GLOBAL WARMING AND WATER SUPPLIES

GLOBAL WARMING AND WATER SUPPLIES
Approximately two years ago former president of the NWC E.G. Hunter made a comment on enlargement of the reservoir and dams in Jamaica, Hermitage and Mona. He mentioned that the cost of any rehabilitation of existing storage was not worth the cost; and that the rest of the Island is generally self sustaining in water: Moving the water from source to usage areas was what was necessary to alleviate problems (matching supply to consumption).
At the present time NWC relies on its water trucks to fill the need, and I would adding to the solution piping water from St. Ann and St. James to the nearest points on the System, which can be accommodated. This is expensive no doubt, but not as costly as new reservoirs, or constant dredging of Hermitage. I would hope that NWA will take current rainfall sessions seriously, and not hinge on better rainfall next year to meet the country’s needs. Saving water, better transfers between sources, improved storage, all have to be considered priority; otherwise next year we may be drinking seawater.
(I note that a significant amount of bottled water is available in the supermarket and stores in Jamaica, and I have no problems if the source is Jamaican water. If not, it is a waste of money, and imports of water should be ceased; any savings passed on to water projects. )
This year has been one of the most uncomfortable with heat, and last August it appears from worldwide data has been the hottest month in 130 years. Clearly, major effort has to be made in restricting Carbon bi- products into the atmosphere which seems to be a reason. The Carbon is attributed to burnt fossil fuel, oil, gas, coal and similar products, and has been largely ignored by various nations.
But there is one other major reason: Weather scientists working with Global Warming have theorised in the past, and predict in future years to come, the warming and cooling phenomenon of ‘El Nino’ and ‘la Nina’s”: They contribute more to warming than previously thought.
Though the Pacific Ocean covers one-third of the Earth’s surface, its condition affects the climate of the whole Earth.
The Pacific periodically goes through El Nino to neutral to La Nina, and vice versa. In an ‘’El Nino’,’ warm waters cover a sizable percentage of the Pacific’s area, and this heats the atmosphere. (J.C. Curry, Donald Rapp, Climate, etc). This correlates the Global Warming and CO2 concentration in the past hundred years; though most of the heating effect is due to El Nino warming.
From data researched, it appears that el Nino (warming) to La Nina( cooling) have balanced over the past 120 years, hence the earth remained at fairly average temperature; also indicative that CO2 warming may have barely contributed to Global Warming in that period. There are other variables in this relationship: Solar storms and flaring which will affect temperature as well.
Then more questions arise from these relationships; does excessive CO2 acts as a trigger for El Nino to La Nina Oscillation to grow worse? Then some scientists are predicting that a period of El Nino warming will begin, or has already begun this year.
Kevin Trenberth, a leader in Climatology at the UN, points out that so much heat has come from the sun’s activity this year, and suspects that it is too much for the earth to emit back into space. He further suspects that the heat is warming the Pacific, and there is a large storage of warming beneath the surface. This he feels will this will gradually release through increases in surface and atmospheric temperature, 2014-2015, and already a mild El Nino may be forming, but we need thirty days to confirm.
In which event, we may have to project its effect on rainfall in Jamaica.

(641 words)
©Ramesh Sujanani

GOODS AND SERVICES; THE EXPLANATIONS

I have been reading an article submitted by Dr. Andre Haughton in the Gleaner on September 17, 2014, and I am considering whether the topic has encompassed all sufficient information. Now I ask to be tolerated should my interpretation be different, but I feel this Jamaican Economy is more abnormal than we think.
Dr. Haughton claims that there are three markets for the inputs of production, labour and capital, the market for goods and services, and a financial market. I perceive the market for labour is considerably different from capital, although in many situations labour and capital are interchangeable. You buy a faster machine, and it produces more goods with less labour; in the same space, and with slightly more energy consumption. I believe markets for capital goods which depreciate in 5-10 years, should be treated differently as labour inputs may be changed from maximum to minimum in a very short time period.
Then a ‘’good’’ may be quite different than a service. Technology in the service market is now reaching for the moon, but certain goods are unique in their use and consumption. There are imports at high costs, and low costs, locally produced and demanded, and many consumables which can only be exported depending on imported costs of raw material.
In other words, defining just three markets in this time and place is not feasible: What about a significant black or underground market? Where does this fit in to the mix? Such a fusion exists in many countries of the world, developed and developing, sometimes quite large i.e. Nigeria and India, among others.
The amount of goods and services produced in any given time frame is a function of many inputs. Clearly, labour and capital are two; the ability of the managers and executives to devise ways and means to come up with a final product reflects their level of innovative thinking. The design of an item may be a requirement by the customer to access his market, or a demand from his market for whatever it requires in terms of the products’ function; or none of these; but a standard which is acceptable to the trade, that may be sold by the manufacturer himself.
Now the example being given of a bakery increasing its costs by hiring extra bakers would not proportionally increase its product output resulting in an increase of unit cost. But why would a manager proceed with the law of diminishing returns? Then the argument of capital returns, meaning more capital is now being employed to service the same level of production is somewhat presumptive. If we increase our capital to produce more bread, buying larger ovens, faster conveyors and packaging machines, and extra space, that capital would be more suitably employed producing more goods with the same labour, or with less labour. This will reduce the unit cost; in fact this is the objective of most expansions.
Computers do more work than people, so we get faster computer systems for each work station, so that the output of work increases, and the costs per unit decrease. One would not expand, if costs are going to increase, perhaps only for exceptional needs. We expand so we can become cheaper: That is the name of the game, or the strategy to adapt.
Financial markets in Jamaica are not conducive to production. Presently, We borrow at 16-20%, leaving almost all resources in collateral and the banks gives us 3-4% for an investment, so their spread is 12-14%. That is the profit the banks make on our investments; (often more than the producer nets) and that is the reason why producers are encouraged to use their own money, access family participation, and issue shares as collateral for investors.
These borrowing costs are not comparative to overseas producers, whose cost of borrowed money is less. Their energy costs are less as well, hence we are not always competitive in an export market; we have to use specific products whose energy, borrowing, and capital costs result in a viable product and price point.

(676 words)
©Ramesh Sujanani

WHERE GOES SCOTLAND?

David Cameron has pledged to stay on as Prime Minister of the UK, if Scotland becomes independent as a result of next week’s referendum; but he urged voters not to break up the union just to give the ‘Tories’ a boost. An emotional  David Cameron at one point appeared close to tears as he spoke about the “heartbreak” he would feel, if Scotland voted for independence, articulated in a speech at Edinburgh a few days ago.

“If Scotland votes for separation that would have to be respected by the rest of the United Kingdom. And as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom I would have to make that happen.”

However, he warned that a decision on independence is irreversible and has ramifications which will last for a century. The Prime Minister said that nobody should “lecture” or “hector” the people of Scotland as it is “their decision”. He said a No vote will be “the best of both worlds” as the Scottish government will be given extra powers by Westminster.

He also warned that Scotland could “run out of money” if it goes independent. MPs and ministers have warned that Mr Cameron will come under intense pressure to resign if Scotland leaves the UK.

Me Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg decided not to attend Prime Ministers’ questions today and instead visit Scotland in a bid to take momentum away from Mr Salmond’s ( Chief Minister of Scotland) campaign.

An independent pollster, Survaton,  pointed out of late that there is a negative poll recorded recently; 47.6% of persons plan to vote ‘No” when polling begins on September 18. However at this time the “Yes” answer is in the forefront, close to 48.5%, so the feeling among Scottish voters is still uncertain and in the balance, where the referendum is concerned.

One of the considerations is money, or capital, to put the Country on its feet; and Scotland would need GBP130 billion to become financially viable.

One of the interesting results of the poll, shows that women are ahead of men in the count of votes, by some 1.50%. One of the fears is that the monarchy will be weakened as some of the Queen’s favourite properties are in Scotland; including the summer castle at Balmoral, where the Royal family often resides. This property which is operational as a developing business is owned by the family and not by the crown.

A foremost American economist, and the present Governor of Britain’s central bank, both believe that Scotland cannot use the U.K. pound sterling as its currency. The comparisons with Canada are presented as a suitable basis for making the “yes” decision. Canada is indeed a highly prosperous and steady economy, and has successfully woven its economy slightly left of the USA.

Canada’s productivity and GDP is not as high as the US, and it has its own currency, and is able to assist any of its troubled banks. This also means it controls the issuance of its currency, and probably would not ‘run out’. The combination of political independency and a shared currency is a recipe for disaster (P.Krugman, Sept 7, NYT). However the Scottish Banks have indicated that there is a doubt that Scotland will be viable without England, and have indicated they will move out if Independence is obtained, which suggests that they are supporting the status quo. These would be RBS and Lloyd’s Bank.

Is the Caribbean affected? The Caribbean at the start, provided England’s most productive and lucrative properties. In the early 1600’s, the English colonised St. Lucia(1604)  and Grenada (1609) then St. Kitts, Barbados, and Nevis. Then Parliament decreed that only English Ships must accept cargo for delivery, causing numerous conflicts with the Dutch. England adopted the slave labour policies of the Portuguese and operated successful sugar plantations thereafter. Then England colonised Jamaica and the Bahamas increasing their sugar producing capacity and resulting in financial success.

Slavery then became the basis of the British Empire, as Britain transported around 3.5 million African slaves in the period to Emancipation. Scotland made its own try starting in Panama, but disease forced abandonment. With the proximity of Scotland and England, this persuaded the two Governments to form a Union in 1707, known as Great Britain.

This creates the query, between 1707 and 2014, who benefitted and to what extent? Will the present associates agree on a formula for reparations, or any other liabilities?  The Chief Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond commented a few days ago regarding Britain’s national debt, that Scotland might not pay any share of national debt , and “What are they going to do about that, Invade?”

All the action remains until September 18, 2014.

 

 

 

THE SWIMMER–TRIAL BY WATER-

As Ray looked down at the roaring surf, he thought to himself, “I wish I had the guts to go into that water”. The surf was raging with a terrible roar, winding itself up like a loaded spring and then unwinding with a loud “swish”, as it came unto the shore and gurgled back like a whirlpool, a terror to all little boys of Ray’s age.

The day was hot and dry. The beach of golden sand stretched out before him. As Ray walked out to the edge of the water, he saw the smooth rounded gray pebbles amid white shell looking objects, and felt them rough under his feet. Ever so often the sea would come in washing his feet with its foamy invitation. Then he heard someone call his name “Ray!” It was Johnny, and girlfriend, Sydney. They were waving at him to come in: He pointed at a now towering wave coming in and ran back to the safety of the shore. It crashed on the shore, and retreated. Johhny came in and took Ray by his hand into the water, saying: “It is shallow out there, just ride up when you see the wave coming in. Then you will not get pulled in: then paddle the water to walk on it, moving your legs; its not that difficult.”

Ray tried doing that doing all right for a while, though he swallowed a bit of salt water, coughing and spluttering. Sydney smiled, and said to Johnny, “Perhaps he has had enough; you should really teach him to swim.”

Content to sit in the shade under the bush near the water, Ray looked at the blue sea in the distance. The sky was even bluer, and looking across to the horizon he could see the flecks of surf on the sea’s surface, stirred by the wind into anger and rage as it pounded unto the long shore. In the distance he could sea the edge of the Palisadoes peninsula, which stretched for miles into the sea on his right. On the other side of Palisadoes, he knew, was Kingston Harbor, where the water was calmer. But there was no beach there, only small piers from which you could fish. But directly in front of him and on his left, were the open waters of the Caribbean.

The wind died out somewhat, and Johnny came back in, and said: “Let’s see if could try to float. Don’t worry, I will be right beside you.” He took Ray by the hand, and into the water. The cooling breeze and water washed off the sweat on Ray’s body, as Johnny made him lie back on the water. At first he was as stiff as a board, but with a little prompting, Johhny got Ray to relax and move his hands under the water, so he could barely stay afloat. His feet kept sinking though, but Johnny placed his hand under his back, and held him up. Johhny was Ray’s brother, a good 12 years older than Ray.

After a bit of practice, and much patience from Johnny, Ray began to get the idea. The calmer he was, the more he stayed afloat; he even tried moving backwards and found out he could move. “Attaboy, Ray, that’s the way to do it.” That Sunday was the beginning for Ray, and he tried that floating action whenever he could, and whenever the sea would allow him.

There was a time when Ray’s Dad used to take him to the Copacabana Beach Club, where they had a large salt-water pool. The Beach Club had a pool looking like a figure eight, with the upper half of the eight being much smaller in diameter: That was the children’s pool and it was shallow. The main pool, the lower half of the eight, was around 50 feet in diameter, and it sloped from a three-foot depth near the circumference to around eight foot in the center. Around the periphery were shingled roof shed structures, appearing to be long gazebos, with a table and benches. Looking up towards the Clubhouse one could see a dance floor, and a kitchen, from which hot dogs and hamburgers could be purchased. Beyond the Clubhouse one could see the blue sea, but the shore here was somewhat rockier, and the swimming therefore difficult and dangerous. The pool made up for all those deficiencies, as it was strained salt water
coming into the pool.

There Ray practiced his floating and backstroking, while the rest of the family brought out picnic sandwiches and sodas. Ray had a great time at the Copa, especially when Johnny came along. Then he and Johnny would practice floating and swimming. It was there that Ray was shown to swim under the surface of the water, holding his breath and doing a breaststroke. One day while practicing, Ray heard a commotion: Someone was drowning in the center of the pool, having suffered a cramp.

They pulled the man out, and Johnny stood up over him pressing him down, and pushing his lungs to evacuate the water. The prostrate man gulped out gallons of water, but still was not able to breathe. Johnny breathed into his mouth, mouth to mouth, pumping his chest up and down. Ray thought he saw Johnny slap the person over the heart, and the man coughed and gulped and coughed some more, releasing all the fluid in his mouth. He sat up and weakly talked. Dad threw a towel over his shoulders, and he seemed to be all right after that. His folks took him home. Ray always thought to myself; that whatever he could do, he could not match Johnny; for Johnny could save a life.

Johnny and Sydney took Ray to Montego Bay to the Doctor’s Cave Beach. The beach was white Sand, and the water in that Bay was calm and crystal clear. The surf was a mere tickle, and the opportunities for a swim were golden. Though the beach was gently sloping and open, there were umbrellas strewn over its surface with plastic lounge chairs under them. To the left as you faced the bay was the Hotel itself, raised somewhat higher than the sea’s level, where they had change rooms and restaurant facilities. But on the bay Ray was alone with the glistening aqua green waters of the sea. Out in the distance around a hundred yards from the shore were large rafts fixed to the sandy ground beneath, and most swimmers took a chance at swimming out to them. Ray tried to swim out that day but the distance was longer than he thought and he came back in heaving and breathing deeply. Undaunted, Ray tried again and swam that whole day, the breaststroke, and then a little over-arm, and left Montego feeling now that he could now handle himself in the water.

 

Ramesh Sujanani (c)

 

 

 

THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELA

THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELA

When I first saw Angela, she had come out of the employment office with Mr. Bell, the Personnel Manager. He brought her over to me and said: “Ray, here is the new trainee-secretary you requested for the purchasing department. Meet Angela Wood!”

I shook a warm, moist and slender hand, and said: “Welcome Angela,” moving her away from Bell with a short wave to him “Let me take you to your desk.”

Very quietly, so much so I had to strain a to hear “Thank you, Mr. Robinson, I hope I will
be of use to you.” Her moist lips trembled slightly. She smelled of roses, a new perfume, I guess.
Looking at her I saw a wistful face, a light brown complexion, dark curly hair, sparkling dark eyes in a round face. She wore a brown suit with a matching bag, and a white office shirt sleeve-length, and she had pearly white teeth. I guessed her age around twenty-two, but her application said twenty-five.
She stepped over to the stenographer’s desk we had prepared and as I walked with her,
I noticed her medium height around five foot five, compared to my five-eleven.
“Would you like some coffee?” I asked.
She put down her bag ands replied: “I’d love some tea, Mr. Robinson, but just show me where it is and I’ll help myself.” Self supporting,” I thought, “very good.” She was speaking more confidently now, and I walked her over to the side-table where we kept our tea supplies.
George and Sanjay came over from accounts eager to meet the new arrival, so I introduced them. George’s eye gleamed, as he shook her hands in welcome; clearly, I would have to keep the flies away from the honey. But she cold-shouldered George, for she was having none of the chitchat, and said to me: “Can you start me off sir, tell me what you need done first.”
I appreciated her seriousness and attempted maturity, and now thought she was a “no-nonsense” girl. “Please call me ‘Ray’” I responded, “And, I hope to bring sunshine to our relationship.” I smiled mischievously at her, being rewarded with a bright grin on her face. Thank God, she has a sense of humour, I thought.
I gave her two letters to type, and some documents to file, and she went right at work. My tasks were backed up for two weeks, as my last secretary left unexpectedly. My ex-wife was giving her a hard time for being so friendly to me. Perhaps with good reason, I mused, as we had been quite familiar with each other.
At lunch time I escorted Angela to the lunchroom introducing her to the canteen manager, and other members of staff, and she signed for a salad and a soda. I sat with her and asked about her parents:
“My father used to be the manager of the Railway Corporation, but he is now retired and on a pension. Mom does dress making, particularly wedding clothes, and she is good at it. My brother is still at College doing accounts, and he should be through in two years. I have to take care of my needs, and I have no problem with working.” She talked with a little food in her mouth, which I thought amusing, and I smiled with her.
I left shortly after that to attend a supplier’s meeting, leaving Angela with an assortment of papers to file, a letter to type, and the telephone to answer. When I returned near to closing, I heard her talking on the phone: “No Ma’am I’m not sure when he’ll be back; yes I will give him a message. No, I could not give him that as a message; please do not use that language to me, I just work…”
I took the phone from her guessing who it might be: “Yes, Trudy I just came in…”
“You liar, you were there all along,
“No I was not; I just came in from the box factory.” Definitely that was my ex-wife Trudy.
“Well the money you sent me was not enough, I still have to pay for the plumbing.”
“Just send me an invoice and I will deal with it.” I responded curtly.
“And where did you get that piece of fluff, she sounds young and heavenly; does she have a nice ass?” Trudy said sarcastically.
. “Call me later,” I said hanging up the phone.
Looking at Angela, I could see she was standing up and gotten a deep reddish colour, and was peering intently at the typewriter, though I could not say at what. Yes, she had nice round bottom, and an attractive figure.
“Angie, I’m sorry to drag you into this mess,” I said to her.
“Please no need to apologise sir, but that lady has a problem.” Yes, I thought, and I am the problem.
“A big problem,” I echoed, “But I will deal with her in the future. By the way how are you getting home?”
“Sanjay offered me a drive home Ray, and I accepted, do you think that’s all right?”
“What happened to George? You were getting along famously.”
“He’s just too pushy!” Was her response.
Sanjay is a fast worker I thought, and nodded. “Be on your guard.” I laughingly advised.
“Bye Sir, I will see you tomorrow!” she said.
I thought then she was as green as grass, but with proper training, she would make a first-class secretary.
For the next few weeks we worked liked Trojans, as there was a budget to be prepared and there this year’s stocks to be bought. Then I had a matter of a divorce with Trudy to resolve, and the stress was getting to me.
One night we were working late, and I said to her “Let’s take a break: If you have no plans we could go over to Rodney Arms for a drink and some baked crab.”
“Wonderful, I would love a break, but I will only have a soda.”
“A glass of wine or a juice wouldn’t do you any harm.” I remarked as she got her bag and cellphone together.
We drove out to Port Henderson by the sea, and found a table in a gazebo on top of the hill, just behind the restaurant. We talked, mostly about my marriage, and the fact Trudy and I had no children, and we were both professionals. So it was not a big deal, that I was staying in an apartment away from my wife.
I’m not sure whether it was the moonlight, the soft wind blowing, the surf gently breaking on the shore, but I held her hand and pulled her to me, kissing her on her lips. Just then, the waiter brought us our order, and we parted, a little embarrassed. We ate baked crab-back, and drank white wine in silence, and I thought about what was next, my heart racing. I was a good fifteen years older than Angela. Could I be getting into trouble again?
I paid the bill, and we walked over to my parked Honda in the semi-darkness, and as we sat in the car I gently pulled her to me and we kissed again and again; until we were both breathless.
I dropped her home at her family’s house, and went away with my mind in confusion. I stopped at a go-go bar for a couple more beers, but the show did not interest me and I went home to my quiet apartment. I had just gotten out of a relationship and here was another one, with a younger woman. Moreover with my secretary, the second time this had happened in my life. Was I serious? Was I just lonely? I would need to stand back from everything.
The following day we were busy, but she kept glancing and me, as I looked at her. We never spoke about personal feelings, but we exchanged glances often.
Trudy called me to raise hell:
“What is your lawyer trying to do? I am supposed to get the house, not half the proceeds of its sale!”
“You didn’t buy it; did you?”
“No but I kept upgrading it, and improving the facilities: It is more mine than yours, I spent more time in it than you.”
“Talk to my lawyer!” I said slamming the phone down. Angela looked at me with concern, and said:
“If you don’t mind Ray, I would think you should try to be more patient; and consider giving up the house, you can always buy another. She won’t give you a hard time after that prize.” Right! I thought, women always stick up for each other.
Work kept me busy for the rest of the day. When we were going home Angela looked up and said: “Are you taking me home?” I thought about it, then to my dismay I said “Ok.”
On her way home she said, “Was last night a mistake? What is going to happen with us?” I thought about this last statement in my confused mind, but did not reply. I stopped at her gate, and as she was leaving to go, her father came to the gate and said:
“Why don’t you come in for a short while, I was just having a beer. Have one with me, let us meet the famous boss that Angela keeps talking about!”
I parked my car and went into this older dignified home, with its large lawn and flowering trees, and as I was invited, sat on the verandah. Shortly, I was drinking a beer with the old man, talking about the state of West Indies Cricket, when Angela brought in some cod-fish fritters, thin and spiced. I ate one immediately, feeling a little relief; realizing that I had no lunch that day. I met her Mom and her teen aged brother, who were very cordial. When we said good night, Angela walked me to the gate; she wanted to kiss me good-night but I was confused and tired, and pecked her on the cheek, hurried to my car, waving good-bye, my mind in disarray.
I stayed home a few nights after that, getting blue all that time.
Then Christmas was coming, and we had to work late and on Saturdays at the office.
Then the Saturday before Christmas, I went to my office with Angela. I thought I would resolve some of my confusion. I called my attorney Hal, and spoke to him quietly.
“Let’s give Trudy the house, but I’d keep the stocks and shares, and the land we bought in the country, and share the costs. I’ll just write off the losses to bad luck.” Hal thought we would get the matter settled in a short while, under those conditions.
Angela looked at me approvingly, and smiled. Later as I drove her home, we bought some chicken and went by a lonely scenic route and parked overlooking the city. When we finished, she looked at me with a strange look in her flashing eyes, and caressed my shoulder and hair. I leaned over and kissed her, again and more, holding her to me, and fondling her with passion. She gasped and said “Not now .Let’s wait a bit:”
But I could not wait, and the inevitable happened, with overpowering emotion.
Four years later, looking back and writing this, I can recall those ardent moments of love, and the many tender times after that incident. Then the occasion came eventually, when I had to look for a new secretary.
“Ray!” A voice came from the kitchen, “Can you look after the baby please, while I finish putting dinner on the table?”
“Coming, Angie,” I. responded, making haste to take my little daughter in my arms, and have dinner with my wife.

(c) Ramesh Sujanani