Sunday Brew — February 23, 2020

Sunday Brew — February 23, 2020

Sunday, February 23, 2020

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Place soldiers in troubled schools

The alarming regularity by which we see violent actions being manifested in schools these days begs for a forum on whether or not soldiers ought to be placed in institutions to stem some of the hot-headed behaviour, mainly perpetuated by students.

Some of those 'pepper' mouths who came out so forcefully against the teacher from Pembroke Hall High who was involved in a verbal tracing with a boy from the school, may well be thinking otherwise now, after weeks of tension in the classroom caused by children.

Start with the illustrious Cornwall College if you want, and come across the line to schools in St Mary, St Catherine, and the Corporate Area, and you will get other clear-cut stories of how violent the children of this country are.

And that is why I strongly believe that if our policymakers wait any longer, things could get far worse in the schools and there could be mass killings.

We as a country are not taking heed. The signs are there. The children of today are being largely influenced by societal conduct that impacts them from first base – the home. The added poison of vulgar and violent dancehall lyrics is adding gasoline to the already out-of-control inferno.

So, send the soldiers in to man certain schools where threat levels are high. After that, the setting up of cameras at certain locations, and metal detectors at the main entrance should also be introduced.

Scrap the Economic Growth and Job Creation Ministry

When Pearnel Charles Jr wins the by-election in Clarendon South Eastern on March 2, he will likely be returned to be policy head of that portion of the phantom ministry called Economic Growth and Job Creation, that takes in water, housing and infrastructure.

My one request of Prime Minister Andrew Holness is for him to disband the name of that 'fool fool' ministry and get back to the core business of how ministries were named before.

There were three ministers in the Economic Growth ministry up to two weeks ago Daryl Vaz, Karl Samuda, and Charles Jr all having their portfolio responsibilities that they were mandated to carry out.

But behind all that still lingers this beast called the Economic Growth ministry that stands for nothing. The nation was convinced by Michael Lee Chin and Aubyn Hill into believing that economic growth could emerge as a result of the creation of a fancy ministry. Not so. It will never happen.

The silly talk of achieving five per cent Gross Domestic Product growth in four years was one of those pipe dreams that could not happen with the approach those well-learned individuals were taking. To achieve five per cent growth in Jamaica would require a radical approach by policymakers that would, among other things, mean importing skilled labour; for the projects that would emerge from that significant movement would be vast, and not something that this largely untrained band of unemployed people could manage.

Positive growth too, cannot be achieved with the kind of fluctuating crime numbers that we have grown accustomed to. Apart from investors in tourism and the BPO sector, major movers of capital will shy away from injecting their money into projects here.

So let us get real … again. Have specific ministries for the specific needs of the populace. Not some dried up, unattractive name tag that has no bearing on life and the upward mobility of people… some would even say, prosperity.

What's up with this new gaming entity?

Last Sunday, my bona fide Jamaica Observer colleague Arthur Hall reported on a potential conflict of interest in view of the move to have a new player enter the local gaming industry through the issuing of a third licence.

On the surface, it seems like a, in Jamaican language, 'mix up and blender' situation, with a complexion of something potentially nasty at the end of the stick.

The directors of the new company seeking the licence, called Mahoe Gaming Enterprises Limited, in BGLC documents, include Paul B Scott, who heads Musson Jamaica Ltd; and one-time boss of Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke, under whose ministry the regulatory institution for gaming in Jamaica – the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission falls; William Mahfood of Wisynco, and Michelle Myers Mayne of KFC. The secretary is Lise-ann Harris, daughter of former Supreme Ventures chairman Paul Hoo. The last name right away raises a red flag, as Paul Hoo ran Supreme Ventures for several years. He would know the bowels of the organisation, which could put it at a disadvantage should a new player enter.

Executive Director of the BGLC, Vitus Evans is a close friend of Paul Hoo, who was hired by Hoo as a consultant to Supreme Ventures while Hoo was chairman, and received payments from Supreme Ventures days after he was appointed executive director of the BGLC, the report stated. The issue of conflict of interest comes in here.

Does the gaming industry really need a new player now? I'm not convinced of that, because it would not be good for the State, in terms of how much it will get from taxes etc. In fact I would bet that while the new player would benefit, the country's coffers would not.

I will expand on that later.

Destroying a servant of the PNP

If what I am hearing is true, then the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) officials who are bad-mounting independent candidate Derrick Lambert, and telling their supporters not to vote for him, should lower their heads in shame.

Lambert, the man they call 'Yatta' is one of those 'in-the-trench' soldiers of the PNP. He has indeed fought many a battle, and taken many a hit, some of them physical … all toward the cause of building a political party that has turned its back on him.

The vulgar display by the PNP in not contesting the by-election inn Clarendon South Eastern pales in comparison to what has been happening on the ground in respect of the treatment of Lambert, who, incidentally did better that Patricia Duncan Sutherland when he lost to then MP Ruddy Spencer by 107 votes in the December 2011 general election. Duncan Sutherland lost to Spencer by 958 votes in 2016.

She decided not to run against Pearnel Charles Jr, following the resignation of Spencer earlier this month, a stupid move that will come back to haunt her. Had she contested the by-election and even lost, she would have placed herself in a position to look at the weak areas and try to work on them leading into the general election, which will likely follow soon.

But no, political insanity got the better of her and the PNP, and to compound the messy issue, word is out that officials of the PNP are in the field trying to persuade, or convince their supporters not to vote for Lambert. To what end?

But then, like I have been saying for a long time, and which is now becoming an echo, what can we expect of the PNP if it still insists on running Patrick Roberts, and now others like Venesha Phillips and Rohan Banks in seats? It's sheer madness! The party can do better.

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