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 Whose Easter is it anyway? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Whose-Easter-is-it-anyway_16479152 A member of our business community had a fondness for jokes about people of his Jewish heritage, especially merchants. One day he shared this one with me. Local Opinion Thu, 17 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT A little bit of jealousy, Gleaner? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/A-little-bit-of-jealousy--Gleaner-_16479141 LAST Sunday Observer's front-page story, '17 guns for freedom' was essentially the story of the day and, from discussion at all levels, the story of the week. Local Opinion Thu, 17 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT The politics of English literacy http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-politics-of-English-literacy_16479092 ENGLISH is our language. Cuba speaks Spanish; Haiti, French; Dominican Republic, Spanish; these are our neighbours. They have their patois, many speak English and their kids learn it too. What is it about us that some who speak it well bad-mouth English to people who hardly speak any? Many powerful people will not affirm publicly that English is ours. Their SUV manuals are in English, but they want poor people to think it does not matter to keep our labour cheap and classism alive. English needs a champion. Which athlete or entertainer is up to it? Patois needs no champion as it is us — though we can't write or read it. Politicians, entertainers are poor role models for English, as many send the wrong signal and entertainers speak English abroad, but not here, so local fans are not motivated to do so. They need to help us! Local Opinion Thu, 17 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT Life is an ongoing test http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Life-is-an-ongoing-test_16469513 TODAY being Holy Thursday, there will be the re-enactment of the Lord's Supper in many Christian churches. There will be the traditional washing of the feet. This was the way in which Jesus said that we should live. In many instances, we Jamaicans live like that, but we need to move even closer to that way of living. Local Opinion Thu, 17 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT The other side of the ganja gold coin http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-other-side-of-the-ganja-gold-coin_16464556 NOW that the euphoria accompanying legalisation of medical marijuana and decriminalisation of recreational cannabis in certain US States continues, it is appropriate to review the dangers accompanying this much-vaunted development destined to have a profound effect on users and potential abusers of narcotics. Local Opinion Wed, 16 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT In an unequal world, we need inclusive growth http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/In-an-unequal-world--we-need-inclusive-growth_16474045 For a very long time, the rich have known to some extent how the poor around the world live. What's new in today's world is that the best-kept secret from the poor, namely, how the rich live, is now out. Through the village television, the Internet and hand-held instruments, which a rapidly increasing number of the poor possess, lifestyles of the rich and the middle class are transmitted in full colour to their homes every day. Local Opinion Wed, 16 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT 10 things we should not be confused about — Part 2 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/10-things-we-should-not-be-confused-about---Part-2_16469231 THANKS to the Internet and being desk-bound, I read the newspapers and listen to Jamaican radio almost daily. In the discussions about our problems, one thing that stands out starkly to me is how confused we are about some fairly basic issues. Though some of the talk shows have got better in recent years; they typically represent a breeding ground for confusion. This is not simply a matter of people holding different viewpoints on a given issue. It is simply people talking with no regard for the facts or any sense of how they arrive at the conclusions that they draw and, in most cases, the absence of any parameters set by the hosts/programmes. The blogs tend to be much smarter, but many also demonstrate much of the same as do people in public life. I was particularly surprised, for example, about how many educators clearly confuse morality with Christianity. That was an impetus for these articles. Local Opinion Tue, 15 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT Personal benefits the bane of Jamaican politics? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Personal-benefits-the-bane-of-Jamaican-politics-_16469393 PORK barrel politics, nepotism, feeding at the public trough, cronyism, call it what you will: Every government participates in patronage. Believe it or not, this observation was gleaned from a Canadian newspaper under the headline 'Patronage, the oil that keeps Canada's democracy turning?' Needless to say, this could easily be superimposed on the Jamaican media landscape, as for decades the word "corruption" has been associated with politics and politicians in this our island home. Local Opinion Tue, 15 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT Are we really ready to decriminalise? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Are-we-really-ready-to-decriminalise-_16464604 In a society where there is an undeniable association between the construction of masculinity and the smoking of marijuana, the intention of the Jamaican Government to decriminalise marijuana might just go up in smoke. Local Opinion Mon, 14 Apr 2014 01:00:00 GMT Mercy alive and well at Alpha Boys' School http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Mercy-alive-and-well-at-Alpha-Boys--School_16464587 AFTER almost 130 years of nurturing Jamaican boys, the Alpha Boys' School is closing its residential facilities. On the positive side, however, the school will expand its educational offerings. You would think that an institution like Alpha would have no difficulty receiving a decent subvention for its good work. But, like many others of its kind, it has been struggling financially. Local Opinion Mon, 14 Apr 2014 01:00:00 GMT Jamaica deserves better than Scooby Doo and Shaggy-type leadership http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Jamaica-deserves-better-than-Scooby-Doo-and-Shaggy-type-leadership_16452383 "If you always make the right decision, the safe decision, the one most people make, you will be the same as everyone else." Local Opinion Sun, 13 Apr 2014 01:00:00 GMT I maintain that Abigail Hyman's life could have been saved http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/I-maintain-that-Abigail-Hyman-s-life-could-have-been-saved_16457567 On March 31, regular Gleaner columnist Dr Garth Rattray wrote a piece titled 'Screen all student athletes', which began thus: "Tragically, a few months ago, grade nine student Abigail Hyman fainted and died while at Marymount High, her school, in St Mary. It was speculated that she died from a heart attack. Local Opinion Sun, 13 Apr 2014 01:00:00 GMT Sad, but anti-doping commission did the right thing http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Sad--but-anti-doping-commission-did-the-right-thing_16456772 Last week, former 100-metre world record holder Asafa Powell and fellow athlete Sherone Simpson were sentenced to an 18-month suspension from athletics for doping offences. Their plight made world news. There will be a lot of sympathy for them in Jamaica. Local Opinion Sun, 13 Apr 2014 01:00:00 GMT Why Norman Girvan matters http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Why-Norman-Girvan-matters_16458005 The death of Professor Norman Girvan, one of the Caribbean's most acclaimed public intellectuals, has left a huge void in the public square of debate and ideas about realisng our human, social and economic potential at a time when the region is going through its worst development crisis in a long time. Local Opinion Sun, 13 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT The Queen’s Baton http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-Queen-s-Baton_16452322 THE excitement is not surprising. Jamaica has always extended a warm welcome to the Royal Family. The Jamaican leg of the Queen's Baton Relay is worthy of the attention it received as, after all, we are the world's sprint capital. Local Opinion Sun, 13 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT Japan anti-whaling ruling saves face http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Japan-anti-whaling-ruling-saves-face_16457279 The international court ruling against Japanese whaling two weeks ago may have given the Government a convenient political out. Local Opinion Sun, 13 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT If we build the logistics hub they will come http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/If-we-build-the-logistics-hub-they-will-come_16451682 We are on the cusp of greatness. We now have mega projects in the pipeline which may fuel our drive to growth. Our foreparents were unwilling workers when "sugar was king", but rushed to Panama for a back-breaking mega canal project; what will we be? History says seize the time, it is a winner's story, so let's win and write ours. Sport and entertainment never built an economy, yet our leaders big up minstrels while producers suffer red tape. Now China beckons, and we must free-up the bureaucracy and use their penchant for mega projects to our advantage. China built the Forbidden City; mounted global forays into the 15th century; culled the exotica of the world; regaled its dynastic courts with fauna and flora; its naturalists sailed the seas curating the minutiae long before Darwin. They did well. The violent Hebrew myths served us under the slave system but did not make us caring or prosperous. Let us now open our minds as free men to Confucius' calm. We are captains of our fate, so embrace a new partner! Local Opinion Fri, 11 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT An outbreak of Kartelitis http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/An-outbreak-of-Kartelitis_16451554 LET me come clean with you, I've never been a Vybz Kartel fan. Now that the law says what he did to one of his henchmen, I don't expect to make his acquaintance any time soon. The only things I chop up fine are skellion and other seasonings. Being extremely claustrophobic, to pay a call anywhere near a small cell is not first choice on my list of must-do's. Local Opinion Fri, 11 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT Is Desmond McKenzie ready for another whipping? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Is-Desmond-McKenzie-ready-for-another-whipping-_16444213 IT is usually an impossibility to convince a politician that he should engage the gears in his brain before he presses on the accelerator controlling what emanates from his mouth. Local Opinion Thu, 10 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT Three of several inconsistencies http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Three-of-several-inconsistencies_16431992 TODAY, April 10, is the 79th birthday of Percival Noel James Patterson, who grew up in the People's National Party (PNP). Today also marks 52 years since the general election of 1962 which brought the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to power after being in opposition for more than seven years. It was the result of that election that made Sir Alexander Bustamante, one of the heroes of the workers, Jamaica's first prime minister on Independence Day that year. Local Opinion Thu, 10 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT The vindication of Kern Spencer and Coleen Wright http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-vindication-of-Kern-Spencer-and-Coleen-Wright_16427119 KERN Spencer and Coleen Wright were found not guilty. Justice must not only be done, but it must manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done. No credible evidence came out during the course of the trial to substantiate the claim by the prosecution that Kern Spencer and Coleen Wright committed any criminal act and, therefore, the verdict of not guilty was proffered by the erudite judge who presided over the trial which lasted for the period of six long years which caused much hardship unto both Spencer and Wright to say the least. Local Opinion Wed, 09 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT Where is the wisdom in 'freeing up the weed'? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Where-is-the-wisdom-in--freeing-up-the-weed--_16435918 THE leaders in our Parliament are on the verge of making a decision to 'free up or not to free up' the weed. It seems to be one of those critical issues that is being downplayed until Jamaica wakes up one morning to hear that the weed has been freed. Local Opinion Wed, 09 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT It's 'me, myself and I' in Jamaica these days http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/It-s--me--myself-and-I--in-Jamaica-these-days_16378202 HAVE you ever asked yourself what are the core values of the Jamaican society? Can you identify those principles which have guided us as a nation throughout the good and bad moments within our history? Those who are honest will admit it is rather challenging to identify such core values. Local Opinion Tue, 08 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT 10 things we should not be confused about — Part 1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/10-things-we-should-not-be-confused-about---Part-1_16431163 In the public sphere, there are always contending views and all should be respected. It is also true that every society should agree on some basic principles. Otherwise, it can remain stuck in an endless cycle of debates with no real progress. While there may not be complete consensus, generally, there should be agreement on the following issues. Local Opinion Tue, 08 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT 'We can't afford to miss the boat!' http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/-We-can-t-afford-to-miss-the-boat--_16427327 WE saw Jamaican excellence on show at our National Stadium and National Arena over the past two weeks. It was probably about 2002 that the late Teddy McCook was discussing his favourite topic: The promise of young Jamaican athletes. "If you could see the times these youngsters are doing now, you would get a headache," he told us. In quick succession after that, Jamaica would be able to declare that we had the fastest man in the world — Asafa Powell, and then yet another even faster, Usain Bolt. We would enjoy the rocket runs of Veronica Campbell Brown and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Local Opinion Mon, 07 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT