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 Why an atheist like me absolutely adores Christmas http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Why-an-atheist-like-me-absolutely-adores-Christmas_18118255 WITHOUT Christmas I would be empty at this time of the year. As a child, in the 1950s, I saw my father, now 94, as the man whom made Christmas come alive in the lives of my sisters, my brothers, and my mother, who my father adored to a fault. Local Opinion Thu, 18 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT Advent, Christmas and resolutions http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Advent--Christmas-and-resolutions_18114390 ADVENT, like the word Maranatha, means "the Lord is coming". For Christians, the four weeks before Christmas is a time of preparation. And by this I am not referring to the presents, the decorations or the dinner. I am referring to the preparation for the season of the birth of Jesus Christ, who was born into a sinful world and came to show people the way to salvation. I am going to refer today to some of our social sins. Local Opinion Thu, 18 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT Oh, for an old-time Jamaican Christmas http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Oh--for-an-old-time-Jamaican-Christmas_18109630 THIS is the time of year when I always reminisce about those unforgettable days of never-ending fun and frolic in Jamaica. There was no guessing about this memorable event because I felt the soothing "Chrismus breeze" gliding across my face. Local Opinion Wed, 17 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT Columbus/LIME merger risks taking telecoms back to the dark ages http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Columbus-LIME-merger-risks-taking-telecoms-back-to-the-dark-ages_18113963 Surely legitimate opinions held in good faith can only be based on facts, so I would like to take this opportunity to point out to Wignall and his readers salient facts that have led Digicel to ask regulators and governments to scrutinise the proposed deal closely and to make every effort to ensure that a level playing field is in place for all parties to use for the benefit of customers. Local Opinion Wed, 17 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT Are we waiting for Godot? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Are-we-waiting-for-Godot_18113757 While some people are concerned about the fairness of the Tivoli Commission of Enquiry, what bothers me is that I don't expect much from it. The Government will spend over $100 million, Jamaicans will be entertained by the emotional twists and turns, lawyers will get paid, but fundamentally, Jamaica will not change for the vast majority of people who look like me. Local Opinion Wed, 17 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT What has Barack Obama done for black people? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/What-has-Barack-Obama-done-for-black-people-_18083479 BARACK Obama seems to be a really nice and friendly person. He's a great speechmaker. Take for instance, his 2008 speech, 'A more perfect union', there he waxes eloquently and profoundly about the founding of America, slavery, civil rights, his own experience as a son of a Kenyan father, and a white American mother; about his religious beliefs, and so forth. This great speech could be summed up by one single quote: "If we simply retreat into our respective corners we will never come together." Local Opinion Tue, 16 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT Hard talk http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Hard-talk_18109667 Years ago, as a journalism intern, I was sent to interview and write an article on the late Professor George Beckford. Beckford was one of those professors whose legend preceded him. He had been at the University of the West Indies (UWI) for over 25 years. He was the author of numerous journal articles and several books, including his best known work, Persistent Poverty: Underdevelopment in Plantation Economies of the Third World. Although I was a student at UWI, the assignment would be my first meeting with him. It was an honour. Local Opinion Tue, 16 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT Jamaicans who care deeply http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Jamaicans-who-care-deeply_18099935 IT was one of those rich weeks when we were reminded that we have high-calibre Jamaicans who care deeply about their country. Paula Llewellyn, our director of public prosecutions, Senator Floyd Morris, president of the Senate, Ambassador Burchell Whiteman, acting president of the University of Technology (UTech), and Dr Lucien Jones, National Road Safety Council vice-chairman, held sway over their audiences. Local Opinion Mon, 15 Dec 2014 02:00:00 GMT Scandal paradise http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Scandal-paradise_18049402 SO it is scandal season again in Jamaica, and I am not referring to the popular US television show. I am speaking of the recent drama starring defiant board members of the National Housing Trust (NHT) and the supporting cast of the PNP-led Government and their usual sycophants. Much like the Stevie Wonder song Pastime Paradise and its remixed version Gangsta's Paradise by rapper Coolio, so too can we Jamaicans sing our own version because we've been spending most our lives, living in a 'Scandal Paradise'. Local Opinion Mon, 15 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT Ja’s political immune system has been terribly compromised http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Ja-s-political-immune-system-has-been-terribly-compromised_18089194 Voting is a civic sacrament. — Theodore Hesburgh  Local Opinion Sun, 14 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT More civility in the Tivoli enquiry? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/More-civility-in-the-Tivoli-enquiry- A friend of mine, a lawyer, emailed me the following: "I read your Local Opinion Sun, 14 Dec 2014 01:00:42 GMT Embrace the healthy competition, Digicel http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Embrace-the-healthy-competition--Digicel_18095560 In 2001, when Digicel arrived in Jamaica it had the body of a skinny little kid who had an eagerness to prove that it could discover the lay of the land and make its name felt throughout the tropical paradise. Local Opinion Sun, 14 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT The inevitability of Tufton's return to the JLP http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-inevitability-of-Tufton-s-return-to-the-JLP Dr Christopher Tufton, like many Jamaicans of his ilk, is ambitious and intelligent. Obviously, he has studied well and, judging from his accomplishments so far, he has proved himself worthy. Unlike many in the political vineyard, however, Tufton appears to be driven by a particularly refreshing style of politicsn -- that kind of transformational, goal-directed politics we should demand from those who offer themselves for political office. Local Opinion Sun, 14 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT Town planning, political will and civility http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Town-planning--political-will-and-civility_18095612 I have recently returned from Geneva, Switzerland, and was reminded once more of the way in which the ordering of a society leads to the cultivation of a culture of civility. I took note of a few things during the repeat visit as a kind of series of snapshots of the life of the people. Local Opinion Sun, 14 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT A Barbados minister's risky politics with his PM http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/A-Barbados-minister-s-risky-politics-with-his-PM_18095646 IN Caribbean party politics it's not surprising for disagreements between a prime minister and Cabinet colleagues to occasionally hit media headlines. But it's quite a rarity, if not unique, for a head of government to be publicly given an ultimatum by one of his ministers. Local Opinion Sun, 14 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT Jamaica's post-Independence macroeconomic performance — The lost opportunities Part 2 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Jamaica-s-post-Independence-macroeconomic-performance----The-lost-opportunities-Part-2_18049491 In Part One, published on November 30, 2014, I reviewed Jamaica's post-independent debt experiences. Another important facet of macroeconomic stability is inflation rates, as measured by the consumer price index. The Jamaican economy has suffered adversely from the effects of exogenous price shocks at particular points throughout its history, which exposed its lack of resilience in very significant ways. It was shown earlier in the study for example that one of the major causes of the collapse of the economy in the 1970s was the acute shortage of foreign currency which the Government faced as a result of two major oil price shocks. It will also be shown here that one of the main reasons for the high interest rate regime which dominated the 1990s and post-2000 period was the persistent upward pressure on domestic inflation which was posed in that period in the height of the economic liberalisation. Local Opinion Sun, 14 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT The other side of Tivoli http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-other-side-of-Tivoli_18095635 TIVOLI Gardens is once again dominating the news. The public enquiry is providing drama, painful memories, courtroom legalese, action, lights, and comedy. Enough to attract hours of live television play, juicy advertising revenue for the media, and prime time viewing at the expense of other major news developments. Local Opinion Sun, 14 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT Stronger US dollar and lower oil prices: Effects on the Caribbean http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Stronger-US-dollar-and-lower-oil-prices--Effects-on-the-Caribbean_18095654 CARIBBEAN countries whose value is fixed to the United States dollar should benefit, at least in the short term, from the fall in oil prices and the strengthening of the American currency. Oil prices fell to below US$65 a barrel for the first time in five years, while the US dollar strengthened against every major currency, including China's yuan. Local Opinion Sun, 14 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT Where do jobs come from? What about silly Farmer Joe? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Where-do-jobs-come-from--What-about-silly-Farmer-Joe_18094190 GRANNY said babies came by the stork. So where do jobs come from? Again there is a puerile notion that we are entitled to a job created by the Government. But jobs are made by a person who acts on his idea and puts his capital to work in a business, rather than let the bank do it. Local Opinion Fri, 12 Dec 2014 03:00:00 GMT Jumping the gun on Christmas http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Jumping-the-gun-on-Christmas_18094561 WHERE has time gone? Silly question, eeh? Time is time — at least it used to be. As children, we could hardly wait for Santa Claus and all that jazz. Now, one day overtook another and that's all there is to it. People talk about everything everywhere. How have we come so quickly to the end of the year without thinking about it? One day has run into another before you can "quint". Local Opinion Fri, 12 Dec 2014 03:00:00 GMT Michael Manley's 90th anniversary: Is he a hero-in-waiting? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Michael-Manley-s-90th-anniversary--Is-he-a-hero-in-waiting_18083714 MICHAEL Manley was born on December 10, 1924. Yesterday marked 90 years since this second son of Norman and Edna Manley (nee Swithenbank) was born at the Nuttall Hospital in Cross Roads in St Andrew. Local Opinion Thu, 11 Dec 2014 03:00:00 GMT Encouraging signs in the Jamaican business community http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Encouraging-signs-in-the-Jamaican-business-community_18088189 MOSES Jackson and his team need to congratulated all over again for another highly successful Jamaica Observer Business Leader Awards. This year the winners are the husband-and-wife team of Stafford and Marilyn Burrowes, operators of the much-heralded Dolphin Cove attraction in Ocho Rios, St Ann. Local Opinion Thu, 11 Dec 2014 03:00:00 GMT Talk is much cheaper than war, but OAS still relevant for Jamaica http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Talk-is-much-cheaper-than-war--but-OAS-still-relevant-for-Jamaica_18082565 As the Jamaican permanent representative to the OAS, I believe there is value in the attention that the newspaper has paid to the upcoming OAS elections and, more generally, in the work of the OAS. I wish, however, to make a few points about the approach taken in the editorial concerning the relevance of the OAS. Local Opinion Wed, 10 Dec 2014 03:00:00 GMT Protection of human rights everyone's business http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Protection-of-human-rights-everyone-s-business_18082567 The promotion and protection of human rights remain a fundamental priority of the Government of Jamaica, evidenced by its ratification of most of the core international human rights instruments, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). This has paved the way, over the years, for the establishment of a robust network of institutions which deal with various aspects of human rights, including the Office of the Public Defender, the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) and the Office of the Children's Advocate. Local Opinion Wed, 10 Dec 2014 03:00:00 GMT Black lives matter http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Black-lives-matter_18074534 THE fact that such an assertion has to be made in 2014 is deflating. It is more so for those of us who recognise that racism is insidious and systemic. Not enough effort is channelled at this level; many people only engage when an issue becomes a cause célèbre. Change, however, requires "mental emancipation" and consistently challenging and defeating anti-black discrimination. Local Opinion Tue, 09 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT