Thursday, September 11, 2008

Jamaican political parties party to scandal?

Anyone with basic connections knew that both parties in Jamaica, the JLP and the PNP, accepted money from Cash Plus and Olint, companies that were deemed to be unregistered financial entities flouting the law.

The Jamaica Gleaner today carries an article titled Parties should repay Cash Plus, Olint by Rev. Devon Dick and I must say that I agree with his reasoning.

It is strange that the then governing party, PNP, would accept money from Cash Plus and Olint when its own minister of finance was so strident against these two companies and there was a cease and desist order against one company. The PNP was saying one thing and doing another. The JLP would have information about these companies that ordinary Jamaicans would not have. I was made aware from September/October last year of some of the things that have since proven true. To accept donations from Cash Plus and Olint was worse than accepting money from Trafigura.

"Do as I say, not as I do" - no surprise. Few politicians ever lead by example.

If it were in the United Kingdom or the United States of America, the leaders who received the money and had knowledge of it would have resigned. In addition, the present minister of finance, when he was Opposition spokesman for finance, gave an endorsement of such enterprises in his budget speech. Some church leaders were principals and participants in foreign exchange trading clubs. A football entity headed by a former prime minister negotiated a sponsorship deal with Cash Plus and it was expected that ordinary Jamaicans should know that Cash Plus was little more than a pyramid scheme?

I highly doubt a single head will roll.

Welcome to Jamrock

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Jamaic Under Spanish Rule Again?

I read the Jamaica Observer editorial today and had to agree (see Globally - unsurpassed glory; Locally - same old story).

In it, the Editor says:
At any other time, it would still have been painful to read the story in our Friday edition that the St James Parish Council, in a hurriedly called meeting, approved the illegal building plan under which RIU has built three four-storey buildings as part of its Mahoe Bay Hotel near Montego Bay.

Historically, no Jamaican has been able to build more than three storeys in the flight path of the Sangster Airport. They would have been summarily locked down, chased out of the country or vilified to the point of shame and degradation.

The Jamaican people must be asking who is running our country - the Spanish or the Government? Why don't we just hand over the reins of government to them? After all, the Spanish once ruled Jamaica.

While we chastise our own and usually don't support them until some foreign entity recognizes them for something, we seem prepared to let the Spanish investors walk all over us.

Disrespecting the people and the government of a country you do business in is not the right way to win friends.

I look forward to the PM making a very clear statement that we will not tolerate this kind of behaviour and no one's money is worth selling ourselves short.

We as Jamaicans must support those companies that respect us and deal with the ones who still have a colonial mindset, thinking that their money allows them to get special privileges and not follow the laws of the land.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Who Has The Worst History of Doping?

It is quite interesting to see Americans accuse Usain Bolt of doping when Jamaica has no history of doping but the USA has the following:

  • The dawn of drug testing was the 1983 Pan Am Games in Caracas, Venezuela and when Canadian weightlifter Guy Greavette tested positive for steroids, a dozen American athletes in various events suddenly withdrew from the competition and returned to the U.S., and at least another dozen athletes from other countries also left without explanation.

  • Former U.S. Olympic Committee anti-doping chief, Dr. Wade Exum, wrote a 30,000+ page report in 2003 that said:

    (1) 19 American medallists were allowed to compete at various Olympic Games from 1988 to 2000 despite having earlier failed drug tests

    (2) More than 100 athletes from several different sports tested positive for banned substances between 1988 and 2000 but were cleared by internal appeals processes.

    (3) According to Exum's evidence, Lewis was one of three eventual Olympic gold medallists who tested positive for banned stimulants in the months leading up to the 1988 Seoul Games. Lewis was awarded the gold medal in the 100-metres after Ben Johnson was disqualified for using steroids.

  • US athlete Jerome Young being allowed to compete – and win a gold medal – at the 2000 Sydney Olympics despite testing positive for steroids in 1999.

  • 2003 was a big catch:
    (1) U.S. sprinter Kelli White stripped of her two gold medals from the World Track & Field Championships for testing positive for Modafinil
    (2) four-time U.S. 400 hurdles champ Sandra Glover
    (3) 25-time U.S. middle distance national champion and two-time 1,500 meter World Champ silver medalist Regina Jacobs
    (4) 2003 U.S. national shot put champion Kevin Toth

  • Tim Montgomery - 100m World Record revoked after he admitted accepting steroids and other performance enhancing drugs from BALCO

  • CJ Hunter

  • Marion Jones

  • Cyclist Floyd Landis

  • Justin Gatlin, the American sprinter and Olympic gold medalist, with a 100 m personal best of 9.85 seconds. He is currently serving a four year ban

  • Alvin Harrison, an American athlete that won a gold medal in the 4 x 400 metres relay at both the 1996 and 2000 Summer Olympics and a silver medal in the 400 metres at the 2000 Summer Olympics. Alvin Harrison did not compete in the 2004 Olympics due to circumstantial evidence of using a banned substance. In October of 2004, Harrison agreed to a four-year suspension with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

  • Antonio Pettigrew was a 2000 Olympic gold medalist in the men's 4x400 meter relay for the United States, by his own admission while using performance-enhancing drugs between 1997 and 2001. The 2000 Sydney Olympics 4 x 400 metres relay US team was stripped of their medals after Pettigrew admitted that he had used performance-enhancing drugs

  • Jerome Young (born in Clarendon, Jamaica) attended high school in Hartford, Connecticut at Prince Technical, is a sprint athlete. His reputation as a sprinter has been tarnished as he was caught doping in 1999. He and his teammates were stripped of their 2000 Olympic medal in the 4x400 m relay

  • LaTasha Jenkins is a former American sprinter who tested positive for nandrolone in 2006

And this is mainly track and field. I haven't even scratched the surface of the doping cases in the NFL or Baseball!

It is very interesting when any American throws the doping allegations at others - maybe it's because they are intimately familiar with the idea of doped up athletes and just can't believe that they are not the supreme country in something.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sign The EPA and then negotiate afterward?

I am not sure why anyone would first sign a deal with the hopes of re-negotiating it afterward because to my knowledge, once you sign a contract, it is legally binding so if there are things in there that one does not like - don't sign.

The Jamaica Observer today carried the article Caricom hopes to renegotiate EPA which says:
Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries will sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe on September 2 as planned, but they are still hoping to renegotiate the deal afterwards

Thank God that the deal is between individual countries and not Caricom as a block because I hope Jamaica won't sign if there are things we want re-negotiated. Gone are the days when business can be conducted on trust and a handshake.

The EU could agree to re-negotiate after we sign and then back out afterward, leaving us stuck with a deal we do not like.

Prime Minister Golding - do not sign it unless you agree with all of it.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Disappointed With Bruce Golding's "Extortion" Remark

I wanted to wait until after Independence day to comment on Bruce Golding's statement in late July pertaining to auxiliary fees at schools - partly because I wanted to give him time to apologize.

The Jamaica Gleaner ran an article on July 23rd that said the following (School extortion - PM chides institutions for attempting to make auxiliary fees mandatory) :
PRIME MINISTER Bruce Golding has described as extortion, the practice of some schools turning away students who do not pay the non-obligatory auxiliary fees.

Commenting on the vexing issue in Parliament yesterday, a strident Golding told the nation that auxiliary fees are voluntary.

"We are not going to allow schools to find some other ways of extorting," the prime minister said.

It is very unfortunate that he would make such a statement, knowing full well that his administration unilaterally eliminated school fees and then only provides J$5,000 to each school when 5 years ago it was shown that the schools needed at least J$10,000 per student to function properly.

The auxiliary fees are the only way to make up the shortfall and the Prime Minister has now caused major sections of the population to believe that they are being robbed by those fees.

My suggestion to the principals is to run the schools with the government's money and the day it runs out, close the school. The Government of Jamaica is behaving very irresponsibly when it comes to improving our education system and Bruce Golding's comments have hurt the schools, not helped them.

If his heart is truly in improving our education system, he would increase our educational budget so that the schools can function properly without having to charge auxiliary fees or beg for money like people on the street, or encourage parents to contribute what they can.

The only thing that is going to happen under the present atmosphere is that parents will refuse to pay auxiliary fees and then turn around and complain about the low pass rates and poor state of the schools.

It would seem that the Prime Minister has given the schools baskets to carry water.