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 More than just waste http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/More-than-just-waste_83084 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The spokesperson for the Jamaica Environment Advocacy Network needs to be commended for her forthright criticism of political leadership appointments to fill highly technical positions, especially those in waste management, where the very health and well-being of the nation is at stake.<br /> <br /> Throughout Jamaica our parish councils have never been noted for their expertise in garbage management and/or town planning. In fact, this has been pretty obvious over the years in rural Jamaica to the point of destroying the very fragile tourism and fishing industries on which so many rural folk depend.<br /> <br /> Adding more trucks and bins and skips to the townships have only led to a worsening of an already unresolved situation in Portland that continues to wreak havoc with the very health of the parish, as smoke often rises from the notorious Dr Woods dump in western Portland &mdash; once thriving wetlands and now a smoldering nightmare.<br /> <br /> Don&rsquo;t take us for a nation of fools. The very roots of our health and success, and the very essence of our beings are at stake .<br /> <br /> Surely we should have learned by now that the errors of the past should not be repeated.<br /> <br /> Marguerite Gauron<br /> <br /> hmgauron@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13449315/242148_68769_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, December 09, 2016 12:00 AM Everyone can benefit from tourism http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Everyone-can-benefit-from-tourism_83085 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The news that MS Monarch, a cruise ship with 2,700 passengers on board, docked in Kingston couldn&rsquo;t have come at a better time. Although the ship came to Kingston due to the inability to secure berths in Montego Bay and Falmouth, the idea is doable and we should try to capitalise on this great opportunity to enhance our tourism product and ability to earn more revenue.<br /> <br /> The ship, we understand, was only docked for a few hours, but this was a first for Kingston in many years. I understand that tours were made available to popular spots like Devon House, Bob Marley Museum, National Gallery, Emancipation Park, as well as outside the city to Spanish Town and Dunn&rsquo;s River in St Ann. <br /> <br /> All this has a lot of potential for tourism as there are so many cultural and entertainment events, as well as traditional and historic spots. Plus there is the cuisine, with places like Port Royal and Spanish Town within easy reach.<br /> <br /> Although crime will always be a concern, increased security and organised tours can help to alleviate these concerns. And I believe that, over time, these concerns will be reduced as people get used to the idea of increased visitor arrivals and the general benefits and opportunities to all from tourism. There was a time when many foreign navy ships would also dock in Kingston and visitors roamed the city freely without fear.<br /> <br /> However, Kingston is badly in need of a clean-up. There are too many dilapidated buildings and filthy-looking areas being an eyesore. We should tap into the Tourism Enhancement Fund and target specific areas, initially, to enhance the city. The work can be done in stages.<br /> <br /> With more visitors coming into Kingston, the city benefits economically, and so does the country by extension. Eventually more people will learn to appreciate that tourists are not preys, but ordinary human beings who work hard to be able to spend on a vacation, wherever they choose to visit.<br /> <br /> Everyone can benefit, but we need to ensure that more profits from the industry are retained in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> P Chin<br /> <br /> chin_p@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13490789/245672_72581_repro_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Friday, December 09, 2016 12:00 AM Local artistes should see opportunity not threat http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Local-artistes-should-see-opportunity-not-threat_82987 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Music has been a constant in my life; from a young age when my father used to string up his community-based sound system on Sundays and the classic &lsquo;souls&rsquo; and reggae would dominate his song selections. This is where, I believe, a deep love for music was born. Today, I consume all genres of music, but reggae and dancehall have grown to be ones that I listen to most times.<br /> <br /> The Grammy is the most coveted award in music, and the reggae Grammy has been used to identify Jamaican music greats over years, most of whom garner some local air-play for their songs and are well known by Jamaicans. However, with the growth of reggae music internationally, the paradigm has shifted and it is no longer surprising when unknowns to the local reggae space are nominated for the reggae Grammy &mdash; the recently released nominations are no exception. This simply means that reggae music is growing overseas.<br /> <br /> Reggae growing overseas should not be seen as a threat to the local reggae industry, but as an opportunity, as a wider door has been opened for local reggae artistes and Jamaica&rsquo;s economy to capitalise on. This competition should improve the product being produced locally. Jamaican artistes should focus on writing songs, or getting writers, producers and record labels that have the substance to break them into the international music industry. Too much time is being spent writing and producing songs that are mere &ldquo;iron balloons&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> In recent times there has been an upsurge in artistes owning their own studios locally. While it is good to have creative control over their work. Added time should be spent building and exposing their talent before these moves are made. Artistes need to divorce themselves from the notion that they need to write and produce all their songs. More Jamaican artistes need to search for better musical role models and seek to exemplify them, a lot of whom have songwriters. <br /> <br /> The age of social media has made it much easier to access and study the methods behind globally successful artistes. We should take advantage of it. <br /> <br /> Delethy Ellis<br /> <br /> Nishi Izumi<br /> <br /> Yukuhashi, Japan<br /> <br /> delethy@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13487954/245911_72283_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, December 09, 2016 3:00 AM Condolence on the passing of Corporal Miller http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Condolence-on-the-passing-of-Corporal-Miller_83097 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> I wish to extend sincere condolence to the family of the late Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Corporal Kemoi Miller, who was brutally murdered early Sunday morning by savage gunmen on Maxfield Avenue within the vicinity of Alexandria Road, after he reportedly visited a friend. Media reports state that Corporal Miller, as a constable, was a major part of a police team who seized a large number of guns and ammunition on Munster Road in Mountain View in February 2010.<br /> <br /> I understand from the media that he has been a serving member of the JCF for close to 11 years and was a totally committed professional. He was a police officer who took his job seriously at all times and had an impressive track record of service. He has been hailed as hard-working and one who liked his job. <br /> <br /> Just last week Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams urged all police officers to take special security precautions in terms of their own personal safety. And then we heard of the tragic murder of Corporal Miller.<br /> <br /> Undoubtedly, the job of a police officer is extremely difficult here in Jamaica. Jamaica is among the most violent countries within the world. The JCF and Commissioner Williams need the full, unwavering and sincere support of all law-abiding citizens throughout the country. <br /> <br /> My prayers are with the family of the late Corporal Kemol Miller. My family here in Montego Bay have had a close relationship supporting the police force for the past 40 years.<br /> <br /> Robert Dalley<br /> <br /> Montego Bay, St Andrew<br /> <br /> robertdalley1@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> Local Letters to the Editor Friday, December 09, 2016 3:00 AM Why the attention? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Why-the-attention-_83096 Dear Editor, <br /> <br /> Why do the powers that be hate it when regular Jamaicans try to achieve anything? Is it so wrong for someone to want more, to work for more, to achieve more?<br /> <br /> The comments and dialogue wafting around regarding the issuing of a new telecoms licence to Caricel/Symbiote Investments is mind-boggling to me, to say the least. I am trying to remember if there was such an issue or investigation when others attempted to enter the market. I can remember discussions of a possible loss of market share, but that is to be expected.<br /> <br /> How can more competition in a sector that is plagued with poor customer service and unreliable networks not be good for people like me? <br /> <br /> There are bigger issues than the background of an investor in a Jamaican company wanting to provide telecoms services.<br /> <br /> Further, when did it become the business of an embassy to interfere in matters in the local telecoms market? More so, to interfere in a matter that the resident Government was satisfied enough to grant a licence? It looks as if someone is trying to undermine the Jamaican Government. I am proud to say that we can boast a competent Government and minister related to this issue.<br /> <br /> I imagine that checks were made prior to the issuing of the licence. If I, as a regular citizen, was able to grasp that through he media, then how is it that they haven&rsquo;t?<br /> <br /> I have so many questions and I am so very perturbed, annoyed, and flat out disgusted by the happenings of the last two weeks. This smacks of a conspiracy. Stop this rubbish and focus on issues that need attention!<br /> <br /> Claude McPherson<br /> <br /> mcphersonclaude32@<br /> <br /> gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13078765/210404_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, December 09, 2016 3:00 AM Time to paint Jamaica green with work http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Time-to-paint-Jamaica-green-with-work_82887 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> As the official ballot count ends, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has succeeded in painting Jamaica green for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). We have never seen this before, but as a naturally occurring colour in our landscape, the national flag, and now in most parish councils, one wonders of the viridity of the newly elected councillors for their roles.<br /> <br /> The JLP surprised us &mdash; like Leiciester City winning the English Premier League, Cleveland Cavaliers winning the NBA Championships, and Donald Trump the US presidency.<br /> <br /> The JLP is &lsquo;green&rsquo; to having total management of Jamaica, with tenterhook-like command of the Parliament and majority of the parish councils. The country has never had a chance to see the JLP mature into leadership &mdash; though some of its fruits have either politically ripened in the spotlight or decayed on the sidelines.<br /> <br /> I would like to see Holness and his band of merry men at work. They would be very naive were they to begin celebrating before having any ideas of the scope of the work they need to do. It&rsquo;s time for the real work to start.<br /> <br /> With almost four years left in office, the JLP can accomplish a lot. I hope they&rsquo;ve taken &lsquo;sleep and mark death&rsquo; &mdash; never again to hastily call a general election. It is time for the immature to put maturity, dispose of the old, wring out the new (not dirty laundry), build good policies, and fulfil those dreamlike campaign promises. <br /> <br /> Turn attention to the parish councils. I hope they are shaken out their slumber and actually have these new councillors operating as they should. For the last couple of years I&rsquo;ve been wondering about the point of paying taxes and maintaining parish councils. The gully and drains in and around the area in which I reside have neither been cleaned nor repaired in years. Even with the passing of the many storms there has been no rehabilitation to prevent possible flooding. There&rsquo;s also the matter of law and order, especially in our commercial centres like Half-Way-Tree and downtown.<br /> <br /> The people previously in charge weren&rsquo;t really &lsquo;green&rsquo; in the job, although oranges are green before they ripen. But these were the sour variety that left a bad taste in our mouths. Anyway, they have definitely left lessons from which any fledgling government or party can learn. The same old style of politics cannot and will not work. So, to Holness and all the parish councillors, ensure you stick to caring for the country and not yourselves. Show us you can do the work, or else you can all pack your bags and go.<br /> <br /> Colette Campbell<br /> <br /> rastarjamaica@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10238214/ja_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 08, 2016 12:00 AM Pearl Harbor: Should Abe apologise? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Pearl-Harbor--Should-Abe-apologise-_82969 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> On May 27, 2016 US President Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima, site of history&rsquo;s first atomic attack on August 6, 1945. The Japanese Government did not ask Obama for an apology, nor did he offer one.<br /> <br /> On December 27, Shinzo Abe will become the first Japanese prime minister to visit Pearl Harbor, site of the Japanese attack on the US Navy&rsquo;s Pacific Fleet on December 7, 1941. The US Government hasn&rsquo;t asked Abe for an apology, nor is he expected to offer one.<br /> <br /> Some Japanese citizens &mdash; especially those who survived or lost loved ones in Hiroshima &mdash; believe an American apology is warranted.<br /> <br /> Some American citizens &mdash; especially those who survived or lost loved ones at Pearl Harbor &mdash; believe a Japanese apology is warranted.<br /> <br /> Both groups are wrong. Few people are left to apologise to and none to offer an apology. The senior politicians and military figures of World War II, those who planned and ordered both attacks, are dead.<br /> <br /> Shinzo Abe was born nearly 13 years after Pearl Harbor, Barack Obama just two days shy of 16 years after Hiroshima. Neither had anything to do with Pearl Harbor, with Hiroshima, or with the war the two countries waged against each other in between those terrible days.<br /> <br /> Of the two, Abe has a better argument for declining to apologise: Multiple Japanese governments have publicly apologised for, and in some cases paid reparations for, Japan&rsquo;s aggression back them.<br /> <br /> On the 70th anniversary of VJ Day (the day World War II in the Pacific formally ended), Abe himself expressed regret for Japan&rsquo;s aggression, but correctly spoke against continuing such gestures and letting &ldquo;our children, grandchildren and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologise&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Beyond a certain point, apologies not only cease to be needed but become mere rituals rather than genuine expressions of contrition.<br /> <br /> In America, the subject of &ldquo;reparation for slavery&rdquo; occasionally becomes a matter of interest. When it does, many quite correctly point out that there&rsquo;s nobody to pay such reparations, nor anyone to pay them to. Every American who was ever a slave owner or a slave is dead.<br /> <br /> That&rsquo;s not entirely the case with respect to World War II, but it&rsquo;s nearly so. Now is the perfect time to stop endlessly demanding apologies from each other for past wars and instead join with each other in dedication to the prevention of the next war.<br /> <br /> Thomas L Knapp<br /> <br /> @thomaslknapp<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13021264/206761_72305_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 08, 2016 12:00 AM No dirty music on public transport http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/No-dirty-music-on-public-transport_82882 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The people have spoken. The Church has made her voice loud and clear against the cover of the Yellow Pages that has the dancehall scenery.<br /> <br /> But it should have been a national clamour, instead of a minority. Please correct me if I am wrong.<br /> <br /> Now, the main thing that I want to say is this: In the same way the Church and company have hit out against that dancehall stuff on the soon-issued telephone directory, so too should the Church and the Government of Jamaica cry out for a stop to be put to the playing of dirty music and videos on public transportation.<br /> <br /> The same passion that the Church used to draw that card on the Yellow Pages they should also use it in making a shout out for a complete ban of the sound of nasty music on all public means of transportation.<br /> <br /> We want to see it happen. How long are we to wait? Why are things so difficult in this country?<br /> <br /> Away with nasty music on passengers transport. Prime Minister Andrew Holness, it is your turn, Sir.<br /> <br /> Donald J McKoy<br /> <br /> donaldmckoy2010@Hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12398763/filename_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 08, 2016 12:00 AM Too much lawlessness in our society http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Too-much-lawlessness-in-our-society_82980 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> We live in a society that is awash with laws, but with a laxity of effective enforcement. Because of this laxity in enforcing the law, it breeds gross indiscipline amongst the citizens which oftentimes results in tragedy.<br /> <br /> The seeming normalisation of lawlessness that obtains is not confined to only one sector of our society. It is on the streets, in our communities and urban areas where it is perpetrated by ordinary citizens, as well as corrupt practices among the elites and our leaders.<br /> <br /> Little do we hear about government officials being sent to prison when they breach the public&rsquo;s trust. Murder and mayhem which are perpetrated by the heartless criminals is the most frightening of all the atrocities that overwhelms us.<br /> <br /> In recent months there have been almost daily reports of at least one person being murdered or injured as a result of domestic disputes, anger, reprisals, or disagreements attributed to lotto scamming. So horrifying has this crime situation become that one could randomly lose his life by the calculated acts of criminals; God forbid, if one is in the wrong place at the wrong time.<br /> <br /> Lawlessness extends to the conduct of some motorists. They often are impatient, discourteous and have no regard for life or for the rules of the road. The result: At least 336 people have been killed on the roads so far this year. Today, there are people who are afraid to use the roads due to the offensive conduct of some drivers.<br /> <br /> The vast majority of crimes has shifted to the western section of the island. According to the latest Jamaica Constabulary Force statistics, there are at least 1,210 people killed so far this year, and this is expected to climb by year-end. St. James, Westmoreland and St Catherine accounts for the most murders.<br /> <br /> All these atrocities occur because of the inadequate resources, inefficiency and the lack of collective will of the Government and citizens alike in instilling law and order.<br /> <br /> This wanton disorder needs curtailing and these barefaced criminals must be taught a lesson and suffer long and harsh prison sentences for their evil deeds.<br /> <br /> Unless we update and strengthen the outdated laws, and put more teeth into enforcing them to restore order post-haste, then lawlessness will become the standard of our society.<br /> <br /> Dujon Russell<br /> <br /> dujon.russell@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12937387/-38-revolver_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Thursday, December 08, 2016 12:00 AM What will be Portia&rsquo;s legacy? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/What-will-be-Portia-s-legacy-_82770 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It was Michael Moore, the noted left-leaning documentary film-maker and producer, who opined that the legacy of Barack Obama will be summed up in four sad words &mdash; the first black president. This view emanated from the disenchantment which Obama now evokes among the progressives within his Democratic Party.<br /> <br /> It is not an unfamiliar kind of disenchantment which now greets the recent announcement by the leader of the Opposition People&rsquo;s National Party Portia Simpson Miller that she will not be seeking another term at the helm of the 78-year-old political institution. Approaching what has now been confirmed as the swansong of a political existence, which has spanned some 40 years as a Member of Parliament, a decade of which has seen her &lsquo;preside&rsquo; over the affairs of her party, and occasionally our country, the question which now cannot be sidestepped is that asked of all leaders: What will be the enduring legacy?<br /> <br /> There can be no doubt that Simpson Miller has risen from the lowest of beginnings to occupy the highest of stations, and even more poignant is the fact that she has been Jamaica&rsquo;s first and, to date, only female head of Government. But with all this said, what else can truly be said of Portia Simpson Miller&rsquo;s time at the zenith of Jamaican political power?<br /> <br /> Was she transformational? Did she shatter the glass ceiling only to succeed in littering the pathway of any future female aspirant with dangerous broken glass? Were her achievements primarily personal, or did Jamaica benefit from her leadership?<br /> <br /> One suspects that in the days to come, many factors, including the colour of the Kool-Aid imbibed, will play a part in the answering of these questions. One only hopes that her legacy with respect to Jamaica won&rsquo;t be easily summed up in four sad words &mdash; first female prime minister.<br /> <br /> Noel Matherson<br /> <br /> noelmatherson@gmail.com http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12639613/184758__w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM Jamaica news reporting lacks &lsquo;stick-to-itive-ness&rsquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Jamaica-news-reporting-lacks--stick-to-itive-ness-_82873 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> In Jamaica, we call them nine-day wonders; stories that one day are splattered all over the press, and then 10 days later not even a vapour trail of these stories can be found.<br /> <br /> Nothing worthwhile in life is achieved easily. And there&rsquo;s nothing more difficult in life than completing what one starts. Take, for instance, something like a mortgage. If it weren&rsquo;t for bankers holding our noses to the grindstone, after six months into a 30-year mortgage many of us would throw up our hands and say, &ldquo;Mi caaa badda yaah man.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s only the prospect of the shame of the bailiff putting out our personal effects on the curb which may keep us going. Not because of any great inherent virtue in us.<br /> <br /> News reporters, on the other hand, do not &mdash; it would seem &mdash; have anybody holding their nose to the grindstone. It&rsquo;s as if they treat us, the public, like walking zombies, clicking on our mobile phones, looking for the &lsquo;story of the hour&rsquo;. Who cares about the story of earlier today, yesterday, of last week, last month or, of last year?<br /> <br /> These days the public, it seems, has the attention span of a mouse, chasing the next issue or meme. To hell with the one that appeared earlier on. The media take advantage of our short attention spans. In Jamaica media seem to have taken on the role of that of a boiler worker &mdash; just shovelling fresh coal on top of unburnt coal.<br /> <br /> I, for one, would, however, like to hear from the media how things turn out.<br /> <br /> Did Herb Elliott&rsquo;s daughter ever arrive in Jamaica, from England, with the key to open the safe, in which the good doctor&rsquo;s many diplomas were being stored for safe keeping?<br /> <br /> Was the cockpit crew of American Airlines Flight 331 even hauled up for that landing in Kingston on December 22, 2009?<br /> <br /> Who signed off on those fat Port Authority of Jamaica pensions?<br /> <br /> And what about those accident reports that Desmond McKenzie keeps demanding? Did he ever receive them? If so, what did they reveal? And if they recommended any changes in the way we oversee new construction in the hotel industry, were any of those recommendations followed?<br /> <br /> Who owned that property in Vineyard Town where that cooking gas filling station, which had an explosion, was flourishing?<br /> <br /> It&rsquo;s one thing to break a story. It&rsquo;s quite another thing to stay on a trail until the smell leads us to the money.<br /> <br /> Ray Ford<br /> <br /> fordraye1@aol.com<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13485580/237421_64229_repro_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM The dark side of Fidel Castro http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/The-dark-side-of-Fidel-Castro_81855 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Cuba&rsquo;s pre-Castro economy was overly reliant on sugar exports and left many in poverty, and the post-1961 US-imposed trade embargo did not help the revolution prosper. But Fidel himself did the lion&rsquo;s share of damage, impoverishing the island through a programme of total State control, occasionally punctuated by his own grandiose schemes &mdash; from the ill-fated 10-million-ton sugar harvest in the 1960s to the brutally austere &ldquo;Special Period&rdquo; after Soviet subsidies ended in the 1990s.<br /> <br /> Under his rule, too, Cuban public health and literacy indicators were significantly better than those of many other Latin American States (though that was also true pre-revolution).<br /> <br /> If this were a just world, 13 facts would be etched on Fidel Castro&rsquo;s tombstone and highlighted in every obituary:<br /> <br /> &bull; He turned Cuba into a colony of the Soviet Union and nearly caused a nuclear holocaust.<br /> <br /> &bull; He sponsored terrorism wherever he could and allied himself with many of the worst dictators on Earth.<br /> <br /> &bull; Under his rule thousands of executions and disappearances occurred in Cuba that a precise number is hard to reckon.<br /> <br /> &bull; He brooked no dissent and built concentration camps and prisons at an unprecedented rate, filling them to capacity, incarcerating a higher percentage of his own people than most other modern dictators, including Stalin.<br /> <br /> &bull; He condoned and encouraged torture.<br /> <br /> &bull; He forced nearly 20 per cent of his people into exile, and prompted thousands to meet their deaths at sea while fleeing from him in crude vessels.&bull; He claimed all property for himself and his henchmen, strangled food production and impoverished the vast majority of his people.<br /> <br /> &bull; He outlawed private enterprise and labour unions, wiped out Cuba&rsquo;s large middle class and turned Cubans into veritable slaves of the State.<br /> <br /> &bull; He persecuted gay people.<br /> <br /> &bull; He censored all means of expression and communication.<br /> <br /> &bull; He established a school system that provided indoctrination rather than education, and created a two-tiered health care system, with inferior medical care for the majority of Cubans and superior care for himself and his oligarchy, and then claimed that all his repressive measures were absolutely necessary to ensure the survival of these two ostensibly &ldquo;free&rdquo; social welfare projects.<br /> <br /> &bull; He turned Cuba into a labyrinth of ruins and established a society in which millions of foreign visitors enjoyed rights and privileges forbidden to his people.<br /> <br /> &bull; He never apologised for any of his acts and never stood trial for them.<br /> <br /> Tens of thousands of Cubans in Miami, Florida who fled the Castro regime are celebrating his death and for good reason.<br /> <br /> Hal Lewis<br /> <br /> hal.lewis02@gmail.<br /> <br /> com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13462762/CASTRO_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM No growth until crime is tamed http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/No-growth-until-crime-is-tamed_82874 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte has a 86 per cent approval rating, mainly due to his zero tolerance for criminals, especially those involved in the drug trade. His approach is not popular globally, but he is concerned with the problems facing his country &mdash; The Philippines &mdash; not the world. He is a hardliner and the Filipino people love him for it, apparently because they are tired of the drugs and stranglehold of crime on their communities and families.<br /> <br /> Jamaica&rsquo;s Prime Minister Andrew Holness should observe and emulate and cut the politically charged rhetoric about &lsquo;5 in 4&rsquo;! Know ye not, Holness that there can be no real economic growth and prosperity if crime remains unchecked? What economic growth do we hope to achieve with our streets and lanes running red with the blood of entrepreneurs, police officers, toddlers, and the elderly? Even with a super ministry with five ministers plus technocrats; a finance ministry with two ministers plus technocrats; growth ambassadors; an overkill of advisors from the Bank of Jamaica, Economic Growth Council, Economic Program Oversight Committee and Public Sector Transformation Oversight Committee, the International Monetary Fund; and strong economic growth rhetoric, there can be no real economic growth while crime is out of control and criminals are finding lucrative careers in the drug trade and have free rein all across the country.<br /> <br /> All the big spending on committees and a great crowd of advisors is much ado about nothing if the crime situation in Jamaica isn&rsquo;t seriously addressed now.<br /> <br /> Derville Lowe<br /> <br /> drvlllowe@yahoo.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13482380/images-andrew.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM Policing? What policing? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Policing--What-policing-_82869 Dear Editor, <br /> <br /> I think of myself as just a concerned and caring Jamaican citizen: I have no political axes to grind and I have no axe to grind with organisations. However, I care about how Jamaica finds many ways, every day, to fall over itself, just by doing ridiculous things or by not avoiding those ridiculous things befalling us.<br /> <br /> A few days ago, I commented on social media that the Jamaica Constabulary Force does no policing, according to accepted definitions of that word.<br /> <br /> A police force has the duty of maintaining law and order in (or for) an area or event; enforcing regulations or an agreement in (a particular area or domain); enforcing the provisions of a law, agreement, or treaty.<br /> <br /> Yet, every day, it seems, we see our regular police force unable to perform these basic functions. For that reason, I am one of those leery of giving the police wider powers to deal with crime on the basis that they cannot prove that they are doing well, or enough, with the many powers they already have.<br /> <br /> If they want to argue that lack of resources has hampered them, then go ahead, and explain fully how that has been the case, not just opining that it is so.<br /> <br /> But, for my point, let me just deal with things that will be fresh in people&rsquo;s minds.<br /> <br /> A 14-year-old is raped and a suspect is caught, and the two people are transported together to the police station. What could go wrong? Everything! And it did. The culprit escaped from a set of defective handcuffs. Result: a traumatised family and a police force with a serving of egg on the face.<br /> <br /> I also just read a report of a policeman being given bail for having stolen the black box from a service motorcycle.<br /> <br /> I won&rsquo;t go beyond those simple instances, because I think they make the point well.<br /> <br /> At a basic level, we are not being served by those who are there to serve and protect us. Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams can sit in another interview and tell us that all is not bad and that crooked policemen are a fraction. But the problem, as with any scrappy event, is that everyone runs the risk of being snared by these basic inefficiencies and weaknesses in service integrity.<br /> <br /> You cannot talk about how much you want public help when you seem incapable of helping yourself.<br /> <br /> Dennis Jones<br /> <br /> dennisgjones@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/10656735/Police-hat_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Wednesday, December 07, 2016 12:00 AM End of a time http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/End-of-a-time_82752 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> For at least the past 18 months the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) has leapfrogged from the pinnacle of one disastrous mistake to the pinnacle of another. Not since its 1980 electoral defeat has its stocks been lower.<br /> <br /> Now that Portia Simpson Miller has announced her departure, the party will almost certainly triple-jump to the pinnacle of yet another disastrous mistake.<br /> <br /> Let me posit two obvious political facts. One is that the two parties merely turning out the diehard Labourites or Comrades is not enough to win a general election. It is the young, aspiring, thinking, tech-savvy millennials, who have not made lifelong commitments to either party, who will make the difference. That much should be obvious from the February 25, 2016 General Election.<br /> <br /> The second political fact, which either party ignores at its peril, is that this young generation will not elect any political dinosaur as prime minister, unless of course the present one skids on a banana peel and falls flat on his face before the next election &mdash; So far he has shown no sign of doing so. Whether that view stems from blatant age discrimination or disillusionment at how the dinosaurs have performed over the past 54 years, or both, is debatable. But it is what is it. The millennial deciders want someone who looks, sounds and acts like them.<br /> <br /> Ignoring those two political facts and summoning the arsonist of February 25 to put out the fire is a guarantee of a long sojourn in the political wilderness for the PNP.<br /> <br /> Errol W A Townshend<br /> <br /> Ontario, Canada<br /> <br /> ewat@rogers.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13482924/237876_71847_repro_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, December 06, 2016 12:00 AM Fidel Castro: The passing of an icon http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Fidel-Castro--The-passing-of-an-icon_82361 Dear Editor, <br /> <br /> This is indeed a sad time for the Cuban people for their revered icon Fidel Castro is dead at the ripe old age of 90. Castro has no doubt left an enduring legacy which started to take shape in 1959 when he liberated Cuba from the brutal jaws of that corrupt and oppressive dictator, Fulgencio Batista.<br /> <br /> With the full backing of the United States, Batista established an unprecedented reign of terror for about 25 years. Under his tyrannical rule the rich and powerful wallowed in the ever-increasing abundance of their wealth, while the burgeoning mass of the poor and powerless sank deeper and deeper into the cavernous abyss of abject poverty and utter despair.<br /> <br /> While the rich and famous lived and reclined in palatial mansions, the wretched of the earth spent long agonising hours in hut-like dwellings. While the affluent and their offspring enjoyed the best educational facilities and health care services in Cuba, the impoverished masses were utterly deprived of these opportunities.<br /> <br /> Indeed, Cuba was a society in decay, badly tarnished with overt prostitution, contaminated with criminal elements, and bedeviled with the deep-seated evils of casino gambling. In a nutshell, this was the type of decadent, failed society the Fidel Castro inherited.<br /> <br /> After the overthrow of Batista, Castro wasted no time in reconstructing the socio-economic fabric of Cuba. It was a Herculean task of the greatest magnitude. And yet, Castro managed to clean up the &ldquo;Augean Stables&rdquo;. Thanks to the strong resolve of Castro and his cohorts, the refuse of prostitution and criminality have been contained.<br /> <br /> The Cuban people may not enjoy all the trappings of middle class Americans and Canadians, but by all accounts the vast majority of the people are better housed, better educated and better off health-wise than ever before.<br /> <br /> It is well documented that Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the world because of its totally free and efficient educational policy. It is also well documented that Cuba has an ample supply of well-trained and qualified doctors and nurses, and a wide array of excellent health care services &mdash; all free of cost.<br /> <br /> It is sad to say that in 1960 the American regime imposed a very punitive embargo system on Cuba designed to bring down the Castro Government. It is also sad to say that, although this punitive policy has failed, it is still in place.<br /> <br /> In spite of the democratic shortcomings of the Castro regime, it may be said that Fidel Castro and his Government have the interest of the Cuban people at heart in providing them with a manifold of social services.<br /> <br /> I hope the process of political normalisation between Cuba and the US (that was initiated by President Barack Obama) will continue, and that this process will eventually lead to the end of the punitive embargo system.<br /> <br /> Rupert Johnson<br /> <br /> Toronto, Canada<br /> <br /> r.b.johnson@sympatico.ca<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13461475/243667_70229_repro_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, December 06, 2016 12:00 AM Get popcorn, tune in to PNP channel http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Get-popcorn--tune-in-to-PNP-channel_82756 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It appears that the Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller&rsquo;s political career has been spent for many months since her defeats in the general election on February 25, 2016 and now her party recent loss in the local government election on November 28, 2016.<br /> <br /> The writing has been on the wall for a while now &mdash; though Simpson Miller failed to read the sign and interpret it as a signal for her to step down gracefully.<br /> <br /> In addition, there has been a major backlash within her People National Party (PNP) with regard to her recent outburst against Comrades in St Ann, when she threatened constituency members, by stating that she knows who to bring with her when she returns. I am of the view that this statement, her back-to-back election losses &mdash; along with her failure to address PNP supporters after the local election loss, opting to attend Comrade Fidel Castro&rsquo;s funeral instead &mdash; have finally placed the nail in her orange coffin.<br /> <br /> She must understand that her style of up in your face, bad man/bad gyal style of politics is archaic and is now frowned upon by the people of Jamaica. Many Jamaicans has observed how statesmanlike Prime Minister Andrew Holness conducts himself, both nationally and on political platforms as well. PNP supporters has stated that they wished Simpson Miller was as polished as Holness. For Simpson Miller, the bottom could no longer hold.<br /> <br /> It is time for renewal in Jamaica&rsquo;s politics and the retirement (ouster) of Simpson Miller is one of the first steps in the process.<br /> <br /> Now, over to Peter Bunting and Peter Phillips, because the Jamaican citizens are waiting with bated breath and popcorn to see the crab-in-barrel war for leadership of the PNP.<br /> <br /> Patrick Callum<br /> <br /> patrickcallum@yahoo.com <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13479728/Portia_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, December 06, 2016 12:00 AM Little Chrismus Breeze and no electricity http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Little-Chrismus-Breeze-and-no-electricity_81651 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> &rsquo;Tis an ill wind that blows nobody good.<br /> <br /> The good people who live on the Newcastle main road between mile posts eight and 20 (and possibly beyond) experienced daily loss of electricity as a result of complete failure or low voltage every single night between Saturday, November 19 to Tuesday, November 22, 2016 due to what can only be considered as Chrismus Breeze.<br /> <br /> The affected areas include, but may not be limited to: Belcour Lodge, Ellerslie, Robinfisher Way, Berry Hill, Dustry Road, Irish Town, Wiltshire, Redlight, Bermuda Mount, Craighton and Rose Hill. These areas are served by different distribution lines suggesting that the problem is not localised but more widespread.<br /> <br /> The power outage on Monday, November 21, 2016 extended all the way through the following day, Tuesday, November 22, 2016, until 5:00 pm or thereabout. One expected that the prolonged outage was due to work being done to prevent a recurrence as the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) was already out in my books based on the &lsquo;three strikes, you&rsquo;re out rule&rsquo;. But alas, JPS decided to exceed their service standard and within a mere four hours there was a fourth outage.<br /> <br /> These incidents mean that the traditional Chrismus Breeze brings no joy as we now know to start the countdown when the wind picks up for as the saying goes &lsquo;you can put you pot pon fire&rsquo; power will be lost. Wind is not the only problem, heavy showers are also potential triggers for a loss of electricity in these areas. This loss of electricity has a potential trickle-down effect on telephone and Internet communication. This inconveniences all everyone, but more so those who operate small businesses or who work from home.<br /> <br /> I do hope that JPS can effect the necessary repairs to their infrastructure and/or carry out the required level of bushing to ensure that trees and other vegetation do not come in contact with wires and other equipment since their system should not be so vulnerable to &lsquo;a likkle Chrismus Breeze&rsquo; as in the scheme of things it is Category Zero wind.<br /> <br /> Looking for brighter days.<br /> <br /> Thera Edwards<br /> <br /> theraedwards@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13344142/233526_60661_repro_w300.jpg Letters to the Editor Tuesday, December 06, 2016 12:00 AM Expose NCU&rsquo;s worth to the community to stymie crime http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Expose-NCU-s-worth-to-the-community-to-stymie-crime_82552 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> In recent times, the Mandeville area, specifically surrounding Northern Caribbean University (NCU), have become a hot spot for crime. These crimes are normally in the form of robberies. The attacks now number, on average, about two to three daily; students are mostly the victims. Sometimes the students are not only robbed, but are wounded.<br /> <br /> Consequently, many students find it rather difficult to remain on campus during off-peak hours. This curtails the time allowed to go to the library as if one stays late, it increases the risk of being robbed.<br /> <br /> The university administration and the United Student Movement (student government) [USM] have responded with a bus shuttle system. Though a good initiative, it is still not enough to &lsquo;rescue&rsquo; our students from the gruesome attacks. Some students are robbed at midday, the evening shuttles don&rsquo;t help them.<br /> <br /> Could it be that what we are doing is addressing the effect and not the cause?<br /> <br /> I believe, based on all that has been happening, the local community in Mandeville does not know the value of the university within their community. Could it be that a workable strategy to countering crime is to educate the people on the benefits of the university to them? During periods when NCU is on holiday, Mandeville is like a remote area &mdash; businesses suffer, taxis suffer, the effects continue.<br /> <br /> Perhaps, we could initiate a community drive that would seek to demolish the walls between &lsquo;us&rsquo; and &lsquo;them&rsquo;. Perhaps NCU students will need to start being more polite, down to earth and courteous to those living around them. How about little acts of kindness to the people in their community? I am convinced that the NCU administration and the USM do not realise that the complexity of solution is as simple as exposing the worth of the university to the community.<br /> <br /> I appeal to all stakeholders to get on board with the anti-crime movement in an attempt to protect your greatest assets &mdash; the students. Talk of us having community meetings sound really great but the question is, how effective are these community meetings? How about staging a few protests prior to these meetings? We could use these protests to get the attention of the community, then we call for a meeting. How about even a community fair or a sports day, or something being held on the campus with great emphasis being placed on community involvement?<br /> <br /> Wrenae Hudson<br /> <br /> wrenae@stu.ncu.edu.jm<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12966358/203804_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, December 05, 2016 12:00 AM Bay Front not disconnected http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Bay-Front-not-disconnected_81664 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> We write to correct several inaccuracies and clarify statements made in the Jamaica Observer article &lsquo;NWC cuts off water to Forum residents&rsquo;, published on Friday, November 18, 2016.<br /> <br /> 1. The National Water Commission (NWC) provides potable water to the Bay Front development households under a bulk meter supply. This is not a &ldquo;negotiated&rdquo; arrangement by the developer as the NWC supplies several developments throughout Jamaica under this same service policy.<br /> <br /> 2. Construction water is facilitated by a separate metered supply that is billed to the developer.<br /> <br /> 3. There is a direct connection for potable water through the NWC bulk meter and raw sewage is delivered to the NWC system through the development&rsquo;s own sump house. Both systems were tested and retested before being put into commission, and have satisfied all requirements made by the NWC or the Portmore Municipal Council.<br /> <br /> 4. As of June 7, 2016, the bulk meter account was transferred to the Bay Front Citizens Association (BFVCA) with a zero balance. The amount due to NWC is an accumulation of usage that has not been addressed by the BFVCA, and for which the developers have no responsibility.<br /> <br /> 5. All homeowners have opened accounts with the NWC. The NWC has not initiated the subtractive billing under which each homeowner will receive their own water bill. Until then, the BFVCA is responsible for collecting charges for water usage from each homeowner.<br /> <br /> 6. A standby generator has been ordered and will be installed in the near term. Since the development is not fully occupied, it would require a JPS outage of at least 24 hours before any overflow would occur. Additionally, the sump system was designed with a backup procedure to address any occurrence of this type.<br /> <br /> We understand that the BFVCA is working assiduously to rectify this unfortunate situation with the NWC, and for the good of all concerned, we have facilitated whenever possible.<br /> <br /> Gina Harrison<br /> <br /> Project General Manager<br /> <br /> Portmore Marina Developments<br /> <br /> Bay Front Villas & Apartments<br /> <br /> gharrisonwork@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13441854/241675_71686_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, December 05, 2016 12:00 AM &lsquo;Double Days&rsquo; will return http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/-Double-Days--will-return_82555 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited (JUTC) notes the concerns of letter writer Claudette Harris in the Jamaica Observer issue of Tuesday, November 29, 2016.<br /> <br /> In respect of our periodic &lsquo;Double Day&rsquo; promotions, to which Ms Harris referred, the company did not have one, as was initially planned, for the back-to-school period in early September of this year. <br /> <br /> A number of issues, especially the limited bus run-out for some time, prompted the decision to postpone the promotion in September, and have similarly kept us from doing so since then.<br /> <br /> But, thankfully, the run-out challenges which have beset the company for some time now are projected to change gradually between the end of December and early next year. This is because of the scheduled acquisition of the necessary spare parts to repair and better maintain the fleet, which will allow the JUTC to gloriously resume the much-loved Double Day promotion.<br /> <br /> We certainly appreciate the heightened public anticipation for the resumption of the promotion, and use this opportunity to state that, contrary to assertions from some quarters, no decision has been taken by the company to discontinue the promotion.<br /> <br /> The JUTC therefore looks forward to the staging of a grand Double Day early next year.<br /> <br /> Reginald Allen<br /> <br /> Marketing and Communications Manager<br /> <br /> Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited<br /> <br /> RAllen@jutc.com.jm<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13465201/244010_71687_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, December 05, 2016 12:00 AM To a new and improved PNP http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/To-a-new-and-improved-PNP_82106 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The crisis of leadership in the People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) makes interesting study as it brings into view the need for strategic succession planning that will not lead to leaders going into diminishing, anticlimactic mode.<br /> <br /> Let&rsquo;s pick up the story from Michael Manley.<br /> <br /> The Manley/Edward Seaga era was one of keen intellect and the splendid parading of oratorical prowess. Indeed, those were &ldquo;the best of times, (and) the worst of times&rdquo;. Fate was kind to Manley in that his exit from the stage coincided conveniently with him occupying the seat of power. His was an &ldquo;honourable&rdquo; exit; this was good for his ego &mdash; some would say dignity.<br /> <br /> Now, although it was entirely possible for Seaga to have been blinded by an insatiable greed for power, I rather believe that he knew his time had come but only desired an exit that rivalled that of his perennial opponent. He waited for his winning a last election, but it never came. It looked like someone on stage who had forgotten his/her lines. In cricketing terms, you&rsquo;d say a &ldquo;soft dismissal&rdquo; &mdash; not good for the ego.<br /> <br /> P J Patterson exited after near two decades of dominance &mdash; arguably the most successful politician this country has seen in terms of winning elections. He, like Manley, was afforded a &ldquo;dignified&rdquo; departure.<br /> <br /> Enter Portia Simpson Miller. Although full of promise, complete with the prospect of winning the heart of the nation, who wanted to see her do well, she had obvious ability issues. She never did quite command the respect of her party, and seemed only to have succeeded in retaining power because of party principles. You know, David&rsquo;s &ldquo;Touch not the Lord&rsquo;s anointed&rdquo; statement?<br /> <br /> Mind you, her ascendency to the head of her party was not without merit. She had strong social collateral that did, for a time, woo the nation, and her party may have disingenuously sought to exploit this collateral. But she has totally exhausted her social capital, and foreclosure proceedings must commence forthwith. A new party leader must now be found.<br /> <br /> The PNP must take the time to correct inherent challenges (not excluding succession planning), even as it must offer a way into the new approach to the practise of politics in Jamaica. For believe it or not, we&rsquo;re still in the old mould. Economic growth, though vitally important, isn&rsquo;t the end-all of building a nation.<br /> <br /> Unfortunately Simpson Miller will not be afforded the graceful exit she would much prefer; her time has come and will no longer be put off. Party loyalty must take a secondary seat to patriotism; support of a party must only be in so far as it will advance the country.<br /> <br /> As such, then, I do look forward to the new and improved PNP &mdash; leader and all.<br /> <br /> Charles Evans<br /> <br /> charles.evans@ncu.edu.jm<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9852972/pnp-logo_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, December 05, 2016 12:00 AM Dancehall doesn&rsquo;t have to offend http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Dancehall-doesn-t-have-to-offend_82551 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> When it suits us we boast a rich and creatively versatile genre. Like anything else with variation, some varieties of an entity lend to particular purposes better than others. Like a personality, there are some basic traits and values that we all generally share. Like a personality, we have things unique to us in a positive way and others in a perceived negative one. I&rsquo;d hope that we&rsquo;d have realised in life by now that highlighting the faults of someone else (or another genre for this matter) doesn&rsquo;t stop ours from existing or being noticed.<br /> <br /> The annual telephone directory is meant for every business, every office, every household &mdash; indeed, every Jamaican. The variety of dancehall depicted on the 2016 cover was not. Why one might think, from their personal beliefs, that it is fitting for everyone else is another discussion.<br /> <br /> If you are a true champion of dancehall, if you believe that it is indeed rich in creativity and versatility, why not be upset then that another depiction was not chosen? One that wasn&rsquo;t so limiting, one that didn&rsquo;t allow, yet again, for the whole genre to be relegated to the view of being inappropriate and overly sexual? Or is it that that one depiction of dancehall is all it is to you, the champions of dancehall as well?<br /> <br /> In my assessment, everything was fine with the image for mass distribution minus the girl in short dress with legs open bracing on a man, as well as the other female in the yellow tights. Dancehall is broader than that and has been used many times before to advertise many things without offending.<br /> <br /> Jodi-ann Johnson<br /> <br /> Kingston 19<br /> <br /> three-jays@live.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12180468/how-to_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Monday, December 05, 2016 12:00 AM Power of the religious right http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Power-of-the-religious-right_82116 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> The political world is seemingly still in shock about Donald Trump beating Senator Hillary Clinton in the USA elections on November 8. How could this have happened, they have been asking<br /> <br /> Exit polls showed a third of Latinos voted Trump despite the pre-election rhetoric; eight per cent of African Americans voted Trump, and some analysts believe that it could be as much as 15 per cent, as a full seven per cent of African Americans refused to participate in exit polls.<br /> <br /> The group, however, which seemed to have swung the election for Trump was white evangelicals who voted 80 per cent - 20 per cent in favour of Trump. Some within the media and general public are shouting &ldquo;racism&rdquo;, but this seems like faulty analysis because the bulk of this subset voted twice for President Barack Obama. Senator Hillary Clinton lost the race decisively because the religious right, including some African Americans, turned against the Democratic Party because of the party&rsquo;s extreme positions on abortion and gay rights. Some conservatives were not planning to vote Trump but the exchange at the third debate on partial birth abortion gave them a perfect reason not to necessarily vote for Trump, but against Clinton.<br /> <br /> The discussion on abortion went like this at the third debate: <br /> <br /> Chris Wallace (moderator): &hellip;You have been quoted as saying that the foetus has no constitutional rights. You also voted against a ban on late-term, partial birth abortions. Why?<br /> <br /> Hillary Clinton: Because Roe v Wade very clearly sets out that there can be regulations on abortion so long as the life and the health of the mother are taken into the account. And when I voted as a senator, I did not think that that was the case. The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make. I have met with women who have toward the end of their pregnancy, get the worst news one could get. That their health is in jeopardy if they continue to term. Or that something terrible has happened or just been discovered about the pregnancy. <br /> <br /> CW: Mr Trump, your reaction, particularly on this issue of late-term, partial birth abortion. <br /> <br /> Donald Trump: Well, I think it is terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month you can take baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. Now, you can say that that is okay, and Hillary can say that that is okay, but it&rsquo;s not okay with me. Because based on what she is saying and based on where she&rsquo;s going and where she&rsquo;s been, you take baby and rip the baby out of the womb. In the ninth month? On the final day? And that&rsquo;s not acceptable. <br /> <br /> There you have it! Trump won the election with seven lines! The religious right not only moved towards Trump, but organised themselves and made a great difference in states such as Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.<br /> <br /> The result of the election in the USA holds a lesson for some politicians in Jamaica who seem to think that the views of Jamaicans on abortion and gay rights should be ignored. The presidential election in the USA shows the power of an organised religious right and presents a teachable moment for our local politicians.<br /> <br /> Marsha Thomas<br /> <br /> marshburns@hotmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13435525/241048_67616_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM Vybz Kartel, the voice of a generation? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Vybz-Kartel--the-voice-of-a-generation_82309 Dear Editor,<br /> <br /> It has been almost five years since the artiste Adidja &ldquo;Vybz Kartel&rdquo; Palmer was arrested, and two years since he was convicted, and yet he continues to top local charts while maintaining his presence in international music. More importantly, he remains a critical cultural touchstone for the youth who listen to his music.<br /> <br /> Why is this?<br /> <br /> It is my opinion that this is so because he says what the youth feel in their heart but are afraid to say, or don&rsquo;t have the platform to speak on.<br /> <br /> As it relates to social issues, no artiste as popular as Vybz Kartel, in a long time, can boast as lengthy a catalogue of &lsquo;conscious tunes&rsquo;. This may come as a shock to many who are not acquainted with dancehall music, but he speaks consciously at times.<br /> <br /> He continually calls for educating those living in squalor, calls for free managed health care and education. He highlights the plight of nurses, teachers and all the oppressed as seen in his book, while shining a light on how the nation reached the depths we are at now. In short, he says out loud what many have been saying quietly for years about the country.<br /> <br /> We then hit upon his more crass side, his &lsquo;gyal tunes&rsquo;. A lot of his songs can be called nothing short of lewd, others would go so far as to say offensive even, but why sing them? The answer is simple, that&rsquo;s how people interact with one another nowadays. How many times have we heard people on the street make utter sentences that would make a sailor blush? How many times do we hear women openly endorsing &lsquo;slackness&rsquo;? What&rsquo;s more, this type of music is nothing new, just review Prince Buster&rsquo;s song list from the 60s for proof.<br /> <br /> Then we hit out against his hugely popular &lsquo;gangster tunes&rsquo;. Again the answer as to why they are popular is staring us in the face. We are a traumatised people, from slavery to crown colony to independent people. Violence has been with us every step of the way. Not only have we idealised the gangster life (something first begun in the 70s), the gangster is seen to embody all things, protector, breadwinner, patron, and Robin Hood. This is what much of the youth aspire to and that&rsquo;s why those songs are huge hits.<br /> <br /> In short, Vybz Kartel remains influential because he continues to be everything to everybody. He represents the underclass and dispossessed, he represents for the &lsquo;gyalis&rsquo; and he also represents for the gangster.<br /> <br /> He does this at times with witty lyrics and at other times with words that feel like a sledgehammer on the ear. He can be soft, yet brutal. He is, in my opinion, the embodiment of the Jamaican experience thus far, incredibly brilliant, yet patently insane. Love him or loathe him, he is the voice of a generation.<br /> <br /> Alexander Scott<br /> <br /> alexanderwjscott90@gmail.com<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12804089/193696_67998_repro_w300.jpg Local Letters to the Editor Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM