Sunday Brew — February 16, 2020

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Sunday Brew — February 16, 2020

with HG HELPS
Editor-at-Large
helpsh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, February 16, 2020

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Happy for Pembroke Hall High teacher

It is good that the not-so-common, common sense has prevailed and Ms Marsha Lee Crawford will keep her job at Pembroke Hall High School in St Andrew.

An image of Ms Crawford apparently reprimanding an (in my estimation and from my research) out-of-order student, we might remember, swamped social media last year, causing humongous discomfort for the teacher, who was later sent on paid leave, pending an investigation.

The entire story was not told, and that video presentation only gave a version that, naturally, made the teacher out to be Lucifer's vulgar aunt, and the student a squeaky clean cousin of Mother Teresa.

The student has left for another school, and I hope that the Office of the Children's Advocate, which is, among other things “representing the interest” of the boy and foolishly seeking an apology from the embattled teacher because the youth was “humiliated publicly”, will follow his conduct with great interest and see how he turns out at the end of the day.

We have so many students in Jamaica's education system who are rotten and give teachers sheer hell daily. There is little or no respect for teachers these days, and I am not here saying that teachers do not flout the education regulations too, but those who are in charge of the education sector need to look closer at the conduct of the youngsters in uniform.

But for Ms Crawford, I'm sure she will learn from this experience and grow to become an even stronger person. My advice to her is: Do not apologise to that little fellow, and do not allow the Office of the Children's Advocate to pressure you into doing so, unless you genuinely feel a need to do that. You know the true story of what happened in the classroom that day.

That historic, extensive search at Kennedy Airport

Well, it had to happen one day. The show had all the ingredients for a grand arrival at John F Kennedy Airport in New York a week ago.

After a flawless flight on Delta Airlines, and being the first person on the flight to reach the immigration kiosk, things looked perfect up to that point. The immigration officer was someone you wish you could face every day. But the tricky part was ahead.

Collecting a light luggage bag needed no energy. But a young border control fellow had seen me walking towards him from afar. He was interrogating a young white woman, kept his eyes glued on me as I headed in his direction, ignored others making the trek, and stopped me promptly.

“Sir, step over this side for me. Do you have any agricultural products, any liquor? …” the usual questions.

“Place your bags on this table for me, Sir,” came next. There begun a search that had never occurred in over four decades of travelling. No item was spared the seven minutes of scrutiny. A patty from Tastee's collection had to be broken in two; drops of Appleton Rum and Rum Cream were tested on the ground and the reassuring voice of the agent saying sorry for the inconvenience sounded like an echo.

“You know why I'm doing this, right?” he asked about the breaking of the patty and the sprinkling of the liquor.

“Is it some kind of ritual?” I asked him in sarcastic fashion, which forced a broad smile from him, as he again said sorry for the inconvenience and wished me well.

It's a good thing I didn't agree to the request of my good friend “Bingie”, a supposed Rastaman, for me to take up a pound of that thing there – the porky stuff in Boston jerked form – because I keep telling him that he needs to stop the hide and lick thing. That poor piece of 'Trenton' would have ended up in the garbage for sure, and that would have been a sad way to do away with poor old 'Arnold'.

Kari Douglas was put under real pressure

The decision by Kari Douglas, the councillor for the Trafalgar Division in the Kingston & St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC), and daughter of former MP and Cabinet minister Easton Douglas, to leave the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) and join the governing Jamaica Labour Party was not surprising.

Kari is outspoken, but honest in doing so. When someone speaks his/her mind in Jamaica that could land you in trouble, for people can be so petty and parochial and do not believe that opinions are sacred and ought to be respected.

Her support for Peter Bunting in the PNP presidential race against Dr Peter Phillips made things worse for her, and even in her own surroundings at the KSAMC she was virtually sidelined by PNP councillors.

Oh, how her dad must be spinning in his grave now. The same PNP that nailed Easton to the cross in the matter of the National Housing Trust (NHT) purchase of the Outameni property in Trelawny, while he served as chairman of the NHT, whose top officials forced him to complete the purchase, then denied ever having any conversation with him, are at it again, this time with his daughter, though in a different fashion.

The PNP is in its worst state ever, since its formation in 1938. How sad! When PJ Patterson stepped down as president in 2006, the party also took a step down and has shown no sign of recovery.

Many of the people who are making the key decisions, particularly members of the National Executive Council, are lost souls. They have a short time to get their act together, and I doubt that they can set things straight before the prime minister summons the electorate to exercise their democratic right in a national election which I still believe will be held this year.

By-election a tonic for young Charles

(Pearnel Charles Jr,)

Pearnel Charles Jr will become the next Member of Parliament for Clarendon South Eastern, thanks to the feeble position taken by the Opposition People's National Party to boycott the by-election set for March 2.

Even the late intervention of former candidate Derrick “Yatta” Lambert to not make things look so bad, will not make up for the sorry decision taken by the party.

How can a representative, in this case Mrs Patricia Duncan Sutherland, be in a seat campaigning and “working” for over six years and come now to say she will not contest a by-election because it doesn't make sense? How can an election not make sense when gaining State power is really what matters?

Charles Jr's hand has been strengthened. My prediction is that he will win comfortably and go on to cement himself in the seat that is ripe for structural development, what with its topography.

Charles too, the exceedingly bright man that he is, will also, if he continues at the rate at which he is progressing, go on to make his mark in the annals of political history. His job will be made ever easier with the flip-flopping of the PNP.

At the end of everything, it is Jamaica that must benefit …not any one party that might want to fool itself that it has a divine right to be in charge of this country's people.


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