Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What are the chances the net books will make it?

I am guilty of vacillating on this issue but I resist no longer.

It seems as if no official entity, rational individual, wise-thinking commenter wishes to offer up some well-deserved criticism of the decision of the Ministry of Education to hand out laptops to the kiddies.

So apart from the reporting of a view disgruntled and probably illiterate parents who have refused to sign the lending agreement - it seems as if there is some hesitation to point out the differences between the campaign promises of the ULP and the reality handed out by the Ministry of Education.

The students of our nation were promised laptops not net books;

"We giving you laptops" - now we hear it is a loan agreement similar to the book loan scheme;

Aren't exams going on now? - why are the 1/4 of the children in the chosen school for the day being taken from exam revision to sit in a room that looks crowded and stuffy to hear at least three speeches from persons who are speaking over their heads (literally and figuratively);

Why are we, as viewers of SVG TV evening news, being made subject to bi and sometimes tri-weekly displays of these 'ceremonies', only to be followed by some camera happy individual or exuberant child saying "tank you Dacta Gansalves fo de laptop, me real happy", "me real glad mi chile get dis yah lap...no net book."
Visions of "tank u Massa for giving mi ur chillun ole clothes...oh yes Massa, you de bes' Massa, you don' mistreat mi, jus' give the residue of the scraps of de food dat I cook, plant and rear fo' you" come to mind.

I mean seriously, do these people realise that taxpayers money pay for these things - it is not like the PM paid for it from his own pocket, and knowing this Government we probably in some hard debt because of it. But Dr. Gonsalves doesn't mind because he knows the power of perception - prepare yourselves for 2014/2015 election which will likely feature this series of "look what de Comrade gimme"...Lordie I know why I hate politics...the manipulation stinks.

On top of that is the already in existence reports of misuse (sorry VincyPatriot you fall into this group) of the lap...sorry net books by persons other than the children they are intended to benefit.

E.g.1 - the purported absence of web protection on the machines, allegations of porn being downloaded (hopefully by someone other the child) and saved - now being shared among your unsuspecting kiddies [thank God I have no children].

E.g.2 - the funniest story I heard came from a school in the Opposition Leader's constituency, where the child was asked where his net book was and after consistent nagging and possible threats, it was discovered that 'Mommy put on a password and not even she can remember it" LMAO ROTL, kill me dead....WTF?/!@#*#$..hehehe.

There is more people.... it is the end of the damn school term, so between Carnival, DVBS, camps, youth programmes, neighbourhood roaming and sneaking powdered milk, Milo, brown sugar and condensed milk (pick ur mix), too many students are going to have their net book stolen, dropped to the point of destruction, one may even find itself in police custody after some belligerent person uses it to bash someone else's head in or just lost or absconded by some older sibling or a Mommy ...lol, or the thing would just not turn on.

And this is it, the idiot NDP has practically ruined the ability of rationale minded Vincentians from criticising if one speaks out about the net books you are labelled as:

(1) being NDP and really not many people want to be grouped with that fascinatingly crumbling organisation;

(2) being anti-ULP, which is like a death sentence if you are in the Public Service or hope to make any progress within that party..maybe politics at all;

(3) being anti-progress, after all, isn't any form of IT good for our developing Caribbean Civilisation, regardless to the absence of safety nets or structure.

(4) jealous because after all that is the emotional space of the NDP because they didn't get a chance to implement the net books, cocoa and flood aid.

And where does that leave us, with unsupervised net books being handed out, accompanied by the prayer that they will return in the new term - we all now have a duty (because it is OUR damn money walking around there) to ensure that those net books that are around us are well cared for.

Oh and by the way, why didn't the Government build secure shelves in each classroom and LEAVE THE NETBOOKS THERE TO GUARANTEE PRESERVATION OF OUR MONEY and oh yeah, the IT education of our children.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Celebrating me...within a world that still sees me as lesser

I have always have an anger about the thought of my personal space and person being violated, either by the act of rape, robbery or some other of assault.

I get incensed at the thought that anyone would think of me as being so vulnerable, so defenseless, so unable to protect myself that they would see me as a target of their ulterior motives because I simply to not see myself as vulnerable or defenseless. Granted on the other hand I am not claiming to be a kung-fu expert or have some kind of secret Israeli defense training, although I have promised myself that I would get some kind of formal training sooner rather than later. But to think that someone would want to satisfy their desire for what is not theirs to claim through me, is enough to make me lose words in a discussion on the issue or plot ways to defend myself in a moment where I think that I may be targeted.

There are so many instances I can recall where I could have been violated, like several weeks ago when I parked far from Aunt Jobes' entry in Arnos Vale and as I returned a huge vehicle was parked adjacent to mine, effectively blocking my vehicle from the view of the remaining cars. The young men that were leaning against the car were sketchy (to use my sister's fave term) and stared at me in their swagger/pickup/idle looking manner, that I have unfortunately like many Vincentian women grown accustomed to. And my mind wandered into the chances of Aunt Jobes giving me a complimentary replacement of my goodies if I had to bust the bag in one of these punks' head. Or when I would walk home from university with an uncovered pen grasped at my side to plunge into the jugular vein of the bastard that attempted to grapple me from behind. I laugh at the memory of a close friend slapping away the hand of a guy who reached to grab her tiny waist as she strut past him in a club. Or insisting that I would run and murder the person who would grab my laptop with all my precious university notes and research.

And I wonder what would you do? I recently read of the incident where a student was attacked outside Frenches House while she was about to enter the GHS lecture. Ironic in that moment that she was attacked, the attacker was unaware of her potential, unaware of the celebration of women going on just steps away, still stuck in the belief that women are more vulnerable, weaker and therefore easier for him to approach to glean for himself a damn Blackberry.

I don't care what the Commissioner said, I was damn glad she beat his ass. She should have damaged that piece of shit so bad, he needed to be hospitalised, he needed to be scarred for the remainder of his life....every single time he passes by GHS he should shudder, he should watch his step every time he sees that striped tie and he should hold his breath. Even more, he should have a greater measure of respect of women on a whole.

And my thoughts wander further, as GHS celebrates its 100 years of existence and the women who have poured forth from her womb, have we really become aware of abilities, our true potential? Applause must be given to the lecture series collection, the level of discourse in this country should only be raised after this year (E.G. Lynch, Hot 97.1 Chris, and the Star FM parrots please note this).

But I observe there were no revolutionary or controversial topics, no issues that would arouse passionate debate, no one spoke about the tiny crack we have made in the glass ceiling in an extensive way, issues of sexuality, abuse prevention, the skillful way in which as women we are able to decimate a member of our gender with our tongues, the fact that our society has not made the necessary change to give equal opportunity to women who wish to pursue full professional careers and be attentive mothers, the continued insistence of women remaining silent at the abuse of their own bodies and that of their children, the fact that in about five years the average educated woman in SVG would not be able to find her intellectual equal in a mate, etc etc etc.

Maybe it was an attempt to ensure the completion of this year of lectures without offending anyone, stepping on any toes, and to guarantee a positive collection. Or maybe I am just being cynical and my usual 'instigatory' self.

And I have just read through this and realised it is one of my most random pieces of writing but I refuse to alter or change because I totally get but it is my mind and thought pattern and maybe someone else will.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Have we flooded ourselves?

So many of the coverage and observation surrounding the recent flooding of the northern coast of Hairouna have focused on the survival, recovery and rebuilding efforts. Words of sympathy have been outpouring and we have seen our politicians among the people, giving a needed sense of reassurance in what was clearly a devastating experience for many. Even though I had little respect for the declaration of the PM that the damage would be tens of millions. Lack of respect because of similar declarations after Tomas and we are yet to get an outline as to the funds received and the funds put out in the recovery effort, especially with the ensuing election period.

Kudos to my fellow blogger Abeni in her post, always aiming for the positive outlook - http://hairoun.blogspot.com/2011/04/dry-season.html.

Congrats to BRAGSA who were on the roads soon after six a.m. - clearing the slides allowing some movement of citizens and officials to assess the damage. This I say in light of the fact that this entity was created with an aura of suspicion and corruption in the public perception.

But as always, I dare to look beyond the picture handed to us - how much of this damage has been caused by our own actions or lack of action?

Looking at much of the video and still photo coverage shows an overwhelming amount of trees and organic debris - much of which would have been left in our rivers, streams and tributaries after Tomas. We have had five clear months to do what we could but I wonder if the cleanup was holistic? Were the rivers and other water passages a focus point for the relevant authorities? I certainly never thought of it but in light of what I have seen - maybe it is one of the focus points that someone should bring to light.

Like many Vincentians, I am convinced that many of the funding for the Tomas recovery somehow merged its with campaign strategy (like the three homes that started building in my neighbourhood shortly before the election with material delivered with G-plated vehicles - did I mention that the two people who got their homes damaged, broken windows one and one raised corner of galvanize never got help).

It would be unfortunate if the focus of winning power somehow played a role in diverting fund from the places that needed it - like our rivers.

Additionally, I am exhausted seeing the limited way that our people function when it comes to construction of homes, business places etc. Despite the existence of the Building Code, there are numerous people still building on the river banks and other precarious places that are susceptible to untold risk. Not only should we seek to prevent construction in the bay and river bank areas but we should seek to relocate persons from their residences that are close to the roads. Every year, someone's home is flooded simply because of their location in the mouth of a river....whyyyyyy???

So is the Government going to rebuild these homes in their previous location - it would be interesting to see if that happens.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Insularity has invaded our nation and those that know better are seemingly thriving in the limitless restraint of the benefits that accompany it.

I have always shook my head, rolled my eyes and stewpes whenever the media and the propaganda pontiffs would work half of a story or issue to death. I have often found that there was something missing in many a news item or article. I could not figure out how persons purporting to be 'journalists' practicing 'journalism' would skillfully function with tunnel vision only. How many times have we heard the other side of the story on the street or clarification of a hotly debated topic or the distorted version of what we know not to exist or simply the obviously missing puzzle piece?

Journalists have a duty to the public to offer full awareness and disclosure - at the end of reading an article or listening to a newscast, should we not feel enlightened, thought-provoked or even inspired? There is little/no ability to be able to rely on a press piece for fear that quoting them, formulating an opinion, entering into discourse with others or being driven to effect a change may crest and merely flat line as you discover the misinformation that was handed to you from 'reliable resources'.

I cannot even excuse the partisan radio hosts and columnists - for the fact that they are mere adherents and fervent tub-thumpers of their respective organisations is no excuse; it is imperative to note who guides the material flowing through the airwaves. Some even dare to profess that they engage in research and analysis, proclaiming to have a duty (God-given for a few) to reveal to the Vincentian public for our misinformation.

Granted I am not saying that everything that is said, stated or declared is incorrect, misdirected or deliberately fed to us with the aim of poisoning our minds...on the contrary - we face a constant barrage of half-consumed, half-analysed, half-considered, half-revelations, half-insinuations of genuine issues, which means that we are listening to the result of in completion. On the other hand, I do not expect journalists and the hosts of whistleblowers to await to be fully informed on a particular issue before their moment of public disclosure.

Rather, as the purchaser of all 4 weekly publications and the occasional listener to the FM discourse, I consider myself entitled to hear as much about an issue in an efficient, effective and timely manner - so I want to see certain stories get coverage ASAP but I would rather wait than see a "Sorry, we made an error" statement tucked into a corner or the silence.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I laughed, but it really isn't funny

Between the local budget debate, quasi-protests in Kingstown and the real thing in Egypt, and the strange weather patterns (April winds with January chill and summer rains), I had several moments this week that caused me to either to chuckle under my breath, collapse into giggles or just burst out in laughter...but my humourous reaction was founded in my disbelief that statements and actions were pursued by certain individuals and organisations rather the true existence of mirth.

I had the opportunity to look at part of the Budget Debate on television and was utterly amused by the battle between Anesia and the Speaker of the House - evident was the fact that both of these persons have had truly different experiences when it comes to opposition hence the varied reaction to such. Anesia remained resilient despite her obvious disappointment but the Speaker was flustered and bordered on a stutter when faced with an unexpected point.
I could not believe it when Dr. Slater stood and objected to Anesia's use of a flip chart. I did wonder why she did not have an easel and in ignorance sighed at what seemed to be her adaptation of NDP unpreparedness. But when the Speaker agreed with Slater and 'ruled' on the basis of the most trivial reasoning I have ever heard (granted I don't listen very often), in that the use of the flip chart was cumbersome and inappropriate but could not state WHY they were so. I assumed that it was because did not have the easel.
But this was the source of my laughter, Anesia called out the Speaker and reminded him as to the fact that she did request to use an easel and he told her that he thought it would not have been appropriate to do so.
SERIOUSNESS: this is simply irrational, how does the use of a flip chart become cumbersome and Anesia said it well "I am the one holding it up". I could have understood if it was said that the figures could have been altered or that the information was not seen by the House before her presentation but no, it was just inappropriate. Let us get this straight, this is the man that has to determine on the quality and content of Parliamentary presentations yet he does not grasp the import of having the visual element in a presentation - what the hell he did before he became Speaker? Has he ever presented? Granted most of us have graduated from chalkboards and flip charts to Power Point presentations and some to the sexy touch screen monitors but OMG inappropriate?

I AM THE MINISTER OF TOURISM - Saboto was on an ego-driven rampage and I think it is a bit too early in the game for that heroin trip. Dude you won your first election, your party won its third...you got some catching up to do. The tarzan-style chest thumping that I am an elected Member of the House was way over done and possibly could have been an attempt to resuscitate his heart that may have paused at the points of Anesia. His challenge to Anesia was surprisingly unschooled and clearly he still has not looked at his portfolio yet - and Dr. Friday jumped all the way down his throat on that one only to be followed by yet another nonsensical ruling by the Speaker , where he attempted to rationalise the statement by Saboto without asking Saboto for clarification. Huh, the moderator picking sides - oh wait SVG we are talking about.
The Tourism Authority, while having Boy Beache as its CEO, is still a separate entity and he cannot just ring up a PS for a voucher or a budget shift - as far as I know, it takes a Cabinet decision to dip into the funds of a statutory corporation but why explain all of that - he knows he will get the money. And regardless to the obvious despise with which the ULP holds Anesia, her work was not something that could ever be challenged - Boy Beache himself admitted that she was an exemplary Communications Officer but that counts for naught.
And not to forget the fact that he is a mini-me - Small Papa, especially since Camillo probably not giving up dual citizenship to run (plus with the new baby) and Luke has not entered the House as yet - so he is the current future-face of the ULP.

Anesia again (she proved to be entertaining) challenged the rationale for the increase in public assistance in light of the fact that ULP claims to have improved the job culture, education and skills training of the populace (see my last blog). Mini-me jumped up (since Long Term Papa was absent dealing with issues of 'national concern') declaring the categories of persons that we all know genuinely need assistance - foster parents, the aged etc. But this was the fart part - Saboto asked what I guess he believed was a rhetorical question but it was really retarded "Do you expect my great-grandmother who is 102 or 103 to go and find a wuk?" First of all, is his great-grandmother alive still? And even if she is and she is over 100, at least try to remember the specific age, it is a milestone the last I checked.
SERIOUSNESS: Why was Frederick Stephenson left nibbling his mustache while Saboto, Minister of Tourism, defended the policy decision/campaign promise of a different Ministry (guess who else does that). And no you idiot, no one expects your great grandmother of undetermined age to work - we expect great grandchildren with fat pockets to take care of them and remove the need to have them on the list of state dependents.

Ralph declared on Friday that he was not brought to office by a Road-Block revolution AND AND AND by the way, this was a concept 'popularized by the NDP' - another huh moment - I really thought I heard wrong - this is the man that played hopscotch between public issues and protests between 1999-2000 - the man that nearly made me and several other hundred students miss my CXC exams by encouraging people to block traffic. This is Chavez's and Castro's biggest (pun intended) cheerleader - I believe he once said that he saw himself as duty bound to continue the work of Maurice Bishop - I was grunting with disbelief by this time. And today he declares in a press conference on LIAT issues, that his middle name is protest - Ahhhhmmmm, really - does he decide when to tap into his Comrade personality?

Did anyone hear the 10 minute debate between Francis and Cummings about water? If you didn't, sorry it was a moment for the present.

Loved, absolutely loved the tactical slashing of the NDP campaign by Francis - it was strategy at its best, although its place in a budget debate falls into a grey area (but guess who is Speaker of the House) - it must have been disconcerting for the NDP to sit there and listen to a list of all the mistakes that they made and essentially a mini lesson on "what not to do if you want to win a general election" - hehehehehe - like ULP or not, this was one for the books.

Vybez Kartel and the bleaching - does the idiot realise that bleaching actually strips the pigment from your skin, with the possible result of damaging the largest organ on your body and therefore becoming "blacker" than he was?

Monday, January 24, 2011

The true meaning of PS and other meanderings

I have muted the PM's budget address and I am studiously avoiding staring at the cunning manner in which Dr. Gonsalves has sheathed his girth in what must be a damn lot of fabric - but there are no limitations for a custom-made suit. It seems as if he is carrying a child for every year that he has been in governance - 10 years and going.

But back to the point of me typing this evening, I have to attempt to regurgitate the lost blog of several days ago...that I found to be(if I may dare say so) full of wit, wisdom but I had not arrived at the epiphany (which usually comes at its own volition).

Amid the pre-budget panic, uncertainty over House rules and quasi-protests over retroactive legislation, my mind lingers on another issue - one that I figure will make a repeat appearance for some time yet.

Almost two weeks ago, the government launched the implementation of one of its campaign promises - the increase in welfare payouts. While I had little appreciation for the strategy of the ULP, I understood how it would be an 'incentive' to vote Labour. Especially since there are hundreds of Vincentians who are dependent on those funds to provide needs that are basic to our human existence - ones that I often take for granted, like good education, food, clothing, shelter.

However, what bothered me about the campaign was the contrast/compare thrust which singled out the LOW LOW sums that were given during the NDP reign and the promise that a vote for Labour meant more money.

I found it ironic and confusing - because this was the same party that was so dependent on their 'record of excellence' - the skills training, the literacy drives, the education revolution, the job creation, nationwide building of schools and resource centres, the focus of the youth etc etc etc. I am subject to correction, but shouldn't all these refreshing tidbits lessen the populace tantalized by a promise to increase the payouts. Doesn't better education mean greater job opportunities, job creation mean increased, consistent income, skills training means entrepreneurship and business development? I guess it doesn't here because despite what great and splendorous things have been taking place - we also have a greater need for handouts from a welfare system.

What was of greater disturbance to my already cynical countenance was the introduction of the increase - both the Prime Minister and the new Minister simply but excitedly declared "this was a campaign promise and we are keeping it". That was it - granted they repeated it a couple times. Ralph looked tired, wrinkled and fat and the other guy looked inebriated and unaware as to how to tie a tie - but that was all they said.

I almost dismissed it as the rhetoric of government - but I was floored when the Permanent Secretary appeared on API giving an extensive reasoning behind the increase. Do we have any idea what is the role of the PS? He/She is the head administrative head of the particular Ministry, I am not here to doubt the capability of the PS - the trend is common enough but it does not make it any better. How is it possible for the person who ensures the efficient and effective running of the Ministry and its department given the task of justifying a social policy decision?

Why wasn't this task given to those persons who boasted of this increase as a partial basis for their entitlement to governance - touting it through out the width and breath (except the Grenadines) of Hairouna.

Is it that someone is avoiding the pressing question - why are we having an increase in welfare, if we are supposedly the beneficiaries of greater social programmes that are purportedly intended to better our lives?

Is it that the social programmes are of little/no benefit or is it that we have yet to eat of the fruit, smell the blossoms, or dwell in the temples of grandeur?

The cynic reveals herself -
even if the Minister or PM was interviewed by local media personnel, I doubt investigative journalism would have flourished in such a thriving mess of confusion because they seem not to be able to sink their teeth into the utter madness that seems to rule this land at times?

But this is what I figure - PS are whipping boys (and I am not trying to fuel any chain and whip fantasies). They are given that role of explaining new projects, Ministerial failures, minor successes so that when problems arise - we the masses have a face to point to, to castigate, simply to blame - like Shirla Francis and the teacher rants.

Permanent Secretaries, no longer, Permanent Scapegoats, maybe.

Friday, January 21, 2011

ARRRRGGHHHHH... I just lost a great post....because I clicked the wrong button.