Yes, Let’s Be Realistic

I have been trying so very hard to avoid any discussions or topics relating to Jamaican politics without any success. Every time I turn someone is there asking me, “So what do you think of so and so?” The latest is not a question from someone but a phrase uttered by our Finance Minister Dr. Peter Phillips in defending the new Tax Measures proposed on February 12, 2013. I get to understand that these increases in Stamp Duty, Transfer Tax, Customs Fee etc. are to assist in paying billion dollar debts due to the Jamaica Public Service Company, National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) for garbage collection and the ‘beautification of our country’ as well as other entities that keep our country, or what’s left of it, functioning. The major reason though is that these revenue measures are being taken to support the achievement of the Primary Balance target of 7.5% of GDP that has been agreed to with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Where do I begin. It’s like a maze. You’re following the path you think is the right one only to hit a wall and another and another and another. I am no politician but is it that hard to practice good housekeeping? Is it so hard to pay your bill when you receive it? I have a JPS account and I receive a bill every month. Sometimes it’s late. If that bill isn’t paid within five (5) days after the due date my electricity WILL be disconnected and trust me it has happened. Is this the way it is between the Jamaica Public Service and the Government? Is it the same between the NSWMA and the Government? If so why have we incurred a billion debt as it relates to these entities? Why haven’t the bills being paid on a monthly basis so as not to incur this ‘debt’.

Speaking of the NSWMA, there are signs along roadways that read ‘Your tax dollars at work helping in the beautification of your country’ with bushes and shrubs obscuring the writings and the paint job in a deplorable state. Talk about irony. Dilapidated buildings (mostly government buildings) are strewn all over the country’s sidewalks housing rodents (rats), criminals and whatever else yet they pay high costs to rent other buildings. I can remember some years ago there were talks of bulldozing said buildings or refurbishing some of them especially in the downtown area. But that’s just what it was, TALK.

The Prime Minister, The Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller and Dr. Phillips are urging Jamaicans including the private sector to rally around the country in this our time of distress. Isn’t that what we all have been doing for the past omteen years? Haven’t we been paying to you Caesar what is due to you? The private sector has been doing tremendous things for our schools, inner city communities, churches, hospitals and for our precious children. What have you done for us Caesar? What have you been doing for us Caesar? Put us in more debt. Each year the debt margin grows bigger and bigger with no absolute light at the end of the tunnel. So what did you do with the $340 mil that you collected from the Traffic Ticket Amnesty this past January? What have you been doing with the taxes you collect each month, each year why we have such a large debt margin?

Chain Reaction

It cannot be that the answer to meeting IMF requirements is to increase taxes or add new ones every time we reach this crossroad. The right thing to do is to clean house.

  • Regulate and amend antiquated laws in keeping with global modernisation and be iron-fisted in seeing to it that citizens adhere to these laws without initiating anarchy.
  • Efficiency is key to running any business and that is lacking in every government run agency in this country, the Tax Administration Department, the Customs Department, the Courts, the Security sector, everywhere.
  • Make education of the populace a number one priority. Affordability will play a vital part in this.
  • Red Tape Bureaucracy has hindered many aspiring and talented entrepreneurs both locally and abroad from starting up businesses in Jamaica.
  • Everything has a chain reaction so if there is regulation of laws, efficiency and adherence by the citizens then all’s well that ends well. Job creation and job security would improve. Education would be much more attainable. There would be a decline in lawlessness. Investors would gladly plant their roots here and the country would be get a well-deserved face lift.

The plan is not to continue this ignominious legacy that we have inherited but to improve on it, make it worth living in this country again. So yes Dr. Phillips, lets be realistic and stamp out corruption once and for all, fix the country’s flaws, stop the talking and actually DO something. Jamaicans are ready, we have rallied and have been waiting for the change which ultimately starts with you.


Gambling versus Education

I recently heard an excerpt from the “GOJ (Government of Jamaica) Minute” being ran on various radio stations in Jamaica. Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites in the ad is urging youths to get an education for a better future instead of gambling for money.

First let me make it abundantly clear that I am ALL for EVERYONE getting an education and putting that education to good use. However, in my country Jamaica, that I have lived all my life education is NOT, and I repeat NOT the priority of the heads of state. Achieving education has not been promoted in this country as much as gambling has and yet youths are been urged to get an education rather than gamble their life away. The irony of it all.

At any given time of the day or night I open my email there are at least five (5) mails from different colleges and universities overseas (U.S.A., U.K., Canada etc.) inviting me to study with their institution. The same is true with any web page on the internet. Educational institutions worldwide are literally begging you to attend their schools by offering incentives and various discounts. Not so with Jamaican territory institutions or should I say only one or two of them do advertise. On the other hand gambling is promoted and endorsed on a daily basis, on the radio ten or more times per day, on the television, on bill boards island wide. Gambling is in your face so to speak but not achieving education. As a matter of fact it is easier for a Jamaican to use his or her fifty dollars to buy a lotto ticket rather than buy an exercise book for their child/children to attend school and the youths are following by example. It is true that children live what they learn. After all, gambling is at the forefront of everything this country does. Telecommunications companies teach us to gamble, sporting goods companies teach us to gamble, even the schools themselves sometimes teach children to gamble in more ways than one.

Jamaican education has become so expensive its not funny. Especially now (since this new tax regime) less and less children will become enrolled in schools come September simply because the parents cannot afford it.

Min. Thwaites your warning comes a little too late. The horse has already gone through the gate and he’s galloping down the track. Until we place real emphasis on this sector of society called education and promote it to the best of our ability and not as some second fiddle to gambling then we will never be able to churn out of our primary, high and territory schools the number of successes the way that we are supposed to.

Racist Jamaicans?

All this trash talk about the relationship between fashion designer Lubica and sprint world record holder Usain Bolt has gotten me tsk-tsk. Black people (Jamaicans at large) are still so oppressed that they can’t see past the big picture. Is it because this talented young lady was born in Slovakia or is it because her complexion is Caucasian why she is ‘not good enough’ for Mr. Bolt? Some argue that she is after his money. Jamaicans please, check your selves. Have you ever considered that maybe, just maybe, Usain has not met the ‘right’ Jamaican or should I say ‘black’ girl to date. May be he has met and dated one but she was just not ‘the one’. Every day we speak against racism, especially in other countries and we portray the very same attitude towards God’s creations. As mentioned in the outset of this paragraph, Lubica is a fashion designer-a successful one I might add, so I don’t think she is after Usain’s money. Why can’t we see things for what they are and not what we want them to be. The media is to be blamed partly for this balderdash. Before their dating Lubica was described in the papers and on television as ‘fashion designer Lubica’ now it’s ‘Slovakian-born fashion designer Lubica’ when speaking of the pair.

This very same ignorance was portrayed when Ziggy Marley decided to wed Orly (lives in the US but was born in Israel). Again, this young lady is very successful as she has worked with one of the world’s best talent agencies – William Morris Agency (Endeavor) and has closed deals on signing some of the best and most recognized talents worldwide.  I can also recall that Mr. Anthony Hylton’s wife Yodit Getachew is Ethiopian (again has her own money through her family) or is it because her complexion is dark why there is no hullabaloo about the relationship which eventually led to marriage. The list goes on.

Interracial dating and marriages are no longer taboo. They have become the norm just as any technological development has become. We no longer live on the plantation where only the white slave master has privy or access to the black slave girl which was deemed par for the course as she wasn’t being considered for marriage. There are far more important issues at hand that we should be concerned with like the 34 or 36 years old lady from Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller’s constituency ‘Back-A-Wall’ with her nine (9) children saying quote, “Birth control is for animals”, end quote, instead of the love life of Mr. Bolt.

This relationship might eventually lead to marriage, may be they will break up. Whatever the outcome let us be content with it. If its love let it be, because love has no racial boundaries, no colour, no prejudice whatsoever.

Put Some Clothes On, For God’s Sake!

When did it become ‘chic’ to show your underwear in public? I’m disgusted every time I step out in public and see a female in a tights or leggings as the Americans call it and the first thing I see is the underwear. White, pink, blue,  yellow, stripes, floral; it is not a pretty sight; it is not at all chic.

I was in a taxi traveling to work and saw a young lady on the sidewalk. She was wearing a yellow top and a black leggings and of course the underwear was very visible. I guess she was wearing it to match her top because it was a very bright yellow just like the blouse. It was not a pretty sight and this seems to be the ‘norm’ because on any given day your walking the streets I guarantee you will come across at least ten (10) females and males wearing clothes that expose their underwear.

When I was growing up I was told that we should never wear clothes that exposed our undergarments, especially our underwear. As a matter of fact we were given slips, yes slips to wear under our clothes. No matter how thick that dress or skirt is we still had to wear our slips, even under denim skirts. Today things are so different and not for the better I might add. As my friend Donald ‘Iceman’ Anderson would say ‘In Jamaica anything is anything’, which is sad.

The morals of society have deteriorated so badly its not funny. There is no respect for one another anymore. Children are very disrespectful to their elders and even their peers. I fear for my life if I should cold or reprimand a youth nowadays unless he or she is my family. So I ask: What has contributed to this decay in morals? How can we remedy the situation? Believe it or not there is hope for our youth. We the older ones just need to lead by example. Do the right thing, say the correct words and see how it impacts our nation’s children, positively. They will grow up to become better adults, better brothers, better sisters and eventually better parents.

I implore you young ladies, dress properly before leaving the house. Put some clothes on, for God’s sake. Don’t wear clothes that expose your undergarments. Set an example for your children and the wider society at large.

Friendship Unlimited

“How could you ask if we could still remain friends after what you’ve done. Of course not. No we cannot remain friends. Some things are unrepairable so please, be on your merry way”. These are words often uttered by persons who thought that they had a best friend, that they had a true bond with another person male or female that wasn’t an  intimate one. The word ‘friend’ is often thrown about carelessly without any regard to feelings, knowledge of the person being called friend or even consensus. Consensus? you ask…..yes consensus. Consensus between/amongst the parties involved. Too many times I’ve heard one person say that they are friends with someone when the other person does not feel the same way. That cannot be called a friendship. The word ‘friendship’ is defined as ‘a relationship between friends…..another definition is ‘a person attached to another by feelings or affection or personal regard who gives assistance; patron or is a supporter.

If the friendship between two or more individuals is genuine then it is endless, unlimited. There are no boundaries as it relates to the ‘legal’ things one would do for the other. Sorrows as well as joys are shared, support is received and support is given.  Not all friendships last simply because one person might expect too much of the other and vice versa or one friend keeps on giving support but cannot get any when needed. After all one hand cannot clap.

I have seen so many friendships dwindle to nothing because there is a lack if trust, actual friendship, honesty and dependability. Sometimes you take a step back and analyze the situation and yourself, you even wonder to yourself, “Am I to be blamed for this?”, and maybe (sometimes) you are to be blamed, maybe both friends are to be blamed. In the event that this happens, take my silly advice and remedy the situation before it escalates out of hand. Make a telephone call, visit the person, please, make amends. If the friendship is genuine then all involved will accept the intervention and make amends.

Amusement Park in Half Way Tree?

It is called the Half Way Tree Transport Centre. I’d like to propose a change of name to the Half Way Tree Amusement Centre. Every time I enter said centre I am amused by the activities of the ‘riders’. Yesterday [October 26] was no exception. I arrived at the centre approximately 5:43 pm, got my ticket and join an already visible but very short line. I was third in line. Within a minute a bus drove up and immediately the door was opened for us to start embarking it but not before three females students came rushing to the front of the line from out of nowhere.


The driver instantly came out and signaled to them to join the line. Now remember that this was late in the evening when these students should have already been home doing house chores or their homework. Also there was not many passengers lined up, must have been about four adults including myself.

They hesitantly strolled to the back of the line all this time murmuring how much they hate this particular driver and especially for scolding them. I smiled and boarded the bus when it was my turn to. As soon as these girls embarked the bus and were seated everyone could hear their mouths and were taken aback by their ill-mannered behaviour. One of the girls opened the window under which she was seated allowing air inside the bus while the air conditioning system was running and again, immediately the driver came to the rescue. He loudly but wittingly reprimanded them by letting them know that he will NOT tolerate such behaviour on a public passenger vehicle. His words were, quote, “Mi wi tek unnuh off a dis bus if unnuh nuh behave unnuh self.” “Close di window and sit properly”, end quote. He went on to let them know that when they came on his bus they should behave themselves because he doesn’t play like that. I smiled and nodded with approval. As a matter of fact I think everyone on the bus smiled and nodded with approval.

After about five more minutes of tearing and issuing tickets to passengers I saw the driver leaned over and uttered something to a young lady that was seated close to the front o the bus. It wasn’t until then that I realized that she was eating something and he must have told her that there was to be no eating on the bus. I must say I like this driver. No-nonsense.

At the time of the introduction of these new buses to the Jamaican population the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) issued strict rules and regulations for passengers to abide by, for our own good too, but to date only a select few have been observing those rules and regulations. The majority of the public, school children and adults alike have continued to wantonly disregard the ‘No Drinking or Eating’ policy that govern these public transports. Within a few weeks of operation the a/c vents were destroyed, there were graffiti all over the seats and garbage (food refuse) lined the floors. I would like to know one thing. Is this how people treat their places of dwelling? Do they just eat and leave the wrapper in the couch or on the floor or do they eat and not wash the dishes? If there is a certain facility in place for our protection and long term benefit, isn’t it in our best interest to take very good care of that facility so that it is long-lasting?

They destroy the schools, roads, business places, public transports etc: all of which provide jobs, a sense of safety, education and so much more for society. As soon as those facilities are out of service they complain of the lack of jobs, roads, schools etc without any recollection that they were the same ones that destroyed them in the first place.

Its is about time you wake up and smell the stench.

A Woman’s Worth

A woman needs love too

She needs to be held and told she’s loved and cherished

Her worth is more than cooking, cleaning and ironing

No longer will those old double standards

Be accepted by the women of today

A change must come

When you find that one and only

You can’t let her get away

Hold on to her, cherish her, love her

Bust most of all appreciate her worth

Make her know you care