Thursday, November 29, 2012

$60 Million on High End Luxury Vehicles

I can understand a person being outrage out of principle but I dislike when people have selective outrage based purely on political bias. The outrage that manifest itself because one party did something wrong should be the same outrage expressed when the party you support is also guilty of the same crime. You cannot defend almshouse when it is being done by your party but is outrage over the same almshouse when the other party does it, which is just pure hypocrisy and almshouse.

One thing I pride myself on is the fact that I am governed by a certain set of core principles that are guided by a well established ideology. I do not adjusted my principles or ideology to match the views of any political party, I am not blinded by some form of partisan  or “diehardism”... I have been on this earth long enough to know when the political class is trying to take me for a fool. This is a game played by the Political class, a game which I simply refuse to play.

A couple weeks ago it was highlighted that the current PNP Government spent $60 million of our hard earn tax dollars on 16 High End Luxury Vehicles for our elected officials. When questioned about it, the Prime Minister’s excuse was that the last Government had bought 18 High End Luxury Vehicles during their term in office but took most of these vehicles with them when they were voted out of office and as a result the fleet was depleted, which left the Government no choice but to buy more. What was most shocking to me was that neither the Prime Minister nor any of her over educated party members picked up on the fact that this policy of High End Luxury Vehicles procurement and disposal was in fact a bad policy and needed to be changed. That to buy a new fleet of High End Luxury Vehicles each time a new administration comes to power only to have them take it home with them when they leave office, was a massive waste of tax payers’ money.

I am shocked that these over educated, elected technocrats could not come up with a more cost effective permanent solution, such as a policy to manage the procurement, allocation, reallocation and disposal of a static fleet of moderately priced, environmentally friendly Government Vehicles, controlled by a publicly audited permanent entity that is outside the control of the elected officials. The disposal of tax payer owned, Government vehicles after an agreed upon time should be done via a public auction that our elected officials are prevented from taking part, since it creates a conflict of interest. The last time I checked, our elected officials were being paid handsomely while they represents us and do not have to drive their personal cars, so they have no excuse when leaving office not to be able to afford to buy their own vehicles.

I do not think our political class understand why they were elected/hired, you were not elected to look cool driving big expensive cars, wearing expensive suits and jet setting around the world. You were not elected because we care about your already over inflated egos, we could not care less how you feel. You were not elected to play the part of Big Man, the Don, Mr. Big Shot, the Big Cheese, hell no, that is not why we elected you and you were not elected because you look good, ...because you looking good... does not help any of us does nothing for us and future generation of this country.

You were elected to find solutions to our problems, you were elected to improve our standards of living, you were elected to create the conditions that will grow our economy, improve our lot in life and keep us gainfully employed, you were elected to create the conditions that would improve our health, education and infrastructure. You were elected to bring down the level of crime and make us feel safe, You were elected to keep the cost of Government down in relation to income. 

Your glory does not come from your ability to talk the talk, to make grand over the top promises and drive High End Luxury Vehicles... No Mr. Politician, your Glory ONLY comes from you Implementing Solutions to our Problems, that is the only reason we elected you and the only reason we pay you... and Nothing Else Matters!!..

The Solution
The PNP or the JLP Government would have been respected by the Jamaican people if they had walked into Parliament and declared that there was a clear loophole in the way Government Vehicles were being bought and disposed of. That this loophole was costing the Jamaican people millions and that their Government came up with a permanent solution to change the bad policy thus plugging the loophole and saving the country millions of dollars to improve our lives… All Hail the Chief!... For he is a Jolly Good Fellow!!!

The revelation of the $60 million on High End Luxury Vehicles was an instant turn on and hard on for members of the opposition and their sheep like diehard supporters as this was their big “Got You Moment”, it seems our political class is only being paid by the tax payers to jump on “Got You Moments”. Failing to realize that when they formed the Government they did not introduce a new policy to manage the procurement, allocation, reallocation and disposal of Government vehicles but instead, while they were in power bought 18 of these High End Luxury Vehicles for themselves and they took most of them when they left office…“you cannot make this stuff up”.

Diehards only have a one dimensional view of life, if my party does it then it’s OK,  look the other way and whistle Dixie or defend it to the hills but if the other party does it then outrage, hell on earth, look how dem wicked. This ladies and gentleman is the selective outrage of which I speak, not based on any principle but on partisan, political “diehardism”. They were not outrage when the Jamaica Observer reported that the outgoing JLP Government took most of the High End Luxury Vehicles, so why the big hoopla now? Please spare me your phony pretend, “scoring cheap political points, got you moment” outrage which proves you care more about your party then this country.

Jamaica Gleaner: 2008 - $30m spent on SUVs for Cabinet ministers
Prime Minister Bruce Golding's government has not changed course from the previous administration's apparent affinity for high-maintenance, gas-guzzling SUVs. Documents gleaned under the Access to Information Act have shown that, since taking up the reins of the country some eight months ago, the Golding-led government has spent close to $30 million on SUVs alone for at least 10 of its Cabinet and junior ministers.

Jamaica Gleaner: 2008 JLP Cabinet ministers clock millions in pricey SUVs
After 18 years in the political wilderness, the Jamaica Labour Party has returned to the helm of government with a love affair for gas-guzzling SUVs, costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

Former JLP Ministers Snap up gov't Rides
2009 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado was sold to former Minister of Sport Olivia 'Babsy' Grange for $1,830,276 no mention was made of the value/purchase price.

Jamaica Gleaner: Dec 2, 2012 - "State-sponsored rape" ..Gordon Robinson,
2012 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado purchased and assigned to Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna, valued at $3,137,380.15
The fact of the matter is, it was dead wrong when the JLP Government took tax payers money and buy 18 High End Luxury Vehicles only to park some in them front yards on leaving office and it equally dead wrong when this PNP Government took tax payers hard earn money and buy themselves 16 High End Luxury Vehicles and you cannot be outrage now but was not outrage then. A total of 34 High End Luxury Vehicles was bought with hard earned tax payer’s money, at a time when this country can least afford it and even if we could afford it, we still should not squander money like that and because the people are not governed by principle then we should not expect this policy to change anytime soon, principle would force people to turn around to the party they support and condemn this wicked and heartless act and demand change.

This clearly gives us an idea of the mindset of our elected officials, they are part and parcel of the Jamaican society, materialistic in every way and they are not afraid to rob us blind to ensure their materialistic ways.

Another Pig at the Trough, even though he was practical about the short Sleeve Suit
Donovan Stanberry, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, has once again raised many eyebrows and set tongues wagging since the arrival of his spanking new 2012 C-Class Mercedes-Benz with an elegance package and a current price tag of $6.3 million.

Eyebrows raised over Stanberry's Benz

Idi Amin like complex...Mr. Big and Large Big Shot

Not even Sir Humphrey Appleby, GCB, KBE, MVO, MA (Oxon) Permanent Secretary for the Department of Administrative Affairs from the British television series "Yes Minister" and "Yes, Prime Minister" would have acted in such a low and disgusting manner, although there were a couple episodes where he came pretty close.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Journalistic Responsibility and Nation Building

For Old Time Sake
One of the best things I have done on Facebook is to unlike the Jamaican news reporting page OG.NR or as I like to call it “On the Ground Bad News Report”, as a result my phone inbox and Facebook wall is now free from constant 100% bombardment of Bad disgusting negative news about Jamaica and Jamaicans, I now only get my news, when I want my news and on my terms.

On examination of OG.NR’s Facebook history/timeline, I found the following:
  • In May of 2010 OG.NR was founded 
  • In that year there was 1428 murders but OG.NR did not report on any
  • In 2011 there was 1124 murders but OG.NR still did not report on any
  • In 2012 after the General Election OG.NR became a murder by murder reporting dynamo 

On The Ground Partisan News Reporting shaping Hearts and Minds for the Next General Election, I really do hate when hypocrisy tries to pass itself off as something else. Honest and Open Journalism to me is about bringing the truth to light, informing the public, it is a vital part of any society and the Nation Building process. The worst thing we could have in any society is corrupt journalism, people who take it up on themselves to pick and choose the information they will disseminate base on Partisan Political “Diehardism” which is like a doctor refusing to do Blood transfusion, or set broken bones because it goes against his religion or some twisted belief system, preferring instead to let the patient die. Journalist should be forced to take the Hippocratic Oath, swearing to practice Journalism ethically and honestly, upholding a number of professional ethical standards that goes against the concept of Partisan Political “Diehardism”. Why is it so hard for people to separate their personal life from their professional life?

When I am in the mood for news and by news I mean well rounded current affairs news, I would visit the various news sites including ON.GR and select a rich realistic picture of news items that reflects real life in Jamaica, they are not allowed to bombard me 24/7s, since what they do is a form of brainwashing, design to eliminate all hopes and dreams from the minds of the Jamaican people. Most of the people who frequent sites like ON.GR usually end up thinking the worst about who they are, where they are from and their fellow Jamaicans, it is not uncommon for Jamaicans to describe other Jamaicans as disgusting animals and Jamaica as a failed state, to declare that there is no hope, we are all doomed, damned to hell and destined for eternal damnation.

It gets even worst because this is what we communicate to the world, we constantly as we hang our dirty laundry for all to see. This is how we portray ourselves and should not be shocked when people around the world class us a certain way, treat us a certain way and look at us differently. But I know we are much more than this, I know we are better than the way we portray ourselves, I know that Jamaica is filled with lots of good honest, hard working people, intellect and innovators, trying to carve out a better life for themselves, trying to make a future for their families but we do not do enough to push this side of Jamaica and by the time a child reaches the age of 10 he is well versed in all that is negative about his country and his people. This child is already thinking that there is no hope for him in Jamaica and like a caged animal he is already looking to escape, why waste innovation and thinking on a country one believes is not going anywhere and there is no hope. Like a farmer in Islington, St. Mary told me... "well we not all animals Yu Nuh!"

These days it seems that most modern news outlet operates with some sort of underling motives, a hidden agenda which is almost always political in nature as they align themselves with various political factions, trying to set the stage and the mood of the people for the next big general election. For some people, cutting off your nose to spite your face or shooting yourself in the foot is a valid and worthwhile strategy for political gains, since to them the end justifies the means. The problem is these people have no idea when they have gone too far, self inflicting so much damage that it becomes impossible for the patient to survive. It is not that the news they are reporting is incorrect, it is just that the news they are reporting is only of a particular type, death and destruction giving the impression to all Jamaicans and the world that Jamaica is a bad disgusting no go place, that Jamaicans are horrible people never to be trusted and there is nothing good, positive or uplifting taking place in Jamaica, this line of thinking is counter productive.

My recent examination of crime reporting in London, England showed that there is a big difference between the crime listed on the Metropolitan Police blotter and items being reported on the evening news.... Less than 1% of the crime on the police blotter was actually being reported. The total number of crimes in London was 461,401 as of October 2012 which includes 60 murders, 8 in October alone, 5,762 raciest hate crime, 733 in October alone, 1,105 gun crime, 115 in October down from 185 the previous year and 640 Homophobic crime down from 850 the previous year and 91,847 violence against a person with 12,679 happening in October alone, there was 66,664 incidents of crime in London, in October. However when you watch the BBC Nightly local London news, one would think that only a small fraction of the 461,401 criminal event happened in London because the entire hour or half hour is not used to list one criminal activity after another, current affairs news reporting is a lot more diverse and gives the viewer a sense of normality, some good things happen today and some bad things also happened and I see this type of reporting in most other countries.

Read More: Latest Crime Figures for London

COPS are accused of exaggerating the drop in crime figures out today - with 400,000 crimes not even recorded. Crimes in England and Wales fell by 33 per cent according to police despite the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recording a fall of ONLY 17 per cent.The ONS said the "rate of reduction" in recorded crime "may over-state" the decrease.ONS statistician John Flatley said bigger falls in the cops’ figures could be down to pressures to meet crime targets.

British Cops 'fail to record 400,000 crimes to improve figures'

Police in Trinidad and Tobago have been ordered to stop releasing murder statistics as the National Security Minister declared that reports of violence encouraged people to commit more crime, he does not believe it is good for members of society to be bombarded about each and every criminal activity.

Read More:Jack Warner bans Trinidad and Tobago murder figures

The Mayor of New York it seems also share the same belief since it is not conducive to attracting business investments. The NYPD seems to practice a policy of keeping certain crimes off the books.

Read More: Police Tactic: Keeping Crime Reports Off the Books

I am not saying not to report crime but if you only have an hour to report the Current Affairs News then news must include both the positive and negative, if only to give young minds a sense of self-worth, a feeling that Jamaicans are also capable of doing good and living a normal life, that all is not lost, that they too can contribute to the positives because they live in a country that encourages positive healthy lifestyles. We are preconditioning the minds of our young people to not expect anything from Jamaica and themselves, removing all hopes and dreams, killing all imagination and innovation when we provide a one dimensional view that Jamaica is a horrible place, no wonder so much Jamaicans line up in front of the various foreign embassies and consulate hoping for a chance to escape this media created hell hole. This gets even worst when every news items regarding Jamaica is bad and every news events happening in mainly white foreign countries is positive, upbeat and normal then it really gives the impression that Jamaicans are abnormal people.

The method of trying to shock people into doing the right thing must be used with great care, I understand the concept of tough love but one must measure that with positive reinforcements. If you constantly tell a child they are bad, worthless and will amount to no good then eventuality the child will accept the fact that they are bad, worthless and will amount to no good, I think Jamaica is at that stage.  

I am forced to cull certain people from my Facebook friend list since it gets really hard to take on lives challenges and start ones day with a positive, innovative outlook, especially when those friends has nothing contribute but moan, groan, whine and whinge, about death, despair and lost hope.  I am not burying my head in the sand but instead putting life into perspective, every cloud have a silver lining, the glass is half full, the world is filled with positive and negative forces, good and evil but I will not let bad, negative, evil things define me and I continue to believe that Arsenal FC will once again be the Champions of England and Europe and the world.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

O green isle of the Indies

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." ― Leo Tolstoy.

This writing is inspired by a request of a friend of mine to find positive news from Jamaica about Jamaica, he lives in New York and all he seems to hear, whether through the media or otherwise is how violent we are, how corrupt we are, how illiterate, undisciplined and crass we are and how shortsighted we are.

So as usual I would like y'all to see one alternate view.

I grew up in Jamaica but migrated to the US when I was 15, I enjoyed living in my adopted home, I met many great people who influenced my world view, made lifelong friendships and had many valuable experiences that helped make me who I am today. The main reason for my emigration was like most other Jamaican youth who do, i.e. to pursue higher education and broaden my employment opportunities. At that time, I told my mother I wanted to study film to further persuade her that my need to migrate was a real necessity (but please. at that time I was only really interested in breakin'..I had no interest whatsoever in film making).

Anyway, I made the most of the American educational experience, one which provides a wealth of opportunities for anyone who wants to learn. I got a couple of degrees , various certificates and a wealth of knowledge as a consequence of exploring so many of my interests; martial arts, power of the mind, music, engineering, fitness, dance, comic book literature, yoga therapy, shiatsu, Taoism, Zen Buddhism, NLP, and whatever else I could cram into my little brain.

Then… after 7 years I decided to visit Jamaica...

WOW! It is soooo important to travel abroad because that is the only way to know how it feels to return home, home to your family, home, where there is this deep understanding of people and their language and their understanding of you, I now understood what it was that I'd been missing, I now understood what it was that I couldn't quite put my finger on while living in New York.

After my vacation I returned to NY, and for the first time in 7 years I felt consciously out of sorts, I now felt trapped or should I say restricted, in contrast to the relative freedom of the Jamaican lifestyle I just left, for the first time in 7 years I felt like, well… an alien. No more Led Zeppelin, Eric Dolphy or De La Soul, I started listening to Bob Marley every day, I started calling friends and family in JA more often and began investigating what it would realistically take to live there.

You see, I realized:
1) My home was NOT my home and
2) Jamaican girls (in Jamaica) are THE only option

Five years later, I packed up my shit and jumped on the first banana boat home.

I ..LOVE.. Jamaica.

It's been 16 years since I've returned home and it has not been all milk and honey. I have suffered financial problems, lost close friends violently, been mistreated by the police, and been a victim of robbery.

With all those negative experiences, I have never one day regretted my decision to come back home.

I LOVE this place with all my heart and will sink with the ship if I have to (although I know it will never go down)

Jamaican people are heirs to a lush tropical paradise with flowing waterfalls, white water beaches, and deep blue lagoons, we have fertile land which can grow almost anything, and magnificent mountain ranges which provide the most picturesque experience and produces the richest coffee and the best marijuana in the world (I hear).

We are home to some of the most beautiful species of birds, fish, insects and animals in the world.

The Jamaican people themselves are resilient, caring, strong and determined. They are also an industrious, creative and fun people. Jamaicans have an infectious attitude to life and our culture has been greatly influential to peoples all over the world from our street slang, to our music and dance styles, to the resourcefulness shown in our many creative enterprises.

Across the world you can find Jamaicans skilled and exceptional in every field imaginable from simple art and crafts to music, fine art, education, dance, athletics, medicine, literature, filmmaking, quantum physics, poetry, computer science, animation and robotics.

The strength of the Jamaican people however lies in how we come together as a community, daily, I see evidence of how this society behaves like a large family; cars stop to allow kids the cross the street, young people go out of their way to help the elderly with heavy bags, we join partner plans with total strangers, in the rural areas people will wave to motorists as they drive by, today on the bus, a young lady stumbled on entering the bus, I said "hush" and we ended up talking about her educational aspirations for the 15 minutes that she rode the bus, the same kind of thing happens whether you're on line at the supermarket, the bank or a utility company, you talk to people as if you've known them for years, no sweat.

It would be easy to over-romanticize the Jamaican experience without addressing its harshness-- the dinginess, the criminal element, the lack of leadership, the ways we are selfish, inconsiderate, and cruel to each other. These traits however usually manifest anywhere that the pursuit of material possessions dominates people's consciousness over any sense of good will.

However, when we badmouth our society or any society, person or experience for that matter, we are looking at the situation from a very limited narrow perspective, one usually based on emotion, prejudice or egotistical tendencies.

From a Taoist perspective.

If you seek to look at a situation, look at the entire case history, the total picture, the evolution, the causes and effect using observation, reasoning, reflection and contemplation then you will eventually understand the how and why.

Once there is deep understanding then there is no need to form strong opinions that cause emotional disturbance inside you or between people. Resist the ego.

The society has evolved from colonialism*, a system where the ruling class brutally victimized and oppressed the slave class, some people believe that this system no longer exists, but it can only be eradicated if we look inside ourselves and root out these attitudes. Jamaica's biggest problem is social discrimination which is directly related to colonialism, it is the basis for our lack of harmony and unity, it makes one set of people believe they are better than another because of their social class, education, skin colour and language skills. It is ignorance of the highest level.

*(In contrast, first world countries have developed thru imperialism)

Some of us have a deep resentment for other classes and we don't know where it comes from, we wonder why our educational system, favours only a few and we blame the government, but we don't see that the unseen framework for the society insists that a certain percentage of the society remain subservient.

We think individuals are where they are ONLY because of their attitude, maybe, but if so, the attitude comes from somewhere not easily purged.

The colonialist mentality is the root of the lack of self worth, the selfishness, insensitivity, cruelty and greed in our society and any other society that was exposed to it.

Most people ignore what they can't see and that's why so many people downplay our past as being so influential. If you want to test this hypothesis, just look at what your opportunities are, and current access to resources then take into consideration your family history and the amount of "help" your predecessors got. Whether skin complexion, access to successful family members, or gracious benefactors etc.

People today pay a lot of attention to being a critic and having THE opinion on how to change situations, but only a few take the time to work on their own personal development, only few know how to change and improve their own situation without expecting others to do it, only few have the required self control and self discipline to change.

To uplift our people, we need to look within ourselves at our own shortcomings; our country is simply a reflection of its people.

Ideas eventually become reality if persistent, so attitudes that reflect anger, aggression, intolerance, selfishness, hotheadedness, prejudice, thoughtlessness, divisiveness, unchecked materialism, and egotistical motives will show clearly in our society. If you want a better society you should cultivate better attitudes.

Yes... Michael Jackson was right, start with the man in the mirror.

Only through the pursuit of self awareness, right action, integrity, order, self love and inner harmony can we heal ourselves and our beautiful country.

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbours.
If there is to be peace between neighbours,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

-Live with awareness
-Train Hard
-Have Fun
-Peace, love, health, prosperity and happiness

Breakboy Nrg

Post Sandy Message from Breakboy Nrg

As the rainfall and intense winds subside, as the power and water supply return sporadically, as downed trees, foliage, light poles and power lines are cleaned up and put right, and as businesses reopen, the progressive return to normalcy is clear in sight.

With this return to the norms of our day to day life, it would be good to reflect on how fortunate we are, 1) to have survived with so little loss and 2) for the disaster itself.

I always find a need to remind everyone including myself that the purpose of the gift of life is to have the opportunity to become better, to evolve.

This disaster as with all others gives us an opportunity to come into another frame of mind.

When faced with an impending disaster, usually in Jamaica’s case, hurricanes.  we shift into high anxiety mode,  we head for the supermarket and/or hardware store, in an effort to implement our 10 point disaster preparedness plan, we closely monitor the updates on TV, radio or the internet and we wait…hoping for the best…

Naturally, for you my friends and by extension my fellow countrymen, I will always hope that the experience of any natural disaster will leave all unscathed in as many ways as possible, but unfortunately a lot of times this is not the reality, some die, some lose their homes, others are the victim of other types of calamities.

So yes, we SHOULD be grateful, if we can laugh at the end of it, and retell the story, and return to work and have a roof over your head and food to eat, and be able to kiss your children.

But is the disaster itself some kind of symbol, a metaphor for our relationships with each other and with nature, it can be something to think about.

Nature balances itself everyday, in order to exist as humans on this planet we take for granted the billions of processes that have to be perfectly right.

We go about our lives ignoring our impact on the environment, by not being aware we inevitably become destructive.

Our way of life today reflects chaos, selfishness, disorder in thoughts, words and deed and the environment mirrors this, how we destroy the environment for profit and our idle comforts, is exactly how we create disasters brought about by extremes (heat and cold) a byproduct of global warming.

Today we face ecological crises, social crises, political crises and human crises and they are all intertwined.

During these disasters, thru the darkness our humanity shines, when the modern conveniences are stripped away we are left to our own devices to entertain ourselves, to be more creative, to help our neighbor, to listen and be more responsive to nature,

Yes, thankfully you are all well after Sandy.

I caution you to also be thankful for Sandy’s message.

-Live with awareness
-Train Hard
-Have Fun

Breakboy Nrg