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Saturday, December 31, 2011


An Article from GleanerBlogs (Jamaica) . . .

This article is reproduced from the December 30, 2011 Gleaner Blogs. It was posted by "Levyl". It definitely has relevance/significance (and implications, too) for our own St. Lucia. Read on . . . and tell me what you think:

"There is a Green Paper on the proposed national sports policy that it took the Jamaica Labour Party four long years to put together. The Government that will be formed by the incoming People’s National Party (PNP) will have the opportunity now to peruse the extensive document and determine whether it is a feasible way to move forward with the development of sport as an economic driver for Jamaica’s stagnant economy.

"Prior to these elections one never got the sense that Jamaica’s lawmakers took sports seriously enough. They saw it primarily as recreation and not as a business, an industry through which employment can be generated and through which Jamaica can earn significantly. As I have said repeatedly Jamaica is a strong brand, one that was made strong by our success in sports and entertainment. Just today, international celebrity website TMZ published a story and pictures of World and Olympic Champion Usain Bolt partying over the the Christmas holidays. How many other Jamaican athletes have you ever seen been featured on websites such as this? Which other Jamaican sports personality have been pictured conversing with movie stars such as Sandra Bullock? The Bolt era is approaching its peak and we would be foolhardy not to capitalize on what he has brought to Brand Jamaica. Similarly, Asafa Powell, Yohan Blake, Shelly Ann Frazer and Veronica Campbell Brown are virtually household names in Europe. However, the window is closing fast on the chances that we have to really make a financial killing.

"The PNP’s campaign spokesman Delano Franklyn, speaking on election night after his party had been declared convincing winners, said the new Government will have to hit the ground running. His statement could not have been more appropriate. London 2012 is just six months away and Bolt as well as Jamaica will have yet another major platform from which to sell Jamaica once again. Beijing came as a bit of a surprise, London gives us a chance to really position the country to make hay while the sun is still shining.

"“One of the first things that the new government will have to do is very quickly review where the currrent Ministry of Sport is in relation to sport development in Jamaica. This includes coming quickly to a decision on moving the Green Paper to a White Paper ensuring that the White Paper reflects what the government and most importantly, the stakeholders would wish to do in terms of sports development. It will also include the re-introduction of the National Sports Council (NSC) which hardly met, if at all, under the last government. Also, sports will have to be examined and approached from a business perspective thus leveraging sporting opportunities within and outside the country with a view of adding to the country’s economic stock,” Franklyn said the morning after.

"Franklyn has written a number of books on Jamaican sports and is very aware of this country’s shortcomings as it relates to the opportunities that have passed us by in relation to the nation’s sporting prowess. I would hope that he will use his influence to speed along all the processes necessary for Jamaica to start reaping the benefits. Should Prime Minister designate decide to maintain her position as sports minister, she has people on whom she can call. In addition to Franklyn, Lisa Hanna, one of the shining stars of the PNP’s successful campaign, has very good ideas on what can be done to develop sports here in Jamaica. During a couple of conversations I have had with her on the matter I was left impressed with her vision on how Jamaica can really benefit from sports. Revenues from sports are estimated at about 2.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product. Imagine if we should triple that over the next decade or so what it would mean for the country as it relates to job creation and the emergence of new sports-related business?

"Think about the possibility of Jamaica raising US$300 or US$400 million to build a new multi-purpose national stadium that could be used to primarily host international sporting events and conventions. In the short term such a project would employ thousands of people, then in the medium term, support industries to deal with the maintenance of the facility and concession stands that would be in operation for major events. International track meets, exhibition basketball and tennis matches, swimming competitions, football matches as well as events like World’s Strongest Man competition and international body building contests, would all be possible with the right marketing and promotion. Money from broadcast rights, gate receipts, and tourist arrivals would help pay off the money raised for the construction while employing thousands and generating millions that would help fill the national purse.

"Such has to be the thinking. Jamaica: the sporting destination of the Caribbean and perhaps even the world.

"In addition to the national sports policy, there are other internal issues that the new Government will have to address with some amount of exigency. The matters relating to the board of the Sports Development Foundation and Insports, primary drivers in local sports development cannot be ignored. Local sporting bodies are struggling and need all the help that can be mustered. They need also to be aided in learning how to raise the profiles of their respective sports so that Jamaica can unearth other talents that are out there waiting to be discovered.

"It is also time for Jamaica to develop a national sports museum that will celebrate Jamaica’s sporting success over the years, from Arthur Wint winning Jamaica’s first gold medal at the ’48 Games in London, to Donald Quarrie’s 200 gold in Montreal all the way to the Reggae Boyz qualification for the World Cup in 1998 to the exploits of our current crop of international athletic stars. Such a museum can be an attraction for people from all across the world to see and respect. It would also be a good way in which to honour those who have been undeservedly forgotten.

Much needs to be done and I would hope that the lip service that has been paid to sports development over the years will be replaced by deliberate action that in the long run will make Jamaica a much better place for business of sport."


Friday, December 30, 2011


Late last night, the preliminary results indicated that the PNP had won 41 seats and the JLP 22 or almost two thirds majority compared to the razor-edge majority by which the JLP won in 2006.

On a personal level, Andrew Holness was my friend during my college years at UWI. I campaigned for him when he ran for the position of President of the UWI (Mona) Guild of Undergraduates. He is not necessarily anywhere close to my “industry-standard” politician; but he has come a long way in respect of his political maturation. I had a feeling that despite his admirable performance as a Minister for Education et al, compared with Golding and Seaga, he was still a “Prime Minister in training” and he was yet to complete his political novitiate; in that context, he was light years away from his predecessors, Seaga and Golding.

Sometimes, I feel tempted to believe that he was turned into a sacrificial lamb for Golding’s prime ministerial sins.

Having said this, I must confess that I have a deep personal liking for both Golding and also Seaga. They both are very talented leaders who have impressed me a great deal.

I was a student in Jamaica when Golding broke away from the JLP to form his own NDM party. I thought that he initially made a dramatic and profound first impression with his political philosophy, rhetoric and appeal to academia; but in the end, his NDM political experiment was not sustainable and it failed.  

I had the honour of listening to Seaga at a Hall Dinner; and I felt that I could listen to him “forever”. He was a veritable no-nonsense leader; but his “its-my-way-or–the-highway” idiosyncrasies might have compromised his political credibility. On the Jamaican political landscape, however, he was highly likeable, very charismatic and hugely popular. He was a sort of legend who was loved by the USA.

Seaga was well-known for his “sublime” don-manship. I say “sublime” arguably because while his opponents might have thought he was controversial for his embrace of garrison politics, he somehow paradoxically kept his national honour intact - just as John Compton did. He – like Sir John - was never found guilty of, neither was he embroiled in any indictable or atrocious offense or crime even when it was alleged that his “disciple” Dons like the late Lester Coke pursued their “garrison agenda” on his behalf.

Personally, I am not a fan of the 66-yr old Portia Simpson. I preferred PJ by light years. I have always had issues with her leadership of both country and party. It is noteworthy that Like Seaga, she is/was a Don, earning over 100% of the votes cast in her constituency!

On the charismatic plane, Portia is arguably the antithesis of Golding and Seaga. She lays no claim to academia; and she does not pretend to be intellectual, even when she is the holder of a degree in Public Administration and an honorary doctorate in humane letters. During her debate with Holness, most people thought she had made a fatal mistake when she ventured into the “taboo territory” of buggery law review. She was blasted by homophobic elements across Jamaican society and also online readers of major newspapers.  

Even if I am not a fan of Portia, I might be more inclined to embrace the philosophical plane of her party than that of the JLP. My political philosophy is largely asymmetrical with the philosophy of the JLP - even if it portrays itself as a Labour Party. My view is that the JLP is not a genuine labour party; but more like our UWP.

In spite of all the badness Jamaica is alleged to be known for, I am not aware that there was/is a single convicted criminal or a candidate with questionable or checkered background running for political office – as were the case for St. Lucia. In fact, the Minister for Mining honourably and gracefully stepped down from his Ministerial and political office on his own accord when his US Visas were revoked.

In any case and notwithstanding, because of the “comparative maturity’ of Jamaican democracy, it is inconceivable that any of the political parties would tolerate that quirky situation; neither would the press or the electorate remain mute about it. Only in St. Lucia!

Late last night, the preliminary results indicated that the PNP had won resounding 41 seats (or almost two thirds majority) compared to the JLP's 22. In 2006, the JLP  won by a razor-edge majority.

Congratulations to Honorable Portia Simpson!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jamaica's opposition party dominates elections

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Preliminary results show that opposition leader Portia Simpson Miller has reclaimed leadership of Jamaica in a dramatic political comeback.

Election Director Orrette Fisher tells The Associated Press that based on preliminary results "it appears safe to say" that the 66-year-old Simpson Miller's party will return to power.

Fisher says he is waiting for all electoral officers to report to his office before he releases a final breakdown of parliamentary seat tallies. He expected his office to release the official count on Saturday.

Simpson Miller was tossed out of office four years ago in a narrow election defeat.

Her victory Thursday marks a major political comeback.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011



It was good to hear Sir Viv come out and speak frankly about the captaincy of Darren Sammy. He claimed that although Sammy is definitely not in the category of great (or even good) captains, his attempts to motivate the team have been admirable.

Previously, Sir Viv also took the cricketing authorities to task for their untenable marginalisation of former West Indies opener Chris Gayle.

Generally, I share Sir Viv’s sentiments; and indeed they are welcomed – and perhaps a lot more tenable than the hardlined and seemingly uncompromising position of the WI cricketing authorities in respect of Gayle, which seem to be steadily losing merit, especially as the thin layer of emotion wears out and logic and wisdom come to the fore.

It is perceived by many that West Indies Cricket is in a deep “black hole” with no immediate prospects of escape within sight. The “on the field” performance has been uninspiring and the “off the field” behaviour has been the subject of much controversy. The big question is: Are the two interrelated or inter-causal? Suffice it to say that there seems to be a strong, prevailing ”hypothesis of no difference”, albeit vague.

The fact that we have three St. Lucians at the helm (namely Dr Julian Hunte, Dr Ernest Hilaire, and Darren Sammy) has drawn St. Lucia into the centre of the debate.

Let's be fair: the hypothesis of no difference “on the field” and “off the field” is not entirely without merit and it’s not entirely “un-falsifiable” either! What may be unfair is the attribution of the current failure of the West Indies to the St. Lucians holding the three top positions;  not that they are un-blameworthy but to assign the blame to at their foot may be dishonest and unfair.  

Popular and experienced West Indies Cricket commentator, Tony Cozier - immersed in his own Bajan-centric idiosyncrasies has been circling around some of those issues – not necessarily offering relevant solutions, but apparently more intent on generating discourse in a certain direction - the direction of “dissensus”.

The recently concluded one-day series against India has perhaps given Tony’s "fast medium" ramblings a little more "pace" and he is now bringing his bouncers closer to the body of WICB, pitching them short of a good length, directing them towards the bodies of Hilaire and Hunte.

We cannot claim that the West Indies “on-the-field” performance has escaped scrutiny - indeed, it needs greater scrutiny; and the hypothesis that Darren Sammy is more of a “liability than an asset” to the Team is definitely gaining plausibility – despite Sir Viv’s diplomatic enticements relating to the West Indies skipper.

The recent series against India gave us “on again” and “off again” hope – hope which was dashed as quickly as it was raised; and so the perennial cycle of failure continued.

West Indies are 7th in the World rankings and India did justice to that "statistic" by pummeling our bowling attack, especially in the one day series to record the 4th highest total ever achieved in this form of the game and one of their batsman added more insult to injury by achieving the highest individual score in a one day series.

I do not subscribe to the irrationality and conspiracy theories concocted by Tony Cozier who I believe can do better. Some of the pseudo-political issues raised by him in a recent article in the Trinidad Guardian appear more “art” than “matter”, more irrational than rational, more imagined than real, more destructive than constructive to West Indies cricket.

Writing in the Trinidad Guardian, Cozier argued that “both Hunte and Hilaire are politicians with prominent positions on the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP)” and posits that now that the SLP was “elected as the government” they “could come under the ICC microscope”.

Cozier’s argument is not only non-sequitur, puerile and largely untenable; it is fundamentally misplaced. Moreover, in it there is a hidden and silly suggestion of exclusion of the two gentlemen from West Indies cricket on the ground that they have openly and honestly expressed their political affiliation. That type of polemic has its colonial context but this is outside the scope of this article.

Does Tony have evidence to “prove” that their affiliation is a ”counter-instance” to the growth and success of WI Cricket? In my opinion, he has largely ignored – or deliberately chose to be ignorant of – the political context and international realities of the sport.

Although the ICC categorically rejected Tony’s hypothesis of politics and West Indies cricket, it apparently left traces of doubt in his mind; he apparently was not happy with the ICC ruling even when he conceded that “the ICC move to prevent government interference was specifically aimed at Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka where government control of cricket is comprehensive".

Another Cozier irrationality was reflected in the claim that “There remain those close to the ground in St Lucia who believe, once his contract expires, Hilaire will return to government business, now that the SLP is back in power.” I have not understood the heuristic of this argument. I will only say that Cozier was perhaps ventriloquizing.

Notwithstanding all of the above, I am very concerned about the future of West Indies cricket. I am aware of the proliferation of anti-Lucian sentiments doing the rounds on some cricketing blogs and the extrapolation of the administrative idiosyncrasies of Hilaire and Hunte to St. Lucia as a whole. I wish we would to demarcate with honesty. The two gentlemen are not representing St. Lucia’s interest in West Indies cricket; the fact that they are St. Lucians on the Board is largely coincidental.

In any case, West Indies decline predates the ascension of the three St. Lucians at the top.

Arguably, there may have been some gains; but they have not been fundamental or sustainable. Sammy’s captaincy is under the microscope and I believe his days may be numbered. If he were not the captain, would he have earned a place on the side?

Lately, I find him making tactical errors and dropping simple catches.  As Sir Viv said, he tries to inspire and energise the team on the field but I also believe he has fundamental leadership limitations; his batting and bowling obviously also lack consistency. I can’t remember him playing a quality captain’s innings.

The fundamental question is: Will the selectors (not Hunte and Hilaire) keep Sammy as Captain of the West Indies? I won’t be surprised that they don’t!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sir Viv Bats for Gayle

ST JOHN'S, Antigua (CMC) — Sir Vivian Richards has condemned the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) for their handling of their dispute with batting star Chris Gayle.

The West Indies legend said he did not agree with every decision or approach taken by Gayle in handling some of the issues he faced with the WICB.

But Sir Viv said he found it difficult to understand how the WICB could tow such a hardline when the regional governing body has not been living up to their responsibilities as the guardians of the game.

"I would like to believe that at present, the WICB is basically making Chris Gayle out to be this villain about apologising and what he has got to do, the criteria that is required for him to be part of the unit again, and I just think that's a little far-fetched in my opinion," he told the Antigua Observer newspaper.

"Let me also take this opportunity to also say that I am not in Chris Gayle's corner (with) most decisions he makes, but I think that this whole issue itself, it is very potent enough that I feel he needs some support where these matters are concerned."

Gayle has not played for West Indies since the World Cup, after roundly criticising the WICB in an interview with a Jamaican radio station.

Gayle has remained sidelined after several meetings and the WICB has demanded an apology from the estranged opener, which he has refused.

Richards felt the WICB had no moral ground on which to make such a heavy demand on Gayle.

"It is ludicrous for them now wanting Chris Gayle to come with some apology when they, knowing that something was wrong and maybe these are some of the issues Chris Gayle was trying to address and nobody was listening before," said Richards.

"He may or may not apologise, but that's his particular call. What I am saying is that how dare them at this point wanting so much from Chris when they have given so little."

Sir Vivian said he could not advise Gayle what route he should take, but it was clear that he wanted to play for West Indies -- and that he could make a difference to the fortunes of the side.

"I guess just judging from what I would have seen that he clearly wants to be in the West Indies team," he said.

"But sometimes you need to go through these periods of time where there are tribulations and you can shape your whole life how you want to in future and I guess that he realises this and he is getting older and he would like to make a contribution."

He said: "I guess they can be a turnaround because what I do see and maybe it was all in evidence for us to have a look as well, when he was in the IPL, how enthusiastic he looked.

"He was jumping around just having fun and after seeing that, maybe given another opportunity, he could help to shape things."

Gayle is in Australia now, preparing for the Big Bash League Twenty20, where he will play for the Sydney Thunder.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


A French court has convicted former President Jacques Chirac of diverting public funds and abusing public confidence.

Mr Chirac, 79, was not in court to hear the verdict because of ill-health.

President from 1995 to 2007, he was put on trial on charges that dated back to his time as mayor of Paris.

He was accused of paying members of his Rally for the Republic (RPR) party for municipal jobs that did not exist.


Saturday, December 10, 2011


By Sir Ronald Sanders

“Nonetheless, the failure of the two ruling parties in St Lucia and Guyana to win the elections overwhelmingly indicates that high spending - while it may have captured a small number of voters – is no longer a decisive weapon.   Big spending on advertising, musical extravaganzas and give-aways, and abuse of state resources by ruling parties will not buy an electorate that is dissatisfied with performance.”

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday December 8, 2011 - General elections in St Lucia and Guyana on November 28 have raised serious questions about the financing of campaigns and the unfair use of state resources by governing political parties to gain an advantage over their opponents.

In St Lucia, it is alleged that a significant portion of the United Workers Party (UWP) campaign funds came from Taiwan.  The UWP was the ruling party at the time of the elections and the then leader of the Opposition and leader of the St Lucia Labour Party (SLP), Kenny Anthony, had engaged in a public row with the Taiwanese Ambassador over his blatant interference in the electoral politics of the island.

In Guyana, it is claimed that the ruling Peoples Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) outspent its three rivals by a sizeable margin in the elections campaign. 

International observers from the Commonwealth and the Organisation of American States (OAS) commented unfavourably on campaign financing in both countries. The OAS Observer Mission in St Lucia pointedly called for legislation, including strengthening the Integrity Commission and auditing and reporting mechanisms, and it noted that “Saint Lucians have no access to information regarding campaign financing by the parties”.  In Guyana, a similar observation was made by the Commonwealth Observer Group who said “the requirement for declarations of election expenses by parties after the election is not adhered to and the law in this regard is largely symbolic”.

Local observer also raised concerns that both the UWP in St Lucia and the PPP/C in Guyana abused their positions in government to exploit state resources to bolster their positions during the period leading to the elections.

What is significant is that despite the fact that the ruling parties spent more on their campaigns and manipulated state resources to boost their prospects, the opposition parties did extremely well.  In St Lucia, the SLP defeated the UWP overwhelmingly to form the government.  In Guyana, the opposition parties, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) with 40.8 per cent of the votes cast and the Alliance for Change (AFC) with 10.3 per cent enjoyed enough support to deny the PPP/C the overall majority in the National Assembly that it had since 1992.   Consequently, having secured 48.7 per cent of the voter turn-out, the PPP/C, although it won the Presidency on a plurality of the vote, has had to form a minority government.   Of the 65 member National Assembly, the PPP/C has 32 seats and the combined opposition has 33 with 27 held by APNU and 6 by the AFC.

The Commonwealth Observer Mission in Guyana also criticised the bias displayed by the state-owned media for the ruling party.  It said the Media Monitoring Unit analysis indicated “overt bias in state-owned media in favour of the government and ruling party” and added “state-owned media has a higher moral responsibility to serve the interests of all citizens, particularly as in some parts of the country it is the only media available to citizens”. This phenomenon is not unique to Guyana. In other parts of the Caribbean, the state-owned media is increasingly controlled by ruling parties for party political propaganda and to deny opposition parties a voice. But, again, it is noteworthy that despite government control of the state media, the opposition parties in Guyana gave the ruling party a robust fight.  It is a warning to all ruling political parties that restricting democracy by muzzling state-owned media will do them more harm than good in the judgement of the electorate.

In St Lucia, the SLP has formed the government and Kenny Anthony is Prime Minister while the UWP and its leader, Stephenson King have been scattered in the wind of change ushered in by a dissatisfied electorate.

Read the full story here.


A woman in the Czech Republic has been mauled to death by as many as 25 Rottweilers, police have said.

Officers were reportedly called to a house by a woman saying she was being attacked by her family's dogs.

When they arrived at her home, in a village north-west of Prague, police said they found the dogs and the body of a 60-year-old woman.

The dogs - eight adults and 17 young - have been placed in a shelter pending a police investigation.

"Several dogs attacked their owner around 0600 (0500 GMT). She died immediately after suffering serious wounds," police spokesman Daniel Vitek said, according to Agence France Presse.

Neighbours quoted in the media said the dogs belonged to the woman's daughter, and were neither fed nor looked after properly.

One neighbour said he had ignored the woman's screams, as the family would often shout at the dogs for barking too loudly.


Thursday, December 8, 2011


Nobody dares to judge the performance of a Government in 8 days! But honesty dictates that Dr Anthony deserves an early round of applause for, at least, a couple of “meta-achievements” in his first week in Office.

Theoretically, the “conceptualization” and "configuration" of the new cabinet are such achievements; no less is the attempt at a rapprochement with the opposition forces.

Those are just early glimpses - perhaps even predictors - of the quality of governance and equally our expectations of the SLP government. Arguably, there seems to be a general perception and perhaps consensus that the architecture of the Cabinet alone inspires confidence and raises our expectations. Dr Anthony has a watershed of young talent and he has boldly and proactively configured his Cabinet in a way that he believes will maximize those talents.

The new portfolios of Heritage Creative Industries, Science and Technology, Community Empowerment and Rural Development are profoundly welcomed. They signal a focus-shift to previously untapped and unrecognized areas, particularly Science &Technology which had hitherto been given a relatively “low profile” – almost a de-emphasis - at the level of government.

Among other things, I expect to see the creation and implementation of a scientific and technological policy framework that affords Science and technology their "rightful niche" in a society which is perceived in some quarters to be generally characterized by a non- or pseudo-scientific orientation.

Science is a creator of wealth; but very little of that wealth is invested into making science better. I see the establishment of Science and Technology as ministerial portfolios as a signal of a paradigm change to improve and elevate those “disciplines”. The moribund scientific society will welcome that initiative.

What impressed me most was Dr Anthony’s honorable attempt to heal the nation’s political wounds via a rapprochement with the political parties and independent candidates. In a stroke of greatness, he “walked across the aisle” and extended a patriotic hand of reconciliation to all the opposition forces. This sublime gesture of unprecedented statesmanship will go down as an honorable act of prime ministerial greatness unrivalled in the history of St. Lucia. If that hand of friendship is accepted, then it may well be the starting point or even a calculus for national reconciliation and unity.

The PM has started his new term with small “glimpses” of excellence; let’s hope his team follows his example and treads that path in the performance and management of their portfolios.

We wish the team success!