Sunday Brew – April 11

Robert Chin should step away from politics

The vulgarity that this country witnessed in the days leading up to the Easter holiday, in the form of Member of Parliament for Manchester Southern Robert Chin handing out custom-baked and packaged buns, must rank as one of the most disgusting sights ever.

Come to think of it… the first time MP’s action has even relegated that of MP for St James West Central, Marlene Malahoo Forte, who would give bun and cheese to constituents and turn around and throw that on her list of achievements, into second place.

Chin is a lucky man. Not even he thought that he could have won Manchester Southern, and even when the final vote count had emerged, I’m sure that he would have had to pinch himself to confirm that he was not living in fantasy land.

The poor organisation of the People’s National Party during the general election campaign last year; the unbelievably low popularity of its president at the time; and factors related to the novel coronavirus… all contributed to an unlikely victory for Chin. Now, he has gone and gnawed away at that win by wrapping buns in thick green images of himself, and I suppose, his councillor candidates. That is not the kind of action that will grow Jamaica. It will only continue to divide it.

Robert Chin went too far. He does not understand what representation means, and he should walk away from elective politics for doing something like what he did. There can be no excuse for that kind of conduct.

And even when he said on Nationwide Radio that the buns were packaged for party workers, that’s plain hogwash. You don’t need to make a marketing statement to your party workers. They know or should know who you are. So boxing up party buns could only be an appeal to uncommitted voters.

Will the prime minister and leader of the Jamaica Labour Party, Andrew Holness, scold Chin over the matter? Don’t count on it.

I am also disappointed in the move made by MP for Clarendon Northern, Phillip Henriques, an exceedingly honest, decent, and fair man, who also got caught up in the carnival, by wrapping his Easter buns in green packages. Not good. There is no need for that. Buns and packages of cheese, too, should not be handed out under any particular colour. It would have been just as bad if a People’s National Party MP had done the same thing by packaging buns in orange, the colour that the party goes by.

It’s time to grow up. 

Holness right about dancehall lyrics and crime link

Shed crocodile tears all they want, there are several so-called deejays out there who are responsible for influencing Jamaica’s high crime rate.

That’s why Prime Minister Holness is spot on in his position that, effectively, some entertainers and their lyrics are to blame for encouraging crime in Jamaica.

My position is that some of these deejays, in prison and on the outside, have used their lyrics to increase the crime rate for decades, perhaps by as much as 30 per cent. It is simply incredible to visualise how powerful these deejays are, especially on the younger members of the population. That sad situation is where Jamaica finds itself.

The lyrics often incite violence against people, some target homosexuals, for which international governments and organisations have acted against. They also speak to how women are treated, or should be treated, but in all of this, and this is where the prime minister also comes in, although there are clear verbal breaches, check how many of these creatures have been prosecuted.

What’s reality, too, is that prominent people, including politicians, have endorsed some of these lyrical presentations while they are on the campaign trail, by playing these tunes on political platforms and elsewhere.

No one should advocate for voices to be stifled, but there must be standards that are abided by. If you travel across Jamaica, you would be surprised to see how many deejays there are. I suggest that this is the fastest growing industry, despite the crippling effects of COVID-19 on the entertainment landscape. Every other boy you meet now is some kind of deejay, and lyrics do not matter. They say everything.

This country owes a debt of gratitude to its singing and deejay pioneers, among them Bob Marley & The Wailers, Dennis Brown, Alton Ellis, Derrick Morgan, Freddie McGregor, U Roy, Big Youth, Delroy Wilson, John Holt, Leroy Sibbles, Beres Hammond, Yellowman, down to the younger stars like Damian “Jr Gong” Marley, Chronixx, and Protoje.

But now, we are forced to bear the torture of listening to Vybz Kartel, Tommy Lee Sparta, Squash, Mavado, Rygin King and hundreds of no-name pretenders out there.

Jamaica is in big trouble. 

Stop slamming patty shops 

By now, the discourse between executives of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and player representative Damion Lowe would have reached far and wide.

I deliberately refrained from listening to the recording that has been in the public domain for several weeks now, because I wanted to approach the matter with a clear head, and not having to suffer more pain by torturing myself with the usual garbage coming from the JFF leadership.

But nothing has changed, even after the long wait. Initially, the JFF blamed Lowe, who rightly recorded the conversation [because you can’t take these people at their word], for leaking the recording, and while there is no evidence to state categorically that the national defender did that, nothing is wrong with it.

Leaks, to journalists, are good. That’s why they choose to work in media, and not with the National Water Commission, because leaks are such precious commodities and usually lead to action being taken when none would have, under different circumstances.

During the conversation, the arrogance of the JFF officials President Michael Ricketts, General Secretary Dalton Wint, and another voice that Lowe did not recognise initially, that of Bruce Gaynor, a vice-president was obvious. But it was a comment made by Gaynor that, again, had me bobbing and weaving. He, in aggressive fashion, asked Lowe if the player’s representative believed that the JFF was a ‘patty shop’, to which Lowe, naturally, took offence.

Now, had the JFF been a patty shop, or run like one, it would have been far better off. Look at the so-called patty shops across Jamaica and see how efficient and profitable they are. You name them, Tastee, Sugar & Spice, Juici, Mother’s, Pete’s… most or all started out selling patties, and later took on other items, thanks to the profits from patties.

So trying to discredit such entities is not the way to go.

Even Rudolph Speid, who is now deeply involved in the JFF leadership, continues to spew verbal garbage that the JFF does not have money to pay the players, which is really no business of the players, as they are not the ones elected and selected to run the administrative affairs of the sport.

Speid and others complain about lack of sponsorship, when in fact, the reason the JFF cannot get sponsorship is because the business community does not trust the organisation. They view the JFF as a room full of incompetents.

Again, look how fast Chris Williams, representing the Premier League clubs, got $100 million in sponsorship for the league. Do you think that if Williams was president of the JFF he would not be able to attract the kind of money that the sport needs from sponsors?

News that the JFF and the players have reached an agreement in respect of fees is good, but there is no need for anyone to get comfortable, as some foolishness is bound to emerge quite soon, as long as the same people continue to administer the sport. 

Shame that two men continue to live under a bridge

The story of two men living under a bridge near Port Maria in St Mary has been told more than once.

Yet, the men remain under the Llanrumney Bridge, living in sub-human conditions, and no one in authority, local or national, seems to care. And yes, some will claim that there are many people living on the streets of Jamaica, and further push a nonsensical claim that the State cannot afford to house them.

The fact is that in the case of Daniel Stewart and Nicholas Rowe they are two ordinary Jamaicans who became victims of the harsh economic times. They are not insane, or certainly don’t behave that way. One decided to tough it out under a bridge, and invited the other to do likewise.

Some dedicated people of the parish have assisted them over the years with food and clothing, among them Wyatt Williams, a former policeman who now lives in the United States, and whose association with them is reported elsewhere in this newspaper.

However, it takes more than that. On Thursday, I saw both men, on a day when Williams, popularly known as Spur, chose again to extend his generosity under the banner of the charity that he leads – Icons of Annotto Bay.

Apart from the usual challenges associated with hunger, one of the men was ill. I am obviously not a trained medical worker, but my bush doctor knowledge made that clear.

After a period of grooming, laughing, and dining, it was back to where the men call home – left to the perils of the night, unpredictable weather, and uncertainty regarding the next meal.

Come on St Mary Municipal Corporation, is there no room in the inn for them at the Infirmary? Is there any way in which the Member of Parliament, Dr Morais Guy can assist? What about the larger State agencies?

Jamaica, we can do better for the less fortunate.


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