The week: Cabinet Ministers battle for title of “Worst Performing Minister”

It’s always been difficult to make an accurate judgment of our educational system. It turns out tens of thousands of B.A.’s and M.A.’s, nurses and teachers, doctors and lawyers. Most of them then proceed to lucrative careers and comfortable lives in the U.S. and U.K. This suggests that our education system is in good shape.

On the other hand our education system also turns out of hundreds of thousands of people who go to school for 12 years, yet can only be described as “semi-literate” or “semi-educated”. This suggests that the system is a disaster, and fails the majority of Jamaicans not born into the middle class….

This week’s Ministry of Education debacle is the failure to release/publish this year’s Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) results. Results were expected two weeks ago, but as of Friday evening the results are not out and the Ministry and the Minister are silent……

Henrywilson20010906BMinister Henry-Wilson
Rumours abound as usual (cheating, computer problems, huge numbers of children with top scores, misallocation of thousands of children to a few schools).

Unfortunately, it looks as if Education Minister Maxine Henry -Wilson is imitating her Cabinet colleagues, Ministers Paulwell and Pickersgill, and has decided to make more than 50,000 children and their parents wait in ignorance until she is good and ready to tell them what is going on (or not going on)……… For the past few Fridays, residents of Portmore have waited in vain to hear from Minister Pickersgill what will be the toll they will have to pay for using the (new) Causeway to get to their jobs and schools in Kingston……. Just as builders, contractors, hardware stores, developers and householders waited week after week for Minister Paulwell to decide to allow the importation of cement……….

B Pickersgill 2991-1
Ministers Pickersgill and Paulwell
However, Minister Henry-Wilson should recall that Jamaican women (in this case, the Prime Minister) tend to judge other women more harshly than they judge men, especially nice-talking, rock-solid “Team Portia” gentlemen like Messrs. Paulwell and Pickersgill.

So although Maxine is making a strong bid for the title of “Worst Performing Minister of 2006” she should not expect to be rewarded with any powerful positions (Deputy PM-to-be Pickersgill) or any increased responsibilities (Super Minister Paulwell)….

In fact, she should be very, very careful about how she resolves this little matter affecting the future of 51,000 Jamaican school children lest she find herself in a nice comfortable seat on one of the back benches…..perhaps one where she can admire the neckback of solid-as-a-rock, round-as-a-football Minister Peter Phillips, another gentleman who is not going anywhere……

Geof Brown and Don Anderson discover why Portia was elected !

Geof Brown’s column today cites a speech given by Don Anderson, the market researcher who used to do polls for the Gleaner before they found someone with some experience and expertise (Bill Johnson).

Don (and Geof concurs completely) has found out that people vote for politicians that they like ! As opposed to voting for politicians that they don’t like ! Apparently, Geof and Don thought that people voted for politicians based on some sort of rational analysis !!

And, what’s more it is not only Jamaican voters who vote for politicians that they like ! This practice is common in the United States as well !!! Check out President Bush today at Elvis Presley’s home with President Koizumi of Japan, reminding everyone of the only reason he (Bush) was elected : how can you not like a President who takes another President, on a state visit, to visit the home of his favourite singer, who just happens to be Elvis ?

Bushkoizumigraceland-Thumb
(AP)

Oh well, next thing, I suppose Geof and Don will be telling us that this is the reason Seaga lost four General Elections in a row ! The voters never like him……

Seaga-000518
Ms Popular with Mr Seaga
Geof and Don have already realized how this analysis (people vote for politicians they like) could affect next elections. They are predicting a landslide for Portia (unless of course Bruce starts to walk with icy mints, patties, cold beer etc – I don’t think he should try the hug and kiss thing ’cause in Jamaica that is strictly woman business)….

The Bible, the church, the researchers…..

All of us who know our Bible know it is the universal book, because between the Old and the New Testament, almost anyone can find evidence to support almost any position.

Because of this the established churches (Catholics, Methodists, Seventh Day Adventists, Baptists, you name it..) reserve to themselves the right to interpret the Bible for their members.

When we join a particular church, we are accepting that particular church’s interpretation of the Bible.

However, science continually presents all Christians (and Muslims, Hindus etc) with dilemmas, and it’s always interesting (and sometimes terrifying) to observe how the various churches deal with these.

This week Catholic scientists who do embryonic stem cell research were excommunicated. As you probably know, any Catholic who has, participates in or supports abortion is automatically excommunicated, (that is unless you are a very important Catholic such as John Kerry, candidate in the 2004 Presidential elections, in which case saying that you are “Pro-Choice” does not constitute supporting abortion, and you are therefore NOT excommunicated).

In trying to defend itself (and us, of course) from scientific research, the Catholic Church is probably trying to forestall another semi-inevitable scientific discovery – that homosexuals are born, not made. This week, another study was published which suggests that gay men are that way from birth.

Luckily for those who will have to make big changes in their treatment of homosexuals if it turns out that they are born that way, this study only explains why some men are gay – hostile conditions in their mother’s womb.

However, it is likely just a matter of time until scientists come up with comprehensive explanation for homosexuality. Animal researchers have already shown that homosexuality occurs in wild and domesticated animals (orangutans, penguins, sheep, fruit bats etc) contrary to what I was always told in church – that animals don’t do it, it’s strictly a human behavior etc…

If, and when, that time comes, won’t there be a weeping and a wailing and a gnashing of teeth from all those Christians who are just getting used to the idea that homosexuals are human, much less are among God’s children?!!!

Remember to check out this week’s Washington Post piece on being a black gay man to find out how the black American community is almost as scared of gay men as we are in Jamaica (remember I said “almost” – they don’t go in for the burning and killing)

And now for something completely different….

One of my favourite singers (sorry, Elvis) Della Manley, has a new album out.

20060628T220000-0500 107973 Obs Della Manley S Barbican Square 1

I’m rushing out to get my copy and urge you to do the same. Remember you’ll have at least two hours to kill between the Portugual-England match and the main event, Brazil- France.


“Futebol: Sound of Brazilian Football” (Various Artists)


“Football & Samba Groove Association” (Jorge Ben Jor)


“We Are the Champions: Great Football Hit” (Various Artists)


“Jamaica: Football Reggae” (Various Artists)


“It’s Only a Game: Hits & Misses From the Crazy World of British Football” (Various Artists)

[posted with ecto]

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