Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Republic or Monarchy of Jamaica?

A friend of mine recently sold his house packed up his family and furniture bought a new house in a different country and moved to that country/house, now he did not move because he hated his neighbors he did it because he wanted a bigger house, new life and better opportunities. He loved his old neighbors and will miss them dearly but sometimes “A man's got to do what a man's got to do, what he thinks his right”.

I am beginning to get the impression that some people believe, that Jamaicans desire to become a republic is being done out of hate or spite for Britain or the Royal Family. Some in the media and various individuals seem more concern with creating controversy where none exist. The desire to become a republic has nothing to do with disliking the Monarch, The Queen or The United Kingdom but sometimes “A Jamaican's got to do what a Jamaican's got to do”, Jamaicans have a right to decide their own destiny.

Jamaicans on a whole do have a love affair with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and the Royal Family, both will always hold a special place in our hearts. The Commonwealth represents a special community, a family with a unique shared history and the United Kingdom of Great Britain is a central part of that history and a major part of the Jamaica’s History. Britain is partly responsible for who we are as a people, our failures and our success. The British culture runs deep, its influence can be seen in every aspect of Jamaican life and will always be a part of who we are.

The Results of one Poll, an island wide survey among 1,008 people:
60 per cent of Jamaicans held the view the country would be better off under British rule.
44 per cent of the people surveyed said the current Westminster system should be retained
35 per cent said it should be replaced with a republican system.
21 per cent answered 'don't know' to the question.

*Updated Poll: March 12 2012, CVM/Don Anderson polls for 2012, which sampled 1,000
  • JAMAICANS are nearly evenly split on the issue of whether or not to cut ties with the British monarchy, with 44 per cent for and 40 per cent against.

Over the past couple decades it has become clearer and clearer that this love affair with Great Britain was in fact a one sided love affair as successive British Governments(especially "Nu Labour", they had a special dislike for Jamaica and the commonwealth) tried their very best to distance Britain from Jamaica. Our relationship became purely symbolic and added nothing to the lives of Jamaicans and the British people. It was as if we were locked in a loveless marriage and has been for some time. Over the past couple decades Jamaicans have become increasingly disillusioned with the commonwealth of which we had such great expectations of growing and evolving together into something more meaningful, something greater but that was not to be.

The Commonwealth of Nations represents one of Great Britain’s biggest failures since losing its empire, the failure to evolve from Slavery, Colonialism, from Commonwealth into something more meaningful and beneficial. The Commonwealth exists with no sense of direction, no sense of purpose and made up of so many failed and failing states that exist in limbo. It demands nothing, builds nothing, adds nothing and reminds me of a dying star that never really achieved its true potentials but soon will cease to exist. To say I am disappointed would be an understatement, we are 54 countries strong, 15 of which make up the Commonwealth Realm, a third of the world’s population, a mixture of Developed and Developing countries and yet we are not a part of a dynamic economic bloc and add nothing to the lives of the members.

There are 15 Commonwealth Realms in addition to the UK: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Papua New Guinea, St Christopher and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tuvalu, Barbados, Grenada, Solomon Islands, St Lucia and The Bahamas.

These are the countries Britain cared to keep, this is the extent of the British Empire with a Combine Population of about 226,560:

Overseas territories of the UK:
  • Anguilla - 14,766
  • Bermuda -68,265
  • British Virgin Islands- 24,939
  • Cayman Islands - 50,209
  • Falkland Islands (Malvinas) - 3,140
  • Montserrat - 5,118
  • St. Helena - 7,670
  • Turks and Caicos Islands - 23,528
  • Gibraltar - 28,877
  • Pitcairn – 48
The Rise and fall of The British Empire

While the Jamaican education system created by the British was teaching Jamaicans, beating into Jamaicans, pushing and promoting “Britishness” and our shared history and values. The British education system was doing no such thing in the UK. Britain went out of its way to omit the importance of  colonies to the development of Britain. They failed to teach British Citizens the fact that without countries like Jamaica to drive their sugar empire with free slave labour, that the Great Britain we know today would never have existed and would never have been so rich and so powerful.

The British failed to teach their population the importance of the colonies, that Britain’s development was achieved at the expense of the colonies and that there was never any mutual development plans, except for the members of the 2 or 3 white commonwealth CANZUK countries. They the British were educated in terms of the White man’s burden, they reluctantly took on the Job of colonial masters to save the savages from themselves. The average British person on the street is totally ignorant when it comes to British History with regards to the Empire, the former colonies and slavery and that is by design.  For the most part the British history that they know exist in the land of fairy tales with Dragons.

Most do not know that Jamaica's Head of State is the Queen and also Head of State for the other members of the Realm, or even what it means to be the head of State and under such condition, such ignorance, how then could we expect this Commonwealth to survive and evolve. I suspect the powers that be did not want it to survive much less evolve.

The few British Citizens who seem upset about Jamaica’s decision to become a (or pay lip service to become a) republic are only upset because they feel embarrassed for the British Monarchy. Upset that the queen will lose one of her symbolic Head of State status as the Commonwealth Realms gets smaller and smaller, it represents diminishing power. The Royalist in the UK wants Jamaica to retain the Queen as Head of State thus keeping the symbolic Commonwealth together but really wants nothing more to do with countries like Jamaica or its people. There is no special love for Jamaica or Jamaicans so what they want is  not about us, it is only about preserving the status of The Queen and Britain to the world. This relationship makes us feel like a girl whose male friend only uses her for sex then discards her until nature calls again. When the Queen needs to do one of her symbolic world tours with signature Royal wave so the media can have something to go crazy over. Each time the Queens visits Jamaica it cost Jamaica, yes we are happy for her visit and we welcome her but it does nothing for the development of the country.

These loyalists are the same people who complain, day in day out that there are too many foreigners living in Britain, that their cities are infested with non-white people and that Britain is for white British and should close its borders. These are the people who lobbied their Government and bombard the media to restrict Jamaicans from entering Britain. It seems we are not good enough to come to England but we should have the English Queen as our Head of State and if we dare use the word Republic then they are the first to say we should be charged with Treason.

An excerpt from the "madmonarchist" blog website states: “Would they prefer Jamaica to be more like the impoverished republic of Haiti or perhaps the Communist dictatorship of Cuba? With the Crown and the Jamaican monarchy the island has had security, independence, freedom and a proven system of government to respond to the needs of society”. The blog went on to say "Former PM Bruce Golding had made the same sort of treasonous statement"

Here the white man’s burden is alive and well, over stating British involvement in Jamaica as a reason for our security, independence, freedom and a proven system of government” where was Britain during the Invasion of Grenada and why are they not doing more in Zimbabwe and countless others, as a matter of fact the only time Britain defended its interest was during the Falklands War or when America commands them to. These loyalist have gone so far as to say that if Jamaica becomes a republic then the UK should cut of all aid to Jamaica without even quantifying this so called mystery aid.
The Commonwealth

It is not the Commonwealth who is abandoning the British Monarchy, it is Britain who is abandoning Commonwealth and have been for sometime now. As far as most Brits are concern the Commonwealth includes Canada, Australia and New Zealand since that is the only part of the commonwealth they can and want to relate to, right down racial lines.

As per the Brits: During Colonial Times Jamaicans were all Educated and Prosperous!
I am sick and tired of the British Media (especially the BBC) stating that during colonial times Jamaica was prosperous without providing the necessary economic and social indicators/data/facts to support that statement and not just the cherry picked data but the entire truth, provide me with a detail explanation of the Standard of living of most Jamaicans and how it was better.  I understand it was a different time, a simpler time with simpler people but knowing the British concept/”one sided view” of a colony being “Prosperous” I doubt that the standard of living of most Jamaicans was better or even close to what it is today. The top 1%, the colonial class, the ones who benefited from the existing status quo, who owned the means of production and reap all the wealth will always see those times as the glory days. Us Jamaicans are not fools we have mastered the fine art of “If you find a donkey, ride him to pasture”, we would never have turned our backs on a good thing but it was not a good thing. The actual statistics show a completely different life for normal Jamaicans, Only 30% were literate, most had no light, most had no running water, most had no roads. They lived on hillsides and valleys in shacks and wear no shoes. The statistic show how hard life was for ordinary Jamaicans and how great life was for our colonial masters and the people they allow close to them.  

As citizens of the Commonwealth we get no special treatment from the United Kingdom, no special protection, enjoy no elevated status. In the years before 2003 the British Government and media launched a media campaign to demonize Jamaicans for the sole purpose of implementing visa restrictions against the Jamaican people, at a time when more Europeans from the EU was flooding into the UK, Black Jamaicans had to go. Headlines after headlines reported that Jamaican “Yardies” were destroying her Majesty’s perfect society and they needed to be stopped. Yes there is such a thing as one sided over reporting used to shape people's perception, to make them think what you want them to think, this is a standard practice employed for centuries to get your people to do what you want them to do and support your actions, first you demonized then you strike.

In months leading up to the visa restrictions the British media set their sights on Jamaica like attack dogs, reporting each and every crime committed by a Jamaicans and descendants of Jamaicans some of whom had never set foot in Jamaica. Every black person who committed a crime in the UK was somehow linked to Jamaica thus turning the tide of public opinion against us. Something had to be done about the Jamaican menace,it was media persecution at its very best.(Read: Removing The Jamaican Menace)

The British deputy high commissioner in Jamaica, Phil Sinkinson, had said one in 10 passengers leaving for Britain was a drug mule. Both the Jamaican national carrier, Air Jamaica, and British customs and excise officers disputed the numbers and the national anti-crack strategy published by the Home Office at the time made clear that most of the 40 to 50 tonnes of cocaine shipped into Britain each year came in bulk by sea to Spain and then overland to the Netherlands but once Jamaica’s name was associated with this, the damage had already been done, mission accomplish. Even the recent riots in England did not pass without Jamaica being blamed for the uprising.(Read: Whites have become black)

I remember in my A’Level history class reading a paragraph from the manuscript Debate in Parliament where a British MP, after slavery had ended, complaining that Jamaica was now costing Britain 10 thousand shillings a year. It was then that I realized that we were no longer a pearl in the British crown but a drain on her resources. Deep in my subconscious I believe that Independence was a British concept planted in the minds of the educated middle and upper class and I would not be surprise also if becoming a Republic was also a British concept.

Westminster has been trying to set us adrift for some time now, chipping away at the relationship, trying to break the bonds between us. Britain at one time had a preferential Import agreement for Bananas from Jamaica and the Commonwealth using a favorable trading agreement, in short the United States of America took Britain and the EU to WTO court and the Trade Agreement was canceled thus killing the Banana industry in most of the Caribbean and bankrupting small farmers, (I would not be surprise if Britain/Nu Labour asked America to take them to court to end this subsidies and preferential treatment). All this happened at a time when America was creating preferential trading blocs of their own such as the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA and Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), The United Kingdom of Great Britain failed to create any such trading bloc with the Commonwealth Realm we were left high and dry in a cold dark place without a candle, told to get on with it.

The British have never defined their relationship with the Commonwealth Realms or Nation as a “Special Relationship”, that title is reserved for the United States of America. Jamaica stopped being a “Pearl in the Caribbean” and a “Jewel in the British crown” simply because we no longer serve any purpose to Britain. We no longer enrich her but instead add to her cost, constantly being treated like a begging dysfunctional child who is genetically predisposed to crime with a parent who is trying to abandon that child in the car park of the shopping mall.

Even though, I will be the first to tell you that any system, either the Westminster model or a Republican System is only as good as the people running it and if we cannot get this current Westminster system to work for us then I do not see how the hell we will get the Republican System to work also. Becoming a republic should but will not do anything to the mindset of the Jamaican people they were never engineered to value Jamaica, this rock of mine and most see it as an unfortunate birthplace, a barren wasteland from which to escape. I do not have faith in the Jamaican people to get this system or any system working. Our political class does not fill me with confidence and while the body of the people is trapped in Jamaica, their minds wonder the landscape of North America, London and Paris, anywhere else but here, I do not get Nation Building from them.

However I do support Jamaica becoming a Republic and finally turn our backs on the old ways once and for all. It is sink or swim time now boys, will you be man enough to shoulder the responsibility to engage the nation building process and create a nation state future generation and the world will be proud of or sink into the Caribbean, forever begging for a handout, continue to behave like unwanted dogs hanging around the dinner table waiting to be noticed but instead being kicked?

Total independence is not a solution in itself but could be part of the re-branding process, a core part in the ideology of Jamaica. Jamaica needs an ideology, the people need something to believe in, something to rally around, something everybody can get on board with, the ideology of nationalism, the ideology of patriotism, the ideology of self reliance and the ideology of Jamaica first. Before we can sell the brand Jamaica to anyone else we must first have a brand we Jamaicans believe in. We need to redefine what it means to be a Jamaican, what it means to be a Jamaican worker, what it means to be a Jamaican farmer , what it means to be a Jamaican producer and we need to redefine what it means to consume Goods and services made in Jamaica. It is about time we take on our own burden, it is about time we bring home the reality of what it means to be a Jamaican, what it means to have your own country, no one is going to save us, not the United Kingdom of Great Britain and certainly not the United States of America this we must do for ourselves.

FACT: Becoming a Republic is NOT the most important issue facing Jamaica today, personally I am happy either way, we have far bigger fish to fry but we will always have bigger fish to fry, so we must make time for the not so big but very important fish in our lives, this is not a life or death situation. The majority of people who oppose full independence say to me that they like the arrangement we have today, that Government have power but not Total Power, that we have the British Monarch as an ace in the hole and that they do not trust their fellow Jamaicans with full control fearing things may get kind of “Mugabe like” and if our backs are against the wall and all hell is breaking lose then Britain can send troops to restore order. They also said to me that they do not want to lose the English Privy Council as it is outside of local control and influence, not prone to local corruption.

Queen ELIZABETH II the Head of State of the tiny spice island of Grenada, The Monarch of Grenada, a member of the Commonwealth Realm and yet the United States of America without her knowledge or permission invaded her domain, so it seems Britain is truly a nation without “street cred”. Grenada was Britain’s responsibility to fix, not America’s. If a member of the Commonwealth Realm needed sorting out, needed to be invaded, then I expect The United Kingdom of Great Britain, The Mother Country, Protector of the Realm and the other members of the Realm to do the invading and set wrong, right. I was embarrassed for Britain and the Commonwealth... Jesus! .. Give me something to rally around I beg you... Nothing would please me more than to scream to the world that our union, our commonwealth, our Realm is both beneficial and progressive but it is NOT!.

Montserrat is a British overseas territory, a British colony, in July 1995 a volcanic eruptions devastated two-thirds of that island, it looked like a barren lunar landscape as per the BBC. The people had to be evacuated and yet in the UK there was opposition from the general public to the people of Montserrat being evacuated to Britain as some members of the British public declared, why Britain, why not to the other Caribbean islands, somewhere else, anywhere else except Britain. In the end 4,000 of the 11,500 people living on the island was relocated to Great Britain. As a Direct British overseas territory, a British colony there should not even be the question, why Britain, it should be automatic, British responsibility, British Solution, end of, even if you have to get rid of some people from the EU. As far as I am concern your circle of importance and responsibility should be United Kingdom, then Commonwealth Realm, then Commonwealth of Nations then whomever.

So the very idea that Britain have the ways or the means or even care enough to run to our rescue is laughable and provides a false sense of security to anyone who believes otherwise, just look at the state of the commonwealth, Britain care about a hand full of non-white commonwealth countries with small population sizes as vacation and offshore banking paradise, she no longer cares about Jamaica and most of the Commonwealth.

I do believe that becoming a Republic is such a fundamental change that we should have a referendum, the people must decide, and if they choose not to become a Republic, then a referendum should be held every 10 years.

I have read one report in the Gleaner stating the cost of becoming a Republic, What did you think it was going to be free? That is like saying I would like to own my own house but I do not want to pay for it. I did not think you needed a report to figure this out, yes it will cost us, when have we gotten something for nothing, making your way through life will cost you, owning and managing your own country will cost you.

I have a love affair with the United Kingdom of Great Britain, I really do, I am an Anglophile and a Gooner, the older members of my family were all loyalists and the majority of my family now call Britain home and themselves British but Jamaica is my life, my birthright, the very essence of my being and I will support her regardless of direction, Republic or Constitutional Monarchy. Currently Queen Elizabeth II is "The Queen of Jamaica","the Head of State", she is my Queen and Jamaica is the "Monarchy of Jamaica", and a Commonwealth Realm, that is a constitutional Fact and I respect that and will continue to respect it, so long as this Constitutional Monarchy remains BUT it is time for a change, it is time for The Republic Of Jamaica.

"What is missing from this debate is a comprehensive list of Pros and Cons reasons by all concern about why Jamaica should become a Republic or not become a Republic, a list of Pros and Cons on keeping The Queen as our Head of State and mutual benefits that it may or may not will bring. It cannot be only for sentimental reasons whatever decision we make must be a working decision."

God Save the Queen and God Bless Jamaica Land I love.

Towards Independence - Part 1 & 2

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Real Hotties of Parliament

It is no secret that the Jamaican women are in charge of the day to day running of the country. On every level of society the Jamaican woman is taking charge, this is a trend that started long ago. In schools, girls outnumber boys on almost every level, girls are more likely to achieve higher education than boys and on a daily basis more woman can be seen heading out to work than men, regardless of the type of job and more men can be seen holding their corners on the side of the road begging for handout than women.

Source:CIA Factbook
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 87.9%
male: 84.1%
female: 91.6% (2003 est.)

Source: Jamaica Education Statistic 2000 - 2001
Enrollment at the Tertiary Level:
Boys : 32.6%
Girls: 67.4%
Out of the 29,593 enrolled:
Boys : 9,645
Girls: 19,948

Enrollment at the Tertiary Level By year:

7. Best place for high-skilled jobs : Almost 60% of high-skilled jobs in Jamaica are filled by women, compared to 2% of similar jobs in Yemen.
Women’s Status Worldwide: Best and Worst Places | Secrets to Your Success

There are only three countries in the world where your boss is more likely to be a woman and Jamaica is number one. No other country in the world holds a candle to Jamaica, where just fewer than 60 percent of all managers are women.

Men are more likely to get their education and socialization skills from the dancehall, it is the dancehall DJs that have become role models to our young men, it is the DJ who teach our young men how to interact within society as the aggressive lyrics of the dancehall gets played out in real life, on the streets of Jamaica. For the women it is not that men are in short supply, it’s just those educated, upwardly mobile, family oriented men are in short supply as the women lose patient with the dancehall(Jack-it-up-cock-it-up dig-out-di-red) mentality of the average male. What is the purpose of higher education if you are going to lower your standards and respond to the mating call of the man on the corner, “Hey gal come yah nuh” just does not cut it anymore when you have a couple degrees and PhDs to your name.

I have even heard it said that the Jamaican woman is forced to add men to the ever increasing list of goods we import from overseas, let’s see … SUV –check, French wine – check, imported Terrazzo tile and marble counter-tops – check, a good man – check..

The Jamaican women have been climbing up the corporate ladder for some time now, so it comes as no surprise that they are taking over the very Seat of Power, the Government of Jamaica.

Not only are the new entries to Parliament some of Jamaica's brightest but they are also some of Jamaica’s hotties and I am here to introduce just a few.

Minister of Youth and Culture, the Hon. Lisa Hanna, MP
Bachelor's and Master's degree in communications from the University of the West Indies

Deika Morrison, MBA, SM, BAS (cum laude), BSc. (cum laude) (Managing Director)

University of Pennsylvania, MBA

Harvard University
SM (Master of Science in Engineering Science) · GSAS
University of Pennsylvania
School of Engineering and Applied Science, BAS, (Environmental Systems)

University of Pennsylvania
The Wharton School, BSc. Economics, (Finance)

Senator Imani Duncan Price
Harvard University Kennedy School of Government
Wesleyan University
Centre for Sustainable Development Studies

Senator Marlene Malahoo Forte
Former Minister of State at Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade, Jamaica
Harvard University Kennedy School of Government
King's College London, U. of London
University of West Indies

Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith
University of the West Indies

Master of Laws in Commercial Law from the London School of Economics,
Bachelor of Laws from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill
Bachelor of Arts in French and International Relations from the University of the West Indies
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
And even though the following did make win at the polls but lost by a narrow margin:

Paula Kerr-Jarrett
University of London (SOAS)
LLM The University of London(UCL/LSE)

Dr Saphire Longmore-Dropinski, MBBS, PhD
University of the West Indies

Friday, January 6, 2012


by Jane Stooshpr Branding on Wednesday, 4 January 2012 at 18:07

How has Jamaica become the land of Entrepreneurs/CEO'S yet almost 20% of the population live below the poverty line?

Who are the 1% in Jamaica?     Spend a few minutes surfing the net and you will soon see just how many Jamaicans are self appointed “CEO's and Entrepreneurs”. If we believed every title we'd be led to think we were reading a Zug phone book!

In the States,when you apply for a job corporations now investigate your resume. Everything from your college grade point to the reasons why and when you left each employer. On top of that many will random drug test and check your financial returns. Even if you are applying for the most humble of roles. This has led to the level of accountability within the professional community. There's no margin of error for the words CEO to slip on ones resume if it can't be backed up with fiscal returns and a corporate office address.

Jamaica has become the juxtaposition to this transparency. When job prospects declined there was a tsunami of interest to become an “Entrepreneur”. I know few in Jamaica who want to, nor ever have, 'worked for the man'.  I often hear the term 'slave driver' being used when I show potential candidates corporate job prospects in Caricom. The same people who urge folks to 'start your own business' are the same parasites who are afforded the luxury to live off a family member or get wires from abroad.

I applaud true entrepreneurs and their spirit to risk their assets and reputation day after day to get results. I would support any of them to go for their goals. But first objectives have to be founded on solid experience. Where are all these self proclaimed Jamaican “CEOs/Entrepreneurs” getting their knowledge since few I've seen have ever had staff experience with any major brand? Let alone be familiar with corporate responsibilities and fiscal reporting? Yet they preach and teach #blindleadingblind

Tech is the biggest area for this “Get Rich Quick/Be Your Own Boss” scam. It's a huge concern to me; So many new “Tech Guru's/Awards/Social Media” experts, it's become the arena for snake oil salesman. All of these “CEO's” but I don't see that any of them have the experience or true corporate knowledge. But people so badly want to believe and the circle jerks of flossing continues but there's rarely revenue and certainly no recognition from any credible foreign market.

Few foreign technology talents who have real authority have been invited to host workshops, why? Just a handful of 'consultants' and more 'self employed' folks are in the mix to 'teach'. The money in Tech is such that talented people tend to work for hearty salaries and seductive perks for the major brand leaders (if they are good!). Those that are 'consultants' I would even be so bold to say are folks who've never been invited to be a staffer.  Plus, outside of the corporate arena it's tough to keep ahead of the curve as they aren't Beta testing with deep pockets. So who are people in Yaad learning from? Would you learn carpentry from someone who can put together a jolly nice IKEA unit?

Is it now time to be realistic and have better expectations for our workforce? Have a level of accountability and transparency? Find modern solutions to gain credibility for all of these “Entrepreneurs/CEOs”, it's all rather Kings New Clothes. (Webinars for schools and groups hosted by major corporate global brands on a variety of platforms could be one idea). If we don't Jamaica will fall so far behind as more an more corporations don't choose Jamaicans for their workforce as so few have worked for 'the man' or are credible in their claims and like it or not it is important to be able to reap the corporate dollar.

-Jane Buchanan
Twitter  @STOOSHPR

Thursday, January 5, 2012


By Michael Abrahams

'Twas di night before Christmas
An all thru mi yard
Me a dig up di place fi find
Mi voter registration card

Fa election day a come
An me tink me shoulda vote
But me put di whole a dem
In di same ol sinking boat

Labourite an Comrade
Of di two a dem mi tyad
Because mi tink dem party dem
Harbour some tief an liad

Wedda Manatt or Trafigura
Light bulb or JDIP
Dem tek all a we fi eediat
An inna wi money dem dip

Opposition cuss government
An government cuss opposition
But no matter who inna power
We en up in di same position

Wid greedy an dishonest MPs
An questionable government ministers
So many of di candidates dat me a see
Appear to be shady an sinister

Andrew tek ova from di driva
An Portia a drive fi har Jeep
An me wonder if any a dem promises
Dem really a go keep

Fa me get let down by both sides before
So none a dem me really trus
An me tink seh when whoever win tek office
Some new scandal a go buss

An when me did watch di leaders debate
A dat time me get cross an frown Fa instead a hearing di real issues dem
All me see was two clown

One dodge questions about gays in di cabinet
An di odda want a Jamaican queen
I mus confess, I was not impressed
Wid di orange or di green

Well midnight almost deh pon me
An although me a search hard
Me nuh stop come up empty handed
Cause me still cyaa find mi card

Might as well me doh find it yah man
Cause mi nuh tink seh me a go bodda
Fa when me pree how di ting set up
Is six a one, half dozen a di odda

But den again our forefathers
Did work an struggle an fight
Until dem get adult suffrage
Fi gi me an yu di right

So athough me tyad a di slackness
An tink seh di parties not nice
Me a go look fi mi card one more time
And try fi mek a choice

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Jamaica Election 2011: The Worst Campaign I have ever seen

I am trying to analyze the reason why the JLP failed so miserable at the polls. For a full understanding we must return to the events of 2007, the then JLP opposition ran a very good campaign but still only managed to beat the PNP by a small margin even after that party’s 18 years in power. In 2007 the JLP ran a campaign on two fronts:

First they launched personal attacks on the character of Portia Simpson Miller painting her as a low class, dirty, vulgar and uneducated individual who belongs downstairs in the houses of wealthy upper St. Andrew families, cleaning floors and washing dishes and not worthy of being an upstairs maid since as far as they are concern a person like her cannot be presented to dignitaries, I cringe at some of the words I hear to describe her, one person called her a "Dutty Black Gal, who should be scrubbing floors". While Portia Simpson Miller may not be my first choice for a leader and for that matter neither was Bruce Golding, I found the characterization of her disgusting, dirty and underhanded as well as racist, "classist". I respect her however as a woman who have defied the odds and reached the top of her game, how history will Judge her is totally in her hands.

Second they ran a campaign painting the PNP Government as corrupt, firing a salvos of corruption charges and declaring that the Government was mismanaging the Jamaican Economy and in so doing set themselves up as the Party commanding the Moral authority, taking the moral high ground  as they declare that they were an anti-corruption Party who would Govern with total transparency, a level of openness never before seen in Jamaica’s political landscape, it was a brilliant campaign, executed with precision using every means at their disposal, every media outlet, The PNP was like a boxer pinned in the corner of the ring, against the ropes as the JLP rained blows after blows, body shots and uppercuts on the PNP, but they still only managed to win by a small margin.

As a side note: “I have heard it said that the entire 18 years of PNP Government was the worst and that it was 18 years of mismanagement, no growth and corruption. However I cannot help but to think that if life was so hard, so terrible for the entire 18 years then why was the PNP left in power for 18 long years? Voted into office in 1989, the PNP was first returned to power in 1993, then again in 1997 and finally PNP returned to power in 2002 after which they were voted out of office in 2007 by the smallest of margin. So it seems whatever the people thought of the PNP they must have thought much worst of the JLP or life was not hard enough and they just could not bother to change. The fact that the PNP had 18 years in power reflects very badly on the JLP and the people who claimed that it was the worst, just the worst time ever. It boggles the mind that the people in a democracy would live under 18 years of a terrible occupation by the PNP even though they were given the chance to vote them out of office on 3 occasions, so it seems the occupation was not an occupation but a selection, something just does not add up with that equation and describes the Jamaican electorate beautifully, slow to act, slow to evaluate, slow to care if they are having fun and not at their darkest hour. This mediocre approach to Nation Building must change or else we are doomed, we need to be more involved, more pro-active if we are to bring about the changes required. “

JLP Became the Government and the PNP the Opposition
So in 2007 the Jamaica Labour Party won the General election and became the Government of Jamaica with Bruce Golding as the Prime Minister and what followed was anything but Open, Transparent, honest or anti-corrupt, it was politics as per usual, the political class paying lip service to corruption, it turned out to be a case of the pot calling the kettle black. I will not go through each event but instead fast forward to election 2011, in this election the JLP reran the exact same campaign, instead of running on their achievements (if any), since becoming the Government they started the same campaign of personal character attacks on Portia Simpson Miller and proclaiming themselves to be the anti-corruption party even though the events since 2007 was there for all to see.

 'Call it, Andrew, call it!'
However for the election 2011 Bruce Golding was replaced (because of corruption) by the younger Andrew Holness who had to deal with the JDIP (HGC: Mike Henry) corruption scandal. I have long since been pushing for younger more vibrant 21st century leaders to move to the forefront of both parties, I am tired of the old, Home Grown Colonials (HGC) types that have been around since before 1962 and who are experienced in the art of corruption.  However Instead of engaging the people of Jamaica as something new, fresh, exciting and vibrant with 21 century concepts and ideas, I was shocked while listening to Andrew Holness on the campaign trail, if I closed my eyes and listen, I would not have been able to tell that a younger person was now leading the JLP, he was no different than Portia, PJ Patterson or Bruce spouting the same old rhetoric, to say I was disappointed was an understatement, a young pup trying to beat the old hands at their game.  Not to mention he should not have called election so early but should have taken the time to engage the Jamaican people, explaining who he is and what he is about.  Contrary to popular belief changing leaders, so late in the game is not seen as a good thing and he needed to take the time to allow the people to get to know him.

The JLP ran one of the worst campaigns in recent history, the party failed to fire up its support base, it was not a campaign ran on achievements (if any) but one off attack, concentrating on how Portia sound and on her  physical appearance , this may have worked in 2007 but common sense would tell you it cannot work in 2011, simply because she was the opposition and you the Government, that was a onetime shot and when it work first time logic would tell you that the next campaign should have been on achievements (if any), about what you did to improve the lives of the people,  instead the JLP re-ran the same 2007 campaign, which to me was just pure laziness, lacking innovation and ideas which describe the state of today's youth. To make matters worse the party quickly jumped on the gay issue, in a debate Portia Simpson Miller when asked about gay rights said and I quote “We should have a look at the buggery law” end of quote, knowing the ignorance of the general society towards homosexuality the JLP decided to use this against the PNP in an attempt to score late political points as they shouted from the mountain tops that the PNP wanted to legalize homosexuality and this would be the end of Jamaica as we know it... it became the main point in the last stages of the campaign, not the selling of Air Jamaica to save tax payers money (even though personally I do miss my Air Jamaica), not the privatization of the dead sugar industry, not the revitalization of the railway system, not the Jamaica Debt Exchange programme,  not the reduction of crime even though they no longer provide the weekly crime rate report and Jamaicans are left to guess what the crime rate is, which is like guessing the amount of marbles in a big jar, I assume the crime rate is up again since if it was down we would never stop hearing about it, no they jumped on the gay issue which was stupid and a total waste of time, trying to rack up cheap political points that backfired. I totally understand why both Holness and Portia danced around the gay rights issue, a couple months before both the United Kingdom and United States of America declared that they will change how they deal with certain countries that do not respect the human rights of Gay people and since none of them wanted to say something now that they will regret later they left it hanging, since it seemed at some point that Jamaica will have to make a decision between visa, aid, imports, loans and gay rights. Bruce Golding tried to go toe to toe with the United States when he tried to prevent the extradition of Dudus and failed big.

While the JLP was talking big to the hills of St. Andrew, playing the race, class and gay card, the PNP was talking small doing what that party does best, engaging people at the grass roots of society, it is a party that is never one or two steps away from the common man (The Political Class have mastered the art of keeping the common man common, having them eating out of your hands for vote), able to fire up its campaigning machinery and go door to door, house to house to deal one on one with the people, it is the bottom up approach, while the JLP is good with the top down approach.

I am always amazed that during an election period these upper class, political class politicians try to use low class/dancehall slangs in their attempt to relate to the common man, it is as if, just before the election period both parties have a course/seminar  on “Lowclass/Dancehall slangs and how to use” them. One such retarded slang is “Tun Up”, I have never heard such overuse low class gibberish in my life as everyone tries to fit it into a sentence, “di ting tun up”.

To tell you the truth, up to this day I do not know what Andrew Holness was about, I got the assumption that the JLP believed their Hype and misinformation, it seems Andrew Holness was younger and was running on his youth other than that I got nothing else from him. Looking back I sometimes wonder if he really wanted the job as Prime Minister. He needed time to shed the Baby Bruce image and become his own man, I wanted something new, to hear young vibrant 21 century ideas, with hopes, dreams and aspirations for the future of Jamaica, I wanted to know where we were going and how he intended to get us there, how he Andrew was going to deliver us to the Promise Land. 

It is OK to explain the current predicament of the country to the Jamaican people, we welcome the idea of our political class being frank and open with us, to inform us of the hard times ahead but you must also explain your plans to overcome these hard times and lead us into the light. You are suppose to be the leader and leaders are suppose to have a vision, an idea of what sort of promise land you intend to create for us and how you intend to create it, a leader must bring hope to his people, inspire his people. Barrack Obama ran his election campaign on "Change We Can Believe In.", Michael Manley ran his campaign on "Better Must come!" and Edward Seaga ran on "Deliverance Now and Money Gwan Jingle in your pockets". It is not enough to highlight the Problems and Hard times ahead, you must also show us the light at the end of the Tunnel, that is the purpose of leadership, to lead us to a better life and to seek our help and participation in getting there. If we can see where we are going and how you intend to lead us there then we will be more than willing to make sacrifices in order to achieve our goal.

Again faced with such an overwhelming defeat instead of going over what went wrong, supporters of the losing side attacked the winning side, simply for winning. This election was for the JLP to win or to lose and they lost it in fine style, they were the Government and in charge of the course of events, so all this belly aching, pity party and doom and gloom predication is laughable.  If the last 5 years was successful or they ran an half decent campaign then we would still have a JLP Government in power and if the next 5 years under PNP rule in unsuccessful then the JLP will be back in power, it is that simple.

Openness, Transparency and Anti-Corruption
I am still waiting for a Government, any Government that does what they say and says what they do and all I get is a tangled web of lies and deceit, so it was in the 18 years of the PNP and so it was with the 5 years of the JLP and the diehards draw battle lines and throw salvos of accusation at each other, you did this and you did that, this goes on and on with no end in sight. Parties are accusing other parties of doing the same thing they did when they were in power and to date no one, not one person is in Jail, why? Because it is all an act by the Political class, it is a game, deep down they know they must defend each other, knowing once they go the prosecution and jail route then all bets are off, so they will not go that route and will continue to pay lip service to Openness, Transparency and Anti-corruption, even if they have to throw some peon to the wolves, the old guard will be protected.
Election History since 1962:
1983(JLP) – PNP boycott the election, 

Some Economic Indicators at the end of the JLP Term in Office:
 I am trying to get a feel as to why the people voted the way they did, so I began to research the economic figures to get an idea of how that translate into Standard of Living, how it affect the common man in the street.I will update the below figures as soon as I find them to track progress or lack of progress and time pass. Also this is the starting point for the PNP administration, to see if they make the indicators better of worst.

Net International Reserves (NIR: U.S. Dollar)
2006  -    $2.35b (record high)
2007  -    $2.329 billion (March)
2007  -    $1.877 billion (December)
2008  -    $1.49 billion
2011   -   1 billion, 967 million

Trade Deficit
Jamaica's trade deficit swelled to more than 3 point 2 billion U.S dollars over the January to August of 2011.
The import bill which reached over 4.3 billion dollars.
Exports earnings was only 1.1billion dollars

Jamaica's trade deficit with CARICOM
Between January and August 2010, it grew by 320-million U.S. dollars.
January and August 2011 Imports from CARICOM reached over US$766 million
January and August 2011 Exports valued at US$45 million.
The deficit was $721 million, up from $402 million at the end of August 2010.

In 2008, 40 per cent of Jamaica’s imports were from the United States,
17.6 per cent came from T&T
11.7 per cent from Venezuela

Jamaica’s trade deficit with the US and other nations declined to US$1.349 billion in 2009 from US$2.745 billion in 2008

Jamaica’s trade deficit with the Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom) ballooned to US$1.6 billion in 2008 of which Jamaica Imported US$1.4 billion worth of goods from Trinidad and Tobago

Jamaican exports to Caricom markets grew by more than 70 per cent between 2009-2010, as it exported goods and services to the tune of ONLY US$209.1 million

The JLP have achieved a significant reduction in interest rate:
(will post stats when I find them)

Population below the Poverty Line:
1990 1992  2002   2003  2007  2009  2010  2011
28.4 34.2   19.7     14.8   9.8     16.5   20.3   ???

Unemployment Rate:
2007: 9.85%,  2008: ???, 2009: 11.4%, 2010: 12.4%, 2011: 12.9%
Unemployment has risen from 9.8 percent in 2007 to 12.9 percent in 2011.

Jamaican dollars (JMD) per US dollar -
2006: 65.768, 2007: 69.034, 2008: 72.236, 2009: 87.89, 2010: 87.41, 2011: 86.34590

Inflation Rate:
2000: 8.142, 2001: 6.881, 2002: 6.991, 2003: 14.6, 2004: 11.6, 2005: 11.3, 2006: 5.6, 2007: 9.306, 2008: 22.016, 2009: 9.569, 2010: 12.605

Jamaica ended the 2011 calendar year with the inflation rate at 6%. The financial year ends in March 2012 

Debt - external
Country    2000 2001 2002 2003 2004  2005  2006   2007   2008  2009  2010  2011
Jamaica    3.8    4.7    5.2    5.3    4.96   5.96   7.16    7.38    9.66   10.2   10.56 12.66

GDP - real growth rate:
2002    0.97
2003    3.502
2004    1.444
2005    1.079
2006    2.991
2007    1.432
2008    -0.915
2009    -3.046
2010    -1.217

National Debt
In 2007 the national debt was over $850 billion
In 2011 $1.6 trillion - a whopping 130 per cent of gross domestic product

World Economic Forum Global Competitive Index for 2011 indicated that Jamaica had dropped 12 places in the ranking of 142 regional economies. Jamaica had a ranking of 107 among the142 nations included in the 2011 Index.

Everyone Talking  about crime trending down:

Jamaica Murder Rate by Year:
1998 - 953
1999 - 849
2000 - 887
2001 - Page Not found on JCF, the BBC says estimated 1,100
2002 – 1045
2003 – 975
2004 – 1471
2005 – 1674
2006 – 1340
2007 – 1583
2008 – 1618
2009 – 1683 : Jamaica records highest ever murder rate in 2009
2010 - 1442
2011 - 1124 as per Gleaner Report (JCF Suspiciously missing 2011 stats in an election year)

January Murders By year
2011 - 90
2010 - 141
2009 - 121

This is not trending down, but like the rest of the economic figures it is marginal and mediocre movements, fluctuating a +100 to -200 from one year to the next, nothing to write home about, we have achieved no great reduction in crime.

Tourist Arrivals – Stop Over’s only
2003 – 1,350,285
2004 – 1,414,663
2005 – 1,478,663
2006 – 1,905,678
2007 – 1,700,785 – PNP ends, JLP Begins
2008 – 1,767,271
2009 – 1,831,097
2010 – 1,921,678
2011 - (No actual numbers yet but all indication points to a record Year... lets see if it turn out to be true)

While to the numbers look good, I would like to know how it translate to Gross and Net hard earnings, having large number means nothing if the money generated is air lifted/repatriated back to the home country of the hotel owner, not to mention these big hotel mostly exist in a tax free world. An Idea of what we earn vs. what we could earn would be nice, anyway something better than nothing.

===> As Per Bartlett
Bartlett said that many destinations are retaining as low as seven cents of every dollar tourists spend, noting that much of the tourist dollar "goes back to where it came from".

He pointed out that research has shown that only about three per cent of the produce from the agricultural sector currently goes into tourism

"We quarrel about export issues and trade issues and competition in the global market for our commodities and agricultural produce, and we're sitting right here with an export industry that has the capability to absorb every kilo of our supplies, every unit, and we ignore it,"

Agriculture Production Output: 
Under the JLP Government Agriculture Production output continued to increase from one year to the next, thanks to the brilliant work by Mr. Tufton and the Farmers of Jamaica who step up when asked, so much so that the Ministry was forced to promote the Farmers Market under the “Eat What you Grow, Grow what you eat Program” to mop up the excess, which this drove domestic food prices down. The farmers market was created because we the Jamaican people failed to support our farmers, at the time when agricultural output was increasing we had record increases in our food import bill as our Restaurants and Supermarkets continue to stock their pantry and shelves with Imported Produce and as Jamaican People pride themselves on their ability to consume imported foods.  

Crop Production Output By Year: Units:Tonnes
2011 - *Unable to Find Total*
2010 - 500304
2009 - 489672
2008 - 400110

2011 started out with record Crop Production output Up 24% by first quarter, over previous year