Sample food prices in St Kitts and Nevis

This country as well as 11 others in the Eastern Caribbean has maintained a stable exchange rate for over 25 yrs. Just look at the prices and compare them to the prices in Jamaica.

St Kitts and Nevis minimum wage is $320/ wk


Rare earth metal project on hold. Did Paulwell oversell the project?

News has emerged that the Rare Earth Metal project, which was announced with much fanfare and was said to be able to earn Jamaica millions of US$ has been shelved for now.

In his usual over exuberant nature, Phillip Paulwell told Jamaicans that our rare earth metals could earn in the region of US$3,500 per kg and in our usual way from an uninformed position, we applauded this move.

Today the Gleaner is reporting that noted Jamaican Engineer , Howard Chin, has said that rare earth metal prices are currently trading on the world global commodities market, between US$1.00 to $10.00 per KG, which is light years away from the ministers claim of US$3,500 per kg.

The question now becomes, did Phillip Paulwell mislead the Jamaican public?

While I still believe their may be some potential in spent bauxite and I would love for us to generate some income from the bauxite waste, I cannot help but being very critical of this particular minister who seems predisposed to make grand announcements, commits millions of dollars, only for us to hear in a short order, that the particular project is  as good as dead.

Make no mistake about, mistakes will be made, we will try different things, some we will get right and some we will get wrong, its part of trying new things, but Phillip Paulwell appears to get most things wrong vs right, which makes his current position as a cabinet minister and decision maker very questionable.

Phillip Paulwell likes big project, big ideas and appears willing to run with anything he beleives will make him look good and can be seen as a game changer, nothing is fundamentally wrong with that. What I however refuses to accept is his unwillingness to engage those Jamaicans who have more knowledge that he does in many areas to do diligent and rigorous analysis, before he accepts some of these proposals and open his mouth to make another grand announcement.

We simply cannot afford Phillip Paulwell’s errant behaviour any more, it has cost this country way too much and we are calling on the Prime Minister to strip this man of his ministerial responsibilities before he does more damage to the country.

Frankly I have had enough of him and his mistakes!

Phillip Paulwell must go now,  enough of the lame excuses .



Rapid Response Water Unit, another failing of the PNP

The failure of the Rapid Response unit is yet another reminder of the failings of the longest servicing Minister of Water , Robert Pickersgill.

The RRU was created by Karl Blythe in 1999 as a short term measure to address the water supply problems affecting some parishes during the dry spell.   Fourteen years later we are being reminded about this short-term measure to address Jamaica’s long-term water supply problem.

In 2003 the government of the day said it was going to make major changes to the unit as a result of a damning report highlighted many problems with the unit.

Excerpts of the report

Other key recommendations of the KPMG Peat Marwick audit include:

* a complete overhaul of the management fleet, including a more structured relationship with the manufacturers of the units;

* negotiation to be initiated with marketing companies with respect to bulk purchasing of fuel;

* curtailment of overtime through the institution of more flexible work arrangements;

* rationalisation of the social water component of the programme;

* more aggressive marketing of the programme; and

* implementation of a number of specific control mechanisms to mitigate against fraud





The JLP closed down he unit in 2009 suggesting it was too costly to operate


June 21, 2013

STATE MINISTER for water, land, environment and climate change, Ian Hayles, has said his ministry is working feverishly to resurrect the Rapid Response Unit which was “in the grave” under the previous Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration.

Accusing the JLP of shutting down the unit, Hayles told his parliamentary colleagues that several trucks from the state-owned entity were given to other Government agencies, “leaving the employees and customers in limbo. In fact, of the 100 trucks belonging to the Rapid Response Unit, a mere 26 are currently operational.”

Discussing plans to transform the unit this year, Hayles said he would be leading a team to develop an effective and strategic business plan for rapid response. “Too long this unit has operated ‘willy-nilly’, and we need to focus, and redirect the activities so that the unit serves Jamaica, rather than being a burden to the taxpayers,” he said.

cost-cutting plan

The state minister also shared plans with his colleagues to cut cost at the cash-strapped entity. “One area [where] we can cut costs immediately, is in fuel for water delivery. By relocating loading bays closer to our drought-stricken customers, we will be able to save some 30-40 per cent on what we currently pay for fuel in the course of a year,” he said.


One year later, where are we.

Ian Hayles who appears to be becoming as incompetent as his boss Bobby Pickersgill was heard on CVM TV last night blaming the JLP for the lack of effective water distribution due to its shuttering of the RRU back in 2009 !

I had a good laugh at this piece of crap and felt sorry for those poor people to whom he was sending a message, which in my mind only serves to highlight his own failure.

Ian Hayles tell us what about your great plan which was announced in the sectoral debate more than a year ago ( maybe him figet it ).

This is what I talk about when I say we must hold these guys accountable.

Now is the RRU the way to go..?

Obviously it is not given the fact that since its introduction back in 1999 not much has changed as the PNP after over 23 yrs have failed to make any major improvement in the water collection and distribution process in most of the parishes across the country.

The current water crises once again highlights the gross incompetence of the Portia Simpson Miller led PNP government, which I lay the blame squarely on given the time they have spent at the crease.

I often wonder, what would have been the situation had the Yallahs Pipe Line had not been put in place in 1983!  Tsk Tsk.





Kingston and St Andrew Stinks, NSWMA is failing !

A quick drive around Kingston and St Andrew leaves one worried as to when there will be an explosion in the rodent population in the country.  Garbage is seen piled up at homes, on the street, by dumpsters and is rotting away, as the garbage collection process appears to have stopped.

In today Gleaner Jennifer Edwards wants to act against those persons who choose to burn garbage and while she is correct, what has she done since being politically appointed to this job to improve the garbage collection process in and around Kingston.

We complain about the people throwing garbage in the gullies , streams etc, but what alternatives have we provided to the people for them to stop this rather nasty habit?

Like most managers appointed in the public service, this woman is failing badly, but will retain her position given she was a political appointee and no matter how lousy her performance, she will retain that job until she decides to leave or her party loses an election.

Jennifer Edwards is leading a failing organization and needs to be removed from this position and someone with more  experience in public solid waste management be appointed to this position.

There should be no room for mediocrity in this area, given the serious public health risk that is associated with improper garbage collection and disposal practices.

The NSWMA head needs to be dumped !

Has democracy failed Jamaica ?

In a democratic system, it’s the people of the country who gets to decide who leads the country for the time period as stipulated by the constitution of that country. Democracy speaks to freedom of choice , but the choices we make given this freedom can either make of break this country and so it has.

If one should ask on what basis or proven performance criteria can one use to justify why the PNP has lead this country for close to  21 of the last 25 years, what would be our answer.

If one should ask on what basis was the PNP rejected in 2007 and the JLP elected, what would have been our answer.

The process starts with the selection of the candidates for representational politics, on what basis are these folks screen and selected to represent the people and what criteria is used by the people to decide who ultimately leads them.

Is it on the basis of who ” leggo d most money, or the most bollo work”, what are the things that make someone worthy of representing the people. If democracy is a about the party selecting a candidate, installing that person in the community and then telling the people he is your new representative and you must support, then I think we are in trouble ( and we are certainly in trouble).

If one should look at where  our process has taken us, its shameful and speaks to our own failure as a people to hold our elected leaders accountable, but if the process for determining who leads us is fundamentally flawed, how on earth can we expect anything but what we are getting now.

If we should take a close look at some of the major indicators and where they are today, you can get a picture of how our process has failed us.


  1. Human Development Index – Failing
  2. Improved Transparency – Falling
  3. More Corruption – Passing
  4. Economic development – Failing
  5. Education System – Failing
  6. Healthcare System – Failing
  7. Quality of political leadership – Failing
  8. Management of our water resources – Failing
  9. Management of solid waste – Failing
  10. Management of road network – Failing
  11. Management of Fire Service – Failing
  12. Protecting the human rights of the people – Failing
  13. Crime Management – Failing
  14. Management of Energy Security and prices – Failing
  15. Productivity Levels – Failing
  16. Sports Management – Passing
  17. Management of the Exchange rate – Failing
  18. Management of poverty – Failing
  19. Job Creation – Failing
  20. Tax Collection and Equity – Failing


This is the system that democracy in Jamaica has produced, then we wonder why as a nation we have failed to make the level of progress that a country like Singapore has made over the same period of time.


How do we change this reality.

  1.  Honesty, integrity and high ethical conduct must me part of the way we operate.
  2. Accountability, we must first begin by holding ourselves accountable.
  3. Demand a change in the way our representative are selected and elected.
  4. Reject mediocrity in every sphere of our operations, people must deliver or be prepared to be rejected by the people of this country.
  5. An end to pork barrel politics
  6. An economic development plan by the people for the people. This plan should incorporate ideas from all spheres of the society from the “country ” poor to the urban elite. No more do we want a plan created by a Think Tank of University Professors, instead it must be all inclusive and all groups should be represented.
  7. The people must tell the properly selected candidates that this  Economic Plan by the people, will become our “bible” for the next 20 yrs and they must be committed towards the implementation of the plan. Any deviation from the plan must be approved by representative of the people, or those who have chosen to make such changes will feel the wrath of the population.
  8. Portfolio Ministers MUST have prior experience in the ministries to which they are to be placed. A finance Minister for example MUST have a degree in Finance and MUST have held a  senior post in Finance with no less than 10 years experience . In addition this person must have a full understanding of International Financial Markets. A Minister of Works and Housing should be a Certified or Chartered Civil Engineer, with no less than 5 years experience in the construction industry etc.  Skills, competence and experience MUST match the persons responsibilities , enough of the bullsh#t.
  9. The slightest hint of corruption must be met with brute force if the person involved fails to voluntarily resign, regardless if any criminal proceeding comes as a result of these matters. No Prime Minister can re-instate a person who has conducted any act of corruption irrespective if the individual is found not guilty by the courts.
  10. Failure to perform and meet performance targets should see the withdrawal of the portfolio minister, who can either be re-assigned or fired for failure to perform, if he choses not to resign or take his re-assignment.


Looking around Jamaica there is a free for all mentality, that must be stamped out, we cannot continue accept things the way they are, or we all risk dying on the sinking ship.

If Jamaica is to be recused we must take immediate action to stop the rot currently taking place and if that means the removal of some of what we call our rights then so be it, what we cannot allow however is for our politicians to determine what “rights” must be suspended to give this nation a chance to breathe.




Jamaica’s worst nightmare is being realized

Portia Simpson Miller had promised the ruling JLP after her 2007 election loss, that she and the PNP would be our worst nightmare and this has now been realized.

Never in the 50 odd years since independence have a witness so much hopelessness  on the faces of thousands of Jamaicans. The level of poverty in this country has reached crises proportions and is getting worse even as they say the macro economic indicators are getting better.

Food prices are the highest this country has ever witness, the dollar is at an all time low, the chances of getting employment is virtually non existent, its as if the father has turned his back on the country.

There as sections of the country that has ran out of water and I see people in dirty water holes, which are reminiscent of the scenes I have seen on the TV coming out of Africa. To make matters worst, we have bunch of idiots running all over the place lighting fires, which have destroyed hundreds of acres and no water to put them out.

“Father why hath thou forsaken us ” ?

I am sure he would reply ” Be careful of your choices, because you to be willing to pay the consequences of your decisions good or bad”.

This has got to be our worst nightmare and from what I am hearing it’s about to get even worse.



Comrades, please don’t abandon the party, food soon run !

Dr Fenton Ferguson a couple days ago made an impassionate plea to comrades, not to say in public that their lives were better under the JLP. He also pleaded for them not to leave the party  at this point in time. Fergie told comrades that the PNP cabinet will be meeting to discuss how to “take care” of comrades, despite the tight fiscal space.

Translated this means , the PNP will be seeking how it can make comrades eat a food, because they are complaining bitterly how poor they have become under the PNP leadership and were threatening to not vote for the party to send a strong message in the up coming local government elections.

So Fergie and the PNP will have to now taken money earmarked for more important projects to make sure comrades can eat a food, which will ensure they win the next local government elections.

Now Mr Anonymous, is this not a gross insult to the intelligence of the Jamaican population, here we have a politician saying we will make sure you can get to eat a food, so we (PNP) can be assured of another electoral victory.

I can assure you they will take the money and vote back in these folks to ensure the Pain (P)  N Poverty(P)  and “suffaration” can  continue to destroy this country.

We shall see.


Clovis Toon

Courtesy: Jamaica Observer

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