Another Year : New cast of characters, new problems, same old politics

Unexpected Good News in 2008

The Olympics and the haul of gold won by our athletes

The wonderful celebrations of Independence Day

The Riu Hotel Group actually obeying Jamaica’s laws and regulations and knocking down it’s illegal fourth floor AND opening on time

The election of Barack Obama to President of the United States

Lewis Hamilton, son of a West Indian immigrant to the UK, becoming the youngest ever Formula One World Champion

The 2008 Bad News (and no end in sight)

The performance of Prime Minister Bruce Golding and his JLP Government

Take your pick from the scandals :

Corruption at the JUTC revealed after the murder of its Chairman Douglas Chambers

The firing of the new Boards of Air Jamaica (supposedly for incompetence), and of UDC (supposedly for not agreeing with the PM’s decision to bailout Government Senator Hyacinth Bennett and her Hydel Group of schools) and of the Tourist Board (supposedly because they didn’t agree to give Butch Stewart’s surrogate, John Lynch, the job of Executive Director).

The “disappearance” of $15 million dollars from a safe at the Financial Investigations Division

Or take your pick from the missteps:

PM Bruce Golding’s “No gays in my Cabinet” claim in a BBC interview served to inflame an already murderously homophobic Jamaica.

PM Bruce Golding’s assertion that schools are “extorting” money from students by charging auxiliary fees. Apparently teachers and Principals should offer extracurricular activities and maintain school facilities out of their own pockets, since the Government contributes only 50% of what is required to run a school.

Ministers Audley Shaw (Finance) and Edmund Bartlett (Tourism) asserting that Jamaica, alone among the world’s economies, would suffer no fallout from the global economic crisis, only to have to walk back those comments within a few days as the “facts” came in.

PM Bruce Golding keeping the gravely ill Derrick Smith as Minister of National Security until soaring murder rates forced his hand, and then turning over the Ministry of Mining and Telecommunications to the still gravely ill Derrick Smith as the bauxite industry implodes under the weight of debt and the global economic crisis.

The Sugar Company of Jamaica and Jamaica Cane Products Sales falling for a con and managing to lose $87 million of cane farmers money.

Yes, it’s true. In one short year the JLP has managed to make Portia and P.J.’s reign of error look like the good, old days.

Winner: Contractor General Greg Christie who’s showing he can sniff out JLP as well as PNP corruption

Winner: Edward Seaga, former Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, who warned us about Bruce Golding some time back. Whodathoughtit ?

The continued breakdown of community and civil society

DCP in charge of Crime, Mark Shields, says what went bad a morning can’t come good by evening and he ends his contract. A great loss to his Jamaican female fans, but apparently no loss to the Jamaica Constabulary Force : our murder rate goes ever upward.

The new Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewellyn, reminded us that it’s impossible to successfully prosecute crimes without witnesses and nobody wants to risk their life to be a witness.

Jamaican women and children are dying in ever more horrible ways at the hands of Jamaican gunmen, as well dying at hands of their husbands, boyfriends and fathers.

An international organization, the World Economic Forum, tells us the-no-news-to-any-Jamaican-woman truth that Jamaica is no great shakes when it comes to improving the status of women; and Wayne Chen, head of the Jamaica Employers Federation, says this can’t be true because “anecdotally, I don’t see that to be the case”. And, you know, men thinking, anecdotally, that Jamaican women don’t suffer from discrimination, is the same thing as women actually getting a fair shake at jobs, promotion, money, status…..(N.B. Wayne Chen’s predecessor as head of the Jamaica Employers Federation, a woman, resigned the post earlier this year after receiving numerous credible death threats….)

Murder continues to be the leading cause of death for young Jamaican men. Young Jamaican men also continue to be the leading perpetrators of crime.

The stealing of a beach marks a new low point in the normal trials and tribulations of doing business in Jamaica.

Winners: Jamaican cops in the JCF who feel they were passed over for the Scotland Yardies, and are cheering the departure of Mark Shields.

Well, naturally, there’s plenty of other stuff to mull over:-

The Chinese workers “found” working at one of the Secrets hotel sites

The leadership contest in the PNP. Portia, winner and still champion

The Reggae Boyz. No trip to South Africa but a bright future with Mr. Barnes ?

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