Sunday Brew – June 21

Should we give dolls to our boys?

The people who really benefit from the observance of Father’s Day, and Mother’s Day for that matter, are the merchants.

In this society, Mother’s Day is huge, and the merchants can tell you how they wished that there was a Mother’s Day every month. Now, the lesser celebration among the sexes, Father’s Day, is here. As usual, there are some standout men who look after their children and are duly recognised, not only on the so-named day, but almost perennially.

But despite all the accolades afforded the men who have stuck to their duties, heavy criticism of other men ignoring their tasks of looking after the children that they have fathered continues to pile up.

As boys growing up, we were exposed to toys like tricycles, bicycles, water guns, cars, trucks and more. Girls would skin their teeth when dolls were unpackaged. So girls were brought up along the lines of being the ones who would look after the children upon the emergence of adulthood. Their dollies were used as part of that early lesson.

Now, how about this society including dolls as part of the toys stock of boys henceforth? People among us will decry such a move as sissy-like. But think about it. Isn’t this one way, an early move, of getting our boys to become aware of what fatherhood is all about.

I’m one of those who see nothing wrong with boys playing with dolls, even learning to comb their hair and ‘change’ their clothes. It is something that is being done now by dedicated fathers anyway, but maybe the class should be allowed to accommodate more students, so that in later years, fewer men will shy away from their real duties.


Seems like sheer looting at CMU


The more news emerges about the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), is the more it seems that the once fledgling institution, now ashamedly scarred, was serving as a blatant feeding tree for looters in authority.

For how else can anyone explain what was revealed during a sitting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last week, when items were bought at prices that were several times what even the most expensive firms globally would sell them for?

We all heard that $10.6 million of computers and equipment were purchased for the CMU. Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis told the PAC that the computers and equipment cannot be found at the CMU, which itself is another issue. But the fact that they cost so much money had to raise several red flags. Did those doing the purchasing believe that the matter would not come under scrutiny?

How could four laptops, which cannot even be found, cost $2.16 million?; And two tablets going for over $500,000? Oh, maybe they have maps attached that lead to gold and diamond mines.

To top it all off, a software licence, which is valued at $25,000 maximum, was bought by the institution for $256,000.

Somebody, who was at the CMU or who is there now, needs to wear short pants in a facility reserved for those who want to live higher lives than most of us can afford to.


Women stepping up… that’s good

Women are not only dominating medicine now, as the Sunday Observer article said a fortnight ago, but they have positioned themselves to be the drivers of the Jamaican economy quite soon. And that would be a good thing, (if they can work on their mood swings) as all the studies, globally, have shown that women tend to be better at public sector management, being, among other things, far less corrupt than men, and equally, if not more competent.

What we are seeing now is a result of the sacrifice that women have made to push themselves, educationally, so that they can be less dependent on men.

Politically, Jamaica’s experiment with a woman prime minister has not paid off. But it doesn’t mean that others cannot emerge soon and set things straight. Look at what has happened to the United States when a woman lost in her bid to become president almost four years ago.

The field of medicine is one that people respect more than any other. It is a massive achievement by Jamaican Dr Millicent Comrie, for example, to be rated among the top 10 Caribbean medical practitioners in the United States, and etched in the top 100 in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology.

Here, our male doctors have distinguished themselves over the years; among them Dr Guyan Arscott, Dr Edwin Tulloch-Reid, Dr Ray Fraser, Dr Paul Edwards, Dr Elon Thompson, Dr Konrad Lawson, Dr Paul Wright, Dr Winston Dawes, Professor Carlos Escoffery, Dr Tomlin Paul, Dr Warren Blake, and scores of others.

But the reality is that respect has grown too for the women and the work that they have been doing, like the amazing twin sisters Dr Tamara Henry and Dr Tamika Henry, who serve St Ann and St Mary; Dr Audre McIntosh, Dr Marcia Campbell, Dr Sharmaine Mitchell, Dr Natalie Whylie, Dr Belinda Morrison, Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie… and the list continues.

Male doctors will never become redundant, and a huge effort ought to be made for those who can mentor young men with the capacity to achieve, to get their show on the road.

I have a friend, in his seventies, who refuses to visit a male doctor, no matter how sick he gets. The reason: ‘It feels like I get instant relief when I see a female doctor, especially one who looks good. Such a sight gives me hope that I can return to this land after my demise and pick up where I left off in admiring such fine people.’

That’s a hard line position that I’m not sure should be embraced.


A messy situation in St James


Two members of the St James Municipal Corporation were booted just over a week and a half ago, in an exercise that has raised several questions.

The councillor for the Salt Spring division in St James Central, Sylvan Reid, and the man who represents the Catadupa division in St James South, Gladstone Bent, were officially axed from the corporation, after they missed three consecutive meetings of the organisation, without, according to the rules, tendering apologies for absence.

Already, the arguments have started, and there have been threats and promises to take the matter to court. But could the matter have been avoided, in the interest of party to party unity?

The man who pushed the issue, Councillor Charles Sinclair, a former mayor, and now senator, appeared adamant to effect the cut, based upon the rules. My question, though, is could Senator Sinclair have taken the route of having a discussion with the leader of the People’s National Party (PNP) caucus to say, look, this situation exists, I’m not sure what the real problems are why the men have been absent, but let’s discuss this so that we avoid going to the extreme move of expulsion. That did not happen.

Instead, the hammer was slammed, and a shouting match developed between Sinclair, Reid, who had turned up after missing three meetings, and veteran Councillor Michael Troupe.

Sometimes dialogue can serve as the right tonic to ease political pains like this one.

On the other hand, are the PNP councillors worthy of retaining their seats? It was incumbent upon them to at least tender apologies if they would not be present. Any one of their colleagues could do that for them, which now questions the relationship they have with their own.

Dialogue aside, the PNP councillors were dead wrong. They are now left to the mercy of others higher-up, but I’m not even sure if it’s worth the effort.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive

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