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 Is the GOJ in breach? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Is-the-GOJ-in-breach-_16469807 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> We note with concern the furore over the removal of the Energy Monitoring Committee (EMC). However many have missed the point and wider picture.<br /> <br /> To begin, within the context of the the Partnership For Jamaica agreement [http://jis.gov.jm/media/PFJ-Agreement-final2_2013July31.pdf] isn't the removal of the EMC a breach of the signed document of which the Private Sector Of Jamaica (PSOJ) is a signatory? Let us examine this in a very simple and pragmatic way.<br /> <br /> The agreement's guidelines seek to:<br /> <br /> a) deepen the process of participatory decision-making: by recognising that no one sector has all the answers, and, reaffirming the commitment to the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) Code of Consultation which recognises that better development decisions result from an inclusive and consultative approach.<br /> <br /> b) engender trust and confidence: by building the partnership process and the ownership by the wider society of national development plans and goals, through ongoing dialogue and agreed actions based on mutual respect and a commitment to genuine cooperation, meaningful consultation and honest communication.<br /> <br /> c) exhibit effective leadership: by providing the will, courage and maturity, within partner organisations and collectively within the Partnership, and through effective communication and consultation with the broader society, to make and carry out necessary decisions in the best long term interests of the nation and the widest cross section of Jamaicans d) perform critical problem-solving: by drawing on the wealth of information,experience, expertise, insight and other resources within the Partnership, in the wider society, and the Jamaican Diaspora, to champion workable solutions to national development challenges and to provide the requisite focus, discipline and accountability in executing work plans to successful completion. (refer page 4 of the agreement).<br /> <br /> Specifically for energy diversification and conservation (refer page11), the agreement says:<br /> <br /> "In recognition of Jamaica's high energy cost and tropical climate, and in light of ongoing improvements in renewable technology, the Partners commit to a national thrust, led by the Partners, focused on commercial, residential and government users, toward the use of solar and other forms of renewable energy as a visible plank in Jamaica's energy diversification efforts..."<br /> <br /> Is the GOJ, therefore, in breach? Not really. However, what is happening here is a misunderstanding of each other's role. Further, this type of misunderstanding leads to a lack of trust that causes social partnerships, like Partnership For Jamaica, to collapse.<br /> <br /> We recommend that the National Partnership Council, and with extension its secretariat (refer pages 12-13), needs to be more proactive here and not reactive as the perception in Jamaica is that they have become moribund.<br /> <br /> Charles Demontaque, PhD<br /> <br /> Stafford University<br /> <br /> United Kingdom<br /> <br /> charlesdemontaque@yahoo.co.uk<br /> <br /> Is the GOJ in breach?<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 16, 2014 2:00 AM The result of misguided talent http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/The-result-of-misguided-talent-_16469799 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> For the past several weeks Vybz Kartel has made every news headline. The publicity of his saga played out in the media, just for the trial alone, has received more coverage than many artistes have had in their entire career. Is it that negativity sells or the media is just another hyping tool one may ask?<br /> <br /> Over the years Kartel has emerged as one of the most prolific writers and lyricists in the history of Jamaican music culture. He has managed to remain relevant despite his inability to travel to lucrative markets. However, this fame and fortune has landed him a prison sentence that no remorseful human would ever want upon themself. Guilty or innocent, whichever he may be, his persona which was media-supported, has caught up with him.<br /> <br /> Yet, in his trials and tribulations over the years Vybz Kartel has done some good &mdash; none of which the media seems to care about.<br /> <br /> While all this attention is beamed one way, on the other hand a humble and calm aspiring artiste like Stikki Tantafari, who has travelled the US and sections of Europe spreading his reggae music, has received no media support. Is it that his lyrics aren't degrading young women, promoting sex, or glorying the criminal underworld? What does it takes really to get some media coverage and exposure on positives? It is full time the media avoids echoing negativity. Many artistes struggle from this bias in the media. No wonder other countries like Japan, which doesn't even speak English, take the positive of our music and spread it for their own capital benefit. Wake up and show the world the many young, positive and talented artisteS that Jamaica can produce.<br /> <br /> Kevin Roache<br /> <br /> kevinja11@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> The result of misguided talent<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10595552/Vybz-Kartel-3_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 16, 2014 2:00 AM Is there really smooth sailing in the 360MW project? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Is-there-really-smooth-sailing-in-the-360MW-project-_16464520 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> There are a number of questions that need to be asked surrounding the Energy World International (EWI) bid for the 360MW project. To the lay person EWI is smoothly pushing forward, the press reports the steady progress of the process with pictures of the minister and the preferred bidder visiting the future home of our energy needs. Is there really smooth progression?<br /> <br /> EWI wrote to the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) to say that they will not post the 5 per cent performance bond under the current terms of the licence. This letter was in the possession of the OUR prior to the recommendation of the licence, yet the terms have remained.<br /> <br /> More than a week ago the Minister said he was "going to his desk" to sign the licence that was recommended by the OUR on May 26th (see OUR press release on their website). In fact, he signed the licence on Friday, April 4, but did not transmit it to EWI, and has just announced it. The licence does not become valid until given to EWI and as such the clock on the 10-day timeline for the 5 per cent performance bond does not start ticking.<br /> <br /> Six months on from the award of the bid and the process is not proceeding in a clear and transparent way.<br /> <br /> Do Stuart Elliot and EWI intend to post the bond?<br /> <br /> Recently Stuart Elliot met with members of Cabinet, including Horace Dalley and Sandrea Falconer, to brief them on the progress of the project. He told them that he cannot post the bond because the terms of the licence are unbankable. He is proposing instead to post only the construction bond.<br /> <br /> This would, in effect, extend the deadline for providing the bond from 10 days to 6 months. It would also remove all liability for adhering to the terms of the EWI bid that was submitted. Furthermore, the first bond submitted is about to expire, and so he will be completely off the hook for any committments made in the bid process. It also opens the door to have the terms renegotiated without risk to EWI.<br /> <br /> The OUR and the minister seem to be working at cross purposes. Yet public relations notices insist that the project is proceeding apace.<br /> <br /> News has also come that the EMC is to be disbanded. Are we about to see a licence amended to have EWI let off the hook for the performance bond? And, with no EMC and a supportive Cabinet will the OUR allow this?<br /> <br /> John Bowls<br /> <br /> johnbowls@outlook.com<br /> <br /> Is there really smooth sailing in the 360MW project?<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 16, 2014 2:00 AM Speak out against child abuse http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Speak-out-against-child-abuse_16469901 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It has recently been brought to my attention how little most of us know or even care about child abuse in Jamaica. Child abuse is an issue which is increasing at an alarming rate, and this is happening because we as a people have either lost our voice or we choose not to use our voice.<br /> <br /> Our children are being physically, mentally, emotionally, and sexually abused on a daily basis and they are too afraid to speak up about it. This is mainly because they realise that the adults around them are not doing anything to prevent it.<br /> <br /> Child abuse is a problem that affects everyone, and so everyone needs to take a stand against it. We see a lot of these stories on TV, hear them on the radio, or read about them in the paper, and we express a moment of disgust; but how many of us give it a second thought? Do we wonder what happened to that child and how often these abusers are punished?<br /> <br /> Who really is to be blamed for when a child is abused? Do we blame the child or the abuser? What about the parents or guardians of that child, are they to be blamed as well? Why do we ignore these things when they happen? We need to speak up against child abuse! We are all to be blamed because we know about it yet we keep quiet. It is not our child or a member of our family, so why should we bother to report it?<br /> <br /> This happens in many communities. There are men who continuously, for years, molest young girls and even have children with them, but no one says anything. We all forget our voices or we refuse to speak. When this happens, the man feels protected and so he does it again and again and again, and only when he does it to someone we care about do we finally decide to get angry about it.<br /> <br /> Well, I say we are all to be blamed for child abuse. If you remain quiet when it happens, it is your fault. Do not let any more of our children suffer because of our silence. Speak out against child abuse!<br /> <br /> Kenisha Williams<br /> <br /> kenishawilliams499@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Speak out against child abuse<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 16, 2014 2:00 AM Time to resort to stoning http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Time-to-resort-to-stoning_16473646 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Thank God, I am free at last! This is just to note that I have decided to stop entertaining debates, dialogues, and conversations regarding matters of reproductive rights and human sexuality. Let us cut all this nonsense about critical thinking and allow the Bible to do the thinking.<br /> <br /> Uphold the biblical injunction against adultery, fornication, homosexuality, shaving of the beard, wearing multi-fabric clothing, and farming through intercropping. We are a country that is blessed with an abundance of stones, and there is no sane reason why the various Christian denominations would find it difficult identifying volunteers to do stoning. Already paid staff may be mandated to assist with stoning for one day per week.<br /> <br /> It is full time church leaders and serious Christians stop using the excuse of love, compassion, and following Christ to protect these sinners from what God says must be done. Too many different interpretations are confusing the matter.<br /> <br /> Then there is this crazy notion about listening to what different people have to say about their perspective on such things as female reproductive rights, human sexuality, and human rights in general. Why listen? Why should we have dialogue? All that is necessary is for a handful of persons to dictate what and how people should think.<br /> <br /> Away with democracy and welcome to theocracy! Away with tolerance and big up intolerance. Let Vision 2030 be changed to Blind 2030. It is time we take a stand for a different Jamaica. Strengthen culturally emotive perspectives, and condemn evidence-based information.<br /> <br /> Yes! Free at last to make a choice. Yes, we can! Will you?<br /> <br /> Fr Sean Major-Campbell<br /> <br /> seanmajorcampbell@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> (The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.) <br /> <br /> Time to resort to stoning<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 16, 2014 2:00 AM Politicians need to have pride http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Politicians-need-to-have-pride_16469518 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I was amazed to read an article appearing in the Sunday Observer of April 13, 2014 entitled 'Crime fear grips Port Royal'.<br /> <br /> I want to ask how could shanty towns be established without the relevant bodies taking immediate action to halt the massacre of what should be preserved as Jamaica's rich legacy?<br /> <br /> It is bad enough that the politicians to date have done nothing to recognise and preserve those parts of Jamaica that are of historical importance, not just to Jamaica but to the rest of the world.<br /> <br /> Our politicians lack pride. If they had any pride at all Port Royal and other historical places would be preserved and kept beautiful and dignified.<br /> <br /> Let them squander and use taxpayers funds as if it belongs to them and the debts that they incur will be repaid personally by them and not the country. That's what they are excellent at doing.<br /> <br /> How could these squatter communities be established without action? Do they go up at nights and dissappear in the morning?<br /> <br /> Why is it the newspaper are the ones to bring this to our attention? And if they did not, would it just be allowed to grow and developed into another ghetto? Shame! Shameful!<br /> <br /> I urge the politicians to inject an ounce of pride and dignity into their soul and do what should be done to preserve Jamaica.<br /> <br /> I would be ashamed to be the leader of a country that is just spiralling into moral decay.<br /> <br /> I am reminded of the story of the "one-eyed" king leading a blind man's country.<br /> <br /> Faye Jacobs<br /> <br /> faye_jacobs22@msn.com<br /> <br /> CAP: A section of the sqautter community in Port Royal known as 'Back a Wall' or 'Mitchelin'.<br /> <br /> Politicians need to have pride<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10592831/port-royal-slum_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, April 15, 2014 2:00 AM I can't sleep, PM http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/I-can-t-sleep--PM_16469544 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> This is an open letter to Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller:<br /> <br /> I am starting this letter at three o'clock in the morning. It is that important. Some years ago, during your first tenure in office, I recall, the then Netherlands ambassador complaining publicly about his inability to sleep at night, because of sound system noise. I was so ashamed. I assumed you would be too and that you would do something about this plague that stalks the land. Being na&iuml;ve, I obviously overestimated your tolerance for shame.<br /> <br /> I am unable to sleep at night, but that's neither here nor there. I am old and will soon be released from this hell. I won't bore you with my medical issues, brought about by lack of sleep. My concern is for the silent majority, the aged, but particularly the young, all the people you claim to love. As regards the young, surely it can't be beyond you, to make a connection between lack of sleep and proper rest and hopelessly poor grades in school; attention deficit disorder; and disruptiveness in class.<br /> <br /> Believe me, you don't need to be a psychiatrist, to relate these conditions to hopelessness, criminality and a backward economy. Please don't say that amplified screaming, shouting, swearing and thumping throughout the entire night, every night, is about freedom of expression and having fun. It is not. It's about those same delinquents I mentioned exercising the freedom to destroy and bring this society down to their level of depravity.<br /> <br /> Avoid advising the distressed to call the police, it doesn't work. This is beyond the police, it's in your hands. You must ignore all political considerations, arrive at a consensus with the opposition, which cannot object, and solve this problem now, not 18 months from now. This is a nightmare, that goes on, and on, and on.<br /> <br /> Are we a civilised society, or a cesspool infested by vermin? I know how I would answer that. I wonder how the Netherlands ambassador would? You do marvelously well, raising taxes and debt, but I am asking you to step away from your comfort zone for a while and really do something positive for the people of this country. Make our burden a little lighter, make us hate a little less. I suspect your secretary won't let you see this letter, it is after all bad news, and I understand that you avoid bad news. Imagine that, a prime minister who has no interest in the current events in her country. May God help us.<br /> <br /> Steven Barrett<br /> <br /> I can't sleep, PM<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, April 15, 2014 2:00 AM CHEC's damming of Rio Cobre old news http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/CHEC-s-damming-of-Rio-Cobre-old-news_16464547 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Government has been touting China Harbour Engineering Company's (CHEC) "new" plan to dam the Rio Cobre as the best thing since sliced bread, but this is really nothing new.<br /> <br /> Over 40 years ago, as a young engineer beginning my career, I heard of these plans and was told that investigations had been done and that they had not been found to be feasible; to the best of my recollection, because of faulting and porosity of the rocks.<br /> <br /> I have heard that from as far back as the 1950s or 1960s investigations into the building of dams on the Rio Cobre and its tributaries had been done. As a result of the recent declarations that marvellous things were coming down the pipeline I asked a few older engineers about the investigations. The recollection of senior civil engineer Cowell Lyn is that either of the international firms Howard Humphries and Co and Ewbank and Partners were involved in doing work for the National Water Commission in this regard and that the firm of Engineering Sales Ltd, under George Lechler Snr, (now quite elderly) drilled the rock cores.<br /> <br /> I spoke to George Lechler on Friday and he remembered drilling cores at the site of the old dam &mdash; which was used for the hydro station that powered the tram cars of yesteryear &mdash; and at Harker's Hall, which I remember was proposed for the location of a dam and is on the Tom's River tributary of the Rio Cobre. A disturbing recollection was that there might have been sand found in the cores.<br /> <br /> He told me that he had passed on the borehole logs (which are the analyses of the cores pulled up from the boreholes) to Jentech Consultants Ltd a number of years ago.<br /> <br /> Now, I find it quite distasteful for the Government to be essentially shouting that CHEC is going to solve our water and other problems by damming the Rio Cobre without &mdash; to the best of my knowledge -&mdash; even asking the engineers of the NWC (a government body) and the Jamaica Institution of Engineers. It's like so many things; if it's imported, it must be superior.<br /> <br /> They ought to do some checking for the borehole logs; save some time and money before drilling new cores. Sometimes I think we'd be better off if we had engineers running the Government, like the Chinese had a few years ago.<br /> <br /> Howard Chin, PE<br /> <br /> Member, Jamaica Institution of Engineers<br /> <br /> hmc14@cwjamaica.com<br /> <br /> CHEC's damming of Rio Cobre old news<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9861622/CHEC-Staff-Coastal-Clean-up_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, April 14, 2014 2:00 AM Freedom worth much more than 17 guns! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Freedom-worth-much-more-than-17-guns-_16464530 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Sunday Observer front page news story of April 13, 2014, was one of the most startling I've read in a long while: "17 Guns for Freedom". If there is any truth to the investigative report, which by all accounts is believable, that Kartel offered information to police leading to the arrest of several wanted men, and the recovery of 17 guns, law-abiding citizens of this country, must be stunned.<br /> <br /> The crime situation over the years has always been frightening with the murder rate escalating. If anything, Kartel's alleged disclosure should be considered retribution, a small form of community service, and payback for all the wrongs committed which can never be righted for the many lives lost, and the families hurt and torn apart. Those who support criminal elements, indirectly and directly, from uptown to downtown, should be warned, crime never pays and can never be rewarded.<br /> <br /> I commend the police who work under such trying circumstances; risking their lives trying to protect us. They are not perfect, but do their best.<br /> <br /> I wonder what UWI has to say now, celebrating a man like this who has always had suspect criminal connections, often implied by the lyrics of some songs? The media and corporate Jamaica should distance themselves, as far as possible, from these types.<br /> <br /> A man like Kartel had such promise as an artiste. Yes, some of his songs were remarkably catchy. An aspiring talent with fame, success and wealth at his doorsteps. Someone who had untapped global potential, an opportunity to better himself and help those less fortunate around him. Instead, he chose a criminal life which ended with a long prison sentence.<br /> <br /> Was it worth it? You can't go to court with dirty hands then try to be rewarded with disclosure. There is no reward for evil. Someone should educate Kartel, freedom is worth much more than 17 guns, freedom is actually a way of life!<br /> <br /> P Chin<br /> <br /> chin_p@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Freedom worth much more than 17 guns!<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10590656/SUNDAY13_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, April 14, 2014 2:00 AM The real lesson in the sad episode http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/The-real-lesson-in-the-sad-episode_16464570 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I write in response to your editorial in the Observer on Saturday, April 12, 2014 entitled "Valuable lesson from a sad episode" in which you quoted Dr Rachel Irving as saying "If an athlete can prove that a supplement that he or she took contains banned substances that were not listed on the label, he or she would likely just be warned (instead of banned) come January 1, 2015."<br /> <br /> Respectfully, a careful reading of the revised WADA Code which comes into effect next year suggests that the range for sanction reductions is wider than that suggested by Dr Irving. The 2015 Code does indicate that there could be a reduction in the sanction received by an athlete who commits an anti-doping rule violation if he/she can establish no significant fault or negligence and can prove that the substance they took was contaminated.<br /> <br /> However, the actual wording of section of the Code is instructive: " Contaminated Products &mdash; In cases where the athlete or other person can establish no significant fault or negligence and that the detected prohibited substance came from a contaminated product, then the period of ineligibility shall be, at a minimum, a reprimand and no period of ineligibility, and at a maximum, two years ineligibility, depending on the athlete's or other person's degree of fault."<br /> <br /> The comments to section 10.4 of the Code further point out that an athlete cannot establish No Fault or Negligence with respect to "a positive test resulting from a mislabelled or contaminated vitamin or nutritional supplement. (Athletes are responsible for what they ingest [Article 2.1.1] and have been warned against the possibility of supplement contamination)."<br /> <br /> In essence the athlete or other person in the case of contaminated product(s) has to accept some level of fault or negligence. The question is the degree or level of fault/negligence which the hearing panel will take into consideration in determining the sanction for the ADRV. It's not going to be the case that "one size fits all".<br /> <br /> Renee Anne Shirley<br /> <br /> renee.shirley@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> The real lesson in the sad episode<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9758738/Dr-Rachel-Irving_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, April 14, 2014 2:00 AM Road to English... speaking http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Road-to-English----speaking_16464705 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> On the world's stage, English can be considered the number one language. It is the official language of 54 countries, the United Nations, International Olympic Committee, European Union, Organisation of American States, etc. It is the language of science and commerce. English is also the language of aerial and maritime communication.<br /> <br /> Research shows that 375 million people speak English as a first language, while 470 million to one billion people speak it as a second language. Most of the native speakers of the language are from USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It is the language that is most often taught in countries where it is not the official language. English is the most often studied/learnt foreign language in Europe.<br /> <br /> It is important for Jamaicans and other nationalities to have a good command of the English language as it creates job opportunities and economic benefits locally and internationally. A very good command of the English language is required for many professions. Moreover, the quality of English used in a country is an index for measuring the standard of education in the said country.<br /> <br /> There are some individuals who are of the view that English should not be studied. Some feel that the knowledge of English is automatic. I disagree with such persons. One needs only consider the fact that many students in Jamaica and other parts of the world perform poorly when evaluated by tests. Therefore, to improve the pass rate in English examinations and the quality of our English in Jamaica, I recommend the following:<br /> <br /> 1. English grammar and syntax should be taught at primary school.<br /> <br /> 2. Students should be exposed to the phonological and phonetic elements of the language.<br /> <br /> 3. Spelling rules should be taught and correct spelling emphasised.<br /> <br /> 4. Students should be encouraged to be avid readers, as this will enable them to build their vocabulary.<br /> <br /> 5. Parents and teachers should encourage students to use English a lot in their oral and written communication. This will provide them with the opportunity to bring into play those rudiments of the language that they have learnt and internalised.<br /> <br /> 6. Drama, songs and drawings should be used as an apparatus in language teaching and learning.<br /> <br /> 7. Debates and essay writing competitions should be held not only in schools but in the wider society. Business operators need to sponsor such ventures.<br /> <br /> It is necessary to state that we should not see the English language as a vestige of British colonialism or a symbol of linguistic imperialism but a vehicle for achieving international intelligibility.<br /> <br /> Ugochukwu Wilson Durueke<br /> <br /> udurueke@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Road to English... speaking<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10501917/GSAT_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, April 14, 2014 2:00 AM Where's an exporter wannabe to turn? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Where-s-an-exporter-wannabe-to-turn-_16453525 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I have long held the view that certain private sector affiliated agencies, for example the Jamaica Exporters' Association (JEA) and JAMPRO, serve no useful purpose and should be closed down.<br /> <br /> To support this view I will describe two encounters a fellow businessman had with them recently.<br /> <br /> He received an order from a distributor based in Europe, but to enable him to fill this order he was required to provide them with a Material Safety Data Sheet.<br /> <br /> He telephoned the JEA and asked in a clear voice: "Have you got any MSDS forms available?" The young lady who answered gave an immediate "what did you say, Sir?"<br /> <br /> After asking about four times to the same response, she asked him if he wished to speak to the manager.<br /> <br /> When the manager came on the telephone she introduced herself with a long double-barrelled name. Asked the same question, the manager offered no solution.<br /> <br /> In exasperation he decided to call JAMPRO. No solution.<br /> <br /> Isn't it any wonder why Jamaica is so poor.<br /> <br /> Ken Spencer<br /> <br /> Kingston 8<br /> <br /> ken3_1999@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Where's an exporter wannabe to turn?<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Monday, April 14, 2014 2:00 AM Norman Girvan &mdash; the true Caribbean Man http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Norman-Girvan---the-true-Caribbean-Man_16452884 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Cropper Foundation extends its deepest condolence to the family of Professor Norman Girvan, who died on Wednesday. He was a founding member of this foundation and was its chairman for 13 years. He has been justly eulogised as one of the Caribbean's and world's foremost intellectuals, and for being a leading voice on regional unity and global development.<br /> <br /> Norman, though, was far more than a man of words and ideas who rubbed shoulders with the powerful. He was a man of conviction who worked hard, not for the honours and awards that were showered on him, but from selfless dedication to the Caribbean's people, whom he loved beyond measure, and the region's natural environment, which he fought tirelessly to protect. It is perhaps poetic that Norman, the Caribbean Man who was born in Jamaica and lived in Trinidad, would sustain his injuries in Dominica and die in Cuba.<br /> <br /> In 2000, when Angela and John Cropper conceived a foundation that would strive to make Caribbean development environmentally sustainable and economically fair, Norman was first to sign on. All of the foundation's accomplishments bear his fingerprints; from assessments of the living resources of the Caribbean Sea and the production of environmental education material for the region's schools, to the development of a scheme that places monetary values to natural environments like forests and coral reefs so that they can be more easily integrated into the region's planning.<br /> <br /> At 72, Norman seemed ageless and we have lost not just the man but all that he still had to give this country and the region.<br /> <br /> The Cropper Foundation, too, will be poorer for Norman's loss, but richer for the trail this exemplary man blazed in realising the vision he shared with Angela and John. A humble giant of great intellect and ethics, and equally great humour and humanity. We are grateful that he lived.<br /> <br /> Board of Trustees<br /> <br /> The Cropper Foundation<br /> <br /> Laventile<br /> <br /> Trinidad<br /> <br /> Norman Girvan -- the true Caribbean Man<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10583973/Norman-Girvan2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, April 11, 2014 2:00 AM Sad day of Alpha home closure http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Sad-day-of-Alpha-home-closure_16453386 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Those of us who have had the privilege of attending an educational institution operated by nuns know, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are dedicated, hard-working and, indeed, a stickler for discipline.<br /> <br /> It is indeed a sad day in Jamaica to find out that the Alpha Boys' Home, which has served both as a home and school for thousands of boys, will cease its residential care facilities in June 2014.<br /> <br /> The Alpha Boys' Home started in 1891 with 16 boys and has turned out many distinguished Jamaicans, including some of Jamaica's finest musicians. The school was founded by the religious order of The Sisters of Mercy and has had a proud and illustrious record over the years. The Sisters of Mercy was founded in 1831 by Catherine Elizabeth McAuley, an Irish nun who used her inheritance to build a home for homeless women and children and provide for them care and an education.<br /> <br /> Two reasons were given by The Sisters of Mercy for the closure of the residential care facilities. One was the failure of human capital to respond to the numerous and changing faces of the issues being displayed by the children, as well as the increase in antisocial behaviour among the children in the care system. These issues, however, are not confined to Alpha Boys' Home. In fact, the problem of antisocial behaviour within the society speaks to the moral decay that has been occurring over the years. This social ill should be a cause of grave concern for all well-thinking Jamaicans and should spur us into action to tackle this monster.<br /> <br /> Given the fact that many of the boys who lived at Alpha Boys' Home are at-risk youth we need to ask the question, what will be their living arrangements after the closure of the residential facilities at Alpha Boys' Home?<br /> <br /> In many instances these boys are from abusive backgrounds and should not return to such conditions. This is extremely disturbing, especially since the Ministry of Youth is reporting a 40 per cent increase in incidence of sexual abuse of children. It is extremely a sad state of affairs. Our children can't seem to catch a break.<br /> <br /> At the same time, we must be grateful that the Alpha Boys' Home will continue to operate its day school which will provide necessary skills training and academic classes to countless number of young men who are in need of such support.<br /> <br /> As a society, we need to thoroughly examine the situation at hand, and put in some concrete measures to stem the tide of neglect and other forms of abuse that our children encounter daily.<br /> <br /> We need to engage our parents more in terms of having parenting workshops on a regular basis. Too many of our parents are neglecting their responsibility as parents. We cannot continue to neglect and abuse our children in this manner. Our children are the foundation of all sustainable development. As a society it is important that we do everything, despite our budgetary constraints, to enrich, protect and build the human capital of our country.<br /> <br /> Wayne Campbell<br /> <br /> waykam@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> www.wayaine.blogspot.com<br /> <br /> Sad day of Alpha home closure<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10583974/Alpha-2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, April 11, 2014 2:00 AM Dancehall lyrics a big part of our problem http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Dancehall-lyrics-a-big-part-of-our-problem_16435903 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> There is no doubt in my mind that the content of dancehall lyrics is a significant contributor to the violence and wickedness perpetuated by a certain segment of the population.<br /> <br /> The artistes are encouraged to sing music that is inflammatory and the very same people who attend these dances and encourage these artistes to be nasty should consider if they are not contributing to many of the brutal robberies and murders that take place every day in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> I have noticed that when these so-called hardcore artistes perform the crowd near the stage is populated mainly by women, and the nastier the lyrics get the nastier they behave, and this tells me that many of these women may be sex-starved, so when they hear these songs it practically drives them crazy.<br /> <br /> Vybz Kartel is a major proponent of this type of music which made him very popular, hence when he was being tried and on the day of his sentencing his supporters expressed great disgust. In fact, one of his supporters said that Kartel and Clive 'Lizard' Williams used to "run up and down the place so ah no big ting if him kill him".<br /> <br /> This is what the music does to the minds of these people; hence murder to them is a way of life.<br /> <br /> Ken Spencer<br /> <br /> Kingston 8<br /> <br /> ken3_1999@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Dancehall lyrics a big part of our problem<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10572609/Kartel-Storm-3_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, April 11, 2014 2:00 AM Paulwell lucky Persad-Bissessar isn't his PM http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Paulwell-lucky-Persad-Bissessar-isn-t-his-PM_16453384 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I listened in utter amazement to the first story carried on the midday news by Radio Jamaica on 10th April 2014. The voice I heard sounded like that of Minister Phillip Paulwell, but I still cannot believe that such a suggestion could have really come from his mouth.<br /> <br /> In a nutshell, he was saying that the Jamaica Pubic Service (JPS) ought to institute a flat rate for electricity for those who are currently stealing the commodity. The interim flat rate mentioned was $2,000, and this would continue until 2016 when the new reduced rates would come into effect.<br /> <br /> Now, when those people stealing electricity blast their air-conditioning units and burn outside lights all day get to pay a nominal fee of $2,000, what message is being sent to legitimate paying customers? We are conserving like hell, playing by the rules, and getting shafted. Wouldn't it be better to just steal electricity too and pay $2,000 as against the $8000 plus per month for the next year and a half?<br /> <br /> The goodly minister should thank his lucky stars his prime minister isn't named Camilla Persad-Bissessar because, based on past experience, without a doubt he would be job-hunting tomorrow.<br /> <br /> By the way, I have a suggestion for the JPS, which I believe should go down well with Senator Lambert Brown. He was suggesting that the name of the police force be renamed the Jamaica Police Service. So, would not a name-change from the Jamaica Public Service to the Jamaica Public Force be appropriate?<br /> <br /> Robert Mitchell<br /> <br /> Manchester<br /> <br /> mitcib@yahoo.can<br /> <br /> Paulwell lucky Persad-Bissessar isn't his PM<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10563258/Phillip-Paulwell_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, April 11, 2014 2:00 AM Reparations won't fix our problems http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Reparations-won-t-fix-our-problems_16435902 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It seems to many that when we focus on the brutality of slavery and the making of profit from the human trade we are on reasonable moral grounds to now demand compensation. All things being equal, that's a no-brainer. After all, the very ones most profiting from sugar cane slavery were the ones "compensated" with 25 million pounds.<br /> <br /> This is corruption of the highest order. Even the arable lands, such as existed in this tight little island space, were corruptly acquired by profits secured from the slave trade. As far as being able to buy seats in Parliament the "Jamaicans" (slave owners) were often able to outbid English-born Lords.<br /> <br /> All this is well known. The trick now is how will we realistically get the English to admit that they owe us anything?<br /> <br /> Of course, they have no intention of "compensating" Jamaican descendants of former slaves, and they have many legs to stand on it seems. They can say they introduced &mdash; eventually &mdash; parliamentary democracy, an idea which is badly functioning in many African countries. They introduced a civil service, and governmental models which we use to hold the society together even today. However, I think the real problem is that we have so many social problems about which our politicians have made only slight improvements.<br /> <br /> Britain had and still has one of the most class-conscious societies in the world. This, and its various forms of prejudice, such as classism, racism and colourism, is used to keep everyone in check. When this is married to African tribalism &mdash; itself exclusionist, cronyistic, and often corrupt &mdash; we have an almost insoluble problem.<br /> <br /> So, our problem is as Bob Marley termed it &mdash; mental slavery. We must solve our societal ills to have a chance to stop the murders. If this continues to spread Jamaica will become unliveable, and no amount of reparations that we fight for and win can help.<br /> <br /> Cathy Brown<br /> <br /> cathy291181@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Reparations won't fix our problems<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, April 10, 2014 2:00 AM Where is the rural bus system? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Where-is-the-rural-bus-system--_16435901 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> We are yet to see a government-run transport system for rural areas. The minister, Omar Davies, had stated that the previous Administration had left a policy concerning this matter but it would be revisited and revised.<br /> <br /> This is why this country cannot progress at a faster rate. As one party leaves office, the incoming party puts their policies on hold. It has been months now and the minister is yet to make a further statement on the matter.<br /> <br /> As we wait to see what will come of this 'new policy', rural passengers, especially the elderly and children, continue to face high and unfair fares. Something urgently needs to be done.<br /> <br /> Shemar Barnes<br /> <br /> shem_scb@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10581187/Omar-Davies_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, April 10, 2014 2:00 AM Changing the face of tourism http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Changing-the-face-of-tourism_16445381 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> With the global economy looking bleaker in recent years, tourism is a sector that will feel the blow the hardest as visitors try to cut back on their spending for travel, leisure and entertainment. What then will happen to countries like Jamaica that rely so heavily on the foreign currency that the industry earns?<br /> <br /> Look at the turnout for the recent staging of ISSA's boys' and girls' championships. Grandstand tickets for the National Stadium were sold out weeks before the event. I'm told that foreigners booked their tickets months in advance, or perhaps from the year before. Maybe it's time to expand our offerings and image to include much more of sports tourism.<br /> <br /> Countries like Cuba and India have an interesting spin on tourism. They've combined the health industry with tourism to create a more profitable product to attract tourists.<br /> <br /> While Jamaica is a world-renowned brand, especially for its cultural icons and outstanding sportsmen and women, this may not be enough anymore in this competitive global market. If we truly expect to see a significant boost in Jamaica's economy, perhaps the sector needs to explore new partnerships and avenues to ensure that it steadily develops for true sustainability. Perhaps my challenge, then, is to the media and private sector to make this a reality.<br /> <br /> C E<br /> <br /> Tertiary student<br /> <br /> Changing the <br /> <br /> face of tourism<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10581149/CHAMPS-CROUD-3_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, April 10, 2014 2:00 AM Deal with indiscipline of 'schoolers' on JUTC buses http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Deal-with-indiscipline-of--schoolers--on-JUTC-buses_16445353 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> In recent newscasts I have heard Radcliffe Lewis from the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) saying <br /> <br /> that people who vend and preach on the buses will be prosecuted if they are caught.<br /> <br /> Quite recently my car broke down and I was forced to take the government buses for about three days. My experience has left a bad taste in my mouth.<br /> <br /> The students, especially the boys, seem to need to be disciplined. I think more focus needs to be on them than the vendors and the preachers. Most of these schoolboys, as soon as they board the bus, turn on their smartphones to blast music. And the songs they play are very explicit in their lyrical content. There is no regard for the adults on the bus and for the fact that they are attired in their school uniforms.<br /> <br /> The students then use indecent language in front of us adults and they hurl foul language at each other while on the buses. I think the authorities need to take a stand regarding these schoolchildren. A law needs to be passed for us citizens to be able to deal with some of these schoolboys. The transport authority or the JUTC needs to set in place a camera system in these buses to record their behaviour and expose it in the media so their parents may see the behaviour.<br /> <br /> Further, some of them tie their heads with pieces of cloth and wear earrings. I always wonder if the schools they attend accept them attired in such manner.<br /> <br /> Mark Bell<br /> <br /> mark.bellphoto@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Deal with indiscipline of 'schoolers' on JUTC buses<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, April 10, 2014 2:00 AM A matter of ethics http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/A-matter-of-ethics_16378397 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> SOME weeks ago, in an ethics class, the students were taught "Situation Ethics". Some time after that, they were given a pop quiz by the same teacher. As the teacher was marking the test papers, she was noticing that most of the students were getting perfect scores. She felt good about herself. The students had grasped the concept well.<br /> <br /> At her next class, she congratulated the students on their good results. The students responded, not expecting any disagreement: "Miss, we had to look in our book, because this was a pop quiz and we were not prepared for it." The teacher, with an outburst of shock, said: "Are you telling me that you cheated in the test?" The students responded: "We did not cheat. We did not expect that pop quiz, so the situation called for us to look at our notes."<br /> <br /> The teacher, in great anger, got up from around her desk, and shouted: "This is utter garbage! I have to scrap this test! It was not fairly done. You cannot cheat on a test and expect me to accept it! It will not reflect a true result of what you know."<br /> <br /> Now the students started to reason with the teacher: "You have taught us that right and wrong depends on the situation. You have also said that the emphasis is on the circumstances to determine what is right and what is wrong. You also said that moral values are expressions of one's feelings, so each person has to decide on their own values. You also said that moral values are not a prescription for life. Now we are confused."<br /> <br /> The teacher, trapped by what she had taught, said: "Students, there are certain things in life that are always wrong, and cheating on a test is one of them."<br /> <br /> The students said: "Then, Miss, that means you need to stop teaching us garbage."<br /> <br /> What a confusion that was. It is quite clear that, as human beings, there has to be a right and wrong that governs our lives. The all-wise God knows that this is why He did not leave us on our own, but He lovingly gave us the rule of measure, The Bible, as our guide. It is our prescription for life.<br /> <br /> Sonia Fay Buckland<br /> <br /> Meadowbrook<br /> <br /> faithfulb7@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> A matter of ethics<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, April 10, 2014 2:00 AM Protect supply of US$ for manufacturers http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Protect-supply-of-US--for-manufacturers_16435915 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I had the occasion to source some US dollars (USD) last month and the saying "he who feels it knows it" could not have been more true.<br /> <br /> The situation with regards to accessing USD in this country is fast becoming "chronic". Some will concede that we are already there. We all acknowledge that the USD is scarce. Whenever a commodity is scare you prioritise and restrict. A manufacturer today in Jamaica has access to the same amount of USD as any other person off the street. How can this be?<br /> <br /> It must be a case where the manufacturer is given some sort of priority so that he can pay overseas suppliers. If they fail to do so, they will ultimately go out of business resulting in job losses. I really do not understand the logics behind this. I am not sure if the "powers that be" realise that if our suppliers get wind of the fact that we are unable to access sufficient funds to settle their invoices they will require all payments upfront. This would be to the detriment of many producers.<br /> <br /> It must be a case where the manufacturer is given some sort of priority so that he can pay overseas suppliers. If they fail to do so, they will ultimately go out of business resulting in job losses. I really do not understand the logics behind this. I am not sure if the "powers that be" realise that if our suppliers get wind of the fact that we are unable to access sufficient funds to settle their invoices they will require all payments upfront. This would be to the detriment of many producers.<br /> <br /> I realise that we all have to start producing more for export so that we can ultimately earn our own USD. However, this will not happen overnight. Many of the companies operating now are cognisant of this fact and are working towards this goal, but need USD in the interim.<br /> <br /> Are we going to allow these firms to fail? Destroying a company today will be to the country's detriment down the road. I recall the demise of the dairy industry &mdash; despite the numerous warnings &mdash; that we are now trying to revive due to the increase in the price of milk powder. Who did not see that coming? We need to look long-term. We cannot just look at here and now.<br /> <br /> I am not sure whose policy there is with regards to the selling of USD, but we need to address it. Manufacturers should be given some priority. The money purchased by them should be for invoices presented and not to be deposited in their respective accounts. Many people are just buying USD to hedge against the devaluation of the Jamaican dollar. One cannot blame them; however, it cannot be to the detriment of the country's producers. Individual success will not help us as a country. We need to work together to get where we want to go. United we stand, divided we fall.<br /> <br /> Andrew Gray<br /> <br /> Gray's Pepper<br /> <br /> Protect supply of US$ for manufacturers<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 09, 2014 2:00 AM Rid the streets of the &lsquo;wipers&rsquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Rid-the-streets-of-the--wipers- Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I read with satisfaction about the move by the police to remove &ldquo;windscreen wipers&rdquo; from Three Miles. This satisfaction, however, was shortlived as I saw no indication that there would be efforts to remove those at the intersection of Molynes Road and Washington Boulevard and those at the intersection of Waterloo and Hope roads.<br /> <br /> As a female driver who regularly uses those roads, I experience great anxiety every time the red light catches me at one of these intersections. In one instance, I was stopped at the Molynes Road intersection. One young boy, who hides under the ever-present cap to protect his lightened face, again approached my car with the intention of wiping the windscreen.<br /> <br /> I, in my usual fashion, signalled not to do so as I had no change. He gave me a cold, hard stare, made several angry gestures before spraying the windscreen with whatever he had in the bottle and then walked away. This interaction takes places at least twice per week. In another instance I was stopped at the Waterloo intersection when three of these &ldquo;windscreen wipers&rdquo; surrounded the car. Despite my protests, they continued undeterred in their quest to wipe not only the windscreen, but also the windows.<br /> <br /> The really scary part was the fellow who stared very intently at me before proceeding to kiss and lick the windscreen, telling me that he is giving the kiss to the car since he &ldquo;can&rsquo;t give it to me&hellip; straight!&rdquo; Because of the nature of my business, I cannot change my route and so I am forced to endure this intimidation and other scare tactics. Although my windows are up and the doors are locked, I still feel very vulnerable and terrified of these &ldquo;wipers&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> I am therefore adding my voice to the many other persons out there who have had enough. I am asking the police to rid our streets of them.<br /> <br /> Kodi Walker<br /> <br /> kodiwalker365@gmail.com http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10578357/Windshield-wiper_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 09, 2014 1:32 AM Re-energise the youth for tourism http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Re-energise-the-youth-for-tourism_16435866 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I came across a recent article which shared an instance of students at a particular high school being indifferent to the thought of seeking jobs within the tourist industry. For them, the greatest challenge within the sector was the level of inequality in employment opportunities available. They mentioned the hotel industry specifically, as they hold the view that hotel managers are usually seeking only cheap labour.<br /> <br /> Then, there are other groups of young people working within the sector for the sole benefit of having a job. Is this the kind of response that we want our youth to have towards our tourism industry?<br /> <br /> From these observations we can deduce that when these youngsters think of the tourism sector the response is not, 'I get to promote Brand Jamaica' or 'I can get several opportunities from this'. Instead, they are eagerly looking for the next opportunity.<br /> <br /> I believe that it is time to really begin to market tourism to the youth. The first stage would be helping them to recognise the beauty of our island and the value of our culture, especially to their daily lives. We want our young people to gravitate to those features that are traditionally ours, even as they are bombarded with American and other foreign practices which we see so often of late.<br /> <br /> Tourists visit countries to have new experiences, and I put it to you that if we do not take the time to market these features to our youth we shall lose elements of our culture and very soon have limited value to attract tourists. The youth represent the country's future and so should be an involved part of the business of tourism.<br /> <br /> Concerned Youth Activist<br /> <br /> Re-energise the youth for tourism<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 09, 2014 2:00 AM I am not feeling the rhythm CVM http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/I-am-not-feeling-the-rhythm-CVM Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> In 2010, a few months before the start of the World Cup games in South Africa, the residents of Dublin Castle in Gordon Town, St Andrew, suddenly stopped receiving signal for CVM TV. A public service announcement informed us that they were upgrading their transmission system. Well, subsequent to the &lsquo;upgrade&rsquo; we have not been able to view CVM TV.<br /> <br /> To this day, there has been no change in this situation. CVM have been buying rights to air shows like the recent Gibson Relays and the upcoming World Cup games, etc knowing full well that many Jamaicans are unable to watch them due to lack of signal in these areas. Why not try and fix the problem so all Jamaican can have access. CVM-TV is no longer a &ldquo;baby&rdquo; to television, after all they are 23 years old.<br /> <br /> Another World Cup is almost here again, and we all are not feeling the rhythm. I am told that CVM is an acronym which means &ldquo;Community Television Systems Limited, Videomax Limited and Mediamix Limited&rdquo;. However, they are not living up to the &ldquo;C&rdquo; in their name, because some communities are left with a blank screen.<br /> <br /> Leroy Brown<br /> <br /> leroybrownman@gmail.com Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 09, 2014 1:37 AM