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 Congrats on your OD, NMW http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Congrats-on-your-OD--NMW Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The board, management and team members of the Devon House Development Company Limited wish to extend our heartiest congratulations to an outstanding member of your editorial team, Novia McDonald- Whyte, on her selection as a recipient of Jamaica&rsquo;s Order of Distinction.<br /> <br /> Her selection for service to journalism and innovation in the creation of two Jamaica Observer events, Take Style Out and the Food Awards, is testament to the resilience, talent and foresight that has been the hallmark of her career as a journalist.<br /> <br /> We are particularly pleased to celebrate this achievement with her and your newspaper against the background of our heritage site being selected as and continuing to be the home of the much-celebrated Food Awards for the last 15 of 16 years. <br /> <br /> Novia is a true visionary who consistently promotes Brand Jamaica, a fact corroborated by the Table Talk Food Awards extending beyond our shores. <br /> <br /> She is truly an inspiring Jamaican and we are very proud of her achievements. We wish for her much success in her future endeavours. Janette Taylor Executive Director Devon House Development Limited http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11166262/NOVIA-AWARDS_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, October 21, 2014 7:08 AM What has Farrakhan taught J'cans? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/What-has-Farrakhan-taught-J-cans-_17773120 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I watched the million man march anniversary event and the first thing that came to my mind was the ignorance of our people. Yes, I said it, the ignorance of our people.<br /> <br /> Here were thousands of Jamaicans gathered the hear a man tell them how much the white man has wronged them. I heard the shouts when he referred to the prime minister as "Sister P", and how much he lauded her for trying to make Jamaica a republic to finally get us away from the wicked queen. I heard him spout names and went back into the history of how the white man did us wrong. And, while he did this, the crowd cheered.<br /> <br /> But he forgot to mention one thing. That it was a black P J Patterson, and it is a black Portia Simpson Miller who have had Jamaica and Jamaicans under bondage and suffering like never before.<br /> <br /> Tell many of the same people sitting in that audience to get up and demand justice from the politicians of Jamaica and I can guarantee you, there would not see half that crowd. Tell them to hold these same politicians accountable and you would not see half that crowd. Like sheep, they follow blindly.<br /> <br /> I watched Farrakhan as he preached in his dark glasses, and I thought, why the need to hide his eyes? And the answer came that to me was that 'the eyes are the windows of the soul', and if your soul is dark, that darkness will show itself.<br /> <br /> Do any of these people read, or even consider seeking truth for themselves, or do we continue it blame the white man, the Jew, and everybody else, when history has shown that our own people also helped to sell us out? Do we continue to allow the dark history of slavery to continue to dictate that we are still bound by it mentally, or do we rise up from the ashes and take our place in society?<br /> <br /> I am sure that the murders, robbery, injustice being melted out to Jamaicans every day is being done by fellow black Jamaicans. I am sure it is a black prime minister that we have running things, so why are Jamaicans suffering? Is it the white man destroying our hospitals, raping and murdering our children, treating the elderly like garbage, abusing our women?<br /> <br /> We do not need to wait for a black man to get on a pulpit to preach that to us -- amid the undercurrents of hatred for others because they did us wrong and they need to pay -- for us to have love of self and pride.<br /> <br /> Michelle Bradshaw<br /> <br /> michelleannmariebradshaw@gmail.com<br /> <br /> What has Farrakhan taught J'cans?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11163944/Louis-Farrakhan-1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, October 21, 2014 2:00 AM Don't be naive about Walter Rodney http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Don-t-be-naive-about-Walter-Rodney_17773110 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Walter Rodney was blown to bits in 1980 when he foolishly went to a rendezvous with an officer of the Guyana Defence Force, who handed him a parcel that was supposed to contain top secret informtion. The parcel turned out to be a bomb, sent, it was widely believed, on the orders of the socialist dictator, Forbes Burnham.<br /> <br /> Rodney was naive in political beliefs because he accepted the socialist oversimplification of the causes of poverty, ie it is caused by capitalist exploitation and the best solution is to tear down capitalism in violent revolution.<br /> <br /> The basic cause of poverty is underdevelopment, which has be addressed by prudent management and patient striving. But socialists want overnight transformation through the barrel of a gun. Religion, socialists say, is the opium of the people, but socialism is the opium of intellectuals.<br /> <br /> Rodney appealed to the students at Mona in 1968 to confront the authorities and burn down the university and take guns into Kingston's streets. When that was not enough, he went to Marcus Garvey Drive to recruit Rastas for his revolution.<br /> <br /> Then Prime Minister Hugh Shearer handled the matter very clumsily, and it led to a riot that caused a million of dollars in damage. Rodney was a journeyman scholar. His opus magnus, How Europe underdeveloped Africa, describes the despoilation without offering any practical solution and it is not very well written.This is the man who is lionised, canonised and beatified in Rodney lectures at the UWI, and I had to bite my tongue when I heard his praises sung on Sharon Hay-Webster's morning show while I was home on a visit. How shallow the thinkers on the left!<br /> <br /> Orville Brown<br /> <br /> Bronx NY<br /> <br /> storyline6000@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Don't be naive about Walter Rodney<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10942267/Walter-rodney1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, October 21, 2014 2:00 AM Tan abraad! No com' bak a yaad! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Tan-abraad--No-com--bak-a-yaad--_17772222 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Something is not right with the current 'returning resident policy'. To qualify for this exalted status at the time of intended return home a Jamaican must have been living abroad for the past three consecutive years -- however many years before that (s)he might have been domiciled abroad. I just learned this &mdash; to my chagrin and utter surprise.<br /> <br /> My problem as a Jamaican coming back home very soon to 'live, work and do business' in my homeland after being abroad for 10 years is that, for two of those 10 years (2011-2013) I returned to work a two-year contract in Jamaica. So, in effect, those two years spent in my homeland have blighted my chances of the meagre benefits offered to a bona fide returning resident.<br /> <br /> It gets worse for me, personally, because, even if I qualified, I could not expect any duty concessions on my 10-year-old Toyota Corolla motor car, which is crucial in the rural pastorate that I am returning to serve in my homeland.<br /> <br /> Was it too much of a stretch of the creative imagination of the visionaries who crafted the returning resident document to have seen a motor car as a 'tool of trade' for a rural pastor?<br /> <br /> In this regard, we can learn very progressive lessons from our Caribbean neighbour Barbados.<br /> <br /> I may be misreading between the lines of the returning resident document -- perhaps seeing through my thick glasses darkly -- but it seems that some of us in the Diaspora are being told in effect tan abraad! No com' bak a yaad!<br /> <br /> Rev Clinton Chisholm<br /> <br /> clintchis@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Tan abraad! No com' bak a yaad! <br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11163994/luggage_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, October 20, 2014 2:00 AM Farrakhan is out of order! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Farrakhan-is-out-of-order-_17772228 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I'm not even sure why Jamaica was chosen for this Nation of Islam "Million Man March" anniversary meeting, but if freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion is what it's all about then I suppose no harm done. That is, not until Nation of Islam controversial leader Louis Farrakhan took to the podium and started speaking.<br /> <br /> There is a reason this leader is considered controversial and divisive internationally. I saw a brief clip online where he spoke at the meeting about our governor general, who is The Queen's representative, being "a nice man". But he went on to say that we should be able to handle our own business, which is what Independence means, he crossed the line.<br /> <br /> That is not your business, Mr Farrakhan! This is the problem with some of these fanatics, they like to preach and incite division and fear, and disguise their message with all type of meddling. Farrakhan was out of order and out of line, and someone should call him out for this. I am sure by the end of his visit there will be more.<br /> <br /> P Chin<br /> <br /> chin_p@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Farrakhan is out of order!<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11163944/Louis-Farrakhan-1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, October 20, 2014 2:00 AM Our reactive Gov't failed the people's test http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Our-reactive-Gov-t-failed-the-people-s-test_17762452 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It is said experience is the best teacher, but clearly not in this country. There is also another saying that if you do the same thing more than once then it is not a mistake; it is deliberate. That is what happens in this country.<br /> <br /> With the threat of a global Ebola outbreak in the air and CHIKV still lingering, one would have thought that our authorities would have responded with a sense of urgency and purpose. There is absolutely no acceptable explanation why a Liberian man should have landed on the shores of Jamaica and send our immigration officers into a state of panic. They should have been prepared for this eventuality. We clearly did not learn anything from the handling of CHIKV and other events.<br /> <br /> Critical information on CHIKV was rationed to the nation. Consequently, people started suffering and public outcry jolted the Government to respond. They have since launched massive clean-up efforts across the island.<br /> <br /> The old adage says "it is never too late for a shower of rain". However, in this case it is. Had our Government launched this clean-up initiative before the virus got to Jamaica we could have prevented this level of outbreak. If the people were adequately informed, we would not have had an epidemic. It is now at a stage where it has swallowed several lives.<br /> <br /> CHIKV has not yet bid its goodbye and here we are facing the possibility of another more deadly plague, and yet we have a similar unhurried response to this more fatal disease. This is quite frightening.<br /> <br /> It has been reported in the media that the authorities have been putting things in place for eventuality, as they have identified isolation areas in our hospitals where suspected patients can be quarantined. Yet, a critical aspect that should have been a priority was overlooked. How can we identify areas for isolation in hospitals before putting things in place to protect our borders? Why is that? Is it because the prime minister has stopped travelling so frequently?<br /> <br /> This Ebola threat should not have caught us unaware. We knew the risks. We cannot sit idly by and wait on other countries to protect us. Why did this Liberian have to show up before we locked ourselves in a high security meeting? Other Caribbean islands, such as St Lucia, have already imposed travel ban on people from the countries where the Ebola outbreak is chronic. Why couldn't we have done something similar? Who knows what the nation has been exposed to? We do this all the time. We react instead of prevent. We seldom put preventative measures in place. We lay in wait for something to happen to light a fire beneath our feet to get us running a thousand miles per hour.<br /> <br /> The Government continues to brag about passing International Monetary Fund tests, but it is quite unfortunate they cannot do the same for the people's test. The chikungunya outbreak was one of the tests the Government took and they failed it miserably, and their current trajectory with Ebola preparation is also an F.<br /> <br /> Dorraine Reid<br /> <br /> rainereid@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Our reactive Gov't failed the people's test<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11150463/EBOLA-2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, October 20, 2014 2:00 AM Gender neutrality need not be an issue http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/-p-Gender-neutrality-need-not-be-an-issue---p---_17761004 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Woman Inc's submission to the parliamentary committee reviewing the sexual offences laws includes the change that sexual intercourse be defined as "the penetration of the vagina of one person by the penis of another person". This definition is that only women and girls are protected from forms of sexual violence.<br /> <br /> Even as we forward the cause of greater equality for all woman-kind, we must not continue to leave behind our boys and men who already disadvantaged as it pertains to advancing education, involvement in criminal activities, and employment. The male gender must not be forgotten while we review the sexual offences laws, and there should not be any issue when it comes to gender neutral sexual offences laws as it is a matter of protecting humankind against non-consenting sexual offence.<br /> <br /> The wording and terminology may be uncomfortable, but in this modern day it is also unthinkable that we can't say that men can be raped according to the law. But, more importantly, we need to move beyond the misnomer that rape or any penetration makes the victim just feminine/female so we can deal with this issue.<br /> <br /> Since changing the definition of the act would make the buggery law virtually redundant, it is not inconceivable that their will be clashes and head-butts ahead. Buggery may be gender neutral by the term, but it has a connotation of homosexuality that makes boys and men less likely to report that they have been raped.<br /> <br /> We must not be apprehensive to give voice to the many boys and men who are raped or may be raped by both men and women by way of penetration. This is not about repealing the buggery law and should be considered as real attempt to protect your brother, father, cousin, nephew; giving them, us the power to step forward and report these unfortunate incidents. Male rape is one of the most untold stories across the world, especially in masculine-dominated societies like Jamaica, and we must believe that changing a law and public education can slowly change a culture of silent suffering.<br /> <br /> Mario Boothe<br /> <br /> m.raphael.b@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Gender neutrality need not be an issue <br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Monday, October 20, 2014 2:00 AM Farrakhan should not have been given permission to come here http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Farrakhan-should-not-have-been-given-permission-to-come-here_17761007 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> While I can understand the reason Yasin Abu Bakr, who was planning to attend the "million man march", was deported from Jamaica on account of the potential threat that the Government saw in him, I don't think that this kind of restriction in regards to that planned march should be limited to Yasin only. Indeed, I don't even think that Louis Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam or his march should be allowed here.<br /> <br /> For those who don't know Yasin Bakr, he was the man who led an attempt in 1990 to oust the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. Twenty-four people died in that attempt. The fact that Yasin was planning to attend this million man march should tell us something about the Nation of Islam.<br /> <br /> Farrakhan, and his Nation of Islam, is well known for its racism. He once referred to Jews in America as "blood suckers", accusing them of profiting from the backs of blacks. He even called for a separation of the different races. We all know that the former Libyan leader Gadhafi was planning to exterminate those Libyans who were trying to oust him. Farrakhan called him his friend.<br /> <br /> I still cannot see why it is that our country is becoming such a magnet for people with very weird ideas. Don't we already have enough people with very outdated and crazy ideas, including those Bible-thumping Christians who want us to be a theocracy, the weed-smokers who want all of us to get high on ganja, the musicians promoting all kinds of criminality, and misguided intellectuals and anti-white racists demanding reparations? Why should we add Farrakhan too?<br /> <br /> Our country is known as being very stable as far as race and ethnic relations are concerned. Why do we want to antagonise our Jewish community with a man, such as Farrakhan? Indeed, why do we want to make our non-black people very uncomfortable with his presence?<br /> <br /> Those of us who see Farrakhan as some sort of black saviour must understand that promoting black supremacy is just as dangerous as the promotion of white supremacy.<br /> <br /> During the late 1960s, the government of Hugh Shearer banned Walter Rodney from staying in Jamaica because, at that time, the State saw him as a threat. It would seem that we have lost that sense of determination in protecting the harmonious relations that, in most respects, now exists between our different ethnic and racial groups.<br /> <br /> We should give Farrakhan the same treatment as Bakr and let him know in very clear terms that his outdated, dangerous and racist world view is not welcomed here.<br /> <br /> Michael A Dingwall<br /> <br /> michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Farrakhan should not have been given permission to come here<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11154051/Farrakhan-and-child-th_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, October 17, 2014 2:00 AM Wait for Ebola, Minister http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Wait-for-Ebola--Minister_17761006 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Having been judged incompetent in his handling of the CHIKV epidemic, the minister of health now seems to be displaying pseudo-Messianic hopes of being infected in order to be "touched with the feelings of our infirmity".<br /> <br /> As a CHIKV sufferer, I am neither impressed nor amused. I would suggest that the minister waits for the arrival of Ebola to suffer with the people.<br /> <br /> Firstly, since mosquitoes do not take instructions from people, he can more effectively orchestrate his infection with Ebola. Secondly, the more serious outcome of Ebola will make us more appreciative of his co-suffering. Thirdlly, the likelihood of a fatal outcome with Ebola will make the messianic analogy far more realistic.<br /> <br /> Claire Edwards-Darby<br /> <br /> daviddaughter57@gmail.com <br /> <br /> Wait for Ebola, Minister<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11150457/ZZ35EA14DE_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, October 17, 2014 2:00 AM Let's impose a travel ban on Ebola-affected countries now! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Let-s-impose-a-travel-ban-on-Ebola-affected-countries-now-_17760444 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Officials were yesterday locked in a high-level meeting over the arrival of a man here in Jamaica who admitted to airport authorities that he travelled to Liberia in the last 10 days prompting a national chorus calling for a travel ban to be imposed on Ebola-affected countries. The question is, though, why haven't we done so already?<br /> <br /> Seeing that Ebola is not detectable or contagious until the patient develops symptoms such as fever and vomiting, normally after 4 - 21 days, it will be very difficult for our small-island nation to effectively prevent Ebola's importation without the imposition of a travel ban on the hardest-hit countries.<br /> <br /> Jamaica simply cannot manage to leave any room that will elevate the risk of Ebola, we must rather do all that we can to curtail such risks as we have good reasons to do so.<br /> <br /> The most effective way to combat Ebola, outside of breaking the link of transmission, is through contact tracing, which the Center for Disease Control (CDC) describes as finding and quarantining and or monitoring everyone, for up to 21 days, who comes in direct contact with a sick Ebola patient.<br /> <br /> Using anecdotal evidence alone, it is more than clear that we do not have the capacity to do contact tracing. How effectively and timely can we scour the country to find those who may have had contact with an Ebola patient? Do we have enough protective gear? Do we have enough isolation units? Do we have emergency response units (air/land) lined up to move in on suspected cases?<br /> <br /> Even so, on the treatment end, can we treat an Ebola patient sans the risk of health care workers?<br /> <br /> It is hard to shut the door on West Africa, but it is more than necessary. We are a small country already suffering with stunted growth and development, let's take the cue from our neighbouring Caribbean islands (Trinidad & Tobago, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines) who, over the last 48 hours, initiated "lockdown" measures against the Ebola threat.<br /> <br /> Jevon Minto<br /> <br /> mintojevon@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Let's impose a travel ban on Ebola-affected countries now!<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11154049/West-Africa-Ebola_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, October 17, 2014 2:00 AM Do we have a ICT framework? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Do-we-have-a-ICT-framework-_17760471 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Government of Jamaica has been unhurried in taking advantage of information and communication technology (ICT) to renovate and streamline the public sector, and in adopting a perspective that ICT governance is as significant to national infrastructure as energy, water and roads.<br /> <br /> Related projects are delayed, for example, the ICT Road Map speaks to creating a secure network linking all MDAs and providing data and voice services (p 34). However, its implementation deadline of March 2014 has not been met.<br /> <br /> Jamaica has no sufficiently rigorous ICT governance plan in place. It is no surprise that according to UN E-Government Survey, 2014, we are behind Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominican Republic.<br /> <br /> There are challenges, as Government will have to improve ICT infrastructure and work on policy issues and legislation, but improving IT governance structure will have many benefits which will improve the quality of service delivery to businesses and customers and increase GOJ's revenue collection with improved transparency and accountability.<br /> <br /> Current initiatives like the development of Jamaica as a logistics hub will also benefit from the standards and policies of a robust ICT governance framework. As a student of ICT, I would like to know if our Government is working on an all-inclusive, clearly defined ICT Governance framework, where key performance indicators of each initiative are aligned?<br /> <br /> Tashfeen Ahmad<br /> <br /> Kingston<br /> <br /> mrtashfeen@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Do we have a ICT framework?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11116524/DSC_7136_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, October 17, 2014 2:00 AM Act wise! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Act-wise-_17761008 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It's not my thing to talk politics and I don't take pride in doing so. But, while the system of governance is being blamed in Jamaica for not taking respective measures towards preventing the outbreak of chikungunya virus, I believe that the responsibility of taking precautions also lies in the hands of citizens.<br /> <br /> How many times has the Government disappointed the nation, made impossible promises and ignored serious issues such as this? As a nation we need to wise up. No matter the party they both the same.<br /> <br /> With that said, and as the Heroes' weekend approaches, we have significantly forgotten the reasons we celebrate this. Just as how the Government is being blamed for pushing our money in their pockets, aren't the party promoters doing the same thing? Has anyone taken into consideration the health risk of hosting public events?<br /> <br /> Yes, you can stay home and still end up being sick, but I'm just trying to say politics is politics, it's a money-making thing. We must, however, #actsmart, #thinkwise, #move quick.<br /> <br /> Veronique Edmonson<br /> <br /> Radio broadcasting student<br /> <br /> Northern Caribbean University<br /> <br /> Act wise!<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11146966/Aedes_aegypti_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, October 17, 2014 2:00 AM No reduction in holidays proposed http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/No-reduction-in-holidays-proposed_17754336 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I am not proposing a reduction in the number of public holidays, as indicated by Timothy Cawley in his letter published on Tuesday, October 14. My proposal is for Independence Day and Emancipation Day to be celebrated on Monday and Friday, respectively.<br /> <br /> I agree with Mr Cawley that public holidays are meant for "rest, reflection and in some cases, celebration", and assert that these goals would be greater served if non-religious, national holidays are observed at the end of the week, rather than midweek.<br /> <br /> Under my proposal, the public has access to a long weekend for celebration, uninterrupted by working days in-between, and the business sector can more efficiently manage downtime/loss of productivity and lower cost of manufacturing overheads.<br /> <br /> Further, there may be a boost for our hotel, entertainment and transport industries as families visit resorts across Jamaica and there are opportunities for more national celebrations and family-based entertainment activities.<br /> <br /> Keeping the same number of public holidays, but restructuring the day of the week on which they are observed is a position supported by many members of the business and manufacturing sector.<br /> <br /> I am confident that with this clarification, many will agree that we can dedicate Saturday and Sunday for God, Monday for Independence and Tuesday we get back to work.<br /> <br /> Lascelles Chin<br /> <br /> Chairman,<br /> <br /> Lascelles Affiliated Companies <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11150453/Lascelles-Chin-2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, October 16, 2014 2:00 AM Today is World Food Day http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Today-is-World-Food-Day_17754230 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Today, and every day, we eat thanks to the labours of family farmers. They run the vast majority of farms in the world. They preserve natural resources and agro-biodiversity. They are the cornerstone of inclusive and sustainable agriculture and food systems.<br /> <br /> It is fitting that, in this International Year of Family Farming, there are 100 million fewer hungry people than 10 years ago. Sixty-three countries have halved the portion of their population is undernourished. Our vision of zero hunger is within reach.<br /> <br /> But there is much work to be done. More than 800 million people do not have enough healthy, nutritious food to lead active lives. One in three young children is malnourished.<br /> <br /> Family farmers are key to unlocking global progress. But they are at a disadvantage when it comes to access to technology, services and markets. And they are acutely exposed to extreme weather, climate change and environmental degradation.<br /> <br /> Ensuring equal access, particularly for women, to productive resources is essential to empowering the world's 500 million smallholder farmers to help eradicate poverty and safeguard the environment.<br /> <br /> At the climate summit in New York last month, more than 100 organisations and governments pledged to work more closely with farmers, fishers and livestock keepers to improve food security and nutrition while addressing climate change. The Zero Hunger Challenge and the Scaling Up Nutrition movement are catalysing partnerships with governments, civil society and the private sector. The Committee on World Food Security has made impressive progress on responsible investments in agriculture, addressing food losses and waste, and taking action to promote sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.<br /> <br /> In 2015, we have an opportunity to turn the tide by achieving the Millennium Development Goals, shaping a new agenda for sustainable development, and fostering a meaningful universal climate agreement. A world free from poverty and hunger, where all people have realised their right to adequate food, is central to the future we want.<br /> <br /> On this World Food Day, let us resolve to end hunger in our lifetime?<br /> <br /> Ban Ki-Moon<br /> <br /> Secretary General<br /> <br /> United Nations <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11126594/BAN-KI-MOON_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, October 16, 2014 2:00 AM Has Dr Fenton gone mad? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Has-Dr-Fenton-gone-mad-_17754419 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Jesus wept once again. The minister of health Dr Fenton, Ferguson has declared that he would like to be infected with the CHIKV so that he can better understand and feel what those infected are feeling.<br /> <br /> And when 'mi tell unno seh a so-so mad people a run things inna Jamrock" people are quick to suggest that I am the one who is mad.<br /> <br /> Now, how in Jesus' name would contracting the virus help the situation? So, what happen, does he wish to stay home a few days?<br /> <br /> And this is the man who the prime minister has said that she will not fire. Oh, no! I guess as mad as he may be, he helped her to clean up her constituency.<br /> <br /> I would suggest that since he is so good at cleaning up that the prime minister gives him the position to clean up Jamaica.<br /> <br /> If he is the esteemed minister of health and his solution to the growing epidemic is to become infected himself, God help Jamaica if Ebola gets there.<br /> <br /> Bunch of mad people at the head of the ship. SMH<br /> <br /> Michelle Bradshaw<br /> <br /> michelleannmariebradshaw@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Has Dr Fenton gone mad?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11145603/Fenton-Ferguson2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, October 16, 2014 2:00 AM Attend primary health care facilities first http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Attend-primary-health-care-facilities-first_17754450 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> There is a misconception going around that people are being turned away at hospitals and told to visit the health centre for CHIKV symptoms. There are hundreds of patients seen at hospitals each day for many different complaints, not to mention the emergency cases. Patients without any chronic medical illness, in the acute stage of an illness are being told to visit their health centres. Hospitals, however, have a responsibility to attend to emergency and detrimental patients as priority. It would overwork the resources at the hospitals and staff to attend to everyone who comes with CHIKV symptoms.<br /> <br /> In the humblest terms, please utilise the primary health care facilities to deal with symptoms. They are equipped with the necessary resources, which include medical doctors and other staff and drugs, to treat patients for the virus.<br /> <br /> If the symptoms persist beyond a specified period, then they are advised to revisit the primary health care facilities or the secondary facilities for further treatment. It is never the intention of hospitals to deny anyone access to medical attention at any level. Hospitals are secondary facilities and citizens have not been adequately using them as such. Those with symptoms should follow the necessary guidelines as we use our health services effectively to serve everyone in need.<br /> <br /> We must also learn from this experience to clean up our surroundings to prevent future occurrence and rid our environment of breeding sites for mosquitoes and other vectors, which most times is caused by how we irresponsibly dispose of our waste.<br /> <br /> We should not blame the minister of health or the Government for our irresponsible action, but instead develop ways to keep our homes, communities and country clean. The millions of dollars the Government has had to spend on clean-up efforts could be better spent on infrastructural development.<br /> <br /> Orville Scott<br /> <br /> Vice-Chairman<br /> <br /> St Ann's Bay Hospital Management Committee<br /> <br /> orvillescott@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Attend primary health care facilities first<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11146966/Aedes_aegypti_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, October 16, 2014 2:00 AM Credit unions: Local service, global good http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Credit-unions--Local-service--global-good_17754051 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Today, October 16, 2014, credit unions worldwide will celebrate International Credit Union Day under the theme 'Local Service, Global Good' by joining together and celebrating the movement's history and achievement. This year's theme emphasises credit unions' positive impact in their communities and around the world.<br /> <br /> The credit union movement around the world continues to be a force to be reckoned with by providing their members with peace of mind, safety and financial security. Credit unions provide its members with access to low-interest loan products and high returns on their savings and deposits.<br /> <br /> Each credit union member has equal ownership and one vote regardless of how much money a member has on deposit. At a credit union, every customer is both a member and an owner.<br /> <br /> Credit unions exist to help people, not to make a profit. Their goal is to serve all of their members well. Every member counts. In this financial atmosphere, it is imperative that we become credit union members to not only reap the rewards, but to experience the credit union difference.<br /> <br /> Kelly-Ann Dixon<br /> <br /> dixonkellyann@yahoo.com <br /> <br /> Credit unions: Local service, global good<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11022097/CreditUnionLogo_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, October 16, 2014 2:00 AM When did my beautiful Jamaica become this hell? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/When-did-my-beautiful-Jamaica-become-this-hell-_17748386 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I recently travelled to the United Kingdom for two-and-a-half weeks. While there, I was asked by quite a few people where I was from after they heard me speak. After answering that question, I was asked: "How do you live there with so much crime?" or "Are you not afraid?" Others say: "I have heard so much about Jamaica, but I would never go there!" One said: "I would love to see where Bob Marley came from, but I am afraid."<br /> <br /> All the comments were of this nature, negative. Of course, I would respond in the usual fashion: "It's not as bad as it sounds" or "Don't believe everything you hear."<br /> <br /> Then, I arrive home and I am greeted with the headline 'Slaughter'.<br /> <br /> I do believe it is time to stop trying to fool my myself and other people that it's not so bad. That Jamaica is a wonderful place with nice people. We are not. We are a society full of sick, depraved, violent people who are lazy and not prepared to work and support themselves and who have no regard for other people's life. All they want is the next spliff, a money to buy "a food" and a money to buy the next "outfit" to attend a funeral or a dancehall event.<br /> <br /> When did my beautiful Jamaica become this hell? When did we stop being outraged at the way people expose themselves in public, the language, the lack of respect for authority, the elderly and the disabled, when teachers are not allowed to discipline our children at schools and the road code applies only to a few?<br /> <br /> When are we going to fix this? When are those in authority going to make an effort to get the guns off our streets? Are we going to remain content with just condemning every shooting, with consoling the bereaved families?<br /> <br /> We have very short memories, I say this because all it takes is for our athletes to go abroad and do well -- as they always do -- then we start rejoicing, banging our pot covers, patting ourselves on the back claiming to be this wonderful country and pretending that all is well. All is not well!<br /> <br /> Disillusioned<br /> <br /> rain.st.m@gmail.com<br /> <br /> When did my beautiful Jamaica become this hell?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11146862/MONDAY-OCTOBER-13TH--201401_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, October 15, 2014 2:00 AM Dance ah yard... fix 119 system http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Dance-ah-yard----fix-119-system_17748333 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Our National Security Minister Peter Bunting recently said the military forces of Caribbean and Latin American countries should now start planning to deal with public emergencies arising from a possible Ebola outbreak. Good thinking!<br /> <br /> Now, does the honourable minister have a plan for the implementation of a functional 119 emergency call centre operation? I ask because it doesn't matter what highfalutin headlines are made, if things are muddled on the ground the best made plans will amount to naught.<br /> <br /> My friend's own 2014 experience, in calling 119 after a motor vehicle accident was witnessed on one of our highways, was 13 unanswered phone calls to the 119 emergency number. What then might we expect of a major national emergency, like an Ebola epidemic, where it is critical to isolate and manage the case before further contact and spread?<br /> <br /> During a speech in April 2014, we were promised a functioning emergency call centre. How will emergency calls be handled in the event of a national emergency? Are LIME operators the ones who really handle emergency calls and are they trained in emergency protocols? Do they still have to re-route calls to the problematic JCF call centre? Is the upgrade of the Police Control Centre now a reality? I read that the police were in discussions with LIME to install a state-of-the-art telephone system to efficiently handle emergency calls.<br /> <br /> In June, two months after that promise, the police reported problems again with their 119 emergency number. The then commissioner of police admitted that the system was dropping calls. As a result, calls to the emergency number were not being processed satisfactorily and could have been putting lives at risk. So regarding this regional military cooperation, sequencing in implementation is crucial.<br /> <br /> If we have skipped the smaller steps to go talk about multinational cooperation without fixing the very basics, we are setting up ourselves for failure. We do not need expert judgement or a project management institute designation to know this. The best made emergency response mechanisms will fail if our 119 system is awry. Let's fix the smaller things even as we talk big about regional military cooperation.<br /> <br /> Concerned Citizen<br /> <br /> concernedcitizen25000@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Dance ah yard... fix 119 system<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11141914/Peter-Bunting_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, October 15, 2014 2:00 AM In search of the missing ingredient http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/In-search-of-the-missing-ingredient_17748224 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I will take this opportunity to leave this little note with regard to the Bill Johnson poll on the Government's handling of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal.<br /> <br /> My personal stand from the outset is that we should never have gone to the IMF. And, had we not, we would now be much better off as a people.<br /> <br /> And, still, we are not going to achieve the positives indicated, as the missing ingredient in this scenario is the will to produce.<br /> <br /> All this financial quandary is happening to us as a nation because we are not productive, and no government has got the vision, the focus, the ability, the knack, the desire, and the drive to help us to produce.<br /> <br /> The policies that are in place have been outdated and their reviews seem to be taking decades to be overhauled. So, let us ask ourselves the question: How do we get out of this mess?<br /> <br /> The bottom line is that we need to produce and, like a man with his hands and feet tied, we can go nowhere or do anything industrious until we begin to raise productivity.<br /> <br /> Our economic policies have tied both hands and feet and we further compound the situation with transactions with the International Monetary Fund that still do not bring forth the missing ingredient.<br /> <br /> Let us be positive, put the economic policies in place, and get the missing component, which is production, so we can move forward as a nation.<br /> <br /> Rupert Brown<br /> <br /> Stony Hill, St Andrew<br /> <br /> aat2study@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> In search of <br /> <br /> the missing ingredient<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10791739/IMF-Building_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, October 15, 2014 2:00 AM Appropriate App article, Observer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Appropriate-App-article--Observer_17748254 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I am writing to commend the Jamaica Observer's Arlene Martin-Wilkins on what was a well researched and insightful article written in yesterday's edition, 'There's an App for that?'<br /> <br /> I was indeed fascinated by both the depth and scope of the article and the consummate ease in isolating the issues and areas relating to this emerging global mega trend, aptly called the "sharing economy".<br /> <br /> It is really refreshing when journalists write on issues that are both relevant and resonate with the current generation.<br /> <br /> I take it from the article that this is but the tip of the iceberg. The future seems quite exciting.<br /> <br /> Great job.<br /> <br /> Howard Senior<br /> <br /> howard.senior@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Appropriate App article, Observer<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11147392/bike_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, October 15, 2014 2:00 AM An end to the 'goat culture' http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/An-end-to-the--goat-culture-_17748282 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The cartoon of the late minister of agriculture which showed him at the passsport office highlights the problem of insecurity in our communities.<br /> <br /> Foreigners engaged in farming in Jamaica are helpless to protect themselves from the constant menace of stray goats that attack farm produce. When goats penetrate farmlands and eat up crops there are serious effects.<br /> <br /> ln my community in Priestmas River, l counsel some people that, in the event of goats attacking their crops, they should use dialogue to settle this conflict with the goat owners. However, fights have resulted that ended at the police station.<br /> <br /> This goat culture of attacking farmers' crops must be changed. There should be no reason a hard-working farmer should lose his crops at the hands of heartless goat owners.<br /> <br /> Prophet Faith Sirgba Alih<br /> <br /> Port Antonio<br /> <br /> kingstonmfn@gmail.com<br /> <br /> An end to the <br /> <br /> 'goat culture'<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11140419/goat-relax_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, October 15, 2014 2:00 AM Voter apathy resulted in PNP wins http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Voter-apathy-resulted-in-PNP-wins_17736845 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Much is being said about the Jamaica Labour Party and polls. But what does it mean these days?<br /> <br /> Here are the facts for the past 31 years between 1980 and 2011. Seven real elections have been held.<br /> <br /> Election year Voter Turnout Winning Party<br /> <br /> 1980 86% JLP<br /> <br /> 1983 PNP boycott JLP<br /> <br /> 1989 77% PNP<br /> <br /> 1993 67% PNP<br /> <br /> 1997 65% PNP<br /> <br /> 2002 59% PNP<br /> <br /> 2007 61% JLP<br /> <br /> 2011 53% PNP<br /> <br /> Average Voter turnout: 66%<br /> <br /> Average Voter turnout when PNP won 5 elections: 64%<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Average Voter turnout when JLP won 2 elections: 74%<br /> <br /> So factually, low voter turnout has proven to be in the PNP's favour.<br /> <br /> Political leaders must remember that voters in whatever economic class all have one vote each. And the majority is what counts on election day across all 63 constituencies. Leadership maturity and wisdom will be key in the next election. The JLP's ability to significantly increase voter turnout across all the economic and social classes will be very important in the next general election in 2016. Look for the return of Christopher Tufton to help this strategy.<br /> <br /> For the PNP, look for the continued grass-roots engagements. Especially in the less than 35 age group. The party that can register and mobilise this age group to the polls will win. Hence, the use of mobile phones and mobile platform devices will be critical in the next general election. We saw the effective use of mobile platforms in both Obama election victories. The electorate in 2016 will be far more informed about the issues and challenges facing our country. To assume otherwise would be politically arrogant and unwise.<br /> <br /> May God continue to bless our country and inspire our leaders to say and do the right things to build a better and safer Jamaica for all.<br /> <br /> Lennox Parkins, MBA, PMP, CPA, CMA<br /> <br /> Toronto, Canada<br /> <br /> allan_parks@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Voter apathy resulted in PNP wins<br /> <br /> --><br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/7586486/PNP-NEC_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, October 15, 2014 2:00 AM God helps those who help themselves http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/God-helps-those-who-help-themselves_17725348 Watching what is taking place as it relates to Jamaica and politics makes me sick. Here we have citizens dying in hospital waiting rooms, health minister denying that there is an epidemic, our dollar has no value, and instead of banding together, the divide is now even wider because election fever is in the air and suddenly the party that one is affiliated with is now the best party to lead.<br /> <br /> The Labourites are jumping around over one stupid poll and behaving as though a poll in and of itself can fix Jamaica. See the Comrades shouting 'Portia' and trying to defend the indefensible. And, somewhere in the middle, the reality of the mess that the country is in seems to be lost on everyone.<br /> <br /> Andrew is once again the messiah, and if the JLP wins the next election, manna will be falling from heaven, and water will be changed into wine. While, on the other side. Portia will continue to be queen, and the people of the land will continue to listen to her pontificate.<br /> <br /> Should elections be called tomorrow, the cry will be either shower or power, and nothing about justice, human and equal rights for Jamaicans. The cycle of 'blame the other party' will once again continue, and history will continue to repeat itself.<br /> <br /> At what point do Jamaicans stop to consider why they vote and what their votes mean? Do we vote because we want better, or do we vote on the basis of making sure that the party we favour is the one in power? The people of Jamaica have the power to change things, but sadly political affiliations and the slavery mentality are so strong and lack that many of us have yet to really figure out just how powerful we really are as a people.<br /> <br /> The sad thing is that many of us make the same mistakes over and over and then turn around and wait for God to fix it. I would like to remind all of us that God helps those who help themselves. And, as much as He is a miracle worker, He is no magician to simply wave His wand and make things better as we continue to make a mess of our true potential.<br /> <br /> Michelle Bradshaw<br /> <br /> michelleannmariebradshaw@gmail.com<br /> <br /> God helps those who help themselves<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10800238/JLP-sign_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, October 14, 2014 2:00 AM J'can public holidays are there for a purpose, Mr Chin http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/J-can-public-holidays-are-there-for-a-purpose--Mr-Chin_17736872 Recent pronouncements by businessman Lascelles Chin regarding public holidays is cause for concern.<br /> <br /> As he would be aware, a sovereign nation and/or territories observe holidays based on events of significance to their history. These days essentially are meant for rest, reflection, and in some cases celebration. While we acknowledge Chin's thrust for Jamaica to become more productive to increase exports while decreasing imports, this ought not to be the rationale for a review of the number of public holidays.<br /> <br /> Jamaica officially has approximately 10 public holidays per annum. While one may be tempted to compare Jamaican holidays to other countries viewed as more productive, we must remember that the number of holidays are not dependent on countries in the region, nor countries more productive, but rather in review of the history of the nation and the roots which helped to shape Jamaica as a country today.<br /> <br /> In reality, the majority of these people in the productive industries are at the bottom end of the salary scale, they are the ones who work under untenable conditions to increase output and profits for the minority. It is these people who look forward to a break from the grind, but it seems like their rest is too much time lost. In the pursuit of the dollar, we are prepared to work the bottom line while the minority reaps the reward. Can the poor man ever win?<br /> <br /> If there is ever a discussion surrounding the reduction of public holidays then there must be an increase in vacation and sick days. There must be a thorough review of the relevance of holidays, their impact on productivity and the economy, but more importantly, the impact on the worker. If we fail to place the needs of the worker as a priority, then we are continuing the legacy of slavery and servanthood.<br /> <br /> Timothy Cawley<br /> <br /> cawley.timothy@gmail.com<br /> <br /> J'can public holidays are there for a purpose, Mr Chin<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11143244/Lascelles-Chin_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, October 14, 2014 2:00 AM