Monday, September 30, 2013

Rules, Regulations, Policies and Procedures, The Jamaican Way

In my previous blog I emphasized the need for Rules, Regulations, Policies and Procedures as a requirement for any system to operate properly. It is important that everyone understands the Rules, Regulations, Policies and Procedures and follow them if the system is to realize its full potential. However there is such a thing as having too much Rules, Regulations, Policies and Procedures, so much so that it retards the fluent operation of any system and introduces too much Red Tape and Bureaucracy which also provides a platform for corruption to thrive, as such a healthy balance is required for optimal performance of every system.

I have worked in companies that have in place too much Rules, Regulations, Policies and Procedures, they were way too conservative when it comes to change, with computer software code that is never touched once it is released into production, as updates and patches are never applied. One manager I worked with implemented a core piece of third party software in 1989 but refused any attempts by the company to apply any updates to the production code, maintaining the same code base for a decade but all hell broke loose when year 2000 came around because the Y2K version of the software had in it 10 years of changes. All the interfaces had changed and were now not compatible to all other interconnected systems.

There is no system more bogged down with Red Tape and Bureaucracy like the system of Government and the Jamaican Government is no exception. It gets even worst when the people of Jamaica are unable to separate their Political Life from their Professional Life, when nothing is being done in the interest of the country but instead in the interest of the Political Parties and peoples ego. The general public is getting very sick and tired of the counterproductive relationships between the Government, the Opposition, the Office of the Contractor-General (OCG), The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) and The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). It seems none of these groups exist to work in the interest of the country as everything descends into chaos, public hardcore bare knuckle Cage Fight as they curse out each other in public, accusing each other of corruption. Entities within the Government Structure behave as if they live in a low income tenement ghetto yard with daily brawls.

This Five Ring Circus does not look to me like they exist to facilitate each other and work together in the National interest as they seem to spend every working hours running interference against each other, putting up road blocks at every turn, trying to kill plans and stagnate the country. All our Governments both JLP and PNP has suffered this same faith. On a rare occasion of unity, representatives from both the PNP and the JLP on July 18, 2010, expressed their concern that the Contractor General seems to exist, to block their every move and kill every plan. I am not against the contractor General, that department could play an important role in our society. They should exist to make sure the dealings of the Government is above board, open and honest but what I do not see is any cooperation, they are not helping the Government to achieve their goals, nothing like “ OK we do not agree with how you are going about this, so let’s sit down like educated adults and see if we can work together to come up with a solid plan to move the country forward" but instead public political bashing.

Why is it that people who are supposed to be the most intelligent and educated among us, are finding it so hard to utilize basic Problem/Solution techniques? It is the norm now for various Governments regardless of Political parties, to announced various grand development plans only to have those plans blocked, bogged down and rejected by either The Office of the Contractor-General (OCG), The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) and The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the party in opposition will never give up a juicy chance to side against the sitting Government. Then the Jamaican people choose sides, depending on which political parties they support and the war begins, not realizing that they are poorer for it, shooting ourselves in the foot, cutting off our nose to spite our face. Sometimes I have to wonder what the members of a party is thinking when they are in opposition (regardless of party), do they really believe that all they have to do, is to oppose their way into Government and then this “Oppositioning” will magically stop after they have achieved their goals? Because as soon as they take control of the Government, what they dish out while in opposition will come back to haunt them as the new Opposition Tun-Up the “Oppositioning”, activate their operatives in the various NGO and sectors with instruction to block every move ensuring failure of the new Government… and yes the cycle of accomplishing  fuck-all continues since this is all nothing but a big game to these people.

Both Government and Opposition exist in the theoretical world, both have a long list of potential plans and a whole heap of what ifs and at times they make various speeches about what they wanted to do while in Government BUT… this, that and the other thing happened preventing them from doing it. Currently we have a couple theoretical schemes being thrown around and have been around for some time now. Our Governments talk a lot about mega Alternate Energy Projects but we have yet to see any. Our Governments talk about increase water supply projects but we still suffer from water shortage and lock offs. Our Government talks about new 380 Megawatt energy power plants but this is only a pipedream, still nothing. Our Governments talk about a Logistic Mega HUB to take advantage of the Panama Canal expansion but all we have to show for it is more big chat, conflicts and confrontations. Our Governments talk and talk and talk, we wait and wait and wait and still nothing is delivered, nothing is done.

Shaw bites back - Former finance minister takes on Christie for rebuttal of statements on LNG contract award

We were wrong - JLP was bullied by the then contractor general into ending LNG deal with EXMAR

"We, the Cabinet approved EXMAR as the preferred bidder and we allowed this nonsense perpetrated by the then contractor general to throw us and derail this programme. If it was not derailed, whether we were in power or not, LNG would be rolling out in Jamaica right now and I say that without any fear of contradiction," declared Shaw."......

One of my favorite pastimes is to read news from the other countries that share the Caribbean Sea with us, just to see how they are dealing with the day to day struggles of life. The other day I started reading news from the Dominica Republic and I found out that.

  • Dominican Republic opened the ‘biggest’ 430 megawatts power plant at a cost of US$707.0M. Wärtsilä has been awarded the contract to supply a complete dual-fuel power plant to the Dominican Republic. The turnkey project has been ordered by Empresa Generadora de Electricidad Haina (EGE Haina), the largest power generation company in the Dominican Republic. The Quisqueya II power plant ordered by EGE Haina will feature 12 Wärtsilä 50DF generating sets in combined cycle running primarily on natural gas, but with the capability to switch to heavy fuel oil as needed. The contract was awarded on 27th December 2011 and the finish project was up and running on 23rd September 2013. So while we fight, squabble, throw words and tear Jamaica apart for political power, thanks to the Five Ring Circus, countries like Dominican Republic are moving ahead, working, working, working, implementing, implementing, implementing.I have no faith in Jamaica and Jamaicans, no faith in the Political Parties, no faith in the Government, no faith in the Opposition, no faith in the OCG, OUR, DPP and any other organizations to actually facilitate the building of the 360-megawatt power plant.

  • In Panama, Dominican Republic was touted as the Caribbean’s Official Hub at Expo Logistics Panama 2013, the most important regional event in the transport and logistics field in all its classifications: sea, air, or land in a backdrop of business contacts to get up to speed on the market’s latest trends…. Jamaica was not even mentioned, who cares about our idle chatter and internal power struggles. 

  • Santo Domingo.- Solar panels from SolarWorld, the largest U.S. solar manufacturer for more than 35 years, now power the largest solar-electric installation in the Dominican Republic. The 1.5-megawatt solar array sits near the runway of Cibao International Airport, the country’s third largest airport. The system, a complete solar solution featuring SolarWorld’s high-quality solar panels and proprietary racking, generates enough clean energy to support about half of the airport’s energy needs.…. I have always said that a part of the PetroCaribe savings should have been used to invest in Alternate Energy Projects, Jamaica should have had as least 4 or 5, 5 acre Solar farms up and running by now….
  • Santo Domingo. – A local company on Wednesday unveiled Dominican Republic’s biggest rooftop solar panel array, located at the Frederic Schad logistics complex, as part of its ongoing effort to consume less energy and reduce greenhouse gases. 
  • Santo Domingo. – China will hold its Fifth Trade Fair Sept. 26-29 in the Dominican Republic, seeking to strengthen economic relations with the country, the organizers revealed.
  • Santo Domingo. – The Dominican Republic's organic food production has grown continually over the last few years, a fact that makes the country the world leader in bringing such foods to market, official sources pointed out. 
To put it simply, at this rate Jamaica is destined to accomplish absolutely... Fuck-All! Thanks to the Five Ring Circus we call the Government, the Opposition, The Office of the Contractor-General (OCG), The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) and The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and we can throw in the Jamaican people as circus clown to make this a  Six Ring Circus.

Gerry Potter Poet - How Do You Respect Fuck All ?

In Jamaica, our Political System Stagnates us, our political system is keeping us back, our political system is one of our biggest problems and because our political system is run by Jamaicans then the problems we face are all created by Jamaicans. We are a tribal country and we are not afraid to destroy this country so that our tribe, the political party can gain power. So while we fight and stab each other in the back, block any path to progress, other countries are moving ahead, they work together in their National Interest to build a nation state that takes care of their people… No one in the world cares about the JLP or the PNP, when anyone in the world thinks about Jamaica’s failures they are not thinking PNP Tribe or JLP Tribe mash up the country and the only thing that comes to their minds is that Jamaicans are unable to govern themselves.

The Medieval Feudal System is the Social and Political System adopted and practiced by Jamaica and Jamaicans…

Update: 10/4/2013

The company that was awarded the contract to build the 360 Megawatt Power Plant failed to come up with the down payment and as a result the contract will now be awarded to the second bidder who must also come up with the money.

It is getting more and more obvious that the Government regardless of party and the regulatory bodies cannot work together, their relationship is counterproductive and this is because of a Jamaican trait, “two bulls cannot be in the same pen”. We do not know how to work together when power is equally shared and the master-servant context does not exist. The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) is not taking any shit from the Minister and the Minister is not taking any shit from OUR and as a result the country stagnates, same goes for OCG and DPP.  I can imagine them now… “di Minister boy caan tell me what fi do, a di GG me report to”… This is a power struggle where egos collide and alpha male personalities clash and no development will ever take place under such conditions. The General Public is so busy and obsessed with the witch hunt for corruption that they forget who they voted for and who they did not vote for…


It would be unfair to of me not to also list the Progressive Projects taking place in Jamaica at this time.

  • The 6.3 MW New Maggoty Hydroelectric Power Plant in St. Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica will add much-needed renewable power to the country’s national energy grid.MWH designed the $33 million (USD) project that is the ninth hydroelectric power station in Jamaica. The company Mott MacDonald was contracted for the hydro expansion scheme and and the project is schedule for the November 2013.
  • Wigton Windfarm Limited, a subsidiary of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), is reporting encouraging findings from a recently completed Wind Resource Assessment, which identified four locations suitable for wind energy development with a combined potential generating capacity of 212 million KWh annually. The study, which assessed 24 prospective sites across the island, highlighted four locations which were found to have "excellent energy yield (each) featuring more than 5,300 MWh/a". Wigton Windfarm Limited is now embarking on a wind farm expansion, installing an additional 18 MW of generating capacity from nine (9) 2 MW Vestas V80 wind turbines.
  • Caribbean Broilers goes solar with pig farm, after years of trying unsuccessfully to convince pig farmers to invest in climate-controlled barns as a means of growing pigs more efficiently, CB is building its own farm on property in Hill Run, St Catherine with 192 panels on the barn. A solar-powered pig farm will allow the company to offset the use of the utility grid. This offset yields tremendous savings, resulting in a four-year payback of the system


More On The Hypothetical Logistic HUB!

First let me state my position regarding the Logistic HUB, I am against the use of Goat Islands purely on environmental reasons and nothing anyone can say or do would make me change my mind. I am not against the concept of a Logistic Hub, I think it is a good thing, I am not against the Chinese people and I am certainly not against Chinese Investments or any Foreign Direct Investments, all are welcome so long as Jamaica and Jamaicans benefit.

The Logistic-Hub is slowly becoming a dirty word coupled with a disturbing trend of increase anti-Chinese rhetoric which is almost racist. The question one must ask is, does the Logistic HUB equal Goat Island or is Goat Island just a small part of the Logistic Hub Concept? I know what I am opposed to, Goat Islands to me is a deal breaker, it is the point at which I am prepared to walk away from the deal even if it means the end of the entire HUB concept, that is… if (HUB="Goat Island") then HUB-DONE!!!

Us Jamaicans have not had a proper mature debate/discussion about the future of the entire Logistic Hub to date, there has been a lot of screaming and shouting on all sides but no mature grown up debate, no Pro versus Con debate, everything is speculation and made up to prove a point depending on which party you support.

The Government knows the position of the environmentalist but what about the entire country? We have no idea what Jamaicans are thinking and as such how can any groups organize a movement without knowing what percentage of the Population is for and what percentage is against…? These things matters, this is a numbers game because there is strength through numbers, majority rule but we have no idea of the numbers. We are in need of a national poll to try to find out what the Jamaican people are thinking, an indication of where most Jamaicans stand on this Goat Island issue.

I know where the genuine Environmentalist and people who would protest this vile attack on the environment, on our natural way of life, stands. These people would take the same position regardless of which party they support because these are people with principles. I think we all know where the Diehard Partisan Political Muppets, who I have next to no respect for and make up both parties (PNP or JLP), stands on this issue. The Opposition supporters will always oppose the sitting Government and in this case they are opportunistic environmentalist not because they care about the environment or Goat Island but because their party is not in power, people like these would not know principle is it got up and bitch slap them twice across the face, they represents 70% of the problems we face in Jamaica. The Government supporters will also blindly back their party in Government, totally useless the lot.

Foreign Investment is not the issue, what the potential problem might be is how the Government negotiates the terms of the agreements. Jamaica cannot afford to appear too needy but must stand firm on some basic demands, principles we will never betray. Many foreign non-Chinese investors got away with murder, the tourist sector is one such sector where some entities have never paid taxes and are given waivers to import whatever they want. The largest foreign investor to the United States of America is the Chinese they are investing in America in records numbers, same for the UK, Greece and Australia… So the problem is not Chinese investment but the terms of the agreements, not cutting corners because they wave a wad of cash. The opposition must be very careful how they curse out the Chinese because I remember Petrocaribe and Venezuela, you cursed both and then like hypocrites behaved as if it was God sent when you came to power.

Everything is a negotiation, I have no problem with Chinese investments, no problem with the Chinese… so long as I can see where it benefits Jamaica and we establish rules and guidelines and policies that we are not prepared to go against… In countries where investments goes wrong it is because those Governments did not enforce any rules, guidelines or policies, no standards, so why would a foreign country look out for your interest if you are not prepared to lookout for it yourself… American and UK companies invested in our Hotel industry, imported their upper and middle Managements and employ Jamaicans to spread the bed because our Government appeared too needy…

I do not see any other countries lining up to outbid the Chinese, no one else wants a piece of this. I know most Jamaicans wanted white America, UK and EU foreign investments because we have been conditioned to value them over all others but truth be told they are not coming, because they are all in China looking for Chinese investments for their own economy, they are also flat broke trying to survive this world recession. I do not see a long line of global investors lining up trying to get a piece of this, so I do not know where this free loyalty to America and the United Kingdom comes from. If this HUB was such a hot item and we are the center of this hot item then where are the other high end investors fighting to get a piece of this sweet potato pudding?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Jamaica, The Land where Anarchy Reigns

Sometime ago I worked for a financial company, one night at around 3 AM the operations department encountered a problem with one of the applications and called the software developer on duty to investigate. He logged into the system and proceeded to analyze and debug the application. Sometime after he identified the problem and then decided to fix it in production even though there was a company wide rule that strictly forbids developers from making changes to production code, in the production environment without the approval of upper management. The problem was relatively minor so he fixed it and went back to bed, I am sure feeling very proud of himself, basking in his brilliance probably thinking, what they would do without him?

By the time he came into work the next morning all hell was breaking loose and everyone was on the mother of all conference call, no one had time to be diplomatic about anything as they let the fucks fly. The main problem was even though the developer in question was successful at fixing the problem as it pertained to his application, he failed to perform a system wide analysis to see how his changes would affect the entire suite of interconnected systems. As a result of his change bad data was being disseminated everywhere and started affecting many of the trading platforms which forced the company to halted trading, while we all worked under extreme pressure to put in place a proper solution that would satisfied the needs of every subsystem that depended on the data. The company lost millions in both dollars and goodwill, he was fired on the conference call and a security guard was dispatched to immediately remove him from the premises… in tears.

The rule that developers were not allowed to change code in production without permission is a good rule because if you unleash your development staff on your production environment it would be anything goes and anarchy would result due to lack of proper due diligence and poor communication, we can be one dimensional at times when we are in our zone…

What goes for a Computer System also goes for every system and the system of government is no exception to that rule. If Government ministers are allowed to do what they want, when they want to and how they want to, then it would be complete anarchy and the system would quickly grind to a disastrous halt. Rules, Regulations and Procedures are in place for a reason and that is to protect us from our self, to safeguard against human nature and to ensure business continuity.

If Rules, Regulation and Procedures are not followed, then maybe some good things might happen as a result but knowing human nature, a whole heap of bad things will happen, as was seen when regulations was removed from the American financial sector, anarchy ensued and all hell broke loose as the greedy bankers made up their own rules as they go.

Minister Richard Azan for whatever reason, good or bad, broke the rules, disregarded government procedures and took it upon himself to start a project. Then took it upon himself to hire a contractor and allow that contractor to collect rent from the finish project and like the software developer he must pay the price and should not be reinstated into the Government. I do not care which Political party he belongs to, nor do I actually care what PNP or JLP partisan diehearts have to say about it.

Jamaica, Land of Political Deejays

We are a Dancehall DJ Country… Lots of Jamaicans grow up listening to dancehall DJ’s as they fluently spit out lyrics and rhymes. We are often amazed by their ability to ride the rhythm and captivate the audiences. This catapults them to fame and fortune, earning them much love and respect from the crowd. In my youth I have been to my share of dancehall venues and watched as people used their hands to beat the hell out of the zinc fences whenever the DJ said something that was lyrically wicked.

The Political Class have long since learned that if you want to engage the Jamaican people then you must adopt a DJ like persona, the crowd expects nothing less or more. I would not be shocked if our Educated Political class were employing semi-literate Dancehall DJs as speech writers and voice coaches to train them in the linguistic art and mannerism of the Ghetto…. No longer is the Political class expected to use proper English when they address the electorate, no longer are they expected to raise the bar of intellectual discourse since all they need to do is appeal to the lowest common denominator of the Jamaican society, using the language of the street.

Back in the days one had to listen to our Educated Political class with our dictionary in hand, hanging off every word trying to find its meaning and the public would judge the various speakers based on both their command of the English language and their knowledge of the subject matter, I remember hearing one woman remarked while listening to a speech from Michael Manley… “I have no idea what him just say ...but him sound sweet and full a education”...Yes we were slaves to the “Speaky Spoky” back then but I guess this was early post-colonial Jamaica where everyone expected their leaders to be well versed in matters they did not understand and one way of judging this was by their ability to speak the language of intelligence.

The flipside of that is …If they were so intelligent well versed in the language of intelligence able to “speaky spoky” with the best of them, then why are we in such a mess? How come all this intelligence, all this book-smart did not translate into solid progress. How come they were so poor at settling their differences, since the educated solution to their differences was not to create garrisons and armed the population to the teeth, turning Jamaicans against Jamaicans but like intelligent highly educated civilized human beings to sit around a table and reason out those difference. In pre and post-colonial Jamaica almost all our high profile leaders were educated in some of the finest universities of the United Kingdom and the United States and yet we have not achieved our full potential.

These days words like “run-wid-it”, “eat-a-food”, “a Audley mi seh!", “bangarang”, “more man have gal”, is all that is required to get the masses going as our Political entertainers jump and prance on the political stage like a Dancehall DJs performing at a stage show.

This is also the reason why Jamaica is in the Guinness Book of Records as having the most churches per square mile. I do not know which one came first the vibrant energetic pastor excreting smooth rhythmic lyrics after lyrics to a congregation mesmerized and entranced my every word and filling the collection plates with their last red cent or the Dancehall DJ but it is quite obvious that we value lyrics over implementation.

Jamaica, News of the Week ending September 28th 2013

Are we Ungovernable? "Unpoliceable"?

There are a lot of Poor countries on planet earth, some poorer than my Jamaica, with a lot of poor people living their lives trying to make the best of what life throws at them. A lot of them do not adopt this level of violence and murder that we have here in Jamaica. So what makes Jamaica and Jamaicans so different…. Why is it that some Jamaicans find it so easy to murder their fellow Jamaicans, often times over rubbish? Are some of us Genetically Predispose to Psychopathic Primitive Behaviors? Jamaicans also export this psychopathic primitive behavior, to the point where some countries are forced created special police task to deal with the negative influence of Jamaicans in their society. It is the fear of being deported that keeps most in line with the countries laws but in Jamaica they fear nothing. The UK created several Yardie Task force to keep the bitches inline, the Americans also created the Posse Task force and so did Canada. All to deal with Psychopathic Primitive Jamaicans who have caused various countries around the world to throw up travel restrictions against all Jamaicans… Are we ungovernable?... "unpoliceable"?

Nationally, the JCF figures show that there has been 856 reported murders between January 1st and September 24th, an increase of five per cent when compared to the 817 reported for the corresponding period last year.

The Question of JLP Leadership

For some reason I had it in my head that Dr. Christopher Tufton and Hon. Andrew Holness would have made a wonderful team. The dynamic duo like Batman and Robin, Starsky and Hutch, Green Hornet and Kato, The Wonder Twins leading Jamaica into the 21st century but maybe I just read way too much comic books… I was really hoping for some young vibrant, educated, intellectual to take us on a different path to enlightenment but what the hell do I know…

I am beginning to realize that Dr. Christopher Tufton and Hon. Andrew Holness are more like Batman and Joker, Superman and Lex Luther, arch enemies like Red Skull and Captain America. However Audley Shaw will never get my support in any elections and have a long way to go to even earn my respect.

Mr. Shaw and his Big Financial Backers All this cry of corruption from the opposition JLP but what amazes me is that while they are opposing the Government on the grounds of Corruption and they should, their own internal party election for leadership is plagued with cries of corruption as one side accuses the other side of trying to win the election by using corrupt means.

The problem is not that Mr. Shaw has Big Financial Backers, the real problem is that Mr. Shaw is using his Big Financial backer (as per the grape vine Butch Stewart) to Buy party delegate VOTES…. This is nasty disgusting corruption Mr. Shaw because you are trying to circumvent the democratic process with money…. So you want to come to power using corrupt means while paying lip service to anti-corruption…

This picture really gives me the creeps, a cold chill pass over me each time I look at it. I have never seen a scarier bunch of cut throats and vote buying scumbags, I do not know where to start. I am only sorry Tufton is among the wild bunch ... but as my granny use to say.... "Water find its own level"

Audley Shaw versus Mike Henry

If I was given the choice between Audley Shaw and Mike Henry, I would most definitely choose Mike Henry, for one, I respect his position on reparations, he is like the lone voice in the wind but he is consistent and persistent. Not to mention any man who would respond to charges of corruption with regard to Purchase and Upgrade of the minister's state-owned house with tax payer’s money saying “he was not accustomed to living in squalor”, certainly earns my respect, I mean.. This is something I can relate to.

The British White Widow

The name “White Widow” sound like a comic book hero/villain and I really hate it, this is the woman who some believe was the master mind behind the disgusting Nairobi attack. Most seems to think that wicked Islam converted this Poor Innocent White Woman into a murdering psychopath but I do not buy that for a second, this woman was already a murdering psychopathic bitch looking for a home so she could act out her nasty disgust hateful desires and she found that in Islam where she could justify her evil actions with religion. She represents a failure of the British society to properly socialize her and now she must be stopped by any means necessary.

Regarding the Manchester Bus Crash:

I read a couple facebook post claiming that the children who was on that bus must share some blame for their death, that these kids love the fast buses with disgusting loud dancehall music they play…. BUT we cannot blame the children... children are by nature idiots... that is why they are children and that is why we are mature grown people entrusted to look after their wellbeing.

The grown man driving that bus should have more commonsense and experience to know that what he was doing, was dead wrong and to have respect for the rule of law… The problem was the grown man driving the bus might have been a grown man in body but mentality he was retarded, a damn idiot, a child mind unable to make basic mature decisions, with no sense of personal responsibility and while I can excuse the children for their behavior, chucking it up to youthful exuberance and immaturity… for being a child, I can do no such thing for the grown ass men behind the wheel.

Everyone is upset about the Manchester Crash, most are blaming both the police and the Government, crying that both the Police and Government need to do more to protect our kids but most of the people who are crying and upset are hypocrites. Rules, Regulation, Policies and Procedures are to most Jamaicans like Kryptonite to Superman. They love to talk a lot about Rules, Regulation, Policies and Procedures but dislike any implementation there off and is disgusted by any attempts at enforcement.

If the police had set up a traffic surveillance station, monitoring drivers, ticketing them and taking their busses away, then we would hear the cries of the people. “Leave the poor people them alone ….they are just trying to make a living …earning money to feed their families. This is police harassment, this is what they do with poor people, the government and the police are wicked” as they use cries of poverty, poor and downtrodden to fight every Rules, Regulation, Policies and Procedures and live how they want to live. The rest of the Mini-bus drivers would pull their services and start massive protest against this police harassments and most of the people crying now, would support them...

We are no longer trying to implement old world socio-economic and political ideologies because we live by some new ideologies of our own, that of … Let-Off, Run-Wid-it, Eat-A-Food, Hustle, running’s which are enforced by cries of poverty which is big business.

NBC Sports and the English Premier League

OK so I am reading reports that The NBC ratings for English Premiere League is so far, much bigger than those of both Fox and ESPN when they use to showed the PL… The ratings are so large that they are getting near American Football numbers on some weeks…. This seems to be driving patriotic Americans nuts on various messaging Boards… One would think that America was under attack that to love footie was betray all things American. The NFL plays at least one match at Wembley stadium in the UK and they also show the NFL games on TV in the UK but I do not get the same level of inferiority Complex from the British, declaring that their "Britishness" is under threat nor are they trying to prove to anyone that theirs number are bigger than yours... I will never understand how a country so big and powerful can suffer from such complex... The very idea that Americans might be watching UK football or football in general is rubbing some them the wrong way… This guy on one messaging board declared that no red blooded American would ever watch “soccer” so it must be all those damn illegal aliens… In one messaging board another person declared that the New York Yankees was the biggest club in the entire world… What you say? So imagine his shock and horror when I told him that #1 is Real Madrid, #2 is Manchester United and #3 Barcelona with New York Yankees in the #4 spot… and My Arsenal at #10. I remember a 2009 blog titled “How Soccer is Ruining America” declaring that Soccer is running America into the ground… This blog was written by… Stephen H. Webb a professor of religion and philosophy at Wabash College (which explains it). His recent books include American Providence and Taking Religion to School.

We are bebe's kids, We don't die, We Multiply! ....

Friday, September 13, 2013

Jamaica High School Chronicles: Culture Clash

During my time at high school it was normal for us to get the occasional foreign student, these were mostly students of Jamaican Heritage who was sent to Jamaica to live with relatives and get a solid Jamaican education. One of my best friend was also shipped out from England but he assimilated very quickly. I remember this one kid named Dennis who came to us from the United States of America. Dennis joined my class but it was obvious that Jamaica was completely foreign to him. His parents did a horrible job preparing him and he was having trouble assimilating into daily Jamaican school life and to tell the truth us kids did not make it easy for him either but hey we were boys in third form.

One morning we were in class waiting for the next teacher to arrive and making loads of noise, chatting, laughing and sitting on the desk then from out of nowhere Sir (teacher) walked into the classroom and bellowed “Sit down and be quiet!”. Everyone was seated in a flash and quiet before he could finish the word “Sit”. He was a very strict which is what you need for third form boys but a fair teacher and did not play around much during class time. However this American kid, Dennis was still standing and walking about taking his own sweet time. So Sir said “Did you not hear me, I said sit down”… to which Dennis turned around and said “I will sit when I am ready”. The entire class room was in a state of shock, wondering if this kid lost his damn mind, did he not see the cane that this male teacher walked into the classroom with.

Sir responded by saying “Please sit down” which puts us in an even bigger state of shock, Dennis actually got a “please” from Sir… Dennis responded “You cannot tell me what to do” in his best black American accent…. I think before he could finish the word “do” …Sir was on him like white on rice, with a couple cracks of the cane across his back, Dennis shouted something about reporting Sir to social services to which everyone in the classroom laughed. After a couple more attempts to defy the teacher even trying to engage the teacher in a fist fight, Sir responding with even more targeted use of the cane across his legs and back. Dennis slowly began to see the light and realized that this is not a fight he could win and nobody was coming to have his back, not the students in the class, who thought he was out of order to think he could talk to Sir in that manner and certainly not any fictional Government agency. So he quickly planted his ass firmly on his seat with his book opened as Sir read him the riot act bringing home the reality of the culture he finds himself in, Dennis sat their quietly except for a few after cry sniffles. He went back to America several months later but while at school in Jamaica he never again talked back to any teacher and was always the first to be seated, I always wondered where he was now and what became of him.

Jamaica High School Chronicles: Master Nuts vs. Pen Foot

By the time I was in third form Chinese Kung Fu movies became the craze of the land and every movie theatre used to show them, some movie theatres are however known only for their Kung Fu movies aka Kickkas like the State Cinema. My best friend’s mother used to work at the Regal Cinema in Cross Road and he would supply us with regular free tickets which made him the most popular, powerful boy in the class if not the school… However there was one boy in my class we used to call Nuts because he loved peanuts. I can count the amount of time on one hand I have seen Nuts not eating peanuts and even while in class during the lesson he would slowly sneak his one hand into his school bag, remove the nuts from the shell and eat them. The other thing Nuts loved more than peanuts was Kung Fu movies, he was hooked on them. So much so that he began to dress like a Shaolin monk after school. He was also very good at mimicking every Shaolin move and could recreate any movie scene with voice overs. So Nuts was a constant source of entertainment for us boys and was appropriately renamed Master Nuts our local Shaolin Kung Fu Master Monk and he would greet you with Buddha Bless and a bow.

At some point Master Nuts began to believe that he was actually a real Kung Fu Master and people began to believe that he was in fact a real Kung Fu Master, expert in the Martial Arts, so everyone stayed clear of him. No one ever picked a fight with Master Nuts until that one day in the school Tuck shop when Master Nuts got into an argument with Pen Foot, so called because he stole a pen in second form and hid it in his shoes. As a result of this argument both boys almost came to blows but calmer heads prevailed and a fight was scheduled for after school. The news of the upcoming fight spread like wild fire, everyone was excited to watch Master Nuts unleash his Kung Fu styles on Pen Foot, this was to be the fight of the century.

After school everyone gathered at the predetermined fight location, some boys even climbed up trees to get a Grandstand view of the main event. By this time Master Nuts had changed out of his school uniform and into is makeshift Shaolin outfit and he was practicing his many Shaolin Kung Fu moves while warming up, it was a grand performance, even Pen Foot was amazed.

Pen Foot then entered the ring and stood there waiting for Master Nuts to come and start the fight, Master Nuts worked his way toward Pen Foot with a series of moves, jumps, kicks and swift movement of hands, it was like watching a Ballet performance. When Master Nuts got within striking distance of Pen Foot he performed a number of shadow boxing moves with Bruce Lee like sound and delivered a round house kick which missed Pen Foot completely and resulted in Master Nuts facing away from Pen Foot who took advantage of this opportunity and leaned in with a round house punch to the face of Master Nuts. Nuts was knocked over to the ground and dazed from the blow, some of us boys thought about giving him the standard standing 10 count and ask him his name before letting the fight continue but we quickly realized it was no use, Nuts done… The Master wobbled to his feet walked over and picked up his school bag then staggered off, leaving the fight ring and school, to laughter of the crowd, one boy laughed so hard he almost fell out of the tree he was sitting in…

Master Nuts did not return to school for a week, everyone wondered where he was and it was his mother who brought him back after the school contacted her to informed her that he was missing from school.

We never called Master Nuts, Master nuts ever again, from that point he went back to being just Nuts and not because he liked peanuts either. He spent the rest of third form trying to explain to anyone who would listen why he lost that fight but nobody really cared enough to listen. He was the source of many jokes for a while and after a certain period of time even he began to laugh at them because he realized we were not being mean, we were just 15 year old boys who like to make fun of each other for a laugh.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How I Survived Hurricane Gilbert, September 12th, 1988

My first real hurricane was Gilbert, before that my sister and I would complain that the weather service was bogus, each time a hurricane was coming and everyone prepared, it almost always managed to miss us in the end. Part of us wanted to experience a hurricane and older people would tell us to stop saying stupid things and be careful what you wish for, yes we experienced loads of bad weather, near misses and close shaves but never a direct hurricane, one for the history books.

I had no idea hurricane Gilbert was coming or even existed because I was having way too much fun and the day before Gilbert was predicted to arrive. I was at home nursing a hangover, I had no clue until about 12 noon on September 11th when I woke up. I heard the weather report on the radio but quickly dismissed it as bogus weather report. The joke at the time was if the weatherman said it was going to rain prepare for sunshine and head to the beach.

Later that day I had an early dinner/lunch and went outside to sit on my verandah with the Sunday paper, aka scandal news. I looked around the neighborhood and everyone was acting strange for a lazy Sunday afternoon, normally you could hear a pin drop. I looked up and out and saw a straight line of airplanes taking off from Norman Manley Airport, I said to myself ...“very strange, they never normally do that”, then later the phone rang. It was my relatives in New York and they were losing their minds, worried sick about the impending doom. It seems we were about to meet our maker, I tried to calm them down but they were not having any of it and was told to stock up and prepare. It was then that I decided to head down to the supermarket in Barbican but by the time I got there the shelves were mostly empty and everyone was running around like the zombie apocalypse was upon us.

On the morning of September 12th I got up to go to work, turned the television on and realized that this was it, that Hurricane Gilbert was in a Jamaica state of mind, that Jamaica’s name was written all over this one and so it was time to batten down the mental hatch. It was then that I realized that the saying “calm before the storm” is so real because I heard none of the usual morning noises from nature.

I think it was between 9:00 am to noon when we were in the thick of it, my first real onslaught from mother nature. I remember the sound of the wind, it was extremely loud, rain was hard and fast as it came down by the bucket load. The wind was powerful and dangerous as the front door strained to resist it, it shake and rattled and I seriously though it would not hold out for much longer as I moved a piece of furniture to brace against it. The trees almost stayed constantly at a 45 degree angle as their roots gripped mother earth most were unsuccessful and made loud noises as they broke and/or uprooted. As I looked out the window it was clear that anything that was not battened down was on the move. Flying missiles everywhere, zinc, wood, pieces of metal all moving in the wind like a leaf from a tree. I saw a dog went flying pass my gate heading down the road, the poor animal's legs were not on the ground. I saw several satellite dishes taking off like flying saucers heading back to their home planets and I saw things move that I seriously thought was firmly connected to Terra Ferma and could never move. By this time the power was gone and my grandma was busy cooking all the meat that would spoil.

I am not sure what time the eye of the hurricane got to my house but when it did it was very calm. The first half of the match was over and Gilbert was scoring goals at will. It was now the 15 minutes half time break and everyone went outside to survey the damages. First to our own property and then to the surrounding area. Destruction was everywhere, trees and light post uprooted, electrical cables dangling, some people had lost their roof and had to move in with their neighbours. Everybody was helping everybody, it was Jamaicans at their very best and it made me proud to see everyone asking everyone else if they were OK.

Hurricane Gilbert
Category: 3
Gusting Wind speed: 130 mph
Eye: 40-miles-wide 
People Killed: 45
Storm Surge: 19ft
Rain: 32 inches 
Cost of Total damage: US$4 billion

Then the winds started picking up again and everyone raced home to prepare for the second half of the match as Gilbert was the first out on the field of play, large and in charge. About one hour into the 100+ mile an hour winds and heavy rain, I heard a huge crash on my roof. I thought this was it, my shingled roof was gone and it was time to move over to the other side of the house with a concrete roof but it was the roof next door that came crashing down and ended up partly on my roof and in our yard taking the apple tree with it.

The morning after was a beautiful morning, the sun was shining and there was hardly any cloud in the blue skies. By this time we had no electricity and had none for the next 3 weeks. Most people had no water for about 2 weeks. So we were forced to harvest water whenever it rained and even when water returned, the pressure was very low and the water very dirty so we had to boil it before we use it. We did not have a lot of food, we had to cook everything that would spoil and all the food trees in the yard was uprooted but later stocked up on can food.

During the hurricane the disgusting animals living in Barbican looted the supermarkets with one report stating that the supermarket manager was beaten up by the very people he served daily. He was saved by soldiers on patrol who fired shots over their heads and chased the vermin's back into their hellhole. Strangely enough the supermarket manager had stayed in the supermarket during the hurricane because he wanted to open quickly afterwards so that people would not go hungry and this is how some repaid him, robbed him and beat him.

Jamaica looked like a war zone, total destruction, houses destroyed, streets blocked, fallen trees and light post, dangling wires, trees without leaves and it was hot. Everything that was anything was in the streets, dead animals all over the place but for me the worst thing throughout all of this was a piece of zinc that got caught on the top of a light post. For two and a half weeks I had to listen to this squeaking sound every time the wind blew, morning noon and night, squeak, squeak, squeak. I thought I was losing my mind, going mental from it and was so happy when the JPS men came to remove it and repair the poles. Nine months later and Jamaica was filled with Gilbert babies.

After Gilbert our diet consisted mainly of Corn Beef aka Bully Beef aka Bully Baff it was the order of the day and we had so much of the stuff that we were beginning to smell of it. Our choices was basically limited to tin food, Corn Beef, Mackerel or Sardines and when things returned to normal I made it my duty not to touch the stuff for over a year. I can still remember my first taste of ice cold water after Gilbert, a friend had gotten light back early and we all used her house as the base for all operations. I drank it slowly, savoring the taste because drinking water from a pipe in the middle of the day in Jamaica means you are drinking hot to warm water…

I must say though I had lots of fun the days, weeks and month after Gilbert. For one thing, I did not return to work for about a month, which pissed off the foreign consultants who came back to work one week later, telling us how they had to carry water into to the company toilets to flush them. Every day was hanging out with friends, playing dominoes, drinking hot beer, Running Boat (impromptu/communal cooking) and playing tennis over Blue cross, on hope road. Just having fun and rolling with whatever life throws at us, that is the Jamaican way.

Would I have rather been somewhere else in another country? Hell no! and miss all this...  This is why I love my Jamaica. Our ability to role with the punches and get back up with a smile on our faces, as we greet each other...."how yu do?... man Gilbert lick mi fi 6 but mi still deh yah" light, no problem, no water no problem, no TV, no problem, we shared what little we had and helped each other out any way we could.

Basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Mosquito Destroyer ***
  • Coal Stove 
  • Home Sweet Home lamp
  • Kerosene Oil
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities - Multi-purpose tools
  • Manual can opener for food just in case you lose the corn beef tin key (lol)
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet (unless you intend to eat the pets)
  • Cash or traveler's checks and change
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire extinguisher - In case the lamp turn over
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children