What I learnt During the Pandemic Week Ending 8/5/20

In Jamaica I learnt

  • A number of Jamaicans have finally landed back home after weeks of dismay at being refused entry in early April when offshore. For some the disrespect  continued up on their return.
  • Jamaica to be blacklisted by the EU from October 2020 for its weak money laundering controls. [Others to be blacklisted include the Bahamas,  Barbados, Botswana, Ghana and Zimbabwe. State of Delaware corrupts on though.]
  • Schools closed until early September. Smell of confusion for those students entering high school looms.
  •  35 of the 185 care homes are registered  & 11 of 15 private hospitals are not officially certified for operations. What to believe from the care homes in relation to COVID-19?
  • Some Jamaicans who applied for state support were rejected as their employers-incl. high profile organisations- had failed to submit statutory deductions. Sadly a common practice. But the parliament, govt officials and the media again fail disclose the names of these jim screechy merchants. Yet a day earlier the media & govt paraded the faces of working class Jamaicans who had breached the curfew with a party.
  • Billionaire hotelier and publisher Butch Stewart donates $US3500 to each of the 63 constituencies to much fanfare by parliamentarians. Splashing this kind of benevolence on the front page of his own daily newspaper was a bit overblown. Would have preferred such donations going to non-partisan charities such as Food for the Poor to avoid local political bias on who receives much needed care packages.
  • The sad passing of..
    • Professor Freddie Hickling is a huge loss. His unique contribution and insight on mental health issues will be missed.
    •  “Garnett” who for decades was a popular caller to the numerous radio phone-in talk shows. His points always constructive and deep. Garnett died weeks ago following a long illness which kept him off the airwaves for over 2 years.
    • Singing legend Millie Small. Recorded much of her early career in the Kilburn/Maida Vale area of North West London where a number of fellow Jamaican singers and musicians (incl. Jimmy Cliff, Harold McNair, Owen Gray & Jackie Edwards) settled and developed their craft. Millie created a buzz back then whenever she rehearsed at Kilburn’s State which thrilled West Indians who lived/worked nearby. My favourite Millie song was “Sugar Plum” (with Owen Gray). Hard to find a Jamaican singer that will ever match the publicity & hype that Millie generated at the height of her career.


gaumontstatecinema Photos and Videos | instabusters.net



Globally I learnt

  • New Zealand government to grant itself visa law powers for 12 months incl.
    • Extend the expiry dates of visas for classes of people
    • Grant visas to individuals and classes of people in the absence of an application
  • New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern sat in on Australia’s cabinet meeting via video link to discuss the possibility of a “trans-Tasman bubble”. Unusual but good move.
  • Portugal’s handling of the COVID-19 has gone unnoticed in western media circles. Unlike their Iberian neighbours have had far fewer fatalities (under 1140 deaths). Baptista Leite, health spokesman for the opposition Social Democrats said “We are focusing on collaboration, not opposition…. In times like these, unity and solidarity save lives.”
  • Air Canada will not allow passengers on their planes if there are running a fewer. But Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer felt temperature screening was ineffective.
  • German brewery gives away unsold beer.
  • A two-year basic income experiment in Finland found that the no-strings-attached benefit improved recipients’ mental well-being but did not directly contribute to helping them find work.
  • World Bank Debars Chinese Electrical Equipment Firm – LEEEC – over fraud on Zambia Project incl. failing to disclose a conflict of interest and other “sanctionable practices.
  • An estimated 28,000 Cuban medical professionals work overseas, primarily in the developing world.
  • More than 6 million UK workers being paid by the taxpayer under government’s furlough scheme. Unemployment rate at great depression levels globally. Bank of England projects the UK economy could shrink by 14%
  • Channel 4 News revealed that almost 80% of respirators in the national pandemic stockpile were out of date when coronavirus hit the UK. Some PPE had expired in the eight months before 30 January. At the daily briefings the UK govt has refused to take questions from Channel 4 News for the last 7 days.
  • Botched incursion of Venezuela by some 300 underpaid mercenaries (promise of $200m if they had succeeded?).
  • In the Lebanese classroom the history of Lebanon is taught up to 1943. Civil War of the 1970s is off limits.
  • Cayman border closed until September.
  • A number of senior West Indian-born British citizens (from the east London borough of Waltham Forest) tell their stories of life in the UK.


About africanherbsman1967

Sometimes when you cross that bridge, burn that...
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