Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Maya Angelou

Your time on earth made the word a better and more poetic place to live, work and raise families. You have been an inspiration to many and a most phenomenal woman. Your human appeal cut across all barriers of gender, race and class.  Your legacy will live on forever through and in your work.

Rest in Peace- Maya Angelou

Time For Better Planning

Succession planning is a process for identifying and developing a cadre of talented people to fill critical leadership positions both in government and in the corporate world. Effective succession planning ensures and involves developing the knowledge base, skills and abilities of middle managers in preparation for promotion into more challenging roles.
While it can be argued that the Jamaican private sector takes succession planning seriously, the same cannot be said for governance and government in Jamaica.
Over the years successive governments in Jamaica have relied solely on their faithful party loyalists and supports to serve on the boards of state entities while ignoring the talents and expertise of ordinary Jamaicans. As a society we need to move away from this myopic view of politics and governance and shift our focus to a broader more inclusive approach.
What benefits is there to be gained to the country by the continued recycling of the same individuals to serve on the boards of state corporations?   What message are we sending to our youth population and the wider international community when we continue to play politics by excluding various segments of the population to serve in such a capacity? 
If we are not careful the long term effect of failing to have an inclusive approach to succession planning will result in a deficient leadership of government agencies. A society which fails to learn from the mistakes of others is bound to repeat the same mistakes and certainly make some of their own. 
We need to adapt a more mature approach to succession planning and look at the big picture for Jamaica as we move Jamaica forward.

Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com

 

 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Poem-If I Were A Submarine

If I Were A Submarine
©

If I were a submarine
I would glide across the oceans and the seas,
Occasionally stopping to acknowledge my underwater friends
Cruising from one port to the next.

I would submerge myself deep in the belly of the ocean,
Surfacing only for food, and to see the curious reactions of onlookers and passersby,
Journeying from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans,
From Kingston Harbour to Papua New Guinea.

Searching the bottom of the oceans floor
Exploring that which was once hidden,
Missing airplanes and ships, perhaps
From the Mediterranean to the Adriatic Sea.

Bringing closure to hurting families and friends,
Who thought their nightmare would never end,
Providing them a view of the vast, beautiful and mysterious underwater world.  
I would pack submariners on board in tiny compartments,

For an adventure of a lifetime,
To discover and explore,  while embracing culturally diverse peoples.
A civil submarine that’s what I would be,
No torpedoes or weapons of mass destruction,

Welcoming on board students and all those interested in undersea archaeology.
Off again we go,
Destination unknown,
Looking through my periscope.

By Wayne Campbell

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Gender Quotas and Governance

“Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.”- Kofi Annan. Former UN Secretary General.
Historically, women from all across the world have been subjected to various forms of structural discrimination. Discrimination against women and young girls is widespread exists in almost all societies, more so in the developing world.  In many parts of the world women remain voiceless and walk in the shadow of men. Many societies in an effort to right this wrong have gone the route of legislating gender quotas to recruit women into enter main stream politics. A gender quota is a mandate that women must constitute a prescribed percentage of the number of seats in a body whether in parliament or on a Board. According to the Global Database of Quotas for Women, women make up eighteen point four per cent of the members of parliaments across the world. Interestingly, fifty one per cent of Jamaica’s populations are women yet only seventeen per cent (17%) of our parliamentarians are women, well below the global figure for women in politics.  Despite Jamaica’s progress in having female representation at the highest level in politics it is very clear that Jamaica has a far way to go in terms of gender equality and gender parity. There are sixty three (63) seats in Jamaica’s parliament and of that number eleven (11) are represented by women which is merely a 17.5% participation of women at the highest level of decision making in the country. Over the years female participation in politics in Jamaica has remained stagnant and therefore we must find a way or implement measure to improve these statistics. Gender parity is simply equality among men and women. In many societies gender parity is just a theoretical concept. Women to a large extent are still subjected to various forms of discrimination and continue to be treated as second class citizens in many countries.
There are three basic types of gender quota systems. These are: the Reserved Seats quotas, Legislated Candidate Quotas and the Voluntary Political Party Quotas.  While reserved seats regulate the number of women elected, the other two forms set a minimum for the share of women on the candidate lists, either as a legal requirement or a measure written into the statutes of individual political parties
According to the Quota Project Global Database of Quotas for Women, Rwanda ranks number one at sixty three point eight per cent (63.8%). As of February 1, 2014 Cuba is ranked third with forty eight point nine per cent (48.9%).
Interestingly, Nigeria which is currently making the international news with the kidnapping of almost three hundred schoolgirls from their dormitories on the night of April 14, 2014 is ranked at 131 of the 147. Nigeria’s lower house of Parliament has 360 seats and of that number only 24 seats are occupied by women. The country has a female representation in politics of just six point seven per cent (6.7%).
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country with a population of almost 200 million yet the voices of women and girls are muted for the most part. The kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls has reinforced this most troublesome reality which is not only confined to Nigeria but in fact to most of the countries in Africa as well as the Islamic countries. On the other hand female participation in politics is much better in the Scandinavian and European countries where gender equality and the empowerment of women are taken seriously.      
In September 2000, heads of state from all over the world agreed to take concrete steps to commit to a plan of action that would considerably reduce discrimination women face. This plan of action resulted in the creation of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG, S). Gender equality is listed among the  MDG goals. Each MDG has specific targets all aimed at empowering women and improving the lives of women worldwide. Promoting gender equality means ensuring that women have the same chances as men in all spheres of their development such as access to an education. Two –thirds of the 880 million illiterate adults in the world are women. It bears thought if more women are illiterate than men, then women are less likely to be employed than men. Disturbingly, only 6 per cent of Cabinet posts are held by women globally.
Interestingly, in some societies the issue of gender quota has gone beyond politics and has entered the world of business. For example, In the European Union only three point two per cent of the Presidents or Chairs of the largest publicly listed companies are women. However, this figure is much higher in the Scandinavian countries which pride themselves as being forerunners in gender parity and gender equality.
The issue the Jamaican society faces is not soley one associated with the under representation of women at the helm of the decision making process.  The issue is one in which the state must encourage and increase the number of women who make themselves available for representational politics. Jamaica’s present First Past the Post Electoral System is arguably less suited for the implementation of gender quotas than is the Proportional Representation System which exists in most of Latin America.  We must be cognizant of the fact that having a legislated gender quota in parliament will not necessary result in the political empowerment of our women. In fact by going the route of the mandatory placement of women at the representational level we may just create a cadre of “quota women” which is just as bad as not having both sexes equally represented. We should not appoint women to serve on boards of publicly listed Boards solely because they are females. Instead we should thrive to create a cadre of capable and competent professionals who are willing and able to serve regardless of their sex.
Gender imbalance is not solely a numerical construct that we can pin point instantly, gender imbalance is also a socially defined construct which many females grapple with even when the opportunities to advance themselves present itself.
Until the Jamaican society arrives at the point of realization that our values and attitudes are in need of a cultural and generational shift we will be only side stepping the core of the problems besetting us a society. In order to have respect for women our young men and boys must see older men treating women in a respectful manner. After all we live what we learn. If a boy grows up seeing his father beating or verbally abusing his mother chances are he too will become an abuser. We need to ask ourselves what we can do to foster and create equal opportunities for the sexes. 
We need to fashion a society in which citizens rights are properly entrenched in the Constitution and respected regardless of their sexual orientation, religious and or political persuasion. We need to work towards fostering an atmosphere of social justice for all Jamaicans. We need to create and cultivate an atmosphere where we respect the sanctity of life and respect people’s property.  We must seek to empower our women in all areas of their life, be in the private or public spheres.  At the end of day men must be included in the discourse on gender equality, it cannot and should not be a conversation only among women. A leveled gender playfield not only benefits women, invariably the wider society benefits from the empowerment of women.  There can be no sustainable development without gender equality.
#IWD20016 #PledgeforParity

Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development studies as they affect culture and or gender issues.
waykam@yahoo.com
Twitter@WayneCamo

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Encouragement

"They that sow in tears shall reap in Joy"- Psalms 126 verse 5.

For all those who are suffering, feeling sad and depressed. For those who are feeling lonely and those who are alone. For all those who are worried about the future, take comfort in these words and never give up. Your breakthrough is very close. Our God is able to do the impossible.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Blessings!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

12 Hours of "Darkness" Outrageous

One of the most outrageous, if not the most outrageous news items to have emerged recently was the Jamaica Public Service Company new anti theft strategy.  According to the company, it has now embark on a policy whereby the company will be cutting the number of hours of electricity it provides to communities where more than 70 percent of the electricity supply is stolen.
While it is a well known fact the power and light company has struggled over the years to curb and reduce the number of incidence of theft, certainly this discriminatory policy is not the way to move forward.  This misguided policy also seeks to punish those customers who are up to date with their accounts by providing them with only 12 hours daily supply of electricity.
This cannot be right, ethical or fair.  What are the rights of the paying customers of the Jamaica Public Service Company? Are these rights being infringed upon by reducing power to these customers for 12 hours daily? What about the schools and places of business which are located in these areas? It is clear that the long term implications of this extreme policy have not been thought through properly. What about the morgues, the hospitals and health centers and police stations? Obviously these facilities cannot operate without a reliable and consistent supply of electricity.
The policy is discriminatory in principle since it targets specific geographical areas, such as, Trench Town, Denham Town, Olympic Court off Waltham Park Road, sections of Spanish Town Road and Maxfield Avenue. The flawed policy appears not to have much legal footing and should be challenged in the courts if the company does not withdraw it immediately.
The Jamaica Public Service Company needs to be reminded that electricity theft also occurs in uptown, gated communities as well. Discrimination is alive and well in the twenty first century in Jamaica.  It is clear the Jamaica Public Service Company is at the frustration level; however, their paying customers should not be penalized nor called upon to bear the brunt of their lack of vision.
It is arguably that the light and power company over the years has tried various measures to curtail the theft of electricity; however, a significant part of the problem is the freeness mentality which has been cultivated over the years and which has found support from the political directorate.  It is sad, however, it appears that there is a connection between “free” electricity and voting and the time has come for our politicians to move away from this backward policy and adopt a more progressive agenda. We are clearly in a crisis mode and this calls for insightful leadership.
If ever there was a policy that is indefensible this is it.  This anti-theft strategy needs to be revisited and alternative measures be found to reduce the incidence of electricity theft.

Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com

Monday, 12 May 2014

Female Participation in Representational Politics

To a large extent the saying, "it a man's world" holds true for many societies. This patriarchal culture

is widespread especially on the African continent, as well as, in Islamic states. According to the Inter-

Parliamentary Union, which classified 189 countries according to female participation in

representational politics, only two countries Rwanda (63.8%) and Andorra (50%) have at least fifty

per cent participation of women in politics. Sweden is ranked number four at (45%). Grenada is the

highest placed Caribbean country at 28 at (33.3%), Jamaica, despite having a female Prime

Minister is ranked at 107 with (12.7%). Nigeria not surprisingly so is ranked 131 out of the 189

countries listed with (6.7%) female participation in politics.

The Middle East countries of Yemen (0.3%) and Qatar (0%) are at the bottom end of the rankings.

Since women make up at 51% of the worlds population shouldn't it be that they should have a voice

at the highest level of the decision making process?

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Poem-Mama

MAMA


Your love is unconditional
A reservoir in troubled times
Petite and strong willed 
Kind and thoughtful
A gentle soul

Mama is who you are to me
A strong sense of family
A selfless and committed being
The adhesive in our family
Your grace and beauty remains

Despite the years
Early to bed, early to rise
Wise words indeed
Oh, that gentle touch
And your captivating smile

Your encouraging words on those ‘down’ days
And sometimes a smack on the butt in bygone days

Thank you mother
For always being there for us
For your support through difficult times
Though stern at times you are a special and extraordinary woman

On this Mother's Day
Mama, I wish for you GOD's continued blessings
Good health
Happy Mother's Day

Dedicated to Vinette Campbell 
From son Wayne Campbell

 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Return our Girls- Access to an Education is a Basic Right

“The future must not belong to those who bully women. It must be shaped by girls who go to school and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons” President Barack Obama.
The lack of action by the Nigerian government to rescue the more than 200 school girls kidnapped on the night of April 14 by the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, clearly speaks to issues relating to a failed state, as well as issues relating to how gender impacts and influence decisions on a daily basis. It is most unacceptable that in today’s world many barriers still exist in preventing our girls from achieving an education.  Why did the Nigeria government waited so long before they asked for help from the international community? Why not use the available technology (drones, satellites) to find out exactly where these school girls are being held?
The name Boko Haram means “Western education is a sin.” Like many other Islamist militant groups, the Boko Haram believes that girls should not be educated. There have been other instances where other militant groups have even gone further than the abduction of girls. We are reminded of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl, who was shot in her head by a Taliban gunman while on her way home from school in 2010.
Since the abduction of the more than 200 school girls, the leader of the Boko Haram group has released a video in which his group has taken responsibility for the kidnapping of the girls, as well as, he has threatened to sell the kidnapped girls.
A number of related issues have emerged from this depraved and sad story. One of which is Human Trafficking. Despite efforts to combat human trafficking, the practice is clearly alive and continues to pose a threat to the global security. Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. It is mind blogging and extremely sad that a market exists for the trafficking of human beings in 2014.
Secondly, the access to universal education especially for girls continues to face many barriers.  The United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goal number 2, clearly calls for Universal Primary Education. However, despite tremendous push towards achieving this worthy target more than 123 million youth aged 15 to 24 lack basic reading and writing skills, of this figure 61 percent are women.  In 2011, 57 million children of primary school age were out of school.
Access to education is a basic right and the failure to protect this right has severe implications for the development or lack thereof of any society.
Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the United Nations has called the education of girls, "the single highest returning social investment in the world today." However, there are many twisted ideologies in today’s world which clearly speaks in opposition to the education of girls. The international community should speak with one voice in not only condemning the despicable actions of the Boko Haram militant group but also in mounting a rescue plan to return the girls to the parents and guardians.
The girls involved were forcibly taken from their beds and forced into trucks on the night of their ordeal. According the US Embassy in Nigeria, 72 per cent of primary age children in the state of Borno never attend school. This is most unacceptable and a more concerted effort from the government of Nigeria is required to get more children access at least primary education.
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country with a population of over 178 million people. Despite the country’s oil wealth Nigeria is seen as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
In too many societies the voices of women have been muted. The education of our women and girls is an anecdote for the sustained development of any society.  The lesson of this most tragic incident in Nigeria has wider global implications. Our governments and Non Government Organization must redouble their efforts to stamp out this backward and retrograde view of denying women and girls the right to an education. The United Nations must increase its efforts in order to ensure that universal education becomes a reality for all even in the most remote of areas of the world. We need to move away from the traditional gender socialization in our societies and of our people in order to bring about a more progressive agenda regarding both sexes. We must engage and consult more groups in the discourse on gender in order to peel away at the widely held view that the role of women should be in the home.
By investing in the education of girls one empowers the individual. Additionally, one is able to change the course for an entire generation. The world should not be daunted by the actions of this militant group, instead this should mobilize the collective efforts of the international community in ensuring that girls everywhere have access to an education.
Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Riverton City Dump Violating Our Human Rights

The constant fire at the Riverton City landfill is both a public health emergency and a human rights issue. Since the latest incident of fire at the landfill (last week) the air quality in and around sections of Kingston and St. Andrew, as well as, parts of Portmore have been compromise due to the polluted air from toxic chemicals which has blanketed sections of the city for days.
Thousands of Jamaicans, including me, have been experiencing respiratory tract infections and have had to seek medical attention.
While the fire continues to take a toll on the environment and the health of citizens the silence from the top officials at the Ministry of Health has been rather deafening.  It defies logical reasoning why have the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) continue to allow the National Solid Waste Management and Authority (NSWMA) to operate Riverton City Landfill in light of all the problems which have plagued the operation over the years?
In 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as a direct result of the human atrocities of World War 2.
Article 22, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) outlines the socio-economic Human Rights, such as the Right to Health. This right to health is clearly being violated since many Jamaicans are in ill-health due to the constant fire at the Riverton City landfill.
Human rights are inalienable rights of any person, inherent due to the sole reason that he or she is human. Article 24, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) gives every person the Right to Rest. However, the right to rest is being clearly tested since even when one is inside and closes all the windows and doors the soot, ash and other debris from the burning Riverton City landfill finds a way to enter one’s  home and into your lungs.  Is that only some Jamaicans have the right to rest while others of us must suffer through the many burning episodes of the Riverton City landfill?
LOSS OF PRODUCTIVITY
Another issue we need to factor in is the loss of productivity. Time taken away from work and or school to recover and regain one’s state of health is a clear and present danger to Jamaica’s economic recovery.  We need to hear from the authorities regarding the long term vision for the landfill. 
Maybe the solutions to the problem are beyond our scope as a developing society.  Maybe we need to ask for help from the international community. However, what is clear is that we cannot continue to have Riverton City landfill in the middle of the city where anyone can enter the vast acreage and start a fire.

Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com

Friday, 2 May 2014

The Village Must Raise The Child

It is a human tendency to take many things in life for granted. Recently I was required to source

some personal data from a group of young adults. At first I thought how simply and routine such an

exercise would be. However, I was in for a bit of shock.

I asked a particular youngster for her full name which she told me. However, for this specific purpose one’s middle name was optional. Yes, she knew her middle name; nevertheless she was unable to spell her middle name. I was amazed and a bit embarrassed for her. I have always taken for granted that by age 16 all children would know how to spell their names. The best this youngster could do was to tell me her middle name. Her middle name consists of seven letters. It is quite logical to think this young adult would have never seen her middle name in print. How is this possible I ask myself?
One’s name and address are among the first things a child should learn at home. There is clearly a

break down somewhere. Occasionally, one hears of students wandering on the road

and when asked where they live they are clueless. When asked to give the name of their parents,

they are only able to give their parents alias names. “Pam Pam”.  This is certainly not good

parenting! It is necessary that parents and guardians spend more time with their children, especially

during the formative years to ensure that at least every child can at least give basic information

about themselves and their parents. This incident speaks to a wider issue outside of the classroom

setting. It speaks to the breakdown of family life in the society. As parents and guardians what are

you doing to teach your child this basic information? The home should be the first place of teaching

and learning.


Some may argue it is a case of neglect on the part of the parent and or guardian. However, there

comes a time when the child must take some responsibility for the direction of his/her life. There

are too many youngsters in the society clueless and void of direction. In the same manner in which

we berate those parents and guardians who have been found wanting in terms of their

responsibilities. We must also put some pressure on our young adults to become more socially

responsible and responsive. As we make preparations to commemorate Child’s Month 2014 let us

redouble and recommit our efforts in making the circumstances of each child better. It takes a

village to raise a child. It also takes all of us as Jamaicans to move the country forward.

Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Poem- East Indian Mango

                                                                            East Indian Mango

©
I saw it this morning
Hanging midway from the sparsely laden tree
It lit up my eyes! Bright yellow and oblong
I had great plans for it.Yes! My after Sunday dinner dessert
Gone! Six hours later

Right there on the branch close to the dividing wall
Aromatic! The queen of tropical fruits
Almost ripe, Spotless! My clingstone fruit
Not just any mango,
It was an East Indian Mango

Where did my mango go?
Is it possible?
Why didn’t they ask?
Instead they violating my space and property
Whose belly is now full with my “Eastie”

When will I overcome this heartbreak?
Not the first time might I add?
Was a mango worth destroying a good relationship between neighbours?
Why are people so bad- minded and covetous?
Does anyone care?

By Wayne Campbell