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 Senseless oil hedge http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Senseless-oil-hedge_77930 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Hedging oil at US$66 a barrel is a complete waste of money &mdash; money which the country can ill afford &mdash; and makes absoletely no sense. This money, US$26 million, should have gone towards expanding the capacity of the Petrojam oil refinery, thereby creating meaningful jobs and curtailing the importation of well-needed petroleum products into the country.<br /> <br /> The past or present Government shouldn&rsquo;t have heeded the advice or recommendation of Bank of Jamaica Governor Brian Wynter and the Financial Secretary Everton McFarlane. Weren&rsquo;t these the same guys who predicted that oil prices would go through the roof this year? This hasn&rsquo;t happenned. What is so bothersome is that successive administrations bought into the idea. It is like it&rsquo;s no better herring, no better barrel &mdash; no pun intended.<br /> <br /> If these so-called experts and analysts had followed the global oil trends and did some basic research and analysis, they would have known that this commodity has been trending down for quite some time. From back in 2014, to be exact, when a barrel of oil was fetching for as low as US$26, all data indicated that oil prices would remain flat for the foreseeable future. This for a couple of reasons namely: <br /> <br /> * The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries&rsquo; (OPEC) biggest client, the United States, has become largely self-sufficient and is now the leading producer of oil in the world.<br /> <br /> * Supply far outweighs demands,<br /> <br /> * Renewable energy (solar, wind)climate change, electric cars, natural gas, and a huge global reserves.<br /> <br /> OPEC and Russia better get used to the idea that US$100 per barrel oil is a thing of the past.<br /> <br /> Next month OPEC will meet to reduce production in an effort to hike the price of oil. But, in my opinion, it won&rsquo;t work because the large oil producers, mainly Saudi Arabia, will want to protect their market share.<br /> <br /> Besides, huge oil finds are being discovered around the world. For example, here in the United States two large oil fields were recently discovered in Texas and Alaska, which spells more bad news for OPEC.<br /> <br /> The price of oil currently hovers around US$50 dollar per barrel which, to me, is still overpriced. Before long I expect oil to be back in the US$30 per barrel range &mdash; where it belongs. After all it only takes US$4 to produce a barrel of oil in Saudi Arabia and with the lifting of sanctions, the Saudis arch-enemy Iran is now back in oil production for exports.<br /> <br /> Noel Mitchell<br /> <br /> Westchester, New York, USA<br /> <br /> nlmworld@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12458689/172633.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM Cameron to blame http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Cameron-to-blame_78435 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> While I have defended West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) boss Dave Cameron for the team&rsquo;s poor performance &mdash; after all he doesn&rsquo;t bat, bowl, field, coach, or select the team &mdash; he must carry the can for the Phil Simmons fiasco. This is not because he fired Simmons (whose win/loss record was appalling), nor that he did so just before the Pakistan tour, he must carry the can for hiring Simmons in the first place.<br /> <br /> Cameron talks about good management, but when an organisation is not only hiring and firing key personnel as often as the WICB does, and then caps its sorry record by firing Simmons after only 18 months, it says something: It says is that neither Cameron nor the board have a clue what a good head coach looks like.<br /> <br /> Just because Ottis Gibson was a successful specialist bowling coach for England doesn&rsquo;t mean he would make a good head coach for any team; different skills sets are required. Just because Simmons was successful with Ireland didn&rsquo;t mean he would be with West Indies.<br /> <br /> Did anybody bother to analyse why he was successful? Whether his skill strengths were what we needed, like technique improvement or team selection?<br /> <br /> Previously we hired Australians Bennet King &mdash; a fine physical education instructor &mdash; and ex-Test player John Dyson who, apart from anything else, famously had trouble with the Duckworth-Lewis system. Perhaps a deeper check of their coaching performances might have saved a lot of trouble, not to mention Test matches.<br /> <br /> Now there is talk of of Jimmy Adams, who has just left Kent. Adams would surely know that the octopus-like management/selection structure which helped to sink his tenure as captain is still largely in place. He is advised not to walk into the same quicksand twice.<br /> <br /> Errol W A Townshend<br /> <br /> Ontario, Canada<br /> <br /> ewat@rogers.com<br /> <br /> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM Bread and butter more important than Garveyism http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Bread-and-butter-more-important-than-Garveyism_78404 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Some time ago, an online petition requiring a minimum of 100,000 signatures failed to get that amount to advance the cause for the exoneration (or pardoning) of Marcus Garvey. While there was some disappointment that the online effort got less than 80,000 signatures, I, for one, was not surprised at all.<br /> <br /> One thing that we must understand about these online petitions is that the signatures cannot be verified to be one signature, one unique person, so one person may have signed many times. Indeed, I have a feeling that many overzealous individuals may have signed many, many times. As such, I seriously doubt that more than 20,000 unique individuals around the world took any interest.<br /> <br /> In these days, Garvey&rsquo;s teachings have very little relevance to people&rsquo;s lives &ndash; and that online petition brought that fact into very sharp focus.<br /> <br /> Here in Jamaica, as in so many other countries, the top priority for most is just to get by. Many young people cannot get jobs. Imagine leaving college or university and discovering that there is very little hope? I wonder if those who pushed that petition really thought that most unemployed people would put Garveyism ahead of their desire to get a job? Do not even begin to speak about those who do have jobs but find making ends meet as hard as rocks. Where does Marcus Garvey fit into our daily struggles?<br /> <br /> Crime in many countries is out of control, as we in Jamaica are only too aware of. It&rsquo;s not surprising, therefore, that the vast majority of people worry about whether or not they will live to go back home once they leave for work. They have time to worry about Garvey and what, in most respects, are his outdated views.<br /> <br /> I have very little doubt that this push to get much notice is being pushed by intellectuals who have very little else to do. With the passage of time, these people are finding out that their numbers are shrinking.<br /> <br /> I have always maintained, and will continue to maintain, that Garveyism is a philosophy of the past. Give me my bread and butter and let the dead man rest in peace!<br /> <br /> Michael A Dingwall<br /> <br /> michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13231145/223145_61931_repro_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM Some things just not clear? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Some-things-just-not-clear-_78428 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> As we come to terms with the verdict of the recent &lsquo;X6 murder trial&rsquo; some things leave a bad taste in my mouth.<br /> <br /> Understanding that in the court system it&rsquo;s evidence brought to court that really matters, with the conclusion of this case there are a few questions left unanswered. <br /> <br /> Where is the gun? <br /> <br /> What is the basis on which Khajeel Mais&rsquo; hands were swabbed for residue of gun powder? <br /> <br /> To me it seems like one big web.<br /> <br /> It will take a constitutional change to bring integrity and trustworthiness to the judicial system. I hope the minister of justice and the director of public prosecutions can use this to ignite a national agenda in which constitutional change can be made before any further disaster happens to anybody&rsquo;s child. <br /> <br /> I really look forward to a day when we can safely say that our judicial system which enforces the country&rsquo;s laws starts to serve and protect. It is now time for our Government to put the interest of the people on the front burner.<br /> <br /> While emotional reactions are outpouring on social media, may this be another eye-opener.<br /> <br /> God bless Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Zukie Jarrett <br /> <br /> Executive Vice-President, <br /> <br /> Democratic Yutes United To Evolve Change (Dyutes)<br /> <br /> zukie.jarrett@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/6636752/Khajeel-Mais_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM Jury had no other option http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Jury-had-no-other-option_78427 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Similar to the Trayvon Martin case in the United States, so is the uproar of sentiments and disappointment in the acquittal in the infamous &lsquo;X6 murder&rsquo; case in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Like many others who paid close attention to the events leading up to the trial, I too was rooting for a guilty verdict. This stance was merely on my moral and emotional feelings. However, as the case went on, I started to see how easily the prosecution&rsquo;s case would fall apart.<br /> <br /> It all started with the tarnishing of the victim&rsquo;s character, then to the testimony of the main witness. I got a totally different picture painted from what I originally assumed based on media headlines. I had the impression that this was a clear situation where a raging, arrogant, elitist decided to flex his power and wealth in taking disadvantage of the poor, over luxury and vanity. Eventually, this view began to shatter as more details started to emerge in the case.<br /> <br /> I was left with the impression that a car was indeed hit by the taxi. However, I was not getting any answers beyond a shadow of a doubt whether the vehicle belongs to the accused or if he was in fact the shooter.<br /> <br /> However, it is also very suspicious and questionable why the detectives did not seize and examine the firearm of the accused.<br /> <br /> Nonetheless, I think the jury had no other option than to acquit the defendant as the prosecution, in my view, had a very unconvincing defence, and the detectives did a very shoddy or lazy job in their investigations. <br /> <br /> Zavier Simpson<br /> <br /> zavier_simpson@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9664969/Trayvon-Martin_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM Dollar slide endangers prosperity http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Dollar-slide-endangers-prosperity_78276 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It is an oft-repeated truism: &ldquo;The more things change, the more they remain the same.&rdquo; This truism bears repeating now for the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). They made heavy water of the &ldquo;policy of devaluation&rdquo; which the previous Government, constituted by the People&rsquo;s National Party, pursued. This policy, we were told, was necessary as the Jamaican dollar was viewed as being overvalued in relation to the world&rsquo;s reserve currency, the US dollar, and in order to make our exports more competitive, devaluation was a &ldquo;necessity&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> This necessity was to take the Jamaican dollar to a competitive exchange rate of about $120 to US$1. The then Opposition, led by shadow Finance Minister Audley Shaw, raised great alarm, correctly so, at the steady and consistent trend of devaluation of an already abused currency. He then promised a halt to the slide, along with some amount of prosperity in the form of an increase in the income tax threshold.<br /> <br /> Now, some eight months into this JLP Administration, the dust has long settled on electioneering and the dollar again is in seeming free fall, so much so that, in May of this year, the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce issued a statement saying that it was concerned about the level of devaluation affecting the currency, especially with inflation holding steady and the net international reserves appearing healthy.<br /> <br /> The depreciation has only increased since then. In spite of much talk on the part of now Finance Minister Audley Shaw, as well as interventions by the Bank of Jamaica &mdash; the latest coming last Friday when US$30 million was sold to forex markets &mdash; the dollar has depreciated by some six per cent since February, and by some 7.52 per cent since January, figures which have already surpassed the entire devaluation seen for 2015.<br /> <br /> With no halt in sight, this downward spiral can only serve to undermine the very &lsquo;prosperity&rsquo;, which Shaw, et al, has promised. It goes without saying that this slide must be arrested. For, in a country such as ours, where the majority of raw materials used in production have to be imported, then &ldquo;devaluation for competitiveness&rdquo; must be seen for what it really is, a false gospel. If the slippage continues, then the income tax break may start to ring hollow, for devaluation and prosperity cannot go hand in hand.<br /> <br /> Noel Matherson<br /> <br /> noelmatherson@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13357347/234632_62287_repro_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, October 25, 2016 12:00 AM Bizarre &lsquo;X6&rsquo; murder case http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Bizarre--X6--murder-case_78268 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I appreciate why Judge Lloyd Hibbert, on the recommendation of the prosecution, who had no evidence to offer, entered a &lsquo;not guilty&rsquo; verdict in the Home Circuit Court yesterday, October 24, resulting in the release of the accused businessman Patrick Powell in the X6 murder case relating to the death of Khajeel Mais on July 1, 2011.<br /> <br /> This case, from the outset, was riddled with bizarre contortions and omissions which were destined to lead the prosecution off track.<br /> <br /> Isn&rsquo;t it bizarre that the star witness, Wayne Wright, gave a statement on July 8, 2011, yet it was never read over to him?<br /> <br /> There is a certificate attached to all statements requiring witnesses to attest the facts stated therein are true. Since he denied elements of his statements, will he now be charged for perjury or for creating public mischief?<br /> <br /> Wright told the court on October 20 that there was poor visibility due to a slight fog. Isn&rsquo;t it bizarre that, although the place was foggy, and there was a clear danger, that he acceded to Mais&rsquo; request to drive faster anyway?<br /> <br /> Since the area was foggy, isn&rsquo;t it bizarre that the driver of the big, black SUV would have been so malevolent and reckless as to fire without regard for the life of the occupants of that vehicle? <br /> <br /> Was Powell&rsquo;s gun that was allegedly used in the shooting ever ordered for testing by the judge? Wouldn&rsquo;t surrendering the weapon for testing serve to exonerate him? <br /> <br /> Was a forensic examination conducted on the X6 that was allegedly driven by Powell? What were the findings?<br /> <br /> There is a stench that abounds.<br /> <br /> The poor will continue to suffer injustice because of their situation, and the powerful will reign. I subscribe to the maxim Fiat justitia ruat caelum (Let justice be done, though the heavens fall).<br /> <br /> Dujon Rusell<br /> <br /> dujon.russell@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/6683194/Khajeel-Mais_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, October 25, 2016 12:00 AM Tackle cyber security threat http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Tackle-cyber-security-threat_78282 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Cyber security, as an industry, is experiencing enormous global growth as people and businesses are becoming more and more dependent on technology. As various technologies evolve, threats evolve too, with cyber criminals finding new and creative ways to exploit users and technologies.<br /> <br /> Caribbean organisations, just like any other region in the world, are challenged on many fronts in their efforts to protect themselves and their customers, partners and suppliers from cyber threats. This threat has intensified in recent years.<br /> <br /> Today, through constant innovation, cyber criminals are developing increasingly sophisticated malware and rogue mobile apps and more resilient botnets. And with the rapidly expanding cybercrime-as-a-service marketplace, all these products are becoming much more widely available &mdash; and more exploitable by criminals with little or no technical knowledge.<br /> <br /> Careful estimates suggest that cybercrime will cost businesses over $2 trillion by 2019. The world has to come together to fight this challenge and company directors can play an important role in improving cyber security. I have five quick suggestions which can help our corporate directors, whose organisations are using technologies to serve their customers.<br /> <br /> 1. Cyber security is not just an IT issue; we might do better if we understand and approach cyber security as an enterprise-wide risk management issue.<br /> <br /> 2. Take time out to understand the legal implications of cyber risks as they relate to your company&rsquo;s specific circumstances.<br /> <br /> 3. Get experts in cyber security on board and be sure to give cyber risks sufficient time on the board meeting agenda.<br /> <br /> 4. Allocate an adequate and specific budget to ensure cyber security.<br /> <br /> 5. Do not delay in insuring against the cyber security risks you cannot avoid in the immediate future. These suggestions might help in militating against the risks many of our organisations are facing in regards to the cyber threats.<br /> <br /> Tashfeen Ahmad<br /> <br /> mrtashfeen@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12771202/191683_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, October 25, 2016 12:00 AM She&rsquo;s no Mother Teresa, but a clear favourite http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/She-s-no-Mother-Teresa--but-a-clear-favourite-_78265 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I guess I&rsquo;m unlike Pontius Pilate. Although, he found no fault in the man, he was prepared to give the man over for crucifixion.<br /> <br /> I find fault in Hillary Clinton, of course, but I&rsquo;m not prepared to have her crucified. I have seen how she conducted herself in the recent debates on TV and, although she carries baggage, her positives outweigh her negatives. In the debates, compared to Trump, she convinced me &mdash; and I dare say a whole lot of other people, judging by the opinion polls right now &mdash; that she, although no Mother Teresa &mdash; not even a Beyonce &mdash; will be just fine as president for the USA.<br /> <br /> Americans are a funny set of people: They will huff and puff and be indignant, but usually they will forgive, if one shows humility and penitence. Clinton is showing that now, whereas Trump presents as more the maximum leader. In his mind he can do no wrong.<br /> <br /> So, for me, with the end of the debates, let the games begin and let me see which gladiator is left standing.<br /> <br /> George S Garwood<br /> <br /> Florida, USA <br /> <br /> merleneg@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13374492/Hillary-CLinton_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, October 25, 2016 12:00 AM Does the hare or the tortoise make true progress? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Does-the-hare-or-the-tortoise-make-true-progress-_78199 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Months ago, I found Secretary Hillary Clinton boringly status quo and Donald Trump refreshing.<br /> <br /> However, upon witnessing Clinton&rsquo;s compassion and graceful strength under tremendous and constant fire, and Trump&rsquo;s lack of compassion and instant, emotional reactions, my understanding of them has dramatically changed.<br /> <br /> Careless, hasty, one-sided, overthrowing change is dangerous and counterproductive, whether by extremists abroad or at home. The result is divisive upheaval that unravels years of hard work and takes many steps backwards, hurting everyone. And that&rsquo;s already happening here in America and worldwide.<br /> <br /> Real beneficial change is a continuous process involving years of experience based on a compassionate vision, not a magic wand angrily waving a quick, easy fix into existence. Lasting, constructive change for all occurs slowly and steadily as a result of diligent, day-to-day work which builds the capacity to factor in multiple, complicated, moving parts, and the ability to make adjustments as new information arises, transforming workable solutions into ever better ones. I&rsquo;ve observed astonishing positive change over the decades. But negativity gets the most press.<br /> <br /> Trump&rsquo;s charismatic personality, composed from a simplistic &ldquo;get them so they don&rsquo;t get us&rdquo; attitude, and the belief that &ldquo;we are right and they are wrong&rdquo; plays to our fear, incites anger and division, and yields more anger and greater division.<br /> <br /> Clinton&rsquo;s knowledgeable, reasonable, unflashy personality communicates respectfully with others, including those with different views, yielding safety and economic growth. Her way brings us closer together at home and on the world stage via common ground, balancing strength with understanding, to the benefit of everyone.<br /> <br /> The hare is volatile, fast, boastful and attention-getting, but it&rsquo;s the steady and patient, calm and collected tortoise that really deserves our attention by actually making progress for us all, thereby winning the race.<br /> <br /> Michelle Sullivan<br /> <br /> Springfield, IL, USA<br /> <br /> michelle113@comcast.net<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13325532/Clinton-Trump_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, October 25, 2016 12:00 AM A report in the real sense? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/A-report-in-the-real-sense_78194 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I could have been mad and predicted with accuracy that Dr Fenton Ferguson and the political hacks would jump on the faulty report produced by the country&rsquo;s public defender&rsquo;s office. <br /> <br /> To make it clear, the confidence that I once reposed in the public defender&rsquo;s office, especially during the time of Deputy Public Defender Matondo Mukulu, has diminished because of this report.<br /> <br /> The media published a piece basically saying the public defender has indicated that nothing wrong was done. I suspect that Fenton Ferguson was waiting for something like this to come to the fore so he could seek to refute the allegations of his dismal performance as minister of health. <br /> <br /> Could politics be at play here? I have to ask, though I intend no disrespect. I have to ask that question because this was not the report expected and many see the report as mediocre. I am not satisfied with the report, as have so many others pointed out. It seems to have so many gaps, and so many questions are left unanswered.<br /> <br /> Madam Public Defender, please have the report tabled in the House of Parliament. It must become a matter of parliamentary record, and our parliamentarians must do their jobs and scrutinise it. The report should not be left just to gather dust and serve as Fenton&rsquo;s cynosure of vindication. <br /> <br /> I wonder if this report on the dead babies scandal is a report in the real sense. <br /> <br /> Nicole Foster<br /> <br /> nicolefosjm@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13357103/234613_61732_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, October 24, 2016 12:00 AM Donald Trump is a winner http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Donald-Trump-is-a-winner_77929 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I think Donald J Trump is a winner. Like him or not, he is a winner.<br /> <br /> He is a winner because he demolished his opponents to become the Republican nominee for the presidency of the United States. He got the most votes ever of any Republican nominee to be the presidential candidate.<br /> <br /> Trump is a winner because he is the first-known Democrat-turned Republican nominee for presidency of the United States to single-handedly &ldquo;mash up&rdquo; &mdash; some say divide &mdash; the Republican Party.<br /> <br /> Finally, Donald Trump is a winner because he has ensured that Hillary Clinton will be the first female president of the United States of America.<br /> <br /> With so many firsts under his belt he has to be a winner. What a guy!<br /> <br /> Authnel Reid<br /> <br /> reidaut@icloud.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13371515/235707_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, October 24, 2016 12:00 AM Denied entry to my own country http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Denied-entry-to-my-own-country_78130 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I&rsquo;ve read stories of Jamaicans being denied entry to other countries; however, nothing prepared me for being denied entry to Jamaica, the land of my birth.<br /> <br /> On Friday, September 30, 2016, I was the first passenger to disembark WestJet 2600 from Toronto in the early afternoon. As an airline professional, with over 20 years experience, I have never been to a country and on arrival found there was no one at Immigration to greet and process arriving passengers. This happened to us on arrival in Kingston.<br /> <br /> After waiting several minutes I expressed disgust at the poor service with another passenger. Suddenly an immigration officer appeared, he must&rsquo;ve overheard me. He instructed me to, &ldquo;Shut up...or keep my voice down.&rdquo; Of course, I let him know, as an adult, I didn&rsquo;t appreciate being spoken to like that. He quickly glanced at my passport and passed me on to his supervisor, Miss Tracey Johnson, who explained that the officers were late due to a training session. I found the excuse even more appalling. Why would they schedule training during work period, early afternoon, when most flights start to arrive?<br /> <br /> By then the supervisor decided I was to be denied entry. This stunned me, as a Jamaican by birth, who lived more than half of my life in Jamaica. I planned to visit a terminally ill relative and provide her with some nutritional health products. I explained all this to the officer who showed no empathy. I was to be returned to Toronto on the same day. This caused me much inconvenience, embarrassment and distress.<br /> <br /> Inspector Nelson, who escorted me back on the return flight, further explained that, under the Geneva laws, the authorities could&rsquo;ve also stripped me of my citizenship (sic). Again, I was stunned at the idea I could be stripped of my citizenship by birth!<br /> <br /> I therefore call on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to investigate this matter. I believe the Jamaican Immigration took matters to an extreme here and overstepped their boundaries only because I complained of what I thought was poor service.<br /> <br /> How can we get better as a country if we&rsquo;re so touchy about criticism?<br /> <br /> Richard Leiba<br /> <br /> richardleiba@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12506488/171612_63253_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, October 24, 2016 12:00 AM Time travel is possible, but&hellip; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Time-travel-is-possible--but-_78200 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I am aware of very intensive efforts in some of the advanced countries in which several organisations, including military ones, are trying to accomplish the feat of time travel. What many may consider science fiction is not seen as such by the organisations that are trying to accomplish this.<br /> <br /> However, while I am convinced that time travel is possible, there are some things that some of these organisations are trying to do that I am not too sure about.<br /> <br /> There are several things that these would-be time travellers of our time must understand. Perhaps the most obvious is that the very fact that these organisations are even attempting this feat &mdash; which I am sure will be achieved (in relation to our time) &mdash; is an admission that the present, in relation to any time, must be eternal. How else would anyone attempt to go back to the past or to the future if it is not already there? Another fact is that all events in time &ndash; past, present and future &mdash; are fixed.<br /> <br /> There is another interesting aspect about our reality. These organisations that are trying (and they eventually will, if they haven&rsquo;t already) to achieve time travel will understand that the concept of parallel realities may not be so fictional after all. Why?<br /> <br /> Let&rsquo;s say that a time traveller would want to prevent Adolf Hitler from ever being born. That time traveller would immediately be confronted with some hard truths. First, seeing that Hitler was already born, he cannot be unborn &mdash; at least in this reality. However, while the time traveller cannot stop Hitler&rsquo;s birth in this reality, he can at least observe it.<br /> <br /> However, that time traveller may in fact be able to stop Hitler&rsquo;s birth in another reality. Indeed, that may very well have already happened. In that reality, there probably was never a second world war as we know it to have been in this one.<br /> <br /> The point that I am making here is that both realities and the actions that caused them are fixed. There is nothing that anyone can do to change them. The time traveller will (or already has) have to discover that no matter how insignificant the actions of all of us may be, new realities &mdash; fixed realities &mdash; are &ldquo;created&rdquo;, so to speak.<br /> <br /> In this reality, and at this point in time, breaking the barrier that separates us from the past, the future and the other parallel realities has not been achieved (at least in any significant way). However, make no mistake, this can and will be done (and indeed may have already been done).<br /> <br /> Michael A Dingwall<br /> <br /> michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13378481/time_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, October 24, 2016 12:00 AM Trump is the biggest threat to democracy in America http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Trump-is-the-biggest-threat-to-democracy-in-America_77934 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> If Americans cannot see the threat that Donald Trump poses to democracy in America, then truly they are blind. <br /> <br /> Quite honestly, this is not even about a debate anymore, this is about the fact that a relatively unstable man might possibly be president of this country.<br /> <br /> Even if he loses, he has already planted the seeds of discontent among his supporters, much to the point that they have already declared that there will be war if he loses.<br /> <br /> For the GOP to sit back and allow this kind of farce to continue speaks volumes, and quite honestly, as far as I am concerned, well-thinking Americans should be very afraid.<br /> <br /> I watched the last debate, and when Trump was asked if he lost the election if he would accept it with grace and dignity, his answer was quintessentially no. Because no matter how we try to spin it, that was exactly what his answer was. I thought to myself, this man is dangerous.<br /> <br /> Every well-thinking American sitting in that audience at the last debate should have got up and walked out to show their disgust and disdain, and send a message to Donald and the GOP that it was unacceptable.<br /> <br /> Those Jamaicans who have been allowed the chance to be here in America, and now have the right to vote here in America, and dare to suggest that they will vote for Donald Trump, it speaks volumes about their knowledge.<br /> <br /> In the same manner they probably had no clue when they voted back home in Jamaica, they have brought that same ignorance here with them. It speaks volumes that they take the freedom afforded to them in America, as black people and as immigrants, as a darn joke. Because no one who understands what it really means to leave a Third World country and to now be in a country where you basically have uninhibited access to education, health care, etc, should throw that away by voting for a potential tyrant.<br /> <br /> The actions and words of Donald Trump are the words and actions of a dictator, not of someone who upholds democracy.<br /> <br /> We need to pray for this country, because win or lose, after this election Donald Trump will make sure that the America we all sing about as the &ldquo;land of the free and the home of the brave&rdquo; will cease to exist.<br /> <br /> God have mercy on America.<br /> <br /> Michelle Bradshaw<br /> <br /> phillipsmichelle57@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13376097/236015_63054_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, October 24, 2016 12:00 AM Spice set herself up for embarrassment http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Spice-set-herself-up-for-embarrassment_77806 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> My opinion on the &lsquo;Spice Saga&rsquo; concerning her being contracted to work at the &lsquo;Rio Salute&rsquo; is that everybody was in anxiety to see her performance, including me, knowing her lyrics. I was there when she was announced and that was the impression.<br /> <br /> Some people are saying that Spice was set up to perform at that show. My strong opinion on that is I don&rsquo;t think the organisers set her up. Spice is the person that set herself up for embarrassment.<br /> <br /> I believe, as an artiste, she should be versatile. I think Spice could have demonstrated to those people who were looking for very little from her that she can entertain without doing any of her outrageous songs. I take for example Lady Saw before she got converted to Christianity; she had two sides &mdash; Marion Hall and Lady Saw. Spice got the chance to prove that she can perform for diplomats too and she messed it up. So she has no one to blame but herself. Artistes must put themselves in the position to entertain different types of audiences, and not just dancehall fans.<br /> <br /> So, people can stop talking nonsense that the organisers set her up.<br /> <br /> Mark Bell<br /> <br /> mark.bellphoto@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13167027/sumfest5_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Saturday, October 22, 2016 2:00 AM Place Greg Christie at Customs http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Place-Greg-Christie-at-Customs_77678 Dear Editor, <br /> <br /> Former distinguished Contractor General Greg Christie has been rumoured to be in contention to be Jamaica&rsquo;s next commissioner of Customs. Media reports say the contract of Major Richard Reece ends shortly.<br /> <br /> Christie had an outstanding, successful and exemplary tenure as contractor general and served with vast distinction, probity and extensive professionalism over the period, which without a doubt served exceedingly well this country. He is credited as being fearless, uncompromisingly devoted, and was highly respected as a no-nonsense public servant of high integrity.<br /> <br /> He would be an excellent choice for the position of commissioner of Customs and a huge positive asset to the Customs Agency of Jamaica. He would be in a professional position to comprehensively seek out and clean up the levels of corruption throughout the system and secure the country&rsquo;s well-needed government revenue.<br /> <br /> The Customs Agency is filled with inefficiencies, underperformance and, I believe, a lack of proper supervision for middle level-ranked staff. Quite regularly we hear customers of Customs bitterly complaining about these problems in different platforms, be it on talk shows, letters or varying exchanges.<br /> <br /> All too frequently we hear president of the Returning Residents&rsquo; Association, the irrepressible and vocal Percival LaTouche, vociferously complaining on the talk shows regarding the problems which returning residents are experiencing on returning to Jamaica, at times being overcharged duties way in excess of what they paid for items and personal assets being brought home. This is preventing more Jamaicans from returning each year, says LaTouche, which is an indictment on the leadership which currently exists at the Customs Agency.<br /> <br /> The system needs someone of the integrity of a Greg Christie to uplift the performance levels. A Greg Christie is the man for the job. Appoint Greg Christie to the position, Minister Audley Shaw. We need him there to reform the agency.<br /> <br /> Robert Dalley, Esq<br /> <br /> St James<br /> <br /> robertdalley1@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/8943261/greg_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Saturday, October 22, 2016 2:00 AM How come? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/How-come_77896 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> While I acknowledge and commend the efforts of Jamaica Public Service CEO Kelly Tomlin to improve the service of her company to the public, I must point out one area that needs attention: the policy of replacing broken street lights.<br /> <br /> Customer service says it takes two to three weeks because of a shortage of crews. But, ironically, when my bill is overdue, disconnection crews are there the next day. Please hire some more personnel to deal with the street lights. Hundreds if not thousands of Jamaicans live in fear of thieves and rapists at night as they are emboldened by the cover of darkness due to JPS&rsquo;s policy. I call it negligence.<br /> <br /> Mike O&rsquo;Donnell<br /> <br /> mikeodonnell39@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10583461/JPS-worker-2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Saturday, October 22, 2016 2:00 AM Disgraceful treatment from CRH http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Disgraceful-treatment-from-CRH_77804 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> A few days ago I visited Cornwall Regional Hospital&rsquo;s (CRH) Casualty Department, taking an uncle of mine for emergency treatment. I had to wait six hours before receiving medical treatment for him from doctors at the type one medical facility.<br /> <br /> The emergency waiting room was half-filled and nurses and doctors, from personal observation, were working at a slow pace, exhibiting very little concern for patients, despite working in an emergency room setting. What&rsquo;s more, the nurses and two doctors who attended to my uncle were rude, uncaring and obnoxious, and operated as if patients were not human and had no feelings.<br /> <br /> Individuals awaiting emergency medical treatment were at times very annoyed at the hours upon hours in waiting time that they were enduring and at times could be heard shouting for help, which in my view is a disgraceful indictment on the management of the hospital.<br /> <br /> The restroom located at the Casualty Department was filthy and smelly &mdash; another disgrace.<br /> <br /> After my uncle was treated by doctors he received a prescription to be taken to the hospital&rsquo;s pharmacy, where we waited another two hours before reaching the dispensary window, only to be callously told that the three prescription items were out of stock.<br /> <br /> I am calling upon the Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton to immediately conduct an investigation into the operations at the CRH, and thereafter take the relevant measures to rectify the disorganisation, the deplorable and disrespectful conduct of nurses and doctors who serve at this emergency department, and the shortage of drugs at the hospital&rsquo;s pharmacy.<br /> <br /> My uncle and I were truly disappointed with and shocked at the poor treatment which we received at CRH. Things cannot continue in this disgraceful way. <br /> <br /> Over to you, Minister Tufton. We taxpayers are entitled to first-class medical treatment at any publicly operated and funded hospital.<br /> <br /> Andrew Bedasse<br /> <br /> Lucea PO, Hanover<br /> <br /> andrewbedasse@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13357415/234674_61806_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, October 21, 2016 2:00 AM No entry: bare shoulders http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/No-entry--bare-shoulders_77912 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> What&rsquo;s next? No blacks, no dogs, no Irish?<br /> <br /> I am a student of one of Jamaica&rsquo;s foremost universities. Yesterday I went to use the computer lab to have my devices configured for Wi-Fi access. I was denied access as I was told by the security that, as my shoulders were bare, I could not be allowed to use the lab. Yes, you read that right.<br /> <br /> A three-piece suit or its equivalent is required to access the computer lab at the University of Still Stuck in the Dark.<br /> <br /> Upon my objection, I was directed to look at the pictures behind me, where I noted various graphics depicting hats, bandanas, shorts, fringes, etc, which some colonialist has decided is inappropriate for university wear.<br /> <br /> Never mind the fact that, as a paying client and a human being, I was disrespected in no uncertain terms based on the opinion of someone who feels the need to dictate how I, as a reasonable person, should look and dress.<br /> <br /> The most galling insult to my person stems from the fact that services are so limited at this university &mdash; even as we try our best to understand Jamaica being in a difficult economic situation. The Wi-Fi is mostly unavailable, library facilities are inconvenient, and the one computer lab doubles as a teaching lab, at which technician is not always at hand to help. The classrooms are hot, and in summer or by the second semester unbearable. I recall an incident during the sitting of one exam in which I was so overcome by the heat I had to take a good four- to five-minute break to gather myself, while a sympathetic invigilator tried to find me water and get me to a window and nearer to the one fan.<br /> <br /> The objective and morale of this public institution of higher learning need to be seriously reassessed. The alacrity with which presumed infractions/breaches are addressed is almost unholy when compared to seeming lack of regard for quality service and basic common decency and good sense.<br /> <br /> Charmaine Smith<br /> <br /> Kingston 8<br /> <br /> che8492000@gmail.com http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13231310/221644__w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, October 21, 2016 2:00 AM A salute to Tastee http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/A-salute-to-Tastee_77405 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Jamaica is blessed with a number of corporate companies which consider it their civic duty to give back to society. None more so than Tastee, Jamaica&rsquo;s leading patty makers.<br /> <br /> This 50-year-old company has given back millions of dollars over the years. One way has been by way of scholarships &mdash; leading actress Claudette Pious was one of the first to benefit from this through the Tastee Talent Contest when she was awarded a scholarship to the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts.<br /> <br /> In the mid-70s there was the popular patty-eating contest when individuals tried to down as many patties as they could in the allotted time for major prizes. Those of us old enough would recall the famous eater &ldquo;Father Forsythe&rdquo;, who easily defeated rivals until he was banned from the competition.<br /> <br /> Then in 1979 came Jamaica&rsquo;s longest-running and most successful talent contest, the Tastee Talent Contest, as it was then called. For 34 unbroken years Tastee spent hundreds of millions of dollars producing this contest across the island, employing scores of people, while unearthing the likes of Beenie Man, Nadine Sutherland, T.O.K, Cobra, Papa San, Brian and Tony Gold, and many others.<br /> <br /> Additionally, Tastee gives away hundreds of patties daily to charities, communities and other events.<br /> <br /> Still, the company started by Vincent Chang in 1966 continues to not only produce Jamaica&rsquo;s best patty, but continues to give back to the society.<br /> <br /> In this its 50th year, Tastee ought to be saluted.<br /> <br /> Delroy Sangster<br /> <br /> Stony Hill, St Andrew<br /> <br /> dougswifftt@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13157551/215564__w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, October 21, 2016 2:00 AM &lsquo;Rio Salute&rsquo; programme constructed with consultation http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/-Rio-Salute--programme-constructed-with-consultation_77672 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I am a person who supports good things, and I am a patriotic Jamaican, so I want to take the chance to comment on the criticisms made of the recently held &lsquo;Rio Salute&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> This is not about taking sides of political parties, but about supporting the people who give us glory and that is really what everyone should be focusing on, rather than finding things to criticise. It is a pity that the effort the Government made to be all-inclusive in our national honour of the Rio Olympians has been made into the tool of political criticism.<br /> <br /> I am happy to have been a member of the team of people who were invited to undertake various aspects of the salute, so I am qualified to clarify some issues relating to the entire programme to honour the great achievements of our national team. The budget of $82 million was not spent on the Rio Salute at the National Indoor Sports Centre. The figure includes cash awards of $42 million to athletes, coaches and officials of the Rio delegation, airfares to Jamaica for athletes living abroad, transportation, and hospitality for five days in Kingston and western Jamaica, as well as the cost of hiring the National Indoor Sports Centre for rehearsal, the cost of staging the actual event, paying the choreographer, dancers, lights and sound technicians, as well as the artistes.<br /> <br /> The production of the entertainment in the Rio Salute programme included several aspects of national culture. There was gospel music, reggae music and dancehall music. Some athletes were asked while plans were being made which artistes they wanted to see perform. Just as Kevin Downswell was named by members of the team who like gospel music, and Chronixx was chosen by the reggae fans, Spice was one of several named to represent those for whom dancehall is their choice of Jamaican music. I have heard criticisms for including gospel music, and I have been told that some people left the event because they were disappointed with the Chronixx set. These criticisms were not as vicious as those who objected to Spice&rsquo;s inclusion in the show, yet I have heard much praise from those who thoroughly enjoyed her performance as much as I enjoyed Chronixx.<br /> <br /> I am glad to have been there because I represent a certain demographic, and I was very proud that Chronixx enlivened the show with his song Smile Jamaica and gave us a blazing finale, which was a fitting end to a great evening of entertainment enjoyed by everyone in the centre.<br /> <br /> It is not possible to please everyone at national events. I know Minister Olivia &ldquo;Babsy&rdquo; Grange will continue to try to do her best as minister of gender, culture, entertainment and sports. She knows that criticism is par for the course, and will surely respond in another space, while I take the opportunity to respond in mine. <br /> <br /> Barbara Makeda Blake Hannah<br /> <br /> jamediapro@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13368758/235417_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, October 20, 2016 12:00 AM Public defender&rsquo;s dead babies&rsquo; report wanting http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Public-defender-s-dead-babies--report-wanting_77674 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I am appalled at the broad-brush approach that the Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry employed in her investigations into the deaths of eight premature babies at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) following the Klebsiella and Serratia outbreaks in June 2013.<br /> <br /> In her report that was released on October 14, Henry said: &ldquo;There was no outbreak at the Neonatal Unit between June and October 2015. That which transpired was not unusual and the infectious happenings were part of the hazards of low birth weight, undeveloped organs and immune systems and the hospital environment.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> She summarised her findings by stating: &ldquo;The premature babies, who were particularly susceptible to infections, became the unfortunate victims of an under-resourced medical facility,&rdquo; and that it &ldquo;appears from the evidence that the concept of an outbreak was purely a media creation&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> In her wisdom, it was prudent to chide the media and investigate the hospital staff, but failed to consider the statements of the UHWI&rsquo;s then CEO Dr Trevor McCartney which spoke to the troubling resource inadequacies. It is no secret that the hospitals countrywide are woefully under-resourced and poorly managed.<br /> <br /> In the context of questionable cleaning practices and the hospitals&rsquo; failure in ensuring protocol adherence, how could she form the reasonable view that there was no evidence of medical negligence in the treatment, care and management of the dead babies?<br /> <br /> It is trite that each case must be assessed on its own merits; however, she made no particularly distinctive application of the law on the facts and her broad-brush approach is unacceptable.<br /> <br /> What was the objective of her investigation? To absolve the concerned officials of the extensive damage and suffering that they caused to the parents of these dead babies resulting from their own mismanagement? Did she expect that the concerned staff would incriminate themselves? More importantly, was independent scientific evidence sought?<br /> <br /> Negligence was demonstrated and the hospital staff must be held civilly liable. Henry failed to incorporate the evidence of the parents; that which was supplied by the ministry&rsquo;s technocrats; or any independent scientific evidence, which I believe was relevant and substantial to the case.<br /> <br /> It is only fitting to circumvent this controversial matter before a high court judge who is objective, balanced, who possess critical reasoning skills, and who pays attention to detail.<br /> <br /> What about the dead babies at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, or has she applied her generic (anecdotal) approach to those individual cases as well?<br /> <br /> Harrison Henry&rsquo;s wanting investigation and misguided determination may well be damaging to the integrity of her office. It must be vigorously reviewed and challenged.<br /> <br /> Dujon Russell<br /> <br /> dujon.russell@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12763112/191438_20911_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, October 20, 2016 12:00 AM Hope the MPs read Grace Virtue&rsquo;s column http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Hope-the-MPs-read-Grace-Virtue-s-column_77658 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The country must thank Dr Grace Virtue for clearly stating the obvious in her column in the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday, October 18, 2016.<br /> <br /> I read with dismay some of the reactions to the pit bull near-massacre.<br /> <br /> Why was the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation only considering contributing to the financial needs of this unfortunate family? Why has no legal action been taken against the owner(s) of these dogs?<br /> <br /> This is not a private matter, as was reportedly said in one newspaper. The laws clearly show the illegality of possession of these dogs in Jamaica. This I have known since 1963 when I worked in the travel industry in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> It seems that the ownership of these dogs, these killing machines, is a status symbol, or evidence of gangsterism.<br /> <br /> In some jurisdictions in the US these dogs (pit bulls) are banned because of their vicious nature.<br /> <br /> No citizen should be afraid to walk on the public streets because of dogs.<br /> <br /> Thanks, Dr Virtue for addressing this matter.<br /> <br /> I hope all the Members of Parliament, those with cojones, stand up and do what is necessary &mdash; the elimination of these dogs from Jamaica&rsquo;s shores.<br /> <br /> Our children and adults are more important than pit bulls.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Louis A Hemans<br /> <br /> Hyattsville, MD, USA<br /> <br /> Lahemans@aol.com<br /> <br /> Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, October 20, 2016 12:00 AM Arscott&rsquo;s shameful tribal comments http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Arscott-s-shameful-tribal-comments_77632 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I feel compelled to agree wholeheartedly with Robert Dalley who wrote a well-written letter published in the Jamaica Observer of October 13, 2016. He asked, &ldquo;Why is Arscott seeking to politically discredit and tear down Government&rsquo;s impressive preparedness? Where is the evidence to substantiate the claims from Arscott that the Government politicised the distribution of hurricane relief items?&rdquo;<br /> <br /> As a concerned citizen, I am truly disappointed in Arscott trying to shamefully discredit the Minister of Local Government Desmond McKenzie, when he and government agencies (Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, National Meteorological Centre, etc) all did a remarkable job of preparing the country for the hurricane.<br /> <br /> Minister McKenzie and Prime Minister Andrew Holness were on the ground ensuring that the agencies did what was necessary to put the country in a prepared position to face the hurricane if it came through Jamaica. Over three hundred shelters were opened across the 14 parishes managed by parish councils, and the shelter managers were in direct charge of supervising them. <br /> <br /> Dalley asked other important questions in his Observer letter, &ldquo;Why didn&rsquo;t Arscott implement complete local government reform while serving as local government minister? Why did he allow the Jamaica Fire Brigade to rundown during his tenure as minister? He should be embarrassed for allowing the fire service to be totally neglected and not equipped under his watch. Now he has the audacity to be criticising the Government on every talk show and in Parliament when the Government acted promptly and professionally in activating its emergency hurricane centre and gave the country regular updates on the hurricane and its tracking information.<br /> <br /> Arscott&rsquo;s sort of tribal politics has no place in today&rsquo;s Jamaica. I am really ashamed of Arscott.<br /> <br /> But should I be surprised of Arscott&rsquo;s tribal comments when the Opposition party has been a disaster to date with a lame duck team of spokespersons.<br /> <br /> Andrew Bedasse <br /> <br /> Lucea PO, Hanover<br /> <br /> andrewbedasse@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13117277/Noel-Arscott_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, October 20, 2016 12:00 AM