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 Ramp up national awards...wheelchair ramp http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Ramp-up-national-awards---wheelchair-ramp_17797482 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I watched with pride the televised National Heroes' Day awards ceremony, where several people who serve or have served our country received awards in their area(s) of specialty.<br /> <br /> It was equally refreshing to see our military and constabulary men and women perform with sharp salutes and turns, whether receiving awards and taking part in the production.<br /> <br /> However, the pride I felt quickly dissipated and turned to dismay and irritation when the governor general was made to step down from the dais to meet the wheelchair-bound awardees.<br /> <br /> Why, in this day, with a Disabilities Act recently passed, were allowances not made to have a ramp installed to accommodate the wheelchairs? This was a shameful display that removed some of the pomp and pageantry of the ceremony. This disregard, especially at a government function, is glaring and should not be allowed to continue. The addition of a ramp is as necessary as the blue steps at the front and side of the stage. The production needs to be reviewed and corrections made for 2015.<br /> <br /> Hugh T Gordon<br /> <br /> h_gdon@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Ramp up national awards...wheelchair ramp <br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11175733/DSC_4432_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, October 24, 2014 2:00 AM Call it the $4-m waste that it was http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Call-it-the--4-m-waste-that-it-was_17797627 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> When Jamaicans are denied entry to a foreign country, be it Barbados, Trinidad, England, etc, they are simply sent home using their return ticket. No matter how Minister Peter Bunting tries to defend the waste of $4 million of taxpayers' funds to send Abu Bakr home on a private jet it does not wash. For, he is not the first deportee to "gwaan bad" when denied entry into a country. And the more the Bunting spins the talk the more suspicious and ridiculous he sounds.<br /> <br /> Some people have even started wondering if the real story isn't that the Government owed the jet operator for previous trips that minsters take as they traipse all over the place and they had hoped to quietly slip in the payment using this ridiculous cover of the Abu Bakr story. To tell you the truth, even this made-up story sounds more plausible.<br /> <br /> Then when you weigh this waste of $4 million of taxpayers money against the simultaneous salivating at the feet of Sagicor which had to underwrite the $4 million cost of purchasing fever scan machines to detect Ebola, you realise how pathetic what passes for governance in this country really is.<br /> <br /> Joan E Williams<br /> <br /> Kingston 10<br /> <br /> gratestj@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Call it the $4-m waste that it was<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11175750/filename24_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, October 24, 2014 2:00 AM Save the natural enemies of the mosquito! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Save-the-natural-enemies-of-the-mosquito_17797506 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> When did you last check on those healthy spider webs that grace the eaves of your house or garage, or establish themselves between tree branches or flower beds? These natural wonders of nature might just hold the key to protecting you from dengue, malaria or CHIKV.<br /> <br /> The small, jumping day lizards and the heftier night-performing croaking lizards stand by just waiting to catch the mosquitos that missed the webs, or the active mouths of the night-flying bats, owls, or day-flying dragon flies that can consume thousands more. Meanwhile, outdoor natural habitats, including ponds, drains and canals, collect not only water, but a variety of insect-eating frogs, tiki-tiki fish, water birds (such as egrets), praying mantis (stick creatures), and a variety of nature's helpers whose favourite snacks include live mosquitos and their larvae.<br /> <br /> Regretably, householders lose all the valuable services these amazing creatures have to offer free of charge by over-spraying expensive poisonous pesticides, filling their homes with toxic smoke by burning coils, clearing away cobwebs and killing off the spiders, and generally decimating the natural enemies of the mosquito.<br /> <br /> Maybe a valuable lesson can be learned from the pain and suffering of the CHIKV: Love thy neighbours, particularly those who dine on mosquitos and their larvae..<br /> <br /> Marguerite Gauron<br /> <br /> President Emeritus<br /> <br /> Portland Environment Protection Association<br /> <br /> hmgauron@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Save the natural enemies of the mosquito!<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11052846/mosquito_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, October 24, 2014 2:00 AM We waste so much more than $4 million http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/We-waste-so-much-more-than--4-million_17797554 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I still cannot believe that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), sections of the media, and others are making such a big deal out of the $4 million (US$36,000) that the Government get to send Abu Bakr out of Jamaica. Considering all of the circumstances involving his removal, I still think the Government did the right thing.<br /> <br /> Everybody seems to be in agreement that he should have been kicked out. Those who have a problem with the cost should consider what could have happened had he been simply placed on a regular commercial flight.<br /> <br /> People seemed to have forgotten that a part of that bill includes the cost of the medical personnel who were paid to accompany Abu Bakr home. Maybe we should have made him swim back to Trinidad?<br /> <br /> Anyway, $4 million seems to be far less than any "monkey money" one can imagine and the State surely wastes more than that each day. It certainly is far less than the amount we would have spent had Abu Bakr done anything near to what he is known for. For those who are making such a big fuss about this money, may I suggest that they direct their energies to the following:<br /> <br /> We see roads being patched everyday repeatedly. It is clear that the constant re-patching of some of our roads must involve someone collecting a fat cheque regularly. Why don't these people, including the JLP, use some of the energy that they are wasting on this Bakr money issue to investigate why taxpayers are being asked to give these "road contractors" a regular pay cheque to fix the same roads over and over?<br /> <br /> Those wasting their energies calling for the head of security minister, Peter Bunting, should use those efforts to investigate why is it that, in spite of the price of oil falling by over 20 per cent in recent months, our light bills show no similar reduction.<br /> <br /> Every day we waste millions of dollars and I rarely see the kind of ruckus that I see with the Abu Bakr issue. As far as I can see, that $4 million is $4 million less that was wasted.<br /> <br /> Michael A Dingwall<br /> <br /> michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> We waste so much more than $4 million<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11171891/Abu-bakr-1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, October 24, 2014 1:00 AM Substitute teachers needed http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Substitute-teachers-needed_17797597 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I am imploring the Ministry of Education to streamline a portal to deploy substitute teachers in our schools.<br /> <br /> Over the years, I have realised that full-time teachers often have to balance a hectic timetable with incumbent substitution schedules. Consequently, their 'free time' becomes consumed with additional work on occasions when a few of their colleagues are unavoidably absent.<br /> <br /> This practice has caused a tremendous strain on many of our teachers, who are already struggling with the workload outside their regular instructional sessions.<br /> <br /> Very often, we castigate our educators for their perceivably perfunctory delivery and the substandard performance of students. On the other hand, very little is usually done to ensure that teachers are not overextended and overwhelmed. A tired and overworked teacher will not be able to offer his or her best to students and so we must explore options to safeguard our educators from undue stress.<br /> <br /> Once teachers are liberated of substitution duties, they would have more time to evaluate their previous lessons, create informed action plans in going forward, mark their students' work, plan for their other classes, or simply recover from a gruelling session.<br /> <br /> If substitute teachers are brought into the system, many teachers who are qualified, but are unemployed, would be able to work seasonally and gain relevant teaching experience. They could also receive a reasonable remuneration package to subsidise their travelling expenses and daily sustenance.<br /> <br /> Moreover, our students would not be shortchanged in the event that their teachers are sick -- especially in light of the chikungunya onslaught -- and have to be absent for an extended period.<br /> <br /> These substitute teachers could be interviewed and selected by the Ministry of Education. Their qualifications, skills and contact details could then be uploaded to a portal system that can be easily accessed by local school administrators. Once teachers are absent or scheduled to be absent, the principal may contact appropriate substitutes to fill in.<br /> <br /> Training may be provided as necessary to ensure that all substitutes are au fait with the curriculum and the regulations of the schools.<br /> <br /> Full-time teachers who know that they will be absent could aid the substitution process by preparing materials, worksheets and instructional content for their students and have these administered by the substitute teachers.<br /> <br /> Please note that I am not encouraging teacher absenteeism. I am simply proposing an approach that could promote greater efficiency and productivity in our education system. Other protocols may be implemented to discourage any abuse of the foregoing system.<br /> <br /> Shawna Kay Williams<br /> <br /> Old Harbour, St Catherine<br /> <br /> Shawna201@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Substitute teachers needed<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11155846/Ronnie-Thwaites-2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, October 24, 2014 2:00 AM Before you 'bun dung Rome', Chronixx http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Before-you--bun-dung-Rome---Chronixx_17773263 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> This is an open letter to the artiste known as Chronixx.<br /> <br /> Chronixx, have you ever visited Rome? On Saturday, October 18, the Catholic Youth Movement of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kingston hosted Jamaica Day, where everything Jamaican was celebrated by the youths of the six deaneries.<br /> <br /> Deanery 4, of which I am member, won the competition and so I was in a great mood driving home. That mood was quickly changed when I heard the lyrics of a very catchy and well-produced reggae song, by you, Sir. It started with: "Ah love I an' I preaching, so every land of hate will burn," but then started to chant that "Today Rome will burn!" In what I assume to be an attempt not to implicate any specific place, the lyricist stated "When I say Rome it nuh geographic..." But then immediately goes on to say "Dem a ask how a little African, ah go burn down di whole ah inna Vatican?" Then the chorus repeated "Listen to the voice of di people, today Rome will burn!"<br /> <br /> Now I appreciate that Jamaica is a land of contradictions, where free speech is celebrated but accountability is subjective. So, it does not surprise me that two Muslim leaders are refused entry into Jamaica, while our radio stations play songs which could incite attacks on one religious group.<br /> <br /> Some may say I am an alarmist, and that I am taking the song too literally, but look at Boko Haram and ISIS and you can see that my concern is valid.<br /> <br /> So Chronixx, before you burn down Rome, please pay the country a visit so that you will be fully cognisant of what you are igniting. In the event that you are not able to make such a visit, maybe a visit to Jamaican Roman-related organisations such as Brothers of the Poor, Mustard Seed Communities, Alpha Boys' Home, and all the Roman Catholic schools might make you change your mind about destroying Rome -- unless, of course, you and your religion are ready and willing to take over and continue or better the work that Rome has germinated.<br /> <br /> "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," Jesus Christ said in the Gospel of St Luke, chapter 6, verse 31.<br /> <br /> Andrea Wray<br /> <br /> St Catherine<br /> <br /> Before you 'bun dung Rome', Chronixx<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11171884/Chronixx_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, October 23, 2014 2:00 AM Peter Bunting...our hero http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Peter-Bunting---our-hero_17789922 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> We are presently contending with an outbreak of chikungunya, the threat of Ebola and, to top it all, a Trinidadian "terror" that could have made the extradition of Christopher 'Dudus' Coke look like a Sunday picnic.<br /> <br /> We have Minister Peter Bunting to thank for saving us from a possible coup d'etat.<br /> <br /> We elect leaders to make decisions on our behalf. If they make incorrect decisions, it will cost us. We cannot purchase infrared thermometers to scan possible Ebola cases, we have to depend on the prime minister's husband to help us. We cannot purchase personal protective equipment for health-care workers, but we can spend $4 million to deport Yasin Abu Bakr, not Osama bin Laden. We don't have the resources to destroy mosquito-breeding sites, and we cannot find the money to fund the National Solid Waste Management Authority.<br /> <br /> Now which is the greater threat? Yasin Abu Bakr, Ebola or chikungunya? Since we are powerless to defeat chikungunya, and we are unprepared for Ebola, let us deal with the possible threat that is of easiest resistance. In any case, Trinidadian officials have been insulting us, bruising our pride, deporting our nationals with any whim or fancy, now we catch one of them let us make him pay -- after we pay first. Therefore, we have to justify this expenditure by any means necessary. If we didn't act immediately our country would have faced imminent danger.<br /> <br /> Instead of berating Minister Bunting, we all should be thanking him, the cost of another terrorist act would have set us back for decades. It would have derailed the International Monetary Fund agreement. The projected growth would have vaporised, the economic gains would have been set back. Bunting should be given the title of national hero the next time we celebrate National Heroes Day. What he did was nothing short of a heroic act.<br /> <br /> Mark Clarke<br /> <br /> Siloah, St Elizabeth<br /> <br /> mark_clarke9@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Peter Bunting...our hero<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11171885/Peter-Bunting2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, October 23, 2014 2:00 AM Before we waste another $28m http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Before-we-waste-another--28m_17789440 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Jamaica Observer of October 22, 2014 carried a story in Envionment Watch on the updating of Jamaica National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) at a cost of some US$250,000.00 or roughly J$28 million. There were the usual platitudes, assurances and commitments from various government officials, but there was no reported assessment of the success of the first 10 years of the NBSAP.<br /> <br /> The most cursory glance at this document will reveal significant failures. For example, of the five priority parks which were to have been declared, only one (Mason River) was in fact declared. A raft of policy documents remain in draft, some approaching 20 years old. Promised increases in fines and penalties have not materialised. Wetlands continue to be cleared, both legally and illegally. The commitment to declare a wildlife sanctuary on Great Goat Island for some of our endangered species is under direct threat.<br /> <br /> Jamaica Environment Trust calls on the Ministry of Land, Water, Environment, and Climate Change and the National Environment and Planning Agency to release an honest evaluation of the achievements, or lack thereof, of the NBSAP's first 10 years. Without this honest evaluation, along with some in-depth problem analysis, there is absolutely no point in spending $28 million to update the NBSAP, as it is sure to replicate the failures of the initial plan.<br /> <br /> Diana McCaulay<br /> <br /> Chief Executive Officer<br /> <br /> Jamaica Environment Trust<br /> <br /> Kingston 10<br /> <br /> jamentrust@cwjamaica.com <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11168910/NEPA-biodiversity-workshop_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, October 23, 2014 2:00 AM Ebola infection procedures http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Ebola-infection-procedures_17773269 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The government could take a page out of Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) procedures book. (As reported by the BBC.) They have been operating in the hot zone continuously from the start of the Ebola epidemic and very few of their doctors and nurses have contracted the disease, even after thousands of contact hours. They use three sets of gloves, multiple suits, aprons, face masks, boots, and a lot of tape to tape off the joints of the gloves, boots, etc and then they have a second similarly suited-up persons to work with and monitor the putting on and removal of the protective gear.<br /> <br /> I hear that they also use showers of bleach in the decontamination process. They work in pairs, after all, if one had a splash of blood on his back, or made a mistake, his partner would be able to see it. The poor nurse in Texas would probably not be infected if she followed the MSF procedures. What the ministry is putting out as information is virtually useless in a situation where one mistake is practically a death sentence. Would Jamaica survive one case of Ebola? I don't think so. Most likely it would spread as fast as CHIKV through the population.<br /> <br /> Howard Chin, PE<br /> <br /> Member<br /> <br /> Jamaica Institution of Engineers<br /> <br /> Ebola infection procedures<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11168932/nurse_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, October 23, 2014 2:00 AM Watch what we say http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Watch-what-we-say_17789903 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> While attending a funeral recently in my neck of the woods I heard an elected official giving greetings and he spoke about the deadly Ebola virus. He made mention of a rumour that was being circulated that Ebola was in Jamaica and that it was in Mandeville. In his statement he told the congregation Jamaica was not ready for this virus.<br /> <br /> It is my view that the official's statement was quite careless because, instead of bringing hope and comfort to those who were grieving, he instead brought a message of worry and despair.<br /> <br /> In recent times, many people who are supposed be leaders have behaved in a similar fashion. Sometimes based on the statements they make one can't help but wonder if these people want the virus here.<br /> <br /> While I must agree that our people must be informed of the day-to-day developments concerning the measures Government is putting in place to prevent the virus from coming here or the plans they have should it ever get here, we should not construct our statements in a way that causes panic in case the worst happens.<br /> <br /> At a time like this, given the seriousness of the issue, we all should be in discussions and consultations to come up with a strategy to protect the people of Jamaica from this deadly virus.<br /> <br /> Let us not seek to gain political mileage, but instead seek to educate the people to significantly reduce panic when it does bappen.<br /> <br /> In the final analysis, let us be mindful of our responsibility to protect our families, communities and country. Let us seek to educate ourselves instead of casting aspersions and strengthening rumours that will destroy instead of unite our society.<br /> <br /> Gary Rowe<br /> <br /> magnett0072004@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Watch what we say<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11170102/Ebola-Doctor_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, October 23, 2014 2:00 AM Farrakhan shouldn't let rhetoric influence him http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Farrakhan-shouldn-t-let-rhetoric-influence-him_17782851 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I have always been mesmerised by Minister Louis Farrakhan, who I consider one of the greatest orators/debaters of our time, although I could never endorse his religion -- which treats women as second class citizens, but that is another matter.<br /> <br /> Last weekend, at the anniversary of the million man march, Minister Farrakhan did not disappoint, despite having reached the grand old age of 81. For man of his depth, however, I was disappointed how he allowed himself to be influenced by cheap local rhetoric regrading our maintaining the status quo with regards the queen of England.<br /> <br /> While I support the removal of the British queen and her expensive representative in Jamaica, we need to go much further to make governance more relevant to our needs, now that we are supposedly independent. For, to get rid of the queen while holding on for dear life to the remnants of colonialism, such as the Army, the British devised local government system, Caricom (the Federation of the former British colonies by the back door); and the allowing of members of parliament from the Commonwealth, while banning those who are American citizens and can help this country, is in no way progressive or independent.<br /> <br /> Take the local government system, as bequeathed by our former colonial masters when it took days to travel from one parish to the next and land phones and other means of communication were in the dark ages, why we maintain it is ridiculous. And who does it benefit? In my book, only the JLP and PNP, who get the benefit of having their grass root campaigners financed by taxpayers to the tune of some $4 billion per year.<br /> <br /> Jamaica, with its small population, certainly does not need 15 governments and 15 time wasting bureaucracies (14 local government and one central government), thus using all our resources to pay politicians, consultants and bureaucrats, leaving no or very little resources to build communities. We should have moved long ago to the concept of three county councils as proposed decades ago after intensive study, plus local government agencies for the two cities.<br /> <br /> How much more practical would six governments be for a population of 2.7 million as opposed to the 15 we now have? Then take the army. The British needed a full-fledged army to protect their empire in the Caribbean, but where is our empire? They successfully 'samfied' some colonial-minded politicians into accepting the concept of federation to keep the colonies together, and we are still holding on to it for dear life via the body called Caricom.<br /> <br /> We need to restructure the army to serve the interests of the Jamaican people, not to preserve an empire. So what we need is a good coast guard to protect our shores, an efficient engineering corp and an air wing and redirect the billions we are wasting on the infantry which will not even use a couple paint brushes and hammers to fix up the historical site at Newcastle that they occupy. Instead, the members of the infantry should be invited to join the police force so they can be trained to serve and protect the people of this nation, not treat us as enemies to be to be cut down, which is what soldiers taught to do.<br /> <br /> Then there is his nonsense where members of the Commonwealth, including Pakistani Muslims, can serve in our parliament and even become prime ministers after residing here for a year, while Jamaican who migrate to the US and have gained experience and valuable education are deterred -- absolute madness.<br /> <br /> Yes, Minister Farrakhan, by all means, let's get rid to the Queen of England, her heirs and successors, and all she represents, but we need far more than mere superficial tinkering if we are interested in becoming really independent and determined to build this great country into a place where we can live as a proud people.<br /> <br /> Joan E Williams<br /> <br /> Kingston 10<br /> <br /> gratestj@gmail.com <br /> <br /> Farrakhan shouldn't let rhetoric influence him<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11168904/FARRAKHAN_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, October 22, 2014 2:00 AM Gov't handling CHIKV well http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Gov-t-handling-CHIKV-well_17782803 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I listen and read with great interest all that has been said about the government and their handling of the chikungunya virus and their preparation for a outbreak of the deadly Ebola. A lot of the talk that is going around is out of sheer fear and lack of knowledge. The Observer has had a field day in bringing mostly negitive news.<br /> <br /> This is not the first time that Jamaica has been faced with this kind of situation. There was the bird flu very near to us, there was SARS, yet none was imported to Jamaica because of the viligance of the PNP Government at the time, along with our hard working health workers. There was an Ebola outbreak in 2000 yet none was transmitted to Jamaica.<br /> <br /> What we are to do is to stop talking and join the Government and get ready for any happenings. With regards to the handling of CHIKV I believe that the Government did very well in the circumstances with panicking and negative reports all around. The minister has vindicated himself. He warned us that is was not if, but when it would be here because of the trend that had been set. Also a lot of things that weren't being done are happening now; people are becoming more aware of their spaces and knowing they have to keep it clean to be healthy. I am sure at all is been done by this Government and our heroic health workers to ensure that quality health care is delivered to our people at all times.<br /> <br /> John Polack<br /> <br /> Trelawny<br /> <br /> cdepolack@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Gov't handling CHIKV well<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11146966/Aedes_aegypti_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, October 22, 2014 2:00 AM Deportation money could have been better spent http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Deportation-money-could-have-been-better-spent_17773267 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I note with amazement the Government's chartering of a flight to deport Abu Bakr for $4 million. They have no sense of priorities.<br /> <br /> This against the total ineptitude with which the Government is approaching the CHIKV/Ebola fever detection at our ports of entry.<br /> <br /> I've heard that it's too expensive to buy the Infrared, non-contact thermometers. So, on the Friday newscast I saw that donations are expected to get these for the airport staff at a price of about $30,000 each. This technology has been around in industry for years, and ones with imaging capability have also been around for many years. A brand new one, the latest model, with imaging capability and even with the ability to download the image to a computer, if so needed, lists for US$499.99 (FLIR Model TG165 Imaging IR Thermometer).<br /> <br /> If they got five for both airports, two for the beenie-weenie international airport in St Mary, five each for the seaports in Kingston, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Falmouth, and two each for Savanna-la-Mar and similar-sized ports of entry (say 10 such), a grand total of 32-plus a couple of boxes of spare batteries (say US$200) for each unit, that would be about $16,000 for the imaging IR units. Less than one of the government's SUVs. Desperate for funds? Sell one, even the second-hand price for one of their SUVs would buy a raft of IR thermometers and spare batteries plus training (point and press the trigger, and Bing! temperature and image).<br /> <br /> Deport the boisterous Abu Bakr with a stout policeman to accompany him down and return, economy fare cost, less than $160,000, buy 32 Infrared imaging thermometers, about $1,800,000, freight $50,000, buy $25,000 worth of batteries for each thermometer, $725,000.<br /> <br /> Total $2,735,000 with $1,265,000 left over for incidentals and training to equal $4-million deportation cost.<br /> <br /> Howard Chin, PE<br /> <br /> Member<br /> <br /> Jamaica Institution of Engineers<br /> <br /> Deportation money could have been better spent<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11168870/Abu-bakr-1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, October 22, 2014 2:00 AM Keep doing good, Observer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Keep-doing-good--Observer_17725285 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I wish to congratulate the Jamaica Observer for its invaluable contribution to the Jamaican society. Indeed, such work will and should not go unnoticed before the eyes of many Jamaican.<br /> <br /> I have witnessed many instances in which the Jamaica Observer's intervention has caused persons to be on track with their dream. The most recent is that, through the intervention of the Jamaica Observer, Georgia Lindsay has gone to study medicine in China. Without a doubt, one can conclude that had it not been for the Observer's intervention, such an event might have not been possible.<br /> <br /> I have witnessed many instances in which the Jamaica Observer's intervention has caused persons to be on track with their dream. The most recent is that, through the intervention of the Jamaica Observer, Georgia Lindsay has gone to study medicine in China. Without a doubt, one can conclude that had it not been for the Observer's intervention, such an event might have not been possible.<br /> <br /> In the article 'Off to China', the father of Georgia Lindsay said that: "I tell everybody that the Jamaica Observer is the best paper; the way you share my story and how you put it out there that all the world could see it and help us. I am not going to let down the Observer. I will always keep in touch and let you know how Georgia is doing every step of the way. Thank you very much."<br /> <br /> Your work has indeed brightened the lives of many Jamaican youth who have the potential to excel but lack adequate resources. Thanks to you, another can smile and embrace an amazing future, being placed on the path to fulfil her dream.<br /> <br /> No other newspaper can boast about such a work. You never cease to amaze me and your coverage of news and sport is diverse and extraordinary. Continue to uplift the life of many young Jamaicans. Your online forum has been a significant asset and helps as it engaged many from the Jamaican diaspora who feel free to add their voice whenever necessary. I implore you to continue on the path of excellence. With your dedicated and hard-working staff who demonstrate exemplary skill, expertise and professionalism, I have full confidence that you will be able to do so.<br /> <br /> I am and will always be a vibrant reader of your newspaper. I read it every day and I feel happy that I am able to let my voice be heard by writing letters to the editor. Kudos to a wonderful newspaper, your work has inspired many and given hope to many who thought that all was lost. Continue to be that newspaper that the Jamaican people can depend on, the premier Jamaican newspaper.<br /> <br /> Kenroy Davis<br /> <br /> Clark's Town, Trelawny<br /> <br /> Keep doing good, Observer<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11114237/Lindsay-4_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, October 22, 2014 2:00 AM Jamaica is crying out for change http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Jamaica-is-crying-out-for-change_17773262 Amidst all the ills that plague the land of wood and water, the rhetoric that cause angst, and the political diatribe that divides the nation, I must pause to wish all of Jamaica a Happy Heroes' Day.<br /> <br /> A country's founding and a sense of pride and purpose must not be sacrificed on the altar of indifference, just because.<br /> <br /> Having said that, I am equally aware that the legacy bequeathed to us by our heroes has been gravely mishandled. And there's no one party, administration or leader to be blamed. All are guilty!<br /> <br /> And, the current crop of bright minds have all but given up to pessimism, cynicism, fear, and acceptance of indifference.<br /> <br /> But I know that there are individuals out there possessing that deep and and abiding faith in Jamaica. That group who truly believes that a change has to come and is willing to bring about that change. For of a truth, the country is crying out. No, bawling out for a change. A real substantive, life-altering change that no one party, administration or leader can bring about.<br /> <br /> This change has to be revolutionary in scope where it changes the psyche, culture, and directional compass.<br /> <br /> We'll know the change when it comes. It will be identifiable when men and women call upon the steely grit and determination of Nanny and Sam Sharpe, who rested not night and day to fight off the British Red Coats. It will be seen when individuals having the courage to, step forward and, like Paul Bogle, ignore the elements, the threats of capture and death, and distance of journey. Evidence of the change will bring men out of the shadows having the moral compass and integrity like Garvey and George William Gordon to speak with fairness and truth appealing to the inner core of rational self-worth and responsibility. When that change arrives, patriots will step forward in boldness and bravery like Bustamante, baring their chests. And you'll see statesmen displaying selflessness and decency life Father Manley, who gave it all expecting nothing in return.<br /> <br /> If such a change is not realised, I hate to say it, Jamaica will be doomed for all times.<br /> <br /> Shane Barnett<br /> <br /> New Jersey, USA<br /> <br /> Jamaica is crying out for change<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, October 22, 2014 2:00 AM Congrats on your OD, NMW http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Congrats-on-your-OD--NMW Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The board, management and team members of the Devon House Development Company Limited wish to extend our heartiest congratulations to an outstanding member of your editorial team, Novia McDonald- Whyte, on her selection as a recipient of Jamaica&rsquo;s Order of Distinction.<br /> <br /> Her selection for service to journalism and innovation in the creation of two Jamaica Observer events, Take Style Out and the Food Awards, is testament to the resilience, talent and foresight that has been the hallmark of her career as a journalist.<br /> <br /> We are particularly pleased to celebrate this achievement with her and your newspaper against the background of our heritage site being selected as and continuing to be the home of the much-celebrated Food Awards for the last 15 of 16 years. <br /> <br /> Novia is a true visionary who consistently promotes Brand Jamaica, a fact corroborated by the Table Talk Food Awards extending beyond our shores. <br /> <br /> She is truly an inspiring Jamaican and we are very proud of her achievements. We wish for her much success in her future endeavours. Janette Taylor Executive Director Devon House Development Limited http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11166262/NOVIA-AWARDS_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, October 21, 2014 7:08 AM What has Farrakhan taught J'cans? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/What-has-Farrakhan-taught-J-cans-_17773120 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I watched the million man march anniversary event and the first thing that came to my mind was the ignorance of our people. Yes, I said it, the ignorance of our people.<br /> <br /> Here were thousands of Jamaicans gathered the hear a man tell them how much the white man has wronged them. I heard the shouts when he referred to the prime minister as "Sister P", and how much he lauded her for trying to make Jamaica a republic to finally get us away from the wicked queen. I heard him spout names and went back into the history of how the white man did us wrong. And, while he did this, the crowd cheered.<br /> <br /> But he forgot to mention one thing. That it was a black P J Patterson, and it is a black Portia Simpson Miller who have had Jamaica and Jamaicans under bondage and suffering like never before.<br /> <br /> Tell many of the same people sitting in that audience to get up and demand justice from the politicians of Jamaica and I can guarantee you, there would not see half that crowd. Tell them to hold these same politicians accountable and you would not see half that crowd. Like sheep, they follow blindly.<br /> <br /> I watched Farrakhan as he preached in his dark glasses, and I thought, why the need to hide his eyes? And the answer came that to me was that 'the eyes are the windows of the soul', and if your soul is dark, that darkness will show itself.<br /> <br /> Do any of these people read, or even consider seeking truth for themselves, or do we continue it blame the white man, the Jew, and everybody else, when history has shown that our own people also helped to sell us out? Do we continue to allow the dark history of slavery to continue to dictate that we are still bound by it mentally, or do we rise up from the ashes and take our place in society?<br /> <br /> I am sure that the murders, robbery, injustice being melted out to Jamaicans every day is being done by fellow black Jamaicans. I am sure it is a black prime minister that we have running things, so why are Jamaicans suffering? Is it the white man destroying our hospitals, raping and murdering our children, treating the elderly like garbage, abusing our women?<br /> <br /> We do not need to wait for a black man to get on a pulpit to preach that to us -- amid the undercurrents of hatred for others because they did us wrong and they need to pay -- for us to have love of self and pride.<br /> <br /> Michelle Bradshaw<br /> <br /> michelleannmariebradshaw@gmail.com<br /> <br /> What has Farrakhan taught J'cans?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11163944/Louis-Farrakhan-1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, October 21, 2014 2:00 AM Don't be naive about Walter Rodney http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Don-t-be-naive-about-Walter-Rodney_17773110 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Walter Rodney was blown to bits in 1980 when he foolishly went to a rendezvous with an officer of the Guyana Defence Force, who handed him a parcel that was supposed to contain top secret informtion. The parcel turned out to be a bomb, sent, it was widely believed, on the orders of the socialist dictator, Forbes Burnham.<br /> <br /> Rodney was naive in political beliefs because he accepted the socialist oversimplification of the causes of poverty, ie it is caused by capitalist exploitation and the best solution is to tear down capitalism in violent revolution.<br /> <br /> The basic cause of poverty is underdevelopment, which has be addressed by prudent management and patient striving. But socialists want overnight transformation through the barrel of a gun. Religion, socialists say, is the opium of the people, but socialism is the opium of intellectuals.<br /> <br /> Rodney appealed to the students at Mona in 1968 to confront the authorities and burn down the university and take guns into Kingston's streets. When that was not enough, he went to Marcus Garvey Drive to recruit Rastas for his revolution.<br /> <br /> Then Prime Minister Hugh Shearer handled the matter very clumsily, and it led to a riot that caused a million of dollars in damage. Rodney was a journeyman scholar. His opus magnus, How Europe underdeveloped Africa, describes the despoilation without offering any practical solution and it is not very well written.This is the man who is lionised, canonised and beatified in Rodney lectures at the UWI, and I had to bite my tongue when I heard his praises sung on Sharon Hay-Webster's morning show while I was home on a visit. How shallow the thinkers on the left!<br /> <br /> Orville Brown<br /> <br /> Bronx NY<br /> <br /> storyline6000@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Don't be naive about Walter Rodney<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10942267/Walter-rodney1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, October 21, 2014 2:00 AM Tan abraad! No com' bak a yaad! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Tan-abraad--No-com--bak-a-yaad--_17772222 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Something is not right with the current 'returning resident policy'. To qualify for this exalted status at the time of intended return home a Jamaican must have been living abroad for the past three consecutive years -- however many years before that (s)he might have been domiciled abroad. I just learned this &mdash; to my chagrin and utter surprise.<br /> <br /> My problem as a Jamaican coming back home very soon to 'live, work and do business' in my homeland after being abroad for 10 years is that, for two of those 10 years (2011-2013) I returned to work a two-year contract in Jamaica. So, in effect, those two years spent in my homeland have blighted my chances of the meagre benefits offered to a bona fide returning resident.<br /> <br /> It gets worse for me, personally, because, even if I qualified, I could not expect any duty concessions on my 10-year-old Toyota Corolla motor car, which is crucial in the rural pastorate that I am returning to serve in my homeland.<br /> <br /> Was it too much of a stretch of the creative imagination of the visionaries who crafted the returning resident document to have seen a motor car as a 'tool of trade' for a rural pastor?<br /> <br /> In this regard, we can learn very progressive lessons from our Caribbean neighbour Barbados.<br /> <br /> I may be misreading between the lines of the returning resident document -- perhaps seeing through my thick glasses darkly -- but it seems that some of us in the Diaspora are being told in effect tan abraad! No com' bak a yaad!<br /> <br /> Rev Clinton Chisholm<br /> <br /> clintchis@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Tan abraad! No com' bak a yaad! <br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11163994/luggage_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, October 20, 2014 2:00 AM Farrakhan is out of order! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Farrakhan-is-out-of-order-_17772228 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I'm not even sure why Jamaica was chosen for this Nation of Islam "Million Man March" anniversary meeting, but if freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion is what it's all about then I suppose no harm done. That is, not until Nation of Islam controversial leader Louis Farrakhan took to the podium and started speaking.<br /> <br /> There is a reason this leader is considered controversial and divisive internationally. I saw a brief clip online where he spoke at the meeting about our governor general, who is The Queen's representative, being "a nice man". But he went on to say that we should be able to handle our own business, which is what Independence means, he crossed the line.<br /> <br /> That is not your business, Mr Farrakhan! This is the problem with some of these fanatics, they like to preach and incite division and fear, and disguise their message with all type of meddling. Farrakhan was out of order and out of line, and someone should call him out for this. I am sure by the end of his visit there will be more.<br /> <br /> P Chin<br /> <br /> chin_p@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Farrakhan is out of order!<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11163944/Louis-Farrakhan-1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, October 20, 2014 2:00 AM Our reactive Gov't failed the people's test http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Our-reactive-Gov-t-failed-the-people-s-test_17762452 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It is said experience is the best teacher, but clearly not in this country. There is also another saying that if you do the same thing more than once then it is not a mistake; it is deliberate. That is what happens in this country.<br /> <br /> With the threat of a global Ebola outbreak in the air and CHIKV still lingering, one would have thought that our authorities would have responded with a sense of urgency and purpose. There is absolutely no acceptable explanation why a Liberian man should have landed on the shores of Jamaica and send our immigration officers into a state of panic. They should have been prepared for this eventuality. We clearly did not learn anything from the handling of CHIKV and other events.<br /> <br /> Critical information on CHIKV was rationed to the nation. Consequently, people started suffering and public outcry jolted the Government to respond. They have since launched massive clean-up efforts across the island.<br /> <br /> The old adage says "it is never too late for a shower of rain". However, in this case it is. Had our Government launched this clean-up initiative before the virus got to Jamaica we could have prevented this level of outbreak. If the people were adequately informed, we would not have had an epidemic. It is now at a stage where it has swallowed several lives.<br /> <br /> CHIKV has not yet bid its goodbye and here we are facing the possibility of another more deadly plague, and yet we have a similar unhurried response to this more fatal disease. This is quite frightening.<br /> <br /> It has been reported in the media that the authorities have been putting things in place for eventuality, as they have identified isolation areas in our hospitals where suspected patients can be quarantined. Yet, a critical aspect that should have been a priority was overlooked. How can we identify areas for isolation in hospitals before putting things in place to protect our borders? Why is that? Is it because the prime minister has stopped travelling so frequently?<br /> <br /> This Ebola threat should not have caught us unaware. We knew the risks. We cannot sit idly by and wait on other countries to protect us. Why did this Liberian have to show up before we locked ourselves in a high security meeting? Other Caribbean islands, such as St Lucia, have already imposed travel ban on people from the countries where the Ebola outbreak is chronic. Why couldn't we have done something similar? Who knows what the nation has been exposed to? We do this all the time. We react instead of prevent. We seldom put preventative measures in place. We lay in wait for something to happen to light a fire beneath our feet to get us running a thousand miles per hour.<br /> <br /> The Government continues to brag about passing International Monetary Fund tests, but it is quite unfortunate they cannot do the same for the people's test. The chikungunya outbreak was one of the tests the Government took and they failed it miserably, and their current trajectory with Ebola preparation is also an F.<br /> <br /> Dorraine Reid<br /> <br /> rainereid@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Our reactive Gov't failed the people's test<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11150463/EBOLA-2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, October 20, 2014 2:00 AM Gender neutrality need not be an issue http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/-p-Gender-neutrality-need-not-be-an-issue---p---_17761004 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Woman Inc's submission to the parliamentary committee reviewing the sexual offences laws includes the change that sexual intercourse be defined as "the penetration of the vagina of one person by the penis of another person". This definition is that only women and girls are protected from forms of sexual violence.<br /> <br /> Even as we forward the cause of greater equality for all woman-kind, we must not continue to leave behind our boys and men who already disadvantaged as it pertains to advancing education, involvement in criminal activities, and employment. The male gender must not be forgotten while we review the sexual offences laws, and there should not be any issue when it comes to gender neutral sexual offences laws as it is a matter of protecting humankind against non-consenting sexual offence.<br /> <br /> The wording and terminology may be uncomfortable, but in this modern day it is also unthinkable that we can't say that men can be raped according to the law. But, more importantly, we need to move beyond the misnomer that rape or any penetration makes the victim just feminine/female so we can deal with this issue.<br /> <br /> Since changing the definition of the act would make the buggery law virtually redundant, it is not inconceivable that their will be clashes and head-butts ahead. Buggery may be gender neutral by the term, but it has a connotation of homosexuality that makes boys and men less likely to report that they have been raped.<br /> <br /> We must not be apprehensive to give voice to the many boys and men who are raped or may be raped by both men and women by way of penetration. This is not about repealing the buggery law and should be considered as real attempt to protect your brother, father, cousin, nephew; giving them, us the power to step forward and report these unfortunate incidents. Male rape is one of the most untold stories across the world, especially in masculine-dominated societies like Jamaica, and we must believe that changing a law and public education can slowly change a culture of silent suffering.<br /> <br /> Mario Boothe<br /> <br /> m.raphael.b@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Gender neutrality need not be an issue <br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Monday, October 20, 2014 2:00 AM Farrakhan should not have been given permission to come here http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Farrakhan-should-not-have-been-given-permission-to-come-here_17761007 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> While I can understand the reason Yasin Abu Bakr, who was planning to attend the "million man march", was deported from Jamaica on account of the potential threat that the Government saw in him, I don't think that this kind of restriction in regards to that planned march should be limited to Yasin only. Indeed, I don't even think that Louis Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam or his march should be allowed here.<br /> <br /> For those who don't know Yasin Bakr, he was the man who led an attempt in 1990 to oust the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. Twenty-four people died in that attempt. The fact that Yasin was planning to attend this million man march should tell us something about the Nation of Islam.<br /> <br /> Farrakhan, and his Nation of Islam, is well known for its racism. He once referred to Jews in America as "blood suckers", accusing them of profiting from the backs of blacks. He even called for a separation of the different races. We all know that the former Libyan leader Gadhafi was planning to exterminate those Libyans who were trying to oust him. Farrakhan called him his friend.<br /> <br /> I still cannot see why it is that our country is becoming such a magnet for people with very weird ideas. Don't we already have enough people with very outdated and crazy ideas, including those Bible-thumping Christians who want us to be a theocracy, the weed-smokers who want all of us to get high on ganja, the musicians promoting all kinds of criminality, and misguided intellectuals and anti-white racists demanding reparations? Why should we add Farrakhan too?<br /> <br /> Our country is known as being very stable as far as race and ethnic relations are concerned. Why do we want to antagonise our Jewish community with a man, such as Farrakhan? Indeed, why do we want to make our non-black people very uncomfortable with his presence?<br /> <br /> Those of us who see Farrakhan as some sort of black saviour must understand that promoting black supremacy is just as dangerous as the promotion of white supremacy.<br /> <br /> During the late 1960s, the government of Hugh Shearer banned Walter Rodney from staying in Jamaica because, at that time, the State saw him as a threat. It would seem that we have lost that sense of determination in protecting the harmonious relations that, in most respects, now exists between our different ethnic and racial groups.<br /> <br /> We should give Farrakhan the same treatment as Bakr and let him know in very clear terms that his outdated, dangerous and racist world view is not welcomed here.<br /> <br /> Michael A Dingwall<br /> <br /> michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Farrakhan should not have been given permission to come here<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11154051/Farrakhan-and-child-th_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, October 17, 2014 2:00 AM Wait for Ebola, Minister http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Wait-for-Ebola--Minister_17761006 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Having been judged incompetent in his handling of the CHIKV epidemic, the minister of health now seems to be displaying pseudo-Messianic hopes of being infected in order to be "touched with the feelings of our infirmity".<br /> <br /> As a CHIKV sufferer, I am neither impressed nor amused. I would suggest that the minister waits for the arrival of Ebola to suffer with the people.<br /> <br /> Firstly, since mosquitoes do not take instructions from people, he can more effectively orchestrate his infection with Ebola. Secondly, the more serious outcome of Ebola will make us more appreciative of his co-suffering. Thirdlly, the likelihood of a fatal outcome with Ebola will make the messianic analogy far more realistic.<br /> <br /> Claire Edwards-Darby<br /> <br /> daviddaughter57@gmail.com <br /> <br /> Wait for Ebola, Minister<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11150457/ZZ35EA14DE_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, October 17, 2014 2:00 AM Let's impose a travel ban on Ebola-affected countries now! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Let-s-impose-a-travel-ban-on-Ebola-affected-countries-now-_17760444 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Officials were yesterday locked in a high-level meeting over the arrival of a man here in Jamaica who admitted to airport authorities that he travelled to Liberia in the last 10 days prompting a national chorus calling for a travel ban to be imposed on Ebola-affected countries. The question is, though, why haven't we done so already?<br /> <br /> Seeing that Ebola is not detectable or contagious until the patient develops symptoms such as fever and vomiting, normally after 4 - 21 days, it will be very difficult for our small-island nation to effectively prevent Ebola's importation without the imposition of a travel ban on the hardest-hit countries.<br /> <br /> Jamaica simply cannot manage to leave any room that will elevate the risk of Ebola, we must rather do all that we can to curtail such risks as we have good reasons to do so.<br /> <br /> The most effective way to combat Ebola, outside of breaking the link of transmission, is through contact tracing, which the Center for Disease Control (CDC) describes as finding and quarantining and or monitoring everyone, for up to 21 days, who comes in direct contact with a sick Ebola patient.<br /> <br /> Using anecdotal evidence alone, it is more than clear that we do not have the capacity to do contact tracing. How effectively and timely can we scour the country to find those who may have had contact with an Ebola patient? Do we have enough protective gear? Do we have enough isolation units? Do we have emergency response units (air/land) lined up to move in on suspected cases?<br /> <br /> Even so, on the treatment end, can we treat an Ebola patient sans the risk of health care workers?<br /> <br /> It is hard to shut the door on West Africa, but it is more than necessary. We are a small country already suffering with stunted growth and development, let's take the cue from our neighbouring Caribbean islands (Trinidad & Tobago, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines) who, over the last 48 hours, initiated "lockdown" measures against the Ebola threat.<br /> <br /> Jevon Minto<br /> <br /> mintojevon@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Let's impose a travel ban on Ebola-affected countries now!<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11154049/West-Africa-Ebola_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, October 17, 2014 2:00 AM