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 Help! The Gordon Town Road breakaway needs fixing http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Help--The-Gordon-Town-Road-breakaway-needs-fixing_75692 WE&rsquo;RE moving into the weekend with another meteorological warning that we could be running into stormy weather. Up to the time of writing, there was no guarantee that it will be so. We are still not absolutely sure that we won&rsquo;t have to contend with another &ldquo;crosses&rdquo;, but it would be stupid to believe that it can&rsquo;t happen. So let&rsquo;s keep things in focus.<br /> <br /> Will there be a storm this time fi true? Will we have to rush out and spend next week&rsquo;s family food budget ahead of time &mdash; which nobody wants to go through so soon, especially when the cost of extra bills has barely settled?<br /> <br /> People were really upset that First of August, when they rushed to spend on extra food purchased to ride out a likely storm, which didn&rsquo;t bother to trouble us. It was a difficult time, yes, but better late than sorry if we were caught without provision. What if it had really been a storm? We have history recorded to show how deadly storms were in the past and can be in the present. When there was no storm, we said unkind things about the Meteorological Service and others whose reputation and peace of mind barely survived the blame laid on because no storm came. We&rsquo;ve barely settled that when we&rsquo;re back again, worrying about another warning which could be nearby.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Talking of worries<br /> <br /> The National Works Agency personnel have had a major problem on their hands for some time now, caused by a breakaway on the top end of the Gordon Town Road, an area which is politically identified as &ldquo;East Rural St Andrew&rdquo;. The road which is in Gordon Town provides access both in and out, not just for one community alone but for several others, all the way up from the Papine area to several communities in the Blue Mountain foothills. The breakaway which creates problems for motorists, is a matter for serious concern. You&rsquo;d never believe from how long it has been in that state. There seems to be that, thanks to &ldquo;divine intervention&rdquo;, there haven&rsquo;t been serious mishaps.<br /> <br /> The Works Agency assured us that they have not ignored the seriousness of the situation. They&rsquo;re doing their best to correct it, so it is said. Other sources in another area says promises were even made in political quarters, that the road problem would have been settled before today. Well, many a day has turned into many a night and back to day again yet, and still the broken area remains a traffic hazard. The &ldquo;fissure&rdquo; has widened day by day, leaving the community confused and worried. It is not a simple little &ldquo;bruck weh&rdquo;. It has grown wider and deeper, making that side of the road dangerous. What is preventing speedy, efficient correction?<br /> <br /> People have been extraordinarily co-operative, no doubt in the hope that repairs would come soon. It would certainly make people who have to &ldquo;small up&rdquo; themselves on the road feel better. At the best of time, users of that particular road have had to be on their guard, lest they drift over into the danger area of the roadway, which has been broken before, below which is the river, albeit a shadow of its former self but still a source of concern. There is no practical alternate route. Assurance and more assurance has been given but it means nothing if there is no sense of safety. <br /> <br /> Some time ago, a strange looking object turned up at the spot, above the river. At a glance, it looked somewhat like a trunk standing on one end. People have been careful when manoeuvring past it but that is still not enough to allay all fears. <br /> <br /> What if something really uncontrollable were to break the barriers? Suppose more of the road broke away, plunging down into the river below? With the fears of a possible storm making its way into the area, now, it is adding more concern and weakening the people&rsquo;s confidence&hellip;What if? What if?<br /> <br /> I sought not only information but solace from the Works Agency. Whatta gwaan? I was told that their team was doing the best it can to settle the breakaway problem. The team wants to see the matter fixed as much as we. Then the talk turned to cost. Oh yes! The never-ending money story. That calls for meetings and meetings, Government-style. These are not dollar and cents days so the million-dollar path has to be trod, which means going to tender, checking bids, going after the money. Yeah, yeah and the breakaway remains a community problem. <br /> <br /> The people want the road properly restored. Officialdom says it will take nuff money which has to come from &ldquo;Govament&rdquo; who we are assured will come through in time. Don&rsquo;t forget also bidding for contracts and discussing them, etc, and so on and so forth and more so on. One day! One day! I was told. So, I&rsquo;m left to hope. What fall offa head just might drop pon shoulder!<br /> <br /> With nothing but a few feet left, barely enough for Jamaica Urban Transit Company buses to squeeze past and other vehicles which ferry east-rural residents uphill and downhill on their daily business, what kind of press release should the community look forward to? I understand fully the &ldquo;waiting for the money&rdquo; situation but you mean, there is no power that it can have it stepped up, for the well-being of the communities?<br /> <br /> The Gordon Town road is no stranger having to wait till something passes an &ldquo;exam&rdquo;. The community all the way up the hill has known what it is to face culvert wash-way, retaining wall give up leaving people to worry, not to forget post-storm rockslides. Has it dawned on anybody that luck mightn&rsquo;t hold out every day? Somebody! Do something before &ldquo;something&rdquo; do somebody, nuh! <br /> <br /> Old-time wisdom abounds in rural and semi-rural communities. &ldquo;Every day bucket go a well, one day bucket bottom will fall out.&rdquo; Don&rsquo;t believe it? Ask Granny or any other old-timer who has been living in the hills for nuff-nuff time now. We shouldn&rsquo;t tempt Fate. Please, fix the Gordon Town Road breakaway. Believe it or not, hillside people pay taxes too. <br /> <br /> Motor cycle crash<br /> <br /> Coming home from work the other night, we came upon an accident scene which drew ambulance, fire engine and police cars. Wha &lsquo;appen? The remnants of a motorcycle lay on the ground smashed to pieces. We couldn&rsquo;t bear it so we took another route heading home. The police are burdened to the limit. <br /> <br /> As if Montego Bay and its surroundings were not enough loads for the cops to carry, to have to take on motor vehicles too? Where will this all end? Why are some things happening with disaster, almost too much to bear? Who is going to change the culture? Can&rsquo;t cyclists and motorists see that it is theirs not others who must make the choice by the way they protect their own lives? We really don&rsquo;t need the waste which is going on.<br /> <br /> Trump, yes? Trump, no? Is Etana the only Jamaican who is preparing to Make it Trump? I can hardly wait to find out why. You mean, what is his attraction for some of us? Count me out, thank you please. Not that it matters. They call it Democracy. Don&rsquo;t it?<br /> <br /> Barbara Gloudon is a journalist, playwright and commentator. Send comments to the<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer.<br /> <br /> gloudonb@yahoo.com http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13322795/231846_58757_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Friday, September 30, 2016 2:00 AM Crime soars as Cabinet does not trust or empower citizens http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Crime-soars-as-Cabinet-does-not-trust-or-empower-citizens-_75693 To control crime we have to make the streets unsafe for criminals. If National Security Minister Robert Montague and Police Commissioner Carl Williams parse this sentence and apply it we may have the beginning of wisdom. I asked who would give up some rights to win against crime and some communities say yes; but Cabinet dithers.<br /> <br /> The crime storm in St James should be no surprise as criminals follow money and the vulnerable. The news that MoBay is in for jobs, business; more decent, less alert, is out so short term. We must take back public spaces &mdash; stop and search to include tinted vehicles, curfew, cordon; discourage idlers from public spaces; eg use high frequency noise as &ldquo;the mosquito&rdquo; and ask decent citizens to apply for firearm permits. Job one is defensive; keep murderers in their lair and build public confidence to move around.<br /> <br /> We are the crime capital of the world, so take no comfort that &ldquo;only locals are killed!&rdquo; Students came from abroad to do trauma specialty at Kingston Public Hospital and I was flattered until one told me his choice was Kingston or the West Bank war zone. We have been the most gratuitously violent place which is not at war; not a place for kids or old people. Just listen to how we engage normally: boisterous, stentorian. Abroad, as &lsquo;bad wud fly&rsquo; we tell them this is the Jamaica way so white people do not call police.<br /> <br /> Is this a legacy of Empire, African roots or our sojourn here in Tainoland? Our serial Cabinets allowed these tendencies to grow by emphasis on rights and entitlements with no equal time on being responsible and accountable. Politicians have a lot to answer for. Selah!<br /> <br /> Cabinet is responsible for our safety. The &lsquo;Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms&rsquo; guarantees us &ldquo;the right to life, liberty and security of the person&rdquo; (Act 12 of 2011), so we must use law to compel them to reorganise, replenish the police force and integrate us for effectiveness as we are the ones dying.<br /> <br /> Rights groups must take Cabinet to the Privy Council for us. What of the long term? In the 70s crime was too hot to plan; so too in the 80s, 90s and &lsquo;noughties&rsquo;. Imagine if we had planned back then? All USA, UK, policing is local, eg New York, Chicago, London, here we have one colonial force for all Jamaica; does it work? Free the police to have county (or region) forces &mdash; Cornwall, Middlesex, Surrey &mdash; each with a chief of police (CEO) and commissioners (governance body) drawn from county security and civilian folk. A chief must drill down for solutions and data for the county. A high-level integrative National Commission will use comparative ratios to drive performance in each county. The UK has over 40 forces each with chiefs of police &mdash; London with 10 million is the plum job. Professional rivalry drives success. This is community policing taken to the next level. Note the FBI is USA&rsquo;s national police all other forces are local.<br /> <br /> Data is crucial. In New York or London policing is data driven and technology enabled. They innovate we must adopt or adapt. They have police databases and use others. Local councils use CCTV and licence plate recognition software to track motorists for fly tipping, parking, loading violations; police have speed cams; road agency traffic cams; news people, supermarkets have cams. Vehicle data can be accessed from a squad car; fine levied or vehicle impounded and crushed to a 2x2 briquette in 14 days. Detective work is 60 per cent data by local police as most criminals are local. Nobody owns national data it&rsquo;s mostly fluff but county data has operational use. Last week&rsquo;s stories of women gun butted as they did not get into a taxi; a man at his gate as the taxi pulled up &ldquo;don&rsquo;t look at me&rdquo; &mdash; all robbed. Residents in the scheme cowered behind curtains. If a handful had the recommended long gun &mdash; different story! London police are able to triangulate and merge data sources &mdash; numerical, pictorial, verbal; granular detail from voters&rsquo; list, motor vehicle records; photos from local CCTV. Then nationally GCHQ which monitors millions of calls using complex algorithms and keywords may also assist.<br /> <br /> Who should have a gun? In the UK, America the majority are white and have most guns. Here the majority are black and have few guns. Black politicians oppress us! To own a house or mortgage is a pledge to Jamaica and such should be offered permits for a recommended &ldquo;long gun!&rdquo; Every security minister got more cars, officers, technology, guns &mdash; did it work? The Scandinavian model of citizens bearing arms can work here. How many long guns with two rounds chambered can a criminal steal and carry? Yet a community with a dozen such would cause criminals to think twice. On Friday, a lady and her daughter were entering her gate when a gunman decanted a taxi &ldquo;two a unnu cum inna di car now&rdquo;, she pushed her daughter to the ground and took off with the gunman in pursuit licking shot. The cops were prompt; tired, a few bruises &mdash; they lived. This is Jamaica in 2016.<br /> <br /> To run away is good defence as it&rsquo;s difficult to hit a moving target. Jamaicans must not give in to paranoia or fear, but Cabinet must encourage and give permits to those who wish to defend families. One lady said the police were prompt; the miscreant had just left via the open land &ldquo;see the bush still shaking&rdquo;, but the officer would not leave his car so she offered to give chase if he would lend her his gun. We must consider a 21st century community militia or home guard. Safety in numbers is not just a clich&Atilde;&copy; but crucial to community morale and dissipating fear &mdash; a silent killer. Some may die &mdash; many saved as empowering citizens is a multiplier to the police. Two officers assigned to 300 sensitive communities &mdash; who is whom, what, where can change things. Good crime fighting is small stuff caught early &mdash; mad taxi men too. I am ashamed for Jamaica; such beauty, such pain!<br /> <br /> It is an affront to all I hold dear that, robbed and beaten, I am consoled by, &ldquo;Thank God they did not kill you!&rdquo; This is madness. 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/13319950/231425_58508_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Friday, September 30, 2016 2:00 AM Can&rsquo;t just throw money at crime http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Can-t-just-throw-money-at-crime_75558 &ldquo;Saint Michael the archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the Earth seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Today is the feast day of the archangels, saints Michael, Raphael and Gabriel. This is why I began this article with quoting the popular prayer to St Michael, the archangel, in the Roman Catholic Church.<br /> <br /> All sins are inspired by evil, including crime and violence. Those that have manipulated the economic structure in such a way that leads some to crime and violence have also sinned. In Matthew 18:6 we read: &ldquo;But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> This year, the feast of the archangels, comes at a time when the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) have correctly voiced their concerns about the impact that crime in St James could very well have on the tourism product. This should be the concern of all Jamaicans as tourism drives the Jamaican economy today whether we like to admit it or not.<br /> <br /> The president of the JHTA seems to be asking for more of the same from the police to stem the crime instead of getting involved in social justice. The truth is that for many decades the cry has been the same: the police are not doing enough. A statement attributed to Einstein &mdash; some say he never said it &mdash; is that a definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. Will anything change for the better if the JHTA chooses not to get involved in social justice? The president of the JHTA needs to reflect on this.<br /> <br /> The president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) says that his organisation is willing to support any programme to stem the crime, and I understand this to mean that he supports some amount of social justice. Yes, the PSOJ can point to many projects costing perhaps billions of dollars, both as a group and in some cases individually. But there are some problems that are not solved by throwing money at them. What the poor of this country need is genuine empowerment.<br /> <br /> The Roman Catholic Church teaches that there are sins of commission as well as sins of omission. At the very beginning of mass in the Roman Catholic Church we say: &ldquo;I confess to Almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned; in what I have done and in what I have failed to do. Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault&hellip;&rdquo; Today I am looking at what we have failed to do, commonly called the sins of omission.<br /> <br /> But those who have thrown money at projects to help the poor are not necessarily exonerated. Simply throwing money and material things at the poor means that the poor will always need to run to them instead of helping themselves. And that sort of giving for a tax write-off does not really help &mdash; as the crime statistics are showing. The well-worn clich&Atilde;&copy; attributed to Confucius of &ldquo;teaching a man to fish&rdquo;, rather than giving him a fish every day is most appropriate here.<br /> <br /> I have been arguing for a long time that we should have a few co-operative hotels in which every worker is a shareowner. This, in my opinion, will go a long way in decreasing unemployment and crime. Will the hoteliers give to a foundation that will establish such co-operatives? What about the other big players in the tourism industry, such as the restaurateurs and the storeowners? Please reflect on this.<br /> <br /> There is nothing wrong with being wealthy. But there is a glorification and worship of wealth and material things in the United States and we caught with the wind here long ago. This ill wind then trickled down to the poorest in Jamaica. So many are &lsquo;blind&rsquo; to the immorality in some of the ways that wealth can be gained, such as in scamming for example, which apparently leads to violence. And gross immorality is generally overlooked just because of the monetary benefit.<br /> <br /> Even more important, if there is unemployment with no hope in getting jobs, then it becomes very difficult to stop crime and violence. We should be grateful that, while the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about 795 million of the 7.3 billion people in the world are undernourished, Jamaica does not have that serious a malnutrition problem today. Gone for many centuries are the days when children died from many types of sicknesses related to malnutrition.<br /> <br /> But the way in which the Jamaican society is organised it is very stressful as most people owe financial institutions and hold on to jobs in which they are not happy to pay the bills. To relieve the stress many go to doctors who give them prescriptions. But if there was more social justice the stress would be relieved and it would save them their medical bills.<br /> <br /> And if more people formed co-operatives, more individuals would not be as stressed in repaying loans, as essentially they would be working for themselves and not for some miserable employer. True, it is not easy to work together in co-operative projects because many refuse to work in unity and act in a disciplined manner. Indeed, co-operatives by themselves will not change anything if we do not know how to unite. But this is why co-operative education is important and should be taught in our schools.<br /> <br /> Co-operative education should be seen as an extension of teamwork learned in team sports, where unity and discipline can be primarily taught. And properly organised families should be regarded as the basic unit of co-operatives. Co-operative education should also bring about the end of the disgusting class attitudes that we inherited from slavery.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> ekrubm765@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12968849/204068__w300.jpg Local Opinion Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM Crocodile tears and beautiful speeches, but politicians are the problem http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Crocodile-tears-and-beautiful-speeches--but-politicians-are-the-problem_75566 The recent spate of criminal activities, in particular in the parish of St James, has given the opportunity for politicians to grandstand and make pretty speeches about criminal activities.<br /> <br /> The harsh reality is that several of the communities that are factories for criminals were either created by politicians; or in many cases, politicians exercised wilful blindness as these squatter and informal settlements were being established.<br /> <br /> Politicians from both major political parties supported the establishment of lawless communities and, when criminals take over and run these communities as &ldquo;donships&rdquo;, these same politicians shed crocodile tears and make beautiful speeches about how they are solving the crime situation.<br /> <br /> Any analysis of the crime situation in St James will show that many of the perpetrators are from informal or squatter communities. Many of us have, for years, warned that these squatter and informal communities are breeding grounds for criminals and are communities in which normal proper policing cannot be practised or enforced.<br /> <br /> These communities have no proper road network and so criminals can disappear in them knowing there is no street number or any formal system of addresses. Most squatter communities need an enforcer to protect the squatters from people who might seek to evict them from occupation of lands belonging to the State or to other people. This is the foundation on which the dons, the extortionists and the enforcers, build their kingdom of crime.<br /> <br /> The politicians, in time, lose control of these squatter and informal communities. Their authority is taken over by the dons, and in many instances politicians have to get the permission of dons to visit these communities.<br /> <br /> No amount of pretty speeches will bring about a solution to the crime monster now haunting the country. Experience has shown that there is one, and only one activity, that the criminals all fear, be he a don or a little petty criminal, and that activity is &ldquo;the hunt&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> If we look at the history of the dons in Jamaica, or if we go as far as to look at ex-President Saddam Hussein of Iraq, there is one and only one activity that they all fear and that is &ldquo;the hunt&rdquo;. We will not get on top of the crime situation without putting in place a dedicated, reliable, trustworthy and effective system of hunting the criminals. The young man whose photograph was shown with him holding an AK-74 rifle is at present fearless. However, should he become aware that there are professional law enforcement officers hunting him, we would be surprised to see how much a change there would be in him.<br /> <br /> The hunt generates fear in the &ldquo;baddest&rdquo; gunmen. The hunt removes from the gunmen the sense of comfort and confidence that they will not be captured. We need a team from the army and the police who are highly trained, well-motivated, and properly equipped with both weapons, transportation and electronic monitoring devices to launch a hunt for all the arrogant and oppressive gunmen who believe that they can do anything, anywhere, anyhow, without any repercussion.<br /> <br /> If we take a look at the experience of countries that had a difficulty with criminals, as we are now having, we will see that those countries never hesitated to embark upon the hunt. We will also note that the bravest of gunman is always brought to his trembling knees when he becomes aware that he is being effectively hunted.<br /> <br /> Let us abandon the pretty speeches and the nice talk. These are not creating any sense of comfort to anyone. Let us, in fact, say no more for now, but let the result and the effect of the hunt speak for itself. It is the hunt, and nothing else that will bring a result now.<br /> <br /> Finally, the hunted, that is to say, the gunmen, must be given the option of turning in themselves and subject themselves to the laws of the land. We should not, however, wait for them. Start the hunt!<br /> <br /> Linton P Gordon is an attorney-at-law. Send comment to Observer or<br /> <br /> lpgordon@cwjamaica.com. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12941356/201898_w300.jpg Local Opinion Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM Donald Trump and Birtherism http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Donald-Trump-and-Birtherism_75567 Donald Trump is the candidate representing the Republican Party in the US presidential elections. His performance in the polls suggest that he stands a fairly good chance of being elected.<br /> <br /> One of the initiatives that propelled him onto the political stage is the central role he played in the &ldquo;birther&rdquo; issue. Birtherism refers to the claim that Barack Obama is a foreigner and not eligible to be president of the US. At first, many ignored these claims, but Trump used his wealth and celebrity to pursue this notion with unbelievable passion.<br /> <br /> And it worked.<br /> <br /> Soon polls showed that 45 per cent of Republicans were of this view. And the country started to look to Trump for information on this matter. In response to his claims, the relevant records office in Hawaii released information confirming that Obama was born there. This was rejected by Trump even after a long-form version of the certificate was released.<br /> <br /> When that happened, he claimed that &lsquo;someone&rsquo; called him to say the certificate was fake. He further stated that Obama did not have the intellectual capacity to gain entry into the prestigious universities he claimed to have attended. He said he checked and nobody remembers Obama attending these institutions. He then put out this challenge: &ldquo;If Barack Obama opens up and gives his college records and applications, and if he gives his college applications and records, I will give to a charity of his choice...a cheque, immediately, for $5 million.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> It did not take long for information, already known by many, to be revealed. For example, 20 members of his Harvard class were part of his transition team. Of course, he was president of the prestigious<br /> <br /> Harvard Law Review. But Trump insisted that he was told that he was a terrible student and would not have been accepted to Harvard. He later stated that he had sent investigators to Hawaii to find out the &lsquo;truth&rsquo; about the birth certificate. Sometime later, when an interviewer asked what was the outcome, his response was: &ldquo;They are still there, and you are not going to believe what they are finding...&rdquo; Their identities were never revealed and, years later, we are yet to hear the earth-shattering revelations.<br /> <br /> But Trump did not stop there. When the state health director who verified Obama&rsquo;s birth certificate died in a plane crash, Trump &mdash; in an attempt to show how dangerous Obama was &mdash; tweeted, &ldquo;How amazing, the state health director who verified Obama&rsquo;s &lsquo;birth certificate&rsquo; died in a plane crash today. All others lived.&rdquo; He then arranged with a character named Ron McRae &mdash; a bishop, no less &mdash; to track down Obama&rsquo;s 86-year-old, step-grandmother in Kenya. In a telephone call with Sarah Obama, who speaks only Swahili, through a poor translator, the interview went like this:<br /> <br /> McRae: &ldquo;Could I ask her about his actual birthplace? I would like to see his birthplace when I come to Kenya in December. Was she present when he was born in Kenya?&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Translator: &ldquo;She says yes she was. She was present when Obama was born.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> This has been making the rounds on the Internet. Much to the delight of &lsquo;birthers&rsquo;. And Americans sat up and started to take Trump seriously. His political career was well and truly launched. The thing is, however, that the telephone call did not end there. Here is the rest that never made it to the Internet:<br /> <br /> McRae (excited): &ldquo;OK, when I come in December, I would like to go by the place, the hospital, where he was born. Could you tell me where he was born? Was he born in Mombasa?&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The translator can clearly be heard translating, and then, he said: &ldquo;No. Obama was not born in Mombasa. He was born in America.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> McRae (frustrated): &ldquo;Whereabouts was he born? I thought he was born in Kenya.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Response: &ldquo;He was born in America, not in Mombasa.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> McRae: &ldquo;I thought he was born in Kenya. I was gonna go by and see where he was born.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Response: &ldquo;Hawaii. She says he was born in Hawaii. In the state of Hawaii, where his father, his father was also learning there. The state of Hawaii.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> McRae: &ldquo;I thought she said she was present. Was she able to see him being born in Hawaii?&ldquo;<br /> <br /> Response: &ldquo;No, no...she was not...she was here in Kenya. Obama was born in America, where he is from, where his father was learning, learning in America, the United States.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> It would be reasonable to ask the following questions:<br /> <br /> 1. Why would Trump do this?<br /> <br /> 2. Why would Americans believe?<br /> <br /> For blacks, the most feared organisation in the US during the first half of the 20th century was the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). It&rsquo;s members routinely lynched (hanged), castrated and burnt blacks alive, sometimes when the entire family was sleeping in their beds. Donald Trump&rsquo;s father, Fred, was reportedly a member of the KKK. In fact, in June 1927, he was arrested during a clash of KKK members and the police.<br /> <br /> Donald Trump&rsquo;s life, like that of his father, has been marked by racist decisions.<br /> <br /> Consider this: In 2005, at the end of his reality TV series, the winner was to be chosen from Rebecca Jervis, a white financial journalist from University of Chicago, and Randall Pinkett, a black Rhodes scholar and engineer, owner of a successful business and the holder of a bachelor and master of science degrees, Master of Business Administration and a PhD from Rutgers, Oxford and MIT. Pinkett won. But in an incredible departure from the rules, Trump wanted Pinkett to agree to two winners. Pinkett turned him down on national TV.<br /> <br /> For those following the progress of the election campaign in the US, what must come home forcefully is how unsophisticated the electorate is in this the most powerful country in the world. Facing the debates this week, Trump&rsquo;s new handlers must have indicated to him that these &lsquo;birther&rsquo; claims could be potentially embarrassing. So a few days ago he dropped this in his most sarcastic tone, &ldquo;President Obama was born in the United States. Period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.&rdquo; No apology for spending the past five years trying consistently to de-legitimise the first black president of the United States and subjecting him to the worst forms of humiliation aimed at launching his own political career and at the same time denying Obama his proper place in history.<br /> <br /> This is the man the Republican Party is putting forward to be leader of the free world.<br /> <br /> Glenn Tucker is an educator and a sociologist. Send comments to the Observer or <br /> <br /> glenntucker2011@gmail.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13319895/225263_58517_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Thursday, September 29, 2016 2:00 AM The FBI and Ja&rsquo;s struggle to tame the crime monster http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-FBI-and-Ja-s-struggle-to-tame-the-crime-monster_75411 The United States Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has decided to set up an office in Jamaica. This will be based at its embassy on Old Hope Road. This decision will not please everyone, and already opinion is divided as to whether this is a welcome move for Jamaica. <br /> <br /> The history of the FBI in the United States is one in which the institution has been viewed with scepticism, scorn and derision. This was particularly the case under its longest-serving director, the mercurial J Edgar Hoover, who was said to have instilled fear in friend and foe alike. The FBI&rsquo;s investigation of its citizens has not been without bias. Those &mdash; like the late Reverend Dr Martin Luther King and others in the civil rights struggle &mdash; who have been at the receiving end of its often biased &mdash; and many would say, racist proclivities &mdash; will not have a complimentary word to say about the agency.<br /> <br /> Not even the best defenders of the agency will say that it has not had its problems in how it has sought to deal with citizens. Yet, despite its obvious flaws, the agency has been a force for good in terms of intelligence gathering and protecting the security of the United States. This is especially so in this era of terrorism when the protection of the homeland and America&rsquo;s interest abroad depend on the gathering and deployment of trusted, robust intelligence in fighting domestic and international terror. We will perhaps not know how many terror plots have been foiled because of the work of the FBI and the often-maligned Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). We might not be able to estimate the harm that could have been dealt to the security of America were it not for the existence of these two important agencies.<br /> <br /> So it is very easy to criticise the FBI and not have any respect for objectivity in one&rsquo;s criticisms. Of course, the Jamaican Government has welcomed the FBI setting up shop in Jamaica. To the best of one&rsquo;s knowledge the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) is yet to respond. Are they in agreement with this move?<br /> <br /> I ask the question because the history of the PNP with such agencies of the US Government, especially the CIA, has not been particularly pleasant. One remembers the halcyon days of PNP propaganda in the lead-up to the 1980 elections when the Opposition of the day was charged with working hand in glove with the CIA in destabilising the Manley Government. Then superpower rivalry was in full swing. The so-called cold war between the East-Russian and Chinese communism &mdash; and the West United States and Western Europe &mdash; was on in earnest, and small states like Jamaica, and even Grenada, were dangerously caught up in this maelstrom. <br /> <br /> Manley&rsquo;s flirtation with Fidel Castro epitomised the PNP&rsquo;s position with the East. Edward Seaga, the then leader of the Opposition, was seen as the darling of the Washington elite, and thus cemented the Jamaica Labour Party&rsquo;s (JLP) position with the West. Alexander Bustamante, the founding leader of the party, had long before declared that Jamaica was with the West. No one knows for sure how involved the CIA was in this ferment in Jamaica, but it was a trying time for this small country as it found itself heaving and tossing on the boisterous waves of superpower rivalry. It can hardly be denied that Cuba was involved with the then Government in countering the West. Does anyone remember Ulises Estrada, the Cuban ambassador to Jamaica at the time, and his purported role in countering CIA operations on the island?<br /> <br /> But these are different times, and there is just one superpower, the United States. The Soviet Empire has since been dismantled and subject peoples in Eastern Europe liberated from its hegemonic grip. Putin, the Russian leader, is daydreaming about glories past, but that is just what it is and shall remain &mdash; daydreaming. <br /> <br /> Today, the urgent reality that confronts Jamaica is not about superpower rivalry. The country is in the vice-like grip of a crime wave that is threatening to destroy the very foundations of the society. World Bank and other studies have shown the extent to which the country&rsquo;s gross domestic product (GDP) is being hindered by crime, especially murders. The Economic Growth Council has adjudged crime as the single most important impediment to economic growth in Jamaica. Understandably, potential investors are watching with keen eyes to determine whether the crime-ridden country is a good place to invest.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, the beleaguered and demoralised local police force is perplexed and confused as to how to bring the situation under control. The force attracts criticism, like a dog fleas, without the criticisms often recognising the dangerous environment in which police officers have to operate daily. In a country that has one of the highest murder rates in the world &mdash; about number five in the world at last count &mdash; Jamaica is an inhospitable place to do policing, as it is any kind of business, which Phillip Paulwell, in a brilliant flash of candour, once opined. <br /> <br /> Make no mistake about it, the face of the criminal underworld in Jamaica and abroad has changed remarkably. Criminal enterprises in Jamaica have grown in sophistication and are highly organised. Criminals derive rich dividends from their activities, and as long as they continue to do so, so too will the longevity of their will to perpetrate crime. We may cringe at the horrific nature of some crimes, especially those born of lotto scamming, but it should never be overlooked that these are largely offshoots of more insidious, organised activities marshalled by intelligent and sophisticated people. It is this brand of the criminal underworld that the FBI can help us to identify, cauterise, and eventually render inoperative.<br /> <br /> So many Jamaicans will see the coming of the FBI as a hopeful sign that our local police may now get the needed shot in the arm to ferret out criminals by robust intelligence gathering. As the Commissioner of Police Dr Carl Williams has recognised, there are international linkages to much of the crime that takes place in Jamaica. Lotto scamming and the drugs-for-guns trade come readily to mind. The country can only but benefit from the synergies that can be brought to the process by such a seasoned agency as the FBI. Its permanent presence can only but help. <br /> <br /> And we need all hands on deck to fight crime. This is why we need to hear from the PNP about this matter. There is still a vestige of neocolonial and anti-imperialistic thinking in the PNP, and one would not be surprised that there are still those who harbour a return to the glorious days of socialism. At the heart of neo-colonialist and anti-imperialist thinking is disdain for organisations like the FBI. Has the PNP grown in maturity to accept the new paradigms that define the FBI as an agency that can be efficacious in the country&rsquo;s fight against heinous and barbaric crime? Let us know.<br /> <br /> Being irenic about the FBI&rsquo;s presence in Jamaica is not to advocate that the country should just roll over and accept the FBI without scrutiny. There have to be carefully worked out protocols of engagement with respect to how they will operate here. We have a penchant to fawn at the presence of such organisations in our midst. But we should never forget that Jamaica comes first and any attempt at impugning its sovereignty as a free State must be stoutly resisted.<br /> <br /> We should welcome the FBI as a worthy partner whose interests in eliminating crime should be no different from ours. Whatever relationship we have with them must be one of mutual respect and trust. This is how we will build friendship. This is how we will eventually tame and eliminate the crime monster.<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/12968849/204068__w300.jpg Local Opinion Wednesday, September 28, 2016 12:00 AM Bitcoin? Nonsense! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Bitcoin--Nonsense-_74729 It was in the media recently that an entity is trying to set up a Bitcoin exchange in Jamaica. I am astounded that any Jamaican authority would even shake hands with any proposer of this idiocy. I am therefore alarmed that, according to the deputy governor of the Bank of Jamaica Livingstone Morrison,&rdquo;We have had some exploratory discussions with them, talking about the regulatory framework and the process that would have to be engaged in order for them to secure approval so they can offer the service.&rdquo; The Gleaner, September 18, 2016)<br /> <br /> Bitcoin and its proponents are not to be recognised; they should be chased away. Cash Plus &mdash; flawed as it was &mdash; had more merits than Bitcoin. And the fact that Bitcoin is being recognised is a reflection of the intellectual inadequacies that now rule countries and the globe.<br /> <br /> What is Bitcoin? It is currency plain and simple. Any country that allows a private citizen to create currency has lost its mind. What will the authorities do when Mary Jane decides to reintroduce shark teeth as currency? Or Dorlan H decides to issue &ldquo;Ginger Ridge Script&rdquo; (copying the Colonial Script that was issued in pre-revolutionary America)? Will the authority say that Bitcoin is computer-generated so therefore it has validity? But since &ldquo;Ginger Ridge Script&rdquo; is printed the old-fashioned way, or even on a 3-D printer, it has no similar value?<br /> <br /> The issuing of currency is and ought to remain the sole prerogative of one central authority. Money supply must be heavily regulated and tightly controlled. Money is a medium of exchange used to circulate goods and services. Money has to be in proper proportions to the amount of goods and services that is to be circulated. If there is more money than goods and services hyperinflation can occur.<br /> <br /> But it is significant to note that if an oversupply of money does not cause inflation it can nevertheless blow up the economy. It was an oversupply of money caused by the then Government&rsquo;s unrelenting tax cuts, and its refusal to spend, which led to the blowing up of the American economy and that of the globe in 1929. The same oversupply of money was again present in 2007 blowing up America&rsquo;s economy and that of the globe when George W Bush unleashed over US$2 trillion of tax cuts in 2003. <br /> <br /> In short, money can be too much! And when any Tom, Dick or Harriet is allowed to create currency that is a recipe for financial and economic madness!<br /> <br /> A spin-off of Bitcoin is Caricoin. The report stated that Caricoin has a development office in Kingston and a spokesperson for Caricoin said: &ldquo;It is focused on delivering a secure, user-friendly, and less costly way of storing wealth and moving it around.&rdquo; Wealth?! How was this wealth created? This is 1636 all over again and the tulip bulbs are coming. Soon it will be tulip mania once more. Such thinking must be killed in its infancy!<br /> <br /> Governments need to understand where they can allow innovation and where no innovation should be permitted when dealing with money. Transactional innovation is good and should be encouraged. Moving from metal alloy coins as currency to paper and now polymer is fine and convenient. The introduction of cheques was good. It saved people having to walk around with millions of dollars to transact business. Wire transfers and interac debit transactions are all useful innovations which facilitate transactions. Any additional innovation in this regard should be welcomed. Any whiz kid can brainstorm and come up with more and new ideas that will help people transact business. <br /> <br /> The creation of currency, however, is a whole other matter. That should be the business of one central authority. Bitcoin is currency created on a computer. What did the creators do to acquire the value they claim for Bitcoin? Was it by fiat? Or was it because fools chose to bid on it? How is this different from people who in 1636 were exchanging an estate for one tulip bulb which previously fetched the price of an ordinary onion? <br /> <br /> Dorlan H Francis is a personal financial adviser and author. Among his books is <br /> <br /> The Economic and Financial Crisis of 2007 - What Caused it : How to Avoid a Repeat. Send comments to the Observer or<br /> <br /> dhfken@hotmail.com.<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13317135/231147_58240_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Wednesday, September 28, 2016 12:00 AM Will the US debates change the course of the presidential elections? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Will-the-US-debates-change-the-course-of-the-presidential-elections-_75320 America&rsquo;s political future is on a razor&rsquo;s edge. At the time of writing the two political gladiators &mdash; Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump &mdash; will face off for what will be the beginning of a new era in American politics. One candidate&rsquo;s mantra, &ldquo;Stronger together&rdquo;, the other &ldquo;Make America great again&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Last night, Monday, September 26, 2016, the first of the series of debates, could be remembered as the night that changed the entire course of a presidential campaign: defying poll findings, that 93 per cent of the population stated that the debate would not change their voting choice.<br /> <br /> But that could change after hours of a drama-filled debate. It is highly likely the pendulum of momentum will move away from one candidate to the other, as neither has endeared themselves to the majority of voters. <br /> <br /> But there is another lurking danger that could place American democracy on the razor&rsquo;s edge. Voter apathy could be a clear and present danger to one of world&rsquo;s largest democracies. Fortunately, one has clearly defined policies, the other lacked substance and appeared to be in a world of fantasy, reciting a catalogue of lies and falsehood never witnessed in American politics. Will there be a new political dawning today, September 27?<br /> <br /> Even if either candidate implodes during the debate, there may be a second chance. Despite the media&rsquo;s usurping their authority by setting different bars for each candidate, as if they are not vying for the same office, that responsibility rests with the vote. <br /> <br /> The candidates display signs of nervousness in what could be a last, desperate bid for the presidential crown. The debate setting and expectation is on par with a TV suspense thriller, gripping the attention of the entire world. Trump&rsquo;s debate performance may personify that he is not ready or fit to be president. And Hillary Clinton, like her opponent, lacks the support of the majority of Americans by their low levels of favourability and trust, but the American electorate has definitively chosen one of them. <br /> <br /> In my opinion, the pendulum of history has taken dead aim at the Democratic Party as Hillary Clinton, barring any unforeseen circumstances, seems set to have her third stint in the White House, and the term Madam President will soon be a reality and not a Hollywood fiction title. Trump, in the past, could not conceal his disgust with the questions and the moderator as his brain went on overdrive, dodging questions after question.<br /> <br /> Now that the Trumping Beast has been &ldquo;leached&rdquo; the democratic party should take comfort in the fact they have only 41 days to convince the American people that their nominee is best suited to be president of the US, representing all races, genders and religious groups, as one nation and one people. The American people may borrow the Jamaican motto: &ldquo;Out of many one people&rdquo; and put to rest demagogic, racist xenophobia. <br /> <br /> Let us look at the pre-debate polls numbers for September 26, 2016: Polls nationally a dead heat, yet Donald Trump leads in certain must-win states, sending multiple signals. Clinton voters are only showing 71 per cent enthusiasm about their candidate; whilst Trump has 87 per cent enthusiasm. Not to be ignored, Trump, by realistic estimation, got more than US$1 billion free media by being controversial. Trump&rsquo;s TV exposure, whether gratis or paid, far exceeds Clinton&rsquo;s, if monetary value were placed on it.<br /> <br /> Polling, as reported by<br /> <br /> Bing news has predicted that if the elections were called today, Hillary Clinton would win 308 electoral votes; Trump 230. Eighty per cent of voters have indicated they would likely not change their minds. What becomes very crucial is the 20 per cent has the power to shift the balance to decide who becomes president. Added to Trump&rsquo;s negative more than 50 per cent sees him as unqualified, unfit, untrustworthy, temperamental. Trump lacks knowledge of world affairs, economics, health care and social programmes, not to mention how he would react if there were serious attacks on the US. <br /> <br /> Yet 44 per cent of voters say they would vote for Trump, whose voters are white men without college degrees, conservatives dissatisfied with social, economic conditions, and those who wish to make America white again<br /> <br /> It&rsquo;s forty-six per cent for Clinton, who has a 25 per cent lead amongst educated white women; 96 per cent amongst African-Americans, and 70 per cent among Hispanics. <br /> <br /> While the world watched the debate last night, many may have been stunned at the stark contrast between both candidates and will ask why the race is so close. But stranger things have happened, and will continue. <br /> <br /> My opinion is, America is racially divided, unless racism is curbed there will be no winners in a country dubbed as the country of immigrants.<br /> <br /> Tony Miles is an author. Send comments to the Observer or <br /> <br /> milestony568@gmail.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13190650/220216__w300.jpg Local Opinion Tuesday, September 27, 2016 12:00 AM Climate change: myth or reality for Caribbean tourism? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Climate-change--myth-or-reality-for-Caribbean-tourism-_75205 Countries around the world are celebrating World Tourism Day under the theme &lsquo;Tourism for all &hellip;Promoting universal accessibility&rsquo;. This focus is quite fitting as the tourism industry, globally, is facing several challenges inclusive of climate change which could stymie access to the various destinations. <br /> <br /> For many years, the United Nations (UN) recognised the importance of having dialogue about greenhouse gas emissions and subsequently established the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to facilitate discourse for protecting the climatic system. The dialogue has not changed, and each year since then this meeting dubbed Conferences of the Parties (COP) is held to further the discussion.<br /> <br /> Seemingly, there is more urgency for discussions surrounding climate change, its causes and impacts, and seriousness in establishing mitigation and adaptive strategies. The paradigm has shifted from mere meetings and discussions to a regulatory action to reduce greenhouse gas emission to below 2&Acirc;&deg;C by countries around the world and adaptive strategies to deal with the impacts of climate change. <br /> <br /> Scientists have found that greenhouse gas emissions of which carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the main contributors are causing anthropogenic climate change (global warming). The aim to reduce greenhouse gas emission was at the forefront at the COP 21 Conference held in December 2015 in Paris, thus, the Paris Climate Change Agreement (PCCA).<br /> <br /> For the first time, there is an agreement to seriously address this phenomenon. This agreement is the &ldquo;world&rsquo;s first legally binding plan&rdquo; to deal with climate change with the goal of attaining a &ldquo;low carbon, climate resilient future&rdquo;. Already, 175 parties to the UNFCCC have signed the agreement at the opening for signature in April of this year. This will be opened for a year to allow other parties to do so. Despite this initiative, some populations remain doubtful, tardy and even oblivious of the climate change phenomenon. Some are still deliberating about climate change and this leads to the question: Is climate change a myth or reality?<br /> <br /> In response to the threat of climate change, the USA is determined to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 28 per cent below 2&Acirc;&deg;C by 2025. President Barack Obama posits global warming to be &ldquo;one of the most urgent challenges of our time&rdquo;. He declares the Clean Power Plan, where power-generation companies will be expected to reduce CO2 emissions by the year 2030. The aim is to make the USA the global leader in the fight against climate change. On September 2, 2016, the USA ratified the PCCA. This is rightly so as the USA is the world&rsquo;s largest economy and correspondingly one of the world&rsquo;s top emitters of greenhouse gases.<br /> <br /> In accordance with this initiative, President Xi Jinping of China likewise deposited their instrument of ratification to the UN. China is known for its coal economy, which although it supplies cheap electricity, produces most of the global CO2. Together both countries contribute 38 per cent of human emissions. Some critics believe that having the world&rsquo;s two largest economies ratifying the Paris agreement is a show. The USA and China will also be collaborating in amending the Montreal Protocol to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that are used in refrigeration systems, for example, air conditioners, and to have discussions with the International Civil Aviation Organization regarding the reduction of aviation emissions with the aim of decreasing its contribution to greenhouse gases.<br /> <br /> September 2016 can be hallmarked as the month for ratifying the climate change agreement by large economies, as Brazil also took this step and pledged to reduce emissions by 37 per cent by 2025 and 43 per cent by 2030. Realisation of these goals could be highly beneficial since Brazil currently emits 2.5 per cent of the world&rsquo;s CO2 and is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in Latin America. As described, the &lsquo;gala performance&rsquo; by the USA and China in ratifying the Paris Climate Agreement and the inclusion of Brazil in this initiative will influence other countries around the world to do likewise, especially the remainder of the BRICS union, that is, Russia, India and South Africa. Collectively, the BRICS countries comprise 42 per cent of the world&rsquo;s population (three billion people). Their commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions would have a major positive impact on the UN initiative. India has declared its unreadiness to make such commitment at this time due to lack of resources to implement the various strategies to achieve the climate change goal and to devise adaptive strategies. <br /> <br /> If there is ratification of the agreement by 55 countries which represent 55 per cent of global emissions, then the PCCA can be enforced. There is an urgent call for the UK Government to ratify the agreement despite its focus on Brexit. The Australian Government is aiming to do so by the end of the year and has started its effort by imposing a clean air quality policy for motor vehicle manufacturers to produce vehicles that will not contribute to carbon emissions.<br /> <br /> Despite the movements to address climate change, the USA Republican Party opposes regulations geared towards climate change as there is disbelief about global warming. In fact, a third of the US population believes that climate change is a hoax and 57 per cent disbelieve the UN scientists. If the Republican Party wins the upcoming general election, they plan to pull the USA out of this agreement.<br /> <br /> With all this preamble and mixed views, what is the Caribbean&rsquo;s position? Is climate change a myth or reality for this region? Though not a scientist or geologist, already there are changes in climatic and weather patterns, and corresponding environmental degradation. The year 2015 was confirmed by scientists as the hottest year on historical record and the year 2016 seems to be superseding this. In Jamaica there is evidence of receding shorelines on the south coast to include Little Ochi and Hellshire as well as Negril in the west and Port Maria in the north; prolonged drought; heavy rainfall resulting in flooding and change in rainfall patterns. In Barbados, the marine and coastal ecosystems are being destroyed. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2013) report, there is indication of rise in the ocean temperature and sea level as well as more dangerous and intense storm and hurricanes in the region. The biological productivity of the sea is also threatened. These are indicative of changes taking place with and within the natural environmental. What is worrisome is that countries in the Caribbean region seem to be highly sensitive to the impacts of climate change. The majority of them are small island developing states (SIDS) and by virtue of size and location, they are highly vulnerable.<br /> <br /> Not only is the region at risk from climate change if it is real, but one of its most substantial and dependent sectors of the economy, tourism, is threatened. The Caribbean region highly depends on tropical tourism through its natural attributes of having &lsquo;sand, sun and sea&rsquo;. Interestingly, it is said that the smaller countries around the world emit less greenhouse gas, thus contributing to a lesser extent to climate change and global warming, yet they are the ones that are most vulnerable to these impacts due to their size, location and also inability to finance adaptive and mitigating strategies. This is understood as these countries have lower population counts and manufacturing capabilities when compared to larger ones.<br /> <br /> The question that comes to the forefront is: What impact will climate change have on tourism in the region? It is a fact that countries in the Caribbean depend on the tourism economy for sustained growth and development. Tourism has become the &ldquo;lifeblood&rdquo; of these economies due to decline in agriculture and bauxite among other traditional industries. Tropical tourism is the main attraction for visitors to these destinations; therefore, any impact by climate change can be devastating to the region&rsquo;s economy, as the resources on which tourism depends will be destroyed over a period of time.<br /> <br /> Is climate change in the Caribbean myth or reality? Can the region afford to be complacent despite this probe? Some countries in the region have already signed the PCCA. These include Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Dominica, Dominica Republic, St Lucia, Haiti, Guyana, and Grenada. Will they be ratifying the agreement by the end of the year 2016? Although signing and ratifying the agreement are important steps toward the commitment to adaptive changes and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, what about the resources required for doing so? So far Jamaica has raised discussions about its response as indicated in the 2030 Vision. Guyana has been nurturing and expanding its forestry to absorb excessive CO2. However, where are the more comprehensive plans for the Caribbean to achieve this goal? The UN has already identified the lack of resources to be a major deterrent for developing countries and is seeking to have the more developed countries assist in funding and technologies. The UN World Tourism Organization is also calling for climate change mitigation and preventative strategies to assist member countries.<br /> <br /> Another initiative is that on September 16, 2016, the Caribbean Tourism Organization and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourist Association joined forces through an agreement to provide climate change services solution in the region so as to jointly protect the tourism industry. This will be done through research and development. The intention is to have other bodies on board such as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, Caribbean Public Health Agency, Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute and the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association. As a combined force, their actions and decisions should be useful in addressing the issue at hand.<br /> <br /> In conclusion, if climate change is a myth, then there is no need for concern. If it is a reality, then climate change will exacerbate economic and social challenges. Many natural attractions will no longer exist and revenue inflows from tourism will be drastically reduced. While we stand by to hear more from scientists, geologists, world leaders, politicians and the various global regulatory bodies, let us play our individual and collective roles in making the Caribbean accessible for tourism today and in the future. Let us also not lose sight of the other emerging issues such as Brexit that has the propensity to impact the region.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Gaunette Sinclair-Maragh, PhD, is associate professor at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management,University of Technology, Jamaica. Send comments to the Observer or<br /> <br /> gaunsm@gmail.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12900929/199379_w300.jpg Local Opinion Tuesday, September 27, 2016 12:00 AM Etana needs a crash course http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Etana-needs-a-crash-course_75212 I do not want any trouble, and there may be more important things to occupy newspaper pages, but nevertheless I draw your attention to the verbal gaff by the great songstress Etana on a popular television programme last week.<br /> <br /> I did not appreciate the way the television interviewer, in his narrative, expressed that Etana, a new mother was &ldquo;body conscious&rdquo;. That did not add to the interview and he came off as slightly chauvinistic in his dry verbiage. Likewise, in her attempt to inspire &ldquo;little girls&rdquo; she spoke of self-acceptance as a model to follow. That is commendable. All that aside, the way she conducted herself throughout the interview is exactly how not to answer questions if you want to build your clout as a &ldquo;roots artiste&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> So, let us examine the facts. First of all, everyone wants better. The sentiments she expressed on the television programme may be her idea of a better life for herself and her family. I can respect that. However, what was missed here is the responsibility she has, as one who gained much from Jamaica and Jamaicans, to &lsquo;big up&rsquo;, enhance or highlight Jamaica&rsquo;s cultural legacy as an ambassador for the same culture.<br /> <br /> Making excuses for Donald Trump&rsquo;s less than graceful remarks can hardly be punctuated as being conscious of the human condition or supporting the oppressed people of the world and their culture from whom you draw material and support for your art; the same people and cultures that embraced her singing of &lsquo;roots and culture&rsquo; music. Pandering on the race of Donald Trump&rsquo;s wife made Etana seem less than aware of the facts. Speaking out against injustice requires a deep sense of care for those who get no justice. The benefits given to Americans are as a result of years of unrest and demonstrations by artistes, activists and politicians who include Jamaicans like the great Marcus Garvey and Harry Belafonte, who incidentally used his success in music and culture to give students from Kenya scholarships so they could study in America; one of whom was Barack Obama Sr. That trip produced President Barack Obama.<br /> <br /> Etana is right about the injustices in Jamaica and the lack of accountability for the mistreatment of those seen as helpless by those in authority. However, as an artiste, it may be the lack of 911 access why she was able to create those lovely lyrics, in<br /> <br /> Free, and<br /> <br /> Wrong address, because you may admit that from your pain came a higher, more conscious purpose.<br /> <br /> The sentiments expressed on the television programme seem far removed from Etana&rsquo;s roots; and if not her roots, then our roots &mdash; those of us who wish to build a better Jamaica. They resembled the watered- down, diluted and misinformed version of the roots she so eloquently sang about.<br /> <br /> Etana doesn&rsquo;t owe anyone anything, but the Jamaican people who must contend with failed 911 calls are core supporters for now. They need her to inspire them so that the systems of the nation may advance. More than immigration and education, the people need inspiration to become better. Nothing great was ever done without inspiration. <br /> <br /> The same Jamaican people who Etana says in your interview are marginalised and unaccounted for, in many ways are depending on her to inspire and help them cope with the marginal circumstances through the music. I am one such Jamaican who was patiently awaiting her next project and, instead, I was pre-empted with these &lsquo;Trumped up&rsquo; thoughts baited by the interviewer.<br /> <br /> My dear sister Etana, maybe a simple crash course in the history of the Trumps of this world, modern world politics and other world affairs would better help you to properly articulate for your people how they might live the emancipated life, regardless of circumstances like lack of access to 911. If your words were indeed the full story, and not edited or skewed to convey another meaning, then your narrative would be close to a house slave who got a taste of the master&rsquo;s luxuries in the plantation house, and easy access to 911 calls, so you abandoned your people who are depending on you to free them.<br /> <br /> In the words of Malcolm X: &ldquo;I pray that God will bless everything that you do, I pray that you will understand the problems of the world, and where you fit in to help solve those problems.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> I also hope you stop stereotyping people at the airport, because that would mean they have the &ldquo;wrong address&rdquo; and I too have experienced similar stereotypes when I hopped off an Air Jamaica plane as a black man in the past.<br /> <br /> To my brothers and sisters in the arts, we have a responsibility. The only way to our liberation is organisation.<br /> <br /> Donovan Watkis is an author and cultural artige&rsquo;. His latest publication is<br /> <br /> Jr&rsquo;s Hope: Thoughts On Improving From Up The Street.<br /> <br /> Send comments to the Observer or<br /> <br /> jrwatkis@gmail.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13229583/223583_57962_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Monday, September 26, 2016 12:00 AM Trump supporters are not stupid! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Trump-supporters-are-not-stupid-_75213 During the course of this weekend, reggae sensation Etana came under heavy criticism for declaring her views during a televised interview on the upcoming United States of America presidential elections &mdash; indicating her support of Republican nominee Donald Trump.<br /> <br /> After reading and contemplating many of the comments, insults and ridicule meted out to her, I was astonished to realise that in a country such as ours &mdash; known for its strong democratic ideals and freedom of expression &mdash; there are still people willing to deprive others of such privilege.<br /> <br /> Without a doubt, supporting the views of Donald Trump does not in any empirical way suggest that you are unintelligent. For this, I wish to go beyond the propaganda and fallacies to state my three main reasons for supporting Donald Trump&rsquo;s candidacy. <br /> <br /> 1) Patriotic slogan &ldquo;Make America Great Again&rdquo;: I happen to agree with him that the first matter of any government should be the focus of putting their country&rsquo;s interests first.<br /> <br /> 2) Immigration policy: I agree with border protection and proper vetting of visitors who wish to be granted access into another country. With proper immigration procedures, the central government can effectively plan its policies to match the social, financial, health, and security demands of the country.<br /> <br /> 3) Foreign policy: I believe that ISIS and other extremist groups should be isolated. I also believe the oilfields that have been used to fund ISIS operations should be put out of the reach of extremists &mdash; maybe even destroyed. Also, I believe the Iraqi war was unwarranted. I also believe the cold war is a great risk to humanity and that Russia and America working together can offer greater benefits to world peace and advancement.<br /> <br /> In summation, politics can be an emotional topic. However, we must still accept the fact that without divergent views, democracy cannot work!<br /> <br /> zavier_simpson@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13031796/207467_w300.jpg Local Opinion Monday, September 26, 2016 12:00 AM &lsquo;We belong to each other&rsquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/-We-belong-to-each-other-_75200 While she served as the pastor for the United Church in Negril, Rev Dr Margaret Fowler was asked to participate in the Theodora Project which fights human trafficking. While being a guest at a top restaurant, she saw a middle-aged man arrive with two young girls, one about 10 years old, the other about 12. She noticed that he ordered alcoholic drinks for them and decided to probe further. She was able to get his name and, sure enough, investigations led to his arrest for human trafficking. If, as we say, we are tired of the crime and violence in our country, we need to be as dedicated as Dr Fowler. <br /> <br /> We heard this account at a panel discussion last week at the UWI library, where the keynote speaker, Dr Marilyn Lacey, of the Religious Sisters of Mercy, spoke about her work with refugees in South Sudan. The founder of the Mercy Beyond Borders organisation showed us the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph by a journalist named James Carter of an emaciated young boy, crawling towards a refugee camp to get food, while a vulture hovered close by, awaiting his death.<br /> <br /> Carter related that he wept when the child died. The photograph won the Pulitzer, but Dr Lacey said that, two years later, the journalist took his own life, leaving a note that said: &ldquo;There is simply too much pain in this world.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Dr Lacey called us to &ldquo;radical compassion&rdquo; that pushes us above and beyond, to resist, to threaten the status quo. &ldquo;You can&rsquo;t shrink from suffering, or protect from pain,&rdquo; said the clear-eyed missionary. &ldquo;But you can stand with those who suffer.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Sister Hazeline Williams spoke of the work of various religious orders of sisters throughout Jamaica. We noted that great examples are Sister Benedict Chung, who was the first person to negotiate a truce between warring gangs in downtown Kingston; and Sister Paschal Figueroa, who last Saturday celebrated 80 years of service to Jamaica. Two American sisters also celebrated their 60th and 50th anniversaries: Sister Marjorie Woods, retired teacher, and Sister Susan Frazer, the heartbeat of the St John Bosco School and Training Institution in Manchester.<br /> <br /> Dr Debbie-Ann Chambers, who is in formation to become a Sister of Mercy, reminded us of the importance of contemplation to centre oneself to serve. It takes spiritual strength to do the hard work of active compassion.<br /> <br /> Father Peter McIsaac related his experiences as pastor of St Anne&rsquo;s Church in West Kingston. &ldquo;I had a small strip of dirt between the church and the rectory,&rdquo; he told us, &ldquo;and I decided I would plant some zoysia grass. Every morning, I would get up early to water it and meditate.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> One morning, a gunman he knew crept up behind him, poked a finger in the priest&rsquo;s back and shouted, &ldquo;Boi! Boi! Boi!&rdquo; Father Peter thought he was a goner, much to the amusement of the man. After he collected his wits, Father asked the man, &ldquo;What do you think about my planting this grass?&rdquo; The man paused, and said deliberately, &ldquo;I think that is very important.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Extensive research has shown that people respond positively to order and beauty around them. In our Jamaica, where the bougainvillea blooms even brighter in drought, and there are over 200 parish councillors, we have no excuse for the neglect of our environment.<br /> <br /> A PLEA FROM DR LUCIEN JONES<br /> <br /> Dr Lucien Jones, a Eucharist minister at St Andrew Parish Church, keeps us centred with his Internet ministry. As he contemplated the killings of black men in America, the murders in Montego Bay, scamming, and human trafficking, he quoted the prophet Jeremiah: &ldquo;Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all, they do not even know how to blush.&rdquo; (Jeremiah 6:12)<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Charlotte is a metaphor for the pain black folks feel for the years of brutality meted out to them by racist elements in the police force,&rdquo; he says, &ldquo;some of whom don&rsquo;t even know how to blush at their wickedness.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> In commenting on the alarming murder rate in Montego Bay, he notes, &ldquo;Young, rich, and heartless scammers in Montego Bay&hellip; A behaviour born out of a culture of wanton criminality which has been allowed to fester, if not aided and abetted by powerful forces, for far too long in my once tranquil and beautiful country. Now populated by far too many &lsquo;dog hearted&rsquo; gunmen who do not even know how to blush.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Dr Jones wants us to be ashamed of our sins of commission and omission if we want Jamaica to be healed: &ldquo;For only when we are fully &lsquo;convicted of Sin&rsquo; can we really follow Christ and help to rid our country [and the world], with the power of The living God, of murderous scammers and racists.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> A heartfelt plea was made also by Marlene Malahoo Forte, Member of Parliament for St James West Central, who said that the security forces alone cannot contain the violence, it requires everyone&rsquo;s participation. This reminded me of Mother (now Saint) Teresa&rsquo;s words, quoted by Dr Lacey: &ldquo;If there is no peace in the world, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> MOURNING INGRID BROWN, DOMINIC JAMES<br /> <br /> The media fraternity is mourning the passing of multiple award-winning journalist and Jamaica Observer Associate Editor Ingrid Brown. As secretary of the Press Association of Jamaica, Ingrid was a favourite colleague &ndash; cool, collected and dedicated. She had a passion for her country, writing human interest stories on the needy which would attract donors. It was this care for others that motivated her to obtain a law degree, and she was set to enter Norman Manley Law School this semester. Deep condolence to her sons, parents, other family members, and close friends. Rest in peace, dear Ingrid.<br /> <br /> It must have been very hard for Denese and David James, parents of the late St George&rsquo;s College Manning Cup football team captain, Dominic James, to attend the football match between St George&rsquo;s College and Portmore last Friday, a few days after the sudden loss of their amazing son. But they did it for the team, and even in their own grief, comforted the young players. The outpouring of love from all of Jamaica shows how much we still value our own. Such sad episodes can become transformational with good leadership, as displayed by the parents and Coach Neville &ldquo;Bertis&rdquo; Bell.<br /> <br /> SALUTE TO OUR SENIORS<br /> <br /> This Senior Citizens&rsquo; Week, we salute Jamaica&rsquo;s elders, and ask families to show special care and love for their seniors who have sacrificed so much. We are hearing too many stories of elders being disrespected in their own homes, being deprived of care by greedy relatives, being abused in public spaces. Our compassionate vigilance should include reporting such unlawful behaviour. Remember, if we are lucky, one day we will be old too.<br /> <br /> lowriechin@aim.com<br /> <br /> www.lowrie-chin.blogspot.<br /> <br /> com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13263267/226437_57947_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Monday, September 26, 2016 12:00 AM Don&rsquo;t &lsquo;dis&rsquo; Portia http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Don-t--dis--Portia-_74997 The delegates of the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) on September 17, 2016, overwhelmingly re-elected Portia Simpson Miller as president of the organisation. In a stunning show of confidence and respect, the delegates voted 2,471 for Simpson Miller, to a paltry 198 votes for Dr Karl Blythe &mdash; six less than he received in 2006. There were a total of 2,669 votes in the presidential contest and Simpson Miller received an impregnable 93 per cent of the total votes. <br /> <br /> The votes received by Simpson Miller constitute an increase in the amount of delegates that voted for her in the last contest in 2008 where she received 2,332 of the 4,291 votes. In the 2006 internal election, she polled 1,775 of the total 3,808 delegate votes, in a contest where there were three other candidates. So, Simpson Miller has consistently increased her support among delegates of the PNP, and this is demonstrative of a woman who is loved and respected by the members of the PNP.<br /> <br /> But it is not only the delegates and members of the PNP that love and respect Simpson Miller. She enjoys this love and respect from a wide cross section of the Jamaican population. She is the only leader of the PNP that has consistently received over 400,000 votes in any national election. In 2007, under her leadership, the PNP polled 405,293 votes. In 2011, under her leadership, the PNP polled 463,232, and this was the second-highest number of votes to be polled for the PNP in any election since Adult Suffrage in 1944. The highest number of votes was received by the PNP&rsquo;s Michael Manley in 1989 at 473,754.<br /> <br /> In the 2016 election, the PNP, under Portia Simpson Miller&rsquo;s leadership, polled 433,629 votes. This is approximately 30,000 less votes than that which was received in the 2011 election. In my opinion, the decline of the 30,000 votes in 2016 election constitutes the price the Portia Simpson Miller-led PNP paid for implementing the International Monetary Fund programme that created serious economic challenges for most Jamaicans. In the implementation of that necessary programme, due to the mismanagement of the country by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) up to 2011, Simpson Miller expended a lot of political capital for the country. It is argued that no other leader could have implemented such a difficult programme without seeing major social unrest. One can ask former Prime Minister Edward Seaga about that!<br /> <br /> Disrespect &mdash; real or imagined<br /> <br /> The two sets of data presented in this article confirm that Simpson Miller is still respected by most Jamaicans who support the PNP. The voting that took place on Saturday, September 17 is not a rejection of renewal, but rather a disapproval of disrespect shown to Simpson Miller. Anyone who is perceived to be disrespectful of Simpson Miller, a sitting president of the PNP, was going to be rejected by the delegates.<br /> <br /> The PNP has had a culture of allowing its leaders to retire gracefully from active politics. Norman Manley, who is one of the founding fathers of the PNP, has lost more national elections (five) and no one challenged him. He was allowed to retire gracefully after leading the party for 31 years. Michael Manley was allowed to retire at his own pleasure. P J Patterson was also allowed to retire gracefully and he continues to serve this noble movement. We have done it for the previous leaders and so it must be done for the only female leader who has led the movement as well.<br /> <br /> Simpson Miller is humbled by the prolific show of confidence by the delegates of the PNP, and by extension Jamaica. She indicated that she has gone through many challenges during her over 40 years of service to the PNP and Jamaica. However, she opined: &ldquo;You pick me up, you lick me down and I bounce right back. I am a hard woman to die.&rdquo; She has been there for the PNP for over four decades and the members and supporters owe it to stand with her in the challenging times. This is why I chose to stand with her.<br /> <br /> Portia Simpson Miller, in her victory speech, commended Dr Karl Blythe for his challenge. She indicated that it is within the fine democratic tradition of the PNP.<br /> <br /> She said that now that the election is over, members of the PNP must unite to rebuild the party. She told delegates that this is a must if we are to successfully challenge the Jamaica Labour Party and retake government. <br /> <br /> No despot<br /> <br /> Some individuals have expressed the view that this victory will cause Simpson Miller to dig in her heels and choose not to retire. I must indicate that I have known Portia Simpson Miller for a very long time, and she has not demonstrated any despotic tendencies. In fact, it can be argued that, because of her democratic nature, individuals in the PNP have chosen to exploit her approach. <br /> <br /> She has indicated to the movement that she wants to see the PNP through the upcoming local government elections. This is to her credit, as she is prepared to work with the party to give it a fighting chance in the elections. Traditionally, the political party that loses the general election loses the parish council elections in a significant way. If one should do a trend analysis, one will see that this is an irrefutable fact. Instead of exposing a new leader to the possibility of defeat, she is prepared to put herself on the line for the PNP. What a woman!<br /> <br /> Simpson Miller has also indicated that she will be celebrating her 40th year of service to the people of St Andrew South Western, and by extension Jamaica. The members of the PNP are required to work with her to win this election and to celebrate this anniversary with her.<br /> <br /> Graceful exit<br /> <br /> The PNP must stand with Simpson Miller and give her the necessary support. There is life after politics and we are going to need her support in the future, just as how she and the PNP currently benefits from the support of P J Patterson.<br /> <br /> The over 400,000 voters that have consistently voted for the PNP under her leadership have seen something in her that they love and respect. The PNP and the future leader of the movement are going to need her to help mobilise and motivate supporters to come out to vote in future elections. If they feel that she was pushed away, there can be devastating consequences for the movement.<br /> <br /> Finally, as one who strongly supports her, I will never, never, sit by and allow her to overstay her welcome in an organisation such as the PNP. I am fully conscious of the environment and I understand politics very well. Overstaying one&rsquo;s welcome can and will contribute to an intensification of disrespect and this will cause organisational atrophy. Supporting my leader at this time is not &ldquo;blinding&rdquo; my eyes to the current realities. Rather, it is a means of demonstrating respect to one that has served our noble movement and we must allow her to retire gracefully.<br /> <br /> Floyd Morris is an Opposition senator in the Parliament of Jamaica. Send comments to the Observer or <br /> <br /> morrisfloyd@gmail.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13018018/206682_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, September 25, 2016 12:00 AM Apologies for the past, looking to the future http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Apologies-for-the-past--looking-to-the-future_74727 The most important asset a leader must acquire and retain is trust. Trust arises from, among other things, the leader&rsquo;s demonstration of competence in delivering on commitments made, maintaining congruence between word and action, being accurate in assertions proclaimed, and critically, in being willing to be held accountable. In respect of the latter, when assessments establish that the leader failed in any of the foregoing areas, the leader&rsquo;s capacity to retain or regain trust is dependent on his or her willingness to acknowledge failure or error and apologise or take other remedial action.<br /> <br /> The present Government is to be commended, regardless of any political calculation, for apologising to the people of Tivoli Gardens for the events of May 2010. I am, however, genuinely in two minds about this situation for two reasons. Firstly, I do not think everyone in Tivoli deserves an apology, because it is likely that some there had taken on the police in combat or had aided the actions of criminals who had done so. Secondly, arising from the first, I am of the view that a proper accounting for the actions of those residents who may have taken part in illegal action has not taken place, and the report of the commission of enquiry did not go far enough, in my view, in addressing the unacceptable and illegal actions of those such members of the community.<br /> <br /> The Government&rsquo;s decision to make the apology is in response to the recommendation of the commission. The Government has the right to accept or reject any recommendation. That it has decided to accept this recommendation is commendable. Governments rarely apologise and there are many other things for which this current Government, and the previous, needed to apologise.<br /> <br /> As the country takes stock of the apology of the Government, one hopes that the Government is signalling a new kind of leadership; one which places a high premium on taking responsibility &mdash; expressed in such ways as giving apologies. Let&rsquo;s see.<br /> <br /> Another reason to apologise?<br /> <br /> While in Opposition, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) indicated that its signature election promise of &ldquo;$1.5-million tax-free&rdquo; would have been revenue neutral, and would be implemented without the imposition of new taxes. The JLP initially put the cost at $8 billion, then revised it to $12 billion. And, in an interview after his swearing-in, Finance Minister Audley Shaw said it would be under $12 billion, but he maintained that there would be no new taxes.<br /> <br /> These modest (and now known to be inaccurate) figures were defended by Aubyn Hill, Fayval Williams and John Jackson &mdash; all experienced financial analysts and advisors to the JLP. Finance minister under People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) Government Peter Phillips and Ralston Hyman, who had put the cost at the $32 billion, were ridiculed. Jackson was particularly critical of Hyman&rsquo;s calculations and insisted that it will be a &ldquo;mere&rdquo; $8 billion, which the Government, he said, could afford.<br /> <br /> Given that the prime minister, the minister of finance and the others in the Ministry of Finance have all been proven wrong on the cost of the $1.5-million tax break and the burden on taxpayers, should not there be an apology to the country?<br /> <br /> That financial analysts with such experience could be so badly off the mark is perhaps without precedent! If a financial analyst employed to me were to have given me such misleading analysis, I doubt I would accept a mere apology; I would expect and accept a resignation!<br /> <br /> I take a mason to task who causes me to buy more marl or cement than I actually need to get a job done &mdash; even if the estimate is off by just one bag of cement or a few bags of marl. So, given the extent to which the country was misled about this $1.5-million tax break, should someone not be held accountable? Should the prime minister not apologise? <br /> <br /> The future relationship with the IMF<br /> <br /> As the country braces for the 2017/18 Budget and the end of the current Extended Fund Facility with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), no doubt the Government is contemplating the kind of relationship it will pursue with the IMF. I wish to suggest one component that a future relationship with the IMF might include.<br /> <br /> Given what we have learnt from this so-called $1.5-million PAYE threshold tax policy, and given the propensity of political parties to make promises, the keeping of which can be costly to the economy, one of the elements of the new relationship with the IMF should be the provision of technical and human resources to support the establishment of an Independent Office of Economic Analysis (IOEA).<br /> <br /> This office would be an independent, non-partisan entity staffed by people with advanced experience in budgeting, tax policy, monetary policy, financial and economic analysis, financial sector monitoring, etc. It would have both local and foreign experts and would report to Parliament. Its reports would be made public. The assumption is that the reports to Parliament, by virtue of being public, would be also consumed by Jamaica&rsquo;s bilateral trading partners. The mandate of the IOEA would be to provide ongoing analysis of the economic plans and programmes of the Government as well as the proposals and polices advanced by the Opposition.<br /> <br /> In practical terms, if this office were to have existed prior to February 25, 2016, it would conduct an independent assessment of the $1.5-million tax-free policy and show the real cost, as well as consequences in financial, macro-economic, and social terms, and provide recommendations to Parliament on whether that policy or any other should be implemented.<br /> <br /> While the IOEA could not stop the Government from implementing a policy position, any decision of the Government to act contrary to the advice of an independent body such as this would be shown for what it is: folly!<br /> <br /> The existence of such an office is not new. The USA has a Council of Economic Advisers and the UK has had an Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) since 2010. The OBR is an advisory non-departmental public body established to provide independent economic forecasts and analyses of the public finances as background to the preparation of the UK budget.<br /> <br /> It may be argued that Jamaica already has entities that perform a similar function, and one may point to the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) co-chaired by Richard Byles and Brian Wynter, as well as by units with the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and Bank of Jamaica (BOJ). The difference between the proposed IOEA and EPOC is that it monitors after the fact. The difference between the IOEA and PIOJ and BOJ is that these existing entities merely implement policy; they do not make policy or offer public advice that is contrary to policy. This office would assess, critique and advise.<br /> <br /> The Economic Growth Council&rsquo;s future<br /> <br /> The country must be in silent shock over the report put out by the Economic Growth Council (EGC). The EGC was announced with much fanfare and the country was promised a report. The report was late, due in part, it appears, to the intense work that was involved. The report finally arrived, but has told us nothing new, offered no fresh ideas, and proposed no new solutions. There is nothing in that report that shows how Jamaica can grow by five per cent. All that we have is a list of suggestions and approaches that have been seen before. The report has brought into serious question the relevance and usefulness of the EGC.<br /> <br /> But the relevance may be in doubt for another reason: The economy is growing and is poised for further growth. The sacrifices made over the past four years are now bearing fruit. Given that the EGC, by its own output, has brought its relevance into question, the prime minister needs to make it clear what administrative expenses it has asked the country to cover. The hope is that there are none.<br /> <br /> The prime minister had also stated categorically that EGC members would not be paid. This was reiterated by Minister Daryl Vaz. The country would be short-changed if it were asked to pay for this report. It was proposed that the EGC&rsquo;s remit would involve monitoring the implementation of projects emanating from their growth ideas. Well, since no new ideas have been recommended, and we already have organs of the State involved in monitoring economic performance, the role of the ECG should be reviewed. <br /> <br /> Dr Canute S Thompson is a certified management consultant and lecturer in educational policy, planning and leadership in the School of Education, The University of the West Indies, Mona. He is a co-founder of the Caribbean Leadership Re-Imagination Initiative. Send comments to the Observer or<br /> <br /> canutethompson1@gmail.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13279748/227957_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, September 25, 2016 12:00 AM The sad loss of a schoolboy http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-sad-loss-of-a-schoolboy_75011 There are times when football, like some other sports, falls into a ditch from which it is difficult to get out of.<br /> <br /> As far as Jamaica&rsquo;s football is concerned, the drop is so deep that it will take some exceedingly long cranes to take it from the depths of destruction, back onto the road of progress.<br /> <br /> Two things occurred last week that forced me to suspend my self-imposed watch, wait and see approach to a sport that remains Jamaica&rsquo;s most popular, but which seems to have suffered irreparable damage in recent years.<br /> <br /> The sad situation that emerged from the death of St George&rsquo;s College football team captain Dominic James while he represented his school in the Manning Cup schoolboy competition last Tuesday is one that nobody wants to hear about.<br /> <br /> It is an established fact that James collapsed, off the ball, while St George&rsquo;s played Excelsior High School at the National Stadium East field. The match was about two minutes old, officials said, and just over 40 minutes later it became public knowledge that the Jamaica Under-20 invitee was no more after he was rushed to hospital.<br /> <br /> Almost immediately, the calls began to come from near and far; left, right and centre, about the potential shortcomings of the system that governs the running of schoolboy football in Jamaica. Even one presenter on a national television took to the airwaves by posing some questions of the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), asking, among other things, &lsquo;why was there no ambulance at the location&rsquo;? <br /> <br /> Talk is always so cheap, and whenever things go awry it is so easy for just about anyone to say anything without looking at the broader picture.<br /> <br /> The fact is, and the autopsy confirmed, the condition from which James suffered had no relationship to football whatsoever. It could have afflicted him anywhere, anytime. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;He could have been sitting at his desk in class, or lying in his bed and be affected the same way,&rdquo; one well-known cardiologist told me on Friday.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It just so happens that he collapsed on a football field, and so those who do not understand will want to say that it was because he was playing football which led to his death. That&rsquo;s absolutely false,&rdquo; the consultant said.<br /> <br /> This society is largely reactive. Suddenly there are calls for all manner of things to be introduced during the playing of schoolboy football, which you would not have heard about, had there not been such an unfortunate situation at the National Stadium East field.<br /> <br /> At times there are in excess of 50 matches being played on a given day, across the island. With the rickety state of Jamaica&rsquo;s healthcare system, no one in his right mind would dare want ambulances to be planted at football matches, when those in working order are so in demand to take patients all over the globe.<br /> <br /> People are even calling for the removal of the leadership of ISSA &mdash; another foolish thing &mdash; when ISSA had nothing to do with the incident. Even in the Senate, the utterances of chatterbox Lambert Brown appear to even want to politicise the matter. Now we hear that a probe will begin to determine whether or not safety protocols were observed. The Opposition, too, wants to know if there will be sanctions if the protocols were not observed. The Government has said it will investigate the matter. We will see how long this circus will continue, but in the meantime, the nation should throw its support behind the young man&rsquo;s family and the school community.<br /> <br /> I note with some amount of consternation, the move to offer Carl Brown, the former Jamaica football player who served as national coach on five occasions, the job of head coach of the national squad again.<br /> <br /> At first I thought that it was fancy lip work by those who make a living by selling their talent to the electronic media. But I was divested of that view when I heard Brown tell a reporter attached to Radio Jamaica and Television Jamaica that he had been approached by Captain Horace Burrell, the president of the Jamaica Football Federation, to coach the national team.<br /> <br /> I could not believe it. I thought that, despite the losses that had beset the national team in its recent World Cup quest, those moments of setback could not have altered the thinking of Capt Burrell. I was obviously wrong.<br /> <br /> How in God&rsquo;s name could the JFF go back for Brown to serve as national coach? What would have led Capt Burrell to take such a decision? And I ask about Capt Burrell, because it is he, and not the JFF collectively, who would, first of all, make contact with Brown, and agree a deal next.<br /> <br /> What has Brown done in the last 10 years for him to be considered capable of coaching the national team again? Apart from working in the Cayman Islands as national coach and being a member of the Cayman Under 23 coaching squad after he was released from Jamaica national coaching duties a decade ago, and assisting Boys&rsquo; Town Football Club in the National Premier League, there is nothing to jump and shout about. Brown did his time as national coach. He was doing a job for which he was paid. That job did not produce spectacular results, except for the Caribbean Championship, and a third place finish at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.<br /> <br /> Although there is justification in firing German coach Winfried Schaefer, not solely for his decision making on the pitch, but more for his conduct off it, Brown cannot be the answer, long or short term.<br /> <br /> Capt Burrell needs to do better. The ills of Jamaica&rsquo;s football programme cannot be solved by employing short-term, stop gap methods.<br /> <br /> Jamaica&rsquo;s football took a massive turn for the worse in 2009 when the JFF cut ties with then national coach John Barnes, the former England international who was in the job for less than six months, earning a stipend of US$10,000 a month, which he often struggled to get. Barnes is still the envy of many, having never lost an international while coaching the team.<br /> <br /> Barnes&rsquo; problem with the JFF, led by Burrell and which included Horace Reid as general secretary, was that he was not a &lsquo;yes&rsquo; man. Even while he was coaching the national team in the 2008 Caribbean Cup, which he won and qualified the team for the Gold Cup, Barnes would be handed teams on paper &mdash; consistently by one official &mdash;teams that he was told should be the starting 11. Now, how can a two-bit upstart like that official, who thankfully, is no longer directly a part of the national administration, tell an accomplished individual like Barnes what team he should select?<br /> <br /> The JFF obviously wanted someone that it could manipulate. Barnes was not that man. Instead, Burrell told me in an interview sometime after, that the JFF had a problem with how Barnes dressed (many times in shorts and T-shirt), while he sat on the bench. Should it really be a big deal if a doctor decides to perform surgery wearing jeans and polo shirt instead of bush jacket shirt and polyester trousers?<br /> <br /> Barnes was clearly the best of the lot, and that includes Simoes, Clovis de Oliviera and the Brazilian brigade. If he is not to be invited back, and with a clear apology for how he was treated, then the JFF&rsquo;s eyes must be on Lorne Donaldson of Colorado Foxes fame in the USA.<br /> <br /> Another alternative would be to promote youth coaches Ricardo &lsquo;Bibi&rsquo; Gardner and Altimont &lsquo;Freddie&rsquo; Butler into national senior roles. <br /> <br /> Capt Burrell himself has overstayed his time as president. It is time for him to move on and allow the organisation to inhale a wind of change that, hopefully, will be able to revive the sport.<br /> <br /> He has not been credited enough for Jamaica&rsquo;s qualification to the 1998 World Cup in France, the only time that Jamaica appeared on the world&rsquo;s most dazzling stage. Many Jamaicans near and far would say that it was the overrated Brazilian coach Rene Simoes who was largely responsible for Jamaica&rsquo;s qualification. Not so.<br /> <br /> The energy that Burrell put into the programme at the time was remarkable. It had never been seen before by any JFF president, including the man who understood football best &ndash; Tony James &ndash; and considering the meaningful efforts too, of Dr Winston Dawes, Locksley Comrie, Heron Dale, and Pat Anderson before Burrell.<br /> <br /> But there comes a time when one should move on and allow others to bring their ideas to the table for the benefit of the organisation.<br /> <br /> It continues to boggle my mind why leader after leader, especially those in politics, continue to hold on to positions that they seem to think were tailor-made for them. It is even more frustrating when you look at the people who are clinging to power and you examine their ability and contribution, only to find out that they are lightweights.<br /> <br /> In the case of Capt Burrell, his champion super heavyweight ranking has plummeted to that of a mere midget boxer who can only provide entertainment for the ignorant on a Sunday night three-fight card.<br /> <br /> It should not have been so. This man has given too much to Jamaica&rsquo;s football for his stocks to have suffered such a rugged drop.<br /> <br /> It&rsquo;s not too late for Capt Burrell to throw in the towel. He should step aside gracefully and allow a smooth transition.<br /> <br /> Questions are being asked already about who would succeed Burrell. That person is out there. The names of Ambassador AB Stewart Stephenson, president of the Kingston & St Andrew Football Association, and Michael Ricketts, who heads the Clarendon Football Association, come to mind.<br /> <br /> My ideal scenario is to have someone who has an eye for running business, but with a strong knowledge and love for the sport, to be in charge. That&rsquo;s where the names of Garfield &rsquo;Garry&rsquo; Sinclair, now a JFF vice-president, or Christopher Dehring come in.<br /> <br /> HG Helps is Editor-at-Large of the Jamaica Observer. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13310826/230571_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, September 25, 2016 12:00 AM Hair? Hear here http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Hair--Hear-here_75028 Here&rsquo;s the thing: the question of hair length and hairstyle often arises in the context of institutions. The institution may, for instance, be a school, a prison, a church, a business, a constabulary force, or the army. And, within the institution, the question often arises: What are the rules that should govern the treatment of hair? Sometimes the question presents itself in stronger terms: Should the institution expel persons who do not conform to the rules concerning hair?<br /> <br /> US SUPREME COURT<br /> <br /> On some occasions, the issue presents itself with a religious component. A case from the United States Supreme Court, decided in 2015, is of interest in this context. In Holt, aka Muhammad v Hobbs, director, Arkansas Department of Correction, et al (US Supreme Court Reports, Volume 574 (2015)), Mr Holt was imprisoned in an Arkansas facility. <br /> <br /> Pursuant to Arkansas prison practice, inmates were not allowed to grow beards. This was subject to one exception: a beard quarter-inch long would be allowed on prisoners with skin problems.<br /> <br /> Mr Holt, the prisoner, wanted to grow a beard in keeping with his Muslim beliefs. He therefore sought an exception to the beard prohibition, and when this was denied, he took Arkansas to court. Although he lost in the lower courts, Mr Holt prevailed at the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision (written by the reliably conservative Justice Alito).<br /> <br /> NO BEARDS TODAY?<br /> <br /> In reaching its decision concerning Mr Holt, the US Supreme Court applied the Arkansas prison practice in the light of a federal statute &mdash; the Religious Land Use and Institutionalised Persons Act of 2000 (the RLUIPA). In relevant part, Section 3 of the RLUIPA specified that the Government shall not impose a &ldquo;substantial burden&rdquo; on the religious exercise of an institutionalised person unless the Government shows that the burden &ldquo;is the least restrictive means of furthering (a) compelling governmental interest.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> In other words, US law allows the State to bar prisoners from growing beards on religious grounds if: (a) the State has a compelling reason to prohibit beards, and (b) the State cannot achieve its objectives without prohibiting beards. In Holt v Hobbs, the Supreme Court found that the Arkansas approach did not meet the requirements of the law. <br /> <br /> The Court&rsquo;s approach was based on three main considerations. First, Mr Holt had satisfied the burden of proving that his religious practice &mdash; the growing of the beard &mdash; was grounded in sincere religious belief. Second, that the State&rsquo;s decision to cut the beard was not the least restrictive way of ensuring its security interests (the State had argued that prisoners could hide items in a 1/2-inch beard). And, third, the &ldquo;no beard&rdquo; policy was inconsistent in application, for a prisoner was not restricted as to how high the hair atop his head could be allowed to grow.<br /> <br /> IMPLICATIONS<br /> <br /> Undeniably, the case of Holt v Hobbs turns on specific rules within the United States. Nonetheless, the treatment of the issue is instructive. One may be inclined to think, for instance, that prisoners should expect to lose some of their basic human rights while incarcerated. And, if this is the case, then arguably, the right to grow a beard in prison may be restricted. <br /> <br /> This line of argument did not, however, recommend itself to the Supreme Court. Ultimately, for the court, the religious rights of the prisoner trump the state&rsquo;s desire to cut beards in all but the most exceptional circumstances. Religious rights, in short, cannot be abrogated without very strong reason. In this regard, the outward manifestations of religion are to be respected in much the same way that religious beliefs ought to be.<br /> <br /> Within the Jamaican context, this approach would mean that Rastafarians should not be forced to cut their locks while they may be incarcerated. <br /> <br /> THE FLYING DREAD<br /> <br /> To take the matter beyond the confines of the penitentiary, it seems to me that persons who grow long hair for religious reasons should be allowed to do so without pain of sanction in other settings as well. <br /> <br /> In August 1977, Air Jamaica dismissed one of its pilots, Mr Michael Batts, for failure to conform with the company&rsquo;s regulations governing appearance. According to a newspaper report from August 5 of that year, Mr Batts was a &ldquo;Rasta pilot&rdquo;, and Air Jamaica took the view that his dress and hair did not meet the company&rsquo;s requirements.<br /> <br /> Mr Batts&rsquo; response was that he had worked, as a Rastafarian, at Air Jamaica for three years; but, he added, &ldquo;the management has now fired me because I have a beard and wear my hair in keeping with my religion&rdquo; (The Jamaica Daily News). In the midst of divergent views on the treatment of Mr Batts, the late John Maxwell correctly pointed out that there was no good reason for the dismissal. <br /> <br /> In particular, if the fear was that Mr Batts&rsquo; hair would have somehow become entangled in the flight apparatus, then Air Jamaica could have asked him to wear a tam. And, Maxwell noted, there are Sikh pilots and others with long hair who apparently escaped the risk of entanglement. Nowadays, one could also note that there are female pilots with longer hair than that worn by the dread at the controls.<br /> <br /> To be clear, the argument as I recall it was not about marijuana use and whether this would have an adverse impact on piloting skills; rather, it was only about Mr Batts&rsquo;s appearance &mdash; and especially his locks.<br /> <br /> NOT RASTA ALONE<br /> <br /> Nor is it only Rastafarians who have been vulnerable in Jamaica to the hair problem. Perhaps about 15 years ago, a young man was turned away from his school in St Elizabeth because he had a cane-row type hair pattern which his mother associated with her particular religious belief. On that occasion, Barry Chevannes and others argued in support of the young man&rsquo;s religious rights and, as I understand it, he was allowed to remain in school<br /> <br /> For me, then, the religious cases are straightforward. There is no good reason to displace religious belief and practice in considering whether persons should have access to rights or opportunities. <br /> <br /> If you are a prisoner, you should not be barred from keeping your dreadlocks or your beard &mdash; if this is required by your sincere belief. Similarly, you should not be barred from employment and, with at least equal force, you should not be denied access to education. Freedom of religion must be allowed to trump aesthetic preferences.<br /> <br /> SOUTH AFRICAN CASE<br /> <br /> The approach which gives strong validity to religious belief should apply not only to practices required by religion, but also to practices promoted by it. Hence, the relevant authorities cannot say, &ldquo;you don&rsquo;t haffi dread to be Rasta&rdquo;, and thereby deprive a person of his or her rights. This point was taken in MEC for Education: KwaZula-Natal and Others v Pillay, a case decided by the South African Constitutional Court in 2007.<br /> <br /> In MEC v Pillay, a Hindu/Indian student attending the Durban Girls&rsquo; High School was barred from wearing a small nose stud to school. In response, the student&rsquo;s mother challenged the school and the regional education authorities on the basis that the school had unfairly discriminated against the student. <br /> <br /> Writing for a large majority in the Constitutional Court, Chief Justice Langa held that the rule against the wearing of jewellery was potentially discriminatory because it allowed some persons &ldquo;to express their religious and cultural identity freely, while denying that right to others.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> UNIFORMITY AND DISCIPLINE<br /> <br /> In this case, the wearing of a nose stud was part of the student&rsquo;s South Indian Tamil Hindu culture, which is inextricably linked to her Hindu religion. Even though the wearing of the stud was not obligatory, the prohibition had the effect of interfering with the student&rsquo;s religion and culture. <br /> <br /> For the chief justice, it did not matter so much whether the practice of wearing the stud was religious or cultural: the main point was the importance of the practice for the individual concerned.<br /> <br /> In addition, the chief justice found that while uniforms and school rules played an important role in education, this case was about a specific exemption to uniforms. Uniformity and school discipline would not be undermined by allowing this exemption &mdash; and, in any case, the exemption could encourage others to celebrate their religion and culture. This, for the chief justice, was to be &ldquo;celebrated not feared&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> HAIR AS CULTURE<br /> <br /> MEC v Pillay was decided unanimously on the point of discrimination. One implication concerns the way we wear our hair as a cultural practice.<br /> <br /> Here&rsquo;s the issue: what if I want to keep my hair high, not for religious reasons, but rather as part of my culture? Or what if I have a hair style which involves &ldquo;fades&rdquo; and other cuts that are popular among a certain age group, even if conservative types &ldquo;don&rsquo;t get it&rdquo;? Should the relevant authorities be obliged to go along with the latest fad, in keeping with the desire to respect cultural practice? <br /> <br /> This issue has been in the news in Jamaica recently, both in respect of Kingston College and Hopefield Preparatory. My line of reasoning, taking up from the MEC v Pillay approach, is that schools need to be considerably more flexible in the way they treat the hair question. <br /> <br /> HAIR AS DISCIPLINE<br /> <br /> It is sometimes argued that students need to have tight rules about hair length and hairstyle imposed upon their heads because, otherwise, discipline will break down. But is this really true? Many students leave high school today, where they may be barred from particular hairstyles, and go to university where they are not barred. Yet, as far as I know, universities in Jamaica are not noted centres of indiscipline; in fact, I venture to suggest that quite the opposite is the case.<br /> <br /> HAIR AS INDIVIDUALITY<br /> <br /> The argument for greater flexibility about hair at elementary (to use an old-fashioned term) and secondary levels is also reinforced by notions of individuality. Young students &mdash; and especially students in their adolescent years &mdash; should be encouraged to experiment, to think through their ideas, to consider, with the help of adults, what are their most important values. They should also be encouraged to explore avenues of self-expression that are not harmful to other persons.<br /> <br /> In this context, a good school should be a liberating experience. Rules are necessary, but relationships are also important. Respect for all is to be promoted, and good grooming is to be encouraged. But we can have these things without the iron fist of compulsion and without imposing my aesthetic values, which may actually be quite meaningless to other people. <br /> <br /> So, for me, the guiding principle should be whether a particular hairstyle would be somehow disruptive of the learning process &mdash; and I rather doubt that many hairstyles, if any, would fall into that category. It is not that I do not have hair length and hairstyle preferences; rather, the point is that my preferences should not be allowed to stifle the self-expression of others.<br /> <br /> BANNING THE &ldquo;FRO&rdquo;?!<br /> <br /> Another point which has arisen in the context of South Africa concerns the relationship between hair and race. Starting at the Pretoria High School for Girls, some students have been involved in recent protests about &ldquo;natural hair&rdquo;. It is reported that at some schools for girls, braids and straightened hair are acceptable, but &ldquo;afro&rdquo; is not. What?! The lovely &ldquo;fro&rdquo; is banned?! What earthly reason could be given for adopting this practice? <br /> <br /> And, in this context, some persons argue that this is just another reminder that even in post-apartheid South Africa, white culture is privileged over black culture &mdash; for, the argument goes, there are no comparable restrictions on the way white hair is to be treated.<br /> <br /> GOOD/BAD HAIR?<br /> <br /> In Jamaica, the question is not easy. Persons who defend restrictions on hair length and hairstyle rarely perceive themselves as supporting a racial code. Indeed, many conscious black persons do not necessarily sport afro, and argue for short hair, and conservative haircuts, simply because that is their aesthetic preference &mdash; with no thought or even the slightest shade of racial bias in mind.<br /> <br /> At the same time, however, persons may well remind us about a time, not so long ago, when the Afro was frowned upon by some Jamaicans. And they can identify particular schools which had well-publicised problems in this area. <br /> <br /> It is also true that up until recently &mdash; and perhaps even today &mdash; the concept of &ldquo;good hair&rdquo; versus &ldquo;bad hair&rdquo; is still contemplated in some places. The truth is that our history of racial privileging still causes us to be on the lookout for bias in society. Thus, when we see something that could be linked to racial issues, we are mindful of the possibility. <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> QUOI FAIRE?<br /> <br /> What to do, then? Leave my hairpiece in piece. Let my &lsquo;fro&rsquo; grow. Allow my fade to fade away from your thoughts. Celebrate Shelly Ann&rsquo;s multi-colours, admire Elaine T&rsquo;s stylish variety. Pay more attention to what&rsquo;s in the head than what&rsquo;s on it. If grooming is needed by students, point them in the right direction without banning them from the precious gift of education. And, above all, do not discriminate against persons because they peacefully follow the beat of their own drum.<br /> <br /> Stephen Vasciannie CD is Professor of International Law, UWI, and a former Jamaican Ambassador to the USA and the Organization of American States. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13310713/230566_57766_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, September 25, 2016 12:00 AM Human trafficking: a real threat to Ja&rsquo;s security http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Human-trafficking--a-real-threat-to-Ja-s-security_47931 According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), human trafficking is a crime against humanity. It involves an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring or receiving a person through the use of force, coercion and other means for the purpose of exploiting them. The UNODC also stated that every year thousands of women, men and children fall into the hands of traffickers in their own countries and abroad. Every country in the world, the UNODC reported, is affected by human trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims. <br /> <br /> The United States Department of State reported that Jamaica is a source of transit and destination country for adults and children subjected to trafficking and forced labour. The most common form of trafficking reported in Jamaica is sex trafficking, which occurs at nightclubs, bars, massage parlours, and private homes. The report continued that the population most vulnerable to trafficking are young women and children from poor communities who are least educated and have disorganised families. Owners and operators of massage parlours lure young women into their establishments under the pretence that they are being employed as massage therapists; however, they are exposed to selling sexual favours to men as their main duties.<br /> <br /> According to research conducted by Leith Dunn and Sybil Ricketts on the scope of human trafficking in Jamaica, the pattern of trafficking they reportedly observed is consistent with global trends, and most activities they found related to trafficking for sexual exploitation, with females and children being the main victims. Their research was carried out in Negril in Westmoreland, Montego Bay in St James, and Kingston and St Andrew.<br /> <br /> Dunn and Ricketts argued that radical changes in the global trade environment as well as telecommunications and computer technologies have all created major challenges as well as opportunities for the Jamaican people. Exposure to global and other Western cultures and lifestyles, they pointed out, have raised economic exploitations and changed values and behaviours that are more accommodating of activities related to human trafficking.<br /> <br /> The Global Initiatives to Fight Human Trafficking estimated that 2.5 million people are in forced labour, including sexual exploitation at any given time as a result of trafficking. Two hundred and fifty thousand or 10 per cent, they reported, are in Latin America and the Caribbean. The majority of suspects involved in trafficking, they reported, are nationals within countries where the trafficking process occurs. Global profit from trafficking amounts to over US$31 billion. From this amount, US$1.3 billion or 4.1 per cent is generated in Latin America and the Caribbean.<br /> <br /> Cable television, which is a source of easy access to pornographic videos, helped to develop and diversify sexual pleasures and appetites and increased the demand for foreign sex partners, exotic dancers, and a mushrooming of sexual massage industries, Dunn and Ricketts found. Newspaper advertisement offering massage services have alerted young girls to this industry, they also believed.<br /> <br /> Trafficking in Persons, they also pointed out, occurs within and outside national borders and is driven by demand and supply as well as social, economic and political inequalities at the global, regional and national levels. Poverty, organised crime, weak social and economic structure, and the perception that one&rsquo;s quality of life can be improved through migration are some of the factors that are fuelling this thriving activity, they concluded.<br /> <br /> Some of the major factors of human trafficking in Jamaica have arisen from the breakdown of personal and family values and attitudes. Family is the first major agent of socialisation and a support system to acquire good life principles. Whenever this support is lacking, it can be reasonably argued that children and other members of the family will deviate becoming delinquent and developing the tendency to accept counter influences. The breakdown of other agents of socialisation create a major gap in the society which causes deviant behaviours.<br /> <br /> Economic hardship and the inability to find sustainable employment is also another factor which causes some individuals to get involved in human trafficking and unlawful sexual practices. People have to earn to live, acquire an education, raise families, and take care of themselves. Once there are insufficient economic opportunities, people will find other ways of earning an income. They are therefore lured into prostitution, organised crime, or other illicit trades.<br /> <br /> Some women and young girls are being sourced from depressed communities and coerced or fed false and deceptive promises that they are being employed into reputable economic establishments. However, they later find out that they are exploited into sexual practices against their will. The exposure through the Internet has created awareness in some of these helpless females who watch and read about the extravagant lifestyle that can be achieved from these unhealthy practices.<br /> <br /> Human trafficking is a multidimensional threat which, if allowed to continue, deprives people of their human rights, promotes social breakdown, and inhibits development by a country&rsquo;s human capital. Families, therefore, will be left distraught and young women will find themselves drawn into a web of activities which scar their characters and prospects of leading a respectable and happy life. Moreover, the cost to person, society and governments for health care and the effect on productivity can be astronomical.<br /> <br /> It is hoped that with forward linkages, and associations created with law enforcement, there will be greater collaboration of resources and intelligence to map and gather intelligence on organised criminal networks to better operationalise strategies to combat this crime. Law enforcement should, through intelligence gathering, be focusing on the characters in the organised criminal network to dismantle, disrupt and arrest the primaries. Also, the focus through social agencies and civil society groups should be to educate potential victims via the media.<br /> <br /> The Government of Jamaica, however, needs to find the financial resources to launch public education media campaigns on the effects of human trafficking, create training and educational opportunities, and to carry out more sustained covert law enforcement operations driven by intelligence to arrest those involved in this crime.<br /> <br /> The Government has already enacted legislation and is also complying with international conventions on issues of human trafficking. The security forces are is actively involved in pursuing the problem to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of this organised crime. The effort, however, is found to be insufficient by the international agencies because it is not complying fully with the protocol. <br /> <br /> What seems to be missing is a concerted public message about the risks and dangers of human trafficking with intent to inform and change behaviour. The Government must therefore forge greater partnerships with the private sector, non-government organisations, international donor agencies and the citizenry to create economic opportunities and external economic linkages to channel labour in productive enterprises. They can also engender good values and attitudes programmes to change and reinforce lifelong learning principles so that people and the victims of human trafficking can acquire and display good personal and societal norms. <br /> <br /> An overarching strategic approach should encompass a four P&rsquo;s approach:<br /> <br /> 1. Prevention: Commission several awareness and training activities to provide information; media, schools, workshops, public forums, and social networks should be employed to fill gaps in knowledge.<br /> <br /> 2. Protection: Develop a human trafficking manual to include indicators to identify likely threats. Also, the protection of victims has to be considered on humanitarian grounds with care and empathy towards them so that the issue of social exclusion does not arise, reducing the barriers to re-integration into the society in relation to acceptance.<br /> <br /> 3. Partnerships: Develop and strengthen partnerships with all groups and stakeholders to assist in creating working groups to better deal successfully with the problem.<br /> <br /> 4. Prosecution: Conduct ongoing surveillance to detect offenders to this crime. And bolster laws to act as a deterrent.<br /> <br /> Christopher Bryan has read for master&rsquo;s degrees in government and national security and strategic studies. Send comments to the Observer or<br /> <br /> christopher.bryan@cwc.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13309202/230661_57797_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, September 25, 2016 12:00 AM IMF-World Bank meetings: a rare opportunity http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/IMF-World-Bank-meetings--a-rare-opportunity_74987 The October meetings this year of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, DC, present a rare opportunity for Caribbean government representatives to be heard by crucial decision-makers.<br /> <br /> Ironically, what provides this opportunity is a matter most Caribbean governments would wish did not exist: It is the withdrawal by US and European banks of correspondent banking relations (CBRs) from Caribbean financial institutions.<br /> <br /> The withdrawal of CBRs has already badly affected several Caribbean countries. Many Caribbean banks have lost their traditional CBRs with US banks such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citibank, and also with British banks like Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland. The loss of these CBRs has come at a high price, including:<br /> <br /> (i) newly imposed minimum activity thresholds below which the account is closed,<br /> <br /> (ii) higher costs (often associated with due diligence) passed on to the consumer when establishing a new CBR, and<br /> <br /> (iii) pressure on the respondent banks to limit their exposure to certain categories of customers in order to maintain a CBR.<br /> <br /> Some Caribbean banks have had to go further afield to find banks that would settle their transactions. Consequently, costs have risen, and ultimately they will be passed on to every customer. The cost of doing business is set to rise.<br /> <br /> The problem will get greater. For instance, the IMF has stated that loss of CBRs &ldquo;could disrupt financial services, including trade finance and remittances, and lead to financial exclusion for certain categories of customers, particularly money or value transfer services and non-profit organisations, which serve vulnerable segments of the population&rdquo;. In fact, money transfer operations in some Caribbean countries have already been forced to close down. This has had an effect on remittances from the Caribbean Diaspora in the US, particularly to their dependents in the region.<br /> <br /> If the transfer of remittances is severely affected, the social welfare cushion that it provides to the vulnerable in the Caribbean societies will be eroded, putting great pressure on the resources of governments that are already cash-strapped and debt-ridden. This will be very difficult for all governments, and impossible for some.<br /> <br /> Beyond remittances, if Caribbean countries &mdash; governments and the private sector &mdash; cannot do international business through CBRs, the countries will be cut off from the global trading system. This is not imminent, but it is by no means impossible unless action is taken at the international level to remedy the very difficult problem that the loss of CBRs presents.<br /> <br /> The reason that the global banks in the US and Britain are withdrawing CBRs from the Caribbean and other small countries in the Pacific and Africa is manifold. But, at its centre are the several requirements of organisations such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development&rsquo;s (OECD) Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (the Global Forum), including the &lsquo;black list&rsquo; of countries that they have produced in the past. Beyond these two powerful organisations, other countries, such as the US, and regions like the European Union, have created their own lists. The combination of these measures, supposedly directed at anti-money laundering and terrorism financing activities, weighs heavily on the decision of banks in the US and about whether or not to provide CBRs.<br /> <br /> The fact that Caribbean countries have been branded as &lsquo;tax havens&rsquo;, and that the region has been dubbed high-risk for financial services, effectively spoiled their chances of keeping CBRs that they enjoyed for years. The global banks in the US and Europe simply do not want to take the risk of having to pay heavy financial and other penalties for the slightest incident that allows money laundering or tax evasion, however remote it may be. And it does not seem to matter that the majority of Caribbean jurisdictions are compliant with FATF and OECD rules, or that they have signed agreements to automatically provide tax information to the US and more than 12 EU countries.<br /> <br /> So, why do the IMF and World Bank meetings in October provide an opportunity? The first reason is that both the IMF and the World Bank are now engaged on this issue. Both institutions recognise the immediate and possible long-term damage to Caribbean countries if remedial action is not taken swiftly. They have both established small states machinery and are ready to work for, and with, Caribbean governments to address the problem. Significantly, the managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, has spoken on the issue personally.<br /> <br /> In July, at a meeting of the US Federal Reserve, she said: &ldquo;I am concerned that all is not well in this world of small countries with small financial systems. In fact, there is a risk that they become more marginalised. All actors have a part to play: countries need to upgrade their regulatory frameworks, regulators in key financial centres need to clarify regulatory expectations and ensure consistent application over time, and global banks need to avoid knee-jerk reactions and find sensible ways to reduce their costs. There is a lot at stake. For both the big and the small. For all of us.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> That is an important intervention, and one which Caribbean representatives can seize as they engage in a high-level dialogue with Lagarde herself and with senior officials of the World Bank. The engagement is not a guarantee of change, but it is chance to begin the process of formulating solutions to a problem whose gravity should not be underestimated.<br /> <br /> It is not a problem that will be contained in the Caribbean. If economic circumstances become dire, waves of migrants and refugees will wash up on the shores of the US, Canada and Europe; so too will the narcotics whose trade will benefit from increased poverty and unemployment. Even money laundering would increase as, inevitably, the cross-border flow of money and other means go underground far away from the reach of regulations, controls and law enforcement.<br /> <br /> Sir Ronald Sanders is Antigua and Barbuda&rsquo;s ambassador to the US and Organisation of American States; an international affairs consultant; as well as senior fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto, and the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London. He previously served as ambassador to the European Union and the World Trade Organisation 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/12837710/195620__w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, September 25, 2016 12:00 AM School days...nowadays http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/School-days---nowadays_75073 Heartfelt condolence to the parents, extended family and schoolmates of young Dominic James. The grief is shared by all who watched the tragedy unfold in the media. I don&rsquo;t wish to dwell on it, as sometimes in spite of the best intentions in the world we still manage to invade family privacy.<br /> <br /> Schoolboy football has been given so much hype and attention that any little flutter from the norm will catch our attention as it gets blown up on TV and in the headlines. Indeed, school was once the private domain of teachers and schoolers. Not that what is taught there must remain there, God forbid, but many matters that ought to be settled in school are being tried in public. Discussions over length of hair, length of uniforms, canteen menus, detention (if it still exists), are problems that can be resolved in the principal&rsquo;s office. Inevitably they reach into the hands of the media and, instead of a focus on books, the emphasis is shifted to who is wearing what now.<br /> <br /> A teacher today has very little control or authority over a schoolboy football star. Today it&rsquo;s the poor teacher &ldquo;with his satchel and shining morning face creeping like a snail unwillingly to school&rdquo; while the baller revels in the headline attention, sports news limelight and, believe it or not, centre spread blow-ups in the afternoon papers.<br /> <br /> The media needs to tone it down, not in its reporting of the matches, but the individual persona build-up that mounts the player on shaky pedestals that cannot last beyond the Manning or daCosta Cup season.<br /> <br /> Head space at age 17 can be limited. Don&rsquo;t fill it up with superficial glamour, in-depth interviews, and domestic affairs in the open when such should be kept inside the home for the parents to deal with.<br /> <br /> I don&rsquo;t expect to see a centre spread photo of the next Rhodes scholar in The Star, but education would be better served if academic achievement is given the same kind of headline treatment now being accorded to the top scorer on the football team.<br /> <br /> Football played a large part in our lives at school. Munronians of my time will recall that my skills were limited to the rough and tumble of &lsquo;B&rsquo; field football, but our reward and recognition (R&R) for most goals scored were bragging rights over a smile and a whispered &ldquo;nice goal&rdquo; from the Hampton girls just before principal Miss Gloria Wesleygammon whisked them into the bus after a match to be returned to the safety of their Malvern citadel.<br /> <br /> Granted, things and time have changed. In my elementary school days education at that level was governed by a contract, a kind of code of understanding, between teacher, student and parent.<br /> <br /> The headmaster had control of the affairs of the school, be it class structure, syllabus in conformity to what was set by the ministry, recess times, morning and evening prayers, staff, cleaner, and discipline.<br /> <br /> Discipline was simple. It was wrapped up in the strap, cunningly referred to by &lsquo;Big Teacher&rsquo; as &lsquo;the leather&rsquo;. It was coiled up and positioned on the headmaster&rsquo;s table as a warning against any planned mischievous behaviour. It kept us in check throughout the day, and the only skin tattoo to worry about would be the temporary marks left in the hand middle or on the shoulders after a testing round of mental arithmetic or English.<br /> <br /> Length of hair arguments were non-existent. The nowadays unisex hairstyles that sometimes make it past the school gate had no place in our circle. I do recall the occasional irate father waiting at the gate after class to confront my father over a beating administered to a wayward child. This was never a public issue. Teachers were respected as village peacemakers, and when he finished dealing with his potential assailant, the gentleman would inevitably shake his hand, apologise, and leave an, &ldquo;Oh Teacher, if him try it again you mus&rsquo; give him two lick for me too.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> In today&rsquo;s environment, the slightest infraction sends the media spinning, the school board is brought in, the chairman must be interviewed, and even the Member of Parliament must have his or her say, and the final pronouncement and verdict issued by the minister.<br /> <br /> And values have changed. What an excitement come graduation time, when the expensive gown means much more that what&rsquo;s on the graduation certificate. &ldquo;I graduated with a better hair do than yours,&rdquo; or &ldquo;I got an &lsquo;A&rsquo; for make-up,&rdquo; never mind the nines and 10&rsquo;s in English, maths and the other key subjects.<br /> <br /> But all is not lost. When you look at the Schools&rsquo; Challenge Quiz being played out this week at primary and basic levels, there is hope. It is refreshing to sit back and watch the expressions on the little faces caught on camera, the confidence, the anticipation, the execution and implementation as they give the correct answer with an ease and assurance beyond their years.<br /> <br /> Frankly, I am intimidated at the brightness of these students because most of the questions floor me.<br /> <br /> They come in rapid succession and are answered in the same vein, &ldquo;Which type of rock is formed by cooling?...What&rsquo;s the value of x if 2x-6= 18?&rdquo; And to really make me feel small, &ldquo;What&rsquo;s the product of 0.68 and 0.64?&rdquo; Apparently &ldquo;product&rdquo; is new smart word for &lsquo;total&rsquo;. I nearly fell out my chair when I heard that one. <br /> <br /> Mark you, my wife insists that I keep quiet and learn because my answers are always way off. So I allow the children to explain to me how molten rock is formed, the real name for the DJ &ldquo;Ice Cube&rdquo;, tell me where I can find the verse &ldquo;who shall abide in thy tabernacle...&rdquo;, and watch them hit the science questions for six with a slightly amused and even contemptuous smile.<br /> <br /> This is a good generation, no matter what people say about Jamaica today. Our schoolers can stand up at any level with the best in the world. And when the cameras focus on the faces of the teachers, I know why the children are so well prepared, because we are looking at caring people who invest a whole lot of love and time in not only tutoring the kids, but making sure that they are well dressed and able to represent their home, school and district with pride.<br /> <br /> I was amazed to realise, from a conversation with friends recently, that Schools&rsquo; Challenge Quiz is over 50 years old. I had just entered secondary when it started. Being an avid reader, I probably would have made the team and hope that I would have been able to maintain the discipline and application necessary to appear on national TV, and give as good an account of myself as do the kids today. <br /> <br /> Or maybe I would have muffed my chance. I keep laughing at the joke about the boy from rural farming Jamaica who won his local round of the spelling bee and goes to Kingston for the finals. The entire village is listening keenly as he made his way to the last round, but unfortunately the electricity chips out, the radio fails, and it takes a telegram to inform them back home that he missed the first place by one misspelt word.<br /> <br /> At the welcome home reception, and as he steps off the bus, the proud teacher congratulates his student, but asks what was the word that felled him. &ldquo;Well, Teacher,&rdquo; declares the champion in a loud and clear voice, &ldquo;ah get to find out for the first time that the word auspices is spelt a-u-s-p-i-c-e-s.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Well, argument done, because everybody knows that kids really do say the darndest things. A Sunday school teacher asked her young class, &ldquo;Why is it necessary to keep quiet in church?&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Because the adults are sleeping,&rdquo; replied a little girl. Out of the mouths of babes.<br /> <br /> Lance Neita is a public and community relations writer and consultant. Send comments to the Observer or <br /> <br /> lanceneita@hotmail.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13309244/230676_57815_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, September 25, 2016 12:00 AM Will this be the PNP&rsquo;s epitaph? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Will-this-be-the-PNP-s-epitaph-_74707 Under normal circumstances, September 2016, from a People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) perspective, ought to have been a pivotal month in the history of the organisation. This is so because September was the month of its founding 78 years ago, and this September provided the first opportunity since its electoral loss in February of this year to take a long, hard look at the organisation, its current structure, and its preparedness to not only provide strong political opposition as part of the structure of government, but also to prepare itself for the next 50 years as a credible political force in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Unless one has been hiding under a very large rock, it should have been common knowledge that this PNP has been characterised by friction and divisiveness leading up to the February 2016 polls and, even by the accounts of some of its own officers, its self-inflicted wounds contributed to its execution of the worst election contest in its entire history; resulting in the organisation giving up 11 political constituencies and handing the reins of government to the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) by a one-seat majority.<br /> <br /> It was the second election loss presided over by its maximum leader Portia Simpson Miller from three starts. And it came after the party had laid the serious economic groundwork necessary to &ldquo;right-size&rdquo; the country&rsquo;s economy. A direction-less campaign, underlined by public infighting, ensured that the party was unable to adequately inform the electorate of its achievements and, as a result, its supporters either stayed home or voted otherwise.<br /> <br /> In the aftermath of the February election came reports of the extent to which the campaign was rudderless. The embattled General Secretary Paul Burke has been singled out as one causative factor. Then, in July, another bombshell exploded: that of the campaign funds that were collected but not made available to the finance committee. And all the time the maximum leader appeared at sea with respect to these issues.<br /> <br /> This past weekend, the erstwhile P J Patterson admonished the organisation&rsquo;s leadership with gentle slaps on the wrist as he warned its officer corps of the dangers of becoming irrelevant, of the danger of &ldquo;dropping the baton&rdquo;. Patterson had himself occupied the crease for almost 20 uninterrupted years; at a time when the global economy was heating significantly, and for the first three years (1992-1995) the Jamaican economy experienced average growth rates of 2.4 per cent per year. Comparatively, these ought to have been the plum years of Jamaica&rsquo;s economic development, as we were no longer bogged down by political ideologies, and the presence of one unelectable Edward Seaga in the leadership role of the JLP virtually guaranteed Patterson uninterrupted occupation of the batting crease.<br /> <br /> During this period, however, Jamaica failed to consolidate the gains from the helpful economic climate, and wittingly or unwittingly, squandered same through the pursuit of misplaced priorities. Huge capital/infrastructural expansion projects became recognisable portals through which doors the spectre of corruption became a fixture on the nation&rsquo;s social, economic and political landscape. It was during this same time, too, that the party developed its mastery of winning elections, even if it was at the expense of the core ideological values of the organisation. And without a core ideology, it also lost interest in bolstering its structure.<br /> <br /> This is the legacy of P J Patterson. And, whether we want to admit it or not, Portia Simpson Miller inherited what was left of a party that had held on to the mistaken view that popularity of the leader was sufficient to carry the organisation. In fact, Hugh Small predicted this development immediately after the PNP&rsquo;s 2011 election victory, but rather than pay attention to those comments, and other clear signs, it was easier to write off anyone who spoke anything less than plaudits for the maximum leader as being sacrilegious. The fact that she lost the 2007 polls was never addressed. And a second loss in 2016 for a loss/win ratio of 66.66 per cent has still not caused the organisation to recognise that now is the time for renewal...not tomorrow...not next year, but now!<br /> <br /> Against this background, I found P J Patterson&rsquo;s admonition a little disingenuous as one cannot do the same things, with the same people, for 20 and 30 years. It is one thing to talk about renewal, but quite another to give effect to those words. That effect must come from a concerted effort by the organisation and its leadership to validate such concepts by the actions that it takes.<br /> <br /> The executive of the PNP is largely comprised of bodies born long before Independence. And, in spite of the party&rsquo;s composition of bright, forward-looking, intellectually sound, and spiritually committed candidates, its delegates&rsquo; pool has continued to re-elect the same usual suspects at each voting opportunity, and in the process has thrown the baby out with the bath water.<br /> <br /> P J Patterson just stopped short of saying that no one can function in leadership forever and there comes a time when stepping aside is the only viable option. It is my sense that the PNP is only fooling itself in delaying the inevitable, and in the process this will eventually be the party&rsquo;s epitaph. Mark my words.<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.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13309143/229156__w300.jpg Local Opinion Sunday, September 25, 2016 12:00 AM The lights and the shadows of football http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-lights-and-the-shadows-of-football_74954    I have chosen to wander into territory for which I am no expert, but I have to go all the same.<br /> <br />    I speak of football&hellip;not the kind which our &lsquo;Merican friends play, dressed in heavy armour, reminiscent of knights of old and all that storybook stuff. I venture into the arena which the Europeans used to present as soccer, until the football word and world overwhelmed them. The name might have been changed by a new generation, enabling global interest.<br /> <br />    Football is everywhere. Millions are made and millions have been lost in the development and promotion of the game. Praises have been sung and criticisms made to ensure honesty in whatever is said and done.<br /> <br />    I&rsquo;m sure many of us have heard Granny seh something about, &ldquo;If ah egg, wi inna de red.&rdquo; Well, Granny, football and athletics make up &ldquo;the big egg&rdquo; today &mdash; football and more football just like more athletics. That&rsquo;s exactly what we are doing; getting a piece of the action everywhere. In her days, Granny would not even dream that her offspring could be travelling by air with the frequency surpassing her jackass carrying load to market. Today, young men are making money to take them from school days onwards. Old-timers may not get it, but the new generation understands it full well. They head now for the field, not only to make the dollars, but to see their names in the headlight &mdash;&bull;and who knows, give them a turn on the red carpet which can bring in a heavy pay packet, the likes of which Granny could never dream of.<br /> <br />    Schoolboy soccer, football &mdash; whatever you want to call it &mdash; is received with high ambition.<br /> <br />    I grew up in a home with two brothers who from an early age caught football fever, which was blazing even then. Each brother had his own moments of fame, often as a centre forward, scoring numerous goals, and also representing the country on the national team in tournaments abroad. Recruitment of schoolboy players has been overcome by the level it has reached today. Players had to be strong in the past and in today&rsquo;s present. The players must work to reach the level of the giants of the day. Both my brothers were products of St George&rsquo;s College. The youngest brother captained the Manning Cup team and also represented the national senior team. The older made his contribution in these areas also, as well as overseas opportunities on the national team.<br /> <br />    On the wider field, Americans used to have a good laugh about this &ldquo;football&rdquo; business. They knew &ldquo;football&rdquo; as pledging alliance to the heavy armour of their style of the game. They found satisfaction by teaching their little girls, as well as boys, in kindergarten to play soccer and, in time, dabble with the imported word &ldquo;football&rdquo;. Little by little the scene changed everywhere. It could be what influenced our schoolboy football to become such a major development, which is growing faster and faster. The impression is sometimes given that, in school, a shot sent full speed to the back of the net means more than academic achievement. Is that really so? One day we should argue it.<br /> <br />    By the age of 19, and just leaving school, Brother One was recruited to a team which was at one time a formidable foe against the very school for which he played. And now he found himself on their team. His former schoolmates were not amused. He used to deliver the power kick, testing the goal and winning. How dare he defect? Traitor!<br /> <br />    In time it was seen as just all in the game. He recalls now and the friendships continue. &ldquo;Old boys&rdquo; never forget the old school bonds. Talk might be cheap, but friendships are forever, continuing even to this day from young boys to old boys.<br /> <br />    Watching from the sidelines now, fellowship still goes with the game, with the school cheer still bringing a bit of misty eyes; I&rsquo;m told, and there is no easing up, once the referee blows the whistle.<br /> <br />    Mutual respect and friendship remain a part of the school-inspired game. Brother One continues to take great interest in the growth of his school&rsquo;s strength in the games of today and celebrates the fact that football is not confined to the city, but has spread instead from Morant Bay to Negril and in-between. Football fields are in every district and town across the nation.<br /> <br />    Media coverage has also given a new lift to young players who hope for overseas possibilities and not surrender to despair. A football scholarship, like those in athletics, can make many youngsters live in a state of hope.<br /> <br />    The question is often heard, without malice, what really are the benefits of dreaming? Is every &ldquo;football star&rdquo; able to take the prize in the academic arena which can ensure their future? Is too much influence being placed on the physical instead of the cerebral? It is not often one hears how when the schooldays &mdash; complete with adulation &mdash; are over, not everyone who were idols in the game, left qualified enough to gain entry into the world of work and benefits to live a good life. The questions which follow speak of appropriate balance from the classroom years.<br /> <br />    How many stars of the past are barely making ends meet today? Did some of the stars, while shining on the football field, neglected to understand that time does not stand still. Can football alone earnings feed a family? You have to be equipped for the future. One day we should discuss this some more.<br /> <br />    No offence meant. Are parents and guardians doing enough to ensure a balanced education for their sons? Is the balance even between sports and study? Has this been tested?<br /> <br />    A STAR GONE OUT<br /> <br />    Today, the nation mourns the loss of a gifted football player, a bright shining light to his family &mdash; both at school and home. Everyone mourns the loss of this golden child. The question is asked with amazement, how could it be? He was in the prime of life. What happened? No one ever understands fully why the light should go out so soon for one so young and so special. How could a player like that leave the field, just like that?<br /> <br />    Words of comfort are many, but sincere though they be, they will not be able to bring back a young star. The game will go on, but the memories will not end, we hope. To the parents, we say: Stand strong, the thoughts of others are with you. Call upon your strength. There are many looking on who care for you. That might sound insufficient, but it is said with sincerity.<br /> <br />    ANOTHER FIELD OF PLAY<br /> <br />    It is said every picture tells a story. True! Jamaica Observer photographer Garfield Robinson had his eyes and his lens well focused when he attended a Maverley/ Hughenden football match the other day. A strong, young player on the field, who had scored winning goals, moved towards the wire fence. From out among the spectators, a lovely girl made her way nearer to the fence, and so did the goal-scorer.<br /> <br />    Despite a tap on the shoulder from a teammate, the young Rodico scored a new goal. Nothing could separate him from the love of his son&rsquo;s mother. They met by the fence and a tender kiss was exchanged, the image captured in the camera&rsquo;s lens. Even the most cynical could see. Yes, good can come out of Nazareth, and Maverley too!<br /> <br />    POST SCRIPT: I have been asked to bring this up by someone who says he means no offence, but he feels impelled to ask: Are we putting too much pressure on our young athletics people of whom we expect a great deal and, in the course of things, could be pushing them too hard? Overburdened though we may be, let&rsquo;s ensure that we protect our children as best we can. I say this with respect and prayers. Yours truly, Mr Football.<br /> <br />    Barbara Gloudon is a journalist, playwright and commentator. Send comments to the Observer or gloudonb@ yahoo.com http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13306506/229990_57461_repro_w300.jpg Local Opinion Friday, September 23, 2016 2:00 AM The CXC impasse and the Anglophone Caribbean http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/The-CXC-impasse-and-the-Anglophone-Caribbean-_74970 The Penwood Secondary School issue with the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) prompted the Minster of Education Senator Ruel Reid to intervene and provides us a teachable moment. We now see how political interference, however high-minded, can sway decisions of a Caricom entity. Might it sway Caricom/CSME itself?<br /> <br /> If one prime minister is piqued by a ruling and decides to &ldquo;review&rdquo; his country&rsquo;s relationship, the offending agency is dead &mdash; and maybe Caricom. Of course, Trinidad and Barbados also has this clout &mdash; possibly Guyana too, now that it has oil. It&rsquo;s clear that union of Jamaica with English-speaking islands makes no economic sense for us.<br /> <br /> A single market and single economy (think CSME) is anachronistic as the 21st century has nimble, virtual economic and financial models we can use and not compromise sovereignty. Russia buys grain from the USA; North Koreans get western food despite nuclear sabre-rattling. We do not need to join a gang to compel favours from others or for international protocols to work for us.<br /> <br /> Some five decades gone and this crawling peg union of continental Guyana, Eastern Caribbean islands and us is still not airborne. Any relevance for us has evaporated as geo-political and economic realities have changed. The USSR is dismantled; Singapore exited the Malaysian federation; now Brexit. Poor nations in Eastern Europe want into the European Union as the subsidies are massive. Political loyalty can no longer get us aid and grants as benefactors want to see their gifts produce and the 21st century is about open systems, global connectivity and access based on interests, not ideology.<br /> <br /> Jamaica is hot property; our culture, sports are global; our name tops in global analytics &mdash; at times for the wrong reasons. We dominate a lot of virtual space. We can leverage this and execute the prosperity agenda without reference to a CSME Parliament in Guyana. As Granny say, &ldquo;No tree naw grow inna fi wi face!&rdquo;<br /> <br /> This union of Anglophone nations is based on a late 19th century British concept, and as it roped in Haiti &mdash; poorest nation in the West &mdash; we know CSME is politics, not economics. Technology, innovation, global communications makes this analogue union redundant. Brexit will shake the EU and it may not survive, but the UK will, and the world will not turn to cartels as CSME for trade or UN votes for favours &mdash; extortion? The EU was born of desire to avoid fighting by contiguous states. So after the World War II the EU was a peacekeeper; similar to the US federal government which had many bloody-minded states hacking at each other. The West Indies adopted the same model; though unfit. We were not contiguous to Guyana or the islands or in turf war; we started fighting after Caricom. We didn&rsquo;t know them, or they us; we were just slaves of the same master. Is this good context for CSME or even CXC?<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Tek sleep an mark death,&rdquo; as Minister Ruel Reid&rsquo;s veiled threat to pull out of CXC is a marker for what can happen in CSME. Anglophone CXC, chaired by The University of the West Indies, is Caribbean in name only. West Indians-Anglophone Caribbean folk are risk-averse and have identity issues. From colony to West Indies Federation, CARIFTA, Caribbean Community, Common Market, Single Market &mdash; free trade and open borders &mdash; all quarrel and fight and the single economy, aka political and economic union, should have been 2015. It has taken us five decades to come full circle to federation, now branded as CSME. If a ruling goes against the interest of one prime minister then, &ldquo;Pop goes the union,&rdquo; or the court?<br /> <br /> Ruel Reid uses Jamaican muscle to get justice for Penwood school &mdash; hooray! We pay CXC hundreds of millions &mdash; most fees, most candidates &mdash; only one vote. Penwood is the flagship in Member of Parliament Andrew Holness&rsquo;s constituency and may impact electability; so what the boss wants he gets.<br /> <br /> When manufacturers were bawling did politicians threaten Caricom? No! Sadly, politics trumps business. CXC is an old Anglophone Caribbean body yet do we know why the HQ and jobs are in Barbados when we ante up most cash and candidates? Politics! So, when Dr Keith Rowley is upset as a school in his Trinidad constituency was dissed; what then? To politicise exam results is the start; where will it end? Caricom was born in politics and, though afflicted by stasis, the ostensible purpose is economic. But in 40-odd years where is the prosperity? Lol!<br /> <br /> Should we divest CXC? We cannot politicise Cambridge, GED, City & Guilds, University of London or an entity not in Caricom. The case for a USA- or UK-based exam agency has merit as both nations employ more of us &mdash; we save and employers have seamless validation of certificates. Sovereignty is great, but we now use an offshore exam agency despite how Barbados and Trinidad treat us. Our workforce is some 1.4 million; the US, UK and Canada employ some 2.5 million of us and 80 per cent of graduates go there &mdash; who&rsquo;s the Daddy? Why not let them examine and certify our students? We must use data-driven solutions as fuzzy economics and finance does not work. Our Overseas Examinations Council represents foreign bodies, and CXC is one such, so why not divest it. Does Government need to be part-owner of CXC or any examining body? Stay conscious!<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Jamaican Passport<br /> <br /> Last year I wrote that, despite protest, the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency refused me a Jamaican passport when I had my renewal. I proudly carried my Jamaican passport on five continents, so it galls me to see &ldquo;CC&rdquo; at the top of my new passport and &ldquo;Jamaica&rdquo; at the bottom. I do not want a logo as the masthead of my passport. I am asked about Jamaica at Border Control and share info with officers. If asked about the beach in &ldquo;CC&rdquo; or why my capital is in Guyana, South America, what do I say?<br /> <br /> Must I cheer for &ldquo;Usain Bolt of Caricom&rdquo; at Olympics 2020? Let&rsquo;s lobby for a Jamaican passport. Onward to Sam Sharpe and HWT Square!<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Franklin Johnston, D Phil (Oxon), is a strategist and project manager. Send comments to the Observer or franklinjohnstontoo@gmail.com.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11216116/cxc-logo-2_w300.jpg Local Opinion Friday, September 23, 2016 12:00 AM Angela, Lisa and political maths http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Angela--Lisa-and-political-maths_74724 So the excitement came to an end when the results of the leadership election in the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) were known last Saturday evening. Most commentators expected Dr Karl Blythe to lose his bid for the PNP presidency, but some 800 delegates did not vote at all for a president. Was it because it was a foregone conclusion that Portia Simpson Miller would win? Was it to send a message that it is time Portia steps down? Or was it a little of both?<br /> <br /> In the race for the vice-presidential posts, it was significant that Dr Fenton Ferguson was out front, swapping places with Angela Brown Burke, who came first in 2008 while Ferguson then came fourth. Battered by the media and the then Opposition to the handling of chikungunya virus outbreak while minister of health, he retained his seat in Parliament by an increased majority. Ferguson did this while the PNP lost power and had reduced percentages everywhere else in the country.<br /> <br /> Ferguson is very well organised and it is mobilisation of voters that wins elections in Jamaica, not issues. It partially explains why he is only the second person ever to win the St Thomas Eastern seat for the PNP and has held it ever since &mdash; a total of 23 years so far. But there is another reason Ferguson came first in the vice-presidential race. Lisa Hanna had come out in opposition to Angela Brown Burke. Had Lisa Hanna opposed any of the other contenders, they also would have lost votes, and perhaps had she openly opposed Noel Arscott, she might have won.<br /> <br /> In such a scenario, Hanna would have received more votes from Region Three, which has the largest bloc of delegates. But openly opposing Brown Burke was seen as a sort of political sacrilege in Region Three, except in two constituencies, namely St Andrew Southern and St Andrew East Rural. This is because Region Three was built up by her husband, Paul Burke, who served as its chairman some years ago, and where both Paul and Angela are still very popular.<br /> <br /> But Lisa was supported by the pro-Peter Bunting delegates in St Andrew Southern, where Mark Golding will succeed Omar Davies as the PNP candidate. His future election is a certainty in a solid PNP constituency. Word on the ground is that in St Andrew East Rural, Brown Burke was not heavily supported. Was this because of a rift between former Member of Parliament Damion Crawford and herself which has not yet healed? Other than that, Region Three did not support Lisa Hanna.<br /> <br /> As of 1967, the PNP has elected four equal vice-presidents, rather than four vice-presidents ranked from first to fourth. Incidentally, in that first race under the new system there were 11 nominees, and P J Patterson came last with only 55 votes. Two years later, in 1969, Patterson was elected a vice-president, coming second in the amount of votes cast. It is believed by many that having been the campaign manager for Michael Manley in his successful bid for PNP president in 1969, the spillover effect was a victory for Patterson in the vice-presidents&rsquo; race.<br /> <br /> Up to 1972, PNP delegates could vote for four or less nominees for vice-president. But in a 1971 resolution moved at the first leg of the PNP conference (as the PNP annual conference was then structured), the late Leacroft Robinson moved that all delegates be obliged to vote for four nominees and any ballot containing less would be spoilt. The resolution was passed and came into effect in 1972.<br /> <br /> Assuming that the 1971 Leacroft Robinson resolution was fully adhered to &mdash; and I understand it was never repealed &mdash; the results indicate that if PNP delegates who voted for Angela Brown Burke did not vote for Lisa Hanna, and vice versa, then either would have had received fewer votes. So a minority &lsquo;mixed&rsquo; their votes by voting for both Brown Burke and Hanna. However, it is very difficult to pinpoint which delegates voted for both.<br /> <br /> The result of the election was also a &lsquo;slap in the face&rsquo; for the high-profile former PNP Cabinet members who supported Lisa Hanna and opposed Angela Brown Burke. Was their support for Lisa Hanna because of a genuine desire for renewal, or a lingering vendetta because of principled positions taken by Paul and Angela prior to the general election?<br /> <br /> In my first column after the general election this year, I mentioned that Paul Burke, as general secretary, had been undermined. That drew some negative comments, no doubt from paid political hacks who might have been revelling in the Jamaica Labour Party victory. They accused me of bias because Paul and I are brothers &mdash; as if I write like that. Today, more and more people are coming to know the truth.<br /> <br /> Those that speak of renewal within the PNP should understand that, since elections cannot be run without money, whatever is received should always be honestly and properly handled. This has less to do with the age of leaders than it has to do with having an honest frame of mind.<br /> <br /> Those who speak of renewal within the PNP should also understand that competence has nothing to do with age. How can someone who was an incompetent minister of Government accuse anyone of that?<br /> <br /> And those who speak of renewal within the PNP should understand that it has to do with the PNP going back to its roots in a new way, which has far less to do with age than commitment.<br /> <br /> I have been of the opinion for more than a decade that Dr Peter Phillips should lead the PNP &mdash; a totally different view from that of my brother and sister-in-law. Who else is competent to bring the PNP back to its Norman Manley roots? Certainly not Peter Bunting, who never sounds Norman Manley-like to me. And certainly not Lisa Hanna, who supports Peter Bunting and who has never been known to even fathom, let alone understand the fundamental principles of the PNP.<br /> <br /> I ask again of Peter Bunting to state publicly what his views are on co-operatives. Let us compare his views on co-operatives with those of Norman Manley. But politics makes strange bedfellows. Who brought Lisa Hanna into the PNP?<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> ekrubm765@yahoo.com http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13271488/206920__w300.jpg Local Opinion Thursday, September 22, 2016 12:00 AM That will not hold in Parliament http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/That-will-not-hold-in-Parliament_73684 The recent muttering of the Opposition and uttering of the Government are beginning to remind me of my high school days, in third form no less, where response to any reasonable spoken question or comment between students, if a suitable rebuttal could not be found to the initial comment, is the response, &ldquo;That will hold you.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> That is what it appears to be in the noises being made between the Government and Opposition about the deportees. The two political parties are carrying on like high school juveniles. It brings to mind what appears to be a flaw in the governing structure, perhaps brought about by the political parties themselves, or the fact that they don&rsquo;t know what a government is, or how it is to be operated.<br /> <br /> The latest &ldquo;that will hold you&rdquo; moment from the now Government of Jamaica has to do with the &ldquo;Memorandum of Understanding&rdquo; [MOU] (government) vs &ldquo;agreement&rdquo; (Opposition) about the recent United Kingdom deportees. The Government of Jamaica at the time of this MOU must have signed this agreement outside the House of Parliament, since it seems the Opposition at the time, now Government, is bringing this matter now as if it&rsquo;s a &ldquo;that will hold you&rdquo; to the Opposition, because perhaps, they were not aware or involved at the time. And now the present Opposition is berating this new Government for having entered into this &ldquo;flawed&rdquo; agreement/MOU. What a piece of work?!<br /> <br /> All MOUs and agreements involving the Government of Jamaica must be debated in the Parliament &mdash; well are supposed to &mdash; with regard to all agreements and treaties signed over the signature of the &ldquo;Government of Jamaica&rdquo;, and should have been subject to approval by the Parliament, full stop. This way, no member of the Government or Opposition, in administration, can waste my time with this &ldquo;that will hold you&rdquo; nonsense and everyone can get on with more pressing concerns like the economy and energy development &mdash; truly more important business of the people.<br /> <br /> Perhaps the Jamaican Members of Parliament should disavow themselves of the ignorance they keep repeating about them being the &ldquo;highest court in the land&rdquo;, and get on with the business of representing the people and country of Jamaica as adults &mdash; not schoolers looking for &ldquo;that will hold you&rdquo; moments &mdash; in the House of Representatives to impress their friends.<br /> <br /> Parliamentary review, I believe, includes debate, vote and signature of all Members of Parliament, representing all Jamaicans. It is the role of the Parliament to ensure that all sides of the issue are represented in the interest of the nation of Jamaica, not the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) or the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). As it stands today, our Members of Parliament don&rsquo;t vote on issues as advised by their constituents, but vote as they are told by the party bosses &mdash; which is what applied under colonial rule.<br /> <br /> I can only imagine what other governments think of my Jamaican Government and its juvenile behaviour. It is embarrassing, to say the least, when they realise that the Government (Administration) of the day is not sharing information regarding commitments of the State with all Members of Parliament, especially Opposition members.<br /> <br /> So it seems that decisions made by Jamaican politicians are political party back-room deals over gin and tonic with handshakes all round, with the Opposition relegated to sidebars along the roadside and verandas. This current political juvenile behaviour leaves me requesting that the business of the governance of Jamaica be taken from the purview of the political parties, and that all matters affecting the State of Jamaica be put through the Parliament for debate, vote and implementation.<br /> <br /> The Members of Parliament we elect have the responsibility to debate national issues not as party members but as representatives of all the people. Otherwise, for example, if the the constituency of St Andrew East Rural has as many PNP as JLP votes, not to mention those who have decided to stop participating in the process, what happens to the other half of the constituency not belonging to the winning party?<br /> <br /> Every elected Member of Parliament is responsible for everyone in his/her constituency, regardless of party affiliation. Members of Parliament are responsible for legislation that will benefit every single constituent, not their party or its members.<br /> <br /> On a tangential matter, is Cabinet member and Member of Parliament Mike Henry the only parliamentarian looking out to undertake legislation to improve his constituents? It seems to me that more has been built in Clarendon since he has been in office, both as Government and Opposition member. While other Members of Parliament can only get latrines installed in their constituencies, Mike Henry has got major highways built, and infrastructure built and improved. What are the other Members of Parliament doing, just watching as he uses all the funds to his parish? Am I the only person noticing this? Come on, representatives, get a grip! He is doing his job. If you all don&rsquo;t know how to legislate and get things done, then attend Parliament and pay attention to the Henry juggernaut. He is running rings around you all. And all you are doing is attending his ribbon-cutting events to smile and shake hands when he is getting these huge infrastructure items built.<br /> <br /> The reason for Parliament is exactly to debate and vote on how the fiscal pie is cut up. So far, I haven&rsquo;t heard anything from my East Rural Member of Parliament. Maybe just before the next election, when they are looking votes again, the people will hear again.<br /> <br /> Congratulations, Minister and Member of Parliament Henry; don&rsquo;t know if you want to represent any other constituencies before you are retired to a senior centre, but if you want to run in East Rural, please let us know. <br /> <br /> hmdenergy@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13059709/209192__w300.jpg Local Opinion Thursday, September 22, 2016 12:00 AM Allow Rev Al Miller the space he needs to heal http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Allow-Rev-Al-Miller-the-space-he-needs-to-heal_74700 The labyrinthine trial of the Reverend Merrick &ldquo;Al&rdquo; Miller has now ended with sentencing imposed last Friday. He has decided not to contest the verdict, and so has decided to live with the sentence handed down.<br /> <br /> Now that the dust has begun to settle, the trial has brought to the fore the question of clergy participation in the fight against crime. Quite a number of clergymen, more of the evangelical persuasion, are convinced that Rev Miller has been done a bad deal; that justice was not served as he should not have been arrested in the first place for doing a civil and patriotic duty to the nation.<br /> <br /> Before and during the trial, some churches took to the prayer circuit with the hope that justice would prevail; which largely meant that the Rev Miller would be set free. Those who hoped and prayed in this direction cannot accept that justice being done could also mean the person being pronounced guilty; as was the outcome. But when one gets wedded to a position, not even an atom bomb of the terrible nature of that dropped on Hiroshima can dissuade one as to the rightness of one&rsquo;s position. In such a scenario, the facts do not matter, because what is important is the triumph of one&rsquo;s position, especially if the Lord is on one&rsquo;s side. <br /> <br /> But if the facts be allowed to stand for what they are, it would be clear to the reasonable person without a law degree that the qualities of mercy or justice were not strained in the charges proffered against Rev Miller. From a layman&rsquo;s perspective, even if then Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington had testified, it is hardly likely that anything would have changed outside of a guilty verdict. For if he had testified that he authorised Miller, would he not himself be breaking the law by giving a citizen of the country the belief that it was okay for him to be seen in the company of a fugitive from the law? Would he not himself have perverted the course of justice by aiding and abetting Miller&rsquo;s actions? No doubt he stayed away from the courtroom. If he had been subpoenaed you can bet he would stick to the pure letter of the law, with which he is no doubt familiar. However smart a person is, however great a legal luminary he or she is, it is very difficult to escape the grasp of the pure letter of the law.<br /> <br /> The trial is now over. Rev Miller has paid his fine and forgiven Commissioner Ellington in a bid no doubt to put his life back on the path to healing and wholeness. There are people who will never be satisfied with the verdict and sentence that have made Rev Miller a felon. But they must give him and his family the space he needs for self-integration and peace after what had to have been a harrowing experience for a member of the cloth. Those who are vocal that they will reconsider helping the police in fighting crime are setting a bad precedence and should cool the rhetoric.<br /> <br /> It is interesting that with the exception of the Rev Devon Dick of the Jamaica Baptist Union, the mainline clergy have remained rather silent about Reverend Al&rsquo;s travails. It does indicate the divide in the church when one side can be so vocal and the other so silent in a matter of national importance. There can be no doubt that the apprehension of Christopher Coke in light of the Tivoli debacle was an important event in the life of the nation. Why a large section of the church should be silent against this background befuddles the mind. Are they of equal persuasion as their counterparts in the evangelical community? Will they too evaluate their posture with regard to cooperating with the police in combating crime? <br /> <br /> In terms of the protocols of engagement that the commissioner of police has indicated are being worked on, it would help the nation to know that there is a broad consensus of cooperation or non-cooperation across the broad spectrum of the Church. I have said repeatedly that showing a few clergymen of a particular persuasion in the national media and calling them &ldquo;the church&rdquo; is not just a mischaracterisation by the media, but a failure to really understand the potent force that the church represents in the nation.<br /> <br /> There are two things that should be evident in what the police top brass has realised in their appeal to the churches in fighting the crime monster. Firstly, there is the self-evident truth that the police by itself cannot effectively combat crime. They rely on the cooperation of citizens, the largest percentage of who are Christians. Secondly, and which is also a truism, the church at any given time represents the biggest constituency in the country. It is well positioned to give more than psychological support to the police in fighting crime. <br /> <br /> In areas of social intervention and the development of human capital, especially in the inner- city communities, the church&rsquo;s work and influence cannot be underestimated. There are clergy persons like Anglican priest Father Abner Powell, the late Father Richard Albert, and Father Ho Lung &mdash; who come readily to mind &mdash; who have given their entire life in ministry to work in the inner-city areas of Kingston and St Andrew. Some of these persons never get to go before the television camera or to hit the evening news. Ever wanting to glory in the sensational, the media often parade as newsworthy the eclectic comments and opinions of clergy who align themselves to issues of national import &mdash; such as the trial of Rev Miller or whether the crocodile should be on our coats of arms &mdash; and often neglect what other clergy may be doing daily in keeping the young men in the deprived communities of the city from going on a rampage.<br /> <br /> It is important that the police proceed with haste to develop the protocols that will guide clergy as to how to act in apprehending criminals. It is equally important that the clergy more than ever become engaged in this struggle. Reverend Miller&rsquo;s recent travails will dissipate in people&rsquo;s minds over time, but the clear and present danger of the criminal underworld will be with us. We must all lend a helping hand.<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/13296025/229396__w300.jpg Local Opinion Wednesday, September 21, 2016 12:00 AM