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 Jamaica and the Caribbean have a great future! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Jamaica-and-the-Caribbean-have-a-great-future--_19034215 THE geopolitical issue facing Jamaica is the chimera named Caricom/Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). Our leaders don't speak about it as the masses are not for it, but play the game with 'Mini-mees' down south. Andrew Holness dropped a word on the right side of history, then silence. Speak up, blood! Union with distant, poor, small islands does not work for us. The deception of Caricom is to 'love up' and call the West Indies and its entities "Caribbean", but it's programmed by "Bucky Massa" as they don't know why they don't like our neighbours -- ex-colonies of France and Spain. Local Opinion Fri, 29 May 2015 02:00:00 GMT Faith, hope and football bangarang http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Faith--hope-and-football-bangarang_19033795 HOW would you respond if you were asked this question: Are we Jamaicans losing hope for ourselves and this country, which we declare that we so love? Local Opinion Fri, 29 May 2015 02:00:00 GMT PICA saw a lifeline and took it http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/PICA-saw-a-lifeline-and-took-it_19019282 The CEO of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) Jennifer McDonald told the public the reasons for the increase in passport fees. To my shock and dismay, she explained that her 'masters', the Ministry of Finance and national security ministry, have withheld $300m from the department's budget, which would account for salaries for her staff. A drop in the bucket, compared to what the Government has wasted to buy unusable lands for housing projects from which the majority of Jamaicans will not benefit. Local Opinion Fri, 29 May 2015 02:00:00 GMT Jamaica not maximising its full potential http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Jamaica-not-maximising-its-full-potential_19010320 I am seriously concerned about the state of my country as it has not maximised its full potential, and each passing day it is slowly sliding off the hill of fellowship and prosperity into the gutters of crime, violence and selfishness. Local Opinion Fri, 29 May 2015 02:00:00 GMT Edward Seaga at 85 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Edward-Seaga-at-85 Edward Seaga was born May 28, 1930, which makes him 85 today. His impact on Jamaica was mainly in his political years, from the late 1950s to 2005 when he stepped down as leader of the Jamaica Labour Party. Edward Seaga’s 85th birthday comes at a time when the Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League begins its annual convention. The two events are not totally irrelevant to each other. Local Opinion Thu, 28 May 2015 15:33:05 GMT Must our final court be Trinidadian, too? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Must-our-final-court-be-Trinidadian--too-_18989403 I note with great interest all the differing views from various commentators on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). I have also observed a couple of other things. Travelling the country, I do not hear the issue being debated in bars, shops, and at taxi stands by the general populace. A hobby horse of the "articulate minority", perhaps? Local Opinion Wed, 27 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT The IMF, Ja & missing targets http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-IMF--Ja---missing-targets_18990854 ONE of the most important targets of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Extended Fund Facility agreement with the Government of Jamaica is meeting the quarterly surplus targets which demonstrate the Government's willingness to keep the country's debt in check. Local Opinion Wed, 27 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT A fundamental error http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/A-fundamental-error_19016417 I am a graduate of the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) and currently pursuing postgraduate studies in the field of political communications. I make reference to this because in my exposures to the field of communication, the issue of fairness and balance as a journalist or any media practitioner is of fundamental import. Local Opinion Mon, 25 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT Let's restore May Pen Cemetery to its former glory http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Let-s-restore-May-Pen-Cemetery-to-its-former-glory_19011295 KINDLY allow me space in the Daily Observer to comment on an article on page 7 of the Sunday Observer, May 24, 2015, 'KSAC to probe grave allegations at May Pen Cemetery'. Local Opinion Mon, 25 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT Where were they when what happened in St Kitts-Nevis took place in Guyana? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Where-were-they-when-what-happened-in-St-Kitts-Nevis-took-place-in-Guyana-_18991782 I am writing on behalf of the youth and the Kittitians and Nevisians who have similar questions. What happened in Guyana after the elections? Where were the results? Is this going to be a trend that the Caribbean will be following? No results until days after the elections. We must become more cooperative and responsible. We must not jeopardise people's right to know. The world is watching us; the youth are still looking up to those who are older. Local Opinion Mon, 25 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT The pain, the joy of South Africa http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-pain--the-joy-of-South-Africa_19005027 I am writing this from South Africa, where the media images of decades, pre- and post-apartheid, have sprung to life in tours and first-person accounts. Oh, the pain of the Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto. Oh, the joy of hearing courageous leaders express their resolve to build their country, even as we see the scars of their struggle etched by sleepless, ever-watchful nights. Local Opinion Mon, 25 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT The talk-to-action gap — Part 1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-talk-to-action-gap---Part-1_19016707 TIME is an intangible. We cannot see, touch or hear it, but we are aware of its passing measured by everything from the wrinkles on once youthful faces or the threads of grey in our hairs, to life changes like marriages, childbirth, graduations, divorces, and deaths. Local Opinion Mon, 25 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT National 'man-made' disasters http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/National--man-made--disasters_18989375 FOR our size, we already have a record for carnage in our households by the use of the gun. So it should come as no surprise that we also have the dubious record for deaths on our roads by the second deadliest invention of mankind -- the motor vehicle. Local Opinion Mon, 25 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT Failure to launch... just tyre skid marks http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Failure-to-launch----just-tyre-skid-marks_18990814 "When I use a word", Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less". Local Opinion Sun, 24 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT 'God nah gi yuh more dan yuh can bear' http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/-God-nah-gi-yuh-more-dan-yuh-can-bear-_18982979 PRIME Minister Portia Simpson Miller said a lot about child safety and protection during her national televised broadcast on Sunday, May 17, 2015. She reminded parents that their "ultimate responsibility is to care for their children". As I see it, this was one of the most salient features of her broadcast. The prime minister's intervention is significant. It is significant because it marked the first time -- at least that I can recall -- that a Jamaican prime minister dedicated an entire national broadcast to issues concerning the nation's children. Simpson Miller vowed to do all in her power to ensure that people who abuse children receive the harshest punishment under the law. She encouraged children not be afraid to speak out, even if the perpetrators are in their homes and include their own parents or family members, because "No one has the right to abuse you; you are to be loved and cared for..." Local Opinion Sun, 24 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT Pope Francis and President Obama: Almost Twins http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Pope-Francis-and-President-Obama--Almost-Twins_18990716 MAJOR powers may interpret Pope Francis's foreign policy initiatives as either promising or problematic. As expected, the Obama Administration has been assessing the pontiff's calibrated moves in the global political arena. It appears both President Obama and the papal leader share common perspectives on several key issues, but sometimes differ on interpretation, interests, and tact. However, harmonising their strategies could pay dividends in handling contentious international matters. Local Opinion Sun, 24 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT Tourism competition is not a guessing game http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Tourism-competition-is-not-a-guessing-game-_18990667 THE performance of only five of the 14 independent Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries are recorded in the 2015 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum. Local Opinion Sun, 24 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT Who says you can't go home again? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Who-says-you-can-t-go-home-again-_18990668 THE first time I went to the movies was when my eyes were at my knees. The movie was Oliver Twist, shown at the old Theatre Clarendon in May Pen. I remember the occasion because it was a school trip from Four Paths, a little village four miles away, and the headmaster thought it would be educational. It was a bit too early for me to meet Charles Dickens, but what stands out and made the trip so memorable was the threepence patty made and bought from Uncle Sam's restaurant, and the soft drink which was either a Diamond Mineral or an OK It's Kelly's. Local Opinion Sun, 24 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT The future of the Caribbean http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-future-of-the-Caribbean_18902491 The following is a presentation by Ambassador Irwin LaRocque at the Forum on the Future of the Caribbean, held at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, on May 6, 2015. Local Opinion Sun, 24 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT Those ministries of the government http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Those-ministries-of-the-government_18983075 I believe that the population is in need of a massive education campaign regarding the structure and role of government. This could be one of the reasons for the apathy and lack of engagement of the majority of the population. Local Opinion Sun, 24 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT US & Jamaica holding up the right of all http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/US---Jamaica-holding-up-the-right-of-all_18992594 Jamaica is well-known historically as a global leader on human rights, having spurred the awakening of the world's conscience against the noxious apartheid regime. Local Opinion Sun, 24 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT Without families we gift-wrap and hand-deliver our children to the eventual killer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Without-families-we-gift-wrap-and-hand-deliver-our-children-to-the-eventual-killer_18992631 We cannot always build the future for our youth; but we can build our youth for the future. -- Former US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt Local Opinion Sat, 23 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT Is the engineer's report a scam? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Is-the-engineer-s-report-a-scam-_18989499 It's a miserable time. I pay exorbitant fees to a man who ticks boxes on a form as an engineer's report (ER) on my car. Is it a devious move by the tax man? No! Last year it cost me over $3,000, but I held my peace. It's now some $6,000, so I am angry; a heat wave is on, my dog Dawande died, mate Dawanya is sad, and I work in steamy conditions; maybe I am losing it, but with my plants quailing, fruits falling force-ripe like my niece, my shower hot, I am prickly as to pay a fee which is 150 per cent higher than 2013 for a grown man to walk round my car, turn lights on off, open the bonnet, and kick the tyres is outrageous. With tax I get a notice and can appeal, but with these privateers no notice and no choice as I can't get insurance at this firm without this ER. I may switch insurers. Local Opinion Fri, 22 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT Fire out in the hills http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Fire-out-in-the-hills_18989173 THE wind has abated. The flames have been brought under control. In the hills, many acres of agricultural land were destroyed. Thankfully, no one was injured. No life was lost. What has been described as possibly one of the worst bush fires ever seen in lickle Jamaica has been brought under control. The worst-case scenarios are no more. To some naysayers in our Diaspora, it was another occasion to be derogative about our lack of First World capabilities. One even used the words Dark Ages. Those at home who were in the path of the fire, and are here to tell the tale, have enough reason to give thanks now that it's all over. Local Opinion Fri, 22 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT Worker participation and bush fires http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Worker-participation-and-bush-fires_18974577 SO National Labour Day comes around again this coming Monday. We have certainly come a long way from the days when the conditions that workers laboured under were similar to that of slaves. The problem today is that workers still do not own the business in which they work. It is as if worker participation has been thrown in the garbage heap. And this is sad! Local Opinion Thu, 21 May 2015 00:00:00 GMT