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 In a manner of speaking... http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/In-a-manner-of-speaking---_16502738 I read Franklin Johnson's recent column, 'The politics of English literacy' very carefully. Let me be brief. He is not advocating that Jamaicans speak English. He wants us to speak a certain variant of English, ie 'speak English with a top British accent (not cockney, jordie (sic) or scouse); they learn by rote from BBC radio'. There's the rub. English is spoken in many different forms. Most Jamaicans speak it with a distinct accent, but we also speak it in another form that would be hard for other English speakers to understand straight away. But, that's not unusual in English. Local Opinion Wed, 23 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT The Jamaican film industry — still a mirage http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-Jamaican-film-industry---still-a-mirage_16509454 There has been a lot of talk lately about 'the Jamaican film industry', but in my view there is no Jamaican film industry. In the eyes of the public officials in charge of managing a national film industry, and in the eyes of many of the Jamaican film workers who have gained technical experience working on foreign film productions, a 'film industry' is one in which major Hollywood blockbusters are filmed in Jamaica, giving employment to labourers, services and a high tourism profile for Jamaica's scenic beauty. Local Opinion Wed, 23 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT Crawling out from under the cultural trash http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Crawling-out-from-under-the-cultural-trash_16507604 Fresh off the Easter Holidays and the power of the resurrection messages, I hope everyone is ready for "newness of life". Local Opinion Tue, 22 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT Ja's dormant spirit must be awaken this Earth Day http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Ja-s-dormant-spirit-must-be-awaken-this-Earth-Day_16507757 THERE are more than seven billion people living on planet Earth. Our planet is at a critical juncture. As the global population increases so too are the environmental challenges associated with so many people living in a finite area. Each year, the world pauses on April 22 to commemorate Earth Day. The global theme for Earth Day 2014 is "Green Cities". With more than half of the world's population living in cities, it is becoming more and more challenging to refer to our cities as 'green'. Our cities are increasingly becoming large areas of concrete as governments struggle to provide affordable housing for their citizens. The denigration of the environment is a direct result of urbanisation and population increase. This is having a negative effect on all of us, rich and poor, Christians and atheists, black and white. This negative impact is highlighted in Jamaica, especially in the parishes of Kingston and St Andrew, where there are hardly any green spaces available where our children, as well as adults, can enjoy themselves whether for play or just to admire the beauty of nature. On the contrary, we have a solid waste disposal facility in the middle of the city which is rather senseless and environmentally suicidal. Local Opinion Tue, 22 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT A resurrection for Jamaica? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/A-resurrection-for-Jamaica-_16501324 THE announcement of new taxes took a bit of the flavour out of our Easter bun and cheese — in fact, some of us may have sliced these seasonal treats a little thinner when we heard that we had to find an additional $6.7 billion worth of taxes to close that ever-recurring gap in our $118-billion budget. Local Opinion Mon, 21 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT Goat Islands: A mistake we must not make http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Goat-Islands--A-mistake-we-must-not-make_16502748 An agreement has been signed for a Chinese-initiated logistics hub to be developed on the Goat Islands. A forum at the UWI on November 10, 2013 unfortunately cast the development as a war between the environment and development. The battle lines have been drawn as the issue emerges as a critical one for Jamaica. This article reexamines the issues and postulates a win-win situation for Jamaica with the retention of the current multi-user arrangements for the Portland Bight with the development of the Kingston Harbour site as the hub. Local Opinion Mon, 21 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT The power and complexity of the resurrection http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-power-and-complexity-of-the-resurrection_16490143 THOUSANDS of Christians will gather today over the length and breadth of this country in churches, under tents, and in varying other structures, to celebrate and revere the resurrection event of Jesus Christ. Local Opinion Sun, 20 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT Professor Mark Shields — that guru of journalism http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Professor-Mark-Shields---that-guru-of-journalism NINE years ago, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) came up with what seemed like a brilliant idea: to 'import' police officers from Britain and Canada to bolster its existing staff and help to reduce crime and violence in the Western Hemisphere's murder capital. Local Opinion Sun, 20 Apr 2014 02:52:06 GMT Marcus James, truly a Jamaican success story http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Marcus-James--truly-a-Jamaican-success-story_16489024 In 2000 when 28-year-old baby-faced Marcus James went downtown Kingston to make his pitch to higglers and small business operators, he was not only armed with a dream and an idea but a fiercely quiet determination to bring them to reality. Local Opinion Sun, 20 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT The Easter tradition and Miss Mary dry-foot Bwoy http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-Easter-tradition-and-Miss-Mary-dry-foot-Bwoy_16489172 WELL, I hope you cracked your egg on Holy Thursday night and read good fortune from the shape of the egg white. Tradition says that by the following day, Good Friday, you should have known what the future holds for you. Local Opinion Sun, 20 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT That elusive growth agenda http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/That-elusive-growth-agenda_16490463 CONSISTENT with expectations, minister of finance and planning Dr Peter Phillips Thursday presented a Budget that created little news and less excitement. Local Opinion Sun, 20 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT US: Caribbean's friend or unintentional foe? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/US--Caribbean-s-friend-or-unintentional-foe-_16489249 In what has to rate as one of the most insensitive and outrageous demands on a Caribbean country, US Government representatives have told The Bahamas Government that it must drop "all duties" on US products entering the country as a condition of being admitted to membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Local Opinion Sun, 20 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT Britain, Jamaica and gays http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Britain--Jamaica-and-gays_16489122 JAMAICANS and immigration continue to be a subject of interest in the British press. The most recent story manages to combine Jamaica, immigration and homophobia. Local Opinion Sun, 20 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT The politics of English literacy http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-politics-of-English-literacy_16479092 ENGLISH is our language. Cuba speaks Spanish; Haiti, French; Dominican Republic, Spanish; these are our neighbours. They have their patois, many speak English and their kids learn it too. What is it about us that some who speak it well bad-mouth English to people who hardly speak any? Many powerful people will not affirm publicly that English is ours. Their SUV manuals are in English, but they want poor people to think it does not matter to keep our labour cheap and classism alive. English needs a champion. Which athlete or entertainer is up to it? Patois needs no champion as it is us — though we can't write or read it. Politicians, entertainers are poor role models for English, as many send the wrong signal and entertainers speak English abroad, but not here, so local fans are not motivated to do so. They need to help us! Local Opinion Thu, 17 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT A little bit of jealousy, Gleaner? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/A-little-bit-of-jealousy--Gleaner-_16479141 LAST Sunday Observer's front-page story, '17 guns for freedom' was essentially the story of the day and, from discussion at all levels, the story of the week. Local Opinion Thu, 17 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT Whose Easter is it anyway? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Whose-Easter-is-it-anyway_16479152 A member of our business community had a fondness for jokes about people of his Jewish heritage, especially merchants. One day he shared this one with me. Local Opinion Thu, 17 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT Life is an ongoing test http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Life-is-an-ongoing-test_16469513 TODAY being Holy Thursday, there will be the re-enactment of the Lord's Supper in many Christian churches. There will be the traditional washing of the feet. This was the way in which Jesus said that we should live. In many instances, we Jamaicans live like that, but we need to move even closer to that way of living. Local Opinion Thu, 17 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT The other side of the ganja gold coin http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-other-side-of-the-ganja-gold-coin_16464556 NOW that the euphoria accompanying legalisation of medical marijuana and decriminalisation of recreational cannabis in certain US States continues, it is appropriate to review the dangers accompanying this much-vaunted development destined to have a profound effect on users and potential abusers of narcotics. Local Opinion Wed, 16 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT In an unequal world, we need inclusive growth http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/In-an-unequal-world--we-need-inclusive-growth_16474045 For a very long time, the rich have known to some extent how the poor around the world live. What's new in today's world is that the best-kept secret from the poor, namely, how the rich live, is now out. Through the village television, the Internet and hand-held instruments, which a rapidly increasing number of the poor possess, lifestyles of the rich and the middle class are transmitted in full colour to their homes every day. Local Opinion Wed, 16 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT 10 things we should not be confused about — Part 2 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/10-things-we-should-not-be-confused-about---Part-2_16469231 THANKS to the Internet and being desk-bound, I read the newspapers and listen to Jamaican radio almost daily. In the discussions about our problems, one thing that stands out starkly to me is how confused we are about some fairly basic issues. Though some of the talk shows have got better in recent years; they typically represent a breeding ground for confusion. This is not simply a matter of people holding different viewpoints on a given issue. It is simply people talking with no regard for the facts or any sense of how they arrive at the conclusions that they draw and, in most cases, the absence of any parameters set by the hosts/programmes. The blogs tend to be much smarter, but many also demonstrate much of the same as do people in public life. I was particularly surprised, for example, about how many educators clearly confuse morality with Christianity. That was an impetus for these articles. Local Opinion Tue, 15 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT Personal benefits the bane of Jamaican politics? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Personal-benefits-the-bane-of-Jamaican-politics-_16469393 PORK barrel politics, nepotism, feeding at the public trough, cronyism, call it what you will: Every government participates in patronage. Believe it or not, this observation was gleaned from a Canadian newspaper under the headline 'Patronage, the oil that keeps Canada's democracy turning?' Needless to say, this could easily be superimposed on the Jamaican media landscape, as for decades the word "corruption" has been associated with politics and politicians in this our island home. Local Opinion Tue, 15 Apr 2014 02:00:00 GMT Are we really ready to decriminalise? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Are-we-really-ready-to-decriminalise-_16464604 In a society where there is an undeniable association between the construction of masculinity and the smoking of marijuana, the intention of the Jamaican Government to decriminalise marijuana might just go up in smoke. Local Opinion Mon, 14 Apr 2014 01:00:00 GMT Mercy alive and well at Alpha Boys' School http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Mercy-alive-and-well-at-Alpha-Boys--School_16464587 AFTER almost 130 years of nurturing Jamaican boys, the Alpha Boys' School is closing its residential facilities. On the positive side, however, the school will expand its educational offerings. You would think that an institution like Alpha would have no difficulty receiving a decent subvention for its good work. But, like many others of its kind, it has been struggling financially. Local Opinion Mon, 14 Apr 2014 01:00:00 GMT Jamaica deserves better than Scooby Doo and Shaggy-type leadership http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Jamaica-deserves-better-than-Scooby-Doo-and-Shaggy-type-leadership_16452383 "If you always make the right decision, the safe decision, the one most people make, you will be the same as everyone else." Local Opinion Sun, 13 Apr 2014 01:00:00 GMT I maintain that Abigail Hyman's life could have been saved http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/I-maintain-that-Abigail-Hyman-s-life-could-have-been-saved_16457567 On March 31, regular Gleaner columnist Dr Garth Rattray wrote a piece titled 'Screen all student athletes', which began thus: "Tragically, a few months ago, grade nine student Abigail Hyman fainted and died while at Marymount High, her school, in St Mary. It was speculated that she died from a heart attack. Local Opinion Sun, 13 Apr 2014 01:00:00 GMT