Tracking Trump-May 21, 2022

I really dislike Donald Trump, so this is almost at the edge of my personal tolerance, but I feel a duty to history to try to stay abreast of what I hope is his slow demise. That’s it!

COVID update: 5th wave confirmed-May 19, 2022

Health and wellness minister Tufton held a media briefing, on May 18, where he confirmed the existence of the 5th COVID wave in Jamaica, with infection, positivity and reproductive rates all rising, significantly.

His main points are in the following thread, but notably the trend is being driven by OMICRON BA2 variant.

The Education minister also briefed on COVID infections within the school system and plans to deal with those and keep in-person classes in place, though some schools have reverted to online classes:

Trouble a’t mill: Jamaican public sector flexes its muscles-May 13, 2022

Trouble a’t mill!

It’s been a traumatic week on the island, for residents and potential visitors, as various groups of public sector workers baulked over long-standing compensation reviews and working conditions. Whatever the proximate reasons, these actions will dent the economic recovery begun after the worst of the pandemic.

Things kicked off with workers for the water supply company walking off the job on Tuesday and closing the valves. Many people already have erratic water supplies but now no water was assured. Some 500,000 customers-and many more people-were affected.

The government soon ordered the army to try to open the valves; they couldn’t.

Appeals came from the PM for workers to end the strike:

Negotiations were hastily accelerated and some resolution found, and workers were instructed to return to work on Wednesday. The Minister for Labour misled Parliament and the nation by claiming most people had water again, but soon retracted that claim as many looked at non-existent supplies.

Next, air traffic controllers walked out of the control towers mid-morning on Thursday, effectively closing Jamaica off from arriving or departing planes. Their principal grievance was working with a defective radar system, which had been a source of safety concerns for nearly a decade. The air space was technically not closed but the sky was empty over the island. Some 10,000 passengers were stranded-including our youngest daughter. It’s estimated that US$… The international publicity wasn’t good. The economic damage may be unpleasant, coming on top of the impact of water woes earlier in the week.

On Friday, National Housing Trust staff at HQ closed their books and ledgers.

Civil servants unions threatened during Friday to call out workers from Monday, then relented.

Wherever things go, next week, the country learned that some small groups of essential workers can hold the country at ransom.

It also learned that it’s not prepared for national disaster that may flow from industrial action.

It also learned that the habit of protracted negotiations over pay and conditions can have dire consequences.

But, which of these lessons will be heeded?

UK local elections-Tory Party bashed over #Partygate-May 7, 2022

Lots of wounds had to licked after Thursday’s voting was over. Tory councils got booted.

PM Johnson’s Partygate antics weighed heavily:

London was a ‘bloodbath’ and the PM now lives in a Labour-controlled borough:

The outcomes elsewhere were mixed, though it was a good night for the Lib-Dems.

So, what’s next?

New White House Press Secretary-May 6, 2022

Karine Jean-Pierre will be the first black woman and the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve as the White House Press Secretary.

Brexit: Frosty reception of a “done” deal upending a country-April 30, 2022

The UK is learning to ‘live with’ Brexit, much like it’s being asked to “live with” COVID. One problem, though, is that Brexit was a policy position bombarded onto a population, as opposed to some set of natural phenomena. But, both have crept into the lives of Britons with devastating effect. The latest spin of the Brexit wheel is essentially about ministers admitting they bamboozled the electorate. Read on!

First, the delay of border controls:

Next, admissions from the minister who negotiated Brexit that the people were misled:

In a world of properly functioning politics, this would be grounds for the bags getting packed by the leader of government. No such actions, yet. But, on top of other scandals, is this act of political deceit not a straw too many for the political camel to bear?

Kevin McCarthy opens the wrath of Gaetz-April 27, 2022

One thing is sure, politicians haven’t caught up with the electronic age. Long have gone the days of ‘Deep Throat’ and information handed over in dark and dingy car parks or ‘drop boxes’ in large parks. The Internet and digital media now mean that the blink of an eye-maybe, literally, can send enormous amounts of information to another person, or people, locally or globally. So, if one knows that, the best thing is to be truthful, because the lies will get out and they will be damning.

Enter Kevin McCarthy, Leader of the Republican Caucus in the US House of Representatives. He cried ‘foul’ and ‘lies’, but…Well, let the thread speak for itself, as he spoke for himself about his views on former president Trump and matters to do with the January 6, 2021, insurrection.

UK’s strange offer of ‘Motel Rwanda’ for asylum seekers finds little favour-April 14, 2022

Jamaica displays the ‘art’ of diplomacy?-April 5, 2022

Jamaica has stirred the hornets nest by nominating its foreign minister, Kamina Johnson-Smith, to become the next Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat. It announced this on April 1, but it wasn’t a prank, not least because it was done after noon 🧐:

But, it looks like a botched move. Just a month ago, CARICOM heads of government “overwhelmingly” endorsed the incumbent, Baroness Scotland:

Now, overwhelming is not ‘unanimous’, so for consistency, we presume Jamaica had not endorsed the support.

One CARICOM government leader (Antigua’s Gaston Browne) has called the move a “monumental error”

Another leader (Dominica’s Roosevelt Skerritt) has repeated the CARICOM endorsement for a 2nd term for Baroness Scotland, urging regional solidarity:

Baroness Scotland was born in Dominica with Antiguan parents. She went to the UK as a child and has served in Labour Party governments as a Cabinet minister. Some would say that ticks a lot of boxes for CARICOM positioning vis-a-vis the head of the Commonwealth, the British monarch.

Yes, Jamaica’s action may split the CARICOM vote. The question is why.

Much may become clearer, on April 6, when CARICOM leaders will have an emergency meeting. At least, it should show if Jamaica has support, or whether CARICOM is overwhelmingly still behind Baroness Scotland.

PM Holness indicated that Jamaica had been approached to nominate a candidate; other Commonwealth members had done so earlier (Kenya, Tuvalu), and others may still do so. It’s worth recalling that a pall of a corruption controversy hangs over Baroness Scotland.

War crimes in Ukraine-Bucha!-April 3, 2022

Reports are coming in of Russian atrocities, as they withdrew from Kyiv, with signs of massacred civilians lining streets:

Planned?:

History of Russian massacres-Katyn:

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