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 Ill-timed visit to Israel, Mr Prime Minister http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Ill-timed-visit-to-Israel--Mr-Prime-Minister_87262 While some celebrate Prime Minister Andrew Holness&rsquo;s trip to Israel, I was taken aback by it to my months of studies on apartheid South Africa and the atrocities that blacks once suffered in that country. I was reminded of the atrocities which my hero Mandela fought fervently against. Anyone who has done even the least bit of South African history would understand the pain that blacks went through up to the end of apartheid &mdash; the segregation into black vs white South Africa, the unfair distribution of resources, the ceasing of lands under black ownership. Oh, I feel the pain of the many who were massacred, who were locked away in prison camps to rot away just because they dared to seek rights for blacks.<br /> <br /> But, even as I was taken back to South Africa&rsquo;s plight, I had to quickly bring myself to the reality that that&rsquo;s the plight of Palestinians today who have lost most of their arable land to Israel, whose expertise Prime Minister Holness now seeks in agriculture; whose plight to economic freedom has been stunted by the Israelis whose cooperation Holness now seeks on issues relating to the economy; whose blood is all over the hands of Netanyahu and his soldiers as they constantly live in fear of blazing guns and rattling bombs, but Jamaica&rsquo;s prime minister seeks partnership on dealing with crime and security.<br /> <br /> Mr Prime Minister, we wish to be unequivocally informed of Jamaica&rsquo;s position on Palestine, and by extension the atrocities that are being committed against their people on a daily basis. <br /> <br /> Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to note Jamaica&rsquo;s abstention from a UNESCO vote that denies Jewish ties to Temple Mount and the Western Wall, which have been contentious aspects of the ongoing conflict. Tell us, Holness &mdash; or Madam Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Kamina Johnson Smith &mdash; our position.<br /> <br /> With the current geopolitical issues surrounding Israel and the emerging corruption allegations against Netanyahu, PM Holness&rsquo;s visit could not have been more ill-timed. Johnson Smith and advisors on international affairs should have been much more cautious about this visit at this particular time.<br /> <br /> While I am for partnerships leading to prosperity for all Jamaicans, I am opposed to Jamaica and its leaders bending over to leaders who have actively and still support gross violations of the rights of an entire group of people on unjustifiable grounds. Israel&rsquo;s actions toward Palestine effectively place them in the same category as the Government of apartheid South Africa. And, as we did in the case of South Africa, where we avoided deepening ties with a discriminatory Government, we should do the same where Israel is concerned. Having knowledge of the fact that Jamaica was one of the first nations to take a stance against apartheid South Africa, then to resort to this causes immense disgust at the action of Holness and his team.<br /> <br /> Create partnerships for prosperity, Mr Prime Minister. Travel as much as you wish, but know that visit to apartheid states are not visits in the name of all Jamaicans. Certainly, it is not a visit in my name.<br /> <br /> Despite the justifications that your operatives attempt to give, this ill-timed and ill-advised trip was a wrong call and wrong move, Mr Prime Minister! <br /> <br /> aujae.k.dixon@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12937932/201590_30348_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Tuesday, January 24, 2017 12:00 AM Will it be a robot or a person? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Will-it-be-a-robot-or-a-person-_87398 I heard a very interesting news item on the BBC sometime ago. It would seem that the European Parliament is working on new laws that will give robots the same legal status as humans. The European Parliament is trying to make laws throughout the union representative of the world to come &mdash; a world where the line between humans and robots will be virtually invisible.<br /> <br /> The actions of the European Parliament should not come as a big surprise to those who are interesting in artificial intelligence. Indeed, within the past few decades, and especially within the past few years, developments in artificial intelligence systems have advanced at an incredible pace. I saw a report where one system was actually put online &mdash; in secret &mdash; and people were anonymously asked to have a conversation with it, on any topic. Most of those who did thought they were talking to a person and not a machine.<br /> <br /> But what will it really mean to give robots, with artificial intelligence, of course, the same legal status as humans? Plenty! Obviously, the Europeans expect the arrival of the day when robots will have both responsibilities and rights.<br /> <br /> For starters, one would imagine that the laws that the Europeans are planning to create (or change) will allow robots to be sued. So, if a robot is doing a job for someone and, for whatever reason, that person decides to sue, the maker of the robot will no longer be liable. Imagine dragging a robot to court!<br /> <br /> Imagine still, legally punishing a robot! Indeed, how will Europe (and indeed the world) of the future punish robots? Some of them, no doubt, will have physical strength far superior to humans. So, will robots be placed in special jails? Seeing that Europe no longer applies the death penalty or at least is moving away from the death penalty, will robots be deactivated when they do something wrong? Would robots even be able to be deactivated?<br /> <br /> Talking about deactivating, will such an act be seen as &ldquo;deactivating&rdquo; or &ldquo;murder&rdquo;? Amusingly, when those laws have evolved enough, will it be possible to murder a robot?<br /> <br /> Of course, as far as I can see, robots will have rights. So, imagine the day when it will be a crime to discriminate against a robot, let&rsquo;s say for a job, access to resources or even just moving on the &ldquo;wrong side&rdquo; of the sidewalk! Will robots be forced to stay in the back of the bus or will they be allowed to stay anywhere on the bus, or even in the bus at all?<br /> <br /> Today, we play with robots and treat them like pets. Will doing so in the future be a crime? Will the day come when robots will even be able to be adopted or even adopt humans? I wonder what will the laws pertaining to human-robot relationships be like? Indeed, will the day come when humans will be able to have sexual relations with robots or even marry them?<br /> <br /> The Europeans are a very interesting people. This new move by the European Parliament is very forward-thinking &mdash; perhaps, too forward-thinking for most of us today. However, at the rate at which the development of technology and artificial intelligence are going these days, it seems only logical that the rest of the world may have to follow Europe&rsquo;s lead sooner or later.<br /> <br /> michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13592947/254100_80923_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Tuesday, January 24, 2017 12:00 AM &lsquo;Inside the black box&rsquo; of school underperformance http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/-Inside-the-black-box--of-school-underperformance_76041 The 2015 National Education Inspectorate report found that of 953 schools in Jamaica 55 per cent were found to be operating ineffectively. When this 55 per cent is broken out and examined in relation to overall leadership and management, it is found that 791 primary level schools, 21 or almost three per cent are in need of immediate support, which means that things are really bad. At the secondary level where there are 162 schools, five, or about the same three per cent are in need of immediate support.<br /> <br /> If the state of affairs were simply that three per cent of schools were in need of immediate support and the rest were doing fairly well that would not be a major crisis. But those assessed to be performing unsatisfactorily account for a whopping 34 per cent of primary level schools and 25 per cent of secondary schools. This is serious crisis.<br /> <br /> Leadership<br /> <br /> The first step to managing a crisis is to get to the root cause. When a plane crashes the most important item to be recovered is the black box for in it are likely to be stored the answers to the root cause of the accident. The black box for the performance of schools, which has been opened in relation to hundreds of schools globally, shows two important pieces of insight relative to why schools fail and why they succeed.<br /> <br /> The findings are, thanks to Leithwood et al (2004), that quality teaching and quality leadership are the two most important factors that determine the performance of schools. Other things do matter parental support, students&rsquo; readiness and commitment, resources, location, community involvement. But as important as these other things are, none rises to the level of importance and impact as quality teaching and quality leadership.<br /> <br /> This finding suggests that Jamaica need not be lost in the vast ocean of hand-wringing and blame-casting concerning what or who is responsible for the state of our schools. The people primarily responsible are our teachers and our principals, period!<br /> <br /> Therefore, to focus on other things more than on these two is to risk tinkering and misalignment of resources to certain problems. But, while the leadership provided by the principal of the school is an important component of the overall leadership, the school needs to excel, the leadership provided by the school board, the political establishment, and the Ministry of Education is also of relevance.<br /> <br /> Influence of the MP<br /> <br /> I am also sometimes unclear as to how Members of Parliament (MP) see their roles in the governance of schools, as well as being sometimes a bit curious as to whether overreach or interference by the MP sometimes affect the running of the school. While there is no hard evidence to establish a correlation, or worse as causal relationship between the influence and involvement of politicians in schools, on the one hand, and the performance of the schools, on the other, the question is worth asking.<br /> <br /> I am indebted to an aspiring principal who called my attention to the work of Professor Paul Miller who found that corrupt practices in the appointment of board chairs for schools are part of the reason some schools are underperforming. I am also indebted to a high school friend who called my attention to the latest rankings of high schools in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> In relation to the allegation of corrupt practices in the appointment of board chairs, Miller contends that that peddling of influence is one factor that appeared to dominate the practice of the appointments of principals. Miller highlights the fact, however, that while MPs sometimes play a dominant role in the choosing of a board chair, there is no basis in law for them to perform the role that have come to dominate. Miller notes that the &ldquo;practice has dominated the educational leadership landscape in Jamaica for decades, quite possibly at a cost to schools and the education system as a whole&rdquo;. This practice, Miller suggests, is &ldquo;part of a broader cultural acceptance of corrupt practices in Jamaica&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The 2016 school ranking report shows that of the 167 high schools in Jamaica, 28 of the top 30 performing schools are church-owned. Only two government-owned schools (that is only two schools in which the MP has influence) Herbert Morrison (24) and Manchester High (27) made it to the top 30. Herbert Morrison improved on its 2015 ranking moving up four places from 28, while Manchester High dropped a whopping nine places from its #18 spot in 2015. One wonders whether the involvement of the MPs in choosing the board chair, and the quality board chairs that are chosen, have any impact on the performance of the schools.<br /> <br /> The fact of the matter is that the quality of leadership a school receives is second only to the quality of teaching and learning in influencing the performance of schools. Based on what we have shown &mdash; that 28 of the top 30 performing high schools are outside the influence of the MP &mdash; the question may well be asked whether the role of the MPs is implicated in the performance of schools generally. Could the role of the MP in appointing board chairs, who then decide on who gets appointed as principal, be part of the reason for the underperformance of 55 per cent of Jamaica&rsquo;s schools? <br /> <br /> There are anecdotal stories of board chairs being instructed to appoint the MP&rsquo;s choice person to be the principal, in some cases without regard for the technical competence and track record of the person or his or her commitment to education. Could part of the problem of underperforming schools lie in this unholy, and wholly unlawful, involvement of the MP?<br /> <br /> Would it not also follow that if a principal has been hand-picked by an MP then attempts are instituting mechanisms for performance evaluation and accountability would be thwarted by the said corrupt political process? Thus there is a clear need for the MP to avoid interfering with the process of selecting principals.<br /> <br /> Notwithstanding the fact that MPs may sometimes interfere in the operations of a school board and try to influence decisions, and while some board chairs may sometimes cross the line with respect to the operations of the school, the onus remains that of the principal to ensure that he/she builds the kind of relationship so that he/she can provide proper guidance on the quality of relationship they should share in the interest of the school. For in the end, the principal is the chief accountable officer who must answer for the performance of the school.<br /> <br /> The way forward<br /> <br /> If the Government agrees that with 55 per cent of schools underperforming the education system is in a crisis, then urgent radical action that gets to root causes, not mere talk or piecemeal window dressing, is needed.<br /> <br /> I, therefore, suggest the following:<br /> <br /> (a) That the Government declares an end to the practice of MPs recommending the appointments of members and chairs of school boards, given that this is unlawful, and places that responsibility squarely in the hand of the National Council on Education (NCE), which the 1995 amendment to the Education Regulations named at the &ldquo;council&rdquo;, in keeping with Section 71 of the Education Regulations (1980). The Government must be presumed to be disposed to obey the law, and even if members of the previous Administration had acted contrary to the provisions of the law, that gives no licence for the Government to continue the practice.<br /> <br /> (b) That the NCE conducts an audit to determine the schools boards that will be due for appointment over the next three years and asserts its role as enshrined in the law to make recommendations to the minister and that in making such recommendations does not consider itself beholden to the MP but acts independently. (One hopes!)<br /> <br /> (c) That the Ministry of Education conducts an audit of all schools to determine those which have School Improvement Plans (SIPs) and those that do not, and based on the findings to require all schools without an SIP to produce one within three months of the date of their being audited.<br /> <br /> (d) That the Ministry of Education mandates school boards to commence implementation of performance-based evaluation of principals using the SIP as the reference point.<br /> <br /> (e) That the Ministry of Education places the issue of performance-based evaluation squarely on the table for the next round of negotiations with the Jamaica Teachers&rsquo; Association.<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/13185527/219825__w300.jpg Local Opinion Tuesday, January 24, 2017 12:00 AM Farewell, Obama; Hello, Trump http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Farewell--Obama--Hello--Trump_87277 Within a few minutes, last Friday, the United States of America, the most powerful country in the world, said farewell to former President Barack Obama and inaugurated their new president, Donald Trump. According to the polls, Barack Obama is exiting with one of the highest favourability ratings of recent presidents, while Donald Trump is entering the White House with the lowest since polling on this began 45 years ago.<br /> <br /> One person on social media quipped: &ldquo;In a few minutes, the leadership of the free world changed hands, from Barack Obama&hellip; to Angela Merkel!&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Despite the many negative and misguided pronouncements of President Trump, particularly his description of civil rights hero, Congressman John Lewis, as &ldquo;all talk and no action&rdquo;, President Obama assured the media in his final press conference at the White House that, &ldquo;We&rsquo;re going to be okay.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> For those who found the Trump inauguration traumatic, the late shows on Friday evening brought comic relief. There was Trevor Noah suggesting that the low attendance at the event was the result of &ldquo;draining the swamp&rdquo;, while Stephen Colbert suggested that Trump had &ldquo;put America back to work&rdquo;, hence the turnout. Both used the aerial views of attendance at the Obama and Trump inaugurations, which showed that Trump received less than one-third of the turnout that Obama did.<br /> <br /> Bill Maher had Keith Olbermann as a special guest. So you can imagine the witty hammering that the incoming president received. Maher&rsquo;s guests ended on a serious note: Americans should be vigilant and active to protect their freedom, and the rights of the most vulnerable in their society.<br /> <br /> Kudos, therefore, to the hundreds of thousands who marched in Washington, DC, throughout America, and in cities across the world for the protection of women&rsquo;s and human rights. We should be particularly proud of Senator Kamala Harris, whose father is Jamaican-born, for her stirring call to the marchers.<br /> <br /> Thank you, Barack and Michelle<br /> <br /> When Barack Obama won the US presidential elections in 2008, we draped ribbons with Obama pins over portraits of our children. For people of colour, the ascent of an African American to the White House represented the realisation of Dr Martin Luther King Jr&rsquo;s dream and the affirmation of Marcus Mosiah Garvey that when you have confidence, you have won before you have even started.<br /> <br /> Of course, we were nervous, because that cynical Birther Movement, initiated by Donald Trump, who just recently admitted that he was wrong. We wondered if there would be not only digging, but &lsquo;cooking&rsquo; of the facts around this brilliant, exemplary couple. And so, we breathed a sigh of relief when we saw Barack and Michelle Obama step out of the White House on Friday morning with their heads held high, their reputation not only intact, but enhanced.<br /> <br /> We in Jamaica were at fever pitch when President Obama graced us with a visit in 2015. Below is an excerpt from my column of April 15, 2015:<br /> <br /> [President Obama] walked into the UWI Assembly Hall and hailed his audience with &ldquo;Greetings, massive! Wah gwaan, Jamaica?&hellip; I want to thank The University of the West Indies for hosting us. Big up, UWI! Thank you. I&rsquo;ve been making myself at home here.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> As we awaited his arrival, all the talk was about his visit to the Bob Marley Museum, his singing along to<br /> <br /> Exodus and<br /> <br /> One Love, his reference to his collection of Marley albums&hellip; This president touched a special chord when he referred to Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce: &ldquo;After... our town hall I get a chance to say hi to Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. When you have the fastest people on the planet, you&rsquo;ve got to say hi to them, right? Because that&rsquo;s fast. There are a lot of people out there; and they&rsquo;re the fastest!&rdquo;<br /> <br /> We do hope, President &mdash; yes, he keeps his title &mdash; and Mrs Obama will visit us soon, so they can feel the love we Jamaicans will always have for them. Godspeed, Obama family!<br /> <br /> Stay focused, Jamaica!<br /> <br /> In reflecting on the Trump inauguration, a<br /> <br /> Facebook friend posted, &ldquo;Today I express gratitude for not waking up in America this morning.&rdquo; Still, many of our family and friends in the Jamaican Diaspora continue to enjoy a better quality of life than we do in Jamaica. The heartbreaking news out of Hanover that two small children were shot dead along with their father, in what seems to be a reprisal killing, brought Member of Parliament Ian Hayles to tears as he expressed frustration to reporters.<br /> <br /> When the cameras panned around the Grand Jamaica Ballroom at the Jamaica Pegasus at those powerful heads of Church and State bowed in devotion at last Thursday&rsquo;s National Leadership Prayer Breakfast, I was reminded of a passage from the<br /> <br /> Bible &ndash; James 2: 14-18: &ldquo;What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?&hellip; Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, &ldquo;You have faith, and I have works.&rdquo; Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Our Jamaican landscape is dense with churches, and so if these churches can respond to this challenge, and call our local leaders into partnership, Jamaica would be a peaceful country. Church leaders should seek to befriend the 63 Members of Parliament and the 226 parish councillors. They should also reach out to the appointees to boards of government agencies, and seek updates from them on how their agencies are serving their country. By inviting representatives of the health authorities, Social Development Commission, JAMPRO, HEART Trust/NTA, National Housing Trust, and National Health Fund to your church council meetings, you may learn of opportunities for church members of which they were not aware. Our church leaders have the potential to be development monitors for Jamaica.<br /> <br /> JCF 150th anniversary launch<br /> <br /> The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) had an impressive launch of their 150th anniversary celebrations last Thursday. We were reminded of the brains and talent that reside in the JCF, as we heard addresses from Acting Commissioner Novelette Grant and award-winning officers, and the excellent performances of the JCF Band and the JCF Choir.<br /> <br /> The JCF continues to be one of the most philanthropic organisations in Jamaica. Did you know that, in recognition of having the largest youth organisation in Jamaica and annual fund-raising for Special Olympics Jamaica, the JCF received the award for the Most Outstanding Employee-Giving Organisation from United Way of Jamaica in 2014?<br /> <br /> The crooks will always want to sow distrust for the JCF, so let us be smarter than them and not use the deeds of a few to condemn the entire police force. Congratulations on your 150th anniversary, JCF!<br /> <br /> lowriechin@aim.com<br /> <br /> www.lowrie-chin.blogspot.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13460031/243413_70148_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM Time to pull our heads out of the sand http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Time-to-pull-our-heads-out-of-the-sand_87319 When we consider the question of whether Jamaica has lived up to her potential, most, if not all of us would agree that she hasn&rsquo;t. After 54 years of Independence, are we satisfied with the progress we have made overall? If not, what are we prepared to do about it?<br /> <br /> I believe that one of the gravest errors that we may have made is a failure to correctly diagnose the root causes of what we recognise as the major stumbling blocks to fulfilling our national potential. I would like to engage the nation in an enquiry into fundamentals. <br /> <br /> What is at the root of the issues we identify today &mdash; crime, especially the high murder rate; abuse of our children; corruption and disorder in the society as a whole? If we continue to fail to uncover and treat with the fundamental issues, we will never see the results that we desire.<br /> <br /> A nation with the capacity, potential and abilities such as we have ought not to be trapped for so long in this predicament. We must ask ourselves why. We must be prepared to take a long and hard look at ourselves; be honest and face the truth of our state: Many of our major institutions are in appalling condition, the majority of our citizens experience poor quality of life, and a deep feeling of injustice pervades all levels of society.<br /> <br /> What&rsquo;s the issue?<br /> <br /> We must stop deceiving ourselves and pretending to be where we are not; stop sugar-coating the bitter realities and be bold enough to call things for what they are; confront the negatives, and make the changes.<br /> <br /> We are a nation in crisis, needing radical, out-of-the-box thinking with decisive action to create the change. It should be obvious by now that what we have been doing over decades, and how we have done it, have not produced the desired results. Concepts, methods and, in many cases, personnel, need to change. Fresh minds, different systems, and renewed structures may well be necessary.<br /> <br /> Are our leaders insightful enough and do they possess the humility of heart and courage to initiate the change?<br /> <br /> We know that crime is a significant problem in our nation. It easily grabs the headlines. On January 22, 2013 the<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer carried an article entitled &lsquo;Crime is Jamaica&rsquo;s biggest problem&rsquo;. It was a quote from the then National Security Minister Peter Bunting.<br /> <br /> There is much agreement in the nation on this issue. People identify crime as the major obstacle to growth and development in our nation. It has been so for the last few years. Our police force has been stretched trying to fight this monster. Another commissioner has resigned. We are told that he is a good man with integrity, but he was unable to conquer the crime giant. Many are hoping that the problem will be solved with the new commissioner. This is very unlikely because we will continue with the same mindset of the past decades, aimed at fighting crime. <br /> <br /> Injustice is the real problem<br /> <br /> Crime is an ever-moving, multifaceted target that is difficult to hit. Government and the security forces fail to recognise that crime is not the problem, but the result of the problem. The problem is injustice. Every criminal act is an act of injustice done by someone against another person. Therefore, what we need to focus on fighting is injustice, the stable target that results in crime.<br /> <br /> The only way to deal with injustice is to establish justice for all. This was the vision of our founding fathers at Independence, but it has eluded us. The need for justice is the cry from the belly of our people. Let me cite some examples pulled from the headlines:<br /> <br /> &bull; The Janice Allen affair: &lsquo;A gross injustice&rsquo;,<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer, Friday, April 16, 2010<br /> <br /> &bull; The Mario Deane case: &lsquo;#JusticeforMarioDeane&rsquo;,<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer, Monday, September 22, 2014<br /> <br /> &bull; The K&rsquo;mar Beckford matter: &lsquo;A cry of injustice&rsquo;,<br /> <br /> Sunday Observer, May 08, 2016<br /> <br /> &bull; Justice expensively delayed: &lsquo;Jamaicans are losing faith in an impotent justice system&rsquo;,<br /> <br /> Sunday Observer, January 08, 2017, written by<br /> <br /> Observer columnist Zaheer Clarke.<br /> <br /> Consider the words of Anglican bishop of Jamaica, Howard Gregory, though written six years ago, they sound like commentary for today:<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Many of us are hiding our heads in the sand or choosing to pretend that we live in a world in which there isn&rsquo;t serious distortion impacting the life of our children, much of which is generated by the social injustices perpetrated in the iniquitous way in which our society is structured&hellip;&rdquo; (&lsquo;The Keith Clarke Brutality: Confessions of a Bleeding Heart&rsquo;,<br /> <br /> Sunday Observer, August 29, 2010)<br /> <br /> It is not beyond us to tackle and overcome our iniquitous problems. It will require clarity of vision in leadership; commitment and will from the political directorate; good governance; a creative and productive private sector; a professional, service-minded public sector; the full support of the citizens; an active, impactful engagement of the church; and you pulling your head out of the sand!<br /> <br /> Injustice will only be fixed by justice<br /> <br /> The only remedy for injustice is justice. Let us make justice the priority for 2017. Citizens must be taught and committed to just dealings with each other. The police must be committed to dealing justly with citizens &mdash; all citizens, not just those with connections! This is vital, as they are agents of the State interfacing daily with the people. If they change their approach, the effects would be immediately felt on the ground. Where justice dominates, crime is minimised.<br /> <br /> The reality of the current national conditions, particularly as it relates to security and safety, levels of fear, unemployment, poverty, and hopelessness indicates and demands that the nation not circle the mountain of moral and social decline any more. We must do what is necessary to turn the corner into a new day.<br /> <br /> The beauty of a new year is the opportunity it gives for new beginnings. The opportunity is here for our leaders and us to commit to relaying the foundations and to build the new Jamaica we have talked about for years. I believe the heart of the new Jamaica is the creation of a just and prosperous society.<br /> <br /> Justice must be our cry!<br /> <br /> I strongly urge our leaders to make justice a governmental priority for 2017. I call on us as citizens to make the cause for justice our &lsquo;rallying cry&rsquo; for 2017. Let us commit to fulfilling the words of our national anthem: &ldquo;Justice, truth be ours forever, Jamaica, land we love.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Al Miller is pastor of Fellowship Tabernacle. Send comments to the Observer or <br /> <br /> pastormilleroffice@gmail.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13570647/252001_w300.jpg Local Opinion Monday, January 23, 2017 12:00 AM Edward Seaga helped build a nation http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Edward-Seaga-helped-build-a-nation_86971 Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it. &mdash; Henry Ford<br /> <br /> Last week Former Prime Minister Edward Seaga received the inaugural Consular Corps of Jamaica Global Achievement Award in recognition of his contribution to national development. Only the extremely mean-spirited would argue that he is not deserving.<br /> <br /> Seaga, by dint of what the late abolitionist Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton called &ldquo;invincible determination&rdquo;, has earned an indelible place in Jamaica&rsquo;s social and political history in spite of his detractors whose arsenal included the unadulterated use of racial epithets, clandestine manoeuvres, coordinated media demonisation, economic schism, and political subterfuge.<br /> <br /> Of course, Seaga is not perfect. We all have foibles.<br /> <br /> The late British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill famously, or infamously, said: &ldquo;You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.&rdquo; Some have argued rightly or wrongly that Seaga failed too often to heed Churchill&rsquo;s advice.<br /> <br /> It is not an exaggeration to say that no other Jamaican political figure has been so misunderstood and mischaracterised as Edward Seaga. But like &lsquo;Old Man River&rsquo;, Seaga keeps rolling along to the chagrin of some and the delight of those who know that real greatness is not a matter of ascription but more so description.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Mr Seaga&rsquo;s political career began in 1959 when Sir Alexander Bustamante, founder of the Jamaica Labour Party [JLP], nominated him to serve in the Upper House of the Jamaican Parliament, the Legislative Council [later the Senate]. His appointment at 29 made him the youngest member ever appointed to the Legislative Council.&rdquo; (Profile of Edward Seaga, p 1)<br /> <br /> I have said on radio many times that Michael Manley &mdash; though he was an economic disaster &mdash; and Edward Seaga genuinely loved the Jamaican people. Manley&rsquo;s economic failures were largely due to his bad decisions, but the oversupply of low-voltage thinkers who surrounded him did not help. I will take on that matter in future articles.<br /> <br /> Manley and Seaga&rsquo;s love for ordinary Jamaicans was not ever limited to the mere utterance of a four-letter word. Both created and implemented policies, projects and programmes that facilitated the process of what Rex Nettleford, late vice chancellor of The University of the West Indies, called &ldquo;smadditisation&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Manley&rsquo;s love was his collective, necessary and cathartic social reforms of the 1970s, while Seaga&rsquo;s was his visionary institutional building. Seaga understood that the fundamental difference between nations that were strong and those which remained weak was the credibility and quality of institutions which served the needs and developed the potential of people.<br /> <br /> I believe Manley, Shearer and Seaga read Khalil Gibran&rsquo;s seminal poem, Pity the Nation.<br /> <br /> Seaga, in my estimation, however, by virtue of his achievements, had the most comprehensive understanding of the entire meaning and application of Gibran&rsquo;s poem vis-a-vis the unique cultural context of Jamaica. Maybe his solid grasp had some relationship to his undergraduate scholarship in cultural anthropology.<br /> <br /> Gibran&rsquo;s poem reads:<br /> <br /> Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion. <br /> <br /> Pity the nation that wears a cloth it does not weave <br /> <br /> and eats a bread it does not harvest. <br /> <br /> Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero,<br /> <br /> and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.<br /> <br /> Pity a nation that despises a passion in its dream,<br /> <br /> yet submits in its awakening.<br /> <br /> Pity the nation that raises not its voice<br /> <br /> save when it walks in a funeral;<br /> <br /> boasts not except among its ruins;<br /> <br /> and will rebel not save when its neck is laid<br /> <br /> between the sword and the block.<br /> <br /> Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox,<br /> <br /> whose philosopher is a juggler,<br /> <br /> and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking<br /> <br /> Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting,<br /> <br /> and farewells him with hooting,<br /> <br /> only to welcome another with trumpeting again.<br /> <br /> Pity the nation whose sages are dumb with years<br /> <br /> and whose strongmen are yet in the cradle.<br /> <br /> Pity the nation divided into fragments,<br /> <br /> each fragment deeming itself a nation.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith noted, inter alia, at last week&rsquo;s Global Achievement Awards function: &ldquo;It is indisputable that Edward Seaga has been the principal engineer and developer of independent Jamaica. His programmes and vision for Jamaica are written in an extensive range of projects and institutions which spans the entire field of national development.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> I agree.<br /> <br /> Seaga&rsquo;s famous &ldquo;haves and have-nots&rdquo; speech in 1961 announced that he was a man on a mission to change Jamaica for the better. He then went to work to build institutions that would benefit the multi-developmental needs of ordinary Jamaicans for generations.<br /> <br /> The late Lee Kuan Yew famously said, &ldquo;A true leader thinks what his country can become 100 years in the future and set in motion structures to achieve his vision.&rdquo; Seaga is Jamaica&rsquo;s Lee Kuan Yew.<br /> <br /> What were some of his achievements? Let&rsquo;s start with financial institution building, the lifeblood of any economy: Jamaica Stock Exchange (1968), Jamaica Development Bank (1969), decimalisation of the Jamaican currency (1969), introduction of merchant banking in Jamaica (1969), Jamaica Mortgage Bank (1972), National Development Bank (1981), Agricultural Credit Bank (1981), National Investment Bank of Jamaica and Export-Import Bank (1986), JAMPRO [formerly Jamaica National Investment Promotion Limited] (1987), Digiport [first satellite telecommunications data processing operations], and the Self Start Fund (1984).<br /> <br /> Seaga and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) built the National Arena in 1963; Things Jamaican in 1963; Student Revolving Loan Fund for Higher Education (1970); established Jamaica Racing Commission and Jockey School (1972); Golden Age Homes for the elderly poor; Programme for Advancement of Early Childhood Education; residential halls for The University of the West Indies, University of Technology, Jamaica; HEART (now HEART/National Training Agency) in 1982; establishment of the Office of the Contractor General (proposed in 1979) in 1983.<br /> <br /> His contributions to legislation not timetabled and dictated by the International Monetary Fund that have improved life for thousands upon thousands of ordinary Jamaicans are a matter of public record. On the matter of legislation, Seaga should be forever credited for his unrivalled magnanimity when, after the 1983 general election (selection since it was uncontested by an unprepared PNP), he did not use the Government&rsquo;s total control of the Senate and the House of Representatives for raw political advantage. Seaga could have changed the constitution of the country to the eternal advantage of the JLP. He did not. Instead, he appointed independent senators and demonstrated statesmanship. Compare Seaga&rsquo;s actions with the behaviour of Manley and his clandestine use of his constitutional powers to declare a year-long state of emergency in 1976.<br /> <br /> As a builder and facilitator of cultural institutions Seaga is matched by few: Jamaica Festival (1963), return of Marcus Garvey&rsquo;s remains to Jamaica (1964), several museums inclusive of the Arawak and Port Royal (1965-1969), introducing National Heritage Week (1968), Creative Production and Training Centre (1971), and the Media Divestment Programme to establish several small private radio and church television stations.<br /> <br /> Like Lee Kuan Yew, Seaga looked at Jamaica and saw its great potential, especially if a systematic process of urban and rural development of physical and social resources were done. In 1996 he spearheaded the redevelopment of the Kingston waterfront; 1967, reclamation and development of the Ocho Rios waterfront; creation of the Urban Development Corporation in 1968, National Committee for Drug Abuse, 1983; Metropolitan Parks and Markets (now National Solid Waste Management Authority); redevelopment of Bloody Bay in Negril; and a comprehensive redevelopment of many rural towns.<br /> <br /> Seaga&rsquo;s genius has benefited Jamaicans in ways yet to be fully understood. World-renowned psephologist and academician, the late Professor Carl Stone of The University of the West Indies, Mona, said: &ldquo;Seaga&rsquo;s dominance of the JLP is generally misunderstood. He is a difficult man to get along with, and he is very demanding. In a low-intensity work culture, in which most people operate at 30 per cent of their capacity, Seaga puts out 100 per cent, which is the main reason why he is disliked by many of his colleagues.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;He believes in tight party discipline and a strong chain of command that runs the party more like a military structure than a democratic organ. He has sacrificed democracy for organisational discipline. He gets away with it because he is better able to get things done than any other politician in the country.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We may not like him, but we are forced to acknowledge that his methods work in a country wracked by indiscipline, irresponsible behaviour and laziness.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Seaga&rsquo;s dominance of the JLP is not jus<br /> <br /> t a reflection of his personality or leadership style. Seaga has revolutionised the JLP from being a &lsquo;rag tag&rsquo;, populist party with no clear ideological direction into an &lsquo;ideas party&rsquo; that challenged PNP [People&rsquo;s National Party] socialism in the 70s with a strong liberal-capitalist ideological and intellectual offensive. Under Bustamante, the JLP was no intellectual match for the ideas party that the PNP was under Norman Manley. The ideas that drive the current JLP are the thoughts of Edward Seaga, and this gives him a level of intellectual dominance in the current JLP that has no parallel in the PNP or the earlier JLP.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Seaga single-handedly won the ideological battle with Michael Manley and the PNP to the point where Manley and the PNP are now echoing and articulating Seaga&rsquo;s liberal-capitalist ideology. Any objective analysis of politics in this country over the last two decades has to acknowledge that Seaga, not Manley, has been the political personality who has had the most decisive influence on our country&rsquo;s policy and ideological direction.&rdquo; (<br /> <br /> The Gleaner, October 22, 1990)<br /> <br /> It is a matter of public record that it was Seaga who started the Food Aid Programme locally in 1983. Under the programme, schoolchildren received a high-protein lunch daily; and food stamps were provided to assist some of the dietary needs of the indigent as well as those of pregnant and nursing mothers.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It was Seaga who launched the concept of the Golden Age Home locally in the 1960s. A prototype home was built in 1985, a second was constructed in an inner-city community in 1988.&rdquo; (Profile of Edward Seaga, p 5)<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It was Seaga who transformed the country&rsquo;s worst slum, Back-o-wall, into a modern, low- income residential community, renamed Tivoli Gardens. Tivoli Gardens had a full range of cultural and social amenities for all groups and successful urban community development. The development pioneered the use of high-rise buildings as a solution to re-housing the densely populated inner slums which succeeded in changing the face of the West Kingston area by not taking a man out of the slum but the slum out of the man.&rdquo; (Profile of Edward Seaga, p 5)<br /> <br /> The numerous local, regional and international awards that Eddie Seaga has received attest to the longevity and profound impact of his work and worth.<br /> <br /> The former prime minister&rsquo;s work is recognised locally and internationally, which has seen him receiving a number of prestigious awards. These include: the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Humanitarian Award in 1984; the Pan American Development Foundation Inter-American Man of the Year Development Award in 1983; and the Gleaner Honour Awards: Man of the Year for 1980 and 1981. Seaga was also conferred with several honorary degrees by the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech), and the University of Miami, and Boston University in the United States, among others.<br /> <br /> As regards achievement, Edward Seaga has given the most to Jamaica thus far.<br /> <br /> The best way out of a difficulty is through it. &mdash; Will Rogers<br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Garfield Higgins is an educator; journalist; and advisor to the minister of education, youth and information. Send comments to the Observer or<br /> <br /> higgins160@yahoo.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13572271/252703_79473_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, January 22, 2017 12:00 AM We will always remember Barack Obama http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/We-will-always-remember-Barack-Obama_87216 The straight line rang at 3:00 pm in the White House. The president reached over to answer. The ring was on a private line and only a few people had access. It could be the secretary of state reporting an outbreak of war halfway across the world. It could be his vice-president seeking to annoy him with some trite conversation. Whoever it was, he thought, this had better be important.<br /> <br /> It was at moments like this that President John Kennedy wished he was a private citizen, and could tell the caller where to go. He picked up the handset. Oh no, it was that pesky Martin Luther King Jr again. How he regretted giving King the number. He had offered it in a sudden rush to keep up the appearances of friendship and unity. But King had really taken it too far. He would call at any hour of the day or night with some crazy request or demand.<br /> <br /> Kennedy was always cautiously polite with the civil rights leader, even at 3 o&rsquo;clock in the morning.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Yes, Martin&hellip;oh, it&rsquo;s OK, Martin. You know you can always call me at any time&hellip; Yes&hellip;But, yes, Martin&hellip;but Martin, are you listening, Martin...yes, Martin...but you know Martin we have always called it the White House.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Now that, of course, was a tall story, and it was told to me by King&rsquo;s speech writer. The story would have been placed around 1962, 55 years ago. Back then, and in spite of the sociable relationship between the two, neither of them would have seriously considered, at that time, that a black man would ever hold the keys to the White House mansion.<br /> <br /> The year 1963 was a time of great unsettled racial tension in the USA. Months before this unlikely conversation &mdash; with its funny side &mdash; was said to have taken place (which it didn&rsquo;t, I must add), King had led the historic march on Washington on August 27, 1963, which had culminated in 250,000 people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial to hear his great &ldquo;I have a dream speech&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Black people who had been constantly denied their human rights, who were still being forced to sit in the back of the bus, who were being turned away at restaurants because of their colour, had found a mighty voice in the Rev Martin Luther King Jr.<br /> <br /> A wave of reprisals from the State, beatings, dogs, jails, had muddied the response to the protests.<br /> <br /> The mantle of leadership had fallen on Dr King, a 40-year-old Baptist preacher who was one of the must eloquent orators of the 20th century.<br /> <br /> Prior to the march, Kennedy had given instructions to the security forces in what amounted to a lockdown of the city. Some 6,000 police officers were stationed for duty. The Pentagon readied 19,000 troops in the suburbs. All liquor sales were banned for the day. An additional 3,000 outside soldiers were brought into the city.<br /> <br /> Kennedy himself locked his door, but watched the speeches on television. And he was impressed. The occasion had been carried off in a most orderly manner. Dr King&rsquo;s speech was superb. Immediately afterwards he invited King and the leaders for a meeting in the White House. He greeted King at the door with a cheerful, &ldquo;I have a dream.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The moment inspired Kennedy to draft the Civil Rights Bill. He was assassinated before it reached Congress, and it took his successor Lyndon B Johnson to complete and have it passed. It came into law on June 2, 1964, prohibiting discrimination of any kind and in any form. Presidents were to follow Johnson. There was Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Regan, George Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, George Bush Jr.<br /> <br /> None of the above could foresee, or would have entertained the notion that a black man would one day occupy the Oval Office, or have the keys in his or her possession. They never once expected that a black man would one day fulfil Martin Luther King Jr&rsquo;s dream to colour the White House black.<br /> <br /> When Johnson signed the Bill in 1965, he appealed, &ldquo;Let us lay aside irrelevant differences and make our nation whole.&rdquo; But that did not allow for the permit, the path forward, the aspiration, and the licence to change the rooted protocol of the establishment that provided for the racial or class criteria and qualification for the holder of that office.<br /> <br /> And then along came a gentleman named Barack Obama.<br /> <br /> He was as audacious as was his message of hope. He captured America&rsquo;s attention when he delivered his famous keynote speech to the 2004 Democratic National Convention. By encouraging his supporters to believe in America&rsquo;s destiny of diversity, he became a symbol of hope, of change, and of unity.<br /> <br /> Hear him on the platform in 2004 as a young, 43-year-old senator. &ldquo;There is not a liberal America and a conservative America &mdash; there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America &mdash; there is the United States of America&hellip; We are one people.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> As he spoke, people started to cry. Some shrieked and shouted as if they were at a church meeting. Others jumped from their seats. One delegate, looking back at the occasion, said: &ldquo;When I saw people crying over a political speech given by a young unknown politician, I remember thinking to myself that I had never experienced anything like this, anything this powerful. You know, I wasn&rsquo;t sure what this thing meant, but I said to myself, &lsquo;Is he the one? Could he really be the one we have been looking for?&rsquo; &rdquo;<br /> <br /> Like many others, that&rsquo;s when I first heard about Obama. And I marked him with a star for future reference. The next day after the convention Obama met a lady in an elevator. As she made her exit, she leaned over and whispered to him, &ldquo;You know, I can&rsquo;t wait for you to be president.&rdquo; That was in 2004.<br /> <br /> And, of course, what followed that speech was an avalanche of hope and enthusiasm that was to turn America around. <br /> <br /> The eight years between 2008 and 2016 have been like a dream come true; a special chapter of our lives that separates itself totally from the sojourn and passage of other US presidents and make them mediocre, or just a passing fancy, in comparison to the Obama years.<br /> <br /> His 2008 election victory is still hard to wrap one&rsquo;s brain completely around. My wife and myself took a flight up to Fort Lauderdale the night before election day, November, just to be a part of the experience. We had no vote, but I went with a cousin to watch her cast her vote and to observe the voting procedure. We were with a senior citizens&rsquo; group, and I was glad to see that most of them were for Obama. They must have guessed that I was too. As they filed out of the building they gave me a wink, a wave, and a whispered &lsquo;Obama&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> A retired Cuban gentleman who had been our seat companion on the flight had also whispered reverently, &ldquo; &lsquo;Bama, he will win. And he will end the embargo.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Martin Luther King Jr took up the mantle of leadership in the 1960s. That mantle fell on the shoulders of Obama. As a community organiser in Chicago, in 1985, he looked ahead and realised that if he ever became president he would have to represent the very people he was working with in a holistic kind of way. &ldquo;When I see young African Americans out there, and the struggles they go through, I connect with them. I know what it means&hellip; I say to myself that if I had been growing up in low-income neighbourhoods like Chicago, there is no reason to think that I wouldn&rsquo;t be in jail today. That is something I am mindful of and it motivates me.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Martin Luther King has always been his role model. In fact, he says that the three men he admires most are Mahatma Ghandi, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King Jr.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When I was in college I decided that I wanted to be a part of bringing about social change in this country. I took a lot of inspiration from the civil rights movement and the way the movement brought ordinary people into extraordinary positions of leadership.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The comparison to King stands out. In 1985 his community organiser boss in Chicago said that he spotted that Barack &ldquo;has become the expectations of his people, in that he is seen as being similar to King. He will take on the burden of that person who is going to change the situation for black Americans&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Some say that Barack did not do enough for black people while he was president. I say that we will feel the effects of his stay with us, his presence, his achievements, long after he is gone from the White House. It is going to be impossible for us to forget that he was there.<br /> <br /> As I write this column a new president has moved into town. The Obama era is now over. Donald Trump went through his swearing-in without a hitch. Tongue-in-cheek, I thought that perhaps he might have taken it literally and added some colour to the occasion. He has proven to be adept at that. But it was a stately occasion.<br /> <br /> I wrote last week that this ceremony is meant to be one of America&rsquo;s finest displays. It was, indeed, a magnificent demonstration of the transfer of power from one leader to the next and should make America the envy of the world.<br /> <br /> His speech was a repeat of what he has been saying for the past year. President Trump has not changed. We wish him well, and pray for God&rsquo;s guidance and blessing on him and America as he settles into office.<br /> <br /> Lance Neita is a public and community relations specialist and writer. Send comments to the Observer or <br /> <br /> lanceneita@hotmail.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12528456/177741_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, January 22, 2017 12:00 AM Pastor, I am not into that, you know! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Pastor--I-am-not-into-that--you-know-_87117 There is everything frightening about the spate of church-related, sex abuse cases in Jamaica involving teenage children &mdash; mostly girls. What&rsquo;s even more disturbing is that, although all too familiar, evidence suggests the occurrences are largely unreported.<br /> <br /> Everything about these sexual maladies and horrifying trends should impel us to abominate, in the strongest terms, all forms of sexual abuse of our boys, girls and young women. We should condemn all forms of sexual violence, even as we accept the imperfections of men &mdash; especially men of the cloth.<br /> <br /> Nevertheless, accepting human imperfections and failings is not an excuse for the kinds of wicked penetrative invasion or transactional relationships some of these men (and women) are foisting on our vulnerable and innocent children. Besides the serious criminal breach, there is a lasting desecration of these children&rsquo;s ambition, body and promise &mdash; it is a defilement that no amount of therapy or passage of time may ever cure. Pastors or not, we cannot allow gaps in our personal economies to lull us (parents or guardians) into complacency or cause us to conjure convenient sorry-ass explanations as conduits to assist us with wriggling our way out of taking responsibility for sanctioning such terrible deeds &mdash; inadvertently or not, or on the basis of financial opportunity.<br /> <br /> We cannot take lightly the enormity of these problems, nor can we underestimate the burden that psychological and physiological trauma imposes on victims of these crimes. There is no available data &mdash; that I am aware of &mdash; that track sexual abuse, including rape, to suicide rates in Jamaica. However, it would not surprise me if there were a strong correlation and causal relationships between sexual abuse and suicide among adolescents. As a point of reference, there has been a noticeable increase in cases of suicide over recent years.<br /> <br /> The disgusting thing about these sex abuse cases is that these men, yes, so-called men and women of God, would have us believe their nonsense about possessing &ldquo;Christ-like&rdquo; qualities, as if that is sufficient for them to violate all the tenets of their religious calling, then turn around to ask that we treat them with understanding, kid gloves, forgiveness, compassion and mercy. Yet, these are the same scoundrels who insist that we exact a different form of punishment to &ldquo;non-believers&rdquo; or secular beings for committing the same aberrations. This is tantamount to sheer hypocrisy, if you ask me.<br /> <br /> Do not get me wrong; not all pastors, priests, mother or father superiors are monsters. Certainly, not all of them commit crimes, rape or molest children or &ldquo;lift frocks&rdquo;. Most pastors are decent, caring, law-abiding, and responsible human beings with a desire to do good and show mercy. Most take their commitment to Christ and to His Church seriously and sacredly, and act in accordance with biblical teachings and principles. In fact, many of them are responsible and accountable, and behave in a &ldquo;Christ-like&rdquo; manner.<br /> <br /> It is easy to use the recrudescence in church-related, sex abuse cases as a platform to paint all church leaders with a broad brush. However, that would be reckless, irresponsible, and a foolish endeavour that would serve to impugn characters and impute motives where neither is necessary. <br /> <br /> However, there are pastors who take no responsibility for any of their dastardly deeds, such as when they rape little girls and boys or entrap them into financial relationships in exchange for sex. To them, it is never about taking responsibility. Instead, it is always about Satan. &ldquo;Oh, Satan made me do this, or Satan made me do that, and blah-blah-blah&hellip;&rdquo; Poor Satan. If he happened to be present while they were perpetrating their ugly deeds or feeling up little girls in the pews, they would most likely throw dirty water in his face! These so-called pastors who violate the innocence of young girls or boys in pursuit of their dreadful sexual desires are neither good to pick up nor discard with, and when caught they should receive the full force of the law.<br /> <br /> One of the painful realities of these sordid behaviours indulged in by some pastors and elders is the sense of entitlement they feel by virtue of their vaunted positions in the church and communities in which they live. They feel they can do no wrong and are quick to proclaim the moral, spiritual right and superiority to &ldquo;sit high but to look low&rdquo; (as low as possible), oftentimes persistently peeping between and betwixt a church sister&rsquo;s legs and getting prime view of the private curvatures and crevices that lie therein.<br /> <br /> Stories abound about unconscionable &ldquo;dirty little&rdquo; pastors, priests and superiors who are spiritual leaders by day, but sexual predators by night. Their delight is in finding and exploiting as many &ldquo;fresh vegetables&rdquo; as feasible, then crawling back up into their shells to behave like &ldquo;lambs to the slaughter&rdquo; or like sheep before shearers, suffering instantaneous inability to speak when caught.<br /> <br /> While the rule of law must prevail, and jungle justice has no place in a modern society such as ours, the punishment for men or women who rape or sexually abuse little boys and girls, or who fleece and foist themselves on old women (or anyone for that matter), must expose perpetrators to painful testicular or other genital forms of punishment, as well as public humiliation and ridicule. In addition, parents who knowingly acquiesce or conveniently turn a blind eye to sexual abuse, be it at home or elsewhere, should similarly be punished and embarrassed. Parents, biological or surrogate, can and should be bold enough to say, &ldquo;Pastor, I am not into that, you know!&rdquo;<br /> <br /> They should be resolute in their condemnation of their spouses, husbands, wives, cousins, brothers, sisters, other family members or friends when they discover that sexual abuse is taking or has taken place. There must be no shield or hiding place for anyone who robs a child or an adult of their innocence. More mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, should be saying, &ldquo;Pastor, I am not into that, you know!&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Though comical in nature, and a complete misreading of a pastor&rsquo;s suggestion on &ldquo;how to succeed&rdquo;, the following true story is intent on illustrating the intrinsic value of disagreeing, if even mistakenly. <br /> <br /> The biblical ring to his Christian and middle names was as hilarious as it was conveniently sacred. Never missing an opportunity to recite his full name, he used the standard refrain: &ldquo;My name is special...I am Bishop Zephaniah Obadiah Ezekiel Stewart&hellip;but most people just call me Maas Zakie for short&hellip;&rdquo; Bishop Stewart&rsquo;s precision and purposeful pronunciation of his first and middle names was legendary, as it provided fodder for jokes and juvenile pranks. <br /> <br /> Maas Zakie, somewhere in his late 40s, was about 5 feet 10 inches tall, of muscular build, but sported an enormous belly that precariously swung over his belt, and also laid bare his rather huge belly button &mdash; we called it &ldquo;big navel&rdquo;. He was of dark complexion, with bulging eyes, and a wide nose that occupied much of his facial real estate. His thick, salt-and-pepper hair, along with his clean-shaven face, gave him a distinguished look. Maas Zakie and his wife had two children, Daphne and Ezekiel Jr, who went by the moniker &ldquo;Zoes&rdquo;. We assigned him that nickname because, in our eyes, his parents did him a grave injustice by giving him his father&rsquo;s full name: Z O E S.<br /> <br /> With all those stylish but quaint Old Testament appellations, Bishop Zakie Stewart was accorded instant respect and was well liked, even though the general fondness for him did not prevent controversy over some of his ways which were quite odd at times. He had a strange way of speaking (in a sing-song voice) and would interrupt himself constantly just to show off his self-styled &ldquo;full understanding&rdquo; of the gospel and to underscore the &ldquo;importance of Pentecost&rdquo;. Yes, he was Pentecostal to the core. A true &ldquo;fire and brimstone&rdquo; preacher he was, and one who left little doubt as to the finality or correctness of invoking &ldquo;in Jesus&rsquo; name&rdquo; at the end of every prayer or religious argument.<br /> <br /> Though many decades removed, it seems like it was only yesterday that he headed the little Pentecostal church on the top of a hill our grandmother called &ldquo;Mount-elution&rdquo; [Mount Resolution] in St Mary. That aside, memories of Bishop Zakie Stewart and his countless Sunday evening services remain indelibly fresh in my mind. To begin with, there was always something about the unpretentious Sunday evening sunsets that magically exposed the striking superficiality inherent in Stewart&rsquo;s curious pulpit antics and equally strange ecclesiastical habits &mdash; however hard he tried to conceal them. <br /> <br /> Nevertheless, Bishop never disappointed. We depended on him to illuminate the threatening darkness that came with sunset. He cleverly and religiously spent a good five or so minutes of his pulpit time behaving like &ldquo;master of all he surveyed&hellip;&rdquo; And, as was typical of him, he would blurt out a long-sounding, &ldquo;Praise the Lord! Good evening, brothers and sisters in Christ&hellip;And you teenagers, yuh better start behaving unnu self&hellip;&rdquo; The chuckling and teasing would ensue almost immediately, because Delroy, who was in his early teens, did not take kindly to being called a &ldquo;teenager&rdquo;. He thought the bishop was calling him a cockroach.<br /> <br /> As always, Bishop Stewart would mount the rostrum with the agility and playfulness reminiscent of a man in his early 20s, although he was (presumably) in his late 40s. In true Pentecostal style, and with tambourines, guitars, drums and piano playing, Stewart would kick off a rather disorganised but entertaining &lsquo;praise and worship&rsquo; session to the evening service. He did this with pulsating dance moves that would make today&rsquo;s dancehall &ldquo;Shampoo-whine&rdquo; moderate in comparison. <br /> <br /> For Zakie Stewart, though, it was always a case of &ldquo;A dance mi a dance in Jesus&rsquo; name.&rdquo; With sermons as predictable as the setting sun, especially in its warning that &ldquo;night draweth nigh&rdquo;, Stewart always led his congregation into singing &ldquo;Bringing in the sheaves, brining in the sheaves&hellip;we will come rejoicing&hellip;bringing, bringing in the sheaves&hellip;&rdquo; This is a standard precursor to summoning congregants to &ldquo;Give unto the Lord some of the blessings he hath bestowed on you.&rdquo; In other words, it&rsquo;s collection time - tithes and offerings.<br /> <br /> Suffice it to say, Bishop Stewart did not suffer fools gladly; he had zero tolerance for slackers, especially men with &ldquo;alligator arms&rdquo;. Hence, those too unwilling or hesitant in their decision to place something of &lsquo;worth&rsquo; in the collection plate were singled out as &ldquo;ungrateful, unsuccessful and ungiving&rdquo;. Stewart&rsquo;s Sunday evening sermons were always about advancing the &ldquo;prosperity gospel&rdquo; and the principles of multiplication. &ldquo;Give and you shall receive&hellip;&rdquo; Yet, as expected, he purposefully chastised as unsuccessful those who could not give. Hence, his reprimand, &ldquo;You do not use your talents to multiply&hellip;so I will teach all a unnu how fi multiply&hellip;Sisters, let me show yuh how to succeed&hellip;&rdquo; <br /> <br /> No sooner had the words fallen from Bishop Zakie&rsquo;s lips, a church sister, well into her 50s, and in no mood to accept Bishop&rsquo;s willingness to teach his mostly female congregants how to succeed, sprang to her feet and with index finger wagging shouted: &ldquo;No, pastor! Mi nuh agree wid dat at all...Mi married, and fi mi husband never bring dem deh out a order sinting to mi. Not ova mi dead body, Pastor, mi nah guh succeed, suh mi nuh know how yuh come up wid dat&hellip; Pastor, I am not into that, you know&hellip;&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Burnscg@aol.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13490808/246156_72605_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, January 22, 2017 12:00 AM Trump, trade and the Caribbean http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Trump--trade-and-the-Caribbean_87119 Trade between the US and other countries of the world, particularly China, was a major plank of Donald Trump&rsquo;s campaign for the presidency. He regarded all the trade deals as inimical to US interests. So, is there reason for Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom) countries to worry about their trade relationship with the US under the Trump presidency?<br /> <br /> Let&rsquo;s examine the facts by starting with what Trump has said. On his own website he has stated quite categorically that he will withdraw the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has not yet been ratified; tell Mexico and Canada -&mdash; the US partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement &mdash; that he wants to renegotiate the deal; instruct the treasury secretary to label China a currency manipulator, and tell the US trade representative to bring trade cases against China, both in this country and at the World Trade Organization (WTO). In his election campaign, he also attacked global trade deals, calling the WTO a &ldquo;disaster&rdquo; and said the US would &ldquo;pull out&rdquo; of the Geneva-based body if Washington was not able to renegotiate the rules on major issues like tariffs.<br /> <br /> Caricom, as a collective, is hardly likely to be a focus of the new president&rsquo;s perspective on trade. One very good reason is that the US enjoys a significant balance of trade surplus with Caricom countries collectively. In 2014, the US trade surplus was US$3.24 billion, rising to US$4.17 billion in 2015. Only two Caricom countries have trade surpluses with the US, and in both cases the surpluses are declining &mdash; Trinidad and Tobago&rsquo;s surplus slipped from US$3.58 billion in 2014 to $1.8 billion in 2015; Guyana dropped from US$131.4 million in 2014 to US$63 million in 2015.<br /> <br /> Caricom countries, except Suriname, enjoy access to the US market for a narrow range of products under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, which was expanded by the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act in 2000. Haiti benefits not only from CBERA but from a number of other specially designed trade preferences in the HOPE Act and the HELP Act. But, even with these, Haiti still experiences a trade deficit with the US &mdash; US$367.6 million in 2014 and US$190.5 million in 2015.<br /> <br /> However, it is obvious that CBERA provides important benefits to the US. As the Office of the US Trade Representative reported to Congress in December 2015, &ldquo;The value of US exports to CBERA countries grew 2.5 per cent in 2014, exceeding the growth rate for total US exports which grew by 2.1 per cent.&rdquo; It is clear, therefore, that the US has no reason for regarding its trade in goods relationship with Caricom countries as anything but beneficial.<br /> <br /> The most significant threat to the US-Caricom trade relationship (in goods and services) comes, not from Caricom states, but from the US itself. That threat is the withdrawal of correspondent banking relations (CBRs) from Caribbean banks by US banks. The threat, in its extreme form, is that if CBRs are withdrawn from all banks operating in the Caribbean, Caricom importers will be unable to pay for US goods and services, causing:<br /> <br /> (a) diversion of trade away from the US;<br /> <br /> (b) a decline in US exports;<br /> <br /> (c) loss of employment and revenues associated with such exports; and<br /> <br /> (d) decline in US influence in the region.<br /> <br /> In relation to trade in services, the withdrawal of CBRs will have a direct effect on millions of US tourists (air and sea) for whom the Caribbean is a highly desirable holiday destination. It would also cause a decline in Caribbean tourism to the US and significantly reduce the use of many US services such as universities, hospitals and doctors by Caribbean people.<br /> <br /> At a secondary level, even if Caribbean countries employ more expensive means of paying for goods and services from the US (by going through distant third countries), the rising costs will adversely affect the quantum of imports from the US and purchase of services; therefore, revenues and jobs in the US will decline.<br /> <br /> Further, if trade in goods and services between the US and Caricom countries is allowed to decline, the US would lose the influence it presently enjoys in the region. That influence would flow to countries with which stronger economic relationships are forged. This would be destructive to the collaborative relationship between the US and Caricom countries over a range of areas, including security (terrorism and drug trafficking); political support in the international community; containing the flow of economic refugees; and maintaining the Caribbean as a nearby, safe and affordable destination for a large number of Americans.<br /> <br /> Therefore, it is in the interest of the US to strengthen its trade relations with Caricom and, in this context, to ensure that the barriers to trade (including the withdrawal of CBRs) are lifted.<br /> <br /> With regard to the WTO, all countries need a rules-based system for international trade. These rules protect markets from unfair trade practices that could displace national producers; they provide remedies for correcting trade violations (albeit not always effective for small countries, as Antigua and Barbuda knows in its 14-year contention with the US over Internet gaming); and they permit cross-border access to markets in a structured and agreed manner. The WTO, and the rules-based system over which it presides, are essential safeguards against chaos and conflict at a global level arising from trade.<br /> <br /> What is more, the US uses the dispute settlement machinery of the WTO more than any other country, and has benefited from its peaceful arbitration of conflicts. Indeed, Trump himself has said, as pointed out earlier, that he would instruct the US trade representative &ldquo;to bring trade cases against China at the WTO&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> With regard to investment, US investment in Caricom countries has been declining steadily, and particularly after the recession that began in 2008. The major new investment has been ExxonMobil&rsquo;s recent oil exploration in Guyana. Yet, the Caricom region is one of the most peaceful in the world and is safe for investment. Four of the 14 Caricom countries have bilateral investment and protection treaties with the US, and all would be interested in concluding such treaties.<br /> <br /> Additionally, all Caricom countries have tax information exchange agreements with the US for the automatic provision of tax information, and 12 of the 14 countries have signed inter-governmental agreements to comply with the US Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Caricom countries also offer generous incentives to US investors, including tax holidays and full repatriation of profits.<br /> <br /> On the face of it, the countries of Caricom represent an area in which the US enjoys a consistent trade surplus in goods that contributes to US revenues and employment. The area has been a source of revenues for safe and secure investment. Therefore, there is every benefit for a Trump Administration not only to maintain and enhance trade with Caricom, but to lift the barriers to trade, including the withdrawal of CBRs by US banks, and increase the level of investment which has proved to be mutually beneficial.<br /> <br /> These are arguments that Caricom governments and the private sector &mdash; at every level &mdash; have to lay before the Trump Administration as early as now.<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, University of 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 /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13545533/250709_77367_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, January 22, 2017 12:00 AM Martin Luther King Jr&rsquo;s continuing legacy of love http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Martin-Luther-King-Jr-s-continuing-legacy-of-love_87120 America and many people in the Caribbean and other parts of the world paused, if even briefly, last Monday to observe Martin Luther King Jr Day. It was a continuing recognition of the signal contribution he made to the civil rights struggle in the United States. His struggle, like that of Nelson Mandela in South Africa, is one that is owned and inspired by all people fighting against oppression.<br /> <br /> Very few people achieve what Dr King did by age 39, establishing once again that the strength of one&rsquo;s life is not predicated on the number of years lived, but on the quality of those years. This year&rsquo;s celebration of Dr King&rsquo;s life comes at a critical juncture in the life of America.<br /> <br /> On Friday, the nation inaugurated a new president. The irony, and some would argue the tragic irony, cannot be lost on us that Donald Trump replaced the first black president of the United States, whose legitimacy he questioned in the &ldquo;Birther Movement&rdquo;, of which he was a prominent promoter. The irony is further cemented in the fact of Barack Obama&rsquo;s presidency being the result of him standing on the shoulders of such stalwarts as Dr King, as he himself has stated repeatedly.<br /> <br /> Because most of his work was directed to the socio-political struggle for justice, there is a tendency to forget that King&rsquo;s primary motivation was as a minister and servant of God. It was his spiritual sense of the presence of God that sustained him in the most horrible stages of the march toward justice. It was the spiritual sense of his calling which sustained him throughout the periods of incarceration and the savage attacks upon his family and person which he had to endure.<br /> <br /> Central to Dr King&rsquo;s beliefs and struggle was the creation of what he described as the Beloved Community. This was a community characterised by peace and social justice, strongly supported by the ethic of love. It would be a community in which people would not be judged by the &ldquo;colour of their skin but the content of their character&rdquo;. It would be a community in which institutionalised injustice would be fiercely resisted and people allowed to fulfil their God-given rights, and thus fulfil their purpose and dignity as human beings.<br /> <br /> These expectations might appear to some people, especially the guardians of the status quo, to be quite esoteric and abstract dreaming. But, in fact, they were central to Dr King&rsquo;s dream of a free and wholesome society, where everyone of whatever ethnic origin could work to fulfil their manifest destinies.<br /> <br /> In this dream of the beloved community, King&rsquo;s thoughts were buttressed by the work of the eighth century prophets in the Old Testament, such as Amos and Micah. Indeed, he seemed to have drawn special inspiration from these two prophets who critiqued the injustices of their day and declared the oracles of God against the hypocrisy of the rich and powerful and what their actions were causing to the poorer members of society. The prophet Micah himself laid bare God&rsquo;s requirements for the building of a just and beloved community, and one can be sure that King was inspired by these requirements: &ldquo;He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.&rdquo; (Micah 6:8)<br /> <br /> If ever there were a time when Americans need to be mindful of these words and of the need to build a just society, it is now. People sometimes speak laudably of American justice, but there is no doubt that, as a divided society, justice and fair play in America have taken a severe battering. The inequitable distribution of wealth is only one aspect &mdash; albeit a corrosive aspect &mdash; of what ails the distribution of justice in America. The expansion of private prisons, and the prison industrial complex in general, where people are incarcerated on the basis of bed count and not guilt, is another aspect of what the denial of justice in America is all about. It is no surprise that it is largely black people and Hispanics who fill these bed quotas.<br /> <br /> It is clear that there can be no justice when taxation policies cause wealth to be distributed to the richest members of the society to the detriment of the poorest sections. Any such redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich, which unfortunately picked up pace under the Obama Administration over the past eight years, undoubtedly places an inordinate burden on the poorer and more vulnerable members of society.<br /> <br /> If the Trump Administration carries out its intended tax policies, expect that the social safety net programmes, such as the food stamp programme, that have helped the poor will be severely gutted. The repealing and replacing of the Affordable Care Act, abominably dubbed Obamacare, must be seen in this light. Republicans have an ideological commitment to repeal the Act that has helped millions of people, not because they love the poor, but because they want to remain true to the purity of their ideological commitments. <br /> <br /> There is a close nexus between love and social justice. They function as Siamese twins in the orderly function of society, and so you cannot have one without the other. King&rsquo;s sharp insight allowed him to see that the beloved community could not be built where there was no subscription to the overarching principle that we are indeed our brothers&rsquo; and sisters&rsquo; keepers. That self-giving love of the kind demonstrated in the life of our Lord moves us in a direction to seek the best welfare of the other. A society organised on the basis of institutionalised injustice becomes tyrannous and violent as people seek to reassert their rights which become suppressed.<br /> <br /> And what of humility in the building of this just society? If the public pronouncements of President Donald Trump are anything to go by, America and indeed the world might be in for a rough ride where an appeal to the arrogance of power is concerned. It is an appeal to the discredited principle that might is right in America standing up alone against the rest of the world. It is to subscribe to the principle of hard power, to a military triumphalism that can make America respectable in the world. It is the rejection of soft power in which are enshrined the American time-honoured values of mercy and compassion as still the most charitable nation on the face of the Earth.<br /> <br /> With the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States now well established, the country has come to a serious crossroads in its experiment with democracy and its psychological understanding of itself as an exceptional nation. Americans can either build a society in which the dignity and intrinsic value of each person will be enhanced, or they can allow themselves to be further divided by hatred, xenophobia and bigotry. One road leads to chaos and anarchy, the other to the building of a community of love, justice and brotherhood. There is no doubt in my mind what road Dr King would have chosen were he still with us.<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/13587358/253551_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, January 22, 2017 12:00 AM An &lsquo;insider&rsquo; vs &lsquo;outsider&rsquo; police commissioner http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/An--insider--vs--outsider--police-commissioner_86304 There is no evidence to suggest that mastery of the techniques of policing and long experience as a police officer necessarily prepare a person to be the leader of a police force. However, a police commissioner must be capable of having a vision of the future that is realistic, but challenging, and of communicating that vision effectively both inside and outside the organisation. He or she must also be capable of managing processes of innovation and change.<br /> <br /> Within this context, there are four important developmental elements for a successful police commissioner:<br /> <br /> 1. range of police and managerial experience;<br /> <br /> 2. level of formal education;<br /> <br /> 3. extent of professional development and training; and<br /> <br /> 4. involvement with community and other groups outside law enforcement, including those of the international community.<br /> <br /> The question of whether to rely on the &lsquo;insider&rsquo; or go for the &lsquo;outsider&rsquo; is not only relevant for police agencies. Many corporations, for varying reasons, have seen fit to go for an outsider. The narrow range of experience in the more recent Jamaican situation would not be conducive to developing a sophisticated understanding of the complex environment in which policing must function to be very clear about this concept of outsider vs insider.<br /> <br /> We know, however, that the law enforcement community is conservative by nature and often sceptical of outsiders. This has led to a certain reluctance to hire police commissioners from outside the organisation, and thus the matter of whether to promote from within or hire from without becomes a controversial issue.<br /> <br /> Some police personnel experts recommend appointing a new chief from outside the department, while others believe that both inside and outside candidates should be considered. Under some circumstances, they suggest, inside candidates should have the edge. When insiders become candidates for the top position, emotional arguments for the insider are inevitable. This would be particularly so when no serious problems exist in the police force and when qualified inside candidates are available. If serious problems do exist, or if major changes are believed necessary for valid reasons, the edge should be give to outside candidates.<br /> <br /> I would suggest that, as a good general rule, it would be wise to look both inside and outside the organisation before selecting the candidate best suited by knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the internal and external police executive roles in accordance with the needs of the police organisation and the community.<br /> <br /> There are several reasons for this approach. Even when the selection authority is relatively certain it has a first-rate prospective commissioner from within the force, it will want to confirm that judgement by comparing the candidate with the best that can be found outside the force.<br /> <br /> The selection authorities can learn much from both outsiders and insiders about different possibilities for directions that the organisation can take. Decision makers will not really be in a position to judge possible negative characteristics, such as the parochialism of an insider or the political awkwardness of an outsider, without having some basis of comparison.<br /> <br /> The supply of talent is probably too limited to justify closing a search to outsiders or insiders. However, some of the advantages of the insider career path include the following:<br /> <br /> 1. The insider is more familiar with both the internal and external factors affecting the police organisation.<br /> <br /> 2. Current method of advancement develops first-hand knowledge of the problems associated with each of the ranks in a career ladder.<br /> <br /> 3. It promotes high morale among personnel in the organisation, many of whom entered the force under the assumption that selection for supervisory positions would be made from the inside.<br /> <br /> However, it could be argued that a bureaucratic career path can be detrimental to effective police management and effective leadership. Some of the disadvantages of the insider career path can be cited as follows:<br /> <br /> 1. It promotes parochialism and encourages conformity rather than innovation.<br /> <br /> 2. It insulates police executives from being exposed to managerial techniques and innovations outside the force, thereby prohibiting the viewing of the organisation&rsquo;s problems from broader relationships and perspectives.<br /> <br /> 3. The traditional career path&rsquo;s promotional criteria are often related to the performance of technical skills, thereby limiting the selection process to promoting good policemen rather than good leaders.<br /> <br /> 4. It discourages first-rate young people from embarking on a career as a police officer and prohibits those already in law enforcement from changing careers.<br /> <br /> 5. It has been instrumental in promoting ineffective police leadership and is instrumental in the failure of policing to keep pace with the private and public sector in developing leadership skills. <br /> <br /> The lure of promotion and morale on the insider cannot be overlooked. When a police organisation goes outside, it is saying, even unconsciously, that none of you here are good enough, trustworthy enough, or capable enough to be chief. And there is the domino effect in promoting the insider. The deputy commissioner, who becomes commissioner, leaves an opening for an assistant commissioner to become a deputy commissioner, a senior superintendent an assistant commissioner, etc.<br /> <br /> Clearly there are advantages for selecting a commissioner of police via the insider route. Such a person is already familiar with established policies, personnel, and internal and external factors affecting the force. The learning curve is shorter, and the whole team ought to benefit from the institutional knowledge. It must be considered that stagnation in the ranks will limit opportunity, and thus limit the appeal of police work as a career. <br /> <br /> Notwithstanding the advanced views, promoting an insider to the position of commissioner could be problematic within the context that it makes him or her far more vulnerable to the demands of subordinates. Having come up through the ranks, the person may already be mired in ongoing obligations to departmental friends, whom he or she may feel duty-bound to support, lest morale should decline.<br /> <br /> Finally, an argument against hiring outsiders is their inability to bring about immediate change, as an outsider may not be able to implement changes until he/she becomes familiar with the organisation and its practices, or conversely, may act prematurely and make policies that are &ldquo;alien and explosive&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The decison must be taken with all of the above in mind.<br /> <br /> Dormah B Harrison is a retired assistant commissioner of police of the Jamaica Constabular<br /> <br /> y Force, lecturer and leadership development trainer. Send comments to the Observer or <br /> <br /> dormah_1361@hotmail.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13587327/200823_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, January 22, 2017 12:00 AM Rejecting that prison deal was the right thing to do http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Rejecting-that-prison-deal-was-the-right-thing-to-do_86975 The period of poor governance by the People&rsquo;s National Party has enhanced and strengthened the mendicancy culture of Jamaicans. We react with glee at the mere mention of gifts, handouts, and remittances. We are ready to roll out the red carpet to anyone who comes bearing alms.<br /> <br /> The offer to contribute to the building of a prison by the British Government was an insult to a once proud people. The insult was in several tiers.<br /> <br /> Tier one: The insult was akin to a person looking at a less fortunate brother and saying, &ldquo;I will not give you food, I will not give you clothing, I will not help you with your education and skills training, I will not help you with your shelter, I will not help you to get on your feet, but when you&rsquo;re dead I will contribute to your funeral.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The tier two insult was the paucity of the offer. It is said that the British hoped to save 10 million pounds per year from the deal. That is 100 million pounds in 10 years. Since some investments are assessed based on their payback period of 10 years, let&rsquo;s look at 10 years. Let us forget about the ad infinitum savings that would have accrued to the British. In 10 years the British would have been saving 100 million pounds, and all they felt they should be offering Jamaica out of that was a quarter of the savings. This, I believe, was carefully calculated, confident that the hungry-belly suckers would have gone for it. And we nearly did, but for a change of Government.<br /> <br /> The tier three insult is that Jamaica should drop everything and reorder its affairs so that it could find the 60 per cent of the over $14-billion investment. That is $8.5 billion. Jamaica is to put on hold programmes that would lift people out of poverty and a life of crime. Put on hold its agricultural thrust. Put on hold the strengthening of the police so that they would be better able to deter crime. Put on hold the rehabilitation of the justice system. And just focus on the building of a prison. This is backward thinking.<br /> <br /> If the strategic plan of this Government is realised, we will be needing fewer instead of more prison spaces. Right now there are countries in Europe that have to be closing brand new prisons because there are no prisoners for them. That ought to be the goal of every country &mdash; having fewer prisons. Why should our scarce capital be used to construct buildings which we hope will become redundant over time?<br /> <br /> That the People&rsquo;s National Party clearly would have gone for the deal explains the backward thinking that has brought us to where we are today. We do not use capital where we can get the greatest value. In the past, capital was spent with one eye on winning elections and the other eye on earning the &ldquo;agency fee&rdquo;. It is this mindset that has caused the country to spend $3.3 billion hedging oil, but would now be grovelling for $5.5 billion for a project that must be at the bottom of any developmental list. Forward thinkers would have known that the $3.3 billion used to hedge oil was a total giveaway. In any bilateral insuring arrangement, which hedging is, it is na&Atilde;&macr;ve to believe that the party who determines the risk and sets the price would do so with the expectation of paying out.<br /> <br /> Jamaicans should be grateful that we have a Government that is focused on restoring our pride. Foreign Minister Senator Kamina Johnson Smith made well-thinking Jamaicans proud when she delivered the long-awaited rejection of the prison deal. And, like chrome- plated steel &mdash; beautiful, but tough and strong &mdash; she stood up to the naysayers who have got all too accustomed to receiving alms on the givers&rsquo; terms.<br /> <br /> That Jamaica needs more than new prison spaces there should be no doubt. But should this be placed at the top of our overcrowded agenda? Should the building of a prison get pride of place over our fight to pay police, teachers and nurses better? Should a new prison building get preference over fighting emerging health threats which can affect us all? Or should we sacrifice the education and training of our youth so that those who have indulged in deviant behaviour have a place to stay?<br /> <br /> Between Justice Minister Delroy Chuck and National Security Minister Robert &ldquo;Bobby&rdquo; Montague, Jamaica&rsquo;s crime and justice problems will be brought under control without breaking the bank or relying on charity. Minister Chuck is bringing new thinking to the Justice Ministry. Plea bargaining and monitored house arrest for non-violent offenders is a good way to relieve strain on the prison system.<br /> <br /> Minister Montague is demonstrating that he has studied the problem and is now ready to render solutions. His move to secure the borders of Jamaica is sensible. Anyone who has had a punctured tyre knows that it is useless to pump in air before the tyre is patched. Stemming the flow of guns and other contraband must precede an all-out assault on those things. He has taken steps to boost the morale of the security forces. That is what leadership is about. And he has taken to talking in a language which the criminals understand. That is smart. Communication is about a meeting of the minds and an understanding of each other. I am sure every Jamaican understood when the minister said: &ldquo;Dutty criminal haffi run weh!&rdquo; When he informed criminals who believe in obeah and who wear guard rings and carry the New Testament in their back pockets that his uncle is an obeah man, he was just trying to let the criminals understand that no weapon is going to deter his mission. In the words of Bob Marley, Bobby Montague is trying to let the criminals know that in the country&rsquo;s quest to reach Mount Zion&rsquo;s highest region &mdash; our Promised Land &mdash; if the criminals are bull buckers, then he is a duppy conqueror! Conquer them, Bobby, an anxious nation awaits your slaying of the dragon.<br /> <br /> Dorlan H Francis is a personal financial adviser and author. One of his books is titled The Economic and Financial Crisis of 2007 - What Caused it : How to avoid a repeat. Send comments to the Observer or<br /> <br /> dhfken@hotmail.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13461668/243552_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, January 22, 2017 12:00 AM New police commissioner, same old issues http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/New-police-commissioner--same-old-issues_86280 The Jamaica Constabulary Force has a new acting police commissioner, but unfortunately the same old issues await her.<br /> <br /> Finance Minister Audley Shaw tabled a revised US$592.7 billion Supplementary Estimates in Gordon House on Tuesday, January 10, 2017. He announced that approximately $5.5 billion more will be spent on law enforcement to improve border security and confront crime and violence.<br /> <br /> This is not the first time a Government is increasing the budgetary allocation to combat crime. The Government, Opposition and the society accept that a high crime rate undermines trust in the Government of the day, constraining its ability to provide leadership and foster participation. These concerns, in turn, depress both domestic and international investment and further weaken economic prospects. The growing threats to stability posed by an ever-increasing murder rate and the inability to detect and intercept guns and drugs in a significant way underscore the expanding importance of reforming an archaic national security apparatus.<br /> <br /> The Government has to recognise that simply increasing budgetary allocations to the security ministry, its agencies and departments, will not impact crime fighting in any significant way. There has to be a comprehensive realignment to better meet the contemporary internal and external security challenges. This would include some of the following:<br /> <br /> Restructuring the Ministry of National Security<br /> <br /> An understaffed and under-equipped police force is increasingly called on to manage the rising security problem. Judging the performance of the JCF over the past 40 years, it is obvious that serious comprehensive reform and realignment are needed. Establishment of a central organisation similar to the Home Office in the United Kingdom will go a long way towards improving coordination between various law enforcement agencies in the country. A restructuring of the overall command set-up that brings all law enforcement under one umbrella could assist system effectiveness considerably.<br /> <br /> Upgrading Jamaica&rsquo;s existing law enforcement institutions cannot occur in isolation. Instead, it must be part of an overarching restructuring of the total law enforcement infrastructure, including a reform of the criminal justice system.<br /> <br /> Legislation<br /> <br /> As part of the restructuring, Government must also pass legislation to empower the Inspectorate Division of the Ministry of National Security to act as auditors of our national security apparatus - Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); Jamaica Defence Force (JDF); Passport, Immigration, and Citizenship Agency, and Jamaica Customs Agency.<br /> <br /> The Inspectorate Division would, inter alia, summon heads of divisions to account for escalating crime and violence, investigate and expose police divisions that &ldquo;close&rdquo; when night falls, and audit security screening at the country&rsquo;s seaports and airports.<br /> <br /> As well, Government needs to pass legislation to establish the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) into an FBI-style agency sufficiently large and equipped to serve all citizens. The JCF&rsquo;s Bureau of Special Investigation, Fraud Squad, Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse, Cybercrimes Unit, Narcotics, DNA, and Visual Identification units would be absorbed into MOCA. The new MOCA&rsquo;s focus will be transnational, and will target organised and serious crimes.<br /> <br /> Other legislation would help govern the merging of the National Intelligence Bureau, the Anti-Gang Intelligence Unit of the JCF and Military Intelligence of the JDF to create a new intelligence agency governed by an Intelligence Act. This new intelligence agency will be an independent arm of the FBI-style agency.<br /> <br /> Cabinet should also consider merging the Financial Investigative Division in the Ministry of Finance, Tax Administration and the Jamaica Customs Agency to form a Revenue and Customs Agency responsible for the administration and collection of customs, passenger and airport duties, investigation of serious financial crime, including money laundering.<br /> <br /> Inadequate resources will forever be a problem in Jamaica, but the time has come to do things differently. The Government should seriously consider consolidating resources by merging the marine police, the JDF coast guard, and the border patrol in Customs to form a new border patrol unit whose primary function would be the policing of our coastal waters, and the detection and interception of guns and drugs.<br /> <br /> Without this type of legislative support, a new commissioner will continue to fight the same old battles in the same old way.<br /> <br /> Transition from a police force to a police service<br /> <br /> The scope of the JCF is far too wide. Restructuring the police force into a police service would allow the JCF to focus on building relationships with citizens and communities. This would help in maintaining law and order, investigation and information gathering, and solving crimes in their respective divisions. A new commissioner must therefore set the tone for this paradigm shift to take root.<br /> <br /> Protecting our borders<br /> <br /> Minister Shaw announced in Parliament that $2.93 billion will be spent on improving border security and on reducing the country&rsquo;s vulnerability to the importation and exportation of guns and drugs, respectively.<br /> <br /> How is it possible for so many guns to flow through our borders when the State has a Marine Division of the JCF, Coast Guard Unit of the Jamaica Defence Force, and the border patrol unit of the Jamaica Customs Agency?<br /> <br /> A simple and practical way to start impacting armed violence is to actively try to stem the flow of illegal guns. <br /> <br /> This must be coupled with stricter gun control terms as a first step.<br /> <br /> Need for the national identification system<br /> <br /> Essential to all this will be the State&rsquo;s ability to identify and locate its citizens. A national identification system is needed that will assign a unique set of numbers that will follow a citizen from birth to death. This national system would be integrated and would produce a unique number. The national identification card and/or number should be required for all transactions in Jamaica: registering children in schools, travel, obtaining and renewing passports, getting a driver&rsquo;s licence, payment of taxes, opening personal bank accounts, inter alia.<br /> <br /> Before reform measures can be considered, a clear understanding of the present status of the law enforcement structure is essential. Whatever the accuracy of crime statistics, the perception of growing danger has generated widespread anxiety.<br /> <br /> The sobering reality, however, is that the police have not had great success in dealing with simple petty crime, let alone complex transnational organised crime. In quiet, rural communities such as Green Island in Hanover, gun violence has traumatised entire families and communities. Simply put, the JCF, in its current form, is too weak to undertake the task of crime prevention and investigation by itself, and appointing a new commissioner will not produce solutions.<br /> <br /> With a high degree of public consensus on the need to address the crime situation in a significant way, the public demands more than an increase in budgetary allocation, and more than a new police commissioner. We demand far-reaching law enforcement reforms. There is the political space to make the tough decisions and implement the reforms that will see results.<br /> <br /> Andrew King is a public affairs commentator with a<br /> <br /> n interest in national security, governance and development policies. Send comments to the Observer or <br /> <br /> abking020@gmail.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13581545/253047_79852_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, January 22, 2017 12:00 AM Unemployment figures dip http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Unemployment-figures-dip_87175 The unemployment rate has continued to decline despite an increase in the number of people actively seeking employment.<br /> <br /> This was disclosed by Minister of Finance and the Public Service Audley Shaw as he opened the debate on the first Supplementary Estimates for the 2016/17 fiscal year, in the House of Representatives on Tuesday. <br /> <br /> The estimates show that the budget has been revised upwards from $579.93 billion to $592.74 billion, an increase of $12.8 billion.<br /> <br /> Shaw informed that the July 2016 data show that the unemployment rate was 12.9 per cent, lower than the 13.1 per cent recorded in July 2015, and the 13.7 per cent in April 2016.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;What this means is that the number of employed persons increased by 17,900 between April and July 2016, and by 39,400 when compared with employment in July 2015,&rdquo; he explained.<br /> <br /> The minister noted that the number of people who entered the labour force who are now actively seeking jobs has increased by 9,400 over the period April to July 2016, and by 42,600 between July 2015 and July 2016.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This trend indicates that with continued growth, we can expect more employment opportunities for Jamaicans,&rdquo; Shaw said.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, he reported that consumer prices rose by only 1.7 per cent between December 2015 and December 2016.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This is the lowest calendar-year inflation rate in Jamaica since 1964. Our low inflation rate has benefited from low oil and other commodity prices, strong increase in local crop production, as well as our continued tight fiscal policy stance that helps to contain excess demand in the economy,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> &mdash; JIS http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13585621/audley-shaw_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, January 22, 2017 3:00 AM End of an era http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/End-of-an-era_87222 Last Friday the world trained its collective eye on the US Capitol in Washington, DC, to witness the end of the &lsquo;Age of Obama&rsquo;. Even those ambivalent about the circumstances of the new leader in the US could not look away. Columnist Lance Neita writes that &ldquo;we will always remember Barack Obama&rdquo;. Rev Dr Raulston Nembhard weighs in on the emotional tenor and says that Obama leaves office at a time when America is no doubt a divided society, as justice and fair play have taken a severe battering. Both Neita and Nembhard take comfort, however, in the belief that Obama&rsquo;s honour is as secure as the legacy of love left to the nation by Martin Luther King, Jr.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13587511/253749_80593_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, January 22, 2017 3:00 AM Bangarang inna churchyard? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Bangarang-inna-churchyard-_87104 In a time now gone from us, a much-used jokey-fie custom was to tek bad sinting mek laugh &mdash; which was to say, no matter how bad things were, they could be converted to laughter. Some of the island&rsquo;s more popular comedic teams or individual performers filled their repertoire with such things. <br /> <br /> In that atmosphere, the tragic event of a prominent churchman who is to face trial for allegations of sexual violation of a young girl might have, in times past, become a song or a scene in a slapstick comedic skit, the title of which might well be &lsquo;Bangarang inna churchyard&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> There is no laughter to be found now on any stage based on such a disturbing event. Audience tastes have changed. The phenomenon of the present age is that, with modern communication technology so easily at hand, allegations are within easy reach and things ain&rsquo;t what they used to be. With information so accessible, meticulous care has to be taken to preserve the rights of the accused, while outside the parameters of the court, freedom of expression can get carried away because news can be spread far and wide for everybody to twitter. Ask Donald Trump.<br /> <br /> We live in a new age around the globe. Man, woman and pickney can communicate within and without borders, which challenges justice. Things can go beyond bounds and little or nothing can control it. We remind ourselves that the public has rights which must be protected too, but it isn&rsquo;t always easy to do, as someone reminded me a few days ago.<br /> <br /> The current matter of a particular clergyman, and the charges he will have to answer in court before long, has generated anger in some areas of the public domain. The religious denomination, wherein he had been a member and a leader, has had its integrity questioned and its future a matter of concern which has brought mixed feelings. <br /> <br /> I&rsquo;ve heard someone ask, &ldquo;Is it fair for others in a particular church community to be held responsible because one member of the family has erred and strayed like lost sheep?&rdquo; These are theological issues of the day, which may, or may not be answered easily. But they cannot be ignored.<br /> <br /> Churches, too, must always live up to an expected standard. Whatever is done, said a source seeking to educate me, &ldquo;The current matter will not be resolved easily, especially since bangarang has already entered the churchyard and the flock is deeply disturbed.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The matter of sexual abuse of young people is one of the most highly disturbing issues of our time. How can this be controlled? How prevented? How treated? In the media, argument has been raging about how to deal with perpetrators, whomever they are, and where we are today, with the court trial still to be undertaken.<br /> <br /> In the course of the week just ending, there was heated argument about whether the names of alleged abusers of young girls should be made public via social media. &ldquo;Name them! Shame them,&rdquo; it is said.<br /> <br /> Not everyone agrees. According to one school of thought, &ldquo;It wouldn&rsquo;t be fair, acknowledging that innocent persons could end up with character destruction, when there is no proof of deviant behaviour on their part.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The most urgent question: What if they were unfairly accused with no proof of their crime?<br /> <br /> The debate rages in media particularly, evoking mixed emotions, heavily weighted on the side of &ldquo;don&rsquo;t let them get away with it&rdquo;. Fair enough, but what if accused individuals had their innocence proven, but too late to rescue their reputation which was destroyed for what they didn&rsquo;t do?<br /> <br /> The big question: How will this ongoing violation of women and young girls be stopped? Can we leave it just so?<br /> <br /> Of course not! We need to get down to doing what is necessary to save the characters of our young people, especially. We cannot ignore it.<br /> <br /> Fair or unfair?<br /> <br /> People are talking about the strange way in which the minister of education et al have been handling the issue of Heather Murray, principal of Hampton School. Why should she be sent on two weeks leave now? To what end? Murray has offered an apology for her initial response to the various ups and downs in the most discussed matter of the moment and the popular view that she might have taken the wrong road. There is no reason Murray should not be allowed to get on with her work now. Check again, Minister. What is the two weeks for? Why should Murray and the school she heads continue to be inconvenienced?<br /> <br /> Walk good, my friend<br /> <br /> The passing of Peter Abrahams, world-famed journalist, South African-born, who made Jamaica his home for many years, is a loss not only to journalism, but the wider world of literature. A man who loved Jamaica dearly, he created his own COYABA &mdash; an Arawak name for the peace of the hills &mdash; in Red Hills of St Andrew, where he settled from the 1950s up until his death on Wednesday morning of this week.<br /> <br /> Exact details of his passing are still being under survey. He was predeceased by his wife, Daphne, artist and teacher (St Hugh&rsquo;s High School). She, like him, loved this country dearly, and when she passed away a cycle was completed. So it has been with Peter, even if at this moment there are some questions to be answered for how he took his journey.<br /> <br /> The Peter Abrahams story has much to be told. Thought is already being given to the book. It should be told not too long from now, so that a new generation can learn to understand what he and other special people saw in this country, and what it contributed to the wider world, despite the times when we lose our way. While the full story of Peter Abrahams&rsquo; departure remains to be told, for now, his tight circle of friends mourn his departure with quiet dignity, in response to his wishes.<br /> <br /> Another warrior finds rest<br /> <br /> While the passing of Peter Abrahams is occupying media attention, another newsworthy event took place yesterday (Thursday) when the centenary of the birth of the late pan-Africanist Dudley Thompson was observed at Up Park Camp, where his remains are buried and where colleagues assembled to show that he is not forgotten.<br /> <br /> A noted legal figure, one who devoted much time and talent to embracing the African ethos, and who, when he used his formidable legal prowess to help African leaders find freedom, became known as &ldquo;Burning Spear&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Word is that the commemorative service was a blend of African and Jamaican history, of which he was always proud. Peter Abrahams would have found it interesting. He, too, knew the contribution of Dudley Thompson, another warrior laid to rest. <br /> <br /> Respect due<br /> <br /> President Barack Obama leaves the White House, taking with him memories built in his eight years as the 44th president of the United States of America. Despite challenging times, he moves on with the respect and love of the rest of the world, our country among them, and with much respect to Michelle, the beautiful, the smart. Yeah man! Nuff, nuff respect! Come here on holiday, nuh!<br /> <br /> Barbara Gloudon is a journalist, playwright and commentator. Send comments to the Observer or <br /> <br /> gloudonb@yahoo.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13562340/251931__w300.jpg Local Opinion Saturday, January 21, 2017 3:00 AM Andrew Holness&rsquo;s Israel visit and the British prison gift http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Andrew-Holness-s-Israel-visit-and-the-British-prison-gift-_87110 Friday, January 13, 2017 may be a defining date for Jamaica. Prime Minister Andrew Holness made a serious error of judgement by his high-profile meeting with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel&rsquo;s enemies are now ours, so recall 30 British tourists killed on a Tunisia beach and be very afraid.<br /> <br /> We are liked by many Israelis, as Bob is a near Jew &mdash; similar curly locks, brown skin, love of their (river of Babylon) Torah &mdash; but in these times, better safe than sorry. We do not know the import of this photo op to Andrew or Jamaica, but to Netanyahu the world sees his ally and terrorists have a new target.<br /> <br /> Israel is a friend, but there are reasons no leader visited; we have home-grown, terrorist-style killers; why add the real thing? What is our foreign policy? Did Senator Kamina Johnson Smith do risk analyses? Farm talk is innocuous, but who talks with whom and where may screw us. We have an embassy, so why this vanity visit?<br /> <br /> Netanyahu got US$45 billion in military aid from Barack Obama last year, yet fought him on Iran, Arab Spring, and a Palestinian state. Some say he undercut Obama who wanted Israel to disclose its nuclear arsenal &mdash; a first! He thanked Holness for supporting Israel on the &ldquo;absurd vote in UNESCO&rdquo; and Holness offered condolence for four soldiers killed by a Palestinian trucker. What a bad topic? We do not need this drama, but he puts a bullseye on Jamaican chests here and in the Diaspora. For what?<br /> <br /> His visit was ill-timed. It coincided with Obama&rsquo;s &ldquo;last lick&rdquo; to Israel. He did not use the veto, so the UN declared their settlements illegal &mdash; never before! The world, Hamas, Palestinians are happy; Israel, Trump sad. Holness?<br /> <br /> Israel recalled its ambassador to New Zealand and Senegal for voting. The banners show Holness standing with a defiant Netanyahu (under investigation for corruption) not for liberal views. So, Sir, youthful exuberance and air miles aside, what did you get?<br /> <br /> Edmund Bartlett must note terrorist attacks on tourists in nearby Mexico, in Nice and ISIS members in Caricom. On the long trip to Israel, USA leaders visit Palestine for balance; Holness did not &mdash; President Abbas snubbed. &ldquo;Andy K&rdquo; puts us in harm&rsquo;s way; reckless with our foreign policy and national security &mdash; most frightening! Pray hard!<br /> <br /> British prison<br /> <br /> A prison once solicited by a former Jamaica Labour Party minister Dwight Nelson is now rejected by Holness, why? Both parties have been trying to get a new prison because of the diabolical state of ours. Then along comes a gift of $5.5 billion, some 40 per cent of the cost of a 1,500-man prison, on condition we take 300 of our citizens in UK prisons &ldquo;sentenced to at least four years who have 18 months or more left to serve&rdquo;. What would I do? Negotiate!<br /> <br /> I would ask terms for the 60 per cent, consumables, and maintenance for nine years. Bargain hard! Worst case: Prisons are scalable; so build a 500 module, take their 300 or offer 450 for the full funds. Johnson Smith says the 300 prisoners was a deal breaker. Nonsense! What was our counter offer? Who crunched the numbers? Who is on the negotiating team? She is bright, but &ldquo;if a dat dem tell har fi seh, she shoulda run dem&rdquo;, as we took 1,345 UK deportees from 2012 to 2016 for zip! (<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer, September 9, 2016) Now Andrew refuses $5.5 billion for 300? Idiocy! Tell us the truth. Bad promises dictate foreign policy? She says, &ldquo;The matter is closed at this time.&rdquo; (<br /> <br /> Observer, January 13, 2017) Senator, I think not!<br /> <br /> Check this: &ldquo;He said the deal would only serve the interests of the UK whose citizens would save millions of pounds.&rdquo; (<br /> <br /> Observer, January 14, 2017). So what? Sir, a win-win deal is a good deal. A report on parliament chat is odious with partisan innuendo and gives clues as to his motive. The hack said &ldquo;bribery&rdquo; was David Cameron&rsquo;s intent, so Holness refused the gift as it was not &ldquo;an answer to Jamaica&rsquo;s problem&rdquo;. Is it Cabinet&rsquo;s policy that we accept no gifts unless they cover all issues? The view that the white man must solve our problems keeps us poor. Ex-slaves were self-reliant, built free villages; ex-slave states Barbados, The Bahamas built per capita GDP seven times ours, and did not &ldquo;stick up&rdquo; the white man. Go figure!<br /> <br /> Our prisoners come from all strata and communities; few are murderers, as police can&rsquo;t catch them. We need a modern prison. When the UK starts to deport the 300 in 18 months we can&rsquo;t refuse them. They&rsquo;re all citizens. Why fight the gift? Tower Street, Spanish Town prisons; public buildings; Kingston Public Hospital were British built, with major input by USA and Canada. Think straight, not crooked; we are beholden to them, so they can&rsquo;t think any less of us than they now do. Take the $5.5 billion, build one module now, two later.<br /> <br /> Andrew kept his promise to block the prison that, in time, may cost $20 billion. But at what cost? Decency, human rights? His $1.5-million tax cut promise costs us $30 billion plus, but the prison needs just $6 billion more. Why not?<br /> <br /> Sir, do not make any more promises to benefit us, we can&rsquo;t afford them! Nigerian and Jamaican criminals plague the British &mdash; theirs for fraud, ours violence &mdash; so much so that evil Jamaicans may cause the Notting Hill carnival to close for good. Nigerians are proud black people, so in 2012 they got a new UK part-funded wing at Kirikiri Prison in Lagos and repatriated their citizens. <br /> <br /> Holness and Bartlett feted a convicted Jamaican child abuser deported from Qatar at the airport, but they will not repatriate our 300 to a modern prison as Nigeria did. Incidentally, did they ever greet Usain Bolt or Elaine Thompson at the airport? They badgered Arnold Nicholson in the Senate, but Johnson Smith and Marlene Mahaloo Forte had no words for the 13-year-old victim &mdash; wrong signal sent!<br /> <br /> The Gleaner (January 13, 2017) reports: &ldquo;The UK prison deal is a sensitive issue for Prime Minister Andrew Holness.&rdquo; Sir, don&rsquo;t confuse or conflate personal with national interest; you may not eat pork, Jamaica does! Will Horace Levy and the children&rsquo;s advocate get the detail on the prisont? I love my country, I fear for my country, I am ashamed for my country. 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/13567926/252304_w300.jpg Local Opinion Friday, January 20, 2017 12:00 AM Leave the fountain alone! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Leave-the-fountain-alone-_86851 &ldquo;The St James Parish Council plans to remove the fountain from Montego Bay&rsquo;s historic Sam Sharpe Square and replace it with a statue of the national hero after whom the square was named, a reliable source told the Jamaica Observer.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;A statue of Sam Sharpe is currently located to one side of the over 100-year-old fountain that sits in the middle of St James Street.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;According to the source, the council has engaged the services of several leading architects in the western city to come up with a plan for the area.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The planned removal of the fountain is to coincide with the opening of the Montego Bay Cultural Centre. The centre is expected to be completed by next February, six months behind the original completion date of September 2000.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;But the council might need the time to sell the idea to residents of the western city.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Deputy mayor of Montego Bay, Gerard Mitchell, said the planned removal of the fountain would not take place without consultations with the Montego Bay community.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There is no timetable for that effort, the fact is that we have do consultations with the citizens, he told the Observer.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Mitchell said the decision to take the matter to the public came out of a recommendation by the council&rsquo;s Parish Development Committee to involve Montegonians in the process.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;And he stressed that any changes to the centre of the city must be done with a view to complementing the cultural centre.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Believe it or not, this story appeared on September 30, 2000. Some 16 years ago! Fast-forward to 2017 and another<br /> <br /> Observer story, published on January 12, 2017 under the headline &lsquo;Chang to tackle traffic problem in MoBay&rsquo;. The reporter stated that a Michael Saunderson, operations manager in the Traffic Management Unit of the National Works Agency, said, inter alia, that the physical improvements will include traffic directional changes, reopening of a section of Market Street that has been closed for more than five years, and the relocation of the water fountain at a section of the roadway in Sam Sharpe Square. <br /> <br /> Saunderson, who is apparently insensitive to the sentiments attached to that century-and-counting year-old historic landmark among many citizens, which he refers to glibly as &ldquo;a water fountain&rdquo;, was speaking at a recent meeting called by minister without portfolio with responsibility for water, works and housing, Dr Horace Chang, to deal with the chronic traffic problem affecting Montego Bay.<br /> <br /> One of the sickening ailments that the western city has always suffered from is the &ldquo;Kingston is Jamaica&rdquo; syndrome. So, in many instances, critical decisions affecting the tourism capital are made in a willy-nilly fashion by government officials and highly paid technocrats who pay scant regard to the democratic rights of residents in the affected area, who should have a say in anything affecting their community&rsquo;s development or lack thereof. <br /> <br /> Saunderson and his team, along with the minister, should bear this in mind even as they contemplate such a move, which will be a grievous blow to the aesthetics of historic Sam Sharpe Square. Why should the National Works Agency be allowed to create a &lsquo;race track&rsquo; through Sam Sharpe Square? Because that is what it will ultimately become, even with the installation of new traffic lights.<br /> <br /> I am no technocrat sitting in any ivory tower, but I am convinced &mdash; as someone who has lived all my life in Montego Bay &mdash; that Sam Sharpe Square is not the major problem with traffic flow in the western city. Indeed, it is safe to say that much of the problem with the traffic congestion in that area is the lack of law and order which should be enforced by the Jamaica Constabulary Force and St James Municipal Police. It is the rampant indiscipline of the numerous taxi operators who use that area to drop off and take up passengers, the wild abandon of street vendors, and the irresponsible behaviour of some business people who have delivery trucks offloading at peak time blocking the smooth flow of traffic.<br /> <br /> Why should an innocent fountain, not troubling anybody, be raped and pillaged by those in authority, who seemingly have no appreciation for the city&rsquo;s history? No, Dr Chang! No, Mr Saunderson, leave the fountain alone!<br /> <br /> By the way, one would love to get the views of Jamaica National Heritage Trust and culture minister Babsy Grange on this vexing issue.<br /> <br /> The bottom line is that relocating or removing the fountain is not a wise move because such a move will be gutting the centre of the city, thus adding to its already increasing ugliness thanks to a lack of proper and effective urban planning and execution. The pouring of concrete and asphalt should not be the be-all and end-all to enhancing a city.<br /> <br /> The sad truth is that Montego Bay has been short-changed with respect to recreational and cultural facilities. Indeed, they have very little to choose between Dump Up Beach and Dead End! Is it any wonder there is so much antisocial behaviour, including murders? The fact is that the ordinary citizen has very little opportunity to unwind or let off steam. History has shown, for example, that when Montego Bay was the football capital of Jamaica the crime rate went down dramatically.<br /> <br /> Just last week, there were some six plays being presented in Kingston, while in MoBay a single revue at the Fairfield Theatre. A city bereft of aesthetics and a cultural presence that is continuously enhanced is destined to become an urban nightmare more soon than later.<br /> <br /> The fountain in Sam Sharpe is symbolic and should be maintained as such. Any move to remove it must be viewed as outright sacrilege and those who take part in that exercise will not be forgiven by history.<br /> <br /> Lloyd B Smith is a veteran journalist and newspaper publisher. A former Member of Parliament and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, his views are entirely his own. Send comments to <br /> <br /> lbsmith4@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Editor&rsquo;s note: See related vox pop on Page 2 of today&rsquo;s Observer West.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13581714/253080_80001_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Thursday, January 19, 2017 12:00 AM We&rsquo;re all wary of the unpredictable Trump http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/We-re-all-wary-of-the-unpredictable-Trump_86929 The world is on edge as the time for Donald Trump to be sworn in as president of the United States approaches. Trump has turned out to be unorthodox, unusual, contentious, and could also be described as cantankerous.<br /> <br /> He has set as one of his main objectives the destruction and elimination of all vestiges of the Barack Obama presidency. Thus, Trump and his Conservative Republican colleagues have already started voting in the Senate for the destruction of the health care system known as Obamacare, which was implemented by Obama in an effort to ensure easier and wider access of health services to American citizens, be they rich or poor.<br /> <br /> Trump recently announced that he intends to provide free medical insurance to all Americans and that this is what will be done in replacement of Obamacare. This sounds like an extremely expensive scheme that is likely to absorb far more resources of the Government than Obamacare.<br /> <br /> It is quite evident that the primary objective of Donald Trump and his supporters is not better health care for Americans. The primary aim seems to be the elimination of anything about the Obama presidency that can be described as successful.<br /> <br /> In this regard, there is an undertone of racism in these policies. Trump has decided that his wife and children should live in New York at one of his homes, instead of in the White House. All sorts of excuses have been given for this. However, we should ask ourselves if there is more to this decision than what is being said. Could it be that Trump has decided his family should not reside in a house that was previously occupied by black people? That is, the Obama family.<br /> <br /> There is also the fear in several leaders of the black and minority communities that Trump would be pursuing policies inimical to their interest. However, given the unpredictability of Trump, these minority leaders should not rule out the possibility of him making an about-turn and doing for the minorities and their depressed communities more than Obama. Trump might very well go the extra mile to prove those who are calling him racist wrong, by doing more for blacks and other minorities than all the other presidents have done. This would be consistent with his unpredictable character and could see him receiving support and votes from blacks and other minorities more than any other president, including Obama.<br /> <br /> On the international scene, Trump has abandoned all vestiges of diplomacy. He is making open and undiplomatic criticism of the closest allies of the United States of America, including Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany. He has also started to pick a quarrel with China. He has threatened to dismantle the trade agreement amongst Pacific countries, which involves the United States.<br /> <br /> The worst development, however, where Trump is concerned, is his quarrel and confrontation with his intelligence agencies. He has gone down a dangerous road when he asserted that he knows more than the agencies responsible for gathering intelligence and advising him.<br /> <br /> If he is going to rely on his personal knowledge to make awesome decisions, such as going to war, then the world is in grave danger of a catastrophe. Let us hope that his unpredictability will swing in a direction beneficial to the world and to mankind, and not in a direction where it is destructive and dangerous to the world.<br /> <br /> Linton P Gordon is an attorney-at-law. Send comments to the Observer or to<br /> <br /> lpgordon@cwjamaica.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13457941/243220_69568_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Thursday, January 19, 2017 12:00 AM Dudley Thompson centenary http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Dudley-Thompson-centenary_86879 The late Ambassador Dudley Joseph Thompson was born on January 19, 1917. He died at age 95, one day after his birthday, on January 20, 2012. Born in Panama to Jamaican parents, Dudley Thompson grew up in Westmoreland, Jamaica.<br /> <br /> He served as a vice-president of the People&rsquo;s National Party, senator, later an elected Member of Parliament, and a Cabinet minister from both the Senate and the House of Representatives.<br /> <br /> It was Dudley Thompson who said that &ldquo;no angels died at Green Bay&rdquo;, ironically at a time when he was not yet the minister of national security, although a Cabinet minister. The Green Bay affair took place on January 4, 1978, but Dudley Thompson became minister of national security later that same year.<br /> <br /> He received much flak from the general public for his &ldquo;no angels&rdquo; statement. Some years ago, while in retirement, he made a wholesome public apology for the statement.<br /> <br /> Between 1972 and 1976, Thompson was minister of state in the ministry of foreign affairs, and as of 1975 the minister of foreign affairs. Between 1977 and 1978 Thompson was minister of mining and energy. And from 1978 to 1980 he was minister of national security.<br /> <br /> Dudley Thompson was an internationally known pan-Africanist who was the first politician to call for reparation from slavery. Several years ago, in an article on Dudley Thompson, I mentioned that he was baptised in the Roman Catholic Church. On the very day it was published I received a phone call from Dudley Thompson who let me know that he was more than just baptised, but a practising Roman Catholic.<br /> <br /> The Roman Catholic Church teaches that all races are equal &mdash; because it cannot be proven either in the Bible or in a science laboratory that any race is superior to the other. And the Church also teaches that God made man, who made culture, so the Church works through culture.<br /> <br /> In the document Gaudium et Spes (The Church in the Modern World) of the Second Vatican Council, the Church teaches that culture is to be respected and revered in ways that include the way in which beauty is promoted. And Dudley Thompson&rsquo;s call for reparation long before Mike Henry ever made a similar call was also in keeping with Roman Catholicism.<br /> <br /> Thompson reminded us that the Jews got reparation from the Germans and the Japanese got reparation from the United States of America. So the descendants of slaves in the former British Empire should also receive reparation for the damage done by slavery. And he said this in international circles on behalf of Jamaica.<br /> <br /> As a negotiator, Dudley Thompson helped secure for Jamaica the seat of the International Seabed Authority &mdash; although it did not come about until the 1980s when the People&rsquo;s National Party was not in power. The Jamaica Labour Party Government led by Edward Seaga as prime minister, however, gave the previous Government full credit for securing the seabed authority for Jamaica.<br /> <br /> A lawyer, Dudley Thompson was among those who defended Jomo Kenyatta, in Kenya, in the aftermath of the Mau Mau rebellion in the early 1950s. His actions blended with the social teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.<br /> <br /> Thompson won the Rhodes Scholarship without attending a high school. In those days, Mico Teachers&rsquo; College was the closest one could get to receiving tertiary education in Jamaica. Graduates from primary schools were sent there to be trained as schoolteachers. It was while he was a student at Mico Teachers&rsquo; College that he won the Rhodes Scholarship.<br /> <br /> Dudley Thompson, who also went to war, was a flight lieutenant in the British army and flew warplanes in the Second World War. After residing in Africa, Thompson returned to Jamaica. He eventually entered politics but also served for a time as the president of the Jamaica Bar Association.<br /> <br /> Thompson was an unsuccessful candidate in the Federal elections of 1958 for the Westmoreland Constituency. For information, Jamaica had 17 seats in the federal parliament. Each of the 14 parishes was a constituency and each of the three counties (Cornwall, Middlesex and Surrey) were constituencies. The electorate voted for two representatives; one for the parish and one for the county. In 1962, Dudley Thompson ran in Western Kingston for the People&rsquo;s National Party, but was defeated by Edward Seaga. Running a second time in West Kingston in 1967, he was defeated again by Edward Seaga.<br /> <br /> Thompson resigned from the Senate in 1978 to contest the St Andrew Western by-election upon the resignation of Finance Minister David Coore. He won the seat, but it was contested in court as being ultra vires. The Jamaica Labour Party did not contest the by-election but several individuals by the name of Thompson turned up at the nominations. This caused a brawl and Prime Minister Michael Manley postponed the by-elections. At the time the prime minister had no such power.<br /> <br /> The court upheld the petition of the other candidates that the election was illegal but did not grant the petition of one of the Thompsons who was duly nominated the first time around, that he was elected unopposed, as Dudley Thompson was not nominated before the melee on the first occasion.<br /> <br /> Dudley Thompson appealed the verdict, but the appeal was not heard before Parliament was dissolved in October 1980 to make way for fresh elections. However, as a result of that problem, the law was later amended.<br /> <br /> In 1980, when the Jamaica Labour Party won 51 of the 60 seats available, Dudley Thompson was declared winner in St Andrew Western on the night of the elections. His 600-odd-vote lead, however, was reduced to a minority of a few votes and the JLP&rsquo;s Owen Stephenson (now deceased) was declared the winner.<br /> <br /> As a result, the People&rsquo;s National Party boycotted the opening of Parliament that year. On a petition by Dudley Thompson he was declared winner by 85 votes. So, once again, Thompson took up his seat in Parliament. He served in the House until the snap election called by then Prime Minister Edward Seaga in 1983.<br /> <br /> ekrubm765@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13581715/253181_80010_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Thursday, January 19, 2017 12:00 AM Can&rsquo;t listen to the empty talk; check the figures http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Can-t-listen-to-the-empty-talk--check-the-figures-_86462 To love truth for truth sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed plot of all virtues. &mdash; John Locke<br /> <br /> Extraordinary claims must be matched by extraordinary facts. This is an axiom. Those who reject this simple rule of good polemics invariably relegate themselves to the category of the ridiculous.<br /> <br /> Two Wednesdays ago financial analyst Ralston Hyman &mdash; a man with a penchant for the fantastical &mdash; opined on<br /> <br /> NewsTalk 93 FM that the present Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Administration was mismanaging the economy. Quite frankly, if Hyman were a weather forecaster and he told me to expect sunshine, I would pack my best and biggest umbrella.<br /> <br /> I recall Roy Forrester, a former weatherman at the now defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Cooperation, who developed such a reputation for incorrect forecasts &mdash; deserved or not &mdash; that few Jamaicans took him seriously. He and Hyman surely are kin. Can Hyman be taken seriously when he says the Andrew Holness Administration is mismanaging the economy?<br /> <br /> On Wednesday, November 2, 2016, this newspaper carried an article with the headline &lsquo;Growth of 2.3% for July to September quarter&rsquo;. TheJamaica Observer story read inter alia: &ldquo;The economy grew by 2.3 per cent for the July to September quarter, the highest quarter growth recorded since 2002.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This was disclosed by Minister of Finance and the Public Service Audley Shaw during the sitting of the House of Representatives on November 1.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The minister said the agricultural sector in the last quarter grew by 28.8 per cent, while the hotel and restaurant sector grew by more than two per cent.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Maybe Hyman would regard this bit of fact as evidence of better management: &ldquo;From 2011-2014, the economy grew at an average 0.4 per cent. The Planning Institute of Jamaica says the economy grew by 0.8 in 2015.&rdquo; (The Gleaner, February 5, 2016)<br /> <br /> Hyman and the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) trumpeters repeat ad nauseam that the previous Administration received the economy on the brink of collapse.<br /> <br /> The Gleaner of February 5, 2016 reported among others things: &ldquo;...In the JLP&rsquo;s last year, the economy grew by 1.7 per cent.&rdquo; This was achieved during the worst global economic recession since the Great Depression of 1929-1939.<br /> <br /> Still, Hyman, PNP numbers mechanics and pseudo-intellectual cheerleaders continue to repeat in various forums that the previous Administration received an economy in shambles. <br /> <br /> Adolf Hitler&rsquo;s propaganda minister, Dr Joseph Goebbels, is known to have said, &ldquo;If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.&rdquo; Gladly, this strategy is no longer particularly potent, given the reality of information at the click of a button.<br /> <br /> Pinocchio types continue to &lsquo;halla&rsquo; that the PNP officers are better managers of the Jamaican economy. Are they aware of these economic facts? Or are they mere mimic men who act as echo chambers for a party which has lost its relevance?<br /> <br /> Recall that these companies &mdash; and this is an abbreviated list &mdash; capsized while the PNP held office: Mutual Life, a company that operated locally for over 100 years; Goodyear Tyre Company; West Indies Glass; Homelectrix; Workers&rsquo; Bank; Raymar&rsquo;s Furniture; Charley&rsquo;s Windsor House; Thermo Plastics; Berec Batteries; Century National Bank; Crown Eagle Insurance; Crown Eagle Insurance Commercial Bank; Island Life Insurance Company; American Life Insurance Company; Eagle Merchant Bank; Ecotrends; Times Store; Things Jamaican, which had its location turned into a prison by the PNP. Add to those another 45,000 small and medium-sized businesses that went under during the 1990s.<br /> <br /> Recall a front-page story in The Gleaner on Tuesday, February 9, 2002, which listed major money scandals that have occurred under the watch of PNP administrations. The root of these scandals is an amalgam of ineptitude and a cruel waste of public resources. The consequences have helped to chronically impoverish Jamaica and damage our credibility abroad.<br /> <br /> 1. Shell waiver (1991) - $29.5 million; approximately $560 million in today&rsquo;s terms<br /> <br /> 2. Zinc (1989) - $500 million; approx $22 billion today<br /> <br /> 3. Furniture (1991) - $10.6 million; approx $ 200 million today<br /> <br /> 4. Public sector salaries (1998) - $60 million; approx $287 million today<br /> <br /> 5. NetServ (2001) - $220 million; approx $ 856 million today<br /> <br /> 6. Operation Pride/NHDC (1997-present) - $5.5 billion projected; approx $20 billion today<br /> <br /> TOTAL: $6.320 billion; approx $44 billion today<br /> <br /> Jamaica must never forget these facts. Our first National Hero Marcus Mosiah Garvey warned us decades ago not to forget our history. <br /> <br /> When Hyman says that the PNP has been a better manager of the economy, I assume he is oblivious to these growth figures which are a matter of public record: 1970 (11.9 per cent); 1971 (3.0 per cent); 1972 (9.1 per cent); 1973 (1.3 per cent); 1974 (-3.9 per cent); 1975 (-0.3 per cent); 1976 (-6.5 per cent); 1977 (-2.4 per cent); 1978 (0.6 per cent); 1979 (-1.8 per cent); 1980 (-5.7 per cent).<br /> <br /> These statistics from the Planning Institute of Jamaica testify to the failures of the PNP&rsquo;s 18 years in office from 1989 to 2007: 1989 (7.0 per cent); 1990 (6.3 per cent); 1991 (0.5 per cent); 1992 (2.7 per cent); 1993 (2.2 per cent); 1994 (1.9 per cent); 1995 (2.5 per cent); 1996 (-0.2 per cent); 1997 (-1.6 per cent); 1998 (-1.0 per cent); 1999 (1.0 per cent); 2000 (0.9 per cent); 2001 (1.3 per cent); 2002 (1.0 per cent); 2003 (3.5 per cent); 2004 (1.4 per cent); 2005 (1.1 per cent); 2006 (3.0 per cent); 2007 (1.4 per cent). (NB: The years 1972 and 1990 were momentum years of the Jamaica Labour Party administrations of former prime ministers Hugh Lawson Shearer and Edward Seaga.)<br /> <br /> On the same radio programme, two weeks ago, Hyman spouted that the &ldquo;Jamaica Labour Party Administration is going right back to its previous state of mismanaging the country.&rdquo; Hyman must have been listening to &lsquo;Just My Imagination&rsquo; by the Temptations<br /> <br /> Is it Mr Hyman&rsquo;s contention that these newspaper stories are fabrications?<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The resort town of Port Antonio in Portland had its first cruise ship visit for 2017 when Star Flyer docked at the Ken Wright shipping pier shortly after 10:00 am on Wednesday. This is a proud moment for all of us,&rdquo; said Port Antonio Mayor Paul Thompson.&rdquo; (<br /> <br /> The Gleaner, January 6, 2017)<br /> <br /> On December 6, 2016, The Gleaner carried this headline: &lsquo;Kingston to welcome first cruise ship in five years today&rsquo;. The story said, among other things: &ldquo;The port of Kingston is today set to welcome its first cruise ship in five years. The<br /> <br /> MS Monarch, operated by Royal Caribbean&rsquo;s Pullmantur Brand, will have 2,700 passengers on board.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Vice-president, cruise shipping and marina operations at the Port Authority of Jamaica, William Tatham says the ship was unable to secure berths on Jamaica&rsquo;s north coast as those at the Montego Bay and Falmouth ports are full.&rdquo; (<br /> <br /> The Gleaner, December 6, 2016)<br /> <br /> Has it dawned on people like Hyman that this cruise ship means the securing and/or the creation of opportunities for Jamaicans?<br /> <br /> I suspect Hyman and those like him were too preoccupied in the company of the green-eyed monster and therefore did not see this headline in The Gleaner on December 14, 2016: &lsquo;Shattering 2% - IDB boss says economy well poised, wants growth rate to reach elusive figure&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> The story also said: &ldquo;Therese Turner-Jones, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) country representative in Jamaica, has said that she expects the calendar year to end with the economy still barrelling on its positive path.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Speaking with The Gleaner yesterday, Turner-Jones said that the positives that have emerged in the Jamaican economy so far this year were expected as the Andrew Holness-led Administration has stayed on course.<br /> <br /> &ldquo; &lsquo;With the year ending, I think Jamaica is in a good place. The primary balance has been achieved and the debt is coming down. Inflation has remained low, so prices are stable. Those are all good indicators,&rsquo; she stated.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Did those who are constipated on negativity read of these developments?<br /> <br /> &ldquo;<br /> <br /> The New York Times has designated Kingston as one of the top 52 Best Places to Go in 2017, much to the delight of tourism partners and stakeholders.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;<br /> <br /> The New York Times, one of the leading newspapers in the United States, made the announcement today, listing Jamaica&rsquo;s capital at number 24.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) described the designation as an &lsquo;enviable&rsquo; one, saying in a news release Wednesday that it comes on the heels of the first anniversary of Kingston being named a UNESCO Creative City of Music.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In highlighting the attributes of Kingston,<br /> <br /> The New York Times article cited the city&rsquo;s cultural offerings such as the One World Rocksteady Music Festival, the newly opened Peter Tosh Museum and the dub club music parties.&rdquo; (<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer, January 4, 2017)<br /> <br /> While some PNP professional politicians continue to play hide- and-seek with advice to &ldquo;go find work,&rdquo; which was delivered free of charge by a former comrade and very decent Jamaican, Heather Robinson, the country moves forward.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Three hundred and seventy-five farm workers, the first batch for 2017, are scheduled to leave the island today to take up employment opportunities in greenhouse production of vegetables, fruits and other agricultural crops in Canada.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Addressing the group yesterday at the Overseas Employment Services Centre, Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson stressed the importance of the programme to not only the participants but to the local economy.&rdquo; (<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer, January 4, 2017) I suspect Hyman and like minds would have had a fit when they read these recent headlines, &lsquo;J$100-m Dragon Bay Hotel redevelopment to get under way this year&rsquo;. (The Gleaner, January 8, 2017)<br /> <br /> He doubtless threw a tantrum when he saw this: &lsquo;Jamaica, China sign agreement to build children&rsquo;s hospital in MoBay&rsquo;. (Jamaica Observer, January 9, 2017)<br /> <br /> These developments are doubtless foreign to the naysayers, given their propensity for intellectual anaemia: &lsquo;Jamaica exceeds all targets &mdash; EPOC&rsquo;. (Jamaica Observer, November 10, 2016)<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Jamaica has exceeded all macroeconomic targets for the 14th and final quarterly test under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Co-chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Richard Byles, addressing a press briefing at the Sagicor offices in Kingston today, said he believes Jamaica will easily pass the test in all the quantitative performance criteria.<br /> <br /> &ldquo; &lsquo;This is not just a pass, but a very big pass for Jamaica for this 14th quarterly test,&rsquo; Byles said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;He noted that for the quarter ending September, the Net International Reserves (NIR) stood at US$2.47 billion, exceeding the target by more than US$600 million. The country also surpassed the primary surplus target by some $21 billion, to achieve a primary balance of $53.6 billion.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Also, &lsquo;Jamaica records lowest unemployment rate in five years&rsquo;. (Jamaica Observer, November 17, 2016)<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Unemployment in Jamaica continues to decline, with the figure at 12.9 per cent as at July 2016, the lowest quarterly rate in five years.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This is according to the latest labour force survey undertaken by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN).<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The rate for the July quarter was 0.2 per cent lower than the figure recorded for January 2015 and 0.8 per cent less than April 2016.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The youth unemployment rate also saw a decline of 1.3 per cent to 29.6 per cent.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr Wayne Henry, said that the total number of employed persons as at July 2016 stood at 1,186,900, an increase of 39,400 persons relative to July 2015. He said this represents the highest level of employment ever recorded for a single month.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer, August 8, 2016: &lsquo;Bartlett reports highest visitor arrival in July&rsquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says the highest number of visitors for any July was recorded this year, amounting to 211,000.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer, November 7, 2016: &lsquo;Ja records over 5% increase in visitor arrivals, earnings&rsquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett disclosed that Jamaica&rsquo;s tourism sector has registered an increase of over five per cent in both visitor arrivals and gross foreign exchange earnings for the first nine months of 2016.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Speaking from the World Travel Market in London today, the minister said that, &ldquo;The latest figures from the Jamaica Tourist Board indicate that for the period January to September 2016 total arrivals, both stopover and cruise, increased by 5.4 per cent, with 2,876,220 recorded visitors when compared to the same period last year.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The Gleaner, January 11, 2017: &lsquo;ItelBPO to double operation, workforce by year end&rsquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Yoni Epstein&rsquo;s home-grown business process outsourcing company, ItelBPO Smart Solutions, is looking to double its staff in 12 months.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This will take its total number employed to 1,500. The commitment comes as the firm officially opened its fourth site in Jamaica recently.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;ItelBPO Smart Solutions added a new centre in Montego Bay, where it now operates two facilities. The others are in Kingston and The Bahamas. The company&rsquo;s four facilities together span 50,000 square feet of working space, but Epstein says he will be expanding the existing facilities in Jamaica during 2017.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Despite Jamaica&rsquo;s many lingering problems, the country is moving forward and I believe our best days are ahead.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is morning again in America&rdquo;: This was Ronald Reagan&rsquo;s primary campaign tag line in the 1980 presidential election.<br /> <br /> To Hyman and others like him I say, embrace the signs of morning again in Jamaica and cease hugging on the darkness like a vice grip.<br /> <br /> The only success of the PNP doom trumpeters, thus far, is that they have ruined satire.<br /> <br /> The most frustrating thing about the ignorant is how hard they work to remain ignorant. &mdash; Will Spencer<br /> <br /> Garfield Higgins is an educator; journalist; and advisor to the minister of education, youth and information. Send comments to the Observer or<br /> <br /> higgins160@yahoo.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13545727/250765_77452_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Wednesday, January 18, 2017 12:00 AM The acting police commish&rsquo;s crime stats just a bunch of malarkey http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-acting-police-commish-s-crime-stats-just-a-bunch-of-malarkey_86466 The acting police commissioner in Jamaica, Novelette Grant, last week released an impressive list of statistics in a desperate attempt at burnishing the much-fractured image of the Jamaican Constabulary Force. This comes after the continued public outcry for more effective policing across the island and in the wake of the continued murder rampage, with 38 Jamaicans murdered on the island, year to date, and with 2017 only 17 days old.<br /> <br /> It comes against a background also of the sensationalised sex scandal involving a Moravian pastor and a minor in the island&rsquo;s west end, the coverage of which has enveloped even the mind-boggling murder toll as Jamaican media practitioners train their microphones and lens on the salacious story, attacking with a vengeance, not the perpetrator of the crime, but the person who supported his bail application. In the process, this deflected our collective attention from the ineffective crime management and the island&rsquo;s runaway murder toll for a few days.<br /> <br /> Against this background it was noticeable that the minister of finance, in the tabling of the Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure, announced a $5.5-billion increase in the provision for the island&rsquo;s crime-fighting efforts. There has been no discussion as to how to address the runaway crime problem beyond throwing in more money, and in true Jamaican political tradition this comes as simply another grand announcement, especially as the Minister of National Security Robert &ldquo;Bobby&rdquo; Montague has already absolved himself of responsibility for a crime management policy, with his declaration that the incoming police commissioner must provide such a policy framework with their job application.<br /> <br /> I do not know Acting Commissioner Grant, and I care not for who occupies the chair of the National Security Ministry. What I care about is the urgency needed in addressing the nation&rsquo;s crime problem as the country&rsquo;s ability to provide for the security of its people is paramount to its social, economic, and political success. While Acting Commissioner Grant&rsquo;s reading of her table of statistics may seem impressive to the uninitiated, for anyone with a feel for the numbers and the reality on the ground, the statistics she provided are &ldquo;a bunch of malarkey&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> For openers, we should ask Grant about her 57 per cent &ldquo;cleared-up&rdquo; rate for murders, and an even deeper question of how many of the individuals charged by the police for murder in 2016, and even back in 2014 and 2015, have been successfully convicted of those crimes and are now serving time for those activities?<br /> <br /> Jamaica&rsquo;s conviction rates for the crime of murder is well under 10 per cent, which means that nine out of 10 people charged by the police for these crimes, walk free. Nothing is said of the remaining 43 per cent and, in the circumstances, it becomes useless even bothering to ask about cold cases over three and five years old.<br /> <br /> I would like to pose the same question to Acting Commissioner Grant with respect to crimes such as, robberies, rapes, possession of an illegal firearm, and ammunition. How many of the more than 17,000 individuals arrested by the police for various offences last year have been tried and convicted for those offences? Those, Acting Commissioner Grant are the real statistics, because those numbers speak to the effectiveness of the police&rsquo;s investigative capabilities and to a real chance of addressing the crime problem in the country.<br /> <br /> Hiding behind the numbers is a well known police high command tactic, and while officials like Acting Police Commissioner Grant preen their feathers as they reel off those meaningless numbers, the wanton extinguishing of people&rsquo;s lives continues unabated, as too the continued offences against the person such as rape, child abuse, robbery, and the like. If the police cannot provide the investigative ability to present a properly investigated case for successful prosecution, then those numbers and those attention-getting announcements at press conferences by Grant may succeed in buttressing the police&rsquo;s flagging image. But, in the end, it is simply a bunch of malarkey.<br /> <br /> Richard Hugh Blackford is a self-taught artist, writer and social commentator. He shares his time between Coral Springs, Florida, and Kingston, Jamaica. www.yardabraawd.com. Send comments to the Observer or<br /> <br /> richardhblackford@gmail.com. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13190728/220278_w300.jpg Local Opinion Tuesday, January 17, 2017 12:00 AM Is rejecting the prison deal really beneficial to Jamaica? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Is-rejecting-the-prison-deal-really-beneficial-to-Jamaica-_86686 The Andew Holness Administration has taken the retrograde step of rejecting, without more, the very generous offer made by the United Kingdom (UK) Government to assist in building a well-needed, modern penal facility which would improve the living conditions of the prisoners and propel us into conformity with domestic and international human rights laws. It remains to be seen what the alternative will be.<br /> <br /> The minister of foreign affairs, Kamina Johnson Smith, who spoke in Parliament on the issue last week, said that the basis for rejecting the $5.5 billion deal was that its terms, which include the proposed transfer of 300 Jamaican prisoners serving time in the UK jails to our facility, would not be beneficial to Jamaica as a whole.<br /> <br /> Holness had stridently opposed this proposal in September 2015, while he served as Opposition leader, yet, to date, he has not advanced any viable alternative to house prisoners in more humane and acceptable conditions.<br /> <br /> Since the deal was rejected, Holness should now declare, with probity, whether there were attempts by his Administration to negotiate a mutually beneficial offer for us to get somewhere.<br /> <br /> Johnson Smith fuelled the fire of the Administration&rsquo;s disregard for the rights of the prisoners, and for a state-of-the-art facility with rehabilitation mechanisms that are required for their productive reintegration into the society, by stating that she was prohibited from answering certain questions due to national security concerns.<br /> <br /> In a context where we desperately need more space to house the rising number of criminals, what type of national security concerns could be raised by the reasonable questioning of the justification for rejecting this deal to improve not only the deplorable conditions of our penal facilities, but the lives of the prisoners?<br /> <br /> On the contrary, the only national security concern is their rejection of this offer, which would be the precursor to recidivism, with the concomitant rise in crimes by these prisoners who have been subjected to the horrible conditions and degrading treatment in the current situation.<br /> <br /> What would prevent a convict from furthering his criminal acts after being subjected to the unwholesome conditions the State enables, which they have been forced to accept as the standard? He is likely to be in the same or even worse position than he was when he was imprisoned. Rejecting this prison deal is a recipe for disaster.<br /> <br /> Successive governments have talked about improving the state of affairs, which would enhance the lives of the citizens and abiding by the human rights standards. But none of them have effectively demonstrated the political will needed to fix the justice and law enforcement systems.<br /> <br /> If there is no resolve to correct the maladies of our justice system, and if there is a scant regard for the human rights and basic living conditions of our citizens, then there can be no meaningful advancement in our society.<br /> <br /> While the Government searches for a &lsquo;perfect&rsquo; deal, and pontificates about the money being put to better use, the prisoners are suffering and their morals and dignity are being further eroded.<br /> <br /> Holness and his team overused the phrase &ldquo;we care&rdquo; during their election campaigns last year. Is rejecting the prison deal caring for the prisoners&rsquo; human rights? Is rejecting the prison deal beneficial to Jamaica?<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> dujon.russell@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13575715/252888_79620_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Tuesday, January 17, 2017 12:00 AM Beyond immorality? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Beyond-immorality--_86683 The church of Jesus Christ (all groupings including Moravians) should not register alarm or surprise at the mixed flock of birds that has swarmed around us and will continue so to do (most of the birds being John crows or dead flesh eaters, but not all) because we have provided the dead flesh that such birds delight in tearing to bits.<br /> <br /> I confess that owing to a barrage of work over the past few weeks I came to the sex scandal saga (soap opera, to be continued?) a bit late in the day and registered bewilderment at bits and pieces of the allegations levelled at my clergy brother Rupert Clarke (yes, he is still my brother, though I don&rsquo;t think I know him personally) that I heard or read and responded with my usual, &ldquo;behold I show you a mystery&rdquo; to things that baffle my mind. <br /> <br /> Father Raulston Nembhard&rsquo;s   column on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 spoke for me and to me, and I e-mailed him and said as much.<br /> <br /> Concern for the young miss in the saga should be extended to her whole family, regardless of what may eventually be proven in court.<br /> <br /> The Church, in general, has been far too reluctant to talk about things sexual in the settings where most of our people show up (Saturday or Sunday morning worship services). Relegating such discussions to midweek evening/night meetings, where comparatively few attend, is deliberately failing to scratch where people continue to itch.<br /> <br /> It is my long-held belief &mdash; and I open my CD Plain Talk on Sex with it &mdash; that &ldquo;if you have never felt a strong pull to sexual intercourse, you are too young, too old, or too lie!&rdquo;<br /> <br /> I go stronger now, whether you are a parson or not, as a Christian, if you claim that you have never struggled with a temptation to sexual immorality you are extremely rare or you need to be reminded of Revelation 21:8 &ldquo;&hellip;all liars have their part in the lake of fire&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> I have suggested to congregations that, with reference to our confessional prayer life before God, we go beyond owning up to actual sin as S-I-N, and acknowledge to God a personal proneness (leaning) to certain sins. Praying this way shows acute awareness of the weak areas in my personal life and reminds me that, in these areas, sin is not just merely possible or probable for all people, but likely for me personally. Thus, it humanises me.<br /> <br /> Praying this way does another delightful thing, it sensitises me concerning other Christians who sin or do unlawful things. So I avoid two extremes in response to such individuals, the extreme of condemnation and of compromise. The recommended middle road is compassion.<br /> <br /> Quite frankly, though hard to swallow as an idea, we all should ponder the thought that we may not have committed the sins of others, not because we lack the desire for those sins or similar ones, but because we simply lacked the opportunity that others had or created. What if desire and opportunity came together in my life, would I not be &lsquo;John Crow food&rsquo; as others?<br /> <br /> I was shot between my spiritual eyes years ago by a statement that I read from Christian philosopher Dallas Willard. He said, &ldquo;The thought of sin is not sin, and is not even temptation. Temptation is the thought plus the inclination to sin &mdash; possibly manifested by lingering over the thought or seeking it out. But sin itself is when we inwardly say &lsquo;yes&rsquo; to temptation, when we would [want to] do the deed, even though we do not actually do it.&rdquo; (Renovation of the Heart, p 33, my emphasis)<br /> <br /> When we struggle unsuccessfully with some sexual temptations we may need, in addition to prayer/fasting, serious psychiatric help.<br /> <br /> Struggling unsuccessfully with a proneness to sexual intercourse with minors, ie, feeling a compulsion to have sexual intercourse with minors (paedophilia), I gather from my friends in psychology, suggests a need for deep psychotherapy.<br /> <br /> Some behaviours, in my weird mind though, go beyond immorality and illegality and border on lunacy! <br /> <br /> Still, we all need to heed the wise caution of attorney-at-law Bert Samuels, who chided the media (formal and social) for seeming to forget that an accused person has legal rights too until the case is disposed of in court. What we unlearned folk and even lawyers call an &lsquo;open and shut case&rsquo; by the appearance of the allegations are at times not that at all!<br /> <br /> Rev Clinton Chisholm is a minister of religion and scholar. Send comments to the Observer or to<br /> <br /> clintchis@yahoo.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13575714/252886_79632_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Tuesday, January 17, 2017 12:00 AM No quick fix to nursing brain drain http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/No-quick-fix-to-nursing-brain-drain_86467 Nurses are the backbone of Jamaica&rsquo;s health system and some have earned the reputation of being among the best in the world, so it&rsquo;s no wonder they are increasingly sought after internationally. As expected, the poaching of nurses from the public health care system is again on the national agenda. Indeed, given the ease of this nurse brain drain, one is left to ponder whether Jamaica, by itself, has the ability to retain its nurses, particularly specialist nurses, in this competitive environment.<br /> <br /> Between 2015 and 2016, the Jamaica health system lost over 200 nurses &mdash; a group including more than 170 specialists. Undoubtedly, poaching will continue because the World Health Organization&rsquo;s (WHO) non-binding memorandum of understanding does not effectively prevent countries from recruiting health care workers from member states.<br /> <br /> While the perennial problem of other countries recruiting Jamaican nurses can be mutually beneficial to the source and destination, this compromises an already fragile Jamaican public health system, with several wards and specialist units &mdash; such as intensive care units and operating theatres &mdash; having to scale down operations or close their doors.<br /> <br /> IS IT ALL ABOUT MONEY?<br /> <br /> In researching the impact of no user fees on the work of professional nurses, the 2006-2009 data revealed that, despite an increased workload and delivering care under poor working conditions, nurses opted to remain in Jamaica and extended themselves to ensure that users accessed health care. Dominant opinions, however, were that nurses were disenchanted with lack of recognition for their worth and work, as well as a remuneration package not always comparable to others in the Caribbean region.<br /> <br /> These were, however, not identified as key determinants for nurses to migrate or resign from a public health facility. Nurses were more concerned about the lack of supplies and the impact on their ability to perform, as well as how it influenced the users&rsquo; perception of them. Additionally, they raised concerns about the lack of administrative support, inadequate counselling services for nurses, or even a cr&egrave;che for those with young children.<br /> <br /> THE DOOR SWINGS IN<br /> <br /> Successive governments have attempted to plug the gap in the system by engaging other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Cuba, India, Nigeria, and the Philippines, to either assist with training additional specialist nurses or recruiting extra nurses to satisfy the local demand.<br /> <br /> However, Jamaica&rsquo;s attempts to recruit health practitioners, particularly specialist nurses, from other countries have certain inherent problems. Dominant opinions among local nurses are that the language barrier between natives and overseas nurses can create problems for users of the public health system. <br /> <br /> For example, one nurse recounted: &ldquo;We are Jamaicans and we use certain terms...A patient came to the Outpatient [Department] at one time and told the doctor that he had &lsquo;operation&rsquo;...[The] doctor did not understand [it to mean] diarrhoea...so you have to be careful.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Another issue with overseas nurses was that the local nurses were unhappy that overseas nurses received better remuneration packages. This could be remedied with standardisation.<br /> <br /> Further, local nurses also raised concerns about the close supervision that is required for overseas-recruited nurses. The nurses felt they needed to take extra responsibility for the overseas nurses. Registered nurses recounted the challenges they experienced while working with some overseas nurses, some describing the experience as stressful.<br /> <br /> Said one nurse: &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve worked with a few of them and it just puts more stress on me because you have to be watching. Even if you assign [them] to, say, do this, as soon as you turn...they are going to do something else. They don&rsquo;t know about a sterile dressing...they don&rsquo;t know about passing a female U Cath [urinary catheter]...they don&rsquo;t understand...they just take up gloves, put [them] on and are ready to go. There was a situation where one just came, took a nurse&rsquo;s notes from the day before and just copied everything.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> This further raised concerns regarding the level of training overseas nurses received and whether the curriculum is consistent with that utilised to train local nurses. One registered nurse recounted: &ldquo;When you use certain terms to them they don&rsquo;t understand...nursing terms; you are a nurse, you are supposed to be familiar [with these terminologies].&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Without doubt it is necessary to undertake an examination of the efficiency of immigrant nurses. Recruitment of overseas nurses in an attempt to complement staff has given rise to certain issues, among which are the quality of training and attained competence.<br /> <br /> SYSTEMIC BLOCKS<br /> <br /> Despite increased recruitment and training, the research showed that this did not sufficiently relieve the shortage. Furthermore, nurses were concerned about the archaic cadres (established number of trained professionals in the public health system) resulting in fewer posts for appointment of new staff. This phenomenon further compounds the shortage of staff in health facilities generally. Consequently, nurses are often redeployed to other facilities to ensure minimal coverage, especially in primary health care facilities. For this reason, continuity and accepted standards of care by nurses cannot be guaranteed. <br /> <br /> NO PLUG FOR THE DRAIN, BUT...<br /> <br /> Migration of nurses to the private sector and overseas will be with us for some time, so it is time for policymakers to be creative and engage recruiters of Jamaican nurses in a more strategic and sound manner. Recruiters should be made to contribute to the training of Jamaican nurses by providing both financial support to training institutions and practice settings, while boosting a resource-constrained public health system which continues to produce world-class nurses.<br /> <br /> Above all, clearly defined strategies to train and retain Jamaican nurses in order to effectively manage the needs of the industry must be established. <br /> <br /> Adella Campbell, PhD, is a graduate of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and is head of the Caribbean School of Nursing, University of Technology, Jamaica.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13573901/251956_78594_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Monday, January 16, 2017 12:00 AM