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 New bangarang! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/New-bangarang-_19227156 If veteran politician Karl Samuda had his way, and if Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller was a gambling woman, we would be donning our voting colours and heading to the polling place in the next few days. Last week, Samuda dared her to call the elections in the next 10 days from when he was speaking. She hasn't paid any notice to the challenge. Local Opinion Fri, 04 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT Is ganja a saviour or seducer? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Is-ganja-a-saviour-or-seducer-_19227157 I used to think that as time passed life would get simpler. Last year the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and People's National Party (PNP), in a rare show of conjugal bliss, agreed to decriminalise cannabis by the "Dangerous Drug Amendment Act 2015" (DDA). This Act will complicate our lives yet simplify the lives of criminals and the unproductive. For 53 years JLP and PNP did not agree on things progressive, yet made common cause in sanitising an illegal drug. Issues related to growth, development and prosperity, on which party unity is crucial, have no traction with them, so why do they unite on ganja? Local Opinion Fri, 04 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT Extreme copyright extensions only keep content hostage http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Extreme-copyright-extensions-only-keep-content-hostage_19227167 Intellectual property protection is crucial for growth in a modern economy. Creators of artistic and scientific works need to be assured that their inventions will not be exploited by unscrupulous individuals. Local Opinion Fri, 04 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT If we're going to talk about our problems, speak truths http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/If-we-re-going-to-talk-about-our-problems--speak-truths_19226957 We like to talk about problems, do nothing about them, and when the problem gets worse, as we keep talking, we pretend that it is a new problem. It is going to be very difficult to get out of this habit because it is well rooted from the days of slavery. Local Opinion Thu, 03 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT Strengthening our athletics foundation http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Strengthening-our-athletics-foundation_19226953 TWELVE medals with over half of them of the gold variety is the final count for Team Jamaica following the conclusion of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing. Our men and women, even those who came away without medals, performed well throughout and filled the whole nation with immense pride and showcased the wealth of athletic talent that can come out of this small island we call home. However, despite this success that reaffirms our sprinting dominance in the same stadium where the world was officially introduced to it seven years ago, I can't help feeling that the foundation on which the success has been built is still very tenuous, and more care is needed in order to continue to #Jaminate at these international meets. Local Opinion Thu, 03 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT Hillary Clinton's dilemma http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Hillary-Clinton-s-dilemma_19226863 Hillary Clinton could not have resisted running for the United States presidency. The lure of being the best-positioned person to be the first female president of the US could not be ignored. Although she will be 69 in 2016, her second attempt at the presidency was, to her, a call of history, of destiny; a call that was nurtured as the First Lady of Arkansas under the governorship of her husband Bill. Having tasted life in the White House for eight years, the powerful and prestigious position as a senator from New York, her work in the Congress and finally as secretary of state, she does not only believe she could be president, but feels that becoming so would be a true vindication of her lifelong quest and the full essence of her self-actualisation. Local Opinion Wed, 02 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT Post-World Championships reflections http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Post-World-Championships-reflections_19226798 THE spectacular performance of our athletes, at the recently concluded International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Beijing, China, cemented Jamaica's position at the forefront of sports-loving nations and caused the collective chest of those of us lucky enough to be citizens of this blessed country to rise with pride. A recurring theme of this column, after each such exploit, has been to ask a vexed question: Beyond the hype and nine-day wonder of world attention, how does Jamaica benefit? The inconvenient truth is that there are very few, if any, tangible (ie, economic) benefits that come to Jamaica. Local Opinion Wed, 02 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT Gatlin, not Bolt, saved athletics http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Gatlin--not-Bolt--saved-athletics_19226668 SINCE 2008, Usain Bolt has been an indomitable force in athletics. He has won an unbelievable four individual Olympic gold medals and seven individual World Championship gold medals. This is no easy feat. However, in most sports ,when an individual keeps dominating a sport by humongous margins, the lustre emitted and attentiveness he or she often attracts subside beyond a dwarf star. If they have no real competition, the ratings will fall, the fans will look at their superlative performances or achievements with a passing interest, and its position or rung will slip down the ladder of popularity or TV ratings among other sports. Local Opinion Tue, 01 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT A woman is not perfected without trials http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/A-woman-is-not-perfected-without-trials_19226671 THIS is not an anti-men column. In fact, if I had even marginally enough cougar inclination, I would be stalking Usain Bolt. Not only is he one of the greatest athletes of all time, he is the funny, authentic and down-home country boy who, like the proverbial fine wine, is getting better as he gets older. And, there are other fine upstanding men who are playing transformative roles in many areas of national life. Local Opinion Tue, 01 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT Is climate change pushing the Caribbean towards a health crisis? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Is-climate-change-pushing-the-Caribbean-towards-a-health-crisis-_19226556 I still cringe when I remember the agony I encountered when I was brought to my knees by the chikungunya virus (CHIKV) in late 2014. Almost everyone within my community in South Manchester got a taste of this vicious virus. Sure enough, nearly a year after the outbreak in Jamaica, the mere mention of the term CHIKV will inspire long harrowing and oftentimes comedic tales from individuals within my community concerning their experiences with the virus. Local Opinion Mon, 31 Aug 2015 01:00:00 GMT Building on the triumphs in Beijing http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Building-on-the-triumphs-in-Beijing-_19226550 THE ruling People's National Party (PNP) will announce elections on our Beijing high -- nothing succeeds like success. But will they take the full example of our brilliant athletes to ensure that the Jamaican people see not only the pre-event smiles, but also successful implementation of previous election promises? Local Opinion Mon, 31 Aug 2015 01:00:00 GMT Is there fair play in PLCA? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Is-there-fair-play-in-PLCA-_19226012 The unfolding issues taking place in the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA), and which remains unchallenged by the Clarendon Football Association (CFA) is an indictment of the association's leadership, and by extension the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF). Local Opinion Mon, 31 Aug 2015 02:00:00 GMT No need to get it right... politics, not economics, is supreme http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/No-need-to-get-it-right----politics--not-economics--is-supreme_19226000 When virtue is lost, benevolence appears; when benevolence is lost, right conduct appears; when right conduct is lost, expedience appears. Expediency is the mere shadow of right and truth; it is the beginning of disorder. — Lao-Tzu Local Opinion Sun, 30 Aug 2015 02:00:00 GMT A luta continua, but let us stir it up http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/A-luta-continua--but-let-us-stir-it-up-_19226221 The English translation of the Portuguese phrase "A luta continua" is "the struggle continues". The phrase depicts a particular devotion to the accomplishment of a task. However, it also portrays the acceptance of a burden, from which one cannot escape, whether or not one has anything to do with it. For, although life is a continuous struggle, oftentimes punctuated by bouts of suffering occasioned by the wild vicissitudes of human actions, giving up on one's dreams and aspirations is never a worthwhile contemplation. The struggle is made more difficult when those things which one seeks to achieve remain elusive, not because of wayward tides, but because of the recklessness of others, especially those who lead, or seek to lead, and the slavishness of the followership that support them. Local Opinion Sun, 30 Aug 2015 02:00:00 GMT Social decay robbing the country of its dignity http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Social-decay-robbing-the-country-of-its-dignity_19226321 One doesn't have to look very far these days to see clear evidence of the extent of social decay that has been ongoing across the country for so long. Dating back close to our pre-Independence history across numerous political administrations in a country with a legacy of slavery and a penchant for some level of disregard for the welfare of the masses, the scenario has gradually reached crisis proportions. But amazingly, after being so long in the making, with clear pointers to the present predicament as an almost certain consequence, there is still not even a semblance of any broad, structured plan to gradually recover from what has become a chronic national problem. Local Opinion Sun, 30 Aug 2015 02:00:00 GMT Why justice continues to elude the Jamaican people — A justice audit http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Why-justice-continues-to-elude-the-Jamaican-people----A-justice-audit_19223626 THE United States Department posted its report on Jamaica's human rights practices for 2014 and revealed a damning picture on the current state of Jamaica's justice system. Local Opinion Sun, 30 Aug 2015 02:00:00 GMT Democracy: A maze to good governance http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Democracy--A-maze-to-good-governance_19224639 In a world exposed to totalitarianism, and its side effects, an alternate school of thought commonly defined as democracy seems most auspicious as this explosive brand of politics permeates throughout Latin American, African, Asian, and the Eastern bloc territories. Local Opinion Sun, 30 Aug 2015 02:00:00 GMT The curious politics of disadvantaging your own http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-curious-politics-of-disadvantaging-your-own_19226220 BARACK Obama will not get the credit he deserves for his sensible and sometimes visionary presidency of the United States of America. At least not in the life of his tenure. But he has done remarkable things. Two of them are ending the diplomatic impasse with Cuba and ending the economic isolation of Iran. Local Opinion Sun, 30 Aug 2015 02:00:00 GMT 53 years with no major constitutional reform http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/53-years-with-no-major-constitutional-reform_19225519 There is an urgent need for us to have a comprehensive and inclusive conversation about constitutional reform. It is necessary, especially in the context of a nation 53 years independent with no major constitutional reform in many areas. Local Opinion Sun, 30 Aug 2015 02:00:00 GMT One year after #MikeBrown http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/One-year-after--MikeBrown_19226011 ANTICIPATION for the commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the killing of Mike Brown Jr by then Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson was high. Clergy, community and civil leaders gathered to remember "Mike-Mike"'s life, death, and aftermath that sparked a movement. Local Opinion Sun, 30 Aug 2015 02:00:00 GMT Peternomics 101 — Saving a nation from itself http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Peternomics-101---Saving-a-nation-from-itself_19226168 IF you take Jamaica too seriously it could kill you. We are a nation of hyperboles and normalised exaggeration. One party is good, the other evil; there is no middle ground. What value? My square of bananas is a million -- It's mine! Local Opinion Fri, 28 Aug 2015 02:00:00 GMT Back to the boy and chain http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Back-to-the-boy-and-chain_19226099 SO where are the doubting "Boltites" today, the people who had convinced themselves (or the bookmakers) that Gatlin is the greatest, and (I suppose) Bolt should go back a Trelawny? While the real world salutes the man who got Jamaica on the map once again, I guess the naysayers are gearing up for another round. The battle is not over until the relays -- whatever that outcome, we can at least hold our heads up high. Local Opinion Fri, 28 Aug 2015 02:00:00 GMT New prison provides heritage opportunities http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/New-prison-provides-heritage-opportunities_19225703 The need for a new jail has been a reality for several decades. The current cost being bandied about reflecting $100 billion or US$800 million is a massive sum. If we are to accept this, we may never start the work necessary to undertake this very necessary facility. Local Opinion Thu, 27 Aug 2015 00:00:00 GMT Please do not sell our shares http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Please-do-not-sell-our-shares_19225580 The Government of Jamaica, no matter which political party is in charge, will never be able to pay teachers, nurses, police, soldiers, postal workers, water commission workers, air traffic controllers, civil servants, and other government workers what they truly deserve. So workers at the bottom of the economic ladder, and the others in Jamaica who are really destitute, will have to find other ways to earn additional income. Local Opinion Thu, 27 Aug 2015 00:00:00 GMT The legal education lottery http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-legal-education-lottery_19225903 It is not my desire to disrupt the harmony among my learned friends in the legal profession with whom I hope to develop a long-term amicable relationship; nor is it my wish to throw rocks at the windows from outside the noble institution I am desirous of entering, but there is certainly something rotten about the manner in which we administer legal education in this country at this time. Local Opinion Thu, 27 Aug 2015 00:00:00 GMT