame, the many assassination attempts.<br /> <br /> We will not forget how your reminded us that to be truly able to fight for ourselves, we will need to fight for others. We will not forget how you lived by and stood by your own words.<br /> <br /> We will not forget your contribution to Jamaica. We will not forget how you worked with Comrade Michael to improve health care and education, and we will certainly not forget the thousands who were uplifted from poverty because of your partnership. We will not forget how the Cuba you created continues to bolster our health sector. We will also not forget the many conspiracies against you and how many who now praise you once demonised you.<br /> <br /> Esteemed icon, we pray for more selfless leaders like you. Your legacy and impact live on in our lives and hearts forever. But we mourn your transition from the realm of mortals. My dearest comrade, take leave of the company of mortals, but rest assured that you will never die.<br /> <br /> Hasta el &uacute;ltimo aliento compa&ntilde;ero, te voy a honrar. Hasta la victoria siempre, La Patria o muerte. Viva la revoluci&oacute;n! Viva El Comandante en Jefe!<br /> <br /> La historia se ha absuelto. (History has absolved you.)<br /> <br /> Aujae Dixon<br /> <br /> aujae.k.dixon@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13462762/CASTRO_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, November 28, 2016 12:00 AM Love him or hate him, Castro will long be remembered http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Love-him-or-hate-him--Castro-will-long-be-remembered_81853 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Dying at the age of 90, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro will surely spark a lot of emotions for many people around the world, but especially in Cuba, the Americas, southern Africa and the former Soviet Union. For sure, the man was a giant of the last century and will long be remembered.<br /> <br /> Perhaps nowhere else will Castro be remembered more than in his homeland of Cuba. In 1959, Castro led a successful revolution that removed what many saw as an American puppet Government. Though he may not have initially wanted to, the revolution &mdash; occurring during the height of the cold war between Russia and the United States &mdash; would eventually, for all intent and purposes, convert Cuba into Russia&rsquo;s strongest outpost in the Western Hemisphere.<br /> <br /> Soon after Castro took power in 1961, the United States, through its rebel proxies, launched an unsuccessful attempt to reverse the revolution at the Bay of Pigs. It was US President John F Kennedy&rsquo;s most humiliating defeat, especially considering America&rsquo;s boast at the time that it was successfully containing communism and the expansion of Soviet Russia around the world.<br /> <br /> Then shortly after that the world was brought to the very brink of nuclear war when the Russian Government began installing nuclear weapons on Cuba. Fidel Castro&rsquo;s boast then that the Cuban Revolution had the means to defend itself against any American invasion was well founded. <br /> <br /> However, the Cuban missile crisis and resolution that followed between Russia and America, apparently with Fidel Castro playing only a minor role, showed how vital Cuba&rsquo;s location was &mdash; and apparently still is. Cubans found themselves in the very middle of superpower rivalry. However, the revolution that Castro had started was saved. Not many people know, for instance, that although war over Cuba was averted, the Russians did keep a small nuclear deterrent on the island; just in case the Americans changed their minds and invaded.<br /> <br /> Cuba&rsquo;s global influence was very much disproportionate to its small size. It supported military campaigns in many areas around the would, especially in Latin America and the southern regions of Africa. Not willing to only protest, Cuban forces were very active in wars against apartheid so much so that, at one point, South Africa was considering using its nuclear weapons against the Cuban forces, according to Castro.<br /> <br /> Castro has changed Cuba forever. After winning what some saw as the island&rsquo;s second war of independence, not from Spain, but from the United States, Castro stood for what he believed. He was one of the few leaders that successfully stood up to the United States and successfully outwitted many attempts to have him and his revolution killed.<br /> <br /> So whether we love him or hate him, Fidel Castro is a major world leader who&rsquo;s iconic cigar-smoking, military fatigues, long speeches and charisma, will certainly long be remembered.<br /> <br /> Michael A Dingwall<br /> <br /> michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12661251/186096_19687_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, November 28, 2016 12:00 AM