Bolt parties in Trinidad ahead of Carnival

Man having a good time, just the way it should be.

I wonder if he will me playing mas come Monday.


Trinidad’s pitch lake, natural asphalt

One of the naturals wonders of the world.

First visited this lake in 1989 and was truly amazed.

Let’s stop fighting development- The Goat Islands project

Jamaicans have a tendency to engage their tongue and disconnect their brains as they participate in veranda talk on very important matters, without trying to fully understand the subject matter.

The educated and learned individuals amongst us has done a lot to facilitate this process and instead of using their reach in the media (both electronic and printed) to simplify and educate the masses, they have instead chosen in many instances to mislead the many who are not in the know or who do not have the capacity to comprehend what is going on around them.

These folks have a captive audience and they use their reach to pass on personal positions as factual positions and engage in what I call “intellectual dishonesty”. By this I mean they give you a part of the information, then turn around and interpret that information with a bias is towards their personal position, without telling you that this portion is a personal view or position, leading you to believe it’s factual as in confirmed by science etc.

This leads me to the goat islands and logistic hub development, where a lot of misinformation exist  in the public domain, which has been facilitated by the  environmentalist and a government that has been less than truthful forthcoming  and with the information .

When one loses trust in what emanates from the Government on important development as this project is, those who seek to mislead will capitalize on this and this can lead to complete chaos and chase investors away.

If we were to follow the environmentalist, who in many cases want to keep things as they are, we would have never had the following:

  1. A national stadium
  2. Mona and Hermitage reservoir
  3. Highway 2000
  4. Many concrete structures

The list could go on and on.

Now I am not trying to bash the environmentalist such as JET and others as I do believe they have a role to play in keeping the Government honest and others involved in development, but they need to develop  a new persona , while the Government must move to improve the level of transparency that exist.

Yesterday, Tuesday, February 25, 2014, the Minister of Transport and Works , Dr Omar Davis provided an update to parliament and by extension the country on some of the plans for goat island and indicated that among other things, there could be  a coal fired power plant, designed to meet the electricity needs of the logistics hub.

Alarm bells began to rang immediately as environmental experts and even those who have zero expertise in this area, shouted that this was the wrong way to go and this would do severe harm to the environment. Some folks even pointed the big pollution problem that currently exist in Beijing , China suggesting this is enough reasons for such a plant to not be given the green light.

As many of you who read my articles, I often take a different approach from the crowd and the herd mentality that exist in this country and I will do the same thing here.

Let’s first examine some facts.

  1. Coal is no doubt the cheapest way to produce electricity.
  2. A coal plant is one of the most expensive plants to build of all the fossil fuels.
  3. A coal plant is one of the dirtiest ways to produce electricity.
  4. Coal plants tend to add more pollutants to the environment more so than other plants.
  5. Technology exists to significantly reduce the levels of pollution from coal plants, than existed years ago.
  6. The level of pollution is largely influenced by the quality of the coal used eg moisture levels and the technology that will be utilized by that generating facility.
  7. The technology to be utilized by the generating facility is or can be largely influenced by the local environmental policies eg policy’s on emission control, particulate emissions etc etc.
  8. Disposing of the waste generated by the coal generating plant has been issues of concern in many countries.
  9. Storage of the coal can be a challenge as it requires large land mass of course this is dependent on the size of the plant. Also the item must be stored in a manner to avoid possible contamination for the ground water supply.
  10. Depending on its size a coal fired plant takes the longest period of time to construct vs other plants of similar size. On average it could take up to four years to build the plant that I see being used for the logistics hub.
  11. USA has issued new emission standards for power plants, which could see many coal powered plants closed down by 2016.

The question therefore for Jamaica becomes,  can Jamaica afford to allow a coal plant to be built in the country, when plants in the USA are closing as they cannot meet the emission standards being developed by the USA.

Here is my take on the approach the Jamaican Government ought to use.

  1. The GOJ of Jamaica needs to have a very clear and stringent policy on emissions control and should decide the allowable limits of NOx, Sox, CO2, CO, particulate levels in PPM etc. that can be emitted for each MW of energy produced.
  2. We should also develop policies and the methodology  to monitor and check for waste storage and proper disposal of hazardous substances eg lead, mercury, arsenic, ash  etc.
  3. The country must (if not already in place), develop a pollution prevention policy, which speaks to all forms of pollutants being emitted in the public space from industrial processes.
  4. The country( if not already in existence )must develop policies to address storm water runoff from industrial process and impose heavy fines, where these policies are breached.
  5. The country must have inspectors who will have full access to all industrials plants and audit their waste management program, pollution prevention program etc.
  6. All industrial plants must apply for and get a air permit, which would indicate the extent to which that facility is allowed to send emissions into the public space. Those facilities must then show the inspector the measurements they have on record, which indicates what levels of emissions are taking place and the makeup of those emissions. Where it is found that a facility is emitting more than it claims it would then be subjected to heavy fines and have it air permit revoked.
  7. All industrials plants must also apply for and get a permit for disposition of industrial waste and the waste stream must be clearly identified and charted. What this means is an industrial pant must be able to demonstrate what becomes of the waste created as a result of its process. Is it recycled, reclaimed or discarded and if so, how and where.

There are many more items that can be added but I just wanted to present a picture of what needs to be put in place now if not already in place or enforced if they already exist.

The effect of the above, is we can say to anyone wishing to build any plant, coal fired or otherwise, these are conditions under which you will be required to operate. These are the various permits which you will have to apply for and retain records for inspection and periodic audits to ensure you are in fact operating within the confines of those permits or regulations.

What will come out of the above, is once an entity recognizes that your environmental laws are in place, have teeth and are will result in massive penalties of breach, will now have to balance the cost of compliance vs the cost of construction and operation of one type of power plant vs another. It will boil down to straight economics. There is a way to get cheaper electricity while ensuring the environment in which we all share is protected today and for years to come. These things are not mutually exclusive, Jamaica needs both today.

I would not say to China Harbour that you cannot build a coal fired plant, instead what I would say is the plant you choose to build MUST meet these regulation guidelines etc and the design you submit must demonstrate that enough systems are in place to ensure that the standards that needs to be maintained while you are in operation are consistent with what is required to ensure full compliance.

If for example in its proposal they say, the projected emissions from the plant will be X for noxious substances and Y for particulates, then they must also show what systems are included in the design to achieve this and what safeguards or redundancies will be built into the system if the primary emission control system fails.

So a word to the environmentalist, stop fighting development, instead focus on sustainable development.  Assist in creating the standards and safeguards for environment, get the people involved in the development of their standards, then lobby the parliamentarians to enact the relevant laws without loopholes and ensure the laws have real teeth.

 Yeah mon mi no it long but mi could not find a way to make it shorter and bring out all the points I wanted to make.

Trinidad seeks help from China to protect its borders !

PRIME Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday announced this country will be seeking to purchase a Long Range Vessel (LRV) from China “in the shortest possible time”.

According to a release from the Office of the Prime Minister yesterday, Persad-Bissessar convinced Chinese Premier Li Keqiang the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard “needed two vessels to lock down this country’s borders in light of the increase in arms and narco trafficking”.


Mayberry Investor Forum sheds light on the Jamaican economy and the IMF !

Just came back from the Mayberry Investment Forum held at the Knutsford court hotel, where a  panel discussion was held to look at Jamaica economy  and the impact of the IMF agreement for 2014.

The panel discussion was Sushil Jain and had  Ralton Hyman, Dennis Chung and Keith Collister.

The general theme was that fiscal figures are trending in the right direction and kudos was given to the Finance Minister for his tenacity and sticking to the IMF engineered program. It was noted that the fiscal surplus as a % of GDP was a very challenging figure, but it was important that Jamaica meet this target to open the door for further investment in the country.

Dennis Chung indicate that for the first in a long time, he had confidence in this IMF program as unlike the other programs that provided funds for budgetary support etc, this program was more focus on levelling the playing field and assisting the productive sector to become more competitive. The IMF would then provide monetary support once the conditions required to support competitiveness in the productive sector are met. Dennis indicated that the main indicators are indeed headed in the right direction and if we stick to the program, then, Jamaica should see some benefits coming out of the program.

Ralston Hyman presented data , which should the challenges faced by the government and indicated what the MOF has done to reduce government spending and the need for the government to retreat from the market and allow the private sector to play a great role in the economy. He  also indicated that we are already beginning to see signs to suggest that things are in fact turning around.

Energy cost was identified as a major impediment to our competitiveness and Jamaica must get this energy plant going, but we must make sure the company selected has a verifiable and long term fuel supply, they can deliver what they promise to deliver and on time. He noted however that given the track record of the company there are some serious questions that we need to answer and we should proceed with caution.

Keith Collister was not as upbeat as the others and lamented the fact that it still takes to long to get things done in Jamaica. He commented on the fact that the approval process was way too slow and we need to address that problem quickly if we truly intend to move forward. He made mention that Jamaica appears to be committed to this IMF program and he has seen more being done over the last 6 months in terms of some serious legislation to improve our competitiveness than he has seen in the last 13 yrs and that is indeed positive.
Keith, however did point out that the private sector needs to step up to the plate and become more involved.

At the end of the interview commonsenseja decided to have a quick question and answer sessions with Ralston Hyman

Commonsenseja : Mr Hyman why in your view has been the reason why there does not appear to be a correlation between higher education being attained by many in Jamaica and the state of the Jamaican economy

R. Hyman : One main reason, migration. A significant portion of trained Jamaicans have migrated and taken their skills to other countries and as such Jamaica has failed to benefit from their training.

Commonsenseja : The average graduate say in engineering has no intention of getting into production at the floor level and instead wants to be a manager. I understand the need to earn more money and that is what a management position offers. Now you spoke about productivity levels in Jamaica has fallen and continues to fall but let’s be honest here. How can one expect that those who were not the “brightest” amongst us, those who did not do well in school and who are hard to train to become highly efficient and productive and dig Jamaica of the hole we are in.

R. Hyman: That is precisely the problem in Jamaica, we have Engineers and highly trained persons involved in production and are being innovative and producing high quality goods in an efficient manner. Jamaica needs to understand this and we need a paradigm shift. I am happy to note that I am beginning to see that change and now places the SLB are now providing loans for training  programs where that training can be more useful in Jamaica

Consensus from the panelist.

Jamaica is making progress small as it maybe its positive and the Minister must be commended for guiding the program thus far.

I am sure the papers will provide a more detailed report.



Searching for growth in Jamaica, now the Minister and the IMF have found it, really now ?

Jamaica is one of those countries, where great paradox seems to always exist, let’s look at growth in this case.

The Finance Minster, the PIOJ and the IMF all said the country has experience growth of 1.1% during the last quarter ending Dec 2013, which would appear to indicate things are beginning to turn around, but is it real?

Growth is said to have a lagging effect in that long after it has commenced is when you are expected to feel or see it

What is rather interesting however is once their is economic decline, it is felt immediately not much lag at all, no one has to tell you the economy is declining, you know it because you feel it. Not so with growth, you have to be told and long after being told you cannot seem to see or feel it, leading me to believe that growth in Jamaica is all pure statistics written on paper and which has no real meaning in terms of impact on our lives.

Growth has largely eluded Jamaica for the last 40yrs and I harbour very little hope that this administration under an IMF program can bring about any form of sustain growth in Jamaica.



How does Jamaica plan to solve it’s crime problem

  1. Devine Intervention
  2. Peace walks thorough the communities
  3. Asking for the community support.

In other places in the world crime are solved and reduced by at least one of the methods above , the other two I rarely hear form part of that strategy. We cannot solve any problem unless we understand the genesis of that problem.

Does Jamaicans and specifically our leaders understand the genesis of this crime monster. A resounding YES.

Then why have they done very little to solve it ?

Answer 1: The Jamaican people have not forced them to act

Answer 2: There is no political will to solve it.

Our crime problem is NOT one of policing , no sir that is the BS they try to sell you the public, it’s a straight political one facilitated by a lazy people and largely corrupt population, but even that later can be addressed some what by the former.

Let’s explore a couple of question.

  1. Why do we continue to have garrisons
  2. Why are some folks outside the law ie untouchables.
  3. Why don’t we have the full compliments of cops that we need?
  4. Why don’t our cops have most of if not all the resources they need, since crime is our biggest problem?

Don’t tell that for 3 and 4  it is a  lack of funding, again that is what they would want for you to believe and here is why.

How many persons in Jamaica thought JEEP would not get off the ground because we had no money to “give sway’?

Now, are you aware of how much money did the GOJ “find” for JEEP and  continue to “find” for JEEP.

If the GOJ wants something to happen, they will make it happen.

1 & 2 are straight political issues.

So when all is said and done, our biggest problem today is NOT afforded the attention it needs from our leaders, making the crime problem in Jamaica is a POLITICAL ONE, facilitated by a population that appears not to believe in accountability especially if they benefit from the existing system.

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