Ban Spring Break!

I love blogging here alot, yet recently I wonder if I have been engaging in self-censorship since about Thanksgiving of last year. It is a complex thing — I am a highly positive person who thrives on positivity. I-and-I am normally smiling, regardless of the trials and travails of life in our 21st century because when people ask How’s life?; the best and most elucidating answer I can give is Compared to what? I strongly believe that every day above ground is a good one, though undeniably some are better than others.

Photo Credit: Stunner of Stunner's Afflictions (Afflictions which I may have added to by stealing this pic)

Regrettably though, my normal sunny optimism crashes head-on into a grim and depressing Jamaican reality. And try as I might there are no plethora of happy and joyful topics to comment on as I observe JamDown from Up So. I understand that the sky is not falling in Jamaica … right now. In a future post I will explain why I find this argument often made by Jamaicans unconvincing, the sky wasn’t falling a year ago in America either. Yet now the Dow Jones Industrial Average is touching on 11-year-lows, and people who should know are starting to say that this crisis may be WORSE than the Great Depression. Alan Greenspan, the Messiah of Capitalism himself, is conceding that the nationalization of American banks may be the “least bad” solution to the 90% plus declines of the market valuation for Citigroup and Bank of America. Increasingly I feel that a time of pain is in the cards for Jamaica too, even more so than now — and I don’t have to be Prophet Phinn to declare that.

So I’d love to blog about sunshine and happiness, and how beautiful Jamaican beaches are; but this ain’t that sorta blog. I wish it was sometimes — but it is decidedly not. And there are things I find myself pointing out, or more importantly striving  NOT to point out — and I wonder why I have to be the one doing it.

So that being said,  I similar Longbench have labored heavily to not blog on the in this space on the Daggering Ban imposed by the Broadcasting Commission. I have made comments about it on DuttyBwoy’s and Annie Paul’s blogs — and also left it to Stunner and Longbench to blog about while deftly trying to avoid the issue myself in this space. But it has come to this.

I must confess that I do not and can not support the current ban! I support a ban; but I cannot support this one because like most things even then they are headed in the right direction, the government and governmental agencies of Jamaica does so by putting the car in reverse.

I support a ban because I believe that the music played in Jamaica, whether it is hip-hop, dancehall, or soca, has an aggravating effect on the violence plaguing the island. And I think that lawlessness has set up shop in our music in a way that boggles the mind. Jamaican DJ’s often threaten each other, and family members, via rhythmic rivalries that have resulted in actual bloodshed in real people’s lives. So I have supported a ban on certain kinds of music from the days way back when it was reported that certain communities were in conflict with other communities; not because of political garrisonization, but because of musical garrisonization. Whether the factions are divided between Beenie Man and Bounty Killer; or more recently between Mavado and Kartel; it has been evident to me from the time I lived in Jamaica (when I was a child) till now that some sort of forceful action would HAVE TO be taken to deal with the real violence arising out of the music.

I support a ban on the broadcast of certain kinds of lyrical content in Jamaica; and going beyond what I have heard anyone call for I support prosecution of people whose music should properly be classified as criminal. (More on that in the very next post.)

Yet despite having had decades to consider the disturbing trends of violence, misogyny, homophobia, and sexual license taking place in Jamaican music —  the Broadcast Commission of Jamaica seems to be incapable of acting either deliberatively. They seem somehow to muck their way into things reflexively and reactively only after public outrage forces them to do something. This failure to be reflective and proactive is precisely the reason why I can’t support their recent ban on “daggering.”

This is not the first time the Broadcast Commission has run up and kicked down a door which they should have approached courteously and knocked on. Most people still remember the debacle that they allowed the “Ragashanti” issue to turn into as that situation unfolded. It typifies what they did wrong here.

Dr. Kingsley Ragashanti Stewart from
Dr. Kingsley "Ragashanti" Stewart from

In my fantasy world,which will show you how detached from Jamaican reality I must be, the Broadcasting Commission would have been professional and deliberative regarding the Ragashanti issue. they would have had a pre-determined and clearly-objective process for dealing with an on-air personality who they felt was infringing on broadcast standards. If Ragashanti’s commentary was deemed to be racially biased and prejudicial (also through a pre-ordained process) then in my fantasy world the Commission would have sat down with the host (or the station manager) and advised him that they would be assigning a Commission monitor to his show. That Commission monitor; a paid, qualified, competent and trained individual (see all the fantasy elements;) would submit reports to an office or entity inside the Commission. That office/entity would then determine if an utterance, statement, or assertion made on-air by Ragashanti met the definition of certain violations of which the radio station would have been informed during the licensing or compliance process. From there the pre-ordained punishments would be dispassionately applied. Violà!

But the Broadcast Commission doesn’t seem to inform radio stations about standards of content and conduct during the licensing and compliance process; and then dispassionately enforce those predetermined rules in the face of violations — rather —  the Broadcast Commission seems to reflexively determine that this person or that station violated some rule which invariably seems to have not been properly promulgated. Then the Commission takes some harsh and arbitrary action which is the most stringent thing they can take, as opposed to tiered penalties and punishments. I heard some of Ragashanti’s shows prior to the proposed revocation of the NewsTalk’s license because (to their credit) NewsTalk has one of the better streams available from Jamaica.  I must admit I was dismayed to hear some of the ignorance that found currency on his show and some of the broad and indiscriminate stereotyping of Indo-Jamaicans and other non-black-and-non-white Jamaican minorities which Ragashanti and his callers engaged in. I am also aware there were some personal disputes with others that Ragshanti is alleged to have handled on-air in an unprofessional manner. And knowing all of that I still don’t see how you get from there to the proposal to revoke NewsTalk’s broadcast license. It is regulatory equivalent of locking your child in a chicken coop because they have wet the bed.

This however is the model that the Broadcast Commission seems to normally follow; they are permissive, lethargic, and inert most of the time — then under political pressure they occasionally spring into action arbitrarily and take knee-jerk draconian measures which invariably have abusive features. What does this remind you of? To me, it is the Annie Palmer Model of Regulation — this model of regulation is clearly a throwback to a colonial slave society where the power of the master over her slaves is unchecked and uncheckable. The Broadcast Commission seems to feel that outrage and emotionalism is impressive in the imposition of punishment, like an angry slavemaster whose emotional state must be taken into consideration by the slaves; and who needs to work herself into a rage to administer a whipping.

To return then to the imbroglio that the Commission has made of a straightforward proposition, let us look at the process they followed, what they failed to do, and what they could have done better.

The Broadcast Commission announced that:

There shall not be transmitted through radio or television, any recording, live song or music video which promotes the act of ‘daggering’ or which makes reference to, or is otherwise suggestive of ‘daggering.’


There shall not be transmitted through radio or television or cable services, any audio recording, song or music video which employs editing techniques or bleeping of its original lyrical content.

Source: Jamaica Gleaner, Feb 7, 2009

So the first evidence to me of how poorly thought out the ban is, can be found in that the actual word daggering is called out for special attention when it is the underlying sex and sex-simulation that needs to be regulated by the Broadcast Commission. If I were a Jamaican artiste I’d simply begin to use daggering to mean something else. For example if daggering comes to mean “malfesance and incompetence by a political leader;” then does the ban not become even more flagrantly censorious than it is currently in that it would seek to stifle political speech? Also, a question I see rising for others recently; who is the Broadcast Commission to tell cable subscribers what they are allowed to see via their paid subscriptions? And finally the ban on editing techniques seems particularly poorly thought out as there is audio and video of prominent people cursing  — like Daryl Vaz in the run-up to the local government elections of 2007. Is that tape to be censored from broadcast under the new regulation or is that beeping during a newscast allowable since it is not lyrical content? Does it become lyrical content if I make a song called No Minister Me Nutten {beep}{beep} to protest Vaz’s behavior or does it remain political speech?

I had all these misgivings about the ban when the news started breaking that some broadcasters didn’t even get letters of notification from the Commission, and therefore were not properly apprised of the rule change — meaning the rule wasn’t properly promulgated. And then I saw Cordel Green on TV; speaking much yet actually saying very little, using many pretty words to impede rather than aide communication. And unsolicited, my mind thought: Perhaps if you are in the business of regulating the communications industry, you should yourself be capable of communication. It would be a nice pre-requisitive.

Shakespeare of the Broadcasting Commission
LasMay depicts Green as Macbeth of the Broadcasting Commission?

I didn’t tweet this thought because it seemed uncharitable; and I didn’t take to the web it blog about my concerns because I support a ban — and I was arguing with myself about whether I was too caught up in process/means when I should have been applauding the end.

Then, as if they knew that people like me were conflicted about whether or not to support the ban and wanted to ensure we couldn’t support them, the Commission announced that they would be recruiting (notice the future tense) a group of volunteers to monitor the airwaves 24 hours a day and report potential violations. This announcement was revelatory — that the Commission gave no thought whatsoever to the enforcement mechanism of the new rules prior to the promulgation of the hastily enacted rules. If they had, the enforcement mechanism would have been 1) considered and 2) installed prior to the announcement of the rules. So from that the question arose for me: why the rush to enact these rules with such immediate effect; POLITICAL THEATRE?

Just as the recent meeting between industry stakeholders and cabinet ministers would have taken place prior to the announcement of the new rules if enforcement and not political theatre wasn’t the focus.

If you’re highly gullible and you assume the motivation wasn’t just political theatre, then a question arises about the appropriateness of this enforcement mechanism. Are the people likely to volunteer to serve as monitors of Jamaica’s broadcast content also likely to fairly represent the sensitivity of the average Jamaican broadcast audience?

In other words, let us say each volunteer must fall into one of three categories :

  1. They are less sensitive, and harder to offend than the average Jamaican audience
  2. They are exactly as sensitive and become offended at the same rate as the average Jamaican audience
  3. They are more sensitive and easier to offend than the average Jamaican audience

Which type of person from the three categories is most likely to volunteer as a media monitor? I submit to you that the 3rd type, the most sensitive people, those most easily offended, will be called upon by our government to sanitize our media for the rest of us. Hooray!

Risky Business
Is this daggering I see?

You have in Jamaica a group of people, mostly Christians, who are (in the words of a religious Christian friend of mine) so heavenly bound that they are no earthy-good. They range from what I call benignly-insistent believers to the tyranical theocrats — we have all met them. They are the fundamentalists who believe that it’s sinful for women to wear lipstick or stockings, or straighten their hair, or in some cases work outside the home. They are the ones who are omnipresently engaged in condemnation and damnation of this practice and that ‘ungodly’ person in the name of holiness. And they are likely the ones who will hold us all hostage by serving as media monitors in their attempt to build heaven on earth before Jesus gets a chance to do it himself.

But for all their strength to take on poor black people and the little levity of dancehall; and then sometimes challenge the soca of the upper strata of Jamaican society when the double standard becomes all too evident — none of these holiness freaks have summoned the courage to take on the most pernicious form of slackness taking place in Jamaica, measured by their own estimation. If we don’t want broadcasts originating in Jamaica which corrupt the morals of the young and promote lewdness, promiscuity and wanton sexuality– then we as right thinking holiness Jamaicans must ban MTV’s broadcast of, and in fact, the very staging of Spring Break in Negril.

How can we permit these wet-t-shirt contests and orgies of sexuality and flesh to take place? Is that consistent with our new found but amorphous moral standards? I think not — so I am challenging the Esther Tysons of the world to lead this protest march. I may even promise to join it and bear a placard.

Jamaicas Risky Business
Jamaica's Risky Business

For those who would argue that we cannot disrupt our tourist-dependent economy with these steps in a time like this, I wonder how you square that with the idea that we should disrupt the personal economies of various artistes in times like this.

For my part I support a ban, but not this one — we have acknowledged for a long time that our music was not teaching the youths them how to live. This ban is just too arbitrary and too absolute. It didn’t need to take effect immediately, and the energy spent on political calculation should have been spent answering the questions I raised above about exactly how this thing will work.

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49 thoughts on “Ban Spring Break!

  1. D – What I value most, most about this post was your ability to put your own self-reflexivity into words. The back and forth, yes-but-not-that, enraged but sympathetic and reasoned dialogues that many of us have in our heads, but never put out in such plain words. I think the content of this post is a great model for HOW to think through a situation, and how much effort it takes to do so, before one can take a stance.

    Thank YOU for penning this one. I know how much energy and effort it took, believe you me. I think Sunday Herald should publish this next week!!

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more. I have long been agitating for greater regulation of the media, out of concern for our nation’s children- but not like this.

    I too have been conflicted about how I should feel about this ban, for indeed, aren’t we getting what we really want? No. Not like this.

  3. That the administrative/managerial apparatus of the Jamaica Broadcasting Commission(JBC) has been somnolent and in many instances comatose regarding their duties, functions, responsibilities and obligations, with respect to the governing, overseeing and regulation of content —- subject matter, ideas and thoughts —- that/which is promulgated, broadcasted and ventilated by the air waves, over the years, is unquestionable, and indeed, incontrovertible.

    Apparently, the bureaucrats —- apparatchiks —- who people this body —- JBC —- have been vested with sinecure and cushy jobs/positions and, ostensibly, are totally in contravention to utilizing and employing professional managerial paradigms, modalities and techniques regarding the PROCESS OF MANAGEMENT vis-a-vis their authority and commission.

    Indeed, as you rightly contend, and have meticulously enumerated in this piece, the ” strategy ” employed by the JBC is one of MUCKING juxtaposed with the ANNIE PALMER METHOD OF REGULATION. Quite frankly, the larger question of process management —- the application of knowledge, skills, tools, techniques, systems to define, visualize, measure, control, report and improve processes with the goal and objective of satisfying civil society, in this case Jamaican listeners and consumers of radio and television content —- has been tremendously eschewed by the JBC. In essence, what we have witnessed, over the years, at the JBC, is a lack of leadership, or reluctancy and hesitancy to lead, and a form of muddled and chaotic incoherence masquerading as management for a quality control body . In all fairness to the JBC, this managerial approach cum philosophy is somewhat typical of bureaucrats representing various bodies in the public sector.

    Notwithstanding the aforementioned managerial shortcomings and limitations Diatribalist, this writer will still support the ban imposed on the various genres of music by the JBC. Indeed, although inordinately late and executed in a disordered and higgledy-piggledy manner, one is of the perspective, that the airwaves need to be sanitized with respect to boundaries and parameters of public decency, as soon as legally possible. Concerning the question of public spaces, one is not averse to such music being played/ventilated, providing that such spaces are adult oriented and the laws with respect to noise abatement are adhered, followed and enforced as stipulated.

    A very thoughtful and deliberative post. Nuff respect!!

  4. Hey DD,

    fantastic! great one–brilliant idea–let’s see what happens at spring break, right around the corner. i wrote a paper in 2001 which was published in Germany as part of Documenta11 called Sound Systems Against the ‘Unsound System’ of Babylon: Lewd/Rude Lyrics vs. Nude Tourists–
    in which i contrasted the media treatment of the behaviour of DJs with the behaviour of tourists at Hedonism etc.

    Believe it or not things have improved somewhat. at that time 90-95% of media came down on DJs while making excuses for the hotel moguls (it’s ‘niche’ marketing). This time around there were many more voices arguing that dancehall music was being discriminated against…small consolation i know…

    but yes let’s remember to blog about this during spring break as a follow up–

  5. Ban, regulate, limit, curtail, shackle and cont

    The overuse of these techniques are normally symptoms of a state apparatus woefully out of touch which vast swathes of the society it pretends to govern. And of a seriously divided society.

    The clumsy way the ban was effected does not augur well for its proposed intent.. ” TO PROTECT THE YOUNG AND SANITISE THE PUBLIC SPACE”…excuse my barely suppressed guffaw.

    This is the same apparatus that has failed to protect my physical person, educate our young or even to properly identify the challenges what constraints it from doing it.

    This is 2009, seeking to regulate commercially driven electronic media and an increasingly assertive individually assertive and popular cultural expression will cost jobs and money. But this being Jamaica our “righteous” classes will probably celebrate if few media houses go out of business while our cultural space becomes as sterile as a biddible mule….

    Ps. ho does one set up a pirate radio station?

  6. Mutty Perkins and Ragga should be banned too… they offend the sensiblities of some social segments too. And the news as presented by Hot 102 FM is poison!!!

  7. I don’t know that I want to go down the road to banning commentators like Perkins and Ragga. Which is one reason I’m frightened by the loose and ill-considered standard the Broadcast Commission has issued. Can Ragashanti be fined or punished for talking about sex if the content is not lyrical. What if a volunteer monitor is offended by something Ragga or Perkins says? What is the review process, right of appeal etc.

  8. Yes, indeed, the approach employed by the Broadcasting Commission (BC) is indeed problematic and fraught/laden with numerous potential consequences and unintended consequences in terms of banning content ventilated over the airwaves. Hopefully, the operationalization of such a ban would not be capriciously and cavalierly implemented. Hence, resulting in a treacherous and perilous slippery slope, of no return, with respect to talk show hosts and other announcers being singled out, for the simplest and mundane of reasons, or for that manner, in a discriminatory form.

    Notwithstanding, punitive damages and pecuniary measures regarding the violation of the specified and codified body of rules, regulations and code of conduct, must be objectively and seriously enforced, if the party or parties in question have breached such regulations, after a thorough review and appeal.Is the BC capable of performing professionally in this regard? Well, all of Jamaica is watching with baited breath, and the conduct of the BC will determine whether or not they are perceived as being an accountable, answerable and responsible body with a sense of high standard and integrity.Or, they are just another set of laughing stock, subject to jokes, ridicule and derision. In a word, the butt of jokes!!

  9. Kadene, interesting call re Dear Pastor ! Many will contend —- especially the country people, who call in just to say hello, but do not participate in the discussions —- that Dear Pastor is a night show, and at that time of the night majority a di pickney dem a sleep, so, anything Pastor seh, den express laughter is fine and alright. LOL!

  10. It is quite interesting to see the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ)moving into the area of SOCIAL ENGINEERING with the objective of developing a social code of conduct and standard for Jamaicans and the larger society.Indeed, this is a radical departure from the BSJ’s conventional portfolio, role, functions and responsibilities.

    With the precipitous social, political, and economic decline and decay of Jamaica, one is of the perspective that if more institutions of this nature get involve in terms of ideas, knowledge, support, manpower, capital, inter alia, some of the burning issues confronting and challenging us as a people and a society can be resolved. A radical move on the part of the BSJ with respect to thinking and operating outside of the proverbial box. Looking forward to the publication and implementation of the social code of conduct and standards for Jamaican society.

  11. Dear Kadene:
    Greeting in the glorious name of our soon-coming Savior.

    I am writing to solicit your opinion on why a man of God like Rev. Dumas should be censored by the government of Jamaica. Also I would like to know if it is possible to get pregnant from oral sex?

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

  12. Diatribalist, I do agree with you. Elections are not good at this moment, whether it is individual by- elections, in terms of the respective three or four constituencies involved re this citizenship imbroglio, or a general election. With regard to the West Portland constituency, there will at least be an election involving Vaz and Dabdoub, because this is the ruling of the Supreme Court. Interestingly, the political sentiment on the ground in West Portland strongly favours Vaz as opposed to Dabdoub. With that said, there is a possibility that the PNP may field another candidate as opposed to Dabdoub. One would not be surprised if this occurs. Why allow Dabdoub to contest the seat if he is so unpopular in this constituency, despite the fact, that he was the one that waged the battle in the courts? Certainly, if Dabdoub is the candidate, he will definitely lose, so, it would be quite stupid on the part of the PNP hierarchy, to let him contest the seat, knowing the possible outcome.Why not select or choose a candidate that is more politically formidable in this constituency than Dabdoub, who seems as if he can only win in the courts. Also, if he —-Dabdoub —- is not the candidate, this would definitely be perceived as a form of poetic justice, on the part of JLP supporters.

    With regard, to the other three constituencies, Gregory Mair et al, I do not know if individual by-elections is the way to go, but I certainly doubt it. A general election seems more appropriate. Quite frankly, Jamaicans must be experiencing a high level of election fatigue, because, we have had so many elections over the last three years, after a while, a level of weariness and exhaustion sets in. I would not want to be in the Prime Minister’s shoes re a general election, because the Prime Minister’s popularity has decreased significantly, over the last seventeen months, as a consequence of political cowardice, befuddled and flummoxed leadership on numerous issues. But, specifically, with respect to the paucity and dearth of communication on his part in terms of the Jamaican people, especially, in light of the economic crises that/which confronts us and the potential calamaties and catastrophes which we may have to endure as a society and a people.

    Currently, the social, political, economic, criminal and violent pressures in Jamaica are so overwhelming and irrepressible, that any election, whether at the constituency levels, or a general election at this moment,or in the short to medium term could, or may stoke the fires for possible political conflicts and conflagration between the JLP and the PNP, who incidentally, are extremely interested in returning to power without experiencing a sense of cleansing or catharsis with respect to their kleptocratic, corrupt, nepotistic, lack of accountability, incompetent, and abusive psychology and culture. And who, in essence, do not have any answers or solutions to the numerous vexing problems afflicting, distressing, and aggravating the human condition and exacerbating Jamaica in general.

    Undoubtedly, the tragedy and severe misfortune of Jamaican politics, is the abysmal and atrocious failure of the political elites and political parties, that even with a possible general election looming or imminent, the electorate does not really have any credible or bonafide choice(s), with the exception of choosing between two failed and bankrupt leadership in the current Prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition and two failed political institutions, the JLP and the PNP. How pathetic, deplorable, lamentable and heartbreaking?

    With that said, the Supreme Court’s decision was the correct one in terms of Vaz versus Dabdoub.Will Prime Minister Bruce Golding call a general election? The political arithmetic in parliament will definitely dictate in this regard. Nuff respect!!

  13. U.S. State Department issues warning to American college and university students about visiting Mexico during spring break, as a result of escalating violence by and between the Mexican drug cartels, which could, or may impact on the safety of students. Will Jamaica benefit from the State Department’s warning as a possible choice destination over Mexico during the upcoming spring break? One would definitely hope so!

  14. @ Esteban: Ordinarily we might benefit but with the economy in the tank many students are going home for a wake-up call this spring break as mommy and daddy don’t feel secure at work. Plus, there is something that feels inappropriate about excess and debauchery in these times.

  15. Interesting piece in today’s STAR (2-28-09) by Mr. Ronnie Burke, former Director of Synergy titled JAMAICAN ARTISTES LOSING OUT.

  16. CLEAN LYRICS: SONG WRITERS BOOT CAMP, Jamaican Sunday Gleaner, March 1st, 2009, The Entertainment Section. A necessary read!!

  17. (I laugh till a nearly dead a read yu “Dear Kadene” letter)

    Dear Diatribalist:

    You be careful with that oral sex ting, yu hear? Nowadays you kyaan swear fi a soul. Look how one woman have all a 8 pickney one time, and she neva even haffi have sex fi get them?

    Sorry my advice isn’t as raunchy as the one “Dear Pastor” would have offered!


  18. KUDOS to Musher Mr. Newton Marshall, a Jamaican, and the first BLACK to finish the grueling, backbreaking, fatiguing, extremely frigid, and brutal YUKON QUEST ALASKA DOG RACE covering a distance of 1000 miles. Mr. Marshall finished thirteenth, a performance which exceeded the performance of even more seasoned mushers.NUFF RESPECT Mr. Marshall, a job well done.

  19. Diatribalist,

    I share some of your positions in terms of the hastily cobbled together actions of the BC. However, I do endorse the ban, notwithstanding. This is not because I feel that this is the best possible means of ensuring a limit to the customary permissiveness of the Jamaican media, but because by doing so, the BC has raised the tenor of the debate around this issue in Jamaica.

    What is, indeed, unfortunate though is the sterile and stereotypic classed terms in which the discussion becomes bogged down. By taking this belated action to regulate the media, moreso than Dancehall music, itself; the BC, perhaps unwittingly, has managed to trigger a discussion of sorts about class politics/ privilege in Jamaica. This I welcome wholeheartedly!

    For surely in the same way that you make the points about the shortcomings of how this matter is to be enforced, as well as the slipperiness of the terms used in the popular lexicon; that is, to reference certain ideas/ actions in Dancehall, the ban must by necessity reflect the BC’s own inability to properly police the media here, let alone the artform. So, I support the ban, but with conditions not unlike those which you outline above.

    Still, there is need for an abiding caveat – this is not really about a ban against Dancehall, which is impossible in my view. It is more an act aimed at regulating media standards in Jamaica. This is sorely needed and very much overdue! Let us see whether they are able to carry through with that bit.


    PS: there is a letter on my page about this very issue. it was sent to the media here but was never published. i would be interested in your feedback, for what that is worth!

  20. The dual citizen-ship embroilment/quandary, with its concomitant cacaphony of partial, biased and sentimental babble and clatter, being expectorated by all and sundry has become a major form of constitutional amusement/sport, albeit a costly one, with respect to by-elections in West Portland —- and possibly several other constituencies exhibiting the Vaz-Dabdoub condition or quality —- that/which will cost approximately forty million Jamaican dollars per problem constituency as rumoured. How interesting?!! Apparently, as a society/polity, we do pay extremely dearly and exorbitantly for the BLUNDERS, GAFFES, and BONERS of our Electoral Commission. Is it any wonder, why we are becoming more marginalized and mendicant with each passing day? What is it about our bureaucrats and technocrats in sundry fields and specializations, that we cannot ever get things right? Jamaica no problem!! JAMAICA BIG PROBLEM!! Certainly, it is full time that we transcend this culture of mediocrity, which engulfs and haunts us, and start to do things appropriately as opposed to the chacka chacka paradigm. Because if we do not, then the subsequent costs at correcting and rectifying becomes prohibitively outrageous.

  21. In light of the numerous burning/vexing social and economic problems confronting us during this global financial and economic meltdown, is forty million Jamaican dollars per electoral constituency worth it, in terms of by-elections?Nota bene! By-elections may entail as many as four or five constituencies, if one factors in the little discussed, but supposedly problematic seat/constituency in West Hanover with the other seats that/which are in question.

  22. Diatribalist, the season for letting off a Joshie and a Nanny is back. Also, it is the season for setting up some voters —-both the ORANGE and the GREEN —- with a curried goat, a white rum, a Red Stripe, a Guinness, a Heineken, and little ganja for votes. PNP and JLP election money a guh run Star, especially, in some of those economically blighted and forgotten districts where nothing has happened over the last twenty years. Jamaican democracy at work Star. Yes, THE CARNIVAL OF FOOLS is again with us.

  23. The absurd, farcical, preposterous and constitutionally incongruous nature of Jamaican politics is extremely egregious. Case in point! The Peoples National Party (PNP) candidate for the controversial constituency of West Portland, Mr. Kenneth Rowe is a citizen of Canada —- a Commonwealth country. How interesting? Mr. Douglas Vaz had to rescind/nullify his U.S. citizenship as a consequence of Mr. Abe Dabdoub’s contention and law suit regarding his citizenship and national status re Jamaica and its constitutional requirements for being a elected member of Parliament.And the subsequent ruling of Justice Zalia McCalla in the Supreme Court, regarding the utilization of an American passport and the question of allegiance to the United States.

    Now that the Court of Appeals has ruled, that a by-election must take place in West Portland, as opposed to ruling in Mr. Dabdoub’s favour, by granting him the seat autonomous of an election, the PNP hierarchy has decided to contest the constituency with another candidate who is, supposedly, much more politically formidable/challenging than the unpopular Mr. Dabdoub, who would probably experience a tremendous beating again by Mr. Vaz. In this regard, one does not have a problem with a new or different candidate being utilized to challenge Mr. Vaz. But in all honesty, who would have thought that the PNP would field a CANADIAN in Mr. Rowe, and so early or immediate after the Court of Appeal’s ruling. Arguably, Mr. Rowe is not the appropriate or ideal candidate, at this political, historical and legal juncture, because his Canadian citizenship will be dubious and somewhat problematic. Irrespective of the fact, that the Jamaican constitution provides or allow for Commonwealth citizens to be elected members of the House of Representatives/Parliament after being domiciled in Jamaica for a specified period of time. Certainly, such a status on the part of Mr. Rowe will create more rancor, animus and acrimony if he —- Mr. Rowe —- were to be victorious in West Portland. The rationale for this perspective on my part, is, that although West Portland has been resolved via adjudication a la the Court of Appeals.The confusion on the streets and among the mass publics pertaining to dual citizenship is extremely palpable and many individuals are still constitutionally unclear, confused and perplexed regarding this seminal legal question or issue. Consequently,one is of the perspective that the PNP hierarchy should have offered a candidate who is extremely formidable, but not trappped and saddled with the baggage or baggages of dual citizenship, irrespective of which country said citizenship was acquired/obtained. In doing so, this would alleviate any potential issues pre by-election and post by-election.

    Ergo, a victory by Mr. Rowe, especially, one exhibiting braggadocio, as opposed to magnanmity in West Portland would only heighten the political tension, anxieties, and apprehensions, resulting in a sense of political dysphoria leading to possible conflicts and conflagrations.Because, in essence, the political stakes are excessively high, as a result of the political arithmetic on both sides of the political divide in Parliament. Also, a loss on the part of Mr. Vaz may result in a general election being called by Prime Minister Golding, even independent of the other four problematic constituencies experiencing similar dual citizenship issues being reconciled. Interestingly, West Portland should not be viewed or considered as a local constituency election. In essence, it has national implications and is, ostensibly, being viewed as a national referendum by both political parties.

    Having said that, it is full time all members of Parliament on both sides of the political divide honestly declare their status re dual citizenship.Undoubtedly, it is the right thing to do.The people of Jamaica need to know!!Nuff respect!!

  24. Over the last several elections, it has become increasingly conspicuous that the Peoples National Party (PNP) has been utilizing a considerable number of past or previous members of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to compete for political offices in various constituencies across the island.

    Remarkably, the number of recycled politicians is somewhat significant, and they are as follows; Mr. Kenneth Rowe; Ms. Lisa Hanna; Ms. Verna Parchment; Mr. Norman Horne, Ms Rosemarie Shaw and even the controversial and litigious Mr. Abe Dabdoub. This is not an exhaustive or conclusive list in any manner or form, but nonetheless, a list delineating that the utilization of past JLP members by the PNP to contend for various constituencies is somewhat considerable. One wonders if the inverse applies to the JLP in terms of such a significant migration from the PNP to the JLP, specifically, in recent years.

    Indeed, such inter-party migrations definitely beg(s) numerous questions, but the two most obvious are as follows: Why is the JLP losing all these seasoned and experienced politicians to the PNP? And, by the same token, why is the PNP unable and unwilling to utilize their own party candidates, in lieu of the recycled JLP politicians? Granted, the answers will be numerous and each politician, situation or circumstance will provide its own set of answers. Nonetheless, the inter party migration is an interesting political and electoral behaviour in contemporary Jamaica.

    Intriguingly, and with respect to the prevaling circumstances in Parliament, one would have thought or expected that some form of migration would have occurred on either side of the political divide, since Mr. Bruce Golding’s ascendancy to the Prime Minister’s Office approximately seventeen months ago.Specifically, in light of the copious and diverse issues and challenges confronting Jamaica, and the day to day cut and thrusts of parliamentary procedures and politics. Hence, reconfiguring the political calculus, advantageously for Mr. Golding, thereby, providing the Prime Minister with a more secure or solid majority in Parliament.

    Or, the inverse taking place, in terms of increasing the seats for the Opposition in Ms. Portia Simpson Miller. And, in this regard forcing a possible general election. But to date, this has not occurred, regardless of the day to day issues, suggesting that the party lines are rigidly drawn and to some extent calcified, irrespective, of the fact, that there is a certain level of inter-party migration during periods of election.With such rigid lines of party identification and demarcation in Parliament, it is quite apparent that a general election is, therefore, premised on what transpires in terms of the individual by-election performances between the respective JLP and PNP candidates in the four or five problematic constituencies afflicted with the dual citizenship problem or condition. Quite frankly, West Portland may be the decisive constituency in this regard. Nuff respect!!

  25. What is really going on with the contentious and litigious Mr. Abe Dabdoub? Apparently, the dual citizenship issue involving Mr. Douglas Vaz is not over or resolved, despite the rulings of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, as far as Mr. Dabdoub is concerned. Consequently, Mr. Dabdoub is still questioning the legitimacy of Mr. Vaz’s status with respect to his Jamaican citizenship and whether is American citizenship was really nullified/rescinded. Why this bedevilement and badgering on the part of Mr. Dabdoub? Certainly, this is rather troublesome and annonying, in light of the ruling of two of Jamaica’s courts and can/must be considered or perceived as a form of legal harassment cum persecution/castigation/discrimination on the part of Mr. Dabdoub vis-a-vis Mr. Vaz.

    With respect to possible information that Mr. Vaz may not be qualified to contest the by-election in West Portland scheduled for March 23rd as contended by Mr. Dabdoub. Surely, one would think, that it is categorically imperative, that Mr. Dabdoub should provide the Electoral Commission, the media and of course the denizens of West Portland and by extension all Jamaicans with such information instantaneously. Independent, of forthcoming with, or furnishing the aforementioned principals with such empirically valid and substantive information, it is full time that Mr. Dabdoub exercise some sense of closure or cessation regarding Mr. Vaz and the West Portland constituency, as opposed to being a sore loser .

    Based on the rulings of the two Jamaican courts, it is about time that the belligerent Mr. Dabdoub accepts and acknowledge his loss/defeat in the West Portland constituency of the 2007 General Election and move on. MOVE ON MR. DABDOUB!!

  26. Why am I not surprised ?! Political flare ups and hostilities taking place in West Portland constituency between the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and People’s National Party (PNP) supporters/adherents. Indeed, the JLP and PNP political DOGS of WAR are hungry for blood and are, apparently, bent on creating a psychology and a state of war. Hopefully, the hierarchy/administration of the political tribes/gangs, i.e., the PNP and the JLP and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will be able to keep the political dogs of war leashed, so, that a peaceful by-election can take place in this controversial and politically heated constituency. Nuff respect!!

  27. Diatribalist, Yuh dun know sey Simpson-Miller a big time actress. Dem people de can cry wid tears—eyewater— whenever the occassion warrants it. Bwoy, Verna Parchment behaviour is something else!! Star, she cum back fi har dawg, because she an har dawg caan liv a Jamdown unda JLP. ROTFFLMAO !!!!!!

  28. With regard to the banning of obnoxious and offensive lyrical content in Dancehall music. The SUNDAY GLEANER of March 15th, 2009 in the Commentary section has two interesting articles/comments which can be considered necessary reading in light of the subject being addressed in this post.The articles ares as follows: BROADCASTING COMMISSION WILL NOT RELENT by Dr. Hopeton Dunn and DEBATING VALUES AND VYBZ by Dr. Canute Thompson.

  29. With regard to the banning of obnoxious and offensive lyrical content in Dancehall music. The SUNDAY GLEANER of March 15th, 2009 in the Commentary section there are two interesting articles/comments which can be considered necessary reading in light of the subject being addressed in this post.The articles ares as follows: BROADCASTING COMMISSION WILL NOT RELENT by Dr. Hopeton Dunn and DEBATING VALUES AND VYBZ by Dr. Canute Thompson.

  30. The tangled web weaved by Ms. Portia Simpson Miller re the Jamaican diplomatic passport held by Mr. Daryl Vaz conspicuously delineates and characterizes the infantilism, imbecility and puerility of her politics, with respect to her ignorance —- or supposed ignorance —- of not knowing that so many supposedly dignified and estemeed members of her Opposition party are/were currently holders of diplomatic passports, and that such holders did not relinquish or turn said passports in to the relevant agencies or authorities as required and expected post diplomatic privileges. How interesting?!!

    In the process of trying to gain or score cheap and tawdry political points as a consequence of Mr. Vaz disclosing/exhibiting two Jamaican passports to substantiate and validate his Jamaican citizenship, post the salient and historic ruling of the Court of Appeal, because of Mr. Abe Dabdoub’s legal fixation and obsessive badgering as to Mr. Vaz’s status. Ms. Simpson-Miller opportunistically jumped at this violation of Mr. Vaz supposedly benefitting from diplomatic and ministerial benefits, while not being a member of Parliament, not realizing and being cognizant of the fact that her distinguished, decorous, and honourable party members are/were also in flagrant, barefaced and shameless violation(s) of the expectations and regulations re diplomatic passports en masse. Indeed, such politics on the part of Ms. Simpson-Miller is so fatuous and vapid in light of what confronts and challenges Jamaica both endogenously and exogenously. Hopefully, Ms. Simpson Miller will glean and comprehend the old proverb THAT THOSE WHO LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES SHOULD NOT THROW STONES.

    Had Ms. Simpson-Miller had knowledge of her house re diplomatic passports, one can categorically state or suggest that she would be more cautious with her frivolous and inane attacks.Incidentally, and by way of closing, the authorities or agencies that/who are responsible for such passports need to get their act together by being more professional and accountable in managing same when users are no longer experiencing diplomatic benefits or privileges.Nuff respect!!

  31. JLP launch their first political ad regarding by-election in West Portland with the mantra of PERFORMANCE OVER LOYALTY!!! To date, I have not seen any with respect to the PNP,but most likely such ads will be issued shortly.The campaign for West Portland intensifies, daily.Nuff respect!!

  32. Correction is in order with respect to the post above. Please read JLP launched as opposed to JLP launch.

  33. Diatribalist, thanks for the information regarding the ON LINE newspaper. Nuff respect!!

  34. Apparently, every politician of any import from both political gangs—the PNP and JLP— have taken up residency in West Portland!! And in so doing, the level of POLITICAL PONZIFICATION of the denizens of West Portland by all and sundry politicians visting the constituency is extremely excessive, outrageous, and extortionate vis-a-vis the electorate and their franchise–the vote.

    West Portlanders, a caveat!!Beware of political ponzification, because the morning after Monday, March 23rd, the harsh and stark reality will definitely set in, revealing, in essence, that Jamaican democracy in terms of representational politics is nothing but an extortive POLITICAL PONZI SCHEME designed to wrench the vote out of the electorate to send someone, a politician to Gordon House, and who eventually eschews the citizens of the constituency contemptuously until the next election.

    Consequently, there is no representation or benefits in terms of development—economic, social, educational, infrastructure, inter alia — to citizens and communities in the medium to long term!! A classic and empirical case in point, is the Opposition leader, Ms. Portia Simpson Miller’s constituency of South West St. Andrew. Indeed, by all indicators, probably the most wretched constituency in all of Jamaica after thirty years of representation by Ms. Simpson Miller. Most assuredly, POLITICAL PONZIFICATION at the highest level. Ms. Simpson-Miller benefits from the community in sundry forms and manner and the community becomes totally marginalized and underdeveloped with her at the helm. Yet, Ms. Simpson Miller is in West Portland promising denizens of that constituency the world. Oh, I completely forgot that Ms. Simpson Miller LOVES THE POOR. LOL !! Nuff respect!!

  35. Yes, it seems that the West Portland by-election is all over with the exception of the shouting. Based on the counting of 82 ballot boxes from a total of 99 at 8.00 p.m., it definitely seems that Mr. Daryl Vaz will be returned to Parliament based on a lead of approximately 1,600 votes. As a matter of fact the election has been called in certain quarters with Mr. Vaz being the victor.

  36. Congratulations are in order for Mr. Daryl Vaz in retaining/winning the controversial West Portland by-election and seat for Parliament. Question ! Can POORSHA win elections? Apparently not ! Recent electoral history in Jamaica, empirically reveals/delineates that Ms. Simpson Miller has struck out in the last Parish Council Elections, the General Election of September 2007, and now the By-election for West Portland.

    Certainly, an election score of 0-3 vis-a-vis the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) does not augur or bode well for Opposition leader Ms. Simpson Miller. Will it be three strikes and the leader of the People’s National Party (PNP) is thrown under the bus, or, jettisoned for more capable and futuristic leadership? Or, will the PNP continue with the questionable and defeat prone/inclined Ms. Simpson Miller at the helm of the party.

    Undoubtedly, over the next several weeks and possibly months, the PNP will be doing a considerable amount of internal analysis, introspection and political soul searching as to what happened or transpired in West Portland, in terms of the bruising and devastating defeat —- of both Ms. Simpson Miller and Jamaican-Canadian candidate, Mr. Kenneth Rowe —- suffered at the hands of Mr. Vaz and the JLP, irrespective of Ms. Simpson Miller’s daily and ubiquitous presence in the constituency. Specifically, in light of the fact, that there could/will be at least three more by-elections in the medium term having similar dual-citizenship issues as West Portland.

    Indeed, the reason or reasons for the PNP’s loss in West Portland are considerable. Nonetheless, any true, honest and professional introspective or retrospective analysis/assessment/evaluation of the PNP’s crushing defeat in West Portland, by the PNP’s hierarchy, or the politbureau, must factor in the role of the leader and her inability to win elections against the JLP, irrespective of the nature of the election, whether it is the parish council elections, a by-election, or the general election.

    With three more elections looming or imminent, it is imperative that Ms. Simpson Miller wins soon and early.If not, she will definitely be thrown under the bus and the rallying cry of the non-dogmatic and non-doctrinaire ideologues/members within the cultish PNP will be, BEYOND POORSHA !!

  37. Admittedly, and undoubtedly, the People’s National Party(PNP) is desperately and critically in need of leadership, especially, after the party’s appalingly humilating and ignominious performance in the West Portland by-election. And the fact, that recent electoral performance of the party, under Ms. Simpson Miller’s watch, to date, leaves her with a 0-3 score card. In a word, STRIKE OUT!!

    Certainly, and quite frankly, the PNP requires a leadership that/which will launch the party in the future, as opposed to being fettered and shackeled with a leadership, values, beliefs, and attitudes tied to the past . . . in Ms. Simpson Miller.

    Question! Is Mr. Peter Bunting, the current Secretary of the party, the prospective or forthcoming leader, post the anticipated and expected jettisoning/unloading of Ms. Simpson Miller by certain elements, individuals and sub groups within a still polarized, fractured and fissured political organization, if the PNP is unable to win at least TWO of the THREE up coming by elections, afflicted with the dual citizenship condition? Or, will the party and its members continue to subscribe and endorse the values, views, beliefs and positions of a anachronistic, and in essence, marginal leader/executive at best? Indeed, interesting times do lie ahead, politically !!Nuff respect!!

  38. Shhh! Esteban, Portia is doing a wonderful job! Seriously though, I think that she is still not at fault for the losses suffered by the PNP. It’s more that the JLP won these three elections than that Portia lost them for the PNP.

    Vaz has been dutifully building his credentials as a Mr. Fix-it in the community and especially after the first ruling was issued by the Chief Justice. Further the Young Turks in the JLP have crafted a solid campaign strategy (about which I still have misgivings but I can’t argue with success.)

    My fear is that the JLP will become as complacent and arrogant in office as the PNP so obviously became. Every time I reflect on a simple fact, it stands out in my mind like a strobe light. Kern Spencer was trying to steal millions of US dollars (hundreds of millions of Jamaican dollars) and didn’t even make sure the full amount was paid out by the ministry before the election. So sure were they that they’d be back in the Ministry offices after Sept 2007.

  39. Diatribalist, Ras Astor Black is definitely an interesting political animal. Speak of perseverance —- or Jamaican sticktoitiveness —-and idealism, although somewhat quixotic, with respect to his ambition and political objective(s) of becoming a member of Parliament is remarkable, and indeed, noteworthy. One is ignorant as to the number of times that he —- Ras Astor Black —- has contested various elections in sundry constituencies in different parishes to gain a seat in Gordon House. But, I do know that he has thrown his hat or tam in the political arena several times, including the recent controversial by-election of West Portland, where he garnered 27 electoral votes. One wonders if he and his Jamaica Alliance Party (JAP) will be contesting the next three by-elections in Clarendon, St. Catherine and St. Ann. It will be interesting to see what happens in this regard. Nuff respect, Ras Black!! PEACE!!

  40. Sorry for responding so late. I was very busy doing ‘real work’. That does not allow too much time for blogging. The uncharitable remark aside, the piece is quite thoughtful.However, there is a complete misunderstanding of how the Broadcasting Commission works. No doubt this is due to a combination of misinformation and the evidence of very little research, if any. I suggest you visit the Commission’s website and actually read the content, including Quarterly Complaints Reports. I am also available to provide information which might cause a reconsideration of the assertion that the Commission is arbitrary or had been in hibernation. Incidentally, now that the “nine day wonder” fluff is over, are you noticing the marked improvement in tge quality and variety of musical output on radio? Have you also noted that several recording artistes including Konshens and RDX have now publicly come out in support of the Commission’s work? I quite understand those who are dissatisfied with the pace of regulatory action. However, this is not due to inertia but the fact that the Commission is judicious in its approach. It has been methodically engaged in a process since 2003 when the Children’s Code for programming was introduced. All of 2007 and the better part of 2008 was spent consulting widely and encouraging self-regulation by the managers of broadcasting stations. So, the recent action was neither sudden nor arbitrary, if anything it was later than it should have occurred.

    Finally, we do not simply find broadcasters in breach through some subjective and cvapricious process, if only because that would be a breach of natural justice and challengeable in an administrative court. Here is how the investigation is done. An alleged breach is investigated either as a consequence of BC internal monitoring or a complaint made to the Commission. The station is informed in writing about the nature of the alleged breach and when it was said to have occured. They are then given a period of time (usually 14 days) to submit any matter or fact which it would like the Commission to consider. A recording of the offending broadcast, the station’s response and a legal brief are then considered by a sub-committee of the Commission. A report is then submitted to the full Commission which then decides whether there is a breach. It is only in rare cases that the Commission rexommends that a licence be suspended. This is usually done if the breach is egregious and the station’s management failed or refused to take remedial measures. This is usually after exchangee of correspondence and meetings. We are not stupid people who act irrationally! It must also be understood that the Commission has no jurisdiction over individual radio DJ’s or presenters. As a matter of law, it can only regulate the licence holder (usually the station management). So, if a station has weak management or managers who are complicit in breaching the regulations, there is only one option – recommendation for suspension of licence. Most stations never get to that stage because the management would usually act swiftly to impose internal disciplinary or other remedial measures, including apologising to listeners and viewers. These are matters which the Commission would consider in deciding whether to impose a sanction.

    I have to stop here because of time constraints. Forgive any grammatical ot structural errors. I am at the airport typing on my Blackberry and cannot see the full page as I type.


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