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 Who then is my neighbour? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Who-then-is-my-neighbour-_19221639 REMEMBER how it was not too long ago that we and our "Trini" neighbours weren't so happy with each other? If you followed all that was being said, not too long ago, it was easy to proclaim that we would never talk to them again. But time is the greatest healer. Local Opinion Fri, 31 Jul 2015 01:00:00 GMT Water is life and drought is normal http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Water-is-life-and-drought-is-normal-_19221527 SOMEONE should write the peripatetic history of our hapless water utility. The National Water Commission (NWC) has a good story, but to those who can't pay, get connected, or have no water the tale is inglorious. Once we were first in water works and concrete houses; had an on-time railway, trolley car system; hydro-electricity; the first Ford car agency; seaplanes; largest hospital; cycle velodrome, but we do not maintain things. We are the "riches to rags" cautionary tale that Granny tells. A century ago, water was a top industry; pre-STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in water science metrics; engineering; gravity, vacuum technologies; and generated electricity -- Kingston was not yet 400,000 souls. NWC is flawed -- risk averse, fat, lacks ideas, and we hope Prakash Vaswani, as chairman, will use his acumen to make it entrepreneurial, nimble and sustainable. Local Opinion Fri, 31 Jul 2015 01:00:00 GMT Letter from Henriques, McBean and Clough a breach of confidence http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Letter-from-Henriques--McBean-and-Clough-a-breach-of-confidence_19221537 Dear Editor, Local Opinion Fri, 31 Jul 2015 01:00:00 GMT Crisis situations are laboratories for human traffickers http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Crisis-situations-are-laboratories-for-human-traffickers_19221324 TODAY, July 30, is World Day against Trafficking in Persons. When disaster strikes, the humanitarian community rushes to respond. We mobilise resources; activate response mechanisms; send doctors, search and rescue teams, logisticians, counsellors, engineers, equipment, tarpaulins, food, medicine, and water. All the paraphernalia of an emergency response swing into action in conflict zones to manage natural calamities or man-made disasters. Local Opinion Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT Emancipendence from modern slavery http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Emancipendence-from-modern-slavery_19221318 ON August 1, 1834 there was partial emancipation from physical slavery in the British colonies and full emancipation on August 1, 1838. In the case of Jamaica, political independence was granted on August 6, 1962. There was the ecstatic belief that never again would there be bondage and slavery. But, unfortunately, slavery has returned. Local Opinion Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT Celebrate the "likkle but tallawah-ness" that is in our sporting DNA http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Celebrate-the--likkle-but-tallawah-ness--that-is-in-our-sporting-DNA_19220929 JAMAICA'S senior football team just pulled off an incredible feat. Once again, our bold, bright, vibrant, and indomitable national colours of black, green and gold were splashed across the international sporting arena in a positive way, and this time it wasn't for our ubiquitous dominance in track and field. Local Opinion Wed, 29 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT Singapore meets Jamaica — So now what? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Singapore-meets-Jamaica---So-now-what-_19221119 AS a mathematics teacher, it will be interesting to see what concrete impacts the recently concluded seminar on the mathematics teaching practices of Singapore will have on Jamaica's policy and pedagogical landscape. Singapore maths is touted as being transformational and able to deliver breakthroughs in learning outcomes in a subject that many students struggle to master. Local Opinion Wed, 29 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT Manna not falling from heaven; the Church must manage earthly man http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Manna-not-falling-from-heaven--the-Church-must-manage-earthly-man_19220888 THE Ministry of Education has recently announced the closure of roughly 20 rural schools, many owned and operated by the Church. The closure of the schools come about as a direct result of the significant decline in the population of children attending those schools and the relative underperformance of the schools in question. Local Opinion Wed, 29 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT Joan Gordon-Webley and the PNP http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Joan-Gordon-Webley-and-the-PNP Joan Gordon-Webley's attempt to join the People's National Party (PNP), and the party's response, offers interesting insight into how and why organisations make decisions, the current state of the PNP, the shadowy influences of history that goes back 40 years and the imperative to address those issues, the challenges of taking a stance in a small and morally confused society, and how much more difficult life is when we try to act outside of a guiding ethical framework.   Local Opinion Tue, 28 Jul 2015 00:00:07 GMT The numbers game with high school CSEC rankings http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-numbers-game-with-high-school-CSEC-rankings In recent years the ranking of Jamaican high schools based on their performance in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations has become popular. Presently, two major ranking systems exist, EducateJamaica and Education2020, among them. The former assesses the percentage of students passing at least five subjects, inclusive of mathematics or English at the CSEC level. However Education 2020, the older ranking, examines the pass rates in CSEC mathematics and English for secondary schools. Local Opinion Tue, 28 Jul 2015 00:44:25 GMT Defending the  fairer sex http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Defending-the--fairer-sex TWO girls, out for a stroll on the Corniche waterfront in Jeddah during the Eid holidays, found themselves quickly surrounded and hounded by a crowd of pestering youth. Local Opinion Tue, 28 Jul 2015 00:00:25 GMT I caught AIDS, but all is not over http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/I-caught-AIDS--but-all-is-not-over_19220752 ON June 25, my entire world crumbled down as I was diagnosed with HIV. After being in a monogamous relationship for almost a year and testing negative multiple times throughout the relationship, I was tested positive for HIV. So I began to do some self-searching and introspection: I'm not a whore. I don't do drugs. How did this happen to me? Then I realised it can happen to anyone. I just needed to know how to bring my world back down to earth and stay strong. Local Opinion Mon, 27 Jul 2015 02:00:00 GMT Lessons from Bolt, Boyz for our leaders http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Lessons-from-Bolt--Boyz-for-our-leaders_19220750 AS our leaders line up for their photo opportunities with our heroic Reggae Boyz, victorious Usain Bolt, new sensation Elaine Thompson, and other athletes returning from the Pan Am Games and Diamond League, we invite them to reflect on what brought these personalities their glory. It was not the waving of party colours, promises and posturing. It was the early morning training, the inconvenient due diligence in the form of drug testing and, finally, their performance under the glare of public view. They could not hide from close-ups, referees or stewards, or use cute words to excuse bad performance. Local Opinion Mon, 27 Jul 2015 02:00:00 GMT Scott urges fitting tribute to Isaac Matalon http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Scott-urges-fitting-tribute-to-Isaac-Matalon_19220683 The head of the English Constitution of Freemasons in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, Walter H Scott, has urged members of the St Thomas Lodge to name the building in which they meet in honour of the life and work of Isaac Matalon. Local Opinion Mon, 27 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT Taking from Peter to pay Paul (the IMF) http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Taking-from-Peter-to-pay-Paul--the-IMF-_19220552 This piece is an outline in respect of huge amounts of long-overdue payments to building contractors on Government projects. It points to a strategy that appears to be behind the extensive overdue amounts, despite the challenges which they pose for the contractors. Local Opinion Sun, 26 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT Why does it seem Dr Phillips is in election mode? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Why-does-it-seem-Dr-Phillips--is-in-election-mode-_19220435 Government is a trust, and the officers of the government are trustees; and both the trust and the trustees are created for the benefit of the people. — Henry Clay Local Opinion Sun, 26 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT CPL: Saviour or Harbinger? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/CPL--Saviour-or-Harbinger-_19220455 Seldom in the last decade can cricket fans around the region remember grounds being filled and rabid sporting fervour surrounding the sport. But the recent Caribbean Premier League (CPL) matches held at the illustrious Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica, drew crowds that West Indian Test teams used to accomplish, but could never dare to dream of nowadays. Within those crowds were many new fans, there for the party, but staying for the team spirit and battle for pride. Those crowds were filled with people surprised that the cricket they heard about, and saw their parents watch, could be so interesting. Local Opinion Sun, 26 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT JLP and PNP locked in near statistical dead heat amidst harsh economic times http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/JLP-and-PNP-locked-in-near-statistical-dead-heat-amidst-harsh-economic-times_19220426 SOMETIMES in politics, the political smoke is much bigger than the fire. For, how else can one explain the findings of the latest Don Anderson public opinion poll, commissioned by the RJR Communications Group? According to the poll, the ruling People's National Party (PNP) and the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) "are locked in a near statistical dead heat". The poll, which surveyed "likely voters", found that 26 per cent intend to vote for the JLP versus 25 per cent for the PNP. Of great significance, though, is the whopping 49 per cent who say they do not intend to vote in the next general election. Local Opinion Sun, 26 Jul 2015 01:00:00 GMT Our justice needs a home http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Our-justice-needs-a-home_19220449 I have been following the debate on whether Jamaica should retain the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as a court of last resort or replace it either with a Jamaican-located court or a regional-based tribunal. I must admit, however, that one could be forgiven for coming away with the impression that much of what have been adduced in support of the various positions on this important issue are rationalisations which have been proffered to justify long-held biases. Local Opinion Sun, 26 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT The reason for the season http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-reason-for-the-season_19220551 Enjoyed the joke when someone shouted at the end of the Jamaica-USA football match on Wednesday, "Yes, public holiday come again!" The fan was, of course, referring to one of the most famous public holidays ever declared in Jamaica; what is remembered as the "P J Patterson call it" holiday when we qualified for the World Cup in 1998. It seemed then to be the right thing to do, until the declaration took on a political and economic twist, as the People's National Party (PNP) sided with it, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) swiped against it, and struggling businessmen -- who were forced to close shop in the middle of the week -- bemoaned it. Local Opinion Sun, 26 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT Legal judgements and consequences http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Legal-judgements-and-consequences_19219978 CONTEMPLATING conse-quences (possible, probable, or inevitable) is not the only criterion for evaluating the ethical value of an act or intention to act, but it is a valuable criterion. Local Opinion Sun, 26 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT Climate change: Time for talking is over http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Climate-change--Time-for-talking-is-over_19220441 IMAGINE if on the anniversary of its independence the friendliest message your nation gets is that if your country sinks underwater, a nearby island is willing to give your people refuge. That means picking up whatever you might salvage and leaving behind your homeland, your possessions, and your entire heritage. It also entails the suffering and deprivation of starting over in a foreign country with very little if anything. Local Opinion Sun, 26 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT Congressmen and the Gold Cup augury http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Congressmen-and-the-Gold-Cup-augury_19220382 The challenge of this generation is to make Jamaica peaceful, dignified, and prosper -- and do it ourselves. The last generation was into ideology and one-upmanship; the one before them was enamoured to West Indies Federation and exited to Independence with bluster but little economic sense. Inept leaders and slothful followers lived on credit since 1962 -- not a decade of prosperity. We were dying by debt, now we breathe. We are getting better at statecraft; slowly, painfully we fill the gaps left by two generations of chancers. We have offers to help as American black people try to get white people's money for us. I am no glutton for punishment, but we have lived this way for five decades, so beg pardon if we need space to find ourselves, develop backbone, emulate Portia, and work to the third power to build Jamaica. Local Opinion Fri, 24 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT Time for freedom, not 'freeniss' http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Time-for-freedom--not--freeniss-_19220333 NEXT week Saturday we are called to observe Emancipation Day. "Wha dat?" someone actually asked. The response brought "kiss teet" and dismissive laughter. That it concerns the emancipation of Jamaicans, once held in the bondage of slavery, elicited another round of contempt: "Why we still talking about that? This is a new age. Why do we insist on remaining in the past? Wha dat fah?" Local Opinion Fri, 24 Jul 2015 00:00:00 GMT Emancipendence on the global level http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Emancipendence-on-the-global-level_19220132 So we are approaching that time of year again when we celebrate both Emancipation and political independence. It is now 177 years since full Emancipation in 1838, and 53 years since political independence. While the political Opposition of whichever party has a collective duty to oppose and criticise when necessary, they should never oppose in such a way that young people are confused about our achievements since we gained full freedom, especially since political independence. Local Opinion Thu, 23 Jul 2015 01:00:00 GMT