PNP Administration was right to send back Abu Bakr
WIGNALL’S WORLDSunday, October 26, 2014
The Trinidadian 'religious extremist' Abu Bakr recently found himself on the horns of a dilemma as the Jamaica Government denied him the right to stay in Jamaica to attend Farrakhan's celebration of his Million Man March.
As it is with those who would wish to use 'gunpoint theology' to force us all into living an endorsement of their religious myth and resulting cultural stringencies, the freedoms inherent in a democracy, freedoms which they would automatically take away from others, must never be denied them.
As to the US$36,000 price tag for the private charter flight back, we can either accept the reasons given by the security minister that immediate return of the extremist was the best choice for the moment, or we can form the impression, as many have, that the PNP Administration, lowest ever in popularity, simply panicked and, in a knee-jerk response, took the easiest but most expensive way out.
At present, if the Government adds up two and two, and tells the nation that it is four, the mood of the nation is such that our people are likely to accept the answers as three or five.
What did the security minister know that we still don't? We can speculate.
There is a relatively small community of Muslims in Jamaica. With the rise of the murderous and fanatic faction, ISIS, in the Middle East, have the intelligence units in the military and the Jamaica Constabulary Force identified any sleeper cells of Jamaican Muslim extremists who were in touch with the Trinidadian, and was an 'event' planned for the near future?
Was attending Farrakhan's bash at the National Arena just the rallying point for a more determined and radical push in the region?
Religious extremists usually target those whose lives are down and who want to be endorsed by a bigger cause. From my standpoint of observing the various religious groups in Jamaica, fundamentalist Muslims give up too much of their personalities when compared with a Christian who cannot walk to the gate without his Bible.
It is rare to hear a fundamentalist Muslim say: "I believe that maybe we humans ought to..." It is more along the lines of "Allah ordered us to submit and..." or, "The Koran plainly states that we should..."
It is excessively robotic and scary in its possibilities.
For this reason I would not be surprised if, among the small population of Jamaican Muslims, there is proportionately a higher percentage of those who are silently on the edge of tipping into religious extremism than one would find among Christian fundamentalists.
Whatever it is, the Trinidadian Abu Bakr ought to accept that he has been hoisted on his own petard. Somehow, he alone should have the right to restrain others, but none should touch him. On the other hand, maybe he knew what would have happened and simply wanted to bask in the regional infamy, something every religious extremist can use when he needs to see his name in lights.
Are our elite athletes isolating themselves from CHIKV?
The assumption must be made that coaches, managers and agents of Jamaica's track and field stars who hope to show up 100 per cent fit at the 2016 Olympics have arrived at only one conclusion and, that is, to the best of their abilities, a CHIKV infection must be avoided.
Only very few star athletes have the discipline to deny themselves the natural freedoms that come with the Jamaican personality. It is extremely difficult to ask a young person outside of track season not to party and come in drunk at 7:00 AM.
Considering that Jamaica has never experienced a CHIKV outbreak before, it is safe to say that we only have the literature on the virus which indicates that some of the joint pains may linger for years.
While there may also be muscle pains, those I believe can be more easily solved than joint pains. For this reason, it is incumbent on the athletes to not let the Americans sit back, relax and let CHIKV take care of Bolt and company for 2016.
In the better hotels in Jamaica, and in top restaurants and nightclubs, there is close to a 100 per cent mosquito-free environment. I have visited many of these all-inclusives over many years and I cannot recall even seeing a single mosquito. Then I drive out and find a joint in an area not 10 minutes from the hotel and the presence of mosquitoes is obvious.
The athletes ought to utilise more of these properties and amenities, while seeing their near-future as most important to them in heading towards 2016.
An infection now may seemingly clear up totally by 2015. But one has no guarantee that, come the semi-final of a race in 2016, a joint pain may not suddenly creep up and say: "Remember me? I am a remnant of CHIKV."
Mount Salus calling Paul Buchanan again
Early last week I received a call from West Rural St Andrew MP Paul Buchanan telling me that he would be introducing 'ticky-ticky' fish into a clogged soak-away situated in a small valley in Mount Salus. The surrounding areas are suffering from a mosquito invasion and just about two out of every three people have been infected with CHIKV or are in the process of coming down with the illness.
My immediate surroundings had no mosquito-breeding areas, but that did not render me immune from getting CHIKV last week.
I am tempted to say to the MP that it is too little to late, but I will not say it. "We will be instituting bushing too starting by the weekend," he said. Which means that by the time this article is published the work would have begun.
Like most MPs, Paul Buchanan's surprising win in 2011 was greeted with loud cheers by his supporters. Three years on, those same supporters have condemned him to one term only.
"Him can't win back yah so," said a young man who told me he voted for 'Buck'.
Another, nearby, said: "Dat's why him hardly come roun' yah so."
West Rural St Andrew is typical of all other semi-rural constituencies where no MP will ever be able to solve the problem of extremely high unemployment. Many MPs have made themselves scarce because they have few answers. Even worse, it is more likely that, in the context of poor education and an economy that is barely trying to find its footing, there is no reasonable solution to the unemployment picture.
Some of the small shop owners in the area are in dire straits, as are those many customers in need of a crediting relationship.
"Is jus' a bag juice, a bun and a cigarette mi want. Mi wi pay yuh by Friday."
"Dat is what yuh seh last Wednesday and yuh disappear by Friday."
Some of the shops cannot afford to stock anything other than basic supplies of rice, flour, sugar, bread, and a few tinned items. In mosquito-infestation times, spray insecticide was not stocked.
When I asked a shop owner why she did not stock the spray she said, "Di people nuh have di money fi buy it."
Even if by some miracle Paul Buchanan survives and wins again in 2016, three more terms will not be enough to change the face of the communities in the constituency. There is still the niggling matter of teen pregnancy piled on top of poor education.
CHIKV was just not needed at this time to add to the people's woes, and the lingering memory of the PNP Administration's poor handling of the outbreak may come back to haunt it in 2016.
I haven't yet told the MP to his face what many of the people are saying about him, but he is no fool and must know that it is a trend that runs right across the other 62 constituencies.
Fighting the mosquito after it has won just about all the major battles and is likely to win all others seems almost like plugging the leak in a tank after all of the water has run out.
But the people have no other choice but to accept the action and hope that a few of the young men in the area will get a few days' paid employment.