Sunday Brew — May 15, 2022

A pandemic that rocked the globe, starting 2019, has caused untold, even irreparable damage.

Millions of people have died from the effects of the flu-like illness, with economies of the world only now trying to rebuild their set-ups, although the all-clear sign has not been erected everywhere. With improvements being shown all over, except for North Korea, which miraculously recorded its first case recently, you would want to think that the worst has passed. But is that the case?

Unfortunately, a pandemic of a different kind – Putin-22 – has set itself upon the land. There are few medical issues at hand here, but an untold number of people have been wiped out by the use powerful weaponry, approved by the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, on his innocent neighbours of Ukraine.

It’s not solely about people being killed. The dislocation in the lives of millions, destruction of hospitals, schools, production centres, housing solutions, and other structures is beyond comprehension.

In two short months, Putin-22 has caused as many deaths, maybe even more, I would want to think, than the comparative period of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The numbers are still uncertain, but it is believed that hundreds of thousands have been slaughtered on both sides, needlessly.

Can you imagine what will happen if Russia spends two years fighting the brave people of Ukraine?

Right now, global supply chains have been severely disrupted. Shortage of products has deflated economies which depended on both European countries. And what is the fighting for? All because one “sick” president became insecure that his neighbour wanted to join a defence organisation?

Needed: A makeover of the NWC

Not many will mount roadblocks, or go on the pulpit to preach the warmest words in support of employees of the National Water Commission.

In other words, NWC staff and others who represent perhaps the most vital organisation in Jamaica are virtually on their own. The problem? There have been far too many disruptions in water supply to countless communities across Jamaica, and it is not always management’s fault as oftentimes we are led to believe.

Facing low water pressure, or no water, as some of us went through from last Tuesday morning into Thursday, was nothing new…until it emerged that an industrial action was at the heart of the latest act. A reclassification exercise, dating back to 2008, the story goes, was the cause of the workers’ discomfort, and, naturally, they had to take it out on the innocent public by locking off, or severely restricting supplies to thousands, in many instances.

So here we are, faced with a crude situation of workers, their managers, too, not performing at their best to provide Jamaicans with a steady, reliable supply of water, and now using us as live targets in a war to get what they want without even deserving it.

The workers at NWC are bawling that they need this reclassification, but the Jamaican people would also like a reclassification of the service provided. There are some customers whose supplies get disconnected for owing less than $2,000. I have seen it. On the other hand, large companies are allowed to run up huge bills exceeding millions of dollars. It seems to me that the NWC needs to bolster its system of collection, find or establish other sources of water, which could mean partnering with international companies and governments in setting up micro dams as Michael Manley did with Cuba in the 1970s, or explore the option of desalination once more.

But even as desalination may be considered, too much water goes to waste in Jamaica while consumers continue to suffer.

Take a trip to St Mary, for example, and see how much of the liquid from the Wag Water River goes into the sea. Move further east to Reach Falls in Portland, a delightful, picturesque place indeed, and you will also see that, while communities in that general area lack water, all of that gushing down Reach Falls ends up in the Caribbean Sea too. When will we learn, and allow technology to guide us?

One of these days, the consumers of this land should arrange a strike against the NWC. Better yet, those who continue to get huge bills for air, and have to suffer the misery of driving on freshly paved roads dug up for pipe laying and left for long periods should be at the forefront of a bullish boycott of the water provider, and tell all those who seek to be reclassified that they could take a trip to Mars instead to see how life unfolds there.

US ambassador’s refreshing return

Nick Perry

Ambassador N Nick Perry is someone Jamaica can regard as one of its own. He must have felt like a man relieved to get back to his roots when he exited the aircraft at the Norman Manley International Airport last Wednesday evening.

The morning after, he sprung into action by meeting embassy staff at the United States Government’s St Andrew location, ready to continue running with the baton that was handed to him by his predecessors, and perhaps anxious to achieve things that hitherto were never a part of reality.

The fact that the ambassador was born on this very soil and attended one of the finest institutions of learning in the Western Hemisphere – Kingston College – means that he is a yard man, first and foremost. He could also find himself in the pages of history, becoming the first diplomat to be posted in Jamaica, whose navel string was cut here.

A US Army veteran, Ambassador Perry knows only too well how Jamaicans love the United States. Some of them adore the US so much that they tend to stay there much longer than they are allowed to visit, sometimes resulting in their host having to resort to measures that turn out to be quite uncomfortable.

Ambassador Perry understands the Jamaican mentality very well and should be quite aware that there could be those who think that now that a Jamaican is the top man at the embassy, they ought to be allowed certain special privileges. I would say to them though, “Dream on,” for as the local television commercial says, “That will never happen.”

One of the incentives that young Jamaicans can take away from Ambassador Perry’s appointment is hope — that a boy from Kingston’s east side could do well at high school, emigrate to the United States, and eventually become a New York assemblyman, and then gain the confidence of the US political hierarchy to represent its interest overseas.

An ambassador serves, usually, for between three and four years in a location. Perry’s alma mater marks 100 years in 2025. Surely, he must have calendar at hand ticking off the days leading to that quite special occasion.

Vigilante justice must end

Chieftin Campbell

How I hope that the police can put together evidence to use against those responsible for blatantly murdering a man in Manchester recently, whose only ‘crime’ was that he wanted to live a decent life.

Many have fallen by way of mob killings while legislators and law enforcers continue to sit back and put up with the foolishness. Look at the man who was killed in St Thomas late last year while a mob searched for an alleged rapist who was said to be terrorising little girls in the community of Bath. An innocent man was brutally slaughtered, and up to now, mum is the word. No one has been charged. It has got to stop. If it means that sterner legislation must be enacted to deter people from taking the law into their hands, then we must press on.

Sure, there are some who have died by mob justice, who, when the evidence is gathered, turn out to be the culprit. But still, a mob has no right to determine that.

In the village I am from, Belfield, St Mary, farmers have suffered huge losses of animals and crops to praedial thieves over the years. Even now, my parents’ ‘dead lef’ properties are invaded regularly by those who never planted a grain of corn there. I remember well, too, the first goat I owned, being stolen. No one was ever held, or charged with the offence.

But at a particular period in the early 1980s, a mob caught and killed a man – Carol McKenzie – after he was held one very early morning with a farmer’s goat. There was no mercy, and you did not want to see how his body was disfigured during the human slaughter while he begged for his life. Even two police personnel who arrived at the scene early, could not prevent the transition from man to mince. But killing that man was wrong then, as it is now to take someone’s life by that route. In Carol’s case, the evidence that was available would certainly have convicted him in a court of law.

For a time after his death, the stealing of goats stopped, but resumed months later as the lazy few who depend on others for sustenance went into action, which only serves to convince me that mob rule achieves absolutely nothing.

In any case, though the examples are different, the man in Manchester, Chieftin Campbell, was similarly called out as a thief, and without any thinking going into it, he was cut down in a jiffy by two-legged dogs.

That man’s family has been stained, all because of some dunces who couldn’t care less about who should live and who should not.

What’s worse, COVID-19 or Putin-22?

Vladimir Putin

A pandemic that rocked the globe, starting 2019, has caused untold, even irreparable damage.

Millions of people have died from the effects of the flu-like illness, with economies of the world only now trying to rebuild their set-ups, although the all-clear sign has not been erected everywhere. With improvements being shown all over, except for North Korea, which miraculously recorded its first case recently, you would want to think that the worst has passed. But is that the case?

Unfortunately, a pandemic of a different kind – Putin-22 – has set itself upon the land. There are few medical issues at hand here, but an untold number of people have been wiped out by the use powerful weaponry, approved by the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, on his innocent neighbours of Ukraine.

It’s not solely about people being killed. The dislocation in the lives of millions, destruction of hospitals, schools, production centres, housing solutions, and other structures is beyond comprehension.

In two short months, Putin-22 has caused as many deaths, maybe even more, I would want to think, than the comparative period of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The numbers are still uncertain, but it is believed that hundreds of thousands have been slaughtered on both sides, needlessly.

Can you imagine what will happen if Russia spends two years fighting the brave people of Ukraine?

Right now, global supply chains have been severely disrupted. Shortage of products has deflated economies which depended on both European countries. And what is the fighting for? All because one “sick” president became insecure that his neighbour wanted to join a defence organisation?

Horace Helps

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