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 The tale of two Tivolis http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/The-tale-of-two-Tivolis_16507306 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I have just had the opportunity of reading thoroughly the Public Defender's Interim Report to Parliament concerning "investigations into the conduct of the security forces during the State of Emergency declared May 2010 -- West Kingston/Tivoli Gardens". For an interim report, I found it very comprehensive, albeit very disturbing and worthy of careful study, especially before the start of the long-awaited Tivoli Enquiry.<br /> <br /> The report reveals two very clear and different accounts of the events, which resulted in what the report terms as "...the greatest independent Jamaica loss of life in a single state operation".<br /> <br /> The security forces' position is that they came under sustained gunfire from a well-barricaded Tivoli Gardens. Further, that they provided every opportunity for law-abiding citizens to leave their homes and that the mortars were expertly handled and not aimed at built-up areas or civilian dwellings. The claims of ill-treatment of over 1,000 detainees will be dismissed, of course, and they will claim that the military couldn't be expected to provide five-star treatment or three square meals over and above bread and water and ablution amenities to suspects or possibly armed combatants. All claims of beating will be sternly denied and allegations that suspects were transported along with dead bodies will be met with rhetoric. Accusations of leaving the decomposing bodies of civilians lying in the roads will probably be met by claims that whenever they tried to remove these bodies they came under fire. In summary, the security forces will claim "no wrong".<br /> <br /> Civilian accounts will claim that soldiers fired at unarmed civilians when there was no real threat to the soldiers, and that members of the security forces meted out cruel and brutal treatment to the civilians and damaged or destroyed their property.<br /> <br /> It is in the interests not only of the future of the Jamaica Defence Force, but certainly the country itself that the inquiry determines the level of so-called 'resistance' that came from behind the fortified Tivoli during this operation. How many of those killed, for instance, were firing weapons? As the public defender has so correctly pointed out, the ratio of killed civilians to weapons recovered raises serious doubts and questions.<br /> <br /> Above all, we sincerely hope this enquiry will uncover the real nature of the Tivoli operation. Was it some sort of counter-insurgency operation? Determining the type of military operation our troops were engaged in at Tivoli may explain whether these events will be conspicuous in military annals of how not to do it, or be recorded as one big disastrously botched operation, lacking in leadership and concern for human life.<br /> <br /> It is my respectful recommendation that an unbiased military expert be employed to advise the commission on military matters. Finally, the public defender should be commended on a good interim report, and his reference to the British Bloody Sunday massacre proceedings is relevant. The commissioners of the Tivoli enquiry would hopefully study the respective reports of that inquiry to avoid committing similar mistakes.<br /> <br /> Colonel Allan Douglas<br /> <br /> Kingston 10<br /> <br /> alldouglas@aol.com<br /> <br /> The tale of two Tivolis<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10613237/Earl-Witter_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 23, 2014 2:00 AM Did the police allow Kartel's gang to murder? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Did-the-police-allow-Kartel-s-gang-to-murder-_16509497 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The recent comments by the commissioner of police about his police force not having the will to go after Vybz Kartel's gang on account of the backlash that could have happened should worry most of us. If nothing else, the commissioner's comments have done nothing to discredit the view that some of us are more equal than others as far as justice is concerned.<br /> <br /> The commissioner told us that the police had evidence that Vybz Kartel led a gang that was responsible for over 100 murders. Yet, they did nothing, as it was felt that if Kartel was arrested, the backlash from his fans would not have been nice. Is the commissioner finally confirming that his police force treats the rich differently from the poor?<br /> <br /> We often see police officers kicking off the doors to people's homes in search of "wanted criminals". Why wasn't Kartel's door kicked off too?<br /> <br /> I wonder if the commissioner is also admitting that if he had acted on his "intelligence" the lives of many of the "over 100" victims of Kartel's gang may have been saved. Some of us would interpret the commissioner's statements as an admission of a serious dereliction of his duties in respect of his responsibilities to prevent crime.<br /> <br /> If what the commissioner is saying is true, and for all intents and purposes it is, then some heads should roll. After all, if the commissioner can be believed, we are talking about a rich and powerful gang leader who was allowed to murder 100 people! I wonder how many other powerful gang leaders are now being "ignored" by the police?<br /> <br /> Some system must be employed by the police that will force them to automatically go after these criminals regardless of who they are. The force may need some external entity to make such a system feasible, as, by the commissioner's own admission, we can't depend on the police to go after rich and powerful criminals.<br /> <br /> Michael A Dingwall<br /> <br /> michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Did the police allow Kartel's gang to murder?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10613238/kartel_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 23, 2014 2:00 AM The lose-lose political game http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/The-lose-lose-political-game_16509484 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Politicians are vilified for every perceived wrong, but the reality is that politics is a thankless profession. There is a great disconnect between what any system of governance can deliver and the demands of the citizenry. Usually, citizens expect politicians to be the provider of all services, therefore astute politicians will carefully present themselves as the problem-solvers of every ailment affecting the country, even those which are better rectified by the market.<br /> <br /> It's quite unfortunate, but too many of us live in an alternative universe, we want a pro-business environment to be created, but we are not willing to support less regulations and a smaller government. However, when the debt stock increases and investors migrate we blame politicians for not having political will to execute reforms which we would vote against.<br /> <br /> Government must provide essential services; no one is doubting that, but operating enterprises and financing social programmes are not the functions of government, and if we want social programmes then clearly tax rates will increase, because every service has to be provided at a cost.<br /> <br /> At least one former politician, Christopher Tufton, was rather cogent in his analysis of Jamaica's economy at a recent media forum: "Jamaica needs a dose of pragmatism and leadership...we need to facilitate ready projects within three months. Government needs to say, where a private investor has an investment proposal and the capacity and willingness to finance that investment, Cabinet will give priority to ensure affirmation of investment... we need to fast-track divesting non-core activities. The Government cannot be all things to all men," he said.<br /> <br /> Any administration which embarked on these reforms, especially privatisation, will be accused of 'selling out' Jamaica by misguided statists who are yet to understand the market. Big, bloated governments only harm the economy and the evidence is overwhelming. According to a study conducted by the European Central Bank, which reviewed 108 countries over a 38-year period, "government consumption is consistently detrimental to output growth, irrespective of the country sample considered (developed and emerging economies)".<br /> <br /> Many persons claim that the IMF programme will result in a more efficient government, but to real free marketers it's quite tepid. No politician is brave enough to create a less state-centric economy. And if such a politician existed, he wouldn't last long. Since we refuse to change our views on economics then we should expect the years of slow growth and high debt to continue. Unfortunately the Opposition is not preferred by the masses, so we are trapped with the PNP for 18.5 years again.<br /> <br /> Lipton Matthews<br /> <br /> lo_matthews@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> The lose-lose political game<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 23, 2014 2:00 AM One more burden... http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/One-more-burden---_16509503 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> This new bank tax will only cause discouragement and dispair among the people of this land, especially the public servants who have not had a salary increase for about six years and counting.<br /> <br /> How does the ruling party expect the people to survive? More and more people will now leave this country, causing more brain drain than ever before.<br /> <br /> The politicians need to take a salary cut so as to help the country survive. It can't just be the masses alone taking the brunt of all this. It will be just a matter of time before there is<br /> <br /> mayhem and violence out in the streets as is happening in Ukraine and other parts of the world as people can take so much and no more.<br /> <br /> People are truly sick and tired of what is happening and can take no more. We the Jamaican people can take it no more.<br /> <br /> Claudette Harris<br /> <br /> claudetteharris68@gmail.com<br /> <br /> One more burden...<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 23, 2014 2:00 AM PM should rescue Alpha Boys&rsquo; Home http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/PM-should-rescue-Alpha-Boys--Home Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Personally, and as leader of the Opposition, I am truly saddened that an important social institution such as the Alpha Boys&rsquo; Home will be closing its residential care facility. The Alpha Boys&rsquo; Home has been around since 1880 as a place of safety and care for boys in difficult circumstances.<br /> <br /> More than that, its music programme has undoubtedly contributed significantly to Jamaica's music and culture. In the totality of the circumstances, I am calling on the prime minister to take a special look at the situation and to increase funding and psycho-social support to the home.<br /> <br /> The Opposition would certainly be prepared to support a special subvention for the Alpha Boys&rsquo; Home given its historical importance and significant contribution to Jamaica. The issue does, however, have wider implications. While concerns about increasing antisocial/predatory behaviour among the wards are real and should not be covered up, what I know of the dedicated Sisters of Mercy is that they would redouble their efforts to tackle any problem once supported with resources.<br /> <br /> My understanding of the move by the Sisters of Mercy to close the residential facility is that it is a reaction to the lack of funding which limits what they can do in light of the larger numbers of wards coming to them with serious behavioural problems.<br /> <br /> However, antisocial or predatory behaviour among boys in care would not be unique to Alpha Boys&rsquo; Home, and closing the residential facility certainly will not eliminate antisocial behaviour among boys in care. In fact, carrying the given justification to its conclusion, we would be forced to ask if this action signals the Government&rsquo;s intention to close more, or even all residential facilities.<br /> <br /> I find it disturbing that the Government is trying to hide behind concerns about antisocial behaviours, when the real problem is flawed Government policy. The real issue is that the Alpha Boys&rsquo; Home is not being provided with resources to adequately finance the programmes needed to address the level of antisocial behaviour they face. Government is misguided if they believe shifting to foster care will mitigate antisocial behaviour.<br /> <br /> The level of deviance in a child is sometimes such that foster care is ineffective, and sometimes even more damaging. Children with entrenched antisocial behaviour need a particular level of structure in their care. From an economic perspective, the policy shift is also flawed as state-owned residential facilities are far more expensive to run and the services available are sometimes less than the services offered in private/churchoperated homes.<br /> <br /> Among my further concerns is the fact that shifting resources away from institutional partners weakens the capacity of the social services sector.<br /> <br /> I believe it would have been better if the Government contracted most of the places of safety it operates to the churches, which operate similar facilities at less cost and give more services. A cursory examination of the Government's allocation for such facilities as Alpha Boys&rsquo; Home and John Boscoe reveals that this Government has shifted its financing away from those homes.<br /> <br /> The level of funding required to deliver a residential programme with adequate supervision and interventions that would address the issue of antisocial behaviour is simply not there. We need more institutions like Alpha Boys&rsquo; Home, and the Government has a duty to support them.<br /> <br /> This Government can no longer keep talking about caring for the poor while taking actions which directly contradict such statements. Allowing an institution like Alpha Boys&rsquo; Home, which caters to only the poor and vulnerable in our society, to scale down its services, is one significant contradictory action. Again, I call on the prime minister to revisit the Government&rsquo;s current stance on this matter, and the broader issue of state care.<br /> <br /> Andrew Holness<br /> <br /> Leader of the Opposition http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10610881/Andrew-Holness_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, April 22, 2014 4:17 AM Protect our young businessmen and women http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Protect-our-young-businessmen-and-women Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Let me place on the record that I have worked with Access Financial Services for several years. I want to say that its founder and CEO Marcus James is inarguably one of the best and brightest minds I have ever come across in my life.<br /> <br /> Despite this, he is an extremely humble and shy young man who has quietly built up a superpower Jamaican business. Rather than tear people like him down we must instead help to build them up and also do our part in protecting people like him from the quick money predators that lurk in Jamaica&rsquo;s business community.<br /> <br /> Most people don&rsquo;t know that Access was started 14 years ago by James, who was in his late 20s. It was the first company, 2009, to list on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange and the first to list a bond on the bondtrading platform in 2013.<br /> <br /> It was also the best-performing company on the Junior Market and the overall winner for 2013. On top of this, it ranks number one in profitability for 2012 and is listed in the Top 100 Micro Finance Organisations in Latin America and the Caribbean.<br /> <br /> It even won the Citi Foundation Award for Excellence in Micro Finance Product Innovation in 2013 and won the Excellence in Microfinance Award for 2012 at the inaugural Citi Foundation Micro Entrepreneurship awards for the English-speaking Caribbean.<br /> <br /> The company went from zero to $2 billion in market capitalisation, from one to over 150 employees today. And, lest we forget, Marcus James won the Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2011. Jamaica is full of talent, but most young people struggle to break through in what is a truly hostile business environment. Marcus James is one of the few to break through and make us proud. We should support and honour him,<br /> <br /> DL<br /> <br /> Sunrise, Florida<br /> <br /> dwjm801@gmail.com http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10610882/Marcus-James-2-fade_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, April 22, 2014 4:08 AM Unconscionable tax http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Unconscionable-tax Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> An unjust law is no law. &mdash; St Augustine I am both shocked and appalled that the Portia Simpson Miller Administration is considering inflicting every Jamaican and every tourist with a tax rate of five to 10 cents for every withdrawal from an ABM, cheque or other electronic transaction.<br /> <br /> As a result of this predatory act the Government is expected to benefit from $2.3 billion over a nine-month period. Usually when a tax measure like this is implemented it is directed towards an effort to grow the economy by creating and cultivating attitudes of thrift towards future dividends. But this measure is not propelled by public policy considerations.<br /> <br /> Rather, this is a desperate attempt to pillage the poor. It is clear to me that this unconscionable, predatory act only benefits a sinking Government, which lacks economic ingenuity, vision, proper direction, and is totally naive to Jamaica&rsquo;s current economic situation.<br /> <br /> How can you tax debit transactions when so many persons are suffering and the tax threshold is already so high? Crime is totally out of control and the convenience and security of using a debit card has become the prudent way to access cash.It may very well be that people will be forced to resort to old methods by storing money in mattresses and bedposts in order to avoid such measures.<br /> <br /> Notwithstanding this possibility of reverting to a backward society, the criminal elements might also have a field day since every Jamaican may become fair game because they will have more cash on them when undertaking daily activities. It&rsquo;s five to 10 cents today, when will it increase to a dollar or two, tomorrow? How much more burden can Jamaicans bear? Only God knows.<br /> <br /> Marvin Forbes<br /> <br /> forbesmarvin@gmail.com Letters to the Editor Tuesday, April 22, 2014 4:08 AM Peter Phillips, have you no mercy? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Peter-Phillips--have-you-no-mercy- Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The people are crying out to Rome and asking Peter &lsquo;Julius Caesar&rsquo; Phillips, have you no mercy?<br /> <br /> This is in response to the finance minister&rsquo;s recent announcement in the House of Representatives of his Government&rsquo;s intention to raise $2.25 billion in new tax revenues by introducing a graduated tax levy on persons withdrawing monies, via electronic banking, credit/debit cards, point of sales, cheques, ABM, ATM or ETM, over the counter, Internet transfer from deposit institutions, such as banks, credit unions, and security dealers, etc.<br /> <br /> Let me get this straight, if I am paid via direct deposit by my employer, and I withdraw funds to pay my bills, I will be assessed a withdrawal tax?<br /> <br /> Let&rsquo;s go a step further, if I go to the supermarket to buy my basic food items and I use my debit card, then I will be taxed GCT for the items, plus this new withdrawal tax? I ask again, Peter &lsquo;Julius Caesar&rsquo;&rsquo; Phillips, have you no mercy?<br /> <br /> Scripture says in Mark 12: 17, &ldquo;Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar,&rdquo; but what if Caesar continues to use his boots to step in one&rsquo;s throat and is constantly strong-arming the suffering people to pay more taxes?<br /> <br /> It appears that the silence is deafening from the stakeholders, and I ask, where are the business owners, the private/public sector workers, the churches, the civil society groups, the social workers, the pensioners living on a fixed income, and the common man, where is the outrage?<br /> <br /> Who will speak for the masses? This draconian tax measure will discourage people from depositing money into financial institutions. They will find ways to mitigate this new tax by saving their money in their homes, which is very risky because one may become the target of burglars.<br /> <br /> Recently the Government signed into law the Proceeds of Crime Act, which makes it a criminal offence for anyone to transact business in cash with more than $1 million. If so, you can be charged with money laundering for not going through a financial institution.<br /> <br /> So one must ask, did the banks and the Government (Caesar) strategise, collude and orchestrate this tax-generating levy?<br /> <br /> It is a double-edged sword for the depositor because if you deposit your money in the bank you will be charged withdrawal fees, if you save your money at home you may be a target of robbers or you might be charged. The people are awaiting a response, Peter &lsquo;Julius Caesar&rsquo;&rsquo; Phillips.<br /> <br /> Patrick Callum<br /> <br /> patrickcallum@yahoo.com Letters to the Editor Tuesday, April 22, 2014 4:08 AM Do something before we are smothered to death http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Do-something-before-we-are-smothered-to-death_16479788 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> NEPA or another government agency needs to step in now to deal with the Riverton Dump, whether or not the area is an industrial belt. The residents at the entrance of Riverton, along Spanish Town Road, are always burning something and they live right at the entrance of the dump.<br /> <br /> On the morning of writing this letter, I counted four fires that were seemingly lit at the same time. I don't think the people realise what they are doing at all. They burn indiscriminately and at will.<br /> <br /> How will provisions according to the Kyoto Protocol and climate change affect Jamaica if we continue like this? And what of our own part to play as a vulnerable small-island developing state?<br /> <br /> Everyone suffers when the dump burns. It blazed a month ago and is possibly still burning. These random fire heaps are an additional problem, not just to health but also safety. I feel it for the motorists, especially travelling to Six Miles. Once one looks down there it is just a blanket of smoke covering the roadway. Can someone do something about it now before we are smothered to death?<br /> <br /> Colette Campbell<br /> <br /> rastarjamaica@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Do something before we are smothered to death<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10606131/RIVERTON-FIRE-b-in_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, April 21, 2014 2:00 AM Build up, don't tear down, Tavares-Finson http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Build-up--don-t-tear-down--Tavares-Finson_16453361 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I am an unrelenting supporter of the rule of law and, correspondingly, fairness, equity and transparency of the judicature are viewed as non-negotiable imperatives, and absolute standards to be defended with every fibre of our collective beings for a just society.<br /> <br /> Notwithstanding much distracting hype and drama, the Vybz Kartel case ran its course and the celebrated artiste and his cronies have received, arguably, a fair verdict and sentence, all things considered. That is not to say that there were not concerns regarding the handling of evidence. These, however, in the view of the judge and jury, did not attain the threshold of doubt so as to render a guilty verdict problematic.<br /> <br /> In his swift response to comments made by Police Commissioner Owen Ellington about the acts allegedly perpetrated by Kartel, attorney Tom Tavares-Finson chose to focus on the perceived, and perhaps exaggerated, wrongs of the investigators.<br /> <br /> I would submit to the learned counsel that there is a lot more wrong in Jamaica than the proclaimed misdeeds of the police involved in this case, which admittedly added an undue measure of perverseness to the whole matter.<br /> <br /> What else is wrong? Witnesses, it has been reported from time to time, are murdered and intimidated as wily advocates desperately seek to swing verdicts against the tide of raw and naked truth. Attempts are made to corrupt jurors through filthy lucre and other means to secure verdicts on behalf of smug monsters who overestimate the power of money and underestimate the integrity and resolve of principle-driven Jamaicans.<br /> <br /> This is what is wrong in Jamaica, and does the astute lawyer ever spare a thought as to what this could mean for stability and peace in the country, if not railed against?<br /> <br /> Rather than focusing on the inconsequential gaffes made by some investigators in this cause c&eacute;l&egrave;bre, Tavares-Finson and company need to join in the fight to rid the judicial process of any vestige of corruption and manipulation towards diabolic and manifestly unjust ends.<br /> <br /> Perhaps a salutary message has been telegraphed to all would-be murderers, and thereby provided a strong disincentive to the senseless killing of Jamaicans by those who believe that money, bluster and influence can purchase warped justice.<br /> <br /> Wat Ching<br /> <br /> wat.ching@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Build up, don't tear down, Tavares-Finson<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10607659/Tom-Tavares-Finson_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, April 21, 2014 2:00 AM Excellent timing for JCF/ISCF merger http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/-Excellent-timing-for-JCF-ISCF-merger_16469858 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Stunned! That is the only word that I can use to describe my state when I learned that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF) were two different entities with different command structures, separate offices and even separate administrations. I recently learned that the proposal for a merger was made almost a decade ago and, finally, is now being realised.<br /> <br /> Maybe it is my overt optimism that has propelled me to welcome this merger, since I am expecting that murder and violent criminal activities will hit the downward trajectory. It was only recently the United Nations released its 2013 report on drugs and crime, which ranked Jamaica as having the sixth highest murder rate in the world.<br /> <br /> It would appear that Jamaica's fight against drugs and organised crime has remained at a standstill after all these years of efforts to combat the monster.<br /> <br /> It was only two years ago that Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington addressed the 25th Annual General Conference of the ISCF Officers' Associations and said that a merger could prove favourable as "whatever benefits that accrue to the JCF, in terms of modernisation, capacity-building, leadership development and such the like, will be available to all of us because we will all be members of the same organisation".<br /> <br /> Going forward, it is imperative that we highlight how the merger will make the police organisation more effective in terms of general policing objectives. This reform process must attack areas that prevent us from realising our developmental goals while allowing us to achieve measurable and sustainable results given the institutional strenghtening.<br /> <br /> Hopefully there is the political will to pursue the reform over the long term. The merger should not just be another IMF structural adjustment move for cost-savings; it should help heal our country.<br /> <br /> Jevon Minto<br /> <br /> jminto10@stu.ncu.edu.jm<br /> <br /> Excellent timing for JCF/ISCF merger<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10598868/ELLINGTON-slider_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, April 21, 2014 2:00 AM This is double-taxing wages http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/This-is-double-taxing-wages-_16502083 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I must protest the Government's proposed tax on withdrawals from financial institutions. We have heard the response of some citizens that they won't put anything in the bank so there will be nothing to withdraw. But many of us do not have that choice since our wages are lodged directly to financial institutions.<br /> <br /> I wonder if the Minister of Finance is aware that many employers are avoiding the costs associated with payrolls by electronically transferring wages to their employees' accounts and therefore all employees (including those with very low wages) are obliged to have an account with a bank or other financial institution. Already this means that employees have to incur bank charges in order to access their wages.<br /> <br /> By taxing withdrawals, the Government is taxing our wages again. So, having paid over 25 per cent at source, we will now be expected to pay an additional tax before we can collect the salary for which we have worked hard. This is double taxation and it is also a way of taxing those whose salaries fall below the tax threshold. This is immoral!<br /> <br /> Mr Minister, think again. The poor can take no more.<br /> <br /> Vivienne Harding<br /> <br /> vivann90@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> This is double-taxing wages <br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9405620/JN-ATM_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, April 21, 2014 2:00 AM There are ways other than ridiculous taxes http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/There-are-ways-other-than-ridiculous-taxes_16502081 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Each year budget presentations drive fear in our people taking some to the point of panic attacks. Whereas I understand that taxation is necessary to finance government, some ways of collecting revenue are simply high-profile theft.<br /> <br /> The new method to come into effect on June 1, 2014 is certainly not an ethical way to raise revenue. In my training and experience in business education and administration, I have observed that many First World countries are paying the same taxes as us in Jamaica. Over these years, we have not managed our resources well as a country, and as such new governments continue to change policies. So when we hear "Jamaica is poised to be better", I am certainly not comforted as this seems impossible in my lifetime.<br /> <br /> Recently consumers have had to dig deeper in their pockets to pay mercilessly high fees charged by some commercial banks. How can a customer be asked to pay to encash a cheque already prepared on that bank and sometimes the same branch?<br /> <br /> A recent study was conducted by the Caribbean Policy Research Institute and the Bank of Jamaica, but a straight-line comparison was done with countries not suffering as we are. The comparison with the United States and other countries in Europe and the Caribbean did not reflect a true picture, as those countries have stable currencies, stable inflation rates, and do not have electricity costs about to reach US$0.40 per kWh.<br /> <br /> Don't get me wrong now, taxation is very important, but instead of taxing Jamaicans the second or third time around, the Government should collect the over $6b in revenues from profits of commercial banks.<br /> <br /> Consider a two per cent drop in MP salaries. Consider one less overseas trip per month for government officials. A further two per cent tax on cigarettes and alcohol beverages could provide revenue of $2m per month.<br /> <br /> A recent Daily Gleaner article stated that some $50,000 is allocated per month for cellphone calls by government officials. Perhaps this could be dropped to $10,000 per month. Savings could also be achieved if government official switch off their SUVs (mainly Prados and Pajeros) while in Parliament. Oftentimes the engines are running for the 3-5 hours of a sitting in Gordon House. Remember, we have over 60 MPs who meet sometimes twice weekly.<br /> <br /> If the Jamaican Government continues to increase taxes in ridiculous ways people will not want to invest here. Schools that train skilled workers for overseas employment will continue to do good business with Jamaicans by providing permanent lucrative job opportunities overseas. Many people would wish to remain in Jamaica, the land of their birth, but with these harsh economic policies the most qualified are forced to leave for "greener pastures", resulting in major brain drain for Jamaica. Let the discussion continue.....Shalom!!<br /> <br /> Colin O Jarrett<br /> <br /> Business Educator and Administrator<br /> <br /> HECOIN<br /> <br /> cojarrett@hecoin.com<br /> <br /> There are ways other than ridiculous taxes<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10608200/ATM2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, April 21, 2014 2:00 AM ONLINE READERS COMMENT: Tax on bank withdrawals evil, unjust http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/ONLINE-READERS-COMMENT--Tax-on-bank-withdrawals-evil--unjust Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The news that the Government plan to start taxing bank withdrawals effective June 1, 2014, is shocking! The announcement came on the eve of Easter, one of Christian&rsquo;s holiest periods. The timing was perhaps intentional, as most persons would've either missed the news, or reacted with constrain due to the season. <br /> <br /> I am here to say, that this new tax on bank withdrawals is one of the most evil taxes any Government has ever imposed on its people. The banking industry is already so profitable, with exorbitant bank fees on just about everything. This type of tax on withdrawals is also rarely imposed, globally. Savings in banks, should always be encouraged, as it is pivotal for the financial sector, and provide funds for loans and investment which in turn, stimulate production, employment and earnings. <br /> <br /> Any tax on saving interest income, or the opposite (withdrawals in this case) will ultimately become a deterrent to savings which most governments would normally strive to avoid. Bank deposit is a key element of economic development. <br /> <br /> According to media reports the new tax will be applied to electronic banking, point of sales, cheques, and withdrawals at ABM, ATM or ETM and over the counter/Internet transfers, with the exception of transfers between accounts (same person in the same financial institution). <br /> <br /> I believe this tax will also be cumbersome to administer and pay over to Government, as tax rates will vary based on amounts withdrawn, per transaction. We understand the government budgetary situation, every year there is a shortfall, but there are many other things that could be taxed, for example luxury items. <br /> <br /> Government could also do more to broaden the tax net forcing those not paying taxes, to pay, instead of going after regular tax payers. Bank deposits will most likely hurt tax payers more as their income is usually deposited electronically. Why tax the same persons, so many times? We don't see much effort by government to curb its own expenditure such as excessive overseas travel and lavish perks.  It appears the Government must be getting desperate or running out of ideas. The Opposition must be forcefully in their response and I urge the people of this country to join forces to resist this one. It is evil, and unjust.<br /> <br /> P Chin http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10605640/Peter-Phillips27_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Saturday, April 19, 2014 10:59 AM Economic oversight still means economc woes http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Economic-oversight-still-means-economc-woes_16479932 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Does Richard Byles, commenting recently on the state of the economy, not realise how clearly he is acknowledging the anomalies, probably contradictions, in the current IMF-led economic programme?<br /> <br /> Believing that passing the IMF tests is some magic potion that will automatically lead to Jamaica's economic and therefore social salvation is nothing more than ideology and wishful thinking. It may be alright for some, that is those not already struggling with continued wage freezes and rising prices.<br /> <br /> Byles says that reaching the primary surplus target -- if it actually happened -- is significant. Yes, depriving tax-paying Jamaicans of the fruit efforts, preferring instead to keep shovelling money into the financial sector (local and foreign) has been largely responsible for our downfall.<br /> <br /> Not surprisingly, he follows this with "growth has proven a little more elusive than we... [wait for it]... hoped for". You see, just hope, nothing more. And then he refers to the problem of jobless growth, being experienced worldwide and hard to avoid if we adopt a purely <br /> <br /> neo-classical economic efficiency approach. The main giveaway comes next, that the magical hand of the market is not enough.<br /> <br /> Every country in the world is trying to climb out of the recession. Government intervention is needed, the private sector must lead the way. In Jamaica, the budget has no growth agenda, capital spending is cut, and recurrent expenditure hardly keeping up with inflation. Thus, a lack of local demand and lack of private sector incentive.<br /> <br /> The sharks will never face up to the ideology that drives the IMF programme as behind it is the need for interventionist government, because they want to make a profit out of everything instead. And just supposing the trade imbalance improves as we export more (hasn't happened yet) and import less, what then?<br /> <br /> As Byles admits, with falling trade tax revenues to add to the falling income and consumption revenues people become poorer. Even the <br /> <br /> bond-holders hit by the JDX and NDX are <br /> <br /> now contributing less tax. When will the <br /> <br /> fight-back happen against such wasted sacrifice as has occured in other countries? -- albeit a work-in-progress.<br /> <br /> The love of money and the living for money brought the global economy to its knees, and still it is the innocent who are the victims who are being asked to pay.<br /> <br /> We need the write-off some debt -- from FINSAC to IMF -- or put a moratorium on much of it until those spouted production-inducing measures have a chance to take effect. We require government investment, not the opposite.<br /> <br /> Paul Ward<br /> <br /> Kingston 7<br /> <br /> pgward72@gmail.com <br /> <br /> Economic oversight still means economc woes<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10598238/Richard-Byles_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, April 17, 2014 2:00 AM My life sentence vs Kartel's http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/My-life-sentence-vs-Kartel-s_16469656 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> There is so much talk about life sentence these days, what with the sentencing of popular dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel recently. I too have been handed a life sentence, but one of a different kind.<br /> <br /> While we are led to believe that the prisons established by man incarcerate us, man is in a prison of a greater kind. Mankind is really in a prison of death, every last one of us.<br /> <br /> Okay, you may not agree with me, so let me tell you about my own experience.<br /> <br /> I was born a prisoner of death on death row. All my living was a living totally of death, earning the wages of death. Then one day something happened and I escaped the clutches of death and I was given a life sentence instead. I still could not avoid the death that was all around me; this death in which I lived daily, though I was no longer on death row.<br /> <br /> I did set out to find how I could escape the state of death that still plagued me. But after 20 years of much struggles, much unanswered questions, much despair, I have passed from death and now fully into my life sentence.<br /> <br /> I have been saved by grace, having no righteousness of my own, but clothed in God's righteousness alone. I stand in the fact that I now know that I am a child of God on life sentence. To be a child of God is not to enter into any system of religion (call it what you may). Nor is it to join a company of religious people whom you may call the Lord's people. It is certainly not joining 'the church' &mdash; whatever names they may go by.<br /> <br /> To be a child of God is to receive into the centre of your being, at your very core, a gift of God called life. A life which by nature we do not possess, a life which is God's own life.<br /> <br /> This is my life sentence. Hallelujah! How can I neglect so great a salvation.<br /> <br /> Mr Palmer, you can experience this life sentence too, in the very midst of your incarceration. I am willing to share how with you.<br /> <br /> Millicent Battick<br /> <br /> sbat65@gmail.com<br /> <br /> My life sentence vs Kartel's<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10598227/Kartel-walking-14_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, April 17, 2014 2:00 AM Paulwell has no more options http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Paulwell-has-no-more-options_16479803 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I think it is an unfair criticism being levelled against Minister Paulwell with regards to his proposal to allow persons who steal electricity to pay a flat rate for a period of time and then bring them up to standard.<br /> <br /> Yes, I admit it is not the best proposal, and those of us who have to pay our electricity monthly have all right to react strongly against such proposal. But, then again, we have to think about a number of things.<br /> <br /> 1. Those who pay for electricity have to foot the cost for those who don't until we do something.<br /> <br /> 2. When those who steal electricity start paying a flat rate, there is less pressure on our pockets.<br /> <br /> 3. To pay a flat rate might be seen as a signal of entitlement, but I say it is a humanitarian approach to solving the issues plaguing us.<br /> <br /> 4. Those of us who are in the middle class of society sometimes seemingly forget how harsh those in the lower strata of society have to live under these tough economic conditions.<br /> <br /> Jamaica Public Service's CEO Kelly Tomblin has said that other measures to bring in those who steal electricity to the table of paying for electricity have been exhausted. She further said that there is only one remaining measure, the most draconian of all, and that is to shut off electricity to troubled communities. We certainly cannot afford to move in this direction.<br /> <br /> So, while Energy World International has been granted a licence to add more energy to the national power grid to bring down the cost of electricity, let's remember that, as a society, we have a humanitarian approach to consider, especially towards the most vulnerable in our society.<br /> <br /> Jevon Minto<br /> <br /> jminto10@stu.ncu.edu.jm<br /> <br /> Paulwell has no more options<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10598038/ed-cart-THURS-17-APRIL_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, April 17, 2014 2:00 AM The Bible proves there was no resurrection http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/The-Bible-proves-there-was-no-resurrection_16469900 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Perhaps the best evidence against the resurrection of Jesus is the Bible itself. A careful reading of it should be enough to convince anybody that the claim that Jesus came back to life after his crucifixion is false.<br /> <br /> There are clear indications that the early Christian fathers were prepared to go to great lengths in their attempts to convince people that Jesus was a god. The book of Mathew would have us believe that at the point of Jesus' death, many people who were dead came back to like and roamed the city of Jerusalem in full public view.<br /> <br /> The fact that nobody else reported this, despite the city being packed with both Jews and Gentiles on account of Passover celebrations, is proof enough that the event did not happen. However, some early Christian fathers, realising that outright lies won't last forever, decided to stretch the truth to the point where it seems to confirm the resurrection.<br /> <br /> Take the claim that Joseph of Arimathea, the supposed closet Christian, provided a tomb for Jesus. Now, the fact that this man was also one who helped to convict Jesus to death should raise a red flag? However, the fact that he was made out to be a closet Christian alone shows that he wanted to remain so. He would not have shown his support of Jesus so publicly.<br /> <br /> However, if Joseph was placing Jesus' corpse in the tomb for another reason &mdash; say on account of his responsibilities &mdash; then that would make sense.<br /> <br /> Not many of us realise that because Jesus was executed very near the Sabbath, there wasn't enough time to bury Jesus in the criminals' graveyard according to law. As such, Joseph had to put Jesus' corpse somewhere until the Sabbath had passed. That somewhere was that tomb &mdash; actually a morgue in those days.<br /> <br /> One reason to believe that Joseph's action was consistent with him placing Jesus' body in that tomb which was a morgue was what the author of the book of Mark reported about the women who came to it about three days later.<br /> <br /> According to Mark, the first gospel that originally ended at chapter 16 verse 8, the women who came to the tomb (or morgue) came with preservatives and other materials to properly process Jesus' corpse. If Jesus was placed in that tomb as an act of permanent burial why would the women have gone there, clearly expecting to get the body? If, on the other hand, there were expecting to complete the burial, then them carrying those preservatives and other materials would make much sense.<br /> <br /> It is clear that after Joseph had placed Jesus' corpse in that tomb for temporary storage, Jesus' corpse was removed &mdash; most likely by the court &mdash; before the women got there and permanently reburied in the criminals' graveyard. A blasphemer being given such an honourable burial, as implied, is totally ridiculous.<br /> <br /> Jesus coming back to life is even more laughable.<br /> <br /> Michael A Dingwall,<br /> <br /> michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> The Bible proves there was no resurrection<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10598242/Last-Supper_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, April 17, 2014 2:00 AM Is the GOJ in breach? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Is-the-GOJ-in-breach-_16469807 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> We note with concern the furore over the removal of the Energy Monitoring Committee (EMC). However many have missed the point and wider picture.<br /> <br /> To begin, within the context of the the Partnership For Jamaica agreement [http://jis.gov.jm/media/PFJ-Agreement-final2_2013July31.pdf] isn't the removal of the EMC a breach of the signed document of which the Private Sector Of Jamaica (PSOJ) is a signatory? Let us examine this in a very simple and pragmatic way.<br /> <br /> The agreement's guidelines seek to:<br /> <br /> a) deepen the process of participatory decision-making: by recognising that no one sector has all the answers, and, reaffirming the commitment to the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) Code of Consultation which recognises that better development decisions result from an inclusive and consultative approach.<br /> <br /> b) engender trust and confidence: by building the partnership process and the ownership by the wider society of national development plans and goals, through ongoing dialogue and agreed actions based on mutual respect and a commitment to genuine cooperation, meaningful consultation and honest communication.<br /> <br /> c) exhibit effective leadership: by providing the will, courage and maturity, within partner organisations and collectively within the Partnership, and through effective communication and consultation with the broader society, to make and carry out necessary decisions in the best long term interests of the nation and the widest cross section of Jamaicans d) perform critical problem-solving: by drawing on the wealth of information,experience, expertise, insight and other resources within the Partnership, in the wider society, and the Jamaican Diaspora, to champion workable solutions to national development challenges and to provide the requisite focus, discipline and accountability in executing work plans to successful completion. (refer page 4 of the agreement).<br /> <br /> Specifically for energy diversification and conservation (refer page11), the agreement says:<br /> <br /> "In recognition of Jamaica's high energy cost and tropical climate, and in light of ongoing improvements in renewable technology, the Partners commit to a national thrust, led by the Partners, focused on commercial, residential and government users, toward the use of solar and other forms of renewable energy as a visible plank in Jamaica's energy diversification efforts..."<br /> <br /> Is the GOJ, therefore, in breach? Not really. However, what is happening here is a misunderstanding of each other's role. Further, this type of misunderstanding leads to a lack of trust that causes social partnerships, like Partnership For Jamaica, to collapse.<br /> <br /> We recommend that the National Partnership Council, and with extension its secretariat (refer pages 12-13), needs to be more proactive here and not reactive as the perception in Jamaica is that they have become moribund.<br /> <br /> Charles Demontaque, PhD<br /> <br /> Stafford University<br /> <br /> United Kingdom<br /> <br /> charlesdemontaque@yahoo.co.uk<br /> <br /> Is the GOJ in breach?<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 16, 2014 2:00 AM The result of misguided talent http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/The-result-of-misguided-talent-_16469799 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> For the past several weeks Vybz Kartel has made every news headline. The publicity of his saga played out in the media, just for the trial alone, has received more coverage than many artistes have had in their entire career. Is it that negativity sells or the media is just another hyping tool one may ask?<br /> <br /> Over the years Kartel has emerged as one of the most prolific writers and lyricists in the history of Jamaican music culture. He has managed to remain relevant despite his inability to travel to lucrative markets. However, this fame and fortune has landed him a prison sentence that no remorseful human would ever want upon themself. Guilty or innocent, whichever he may be, his persona which was media-supported, has caught up with him.<br /> <br /> Yet, in his trials and tribulations over the years Vybz Kartel has done some good &mdash; none of which the media seems to care about.<br /> <br /> While all this attention is beamed one way, on the other hand a humble and calm aspiring artiste like Stikki Tantafari, who has travelled the US and sections of Europe spreading his reggae music, has received no media support. Is it that his lyrics aren't degrading young women, promoting sex, or glorying the criminal underworld? What does it takes really to get some media coverage and exposure on positives? It is full time the media avoids echoing negativity. Many artistes struggle from this bias in the media. No wonder other countries like Japan, which doesn't even speak English, take the positive of our music and spread it for their own capital benefit. Wake up and show the world the many young, positive and talented artisteS that Jamaica can produce.<br /> <br /> Kevin Roache<br /> <br /> kevinja11@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> The result of misguided talent<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10595552/Vybz-Kartel-3_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 16, 2014 2:00 AM Is there really smooth sailing in the 360MW project? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Is-there-really-smooth-sailing-in-the-360MW-project-_16464520 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> There are a number of questions that need to be asked surrounding the Energy World International (EWI) bid for the 360MW project. To the lay person EWI is smoothly pushing forward, the press reports the steady progress of the process with pictures of the minister and the preferred bidder visiting the future home of our energy needs. Is there really smooth progression?<br /> <br /> EWI wrote to the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) to say that they will not post the 5 per cent performance bond under the current terms of the licence. This letter was in the possession of the OUR prior to the recommendation of the licence, yet the terms have remained.<br /> <br /> More than a week ago the Minister said he was "going to his desk" to sign the licence that was recommended by the OUR on May 26th (see OUR press release on their website). In fact, he signed the licence on Friday, April 4, but did not transmit it to EWI, and has just announced it. The licence does not become valid until given to EWI and as such the clock on the 10-day timeline for the 5 per cent performance bond does not start ticking.<br /> <br /> Six months on from the award of the bid and the process is not proceeding in a clear and transparent way.<br /> <br /> Do Stuart Elliot and EWI intend to post the bond?<br /> <br /> Recently Stuart Elliot met with members of Cabinet, including Horace Dalley and Sandrea Falconer, to brief them on the progress of the project. He told them that he cannot post the bond because the terms of the licence are unbankable. He is proposing instead to post only the construction bond.<br /> <br /> This would, in effect, extend the deadline for providing the bond from 10 days to 6 months. It would also remove all liability for adhering to the terms of the EWI bid that was submitted. Furthermore, the first bond submitted is about to expire, and so he will be completely off the hook for any committments made in the bid process. It also opens the door to have the terms renegotiated without risk to EWI.<br /> <br /> The OUR and the minister seem to be working at cross purposes. Yet public relations notices insist that the project is proceeding apace.<br /> <br /> News has also come that the EMC is to be disbanded. Are we about to see a licence amended to have EWI let off the hook for the performance bond? And, with no EMC and a supportive Cabinet will the OUR allow this?<br /> <br /> John Bowls<br /> <br /> johnbowls@outlook.com<br /> <br /> Is there really smooth sailing in the 360MW project?<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 16, 2014 2:00 AM Speak out against child abuse http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Speak-out-against-child-abuse_16469901 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It has recently been brought to my attention how little most of us know or even care about child abuse in Jamaica. Child abuse is an issue which is increasing at an alarming rate, and this is happening because we as a people have either lost our voice or we choose not to use our voice.<br /> <br /> Our children are being physically, mentally, emotionally, and sexually abused on a daily basis and they are too afraid to speak up about it. This is mainly because they realise that the adults around them are not doing anything to prevent it.<br /> <br /> Child abuse is a problem that affects everyone, and so everyone needs to take a stand against it. We see a lot of these stories on TV, hear them on the radio, or read about them in the paper, and we express a moment of disgust; but how many of us give it a second thought? Do we wonder what happened to that child and how often these abusers are punished?<br /> <br /> Who really is to be blamed for when a child is abused? Do we blame the child or the abuser? What about the parents or guardians of that child, are they to be blamed as well? Why do we ignore these things when they happen? We need to speak up against child abuse! We are all to be blamed because we know about it yet we keep quiet. It is not our child or a member of our family, so why should we bother to report it?<br /> <br /> This happens in many communities. There are men who continuously, for years, molest young girls and even have children with them, but no one says anything. We all forget our voices or we refuse to speak. When this happens, the man feels protected and so he does it again and again and again, and only when he does it to someone we care about do we finally decide to get angry about it.<br /> <br /> Well, I say we are all to be blamed for child abuse. If you remain quiet when it happens, it is your fault. Do not let any more of our children suffer because of our silence. Speak out against child abuse!<br /> <br /> Kenisha Williams<br /> <br /> kenishawilliams499@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Speak out against child abuse<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 16, 2014 2:00 AM Time to resort to stoning http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Time-to-resort-to-stoning_16473646 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Thank God, I am free at last! This is just to note that I have decided to stop entertaining debates, dialogues, and conversations regarding matters of reproductive rights and human sexuality. Let us cut all this nonsense about critical thinking and allow the Bible to do the thinking.<br /> <br /> Uphold the biblical injunction against adultery, fornication, homosexuality, shaving of the beard, wearing multi-fabric clothing, and farming through intercropping. We are a country that is blessed with an abundance of stones, and there is no sane reason why the various Christian denominations would find it difficult identifying volunteers to do stoning. Already paid staff may be mandated to assist with stoning for one day per week.<br /> <br /> It is full time church leaders and serious Christians stop using the excuse of love, compassion, and following Christ to protect these sinners from what God says must be done. Too many different interpretations are confusing the matter.<br /> <br /> Then there is this crazy notion about listening to what different people have to say about their perspective on such things as female reproductive rights, human sexuality, and human rights in general. Why listen? Why should we have dialogue? All that is necessary is for a handful of persons to dictate what and how people should think.<br /> <br /> Away with democracy and welcome to theocracy! Away with tolerance and big up intolerance. Let Vision 2030 be changed to Blind 2030. It is time we take a stand for a different Jamaica. Strengthen culturally emotive perspectives, and condemn evidence-based information.<br /> <br /> Yes! Free at last to make a choice. Yes, we can! Will you?<br /> <br /> Fr Sean Major-Campbell<br /> <br /> seanmajorcampbell@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> (The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.) <br /> <br /> Time to resort to stoning<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 16, 2014 2:00 AM Politicians need to have pride http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Politicians-need-to-have-pride_16469518 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I was amazed to read an article appearing in the Sunday Observer of April 13, 2014 entitled 'Crime fear grips Port Royal'.<br /> <br /> I want to ask how could shanty towns be established without the relevant bodies taking immediate action to halt the massacre of what should be preserved as Jamaica's rich legacy?<br /> <br /> It is bad enough that the politicians to date have done nothing to recognise and preserve those parts of Jamaica that are of historical importance, not just to Jamaica but to the rest of the world.<br /> <br /> Our politicians lack pride. If they had any pride at all Port Royal and other historical places would be preserved and kept beautiful and dignified.<br /> <br /> Let them squander and use taxpayers funds as if it belongs to them and the debts that they incur will be repaid personally by them and not the country. That's what they are excellent at doing.<br /> <br /> How could these squatter communities be established without action? Do they go up at nights and dissappear in the morning?<br /> <br /> Why is it the newspaper are the ones to bring this to our attention? And if they did not, would it just be allowed to grow and developed into another ghetto? Shame! Shameful!<br /> <br /> I urge the politicians to inject an ounce of pride and dignity into their soul and do what should be done to preserve Jamaica.<br /> <br /> I would be ashamed to be the leader of a country that is just spiralling into moral decay.<br /> <br /> I am reminded of the story of the "one-eyed" king leading a blind man's country.<br /> <br /> Faye Jacobs<br /> <br /> faye_jacobs22@msn.com<br /> <br /> CAP: A section of the sqautter community in Port Royal known as 'Back a Wall' or 'Mitchelin'.<br /> <br /> Politicians need to have pride<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10592831/port-royal-slum_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, April 15, 2014 2:00 AM I can't sleep, PM http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/I-can-t-sleep--PM_16469544 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> This is an open letter to Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller:<br /> <br /> I am starting this letter at three o'clock in the morning. It is that important. Some years ago, during your first tenure in office, I recall, the then Netherlands ambassador complaining publicly about his inability to sleep at night, because of sound system noise. I was so ashamed. I assumed you would be too and that you would do something about this plague that stalks the land. Being na&iuml;ve, I obviously overestimated your tolerance for shame.<br /> <br /> I am unable to sleep at night, but that's neither here nor there. I am old and will soon be released from this hell. I won't bore you with my medical issues, brought about by lack of sleep. My concern is for the silent majority, the aged, but particularly the young, all the people you claim to love. As regards the young, surely it can't be beyond you, to make a connection between lack of sleep and proper rest and hopelessly poor grades in school; attention deficit disorder; and disruptiveness in class.<br /> <br /> Believe me, you don't need to be a psychiatrist, to relate these conditions to hopelessness, criminality and a backward economy. Please don't say that amplified screaming, shouting, swearing and thumping throughout the entire night, every night, is about freedom of expression and having fun. It is not. It's about those same delinquents I mentioned exercising the freedom to destroy and bring this society down to their level of depravity.<br /> <br /> Avoid advising the distressed to call the police, it doesn't work. This is beyond the police, it's in your hands. You must ignore all political considerations, arrive at a consensus with the opposition, which cannot object, and solve this problem now, not 18 months from now. This is a nightmare, that goes on, and on, and on.<br /> <br /> Are we a civilised society, or a cesspool infested by vermin? I know how I would answer that. I wonder how the Netherlands ambassador would? You do marvelously well, raising taxes and debt, but I am asking you to step away from your comfort zone for a while and really do something positive for the people of this country. Make our burden a little lighter, make us hate a little less. I suspect your secretary won't let you see this letter, it is after all bad news, and I understand that you avoid bad news. Imagine that, a prime minister who has no interest in the current events in her country. May God help us.<br /> <br /> Steven Barrett<br /> <br /> I can't sleep, PM<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, April 15, 2014 2:00 AM