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 Ideologies can be resurrected http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Ideologies-can-be-resurrected_78444 It is not an everyday occurrence for human beings to be resurrected. We Christians claim that Jesus Christ was resurrected and, of course, there are gospel accounts of the dead being raised, including the story of Lazarus. But all ideologies can die and all can be resurrected. And the death of an ideology does not automatically mean that it ceases to have its adherents.<br /> <br /> When Michael Manley made his statement that &ldquo;socialism is dead&rdquo;, that to a large extent was the changed reality at the end of the 1980s. But did Michael Manley stop being a socialist? Not according to the video of his last-ever interview before he died. In that interview, recorded about six years after his &lsquo;socialism is dead&rsquo; statement, Michael Manley, then in retirement with less than a year to live, stated that he would always remain a socialist.<br /> <br /> In the Sunday Gleaner of October 23, former Prime Minister Edward Seaga said that a statement by Julian Robinson was curious because Robinson had said in an interview that the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) is a democratic socialist party. Seaga then alluded to the &lsquo;socialism is dead&rsquo; statement made by Michael Manley. Someone should hand Seaga a video of Michael Manley&rsquo;s last interview, as perhaps he has not seen it.<br /> <br /> Many statements made by politicians of both major political parties about the other are not answered. It is not always because the statements are unanswerable, but the politicians know that it is mobilisation and not issues that win elections in Jamaica. Therefore, they view responses to such statements as a waste of time.<br /> <br /> For this reason, Dr D K Duncan is to be commended for responding to Seaga&rsquo;s comment on the 1976 election results implying that it was influenced by the state of emergency. Like Duncan, I recall the statement made by Seaga on election night 40 years ago, in December 1976, which was somewhat different from what he wrote in his last article.<br /> <br /> Whenever Edward Seaga speaks or writes about the 1970s it is always wise to have a copy of Michael Manley&rsquo;s book<br /> <br /> Struggle in the Periphery at hand and vice versa to get two sides of the story.<br /> <br /> We hear about negative growth in the 1970s for which Seaga, like many of his supporters, blame the Michael Manley-led socialist government in the 1970s. Reading or listening to Edward Seaga can give the impression that the world oil crisis of the 1970s did not happen. Politicians will be politicians, I suppose &mdash; even retired ones.<br /> <br /> It is indeed true that there were certain negative excesses in the 1970s as some felt that socialism was a licence for anarchy. In the late 1970s and early 1980s my brother Paul Burke was chairman of the PNP youth organisation. This became the grand excuse for some people to jump the fence of our family home to steal fruits from the trees. And when accosted by a neighbour they said: &ldquo;Is socialis&rsquo; yard, so we can tek some.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> But back to the oil crisis. Michael Manley announced free education in 1973, complete with free uniforms and free lunch. But suddenly the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) wanted more for their oil, and it threw the nations dependent on the importation of oil totally out of whack. So the bauxite levy was introduced in 1974 to finance free education.<br /> <br /> Which politician in a democratic country, after receiving a tumultuous applause from the populace for promising free education, would say to the populace, after only one school semester of free education, &ldquo;We have to return to paying school fees next year because we now have to pay more for oil&rdquo;? If that happened in Jamaica the political Opposition would have had Michael Manley and the PNP for dinner!<br /> <br /> Still, the PNP should thank Edward Seaga for reminding the world that it was the PNP that introduced free education &mdash; as the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) behaves as if it first introduced it. Who was it that said in the 1950s that &ldquo;salt fish is better than education&rdquo;? Is Andrew Holness pleased with such revelations coming from his mentor, Edward Seaga? Talk about &lsquo;foot-in-mouth&rsquo; disease.<br /> <br /> While a certain amount of inefficiency accompanied attempts to construct a socialist state in the 1970s, the food shortage was not caused by mismanagement. Apart from the very serious oil crisis, was food deliberately removed from the supermarkets and shops to sabotage the Government of the 1970s? Why was at least one supermarket in Liguanea, St Andrew, packed with food on the morning after the 1980 election?<br /> <br /> I hold no brief for Michael Manley, but the truth is the truth. I am a Norman Manleyist who knows that the PNP has abandoned its ideological roots. And I am not a member of any political party. While one has to be practical in the implementation of ideology, the PNP has definitely strayed too far from its aims and objectives.<br /> <br /> For example, the PNP should be the first to oppose any attempts to lessen the democracy in the co-operatives, since Norman Manley was the one who piloted the Co-operative Act through the House of Representatives in 1950. Fortunately, he negotiated the co-operation of the JLP majority led by (later Sir) Alexander Bustamante.<br /> <br /> And by the way, last week in response to my article &lsquo;Co-operatives should reduce stress&rsquo;, &ldquo;Jahlas&rdquo; wrote in the<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer online portal that we must be careful that credit unions do not go outside of the core business. I never suggested in my article last week that we do that, as I long ago realised that it would be very difficult to go through Jamaica to persuade each credit union to elect delegates to the credit union league that would vote in favour of such an idea. I suggested a separate service co-operative, which would be financed by the credit unions, just as how the credit unions finance any other business. But I was suggesting that it be done by voting on the surplus, which can be distributed any way that the general meeting desires by way of voting. And speaking about resurrection, let us hope that the co-operative movement does not die, because it would be very difficult to resurrect it.<br /> <br /> ekrubm765@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13278154/227542__w300.jpg Local Opinion Thursday, October 27, 2016 12:00 AM For Sale: Journalism? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/For-Sale--Journalism-_77528 Growing up, I enjoyed listening to/watching the news. I read the newspaper every day. The media, I believed then, was a credible source of information. Fast-forward to 2016 and I have to question the veracity of almost everything blurted out in the media. The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) has a serious task at hand to restore and maintain credibility to local media.<br /> <br /> Breaking news<br /> <br /> Many journalists/reporters have perfected their role in breaking news to the public while neglecting their role in helping to educate the people of the country. There is this immense desire to leave a breaking story after getting the reaction from the public, or drag on a part of the story for the fame that comes with half-truths.<br /> <br /> Let&rsquo;s take, for example, what was referred to as the &ldquo;dead babies&rsquo; scandal&rdquo;, where members of the media seemed to have adopted a political stance on the matter on the eve of a general election. Little attention was paid to the key fact that the mortality rate at the time was in keeping with our national mortality rate, and that the figures were far from epidemic levels as defined by international health organisations. Advising the public that the deaths were caused by &lsquo;superbugs&rsquo; due to antibiotic resistance, which we all contribute to, was also a difficult thing for members of the media to do. Advising John Public that very low birth weight and being premature comes with a greater risk of not making it home also did not satisfy what I believe was a clear agenda &mdash; a political agenda. The year 2016 also featured neonatal deaths. While I do not expect it to be politicised at all &mdash; especially since there&rsquo;s an election on the horizon and it wouldn&rsquo;t satisfy the agenda &mdash; I would expect greater scrutiny as was the case in the previous instance. Instead, the conclusion that the mother&rsquo;s vagina is the only way that Group B Strep could be transmitted was rapidly gobbled down.<br /> <br /> I also take umbrage to reporters playing the roles of all professions, drafting their scandalous conclusions and publishing them before actually consulting the professionals from a sector in question. The privacy of individuals should not be trampled on without consequence, in the selfish interest to break a story and gain notoriety.<br /> <br /> Ethics in journalism<br /> <br /> The decay of journalistic integrity is a glaring problem locally and internationally. The desire for sound bites and stinging sensationalism has superseded ethics. Releasing a child&rsquo;s autopsy report before it is seen by parents, or authorised to leave from within the bounds of the family, just to be the one to provide news first; recording conversations via phones without informing the individual on the next end of the phone; soaking up to political agendas and satisfying them without question are clear demonstrations of a decay in ethics and morals.<br /> <br /> Why publicly ridicule a press release sent via e-mail when you can respond via e-mail to notify the sender of errors and seek clarification? Is that any way for any decent organisation/individual to operate? Again, the PAJ must put in place a standard. And if there is one, the public needs to be aware of it and know that it&rsquo;s being enforced. A medical doctor guilty of malpractice is brought before the medical council to answer, with the end result being either absolution or sanction which could include revocation of the right to practise. The medical personnel responsible for leaking an autopsy report could be held accountable if found, but in journalism you get a slap on the wrist and an award for being mischievous. Unless a standard is set and upheld, Jamaican journalism will continue to decline.<br /> <br /> Commendations<br /> <br /> It would be remiss of me, even while critiquing some actions, to not acknowledge that many journalists have stayed true to their cause of putting forward the truth without bias and refusing to sell their soul in exchange for &ldquo;breaking news&rdquo;. There still exists probing and investigative journalists, and I must say that I respect their work. Those who have maintained their integrity must now protect it at all cost and encourage some of the &ldquo;wayward souls&rdquo; to engage in a sort of journalistic repentance; seeking to act with integrity and without bias.<br /> <br /> Going forward<br /> <br /> Not everything is a scandal. The public defender would have reminded the country and the media of this in the report on what was callously touted as another dead babies&rsquo; scandal.<br /> <br /> If the PAJ is serious about maintaining the respect for and credibility of local journalism, a standard must be put in place to guide journalists. It needs to be clear that publishing half-truths, as professionals, isn&rsquo;t acceptable. I long for the days when I&rsquo;d reference broadcast news as credible information without question. Maybe it really wasn&rsquo;t credible, and I was naive when I believed it was, but in any case there&rsquo;s a credibility issue to be solved.<br /> <br /> aujae.k.dixon@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13386319/236942_63840_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Thursday, October 27, 2016 12:00 AM &lsquo;We followed protocol&rsquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/-We-followed-protocol-_78411 Caribbean Airlines notes with concern the Jamaica Observer article published on October 23, 2016 entitled &lsquo;Jamaican-born UK citizen detained in Trinidad after Caribbean Airlines mix-up&rsquo; article, which was written by Jedaiel Carter and wishes to clarify some of the information therein.<br /> <br /> Caribbean Airlines views Jamaica as an important focus city and destination and remains committed to our loyal Jamaican customers whom we have consistently served with reliable service since the start of our operations in 2007. We are therefore very concerned that by the article conveying one version of the events which occurred two months ago, on August 26, 2016, the information and tone of the article could be very misleading to the public.<br /> <br /> For the record, Ms Carter wrote to Caribbean Airlines on Friday, October 21, 2016, seeking answers to some questions raised by a customer, namely Dudley Smith. On the very same date we dispatched the following response over my signature:<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Dear Ms Carter, Thank you for the email.<br /> <br /> I would need to investigate these allegations before any response can be offered<br /> <br /> Thank you for your kind co-operation.<br /> <br /> I will be in contact with you next week.<br /> <br /> Warm regards,&rdquo;<br /> <br /> We were therefore very surprised and disappointed to see that, notwithstanding our response on the same date as her email, a report was published giving the impression that there was a delay in our response:<br /> <br /> &ldquo;A day later, Head of Corporate Communications Dionne Ligoure stated that the matter would be investigated.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> We are also disturbed that the<br /> <br /> Observer would proceed to publish one version of the events, being fully cognisant that we requested an opportunity to research the matter, it being raised some two months after it allegedly occurred.<br /> <br /> We are sure that you would agree that this was not an unreasonable request and, there being no further communication, we were of the view that we were being afforded the courtesy of time to investigate and respond.<br /> <br /> We have since conducted our internal investigation and are in a position to provide an informed response to initial enquiries. We are unable to comment on the personal views and conclusions of the passenger which have been conveyed in the article, and have limited our answers to facts.<br /> <br /> Our records confirm that a disruptive passenger, identified as Dudley Smith, was deplaned from BW 415 at Piarco International Airport on August 26, 2016 by security officers of the Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, in keeping with regulation: TTCAR No 2:189, 158 (a, b, c) & 198 - TTCAR No 3:66: Unacceptable Conduct/Unlawful Interference of Passengers, which states as follows:<br /> <br /> i. A person on board an aircraft shall not interfere, assault or intimidate a crew member in the performance of his duties.<br /> <br /> ii. A person may not use abusive language or insulting words towards a crew member or passenger whilst on board an aircraft.<br /> <br /> iii. A person shall fasten his seatbelt and keep it fastened while the seatbelt sign is lit.<br /> <br /> iv. A person on board an aircraft shall not recklessly or negligently act or omit to act in such a manner as to endanger the aircraft or persons and property therein.<br /> <br /> v. A person shall not conceal himself or cargo on board an aircraft. <br /> <br /> vi. A person shall not smoke while the no smoking sign is lit, or in any aircraft lavatory.<br /> <br /> vii. A person shall not tamper with, disable or destroy any smoke detector installed in any aircraft lavatory.<br /> <br /> viii. A person shall not enter in or be on an aircraft when under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that the safety of the aircraft or its occupants is likely to be endangered.<br /> <br /> ix. A person who is under medication and is a medical patient under proper care may be allowed to enter in or be on board an aircraft where the operator is satisfied that the safety of the aircraft and its occupants is not likely to be endangered.<br /> <br /> x. A passenger shall, from the time of boarding an aircraft to the time of disembarking, comply with all instructions given by a crew member.<br /> <br /> Dudley Smith was travelling from Jamaica to Barbados with Port of Spain being the intermediate stop.<br /> <br /> Our records further reflect that several attempts were made to amicably negotiate with Smith and he was asked repeatedly to kindly return to his seat which he occupied on the Jamaica to Port of Spain leg of his journey. However, he refused to do so and, the crew was compelled to comply with the regulation quoted above, and airport security was called to the aircraft.<br /> <br /> Once the passenger deplaned and was placed in the custody of the authorities, the airline had no jurisdiction in the matter. The operating cabin and cockpit crew acted properly and in accordance with the required regulatory safety, security and customer service standards.<br /> <br /> We wish to emphasise that the airline industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the world and there are protocols in place to deal with different situations, including instances of unruly passengers as defined above.<br /> <br /> Caribbean Airlines adheres to the highest standards of international safety, service and security and its cockpit and cabin crews are trained to maintain and surpass international standards and place the safety and comfort of our valued customers first.<br /> <br /> It is regrettable that Smith opted to approach the media instead of the airline to address this matter. His removal was in accordance with the standard operating procedure for the safety of our passengers and our records reflect no correspondence from Smith about his experience on the August 26.<br /> <br /> Caribbean Airlines advocates building relationships with our stakeholders of which the media is a valued partner.<br /> <br /> Thank you and the Observer for the opportunity to clarify this information. We look forward to you sharing the contents of this letter with your readers in Jamaica and the remainder of the Caribbean.<br /> <br /> The above was submitted by Dionne Ligoure is Head, Corporate Communications, Caribbean Airlines Limited, Trinidad. Send comments to the Observer to dionne.ligoure@caribbean-airlines.com.<br /> <br /> Editor&rsquo;s note: <br /> <br /> The Jamaica Observer has forwarded additional questions to Caribbean Airlines from which we expect respones today.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13383420/236623_63602_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM What will change in America if Trump or Clinton is elected president? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/What-will-change-in-America-if-Trump-or-Clinton-is-elected-president-_78420 What will change in America if either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is elected president on November 8, 2016? There are any number of answers that could be given to this question depending on the perspective from which the person answering is coming. For those who supported either candidate they will see their person of choice winning as a vindication of their own narrative.<br /> <br /> For Trump, it will be that the slogan &ldquo;make America great again&rdquo; has triumphed. For them, his tenacity would have won the day. There will be no worry that that tenacity would have been grounded in one of the most vicious and hostile political campaigning that we have seen by a candidate in our lifetime. Those who would have been rejoicing would have shown their tenacity in defending a candidate who, by any metric, should not have made it through the nomination process. But for them the temperance and character of a person for president would not matter. These qualities never did where Trump is concerned. They would have been willing to suspend any judgements on the man&rsquo;s character, even though he gave them and the rest of America ample evidence almost daily that he should not be trusted with the highest office in the world.<br /> <br /> Of course, for Hillary it would not just be the fulfilment of a dream, but the triumph of womanhood in the election of the first female president. There will be rejoicing that the presidential glass ceiling has crashed in a thousand pieces. Just as it was for Barack Obama, so shall it be for Hillary Clinton &mdash; the inauguration of a new era which will now set the country on the road to prosperity, especially for the middle class and below. The rich will now get their comeuppance as they will now pay higher taxes. But when the rich get threatened they make plans, so watch out.<br /> <br /> If Hillary wins do not expect much cooperation from a Republican-controlled Senate or House of Representatives or worse, the entire Congress. If the Republicans retain the Senate, do not expect people like McConnell to change their modus operandi of obstructing her in any legal way possible. Frankly, for them it would only be that the colour of the skin of the president would have changed. Expect more of the vitriol that characterises their method of governing. The downright hatred that has become the bane of Washington politics has no respect for gender. So expect Hillary to get the same responses if the Congressional status quo remains.<br /> <br /> What of Donald Trump? For him the presidency would be the ultimate trophy, and being a fool in many ways, he would not suffer fools gladly who would want to stand in his way. It would not matter if the Democrats controlled the entire Congress. He has demonstrated how mean, vulgar, irascible, intemperate, disrespectful of others he can be. So, do not expect any great metamorphosis in a person who at 70 has proven to be as stubborn as an old oak tree. He would expect people to bend to his imperial will. He would elevate petulance to a social, governing principle. He would not care less about the niceties of diplomatic language. If he did not care before he was elected why should he care then when by his own winning prowess he has reached the zenith of political power.<br /> <br /> No one knows what the first 100 days of a Clinton or Trump presidency will be like. But from my perspective, it is likely that with a Trump presidency the country may very soon be thrown into a constitutional crisis. Trump would have come to Washington with a philosophy of governance eked out of his many years of running a business in which he was the god of all he surveyed. He will take this messianic complex to Washington, especially since many of his supporters would have already seen him as a messiah who will restore their greatness that was robbed or diminished under the Obama presidency.<br /> <br /> It will be interesting to see how he behaves when he begins to be confronted by that humbug of a document called the United States Constitution. He may want to make radical changes in the economy by firing, for example, Janet Yellin as Federal Reserve chairman. He may put Carl Icahn or even Steve Forbes or one of the people in business that he deeply admires there. He presently claims that the system is rigged. Is it that the rich are not extracting as much from it as he would want them to? Is this why he wants to dismantle the regulations that in his view are stifling business productivity and growth?<br /> <br /> For Hillary, the status quo will remain intact. There will be no changing of the guards at the Federal Reserves. So expect savers to continue to see their retirement funds savaged under the Federal Reserve policies-Quantitative Easing, Zero Interest Rate Policy, and probably by 2017, Negative Interest Rate Policy. Expect the price of credit to continue to be fixed. It boggles the mind what the Federal Reserve is doing by setting the price of credit when price discovery should be a function of buyers and sellers in a market making decisions with regard to supply and demand. <br /> <br /> What should be short-term emergency policies have now become long term for almost a decade. Federal interventionism in the economy has created a distorted marketplace which has served to undermine people&rsquo;s confidence in existing authorities who appear to have ran out of options and ideas, or who have been adjudged by sensible people as not having a clue as to what must be done.<br /> <br /> Never mind a booming stock market. This is just a symptom of what ails the economy. Whoever becomes president will have their hands full. Obama would have managed to wait out the pending economic crisis &mdash; some say a recession &mdash; which would have been produced. Already analysts are forecasting a stock market crash if Trump wins. The crash will come, but it is only that it is likely to come quicker under a Trump presidency than a Clinton&rsquo;s.<br /> <br /> Either way, people would be advised not to expect any great change come January 2017. We must not be fooled by all the rhetoric that we hear from political platforms. These ordinary mortals have no greater sense as to how to heal the diseases that ail us than a donkey knows when to quit on an abusive owner. But the mechanisms of government as ordered by the constitution must be filled. At least about that we will have some certainty. Come January 2017 we will have one president, one Senate with 100 members, and a House of Representatives with 538 members. What they will do next is the rub. It is healthier to err on the side of not expecting too much.<br /> <br /> Dr Raulston Nembhard is a priest and social commentator. Send comments to the Observer or<br /> <br /> stead6655@aol.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13383421/236671_63601_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM Dare we dream of a real conversation on squatting? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Dare-we-dream-of-a-real-conversation-on-squatting-_78407 The sudden eviction notices given to people living at 85 Red Hills Road, as reported in the Daily Observer of Thursday, October 13, 2016 have sparked a virtual fire, so to speak, in subsequent articles in both major newspapers and in the electronic media. This development has exposed complicated issues which have elicited controversial responses from the parliamentarian of the constituency as well as from others who are more disinterested and consequently better able to see the forest and not only the trees.<br /> <br /> This is a thorny issue, the endemic practice of squatting. Time and time again this topic has been raised in public forums, and nothing has been done about the necessary reversal that is required, lest chaos become the order of the day. This is not restricted to the Red Hills Road situation. For instance, the hodgepodge structures of shacks and shops across from the University Hospital are the result of squatting on Crown lands.<br /> <br /> In the 1970s, wooden structures were allowed to make their appearances, and since tacit permission was given by the powers that be &mdash; for myriad reasons, I presume, not least of which is political &mdash; those structures have now become permanent, anchored in concrete. This is endemic throughout Jamaica and does not augur well for the nation. Does this practice not indicate the need for some drastic measures like land reform, relocation of communities, and assisted housing schemes?<br /> <br /> Housing, like education, health and security, is basic to good, wholesome human living. Therefore, the powers that be must look beyond just the reformulation of legislation pertaining to ownership of land (vis-&Atilde; -vis 12-year occupancy by squatters), as proposed by the St Catherine North Eastern Member of Parliament Leslie Campbell (see &lsquo;Revise land law, says parliamentarian,&rsquo;<br /> <br /> The Gleaner, October 24, 2016).<br /> <br /> More than a year ago, parliamentarian Delroy Chuck floated the idea of purchasing idle lands in downtown Kingston on which low-cost housing could be erected, the principal beneficiaries of which would be the very same people who at present are squatting on lands not their own. Whatever happened to that dream? And where could the National Housing Trust (if they dare to think outside the box) fit into this scheme of affordable housing? Such a scheme would address not only desirable ownership of a house, but also the hygienic and congestion challenges which are not totally unrelated to turf wars and criminality.<br /> <br /> Oh, to dream of a bipartisan undertaking of nation-building in these four areas of development: housing, education, health and security. Given the divisive nature of politics, let us not delude ourselves, there can be no sustained &ldquo;stepping up&rdquo; or &ldquo;from poverty to prosperity&rdquo; for our people unless we do this together. Within that context, we cannot begin to eradicate the scourge of squatting (the nemesis of business, investment, and development) unless it is tackled by both political parties working for the benefit of all our people, who are first and foremost Jamaican &mdash; rather than &lsquo;green&rsquo; or &lsquo;orange&rsquo; &mdash; and who are seeking a better way of life. Politicians can&rsquo;t make this leap; statesmen/women can! Dare we dream?<br /> <br /> Archbishop Emeritus Donald J Reece is acting pastor at St Richard&rsquo;s Catholic Church, 126 Red Hills Road. Send comments to the Observer or<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> don.j.reece@gmail.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13358409/234730_61855_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM Madam President coming soon! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Madam-President-coming-soon-_78288 The orange-haired metaphor for human depravity is about to be thwarted, bigly. Come November 9, 2016, 68-year-old Hillary Rodham Clinton will become the first woman president in the history of the United States of America. This, barring an act of God or revelations from WikiLeaks damning enough to blunt her double-digit lead in the polls between now and election day, November 8.<br /> <br /> So far, leaks about buying baby wipes for her granddaughter Charlotte, how much she loathes Bernie Sanders, or how enthusiastically she supports free trade has had little or no effect, as her boorish and appallingly ignorant opponent digs his grave a little deeper, the closer the country gets to the election date. <br /> <br /> Donald Trump, the embodiment of white privilege run amok, whom the Republicans chose as their standard-bearer, will likely suffer an ignominious loss. Hopefully he will banish himself to his gold-plated inner sanctum chamber of his Trump Towers, and spend his remaining days there drowning slowly in the incoherence of his own thoughts. I doubt much of well-thinking America or the world cares what he does from thereon, so long as he is never seen nor heard from again after the election.<br /> <br /> For Clinton, her victory will mark a triumphant return to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, not as the first lady this time, taking fire for her decision to work as a lawyer or be an activist rather than be a stay-at-home, fashion-forward socialite hosting teas or baking cookies, while her husband served as governor of Arkansas, and later president of the United States from, 1992 to 2000. She will be the woman in charge of the most powerful political office on Earth with the capacity to shape the future of the US for decades to come. Women, who have been the driving force behind her campaign, are hoping that victory will mean more family-friendly workplace policies and greater attention to the challenges they face just because of their gender. This is not merely about childcare subsidies or tax deductions, but workplaces that offer flexibility, equal pay, effective protection against bullying and harassment, and do not punish women who are also mothers or who, during the course of their careers, decide they would like to become mothers as well.<br /> <br /> The majority of women will certainly welcome the destruction of the so-called glass ceiling, the artificial barrier placed on women&rsquo;s achievements because of gender bias. While the US has made progress in many areas, the perception of women as less capable than their male counterparts, are less suitable for high office, have kept politics and senior leadership in both public and private sector largely male-dominated, though women are often found to be more productive in these roles.<br /> <br /> With Clinton&rsquo;s election, The United States will join a long list of countries that have already elected or appoint one or more women as prime minister, chief minister or president. Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in South East Asia is often cited as the first, with the election of Sirimavo Bandaranike as prime minister in 1960 following the assassination of her husband in September 1959. Her first term ended in 1965, and returned later to again serve as prime minister: 1970 -1977 and 1994-2000. <br /> <br /> India&rsquo;s Indira Gandhi, Israel&rsquo;s Golda Meir, and Britain&rsquo;s Margaret Thatcher, are iconic names in the history of global women political leadership. Poland, Finland, France, Norway, Yugoslavia, Switzerland, Slovenia, Greece, and Denmark, are among European countries that have all had women as head of government. In Africa, the Central African Republic, Liberia, Burundi, Mozambique, Mali, and Senegal and Madagascar have had women as head of Government.<br /> <br /> In the Caribbean, Guyana, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominica, and Trinidad and Tobago have all had women serve as head of Government. Even majority Muslim nations, where women are typically seen as having limited voice and limited leadership roles, have had women as head of Government. This glass ceiling has long been shattered. Turkey, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Pakistan have all had women as heads of Government.<br /> <br /> Hillary was partly my inspiration years ago when I began to notice the challenges women face just because they are women and resolve that, however I could, I would advocate change. In this election cycle, I believed Bernie Sanders was the better candidate because his policies would address these challenges and so much more. I could see, as well, the nasty campaign that would come and Clinton&rsquo;s vulnerability to some of the Republican&rsquo;s attack. In a way, she has been fortunate to have Trump as her opponent. Another challenger might have been difficult for her, not because she is not qualified, but sometimes people just want a fresh start. She will have her work cut out for her, but I have no doubt she is completely capable.<br /> <br /> Grace Virtue, PhD, is a social justice advocate.<br /> <br /> add logo<br /> <br /> add disclaimer<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13380676/192685_63346_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Tuesday, October 25, 2016 12:00 AM Prayer (scientifically) changes things http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Prayer--scientifically--changes-things_77680 It was interesting to observe the reactions prior to and after Hurricane Matthew&rsquo;s passage through the Caribbean. Based on local and international media reports and alerts from The Weather Channel, most Jamaicans made the requisite preparations. Naturally, people of faith, on hearing that Hurricane Matthew was a direct threat to Jamaica, began praying for God&rsquo;s mercy on the country. Post-Matthew analysis reveals that Hurricane Matthew did indeed take a most unusual turn and shifted from Jamaica. This fact had some social commentators becoming unhinged. They screamed, &ldquo;There is no proof that prayers can shift the projected path of a hurricane.&rdquo; They piled on, &ldquo;This is ridiculous, senseless,&rdquo; while the people of faith simply smiled, giving thanks for yet another answer to prayer. The critics, while berating others for not providing proof, are themselves yet to provide the evidence that prayer did not impact Hurricane Matthew&rsquo;s strange turn from Jamaica. They are asking from others what they fail to do themselves.<br /> <br /> There is overwhelming scientific evidence which shows the positive impact of prayer in the medical field; one only has to<br /> <br /> Google the topic to see the vast body of work in this area. Research at San Francisco General Hospital looked the effect of prayer on 393 cardiac patients. Half were prayed for by strangers who had only patients&rsquo; names. Those patients who were prayed for had fewer complications, fewer cases of pneumonia, and needed less drug treatment. The results of these experiments have also surprised medical practitioners as seen in an ABC News report under the heading &lsquo;Can Prayer Heal?&rsquo; Drs William Harris and James O&rsquo;Keefe at the Mid America Heart Institute obtained some interesting results. To avoid the placebo effect, patients were not told that they were part of any kind of experiment. For an entire year about 1,000 heart patients admitted to the institute&rsquo;s critical care unit were secretly divided into two groups. Half were prayed for by a group of volunteers and the hospital&rsquo;s chaplain, the other half were not. All the patients were followed for a year and then their health was scored according to pre-set rules by a third party who did not know which patients had been prayed for and which had not. The results revealed that the patients who were prayed for had 11 per cent fewer heart attacks, strokes and life-threatening complications. Dr O&rsquo;Keefe, after this result, said: &ldquo;This study offers an interesting insight into the possibility that maybe God is influencing our lives on Earth. As a scientist, its very counterintuitive because I don&rsquo;t have a way to explain it.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> In another research Dr Elizabeth Targ, a psychiatrist at the Pacific College of Medicine in San Francisco has also tested out prayer on critically ill AIDS patients. The patients got the same medical treatment, but only half of them were being prayed for; 10 of the prayed-for patients lived, while four who had not been prayed for died. In a larger study, Dr Tang found that people who received prayer had six times fewer hospitalisations, and those hospitalisations were significantly shorter than the people who received no prayer. Dr Tang said: &ldquo;I was sort of shocked. In a way it&rsquo;s like witnessing a miracle. There was no way to understand this from my experience and from my basic understanding of science.&rdquo; (<br /> <br /> ABC News)<br /> <br /> Separate studies from Duke, Dartmouth and Yale universities show the following:<br /> <br /> * Hospitalised people who never attend church have an average stay of three times longer than people who attend regularly.<br /> <br /> * Heart patients were 14 times more likely to die following surgery if they did not participate in religion.<br /> <br /> * Elderly people who never or rarely attended church had a stroke rate double that of people who attended regularly.<br /> <br /> * In Israel, religious people had a 40 per cent lower death rate from cardiovascular disease and cancer.<br /> <br /> The scientific evidence is clear prayer does have a positive impact on the health of individuals. By extension, why can&rsquo;t the people of faith say that it is their belief that prayer had a role to play in the strange trajectory of Hurricane Matthew?<br /> <br /> The matter of great import and urgency now is for us to provide support to the people of Haiti not to ridicule people of faith over their prayer life. I take this opportunity to encourage us as a Jamaican family to give generously at our places of worship, school and work to the Haitian cause. Based on the willingness of the Jamaican/Haitian governments we could send our skilled workmen to assist in the construction of houses in Haiti. We would definitely do a better job than the charities and foundations that collected billions in 2010 but little was done to improve the lives of Haitians.<br /> <br /> marshburns@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13375960/236020_63059_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Tuesday, October 25, 2016 12:00 AM Pissed at public peeing http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Pissed-at-public-peeing_78273 If a woman is nasty she could harm her family. But if a man is nasty, he could be a national calamity.<br /> <br /> I say this in reference to the public urinating that is widely practised by men on the streets of Jamaica. I live in Kingston. Half-Way-Tree has been my stomping ground since high school. But thanks to the public peeing culture, Half-Way-Tree smells like a never-been-cleaned urinal. In a way, that is what it has become. I cannot walk through the square without gagging.<br /> <br /> Do men urinate more than women? Do they have smaller bladders than women? I imagine not. So why can&rsquo;t the men who frequent the streets hold their water until they find a restroom? It is not like restrooms are hard to find in Half-Way-Tree, with so many business establishments around that allow access to patrons. The park also has public restrooms for free. There is also the transport centre right in the middle of Half-Way-Tree with restrooms.<br /> <br /> Nevertheless, in Half-Way-Tree, on any corner you turn, on many walls and utility poles you pass you will see and smell the telltale signs of public urination. And you often see the men doing it without fear of being challenged. All over Kingston you will see a man stop somewhere, fish out his penis, and spray the landscape. Even in traffic a man might stop abruptly, jump out of his vehicle, commandeer a public spot and pee.<br /> <br /> One night I almost crashed into a van that had been travelling ahead of me. Collecting myself, I carefully swerved past the van which had suddenly stopped and blocked my way. But as I passed I could see the driver on the sidewalk leaning forward, one hand on the light post and the other handling his business.<br /> <br /> And speaking of handling, do they wash their hands afterwards? They do not have opportunities for that right away. So they just zipper up and carry on with whatever business their urinating had interrupted. Sometimes that business is harassing women on the streets. I witnessed a man who had just finished spraying a wall behind a bus stop grab a hapless girl who had caught his fancy as she passed by.<br /> <br /> Public urination is bad on many levels. It is not only a public health hazard, it is downright disgraceful. It is practised in the presence of all who pass by &mdash; men, women and children. It shows contempt for the people who are forced to witness it, and it shows the perpetrators&rsquo; disrespect of themselves as men. You expect dogs to urinate everywhere, but aren&rsquo;t men called to higher standards of behaviour?<br /> <br /> How are we ever going to fix their thinking?<br /> <br /> Public urination also shows a lack of respect for the environment that sustains us all. It shows a lack of respect for other people&rsquo;s property, too. &ldquo;No Pissing Here&rdquo; signs are everywhere, but in my view they deface properties. In addition to that they are a waste of effort, because they do not deter the men from urinating against the property, unless they are stopped by security guards.<br /> <br /> Isn&rsquo;t it a crime to urinate in public in Jamaica? Of course, it is. Our anti-litter and public indecency laws must apply here. But lack of their enforcement has given free rein to the public peeing perpetrators. I think the Government is missing out on a huge revenue stream from fines in this area. Be that as it may, I just wish some of the police officers who are so vigilant with motorists would pay even half as much attention to the public peeing perpetrators. If they did, then Half-Way-Tree might have a chance of smelling like a rose.<br /> <br /> Dawn Marie Roper is a writer and communication consultant. Send comments to the Observer or Solprocom2016@gmail.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13380678/236375_63344_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Tuesday, October 25, 2016 12:00 AM Too many Jamaicas http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Too-many-Jamaicas_78069 On April 21, 1961, Edward Seaga, then Opposition member of the pre-independence Legislative Council, gave an address in the State of the Nation debate that rocked the House and shook up the nation. It was a speech which focused heavily on the depressed conditions under which the majority of Jamaicans were living vs the comfort zones of the middle- and upper-class well-to-doers.<br /> <br /> The presentation received maximum publicity and became known as the &lsquo;Haves and the have-nots speech&rsquo;, highlighting the huge gap between seven per cent of the population &mdash; the haves &mdash; and 93 per cent of the population &mdash; the have-nots.<br /> <br /> Seaga later said that the speech was a by-product of his years spent living in the poor conditions of a rural village and an inner-city depressed area. &ldquo;Coming from a background of somewhat relative comfort, the everyday question that confronted me was how was living possible on so little. The question turned to outrage when it was recognised that the expenditure of one middle-class family would cover the requirements of several families living in the poor circumstances which I experienced daily.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> As an aside, it must be reminded that no other politician in Jamaica has ever given up his or her comfort level to live for a while in a represented constituency to experience the true economic conditions facing the poor that they claim to champion.<br /> <br /> In his autobiography Seaga recalls how members of the Legislative Council, including representatives of the wealthiest families and biggest business houses in Jamaica, were visibly shaken. &ldquo;The charge laid on Government&rdquo; (and remember this was in 1961), &ldquo;that its policies were enriching the rich at the expense of the poor was politically devastating.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> It occurred to me that a similar speech made today, copying Seaga&rsquo;s painstaking data research methods, would reveal not two, not three, but several different Jamaicas showing up in varying situations and in different scenarios as we go about our normal day-to-day businesses.<br /> <br /> This came home to me while in rush-hour traffic one evening on Trafalgar Road. One Jamaica sat comfortably in air-conditioned cars, patiently waiting for the lights to change, and on their way to a comfortable pre-dinner cocktail drink, perhaps at a hotel, a swanky lounge, or in some well-stocked house bar overlooking the St Andrew plains.<br /> <br /> Another Jamaica pounded the pavement outside as vendors going up to car windows trying to sell their wares &mdash; peanuts, ripe bananas, cold drinks, doughnuts &mdash; before the traffic &lsquo;dun&rsquo;. Mendicants also, one in a wheelchair who always catches my attention, others faking hurt with oversized bandages meant to attract sympathy and a donation. Two different Jamaicas on Trafalgar and Waterloo every evening.<br /> <br /> Later that night there was a newscast of a seminar held earlier in the day at a leading hotel, with prime-time personages smiling into the cameras, wine glasses being refilled, guest speaker oozing charm, and audience at ease knowing they had nothing to do but listen and be grateful for the few hours away from work. The speaker was, of course, prognosticating on the state of the economy with great words of wisdom on how to heal the nation, and taking the requisite political shot at the Economic Growth Council.<br /> <br /> At the same time, downtown on the Orange Street sidewalks, large-bottomed vendors were discussing the peaka-peow, the lottery windfall, the sales of the day, and timing themselves to escape the police dragnets, while budgeting for how and which of the children would be able to attend school tomorrow depending on whose turn it was to wear the one pair of school shoes shared by the family. Two different Jamaicas.<br /> <br /> There is another group of uptowners who spend their workdays at seminars in the morning, company lunches at another hotel in the afternoon, and returning to the morning hotel for a banquet paid for by sponsors of an overpriced charity event where you buy an expensive gown, eat a $12,000 dinner, and feel good that out of this extravagant largesse a basic school will reap the rewards of your good deed for the day. That&rsquo;s the uptown Jamaica.<br /> <br /> There is a lot of, &ldquo;Fancy meeting you here,&rdquo; or &ldquo;Didn&rsquo;t I see you this morning somewhere,&rdquo; or even &ldquo;Oh, yes, at the Bronx for that fabulous speech on what you may call it, I can&rsquo;t quite remember now.&rdquo; There&rsquo;s sure to be a, &ldquo;Sorry, got to run to the &lsquo;Nations Bank&rsquo; fund-raising concert,&rdquo; and &ldquo;My, me, you look good, even if it&rsquo;s the same dress you were wearing this morning.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> There is another Jamaica. This is the upstairs and downstairs group that ceremoniously opens the hotel front door, wait at the tables, act as security guards, and drive the taxis or the private cars. They too have their serious discussions on the economy while they wait outside for their employers. But their take on the economy is far different; it has to do with the challenge to find bus fare and buy lunch, while the bosses inside solve the national economy in-between sips of red and white wine and a lobster thermidor.<br /> <br /> Then there is the ugly Jamaica. The one that has divorced itself completely from the rest of us, who stalk the streets and lanes at night looking for blood, the murderers who have come out of hell&rsquo;s gates. They seem not in control of themselves, but gripped by a satanic power that makes them hell-bent on shooting at random, impervious to counselling, and in a world of their own. It&rsquo;s indeed the underworld, and they hark back to that evil power that seized Macbeth on his way to his own murderous assignment with a bloody dagger pointing the way to King Duncan&rsquo;s chambers:<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Thou sure and firm set earth hear not my steps which way they walk for fear thy very stones prate of my whereabout.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Thank God there is a beautiful Jamaica too. We see that in our teachers, our nurses, our students, our professionals. Jamaicans with ambition who have aspired to rise above harsh and unforgiving conditions to achieve here and abroad.<br /> <br /> For Jamaicans like these, the excuses of poverty, barefoot, and back-a-wall days have long been eschewed, as the parental sacrifices and examples in an environment of traditional Jamaican &lsquo;broughtupcy&rsquo; provided the firm foundation for these achievers.<br /> <br /> I was privileged last week Thursday to sit in an audience where the Governor General Sir Patrick Allen brought the &ldquo;I Believe&rdquo; message in a powerful, eloquent and convincing way to an audience of students and civic leaders representing Middlesex County. One of the highlights was the Skyped presentation &mdash; direct from Italy, if you please &mdash; from a young Jamaican with an outstanding well-decorated USA fighter pilot record.<br /> <br /> Lieutenant Diego McKnight left us longing for more as he quietly and elegantly addressed the matter beforehand &mdash; discipline, values, lifestyle, hard work, and aim-for-the-skies philosophy &mdash; delivering an inspirational message to the young people that enthralled the older ones as well.<br /> <br /> I&rsquo;m so proud of another young Jamaican leading the world, who still has his feet firmly planted in the Jamaican foundation of discipline, honesty, strong family values, and a humble and unassuming mannerism.<br /> <br /> For a brief 45 minutes we enjoyed and learnt from his experiences in the US Air Force and all over the world. That was an example of the overseas Jamaica. When he was finished the other Jamaicas came to mind. The Trafalgar Road Jamaicas, the haves and the have-nots, the Jamaica of the churches, the Jamaica led by politicians who serve and dare to dream, the private sector Jamaica that seeks to share while others don&rsquo;t, the idle Jamaica content to live off the endeavours of others, the evil Jamaica, the hard-working Jamaica, the rural Jamaica, the Jamaicans of all classes and make-up who provide the most elaborate, complex, at odds, visionary, proud, and dynamic national structure that makes us the most fascinating country in the world. Many Jamaicas.<br /> <br /> But something is missing. Are there too many Jamaicans to make one Jamaica? Does our country have a purpose, an objective, a national ideal or a vision that can make us a nation.<br /> <br /> Was the purpose of Eddie Seaga&rsquo;s speech in 1961 to narrow the gap between the two Jamaicas and to make us one? Have we split further &mdash; after 55 years &mdash; into five, 50, or even 55 Jamaicas?<br /> <br /> Former Education Minister Ronald Thwaites, in his<br /> <br /> Gleaner commentary last week, suggests that we have come to a point where we need a compelling idea, a noble cause, to rekindle the national movement.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In their times,&rdquo; he went on to say, &ldquo;causes like Emancipation, self-government, and Independence each excited enough of our ancestors to raise communal expectations and induce often heroic individual effort. Different classes, races, and interest groups came together and saw their self-interest achievable by joint action rather than self-referential behaviour.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> I sometimes consider what does it really mean to be a Jamaican? With so many Jamaicas popping up around us, do I choose to be one at the expense of the other? Does the hawker on Trafalgar Road think he is no less a Jamaican, or a very different Jamaican, than myself driving in an air-conditioned car?<br /> <br /> Can we identify that elusive something, that compelling idea, that noble cause that will join up all the Jamaicas?<br /> <br /> Certainly we unite when the right time comes: behind Usain Bolt, and respond with pride to the music of Bob Marley. And every October we take our national heroes out of the cabinet, dust them off, sing their praises, and hang them back carefully until next October. That&rsquo;s not enough to rekindle.<br /> <br /> Deacon Thwaites recommends that we put aside the fractures that divide us and develop the strong stomach for social re-engineering that alone can revive the national movement for inclusive transformation. <br /> <br /> Dare I suggest that, perhaps, we could unite around education as a single national goal? That under the leadership of this former, and our present minister of education, we invite huge national participation in an unselfish quest to make Jamaica the best educated nation on Earth? We have other goals that must be achieved. But we simply won&rsquo;t achieve any of them without a properly educated nation. We will never earn the respect of the world if our education levels remain where they are. <br /> <br /> It&rsquo;s a journey in which everyone can participate. The parent in the car and the parent selling on Trafalgar can share the same national goal. It&rsquo;s a venture in which we can all help each other, encourage each other, reach across the divide, support, commend, and recognise each other.<br /> <br /> When the handcart man can whisper in your car window as you drive past, &ldquo;My daughter just passed &lsquo;A&rsquo; Levels,&rdquo; and you in turn can reply &ldquo;Yes, my son also,&rdquo; you both share in the noble cause, the compelling idea, the national movement. Set a goal that we can all unite around and make that goal to be the most educated nation on Earth.<br /> <br /> Lance Neita is a public and community relations consultant and writer. Send comments to the Observer or <br /> <br /> lanceneita@hotmail.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12561636/179494_w300.jpg Local Opinion Monday, October 24, 2016 12:00 AM Don&rsquo;t rain on our Olympics parade! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Don-t-rain-on-our-Olympics-parade_78129 Why is it important for a nation to pause and honour its achievers? Because, to use a wise saying, &ldquo;A high tide lifts all boats.&rdquo; And so we lift our nation when, collectively, we laud our athletes and courageous Jamaicans from every walk of life.<br /> <br /> Thus we arrived at the National Indoor Sports Centre two Saturdays ago in high spirits to applaud our athletes in the Rio Olympics Homecoming event. I shared on social media the grand entrance of our athletes and their bright smiles as they received their awards from Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Minister Olivia &ldquo;Babsy&rdquo; Grange. We appreciated their good humour as Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Julian Forte danced for their fans. <br /> <br /> We enjoyed the soaring voices of Kevin Downswell, The University Singers, and Chris Martin. And then there was Spice. As far as I was concerned, she was just a small blip on an otherwise great programme. The loss of column inches and airtime to the discussion of this blip concerned me more, as we have so many other important issues to discuss and resolve. <br /> <br /> My criticism was for the many empty seats at the event when I can think of so many Jamaicans who would have been very happy to attend. For example, our senior citizens, who are the most passionate Jamaicans you can find, follow athletics keenly. Then there are the children&rsquo;s homes and police youth clubs, where teens need great role models to fuel their aspirations. What joy they would have experienced to share in the event. This is where our Members of Parliament and parish councillors could have assisted in liaising and organising. That network could have been used strategically to save time and effort, as they can assist in issuing tickets and following.<br /> <br /> Event planners are constantly learning new lessons. We have learnt along the way that holiday weekends are notorious for no-shows &mdash; you can invite up to 50 per cent more to get a decent turnout.<br /> <br /> As for me and Hubie, we attended the event to honour our athletes and enjoy ourselves &mdash; and we did. A couple of minutes of an inappropriate act should not rain on their parade.<br /> <br /> 50 years of Jamaica-Spain relations<br /> <br /> We recently shared in a toast to the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Spain and Jamaica on their National Day earlier this month. Their dynamic charg&eacute;e, Carmen Rives Ruiz-Tapiador, paid tribute to Ambassador An&iacute;bal Jim&eacute;nez y Abascal, noting, &ldquo;He set an example for me on how a diplomat should behave: love your host country and your profession as much as possible.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Rives certainly took this advice seriously, continuing the great work of Ambassador Abascal, and his predecessors ambassadors Celsa Nu&ntilde;o and Jes&uacute;s Silva, with her dedication to The Spanish-Jamaican Foundation which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. To mark the event, she announced top prizes for outstanding communities and presented assistance for hearing aids to the Jamaica Association for the Deaf. She also committed to continued support of Jamaica&rsquo;s popular culture.<br /> <br /> It was the priceless contribution of the Government of Spain that resulted in the restoration of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in downtown Kingston. We owe a debt of gratitude to the contribution of Spain&rsquo;s master of restoration Professor Antonio Sanchez-Barriga Fernandez, who in 2008 engaged 32 young people from the community to work with him, some of whom are continuing his marvellous work. Thank you, Spain!<br /> <br /> A remarkable and breathtaking Jamaican treasure, the cathedral, led by committee leaders Enith Williams and Errol Moo Young, welcomed their first tour bus &mdash; as part of the Island Routes tour &mdash; a few weeks ago.<br /> <br /> Congratulations AmCham honorees<br /> <br /> The awards ceremony held by the American Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica last Friday highlighted several outstanding individuals and companies. Hearty congratulations to them all, though I must mention some of my favourites: individual awardees Professor Ernest Madu and Lt Col Victor L Beek; President&rsquo;s Award winner, that passionate patriot William Mahfood; and the top awardees for corporate social responsibility, the Digicel Foundation and the GraceKennedy Foundation.<br /> <br /> In congratulating the honorees, US Ambassador to Jamaica Luis Moreno expressed his faith in Jamaica and his commitment to work with our Government and security forces to reduce crime. He reminded us of his promise to bring in US$1 billion in investment to Jamaica. &ldquo;Together we can bring down crime,&rdquo; he said, noting his country&rsquo;s partnership in such areas as energy, the environment, health, and human rights.<br /> <br /> Kudos for Jamaica&rsquo;s democracy<br /> <br /> We were proud that Ambassador Moreno applauded Jamaica&rsquo;s democratic system in his address at the AmCham event. &ldquo;Jamaica&rsquo;s democratic government can be a model for the entire world,&rdquo; he said. The ambassador noted that, although we had a close election, &ldquo;the transition was seamless&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> We must thank our Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ), led by Dorothy Pine-McLarty, and the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) headed by Orrette Fisher, and their predecessors, for this vote of confidence. Recently, the ECJ hosted a Democracy Workshop, at which they launched the &lsquo;Jamaica Democracy Passport&rsquo;, so that our citizens can better understand the electoral system.<br /> <br /> Not resting on their laurels, Pine-McLarty says the ECJ and EOJ will have an ongoing programme &ldquo;to increase public awareness of all aspects of the electoral system, including: voter registration, the polling process, political party registration, campaign financing, [and] recommendations to Government on technological advances to further the preservation of our democracy&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> This is very reassuring indeed, especially when we hear US presidential candidate Donald Trump daring to question the legitimacy of the highly respected US electoral system. May he live to eat his words.<br /> <br /> lowriechin@aim.com<br /> <br /> www.lowrie-chin.blogspot.com http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13378212/222323_49960_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Monday, October 24, 2016 12:00 AM Donald Trump&rsquo;s economic plan will blow up the world http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Donald-Trump-s-economic-plan-will-blow-up-the-world_70264 Donald Trump has been formally nominated as the presidential candidate for the Grand Old Party, otherwise known as the Republican Party, for the November 8, 2016 presidential elections in the US. Fifty of America&rsquo;s most senior Republican national security officials have signed a letter warning that Donald Trump is &ldquo;dangerous&rdquo;. They further warned that Donald Trump &ldquo;lacks the character, values and experience&rdquo; to be president and &ldquo;would put at risk our country&rsquo;s national security and well-being&rdquo;. I am not a national security expert, so I will leave national security matters to the experts and 50 have spoken.<br /> <br /> I understand finance and economics, and I wish to render an opinion on Donald Trump&rsquo;s economic plan.<br /> <br /> The difficulty with appraising an economic plan is when good ideas are mixed with bad ideas the weighted average of the ideas is not easily discerned. In other words, how good are the good ideas and how bad are the bad ideas. And will the good ideas supplant the bad ideas or vice versa?<br /> <br /> Some of Trump&rsquo;s good ideas are his recognition that past trade deals were badly done. I daresay stupidly done. And he has pledged to renegotiate or revoke some of these deals. The drive for globalisation is a senseless pursuit pioneered by the one per cent who stand to benefit the most. Trump has realised the folly of that pursuit and he has promised to refocus on America. The fact of the matter is that all economics is local. People live where they live and they need a livelihood. The economic quest cannot be about the seeking out of the lowest-cost producer &mdash; as if it is only the lowest-cost producer who should be permitted to live. There are a number of variables that go into determining the cost of a good or service, including the cost of living where one lives, the size of the population, geographical and climatic conditions, among other things. The relentless quest for cheapness is misguided. This is done at the expense of income. People will have to decide which matters &mdash; cheap things or good income. They cannot have both. Trump seems to have recognised that.<br /> <br /> Trump&rsquo;s idea to reinvest in America&rsquo;s infrastructure is good and sensible. It is long overdue. But how will he finance this good idea in the face of his proposed massive tax cuts? The poison in Trump&rsquo;s economic plan is his massive across-the-board tax cut! There are tax cuts and there are tax cuts. There are tax cuts that can grow an economy and there are tax cuts that can blow up an economy. And in America&rsquo;s case, when their economy blows up the world&rsquo;s economy will blow up also.<br /> <br /> The Andrew Holness tax cut to lower income earners while raising taxes on higher income earners is how tax cuts should be done. The only flaw with the Holness tax cut is that another tier, at 50 per cent, should have been imposed on people earning over $10 million. Income tax must be progressive for optimal effect. The economy works best when sufficient people have the wherewithal to create demand in the system. By using prudent taxation policy money can be more equitably distributed in the economy. Cutting taxes for the middle and lower income earners will leave them with more money to spend and they will create more demand in the system.<br /> <br /> Cutting taxes for the owners of capital and other high income earners is a whole other matter. Tax cuts to this category will tend to result in a piling up of money with a few people who have limits on the demand they can ever place on the economy. But worse, if income tax is not sufficiently high, the owners of capital and other high earners will greedily down the earnings from an enterprise, leaving very little on the table for others, so workers tend to be poorly paid. Also, when income taxes are low economic recklessness and crookedness by the greedy become more profound.<br /> <br /> The damaging effect of giving tax cuts to the rich is that, contrary to the belief that these people will use the extra money to create jobs, they use the money to blow up the economy. They will tend to indulge in fake methods of making money which adds very little value or demand to the economy. And they will chase assets, causing asset bubbles, which invariably burst with devastating effects. When they chase assets, such as houses and land, they drive the price of these assets out of the reach of the average person. When they chase assets such as oil and currency they impose a paralysing effect on the economy.<br /> <br /> But it is when an asset bubble bursts &mdash; as sooner or later it does &mdash; that the economy is brought to its knees. This happened in the 1920s when US President Calvin Coolidge and his all-Republican Congress cut taxes with the revenue Acts of 1924, 1926 and 1928. When they were done, the highest marginal tax rate moved from 64 per cent on income of US$150,000 in 1918 to 24 per cent on all income of US$150,000 and above in 1929. It was this tax cut that provided the flood of money which was used to chase assets. The asset of the day was the stock market. It exploded and heralded in the greatest depression known to man. By what logic did the roaring 20s end with the greatest depression in history? The logic of asinine tax cuts!<br /> <br /> The phenomenon of tax cuts leading to asset chasing creating bubbles occurred again in the US with the 1986 Ronald Reagan tax cut and the 1987 greatest one-day drop in the stock market. It also occurred when President Bill Clinton cut capital gains tax in 1997. The tax on capital gains moved from 28 per cent down to 20 percent. Then the capital gains tax cut was enacted in August 1997. In 1998, the NASDAQ index was at 2,192.68, and by the following year, December 31, 1999, the index was at 4,069.31 points! By March 10, 2000, the index was at an all-time high of 5,048.62. At this point the bubble burst! Consequently, the index crashed back to 1,139.9 by October 4, 2002.<br /> <br /> The Reagan and Clinton crashes did not lead to a great depression because the Glass-Steagall Act was still in effect and banks could not have indulged in the speculative wave at the time. The moment they could, they got caught up with the speculative bubble fuelled by the George W Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. And by 2007 the world was enduring its second American-induced depression caused by insane tax cuts. The money flowing from the tax cuts fuelled the asset bubble known as subprime mortgages.<br /> <br /> The proposed Donald Trump tax cut of moving the highest marginal tax rate from 39 to 33 per cent will have the same effect as the Bush tax cut and it will &mdash; not could &mdash; have the same devastating effect. The only unknown variable is how soon after assuming office the implosion will take place.<br /> <br /> Dorlan H Francis is a personal financial adviser and author. Among his books is<br /> <br /> The Economic and Financial Crisis of 2007 - What Caused it : How to Avoid a Repeat.<br /> <br /> Send comments to the Observer or<br /> <br /> dhfken@hotmail.com. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13342394/233451_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, October 23, 2016 12:00 AM Raising the bar of leadership in Jamaica http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Raising-the-bar-of-leadership-in-Jamaica_77936 Over the past several weeks I have had the privilege of contributing to public discourse and have been both encouraged and enlightened by some of the comments that the articles have evoked &mdash; though sometimes a bit disappointed by some of the partisan responses that seem to overlook the facts. But that is part of the reality of a democracy. Let all ideas contend.<br /> <br /> I am inspired by the wisdom of many who reflect a commitment to raising the bar of leadership and wish to engage a conversation on that issue.<br /> <br /> Transformational leadership <br /> <br /> Jamaica needs transformational leadership. James MacGregor Burns (1978) defines transformational leadership as a process where leaders and followers engage in a mutual process of &lsquo;raising one another to higher levels of morality and motivation&rsquo;. Transformational leaders raise the bar by appealing to higher ideals and values of followers. Because of the mutual engagement of seeking to raise each other to high levels of morality (doing the right thing), and motivation (the unending drive to do), transformational leadership has as its single most critical quality the willingness of leaders to be held accountable.<br /> <br /> Prime Minister Andrew Holness has, on a number of occasions, described himself as a transformational leader. Because the prime minister has assumed the mantle of a transformational leader there are some behaviours that the country has a right to expect of him. I think there is some consensus that the prime minister has displayed a level of decorum and civility in his execution of the job, as well as leading from in front. These are both commendable. In this regard the prime minister is reflecting a degree of sensitivity to an important quality of the transformational leader, namely that the transformational leader models the behaviours he or she expects of others. (Burns, 1978; Thompson, 2009)<br /> <br /> But, while the above qualities are noteworthy, the Prime Minister Holness should not overlook the need to address weightier matters. A transformational leader is not a perfect human being, so will make errors, speak out of turn, or misjudge situations. Some errors will be graver than others, but another measure of the transformational leader will be the depth of his or her discernment of the impact of the errors (misspeaks) he/she makes. For a prime minister, words are actions. The prime minister sets the tone for how the Government leads, and in this regard the prime minister&rsquo;s foremost duty is to raise the bar of leadership.<br /> <br /> Sir Hilary and The UWI&rsquo;s accountability<br /> <br /> History is going to record that on a day when The University of the West Indies faced the existential risk of undermining its relationship with one of its key stakeholders, the Government of Jamaica, the vice-chancellor stepped up to the wicket and did what transformational leaders do &mdash; take responsibility.<br /> <br /> It is not that The UWI has suddenly become a department of the Government of Jamaica, reversing the reported 2007 opinion of the Attorney General; rather, it is that the vice chancellor recognises that, while it is not a lawful requirement for The UWI to appear before Parliament&rsquo;s Public Administration & Appropriations Committee, it is helpful so to do, and is consistent with the ethic of accountability which is the hallmark of transformational leaders.<br /> <br /> The day may come when academics or business leaders or students may call upon legislators to appear before them to answer questions. The tone that has been set by the vice chancellor for the type of relationship that should exist between those who lead and those who are led is one that places principle above process, and morality above legality. I trust that the transformational leadership shown by Sir Hilary, and his demonstration of commitment to accountability, will not be lost on our legislators and others who hold leadership positions in the Caribbean region.<br /> <br /> Dead babies&rsquo; &lsquo;scandal&rsquo;<br /> <br /> Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry, in her report on the death of premature babies at the University Hospital of the West Indies in 2015, had found that there was in fact no scandal. The label scandal was created by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the media ran with it like a dog with a prized bone.<br /> <br /> Former Health Minister Fenton Ferguson was put to the test and could have lost his place in the Cabinet had the then prime minister caved in under the pressure. I recall feeling a deep sense of empathy for Minister Ferguson, who I felt was a victim of a grand political coup.<br /> <br /> The careers of some members of staff of the hospital were derailed. Some staff members were traumatised and stressed because of the undeserved humiliation and public scorn that they faced, and some had to undergo counselling to cope with the unwarranted public shaming heaped on them. The CEO was forced to resign. The parents of those dead babies were also placed in greater pain by the misleading narrative that the hospital had done them harm.<br /> <br /> The prime minister would do well to follow the example of Sir Hilary and, having regard to the unavoidable pain and humiliation that so many suffered at the hands of the media and the (then) Opposition, he should offer an apology to Minister Ferguson, the staff at the hospital, and the parents for the unwarranted public shaming and increased grief that the actions of the then Opposition and the media brought on them.<br /> <br /> If our leaders are to be credible and win our trust there has to be some places we do not go, and some things that are kept out of the politics. It is neither right nor fair for public officials and public servants to have their reputations and careers tarnished by power-hungry politicians who seek to use the misfortune of others for political advantage. There must be a level below which we should not allow public discourse and politics to fall.<br /> <br /> Transformational leadership means raising the bar! One expects that the current Opposition will display a level of maturity and &lsquo;country-first&rsquo; thinking and eschew the temptation to engage in political one-upmanship.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Raising the bar for discourse on the dollar<br /> <br /> There is an aspect of the leadership being shown in relation to the economy that I think calls for greater honesty. Most people will remember the manner in then Opposition spokesman on finance, Audley Shaw, derided the Government on the exchange rate. Under the JLP management the dollar has slid at a rate much faster than under the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP). Having inherited the dollar at about $121 to US$1 eight months ago, the dollar has lost an average of a dollar per month and is heading to $130.00.<br /> <br /> Some financial analysts had suggested that this slide was a reflection of lack of confidence in Minister Shaw, as all the macroeconomic indicators suggested that the dollar should be stable. We are now learning that the International Monetary Fund is of the view that the dollar is still overvalued. Did Minister Shaw sign on to a policy of rapid depreciation of the dollar and not tell us? If so, would this not be hypocrisy?<br /> <br /> Can we hope for a kind of leadership from both the PNP and the JLP that will be honest enough not to mislead the country about the reasons for the slide? And can we expect that neither party will seek to take the country for a ride by either promising to halt the slide, if they know they cannot or will not, or make a joke about the slide if they know they could not do differently? Can we get to a place where we treat these matters with a level of honesty and seriousness that shows greater respect for the people, thereby raising the leadership bar?<br /> <br /> Dr Canute S Thompson is a certified management consultant and lecturer in educational policy, planning and leadership in the School of Education, The University of the West Indies, Mona. He is a co-founder of the Caribbean Leadership Re-Imagination Initiative. Send comments to the Observer or<br /> <br /> canutethompson1@gmail.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13279748/227957_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, October 23, 2016 12:00 AM The US Presidential debates and impact the on voters http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-US-Presidential-debates-and-impact-the-on-voters_77970 Presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have now squared off on their three scheduled debates and America and indeed the world now waits on their November 8 date with destiny. <br /> <br /> The debates have been acrimonious, perhaps unlike any that has been seen for the US presidency. Both hopefuls have spent a considerable amount of time trading barbs and seeking to denigrate each other in a manner that some have said more resembles election contests in some Third World countries. Indeed, anecdotally, the comments heard here in Jamaica have tended to significantly reflect a commonly held view of surprise about the manner in which the candidates vying to lead the strongest democracy in the world have conducted themselves. <br /> <br /> Each of the debates has taken the shape and form of emphasis on personal insults similar to those that normally reverberate on political platforms here in Jamaica where candidates are known to freely express their views about their opponents. The expectations were for greater substance and a clearer focus on issues, but these were largely relegated to side banters without any consistent articulation, and as a result the critical issues that the world wanted to hear more about were lost as each candidate traded insults and heaped accusations on each other. <br /> <br /> To be sure, the debates have been unlike any that I have witnessed amongst presidential hopefuls in my time of following the developments leading to the election of the president of the United States. In this context, was there a winner? Did any candidate do enough to enhance their chances of winning the election on November 8? An evaluation of polls conducted post-debates from the 1970s speaks decisively about the impact or otherwise of debates on the voter sentiment and actual change in voting intention. But let us first look a bit more at the debates.<br /> <br /> The ability to withstand pressure and show fortitude in the face of challenges is one of the qualities that Americans have extolled over the years in their leader and one which the people wish to see demonstrated by their leader. In the face of the intense pressure that was brought to bear on each candidate by the other, this was one of the characteristics that I looked for. Who would show signs of snapping under pressure? To be sure, each candidate said enough damaging things about the other that was either designed to unsettle and create &ldquo;cracks in the armour&rdquo;. Indeed, in the very first debate it seemed clear that Trump&rsquo;s strategy, unrehearsed as it was, was to pile pressure on Clinton on the assumption that she would not be able to withstand his onslaught. There were times when it looked like she might very well have fallen to his. What kept her in good stead was the practice and preparation she had; the reinforcement that under no circumstance can she display less than a firm control of her emotions. She did this during the first debate and succeeded in replicating this firmness in the second and third debates. <br /> <br /> Trump&rsquo;s comfort on the television stage born out of his years of experience on his various reality television shows actually worked against him. His insistence on little or no planned preparation, preferring instead to ad lib and go ad hoc, opened him to inappropriate reactions when prodded. These led to a consistent reiteration of statements generally regarded as unstatesmanlike, and often undiplomatic and unbecoming of a candidate seeking to enhance his reputation amongst undecided voters. In essence, Clinton showed more of the resilience and fortitude that Americans want to see in their president. If one should sum up the scores for the three debates, it would be that neither really distinguished themselves and or significantly enhanced their credentials to become the president of what they both call a great country. But as the post -debate research that I alluded to earlier has shown, the performance of candidates in these debates has rarely really served to garner fresh support for the candidates. Instead, data has shown that candidates are more likely to lose support through gaffs and unfortunate comments than any they might gain from articulating their position through the debates.<br /> <br /> DEBATES DO NOT MATERIALLY GROW SUPPORT <br /> <br /> Historically, the research has shown that the most critical of the debates is the first, where the voters and undecided look to see what character traits will emerge. This it has been shown is the really formative and influential period. This is where the greater pool of undecideds emerge; it is at the stage where these people constitute a significant percentage of those making up the voting public. The general feedback from both the Clinton and Trump campaign corners emerging from this first debate is that Trump, by virtue of going into the ring largely unprepared or unpracticed, failed to impress, and that this is where he began to lose support. The second and the third debates was more of the same, a demonstration of who could &ldquo;hurt&rdquo; the other more. <br /> <br /> For a moment in the third debate it looked like we might very well have exchanges in keeping with our expectations of greater focus on issues. But that debate turned after 35 minutes, as both candidates excelled equally for the first time into a free for all cuss out on personalities and sins of commission on either side. The difference was that in that environment, Clinton showed greater temperament for withstanding pressure, whilst Trump again lost the plot and seemed to believe he was once more on the set of his reality television shows. He made a precipitous fall off after that, culminating in his angry outburst and his denigration of Hillary as being a &ldquo;nasty woman&rdquo;. Presidential language? Certainly not. Does he need the female vote? Maybe not.<br /> <br /> So for sure, an evaluation of a wide range of poll results coming out of presidential debates going back to the john F Kennedy era, has shown that by the end of the first debate, most minds have been made up and there is very little change thereafter. Even gaffes do not impact unless a significant number recognise it as such. In 1976, Gerald Ford claimed that Poland was not under the Soviet&rsquo;s sphere of influence. This went largely unnoticed and hence had very little impact.<br /> <br /> Further the post-debate polls have shown that these debates may not win new support, but could cause a candidate to lose support. <br /> <br /> AN EARLY LOOK AT VICTORY PROSPECTS IN THE NOVEMBER ELECTION<br /> <br /> The Presidential elections are approximately 18 days away, but despite the expectation of a significantly ramped up campaign on either side, there are some clear indications as to how the elections could go, based on the historical voting patterns by state.<br /> <br /> Let us look at the last four elections &mdash; 2012, 2008, 2004 and 2000 &mdash; and examine the patterns of voting by each state. There has been a noticeable consistency with which 80 per cent or 41 of these of the states have voted over these four elections. Twenty-two of these have voted Republican in all four elections, whilst 19 of these have voted Democrats in all four of these elections. Bearing in mind that there are 538 electoral college votes up for grabs and that to win the presidency, one candidate has to garner a minimum of 270, the contribution of each of these states to the overall count is extremely important. <br /> <br /> The 22 states that have voted consistently Republican over the past four elections account for and would give Trump a total of 185 electoral college votes, assuming they vote the same way in November.<br /> <br /> The 19 states that have voted for the Democrats only over these last four elections account for and would give Clinton a total of 242 electoral college votes, assuming they vote the same way in November. That would place her much closer to the magical number of 270 required to win the Presidential. <br /> <br /> Arguably, some of these were won only marginally by Barack Obama in 2012 and could become the battleground seats over the next 30 days. These are: <br /> <br /> Ohio (50% and 18 electoral college votes), <br /> <br /> Florida (50% and 29 electoral college votes), <br /> <br /> Virginia (51% and 13 electoral college votes), <br /> <br /> Iowa (52% and six electoral college votes), <br /> <br /> Nevada (52% and six electoral college votes), <br /> <br /> Pennsylvania (52% and 20 electoral college votes) and <br /> <br /> New Hampshire (52% and four electoral college votes)these are the states won only marginally by Obama last time and which Trump will surely be tackling. <br /> <br /> On the other hand there is only one really marginal seat won by Mitt Romney in 2012, This is North Carolina (51% and 15 electoral college votes). Here, however, Trump is said to be trailing Clinton in the polls.<br /> <br /> In the following states the voting patterns make interesting reading.<br /> <br /> (1) Colorado &mdash; Normally vote republican, but voted Democrat last 2 times (9)<br /> <br /> (2) Florida &mdash; Normally vote Rep, but voted Dem last 2 times (29)<br /> <br /> (3)Nevada &mdash; Normally vote rep, but voted Dem last 2 times (6)<br /> <br /> (4) Ohio &mdash; Normally vote Rep, but voted Dem last 2 times(18)<br /> <br /> (5) Virginia &mdash; normally vote rep but voted Dem last 2 times(13)<br /> <br /> (numbers in bracket represent electoral college votes)<br /> <br /> If these states vote Democrat as they did in the last two elections this would give Clinton another 75 electoral college votes and an unassailable total of 317 votes and the presidency, <br /> <br /> There are two other states worth looking at.<br /> <br /> (6) Iowa-Trending Dem (6)<br /> <br /> (7) New Mexico -Trending Dem (5)<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> New Mexico and Iowa are battleground seats but both have voted Democrats more in the last four elections than they have done Republicans and should Clinton be able to maintain this momentum she could collect another 11 electoral college votes, already assured of the presidency.<br /> <br /> It will be very interesting to see where the candidates will now put their emphasis.<br /> <br /> With 17 days to go before the election, one never knows how the American minds will respond to the campaign messages as the campaigns crank up the rhetoric and the emotions. The polls have indeed shown a widening of Clinton&rsquo;s lead which is now approaching double-digit figures. Will this prevail? The indications are that it will, but this is politics after all and we here have the benefit of the experience of February 26th.<br /> <br /> Don Anderson, CD, is chairman and CEO of Market Research Services Limited, and has successfully conducted market research and political polls in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean countries over the last 40 years. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13376098/236016_63053_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, October 23, 2016 12:00 AM Economic bomb! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Economic-bomb-_78070 As drama overshadows the issues in the run-up to election day for the next United States president, Dorlan Francis spotlights Republican nominee Donald Trump&rsquo;s economic plans. He reviews the proposed, across-the-board tax cuts and indicates that history has proven that the shock and long-term effects of such a policy give rise to falling markets and depressions. The repercussions, Francis says, will not be restricted to the US, the move might well blow up the world economy.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12956923/203021_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, October 23, 2016 12:00 AM We have INDECOM, but something&rsquo;s still missing http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/We-have-INDECOM--but-something-s-still-missing_77807 While as a nation we must always ensure that extrajudicial killings never become a part of our custom, monitoring agencies within or outside of the security forces must themselves have some checks and balances. So, in the Jamaican context, the first question which arises is who monitors the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM)?<br /> <br /> As citizens, we all must value our civil liberties. However, the administration and application of any monitoring organisation could have a very negative effect on the members of the police force, and by extension the military, who are now obviously in the system to maintain law and order.<br /> <br /> While we must express intolerance of any form of extrajudicial acts or killings, we cannot create a condition where the law enforcement officers are being demoralised, demonised, or looked upon as authorised criminals and killers. It is the responsibility of the authorities to ensure that our law enforcement officers are trained and aware of when and how lethal force should be applied, and citizens should also be made aware of those rules of engagement. <br /> <br /> Society should not be separate from its police. Indeed, they are the products of the same society. And unless we are brave enough to acknowledge that they are our police force, as well as our sons and daughters, we will be incapable of solving some of these issues of dispute.<br /> <br /> Naturally there will, at times, be disagreements over the use of any excessive or deadly force, but it is my view that perhaps training, or the lack thereof, could result in some unwarranted shootings by security personnel, even though they have the right to defend themselves in the process of carrying out their lawful duties. Perhaps new policies need to be established and a framework developed and made clear.<br /> <br /> In Washington, DC, between 1999-2002, these issues were raised under paragraph two of the community policing effort review and a framework of managing the use of deadly force was implemented by the then commissioner of police in Baltimore, Maryland. Emerging from those discussions they expressed the concern of the overall quality of the relationship between the communities and the police as a key issue for immediate consideration.<br /> <br /> Fear of INDECOM<br /> <br /> It cannot be a responsibility of any single monitoring organisation, such as INDECOM, to interfere with police on the spot investigations and operations. It also should not be seen as a body which issues threats of prosecution or to arrest law enforcement officers. For it is the view of a number of people interviewed, including members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, that the current monitoring agency, INDECOM, is and continues to be a deterrent in their efforts of fighting crime.<br /> <br /> This forces me to ask the question: Is this even possible?<br /> <br /> The average police officer or soldier is always under the command of a superior, consequently any monitoring organisation must find a way to investigating the public&rsquo;s as well as its agency&rsquo;s concerns without embarrassing the entire security force, or even those under investigation, before, after and as the due process is completed.<br /> <br /> Yes, we may argue that without INDECOM there might have been more killings, but we need more data to support that claim. One perhaps needs to examine whether a rise in crime and murder could be a direct result of the fear of the security officers in carrying out their lawful duties, both in defending themselves and the public, because of the approach of INDECOM.<br /> <br /> Any public threat by any monitoring agency against the Jamaica Constabulary Force or its agencies may have a negative effect on the security forces&rsquo; ability to fight crime and send mixed signals as well as make the criminals brazen in their nefarious activities.<br /> <br /> It is my view that whether or not the low morale of the security officers could bear any relationship to the existence or method of any single monitoring agent; it has to be examined. Such data may help us to arrive at a working conclusion and perhaps create a balanced perspective.<br /> <br /> Other side of the coin<br /> <br /> However, one needs to ask a very troubling question, when a police officer is shot or killed in the line of duty, what is the role of INDECOM or other monitoring agencies? Perhaps someone can enlighten the author. Does anyone care? If the police see no justice for themselves or feel justice is unfair to them, just like the public, they may develop a &ldquo;leave it alone&rdquo; attitude and the criminals could utilise that scenario in order to create more mayhem.<br /> <br /> To move forward, we must reconstruct INDECOM, and all monitoring organisations, in a meaningful way to enhance the development of community policing that will bring law-abiding citizens and the police closer. This is not rocket science. If the police and the community work together and develop the trust and mutual respect, void of political interference, then crime will be reduced dramatically and automatically. For our single wish is for a safer and prosperous Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Some may not agree with the observations outlined, others may have difficulty understanding why some changes are necessary, but one thing is clear: We are missing something. <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> leebailey cwjamaica.com http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13374347/235753.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, October 23, 2016 12:00 AM Spice, dancehall and the transformative power of culture http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Spice--dancehall-and-the-transformative-power-of-culture-_77808 The most important asset in any country is its people. The people is the culture and it is time we understand that an investment in the Jamaican people is an investment in our collective prosperity.<br /> <br /> Last week there was an uproar over the amount of money spent on a celebration marking the achievements of the Jamaican Olympic team to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. One person on social media said: &ldquo;We should have a more simple event and the Government should put that money into needed areas such as hospitals, schools, etc.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> This is a misguided principle that speaks to the bastard child treatment that arts and culture has received over the years. The Government spends approximately 0.4 per cent of its total annual budget on culture, gender, entertainment and sports, while it spends 10 per cent of the total budget on fighting crime, through the Ministry of National Security. Yet, most of the problems facing the country, including crime, are culturally based. Other problems such as wealth and gender inequality, littering, and the marginalisation of groups of people based on perceived differences or weaknesses are all culturally based.<br /> <br /> If art and culture were fully integrated into homes and communities we could achieve more than just tolerance, but an all-embracing of people&rsquo;s opinions and differences in the same way sporting activities sometimes bring about untapped unity. We can use creativity and the power of the arts to create better communities. We can also make space for diversity of the arts for the people who live here.<br /> <br /> The questions of who we are and what we stand for as a people can be easily answered with the expressions of art and culture. Music, particularly dancehall, has the ability to send messages in a short space of time and it has always been a key ingredient in scoring political points. Political rallies use popular dancehall songs because Jamaica&rsquo;s music has a history of coming from the grass roots culture &mdash; from people who, by and large, feel like they are not a part of the system for one reason or another. The artistes or music of the people should not just be used for scoring points and then dismissed when it is time for celebration and pageantry. It is part of our identity. Jamaica, being a relatively young country must develop and preserve its indigenous cultural forms, including dancehall, or else it runs the risk of losing its identity. A country without a sense of identity can hardly be prosperous.<br /> <br /> Hence, the urgent need for the arts, artists and cultural development.<br /> <br /> A false start<br /> <br /> Some people are now using one unfortunate incident with the dancehall artiste Spice at the recent celebration of our athletes on Heroes&rsquo; weekend as a rationale for de-funding the celebratory programmes in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, or to avoid dancehall acts for such national events. What happened with Spice was a technical error that triggered an already rooted identity prejudice across social platforms.<br /> <br /> I saw people tweeting: &ldquo;Spice does not have a place at a formal event.&rdquo; This is a grave error of thought. There are also fractions of people in Jamaica who refuse to believe that dancehall forms part of our collective identity until it achieves worldwide recognition. Spice, the artiste, indeed has a place on the stages of prestigious cultural events by the Government to celebrate excellence. We need to expose this identity crisis for what it is so we can correct it.<br /> <br /> The events celebrating the athletes called for inspiring music in the same way the athletes inspired all Jamaicans when they performed in Rio, Brazil, last summer. It was the best of Jamaica&rsquo;s art and culture in tribute to Jamaica&rsquo;s best in sports. This message should have been clearly communicated to Spice and her team. Spice&rsquo;s responsibility was to have a sense of occasion in her delivery upon entering the performance space. What she did was a false start at the Olympic Games celebratory event and her dismissal by members of the audience who were present, and those watching on the live broadcast, was justifiable. Even with the technical difficulties, she could have redeemed herself if she had a wider repository of songs or used her creativity to remix her lyrics for the occasion. Lyrics that objectifies women and/or marginalise any group of people should not have a place at national events. So, unless her &ldquo;thing rouna back yah&rdquo; lyrics were in reference to Usain Bolt leaving all his opponents behind then her lyrics were out of place.<br /> <br /> That being said, Spice and her songs have a place representing Jamaica&rsquo;s culture. We develop culture and cultural expressions by fostering creativity and imagination. When she represented her genre at the Red Bull Culture Clash against American rapper Wiz Khalifah she was well received by Jamaicans who watched. She did a freestyle at the Red Bull Culture Clash. She could have done the same at the athletes&rsquo; celebration event at the National Indoor Sports Centre in dedication to the athletes and to Jamaicans.<br /> <br /> For Spice to say on her social media and on national television that the organisers shouldn&rsquo;t have booked her because they knew what her brand represented speaks to her lack of awareness to her duty as an artiste. True artistes embrace the discipline of polarity. We all know that Jamaica is filled with talented and creative people, but not many disciplined people. Spice&rsquo;s &lsquo;predecessor&rsquo;, formerly Lady Saw now turned gospel artiste Marion Hall, was fully capable of performing at Sting as Lady Saw one year and at the White House another year as Marion Hall. Spice, along with many other artistes in Jamaica, need some artistic development in order to develop their brand so that they may have the cultural impact they are capable of having nationally and internationally.<br /> <br /> It is through facilitated dialogue that we grow, and I certainly hope the Jamaicans and the Government in this continued dialogue see the need for dancehall&rsquo;s development and inclusion in national celebrations, as well as the need for more funding in the entertainment, arts and culture departments of the ministry. If the artistes, organisers, and community members come together and take responsibility for cultural development, the diversity of input can create a better nation. People begin to point fingers only when they feel left out, and when people feel left out the whole fabric of society is at the risk of undisciplined and antisocial behaviour.<br /> <br /> To the people saying that the price tag on the event should have been less, I say to you: Transferring money from cultural celebrations to schools and hospitals is not the solution to nation-building. Arts and cultural development is part-performance, part-facilitated dialogue &mdash; and part-celebration. The transformative power of the arts can be fully integrated into all aspects of society if it is properly funded and developed. This development will happen through useful research, education and funding of projects that impact the entire nation and the world. We cannot remain in the primitive stages of cultural expression and expect to grow.<br /> <br /> Jose Marti said: &ldquo;It is only through culture that people can be free, without culture freedom is not possible.&rdquo; Perhaps when the acculturation process begins, we might have a more harmonious society where the people&rsquo;s art, artistes and disenfranchised citizens can be well represented as valued stakeholders in nation-building. <br /> <br /> Donovan Watkis as an author, executive producer and cultural artige&rsquo;. Send comments to the Observer or <br /> <br /> jrshopethebook@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13368758/235417_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, October 23, 2016 12:00 AM Banking: Is the US making a stick to beat its own back? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Banking--Is-the-US-making-a-stick-to-beat-its-own-back-_77931 Caribbean governments have rightly focused on the severe consequences for their countries of the withdrawal of correspondent banking relations from regional banks by international banks, particularly those located in the US. But there will also be serious consequences for other parts of the world, particularly the US, if the current troubling trend remains unchecked.<br /> <br /> The gravest immediate threat is to Caribbean countries certainly. This not an abstract issue, restricted to the banking sector or governments. The adverse effects will spare no one. They will affect every sector of economic and financial activity, including tourism, importers and exporters of goods, and individuals who either send money abroad or receive it.<br /> <br /> In the tourism sector, airlines will not be able to transfer monies earned in the Caribbean to their home locations, cruise ships will not be able to pay for their passengers who sail to the region, hotels will not be able to purchase the food and beverages they import for the tourism industry, even motor car dealers won&rsquo;t be able to pay for vehicles they bring in to the country. What&rsquo;s more, individuals abroad who send money to their dependent relatives will find it impossible to do so. And so the list goes on.<br /> <br /> Without correspondent banking relations, all financial transactions with the US &mdash; and many other countries &mdash; will come to a halt. These relations are so important globally that it caused the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, to observe in July during a major policy address that: &ldquo;Correspondent banking is like the blood that delivers nutrients to different parts of the body. It is core to the business of over 3,700 banking groups in 200 countries.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> A recent World Bank study of the impact of de-risking on correspondent banking globally found that 75 per cent of large international banks have reduced their total number of correspondent banking relationships, and 80 per cent reported that they had severed all relationships in some jurisdictions. The study also revealed that about 55 per cent of banks receiving correspondent banking services reported a decline in the availability of those services, with about 70 per cent of those reporting a decline indicating that the decline was &ldquo;significant&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> But, the Caribbean is the region in the word that is hardest hit. Undoubtedly, this is because of two decades of the European Union Commission, members of the US legislature, the US Government, and even State governments in the US branding Caribbean countries as tax havens &mdash; even though the evidence does not support the contention.<br /> <br /> According to the IMF, at least 16 banks in five Caribbean countries had lost all or some of their correspondent banking relationships as of May 2016. The same study reports that, in Belize, only two out of nine banks (representing 27 per cent of banking system assets) have been successful in maintaining correspondent banking relations with full banking services. And in The Bahamas, five financial institutions (accounting for 19 per cent of banking system assets) have lost at least one correspondent banking relationship. But, no Caribbean country has been spared, and banks in all of them, including in the Eastern Caribbean, Barbados, Jamaica and Guyana, are currently facing the real prospect of losing all correspondent relations with US banks.<br /> <br /> There are ways of getting around the problem, but they are expensive and their permanence is not assured. For instance, these transactions can continue through willing banks in intermediary countries that enjoy correspondent banking relations with global banks in the US. But the cost of such transactions will be high, and in many cases unaffordable. In any event, they would push up costs, making the Caribbean uncompetitive. Further, the facility could be cut off if global banks in the US apply onerous conditions.<br /> <br /> That is why the Global Stakeholders&rsquo; Conference on &lsquo;Correspondent Bank Relations; De-risking; and Branding Caribbean Countries as Tax Havens&rsquo;, being held in Antigua on October 27 and 28, is vitally important.<br /> <br /> Hosted by the Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne, who has responsibility for financial affairs in the quasi-Cabinet of Caribbean Community (Caricom) heads of government, the conference will gather representatives from international financial institutions, regulatory bodies, governments, and banks in a &lsquo;closed-door&rsquo; meeting to try to find solutions from frank discussions. Christine Lagarde is sending her deputy managing director, Zhang Tao, to represent her. Zhang, appointed two months ago, is the former deputy governor of the People&rsquo;s Bank of China.<br /> <br /> The global stakeholders attending the conference will be keenly aware that what Caribbean countries are facing is grave limitation of a country&rsquo;s ability to undertake international trade or financial transactions. That would mean collapse of businesses, rapid escalation of unemployment, increase in poverty, and a huge reduction in any government&rsquo;s capacity to provide its people with adequate health care, education and protection.<br /> <br /> The dreadful effects of such a woeful transformation of the Caribbean would not be limited to the Caribbean Sea. Inevitably, economic refugees will end up on the shores of US territory and other wealthy countries and there would be an increase in the drugs trafficked through the region as the unemployed and the desperate seek means to survive. Additionally, money would find unregulated and unstructured ways to cross borders, defying the very money laundering activities that withdrawing correspondent banking relations are trying to suppress.<br /> <br /> Further, if Caribbean countries cannot pay or be paid for the goods and services they trade with the US, they will be forced to turn their attention elsewhere. In such a case, the US will lose revenues and jobs. The total loss may be minuscule, given the relative small size of Caribbean markets; nonetheless, they will have an impact.<br /> <br /> Of greater importance is the loss of US influence in a region that sits next door. That vacuum will be filled by some other countries or group of countries that the US might not appreciate. But, the people of the Caribbean have to survive. It will not be that they love the US any less, but they love life more.<br /> <br /> By failing to respond swiftly, creatively and positively to the destructive effects of the withdrawal of correspondent banking relations, US decision-makers in government, in regulatory bodies, and in the legislature might be making a stick to beat their own backs. <br /> <br /> Sir Ronald Sanders is Antigua and Barbuda&rsquo;s ambassador to the US and Organisation of American States; an international affairs consultant; as well as senior fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto, and the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London. He previously served as ambassador to the European Union and the World Trade Organization and as high commissioner to the UK. The views expressed are his own. For responses and to view previous commentaries: <br /> <br /> www.sirronaldsanders.com<br /> <br /> .<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13337972/233020_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, October 23, 2016 12:00 AM Athletes, cash and statues http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Athletes--cash-and-statues_77913 I am proud suh tell of our track and field athletes who have brought such honour to us. I would not, could not begrudge them one iota of the national pride which they have evoked in us. Now that we are beginning to put a price on the financial rewards which have been bestowed on them, it could be interpreted that I have &lsquo;bad mind&rsquo; for wondering aloud if money is really the best way of rewarding their skill and talent.<br /> <br /> It is not the first time, of course, that athletes have taken home their reward in cash. Some people do not facilitate questioning of money. I can hear people saying: &ldquo;Competition is hard work, and why shouldn&rsquo;t the champions get recompense?&rdquo;<br /> <br /> This is highly recommended, especially as most of our athletes do not come from &ldquo;silver spoon&rdquo; environments. Why shouldn&rsquo;t they get reward in a manner which could ensure a better life for them? I wonder, though, for how long does money last, even though it can be &ldquo;stretched&rdquo; through investment and professional management?<br /> <br /> Stand up &lsquo;gainst statue<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, we have come to another &lsquo;place of argument&rsquo;. It is about the plan to create and erect in public places statues of the successful athletes of the Rio Olympics. Comments based on mixed feelings are on the agenda of public discussion. Some people are for it, some are balancing on the fence. There is no inkling of over what period of time will it take to achieve the statue display. Sculpting is not an easy task. The technical dynamics are not unknown to us. Over the years, some Jamaican master artists have shown that they know their stuff.<br /> <br /> One challenge which has dogged nearly every sculptor, however, is differing public tastes. An artist&rsquo;s representation might be, to him or her, a task well done, an accomplishment achieved, but at the same time, onlookers can &ldquo;dismiss&rdquo; the finished product. &ldquo;Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,&rdquo; the purists said in literature. What Person &lsquo;A&rsquo; sees and showers with praise, Person &lsquo;B&rsquo; treats with scorn and outrage. Have we forgotten how we engaged in public rejection of the Bob Marley statue, created by the late, revered Christopher Gonzalez, who did an abstract image of the great singer prophet Bob Marley? <br /> <br /> Some of us (myself included) sang the praises of the work, the head thrown back in adoration, the locks emphasising Jah Rastafari, the hair flashing the rod of the prophet growing out of the root of a tree. It was imagination and adoration as far as I was concerned. <br /> <br /> The very man who had engaged the artist &mdash; Edward Seaga<br /> <br /> &mdash; rejected the work, humiliated it. Soldiers were summoned to bind the image of the prophet with ropes and drag it unceremoniously from public view. &ldquo;It neva favah Bob,&rdquo; the people cried. It stopped just short of people crying &ldquo;Crucify!&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Another version stands now in the Marley place of honour, still opposite the National Arena. Christopher Gonzalez was never quite the same again (in my opinion). He passed his last days on the north coast, still creating to the end. Meanwhile, the original Gonzalez work &ldquo;boxed bout&rdquo;; at one time on display in Ocho Rios, at other times &ldquo;hanging around the doorway&rdquo; of the National Gallery. I couldn&rsquo;t tell you if it is still there. I couldn&rsquo;t bear to look at it.<br /> <br /> Christopher Gonzalez was my friend. He and his talent deserved respect. Other public statues in their time have been subject to controversy also. <br /> <br /> The Paul Bogle statue in Morant Bay has had its share of rejection. When it first went up, there were questions of &ldquo;Why it so black?&rdquo; Since then, there have been other differences of opinion with varying reactions. The last time I visited Morant Bay, Bogle&rsquo;s statue was nowhere in sight, for whatever reason. I never found out. We have made much of Paul Bogle in Heroes&rsquo; Day celebrations, but exactly how do we rate him? What did his statue do anybody? <br /> <br /> Here&rsquo;s another case: One time, Sir Alexander Bustamante did not take kindly to the statue of a male and a female wrapped in each other&rsquo;s arms which was put on top of a roof at the Papine-located property of the late A D Scott, noted architect and art connoisseur. Along with his instruction of banishment, the chief declared the lovers should never be displayed within immediate distance of the roadway. Busta died, Scott died, and the loving couple is still around.<br /> <br /> So, back to the proposed statues of our new athletic stars. Who will create? And what will the responses be? I can&rsquo;t help but cringe at something I overheard &mdash; that the subjects would be permitted to give their final assent to the finish. &ldquo;Fi true?&rdquo; What of the sculptor&rsquo;s view? How will that work out this time, but what will happen if and when the subjects say they don&rsquo;t like how they look? More Jamdown excitement?<br /> <br /> How often do you see a statue that looks exactly like the subject? What will be the reaction this time around? <br /> <br /> Hall of fame<br /> <br /> Question: Why not use the money and the effort to revive the sports hall of fame, which has been promised since 1989? &ldquo;True wud!&rdquo; Look it up in the Archives. <br /> <br /> From research recently, I found reference that there actually was a hall of fame opened in 1989 and in which sporting giants of the day &mdash; Herb McKenley, Arthur Wint, George Rhoden, George Headley, Alfred Valentine and Herbert MacDonald &mdash; were inducted and placed on the records as the first to be so honoured. So, where is it now, the sports hall of fame?<br /> <br /> The report which I read recently concluded with the words: &ldquo;The hope is that only the very best will be paraded in the hall of fame, so that it will one day become a national monument, a source of inspiration &mdash; the pride and joy of the Jamaican people.&rdquo; So where is it?<br /> <br /> Shouldn&rsquo;t this be the goal which we should aim at, even one more time, especially as it was noted that &ldquo;The Hall of Fame will also serve to educate the young and praise those who deserve praise, to light the torch for those with the talent, the dream, the dedication and the discipline to follow in the steps of the champions.&rdquo; Who is listening?<br /> <br /> How many awards?<br /> <br /> Almost every year you can hear it said: Why should so many get national awards? How many is &ldquo;how many&rdquo;? The headcount this year is 200, according to statistics from the Office of the Prime Minister. I have no record of how many were recognised the year before this or any other year before. The King&rsquo;s House grounds, where the investiture and awards event took place, did give the impression however that a &ldquo;whole heapa people&rdquo; were there; as a result of which the programme seemed to go on extremely long in the sweltering heat. It cannot continue that way all the time. The ritual needs reviewing.<br /> <br /> There is nothing wrong with recognition of people who have made significant contributions to the development of their nation. Yes, many actually do. Not every one is perfect, but give thanks when we can find enough people who make an effort and succeed in creating a difference. Nutten wrong wid dat. Mek we do even better next time.<br /> <br /> Congratulations to the hard-working sincere &lsquo;heroes&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> Barbara Gloudon is a journalist, playwright and commentator. Send comments to the Obsever or<br /> <br /> gloudonb@yahoo.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13204588/221462_w300.jpg Local Opinion Friday, October 21, 2016 12:00 AM Business strategy and Caricom&rsquo;s failure in Haiti http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Business-strategy-and-Caricom-s-failure-in-Haiti_77914 Caricom/Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) cannot work for poor Haiti, so this iconic black nation depends on their former colony &mdash; Dominican Republic &mdash; and charity of the white folk they beat up centuries ago. What goes around and comes around! We just moved from ICU to growth, and Haiti is on life support, yet we are big guns of this union. I love Caricom, but in 2001 it morphed into CSME to our chagrin, so now inquiries from sincere readers need truthful answers.<br /> <br /> E-mail received on my last column cited federations of non-contiguous states in the East, and they are right, but the glue those nations have we do not. Malaysia &mdash; chiefly two islands in the South China Sea &mdash; flying time is an hour plus, like us, and Cuba &mdash; a long history of trade, inter-marriage &mdash; easy union! It&rsquo;s two days from here to our capital in Guyana, a day to Trinidad, and a bit less to Barbados. We did not know these folk, did not inter-marry, jump Cropover or move goods between nations by canoe &mdash; strangers! Some non-contiguous federations are bound together by friendships, Islam, fanaticism; these overcome distance. West Indians have no Anglophone caliphate with a mission to unite nations and no Christian jihad. Contiguity matters!<br /> <br /> Another issue is: Can we exist on our own when benefactors want to deal with a group? Caricom was 1973 to 2001 &mdash; 28 years. How was it for you? We did not need political, economic union to trade, visit, play games, and love a Jamaican passport. List the benefits of Caricom to us up to 2001? We signed on to CSME in that year, got new passports, and border control did not know a nation called &ldquo;CC&rdquo; on the passport, so they distress our citizens in foreign ports. Shame on you, &ldquo;sell out&rdquo; politicians!<br /> <br /> CSME&rsquo;s crawling peg political and economic union 2001 to 2016 is strange. Norman Manley charged our mission was economic as the politics stuff was a done deed? Did he lie? Why join a political union when our problem is economic? What could we not do on our own? Check our progress against Singapore, Ireland, Barbados with like history, are we ahead? If Caricom worked why dump it? If it did not work why did we join the same losers in CSME? Can Edward Seaga, P J Patterson or Sonny Ramphal explain this? Do you see a McKinsey, KPMG, PwC report on the 28 years of Caricom? Chief Bustamante, Father Manley must be whirling. List the benefits from CSME in 16 years to 2016? How are you doing today?<br /> <br /> Those who sent in e-mail also queried my vision for the Caribbean. I see a convivial and collegial space in a 21st century Caricom (not CSME) &mdash; festivals, culture, fine arts, craft, sport,expositions, competitions and jointure in negotiations. It would embrace all islands from The Bahamas to Trinidad and nations whose shores are washed by the Caribbean Sea &mdash; Belize to Venezuela. We are the Caribbean!<br /> <br /> The islands in the South Caribbean &mdash; the Lesser Antilles &mdash; may expand their federation of contiguous islands OECS-unitary central bank, single currency, final court etc. But geography trumps politics and colonial history so they cannot ignore neighbour and benefactor Venezuela indefinitely and Guyana cannot be cut adrift. The islands of the North Caribbean-Greater Antilles suffer neo-imperial &ldquo;divide and rule&rdquo; tactics, dinosaur politicians, pesky Caricom mandarins and risk-averse businesses which thrived on Anglophone markets. All fear loss of power but we must venture, tap nearby markets and prove our talent and resilience on the big screen. Some say Spanish is a problem yet poorly educated higglers opened trade with Panama-so? We do massive business with China, do you speak Mandarin? Spanish hotels invest billions? You speak Spanish? Many businesses are spoiled, domesticated, lazy so the spirit of enterprise epitomised by Grace, Musson, JP, JMMB, others, must be mainstreamed now!<br /> <br /> But there are consequences in this model. The tyranny of English will be broken; the centre of gravity will shift and a Capital/HQ for institutions will be in our backyard. The Revised Treaty describes who we are but in new Caricom the Caribbean man is not the Indian of Trinidad, Mestizo of Belize or African of Haiti. The force is with a new creation unique to the Caribbean-the mix-up, mix-up browning; not African, Asian or European, speaks Spanish, English, French and a dozen dialects. Did Caricom, a mainly black cartel, refuse entry to mixed-race Dom Rep on racial grounds? PM Holness should reinstate the directive on compulsory Spanish as business needs it. Jamaicans cannot even function in Miami as &ldquo;mira, mira&rdquo; people carry the swing. We are only winners if we win. What can we do now?<br /> <br /> I want us to make friends with the Caribbean&rsquo;s fastest growing nation (7%); most FDI-on the same island as mendicant Haiti. Are we gluttons for suffering? After, we can tackle the American colony Puerto Rico &mdash; they need our financial acumen; then Cuba (our capitalist acumen) and Haiti (everything we have in the tool pan) &mdash; no fear. We must not pitch hard to neighbours. People do business with people they like, so use soft skills and mount a massive charm offensive. The private sector must act. Our priority is services; recreational and leisure up front. From now through 2019 Cabinet must spend $250m on studies and subsidy to private teams to win hearts and minds in the Dom Rep &mdash; no hard sell. A nation with a Maserati and Ferrari shop is in sync with our verve and brio so our first wave is fine artists, couturiers, chefs, body builders, martial artists, golfers, musicians, beauties, dancers, tenors, cabaret singers, to build soft connective tissue. Get our &ldquo;petrol heads&rdquo; together for a joint motor rally there. Don&rsquo;t talk business, just grow organic friendships. My vision? Usain Bolt leads the charge; Tracks and Records opens in three cities; UWI sets up a &ldquo;U B High Performance Sports Clinic&rdquo; in Santiago. Kamina Johnson Smith extends a charm offensive with state actors as we the people expose Dominicanos to our warmth, competence in English. We win people with honey not vinegar. Fear not, we have good friends there. Stay conscious! <br /> <br /> Franklin Johnston, D Phil (Oxon), is a strategist and project manager. Send comments to the Observer or <br /> <br /> franklinjohnstontoo@gmail.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13278153/227541_w300.jpg Local Opinion Friday, October 21, 2016 12:00 AM Hiring Whitmore a retrograde step http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Hiring-Whitmore-a-retrograde-step_75423 The clouds hovering over Jamaica&rsquo;s national football programme continue to get even darker with news of the hiring of Theodore &ldquo;Tappa&rdquo; Whitmore as head coach of the senior team.<br /> <br /> The former midfield maestro gets another &lsquo;bite at the cherry&rsquo; having previously served in that capacity on an interim basis before John Barnes was able to assume his duties in 2008, then fully taking the reins after Barnes resigned in 2009. That stint lasted until 2013 when Whitmore tendered his resignation with the team struggling in the CONCACAF Hexagonal final round after a string of disastrous results.<br /> <br /> While I am cognisant of the current predicament that Jamaica&rsquo;s football finds itself in, going back to Whitmore is not the answer and is a retrograde step, in my view. If one should critically analyse Tappa&rsquo;s previous stint as coach of the national set-up, it can be concluded that he was lacking in some vital areas that are required to achieve success as an international coach. He was tactically inept and it was very difficult to identify the system(s) that he implemented. His tenure was also characterised by questionable and poor team selection as well as being accused by some pundits as a poor man manager.<br /> <br /> Another very important aspect of coaching that was quite deficient in Whitmore&rsquo;s previous spell was his ability to clearly impart his philosophy to the players. Many people have the misconception that once an individual is skilled or knowledgeable in an area, he/she automatically has the ability to convey it clearly to others. Several university students will quickly point to the fact that there are some professors who are extremely knowledgeable in their disciplines but are awful teachers. Based on the display of faith, I think the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has erred in believing that Whitmore&rsquo;s success as a coach will be automatic due to his ability as a player.<br /> <br /> We all know that Whitmore was a talismanic figure during his playing years and is one of the most skilful players that the Caribbean has produced. However, that does not automatically make him a good coach. Under Whitmore&rsquo;s leadership, the team was embarrassingly eliminated at the first round during the 2009 Gold Cup. Shortly after leaving the senior team, Whitmore was sent to the U-20s to continue to hone his craft, but that also ended in disappointment after the team failed to advance from their group on home soil.<br /> <br /> Between all the failures, however, he tasted success, as he led the senior Reggae Boyz to the 2010 Digicel Cup &mdash; a tournament that we are always expected to win. It is clear that the Captain Horace Burrell-led administration believes in Whitmore&rsquo;s ability as a coach and has provided him with exposure on the international stage through participation in various courses and workshops. The administration should be commended for the desire shown to improve Tappa&rsquo;s skill sets, but I personally believe that he needs to continue his development by coaching at the schoolboy or premier league level before being considered for a job in the programme; moreover the senior set-up.<br /> <br /> The questions I would like to ask the JFF are: Aren&rsquo;t there other local coaches who are more successful and experienced than Whitmore? Why isn&rsquo;t Miguel Coley being given an opportunity to prove if he can do the business at the international level?<br /> <br /> It is evident that the present state of Jamaica&rsquo;s football is very gloomy and the JFF is severely handicapped in its capacity to pay competitive salaries to coaches due to a lack of financial resources. However, I am confident that we have qualified and competent local coaches who would be willing to avail themselves and offer their services below the market value (not US$100 per day) as they genuinely have the nation&rsquo;s interest at heart.<br /> <br /> As a result, I find it absurd that they have gone for Whitmore. Equally baffling is the fact that Miguel Coley, the recent assistant coach to Winfried Sch&Atilde;&curren;fer has been snubbed. In my view, Coley&rsquo;s appointment to understudy the German was strategically done so that he could develop his skills and experience and take over the team when Sch&Atilde;&curren;fer departs. Being one of the most successful and promising local coaches in recent times, albeit at the schoolboy level, I firmly believe that Coley should have been given the opportunity to condition the team for the upcoming games.<br /> <br /> I am aware that when teams fail at the international level, coaches are held accountable, with dismissal being the most prominent consequence. Although Sch&Atilde;&curren;fer&rsquo;s separation from the Jamaica programme is understandable, I am of the view that it is senseless to overlook a promising, young coach after three years of investment without giving him the chance to prove his worth at the helm.<br /> <br /> While I acknowledge and appreciate the willingness of Theodore Whitmore to serve his country, I believe his appointment is a backward step and is symbolic of the deplorable state of affairs in Jamaica&rsquo;s football. Whitmore&rsquo;s appointment will serve as a slap in the face to many local coaches, especially Miguel Coley. It is clear that Miguel Coley is not the finished article as an international coach, but the potential for success is evident.<br /> <br /> After all is said and done, I wish Tappa and his staff all the best as we continue to search for the answer to the crisis gripping our football.<br /> <br /> jerdaine@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12562051/179746_w300.jpg Local Opinion Thursday, October 20, 2016 12:00 AM Co-operatives should reduce stress http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Co-operatives-should-reduce-stress_77681 Today is International Credit Union Day. Credit unions, like all other co-operatives, initially came into being to empower the poor &mdash; not to further control or oppress them. Co-operation is a principle of such co-operatives and unions.<br /> <br /> In 1941, poor people could not get loans from banks in Jamaica. The Young Men&rsquo;s Sodality of Holy Trinity (Roman Catholic) Cathedral on North Street in Kingston took note of this, decided to form a credit union among themselves and to organise other credit unions. Already in existence was Jamaica Welfare (now Social Development Commission), founded in 1937 by Norman Manley. Jamaica Welfare, along with the Jamaica Agricultural Society and the Fishermen&rsquo;s Union, established many producers&rsquo; and service co-operatives, especially farmers&rsquo; co-operatives. Eventually all co-operatives came under one law, the Co-operative Act, 1950. <br /> <br /> In my September 22, 2016 column, entitled &lsquo;Angela, Lisa and political maths&rsquo;, I wrote: &ldquo;I ask again of Peter Bunting to state publicly what his views are on co-operatives. Let us compare his views on co-operatives with those of Norman Manley.&rdquo; To this, Raymond D Grant, who like myself attended Jamaica College in the 1960s, responded on the Jamaica Observer online portal: &ldquo;Mr Burke has a point about co-operatives. In Canada&rsquo;s undeveloped arctic region, co-ops run retail stores, hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, arts and crafts shops, convenience stores, cable TV operations, fuel distribution companies, construction companies, property rental businesses, taxi companies, freight hauling services, just to name a few. In Canada, I am a member of a co-op that owns a supermarket and a gas station.&rdquo; Thanks, Raymond!<br /> <br /> As the present scenario has shown, people are not necessarily content because they have achieved consumer items. Initially, co-operatives were formed because of hunger and destitution. In today&rsquo;s environment, where most Jamaicans are not starving, co-operatives should empower people by greatly reducing stress caused by so-called enlightened capitalism.<br /> <br /> Stress has been defined as &ldquo;the body&rsquo;s way of responding to any type of demand or threat&rdquo;. It is not always a bad thing, as stress motivates people to excel. But when there is &ldquo;chronic stress&rdquo; the effects can be devastating. I am grateful to Jeanne Segal, PhD; Melinda Smith, MA; Robert Segal, MA; and Lawrence Robinson for this important information which I downloaded from the Internet.<br /> <br /> Many people with outstanding loans for houses, cars and tertiary education are often compelled to keep jobs, where their employers bully them, as they need to pay off their loans. In some very unfortunate cases, the bullying takes the form of sexual harassment. This is the type of stress that the credit unions can help to remove or lessen by financing co-operative enterprisesso that the members work for themselves and not have to put up with stress caused by an oppressive workplace.<br /> <br /> The role of medical doctors, along with psychiatrists and psychologists, in this proposed scenario could be to teach Jamaicans how to co-operate with each other. Why treat the symptoms of stress if the patient returns to the same environment to be stressed out again?<br /> <br /> But this idea to empower people and reduce stress on the national scene is successfully blocked if there is no credit union education. When the Sodality Credit Union was founded they taught others credit union principles throughout the length and breadth of Jamaica so that they could form their own credit unions and also form other types of co-operatives. I believe that the absence of credit union education today is really for one reason only: The directors are afraid that the members will go to meetings and vote them out.<br /> <br /> Many credit union members in Jamaica criticise the credit union loan policies without knowing that they can do something about it. The most important thing to know is that the credit unions, like all other co-operatives, primarily exist for the members. Indeed, it does appear that the only way for this to be known is for the members themselves to come together to educate themselves and to go to the general meetings, as they are the highest decision-making bodies in any co-operative.<br /> <br /> The surplus (called &lsquo;profit&rsquo; in companies) is distributed according to the vote at annual general meetings. Let us come together and vote that some of the surplus of all credit unions goes towards co-operatives to establish one or more co-operative hotel, since tourism is really what keeps Jamaica&rsquo;s economy going today. And let us also expand the other co-operatives so that they can empower their members, who in turn empower others outside of the movement with their spending power gained from their co-operative business.<br /> <br /> To create more savings for loans, there should be an agreement between other co-operatives and credit union members. The members should vote for some of the surplus to be maintained within the co-operative on the understanding that all of the members of any producers&rsquo; or service co-operative receiving such funds will insist that its members save in the credit union, so that the members have more money from which to borrow. This is part of the idea of co-operation.<br /> <br /> WATCH THIS MOVE!<br /> <br /> I heard an announcement by a senior member of the co-operative department at the Jamaica Fishermen&rsquo;s Co-operative Union Annual General Meeting earlier this year that I found alarming. There appears to be a plan to ask Parliament to amend the Co-operative Act to stop nominations from the floor of the annual general meetings, which would mean that they would cease to be co-operatives, as co-operatives are totally democratic. I deliberately write this to alert the international co-operative community of these statements being made about stifling the democracy in credit unions in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> ekrubm765@yahoo.com http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12830231/194757_25276_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Thursday, October 20, 2016 12:00 AM Apologise to Spice! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Apologise-to-Spice_77661 I strongly believe that the organisers, sponsors, and just everyone who had a say in coordinating the celebrations for the Jamaican Olympic athletes on Saturday, October 15, at the National Indoor Sport Centre should formally apologise to international dancehall artiste Grace Hamilton, popularly known as Spice.<br /> <br /> Firstly, everyone knows the type of artiste Spice is, and well, she is never afraid to show it. She is that vibrant female artiste with those raunchy lyrics, daring behaviour and multicoloured hair and attire. Her outer demeanour screams sex; not saying she&rsquo;s a sensual person, but that&rsquo;s the character she embodies when she&rsquo;s onstage.<br /> <br /> So we know this, it&rsquo;s highly unlikely for you to hear one of her songs and not get insight on this. Therefore, the people booking her for this event must have had an idea of the catalogue of songs she would have had to select from for her performance.<br /> <br /> Secondly, those putting on this event would have known the &lsquo;noteworthy&rsquo; guests who would be in attendance, names which I would rather not mention, but they are people of &lsquo;great significance&rsquo;, who would rather feel &lsquo;uncomfortable&rsquo; watching Spice perform.<br /> <br /> Thirdly, to make this unfortunate phenomenon even worse, the artiste was scheduled to perform after gospel artiste, Kevin Downswell. How can you schedule Spice, knowing the kind of flavour she brings, after a gospel artiste? This transition was poor, and again the organisers are to be blamed. Is this the first event they have ever organised? Honestly, I would like to know.<br /> <br /> Ironically, following Spice&rsquo;s rather embarrassing performance, the dance group that followed performed to one of Spice&rsquo;s latest popular songs,<br /> <br /> Indicator. The dance group, unlike Spice, however, was well received. Was this by chance?<br /> <br /> Many would say it&rsquo;s Spice&rsquo;s fault for not broadening her catalogue to include songs from other genres, with less raunchy lyrics that would have been more suitable for this occasion, but I say that&rsquo;s rubbish. It is the organisers&rsquo; fault.<br /> <br /> Spice appeals to a certain type of audience. She strategically positions and markets herself and the Spice brand over the years as that female artiste with those sexually charged, vibrant, highly lyrical dancehall songs. And she has made her fair share doing this; never had she gone ahead and done otherwise.<br /> <br /> So those people who were laughing, hiding their faces and turning up their prim and proper noses during her performance, please remember Spice is just an alter ego and it is far from the type person who Grace Hamilton truly is. And, based on my observation, Grace Hamilton is a proud Jamaican, who is well travelled and tries to spread Brand Jamaica wherever she goes. She is a wonderful mother, daughter and friend.<br /> <br /> What&rsquo;s even disappointing is the fact that some of them are the same people who listen to her songs in the privacy of their homes and cars, some of them even &lsquo;rave&rsquo; to them in the clubs and at parties, yet they were there acting as if they are better than her and belittling the brand she worked hard to build.<br /> <br /> Let&rsquo;s not forget it is the same Spice who, just a few weeks ago, assisted 10 students with their back-to-school supplies, books, bags, uniform, the whole works. Those raunchy songs provided for her enough that she could have assisted someone &mdash; 10 &lsquo;someones&rsquo; at that. Many of you there in the audience bad-mouthing her can afford to assist someone but have never lifted a hand to do so, but she did.<br /> <br /> Some say she could have declined the offer to perform, I say that&rsquo;s rubbish as well. If you book Spice it is obvious you want her to &lsquo;lively up&rsquo; the crowd, bring a different flavour. I would assume this was what Spice thought she was about to do when she was booked, and not the unjust reception she was faced with.<br /> <br /> I say the organisers needs to apologise. And they need to apologise now!<br /> <br /> This unfortunate incident that has somehow stained Spice&rsquo;s career could have been avoided &mdash; a career she has worked very hard to build in spite of many difficulties. Those who are in the dancehall business know it is not easy for a female artiste to rise to such a level as Spice has. So organisers, please apologise, so we can put this all behind us.<br /> <br /> I say kudos to Spice for remaining professional throughout your performance despite the hand you were dealt. It takes someone with great strength and vitality to have done so. Continue to hold your head high.<br /> <br /> stephchambers876@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12587613/181608__w300.jpg Local Opinion Wednesday, October 19, 2016 2:00 AM Two basic impediments to economic growth http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Two-basic-impediments-to-economic-growth_77653 The recently proposed Stand-by Agreement between the Government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a step in the right direction. It signifies that the Government has done well under the Extended Fund Facility, which was started by the previous Government and continued by the Andrew Holness Administration. The baton was well received and carried. Now that a new arrangement &mdash; with less strictures than the first &mdash; has been agreed to, the Government and people of Jamaica must move expeditiously to take advantage of the shift that has taken place from Jamaica being an international pariah to an emerging star in the world economy.<br /> <br /> The clearly laid out benchmarks for economic growth are not outside of our ability to achieve as a people. The past four years have demonstrated what can be achieved when a Government and people bend their wills to achieve significant progress. And there should be no doubt that the people have borne tremendous hardships, especially in the first three years of the IMF programme. They continue to bear sacrifices as the dollar devalues, placing great strain on their personal and business spending power. <br /> <br /> One cannot help stressing the importance of Government working hand in hand with the people in achieving economic growth. Growth cannot be achieved by government fiat or dictum, nor by any particular group who may think they know all the answers. The people must be informed in a timely manner of government initiatives for growth.<br /> <br /> Government and its operatives must take them into their confidence and make them really feel that they are important stakeholders in what is being proposed. Everybody cannot have a seat at the table, but there should not be a seat that does not take into account full regard and respect for the people whose business is being discussed.<br /> <br /> The work of the Economic Growth Council, under Michael Lee-Chin&rsquo;s leadership, is set to play an important role in the country&rsquo;s growth agenda in the new Stand-by Agreement. So far, the council has demonstrated a grasp for what ails the economy and what can be done to gradually heal the patient. We all know that the crime monster has to be tamed, for this is one of the most stubborn and insidious impediments to growth. Significant resources have to be rolled out to make this happen, but it should not be just a matter of throwing money at the problem.<br /> <br /> I hope that this is not the thinking of Richard Byles, the co-chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee, when he suggested that money saved can be directed to fighting crime. Although we should never make the simple the victim of the complex, what ails the Jamaica Constabulary Force is not merely a matter of the lack of financial resources. For the longest while the force has been in a chronic state in which many of the men and women in uniform are demoralised, underappreciated, overworked, and would perhaps call it quits tomorrow if they had a better way to earn a living.<br /> <br /> There are distinct sets of problems which they themselves foment, such as corruption and, in too many instances, downright criminality, but the large percentage of the members of the force want to do well by Jamaica. They are the ones who must be given support in continued training, in rehabilitating dilapidated facilities that pass for police stations and residences, and in equipping the force with vehicles that can enhance their mobility. Intelligence-gathering mechanisms must be beefed up. This is where I believe the Federal Bureau of Investigations having an office in Jamaica can be of inestimable benefit.<br /> <br /> But taming or cauterising crime is just one of the impediments to the growth agenda. Of equal consideration must be our lumbering bureaucracy that makes doing business in Jamaica a nightmare. William Mahfood, the former president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, was right that it is not all about calling Minister Daryl Vaz. Whether he made the statement tongue-in-cheek or not, he was calling attention to the frustration that Jamaicans have to deal with in contending with Jamaican Government bureaucracy.<br /> <br /> The calls to Daryl are symptoms of the frustration which people experience in trying to get through the bureaucratic maze called the Jamaica Civil Service. And workers in some departments are not too civil in the way they treat with the public. Courtesy is not what you often get. Instead, there is the surly face and the nonchalance that greet you from people who obviously have got tired of the jobs they do. They seem to forget that, as civil servants, they work for the people of Jamaica, and that the people are their customers and employers at the same time. They should treat them with the full respect they deserve.<br /> <br /> Discourtesy and the bad treatment meted out to people are certainly not the preserve of the public sector. You encounter it also in the private sector, but it is surely more pronounced and abundant in the public sector. People behave as if they are doing you a favour. The full reform of the public sector cannot come any time sooner.<br /> <br /> One is not for people losing their jobs, but if we are serious about growth we cannot have a lumbering bureaucracy &mdash; as presently obtains. It must be trimmed, made leaner, and more efficient. Efficiency will not come by mere attrition. The process must be well thought through and decisions reached implemented.<br /> <br /> But no political party wants to bell the cat, for no one wants to be accused of laying off people from their jobs. But the present Government will have no choice but to complete the full rationalisation of the public sector and the chips will have to fall where they may. As presently constituted, our government bureaucracy is one of the greatest impediments to economic growth. This can has reached a fork in the road, where kicking it any farther can only mean the height of irresponsibility.<br /> <br /> Dr Raulston Nembhard is a priest and social commentator. Send comments to the Observer or<br /> <br /> stead6655@aol.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363589/235242_62282_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM Lost bearings, poor scripting and a collision of performances http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Lost-bearings--poor-scripting-and-a-collision-of-performances_77637 The Spice spectacle is a case of lost bearings, poor scripting and a collision of performances.<br /> <br /> I do not believe it is a matter of dancehall music having no place in such a setting. However, I think arrangement of the programme schedule is at fault, in part. Had her performance been better positioned, there would more than likely have been less of an outrage, as there, arguably, was the dance equivalent of her performance.<br /> <br /> Certainly, the gospel performance before her had more pull, and for obvious reasons. The heads present would be more inclined to accept Christian vibrations rather than a brief secular romp.<br /> <br /> At this point, I still can&rsquo;t see how she complemented the line-up. A general, broad spectrum of entertainment was not particularly welcomed. Even the dance equivalent was polished and toned down for the occasion. Yes, it was a Jamaican celebration of Jamaican athletes, but there was a certain tone to the evening that Spice conflicted &mdash; almost like a bad attempt at harmonising. I got a flashback of that Happy Feet singing moment.<br /> <br /> What was her message to those being honoured? I&rsquo;m still not sure. Therefore, I&rsquo;m watching her being brought up in discussion about versatility and repurposing your act to fit the occasion. But even then, the question I am asking is, positioning aside, why book such an act in the first place?<br /> <br /> It can&rsquo;t be that her repertoire was overlooked. She sings nothing else but hyper-sexual lyrics that narrate the politics of having a vagina and using it to an end. I only know of one song she does that remotely deviates: that song where she questions gender roles and women&rsquo;s place and power dynamics in the dancehall space. Perhaps she should have diverted into that when she went a capella. It would have been a great response to the rejection.<br /> <br /> Not too long ago, Beenie Man, who does the male equivalent at times, performed at a black tie event for a leading commercial bank and he was well received. To be fair, however, he was able stave off much of what Spice received with his general feel-good, party camaraderie lyrics. The absence of the latter is perhaps what effected the class panic to the point of cutting her off.<br /> <br /> Classist undertones were at work, yes, but people should have control over what they enjoy when, and what message their assumed persona is willing to intercept. In this case, the playwright felt his or her show was going in a direction that did not suit the vision. It was handled badly, but it was clear.<br /> <br /> Simply put, Spice just could not meet that &lsquo;representation&rsquo; of the selves present. Hopefully she learned something from that experience.<br /> <br /> yohan.s.r.lee@live.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13180249/219309_w300.jpg Local Opinion Wednesday, October 19, 2016 2:00 AM Terrorism in Jamaica http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Terrorism-in-Jamaica_77372 &ldquo;Let us walk hand in hand and help break down the barriers in those zones of exclusion that create havens for criminality.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> These inspiring words from the 2011 prime minister&rsquo;s inauguration speech seem to have been forgotten by everyone, even the speaker.<br /> <br /> The recent March Pen massacre reminded many of similar incidents that took place on Barnes Avenue in south St Andrew in 2005 and Lauriston in St Catherine in 2011. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;October 5, 2005 is not a date that Randall Brown will forget. Residents remember the blood-curdling screams of his 10-year-old niece, Sasha Brown, as she called out to her neighbours for help as fire ravaged the house she was locked in. The house was shot up and set on fire by masked gunmen. Gerald Brown, 60, his wife Dorcas, 50, and their daughter Janice, 25, were killed along with Sasha.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;According to police reports, the thugs threw Molotov cocktail bombs into the house and then stood guard with their automatic weapons at the ready, preventing anyone from going to the dying family&rsquo;s assistance.&rdquo; (<br /> <br /> http://m.jamaicaobserver.com/mobile/news/Massacre-at-Barnes-Avenue----7-years-on_12707224)<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Church minister Charmaine Rattray and her 19-year-old daughter were yesterday morning beheaded by gunmen who invaded their Lauriston home.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The two were attacked just after dawn by the men armed with guns and machetes and who kicked open the door to their home as they slept. The women&rsquo;s heads were taken from the scene by the culprits, who had inflicted numerous chop wounds to the victims&rsquo; bodies.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Residents listened and cowered helplessly as the women&rsquo;s horrified screams pierced the morning&rsquo;s silence.&rdquo; (<br /> <br /> http://m.jamaicaobserver.com/mobile/news/Two-women-beheaded_9264403)<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Sombre was the general mood yesterday at 7 March Pen Road... where five persons, including three children, were shot, killed and their homes torched early last Sunday morning.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Two of the children killed, according to a family member who requested that his name not be used in this story, were murdered execution style. He toldThe Gleaner that the two children, aged nine and 14 years, were tied up by the hoodlums and then shot.<br /> <br /> &ldquo; &lsquo;You hear like dem a kick off di gate. When dem kick off di gate, you hear explosion, [shots] firing non-stop and a bare people a scream... All in a mi mind, &lsquo;mi a try come to the screaming, but mi couldn&rsquo;t because it was a lot of them and dem a fire shot.&rsquo; &rdquo; (http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20161011/fiery-screams-kids-tied-shot-14-y-o-paralysed)<br /> <br /> We have witnessed so many such acts of terrorism in this supposedly blessed land that we have become numb. No one even seems to care anymore when even children get murdered in these &lsquo;zones of exclusion&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> We can only judge our politicians by what they do and not what they say. In the aftermath of the Barnes Avenue inferno<br /> <br /> Nationwide radio had a vigil. Not a single politician from either side turned up. Not then prime minister, P J Patterson. Not then Opposition leader, Bruce Golding. Not then minister for children affairs, Portia Simpson Miller. Not then area Member of Parliament, Omar Davies.<br /> <br /> Reducing crime in Jamaica is going to be an obviously complex long-term undertaking. Showing you care about the victims of crime, particularly the children, is not.<br /> <br /> When children are burned to death and heads chopped off, is it too much to expect our political leaders to demonstrate human decency and compassion?<br /> <br /> This time around, media pressure has forced our elected heads to show some level of concern for the family of the victims. Both mumbled the usual, &ldquo;We must stop these dastardly criminal acts.&rdquo; And nearly a week after the March Pen slaughter, Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller actually showed up at the site of the murders. The prime minister has so far only promised that he will visit soon.<br /> <br /> Andrew Holness has repeatedly stood before the nation and proclaimed that &ldquo;I am different&rdquo;. Well, actions speak louder than words. So far, his attitude towards the massacre of our children by bloodthirsty criminals is indistinguishable from that of his predecessors. <br /> <br /> Basic steps could certainly reduce the frequency of these acts of terrorism.<br /> <br /> &ldquo; &lsquo;There are law-abiding citizens there, but the bad roads and zinc fence, because of the structure, it harbours all different types of people. It needs to be restructured and organised, and the Government needs to get the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) involved,&rsquo; [Bishop Rohan] Edwards said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;He said that JSIF did work on the main road, but &lsquo;not for the community, like they did for areas like Jones Avenue, Homestead, Central Village and others&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo; &lsquo;Pull down the zinc fences, the police have a problem patrolling. They need to get attention. Until they do that, it&rsquo;s going to continue to harbour types of people that can create mayhem,&rsquo; Edwards said.&rdquo; (&lsquo;Bad March Pen Memories - Recent killings take residents back to 2000 &lsquo;Black Friday&rsquo;&rsquo; [http://jamaica-star.com/article/news/20161014/bad-march-pen-memories-recent-killings-take-residents-back-2000-black-friday])<br /> <br /> But no one seems to care enough to start the process.<br /> <br /> And so we sit and wonder what Jamaican place name we will hear of next where little children are deliberately burnt to death and teenage girls&rsquo; heads are chopped off.<br /> <br /> kob.chang@fontanapharmacy.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12971824/204054__w300.jpg Local Opinion Tuesday, October 18, 2016 12:00 AM