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09/06/05

Permalink 09:36:16 am, by Melba
Categories: Commentary

JLP Lead Protest

Today is September 06, 2005, its now 9:00am and all Jamaica is in confusion.
Should I venture out or not? This is the question on most people’s minds. There are reports of several roadblocks mounted throughout the island. There are also reports of gunfire in parts of the corporate area.
Most schools have closed for today. Unfortunately some children left their homes very early and are now stranded. The Jamaica Urban Transit Cooperation (JUTC) has withdrawn its buses for fear of the safety of the staff and passengers and destruction of the vehicles.
I left my home at 7:45am and saw no evidence of any disturbances. However many of my coworkers have called to say they cannot get to work because of roadblocks. I have also seen no evidence of demonstrators. Although it has been reported that small gatherings are beginning to form throughout the island.
Those of us at work are very conscious of what might be happening around us and are fearful of any escalating violence. Its still early in the day and any card can play.
Tune in later and I’ll keep you up to date.
Nuff Love.

09/05/05

Permalink 10:30:31 pm, by Melba
Categories: Politics, Commentary

JLP Islandwide Lead Protest

Tomorrow September 6, 2005, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is planning to lead an island wide demonstration to protest against the many price increases in recent months. The recent hike in rates for water, telephone, light, transportation and GCT has severely affected the people of Jamaica.
Opposition leader Mr. Bruce Golding told the Gleaner after an emergency meeting of its Central Executive yesterday, “We think the Government has gone deaf, we just don’t think they are listening to the people. This is one way to get them to listen.”
I don’t think there is any Jamaican today living in Jamaica who is not feeling the effects of the numerous recent price increases, except maybe the very rich. Whatever party you support there is only one water company, one light company, one transportation system, one land line Telephone Company and everyone is subjected to GCT. When you add these increases to the major hike in gas and chicken prices to name a few, we are heading for disaster.
Salaries on the other hand have remained constant. Already many persons are operating daily in the red. I know I am. Savings are being depleted, homes are being double and triple mortgaged. And we still have tomorrow to get through.
Many are fearful that tomorrows protest will turn violent and for that reason I’m sure will stay away. As Jamaicans we have a right to be heard. Some thing has to give. Many persons are frustrated at the felling of helplessness and hopelessness. The present Government was put there by the people of Jamaica and need to pay more attention to the consequences of there actions.
We need to start acting as Jamaicans first and PNP or JLP second. I pray that the Government can go back to the drawing board and find ways to roll back and/or cushion some of the hike in rates for all these essential services.
There is no reason why we can’t peacefully state our minds. I pray that all will go well tomorrow.
Nuff Love

09/04/05

Permalink 10:49:18 pm, by Melba
Categories: Education

Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) Passes 2005

Increases, increases and more increases. Crime, bus fares, gas, light, chicken, you name it, it gone up. We here in Jamaica can’t take one more thing on the rise. Or can we?
Well I think we can all be proud of this increase. Last year we had 693 students who attained 8 or more passes in the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) examinations. This year 2005, we have 1640, almost 150 percent increase in the number of students attaining 8 or more passes. I have not been able to get all the figures but I gather they are much improved all around. We had more students passing more subjects with higher grades.
This is great news in which we can all take comfort. There has been such a sense of hopelessness that has engulfed our young people it’s very frightening. With so many negatives all around them it’s very heartening to see our children rise above these obstacles and succeed.
To add to all the problems society had to throw their way the students also had to contend with three major hurricanes during the last school year, Ivan, Dennis and Emily. Despite all this the students still came out on top.
Well done children, this is only the beginning. Keep up the good work. Our nation’s survival is riding on your success.
Nuff Love

09/01/05

Permalink 08:45:08 pm, by Melba
Categories: Weather

Mother Nature's Fury

At the beginning of every hurricane season the advisories start circulating. In case of a hurricane this is what you need to do, these are the things you need to get, and here are the places available to go.
Once a hurricane is forecasted to hit, we scurry about stocking up on food, water, batteries, flashlights, radios etc. and pack our bags ready to go just in case. But how prepared can we really be when Mother Nature truly unleashes her fury.
Within the past couple of years several major natural disasters have been experienced around the world. Some of these are:
In August 2003, 10,000 persons died from a heat wave in France.
August 12, 2004, 115 persons were killed as a typhoon slammed into China.
September 19, 2004, 1050 persons died in Haiti from Hurricane Jeanne.
October 20, 2004 at least 48 were killed by Typhoon in Japan.
November 30, 2004, 1000 were killed by a storm in the Philippines.
December 2004, a 9.00 quake left 212,000 dead in Indonesia.
July 29, 2005, record setting rains caused extensive flooding and triggered landslides killing 850 persons in Mumbai.
August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the US Gulf coast.
To date we still haven’t been able to get a true count of how many people perished in Hurricane Katrina and I don’t think we will get that figure for a while yet. Looking at the photographs and videos being circulated however highlights how vulnerably we are to the elements.
Yes, more people could have evacuated before the hurricane but lets face it, most of us feel safest at home. Also I’m sure many felt that they had done it before, so they’ll do it again. Hurricanes, after all, aren’t new to the US Gulf coast.
Jamaica is also no stranger to hurricanes. Already this season we have faced two, Dennis and Emily and didn’t fear too badly. Many of us have in fact become almost complacent. This latest hurricane has however heightened the awareness to the dangers associated with the wrath of Mother Nature. Let us pray that we never encounter her full fury.
Nuff Love

08/31/05

Permalink 11:07:17 pm, by Melba
Categories: Commentary

Gambling in Jamaica

Different people look for different things when planning a vacation. Some persons look for sun, sea and relaxation. Some want party, excitement and fun. One past time that is greatly sort after is gambling.
Jamaica is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the Caribbean. We are surrounded by sea; there is plenty of sun, loads of relaxing spots and nuff, nuff fun to be had. Jamaica however has laws against gambling.
Not withstanding these laws, one can legally enjoy race horse gambling at Caymanas Park or any Off Track post. We have Lotto two days a week, Lucky Five once a day, Pick 3 twice a day, Dollaz, twice a day and Cash Pot three times a day. More recently we have had a growing number of Gaming Houses which offer slot machines and other games. The most recent one is the Acropolis in Barbican.
Yes, I did say gambling is not permitted in Jamaica. I’m not sure how the above mentioned past times are categorized. What I do know is that they are heartily supported by the little man hoping to increase his lot in life. I also know that it does not impact our economy only the pockets of the owners of those establishments.
Gambling is a very lucrative business. If Jamaica were to incorporate gambling into our tourism product it would attract a great number of additional vacationers. It would also create jobs directly and indirectly hence have a positive impact on our economy.
Some people scuff at gambling because of the negative implications which they claim comes with it. Things such as drugs and prostitution but if we were really being honest we would see that those things already exist in our country. Other countries are able to control their gambling product, why can’t we.
I think it’s time we stop being hypocrites. We don’t need the Jamaican gambling dollar going around in circles. What we need is the foreign gambling dollar to add to our economy. It’s nothing new; it has been tried and proven all over the world.
Nuff Love.

08/29/05

Permalink 10:23:55 pm, by Melba
Categories: Entertainment, Commentary

Jamaican Beggars

Everyday we see more and more people on the street corners begging. These beggars range from the very young to the very old. Some are handicapped and we even have some in wheelchair. Along with the beggars there is also a fair share of windshield wipers. These persons also vary in ages and come in different stages of attire, or lack there of.
We tend to feel compassion for most of these ‘street people’ especially the children. Most Jamaicans grow up in a God fearing home and as a result (even if they don’t attend church regularly) have a desire to help those less fortunate. After all, your child has several pairs of shoe and here is this little child with none. Or we waste so much food each day and this person is hungry.
But are we really helping when we simply hand over our hard earned dollar to someone who has done nothing but simply asked for it. If that’s why we work then why bother. Most of us can hardly survive today on the salaries we earn and things are getting harder with each new day. Many days if you put gas in the car you can’t eat lunch. I remember when I would be ashamed to drive up to the gas pump and ask for less than $500.00 dollars worth of gas. Today I feel no way to get $100.00 worth of gas if that’s all I have.
Not that we want to be mean, for the good book teaches us to help those who need our help. The question is, have these people tried to help themselves, or are they simply exploiting our kind nature? And what values are we teaching the children. In fact we are sending them a very negative message. “You don’t need to study or work hard for what you need in life; you simply have to ask for it.”
The children we see on the streets today are either put there by there parents or ‘just bad’ and are there simply because they know the people will feel sorry for them and give them money. Some of the beggars are truly handicapped; however they try to use this to emotionally blackmail us. Some only pretend to be handicapped, physically or mentally in an effort to extort money. Most of the street people are healthy, strong young men. They don their worst clothing and pretend to be destitute. They hang around intimidating motorist especially defenseless women. Sometimes their only propose is to steel from unsuspecting drivers.
The ugly reality is that more and more of us are being pulled into the bracket of the ‘needy’. The salaries are no longer able to scope. The beggars on our streets are going to multiply. There is only one way to curb this and that is for every Jamaican to stop giving to these people.
Nuff Love

08/22/05

Permalink 11:15:51 pm, by Melba
Categories: Commentary

Visas- Big Money Business

Once upon a time the most difficult part of acquiring a visa to travel overseas would be getting to the embassy ‘before cock put on him draws’ to get in line for an interview. Armed with all your documents and ties you would complete a form, pay your processing fee and wait your turn.
Of course, whether you got the visa or not was fully dependent on which side of the bed the officer conducting the interview woke. That part of the proceedings has not changed. However, whether you’re applying for an American, British or Canadian visa these days, there are quite a few more steps and cost involved.
First of all, you need to get bank managers cheque to pay the non-refundable processing fees. All banks charge for managers cheques, so that’s your fist additional cost. By the way these non-refundable processing fees have increased significantly over the years. For a visitor’s visa, the British ingeniously charges according the number of years you wish to apply for although it’s the same amount of processing involved. I can understand the different types of visas having different cost but a visitor is a visitor whether you visit 1 or 10 times.
Next for the American visa you have to fill out your visa application form on line. The others still have an option, ‘so far’. Technology is great and all that but there should be options available for those who do not have or understand it. On Sunday there was an advertisement in the Gleaner offering ‘e-z file visa services’. I have not called but I’m sure there is a cost for the service. And why not, it’s called supply and demand.
Now this is the part that really, really ticks me off. Once you have your form completed and all your documentations ready, for the Americans and the British you cannot take in, or drop off your application yourself. You must once again pay out more money to a courier to simply deliver these to the embassies, ‘and it no cheap’. You must also pay to get it back unless you are summoned for an interview.
Remember after paying out all that money ‘yu no must get di visa’ and there is absolutely no recourse. One thing is sure the embassies are definitely making sure they cover all their expenses ‘and some’. Who is looking out for the Jamaican public? Everyone comes and takes advantage of us over and over again.
And don’t let me hear anyone saying ‘we no must travel’. Some of my greatest education growing up has been gained traveling and everyone deserves the opportunity if they so desire. Yes the bad has made it bad for the good but even if they don’t want to face us they could cut back on the expenses by allowing even a drop off box for applications.
It just doesn’t seem fair.
Nuff Love.

08/21/05

Permalink 12:05:30 am, by Melba
Categories: Culture

What do you know of the Rolling Calf

Talking about duppies and supper natural beings the other day, my son asked me what was a Rolling Calf. The truth is I have grown up hearing of rolling calves but there has never been a clear explanation of who or what it is.
Essentially the rolling calf was there to scare us. However depending on who told the story it took on different sizes, colours and characteristics. Not to mention the way to get away from or avoid the dreaded beast. That differed from story teller to story teller.
It’s like the game, Chinese telephone. Everyone sits in a circle. The first person relates something in a whisper to the person sitting next to them. The second persons then relate exactly what they heard to the next person in line. This continues until all the players have heard ‘supposedly’ the same thing and it comes back to the first person. Well, we all know how that usually ends. The story told in the beginning is never the same in the end. In the same way the stories about the rolling calf changes from generation to generation.
So I’ve embarked on a campaign to find out more about the rolling calf. I would especially like to hear from some of you out there. What do you know, or should I say, what have you been told about the rolling calf. What or who is it, who is it after, how does one avoid it or what should you do if you met up with one.
If you haven’t already done so register and share with us what you’ve heard.
Nuff Love

08/18/05

Permalink 08:56:00 pm, by Melba
Categories: Business

Petrol Price Hike

This year 2005, so far has been a financially challenging year for most of us. We have learnt to cut, carve and tighten in order to keep afloat. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worst we are greeted with the news of a dramatic increase in the price of petrol by Petrojam, the state owned oil refinery.
Unleaded (87) petrol has been increased by $3.52 per litre. Unleaded (90) by $3.25, auto diesel by $2.79 and kerosene by $2.80 per litre. These increases represent an 8% hike by Petrojam to the Distributors and Retailers who will then add their respective mark up to us the consumers. ‘We all know how that can vary’.
According to Mr. Noel daCosta, chairman of Petrojam these increases are as a direct result of the record hike in world oil prices and the devaluation of the Jamaican dollar. World oil prices reached a record high of US $67.10 per barrel last week.
The cost of almost everything we do or consume is driven by petrol. Transportation plays a major role in our everyday lives. The cost of petrol is factored into most goods and services that are essential. Our utility bills are affected by the cost of petrol.
Not to mention that world oil prices may still go up further. The dollar has been slipping rapidly these last couple of weeks. Today’s bankers selling rate was as high as $62.57 Jamaican dollars to $1.00 US dollar. Where will it all end?
“It naa look pretty, Jamaica” Salaries not increasing. ‘And, if you work for the government, even more woe unto you’. As you all know under the MOU, (weda yu did sign r not) no increase forthcoming for the next couple years. Unless the government going to exempt we from all further increases like the pending bus fare.
Let’s hope that is the plan. In the meantime, “Me a go get a tighter belly ban an pray say mi no bust’.
Nuff Love

08/16/05

Permalink 09:57:54 pm, by Melba
Categories: Sports

IAAF World Championship - Jamaica 9th Overall

Approximately 3000 athletes from over 200 countries at the 10th IAAF World Championships in Helsinki and Jamaica placed 9th overall. In fact, looking at it from the number of medals, we actually came 4th behind the United States, Russia, and Ethiopia with a total of 8 medals.
Not to mention the number of other finals that we qualified for but didn’t medal. Also Jamaica was the only country that qualified for all 4 relay finals. We medaled in three and took fourth place in the other.
“Are we great or what?” Only 4411 square miles with a population of 2.7 million people yet we are able to compete at the highest level among the greatest in the world.
If only we could apply that greatness within us in all aspects of our individual and collective lives. Keep the faith.
Nuff Love

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Reasons why I love my Jamaican Mom

1. My Mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait till we get home."

2. My Mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You going get a ass'n when we get home!"

3. My Mother taught me to MEET A CHALLENGE.
"What di backside yu thinkin'? Answer me when me talk to you...Don't talk back to me!"

4. My Mother taught me CONSEQUENCES.
"If yu run cross de road an' cyar lick yu dung, a goin' kill yu wid lick."

5. My Mother taught me THE VALUE OF EDUCATION.
"If yu no go a school, yu a go tun tief or walk an' pick up bottle."

6. My Mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If yu tun over yu eye lid an fly pitch pan it, it a go stay so fi evva."

7. My Mother taught me to THINK AHEAD.
"Is not one time monkey goin' wan' wife"

8. My Mother taught me ESP.
"Yu tink a don't know what yu up to nuh?"

9. My Mother taught me HUMOR.
"If yu don' eat food, breeze goin' blow yu 'way."

10. My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT.
"Come an' tek yu beatin' like man."

11. My Mother taught me about SEX.
"Yu tink say yu drop from sky?"

12. My Mother taught me about GENETICS.
"Yu jus' like yu faada."

13. My Mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Yu tink mi come from "Back A Wall?"

14. My Mother taught me about WISDOM OF AGE.
"When yu get to be as ol' as me, yu wi understan'."

15. And my all time favorite... JUSTICE.
"One day wen yu have pickney, a hope dem treat yu same way."

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