Sunday Brew - September 26Sunday, September 26, 2021
Juliet Holness would be a good choice; Crawford her deputy
(Juliet Holness, Rhoda Crawford)
LAST Tuesday's Jamaica Observer carried a speculative article on the longer-term choice to replace Floyd Green as minister of agriculture and fisheries, with some in the sector suggesting that the prime minister's wife, Juliet Holness, would be a good choice to head such a key ministry.
The fact is, Mrs Holness would be a good minister anywhere she is placed to serve. She is a brilliant individual — one who is intolerant of bureaucracy and pussyfooting. She being policy head of a constituency, St Andrew East Rural, which has a strong agriculture base, is also another reason she could easily fit into the mix.
We focus a lot on the farmers of St Elizabeth — a hard-working and productive lot they are indeed. But those in the communities of Gordon Town, Mavis Bank, St Peter, Irish Town, Content Gap, Silver Hill, and others have been feeding Jamaica for decades without the requisite attention and recognition. The green vegetables, herbs and spices, and starchy products that they have been improving our lives with have been remarkable. Of course, the most financially rewarding of them all, coffee, is a story by itself.
I know the area reasonably well, and I'm usually left amazed by what farmers are able to produce when you consider the topography. I was not that conscious when my father worked on former Agriculture Minister Keeble Munn's coffee farm as the bookkeeper in earlier years, but later in life, the significance was easy to fathom.
I have always believed that when you have a good thing going, you should continue to improve upon it, and getting those farmers energised with greater support from the political directorate not far away, is a winner.
So it should not be a brain-twister for Mrs Holness, who is equipped, too, with a strong real estate background.
Maybe it would be a good idea for her husband, Andrew, to promote Manchester Central MP Rhoda Crawford to minister of state for agriculture and fisheries. She, too, like the typical rural and semi-rural MP, has a solid farming base to include areas like Bellefield and Blue Mountain (yes, there is a community so-named in Manchester — a geographical fact a reader chastised me for not knowing) and the Kirkvine area.
More importantly, she could be the south coast link to drive land and sea production in the Manchester, St Elizabeth and Clarendon belt where the flattest lands are to be found.
Here are two women who could change the landscape of farming from a policy perspective. It would also mark the first time that not only a woman would head the ministry, but two would be there. Farming is not exclusively a man's job, and women have demonstrated that not only are they less corrupt than men, but can be even more decisive.
The prime minister should stop thinking about potential criticisms regarding nepotism and do the right thing.
Murders in a St Mary village
ST Mary at one time was in the top three parishes for least crimes committed, in particular, murder.
But times have changed. For many years, St Mary had company with Portland, and Hanover as places you could feel safe in an otherwise rough island. Portland remains relatively calm; Hanover has been injected with the 'more murder' potion, a spin-off from scamming in bordering St James and Westmoreland, and St Mary seems like it wants the formula.
That shooting incident at Juno Pen, a part of the popular community of Enfield, last Wednesday demonstrated the paradigm shift in crime over the years. Apart from a series of incidents around nine years ago, the general Enfield area has been relatively quiet.
I remember when, as a boy during the early 1970s, my mother would take me on her visits to the area while she functioned as a Social Development Commission worker, before venturing into teaching full time. Some of those trips would result in sleeping over at Juno Pen, and we usually bunked it at an elderly woman's house. I never knew her real name, but we called her Auntie Daisy.
When my mother introduced me to Auntie Daisy, I asked who was her mother and father, as I had never known of that auntie. But in those days it was just an applied title, and in my case, I dared not drop the auntie.
We slept at night with any door open. In fact, that was a natural thing for some St Mary communities. By morning, so many people would turn up with all kinds of agricultural produce to help in the preparation of breakfast, or for us to take away. It was fun.
You would see one of no more than two Rasta men who lived in the community smoking a spliff later in the day, while others walked to their fields with some of the largest machetes around. Those, obviously, were the great days of Juno Pen. Today, we are faced with a triple multiple in Auntie Daisy's village. She must be spinning in her grave.
Protest for nothing and political maturity
(Joseph Patterson, Hugh Graham)
DID it really happen? Did Joseph Patterson get himself arrested for protesting something that does not exist?
When Patterson was arranging to lead his United Independent Congress on an intended march on Jamaica's seat of Parliament, Gordon House, last Wednesday to protest mandatory vaccination of Jamaicans, it was one of the most foolish things that I have ever seen. The name Patterson is not one that is usually associated with idiotic political conduct but then, these things happen sometimes.
Again, how can you protest something that does not exist? Had I been prime minister of this country, mandatory vaccination against the novel coronavirus would have been imposed already, unless there are court challenges. But luckily for some, I am not, and have no inclination for any political appointment or selection.
In the quest for the elusive State power, minority parties and their leaders will say and do anything. The tribal approach that they use to get attention, and ultimately try to show up their opponents is too commonplace. Which is why I was heartened by the position taken in an article published by last Sunday's Observer in which Member of Parliament for St Catherine North Western Hugh Graham broke with political tradition and effectively expressed solidarity with fallen former Cabinet minister, Floyd Green.
Graham represents the Opposition People's National Party, while Green is a Jamaica Labour Party man. So it came as something quite strange that, in the midst of Jamaica's known tribal practices, someone from the 'other' side was lending support to another.
We need more of that 'from the heart' stance, especially when votes on Bills and issues are taken in Parliament.
A fit Bravo, du Plessis for IPL, not CPL
WHEN incentives are placed on the table, they more often than not result in improved and increased production and productivity.
At the restart of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty/20 competition in the United Arab Emirates last Sunday, following a break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and a switch of venues from its home country, some glaring things emerged.
Coming from the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) which ended with the final in St Kitts & Nevis the Wednesday before, two glaring examples popped up: Dwayne Bravo, the veteran West Indian who said that the T20 World Cup next month in the UAE would be his last in West Indies colours, missed four consecutive matches for eventual champions St Kitts & Nevis Patriots. He returned for the semi-final, but said he was not fit to bowl. The same thing existed for the final against the St Lucia franchise.
So Bravo was not fit to bowl in the semi-final and final, but a mere three days later he was at full strength for his IPL outfit, the Chennai Super Kings, bowling his quota of four overs and picking up three wickets for 25, diving like Tarzan off his own bowling, while making 23 to win the man of the match award. Amazing how he was fully healed in such a short time, but look at it this way: There is a big difference in a man putting out a humungous effort to earn US$900,000, as against him working for US$100,000.
Bravo followed that up with another three-wicket haul in the next match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. He has certainly recovered fully.
The case of former South African Captain Francois (Faf) du Plessis, too, was quite curious. He was miraculously cured in three days, after missing the semi-final and final for a team that he led up to that moment. Sadly for him, he made zero opening the innings for Chennai in the same match. Again, the big money being paid in the IPL pales in comparison to the CPL, so players will be inclined to push harder in one league, instead of chilling in another. Remember too, the long, everlasting flight that du Plessis and Bravo had to endure from the Caribbean to the Emirates.
Oh well, money has its own voice.
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