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 We demand the protection of our children! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/We-demand-the-protection-of-our-children-_18778030 We are in grief and shock over the execution-style murder of three schoolchildren in Clarendon last Wednesday night along with 35-year-old Marquis Hamilton in the Monymusk neighbourhood. The three promising students, 14-year-old Ricardo Briscoe, 14-year-old Raymond Givans, and 16-year-old Alex Turner were made to lie face down and shot in the back of their heads by two gunmen. Local Opinion Sat, 25 Apr 2015 02:00:00 GMT We deserve better health care! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/We-deserve-better-health-care--_18787293 The state of public health care in Jamaica is a hot topic and major concern for many citizens who have had to grapple with what has been described as a below standard system. There have been countless discussions surrounding the issue, and many individuals who are dissatisfied with the poor service have voiced their frustration via calls to talk shows, letters to the editor, on social media platforms, among others. Indeed, it is not for a lack of discussion. I dare say we have mastered the art of talking about issues but have failed miserably to demand action and results. Local Opinion Sat, 25 Apr 2015 02:00:00 GMT Which "p" is the real boss? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Which--p--is-the-real-boss_18785166 "When our children misbehave we scold them, when an employee fails to perform...they are fired, but when politicians act in like manner we put them on a five-year cycle, hoping for a change that never comes." Local Opinion Sat, 25 Apr 2015 02:00:00 GMT Are public board members political lackeys? Part II http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Are-public-board-members-political-lackeys--Part-II_18811065 Boards are the "to do" arm of the State. Each fulfils part of the remit of the ministry which spawned it. The central ministry and its boards should work as a "group" as they fulfil the nation's health, works or education needs, spend the lion's share of taxes, and are crucial to Vision 2030, the PNP (or JLP) manifesto, as well as a minister's and MP's promises. They deliver from transport to nutri-buns. They buy goods, services; build roads, schools; they farm; run buses; pay wages, bonuses and do things with our taxes that a ministry can't do. They may create overruns, miss deadlines, waste funds, and have court cases which cost us millions. Boards matter. Local Opinion Fri, 24 Apr 2015 02:00:00 GMT Big up massive! What a gwaan? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Big-up-massive--What-a-gwaan-_18811066 President Barack Obama, on his visit to the University of the West Indies, Mona, actually spoke in the language of the so-called uneducated Jamaican, giving recognition to those who are not afraid to talk Jamaican because is "fi wi language". Goodness, gracious me! Mi never hear dis from mi bawn. When tappanares like HM di Queen and all her ginneration set foot yah so, speakey-spokey is how dem talk. Nobody sneered at them. Why are we so uncertain about our identity? Local Opinion Fri, 24 Apr 2015 02:00:00 GMT When irredeemable murderers stalk the land http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/When-irredeemable-murderers-stalk-the-land_18805274 The recent vicious murders of three boys and an adult in Clarendon must have devastated their parents, even as it had the nation feeling helpless and the prime minister visiting them to offer whatever comfort she could. Local Opinion Thu, 23 Apr 2015 02:00:00 GMT A lifetime with my opinions http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/A-lifetime-with-my-opinions_18805536 Come July, it will be 27 years since I have been a newspaper columnist. Between 1988 and 1998, I wrote for the Jamaica Record, and when that paper folded I wrote for the Jamaica Herald. For a time, I had two columns at the Jamaica Record, my regular one and another on the "Against All Odds" page, which highlighted successes among disabled persons. And, while at the Jamaica Herald, for a time I had two columns, my regular one and another on the Religion page on Sunday. Local Opinion Thu, 23 Apr 2015 02:00:00 GMT Each of us can make a difference http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Each-of-us-can-make-a-difference_18785046 A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. Local Opinion Wed, 22 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT Tread cautiously, Minister Hylton http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Tread-cautiously--Minister-Hylton_18795809 IT is refreshing that Parliament has changed the rules for the sectoral debates, limiting the amount of time allotted to speakers. It did not work too badly for the first time, although some speakers who still believe that making lengthy speeches is a great virtue appeared frustrated. Local Opinion Wed, 22 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT Garvey would have been proud of Obama http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Garvey-would-have-been-proud-of-Obama_18794977 UNITED States President Barack Obama does not need me to defend him, and I doubt he takes criticisms to heart, particularly when it is misguided and unproductive. Otherwise, he could not have survived Washington or remained president of a country where the hatred from some circles is so palpable. Local Opinion Tue, 21 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT Do the animals get a say? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Do-the-animals-get-a-say-_18786371 ON a recent visit to Trinidad and Tobago, I joined my family for a trip to the nearby zoo. The experience itself was a beautiful one. It was memorable primarily because we got pretty close to exotic animals, many of which one only sees in books or in images online. Local Opinion Tue, 21 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT God bless recruiting schools http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/God-bless-recruiting-schools_18756736 THE time has come for us to all join hands and congratulate the scores of schools across Jamaica that have been perennially recruiting students from other learning institutions and making them into world-class academic achievers, athletes and well-rounded citizens of this country. We need to recognise that these schools have, over the years, demonstrated superior organisational skills and have used these skills to build for themselves rich traditions to the extent that parents and students gravitate towards them and see them as their only hope for their future development in athletics, academics and social standings. Local Opinion Tue, 21 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT Jamaica has to clean up the mess of corruption http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Jamaica-has-to-clean-up-the-mess-of-corruption_18766507 Our survival depends on running a clean, efficient system, which means the politics must be clean before the Government can be clean. -- Lee Kuan Yew Local Opinion Sun, 19 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT Will this be Minister Hylton's great blunder or his 'buss'? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Will-this-be-Minister-Hylton-s-great-blunder-or-his--buss--_18776498 TO know Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister Anthony Hylton is to take a peep into every inner-city community and focus on 'a likkle youtman' on a corner constantly belting out his deejay lyrics as he listens through earplugs to his self-recorded likely hits. Local Opinion Sun, 19 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT Young people, live undefeated... but prepare to adjust to reality http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Young-people--live-undefeated----but-prepare-to-adjust-to-reality_18766486 FIVE months ago, I had discussions with a very bright, ambitious, promising, and hard-working 32-year-old Jamaican resident. Though factual in content, to protect the identity of the chap, as well as to preserve the rules governing confidentiality, I hereby assign the pseudonym John Doe. I received his approval to relate his story within the broader context of why he believes young people should not give in to the daily diet of cynicism, but should instead push themselves to accomplish, maintain and then possibly exceed their rightful place in life. Local Opinion Sun, 19 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT Orphans of Obama's legacy? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Orphans-of-Obama-s-legacy-_18766495 UNDOUBTEDLY both Presidents Raul Castro of Cuba and Barack Obama of the USA warrant credit for breaking the 54-year-old barrier to the establishment of diplomatic relations between their two countries. But President Obama deserves greater praise because he took greater risks and bucked strong Opposition in the United States Congress and from the anti-Castro Cuban-American community whose political clout is not insignificant. Local Opinion Sun, 19 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT Jamaica's greatest asset is its people http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Jamaica-s-greatest-asset-is-its-people_18766480 SO President Obama has returned to Washington, leaving with hugs and kisses, and a smile and a wave. Our shopping list seemed to have ended up in no-man's-land. His agenda did not include a US$10-billion-dollar debt relief package or any of the other outlandish requests that were suggested to the prime minister for her meeting with the president. Local Opinion Sun, 19 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT To pay or not to pay for play http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/To-pay-or-not-to-pay-for-play_18728240 AT first I thought it was youthful exuberance that had inspired a schoolboy athlete to indulge in a blatant piece of public advertising that would shock the purists of amateurism. But I soon learnt that, at the time, he was already a contracted professional and that the act might well have been part of his sponsor's sales strategy. Local Opinion Sun, 19 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT Earth Hour — the power of one one cocoa http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Earth-Hour---the-power-of-one-one-cocoa_18766354 THIS year, Jamaica joined the rest of the world in observing Earth Hour. The history of Earth Hour is instructive for those of us who may sometimes feel that 'one' cannot make a difference. In 2007, one city, Sydney, in one country, Australia, decided to encourage citizens to turn off lights for one hour to demonstrate the importance of reducing energy consumption to combat climate change. In 2014, 135 countries took part in the initiative and lights on many of the world's iconic buildings were turned off in support. This year, cities in more than 162 countries and territories around the world, including Jamaica, supported Earth Hour by turning off lights for one hour between 8:30 and 9:30pm. Local Opinion Sun, 19 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT He came, saw, conquered...or did he? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/He-came--saw--conquered---or-did-he_18766261 PRESIDENT Obama has come and gone and the echoes remain. He made history, and not just because he is the first man of colour to lead a nation billed as the most powerful on Earth. Whether that is so or not, its significance will be debated elsewhere. What we saw was a man who didn't hesitate to reach out to others of whatever colour, pedigree or history. He seems always prepared to share his vision with them. In the short span of time that he set foot on Jamaican soil he showed us how he does it. Local Opinion Fri, 17 Apr 2015 01:00:00 GMT The visit http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-visit_18766252 On April 8, 2015, around 6:00 pm, word was "The eagle has landed" and nail biting turned to jubilation -- the visit was on! For a night and a day President Barack Obama was, per capita, the most hugged, kissed potentate -- no queen or pope compares. He is suave, smart, can-do man clothed in the military might of the USA, and we loved him to bits. But it began 24 hours of indirect mendicancy as we Facebooked our greedy lists to catch his eye. On passing Heroes Circle he rose in his seat to greet the children's flags and was memorialised in all smartphones. Our chests heaved with pride as the most powerful man on Earth swept past in chariots with firepower of an Armada. The most powerful black man to walk Earth, and for a trice all was level -- black, white, rich, poor. Obama was in the house. Local Opinion Fri, 17 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT Use PetroCaribe, green energy bonds to pay for renewables http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Use-PetroCaribe--green-energy-bonds-to-pay-for-renewables_18720901 HOW do we raise the US$2,800 million to finance the all-renewables initiative? First up, let's jump-start the transformation by raising the critical loan amount necessary to replace JPS' "always-on" (base-load) generation of some 350 MW. This replacement translates to a combination of 350 MW in total of wind -- of which we already have some 30 MW from the Wigton wind farm and others -- plus 350 MW of new solar. Local Opinion Fri, 17 Apr 2015 01:00:00 GMT The Tivoli time bomb had to be defused http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-Tivoli-time-bomb-had-to-be-defused_18762445 As I continue to listen to evidence coming out of the Tivoli Enquiry, and especially that from former Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington, I am convinced that the security forces had no other option but to storm into the barricaded community in May 2010. Local Opinion Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT Obama and the Jamaican reality http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Obama-and-the-Jamaican-reality_18762446 In his book Struggle in the periphery, the late Michael Manley began the first chapter by explaining the Munro doctrine of 1823. James Munroe, who was president of the United States at that time, said: "...we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their political system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety". Local Opinion Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT Take your energy where it is needed: Take it to Jamaica http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Take-your-energy-where-it-is-needed--Take-it-to-Jamaica_18684822 On leaving our homeland Jamaica to be a resident in another country, we and our offspring become members of the Jamaican Diaspora. The Diaspora movement seeks to engage all Jamaicans living overseas to know the benefits of its strength and to give back to Jamaica in whatever way possible. The areas of focus are trade, investment, business and philanthropy. Local Opinion Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:00:00 GMT