Thursday, 25 September 2014

JAMALCO's Coal Plant: Risk to the Environment

While the proposed conversion of the Bogue Power Station in Montego Bay, St James, to replace the existing heavy fuel oil power plants at Old Harbour and Hunts Bay with a gas turbine plant, fuelled with liquid natural gas, is nothing to holler too much about because Natural Gas might be the best environmentally safe and economical option for Jamaica.

But as it pertains to Jamalco’s expected coal-fired co-generation facility, we should take pause and assess what a coal powered plant of any capacity could possibly mean for the natural environment and public health of the immediate community and Jamaica at large. It is no secret that “clean coal” is give and take; to get the “clean air” (which is merely lessened pollutants); the scrubbing process which cleans the air creates wastewater which also comes from power plant boiler and cooling systems contains lethal chemicals.

These chemicals are as serious as nuclear waste; although we hear that the plan is to import coal from Colombia, supposedly low sulphur coal. The United States’ Environment Protection Agency (USEPA) data shows that coal produces high levels of Arsenic, Lead and other chemicals harmful to humans, plants and animals. USEPA explains storage of the raw coal is important as rain can flush the chemicals and the wind can carry the heavily toxic dust. 

This wastewater is easily soaked into the ground contaminating ground water sources or due to negligence or misconduct can be released into rivers and other water ways causing serious damages.
There are too many incidences of coal related issues across the world not just in the US but especially in China (our climate change causing pals). These are developed countries with the capabilities to monitor and properly deal with the risk of using coal.

The emissions at the coal plant are expected to be less than of the oil plant but the issue goes beyond emissions. We have neglected in the past to ensure that the plants we currently have and other sources of toxic wastewater are consistently policed, it’s hard to see NEPA (not tasked to protect the environment) thoroughly regulating this new facility.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Those Who Know Better: Extremism Hindering Debate on Human Rights

We must not allow Fundamentalism and/ Extremism to take hold of our consciousness whether it be Faith based or otherwise; history has proven that crusades only ensure the victory of one side and the mass slaughter of the ‘enemy’ but Jamaica is better than this backward stepping series of events that may see us regurgitating our past of violent intolerance of our differences including religious. 

When we speak of tolerance or equality we need to include all the other forms of prejudice and narrow-mindedness that Jamaicans have not properly addressed because we can’t hide behind our ‘Christianity’ when we speak of things like racism and xenophobia.

With both sides of this ‘war’ being guilty of the same sins in order to win the propaganda battle of words and conviction, its certain that anyone caught in the middle will be placed on either side by those ardent on seeking and subduing the ‘enemy’ based on the appalling belief of “If you’re not (entirely) with me, then your (entirely) against me”. 

Middle Ground

I refused to be told that, I, a young supporter of Human Rights and Equality am immoral and confused because American right-wing influenced and funded Christian groups relating all Human Rights as “Gay Lobby” and “Gay Agenda”.

I refused to be forced or morally ‘brainwashed’ to accept conduct contrary to my personal belief and crosses my particular red line that may or may not align with popular or unpopular behaviour and doctrine. 

Many young people like me have slowly realized that we are all individuals; and as much as we want to generalize gays, Christians, women and men; there is no oversimplifying the extraordinary human experience.So even now, when Gay Rights activist label Christians as Homophobes and Christians return to the dangerous narrative of linking Homosexuality and Paedophilia – We know better. 

Finally, Government cannot escape from this melee of social issues blameless; there is no leading from behind for a Jamaican government and most importantly a Jamaican elected representative on these issues, specifically Sexual Education. Don’t kill the messenger, because you don’t like the message – Where were you when the message needed to be delivered?

As a Human Rights supporter I must compel the Human Rights lobbyist to get the Jamaican Government to put a non-binding referendum to the people, so we can get a proper understanding of where we stand now and how we proceed.

Friday, 4 July 2014

ISIS Attack Caused by Inaction in Syria


As the Al Qaeda linked terrorism organization ISIS makes their presents known across the middle east especially in the nations of Syria, Iraq and Libya – all three having varying degrees of intervention from the International community led by the United States of America whether from the front through an Invasion based on a hubris in case of Iraq or from behind as not to directly be involved with the disposing of an ally who had fallen from grace in Libya.

With the Syrian civil war being the worst and longest of any of the Middle East uprising mainly due to the influence of the jihadist belonging to those familiar terror groups we associate with the word terrorism, with all the attention that the ongoing crisis in Syria had received before; with the whole world pushing for an international consensus to go into Syria with as much force as the allied nations did in Libya to force President Bashar al-Assad out of power. 

Unfortunately, Jamaica’s new best friends in the form of Russia and China decided to block any action that the UN security council would have taken to earlier in the conflict and possibly would have found that ISIS growing and taken decisive action.

 Geo-politics and capitalism have been the grim reaper for over 150, 000 lives in Syria thus far, will Western and Eastern powers take responsibility for their inhumane blunder that will now threaten their precious Middle East oil fields that fuel their economies – now that the US has resend troops to Iraq after a full withdrawal following a decade of war. We could applaud Syria’s denuclearization but the Olympus-like hypocrisy hangs too low.

ISIS is now the main threat and International community, including Russia is beginning to throw everything but the kitchens sink at Iraq, Syria and ISIS strongholds in neighbouring territories be it military or diplomatic help – but the truth is the real Syrian crisis will remain intact and bloody.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Unstable Foundation: We Must Reform Governance Loopholes

Reform Governance Loopholes

The Prime Ministers contribution to the 2014 Budget was a thorough disappointment for the generation of
attached Jamaicans (those mildly interested in the political process) now looking towards the United States (US) to satisfy their political appetite with cable news feeding themselves on colourful first world democracy and ideologies that influences their daily anti-government tweets and Facebook posting .

Madam Simpson-Miller belongs to a generation who would have accepted such a unbecoming display of “smoke and mirrors” in a speech supposedly to inform the population of the Peoples National Party successes over the past 2 years, when in fact it was to spoon feed party sympathizers (not loyalist) who may have been acting up because they fell prey to the new and improved charms of Prince Andrew “#AndrewOntheBus” Holness and the usual vigour of Audley “Man-A-Yaad” Shaw.

Unstable Foundation

In today’s world of follow, share and like, our leaders and older politicians are still operating under the guise; “those people won’t understand, so they won’t care” – both side are guilty of letting the governance loopholes slide that cause unaccountability and bureaucracy hence corruption. These loopholes are becoming too wide to ignore especially now when we are fixing and tying loose ends of Jamaican society that have plague us for too long – the economy is a pillar but governance is the unstable foundation.

Some of the important questions looming that must be looked at as an important national and constitutional priority includes: 
  • Federalization
  • Constitutional Reform and Oversight
  • Term Limits
  • Campaign Financing
  • Removing MP’s as Ministers
  • Voter ability to hold elected officials accountability (Recalls), 
  • meaningful Local Government Reform (leading to autonomy), 
  • Third Party accessibility and many other governance practices that have succeeded in other countries we can mirror – individually or in bulk, either way we must act.

Too many people scoff at reforming the Constitution and Government, saying “we nuh have time fi that people want money” and the politicians knowingly cradle this uniformed thought because they are afraid of losing power or even being held accountable for abusing it - they all want a seat or a ministry – but we know that the economy depends on good governance.

Madam Prime Minister, “Balancing the books, while balancing people’s lives” is honourable; if you’re serious about People Power then truly return the Power to The People allowing the foundation of governance to become modern, stable and balanced.