Full Time to Change Public Corruption in Jamaica

first_imgWhile the Jamaican government and Jamaicans generally deserve commendation for the great job in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic in that country, they are failing to control another devastating virus – public corruption. The wealthy in developing countries, seem to be persistent in ascending on the social-economic ladder competing with members of their class for bigger, more luxurious homes in choice neighborhoods, and drive the latest model expensive automobiles. Public corruption is a very close relative to crime. If the incumbent, or succeeding Jamaican governments, doesn’t take aggressive measures to eliminate public corruption, how can they succeed in controlling crime? If Barbados, The Bahamas and St. Vincent and the Grenadines can rank high among Caribbean countries with the least public corruption, why can’t Jamaica? It’s full time for a change. In recent weeks, news from Jamaica has reported acts of corruption mostly based on nepotism and cronyism, involving senior government ministers, parish councilors, mayors, government and opposition members of parliament, members of government appointed boards, and executives of government agencies.   Visitors to Jamaica, for example, in recent times, have returned and heard to comment on the boom of expensive residential houses, apartment and condominiums in Jamaica, and the number of high-end automobiles being driven by some people. These comments are usually accompanied by the question. “How can Jamaicans afford these residences and these vehicles?” In 2019 as Jamaica became embroiled in the Petrojam scandal it’s rank worsened to 74 out of 198 nations. Since than incidences of public corruption has widened involving the dismissal of a cabinet minister and public officials involved with corruption at the Caribbean Maritime University, and more recently the removal of portfolio responsibilities of another government minister involved in a scandal related to lands owned by the Ministry of Agriculture. Another minister, usually commended for his ministerial responsibilities, came under scrutiny last week for alleged corruption in his ministry. Also making the news for alleged corruption was a popular ranking member of the opposition People’s National Party (PNP). The answer seems to be through money acquired by corrupt means. Some Jamaicans tend to take it for granted “that everything in Jamaica has a price.” This price includes paying insiders within government agencies  special “under-the counter fees” for a variety services including getting licenses, documents, loans, jobs, contracts, placement in choice schools, and even bribing   police officers not to issue tickets for traffic violations.   But what’s most needed is a government who places elimination of public corruption at the forefront of its priorities. Unless government ministers, members of parliament and public officials are swiftly, aggressively penalized, including stiff prison sentences, for misusing public funds, the general public will continue taking corruption as a way of life. The practice of corruption worsens when those elected by the people to effectively manage public funds deliberately use these funds to brazenly compensate their romantic partners, family members, and close associates. The poor, most struggling to provide for their household, tend to be willing to accept money for serving others corruptly, or willing, paradoxically, to pay corruptly charged fees for special privileges and benefits for their family members. Most of these corrupt practices involved offering jobs and/or plush government contracts to close and often underqualified relatives, paramours, friends; and party political supporters. Several contracts have been offered outside of the protocols established for offering government contracts. A recent report from the Jamaican auditor general indicated contracts offered to build a classroom at the Caribbean Maritime University offered to a Florida based company owned and operated by member of the Jamaican diaspora who did not tender a bid for the said contract within the set deadline. This corruption cannot be allowed to prevail. Jamaica does have a public body – The Integrity Commission charged with calling out and reducing public corruption. Obviously, the terms of the commission needs to be strengthened to enable it to be more effective in its role. It’s of significant concern that most Jamaicans seem to be taking public corruption as normal and acceptable. There are reports of a recent Jamaican poll that revealed the majority of people don’t care about corruption. This is despite the TI Global Corruption Barometer finding some 85 percent of Jamaicans regard the two major political parties as corrupt, and over 70 percent are currently more aware of corruption.   Another worrisome data is the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) has ranked Jamaica highly among the more corrupt Caribbean countries in recent years. In 2018, Jamaica was ranked 70 worst corrupt country globally, and 8th in the Caribbean.  Barbados was ranked as the least corrupt Caribbean nation. Analysis of corruption tends to agree corruption is born out of poverty, and greed among public officials and the already wealthy. Of course, public corruption is not peculiar to Jamaica or other Caribbean counties. It’s a pandemic-like international problem affecting many global communities and economies, but it seems more prevalent in developing countries, especially some African countries. A recent report indicated the cost of corruption to the Jamaican economy is costing the economy 5 percent of GDP or an estimated US$738 million annually.last_img read more

Read More →

Triple murderer Jason Cofell seeking full parole

first_imgCorrections officials are recommending that triple murderer Jason Shawn Cofell’s parole application be granted.In the interim, Cofell has received a six-month extension to his day parole after the Parole Board of Canada ordered a hearing to review Cofell’s application for full parole in an Oct. 29 decision. No date was included in the board’s decision about when the full parole hearing will take place.Cofell, 46, received a life sentence for three counts of first-degree murder in the Oct. 6, 1991, deaths of Jasen Pangburn, 18, and his grandparents, Alfred and Virginia Critchley. Pangburn was shot and then struck in the head with a gun butt while his grandparents died of stab wounds sustained in their Chatham-area home just over 28 years ago.The conditions of Cofell’s day parole, first granted in May 2016, includes staying five days in the community and two days at a halfway house.According to details outlined in the decision, Cofell’s will continue working to establish a leather business, has moved into an apartment and maintains positive family supports.Related Another day parole extension for triple murderer Jason Cofell Triple murderer could be a job away from full parole Chatham triple murderer Jason Shawn Cofell’s day parole extended Triple murderer Jason Cofell granted six-month residence in halfway house “You write that you believe you deserve full parole because you have been on day parole for 3.5 years without incident and maintain positive supports and gainful employment,” the board’s decision stated.During the last six months, Cofell has progressed from taking overnight leave to the halfway house’s satellite apartment to his own apartment shared with a roommate, the report noted. Cofell has also taken occasional leave at his mother’s home and previously took leave to his father’s home before his father passed away.“Collateral contact is made with your mother, (halfway house) staff, police, the psychologist and more recently with your new roommate and no concerns have been raised,” the decision stated.“You had some struggles with employment stability, but have now been working at the same factory for the past year and as a result have improved your financial situation.”The board’s report also noted Cofell continues to work on developing his leather andjewelry business, including attending trade and consumer shows to sell his goods.Cofell’s continued psychological counselling, along with his conduct to date, suggests he represents a low risk to reoffend, the decision stated. He meets with his psychologist every six to eight weeks, which is anticipated to continue as he progresses in the process of reintegration, the decision continued.According to a correctional plan update from Oct. 7, Cofell’s statistical information on recidivism score – essentially his risk to reoffend – was plus-8. Four out of five offenders with a similar score will not commit an indictable offence within three years of release.“Your static and dynamic factors are both now low and you have no immediate needs in all domains except for the personal/emotional domain which shows a low need for improvement,” stated the report. “Your accountability, motivation and reintegration potential are all high.”The report indicated Correctional Service Canada recommended Cofell be granted full parole to the residence shared with his roommate. The halfway house staff and Cofell’s psychologist also agreed with the recommendation.If full parole is granted, the board recommended special conditions for Cofell continue, which include no direct or indirect contact with any member of the victims’ families and ongoing psychological counselling.Another recommended condition is Cofell not associate with any person he knows or has reason to believe is a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, except with written authorization from his parole officer. This is due to Cofell’s previous involvement with trafficking illegal firearms obtained through his involvement with the military, the report stated.Cofell was first granted day parole after a May 2016 hearing while incarcerated at Gravenhurst’s Beaver Creek Institution, a minimum- and medium-security prison about 200 kilometres north of Toronto. Cofell was then released to a halfway house in [email protected]last_img read more

Read More →

Top 6 Overlooked Restaurants

first_imgAnimal KingdomFirst up, the overlooked restaurant in Animal Kingdom, Yak and Yeti. With all of the publicity of the newly opened Tiffin’s and the standing popularity of Rainforest Café, Yak and Yeti often gets forgotten as a wonderful table service option. As far as atmosphere, there are two levels to the restaurant with multiple rooms on each level, and each room is adorned with unique, ornate decorations. Every detail leaving the guest of an experience of actually eating in a quaint restaurant in Asia.As for the menu, it definitely offers some unique Asian fusion options that you find everywhere. Some guests may pass by Yak and Yeti because the menu seems too ethnic or daunting for their taste buds. Any guest who does venture in will be richly rewarded.  I can honestly account that the Kobe Beef Burger I had here was the best burger I’ve had anywhere. So, if you’re in Animal Kingdom, or looking for a fun and rewarding dining experience, be sure to not to overlook Yak and Yeti.Kobe Beef Burger at Yak and YetiMagic KingdomNext, we explore the overlooked restaurant in Magic Kingdom. Though Sleepy Hollow hardly qualifies as restaurant, in reality, it’s more of a snack stand. But still, the waffles sold here are large enough to be a meal by themselves. While the crowds rush to grab quick (and standard) bites at Cosmic Ray’s and Pecos Bill’s or have strained for months to get reservations at Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table, Sleepy Hollow offers delicious and filling fare for a bargain. The menu often changes, sometimes offering spicy chicken waffles or ham and cheese waffles, but the classic that can always be found is the fresh fruit waffle with chocolate hazelnut spread. Located at the edge of Liberty Square, just overlooking the castle and the hub area, this place oozes with magical ambiance as you can munch on your waffle and watch as the Festival of Fantasy parade marches right past you!Sleepy Hollow Fruit WaffleEpcotThere are several dozen restaurant options Epcot, many of them you’ve heard of and have been scrambling to get reservations at (Le Cellier, Coral Reef, Via Napoli, etc). The restaurant I have for Epcot, is truly overlooked as nearly everyone sees it, some people even walk through it – but few people actually stop and eat here! Of course, I’m referring to Tangierine Café, a quick service restaurant in the Morocco Pavilion. I think this is a location that becomes victim of guests being scared that the cuisine might be too ethnic. Like most restaurants in Epcot, the food offerings here are very “American-friendly”. My favorite, the wraps (chicken or lamb) are offered self-assembly style, so you can make sure that your meal reflects your own culinary desires. Tangierine Café is an enclosed café, so it doesn’t offer much atmosphere in the seating area itself, but does offer open windows and doors to really get the unique experience of the Moroccan Pavilion.Morocco Pavilion is filled with beautiful details. Take a seat, enjoy your meal, and soak it all in.Photo courtesy of Disney (c)Hollywood StudiosIt seems like everyone has their favorite at Hollywood Studios, and maybe because it’s the smallest of the four theme parks in Walt Disney World, not a lot of restaurants are overlooked. That being said, I think the most under-recommended restaurant is Mama Melrose. Located near the back of Hollywood Studios in the Muppets Courtyard, Mama Melrose offers what I imagine every Italian mother in Chicago or New York would put on her Sunday dinner table. Options here are heaping portions of hearty Italian cuisine, including favorites like lasagna and spaghetti. Though the word is getting out about the deliciousness of Mama Melrose with its inclusion in the Fastasmic Dining Package, it’s still fairly easy to get a reservation here, or sometimes even walk right up for seat.  Fair warning, though, these meals are not to be taken lightly. Bring someone with you to share your entrees, or plan to take in a couple of shows after eating, because these hearty meals take some time to digest!Mama Melrose Dining room. Photo courtesy of Disney (c)Resort HotelsWith more than 25 Disney Resort hotels on Walt Disney World property, each offering their own dining options, there are more than few overlooked resort restaurants. Ranging from food court-style to signature dining to character meals, there are offerings are unique and special as the resorts themselves. With so many restaurants vying for this spot, it was difficult to come to one answer, but the one that stuck out the most upon my reflecting was The Wave at the Contemporary Resort.Serving primarily sustainable and locally sourced food, the menu changes frequently, but it’s always good! You can usually find a steak option, and a changing sustainable fish offering, along with other delicious but rather traditional side dishes. The theming of The Wave is more of an artistic interpretation of the ocean with waving lines and colorful ranges of blues. It’s a pretty restaurant, but nothing really distinctly “Disney” about it. I’d definitely recommend this restaurant as a restful break from Magic Kingdom, perhaps enjoying a nice dinner here and walking back to enjoy an evening in the park and fireworks. It definitely takes you away from the crowds and helps you relax and enjoy a delicious meal.Beef Tenderloin at The WaveDisney SpringsFinally, my overlooked restaurant selection for Disney Springs. With so many new restaurants seemingly opening every week, it’s hard to keep up with all of the dining options now available at Disney Springs. Though, it’s tempting to follow the crowds and try to get into try the newest, latest, and greatest, don’t forget about some of the classics that still serve up a great meal. My choice for Disney Springs is Wolfgang Puck Express. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it offers the quality of Wolfgang’s cuisine, but at a price that makes it one of the best values on property. Wolfgang Puck Express has two locations in the The Marketplace area in Disney Springs and the West Side and offers some classic comfort food. From chicken noodle soup, to pizza, pasta, and roast chicken, you and your family will all be pleased with this choice. And bonus, it’s quick service, so no reservations required!Wolfgang Puck Express in Disney SpringsSo, what are your thoughts? Do you have a favorite “overlooked” restaurant? Have you experienced one of these? Be sure to share your thoughts and comments below! Share This!One of the toughest choices to make regarding a Walt Disney World vacation is deciding where to eat. With all the options available at this amazing resort, it’s overwhelming for anyone planning their trip, whether they’re first-time visitors, or seasoned annual passholders. If you’ve done your research, you’ll see the pattern of some of the same names coming up over and over again in reviews and recommendations (Be Our Guest, Chef Mickey’s, Le Cellier, etc).But hopefully, after reading this article, I can introduce to some of Walt Disney World’s unsung restaurant heroes. I have selected my own top six overlooked restaurants at Walt Disney World. Each of these offers great food, value, and even atmosphere but somehow seem to get left out of the top popular recommendations. The plus side, is that because these are often overlooked, that means they are often less crowded and have open reservation availability. These aren’t ranked in any particular order, and range between table service and quick service, but you’ll find one selection from each park, a resort, and Disney Springs.last_img read more

Read More →

Stratford boys basketball holds off Pittsville

first_imgFecker tops Tigers with 10 pointsBy Paul LeckerSports ReporterSTRATFORD — The Stratford boys basketball team jumped out to a 10-point lead by halftime then held off a late charge to beat Pittsville 48-46 in a Marawood Conference South Division game Tuesday night at Stratford High School.Stratford led 23-13 at halftime and held on at the end for the victory. Both teams are now 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the Marawood South.Stratford shot 50 percent (17 of 34) from the floor and hit five 3-pointers in the victory. Brenden Fecker led a balanced scoring attack with 10 points for the Tigers. Vaughn Breit and Jacob Danen each added nine points.Aidan Masanz led Pittsville with 21 points.Stratford is off until Jan. 3 when it plays a nonconference game at Edgar.(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)Tigers 48, Panthers 46Pittsville 13 33 – 46Stratford 23 25 – 48PITTSVILLE (46): Brett Peters 0-4 0-0 0, Donovan Grossman 1-5 0-0 2, Trevor Winterback 0-1 0-0 0, Bailey Herkert 2-5 4-4 9, Aidan Masanz 5-7 9-11 21, Matthew Carlson 5-8 2-4 12, Luke Denniston 1-4 0-0 2, Trevor Gardner 0-2 0-0 0. FG: 14-36. FT: 15-19. 3-pointers: 3-11 (Masanz 2-3, Herkert 1-2, Peters 0-3, Denniston 0-3). Rebounds: 18 (Masanz 5, Carlson 5). Record: 4-2, 1-1 Marawood South.STRATFORD (48): Brenden Fecker 2-9 5-6 10, Cole Hoffmann 1-4 0-0 3, Okley Wrensch 0-0 0-0 0, Paul Huther 3-4 2-2 8, Trent Heckel 2-3 0-0 6, Andrew Bargender 0-0 0-0 0, Vaughn Breit 4-5 1-3 9, Lance Heidmann 1-1 0-0 3, Jacob Danen 4-8 1-2 9. FG: 17-34. FT: 9-13. 3-pointers: 5-12 (Heckel 2-3, Heidmann 1-1, Hoffmann 1-3, Fecker 1-5). Rebounds: 17 (Danen 6). Record: 4-2, 1-1 Marawood South.last_img read more

Read More →

More Atlanta disruptions expected after power outage chaos

first_imgAirports can be very stressful Passengers at the world’s busiest airport in Atlanta are expecting another day of disruptions  after a power failure crippled operations on Sunday and canceled more than 1000 flights.The major operator at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson  International Airport, Delta Air Lines,  cancelled 900 flights Sunday and said another 300 cancellations were “on the books”  for Monday.Most of these would be early morning, inbound flights to Atlanta to give the operation there an opportunity to more quickly return to normal, it said.“Delta’s flight schedule in Atlanta is expected to return to normal by Monday afternoon,’’ Delta said on its website Sunday. “Delta is working hard to reaccommodate customers.”Atlanta is the world’s busiest airport and typically handles about 275,000 passengers a day. The power outage came as traffic is building up to in the busy holiday period.READ: Christmas crush as US holiday passengers top 50 million.Power was resumed after almost 11 hours on late Sunday and the fault was traced to a fire in a Georgia Power underground electrical facility.The intensity of the fire damaged two substations serving the airport, including the back-up facility.“We certainly understand that the outage has caused frustration and anger and we are doing everything that we can to get folks back home right away,” Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed told reporters.The blackout prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to declare a ground stop at the airport, preventing Atlanta-bound flights from taking off or those already en-route to be diverted.About 30,000 people in the terminal were affected by the outage and local authorities opened a convention center to accommodate people stranded overnight.AIrport authorities said they were delivering more than 5000 meals to passengers and they were offering free parking to affected passengers until 8am.CNN reported that passengers were left stranded in planes on the tarmac for up to seven hours.One of those who faced a marathon wait was CNN reporter Betsy Klein, who described passengers as exceedingly patient and who praised the crew and pilots.“But we have also all now been on this full @Delta plane since we boarded at 11:45 am and there hasn’t been food or water since late afternoon,’’ she said on Twitter.Klein reported that crew on her plane said 92 aircraft were stuck on the tarmac at one point and some ran out of fuel.last_img read more

Read More →

I’m more than just a hard-hitting batsman: David Miller

first_imgEven as David Miller comes back in the hut after a tiring net session, team mate Mitchell Johnson gives him a friendly pat and greets, “Killer Miller, how are you?” Miller doesn’t know if it’s a compliment or casual ribbing coming from a man who is Killer in his own ways with the ball in hand.”This one’s stayed the longest with me so seems to have fitted in. People seem to like it, so who am I to mind,” he reacts in a resigned tone over his cricketing nick name, ‘Killer Miller’, in this interview with Headlines Today. Professional sportsmen know it well. The best of sobriquets feel good when on song, work as a burden when off colour.The Proteas’ hard hitter in the middle order is now four seasons old but is still characterised by two innings – his 38 ball IPL hundred in 2013 and the century in this year’s World Cup against Zimbabwe when the batting was under serious pressure.Even though T20 cricket is the most rewarding format in the game financially, the quest to be called a complete cricketer matters as much to everyone. Even though sending the white leather ball out of the park may seem as a macho thing to do, even a Miller wants to prove that he can also graft. “In the past two years I have been trying to prove that while I love hitting the ball and clearing the ropes there’s a lot more to my cricket than just that. I have been working on hitting along the ground and rotating the strike,” he says.advertisementComing into bat after the Sehwag and Maxwell show for Kings XI, Miller puts in that extra effort in the nets to ensure his core strength doesn’t desert him. “The hitting ability has come naturally from an early age. But it’s something for which I have worked hard, it requires time and practice,” he explains his hard hitting prowess.The India IPL experience for Miller is not a big culture challenge any more. “I am from Durban. So the Indian food for one is something I am familiar with,” he says. The other incentive is learning ‘unmentionable hindi words’ from his Indian team mates, which may come in handy in an international against India.And unlike some of his Australian team mates, who are finding it tough to ring in their best game after a fulfilling World Cup win, for Miller, playing IPL immediately after, is better than dealing with World Cup wounds back home. “It was a bitter pill to swallow with the semis loss after giving so many months to the campaign. Look the World cup wasn’t the greatest of results but we have to take it on our chins.”The hustle and bustle of IPL is helping the healing process that bit faster.last_img read more

Read More →