Sunday Brew — March 10, 2019

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What’s got into the PNP’s general secretary?


In the midst of the fuss surrounding Damion Crawford’s utterances at a People’s National Party rally to introduce him as the party’s candidate for Portland Eastern in the now April 4 by-election, came a quite silly remark by the PNP’s g eneral s ecretary Julian Robinson.

What Crawford said has been met with a mixed bag of reactions. My only concern in an otherwise brilliant speech was the emphasis on colour in respect of Crawford’s challenger, Annmarie Vaz. It was not necessary, considering too, that spread across the platform and in the crowd were faces of even lighter pigmentation than that of Mrs Vaz.

So maybe in future, Crawford can look at something like that and think hard before pushing such a point. He is a brilliant orator and at this point I would say he is a favourite to win the seat left vacant by the unfortunate murder of Dr Lynvale Bloomfield, based upon the numbers from the last election.

But here comes the foolishness. Lo and behold, Robinson, in an interview on Nationwide Radio aired last Tuesday afternoon/evening, blamed the furore on the media. Can you imagine? The media again in the spotlight for reporting the facts!

Robinson was apparently suggesting that the media should not have spent so much time and effort in highlighting that aspect of Crawford’s presentation. What a foolish position to take. Then again, so many people in politics present themselves as authorities on media management and operations, when in fact they know very little about the profession. Robinson is one such individual.

It is bad enough that the PNP decided to have him as its general secretary when he is merely operating in a lost kingdom.

I’m not sure for how long the PNP will continue to keep Robinson in that position when clearly he is not the best man for the job.

When you look back at past PNP general secretaries, including Dr Peter Phillips — the now president, Donald Buchanan, DK Duncan, Peter Bunting, Colin Campbell and Burchell Whiteman, you really have to wonder why the party has lowered the bar. I guess we will find out soon enough. .


Put a money on the Reggae Girlz


People who are gamblers may yet want to invest some faith and confidence in Jamaica’s national women’s football team, known widely as the Reggae Girlz.

Many were shocked when the team qualified for the Women’s World Cup last year, and already some are sceptical about the team’s chances of going beyond the first round of the competition set for France in August, in a group that also includes Brazil, Italy and Australia.

Having seen the Jamaicans play, I have every reason to believe that they can advance to the second round, maybe even beyond if they do one thing: Believe in themselves.

Far too often teams lose matches before they go onto the battlepitch. The very mention of some teams drive fear into the opposition. If the Jamaicans step onto the pitch against Brazil and Italy for example, they must develop the courage to believe that they are playing against Westwood High and Mount Alvernia High. Complacency has no place in this arrangement, but then who would become complacent against Brazil or Italy? They must slap their chests (not too hard though) and tell themselves that they can do the job. And they can!

In all of the celebration so far, two men deserve more than credit — coach Hue Menzies and assistant coach Lorne Donaldson. If they were not around, dog woulda nyam the women’s supper. And they did it without getting salaries. Now is the time to make them happier by finalising appropriate compensation packages for them.



Dr Nigel Clarke’s master stroke


There is no dispute over the brilliance of Dr Nigel Clarke. Well, unless some who doubt that must be living in Mars or other such places.

The Minister of Finance in opening the Budget Debate last Thursday announced, among other things, a reduction in the amount of taxes that Jamaicans will pay to the State by around $14 billion. But of particular significance is the lowering of the stamp duty and transfer tax that will no doubt serve as a fillip for the real estate industry and can only be contributing factors in facilitating meaningful growth.

Those who are being tutored at the tertiary level must also be happy with the two per cent reduction in interest payments now offered by the Students’ Loan Bureau, but the greater impact, I’m sure, will be felt by those affected by that treacherous duo of transfer tax and stamp duty that has contrived to help stunt the growth of the economy over the years.

Dr Clarke has been doing well, and the good thing is that he is willing to listen — unlike a tough-headed, egotistic finance minister of the past. Several years ago when I interviewed him after he won the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship I knew that he would answer the call to serve his country with distinction. He has continued the journey, positively.

Of course, as a true Munro boy, he received expert teaching from his dad, the late Neville, an outstanding Kingston College man and jurist extraordinaire.


The constabulary must care its vehicles


So the Jamaica Constabulary Force is to get 1,000 new motor vehicles for the fiscal year 2019-2020. The full amount of used cars ordered by the Government since Noah started to build his Arc has still not been handed over to the JCF, but I hear that will be done soon. How soon is soon is still anybody’s guess.

But to the matter at hand — 1,000 new vehicles between April 1 this year and March 31 next year. Getting the vehicles is one thing, maintaining them is quite another. and we have all seen where the constabulary has not lived up to expectations in that regard.

There has to be greater accountability as far as caring for the fleet is concerned. Police personnel driving them need to treat them as they would their own units, and reduce the wear and tear that often, inevitably, go with the turf — or else by the time the 2020-2021 fiscal year begins we are going to hear that most of the 1,000 units have been either written off the books, or are in the transport and repair division of the force.

It’s a pity that some police personnel cannot be charged with poor treatment of vehicles, or else we would have some well maintained units on the road, ready to go after criminals when prompted to.

Well, a $3-billion investment is certainly worthy of a better system of patrolling how vehicles are kept by those charged by the State to use them wisely, so that they too can be a part of the process of protecting and serving.

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