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3 MILLION-PLUS CHEERS FOR THE QUEEN

"Puma on track for millions of pounds' worth of free publicity as images of Prince Harry posing with Usain Bolt go global." - The Guardian, March 7, 2012
Well, however much that tiny logo on Harry's shirt earned Puma, it cannot be close to the windfall that big Jamaica on his chest brought to this country. No doubt the picture and video of King Usain and the Prince doing 'the arrow' will also be a poster child for the 2012 London Olympics. The entire Jamaican tourist industry must be grinning ear to ear, and those myopic 'stop waste the $3 million pon white man colonialist and feed poor people' grandstanders must feel rather foolish now.

A MYSTERIOUS COUNTRY

Last week I came across an article entitled β€œGrowth May Be Good for the Poor - But are IMF and World Bank Policies Good for Growth?”. The answer as usual is, it depends who you ask. However the following chart surprised me.

Mout' Mek Fi Talk!

Question: Will Jamaica ever experience a people-power revolution Γ  la Tunisia and Egypt? Answer: Yes, when hell freezes over. Since the first in 1944, Jamaica has held 13 universal adult suffrage general elections. Six of these were won by the party in power, six by the opposition, and in 1949, the incumbent party won the most seats but lost the popular vote. There have been no assassinations, coups, or revolutions. Not once has the legitimacy of an elected government ever been challenged. Post-World War II, no country on the planet can boast a better democratic scorecard.

'A Woman we Name!'

"A woman we name, so we born lucky!" - Lady Saw. Over the last three years, 141 Jamaicans have taken their lives, 128 men and 13 women. Jamaica's suicide level is pretty low by world standards. There were 48 in 2008, meaning a national rate of about 1.66 per 100,000, far below say Lithuania's world leading 38.6, Trinidad's 12.8 or the United States' 11.1. Yet while men everywhere kill themselves more often than women, our 10-1 sexual disparity is virtually unprecedented.

Fighting a Losing Battle?

When Bruce Golding was National Democratic Movement (NDM) leader, he pledged to eliminate garrisons. Put him in power, and he would end the pernicious system that loads constituencies with party die-hards who violently intimidate opponents. Golding is now prime minister and, since the People's National Party (PNP) outnumbers the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in "hardcore" garrisons by about six to three, he has every incentive to follow through on his words. But his 'No more tribal politics!' promise seems to have been completely forgotten. But then most Jamaicans, even educated ones who should know better, seem to have a problem with garrisons only when it involves the other side. Patient no care, doctor no care.

God's Second Greatest Gift to Mankind

The following is an excerpt of a speech given at the National Library's 30th Anniversary Awards Dinner Sometimes in idle moments I contemplate life's blessings, and make a list of the things that bring me the most joy. Number three on my happiness list is cricket, lovely, cricket. No other game, and indeed few other pastimes, produces such moments of beauty. Watching a great innings unfold is, to me, like seeing a gorgeous painting being created before your very eyes. My idea of paradise includes Brian Lara batting at one end and Gary Sobers at the other, both playing glorious strokes all around the wicket. Although the way the West Indies are playing these days, I might soon have to find a new number three!

Vengeance or Justice?

Man claims to be rational, but our opinions are determined as much by emotion as reason. And, for all the logical pros and cons, most people's views on capital punishment are based on feelings and not facts.

Lock up Child Molesters

Actions speak louder than words. So you have to wonder if, despite all the public lamentations, Jamaicans really want to change anything in this country. Sure, everyone says they want more jobs and less crime. But no one, from top to bottom, seems willing to make even the slightest alteration in their lifestyle to attain any of these goals.

Democracy at its Best, and Worst

Is Jamaica the world's most exuberant democracy? Only a political globetrotter could say for sure. But our party conferences and meetings must be as electric as any on the planet. And it's not as if we're just discoveringthe joys of choosing our own destiny. Forty-five years of largely free and fair multi-party elections, adhering to the rule of law, and remaining coup- and assassination-free is no mean achievement.

Wise Voters and Grown-up Politicians

If we learned to shut up and get on with the job and not commentate on everything, our productivity would no doubt soar. Yet, the constant chattering may be one reason we are so good at peacefully changing our leaders.