Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Jamaica - 30 Nov 2005 - Mail call

Every Wednesday in Newcastle we have our own BBQ dinner instead of going to the mess. Afterwards, we usually watch a movie. Shortly after I arrived, I came up with the idea of showing some episodes of Trailer Park Boy or Corner Gas, to give some of the guys from other countries a taste of Canada. I asked my wife to mail me some of these DVD’s, which she promptly did.

They arrived yesterday. It took only 3 months and 5 days. Tonight is our last BBQ before the end of the course. I would like to slam the Jamaican mail system, but I think the fault lies with the customs SOB’s. Perhaps they kept the package for over 2 months to ensure all the anthrax was inert.

Jamaican Canadians must send their Christmas presents in September.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Jamaica - 27 Nov 2005 – Leaving Shoreham Green

Of course, it being our last day, the weather is perfect. The sun has come out, there are only a few white clouds in the sky, and there is a slight breeze.

I spend the rest of the day writing and going for a dip in the pool. This is the best weekend I have had since I got to Jamaica. There is something about floating in the pool and looking up through the palm trees at the beautiful blue sky.

An excellent weekend. The cost was about half the cost of a Hedo weekend, and that includes food. Mike let us drink his booze, provided we did not drink it all. We brought some of our own and left what we did not finish.

If I did it again I would bring a bunch of people and get a driver. Mike, (and everyone who runs a villa) know trustworthy people that they recommend. This is probably the best option for me and the wife. Quiet privacy with the option of doing a bit of travelling.

Villas get the MLWGF seal of approval.

I know. I keep wanting to say “Shoreham Green is people!” too.

Asia Honeymoon (8) - War Museum/Reunification Museum

For previous posts, check here

22 March

We meet our guide, Chong and the one other person on this portion of the trip, an older Australian woman named Susan.

The tunnels are very interesting. We start the tour with an old VC propaganda film, which is so obvious it is funny. I can only make it through the first 100 meters before claustrophobia sets in. The tunnels were not made for 6 foot, 200 pound westerners.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Asia Honeymoon Summary

I am finally getting around to putting up the posts from our honeymoon. I will start posting them on a daily basis.

Here are the first few posts.

Asia Honeymoon (1) - For Better or for Worse

Asia Honeymoon (2) - International Airport Tour 2005

Asia Honeymoon (3) - Vancouver Airport

Asia Honeymoon (4) - What day is it?

Asia Honeymoon (5) - More Airports

Asia Honeymoon (6) - Ho Chi Min City

Asia Honeymoon (7) - Cu Chi Tunnels

Jamaica - 28 Nov 2005 - "And I now declare him as Spanish Town's hero"

Gangster buried in Goshen, Clarendon

Bulbie was buried this weekend.

Government involved with organized crime? Check out the money quotes:

"...the gangster, whose Clansman organisation supports the ruling People's National Party,"


"In the aftermath of his death, the Spanish Town police said that Bennett had support from elected officials of the ruling party, but did not give names."

I guess that is the difference between Canada and Jamaica. The Jamaican political parties are not as good at hiding their criminal connections.

Either that, or the Jamaican media isn't in the pocket of the ruling party.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Jamaica - 26 Nov 2005 – Villa Valhalla

As I write this I am sitting on the veranda of our villa, overlooking the ocean. It rained all day yesterday, forcing us to drive through water up to our wheel wells in some places along the coastal highway. The sun is just starting to come out and there is a slight breeze. Although we are not beachside, I can still hear the surf. This place is almost perfect.

Shoreham Green is owned by two guys, both from Calgary. The guy who runs the place, Mike, is a Canadian who arrived 10 years ago and hasn’t left. His partner is still doing a regular job in Calgary, but Mike says he could never go back to wearing a tie. I don’t blame him.

Mike is very friendly and accommodating. Anything we want or need, he will get for us. His staff is very good as well. They are pretty much invisible. Dinner last night was excellent. Everything was home cooked and dessert was the best cheesecake I have ever had. Unfortunately, I was so full I could not finish it. You need to know how much I love a good dessert to realize how strange that is.

The villa has seven big bedrooms, a pool, huge veranda, and living room. I can see how a group of seven couples could easily live in a place like this for a week. A bird sanctuary surrounds the villa, so my alarm clock this morning was the chirping of birds.

The grounds are immaculately kept. You really get the sense you are living in a jungle paradise.

Today Mike drove us into Port Antonio for a quick look around. The place has some noticeable tourists challenges. The word is that they spent a large some of money to improve the port so that cruise ships could dock, and one of the guys mentioned he saw one there last year. Unfortunately, the port authority, (they must have been smoking drugs), did not allow anyone from the first few ships to leave the port area. They must have been trying to keep all the tourist money for themselves, instead of letting people explore the town. As a consequence, cruise ships don’t come to Port Antonio anymore. It’s too bad. Port Antonio has a real small town feel to it, and the people even more friendly than Jamaicans usually are. The town needs some work, but with a regular influx of tourists, the place could quickly become a rival to Ochio Rios.

I can easily see how renting a villa for a week would appeal to many for a vacation. From where I sit, I can see a number of other villas, all for rent. It would be quite easy to find one which suited any need. In addition, a week at a villa is noticeably cheaper than a resort.

Anyone thinking of a Jamaica vacation, consider a villa.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Jamaica - 25 Nov 2005 - Port Antonio Weekend

This weekend we are heading to Port Antonio. We had planned this trip early in the course, but a number of people have pulled out at the last minute, so there will only be 3 of us.

We have rented Shoreham Green. The cost is actually less than going to Hedo and everything is included, booze and food. It is the off season, but the prices seem reasonable even in high season. We are getting a bit of a deal as we have contacts with the locals, the place is empty and the guy would rather have it used than not as he has to pay his staff.

There are tons of villas in the area, enough to suite anyone's tastes. It appears to be a less well known and cheaper alternative to the resorts. I will report back on how it goes.

I talked to the wife again last night. I was watching some sappy romantic movie and I started to miss her, so I though I would give her a call.

Things are getting better. It was a full 15 minutes before she tried to get rid of me. A 25% increase in time. I managed to push the length of the call to 19 minutes with some fast talking and by giving some instructions about our vacation.

Perhaps she misses me as well. Or she has seen the vote on the sidebar going against her and has decided to change her ways.

I confirmed last night that the one vote for "Men are pigs" is hers. She also mentioned that the vote did not let her vote more than once. Shame on you honey, trying to cheat.

I have not told her about deleting cookies.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Additions to the Blogroll

I have been meaning to point out that their has been a number of addition to the blogroll in the sidebar.

In particular, I want to point out Sean’s new site, The Urban Refugee. About the same time as Sean and his family fled the city, my wife and I moved to 20 acres outside Sherwood Park. Many of the problems/experiences I read on his blog resonate with me, as we are going through the same thing. Or, I should say, I would be going through them if I was home. His blog makes me homesick for my own place, so I try not to read it too often. If you want to see what I would be writing about if I was not in Jamaica, go visit his site.

In the spirit of basking a bit in the reflected glory of others, I have meet the great Sean McCormick in RL (that’s real life, for the unhip). We met early in my bloging career (about a year ago), I think through the comments on another site. As we were both living in Edmonton, we met for coffee one day to compare notes about bloging.

That’s it. I guess that story is not as interesting as I thought.

Sean, you are a creative guy. Maybe you can add something to that story to spice it up. Flying monkeys are always good.

But seriously, check out Sean’s work and buy a calendar.

Gun violence solutions for Toronto

Angry in the Great White North has some interesting infomation on the reasons for crime and a possible solution.

I am not saying it would work, but at least someone is talking about solutions that are simply cries to the government to "do something".

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Jamaica - 23 Nov 2005 - A quiet, rainy day

Everyone left this morning for a 3 day TEWT. The wind started up last night, rattling the windows and making it hard to sleep. My windows are so loose, it's like one of those horror movies, with the ghosts trying to get in all the time.

With everyone gone, today will be nice a quiet. A fog has come in and visibility is down to about 50 feet. As I look out my office window, I can only see to the trees that are past the flagpoles.

I love it when the weather is like this.

Update: Maybe not.

It was really cold today, the coldest it has ever been since I got here. In addition, due to the wind, the power went out at about 4 am. I did not mention it as the generator was going in the morning. This lasted until about 9 am when they turned it off. I spend the day sitting in the dark. Just about everything here need electricity including the hot plate and microwave. I had a piece of cheese for lunch. They have just turned it back on (about 5 pm) and it will be on until 10 pm. I had best get some warm food in me before it is too late.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Jamaica – 22 Nov 2005 – Bits and Pieces

This will be a quiet week. The students were in town yesterday and this morning for a TEWT and go down again tomorrow for the rest of the week. All the other staff go with them. This leaves me unsupervised. We have a bit of work to do to get ready for next week, but it’s not really 5 days of work. So the days are pretty slow, we us trying to make the work last for the week and taking numerous breaks from work.

After about a month of no PT, I have started going back up the Peak. I am at 37 ascents, fifteen to go to meet my minimum goal of 52 (twice the height of Mount Everest). The month I missed was due to rain, hurricanes, and landslides, so my own laziness is not the only factor. I need to do one ascent per day to meet my goal. I should be able to easily reach that, as we have only one more weekend off and the 7 days of straight training.

There is this murder of crows living just outside of our building that are starting to annoy me. Jamaican crows are similar to the ones back home with the exception that their beak is noticeably thicker at the base. This gives them a slightly more prehistoric (and evil) look. These crows usually hang out it a bush in some tall grass, right by where I walk at the same time every morning. And every morning, as I get about 10 feet from them, all but one fly farther away. The one must be the leader. He gives me the evil eye and makes this squawking noise as I pass, which has to be some sort of warning.

Today I went up for lunch and must have surprised them, as they flew out of their bush much more agitated than usual. The one stayed and kept his eye on me.

The lot of them are up to something.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Jamaica – 21 Nov 2005 – Surely I am worth 12 minutes?

I called the wife last night. Getting her to talk about anything is like pulling teeth. After about 9 minutes of asking her about all our friends, family, cats and anything else I could think of, I started to get the sense that she wanted to get me off the phone. Guess what? I was right. She told me straight out she wanted to hang up. She was leaving on a last minute business trip in the morning and wanted to pack.

So I barely rate a quarter of an hour of her time? It’s not like I called at 3 in the morning, all drunk and incoherent. It was just after 9 pm her time. I had not had a drink in 8 hours.

Let me give you my point of view: After just spending the weekend resisting the temptation of naked and semi naked women, some of whom would be happy to have sex with anyone while their husband filmed it, I come back to our deserted camp in the middle of nowhere to call my wife who I miss very much and who I can’t wait to hold in my arms once again, only to be told to get off the phone, as she has more important things to do, like packing socks.

So let’s go over this from her end: Your husband of 8 months, (who has been away for half of that time), whom you have not seen in 6 weeks, calls you up from a few thousand miles away and you can’t wait to get him off the phone so you can go back to packing?

What is wrong with this picture?

Ok, in her defence, this was a last minute trip and she has been very busy lately, putting in a lot of extra hours. Still, 12 minutes is not much to ask.

Oh, and this is the real kicker. Not only does she want to get me off the phone, but she has to get a dig in there as well. When she says she wants to hang up and I mention that we just started talking, she says, “Well, I still have to finish packing. I don’t want to be up all night like someone.”

This is obviously a reference to me when I was packing for this Jamaica trip. First of all, it wasn’t all night, it was only about 1 am. This is a bit late if you have to get up at 5:30 am for a 7 am flight, but it is not as if she was overly inconvenienced. She got up, drove me the 20 minutes to the airport and was probably back in bed with the cats before I got through security. Also, at the time we had been in our new house for 2 weeks, so stuff was still all over the place and I spend much of that time unpacking, not packing for my trip. To top it off, we had a housewarming party for 20 people, which started some 18 hours before I was to leave. I didn’t start packing until 9 pm and I was going away for 4 months, not on a 2 day business trip.

The woman is going to drive me to drink.

So, there is only one way to settle the question of who is right and who is wrong. Tell me what you think, gentle readers, by answering the poll on the sidebar.

Vote early, vote often.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Jamaica - 15 Nov 2005 - In the News...

As we are treated to the Liberal government in Canada using its power to bribe voters, the use of political power against one's enemies is much more direct in Jamaica.

Check out
this story from today's Jamaica Observer:

POLICE yesterday tear-gassed protesting Jamaica Labour Party mayors and councillors who were on their way to Jamaica House, drawing outrage from the Opposition.

Just to set the stage and give a bit of background:

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is the opposition in the national parliament. The People's National Party (PNP) controls the government. While most municipal councilors in Canada may have little to do with the federal parties, not so in Jamaica. So, often local councilors will get in on the national scene by taking their problems to the feds.

100 local councilors and eight mayors were marching down the street to deliver a letter of protest to the Prime Minister. The police decided this was illegal and that the proper response was to use tear gas.

The cops say...

"They were advised that they cannot assemble or march within 200 yards of Jamaica House," said the police officer. Later in the morning it was reported that members of the group attempted to march beyond the 200-yard distance which is in breach of the law.
Tear gas was among the options used to disperse them," added Ellington.

The councilors say...

"Permission to do what? To deliver a letter? We did not go within the 200 yards of the compound; we were at Devon House," he said.

".What we saw was blatant criminality by the police," said the mayor. "It speaks volumes when you are walking on the street to deliver a letter and come under attack by the police from Devon House....700 metres away from Jamaica House," said McKenzie.

In another case, a police officer testifies that he saw two other officers collect a gun and a Superintendent plant that gun at a murder scene.

And nightly vigils continue for known Clansman gang leader "Bulbie", killed two weeks ago in a shootout with police.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Jamaica – 13 Nov 2005 – How dumb do they think we are?

Last night we were having a drink at the beach bar at Breezes. It was the last night for a group from Iowa celebrating the wedding of their friends. They had been having a good time for quite some time, as evidenced by one guy chugging a 4 litre jug of beer and another guy taking off his shorts to demonstrate his “manhood”. This isn’t Hedo, where that kind of thing is encouraged. This should give you an idea of how drunk these people were.

Just after this, two women from the group sidle up to me at the bar. Someone in the group has decided that everyone will do a shot called a Flaming Bob Marley. One women doesn’t want to do the shot so she asks me to do it for her. Now, being that all the booze is free, if I wanted to do a flaming Bob Marley, I would just order one. They have obviously anticipated this remark, as the other women, trying to appeal to my lower male nature, quickly adds words to the effect that, if I help her friend by consuming her shot, she will show me her breasts, presumably in gratitude. While this conversation is going on, both are encouraging me by rubbing my back, neck and arms.

(Disclaimer: I have very little practice dealing with aggressive women and so have little practice fighting them off. They approach me so infrequently that my usual response is one of shocked paralysis, so the wife should forgive me for not getting rid of them immediately.)

Now, I haven’t felt a woman’s touch for about a month and, quite frankly, it felt good. These women were reasonably good looking (but nowhere near as attractive as the wife) and was half ready to help this poor “damsel in distress”, just to feel like a man that women desired. Then my brain examined the other side of the equation. If I was single I probably would have taken the shot, hoping it was an opening for something else. However, I am not single and the group was all couples, so these two likely had husbands/boyfriends somewhere. My conclusion: This was simply women practicing their feminine wiles on someone other than their husbands. It’s a bit of personal pride for me to not be so easily taken advantage of.

Then again, there is the other side of the coin: I would see breasts!

I judged she was drunk enough to keep her side of the bargain. But still, more damn logic. What exactly would I be getting for falling for so obvious a ploy? Did they do tricks? Do rockets shoot out of them? Change colours? Tell jokes? I mean, would I really see anything I have not seen before? After a small number of relationships, seeing more nude women at Hedo and, through over 10 years of military service, countless porn magazines and movies, would I really see anything new? Sorry to say so ladies, but breasts are pretty much all the same. Don’t get me wrong, I like to look at them, but with only some variation in size, shape and colour, there is not much difference from pair to pair.

So, the offer is to drink a nasty shot of something for a split second look at something I have probably seen before.

My reply: “If I let you have the shot you will probably get drunk enough to take off your top anyway?”

Score one for man in the battle of the sexes.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Jamaica - 11 Nov 2005 - For Your Tomorrow They Gave Their Today

I hate fisking the lefties. They are usually all over the map and lack even a semblance of logic.

This article by Clay McLeod was posted to and appeared on Nealenews on 10 November 2005.

I wrote a reply to this, but was not happy with it. This is either due to my poor abilities as a writer or because if you start with crap, you still have crap at the end.

We had a small, short ceremony at the Up Park chapel on Friday. The padre concluded the service with this one sentence:

For your tomorrow they gave their today

It is in honour of this sacrifice that we should wear a poppy.

Also, see what I wrote last year about Remembrance Day.

Jamaica – 10 Nov 2005 – So much for take out and a movie

As I write this it is almost 10 pm and I am still on the hill. We were supposed to leave at 6 pm but vehicle did not show up. I appear to be the only one here, so it seems I am wrong. Needless to say, I am not happy at being left behind. The Sgt and I spoke to the Admin guys directly and we set a 6 pm pickup time for everyone. The students finished early, but I did not. I was still getting things ready for Friday and Monday. If they changed the time they failed to tell me. A vehicle is on the way to pick me up. It will probably be midnight by the time I get to the hotel.

I am getting a bit tired of these screw ups.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Jamaica – 10 Nov 2005 – Hedo weekend cancelled

We are not going to Hedo this weekend. The place was full when we tried to book this week. Two weeks ago, the place was at 75% occupancy and somewhat dead, two weeks before that it was at 60% occupancy and dead. High season is beginning. I guess this demonstrates that timing is everything at these places.

So we are going to Breezes Runaway Bay instead. It is, as usual, dead there. Going to Breezes this weekend may be a blessing in disguise. Our intel reports that a convention of hermaphrodites has been at Hedo. I am not kidding. Men/women who have parts of both sexes. Not sure if they are still there, but might not be worth the risk. I consider myself open minded, live and let live and all that, but I don’t want my face rubbed in it. Public nudity I can tolerate and, in fact, appreciate provided she is attractive. Don’t really want to see some other guy’s “thing”, but I am getting used to it. Public sex still makes me uncomfortable, so naked men with breasts or women with “things” is a bit over the line for me.

We are proceeding down to Kingston Thursday night. The students are having their TGIT (Thank Good It’s Thursday) tonight. Not sure if I am going to attend. There are several reasons for this. First, I never have much fun. The theme is always extremely loud music and young girls dancing. I like to watch the young girls (detecting a theme here?) dance. (Jamaicans have defined “booty shaking” to a fine art.) However, I am too old for music that loud. Secondly, being a Captain, I am the same rank as many of the students. In Canada, although junior to me, these students would be my peers. They would not be calling me “sir”. Yet, I am a member of the staff, so, to them I am the “enemy”. I can never have a proper friendship with any of them while on the course. So having fun at a party is out of the question. It’s like the boss at the Christmas party. He can never completely relax and let his hair down. The rest of the staff are Majors, so they are also not my peers either. Besides, I see them everyday and, to be honest, we are all a bit tired to talking to each other. The third thing is the way the thing is run. In the Carribean, parties do not start until late. Most people would have a nap in the evening and not go up until around midnight and party until 5 am. Since I (and the students) have to get up at 6 am and am old, by the time the party is starting I am going to bed. But that is not the worst of it. The party is supposed to start at 7 pm. For the first TGIT, I thought I was being fashionably late and showed up at 7:30. I was the first one there. Damn embarrassing. Not even the organizers were there yet. The second one was a bit better, I showed up at about 8:30. Still pretty empty, but at least the organizers were there. Figuring I had cracked the code, two weeks ago I arrived just after nine. I spent an hour staring at another instructor. Ten o’clock and the bar still wasn’t open. Just to add insult to injury, they take our rations for Thursday evening and use it towards the party. This means you have to go to get the meal they are supposed to feed you and wait until 10 pm for dinner. Then they ask $10 to help defray the cost. So, I am paying 10 bucks to go to a party where I have no fun, to see people that I cannot be friendly with, and that doesn’t get going until I have to leave. All to (maybe) see some attractive, booty shaking girls who I cannot touch.

Sure, perhaps I am being a bit of a grouch, but it has been a month since I saw the wife. Our conversations have been infrequent and short of late. She has been busy at work, so the regular emails she normally sends have dried up a bit. To be honest, I find it frustrating to talk to her. I want to be home. Husband and wife should be sharing their daily lives, not living thousands of miles apart. If I was learning something or felt I was contributing significantly it wouldn’t be so tough. Less than a month left and I am counting down the days. I dislike feeling like I am just marking time, waiting to get on with my life.

Tonight I think I am going to give the whole party thing a pass, get a bit of take out and watch some TV in the hotel room.

I wanted to post this yesterday, but our phone lines were down. This was not the usual destruction by nature, but was administrative. Rumour has it (not confirmed) that it had something to do with the JDF not paying their phone bill.

Will wonders ever cease?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Jamaica – 8 Nov 2005 – A weekend on the Hill

I spent the weekend in Newcastle. Just took some “me” time. I didn’t see anyone or talk to anyone. It was actually quite refreshing just to do nothing. The plan is to go to Hedo again this coming weekend. I think I will appreciate it again from having a weekend off.

Yesterday I sat in on one of our cloth model exercises. A cloth model exercise (CMX) is similar to playing army men as a kid. We put a piece of cloth that has rivers, trees and roads painted on it and use it to demonstrate some sort of military operation. Yesterday it was a withdrawal.

I forgot how much backstabbing goes on during these courses. What happens is that each group comes up with a plan and then presents it to the rest of the group. The other students, supposedly your friends, then attack you and pick on every aspect of your plan. It can be fun to watch individual techniques used when a person doesn’t know the answer. A standard one used is repeat the question. This is to stall for time while the student figures out what to say. Another one that you see a lot is when someone brings out some little detail that you did not consider. In this situation, the student usually just dismisses the question with a comment such as “That would be coordinated at a lower level”. This is the old somebody-else’s-problem response.

These are all individual techniques. The more advanced backstabbing avoidance techniques have to do with where you go in the order of presentation. Conventional wisdom is to go last, so that you can learn by the mistakes of those going before you. This has merit, however, trying to change a presentation that 4-8 people have planned on the fly can be difficult. Also, your brilliant ideas are not as appreciated, due to the feeling that your presentation should be good, since a number of others have already gone. I prefer to go first. This allows me to get “revenge” on anyone who asks difficult questions. I call this the Old Testament technique. The key thing with this technique is to inform everyone beforehand. You let them know whatever they do to you, you will do to them.

Of course, after you skate through your presentation, you can still hammer them.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Jamaica - 4 Nov 2005 - Crime and Jamaica

This article, although not about specific crime numbers, states the present number of murders in Jamaica.

In this post from last week, I speculated on the final number of murders for this year in Jamaica.

It seems I was a bit conservative in my estimate. The number of murders in Jamaica for this year is just over 1400, with still 2 months (or about 1/6 th of a year) left.

It is safer to be an America soldier in Iraq than a Jamaican citizen in Spanish Town.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Jamaica - 3 Nov 2005 - Peace and Quiet

Yesterday and today have been very quiet. The course has been on their first TEWT (tactical exercise without troops) for the past two days.

When the students and rest of the staff are up here my office is a constant parade of people, most of whom have some sort of problem. Usually, the problem is easy to fix, which I find more annoying than the hard problems. People are so lazy they do not even make the most rudimentary effort to solve their own problems. A few days ago, someone came in my office to tell me that the internet was down. I sat down to check out the problem and noticed that the little icon in the tray showing the internet status was not there. The guy could not get the site he wanted and didn't even bother to check if the dial up was connected.

The majority of questions I get have to do with various upcoming classes. Let's face it, I am lazy. I am not going to review in detail the requirements for some class that I am not responsible to teach. The person who is responsible should be doing that. Yet people often come up to me asking questions about classes they are responsible for, as if I have memorized the course and every class in it. We all have the entire course information on CD, so if they ask me a question, I have to pull up the files and figure out the background before I can attempt to answer. Since my only knowledge is what is in the files, I end up agreeing with them that the answer to their question is not in the files or that the files are not clear. Then we usually have some lengthy discussion of how the class should be taught or where the missing information might be found.

I guess I should be flattered that I seem to have this reputation as the "answer man" but I cannot figure out how I got it. It's not like I was here last year and know from experience what is supposed to happen. Everyone asking me these questions are senior in rank to me and know their students better than I. They are in a better position to figure out what to do then I.

Back to TEWTs. How do they work? We set up a scenario where the bad guys are attacking us and the students are told to come up with a plan for defending that area. They present that plan to everyone and discuss it. I am not involved in this portion, so I have stayed up in Newcastle. The place is just about empty, and I have to say, I am enjoying the quiet. I think that, if I were to live in Jamaica, I would find a place near the top of the mountain. The weather is not too hot for a cold climate guy like me and you get away from all the people. Kingston is crowded and it stinks, usually of diesel or burning garbage.

I can see why Ian Flemming moved to such a place like this to write the Bond novels.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Jamaica - 2 Nov 2005 - So you think PMPM has Problems?

How about the problems this politician has?

The cops want to talk to his son, who they link with the Clansman, the gang that Bulbie was the head of. The politician's son, known as Devil, has been implicated in a number of murders in the area over the past few months.

The PNP are presently the ruling party in Jamaica and have been for over a decade.

The following quote demonstrates the link between political parties and these "gunman":

Clansman, whose members are known to be aligned to the ruling PNP, and One Order, whose members support the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party, are the two main gangs operating in Spanish Town and have been engaged in deadly fights for turf and control of the city's extortion rackets.

Scores of people have been killed in the fights, which often take on a political complexion, involving communities that support either of the two major parties.

On Monday, at the height of the unrest in Spanish Town, Wade said that Bennett (Bulbie - ed.), who had eluded the police for a decade, and his gang had received some support from the PNP.

"We can't deny that," Wade said on radio. ".We have persons who are fully elected members supporting the criminal activities of this man."

I think it unlikely that this politician will hand over his son. To do so would threaten his base, ie. the Clansman gang.

I will follow this and let you know if "Devil" is handed over.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Jamaica – 1 Nov 2005 - Post riot

Gangsters rule

I saw a news report about the riots last on TV. These riots were pretty typical. Garbage and debris placed to block roads, fires and the occasional gunfire. A woman was shot and killed and a policeman was wounded. The first thing that happens whenever there is a riot is that the local people claim police brutality. It is very interesting to hear the claims on the news. They are always presented by the media as and interview and in the own words of the person. Some of the claims are pretty hard for a Canadian to believe. It usually goes with the person claiming the person was just minding their own business, walking down the road, and the police came up and shot them. Of course, if you listen carefully, the claim never makes any sense. The person makes it sound like the area was nice and peaceful, birds chirping, the police drive up and shoot. The reporter never asks probing questions and the subject is invariably of low education and would not be able to talk around the inconsistencies in their story. Usually the interviewee destroys any credibility they have immediately after with some sort of statement about what a “nice guy” the killed criminal was. For example, the police think the guy killed yesterday was responsible for 100 murders over the last two years. This is about 5% of all the murders in Jamaica over one year. I spoke to one of my Jamaican colleagues about this. His attitude, which I think reflects the attitude of most educated Jamaicans, was that these people are lying. It would be easy for anyone with an ounce of logic to poke holes in these claims.

However, it is known that police are not well paid in Jamaica and easily bought. In addition, the policeman who was shot yesterday was not on duty, but was standing outside his home. I did not catch what the guy said, but it seems he is considering taking action, like suing the police. Doesn’t seem a good career move. Part of the problem is the police public affairs guys. The police never comment on anything, while the local people make all sorts of wild claims. As news reporters have nothing to counter the “man on the street”, that is what gets airtime.

I think someone could make a lot of money as a public affairs consultant to the Jamaican police.

Note: We usually go through the Spanish Town bypass, seen burning in the article, on our way back from the north coast.