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 A million jobs...2 million...who will promise 3? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/A-million-jobs---2-million---who-will-promise-3_51517 Andrew Holness makes a mockery of our call to youth. We ask them to enter politics to bring vision and honesty and what do we get? They treat voters as illiterate, make outrageous promises for what? Power? Local Opinion Fri, 12 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT Electionitis…and life goes on http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Electionitis-and-life-goes-on_51518 I have a confession to make. We haven’t even gone half the journey to election day and I am worn out with propaganda. If so many people know what the nation needs, and who is going to get it for us, why don’t they just wrap it up in a parcel and send it to us by special delivery? Local Opinion Fri, 12 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT The joke is on us — Empty promises and pathetic, outdated antics http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-joke-is-on-us---Empty-promises-and-pathetic--outdated-antics_51301 Two Sundays ago, as I watched on the television and saw scores and scores of diehard People’s National Party (PNP) supporters at the Half-Way-Tree rally I started to really analyse my feelings on the whole election business. I am 26 years old and, like most Jamaicans my age, I love my country. But I care nothing for politics. Why though? Local Opinion Thu, 11 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT The late O J Thorbourne and credit unions http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-late-O-J-Thorbourne-and-credit-unions_51282 In an edition of the Umbrella magazine of 1967, the Reverend O J Thorbourne was listed as one of the honorees for the 25th anniversary of the Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League. On reading that magazine in 1967, as a teenager, I first became aware of O J Thorbourne. My late father, K C Burke, was also one of the honorees on that occasion, and I read the magazine when he returned from the function. Local Opinion Thu, 11 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT Pastor Harvey was asking for trouble http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Pastor-Harvey-was-asking-for-trouble_51288 The political declaration of support for the People’s National Party (PNP) from a political platform by Dr Michael Harvey, a pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, has brought into sharp relief the issue of Christian involvement in politics. His comments have sparked protest and even derision from various sections of the society. The minister has been roundly condemned as being partisan and even his denomination has not looked kindly at his fulminations. The issue merits discussion as the political campaign leading up to the general elections picks up pace. Local Opinion Wed, 10 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT Why damn non-voters to ‘hell-ocracy’? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Why-damn-non-voters-to----hell-ocracy-_51136 During the election season “pro-voting” media content and conversations become almost unbearable trying to save “non-voters” and “undecideds” from everlasting torture in the pit of hell-ocracy, with everyone reading from the same bible. Local Opinion Wed, 10 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT Should Ambrose be sacked? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Should-Ambrose--be-sacked-_51053 Sir Curtly Ambrose is among the all-time bowlers in Test cricket. When cricket pundits are compiling their all-time XI teams, he is always one of those featured to start alongside other bowling legends, like Malcolm Marshall, Wasim Akram, Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan, and others. Local Opinion Tue, 09 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT Who will succeed Portia Simpson Miller — Part III http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Who-will-succeed-Portia-Simpson-Miller---Part-III_51200 The premise of this series is that the general election, scheduled for February 25, for which candidates are being registered today, will be Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller’s last, and that she will not contest the next, constitutionally due 2021, when she would have been a member of parliament (MP) for 45 years and just past her 75th birthday. Simpson Miller has been an MP since 1976, and is the only female president of the People’s National Party (PNP) and prime minister of Jamaica. Local Opinion Tue, 09 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT US Presidential elections heading towards a slippery slope http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/US-Presidential-elections-heading-towards-a-slippery-slope_51048 Never in the last 80 years has the American presidential elections generated so much interest worldwide — all for the wrong reasons. Candidate and business mogul billionaire Donald Trump has dominated the entire media landscape. Trump creates opportunities to spew venom, sowing seeds of hate. His veiled racism is clearer than crystal. Yet he is perceived to be the leading candidate in the polls to represent the Republican Party, and is attracting record crowds everywhere he goes. It defies every logic. Local Opinion Mon, 08 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT Promises and more promises http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Promises-and-more-promises_51049 Over the next two weeks, the Jamaican voter will be bombarded with promises and more promises. How will we be able to differentiate the sincere from the sly? The saying, “Action speaks louder than words”, is a timely reminder of the questions the responsible voter should ask themselves. Local Opinion Mon, 08 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT Abolition of user fees: impact on access, care provided; lessons learnt http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Abolition-of-user-fees--impact-on-access--care-provided--lessons-learnt_46701 IN recent times the public health system has come under much greater scrutiny with its failure to meet certain standards of patient care. Consensus has emerged that at the heart of the problem is inadequate funding of the service and the extent to which the policy of no user fees has contributed to the financial plight of an already under-resourced public health system. This has become a major talking point with varied opinions, depending on the perspective from which the debaters speak. Local Opinion Sun, 07 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT In polls we trust; but are you better off today than you were 4 years ago? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/In-polls-we-trust--but-are-you-better_50866 If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn’t thinking. — General George S Patton Local Opinion Sun, 07 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT Assessing Holness’s plan to grow the economy http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Assessing-Holness-s-_50975 While we were all asleep it appears that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader Andrew Holness quietly and unobtrusively released a 10-point plan for growing the economy. Despite the promise of new and revolutionary approaches to the business of economic growth and associated job creation, the plan, when examined, contained nothing that one could consider as either new or revolutionary. I took some time to do an assessment of the proposal and the following are my comments/observations: Local Opinion Sun, 07 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT If education is the cure for poverty, then how do we make the antidote? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/If-education-is-the-cure-for-poverty--then-how-do-we-make-the-antidote--------_50510 THE United Nations recently claimed that the Millennium Development Goal that focused on primary education increased global enrolment from 83 per cent to 91 per cent. Despite these gains, today it is estimated that 124 million children do not attend school and 757 million adults are illiterate. Local Opinion Sun, 07 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT Finish what you have on your plate before you ask for more... http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Finish-what-you-have-on-your-plate-before-you-ask-for-more---_50969 FIFTY-four years ago, Jamaicans were declared free to look after themselves. We muddle along with the undertaking in organised disorder, each year celebrating Independence while the people are still not free of dependency and persistent poverty. Local Opinion Sun, 07 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT Go out and vote early http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Go-out-and-vote-early_50958 ‘TIS the season to be jolly, and the parties and the would-be voters are making the most of it. It is said that ‘something a gwaan at last’, and the trumpets and the bells mean it’s time to spread joy. It is also said that some people even asked for double time having spent the whole night on the road attending a certain meeting in Half-Way-Tree. Local Opinion Sun, 07 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT Andrew Holness’s flirtation with humour is disarming http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Andrew-Holness-s-flirtation-with-humour-is-disarming_50710 Jamaican Local Opinion Sun, 07 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT Is a voter biased and a non-voter independent? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Is-a-voter-biased-and-a-non-voter-independent-_50838 The Local Opinion Fri, 05 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT Should politicians play politics with Church? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Should-politicians-play-politics-with-Church-_50836 SO, the race has started. The vuvuzuelas are blowing. The brass bells are ringing. As we used to sing at Sunday school: “I know where I am going, I know.” If you never went to Sunday school, if you wake up too late every morning to know what’s going on, you’d better get up and tune in. No further need to ask, “Whatta gwaan?” Local Opinion Fri, 05 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT Careful, JET: The road to misinformation is paved with good intentions http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Careful--JET--The-road-to-misinformation-is-paved-with-good-intentions_49191 It is usually commendable when research evidence is used to support the actions of advocacy groups. Such was the intent of the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) recently when the results of a health survey of mining communities commissioned by them were shared with the nation. Local Opinion Fri, 05 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT The heart of the guidance counsellor rises above sensationalism http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-heart-of-the-guidance-counsellor-rises-above-sensationalism_50607 Last week, Nina Dixon, president of the Jamaica Association of Guidance Counsellors in Education (JAGCE), told us how comments she made in an interview with another media house were seemingly twisted and important remarks not included in the newspaper report. She is alleged to have said that some Christian guidance counsellors in Jamaica’s public schools are refusing to help students who may be struggling with their sexual orientation. In this second of a two-part report, Dixon talks about her disappointment, the anger of her colleagues over the controversial report, some lessons learned from the negative publicity, and plans to empower the JAGCE. Local Opinion Thu, 04 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT Anniversaries, elections and history http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Anniversaries--elections-and-history_50671 So the general election will be on Thursday, February 25, and nomination day will be this coming Tuesday, February 9. Both days are political anniversaries. Local Opinion Thu, 04 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT We can still be prosperous http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/We-can-still-be-prosperous_50413 Let’s Local Opinion Thu, 04 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT Abolishing income tax is crazy talk — Part II http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Abolishing-income-tax-is-crazy-talk-----Part-II_50137 In an article which appeared in this newspaper on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, I compared the taxing regime that has been practised in the USA over its history, and I showed that having no income taxes led to stagnant growth, but aggressive, progressive income taxes led to explosive growth. In this article I will show how and why this is so. Local Opinion Wed, 03 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT Of oxtail, curried goat and broken promises http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Of-oxtail--curried-goat-and-broken-promises_50550 So Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has finally received her touch from the creator of the universe. And, following his mandate, has announced the long-awaited general election date. Local Opinion Wed, 03 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT