Sunday Brew — November 10, 2019

with HG HELPS
Editor-at-Large
helpsh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, November 10, 2019

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Those political tribalists will never change

These days in particular, the political tribalists, those who cannot see beyond their noses as far as their party is concerned, are spending more time sharpening their swords and knives.

Tribalists are dangerous people. Don't tell them about putting country first. They believe in one thing: the party must come first at all times.

There is no way that we can progress as a nation with that mindset.

A good example of country before party, or even self, is the United States of America. Yes, the Republicans and Democrats, who represent the largest group of political activists and supporters, will always look out for their organisations. But very few would put either party ahead of the great USA when it comes to making the fundamental decisions that are so crucial to that great nation's existence.

So why can't we adopt that same attitude right here in Jamaica? There are those who believe that credit should not be given to some of our politicians in particular, who have worked hard in pushing the interest of their constituents. Last week I mentioned one in particular Dr Norman Dunn the man who became Member of Parliament on a Jamaica Labour Party ticket in St Mary South Eastern two years ago, whose work, in the context of how MPs perform, is, in my estimation, outstanding.

But there are those who will see the facts and completely ignore them. Those tribalists want you to do likewise. That's not going to happen with this Jamaican. So they can stop wasting their time with their mutterings from near and far.

When politicians in particular are making progress, they should be recognised. For it's not often that they achieve much, due to a combination of factors.

They will not always get it right, and no matter how they perform, they will always be criticised. But people like Dr Dunn, Julian Robinson in St Andrew South Eastern, who although I do not think is the best man for the Opposition People's National Party to have as its general secretary, is a fine MP; Dr Horace Chang, Dr Fenton Ferguson, Peter Bunting, Richard Azan, Pearnel Charles, “Babsy” Grange, Audley Shaw, Dr Dayton Campbell, Delroy Chuck, Fitz Jackson, Mikael Phillips, Leslie Campbell, Karl Samuda, Bobby Montague and Ed Bartlett are among those who I believe continue to make decent progress in their constituencies.

Needed: A Pothole Patrol

The roads across Jamaica are not the best. Those in sections of the Corporate Area are not ones that would inspire motorists whose vehicles are moving along with questionable front ends.

For decades, the condition of Jamaica's roads has been a sore point, and many roadblocks by irate citizens have led to some quick-fix approaches, but, surely, that's not the way to go.

The National Works Agency is the quasi-State body that has responsibility for most roads across the island. The municipal corporations have jurisdiction over others. Now how can we tackle the problem of pothole-filled roads? Let's deal with the Corporate Area first, which accommodates a third of Jamaica's population.

My suggestion to the National Works Agency is for it to establish a Pothole Patrol which will go around and attack potholes before they fester and get larger. The Pothole Patrol will be a quick response mobile unit, armed with at least 10 people who will dive into the troubled spots and ease the burden on travellers.

Of course, the unit will not only be a bald truck, it must have an office equipped with text and telephone lines which the people will use to report the awful road bugs.

It's time to declare war on the worst enemy of our vehicles, although there are some out there who still think that the enemy number one is a traffic cop.

Tackling racism in sport

Much has been said about racism in general, long before the dreaded Apartheid system in South Africa.

Now, sport is where the action is, as footballers in particular battle fans of the great game in a manner in which they really do not have to.

No white man is better than me. We are equal. He is superior in no way. Some of us think the same way, act the same way, eat the same foods, drive the same vehicles, and while the size of our sex organs may vary, we often contribute to the system of reproduction with offspring whose thinking are alike. So what's the big deal?

Why are black footballers kicking balls into the stands and threatening to leave the field of play in Europe because they hear monkey chants in the many stadia that they visit? They are black already, so what? And they are being paid, handsomely, as professionals.

My thing is simple: Ignore those who come with such racist chants and get on with the game. As long as a black man realises that a white man is not better than he, there will be no issues. Racism will gradually go away. But if black men continue to stop playing and complain about racist chants and abuse, then that would be like fertilising a plant.

Years ago, across from the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, four black Jamaican students, including me, and a white man, who was our friend, attempted to enter a pub early in the night. We were met with a flat and deep-voiced message at the entrance: NO BLACKS! … coming from a rusty white fellow. We walked away. It was not worth it. Our white friend kept uttering as we went, 'I want to apologise on behalf of all America'.

That was a different case from what the footballers are facing now but it was outright racism, and there was no point trying to get into a physical confrontation. And it was so easy to find another place nearby which had no prejudices.

Racism, sometimes, is imagined. Some of us make it seems real.

Castrate those who rape women

It was difficult to digest.

Imagine, a 93-year-old woman raped in Brown's Town, St Ann last week. And to compound the situation, she is an amputee.

How callous and low can we get? We have heard about quite a few of these cases of 'senior' citizens being raped. It cannot continue. To me, rape is the most heinous crime and I believe in castration as the ultimate punishment for offenders in court matters that leave no doubt as to who the culprits are.

There are many out there who will say no to castration, but it is one way of cooling down the over-energised wielders of the willy who believe that they can park in any garage that has no affiliation to them.

No woman should be subjected to forced sex. No man either. But in this case, what on Earth could a man be thinking by attacking a woman in her 90s in the wee hours of Thursday morning?

When someone finds out, please let me know.


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