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 Women in politics: sink or swim? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Women-in-politics--sink-or-swim_83090 THE president of the People’s National Party Portia Simpson Miller has announced her retirement from the post after some difficulties which have alienated her from political associates and sections of the wider public. It could not have been easy for her to face the lack of respect, the rough times which have come with failure at the polls, and occasions when she seemed to have lost self-control, leading to more bitter criticism of her capability to continue and being of use to her party and the wider society. Local Opinion Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT Was Portia a successful leader? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Was-Portia-a-successful-leader_83091 Portia Simpson Miller will exit the People’s National Party (PNP) leadership after years of effort — She’s been loved and criticised. But the party has drifted from its moorings and needs a renaissance led by conscious minds, innovative world views and it need not be complex or long. It needs a new leader commanding trust, with proven leadership, management, and new ideas. The instant challenge is to do this promptly, joyfully, and keep citizens advised as the party may be private — but we are the judges. Local Opinion Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT A neglected legal problem http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/A-neglected-legal-problem_78400 Even the unlearned person in the street feels outraged when a witness commits perjury and causes a case to go awry. Perjury, as even we non-lawyers know, is lying under oath. But have the legal luminaries given recent thought to the dubious value of oaths in a court of law? This, for me, is a neglected legal problem and there are two dimensions to the problem. Local Opinion Fri, 09 Dec 2016 03:00:00 GMT Secular politics required http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Secular-politics-required_82891 The time has come for Jamaica and the wider Caribbean to chart a way for freedom of religion and freedom from religion. A just and inclusive society must be so ordered that freedom is protected by law and daily practice. Local Opinion Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT Church’s definition of disturbing strange and contradictory http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Church-s-definition-of-disturbing-strange-and-contradictory_82888 The Church never ceases to amaze many of us on what it sees as right and wrong. However, its recent quarrel with a telecommunications company about an artist’s depiction, of what he sees as the country’s cultural norms, on a telephone directory is particularly interesting. People dancing and having what they consider a good time apparently is not good taste with “acceptable morals”. Local Opinion Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT Party infighting is not new http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Party-infighting-is-not-new_82883 So the electronic media got inside the last meeting of the National Executive Council of the People’s National Party (PNP) when Portia Simpson Miller announced her plans to step down from the PNP presidency. And excerpts of the barbs thrown at her by rivalling factions within the PNP were aired on TV. Local Opinion Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT Fidel Castro’s final epitaph http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Fidel-Castro-s-final-epitaph-_82859 Friends, Romans, countrymen, give me your ears. I have come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do is remembered after them. The good is oft interred with their bones. So let it be with Caesar. — Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare Local Opinion Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT Walk good, Portia, walk good http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Walk-good--Portia--walk-good_82772 Portia Simpson Miller has finally announced her intention not to seek re-election to the presidency of the People’s National Party (PNP) next September. She has given as one of her reasons for the announcement that she was awaiting the inevitable results of the local government elections just concluded. She did not like the idea of her successor suffering the ignominy of such a defeat. Thus she took one for the party and decided to bow out. One wonders what she would have done had her party won. Local Opinion Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT What more can we do? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/What-more-can-we-do-_82763 People with disabilities are an integral part of any society. However, they have not been treated with the level of respect and dignity that they should. After years of advances, many still view these individuals as people who should be confined to their homes or be placed in infirmaries. They are still being viewed as individuals who should be on welfare rather than being involved with gainful employment. Local Opinion Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT Teaching to test or testing to teach? — Part 2 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Teaching-to-test-or-testing-to-teach----Part-2_81988 We continue this Education Matters conversation from where we left off, with high-stakes testing, with a look at the implication for students and their caregivers: Local Opinion Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT Low-hanging fruits in public sector transformation http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Low-hanging-fruits-in-public-sector-transformation_82085 The public sector transformation programme is on, again. While this effort is a complex one, with far-reaching implications, there are several areas and approaches of attack that could be considered as relatively easy, or at least to be low-hanging fruits. Local Opinion Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT Jamaica has to change its brand of politics http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Jamaica-has-to-change-its-brand-of-politics_82213 I am not surprised with how the local government elections turned out. One factor was the limited options from which to choose from and again for the lack of voters. Local Opinion Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT The PNP’s existential crisis http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-PNP-s-existential-crisis_82113 The People’s National Party (PNP) is in a crisis of its own making, and when an organisation creates a crisis for itself, leadership is to be blamed. The PNP is suffering from a failure of leadership, not just that of the party president. When an organisation makes a series of bad decisions it is not easy to recover from them with a good speech or the change of a leader. I, nonetheless, submit that the party president, Portia Simpson Miller, is fully responsible for the series of bad decisions which have affected the image and future of the party. Local Opinion Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT Portia Simpson Miller should protect her legacy http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Portia-Simpson-Miller-should-protect-her-legacy_82575 We have watched Portia Simpson Miller’s rise from a humble Kingston and St Andrew Corporation councillor to prime minister of Jamaica. She has cut an impressive figure in line-ups of regional and global leaders, and has scored a double-page in Time magazine as one of their personalities of the year. Her visceral political campaigning has made her a hero to her followers and the fear of her opponents. The times that she has crossed the line into tracing matches have gained a critical mass, now overshadowing her historic rise in Jamaican politics. Local Opinion Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT Grief and relief at the death of Fidel Castro http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Grief-and-relief-at-the-death-of-Fidel-Castro_82355 When the history of the twentieth century is written, Fidel Castro, the maximum leader of Cuba, will be shown to occupy a prominent place in it. Local Opinion Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT What next is in store for Cuba? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/What-next-is-in-store-for-Cuba-_81872 In my travels not so long ago throughout Old Havana, central Havana, and the Vedado district of Havana, I observed that the Habaneros were generally happy. They seemed pretty much like most people in the other Caribbean islands. In fact, the people of Havana seemed more relaxed and agreeable than many of us Jamaicans. Local Opinion Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT Republican president, all-Republican Congress? Brace for impact! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Republican-president--all-Republican-Congress--Brace-for-impact_81667 The election of Donald Trump to be the 45th president of the United States of America is a guttural scream by people who are confronting their destiny and who do not like what they see. People will recall the Brexit vote, but the first sign of discord and discontent was when the 305-year-old British Union of England, Scotland and Wales was narrowly saved with a minuscule ‘no’ vote in the Scottish referendum. The people of the world are unsettled. Why? Local Opinion Sun, 04 Dec 2016 03:00:00 GMT The international crime against humanity masquerading as US immigration policy http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-international-crime-against-humanity-masquerading-as-US-immigration-policy_81643 The overwhelming majority of the poor people of the world live in countries outside of those classified as Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member states. These poorer countries are made up of approximately six billion members of our species, or more than 80 per cent of the human population of the planet. The world economic and political system, as it presently exists, one that is forcefully maintained by the laws of the global system and backed by the most powerful military machine that mankind has ever known, ensures that the disparity of economic and military might among nations remains in its present state of extreme and worsening inequality. Local Opinion Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT PHOTO: Grief And Relief http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Grief-And-Relief_82475 On The Agenda all week has been the death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro. Columnist Rev Dr Raulston Nembhard has sought to cover the full spectrum of consequent emotions — from grief to celebration. He says, when the history of the twentieth century is written, Fidel Castro, the maximum leader of Cuba, will be shown to occupy a prominent place in it. He concludes, however, that the glue that held the country together is no longer there. Fidel’s brother Raul and the other revolutionary remnants that remain will do their best to protect the vestiges of a dying order, but it will be a lost cause. Cuba will change. Local Opinion Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT Fidel Castro, villain or hero? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Fidel-Castro--villain-or-hero_82305 Castro was our friend. He was our closest, ‘bestest’ neighbour. His philosophy was not ours, but we were of one spirit. America shunned Cuba yet embraced us — scammers, druggies. We had access, Cuba did not, yet we both landed in poverty. Still, Cuba is ahead in development. Local Opinion Fri, 02 Dec 2016 03:00:00 GMT Defining local government http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Defining-local-government_82317 WE have been talking and talking, but how enlightened are we now to test the why and the wherefore of the recently concluded local government election? We still need answers. So what if I tempt you with, what does local government mean to we, the people, apart from the politicians who felt impelled to fight another fight, to show who a di boss? Local Opinion Fri, 02 Dec 2016 03:00:00 GMT This region knows how to prevent HIV: Now will we? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/This-region-knows-how-to-prevent-HIV--Now-will-we-_82189 World AIDS Day 2016 comes a year after the community of nations committed to ending AIDS by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, and six months following a landmark political declaration to end AIDS. HIV prevention is central to achieving this goal. At this exciting moment in history we have at our disposal a combination of new science, evidence-based prevention strategies refined over more than 30 years, and the understanding that, in order to succeed, we must ensure that no one is left behind. Local Opinion Thu, 01 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT Castro did what he had to do http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Castro-did-what-he-had-to-do_82114 This past week was filled with news. There was the death of Fidel Castro last Friday, and this past Monday was Jamaica’s local government elections. Less known or remembered is that today is 42 years since the death of the late Roman Catholic priest, Monsignor Gladstone Wilson, a Jamaican who was considered the seventh most learned man in the world in his time. Local Opinion Thu, 01 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT Let’s celebrate our achievements http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Let-s-celebrate-our-achievements_82193 Since 1982, when the first case of HIV/AIDS was reported in Jamaica, we have been a part of the global fight to control and eradicate the disease. Currently, approximately 1.6 per cent of Jamaica’s adult population lives with HIV/AIDS, representing about 32,000 people. It is estimated that about 50 per cent of people living with HIV do not know that they are HIV positive. This is an alarming figure and is likely linked to the continued spread of the disease. Local Opinion Thu, 01 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT Draining the poison from the local government system http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Draining-the-poison-from-the-local-government-system_82087 As could be expected, the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has won most of the parish council seats in the just-concluded parish council elections. From the very beginning, the odds were stacked against the People’s National Party (PNP). Out of funds and still grappling with the disquiet surrounding issues of funding of its last general election campaign, the party was not quite prepared to contest the elections in the small time frame given to them by the more confident JLP. Although they anticipated an election, they were not able to rally the troops in time. And neither did they have the wherewithal to do so. Local Opinion Wed, 30 Nov 2016 00:00:00 GMT