31 May 2008

so this is the place

no reason to reflect on what's gone by
the path will lead eventually to town
your wisdom tells you all roads lead you down

what's in the distance is always a lie
only a loser could refuse the crown
no reason to reflect on what's gone by

those are not pigeons in the evening sky
nor will we ask just what is true renown
there are some times when it is best to frown
no reason to reflect on what's gone by

course preparation

you write so many words that you forget
just how to say them in so plain a mode
that when you utter speech upon the road
your purpose and your meaning are both set
in structure and in form your only debt
has been to those who do not share the load
but who with you have understood the code
and now will not have reason to regret
all of the symbols add to one more fine
instance of what you do not understand
and all the blossoms speak with golden glow
the hope of summer is all in the shine
you reach and learn all that is in each hand
yet find that there is so much still to know

30 May 2008

all in its turn

listen and the world resolves in heat
you do not run too fast to reach the line
knowing that soon the morning will decline

some other judge will soon be in the seat
to mete out sentence and impose the fine
listen and the world resolves in heat

other fine players soon must set the beat
and their whole duty is to seem benign
while other heroes come right in to dine
listen and the world resolves in heat

ear to the ground

how much we do not know we learn too late
this is the teaching of the school beneath
to leave the weapon safely in its sheath
and not to tamper hastily with fate
no hurry till the storms of time abate
we've seen what monsters lurk on the high heat
hand know the meaning of those shining teeth
there are some certainties beyond the gate
now having wisdom does not mean to smile
only at those who have not paid the fee
but proper kindness has a sharpish price
and there is no simple way we could revile
the ones who thought they had to bend the knee
not knowing that we'd made the sacrifice

rights of passage

the tiny daisies blossom by the road
so much of memory must be exposed
this is the way and so the honest code

we wonder why the last cock never crowed
none of the letters ever was transposed
the tiny daisies blossom by the road

this village turns out no secure abode
all of our secrets are too soon disclosed
this is the way and so the honest code

we take up once again the normal load
sooner by far than we had once supposed
the tiny daisies blossom by the road

you did not ask if when the river flowed
the proper music had yet been composed
this is the way and so the honest code

soon all will settle into mortal mode
and you will find out that you have been hosed
the tiny daisies blossom by the road
this is the way and so the honest code

29 May 2008

blue hummingbird

no one could hope in this dark place to think
that any would survive to speak or sing
there are no easy hopes on which to cling

but all of us have reached some horrid brink
and wondered at the weakness of the string
no one could hope in this dark place to think

of just how easy it would be to drink
that tempting goblet or just take the fling
and jump into the broad space without wing
no one would hope in this dark place to think

under the cloud

under the cloud each silent seeker waits
to hear just how the garden must be made
not only in such matters of old trade
are there to be discussions and debates
enough is given us to fill our plates
and there's no need for fancy or parade
not one of us would want to be afraid
of what plain urgency ever dictates
there is a time for all of us to shout
our anger to the skies and then to fall
upon our swords in passion at the last
moment before the wolves can first step out
that long second as shadows first grow tall
and then the action just becomes too fast

28 May 2008

more life more or less

in the republic no serf fears to speak
but the bright hero need not listen hard
there are no weapons given to the weak

these are not memories that we should seek
nor are there ways that should have been unbarred
in the republic no serf fears to speak

a short bright moment's given to the meek
but all pay homage to the blonde retard
there are no weapons given to the weak

a golden statue's raised upon the peak
to honour those whom we call avant-garde
in the republic no serf fears to speak

we claim the future never could be bleak
nor your bright visage ever could be marred
there are no weapons given to the weak

the whole endeavour's safe from all critique
we do not think that anyone's been scarred
in the republic no serf fears to speak
there are no weapons given to the weak

this is an age

there is so much that i have to discover
that i regret each moment lost to sleep
each second given to that simple cheap

loss of the self letting the mind hover
between the places where life is so steep
there is so much that i have to discover

what moment makes of me a lover
allowing my small heart to make and keep
the very things that matter and are deep
there is so much that i have to discover

dream in deep drought

those are the boundaries we have to pass
so that we reach the land where fruit hang low
where summer's long and all the rivers slow
and little purple flowers dot the grass
you might describe our old desire as crass
and all we want as not quite à propos
you are the one who is supposed to know
when we are dull or if we're clear as glass
on this hard side all the creek beds are dry
and not one blossom has yet shown its face
but we are all convinced there's time to spare
beneath the clear and hard bell of the sky
when each of us can shape a human space
and not sink in to one last dark despair

27 May 2008

it strikes like a snake

in the deep river no small dangers wait
so those who give their time will say enough
cease any measure in plain human stuff

the child records his words on a cracked slate
and will recoil if teachers are too gruff
in the deep river no small dangers wait

the voice of reason always seems to grate
upon the ones who say they are the tough
but do not think injustice a rebuff
in the deep river no small dangers wait

robotic hero

this is the place where light's caught on the bend
against the dark a single glimpse of sun
no one expects to know what hope can mend

your choices do not mean you must pretend
to make false claims and shout that you have won
this is the place where light's caught on the bend

the most notorious crook cannot defend
even the angel's honest sin begun
no one expects to know what hope can mend

your word and mine together cannot send
the message past wherever it was spun
this is the place where light's caught on the bend

do not despair for what we may intend
there are still matters that can be undone
no one expects to know what hope can mend

your duty is to save what we would spend
and show us all the road that we must run
this is the place where light's caught on the bend
no one expects to know what hope can mend

26 May 2008

where to go

so much of what we need is plain old luck
those that we hate have all the force of pride
the effort and the thought soon coincide
and with the worst results we have been stuck
not with the ones desired but what the fuck
that was the consequence of one swift ride
on the hot horse and we should not deride
our better choices nor just pass the buck
to the slow learners of the lesser path
that's not the answer nor the proper way
instead we find a method to rise up
and let the victims feel the aftermath
is but the presage of a better day
they won't take notice of what's in the cup

in the secret

we name this place where light must come to fail
listen a while to all the stories bend
so much of every heart is here for sale

the pleasure comes all wrapped up in a bale
you do not know this or you just pretend
we name this place where light must come to fail

your inner child has not filled up the pail
another comes and then we have to send
so much of every heart is here for sale

this old burnt rag is hung up on the nail
a sort of flag to signify the end
we name this place where light has come to fail

other machines will climb down the old trail
all that is done does not on you depend
so much of every heart is here for sale

to end the process we wait for the gale
and when it comes we won't comprehend
we name this place where light must come to fail
so much of every heart is here for sale

tactics of mistake

a single sign turns into what we need
all of our anger focused in the art
of what is best at holding us apart

the word becomes at last the very deed
no one begrudges you a second start
a single sign turns into what we need

choice and desire express themselves as speed
we do not hesitate to praise the smart
nor do we blame the hesitating heart
a single sign turns into what we need

25 May 2008

as it was

so much of yearning leaves us little fire
this is the motive of the daily deed
all that we do is what you must require

a thought of leaving gives us to aspire
to something more that just going to seed
so much of yearning leaves us little fire

duty and purpose force none to retire
that being said is what we all agreed
all that we do is what you must require

given to pardon we cannot go higher
a solemn moment for what is decreed
so much of learning leaves us little fire

we serve the keeper of another shire
and watch you as you come to take the lead
all that we do is what you must require

the strongest reeds come from the thickest mire
and tell us nothing of our hope or need
so much of yearning leaves us little fire
all that we do is what you must require

at the core of the heart

we give applause at first by mere reflex
but laughter comes from something truly deep
to think about this long would not perplex
the ones who come to this from little sleep
for there are things here that will not long keep
we know of this because of long complaint
out of the heart both gods and monsters creep
joy is the best part of the human taint

we are in this thing right up to our necks
and should be grateful that the hill's not steep
the better kind could be of either sex
we treat our equals as if they're a heap
and not plain people we cannot just sweep
all they're concerns aside without restraint
and not expect even a single peep
joy is the best part of the human taint

you may just think that your act is complex
and soon enough your profit hope to reap
and all your benefits to you annex
the overall result may seem quite cheap
above our heads you quite expect to leap
while keeping the appearance of a saint
no hostile thoughts into our minds should seep
joy is the best part of the human taint

prince you may find that you have cause to weep
as in the end your prospects turn out faint
we are not as you thought just humble sheep
joy is the best part of the human taint

distant rumours

you listen and the words add up to naught
think harder and your value has been lost
the message comes and its sign soon is glossed
while all the time with meaning has been fraught
we half expect our souls to have been bought
by one or other trader who'd accost
any swift visitor and stay the frost
knowing so well just what it was he'd caught
this hour alone we find the spell deters
not only those who wish us so much harm
but the hard messengers who speak so plain
of all the injury that swiftly blurs
but such is the effect that any charm
will serve right now to keep off the worst pain

Political & Economic Illiteracy

Political & Economic Illiteracy
John Maxwell
What do Hillary Clinton, the US Republican party and Jamaican political and societal leadership have in common?
All have decided over the last twenty years or so that thinking is for peasants and that slogans are the stuff of political genius.
Fifty two years ago, when I was an assistant to Robert Lightbourne, then head of the Industrial Development Corporation,(IDC) – later JAMPRO and now Jamaica Trade and Invest – I was writing the lyrics to the songs of development now sung by Lightbourne’s political grandchildren, the latest dub versions of Globalisation’s greatest hits.
Over four of the last five decades we have single-mindedly pursued the discredited idea that Foreign Direct Investment means Deliverance from poverty, while domestic production has dropped, unemployment has risen, real wages have fallen and poverty has metastasised, external debt has almost bankrupted us and crime threatens to strangle and paralyse the entire society.
In the fifties, driven by the piteous entreaties of people like the Ashenheims, the Jamaican government passed laws to attract foreign investment: the Industrial Incentives Act and the International Business Companies Act among them Our job at the IDC was to use these as tools to sell Jamaica as the place to invest. The real attraction, though no one ever mentioned it, was that our wages were lower than Puerto Rico’s whose programme of investor attraction we had in fact copied. Carroll daCosta, David de Pass, the late Henry Miller and I among others, enticed people to invest in the Morant Bay Button factory, the Lucea Knitting Mill and the brassiere factory in Port Maria. Manley, wanting to spread employment outside Kingston, insisted on distributing the new factories far and wide.
What was more important, however, were the incentives and backing given to Jamaican manufacturers, taken up by people like the Matalons, Hannas and others who were soon producing shoes, clothing, metal windows, paint and a host of other industrial productions to serve the Jamaican and the Caribbean markets.
At the same time Manley produced legislation such as the Facilities for Titles Law, which enabled small farmers to get finance; established the Small Business Loan Board the Agricultural Development Bank and strengthened the Peoples Cooperative Banks to inject capital into the food-producing base of the society.
Production took off. The advance was led by small farmers.
Investment in agriculture and agricultural production grew rapidly, climaxing two years after Manley was deposed and falling ever since. There was a brief interregnum in the seventies, when government initiatives such as the Agricultural Marketing Corporation and the Landlease Act began to restore domestic production until derailed by the anti-Communist propaganda of the late seventies.
In the 1980s the new government – not satisfied with the destruction it had wrought in Opposition, dismantled LandLease, disbanded the reforestation programmes, shut down the Emergency Employment programme, sold off the government’s experimental agricultural stations, destroyed the agricultural extension services, closed the vocational training institutes and destroyed the Farm School (Jamaica School of Agriculture), turning its campus over to the police.
When I read the self-serving epistles of Edward Seaga in the Sunday Gleaner I laugh. His version of history should be published as a comic book. It is ironic that UTECH, the brainchild of Norman Manley, has managed to celebrate its half-century without mentioning its founder’s name. And Mr Seaga is now that University’s pro-Vice Chancellor. Savage irony.
Carrying Capacity
One of the people at the IDC when I was there was a big, rawboned American named David(?) Lukens. He was lent to Jamaica by the International Cooperation Administration, now known as USAID.
They also gave us some books, which Mr Lukens tried to get us to read, one of them being a blue covered stenciled volume called if I remember, A Manual of Industrial Development. Mr Lukens and that book were two of the best things the Americans have ever done for us. Tragically, both are now forgotten.
The book in simple, direct language, instructed people how to design what would now be called, sustainable development projects. It explained what real cost benefit analysis was and how to decide whether any project, no matter how well funded, would be good for the country and its people. It was a manual for self reliance and people-directed development, dealing with such matters as carrying capacity and whether an industry was likely to serve the long- term interest of the country or would,like bauxite, help to pauperise us.
When I returned from my five year exile in Britain in 1971 I picked up somewhere another blue covered book, by a white Jamaican called Ted Tatham, who related how peasant farmers on 3-acre plots of restored land leased from Alcan, had managed to out-produce ALCAN, even in dairy production using Dr Lecky’s Jamaica Hope cows fed on grass. I gave the pamphlet to Michael Manley who called Tatham with a day or two and, within a short time, they had designed Project Land Lease and Manley had persuaded Tatham to run it. That too was shut down in the 80s to be replaced effectively with food stamps, liberalisation, deregulation, privatisation, retrenchment and a new army of entrepreneurs selling safety matches, shoe polish and doughnuts on the roadsides. Free education was no longer a right.
The assaults on small farmers, on education on the civil service and on institutions such as the Jamaica Agricultural Society and the Jamaica Social Welfare Commission effectively dissolved much of the glue of the civil society which had been laboriously inventing itself since 1865.
Simultaneously thousands had been driven from their homes and scattered on remote hillsides and left to fend for themselves. The communities had ben abandoned by the state and its agents and since human nature abhors a vacuum of authority it didn’t require politicians to form new self defence groups aka gangs, in defiance of the civil power.
It is therefore extremely poignant to read of the great expectation of the Press and other learned authorities who believe that a new Commissioner of Police and a new Minister of Justice can “curb” or “control” crime – allowing the private sector to fulfill its long heralded pipe-dream as the ‘Engine of Development’.
Inequality is Injustice
Common sense tells us and even the World Bank agrees, that poverty and inequality sabotage development: Inequality in Latin America & the Caribbean: Breaking with History? is the World Bank's annual research study on Latin America and Caribbean for 2003.
“The richest one-tenth of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean earn 48 percent of total income, while the poorest tenth earn only 1.6 percent…”
“This inequality slows the pace of poverty reduction, and undermines the development process itself."
The report singles out race and ethnicity as enduring determinants of one's opportunities and welfare in Latin America. Indigenous and Afro-descended people are "at a considerable disadvantage with respect to whites," the report says
“…patterns of influence remain highly unequal, with traditions of clientelism and patronage often continuing despite national and local elections.
“In a global economy, where "human capital" is critical to competitiveness, inequalities which result in a failure to develop people's skills and knowledge to optimum levels, among other factors, can actually slow down the rate of economic growth, and weaken the poverty-reducing “impact of the growth that does occur.”
So saith the World Bank. Selah.
The Jamaican society is rooted in the inequity institutionalised after slavery by the total disinheritance of the former slaves. They were thrown off the plantations which they had spent 300 years developing, landless and liable to be prosecuted if found wandering abroad without lawful excuse. It was only in the 1970s that the Vagrancy Law, the Masters and Servants Law and the Unlawful Possession of Property Law were abolished – despite the anguished howls of “Communism” from the ruling classes.
The monopoly of land ownership by the rich hobbles both rich and poor. It pauperises the poor and locks the rich into gated mentalities within which they cannot be productive and are logically almost forced to be hostile to the public interest.
Norman Manley offered them not one but two solutions fifty years ago. One was the Land Bonds Law which would have allowed the rich to transform their property into tradable securities; the other was the Land Development Duty Law, which would have facilitated state investment in infrastructure by guaranteeing that there would be some return to the public purse from such investments. Both were indignantly rejected by the private sector who insisted that the Independence constitution should force the government to pay cash if it wanted to acquire property in the public interest. It is, as a constitutional provision, unique in the world. As a result, the private sector are increasingly confined to the dangerous prison of speculation and the temptations of dual citizenship. And the only way to get rid of agricultural property is to sell it for construction and desertification, to take it out of food production – as at Caymanas.
The Jamaican elite mostly have one foot (and their wallets) outside of Jamaica. They feel an instinctive motivation to protect foreign private invasive interests against the Jamaican public interest and to deny, as vehemently as possible, any cultural knowledge, connection or duty to their native land.
The elite are split between those the communists would call the ‘national bourgeoisie’ – mostly loyal to Jamaica and relishing Jamaican food and music – and a substantial cohort who sponsor dancehall, fast food and noise and are ready to take flight at the slightest hint of change.
Haiti and Zimbabwe, please welcome us to the club.
Copyright© 2008 John Maxwell

23 May 2008

i have my stick

this was the island of no fevered dream
now we forget just how much hope we had
the bomb and gun have driven us all mad

we lost our mind on the mistaken gleam
and took up every single stupid fad
this was the island of no fevered dream

now we watch all the words turn into steam
the culture long ago was driven mad
and not a one of us is even sad
this was the island of no fevered dream

having a last fling

so much do do before we lose the track
an echo of the time before we knew
now all of our recalling fades to black

throw your disgust and joy into the sack
and be departed before the first dew
so much to do before we lose the track

your secret agent's the one with the knack
for telling others to forsake the view
now all of our recalling fades to black

survive the mauling and you get the flack
from those who cannot bear the ballyhoo
so much to do before we lose the track

the rule in palace fails in common shack
the queen herself would have to boil the glue
now all of our recalling fades to black

this is the meaning of the firm attack
what happens when we tune the set to blue
so much to do before we lose the track
now all of our recalling fades to black

preparation is not enough

i set my ducks and dolphins in a row
outside the clouds are massing heavy grey
these days we wait to learn about the flow

there are so many secrets there below
that you have no idea just what to say
i set my ducks and dolphins in a row

another journey might end with a blow
those actors tell us how to stage the play
these days we wait to learn about the flow

your agents have not put us in the know
and there are teachers who forget the way
i set my ducks and dolphins in a row

to get beyond the moment we must grow
into our skins and then we must inveigh
these days we wait to learn about the flow

when the rain comes the river will be slow
and we will have no knowledge of the day
i set my ducks and dolphins in a row
these days we wait to learn about the flow

22 May 2008

just about ready

we find the absence filling us with fear
and cannot take the weight of all those stars
nature's raw night is more than we should bear

this is the time when we must cast off care
and not a single task our future mars
we find the absence filling us with fear

though chance and changes leave our feelings bare
depend upon it we shall break the bars
nature's raw night is more than we should bear

from time to time we give you a large share
and then expect you to face all the jars
we find the absence filling us with fear

some would have us see this as one more snare
and load our goods into the railway cars
nature's raw night is more than we should bear

leave me the oath and give me leave to swear
play a slow tune on all of your guitars
we find the absence filling us with fear
nature's raw night is more than we should bear

the cattle are lowing

in rain and mist we leave cows to the grass
and hide our faces in the profane word
that we make sacred by our own absurd
sense and desire what is seen through the glass
now becomes what we name the lower class
but in this weather all our sight is blurred
and the full truth has not yet been conferred
so all that we can say is what the raas
give us a voice and we deny the sight
but what true explanation fills this need
unless we can receive the better fire
we need to have things locked up before night
set up the barriers that have been decreed
and have no time to tune the fucking lyre

so early in the morning

no one expects to see just where roads end
a setting moon looms brightly for us now
on so much effort do our hearts depend

on these dry hills no one will sell or lend
the honest word or let the truth endow
no one expects to see just where roads end

the pine tree died because you could not send
a single sentence to redeem your vow
on so much effort do our hearts depend

and so we pine and wait for lights to blend
and shadow's weight to rise from this last brow
no one expects to see just where roads end

if we go east we will not note the trend
but others will take up the hoe and plough
on so much effort do our hearts depend

these are the honours that we must defend
between this overture and the last bow
no one expects to see just where roads end
on so much effort do our hearts depend

an older undertaking

what winds come out of the restraining sea
mark every face with a new healthy sign
this should now be the end of all decline

there are new leaves on the starapple tree
and orange fruit on the encircling vine
what winds come out of the restraining sea

a child learns this upon each mother's knee
that all the meanings on the hill entwine
and not all anger should turn out malign
what winds come out of the restraining sea

21 May 2008

before the tornado

a moment more and then the sirens fail
you can't outrun the storm nor flee the sight
of all the things that hold the world upright

so much of justice we find is for sale
we must stay silent for our choice is slight
a moment more and then the sirens fail

this is no simple village fireside tale
for children's ears on a dark moonless night
we shoot the dog before it takes a bite
a moment more and then the sirens fail

writing the program

the rules dictate the nature of the game
just what and where we set out how to play
if you don't know the venture is your shame

we call you out and tease you all the same
you are not left with anything to say
the rules dictate the nature of the game

there's not a person who could fit this frame
so many losers who have come this way
if you don't know the venture is your shame

these meanings do not come out in the blame
but every temper is allowed to fray
the rules dictated the nature of the game

this mode alone is listed with acclaim
only a donkey is supposed to bray
if you don't know the venture is your shame

into the silence we must speak the name
of those who do not hide from open day
the rules dictate the nature of the game
if you don't know the venture is your shame

20 May 2008

sign above the water

if we should measure just how far to glide
through the soft air and where to come right down
upon the soft warm surface you'd not drown
any of your fears in the long slow tide
nor let us wait for motions to collide
we'd have to find our own ways to renown
of that there is no doubt and yet the crown
of all our seeking here is joy not pride
so much of time is found within the place
where each of us holds back the force and sense
that we have stored up since our time of birth
not one plain mark should show up on each face
nor are we able to make vain pretence
but have to take each moment at our worth

19 May 2008

in what we do not see

we have no true society without grief
our tales lack substance absent honest woe
lacking true decency we claim belief

we bring our sorrows into one great sheaf
and wonder that they are not better so
we have no true society without grief

a century or two of no relief
after we've taken the hard painful blow
lacking true decency we claim belief

each angry tree has grown into full leaf
asking applause for the great summer show
we have no true society without grief

our greatest need is to be swift and brief
accepting that we never truly know
lacking true decency we claim belief

in finest sort of error choose the thief
to lead us to the place we have to go
we have no true society without grief
lacking true decency we claim belief

waking from the night rain

in the beginning was the silver lie
we wait and wait to hear just what we need
after the rain so much blue in the sky

into each heart a little worm must pry
to measure the true worth of each soft deed
in the beginning was the silver lie

we don't regret the things we did not try
nor blame the ones who planted the good seed
after the rain so much blue in the sky

each honest question marks you as a spy
and decent service is the sign of greed
in the beginning was the silver lie

if you are silent others will not cry
but will expect you swiftly to concede
after the rain so much blue in the sky

not much is evident to honest eye
the palest flower does not grow on a weed
in the beginning was the silver lie
after the rain so much blue in the sky

annals of the poor

there was a madman on the country road
and a madwoman raped one moonless night
now i am gone and left them to their plight

no word was spoken open or in code
and not a person said just what was right
there was a madman on the country road

the trees and bushes form no safe abode
and honest people scorn them upon sight
what they were given was no decent light
there was a madman on the country road

18 May 2008

hammer through daisies

so much is needed before the first clean blow
of all the blooms that can be made by art
each one who does their proper honest part
becomes an element of the full show
so much of action needed when we go
out into summer watching blue birds dart
into the fringing forests of the heart
that we are stunned by how much that we know
let wisdom summon the first witness now
and lead the dance that makes us all rejoice
so vision makes the upward path so plain
for all who take the steps these rules allow
and let their energies have fullest voice
as they have entered upon true terrain

which being which

i did not ask the monkey for her name
nor wait to hear the pig's lame old excuse
for one more century's worth of abuse
the peacock simply tells us of his fame
and has not heard of modesty or shame
for calm and good sense monkey has no use
such concepts are too complex and abstruse
the whole of life is just a silly game
we are all stuck here in the viewing case
objects of alien fortune and desire
and sapient only when the master says
the critical part is that we know our place
never arouse the least flicker of ire
and we may get a treat one of these days

false dragonslayer

you think the shadow does not reach your face
out of the darkness all you see is night
and what you carry is that heavy blight

you seem an emissary of disgrace
doomed to be held in deep contempt and spite
you think the shadow does not reach your face

your task is simply to fill up the space
of reason and good humour and delight
with complete absence of true human light
you think the shadow does not reach your face

creole lion

above the clouds the moon is in new phase
in the far distance slowly turns the tide
we let the moment pass in summer pride
from distant africa we count the days
to this green shore and the same lunar rays
illuminate the things that you would hide
the world's no different on this hotter side
but we take stranger forms under your gaze
you did not think to bring us into shape
only to have us be your speaking tools
at best the calm attendants at your feast
and yet out of the blend of love and rape
taught at both harshest and most gentle schools
you find you have released the tawny beast

wind coming from the sea

ring each old tree with signs of what must come
announce that soon the world must rise in fire
bring forward hope beating upon the drum

do not be chastened by the faint old hum
or by the effort of those who perspire
ring each old tree with signs of what must come

there is still value in the least dry crumb
we do not denigrate those who aim higher
bring forward hope beating upon the drum

those who are guided by some rule of thumb
find that at bottom they cannot inquire
ring each old tree with signs of what must come

from shadow substance completes the full sum
and tells the winner what we should admire
bring forward hope beating upon the drum

at such a moment we cannot be dumb
but must shout loudly and by deed inspire
ring each old tree with signs of what must come
bring forward hope beating upon the drum

No Economy without Ecology

No Economy without Ecology

John Maxwell

I need to begin this week by making a most comprehensive and unreserved apology to the the Fiesta hotel and to the readers of this paper. Last week the caption to my picture of the Fiesta hotel at Lucea made a false statement. The groyne pictured was described as illegal. It isn’t. The operators have a licence for this construction from NEPA – I have been assured. I would like to know however, whether the rest of the caption is correct. There seems to be a visible plume of pollution from limestone in the sea to the west of the groyne. If this is not limestone dust, what is it?
That said, I wish to make it clear that my opinion of the hotel still holds. I think it is a graceless assault on the landscape of Lucea harbour and of Jamaica.
A few days ago The Gleaner has carried one of it fairly regular doom-burdened stories about Jamaica putting off investors. This one was serious
“Spanish Investors Shun Jamaica.”
I am amused.
"We need to have regular contact between Government and the investors and to ensure that the government is still backing Spanish investment," Spanish Ambassador Jesús Silva told The Gleaner.
According to the ambassador, the current atmosphere has to be improved, because the Spanish are operating honest companies, of good quality and the best environmental practices.”
Which suggest of course that any criticism of the Spanish investors is mean-spirited, mistaken and motivated by malice, a suggestion made none too subtly by the advertisement last week in the Gleaner which implied that Butch Stewart and the Observer are out to get the multi-billionaire Spaniards.
I knew Butch had clout, but this is ridiculous.
The real story comes from Majorca, home of some of the Spanish hotel chains. According to a recent story in a Dominican Republic newspaper “Adviser for tourism to Mallorca's Chamber of Commerce, Antoni Munar explained: "Four of the world's top hotel groups come from Mallorca and of these four, two, namely Riu and IberoStar, have hotels in Jamaica. Right now the Baleares Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera) is saturated – there is no more space for hotel development so many hoteliers have to look outside of Spain. Jamaica is a very good market. It has developing infrastructure, close proximity to North America, a strong brand that is recognised throughout the world and has both a mid market and high-end market component. Jamaica makes good business sense."
The Spaniards are not going anywhere. Their investment decisions are governed by the the US recession, by the unhealthy state of the world economy and by their liquidity.
Meanwhile, led by their egregious Ambassador they are targeting Jamaica’s environmental activists among whom I count myself.
The Jamaica Environment Trust and the Northern Jamaica Conservation Association have been the special enemies of the Spaniards since they objected to what was happening at Bahia Principe. JET is supposedly in Butch Stewart’s pocket!
Procedures! Procedures!
"There is nothing wrong with the environment. The problem is something maybe with the procedure inside the environmental agency”, Mr Felipe Castellanos, project manager for the hotel. He was right about NEPA; but I took some pictures published in this paper last year showing a beach full of faeces next to the hotel. When I showed this picture to an employee of the hotel at the so-called EIA presentation last year I was told that they “knew about that”.
And of course they will improve on nature at Pear Tree Bottom. The Ambassador himself, Mr. Silva”said the Pinero Group has made plans to have the indigenous turtle population of the area placed under the guardianship for a future tourists attraction, Furthermore he said much of the coastline would be enlarged and restored.”
Now! How about that!
Perhaps we should ask them to do a makeover on the whole island and make all our wildlife (me included) into a tourists attraction. On second thought, that may be exactly what they have in mind.
The idea of chain-ganged turtles laying eggs on concrete seems a tad outlandish, though.
Threats to the Environment
In Jamaica the major threats to the environment are:
1 Ignorant politicians
2 Ignorant bureaucrats
3 Arrogant developers
4 Climate change
5 Soil erosion
6 Sand-mining and the destruction of mangroves and corals.
7 Large land ownership - latifundism.
8 Unemployment & homelessness
Most of us do not know that of mainland Jamaica’s 488 miles of coastline less than 50 miles may be described as beach. Thirty years ago this was split almost evenly between public bathing beaches/fishermen’s beaches on on side and privately licenced beaches on the other. The UDC’s programme of beach-stealing has changed the balance decisively against the public interest.
In a place like Barbados, smaller than the parish of St Andrew, there is more beach frontage and all beaches are public There is no human interaction problem in Barbados because the population is integrated into tourism. All of Negril was intended to be public when Norman Manley opened the first road there fifty years ago. I was present and heard him speak about protecting the amenity and beauty of the area by restricting the elevations of hotels to no more than the height of the coconut palms. The UDC put paid to all of this in its frenzied attempt to atone for its failure of mission by becoming a property developer.
The threat by the Spanish to concrete the coastline of Jamaica by putting up 20,000 or more rooms should make every Jamaican cringe with horror. The modus operandi of the new investors is to use the hotel to wall off the beach and in the case of Bahia Principe to lay down a concrete substrate on top of which sand is placed. Since mining of beach sand is illegal in Jamaica they must be importing the sand legally from some foreign country. They must, mustn’t they?
And since the legal deficiencies such as exist are the fault of Jamaicans, we should remember the Spanish Ambassador’s threat last year when he warned the parish councils to behave themselves or face unspecified consequences. Shamefully, the then government spokesman Donald Buchanan, minister of information, added insult to injury when he too cautioned the public servants of Jamaica to give foreign investors a 'bly' to treat them with kid gloves and not to require too high a standard of compliance from them in relation to the laws and regulations relating to the environment. (vide: building applications en Español)
The present Minister of Tourism seems keen to put a hotel on every beach because the investment is huge and thousands of Jamaicans will be employed
The people of Jamaica are entitled to know what sacrifices are to be demanded of us to get these marvelous blessings.
How many Jamaican jobs in the hotels and at what level of wages?
What is the Prospective tax revenue return to Jamaica by the hotels?
Who will build the housing for these workers and where?
In a world of increasing drought where will we get the water to supply these hotels?
What quantum of food is to be supplied by Jamaican farmers?
I don’t believe Mr Bartlett or anyone else can or will answer any of these questions.
Others can however point with pride to the crime and disease ridden slums which surround every hotel district – in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Negril, and which make the real argument for all exclusive hotels.
The Ambassador
The Spanish Ambassador should be asked by the hotel industry to give a lecture on the current state of hotel construction and de-construction in Spain. to explain the meaning of the phrase ‘Costa del Concrete’ and, explain to them why Spain’s Environment Minister led the European Union in decreeing a compulsory 100 meter setback for all construction on European coasts. Such an assignment would surely keep Mr Silva out of mischief for a few days.
In the meantime we should be asking ourselves whether we want to turn the whole country into a Spanish Free-Zone, fit only for package tourists – like Majorca or the Costa del Concrete. Those Majorcans who don’t work for tourism can relocate to other places in Spain. Where would we go?
Copyright©2008 John Maxwell

17 May 2008

the exam marker his tale

this sends out bucketsful of old cliché
and tells us nothing not already known
the whole mystique's quite completely blown
by page one's end and there's no more to say
but the dumb writer has been led astray
by the desire in their small heart soon sown
to make mysterious what we would bemoan
if a small child should bring to light of day
we ask you simply to tell the plain tale
not ring it with a bouquet of dead weeds
but you insist on wasting all that ink
on one more episode of epic fail
another listing of most boring deeds
with cheap cologne to hide the nasty stink

biological determinism

at the deep end of the genetic pool
lie normal distributions of life's best
agents of change this is nature's last jest

we shape the world with mind as working tool
and every day we find we cannot rest
at the deep end of the genetic pool

no one expects that we will leave this school
the whole of life is an unceasing test
we did not ask but we have been assessed
at the deep end of the genetic pool

16 May 2008

political science

so easy now to watch as the streets clear
the soldiers march and countermarch with pride
the blow had fallen and we weren't aware

so many messages pass through the air
on their hard tasks we see the rulers ride
so easy now to watch as the streets clear

we gasped and claimed the action was not fair
this was a crime directed at our side
the blow had fallen and we weren't aware

given a chance we took a larger share
of all the things that we had long decried
so easy now to watch as the streets clear

not one of you will have a thought to spare
or say a thing or do more than deride
the blow had fallen and we weren't aware

all we have left is anger and plain fear
there is no place we can shelter or hide
so easy now to watch as the streets clear
the blow had fallen and we weren't aware

so much of meaning lost

all of the angles add up to a sight
we know what happens when we name each day
these gifts are moments of most honest play

so much is given in plain black and white
we catch a single instance of the ray
all of the angles add up to a sight

those motions rattle only through a night
you are not certain we have lost our way
so much is signalled by what we don't say
all of the angles add up to a sight

15 May 2008

in the truest gait

against the sky we measure one more dream
so much will happen before we may sleep
our choice we know is to receive the cream

we watch with happiness the parting gleam
knowing that much is hidden in the deep
against the sky we measure one more dream

so many hours before the newer beam
across the sky we watch each planet creep
our choice we know is to receive the cream

we wait the going out of this regime
in knowledge of what each servant will reap
against the sky we measure one more dream

what was to be is not what comes to seem
no mountain is as high nor slope as steep
our choice we know is to receive the cream

the hottest gospel will not make you scream
that is the secret which we have to keep
against the sky we measure one more dream
our choice we know is to receive the cream

14 May 2008

getting deeper into analysis

you think this is the answer but you're wrong
all that we do amounts to one big sigh
we turn out in the morning for a song

the usual explanation takes too long
instead you opt for one synthetic lie
you think this is the answer but you're wrong

the weak will always overcome the strong
but not by waiting for an easy sky
we turn out in the morning for a song

this is the way to break out of the throng
and not surprise the one who's asking why
you think this is the answer but you're wrong

so much depends on saying you belong
inside the lines and that you will comply
we turn out in the morning for a song

the choice we have to make on either prong
is one that makes the most sense to the eye
you think this is the answer but you're wrong
we turn out in the morning for a song

so much to say

shaping a moment in the curving stream
no one could doubt that monster had been there
you did not wait nor did you want to stare
there was no dragon that could make more steam
than came that second what we have to deem
a proper cloaking of the midday air
is now in place and all would seem so fair
if you alone would not call us extreme
so name the motion of the water true
it will not matter when all children go
back to their duties and the rains return
we think that each should get the honour due
when what will happen is that we should know
only enough to say just who should burn

13 May 2008

who are the otherkind

those were the markers of another fight
until we knew just how the angle held
there was no need to cross into the light

this is the god that took the only bite
whose mind refused to enter into meld
those were the markers of another fight

we did not say the meanings were so tight
but only that the symbols had not jelled
there was no need to cross into the light

the dragon told us of a complex plight
into which evil beings were expelled
those were the markers of another fight

so much depended on us saying right
the words which had a thousand actions quelled
there was no need to cross into the light

now in the castle we can see the bright
deception practiced by ones we expelled
those were the markers of another fight
there was no need to cross into the light

out of strict detention

this is the limit of what we should praise
our eyes are weary and our hearts just sad
so much we turned into just one more fad

the journey comes to end in one great blaze
watched by the frog on its small lilypad
this is the limit of what we should praise

whoever called these the much greater days
we should have drowned them and not called them mad
there's not much here to make anyone glad
this is the limit of what we should praise

this is just as it says

so many ways to make the answer gleam
you know your business best and cannot fail
year after year the fish feed in the stream

truth is what catches in the noontime beam
a meaning that we give when not too pale
so many ways to make the answer gleam

your signal is not what we should esteem
another rag is hanging on the nail
year after year the fish feed in the stream

thank every sailor that we have made steam
since the appearance might be not so stale
so many ways to make the answer gleam

against the tide there's nothing we could deem
worthy enough to pay off our travail
year after year the fish swim in the stream

all of the symbols are not what they seem
there is no safety left beyond the rail
so many ways to make the answer gleam
year after year the fish swim in the stream

at a nice angle

we reach the end and must wait for the sign
so much to do but duty is no guide
to what we most recall on every side
all of the signals tell us toe the line
and wait for others to fail or decline
our choice is complex and we have our pride
so many hells in which we have to hide
and all too easy just to bitch and whine
this one small motion of the daily air
tells us of what so many more have seen
and our small knowledge adds to the amount
of what becomes the mark of this affair
now seen most clearly far beyond the screen
and all we know forms part of the account

12 May 2008

sunblind and tired

reaching the end of one more white marl road
you pause to think of just why you walk here
knowing each day that they may change the mode

those were the places where no honey flowed
and every season seemed equally drear
reaching the end of one more white marl road

so much accounted for in every load
and the conclusion never yet comes near
knowing each day that they may change the mode

nobody listened when the rooster crowed
and you found out no one was left to hear
reaching the end of one more white marl road

you were the one on whom it was bestowed
and now you find the blessing was not dear
knowing each day that they may change the mode

this is the message in the secret code
orders to which no person will adhere
reaching the end of one more white marl road
knowing each day that they may change the mode

seen through the lens

a portion of the morning comes off plain
after the storm there's still a steady breeze
no bird can rest upon the tops of trees

in the far distance i can hear the train
there is no reason yet for calm or ease
a portion of the morning comes off plain

the forecast has no word of sudden rain
this day may yet be warm enough to please
not only us but anyone who sees
a portion of the morning comes off plain

11 May 2008

Student Errors, Spring 2008

The question asks how would john Stuart mill interpret Walter Rodney? These two were very different intervals.

During those time liberty was expressed as free from political tyranny. Which, in his view, needs to be controlled by the liberty of the citizens.

Karl Marx was a modern liberal.

Wollstonecraft believed that education was an important tool for graining equality.

The Declaration of the Rights of Women and Citizens was the work in which implemented Gouges as one of the first true and modern feminist.

When examining this particular statement, it is more intellectually comprehensible to interpret the statement as “Confucius views the individual as composing the state; Plato views the state as composing the individual.”

During the Pre-Columbian period, economies performed well. Such societies beginning prior to European colonization, relied on agriculture, such as hunting and fishing; as well as jewelry and wool making. The societies also were knowledgeable about anatomy and astronomy. As a result, monies were not used in exchange for goods, bartering was the most common factor of trade. Yet, technological knowledge was lacking. The invention of the wheel and iron were scarce.

Columbia is currently located north of Ecuador, Peru and Brazil and to the west of Venezuela.

In recent years, the white population comprises of individuals migrating from European countries as well as Taiwan to participate in the growing economy as part of their business, investment opportunities, or to retire.

Because of the Somoza dictatorship and corruption, today’s Nicaraguan Constitution exclaims elected presidents and vice presidents serve five-year terms and those officials and their families are not allowed to be immediately reelected.

When rule want to be passed it has to go through the president.

The president is that strong figure who everyone is America looks up to in a positive and maybe even in a negative way, it just depends on your purgative.

He made these people believe the most idiotic entities.

However, we would end up nowhere if we believed that morality of doing good for others was due to the oppression of Jews.

African Americans have made a lot of historical progress in the last 21 centruies but that does not erase some of the issues at hand.

Aside from the fact that Hitler was responsible for the dead of many lives he also had historical beliefs and would not change them for no one.

Many problems the Goldman found women were faced with, was just about everything; from being doctors to save lives, to being political analyst that analyzed the nations government, to being a wife to the shadow of that particular woman’s husband.

For the men who know this true fact, I believe they are holding on to their manhood by, thinking they are the dictators in today’s society.

As with ancient politics, the ability to talk for long periods of time more so than keen oratorical skills was the factors for swaying the audience. But, Habermas combined the essence of oratory skills with the analytical skills of scientists to legitimize politics with valid standards.

Because women are considered to be the “Other”, being a man is in society was considered to be normal, and being a woman was out of the norm.

Being black was seen as the “second race” because they were viewed as less humane than white Americans.

The struggle for racial equality is akin to the struggle for racial equality because both of these groups of people were denied their natural rights as human beings.

Physical violence can only make things get worst and sometimes out of hand.

For many years, Dr. King marched with his family and many faithful followers from city to city in the south, to court house to court house wanting a change. People sometimes fail to realize that, being persistent will win in a person’s favour sooner or later, and that is what he was.

His methods of speaking are exactly what African Americans and Third World people. We as blacks know for a fact to tare someone down is through words. I know for myself, I would like physical violence done to me verses being ridiculed and having just anyone speak to me however they feel. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. knew this.

Many people living there [Trinidad and Tobago] were from the West Indies.

Once again I must implement, violence causes more violence, and sometimes people fight so long they forget what the fight was about to begin with. An example if that would be Iraq. The military went over there to show them that America is very strong and whatever issues they have with the United States need to be squished, since American holds the better end of the barging stick.

Dr. Frantz Fanon probably did not figure that, violence begets violence. It is a one-way street that turns into a dead end.

Political order is known to make possible the good things in life and liberty also known as freedom and liberty help enable that.

No one chooses to be unwealthy.

Sex is a natural urge and because in a marriage sex is a natural act, the man decided when where and how often sex was performed.

Morality requires that humans conform to a set of ideals and principles that provide for a socially ordered society.

Morality incubuses all standards of living that society deems important, and essentially defines all roles in society.

In America the moral standard for women is different from that of a man. Women are often times forced to suppress their sexuality for fear of being called promiscuous, while men have allows been justified in their sexual explorations.

This was where you sit one on one with a group of people (black & improvised, mainly) and listen to everyone’s concerns.

Ultimately I agree with these three philosophers, and find them relevant to society, because America embodies “political animal,” that freely gets to entered into our social contract that allows you to pursue life, liberty and property.

The political theories of Confucius and Mencius are like Mo Tzu’s irrelevant to today because they focus on what the individual needs to do to create a better society.

Goldman’s theories would argue that Hillary Clinton is just as capable as other males, to become president.

I will discuss the influences of followed by my perspective on the three theorists I think is particularly relevant to my life and to American politics in the 21st century.

Bob Marley would become a Rastafarianism after returning to Jamaica in 1966.

To many Jamaicans and Rastafarians worldwide, Bob Marley is nearly godlike status among them.

They all got the chains of oppression and segregation broken off the Africans and African decades.

All three theorists are just relevant in the past as they are in the present and future.

The older members are either ex-Gravesites or sympathizers of his movement.

Now of days you can find members of the group as high as the elite class.

The ideas of Rastafarianism and Bob Marley do have relevance to black people today because if they didn’t , there wouldn’t be anymore peace rallies.

Woman was given two responsibilities and those were to reproduce and the other was to stay home.

As a 15 year old young man in Martinique, the French soldiers became was Fanon called “authentic racists.”

Athens, Greece, the birthplace of democracy, provided socio-political scenery for both Pericles and Aristotle.

Governing is a form of social control that comes from an understanding in society.

He derived this theory into print in 1849.

He understands that this is unclear but seeks to find it.

Malcolm X, another theorist believed in the second coming of the black struggle.

He felt the way to do this was through non-violent ways. This to him was the most violent weapon a person could be equipped with.

Following the methods of Mohandas Gandhi during the Indian struggle for independence from Britain, King implemented a system of nonviolence to protest against the racially disadvantaged system in the United States.

Walzer’s preference for affirmative action programs in a modern society are imperative because they assist in institutionalizing those who were once disenfranchised.

He further explains that Christian ethics of “rest not evil with force” will not work in politics.

A lot of people especially me are beginning to believe that there is no such thing as liberty anymore.

Modern political theory to me is always up in the air because there are no consistencies in society the is always a constant change, and it is always questioned then accepted versus given a chance first and then questioned later.

You can build a house on top of a house or you cant half way tear down a fence and expect to build another on from that because you are still going to have some of the problems from the old fence that is going to keep the new fence from reaching it full potential.

Guyanese activist and Marxist scholar Walter Rodney emerged from post-colonial colonial struggles throughout the mid 20th century.

Goldman fought for equality among genders.

Martin Luther King was born into a family which was well established in Atlanta and school was often forced upon him and his siblings.

Dr. King, if still alive would more than likely assist and aid in the Third World countries striving to help achieve peace and love.

The Whigs, to which Burke was a member of, called themselves friends of the people because they were advocates of freedoms and liberties for the middle and lower class citizens.

Another problem with liberal democracy having to do with majority rule is that true forms of this type of government believe that civil societies are the best way to live.

It can become life of death situations.

Each belief is different in its own way.

Rather than Burke being a supporter of liberty, Burke valued the perception of conservatism, and believed that this idea surfaced in the response of the Revolution.

John Stuart Mill is another political thinker who does not uphold the value of liberty.

Karl Marx was a philosopher, but he was best known for being a revolutionary communist, and had a big impact on the development of the modern world. Marx’s theory of history is centered on the idea that the development of society is based on the delaying of human productivity.

To Malcolm X non-violence would not work because the whites were hostile to them so they must be the same.

For example, Calvin and John are father and son respectfully.

Calvin ends up dieing of a hear attack.

Many modern political theorists tend to identify Marxism as form of struggle faced by racist individuals.

Dr. King was an advocate for economic injustice among all racial groups.

Upon tarnishing women were ostracized, alienated, disowned, and/or marginalized for their act of premarital sex.

Women were often times dehumanized by inaccessibility to birth control.

After the overthrow of injustice it is understood that the people would constitute a new government that best fits but keeps in tack their lives, liberties and estates.

Dr. Martin Luther King understood all of these notions and implemented aspects of each to effect change in the 19th century American system and to inspire the social ineptness of the world.

This statement is completely wrong for so many interconnected and disconnected reasons.

Although Dr. King emphasized social justice among all people, he was aware of the fact that it could not be achieved just by the intertwining of races in society physically but rather the unity of people as a whole.

While other theorists fall short, John Stuart Mill, one of the first seemingly male feminists, assumes the role of expressing his passion for women’s equality.

After the slave trade, Africans were displaced all over the worlds, in different continents, cities, and communities.

From the law policies to language infringements, Fanon was influenced and pressured into a different culture and national consciousness at an early age.

Having a diverse family background, Fanon was not victim to homogenous culture at birth.

frostier magic

someone has sung the chorus of the snow
and let the winter go and do its will
others must swallow that most bitter pill

a shallow river's halted in its flow
and not a creature now can drink its fill
someone has sung the chorus of the snow

not one of us is warmed by solar glow
and none of us has got the thought or skill
to summon warmth or keep off the hard chill
someone has sung the chorus of the snow

voyage of discovery

you want to see the light within the shade
but have not strength enough to hold the line
now is the time to raise the last blockade

so much depends on how the thing is made
and on the manner of the early sign
you want to see the light within the shade

each morning you get up and ply your trade
at midday you may pause and recombine
now is the time to raise the last blockade

at nightfall the best thinking has to fade
we can't tell just which order to define
you want to see the light within the shade

the risen power discovers just how frayed
are all the cords that make the ball of twine
now is the time to raise the last blockade

salvation is a myth since those who prayed
and those who did not turn out just as fine
you want to see the light within the shade
now is the time to raise the last blockade

early up

flashes of lightning wake me in the night
and i lie calmly waiting for the rain
knowing that soon there will not be a light

so many things are set in black and white
that are not easy and were never plain
flashes of lightning wake me in the night

the thunder says things that are seldom right
reminding each of us of mortal pain
knowing that soon there will not be a light

we have long fallen from the better height
and live these days for only petty gain
flashes of lightning wake me in the night

it is too late to beg the dog to bite
against the leash we see it will not strain
knowing that soon there will not be a light

and you and i caught in the selfsame plight
we know how much of hope we must sustain
flashes of lightning wake me in the night
knowing that soon there will not be a light

10 May 2008

We are Not for Sale

We Are Not For Sale

John Maxwell

Scott Fitzgerald once confided to Ernest Hemingway – “You know, Ernest, the rich are different from us.”
“Yes” said Hemingway, “They have more money.”
Some people seem to think that the Jamaican Constitution is a kind of public convenience needing to be flushed from time to time to get rid of stuff the rich find offensive or inconvenient. The Observer reports that some of Jamaica’s leading women in business have criticised what they saw as flaws in the constitution which reserved certain posts for Jamaican citizens. Citizenship, apparently, should be fungible like certain assets, and Jamaica is rude and ungrateful to deny people who had renounced their Jamaican allegiances to become Americans.
I will say nothing more than to challenge any one of these big-mouths to publicly say the same thing in the United States of America regarding US citizenship and the prohibitions contained in the US constitution,
Dr Herbert Thompson, head of the Northern Caribbean University would seem to be of the same opinion as Ms Audrey Hinchcliffe and her fellows. He lashed out at those who objected to Mr Danville Walker’s disqualification from his position as Chief Electoral Officer because of his US citizenship. Dr Thompson blasted hitherto unknown miscreants who had apparently fought against Mr. Walker for a long time
"There are those who want Mr Walker's head for a number of different reasons, not the least of which is the fact that Mr Walker is no pushover and and he cannot be trampled upon," he said.
Thompson told The Gleaner that Walker was a "man of principle" who stood firm as the commission sought to fix the electoral system."
Lost in Dr Thompson’s fantasies is the fact that the elected representatives of the Jamaican people led by Michael Manley and the PNP, have for the last three decades, fought to reform the electoral system, which is how and why Walker got the job.
In all of his words reported in the Gleaner, Dr Thompson did not appear to criticise the principled Mr Walker for accepting a position for which he must have known he was not qualified, and for taking no steps to come into compliance with the law and constitution.
The learned and reverend Dr Thompson would seem to be partial to some miscreants, depending on which law they break.
Mr Darryl Vaz was reported to be very upset with people in parliament who, like him, owe allegiance to foreign powers. They should resign or renounce their citizenship as he has done.
I totally agree and pointed out, years ago, that a Green Card which apprentices people on their way to US citizenship, effectively negates one’s erstwhile nationality.
But some people demand to eat their cake and have it.
There is one small problem that Mr Vaz has not recognised. Having renounced his American citizenship he is effectively stateless, because it will take him five years to become a Jamaican national -- just like any other alien. The fact that you were once entitled to Jamaican citizenship and did not take it doesn’t mean that you can adopt it when you want. Citizenship is not a coat that you can put on when it suits you. And the rules of naturalisation everywhere exist because the people whose nationality you wish to adopt are thought to have some right to decide whether they want you. Same thing in the US.
All this means, in my opinion, that no one has to go to court to disqualify any alien who was wrongfully nominated and elected to parliament. By virtue of their citizenship they cannot be seated in Parliament, and if some MP should cry out “I spy strangers” in the House, it would be up to the alleged aliens to prove that they were not.
And any unqualified who sits in Parliament and votes on any measure there is breaking the law and can be penalised for every vote he or she makes.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse, and the people affected cannot use that excuse anyway. As I pointed out immediately after the election, we were already in a constitutional crisis. In the traditional Jamaican way we ignored it until sore foot turn to gangrene.
Various alleged authorities are busy trying to devalue Jamaican citizenship and to suggest that it would be more convenient for everybody if we simply accepted the high-class lawbreaking of the so-called “dual citizens”. These apologists are doing so under the meretricious cover that the Jamaican constitution was written by the British and forced down our throats. This is the sort of garbage peddled for years by those who also say that independence was not our idea but forced on us by Britain. Not to put too fine a point on it, this is a bold-faced and disgraceful lie, and dishonours the struggle for freedom by everyone from Juan de Bolas to Norman Manley.
Those who do not know our history seem compelled to denigrate it.
The Spanish Abusers
I am one of very few people who has ever driven right around this island. I did it in 1962 and again in 1965. I and my friend Bill Carr, who was on my second tour, did not simply go round the coast, we ramified into all sorts of secret places like Thicketts and Scharschmidt’s Prospect, and places whose names elude me now.
On the north coast of Hanover I remember small secret coves at Green Island which I knew would at some point lose their virginity to capitalist progress, but hoped against hope that it would be a long time coming.
I have lived to see the rape of these secret and perhaps sacred places, to see my grandfather’s bones entombed by an alumina refinery, to see the rugged slopes of the Blue Montains succumb to the disease of squatting, itself a result of land monopolisation, to watch as millions of tons of precious topsoil bleeds steadily into Hunts Bay and into the seas all round Jamaica. When I was the Gleaner’s Shipping Reporter, boys used to dive for coins thrown overboard by tourists on ships in Kingston Harbour. You could follow the coin as it wobbled its way – 16, 18, 20 feet down. The water was so clear. Today in Kingston Harbour you cannot see anything one foot down even if your view is not occluded by excrement or condoms.
Last week, courtesy of this newspaper, I surveyed some of this country by helicopter.
My first helicopter flight was courtesy of the US Marine Corps and US Vice president Lyndon Johnson, representing John Kennedy at Jamaica’s Independence. The difference was startling. In Christiana, where there were productive terraces in 1962, the hills were bare as in Haiti. The real surprise was on the coast, where enormous piles of brazen concrete offered a new face to the sea. The Genoese navigator, Cristóbal Colón, would never have recognised any part of the land he described as ‘the fairest isle’ that European eye had ever beheld.
The new Spanish Conquistadors consider themselves different and privileged. They have more money than we do, which means that we should trim the law to suit them and that we should bow down in awe before their outrageous displays of bourgeois kitsch.
I am not going into the legal aspects of the Spanish invasion. I want to discuss the simpler, cruder human aspects.
The United Nations of which Spain is a member, recognised in the Treaty of Rio that there are some secret and sacred places in the world, some not secret but valued by humanity for their stillness, majesty, wildness, tranquility or for other values lying deep within the human soul.
The European Union, of which Spain is a member, recognises that people have the right to protect their patrimony and to decide what they want to preserve and what changes they are willing to allow in their environment. The Europeans have even devised a Convention to protect the sacred human right to decide on development, recognising that development is a matter of developing the mind, soul and spirit of the human person and not concrete eructations to rectify feelings of inferiority.
The Spanish were occupied and ruled for 500 years by people from Africa who left enduring monuments to their presence in cities like Cordoba and buildings like the Alhambra. When the Spaniards threw out the Africans and turned their faces to the west they did not tear down the Moorish jewels, they converted them to their own use and some of these places are among the reasons Spain’s tourist industry rivals its population.
In this hemisphere the idea that gimmicks mean development is concretised in Spanish abominations.
At Bloody Bay, in Negril, once one of the most hospitable swimming places in the world there are two Spanish hotels, both owned by Riu. the first seems content to accept and respect its environment. The second sits like a toad on a lilypad, croaking its aesthetic desecration of a place once thickly populated by Santa Maria hardwood trees. Odd that the trees now destroyed had the same name as the flagship of the Genoese navigator.
The beautiful little town of Lucea has been desecrated and humbled by a sprawling Disneyesque nightmare which has obliterated the charm of the entire coast. (see photo)In Montego Bay sits another gingerbread monument to bad taste -- and to Spanish arrogance. This is the Mahoe Bay Riu hotel where an alleged building permit was in Spanish! Not arrogance?
Further down the coast is another comic book creation, the Bahia Principe whose sewage fouls the beach beside it. Then in Mammee Bay is another Riu catastrophe, arrogantly claiming attention by the simple expedient of disfiguring the entire coastline.
The Spanish have apparently taken this newspaper and its owner Butch Stewart to be their enemies, according to an advertisement in the Gleaner last week. I am not aware that Butch and the Observer are their enemies but I know that I am.
I believe that as a Jamaican I have the right to insist that my guests should obey the rules of the house, my country’s laws, respect its customs and traditions and generally, behave in a civilised manner.
They should not defecate on my doorstep,
If the Spanish have been misled by any Jamaican – of whatever rank or stinkability – to believe that they can do what they want in this country, I have news for them:
Copyright ©2008 John Maxwell

scanty history

this does not reach the end of all the facts
a moment more and we achieve a peace
a red ball bounces just short of the crease
and someone counts off numbers of impacts
this story has a paucity of acts
for no good reason nor out of caprice
the process won't begin unless you cease
and all that matters is who first reacts
now this is not the tale of any liar
but a sad history of many years
given to us by those who would not turn
their heads to look at friends sent far higher
since that would show the heavy flowing tears
and now each memory is left to burn

06 May 2008

where now we choose

there is a reason to stand by your name
out of dark battles come honest desires
you hold your place and wait for the new flame

your knowledge comes from places not so tame
and from the one who of all things inquires
there is a reason to stand by your name

when all's been done nothing remains the same
the ones who tell you so are all proved liars
you hold your place and wait for the new flame

others will seek to pass on all the blame
not waiting till the last old coot expires
there is a reason to stand by your name

not one of them would dare to speak of shame
as bit by bit the open day expires
you hold your place and wait for the new flame

it's not so much that you know it's a game
as that the answer is within the fires
there is a reason to stand by your name
you hold your place and wait for the new flame

honourable purpose

all that will matter is that you get through
until the clock rings each still gets to dream
it seems most wrong that all the sky is blue

someone will note the colour in the flue
and send you messages of their esteem
all that will matter is that you get through

a signal comes for those who're in the crew
and understand what's in the tightest beam
it seems most wrong that all the sky is blue

it will be over once you tie your shoe
that is the upshot of some clever scheme
all that will matter is that you get through

it's not your job to cook somebody's stew
or worry about what floats down the stream
it seems most wrong that all the sky is blue

our single duty is to watch the new
starlight and then to share in the fresh cream
all that will matter is that you get through
it seems most wrong that all the sky is blue


a fall of water and then nothing more
dust fills the spaces of what had been hope
what do we need but once more climb the slope

this is our duty just to reach the shore
you take the time now just to weep and mope
a fall of water and then nothing more

the world we get turns out to be a bore
he who inherits just another dope
we would do better with some cloth and soap
a fall of water and then nothing more

05 May 2008

old story time

shards of old story simply must scatter
we leave the past to grow into its own
nothing at all that we do could matter

winds pass and repass and never matter
no tree could stand here without a groan
shards of old story simply must scatter

fools and jesters take the time to flatter
that tale at least will soon become well known
nothing at all that we do could matter

against the wall the dragons still batter
no one expects that they will break the stone
shards of old story simply must scatter

we watch as on the glass the fires spatter
it will grow hot enough to show the bone
nothing at all that we do could matter

the world itself we know will come to shatter
not a thing we do that is not soon known
shards of old story simply must scatter
nothing at all that we do could matter

04 May 2008

at the boundary of time

these are commands that all must not deny
our lives depend on doing what we're told
we promise heart and mind this is no lie

so much seems obvious even to your eye
and this is why we don't want to be bold
\these are commands that all must not deny

no one would listen were we now to cry
you would sell us so quickly for that gold
we promise heart and mind this is no lie

reasons in plenty you would soon supply
before the fires of justice had gone cold
these are commands that all must not deny

it is so easy for those who would buy
your loyalty to cast you in their mould
we promise heart and mind this is no lie

another cæsar has to cast his die
before the final version can unfold
these are commands that all must not deny
we promise heart and mind this is no lie

slim maple

i look and every leaf is on the tree
the sapling's got the fullness of its pride
green shows itself on every single side

the calendar and vision both agree
that warmth and colour are at last allied
i look and every leaf is on the tree

what i desired is what has come to be
the urgency of life is not denied
and we are taken once more on the ride
i look and every leaf is on the tree


you tell the story and it's all old lies
so much has changed since you were a small child
nothing seems half as large or half as wild
the world is smaller now in adult eyes
what was clear then no sum of money buys
and where you had so obviously smiled
the painful memories of years are piled
and all you do is wait for your demise
this is the change you hoped for and it's dust
not one thing you expected has come true
and now the sun itself has lost its light
what once shone brightly now is gone to rust
all that was charged to credit has come due
the flame of morning passes into night

The Children of Moloch

The Children of Moloch

The essentially criminal consequences of the international capitalist financial system have never been so brutally exposed as by the latest crisis in food and the American mortgage debacle which immediately preceded it.
Jean Ziegler of Switzerland is UN special rapporteur on the right to food and a professor of sociology at the University of Geneva and at the Sorbonne in Paris. At a special emergency UN conference on the food crisis in Geneva a few days ago, Ziegler declared that the massive transformation of foods into biofuels "is an intolerable crime against . humanity."
Ziegler quoted FAO figures revealing that in the last year, the price of wheat rose 130 per cent, rice 74 per cent, soy 87 per cent and corn 53 per cent.
Ziegler said speculation is responsible for 30 per cent of the price hike, particularly on the Chicago Commodities Market, where speculators control 40 per cent of contracts. One company, Cargill, controls a quarter of all cereal production, and has enormous power over the market. He added that hedge funds are also making huge profits from raw materials markets, and called for new financial regulations to prevent such speculation.
The special rapporteur warned of worsening food riots and a "horrifying" increase in deaths by starvation before reforms could take effect.
And the children who die of starvation will die immured in filth, beset by flies and worms and will suffer immeasurably greater pain than the children sacrificed to the sacred fires of Moloch, 4,000 years ago.
In the beginning, capitalism was founded on slavery and it continues to depend on the immiserisation of humanity foreseen by two men born 10 years and an ocean apart -Thomas Jefferson, the godfather of the United States, and Adam Smith, the apostle of capitalism.
When Jefferson, the Virginia gentleman, devised his famous formula defining blacks as three-fifths human, he was making provision for the formalisation of their status as an engine of capitalism, like horse power and steam power. Adam Smith, the Scottish gentleman, was perhaps less explicit: labour, black or white, was simply another factor of production, another resource.
Their heirs today view their activities as perfectly legal, no matter that they condemn the major part of humanity to what even they might consider - if they thought about it - subhuman conditions.
The armies of the MBA are now as disconnected from the misery they engender, as the pilots who bombed Dresden, Coventry, Nagasaki or Vietnamese rice paddies were from the peasants in paddies, the refugees in Dresden or the innocents everywhere. Bayonets compel a recognition that the enemy is human as Jefferson recognised when he raped his young slave, Sally Hemmings. But the essence of the relationship is now transferred to a higher plane - dealing death by incineration or starvation by remote control.
The thousands of young Goldman Sachs traders are mostly unconscious of the fact that their million-dollar bonuses mean the destruction of whole communities and the transition of many of their fellows from citizens to prostitutes and jailbirds. The hedge fund managers who have cornered the market in rice, corn and ethanol may claim not to be aware that they also own much of the market in hunger, starvation, misery and death.
LAND AND HUNGERIn seven months, on January 2009, it will be 50 years since the people of Cuba, led by a few hundred young men and women, seized control of their destinies. Their leader, Fidel Castro, had spent time in jail after conviction on a charge of treason, for raising rebellion against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, a friend of the United States.
In his closing speech in his own defence, the young lawyer had laid out in detail the abject position of the masses of the Cuban people and had identified large land ownership, especially by US corporations, as one of the prime factors in Cuban servitude.
On the triumph of the revolution in 1959, the first law promulgated was the Agrarian Reform Law. If I remember correctly, the first words of that Act were:
"Large landholding is henceforth forbidden."
A limit of just over 500 acres was placed on land ownership. The revolution thought that anyone should be able to make a decent living out of 500 plus acres. The revolution believed that foreign ownership of land was against the Cuban interest and that large land ownership - latifundismo - disfranchised and marginalised Cubans, concentrated power in a few hands and was fundamentally undemocratic and anti-social.
The American embargo, now 48 years old, was in response to that law.Since that time Cuban land ownership and management have gone through many changes into a mix of state farms, cooperative farms and private farms - but all are owned by the Cuban people and operated in their interest.
And that is why, despite the fact that Cuba's per capita GDP is accounted to be below that of Jamaica, there are no starving Cubans, no unemployment and more than two-thirds of the entire Cuban population is enrolled in some level of educational activity.
Cuban schools and universities provide free education to more than 10,000 young people from all over the world, including Jamaica and the United States. It is one of the reasons the Cubans can graduate more than 5,000 medical doctors annually, why there are nearly 20,000 Cuban teachers and doctors in Venezuela, Haiti, Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, and why Cuba was able to offer 1,500 doctors to help New Orleans recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
It is one of the reasons why Cuba, with a population equivalent to that of the rest of the Greater Antilles, has a crime rate comparable to the Jamaican parish of Trelawny, while Puerto Rico and Jamaica, between them, murder about 2,000 of their citizens annually and maim or seriously injure thousands more.
It is long past time to repudiate the debt, cease paying taxes to usurers and use the money to create a civilised society.PROPERTY, PRIVILEGE AND POVERTYAt this moment the Jamaican people are being asked to surrender their sovereignty on two fronts.
On one side it is demanded - by the privileged and propertied - that the Jamaican Constitution should be changed to accommodate the special interests of foreigners, who want to be able to have the best of two worlds, making money from Jamaica and storing it abroad. We must surrender our sovereign right to rule ourselves so that a privileged caste can make rules for us, rules to suit their interests rather than our interests.
We are told that we clearly have a duty to be poor, a duty to surrender our right to determine how we should use our land, to surrender our beaches and to pay for improvements to the amenities and lifestyles of the rich and irresponsible.
In Montego Bay, a number of Spanish 'investors' have determined that no matter what the Civil Aviation Authority, the National Environmental Planning Agency and the St James Parish Council may say, they have the right to ignore Jamaican law. Having captured one of Jamaica's loveliest public beaches and having in open defiance of the law built a vulgar and monstrous obstruction in the flight path of Sangster Airport, they demand the right to challenge the right of the Jamaican people to run our own country the way we want.
In Spain, at this moment, the Spanish government is busy dynamiting similar excrescences built, as in Jamaica, against the law and the public interest by 'investors' with much more money than social responsibility.
In the pursuit of profit it does not matter to these uncivilised bozos that when a plane in distress hits their hotel, it will be the careless Jamaicans who will be blamed. We will be sued both by the victims' families and by the investors themselves.
I remember an Avianca Lockheed Constellation crashing at Montego Bay airport as it was then called, killing about 40 people. Had that crash happened today instead of 48 years ago, the Riu hotel and everyone in it would have been incinerated.
It was out of that crash - and the recommendation of the inquest that followed - that the first known call was made for the compulsory installation of 'black boxes': flight recorders in all commercial aircraft.Unfortunately, black boxes can record neither the stupidity nor the cupidity of so-called 'investors'.
Since the entire hotel is in breach of the Jamaican law, the Jamaican law should take its course.
The hotel should be demolished at the expense of the millionaire malefactors who put it up.
We owe them nothing, and certainly not our national integrity or our dignity.
Knock it down!
That's how it is - under the law.
And the Spanish Ambassador does not (yet) sit in our Parliament or in our High Court.Copyright©2008 John Maxwelljankunnu@gmail.com