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The energy minister announced that he would no longer be in charge of the LNG project that he wanted to be run by EWI (who couldn’t muster a US$37 million performance bond on time); it will now be in the hands of an enterprise team and under the wings of the Office of the Prime Minister. A good goal was scored by the OCG, with an assist by the IADB, against poor defending by OUR, who were ball-watching; Paulwell was beaten by a crisp shot that stung his fingers but he could not keep out of the net.

That was an interesting rap on the knuckles of a not-so-callow youth. We now have to await how the process will go forward. Restart the tender process? Look to the 3rd bidder? Go back to the 1st bidder? Get good old JPS to dust off its shelves a project for LNG power generation. Cover our heads with our pillows and go back to sleep? What is sure, is that Jamaica will continue to waste time getting to a point on energy generation which it should have reached years ago, but hasn’t because we have too many people who like the smell of damp ammonia wafting past their noses as the breeze blows.

The leader of the enterprise team, Vin Lawrence, however, comes with a bit of baggage, and I wondered if the PNP administration was really not able to wheedle out any other luminaries who had a less musty resume. I hasten to add that I do not know the fellow, and am not that interested in him, personally, but the processes and their outcomes need to have far fewer stains on the carpet. Oh, for cheaper energy! If ever politicians had put a tourniquet around a country’s chances of progress it was when they saddled it with 40 cents/kilowatt-hour.

Jamaica has a bad problem with abusive behaviour–its widespread. It is a disturbing problem with regard to men’s abuse of women and children. The Children’s Advocate might have shocked some this week when she pointed to the disturbing practices of predatory sexual behaviour by teachers (including ‘sexual grooming’), who are charged under the Constitution, as well as morally, with the protection of children. We also know that the vast majority (65-75 percent) of cases of child abuse go unreported (see Gleaner article on study by the Office of the Children’s Registry, in conjunction with UNICEF). We also know that teachers are both significant perpetrators of abuse and fail to support those seeking help and advice. I have no idea who adults feel they are protecting when they ‘turn a blind eye’; children have some issues, especially in confronting misbehaviour by adults, to the extent that they understand what is going on. Nor, do I understand who adults may fear by so doing. I know from anecdotal evidence that many people have what I think are warped ideas about what is alright behaviour between adults and children when it comes to sexual contact. My own thoughts as a parent and a sports coach of young people are that most adults don’t think long enough about the appearance of impropriety and avoiding contact that could be misinterpreted by any or all concerned or observing. I often say to young kids “Keep you hands to yourself!” It’s a good princlple, in general, and more so in particular circumstances with young people. For me, this is another instance of our moral compass going off kilter. I’m not sure why, though.

We also have the curious actions of the minister of youth and culture, who appeared to be launching an attack on child abuse, then appeared to point publicly to the instance of one school, then left the matter hanging there in a plume of grey smoke when the school yelled “Foul!” and the minister said “I didn’t touch you.” If I could be so bold to say that this is not how to go about dealing with this problem, especially when those deemed to be failing point out that they are not getting funding they requested from the ministry.

How ugly does it have to get before Boko Haram listen to calls to #BringBackOurGirls? Someone posted yesterday pictures of young schoolgirls labelling them the new terrorists, in the eyes of some religious extremists. We know the world is full of wackos and weirdos, but kidnapping some 270 girls and then thinking about selling them into slavery is beyond mind-boggling.

 

 

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