Discipline and Development in Jamaica

Grasshopper:

Excellent tour of the topic. One of my questions is what government does to counter or condone much of this behaviour.

Originally posted on Petchary's Blog:

This article from Caribbean Journal makes so many important points about Jamaican society it is hard to know where to start. I thought I would share it with you, from the Executive Director of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, Dennis Chung. It is just common sense!

You can read the article at http://www.caribjournal.com/2014/02/02/discipline-and-development-in-jamaica/

Dennis Chung. (Gleaner file photo)

Dennis Chung. (Gleaner file photo)

LAST Wednesday I was driving to work when I saw a man throw an orange peel and another item on the road. The confidence with which he seemed to do it implied that he thought that everything was right with what he was doing. He had no consideration for the fact that it would make the streets look unclean, could possibly be a health hazard, and that this sort of action is what contributes to increased costs to clean the streets and gullies.

If enough of this type of behaviour is multiplied…

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Human Rights Round-Up

Originally posted on News and Views by Dionne Jackson Miller:

Photo by Salvatore Vuono www.freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by Salvatore Vuono
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Here are a few of the human rights stories making news around the world that I find interesting.

1. Reparations could be a step closer for the indigenous Maya Achi community in Guatemala, three decades after hundreds were killed to clear the way for a dam to be built.

The Guardian reports that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank financed the construction of the dam and survivors have been calling for the institutions to pay reparations for years.

The fresh hope comes as US President Barack Obama prepares to sign a bill that will, among other things, instruct the World Bank and IDB to report on steps taken to implement the provisions of a 2010 reparations plan.

2. The UK government continues to declare that it will not obey a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights that a blanket ban…

View original 171 more words

Human Rights Round-Up

Originally posted on News and Views by Dionne Jackson Miller:

Photo by Salvatore Vuono www.freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by Salvatore Vuono
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Here are a few of the human rights stories making news around the world that I find interesting.

1. Reparations could be a step closer for the indigenous Maya Achi community in Guatemala, three decades after hundreds were killed to clear the way for a dam to be built.

The Guardian reports that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank financed the construction of the dam and survivors have been calling for the institutions to pay reparations for years.

The fresh hope comes as US President Barack Obama prepares to sign a bill that will, among other things, instruct the World Bank and IDB to report on steps taken to implement the provisions of a 2010 reparations plan.

2. The UK government continues to declare that it will not obey a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights that a blanket ban…

View original 171 more words

Cool Sunday, January 19, 2014

Grasshopper:

This is really a great read each time it appears. Please note also the call for support for the national bobsled team.

Originally posted on Petchary's Blog:

A police officer takes footage of the anti-crime graffiti in Denham Town, which they clearly approve of. Are they going to paint it out? (Photo: Jamaica Observer)

A police officer takes footage of the anti-crime graffiti in Denham Town, which they clearly approve of. Are they going to paint it out? Probably not. (Photo: Karl McLarty/Jamaica Observer)

We have a visiting cold front, bringing lovely cool air and lovely rain to some parts of the island. Aah!

Graffiti wars: It’s either smart PR, or clever strategy to lure gang members. Senior Superintendent of Police Steve McGregor, who is in charge of West Kingston, stands in front of walls covered with graffiti calling for freedum”  (sic) for the oppressed inner-city area. There were over eighty murders in West Kingston last year. The spelling doesn’t matter, but the police seem happy with the defaced walls. The messages suggest that residents are tired of the lingering influence of Christopher “Dudus” Coke and his cronies. On previous occasions the police have whitewashed out some beautifully painted walls in inner city areas…

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Time to get rid of the Jon crows: The issue of TV coverage of sport

Frustration, even anger, are not unknown emotions to most people. However, when they come and you feel that it’s because of something truly avoidable, they tend to intensify. I was enraged last Sunday (August 16) when I was unable to watch the men’s 100 metres final in the World Championships, from Berlin. I wanted to see history happen, with Jamaica’s Usain Bolt winning as in last year’s Olympics and breaking his world record set then. But, the machinations of a corporation or two who did not see it possible to help me and other people living in Barbados share that moment was all it took for frustration to turn to rage to turn to anger. Canadian Broadcasting Corporationcame to the rescue (oh, thanks, Canada), by cutting away from the ATP tennis at the Roger’s Masters Final in Montreal to show the race with a 15 minute delay.

In the meantime, I had gone ‘back to the future’: I had experienced the race live. An irate Jamaican friend on the phone in my left hand, was listening to me attentively. A friend who worked for VOB on the phone in my right hand, was giving me step-by-step commentary, that I was repeating to my Yardee. “They’re off. Bolt is ahead. Bolt surges ahead. No one in sight. Bolt wins! Bolt. New world record. 9.58 seconds. Usain Bolt…” At the end of my rebroadcast, my Jamaican friend was whooping and hollering, “Yes! We do it! Yes. Praise Jesus. Yes!”

But, why did we need to go back to the 1920s? It appears that Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) had bought the television rights, but Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation had not paid to share those rights. So, we in Barbados lived the ‘hermit’s life on the momentous moment. It was not until Thursday, August 20, that CMC clarified what CBC had done. That was after….Barbados’ Ryan Brathwaite had created no small piece of history for this small rock, by winning the men’s 110 metres hurdles in 13.14 seconds, a new national record (which he had just broken with 13.18 secs. in the semis). Oh dear, Barbados had not been able to see its son have HIS day in the sun. People in Barbados were now very angry–they should have been since Sunday, but different strokes for different folks. “Why we cyan see dis? Why?” was the general call. But, praise CMC for making sure the right person is under the bus.

I love to see Caribbean integration possibilities wither and die: much as I believe that such integration is possible and could be beneficial, many do not. So, better to leave no doubts when you do not believe. CMC? It seems you did the right thing, so I read a correction to my letter below. CBC? Whatever your reasons for not buying the rights, you will be held up in the annals of history for a CRAVEN act. Some would like to suggest that the problem is simply that CBC has a new General Manager, Lars Soderstrom (a former international media consultant), who is non-Caribbean. That has to be too simplistic a view. It is about management generally, remembering that CBC is government-owned. If government is not influencing its policies then perhaps I need to look at the person with line responsibilities. No. CBC failed us–yes, it is personal–when success was so easy: snatching defeat from the jaws of victory–a rare talent. I suspect the capabities of a media company that does not see the need for, or merit in, putting dates on its online material; try a link and see for yourself. Would that the region were rid of craven actors. If anyone says that CBC’s actions were due to financial constraints I will demand a full and forensic investigation of their transactions over the past 12 months. Why? B.E.C.A.U.S.E. they did the same thing for the Beijing Olympics. So, craven then. Craven now. One word to describe them. Jon crow!

My letter, written early on Monday and sent to several newspapers (Gleaner-Jamaica; Advocate and Nation-Barbados), which reads more muted than I was, was published on August 21. Fittingly, the day when they could celebrate their first gold.

I am no politician and hold no political ambitions–never have. But, I want leadership that can feel people’s needs and cater to them. Leaders who are not simply ready to pass by possible moments in our history for reasons that have nothing to do with a gun being held to their heads. I want people who learn from mistakes leading and running institutions in the Caribbean. I DO NOT WANT JON CROWS NEAR ME! I am not carrion and am not to be fed upon as if I am dead and have no feelings. I do feel and I will respond. Jon crows need dead meat to survive. Stop feeding the Jon crow.

Read on, for the letter. My Living in Barbados blog, also has a piece that verbalises in Patois how I felt on the day (‘What a shame!’). Standard English is for ordinary moments. Patois is for expressions from the heart. There is a follow-on piece that tries to share the joy that was experienced when I found live coverage, in a sports bar in Barbados. I did share fully with Jamaicans and Barbadians THE moments when Usain broke the 200 metres record again, and took gold–the day before his birthday. I did see and live through the agonizing tension of the 100 metres hurdles, which after a blanket finish, needed many minutes to declare Ryan Brathwaite the winner. I did glow as Melaine Walker took gold in the 400 metres and laugh myself silly as the mascot took her on a lap of honour only to lapse into a stadium machine and turn Melaine into a pole vaulter. Some of those moments are also on my Living in Barbados blog (‘Rage ain’t nothing but a number’).

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Here is the link to the Advocate letter. The printed text is below, with my correction regarding CMC/CBC inserted.

Where’s the coverage?

8/21/2009

THE joy of Caribbeans – in my case, Jamaicans – winning medals at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin has been a frustrating experience, or non experience to try to share. Those of us in Barbados have once again to endure what seems like a disregard for support for our region.

CMC [correction: CBC] did not buy the television broadcast rights. We have therefore been subjected to the displeasing situation of listening to the events, when broadcast, on radio. Just like in the good old Colonial days. I felt insulted as a national and as person of this Caribbean region.

We have reason to be proud, that our smallness in size and number is clearly no limitation on our ambition and achievement.

But it would seem that that pride is not shared or we will not be allowed to share it ‘live and direct’.

We look at the few symbols of regional unity and most of them are in tatters. We all know we are nationalistic, at least in part. It is natural. But we are also in need of integration and collaboration as a region. The action of CMC [correction: CBC] is to me another nail in the coffin of Caribbean unity. We saw how the region could share in the gains of one or a few nations as if we were all one.

I wont go to the historic racial significance of Berlin, and recall the ignominy faced by Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. (Many readers will only know this from history books, or now, the Internet, see http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/system/topicRoot/Jesse_Owens_at_the_Berlin_Olymp/).

I just note that many black athletes in 2009 have proudly shown solidarity with that moment by emblems denoting Jesse Owens.

All we ask is for CMC [correction: CBC] to show a little solidarity, too.

This was just too much for me.

Dennis Jones

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The JPG version of the printed page is below (Advocate does not archive the print versions of the papers, for legal reasons).

World Champs Letter Advocate Aug 21 2009

Time for cleansing: redux

No sooner had I written yesterday’s post than I saw in today’s Barbados Advocate an article entitled ‘Gender cleansing’ in education? Its main argument is that in recent years the administrative head of the Barbados school system has changed from largely male to largely (or in some parishes, only) female. Gender cleansing 1It goes beyond and looks at physchologists in the Ministry of Education. Gender cleansing 2The bottom line: role models in the education system are essentially female. We see other aspects of that with the growing imbalance at the university level.

In sheer, agonizing irony, the same paper on the preceding page has an article entitled ‘…the gallows for a doorpost…’, that tries to pour cold water on the words of Sir Shridath Ramphal. The author, Jeff Cumberbatch, concludes “I am of the opinon that Sir Sridath does not have anything to apologize for. He is guilty of…giving far too much credence to a single newspaper leader article, of exaggeration..and of inadvertently jarring the sensitivities of some who view any criticism of government’s inchoate immigration policy as anathema.”Cumberbatch Ramphal

More than before, I really don’t think we understand how these loose utterances are slowly changing what is acceptable, but without much regard for what is really being meant.

Time for some cleansing, no matter how unpalatable

An enormous brouhaha has erupted over the use of the word “cleansing”. The problems have evolved not from the use of the word in isolation, but with its usage in conjunction with certain adjectives. The most notable recent usage in the Caribbean region was that reportedto have been uttered by Sir Sridath Ramphal, who used “intimations” of “ethnic cleansing” in commenting on actions associated with the Barbadian government’s change of amnesty policy for Caricom non-nationals. Many people rans straight past “intimations” to the other two words and got understandably angry. They did not see any relationship with the infamous cases of ethnic cleansing, such as in Bosnia or Rwanda. Some even made the charge worse by misquoting, and using “practising” or more active verbs instead of “intimations”. Sir S. was in hot water.

Last week, Barbadian political analyst and pollster, Peter Wickham, added his dollar’s worth (see the Nation, People and Things: Ethnic cleansing nonsense). He said clearly, “I believe Sir Shridath’s comments were entirely out of order and no deliberation on the meaning of “intimation” can rationalise it.” But, he proceeds, “it is also important that these comments be placed in perspective. I appreciate the location of those remarks and am entirely sympathetic to his intentions, although not his methods. He then criticizes the Nation newspaper for some irresponsible journalism and goes back to remind of the unintended results of the changed policy. He closed with, “To him I say, I feel your pain, but let’s not do an injustice to our understanding of the atrocities that have taken place in Bosnia, Serbia and Rwanda by comparing these to garden variety xenophobia in Barbados.”

The Merrian-Webster dictionary has the origin of ‘ethnic cleansing’ in 1991, and defines it as ‘ the expulsion, imprisonment, or killing of an ethnic minority by a dominant majority in order to achieve ethnic homogeneity’. At its most extreme, we have genocide–’the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group’ according to Webster’s (origin, 1944). But such killing has been rife through the ages and The Bible tells us so.

But, we know that the general activity predates by many centuries the use of this new term. The new term was prompted by war activities in the former Yugoslavia. In the 20th century alone we know of hideous instances of the activity but with different terms. We have Nazi Germany: where areas could be declared ‘judenrein’ (literally “Jew Clean”,  “cleansed of Jews” in the pursuit of Aryan racial purity. We have the former Soviet Union: the Russian term ochistka granits (очистка границ) (“cleansing of borders”) was used in documents of the early 1930s in reference to the resettlement of Poles. We have many other examples around the globe through time–India, Israel, Indonesia–just staying with countries starting with the letter i. I personally lived with the effects of people expelled from Cyprus and Uganda. I wont go back through the centuries, but one only has to think about how some great nations were formed by the mass exodus of certain peoples to see and understand that we are seeing nothing new.

The ‘cleansing’ has its degrees and we can argue long and hard about where on the spectrum Sir Sridath was trying to position what he was observing. He does need to set the record straight. We do not need to go to the most vicious extremes.

But, perhaps mistaking all things to do with cleanliness to be near to godliness, public officials have been wading around without boots that do not leak.

In Trinidad, Caroni East MP, Dr Tim Gopeesingh, used “ethnic cleansing” in Parliament on July 17, but has since tried to explain that he meant ‘silent’ cleansing, in the sense of political discrimination, see Trinidad Guardian report). We now have to move from e-cleansing to ‘political’ cleansing. But, tongues will not be silenced.

In Barbados this week, the opposition politicians have joined in usage of the term ‘cleansing’. Today’s Nation reports that “Dr William Dugiud (sic) claims that UDC workers about to be axed are “highly qualified” and are “capable of doing jobs which some of them have done for nine or ten years”. And he has decried the government’s action as “just political cleansing.” Dr. Duguid (note correction) may find within a few hours that he has done himself no good at all. If the quote is correct, we are heading for a problem just because of syntax. ‘Just’, as an adverb, can mean very recently, only, simply, barely, etc. But ‘just’ as an adjective can mean fair (ie. good, merited, legally correct, etc.) Which ‘just’ did he mean? However you look at it, the good Dr. could be commending the government or condemning the government. I guess he will clarify.

I think smart people should try to say smart things and stay away from terms that are likely to aggravate rather than calm. Poor President Obama learnt that a few weeks ago, with his use of ‘stupid’. As a parent, I forbid the use of such language by my child and chastise my wife too if she uses it; it is not necessary and should be put away. “Loose lips sink ships”, they used to say. Not only ships, I would venture.