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 As Glen Archer passes the baton... http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/As-Glen-Archer-passes-the-baton---_18494009 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> With the death of Rev Glen Archer, a void has been left and many have been wondering who will take up the mantle. One of his prodigies has stepped in the gap, as it seems he is quite willing and capable, having been one of Archer's students and having watched Archer over all these years with not just the spelling bee but the schools' challenge quiz teams as well.<br /> <br /> He will need all the love, support and prayers that he can get as it is not an easy job. We, as Jamaicans, need to rally behind this young man. If these persons who are lotto scammers were to put all these energies and thoughts into something positive Jamaica would be such a powerful place to reckon with.<br /> <br /> God be with you, young man, for the awesome task ahead of you. We are already proud of you.<br /> <br /> Claudette Harris<br /> <br /> claudetteharris43@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> As Glen Archer passes the baton...<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11513282/glen-archer_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, March 03, 2015 12:00 AM If you don't vote, someone will for you http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/If-you-don-t-vote--someone-will-for-you_18471819 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> As I traverse the island I hear more and more people saying they are not voting again. And, as I examine the composition of the groups who are of this view, I find that a great majority of them are those who would seemingly be the more sensible, educated and the wealthier of our society.<br /> <br /> Many of them seem to be thinkers and state that, after thinking it through, they have concluded that it makes no sense to vote. It is my view that these are the people who are the greatest contributors the detriment of our country.<br /> <br /> In all their thinking, they have failed to realise one fundamental point: regardless of what happens, or does not happen, whether they vote or do not vote, somebody will become the councillor, somebody will become the member of parliament, and ultimately someone will be the prime minister who would now have the authority to decide who become the managers of the country (the Cabinet).<br /> <br /> Our forefathers fought to give us this right and many died to ensure we obtained the right to have freedom of speech and the right to vote (universal adult suffrage); yet we have reached the point where we do not want to participate anymore.<br /> <br /> Since whether we vote or not someone still gets the job, the fundamental question is why should we take a passive approach by not participating, thus, allowing someone else to decide for us? Very often the person selected is not someone who is really thinking about the future of the country, or is rendered unable to perform because of the circumstances of the selection.<br /> <br /> Everyone has the right to vote and collectively make the decision about who manages the affairs of the nation. So let us not leave it to the few, but instead put all hands on deck to assist in creating a better country.<br /> <br /> I implore all Jamaicans who possess the intellect to think and reason, to analyse and conclude that they must once again be active participants in the political process. Because if you don't decide, someone will decide for you.<br /> <br /> Gary Rowe<br /> <br /> magnett0072004@@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> If you don't vote, someone will for you<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11559287/vote_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, March 03, 2015 12:00 AM Zimbabwe finally coming to terms with the truth http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Zimbabwe-finally-coming-to-terms-with-the-truth_18494024 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> In a very rare show admitting that he was wrong, the President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe has finally admitted what the rest of the world already knows -- that his land redistribution policy, in which white-owned lands were seized and given to blacks, was a failure.<br /> <br /> Speaking with the BBC recently, he admitted that taking away the farms that white people owned and giving them to blacks to "correct a historical wrong" was a mistake as. According to him, it is now clear that the new black owners could not manage them.<br /> <br /> When Mugabe ordered the seizure of the white-owned lands, some years ago, he won a lot of praise from many people, especially many pan-Africanists and anti-white racists throughout the world, and especially here in the Caribbean. Many thought that he was finally making "things right".<br /> <br /> Of course, it was a complete disaster for Zimbabwe. The country saw its well-earned status of being the region's breadbasket completely reversed. The country became a major net importer of food. The economy, which was one of the region's strongest, was on the road to destruction. The Zimbabwe currency became completely worthless.<br /> <br /> During all of this time, Mugabe, along with his blind pan-Africanists and anti-white racists supporters, was deluding himself into believing that the mess that Zimbabwe was rapidly becoming was not on account of his abysmal mismanagement of the country. According to some, Zimbabwe was being destroyed by the "wicked British colonial imperialists" and other hostile Western powers. Mugabe even went as far as to blame climate change for his country's predicament.<br /> <br /> Now that he has come clean, I wonder what those same pan-Africanists and anti-white racist have to say now? Do they still blame the "evil" British and the West for what happened to Zimbabwe, or will they do the "Mugabe" too and admit the truth that Zimbabwe's demise was all the fault of Mugabe's bad policies?<br /> <br /> I hope that we have learned something from Mugabe. I understand that the government of South Africa is considering some sort of land redistribution that is not too dissimilar to Zimbabwe's. I would urge that government not to seize, wholesale, lands that now belong to capable white owners and give them to blacks who may not be able to manage them. That would be a disaster for South Africa too.<br /> <br /> As for Mugabe, maybe he is finally learning in is very old age. That can only be good; both for him and his blind supporters.<br /> <br /> Michael A Dingwall<br /> <br /> michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Zimbabwe finally coming to terms with the truth<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, March 03, 2015 12:00 AM Justice Martin Gayle's comments shameful http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Justice-Martin-Gayle-s-comments-shameful_18488418 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I write to publicly comment on this issue which took place in the Westmoreland Circuit Court on Tuesday, February 10, 2015, where a former West End Negril pastor, accused of marrying a Canadian woman, was freed by a seven-member jury of a charge of bigamy as well as other related offences.<br /> <br /> The jury, which comprised four men and three women, unanimously decided on each count of the four charges. However, according to reports, the presiding Justice Martin Gayle described the verdict as disgraceful, adding that "no wonder we don't have any justice in this country". Additionally, he instructed the registrar to communicate copies of the written evidence to the Canadian Embassy. He then was reported as saying: "I am releasing all seven of you for the rest of the term. You can go and never return here; all seven of you. It is my wish not to see all of you for the rest of the term."<br /> <br /> Jamaica has a justice system which operates with juries for most criminal cases. And at all times the presiding judge should respect and abide by the formal decision of the jury, whether they have found the person guilty or not, because that is how our justice system lawfully operates.<br /> <br /> For the presiding justice to describe the jury's decision to acquit Ian Samuels as disgraceful is totally shameful and scandalous, to say the least. He has a distinct responsibility and duty to respect the decision of the jury and for him to say to them to go and never return is highly disrespectful and contemptuous, to put it bluntly.<br /> <br /> I fully concur with the Cornwall Bar Association and its esteemed President Michael Erskine that the jury members must be treated with respect, because they have carried out their civic duty as citizens of this country. They should not be abused in any shape or form whatsoever. When judges such as Justice Martin Gayle makes such disrespectful comments to jurors it has a potential negative effect on prospective jurors. Jury members carry out an important function in the country's courts and they should be treated with vast respect by judges and prosecutors. Justice Gayle's public bashing of those jury members in the court is shameful and the chief justice should reprimand the justice for his comments. His comments do not serve justice well in this country, and as a citizen of this country I am most disappointed in his comments.<br /> <br /> Robert Dalley,<br /> <br /> St James<br /> <br /> Justice Martin Gayle's comments shameful<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, March 03, 2015 12:00 AM Washed-out Black History Month http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Washed-out-Black-History-Month_18493077 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I waited until the end of February to speak on the issue of Black History Month celebrations which seem to be non-existent.<br /> <br /> The Jewish community celebrates so many holidays and remembrances, especially the holocaust that occurred in Germany from 1939-1945. They even went as far as to find the perpetrators of the holocaust and had them hanged or imprisoned. The British Government orchestrated the reparation payment to Israel from Germany. I even think that Israel has nuclear power, but I am sure that when South Africa went from a white government to a black government, under Nelson Mandela, their nuclear arsenal was made dormant.<br /> <br /> And so we continue to diminish our African heritage. Our leaders pay scant regard to our heritage and now it seems as if many of our national heroes never existed. When I go to many schools across Jamaica I see our national heroes depicted as white people with the straightest of noses and hair.<br /> <br /> We cannot mimic and embrace European and American heritage as our own and expect to be successful as a nation.<br /> <br /> I hope to be part of a revolution that will allow us to be proud black people and not mendicants to the rest of the world, a position we have been placed in by our 'licky-licky' politicians and the privileged class in our society.<br /> <br /> Mark Trought<br /> <br /> marktrought@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Washed-out Black History Month<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, March 03, 2015 12:00 AM Don't merge Trench Town and Charlie Smith; let them co-operate http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Don-t-merge-Trench-Town-and-Charlie-Smith--let-them-co-operate_18478940 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Anyone who understands community development knows that schools are not just places of teaching and learning; they are important symbols within communities. Just think about the Hope Road community without Campion College or the National Heroes Circle community without the Wolmer's schools. Think about the new North Street community without Kingston College and St George's College.<br /> <br /> For outsiders, merging Trench Town and Charlie Smith is an easy fiscal decision. For residents, it is an emotional decision that will not happen without a fight. It is a fight, however, that is just getting started with students padlocking the school gate. It is a fight that must be avoided with creative thinking.<br /> <br /> For years, I have suggested that Trench Town, Tivoli Gardens and Charlie Smith high schools should become model signature institutions. As an outlier, Denham Town High, I believe, should become the parish (Kingston and St Andrew) high school for pregnant schoolgirls, young mothers, and other 'second chance' students.<br /> <br /> Trench Town High should become a 100 per cent signature school of written, voice and instrument music (Trench Town High School of Music). In addition, it should expose students to the production and business of music. A perfect fit; Trench Town has long been associated with music -- Bob Marley said, 'mi come from Trench Town'. Over time, Trench Town would not only produce better DJs, it would produce opera singers, and instrumental musicians to sustain a national orchestra. Trench Town would become the incubator of music teachers (primary schools have strong music programmes beginning in the third grade).<br /> <br /> Unlike Trench Town, Tivoli Gardens and Charlie Smith should continue to be comprehensive high schools; meaning, they would accept other students. However, they each should have an embedded signature programme. Tivoli Gardens High should be a 40 per cent signature school with a programme in the performing arts. Tivoli Gardens High would produce dancers of different styles, actors and actresses, film-makers, film producers, camera operators and scriptwriters. Charlie Smith should be a 40 per cent signature school with a STEM programme that would help Jamaica produce more engineers, medical scientists, mathematicians and computer scientists.<br /> <br /> Given the uniqueness of those programmes, the hope is that this would attract different socio-economic groups of students (parents) to those schools; therefore, fermenting a subtle revolution to transform those sometimes volatile communities.<br /> <br /> Michael Brown<br /> <br /> Washington, DC<br /> <br /> miguelbro@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Don't merge Trench Town and Charlie Smith; let them co-operate<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11550412/tths_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Saturday, February 28, 2015 3:00 AM Attacks on health workers not a solution http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Attacks-on-health-workers-not-a-solution_18473913 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It has become a sad truism that our interactions with each other, whether on public roads or in private institutions, reflects our depreciating respect for humanity and declining civility. In recent times, this sad reality has infiltrated our social institutions, with the latest being hospitals.<br /> <br /> Now, it is an undisputed fact that our health care system is under stress; this has been the case for at least the last decade. It goes without saying that both health-care seekers and health-care workers find themselves interacting in an atmosphere of not merely crumbling infrastructure but also one with a paucity of key resources and personnel.<br /> <br /> These challenges, notwithstanding, the recent behaviour of some patient(s) to be abusive physically, and no doubt verbally abusive, towards a physician is most unacceptable and inexcusable. The truth of the matter is that even though patients have to undergo lengthy waiting periods, health care workers also have to endure long periods as well; work schedules, waiting for resources and finances and they perform miracles on thread budgets. One can easily understand that the health facilities may in fact leave a lot to be desired, and the service at times is wanting; however, hurling abuse, whether from patient to worker or from physician to patient, will in no way aid in remedying the situation. For, after the abuse, patients will still have long waits, relatives will still have anxious moments, space will still be limited and medication will remain inadequate. So let's end the abuse and channel energies into solutions.<br /> <br /> Noel Matherson<br /> <br /> noelmatherson@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Attacks on health workers not a solution<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11177023/Victoria-jubilee-2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Saturday, February 28, 2015 3:00 AM Guns without owners http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Guns-without-owners_18434510 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Every year I have seen pictures of guns seized by the police in the newspapers. In last Thursday's issue what appears to be a military assault rifle is shown. The accompanying stories almost always repeat the phrase, "No arrest was made in connection with yesterday's seizure." Really?<br /> <br /> Such weapons are issued by a government, and hence traceable. Similarly, the tracing of the guns recovered by the police should reveal the sources and finite number of routes by which the vast arsenal of illegal guns are imported into Jamaica.<br /> <br /> The statement "an arrest was made in connection with this seizure" should become more common; making Jamaica safer for us all.<br /> <br /> Howard Chin<br /> <br /> hmc14 @cwjamaica.com<br /> <br /> Guns without owners<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10627058/SW9mm_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Saturday, February 28, 2015 3:00 AM Good going, Thwaites! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Good-going--Thwaites-_18473581 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Congratulations to the Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites for having the testicular fortitude to make this step in the right direction in the context of our partisan political culture and misguided understanding and feelings regarding the role of sports in schools and the role of schools.<br /> <br /> Let us give the minister all the support we can. It is a small first step, but it can be a significant one.<br /> <br /> Let us hope administrative bureaucracy will not slow this one down.<br /> <br /> Lascelve Graham<br /> <br /> long.78@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Good going, Thwaites!<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11467140/Ronnie-THWAITES-1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Saturday, February 28, 2015 3:00 AM Andrew's hole-digging exercise http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Andrew-s-hole-digging-exercise_18477277 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> According to senior JLP member Mike Henry, "There are questions that party leader Andrew Holness must answer in relation to his decision to appeal the Constitutional Court ruling". I agree. Any decision to appeal a ruling should have solid legal and moral bases.<br /> <br /> In this particular case, the basis is difficult to find, much less understand. Undated pre-signed resignation letters were used to force out two prominent members of the Senate. Although these letters should never have been drafted in the first place, they were intended to be used, by consensus of the party, for a specific purpose, ie, if a member departed from the party's position on the Caribbean Court of Justice. Holness chose to use the letters for something else, to push his own agenda.<br /> <br /> His recent appeal filing, therefore, suggests he disagrees with the court ruling which contradicts his public apology. Holness is still bitter and angry, and we can assume he is still holding a grudge against senators Williams and Tufton.<br /> <br /> Perhaps this appeal might turn out to be a good thing after all. A rejection of the appeal would mean only one thing, further embarassment to the Opposition leader who, after all these years, has failed to unite the party, failed to lead it effectively, and failed to excite the electoral base. If the appeal is rejected, Holness should do the right thing and spare us the ordeal. He should resign immediately thereafter and allow the party to move forward under new leadership, and heal.<br /> <br /> The JLP needs new vision; they will need to get rid of the old guard. Holness's inner court is falling apart, crumbling. Jamaica, by virtue of its Constitution and being a parliamentary democracy, deserves a fully functional and effective Opposition, one that is reliable and trustworthy. Jamaicans deserve an Opposition that could actually be a viable alternative to the sitting Government. The JLP leader Andrew Holness is digging a hole for himself, one that is so deep that, if he falls in, there is no climbing out.<br /> <br /> P Chin<br /> <br /> chin_p@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Andrew's hole-digging exercise<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11543329/Andrew-Holness_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Saturday, February 28, 2015 3:00 AM High marks for JFF in hosting tourneys, but that's just tip of the iceberg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/-p-High-marks-for-JFF-in-hosting-tourneys--but-that-s-just-tip-of-the--iceberg--p---_18454754 Dear Sir,<br /> <br /> Kindly permit me a few comments on our recently concluded Under-20 CONCACAF qualifying tournament in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Sometimes we are so discouraged by poor results that we fail to appreciate the positives, and it is for this reason I would like to address the matter with the pointers below.<br /> <br /> * Jamaica's team improved as the competition progressed.<br /> <br /> * Kudos to the JFF (Jamaica Football Federation) and its administrative team, who have become the top hosting affiliate in the CFU.<br /> <br /> * Montego Bay and Kingston have offered two distinctly separate markets, with western Jamaica having some of the best hotels on this side of the world. Their support, and that of the fans of western Jamaica, should be commended for adding a new dimension to Jamaica's international football landscape.<br /> <br /> * The heavyweight political leadership by the JFF that was on display is deserving of praise, in first winning the rights and then successfully hosting the CFU Caribbean Cup and CONCACAF Under-20 World Cup qualifying, especially in light of Jamaica's deteriorating foreign exchange situation.<br /> <br /> * In blaming our JFF, it is often overlooked how important and how blessed Jamaica has been over the years in having committed presidents and an experienced JFF.<br /> <br /> After the Trinidad scandal and the reorganisation of Caribbean football some countries have regressed due primarily to poor or non-existent administration, for example, St Kitts & Nevis and Guyana (under FIFA administration), while other administrators have excelled in their vision, hard work and team preparation, particularly Antigua and Aruba.<br /> <br /> The negatives, no doubt, are all too obvious.<br /> <br /> * The perennial shortage of funds to properly prepare our national teams against much better financed CONCACAF rivals. The public blames the JFF, they look to their president and the knee-jerk reaction is to blame and/or fire the coaches, who are the only ones expected to take responsibility for perceived failures.<br /> <br /> To further ridicule the coaches, we have elevated Mr Warner's style of firing coaches, added army timing and ended up with Captain's now iconic media expectations of being summoned to his office and fired at 0100 hours.<br /> <br /> * At the international level, the failure of our inverted schoolboy structure, which brings such glory to our schools, is the underlying structure for the JFF's youth programme. Schoolboy football will be more suited to our Under-17s' quest for FIFA glory in Honduras, starting this month. It will still probably be found wanting, as we lack the technical vision, courage and maturity to withdraw these players from their school teams and focus on the national programme, as was done by Trinidad and Tobago the last time they qualified for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup. We wish coach Andrew Edwards and his squad the very best.<br /> <br /> * Jamaica's misunderstanding of entitlement and the lack of realisation that without a paradigm shift in our football structure we will continue to be "kings" of the Caribbean, along with Trinidad, Haiti and possibly Cuba, but will always fall short in the CONCACAF, whose leading countries are primarily committed to a professional football structure.<br /> <br /> Solutions to Jamaica's football are not simplistic or cheap. Fundamental change requires national consensus, support and then concerted action; long overdue if we are to build on the platform of France 1998's success. Let the overhaul begin with franchise restructuring and bringing logic, transparency and a full understanding of the underpinning programmes, roles and responsibilities of all affiliates to engender the level of co-operation and hopefully national commitment to make this work. This should be a nationally supported technical thrust, not more political spin.<br /> <br /> Recently, FIFA and CONCACAF have spent unprecedented amounts in development funds and structures in the Caribbean, but these are primarily generic long-term programmes structured on a broad amateur base. These are critically important for the smaller developing countries and to retain the existing political status quo.<br /> <br /> Jamaica's ambitions and leadership role in the CFU should supersede this. Our expensive top-down structure desperately needs a supporting technical programme focused primarily toward the performance of our national teams.<br /> <br /> Let us show technical leadership by being an advocate for prioritising $20 million to be spent by FIFA in supporting CFU and CONCACAF's fledgling thrust for a Caribbean professional league, which will support our franchises rather than the $20 million gift from FIFA to CONCACAF for match-fixing subsidies.<br /> <br /> The JFF has an awesome burden in financing our national teams, as do all sporting associations. this is a national problem, and in the context of our Third World economy and our weak Jamaican dollar, mimics 'David vs Goliath' when taking on international competition.<br /> <br /> The root problem is money, in particular foreign exchange.<br /> <br /> The paradox is that player and personnel development requires long-term programmes. For local coaches, the national designation may be a misnomer; there needs to be an understanding that they are national coaches in training. Success requires money, time, patience, and experience. Experience by its definition means being able to learn from their mistakes. A long-term approach is critical if we are to maximise this very critical investment of scarce JFF resources.<br /> <br /> Contrast what we spend/waste on local coaches to what we spend/waste on foreign coaches and their expensive redundancy packages.<br /> <br /> The JFF will be reluctant to release these figures.<br /> <br /> My major concern, therefore, is for our national programme and local coaches. Contrasting with the structural success of our coaching school is the policy of personal appointment of some of our best local coaches to national jobs with all the above national pride and financial commitment this entails and then their decapitation, with very little due process or technical assessment and maximum publicity, as they are forced through embarrassment to resign or be fired.<br /> <br /> It is ironic how highly the top members of the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG) rate Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore. They acknowledge his unique grasp of certain technical matters and his thirst for knowledge (given the key for the TSG room, as he is usually the first to arrive and the last to leave).<br /> <br /> To declare my bias for Whitmore has to be broadened to all those local coaches we have invested in and discarded. At the national level, Carl Brown, Bradley Stewart, Jackie Walters, Wendell Downswell; others such as Leebert Halliman, Emerson 'Diggie' Henry, Anthony 'Follies' Williams, Paul 'Tegat' Davis, Donovan Duckie, Marvin Tate and now the younger ones like Merron Gordon, just to mention a few.<br /> <br /> Add to this our inability to transition younger age group national players into our Under-20 and senior programmes and we should see the short-sightedness of our existing approach.<br /> <br /> Jamaica desperately needs a respected technical director who, among other things, can coach, advise, monitor and evaluate our coaches, and ensure that team preparation is standardised among the various national teams. Our islandwide technical development programme and the competitions supporting it also need his critical input.<br /> <br /> FIFA's original policy and affiliate financing mandates a technical director, who may still rescue us from the destruction of prime national assets -- our local football coaches and young players.<br /> <br /> With approximately US$1 million due from FIFA to support to all Caribbean affiliates this year for national development, it should be interesting to see if our parish administrators will continue to vote their parishes into poverty at board level or redefine national, to include stemming the alarming deterioration of club football in the weaker rural parishes -- remembering that clubs are the base of our national programme. Strong clubs equal a strong JFF.<br /> <br /> Yours truly<br /> <br /> Tony James<br /> <br /> Note: Tony James is a Manchester-based businessman, former JFF president and a FIFA Youth Committee member.<br /> <br /> High marks for JFF in hosting tourneys, but that's just tip of the iceberg<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11547092/U-20-Football_w300.jpg Local Sports Friday, February 27, 2015 3:00 AM To two sons of Jamaica http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/To-two-sons-of-Jamaica_18471447 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> This is an open letter to Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels:<br /> <br /> The president, board of directors, management and staff of Jamaica Cricket Association extend heartiest congratulations to you both on your astounding record-breaking performances.<br /> <br /> You cannot imagine the immense pride we now feel as a nation to be able to claim you as sons of Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Chris, as you do battle on the field and battle your injuries, please know you are in our prayers as we wish you healing, strength, perseverance and resolve.<br /> <br /> Marlon, you are undoubtedly one of the most consistent batsmen in the region, and we encourage you to take some pride in that; hang tough and keep doing your best.<br /> <br /> Again, congratulations to you both and all the very best in the remaining games.<br /> <br /> Courtney L Francis<br /> <br /> CEO, Jamaica Cricket Association<br /> <br /> George Headley Stand, Sabina Park<br /> <br /> To two sons of Jamaica<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11543310/Samuels--Gayle-run_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, February 26, 2015 2:00 AM The numbers game again, Dr Ferguson? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/The-numbers-game-again--Dr-Ferguson-_18471835 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Every victim of chikungunya remembers it like it was yesterday, especially the Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson day after day spouting obviously wrong CHIKV numbers. It got so bad that the minister appeared to have been forced into quarantine, given public outcry over the obviously wrong and low numbers while thousands of Jamaicans got knocked down by what we now know is a seriously debilitating virus for some.<br /> <br /> There was no preparation, even though we later found out that CHIKV preparedness was the theme of a major international workshop in Jamaica years ago.<br /> <br /> Now, many thought CHIKV would have run its course by now, but the sad reality is that thousands are still battling joint pain and several are dead. And, from what I am hearing, the numbers are not as Dr Marion Bullock-Ducasse is now saying. Maybe she is an equal victim as she played right into the ridiculous numbers game, destroying in an absolute way whatever credibility she had. Other ministry technocrats, probably knowing that they have made a complete mess of things, have stayed silent. I can't recall hearing a word from Permanent Secretary Dr Kevin Harvey in a long time. In other countries the entire lot of them would have been fired.<br /> <br /> It is obvious to everyone in Jamaica that far more than 14 people are suspected to have died from CHIKV-related complications. With well over half the country affected, an educated guess may see high numbers. Alas, there are no clear reporting methods and the guessing game will continue.<br /> <br /> What a disaster! I pray for my country every day.<br /> <br /> Georgia Kirkland<br /> <br /> Kingston 6<br /> <br /> georgia2kirkland@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> The numbers game again, Dr Ferguson?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11528861/Fenton-Ferguson-8_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, February 26, 2015 12:00 AM Royally bamboozled! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Royally-bamboozled-_18471850 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Speaking my mind, we have a Government that does not value education and we have an Opposition leader who is showing his true colours. The man stood contrite before God and man and offered an apology, yet lo and behold he has now filed an appeal. Any sankey can sing so?<br /> <br /> If Andrew Holness is the best Jamaica muster to counter the tragedy called the PNP, then it is an epic tragedy.<br /> <br /> One would think that as the leader of the Opposition, trying to get the votes of the people in the next elections, he would be speaking to the people and letting them know what he would be doing differently to put Jamaica back on track. We have not heard what are his plans for the country in terms of adequate health care, the issue of crime, etc. We are doomed.<br /> <br /> In light of what is happening, the leader of the Opposition seems more concerned about being right and allowing the country to spiral. The dollar has no value and only the name 'Jamaica' is left to be sold to foreign investors.<br /> <br /> I'm left to wonder if young Jamaicans, in fact every Jamaican who can afford to, should pack up and leave, as clearly the only thing that matters to the leaders on both sides, at this point, is power at whatever cost.<br /> <br /> While Portia is looking for 'queenship', Andrew is striving for dictatorship, and neither is any good for a country.<br /> <br /> Michelle Bradshaw<br /> <br /> michelleannmariebradshaw@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Royally bamboozled!<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11524924/Andrew-Holness-cp_w370_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, February 26, 2015 12:00 AM Dollar devaluation killing health sector http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Dollar-devaluation-killing-health-sector_18465396 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It has been widely reported in the media that Jamaica's public health facilities are bursting at the seams with patients moreso now than any other time in recent history.<br /> <br /> Further, it is no secret that the health sector has long lacked the resources it requires for ideal care and service. However, one has to wonder what is causing this sudden influx of sick, far beyond the capacity of our hospitals?<br /> <br /> I put it to you that the problem is rooted in the Government's dollar devaluation policy.<br /> <br /> My understanding is that Jamaica imports the vast majority of its prescription drugs. With the Jamaican dollar losing roughly 30 per cent of its value in recent months, it stands to reason that the cost of prescription medication has seen a correlating increase. Simply put, the Government's dollar devaluation policy has put the cost of many prescription drugs out of the reach of ordinary Jamaicans.<br /> <br /> It is inevitable that when people are forced to forgo daily prescription medication the severity of their illnesses will escalate. Hence, it should be of no surprise when droves of people present with illnesses at emergency rooms, which could have been easily managed at home.<br /> <br /> The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) does excellent work in documenting the prices of goods available on the Jamaican market. A CAC survey of the change in prices of common prescription medication over time would be incredibly useful in mitigating this particular health sector challenge as the Government continues with wage freezes, dollar devaluation, and other austerity measures.<br /> <br /> Stephen Edwards, MSc<br /> <br /> Kingston 6<br /> <br /> patriot.ja@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Dollar devaluation killing health sector<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11540704/filename_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, February 25, 2015 3:00 AM From worst Indies to best Indies http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/From-worst-Indies-to-best-Indies_18465056 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The West Indies cricket team, recently dubbed the minnows of the cricket world, has got back its rightful place in cricket -- on top of the world.<br /> <br /> The West Indies first created history when the team outclassed Pakistan, beating them by 150 runs. They then totally dominated Pakistan in the field of play, where Pakistan made the worst start to an innings in World Cup history -- the previous worst was Canada against Zimbabwe in 2006. Jerome Taylor dismissed three players with just 18 balls, where only one run was made.<br /> <br /> History was also created when West Indies Captain Jason Holder became the youngest captain to win a World Cup game, at 23 years old, more than 230 days younger than the previous record which was held by Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh.<br /> <br /> When they faced Zimbabwe, Chris Gayle hit the first double century in World Cup history; a game in which the West Indies beat them by 73 runs using the Duckworth/Lewis method. He also added another ODI record, 372, for the second wicket with Marlon Samuels. Jerome Taylor claimed another three wickets for 38 runs, and this seems as if the West Indies team was now on a roll.<br /> <br /> They have totally dominated their last two games, and it seems as if they were on a course to regain a place in the annals of history as one of the greatest cricket teams in World Cup history.<br /> <br /> History was also created in te latter match as the team attained the highest World Cup score; it was the third-highest ODI score of all time, and there were no centuries in the previous 19 ODI innings.<br /> <br /> The West Indies, therefore, has the potential to move from strength to strength and should be a good force in this World Cup. Let's root for them!<br /> <br /> Daniel Morgan<br /> <br /> dmorgan239@gmail.com<br /> <br /> From worst Indies to best Indies<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/6008690/windies_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, February 25, 2015 3:00 AM Enterprise, the hallmark of success http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Enterprise--the-hallmark-of-success_18465068 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> That enterprise is the most important factor of production, it must be admitted. It is, in the final analysis, the principal contributor to the wealth of individuals and nations. Governments should, therefore, fertilise enterprise by policies and do nothing whatsoever to stagnate.<br /> <br /> This is what Omar Azan, an enterprising businessman and former president of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association, and some others have been preaching. We ask the authorities to listen more to businessmen than to those at universities.<br /> <br /> It is unfortunate that Parliament is not comprised mostly of businessmen. I am confident businessmen would do better with higher education. I always preach that, while intelligence is the mother of the enterprising, the enterprising would always do better with formal relevant education.<br /> <br /> When I got a scholarship to high school, instead of congratulating, my late grandfather, Azariah, responded: "A survey was carried out in the United States, which revealed that most of the millionaires had never seen inside of a secondary school." This from a successful businessman like his father before him, who were always entrepreneurs, and whose family's education ended at elementary school.<br /> <br /> And when I told him of my promotion in the public service, his response was: "If I was a young man again, I would do nothing but business." He still did not congratulate me. He did not, however, deny that education contributed to his success, having graduated from elementary school, read a lot and even told me he got most of his education from the newspaper of the day, which was his constant companion.<br /> <br /> Owen S Crosbie<br /> <br /> Mandeville, Manchester<br /> <br /> oss@cwjamaica.com<br /> <br /> Enterprise, the hallmark of success<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11540705/Omar-Azan_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, February 25, 2015 3:00 AM Local stations need to know when to take a hike http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Local-stations-need-to-know-when-to-take-a-hike_18465116 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> You know what irks me immensely? When local stations acquire rights to air TV programmes, and when I tune into regular cable I am greeted by a lengthy message revealing same.<br /> <br /> To add insult to injury, the local stations cut out scenes from these same programmes when they broadcast them; especially sex scenes, because they are either controversial or too "adult" or something of the sort. Now I understand that minors are watching and the language needs to be age-appropriate and yada yada yada, but I am a grown adult and I really do not believe I should be deprived of all the scenes in a movie simply because local stations have a certain responsibility to not broadcast certain things.<br /> <br /> That is their problem, not mine. I don't care about them wanting to broaden their horizons. But I don't like that I have to be deprived of anything at all because of them. Why can't I still have the option to view the same programme on the regular cable channel?<br /> <br /> If you purchase the rights I would like to think that the programme will be broadcast in its entirety. If you realise that the programme contains deeply controversial issues that you cannot air, then probably this programme would not be ideal; therefore, seek out another one and afford viewers the opportunity to watch the programme on regular cable.<br /> <br /> In regular Jamaican terms, they shouldn't take up what they can't manage! Do not subject folks to the watered-down version of a programme. The ramifications of this are many, as questions are left unanswered and certain things do not even add up when scenes are cut out. Viewers are sometimes left confused.<br /> <br /> Those who can will have to binge on websites that show series without the interruptions of ads. Others can acquire access to Netflix, and so on, in order to get their regular fix on series.<br /> <br /> The fact is, while local stations are plain annoying, individuals have to find alternative ways to view all of their programmes or become slaves to the annoying local stations that are unable to go all the way when they broadcast certain programmes.<br /> <br /> Tiekena K McKoy<br /> <br /> tie_kamj@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Local stations need to know when to take a hike<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, February 25, 2015 3:00 AM Let the Maroons pay too http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Let-the-Maroons-pay-too_18465115 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> February is Black History Month, and every year I await a properly researched paper on the despicable behaviour of the double-crossing Maroons who returned their brothers and sisters to slavery on behalf of the British. For this service they were amply compensated.<br /> <br /> The treaty with the Maroons should be cancelled by the Jamaican Government, and they should be asked to pay reparations equal to the British.<br /> <br /> The people of Jamaica ought to be fully informed.<br /> <br /> Delroy McPherson<br /> <br /> Mandeville<br /> <br /> delroymcp@cwjamaica.com<br /> <br /> Let the Maroons pay too<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, February 25, 2015 3:00 AM Silver Slipper doesn't shine http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Silver-Slipper-doesn-t-shine_18457816 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Silver Slipper Plaza needs to be refurbished much like the former State Cinema, now State Mall.<br /> <br /> It is an eyesore as a number of shops have closed and vagrants and street people have moved in.<br /> <br /> This is a prime commercial area, with Nuttall Hospital, schools and businesses nearby. The place needs to be transformed to bring it back to some of its former glory. It can be done. Why wait until it's all mashed down? Beauty is our duty.<br /> <br /> Claudette Harris<br /> <br /> claudetteharris43@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Silver Slipper doesn't shine<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, February 25, 2015 3:00 AM If I were JLP leader, this is what I would do http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/If-I-were-JLP-leader--this-is-what-I-would-do_18434617 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> No more than two days after the Constitutional Court made its ruling on undated letters of resignation, I would have made a televised address to the nation, which would say something like this:<br /> <br /> Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I would like to take the opportunity of expressing my sincere apology for the role I played in using undated letters of resignation to keep senators in line with my vision regarding the Caribbean Court of Justice. I beg your forgiveness and, most importantly, I humbly beg the forgiveness of Senator Arthur Williams and Senator Christopher Tufton.<br /> <br /> I fully accept the ruling of the Constitutional Court that those undated letters of resignation were unconstitutional and unlawful, and as such, I have communicated to Senator Arthur Williams and Senator Christopher Tufton that I am rueful of my action towards them, and would like them to start attending to the business of the Senate effective immediately.<br /> <br /> Though my action of hanging undated letters over my senators' heads can be rightfully considered as vindictive, I must say that I had never sought to act in any way contrary to the Constitution and laws of Jamaica.<br /> <br /> In closing, let me say that I have already contacted Ruel Reid and Dr Nigel Clarke to humbly ask them not to attend anymore Senate meetings. I thank you.<br /> <br /> Garth 'Sub-Zero' Allen<br /> <br /> excellentsub@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> If I were JLP leader, this is what I would do<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11536829/Andrew-Holness_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, February 24, 2015 12:00 AM Politicians give politics a bad rap http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Politicians-give-politics-a-bad-rap_18434380 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Politics is a beautiful thing with a bad reputation. This reputation I speak of is without doubt a result of bad practices, mismanagement and misconduct of our politicians over the years. In many instances, too, there has been blatant disregard for the people they serve.<br /> <br /> The failure of politicians to take responsibility for their actions is oftentimes their biggest downfall and Andrew Holness in recent times has demonstrated just that. A young man who brought renewed hope to our politics; demonstrating youthfulness, hard work and a different approach, has now shown that he is capable of contributing to that bad reputation. If we are to believe that he's genuine about taking a new approach to moving Jamaica forward, then he needs to take responsibility for his actions which resulted in the Constitutional Court ruling that the pre-signed and undated letters of resignation, as well as the manner of their use to effect the resignation of senators from the Senate of Jamaica, are inconsistent with the constitution, contrary to public policy, and are, accordingly null and void. As such I strongly support the call for Holness's resignation.<br /> <br /> In the eyes of the party and its officials he might be the best person to lead the party as he commands majority support and is said to be the most popular politician locally. But that should amount to nothing when one who vows to uphold the constitution finds himself to be in breach.<br /> <br /> Let us seek to create and maintain the inviolable principles of good governance by starting to put country over politics.<br /> <br /> Nackadian Jones<br /> <br /> nackie_jonesyahoo.com<br /> <br /> Politicians give politics a bad rap<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11536829/Andrew-Holness_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, February 24, 2015 12:00 AM JAMFIN challenges SIPP open access http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/JAMFIN-challenges-SIPP-open-access_18458032 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Jamaica Association for Micro Financing (JAMFIN) is deeply concerned at the enactment of the Security Interests in Personal Property Act 2013 without due consideration of the full implications for financial institutions and individuals.<br /> <br /> JAMFIN strongly objects to any attempt to make it legitimate for the Government to violate the individual's right to privacy under the constitution. JAMFIN represents microfinancing institutions, some of which subscribe to the registry of security interests. These institutions may now be open to lawsuits from customers whose private information has been put in the public domain without their knowledge or permission.<br /> <br /> Whereas JAMFIN supports the establishment of a registry of this type for the use of financial institutions, it strongly objects to this information being open to the public at large. Such open access can have the effect of compromising the portfolios of participating institutions, leaving the way open for unscrupulous people to use the information to carry out criminal acts against their customers.<br /> <br /> JAMFIN sees the decision to shut down the SIPP website temporarily as a positive one and calls upon the Government to immediately convene meetings with all participating lenders, including microfinance institutions to consider the negative implications of this aspect of the new Act and to agree that safeguards will be put in place to prevent the information contained in the Registry from finding its way into the public domain.<br /> <br /> Blossom O'Meally-Nelson<br /> <br /> Chairman,<br /> <br /> JAMFIN <br /> <br /> JAMFIN challenges SIPP open access<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, February 24, 2015 12:00 AM Students with unaccredited degrees left holding the bag http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Students-with-unaccredited-degrees-left-holding-the-bag_18458063 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> After doing some research, it was surprising to learn that many institutions in Jamaica are actually allowed to offer unaccredited degrees. Some of these institutions are well established and they offer some degrees on the basis that they will eventually get accreditation after the programme goes through its full life cycle producing the first batch of graduates.<br /> <br /> This makes no sense as there must be an element of fraud or misrepresentation somewhere, as I am certain that many of the students graduating from these programmes may not even realise they are not accredited as they are not advertised as such. Employers may also be reluctant to accept these degrees as a standard for qualification, leaving many holding the bag.<br /> <br /> The Ministry of Education and accreditation bodies such as UCJ should immediately reform the process on how they deal with accreditation to protect the interests of vulnerable students before they invest large sums in their post-secondary education. I agree with the suggestion that institutions rather than their individual degree programmes should be accredited. In other words, they should grant educational accreditation to the institution, based on standards set for its entire operation, from teaching and content, to methodology and execution. I am sure if the degree or diploma is advertised as 'unaccredited' no one would enrol in it. This is a very serious issue which needs to be resolved quickly so that unsuspecting students aren't victimised as a result of flaws in the system over which they have no control.<br /> <br /> P Chin<br /> <br /> chin_p@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Students with unaccredited degrees left holding the bag<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, February 24, 2015 12:00 AM THis Day in History &mdash; Feb 24 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/THis-Day-in-History---Feb-24_18456245 TODAY'S HIGHLIGHT<br /> <br /> 2008: Raul Castro replaces brother Fidel as Cuba's president.<br /> <br /> OTHER EVENTS<br /> <br /> 1525: Spanish army, using muskets for first time in war, routs French and Swiss forces at Pavia, Italy, as 14,000 men are slain in battle.<br /> <br /> 1530: Charles V is crowned Holy Roman Emperor and King of Italy by Pope Clement VII at Bologna -- the last imperial coronation by a pope.<br /> <br /> 1830: King Louis-Philippe of France abdicates in the face of an insurrection in Paris, giving way to the Second Republic.<br /> <br /> 1920: Nazi Party is organiSed in Germany.<br /> <br /> 1945: Egypt's Premier Ahmed Pasha is assassinated after announcing Egypt's declaration of war against Germany.<br /> <br /> 1946: Juan Peron is elected for first of three presidential terms in Argentina.<br /> <br /> 1991: Hours after last-minute Soviet diplomatic efforts fail, allied forces launch a ground offensive against Iraqi forces in Kuwait and Iraq.<br /> <br /> 1995: Breaking its silence with a rare fury in trans-Atlantic diplomacy, the US Embassy accuses France's interior minister of lying about a spy scandal.<br /> <br /> 1996: Cuban Government fighter planes shoot down two small aircraft belonging to an exile group flying off the coast of Havana.<br /> <br /> 1997: Nine army officers in Zaire declare that they will join the rebels under Laurent Kabila who seek to topple Mobuto Sese Seko.<br /> <br /> 1999: The second killer avalanche hits western Austria in as many days, raising the death toll to 38.<br /> <br /> 2002: The Winter Olympic Games concludes in Salt Lake City, Utah, with Germany winning the most medals in the games: 12 golds, 16 silvers and seven bronzes for a total of 35.<br /> <br /> 2003: Vojislav Seselj, leader of the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party, surrenders to the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. He is charged with eight counts of crimes against humanity and six counts of war crimes.<br /> <br /> 2004: A 6.5-magnitude earthquake rocks a picturesque but impoverished region of northern Morocco, killing more than 550 people.<br /> <br /> 2006: Suicide bombers in Saudi Arabia carry out a bold attack on the world's largest oil- processing facility but are stopped from breaking in by guards who fire on their cars, exploding both vehicles and killing the attackers.<br /> <br /> 2009: President Barack Obama makes his first address to Congress, warning the US has to start reckoning with its economic problems.<br /> <br /> 2011: Discovery, the world's most travelled spaceship, thunders into orbit for the final time, heading toward the International Space Station on a journey that marks the beginning of the end of the shuttle era.<br /> <br /> 2012: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton blasts Russia and China as "despicable" for opposing UN action aimed at stopping the bloodshed in Syria.<br /> <br /> 2013: Pope Benedict XVI bestows his final Sunday blessing of his pontificate on a cheering crowd in St Peter's Square.<br /> <br /> TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS<br /> <br /> Charles V, Holy Roman emperor, king of Spain and archduke of Austria (1500-1558); Wilhelm Grimm, German author (1786-1859); George Augustus Moore, English novelist (1852-1933); Bettino Craxi, first Socialist prime minister of Italy (1934-2000); Paula Zahn, US news correspondent (1956-)<br /> <br /> -- AP<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11536878/juan-peron_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, February 24, 2015 3:00 AM