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 Contributing to the promise of Vision 2030 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Contributing-to-the-promise-of-Vision-2030_17310937 THE UNAIDS Gap report (2014) launched in Geneva, ahead of the 20th International AIDS Conference held in Melbourne, Australia, from 20-25 July 2014 highlights that a lack of data about people most affected by HIV, coupled with widespread stigma and discrimination, punitive legal environments, barriers to civil society engagement and lack of investment in tailored programmes are affecting efforts to halt the spread of HIV. Local Opinion Tue, 02 Sep 2014 02:00:00 GMT On dissent and Diaspora http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/On-dissent-and-Diaspora-_17458190 TO hear the voices in media last week opining on the perceived snub of Jamaican-born Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent Wilfred Rattigan for the post of police commissioner, one could be confused into thinking that the Jamaican Diaspora is a well-organised homogenous group with elected representatives speaking in one voice. Such a position confuses the issues and gives an impression that ultimately could prove far from the truth in the event of a wider canvassing of what people truly believe. Local Opinion Tue, 02 Sep 2014 02:00:00 GMT Let the new political conversation begin http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Let-the-new-political-conversation-begin As we keep searching for a way out of the disillusionment of so many Jamaicans, there were encouraging signs last week from Professor Trevor Munroe and entrepreneur Ambassador Patrick Casserly. Local Opinion Mon, 01 Sep 2014 01:48:11 GMT Let the readers decide who to trust, Observer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Let-the-readers-decide-who-to-trust--Observer If the Observer’s editorial page writer was taken aback by the speed of my response to Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) Governor Brian Wynter’s comment in which he said the “Jamaican economy is showing unprecedented resilience to inflationary shocks”, which he wrote with such moral rectitude and packaged with such optimism, then I was most surprised with the selective use of my comment which formed the basis of your editorial of Thursday, August 28, 2014. Local Opinion Mon, 01 Sep 2014 01:48:13 GMT Bag juice children and stunted brains http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Bag-juice-children-and-stunted-brains_17447243 JACKIE is in her late 30s, highly educated and a professional. She pulls in around $6 million per year, plus she drives a company car and gets a healthy 'housing allowance'. She moves around mostly in the circle of her peers, that is, those who are also doing well, eating well and living in comfort. Whenever Jackie discusses economic matters, she is immediately drawn to the macroeconomic numbers which lend support to what she and her close circle of friends can see. "The country is not as bad off as you and others are making it out to be. We have made progress and we are making progress," she insists. Local Opinion Mon, 01 Sep 2014 01:00:00 GMT 51 years later, Dr King's dream remains unfulfilled http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/51-years-later--Dr-King-s-dream-remains-unfulfilled_17438769 I write this commentary on August 28, 2014 — 51 years after the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr made his famous "I have a dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. It was not only a speech for its time, but a speech for all time. Half a century later, Dr King's reminder to the American people of "the fierce urgency of Now" in Local Opinion Sun, 31 Aug 2014 00:05:00 GMT So what's in a name? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/So-what-s-in-a-name-_17438845 Family names in Jamaica are linked to a crossword puzzle of English, European, Indian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern origins. African to a lesser extent, as our slave ancestors were given English names by their owners after purchase, or simply inherited the names of the plantations on which they slaved. Local Opinion Sun, 31 Aug 2014 01:00:00 GMT Food security: satiety, self- http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Food-security--satiety--self-_15536070 UPON reading Sir Ronald Sanders' column in this newspaper entitled 'Addressing the Caribbean's grave economic crisis', where he drew on Professor Norman Girvan's paper 'Re-Energising Caricom' which focused on regional agriculture and food security, three words emerged from my reflection. They are respectively satiety, self-reliance and sustainability. The following discourse, however, will be within the Jamaican context, which can possibly be generalised at the regional level. Here it goes... Local Opinion Sun, 31 Aug 2014 01:00:00 GMT The 'duppies' of JOS/Jolly Joseph still haunt the JUTC http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The--duppies--of-JOS-Jolly--Joseph-still-haunt-the-JUTC_17439847 I would argue that one of the issues which the public should be much more emphatic about with all politicians...is patronage, appointing people to high positions becausethey supported your campaign or helped you raise money. — John Hickenlooper Local Opinion Sun, 31 Aug 2014 01:00:00 GMT What we don't know about marijuana http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/What-we-don-t-know-about-marijuana_17436038 SINCE Jamaica became an independent nation and a signatory of the International Convention of the United Nations (UN) against the planting, possession and illicit use of marijuana, Jamaica has saved over a trillion dollars in health care, especially in the maintenance of the sanity of its citizens, by continuing with the criminalisation of the planting, possession and illicit use of marijuana as a narcotic substance. Local Opinion Sun, 31 Aug 2014 00:30:00 GMT The criminal who cried gay http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-criminal-who-cried-gay_17447230 Another story has erupted in the British press about a Jamaican criminal escaping deportation because he claims to be a homosexual. Local Opinion Sun, 31 Aug 2014 01:00:00 GMT What makes a school successful? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/What-makes-a-school-successful-_17435502 I will dare to enter the debate on the makings of a successful school and proffer some hopefully sagacious solutions to help us decide on a modus vivendi. Local Opinion Sun, 31 Aug 2014 01:00:00 GMT For every solution, a problem http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/For-every-solution--a-problem_17438544 There has been no natural hurricane so far this year. We seem eager to fill the vacuum, however, by cranking up some stormy weather of our own. Political breeze-blow seems to be drawing nearer. We haven't yet established the speed of the winds, but there are definite signs that we may have to batten down soon. Local Opinion Fri, 29 Aug 2014 01:00:00 GMT London bridge is falling; will Scotland exit the UK? Jamaica exit CSME? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/London-bridge-is-falling--will-Scotland-exit-the-UK--Jamaica-exit-CSME_17438612 On September 18, the people of Scotland will vote whether or not to exit the United Kingdom. This is the oldest Union aka Single Market and Economy (SME) and Scottish leaders now feel the need for their own identity. Our leaders are going in the opposite direction and wish us to subsume our identity into a puny, poor Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). It will have MPs, tax us, determine foreign policy, and subject our economy to 'group-think'. Local Opinion Fri, 29 Aug 2014 01:00:00 GMT The presence of an absence http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-presence-of-an-absence_17434558 WHEN a loved one dies and is missed by relatives, it can be called 'the presence of an absence'. When the garbage collectors do not pick up the garbage with regularity we have the presence of an absence. When there is no discipline, we experience the presence of an absence. Local Opinion Thu, 28 Aug 2014 02:00:00 GMT Andrew Holness would make an excellent school principal http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Andrew-Holness-would-make-an-excellent-school-principal_17434037 ON Monday, when JLP leader Andrew Holness moved outside of his comfort zone, actually stole some time from behind a safe desk, went out into the sunlight, and spoke to a shrunken community of his own political people in Half-Way-Tree, and did so outside of a real upcoming election season, it occurred to me that it was the very first time in his political life that he had ever agitated at the public level for anything. Local Opinion Thu, 28 Aug 2014 02:00:00 GMT Brown and Foley cases evoke urgency of justice and national security http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Brown-and-Foley-cases-evoke-urgency-of-justice-and-national-security REACTIONS to the killing of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the aftermath of the assassination of United States journalist, James Foley, resound throughout the US and abroad, as watchful eyes focus on the US's international image, strength, and action. Local Opinion Wed, 27 Aug 2014 02:00:00 GMT JLP, PNP — same difference? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/JLP--PNP---same-difference-_17419020 IN plain Jamaican parlance, "same difference" usually means "no better herring, no better barrel", but hard-core supporters of both parties would be the first to say otherwise with respect to the ruling People's National Party (PNP) and the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). Local Opinion Wed, 27 Aug 2014 02:00:00 GMT National transportation model needed http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/National-transportation-model-needed_17409798 A few days after announcing transportation fare increases for people who utilise the services of the government-owned Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), the Government reversed the stated increase for senior citizens. Hence they will now be paying an increase of $20, thus making the fare cost at $40. The Andrew Holness-led Opposition Jamaica Labour Party has lashed out at the Government enunciating vociferously that, in these severely harsh economic times, no form of increases should be granted to the JUTC. I fully concur with this, simply put. Local Opinion Tue, 26 Aug 2014 02:00:00 GMT Whither a police force that’s too far down the tube? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Whither-a-police-force-that-s-too-far-down-the-tube-_17412650 "THE Jamaica Constabulary Force is too far down the tube. It cannot be reformed, it has to be transformed," said former head of the army and police commissioner from 2007 to 2009, Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin on a radio programme last week in the wake of the furore over the death of 31-year-old Mario Deane after being in custody at the Barnett Street lock-up in Montego Bay. Deane had been arrested for smoking a ganja spliff, a minor offence. Somewhere in the process he voiced that he did not like the police. I strongly suspect that that comment resulted in the circumstances that ended his life. Local Opinion Tue, 26 Aug 2014 02:00:00 GMT Much ado about ganja http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Much-ado-about-ganja_17388668 AT a time when the country is battling to get Chukugunya under control and with the "Sword of Damocles" and Ebola hangs over our heads in this hemisphere, we find the rush to decriminalise ganja incomprehensible and inexplicable. It is no wonder that Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew, when visiting the island in the 1900s, referred to Jamaicans as having "a calypso mentality". Local Opinion Mon, 25 Aug 2014 01:00:00 GMT That senior tomorrow... is you http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/That-senior-tomorrow----is-you_17409933 A professional who is looking forward to retirement remarked that he told his family abroad to "get my room ready because Jamaica is no place to grow old". Folks, this has to change. We are all hoping to live long, and not all of us have a room abroad. This was obvious as television news teams interviewed seniors at the Half-Way-Tree Transport Centre and at the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC) at West King's House Road. Local Opinion Mon, 25 Aug 2014 02:00:00 GMT How many more victims? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/How-many-more-victims-_17389184 The fundamental purpose of government is to protect its citizens. — Arlen Specter Local Opinion Sun, 24 Aug 2014 02:00:00 GMT It’s Carnival time..Notting Hill style http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/It-s-Carnival-time--Notting-Hill-style_17405816 TOMORROW is a public holiday here in the United Kingdom. It is also the weekend of the Notting Hill Carnival. An explosion of colour and festivity, it is one of the largest street festivals in the world. I have attended most years, and I have seen how it has grown. It now attracts over a million people. I have also observed how it has evolved. Notting Hill Carnival stands as a testimony to how much the West Indian community in Britain has achieved, but also how much things are changing. Local Opinion Sun, 24 Aug 2014 02:00:00 GMT Impressions of the new highway and Garvey http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Impressions-of-the-new-highway-and-Garvey_17399461 DRIVING on the new Moneague to Ewarton highway, two days after it was opened, I had a smooth and uneventful ride from the Moneague end and was quite happy with the layout as the road snaked its way through virtually virgin country untouched by any urban development. Local Opinion Sun, 24 Aug 2014 02:00:00 GMT