2005 Articles

Tookie and Raskolnikov

'TWO OLD ladies hacked to death!' is the kind of headline that makes even bleeding heart liberals instinctively cry out 'Bring back hanging!' But in Dostoevsky's classic novel Crime and Punishment, the hero Raskolnikov gets sentenced to less than 10 years in prison for bashing in the heads of two defenceless women, even after admitting he had planned the murder of one victim in advance and killed the other solely because she was a witness.

The Art and Spirit of the Game

THE JOY of watching babies and little children is that they find everything so new, so interesting. The world for them is an inexhaustible delight of endless novelty.

At times, you feel almost envious and think of Wordsworth's words: 'Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!'

Of course, at other moments Thomas Gray comes to mind

Yet ah! why should they know their fate?

Closer to the Abyss

POLITICAL partisanship is a democratic fact of life. Virtually every country that votes its leaders into office is plagued by party tribalism.

Perhaps because it has been holding elections longer than anywhere else, Great Britain seems to be reasonably free of this dreaded virus.

But even the United States, which likes to boast of being a democratic model to the world, is practically split in two between the Democratic coastal blue states and the Republican interior red states.

While Rome Burns ... - Corrupt, Incompetent, and Uncaring

HAD P.J. Patterson retired two or so years ago his legacy would have been on the whole a positive one. History would have remembered him as a man who had guided his ship of state fairly safely through the shoals of globalization and left a good launching pad for his successor. As it is now he is on track to go down as the second worst Prime Minister in Jamaica's history.

If There is No God?

AN OLDER friend once advised the young Samuel Johnson to read as much as he could since he would lose the inclination with age. But Robert Louis Stevenson laughed at this, asserting that youth is for living and leave the books till later.

RLS was surely right that books are a mighty bloodless substitute for life. But Dr. Johnson's mentor knew whereof he spoke. Older eyes tire more easily and older minds resist new ideas. If you don't tackle the serious books when young you probably never will.

One Shot Away from Chaos

Suppose Bruce Golding had been shot and killed? This was the first thought that hit me when I read Wednesday's 'Women shot near Golding' headlines. Would Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) extremists have reacted by gunning down a senior People's National Party (PNP) figure in retaliation and initiated a vicious no-holds-barred, tit-for-tat vendetta? Would angry Labourites have torched Gordon House and New Kingston and Sam Sharpe Square? Would JLP mobs have attacked PNP strongholds and sparked off a hundred mini civil wars?

Is Portia a Jamaican Chavez?

' POPULISM IS one of those terms that no-one seems to be able to define precisely. But it can probably best be described as politics which caters to the short-term demands of the mob at the expense of long-term national development. It is government that provides bread and circuses instead of roads and aqueducts. To paraphrase an old cliché, it's giving people fish to eat instead of teaching them how to fish.


The comrades heaped sugary praises on P.J. Patterson during last Sunday's PNP conference, and as expected Labourites poured out vitriol in response. But just how good or bad a leader has our longest serving Prime Minister been?

Obviously not all the positive or negative achievements of his administration can be solely attributed to him. But in the end the buck stops at the top. Leaders always take the credit and so must also get the blame for anything that happens under their watch.

Sending Messages

GEORGE W. Bush has always sounded like a bumbling moron. But surely a man who was elected Governor of Texas and then President of the United States could not be the utter fool that 'Dubya' comes across as, or so I've always told myself.

After all 50 million Americans can't be completely wrong, and there must be more to him than meets the eye.

Moaning, Groaning and Loving It

THIS COUNTRY'S murder rate has nearly doubled over the past two years and may now be the highest in the world. By right, people here should be frightened and angry, afraid to go out at night and mounting mass demonstrations during the day demanding that the Government stop the slaughter.