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 Is there racism in Miss Universe pageant? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Is-there-racism-in-Miss-Universe-pageant-_18302218 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Admittedly, there were some gorgeous women competing in the recent Miss Universe pageant, including our very own Kaci Fennell -- who did amazingly well! I agree with many that she should've won, or at least placed much higher than fifth.<br /> <br /> These pageants are often laced with controversy, politics, stereotypes, and even mischief. I had concerns immediately upon noticing the lack of ethnic diversity on the judging panel. It was not surprising that there was not one black-skinned girl in the top 15 this year. And, if memory is correct, the same thing happened last year.<br /> <br /> In the 63-year history of Miss Universe, only four black-skinned girls have managed to win the pageant. This year there were stunning afro beauties from Ghana, Guyana, Angola, Aruba, Turks and Caicos, Curacao, South Africa, yet none made it to advanced rounds of competition. And don't tell me these girls weren't smart or personable enough as national winners. Guyana, for instance, who is absolutely stunning, is nearing the end of her medical studies.<br /> <br /> Black girls have to work twice as hard to get noticed, and they are rarely listed as favourites. Usually they have to settle with some arbitrary consolation prize, such as 'most congenial'. Girls who don't fit into the standard 'look' will have a difficult time. Not surprisingly, most winners are Latinos and Caucasian, and, of course, USA is almost always a finalist no matter what, the pageant being USA owned.<br /> <br /> We know there are far more important things in the world, but one cannot deny these pageants are entertaining with strong commercial value as they are followed by millions globally and covered by all major news outlets. Multi-racial countries like Jamaica should never compromise principles to please Miss Universe. Countries sending black delegates need to stay the course, raise the bar and continue to hold their heads high, otherwise they should boycott this particular pageant.<br /> <br /> At least Miss World, with its European base, seemingly has a more level field and a greater sense of purpose with its global charity work, which is why it attracts so many participants every year. Any country can win Miss World. Country franchise holders within the Miss Universe organisation need to be more vocal, they should speak up or pull out.<br /> <br /> Jamaicans need not be bitter about Kaci's Miss Universe loss. It may very well end up being her gain. I believe racial stereotypes and prejudices must be dealt with head-on a very principled, dignified and forceful response.<br /> <br /> P Chin<br /> <br /> chin_p@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Is there racism in Miss Universe pageant?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11454494/Miss-Universe-2014-top-5_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, January 28, 2015 12:00 AM 100 murders in a month?! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/100-murders-in-a-month--_18302746 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The crime situation is quite alarming and the fears of the Jamaican people of the spike in the number of homicide is further exacerbated by the minister's statement to Parliament that murders may very well reach the 100 mark by the end of this month. Frightening indeed!<br /> <br /> Crime in Jamaica, like anywhere else in the world, is a social and economic problem. And, unless the Government and other stakeholders start treating crime as such our homicide rate will not reach any manageable level.<br /> <br /> Most of our crime hot spots in this country cannot be effectively policed due to infrastructural network deficiencies in these unplanned communities. Inner-city squatter communities and other unplanned communities account for the majority of criminals and criminal activities.When the socio-economic background of the criminals are checked out it has been observed that most are from the lower socio-economic grouping. Let us start the intervention and strategy at the social and economic levels. It may take more time, but it is the most effective and guranteed way to arrest this monster.<br /> <br /> Fernandez Smith<br /> <br /> Duanvale PO<br /> <br /> fgeorgesmith@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> 100 murders in a month?!<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, January 28, 2015 3:00 AM Jamaica should consider coal with an open mind http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Jamaica-should-consider-coal-with-an-open-mind-_18302046 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The dangers of coal have decreased with advancements in clean coal technologies (CCTs). These technologies minimise the release of pollutants, such as oxides of sulphur (SOx) and nitrogen (NOx), and particulate and trace elements, such as mercury, lead and arsenic.<br /> <br /> CCTs are a range of technological options which improve the environmental performance of coal. For example, converting coal to gas through integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC), which uses up to 40 per cent less water and up to 90 per cent of mercury emissions can be captured, compared to conventional coal plants. Emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) are reduced up to 99 per cent, and particulate emissions are reduced to almost zero (World Coal Institute).<br /> <br /> This process is clean and enables high efficiency of electricity generation. The reason is that, using IIGCC, coal is not combusted directly, but reacted with oxygen and steam to produce a synthesis gas composed mainly of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. This synthesis gas is cleaned of impurities and then burnt in a gas turbine to generate electricity.<br /> <br /> The world is also exploring hydrogen-based energy systems in which hydrogen is used to produce electricity from gas turbines and fuel cells. Fuel cells use electrochemical reactions between hydrogen and oxygen, instead of a combustion process, to produce electricity. Hydrogen does not occur naturally in usable quantities but we can use fossil fuels to manufacture it. Coal, with the biggest and most widespread reserves of any fossil fuel, is a primary candidate to provide hydrogen and, through coal gasification, this process can generate the increasing global demand of electricity. Europe, Japan, the USA, and New Zealand all have active hydrogen programmes and are considering coal as an option to produce hydrogen. Energy is vital to our national development and we should consider coal with an open mind.<br /> <br /> Tashfeen Ahmad<br /> <br /> St Andrew<br /> <br /> mrtashfeen@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, January 28, 2015 3:00 AM We want justice! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/We-want-justice-_18302137 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> This is an open letter to the Prime Minister of Jamaica Portia Simpson Miller:<br /> <br /> On behalf of our people, I am demanding that immediate steps be taken to give priority to improve the justice system, which is disgracefully underfunded, or everyone of you in Government should resign for denying justice to the people.<br /> <br /> It is no wonder so many people do not vote at elections. I am absolutely sorry for the chief justice and her department, she is being given 'basket to carry water'.<br /> <br /> There was a time in this country when I felt to lead a revolution when Michael Manley was mashing up the country with his ill-conceived socialism, which he abandoned as he matured. That feeling has been back for quite some time and I hope I will not have to give effect to it. To remove any doubt, the revolution I contemplate is peaceful and absolutely non-violent, as the late President Kennedy said, "War would result in ashes in our mouths," when he refused to go to war over the notorious Cuban crisis. Nobody wins a war of violence.<br /> <br /> Finally, I do not want to hear you saying 'I love the poor' anymore; I want to hear you pledge to reduce poverty and increase the middle class and give priority to the justice system.<br /> <br /> Owen S Crosbie<br /> <br /> Attorney/Barrister-at-law<br /> <br /> oss@cwjamaica.com<br /> <br /> We want justice!<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, January 28, 2015 3:00 AM Special thank you http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Special-thank-you_18302030 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> This letter serves to highlight the good deed performed by a driver of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company Greater Portmore #17 bus who diverted from his route to take my mother to the doctor at the Edgewater Medical Complex, as she was experiencing severe breathing problems. It happened on Friday, January 23, 2015 about 7:00 pm.<br /> <br /> The passengers who played significant roles in ensuring she was well attended to while on the bus also cannot be overlooked. An extra special thank you to the lady who came off the bus and stayed at the doctor's office until I arrived. Sadly, I didn't get her name as I rushed to my mom's side when I got to the doctor's office. I want them to know that I am eternally grateful for their acts of kindness.<br /> <br /> Because of this great kindness, my mother was able to see another day. She is currently hospitalised and doing much better. She had bags of grocery with her that also made it to the doctor's office that evening and I can say, on her behalf, a heartfelt thank-you to all who helped.<br /> <br /> I just want to encourage us all to continue to live in love and to look out for each other. It could have been any one of us. Please extend my thanks to them.<br /> <br /> Stacy Ann Hyde<br /> <br /> 4 East, Greater Portmore<br /> <br /> stacyannhyde2011@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Special thank you<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, January 28, 2015 3:00 AM Bill Clinton was in fact impeached http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Bill-Clinton-was-in-fact-impeached_18278833 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Maybe the holiday spirit had got into your usual on-point writers in your December 31, 2014 edition, when one wrote: "Former United States President Bill Clinton was almost impeached and removed from office for a sexual act which was not illegal and was socially acceptable."<br /> <br /> This, as far as I am aware, is incorrect, as I believe your writer is under the impression that impeachment in the US system implies being removed from office, though it may be so in other jurisdictions.<br /> <br /> President Clinton was in fact impeached. Impeachment of a president is, in the American system, similar to being indicted for a crime. However, Clinton was found not guilty in the subsequent trial in the United States Congress.<br /> <br /> Impeachment is a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity, the outcome of which, depending on the country, may include the removal of that official from office as well as criminal or civil punishment.<br /> <br /> Summed up very simply, Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States, was impeached by the House of Representatives on two charges, one of perjury, and one of obstruction of justice, on December 19, 1998.<br /> <br /> Two other impeachment articles, a second perjury charge, and a charge of abuse of power, failed in the House.<br /> <br /> He was acquitted of both charges by the Senate on February 12, 1999.<br /> <br /> The trial in the United States Senate began right after the seating of the 106th Congress, in which the Republicans began with 55 senators. A two-thirds vote (67 senators) was required to remove Clinton from office. Fifty senators voted to remove Clinton on the obstruction of justice charge and 45 voted to remove him on the perjury charge.<br /> <br /> Errol K Miller<br /> <br /> errol.miller@lime.com<br /> <br /> CAP<br /> <br /> Bill Clinton<br /> <br /> Bill Clinton was in fact impeached<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11451245/bill-clinton_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, January 27, 2015 2:00 AM Charge vendors a fee to sell on buses http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Charge-vendors-a-fee-to-sell-on-buses_18292711 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), and by extension the Jamaican taxpayer, has had to contend with haemorrhaging losses on a daily, weekly, and ultimately annual basis. To say that losses at the State-run bus company are seemingly permanent fixture is to put it mildly.<br /> <br /> Along with this big elephant of financial losses, the transport giant has had to contend with other issues, especially as it relates the cleanliness of the internal environment of the buses. It is this niggling issue which, one suspects, gave credence to the position taken by the management team to ban vendors who seek to ply their wares on the buses. Notwithstanding the fact that, as a regular user of JUTC buses, I do encounter garbage on some buses, I think that total preclusion was and is not necessarily the best course of action.<br /> <br /> Along with this big elephant of financial losses, the transport giant has had to contend with other issues, especially as it relates the cleanliness of the internal environment of the buses. It is this niggling issue which, one suspects, gave credence to the position taken by the management team to ban vendors who seek to ply their wares on the buses. Notwithstanding the fact that, as a regular user of JUTC buses, I do encounter garbage on some buses, I think that total preclusion was and is not necessarily the best course of action.<br /> <br /> Considering the cash-strapped nature of the company, it may be prudent for the JUTC to investigate avenues by which vendors could actually be charged a daily, weekly or monthly fee which would grant them access to the buses and ply their goods.<br /> <br /> This fee payment would entitle venndors to some sort of access card or certificate which would be shown to bus drivers. The earnings from such a venture may not accrue to millions, but it offers an opportunity to both the bus company and vendors to arrive at a mutually beneficial position.<br /> <br /> As far as the cleanliness goes, I believe that as commuters and citizens we must take civic pride in our environs and institutions, inclusive of the JUTC buses, and as such were are just as accountable for keeping the buses clean as are the resident workers of the company.<br /> <br /> Noel Matherson<br /> <br /> Charge vendors a fee to sell on buses<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11451246/Jutc-buses_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, January 27, 2015 2:00 AM The sacrament of 'herb ganja' http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/The-sacrament-of--herb-ganja-_18292677 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Members of the Rasta faith only want to cultivate ganja to be used for religious purposes.<br /> <br /> Those people who are not Rastafarians want to allow the enemy of Rasta and busybody people to highlight Rasta as exporters, when we are not.<br /> <br /> When Matthew speaks of "senior members", who are these senior members? And why are they hiding The Church of Haile Selassie I from the public, when the Church of Haile Selassie I is the only legal entity for Rasta in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Now dealing with the "herb ganja" as a holy sacrament, it is only the Church of Haile Selassie I that can make ganja holy, through the ritual of consubstantial, it becomes a holy sacrament, The Might of The Holy Trinity comparable to the Eucharist of the established churches.<br /> <br /> With Groundation and Tabernacle 2015, that is just a word name. When groups of people meet, chant, and smoke, the essence of sacramental meaning is not there.<br /> <br /> Rasta is heterogeneous, irrespective of this, the Church of Haile Selassie I is the only legal entity that can administer "herb ganja" as a holy sacrament spiritually and give the Rasta spiritual representation.<br /> <br /> I believe the Minister of Justice Senator Mark Golding should, in the future, involve the Church of Haile Selassie I in his future statements and considerations, because he was there at our incorporation and knows the validity of the Church of Haile Selassie I.<br /> <br /> The Church of Haile Selassie I is the only organisation in Rasta worldwide that can administer the consubstantial necessary to Rasta to validate, spiritually, dealing with any sacrament of the Rasta movement. Groundation Tabernacle chant cannot perform this ritual; this is the main reason that Rasta should stop hiding the Church of Haile Selassie I, because we are the only house that is legit.<br /> <br /> Give thanks.<br /> <br /> Abuna Foxe<br /> <br /> himchurchorg@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> The sacrament of 'herb ganja'<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11404633/Ganja-plant-1_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, January 27, 2015 1:00 AM Public sector workers should be realistic http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Public-sector-workers-should-be-realistic_18292682 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It would seem that some of our public sector workers are now expecting a wage increase that is commensurate with the years that they have been holding fast.<br /> <br /> I heard one trade union announcing that it plans to ask for to 40 per cent wage increase over three years, including a 15 per cent increase in the first year. I would caution these workers not to bank on that.<br /> <br /> I know that these trade unions that are asking for such a high wage increase are sticking to a well-known negotiating tactic -- ask for a high amount first in the hope that a compromise will not leave their interest at too great a disadvantage -- however, these trade unions must realise by now that such a plan won't go very far this time.<br /> <br /> With an economy that is stagnant and the restrictions that the government has agreed with its creditors, it is unlikely that our public sector workers will get any double-digit wage increase.<br /> <br /> I think that many of them realise this. Those who don't need to wake up. Though it may appear that the State can find millions to pay a few lawyers, the truth of the matter is that we just cannot afford to pay our public sector workers what they deserve.<br /> <br /> These trade unions need to stop giving our public sector workers false hope. Many of these workers have now begun to cling to the "expectation" of getting something that is impossible -- a double-digit wage increase.<br /> <br /> It would be good if both the Government and these trade unions could reach a stage of maturity that will allow them to let these public sector workers understand that any increase that they may get will be way below what some of these unions are causing these workers to expect.<br /> <br /> While it is true that a large increase may be deserved, the reality is that these workers will not get it.<br /> <br /> Michael A Dingwall<br /> <br /> michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Public sector workers should be realistic<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, January 27, 2015 3:00 AM How quickly the Gov't has recreated a telecoms monopoly? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/How-quickly-the-Gov-t-has-recreated-a-telecoms-monopoly-_18278802 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Cable and Wireless's merger with Columbus (Flow) will give control of the island's fibre and Internet connectivity with the rest of the world to one company, which will essentially have a monopoly over fixed line, fixed broadband, and subscriber television services in Jamaica. The Government approved the creation of this telecommunications monopoly with lightning speed. It was surprising to see that Minister Phillip Paulwell gave his nod to this deal in just two months.<br /> <br /> Some customers might think that this merger is a good thing, but a monopolistic environment usually allows for higher prices. It also gives the sole provider the ability to withhold or limit key telecommunications services.<br /> <br /> The Government now needs to see how quickly it can put in place regulations for these services, so that prices do not go up and service quality does not go down.<br /> <br /> Marlon Powell<br /> <br /> Southfield, St Elizabeth<br /> <br /> marlonpowelljm@gmail.com<br /> <br /> How quickly the Gov't has recreated a telecoms monopoly?<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11415148/Phillip-Paulwell_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, January 26, 2015 12:00 AM All the best for Lloyd Bogle http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/All-the-best-for-Lloyd-Bogle_18265980 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Well done, Jamaica Observer, on your ongoing coverage of the plight of Lloyd Bogle.<br /> <br /> I recently had a setback at the hands of the Canadian High Commission. My mother, who has been living in Toronto since 1992 with my sister, who is a citizen since the early 70s, turned 100 in September and as we all know, 100 should be a big celebration. So all my relatives from all over the USA and Canada were present.<br /> <br /> I applied to the High Commission for a visa to attend and was turned down. Actually, I have been to Canada on several occasions. Once, during my high school days, I spent most of my summer in Hamilton with my sister. On another occasion I visited NY and went to Manhattan and applied for a Canadian visa, which I got, and went across for a week. I also received a visa in 1985 and visited for my honeymoon.<br /> <br /> You can imagine how I felt seeing the pictures of my mother and the rest of my family via the Internet celebrating her centenary and not being a part of all that. Well, that's a part of life, I guess.<br /> <br /> I wish Lloyd Bogle all the best.<br /> <br /> Andrew Thomas<br /> <br /> Vineyard Town<br /> <br /> andrewjamest@hotmail.com <br /> <br /> All the best for Lloyd Bogle<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11439729/lbp_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, January 23, 2015 2:00 AM CWC/Columbus merger Christmas again http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/CWC-Columbus-merger-Christmas-again_18258718 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> My sincerest gratitude to Minister Phillip Paulwell for approving the merger of Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) and Columbus Communications, parent company of Flow. Not only is the merger a positive move, but both entities as well as their customers will greatly benefit from the marriage.<br /> <br /> With CWC already being dominant in the landline market, the merger with Flow will drastically increase its presence in the telecommunications, broadband, and cable markets, which will give the company additional ammunition to fight for market share with Digicel.<br /> <br /> CWC will now have more medium channels which it can use to its advantage and by cutting cost, leaving more money in the budget to be used in other areas to help in strengthening marketing strategies, products and services. These lower costs can only benefit the customer, being passed on in the form of lower bills.<br /> <br /> Regardless of how the pendulum swings during the transfer, Minister Paulwell has assured that customers will be receiving the best value. The end result of the CWC/Columbus merger can only be bigger and better than what now exists. Subscribers to both entities can keep their current packages or opt for more convenient packages after the merger is effected.<br /> <br /> I am quite satisfied with my cable/Internet packages, but with new rates and possible cost reduction coming, for me an upgrade is a must. It will be Christmas again but early in the new year.<br /> <br /> I can't wait!<br /> <br /> Sasha-Gaye Chambers,<br /> <br /> Spring Farm Road<br /> <br /> St James<br /> <br /> CWC/Columbus merger Christmas again<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11221229/c-w_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, January 23, 2015 2:00 AM Puffing weed up judges' noses beyond contempt of court http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Puffing-weed-up-judges--noses-beyond-contempt-of-court_18265558 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Much has been made of the Government's commitment to the rule of law in its relations with the international community. While our commitment to the international community is admirable, it is disingenuous to parade ourselves as obeying international laws when we ignore our own laws at home.<br /> <br /> Every day there are new instances of the chipping away of the fabric of our civil society. The dwindling of a society of law and social order takes place as much within the halls of government as it does on the streets. When government sanctions, allows or partakes in law-breaking, it delegitimises the very constitution its members swore to uphold.<br /> <br /> It contributes to an unfortunate trend of backwardness and social decline and takes away their moral authority to police the very laws they swore to uphold. The members of society who wear the uniform of government represent the government and are paid and charged to act on our behalf.<br /> <br /> That prisoners smoke ganja in the cells downstairs the Supreme Court building drew sharp criticism from a senior judge recently. This was happening right under the judges' noses! With much audacity, the smokers inhaled and puffed.<br /> <br /> Where are the supervising officers in the Supreme Court? This should never have happened, but worse, it befuddles my mind that it happens all the time.<br /> <br /> The Supreme Court building is also an enclosed place. Ganja is an illegal substance, and it is repeatedly allowed to be passed to prisoners. I am making the assumption that the prisoners were the ones getting their high on. If I am right, then officials are either lax in their duties or turning a blind eye.<br /> <br /> But this is also contempt of the court, as sending fumes up the judges' noses disrespects and opposes the dignity of the court.<br /> <br /> The international community, to which we pledged commitment to the rule of law, will not ignore our blatant disregard for our very own domestic rule of law. We cannot be serious about finding overseas partners for economic growth and development when we shamelessly allow our laws to be broken inside one of the highest halls of government and justice.<br /> <br /> Sandra M Taylor Wiggan<br /> <br /> sandra_wiggan@yahoo.co.uk<br /> <br /> Puffing weed up judges' noses beyond contempt of court<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10984298/Ganja-2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, January 23, 2015 2:00 AM Deal with waste, stop wasting money http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Deal-with-waste--stop-wasting-money_18265589 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I am sure there were many who were shocked to see the volume of garbage being dragged from the drains of Kingston by government workers at the cost of millions of taxpayer dollars.<br /> <br /> And then they would have been equally disappointed as a lukewarm plea went out from local government officers urging people to stop dumping garbage in drains and gullies.<br /> <br /> Many people before have made such pleas and have got nowhere. So, please, get real!<br /> <br /> The Ministry of Local Government has generally proven to be a lukewarm entity that apparently knows nothing about garbage solutions, except to put up "a mini recycling entity" as a face-card and ignore the mammoth garbage reality. Its efforts have been an incredible waste of taxpayers' money as there is no measure of success and no accountability.<br /> <br /> The plea should have been presented with a plan to set up garbage receptacles inside markets to separate plastics and other salvageables from the valuable organic matter and other refuse. This should be supported by the presence of official uniformed litter wardens (ie parish council enforcers) to enforce the laws.<br /> <br /> We are not a nation of wild animals. We are, in fact, intelligent human beings who can act sanely and sensibly, but not without more than a gentle push here and there to insist that rules are put in place and garbage management followed according to the existing laws.<br /> <br /> Some stricter laws, official litter wardens and knowledge of garbage separation will cost a lot less than trying to unblock totally clogged insanitary drains and water courses. Try it nuh?<br /> <br /> Marguerite Gauron<br /> <br /> Portland<br /> <br /> hmgauron@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Deal with waste, stop wasting money<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/8729821/port-henderson-gully_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, January 23, 2015 2:00 AM Respect your passengers http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Respect-your-passengers_18242584 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> There are some public transport operators who are still playing filthy music on their buses.<br /> <br /> If the drivers and conductors respected themselves and the passengers, including little children, if they had respect for senior citizens and even the God who created them, they wouldn't dare to play such foul music.<br /> <br /> What the drivers and conductors should be doing is to ask the Almighty to protect them from accidents and provide passengers for them so that they can maintain their jobs. That would be 100 per cent better than contaminating our minds with unacceptable music.<br /> <br /> One day, while travelling on a minibus, I kindly asked the driver if he could stop playing lewd songs, but he didn't. What really puzzled me was that there were more women in the bus than men, and no one said anything.<br /> <br /> If they choose to play music on their buses, then they should play decent songs that can uplift the passengers and enlighten their minds.<br /> <br /> The drivers and conductors need to bear in mind that what they are doing is against the law, so they should desist, and respect their passengers.<br /> <br /> Donald J Mckoy<br /> <br /> donaldmckoy2010@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Respect your passengers<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/7611711/coaster-bus_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, January 23, 2015 2:00 AM Speak your truths, Messrs Vaz and Crawford http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Speak-your-truths--Messrs-Vaz-and-Crawford_18258719 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Both Mr Daryl Vaz and Mr Damion Crawford are under fire from fellow Jamaicans because both dared to speak a truth which no one seems to want to hear.<br /> <br /> Mr Vaz had the audacity, it seems, to suggest that the jlp is in need of help, and Mr Crawford had the audacity, it seems, to suggest that Jamaicans should migrate and seek better jobs in other countries and send home the money through remittances in order to help Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Both men spoke a truth which the diehard supporters from either side do not wish to hear. They have grown so accustomed to lies and empty promises that even when the truth is staring them right in the face they choose to deny it.<br /> <br /> Even the blind can see that the JLP is in need of serious help as the leader does not seem to know where he is going, much like the one from the PNP who claims to be leading now. How quickly those who support the JLP seem to forget the cries of "Call it, Andrew, call it", and the outcome after the election.<br /> <br /> There are those who wish to silence people when they speak. Well, those who can think for themselves and are not easily led can see that all is not as kosher in the JLP as some would want us to believe.<br /> <br /> Now, when the junior minister in the PNP Government can say that Jamaicans need to migrate to seek better jobs, that is an indication that this present Gov't is not doing well either, and anyone who denies this fact is lost. But he also spoke the truth, and instead of understanding that truth, he too is under fire for saying it, because according to the tribal laws of politics in 'Jamrock', you dare not speak up or speak out against the party you are affiliated with, because as far as some Jamaicans are concerned, that is treason.<br /> <br /> See how sad as a people we really are? That even when the truth is spoken we put party first.<br /> <br /> I say to both Mr Vaz and Mr Crawford, speak your truths, no matter the cost; those who wish to hear will hear. Those who continue to deny it in the face of love for politician and political party do so to the detriment of both people and country.<br /> <br /> Michelle Bradshaw<br /> <br /> michelleannmariebradshaw@gmail.com<br /> <br /> Speak your truths, Messrs Vaz and Crawford<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11435986/crawford_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, January 22, 2015 1:00 AM Great going, Kaci! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Great-going--Kaci-_18258713 Anyone who has been following the Miss Universe pageant so far must be immensely proud of Kaci Fennell and the way she has represented herself and Jamaica over the past several weeks in Doral, Florida.<br /> <br /> Her bubbly personality, confidence, and the way she stays true to herself and her Jamaican roots, always energetic and smiling, remind us of another beautiful Jamaican ambassador who rose to the top recently -- Tessanne Chin.<br /> <br /> Kaci has been consistent and emerged an instant favourite the moment she landed in Florida. This year in particular, there is keen interest in the pageant, mainly because it is so close to home, being held in Miami Dade County, home to many Latinos who traditionally tend to win this pageant, and also home to many Jamaicans and other Caribbean nationals eager and willing to see one of our girls crowned for a change.<br /> <br /> Not surprisingly, tickets for the final on Sunday, January 25, 2015 were sold out almost immediately.<br /> <br /> The Miss Universe Jamaica organisers seemed to have done a great job this year revamping the local pageant. As the Miss Universe 2014/15 pageant draws to a close this weekend, we wish Kaci the very best. Jamaicans everywhere got your back, Kaci.<br /> <br /> P Chin<br /> <br /> chin_p@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> Great <br /> <br /> going, <br /> <br /> Kaci!<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11435973/Kaci-Fennell_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, January 22, 2015 12:01 AM How banks benefit http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/How-banks-benefit_18258714 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The recent response by a bank customer with regards to banks not releasing US dollar funds from US cheques deposited is so true.<br /> <br /> In the USA, after 9/11 planes were grounded and banks could not exchange cheques for settlement in a timely manner. At that point the US Government implemented Check 21. This is a scanning system that banks (including those in Jamaica) use to electronically scan and transmit cheques for settlement.<br /> <br /> The information is scanned on the day the banks process the cheques and settlement is provided on the next day to the depositing bank. In the event a cheque is being returned for insufficient funds, etc the depositing bank is notified electronically within five days from deposit.<br /> <br /> Now you can see how banks benefit from the "float" on these cheques when they 'hold' the customers' funds, in many cases for over 30 days, as mentioned by a previous reader. This can result in millions of dollars in revenue for the depositing bank, depending on dollar value of cheques deposited, in what is referred to as a Cash Letter.<br /> <br /> Chris Raymond<br /> <br /> Retired banker<br /> <br /> Florida<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11432779/BOJ-2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, January 22, 2015 1:00 AM Denunciation of bank charges really political cowardice http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Denunciation-of-bank-charges-really-political-cowardice_18258716 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> In response to the story headlined 'House committee denounces high bank charges' published in yesterday's edition of the Jamaica Observer, this is not the first time that a minister of government or a member of parliament has denounced these charges.<br /> <br /> Denunciation is too little, too late and smacks of political cowardice.<br /> <br /> High charges do not sum up the financial profligacy of the Jamaican banking institutions.<br /> <br /> A few years ago, I sent a money order to a co-operative bank for deposit to my account. The bank returned the money order and stated that it did not accept money orders.<br /> <br /> I visited the bank and attempted to withdraw a portion of my savings. At the same time, I tried to deposit a personal cheque. The bank refused to let me withdraw the sum that I needed, although the sum I needed had no bearing on the cheque I wanted to deposit.<br /> <br /> I was angry and closed the account. Needless to say, I was charged a significant sum as penalty for closing the account.<br /> <br /> In late November 2014, I mailed a cheque dated December 1 to my bank in Jamaica. My US bank records show that the funds were taken from my account on December 10, 2014.<br /> <br /> Death in my family forced me to come to Jamaica on January 2, 2015. On January 10, I could only withdraw funds that were available since July 2014. On January 12, I visited the bank and was told that I could not draw on the funds until January 19, supposedly 35 days after my deposit. By my calculation, January 19 would make it 40 days after the cheque cleared my US bank. (Dec 10 - Jan 19).<br /> <br /> Imagine the many thousands of depositors whose funds are being "cashnapped" by our financial institutions!<br /> <br /> Please note that at the time, I had men engaged in work on my property. I was forced to abort some of this work and the workers lost out on earning needed incomes.<br /> <br /> Banks are stifling economic activity and are egregiously profiting from the hard work of others. They then build large and impressive edifices and show fat black bottom lines.<br /> <br /> One role of government is to protect its citizens.<br /> <br /> Louis Alexander Hemans<br /> <br /> Hyattsville,<br /> <br /> MD USA<br /> <br /> Denunciation of bank charges really political cowardice<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11271324/MONEY_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, January 22, 2015 1:00 AM The brilliance of Alia&rsquo;s speech http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/The-brilliance-of-Alia-s-speech_18247563 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Excellence was definitely on display at the 54th RJR Sports Foundation Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards ceremony. The brilliant performances of all the athlete was a sight to behold and the calibre of athletes we have in our midst resonates in my mind.<br /> <br /> We should be very proud of the exemplary personalities of the athletes and their quest for greatness. The professional disposition and display of the performers Ikaya and Shaggy were also a delight. The ceremony was well executed, the only glitch being that the chess players were checkmated.<br /> <br /> But what stood out in my mind is the response of the ultimate winners, especially Alia Atkinson. What a fantastic display of public speaking. Alia is now like a beacon of hope. She had me at the edge of my chair all through her quality display of God-given eloquence.<br /> <br /> She actually silenced the crowd at the Pegasus hotel. Everybody was just listening. Her presentation was the most brilliant I have ever heard in all my years listening to these awards. She really wowed me.<br /> <br /> It would be hard to ignore Nicholas 'Axeman' Walters' splendid showing after Alia. He did well too in putting across hope for Jamaica, and showing his appreciation for his coach and the people of his adopted country.<br /> <br /> I do hope Alia will cannon her way into the future and be a supporting element for young swimmers who need a role model. I charge youngsters to emulate the deep commitment of these two stalwarts and be game-changers like them in the development and advancement of the cause of Jamaica, land we love.<br /> <br /> Paris Taylor<br /> <br /> Greater Portmore<br /> <br /> paristaylor82@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> The brilliance of Alia's speech<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11433064/ALIA-ADDRESS-2_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, January 21, 2015 12:00 AM J'can women have much to be proud of http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/J-can-women-have-much-to-be-proud-of_18248956 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I wish to applaud Jamaica and Jamaican women for the remarkable achievement attained for being recognised as the country with the most female managers in the world.<br /> <br /> Jamaica has outshone itself in many fields and set many records for the world to emulate. The year 2015 has started off with this historic and record-breaking milestone of being the country where, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), just under 60 per cent of our island-nation's management force is female, the highest level anywhere in the world.<br /> <br /> Jamaica has now placed itself as the epitome of women's empowerment and gender equality, and has set a strong example of what women are able to achieve. This is an outstanding accomplishment to be celebrated. It speaks to the excellence, strength and tenacity of our Jamaican women and to a country which has achieved gender parity at a time when many countries are struggling to do so.<br /> <br /> We stand as an example for the world to emulate and at the forefront of the international cause for women leaders, breaking barriers and shattering the glass ceiling.<br /> <br /> History is repelete with many examples of Jamaican women who have achieved tremendous success in their fields of endeavour and we salute and applaud the Jamaican woman for what they have achieved and will continue to achieve. I am a proud Jamaican woman!<br /> <br /> Phillipa Lawrence<br /> <br /> phillipa.lawrence@gmail.com <br /> <br /> J'can women have much to be proud of<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10969224/Jamaica-Flag_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, January 21, 2015 12:00 AM Caricom's visa policy for Haiti discriminatory http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Caricom-s-visa-policy-for-Haiti-discriminatory_18248772 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> In 1973, the Treaty of Chaguaramas was signed signalling the birth of Caricom as well as a new era for Caribbean cooperation after the failure of the West Indies Federation. Caricom is an organisation of mainly English-speaking Caribbean nations. The objectives of Caricom include: improved standards of living and work, enhanced co-ordination of member states foreign and economic policies, as well as enhanced functional co-operation including accelerated promotion of greater understanding among its people and the advancement of social and cultural development.<br /> <br /> Since its establishment, Caricom has grown to 15 member states including Haiti. Haiti is the only French-speaking member. However, despite the fact that Haiti has been a full member of Caricom since July 2002, it bears thought to why Haiti is the only Caricom member that its nationals require a visa to travel throughout Caricom?<br /> <br /> This discriminatory arrangement seems a bit odd given the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas in 2001, which explicitly allows for the free movement of Caribbean nationals who are members of Caricom. Having a visa requirement on Haitians is unfair and is, in fact, tantamount to having a ban on travel.<br /> <br /> Recently a government minister from Dominica announced that his country would be instituting a visa policy for Haitians to travel to the Dominica. Clearly this is not being done in a spirit of cooperation and regional integration. Why is it that after more than 10 years as a Caricom member Haiti is still being treated differently? Is it because of the language barrier, or is it because of the perception which has plagued Haiti regarding it being the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere? If we not careful Caricom will end up like the West Indies Federation. Caricom is now at a critical point in its existence and no less than bold and decisive leadership is required.<br /> <br /> Wayne Campbell<br /> <br /> waykam@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> www.wayaine.blogspot.com<br /> <br /> Caricom's visa policy for Haiti discriminatory<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Wednesday, January 21, 2015 12:00 AM The JDF's time may well be over, but... http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/The-JDF-s-time-may-well-be-over--but---_18239121 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I write in response to an article in the Jamaica Observer of Sunday, Janaury 18, 2015, entitled 'Abolish the Army' and written by the well-respected, veteran journalist Ken Jones.<br /> <br /> Let me first confess that, as a former member of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), I still believe passionately in the force, although I reserve the right to publicly criticise it when its members conduct themselves contrary to military training, and especially where there is an abuse of the rights of any Jamaican by the JDF.<br /> <br /> Jones, in his article, has proposed that "...the military, as we know it, be abolished and its human and natural resources absorbed by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), the correctional system, a reserve army, and other more useful agencies of the State".<br /> <br /> In considering his proposal, I think it is important that we understand that the JDF is a relatively small military force with a naval element (Coast Guard) and an air element (Air Wing). It is trained, organised and equipped to function as a military force, and more specifically as an army. Its sole purpose and the reason for its organisation, training and equipment is to defend Jamaica against security aggression from within or outside Jamaica. This is the traditional purpose of military forces. So, I would therefore have to agree with Jones' position that Jamaica does not need the JDF.<br /> <br /> Furthermore, if the JDF were to be retained solely to perform non-traditional military roles, it would soon be discovered that, because it no longer possessed its military ethos (which is impossible to retain unless there is a true military purpose), it would be unable to effectively carry out the non-traditional military roles.<br /> <br /> Furthermore, if the JDF were to be retained solely to perform non-traditional military roles, it would soon be discovered that, because it no longer possessed its military ethos (which is impossible to retain unless there is a true military purpose), it would be unable to effectively carry out the non-traditional military roles.<br /> <br /> The idea of a reserve force is an attractive concept to many. When there is a need for a body of men to carry out the roles or functions of the military they would be mobilized -- a sort of "instant mix" military, if you will. However, it is important to understand that, whereas there might be resources that can be reallocated from a disbanded regular force, it certainly would not in any way be sufficient to cater for the support services required. The administrative and logistics support for dispersed reserve elements, too, is also going to be greater, not to mention the increase of bases and installations that would most definitely be required.<br /> <br /> What are we to do, then, with the JDF if there is no need for it? And where are those functions identified for it in present-day Jamaica that can more effectively and appropriately be carried out by who or what? There are two options. The first is to disband it and rely on foreign assistance in the event of a need. The second option is to retain the JDF as a military force but charged specifically with providing for the military security needs of Caricom. Caricom would then be responsible for its funding and recruiting would be done throughout the Caribbean. The JDF would, therefore, be Jamaica's contribution to be the nucleus around which an expanded force would be formed to meet the security needs of the region. During the West Indies Federation, the West India Regiment performed this role, but with the break-up of the federation that unit was disbanded and the JDF formed when Jamaica attained independence.<br /> <br /> In 1998, at a Caribbean Islands Nations Security Conference held in Kingston, the concept of a regional security force was agreed on by the military chiefs of staff. I am not sure what ever became of that concept, but it is a need that was identified and agreed upon as far back as 1998. Probably, it might be the right time to have a look at that proposal again?<br /> <br /> Colonel Allan Douglas<br /> <br /> Kingston 10<br /> <br /> The JDF's time may well be over, but...<br /> <br /> --> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11429664/AgeCover16_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, January 20, 2015 1:00 AM Health ministry needs to be de-cluttered http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Health-ministry-needs-to-be-de-cluttered_18231234 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I cannot help but bring to your attention the complete mess the health ministry is in. One would have thought that the Chikungunya mess would have caused the health minister to now step up to the plate and get his office in order. Not so!<br /> <br /> For starters, anyone interested in donating medical supplies to Jamaica's hospitals should strap in for the ride of their lives. Expect up to maybe two years, in several cases, of bureaucratic stress from Customs to the health ministry. The only way around it, according to informed friends, is to drop a 'ting' and things will move with much better ease. This is unacceptable and should not and cannot stand.<br /> <br /> How is it we can have people willing to donate medical supplies, ranging from surgical gloves to vehicles, having to endure so much stress, while patients in hospitals die or are made worse because of the chronic shortages and mismanagement?<br /> <br /> And why, after three years in office, has Dr Fenton Ferguson not fixed the bureaucracy? I am told that one sprightly Jamaican ambassador had to take matters into his/her own hands to get a huge donation through the cobweb.<br /> <br /> I am using this space to call on Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to fix this major problem. Many of us have had it.<br /> <br /> Marie Reynolds<br /> <br /> Brooklyn, NY<br /> <br /> Health ministry needs to be de-cluttered<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, January 20, 2015 1:00 AM Tomblin does care, even though... http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Tomblin-does-care--even-though---_18242548 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Having read the letter to the editor 'JPS and Kelly Tomblin don't really care' , I feel compelled to say a few words.<br /> <br /> I'd first like say that I, too, am very concerned about our expenditure on electricity, both personally and for my company, and have made it our mission to do all we can to become more energy-efficient.<br /> <br /> I am also mindful that the cost of electricity is, and has been for some time, a major cost component for businesses and a huge stress for householders alike. I know several businesses who find it increasingly hard just to meet this payment obligation.<br /> <br /> Where I part company with the writer is the assertion that Kelly Tomblin does not care. Having worked with her on the board of AMCHAM, I know that is simply not the case. In her work and deeds she has shown that she does care, both in efforts to support those less fortunate in our communities, and the number of varied initiatives the company has embarked upon, under her leadership, to assist when and where she can. While, as CEOs, we do have a primary and fiduciary responsibility to our stakeholders, we can still care for Jamaica at the same time. The two are not mutually exclusive as the writer suggests.<br /> <br /> To be fair, she has a mammoth task. Dealing with the cost of inputs, inherited efficiencies in power generation, electricity theft, currency devaluation, and high government receivables, etc, I certainly do not envy what is required of her.<br /> <br /> Kelly is an articulate advocate, who is unafraid of speaking truth to power, and I have seen first hand her efforts at 'batting' for Jamaica and the millions she serves. She has shown her clear understanding of the issues and has approached them quite unlike any of her predecessors. While we may not agree nor understand all the issues, I must refute any suggestion that she does not care. To the contrary, she has been an outstanding example of great corporate leadership and social responsibility.<br /> <br /> Andrew Pairman<br /> <br /> CEO<br /> <br /> Anbell Group<br /> <br /> apairman@anbell.net<br /> <br /> Tomblin does care, even though...<br /> <br /> --> Local Letters to the Editor Tuesday, January 20, 2015 1:00 AM