Are we prepared for a chemical disaster ?

I hate to appear to be negative, but when I see Jamaicans being placed at risk, it gets me very upset with our local authorities. Now this afternoon, there appears to have been a chemical spill in the region of Kingston terminal, which resulted in a number of workers at the Portmore Plaza falling seriously ill and had to be taken to hospital.

The authorities rightly moved in and closed the toll road and sections of Marcus Garvey drive as well as  other roads that may have put commuters at risk.  As I watch both newscast I was shocked to see members of the police force as well as other emergency personnel wearing what appears to be particulate (dust  mask) respirators , which offers ZERO protection to what appears to have been fumes emanating from the spill.

These persons were supposed to have been fitted with the appropiate PPE .which should have  included full face respirators with carbon activated filter , which is designed to adequate protect these persons from the fumes and being full face it also would offer protection for their eyes.

In addition to that,  full sets of disposable coverall’s should have been provided to the emergency workers and members of the police force who were seen directing traffic in the affected areas.

Now this is basic stuff that I would have expected the ODPEM to have provided or insisted that these be, the minimum level of protection for those persons who would have been expected to have been exposed to some unknown chemical for an extended period of time.

It must be that my expectations are significantly higher than most, why I keep identifying these issues as I go about minding my business.  Regardless , its up for persons like myself to not only identify what’s wrong, but also seek to point out solutions for what is wrong, because we are supposed to be our brothers keepers and as such should not allow our people to be exposed to harm,  while attempting to carry out their jobs.

Just my views.

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US Journalist says DEA have 4 DVD’s of the entire Tivoli operations

USA Journalist  continues to put Jamaicans journalist to shame, when he made startling revelation today that the US DEA has 6  DVD’s of the entire Jamaican security forces operation that took place in Tivoli Gardens in 2012. He revealed that the US DEA has confirmed the existence of the 6 DVD’s, which were captured the the USA spy plane.

Mattathais has indicated that he will be using the USA FOIA ( Freedom of Information Act) to obtain copies  of the tapes and make them public .

Mattathais work came about from what started  as a  casual conversation a few months back with some Jamaicans here in Jamaica and  led him to go where no Jamaican journalist has gone . He has moved beyond the “official” story, he has been to Tivoli spoken with the people and then went and investigated their story and has been able to provide us with confirmation on a number of things, which have been denied by our government as well as agents of the state.

He was in Jamaica today and will be back for a fourth visit to continue his story.

Jamaica, a country divided and failing badly!

How did we get here and what needs to be done to get us out of here.”

United we stand, divided we fall.

That is a very old saying that we have heard for decades and is a favourite line for “old people”, but its such a true statement.

Jamaica will be 50 later this year, but Jamaica in my mind has lost at least forty years and really is only ten years old or less, because that is as much as we have grown as a nation despite our natural talent and vast resources.

Our currency has moved from J$1.00 to US$0.72 in 1972 to J$1.00 to US$0.01136 today in 2012. In the last 40 years our growth rate has been a measly 0.8% per annum and we have probably seen more periods of decline than any other country in the Western Hemisphere.

The big questions is why Jamaica has failed in such a big way since self governance and what is required to ensure that the country can grow and significantly higher levels over the next 10-18 years.

One can cite many reasons including corruption, ineptitude, poor planning, poor management and poor execution amongst the many things that have placed us in this very bad position. I would like however to focus on the divide amongst us and what I consider that to be most destruction element contributing to our failure. Now these are simple my opinion as I am sure many other persons will have their own views as to why Jamaica is failing so badly.

Division as defined by the Oxford dictionary: Separate or be separated into parts

United as defined by the Oxford dictionary: Concerned with, produced by, or resulting from mutual action.

Simply by looking at the meanings I selected, one can quickly identify a problem in Jamaica, which may be able to explain our failing.

We are represented by two political parties here in Jamaica and while the intention of these political parties when they were formed, was to work for and in the interest of the Jamaican people and would have been ” concerned about” the people and was to have generated a better Jamaica, resulting from mutual action, the end result has been, we have been separated into parts.

Why did Jamaicans allow the two political organizations to separate the country right down the middle? This is a question that I have been asked myself and have been asked by many non-Jamaicans, during my travels.  Where did it all go wrong, what were the sequence of events that lead us down this treacherous and self-destructive path and how do we change the logical end of this behaviour. (Logical end means total failure of the system or failed state declaration)

I will use a sporting event to clearly outline how bad our political system has been and why it’s urgent that as a people, we demand certain changes to ensure a future for our children and grand children. I will choose two soccer teams as my example (most of us understand that game).

The intent of each team is to dominate the other team and crush them, if you can, by using skills, talent, coordination, planning, execution to plan and dirty or illegal tactics to ensure victory.

Even with the greatest skills and talent, there are persons on the various teams, who will employ dirty or illegal tactics to dominate their opponents while in the search for victory, and as such, we employ the services of a referee. The job of this independent body (who is ably assisted by his two lines me) is to ensure fair play according to the rules. Despite this fact many referees are called out as being unfair or partisan when a team loses a game then think they ought to have won. So just think of the chaos that would exist if there were no referee.

A team plays to win championship and along with that comes money, trophy and many goodies as rewards for victory. Before all this can occur,  the teams’ employee  coaches, managers and host of other persons, all working together to ensure that the team is adequately prepared for each match. The members of the team are required to show up on time for training and dedicate a specific amount each day preparing themselves for each match.

The parties is Jamaica are seen much like two football teams playing against each other and we all know how rough and violent that sport can be. Much like football we have provided each team (aka party) with team jerseys, flags, headband and all other sorts of team paraphernalia in specific team colours. What is missing from the Jamaican landscape however is the preparation for the members of the two parties for the big “game”.

Hooliganism tends to follow football probably more than any other sports, but not only that, I find that sports that involve teams colours tend to have this type of problem.

Take a look at cricket where all teams where a common colour, which happens to be white. That has changed slightly with the advent of different colours for the one-day and 20/20 teams, but the salient point is, rarely do you hear supporters of cricket team fighting with each other.  (Ok India and Pakistan can be fanatical).

 

So given all of that, what’s the next step.

Education of the populace is going to be key, in removing this tribalism and antagonist attitude from our political landscape, but this is a long-term plan and not something that is going to get us where we need to be fast enough.

Starting right now we need to remove the party colours completely and I am not taking about the removal of green or orange flags on light post etc, no, much more fundamental than that.Political parties should only be allowed to use white or blue shirt  on, which they would be free to print the picture of their candidate or party messages.

The only flags allowed to be flown would be the Jamaican flag, just like how we fly it with pride at the Olympics, football and many other sporting events. What you will therefore see on the campaign trail is the coming together of Jamaicans, who may carry different messages but the common theme being, how we are going to build a better Jamaica for Jamaican and its residents (yes we do have none Jamaican residents).

Making this move would in my mind have a profoundly positive impact the removal of the symbols of tribalism that is killing us literally. It’s a move that cost virtually nothing, but whose impact can be far reaching in a positive sense.

If we can get pass the party colours I truly believe we stand a much better chance of getting persons to work together on the rebuilding of Jamaica.  Can you imagine persons leaving a political rally wearing white or blue tee shirts and waving the Jamaican flag, wow what a positive impact that would be. ( Wishful thinking or dreaming Jay)

 

Education

Our literacy rate stands at 87.9 % , which is well below Barbados at 99.7% and Trinidad at 98.6%. Barbados has been rated as a developed state and Trinidad is well on its way to becoming a developed state and where is Jamaica.

Our leaders have set a target for developed state for Jamaica in the year 2030 and that plan was put in place by one political party around 2007. So our great leaders thought that given where we were in 2007 and  based on what is required to get us to that stage,  it would have taken us 23 years!

The plan is called vision 2030 and will ultimately fail because our leaders “forget” to get the people of Jamaica involved in the development of this vision, they have not sold it and so there are no “buyers”. This supports my view that as a country we are not only failing, but we are also planning for failure.

What is that single “thing” that binds us together as a people?  I have spend days thinking about this, but could not come up with that one “thing” considering that the national flag, which ought to be the symbol of the nation was desecrated on a number of occasions by persons who were simply too dumb to think.

Sports, namely the performance of our Reggae Boyz and Athletics (Olympics and World Championships) have given us the opportunity to see the true Jamaican spirit on display, with Jamaican jumping and waving the Jamaican symbol in celebration of the achievements of our countrymen.

What that tells me, is the capacity exist for our people to get together, only this time we would not yet be celebrating, instead we would have been focused on the single goal of making Jamaican the pre-eminent country to work and live in by the year by 2030.

This require leaders who truly share the Jamaican vision and are willing to work with people of this country to ensure that this occurs by the given time line. Eighteen years is not a lot of time given the state we are in today, but if we take a child who was born today, then in 2030 he or she would have left high school, a highly educated youth either in the field of arts, sciences or with a technical and or vocational diploma.

I will develop this some more in subsequent post that that I will be presenting to the public via my blog.

French guys doing reggae music

This is a little different from what I would normally be presenting, but I was given a link to these French guys, who seem to have been around for a while but I have never heard from them before. They seem to be pretty good for French.

See link from where you can get other tracks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOd1qcy1MaY&feature=related

Finally, work has commenced on the St Thomas main rd

In march I wrote a blog entry St Thomas Main rd a hell(uva) ride, showing the very poor road conditions

 http://wp.me/pvIkx-ys

I am now happy to report that work has started and its a much easier ride these days as can be seen from the picture below.

Box culvert

Bull Bay box culvert

BullBay Box Culvert

Bullbay box culvert

Roselle Main Rd

Roselle Main Rd, view#2

Grants Pen Hills

Grants Pen Hills

More views Grants Pen Hills

Recorded conversation between Dudus and a friend about crown witness “cowboy” ?

Thanks to the blogger who provided this link.

http://vimeo.com/43935088

Improved GSAT results, now problems placing high performing students ?

The headlines itself speaks to what is wrong with Jamaica and that is the five P’s.

Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

Parents worked hard with their children, many worked extra hours to find that extra cash so their kids could get extra lesson, so they could get good grades. Many were hoping that with decent grades, they would have been able to get their kids into a “decent” high school ( Traditional High School).

Now that there hard work has paid off at the kids have achieved a high level of mastery, they are now faced the the difficult decision of placing their high achiever in schools not know for academic excellence, but in many cases are known for disruptive and uncouth behaviour.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that all non traditional or upgraded high school are like this, but many are.

The salient point is, what did those in charge of the education ministry expect, did they not think that GSAT results would get better? Did they not believe that the work that was being put in by educators ( teachers and administrator), parents and students would eventually lead to better results?

If the answer is no, then shame on them, if the answer was yes, then shame on them once again. Many may be saying huh?

Well let me make it simple, if we truly believed that the results would have gotten better, it would therefore stand to reason that the higher grades would get even higher and the lower grades would also get higher. It therefore means that the upper bar would have been set higher ie those attending the creme de la creme schools would have to score close to 100% .

It would also stand to reason that with a fixed amount of space, eventually you would run out of places in the traditional high school to place these kids and therefore you would be left with no choice but to turn to the upgraded high schools.

Now we have a dilemma because over the years our so called incompetent leaders simply changed the name of most of these schools and did not do much to ensure that we were prepared for this day. This is where the 5 P’s come in play and where have failed our kids once again and I must say in a big way.

We cannot simply pluck students with 80’s and place them in an upgraded schools and expect them to prosper without certain basic things being firstly put in place. We cannot expect the these brights kids will improve the image and performance of the school simply by being their.

We are running the danger of having these kids believe that they have failed and so become failures, by this experiment that is being conducted by the ministry of education.

Most of the top schools in Kingston are located uptown ( take out George’s and KC) so does that mean that these schools will now be reserved for those from those geographic areas aka “uptowner”?  I certainly hope that is not the plan by our administrators, but we all know how ” d ting setup in Jamaica already”.

Word also on lips of some persons are as bad as GSAT may have appeared to be as soon as “poor people” pickney start get very good results dem want fi zone wi pickney dem and get rid a GSAT.

Cynicism is Jamaica is high and the reason for that is  based on what persons have seen been done in the past by the social elites amongst us who are hell bent on maintaining the status quo.

I clearly understand what the ministry is trying to do and its something we have spoken about for years, the problem is, not enough work  was done to ensure that these schools were ready for today.

I must note at least one school in Portland that has done extremely well since being updgraded and that is the Port Antonio Comprehensive High SChool formerly Port Antonio Secondary or Boundbrook School. The PTA,the school administrations and past student association have done a tremendous job and while it’s not yet at the level of Titchfield, they are doing very well, so all is not lost.

I am sure there are more success stories like these in our parishes and as such I would like readers to highlight these and let the kids going these schools know , they have a chance to get a good education.

I will have another piece on what needs to be done with those kids who are gaining 35 – 50%, because we simply cannot dump them by the wayside.

Courtesy : Jamaica Gleaner

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