The week that was … in Jamaica:
Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, named his “new” Cabinet… I confess I did not expect anything new about it and so I was not disappointed. Yet, so much for dashed unexpressed ‘hope’.
The PM kept his word and wrote to Portia Simpson-Miller, Opposition Leader and President of the People’s National Party (PNP), inviting her to walk with him through constituencies ‘classified’ as garrisons. This in a bid to begin the transformation of all such constituencies and ultimately place the phenomenon in the annals of our political history. She, reportedly has no issue with the request; but suggests that he first walk with his counterpart in his West Central St. Andrew constituency. Strange, that seat historically went to the PNP, prior to Holness winning it! Is the opposition leader suggesting that it is now a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) stronghold/constituency?
Betty Ann Blaine was instrumental in starting the ‘Occupy Half Way Tree’ initiative and chained herself under the Half Way Tree clock in solidarity with the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in New York. I applaud the initiative; but, given our cultural history, I doubt that this move will gain much traction.
The PM (and the new Information Minister – Arthur Williams) rejected calls by the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) to give up the Education portfolio. The responses stated that, at least, two critical areas of responsibilities had been transferred from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to other ministries which would allow the PM sufficient time to handle the education portfolio. I know the PM did well as Minister of Education (yes, he blundered in some things, but he is human) – that is a matter of record – and even the ‘die-hearted’ PNP supporters have to admit it. However, that he did well then – in the only portfolio in which he has ministerial experience – does not mean that he can successfully straddle the demands of the OPM, Security and Education – while obviously also addressing political immediacies with an election looming on the horizon. I support the call from the JTA; because in the mix – if there are any casualties; it will be Education. Is this more of the same arrogance and unwillingness to listen that characterised the former administration under Bruce Golding?
By the way; I have not heard a thing about the former PM since Sunday – have you?
Oh, and the PNP youth group cautioned the new PM to take his time to call the next general elections (constitutionally due in September 2012), while the Party said – ‘bring it on’. Is this a trap? Watch out Prince Andrew!
And, there is talk that the Commissioner of Customs, Danville Walker, and the Executive Director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), Joan Gordon Webley, are set to represent the JLP in the upcoming general elections. I am uncomfortable with this – assuming that there is any truth to the allegations. I was also as uncomfortable when the former JTA President made ‘uncomplimentary’ remarks about the Education Minister on a PNP platform. Where is the necessary level of decorum in political representation?
In the Courts:
The Rev. Al Miller was convicted in the case involving the loss of his firearm and fined $80,000.00 or 3 months in jail. He reportedly paid the fine and avoided jail time. The case involving him transporting Christopher Coke, while the latter was being sought by the security forces, is still pending. Troubling times, indeed, for the good reverend.
Entertainer, Adidja Palmer, better known as ‘Vybz Cartel’ was remanded in custody and slapped with another murder charge. This is getting a little scary. I have heard some stories on the streets and Jamaicans say: “ah nuh ebryting good fi eat, good fi talk!” Enough said!
Anyone knows what is happening in the Kern Spencer “light bulb” case?
Gas prices went down at the pumps on Thursday. So what; I believe people are still buying the ‘dollar value amount’ that they can hardly afford, while praying that they will not run out of gas before they find the next ‘money’ to fill up. Who really bothers to look at the per litre amount? Do you?
An 8-year old child in Mandeville in Manchester died after her throat was slashed! Her mother was also attacked, but is still alive. Taxi men in St. Thomas withdrew their services for almost 3 days, including blocking the roadway on the third day, in protest against bad road conditions. Their actions resulted in, at least, one school having to close its doors for the duration of the protest.
Yes, we have a new Prime Minister and a new Cabinet … but, somehow, in Jamaica – it just feels like the same old same old…
Walk good, ’til next time…