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 With Cuba/US relations on the mend, our tourism sector needs to be boosted...now! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/With-Cuba-US-relations-on-the-mend--our-tourism-sector-needs-to-be-boosted---now-_18119075 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Yesterday President Barack Obama announced the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba. He declared an end to America's "outdated approach" to the 'communist' island in a historic shift aimed at ending a half-century of Cold War enmity and I am in celebration. Finally!<br /> <br /> I have never been to Cuba, but have experienced the culture from stories Cubans have shared and other friends who have visited. It is a beautiful place to behold, I am told. So, after I got excited about this announcement I began to think about our tourism sector in Jamaica. Even with the embargo, Cuba was able to stand on its own sand and soil. So can you imagine what will happen to their economy when it is lifted?<br /> <br /> I did a mental comparison and Cuba seems to be winning in the tourism sector. They also have white sand beaches, a rich culture, cheaper rates, and not to mention their crime rate. Do they have a crime rate? Yes, Jamaica has a lot to offer, but it is on the decline. If you do not visit the tourist attractions you do not get to experience much of our culture. We have little time to change this, and we need to hasten our footsteps and make Jamaica the number one destination in the Caribbean. It is not a competition, as each island has its own unique experience to offer, but bear in mind what happened when Digicel came to Jamaica -- we gave them a try.<br /> <br /> What will we do when the tourists decide to give them a try and this may continue for an extended period? What will happen to the hundreds of craft vendors during this drought? They are already experiencing a decline in their sales. We need to start being tourists in our own island and help to market these items and purchase them.<br /> <br /> Tourism is one of our main products and main income-earner of foreign exchange. We need to find a way to ensure that we not only offer top-class services, but that across Jamaica, from the man who sells beaded necklaces in Fern Gully to the owner of a cafe in Irish Town, everyone and everything is marketed by the tourist board.<br /> <br /> As Jamaicans, we too have to try and vacation here at home.There are many places on the island that some people have only heard of. We too have to give back and help build our country. We have a vacation spot for everyone looking to have a unique experience here on our lovely island. It is not only the giant hotels that are vacation destinations. Tourists also want to climb trees at Mayfair Falls in Negril and ride horses in the Blue Mountains, jump off in Blue Hole, St Ann, watch the donkey races in Negril, wake up at Liberty Hill Great House, and watch the sun set at Frenchman's Cove in Portland.<br /> <br /> Now I want to vacation here at home and truly support local businesses in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Dee Hunt<br /> <br /> bedeeinspired@gmail.com<br /> <br /> With Cuba/US relations on the mend, <br /> <br /> our tourism sector needs to be boosted...now!<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11339105/Cuba1b_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 18, 2014 12:05 AM Good job, Observer team http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Good-job--Observer-team_18113724 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I wish to congratulate Moses Jackson and the Jamaica Observer Business Leader Award team.<br /> <br /> I agree with the statements made by Mark Wignall in his column titled 'Encouraging signs in the Jamaican business community' published on December 11, 2014.<br /> <br /> The article made mention of Moses Jackson and his team who have organised the Jamaica Observer Business Leader Awards for 18 years and so I must extend congratulations to them for doing a phenomenal job in recognising excellence in Jamaican businesses that are contributing to the economy, increasing employment, and building our nation.<br /> <br /> Kudos is also in store for those businesses and individuals who have played the role of 'king makers', helping to build some of these now outstanding companies. These 'king makers' encourage entrepreneurship and investment among Jamaicans and in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Let us strive to personally invest in our country by building others to succeed, where we can, following the example of some of these notable countries.<br /> <br /> Calisa Brown<br /> <br /> Calbeck Avenue<br /> <br /> Kingston 10<br /> <br /> Good job, Observer team<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11259983/Moses--Charles--_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 18, 2014 12:02 AM Muzzle Lambert Brown, PM http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Muzzle-Lambert-Brown--PM_18119083 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I note with much displeasure the audacity of the unelected Lambert Brown, who sits in Parliament at the pleasure of the prime minister, to suggest a ban on protesting civil society members from sitting on public bodies -- a clear move to sanction those who dare to criticise the Government.<br /> <br /> In other self-respecting societies he may not have been a worthy person to be selected to sit in the hallowed halls of Parliament.<br /> <br /> Civil society and citizens have a vested interest in the preservation of our democracy and will remain vigilant and undeviating in our resolve to hold our leaders accountable and to preserve the integrity of public governance, despite the veiled threat of alienation from shallow quarters.<br /> <br /> My unsolicited advice to the prime minister is that it's in her best interest that she muzzle Lambert Brown. With every bark from his mouth she loses political and social goodwill as reflected in the recent RJR/Don Anderson polls.<br /> <br /> Dennis Meadows<br /> <br /> Montego Bay<br /> <br /> dennis.meadows@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Muzzle Lambert Brown, PM<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11339054/Lambert-Brown2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 18, 2014 12:05 AM Do the people we elect know anything about managing a country? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Do-the-people-we-elect-know-anything-about-managing-a-country_18114625 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I have faith in only a handful of politicians, especially in this country. I know the howls of protest and condemnation will come when I say that Jamaica longs for the days before 1962. Not to be governed by "externals", not to have backra massa return, or to a time when the colour of your skin might help you to progress or, conversely, retard you. What I long for is a stable economy and strong dollar; manageable levels of criminality; and the absence of burglar bars and security systems on the homes of those who can afford them.<br /> <br /> What has brought us to this place? In my opinion, it has been mostly the inability of successive governments to manage in a way that can move the country forward. It's the old joke about that dog chasing the car -- in this case Independence. What does he do with it when he catches it?<br /> <br /> Before the ultra-nationalists start to vilify me, let me say again that I would never again want to be "ruled" by anyone outside of Jamaica, and certainly not by people who don't look like most of us.<br /> <br /> But, to me, what we have seemed to lack -- and I know that many in the political directorate will disagree -- is a group of people who know how to run a country in every aspect. I am not impressed by PhDs and all the other professional qualifications, as with all the qualifications abounding, does anyone know how to run the store called Jamaica?<br /> <br /> A vibrant Jamaican dollar, a strong agricultural sector, and a strong tourism sector, where have they gone? Why has no government been able to stem the tide?<br /> <br /> Personal aggrandisement, cass cass, greed, and corruption is what our country is all about now. I feel certain that in days gone by or in other countries (read Canada for example) many of our politicians over the many years would have been wearing "short pants".<br /> <br /> I hope I never again have to sing God Save the Queen/King; but God, please save Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Stephen Harrison<br /> <br /> St Mary<br /> <br /> stepharrison28@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Do the people we elect know anything about managing a country? <br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11079972/Parliament_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 18, 2014 12:05 AM Congrats Observer Business Leader 2013 &mdash; Small entrepreneurs need right support to grow http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Congrats-Observer-Business-Leader-2013---Small-entrepreneurs-need-right-support-to-grow_18095709 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Burrowes on winning the Jamaica Observer Business Leader Award 2013. I have to admit my bias, in that I am particularly proud because they are from the west.<br /> <br /> However, as a small entrepreneur, I am also encouraged by the stories of people like the owners of Dolphin Cove who conceptualise an idea and grow such an idea into a multimillion-dollar business, despite economic hardship and other external challenges.<br /> <br /> As budding entrepreneurs, we need the right support and infrastructure to help our businesses to grow. For me, technology advancement is a big part of this and that is why, as someone who relies heavily on the Internet to do my business, I am very concerned about the proposed merger between Cable and Wireless and Columbus Communications.<br /> <br /> At the moment, I use Flow Internet at home, having changed from LIME because of slow connectivity and overall poor service. Alas, it didn't take a long time for Flow to show its true colours, plus a long wait on the line to connect with their customer service agents. To make matters worse, over the past few months, my Internet connection has been moving at a snail's pace and to date, the remedy has been that I should turn off and then turn back on my modem. These are the identical issues I had with LIME.<br /> <br /> Now I have seen a lot of debates and articles on this merger, but I am yet to see something from the regulators that will help to alleviate my concerns.<br /> <br /> Small businesses still have the common touch.<br /> <br /> Paul Buchanan<br /> <br /> Albert Town, Trelawny<br /> <br /> paulbuchanan403@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Congrats Observer Business Leader 2013 -- Small entrepreneurs need right support to grow<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11318629/business-leader_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 18, 2014 12:05 AM Why is columnist Gordon Robinson so thin-skinned? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Why-is-columnist-Gordon-Robinson-so-thin-skinned_18119077 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Gordon Robinson used my guest column in the Jamaica Observer of September 3, 2014 to award the newspaper his local "Domino Dunce Award for Journalism". I don't know whether to laugh or cry.<br /> <br /> To begin with, the domino is such a popular pastime for countless Jamaicans that I can't for the life of me comprehend how Robinson could reduce it to the lowest common denominator and cass-cass.<br /> <br /> He is also suggesting that a newspaper is deserving of his kind of diatribe just for publishing a column. On that basis, one would have to conclude that the views published in his column in The Gleaner represent those of that newspaper.<br /> <br /> Robinson equates a column with editorial policy. Don't remind me that he is an attorney! Once again, The Gleaner needs to be more discriminatory in its choice of columns.<br /> <br /> It also strikes me that, in seeking sympathy for himself, Robinson deliberately interprets my statement that "The Old Ball and Chain must be writhing in her sexless old age..." to mean it is about "an innocent old woman". He knows better, but he can't face the truth. It is far more a comment about him than her.<br /> <br /> By the way, he should not compare Dionne Jackson-Miller with a racehorse. It's not very flattering.<br /> <br /> I need not say much about Robinson's attack on the Observer. The folks there can defend themselves very well. After all, they have evolved into one heck of a newspaper in only 21 years. It's the reason Robinson has to refer to the newspaper in order to draw attention to himself and his hapless column. And, yes, methinks he is abysmally jealous of that achievement.<br /> <br /> Finally, Robinson gives the clear impression that he does not want to be criticised. No columnist should be so thin-skinned. Criticism of a column is par for the course. If he can't stand the heat, he needs to get out of the kitchen pronto!<br /> <br /> Olivier Gordon<br /> <br /> Riffraph54@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Why is columnist Gordon Robinson so thin-skinned?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9849397/O-logo.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 18, 2014 12:05 AM How hath the 'Fighting Irish' fallen! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/How-hath-the--Fighting-Irish--fallen-_18094057 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I couldn't help but give a healthy dose of laughter at the Clovis cartoon in last week Thursday's edition (December 11, 20140), depicting CEO of Digicel, Colm Delves, knocked out cold on the canvas in a boxing ring by the fitter, leaner, LIME CEO, Garry Sinclair.<br /> <br /> As I rocked back to balance myself in near uncontrollable laughter, I pondered: How hath the mighty fallen.<br /> <br /> But then I also pondered where has the revered spirit of the 'Fighting Irish' gone? Seems as if Digicel has lost that will to win, that zeal to persevere despite the odds. For, they came to Jamaica in early 2000 and won our hearts, but somewhere along the way the Irish faltered. Probably they celebrated another winning round against LIME for a little too long when a firm left hook and a solid body shot came flying in quick succession from their competitor; and now poor Digicel is suddenly the one holding on to a fleeting memory of telecoms dominance.<br /> <br /> Where is the spirit of the 'Fighting Irish'? That never-give-up spirit that would now be prepared to stare the odds of a CWC/Columbus merger and strategise to tackle their merged rivals.<br /> <br /> Instead, precious time is wasted by the 'Flying Irish', traipsing the islands to drum up support against the merger, in part or full.<br /> <br /> I remind Digicel that, like Ireland, we are a proud sovereign nation, readily equipped with the intellectual capacity to understand the merger and apply best practices to ensure fair play in determining approval or disapproval. It is, therefore, time for Digicel to cool it and allow the regulators to do their work.<br /> <br /> And, while they're taking that much-needed timeout between rounds, use the opportunity to mount a strong comeback. Because, right now, Digicel is more looking like the 'Fleeing Irish'.<br /> <br /> Come back in the ring, shake out those wobbly legs and fight!<br /> <br /> Grace-Ann Sanderson<br /> <br /> graceannsanderson@outlook.com<br /> <br /> How hath the 'Fighting Irish' fallen!<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11324338/WIGNAL-CARTOON_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 18, 2014 12:05 AM Is JCF lock-up policy really in practice? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Is-JCF-lock-up-policy-really-in-practice-_18109634 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Permit me to emphasise the general need for effective execution of our well-written policies. Based on the Revised Lock-Up Administration Policy, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is responsible for the "proper" management of all police lock-ups and the safety and welfare of all those in police custody. It means, therefore, that people who are kept in lock-ups after being sentenced to short-term imprisonment, or in the case of the recent casualties, awaiting trial, are to have their rights protected.<br /> <br /> One of those rights is to safety while in custody. If those incarcerated, the cells, passages and general facilities were in fact searched for weapons or other contraband beforehand, as the JCF's policy instructs, how were weapons introduced to the disagreement between inmates? Allegedly, knives were responsible for the fatal wounds. Knives are listed as one of the unauthorised items. What does the divisional officer have to say?<br /> <br /> What makes the situation more peculiar are the utterances of a relative of one of the deceased. According to that relative, there was a previous instance where Romario Reid was hurt in the same cell. The Constabulary Communication Unit also gave a very simplistic overview of the incident so far -- cellmates released on the hour were then attacked by neighbouring cell occupants. It should be interesting to see how further details emerge.<br /> <br /> However, it is highly unlikely that we will see the kind of coverage and outpouring of sentiments as we did in the case of Mario Deane, who died in similar circumstances. Unlike Deane's case, people are faced with the dilemma of seeing the humanity of those individuals through the fact that they were being held for serious crimes. As such, I do hope the comments of Commissioner of Police Dr Carl Williams, on not taking such incidents lightly, indicate an intention to hold those found responsible accountable.<br /> <br /> Western Jamaica has been at the centre of a trend in breaches at lock-ups for too long. There definitely needs to be thorough investigation into the competence of officers wielding the power of the law, and put in charge of lives. Importantly, a determination has to be made on whether policy is, in fact, put to practice at the Savanna-la-Mar lock-up and others islandwide. This also presents an opportunity for the JCF to be transparent and responsive to the qualms society has about the goings-on in the country's lock-ups/prisons.<br /> <br /> Yohan Lee<br /> <br /> St Andrew<br /> <br /> yohan.s.r.lee@live.com<br /> <br /> Is JCF lock-up policy really in practice?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10963995/prison_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 18, 2014 12:05 AM To whom much is given, much is expected http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/To-whom-much-is-given--much-is-expected_18113714 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The recent article which appeared in the Sunday Observer publication where the mayor of Falmouth lost his licensed firearm in bizarre circumstances is symptomatic of the carelessness of our leaders, both in speech and action.<br /> <br /> If a mayor cannot protect this extremely important and critical aspect of his life and well-being, how can he protect the people of Trelawny through the various arms of local governance in the parish? How can he protect the assets of the council, whether financial, human or property-related. These questions must be asked.<br /> <br /> Would the mayor drive the parish council vehicle which is assigned to him and leave it in the public square with the engine running, or would he have left his personal cash lying about carelessly in a desk drawer?<br /> <br /> Were I still a councillor at the Trelawny Parish Council I would immediately issue a seven day notification to the secretary/manager of the council for him to call an emergency and extraordinary council meeting for the mayor to explain to the executive of the council the circumstances under which his firearm went missing. If during that meeting it is the opinion of the majority of the executive that the mayor is culpable and careless in his actions to lose his firearm, then a notice of a motion of "no confidence" against the mayor would be served on the secretary/manager.<br /> <br /> Although it is a police matter, it is also a management issue which dissects the core of governance at the local authority.<br /> <br /> Acts of carelessness on the part of individuals entrusted with public assets and safety must be met with the requisite sanction. This is the only way we can get them to be accountable for their actions. How on God's Earth can you be entrusted to lead an organisation with assets valuing over four billion dollars and an annual budget of nearly seven hundred thousand dollars, yet you leave your firearm carelessly in a broken, dilapidated drawer. Come on, Mr Mayor!<br /> <br /> Fernandez Smith<br /> <br /> Duanvale PO, Trelawny<br /> <br /> fgeorgesmith@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> To whom much is given, much is expected<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11339063/expected_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 18, 2014 12:05 AM Benefits and loyalty determines Jamaican votes, not education http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Benefits-and-loyalty-determines-Jamaican-votes--not-education_18089776 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It is often said that once the Jamaican public becomes educated they will make better voting decisions, hence the eradication of the diehard or "diehearted" voting practice that currently obtains. I have always wondered what evidence there was in Jamaica to support this nonsensical position.<br /> <br /> I listened to a clip from a newscast on one of our major radio stations on Friday, December 5, 2014 and heard Government senator K D Knight speaking. He articulated more than a few excellent points as to why he was not enamoured with the idea of State (aka overburdened taxpayer) funding of political parties. My impression from what I heard on the clip is that he would still be voting in support of putting the law in place, though.<br /> <br /> Now, after getting up and explaining quite clearly why any rational person would be opposed to such a motion, he and the rest of them apparently did exactly the opposite. How in God's name could their actions be blamed on education, or rather the lack thereof? Is there anyone out there who could in all honesty say that K D Knight is not educated? Well, perhaps not in astrophysics.<br /> <br /> I posit that the primary reason the "diehearted" voting culture currently obtains in Jamaica is that the voter perceives there is a benefit to be had by voting one way or another. As it relates to the general population, at the time of our general election, this benefit could take the form of a 'nanny' ($500), a dozen chickens, or Christmas work. Another reason is simply loyalty to a cause, political party, or person. Education does not even make the foot of the list.<br /> <br /> Are we to understand that when the Arawaks, American Indians, and Maroons of times gone by voted for a chief or for whatever reason their choices were flawed because they were uneducated? Is it that difficult for us to think things through and cease merely regurgitating what we hear supposedly "bright" people say?<br /> <br /> Robert Mitchell<br /> <br /> Christiana, Manchester<br /> <br /> mitcib@yahoo.ca<br /> <br /> Benefits and loyalty determines Jamaican votes, not education<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11332916/KD-Knight_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, December 16, 2014 3:00 AM What a prekeh pan di former Miss World? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/What-a-prekeh-pan-di-former-Miss-World-_18109643 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I recently saw on Facebook a picture of the former Miss World and now government minister, Lisa Hanna, wearing a bikini bathing suit on a beach -- I would expect, somewhere in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> The question was asked, is she appropriately dressed? I personally thought that she was; as one would not expect the good minister to be wearing a business suit or even regular clothes while taking a swim.<br /> <br /> I thought the issue would disintegrate as quickly as it rose up, but it appeared recently on the front page of one the leading newspapers. I am disappointed because, in my view, this in not news.<br /> <br /> Many are saying that it is not the picture that is inappropriate but the posting of it; I propose that it would not have made much of a difference if someone else had posted it. The picture would still be there for the entire world to see. We cannot be saying she cannot go to a public beach.<br /> <br /> It is my view that the former Miss World and now government minister should not be measured with a different yard stick than any other person that uses social media. If at all it is inappropriate for her then it is supposes to be inappropriate for any other person, be they male or female, princess of pauper, to post a picture of him/herself in swimwear on social media.<br /> <br /> Years ago when she entered the Miss World competition she had to participate in a swimsuit competition and she did the nation proud when she won. Today she is member of parliament and minister of government, still a human being, only with a different job.<br /> <br /> Outside of her job she has a life, a family, and she participates in activities that are unrelated to the job and her position. Some of these activities are posted on social media.<br /> <br /> I believe that as a citizen of Jamaica, and by extension a human being, she has the right to her personal time and space to have fun. In so doing, she has the right to go to the beach and to take photographs of the same and she also would acting within her rights she posted them on her personal page in social media like anyone else would.<br /> <br /> Gary Rowe<br /> <br /> Coleyville<br /> <br /> magnett0072004@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> What a prekeh pan di former Miss World?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11332917/Lisa-Hanna-3_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, December 16, 2014 3:00 AM Radical act of kindness http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Radical-act-of-kindness_18109624 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Anglican priest Sean Major-Campbell has managed to become an example of Christianity that is not fearful of welcoming and appreciating all lives.<br /> <br /> Frankly, the Christian community was in need of this radical act of kindness. Too often, the Church has exiled those it deems greater sinners into otherness. In recent times, a steadfast moral war had been declared on persons who see and engage life differently, and the Bible used as the assault weapon. Such a valiant act against the politics of exclusionary Christianity is equally as memorable and refreshing. It says there is hope.<br /> <br /> Still, persons contend that Major-Campbell had no right including those women in what they describe as a believer's rite. But, the beginning of that ritual was anything but conventional in itself. Jesus performed an act that was typically the responsibility of a lowly servant on his disciples. Like those who have protested today, one disciple did speak out against Jesus washing his feet. Then something amazing happened -- a lesson on humility and community was taught. Prior to that the disciples were, in fact, arguing about whom among them was greater, and Jesus denounced this. It is this practice of placing different values on different lives based on subjective moral codes that blinds those who see an act of love and respect for humanity as one of ambush or betrayal. The various arguments used to justify the 'us and them' binary and why feet washing should not have been performed on those individuals are no different from arguments used to justify other systems of oppression and separation. Beneath the social labels of lesbian and transgender are individuals deserving of visibility and kindness. We are all one.<br /> <br /> Yohan Lee<br /> <br /> St Andrew<br /> <br /> yohan.s.r.lee@live.com<br /> <br /> Radical act of kindness<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, December 16, 2014 3:00 AM Whose human rights? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Whose-human-rights-_18109635 Wednesday, December 10, 2014 was celebrated as World Human Rights Day. Just recently, it was reported that an Anglican priest washed the feet of two lesbians for which he was hailed by J-FLAG and those of the 'human rights agenda' as taking the right steps.<br /> <br /> The face of human rights has in the last few months played a big part in the media with those who are considered lesbians, gays and transgender as the ones whose rights are being infringed. In fact, often when human rights are spoken about it is about those who are lesbians, gays and transgender. But, if I may ask, what of the human rights of the rest of the population? Isn't it also the right for those who choose to be straight? Isn't it their right for not wanting homosexual views to be forced on them?<br /> <br /> Whose human rights are being considered here, the gays, lesbians and transgenders, or those not so classified? Whose human rights are we considering?<br /> <br /> Briony Irving<br /> <br /> ibriony@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Whose human rights? <br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, December 16, 2014 3:00 AM Are our leaders listening? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Are-our-leaders-listening_18103185 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I am beginning to wonder if our government officials are listening to and considering some of the good, free advice I see in the print media, hear on call-in programmes and read online through comments.<br /> <br /> While many may be considered to be verbal debris, or just plain partisan, some Jamaicans are genuine in their desire to put forth ideas towards problem-solving for our country.<br /> <br /> Some private sector companies respond immediately to customer concerns. They have staff whose job it is to scour the print media, listen to the radio, and keep abreast of customer concerns. Recently, I saw two immediate apologies and redesign of systems to make things better for their paying customers. Private companies, whose bottom line could be hit, pay attention when clients talk. They also want to give the appearance that they care; that is good public relations.<br /> <br /> To give the appearance that our Government cares, people must feel that someone is listening. If you listen and don't respond to suffering, hardships and concerns, that is as good as being deaf. Much of the advice given to Government through media is invaluable. They don't have to pay consultancy fees. I am led to wonder about many of the officials that are getting huge salaries or contract arrangements to present big reports and take care of the country's business. I wonder about their effectiveness when I look around and see that many of our problems are uncomplicated and would need only easy fixes. This makes me wonder about the will and sincerity for resolution.<br /> <br /> To give the appearance that our Government cares, people must feel that someone is listening. If you listen and don't respond to suffering, hardships and concerns, that is as good as being deaf. Much of the advice given to Government through media is invaluable. They don't have to pay consultancy fees. I am led to wonder about many of the officials that are getting huge salaries or contract arrangements to present big reports and take care of the country's business. I wonder about their effectiveness when I look around and see that many of our problems are uncomplicated and would need only easy fixes. This makes me wonder about the will and sincerity for resolution.<br /> <br /> What has happened to "Recycle Now Jamaica"? This is a good initiative, but seems a drop in the bucket for the amount of garbage we have in Jamaica. What about cans, bottles, newspapers, plastic, and cardboard? How many calls have there been for us to have a serious incentivised islandwide recycling programme? Let's do this! Something like this could pay for itself in a short while.<br /> <br /> While recognising that some of our issues are deep-rooted, complex, and may take even a generation to fix, other problems can be fixed. Let's just do it!<br /> <br /> Sandra M Taylor Wiggan<br /> <br /> sandra_wiggan@yahoo.co.uk<br /> <br /> Are our leaders listening?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11330975/listening_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, December 15, 2014 3:00 AM Don't let 'Jamaica speak' cloud the Commission results http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Don-t-let--Jamaica-speak--cloud-the-Commission-results_18103319 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Jamaica is truly a beautiful yet comical place to live, work and raise families. The ongoing Tivoli Commission of Enquiry bears testimony to this fact.<br /> <br /> Among the suggestions emerging from last week's proceedings is one from a university lecturer that language interpreters maybe necessary at the commission to ensure that the lawyers clearly understand the witnesses and vice versa.<br /> <br /> As Jamaicans, we all are familiar with and indeed speak two languages: Jamaica English or Patois and Standard English. The suggestion that interpreters may be needed to decipher/decode what the witnesses at the enquiry are saying belittles our rich culture, as well as highlights the fact that we are not really one, despite what the Jamaican National Motto says.<br /> <br /> Social class prejudice and discrimination are very much alive and well in 2014. As far as I am aware, all the lawyers at the enquiry are Jamaican. They should all be capable to understand the language of the people. Interestingly, the chairman of the commission, Sir David Simmons, is not a Jamaican, and he appears not to have any problems understanding the language of the witnesses.<br /> <br /> As a people, Jamaicans are very versatile and witty. Why is it that the lawyers at the enquiry cannot speak in a manner that the witnesses will be able to understand? Is it that the lawyers are beyond code switching in languages?<br /> <br /> Included in the terms of reference is for the commissioner to examine the reasons and circumstances for the declaration of a State of Emergency in West Kingston and related areas in May 2010, as well as to ascertain the conduct of the security forces during this period. As a nation we deserve to know what really happened in May 2010 in Tivoli Gardens. The people of Tivoli Gardens need closure; so too the society. Those who suffered or whose rights were violated by the State should be compensated by the State.<br /> <br /> Wayne Campbell<br /> <br /> waykam@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> www.wayaine.blogspot.com<br /> <br /> Don't let 'Jamaica speak' cloud the Commission results<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11324802/DSC_0523_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, December 15, 2014 3:00 AM Jamaica will smile again http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Jamaica-will-smile-again_18089616 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Is there much to smile about in Jamaica today? The country has grown by a meagre one per cent over the last quarter. Crime has continued to spiral. Because of the crime levels investors are afraid to invest in the country. Trafficking of young people continues to get out of hand. Youngsters are without jobs and they have no sure future.<br /> <br /> The International Monetary Fund is slated to give us another drawdown of money to straighten our future, but we can only deliver with fiscal prudence. We are not getting the job done. So we have to be more precise in the way we do our jobs and do it with the will to see national changes.<br /> <br /> We continue to wallow in darkness because of the uncertainty of our future.<br /> <br /> Hopefully, the Goat Islands project will help the youth to get a much better living. Information technological skills should be foremost in the minds of the young people who are willing to make our country proud in the near future. I don't see anything to smile now, but I still don't consider our country to be a failed state. Our leadership needs some sharpening up to meet up to the country's need so we can smile again.<br /> <br /> Paris Taylor<br /> <br /> Greater Portmore<br /> <br /> paristaylor82@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Jamaica will smile again<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11192429/Aerial-Goat-Is--Max-Earle-_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, December 15, 2014 3:00 AM A public servant's desperate cry for help http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/A-public-servant-s-desperate-cry-for-help_18099964 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I considered myself strong; I thought I could endure anything, and then this morning I awoke and an immense feeling of doom took over my entire outlook on life. I sat in my bed and I wept bitterly as I struggled to see the light at the end of the tunnel. My eyes drifted to the bottles of pills by my bedside. And, I thought how easy it would be to just end it right here, because I am tired, I am exhausted, I am broken.<br /> <br /> All my life I have worked for the Government of Jamaica, I am not a frivolous person. I took loans only for educational purposes for myself and children. Yet now all I am left with is debt and a degree that is doing nothing for me. My pay has been frozen for the past few years yet my bills keep going up each month. I fear answering my telephone because I will hear the collectors' voice. I can't afford a house of my own, because while I could manage the monthly payment, the downpayment is just too high. I am at my wits' end and I don't know what to do.<br /> <br /> I am in no way, means or form looking a handout, I am just deep in sinking sand and I need some assistance to be able to find my footing once again. My take-home pay is about $40,000. I pay rent, bills and look after my children. I go to work each day and I give of my best, no one knows that I am just an empty shell. No one knows how close to the edge I am, no one realises I might soon jump. I want a financial institution to give me a chance on a long-term loan. This will mean I will pay them back more, yes, but I will be able to survive on a monthly basis. I have over 30 yrs left in service to the Government and I am prepared to pay back until I die. I just want a chance to put all my loans in one basket and get a chance to live each month without stress. My blood pressure is 200/160 and doctors have warned me this is stroke level. I try to relax but how can I when I know not where the money is to come from to pay these loans. If I had taken loans and wasted the cash then I would not be here begging for help, because I would know I deserved it. My loans all went to education.<br /> <br /> I am writing this letter in the hope that someone will read it and be willing to give me a second chance. I know things are hard on everyone, but for the sake of my children, give me a chance, give me a longer payback time than the regular five years, which will mean lower monthly payments. I am desperate for help. I need a second chance.<br /> <br /> AL<br /> <br /> Gregory Park<br /> <br /> St CatherineA public servant's desperate cry for help<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11271324/MONEY_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, December 15, 2014 3:00 AM Digicel: An appropriate, level playing field...that's what we said http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Digicel--An-appropriate--level-playing-field---that-s-what-we-said_18093958 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I noted with interest the Clovis cartoon in Jamaica Observer of Thursday, December 11, 2014, and I wish to make perfectly clear that I never said "Digicel could scale back Caribbean investment" as portrayed. What I did say as reported by Sunday Observer: "We want to ensure that there's an appropriate, level playing field put in place, as there was in mobile, to encourage investment and make sure that we're not going to be blindsided by monopolistic behaviour."<br /> <br /> Both of these comments referred to future investment by Digicel in the cable TV/broadband sectors and did not refer to the mobile sector, where we continue and will continue to invest vast amounts of money and, to date, we have invested over US$1 billion building out our networks and facilities.<br /> <br /> When the mobile sector was opened up to competition in 2001, Minister Phillip Paulwell ensured that the appropriate legislation and regulatory framework was put in place to ensure that there was a healthy and vibrant competitive market, the benefits of which included the introduction of cutting-edge technology, affordable handsets and a 40-50 per cent reduction in calling rates.<br /> <br /> Prior to the announcement of the proposed acquisition of Flow by Cable & Wireless, Digicel entered the fixed broadband and cable TV markets in Jamaica through our acquisition of the Telstar Cable Company, which has 5,000 customers in Kingston and Portmore. This compares to Flow's 125,000 customers across Jamaica.<br /> <br /> We need to invest a lot of money in this new business to upgrade the fibre that's already there. Our plan is to expand Telstar's network to more areas in Jamaica and introduce fibre-to-the-home, which will provide ultra-fast home broadband and world-class entertainment services.<br /> <br /> We firmly believe that we can bring an outstanding cable TV and fixed broadband experience to the people of Jamaica and provide real choice.<br /> <br /> However, it is difficult for us to push ahead with investment in fibre-to-the-home and other service areas new to us without knowing that the appropriate safeguards and regulations will be put in place to ensure competition will be maintained if the proposed Flow/Columbus acquisition goes ahead.<br /> <br /> The proposed merger of our two competitors would mean that a single company will control all four submarine cables that carry all international calls, Internet and content from the United States to Jamaica. Therefore, we are very concerned about what will happen to the prices and the quality of service when international fibre is once again controlled by a monopoly.<br /> <br /> Without proper regulations, pushing ahead with investments in areas in which the proposed merger would result in virtual monopolies would be like buying a supermarket which is supplied by a single farmer who controls all the food. We wouldn't be able to determine what prices we will get from that single farmer, what the quality of those goods will be, or when we will get those goods.<br /> <br /> To be clear, Digicel, like the other Internet service providers in Jamaica, has always rented these fibre services from our competitors. It used to be very expensive to do so, but when Flow brought competition to the market the prices of these services fell significantly. This is why so many more Jamaicans are now able to afford and get Internet services.<br /> <br /> Now, we want to ensure that there's an appropriate, level playing field put in place, as there was in mobile, to encourage investment and to ensure that neither we, nor the people of Jamaica, are blindsided by monopolistic behaviour.<br /> <br /> We know that the Office of Utilities Regulations and the Fair Trading Commission are currently reviewing the potential impact of the monopolies that will be created in landline, fixed broadband, and cable TV services, where the merged entity would have market shares of 99, 99 and 83 per cent, respectively. We are encouraged by this, and we are hopeful that appropriate measures will be taken to facilitate a vibrant competitive market in landline, fixed broadband and cable TV services.<br /> <br /> Colm Delves<br /> <br /> CEO, Digicel Group<br /> <br /> Digicel: An appropriate, level playing field...that's what we said <br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11321686/Colm-Delves_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, December 12, 2014 3:00 AM High RGD fees hurting Jamaicans http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/High-RGD-fees-hurting-Jamaicans_18089811 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> As a nation-builder, I know the importance of having a birth certificate &mdash; aside from just merely having it as proof that you were born on a particular date, to parents John Tom and Jane Doe. However, the Registrar General's Department (RGD) has made it difficult for many &mdash; especially those who are without birth certificates &mdash; to acquire one.<br /> <br /> One, if you are not a newborn, and you are without a birth certificate, a fee of $250 is required to conduct a search &mdash; which is understandable. However, the part which is hard to swallow is the additional fee of $12,000 to conduct a form search in the event that the first search was futile. It is also important to note, too, that this fee is generated based on the parish in which you live. Hence, it can be more or less.<br /> <br /> After paying this $12,000, if no record is located for the person for whom the search was conducted, he or she will be required to pay another $8,000 or $12,000 for late registration. While I can agree that parents need to register their children on time and apply for their birth certificates, I still believe that the RGD can do better, in terms of their fees, to help those who have never been registered to acquire birth certificates.<br /> <br /> I am not saying that they should conduct these searches for free, but when you think about the amount an individual has to pay to be registered late, it's as if the individual is paying for the negligence of his/her parents, instead of for the process itself. Wouldn't it be far easier if the RGD had something put in place to locate and retrieve an individual's records at a lower cost, instead of allowing them to pay these exorbitant fees to have someone manually search an archive if the record is present, which in many cases comes up empty-handed as there was no registration done.<br /> <br /> I strongly believe it is about time that the RGD be revamped, as there are many individuals without birth certificates, not because they don't care, but simply because they cannot afford to pay these exorbitant fees.<br /> <br /> Abiegay Castle<br /> <br /> Lluidas Vale, St Catherine<br /> <br /> brownabie@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> High RGD fees hurting Jamaicans<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9976795/birth-certificate_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, December 12, 2014 3:00 AM Falkland Islanders are British http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/-p-Falkland-Islanders-are-British--p---_18093745 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I was struck by the two articles about the Falkland Islands which appeared in the Sunday Observer on December 7, 2014 quoting Argentina's secretary for matters relating to the Falkland Islands, Daniel Filmus. I wanted to clarify a couple of points.<br /> <br /> Firstly, it is not correct for Amabassador Filmus to say "the islanders want Argentina, not the other way around". The people of the Falkland Islands are British and wish to remain British, as clearly demonstrated by the 99.8 per cent "YES" vote in the March 2013 referendum.<br /> <br /> The UK is clear about its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands and surrounding maritime areas, and about the Falkland Islanders' right to decide their own future, the right of self-determination as enshrined in the UN Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.<br /> <br /> Secondly, it is not correct to suggest that the United Kingdom has not acted in compliance with UN resolutions. The UK has administered the Falklands peacefully and effectively for 181 years. Some of the people on the islands can trace their Falklands ancestry back through nine generations, longer than the current borders of Argentina have existed.<br /> <br /> Thirdly, there are three parties to this debate. There can be no negotiations on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless and until the Islanders themselves wish it.<br /> <br /> The United Kingdom wants a full and friendly relationship with Argentina, as neighbours in the South Atlantic, and as responsible fellow members of the G20, but the rights of the Falkland Islands' people cannot be decided against their will or behind their backs.<br /> <br /> David Fitton<br /> <br /> British High Commissioner<br /> <br /> Falkland Islanders are British<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/8680322/falkland4_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, December 12, 2014 3:00 AM Road code http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Road-code_18089777 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It seems that some motorists do not read or understand the Jamaican Driver's Guide, or maybe they do but they are just downright stubborn and refuse to obey traffic laws.<br /> <br /> Why am I saying this? Because when a pedestrian is travelling on a main road that leads to a junction, and is about to cross that intersection, the vehicle that is in the opposite direction ought to stop and wait until that pedestrian crosses over before pursuing on, because the pedestrian has the right of way. But sadly, on many occasions, this is not so; some of these drivers are in a mad rush as if they are running from ghosts.<br /> <br /> On the other hand, many drivers do not blow their horns when they are going around corners, especially deep corners; some of them just flash around corners, sometimes narrowly missing a person on the corner.<br /> <br /> It is said that each one teach one. Well, I am putting it the other way: Each one, tell one. I am appealing to all the good drivers to tell bad drivers how to drive on the streets, if and when they get the opportunity to do so.<br /> <br /> Simple little things, like stopping at the junctions, and blowing your horn, seem not be important to stiff-necked motorists.<br /> <br /> Donald J McKoy<br /> <br /> donaldmckoy2010@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Road code<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11279188/Traffic-madness_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, December 12, 2014 3:00 AM The system makes politicians corrupt http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/The-system-makes-politicians-corrupt_17986349 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Westminster system of government has outlived its useful life in Jamaica and the time has come for us to revisit our structure. It has done a great injustice not only to the people but to the politicians and their political parties. Our constitution also needs revamping as our laws need to be modernised to reflect the realities of today's Jamaica.<br /> <br /> I do not share the view that all politicians are inherently corrupt. I believe the system is designed for them to be corrupt. Those with the best political minds and with the burning desire to serve, when given the opportunity, eventually cave in to the system as no one person can fight it. It was designed to trick the poor and promote the rich and powerful. The wealthy class funds the campaign for the parties from which they can collect spoils and they alternate parties to have the people think its democracy at work.<br /> <br /> Loyalty to party is the most important consideration for the politicians as they stand helpless without the support of their party. Party considerations must be at the centre of every allocation of funds by the Government, and it becomes party first.<br /> <br /> The system is a lie. It tells you that the head of state (governor general) chooses the head of government (prime minister). Lie! The leader of the party that wins the most seats in a parliamentary election -- barring illness -- becomes prime minister all the time.<br /> <br /> It is also the prime minister who chooses the head of state. The next lie is that no one votes for the head of government or prime minister. The electorate votes for their member of parliament and that same vote somehow endorses that party leader for prime minister. Please note that the party leader is chosen by the delegates of the party because he/she is seen as the best person to lead the party to victory, not necessarily the best to lead the Government of Jamaica.<br /> <br /> This system has now brought us to the point where people just vote for party, irrespective of who the candidates are. This might be one of the reasons half of the eligible voters do not vote, they have lost faith, if not hope. Something is wrong with this system. People should be able to vote for their member of parliament and their prime minister separately. This might just encourage people to run as independents and encourage third parties.<br /> <br /> It is full time we change this system or quite soon we will have only the political bases voting and our politics will be reduced to violence and our country to shambles. Both political parties have exhausted their usefulness and the system is the cause of it. Jamaicans are forced to recycle these two parties every five years as the system dictates. We are running out of options. The people are growing impatient with this party-centric system and the clock is ticking, tick tick tick.<br /> <br /> Ryan Russell<br /> <br /> Brompton, St Elizabeth<br /> <br /> ryanrussell577@gmail.com<br /> <br /> The system makes politicians corrupt<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11308794/Vote-finger-ink-1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 11, 2014 3:00 AM I think I lost my wife to CHIKV http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/I-think-I-lost-my-wife-to-CHIKV_18083450 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It is becoming increasingly obvious that the people who are doing well financially as a result of the spread of CHIKV are the doctors, the drug companies, the hospitals, the obeahmen, and the undertakers.<br /> <br /> If the truth be told, the doctors know very little about the disease and, as a result, the treatment meted out to the poor patients is by guesswork.<br /> <br /> I had a terrible experience a few weeks ago when I lost my wife.<br /> <br /> I took her to see her regular doctor on a another matter and, after giving her an injection, he said laughingly to her, "You have CHIKV".<br /> <br /> Neither of us, nor the doctor, knew much about it, and it presented as a little flu.<br /> <br /> We went home, but a few days later my wife was running a temperature exceeding 100 degrees. I decided to take her to the hospital as she appeared to be getting sicker by the minute. In a few days she was dead.<br /> <br /> After discussing the matter with a close friend of mine, I and now wonder whether the inaction of doctors is the leading cause of CHIKV-related death?<br /> <br /> Ken Spencer<br /> <br /> Kingston 8<br /> <br /> ken3_1999@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> I think I lost my wife to CHIKV<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11257639/mosquito_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 11, 2014 3:00 AM Island Princess gave a royal tour http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Island-Princess-gave-a-royal-tour_18083449 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> My family booked a cruise several months ago on Island Princess, due to leave Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on October 12.<br /> <br /> With the news about Ebola in West Africa, and even reaching the USA (Texas), and chikungunya in the Caribbean and elsewhere, I was hesitant as the time to go drew nearer; so were other members of my family.<br /> <br /> Although the Island Princess was not scheduled to stop in any affected country, it was destined for Aruba, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, and Cayman (later to get a small dose of chikungunya).<br /> <br /> Of course, we had taken whatever precautions we could beforehand. But what could one take for Ebola? And we were going on a cruise ship that can carry more than 2,000 passengers, all coming from different ports.<br /> <br /> Two family members had already opted out, but not because of the diseases. However, our fears were allayed when we were on the ship. In fact, we boarded more with excitement than trepidation.<br /> <br /> Besides the warm smiles, the excellent assistance we got made us happy to see the Island Princess's employees in shipshape, with its medical team on hand. What's more, there were a number of hand sanitisers all over the ship. We noticed, in particular, those near the many dining areas and in the restrooms.<br /> <br /> On the ship's daily newsletter, Princess Patter, passengers were advised, as a further precautionary measure, to avoid using the general restrooms, but to use those in their cabins.<br /> <br /> There was no real worry, however, as those bathrooms were kept immaculately clean and notes were posted all over, "Please wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and, when going through the door, take paper provided to open it. We have placed a receptacle outside for your convenience."<br /> <br /> As we know, that alone can't fight chikungunya or Ebola, but it's a help. At least we can ward off something.<br /> <br /> All in all, we had a great cruise, meeting so many nationalities &mdash; employees and passengers alike -- great entertainment, shopping, the food (albeit too much for some of us), you name it.<br /> <br /> Stopping in so many places was a boon also, and going through the Panama Canal and seeing the progress of its expansion was the piece de resistance.<br /> <br /> Pleased as Punch<br /> <br /> Florida, USA<br /> <br /> Island Princess gave a royal tour<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11155020/Carnival-Corporation_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 11, 2014 3:00 AM JLP wrong on Caricom and CCJ http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/JLP-wrong-on-Caricom-and-CCJ_18083451 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I noticed that when the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Andrew Holness, told us at the JLP Annual Conference that, if the JLP were in power, it would seriously consider suspending our involvement in Caricom and ignore the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), most of his audience were indifferent. It might well be that most of them didn't understand what he was saying, or they just didn't care. However, I don't think that the JLP is right about either Caricom or the CCJ.<br /> <br /> Holness may have been right when he said that the British Privy Council, which is currently our final court of appeal, may be one of the best in the world. But what's the point of us having the best court on the planet if most of us are unable to use it?<br /> <br /> Not very many of us can ever dream of hiring lawyers and then having to find even more money to send them to Britain to plead any case. In many respects, our present final court is a powerful symbol of "justice being only for the rich". I do believe that we should have our own court, whether in Jamaica or Caricom. Surely, things cannot be that bad. We may be riddled with scandals, but I am sure that there must be some of us still left with some integrity. If there are any imperfections with the CCJ, we need to fix them and not quarrel about them.<br /> <br /> On Caricom, I believe one of the reasons people like Holness oppose it is because Jamaica's economy is performing much worse than most of the other countries in the region. The fact that we are doing so poorly is not really a fault of Caricom at all, but ours. If anything, we should see Caricom membership as a great opportunity to put our house in order. It is clear that we cannot compete with the other Caricom members. That's one reason Jamaica is flooded with Caricom imports, while our goods are having a hard time getting into their markets.<br /> <br /> What we need to do is to find creative ways in which we can bring our efficiency to that of other Caricom nations so that we can compete. Being a member of Caricom should actually help us in this regard.<br /> <br /> I fear that if the JLP has its way, and pulls us out, we may become too comfortable in our inefficient ways, thereby prolonging our uncompetitiveness. As such, if for no other reason, Caricom membership may be exactly what we need.<br /> <br /> Holness is a young man, and I know that the JLP is desperate for power, so maybe many of these statements are based more on exuberance than anything else. However, these positions he has taken in regards to Caricom and the CCJ aren't really in Jamaica's interest.<br /> <br /> Michael A Dingwall<br /> <br /> michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> JLP wrong on Caricom and CCJ<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/8488072/CCJ-building_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 11, 2014 3:00 AM