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 Have we made our athletes proud http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Have-we-made-our-athletes-proud_71512 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Our athletes have made us proud, but have we made them proud?<br /> <br /> These people are natural and national treasures. They not only gave us an emotional uplift, but they will go down in the history books as athletics champions. They not only gave us pride of place in the world for a while, but their successes will bring tourist and tourist dollars to Jamaica for some time. They not only put us on the front pages and on the world map, but they also overshadow the ugly murderous image we have out there. They not only serve as idols and icons to our youth, but give purpose and dignity for them to follow.<br /> <br /> We are good at television, radio and other press and electronic coverage of the many events, but is that good enough?<br /> <br /> What have we given to them?<br /> <br /> Firstly, we should declare a day as National Sports Day on which we celebrate all our sportsmen and women, present and past.<br /> <br /> On their return from Rio we should meet them at the airport and then proceed to the National Arena, where we have awards and all the platitudes. At this venue we should have a designated place where we put up sculptures of these outstanding men and women.<br /> <br /> In the parish capitals, we should put up statues hailing their contribution to national development. Not only this, but we should give them land and a government-built house. Additionally, the Government should provide them with a pension plan. And more immediately, should we not provide them with health, life and disability insurance? If the Government can&rsquo;t, why not the private sector?<br /> <br /> If we do the above for our athletes, could you imagine the ripple effect?<br /> <br /> I can see more young people taking part in sports more seriously. I can see the unemployment among youth decreasing rapidly. I can see the murder rate decreasing. I can see us building more sports complexes for local and international use, and for the purposes of training and competitions. I can see us developing more coaches and health professionals for the local and international markets. I can see us becoming the athletics capital of the world. If these things happen, I can see us all, as Jamaicans, having more national pride and morale.<br /> <br /> Whitley McLean<br /> <br /> whitleymclean@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13239700/224375__w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Thursday, August 25, 2016 12:00 AM &lsquo;Hol&rsquo; yuh mule&rsquo; with the honours http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/-Hol--yuh-mule--with-the-honours_71857 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Let me take time to yell and holler deserved congratulations to the triumphant 2016 Jamaican Olympic team on its way back from Rio. Certainly the team members have done their part in advancing the welfare of the human race. Consequently we are now in patriotic ecstasy and are ready to give over the Jamaican land title to some of the immortal ones.<br /> <br /> I want to suggest to us, though, &ldquo;Hol&rsquo; yuh mule!&rdquo;<br /> <br /> I suggest that we wait until we are not so caught up in the euphoria of the moment, that we just wait to exhale, before we make any pronouncement or announcement about honours that we might regret with time.<br /> <br /> I have read where some people are suggesting that we bestow national hero status on Usain Bolt, and I had to laugh. I am of the opinion that there are some accolades that are not to be trifled with, and this is one such category. This is a hallowed space. When one is given national hero status it should be for works done in an area or for a cause that did not just tickle the sweet spot of one&rsquo;s fellow men, but should be given to a person whose body of work, or whose single selfless action led to the emancipation, amelioration, freedom, and or furtherance of the betterment of a people in a very significant social, economic, or political way.<br /> <br /> When we critique and analyse Bolt&rsquo;s life, so far, to see what he has done, we will conclude that he has done well for himself and his camp as an athlete; but that is about it quantitatively. We don&rsquo;t know what tomorrow might bring with him, as he will just now start to live his life and to really understand who he is and what this platform means for his future endeavours. So therein lies the cautionary tale.<br /> <br /> We, as responsible people, must give him time, &ldquo;tan an&rsquo; see&rdquo;, and allow the proverbial monkey to climb. It would be very unfortunate should he, in the normal cut-and-thrust of growing up and making stumbles in his life, have to feel restrained and constrained by the added pressure of the saddle of being perfect because of hero status, or any such over-the-top award we saddle him with.<br /> <br /> There is a wisdom that we inherited from our forebears which was to give major honours to people only after they would be unable to spoil or mar it. But we changed and ridiculed it because we are in a hurry. I want to suggest to those who will be under relentless pressure to &lsquo;go to town&rsquo; in this accolade-giving season to stay their hands. I want to advise them to look back at how our wise ancients did what they did, and take counsel from that before they act. Word to the wise.<br /> <br /> Darolyn Henry-Cross<br /> <br /> hdaro36@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13231252/223669_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, August 25, 2016 12:00 AM Unfair false-start rule http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Unfair-false-start-rule_71244 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> What is really going on? Why do they make it look so difficult? Asking for a change in the false-start rule will create great calamity to track and field?<br /> <br /> Millions of people around the world seem to be taking this false-start rule lightly because they are not protesting against it. It is a very unfair rule, that does not allow a second chance.<br /> <br /> Every human being should be given a second chance to correct his or her mistake. Not giving an athlete a second chance to run a race, after he jumps the gun on the first go, is like preventing him from having a good breakfast before competing in a race.<br /> <br /> Haven&rsquo;t we seen the sadness, the pain and tears it cost some of the athletes when they are disqualified from a race, because of this big robber? Who feels it knows it. <br /> <br /> What sense does it make for athletes to dedicate their time in months of training and hard work with no guarantee if they will participate in an Olympics Games or World Championships? This is absolutely ridiculous. They are denied a second chance. This is total madness; very, very unfair.<br /> <br /> Donald J McKoy<br /> <br /> donaldmckoy2010@hotmail.com http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13218549/000_ET4RC_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, August 25, 2016 12:00 AM Salt fish con http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Salt-fish-con_71844 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Deceit, in any form, is plain wrong, but when the sham involves a vital component of our national dish, the pain is aggravated.<br /> <br /> This popular supermarket in Liguanea strategically placed a nice piece of salt fish as a blanket over two of the most titanic tails I have ever seen, along with a gigantic ear! They Saran-wrapped it very tightly and deceived me into thinking that the near full weight was within expectation and would perhaps only include one tail. I am trying to be fair to the retailers; I did not purchase salt fish steak, so one little tail would be within the norm.<br /> <br /> It is my understanding that cod tails are brought into Jamaica in bulk. In some places the tails are considered a waste of the production process, so they get it real dirt cheap then turn around and sell it as part of the real deal. This is really great for profit margins!<br /> <br /> It is bad enough that we have to accept that the fish is born with a tail, but we do. One piece of tail is fine. But to conceal two tails and one ear underneath a nice piece of salt fish torso is cruel and draws attention to this high underhandedness. They make a mint on this scam &mdash; and scam is what it is &mdash; when you teach wrappers to deliberately and tactically hide the tails.<br /> <br /> This supermarket is not alone in trying to scam consumers, and it is certainly not a new trick. How will I explain this to Mr Cabbage or Miss Ackee? <br /> <br /> Sandra M Taylor Wiggan<br /> <br /> sandra_wiggan@yahoo.co.uk<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13157525/216768__w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, August 25, 2016 12:00 AM We&rsquo;ve maintained the English juggernaut http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/We-ve-maintained-the-English-juggernaut_71832 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> There has been a frenzy on social media bearing the hashtag #CommentateLikeGrace. This epitomises the criticism the majority of our Jamaican people receive when they do public speaking.<br /> <br /> Grace Jackson and Portia Simpson Miller are products of a system failure. They are competent in their specialised areas, but have issues with English Language. I am sure that they would wow you if they expressed themselves in Jamaican instead.<br /> <br /> Many of our public figures suffer from a chronic failure to express themselves in the English Language. They are not articulate.<br /> <br /> I am very inept at speaking the language, though I write it a little better. This grave problem points to the merits and faults of the language application in Jamaica. Coupled with the curriculum failure in schools, the following point, I believe, is at the root of the problem.<br /> <br /> There is limited opportunity for many students to practise the language orally. Yes! There is not an oral exam or practicum to the language delivery in schools in Jamaica. Students who try to apply the lessons learnt are stigmatised as &ldquo;stush&rdquo; when they speak it in local community settings. Young people don&rsquo;t find it &ldquo;cool&rdquo; to use it on the corner, as they are ridiculed; they are seen as &lsquo;know-it-alls&rsquo;, &lsquo;gwaan-likes&rsquo; and &lsquo;chatter boxes&rsquo;. Adults don&rsquo;t encourage it! I remember hearing someone ask, &ldquo;Ah wen u lan&rsquo; massa?&rdquo;<br /> <br /> It sounds funny to ourselves when we speak it, but rather than struggle through, we become embarrassed and run back to our vernacular. Such is the disabling environment we grew up in, but we are expected to become native English experts.<br /> <br /> Congratulations to those who master the language and speak it well.<br /> <br /> When our peers are required to give speeches, Jamaicans, from all levels of English proficiency, sit and destructively criticise each other, and laugh, instead of lobbying for changes in the curriculum and advocating for change to the cultural response of community members to &ldquo;stush&rdquo; individuals.<br /> <br /> Let us provide the enabling environment to breed fluent English speakers. Encourage our young ones to use it frequently in all spheres, and break the culture of low tolerance &lsquo;on the corner&rsquo;. I would love to see oral exams added to the curriculum. Let us be the change we want to see.<br /> <br /> Carline Ellis<br /> <br /> Old Harbour, St Catherine<br /> <br /> petashan@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12047184/Levena-Edwards_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, August 25, 2016 12:00 AM Heart of a lion, hand of a shepherd http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Heart-of-a-lion--hand-of-a-shepherd_71514 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> How does one adequately describe this man? A man who has such a passion for people to achieve their purpose and for this nation, Jamaica, to attain its best potential. A man who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to selflessly contribute to the development of country and fellowmen?<br /> <br /> He founded Build Jamaica Foundation (BJF), a non-profit, non-political organisation which for some time made a significant impact in its special areas of activity. BJF, under his leadership, made substantial contributions to improving health and educational opportunities for our precious children. The<br /> <br /> Sunday Observer in 2006 reported that &ldquo;One of the major projects successfully completed by the foundation was to provide ventilators for the intensive care unit of the Bustamante Hospital for Children.&rdquo; The<br /> <br /> Observer also reported that Rev Al Miller and BJF replaced pit latrines with modern toilet facilities in more than 600 Ministry of Education approved basic schools throughout Jamaica.<br /> <br /> This man never fails to stress the need for every person to find their God-given purpose and walk in it. This man is willing to put his life on the line in order to rescue one lost sheep! This man is willing to put his shoulders to the wheel to ensure that the old Jamaica of crime and violence is replaced by a new Jamaica of productivity and peace in our lifetime. Wherever crime and violence flares up he is willing to go there with words and action to instil love.<br /> <br /> He once led 300 men to walk through Jamaica&rsquo;s crime centres praying and encouraging men to look to God, instead of crime, for a better life. When women were beheaded in a certain community and many cowered in horror, he visited the bloody home and comforted the family members. He has consistently helped Jamaican men turn themselves in, one of which he is still paying an awful price six years later.<br /> <br /> How does one adequately describe this man? A man who, despite pending sentencing, maintains that it is well. A man who maintains that once a matter is committed to the Lord, one should give thanks, no matter how dismal the situation seems. A man who stands on God&rsquo;s word, believing that all things will work together for good to them that love the Lord and are called according to His purposes. A man who firmly believes that what the enemy meant for evil, God will turn into good.<br /> <br /> This man not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. This man believes with every fibre of his being that Jamaica&rsquo;s best days are not behind, but ahead of us. This man is a source of encouragement and inspiration to members of his flock. Words are inadequate to describe this man, Rev Al Miller, the man with the heart of a lion and the hand of a shepherd.<br /> <br /> Denese Robinson<br /> <br /> lonamona.ja@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12539549/178315_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, August 24, 2016 12:00 AM Environmentalists need to lead the convo http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Environmentalists-need-to-lead-the-convo_71255 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It might help if the environmentalists were to explain what burning coal produces in addition to electricity. I can make the case that I have no problem with coal, but a large problem with the by-products created by burning it.<br /> <br /> Ironically, diesel fuel known as &ldquo;Bunker C Crude&rdquo; used in the fuel-producing facilities in Jamaica today produces as much pollution as coal, yet no one is talking about that.<br /> <br /> If the Chinese can commit to the necessary pollution control devices that will remove the pollutants from their emissions, they can use whatever they want to create electricity. I put this on the Chinese because our governments are not known for enforcing anything, except that which benefits them personally. However, even with their track record, I would like our leaders to commit to enforcement of laws they pass, especially those relating to the environment.<br /> <br /> The then Government should have been the first to tell the Chinese that the Goat Islands are not available for any development because they are part of a marine sanctuary. But they didn&rsquo;t do that.<br /> <br /> The cement factory is also a source of pollution, but governments have conveniently ignored the effect of the coal and particulates emitted from that location. Marl quarries, such as the one in Bull Bay, have made the entire stretch of coastline from Harbour View to Eleven Miles one big dust bowl, yet they sit back and do nothing. Their response is that these are the sacrifices we must endure for national development. Well, we also have to live here. So when the air is dense with coal dust, sulphur dioxide and marl and cement dust settled on everything from Harbour View to Breezy Castle, then we will happily say that we have made millions of dollars in foreign exchange, while we watch our children wheeze as they try to sleep in the dust of development. I guess we will have the foreign exchange to pay for the medical treatment to go with that.<br /> <br /> So, please, environmentalists, please explain and compare the benefits and disadvantages of our options to development, and explain why we need to do each with care to have sound understanding of the consequences.<br /> <br /> As anyone in the world must know by now, Jamaica (the people) are the most amazing thing they know. They run fast, create great music, are loving, capable and caring if given the opportunity, and come from a fantastically beautiful place. None of these have been enabled with marl dust, coal emissions or bauxite. I vote people and place over pollution. We can achieve anything, and should make intelligent choices about how we use the world we live in, so there will be a Jamaica that is more than hotels and mineral quarries for generations to come.<br /> <br /> Hugh M Dunbar<br /> <br /> hmdenergy@gmail.com <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11807091/BCC_3005_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, August 24, 2016 12:00 AM True honour http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/True-honour_71729 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Usain, unlike many of us Jamaicans, is playing his role in life, or he is moving to fulfil his purpose on this planet. He has been on the job and has performed admirably, so far.<br /> <br /> Some people have suggested that the gentleman be made a national hero, others have asked that certain buildings, even streets, be renamed after him. A Bolt note (currency) to honour the superb athlete has also been cited for consideration.<br /> <br /> Yet, I believe we might pay homage to Bolt by changing our mindset, individually and collectively, to advance honesty, self-respect, civic pride, respect for others, civility, positive work attitude, self-reliance, and productivity, in the first instance.<br /> <br /> In primary school, we were encouraged to take note of a piece,<br /> <br /> Alumnus Football by Henry Grantland Rice, an early 20th century American sportswriter and poet. The teacher would put her own start to the piece with a resonant: &ldquo;Play the game!&rdquo; We would continue with Rice&rsquo;s: <br /> <br /> &ldquo;&hellip;For when the one great scorer comes<br /> <br /> To mark against your name,<br /> <br /> He writes not that you won or lost, <br /> <br /> But how you played the game.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Beyond Usain Bolt, each person will ultimately have the task of making his/her own assessment as to how well he/she played the game of life.<br /> <br /> In the interim, it will serve us well to emulate &ldquo;The Big Man&ldquo; by overtaking idleness and pettiness, as we bolt with concentration and conviction towards our goals.<br /> <br /> Erica Brown Marriott<br /> <br /> piapam2014@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13234834/223952_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, August 24, 2016 12:00 AM More than flashy headlines http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/More-than-flashy-headlines_71257 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Media practitioners clearly do not understand their role in our democracy. The media is not just here to report news and controversy. Its duties encompass far more than flashy headlines and cynical caricatures of politicians. Selling good stories and airing heated discussions cannot be the main motivation for newspaper articles and current affairs talk shows.<br /> <br /> The media is called the fourth estate for a reason. The legislature makes laws, the judiciary interprets them, and executive crafts policies and takes actions around them. The media has the dual democratic function of informing the public on the operations of government and providing a space for members of the public to share their views on issues of national importance.<br /> <br /> The media&rsquo;s reach is second to none and its influence, the same. It is against this backdrop that I am concerned about the practice of always having people from &ldquo;the other side&rdquo; of an argument, regardless of how sensitive and serious the issue is. While I understand the importance of having a variety of voices heard on national issues, there is little value in having disagreement just for the sake of disagreement. If we are discussing issues of national importance, such as protection of children, crime or rape and other forms of gender-based violence, what value is added in having an &ldquo;opposing view&rdquo;? How does the nation of viewers benefit when, instead of giving nuanced and informed perspectives on critical issues, an entire current affairs programme is spent trying to persuade the &ldquo;other side&rdquo; on the importance of the issue at hand?<br /> <br /> Outside of the producer who peddles this controversy, and the journalist who gains the notoriety from it, Jane and John Public get nothing substantive from heated debates with an individual with an unchangeable viewpoint. The media cannot and should not be comfortable with this state of affairs. You cannot abdicate your role as the voice and ear of the people just because sensationalism sells.<br /> <br /> Glenroy Murray<br /> <br /> gmintern.bhc@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, August 24, 2016 12:00 AM We did well, but the Japanese are coming http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/We-did-well--but-the-Japanese-are-coming_71393 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Congratulations to Jamaica&rsquo;s golden league for a magnificent performance during Rio 2016 Olympcs.<br /> <br /> In particular, we acknowledge the new sprint queen, Elaine Thompson, of the parish of Manchester and the big man, Usain Bolt, with a personality that lit up the world. He has truly written his name into the history books with the treble-triple Olympic gold medals.<br /> <br /> Bolt was the main headline in major newspapers around the world.<br /> <br /> The New York Times blasted, &lsquo;Usain Bolt leads Jamaica to relay gold, US disqualified&rsquo;, while the<br /> <br /> Toronto Star had, &lsquo;Usain Bolt, simply the best there ever was...&rsquo;<br /> <br /> Being curious of what the Japanese would write, especially with a half-Jamaican in their silver-winning team, I looked and came across this shocker written by Andrew McKirdy of theJapan Times, &ldquo;Japan came within a fraction of a second of sabotaging Usain Bolt&rsquo;s bid for Olympic immortality but claimed a first-ever silver medal in the men&rsquo;s 4&Atilde;&mdash;100-metre relay at the Rio Games on Friday.&ldquo; While recognising that Japan won the silver medal, finishing .33 seconds behind Jamaica&rsquo;s 37.27secs, it certainly was no efforts of sabotaging, and we commend the Japan team of Ryota Yamagata, Shota Iizuka, Yoshihide Kiryu and Aska Cambridge (half-Jamaican) of dreaming the Jamaican dream. They definitely could not catch up with the lightning Bolt!<br /> <br /> Dudley C McLean II<br /> <br /> Mandeville, Manchester<br /> <br /> dm15094@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13234824/223633_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, August 23, 2016 12:00 AM Dangerous windscreen wipers at Matilda&rsquo;s Corner http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Dangerous-windscreen-wipers-at-Matilda-s-Corner_71256 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I am imploring the police high command to urgently remove windscreen wipers that are fixtures at the corner of Old Hope Road and Hope Road, a few feet from Matilda&rsquo;s Corner Police Station.<br /> <br /> The wipers are a menace to women drivers who constantly suffer the intimidation and damage to their cars. A slim, &lsquo;half-Indian&rsquo; wiper is an especially dangerous fellow who damaged my car, wrenching off the outside mirror, when I said he should not wipe my windscreen which was already clean. This same fellow used a sharp object to damage my niece&rsquo;s car, scarring her brand new car right across the trunk when she refused his demand to clean her windscreen. Another one spat at an elderly woman&rsquo;s face and only ran when a male driver jumped out of a car and chased him.<br /> <br /> The problem with the fellows who swarm around Matilda&rsquo;s Corner is they refuse to take no for an answer, then turn around and attack women who stand up to them.<br /> <br /> If the police can&rsquo;t keep Matilda&rsquo;s Corner from being overtaken by men who harass women constantly, how in the world are we to have confidence in their ability or commitment to keep us safe otherwise?<br /> <br /> If the police don&rsquo;t clear Matilda&rsquo;s Corner of these men who constantly harass women, and keep it cleared, I think that shoppers should do something that gets their attention. It might even take shoppers boycotting the stores and gas stations that are located there. I&rsquo;m sure that then the police would permanently take care of the problem.<br /> <br /> S Gayle<br /> <br /> St Andrew<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10584908/wiper_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, August 23, 2016 12:00 AM A champion knows when to bid spotlight farewell http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/A-champion-knows-when-to-bid-spotlight-farewell_71616 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The measure of a man is not in his conquest in the heat of a battle, but by his wisdom to walk away even though undefeated.<br /> <br /> The worst mistake made by the late great Ali was to be engaged in fights well past his prime, because it not only took the shine off his legacy, but it pitted him with men who were lesser mortals and who were not worthy to unlatch his shoe, much less to defeat him in a match.<br /> <br /> Usain Bolt is no ordinary mortal. What this man has done for athletics, for Jamaica, and for sports worldwide is not only unprecedented but can never be emulated &mdash; at least not in our lifetime.<br /> <br /> Usain Bolt has caused international commentators to fact check if Jamaica is really an island &mdash; some argue it must be a continent.<br /> <br /> Being seemingky the only black man, a Jamaican, in Mississauga, today I was confronted by people in a TD Bank here from various nationalities inquiring, as one man from Pakistan put it, &ldquo;Tell us the truth, what&rsquo;s the population of Jamaica?&rdquo; I responded, &ldquo;2.6 million people.&rdquo; They&rsquo;re still astounded.<br /> <br /> Usain Bolt has done it all, there is absolutely nothing left for him to do or nothing else for him to prove. My advice to him, and I say this with a very heavy heart and tears in my eyes, knowing the void that will be left in athletics, walk away now, Dr Bolt, at the pinnacle of your career. I cannot afford lesser mortals to take advantage of any decline you may face with age. They only want to tell their friends and family that they finished in front of you. That would not do justice to a long and well written story.<br /> <br /> It was Shakespeare who said: &ldquo;When cowards die, there are no comets seen, but the heavens blaze for the death of their prince.&rdquo; (Read as rainstorm in Rio Saturday night.)<br /> <br /> Donovan McLean<br /> <br /> Mississauga, Canada<br /> <br /> danni-mackie@hotmail.com <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13234834/223952_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, August 23, 2016 12:00 AM UN must now compensate Haiti http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/UN-must-now-compensate-Haiti_71592 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The<br /> <br /> BBC is reporting that the United Nations has admitted that, after much detailed investigations, the Nepalese troops that were under its command and were stationed in Haiti a few years ago were, in fact, responsible for the cholera outbreak that killed several thousand people. Now that these investigations have pinned the blame for the outbreak on the UN, it is now only right that the UN compensate the Haitians for what happened.<br /> <br /> However, before some of us jump on the bandwagon and damn the UN for not wanting to accept responsibility for the outbreak years ago, when so many Haitians, and others, were demanding that the UN was at fault then, let me state that the position that the UN took then when all of the commotion about blaming the UN was high, was right. That is, at the time, and with the information that the UN and other experts had, the UN could not have accepted blame at that time, for several reasons.<br /> <br /> Perhaps the most obvious reason the UN was right to ignore calls for accepting responsibility then was the simple fact that Haiti&rsquo;s public health system then, as is now, is anything but the best in the world. Haiti&rsquo;s public health system is world-renowned for its many shortcomings.<br /> <br /> Also, Nepal is a very prolific participator in UN missions around the world, with Haiti being only one of many. It was therefore strange that those Nepalese UN troops would be the ultimate trigger for that cholera outbreak in Haiti, considering that no such cholera outbreak has been linked to Nepalese troops anywhere else.<br /> <br /> As such, the UN, myself, and a lot of other people, were right, at the time to suspect that those Nepalese UN troops were being made scapegoats for the cholera outbreak in Haiti at that time.<br /> <br /> I still maintain that, at the time, much of the outcry demanding that the UN accept blame for the cholera on account of those Nepalese troops was very much misplaced and coloured with much ungratefulness.<br /> <br /> Anyway, the UN did not completely drop the investigations into the ultimate cause of the outbreak and, indeed, now that it has done the honest thing and admitted that its troops were at fault, right is right, and it must now be honest enough to compensate those Haitian victims&rsquo; families, as originally demanded.<br /> <br /> I must say one more thing. The fact that countries like Nepal, which is practically halfway around the world, decided to contribute troops to help Haiti speaks volumes to the indifference that African and Caribbean countries showed to the Haitians. For, all of our (that is African and Caribbean) talk about &ldquo;black solidarity&rdquo;, when push comes to shove it&rsquo;s the non-black countries that must always rescue us. <br /> <br /> Nepal must not be damned for trying to help, she must be praised for doing what we in the region and Africa ought to have been doing from the start of the Haitian disaster.<br /> <br /> Michael A Dingwall<br /> <br /> michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13235099/filename_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, August 23, 2016 12:00 AM Grace Jackson critique harsh...but justified http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Grace-Jackson-critique-harsh---but-justified_71610 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> So many unkind comments have been made about Grace Jackson&rsquo;s substandard performance as a commentator during the<br /> <br /> ESPN&rsquo;s broadcast of the Rio Olympics. And, sorry to say, they were all justified.<br /> <br /> Grace is not an experienced radio presenter, and in all fairness she does not have the talent for the job, as one of the basic requirements is &ldquo;a pleasant speaking voice&rdquo;. Her voice is definitely not easy on the ear. Another requirement is &ldquo;command of the English language&rdquo;, but I won&rsquo;t say too much about that. <br /> <br /> Grace obviously got an offer she could not refuse &mdash; but should have.<br /> <br /> The simple assignment of being &lsquo;sidekick&rsquo; to experienced presenters during Champs in Jamaica is quite a different thing to being an announcer for a major event. She was thrown in the deep end completely out of her depth and almost drowned. The mistake was made by<br /> <br /> ESPN who hired her to do the job that Lance Whittaker and Hubert Lawrence had done so effectively and professionally in previous Olympics. Someone&rsquo;s job could be on the line.<br /> <br /> It pained me to listen to her struggle as she tried &mdash; sometimes too hard &mdash; to deliver the product. She did not deserve that.<br /> <br /> But Grace is too nice a person to be subjected to the harsh criticisms and ridicule that resulted.<br /> <br /> The moral of the story: One must know one&rsquo;s capabilities and limitations so that one does not tarnish one&rsquo;s image in the way that Grace did in Rio. She will bounce back, I&rsquo;m sure. But, please, Grace, if ever you&rsquo;re asked to do a similar assignment, just decline gracefully.<br /> <br /> Ed Wallace<br /> <br /> wallace_ed@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13235107/Grace-Jackson_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, August 23, 2016 12:00 AM What&rsquo;s next for VCB? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/What-s-next-for-VCB_71493 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Now that the Rio Olympics are over, I now ask what&rsquo;s next for Veronica Campbell Brown?<br /> <br /> The sprint royal added yet another Olympic medal &mdash; a silver &mdash; to her already impressive collection. So far her medal table from five Olympic appearances stands at 3 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze. During her illustrious career, which earned her some 50 global medals, she&rsquo;s enjoyed soaring highs and dismal lows.<br /> <br /> At age 34, one of the most respectable figures in track and field is still looking to press on, despite what many are saying is her last lap. With World Championships heading back to London next year, it&rsquo;s a possibility she will make an appearance. But before VCB can set her sights on another medal or two, she must clean house. And by that I mean get a new coach and possibly new management. On Track Management, which currently manages the star, is yet to show me or, by extension, the world &ldquo;Brand VCB&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Over the years, VCB has kept a low-key appearance which may have hurt her career, especially in this digital and social media era. It was just last year she decided to join<br /> <br /> Facebook and<br /> <br /> Instagram. I prefer not to compare, but other female athletes have done a better job at maintaining a presence in the public&rsquo;s eye. Their brands, therefore, boom and corporate Jamaica responds. With VCB, her approach is laid back and chill; too chill, if you ask me, that sometimes she even neglects the people who revere her. She is looked on as royalty, a queen for her regal-like grace and poise, but that can also hurt her career in this day and age.<br /> <br /> I don&rsquo;t think her management team is aggressive in building her brand. Legacy aside, she is probably only thought of when she hits the track for a showdown, whereas other brands like Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce are on billboards or in our living rooms on our television sets. Just the other day while at the gym I heard someone say, &ldquo;VCB will be a forgotten champion.&rdquo; Of course, I quickly checked that person, but when looking back there was a little spot of truth in his statement. A brand is built so that when the time comes for a person to retire, they can still get their coinage.<br /> <br /> As for coaching, Omar Brown has to go. As VCB&rsquo;s biggest fan, I want the best for her, and I&rsquo;m sure the world too. Omar is not what the career doctor has ordered. Since Brown has taken up the coaching job, VCB has not ran a PB in both the 100m and 200m or won an individual gold medal at a major championships. Currently, she seems to be running off talent alone. While I do respect Brown and all he&rsquo;s accomplished, I have to call a spade a spade. For an athlete so seasoned as VCB, it&rsquo;s almost tragic to see her so unaware of her own predicament that she&rsquo;s hired her husband to coach such an important phase of her career.<br /> <br /> I love VCB with all my heart, and I want her to win in life, but I think its time to do some spring cleaning. Team VCB has some work to do, and I hope she sees this. I look forward to a new chapter in her already storied career.<br /> <br /> Romane Hibbert<br /> <br /> sincerelyromane@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13194310/220544__w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, August 22, 2016 12:00 AM Life lessons from Rio http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Life-lessons-from-Rio_71472 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Rio 2016 Olympics Games have left many memorable moments as our athletes represented Jamaica in several track and field events, gaining 11 medals in total (6 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze). What resonated personally was not the actual medals that were gained, but the life lessons behind those achievements.<br /> <br /> Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce showed us that to give up or to retreat is not an option. Through her injury and obvious pain, she continued and pushed herself to complete the race gaining a bronze medal for Jamaica &mdash; willpower. Elaine Thompson smiled while she ran her golden race because she was confident that she could deliver, and she did &mdash; confidence. Omar McLeod shouted &ldquo;Thank you, Jesus&rdquo; after he won the 110-metre hurdles, cementing his belief, not just in his abilities, but in someone higher than himself &mdash; faith. And lastly, Usain Bolt, the country boy who had a dream, accomplished what no one has ever accomplished; nine gold medals in three consecutive Olympics games. This is not an ordinary achievement. This wasn&rsquo;t luck. This resulted from years of hard work and consistent training. Bolt said, &ldquo;I want to show the younger generation that it is possible to come from the countryside of Jamaica with a dream and actually become something great,&rdquo; &mdash; dream big.<br /> <br /> Congratulations to Team Jamaica. You all have made us proud. Continue to shine boldly. Continue to be strong.<br /> <br /> Kemmone Hall<br /> <br /> kymme5@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13215064/222304__w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, August 22, 2016 12:00 AM Cost to patriotism http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Cost-to-patriotism_71485 Dear Editor, <br /> <br /> I can remember during the 1990s when the Jamaican dollar kept sliding, and what was then called The Butch Stewart Initiative temporarily stopped that slide by his pumping in millions of United States dollars in the system. Today, Jamaica needs its economy to grow and has called on Michael Lee-Chin to serve as a &ldquo;growth czar&rdquo;. This isn&rsquo;t a novel idea.<br /> <br /> President Obama called upon Warren Buffet and a team to voluntarily rescue the United States economy when they faced the greatest recession after the 1929 stock market crash.<br /> <br /> I saw Lee-Chin on television giving information as to the work to be done. Now there is talk as to whether or not he is to be paid. But can we afford to? Shouldn&rsquo;t we take care of the basic expenses the growth council incurs? <br /> <br /> But if we have to pay them, then shouldn&rsquo;t we pay Richard Byles who serves the Economic Policy Oversight Committee or Dr Vin Lawrence at the Electricity Sector Enterprise Team, or retroactively Butch Stewart for his initiative? And where does it stop? Certainly, their work must be priceless, patriotism usually is. <br /> <br /> Mark Clarke<br /> <br /> Siloah PO, St Elizabeth<br /> <br /> mark_clarke9@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12931066/201221_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Monday, August 22, 2016 12:00 AM Time for reflection as a nation http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Time-for-reflection-as-a-nation_71494 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Whatever we cherish, whatever we nourish shall surely flourish.<br /> <br /> Is there any truth to this statement? And, if so, how is it applicable to our cultural values, achievements in music and sports and to our socio-economic conditions, like economic growth, avenues and opportunities for personal development and maximising our human potential as a people? And no less important, how does it also relate to our failures, like dysfunctional families, child abuse and a very high crime and murder rate?<br /> <br /> It has long been observed that whatever we passionately, persistently and purposefully pursue we tend to achieve and master. And, as we celebrate and rejoice in the commendable and indeed some most memorable achievements of our athletes at the Rio Olympics, it may prove prudent for us to also make the time to reflect on and evaluate our experiences and values as a nation. I am confident we will rediscover the reasons for our successes and failures.<br /> <br /> It has long passed the time for us to effectively address the root causes of our failures as a people.<br /> <br /> Daive R Facey<br /> <br /> dr.facey@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13231249/223668_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, August 22, 2016 12:00 AM Highest court in the land? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Highest-court-in-the-land_71490 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Columnist Hugh Dunbar, in a piece published on August 21, 2016, asserts that Parliament is not the highest court in the land and wonders aloud why no member of the judiciary or a senior civil servant has not corrected &ldquo;this false statement&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Well, perhaps the reason why no member of the judiciary or a senior civil servant has corrected &ldquo;this false statement&rdquo; is because it isn&rsquo;t false at all.<br /> <br /> Jamaica is now ruled by a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. After many years this was enacted by Parliament. The judiciary is there to interpret this highest law of the land in light of ever-changing circumstances. However, the judiciary has no power to revoke it entirely. Theoretically, only Parliament could do that, highly unlikely as that may be, although it is possible that in the fullness of time our parliamentarians may see it fit to amend aspects of it.<br /> <br /> In my book, that makes Parliament the &ldquo;highest court in the land&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Errol W A Townshend<br /> <br /> Ontario, Canada<br /> <br /> ewat@rogers.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12884740/198125_27222_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, August 22, 2016 12:00 AM Place Bolt statue in Water Square http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Place-Bolt-statue-in-Water-Square_71478 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It is time for the Usain Bolt statue to be erected in Water Square, Falmouth. It is time for the Tourism Enhancement Fund, Urban Development Corporation, the Ministry of Sports, and Trelawny Parish Council (with backing of the Ministry of Local Government) to do the right thing and advance plans to erect Bolt&rsquo;s statue in Water Square.<br /> <br /> The idea of placing the statue on the cruise ship pier should be strongly resisted. It would be an insult to Bolt&rsquo;s legacy, the people of Trelawny, and all Jamaicans for his statue to be in a place that is largely inaccessible to the Jamaican populace.<br /> <br /> One of the major criticisms of Falmouth as a resort town is its lack of attractions. No single greater step could be taken to rectify that issue than to place Bolt&rsquo;s statue in Water Square, where it could be visited by tourists as well as locals. Placing Bolt&rsquo;s statue behind the security perimeter of the port would be incongruous with Bolt&rsquo;s life as a man of the people and would do him a great disservice.<br /> <br /> I am convinced that cruise ship owners understand the public relations benefits of being a willing team player in facilitating the erecting of a Bolt Statue in Water Square, rather than on its pier. If they don&rsquo;t, I am sure that his sponsors do.<br /> <br /> Don Hall<br /> <br /> wordlover29203@yahoo.com http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13207254/221624_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, August 22, 2016 12:00 AM One of Jamaica&rsquo;s golden nuggets http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/One-of-Jamaica-s-golden-nuggets_71226 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I recall watching with pride as Jamaican swimmer and national record holder Alia Atkinson powered her way to a fourth place finish in the women&rsquo;s 100m breaststroke competition at the London 2012 Olympics. It was a placing which far exceeded many of our expectations, so much so, it felt Jamaica had medalled in the event.<br /> <br /> Against the backdrop of having to face a swim-off just to make the finals, a fourth-place finish in an event in which we are not celebrated, almost felt other worldly. Janelle Atkinson had started the movement a few years prior, and Alia had taken up the mantle. In both the swim-off and the finals, Alia recorded times of one minute and six seconds, times which she had never done prior to the 2012 Olympic Games. She proved herself then, a woman for the big occasion.<br /> <br /> Two years later, this classy and rather exceptional Jamaican athlete blew our minds once more when she won gold at the Fina World Swimming Championships, recording a world record in the process. In so doing she became the first Jamaican and black woman to hold both the gold and the world record in a swimming event. Remarkable!<br /> <br /> It has been four years since her memorable performances in 2012. Another final has passed, of which Alia was a part. Making the rounds were talks pertaining to her underperformance. Yes, like many, I too wanted Alia to medal. She did not. What she did, however, was to represent us with class, dignity and pride. She may not have an Olympic gold medal to show for such hard work, but Alia remains one of Jamaica&rsquo;s gold. So true to the patriotic cause.<br /> <br /> To Alia I say, hold your head high! We are proud of you. Jamaica stands with you. Shine on. Shine on. <br /> <br /> Chris Ann<br /> <br /> chrisannspals@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13185374/219704_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Friday, August 19, 2016 2:00 AM CVC hails decision of Belize Gov&rsquo;t as a step in the right direction http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/CVC-hails-decision-of-Belize-Gov-t-as-a-step-in-the-right-direction_71100 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition welcomes the decision of the Government of Belize to not appeal the court ruling that Section 53 of the Belize Criminal Code is inconsistent with the constitution. The chief justice of Belize, Kenneth Benjamin, ruled that Section 53 which criminalised &ldquo;carnal intercourse against the order of nature&rdquo;, including anal sex between consenting adults, violated the rights to human dignity, privacy, freedom of expression, non-discrimination and equality before the law enshrined in the Belize constitution. Chief Justice Benjamin also found that Section 53 contributed to an environment of hostility, discrimination and exclusion and was not needed for the purposes of protection of public health and public morality.<br /> <br /> CVC hails the position of the Government of Belize that the Cabinet had a duty to regard and accept the court as &lsquo;Guardian of the Constitution of Belize&rsquo;, that the ruling brings Section 53 in conformity with the constitution and that the case had been exhaustively argued and the issues fully ventilated. It is especially noteworthy that Prime Minister Dean Barrow denounced violence, including hate speech, and called for Belizeans to treat each other with respect and dignity regardless of differences.<br /> <br /> CVC notes the prime minister&rsquo;s excellent characterisation of the ruling as a &lsquo;shield for the [LGBTI] community, not a sword&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> The decision of the Government of Belize has occurred at a critical juncture in the HIV response. Recent data coming out of the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, this past July, shows that there has been a nine per cent increase in new HIV infections in the Caribbean. Criminalisation and stigmatisation have been shown to be a severe barrier to national, regional and global responses to the HIV epidemic and the chief justice in his judgement stated, &ldquo;Retention of section 53 so far as it relates to men who have sex with men hinders rather than aids testing and treatment as a matter of public health.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The decision of the Government to not appeal is therefore an important and bold step forward.<br /> <br /> CVC salutes the decision as another indication of the Belize Government&rsquo;s acknowledgement of the rights and dignity of all citizens regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or other differences. It follows other reforms in Belizean policies and laws aimed at promoting equality and discouraging discrimination.<br /> <br /> These encouraging steps forward in Belize are an excellent example of the leadership needed in the rest of the Caribbean &mdash; leadership that is the &ldquo;voice for reason and compassion in our society&rdquo;, which Prime Minister Timothy Harris of St Kitts and Nevis called for in his remarks to the PANCAP Breakfast Caucus at the recently concluded United Nations High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS held in June 2016. <br /> <br /> Dr Carolyn Gomes<br /> <br /> Executive Director<br /> <br /> Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition<br /> <br /> carolyn.gomes.cvc.ed@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10797508/Carolyn-Gomes_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Friday, August 19, 2016 12:00 AM Fay Tortello will be missed http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Fay-Tortello-will-be-missed_71222 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Quite recently, well-known sister to former Prime Minister Edward Seaga, Fay Tortello, died and was formally laid to rest on August 11, 2016.<br /> <br /> A<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer report stated that she was born on August 4, 1931 and died on Emancipation Day, August 1, in the Tony Thwaites Wing of the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) following a prolonged illness.<br /> <br /> Fay Tortello was a hard-working, dedicated and innovative Jamaican businesswoman. She served exceptionally well as a former honorary Italian consul in Jamaica. And during that period she successfully started and accomplished numerous projects between the Italian and Jamaican governments, including the rehabilitation of Jamaica Public Service power plants in Old Harbour, and the upgrade of the Bustamante Hospital in Kingston at no cost to Jamaica.<br /> <br /> On the few times when I had the opportunity to speak with her, I found her to be an extremely patriotic, fearless and loyal Jamaican citizen who had a voracious positive appetite for speaking about politics and its impact on our affairs, issues and concerns. For many years she telephoned the then number one radio talk show,<br /> <br /> Perkins On Line, and always spoke about political party issues affecting both political parties and country. <br /> <br /> Fay Tortello served exceptionally well and will be remembered for years to come. May God bless her soul and light perpetual shine upon her.<br /> <br /> Robert Dalley<br /> <br /> St James<br /> <br /> robertdalley@outlook.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13202067/Fay-Tortello_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Friday, August 19, 2016 2:00 AM We are committing suicide http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/We-are-committing-suicide_70267 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Many of us do not take serious matters seriously. We are committing suicide; mass suicide now more than ever.<br /> <br /> For example, Lone Ranger heard the news recently that six persons died in a motor vehicle accident, and it was a result of speeding. But the same Lone Ranger who heard of that terrible tragedy was driving a Coaster bus filled with passengers the following day and he lost control of the vehicle while negotiating a corner. The bus overturned and seven people died and others seriously injured. The cause of the tragedy stemmed from speeding.<br /> <br /> Mary Jane knew that Harry is a fast driver, but she was bent on taking his taxi to the market. And when he stepped on the gas to a maddening speed, Mary said nothing to him. The car ran off the road and crashed into a tree. Both of them died on the spot.<br /> <br /> We have heard, more than once, that most of our road fatalities are caused from speeding. Can you imagine, then, if the culprits of fast driving were cutting their speed? Many dead passengers, dead drivers and dead pedestrians could have been alive today. What a great loss of lives. We are purposefully killing ourselves.<br /> <br /> When we get serious about life, when we begin to take serious matters seriously, in the driving arena, the mass deaths from traffic crashes will decline.<br /> <br /> Donald J McKoy<br /> <br /> donaldmckoy2010@hotmail.com <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12298940/Mobay-crash_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Friday, August 19, 2016 2:00 AM Water woes http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Water-woes_71097 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I am a resident in the Red Hills area. Some time ago, I began having issues with my water supply which is provided to us by the National Water Commission. As it was not entirely disturbing my day-to-day living, there was no initial action. However, I found that in my 10 months of living in this vicinity the problem of lack of water pressure is something that I have frequently experienced.<br /> <br /> However, on Wednesday, August 17, 2016, when I woke up at 8 o&rsquo;clock there was no water at all. I called the customer service immediately to find out the root of the issue and was told that there was a disturbance due to a mechanical failure and I was ensured that water would be restored during the day, or the latest Thursday, August 18, 2016. On returning home at 7 o&rsquo;clock there was still no water. I once again telephoned customer service and I was told that water will not be returning until August 22, 2016. I was also told that trucked water will be provided during this time; however, a time schedule could not be given to me.<br /> <br /> Why is it that I have to be calling a company in charge of servicing the entire Jamaica with water about a water issue. I saw no public service announcement. I was not informed, and I was certainly not given the impression that I would be without water for an extended amount of time so I could implement strategies to combat this issue.<br /> <br /> I am upset. Upset that a multimillion-dollar company cannot properly inform me, a customer, about a water issue. There is an understanding that providing water to a mountainous area is challenging; however, why it is that if it is not a mechanical failure it is a Jamaica Public Service issue preventing me getting water. Red Hills is not the only area in Jamaica that is mountainous, so why is it that there is a constant issue providing water to my area. This is not the first time that I have been facing issues with water, and it can be very irksome. I would like a prompt solution to my issues, or at least proper information updates as to issues that directly affect my day-to-day living.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> MH<br /> <br /> Disgruntled customer<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12579304/180975_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Friday, August 19, 2016 2:00 AM