Right Steps & Poui Trees


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Leafy Green: Weekly Photo Challenge – Green

“Sometimes it’s fun to take a step back from interpretive challenges and just celebrate a color: green!”

Perhaps, like me, this week’s challenge reminded you of Kermit the Frog singing:

It’s not that easy being green;

Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.

Leaves…(breadfruit tree)…P1120471…leaves…(lychee tree)…P1120474…and more leaves…(ackee tree)!P1120461

Weekly Photo Challenge – Green


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Atop the Poinciana Tree: Weekly Photo Challenge – Atop

“This week, consider your point of view as you respond to this challenge’s theme, “Atop.” If you’re physically on top of a thing or a place — a mountain, a skyscraper — what type of scene do you want to share in your frame?”

I am in a bird frame of mind again this week. Atop my roof, I watched an American kestrel (Falco sparverius dominicensis) atop the poinciana (Delonix regia) tree.P1100794Perhaps it was watching me too…P1100796…perhaps it wasn’t….P1100807

Weekly Photo Challenge – Atop

 


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How Often Did Your MP Attend Parliament in 2016 – 2017?

In the past couple of weeks, the issue of the narrow margin between the Government (32 seats) and the Opposition (31 seats) has come to the fore once again. This is because Member of Parliament (MP) Derrick Smith, who is Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives, is currently overseas receiving medical care and if he were absent for the upcoming vote, the Government mightn’t have the votes to pass the Budget.

Derrick Smith Gleaner photo

Gleaner photo

Mr Smith is quoted in an article in The Gleaner this week as saying, “I will be available for any parliamentary vote.” And one can believe it, as he is one of only five MPs who were present for 40 of the 41 sittings of the Parliament during the year. He is also the only MP recorded as present at the sitting scheduled for October 4, 2016, when there was no quorum due to the threat of Hurricane Matthew impacting Jamaica. (I am not sure if his attendance was due to his personal commitment or was in some way connected with his position of Leader of Government Business.)

Attendance in Parliament is only one of many measures of an MP’s performance, but it is a starting place for holding our representatives accountable. The table below sets out MPs’ attendance at the 41 sittings of the new Parliament which had its first sitting on March 10, 2016, after the general election in February. The table doesn’t indicate whether MPs were present for roll call at the start of sessions, though this is available in the records of the Parliament. Whether they stayed to the end of the sessions isn’t recorded, however.

One question to consider as you look at the table is – How much, if at all, does it matter to you whether your MP attends Parliament?

MPs attendance 2016 - 2017 aMPs attendance 2016 - 2017 ab

(Click to access table as PDF file: ATTENDANCE RECORD FOR MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT MARCH 2016 – JANUARY 2017)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

The data for the table was taken from the following attendance records obtained from Parliament:

ATTENDANCE RECORD OF MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT FOR PERIOD NOV 2015 – DEC 2016

ATTENDANCE RECORD OF MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT FOR PERIOD NOVEMBER 2016 to JANUARY 2017

RELATED BLOG POST

How Many Times Did Your MP Attend Parliament in 2015?


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350 Words or Less: In Which I Rant Briefly About Banks

The Present

Today I learned that my bank branch will close its drive through facility at the end of April! In the grand scheme of things, this is no disaster. Actually, in no scheme of things is it a disaster, but I am annoyed. I like drive through banking.

The Past

From the days when it made it easier to get banking done with my children in tow, to the present when my knees react badly to standing in lines, I have really liked drive through banking. I have preferred to sit in the car, eating a patty, drinking some coconut water, while listening to a talk show or reading a book, rather than waiting in a line in a banking hall. I avoid banking halls like the plague. I associate them with long lines, long waits and increasingly short fuses!

The Future

When I asked the drive through teller where the nearest drive through facility would be after April, she told me of a branch halfway across town. So that’s out. I asked her what my other options would be and they were:

a) online banking (which I already do as much as possible)

b) the automatic tellers (which often involve standing in long lines and sometimes do not provide as much privacy as I would like)

c) the (dreaded) banking hall.

Thoughtful Concluding Analysis

Maybe it’s a cost-cutting measure. Maybe it’s increased efficiency for the bank, if not for me. Maybe it’s because there’s a gremlin on some committee in the bank whose sole purpose is finding ways and means to irritate and annoy customers. (Can’t let them get too comfortable, you know! Always keep them wondering what’s next! Hehehe!) Yes…that third possibility….


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350 Words or Less: Respect Due To These Strong Women on #InternationalWomensDay

Some of the strongest and most inspiring women I have met over the past seventeen years are women who have been seeking justice for relatives who have been killed by members of the security forces here in Jamaica. Mothers, grandmothers, sisters, wives, baby mothers, girlfriends, daughters seeking justice for sons and grandsons, daughters and mothers, brothers and fathers, husbands, baby fathers, boyfriends, friends. More often than not their relatives have been shot and killed by the police; though sometimes they have been killed by soldiers and sometimes they have been killed other than by gunshots.

Women like Jenny Cameron, Leonie Marshall, Monica Williams, Millicent Forbes, Joan McKoy, Paulette Rose, Meloney Lewis, Paulette Wellington. Perhaps I shouldn’t have named any of the women, because in doing so, I leave out so many, many more who have also shown and continue to show tremendous courage and determination, through their grief, in the face of direct threats and intimidation, over years of navigating the frustrating justice system and often with an additional, lingering stigma when a relative has been killed by the police.

Many of these women have spoken out publicly, calling for justice for their relatives and also for other families. In a radio interview recently, Shackelia Jackson – whose brother was killed by the police in 2014 and who has become a strong activist since – spoke about the importance of the voices of family members. And this is so true. When victims and their families speak about their experiences, it carries a particular power and impact.

Today, on International Women’s Day, I want to acknowledge with respect all these women who have, in particularly difficult situations, shown such strength in their stand for justice.

 


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Beautiful Sight: Weekly Photo Challenge – The Road Taken

‘For this week’s challenge, show us something that surprised you on “the road taken.”…This challenge is wide open — show us the excitement, surprise, wonder, or amazement of your “road taken.”’

Sometimes the road taken is rough…P1100501…but what you discover there is worth it!P1100509Pink and white bougainvillea blossoms entangled with a poui tree! Glorious!P1100519

Weekly Photo Challenge – The Road Taken