Monthly Archives: December 2006

Sneak Peek : Top News Stories of 2007

Here is a quick round-up of the stories making news in Jamaica next year:

March 2007

“Roots” citizenship law causes chaos at RGD

Registrar General’s Office at Twickenham Park, Spanish Town, Jamaica

The introduction of a new citizenship law requiring Jamaican citizens to prove African descent is causing chaos at the RGD. The Head of the Registrar General’s Department said yesterday that members of the so-called plantocracy and other light skinned Jamaicans have been flocking RGD offices islandwide as they seek to have their African descent verified.

“These people are rude and my staff find them difficult to handle. Some of them seem to believe that the RGD should be able to find their great-great-great-great grand-aunt right away, without realising that these women were usually slaves and their birth was never registered with us,” she said.

She advised those persons who still own their own plantation to search the estate records for their grand-aunts before applying to the RGD. “They are more likely to find their great-grands there than here.”

June 2007

Jamaica invades Cayman

The Jamaican government announced yesterday that it had invaded Grand Cayman and intended to set up a puppet administration that would report directly to Jamaica House. Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller said yesterday that the invasion became necessary after repeated attempts by the territory to expel Jamaicans resident in the islands. “It is unfortunate, but I have a responsibility to my people. Many Jamaicans live and work in Cayman, and I cannot overlook the humiliating treatment to which they have been subjected.”

The invasion reportedly took twenty minutes and the invading forces were led by Venezuelan troops. Prime Minister Simpson Miller said she was grateful to President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela for his continuing support in this and other matters.

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The JDF patrol skies over Cayman

The Cayman Islands are officially a part of the United Kingdom. However since the break up of the United Kingdom earlier this year, it is not clear whether the islands are an overseas territory of England or Scotland. Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Scotland and Prime Minister David Cameron of England issued a joint statement deploring the invasion.

U.S. President George W. Bush was said to be very concerned about the presence of Venezuelan troops in the Caribbean and advised that he “would be sending Condi down there as soon as she gets back from Iraq”. President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela

Most Jamaicans responded positively to the news that Cayman would soon be part of Jamaica again. Mark Wignall,Observer columnist and one of the Prime Minister’s fiercest critics, said he was pleased with the Prime Minister’s new assertiveness and said he thought the invasion could be a turning point for her administration.

August 2007

UWI professors bemoan loss of US influence in the world

Members of the Faculty of Social Sciences at University of West Indies, Mona Campus shocked the private sector and former students across the Caribbean today when they issued a joint statement bemoaning the loss of U.S influence in the world. The statement said that the UWI felt that the new world powers, Russia and China, showed little respect for the rule of law, democracy or human rights. Only the former “sole superpower”, the United States of America, could be said to have consistently promoted these values within its own borders.

The statement went on to say that UWI Social Science Faculty members were concerned that Russia and China were pursuing their own narrow political and economic interests on the global stage.
Chinese leader Hu Jintao and Russian President Vladimir Putin

In a tersely worded response, the Russian Ambassador urged UWI Faculty members “not to take themselves so seriously” and said he hoped they were not saying that Russia no longer acted as a “bulwark against U.S. hegemony in the Caribbean”.

The Chinese Ambassador said the Chinese people had always had a great respect for education and urged the UWI professors to take up scholarships offered by his Embassy and to become students in China as soon as possible. He felt that the University of the West Indies would benefit from having educated Faculty members.

December 2007

General elections postponed indefinitely, PM to form Government of National Unity Prime Minster Simpson Miller

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller yesterday announced that she was postponing general elections indefinitely. She said this had become necessary because the Oppostion was male-dominated.

“It is a fact that most adults of voting age are female. It would be a betrayal of Jamaican women to allow a male-dominated Opposition to contest an election at this time. I am therefore going to form a Government of National Unity.”

The Prime Minister said that she had invited UWI Distinguished Fellow Edward Seaga to represent the Opposition in the National Unity Government. Edward Seaga, Distinguished Fellow at UWI

Mr. Seaga said he had agreed to serve in Prime Minister Simpson Miller’s Cabinet as long as he could be Minister of Finance. He said he was “looking forward to trying one or two things I didn’t get to in the 1980’s”.

The Prime Minister also announced that JLP Senator Colonel Trevor McMillan will replace Peter Phillips as Minister of National Security “as of yesterday”.

Leader of the Opposition Bruce Golding is said to be in England, locked in a meeting with the island’s nominal head of state, Queen Elizabeth (the Last).

(More sneak peeks, previews and reviews over at Problogger )

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Christmas fun in the Caribbean

Air Jamaica Death Watch (second great year)

Air Jamaica continues to lose millions of US dollars per year- at least US$ 1 billion over the past 10 years – and the Government of Jamaica continues to pretend that this airline is a great national asset.

The latest shameful revelation is that the PetroCaribe money lent by Venezuela has been used to prop up this deh-pon-dead “national carrier”. Other PetroCaribe money has gone to the also deh-pon-dead sugar “industry.

We all know the excuses for the sugar industry – no Government has
been able to find anything to replace it with, and it is the island’s
largest employer after the Government itself. So no one wants to see
thousands of sugar workers begging bread (although I bet that all sugar
workers would be way better off if the Government divided up its annual
subsidy equally among the workers instead of continuing to keep sugar
factories open and the best land in the country in cane).

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So much for the sugar “industry”. What’s the excuse for the continued existence of Air Jamaica ?
I mean, apart from the fact that if it was closed down, Jamaican
politicians and civil servants would have to pay their own way off
island ?

Surprise ! Local government elections to be held in December 2007 !

The local government elections, already 6 months overdue, will now be held in December 2007……

This, despite Leader of the Opposition Bruce Golding threatening bangarang “political action” if the elections were postponed again.

Seems that both the Government and the Opposition have been
outflanked by acts of God. The north-east of the island has been
washed, flooded and scoured by weeks of heavy rains and St. Mary and Portland
are pretty much disaster areas. And now we have an outbreak of malaria
in downtown Kingston- the Ministry of Health claims malaria was brought
onto the island by a visitor.

Both the control of the malaria outbreak and the rehabilitation of
roads and homes in St. Mary and Portland would, of course, benefit from
the concerted efforts of the Parish Councils (mostly Opposition JLP
controlled) and the PNP led Government.

Naturally, no such joint effort or cooperation is taking place, as
the Government is determined to deprive the Parish Councils of funds
and the Opposition has already blamed the Government for

(1) the flooding of Port Maria due to a new bridge being built on the North Coast Highway, and,

(2) the outbreak of malaria due to the Ministry of Health being badly managed and underfunded.

New bridge in Port Maria that “caused” flooding according to JLP

Let’s just hope that Bruce Golding has the sense to refrain from any “political action” until after Christmas and New Year’s.

Really, really, big news ? England and Scotland to divorce next year after 300 year marriage !

Next year’s local government election in Britain,
scheduled for May 2007, is likely to end the 300 year merger of England
and Scotland. That is, if the voters in England and Scotland have
anything to say about it. Majorities in both countries are saying that it is time to call it a day.
Scotland should have it’s own Parliament and so should England.The
Scots spend their own money, and England spend it’s own money.

I notice they are not saying anything about passports or borders, so
hopefully that is not contemplated. At least, for residents. (We know Jamaicans will definitely need visas for everywhere, right ?)

You can catch the tone of the debate over at this blog on the Washington Post.

I talked to a few friends in the U.K. and their view seems to be “So
what ? A nuh nuttin’………The only thing going happen is some
politician will get to call themselves Prime Minister of Scotland ….”

And what will happen to our gracious Queen ? The thrones of Scotland
and England were merged even longer ago than their Parliaments. Does
this mean she has to stop being Queen of Scotland and let some Braveheart, Mel Gibson-type take over the throne up there ?

And what about us, out here in the Commonwealth ? Does this mean we will now have 2, 3 or 4 “Mother Countries” ?

Will we get to choose whether we want to be a former colony of a
former colony (like Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland) or whether we
want to be a former colony of Imperialist-in-Chief, England ?

Maybe my friends in the soon-to-be-former-UK are right…. So what ? ……A nuh nuttin’….Hmm, wonder what the visa for Scotland will look like….

Black man time in America

The Washington Post continues its series on black men in America with a story about a young black man looking for a job in Washington, D.C.

What is really sad is not his experience of racism but his inability
to keep a job – he gets jobs but can’t keep them, principally because
he feels he “shouldn’t have to be” doing the menial work on
offer for only US$ 7 or 8 or 9 per hour. He’s also resentful of the
Hispanics and Asians because of their willingness to take any job on
offer. This kid would fit in right away with his peers on any street
corner in Jamaica…. In the meantime, his mother and his girlfriends
take care of his bills……

I f you don’t mind being depressed, check out the Feedback section
as well. Then cheer up and remember that the only black man in the
Senate, the Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, might well run for
President in 2008, and will certainly not be running purely for the
sake of it, like perennial no-hoper Jesse Jackson.

In a pre-emptive strike against Senator Obama (and all persons who
foolishly think that having a black man as President would improve the
status of black Americans), black New York Daily News columnist Stanley Crouch explains why even if Senator Obama becomes the next President of the United States, he won’t be representing “black Americans”. The reason ? Barack Obama’s mother is white and his father is from Kenya…..You thought that would have made him a real African-American ?
Sorry. According to Mr. Crouch, he’s no more African-American than say,
Colin Powell, who as we know, was only born, raised and spent his
entire life in the U.S.A…..

I think what he means is that Barack Obama could only represent the 2/3 of black Americans
who make more than US$35,000 per year, and care about such uncool
things like education, careers, owning a home….and, you know, they only constitute 69.5% of black people now living in the U.S…….

Talking about representing, contrast this article by Jamaica Observer columnist Mark Wignall with this one, excerpting a speech made by Senator Obama on World AIDS Day.

Mark Wignall has this to say, in explaining why he thinks the Prime Minister is being so severely criticised:

The statement by men – “she is only a woman” – has been made
throughout the ages simply because it is men who are the controlling
masters of the human race.

And Senator Barack Obama has this to say about the spread of HIV/AIDS:

I don’t think
we can deny that there is a moral and spiritual component to prevention
– that in too many places all over the world where AIDS is prevalent –
including our own country, by the way
the relationship between men and women, between sexuality and spirituality, has broken down, and needs to be repaired.

These are
issues of prevention we cannot walk away from. When a husband thinks
it’s acceptable to hide his infidelity from his wife, it’s not only a
sin, it’s a potential death sentence.
And when rape is still
seen as a woman’s fault and a woman’s shame, but promiscuity is a man’s
prerogative, it is a problem of the heart that no government can solve.

Reading Mark Wignall helps me to understand not only the increasing
amount of domestic violence in Jamaica, but also why nearly 50% of
households are headed by women. Better to be a single mother than to
live with a “controlling master”……..

Reading Barack Obama, on the other hand, makes me think this man
could be a great President of the United States………………

Trafigura update

Here is what the Prime Minister is now saying about Trafigura. Seems that politicians are all hypocrites (and would that include you, Madam Prime Minister ?) when it comes to getting money to fund their campaigns.

She doesn’t talk about why Colin Campbell resigned as a Cabinet
Minister – I expect this was probably due to the hypocrisy of her
Cabinet colleagues, politicians all……..

Solving China’s oversupply of men problem

Canadian pundit Gwynne Dyer, in this article
, solves China’s woman shortage problem (which, of course, resulted
from their attempts to fix an overpopulation problem……).

China, which is rich (relatively) and powerful, will simply
import the 40 million women needed from their poorer neighbours in
surrounding countries. Not only will the women be thrilled to marry
Chinese men and be lifted out of poverty, but their presence will make
racist, foreigner-despising China into a nice, multi-cultural

As an example of the kind of thinking that made the British (and the
French, and Spanish, and maybe, the Chinese) Empire “great”, this one
can’t be beat.

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao embraces a chief in Ghana

However, some of us might spare a thought for the 40 million men in
the “poorer” Asian countries (like North Korea) who will be deprived of
their potential wives. Let’s hope that they meekly accept their fate.

Leader of “poorer” Asian country, Kim Jong-il of North Korea

Hugo Chavez’s hugs better than Portia’s ?

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The loving couple (from the Daily Gleaner)

Hugo Chavez has been re-elected in Venezuela with 60% of the vote,
despite strict instructions to the contrary by the region’s defender of
democracy, U.S. President George W. Bush.

Boring mainstream media houses have put forward the theory that
Chavez was re-elected because of all the free health care, low cost
housing and cheap food he has provided for the poor of Venezuela.

However, this blogger speculates that maybe it’s because our Hugo goes around hugging people.

Clearly, his hugs are better, warmer and longer lasting
than Portia’s whose poll standings have been in free fall (although, of
course, she remains ahead of the Opposition Leader…..)

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