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 Could he be joking this time again? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Could-he-be-joking-this-time-again-_19198385 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Commissioner of Police Dr Carl Williams said: "We also want to, hopefully, get an amendment to the Bail Act, so that even persons who are not charged for criminal offences can be arrested and bailed prior to charge." This sounds like ill-conceived criminal madness. This is not a police state, and you cannot fight crime with what amounts to illegal, unconstitutional, criminal acts sanctioned by the State.<br /> <br /> One does not even have to be a lawyer to see that this does not make sense. This is 2015, not the 1970s when you could get away with things like "indefinite detention". OK, maybe he could be joking again. I sure hope so.<br /> <br /> I have now come to the conclusion that the commissioner needs informed and competent guidance.<br /> <br /> Michael Spence<br /> <br /> Kingston 6<br /> <br /> Micspen2@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Could he be joking this time again?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12027521/Carl-Williams-3_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, July 28, 2015 2:00 AM Give police Smarter Cards http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Give-police-Smarter-Cards_19220920 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> In light of the brutal murder of woman police Crystal Thomas, head of the State-owned Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) Garnet Roper has urged police officers to capitalise on free travel on the JUTC buses.<br /> <br /> Dr Roper said all officers have to do is display their IDs to the driver and all will be well. I know the police would appreciate the move, but one major concern with that system is the displaying of their IDs. So often I have seen police officers showing JUTC drivers while I collect my bus ticket when I sit in the front seats or when the inspectors are checking tickets. The officers sometimes instead of showing their IDs will tell the driver 'police'; the driver now has to verify by asking for their ID.<br /> <br /> What the JUTC should have done was to give police officers Smarter Cards. This would make it harder for criminals to detect the identity of police personnel. The personalised Smarter Card would eliminate the issue of disclosed identity, and if the card is lost the same procedure like a regular Smarter Card would apply.<br /> <br /> The JUTC, while not claiming bulletproof protection, speaks of a form of panic-button system associated with its buses that makes it less prone to being succesfully robbed. I ask the JUTC to look into Smarter Cards for police officers and I join with Dr Roper and encourage police officers to make use of that which is provided for them.<br /> <br /> Condolence to the Jamaica Constabulary Force family and the family of the slain cops.<br /> <br /> I am etc<br /> <br /> Hezekan Bolton<br /> <br /> h_e_z_e@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Give police Smarter Cards<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, July 28, 2015 12:00 AM SOS from Bethel Gap! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/SOS-from-Bethel-Gap-_19220881 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I have been speaking with my friend who lives in Bethel Gap, Cedar Valley PO, St Thomas, about the drought conditions and lack of sufficient water, and this has made me very concerned for her healtlh and that of her neighbours.<br /> <br /> She even related that an elderly gentleman died allegedly of dehydration and malnutrition.<br /> <br /> There is not enough water for her to grow vegetables, and she has had to discontinue raising chickens, and there seems to be indifference on the part of the Government to the plight of these people. She states that promises of "water trucks" are empty words, except near election time!<br /> <br /> It would seem to me that if Jamaica cannot get water to her own people in need, the system is not working.<br /> <br /> Sheila Gagnon<br /> <br /> Cape Cod, MA<br /> <br /> shegag@comcast.net<br /> <br /> SOS from Bethel Gap!<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, July 28, 2015 2:00 AM Well done, Boyz! Be quiet, naysayers! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Well-done--Boyz--Be-quiet--naysayers-_19220921 All over social media I am seeing comments blasting our Reggae Boyz for not knowing the national anthem. I am not sure what some Jamaicans were watching, but from where I stood I did not see anything to indicate that they did not. How many of you in your homes stood at attention when you heard it?<br /> <br /> Some Jamaicans are really two-faced hypocrites. Had the Boyz won they would be all over social media celebrating that win. But, no, instead you choose to knock them down.<br /> <br /> I guess many of you cannot fathom the pressure the boys must have been under in a stadium packed with people shouting '&iexcl;Viva Mexico!'<br /> <br /> It is so easy for some of us to pass assertions, but how many of our own children know the national anthem or the pledge?<br /> <br /> The last thing the Boyz need right now is to be dragged over the coals. After all they have been through to get to where they got, they dont need people assuming that because their mouths were not moving they did not know the anthem. Some of us Jamaicans really make things bad for others.<br /> <br /> Well done, Reggae Boyz, you did your best, you achieved what many thought you could not, and you can only get better from here.<br /> <br /> Michelle Bradshaw<br /> <br /> michelleannmariebradshaw<br /> <br /> @gmail.com<br /> <br /> Well done, Boyz! Be quiet, naysayers!<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, July 28, 2015 2:00 AM Streamline holidays http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Streamline-holidays_19220366 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has advised that Emancipation Day, which falls on a Saturday this year, will be celebrated on that day and not on the following Monday as obtained in May when National Labour Day fell on a Saturday but was celebrated the following Monday.<br /> <br /> Whereas the schedule in the Holidays (Public General) Act of 1895, last amended in 1999, specifically provides that National Labour Day shall be celebrated on the following Monday if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it states that New Year's Day, Emancipation Day, Independence Day, and Christmas Day shall be celebrated on the day of the week on which they fall, unless those holidays fall on a Sunday, in which case they are celebrated the following Monday.<br /> <br /> In the schedule, Boxing Day should be celebrated on December 26, regardless of the day of the week on which it falls, except for when Christmas Day falls on a Sunday and is celebrated the following Monday, the 26th, Boxing Day would then move to the 27th.<br /> <br /> The Act should be amended to provide simply that any public holiday falling on a Saturday should be celebrated the preceding Friday, and any falling on a Sunday should be celebrated the following Monday, or provide for any falling on a Saturday or Sunday to be celebrated on the following Monday. National Labour Day should not be given any special treatment in that regard.<br /> <br /> Moreover, as is the case with National Heroes' Day, which is celebrated the third Monday in October, National Labour Day should be celebrated on the third Monday in May.<br /> <br /> Emancipation Day should be moved to the day preceding Independence Day and not fixed for August 1. This way we would tidy things up and have a back-to-back holiday celebration as obtained with Good Friday and Easter Monday and with Christmas Day and Boxing Day. It should be noted that not all territories or countries in the Caribbean as former British colonies celebrate Emancipation Day on August 1. Antigua, Anguilla, The Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, and the British Virgin Islands celebrate Emancipation as the first Monday in August. Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and Easter Monday, as the names suggest, are celebrated on fixed weekdays and would therefore not be affected by the amendments.<br /> <br /> These proposed amendments would not only simplify the rules governing holiday observations, but would also serve to avoid some disruptions of business operations. They would also give employees actual traditional workdays as holidays, and not a Saturday, which traditionally forms part of the weekend when most people, even with the advent of flexi-workweek, would usually be off work.<br /> <br /> Kevin KO Sangster<br /> <br /> sangstek@msn.com<br /> <br /> Streamline holidays<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, July 28, 2015 2:00 AM Jenner is not brave; he has a mental disorder http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Jenner-is-not-brave--he-has-a-mental-disorder_19220424 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Social media is still buzzing with images, memes, videos, and posts after Bruce Jenner's public announcement to identify as a woman, Caitlyn. Many lauded him for his courage, others expressed great contempt.<br /> <br /> Incontestably, it is the age where people seek to redefine masculinity and femininity, subtracting and adding defining features to their satisfaction as a means of altering the biological and social construct of gender. Women are surgically morphing into men and vice versa. Is this normal behaviour?<br /> <br /> Dr Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist-in-chief for the Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current distinguished service professor of psychiatry, said that transgenderism is a "mental disorder" that merits treatment. Transgenderism or gender dysphoria does not correspond to reality. These individuals assume that they are different from the physical reality of their maleness or femaleness as designated by nature. He mentioned that the severity of the disorder can be linked to a person suffering from anorexia who looks in the mirror and, though skinny in reality, still thinks he/she is overweight. McHugh further stated that realignment surgery does not change men to women or vice versa; it simply creates feminised men and masculinised women. Being a man or woman cannot be artificially created because of the purposes of our biological designs in our respective genders. We have been graciously endowed with assets and features defining our sex. It's more than physical characteristics that set the distinction between both sexes. Jenner will never have a womb, and every single XY chromosome in his body betrays all his efforts and are purely aesthetic.<br /> <br /> The concept of gender dysphoria is a perceived reality, and any attempt to change one's sex is wrong and an affront to God's good design of humanity. Jenner is running from who he is and is therefore a coward, not an icon of gallantry.<br /> <br /> This highlights the responsibility we have as a society to groom our children and young people in an environment that facilitates emotional, social and spiritual stability and security. Encouragement for this disorder only perpetuates identity crisis. Our responsibility is to mend the broken; not celebrate them in their brokenness.<br /> <br /> Shanique Shand<br /> <br /> The Love March Movement<br /> <br /> lovemarchmovement@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Jenner is not brave; he has a mental disorder<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, July 28, 2015 2:00 AM Licence plate disgrace http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Licence-plate-disgrace_19220329 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Tax Administration of Jamaica (TAJ) recently announced a shortage of licence plates across the island with absolutely no timeline regarding when the stock will be replenished. Numerous people desirous of transferring motor vehicles have been left in limbo, including myself.<br /> <br /> The most appalling aspect of this scenario is that nobody knows when licence plates will become available. When you inquire with staff at the tax office, the response is: "Listen to the media for an update." Does this mean next month, six months from now, July 2016 perhaps? This is absolutely ludicrous and demonstrates the blatant disregard for Jamaican taxpayers.<br /> <br /> How is it possible that the entire stock of licence plates in the country could have been depleted with no contingency in place? Is there no procurement plan at the tax office? Is there no forecasting mechanism to determine when stock should be replenished? What interim arrangements are being made by the tax office to facilitate people as they suffer this grave inconvenience and loss of income for some? Who is accountable?<br /> <br /> I visited the tax office on Friday, July 17, 2015 in an effort to transfer a motor vehicle and, of course, was advised of the unavailability of licence plates. While there, I met a gentleman who was lamenting that he had just received a contract to deliver goods out of town, and with no licence plates, he could not drive his pickup van, and did not know what he was going to do. Who is going to compensate this man and potentially several other people for the loss of income? I have had to pay for motor vehicle insurance, which is a prerequisite for motor vehicle transfer in Jamaica, and I have followed all the legal requirements that would allow me to proceed with this transaction. I have honoured all my obligations, but the Government has not done its part.<br /> <br /> This situation is untenable and the public needs answers. What are the factors that have led to this 'stock out'? When will it be resolved? Meanwhile, I note that the House of Representatives has now approved the tax collection arrears order which imposes penalties of 10 per cent on taxpayers who do not remit their taxes on time. I am interested in hearing about what sanctions will be applied to the TAJ for failing to deliver on one of their core functions? The public sector in Jamaica cannot be allowed to continue to function with such inefficiency and lack of accountability, otherwise Vision 2030, which proposes developed country status for Jamaica by 2030, will become nothing more than a pipe dream. The TAJ must provide the public with immediate answers and must identify interim solutions for taxpayers who need to undertake motor vehicle transactions.<br /> <br /> Mae Barrett<br /> <br /> elizabethkora2012@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Licence plate disgrace<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12015276/Tax-office_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Saturday, July 25, 2015 2:00 AM More than just ramps http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/More-than-just-ramps_19219963 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I had difficulty finding a piece of legislation that outlines building codes for the specific issue I am about to discuss, so today I'm writing under the assumption that there is such a policy; for if there is none, then it is safe to say that Jamaica is again in violation of human rights. In this case, they are violating the human rights of disabled people by inhibiting their right to freedom of movement.<br /> <br /> However, continuing with the assumption that there is a framework that delineates building structures for disabled individuals, it is clear that some establishments ignore those frameworks or, in some cases, follow recommendations with no sort of consideration for the disabled, in other words they do it just to be in accordance with the law, neglecting the "accessibility" and "usability" of the disabled.<br /> <br /> The issue of narrow sidewalks has been exhausted by media with the deaths/injury of many confined to wheelchairs. Also the pedestrian pathways topic isn't new.<br /> <br /> Many public buildings in Jamaica have ramps made for wheelchairs. These ramps, I suppose, can also be used by people who have difficulty taking the stairs. It is admirable that more and more establishments are ensuring that ramps are present. However, simply having a ramp is not enough. It appears that some companies are more preoccupied with their building being 'up to standard' than caring about the disabled individuals who may have to use the facilities. Often, some of these ramps are incredibly steep to the point that it is difficult for an able individual to walk up with ease, worse the increased struggle for someone who has to push themselves up. In addition, some are situated in the most inconvenient areas.<br /> <br /> Disabled individuals, like many other minority groups in Jamaica, are treated like second-class citizens. Their issues are heard and then brushed aside. We have a "if it doesn't affect me, then it doesn't concern me" mentality. We need to rid ourselves of that culture. The issue of ramps does not affect my livelihood in any way, but it could have if I was in a wheelchair. We need to support those who cannot support themselves and help those who are trying.<br /> <br /> Dervin Osbourne<br /> <br /> Portmore, St Catherine<br /> <br /> osbournedervin@gmail.com <br /> <br /> More than just ramps<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12012138/wheelchair-symbol-svg-copy_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, July 24, 2015 2:00 AM Clarification on the status of patent for the composition and method for treating cancer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Clarification-on-the-status-of-patent-for-the-composition-and-method-for-treating-cancer_19153814 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> There have been many discussions in the public space in recent times regarding the issuing of a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the composition and method of treating cancer. I wish to bring some clarity to this matter which is of public interest.<br /> <br /> In 2007, Dr George Levy and myself filed the patent "Composition and method for treating cancer" in the USPTO. This patent application deals with the anti-cancer activity of Dibenzyl trisulfide as an albumin conjugate. The research work leading to an application for a patent was done between 1999 and 2002 by me while engaged as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany.<br /> <br /> Eighteen months after application, the USPTO published the patent on the Internet, and I was of the view that only patents that were granted were published by the patent office. Checks revealed that they had changed their policy on the publishing of patents and that our patent was still pending and going through the examination process. As such, the patent has not yet been approved. However, we have been reliably advised by our attorneys, who filed for the patent on our behalf, that the examination of the patent has been completed and that the final decision on the patent will be made in October 2015.<br /> <br /> We apologise for any misunderstanding and inconvenience that may have resulted from our error. This was not intentional, but rather due to change in USPTO policy, which at the time we did not understand.<br /> <br /> The work on the anti-cancer activity of Dibenzyl trisulfide, which forms the basis of the patent, has generated much interest. To date, several drug companies have expressed interest in the patent application published by the USPTO. A review of the papers published on Dibenzyl trisulfide revealed that the compound was effective on over 12 types of cancers and that the molecule could be effective in treating degenerative diseases also. The research work on Dibenzyl trisulfide revealed that the compound was not toxic to non-cancerous cells and will only destroy pathological cells. The mode of action elucidated for Dibenzyl trisulphide is the mitogen activated protein kinase activator. This mode of action is selective for pathological cells and is called the signal transduction mode of action. Five peer-reviewed journal papers were published on Dibenzyl trisulfide, along with the patent application by me while working at the Scientific Research Council (SRC).<br /> <br /> Lawrence Williams BSc, PhD<br /> <br /> lawrencew@src-jamaica.org<br /> <br /> Clarification on the status of patent for the composition and method for treating cancer<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11798842/doctor-test_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, July 24, 2015 2:00 AM Dock MPs pay for absenteeism http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Dock-MPs-pay-for-absenteeism_19220103 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> House Speaker Michael Peart, at the opening of last Tuesday's sitting of the House of Representatives, expressed to the less than full complement of parliamentarians present his disappointment and embarrassment by the mere four parliamentarians who showed up to a recent meeting between MPs and a visiting overseas delegation.<br /> <br /> Speaker Peart indicated that something will need to be done, as the situation was getting from bad to worse regarding parliamentarians failing to attend various functions to which they are invited.<br /> <br /> We are all too familiar with the level of absenteeism in relation to the various parliamentary committees, several of which have not had a sitting for quite some time due to lack of quorum.<br /> <br /> The regular parliamentary sittings have not been spared, with many members seemingly viewing their attendance as optional, especially when an election is in the offing, or as in the case of this past Tuesday's sitting, being the last before the summer recess.<br /> <br /> Parliamentarians were elected to work on behalf of the people of this country, and a part of that work involves being in the Parliament to contribute to the making of laws for the peace, order, and good governance of the country.<br /> <br /> Being absent from parliamentary and related sittings without justifiable cause, even though many when present hardly contribute meaningfully, does not afford them the opportunity to help advance the legislative process.<br /> <br /> It is time we consider docking parliamentarians pay for regular unexcused absences, especially when such absences relate directly to their jobs, such as parliamentary and committee sittings, as such absences effectively represent them abandoning their jobs without cause.<br /> <br /> As would obtain, especially in the private sector, where an employee who fails to turn up for work without being on approved vacation or sick leave would not get paid for time away from work, such should be the treatment of parliamentarians.<br /> <br /> The sad thing is: would the parliamentarians, themselves, vote to enact such a law that, though fully in the country's interest, may not be in their narrow self-interest?<br /> <br /> Kevin KO Sangster<br /> <br /> sangstek@msn.com<br /> <br /> Dock MPs pay for absenteeism<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/4091093/parliament-2b_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, July 24, 2015 2:00 AM Let's deal with the root of crime http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Let-s-deal-with-the-root-of-crime_19220102 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The random killing of civilians and cops is enough to make any normal citizen feel weak. God help our country!<br /> <br /> Just last week a young female cop, Crystal Thomas, was shot and killed on a bus. No words could describe the pain etched on her brave mother's face as she accepted her late daughter's diploma at the graduation ceremony just days after the vicious murder. This week, another cop, Lyndon Barrett, on patrol duties, was killed in downtown Kingston. But what exactly is "patrol duties"? Should cops carry out these duties alone? Crime is so rampant all cop duties should patrol in groups of at least four or five. This is how we see it in North America and elsewhere, you never see one cop alone; and the rare times you do, there are usually other cops not too far away. As well, as an extra safety precaution, off-duty cops should limit the use of public passenger vehicles if they can help it. Government may not have the funds, but they could at least try to offer some type of transport allowance to help those who risk their own lives daily to protect others.<br /> <br /> As poverty levels continue to soar, criminals will unleash and vent their anger without fear. Despite economic constraints facing Government, we must find ways to supplement policing and crime-fighting methods. We must invest in all forms of social intervention. I would set up an immediate task force to deal with social intervention, especially in hot spots and volatile communities. Sports and culture are effective tools that can be tapped to help unemployed, hopeless and marginalised youth to occupy their time more productively. We must look into these options immediately.<br /> <br /> Can't the Government invest more in HEART Trust's skills training to increase capacity, even if it means borrowing or partnering with private sector? It is all good that the security minister is in Washington seeking further cooperation with USA on combating organised crime, which includes narcotics trafficking, lottery scamming and extremism, but we have to find effective ways to counteract the root causes of crime as well, or all security measures will be futile! Until then, may the good Lord have mercy!<br /> <br /> P Chin<br /> <br /> chin_p@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Let's deal with the root of crime<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12011876/Cops-pray_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, July 23, 2015 1:00 AM Gallantry honour for Corporal Crystal Thomas http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Gallantry-honour-for-Corporal-Crystal-Thomas_19219812 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I was shot on a public passenger vehicle while trying to stop a robbery just as Crystal Thomas was trying to do. I, on the other hand, was lucky to overcome my attackers and eventually killed one. I was granted the Medal of Honour for Gallantry, which I received on October 21, 2013 at King's House. The Jamaica Observer did an article on October 22, 2013 titled 'Hero cop'.<br /> <br /> I am writing to you ask the Observer to use its medium to suggest and convince the Jamaica Constabulary Force, and the country at large, that she should also be granted the Medal of Honour for Gallantry as she did in fact fight and save other lives that were on that bus. She made the ultimate sacrifice for the people she solemnly swore to protect as a servant of this country. I might have been lucky to still be alive right now, but I mourn for my colleague who was not so lucky.<br /> <br /> May her soul rest in peace as she died a warrior for the Jamaica Constabulary Force and her country.<br /> <br /> Jermaine Burgher<br /> <br /> jermaineburgher1@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Gallantry honour for Corporal Crystal Thomas<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12000177/Crystal-Thomas2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, July 23, 2015 1:00 AM A thankful heart http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/A-thankful-heart_19219765 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> In today's society there are times when it seems as if there is no love or appreciation for anyone or anything; I however would like to share my experience to the contrary.<br /> <br /> On Tuesday, July 7, 2015, my son Lamario Bailey underwent a minor surgery at the Andrews Memorial Hospital. Thankfully, the surgery was very successful and he is now recuperating.<br /> <br /> My family and I, however, wish to thank some outstanding individuals who assisted us in ensuring that Lamario had the best possible care while at the hospital.<br /> <br /> First, a big thank you to Sheldon in the Admissions Department for the professional manner in which he conducted his duties and his prompt telephone calls. Nurse Walker and Nurse Rhooms must also be commended for their kind assistance, professionalism and compassion in administering patient care.<br /> <br /> Our heartfelt gratitude to Dr Simone Dundas Byles and her team as well as Dr Lambert Innis for conducting what can be described as a very successful procedure.<br /> <br /> We still have in our country people with good hearts and a genuine love for what they do.<br /> <br /> Ann Marie Francis-Bailey<br /> <br /> Unions Estate<br /> <br /> annden2004@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> A thankful heart<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, July 22, 2015 12:00 AM Let us see the faces! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Let-us-see-the-faces-_19219761 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I heard on the news that the police are in high gear pursuing their 40 most wanted suspects. Who are these people?<br /> <br /> How can we, the law-abiding citizens, help to report the whereabouts of these wanted persons?<br /> <br /> Can they publish in the newspaper the pictures of these 40 wanted people? We need photos of these suspects not a black outline of a wanted person.<br /> <br /> How can the police look for people based on a brief description with no photograph. These descriptions fit the majority of our population<br /> <br /> We must all come together and fight this monster called crime.<br /> <br /> Concerned Jamaican<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Let us see the faces!<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, July 22, 2015 12:00 AM Bring back paper bags http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Bring-back-paper-bags_19219983 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Some 15 years ago, the paper bag was the container used in our supermarkets. To my memory, in those days our gullies were not as inundated with garbage pressure as they now are. And our slack practice of dumping our garbage has got worse.<br /> <br /> With paper bags, as soon as it gets wet, its useful life 'died'. But it did not become bad waste.<br /> <br /> However, we would now have to make them stronger to carry a weight of 25 lbs and with handles. The materials that is now used by some shopping clubs is strong and attractive. Let us multiply its manufacturing and make it even stronger.<br /> <br /> It is extremely helpful as we all go to the market with them. I do recall that crocus bag in the same bag size is very sturdy and helpful when you go to the market. Again, we need a strong bag that will hold the weight.<br /> <br /> We are suffering from the indiscriminate dumping of our plastic/lada/scandal bags in our gutters and gullies. Bring back proper bags.<br /> <br /> Restart the making of strong papers bags and thereby eliminate potential flooding of our gullies and destruction of our beaches and sea life.<br /> <br /> Hugh Innis<br /> <br /> Montego Bay, St James<br /> <br /> cybermore.cafe@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Bring back paper bags<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, July 22, 2015 12:00 AM Tax the use of plastics http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Tax-the-use-of-plastics_19219752 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Plastic bags are convenient and affordable, which makes their usage commonplace. Over one trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year. The problem is they last in the environment for hundreds of years, shredding into even smaller pieces but never fully breaking down.<br /> <br /> In our country, plastic bags end up as waste, landfill or litter, and contribute to greenhouse gases, clog up drains, litter streets, streams and eventually the sea. Our national attitude to throw away plastic bags on the sidewalks, beaches, and wherever we feel like is not helpful, either. We do not realise that these plastic bags cause the death of many marine animals (fish, sea turtles, etc), every year, when animals mistake them for food.<br /> <br /> When plastics break down, they do not biodegrade; they photodegrade. They break down into tiny pieces which attract and accumulate toxins that then enter the food chain. Given the multitude of problems associated with plastic bags, many countries are either banning or taxing plastic bags. At least 16 African countries have announced bans on certain types of plastic bags to varying levels of effectiveness. Many European countries tax plastic bags and many US states have banned them. One of the most well-known bag measures is Ireland's national bag tax, adopted in 2002. It was the first to charge consumers directly. Within five months of the measure's introduction, bag usage fell by over 90 per cent. Litter was greatly reduced as well. Plastic bag pollution should be a growing environmental concern for our Government. GOJ should tax plastic bags and all money from the plastic bag tax should go directly the environment ministry for use in enforcement and clean-up projects. Such initiatives will also give teeth to the "Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica" campaign.<br /> <br /> For those of us who do not want to pay such a tax: bring your own bag (BYOB).<br /> <br /> Tashfeen Ahmad<br /> <br /> St Andrew<br /> <br /> mrtashfeen@hotmail.com <br /> <br /> Tax the use of plastics<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, July 22, 2015 12:00 AM Help JSPCA find home, says vets http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Help-JSPCA-find-home--says-vets_19219974 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Jamaica Veterinary Medical Association (JVMA) views with great concern the problems facing the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (JSPCA) with regards to its location. The difficulties encountered by the JSPCA in finding a suitable location for their animal shelter in the environs of Kingston are not new.<br /> <br /> Since its founding in 1903, JSPCA has been the champion of the rights and welfare of animals of all types and has been based at several locations beginning with King Street (1938 - 1943); Spanish Town Road, Kingston 11 (1943 - 1999), which was closed because of both funding and safety issues); 113 Constant Spring Road (1978-1991); and 10 Winchester Road (1991 - present). Where can it go now to continue to provide shelter and care to all animals in need is the question at hand.<br /> <br /> Although many in Jamaica think of the JSPCA solely as a veterinary clinic for those in the low-income bracket, it also operates a shelter for stray and abandoned animals, performs low-cost spay-neuter services for dogs and cats, and has been pivotal in dealing with domestic animal welfare issues on farms and with horses around the island. Rescue and rehabilitation services for our wildlife, from crocodiles to birds and marine mammals such as whales and dolphins; public education on animal welfare; responses in disaster situations (even internationally, eg after the earthquake in Haiti) are all part of its mandate. These animal welfare functions must continue to be supported by public and private contributions.<br /> <br /> For the veterinary profession, the JSPCA has been an important source of employment and clinical experience for many newly graduated veterinarians and those who aspire to be veterinarians as well. Though the JSPCA operates one of several veterinary facilities in Jamaica, its charitable animal welfare mandate is what makes its continued accessibility in the Corporate Area important. The JVMA recognises this important role of the JSPCA and urges all persons with the capability to assist to help identify a suitable location in the Kingston metropolitan area for a shelter for the society to house the small and large animals that need a home. We also urge tangible support for adoption or re-homing of sheltered animals and for ongoing spay-neuter campaigns to control the growth of our stray dog and cat populations.<br /> <br /> Dr Paul Cadogan<br /> <br /> Chairman, Jamaica Veterinary Medical Assoc<br /> <br /> denbighvet@cwjamaica.com<br /> <br /> www.jvma.org<br /> <br /> Help JSPCA find home, says vets<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, July 22, 2015 12:00 AM Give us the elections! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Give-us-the-elections-_19219986 Noel Arscott Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I wish to respond to a letter to the editor written by Robert Dalley in the Daily Observer of July 8, 2015, titled 'Local gov't elections should not be a political football'.<br /> <br /> As a citizen who takes the country's general and local elections seriously, I think that it is shameful that the Minister of Lcal Government Noel Arscott has tabled those three Bills in the Parliament postponing the elections.<br /> <br /> As Dalley rightfully stated, the reasons given by the government for putting off those local elections, saying it is in the interest of local government reform, cannot stand up. And I say shame on this prime minister and her Government.<br /> <br /> I am demanding that the prime minister stop taking us citizens for fools in this political scene and organise the funding and announce the local government elections for September 2015. In a democracy such as Jamaica's, whenever elections are due they should be held, and I am urging the prime minister to respect the political process and us citizens and hold the elections.<br /> <br /> I am of the view as well that the local government minister has been a failure and should be sent packing from his job. Just take a look at that devastasting Riverton dump fire which cost the country dearly. The country does not have a proper policy on waste disposal and the National Solid Waste Management Authority has been underfunded and citizens continue to suffer. This is his portfolio and no solutions have come.<br /> <br /> In closing, I am urging the prime minister to take her job seriously, in respect of local government and elections, and stop the political football playing. Let us have those elections now. The people are going to decide one way or another.<br /> <br /> Basil S Lyn<br /> <br /> White Sands Beach PO<br /> <br /> Montego Bay<br /> <br /> basil.lyn@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Give us the elections!<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, July 22, 2015 2:00 AM Our IMF squeeze http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Our-IMF-squeeze_19219808 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> In a letter dated July 14, 2015, five US Congressional members wrote to President Barack Obama asking that he urge the International Monetary Fund (IMF) "to provide the [Jamaican] Government the fiscal space it desperately needs to boost growth and address continued high unemployment and poverty".<br /> <br /> This follows Obama's visit in June when he stressed that economic growth is the best way forward in reducing Jamaica's debt burden. The letter states that, "Jamaica now has the world's most austere national budget; with a 7.5 per cent primary surplus last year and for at least the next three years as part of the current IMF programme. Its interest burden is among the world's highest (8 per cent of GDP) and interest payments to multilateral financial institutions surpassed multilateral loan disbursements in 2012 and 2013. Last year, Jamaica paid US$136 million more to the IMF than it received from it... We believe the IMF should lower Jamaica's budget surplus [since] the extreme fiscal austerity imposed has proven counterproductive."<br /> <br /> This follows Obama's visit in June when he stressed that economic growth is the best way forward in reducing Jamaica's debt burden. The letter states that, "Jamaica now has the world's most austere national budget; with a 7.5 per cent primary surplus last year and for at least the next three years as part of the current IMF programme. Its interest burden is among the world's highest (8 per cent of GDP) and interest payments to multilateral financial institutions surpassed multilateral loan disbursements in 2012 and 2013. Last year, Jamaica paid US$136 million more to the IMF than it received from it... We believe the IMF should lower Jamaica's budget surplus [since] the extreme fiscal austerity imposed has proven counterproductive."<br /> <br /> A similar letter was sent by US Congressional members to the IMF on July 2, 2015 concerning both Jamaica and Greece. That letter noted that: "Greece has already reduced its national public sector work force by 19 per cent and carried out many of the reforms demanded by the IMF and its creditors. It has gone through an enormous fiscal adjustment... At the same time, as even the IMF has acknowledged in its own research, the austerity imposed by Greece's creditors over the past five years turned out to be far more devastating to the economy than they had predicted."<br /> <br /> Thus the debate about the possible outcomes of the current IMF programme must remain alive, and open. It is a pity that Ralston Hyman, once respected for his independence, has now become a seeming mouthpiece for the Government in trying to rubbish a suggestion, in line with the above, to reduce (not eliminate) Jamaica's primary surplus from 7.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent.<br /> <br /> Greg Christie and Kavan Gayle are not necessarily incorrect in their assessment that there is too much emphasis on satisfying creditors. The creditors may suffer in the end when the squeeze cannot become any stronger. Greece's story is far from over, and Jamaica's too.<br /> <br /> Paul Ward<br /> <br /> Campaign for Social & Economic Justice<br /> <br /> Kingston 7<br /> <br /> Ja's IMF squeeze<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12004722/SqueezeSponge1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, July 21, 2015 12:00 AM Is Jamaica suffering from the broken window theory? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Is-Jamaica-suffering-from-the-broken-window-theory-_19219767 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The broken window theory is a criminological theory of the norm-setting and signalling effect of urban disorder and vandalism on additional crime and antisocial behaviour.The theory states that maintaining and monitoring urban environment to prevent small crimes such as vandalism, public drinking, and toll-jumping helps to create an atmosphere of order and lawfulness, thereby preventing more serious crimes from happening. The theory was developed by James Q Wilson and George L Kelling.<br /> <br /> For months the traffic police in Westmoreland kept reporting that motorbikes were causing several accidents and the bikes were, mostly, not registered, licensed, and insured. One pane in Jamaica's window was broken and remained unfixed.<br /> <br /> Then the crime escalated, a policeman, Curtis Lewis, died after he signalled a motorcyclist to stop. He didn't, and tore off the policeman's leg in the process.<br /> <br /> Then the crime escalated, a policeman, Curtis Lewis, died after he signalled a motorcyclist to stop. He didn't, and tore off the policeman's leg in the process.<br /> <br /> When police are on front-line duty, like Constable Crystal Thomas, especially women cops, they shouldn't at the end of their shift board a bus with the same people they have to arrest or charge. Their representatives said that for years they have been requesting some form of transportation, another pane in Jamaica's window broken.<br /> <br /> The fact that Rev Garnett Roper of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company was quick to offer an alternative means that he could have helped to fix the broken window. Now Constable Crystal Thomas is dead.<br /> <br /> The lotto scammers earn about US$120,000 weekly, wash their cars with champagne, and stage money-burning contests. Another broken window. We pampered them saying their crime was reparation. In fact, they were cruelly scamming elderly Americans with dementia and alzheimers; we didn't fix it and now the murder rate associated with lotto-scamming has skyrocketed.<br /> <br /> We can all point to various windows in Jamaica's house that are broken and need fixing, yet we procrastinate. If we had nipped the problems in the bud, our country would be far better.<br /> <br /> The Jamaica Public Service has nearly 542,000 residential customers, and between 150,000 and 200,000 households steal electricity. Around 70 per cent of water produced by the National Water Commission is stolen and 27,000 customers in St Elizabeth owe nearly a billion dollars. Too many of Jamaica's windows are broken because we failed to arrest problems when they were cracks, and unfortunately we are now playing catch-up.<br /> <br /> Mark Clarke<br /> <br /> Siloah PO, St Elizabeth<br /> <br /> Is Jamaica suffering from the broken window theory?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11276617/JamaicaFlag_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, July 21, 2015 12:00 AM The minister doth protest distastefully http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/The-minister-doth-protest-distastefully_19218779 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Politics can be a dirty affair, however, it is especially disheartening to see it operating in your country. As a patriotic Jamaican, I am insulted by the uncouth behaviour some of our political leaders display. I wish to bring into sharp focus, that most unfortunate and distasteful broadside against the parliamentary Opposition by National Security Minister Peter Bunting.<br /> <br /> First, in dismissing concerns about the rise in murders, he described the piling up of our murdered loved ones as a mere "bump in the road". It conveys such an uncaring attitude by the minister. He, more than anyone else, should be extremely concerned about the spike in murders.<br /> <br /> And if this were not bad enough, the minister proceeded to cuss out the Opposition spokesman on national security in a most undignified manner. Historically, politicians have used disparaging slurs to describe their colleagues; we have heard, Jezebel, enemy of the state, empty barrels, termites, pathologically mendacious, and the list goes on. However, I have never heard "John Crow". Bunting has brought our politics to a new low. He was grossly irresponsible for allowing it to escape his lips.<br /> <br /> Jamaicans are looking for dependable leaders, not people who are confrontational. The minister is expected to conduct himself in a manner befitting the office he holds. The incendiary and verbally abusive tone is simply unacceptable.<br /> <br /> I strongly suggest he direct his efforts towards the monstrous issue of crime, which is threatening to choke the life out of us all.<br /> <br /> Marlon Morgan<br /> <br /> Deputy Opposition Spokesman on Agriculture<br /> <br /> marlonandremorgan@gmail.com<br /> <br /> The minister doth protest distastefully<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10350446/Marlon-Morgan_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, July 20, 2015 12:00 AM Dayton Campbell has a point http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Dayton-Campbell-has-a-point_19219676 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Kudos to the young MP from St Ann, Dr Dayton Campbell for raising an issue of national significance: the true role and function of the National Housing Trust (NHT).<br /> <br /> Too many ineligible Jamaicans are contributing to NHT. To many this may be seen as an obvious departure from the PNP script by Campbell, as the NHT is the PNP's poster organisation. Campbell was recently quoted saying too many Jamaicans cannot access loans from the NHT despite contributing for years. The MP said the policy of giving these people refunds, instead of loans, does not help the goal of homeownership. He instead asked the governing PNP to increase the stock of low-income housing so that poor Jamaicans may own homes.<br /> <br /> This level of open honesty from the political platform is refreshing and rather welcome from the young MP, who has been noted for rather uncouth remarks in the past. These recent comments, however, provide the PNP and the nation with the opportunity to impartially assess the functions and performance of the NHT in the context of the provisions of the NHT Act.<br /> <br /> We must return to Hansard to determine the thought processes and originally intended purpose of the Trust as envisioned by the framers. For it is inconceivable that the intended purpose of the Trust was to become a slush fund for Government, while 75 per cent of contributors are unfit to access the promised benefits, which raises the ultimate question: Is the NHT the most efficient means of adding to and improving the existing housing stock? The primary function of the Trust, under the Act, must be analysed in the context of the growth of building societies and other parallel institutions, both public and private.<br /> <br /> Therefore, while Dr Campbell may have ruffled some feathers in the PNP, the country will be further disadvantaged if we let slip, this ultimate point of departure to at least academically inquire into the functions, purpose and performance of the trust, with the aim of deciding whether the NHT is fulfilling its obligations to truly improve the country's housing stock.<br /> <br /> For, while we might be alarmed at the inability of the majority of contributors to meet the minimum qualifying criteria, any relaxation will exponentially, increase the risk of default and number of non-performing loans, which would inevitably impair the Trust's future prospects. The same holds true for the Students' Loan Bureau.<br /> <br /> We might well come to the conclusion that the NHT, as conceived, is presently unable to provide affordable housing for the majority of contributors and therein lies the major contradiction of the NHT. If we wish to save Jamaicans from perpetual homelessness and the scourge of squatting we must rethink the NHT but we cannot thrust it carelessly aside.<br /> <br /> Phillip A Chambers<br /> <br /> phillipdcchambers@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Dayton Campbell has a point<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12001864/NHT-2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, July 20, 2015 12:00 AM Gov't must not be seen as cruel to JSPCA http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Gov-t-must-not-be-seen-as-cruel-to-JSPCA_19219130 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I've heard that the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (JSPCA) is euthanising animals in their care because the Government is evicting them from Winchester Road and they are unable to afford a suitable home for all the animals.<br /> <br /> The Jamaican Government, through its Minister of Finance Peter Philips, controls the Jamaica Racing Commission which is evicting them. The horse-racing industry uses horses for profit, and frequently those unfit for racing are seen wandering along the highways and byways left to fend for themselves. I suppose the JSPCA gets the call to collect these horses. As humans who have domesticated animals, who mostly are dependent on us for their survival, we have the inescapable responsibility for their health and welfare.<br /> <br /> The JSPCA provides affordable care for the animals belonging to many poor Jamaicans, and it is inevitable that, if they they are driven out of operation, the health of our island's animals will suffer. Indeed, as a consequence, zoonotic diseases (that is, animal diseases transmittable to us) will increase, which I am sure will make the minister of health very happy. The left hand of Government doesn't seem to know what the right hand is doing.<br /> <br /> The stupid, short-sighted turfing out of the JSPCA from its Winchester Road location can only be seen as such -- short-sighted.<br /> <br /> The lands of the Ministry of Agriculture at Hope, or the vast lands of King's House are more than suitable for the relocated JSPCA from what I can see from the Google Maps app. If they are allowed to use a suitable portion of the King's House lands, I am sure The Queen herself would approve. The ruminants they treat could even be employed to mow the lawn!<br /> <br /> A responsible government would surely make a superior location available to the JSPCA, and cede it to the organisation in perpetuity. They are certainly promoting cruelty to the animals in the care of the JSPCA and the rest of Jamaica if they fail to aid in providing a suitable home for the hard-working JSPCA.<br /> <br /> Howard Chin, PE<br /> <br /> Member, Jamaica Institution of Engineers<br /> <br /> hmc14 @cwjamaica.com<br /> <br /> Gov't must not be seen as cruel to JSPCA<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12002057/ZZ0ED6B250_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, July 20, 2015 12:00 AM Deal with the real issue, Commish http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Deal-with-the-real-issue--Commish_19219317 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The commissioner of police recently proposed that consideration be given to amending the Bail Act to provide bail for people who are arrested even before being charged. It is my understanding that the 'mischief' to be corrected by such an amendment is that it would prevent an accused man languishing either in jail or awaiting trial, and disposal of the matter on which he was brought before the court. We need to find out what causes this mischief and address it.<br /> <br /> For a person to be arrested there has to be reasonable suspicion, and for the charge to be laid there has to be evidence to support the same. The delay in bringing to trial and final disposal appears to, in the majority of cases, rest with our police, who must investigate and collect the evidence to support the charge. If there are difficulties in the process of discharging that responsibility by the police, because of staffing, training and/or equipment, this need to be addressed. How does granting bail before charging an individual fix the problem?<br /> <br /> We should be careful not to indulge the inefficiencies that exist in maintaining law and order. It is a grand illusion to think that with providing anti-gang, DNA legislation, and now amendments to the bail provisions to a failing system, that this will somehow bring about efficiency.<br /> <br /> Colonel Allan Douglas<br /> <br /> Kingston 10<br /> <br /> alldouglas@aol.com <br /> <br /> Deal with the real issue, Commish<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11987231/Dr-Carl-Williams.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, July 20, 2015 12:00 AM Remember the promise to the vendors? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Remember-the-promise-to-the-vendors_19219621 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> President Barrack Hussein Obama visited Jamaica over April 9-10, 2015. A massive clean-up and road repairs campaign was embarked upon by the National Works Agency (NWA), the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) and the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA). Millions of dollars were spent.<br /> <br /> The vendors of crabs, soup, roast and boiled corn had their stalls demolished as part of the clean-up as National Heroes Park was a venue on President Obama's itinerary.<br /> <br /> At that time, the KSAC and corporate Jamaica had indicated an intention to formalise the vending operation by building stalls, etc. Today, it is business as usual, and the vendors are out in their numbers selling from their wooden stalls. What has happened to the plan(s) to improve the lot of the vendors?<br /> <br /> We should invite the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, on an official working visit to Jamaica and invite him to lay a wreath at the grave of the 150 inmates/golden agers of the Eventide Home, who lost their lives in the infamous 1980 fire. I believe the vendors would get new stalls for this visit, as the NWA, NSWMA, and KSAC would embark on another clean-up campaign which would again include the vendors.<br /> <br /> Who to tell, President Putin might just break protocol and go over to the vendors to have a boiled corn, crab, or even a cup of soup.<br /> <br /> Joseph M Cornwall Snr, JP<br /> <br /> Managing Director/CEO<br /> <br /> House of Tranquillity Funeral Home<br /> <br /> tranquillityfh@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Remember the promise to the vendors?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12002189/ZZ5EF9B91E_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, July 20, 2015 12:00 AM