Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Proverbial 'Bamboo Fire'

I was reading this article in the Jamaica Observer and I swear, certain people in our Jamaican society (READ: certain constituencies on both sides of the political divide) are masochists! They vote the same way for years despite the same 'nothing' going on for these same years. Is it that they misunderstand the importance of exercising their democratic right in achieving their own 'greater good'?

I sincerely hope that with this significant increase in the number of youths that have registered to vote as per the May 31 voter's list that there will be an increase in scrutiny of what is being done and put forward by the political parties in Jamaica. Though some may argue that the type of government we have does not suit us, it is what we have and we may as well work with it. I hope this new interest, whether a 'flash in the pan' or not will bring about a new drive by Jamaicans to do away with voting for a party because of tradition and start something unheard of in Jamaica - voting for better! The old uneducated fools who have been responsible for leading Jamaica down a path of destruction for 18 unbroken years and then some need to be removed, there is still hope for Jamaica - men (and women) like Davies are on their way out, Roger Clarke is gone, A.J. Nicholson 'cut', Portia Simpson-Miller, as we say in Jamaica 'a gyaap', there seems to be a cry for 're-imagination and re-birth' in the People's National Party (PNP) and that is long overdue and welcome.

I am not in a position to fairly judge those members of the Jamaica Labour Party as frankly, I have not seen much of them in leadership of the country. I do remember as a very young child under an Edward Seaga led Jamaica being given a wet $2 note by one of the workers on the farm that I grew up as change for my mother who had asked him to purchase batteries for a flashlight and that worker being verbally reprimanded by another worker for giving me 'so much money' lest I lose it. Bread was cheap, milk was cheap, corned beef and tin mackerel were also cheap. Crime wasn't so bad, the dollar was doing OK for itself and there was not so much lawlessness in Jamaica. Fast forward couple years to the beginning of a Bruce Golding led JLP government. A country inherited from 18 years of PNP 'leadership' debt is sky-high, crime and violence increased, bad roads, worse economy and a beaten and battered Jamaican dollar among many other ills, especially those in our Society. I was fairly pleased with that rather short JLP administration's achievements in comparison to the PNP's 18 years and it is against that backdrop that I am able to make a comparison.

Let's hope this cry for not 'better' but actual 'leadership' is not merely being championed by those with self-serving aspirations but is being done by people who genuinely want to see better for their party second and their country above all. The likes of Peter Bunting, Lisa Hanna and Julian Robinson all seem attractive to Jamaica against the likes of what previously obtained in that of those mentioned in the previous paragraph and also of Robert Pickersgill, Peter Phillips and and the 'youthfully exuberant' Phillip Paulwell who has not done too well for himself since his much heralded entry into Political representation. Let's hope Jamaica stands to benefit from the boat-rocking.

Anyway, the direction I see Andrew Holness taking the country is promising, is it that we will see new governance and leadership in Jamaica or is it the proverbial 'bamboo fire' that just blazes up to die down as quickly as it started?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Devaluation - Who Benefits?

Oil has dropped a huge chunk of its value, so too our currency - back to square one! If I am to meet you at a point equidistant between you and me, you go then double the distance between you and that point in the opposite direction and I go to the point we are supposed to meet, will I meet you, have we made any gains? Same thing with our dollar and the price of oil. If we had kept the dollar stable, and oil prices fell, think of how much more oil our present expenditure on oil would be able to purchase.

Its these things the Jamaican population cannot wrap their heads around because they are too daft, impoversihed, under-fed and fed-up. A significant amount of them were born to this so they are totally unaware that there could be better.

Just imagine how much improvement there would have been in the life of the average Jamaican if the exchange rate was 86:1 when oil is US$46/barrel? Simple math that would be J$3956/barrel as opposed to $5612/barrel now at 122:1. Imagine had the dollar been stable how much less we would pay on electricity bills? I wont even go on to mention anything else, so the IMF, Byles and Phillips and all those fools, I wonder what is it they stand to gain from a devaluing currency?

It makes one wonder who benefits with a PNP  Government? Obviously not the average Jamaican.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Possible Solution to the Zika Virus Risk for Jamaica for the NSWMA (mainly)

The idiots who run the NSWMA are the ones who placed us at risk for the CHIK-V and now ZIK-V. They cut out communal receptacles and implemented kerb-side collection. As an Environmental Health officer, I will now put forward why that increases the risks of mosquito breeding. The Aedes aegypti mosquito has a flight range of up to 100 metres, some literature put it at 65M max, for our purposes, let's leave it at 100. Communal receptacles are what we call 'skips' or dumpsters and they are to be placed at central locations within an area. Kerb-side collection is collection of garbage from individual receptacles at each house. Now, think about how that is executed: the garbage truck drives up to each home, a man comes off and picks the receptacle up and empties it into the truck - tedious and time-consuming and the truck has to make many stops. Communal receptacles at a central location throughout various points in the community strategically located results in the garbage being handled by the workers in a more sanitary manner if they are implemented properly.

We all know that the NSWMA has issues with trucks and reliability and funds to maintain the trucks, as a result, garbage has been known to go uncollected for weeks - months in some cases. So, uncollected garbage at each home puts the members of that household in a position where there is proliferation of potential (and actual) mosquito breeding sites. Had the garbage been placed at a central receptacle outside of the flight range of the Aedes aegypti mosquito breeding of these mosquitoes would be less likely and people would therefore be less likely to be bitten and control would be a lot less of a problem. Additionally, we would now have only a few places to clean up whereas with the kerb-side collection, each household has a garbage issue.

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes unlike many other mosquitoes prefer human blood upwards of 95% of its blood is from humans - therefore they are considered one of the most 'domesticated' mosquitoes on earth. Other species such as its cousins Aedes albopictus and Ae. medio-vittatus are not as selective, Ae. albopictus rarely being seen with more than 75% human blood and the Ae. medio-vittatus (Tree-Hole Mosquito) having less than 50%. There are other mosquitoes such as the Culex quinquefasciattus, C. negripalpus, C. corniger, C. mediator and C. janitor all of which are found in Jamaica are less picky and bite pretty much anything with blood that moves (species of Culex are known to spread heartworms in dogs).

But I digress...

Problem: kerb-side (house to house) collection of garbage; it has its pluses and is what is used in most 'developed' countries as a means of collection. It is fancy and ideal for the householder but it is not what we must adopt solely because it is used in developed countries - that should never be a reason we adopt anything. These countries use such methods because they are in a position to fund it - Jamaica is not!!! This method puts each household at risk of mosquito-borne diseases especially since the trucks don't work that well and garbage often goes uncollected for weeks on end. It is better to have the garbage piled-up in one location outside the flight-range of the Ae. aegypti than have many small piles of garbage at each premises.

Solution: Go back to a central receptacle, at strategic locations in the communities ideally outside of the flight-range of the mosquitoes, people will eventually start using them. This reduces maintenance costs on the trucks due to less wear and tear as a result of constant stopping, the trucks wouldn't need 3 to 4 workers all lifting heavy loads at frequent stops. Couple this with Public Education, and we will see the billions saved - you can thank me later.