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 Detain rowdy schoolchildren at police station http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Detain-rowdy-schoolchildren-at-police-station_74951 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I happened to watch Prime Time News on September 20, 2016. It showed the minister of transport touring the transportation centre in Half-Way-Tree to scout for misbehaving children and those who loiter till dusk. But, apparently, none were there. <br /> <br /> It seems they smelled the rat.<br /> <br /> Camera systems are fine, but my simple suggestion will deter these rowdy students and those who loiter after school hours. Let me offer my suggestion for the clearance of students from this central meeting place at the transportation centre. I beckon to the police to apprehend all schoolchildren who seem to loiter and create mischief at the transportation hub in Half-Way-Tree by taking them to the Half-Way-Tree Police Station. They dear not leave the station until their parents or guardians are contacted.<br /> <br /> These students who wear two hats &mdash; at home the loving innocent child, and on the road a &ldquo;leggo beast&rdquo; &mdash; will indeed be a shocking surprise when the parents are called by their own kids. The students should be held as long as it takes at the station until parents/guardians arrive.<br /> <br /> I also understand that adult men also utilise the centre as a meeting place for under-age schoolgirls after school hours. Also, it is so disgraceful at the centre how many students carry on in their school uniforms. I take the bus frequently at the centre and witness the drama played out often.<br /> <br /> This after-school idling is not new. I was once employed downtown Kingston, near to the harbour, and some students would hang out until odd hours after school is dismissed everyday as well.<br /> <br /> The rigid means of keeping students at the Half-Way-Tree Police Station until their parents arrive will decrease and prevent them from gathering at the transportation centre, as the police will be on the alert to cart them away.<br /> <br /> More cameras can be installed, with the stringent policy of the police apprehending them, sending a clear warning. If students, especially males, resist on going to the station, the appropriate containment should apply.<br /> <br /> Delroy Lawrence<br /> <br /> fortis-forever@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12164831/Bus-terminus_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, September 23, 2016 2:00 AM RGD has been doing its best http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/RGD-has-been-doing-its-best-_74969 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I write in response to an article in the Jamaica Observer, dated September 17, 2016, titled &lsquo;Ministry to address concerns of foster parents&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> The Registrar General&rsquo;s Department (RGD) continues in its quest to ensure that all Jamaicans are registered and that we offer the best service to all our customers. To aid in these efforts, in the year 2012 the agency met with representatives from the Child Development Agency (CDA) to streamline procedures for assisting the wards of the State in obtaining birth certificates.<br /> <br /> All applications/requests received from the CDA are given priority, expedited and processed at the executive level, at a reduced cost of $800 for a birth certificate, and a search is done gratis.<br /> <br /> The criteria for all applications are processed accordingly:<br /> <br /> &bull; Search application &mdash; to ascertain whether an entry exists for a child. If an entry is not located, the process of late registration will be conducted.<br /> <br /> &bull; Birth application &mdash; If an entry number is provided or located from the search application, the application will be processed.<br /> <br /> Since the start of this year the RGD received 352 applications; 70 of which were for searches to be conducted. We have since processed a total of 225 certificates and delivered them to the representatives of the CDA.<br /> <br /> However, despite our efforts we continue to face challenges due to delays in receiving information or receiving information that is inconsistent with our records.<br /> <br /> The RGD team continues to work to satisfy all outstanding applications as we liaise with representatives from the CDA to ensure the needs for the nation&rsquo;s most vulnerable children are met.<br /> <br /> Deirdre English Gosse<br /> <br /> Chief Executive Office<br /> <br /> Registrar General and Deputy Keeper of the Records<br /> <br /> information@rgd.gov.jm<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13306580/222127__w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Friday, September 23, 2016 2:00 AM Roadwork backup http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Roadwork-backup_74980 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I commend the improvement works slated to be done on Mandela Highway. They&rsquo;re long overdue.<br /> <br /> Nonetheless, I am grieving for the trees that have been there for ages and are now being cut down and the marshes which may be be affected or lost. <br /> <br /> I am, however, concerned about the abrupt start of the roadwork on Mandela Highway since the contract was purported to have been signed in July. Sufficient notification was not given considering the magnitude of work to be done and measures should have been put in place before the start of the new school year, which contributes to the traffic pile-up as more people travel the roadway.<br /> <br /> This work should have started in August so that commuters could have got a better idea of what to expect and make provisions, if at all possible. What are the measures being put in place for the backup of traffic and delays now being experienced? Yes, we have the one-lane system for buses, but what else will be done to guide the smooth flow of traffic as we look forward to improvement in our roads. At present drivers are coming out earlier and seem to be gazing at the work being done, resulting in a tremendous backup in traffic; and the major work have not yet started.<br /> <br /> It is worth mentioning that taking the toll road in the mornings and/or evenings is extremely burdensome for our citizens, many of whom are facing financial challenges already. Those commuters who have to come from far distances to work and conduct businesses in Kingston are especially affected as the toll rates are exorbitant.<br /> <br /> It is not too early to start implementing measures to alleviate some of the hardships being experience or to be expected as we go through this next phase in the development of our country. A police/traffic warden&rsquo;s presence is greatly needed, especially early in the mornings and in the evenings during the peak hours.<br /> <br /> All things considered, it might have been more practical to have commenced the roadworks on Mandela Highway after the completion of the Marcus Garvey Road, rather than now as the alternate route for Portmore is Mandela Highway and vice versa.<br /> <br /> Concerned Citizen<br /> <br /> aleb2004@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Local Letters to the Editor Friday, September 23, 2016 2:00 AM Unravelling prepaid data and voice charges http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Unravelling-prepaid-data-and-voice-charges_74784 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I would like to add my support to the letter writer on September 20, 2016 who has asked the Office of Utilities Regulation to have the telecommunications suppliers decouple the data and voice charges.<br /> <br /> Currently, there are separate General Consumption Tax (GCT) rates applicable to data and voice services; however, prepaid credit is sold with an addition of 25 per cent for GCT. Therefore, those who use this credit to add data services do not benefit from the lower taxes (16.5 per cent) on this service. Why can&rsquo;t an offer selling data and voice services separately be implemented in order that consumers can benefit from lower-cost data services, as the authorities intended?<br /> <br /> The cynic in me is concerned that the taxes charged may not be as intended by the authorities.<br /> <br /> Henoy Russell<br /> <br /> henoyr@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13204771/tinder_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, September 23, 2016 2:00 AM Has the JLP changed its mouth on Goat Islands? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Has-the-JLP-changed-its-mouth-on-Goat-Islands_74976 Dear Editor, <br /> <br /> It is without a doubt that whenever on the outside, looking in, the grass appears greener. Hypocritically so I presumed. <br /> <br /> While in Opposition, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) gained much traction and favourability while insisting that the protected environmental areas of Jamaica must be preserved and left untouched, as opined and vigorously debated by the Jamaica Environment Trust. Moving forward, the same JLP, this time with a huge smile and shiny dollar sign eyes, boldly declared that they are moving steadfast with the agreement of a logistics hub.<br /> <br /> The Government is now dismissing the fact that many conscious Jamaicans saw the construction of a logistics hub by the Chinese on Goat Islands as a shot in the foot of our sovereignty, and also a great threat to our environment. We have seen that the Chinese engineering, while magnificent, leaves little to be desired when it comes to environmental consciousness and safe-keeping.<br /> <br /> Do our politicians make promises and insightful reasonings only when in Opposition? Is this the same JLP that was vocal in the need to dialogue with and proceed with policies of great effects only with the approval of the populace? Where did the JLP go wrong after just a measly eight months in power? Where is the JLP that promised a voice to the &ldquo;articulate minority&rdquo;?<br /> <br /> Indeed, development is welcome, but at what cost? Arguments were raised by The National Environment and Planning Agency, the Diaspora, and yes, the then Opposition JLP.<br /> <br /> According to the United Nations Development Programme, Jamaica has suffered tremendous economic losses due to environmental factors such as climate change. Will this logistics hub be coal-powered?<br /> <br /> We must respect the laws and will of the Jamaican people. If needs be, do a referendum. No need for another venture which will likely protect the big corporations from taxations while sucking the life out of the common citizens and their natural resources and providing little to no real benefits to the common man.<br /> <br /> Zavier Simpson<br /> <br /> zavier_simpson@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12630875/184269_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, September 23, 2016 2:00 AM Support for cyber laws needed! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Support-for-cyber-laws-needed-_74731 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> With the proliferation of information communication technologies as internationally renowned smartphone manufacturers, the likes of Samsung and Apple, continue their rivalry and dominance of the ICT industry, ordinary individuals are finding themselves swept up in the never-ending euphoria of &ldquo;smarter&rdquo; devices entering the market.<br /> <br /> While the fluidity and convenience which such improved technology no doubt brings to the fingertips of the ordinary individual is much cherished, it would be quite remiss for there not to be an equal appreciation of the dangers which also flow concommitantly with ICTs.<br /> <br /> More and more it is becoming quite evident that most of the &ldquo;ordinary&rdquo; individuals who have the world at their fingertips do not readily appreciate the dangers which accompany such comforts. These dangers, which range from hacking and theft of personal information and identities to the cruel act which is the participation in cyberbullying can have long-lasting if not life-shattering impacts on individuals.<br /> <br /> Take for instance the recent case in Italy where a 31-year-old woman committed suicide after a year of being cyberbullied after an explicit video of her went viral. Cases like these respect no geographic boundaries and can easily play out here in our island space &mdash; if this has not already been the case.<br /> <br /> It is with this in mind that all stakeholders &mdash; inclusive of Government, sector players and regular citizens &mdash; seek to play their respective parts in public education campaigns and supporting existing legislation while pushing for more stringent and comprehensive laws which would allow maximum redress to those who may be ensnared by the dark side of the Web.<br /> <br /> Noel Matherson<br /> <br /> noelmatherson@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10680193/SSL_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, September 22, 2016 12:00 AM PNP rejects renewal to its peril http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/PNP-rejects-renewal-to-its-peril_74730 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) delegates voted overwhelmingly last weekend in support of decades-old policies that have been tried, tested and failed. This is an obvious rejection of the proposed renewal of the party and can be interpreted as nothing else.<br /> <br /> The PNP is a political party in existence for 78 years, led by a 70-year-old, still seeking to flirt with the idea of socialism (or democratic socialism) in an era where power and control is cemented in the hands of capitalist, fiscal conservatives and multilateral agencies that are controlled by people who believe in capitalism and conservatism.<br /> <br /> As such, it is a little strange that the PNP has rejected renewal and given the dinosaurs a firm grip of power in a world where their ideological framework has lost relevance and multilateral agencies would not take them seriously.<br /> <br /> The party has once again rejected futuristic ideas in favour of career politicians with no vision, and have shunned the potential to grow richer, stronger or even more prosperous.<br /> <br /> While I am of the belief that the present Administration is doing well, it does not serve the country&rsquo;s interest to have a weak Opposition. <br /> <br /> Portia Simpson Miller can run up and down and even jump all she wants. That does not convince anyone that she is still fit for leadership in any capacity. The continued rejection of the young minds in her party by its executives, constituency leadership and delegates has not strengthened the organisation. All we have seen is the electorate is shown a set of policies from a group of names they have heard for decades but cannot pinpoint any significant revolutionary legislative changes and improvement in quality of life as result of this repeatedly reshuffled deck.<br /> <br /> Robert &ldquo;Bobby&rdquo; Pickersgill, the party&rsquo;s chairman, ought to also be challenged and replaced as he has done nothing to change the fortunes of the party. He also led the PNP&rsquo;s rejection of an articulate minority of a greater size, intellect, prowess, and influence than he can even imagine.<br /> <br /> Judah Granville<br /> <br /> @JudahGranville<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13063489/209532__w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, September 22, 2016 12:00 AM Let Dominic&rsquo;s passing inspire change http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Let-Dominic-s-passing-inspire-change_74779 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Tuesday&rsquo;s shock passing of St George&rsquo;s College&rsquo;s Manning Cup team Captain Dominic James has left me numb, as I am sure it has for many in the Jamaican communities at home and in the Diaspora. Death always does that to communities, and it is especially difficult when the deceased is young and in their prime.<br /> <br /> It must be even more difficult for his parents. My heart goes out to them and Dominic&rsquo;s extended family and teammates.<br /> <br /> Having said that, I must focus on the back-of-the-house aspects of Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) events. I ask that ISSA and the Ministry of Education review existing health and safety protocols, and where none exist to have these drawn up and implemented immediately. When one looks at the administrative and technical preparations for the delivery of &ldquo;Champs&rdquo; over the years, the football competitions are incredibly lacking in respect of basic protocols, and the public must demand that certain basic provisions be made. These must include on-the-spot medical personnel and equipment, maybe an ambulance. There must be a protocol for medical emergencies that should be well known and simulation-tested.<br /> <br /> While there is no guarantee that had more provisions been in place young Dominic would have survived, we must establish standards and protocols that at the very least will give the next potential victim a greater fighting chance of surviving a medical emergency. The loss of Dominic must be the catalyst for addressing these glaring deficiencies.<br /> <br /> To the competition&rsquo;s sponsors FLOW, and its owners ISSA, as well as other associate sponsors, you all need to take a long look at your programmes and include the greatest regard for health and safety.<br /> <br /> Richard Blackford<br /> <br /> richardhblackford@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13302728/domm22_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, September 22, 2016 12:00 AM Let&rsquo;s work to save our children http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Let-s-work-to-save-our-children_74728 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> &ldquo;But Jesus said suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for such is the kingdom of heaven.&rdquo; (St Matthew 19:14)<br /> <br /> This country is plagued with untold violence being perpetrated against our young. No society can develop and achieve its maximum potential if it continues to kill its future.<br /> <br /> In the past weeks, I can recount with horror the slaying of a two-year-old, execution style, and the murder of a nine-month-old baby along with the mother. These dastardly acts continue. Gone are the days when women and children were protected and spared.<br /> <br /> The reality is that Jamaica&rsquo;s children are fast becoming endangered species. In short order, the potential stock of professional and skilled citizens will be seriously depleted. Coupled with this are the effect of the brain drain phenomenon.<br /> <br /> So I join in the call for a more cohesive and intelligence-driven form of policing, supported by the requisite legislation, namely the DNA Evidences Act, with provisions for a forensics database, which has been languishing on the desks of our Parliament.<br /> <br /> But with all of this, we need to bring back the love. Parents must love their children unconditionally and give them spiritual direction &mdash; take them to Sunday school. Teachers should also love the children and engage them in uniformed groups, like the cadet corps, to build character and engender discipline.<br /> <br /> Create more green spaces within communities. These will help individuals in the area of recreation and develop calmer dispositions, resulting in a more peaceful society.<br /> <br /> Andrea Dunk<br /> <br /> andrea.d7774@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12948117/9mm_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, September 22, 2016 12:00 AM Crime &mdash; someone, somewhere is making money from it http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Crime---someone--somewhere-is-making-money-from-it_74785 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Has anyone really considered that there are pockets in this society that do not mind the present state of criminality and wish it continues?<br /> <br /> Crime/criminality is not a stand-alone entity. It is so established and lucrative that no one hero or &lsquo;shero&rsquo; can conquer it. It will take the fortitude of all stakeholders to say &ldquo;enough is enough&rdquo; and tackle and dismember this dragon.<br /> <br /> While I do not intend to cast aspersions on anyone, it is reasonable to wonder and argue why no political, religious, social and business plan has been forged to suppress this happening. Seriously, no Ministry of National Security, no minister under whichever of the &lsquo;P&rsquo;s&rsquo; has been able to tame this. Divine intervention has not been enough; it will take that, plus the serious work of all.<br /> <br /> Nothing is simply face value. The drugs-for-guns trade is more than guns and drugs. The youth who continually &lsquo;nyam anada man food&rsquo; are more than just eating food; the owners of these &lsquo;hurry cum up&rsquo; funeral parlours are more than just sympathising with families and paying respects to the dead; the youths involved in scamming are not just pawns. Someone, somewhere is making money, and the coffers are getting fat.<br /> <br /> I guess until the philosophies of discipline, hard work, fairness and pure ambition are ingrained into the minds of this generation, then the business of treating our brothers and sisters with indignity will never cease.<br /> <br /> Crime will never become a lucrative business in a society when a country budgets suitably for education, when sustainable jobs are provided for its youths, when our people are not cheated by our leaders, and when the system is designed that hard work and only hard work pays off. In such a society crime will never be lucrative.<br /> <br /> Everton Tyndale, JP<br /> <br /> evat_78@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12744874/crime-scene_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, September 22, 2016 12:00 AM PNP delegates erred http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/PNP-delegates-erred_74560 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> After her successful vice-presidential campaign, Kingston Mayor Senator Dr Angela Brown Burke expressed that those lobbying for party renewal should channel this energy into other areas of the party, since the delegates had spoken and given the mandate to those in whom they believe will best serve the party.<br /> <br /> It seems to me that the People&rsquo;s National Party&rsquo;s (PNP) hierarchy is unable to agree on its way forward, as in contrast Member of Parliament for St Ann South Eastern Lisa Hanna unsuccessfully tried to gain the delegates&rsquo; support campaigning under the banner of &lsquo;renewal&rsquo; .<br /> <br /> Similarly, former Prime Minister P J Patterson echoed calls for party renewal during the recent annual conference. Without this renewal, I believe the current Opposition will continue to slide into the abyss of irrelevance and political extinction.<br /> <br /> I believe the echoes of &lsquo;renewal&rsquo; should be listened to. Whenever a modern political party failed in selling its manifesto to the electorates the party&rsquo;s leadership should then be dismantled and the way paved for others to fill the void and offer new insights and inspiration to the electorate.<br /> <br /> Therefore, I believe the delegates had erred in their decision to keep the same old lieutenants in charge, notably after a disappointing general election campaign in which their policies and leadership were rejected. The PNP has now lost, in my view, their opportunity of finding a political panacea. <br /> <br /> Zavier Simpson<br /> <br /> Netherlands Antilles<br /> <br /> zavier_simpson@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12618018/183411__w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, September 21, 2016 12:00 AM Cowardice in politics; bring back principles http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Cowardice-in-politics--bring-back-principles_74701 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The elections within the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) on the weekend past is another example of cowardice in politics. People are afraid to partner with something new and different in order to reap the benefits of change.<br /> <br /> Lisa Hanna represented a change. She would have symbolised that within the PNP change is possible, practised and accommodated. Instead, we found that young people who she could have possibly paved the way for, launched and sustained a campaign against her in collusion with the establishment so that they themselves could be established within the system.<br /> <br /> Spirited speeches with undertones of hate and envy propelled hopefuls into the spotlight and darkened her shine. Although there is rejoicing, this not good for the party. Genuine young people should be in the leadership. The disappearance of personal principles cannot be continued by this generation of politicians. Politicians need to move beyond providing drink and ammunition for young men and using young women as sexual objects. It is distasteful and disrespectful to use a platform to make light of promiscuity, violence and abuse of power.<br /> <br /> The so-called rising stars being glorified are nothing more than power-hungry young people, only in politics to profit from the power and throwing words to distract from their misuse of power. That was not what the party was founded on.<br /> <br /> Lisa Hanna was courageous to break the silence and her campaign engaged young people, men and women, in a positive light. Women who worked in the campaign felt dignified that they were contributing to a process and not being exploited. The real campaign for principle was debunked by false prophets who are raping the system for their own game. <br /> <br /> I hope Lisa Hanna is still dedicated to speaking out against these so-called rising stars and we await the return of this rising daughter for another campaign for leadership.<br /> <br /> Lisa Monroe <br /> <br /> leadurway@outlook.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13271488/206920__w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, September 21, 2016 12:00 AM Developing the Supreme Mix for fixing our roads http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Developing-the-Supreme-Mix-for-fixing-our-roads_74711 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The people of Westmoreland are demanding the fixing of the roads which seem to always be in a poor condition. Too many times we see the meagre patchwork being done to fix potholes and cracks in the road, only to gradually witness the roads returning to their usual poor state.<br /> <br /> The approach of the politicians seem to be to send workmen out to simply patch the road in the exact same manner in which it was inadequately performed the last time. The politicians fail to realise that constantly approaching a problem with the same inadequate solution will lead to the same old results of a temporary redress which will eventually give way.<br /> <br /> As a progressive young politician and a resident of Westmoreland, I have devised a solution to the road problem that has been plaguing Westmoreland and Jamaica for the longest of time. <br /> <br /> What I suggest is that we develop a unique mixture of asphalt and other ingredients which can be both strong enough to withstand cars while being absorbent enough to withstand rain. The mixture must be intricately developed through rigorous scientific testing on different combinations of ingredients and materials in order to discover the perfect solution.<br /> <br /> The Government should develop a small scientific and advisory committee made up of the relevant scientific and technical experts, along with support from actual road repair workers, who may be able to give very valuable inputs into the developmental process. The committee needs an adequate budget and must be well-staffed to accomplish this mission.<br /> <br /> The aim is to combine the perfect mixture of pavement mix that will uniformly spread pressure throughout rather than to concentrate pressure at certain points which lead to cracks and eventual potholes. The mixture must also possess characteristics of shock-absorbency to withstand the constant tiny hammering of the raindrops and the wear and tear effects the water may cause when it settles on the pavement. Different percentages of asphalt, bitumen, sand, gravel, stone, and possibly clay, should be combined and tested under controlled circumstances to arrive at the right formula for pavement mix, which we may call Supreme Mix. <br /> <br /> This development will save Jamaica billions in the long run, and we may export this innovation to other developing countries such as our Cuban allies.<br /> <br /> Toraino Beckford <br /> <br /> Savanna-la-Mar Westmorelad<br /> <br /> torainobeckford@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/6573359/road27_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, September 21, 2016 12:00 AM Doctors must do their best every time http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Doctors-must-do-their-best-every-time_74592 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Whenever a doctor cannot do good, he must be kept from doing harm,&rdquo; words taken from the quote of Hippocrates.<br /> <br /> Doctors are those amongst us who have dedicated their life to study and provide care for the sick among us. The best ones are those who despite the challenges still can maintain their humanity and show love and care to all patients; they are truly a great part of any society and we appreciate them.<br /> <br /> On another note, some doctors are incompetent and uncaring individuals with a lot of personal problems and are a threat to their patients.<br /> <br /> A recent experience of a friend at Bustamante Hospital highlights this clearly. After taking her two-year-old for an awful smell from her nose, the head of the assessment department told her, with an awful demeanour, nothing was wrong with the child and it was just mucus. Being the adamant parent she is, the child was taken elsewhere and a stone the size of a marble was found in the child&rsquo;s nose.<br /> <br /> Now I&rsquo;m certain if diligence was taken at the hospital the diagnosis would have been done there. What even adds to the situation is the very fact that it was the head of the department that made this foul-up. As one who has authority over others, some level of diligence and dedication is required. How many doctors in our health care system are like this?<br /> <br /> On a number of occasions our health care system has been brought under disrepute because of incidents involving individuals such as Jason Forbes, who died on the floor of Spanish Town Hospital after complaining about stomach pains. The pain of his death is embedded in the way he died after waiting for hours and was not attended to until the following morning. How many cases like Forbes will we see?<br /> <br /> Let me implore the Minister of Health and all those in positions of authority in the health sector to evaluate those working in our health services and measure their level of competence. To our nation&rsquo;s doctors, nurses and other health workers who always give their best, I salute you, you truly deserve our admiration.<br /> <br /> Kenroy Edwards<br /> <br /> kenroy.edwards1@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13301877/Stethoscope_08-14_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, September 21, 2016 12:00 AM Sad state http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Sad-state_74228 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> When someone can shoot a child then the deeds of mankind have really sunk to an all-time low. There is no longer any sense of compassion for the well-being of others, as some of us are lovers only of ourselves, money, and all kinds of worldly things.<br /> <br /> When did Jamaica get to this point? The situation is so depressing because it gets worse each day.<br /> <br /> Everyone can do something. There&rsquo;s no need to be fearful or think it&rsquo;s business as usual. Contribute in whatever way that you can. Encourage a wayward youth before he or she does something drastic.<br /> <br /> There is no quick fix, but violence against our children can be reduced, if not eliminated.<br /> <br /> We need to be more Christ-like and cease being lovers of ourselves and this world.<br /> <br /> Some of fail to do so and that is why the poor children have to suffer. <br /> <br /> Sobrena D Anderson<br /> <br /> andersonsobrena40@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9077665/Shooting-2810-29_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, September 21, 2016 12:00 AM A solution to errant drivers http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/A-solution-to-errant-drivers_74101 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> A couple years ago I made a recommendation to the Transport Authority to make it mandatory to have public passenger vehicles, including taxis, to have vehicle-tracking system in place as part of the registration.<br /> <br /> The recommendation included that the GPS would keep a log as to the routes the drivers take, the speed at which they travelled, noting if they were breaking the speed limits in areas.<br /> <br /> Drivers would be responsible for the maintenance of the unit and a control centre will know if and when the unit has been removed. Owners would have to declare when they are removing batteries which would disable the unit.<br /> <br /> A control centre using a programme would store the data on driver behaviour and a log would be kept and used to assess the drivers/owners when they come in for renewal.<br /> <br /> The programme could even be equipped with the ability to prepare summonses and fine invoices whenever drivers go over the speed limit in a restricted zone.<br /> <br /> Mark Trought<br /> <br /> marktrought@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/3884518/Garmin-03_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, September 21, 2016 12:00 AM Renewal more than a buzzword http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Renewal-more-than-a-buzzword_74554 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The word &ldquo;renewal&rdquo;, like &ldquo;prosperity&rdquo;, has become a new political buzzword. It has been sliding onto keyboards, off the lips of media practitioners, political commentators, on social media, and from the articulate minority.<br /> <br /> Renewal was the challenge that had been presented to the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) following their loss at the polls on February 25, 2016. Renewal, for some, was a missed opportunity last Saturday when the PNP leadership remained in the hands of seasoned leaders, shutting out newcomer Lisa Hanna.<br /> <br /> But what does renewal truly mean? Why is it important for young people? And what does the lack of renewal in political leadership and ideology mean for the wider society?<br /> <br /> While many PNP stalwarts are content in blaming their surprising election loss on the promise of an increase in the income tax threshold, the uncomfortable truth is that their loss was more tied to their own folly than the machinations of the Jamaica Labour Party. It was primarily the sense of entitlement of the PNP, characterised by the decision not to debate, the regurgitation of the 2011 manifesto, and the focus on Holness&rsquo;s house rather than plans to re-energise the economy that led to the downfall of the PNP. On February 25, even some of its party base deserted, stayed away, resulting in a low voter turnout.<br /> <br /> Renewal, in the context of this loss, refers to a re-examination of the party and its ideologies and a generation of new ideas, new approaches, and new strategies to breathe new life into the party. Renewal is not a person nor is it an age group. Renewal must involve the infusion of fresh blood and talent within the political arena.<br /> <br /> We should commend those who have afforded young people &mdash; who have grown up with different experiences, ideals and needs &mdash; an opportunity to be involved in political leadership. However, renewal is more than just allowing access. There is nothing new about a taxi whose driver might have just changed a wheel or two along the way. His style of driving and his bad habits have remained the same, irrespective of the shiny new parts. Renewal is about giving people, young and old, an opportunity to have independent thought and say, rather than just fall in line. There should be no punishment for dissent. Renewal requires that those at the helm are able to acknowledge their failings and are open to different ways to approaching critical matters.<br /> <br /> Any political party which does not facilitate this kind of renewal stifles the voice of the young and turns them away. And who loses when our political parties are not infused with new voices? Whose lives are affected when our leaders, on both sides, do the same things repeatedly without stopping to reconsider? Whose national development is stunted when only people who accept the traditional way of doing things are given political backing? I will give you a hint&hellip; there are 2.7 million of them. <br /> <br /> Glenroy Murray<br /> <br /> glenroy.am.murray@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13278344/227688_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, September 20, 2016 12:00 AM OUR, let FLOW, Digicel decouple data and phone call credit http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/OUR--let-FLOW--Digicel-decouple-data-and-phone-call-credit_74557 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It happened to me last year when the Digicel data plan I tried on my phone for a couple of days expired. It happened to my wife last night when she put $500 credit on her phone and found it gone two hours later; when she called FLOW she was told she had inadvertently turned on her data with no plan. In neither case were we warned that we were being connected to the very expensive no-plan data mode and that we might, instead, prefer to register for a new plan, rather than empty out all of our phone call credit.<br /> <br /> I am appealing to the Office of Utilities Regulation to insist that FLOW and Digicel decouple the data and phone call credit on mobile phones. At the very least, the switchover should not be automatic, and not be done without the user being informed and then agreeing.<br /> <br /> Technically, it is no problem, but they make a lot of money inadvertently, if not dishonestly, by maintaining this system.<br /> <br /> Paul Ward<br /> <br /> Oracabessa, St Mary<br /> <br /> pgward72@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13298389/229592__w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, September 20, 2016 12:00 AM Seven years in high school not smart http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Seven-years-in-high-school-not-smart_74081 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I hope the Government will not proceed with its half-baked idea of allowing slow students to have seven years to complete their Caribbean Examinations Council courses.<br /> <br /> Some of the problems that can arise are the increased cost to the country, the reduction of space for the students coming from lower grades, and students becoming complacent from knowing that they can take seven years to complete the courses.<br /> <br /> The more sensible thing would be to give the slow students the extra help that would allow them to graduate with their peers. Slower students could be streamed together and the load of their study reduced to five subjects with great emphasis on maths and English. They could work longer days and through regular vacation to give them extra time to keep up with the other students.<br /> <br /> Their teachers should have special training in bringing out the best in the less-gifted youngsters. This would make more sense than keeping them in school for seven years for them to see their peers graduate and for people to start thinking of them as dunces. I wonder who came up with the seven-year pitch?<br /> <br /> Orville Brown<br /> <br /> Bronx, NY, USA<br /> <br /> thewriter.brown@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11216116/cxc-logo-2_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, September 20, 2016 12:00 AM RISE Life making safest bet with responsible gaming http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/RISE-Life-making-safest-bet-with-responsible-gaming_74549 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Responsible Gaming Awareness Week will be observed from September 18 - 24, 2016. With the legislation passed for the development of casinos in Jamaica, and the continued expansion of the gaming industry through the increase in games and opportunities to play, this week becomes even more significant.<br /> <br /> RISE Life Management Services, through its support from the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC), continues to lead the charge in ensuring that Jamaica&rsquo;s responsible gaming is on par with all other jurisdictions worldwide, and even those with advanced gaming industries.<br /> <br /> Jamaica leads the way in the Caribbean as RISE&rsquo;s responsible gaming programme is the only such programme in the English-speaking Caribbean. Jamaica leads the way because we initiated the only study on gambling done in the region: the Jamaica Child and Adolescent Gambling Survey 2007. We intend to commission a study on adult gambling in Jamaica as soon as the BGLC gives the green light, and this we hope will be soon.<br /> <br /> Further evidence of Jamaica&rsquo;s pioneering work with regard to responsible gaming in the Caribbean is reflected in the establishment of a code of conduct for gaming lounges inclusive of a Voluntary Self Exclusion Programme (VSEP) with a national database. VSEP allows patrons to request a ban from the gaming lounge as an adjunct to treatment should they feel that they are gambling in a disorderly fashion. The national database will allow all gaming lounges islandwide to be able to identify individuals registered in the programme should they try to enter a facility.<br /> <br /> On September 26, 2016 RISE will represent Jamaica at the National Center for Responsible Gaming Annual Conference to be held in Las Vegas, USA, and give a presentation on responsible gaming in the Caribbean, and specifically Jamaica. This conference is a gathering of who&rsquo;s who among scholars worldwide in the field of responsible gaming and the treatment of gambling disorders. RISE is honoured to represent Jamaica and share the Caribbean experience, and as such Supreme Ventures Limited must be congratulated for their continued sponsorship of RISE in attending this influential conference.<br /> <br /> After 11 years, the progress of Jamaica&rsquo;s responsible gaming programme has been steady and far-reaching. RISE realises the significant obligation and stands ready to lend support to other Caribbean nations with developing gaming industries, and we will continue to only implement programmes that are cutting edge and meet international best practices.<br /> <br /> Responsible gaming remains the safest bet that the gaming industry can make.<br /> <br /> Richard Henry<br /> <br /> Addiction Counselling & Support Services<br /> <br /> RISE Life Management Services<br /> <br /> 57 East Steet, Kingston<br /> <br /> motivation4change@gmail.com<br /> <br /> www.risejamaica.org<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13298469/gaming-Machine_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, September 20, 2016 12:00 AM We are the product of our leaders http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/We-are-the-product-of-our-leaders_73190 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> As a military officer cadet, I was taught that the respective units under my command during my military career would only be as good as their leader &mdash; me. In other words, a unit would serve as a mirror for its leader&rsquo;s attributes; by evaluating the unit, you would be able to identify the qualities of its leader.<br /> <br /> This knowledge also convinced me that there is no such thing as a failed or inefficient unit led by an honest, hard-working, and good man. Good, honest, hard-working men do not exist in a failed, dishonest outfit. I am discussing this subject here because the same military teaching pertains to our beloved, present-day Jamaica insofar as it relates to leadership and where we are.<br /> <br /> It is disturbing that we belong to a Jamaica in which leadership and the responsibilities associated with it are apparently no longer the concern of those who lead. We have a leader who was found by a court to have acted unconstitutionally. Another, who signed indemnity certificates to shield the wrongdoings of State agents, and others who are allegedly involved in kickbacks from foreign companies. And then there are those who are &lsquo;see no evil, hear no evil&rsquo; leaders.<br /> <br /> What threats do these leadership failures pose for our future? What confidence or lack of it inspires hope in our future? I will never support a leader found by a court to have acted unconstitutionally, for instance. The fact that such a leader has hung on and gone on to be victorious at the polls in no way qualifies him to lead. His unconstitutional conduct has done great harm to the fabric of leadership.<br /> <br /> What lessons have been taught? Isn&rsquo;t it little wonder that we have a police force, for instance, in which 41 members were arrested and charged with various crimes in 2014, while 27 were arrested in 2015, and seven up to April this year? The commissioner of police tells us also that 88 of 191 potential recruits to the Jamaica Constabulary Force recently failed the polygraph screening, and that this failure was associated with criminal links. In fact, some of those who failed their polygraphs have been actively involved in lottery scams, others are affiliated to gangs, handling illegal guns, and yet others were &ldquo;habitual thieves&rdquo;. I contend that, as a people, we are the product of our leaders. We have sunk to an all-time low, with the leaders of a once-proud political party now more concerned about who leaked information regarding the alleged corrupt or dishonest actions of its members and labelling those who provided this information as public enemies, instead of expressing outrage at the alleged acts.<br /> <br /> That&rsquo;s where we are at present. Young Jamaicans must surely be equally perplexed at the way in which their leaders are representing them.<br /> <br /> So, if Jamaica can be likened to a military unit, and if we observe the principle that we are only as good as our leaders, then I&rsquo;m afraid we have failed as a unit, as a people, and as a State. Is that really what our leaders have brought us to, and possibly how we are seen by the world? <br /> <br /> Colonel Allan Douglas<br /> <br /> Kingston 10<br /> <br /> alldouglas@aol.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10358576/Jamaica-Flag_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, September 19, 2016 12:00 AM Tell all, Rev Al Miller, history will be kind to you http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Tell-all--Rev-Al-Miller--history-will-be-kind-to-you_74452 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> When Rev Al Miller told us that his attempt to take Christopher &ldquo;Dudus&rdquo; Coke to the United States Embassy was part of a plan created with then Police Commissioner Owen Ellington and some members of the police high command, very, very few Jamaicans believed him. <br /> <br /> At the time, Jamaica was in a chaotic state; turmoil and uncertainty were the order of the day. In the aftermath of the security forces&rsquo; operation into Tivoli Gardens over 70 Jamaicans were dead. Everyone was fearful. Then added to this was the killing of Keith Clarke by members of the security force. The message was clear to some that there was no plan to take Coke in alive.<br /> <br /> If Tivoli Gardens was the &ldquo;mother of all garrisons&rdquo; then Dudus was the don of dons. The fear surrounding him was palpable. Into this potpourri of uncertainty ventured the Rev Al Miller, the flamboyant pastor of Faith Tabernacle. Neither Rev Devon Dick nor Rev Garnett Roper offered themselves to save Jamaica from further bloodshed. In fact, no Jamaican would venture such a deadly thought as it was fraught with danger. Today, both Dick and Roper appear brave, but when Jamaica needed them they were silent.<br /> <br /> But either Miller was a complete idiot or a man whose faith in God surpassed all other men of the cloth. He was Daniel entering the lion&rsquo;s den or a youthful shepherd boy named David facing Goliath. He accepted the offer. What he didn&rsquo;t know was that he would be betrayed by those he trusted. Miller would never be given the notoriety of having taken in a man who had caused so much fear, death and destruction on the Jamaican state. The glory would have to go to the police commissioner and his men. That was cast in stone.<br /> <br /> Dudus knew the fate that awaited him. His father&rsquo;s famous last words on tape rang out. Jim Brown would never be allowed to tell the corrupt secrets of his political masters, someone shut his mouth permanently in an unending mystery. <br /> <br /> The final chapter in one of the worst periods in Jamaica&rsquo;s history is still to be written. I urge Al Miller to reveal all: Where did he pick up Dudus? Who was sheltering him? To whom did he speak specifically?<br /> <br /> Al Miller, like National Hero Marcus Garvey has a criminal record, history will be kind to him. His bravery must be rewarded. <br /> <br /> Mark Clarke<br /> <br /> Siloah PO, St Elizabeth<br /> <br /> mark_clarke9@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13296025/229396__w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, September 19, 2016 12:00 AM Auxiliary confusion http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Auxiliary-confusion_74262 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I am confused, and perhaps someone in authority may shed some light on what happened at the meetings between the Ministry of Education and the principals.<br /> <br /> Minister of Education Senator Ruel Reid, during several public addresses, said unequivocally that auxiliary fees had been abolished. Now I thought that meant goodbye to the fees being charged by high schools. Of course, there was further discussion, which led to a concession by the Government, since they could not reasonably fund how much all the schools were losing.<br /> <br /> So here&rsquo;s the root of my confusion: If this was done to alleviate parents, why weren&rsquo;t parents consulted before the decision was made? You would think this reasonable.<br /> <br /> I called the ministry when I saw no reduction. In any event, there was no parent-teachers&rsquo; meeting at the school to receive my feedback.<br /> <br /> Perhaps my confusion is behind what is termed &lsquo;auxiliary&rsquo;, because this must be some new fee that materialised out of thin air that should have been imposed come this new school year.<br /> <br /> If everything was clear the minister would not have to personally intervene for each student that gets sent home for unpaid auxiliary fees.<br /> <br /> I know I must seem like a totally uneducated person for asking these questions, and certainly the Government would not wish to keep it that way. But, then again, how else would they get votes?<br /> <br /> Robert Howell<br /> <br /> Grateful Hill, St Catherine<br /> <br /> rsjhowelljm@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13251035/225353__w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, September 19, 2016 12:00 AM Belize court ruling may be an opportunity for the church http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Belize-court-ruling-may-be-an-opportunity-for-the-church_74095 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> That recent ruling in Belize about the unconstitutionality of Belize&rsquo;s anti-same-sex laws should not be seen as a threat by our churches and church-led organisations throughout the region. Indeed, our churches should see that ruling as an opportunity to make them become more in tune with today&rsquo;s realities.<br /> <br /> There are a lot of people who continue to see the church more of a social stumbling block than anything else &mdash; and this hasn&rsquo;t been the case since recent times.<br /> <br /> When the issue of slavery abolition came up, centuries ago, some sections of the church moved with the times then. However, many sections of the church refused to change, often quoting Bible passages to justify the need for slavery. As a result of that, the church lost some of its relevance.<br /> <br /> Then, when many of our societies realised that excluding women from leadership positions was no longer doing more good than harm, again, some sections of the church accepted the social change. However, many sections resisted, again quoting Bible passages. Even today we still find many sections of the church wishing to see our women in their &lsquo;rightful place&rsquo;. As a result of this stance, the church has lost and is losing even more relevance.<br /> <br /> Now many of our societies are seeing another change &mdash; the tolerance of homosexuality. Most of our societies in the Caribbean have yet to become fully tolerant of this lifestyle. However, as that court ruling in Belize and other happenings have shown, it seems only a matter of time.<br /> <br /> Again the church is resisting.<br /> <br /> It seems strange that with all of the church&rsquo;s resistance to social change over the centuries, it simply has not learned anything; that with resistance comes a loss of prestige and relevance.<br /> <br /> The church, however, is a very interesting body. When it does finally comes around to accepting new social norms it always finds a way to either find forgotten scriptures or reinterpret old ones to justify its acceptance of the new norms. It did so with slavery, the role of women and other things, and I am sure, it will do so with this homosexual lifestyle sooner or later.<br /> <br /> However, the Belize court ruling has given our churches a golden opportunity to &lsquo;jump the gun&rsquo;, to start finding new scriptures, or reinterpret and re-word old ones to accept homosexuality sooner rather than later. Failure to do so may make the church even more irrelevant and outdated to the point that it will be seen as a social fossil.<br /> <br /> Michael A Dingwall<br /> <br /> michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13287031/filename_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, September 19, 2016 12:00 AM Prince Buster&rsquo;s music was clean and tidy http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Prince-Buster-s-music-was-clean-and-tidy_74100 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Another reggae king has left us. The great Prince Buster has gone on to another planet, and we sincerely hope it&rsquo;s the heavenly one.<br /> <br /> Prince Buster will surely be missed by many, but we are happy to know that his music is still with us. He was truly a great singer and many of us are deeply and truly in love with many of his songs.<br /> <br /> Three of his songs that I love best are Judge Dread, The Ten Commandments, and Hard Man Fi Dead.<br /> <br /> Prince Buster was a genius, a man of dignity who was highly respected, and had a good reputation.<br /> <br /> When he met the late Muhammad Ali, he was converted to the Nation of Islam.<br /> <br /> I remember when he was being interviewed by the late Neville Willoughby on the programme called Pipe Line on RJR, many years ago. And Muhammad Prince Buster did &lsquo;come real good&rsquo; in that interview.<br /> <br /> I respect singers like Prince Buster because his music is clean and tidy like a neat and tidy room. Clean music is a blessing to Jamaica.<br /> <br /> So, one love, one blood to Prince Buster; sleep well, your work is over.<br /> <br /> Donald J McKoy<br /> <br /> donaldmckoy2010@hotmail.com http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13282058/228072__w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, September 16, 2016 2:00 AM