Jamaica lockdown easing-October 27, 2021

PM Holness announced last night an end to no-movement days, currently, Sundays, and daily curfews from 8pm till 5am from October 29 till December 10.

Why we still need curfews isn’t explained or clear, to me.

Our current COVID surge seems to be abating as noted in the day’s earlier ‘COVID conversation’), as positivity rates trend under 10% and the reproductive rate is well under 1. Hospitalization levels are lower.

Vaccination dividends will start to appear as some easing of restrictions for events or activities will be based on proof of vaccination.

Gathering limits for public events remain unchanged. For funerals:

For weddings and places of worship:

Work from home rules remain for the public sector:

Border entry requirements are eased with no banned countries:

Schools qualified to resume face-to-face teaching based on their risk profile will be advised by the Education Ministry. The resumption date will be November 8, 2021. Some 376 of the 759 primary schools will be allowed to return to face to face activities. Fifty-one per cent are small primary schools with fewer than 100 students. Most of them are in rural areas.

COVID Conversation-October 26, 2021

Minister Tufton held his briefing this morning, ahead of expected changes in COVID rules later today:

This provided an update of trends and vaccination status and shipments due in coming weeks.

Notable, some 143,000 Pfizer doses are due this week and will be used for those due their 2nd doses.

Other dose types and more Pfizer doses (prioritized for school-age/12-18 children) are also due in coming weeks.

The vaccination accessibility opportunities are widening in terms of locations and providers (eg private facilities).

Digital vaccination cards and validation of data are in the works (in collaboration with an Indian company) as we move into an electronic environment.

The Jamaican Kevin Smith saga: another episode in the ‘Jamaica is not a real place’ series-October 25, 2021

I was really hoping to have little to say about the evolving story about Pastor Kevin Smith and the massacre at a cult gathering in Montego Bay, which came to light 9 days ago. The ritualistic human sacrifices that took place at Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries and comments and investigations have been all over the local media since its leader, Kevin Smith, was taken into custody on Sunday, October 17.

That bizarre story and that of an ark and people being brainwashed and handing over life insurance policies to Smith were the subject of serious and supercilious comments.

No surprise that international media latched on, with the UK’s Mirror newspaper getting in early, not least because Smith had visited UK congregants in south London in 2018:

The New York Post cited ‘The pastor wrote on Facebook: “The Ark is loading now! Leave immediately dressed in white … It is a Roman Catholic sacrifice — it will have no survivors.”’:

No surprise, memes wrote themselves:

News filtered out that somehow Smith had died yesterday morning while being transferred to Kingston.

No way! Jamaica has a long history of wanted criminals dying in strange circumstances while in police custody.

Questions rained in about why they police had chosen to go by Bog Walk (a narrow rural route) not the multi-lane highway. Was it really to avoid the tolls? Now the toll includes dead people including a police officer, Constable Irons:

No lying: it’s mighty strange. The JCF will have lots to explain; they’ve begun:

But, eyes had popped when a video was circulated over the weekend of Smith apparently in police custody having a jolly old time:

That’s not ‘under investigation’ by the JCF.

Smith’s attorney, Valerie Neita, QC, was publicly unhappy with how he and his congregation been treated by police and media, including not knowing her clients whereabouts earlier in the day:

However, in part, her ire was misplaced as she’d not really informed herself about the extensive coverage that had been given to her press releases or other views which she claimed had not been aired. As for her clients being vilified, she did not make much distinction between mainstream media and social media.

You don’t have to be a cynic to think the story smells fishy. From the time news that a senior member of the National Intelligence Bureau, NIB, who was assigned to its Area 1 Division which includes St. James was to be reassigned because his wife was a cult member should have made many think.

Memes (or me-me, as some Jamaicans say 😳🤔😂😏🇯🇲) fly out quickly for such stories, and Jamaicans are creative in this area:

Some of the pastor’s congregation are adamant that he is not dead or that he may rise again, as he was gifted with “supernatural powers”. We’ll see how that goes.

To round out the bizarreness, the other, more-famed Kevin Smith, a cult film maker had been trending earlier in the day:

Jamaica begins house-to-house vaccination drive-October 24, 2021

The Ministry of Health and Wellness announced programme of house-to-house vaccinations has begun in 9 parishes:

It’s aiming at people whose freedom of movement is limited, eg by disabilities or shut-in.

So, far, no indications have been given how this is going in terms of greater take-up of vaccine doses.

Vaccination mandates-some assessments-October 23, 2021

However one wants to feel about COVID vaccinations, the reality is that the world’s tolerance of people without vaccines is shrinking:

Source: The Economist

If you’ve intentions to travel, your options without vaccination are becoming limited, not necessarily for entry to countries, but increasingly for freer movement within countries.

As those hospitalized with COVID are increasingly unvaccinated people, that tolerance will fall further:

The threshold for ‘full’ vaccination is also likely to rise to include boosters.

Viking voyagers-October 22, 2021

My Norwegian ‘cousins’ keep telling me their Viking ancestors went to the Americas long before other Europeans. Now, we have proof and a time fix-at least 1021 AD:

The Vikings saga stories now have more credence:

The School Year (1950s and 1960s): On little or no money-October 21, 2021

I lived in Shepherd’s Bush in the early-1960s and much of this recollection resonates with me. The pictures are poignant reminders of things British-main roads/high streets with shop fronts on ground floor and rooms above, emblematic of truly living urban areas, many dating from the 19th century, when many urban areas saw exceptional growth with movement from rural areas and later migration from abroad.

The post war and baby boomer years were pretty tough for many Shepherds Bush families. Money was tight and younger children would often wear hand-me-…

The School Year (1950s and 1960s): On little or no money

Facebook rebranding?-October 20, 2021

Can it just be that it’s only a name that matters?

Lots of things could come from what may be cosmetic and less substantial:

Celebrating 76 years, the UN focuses on frontline heroes and partnerships-October 19, 2021

I have been thinking a lot about peace recently, and my thoughts will be in a follow-up post – including the critical role that our young people can …

Celebrating 76 years, the UN focuses on frontline heroes and partnerships

How to Manage Uncertainty: Lessons from Philosophy-October 18, 2021

Uncertainty is key to many economic problems, and finding ways to resolve or manage it is often at the heart of policy-making. The following is a non-economics focus.

If there is anything that we seem to fear most in this world, it is uncertainty. The great unknown, the darkness that lies in the abyss. Uncertainty …

How to Manage Uncertainty: Lessons from Philosophy