Barbados becomes a republic-November 30, 2021

Barbados became the world’s newest republic, today:

PM Mia Mottley has continued to offer and apply vision to Caribbean leadership. She has now overseen giving Barbados its own head of state (the PM is head of government and the head of state was the Governor General as the representative of the monarch):

However, it’s also noteworthy that this move did not come through a referendum or other public approval, but by a series of Parliamentary votes. It may still be an issue how this move was pushed through.

Ironically, a senior member of the British Royal family, Prince Charles, the current heir to the throne, attended the ceremonies:

The change has been noted and celebrated by other countries:

Barbados also announced a new national hero, Rihanna! 🤔

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UK tightens COVID travel restrictions, again-November 29, 2021

The emergence of the ‘Omicron’ COVID variant has seen the UK reintroduce its red list, for several countries in Southern Africa. Arrivals from such countries will need to book ‘quarantine packages’ for tests and hotels. From November 30, all arrivals, irrespective of vaccination status, must now take a PCR test within 2 days, then quarantine pending results.

The UK has also reintroduced mandatory face masks on public transport and certain indoor settings.

The emergence of the variant in the UK has also led to other countries restricting travel from there:

Other countries have introduced restrictions on travel from Southern Africa and various events in the region are scrambling as participants try to leave. It’s too early to say what and how things will be affected in coming weeks.

So, once again, international travel is a messy set of overlapping and different rules.

Some Sunday thoughts on the legacy of crime-November 28, 2021

Some interesting columns in the Sunday Gleaner.

First, views of the origin of crime violence in Jamaica:

Murders seem to just be settling in as a permanent feature of Jamaican society:

Omicron variant emerges; another COVID viral twist-November 27, 2021

Lots of people think the ‘novel’ coronavirus has as little patience as they do; it doesn’t and it’s concern is with its survival and spread. So, the emergence of another variant with more problematic mutations shouldn’t really be a surprise. The omicron variant (variant B.1.1.529) has been found in Southern Africa:

The World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed it a virus ‘of concern’:

The WHO stated: ‘Preliminary evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron (ie, people who have previously had COVID-19 could become reinfected more easily with Omicron), as compared to other variants of concern, but information is limited.’

Countries are beginning to close borders as a first response:

The WHO gave an explanation of why we’re now at omicron: ‘Two letters were skipped—Nu and Xi—because Nu is too easily confounded with ‘new’ and Xi was not used because it is a common surname and [the] WHO best practices for naming new diseases … suggest avoiding ‘causing offence to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups,’:

State of Emergency no-go-November 26, 2021

The Government will have to rethink its crime fighting strategy after the Senate did not approve extending the States of Public Emergency (SOPE)-introduced on November 14-on November 25, after it has passed the House of Representatives, comfortably (the government side having a huge majority). The Senate voting was:
For – 13
Against – 3
Absent – 5

In comments after the voting down of the measure, the Senate President, however, seemed to want to create a dangerous precedent of doing away with the ‘guard rail’ of a 2/3 Senate majority to pass certain measures.

Extension has had public support from important elements, including private sector business organizations:

A lot of hot air was expelled the next day both criticizing and supporting the vote. Truth is, however, that measures exist to have security forces deployed extensively without a state of emergency and the matter of civil rights is not trivial or “academic” and is also due for consideration in court.

The PM could even declare a new SOPE and restart the clock on having that approved by Parliament. We’ll see which way the wind blows in coming days.

Ruel Reid settlement. Not $100m! Not $50m! Not $30m! But, how much can we trust the Trust?-November 24, 2021

Jamaica is no stranger to sorry sagas of financial jiggery-pokery and the apprenant resolution of the financial cat’s cradle that has twisted Ruel Reid with the Ministry of Education and Youth and Jamaica College is worthy of a good TV series. Anyway, it seems that it has now come to an end at the reported cost of ~J$23 million (US$148k).

It’s been another example, however, of the Jamaican tendency for matters in the public eye to be obscured by the desire to say what is not, rather than the more helpful approach of stating simply what is. It’s a reflection of a culture that’s uncomfortable with transparency. We can discuss why for a long time.

350 Words or Less: No Need for Covid Conversations Anymore?-November 23, 2021

One of the communication tools the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) has used during the pandemic to share information with the public is the …

350 Words or Less: No Need for Covid Conversations Anymore?

Tiger Woods: time to get excited, again?-November 22, 2021

Just a week ago, it was notable that Tiger was out walking with crutches, months after his horrific car crash:

Now, he’s seen honing his swing on the range:

Plenty more to rue; we see what rule applies to some; we try to see how to Reid between the lines-November 21, 2021

Some dust was kicked up and there was a dust-up between the Ministry of Education and the Board of Jamaica College over the matter of Ruel Reid’s contract and tenure.

Some dust has now settled. Money to dampen the dust will be paid, but how much is still not clear.

The Principal will become not even a secondary: from permanent to sad memory?

The principles of several people and agencies have been tested and some have been shown to lack principles of good governance and stewardship.

But, it’s still early days because a court case is still to be heard on matters of fraud. So, for the moment, let’s just say another page has been turned and another written:

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