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 Wishing and hoping as U-17 Boyz look to Panama http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Wishing-and-hoping-as-U-17-Boyz-look-to-Panama_87210 Money may be the root of all evil, but it also makes the mare go, and money is obviously a dire need as the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) prepares to send the national Under-17s off to the CONCACAF championship in Panama in April.<br /> <br /> The youthful Reggae Boyz will be seeking to become the third Jamaica team to make it to the Under-17 World Cup. That tournament is set for India later this year. <br /> <br /> We are told that Under-17 Reggae Boyz coach Mr Andrew Edwards is &ldquo;eagerly&rdquo; awaiting word from the JFF hierarchy in response to his proposals to get the Jamaica team ready.<br /> <br /> Mr Edwards wants a residency programme for the players, international friendly games, and an overseas camp leading into the Panama tournament.<br /> <br /> JFF General Secretary Mr Raymond Grant is reported as reiterating the federation&rsquo;s commitment to the Under-17s. And while apparently not making specific mention of money, which we all know is always at the core of the issue, he says the football authority will ensure a residency camp &ldquo;that will take them (Under-17s) right up to the tournament&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Mr Grant says that &ldquo;outside of that we (JFF) are looking at other possibilities, based on requests from the coach, but those are issues that I cannot speak to at this time, but only to say that we are committed to giving the programme the support that is required&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The limitations and resource constraints notwithstanding, we are happy to see that the Under-17s and their management team are making the best of the situation.<br /> <br /> They have been playing friendly matches against their peers in the parishes &ndash; so far against St Thomas, St Mary, St Ann, Trelawny and St James.<br /> <br /> And they will be on the road again this weekend against Hanover, Westmoreland, St Elizabeth and Manchester. <br /> <br /> We agree with Mr Edwards that these are useful exercises that can only help the teams to get stronger. And after his charges were soundly beaten by the USA and Canada in friendly games late last year, he will know more than anyone else that much needs to be done to get them ready. <br /> <br /> We hope that the coach&rsquo;s ambitions for a more rigorous preparation programme over the coming months, including international friendlies, will materialise. But even if the ideal programme isn&rsquo;t possible, Mr Edwards will know that he must make do with what&rsquo;s available even against some of the best teams in the CONCACAF region.<br /> <br /> He can take heart from the knowledge that once it&rsquo;s sharp enough, a small axe can bring down a big tree. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13504623/227415_73785_repro_w300.jpg Editorial Saturday, January 21, 2017 3:00 AM It shouldn&rsquo;t have to take Mr Cliff Hughes... http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/It-shouldn-t-have-to-take-Mr-Cliff-Hughes---_86973 The image of the Child Development Agency (CDA) and the Office of the Children&rsquo;s Registry (OCR) that emerged from an extensive interview with journalist Mr Cliff Hughes on Nationwide @ Five on Tuesday afternoon is one of two agencies that are weak, prone to ineptness and saddled with bureaucracy.<br /> <br /> Both agencies were thrust into the spotlight after a caller to Mr Hughes&rsquo; earlier talk show, Cliff Hughes&rsquo; Online, informed him that she had reported a case of sexual abuse of a six-year-old girl by an adult male relative to the OCR from about June last year, was given a tracking number, but had not seen any positive result from the complaint.<br /> <br /> Mr Hughes, in carrying out his duty as a good journalist and responsible citizen, immediately contacted the OCR and started unearthing more information about the story.<br /> <br /> Later that afternoon, in his news and current affairs programme, Mr Hughes continued drilling into the matter, questioning representatives of both agencies and others mandated to look after the interests of our children. One of the astonishing revelations from that discussion was that neither the CDA nor the OCR reported this case to the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA).<br /> <br /> After all the excuses and explanations, including that attempts to find the child were unsuccessful, we awoke Wednesday morning to news that the child had thankfully been located and was taken into State care. Late Wednesday evening, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information told us that the child has started to receive counselling and has seen a doctor.<br /> <br /> We are indeed relieved that this child has been taken out of the home where she has been subjected to such horror. We hope that she is receiving adequate care and protection because we have had reason in the past to be deeply disappointed in the ability of the Jamaican State to care for its most vulnerable citizens.<br /> <br /> We also hope that the man who is accused of abusing this child is being sought and that if he is apprehended he will be prosecuted and face the full force of the law if convicted.<br /> <br /> We wonder, though, why it had to take relentless probing from Mr Hughes and his team at Nationwide for this child to be found? Is it that the people entrusted with the job of protecting our children do not care enough to apply the same level of discipline and determination as Mr Hughes to get their jobs done?<br /> <br /> If that is the case, why are they employed to these agencies which are funded by taxpayers?<br /> <br /> Even if, as we suspect, these agencies are understaffed, they can offer no credible excuse for their cavalier approach to this case, because it took CISOCA only a few hours after the discussion on Nationwide @ Five to find the child.<br /> <br /> Mr Floyd Green, the junior minister in the Ministry of Youth, has since informed the country that plans which were outlined last year to merge the OCR and the CDA will be fast-tracked, with a chairman of the merger team to be named by today.<br /> <br /> That will hopefully help, but the merger shouldn&rsquo;t be just about increasing the number of people to strengthen the operational and response capabilities of the new entity. It must include the establishment and implementation of accountability procedures, as well as performance assessment tied to tenure of service. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13496822/246535_73161_repro_w300.jpg Editorial Friday, January 20, 2017 12:00 AM Obeah statement shows security minister a desperate man http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Obeah-statement-shows-security-minister-a-desperate-man_86964 NationalSecurity Minister Robert Montague has invoked the shady practice of obeah to frighten criminals, demonstrating that he is a desperate man.<br /> <br /> And so he should be. As should the rest of us.<br /> <br /> One is unclear how serious the minister was being in his words aimed at criminals: &ldquo;Unnu goin&rsquo; run weh because we goin&rsquo; to pursue unnu. This minister no fraid a unnu, my uncle is a obeah man,&rdquo; he said in a speech to participants at an interactive session with heads of the security forces this week.<br /> <br /> But we have concluded that the minister did not mean to say his obeah man uncle would be roped in as part of the fight against crime, because the practice of obeah often borders on the criminal, with shysters and charlatans fleecing vulnerable people of their hard-earned cash and kind.<br /> <br /> The minister is more likely to be signalling that the fight against crime continues to be an uphill climb for which the solution is nowhere in sight<br /> <br /> And that is even after the Government just last week indicated in the first supplementary estimates that it will be spending approximately $5.5 billion more in the 2016/17 budget to increase the capacity of the security forces to combat crime and violence.<br /> <br /> Which, by the way, shows that the Government has heard the cries of the society and is getting ready to take the fight to the criminals. They will need all our support.<br /> <br /> Mr Montague&rsquo;s obeah man statement, perhaps intended to elicit laughter, contrasts sharply with the very serious-minded statements by Mr Rodney Pryce, more popularly known as the dancehall deejay Bounty Killer and his colleague Mr Desmond Ballentine, called Ninjaman.<br /> <br /> Both of them who spoke at the same function as Minister Montague, highlighted poverty as the main cause of crime, that people needed to start caring for the young in the community, and that members of the security forces needed to be better compensated for their work.<br /> <br /> We commend Mr Pryce&rsquo;s words to our readers: &ldquo;The mother and the parent of crime is poverty. And until the Government starts to battle poverty the right way we are always going to be locking up criminals&hellip;Taking criminals off the street is a good thing, but there are things in society that lead and motivate [others] to go on the street as well, and we have to defuse those.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s start making the village raise the child again. Last year was a gruesome year with killings. The police, the soldiers, the security forces, they are playing their part; we as society have to play our part as well.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> No less direct, Mr Ballentine chided the Independent Commission of Investigations for putting what he described as unwarranted pressure on police seeking to uphold the law:<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The first step in getting rid of crime is to make your police more independent. Unnu need fi set up something where the police become more independent. &hellip;If mi nuh have nuh Benz, mi nuh live nuh weh, and mi can par with a man weh make mi can hype, mi a go live my life, because mi naah get up every day with gun pon my hip a run down thief and mi naah get pay,&rdquo; he declared.<br /> <br /> We do well to heed his words. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13580697/Robert-Montague_AL--1-_w300.jpg Editorial Thursday, January 19, 2017 12:00 AM Two days to the inauguration of Mr Donald Trump http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Two-days-to-the-inauguration-of-Mr-Donald-Trump_86872 Jamaicans, like the rest of the world, are intrigued as American politics unfolds three days before the inauguration of Mr Donald Trump as the 46th president of the United States.<br /> <br /> The signs are becoming clearer that Mr Trump will be starting his four-year term without the honeymoon his immediate predecessors enjoyed.<br /> <br /> His every announcement of a nominee to fill Cabinet positions has been met with demonstrations and derision, some apparently justified, others not.<br /> <br /> For example, Senator Jeff Sessions has had a dubious past in respect of his opposition to the civil rights movement and so was expected to be opposed by African Americans as attorney general of the US.<br /> <br /> On the other hand, Dr Ben Carson seems a reasonable nominee for the position as secretary of housing, and may well be the only black in the Trump Cabinet.<br /> <br /> Cabinet picks are never easy for any leader. The Senate confirmation hearings often unearth inconsistencies and contradictions between the new president and his nominees, as well as embarrassing events from their past.<br /> <br /> The democratic process, however, allows the president to select personnel he will be comfortable with and have confidence in to carry out the policies on which he campaigned for the presidency.<br /> <br /> Still, the handling of the transition process, led by Vice-President-elect Mike Pence, was nowhere as skilful as one would hope. Coupled with that, the tension involving the intelligence community has resulted in Mr Trump&rsquo;s approval rating being well below the last three predecessor presidents &mdash; Messrs Bill Clinton, George W Bush, and Barack Obama.<br /> <br /> Mr Obama&rsquo;s numbers, at 78 per cent, are almost twice that of Mr Trump on the eve of his own inauguration, while Mr Clinton and Mr Bush are in the 60s, according to the latest CNN/ORC polls.<br /> <br /> Another interesting development is the campaign to boycott the inauguration ceremony on Friday. Over 50 Democratic congressmen and senators have so far indicated they would not attend.<br /> <br /> Thousands of demonstrators are massing in Washington, DC, to show their disapproval of the new president, and many of the biggest stars invited to perform have backed away, some fearing a financial backlash.<br /> <br /> The level of bullying appears to be worse than previously, as testified by people including singer Jennifer Holliday, who wanted to perform but felt constrained to withdraw after receiving death threats.<br /> <br /> In the mix, too, are the criticisms coming from some European leaders, including those from Germany and France, who seem offended by remarks made by Mr Trump, who is, at the same time, praised by their political adversary Mr Vladimir Putin of Russia.<br /> <br /> Mr Trump is therefore starting with a handicap not all of his own making. But he has the opportunity to show his mettle as a leader who embraces the democratic process and to earn the respect of his critics by his performance in the job. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13562132/donald-trump_w504-5_w300.jpg Editorial Wednesday, January 18, 2017 12:00 AM Aspirin&rsquo;s story gives reason for focus on scientific research http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Aspirin-s-story-gives-reason-for-focus-on-scientific-research_86680 The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Sumerians, we are told, used the extract from the willow tree to treat pain, fever and inflammation.<br /> <br /> History also records that the ancient Chinese used willow bark for medical purposes, and, from as early as 400 BC the Greek physician Hippocrates, who is regarded as the father of medicine, recommended that patients with severe fever and pain chew on the bark of the willow tree.<br /> <br /> Modern medicine has found that salicylic acid is a main component of the herbal extract from the willow bark. Scientists tell us, too, that salicylic acid is also found in the bark of other trees, as well as in a number of fruits, grains and vegetables.<br /> <br /> In 1763, English clergyman Rev Edward Stone carried out scientific research on the willow bark, producing a powder which he used to treat parishoners suffering from rheumatic fever.<br /> <br /> Over 100 years later, German chemist Mr Felix Hoffmann of the Bayer pharmaceutical company developed the process of synthesising the acetyl salicylic acid named later as aspirin.<br /> <br /> Today, aspirin is arguably the most widely used medicine in the world, as it acts as a painkiller, an anti-inflammatory, reduces fever, reduces blood clotting, and cuts the risk of heart disease, to name a few.<br /> <br /> Scientists are also convinced that aspirin reduces the risk of some cancers by blocking Cox2 &mdash; an enzyme which drives some forms of cancer.<br /> <br /> Of course, aspirin, like many other pharmaceuticals, has side effects, and that is why doctors have been cautious about prescribing its long-term usage as it can aggravate the lining of the stomach, resulting in bleeding.<br /> <br /> Doctors have also said that aspirin has the potential to exacerbate asthma in some people and they do not recommended it as a painkiller for pregnant women.<br /> <br /> However, based on the evidence before us, one can conclude that the advantages of aspirin far outweigh the disadvantages.<br /> <br /> We were drawn to reflect on this drug while thinking of the immense possibilities that scientific research offers for the betterment of mankind.<br /> <br /> We are unable to say what would have happened had Rev Stone and Mr Hoffmann not been able to conduct scientific research that eventually led to the production of aspirin. However, we can state with conviction that there is great benefit in scientific research. After all, aspirin stands as just one example to validate our statement.<br /> <br /> Last month, in this space, we pointed to the fact that Jamaica has approximately 50 per cent of the just over 180 plants declared by the World Health Organisation to have medicinal benefits.<br /> <br /> Among them are ginger, ball moss and marijuana (ganja), which have all undergone rigorous laboratory investigation resulting in patents being registered in the United States.<br /> <br /> Two local scientists have shared their belief with us that any one of these brought to the world market is capable of earnings of more than US$1 billion annually for Jamaica.<br /> <br /> The Government should not ignore this information. Rather, it should see about funding and regulation for this industry that can make a positive contribution to Jamaica&rsquo;s gross domestic product.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13576298/ASpirin_w300.jpg Editorial Tuesday, January 17, 2017 12:00 AM Kudos on the Mobile Justice Unit http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Kudos-on-the-Mobile-Justice-Unit_86666 For generations, the great majority of Jamaicans have viewed the courts and the entire judicial system with suspicion and extreme apprehension.<br /> <br /> Truth is, Jamaicans have long felt that if you are poor, and on the lower rungs of the social ladder, the courthouse is no place to be.<br /> <br /> The prohibitively high cost of legal representation has obviously not helped in that regard.<br /> <br /> It is to Jamaica&rsquo;s great benefit that the last two justice ministers &mdash; Senator Mark Golding of the People&rsquo;s National Party Administration, which demitted office early last year, and currently Mr Delroy Chuck of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party &mdash; have focused on making the legal system more attuned to the needs and expectations of the populace.<br /> <br /> Since taking office, Mr Chuck has been like a crusader in preaching the benefits of a modernised, progressive, efficient, and people-friendly justice system.<br /> <br /> Resource constraints have obviously been a major hindrance.<br /> <br /> So it must have been with a sense of considerable satisfaction that Mr Chuck last week participated in the launch of a roving mobile unit for legal aid, which will allow people access to key legal services and advice, free of cost, in their communities.<br /> <br /> We are told that the Mobile Justice Unit, housed in a specially retrofitted Coaster bus, will operate under the management of the Legal Aid Council in the Ministry of Justice with a mandate of improving the access to justice for vulnerable people, primarily in rural and inner-city communities.<br /> <br /> Note Mr Chuck&rsquo;s comment that, &ldquo;This mobile unit is&hellip; an opportunity for persons, instead of saying &lsquo;we want justice&rsquo;, they now can ask for justice, and justice in the form of the mobile unit can come to them and really listen to their cry.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> And further, that &ldquo;oftentimes they&rsquo;re hurt and feeling that they&rsquo;ve been neglected. Now we can go to them and offer them a programme whereby they know that we care&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> This newspaper joins with Mr Chuck in saying thanks to the Inter-American Development Bank, UKAid and the Government of Canada for their support of the project. Like Mr Chuck, we expect that the Legal Aid Council will now set new targets in helping those in need of free representation.<br /> <br /> We also agree with Mr David Osbourne, Jamaica&rsquo;s country representative of the United Kingdom&rsquo;s Department for International Development, that the initiative should help to set &ldquo;a path towards peace, where disputes and injustices are resolved in a peaceful manner&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Lastly, we note the announcement by Mr Chuck that his ministry is ready to roll out audio-visual and transcript technology to be used in courts across the country.<br /> <br /> According to JIS News, Mr Chuck said the long-awaited technology will enable the proper archiving of records for what transpires in the courts. That&rsquo;s long overdue, we think.<br /> <br /> We say to Mr Chuck and his team at the Ministry of Justice: Good work, please keep going.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13572076/252598_79365_repro_w300.jpg Editorial Monday, January 16, 2017 12:00 AM Can businessmen fix Jamaica&rsquo;s problems? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Can-businessmen-fix-Jamaica-s-problems_86601 Mr Donald Trump, a businessman, convinced the American electorate that he can fix the United States of America and he was elected as the next president, in preference to Mrs Hilary Clinton who has over 30 years of experience in politics and government. <br /> <br /> Many of the Trump voters believed that a successful businessman, even if he had absolutely no experience in government and was a neophyte in politics, could do it. This is an assumption that is pandemic, and hence politicians tend to draft businessmen and private sector managers in the hope that they can fix problems and inefficiencies which plague the public sector.<br /> <br /> However, this use of private sector managers and businessmen in public sector management is not a panacea and often does not work for several reasons. <br /> <br /> First, private sector and public sector management are not one and the same. Many managerial techniques are not transferable and private sector managers catapulted into running or advising in government don&rsquo;t always understand the difference. In addition, the often slow pace of the public sector invariably frustrates private sector managers. Unfortunately, some private sector managers mistakenly assume that everything that is different in the public sector is not that big a deal, or that most civil servants are second-rate incompetents who could not get a job in the private sector.<br /> <br /> Second, civil servants tend to be bureaucrats opposed to any kind of change because they work in an environment where promotion is by seniority, and initiative and innovation are not encouraged. We make exception for those highly professional, well-educated and very efficient civil servants who do a truly excellent job. <br /> <br /> Third, maybe the private sector selectees were not the cream of the crop in the first place, or that sprinkling in a few private sector people was not enough to make a significant difference. Again, there are some cases in the Jamaican public sector where private sector managers and businessmen are making a difference, and they are to be saluted for the financial sacrifice they have often made in order to give their invaluable service.<br /> <br /> This experiment with Mr Trump in the US will provide important lessons for the world, which is likely to judge its success by whether the international community is more at peace and whether economic growth and employment increase above current levels in the US. If it fails it will give voice to those who believe that experience in politics and government is more important than business or private sector experience.<br /> <br /> Fourth, there is the question of conflict of interest. Mr Trump has made provisions to formally hand over day-to-day management of his businesses, but there is no such provision or practice in Jamaica. This is an area that our legislators may wish to examine.<br /> <br /> Given the strong emphasis on the growth agenda and the appointment of people like Mr Michael Lee-Chin and Dr Nigel Clarke, the rate of economic growth here will most likely be the measure of the success of the Andrew Holness Government&rsquo;s deployment of private sector expertise. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12931066/201221_w300.jpg Editorial Sunday, January 15, 2017 12:00 AM For the greater good of West Indies cricket http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/For-the-greater-good-of-West-Indies-cricket_86557 Those who keep an eye on West Indies cricket will have noted news over recent days of two key appointments. <br /> <br /> We refer to the choice of Englishman Mr Johnny Grave as CEO of the West Indies Cricket Board replacing Jamaican Mr Michael Muirhead, and former Jamaica and West Indies cricket captain Mr James Adams as director of cricket replacing Englishman Mr Richard Pybus. <br /> <br /> Very few in the Caribbean have much knowledge of Mr Grave, yet his CV suggests that the regional cricket set-up is fortunate to have his services at this time. At a time of continuing tension between West Indies players and administrators, Mr Grave comes with nine years&rsquo; experience as commercial director of the Professional Cricketers&rsquo; Association in Britain.<br /> <br /> Those of us at a distance will feel his previous job gives him a distinct advantage in the drive to soothe hurt and disaffection among players in particular.<br /> <br /> As a player Mr Adams built a reputation as a focused, determined and very hard worker. When he made his first-class debut representing Jamaica as a teenager in the mid-1980s, there were those who considered him less talented than a few of his local contemporaries.<br /> <br /> Yet such was Mr Adams&rsquo; work ethic and will to succeed, that he outstripped all others on the Jamaican scene to become a leading West Indies batsman of the 1990s. Batting apart, Mr Adams&rsquo; left-arm spin was always valuable and he pushed himself to also become a reliable wicketkeeper. <br /> <br /> The signs of decline in the great West Indies team of the time were already evident when Mr Adams made his Test match debut in 1992, yet the swagger born of many years of conquest remained.<br /> <br /> Over the next decade, until his exit from international cricket, Mr Adams watched at first-hand the painful fall of the West Indies to the lower rungs of world cricket. He would also have seen at close quarters clumsy, backward, unprofessional administrative practices which have led over time to calls for radical restructuring of West Indies cricket.<br /> <br /> In other words, Mr Adams needs no one to tell him that the regional game is in trouble and needs meticulous, focused and sensible leadership going forward. We are also quite certain that he has his own fleshed-out ideas about how to carry the game forward. Indeed, that may well explain the decision of the WICB to offer him the job as director of all cricket programmes, since, as we understand it, his initial application was for the task as head coach of the regional team. <br /> <br /> We feel certain that careful planning and hard work will be central to the programme with Mr Adams as director of cricket. <br /> <br /> Usually calm, thoughtful and mild-mannered, Mr Adams is unlikely to fall victim to lack of diplomacy &mdash; a weakness which has undermined others. Yet his demeanour should never be misinterpreted as weakness. Those who know Mr Adams well are aware that he is intolerant of slackness, foolishness and unprofessional behaviour. <br /> <br /> For the greater good of West Indies cricket, it will be very important that Messrs Grave and Adams, as well as a head coach, yet to be named, make the very best of the difficult challenges ahead. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13560998/Johnny-Grave_w300.jpg Editorial Saturday, January 14, 2017 12:00 AM Apology accepted, Mrs Murray http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Apology-accepted--Mrs-Murray_86434 The apology issued by Hampton High School Principal Mrs Heather Murray yesterday was, we believe, more than just mere words on paper.<br /> <br /> We got the sense that Mrs Murray was being sincere and truly remorseful about the actions that led her to this moment.<br /> <br /> It is obvious that, having had the opportunity for reflection, Mrs Murray came to accept her error of judgement and, as such, demonstrated one of the characteristics that contributed to her reputation as an educator of utmost distinction.<br /> <br /> For Mrs Murray, we believe, would have had reason on more than one occasion to counsel the young ladies in her care at Hampton about contrition and the fact that it takes strength to apologise.<br /> <br /> We can understand the emotion and sense of loyalty that Mrs Murray felt when she went to the St Elizabeth Parish Court on the day that Pastor Rupert Clarke was being arraigned on rape and carnal abuse charges.<br /> <br /> For, as she pointed out previously, she has had a long and close friendship with the clergyman and his wife.<br /> <br /> But, as Mrs Murray so correctly stated in her apology yesterday, she had &ldquo;become so immersed in the emotional trauma of the hurt and embarrassment which the wife of the accused was experiencing that I failed to realise that my presence in the precincts of the court could possibly be misconstrued as taking the side of her husband, rather than the victim&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Added Mrs Murray: &ldquo;In my sisterly embrace and response of loyalty to her, I failed to take into account that my being there could expose my office or the institution I head to any hint of controversy or cloud of misunderstanding.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Mrs Murray went further to state that she was deeply aggrieved at the perception, because it contradicts her lifetime work as an educator, mother, wife, and a woman.<br /> <br /> She also apologised for trying to prevent a television videographer from recording Pastor Clarke leaving the courthouse, saying she accepted that the action was &ldquo;imprudent and inappropriate&rdquo; as it represented an interference in the right of the free press to do its job.<br /> <br /> We accept Mrs Murray&rsquo;s apology and remind those who remain strident in their view that she should be sanctioned that the strength she has demonstrated in saying sorry should be eclipsed only by our willingness to forgive her.<br /> <br /> Sick humour from Mr Jacob Zuma<br /> <br /> Mr Jacob Zuma, the disgraced president of South Africa and leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), is reported to have admitted that mistakes had cost the party dearly in local elections last August.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The ANC has heard the message that the people delivered in August. We accept that we have made mistakes,&rdquo; Mr Zuma said on Sunday at a ceremony marking the 105th anniversary of the party.<br /> <br /> Readers will recall that Mr Zuma has been at the centre of some of the scandals that have eroded the credibility of the ANC &mdash; credibility that people like the late President Nelson Mandela, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Messrs Walter Sisulu, Steve Biko, and many others fought long and hard to build.<br /> <br /> In recent years we have not come to expect much from Mr Zuma in terms of dignity, but on Sunday, he delivered this gem: &ldquo;When leaders and members of the ANC are corrupt and steal they are betraying the values of the ANC, the people and our country. We will not allow this.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Maybe we&rsquo;ll comment on this when we stop laughing in about the next 12 months.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13551120/Heather-Murray_w300.jpg Editorial Friday, January 13, 2017 12:00 AM Western children&rsquo;s hospital timely; kudos all around http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Western-children-s-hospital-timely--kudos-all-around-_86315 The just-concluded agreement between Jamaica and the People&rsquo;s Republic of China for the construction of the Child and Adolescent Hospital in western Jamaica is one of those developments we are happy to see.<br /> <br /> It is one of those occasions when the current Administration has moved with dispatch to conclude an agreement initiated by the previous Administration that will redound to the great benefit of Jamaicans.<br /> <br /> Ordinarily, this should be par for the course requiring no special mention or kudos, but our political history has been replete with examples of one administration thumbing its nose at a project started by the previous, not stopping long enough to assess the benefits for the country.<br /> <br /> Indeed, the infrastructural projects involving the Chinese, using the highways as example, seem to have generated bipartisan agreement from the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) &mdash; a clear sign that good sense has started to prevail, notwithstanding their recent dispute over the name change of the National Partnership for Transformation.<br /> <br /> Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller welcomed the signing of the agreement this week for the construction of the children&rsquo;s hospital in western Jamaican, obviously taking credit for proposing it in 2007 during her first tenure as prime minister. <br /> <br /> Her rationale then was: &ldquo;Children in the west with serious illnesses should not have to travel so far to get treatment. Families should be able to stay with their children while they are treated, so it is important to have another health facility to serve the needs of Jamaicans in that part of the island.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> She was out of office between September 2007 and December 2011, but revisited the proposal during an official visit to Beijing in August 2013, having returned to office the year before. In 2015, a delegation from China visited Jamaica to follow up on the project idea and collected data to inform the proposed design, Mrs Simpson Miller said in her press statement welcoming the signing.<br /> <br /> Truth be told, we don&rsquo;t see any great merit in one administration taking credit for a project continued by a successor administration because all projects undertaken by a Government in the name of the people belongs to the people. But we will not quibble.<br /> <br /> The Bustamante Children&rsquo;s Hospital located in Kingston, with its over 200 beds, was never in a position to adequately serve the needs of sick children in Jamaica. So the idea of a western children&rsquo;s hospital is timely and the convenience to western Jamaicans cannot be overstated.<br /> <br /> We completely agree with Mrs Simpson Miller that the Chinese continue to demonstrate their extraordinary commitment to assisting Jamaica to achieve its national development goals. Our gratitude goes out to them.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13541827/245503__w300.jpg Editorial Thursday, January 12, 2017 12:00 AM Sex, violence and the miseducation of Dr Herbert Gayle http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Sex--violence-and-the-miseducation-of-Dr-Herbert-Gayle_86203 Moravian clergyman Rev Rupert Clarke is only the latest in a long line of men with great responsibility, stretching across generations, to have been dogged by sexual controversy.<br /> <br /> Indeed, kings have renounced their thrones and great leaders have been brought low by their sexual escapades that were not in keeping with the ethical and moral standards expected of their lofty positions. The allure of women seems to be one of the great acts of God or nature and equally one of the great mysteries to men who often don&rsquo;t know how to handle it.<br /> <br /> In the search for solutions to violence in our society, it would be foolhardy, we think, to not distinguish one form of violence against another. People who attack a gay man because his homosexuality offends them, or the mob members who kill a praedial thief, might never lay their hands on a woman. <br /> <br /> That is why we beg to disagree with anthropologist Dr Herbert Gayle, who argues that &ldquo;there is nothing in this world called violence against women&rdquo; and that cases of women being attacked or killed in domestic circumstances should not be classified as violence against women.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;A violent act is a violent act,&rdquo; regardless of whom it is committed against, Dr Gayle suggested at a collaborative meeting of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and the Manchester Peace Coalition last week. &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t chase the symptoms of a problem, get to the root and the symptoms will change,&rdquo; he offered.<br /> <br /> On the surface of that bit of sophistry is some semblance of logic. But were that the case, we might soon accept that rape is equally a crime against men as it is against women. Yet we know better, and the statistics by far would disagree with him.<br /> <br /> Dr Gayle&rsquo;s claim to be an anthropologist would lead us to believe that he has read the overwhelming history of how violence has devastated women down through the ages and in the process robbed society of the quality of the contribution that women can make to its fuller development.<br /> <br /> His veiled attack on organisations which are doing their best to fight violence against women and to promote their development through education, health and economic advancement is ill-advised. His complaint that development organisations, such as the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, have a budget allocated to women-related issues such as violence, is inexplicable to us.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;...I understand everybody has a budget for women, I understand that perfectly. I understand that more than anybody else in this country. I understand the meaning of the word &lsquo;gender&rsquo; with a little word called &lsquo;agenda&rsquo; to the side of it,&rdquo; he says.<br /> <br /> Dr Gayle will soon be asking us to believe that there is nothing called women&rsquo;s health because &lsquo;all health is health&rsquo; or women&rsquo;s fashion because &lsquo;all fashion is fashion&rsquo;. Good luck with that.<br /> <br /> We in this space firmly believe that violence against women is a major setback to our nation and a vicious crime that must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.<br /> <br /> Moreover, it is our view that the Jamaican society can only progress to the extent that our women progress. We forget this at our own peril.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13559933/251835_78454_repro_w300.jpg Editorial Wednesday, January 11, 2017 12:00 AM Tourism, the gift that keeps on giving http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Tourism--the-gift-that-keeps-on-giving_86128 Naturally, we are always pleased when we receive good news about Jamaica, especially when it has the potential to have a positive impact on economic growth and the well-being of people living here.<br /> <br /> One of the more recent items of good news came in the form of data released by the Ministry of Tourism two weeks ago that Jamaica welcomed a record 60,886 stopover visitors between December 22 and 28, 2016.<br /> <br /> According to the ministry, January to November 2016 figures showed increased stopover and cruise visitor numbers, with combined arrivals surpassing 3.4 million, which represented a 5.6 per cent increase on the same period in 2015. Beyond that, gross foreign exchange earnings from tourism up to the end of November last year increased by 6.2 per cent to just over US$2.26 billion.<br /> <br /> When you place that performance against the 3.6 million stopover and cruise visitors combined, and revenues of US$2.5 billion in 2015, you get a picture of an industry that is growing.<br /> <br /> Our hope is that tourism will continue on this upward path as that can only redound to the benefit of Jamaicans, especially the tens of thousands who earn a living from the industry, whether directly or indirectly.<br /> <br /> Just a mere glance at the accommodation sub-sector alone provides a good indication of the reach of this industry. For instance, the Jamaica Tourist Board&rsquo;s (JTB) annual travel statistics for the year 2015 showed that the number of people who benefit from direct employment in the accommodation sub-sector stood at 39,255, an increase of 11.6 per cent on the 35,166 in 2014.<br /> <br /> The main resorts of Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Negril accounted for 34,700 persons or 93.1 per cent of the total number of people employed directly in the accommodation sub-sector, the JTB said, adding that Montego Bay, with 15,530 direct jobs, represented 39.3 per cent of those employed; Negril, with 9,712 direct jobs, accounted for 24.7 per cent; and Ocho Rios, with 9,458, was responsible for 21.1 per cent. Kingston, Port Antonio and the south coast accounted for the remaining 11.5 per cent of employment in the accommodation sub-sector.<br /> <br /> With many more rooms scheduled to be opened this year and, most likely early next year, an increased number of Jamaicans will undoubtedly secure direct employment, and the country will benefit from the spin-off effects in areas such as air and ground transport, attractions, agriculture, and the other goods and services sectors.<br /> <br /> The task of our tourism authorities, therefore, will be to ensure that Jamaica maintains visibility, particularly in our traditional markets &mdash; the United States, Canada, Britain and continental Europe &mdash; as well as Latin America, and, of course, Asia, where were we saw increases of 41.6 per cent and seven per cent in stopover visitors from China and Japan, respectively in 2015 over the previous year.<br /> <br /> In addition, the Government should not entertain any thought of slashing the country&rsquo;s advertising and promotion budget on the basis that the tourism industry is doing well. For we all know that reducing Jamaica&rsquo;s presence in the market will provide an opportunity for other competing destinations &mdash; and there are indeed many &mdash; to fill the gap.<br /> <br /> Tourism is, indeed, the gift that keeps on giving. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13207340/tourism1_w300.jpg Editorial Tuesday, January 10, 2017 12:00 AM A cry from the children to PM Holness http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/A-cry-from-the-children-to-PM-Holness_86026 Mrs Betty-Ann Blaine has earned our respect for her long, hard and selfless work on behalf of our nation&rsquo;s children, from her days as head of the Voluntary Organisation for the Upliftment of Children (VOUCH) to her current leadership of the child rights organisation Hear The Children&rsquo;s Cry.<br /> <br /> Having given the best years of her life to this cause, we are delighted, if surprised by the fervour with which the passion still burns, and that the fire in her belly refuses to be doused by the innumerable challenges faced by Jamaica&rsquo;s children, the palpable lack of resources to tackle them, and now the rising tide of violence, including sexual abuse, against these precious innocents.<br /> <br /> The typical Jamaican child is poor; barely educated; vulnerable to paedophiles; exposed to acts of crime and violence; at risk of being raped, trafficked, and of becoming pregnant, which leads to her dropping out of school. An average of 150 of them go missing from home each month, according to child rights activists, who say, although many return home, many do not and end up killed or never heard from again.<br /> <br /> For these and other reasons, we endorse Mrs Blaine&rsquo;s call on Prime Minister Andrew Holness to convene an emergency child summit, bringing together all critical stakeholders, &ldquo;geared at immediate implementable action to improve the lives of a large majority of Jamaica&rsquo;s children who continue to suffer from untenable levels of abuse, including horrendous levels of violence in many communities&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> In her New Year&rsquo;s message, Mrs Blaine also urged the Government to seek to partner with the country&rsquo;s churches, and a critical international body such as UNICEF Jamaica, to &ldquo;carry out a national child social audit which would look specifically at living conditions in homes and communities, including a range of extremely negative conditions like the serious levels of poverty and woefully inadequate parenting skills&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> We would imagine that the partnership would also include Children First, the Child Development Agency, the Office of the Children&rsquo;s Advocate and Registry, as well as the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse, among others joined in the cause.<br /> <br /> It is her view, and we agree, that the endorsement and leadership of the summit and audit by Mr Holness &ldquo;would send the strongest message across the society, that as a nation we are taking the matter of child security seriously&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Importantly, Mrs Blaine recognises that the emergency summit cannot be another talk shop, but an event for the swift production of a &lsquo;doable&rsquo; action plan, based on a short list of actions that can be implemented right away.<br /> <br /> In the meantime, Hear the Children&rsquo;s Cry should be commended for its continued work in advocacy, research, documentation and publication, public education and counselling of returned missing children and family members of missing children, as well as its islandwide programme of child safety presentations to schools and communities. <br /> <br /> Jamaicans will remember the organisation&rsquo;s drive to launch the Ananda Alert on behalf of missing children in 2009, and it is noteworthy that it has become the first English-speaking Caribbean organisation to be a member of the Global Missing Children&rsquo;s Network. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11731763/Betty-Ann-Blaine_w300.jpg Editorial Monday, January 09, 2017 12:00 AM Sexual abuse of minors a national shame http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Sexual-abuse-of-minors-a-national-shame_85927 Society, we know, has no absolute control over the perverted nature of individuals. But surely we can and must exercise greater control over the actions of these warped perverts who sexually abuse children, often resulting in life-altering experiences and permanent and irreparable damage to them. <br /> <br /> This is the responsibility of every Jamaican, but the vast majority of us have manifestly failed to fulfil our duty to the children of Jamaica. All of us are culpable to different degrees, ranging from turning a blind eye to those heinous crimes, not speaking out against them or leaving the problem to be dealt with by parents, teachers, guardians, police, social workers or counsellors who are already overwhelmed. We all have to do more. <br /> <br /> A society that does not protect the vulnerable, the children, the aged, the handicapped and the desperately poor is a failed society. Jamaica is not alone in its failure and sexual abuse of minors. It is a worldwide problem. But this does not exonerate our lack of action.<br /> <br /> Action has to start first with prevention, and in this regard shame and embarrassment are no longer effective sanctions. We all have to be watchful, protective, and speak out about what we know or observe. No one is above suspicion, because in too many instances people are allowed to get away because their institutions want to avoid the damage to their reputation and the cost of financial compensation. We are all aware of the extent to which the Catholic Church has been affected by unsavoury revelations.<br /> <br /> We must do everything to bring the perpetrators of sexual assault of children to justice and apply the most severe punishment allowed by law. They must, after serving their prison sentences, be kept on a permanent watch list because too many of them revert to their former practice as soon as they re-enter society.<br /> <br /> Those who remain silent and/or actively take part in covering sexual crimes should be treated as accessories to the crime. No one is above the law, and in some instances the perpetrators are the so-called most respectable citizens.<br /> <br /> Everybody is presumed innocent until proven guilty, therefore we must not pre-judge cases before the courts, as is now being done by some people in relation to the case of Pastor Rupert Clarke, who has been charged due to allegations of having sex with a minor.<br /> <br /> However, while we observe that ideal, it should not prevent us from dealing with the issue of child abuse, which is really a national shame. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13555399/251379_78160_repro_w300.jpg Editorial Sunday, January 08, 2017 12:00 AM Jamaica&rsquo;s Diaspora and the football programme http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Jamaica-s-Diaspora-and-the-football-programme_85883 Jamaicans abroad have long been crucial to this country&rsquo;s economy and society.<br /> <br /> Back in the latter half of the 19th century and well into the 20th, Jamaicans flocked to Central America and Cuba to work on infrastructural projects, including the Panama Canal, as well as in agriculture &ndash; on banana and sugar estates.<br /> <br /> Eventually, over the last 70 years especially, North America and Britain have become destinations of choice for Jamaicans seeking a better life.<br /> <br /> Of course, Jamaican migration wasn&rsquo;t all beneficial. The brain and skills drain, such as is currently being complained about in the case of nurses, is by no means new. In a real sense, Jamaica&rsquo;s best have too often tended to leave.<br /> <br /> However, throughout this long period of well in excess of 100 years, money sent back by Jamaicans overseas has been a cornerstone of the country&rsquo;s economic life. Today, remittances make up well in excess of US$2 billion annually. Only tourism comes close.<br /> <br /> Also, those returning from life abroad have mostly tended to bring with them not just their life savings, but a culture of discipline, beneficial to their communities and the wider society.<br /> <br /> We have said all of the above to make the point that the Jamaican Diaspora can&rsquo;t be ignored or disrespected. Jamaicans abroad, including descendants, have a right to believe that &lsquo;The Rock&rsquo; is their country too.<br /> <br /> Hence, when British-based Jamaican footballer Mr Joel Grant asserts that &ldquo;Ever since I was able to make decisions, I decided I was Jamaican. I wasn&rsquo;t born on the land, but my spirit was&rdquo;, it strikes a strong chord with this newspaper, as it will with most well-thinking Jamaicans.<br /> <br /> Mr Grant takes exception to those who suggest that British-born players are, by definition, less committed to the Reggae Boyz football programme than players born here.<br /> <br /> We believe he is correct. That&rsquo;s an assumption that should never be made. Mr Grant strikes the correct note, we think, when he argues that &ldquo;going forward&rdquo; Jamaica&rsquo;s football authorities should &ldquo;get the balance right between local and overseas-born players&rdquo;, bearing always in mind the national motto: Out of Many, One People.<br /> <br /> It seems to us that getting that &ldquo;right balance&rdquo; is the challenge. Player selections can&rsquo;t be on the basis of a quota system, or any subjective belief, for example, that a professional footballer based abroad is necessarily more capable than a local player.<br /> <br /> Choice of national players should be made based on objective criteria encompassing not just technical and tactical capacity but other elements, including physical fitness and, not least, the perceived desire to wholeheartedly represent the Black, Green and Gold.<br /> <br /> Also, there must be a concerted effort to ensure that there are development programmes to bring local young players closer to the level of those groomed overseas. Such an achievement won&rsquo;t come overnight. But a well-planned, well-coordinated effort, so lacking now, should be in place for all to see. <br /> <br /> Those are challenges with which the Jamaica Football Federation must seek to grapple, as it moves to upgrade the national football programme in 2017. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13251206/225484_77798_repro_w300.jpg Editorial Saturday, January 07, 2017 12:00 AM A resolute &lsquo;yes&rsquo; to utilising technology in crime fight http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/A-resolute--yes--to-utilising-technology-in-crime-fight-------_85790 Based on the pronouncements of National Security Minister Robert Montague, the Government appears to have accepted the urgent need for increased and improved resources for the country&rsquo;s security agencies.<br /> <br /> The Government, he said, is going to acquire 200 more vehicles for the police force, a surveillance plane will be purchased later this year to help patrol the coastline, and two boats to patrol the nation&rsquo;s coastline are being procured.<br /> <br /> Based on information available to us, these boats are already on the way to Jamaica and, as such, will be commissioned into service soon.<br /> <br /> Minister Montague also said that marine posts are being established in Old Harbour and Alligator Pond in an apparent move to increase monitoring of the island&rsquo;s south coast, an area that has traditionally seen frequent activity among gun and drug traffickers.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There will be an expansion of the CCTV network across the island and the plan is to integrate them all into one system,&rdquo; Mr Montague told guests at the police force&rsquo;s annual devotion service in Kingston on Tuesday. <br /> <br /> The CCTV system, he pointed out, is already in four towns, and more cameras will be installed soon.<br /> <br /> He also spoke to the establishment of a central operations centre where people who have CCTV cameras mounted at their properties can send footage to the police.<br /> <br /> Added to all this, the minister said, will be a video analytic suite which will facilitate facial and licence plate recognition, as well as geo-fencing.<br /> <br /> Issues of privacy and individual rights will, we assume, be raised around the use of geo-fencing. However, the technology offers a lot of advantages to law enforcement agencies and, as such, deserves to be considered, especially given the crime environment in this country which, we believe, is fuelled by the low rate of apprehension and conviction.<br /> <br /> What the minister, his fellow legislators and the security agencies need to ensure is that the technology is used for the purpose of improving national security and that any deviation from that cause is met with severe sanctions.<br /> <br /> As we have often argued in this space, Jamaicans must be prepared to yield some individual freedoms if we are to effectively counter the scourge of crime and violence that has beset this nation for too long.<br /> <br /> It is no secret that crime is one of, if not the biggest hindrance to this country&rsquo;s ability to attract more investment. Certainly, numerous Jamaicans say they would return to invest in their homeland but for the high crime rate, notably murders. Therefore, it is in our collective interest to ensure that crime does not erode the gains made over the past few years that have placed the economy on a sound footing for sustainable growth.<br /> <br /> We have sacrificed too much and come too far to see a regression of the country&rsquo;s fortunes now. Smart policing managed by competent individuals will no doubt have a significant impact on crime.<br /> <br /> The Administration, therefore, should give even greater attention to this strategy. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13545694/250762_77453_repro_w300.jpg Editorial Friday, January 06, 2017 12:00 AM Embrace Dr Tufton&rsquo;s push for customer service http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Embrace-Dr-Tufton-s-push-for-customer-service_85679 Ask any successful business operator and they will explain the importance of good customer service. <br /> <br /> Indeed, many a business has been known to fail precisely because not enough attention was paid to &lsquo;front desk&rsquo; relations.<br /> <br /> In other words, hard experience has taught those in the private sector to show a friendly face to the public, or else. Once there is competition, those who don&rsquo;t learn to present that friendly face will pay the price.<br /> <br /> Hence, the position of Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton that the public sector, including the public health services, needs to learn lessons from private business.<br /> <br /> Dr Tufton clearly believes that the worth of public sector services, including the health sector, has been devalued because of a shortage of empathy and compassion.<br /> <br /> Truth is that for far too long, people have put up with bad manners, disrespect and &lsquo;don&rsquo;t care&rsquo; attitudes at various service centres because they really have no choice.<br /> <br /> In a real sense, as Dr Tufton explained, people find themselves captive to the monopoly.<br /> <br /> Says he: &ldquo;Sometimes in the public sector we tend to get complacent because the people can&rsquo;t do without us: you have to pay your tax and so you have to go to the tax office; you have to get the driver&rsquo;s licence, so you have to go to the examination depot, yu sick and yu can&rsquo;t afford it (private health care) so yu have to go to the public hospital&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> So true. The problem is that disrespect and unprofessional &lsquo;don&rsquo;t care&rsquo; behaviour undermine efficiency and inevitably lead to bitterness and resentment on the part of those at the receiving end. Such experiences harden and entrench cynicism towards governance and public sector institutions at all levels, with far-reaching, anti-social consequences.<br /> <br /> In Jamaica, personnel at police stations, hospitals, health centres, etc are often at the butt end of such criticism.<br /> <br /> We note and applaud plans by the Ministry of Health to develop a programme dubbed &lsquo;compassionate care&rsquo; aimed at altering attitudes. The wider public sector will do well to borrow from that programme as it seeks to improve customer care.<br /> <br /> We are aware that improved customer service is central to the Public Sector Transformation and Modernisation Programme and that there are some agencies, once seen as customer-hostile, that have made great strides in changing that perception. Anecdotal evidence suggests, for example, great improvement in customer service at revenue collection offices and for some traffic authority services.<br /> <br /> That process must speed up across all sectors as Jamaica pushes to achieve its 2030 goals. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13506553/ZZ75D77C7C_edsecld_w300.jpg Editorial Thursday, January 05, 2017 12:00 AM Growth Council must consider the illogic of our public holidays http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Growth-Council-must-consider-the-illogic-of-our-public-holidays_85563 In a country where a growth council has become the centrepiece of economic strategy, what could possibly explain the expansion of our public holidays, with two Christmases and two New Year&rsquo;s Days?<br /> <br /> Those who are tasked with responsibility for scheduling our public holidays explain it away by saying Christmas Day, December 25, fell on a Sunday in 2016, causing the celebration of the event to be put back to Monday, December 26; and that New Year&rsquo;s Day 2017 fell on a Sunday and so had to be celebrated on Monday, January 2.<br /> <br /> There is no logic to the explanation. In the current calendar, December 25 is observed as the birthday of Jesus Christ. Whenever any of our birthdays fall on a Sunday, it is celebrated on that day. Similarly, New Year&rsquo;s Day is the first day of January, whatever day that is.<br /> <br /> Moreover, it is not that we need more public holidays. No one disputes the fact that we are under-producing as a nation and that public holidays, whenever they fall during the work week, disrupt production. It is time to get serious about reviewing the structure of our public holidays, as suggested two years ago by Mr Lascelles Chin, the head of Lasco.<br /> <br /> For those who remember, Mr Chin said: &ldquo;The (manufacturing) sector loses precious production time and resources, shutting down, starting up and sanitising equipment twice in one week, instead of just once (to observe public holidays). Do you know what it takes to close down a manufacturing operation twice in a week?<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We do not just flick the &lsquo;off&rsquo; switch at 4 o&rsquo;clock one evening and turn the &lsquo;on&rsquo; switch back on when the business reopens after the holiday. We start losing production before the regular close of shift time. It takes hours to gradually shut down machines and hours to start up again. That is lost production. The shutdown process also has to be managed and timed to protect the costly, sometimes fragile machinery.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> This happens, according to Mr Chin, when Labour Day in May and Heroes Day in October fall on weekdays. The manufacturing enterprise closes on Friday, opens Monday and by midweek must close and open again. It&rsquo;s worse when there are two holidays in a week with a weekend in-between, as happens in August for Emancipation Day and Independence holidays, he argued.<br /> <br /> We agree. This is an issue that the Michael Lee Chin-led Growth Council should look at seriously. Economic growth is not going to come only from concentrating on macroeconomic variables. It is critical to examine our cultural practices that impact productivity, as holiday observances do.<br /> <br /> In 2017 we will have 10 national holidays as follows: New Year&rsquo;s Day (Jan 1 and 2); Ash Wednesday (March 1); Good Friday (April 14); Easter Monday (April 17); Labour Day (May 23); Emancipation Day (August 1); Independence Day (August 7); National Heroes&rsquo; Day (October 16); Christmas Day (December 25) and Boxing Day (December 26).<br /> <br /> There will also be four observances such as: Valentine&rsquo;s Day (February 14); Mother&rsquo;s Day (May 14) and Father&rsquo;s Day (June 18). These three do not disrupt national production.<br /> <br /> If the holidays are to continue, then Mr Lascelles Chin&rsquo;s suggestion that Labour Day, Emancipation Day, Independence Day and National Heroes&rsquo; Day be observed on a Monday is certainly worthy of consideration.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13396136/237784_64606_repro_w300.jpg Editorial Wednesday, January 04, 2017 12:00 AM New year, old brutalities and the senseless bloodletting continues http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/New-year--old-brutalities-and-the-senseless-bloodletting-continues_85432 It&rsquo;s not unusual for the world to experience tragedy amidst celebrating the dawn of a new year.<br /> <br /> We saw, for instance, the massacre of 39 people welcoming 2017 at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey, early on Sunday, January 1.<br /> <br /> Also, in the early hours of Sunday, two men engaged in an argument at a bar in Chicago, Illinois, in the United States, shot each other dead.<br /> <br /> Then, within 24 hours, 35 people were killed in a suicide car bomb attack in a busy Baghdad square in Iraq.<br /> <br /> Here in Jamaica, we reported yesterday the killing of three people in separate incidents in Hanover and Kingston on New Year&rsquo;s Day.<br /> <br /> In the Hanover incidents, the victims were identified as Mr Bruce Brown, a 39-year-old taxi operator, and Mr Tedford Grizzle, who was also 39 years old.<br /> <br /> Based on information available so far, the only sure thing that we can report is that both men were shot.<br /> <br /> In the Kingston incident, a group of men brutally stabbed 17-year-old Calabar High School student Stephan McLaren to death Sunday morning while he was on his way home from a party.<br /> <br /> The motive for this wicked act, we are told, was robbery.<br /> <br /> We empathise with the families of these three Jamaicans, even as we accept that we cannot begin to imagine the immense pain and deep sense of grief they are feeling now.<br /> <br /> The loss of a loved one is never easy. It is worse when the person slain was cut down in the prime of their life, as is the case with these three young men.<br /> <br /> Mr McLaren, in particular, had not even been allowed to mark his 18th birthday when, as prescribed by the law, he would have been deemed an adult. So his awful murder is even more heinous as it has robbed the country of one of its most precious human resource possibilities.<br /> <br /> This young man, we are told, was humble, decent and a gifted cricketer.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;He was also very disciplined, so much so that we called him Sojie,&rdquo; Mr Patrick Phillips, the Calabar Under-19 cricket team manager told this newspaper.<br /> <br /> We wonder how men can be so vile to take lives, especially those of children, and sleep knowing full well that they have not only committed a most brutal crime, but have plunged a family into such untold grief?<br /> <br /> We also wonder how the families &mdash; the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters &mdash; of those men sleep, knowing that these evil killers live in their homes?<br /> <br /> We wonder how the women, with whom these killers have relationships, feel, knowing full well that the money and gifts they receive from these brutes are stained with blood?<br /> <br /> We wonder how people who protect and represent these killers sleep, knowing full well that these men of violence have nothing to defend?<br /> <br /> There needs to be a moral reawakening in this country to the fact that people who get into the business of deciding who lives or who dies should not be allowed to enjoy the freedoms guaranteed to law-abiding citizens.<br /> <br /> That should also be the fate of those who shamelessly shield these grim reapers.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13541253/000_JJ0P4_w300.jpg Editorial Tuesday, January 03, 2017 12:00 AM Let&rsquo;s break the neck of crime http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Let-s-break-the-neck-of-crime_85372 The past year turned out far better for Jamaica than many expected.<br /> <br /> After the narrow election victory by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in February, one fear was that the new Government would run into trouble in the management of the economy.<br /> <br /> That hasn&rsquo;t happened.<br /> <br /> Using the blueprint established by its predecessors, the JLP Government, led by Mr Andrew Holness, has maintained discipline, with the key macroeconomic indicators all heading in the right direction at year end.<br /> <br /> The JLP&rsquo;s pragmatic decision to phase in its game-changing $1.5-million income tax initiative over two years, rather than at one go as was promised prior to February 25, was crucial. The push to progressively switch taxation to consumption, while easing up on income, has earned the approval of Jamaica&rsquo;s multilateral partners as well as local sector leaders.<br /> <br /> Inevitably though, increased taxes on consumption bring extra difficulties for the unemployed and those at minimum wage level or just above. Here is a serious challenge the Government will have to face in 2017.<br /> <br /> On the political front, there were fears of instability because of the Government&rsquo;s razor-thin, one-seat majority. As it turned out, the defeated People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) was too busy trying to sort out its own affairs to pay too much attention to the Government.<br /> <br /> Developments at year end suggest the PNP is now ready to reorganise. After losing the local government elections in late November, Mrs Portia Simpson Miller made the long-overdue announcement to step down as party leader.<br /> <br /> Well aware of the inherent dangers in delay, the PNP will presumably be moving swiftly to install a new president. The sensible decision of Mr Peter Bunting to withdraw has left the field open to Dr Peter Phillips. The latter commands respect, not just for his performance as finance minister in the four years up to last February, but also for his various leadership roles within and outside Cabinet<br /> <br /> Dr Phillips&rsquo;s first task will be to reorganise the badly run-down PNP organisation and to lead a return to core principles. Once the PNP is on firm footing, the temptation may arise to so pressure the Government that Mr Holness is forced into an early election.<br /> <br /> That would be reckless behaviour in our view. And Dr Phillips, who worked very hard as finance minister towards a measure of economic stability for this country, is not, we believe, reckless. We expect that as Opposition leader he will be thoughtful, reasonable, and ever mindful of Jamaica&rsquo;s best interests.<br /> <br /> That leaves us with crime. Security of the Jamaican nation continues to be undermined by lawless, mindless people who must be brought to heel. We take heart from Mr Holness&rsquo;s New Year&rsquo;s message in which he makes the basic point that &ldquo;crime is the greatest threat to Jamaica achieving economic growth&rdquo;, and further that &ldquo;crime is the greatest threat to our economic independence&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> We believe Mr Holness is correct that &ldquo;the Jamaican people are now prepared and expect firm and decisive action in breaking the neck of the crime monster once and for all&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> This has to be the Government&rsquo;s prime focus in 2017.<br /> <br /> Like Mr Homer Davis, new mayor of Montego Bay, most Jamaicans strongly believe that regardless of the name given to upcoming anti-crime measures &ldquo;it can&rsquo;t be business as usual&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13533323/249878_76489_repro_w300.jpg Editorial Monday, January 02, 2017 12:00 AM Cold War echoes from a distant past http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Cold-War-echoes-from-a-distant-past_85290 The New Year 2017 begins today against the backdrop of the echoes of the Cold War from a now distant past when the Soviet Union and the United States competed bitterly for hegemony over the rest of the globe.<br /> <br /> Between the end of World War II and the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1996, the two superpowers led a fierce uncompromising worldwide rivalry pitting capitalism and democracy &mdash; championed by the United States and supported by Western Europe &mdash; and Communism led by the Soviet Union and its empire of satellites mostly in Eastern Europe.<br /> <br /> It was called a Cold War because the two ideologically opposed superpowers never engaged in major head on combat, but there were many smaller clashes &mdash; known as the Korean War, the blockade of Berlin and the Cuban Missile Crisis &mdash; all of which raised the spectre of nuclear war, with the US nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, fresh in mind.<br /> <br /> The countries that have nuclear weapons collectively already have enough capacity to destroy the globe and in all probability annihilate mankind. A global nuclear war cannot have a winner; we will all be dead, and which country has the largest nuclear arsenal, or who fires first is irrelevant. <br /> <br /> Since the devolution of the Soviet empire, replaced in importance by Russia, the world breathed easier and the rivalry was managed through highly skilled diplomacy. <br /> <br /> The diplomatic jousting, the cultivation of strategically located allies, the spying on each other, enlargement of military/naval power, and the competition in sport, space, technology, industrialisation, and the arts between the US and Russia continues unabated. <br /> <br /> The latest provocation was Russia&rsquo;s alleged interference in the recent US presidential election and the retaliatory sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama. Geopolitical strategist that he is, Russia&rsquo;s President Vladimir Putin overruled the public recommendation of his foreign minister by deciding not do a tit for tat against the US decision to expel 35 Russian diplomats and impose new sanctions. <br /> <br /> President Putin appears to be hanging his hopes for more favourable relations with the incoming Donald Trump Administration.<br /> <br /> Russia, of course, has denied the accusations by the US intelligence community that it sponsored hackers to gather and leak sensitive information about Mrs Hillary Clinton to help secure a Trump victory. <br /> <br /> Mr Putin is relying on Mr Trump opposing hardline action against Russia, as to do otherwise would constitute an implicit acknowledgement that there was Russian interference, a position the US president-elect has not so far embraced.<br /> <br /> Old observers of the Cold War suggest that the world could be witnessing the dismantling of the template in which the US and China (with Western Europe and Canada in tandem) have practised peaceful coexistence since the 1970s to keep the ever-imperialist Russia in check.<br /> <br /> One hopes to see the triumph of pragmatism over militaristic egotism and national pride. What is certain is nobody in his or her right mind wants a resurrection of the Cold War. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10751484/US-Flag_w300.jpg Editorial Sunday, January 01, 2017 12:00 AM 2016 was a good year for sports http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/2016-was-a-good-year-for-sports_85248 Jamaican sports lovers will most remember 2016 for another glorious campaign by the nation&rsquo;s sprinters, this time at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.<br /> <br /> The incomparable Mr Usain Bolt again led the way with two individual gold medals (100m and 200m) as well as the sprint relay gold medal, as Jamaica ended with 11 medals, including six gold.<br /> <br /> While the world focused on Mr Bolt, Jamaicans noted with satisfaction high-quality performances from younger athletes, including the extraordinarily talented Miss Elaine Thompson, who took the 100m and 200m, and Mr Omar McLeod, who destroyed the field in the 110m hurdles.<br /> <br /> Jamaicans will now enter 2017 knowing that the planned retirement from competition of the phenomenal Mr Bolt is just months away.<br /> <br /> Time and again, the 30-year-old sprinter has said that Rio was his last Olympics and that he will retire from all competition following the World Championships in London mid-2017.<br /> <br /> Jamaica and the world will then have to get used to athletic competition without Mr Bolt. However, we suspect he will remain a highly influential figure on the promotional side of a sport hit hard by doping and corruption scandals.<br /> <br /> In other disciplines, Jamaica had mostly mixed results. There was a decidedly negative turn in football as the Reggae Boyz stumbled out of contention for a place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia &ndash; eliminated at the semi-final stage of CONCACAF qualifiers.<br /> <br /> There was some satisfaction after the national team, without its Europe-based professionals, qualified for the Scotiabank CFU Men&rsquo;s Caribbean Cup semi-finals and a place in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. This was after victories over Guyana and Suriname. Even with that though, uncertainties surrounding Jamaica&rsquo;s football are abundant as 2016 comes to an end.<br /> <br /> In cricket, there was considerable pride at the start of 2016 as the West Indies Under-19 squad won the ICC world tournament for the first time and the men&rsquo;s and women&rsquo;s teams won ICC world twenty20 tournaments. But continuing fractiousness involving administrators and players &ndash; not least the &ldquo;big idiot&rdquo; response of Mr Darren Bravo to comments from West Indies Cricket Board President Mr Dave Cameron triggering disciplinary action against the former &ndash; and the earlier shock sacking of coach Mr Phil Simmons on the eve of an overseas tour, dampened team and public morale.<br /> <br /> For optimists, an unexpected Test match victory over Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in October &mdash; albeit with the series already lost &mdash; was a boost. It was the West Indies&rsquo; first overseas Test match win against opposition ranked higher than themselves since 2007.<br /> <br /> Jamaicans were pleased at the triumph of the Jamaica Tallawahs in the Caribbean T20 league and the performance of the Jamaica Scorpions who are ending the year atop the four-day franchise setup.<br /> <br /> Among the so-called minor sports, swimmer Miss Alia Atkinson stood out &mdash; winning world titles after a disappointing Olympics.<br /> <br /> All<br /> <br /> told,<br /> <br /> Jamaica&rsquo;s<br /> <br /> sporting<br /> <br /> fraternity<br /> <br /> will<br /> <br /> probably<br /> <br /> give<br /> <br /> a<br /> <br /> thumbs up<br /> <br /> if<br /> <br /> 2017<br /> <br /> resembles<br /> <br /> 2016<br /> <br /> in<br /> <br /> terms<br /> <br /> of<br /> <br /> successes. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13234824/223633_w300.jpg Editorial Saturday, December 31, 2016 3:00 AM Dr Wendel Abel enabling ignorance about media&rsquo;s role! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Dr-Wendel-Abel-enabling-ignorance-about-media-s-role-_85096 If Professor Wendel Abel had his way, the Jamaican media would be under his orders about what content to disseminate to the public, at least in respect of crime and violence.<br /> <br /> In other words, the goodly psychiatrist, researcher and university lecturer, and a man no less to whom the media has been very kind, would be a fervent advocate of the shooting of the messenger who is the bearer of bad news, as in times of yore.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I think media plays a critical role and I think unfortunately the media in Jamaica has gone too far in terms of glamourising crime and violence,&rdquo; he complained to Nationwide News earlier this week. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;All you have to do is look at what is portrayed at prime time, beaming into our homes with our children being exposed. We have to filter a lot of the reports that come through the media in regards to crime and violence. It has to be addressed,&rdquo; he declared.<br /> <br /> Clearly, it was not important enough for him to take the time to define the glamourising of which he spoke, or to suggest how he would address that malady. We would hate to believe that Mr Abel would keep company, as it seems, with Cleopatra in Shakespeare&rsquo;s Henry IV who, when told that Antony had married another, threatened to treat the messenger&rsquo;s eyes as balls, eliciting the appropriate response: &ldquo;Gracious madam, I that do bring the news made not the match.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> For Dr Abel, it is enough just to make a charge and his words, we presume, must be taken as gospel. Without more, as the lawyers like to say, we would be loathe to entrust the future of media to the likes of the gentleman.<br /> <br /> No one would disagree with Dr Abel&rsquo;s concern that crime and violence continues to be a serious challenge to the well-being of Jamaica. It is perhaps the last great battle to be fought on the way to economic growth and prosperity. But that is a battle that cannot be won with Dr Abel&rsquo;s prescription to shackle the media.<br /> <br /> In speaking of filtering reports to which children are exposed in the home, that surely must be the responsibility of parents. Otherwise he is asking the media to keep the populace ignorant of the crime and violence that is ever present among us. That could be more dangerous.<br /> <br /> Moreover, the media should not be deciding for people what is best for them or what is not. Media informs, educates and entertains. After that it is left up to readers, listeners and viewers to decide what they regard as important to digest from the megastorm of information coming their way on a daily basis.<br /> <br /> We admit that not all information-laden is wholesome. However, in an information society each individual has the right to content that they desire. If media begins filtering information on a whim, the question quickly arises: Where does it start and where does it end?<br /> <br /> To Dr Abel, we would simply say: &ldquo;Gracious sir, I that do bring the news made not the match.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10575413/Wendell-Abel_w300.jpg Editorial Friday, December 30, 2016 12:00 AM Public sector modernisation going nowhere fast http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Public-sector-modernisation-going-nowhere-fast_85022 Mr Danny Roberts can put as bright a face as he wants on the public sector modernisation programme, it will continue to limp along as it has for the past three decades.<br /> <br /> From the Administrative Reform Programme (ARP), championed by Mr Edward Seaga in 1984, to the Public Sector Modernisation Programme (PSMP), under Mr Michael Manley and Mr P J Patterson, then the Public Sector Transformation and Reform programme under Mr Bruce Golding, and since that Jamaica is still to feel the real impact of the modernisation.<br /> <br /> In-between those programmes, there was the Rex Nettleford Committee, which found that Jamaica did not need more than 11 government ministries to be properly run, and the Douglas Orane Committee which identified the colossal waste of State resources.<br /> <br /> Over the years, a lot of money has been spent on the modernisation thrust, thanks to the generosity of the World Bank which allocated US$28 million to it in 1996; the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); Britain&rsquo;s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).<br /> <br /> Aside from the executive agencies which were designed to operate much like private sector entities, the most spectacular achievement of the modernisation programme seems to have been the several change of names.<br /> <br /> In this latest dispensation, a Public Sector Transformation Oversight Committee (PSTOC) has now been established, co-chaired by Mr Roberts who is telling us that &ldquo;public sector transformation must represent for the people of Jamaica the most prudent and efficient spending of the tax dollar, and that the delivery of public service must be caring, responsive, patient, and courteous&rdquo;. Nothing new there.<br /> <br /> He also informs us that: &ldquo;The Government&rsquo;s desire to divest some entities; merge entities where greater economies of scale can be achieved; wind up overlapping or inactive entities; and outsource functions that can better be performed by the private sector are important steps to achieve delivery of better service, achieve effective cost efficiencies, and provide more public resources for growth-enhancing spending in the areas of infrastructure, security-related matters and expansion of social protection.&rdquo; Again, nothing new.<br /> <br /> He says that the process has now reached the stage where it needs to play a pivotal role in the success of the new Stand-By Agreement between the Government and the International Monetary Fund, and then he dismisses as a myth the view that &ldquo;the process is primarily about massive job losses&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Mr Roberts is looking in all the wrong places. The truth that must be acknowledged is that the governments &mdash; all of them since 1984 &mdash; have been afraid to reduce the public sector necessary to rein in the massive cost of running the bureaucracy.<br /> <br /> It&rsquo;s the pain and the gore of sending home so many public servants that no one can stomach. It can&rsquo;t be said out front and it won&rsquo;t be.<br /> <br /> The one thing that Mr Roberts said that bears some contemplation is that: &ldquo;While there would be job losses from the transformation process, the divestment of public bodies would also mean a transfer of jobs to the private sector for which public sector workers would be qualified.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Getting the public servants to buy in to this is the real challenge. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10974579/Danny-Roberts_w300.jpg Editorial Thursday, December 29, 2016 12:00 AM Think big and act, Mayor Williams http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Think-big-and-act--Mayor-Williams_84902 We'll hold our applause on the lofty goals outlined for Kingston by Mayor Delroy Williams. For, quite frankly, we have heard this kind of impressive articulation of a vision for the capital city before.<br /> <br /> Mayor Williams&rsquo; predecessor, Mrs Angela Brown Burke, at her swearing-in ceremony in April 2012, was quite resolute as she pledged to &ldquo;lead by example&rdquo; as her Administration was committed to the redevelopment of downtown Kingston and, by extension, all of Kingston and St Andrew. <br /> <br /> In addition, Mrs Brown Burke gave the council&rsquo;s undertaking to work with its stakeholders in the redevelopment of downtown Kingston and commended entities and institutions which had already embarked on this undertaking by refurbishing their buildings or buying new ones to house their businesses in the heart of the city.<br /> <br /> Pointing out that the then Government was focused on economic development, Mrs Brown Burke stressed the need for markets and market districts to become viable centres of economic activity, with suitable and appropriate conditions for vendors and purchasers.<br /> <br /> All very well and good.<br /> <br /> It&rsquo;s not that she did not get anything done during her tenure, but Mrs Brown Burke cannot state today that Kingston is a more developed city than the day she took office.<br /> <br /> The downtown district, in particular, is still plagued by filthy streets, general disorder as vendors continue to occupy public spaces, and, indeed, urban blight.<br /> <br /> Two weeks ago, at his swearing-in ceremony, Mayor Williams outlined his vision for the city, saying that his Administration intends to improve infrastructure and revive the city as a destination for tourists.<br /> <br /> His intention, he said, was to make Kingston the &ldquo;capital city of the Caribbean, the pearl of the Antilles, and a major player in the Latin American landscape&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> He invited corporate Jamaica and the Jamaican people to share in this vision and help to make it a reality. However, he said, &ldquo;The municipal corporation must drive economic activities, and we must facilitate and not hinder. We will act within the statutory power to be a facilitator of growth. We must create a megacity; Kingston must become a spectacle, a tourist attraction.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Mayor Williams also promised that his Administration would work on the expansion of the city&rsquo;s pier to attract cruise ships and stopover visitors. In addition, they will address the downtown development plan and improve the city&rsquo;s infrastructure.<br /> <br /> He also committed to work closer with stakeholders in the entertainment industry to make Kingston the &ldquo;undisputed centre of entertainment in the Caribbean&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> As we said, those are all very lovely goals that every Kingstonian, and indeed all Jamaicans, would welcome. But as we all anxiously await these developments, we would suggest to the mayor, and indeed the council, that they first formulate a 20-year sustainable development plan for the city that would include proper zoning, planned housing, food and water safety, planned traffic flow, measures to reduce air pollution and protect the environment, and, most important, improve safety.<br /> <br /> It would make sense to get bipartisan and public agreement on this plan, then secure the funding, including from taxes, to ensure implementation.<br /> <br /> Big, bold thinking, political will and strong leadership make a powerful combination.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13516536/delroy-williams_w300.jpg Editorial Wednesday, December 28, 2016 12:00 AM