NO, Stormie. Despite your overheated denouncement, I will not go to hell or fear damnation because I happen to care deeply for the natural environment of the country in which I was born and where my navel string was buried at the root of a coconut tree in the yard of my maternal grandparents. I'm very proud of being born in one parish (St Elizabeth) and spending important growing-up time in another (Hanover). I'm sorry if you don't get it, Stormie. Some of us love this country with all our hearts, to the point of caring for it more than even elected officials who get deluded into thinking that it belongs to them and them alone.
The Goat Islands — big and small — have become the hottest verandah topic as we wrestle with the puzzle: What is more important, people's welfare or the environment? People are not fool-fool as some loud-mouths might think. No, Stormie, those who plead for protection of the flora and fauna of this land also care for the well-being of poor people, believe it or not. Why can't we balance the equation and take care of both?
Even more than that, where's the proof that all "big people" have to do is sit around on golden cushions, dining on grilled steak and lobsters, and sipping Chardonnay, oblivious to the needs of the needy, especially the unemployed. It makes good propaganda, but it is time to "mash down that lie".
As to the invitation to go to hell, Stormie, we presume this will require a visa of some kind. Who will be issuing the papers, and have the fees been increased without warning? It's the style.
One reason it is so easy to propagandise a matter like the environment is that most people really do not care about lizards and rare plants which the environmentalists find so compelling. To hell with the environment talk and those who indulge in it, eh, Stormie? All that rubbish about saving lizards. Fi wha? Which big man you ever see hug up croaker? We have bigger fish to fry — that is, if we find any.
Speaking of fish, Stormie, how many persons do you know who are concerned that our fishing industry is "ketching" hell? Despite efforts to educate them, bandits of the sea believe that fish can survive when the reefs are destroyed by dynamite, bleach in the water, and even spearing the fish as they sleep. Yes, fish really sleep. Abuse of the marine environment is getting serious from Morant Point to Negril, North Coast to South Coast. If we continue to ignore the warnings, we shouldn't be surprised at the results.
There's a particular market where I go sometimes in search of fresh fish. The last time I went, instead of nice, fresh snapper, all the "fish lady" could show me were the utensils and tools used for cleaning fish, hung up, bone-dry. The vendor said that over the past two weeks she hadn't got even a fish head. Soon she may have to find another way to earn a bread. Despite public education campaigns, poachers refuse to make the connection between the insanity of catching lobsters packed with eggs and a time fast approaching when we will find no lobsters at all. Somebody has to protect us from ourselves.
Before you go on another rant, Stormie, try and listen. No environmentalist is saying that every blade of grass must be wrapped in a blanket so it doesn't catch cold, or every fish given an expensive mattress to get a good night's rest. It is critical to wake up and accept that people need the environment, just as it needs us. We can live together successfully or die stupidly. Of course we need development which can bring advancement. It shouldn't have to be at the total expense of each other. Surely we can develop materially and preserve the environment at the same time.
So what really is going to happen with the Goat Islands/Portland Bight story? You seem to know more than we, Stormie. What really a gwaan? Are the Chinese coming to Old Harbour? How many jobs will they allow us and on what terms? It is time for the authorities to tell us whether the agreement between Beijing and Kingston is already signed, sealed, delivered, and what will come after. Don't be displeased when we ask. We need to get the full details and know what is in store not only for Jamaica today, but Jamaica tomorrow. There is a whole heap of other questions to be answered. The sooner, the better we'll all feel and Stormie can get some sleep.
Uneasy lies the head
You have to ask yourself why anybody would want to take on the burden of leading a nation, particularly in this time when respect for authority is at an all-time low. President Obama's hair continues to turn white before our eyes. Lines are now etched deeply into his face and that bounce, running up and down the steps of Air Force One, is decidedly less jaunty.
The Syrian situation lies like a heavy, heavy load dropped on his shoulder. Globally, the talk is about the possibility that an attack could lead rapidly to World War III. Who needs that, and what is he to do? If he tries to discipline Syria for using poison gas on its own people - men, women and children - it will lead to pushback with deadly results. If he pulls back, he will be declared a weakling. He can't win.
Uncle Roger's back broad
His plus-size figure makes him an easy target for media mockery, rapidly making him king of the sound bites. He barely got over the chicken neck and back when he's been returned to the slime-light for "daggering" at a constituency fete. Some persons are asking if the few seconds on the dance floor make this one really worthy of headline commentary while there are so many serious issues on the national agenda.
Last Sunday's Observer scored with the feature on the state of Goat Islands. Respect to the writing team and the photographer for their sensitive treatment of land and sea, plant and animal life. That pic of the beautiful blue sea - shot of class! Now we know why the area is regarded worthy of protection. We also need to know the facts about the alleged lease agreement, which it is said the US had with Jamaica for use of the Goat Islands. Signed in 1940, the lease would not be up until 2039. If it is true, then would it be legal to dispose of the area while a lease is still in place? The scenario gets more complicated.