2012 Survey of living conditions show Jamaicans have gotten poorer under the PNP leadership.

The recently released “Survey of Living Conditions” in Jamaica (2012) shows a unprecedented increase in the poverty levels in the country and is the highest since 2002.

The lowest level of poverty in Jamaica was sometime in 2008.

One of the major surprises in the survey, was the fact that Kingston and St Andrew is the second poorest parish in the country.

The poorest parishes as borne out by the survey are as follows

  1. St Thomas
  2. Kingston and St Andrew
  3. St Catherine.

The biggest shocker of the survey was information which suggested that the parish with the lowest poverty rate was St Mary at 9.5%.

So the times when Jamaicans have seen the worst levels of poverty have all been when the poor people champion Portia Simpson Miller and the PNP have been in power.

I think the survey speaks volumes .

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PNP condemns Facebook page (Articulate Minority)

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The ruling People’s National Party (PNP) has condemned the circulation of an image on social media which the party says links them to Nazism.

We use the opportunity to place on record that those persons who would hide behind pseudonyms and various handles or personas and who would practice such an atrocity underscore the misuse of the platforms which social media provide. It reveals a mindset that unless their positions are agreed with, then they are at liberty (clutching at Freedom of Expression) to desecrate, defame or otherwise engage in savagery, the PNP said in a statement Friday morning.

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/PNP-condemns-website-image-linking-party-to-Nazism

Jamaica House press “beating” (briefing), a grand waste of time ?

Jamaica is going through a crises of governance in more ways that one, but I would like to focus on the issue of communication in this piece.

Since the Portia Simpson Miller led administration was elected to power, the Jamaican public have rarely had the chance to speak with her and have her answer questions of national importance.

The Prime Minister uses the “standing order” to try and hide from answering questions posed by the people in parliament with amazing regularity She dodges the media if she happens to speak at am outdoor function and when time comes of Jamaica House press briefong, it becomes press beating and very little answers are provided.

Sandrea Falconer who happens to be the Information Minister, never seems prepared to do anything but read from a script and speaks about what she wants to speaks about, while providing very little or no clarity at all, to matter of national interest.

How can we have a information minister, just merely repeating what has already been said in parliament at a press briefing with journalist gathered in attendance. If that is what the PNP has reduced the Jamaica House press conference to, then the OPM should just issue a press releases to the media instead of wasting the time of journalist.

Sandrea rarely offers answers and in the few instances where she tries to do so, it requires the journalist to ask even more questions given that her answer provides little in the way of clarity. Before you know it a journalist would have to had ask at least 3 -4 follow up questions to get his first question answered, at which point he will be accused of hogging the microphone and badgering the Information Minister and risks being assaulted by Huntley ” the mic snatcher” Medley

I cannot understand why the Jamaican journalist continues to waste their time attending the Jamaica house press briefing, when it is obvious that the Information Minister is out of her depths and like her boss cannot provide the answers that are requested of her.

From where I sit the Jamaica House press briefing is a grand waste of time and journalist should refuse to attend if the Minister is not prepared to answer all questions asked.

Its time the once very vociferous media take a stance and  stop tiptoeing like pussycats around the Prime Minister and her Cabinet Minister.

Why Easton Douglas should never have been appointed Chairman of the NHT board

Let’s examine some decisions in housing made by Easton Douglas in the past.

The year is 1991

PATTERSON OBJECTS
In 1991, on October 1, P. J. Patterson, then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Planning, wrote to the Minister of Health, Easton Douglas: The Town Planning Department. Patterson said, had objected to a proposal by the Ministry of Health to put a nursing school on 11 acres of Hope Gardens Estate. Patterson pointed out that the area was zoned for recreational use and that concern had ”been repeatedly expressed about the infiltration of non-recreational uses in the Hope Gardens Estate..”

”Consequently, the decision was taken that there should be no further subdivision of the areas, particularly those lands adjacent to the gardens and its recreational zoning must be maintained. …It is indeed a national asset which must be maintained. The population growth, … dictates that lands in juxtaposition to the Gardens be retained for future expansion programmes…

“The recently established Hope Zoo Development Task Force has formulated a plan to expand and improve the facilities in Hope Gardens Estate which will be developed as a major recreational attraction.”

The year is 1999

DOUGLAS FORGES AHEAD
Fast forward to November 25, 1999. The NRCA has ordered the developers of “Hope Country Club” to present their proposals for the latest redefinition of Hope Gardens, a joint venture sponsored by the Minister of Housing – a corporation sole by the name of Easton Douglas, the same Easton Douglas who Mr Patterson wrote in 1991.

The project was revised from 250 houses to 241, but nothing much changed except that Mr Cartade’s company now had a joint venture partner, the Minister of Housing. Earlier this month, the Minister declared the area to be a Housing Area, under a law which permits the Minister to determine the need for housing in any area and to declare selected areas to be housing area. The law was not designed to find houses for the rich.

(Easton Douglas as Minister of Housing ammended the law to allow for the lands to bve used for housing, even though he had been advised in 1991 by then Deputy Prime Minister to “back off” the Hope Gardens lands)

Kennedy Groove Easate Easton Douglas brain child.

October 20, 2005 Jamaica Gleaner

FORMER ENVIRONMENT and Housing Minister, Easton Douglas, says homeowners in Kennedy Grove, Clarendon should consider suing the Government and the developer of houses in that community as the buildings were constructed in a known flood-prone zone.

According to Mr. Douglas, a national hazard map of Jamaica had indicated that residents in Kennedy Grove would be in danger as it is situated in a pond.

Against this background, Mr. Douglas said residents could pursue legal options against the parish council or the developers.

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20051020/lead/lead8.html

The NHT issue has seen Easton Douglas givingconfilctiing statements to the media and now looking back at this, it appears he has the propensity to this from as far back in in those days.

By the end of October we had media reports quoting the very same Easton Douglas speaking about the very same issue, but with a completing different spin on the issue

October 30, 2005 (Jamaica Observer)

AMIDST the finger pointing and the misery of the Kennedy Grove residents, former housing minister and land surveyor Easton Douglas has come out in strong defence of his decision to develop a housing scheme in the waterway.

On Friday, Douglas, the former housing minister under whose watch the project was executed, told the Sunday Observer that he did nothing wrong, and that his handling of the project had been “impeccable.”

Can you believe this folks, is this the same person.

Let’s move forward to December 2005

Dec 19, 2005 ( Jamaica Gleaner)

IT’S like a broken vessel in the housing market these days; especially when houses form part of joint projects between the National Housing Trust (NHT) and private developers. Recent floodings in some of these projects have shown up dangerous weaknesses in site selection and the accompanying environmental problems. Home buyers are now being urged to get the facts and be wary.

Problems, like those in Kennedy Grove and Nightingale Grove, arise he says, when proper procedure is not followed, rules are compromised and scores of people get washed out of homes they worked hard to buy. He knows that fingers are pointing his way in the Kennedy Grove fiasco. He had the power under the Housing Act to declare the Kennedy Grove lands a housing area, during the time of the development, which was conceived about 1994

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20051219/news/news1.html

We are destined to repeat the same mistakes when we fail to use history to guide how we move forward.

From the information chronicled above, we can see that the decision by Portia Simpson Miller to appoint Easton Douglas as chairman of the NHT was a very poor one given his rather poor decisions related to previous housing/land development and the fact that he was fired by a previous PNP Prime Minister for going against the wishes of that Prime Minister.

Its obvious that Portia Simpson Miller did not think about this decision and now it has come back to haunt her in more ways that one.

Folks a week ago a wrote the following

Is there trouble within the ranks of the PNP, I certainly think so ?

Never before have I seen such discord in the ranks of the PNP and such misinformation surrounding a single matter. ( Simple matter at that)

Normally, when the PNP is in hot water, they all sing from the same sheet and are consistent in their position when they speak. This sordid affair with the Outameni purchase is very different and I believe I know why.

PJ Patterson has always been the elder in the party, keeping things together and managing the situation, but what is emerging, suggest that PJ may no longer be calling the shots as he is used to.

http://wp.me/pvIkx-29c

I knew back then that I was unto something, but I never knew what it was until a just recently and it lies in the very last sentence above . PJ Patterson has always been the elder in the party, keeping things together and managing the situation.

It is now clear to me that with PJ Patterson having fired Easton Douglas from his cabinet back in 1999, he may have not been in favour of him being appointed chairman to the NHT board and so as opted to remove himself from the situation, hence the mass confusion and discord that we have seen emerged from this situation.

I call out any out any comrade to prove me wrong 🙂

Now it is all coming together .

Bless

Why was Easton Douglas fired by PJ Patterson in 2000 ?

If one look at a series of events, one can see that Easton Douglas may not have been the brighest bulb on the shelf when it comes unto land development and was one reason he was fired from the PJ Patterson cabinet in 2000.

PRIME MINISTER P. J. Patterson announced a reshuffle of his Cabinet yesterday with Minister of Environment and Housing, Easton Douglas being the biggest casualty. Mr. Douglas has returned to private business. The changes become effective Monday, February 21.

The embattled Minister has presided over some of the most embarrassing moments for the governing People’s National Party (PNP). These include the abandoned housing development that was proposed for lands belonging to the Hope Gardens attraction, and problems with Operation PRIDE. Mr. Douglas has served as a Minister since the PNP returned to power in 1989.

Fast foward to 2005 and Easton Douglas was once again in the news and check out his attitude.

On Friday, Douglas, the former housing minister under whose watch the project was executed, told the Sunday Observer that he did nothing wrong, and that his handling of the project had been “impeccable.”

Douglas said the scheme had got the required comments from all the relevant agencies, but did not say whether in the execution of the project, the agencies stipulations were adhered to.

But at least one of those agencies has denied being consulted on whether the area posed flood risk, even though such advice forms part of its standard service, on request.

Before it is approved under the Housing Act you get all the response from those agencies with no objections, but with conditions for the approval,” said Douglas.

“As far as I am concerned I carried out my duties impeccably…. There was nothing more I could do,” he said. The development could not have gotten approval without technical advice given by the six agencies.”

But in a release issued Friday evening, WRA managing director Basil Fernandez said his agency was “neither requested to comment on the flood risk potential nor on the proposed sewage system.”

The WRA was asked by NEPA to verify the construction of a well to meet the water demand of the development, which it gave on August 29, 1997, but the agency did not say what its technical advice was.

NEPA chief executive Hopeton Heron did not respond to requests for comment.

Kennedy Grove, a community near Farmers Cross is located in a natural runoff zone, which means the area is prone to flooding during periods of heavy rainfall.

Winston Kelly, superintendent of road and works at the Clarendon Parish Council said the local authority was only asked to examine and give comments on the plans.

Its approval, he said, was not sought.

He also quickly pointed out that under the Housing Act the government was not compelled to adhere to the recommendations.

“We can give them the recommendations, but they don’t have to accept it,” he said, adding that the parish council was not closely involved with the development.

“We were not asked to inspect the housing,” Kelly told the Sunday Observer.

“We don’t even know the terms and conditions of the contract, and all those things, and we never even saw the plans for the houses.

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/91416_Kennedy-Grove-plan–impeccable-

For more information read here

http://johnmaxwellshouse-1999.blogspot.com/2006_02_01_archive.html

So the man that PJ Patterson fired for wanting to do as he pleases is placed at the NHT by the weak Portia Simpson Miller and he in turns is calling the shots as it relates to land development, when he was fired for wanting to convert hope gardens into housing having been advised by then Prime Minister PJ Patterson to halt such plans.

Seems like Jamaicans have very short memories, but there is enough here to suggest that Easton Douglas should never have been placed as the Chairman of the Board of the NHT given his ridiculous decisions on housing in the past and the fact that he had been previously fired for such bad decisions.

Huntley “the mic snatcher” Medley threatens to shutdown Nationwide FM

Director of Communications in the Office of the Prime Minister and former journalist Huntley Medley has threatened to “shut-down” Nationwidenews FM for its reporting practices .

An obviously angry Huntley Medley told Cliff Hughes in a interview this past Wednesday, that ” Nationwidenews FM is not a radio station and he was going to lock them down”.

So is it the new trend that journalist who have since turn PNP operatives have lost their ability to think rationally and attack others for trying to unearth the news. This all coming as we celebrate journalism week.

This week has been a sad one for journalism and I do hope they record this all and use their immense reach to ensure that never again is PNP and its operatives be allowed to try and censor the media.

I do hope the media come out in full force come the next elections.on the side of press freedom t

Health minister quits over graft scandal

MADRID, Spain (AFP) – Spanish Health Minister Ana Mato resigned on Wednesday after being linked to a massive corruption scandal involving an alleged kickback scheme at the heart of the Spanish prime minister’s conservative Popular Party.

“I have decided to present my resignation,” Mato said in a statement, adding that she was stepping down for the good of the government and the ruling Popular Party.

Mato has not been named as an official suspect in the corruption probe, but a judge said earlier Wednesday that she had “benefited from” holidays, cash payments and other gifts when she was married to Jesus Sepulveda, a former Popular Party mayor of a Madrid suburb.

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Spanish-health-minister-quits-over-graft-scandal

Now, this Minister did NOTHING wrong, was never accused of anything, her only guilt was being married( no longer is) to someone a former party member who was accused of corruption.

Is that not amazing, to see a government minister resigning even though they were not directly accused of any wrong doing , but by mere association, she resigned for good governance.

Over in Jamaica and specifically from the PNP this would have been the response.

The Minister did nothing wrong, the cabinet met and looked at the entire episode and we see not reason for her to resign as she was not a party to and or participated in any kickback scheme. In addition to the above, the allegations clearly did not involve her and  occurred while she was married to a former party worker and she cannot therefore be found guilty by mere association, when there was no evidence directly linking her to the schemes.

The Prime Minister and the Cabinet has rejected her resignation and she will be allowed to stay on as Health Minister

That is the difference between a country where good governance exist and one which appears to be a banana republic where accountability  is non-existent.

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