THE CRISIS IN EBOLA

THE CRISIS IN EBOLA

This topic is not quite ripe for the picking. The Ebola story has not come to a conclusion as yet; much has to be done successfully to fight this disease, to find a cure, to prepare a preventative vaccine, and the success of our efforts will be the main battle. In fact this disease is so prolific, that it may change the course of human existence on this planet; for the negative, regrettably. Living in our small island, an outbreak of Ebola may surely reduce the size and function of the island of Jamaica’s population.

I am aware that respective Governments have taken the trouble to screen all visitors to the Country; so all we can do now is await developments. I realize that president Obama has appointed a ‘Czar’, but has he been given International Jurisdiction? Otherwise how will he operate, most of the infected persons may turn out to be Africans. So we can only wait on the decisions of our sworn politicians. Their competence in any action is usually questionable, judged by the reaction to CHIC-V, and we need the information that relates to the virus transmission, and the protective gear that is required.

Ebola was discovered in 1976 and was once thought to originate in gorillas, because human outbreaks began after people ate gorilla meat.

Scientists now believe that bats are the natural reservoir for the virus, and that apes and humans catch it from eating food that bats have drooled or defecated on, or by coming in contact with surfaces covered in infected bat droppings and then touching their eyes or mouths. The current outbreak seems to have started in a village near Guéckédou, Guinea, where bat hunting is common, according to Doctors Without Borders.

One of the restrictive elements in treatment of the disease is the required expenses to maintain a common front. What is needed is a huge supply of trained health-care professionals working in West Africa. European Governments are being requested to allow professionals to apply for temporary leave with hazard pay.

Then there is need for field laboratories, with epidemic and microbiologic surveillance resources, hand in hand with generators, fuel, and clean water. Further, required are also personal cleaning supplies, protective suiting and gear, and military aircraft to carry food, supplies and personnel to the affected regions.  For effective action, Europe’s strategic approach to responding is just as important as its financial and monetary commitments.

The EU commitment, a total of Euros 97.5 million necessary to support the economies of the affected countries, requires governance, monitoring and evaluation to deter waste and graft; so clearly accountability and transparency has to be at the centre of this effort. (Lancet 26/09/2014).

At least 17 cases have been treated in Europe and the United States. Most involve health and aid workers who contracted Ebola in West Africa and were transported back to their home country for treatment. Out of some 400 cases who contracted Ebola Cases known some 230 have died, data compiled from reports by the C.D.C., the World Health Organization, Doctors without Borders and other official agencies.

Since then it is only Nigeria that has tackled its caseload with success; their outbreak of Ebola seems to be controlled, with no new cases reported in the past twenty-one days, as their director/Minister of Health reported to Parliament a week ago. This is a remarkable feat, and seem to be explained that there is no contiguous line from Nigeria to West Africa; hence no easy path of transmission.

(593 words)

©Ramesh Sujanani

20/10/2014

MASSAGES AND OTHER SEXUAL SERVICES

          MASSAGES AND OTHER SEXUAL SERVICES

 

The headlines on the front page of a recent Gleaner (June 24, 2014) almost says it all. “”Sex Shop Slavery -Forced Prostitution in Massage Parlours’” It further develops that the young ladies seeking employment in massage parlours ‘Are forced into having sex with clients’.

‘Forced”?  I am not sure how that would work; I doubt it is possible to force sex on an able bodied woman, without committing rape, a serious criminal offense. The procedure I suspect would involve the payment of some money for sexual favours, which makes the act ‘prostitution’, a common enough problem in Jamaica.

Surprisingly, that there have been no arrests for trafficking in females, young or old, and not of the age suspected. Nor are there mass arrests and convictions for prostitutes, or disciplinary procedures. There are reports of missing  female children and adolescents almost every day in the Jamaican press, and I fear these children are the ones captured and trafficked; it somehow appears that children who are trafficked, come from all age groups, and it appears they are not found or recovered. This presents a possibility that they may never return, and causes a new fear in the lives of parents and other children; and it is typical of occurrences in Bangladesh, India, and Africa among other poverty stricken countries, who suffer almost 15% of the world’s peoples.

But we are a small island in the Western world, why is it we cannot monitor the situation more closely? Children may go out via container ships, but they would have to be tied, drugged, and otherwise restrained. Now the rule is a closed container ship has to be searched by Customs or Security agents. What is happening now, that does not reveal the ship’s outgoing cargo?

It appears that while prostitution is still prevalent, abductions are taking place in greater numbers, so how is this being facilitated?

Human Rights Watch believes hundreds of women, many of them refugees of conflicts, criminal or otherwise social,  are being sold into forced marriages and relationships, by various organizations.

Therefore we need in Jamaica, a measure of conspicuous control: Prostitutes, and their activities, their family and children, need to be logged and accounted from the tender age of six. While this is being done, the health and social wellbeing of the person (the prostitute), should also be recorded, creating some permanent record of their existence and the development of their ‘’careers”.

In a free country, no one should be constantly observed unless their individual activity is criminally inclined. The correct, legal authority can only be the State, being the entity that promotes Law and Order, and enshrines freedoms of the person.

So we need to go to the designated authority for a system of monitoring prostitutes, their business practices, their medical conditions, their families and social practices. Otherwise the fear of communicable diseases, acts of violent criminality, and transmitted social misbehaviour will continue to persist.

Hopefully, this monitoring process can track a person involved in sexual traffic, though I doubt it.

Most ladies of the night will visit their doctor from time to time. Perhaps this is the point at which to start. Every infection and complaint should be carefully recorded (which I am sure is being done at this time), as the need to pass on the information may be urgent. I venture to say a case of HIV, Hepatitis, and  very infectious viruses and bacteria, may be brought to medical management and public scrutiny; mainly to make others aware for their own safety.

Then the law enforcement community may be aware of the prostitute, and her associates, so as to look out for sexual slavery.

Exposure to smugglers and various types of nefarious trafficking in persons will become more active, unless we institute proper monitoring  and  proactive effort. Personally, I believe contact with the proper law enforcing community should be executed as a matter of priority.

(657 words)

© Ramesh Sujanani

THE CRISIS IN EBOLA

THE CRISIS IN EBOLA

This topic is not quite ripe for the picking. The Ebola story has not come to a conclusion as yet; much has to be done successfully to fight this disease, to find a cure, to prepare a preventative vaccine, and the success of our efforts will be the main battle. In fact this disease is so prolific, that it may change the course of human existence on this planet; for the negative, regrettably. Living in our small island, an outbreak of Ebola may surely reduce the size and function of the island of Jamaica’s population.

I am aware that respective Governments have taken the trouble to screen all visitors to the Country; so all we can do now is await developments. I realize that president Obama has appointed a ‘Czar’, but has he been given International Jurisdiction? Otherwise how will he operate, most of the infected persons may turn out to be Africans. So we can only wait on the decisions of our sworn politicians. Their competence in any action is usually questionable, judged by the reaction to CHIC-V, and we need the information that relates to the virus transmission, and the protective gear that is required.

Ebola was discovered in 1976 and was once thought to originate in gorillas, because human outbreaks began after people ate gorilla meat.

Scientists now believe that bats are the natural reservoir for the virus, and that apes and humans catch it from eating food that bats have drooled or defecated on, or by coming in contact with surfaces covered in infected bat droppings and then touching their eyes or mouths. The current outbreak seems to have started in a village near Guéckédou, Guinea, where bat hunting is common, according to Doctors Without Borders.

One of the restrictive elements in treatment of the disease is the required expenses to maintain a common front. What is needed is a huge supply of trained health-care professionals working in West Africa. European Governments are being requested to allow professionals to apply for temporary leave with hazard pay.

Then there is need for field laboratories, with epidemic and microbiologic surveillance resources, hand in hand with generators, fuel, and clean water. Further, required are also personal cleaning supplies, protective suiting and gear, and military aircraft to carry food, supplies and personnel to the affected regions.  For effective action, Europe’s strategic approach to responding is just as important as its financial and monetary commitments.

The EU commitment, a total of Euros 97.5 million necessary to support the economies of the affected countries, requires governance, monitoring and evaluation to deter waste and graft; so clearly accountability and transparency has to be at the centre of this effort. (Lancet 26/09/2014).

At least 17 cases have been treated in Europe and the United States. Most involve health and aid workers who contracted Ebola in West Africa and were transported back to their home country for treatment. Out of some 400 cases who contracted Ebola Cases known some 230 have died, data compiled from reports by the C.D.C., the World Health Organization, Doctors without Borders and other official agencies.

Since then it is only Nigeria that has tackled its caseload with success; their outbreak of Ebola seems to be controlled, with no new cases reported in the past twenty-one days, as their director/Minister of Health reported to Parliament a week ago. This is a remarkable feat, and seem to be explained that there is no contiguous line from Nigeria to West Africa; hence no easy path of transmission.

(593 words)

©Ramesh Sujanani

20/10/2014

INSPECTOR MULLINGS AND THE PARRY TOWN MURDER

INSPECTOR MULLINGS AND THE PARRY TOWN MURDER

                                     Detective Inspector Aston Mullings, called “Mullo” by his friends, sat at his desk at the Ocho Rios police station one Saturday afternoon, writing up his cases for the week, when  Helen White came rushing in to see him.

“Inspector Mullings, my father said I should come to see you. My boyfriend is seriously injured.” Said the visitor, tearfully.

“What’s wrong?” Replied Mullo.

“I stabbed him, my boyfriend George, and I think he’s dead!” She continued in distress.. “We were having a disagreement, oh, I suppose you could call it a fight, and he was choking me; I stabbed at him with the kitchen knife, and it struck him in the stomach.” She sobbed, “He fell backwards and hit his head, and I left him on the floor bleeding from his wound.”

“Where is he now?” Mullo asked.

“This happened at our house, up by Parry Town.” She said.

“Have you told anyone else, or called the ambulance?”

Helen shook her head, and tearfully responded, “I rushed right over here to see you!”

Looking at Helen, Mullo saw a young woman in her early twenties, around six months pregnant, striking features, with a light skinned complexion, and bright flashing eyes.

“Come, let us get there quickly, and see what needs to be done. Constable Reynolds.” He called “Get the jeep round to the front and come with us!”

They all got into the jeep and with sirens ringing, they sped the jeep up to Parry Town.

On passing through the narrow road with its bordering of huge trees that is the Parry Town road, they came to a small concrete and board structure, which was the home of Helen White. There was no sign of movement; inside there were indeed overturned chairs and a small table, showing that there was a struggle, but there was no body. Following a trail of blood outdoors, they saw George’s body at the wash stand, with blood on the basin and on the ground. George was not moving, and Mullo stepped over putting his fingers on George’s neck. There was no heart beat, he was dead.

“Call the crime scene team, Reynolds,” Mullo said, “While I talk once more to this young lady.

Reynolds started making calls to the St. Ann’s Bay Police Station, where the crime scene investigators were located.

“Start again, Helen, tell me again, how you came to kill this man?”

Helen began weeping again. “I did not mean to kill him Inspector, you have to believe me! We got into a quarrel because he was staying out late, and he was very friendly to the helper next door, June; they were always talking over the fence. When I saw them talking and called him he reluctantly came, saying ‘Is what you want now!’ I got so mad I went over to scratch his face, but he pushed me to the ground, not even thinking about our baby.”

“Then when I got up off the floor, he used his long arms and tried to choke me! I tried to remove his arms, but he was too strong, and he pushed me against the sink.” She blew her nose.

“I felt around me for something, and found the kitchen knife, which I took and slashed at him. It hit him in the stomach; he went backwards, stumbled and fell, hitting his head on the concrete floor. He did not move after that, and there was a lot of blood.”

“I ran to find my father, who lives nearby, and he suggested I come to you.”

“But did you see George go over to the wash stand?” Asked Mullo.

“No, he was right over there by the living room table.”

“Hmm, he must have got up and crawled or walked over to the wash stand to clean up. Then he died there.” Mullo remarked. Mullo went out of the house, and walked to the fence, where he saw an attractive, curvaceous woman, dressed in ‘short’ shorts, hanging up the washing on a clothesline.

“Hello,” he called over the fence, ‘Can I have a word with you please?”

“Yes, is what you want, Inspector, sor?” She said in a husky voice.

“While you were washing, did you see anything unusual?” Mullo asked.

“No, Spec, I wasn’t here all the time though. I had to go into my kitchen to make lunch for the children.”

“Did you hear any sounds from this yard?”

“Well, I overheard some quarrelling; but they quarrel all the time; over what I don’t know. It seemed she always wanted to know where he was.”

“Where did he say he was?” Mullo asked.

“I don’t know spec, I couldn’t hear, and I don’t care. I mind my own business.”

“But wasn’t he always at this fence talking to you?”

“Why you want to mix me up in this business? Listen here inspector; I don’t care for him or her. Like I said I mind my own business!” She said, picking up her clothespins and two or three garments. Mullo decided to ask one other question.

“But isn’t it you they were quarrelling about?”

“Me” she almost screamed, “I have nothing to do with him…or her”

Mullo took a hard look at her and said. “I will see you again, and thank you.”

June went into the house in a huff, not saying another word.

Dr. Francis the forensic expert came over to Mullings, and said:  “Inspector, I have a conclusion on the death of this young man. He died of multiple stab wounds.”

“Wounds, you said doctor, wounds? How many were there?”

“Around six, but I will confirm later when I do the autopsy. Whoever stabbed George did so in one hell of a temper!”

“And all were done with the same weapon?” Mullo asked.

“Oh no,” said the doctor, there was one stomach wound, quite severe, but that alone did not kill him. What killed him were the five stabs he received with an ice pick. This was done at the same time.”

“Ice pick?’ Queried Mullings, “But I did not see any ice pick.”

“Well, I told Detective Reynolds to look for an ice pick. Here he comes now.” Said the doctor as Reynolds approached.

“Reynolds, did you come across any ice pick anywhere?” Asked Mullo.

“No sir and I searched the kitchen thoroughly.” Replied Reynolds.

The following morning a team of detectives, six in all, arrived at the Parry Town homes of Helen and Mrs. Latchman, where June worked, with their search warrants, headed by Mullo.

Much to the concern of the occupants they began a search of the house from top to bottom; checking the clothes in the bedroom, and the living room ornaments; then the kitchen once more.

“Do you buy ice in the days Ms June?” Mullo asked of the housekeeper.

“Yes sir, the ice-man comes by here and we buy a block now and then.”

“Where is your ice-pick?” Mullo asked unexpectedly.

June stammered saying: “I..I..don’t have any officer, the ice man chip it up for me.” Then she thought, and carefully said, “Or, sometimes I borrow it from next door sor!”

Just then Detective Reynolds signalled Mullo to come over to him. “I just found the ice pick, spec; it was right in Helen’s house with the other utensils. But yesterday, when I checked there was no sign of it.”

“Either Helen is lying or June is being very clever. Let me question Helen about this.” And He walked over next door to talk to Helen

“Inspector, I don’t know where an ice pick would come from,” Helen exclaimed. We didn’t have an ice pick; I have a new fridge, and I get fresh ice every day.”

“Then how come we find this in your kitchen?” And Mullo held up the ice-pick., which had dark stains on its cream handle. “This is the weapon that finally killed George.”

“Bu it is not mine! I don’t know where it come from!” Helen cried. And the tears poured from her eyes into her kerchief.

“Compose yourself Helen; I am not accusing you yet!”

“Now pay attention!! Did anyone come here yesterday for any reason?”

“No, I can’t remember anyone…no, wait! Miriam, the teenage daughter of my neighbour Mrs. Latchman next door came to borrow some soap-powder. I had a quarter bag in my room and I went and fetched it for her.” Helen said. “I think she’s at school now, and comes back around 3 o’clock.”

“Ms. Helen” said Mullo “I am not going to make any charges yet. I will need to investigate further. But do not leave town unless you consult me. You hear Ma’m?” Helen nodded.

Back at the station, Mullo sat in his cool office, with the door opened to the parking lot and the street. The afternoon breeze that March, was vigorous and refreshing. At around 4.00 pm Mullo went back up to Parry Town to see the child, Miriam. She was standing on the veranda with her mother Mrs Latchman.

Talking to her on the veranda, standing by her mother, he asked “Have you ever seen this ice pick?” Miriam looked startled, and she stuttered:

“No, no Sir.”

“What do you mean, no,” Mullo said firmly, “Didn’t you take this over to Ms Helen’s house yesterday?”

“No….Sir. Mommy” she said almost crying, “I don’t want to answer any more questions.”

“Inspector, my child says No! And that is good for me. She is becoming upset at these questions. Please finish now, I need to take her in for dinner.” Mrs. Latchman escorted her daughter into the house.

Mullo was annoyed. He felt he was on the brink of solving the case, and somehow the truth was slipping out of his grasp.

That night at the station while considering what to do, Mullo heard a commotion coming from outside. Miriam and her mother followed by Reynolds burst into the room. He could see the child was upset, but the mother was angry.

“Inspector, my foolish child told me something she should have told you.” Said Mrs Latchman.

“But I promised June not to tell the police, Mamma.”

“Regardless it’s something you have to tell. Now, please tell the Inspector!” Mullo leaned forward expectantly.

“Sor, June and Mr.George were very friendly. He used to visit her room often, when no one was home, and sometimes late in the night. She asked me to take the ice-pick over to ms. Helen, and leave it in her kitchen, and not to tell anyone; because she June, borrowed it without asking.” She tearfully said, “I did not know she was telling untruth.”

“Never mind Miriam, you have done well. You can go home now, and I will take care of this matter.”

“Inspector, I’m so sorry, and you depend on me if you need further information.” Said Mrs. Latchman.

“Reynolds,” called Mullo to his assistant, did you send the pick for analysis? What about fingerprints? Organise everything, then bring the jeep around, we go back to Parry Town.”

As they drove up the hill slowly, he saw a white taxi parked at Mrs. Latchman’s house with its doors and back opened. He went over to the driver, his hand patting his firearm behind him, making sure he was ready.

“Hi, man, Police, who have you come to, and where are you going?”

“Yow officer, is Bertie here; I come for a lady named Ms. June, who is going to Port Maria. Inside the taxi are her belongings. Here she come now with more tings1”

June appeared with two large plastic bags filled with clothes. When she saw the Inspector, she dropped the bags and started to run back in the opposite direction.

Reynolds gave chase and caught up with June around five chains down the road. He held her hand struggling and brought her back to the police jeep.

“I said let me go! Inspector, you see how you let me lose my job? Ms. Latchman fire me.”

“And I am placing you under arrest on suspicion of murder,” Mullo replied putting handcuffs on her wrists.

“Lady, you will not need a job for a long time!” Said Constable Reynolds.

A few days later, Reynolds asked Mullings, “Now that the fingerprint shows that she did it, why did she kill the man? I don’t understand.”

“It seems from all the questioning and statements, she was fond of George. When she asked him to leave Helen and come away with her, he laughed and said he could never leave Helen. He was just having a little fun with her, June. So when she saw from the fence, George bleeding from his wounds and holding his stomach to stop the bleeding, she took her ice pick and stabbed him over and over, fatally. She left him dying, probably in great pain, hanging over the wash stand, and went to her bedroom.”

“What a wicked wretch.” Said Constable Reynolds.

ENERGY AND POWER: LET US GAS AND GO !

ENERGY & POWER: LET’S GAS AND GO.

Jamaican Industrial production is starving for more energy, at the right cost. Otherwise, it will not be competitive with imported substitutes nor with exports. The time has come to put in extra power plants, with improved operational function and efficient fuel.  No further delay should be suffered, as an increase in power output is needed by summer 2015.question

It seems that both JPS, the major power Company, and the Government acting through ESET are investing in gas fired plants, and a coal generated power facility; together  to compensate  for the missing 400 Mega-Watts of power. But there are discrepancies which need resolution.

First, there are varied  and conflicting views on what fuels to use, how to acquire the power plants, what kind of plants they may be. It is a consideration that they would be new, or older, but rebuilt. Before that decision is made, the question is, what kind of fuel, and where this might be sourced. The apparent conflict seems to be between JPS, the country’s  major power supplier, and a new energy board called ESET. The chairman of ESET, is Dr. Vin Lawrence, a qualified engineer, who is presenting  an alternative proposal.

In Friday’s financial Gleaner, the headline asks “’Gas or LNG”? Which is a somewhat spurious question. LNG is Liquefied Natural Gas, which is the Gas of preference by the JPS. LNG  is natural methane gas  substantially, with traces of ethane and propane, as well as inorganic contaminants. The major disadvantage is that LNG has to be packaged and delivered super-cool (cryogenic).

The main alternative to LNG is LPG which means Liquefied Propane Gas, ( or liquefied petroleum gas) and the prices are close to each other: The major variable in price is availability and transportation costs; It would be advantageous for the plants to be near the supply, and we have to consider where our supplies come from that the prices are most competitive, preferably within the Caribbean area. It is possible that CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) which is the NG  stored in a high pressure vehicle, and dispensed from some carrier or vehicle.

But the point remains, without selection of the proper fuel, no decision can be made on plant and other matters.

The JPS is insistent on the use of CNG to replace and upgrade its own processes, and have contracted the supply to a US company which obtains supplies from the Middle East, but for some reason, is refusing to move on with the project; even though the conversion of the Bogue Island Generating facility was set to go, and agreed by the concerned parties. The consortium, FTI, wishes  to completes its engineering plans and proceed with Implementation, but JPS will not finalise.

Then ESET under Dr. Lawrence, mentions the first project at Bogue, and specifies “Propane”, which I am not sure whether he meant “LPG”.

I am concerned that delay in this project will be harmful to our economy; and the costs associated will overrun. I am now hearing a revised total cost of $850 million which now includes another project.

Let us go ahead; the savings in energy, I predict will exceed a Trillion dollars. ©Ramesh Sujanani