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01/21/10

Permalink 11:02:36 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Culture, Commentary

The predicament of Haiti's earthquake to Jamaica

Well the Haiti earthquake has come and gone (the major quake anyway, there are still continuous aftershocks). The world has gathered together and is now trying its best to help Haiti recover and save as many of the victims of the quake as possible. Sadly while most people have said that saving anymore people has become more or less impossible now due to the lack of available time (people have been trapped for in excess of a week now), the rescue effort is still important because quite frankly the abilities of the human body is limitless and chances are even 2 weeks from now I bet there will be people found alive (however barely).

gleaner cartoon**taken from the Jamaica Gleaner

Being Haiti is Jamaica's closest neighbour next to Cuba Jamaicans have been particularly terrified by the prospects of an earthquake of similar proportions striking us (and the effects that such an earthquake would have), and also Jamaicans are also terrified of what will probably happen next. You see, being so close the possibility is high that we will eventually have hundreds of thousands of Haitian refugees as these people try to escape the abject poverty that they currently live in, that has also been increased 200 fold with the recent string of natural disasters. The fact is, with every natural disaster that strikes Haiti we get a slew of refugees, and as international law states, we have to house and take care of them and decide on whether or not to give them asylum in our country. But this has two effects, the first is that it costs money to house these people who come in, money that Jamaica really doesnt have. The second is that as these foreigners come in, they carry with them diseases which while popular in Haiti (and which Haitians are possibly immune to), may not exist in Jamaica or may have been eradicated from Jamaica; reintroducing them to our population may have far reaching effects to our own population.

neighbourly Jamaica**taken from the Jamaica Gleaner

So with these two things in mind there has been a debate raging as to whether or not we really should extend help to these Haitians and offer them asylum. Alot of religious zealots have been stating that we should definitely offer them asylum and reach out to them and help them in their time of need. While the more none aligned thinkers are saying that we shouldn't offer them any help as we are already strapped for cash. Instead we should let the countries/people who can afford to house them do the housing. Both of these arguments do have merit because of course we should be humanitarian and offer our help because had we been in the same problems we would want to be offered the same level of assistance. However we also have to think about the state of our economy, the fact that we are about to join a very expensive IMF deal, are Billions of dollars in debt, and we couldn't possibly afford the risk of introducing/reintroducing some deadly disease to our country after all we have so many to deal with already.

help haiti**taken from the Jamaica Gleaner

So you see, we have quite the decision to make and we are now in quite the pickle due to that decision. Being the naturally friendly people we are, alot of us feel inclined to offer our help to Haiti and the Haitians, but we also need to think about our own country.

What is your take on this?

01/20/10

Permalink 05:25:50 pm, by Melba
Categories: Weather, Commentary

Earthquakes in the Caribbean

Normally, we don’t think about natural disasters until they actually happen. For us in the Caribbean hurricanes are our worst nightmares. Tornadoes, tsunamis, volcanoes, snowstorms and such natural disasters we only hear about. Earthquakes are a little closer to home but still not a priority. Yes, we have suffered at the hands of earthquakes in the past; on June 07, 1692 a massive one sank two-thirds of Port Royal; however that was so long ago that for most of us it’s just history.

Despite the nonchalant attitude of most people towards the possibilities of a major earthquake here in Jamaica the authorities do their best to keep us aware. January 09 - 15, 2010 was Earthquake Awareness Week in Jamaica. This is an annual event staged by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM). The theme for this year was ‘Learn, Plan, Prepare…the next big quake could be near!’ (yu think dem did get a tip). The aim was to increase the general awareness of the Jamaican public to the importance of preparing for an earthquake.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF AN EARTHQUAKE? ARE YOU PREPARED? Seriously I’m clueless. The only thing I can think of is get away from any buildings, if you can. Then what?

 

As you all know, on January 12, 2010, Haiti was struck by a major, major 7.0 quake. The devastation was unbelievable. The daily horror stories coming out of Haiti are heart breaking. But what is also very scary is the fact that to date, January 20, 2010 we continue to have daily earthquakes within the region. For more information you can visit http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/quakes_all.php.

 

From what I understand an earthquake is caused when there is an abrupt shift of rocks along a fracture in the Earth called a fault. The earth is divided into three main layers - a hard outer crust, a soft middle layer and a center core. The outer crust is broken into massive, irregular pieces called "plates." Earthquakes occur when the earth shakes due to the movements of plates below the earth’s crust. The strength or magnitude of an earthquake is determined by the amount of ground shaking at a particular site as well as from reports of human reaction to shaking, damage done to structures, and other effects. Two main scales exist for defining the strength, the Mercalli Scale and the Richter Scale.

 

Looking at the latest earthquakes in the region over the past 8 days, the picture emerging is very discomforting. I am no scientist but as we say in Jamaica ‘it no look good’. On the map below (taken from the site listed above) Bold red lines are plate boundaries. The blue squares are earthquakes that occurred today and the yellow squares occurred this week. The earthquakes actually form a pattern around the Caribbean plate. I have listed the earthquakes recorded over the last 3 days. Jamaica’s location along the northern margin of the Caribbean Plate and the presence of very active faults, I believe, makes us very vulnerable to an earthquake at this time.

 

   

MAG

UTC DATE-TIME
y/m/d h:m:s

LAT
deg

LON
deg

DEPTH
km

 Region

 4.5  

2010/01/20 14:42:47 

  12.438 

  -88.171 

59.7 

 OFFSHORE EL SALVADOR

 5.9  

2010/01/20 11:03:44 

  18.385 

  -72.870 

10.0 

 HAITI REGION

 4.9  

2010/01/20 09:32:30 

  17.027 

  -94.361 

116.1 

 OAXACA, MEXICO

 4.4  

2010/01/20 09:03:45 

 -23.180 

  -66.600 

193.3 

 JUJUY, ARGENTINA

 5.2  

2010/01/20 06:05:46 

 -26.745 

  -63.321 

554.9 

 SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO, ARGENTINA

 2.9  

2010/01/20 04:10:23 

  18.556 

  -65.664 

78.1 

 PUERTO RICO REGION

 2.8  

2010/01/20 03:28:34 

  18.651 

  -66.948 

76.5 

 PUERTO RICO REGION

MAG

UTC DATE-TIME
y/m/d h:m:s

LAT
deg

LON
deg

DEPTH
km

 Region

 3.3  

2010/01/19 23:58:39 

  17.843 

  -65.716 

19.4 

 PUERTO RICO REGION

 5.2  

2010/01/19 17:28:15 

 -27.566 

  -65.782 

26.8 

 TUCUMAN, ARGENTINA

 5.9  

2010/01/19 14:23:39 

  19.020 

  -80.779 

10.0 

 CAYMAN ISLANDS REGION

 2.6  

2010/01/19 08:47:11 

  18.213 

  -66.519 

91.6 

 PUERTO RICO

 4.7  

2010/01/19 07:06:37 

  8.571 

  -82.652 

57.8 

 PANAMA-COSTA RICA BORDER REGION

 4.6  

2010/01/19 05:36:54 

 -32.381 

  -69.948 

96.0 

 MENDOZA, ARGENTINA

 2.8  

2010/01/19 05:00:30 

  18.149 

  -64.928 

10.2 

 VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION

 2.8  

2010/01/19 03:04:26 

  18.815 

  -67.341 

10.8 

 PUERTO RICO REGION

 3.0  

2010/01/19 00:10:28 

  18.602 

  -66.863 

87.5 

 PUERTO RICO REGION

MAG

UTC DATE-TIME
y/m/d h:m:s

LAT
deg

LON
deg

DEPTH
km

 Region

 3.0  

2010/01/18 20:02:46 

  18.663 

  -67.356 

81.6 

 PUERTO RICO REGION

 2.8  

2010/01/18 17:49:21 

  31.752 

 -116.015 

0.9 

 BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO

 3.7  

2010/01/18 17:22:41 

  19.326 

  -68.694 

68.9 

 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC REGION

 5.7  

2010/01/18 16:09:15 

 -12.421 

  166.169 

10.0 

 SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS

 5.8  

2010/01/18 15:40:27 

  13.696 

  -90.333 

54.8 

 OFFSHORE GUATEMALA

 5.4  

2010/01/18 12:28:35 

 -31.333 

  -68.577 

91.4 

 SAN JUAN, ARGENTINA

 3.8  

2010/01/18 08:41:07 

  36.842 

 -104.802 

5.0 

 NEW MEXICO

 5.2  

2010/01/18 06:00:29 

 -11.544 

  166.287 

35.0 

 SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS

 2.9  

2010/01/18 02:50:39 

  18.984 

  -68.274 

59.5 

 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC REGION

 2.8  

2010/01/18 02:30:19 

  32.187 

 -115.379 

6.0 

 BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO

 

So again I ask, do you known what to do in the event of an earthquake? If not I think it is prudent for us all to get informed and prepare as best we can. I think the people at ODPEM got it right; we need to, ‘Learn, Plan, Prepare…the next big quake could be near!’

Nuff Love

01/19/10

Permalink 10:11:07 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Business

The Evolution of Dancehall Music part 3

Daggering

**Warning, pictures posted may not be appropriate for children**

So I thought I was actually finished with this topic until I realized I hadn't as yet covered the latter part of the noughties. I had already covered the Dancing era (probably my second favourite era in dancehall... or tied in first with the early 90s bruk out era), but now its time to look at an era that brought about much controversy: Daggering. Now dont act like you dont know what daggering is... I dont care if you havent been to Jamaica since 1995, the mere fact that you know some Jamaican who has recently moved to Manilla, Phillipines (or wherever you are) and you are reading this journal means that you read about whats happening in Jamaica at least once per week (because we all get homesick),  or you've overheard news from Jamaica... heck our culture is very popular, I'm sure there's some Philipino person close to you who visits you daily for his dose of Jamaicaness. But however you've heard about it, you know about daggering.

Daggering

Fine, I'll explain since you dont want to admit you already know. Essentially, daggering is a form of couples dancing which involves a man and a woman and... well... to put it intelligently... rhythmic actions emulating repeated aggressive sexual penetration (I deserve props for coming up with that description). Now its really hard to pinpoint when and who started the daggering phenomenon that took jamaica by storm circa 2006-2008 however what we're sure about is that this brought on an era of dancehall where to describe words like raunchy, and explicit would be the only suitable adjectives.

more daggering

Almost all the songs and dances became sexually explicit and obscene. Charlie Black was one artist who rose to fame due to the daggering epidemic and his popularity started from his first popular song (I cant type the name because it is explicit, but you can click the link... This song is not safe for public viewing or hearing and should only be listened to by adults due to its explicit nature), to his second popular song Backshot Time, and also Bubble, he also has quite a few other songs which have all gained him success. Another artist (or well group) who got popular due to daggering was RDX, who with their songs Bend Ova and Dagger Dagger gained a high level of success similar to Voicemail in the earlier noughties. Almost all the dancehall jumped on the daggering phenomenon and this all culminated with Vybz Kartel and Spice's song Ramping Shop (clean version), (unedited version). It was at this point in time that Jamaicans saw that daggering was in fact getting out of hand and after some amount of public outcry the broadcasting commission banned all daggering songs, and also all songs with explicit lyrics. This essentially brought an end to the daggering era but it stuck out in alot of people's minds.

Badmanism

As with all era's of dancehall and has been described in numerous of my previous entries, clashes have always been a part of the dancehall culture. However with the Kartel vs Movado clash which began in 2008, we began to see a side of dancehall which was never before seen. Yes we had the Beenie Man vs Bounty Killer clashes, but these were all strictly lyrical confrontations. However with Kartel vs Movado we began to see the lyrical confrontation turn into a physical one as die hard fans on each side actually began to confront each other defending the Gaza or the Gully, while the artists did nothing but continue to lyrically confront each other.

The clash began when Kartel after leaving alliance began to diss alliance boss Bounty Killer. Movado and other alliance members stepped up to defend their boss by getting back at Kartel and producing numerous songs about his dishonor... and well, not so pleasant things were said by each side. But it seemed Kartel had a thing for Movado and they both began to hit out against each other really hard. All of this culminated at a clash at Sting 2008.

kartel v movado

Now everybody had their own idea and reasoning as to who won the clash at sting, but there was no real consensus as in previous clashes at the stage show. However people's animosity began to show and even as far as in schools people were displaying this loyalty to Gaza or Gully.

The feud went on for some time but in the end the government stepped in and in a move which can only be called... wierd, called a meeting of both sides of the conflict essentially ending the Gaza vs Gully conflict. Strangely enough however during this time alliance boss Bounty Killer who is normally extremely outspoken was very quiet and it was only towards the end of the conflict that he finally came out and started to openly diss Kartel and alot of ... non-pleasant things were said between the two however it did not culminate at sting as in the previous year.

 

Dancehall Music has certainly been through alot of changes since its inception and will continue to go through changes as our society evolves. This writeup has certainly not described everything which happened throughout the industry, but it did touch on alot of major points. I am lead to wonder what is the next step for dancehall, and how long will it continue to survive. I personally have no doubt about its survivability because the artistes and producers are working on dancehall and making it grow to massive proportions. I just hope it will continue to be as entertaining as it has always been for me.

01/16/10

Permalink 08:39:12 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Business

The Strength of the Jamaican Diaspora

Whenever I travel I normally stay with friends or family, next to the obvious cost benefits it is always more comforting to stay with somebody who you can relate to about being back home and what life is like nowadays and why we are all planning to revolt against the government (but that's for another post). But this isn't one of my travelling stories, nor is it banter against the current government. Instead this is about something I have always found interesting when abroad and that is the Jamaican Diaspora.

First of all, all the Jamaicans who are abroad all share one thing which can be compared to the chinese, and that is the fact that they are a very tight knit group. In fact the only major difference between Jamaicans and the chinese is that chinese people in essence all stick together and kind of choose a community and just stay there, they essentially form a "China Town" (everywhere there's one) and are normally just an arms length apart. With Jamaicans its different however, there is no "Jamaica Town" we dont normally live that close to each other, however the chances are we know every Jamaican that lives within a 10 mile radius... Its true.

You see (especially in America) meeting a Jamaican is always a joy, because we come from what is easily the best country in the world (yes I said it) and when somebody moves abroad and end up in the cold unfriendly rest of the world that exists out there, its always nice to be in the warmth and kindness of a fellow Jamaican. It is for this reason that the group sticks together closely, normally when a Jamaican sees another Jamaican, it doesn't matter if they never met before or if one is from Portland and the other Westmoreland... The one commonality that will make them become friends is the fact that both of them are from yard!

Dont believe me? I implore you the next time you travel (if you have the time), find a Jamaican restaurant, and sit in there for 2 hours, and tell me the type of customers you see come in and how long they sit and speak to each other. Or here is another experiment you can try go somewhere where you can see a bunch of people who are obviously Jamaicans - This is normally really easy to spot because Jamaicans all seem to give out these signals of their Jamaicanness; either by "chipping two claat"; constantly listening to as much reggae and dancehall as they can find; the Jamaican flag somewhere on their person or on their property (cars are a very popular place); or just their look... even through the thickest accent you can spot a hint of Jamaicanity. However when you meet this group let it be known that you have only recently landed from yard and look at the response you get as people will begin to ask you where you're from and what's new. News about home is precious to the community.

But essentially that is the kind of people we are. We are a very close knit group and we are alwayss there for each other when abroad - Despite not knowing each other from Adam.

01/13/10

Permalink 10:09:29 am, by Skillachi
Categories: Business

Earthquake in Haiti

Yesterday around 5 pm I started to get calls from many people asking if I felt the earthquake and I didnt (fortunately or unfortunately). However there was a buzz of excitement all around Kingston and alot of Jamaica about the excitement brought on by the earthquake which was felt yesterday. However it was amidst the excitement that people found the real shocking news and that was that all we in Jamaica had felt was merely the leftovers of the real 7.0 earthquake which the people in Haiti had experienced that day (in addition to the 4.8-5.8 aftershocks).

The earthquake was then followed by a tsunami warning for the countries lieing west and east of Haiti and it was then that people in Jamaica started to get scared and worried for our neighbours as well as ourselves. Of course everybody's minds turned to the 1907 earthquake which destroyed most of Kingston and Port Royal.

However in Haiti the damage has been quite substantial with many buildings collapsing after the earthquake and Haitian officials have said that they expect the death toll to be in the thousands. The earthquake spelt disaster for Haiti not only because of the magnitude and size of it but because Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world and there is almost no disaster relief fund for them to turn to, or is there sufficient emergency services available to rescue the people, this is doubled by the fact that a major hospital was also destroyed and many patients and staff are still trapped within.

According to reports form the Gleaner:

The presidential palace, the finance ministry, the ministry of public works, the ministry of communication and culture, were all affected by the quake, the reporter said, adding that the parliament building and a cathedral in the capital were crumbling.

This is truly a scary time for Haiti and the thoughts and prayers of Jamaicans go out to all Haitian citizens, there are also numerous Jamaican people collecting food and supplies to send to haiti to aid in their recovery. This shows that we are truly a very large family of Caribbean people and we hope for the best for Haiti.

Here is a video showing the damage which Haiti as experienced: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IySBl2aq-A

Haiti aftermath**Picture taken from msnbc

01/12/10

Permalink 06:18:02 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Entertainment, Culture, Commentary

The Evolution of Dancehall Music part 2

Bring in the 00's (Noughties)

Ok now this period in itself is so unique that I had to actually separate it into 3 different sections, hence why it gets its own post. The sections are Dancing, Daggering and Badman...ing. Seems pretty simple except for the fact that it does get kind of mixed up towards the middle and the end of the decade.

Dancing

This is what really started the Noughties period of dancehall, and from the year 2000 to 2005 (when bogle a dancer died) Jamaicans were probably as fit as possible... No really. Reason being, dancing took over. When I say dancing I dont mean like our "dirty dancing" or ballroom dancing, I am talking about really moving your body in the dancehall. Through Jamaican dancing Icon Bogle we had a period where literally every week a new dance came about. Of course following this new dance had to be the new and innovative dancers who also came about and became popular because of the dances they did. Names like Ding-Dong, Ice, Keeva, Spongebob (now Globalbob), and Flabba Dabba, and even groups of dancers like Ravas (Ray-vas) Clavas(Clay-vas) became names that most dancehall fans knew off the top of their heads, and this wasn't they constantly produced chart topping hits or made the best riddims... Instead this was because they came up with dances.

Ding Dong **Pic taken from the NY Times

Dances like Scooby Doo, Weddie Weddie, Summer Bounce, Blaze (pronounced blah-zay), Sesame Street, Get Jiggy, Row di Boat, Lightning, Thunder, Iverson Bounce, Mad Run, Crazy Hype, Willie Bounce, Log On,  Chaka Chaka, New York, Chaplin, Pon di River, Shelly Belly, Tambarine, and Call down di rain all became dances that if you didn't know, it made no sense to go to a party because you would be more or less the odd one out.  Dances were about who could do all the dances and dancers became the main feature of the dancehall. Of course to match this artists also started to produce dancing music as well.

The energy of the songs during this period were always consistently high. So high in fact that when you went inside a dance you could literally spend about an hour in constant movement. Songs came out which were literally medleys of nothing but dances and many artistes also saw their rise to fame during this period key of which are Elephant Man and Voicemail. To be honest Ele (as Elephant man is popularly called) was always a popular artiste but his high energy style really shown during this period as dancers latched on to his music and ate up every word. His songs such as Willie Bounce, Chakka Chakka and Signal di Plane were the highlights of any dance and everybody moved with him. Voicemail however did make their rise during this period and their songs such as Ready to Party and Just Dance gave them a rise to stardom which would've seemed unfathomable especially as most of their early songs were really dancing medleys.

This high energy period of the Dancehall slowly came to an end however with the death of Dancing icon Bogle. Bogle came up with alot of the dances that had gained popularity during the period and after his death though various dancers have tried nobody could really take up the mantle and take over the dancehall the way he did. However the dancing culture has remained a part of dancehall since then and continues - though to a lesser extent than previously - with current popular dances such as the Gully Creepa, Sweep, and Nuh Linga. This period was truly an interesting and unique period in the danchall (like all the others have been) and will always hold a place in the hearts of dancehall lovers who really just love the funness of dancehall.

Bogle**Pic taken from BBC

To be continued with the rest of the Noughties

01/11/10

Permalink 06:06:31 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Entertainment, Culture, Commentary

The Evolution of Dancehall Music

I've always considered myself a lucky fellow, not because I am stinking rich (I'm not), because my life has been a story filled with nothing but success (it has not), or because I have a family that I love and loves me back (ok that I do). No instead I consider myself lucky because I grew up in an era that has seen a whole lot of change and an era where most of the people around me have experienced many of these major changes. Being around these people gives me many different perspectives in life, I've heard about segregated America, 80's bloody Jamaica, and even heard of tales of the slavery period from my grandparents and (by extension from my parents) my great grandparents. In the same way in Jamaica during the period of my life I have seen the evolution of dancehall music to a great extent. Now when I say dancehall I'm speaking not of reggae but of the hardcore dancehall music which has been graced by the likes of Yellowman, Barrington levy, U-Roy and Shabba. Eek-a-mouse.

Early Beginnings

To me dancehall music has had quite a curious history which began somewhere around the 1980's. During this period we saw the rise of the sound system culture which basically is the heart and soul of dancehall music no matter how you look at it.  The soundsystem culture is identified by the fact that essentially all sound systems were eternally at war with each other to be regarded as the top ranking sound in Jamaica (please get images out of your head of people playing music while shooting sporadically at each other). This war was all of course done lyrically and the beginnings of dancehall culture was marked by artists making mostly clash type music and music which consisted of funny stories about people and themselves (ala king yellowman) and making music which dissed other sounds which came about as dub plates. This period of dancehall is what I would call the fun era which was marked by friendly rivalry and was marked by sharp lyrics and clash music which up until now is still being used in current sound systems competitions.

Sound

Dancehall in the 90's (The sketel years)

The 90's is the period of dancehall that is my personal favourite. Its my favourite not because I have fond memories of the music and I have an intense knowledge of the period, but instead because it is what I like to call the Sketel era. In this period of dancehall the music moved away from the sound system style to instead be more artiste focused, this is marked by the rise of artistes such as Papa San, Shabba, Bounty Killer, Buju Banton, Beenie Man, and Spragga Benz (among many others). The early 90's was a time when the music was focused on women and relationships.  I call it the Sketel era because the genre was about woman being the wife, and the position of "matey" (or the mistress) and gave praises to both of them. Women essentially were at the forefront and this was when dancing was a major part of the dancehall, and I dont know if you have seen images of how we dance in the dancehall... but things can get pretty much out of hand.

Dancing girls daggering

But I love this era because it was an era that was really and truly a whole lot of fun. While there existed some level of controversy among the artistes and there were still clashes, the level was so low that it was almost unnoticeable and most people will instead remember the songs such as Batty Rider, Wickidest Slam, Matey, and Champion. This is truly a fun and well loved era of dancehall.

To be continued with the 00's (noughties)

01/08/10

Permalink 09:51:10 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Religion, Commentary

The church in fighting (and then solving) crime

For years and years now we have heard appeals to different groups of people to aid in the crime fighting process. Alot of these calls have gone to the government telling them to stop corruption and stop supporting criminals, some have gone to the police to stop corruption and stop supporting criminals, some have gone to communities to stop supporting criminals etc, you get the picture. However strangely enough one place that these calls have always went to and that always continues to confuse me, is the church. Ok I guess it kinda makes sense, I mean the church is the home of religion, the place where peace and brotherhood is taught and the place where we are taught that God watches all our actions and we will be punished for being bad by spending eternity in hell. So what better place to drive fear into criminals and attack their conscience so that they will put down their bad behaviour and turn their lives over to the lord, especially since there are so many churches in Jamaica that we actually set a guiness record sometime back.

I guess this makes sense, however one thing I think that everybody keeps forgetting is the fact that, crime is not the result of peoples acting against their conscience, instead crime and violence in Jamaica is largely the result of the corruption and support of criminals which has now spiraled out of control of the people who allowed it in the first place (looking at you political parties). You see the church teaches us that no matter how bad we have done, as long as we repent and truly give our lives to the lord we will be guaranteed a place in heaven, so if thats all that God needs, what is the issue with simply killing somebody, repenting and moving on in life, its a really simple cycle that has been perpetuated by the same people we want to solve the crime problem. Yes I know this is very controversial for me to say but I dont exactly stay out of controversy so you should expect this by now.

However I am an optimist so instead of bashing people for turning to the church I will instead ask the question, how exactly will the church help to fight crime? Luckily I have gotten a few answers thanks to a recent gleaner article. The first suggestion by the church is that prayer is the answer... prayer, fasting, faith, and belief. I am forced to laugh as I read this, not because I am not a religious person this is not so, instead I laugh at how utopian and silly the suggestions are. Instead of asking the church to be a little more proactive you would prefer church goers to pray to God. Now I will have to restate the often quoted saying "God helps those that help themselves" (this is not in the bible by the way), do you really and truly believe that God is going to help simply because we all got together and prayed, fasted, and had faith. God has promised us many things, that is not one of them.

Instead here is what I think are some ways that the church can help us in our fight against crime. How about asking the church to stop harbouring the criminals? Yes the church does harbour criminals, people know who the criminals are and alot of them actually do go to church on a regular basis, why not tell the chuch leaders to ask them to giveup themselves or maybe even if possible give information leading to their arrest? If needs be let the person repent while paying the price for the crime he has done. Next how about asking the church to educate the community more proactively in positive ways, the church is no longer a rolemodel in society, too many priests have been caught having sex with young women and men and doing other acts that are frowned upon by society, it is time to change this image and make the church a more positive institution again by enforcing good values and then actually trying to teach them. Further to this, teaching people right from wrong does not mean preaching the gospel on a repeated basis, the fact is most people in Jamaica know the gospel, or at least know enough to understand deeds and consequences, they dont want to hear what they already know, thats why most people dont like talking to chuch people because they always link back to the bible. Instead try to level with people, dont act high and mighty with people listen to their problems and try to apply solutions that they can understand instead of just the usual prayer fasting etc and then tell them that they can get more guidance from the church. Try to bring them into the church without making them want to leave.

Is that so hard?

Permalink 03:32:44 am, by Skillachi
Categories: Politics, Business, Commentary

More Silly decisions by the Govt

Ok so in another round of "wise" decisions by our leaders, the government has told the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) that it needs to start printing more money... Just to clarify essentially what the government has been doing is telling the BOJ to loan them (govt) money so that it can purchase other government bonds, and these "loans" are essentially just the BOJ printing more money. But the recently publicised $3 billion request from the BOJ seems to be just the tip of the iceberg, as over time the BOJ has admitted that it has helped the government by giving over $20 billion dollars in the past two months. I wont even bother going into the fact that most of this has been backed by the new BOJ governor... and was not backed by the previous governor.

Now I have done economics, and I have done quite a few business courses and with the knowledge gained from that I do know the following... Printing money in large amounts... BAD, also taking loans in situations where interest rates are falling is not exactly a smart move either. In the article I posted above Omar speaks to many things such as lack of confidence in the bonds and other economics lingo that most of us will probably never fully understand, that is all well and good but I am going to speak about what I do understand.

First of all the printing of money, the thing about money is that its value is tied to something. That is the reason why J$100 in Jamaica maybe able to buy say 2 mangos, or say 1 patty, either way the value is clear and understood. Foreign exchange rates are also tied to something, and that is other foreign currency, and the value local goods produced. It is tied to other foreign currency in that if for example the market is flooded with one currency and it is easily available to everybody, the value of that currency will fall in relation to the currency that is not available to everybody and you have to fight to get. So in essence, you try to keep the market with as little actual cash floating around as possible, this is the reason why one of Hitler's strategies during the war to defeat the British was to print and distribute counterfeit money so that with so much money floating around, the British dollar would become cheap and of an extremely low value, especially in comparison to other world currencies. In some cases this is useful though like Japan, that wants its dollar to be cheap so that its products will sell for a lower cost internationally. Essentially what the government has therefore done by printing money (while not matching with production like Japan does) is further screwed our exchange rate (backlash will eventually happen) by putting too much cash into the system... and being a country that loves to import everything this means that all sectors will feel the effects of this move.

The next issue is the bonds which were purchased, one has to remember that the whole reason one purchases a bond is so that they will get payed a high enough interest return and the interest can then be used to do something else, its an investment. However it doesnt make sense to invest in a company where one does not stand to make any great gain as you will be without the cash for a certain period (until the bond matures), whereas during that period you could've used the money to make better investments with better returns.

I hope I explained everything properly, however essentially what the government is doing is digging the country a much deeper ditch to get out of... and the ditch was already too deep to begin with.

01/07/10

Permalink 12:51:53 pm, by Melba
Categories: Commentary

What do people remember most of 2009?

I’m sure if you asked 100 people to give one adjective to describe the year 2009 for them you would get 100 different words. Our answers will naturally depend on what took place in our lives on a personal basis. Someone that lost a loved one may say it was a sad year, the person who lost their job may say it was a rough year while someone who got their dream job may say it was a great year. I took the time to ask around as to what were some of the things that took place on a national level in 2009 that people remembered most. Here are some of the answers.

Politics

First on everyone’s list was the many tax packages and total confusion brought on by the present Government. After paying a quarter of your salary to government for PAYE then turn around and pay General Consumption Tax (GCT) now at 17.5% on almost every thing you buy, you feel as if you are working to just pay taxes. Any way, this topic is too hugh for me to tackle in this article so I will not belabour the point, needless to say many persons did not mention much else.

The other political issue was the many shifts in key positions in government entities. Like the former Governor of Jamaica, Derick Latibeaudiere, many people wonder at his resignation/dismissal after 13 years of proven service. The former Commissioner of Police, Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin, was he given a fair chance. Carlton Earl Samuels, CD, was replaced as Managing Director of the National Housing Trust after 11 years at the helm of the housing agency. Many believe that these and others were replaced because they refused to do the biddings of those in high places. Who knows?

Aviation

Aviation is normally not a topic of discussion unless something happens. 2009 was a relatively active year in aviation in Jamaica. We had 2 major incidents involving commercial planes and one involving a private twin engine aircraft.

On April 20, 200, 21 year old Stephen Fray attempted to hijack a Boeing 737 chartered Canjet flight. Flight 918 originated in Halifax, Nova Scotia and was destined to Cuba with a stop at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay where Stephen Fray entered the aircraft, carrying 174 passengers and eight crew members taking them all hostage. After hours of negotiations, security forces stormed the jet and seized the hijacker. Luckily no one was injured and the hijacker was taken into custody.

The second incident occurred in August when a twin-engine aircraft crashed near the St. Ann/ St. Catherine border killing the two persons on board. It is alleged that the aircraft was on a drug mission.

The third incident can only be described as a miracle. On December 22, 2009, American Airlines flight AA331 a Boeing 738 aircraft from Miami carrying 145 passengers aboard overran the runway and crash landed at Norman Manley Intl Airport in Kingston. The aircraft ended up on the Port Royal main road. Based on the condition of the aircraft it is truly a miracle that there was no explosion and that there were no fatalities. Now the big thing is who can get the most money for the passengers. We have lawyers coming from all over to represent them.

Gambling

It seems that as times get harder people start dreaming up ways to get money. As if we didn’t have enough already, 2009 saw the introduction of 2 new avenues for Jamaicans to gamble their hard earn dollar. One was the Super Lotto and the other was the addition of horse racing on a Sunday at Caymanas Park.

Super Lotto is a jackpot game, which is simultaneously sold in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Barbados, St. Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua, St. Kitts & Nevis and the US Virgin Islands. It promises the opportunity of becoming a Super Millionaire with an initial jackpot of US$ 2 million, which is converted to the local currencies of each participating country (185 million Jamaican dollars). Super Lotto draws two times a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays at 9:30 p.m. Since it’s inception on August 28, 2009 no one has won.

On November 29, 2009 the first ever Sunday race meet was held at Caymanas Park. Before that live horse racing took place in Jamaica on Saturdays, Wednesdays and some public holidays. Many objected to Sunday being a race day, especially the churches however it was still implemented. So far it’s not every Sunday however according to all reports it has been a great success.

Sports

Our sport enthusiasts were mixed, depending on the preferred sport. The athletics and netball fans were happy; the cricketers were mostly upset; the footballers were mixed and the ‘wagoner’s’ didn’t really care. ‘A wagoner’ is someone that basically cheers for whichever sport when they are winning and there is a lot of hype.

2009 was a great year for Jamaica in track and fields. After dominating the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 our athletes confirmed their position in the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Berlin in 2009. Jamaica retained the 100 meters men and women title with Shelly-Ann Fraser winning the women’s title and Usain Bolt improving on his own time to maintain the fastest man in the world title. In total we had 7 gold medals; 4 silver and 2 bronze and placed 3rd overall behind the USA who came first and Russia who came second.

Medals won

Gold

Usain Bolt - 100 Metres,

Usain Bolt - 200 Metres,

Shelly-Ann Fraser – 100 Metres

Melaine Walker - 400 Metres Hurdles,

Brigitte Foster-Hylton - 100 Metres Hurdles

Jamaica - 4x100 Metres Relay men

Jamaica - 4x100 Metres Relay women

Silver

Ferron Stewart – 100 Metres

Veronica Campbell-Brown – 200 Metres

Shericka Williams – 400 Metres

Jamaica – 4x400 Metres Relay

Bronze

Delloreen Ennis-London – 100 Metres Hurdles

Asafa Powell – 100 Metres

Over the last couple of years Australia, New Zealand, England and Jamaica in that order have dominated the four top spots in netball, however in 2009 our Sunshine girls finally moved up the ladder in a major league competition. In October they claimed the silver medal in the Fast Net version of the game at the World Fast Net Series in Manchester, England. New Zealand claimed the gold and world champions, Australia the bronze. Then the Sunshine girls drew their two-test series with both Australia and New Zealand at the National Commercial Bank Sunshine Series at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston. Our girls are riding high and seem to be ready for the next major netball competition which will be the Commonwealth games in Delhi in 2010.

Our cricketers are ‘another kettle of fish’. Some say West Indies (WI) cricket gone to the ‘dawgs’, and many more agree. Some say that it’s the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB's) fault. Some believe that both the Board and the cricketers have to take their share of blame. After we were beaten by Bangladesh, yes Bangladesh, in July 2009, Ok, it might not have been our A team but it was a WI team, we knew that we had hit rock bottom. When the A team returned many cricket fans sighed a sigh of relieve. Was it premature, what did they do with the recent Australia tour. Well look at the bright side, we can only go up from here.

Well I must say there were ‘nuff’ other things that individuals mentioned like the St. Georges fans gloating over winning the Manning cup 2009 again and then claiming the Oliver Shield. The extradition request by the United States for Jamaican, Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, an issue which is still unresolved. Thedeath of the legendary Michael Jackson, Ok, so he wasn’t Jamaican, but we all loved him as the greatest entertainer ever. And the list goes on; in fact I have only scraped the surface. Unfortunately I can’t write on every thing, however if you would like to share a 2009 national issue with us, please do.

Nuff Love

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Sister Mary Margaret

SISTER MARGARET MARY, WHO WORKS FOR A LOCAL HOME HEALTH AGENCY WAS OUT MAKING HER ROUNDS WHEN SHE RAN OUT OF GAS.

AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT A GAS STATION WAS JUST A BLOCK AWAY.

SHE WALKED TO THE STATION TO BORROW A CAN OF GAS TO START & THEN DRIVE TO THE STATION FOR A FILL UP.

THE ATTENDANT REGRETFULLY TOLD HER THE ONLY GAS CAN HE OWNED HAD BEEN LOANED OUT BUT IF SHE WOULD WAIT, IT WAS SURE TO BE BACK SHORTLY.

SINCE THE NUN ! WAS ON THE WAY TO SEE A PATIENT SHE DECIDED NOT TO WAIT & SHE WALKED BACK TO THE CAR. AFTER LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO FILL WITH GAS, SHE SPOTTED A BEDPAN SHE WAS TAKING TO THE PATIENT.

ALWAYS RESOURCEFUL, SHE CARRIED IT TO THE STATION & FILLED IT WITH GASOLINE, & CARRIED IT TO HER CAR.

AS SHE WAS POURING THE GAS INTO THE TANK, TWO MEN WERE WATCHING FROM ACROSS THE STREET. ONE OF THEM TURNED TO THE OTHER & SAID, "IF IT STARTS, I'M TURNING CATHOLIC".

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