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 Climate change may need culture change http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Climate-change-may-need-culture-change_18807707 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The historic one-day trip of US President Barack Obama to Jamaica is indeed an event Jamaica will always remember, and we can pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. Jamaica was a courteous host and we cleaned up house and welcomed the visitor with open arms. He was a gracious guest who truly displayed that he felt connected to Jamaica and came with a few nice gifts.<br /> <br /> But that is just what he was, a guest and not a saviour. He did not forgive our debt. He can't create prosperity and jobs. That is a job for our leaders. But he did leave some pearls as to how small nations can succeed through transparency and education.<br /> <br /> A focus of the bilateral and multilateral talks was energy. I could not help noticing that Obama shed his jacket when he visited the Bob Marley Museum and also when he came to the town hall meeting at UWI. I recently learnt of the policy of Japan, where they have banned government workers from wearing jackets and ties. Within two years of this "Cool Biz" policy, they have reduced more than two million tons of greenhouse gases from the country's growing emissions. "Cool Biz" is based on a simple common-sense principle of not wearing suits in the summer. Major businesses have decided to keep the air conditioners at 28&deg;C. Bangladesh recently banned government workers from wearing suits to conserve energy. People are motivated to adhere knowing that they are doing something to help climate change.<br /> <br /> In a tropical region, we should be mindful that these clothing customs and practices were put in place by people who had come from cold regions. It was comical watching officials being interviewed on TV recently, while visiting the burning Riverton dump, wearing long-sleeved shirts and ties. They were sweltering but had to be so attired at work. Yet, how often are we in offices and people keep jackets at hand just to keep themselves warm.<br /> <br /> Doctors in Jamaica abandoned a coat and tie for a bush jacket almost 50 years ago. Maybe we can encourage our leaders to adopt "Cool Biz" and creating this simple awareness. As Confucius said: "The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones."<br /> <br /> This letter is an open question for debate to the nation's researchers and policymakers in climate change as it may be an uphill task to shed the social norms that have evolved for nearly 53 years. Still, maybe it is time to adapt attire evolved in the region rather than the climatically inappropriate European-type dress, which is encouraged as formal wear.<br /> <br /> Gunjan Mansingh, PhD<br /> <br /> Department of Computing, UWI<br /> <br /> gunjan.mansingh@uwimona.edu.jm<br /> <br /> Climate change may need culture change<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11723446/earth-day_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, April 24, 2015 2:00 AM Is Jamaica the new IMF poster child? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Is-Jamaica-the-new-IMF-poster-child_18807614 I would be hard-pressed to find a country that has had the kind of attention from the leadership of international finance capital in the world over the past 10 months as our country. This fact is underscored by the visits of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief, Christine Lagarde, in June 2014, Inter-American Development Bank head Luis Alberto Moreno in December 2014, and the coup de grace, that of US President Barack Obama two weeks ago.<br /> <br /> All sang the same sankey of "staying the course".<br /> <br /> What has resulted is a deeper pauperisation of ordinary Jamaicans, who have taken the "bitter medicine" applied by the Portia Simpson Miller-led PNP Administration. This dosage has resulted in high unemployment, especially among our youth; wage freeze in the public sector; NDX cuts; lay-offs in the private sector; drastic compression of capital spending; a sliding dollar; and deep cuts in social services.<br /> <br /> This Greek-style application of an austerity programme has seen us commit to a primary surplus target of 7.5 per cent, which is almost twice that of that beleaguered country -- largely, only oil-rich states are able to maintain that kind of surplus.<br /> <br /> Paradoxically, though, this sacrifice by our people provides us with a unique opportunity. So desperate is the gendarme of international finance capital, the IMF, for a success story among the peoples of the developing world, we are being heavily handled.<br /> <br /> They allow us concessions that would enable us to free up more capital to stimulate growth in the economy, while unleashing the creative energies of the Jamaican people that will result in job creation and enhance development. This freeing up of more resources to grow our economy is of abso ute necessity, when taken against a background of our country's debt being approximately 140 per cent of what we earn (debt to GDP ratio) -- one of the most onerous in the world. This is further underlined by the fact that, even with an IMF agreement firmly in place, and us consistent passing quarterly tests -- which is good for our international reputation -- last year (2014), alone, we paid out US$138 million more to them in debt repayment than what we received.<br /> <br /> "Sista P", you, and by extension your Administration, has expended significant political capital in order that the IMF can look good. This to the point where you have conceded political ground -- albeit to a fractured Opposition. You have kept the peace, as there is no 'burning and looting tonight' to quote a popular refrain from the "Gong".<br /> <br /> Let's use our new-found status as a "poster child of the IMF" to the world to our advantage and as a leverage to improve the lot of our people. There is no better time than the present.<br /> <br /> Trevor G Brown<br /> <br /> trevorgbrown@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Is Jamaica the new IMF poster child?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11642370/IMF-building_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, April 24, 2015 2:00 AM For a better enviro report card http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/For-a-better-enviro-report-card_18807673 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> April 22 was celebrated as Earth Day worldwide. Every year on this date we get the usual messages reminding us about the importance of taking care of the planet, including a well-packaged statement from the Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change. These messages are important and need to be repeated.<br /> <br /> In thinking of the past 12 months, with regard to environmental matters and Jamaica, I cannot help but notice that there were, and continue to be, a number of environmental controversies. The most recent, the Riverton dump fire, is arguably the result of poor management by the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA). The other controversy that comes to mind is the location of the logistics hub, which continues to be shrouded in secrecy. This project has the potential to cause irreversible harm not only to the "two likkle" lizards on the Goat Islands but, more significantly, the destruction of underwater ecosystems (coral reefs, seagrasses) and associated coastal vegetation, such as mangroves in the surrounding islands and Portland Bight coastline.<br /> <br /> Might I suggest a key theme that should have been included in this year's Earth Day messages is that proper environmental management goes hand in hand with transparency and accountability from public and private entities. With reference to the abovementioned controversies, some of the reasons for poor solid waste management in Jamaica are linked to the lack of transparency with how the NSWMA is run, both at the operational and board levels. Likewise, the lack of transparency also plagues the logistics hub project. Now, a US$5-b MoU is to be signed with project partners, whose legitimacy and capability remain unclear.<br /> <br /> I could cite a long list of instances where the lack of transparency on major developments has resulted in less than favourable outcomes for the environment and the people of Jamaica. For example, Spring Plains, Operation Pride, JPS sale to Mirant, Falmouth Pier, and NHT Outameni come to mind. And this lack of transparency is not limited to the current Administration.<br /> <br /> My hope is that an informed and articulate Jamaican majority will continue to keep shining a light in the dark places where backroom deals are made regarding significant developments. This task is not only for the Office of the Contractor General, but every concerned Jamaican. Bad decisions and poor policy can cause irreparable and long-lasting negative damage to people as well as the environment. I hope that next year on April 22, we might have a better report card for the state of the Jamaican environment.<br /> <br /> Peter E T Edwards, PhD<br /> <br /> Marine scientist, environmental economist and policy analyst<br /> <br /> @peterericthor<br /> <br /> For a better enviro report card<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11636471/Riverton-Fire_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, April 24, 2015 2:00 AM Jamaica can soar with greatness http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Jamaica-can-soar-with-greatness_18795794 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> We often hear that Jamaica is poised for development, but for too long our pilots have only managed to keep us on the runway. Our current leaders have an extraordinary opportunity to finally lift this nation off the runway and let it soar to unprecedented levels of progress and development. But this will not happen by generating buzz around mega projects.<br /> <br /> We have enough evidence to show that approach to development has never worked. What has worked in other countries and will work in Jamaica is to identity a few sectors or industries that Jamaica has a competitive advantage in and to take massive action. This is the hallmark of strategy and development.<br /> <br /> In that case, Vision 2030 needs to be recast. The next step is to have the capacity to articulate a very clear and inspiring vision. This will require having an effective communicative framework that must be driven by leadership and which can restore trust and deliver tangible results.<br /> <br /> We should abandon the "poor people" and the "ghetto youth" rhetoric. Instead, the message should seek to instil the values of personal responsibility to self and country, self-reliance and wealth creation. Challenge citizens to get involved in national development to clean up their communities and to help the vulnerable. The so-called "poor people" must realise that wealth creation is not beyond them, but they must take personal responsibility. There is an opportunity to remind our people that purpose, hard work, and delayed gratification is the formula for success.<br /> <br /> In getting Jamaica off the runway, the ingenuity of our people must be turned on. Our leaders should lead by example in putting country first and good governance at the epicentre of their actions. But do our leaders have the capacity or the will to lift this country from the runway and pilot it to prosperity and development? For the nation's sake I hope they do. Failing that, we either need to take the controls or develop an exit strategy.<br /> <br /> Dwaine Forbes<br /> <br /> Esher, St Mary<br /> <br /> dwaineforbes@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Jamaica can soar with greatness<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, April 23, 2015 2:00 AM Irreconcilable rights http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Irreconcilable-rights_18795734 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I refer to a Sunday Observer article of April 19, 2015 written by H G Helps which bore the subhead, 'US President expresses concern that island moving too slow in protecting LGBT community'. The article stated that President Obama, in his discussions with our prime minister, "politely conveyed his Administration's 'dismay' that Jamaica had not moved fast enough in ensuring that the rights of the LGBT community were being respected and even protected".<br /> <br /> I hope that the prime minister assured the president that LGBT people currently enjoy the very same fundamental human rights as everyone else, and that she then conveyed how appalled she is at the regressive policies and legislation which have resulted in loss of freedom of expression and freedom of conscience in America once known as the country of the free.<br /> <br /> The prime minister could have discussed the case of Kelvin Cochran, who lost his job as fire chief in Atlanta because he dared to say uncomplimentary things about homosexuality in a book. Or she could have mentioned Brendan Eich, who lost his job as CEO Mozilla Firefox because he had given the sum of US$1,000.00 to the campaign for true marriage in California some years ago. The prime minister could also have mentioned business owners who have been fined or sued because of their refusal to provide goods or services for same-sex ceremonies. One can think of photographer Elaine Hugenim of New Mexico; Jack Phillips, baker, of Colorado; along with Barronelle Stutzman, florist, of Washington.<br /> <br /> These are serious issues which the prime minister and Caricom leaders, generally, need to discuss with their US, British and Canadian counterparts as it would appear that, in these countries, freedom of speech and freedom of conscience are swiftly disappearing from those critical of the LGBT lifestyle. One, therefore, hopes that our prime minister was confident in responding to President Obama's concern, assuring him that in this country, we place great value on our fundamental freedoms and that from what we have seen of his country LGBT "rights" and rights to freedom of expression and freedom of conscience are irreconcilable.<br /> <br /> S Richards<br /> <br /> Cecelio Avenue, St Andrew<br /> <br /> sprichards@cwjamaica.com<br /> <br /> Irreconcilable rights<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11680402/DSC_3181_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, April 23, 2015 2:00 AM #firstblackPM http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/-firstblackPM_18797560 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I write to clarify a comment that appears to unfortunately have been misinterpreted by some, including in a letter to the editor published in the Daily Observer on April 20, 2015.<br /> <br /> On Monday, April 13, 2015, I posted a photo on social media of P J Patterson giving brief thank you remarks at one of the functions held in honour of his 80th birthday. In the caption under the photo I quoted some key lessons that he shared in his thank you speech, and I also described different attributes in summary hashtags. One of the hashtags was #firstblackPM. I explained under the photo that what was significant to me was that P J Patterson was the first black prime minister to be elected that looked like the majority of the electorate, which spoke to a change in psyche of the electorate at a point in our history &mdash; a milestone from my perspective. A moment in time that spoke to positively accepting self-identity.<br /> <br /> While Hugh Shearer was indeed the first prime minister also of a darker skin tone, I noted in the discourse under the photo that there was a distinction vis-&agrave;-vis an active, known electoral choice by the people of Jamaica. For as history recorded, Hugh Shearer was selected as the first among equals, by 32 fellow members of parliament after the previous prime minister, Donald Sangster, unexpectedly passed away in 1967. As such, for me it did not equate to the 568,789 voters in 1993 who, with full knowledge of who the party leader of the PNP was, voted definitively for Patterson as de facto prime minister.<br /> <br /> This is not to take away from the work done by any prime minister of Jamaica of any shade of black or cultural background who has contributed to Jamaica's development since our first elections in 1944. Instead, from my perspective, it was a comment about a milestone in the psyche of our people; particularly profound for me, given Trevor Rhone's Old Story Time seminal line "anything black nuh good" that used to abound more explicitly, and where, unfortunately, extreme 'bleaching' continues today. There was no desire or intention to mislead anyone on history.<br /> <br /> I am a young Jamaican that sees how race (including shades of black) and class dynamics have dogged our country over many decades, and I look forward to the day when those factors cease to play a role in how people view each other or sometimes limit how far someone can advance. Indeed, I am grateful that our past does not define our future, for I know at the core of every Jamaican, whether they are black, brown, white, or any other hue, there is a tenacity and a perseverance to rise through challenges, and that is what will ultimately unite us as a people and inspire us to serve one another. This continues to be my inspiration.<br /> <br /> Thank you also to the letter writer for the opportunity to further share historical lessons and perspectives with the wider public. Sharing conversations in a constructive way is indeed one of the tools we can use to unify and grow our country.<br /> <br /> Senator Imani Duncan-Price<br /> <br /> imaniduncanprice@gmail.com<br /> <br /> #firstblackPM<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11620061/Imani-Duncan-Price_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, April 23, 2015 2:00 AM School detention danger http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/School-detention-danger_18806419 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> My niece attends Rusea's High School in Lucea, Hanover. Now, from time to time she has come home later than expected, and when asked the reason for this her response is she had detention. This has been happening more frequently and each time we ask her if it was something she had done, her response is always "no, it's just one girl or one boy, but the entire class is being punished for it".<br /> <br /> My brother visited the school and spoke with the teacher because it was getting out of hand. He was told she is in a "bad class" and they cannot just single out a troublemaker; so the good ones stay along with the bad.<br /> <br /> I am all for punishment, but this is foolishness. My niece is 13 years old in the 7th grade and she lives in Montego Bay, which is 22.7 miles away from school. The safest transportation is the school bus and when she is detained that leaves her at school.<br /> <br /> Over the last year there have been numerous news reports of young girls, ages 13 and 14, being raped, kidnapped, murdered. So God forbid if this happens to her because of this foolishness. What will they tell us, then? Sorry?<br /> <br /> This evening she came home to say that next week Tuesday the class has detention to write 500 lines after school. When asked why, it's the same response. What are we to do?<br /> <br /> Concerned Aunt<br /> <br /> St James<br /> <br /> slimm1127@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> School detention danger<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, April 23, 2015 2:00 AM 'Caught' with the gun http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/-Caught--with-the-gun_18797643 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> There is a view, although without any legal foundation, in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), that the holder of a firearm user's licence which has expired is in illegal possession of that firearm. The police have been so advised. Even the Firearm Licensing Authority is of this erroneous view.<br /> <br /> As a consequence of this view, the holder of an expired firearm licence is charged under section 20(b) of the Firearms Act triable in the Gun Court. That section states that a person should not be in possession of any firearm and ammunition except under and in accordance with the terms and conditions of a firearm user's licence.<br /> <br /> The penalty for contravention of section 20(b) is imprisonment for life or such other term, being not less than 15 years, as the judge of the Gun Court considers appropriate. In practice, however, having regard to the circumstances and nature of the offence, the person is usually given a suspended sentence or the imposition of a fine with a resultant criminal record.<br /> <br /> It has never been the intention of Parliament that the holder of an expired firearm licence should be charged with illegal possession of firearm and tried in the Gun Court. The Gun Court Act was established in the 1970s to combat the proliferation of firearms in the country for which the owners did not possess the requisite licence. It was not established to try persons who possess the requisite licence but, for one reason or the other, it has expired or not renewed.<br /> <br /> It is for this reason, that section 20 of the Gun Court Act was enacted as an exception to section 20 of the Firearms Act. According to section 20 of the Gun Court the possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person should not be in contravention of section 20 of the Firearms Act if he was issued with the relevant licence authorising his possession of the firearm or ammunition. That section further provides that the holder of a licence under the Firearms Act does not contravene section 20 of the Act if he:<br /> <br /> a. Fails to pay the appropriate duty in respect of the licence; or<br /> <br /> b. The licence expires by effluxion of time; or<br /> <br /> c. Breaches any of the terms or conditions included in the licence.<br /> <br /> Clearly, section 20 of the Gun Court Act put to rest the misunderstanding that the ODPP has in respect of the holder of an expired firearm user's licence.<br /> <br /> Such a person should be charged, not under section 20(b) of the Firearms Act, but under section 44(5) of the Firearms Act for failure to renew his licence by the non-payment of the appropriate duty. Section 44 creates an administrative scheme for the payment of the appropriate duty to the Collector of Taxes.<br /> <br /> The failure to pay the fee in respect of the firearm is a breach of a revenue requirement triable before a Resident Magistrate's Court. If the offender is found guilty, he is liable to a fine not exceeding $2,000. Failure to pay the fine will result in imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding 12 months.<br /> <br /> Unfortunately, over the years, several people whose firearm user's licence has expired due to an effluxion of time or failure to pay the appropriate licence fee, have been charged, tried and convicted in the Gun Court due to an erroneous interpretation of the law.<br /> <br /> Hugh Wilson<br /> <br /> Attorney-at-Law<br /> <br /> Wilson & Franklyn<br /> <br /> hughfwilson@cwjamaica.com<br /> <br /> 'Caught' with the gun<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 22, 2015 2:00 AM No to proposed redevelopment of Grand Lido http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/No-to-proposed-redevelopment-of-Grand-Lido_18795770 The following is an open letter to the Minister of Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change Robert Pickersgill:<br /> <br /> Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Jamaican Institute of Architects (JIA) is concerned that permission has been granted for the demolition of the Grand Lido Hotel and for its replacement with a 600- to 800-room hotel. We understand that the proposed hotel design includes four-storey blocks and allows a setback from the high water mark of only 15.25 metres (50ft), and that it may even envisage rooms over water at Rutland Point.<br /> <br /> The JIA is opposed to this development proposal on the grounds that it will establish a precedence that goes against the spirit of the Negril area's unique, small- and medium-sized enterprise model of tourism development.<br /> <br /> The JIA is concerned that approval of this new hotel development will:<br /> <br /> * set a precedent for increased heights and densities along the coast<br /> <br /> * exacerbate issues of public versus hotel access to the foreshore<br /> <br /> * result in increased beach erosion<br /> <br /> * further eliminate/diminish the protective coastal vegetative buffer<br /> <br /> This intensification of development will lead to destruction of what the current 1959 Negril/Green Island Development Order describes as the "delicate balance of the environment", and will have a negative impact on the visual beauty of the coast line. The reduced foreshore cannot be in the interest of the long-term health of the beach, nor can it contribute to a reduction in conflicts over the rights of public and private users. In times of sea level rise, and, in particular, under the prevailing conditions of serious beach erosion, the trend should be to increase rather than reduce setback from the water. In the interests of beach health and disaster mitigation, any new beach development should be mandated to preserve/replant as much natural foreshore vegetation as possible, and adequate foreshore width is therefore essential.<br /> <br /> The JIA urges you to reconsider this development and to uphold the recommendations of the existing 1959 Development Order, which requires 150-ft setbacks from the high water mark and low-impact development footprints along the coast.<br /> <br /> As the Development Order also mentions the preservation of buildings of historic and architectural merit, we believe that consideration should be given to the preservation of at least a section of the existing structures as the Grand Lido Hotel is of merit, being winner of the highest award for resort design in the JIA Awards of Merit 1992.<br /> <br /> Your urgent attention to the matter is requested and the JIA awaits your timely response.<br /> <br /> Ann Hodges<br /> <br /> President<br /> <br /> Jamaican Institute of Architects<br /> <br /> jainstituteofarchitects@gmail.com<br /> <br /> No to proposed redevelopment of Grand Lido<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 22, 2015 2:00 AM Use dancehall to teach http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Use-dancehall-to-teach_18787395 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> "Pull up yuh pants an put it pan yuh waist; an' tuck in yuh shirt an doe bleach yuh face..." This is a line from a song dedicated to the youth by now-incarcerated artiste Adidja Palmer, aka Vybz Kartel or Teacha.<br /> <br /> Reggae music has been a part of Jamaican culture featuring Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Dennis Brown and others. This, however, has changed in modern Jamaica where hardcore dancehall music is the new culture, especially among the youth. The new stars of the airwaves are Popcaan, Alkaline, Black Rhino, Tommy Lee and, regardless of being incarcerated, Vybz Kartel.<br /> <br /> The message echoed through the microphones has been, for the most part, negative with sex and violence the central themes. Unfortunately, the vulnerable among us are the sponge of this negativity.<br /> <br /> In recent times, the Broadcasting Commission has had to step in and ban songs because of high violent and sexual content. The 'fruits' of what has been perpetuated in music have been evident in the increased school violence and sex-related activities that are easily viewed on social media.<br /> <br /> In recent times, the Broadcasting Commission has had to step in and ban songs because of high violent and sexual content. The 'fruits' of what has been perpetuated in music have been evident in the increased school violence and sex-related activities that are easily viewed on social media.<br /> <br /> It cannot be refuted that musical content has been influential. The evidence can be seen in response to songs such as Straight jeans and fitted, Clarks, Bleaching, Colouring book, and others. The sales of these products have skyrocketed and more children are getting tattoos as a result. And the hostility in dancehall music is seen in the behaviour of our children; in their talking and dressing.<br /> <br /> Whether we like it or not, dancehall artistes are now role models to our children, and with advancing technologies the artistes' every move are followed. The children are so tuned in that on their way to school and back, in class, and even while sleeping an earpiece is plugged into their ears. While primary care and control are the duty of parents, and censoring of the airwaves the responsibility of the Broadcasting Commission, dancehall artistes, too, should be held accountable for the lessons they teach. Now that we have seen the impact that dancehall artistes have, we should launch some positive music campaigns using these same influential artistes. The campaign would be about musical content that influence youngsters to focus on their education, abide by rules, and appreciate themselves and others. Today's children are tomorrow's adults and we all have a responsibility to foster positivity in their lives.<br /> <br /> Hezekan Bolton<br /> <br /> Use dancehall to teach<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 22, 2015 2:00 AM Corporate Ja's part of the problem http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Corporate-Ja-s-part-of-the-problem_18785192 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I am more than a little concerned about all the recent drama surrounding our young star high school athletes and how they are being handled by corporate sponsors.<br /> <br /> I am happy that some of our athletes are being supported by companies in their continued development, however, such support from the firms, frankly, should be largely focused on fostering the development of the athletes' education and sporting talent. I cannot support what I see as exploitation and the projection of crassness.<br /> <br /> I still remember, like it was yesterday, one major company parading one young teenage star athlete through the streets of Half-Way-Tree in a pretty car with two sexily clad women in the front seat; all while children in school uniforms wined on each other listening to the most vulgar music imaginable.<br /> <br /> Corporate entities should know better. We cannot on one hand be pontificating about ethics and engaging in petty marketing arguments while, on the other hand, supporting indiscipline and raucous behaviour that has long landed this country into a huge mess. I urge the "relevant authorities" to have a word with the entity in breach.<br /> <br /> Rev Karl Watson<br /> <br /> Richmond Park<br /> <br /> revkarlwatson@outlook.com<br /> <br /> Corporate Ja's part of the problem<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, April 22, 2015 12:00 AM What gay play? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/What-gay-play-_18785059 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Sunday Observer headline of April 19, 2015, 'Obama's Gay Play', was unfortunate. I suppose it got the desired attention and might've sold some extra papers, but we expect this from a tabloid, not the Observer with its usually high standards in journalism.<br /> <br /> To write in the article that the president "has made it clear that, while he would never indulge in the lifestyle led by LGBTs" is a bit immature way of discussing human rights.<br /> <br /> This is about human rights and equality, the foundation of modern society, and not about the president or his personal life. Look around and you'll notice most First World countries with advanced economies and wealth have moved forward to protect the rights of all its citizens, not just some.<br /> <br /> There were many innuendos in the article, such as referring to homosexuality as "irregular sexual conduct". When did sexuality between consenting adults become irregular? Sexuality to LGBT is as normal as sexuality to anyone considered heterosexual; it is embedded in the DNA, which no law or religion or science will ever be able to eliminate or change.<br /> <br /> The article also went on to state that the president was coached for the meeting when obviously he was well briefed on the issues and concerns and how to also identify by name the individuals with whom he met. When one is well briefed, one is informed.<br /> <br /> If anything, there are many lessons we can learn from Obama's visit. If the president expressed concerns about LGBT rights in Jamaica, he was not the first, nor will he be the last. Obama obviously did not visit Jamaica to impose or push an agenda. He expressed concerns to us as a prominent world leader.<br /> <br /> We need to get these issues out of the way so we can move on with progress and focus on the things we really should be concerned about such as reducing poverty, crime, improving education and social services, and getting the economy on track to improve the quality of lives of all Jamaicans.<br /> <br /> I don't understand why, as a country, as a people, we are so obsessed with all things gay. Educated people learn very early in life to respect others; we learn to leave other people alone so they can live their own lives without fear or prejudice or interference, and this also applies to bullying.<br /> <br /> Pete Delisser<br /> <br /> pdelisser1988@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> What gay play?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11710655/Cover_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, April 20, 2015 2:00 AM We know how to 'roll out a red carpet' http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/We-know-how-to--roll-out-a-red-carpet-_18766536 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> So US President Barack Obama had a swell time in Jamaica. Let me start by saying thanks to the people of Jamaica for showing him the sort of hospitality that has made the Caribbean a most sought-after destination for global travellers.<br /> <br /> It was heartening to see the images of the warm receptions the US president got wherever he went. And, in true Jamaican style, even when approached by a dreadlocked man with a burning marijuana issue to share, the exchanges with Obama were respectful and productive.<br /> <br /> I am tipping my hat to Jamaica's Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller for the wonderful role she played as host to the US president. She spared no effort nor expense in ensuring that Obama and his entourage had a wonderful and memorable trip.<br /> <br /> Others will no doubt debate the merits of spending as much as Jamaica did for such a short stay by a sitting US president. This comes as Jamaica struggles to maintain some measure of economic stability with IMF assistance. But, I am no economist.<br /> <br /> What I see is a grasped opportunity and an important statement made to the world that, in spite of difficulties, Jamaica will always be able to serve up the finest treatment to her finest guests. For a country that depends on tourism as her mainstay, showing the right image remains crucial and priceless.<br /> <br /> Nothing about the manner in which President Obama was treated in Jamaica should surprise. As the population in the English-speaking Caribbean with the largest number of blacks, many Jamaicans would have seen the US president as one of their own.<br /> <br /> I am glad the US president visited an island run by one of our two female Caribbean leaders. It highlights the strides our Caribbean women continue to make. I am sure he would have had an enjoyable time wherever he went in the region, but there is something about the treatment one gets from a Caribbean woman that keeps you coming back for more.<br /> <br /> And so US President Barack Obama came and was impressed, and departed our shores with warmth in his heart and a smile on his face. The region is left to contemplate what happens now and who gets to play host to the next bigwig coming our way.<br /> <br /> Dexter Wharton<br /> <br /> dexterwharton@gmail.com<br /> <br /> We know how to 'roll out a red carpet'<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11707229/Obama-UWI_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, April 20, 2015 12:00 AM No, no, no! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/No--no--no-_18766411 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It is unfortunate that Senator Imani Duncan-Price has seemingly attempted to distort history using one of her social media pages. The young senator, who many think of as having a different mindset from some of her colleagues, seems to be drowning in political waters.<br /> <br /> How can Senator Duncan-Price say that former Prime Minister P J Patterson was the first black prime minster? As far as I am concerned, former Prime Minister Hugh Sharer was the first black prime minister of Jamaica, and it is shameful that the senator would want people to believe otherwise. I really wonder if this was a gross attempt by her to mislead the people of Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Judith Rowe<br /> <br /> New York<br /> <br /> judith.rowe07@gmail.com<br /> <br /> No, no, no!<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11604311/Imani-Duncan-1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, April 20, 2015 2:00 AM The rainbow and 'Obamination' http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/The-rainbow-and--Obamination-_18766409 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> To say that the vast majority of Jamaicans experienced being 'star struck' by Barack Obama as he visited our shores recently would be to state the obvious. What is not so obvious to many is the subtle connection between his visit and the administering of a certain 'booster shot in the arm' of the gay rights movement in Jamaica. Certainly seeds were planted in favour of the gay rights agenda, which only time will show them growing and blooming to full strength.<br /> <br /> Angeline Jackson, the lesbian youth leader given honorary mention by Obama at the much-hailed "town hall meeting" can testify without a doubt &mdash; and her Facebook page is awash with those sentiments ever since.<br /> <br /> Few probably saw the connection between Obama's visit and the coincidental appearance of a rainbow upon his departure, but might I share my gut feeling? What are the odds? The rainbow is the chosen symbol of the gay movement. Is it coincidental that the cameras captured a telling picture of a rainbow? My gut feeling tells me that God may just be the one opening our eyes to the real spirit which attends Obama's presidency by allowing a rainbow to show up just as he happens to be departing Jamaica. What real or lasting influence has Obama's visit had on the gay rights agenda and movement in Jamaica? Only time will tell. The connection between the homosexual "abominations" (according to the Bible) and Obama's influence on the gay movement globally (which I call "Obamination") is not hard to see.<br /> <br /> Derrick Gillespie<br /> <br /> Defender of Traditional Family values<br /> <br /> ddgillespie@live.com<br /> <br /> The rainbow and 'Obamination'<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11691018/Youth-forum-2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, April 20, 2015 2:00 AM Let's maintain city cleaning after Obama's visit http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Let-s-maintain-city-cleaning-after-Obama-s-visit_18721365 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> No one knows where the funds came from all of a sudden to make over the city of Kingston. Regardless, the quick clean-up did not change who we are and shouldn't be considered a facade or a bad thing. Anyone hosting an important guest from overseas goes all out to fix up and clean up their surroundings.<br /> <br /> What we saw in Kingston over the past few weeks showed we have the will, management skills, and labour to do things quickly in Jamaica. It is a mindset that we need to encourage. We must strive to maintain this and encourage more of this cleaning up all over the city and country. A clean city will inspire clean healthy living and a better quality of life, greater productivity; even criminals could be deterred. A dirty filthy city inspires nothing but negativity.<br /> <br /> Even the removal of homeless people, although seemingly rushed and insensitive, was not as bad as it seems, if the homeless are now provided with shelter, food, and support services which help to keep them off the streets. This is what effective governments do. I am sure the private sector would support a cleaner city also, even if it means part sponsorship.<br /> <br /> The crab vendors at Heroes Park, we understand, will be relocated, but wouldn't it be nice if the Government compensated them by erecting a more stable structure with a designated area such as exists in Faith's Pen, where vendors can book cubicles and continue to make a living in a clean, visually appealing space? The vendors themselves are harmless -- what they do is part of who we are, part of our unique culture. All they need is a little help to structure and organise themselves and their activities better.<br /> <br /> I, therefore, appeal to the Government and the appropriate ministries and agencies to work together to maintain the recent Kingston clean-up. They should fix more roads routinely and beautify the city. It obviously can be done, and done quickly. Focus on specific areas and gradually spread to other parts of the city until much of the city looks smashing, so that visitors and residents alike can experience a renewed, revitalised Jamrock. Trust me, the effects will be felt immediately!<br /> <br /> Plus, a Government that can beautify, even with all the other problems of the country, will be a Government that's remembered and considered functional.<br /> <br /> P Chin<br /> <br /> chin_p@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Let's maintain city cleaning after Obama's visit<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11666765/garbage-collection_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, April 20, 2015 2:00 AM Will the crazy cowards stop killing our future? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Will-the-crazy-cowards-stop-killing-our-future_18766357 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Last week, a select group of young people had the privilege of attending a town hall meeting with US President Barack Obama at the University of the West Indies. For many of those young people, it was no doubt a lifetime highlight.<br /> <br /> Within days of that meeting, this nation awakes to the tragedy of a quadruple killing in Clarendon, which claimed the otherwise promising lives of four young Jamaicans, three of which were but mere children.<br /> <br /> The cruelty of the act carried out by these crazy cowards of society, sadly, simply adds to the growing number of young people for whom there is to be no lifetime highlight. These brutal murders, as horrific as they are, also come a few days after the nascent life of an 11-month-old infant was extinguished, and merely weeks after a wave of teen slaying gripped our land.<br /> <br /> Since the beginning of 2015, there seems to be no havens wherein our children, and young in general, can take refuge. Our schools are becoming as dangerous as our streets, and our homes fare no better.<br /> <br /> This latest act of national filicide, one hopes, will not just be another ripple in the vast oceans of blood which now wash our streets. Indifference and outrage must give way to concerned action. If not, we may just have to resort to establishing many more crying monuments across Jamaica in memory of lost generations.<br /> <br /> Noel Matherson<br /> <br /> noelmatherson@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Will the crazy cowards stop killing our future?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11700930/secret-gardens-monument_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, April 17, 2015 1:00 AM Consider write-in candidates http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Consider-write-in-candidates_18766258 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> A write-in candidate is one in an election whose name does not appear on the ballot but for whom voters may vote nonetheless, by writing in the person's name on election day. Write-in candidates have been elected in the US, Sweden, Brazil and Ecuador among other countries.<br /> <br /> Some US states allow voters to paste a sticker with the name of a candidate they perceived should have been given the opportunity to contest the election. Write-in candidates rarely win, and votes are often cast for ineligible people or even fictional characters. Franklin D Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John F Kennedy are counted among those who have won by write-in votes.<br /> <br /> In recent times, we have seen 'in-fighting' within Jamaican political parties as incumbents feel threatened by a challenge, especially if the incumbent was thrown into the constituency for the sake of winning a seat and fails to perform. We have seen the preference of the Jamaican people to be represented by 'one of their own', someone they trust and have a rapport with, either through family and committed community advocacy and leadership.<br /> <br /> Currently, the political scuffle within the JLP between MP Gregory Mair and Sharon Hay-Webster sees establishment seat filler against constituency native and people's likely preference. The initial statements suggest the fear of Mair 'losing power'; such thinking continues to hamper our governance and democratic development, as the ability to perform and represent is linked with being "in power". This is also a constitution reform issue that should give greater role and muscle to Government, Opposition and the people.<br /> <br /> The Jamaican electoral system should consider the spirit of write-in candidates and encourage independent ones. I believe that political representatives put forward for the people's selection, from whichever political party, should have years of hard work on the ground, should be familiar with the development plans for the constituency, and can better understand the needs of the area than any newcomer politician. This could stir more participation within the democratic process. Further, allowing people to suggest a preferred choice creates some level of trust and satisfaction.<br /> <br /> Mario Boothe<br /> <br /> m.raphael.b@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Consider write-in candidates<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11696330/Gregory-Mair_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, April 17, 2015 1:00 AM 'D Day' is gone, but RISE has work to do http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/-D-Day--is-gone--but-RISE-has-work-to-do_18766401 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Based on the incidents shared by the Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites, with regard to ganja smoking among students on the very day small quantities of the substance was decriminalised, it would appear as if we have put the cart before the horse. The approach to decriminalisation has to be multivariate as it is obvious that this ganja issue has far-and wide-reaching effects.<br /> <br /> This issue of decriminalisation and the development of a medicinal ganja industry has brought with it many and varied social, psychological, health, and cultural challenges that needed to be addressed prior to "decriminalisation day".<br /> <br /> Studies done locally have revealed data showing that young people have always had the view of ganja being the least harmful and easiest to get in terms of illicit drugs in Jamaica. That sort of perception can only drive incidence and prevalence rates of ganja use among youth upwards. It is a view that will enable experimentation and sustained drug-seeking behaviour to continue among youth who are so inclined.<br /> <br /> Prevention education is the missing piece if we are to accept decriminalisation. A comprehensive evidence-based approach must be employed swiftly so that we can short-circuit these skewed perceptions of our youth who will eventually be our adult citizens.<br /> <br /> It is important to note that despite decriminalisation of small amounts it is still illegal for youth under the age of 18 to possess ganja.<br /> <br /> The future of this country is dependent heavily on our youth, who oftentimes require us to protect them from themselves. Here at RISE Life Management Services we provide counselling and testing services primarily for youth abusing ganja, referred by school, family and/or the justice system. Data collected from RISE's telephone counselling lifeline in 2014 indicated that 62 per cent of calls received were for ganja-related problems predominantly affecting males in 15-35 age group. The resources available to initiate both prevention and treatment work has always been sparse. RISE has always struggled for funding, however, thanks to the National Health Fund who funded us in the past, and currently the CHASE Fund, RISE has delivered this intervention for the past six years and has funding until August 2015.<br /> <br /> With that said, there is an urgent need to mobilise more resources so that islandwide prevention education programmes can be initiated. We need to act sooner rather than later.<br /> <br /> Sonita Abrahams<br /> <br /> Richard Henry<br /> <br /> RISE Life Management Services<br /> <br /> 57 East Street, Kingston<br /> <br /> www.risejamaica.org <br /> <br /> 'D Day' is gone, but RISE has work to do<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11700897/Ganja-plant-1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, April 17, 2015 12:00 AM Juvenile thinking missed opportunity of Obama's visit http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Juvenile-thinking-missed-opportunity-of-Obama-s-visit_18766358 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Barack Obama's recent visit to Jamaica was indeed significant. It is not frequent that a small island like Jamaica is able to host the world's most powerful man. Now that the fanfare has ended, it is time to evaluate the usefulness of his visit.<br /> <br /> The fact that the prime minister used her audience with the president to discuss the IMF programme is not surprising. During his stay he announced a multimillion-dollar youth initiative for Latin America and the Caribbean and an energy partnership was also signed between Jamaica and America. Both programmes will be grossly beneficial. However, the reality is that, within such a short time span, very little of substance could be achieved. But, as usual, overexuberant Jamaicans could not temper their expectations. Even people, we would think should know better were lobbying for bilateral investment commitments and other elaborate schemes.<br /> <br /> But we missed an opportunity to make his visit more substantial. The disease of myopia not only afflicts this Administration, but members of the intelligentsia and the wider public in general. Too many people were expecting largesse, while deluded individuals expected the president to comment on issues relating to the CIA's involvement in Jamaica in the 70s.<br /> <br /> However, nothing was more disturbing than the question posed to the president by the leader of UWI's Students' Union. President Davianne Tucker asked Obama about the possibility of debt cancellation. The question did not specify debt owed by Jamaica to America, therefore the impression was given that if America cancelled its portion of the debt, we would be spared. This is not true, Jamaica owes internal creditors over a trillion dollars. Therefore, if America cancelled its portion of the debt our financial position would still be bad. Furthermore, China is a larger creditor to Jamaica than the US.<br /> <br /> Notwithstanding the fallacy of such a thought, it is being said that Tucker's question is quite profound. This just shows that in Jamaica ignorance is really bliss. Jamaica has produced many brilliant individuals. But based on the reaction to the coming of Obama, collectively its citizens are still juvenile in their thinking.<br /> <br /> A big-picture pursuit would be to make a case for a trade mission in Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley is the world's most famous tech hub and, as a result, over the years a number of countries have established their missions in this innovative hotspot. That is where our minds should be. Work and worth, not begging and expecting handouts.<br /> <br /> Lipton Matthews<br /> <br /> lo_matthews@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Juvenile thinking missed opportunity of Obama's visit<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11697919/Obama-UWI_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, April 17, 2015 1:00 AM Make Bob a national hero http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Make-Bob-a-national-hero_18766415 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> When I heard that President Obama detoured to the Bob Marley Museum as the first place he visited after arriving in Jamaica, I felt very proud to be a Jamaican, and proud also of the far-reaching effects of the life and achievements of Robert Nesta Marley. This has inspired me to renew my call for Bob Marley to be given the honour of national hero of Jamaica.<br /> <br /> For many, he is just a musician who, in their view, has done very well for himself, and by extension Jamaica, but has not done anything that could be seen as heroic. There is, however, a significant difference in the dictionary definition of hero and the requirements of receiving the honour of national hero.<br /> <br /> The honour of national hero is just that; an honour that is bestowed on someone who has contributed significantly in making Jamaica into what it is today.<br /> <br /> Robert Nesta Marley, for many decades, has been a pioneer for reggae music and the Jamaican culture, and he has not just gained national recognition, but international acceptance.<br /> <br /> In 1976 his band was chosen band of the year by Rolling Stones Magazine; he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978; his album Exodus was named album of the century by Time magazine in 1999; he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001; he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004; and a few days ago he was given the nod of approval by US President Barack Obama when he visited the museum and sang Bob Marley's One Love.<br /> <br /> These are just some of the many awards and achievements given to this son of Jamaica by international agencies and organisations. The fundamental question is, why is it so difficult for Jamaica to recognise his worth? I am, once again, calling on the powers that be to truly recognise him and his achievements, and bestow on him the honour of national hero so he can be referred to as the right excellent.<br /> <br /> Gary Rowe<br /> <br /> magnett0072004@ yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Make Bob a national hero<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11538313/bob_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, April 17, 2015 1:00 AM Is ESET much ado? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Is-ESET-much-ado-_18762483 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> So we wait. The much-heralded Electricity Sector Enterprise Team (ESET), which was formed in June of 2014 to, among other things, oversee the urgent replacement of baseload generation with a more efficient plant that utilises lower-cost fuel and provides reliable and affordable electricity to the country, has apparently completed much of its work. Yet, we are still left in the dark regarding any progress or any tangible results regarding the actual timelines to replace baseload generation with a more efficient plant.<br /> <br /> So far, there have been many great pronouncements, but we have heard them all before over the past 20 years; and still we wait.<br /> <br /> However, what is even more troubling this time around is the deafening silence as to concrete milestones. In reality there are none.<br /> <br /> In addition, the fact that the Jamaican energy economy has been handed over to at least one very tenuous arrangement is a major cause for concern. The pronouncement that 140MW of energy will be provided by an ethane cogeneration plant is interesting to say the least. The company slated to bring ethane to Jamaica has absolutely no experience in ethane shipments. They have no active ethane-exporting terminals anywhere in the world and have no experience supplying ethane to power plants anywhere on earth. Yet, a large part of our energy mix relies on them.<br /> <br /> The Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Liquefied Natural Gas project is nowhere near setting timelines, much less achieving them, and the JPS Bogue project continues to languish.<br /> <br /> In short, one must now wonder if ESET is much ado about nothing.<br /> <br /> I applaud the recent announcement by GraceKennedy to reduce their reliance on the grid and encourage more businesses to follow suit. There really is no end in sight to high energy prices in Jamaica, but there is much talk.<br /> <br /> Mark Handy<br /> <br /> handy-mark@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Is ESET much ado?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11651427/JPS-building-1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, April 16, 2015 12:00 AM Vision 2030 has mass buy-in http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Vision-2030-has-mass-buy-in_18756797 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> We write in reference to the Jamaica Observer article published on March 17, 2015, written by Everol Anderson on the Vision 2030 Jamaica - National Development Plan, the strategic framework for the country's long-term development.<br /> <br /> While most of the article is substantive and well-informed, we question the headline that suggests that Jamaicans are not buying into the plan. We note that no evidence is presented in the article to support this statement, which was also echoed in the editorial of March 20, 2015. The identification by Social Sector Specialist Peisha Bryan-Lee of some scepticism about a better future on the part of many Jamaicans cannot be taken as suggesting widespread lack of support for the plan itself -- a claim which the writer of the article produced without providing supporting evidence. In fact, the Vision 2030 Jamaica - National Development Plan is distinguished among previous plans in Jamaica by the wide stakeholder participation in its preparation, as well as the enduring bipartisan support it has enjoyed.<br /> <br /> This year, the Vision 2030 Jamaica Secretariat will be providing extensive progress reports on the first six years of implementation of the Vision 2030 Jamaica - National Development Plan. This year will also see the preparation of the new Medium Term Socio-Economic Policy Framework (MTF) 2015-2018, which will provide the priority national outcomes, strategies and actions for the period from 2015 to 2018 towards the achievement of the goals and targets of Vision 2030 Jamaica.<br /> <br /> We encourage the Jamaica Observer to take advantage of these opportunities to continue its coverage of the national development planning process on a basis that is fully informed by evidence and fact. We also extend an offer to your company to contact or visit us to clarify any issues relating to Vision 2030 Jamaica that may arise in an effort to better inform the public that you graciously serve.<br /> <br /> Richard Lumsden<br /> <br /> Deputy Director General<br /> <br /> Economic Planning and Policy Logistics<br /> <br /> Vision 2030 has mass buy-in<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11697997/Vision-2030_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, April 16, 2015 12:00 AM Obama brought a moment of joy to Jamaicans http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Obama-brought-a-moment-of-joy-to-Jamaicans_18748061 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> President Obama's visit was so on time to bring a moment of joy to all Jamaicans. Our country is tired of all the current issues: rising prices, crime, high taxes, incompetent politicians in both parties, lack of future plans to improve the economy, and just plain tired of no real leaders in our midst.<br /> <br /> Barack Obama's speeches and presence on our beautiful island was like a vitamin that was needed to provide a moment of reminding Jamaicans that we still play a role in the global system.<br /> <br /> Poor leadership and incompetence have painted gloom in the lives of Jamaicans. We are once again "alive and kicking".<br /> <br /> Jamaican politicians can study Obama's approach to the major issues that he has handled and will bring change.<br /> <br /> Further, Obama's response to the China-related question posed was superb. He advised that we need to see and find the real motive of China before allowing the superpower to "fix things for us".<br /> <br /> Obama is truly a great leader and his love for our country, our culture, and our people is well appreciated.<br /> <br /> God bless you, Barack Obama.<br /> <br /> Cecil Maragh<br /> <br /> New York University<br /> <br /> maraghcgam@aol.com<br /> <br /> Obama brought a moment of joy to Jamaicans<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11694465/OBAMA-CBR_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, April 16, 2015 12:00 AM The selfish 13 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/The-selfish-13_18728883 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Was it Friday the 13th or the Selfish 13th?<br /> <br /> Thirteen mistakes were made to retain Andrew Holness as leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and leader of the Opposition. This will affect him in the future, as 13 people, including himself, unwisely looked no farther than their noses, instead of to the future.<br /> <br /> I do not see the JLP forming the government after the next general election. This will open another challenge against Holness and I do not see the delegates making another mistake unless they feel comfortable in Opposition forever.<br /> <br /> I realise Holness doesn't take sound and reasonable advice, even with senior political wizards around him. I recall hearing Mike Henry publicly stating that he advised Holness not to call the general election at the time he did, but rather to test the waters with the local government election. We all saw the result. Now Delroy Chuck has offered what I consider to be sound advice that he takes a sabbatical and upon his return he would sweep the PNP out of power. Instead, "the 13" have created a "Monday the 13th" on you.<br /> <br /> Holness, those 13 votes are going to be your nightmare. They were not looking out for your interest, but for theirs, and only time will. The same way I have said it is the way it is going to occur.<br /> <br /> F Mclaughlin<br /> <br /> fredricka3@mail.com<br /> <br /> The selfish 13<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11693022/andrew-holness_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, April 16, 2015 12:00 AM