MONEY TALKS, BULLSHIT WALKS…

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The ongoing saga of the beautiful treasure chest of Jamaica , the #PortlandBight or Goat Islands, continues to remain a sore point between  those who know and cares as against those who are set to gain some drippings from the millions of dollars to be spent by the Chinese.

There are numerous NGOs and local agencies that have studied the government’s proposal and they have  determined the project will have significant environmental problems and long term damages.

Development is good but at what cost? Unlike a drop of water which loses its identity when it joins the ocean, man does not lose his being in the society in which he lives. He is dependent on the planet and by extension the environment where he lives, careful not to trash it for unbridled development of the society.  Man is responsible for the environment and he must be vigilant of nefarious ideas that threaten it.

The Jamaican government must be careful as the fool’s gold is twinkling in their eyes, parading as development. If the government is not convinced of the protected danger and long term damage this project will create, then the government must be remodeled. It must be stopped.

What Jamaica needs is human development and the emphasis must be on education. Education is not a tool for development – individual, community and the nation. It is the foundation for our future. It is empowerment to make choices and emboldens the youth to chase their dreams.

Eternal vigilance must not stop. it is the price for eternal sustainalble development. Read the story below.

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The Jamaican government is pursuing a $1.5bn Chinese port development inside the island’s biggest nature reserve, the Portland Bight protection area, threatening the famous Jamaican iguana (Cyclura collei) and putting fragile coastal areas at risk, international environmental groups say.

The Portland Bight protected area extends over 200 miles of land and 524 miles of sea, containing the uninhabited Goat Islands, 30,000 acres of mangroves, and four dry limestone forests. The area was set aside as a nature reserve in 1999, and the Goat Islands, which are uninhabited, were being prepared as a sanctuary for the Jamaican iguana.

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The proposed project would involve flattening the Goat Islands and extensive dredging. It will also involve an industrial park to manufacture cranes for export across the Caribbean, and the Jamaican government at time, called for a coal power plant at the site.

Environmental experts warned the port could wipe out local fishing communities, damage beaches, and expose the coastline to greater risk of hurricanes and other storms. It is also claimed that the port would endanger 50 species of plant found only in Jamaica, including 17 that are endangered.

Let us “see the bigger picture”. China has been endearing itself to the Caribbean over the last several years. Are we missing an imbalance somewhere? Data shows that while exports of raw materials to China remain steady, imports of manufactured goods from China to the Caribbean has increased. China brings its own companies and workers.

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Transplanting Chinese workers translates into new populations of animals to be consumed. In Barbados, Chinese workers were caught red-handed, decimating one of only two known nesting colonies of Little Egrets in the entire western hemisphere.

Already in Jamaica, before the influx of Chinese workers that will accompany the port development, Chinese residents have created a market for poached crocodile meat, an animal listed under Jamaica’s Wildlife Protection Act.

Money talks, bullshit walks, they say.

NeoMakeba:

Namaste. #AllForUS2016: You. Me. Let’s #Think, #Act, #Speak, #Love like #Humans.

NHT CANNOT CREATE ANY MORE SINS

                    PM Simpson Miller  expanded on her answer, stating that she had been advised by the board of the NHT that their decision to purchase the property at Orange Grove in Trelawny, and not the attraction known as Outameni Experience, “was firmly grounded in the National Housing Trust Act of 1979”.
Ok I amnational housing trust confused here. The PM just told the nation that the NHT has purchased the LAND that Outameni sits on but NOT the building that houses the brand Outameni? In other words the PM, in reading from her notes, is saying one of two things to the nation. Firstly the NHT, in its agreement with the owners of the property, has bought the land only but the buildings and other improvements is separate from the sale agreement and therefore subject to further negotiations or the NHT has entered into an agreement that is as stupid as the board themselves.
When we pump J$180m of taxpayers money into an ill thought out investment without the taxpayers questioning the purchase, we are building monsters at the gate of capitalism that will sooner be tamed than afforded to be let loose to continue to pillage and plunder as they feel.  The NHT was created by the government of Jamaica as an independent agency. The purpose of the NHT is simple – to assist with and create opportunities for Jamaicans to own affordable housing. This cash cow receives its flow without fear or favor from every Jamaican that is working, employer, self -employed or volunteer so needless to say it has cash, lots of cash,  something the government does not have. If the purchase of the property was land only then whiter the building? The question still prevails what did the NHT buy?
There is a saying in real estate that says what you own depends on what you bought. Only the documents of sale can answer this question . I tried to see these documents but of course you cannot find these records online. Has the NHT bought the land only but now must spend additional money to either remove or refurbish the building? Or has the NHT bought the land and has the right to build houses on the property or has the NHT as the sole owner of land and chattels, decided to exercise its new found powers of becoming investors in an attraction that will generate more than the investment they made to purchase? Is this the NHT’s answer of generating income for its primary focus of increasing revenue to build houses? Are they now entertainment operators?
The PM certainly feels so based from the words coming from her lips that the NHT board was..’exploring the possibility of acquiring and operating  the investment as an educational and cultural heritage as well as a tourist attraction.” So apparently  the NHT is continuing its lucrative portfolio of owning ‘cultural enterprises’ , Emancipation Park being one of the other enterprises, to give back to the contributors as well as to generate funds to further enhance their core portfolio of providing houses for the people of Jamaica. Sounds like a plan but any plan  is only as good as the magical hands that rub it. Does the NHT have a wizard rubbing this plan?
People are skeptical of politics like this in that the truth is rarely a politicians objective, election and power are. On the surface it sounds like a good plan but statutory bodies, like all government agencies, are not famous for their efficient and profitable operation of any enterprise. The NHT should set up a separate management body to manage these assets, monitoring and ensuring profit is not substituted for political gains. The NHT by its makeup and profitability is capable of making decisions of this nature for the intended objective. As I wrote in another op-ed our tourist and people are tired of Dunn’s River. Jamaica needs this portfolio in its arsenal of attractions to tourist and locals alike , but without proper management can lead to a colossal loss, an experience the previous owners knew only too well. Outameni becomes out of pocket, a pocket Jamaicans have long tried to sew the large hole that keeps expanding everytime he shoves his hand to find money to pay for anything!
My advice to the naysayers is this, stop, drink some coffee and calm down it may not be as bad as it is politicised. There are many out there hoping to get the keys to the political city of Fame but thankfully we have changed the locks to free loaders. The NHT can and has made the purchase albeit clandestine and suspiciously. Could it have been done more transparently the answer is a resounding yes. But transparency is never the objective of government which is ironic as transparency manages politics and mistrust,  a lesson they refuse to learn. But unlike the PM and her inept knowledge of issues and pulse on matters relating to Jamaica, the people have a right to ask and require accountability. J$180M is a lot of money and tax-payers want to know their money is well spent with the ultimate knowledge that any investment  of their money will equate over the long term to more opportunities for a lower mortgage to affordable housing. That should be the ultimate objective. Owning a home should not be a luxury only for the rich. Manley in his infinte grace left this legacy for the people of Jamaica an entity called the NHT. This institution, like Jamaica,  is still owned by Jamaicans. Governments have changed but the institution remains but when people’s misery is caused not by nature itself but by institutions such as the NHT, then our sins are great and mortal, very, very mortal.

JAMAICA IS AN INSANE COUNTRY

Georgia, USA:
I understand the public concern over telephone expenses incurred during the twelve (12) month period July 2013 to June 2014.  During the period, I went on 15 overseas assignments on behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica.  I visited several countries, including the United Kingdom, Turkey and Indonesia.  The call and data charges were incurred as I executed my duties as Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

Whilst on overseas assignment, it is necessary to be in contact with, and be accessible to the Ministry, key stakeholders and the Diaspora by phone and email.  The concern of Jamaicans is fully understood and accepted, and without more information, I know the impression that such expenditure may convey.

I acknowledge that the bills are very high, largely attributed to data and roaming charges. However, it is important for everyone to know that these bills were incurred genuinely as I carried out my work and because of the high cost of roaming for voice and data services.  In going forward, I intend to put in place measures to ensure a reduction in the cost of these bills.
Currently, I am on official business overseas and I am more than willing to address this issue and to give a more fulsome response upon return.
Sincerely,
Hon. Arnaldo Brown, MP.‎

Arnaldo-Brown-Phone-ldI have been watching like most people the comedy of errors being played out by the characters of politics, the latest is the ‘Phone-Gate’, investigated by a journalist that has caused a lot of emotional outburst by a mass of people and from the accused nothing less than insanity.

Let me commend the journalist for breaking this story. It is rare that you find investigative journalism exercised by a Jamaican journalist as in this country it can be costly to not only investigate but to expose corruption. People take it personally here. It may be how this country was brought up, not to expose your business in public. Our parents, if not anything else, certainly  nailed that in our thick skulls growing up. For a journalist to expose these hidden secrets of a ruling government it is earth shaking for the masses but for those that are mildly curious it opens up a can of worms- how many other misappropriation and mismanagement of public funds exists and are NOT investigated or at worst  not made public?

As a country we have never been honest in expressing or communicating our true feelings. We are a classic country that says one thing but does another. A classic example how many of the promises outlined by politicians have come to past for the benefit of those who were promised? If we move away from politics you can count on your hands how many times your employer, your family or even your friend actually do something they promise to do.

Our culture is not an honest culture of self expression so people tend to take everything with a grain of salt. From  our politician to our common folk, the majority of Jamaicans are scared of the power of democracy which was created as an ideal where everyone, from the rich to the poor, have a say and can express themselves honestly and openly without repercussions. Our political culture is even worse. If you want to test democracy in Jamaica in our political culture , just have a 5 minute conversation with a PNP or a JLP supporter.

Phone-gate is split right down the political divide in Jamaica and with such a divisive electorate there is no way this scandal can be truly expunged from our present economic debacle. Jamaicans have been led, indoctrinated and persuaded to take each of our differences with a grain of salt, despising those who think differently or ensuring that those who differ are marginalized , casted out , killed or maimed. It is our volcanic differences that lie at the crux of our maturity as a nation, a maturity that allows us to see when our politicians are pulling the cloak of ignorance over our intelligence. When we allow a  politician to think  that he is more  intelligent than the people that elect him, we have just created a monster and junior Minister Arnaldo Brown is the head of this Hydra.

talking_headsLet us be honest, if you are given $1000 and told to use as you desire, you would. A few days later you are given another $1000 and told the same thing. In time you develop a habit of spending    unconsciously as your gratification of wealth can only be measured by what you spend this wealth on. Minister Brown et al is no different. Their gratification of wealth can be measured in their use of the limitless source of funds to gratify their insatiable desire to TALK, and TALK claiming to do Jamaica’s business.  In this case the gratification of wealth is not found in mere possession of an unmonitored public cell phone  or in the lavish expenditure  accorded these Ministers  much less a “Junior” minister, but rather in its wise application of using cell phones from around the world knowing that roaming charges are like death, it spares no one, the rich or the poor.

The only difference between a private business and a government run entity is that the private business focuses on making a profit operating on the least expenditure. Any private business that takes its expenditure seriously understands that  any expenditure must generate a residuary profit for the company. Talk is cheap, It is also expensive and an expenditure of words without income of residuary profits in terms of ideas or positive economic impact to move our country forward in the short  and long term,  is nothing but  intellectual and actual bankruptcy, a situation this country is already facing. Where is the business Mr. Minister? Where does your talking on our behalf is making the lives of the least amongst us a bit bearable?

The extravagant expenditure of public money is an evil not to be measured by the value of that money to the people who are taxed for it, but rather to the sheer insensitivity of those in charge spending it with no regard for our present economic plight. Business must not only be done, it must be measured. The first responsibility of the leader of government is to define what is government business, the last is to say thank you for conducting the business. In between the definition and the thank you the leader and her ministers are a servant, servant of the people that they represent. The business they conduct is like all business, it must make money, it must move the country forward.  Running government, like a business,  is an art and good business is the best art. One million dollars of talk ought to deliver one million dollars of economic activity that is not only positive but real. The Junior Minister cannot and will not be asked to account for this real  activity, the government has never been accountable for its expenditures so why start now?

If we had built a culture where honest expectations are communicated and  accountability is the norm, then the people of Jamaica  would  address effectively and outrightly this poor performance and attitudes of the Junior minister et al and the leader would have no choice but to immediately correct this gross error of judgement and report to her shareholders the new SOP going forward. Instead we are fed with nothing but self approval and  attempts to justifying the expenditure of 5 million dollars of tax payers money with no real profit to show.

Insanity in individuals is something rear but  in groups, parties, nations and epochs It is the rule. Congratulations to everyone in showing the world and by extension the diaspora how insane we are in dealing with our economic plight. Jamaica has a government that is completely out of touch with reality and its people, through its political divide, conditioned, Indoctrinated, Manipulated to be the servants of a system we did not ask to be imposed on us, but is set up to divide and conquer. Jamaicans are not living in a democracy. We are living in a PNP/JLP autocracy where very little if anything  gets done , no one is accountable and the people either live in excessive wealth, ‘stush’ poverty or frenzied liberty where the rule of the  law does not exist.

Wake up Jamaica. We are sleeping. We can do better than this. We are a democratic country where we elect to govern the country, not a group of people. We must never forget the government is not an alien or in our case the PNP or JLP. The ultimate rulers of our country is not the PM, or the ministers of government but the voters of this country. Those that work for us are answerable to us. The voters cannot think like the government. We have to think differently, ahead of their game. If everybody were to think alike, then somebody is not thinking.

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