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 Critics of the Government’s tax plan are being disingenuous http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Critics-of-the-Government-s-tax-plan-are-being-disingenuous_61848 The International Monetary Fund (IMF), through its representatives in Jamaica, has given a ringing endorsement of the budget presented by the new Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Government through its spokesman, the minister of finance, Audley Shaw. Local Opinion Tue, 24 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT The new tax measures from an economic perspective http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-new-tax-measures-from-an-economic-perspective_61851 A tax policy is not solely a vehicle for a Government to garner revenue, it’s also an instrument of social control and a mechanism for addressing market failures. In light of this, the recently announced new taxes on petrol, cigarette and air travel by the Government ought to be welcomed, as they account — or at least begin to account — for the external costs associated with the consumption of these goods and services, that is the emission of greenhouse gases and mal respiratory-related particulates. Local Opinion Tue, 24 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT Violet Mosse Brown — 116 amazing years! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Violet-Mosse-Brown---116-amazing-years-_61711 In the quiet district of Duanvale, Trelawny, is a lady whose life has crossed three centuries. Local Opinion Mon, 23 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT Rubik’s cube of the Caribbean public education system http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Rubik-s-cube-of-the-Caribbean-public-education-system_61692 GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — The very good news for Caribbean education is that the Caribbean Community’s (Caricom) Council for Human and Social Development has agreed that 2016 is the time to craft a Regional Strategic Action Plan that presents a harmonised approach to educational reform in Caricom. Local Opinion Mon, 23 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT A budget by any other name http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/A-budget-by-any-other-name_61610 If any of our finance ministers enjoy giving a budget presentation it must be the incumbent Audley Shaw. His enthusiasm as he delivered his opening speech on May 12 was contagious. A national budget that calls for 10 per cent less spending than the one presented by the previous Administration a year ago has been met with grudging but loud applause coming from the most unlikely sources. Local Opinion Sun, 22 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT Cozier: A man who had time for me http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Cozier--A-man-who-had-time-for-me_61626 Last Sunday, as usual, I got up at the crack of dawn to see what was going on in the world of cricket. And so I went to the on-line cricket Bible — ESPNcricinfo. On down I scrolled to one of the game’s most fervent Sunday-morning preachers, Tony Cozier. I noticed that his sermon had not changed from that of the previous Sunday — ‘West Indies cricket needs Legend’s clout’. I immediately figured that something was up. But little did I know that my friend was on his way down. And by Wednesday he was gone. Local Opinion Sun, 22 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT The PNP pot calling the kettle black — disingenuous http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-PNP-pot-calling-the-kettle-black---disingenuous_61533 Neither a man nor a crowd, nor a nation, can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear. — Bertrand Russell, mathematician, Nobel laureate Local Opinion Sun, 22 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT It’s time to stop ‘dissing’ our heroes, and get rid of mediocrity http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/It-s-time-to-stop--dissing--our-heroes--and-get-rid-of-mediocrity_61622 As ridiculous as it sounded, news came last week by way of a badly written news release issued by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) —something that has become common in the last seven months — that legendary retired fast bowler Curtly Ambrose had been sacked as bowling consultant to the West Indies team. Local Opinion Sun, 22 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT Caricom deficiencies leading to fragmentation and weakness http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Caricom-deficiencies-leading-to-fragmentation-and-weakness_61532 This commentary is a shortened version of an address to the St Lucia Hotels and Tourist Association on May 19, 2016. Local Opinion Sun, 22 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT Term limits for party and Government http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Term-limits-for-party-and-Government_61589 Term limits for leadership of party and Government have been proposed by Andrew Holness and Peter Bunting — in the case of Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader while on the campaign trail before victory, and in Bunting’s case after the defeat of his party. Both seek to promote a sense of renewal in order to limit those of the political class who might be tempted to linger in the departure lounge for longer than is necessary. Local Opinion Sun, 22 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT Jamaica’s economic growth prospects and the world economy http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Jamaica-s-economic-growth-prospects-and-the-world-economy_61531 In the last survey done by Don Anderson’s market research outfit there is growing optimism among the Jamaican business class that the economy is poised for growth. This optimism is partly fed by the last Government’s loyalty to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, evidenced in the passing of the IMF tests which indicate a level of macroeconomic stability that has eluded the country for the longest while. Local Opinion Sun, 22 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT Straightening out the land we love http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Straightening-out-the-land-we-love_61477 IN a few days we will be called upon to give a little “time and sweat” to straighten up as much of the environment as we can for what we still call Labour Day. Wouldn’t it be great if we could really show some interest in straightening out this Jamaica, land we love? Seriously now. Local Opinion Fri, 20 May 2016 02:00:00 GMT The psychology of growth and prosperity mindset http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-psychology-of-growth-and-prosperity-mindset_61461 Our conversation on growth continues. Paul writing to the Phillipians said: “Let the mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” So to do Jesus we have to think and know Jesus. To do growth, we must think and know growth — a happy, hard-working, productive spirit, not a dour, grumpy, screw-face. Local Opinion Fri, 20 May 2016 02:00:00 GMT Michael Lee-Chin’s task http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Michael-Lee-Chin-s-task_61248 Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field. — Dwight Eisenhower, speech in Peoria, Illinois, September 25, 1956 Local Opinion Thu, 19 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT Burrell is long passed his ‘best by’ date http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Burrell-has-long-past-his--best-by--date_61364 I was watching the sports news on television about two weeks ago when Montego Bay United won the Premier League competition, and, of course, right in the middle of the celebratory event, and rightly so, was the ever-present Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Captain Horace Burrell. Local Opinion Thu, 19 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT Lessons not learned in school http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Lessons-not-learned-in-school_61368 Who said that it is difficult to fool an educated populace? What might be true is that it is difficult to fool educated people with the same sort of lie or trick that one can fool the uneducated. Local Opinion Thu, 19 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT Petrojam, oil prices, and the $7 tax http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Petrojam--oil-prices--and-the--7-tax_61133 Like most Jamaicans, I have been very puzzled at the lack of correlation between the fluctuation of the price of oil on international markets and the price we Jamaicans pay for petrol at gas stations. Local Opinion Wed, 18 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT #redflag: Cautions on early childhood assessment http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/-redflag--Cautions-on-early-childhood-assessment-_61114 The test would be administered by the Early Childhood Commission targeting four-year-old students in more than 90 per cent of the island’s early childhood institutions. This involves over 2,000 early childhood institutions (ECIs), yielding thousands of four-year-old children. This report immediately raised red flags in my mind. Local Opinion Tue, 17 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT Treat violence as a public health concern, Minister Montague http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Treat-violence-as-a-public-health-concern--Minister-Montague_61144 We need to use campaigns and technology to reach every child and family in Jamaica. We need to develop those tools to make sure that everybody feels important and cared for through parenting interventions, family interventions, well-being campaigns, and early childhood education. Local Opinion Tue, 17 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT Can we give Jamaica a chance? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Can-we-give-Jamaica-a-chance-_60981 Let us put politics aside and focus on Jamaica’s well-being. Clearly, if as stated by Finance Minister Audley Shaw 251,792 people in the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system will benefit from the increased threshold to $1 million on July 1, this would boost the economy. Local Opinion Mon, 16 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT Capital punishment a clueless response, minister http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Capital-punishment-a-clueless-response--minister_60982 News of the recovery of the bodies of two Americans in the parish of St Mary, where they had both reportedly been conducting missionary work, seemed to have shocked the populace significantly. Local Opinion Mon, 16 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT What do you fear more: Zika, or GMO mosquitoes? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/What-do-you-fear-more--Zika--or-GMO-mosquitoes-_60872 MIAMI, United States (AP) – What are you more afraid of, the Zika virus, or genetically engineered bugs being released into the wild? Local Opinion Sun, 15 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT Garvey and today’s generation http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Garvey-and-today-s-generation_60860 I got a fresh perspective of what Marcus Garvey means to the younger generation when I attended a St Ann Schools Elocution Competition held at the St Ann Parish Library in St Ann’s Bay last Thursday. The competition was dubbed an Eisteddfod, relating back to the speech and drama festivals organised by Garvey himself in the 1930s staged at Edelweiss Park and across the island. Local Opinion Sun, 15 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT The great Tony Cozier and the hypocrisy that goes with cricket http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-great-Tony-Cozier-and-the-hypocrisy-that-goes-with-cricket_60919 He was certainly the finest all-round cricket journalist that the world has seen. Local Opinion Sun, 15 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT Let’s get Jamaicans moving again http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Let-s-get-Jamaicans-moving-again_60926 (Excerpts from address for World Move For Health Day 2016, May 10, 2016) Local Opinion Sun, 15 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT