The Prime Minister Bruce Golding yesterday announced in Parilament that the Bank of Jamaica Governor, Derick Latibeaudiere had to go as he was being paid too much money. Now when I think that I’m helping to pay his salary it doesn’t seem fair to me however if I were getting that kind of money I would take it too. But that’s not my ‘beef’ with this whole issue. I just can’t believe that this is the same government who only recently sought to defend paying one man, Aubyn Hill who is on contract with the government, $1.883 million per month, or close to $2 million, when expenses are taken into account, approximately $24 million a year.
According to the government then, they were comfortable with paying Mr. Hill that exorbitant amount as they saw it as value for money. Based on the prime ministers speech in parliament yesterday the decision to remove the governor had nothing to do with policy issues or his ability. That tells me that he believes there is some value to Mr. Latibeaudiere contribution. However in the Prime Minister’s own words he found the interpretation and application of certain provisions of the governor's contract of employment ‘unacceptable, embarrassing and repugnant’.
Mr. Latibeaudiere's basic salary started in 2007 at $11.2 millions. At October 30, 2009, it stood at $14.5 million. Rent and maintenance paid in 2008, was $2.5 million for rent and $5.9 million for maintenance, a total of $22.9 million in 2008. In addition, he had a fully maintained car, entertainment expenses and medical and life insurance coverage.
The part that I do not understand is how the prime minister said that Mr. Latibeaudiere's compensation would have amounted to $38.3 million this year had Government granted him increases in housing allowance which he claims.
Them sey ‘Puss an dawg no hav di same luck’. Not sure what school Mr. Latibeaudiere went to but clearly it couldn’t have been Harvard University like some people. Maybe then he would be worth his salary. Not that I think either men is worth that kind of my money, not in a poor country with an ailing economy like ours. The point is the hypocrisy displayed by the government is mind boggling and disheartening.
“Mi bawn and grow com si Jamaicans a eet ackee an saltfish an know sey a wi National dish”. For breakfast, lunch or dinner, nothing is as nice as a plate of ackee and saltfish served with a sweet yellow heart breadfruit. Or some soft boiled green bananas, piece a yellow yam, piece a dasheen and of course dumpling, dumpling, dumpling. If by chance you can’t do any better you can also serve it with rice. It’s just as nice.
So, what is this talk all of a sudden, coming out of Parliament of all places? Should ackee and saltfish be our National dish? Or was it, why is ackee and saltfish our National dish? Either way, after all this time we just know ‘sey’ saltfish is not produced here. With all the other madness that’s happening in our country, Parliament has nothing more important to discuss.
“Mek mi help them, crime is killing us (no pun intended), our children are leaving school illiterate (over 10 thousand just leave high school), those in the care of the government (like the ones at Armadale) are living under inhumane conditions, plenty more still begging and selling undisturbed on our roads (even though we have a Child Protection Act), most of our earning power has been eroded (the bauxite, sugar and banana industries), ‘nuff’ people have no jobs and many more are losing theirs daily. The list is too long, but that should keep them busy for a while.
Back to the ackee and saltfish, OK, so other countries grow or produce whatever constitutes their National dish. We grow the fruit ackee which is not very common in a lot of other countries. (Can’t resist, remember the Jamaican singer who pronounced to the world that him don’t play ackee, him eat it). Well yes, Jamaicans love to eat ackee, whether by itself, with saltfish or any ‘salt thing’. (Don’t know what is ackee, log on tomorrow and I’ll show and tell you about it.) Anyway, to answer the question, should ackee and saltfish be our National dish, I vote yes. Long time ackee marry saltfish anyway and I don’t believe in divorces.
Bank of Jamaica Governor, Derick Latibeaudiere and Jamaica’s Police Chief, Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin have both resigned their respective positions. So far the Government has not offered an official explanation to the nation on either account. Everyone is speculating, after all we are in the middle of negotiations with the IMF and our escalating crime rate has every Jamaican concerned. Whatever the reasons I’m sure it will all come out sooner or later; in the meantime what could be the implications for Jamaica.
Well already as a direct result of the Bank of Jamaica Governor, Derick Latibeaudiere’s resignation Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has downgraded Jamaica’s credit rating from a CCC+ to a CCC. The question is why should this matter to us? Well, S&P provides investors worldwide with independent credit ratings, indices, risk evaluation, investment research and data about their investment and financial decisions. Therefore anyone contemplating investing in Jamaica at this time is sure to think twice.
Another grave concern on the minds of many Jamaicans is the likelihood of further devaluation of the Jamaican dollar. With failing confidence in the economy comes stock piling of foreign exchange. It’s a matter of supply and demand, the higher the demand the higher the price.
Foremost on everyone’s mind these days is the growing crime rate in Jamaica. Over the last two years we have had two Security, Ministers Derrick Smith and Colonel Trevor MacMillan and two Police Commissioners, Lucius Thomas and now, Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin stepping down. In the meantime the crime rate has escalated.
Another issue plaguing us is the extradition request for Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke. Word on the street is that this situation could get really ugly before reaching a conclusion. Many believe that Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin was the man to offer some relief/ solutions in fighting the crime situation given a free hand. I guess we will never know, or will we. This is not the first time that the commissioner has resigned. On June 02, 2008 after just 169 days in office, Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin had tendered his resignation. Then, Prime Minister Bruce Golding quickly met with officials from the Police Services Commission and the Minister of National Security. Lewin withdrew his resignation and remained at the helm of the police force. In was back in office June 03, 2008.
The truth is that the silence of the government is deafening. The speculations and uncertainties are not helping the country. Whatever confidence was there is failing and failing fast. Hopefully we will get some answers soon.
So, I decided to wait a little bit before posting because I was hoping more information would have come about by the time I wrote this, but unfortunately there hasn't been much. However to get straight to the point, this past weekend has been marked with the resignation of both the Commissioner of Police (Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin) and the Governor of Jamaica's Central Bank (Derick Latibeaudare), and some of the people in the finance ministry as well. Now you may be confused and ask me, why I would label my post as mass resignations when only 2 people have resigned, but you would then ignore the scale of both jobs.
The Commissioner of Police is THE head of the police force. There is nobody above him except the Member of Parliament in charge of national security and the prime minister and governor general. He's the go to guy, the real mckoy, etc., and he just up and quit. The next question which would of course be important is "why?", and then this would normally be answered by "in a statement from the former commissioner .....", but guess what, none of the above happened.
We can all speculate that the government and the commissioner were at ends with each other and he decided to say "screw it, I'm going home", but we have no proof of this. This is a statement without any facts to back it up. However I do have one interesting tidbit of information, in a clip today on a local radio station a statement was made by a government minister saying that they were and have always been dissatisfied with Lewin's performance. Wait what? Why was this never communicated to the public before now then? Is this some feeble attempt to slander Lewin's name to save face by the government? Poor show guys. The other thing is, I dont think its a matter of Lewin becoming frustrated by the crime problem or anything like that, mainly because... well he's a soldier. Have you ever dealt with a soldier before? Literally THE most stubborn people on the planet, and you are telling me the head of the army (I would assume the king of stubborn... of course among his other qualities), just quit because he's frustrated...? Sounds fishy.
The other issue at hand is the governor of the bank of Jamaica. Yet again this is the head honcho here, if he decides that he wants all the money in Jamaica wired to his private bank account, he could probably do it. Yet... he quit. Wait what? Yet again no explanation. All critical thinking people out there would therefore ask what the heck is happening out here?! Have we all gone crazy or something? He has been the governor for quite some time now, through thick and thin, 2 gas crises', the creation of finsac, and the devaluation of the dollar from roughly 30 to a US dollar to now 90... and he quits in the middle of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, the same body that royally screwed Jamaica in the 80's and 90's and somehow we are still trying to negotiate with them... but that's for another post I wont go too far into that.
So now we have the country going into a period that can only be described as "getting screwed part 2: finishing the job", and the people on top seem to be making their way out. Oh just to add, thanks to the governor leaving, the country's financial rating according to standard and poor has also fell to a CCC, to understand this better, just imagine a credit rating of 120 and how much you can do with it. I try to be very objective in my views... but maybe just maybe we should just ask the people in power to follow the example of Latibeaudare and Lewin and get the hell out of government...
Just something to think about...
So, dancehall artist Vybz Kartel might have a pierced tongue, so what? It’s his tongue and if it pleases him and his woman, why shouldn’t he. I think what we should be really critical about is the lyrical content of his music. Personally, I shudder at the thought of getting any part of my body pierced but then again that’s just my preference.
Too often we get caught up in others opinions and believes, when in reality it really does not matter. We are influenced by our elders and piers into believing that something may be good or bad or that certain actions have meanings which may not be so. For instance I was told that if you had a tattoo then automatically you were ‘bad’. I also remember when men first started wearing earrings; I was told that homosexuals wore them to signal to other homosexuals. Whether that was so at the time or not, the fact is that now it’s just a fashion statement. Another example is the anklet. I remember being told that only prostitutes wore them. If that was true now, then most of my friends are prostitutes. I don’t think so.
The sad thing is that many of these perceptions stay with us. To date the biggest turn off for me is a man wearing earrings and I still will not wear an anklet even though I known they are simply fashion statements. I try not to judge people when I see them with a tattoo however somewhere at the back of my mind the thought is there that this is someone I need to be careful of.
Vybz Kartel and his probable pierced tongue is another of these things which is really no bodies business but his own. My greatest concern is that he is very influential on our young people. Body piercing can be very dangerous if not done in an hygienic environment with sterile equipment and by a professional.
I will admit that I’m not a member of the ‘in crowd’. I do believe however that it’s important for us to try not to allow preconceived notions cause us to judge one another negatively or cause negative behaviour. We all must be informed and make informed decisions.
More controversy in the dancehall as it seems that the artist known as Vybz Kartel has pierced his tongue... or so the rumours say. Personally I dont know, I've seen the video and I dont know... it looks fairly sticky on the teacher's side as I'm pretty sure I see something that looks like a tongue piercing in his mouth. But I really dont think he could be that stupid.
For all who dont know, Vybz Kartel is a top artist in dancehall currently and he is well known for his sexually provocative and also his aggressive badman lyrics as well. Now another thing I should add for people who dont know as well, is that once you portray yourself as a badman, there are certain things you just dont do. And if you are brave enough to actually do it, you make sure nobody else knows you did it because that can tear apart credibility and in Jamaica and as a Dancehall artist, credibility is key!
With that in mind lets go back on the issue at hand, would Kartel really pierce his tongue? I have to wonder, you see dancehall artists are not exactly known for their intelligence, and while there is nothing wrong with piercing one's tongue (after all its your mouth and your choice). one has to look at the connotations attached to piercing the tongue. The first of such connotation is that anybody who pierces their tongue openly practices oral sex. This is not just a Jamaican thing, this is a world wide thought.
BUT, oral sex is something that a badman just doesn't do. That's a career ending activity right there(just a few levels above being a homosexual), in fact the mere act of insinuating that somebody participates in oral sex is enough to get somebody ridiculed publicly. So knowing this, Vybz Kartel being in the position he is in, cannot afford to be associated with "bow-cats" (nickname for people who participate in oral sex).
Simple deduction states that anybody with half a brain wouldn't do such a thing as pierce their tongue knowing this... But the video says something else.
I have to sigh as I write this post as it instantly forces me to categorize alot of Jamaicans as stupid. I really dont want to, I love Jamaica, and by extension I love Jamaicans. But every now and again some Jamaican abroad does something that forces you to bury your face in your palms, or slap your forehead and release a homer-esque "doh". Today we have Marlon King.
Marlon King is a Jamaican footballer who plays striker who was signed with premier league team Wigan Athletic and had a contract worth US$58,000 a week. The man is clearly making enough money to be satisfied in life and if he continued to play with the form he has been would probably even be in standing to make even more money. But no, King is not satisfied to play football and be rich, instead he wants to spend a year and a half in prison. Of course it must be something he wanted to do. Why else would someone jeopardize their career just to grope a couple of girls. If you are that sexually dissatisfied, go buy a prostitute, or better yet flash your money around and try to attract some goal diggers, these women exist everywhere you know (I dont mean in anyway to demean women).
Sorry I started to rant, so lets look at the event. Apparently just hours after celebrating his wife's pregnancy and scoring a goal in a match, King went to a bar where he was shunned by two women for whatever reason. He then proceeded to try to grope these women and an altercation followed where King broke one of the women's nose.
Now if this isn't stupidity in its prime state I dont know what is. Why oh why would you not only sexually assault these women but actually punch one of them in the face? I dont even know what to say, I'm just angry and disappointed at King's behaviour and I hope that he learns a valuable life lesson in the process. It seems history is bound torepeat itself as King as already been to prison numerous times.
But maybe... No I HOPE King's defense is correct, that he really wasn't in the bar that night and it was a mistaken identity. That way he wouldn't be as stupid as I'm making it out to be and I would apologize without question. But as far as the court says, he's guilty and he should definitely pay for it.
The homosexual situation in Jamaica is definitely more and more widespread and definitely alarming (if you are as intensely homophobic as alot of Jamaicans are). Recently there was a reported drag queen situation in May Pen where a man was using the services of what he thought was a female prostitute, only to find out luckily before he went to far that the "woman" was actually a man. He was quite angered and a fight ensued but luckily the police was closeby and able to prevent any loss of life. This situation has proven to be quite hilarious to many jamaicans while some have found it alarming and angering.
The JFLAG group (a local gay rights group) has argued that the treatment of the "lady" by the police was inhuman and should've been better. However this argument has been shot down quite quickly as there have been no complaints by the "lady". But this says to me that JFLAG is getting desperate in its fight for gay rights in Jamaica and to me has proven disrespectful to the Jamaican police force and they are who should in fact be shunned. This however points to another argument where the gay rights groups are being more discriminatory than the people who are discriminating against them.... but thats a whole other kettle of fish.
The people who are also angered by this are the ones who are angry at the growing number of and the growing outwardness of gays in Jamaica. People say that it has gotten to the situation where gays are now able to even solicit sex in public dressing up as women... Before I continue btw, I just needed to add in this note that jamaicans really only have a problem with male homosexuals as lesbians are quite prevalent and are not facing as much fire as the males are... This situation has gotten many people scared and are making people increasingly uncomfortable in public.
Personally my say is this... I dont believe that homosexuality is right, sorry, I just dont see how 2 men or 2 women being together is natural or makes any sense (im not even going to get into the biblical argument). However, I dont have a problem with people being gay IN PRIVATE! If two men want to enjoy each other's company, go forth but do it privately. I dont believe that children should be influenced by a situation where 2 men are publicly showing affection. I also believe that this should also be applied to this drag queen situation as well. The "lady" should have told the man from the beginning that he/she wasn't in fact a lady and this would've solved all problems. If a man wants to have sex with another man though, keep it in your yard. I dont mind the nighttime activities because children really shouldn't be out at night in the first place. So to me all this talking and activity - much ado about nothing.
In November 2008 the Jamaican Government entered into a deal with American Airlines (AA) that still has most Jamaicans totally baffled. The deal was for Jamaica to guarantee AA funds if the revenue derived from their flights between Jamaica and Miami, Chicago and Dallas fell below a specific target. In exchange Jamaica would be guaranteed capacity from those destinations to Jamaica. According to the Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, although they were entering into the deal the chances that they would have to actually pay was very unlikely.
Now this kind of arrangements is not new. Many countries make these deals with airlines however it is done to get tourist from places where they believe there is a market and where the tourist has no alternate air lift. If AA thought that they would do well, why would they have needed a deal to continue operation on those routes? Did no one in the Tourism Ministry think of this?
Air Jamaica is the National Airline of Jamaica. At the time of the deal they operated several flights daily to Miami as well as Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They also operated several flights a weeks to Chicago. The question then is, why didn’t the Jamaican Government secure its National Airline on the routes that they already operated rather than pay a competitor.
Now AA has said that there was a decline in bookings and the airline recorded a shortfall of US$1.5 million up to July 31 this year. Than being the case the Jamaican Government could be called on to pay more than J$133 million to American Airlines as part of the revenue-guarantee airlift agreement. Those figures by the way represent traffic over the summer period when air travel is usually at its peak. Historical data tells us that September to November is always much slower. Despite all this the Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, is still maintaining that Jamaica may not have to pay out any money.
‘Duh……’ Do the math people. If I know that I will be paid for my product/service one way or the other all I have to do is drop the price. It doesn’t matter if I collect from the buyer or a guarantor. Hopefully after the guaranteed period I would have built a loyalty base and can raise my price after. Never mind about the competitor, if they have to drop their price to compete with me, so be it.
One has to wonder what the Tourism Minister is really doing. Where does he get his facts and who if any one is advising him? He keeps painting this fabulous picture re tourism in Jamaica while the industry is truly hurting. Sure some hotels might have a decent occupancy levels, but at what price. All our properties are on sale 30 percent and up. They are even offering locals some great deals just to keep their doors open. The thing is the cost of accommodation has not gone down. In fact it might have escalated.
Not to mention the fate of our National Airlines. No one seems to know and if they do, no one is talking. Word is that the current Business Plan by the present CEO, Mr. Bruce Nobles is showing positive signs. It is too late? The pilots seem to think not. Anyway that’s another story.
So anybody who still lives in Jamaica and reads the gleaner, watches and listens the news and/or walks on the road will have seen or heard that nearly everywhere you look you will see two or 3 policemen walking on the road. This is definitely a welcome change as in my opinion the increase police presence will serve a number of factors one of which was not included in the press releases by any of the media houses.
All of the news has been pointing to the fact that the Police will be used to Detect and Deter crime. Of course we see this definitely, petty theft will definitely be on the downward slope because a policeman will almost always be nearby and thus will be able to jump to action... But what I believe everybody is forgetting is the fact that... Jamaicans generally are not that happy with the police force anymore. It just doesn't happen, everytime that most Jamaicans see a policeman, the first comment made is almost 95% of the time negative. If the police is driving through traffic with a siren they always "have nothing to do", a police man walking downtown is always "looking for a bar" or "looking for somebody to trouble"... This is really what alot of Jamaicans feel.
What I think the increased police presence will do is make more people feel comfortable around policemen and maybe even appreciate the work that they do more. This is important because as we all know community policing is really important to the force. Because finally we might just be able to get out of the entire "informer" mindset that we have... but this is of course another might and not a definite yes or no.
But while I do appreciate the work of the policemen I do have to revert to the reason why I put "useful" in my topic name... How useful will this police presence really be? There have been findings already in Montego Bay where numerous firearms and knives were found but to me in accordance with the massive crime problem that we suffer this is just minor assistance. But as the saying goes, "every mikkle mek a mukkle" (spelling , how would you spell that anyway?), or maybe I should use the ever present "one one cocoa full basket", that could possibly be more relevant. But the fact of the matter is, this is a good first step to take... The only issue is how do we get rid of the corruption of the police force, because as people get more comfortable with the police, the police get more comfortable with people... and the cycle continues...