AN OBAMA COMMENTARY (28)

OBAMA 2009AN OBAMA COMMENTARY (28)
Last week we were treated to messages from USA president Obama, commenting on Supreme Court decisions that supported some of his major objectives.
President Obama scored in the field of ‘diplomatic engineering.’ What has been done for the USA by the Supreme Court, on OBAMACARE, the interpretation of marriage in an accurate sense, to alleviate the ‘Gay Marriage’ syndrome and yes, the remark on grace: attracting grace and God’s help. ….”.where it is the free and benevolent favour of the Almighty” Some problems exist, the gun control problem, the vexatious situation in race relations, some of which are discussed further.

I have reviewed foreign relations especially with Russia and Iran as having no evident solution; but this too I feel content he shall resolve, and he has in fact delayed the implementation of a new agreement with Iran and Russia.
Then this week news from Texas, Abortion Clinics are once again authorized to continue operations by the Supreme Court of the United States,, another pragmatic solution in a controversial situation. It seems that the women’s pro-choice option has worked in persuading sufficient support .

The Ferguson race riots seem to be controlled to a point where order is being restored, yet we need to consider the facts in greater detail.
The years 2014-2015 were recorded by the blood of the innocents. Perhaps more children were murdered in those years mercilessly and vindictively without cause, without regret. The years will remain in history as those that possibly pointed to the end of civilization in the USA; I would venture to say that around 70% of persons killed were black or coloured.

Obama commented “There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me—at least before I was a senator. There are very few African Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.[50]”
In 2009 African-Americans are 21% more likely than whites to receive mandatory minimum sentences and 20% more likely to be sentenced to prison than white drug defendants. In 2010, the U.S. Sentencing Commission reported that African Americans receive 10% longer sentences than whites through the federal system for the same crimes.

In 2009 African-Americans are 21% more likely than whites to receive mandatory minimum sentences and 20% more likely to be In 2010; the U.S. Sentencing Commission reported that African Americans receive 10% longer sentences than whites.
These statistics illustrate one reason the Afro-American resentment is increasing. Obama visited Jamaica and established some rapport with our Government, the results of which have not completely been disseminated to Jamaicans.
In retrospect, when we look back at the time he entered Government in the USA, in 2009, we find the difficulties he encountered:
:
The Presidency of Barack Obama began at noon EST on January 20, 2009, when he became the 44th President of the United States.
He attended the G-20 London summit and later visited U.S. troops in Iraq. He announced in Prague that he won the 2008 presidential election. Barack Obama is the first African American president intended to negotiate substantial reduction in the world’s nuclear arsenals, on route to their eventual extinction. In October 2009, Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
OBAMA CABINET 2009
(Words 619,) Ramesh Sujanani©
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY. 2015 ref Wikipedia, Huffington Post

SUGAR AND SALT

Today’s Gleaner and for a few days prior were treated with sweet responses to the taxation of sugar, and salty responses from two versatile Government Ministers.Kellier and Hylton.
My long lost associate, Las Chin, and other members of the JMA were the protagonists joined by the Ministers of Industry and Commerce, pressing for more refined sugar taxes as best as they could , meaning more taxes to realize; and at the same time giving the Government a free hand on how to dispose of it.
What is wrong with this scenario? We need the production not the taxes; We need the impetus not the controversy: Once we sell the sugar, on each crop, there will be more taxes for the Government to use, ( for whatever contrived reason.}
What has happened to the Jamaican refineries? Or have they been deserted? Has the sugar changed its flavour? Do we not refine sugar any longer? Apparently we don’t, we import refined sugar, and probably trade it, or use it ln place of the unrefined sugar, or somehow dispose of it.
With refined sugar offering little beyond empty calories, many people are seeking healthier ways to sweeten their menu. Sugar in the Raw, a brand of turbinado sugar, is one option that — per its name — might seem like a natural and nutritious alternative. Furthermore, the differences between refined Sugar and Sugar in the Raw are minor, and their effects on your health are largely the same.
This year’s crop expected growth in all locally manufactured sugar-is somewhat disappointing by 15 tonnes, as 154,000 was the anticipated tonnage. The JCPS claims that “last year’s drought and this year’s rainfall has had an unfavourable effect on the sugar”. The last time drought and sun failed to grow a satisfactory product, was when the Lord asked Adam to leave Paradise. Three of the largest factories pro-duced their highest ever production, with Appleton at 33,000 tons, Worthy Park at 27,000 tons and Golden Grove 19,300 tons.
Other factories fell short of their targets significantly, Golden Grove 3,000 tons is mentionable, Pan Carib/ Money-musk, Long Pond Est-states by a marginal figure.
In most of their journey from field to table, refined Sugar and Sugar in the Raw undergo similar processing methods. Both sweeteners begin as sugar cane, which is first harvested and then crushed to separate the cane juice from the fibres of the plant. To strain out com the moisture and dark molasses, the juice is purified through several stages of filtration, evaporation, boiling and centrifuging.
The resulting sugar crystals are considered turbinado or “raw” sugar — the form sold as Sugar in the Raw. To transform raw sugar into refined table sugar, the product undergoes additional washing, filtering, processing and drying to remove impurities and strip away any remaining molasses colour or taste; but they look the same. Is there some deception going on at this point? It seems that the price of refined sugar to manufacturers is going down, and is being resold to groceries and retailers at a significant increase in margin.
So it would be good business to substitute imported refined sugar; Is this then the reason for the disagreement or distrust? There is a financial advantage to any drink manufacturer, refusing the taxed sugar, which works out cheaper In the confusion. Las Chin’s position is not clear; In my interpretation Las and all genuine manufacturers of sugar based beverages and products want the duty free sugar product, the raw or unrefined sugar. Frankly, most factories are now organized to refine their own sugar, and should do so, and encourage Government to create incentives.
Government just wants more taxes, so they should look elsewhere, probably to those who are selling unrefined sugar at more than meets the eye.

(631 words)
Ramesh Sujanani©

SCHOOL ZONES IN JAMAICA

SCHOOL ZONES
There has been much recent confrontation on the location of secondary schools and the results they achieve. The Minister of Education believes that they should be located near their closest foundation primary school, or residence. Parents believe they should be near an institution that promises the best in education, and/or athletics, to illustrate the character of the student. This is not the first of these efforts in this country, nor in many other countries. Needless to say a lot of thought, money and resources have to be brought into play.
A recent writer raised the point that some of the schools are in undisciplined social areas where the student might receive a stab in the back; as opposed to a slap in the back for praise. The writer exposes disparities and discrimination in schools, a product of social inequality; then points out that such behaviour is a product of GSAT examiners. Why should this interpretation be considered complicit? This system has worked for years and has seen the educational filter improve. Though It has been changed many times to accent various subjects, and to improve others, how are we to replace it? With another standardised set of tests and exams until we reach Z-SAT? As each year lengthens to create a new year, the world changes, educational levels also change, and standards like G-Sat have to be modified. I strongly recommend we do not throw it out, but find out why it is insufficient, and fix it; less trouble, lest cost.
No matter, it has taken the Minister through, and taken me through, and many others, because it represents a ‘fence’’ or a filter of some sort, which restrains slower students, correctly or incorrectly, and makes adjustments.
Authors united data from two states, Louisiana and Massachusetts — both of which had fully adopted the new teacher evaluation standards — in order to assess the distribution of effective teachers across schools of varying populations. The results show that Louisiana students in schools with high minority enrolment are more than twice as likely to have an ineffective teacher as students in schools with low minority enrolment. When measured against economic status alone, poor school districts in this state are more than three times as likely to staff ineffective teachers.
Although Massachusetts has a lower percentage of ineffective teachers, the distribution is similar. Students in high minority or low-income schools in the Bay State are significantly more likely to be placed with teachers who are evaluated at a sub-standard-rating, and it seems in Jamaica consequently the affluence and amenities in a school will likely encourage students to succeed.
Somehow in all of this we are missing the most important ingredient: The student. Most children in my view are a product of their environment, and their desire to succeed is mostly caused by the will and influence of a parent or guardian, or teacher. Somewhere in all the dissatisfied minority and underprivileged are the sparks of fire that cause a single child to become more aggressive at learning, more determined to achieve perfection, more humble to accept victory.
There is a humble teacher, of my acquaintance, who made it through the best private school, with much effort, with some of the most learned teaching team, he tackled the sixth form studies and became the Jamaica Scholar for that year, our own Ronnie Thwaite’s. now Minister Of Education.
Where do we go from here? We need to recognize the potential stars that occur, how to encourage and make them excel, and educate them to the finest standard the world has to offer.
(599 words)
Ramesh Sujanani©

ENERGY AND POWER

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, and adjustments, with improved operational function and efficient fuel. No further delay should be suffered, as an increase in power output is needed by summer 2015 (which is now)
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 may be presenting an alternative proposal.
In a recent financial Gleaner, the headline asks 26/09/2014, “’Gas or LNG”? This is a somewhat spurious question. LNG is Liquefied Natural Gas, which is the Gas of preference by the JPS. LNG is 60-80% methane gas plus some ethane, propane, and other gases in a sequence, as well as in-organic which means sulphur. Carbon, and other gaseous 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); the prices are close to each other: The major variable is price 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. It is possible that CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), in place of LNG, which is the NG may be stored in a high pressure vehicle, and dispensed from some carrier or vehicle, which is now being considered.
But the point remains, without selection of the proper fuel, no decision can be made on plant and related 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 complete its engineering plans and proceed with Implementation, but JPS will not finalise a go ahead, which involves major engineering plans and costs.
Then ESET under Dr. Lawrence, mentions the first project at Bogue, and specifies “Propane”, which I am not sure whether he meant “LPG” or CNP
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 other projects, (the conversion of fuel for public buses.)
Let us go ahead; the savings in energy, I predict will exceed half a Trillion dollars, so the cost is still valid..

©Ramesh Sujanani (584 words)

NORANDA AND JAMAICAN BAUXITE

NORANDA AND JAMAICAN BAUXITE

I happened to read some content about the Noranda Company that wishes to expand its interests in Jamaica, increasing the size of its port, and wishing to negotiate some additional taxation terms.
A matter of ‘’Quid pro quo?” should not need a second look when dealing with business folk. It will be there, it is simply a matter of negotiation, ‘’who gets the beautiful bonus at the end?” Jamaica is hungry for work, hungry for employment, needing more industry for development, not promises and costing like those hungry Cossacks, and petty- wells that promise an eternity worth of dollars by the next election.
Noranda apparently seek some waivers of tax over a time period, and then we can quantify the amount of investment they will make.
The company, Noranda now helps the poor parish of St. Ann in many ways to increase business opportunities; and I quote from well known representatives: JAMAICA’S bauxite industry, now sorely missed in sections of St Elizabeth and Manchester, has a history of significant contribution to the economic and social development of the country.
Although posing disadvantages, the nature of bauxite mining has brought the industry into intimate contact with hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans, particularly in the rural areas.

The process of land purchasing, resettlement of land vendors, mining and land rehabilitation, employment, shipping, production, vast local purchases, and fiduciary and legal transactions, involves face-to-face dialogue with Government, employees, unions, communities, and other stakeholders with varying degrees of interest in the industry.
It goes without saying that there has always been a strong people factor at the heart of the operations, and it would have been the early contacts with small farmers that shaped the comprehensive programmes which embraced large sections of the population.
As an example, the industry landscape across St Elizabeth, St Ann, Manchester, Clarendon, and St Catherine is literally dotted with schools, colleges (STETHS and Belair as a start), playfields, community centres, clinics, roads, skills centres, businesses, housing estates, and water stations that all bear the stamp of Bauxite development assistance.
In a two-year period 1997-99, Alpart ( Part of Kaiser) built or renovated a dozen institutions, basic schools, community centres, playfields, and micro enterprise projects in the company’s immediate operating area. These are still operating.
Kaiser, Noranda, Alcoa, Alpart, have all been active sponsors of culture in their operating areas, and employee, company and community events continue to benefit from the companies’ investment.
With all these good works in the bag, flashback to the 1980s when, in spite of the social and economic capital invested, the companies found themselves staring down the wrong end of the barrel in an environment that was growing increasingly strident and demanding the highest standards of environmental practice, and required greatest economic greed. Communities were becoming more sensitised to environment standards and the companies were now at odds with neighbours over various matters.
The 1990s were marred by periodic community demonstrations in retaliation to alleged emissions and environmental damage and the community relations process, of which was severely tested by incidents which led to production interruptions, and supported picayune political aspirations.
Roadblocks, protests, sometimes even physical altercations, muddied the process of consultation and communication. Joint resolution of these problems was the answer and active community councils, with joint representation from community groups and employees, were formed to seek to resolve issues on a win-win basis.
Over the ensuing period, the success of this problem-solving mechanism was to lead to the councils developing abilities and capacities to include improved communication and project development as part of their relationship with the companies. The councils of today have gone way beyond the once volatile and aggressive approach, which once characterised the approach to environmental and monetary problems.
FAST forward now to 2014 when the latest industry player in Jamaica, Noranda Bauxite in Discovery Bay, enjoys a minor revolution in community attitudes when their partner, the Noranda Community Council, spent an afternoon with them last week Thursday celebrating the community development achievements of 18 Discovery Bay citizens.
For all these beneficial and dynamic reasons, Noranda and Jamaica should bind their sinews to continue building valuable relationships, Irrespective of economics, and mere pecuniary gains.
(696 words © Ramesh Sujanani}
REF: Juliann Richardson, Lance Neita

PATOIS FOR THE PEOPLE

A LETTER TO THE EDITOR,

Dear Editor

Patois for the People

I cannot understand with all the criticism they are receiving Professors at the UWI  cannot switch their interest to some other language, say French, Spanish (Most likely) or even Portuguese, which would help our Olympic Effort in Brazil in 2016, and why we spend our time arguing over what is not;  and why a subject like patois? ( of which most countries have, but they call it ‘slang’)

The Minister of Education of Barbados has suggested, quite intelligently, that Spanish is the logical choice for Caribbean People, as we are close to Central and South America, and our business in exports would have wider options.

But Some Professors of English in Jamaica have chosen Patois as the ‘sine qua non’ language, so much so a recent blogger called English “Our second language”. So the proposal stays:  “Patois” is the language, with English being the second, choosing a language which has no practical use, as a front for culture. The reason being that there is a long history and culture in its development.

Then we have a patois bible, which when presented to students the main response was “I can’t make any sense of this”. Then there is a request for the public to fund the teaching of this in our prep schools.

As far as I can see none of the prep  schools I know wants this dialogue taught in their schools. But if you insist that the Patois Bible is acceptable, sell as many as you can to raise the funds and finance your own project. If you can’t, then the acceptability of the project is non-existent, or the validity of your presentation is disingenuous. Can Patois be considered a language? C.O.D. maintains that language has rules of spelling and grammar of which it is composed;  it has a system of grammar, of expression, and of syntax.  Patois does not  have a system to which may be added a new word, group of words, and thereafter construct orderly expression, it does not conform to any specific rules;  is not a dialect, which is defined in a similar fashion.  So there is no rule which may define these ‘ad hoc’ conversations, except to call them a “ slang”, which is a group of words put to-gether and intended to portray a message. This message can be given in so many ways, by different people, using similar but inconsistent dialogue.

Finally, distributing or selling a product involves a market. What is the market? It seems to be that of prep schools, Government and Private, are around accepting the children. In the final analysis It is the parents of the children that will decide if this subject is required, because they have to spend the money. If it appears of doubtful use they will discard it from their list, especially if they discern this subject matter is a waste of time, and a distraction.

From my point of view, I will advocate other languages for my children, not this barrier to communication and corruption of the English Language, which has become the most commonly used language in the world at this time.

Ramesh Sujanani

rsujanani78@gmail.com