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 Sex and violence not entertainment http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Sex-and-violence-not-entertainment Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I write this letter with great concern about the introduction of various series of shows on one of our local television stations. Of particular concern are the following: Scandal, Davinci's demons, Hollywood Heights, and Hotel Babylon to name a few. The aforementioned aired series not only have common themes of sexual matters and/or violence, but also repeatedly include explicit scenes of violence, sexual immorality as well as expletives.<br /> <br /> The broadcasting of these series of shows are not only introducing yet another factor in degrading the moral values of this country, but are also in violation of the Broadcasting Regulations specifically, Regulation 30 (d) of the Television and Sound Broadcasting Regulations which provides that "no licensee shall permit to be transmitted any indecent or profane matter ...".<br /> <br /> Regulation 30 (I) is also in breach, which provides that no licensee shall transmit "any portrayal of violence which offends against good taste, decency or public morality.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> I am calling out to the broadcasters to be mindful of the powerful effect the media has on society, particularly on our children, and this effect can either be for the good or for the bad. We need to remember that the human mind is very impressionable, and many children and youth in our society are virtually &lsquo;brought up&rsquo; by the television &mdash; and the movie/series stars are the ones whom they emulate.<br /> <br /> So, when the media chooses to broadcast shows with explicit sexual content, violence or other evil influences, they are adding yet another lure for greater moral degeneration in our society. The media of today seems to believe that sex and violence are what constitute entertainment. We need to wake up and realise that we are reaping what we sow. If we continue to feed our society&rsquo;s minds with sex and violence as being entertaining, even in the music we play, our moral situation will continue to decline, and the next generation will not know how to appreciate a clean entertainment.<br /> <br /> The media has the responsibility to all Jamaicans to ensure that the shows selected for airing will not have a negative effect on the minds of those who view the programmes, particularly the young and vulnerable minds of our children. The value system of our society is already in the dumps. Let us not make it worse. I Implore the Broadcasting Commission to examine and withdraw the aforementioned programmes and any others that fit the descriptions and find other shows that are more wholesome to the family. <br /> <br /> Cristiana Fiel<br /> <br /> Christ.the.1way@gmail.com http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11006572/ratings_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, September 01, 2014 1:18 AM Hating the JLP doesn&rsquo;t benefit Ja http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Hating-the-JLP-doesn-t-benefit-Ja Dear Editor, <br /> <br /> Ever notice whenever the Jamaica Labour Party starts getting some form of traction the editorials, columnists, and letter writers come out en masse?<br /> <br /> It's deliberate. Truth is, Jamaica is overwhelmingly and unhealthily PNP. Every sector (including media) in the country supports that party and have a vested interest in them staying in power.<br /> <br /> Andrew Holness is not the worst; we certainly won't know how  good a prime minister he would be if he is not given an extended chance. He and Chris Tufton are certainly the most promising of Jamaica's young politicians. To me, they are more competent than the current crop.<br /> <br /> But here lies the JLP's dilemma. If Tufton were leader, he too would be ridiculed. He is not covered in orange. Not cuddled like the prime minsiter and the ministers who thrive on good looks.<br /> <br /> Further, here lies Jamaica's problem. While we reject a Holness or a Tufton, we continue to embrace journeymen politicians like Derrick Kellier, Omar Davies, and the prime minister, people who are way past their prime. And others with massive instances of failure, like Colin Campbell and Phillip Paulwell, are still around making the same costly errors. There are no editorials, columns or letters en masse calling for their heads.<br /> <br /> In 2011, Bloomberg News, impressed by his grasp of issues, described Holness as a "breath of fresh air". But in Jamaica where having a grasp of issues counts for nothing, he's considered a buffoon.<br /> <br /> Mark Wignall, another who has done his time, believes Jamaica needs an 'agitator' to lead it. What a qualification for a country overrun by ignorants and corruption.<br /> <br /> Jagdeo was Guyana's game-changer; Bissasor is the same for Trinidad. For years, those countries suffered from the journeyman syndrome. Jamaica, follow suit before it's too late.<br /> <br /> Ronnie Hendrix<br /> <br /> Kingston 6 Local Letters to the Editor Monday, September 01, 2014 1:17 AM Without the IMF at the wheel, we would keeping moving from failure to failure http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Without-the-IMF-at-the-wheel--we-would-keeping-moving-from-failure-to-failure Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> In Television Jamaica's prime time newscast on Wednesday, August 27, 2014, Jamaicans saw the capital of Hanover, Lucea, in a deplorable state. There were blocked drains, stagnant pools of water, garbage strewn all round, and a mentally challenged man occupying the parish council's building. A couple months ago it was Brown&rsquo;s Town, St Ann, overwhelmed with garbage.<br /> <br /> Jamaicans have become apathetic to the nastiness around us, our vendors sell goods alongside dirty water running in gutters. Not so long ago, whenever there were street demonstrations and roadblocks, old refrigerators, cars and all types of objects were brought out from &ldquo;storage&rdquo;. Then came the scrap metal trade, and as soon as this became a business and money could be earned from exporting scrap metal, the way roads were blocked changed.<br /> <br /> Nowadays you are more likely to see tree stumps rather than metal objects at  roadblocks. The same strategy could be used with garbage, why not make the collection of garbage a business in which there is competition? But to do this we need a waste-to-energy plant.<br /> <br /> Minister Paulwell has promised us and so has Noel Arscott, minister of local government and community development, that by the end of the year we should have a deal. Many people are sceptical about whether we are able to successfully execute a logistics hub and employ thousands of Jamaicans. This scepticism is borne out of harsh experiences and sobering realities, especially regarding Paulwell and unfulfilled promises.<br /> <br /> He promised 40,000 jobs in information technology; it didn't happen. Then the 381-megawatt power plant, and lately he promised remarkable earnings from rare earth metals. This too has flopped. Paulwell might mean well, but his timing and clear inability to handle or understand the exigencies and complexities involved in mega-projects is obvious. If we cannot execute simple projects how can we expect to convince people that we can handle more complex ideas. The costs to the poor is unbearable.<br /> <br /> We therefore cannot have faith in the future if the present seems so uncertain. Eighteen years ago, Henry Lung-Kit, production manager at Frome, and a Mauritian told sugar technologists that Mauritius had long stopped manufacturing sugar as their primary product but instead generated electricity. Today, the Chinese at Pan Caribbean Sugar Company are about to embark on such a project. Why didn't our Jamaican sugar experts, like Derrick Heaven and Allan Rickards, have the vision to agree with such a proposal and influence the Government to go along? Our leaders don't inspire confidence and so we are unable to indulge hope in their actions.<br /> <br /> The future seems a blur. We need a clear vision to inspire us as we move from failure to failure. Dr Peter Phillips and Ronald Thwaites are seriously trying, but the rest are making up numbers. Without the IMF's influence and Chinese investments we fear the ship Jamaica would have floundered long ago.  <br /> <br /> Mark Clarke<br /> <br /> Siloah, St Elizabeth<br /> <br /> mark_clarke9@yahoo.com Local Letters to the Editor Monday, September 01, 2014 1:40 AM Walk good, Roger http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Walk-good--Roger Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Jovial, trailblazer, leader, hard-working, respectful are only some of the terms that have been used to describe a man whose name became synonymous with agriculture in Jamaica. Roger Clarke was a people person; witty and captivating on the political platform and accommodative and transformative in his role as a government minister.<br /> <br /> We, indeed, lost a very valuable son of the soil.<br /> <br /> Roger&rsquo;s respect transcended all political boundaries and all social strata. Clarke served in his numerous capacities with passion and enthusiasm. His commitment to his ministerial duties was unquestionable, his love for his constituents undisputable, and his love for his party irrefutable.<br /> <br /> Minister Clarke&rsquo;s death came as a surprise to me as his last interview sent such a strong message that he was coming home. In that interview, Clarke mentions giving up rum and losing weight &mdash; even drawing a comparison between the new him that we&rsquo;ll see and Usain Bolt. God, however, had different plans and called him home.<br /> <br /> The President of the UWI Mona Guild and his team regret his passing and express heartfelt condolence to his wife and the rest of his family. <br /> <br /> Auja&eacute; Dixon<br /> <br /> Chairman<br /> <br /> Presidential Task Force, UWI Mona<br /> <br /> drajdixon@gmail.com Local Letters to the Editor Monday, September 01, 2014 1:29 AM Casino gaming dillydallying continues http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Casino-gaming-dillydallying-continues_17399884 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Almost seven years ago, l watched then Prime Minister Bruce Golding's contribution to the annual budget debates in the Parliament as he announced that his Administration had decided to move ahead with the necessary legislation to make casino gaming in Jamaica a reality.<br /> <br /> The current administration has also announced its support for this policy but alas, has not done much more. So here we are, seven years later and not one single casino gaming licence has been issued. The Government has not even seen it fit to issue a licence to its own Harmonization Limited so they can seek the funding required to develop the 17-year-old proposed Harmony Cove project.<br /> <br /> Not a single concrete block has been laid to build any casino resort and not one single Jamaican architect, manufacturer, supplier, skilled or unskilled labourer has been engaged in any activities related to any casino gaming resort in this country.<br /> <br /> The ineptitude of both administrations about an industry which has been proven to have great, positive economic impact in every jurisdiction in which it exists, and which would doubtless have the same impact here, is quite shocking, to say the least.<br /> <br /> And, while we are here dillydallying about casinos, Macao, the small, former Portuguese outpost in the South China Sea is thriving; the Baha Mar, an integrated casino gaming resort in The Bahamas, is set to open all of its 3,500 hotel rooms later this year; and a Chinese group recently signed a deal with the government of Antigua to develop a 1,500-acre casino gaming resort.<br /> <br /> It is really sad that our government continues to play a game of roulette with the economic development of this country by their indecision on the casino gaming matter, being totally oblivious that the game should be played in the casinos.<br /> <br /> Concerned citizen<br /> <br /> Liguanea,<br /> <br /> St Andrew<br /> <br /> Casino gaming dillydallying continues<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10996428/casino-party_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, August 29, 2014 1:00 AM Let Portia and Andrew go at it http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Let-Portia-and-Andrew-go-at-it_17435599 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller was referred to by the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Holness as an empty barrel.<br /> <br /> Holness was told by Simpson Miller at a political meeting that he is not a leader and that she will start responding to him every time he criticises her.<br /> <br /> These exchanges between the two leaders have evoked insipid responses from certain sectors of the Jamaican society. They have called for the reinstatement of a political ombudsman. There is no need for the political ombudsman. There is no reason to waste scarce money to install one.<br /> <br /> Frankly, these proclamations should help to remove wrinkles from the face. So each leader should listen to them and smile. Unless the assertions against them are true, their responses should not help to substantiate them.<br /> <br /> The Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms (Constitutional Amendment) Act, 201 entitles everyone to freedom of expression, which includes politicians. People should be allowed to express themselves based on their own conscience. It is for each person to guard against degrading himself or herself in the process. Furthermore, Jamaica politics has now matured, so platform presenters do not elicit violence against their opponents, and the party supporters attend these meetings for good news, promises and merriment, not to convert words from political stage into physical weapons against their opponents.<br /> <br /> The attendees at political meetings not only need to be told the truth, but often need vibrant and colourful language in order to energise them. So, while we aim to hold our leaders to high standards, let us not try to stifle or remove their innate disposition.<br /> <br /> I am etc.<br /> <br /> Peter A. P. Gordon<br /> <br /> Mandeville, Manchester<br /> <br /> digmeup@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Let Portia and Andrew go at it<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10990530/ZZ0F4FBEFA_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, August 29, 2014 1:00 AM Condolence to Roger Clarke's family and friends http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Condolence-to-Roger-Clarke-s-family-and-friends_17438573 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It is with sadness that I learnt of the passing of Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and Member of Parliament for Central Westmoreland Roger Clarke.<br /> <br /> Roger Clarke demonstrated ongoing commitment to Jamaica's agriculture, both as a farmer and minister of agriculture and fisheries. He also demonstrated significant commitment as a member of parliament.<br /> <br /> Even though we worked on opposite sides of the political fence, we had a good relationship and agreed to disagree on policy positions without bitterness or rancour. Roger's jovial personality made him the life of any debate or political campaign and even more difficult to dismiss or harbour ill feelings towards him.<br /> <br /> He can easily be described as one of the most colourful Jamaican political figures during this period of history and I am sure he will be sadly missed by many Jamaicans, irrespective of their political persuasion.<br /> <br /> My deepest condolence to his wife and family as well as his political colleagues and friends.<br /> <br /> Rest in peace, Roger.<br /> <br /> Christopher Tufton<br /> <br /> Former Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries<br /> <br /> CCTufton@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Condolence to Roger Clarke's family and friends<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10996534/Roger-Clarke-1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, August 29, 2014 1:00 AM Pig farmers regret death of agriculture minister http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Pig-farmers-regret-death-of-agriculture-minister_17438594 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Jamaica Pig Farmers' Association (JPFA) expresses its regret and deep sadness at the passing of the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Roger Clarke.<br /> <br /> President of the JPFA Delroy Manya, remembers Minister Clarke for his strong record of support for the Association and the pig/pork industry overall, in both his official and personal capacities.<br /> <br /> "When the advocacy for the pig/pork industry began some 12 years ago, Minister Clarke embraced our collaborative approach. He was very supportive of the mandate of the Association and its development and growth. He worked closely with the JPFA for the progress of the industry and ensured that our demands were always considered when he placed the industry among the strategic priorities of the Ministry of Agriculture", expressed Mr Manya.<br /> <br /> There were further fond memories of the minister as he supported JPFA's activities. "He was warm-hearted, cheerful and had a charming personality. Whether it was our Annual General Meeting, farmers' ball or some other event, Minister Clarke was sure to give his support and could be depended upon for full participation and to make himself available so that all in attendance, and especially our farmers at all levels could connect with him personally. He will be affectionately remembered and missed by all of us", Mr Manya said.<br /> <br /> On behalf of its members, the executive committee of the JPFA expresses condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of the minister.<br /> <br /> Delroy Manya<br /> <br /> President<br /> <br /> Jamaica Pig Farmers' Association<br /> <br /> Pig farmers regret death of agriculture minister<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10996534/Roger-Clarke-1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, August 29, 2014 1:00 AM Education vs celebration http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Education-vs-celebration_17409800 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Knowing when to and the willingness to say no to ourselves and others is essential for personal development and empowerment. It is about prioritising and sacrifice, goal-setting and achieving; denying ourselves or accepting less in the present to reap and enjoy the rewards of more in the future.<br /> <br /> It's a week away from the start of the new school year and many parents are experiencing severe financial constraints and are only able to educate their children by strict adherence to these principles. It is practicality and frugality when parents deny children grand sweet sixteen birthday parties or fancy gadgets when they are in a financial bind to ensure they can pay their fees.<br /> <br /> In contrast, a man may be three months in arrears on his mortgage, owes school fees, and isindebted in other ways and may choose to borrow from a friend to have a grand silver anniversary celebration. Yes, many will criticise him for lack of prudence. But who knows? His grand anniversary celebration may prove quite an inspiration and motivation resulting in his financial transformation. The man's personal affairs are not my prerogative, but the nation's business is my business.<br /> <br /> Jamaica is one of the most indebted countries and our decision to have a Grand Gala Independence celebration is similar to that indebted man's situation. We have a penchant for celebrations. But how have these been boosting the economy or improving the standard of living of the average Jamaican?<br /> <br /> We have the goals of Vision 2030 to achieve and it cannot be over emphasised that education is a solid foundation on which we will build a great nation. In achieving any goal the following traits become critical: a discerning ability, decisiveness, discipline, delayed gratification, and determination.<br /> <br /> Even the devil deserves his due. Full marks must be given to the Government's decisiveness and determination to spend scarce resources and have a grand gala celebration.<br /> <br /> I have great respect for our Emancipation and Independence. But sometimes we can have a meaningful observation and reflection without any grand celebration, especially if it means we are prioritising education.<br /> <br /> Daive Facey<br /> <br /> dr.facey@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Education vs celebration<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10939031/DSC_2950_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, August 29, 2014 1:00 AM If she's gonna fly, bring home bacon http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/If-she-s-gonna-fly--bring-home-bacon_17435543 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Portia Simpson Miller is often criticised for her numerous travels abroad, but her detractors and supporters alike are both misguided.<br /> <br /> According to her critics, the prime minister should exhibit fiscal prudence by travelling less; since this action represents that the country's burdens are being shared equally. Her supporters vehemently disagree with her perspective that leaders must travel since they are expected to forge partnerships with their foreign counterparts and even Jamaica being a beneficiary of grants from China and Europe clearly suggest that the prime minister's travels have been a success. But both views are flawed.<br /> <br /> The former perspective is incorrect because the prime minister is being criticised for the wrong reason. The issue is not that her travels are too much, but they are rather unproductive. For example, if the prime minister travels to China and she receives a grant or loan, there is no reason for applause. After over 50 years of Independence we shouldn't be relying on the goodwill of other countries. Others may argue that the loan will be used to build infrastructure, but the reality is that it will form part of our debt stock and Jamaica has a history of incurring overheads when developing major projects, largely due to corruption and inefficiency. So there is very little reason to be happy.<br /> <br /> The latter view is simplistic because the products of the prime minister's sojourns overseas can hardly be classified as achievements, there is no achievement in depending on the goodwill of other countries. However, being a leader requires global engagement, so the prime minister should follow her counterparts and embark on more productive ventures. For example, the Government of Singapore in collaboration with private sector recently established the one-stop centre in Shanghai that is dedicated to helping SMEs venture into the Chinese market. It is also responsible for providing advisory services.<br /> <br /> Irrespective of what some of us believe, Jamaica has no serious partnership with China or any other country, we simply beg.<br /> <br /> Lipton Matthews<br /> <br /> lo_matthews@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> If she's gonna fly, bring home bacon<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10962234/pm-portia_w445_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, August 29, 2014 2:00 AM Fix the JUTC engine http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Fix-the-JUTC-engine_17435422 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Government recently allowed the JUTC to once again hike the fares charged without requiring the company to take all necessary measures to reduce its constant waste.<br /> <br /> Currently the JUTC operates the 32, 42, 44, 46, 49 and a number of other buses that leave the Half-Way-Tree centre to downtown. On several occasions these buses are leaving the centre with no more than four or five passengers. I find it ridiculous to operate so many buses along the same route when one bus can do the same job.<br /> <br /> I completely understand that passengers from various destinations want to travel to downtown, however, I don't think sending out half-empty buses is the answer. Why not have a straight shuttle that goes from the centre to downtown with no stopping in-between. When they operate so many buses it means they have to fuel six buses instead of one. It also means they are paying six drivers instead of one.<br /> <br /> Another way they are wasting money is, on several occasions, the buses are parked with the air -coniditioning running and sometimes with the door open. These practices waste fuel, thus waste money.<br /> <br /> Most of the buses seem not to be on any kind of schedule. Passengers will be waiting for a bus, and when it finally arrives, just behind it is another bus of the same number.<br /> <br /> It would have been good if the minister of transport had taken these things into account before giving them another raise.<br /> <br /> JUTC can do better if different management strategies are implemented. JUTC is wasting money and it will continue because whenever they ask for a raise of fare, they get it without being asked to take all necessary precautions to save money. Please do better, Mr Minister.<br /> <br /> Brian O Lynch<br /> <br /> briano.lynch@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Fix the JUTC engine<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10996121/JUTC-buses_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, August 29, 2014 1:00 AM Having nightmares over water http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Having-nightmares-over-water_17415917 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Ever since the announcement by the Minister of Education which suggested that parents may be asked to take not only drinking water to school for their children but also water for sanitary use, I began to have nightmares.<br /> <br /> The thought of the school corridors filled with all different sizes and shapes of containers labelled with children's names and then seeing a student hurrying to the bathroom with his of her bucket or bottle would be devastating to morale if parents complied.<br /> <br /> At the time of the announcement there were parents who had no water supply at home to take care of their own needs. And what of the parents whose children take public transportation? How would they transport these containers daily to school? This is a sure recipe for a gastroenteritis outbreak.<br /> <br /> Fast-forward to the current situation. We have been receiving a significant amount of rainfall; water is flowing abundantly in some areas. The National Water Commission has been chastised for allowing the excess water collected in catchments to just run freely when they become filled. However, my concern is, what systems were put in place to collect this excess? What did we do during the dry spell? Did we make additional dams, fixed major leaks along roadways, what was done so that people would not experience the level of drought that was experienced over the last two months?<br /> <br /> We need to stop crying when we are hit and employ prevention tools. It made no sense to hear senior personnel talk about existing water problems and challenges they were facing when there is nothing that was done or will be done to ensure that these problems do not recur. Let us start a culture of being proactive and not reactive.<br /> <br /> Dee Hunt<br /> <br /> bedeeinspired@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Having nightmares over water<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10993233/Water-shortage_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, August 28, 2014 2:00 AM Don't watch crowd size, Observer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Don-t-watch-crowd-size--Observer_17435342 Dear Sir,<br /> <br /> I have taken note of your editorial of August 27, 2014 and wish to bring a few of the observations contained therein into sharp focus.<br /> <br /> Your newspaper asserted that "the effectiveness of a protest is measured by the number of people who turn up", and intimated that by that measure the JLP-led protest on Monday was uneventful. It also went on to dismiss as excuses on the part of the Opposition things that are actually incontrovertible facts, such as the weather, people's fear of victimisation, the culture amongst civil society groups in Jamaica. I categorically reject the assertion, therefore, that the JLP is making excuses and that the crowd was below expectations.<br /> <br /> A conservative estimate of the crowd in Half-Way-Tree on Monday would put the number of protesters in the order of at least 3,000, which as far as I am concerned, represents a critical mass of participants, especially when one considers the purpose of the protest and the outcomes intended.<br /> <br /> Let me hasten to inform your readers that it was never the Opposition's intention to have its people's peaceful protest and the effectiveness thereof measured on the basis of crowd size. After all, when it comes to mobilising thousands of Jamaicans and demonstrating organisational strength by pulling out massive crowds at any given time, the JLP has been there and has done that. The party's conference in November 2011 is a case in point.<br /> <br /> So, let us set the record straight, it was never the Opposition's intention to have Half-Way-Tree overrun with protesters to the point where anarchy and disorder would have set in and created undue inconvenience to the motoring public and other people going about their lawful business. As a matter of fact, that would have incensed people rather than having them identify with us and support the case, which many passers-by did.<br /> <br /> What the Opposition was more concerned about on Monday was the creation of a platform for collaborative action amongst stakeholders at every level of the society, and the execution of the protest in such a way that it would see the stage being set for the emergence of a coalition of well-thinking, civic-minded and conscious Jamaicans.<br /> <br /> Suffice it to say, Monday's protest was successful in sending a clear and unequivocal message to the PNP Administration. So peaceful, orderly and mature was the protest that a senior superintendent of police, in a media interview, commended the conduct of the participants. Jamaicans are at a point where they are saying enough is enough, and they spoke in clear terms by telegraphing to the Government that its inconsiderate, unconscionable and arrogant conduct will no longer be tolerated.<br /> <br /> While the Simpson Miller Administration, in true "wi nuh care" fashion, may not roll back the JUTC fare increases, the Opposition will not lose sight of the fact that the PNP will at some point have the people to answer to, and that will count for a lot in the final analysis.<br /> <br /> Marlon Morgan<br /> <br /> Deputy Opposition Spokesperson on Agriculture <br /> <br /> Don't watch crowd size, Observer<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, August 28, 2014 2:00 AM Can anyone stop God? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Can-anyone-stop-God--_17434934 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I have had many questions on the reality of Christianity as I see it today, especially its desire to be like this world. It seeks to operate like this world, to acquire things like this world, to gain and use the wisdom of this world to operate, to make plans just like this world. It seeks after the riches of this world and, above all, it is in a lukewarm state.<br /> <br /> I am a Christian, and it has disturbed me no ends to see what I am a part of, and I have sought the Lord for answers to the farce, the deceptions, the half-baked approach to life in God that I see around me. I have struggled with this for the last 20 years.<br /> <br /> But alas, my struggle has not been in vain. I have learnt, albeit, through much disappointment, hurt, loneliness and rejection, that God forces no one to go His way. I have learnt that each person has free will. I have learnt that even when Christendom on a whole is doing whatsoever seems right in its own eyes, there is a God who is going to His end, and His constant call has been and still is: whosoever will, may come. Yes, whosoever believeth in Christ, will not perish but have everlasting life.<br /> <br /> I have learnt that there is need for each of us to make a choice for God and for truth -- found only in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God is now calling whosoever will hear to enter into His Elijah call. He promised that He would send the spirit of Elijah to the church before the great and notable day of the Lord (Malachi 4:5). This Elijah anointing is the inward transformation for the establishment of the government of the spirit of Christ and the outward anointed nature of the supernatural of healing, prophesy, deliverance, etc.<br /> <br /> Now I have learnt that, in spite of the lukewarmness and the worldliness within the church, nothing can stop God or His ultimate plan. So, though darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people, the Lord will arise and His glory will be seen on whosoever will choose Him and His truth.<br /> <br /> Millicent Battick<br /> <br /> Sbat65@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Can anyone stop God?<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, August 28, 2014 2:00 AM Ja's state of affairs shows no hope http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Ja-s-state-of-affairs-shows-no-hope_17425815 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> After watching the news of August 25, 2014, it confirmed what I long suspected, in that we are a failed state. How else can I describe it when I see the leader of the nation and the Opposition behaving that way; and, in the case of the PM, her supporters cheering her on?<br /> <br /> Yes, we have had instances where some individuals have made significant contributions to both country and the world. However, we have millions of Jamaicans living abroad and I am willing to bet that most of them have no intention of returning home based on the way things are right now.<br /> <br /> Furthermore, of the roughly 2.9 million currently here, I am willing to bet if you give each a visa, at least half of that number will leave yesterday as opposed to tomorrow. That should tell us something.<br /> <br /> The near future looks even bleaker. No plan, with proposed timelines, has been articulated by either party as to how we will pay down the debt. Our education system is a mess based on recent reports. The physical infrastructure and aesthetics of the island is laughable at best. Health care system, ditto. We also have an impending crisis in which a large chunk of the workforce will be entering retirement within the next 6-10 years that no one has said anything about. Where is the money going to come from to cover their pensions and the other stuff?<br /> <br /> The first step in solving a problem is to admit it and then set about finding solutions. The greatest resource a nation can have is its people, and currently our people are disenchanted. These elected officials need to quit messing around and do the job that they are being paid to do. If they are not up to the task, kindly ride off into the sunset and give it to those who are able. I don't think I have ever felt so low at being a Jamaican.<br /> <br /> L Thomas<br /> <br /> St Catherine<br /> <br /> baddabada@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Ja's state of affairs shows no hope<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, August 28, 2014 2:00 AM All of us must keep Ja clean http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/All-of-us-must-keep-Ja-clean_17415690 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Having read the Observer Talk Back of Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 'Changing this culture is not easy', I am left to wonder what is the culture of which we are speaking.<br /> <br /> Certainly, there is evidence of poor garbage disposal along roadways and shorelines. There is a long history of this nuisance.<br /> <br /> We also know it is not animals that are neglecting garbage receptacles and using the gullies for disposal, but rather thinking, capable human beings.<br /> <br /> While some of those who shared their opinions have some valid points, particularly on the poor waste management practices of Jamaicans, I believe the problem is something else.<br /> <br /> While some of those who shared their opinions have some valid points, particularly on the poor waste management practices of Jamaicans, I believe the problem is something else.<br /> <br /> There is a culture of entitlement and delegation that we tend to see in communities in and around the Corporate Area, where poverty is rife. While the National Solid Waste Management Authority is the leading agency tasked with the responsibility of keeping Jamaica clean, it does not have a monopoly in that regard. All of us as citizens are expected to exercise responsibility and purpose of action in how we get rid of waste material. When roadways become inundated with piles of garbage, those in the immediate area are the ones to be disadvantaged. We cannot act irresponsibly simply because there is an agency that will inevitably clean up or because we are disappointed with the quality of our lives. When that agency falls short, we experience what we do today.<br /> <br /> Change starts with the individual, and an improved quality of life cannot happen in an ailing environment. If each person takes pride in ensuring a healthy environment, instead of depending on someone else to do it, Jamaica would have less of a pollution problem. Jamaicans must also understand the proper usage of infrastructure around. Gullies are not made for the disposal or transportation of garbage but for channelling wastewater away from where we live towards the sea. It means, therefore, if gullies are abused, other problems ensue, including limiting their capacity to move wastewater, the littering of shorelines with washed-up garbage, inflicting harm on wildlife and destruction of Jamaica's natural beauty. Each of us has a stake in the development of our country.<br /> <br /> Yohan Lee<br /> <br /> St Andrew<br /> <br /> All of us must keep Ja clean<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10990065/Kingston-Harbour_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, August 27, 2014 1:00 AM Tired ah di two ah dem http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Tired-ah-di-two-ah-dem_17415906 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Jamaica is a nation facing perilous times, especially economically, socially, and with national security. Without any immediate intervention, we risk the country slipping into anarchy.<br /> <br /> All that being said and understood, I register my deep dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller's selective tongue where it concerns the state of our nation.<br /> <br /> For months the media, civil society and the common man have voiced concerns about her silence, but she has finally broken it to clash with Opposition Leader Andrew Holness.<br /> <br /> I refuse, as a progressive member of society, to accept this mediocre style leadership from these two. One decides to protest because of bus fares &mdash; because that is the highest priority &mdash; while the other breaks silence to cackle about petty political tribalism.<br /> <br /> These two 'leaders' need to wake up, smell the proverbial coffee, and stop behaving as though they are in a vacuum. Jamaica needs strategic leadership, not pettiness. Jamaica needs strong representation, not standing in the rain against fare hikes nor boasting about who has the greater love for the poor. Can we just get it right?<br /> <br /> Your behaviour, Holness and Simpson Miller, is tiresome and frankly distasteful. Stop occupying seats and spending public funds with little achievement to the common man. Jamaica has too much at stake to be left in such inappropriate hands.<br /> <br /> Timothy Cawley<br /> <br /> Kingston 8<br /> <br /> cawley.timothy@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Tired ah di two ah dem<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10990069/Portia-SILENCE--LETTER-PAGE_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, August 27, 2014 1:00 AM Grand waste of time http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Grand-waste-of-time_17416015 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> What a grand waste of time the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) demonstration in Half-Way-Tree on Monday turned out to be. I'm still in the dark as to why the protest was even organised.<br /> <br /> Why should we be marching and protesting against a $20 increase for adults, $10 for children and the disabled, and $20 for seniors? The concessionary fare wasn't sustainable in the first place; neither on the Government's part nor that of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC).<br /> <br /> There was one statement however, which stood out to me. It was uttered from the mouth of the JLP's chairman. Robert Montague boasted that it was under his Government that some buses were bought for the JUTC, and now this present Government has decided to raise the fares &mdash; presumably to 'eat a food'. But he fell short of telling the crowd that was cheering him to continue that Cabinet approval was not given for the purchase of the buses and that the taxpayers (some of whom were in the crowd) were the ones paying for it. Why didn't he tell the people about that?<br /> <br /> Marching through the streets won't fix the JUTC's problems and neither will lambasting the Government for not bearing more of the costs. The truth is, the Government cannot continue to heavily subsidise the state-run bus company. It is simply not profitable.<br /> <br /> Shemar Barnes<br /> <br /> shem_scb@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Grand waste of time<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10719686/Robert-Montague_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, August 27, 2014 1:00 AM Reparations 'legal fantasy' could cost billions http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Reparations--legal-fantasy--could-cost-billions_17417649 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> By now, most of us are aware of the attempt of several Caribbean countries to demand reparations from several European countries for the "crime" of slavery. In this regard, Caricom has hired the British legal firm Leigh Day to press its case in the courts should negotiations fail, which they will. This legal firm doesn't come cheap.<br /> <br /> Many legal experts have already concluded that the odds of Caricom winning the case through the courts are virtually nil. I saw a New York Times report, quoting Roger O'Keefe, deputy director of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at Cambridge University, as saying Caricom's case is "an international legal fantasy".<br /> <br /> My big problem with this "legal fantasy" is the financial commitments to this legal waste and the costs that Caricom taxpayers could be asked to pay.<br /> <br /> When this chosen firm won that famous pollution case that involved the people of the Ivory Coast against Trafigura four years ago, Trafigura was forced to pay 30 million pounds to the claimants. In addition, the firm requested 105 million pounds for its fee. The firm claims that that fee was justified on account of the amount of work it had to do in the case.<br /> <br /> If cases like Trafigura cost that much, imagine how much more difficult cases like reparations will cost? And, remember, lawyers must be paid whether or not they are successful. With the odds stacked so high against Caricom who is going to pay them?<br /> <br /> Even if the firm doesn't win &mdash; and I strongly believe they will not win &mdash; considering the huge amount of work that it will have to do; from digging through mountains of historical documents, trying to convince European politicians to "do the right thing", to spending many billable hours putting the case together among a host of other tasks.<br /> <br /> On behalf of the struggling taxpayers of Caricom, who have had to be putting up with dilapidated roads, schools, hospitals, public facilities, and frozen wages, high taxes, non-functioning fire trucks, under-equipped police forces, micro businesses being starved of funding, and I could go on and on, many of which could be fixed several times over with that kind of money, I demand to know how the bill for this "legal fantasy" is going to be paid?<br /> <br /> We need to know. We surely have productive ventures on which we could spend that kind of money.<br /> <br /> Michael A Dingwall<br /> <br /> michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Reparations 'legal fantasy' could cost billions<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10945796/caricom-flags_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, August 27, 2014 1:00 AM Our leaders lack the will to build Brand Jamaica http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Our-leaders-lack-the-will-to-build-Brand-Jamaica_17409811 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I am startled at the will for proper development in this Island. The people in leadership position are not moving to put the nation on the proper track for self-sufficiency. Everyone has positioned themselves to take a big bite of the pie for themselves and no one else to get anything.<br /> <br /> Well, I think that I am on to something, and even if this letter is not published there are other ways and means to get the word out. The reality is that the Government of this country (JLP and PNP) has the will to achieve what it wants and currently there seems to be nothing that these people want to achieve after 52 years of Independence but to put themselves, their families and immediate friends in positions for their own benefits.<br /> <br /> Well I am taking this opportunity to promote investment in this beautiful country under the banner of Brand Jamaica. There are lots of ideas out there but everyone seems to be holding their cards close to their chest, as it seems that they are waiting for the right time to make their play. Well, now is the time, and I hope to stimulate the will.<br /> <br /> It is all good and well to be taking IMF money and have talks and dinners with them. But where is the side of investment and progress? Yes, we have passed their test and we are doing what they are saying but to date how does the small man benefits, the increase of bus fare stares in the face today and no production, no income, amidst all our natural resources &mdash; including the best herb (ganja /marijuana) in the whole wide world.<br /> <br /> There should be a ministry for Brand Jamaica and a minister dedicated to the cause &mdash; production, development and investment. I take this opportunity to call all investors locally and internationally to make use of this wonderful opportunity to invest in Brand Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Rupert Brown<br /> <br /> aat2study@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Stony Hill, St Andrew<br /> <br /> Our leaders lack the will to build Brand Jamaica<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, August 26, 2014 2:00 AM Ja has much to learn http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Ja-has-much-to-learn-_17413060 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Presently, South Korea is being led by a woman of action, Park Guen Hye, who intends to transform Korea into an oasis for innovation. She has even met with the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg and, unlike her counterparts, she is not afraid to tackle excessive government regulations.<br /> <br /> For example, her Administration will reduce the total regulations on business activities to 80 per cent of the current level by 2016, thus resulting in the elimination of 2,200 regulations and a reduction in the total from 15,269 to 13,069.<br /> <br /> Her activities remind me of some of our leaders; the only difference is that she seems to have more foresight. Sensible onlookers cannot understand why we are promoting venture capitalism and start-ups, yet no conferences are being organised in Silicon Valley.<br /> <br /> Latin America's start-up scene is very young, so it would make sense to learn from countries like America and Finland with more experience, but maybe the inferiority complex of our policymakers prevents them from learning from the West. The reality is that countries like China are relatively new to the present innovation scene, so it is in the best interest of Jamaica to learn from places like Germany and Switzerland, our economic relations should be based on pragmatism and not ideology, we shouldn't be forming relationships with countries, just because we share similar politics.<br /> <br /> Lipton Matthews<br /> <br /> lo_matthew@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Ja has much to learn <br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10987444/Park_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, August 26, 2014 2:00 AM JTA has lost its way http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/JTA-has-lost-its-way_17413079 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> My friends and I have given more than 50 years each to teaching, at all levels, in Jamaica, and we are disturbed at the upheavals in the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), in which some of us still hold membership.<br /> <br /> We must first congratulate the many young teachers who have gone on to do doctoral degrees, however, it is just a pity that this week's Ministry of Education report shows negative growth in the sector.<br /> <br /> When we went to elementary school, blackboards separated many classes, everybody could read and there were inspectors who would visit and pick out children, at random, for evaluation. Now with all the degrees, specialists, and consultants, our children are leaving school without being able to read. The latest negative statistics and reports should be JTA's sole business at this time.<br /> <br /> Senior teachers, like myself, who come from the old school, when grammar was taught and when teachers were respected and were themselves respectful of authority, are hopping mad (if we're still vertical) to hear some JTA officials speak English.<br /> <br /> We are also saddened to watch their antics and rabble-rousing tactics on television. Fresh in our minds is the 'mongrel dog' episode, the loud cheers of some teachers, and the victory votes given to the main offender. This cannot be right, even when staged in grand hotels. The missing word, in this instance, could be discretion.<br /> <br /> We've lost our dignity, one veteran with 60 years of service to education said and we all agree. In our corner, we feel JTA should be working closely with the ministry and not appear to be ready to attack and contradict and 'trace'.<br /> <br /> School will be reopened in a couple of days and there is no JTA president to preside over anything because we know it could take a number of years before this court matter could be heard before being settled. Some of us may not live to see the results.<br /> <br /> May we remind the JTA of the pioneers, mostly Mico men who, in their 20s, built a safe education system for this country. Let us remember Albert Samuel Clarke, founded St John's College in 1911; Roderick J Blake, Tutorial College, 1926. Look at the example set by the late Governor General Sir Howard Cooke and take note of the contribution of the recently retired Dr Claude Packer.<br /> <br /> Mills Blake<br /> <br /> St Andrew<br /> <br /> JTA has lost its way<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, August 26, 2014 2:00 AM Sometimes we should sweat the small stuff http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Sometimes-we-should-sweat-the-small-stuff_17332039 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I am a Jamaican by birth. I have no intention of migrating. I am a proud Jamaican. Sometimes.<br /> <br /> There are many others like me here. They are proud Jamaicans. Sometimes.<br /> <br /> Jamaicans living in the Diaspora are proud of their country. Sometimes.<br /> <br /> We have naturalized Jamaicans here. We have visitors here. We have legal migrants here. We have illegal immigrants here. We have persons all over the world who are aware of Jamaica and Jamaicans. They are proud of our country. Sometimes.<br /> <br /> Today is one of those days when I'm not a proud citizen. Another incident has occurred in my country that has left me sad. This latest incident has strengthened my resolve that we need to care more, be more professional in the dispensation of our duties, be more respectful of self, others and the laws of the land. It tells me we need to be more proactive. It tells me we need to find more meaningful ways of dealing with conflicts. It has left me thinking we sometimes need to sweat the small stuff as, if not, through delay attributable to ignorance, inaction, ineptitude, inaccuracies, or insouciance, some small occurrences can lead to devastating ends.<br /> <br /> I make direct reference to the incident where 31-year-old Mario "Todd" Deane of St James has succumbed to injuries inflicted on his body while he was under State care. I do not know the details of this story, except for what is being aired in the media. It is reported that he was apprehended and placed in jail for the possession of a "spliff". How did this lead up to his death? Was the small stuff of this action sweated? Were proper procedures followed when he was apprehended or when his family friend went to bail him?<br /> <br /> A similar catastrophe occurred in October 2013 when Kamoza Clarke of Trelawny, also 31 years old, was beaten allegedly by police while in custody. The extent of Clarke's injuries remain a discussion. The police report said that Clarke 'had fallen and had hit his head against a wooden bench'. It is also reported that he and other inmates had an altercation. This explanation has a sickening similarity to the one being proffered in Deane's case as it has been said that he not only had a fight with inmates, he "fell off a bunk bed and hit his head". Clarke, like Dean, died while in hospital.<br /> <br /> We may need to launch an investigation into police "benches and bunks" as they seem to possess the ability to deliver fatal blows to (31-year- old) inmates' heads.<br /> <br /> As citizens of Jamaica, land we love, we need to take immediate steps to protect our rights - both as civilians and as members of the security forces. This protection and preservation of our basic human rights may seem insignificant but, as a people, it becomes incumbent on us to take steps to halt these dastardly acts. We need to stop the unending cries of "We want justice" because we have justice. What we need, instead, is to deal expeditiously with the bigger picture of professional and personal malpractice.<br /> <br /> Alcia Morgan Bromfield<br /> <br /> amorganbromfield@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Sometimes we should sweat the small stuff<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, August 26, 2014 2:00 AM Replace Ja$ with the US$ http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Replace-Ja--with-the-US-_17377342 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I think the Jamaican currency should be given up and replaced with the United States dollars, because the Jamaican currency no longer fits the definition of money.<br /> <br /> Economists say a currency is universally accepted as a medium of exchange, a store of value, and a standard of value for deferred payment. Our dollar does not meet all these standards, while the US currency is universally accepted for those reasons.<br /> <br /> Stop the parochial thinking. I would go even further that Jamaica should strive to be a state of the United States; not only for monetary reasons, but to be a part of the greatest country in the history of the world.<br /> <br /> Jamaica is far too small not to be exploited by rich and powerful nations in perpetuity, and also incapable of exercising veto power at United Nations, while the US is in that position as well as conveniently near to us and is our friend and ally.<br /> <br /> Owen S Crosbie<br /> <br /> Mandeville, Manchester<br /> <br /> oss@cwjamaica.com<br /> <br /> Replace Ja$ with the US$<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10984293/dollar-bills_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, August 25, 2014 2:00 AM How fair is the fare across Jamaica? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/How-fair-is-the-fare-across-Jamaica_17409799 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> In light of the recent bus fare increase on the heels of back-to-school shopping by parents who are forking out thousands for school supplies, Government workers enduring a salary freeze, and retired citizens barely living on their pensions after working hard to make their contribution to our country, I would like to drop my own two cents in the mix.<br /> <br /> The increase is not only absurd but not practical. To ask the same people who were already instructed to tighten their belts to suffer is unreasonable. Further, all this caused by the Jamaica Urban Transit Company not operating efficiently and effectively. They need to go back to the drawing board as an increase in fares will not stop the waste but temporarily patch a gap until.<br /> <br /> Noting the peaceful march being organised against the increase I have to inquire who will march for the senior citizens in the rural parts of this country who have to find $200, in some cases, to take the regular taxis and buses. Is it any less stressful for those who retired in the Corporate Area? What is it that we as a nation can do for them? Parents in these rural communities are also faced with these prices to send their children to school.<br /> <br /> We must be fair when protesting. This is not only affecting one set of citizens in Jamaica. There are schoolchildren, senior citizens, government workers, and other workers all over Jamaica. The only difference is that the JUTC does not offer services to them. They too have a cry, they too need help. They too need to be represented. It is not only about those who live under the bright lights of Half-Way-Tree.<br /> <br /> Dee Hunt<br /> <br /> bedeeinspired@gmail.com<br /> <br /> How fair is the fare across Jamaica?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10967375/JUTC_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, August 25, 2014 2:00 AM