Monthly Archives: August 2012

Seiveright Right On Manley – They said “Socialism is love,” yet my father’s wholesale was constantly raided – Gleaner

Good to see people speaking out… 

Jamaica Gleaner – Published: Thursday | August 30, 2012



I CONGRATULATE Delano Seiveright on knocking down a great fallacy that is being foisted on the Jamaican people. These people claim that Michael Manley is the most visionary and transformational leader in Jamaica’s history. This is not true.

My father, a black man from humble beginnings, owned and operated a small but profitable wholesale and a very small factory in Kingston since the early 1960s. It is that wholesale and very small factory that sent my four siblings and I to school and maintained our house in Meadowbrook.

‘fi we time now’

In 1972, Michael Manley captured the imagination of countless Jamaicans, including my parents, who both voted for him. Two to three years after Mr Manley took office, all hell broke loose. They said, “Socialism is love,” yet my father’s wholesale was constantly raided by men claiming that it is “fi we time now” and that “people like unnu a fight poor people”.

My father, a philanthropist at heart, resisted on two occasions and was subjected to physical and verbal assault. The police were nonchalant, and instead demanded that we give more ‘free’ supplies to the nearby station.

I watched as my father’s business crumbled before our eyes and the economy sank into despair and chaos under the government’s reckless economic policies and actions.

In 1977, after gunmen invaded our home and attempted to sexually assault my mother and 14-year-old sister while boasting that “a fi we time now”, my dad locked shop, sold the house and we all migrated.

After visiting last month, it was a crying shame to see the ramshackle state of the area where my dad’s wholesale and small factory were located. I was also disgraced at how Meadowbrook has lost its appeal.

My sister, who braved it and returned to Jamaica in the 1990s, was gobbled up by extortion and FINSAC. She has since remigrated to Canada. My father went on to build a successful business in Canada, employing 12 persons.

Jamaica was devastated by Michael Manley’s government and the facts outlined by Mr Seiveright are there for all to see. The truth needs to be told and repeated every day.


Toronto, Canada



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PNP blasts Police – Lottery Scam Task Force – RJR [Sad day for Jamaica]

PNP’s Region 6 blasts Lottery Scam Task Force – RJR

Delegates of the People’s National Party’s Region Region 6 have blasted members of the Lottery Scam Task Force for their handling of the operation which led to the arrest of Deputy Mayor of Montego Bay Michael Troupe and Councillor for the Salt Spring Division Sylvan Reid.

The concerns were raised at the recent Annual Delegates Conference of PNP Region 6.

The delegates said they noted, with alarm, the circumstances under which Mr. Troupe and Mr. Reid were treated in their recent arrest and the attendant publicity given by the Police to the arrests and charge of both men.

Region 6 highlighted the handcuffing of Councillor Troupe, and the parading of the PNP member in an open truck back through sections of his Division and the town of Montego Bay.

The delegates also raised concerns over the detention and public declaration by investigators issue of both men’s being major players in the Lottery Scam.

Region Six added that the charge of illegal possession of a firearm brought against Councillor Troupe was dismissed by the Court, and no further charge have to date been proffered.

Councillor Reid, Region Six said, has not been charged for anything other than the unlawful possession of a flat screen TV in his home– an item which most householders might very well have a difficulty in providing receipt for.

Region Six delegates condemned what it says the blatant disregard for justice in light of the fact that the men have not been charged relating to Lottery Scam.

They also mentioned what they say is the irreparable harm done to the reputations of both men, and encourage all Jamaicans to insist that the security forces, in the exercise of their duties, have due regard to the rights of citizens.

It said step should also be taken to ensure that the fate suffered by Councillors Troupe and Reid be never repeated.

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Opposition Spokesperson for Tourism and Travel Service Development, Mr. Ed Bartlett today called on the government to once and for all clear the air on the money spent on Olympics London 2012 promotional activities. This follows recent media reported comments by the Minister of Information, Sandrea Falconer stating that airfare and accommodations for Ministers and their delegations were not included in the £1 million.  


Mr. Bartlett says that the public has a right to know how their tax dollar was expended, even more so with the public now in the dark on the true amount spent. As such Mr. Bartlett recommended that a detailed breakdown of expenditure in addition to marketing strategies and planned outcomes, if any, be presented to Cabinet and by extension the public forthwith.


Mr. Bartlett, who is also Chairman of Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC), said that as we move forward greater effort must be made to raise levels of accountability and transparency in the utilisation of hard earned tax dollars.

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Damian Crawford, Minister of State, Tourism


Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Wykeham McNeill has the ear of minister with responsibility for information Sandrea Falconer during a post-Olympics media briefing last week. – Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer – Gleaner


Gleaner Report

Tyrone Reid, Senior Staff Reporter

Govt not able to provide breakdown of £1 million spend at London Olympics

Although unable to provide a breakdown of how £1 million (J$140 million) was used at the just-concluded London Olympics, the Government’s chief spokesperson, Sandrea Falconer, is unwavering in the claim that the money was well spent.

Falconer, the minister with responsibility for information, told The Sunday Gleaner that if there is no return on Jamaica’s $140 million investment on activities “to capitalise on the London Olympics and celebrate Jamaica 50” then the Government should be held accountable.

However, Falconer pleaded for patience.

“Nothing happens overnight. We need to stop being our own worst enemy,” she said.

“Allow them time to pan out. If they don’t pan we (the Government) must be called to book but we need to give it time,” added Falconer, in reaction to questions from our news team about how the money was spent.

Falconer reiterated the Government’s claim that it had to find only £850,000 from its coffers as £150,000 came in the form of sponsorship.

Airfare, accommodation NOT INCLUDED

The information minister also pointed out that the £850,000 spent in London did not include airfare and accommodation for the ministers and the other members of the delegation.

This means the Government spent more than £850,000 on the entire promotional push.

“It was not a part of it. Each of the ministries that sent representatives paid for their own thing,” said Falconer, who explained that she did not have the breakdown of the expenditure because she “was not in the day to day of what happened”.

The information minister then referred our news team to Mark Thomas at JAMPRO.

When our news team contacted Thomas he was unable to provide the breakdown as the minister had said he could.

“I don’t have the breakdown of the budget as this was being managed by the JTB (Jamaica Tourist Board) but I can provide information on the business events and meetings we staged in the UK during the Olympics,” he noted.

Thomas then suggested that our news team contact Jason Hall, deputy director of tourism in charge of attraction, cruise and events, or John Lynch, director of tourism, at the JTB.

A call placed to the JTB revealed that Lynch was off the island. A detailed message was left for Hall but he did not return our call.

There has been mixed reaction since the revelation of the millions spent to host ‘Jamaica House’ in London during the Olympics.

Some members of the public and the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party have argued that the Government used taxpayers’ money to throw one big party in London’s O2 Arena.

This claim was fuelled by a tweet posted by Damion Crawford, junior minister in the tourism and entertainment ministry.

During the games of the 30th Olympiad, the state minister, who was also in London, tweeted that he and some Jamaican entertainers just “shell dung” a club, that is to say, took it by storm.




Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Wykeham McNeill has the ear of minister with responsibility for information Sandrea Falconer during a post-Olympics media briefing last week. – Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

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New Mercedes Benz for Government Official – Gleaner – Same official on PNP campaign trail in 2007


The 2012 Mercedes Benz


Mark Titus, Sunday Gleaner Writer

First it was his jacket, now it is his car. Donovan Stanberry, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, has once again raised many eyebrows and set tongues wagging since the arrival of his spanking new 2012 Mercedes-Benz.

Stanberry, who is on vacation leave, told The Sunday Gleaner that the order for the vehicle was made last September under the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration, but the vehicle was not delivered until January 5, this year.

According to Stanberry, the deal makes economic sense, as the price of the vehicle was below the limit allowed for ministers and permanent secretaries, which was increased from US$25,000 (J$2.1 million) to US$35,000 (J$3.04 million) in April of last year.


Donovan Stanberry, Permanent Secretary

“The practicality and economics of it show that there is no need for me to be driving a six-cylinder SUV around town, when a car can do the job,” said Stanberry.

“I cannot provide what the exact value is at this time, but based on my entitlement, I purchased the most efficient vehicle within the value range allowed.

“I also considered reliability, longevity and the additional attraction of three years’ free servicing, and, in fact, it is cheaper than the top-range SUVs around,” said Stanberry.

His new wheels is a C-Class Mercedes-Benz with an elegance package and a current price tag of $6.3 million at Silver Star Motors Limited, the local authorised dealer. However, Stanberry would have benefited from duty concessions and other allowances, which would see the cost lowered.

But that has not satisfied JLP spokesman on information, Arthur Williams, who has challenged the purchase.

“As far as I am aware, at any given time, there is a fleet of vehicles at the ministry that the permanent secretary could make use of, instead of making such a purchase at this time,” said Williams, former minister of state in the Ministry of Finance.

When challenged with the claim that the vehicle was ordered when his party formed the Government, Williams argued that it is the permanent secretary in each ministry who decides on how the money is spent.

“If as a minister I need a vehicle, I would have to ask the permanent secretary. If he said no then it is no. He is the administrator; he makes the decisions.”

The agriculture ministry reportedly has a fleet of 15 vehicles available for the use of its officials.

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Government Squandering Mandate, economic situation worsens, tremendous credibility challenge- Tufton


Dr. Peter Phillips

Dr. Chris Tufton

Too little response to economic uncertainty

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), in its quarterly report, paints a worrying picture for the Jamaican economy based on data collected for April to June 2012 and predictions for the next three months ending September. With a projected growth of 0.1 per cent and predictions for the next quarter being anywhere from negative 0.5 to 0.5 per cent, the country’s economic planning agency is telecasting to Jamaicans and the world, that the signs are gloomy going forward.

The situation, PIOJ head Dr Gladstone Hutchinson said, could get worse with the challenges in the global economy. Global demand for our goods and services, such as tourism and bauxite con-tinue to show weaknesses, and our usual foreign-supply sources of commodities like corn and wheat are projected to see increased prices from the uncertainties surrounding output, caused from drought conditions.

With unemployment on the rise at 14.3 per cent, the highest since 1995 – according to the PIOJ head, and a slowdown in short-term job-creating sectors like construction, the Government will be hard-pressed to offer solace to a labour force whose jubilation and pride from the Jamaica 50 celebrations and outstanding performances of our athletes in London will soon give way to the call for food on their tables and back-to-school supplies for their children.

As deserving as the hype around Jamaica 50 and the Olympics was, this is likely to be a short-lived feel-good factor.

As the country’s economic situation worsens, the Government faces a tremendous credibility challenge, coming so soon after the many promises made after general and local government elections. The ‘ting tun up!’ is a popular phrase now used by Jamaicans, not in the way the People’s National Party (PNP) election campaign intended it, but a sign of increasing hard times.

Make no doubt about it: the PNP faced a daunting task when it received a political mandate on December 29, 2011 to continue to manage a stable but still fragile economy, debt that spanned generations and successive administrations, and an International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal that linked its continued support on critical but also politically unpopular reforms.

But even with a mandate for change, many Jamaicans could not have anticipated that all would be well because of a change of government. No one should have expected, contrary to the political utterances of the PNP during the campaign, that the IMF would change course.

And so it would be reasonable to expect that the Government would be much clearer in its intent at advancing an economic vision and be more decisive and transparent in its economic management strategy.

The single most significant challenge facing the Jamaican economy today is uncertainty, especially surrounding the management of the country’s economy. Uncertainty has encouraged speculation, which has already started to affect the economic stability of the country. The word on the street currently is, for those who can, to convert and hold US dollars as a hedge against the risks associated with the perceived crisis in the economy. This is a clear sign that confidence is eroding and the Government needs to move decisively to cauterise this trend.


To be fair, Jamaica is not the only country facing an economic confidence issue at this time. Just this past week, the World Economic Forum published the results of a 1,200-respondent survey of private- and public-sector experts which paints a grim outlook for the global economy over the next 12 months.

According to the report, the global economic confidence index has plummeted to a five-year low when these surveys began, where 72 per cent of respondents polled said they were not optimistic on the state of the global economy over the next 12 months. Slower-than-expected growth in the United States and China, as well as the Eurozone crisis, has contributed to this pessimistic outlook.

One cannot separate what happens here in the Jamaican economy from what happens elsewhere in the world. What happens elsewhere, particularly with our main trading partners in North America and Europe, will have implications for us. If they stop buying, we can’t earn from selling. If the foreigner loses his job, he won’t vacation in exotic places like Jamaica, and we won’t earn badly needed foreign exchange.


When the Golding administration took office in late 2007, it had to confront, almost immediately, a series of external economic shocks that saw a near US$1.5-billion fallout in revenues. The bauxite and alumina sector, for example, was hit hard by a fall in demand for manufacturers of cars and other metal products, as consumers in major markets either lost their jobs or were reluctant to spend.

The Jamaican Government then had the tough choices of allowing public-sector wages to go unpaid or hospitals to be shut down or find ways to finance its debt and routine government operations. Debt exchange and the IMF were the consequences of that crisis.

Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson recently argued, as carried in the Observer newspaper, that the Golding administration acted too slowly in responding to the crisis back in 2008 and, hence, created a bigger economic challenge for the delay. Through hindsight, Mr Patterson’s analysis could be extended to the world, where hardly any country was spared that meltdown. Hindsight is 20/20 vision, they say, and now that those events are behind us, P.J. is clearly seeing through perfect lenses.

Perhaps the former prime minister and now elder statesman should apply some of his wisdom of experience to encourage the current administration to act with a greater sense of urgency to deal with what can now not be considered sudden and unexpected economic turbulence.

For one would have to be totally out of touch not to see what is coming and what we have to deal with as a country and people: high commodity prices, a slowdown in global demand, and closer to home, a debt burden that is stifling and an IMF agreement that will be heavily dependent on specific conditionalities related to structural reforms.

Head in the sand

Not to be decisive on these issues would be to deliberately squander the PNP Government’s mandate and political capital by almost pretending that these issues either don’t exist or are not urgent.

This Government is making an even more critical mistake than the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration did during its last term in office. While the JLP took the tough decisions on debt exchange, we were not as fast in pushing through investment projects for greater job creation or communicating effectively with the Jamaican people the reasons for decisions like the choice between public-sector wage freeze and job losses.

Today, the PNP is doing worse. It seems at conflict with itself on these critical issues and, in the process, are sending mixed and uncertain signals to the country, creating an environment for panic and speculators.

One would have reasonably expected that the Government would use its first year in office to push through these critical reforms and wager a bet on seeing improvements to face the electorate in five years’ time, given that the political cycle, rather than the development cycle, is normally what drives political decisions in this country.

One could reasonably argue that the last JLP government called a general election just over four years of its five-year term in office knowing that there were tough decisions to be made, that could see political fallout, and would require a renewed mandate to complete. The signs were all around and the process of reform, including public-sector, pension and tax reform, had started. Within the JLP there was recognition that implementation would be challenging, but it had to be done. The change in administration has slowed the pace significantly, a mistake by the current administration.

More open communication

Going forward, the Government needs to speak more to the people, on what its intentions are for the economy and over what period of time the various proposed reforms will take place and what the likely implications will be.

The Government needs to tell the people how it will contend with the impact of the global economic slowdown, including the likely increase in basic food items and how it intends to address a more aggressive economic build-out for job-creating purposes.

Just last week, Peter Phillips, the minister of finance, at a Gleaner Editors Forum, confirmed his intention to conclude an IMF agreement by next month and the need to cut the public sector by more than 3,000 places this year. This is a timely move by the minister, and perhaps an indication that he is ready to be bold. Only time will tell.

Isn’t it ironic that as fate would have it, December 29 and a portfolio assignment has ensured that Peter, if he is to do the right thing, is the doctor to administer the “bitter medicine”?

Dr Chris Tufton is a senator, opposition spokesman on foreign affairs and trade, and investments, and co-executive director of CaPRI. The views in this column do not necessarily represent those of the above-mentioned entities. Email feedback to and

Going forward, the Government needs to speak more to the people on what its intentions are for the economy … .

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Friday, August 24, 2012


Dear Editor,

I find that too many Michael Manley loyalists struggle to articulate a convincing argument that – as Miss Tone Middleton said in her letter to the editor laced with invective – is the “most transformational and visionary leader Jamaica and the Caribbean have produced” and that “every major achievement by Jamaica since the 1970s can be directly or indirectly traced back to him.”

How much more empty and pathetic can the rhetoric get? Michael Manley no doubt had a remarkable public personality, strong oratory skills and led a number of effective social reforms while raising consciousness, yet there is nothing else of substance worth mentioning. Former prime minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, a world-renowned example of a truly transformational and visionary leader, in his seminal book From Third World to First, in recalling a personal experience at a 1975 Commonwealth Summit in Kingston, stated, “(Michael Manley) presided with panache and spoke with great eloquence. But (I) found his views quixotic (impractical) …; the policies of (his) government were ruinous.” Now that’s a quote for the ages.

Miss Middleton went on to state that I trotted out a “pile of meaningless statistics”. Meaningless, Miss Middleton? Under Michael Manley’s leadership between 1972 and 1980, the economy lost 17.5 per cent of its GDP; the national debt increased tenfold from $300 million to $3,000 million; inflation ballooned by 250 per cent; revenues remained constant while expenditure galloped by 66 per cent; the budget deficit sprinted from 3.9 per cent to 17.5 per cent of GDP, probably the highest for any country not at war; investment buckled by 40 per cent of GDP; foreign exchange reserves were eviscerated, collapsing from US$239 million to negative US$549 million; and unemployment increased by more than 43 per cent, moving from 182,000 to 271,000! The then World Bank president pointed out that Jamaica was the second worst economy in the world.

The fact is, Mr Manley oversaw the most comprehensive destruction of Jamaica’s economy since Independence, damaging the future of my generation and the one before. Only PJ Patterson’s economic management comes close.

Now, for Miss Middleton to credit the achievements of our sportsmen and sportswomen to Mr Manley is so silly, it deserves no further comment.

Former prime ministers, Bruce Golding, Edward Seaga, Hugh Shearer, Donald Sangster and Sir Alexander Bustamante deserve far more credit than the failed populist orator that Michael Manley was. Learn to argue with facts, Miss Middleton.


Delano Seiveright


Michael Manley’s policies were ruinous


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