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 Action needed for our water woes http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Action-needed-for-our-water-woes_19154244 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> For many years, Jamaica has suffered from recurring annual droughts and water shortages. These are most severe on the south coast and particularly so in the Kingston metropolitan region. Every year there are statements by whoever is the minister of water about impending droughts, and often there are announcements about new water sources being tapped to bring additional supplies into the capital, and that this will solve our problems. Unfortunately, this never seems to happen and citizens continue to put up with restrictions and inconvenience year after year.<br /> <br /> Here are some projections for the medium term taken from a November 2013 Green Paper on Climate Change produced by the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change:<br /> <br /> "The mean annual temperature for Jamaica is projected to increase between 0.7 to 1.8 degrees Celsius by 2050. Greater levels of sedimentation [is expected] in reservoirs and dams and sediment transport to coastal resources as soil erosion increases with the greater incidence of more intense rainfall and hurricane events. Changes in temperature are expected to result in adverse shifts in climatic conditions for agricultural cultivation at certain altitudes. Increasing degradation and destruction of watersheds caused by the displacement of traditional activities/livelihood such as farming. Shortage of water during periods of prolonged droughts and projected rainfall changes range from -44 per cent to +18 per cent by 2050."<br /> <br /> What plans do we have in place to mitigate these changes and to minimise their impact? Here are a few more facts about water production in Kingston & St Andrew (KSA) taken from a 2011 NWC document on their website: "NWC water production facilities provide approximately 18,250 million gallons of water per year to the water supply network in KSA. Physical losses amount to some 9,672 million gallons per year, that is 44 per cent of the average annual production. Revenued water averages 7,002 million gallons per year, which is 45.9 per cent of the water produced. [About] 946 million gallons of water per year is attributed to unauthorised consumption (ie six per cent of production), due largely to illegal connections. The average asset age of the water supply network is in excess of 50 years."<br /> <br /> While I don't profess to be an expert on these matters, it would seem to me that, based on the above, there are a few common sense steps we could take in the short term to improve our water supply: Forget wasting scarce resources on tapping new sources of water outside of the KSA; de-silt the two major dams serving the KSA region; target reducing the 9,672 million gallons lost per year by say 10-15 per cent or 967 to 1,450 million gallons per year by replacing old, leaking pipes on a phased basis. Stop wasting money on non-productive programmes, like road bushing exercises under JEEP, and instead start an intensive reforestation programme with a mix of fast-growing species and hardwood trees using the same labour force. Increase the number of forest rangers to protect our watershed.<br /> <br /> Why do we have a Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change? What is its function? If they can't do the job, shouldn't we close it or at least reduce its remit to being just the Ministry of Land? After all, the IMF has mandated that we need to reduce our public sector wage bill.<br /> <br /> Trevor Blair<br /> <br /> tblair_ja@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Action needed for our water woes<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11942379/no-water_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, July 02, 2015 12:00 AM J-FLAG hails US Supreme Court ruling http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/J-FLAG-hails-US-Supreme-Court-ruling_19154000 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Last Friday, June 26, 2015, the United States became the 21st country to allow same-sex marriage as a right of all and not a privilege. Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Jamaicans and allies are excited about the ruling.<br /> <br /> Some Jamaican LGBTs are anxious to be able to express their love in committed, legally recognised relationships. It is a goal many of us share. J-FLAG wishes to congratulate all the brave individuals and organisations in the United States that have worked tirelessly toward this historic ruling. We are delighted that lesbian and gay couples in that country can further demonstrate their love and commitment to each other through one of civilisation's oldest institutions.<br /> <br /> Many people have expressed that they are concerned about the ruling and its potential impact here, and argued this is what J-FLAG is pursuing. As we should all know, the Supreme Court ruling has no effect on our constitution and J-FLAG is focused on securing fundamental rights, equality and dignity for the LGBT community in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Many people have expressed that they are concerned about the ruling and its potential impact here, and argued this is what J-FLAG is pursuing. As we should all know, the Supreme Court ruling has no effect on our constitution and J-FLAG is focused on securing fundamental rights, equality and dignity for the LGBT community in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> I use this opportunity to make clear that J-FLAG is dedicated to making Jamaica a safe, cohesive, and just society for every single Jamaican, in every nook and cranny. We remain committed to legislative and policy reform aimed at eliminating institutionalised homophobia, inequality, injustices, and inequity. As a matter of urgency, our organisation's legislative and policy activities are keen on ensuring that children and youth are no longer made homeless or bullied because of their real or perceived sexual orientation. We are working to reduce discrimination, hostility, and violence perpetrated against LGBT Jamaicans, and reducing the incidence of corrective sexual violence against lesbian and bisexual women. That is our mandate; regardless of who one is, the work ones does, the colour of one's skin, who one worships, or who one loves. We believe in the idea of a wholly inclusive society; one that takes pride in its rich diversity, celebrates its differences, and upholds the principles of dignity, equality, and fairness and furthering the national vision of making Jamaica "the place of choice to live, work, raise . and do business".<br /> <br /> Dane Lewis<br /> <br /> Executive Director<br /> <br /> J-FLAG<br /> <br /> J-FLAG hails US Supreme Court ruling<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11942382/Rainbow-flag_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, July 02, 2015 12:00 AM Talk on INDECOM unwarranted http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Talk-on-INDECOM-unwarranted_19151951 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I find it rather unfortunate, to say the least, that members of our Parliament are presently discussing whether there should be an oversight body to review the work being done by the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM).<br /> <br /> The INDECOM Act (2010), section 30 1-2 clearly outlines Parliament's role in giving oversight of INDECOM. The Commission may at any time be required by Parliament to submit thereto a report in respect of any matter under investigation by the Commission. The Commission shall submit to Parliament an annual report relating generally to the execution of its functions and may at any time submit a report relating to any particular incident investigated by it which, in its opinion, requires the special attention of Parliament.<br /> <br /> Establishing another oversight body to review the work being done by INDECOM will require the Jamaican taxpayers to dig deeper into their pockets to compensate a group of people to do the very work Parliament is already doing. INDECOM's core task is to conduct investigations into matters involving members of the security forces/agents of the State who are deemed questionable.<br /> <br /> An investigation is merely the collection of available evidence/information that will eventually guide the investigator in forming an opinion. It does not confirm innocence or guilt, therefore, the powers of INDECOM are limited, as only a court of law can decide on innocence or guilt. To date, there is no evidence of INDECOM acting in an egregious manner, so the present debate taking place in Parliament is, in my humble opinion, unwarranted.<br /> <br /> Dean McKenzie<br /> <br /> deamac2977@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Talk on INDECOM unwarranted<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10416327/INDECOM-logo_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, July 02, 2015 1:00 AM The elephant in the room http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/The-elephant-in-the-room_19152066 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> For years the Jamaican society has endlessly experienced the proverbial elephant in the room which refers to the denigrated political system. This has, for years, raped and polarised the spirit of our people. We live in a country that is ruined by political stigma and victimisation. At election time you are critised for wearing a certain colour shirt.<br /> <br /> In many ways our political climate resembles that of Africa. We must be careful that we are not so entrenched by and committed to a specific party that we'll do anything to keep that party in power. Lest we forget, Africa has been plagued by leaders who have been failures to their people.<br /> <br /> I remember the interview that Cliff Hughes did some years ago on his weekly programme Impact in which he spoke to a young man who was a former child soldier in his homeland of Africa. This interview brought into sharp focus the socio-political climate that exists in Africa -- in societies in which young men 13, 14, 15 years old and onwards are recruited by agents affiliated with a party and trained to carry out various atrocities against their fellow people including but not limited to removing their right hands thereby seeking to prevent them from voting. All this being done to attain or retain the reins of government. I shudder to think this might be the reality of Jamaica a few years from now.<br /> <br /> We should ask ourselves the question: Is this the way free-thinking and liberated Americans are treating each other even in their heated election climate?<br /> <br /> I watched with utter disgust as a resident of Tivoli Gardens spewed political gibberish on the television recently. The resident's comments were somewhere along the lines of "wi a straight Labourite". Such comments lets us see closer a fundamental flaw. Granted, people in communities such as Cherry Gardens and Norbrook may share their individual allegiances. But I am quite sure they wouldn't callously express this. It's the ordinary citizen who has allowed himself to be brainwashed by ambitious politrikcians and are then left holding the blade. Let us think on these things.<br /> <br /> Nick O Barrett<br /> <br /> Montego Bay<br /> <br /> St James<br /> <br /> The elephant in the room<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11321670/JLPNP_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, July 02, 2015 1:00 AM Jamaica at a crossroads http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Jamaica-at-a-crossroads_19153361 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It's not so long ago that Jamaica was at a crossroads as the country's lawmakers deliberated whether we should engage the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or try to move the country forward without it. The decision was as hard as it was easy.<br /> <br /> It was easy because it was Hobson's choice, we had to engage the IMF otherwise the country's economy would have ground to a halt. It was hard because, even as we prepared to make that decision, we knew that it was going to mean hardship for the country, especially the poor and disadvantaged. We knew that we would not be able to continue to ask civil servants to forgo a wage increase, but we also knew that we would not be able to give them an increase, certainly not what they deserved.<br /> <br /> It was easy because it was Hobson's choice, we had to engage the IMF otherwise the country's economy would have ground to a halt. It was hard because, even as we prepared to make that decision, we knew that it was going to mean hardship for the country, especially the poor and disadvantaged. We knew that we would not be able to continue to ask civil servants to forgo a wage increase, but we also knew that we would not be able to give them an increase, certainly not what they deserved.<br /> <br /> We navigated our way around the issues then, and somehow settled the economy and the country to some extent. But now we are here again. We are at a crossroads again; faced with another fundamental decision to make on whether we give public servants the type of salaries they are demanding and erode the gains made, or hold strain and cause the workers of this country to demonstrate, strike, and destabilise the country.<br /> <br /> The Government will have to reassess its priorities, we will have to work with investors, both local and international, to increase production, like never before. We will have to make the people a part of the plan, outlining to them the part that they will have to play and what that means. The politicians must lead from in front in terms of the sacrifices that we will all have to make. It cannot be that the ordinary people alone are expected to make sacrifices again.<br /> <br /> We have done this over the last 50 years and it has not worked. We will now need to shift the focus from the masses making the majority of the sacrifice to the politicians and the business sector taking on the bulk of the sacrifices. A paradigm shift that will see politicians drastically cutting their salaries or even taking no salaries until the economy starts to improve appreciably. Let's start with a five- to 10-year partnership plan and then take it from there. We need all hands on deck going forward.<br /> <br /> Let's do it here, let's do it now, and let's do it for our people and for our country.<br /> <br /> Valencio Lindsay<br /> <br /> Scarborough Canada<br /> <br /> nathanval04@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Jamaica at a crossroads<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11359656/imf-building-_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, July 01, 2015 12:00 AM The sizzling Central Sorting Office http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/The-sizzling-Central-Sorting-Office_19153793 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I went to the Central Sorting Office on South Camp Road to collect a package. I spent more time there than I intended. For a brief moment I thought I was still outside the building because on the inside it was hot, sizzling hot.<br /> <br /> What wicked thing could these postal workers have done for them not to have the luxury of air-conditioning units?<br /> <br /> I had to ask. To my dismay, one worker informed me that she has been working there since the 1990s and remembers when there was air-conditioning. It is now over 10 years that the workers have been working in sizzling hot temperatures. The fans also spin hot air. So the workers are delightfully relieved when puffs of air blast them every now and then; that's the coolest they'll ever be.<br /> <br /> I know that some people in the private sector say government workers are all lazy, they waste time, and I guess they are probably corrupt. Well, I treat my animals at home better than how the post office workers are being treated to have to sit in a sauna. My dogs get bowls of fresh, cool water, every now and then I fill them with ice cubes and they all live in nice airy kennels. Post office workers get to suffer the heat.<br /> <br /> I really know what the problem was and still is. Air-conditioning units are too expensive to maintain, plus the electricity bill. Though the Government is strapped for cash and right now can't afford electricity bills to keep human beings cool, how many ministerial offices are without air-conditioning?<br /> <br /> H Ones<br /> <br /> feverguy@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> The sizzling Central Sorting Office<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11938921/CSO-post-office_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, July 01, 2015 2:00 AM Flo Jo's records need to go! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Flo-Jo-s-records-need-to-go-_19153792 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I feel almost certain that I am not the only track and field enthusiast in the world who believes that it is time that the IAAF takes a really good look at the world records for the Women's 100 and 200 metres which are both held in the name of the late Florence Griffith-Joyner (more popularly known as Flo Jo) with a view to expunging them.<br /> <br /> Personally, I believe these marks should be expunged as there are so many question marks and questionable variables surrounding Flo Jo's progression from a fairly pedestrian sprinter to 10.49 seconds in the 100 and 21.34 seconds in the 200.<br /> <br /> When one considers that the previous world record for the women's 100m was 10.76 by the great, pure sprinter Evelyn Ashford, one has to wonder how Flo Jo was able to break the record by that wide margin. Also very instructive is the fact that, since the record was set, I believe in 1988, no woman has come anywhere near that time -- not even the outstanding Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the dynamic Carmelita Jeter, or even a Marion Jones.<br /> <br /> In the 200 metres, which was owned by the then East German woman for years, to go from Heike Dreshsler's 21.71 seconds to Flo Jo's recorded 21.34 is mind-boggling. Today the top sprinters over the distance battle to break the 22-second barrier but are getting no closer to Flo Jo's record. And there have been some good ones -- Allison Felix, the aforementioned Marion Jones, Veronica Campbell Brown, Grace Jackson, and Juliet Cuthbert, just to name a few.<br /> <br /> Obviously, I have no empirical evidence to back up my claim that Flo Jo's records appear tainted and should be expunged. But I can bet with a great degree of certainty that very few people alive today will live to see those times surpassed.<br /> <br /> No verdict here; but a cautionary tale.<br /> <br /> Stephen Harrison<br /> <br /> St Mary<br /> <br /> stepharrison28@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Flo Jo's records need to go!<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, July 01, 2015 12:00 AM Sometimes the truth is an offence http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Sometimes-the-truth-is-an-offence_19152777 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I recently read a letter written by a police officer saying 'We need a 50 per cent salary increase'. He criticised anyone who said that all public sector workers should accept what the Government is offering.<br /> <br /> The police officer is way off from the economic reality in this country, as there is no way that the Government could afford to give officers a 50 per cent salary increase.<br /> <br /> Based on the present International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan agreement they cannot afford to give public sector workers more than the current offer of seven per cent, which has been increased from five per cent. Any supporter of a 50 per cent increase is irresponsible.<br /> <br /> As a trained and practising business management consultant, I fully support the belief that public sector workers should accept the Government's offer because, as stated by the finance minister, they simply cannot give a better offer.<br /> <br /> I totally concur, as well, that the Government must move ahead with downsizing the sector as was recently suggested by the IMF. Sometimes the truth is an offence.<br /> <br /> Renford Forbes<br /> <br /> Montego Bay, St James<br /> <br /> renfordforbes2009@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Sometimes the truth is an offence<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, July 01, 2015 12:00 AM Coal-fired plant right on the money http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Coal-fired-plant-right-on-the-money_19153534 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Jamalco's announcement to spend roughly US$500m to build Jamaica's first major coal-fired plant, in order to lower the cost of alumina production, is a step towards national prosperity. This initiative will lower the high cost of energy that currently threatens the viability of the bauxite/alumina sector, which earns the third-highest levels of foreign exchange for Jamaica.<br /> <br /> I have always believed that Jamaica's bauxite industry has no future without an energy solution and coal offers the best prospect. The main argument against coal has been that it is dirty fuel and harmful for the environment. This criticism belongs to the past, as clean coal technology (technological options which reduce emissions, reduce waste, and increases the amount of energy gained from each tonne of coal) has made tremendous advancement over the last two decades.<br /> <br /> National Environment and Planning Agency is the agency with responsibility to protect the environment, and they have said that a modern coal-burning plant would have less adverse environmental impact than the oil we are now burning.<br /> <br /> Jamaica is facing low economic growth and unemployment, and we need investment and jobs to avoid worsened social dysfunction. Who will invest in manufacturing and production when electricity rates are so high? Energy is vital to our national development and the Government of Jamaica must facilitate similar plants as they can substantially lower the cost of electricity.<br /> <br /> Tashfeen Ahmad<br /> <br /> mrtashfeen@hotmail.com <br /> <br /> Coal-fired plant right on the money<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, July 01, 2015 2:00 AM Tivoli evidence may have negative effects on military http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Tivoli-evidence-may-have-negative-effects-on-military_19153342 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Last week, I followed the evidence given at the Tivoli Commission of Enquiry (COE) and was left feeling troubled by the revelations relating to the use of mortars and the execution of the military-led operation into Tivoli Gardens in 2010.<br /> <br /> It is accepted that the enquiry continues to be conducted as a legal contest in which its lawyers are discharging their professional responsibilities, as they would in the normal course of a court trial for their clients, and not necessarily assisting the COE in ferreting out the whole truth. However, what I did not expect is the extent to which those giving evidence, especially from the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), appeared to be either withholding evidence or providing evidence that is effectively confusing or obfuscating the real issues.<br /> <br /> It may be, of course, that the commissioners at the enquiry have a better understanding of such things as firing mortars under control circumstances and into open spaces in urban areas, command relationships, troop coordination and capabilities, and the training requirements of those employed to operate weapon systems, such as the 81mm mortars referred to in evidence. However, whether they do or do not, as a former military officer, I found last week's evidence contradictory and not in keeping with well-established military doctrine or practice. Based entirely on the evidence given so far, it appears there was such a lack of coordination between units operating in Tivoli during the 2010 operation, so much so that a battalion commander only found out about the employment of a support weapon system after he had heard explosions.<br /> <br /> It may be, of course, that the commissioners at the enquiry have a better understanding of such things as firing mortars under control circumstances and into open spaces in urban areas, command relationships, troop coordination and capabilities, and the training requirements of those employed to operate weapon systems, such as the 81mm mortars referred to in evidence. However, whether they do or do not, as a former military officer, I found last week's evidence contradictory and not in keeping with well-established military doctrine or practice. Based entirely on the evidence given so far, it appears there was such a lack of coordination between units operating in Tivoli during the 2010 operation, so much so that a battalion commander only found out about the employment of a support weapon system after he had heard explosions.<br /> <br /> I don't suppose he was aware of the US air asset, which has finally been accepted as being part of this Jamaican military operation. While the Tivoli COE is sitting, I do not intend to deal with the doctrinal breaches or issues in detail, or for that matter to discuss whether the evidence is logical or sound. To do so would, I believe, be unethical and possibly unfair to the process. However, I do believe I have a duty to bring a real deep concern to the public's attention. That concern has to be with the current members of the JDF who must certainly be forming some negative views of what they have heard from their past and current superiors. If they determine that their former or present leaders have not told the truth, it could very well lead to a loss of respect for authority and a consequential breakdown in discipline.<br /> <br /> We need only look to South America and parts of Africa where military bodies lose respect for authority. The consequences are always disastrous. It may well be that the evidence given was the truth and, if that it is so, we should now brace ourselves for more cavalier-type military operations, which displays a total disregard for the manner in which disciplined military forces are trained to operate.<br /> <br /> Colonel Allan Douglas<br /> <br /> Kingston 10<br /> <br /> Tivoli evidence may have negative effects on military<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11306701/Tivoli_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, June 30, 2015 12:00 AM You can be successful at any school http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/You-can-be-successful-at-any-school_19152449 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> In the aftermath of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) results, some students are happy while others are sad. The cycle now starts again where parents are seeking transfers for their children who have been placed at a 'failing' school.<br /> <br /> The notion of traditional vs non-traditional speaks volumes to the inequality that exists in our education sector. I want to take this opportunity to speak to all the students who were not placed at a school of their choice and encourage them that they can be successful wherever they go. I want to encourage them to ignore all the stigma and negative influences that exist about the school in which they have been placed.<br /> <br /> I want to use my life as an example to encourage a child. It doesn't matter where you go, you can succeed. My alma mater has been classified as one of the worst schools in Trelawny, and I personally did not want to go there. It is currently ranked at 146, with just 3.3 per cent of students leaving with five or more subjects including mathematics and English.<br /> <br /> I want to use my life as an example to encourage a child. It doesn't matter where you go, you can succeed. My alma mater has been classified as one of the worst schools in Trelawny, and I personally did not want to go there. It is currently ranked at 146, with just 3.3 per cent of students leaving with five or more subjects including mathematics and English.<br /> <br /> I had asked my mother to seek a transfer for me; I was so sad and bitter knowing that I was going to that school. However, the transfer process was unsuccessful, consequently I had no choice but to enrol in the institution. In grade seven, I placed first in my class with an average above 80 per cent. At that time my teachers began to encourage me and I really settled down and took my education seriously. I got friends who were eager to learn, some even pushed me to work harder because they wanted to 'beat' me, so they could attain the glory of being first in the class.<br /> <br /> In grade nine, I could never forget September 8, 2008, my business basics teacher told us to write our aims for the next five years. I wrote specifically, "I want to excel in all the subjects I choose at the end of grade nine. I want to pass 12 CSEC subjects." I wrote other things, but in the end, my teacher gave me 9.5 out of 10, and her reason for not giving me full marks was that I can't pass 12 subjects. Did she say that because of the type of school? Was it that she had no confidence in me? Whatever it was, it discouraged me, but I still persevered. You will face challenges along the way, people -- even teachers -- will try to discourage you, but remain focused, set achievable goals, work towards them, and never give up. Do not let your school, environment or situation define you.<br /> <br /> I pursued my goal, and I did not give up. A teacher encouraged me to sit the human and social biology CSEC exam in grade 10 and I passed with a grade one. So I was encouraged that I could do it. I pushed myself to the limit because I was determined to succeed. I signed up to do eleven CSEC subjects. I remember at one point where I was doing so many school-based assessment (SBA) pieces I had to skip some classes to do labs. The stress was getting to me, I would have a headache almost every day. One of my good friends told me that it was better I did just eight than to take on so many, but I was determined to succeed.<br /> <br /> In the end, I passed all 11 subjects, with eight grade ones and three twos. I graduated from Cedric Titus High School with 12 CSEC subjects. I did what others thought was impossible. I am just encouraging others who are in a similar position not to give up hope, but to persevere and overcome all odds.<br /> <br /> Kenroy Davis<br /> <br /> Student, Church Teachers' College<br /> <br /> You can be successful at any school<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11934639/Books_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, June 30, 2015 12:00 AM For those saying 'God is coming' http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/For-those-saying--God-is-coming-_19153512 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> On June 26, 2015, the United States became the most populous country to legalise same-sex marriage following the US Supreme Court's decision. This has surely disturbed the minds of many Jamaicans, especially the Christian community. According to these Christian folks, this signifies the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I wonder if these people know that the US is the twenty-first country to recognise same-sex marriage. He would have come by now if this was the 'calling card'!<br /> <br /> Why didn't they say that God was going to come after any of the 278 cases of sexual intercourse with children under 16 happened since the beginning of the year, according to the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences And Child Abuse (CISOCA) -- not to mention the ones that have gone unreported? Jesus wasn't gonna come when the nine in Charleston were murdered, but he's definitely coming now that gay marriage is legal in the US?<br /> <br /> But then again we should all be happy because the coming of Jesus has been our wish. So I think we owe the gays and the Supreme Court a big thank you for Jesus' early coming. So instead of bashing this decision, let's prepare our hearts for an early arrival of the Lord. This also goes to show how the US is always determining Jamaica's faith.<br /> <br /> Kashane Taylor<br /> <br /> kashanetaylor@ymail.com <br /> <br /> For those saying 'God is coming'<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10964670/United-States-Flag_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, June 30, 2015 12:00 AM Rastafari must formally accept Babylon http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Rastafari-must-formally-accept-Babylon_19153508 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Anybody who is familiar with the Rastafari faith knows that Babylon, which is supposed to be the present world order, is its mortal enemy. We constantly have our Rastafarian musicians and others berating Babylon and its many evils. However, while many of them continue to preach against Babylon, very few of them are actually practising what they preach.<br /> <br /> When Rastafari first started decades ago, there was some merit to its call for us "Africans" to separate ourselves from Babylon. Babylon was seen as the white man's system -- the system that is bent on holding us black people down. While this was not entirely true then, it is definitely not true now.<br /> <br /> In separating themselves from Babylon, many Rastafarians have adopted a lifestyle they refer to as "the livity". I must confess, though, that I am still not sure what this livity is supposed to be. If it is supposed to be different from our "Babylonian" lifestyle, then they surely have fooled me.<br /> <br /> Rastafarians are in every field, they have completely integrated in this Babylon system. They are doctors, professors, teachers, chefs, bankers, and the rest. However, while I must admit that I have yet to see a Rastafarian policeman or barber, they have proven themselves to be as capable as anybody else. So, in spite of their "livity", they seem to be as normal and "Babylonian" as the rest of us.<br /> <br /> Indeed, like the rest of us "Babylonians", Rastafarians are completely dependent on Babylon. While many Rastafarian musicians sing songs condemning Babylon, they celebrate wildly whenever they win that coveted Babylonian Grammy.<br /> <br /> As such, I am calling on Rastafarians to do the logical thing: Do away with this livity pretence that isn't really fooling anybody and embrace Babylon. Stop biting the hand that feeds. Rastafari must formalise what it has been doing now for a long time; embrace Babylon, embrace your sustainer.<br /> <br /> Michael A Dingwall<br /> <br /> michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Rastafari must formally accept Babylon<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, June 30, 2015 12:00 AM Holness, as a public servant, must show source of funds http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Holness--as-a-public-servant--must-show-source-of-funds_19153334 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> On a recent visit to Jamaica I happened to visit an old Fortis brother who lives in Beverly Hills -- an established affluent hillside community that overlooks the city of Kingston offering grand views of the National Stadium, New Kingston, the Kingston Harbour and the outlying Portmore communities. In conversation, the issue of construction came up, which in no time switched to a massive ongoing hillside construction project in the area by my friend's soon-to-be neighbours -- Jamaica's parliamentary Opposition Leader Andrew Holness and his wife Juliet who I have learnt is a real estate developer by profession.<br /> <br /> At the end of my visit with my friend I drove by the Holness construction site and I must confess that my friends' description of the project was generously conservative when compared to what I actually saw. Let me be clear that I believe that every man and woman in Jamaica, and elsewhere, deserves to live as comfortably as they are able to afford. This rule equally applies to those who choose to serve as public servants.<br /> <br /> Public servants though are answerable to the public, and Andrew Holness as an elected political representative is answerable to Jamaicans generally, and even more so when he undertakes to construct a dwelling house that, at conservative estimates, runs over $300 million (US$2.5 million). If you think that the price tag for this project is frightening, you may want to view the project itself which screams opulence from every angle.<br /> <br /> In a country that is faced with the type of economic challenges such as Jamaica, and with its public officials constantly hounded by the spectre of corruption, questions as to the source of funding cannot be off the table. The social and psychological impact of such open display of opulence are clear targets for the JLP's political opponents, not because of bad-mindedness as Holness imputes, but because this construction project stands as a huge and ready target.<br /> <br /> I am not surprised, therefore, that those who would normally be asked to fund the JLP's election activities are now expressing their discomfort with pumping funds at a political party where its leader is insensitive to how such a decision that openly demonstrates opulence to the voting public. I cannot fault the party's potential funders for wanting to see how such a massive private building project is being funded and I hope that Holness and the JLP will be able to see that. I hope too that the information is not only immediately forthcoming but that it will also be able to stand up to public scrutiny.<br /> <br /> Richard Hugh Blackford<br /> <br /> Florida, USA<br /> <br /> richardhblackford@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Holness, as a public servant, must show source of funds<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11931948/SUNDAY-JUNE-21ST--201501_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, June 29, 2015 2:00 AM Phillips WikiLeaks talk may have been spot on http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Phillips-WikiLeaks-talk-may-have-been-spot-on_19153348 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> According to the recent Gallup-Healthways State of Global Well-Being Report, Jamaica ranks 115 out of 145 countries, placing it lower than Haiti and at the bottom in the Caribbean, in relation to its perception of its financial well-being.<br /> <br /> When, as revealed in the infamous WikiLeaks cable of July 8, 2008, a United States diplomat alleged that Peter Phillips, in discussion with a US embassy official, said Jamaica risked becoming the English-speaking Haiti if Portia Simpson Miller, whom he deemed a disaster for Jamaica, were returned to government, not many of us probably took him seriously. Many of us might have dismissed those accusations as sour grapes, given Peter Phillips's two failed attempts at securing the leadership of the People's National Party (PNP), with Simpson Miller triumphing on both such occasions.<br /> <br /> However, given the state of our economic affairs, one has to wonder now if Phillips was not very much spot on then. Ironically, though, we are now being managed largely by Phillips, under the leadership of Simpson Miller.<br /> <br /> As highlighted by Gallup-Healthways report, and evidenced otherwise, while Haiti is improving, our middle class is now largely extinct, and the gap between the rich and the poor is among the highest, if not the highest, in the world.<br /> <br /> Our people continue to struggle financially, with many finding it increasingly difficult to meet their basic needs. More and more of our people are becoming economic refugees, having lost all hope in Jamaica, as they, more than ever before, seek out other lands for better opportunities for survival.<br /> <br /> Our country is struggling to recover from the economic misery facilitated largely by the PNP, as allegedly stated by Phillips via Wikileaks, running the country into the ground for the 18 years they formed the Government prior to the Jamaica Labour Party's election thereto in 2007.<br /> <br /> Can the PNP, led by Simpson Miller with Phillips as a major player, be expected to save us economically, especially when the PNP was never known to be good stewards of the country's financial affairs?<br /> <br /> Kevin KO Sangster<br /> <br /> sangstek@msn.com<br /> <br /> Phillips WikiLeaks talk may have been spot on<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11891499/Peter-Phillips-2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, June 29, 2015 2:00 AM Do not call it marriage http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Do-not-call-it-marriage-_19153310 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The verbal ceremony agreement that is quite topical between same gender human beings for them to live together should not be called a marriage. This is wrong, false and a lie.<br /> <br /> The dictionary meaning (the Collins paperback English dictionary on page 495) of the word marriage states that marriage is (1) The state of relationship of being husband and wife the institution of marriage. (2) The contract made by a man and woman to live as husband and wife. (3) The ceremony formalising this union &mdash; wedding. In all the above definition, the male and female gender are constantly repeated.<br /> <br /> Also in Genesis 1: 27-28, God created man and woman to have dominion over all birds of the air all fishes in the seas and all animals that creep, live, move upon the Earth. Therefore, how come cats, dogs, goats, sheep, and other animals are not confused and making the same mistake. Our God did not make any mistakes in his creation of the world and humanity.<br /> <br /> From time to time you read or hear so-called intelligent human beings saying that they are not going in other human beings bedrooms or peeping through key holes to spy, but the same gender human beings are on their verandahs in public places being exhibitionists. What of my perceived right to not be disturbed.<br /> <br /> Whatever any human does with his body in privacy is an individual decision. Yet the same gender-changing human beings feel that society must accept them. What a paradox?<br /> <br /> We, human beings, are wonderfully created. Love yourself as the good Lord intende.<br /> <br /> Hugh Innis<br /> <br /> Montego Bay<br /> <br /> cybermore.cafe@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Do not call it marriage <br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11923876/460x--1-_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, June 29, 2015 2:00 AM Community safety http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Community-safety_19153343 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The time has come for Jamaican housing developers to include a police post as part of the basic amenities when constructing housing schemes of a particular size.<br /> <br /> Purchasing a home is arguably the single most expensive investment an individual will make during his/her lifetime. It is quite reasonable to expect some level of security and safety after such an investment. The recent horror stories of rape and robbery at Longville Housing Scheme in Clarendon have once again highlighted how vulnerable and helpless we are as citizens against the scourge of crime and violence in the society.<br /> <br /> Additionally, the National Housing Trust (NHT) has a part to play in ensuring the safety and security of the residents. Longville Phase 3 resident report that the NHT constructed the windows of their homes with plastic, which serve as an entry point for criminals to access their homes. We have to know the society we live in. We should not cut cost at the expense of one's safety. We can only hope that this terrible experience will be a learning moment for the stakeholders involved.<br /> <br /> Wayne Campbell<br /> <br /> waykam@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> @WayneCamo<br /> <br /> Community safety<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11454490/NHT-1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, June 29, 2015 2:00 AM Guess Christians gonna turn in their green cards http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Guess-Christians-gonna-turn-in-their-green-cards_19153311 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> If Bible believers were looking for a sign that the world is coming to an end, the decision of the United States Supreme Court to legalise gay marriage is proof that the end is imminent.<br /> <br /> The churches and those who despise gays in Jamaica must be quivering with anger and condemning the great Satan that is the United States. I expect that all those church pastors and their flocks will be turning in their green cards, along with their secular supporters, and march on the US Embassy to protest this abomination.<br /> <br /> R Oscar Lofters<br /> <br /> Kingston 8<br /> <br /> lofters1@aol.com<br /> <br /> Guess Christians gonna turn <br /> <br /> in their green cards<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11923876/460x--1-_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, June 29, 2015 2:00 AM 'Out-a-Money': The gift that keeps on giving headaches http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/-Out-a-Money---The-gift-that-keeps-on-giving-headaches_19152904 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It would appear as if the People's National Party's gift of the "Out-A-Money" attraction, courtesy of the last National Housing Trust (NHT) board is a gift that was unwittingly designed to "keep on giving" headaches.<br /> <br /> This comes as a result of the announcement earlier this week from the newly appointed NHT Board Chairman Dr Carlton Davis that they now plan to dispose of the problematic property as quickly as possible, whether through leasing or outright sale, as he felt that itwas highly unlikely that the property could be used as an attraction. In addition, Davis revealed that: "This is not an approach that I would have taken in dealing with this matter as it is not an area within the NHT's core competence."<br /> <br /> Many of us have been saying this from the moment this acquisition became public knowledge. It did not help that the auditor general's report a few months ago categorically stated that the property's purchase was an outright buyout of a bad debt by the NHT's board, and only those blinded by political loyalty, or who may have been parties to the proceeds from the transaction could contemplate arguing to the contrary. It is political cronyism practised at a level at which Jamaicans may never dare question to get the whole story.<br /> <br /> Perhaps we should thank God for people like Dr Davis, a career servant of Jamaicans who, despite the fact he may well be a party loyalist, is not blinded by such a loyalty that he cannot call a spade a spade. Decisions such as made by the previous board and sanctioned by the Government's silence makes a mockery of any attempt by the Administration to ask civil servants to hold strain and to accept a seven per cent pay adjustment over two to three years, while they live "high off the hog".<br /> <br /> Dr Davis's announcement speaks as well to the importance of ensuring that boards appointed by Government are transparent in the execution of their mandate, and that those charged with the responsibility for the funds of subscribers have the proven fiduciary competence to execute the NHT's mandate. Contributors may want to consider lobbying the Trust for a public review of acquisitions it made over the last three to five years, especially those that are still yet to redound to the benefit of either the Trust or its contributors. That should be worth watching out for.<br /> <br /> Richard Hugh Blackford<br /> <br /> Florida, USA<br /> <br /> richardhblackford@gmail.com<br /> <br /> 'Out-a-Money': The gift that keeps on giving headaches<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11922904/Carlton-Davis-2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, June 26, 2015 2:00 AM We are why we aren't prosperous http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/We-are-why-we-aren-t-prosperous_19152905 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Hezeken Bolton's letter to the editor 'Take it or leave it...' of June 25, 2015 was classic with reference to the current wage stand-off between the Government and the public service. I hope the comments will be read by many Jamaicans.<br /> <br /> The article raised pertinent questions about Jamaica's current economic situation and why the Government cannot even afford to pay decent wages to public servants. The reason is quite simple, we are heavily in debt and at the mercy of our lenders.<br /> <br /> Jamaica has been indebted for decades. There is no excess resources, the problem is, we import everything; from refined sugar to box drink. Some time ago there was an article in the news about the massive amounts Jamaicans spend each year on artificial hair -- US$7 million in 2012, and as much as seven to 14 times the rest of the Caribbean. Of course, we live in a free market, but unnecessary heavy demand on scarce US dollars will devalue our own Jamaican currency even more, forcing all prices up.<br /> <br /> We rely heavily on remittances and earnings from tourism, but our earnings alone cannot support our needs and lifestyle. Remittances to Jamaica are reportedly almost 50 per cent of all remittances sent to the entire Caribbean region, so there is no excuse why we shouldn't be doing a lot better. The problem is that everything from North America is available for sale in Jamaica, and people buy, no matter the price. Our culture is such that if we want something, we must have it. Until we address this cultural problem and try to contain our penchant for excess, as well as arrange our priorities, we will continue to have a serious economic problem. Until we can better manage our imports, there will be a vicious cycle and Jamaica will get poorer and poorer, forever borrowing to repay a massive and growing debt, with less to spend on critical areas such as health, education, social services.<br /> <br /> If you think of the individual who has no choice but to live off loans and credit cards to support his lifestyle, and who ends up spending most of his monthly earnings to repay this increasing debt, you get a real sense of why this country is stagnant economically and otherwise.<br /> <br /> As Bolton pointed out, we don't even have to look far to learn some lessons from others, to see what it is we are doing wrong. And, yes, I agree: "The onus is primarily on the Government to steer the country along a path that is comforting to its citizens and inviting to visitors."<br /> <br /> P Chin<br /> <br /> chin_p@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> We are why we aren't prosperous<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11922910/Spending_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, June 26, 2015 2:00 AM When will it stop? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/When-will-it-stop-_19151941 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Every day you hear the news of another friend's tragic end. When is it going to stop? When is it really going to end? Why do we kill our brothers, weren't we all once friends? We grew up together, perhaps went to primary school and maybe the same high school. We shared a meal or two, smoked a few blunts, and drank a couple brews.<br /> <br /> What happened to the days when we were boys, when all we could think of is playing marbles and things that boys do? But lately everything has changed. The boys we once were are no more, we are now grown and the lines are drawn. We see each other as enemies.<br /> <br /> Our parents grew together and they weren't so violent, what changed with us that made us so venomous? We are like scorpions because we kill our own instead of assisting each other in building our thrones. We kill without a cause.<br /> <br /> We don't handle problems, they often escalate into uncontrollable situations. Why don't we stop to think before we act?<br /> <br /> Being irrational gets us nowhere fast, remember everything that we do comes back to us. We need to stop this unnecessary war against our brothers and our sister. Is this the lesson we want to teach the younger generation? Let's bring back the peace, love and unity that we had. Let's be a community, a family, a nation once more.<br /> <br /> Xavier Frazer<br /> <br /> frazerxavier25@gmail.com<br /> <br /> When will it stop?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10619615/Crime-2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, June 26, 2015 2:00 AM Before we rush the DNA law... http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Before-we-rush-the-DNA-law---_19152906 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Like most Jamaicans, I am distracted by a number of issues, crime, the International Monetary Fund's Extended Fund Facility, public sector workers losing their jobs, and survival in a shrinking economy. While these issues confront us we mustn't neglect following punitive legislation our government is enacting.<br /> <br /> In the 1970s, after a series of high-profile murders, the Michael Manley Government rushed through legislation and a Gun Court that breached people's right. We must not allow history to repeat itself with this Portia Simpson Miller Government and the DNA law.<br /> <br /> In 1984, Professor Jeffreys, a British scientist, discovered DNA, surprisingly the first case of using DNA involved an African woman proving a child was hers and this prevented an immigration team from deporting him. Today, the science is mainly used in criminal cases. The science itself is almost fool-proof, the problems associated with it are mainly confined to human error and procedural mistakes. In other words, the integrity of using DNA will depend on the human factor, and since human beings can be corrupted, there are serious dangers in adopting the science. Documentaries like Forensic Science show us how hairs, fingerprints, saliva, sperm left at rape scenes, even a drop of blood can be used to convict the guilty and free the innocent.<br /> <br /> Despite this surety, perception has to be battled in the legal systems, as in the most famous "If the gloves doesn't fit you will have to acquit" O J Simpson trial, it is believed that a rich man could unearth startling deficiencies in using DNA. In the O J Simpson case a policeman, Mark Fuhrman, along with police incompetence, decided Simpson's fate. Criminologist Colin Yamaguchi gave evidence that he had spilled some of Simpson's blood and then handled his Rockingham gloves. Simpson's blood samples were left in a hot vehicle for hours and the DNA degraded. Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ronald Goldman's blood samples were contaminated. Pictures taken by police at Simpson's home showed no blood, but later blood was found, which led to the belief that blood was planted.<br /> <br /> DNA doesn't lie, people do. And if the police collecting evidence are corrupt, so will be the DNA samples collected. Remember former Prime Minister P J Patterson's remarks: "A corrupt police force cannot investigate corruption." If someone is found innocent, why should the police retain their DNA sample? DNA evidence can be planted at a crime scene, the alleged perpetrator doesn't necessarily have to be present. The integrity of the laboratory, policemen collecting samples, and how samples are treated must be ensured if we are going to use the science to convict or set innocent people free.<br /> <br /> Are you convinced that the Jamaican police can be trusted to collect your DNA sample?<br /> <br /> Mark Clarke<br /> <br /> mark_clarke9@yahoo.com <br /> <br /> Before we rush the DNA law...<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11745914/THURSDAY-APRIL-30-2015_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, June 26, 2015 2:00 AM Take it or leave it! They can't do any better http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Take-it-or-leave-it--They-can-t-do-any-better_19152689 Dear Editors,<br /> <br /> Public sectors workers are at odds with the Government over what they term a weak offer. They have outrightly rejected the offer and have staged sit-ins and sick-outs to express their disapproval of the single digit increase.<br /> <br /> Political and financial analysts are divided on whether or not it would suit the Government to offer more than that which is on the table. The governing party is caught between the rock and a hard place with International Monetary Fund targets to meet, local and general elections in short order, and disgruntled public servants to deal with. While the majority would agree that the public servants deserve a better salary increase, the more important issue has been avoided. The issue of income generation for the country to pay its debts and its workers.<br /> <br /> The country relies heavily on tourism and remittances as sources of income generation. Sugar production has been ailing for the longest while, banana is struggling, bauxite has died, Air Jamaica was sold, and the list goes on. The path the country is on is leading into darkness with a sliding dollar and a government debt-to-GDP ratio of 132 per cent in 2014, and a national debt at over two trillion dollars. Every month the dollar loses ground to the three regularly traded currencies; in 2008 it was $72.23, now in 2015 it is $116.10 to one US dollar and sliding. Our money is just circling within our four walls and losing strength. There is not much money coming in from export to grow the economy, crime and violence continues to scare away investors, and the cost of production is too high, hence we are behind in the competition.<br /> <br /> We need to stop and look at why Bermuda can offer a starting salary of US$70,000 per year for a police officer; Trinidad US$36,000 for an assistant teacher; Singapore US$20,400 for a registered nurse. What is it they are doing that we are not? Will we continue to borrow to pay workers and debts? It is simple, if our expenses exceed our income, then we will always be indebted to our lenders, and public sector workers will always be on the side of have-nots. Teachers, nurses, and police officers will not think twice to take up job offers in other countries. The onus is primarily on the Government to steer the country along a path that is comforting to its citizens and inviting to visitors.<br /> <br /> Public sector workers are now faced with a new offer at risk being out of a job, joining the thousands of Jamaicans already unemployed. When all is said and done, the reality of the situation is that the Government cannot afford to grant the amount of increase the public sector workers are seeking. This is a result of not being able to grow the country's economy.<br /> <br /> Hezekan Bolton<br /> <br /> St Catherine<br /> <br /> h_e_z_e@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Take it or leave it! They can't do any better<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11855826/Nurse-DemonstratioN_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, June 25, 2015 12:00 AM Talk up di tings, Comrades! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Talk-up-di-tings--Comrades-_19151953 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> So now it appears that the gloves are off and the more forthright Comrades in the People's National Party (PNP) are accepting that the time has come to break ranks and speak their minds on issues that they find the party to be dithering on. This will be worth watching and, in anticipation of this, I do have a couple of issues that must make that list.<br /> <br /> Certainly the current wage discussions will be a priority, especially coming on he heels of Dr Peter Phillips' statement to the nation that "nuh more nuh deh!" This has not been well received by the trade unions, not to mention the workers. This was a tough statement from the minister given that, as the de facto head of the Government &mdash; for nobady can get a peep outa Sista P &mdash; the issues of the inability to grow the economy falls squarely at his feet. It is going to be even more crucial in the next six months as at some point the jobs of more than 5,000 government workers will have to be scuttled in order to maintain the current wage proposals.<br /> <br /> The mention of the prime minister and her deafening silence on most issues must be addressed. We do not need glasses to see that we are facing crises at the social and economic levels. The smart money says that these are the times that call for the steady voice of leadership to challenge the psyche of Jamaicans, to bring the country together as one people.<br /> <br /> The disarray in the Opposition is a gift to the ruling PNP, and if properly managed could provide a great opportunity for uniting the country around a call to join hands and efforts at moving the economic needle forward.<br /> <br /> The subject of the economic needle brings the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce into immediate focus. Clearly, this ministry has to be the driver of any growth that the country will realise in the immediate, medium and long term. The question of leadership here has been skirted for the last two years as Anthony Hylton's missteps hang like millstones around the neck of the Government. Decisive leadership would have addressed Hylton's incapacity a long time ago, but kisses, it appears, does go by favour and clearly his continued presence as head of such an important portfolio ministry spells continued condemnation of any growth potential that exists out there. Hylton's continued tenure is merely a reflection of the "doan kyah" attitude within our body politic and by extension a number of other ministry portfolios that requires decisive action.<br /> <br /> Growing a country's economy require a social partnership, and at this time it seems as if it is only the people out there are sacrificing. It is time that we all, as Comrades, start to "talk up di tings".<br /> <br /> Richard Hugh Blackford<br /> <br /> Florida, USA<br /> <br /> richardhblackford@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Talk up di tings, Comrades!<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11812259/Peter-Phillips-1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, June 25, 2015 12:00 AM Windies need to change formation http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Windies-need-to-change-formation_19151701 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I was at Sabina Park recently (June 13 - 14, 2015) and I saw the West Indies cricket team being beaten in a Test match by a superior Australian team. The humiliation was not only from the innings defeat, it also came from the fact that they declared early, audaciously giving us more than two days to make 392. We only managed a paltry 114.<br /> <br /> But I took away something positive from the match. I saw Jason Holder bat and bowl. Here is a young cricketer who has the makings of the batting all-rounder for whom we have been searching.<br /> <br /> On Saturday, he batted with poise and assurance, looking like someone who should bat higher up the order. However, in terms of his bowling, I don't think that even he, in his alone moments, sees himself as a strike bowler; someone who is going to have too many '5 - for' performances during his career. But, he is integral to what I'm suggesting should be a revised, one could say recalled, formation of the West Indies Test cricket team.<br /> <br /> At present, the West Indies is using a 6-2-3 formation: six specialist batsmen; wicketkeeper and all-rounder; and three specialist bowlers. With this formation, it seems that, unwittingly, the team is in the mode of playing to draw matches, rather than to win. We end up losing, anyway, as we are not getting teams out as efficiently as we should.<br /> <br /> Rather, we should be employing a 5-2-4 formation, with five specialist batsmen; all-rounder and wicketkeeper, and four specialist bowlers (preferably three genuine wicket-taking pace bowlers and our best spinner). This would give us a better chance of consistently bowling out other teams within gettable scores, thereby enhancing our chances of winning more Test matches.<br /> <br /> It may be argued that, at present, we don't have the number of quality strike bowlers. My suggestion is that we put the policy in <br /> <br /> place then do the necessary developmental work to unearth the talent.<br /> <br /> Winning is not everything. However, we need to give ourselves a chance.<br /> <br /> Peter E Powell<br /> <br /> powellp@aicJamaica.com<br /> <br /> Windies need to change formation<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11918729/WINDIES-JOG_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, June 25, 2015 12:00 AM