Just me talking about the things that I observe as I go about the business of living.

Monday, October 16, 2006

New Blog Alert!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Trafigura Beheer and PNP- Just another scandal

I am gutted. I have never felt such disappointment, such shame, such anger over the People’s National Party (PNP). We are still waiting for Trafigura Beheer to elucidate on its statement that the $31million was in fact part of a ‘commercial agreement’ and not a donation towards the PNP’s election campaign as the party claimed.

Having watched several elections over the years and not participating, earlier this year I took steps to ensure that the coming election I would be able to exercise my franchise. I got myself enumerated. Even though I was not impressed with the PNP and certainly had no desire to see them in power for another 5 years, I was planning to vote for them. Not only did I not want Portia Simpson-Miller to be the PNP Prime Minister with the shortest tenure, I also allowed myself to believe that things would be better under her reign. It’s not even that I believed that she was going to be the panacea for all of Jamaica’s ills. Maybe it is that her fervent speeches about looking out for the poor seem more genuine than anyone else. Hell, maybe I was just desperate to believe that finally there’s someone who will make a difference.

I’ve always believed that a party that’s in power too long runs the risk of believing that they are entitled to this. I have seen evidence of this in the PNP before but never had it been so blatant as is now seen in the Trafigura Scandal.

Let’s assume that the PNP is telling the truth. Let’s assume that the the $31 million isn’t public funds but a donation to the party for its election campaign. Does the PNP really expect the Jamaican people to believe that there is nothing inappropriate in accepting a $31million donation from a foreign company that makes millions of dollars from having a business arrangement with the government. A business arrangement that involves a contract that is renewed automatically each year without tender? Are they so desperate to maintain their 17 year reign that they are willing to hide behind the argument that the arrangement is ‘not illegal’ even if it's highly questionable?. Where is the “larger assertion of moral strength and rectitude in our public and private sectors” that the Prime Minister prayed for during her inaugural speech? Oh my Lord, I actually believed!!!. Seems like it's the usual empty rhetoric that politicians like to utter. You know, I’d be willing to be persuaded by the government that a transaction that appears to be unethical even though quite legal, must be undertaken if the ends justify the means. But the ‘means’ can’t be political party funding! How about alleviating the poverty that plagues our lovely country?

It is so totally reprehensible that there are babies dying in Victoria Jubiliee Hospital because of the lack of proper equipment when it seems that the government just used $31million of the public’s money for electioneering. The country has been besetted over the past few months with long drawn out salary negotiations with public sector groupings, and suffered the inconvenience of industrial actions by these groupings, putting lives at risk and jeopardizing our tourism sector while nurses and police took industrial action. All this has been happening while the government chose to use $31million dollars of what now appears to be public funds to finance its campaign. I’m almost rendered inarticulate with disbelief and shock and outrage.

What gets me even more is the arrogance that has been displayed by the various members of the party, namely that triumvirate of A.J. Nicholson, Colin Campbell and Bobby Pickersgill. Imagine the temerity of these people seeking to chastise other bodies and cast aspersion on their objectiveness because these bodies dared to suggest that the matter underscored the need for proper procedures in place to deal with the matter of campaign financing. Talk about adding insult to injury. How dare them? How dare they once again undermine the trust that the Jamaican people invested in them?

The fact that we’re now hearing that Colin Campbell has resigned as a result has not made me feel better. He was not the only person involved in this subterfuge. The suggestion that he resigned because he had not advised the rest of the government about the true nature of the $31 million is not comforting to me. I never knew the day would come when I would say such harsh words about our new Prime Minister. But am I to believe that Prime Minister Portia Simpson had no idea whatsoever about the source of the funding? A conference to dwarf all previous conferences was being planned and as Prime Minister, she didn’t meet with the relevant parties and find out expected costs, and source of funding? It therefore means that if she’s ignorant of all that as they would have us believe, then she is not the right person to be Prime Minister. It means obviously she’s not capable of asking tough questions and therefore will not be able to prevent a recurrence of a similar situation.

Four days after the situation came to light, we have seen several members of the PNP stumbled over blatant lies after blatant lies trying to explain away the stench that the transaction generated but yet the Prime Minister has not yet addressed the nation on the matter.

Being the Head of a government is no child’s play and certain things cannot be delegated. She cannot expect to continue hiding behind her ministers when an issue of such a magnitude and significance abounds. Tossing out one member of the party in order to appease the public in the hope that its bid to win the next election is not derailed is nothing short of condescending.

In retrospect, it’s a good thing that I did go out and get myself enumerated. Now, I’ll be able to do something about it. I might be the only person in my card carrying PNP supporting family to vote against the party but that’s fine. I only hope others are able to put aside politics and do the same thing.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The world has gone crazy

I just finished reading the news online and I'm convinced the world has gone crazy.

School killing now the norm, children not safe with adults (including relatives) anymore, people having sex with their own sex and animals, Old age pensioners and babies being raped, extremists flying planes into building, people walking in public dressed as the opposite sex, homosexual ordained ministers preaching the word of God, church ministers sexually assaulting children.

I can't make sense of the world anymore. I'm going to hide under a rock. Let me know when it's safe to come out.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Dying is darn expensive!

What!!!! $85,000 for a cremation!!!

Now, I'm a practical person who've never believed in spending a lot of money on the dead. It makes no sense to me. There will other expenses that comes from being alive that will have to be dealt with even after you've lavishly sent off the loved one to the comforting arms of the Maker. It's fine if the deceased had made arrangement (and paid for it) while living. People are free to do whatever they wish with their money. When it's the living who will have to assume that financial burden it's another matter.

So I've been going around saying that I want to be cremated. I figure that with the absence of a casket, no need for a vault to be built funeral cost should be minimal. Right? I'm so darn wrong.

According to an article I just read in the Sunday Observer, it's just as expensive to die as to live. A basic cremation costs $85,000 while the one with frills can be up to $180,000. (US$1 =J$66)

I've said some other seemingly crazy things too. I mean them though. I've said that I'd like to donote my whichever of my organs that are still usable if they can extend/improve the life of someone else. Because really, if I'm already dead what use are they to me?

I don't know though if there's somewhere in Jamaica that will allow me to 'register' my 'offer'. I don't even know if such a facility exists.

Friday, September 22, 2006


I feel discouraged. I haven't studied in three days. I feel discouraged. So I've just been sleeping, waking up in the night to study but watching tv instead.

I've been averaging 60-odd% in the questions that I've been working. That's no good because the passmark is 75%. If I don't finish everything by April next year, I'll lose the other two that I've already passed.

Exam is 2 months away and I don't feel comfortable about any of the subjects.

Maybe I should do one in November instead of two, do the other one in January. But jeez, I wanted to enjoy my December. Who wants to be studying throughout the xmas season? Plus I want to enjoy the three days of Jazz Festival in January. Also, I wanted to avoid the additional plane fare to travel to the USA to do the exams. Oh sh_t!

I'm so scared of failing.

Very scared.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

How do we help them?

On my way home today, I decided to stop by Island Grill for some festivals. Before I came out the vehicle I observed that a young fellow who seemed to be selling stuff had moved closer to my door. "Oh Lawd," I thought to myself, "can I get a break from these sellers/beggars?"

"Miss yu can buy a socks from me?" Just as I expected.

"Don't need any socks." Even though I'm tired of them all, the beggars, the windshield wipers, the sellers, I try not to show the annoyance that I feel at not being able to move around without being accosted by one of them.

"Yu can buy me a soup when yu go inside please?"

As a rule I don't give money to anyone on the street. I keep thinking that I don't want to encourage a bad habit, they're young and strong, they're going to use money to buy drugs. However, I'm a sucker for someone indicating that he/she is hungry. So I went inside and bought him a proper meal (chicken sandwich, fries & pepsi and chided myself for not getting him some soup to settle the gas). While I was inside another beggar came up and ask that I put some money on the coins that he had in his hands so he could buy something to eat. So I had to dole out some more money.

I've been wondering these past weeks though, been turning it around in my head, what's the solution? How do we deal with all these sellers-cum-beggars-cum-windshield wipers?

I'm thinking that we need some unskilled work for them because of course they have no training or education. On the surface our construction industry (one obvious source of unskilled work) seem to be booming. You can't drive two minutes without seeing some new apartment building, office building going up. The problem is we don't hear people within the construction industry complaining of a dearth of unskilled labour.

Maybe we should set up some skills training centres so that they can learn a skill (plumbing, tailoring, etc) and create their own employment. The private sector should fund these as its in everyone's interest to have less unemployed young men with too much time on their hands.

Did I single-handedly solve one of Jamaica's problems? I doubt it.

I do wonder though if any serious thought is given by the power-brokers to how to solve that problem.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I hate you Blogger!!!!!!

Oh bloody hell!!!! I hate you, you Blogger!!!!

I just did a long post, a really long one. For half hour I waxed lyrical on the subject that I was posting on, only to have the darn post disappear just as I was contemplating what what title I should give it.

Google, if you're reading this, Blogger needs to get a 'recovery' thingy. You know, similar to MS Word, Excel. Damn you Blogger.

I'm going to bed!!!! *storms off in disgust*