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 Jamaicans must demand better http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Jamaicans-must-demand-better_51377 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> There are so many intellectuals running around in Jamaica and they are allowing a general election to take place without any debates.<br /> <br /> The reason for having a debate is to have a formal discussion on particular topics in a public forum in which opposing arguments may be put forward and candidates can defend their positions.<br /> <br /> It is evident that no election promises can be broken because we have yet to hear what the promises or agendas are.<br /> <br /> In America candidates contending for the top job must hold debates and explain their plans to the people, if elected. Even in a simple school election candidates are required to verbally explain their manifesto.<br /> <br /> How can the so-called high society people allow their intelligence to be insulted in this manner? Impoverished Jamaican people caught up with curry goat and bag juice business long ago. Those who know better must demand that the issues be discussed. A debate is required.<br /> <br /> The world is watching as we shoot our neighbours without dialogue. It is not clear if it is poverty or illiteracy that is doing this to our country; but after February 25 2016, what is next? History has proven that power is the ultimate currency. Our leaders have sold everything of value in our country so we are now satisfied with being a nation of vagabonds.<br /> <br /> Rev Tanasha Buchanan<br /> <br /> tanashabuchanan@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11321670/JLPNP-CROWD_w300.jpg Elections Thursday, February 11, 2016 12:00 AM Forget the rhetoric, JLP! Explain the plan! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Forget-the-rhetoric--JLP--Explain-the-plan-_51371 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Recently, Andrew Holness released a 10-point plan to convince Jamaicans that he is the right man to lead the country. Although these plans are not spectacular, two are worth discussing.<br /> <br /> Of particular interest are his proposals to create a special council of investment ambassadors and a Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation. The issue with the former is that Jamaica&rsquo;s missions abroad are already promoting the nation as an investment destination, so the position of Holness may be interpreted as a duplication of those efforts. There is nothing wrong with seeking to make existing programmes more efficient, but attracting foreign direct investment is not Jamaica&rsquo;s problem. No matter how attractive the country is to foreign investors, the low absorptive capacity of the economy will prevent the retention of foreign investments. Without improvements in labour productivity or the creation of world-class services, the economy will never be able to retain foreign investments. Therefore, any investment policy being pursued must aim to facilitate the creation of innovative Jamaican businesses that are able to provide services at the highest level.<br /> <br /> For example, the business acumen of those in the diaspora could be utilised by creating a beachhead programme. These beachheads will be required to mentor Jamaica entrepreneurs seeking to conduct business abroad. The benefit of such a programme is that it gives local businesses a greater understanding of foreign markets, thus enabling them to grow faster.<br /> <br /> Holness must become more articulate in expressing his desire to create a Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, or else it will be seen as another layer of bureaucracy. Many developed countries now have a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. This ministry is responsible for crafting pro-market policies related to innovation. For example, South Korea&rsquo;s Growth Ministry usually fosters partnerships between businesses and foreign entities to facilitate the transfer of knowledge. In addition, labour is usually a component of growth ministries because productivity is crucial to GDP. However, in Jamaica the Ministry of Labour focuses mainly on the administration of welfare and industrial disputes, while lip service is paid to productivity. So in reality, when Holness says that he wants a growth ministry, he is really proposing the reorganisation of the functions of some ministries and possibly a merger of the ministries of labour and investment.<br /> <br /> If Holness wants to be the next prime minister, he should become more adept at expressing his ideas. Unlike, the present Administration, the Jamaica Labour Party will not win an election on rhetoric.<br /> <br /> Lipton Matthews<br /> <br /> lo_matthews@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12645495/183859_13858_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, February 11, 2016 12:00 AM What a &lsquo;hell-ocracy&rsquo;, indeed! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/What-a--hell-ocracy---indeed-_51375 I wish to congratulate Mario Boothe who, as a young person, has said what so many Jamaicans are afraid to say in his piece &lsquo;Why damn non-voters to hell-ocracy?&rsquo;<br /> <br /> Like him, I see no reason to participate in this current democratic farce. Raising the points about what comprises a democracy is a great start. It does require dialogue, and my experience with the politicians of Jamaica ever since I have been aware of them is that, once elected, they shun the people. What I also know is that most if not all request and obtain a waiver in the Parliament, allowing them to do business with Government, leaving them with little or no time to do the people&rsquo;s business.<br /> <br /> After this election, I will make a point to join with other advocates and people of like mind and use the tools of the State, namely the judicial process, to challenge the political system. Nothing in the constitution protects us, the public, from politicians, as if we elected them to think for us. They have collectively weakened our society by setting poor examples of leadership.<br /> <br /> Six aspects of the constitution require immediate review:<br /> <br /> 1) Ministers should be professionals selected from the appropriate field in which the ministry exists and in which they have demonstrated expertise.<br /> <br /> 2) No waiver to be allowed to any MP to do business with Government; their access to information gives them an unfair advantage over all others, and conflicts with their responsibility to safeguard the interest of the public that they are elected to serve, not profit from. <br /> <br /> 3) All ministers be removed from authority to determine outcomes relating to events occurring as a result of acts of Parliament or other legislation. This is the province of the judiciary to interpret the law.<br /> <br /> 4) The Senate is supposed to be a deliberative body, not a rubber stamp of the political party that selects them. Senators must be directly elected, a maximum of two per parish. <br /> <br /> 5) The prime minister must be directly elected by the people.<br /> <br /> 6) The election date must no longer be a tool of political whim to be used for political advantage by any political party.<br /> <br /> I wish to advise any party elected through the upcoming election that these things represent elements inhibiting social, economic and cultural growth of Jamaica as a nation and need to be at the top of the agenda. I wish all the aspirants peace and safety in their endeavours, and hope that they will make themselves available to make these corrections in our governance in the coming five years.<br /> <br /> Hugh M Dunbar<br /> <br /> Architect<br /> <br /> hmdenergy@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Elections Thursday, February 11, 2016 12:00 AM Will St Elizabeth NE be the start of a political revolution in Jamaica? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Will-St-Elizabeth-NE-be-the-start-of-a-political-revolution-in-Jamaica_50869 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> On February 25, 2016, the voters of St Elizabeth North Eastern will be going to the polls to choose from four candidates representing the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP), Jamaica Labour Party, Independent People&rsquo;s National Party and United Independents&rsquo; Congress (UIC) who have declared their interest in being the member of parliament (MP) for the constituency well known as a PNP stronghold or garrison. But should the word &ldquo;revolution&rdquo; be tagged to the race that could possible see the first independent MP elected to Gordon House?<br /> <br /> One of the independent candidates &mdash;Joseph Patterson, president of the UIC &mdash; in an interview with the Jamaica Observer, said he believes in his campaign. He foresees victory, and following his historic entry into Parliament he will &ldquo;bring forth a revolution like never before&rdquo; as the first elected independent MP. The UIC will advocate for constitutional and governance reform &mdash; that the current political establishment has been unwilling to touch for over 53 years &mdash; and Patterson is committed to bringing the Congress&rsquo;s platforms to Parliament.<br /> <br /> We should not underestimate the ability of Jamaicans to recognise change. Accordingly, there is no doubt in my mind that constituents in other areas of the island will begin to question their own situation and stop settling for &ldquo;the lesser evil&rdquo;. This change in attitude towards politics and governance is what we must begin to expect and demand. A single constituency can spark something much bigger than St Elizabeth North Eastern, and give Jamaica back its independence almost 54 years after it exchanged one master for another. <br /> <br /> I encourage all the voters in St Elizabeth North Eastern, especially the youth, not to fear or be intimated, but embrace the fact that you don&rsquo;t need guns or bombs like in Tunisia or Egypt to create real change in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Mario Boothe<br /> <br /> m.raphael.b@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11092677/map-of-Jamaica_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, February 11, 2016 12:00 AM Recognition for those who have served http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Recognition-for-those-who-have-served_50727 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) is regarded as an illustrious political organisation which has played a pivotal role in unearthing individuals who have left us proud in the corridors of international prowess with inestimable achievement.<br /> <br /> Formed in 1938 during the time of disagreements between the ruled and rulers about rights, freedoms and privileges under post-colonialism, professionals were engaged in the two world wars and were determined to ensure that post-colonial changes would put power in the hands of those from below.<br /> <br /> The emergence of Michael Norman Manley on the political stage gave the opportunity for many to take effective form in demonstrating what is really meant by sticking to the principles. Other politicians such as D K Duncan, Patrick Anderson and Dean Peart became central to the journey in their youthful days to occupy the crease following their clear understanding of the journey.<br /> <br /> Those who have served for decades in differing capacities must be remembered and honoured for their contribution. We see some have spawned generations to follow in their footsteps. This round of election will see Duncan&rsquo;s daughters, Imani and Patricia, deciding to follow his footsteps on the sands of political time.<br /> <br /> The PNP has found it appropriate to acknowledge and recognise all of those in front and in the background ,who have given yeoman service and are still in the pavilion welcoming and serving those who have come to replace them. The nation remains thankful.<br /> <br /> Jennifer Hall<br /> <br /> halljennifer134@outlook.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9852972/pnp-logo_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, February 11, 2016 12:00 AM Term limits now! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Term-limits-now-_51310 Dear Editor, <br /> <br /> When Trinidad and Tobago&rsquo;s former prime minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, amended her country&rsquo;s constitution last August, to allow term limits for that office, it was roundly condemned by her regional counterparts.<br /> <br /> Kenny Anthony in St Lucia and Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines criticised the legislation.<br /> <br /> In an August 2014 editorial, &lsquo;Let the people decide&rsquo;, the Jamaica Observer said the Trinidadian Government acted with &ldquo;indecent haste&rdquo;. It is that kind of reasoning which keeps vision-less leaders like Anthony and Gonsalves around forever. Not to mention like-minded career politicians in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> If Bruce Golding had kept his pre-prime minister pledge of constitutional reform, which includes term limits, Jamaica would be rid of the Simpson Millers, Pickersgills, Henrys, and Charleses.<br /> <br /> The website, Americas Quarterly, points to the significance of term limits: &ldquo;Brazil, one of the largest democracies in the world, is one of the best illustrations of the benefits of term limits. Presidents are banned from serving beyond a second term. As a result, Government and Opposition forces over the past 16 years have developed an equilibrium of power, which in turn has helped the country address its deepest problems through consensus. The result has been internationally acclaimed anti-poverty programmes, including conditional cash transfers and long-term investments in primary education.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The writer went on to note: &ldquo;Defeating a long-sitting president in Latin America is a forbidding task.&rdquo; Sounds familiar? Jamaica and the Caribbean should take heed.<br /> <br /> George Caldwell<br /> <br /> Above Rocks, St Andrew<br /> <br /> serialkid2000@hotmail.com http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12630855/184153_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, February 10, 2016 12:00 AM Good thing there&rsquo;s no white history month http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Good-thing-there-s-no-white-history-month_51308 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Even though Black History Month is one of the most depressing months of the year, and is certainly not a month I look forward to, I must say I am relieved that there is not a white history month. For, were there one, not only would I be depressed, I would be crushed.<br /> <br /> Black History Month is supposed to be a month to celebrate black pride and achievement. However, every year all we are told to take pride in are entertainers of all sorts &mdash; athletes, supposed historians with strange interpretations of history, and musicians. The few blacks who don&rsquo;t fall into this category are usually some poor black souls who were supposed to have been oppressed, or some scientist who managed to achieved his feat on account of being cultured in the West.<br /> <br /> Were there a white history month, whites could point to many feats that would make me feel less than human, indeed. Celebrations for a white history month would include the first artificial moon, the first man in space, supersonic aircraft, artificial intelligence technologies of all sorts, and high-speed communication systems. Indeed, the list of white technological achievements is endless. I would struggle as a black man to find much to match those.<br /> <br /> A white history month would point to powerful empires, some encircling the planet, the likes of which I, as a black man, could not boast about. White history month celebrations would point to great feats of engineering, from the undersea tunnel that connects Britain and France to that &ldquo;bridge in the clouds&rdquo; in France. I, as a black man, would be hard-pressed to find many or even a few such feats.<br /> <br /> Not to mention that a white history month would point to the many advanced and prosperous societies that they have created. Come to think of it, I am struggling to think of a single black one.<br /> <br /> You know, I do wish that white people will continue to not see the need for a white history month and thus make me even more depressed. Thank goodness my depression is short, on account of us using the shortest month to celebrate mediocrity.<br /> <br /> Michael A Dingwall<br /> <br /> michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10450189/_DSC2800_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, February 10, 2016 12:00 AM The what to life? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/The-what-to-life_51077 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The letter came from the St Catherine district prison (as it was called then in the 1980s) and from a man on death row. I was then the pastor of the Phillippo Circuit of Baptist Churches.<br /> <br /> He said he had read my articles in the newspapers but had never seen one with my view on the death penalty, and he was urging me to write and make the public aware that even though he was convicted and sentenced to hang for murder he had a right to life.<br /> <br /> In my weird brain I thought to myself &ldquo;what a curious expression and claim, for who can really guarantee life to anyone?&rdquo; <br /> <br /> This question of mine still occupies my mind and I have chided the notion of a &ldquo;right to life&rdquo; in sermons and studies arguing that life is a grace gift from God and not a right per se.<br /> <br /> Very recently it came back to me, so I asked an eminent lawyer friend if there is a conceptual difference between a right to life and a right not to be subjected to cruel, inhumane or degrading punishment. He patiently walked me through sections of the most popular human rights documents and a few prominent cases to show me that there is a conceptual difference.<br /> <br /> Let it be abundantly clear that I do not agree with capital punishment, but neither do I agree with the glib arguments about a right to life. Christians who are horrified at my view here should bear in mind a caution from theologian, philosopher and lawyer John Warwick Montgomery &ldquo;&hellip;the Church&rsquo;s [reason for being] is the saving of souls. A live prisoner is, at least in principle, capable of conversion; a dead prisoner is not.&rdquo; (See his<br /> <br /> Christ As Centre and Circumference: Essays Theological, Cultural and Polemic, 2012, p 599.)<br /> <br /> As I tell worshippers in the churches where I serve as pastor: &ldquo;I am half-crazy in some of my views; so feel free to question me after any sermon.&rdquo; Ponder this before you attempt to drop the fraction before crazy. Despite the fact that Jamaica has ratified most of the international human rights treaties, what is really there to prevent our authorities from hanging you after you have been found guilty of a most &ldquo;heinous murder&rdquo; and sentenced to be hanged? Mere international opprobrium and castigation, all after the fact of your death?<br /> <br /> Think of the numerous ancient and recent breaches of international law by countries, minus meaningful sanctions. Bear in mind, too, that developed and developing countries not only have the ability to do it, but have in fact eliminated citizens whom they regard as dissidents, enemies of the state or inimical to the country&rsquo;s security.<br /> <br /> Even if I fully concur with the milder and more defensible right not to be subject to cruel, inhumane or degrading punishment, there is still no airtight guaranteed entitlement here. There is many a slip between rope and neck remediable only long after the fact.<br /> <br /> I am just saying that we should raise questions on a so-called &lsquo;right&rsquo; that we cannot safeguard in prospect, but only attempt to address or remedy in retrospect after a breach. <br /> <br /> Life is foundational to the enjoyment of every entitlement or good in life, but life itself is not a right but a gift or loan from the Almighty.<br /> <br /> Rev Clinton Chisholm<br /> <br /> clintchis@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9906692/noose-copy_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, February 10, 2016 12:00 AM Crime rears its head http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Crime-rears-its-head_51327 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I am deeply saddened by the horrific incident that took place in Sam Sharpe Square, Montego Bay, on Sunday. I am terribly devastated by this unfortunate and senseless incident that has sent shockaves across the island.The incident is a telling reminder that crime is rampant in our country and is indeed no respecter of persons.<br /> <br /> For many, the crime rate in Jamaica is way too high. At this point, when the two political parties are seeking to get the reins of the country, both should reassure the nation as to their plans going forward to help curb crime.<br /> <br /> For me, while the Jamaica Labour Party has a better track record in managing crime, both have their work cut out for them where crime fighting is concerned.<br /> <br /> While Sunday night&rsquo;s gruesome incident in Sam Sharpe Square brought a premature end to the meeting, it didn&rsquo;t detract from the overall value of the event insofar as the message to the electorate is concerned. Holness&rsquo;s proposed income tax break stands to improve the well-being of a cross section of working-class Jamaicans. They will have more disposable income, most of which will go into consumption and circulate throughout the economy, spurring growth and creating jobs for more people.<br /> <br /> My sympathy goes out to the families and friends of the deceased and a speedy recovery to those who are injured. <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Kimberly Rowe<br /> <br /> kimberlyrowe3@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12639653/184767_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, February 10, 2016 12:00 AM Michael Manley was ahead of his time http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Michael-Manley-was-ahead-of-his-time_51114 Dear Editor, <br /> <br /> Michael Manley is arguably the best prime minister Jamaica has produced. This national treasure was truly an international leader in his own right &mdash; up there with the very best of them. I believe he was way ahead of his time.<br /> <br /> His mantra about changing the &ldquo;World Economic Order&rdquo; was echoed by the former prime minister of Britain, Gordon Brown, not too long ago. And now, in the upcoming United States presidential election, Democratic contender Senator Bernie Sanders, who&rsquo;s getting a lot of traction and is leading Hillary Clinton in some polls, is calling himself a Democratic Socialist. Listening to him is like listening to Michael Manley.<br /> <br /> If Jamaica wasn&rsquo;t so polarised the country would have been better off if it had followed his leadership. It is most unfortunate that anyone who stands up for social justice for poor working class and middle-class people is sometimes viewed negatively in our society.<br /> <br /> I recall his agricultural slogan of &ldquo;grow what you eat, and eat what you grow&rdquo; or his flagship slogan of &ldquo;the word is love&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> He was a visionary and a champion of the working class. Born of privilege, his father was a brilliant lawyer (one of the best in the world) and founder of the People&rsquo;s National Party. His mother was a distinguished and renowned sculptor. The London School of Economics educated man he was, identified with the underprivileged before it became fashionable. From the upscale neighbourhood of Drumblair, he came to downtown Kingston, organised and fought for the workers&rsquo; rights, laying across public thoroughfare, blocking traffic to make his point. On the political scene he faced tear gas on Spanish Town Road during political campaigns. I remember when he lost in a landslide in a general election, all the analysts, including the late Carl Stone, were saying on the radio that his loss was a setback to not only Jamaica, but the Caribbean and the Third World on a whole.<br /> <br /> He was close to Fidel Castro and didn&rsquo;t apologise for that. In the height of the Cold War he made some inflammatory statements which were uncalled for and which angered the United States. For this, it was felt his Government was destabilised at home and abroad. But he was a true democrat, and not a communist; and even if he had harboured any such intentions, the country wouldn&rsquo;t stand for it &mdash; and rightly so. Still, no leader, no matter how great, is flawless. When he won a subsequent general election by a landslide, he turned things around and was back in good grace with the United States.<br /> <br /> Other leaders, including Edward Seaga and P J Patterson, have all made significant contributions to the country, but none better than Michael Manley &mdash; the peaceful warrior.<br /> <br /> Noel Mitchell<br /> <br /> Westchester, New York<br /> <br /> nlmworld@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12624765/183815__w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, February 09, 2016 12:00 AM We are where we are because of politics http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/We-are-where-we-are-because-of-politics_51221 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> My hope that good sense wouldn&rsquo;t wither passed away peacefully as the prime minister and People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) leader stirred up the election train.<br /> <br /> The excitement blocked a public thoroughfare and I was disillusioned by the loud and aggressive politicking by the candidates. But, at least Jamaica knows what it&rsquo;s getting, whichever party comes in: boys playing marbles, &lsquo;throw wud&rsquo; and catfights.<br /> <br /> Nonetheless, if one listened carefully, there was a little truth to set us free. Dr Dayton Campbell must have been touched by Portia&rsquo;s master. He rightly said we are where we are because of politics and (in a self-promoting push) the policies of the People&rsquo;s National Party, while bashing those shying from the political drama.<br /> <br /> I totally agree, in a different sense. We are where we are because of politics. Not rational, inclusive or co-operative politics, but one which is divisive, irrational and polarising.<br /> <br /> We are where we are because we weren&rsquo;t taught the value of problem-solving or self-achievement. That was reserved for rich people, business people, and not descendants of slaves. We only can &lsquo;badmind&rsquo; and be &lsquo;grudgeful&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> We are where we are because of community insularity and poor governance. Where else in the world can one find a democracy reduced to two colours or parties with numerous discontinuities, and it&rsquo;s neither a dictatorship or war-torn place?<br /> <br /> We are where we are because of our so-called representatives&rsquo; behaviour in Parliament. It reflects the society&rsquo;s attitude. Who will really take us seriously?<br /> <br /> We are where we are because the Jamaican media emphasises the Jamaica Labour Party and PNP so much that the other parties and independent candidates don&rsquo;t have a chance. They aren&rsquo;t even introduced to the public as another option. What of the civic duty to be free and fair, and not because the P&rsquo;s have a truckload of money.<br /> <br /> We are where we are because civics and social graces are now &lsquo;off fleek&rsquo; and removed from the classroom. We are where we are because parenting is extinct and children can supposedly govern themselves. No more corrections and slaps to reinforce lessons. We are where we are as we&rsquo;ve always allowed older men to &lsquo;fool&rsquo; and impregnate our girls then foist the burden on taxpayers and the State without giving the girls other options and the men castration.<br /> <br /> We are where we are because of a 300-year-old legacy that we find impossibly comfortable to let go and move on for better. We are where we are because we don&rsquo;t know our own rights and the history of our ancestors. We are where we are because &ldquo;white is always right&rdquo; and &ldquo;black must stay a back&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> We are where we are because we don&rsquo;t follow the laws and think is &lsquo;so the ting set&rsquo; and &lsquo;everything a everything&rsquo;. We are our own worst enemy.<br /> <br /> We are where we are because of the lack of strong local programming and American neo-colonisation by cable; the degradation of a rich culture by the socio-political stupidity of pleasing people. We are where we are because we can&rsquo;t spend within our means, have dug a trillion-dollar debt, and are owned by the International Monetary Fund.<br /> <br /> So, yes Dr Campbell, you are right: we are where we are because of politricks, &lsquo;freeness&rsquo; and nonsense. Oh, for the day when God, not Portia&rsquo;s master, sets us free.<br /> <br /> Colette Campbell<br /> <br /> rastarjamaica@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12639679/184810__w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, February 09, 2016 12:00 AM Division cannot take us into the promised land http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Division-cannot-take-us-into-the-promised-land_51201 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> A nation divided against itself cannot stand!<br /> <br /> The monster of division in the spirit of slave master Willie Lynch to divide and rule has plagued our politics since the 70s. It has taken us from the road of success to the abyss of defeat.<br /> <br /> In 2016, may we as a nation choose to climb out of the dark abyss into the light of success and prosperity by choosing to unite and build the great Jamaica we desire.<br /> <br /> Division and its effects have caused the high murder and crime rates.<br /> <br /> Division has caused our inability to conquer the increasing murder and crime rates.<br /> <br /> Division has led to poor management and has made us see near zero per cent growth for too many years.<br /> <br /> Division has held us in bondage to garrisons, poverty and corruption.<br /> <br /> The division list goes on and on.<br /> <br /> Our nation is as divided now as it was 15 years ago when I made a public call for a government of national unity for a period to enable us to better tackle these social and economic giants that have been and remain with us until today. It is only worse now than ever.<br /> <br /> I am constrained to renew the call, and to work for a united approach to governance. Given our dilemma, it can best be addressed in a government of national unity if our leaders are mature enough and committed to the best national interest. I call on our political leaders and us as a people to immediately engage the dialogue for a united approach.<br /> <br /> The nation cannot afford to circle the mountain of defeat, no growth; poverty for the majority; corruption and the like again.<br /> <br /> We must unite to win and the time is now.<br /> <br /> Let us not, as a people, not face another election doing the same as we have done for the last 35 years. It is time for change. It is time to unite or continue to face defeat.<br /> <br /> Division cannot take us into the promised land where there are major giants to be defeated.<br /> <br /> United we stand. Divided we fall. We can unite and we must unite now. Let us come together for Jamaica and for our children&rsquo;s sake. <br /> <br /> Pastor Al Miller<br /> <br /> Fellowship Tabernacle<br /> <br /> fellowshiptab@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Letters to the Editor Tuesday, February 09, 2016 12:00 AM Time to end gun and garrison http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Time-to-end-gun-and-garrison-_51207 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The National Democratic Movement (NDM) regrets the senseless loss of lives as a result of tribal, garrison and gun-style politics.<br /> <br /> The NDM reminds the people that it was just a few months ago that a People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) member of parliament made comments which could have inflamed politically motivated violence in the western end of the island, and more recently the Sunday Observer carried a story with allegations of political motivation surrounding the shooting incident involving Dr Raymoth Notice in St Catherine.<br /> <br /> For far too long the people of Jamaica have put up with the tribal parties which subscribe to garrison politics, with its violent consequences. It is full time that we collectively reject that culture.<br /> <br /> The business community, and Jamaicans in general, must realise by now that supporting and donating funds to the PNP and the Jamaica Labour Party will feed indirectly this garrison politics.<br /> <br /> While they &ldquo;fight one another, for the power and the glory, the kingdom (Jamaica) goes to waste&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Peter Townsend<br /> <br /> President<br /> <br /> National Democratic Movement<br /> <br /> ndmjamaica@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12315639/pnp_logo_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, February 09, 2016 12:00 AM Ja is between the devil and the deep blue sea http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Ja-is-between-the-devil-and-the-deep-blue-sea_51205 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Where do we stand as a nation? Are we still standing between the devil and the deep blue sea in terms of this unbeatable crime problem?<br /> <br /> The most popular news item we are hearing these days, the most talked about topic that weighs on us, is Jamaica&rsquo;s crime and violence.<br /> <br /> Our society is extremely battered and beaten and has become helpless against crime. I was listening to a popular radio programme recently, and it was said that some 16, 000 people have been murdered in Jamaica over the last decade. This is very disturbing.<br /> <br /> Our armed forces are engaged in an awesone fight against crime, and still it remains out of hand.<br /> <br /> Will our country remain this way, with so many people losing their lives senselessly, day after day?<br /> <br /> Donald J McKoy<br /> <br /> donaldmckoy2010@hotmail.com <br /> <br /> Letters to the Editor Tuesday, February 09, 2016 12:00 AM End female genital mutilation! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/End-female-genital-mutilation_51078 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Recently, February 6, the international community paused to acknowledge the International Day for Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation.<br /> <br /> Female genital mutilation is the ritualistic removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. This practice is most prevalent between ages 0-14 years of age. The procedure is typically carried out by a traditional circumciser using a blade, with or without anaesthesia.<br /> <br /> While genital female mutilation is not an issue in Jamaica, at least some 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone the horrific experience, with half of them living in Indonesia, Egypt and Ethiopia. The latest figures, provided by UNICEF, show nearly 70 million more girls than previously thought have been subjected to ritual cutting.<br /> <br /> Female genital mutilation is a creation by males to keep women subjugated and powerless. Men have no rights to tell women what they should do to their bodies. While I understand that female genital mutilation is steeped in cultural norms and practices grounded in patriarchy, there are sometimes serious health issues associated with female genital mutilation. According to the World Health Organization, the risk to girls who have had this procedure is severe and many face long-term health problems such as infections, infertility, complications in childbirth, urinary problems (painful urination, urinary tract infections); scar tissue and keloid.<br /> <br /> Disturbingly, only 18 per cent of female genital mutilation is conducted by health workers. Female genital mutilation has no health benefits and violates the human rights of women and girls. Other countries practising female genital mutilation include Nigeria, Somalia, Senegal, Sudan, Chad, Yemen, Mali, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Djibouti and Mauritania. It is also practised among migrant groups in developed countries. <br /> <br /> There are also social, physiological and physical consequences for girls and women who are often forced to have this procedure. The time to empower our women and girls is now.<br /> <br /> Wayne Campbell<br /> <br /> waykam@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> @WayneCamo<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/8738000/unicef_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, February 08, 2016 12:00 AM Usain Bolt&rsquo;s future race against time http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Usain-Bolt-s-future-race-against-time_50865 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The 29-year-old double Olympic gold medallist and record holder, Usain St Leo Bolt, is looking forward to break his 200m record set at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin in a time of 19.19 seconds.<br /> <br /> But the question is, can he? Is age a factor? Or will he run that perfect race.<br /> <br /> In order for him to break the world record again he has to run a perfect race from leaving the blocks to crossing the finish line.<br /> <br /> Age is definitely a factor. To meet his goal Usain Bolt has to train harder than ever before and stay healthy and be more focused than ever before.<br /> <br /> In comparison, we have witnessed athletes over 30 years old running personal bests, like Kim Collins with a time of 9.97 seconds in Lausanne at the Diamond League in 2014 and Justin Gatlin 9.74 seconds at the Diamond League 2015 in Doha, Qatar. By this we know he can do it.<br /> <br /> The reality is, however, Bolt has had injuries in the past season. Will he stay fit enough to break his own world record or will it be that time is against him.<br /> <br /> Rusheed Edwards<br /> <br /> edwardsrusheed@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12595917/182125_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, February 08, 2016 12:00 AM Ancestral bones mustn&rsquo;t be treated like sticks and stones http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Ancestral-bones-mustn-t-be-treated-like-sticks-and-stones_51051 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Over the past few days we have been trying really hard to negotiate an entry into a conversation with Mona Heritage Committee at the University of the West Indies and the Archaeological Society of Jamaica pertaining to the reinterment of the bones of our African ancestors on the campus of the university.<br /> <br /> These bones were disinterred in 2012. To begin with, these bones should not have been removed from their resting place. If for any reason this action had to be taken then appropriate rituals and protocols needed to have been followed.<br /> <br /> We were recently invited to a reinterment of the bones. This means that between when they were found and now they were &lsquo;somewhere&rsquo;. The questions arising are, for example, where were they kept and under what conditions?<br /> <br /> They are now to be reinterred and we have found ourselves being stonewalled in our efforts to find any information at all as to rites/rituals/protocols that may have happened at the time they were disturbed and during their sojourn on the UWI Campus. We don&rsquo;t know. Now, at the time of their return to the earth, we do trust that it is to the earth they are being returned; what rites will be accorded?<br /> <br /> The secrecy surrounding this situation is not pleasing to the spirits of these ancestors. And, yes, I do speak for them. The exclusion, sidelining and gratuitous disrespect of those of us who have sought involvement in this activity is simply unreasonable and intolerable. Let us remember that these are the bones of foreparents of, not some, but all of us. No one person or group should have a monopoly position to dictate the &lsquo;hows and whys&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> Our ancestors want us to work together, not to harbour the spirit of divisiveness, but to positively pull on the energy of collaboration as they have taught us. This is part of an even more meaningful respect that we could show to them. What is happening now is disrespectful and falls short of the honour we are all seeking to bestow upon them.<br /> <br /> Where do we go from here? May the love of God and the guidance of our ancestors continue to be with us all.<br /> <br /> Afua Fofie<br /> <br /> afuafofie@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> ? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/7457388/uwi_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, February 08, 2016 12:00 AM The PNP does not have legs to stand on! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/The-PNP-does-not-have-legs-to-stand-on_51122 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> A political party seeking to solicit the support and vote of the electorate must have legs to stand on. Among the hallmarks of a good and respectable political administration are credibility, sincerity and a track record of performance and living up to the commitments given.<br /> <br /> If the People&rsquo;s National Party&rsquo;s (PNP) track record is anything to go by, their appeals for our support by way of votes ring hollow. Without apology or remorse, the PNP has virtually broken all the promises they made.<br /> <br /> I am not entirely surprised, however, as I knew all along that what they spoke about in the lead-up to the December 2011 General Election were empty election promises. As a matter of fact, I would have been more surprised if they had actually fulfilled their promises, because I know they are little more than an electorally savvy, disingenuous and deceptive lot.<br /> <br /> Among some of their unfulfilled promises were to remove GCT from electricity, more jobs, to be accountable and transparent, to reject extravagant expenditure in government, to construct a hospital for children in Montego Bay, to be vigilant in eliminating corruption, to consult the people of Jamaica and be answerable to them, and to curb the high crime rate. In addition, what should have been an International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal in two weeks ended up being an 18-month effort.<br /> <br /> The people of Jamaica have been exploited by this PNP Government, which continues to boast about passing the IMF tests while failing the people&rsquo;s test. Yes, they have passed the IMF tests, but why aren&rsquo;t the people of Jamaica better off than they were four years ago? If they haven&rsquo;t fulfilled the promises from 2011, how can they fulfil these current promises?<br /> <br /> Kimberly Rowe<br /> <br /> kimberlyrowe3@gmail.com http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9852972/pnp-logo_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, February 08, 2016 12:00 AM Questions for Andrew Holness http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Questions-for-Andrew-Holness_51031 Dear Editor, <br /> <br /> The Leader of the Opposition Andrew Holness has laid out his 10-point plan for &ldquo;prosperity&rdquo;, and I have a few questions for him:<br /> <br /> 1. How is it that at the end of the Jamaica Labour Party&rsquo;s term in office, in 2011, you promised &ldquo;bitter medicine&rdquo; and now during the People&rsquo;s National Party&rsquo;s (PNP) term in office, only four years later, you are promising &ldquo;prosperity&rdquo;?<br /> <br /> 2. One of your prosperity goals is the increasing of the income tax threshold from $592,800 to $1.5 million &mdash; over 100 per cent. Tell me, Sir, what are your strategies for accounting for the shortfall in revenue from tax this move will obviously cause?<br /> <br /> 3. You made no mention of the General Consumption Tax (GCT) in your presentation. Is it your intention to account for the shortfall in taxes by increasing GCT and applying it once again to salt, ground provisions and sanitary products?<br /> <br /> 4. What consultation did you have before proposing your 60-year mortgage plan? The average Jamaican would not be eligible to benefit from a mortgage before attaining 25 years, some when they are way older. How practical is it for people to still be paying a mortgage 25 years after they retire, when they are just about 90 years old (assuming they live that long) and living off a pension? Or will you also be proposing a change in the age of retirement to 90?<br /> <br /> 5. What is the timeline for the digitising of government records and business processes? What kind of resources would be needed for this to be done?<br /> <br /> 6. What role does our relationship with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) play in your plans? Will you be continuing the relationship? And if you will, will you commit to meeting the conditionalities and continue passing the tests? And if not, what is the alternative to the IMF and their conditionalities and tests?<br /> <br /> 7. What impact would the relationship with the IMF, or lack thereof, have on your plans?<br /> <br /> 8.What is the overall timeline for all your goals on an individual level?<br /> <br /> In my opinion, your quantum leap from bitter medicine to prosperity after four years of the PNP&rsquo;s management of the economy is a sign of your endorsement of the PNP&rsquo;s policies. <br /> <br /> We need to hear SMART goals &mdash; ones that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. So far, your 10-point plan has failed the SMART test. We don&rsquo;t need to be told what you think we want to hear. And we certainly don&rsquo;t need to have ridiculous promises implemented that only serve to put a strain on the economy and result in poor service delivery (such as the free health care policy) just to prove that the promise made was kept.<br /> <br /> We need leaders to stop taking us for fools, to stop hoodwinking and bamboozling us, and right now, from where I sit, you and your team are not convincing me that you aren&rsquo;t doing just that. <br /> <br /> C D D Dennis<br /> <br /> cdddennis@outlook.com http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12433653/Andrew-Holness-speaks_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, February 08, 2016 12:00 AM Rubbish, Robert Montague! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Rubbish--Robert-Montague-_50855 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Oh, dear Lord, into what fresh hell of madness has Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Chairman Robert Montague plunged us? This man, who I hitherto regarded as sound, came close to shocking the life out of me by demanding from a political platform on Sunday that the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) Government confirm or deny that some of the &ldquo;bad gas&rdquo; was being purchased by people in this country from ISIS, which is the quite dreadful terrorist organisation that all sane people abhor.<br /> <br /> Then, to pile asinine comment one upon another, he went on to suggest that because of &ldquo;bad gas&rdquo; planes &mdash; that do not use gas &mdash; would likely be soon dropping out of the sky because the &ldquo;gas&rdquo; being supplied to our airports was bad.<br /> <br /> Will someone not rid us of such piffle. Although it is election time that does not mean that one is free to regurgitate or download any resolutely nonsensical rubbish to assail the ears of all Jamaica &mdash; whether from the JLP chairperson or anyone else.<br /> <br /> It is election time, not the stupid season. Chairperson Montague well knows that our gas money is not going toward supporting terrorists of the Islamic State, no more than our gas money is going to heat Siberia or to buy ice from the Atlantic Ocean. And he knows, or should know, as a sensible person, that jets fly on a fuel based on either an unleaded kerosene (Jet A-1), or a naphtha-kerosene blend (Jet B), and definitely not on the gas that goes into cars. So I am left with the overwhelming impression that the reason Senator Montague blurted out that level of absolute hogwash was to score political points. He simply said anything to please the tribalists at the political meeting. <br /> <br /> Exactly what does he think of all Jamaican people? That they swallow any rubbish they are told? I doubt even the most hard-core Labourite truly believes that Jamaican gas is being bought from the world&rsquo;s most hated terrorist group. Or, for that matter, that the fuel which is pumped into jet planes that are refuelled in Jamaica is in any way tainted.<br /> <br /> We can laugh at his silliness, but he was talking a dangerous brand of nonsense. Hopefully no one believes this rubbish.<br /> <br /> Philip Mascoll, OD<br /> <br /> pmascoll1948@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12623204/Robert-Montague_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Friday, February 05, 2016 12:00 AM Unfortunate comments from G2K; seek knowledge http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Unfortunate-comments-from-G2K--seek-knowledge-------_50849 Dirk Harrison The following is an open statement to Matthew Samuda, president, Generation 2000 (G2K):<br /> <br /> The Office of the Contractor General (OCG) notes the article which appeared in the Jamaica Observer on November 23, 2015, entitled &lsquo;$152-m fencing project at National Heroes&rsquo; Park a wicked act &mdash; G2K&rsquo; and the letter to the editor on February 1, 2016 &lsquo;Questions remain unanswered&rsquo; and the comments which have been attributed to you in regard to same.<br /> <br /> To date, I am not in receipt of a formal complaint from you, but I exercised my discretion and initiative to review the process in keeping with my functions and powers under the Contractor General Act.<br /> <br /> Please be advised accordingly that pursuant to Sections 4 and 15 of the Contractor General Act, I decided to review the OCG&rsquo;s monitoring file and activities in relation to the project.<br /> <br /> As a mere courtesy, might I invite you to read Section 20(1) of the Contractor General Act which states the following:<br /> <br /> &ldquo;20. (1) After conducting an investigation under this Act, a contractor general shall, in writing, inform the principal officer of the public body concerned and the minister having responsibility therefor of the result of that investigation and make such recommendations as he considers necessary in respect of the matter which was investigated.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Most interestingly, I note your comments as reported in the<br /> <br /> Observer of February 1, 2016, that:<br /> <br /> &ldquo;G2K further reminds the&hellip;OCG that none of the specific questions posed has been answered, and none of the documents requested for public scrutiny has been published.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> We consider the aforementioned comments unfortunate, considering that you, upon your own admission, have not been privy to the OCG&rsquo;s findings.<br /> <br /> Notwithstanding the posture which you have adopted, I invite you to obtain a copy of the OCG&rsquo;s review of this matter through the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing and/or from the minister responsible therefor, pursuant to the Access to Information Act.<br /> <br /> I trust that this letter will address the issues which you have raised in as far as the OCG&rsquo;s jurisdiction is concerned.<br /> <br /> Dirk Harrison<br /> <br /> Contractor general<br /> <br /> dharrison@ocg.gov.jm <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12301044/Matthew-Samuda_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, February 05, 2016 12:00 AM Ready, set, vote! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Ready--set--vote-_50606 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> One of my grandchildren was on radio recently telling the host why he will not vote. I cringed as I heard him repeat the old mule tune that he is not inspired by any of the two parties. He thinks politicians are a bunch of jokers and thieves, both parties are involved in corruption and, more than all, he and his friends are not interested in the noisy, horn-blowing, screaming-in-the-microphone election exercise.<br /> <br /> On public radio he told the host about ballot box stuffing and how acquaintances of his had been paid to vote.<br /> <br /> My children and their 12 children were trained to be loyal to their country, to participate in community activities, and to take the national pledge seriously.<br /> <br /> I called &lsquo;Mr Public Speaker&rsquo;, after he called the radio station to give his views, and the other four grandchildren who plan not to vote. I asked them if the example of the national heroes was to sit back and criticise everything that came their way, or take action. I asked them what if Herb McKenley and Arthur Wint sat down and whined about the poor state of athletics in their country, would they have powered us to world fame. I didn&rsquo;t give them a chance to open their mouths, but flung names like George Headley and Michael Holding, who didn&rsquo;t even think about cheques when they made the cricket world fear their team.<br /> <br /> I agree that crime is worse than it was in my day, and the dollar has gone to the dogs, but my grandchildren have far better educational and social opportunities than I and my siblings had, and I told them so and appealed to their loyalty to country. I told them to take down the big posters of Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce they had on their walls and give them back to me. Those world-class gold medallists never sat back and complained like &lsquo;spoiled fish&rsquo; about people not being inspiring enough but, like true winners, they went out there and brought glory to Jamaica.<br /> <br /> I was vexed with them. They were taught loyalty to country and I expect them to exercise the right to vote even though things are tough. Two of them glared at me and muttered something about common human rights, but I stood my old ground. I told them &mdash; like motivating track stars &mdash; &ldquo;On your mark, get set, go!&rdquo; They were glad to see the back of me and hurried away, but I didn&rsquo;t care. It is their duty to vote. This is their country.<br /> <br /> Nearly all the undecided young people associate themselves with the top athletes, and my other grandchildren and I are making posters which read: &ldquo;On your mark, get set, go...and vote.<br /> <br /> Mills Blake<br /> <br /> veronica_carnegie@cwjamaica.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12624722/178101_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Friday, February 05, 2016 12:00 AM I am a Jamaican first! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/I-am-a-Jamaican-first-_50856 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I am a Jamaican before I am any &ldquo;P&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> Much of my success, and what I am today was built on the shoulders of those who came before me and paved the way. I am tired of hearing our political leaders describe their triumphs and success by disregarding and pouring scorn on those who occupied the space before them.<br /> <br /> I will vote for any &ldquo;P&rdquo; who acknowledges the good that was done by others. I will campaign for any &ldquo;P&rdquo; who shows in public the camaraderie they share behind the scenes. I will commit myself fully to any &ldquo;P&rdquo; who will put Jamaica, land we love, before party considerations.<br /> <br /> None of them are doing it now. Who wants the job, step up to the plate and do right by us. Get rid of the election/party rhetoric and do right by us. <br /> <br /> Christopher Givans<br /> <br /> christopher.givans@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12628517/178101__w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Friday, February 05, 2016 12:00 AM Young voters, get on board! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Young-voters--get-on-board-_50854 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> As the country&rsquo;s general election fast approaches, both of Jamaica&rsquo;s major political parties are engaged in the customary dissemination of their programmes and policies from party platforms.<br /> <br /> However, the major issue for both parties is the inability to sway the uncommitted youthful segment of the electorate. To my mind, young voters need to be aware of the context of the election and make their choice based on informed analysis of the comparative facts.<br /> <br /> My ultimate aim is to prevent a repeat of the colossal economic, international, domestic and public policy failures that were irrefutably a landmark of the the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Government of 2007-2011.<br /> <br /> The JLP won the 2007 General Election on the back of promising to turn around the country&rsquo;s economy within 100 days, and that they would grow the economy by seven per cent in their first year. Their main tag line was jobs, jobs and more jobs. Also, the JLP were the ones who persuaded the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to bail out Jamaica. However, even after the intervention of the IMF, the JLP exhibited an inability to commit to fiscal discipline.<br /> <br /> After a four-year tenure, the JLP was voted out because of the mismanagement of the country, especially the economy, which ultimately saw over 120,000 Jamaicans losing their livelihood. The JLP was able to balloon the level of poverty from 9.9 per cent to 19.9 per cent, and they grew the country&rsquo;s debt by over 68 per cent. <br /> <br /> In contrast the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) Government of 2012-2016 has been showered with admiration and praise by both local and domestic partners, investors and rating agencies. The PNP has not only managed to successfully manoeuvre the country through a very rigid IMF agreement with an excellent record of fiscal maturity, but they have also implemented and strengthened social programmes that have protected the poor and most vulnerable.<br /> <br /> The World Bank has projected that if Jamaica remains on the current path the country will grow on average by 2.5 per cent for the next three years. This will establish Jamaica ahead of the curve in the region. <br /> <br /> I am imploring young Jamaicans to vote for the party of progress. This is the party that has been at the forefront of every progressive development in Jamaica&rsquo;s history. From expanding access to education, improving investments in health and social programmes, equal pay for women, increased access to affordable housing, among countless others. Jamaica is on a good track, we all should get on board and keep the momentum going and never look back. <br /> <br /> Steve Collins<br /> <br /> steveyc312@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12227370/St-ann-selection_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Friday, February 05, 2016 12:00 AM Roads to development http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Roads-to-development_50818 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The road to development for a country, is the development of its roads.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> This is a statement that I have heard for quite some time now and, until recently, I just assumed it referred to only large highways or the main roads in parishes.<br /> <br /> It wasn&rsquo;t until I heard of the recent rehabilitation of 22 farm roads that it has truly dawned on me that the phrase is true of all of our roads; from A-roads to the unclassified.<br /> <br /> It is quite pleasing that successive People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) administrations have made it a mission to improve the nation&rsquo;s roads.<br /> <br /> A few people may not understand the importance of the fixing of the farm roads. If you are one of those people, hush. I am sure that the rest of you can appreciate the magnitude of this. Even better news is that the improvement of these 22 roads is only the beginning.<br /> <br /> With these improvements farmers will be able transport their goods to market and more capital will be available for reinvestment in their farm and families, leading to more production.<br /> <br /> This road programme is under the Rural Development Taskforce, which aims to improve the lives of the hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans who reside in the rural areas of this country.<br /> <br /> I firmly believe that this, if no other policy of the PNP Government, will be felt by Jamaicans all over the island, as when the rural areas develop it will push the pace of development of the entire nation.<br /> <br /> Hakkeem Harper<br /> <br /> hakkeemharper21@outlook.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12315639/pnp_logo_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Friday, February 05, 2016 12:00 AM