DESPITE MEDICAL DISPARITIES; MORE MEN OUGHT TO RECOGNIZE THE REASON BEHIND PINK IN OCTOBER: By R.D. Miller

This silent killer affects dudes too

October is also when countless women gathered in pink across the globe from all races, cultures, and economic backgrounds in multiple awareness platforms.

It is not about girls’ power-grabbing, as one friend expressed. Simply put, it is to eliminate a silent killer called, “Breast Cancer, and men get it too.”

Our health is more than once a year during October walk , run and wearing pink. It is supporting families who may have lost a loved one, still battling, or survived, and raising more funds for research to find a cure.

It is more than a few tweets, on November 19, each year that is recognized as International Men’s Day. Though it focuses on men’s health, enlightens gender relations, stresses the importance of male role models, and promotes positive languages of masculinity, it equally must address the barriers and taboo some males have to deal with regarding their health.

Cancer remains a personal issue and not a water cooler conversation, and I believe more men must establish a bond to inform themselves about their medical problems.

This issue does not need waiting until a prominent person comes forward to inspect our bodies- (man’s parts).

Awareness is key for changing patterns, and willingness to change are key

When the “Me-Too” movement against sexual harassment and assaults gained traction, many men surrendered their influential positions. Some went mute, and it convicted a few for their terrible behavior. Although some denied and minimized their actions; what this topic has achieved, created more attention to this once-hidden subject.

Photo by Tara Winstead

But irrespective of the opinions made; “consciousness” is key in any society to develop new road maps for a more suitable quality standard of living that include; physical health, family, education, employment, wealth, freedom, environment, and safety.

Awareness is key in any civilized society that is repeatedly forced to considerable reforms, and we should collaboratively develop an understanding of ourselves in many neighborhoods.

Even though male breast cancer is very rare, medical reports have shown that they diagnose 350 males each year and it is also affecting adolescents and not only men between ages 60 and 70. Early detection remains the key and essential examinations might save lives.

Because men do not slip on a bra or have breasts like women, it does not eliminate men from getting breast cancer, and we must debunk this stigma.

It is a malignant tumor that starts from cells of the breast, according to medical experts. “A malignant tumor is a group of cancer cells that may invade surrounding tissues or metastasize to other areas of the body.”

If you are reading this opinion, I am not a celebrity who was diagnosed with the disease to influence a doctor’s visit within the next 24 hours. However, I have family members and a friend of a friend who died from this disease.  

Photo by RODNAE Productions

Know the signs and ask questions

Sadly, if you have less access to a decent and affordable health care system, changes are you may be one of several families still searching for answers as to the exact cause of death for a loved one. 

The medical profession classifies breast cancer symptoms as “swelling of nipples, discharge, rashes around the boob. It is also where millions of cells and hormones are found in boys and girls during puberty, swelling of the chest area or lymph nodes under the arms.

Frequently, when some patients realized this disease, it has already entered its terminal stage. Not everyone possesses the financial means to leave their local communities to get excellent treatment.

Simply replacing the word “Women Issues” with “Men Issues,” especially black men, several other social-economic topics will dominate like, criminal justice, higher unemployment rate, poverty, violence, less access to healthcare.

R.D.

According to the International Journal of Caring Science and other leading oncologic, the risk for males is less than for woman’s breast cancer. However, it remains high, especially for men with a history of the testicular complaint, and ones with a genetic predisposition, radiation, excessive alcohol use, liver disease, and obesity.”

Medical experts noted that cancer was associated with and considered as a “lady” disease which affected their woman’s parts, the breast, and womb.” And that belief remains a dangerous weapon against one’s health issues.

Often beneath that tough-guy image, he needs your support. Yielding our vulnerability makes of look weak from the pressures of society, and the way culture and modernization process led us to believe.

For example, many men would openly admit they relied on Viagra for sexual dysfunction because self-confidence was as important as his influence. This attitude sometimes forces some from visiting even women doctors or to take part in pink or a walk to generate more awareness.

Quietly, tackling men’s breast cancer and other medical issues remains a taboo woven in social stratification, illiteracy, and medical disparities

Many leading Cancer Society lists a few basic questions your doctors should ask:

Do you have breast pain?

Do you have a lump?

Nipple retraction, or skin changes?

How equipped is your doctor?

How informed is your physician?

Where does he or she receive their training?

The success percentage of treating this disorder or any other?

Collaboration with other practitioners?

Do you have an external evaluation of your labs?

Access to good and affordable health care saves lives

The International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) has developed standards that many countries have adopted, and some of these rural facilities could implement more rigorous oversights along these shores in the delivery of competence services.

The Center for Disease and Control (CDC) reports that people of color suffer from a more elevated rate of being affected by this illness, including other cancers.

The ongoing debates between cost and quality of care, and how many patients’ life savings have been depleted by years of medical office visits without the precise answer?

In many communities today, access to proper healthcare remains a wall between the haves vs. have nots. The lack of social obligation by several elected leaders whose economic agenda in all political parties failed to confer inadequacies, and where under-funding of critical facilities only added more burden.

The absence of accountability, resources, and the sheer number of people in the care of one doctor, the high cost of treatment to accurate referrals can also deter others from seeking medical attention.

In a good deal of poverty-stricken and developing countries, often distrust, distance to adequate facilities is like the high rate of unsolved crimes in closed files. These patients frequently try alternative medicine, not only for breast cancer but other diseases.

Failing to recognize professional limitations can cause other barriers, such as correct medical equipment to diagnose these symptoms to well-trained staff is important. And they must address the idea of upfront payments before they can admit one.

In addition, the extended waiting period to be seen or admitted for treatment, why to bother to show up,” one person argues.

Equally significant, an attestation that decent treatment is being administered should be more important than profit, as personal ethics should not conflict with care and accountability. Misdiagnosis or delayed treatment only creates more questions when one dies.

In these tragic events, many upset families are often left with questions or abandoned. To prevent these medical erosions, it starts with an accurate analysis to make sure they provide precise answers to build confidence in many of these medical systems; especially in impoverished communities.

Today, many families are not exactly certain if it was cancer, heart attack, malpractice, diabetes, raised blood pressure, or the prescribed medicine. To prevent these medical erosions, it starts with an accurate analysis to make sure they provide correct answers.

Building a brotherhood for early detection.

This very day, I believe that more men should pause; regarding their health, create a brotherhood to fight against breast cancer and other diseases that can provide a platform to engage and not isolate from fear.

Furthermore, design similar approaches, such as political campaigns often used to advance local political leaders’ agendas to elected offices, that often fail to address community healthcare issues that are critical to the quality of life.

This October and beyond, I urge more men to take a stand for good health: Colon cancer, elevated blood pressure, diabetes, mental health, heart disease, substance abuse, and other illnesses.

Despite the barriers for people who are uninsured and are less likely to receive medical care and more likely to have poor health status, as studies have shown, there are few excellent physicians tucked away in many small communities.

Embrace even if today’s medical check will be carried out by a doctor. The local home-grown and self-medication may reduce symptoms, but it will not cure this disease, and many other men will face it in our lifetime.

Male Breast Cancerawareness and beyond the nipples

Men’s health, in general, will continue to endure challenges navigating the socio-economic divide, taboo, disparities distrust, and access, and breast cancer is not the only potential medical check that should be on your list this year:

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

They may be limited because of resources, but they play a critical role where early detection is critical in saving lives, and unnecessary financial burden often when it is too late to reverse course.

A healthier tomorrow starts with scheduling an appointment with a knowledgeable physician.

The next Father’s Day gift may be to accompany a cherished one to the physician.

Regardless of socioeconomic status, race, culture, religious belief, gender, location, we are all linked and cancer does not discriminate.

Finally, allow the doctor to acknowledge your concerns even if it only makes up a psychological intervention until the next exam.

Commentary: Jamaica’s self-inflicted wound

-By R.D Miller

Randy

Another Dark Cloud: On Sunday, May 1, 2016, in St Mary Parish, Jamaica the bodies of Harold Nichols, 53, and 48-year-old Randy Hentzel, two US missionaries, were found during what appeared to be a routine evangelist mission to one of the nation’s impoverished rural communities.

Randy and Nichols enjoyed their duties and were scrupulously respected in the community. They were not strangers and have been doing missionary work in Jamaica for over a decade. Today the nation is wondering what next and how did this happen?

According to the report, these men came from a “Pennsylvania-based Christian charity that seeks to give medical care and spiritual comfort to the people of the Caribbean island nation.”

Sadly, their premature deaths are not breaking news. Jamaica and several other islands have been plagued with ongoing crime and violence including economic turmoil for decades.

These barbaric ideological killings threaten to erode the perception of other breathtaking coastlines. Businesses and leaders are now quickly gauging the image impact, and the economic and emotional effect is causing many to reconsider their travel plans.

Just like a drug addict, several pockets of Jamaica have severe criminal mentality issues that she must work to overcome immediately. A few parts of that region could use a detox, but with limited resources, and an unwillingness to accept makes this path to rehabilitation more difficult.

This is not a random act; many have said quietly about an increasingly uncomfortable feeling being viewed as a weak animal in a jungle where a few in disguise wait for an opportunity to attack their prey for their own survival.

How many locally self-made businesspersons have been targeted and killed this year alone not because of any criminal involvement, but a mindset by few who regard success as part of the problem.

Blame

Looking for Hope: Political strife has annihilated many of the youths, and the leadership from the police commissioner, community leaders, to national security minister, has to begin to take more steps on what has already been begun to eradicate this disease and an impression that no one has the tools to tackle it adequately. As a result, these barbaric acts are hatched based on the crime of opportunity.

Although hopelessness, lack of opportunity can breed crimes, these troubled people would be better served by seeking guidance on how to become successful, and not practically using violence to satisfy an emotional and economic disconnect.

The headlines that have emerged on CNN and other media outlets seemed like a shock to viewers; however, for those looking in with close ties, or after the local news sporadically; it is not a farfetched headline.

Many locals have suffered similar premature deaths and few answers after the cameras are off. These criminals are still roaming the streets, and if someone can find an offender, fear for one’s personal safety may create silence.

That image thing: Although Jamaica is not alone seeing a high murder rate per capita, based on a recent United Nations report; however, it would be a mistake to draw a comparison to other nations. Comparison alone cannot combat crime; it should be a motivation.

Although some in the media have spun the news in trying to improve these negative headlines that it is not a reflection of the island in general. Sadly, it might be late to regain its boisterous image until fundamental changes can be implemented.


It is time for a massive march against crime to take back the island.

These crimes cannot be in street retaliation, carefully placed blames, or gun for a gun settlement or even a court sentence. A systematic problem can only be solved when leaders begin to develop opportunities for a dying group of youths who stay stagnant.

They must form community involvement built on commitment and an acknowledgement that this increasing criminal mentality has to be addressed proactively or even capital punishment.

This recent killing is an image problem and confirms what many have feared a beautiful mango fruit with a bright and beaming skin is rotting from its core. Poverty and the ever-widening gaps between the haves and the have-nots are one aspect of disparities and a moral compass that has no direction.

Though no one can predict one’s behavior from external influence, reversing a barbaric mentality will take a holistic approach from the community

Graduationorig
Photo Credit: Jamaica Observer

Today, despite graduation there are few opportunities. Furthermore, in a new global economy that requires excellent talent, many are unequipped. Therefore, graduation seems to be only based on age attained, and not an accomplishment to be competitive.

These two individuals dedicated their lives to supporting others for decades. Today families are left to ponder why? The impoverished people also lost, as a decade of a medical the mission is cut short.

No one wins from a criminal act. Today the targeting of visitors is forcing several potential returning residents to look elsewhere for retirement. Moreover, others who have returned are preparing to exit. Few will admit to this trend.

Leadership cannot continue doing photo-ops, believing that as long as there is an image of one love, things will solve itself. In fact, most of the successful people’s have permanent homes outside of their native land.

No country can survive if crime becomes an influence where criminals enrich themselves at the nation’s cost. Furthermore, a willingness by a few elected officials to squash laws, because they were introduced by the other party, fails to compromise to fight these issues.

Ship in Cuba orig
Photo Credit: ABC News (US)

Who will gain: Given the recent report of a decline in the tourist industry, high debts, low manufacturing output, coupled with crime, one of its close neighbors, Cuba, is rising since new diplomatic relations with the US.

Having this headline does not help the cool and relaxing vibes this island sells.

As these missionaries’ deaths dominate global headlines, Cuba is showing an American cruise ship docked at its ports, looking to discover what has been missing for over 50 years.

A successful service-oriented economy is vital to support a good standard of living for people who work in that industry.

Despite the economic gap, they are connected and the impression of safety based on gated communities does not make it those problems over there. Crime anywhere is a safety problem everywhere

MDR-Ja
Photo Credit: MRD-Library

Looking Back: Today, many are longing for those days when one could rent a vehicle with a visitor license plate, travel anywhere with frequent stops throughout the entire country.

In addition, the only safety concerns parents and friends provided for on vacation were to be alert of the roads or a goat rushing from its banks or a few blind corners and an unheeding truck driver who believed since he maintains a bigger vehicle he had the right of way but however gave you a smile.

Moving Forward: These criminals are now emboldened, establishing an innovative strategy of kidnapping, and demanding ransom, but the nation cannot yield and they must be eliminated.

Although many are saddening by this act, the majority looking on still hope that future breaking news will not give people second thoughts about a visit to the island. This can only be possible if everyone accepts the role of community policing, advocates, and mentors and gives back in some capacity.

This Women’s History Month, let’s honor Portia Simpson-Miller, former PM of Jamaica`

By R.D. Miller

A Brief History: When we celebrate Women’s History Month, that should remind society of how far women have come since New Zealand in 1893, the first nation to give women the right to vote, and later Saudi Arabia, in 2015, as the most recent nation. Barriers will continue to exist in today’s polarized society, socio-economic inequality, gender equity, race and cultural divide.

The Politics:

Though few will remain silent because of political ideology, the Honorable Portia Simpson-Miller has defied the odds and contributed to the rise of women in the Jamaican government, and the Caribbean region today. Furthermore, her historical achievement cannot be summarized as a result of an electoral loss. She gave young girls and women a window to dream big, and challenge the odds regardless of political sides.

The Hon. Prime Minister-Jamaica Portia Simpson-Miller 3-2005–2007 and 1-2012-3-2016

Even though many of us are not qualified to speak on women’s issues, we are lucky to live in an era where the leadership evolution is multi-faceted – regardless of whether the leader is a man or a woman, but still, recognize the tough road ahead for women’s equal opportunity. So sometimes we have to take a step back, even if nobody asks, look at the barriers, analyze the mistakes, and give recognition to those who have overcome the obstacles in their journey for a better society.

The complexity of what is not being said

The nation acknowledged the historic rise of the former Prime Minister, but the opposition party took advantage of the frustration of young people who had a huge agenda that reached the majority of the electorate. They were calling for greater accountability, a better road map for their future, and it was delicate time to change the guards from two decades of her party rule. Will they be better off between now and the next electoral cycle, only history will judge.

The 2016 election assumed greater importance than expected and there were plenty of finger pointing like any other elections. Some have argued that the party did not recognize the socioeconomic gap and the direction of the nation, which required more responsibility and transparency. Others noted internal struggles, and that she gave up the re-election to continue her leadership as the first woman Prime Minister of Jamaica, and head of the National People’s Party.

We do not know for sure what was given up, but it was a generational shift, led by a new leader who used technology, and promises to galvanize the younger voters. The once local street politics- door-to door moved to social media, and that generation was much older and more difficult to reach, but it does not take away from the centrality of women in the region future.

Sadly, when women rule, pundits seem to have more questions about their leadership, and down-play their lack of collaboration only waiting for power. Though democracy thrives on open dissenting views. However, when political discourse becomes vitriolic, abusive, hateful, It only reconfirms the challenges and surrounding their vision, and the deep reality of misogynistic views that creates more barriers.

The bloggers and pundits were swift on social media. She was too soft, too demanding, and no longer focused and emotionally detached from the community and so on, but few talked about the fact that political parties often interfere with women’s ability to run as candidates. They are confronted with stereotypes that impedes their upward mobility, thereby, contributing to the ongoing fight for gender equality.

Naturally, some people were irritated by their economic conditions, crime, and the lack of opportunity for the youths who graduated from universities with massive students loans, high inflation, unemployment and a widening gap between the haves vs. the have-nots.

Portia was no stranger to the ridiculousness and the intensity of the press. In 2004, newspapers, according to Christopher Charles, pointed out when she was a member of Parliament and asked if she had acted inappropriately by abstaining on a resolution that was critical of the lack of funding for local fire services. Maybe this question never got asked about a man.

Her time in power has highlighted a deep current of the disadvantages of being a woman on these battlegrounds, the fight for inclusion, shared priorities, leadership, rights, and security. But out of her loss created a new beginning that left a mark for a new light in the region for the next generation of women leaders.

The scorecard

Gradually, like many individuals who have suffered a ballot defeat, the policies that have been achieved often take time to gain ground, and the next leader will realize the benefits. Likewise, they may reverse policies that may not align with their side’s political philosophy. Of course, some will say that any downward trend in the economy, or increased crime, usually blames past leaders, but current leaders take credit for satisfactory results.

This homage is not about the nation’s expanding negative social disadvantage, or positive results on several fronts, and what party is responsible because there is enough blame to move around. Economic policy historians in the region will have the data to analyze GDP, debt ratio, wages, investments, healthcare spending, education, crime, infrastructure, construction, imports, exports during her term in office.

The administration represented a truck moving up a steep hillside, with few flats, and potholes on this journey heading to a smoother road until the next driver takes over. The rough ride was the aftermath from decades of deficiencies on both parties to produce a comprehensive strategy to navigate a systematic problem surrounding crime and poverty, and shrinking middle class.

Recognizing the former prime minister’s triumph is not a simple call to revisit or make an excuse for the provocative political nature that dominated that election cycle, or point out \what some called an inability to recognize the new voter’s concerns or a one-sided economic policy that only benefit the rich and foreign investors. This essay shines a light on the critical role of women’s leadership, and her contribution to the region, and for others to conceive of the possibilities regardless of political sides.

Every election has consequences

Though her defeat again echoed an undertone that women, whether a candidate winning an election, or served or serving in a chauvinistic environment, often when they lay the groundwork for opportunity on those battlefields for inclusion, shared priorities, women’s rights, gay rights and security, protecting the environment and without disguise, often experienced strong resistance.

Even today, women are underrepresented and make up about 20% of the world’s parliaments and even less in ministerial positions, as most studies show. And I don’t need to do a thorough analysis or review feminist literature as a man to see that decision-making by several women remains a delicate balance often faced with more resistance than their male colleagues.

Sure, the region’s historians and scholars will have the task to resolve these questions.

Did her leadership differ from the other leaders?
Does her policy represent women’s interests?
Are there still echos of the same concerns today?

The quest for equality is not luck, as some in the media believe. Even if one is promoted, or by default, success depends on the preparation that met opportunity through hard work and dedication. Portia Simpson-Miller and other women who have made this planet a better place cannot only be judged on a few economic quantitative analyses.

Sure, one has to understand geopolitical, social, and economic issues and be able to link them to the corner shop even without electricity or running water. It is an incumbent mandate to work together to reduce high unemployment, corruption, crime, balance spending, investment more in education, health care and protecting the environment while managing expectations with respect to the realities of all local communities.

The cultural stigma that lingers:

Sadly, the political pride that developed out of colonialism has led some to believe a leader has to graduate from an elite university, hold a law degree, or a Ph.D. studies to lead, and that mentality has pushed certain ideology from outdated laws in government into a class system. However, her triumph proves that one can be less privileged and become a leader from humble beginnings.

The fact that she participated at the top, many to come will have the legislative power that will benefit the country,  and only if they have the independence to think freely like her, and not in numbers to say, we are here, then the systemic issues can be addressed. The shortcoming in her political leadership does not lessen her political tenacity and other accomplishments.

She found a balance between hope and subjugation and has been saying, “yes she could” before U.S. President Obama, “Yes we can.” She committed herself to the public for decades and has shown that women with power and full participation in decision-making establish a better society.

The Region’s Prime Ministers club to-date.

Eugenia Charles, 1980 – 1995 Dominica
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, 2010 – 2015 Trinidad and Tobago

Woman Coalition Remains Key to breaking the glass ceiling:

As studies have shown when women work together and identify issues that create positive relationships between women, society benefits. I have no vote, no political affiliation, no preference on who should run the country. The only hope this part of our heritage has “good governance” to move people up.

Women meeting in my family home

Despite the challenges, constraints, political calculations and even disagreements, each Women’s Month she should be recognized, including her birthday, because the achievements can’t be summed up by an election, but the mark left behind– for young women to dream and get that coat.

Thank you: The Honorable Simpson-Miller was a pioneer, despite the missed parades she inspired a generations to take on more leadership roles within government. Even lessons learned were fundamental to better understand the upcoming challenges.

If I may, you look great at 70, and the island of Jamaica should hope that you will stick around to provide more checks and balances, speak up- now that you have some time to look inside.

I recorded this on assignment: Honorable Portia Simpson-Miller and Condoleezza Rice, 66th United States Secretary of State- dancing and yes, reggae can create diplomacy.

The outrage that has disappeared, the complexity of sexual assault, kidnapping, human trafficking, and exploitation of our children.`

BY R.D. Miller

The data that cannot be minimized

About 800,000 women and children are trafficked each year across international borders. Studies have shown that over 90 percent work for pimps. “Globally, more than half of all children aged 2–17 years, about one billion children in total, experience some form of violence, including sexual exploitation.

Data data shows that someone disappears every 90 seconds, in most parts of the world. Boys are also experienced sexual violence, and exploitation, but at a rate lover than girls experts noted.

Each year 3 million people take a trip in order to have sex with minors. Some predictors do not engage in the sex act, but equally exploit the victim’s lack of resources and opportunity to sell them like illegal drugs, or what experts called modern slavery.  

Many traffickers will befriend your family, built trust and offer better quality life, and later sold your kids into slave labor early marriage, and prostitution.

These victims, who escape normally do not have a voice and need a safe place to talk about their experiences without being stigmatized. Studies have shown that less than one percent of these cases end in prosecution.

Sexual trafficking of minors is not only a South East Asia problem, as many often believed. Customers no longer have to visit Nepal, India Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, or even Western Europe like Bulgaria, where sex trafficking and exploitation remains a severe problem according to the expert. Additional reports have shown part of Africa has become a major problem.

Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata

Many African counties have seen a significant rate of sexual violence and exploitation in places like Cameroon, Senegal, Chad, Kenya, Malawi, and other Central African nations. These reports also show that over 40% of adolescent girls are forced into marriage.

Additionally noted the Caribbean region has become an exotic spot for nefarious reasons regarding sex trafficking underground world tourism, both imported and exported.

This is not about criticizing anyone’s system or nation, but highlighting the need to invest more time and resources to disrupt these operations.

Wherever you have a substantial number of missing young girls, sexual assaults, experts noted will contain a high concentration of sexual predators grooming for human trafficking and other local exploitation.
 

The perception that all visitors arrive in these islands shores scarcely for relaxation and the good vibes on these islands offer is a farfetched idea. Sexual assaults, statuary rape, and the exploitation of adolescent girls and boys present an urgent problem and, for a price, you have an abundance of sellers and buyers.

Photo by shalender kumar

In Jamaica alone, the number of missing children in 2015 is estimated in 1984, according to the Jamaican Children’s Registration Office. It is a national health crisis when one compares the size of the population to other nations. These numbers offer the potential to increase if there are limited resources to properly solve these cases.

Most people are too pre-occupied with work, play and other issues.

Earlier today I began to scan a few headlines to gain a sense of the dominant world news. Many articles and images ranged from terrorist attacks in France, Kuwait, and Tunisia, where over 30 British citizens were killed, Greece’s financial pressure that threatens the international economy to Puerto Rico’s efforts to pay a reported 72 billion in debt, and it is only six months in the year.

Additionally, the Confederate Flag fierce debate reactivated about what it represents on both sides with passionate opinions; should it remain flying in our modern history, or be removed after a White supremacist teen gunned down nine African Americans? They were at a prayer meeting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in South Carolina as he hoped for a race war?

This is the first independent black denomination in the United States, was founded in 1816

On the pulpit side of town, many evangelists fought with the modern era of same-sex marriage decisions regarding equality. There were also bets on the speed at which the Jamaican track star Usain Bolt will run this year.

While society grapples with these socioeconomic, discrimination, crime, justice, and sometimes uplifting stories, that can change the course of a nation or a community we carry on regardless of locations, and these issues quickly dissolved or are forgotten.

What stuck with me most in these news cycles was a four-minute video. This video reverberates another dark side in our society’s backyards, that often gets washed out to the sea like debris after a storm, but keep coming back more and more, and before you complete this article, there will be another case like this.

Her story is one of many and a silent emergency

I watched in horror an undercover operation where a 13-year-old schoolgirl was being sold by her uncle for cash in Kingston, Jamaica, to a Caucasian male who posed as a tourist being sold for sex by her uncle. Even though he was arrested, this event will have negative psychological consequences long-term.

This is a young victim of exploitation: She is not the real child in the undercover operation

What is so problematic, this event is not unique to Jamaica alone, but a global issue, and as many experts noted, sexual assault is a serious crime and is known to have short- and long-term effects on victims and those who love and care for them.

It is emotional ongoing anguish that diminishes her assertiveness to gain back courage, confidence, resilience, and beauty. But it opens the door to this hidden world, where many communities are helpless or stay silent from fear and the lack of resources to combat these atrocities.

Even more difficult, or individuals who are targeted and abused because of their sexual orientation and the re-victimization attitude by some, as if they had it coming.

Often in our society, conversations on these cases begin with the interrogation of the victim.

“She could have run out of the situation or nothing happened to her.”

She was too easy and dressed provocatively

What caused her to be abused?….. Why didn’t she leave?
But no one ever asked him in jail, at school, church, or in the community; why he targeted her?

How many children before her were forced to leave school due to early pregnancy by older men? Furthermore, have gone missing, abused, or murdered, and those stories remain unsolved?

Every so often a family member recognizes the truth or the offender, but because of fear of vigilante justice, economic hardship, many go on silent or defend the perpetrator.

Although there are many groups working to change that behavior, such as the stigma surrounding HIV-AIDS often, the silence in these unsolved cases hoping that with time it will go away does not make the local community safer.

Many experts noted that these issues causes more pain and re-victimization to the family who continues to seek closure.

The mental manipulation to gain access to their victims

These criminal assaults, statutory rape are normally linked to a broader network, kidnapping, and human trafficking. Perpetrators often disguise themselves as normal. They are on your municipal bus, taxis, drive beautiful vehicles, or in your local church choir, classroom teaching your kids, some may preach to you this Sunday, or whatever day you worship.
 

Photo by RODNAE Productions

Sadly, many pedophiles, serial predators, and pimps roaming local streets grooming your sons and daughters to satisfy their behavior, often goes undetected.

They live upstairs, may share your borderline, and fit in like a pleasant neighbor. Additionally a family member, guardian, schoolteacher, and even a representative sworn to protect gained your trust and exert their power to abuse. In some cases, they could be suffering from a mental illness disease or simply a pimp who has gone undetected.

It is a complex business of sick individuals, but as experts have noted, a parent or caregiver, whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm, or risk of serious harm to a child is simply child abuse.

A sexual assault predator with mental health issues will go all the way to satisfy the intense and sexually exciting fantasies. It is not necessarily that an argument from the victim’s refusal, which has resulted in the death of a student, it is part of the sexual satisfaction of the offender.

These serial predators are charismatic,  pray on your daughters and use the argument that they are not loved, your daddy hates you and that is why he molested you, and your mother allowed it to happen.  In addition, they will target foster homes, and offered gifts.

They will use the victim’s economic needs, poverty, homelessness, drugs, and/or alcohol abuse, family conflict, or runaways as a platform. Sexual predators will offer to pay tuition fees, purchase school supplies, candy, meals, and shopping spree or a ride in a nice vehicle.

The silence reality:

Also, acknowledge you have a systemic problem and develop rules to help these ill sex offenders who prey on your sons and daughters.

To safeguard students and public safety in general, there should be laws eliminating 100 percent black tinted vehicle windows, and assurance picks up and drop-off zone including public areas for students and well-lit areas less susceptible to crime, thereby eliminating obscure places.

This very day I wonder if an Anosognosia condition is taking place along these shores and in other places?

How often are adolescent students lured by men into dark-tinted vehicles, parked a few blocks from these high schools and universities where they were to later kidnapped, some are still missing, or found dead?

In this era of technology, these areas should have public cameras, and tracking devices on these commercial vehicles. They need a massive campaign to inform students to bypass these vehicles regardless of how quickly they may get to their destinations, and perhaps transportation is restrictive school buses alone or pre-authorization for pick up from schools.

Very often it seems onlookers contemplate safety, their pride, lack of protection if they speak up regarding underage students being lowered into these vehicles, and many of them believe they are legitimately licensed operators.

This is statutory rape, and without enforcement and sharp penalties, it gives rise to speculation if she accepted the invitation willingly, and that mentality represents minimization.

Cultural traits, taboos, societal norms, and expectations about sexual behavior that force silence must be debunked.

Saying she asked for it, is not a solution, or who “should have” and “perhaps” is not a strategy. They are victims, and these communities must have the resources to support them without being re-victimized.

We cannot continue to be detached because of the location, shame, and image. They must meet sexual assault, unwanted calling, touching, hostile environment, and the objectification of these adolescent students with more strict rules and swift penalties to send a strong statement.

This day, a mother sends a child to school, a public library, or the grocery store, or she is outgoing to her first job on local transportation or walking to her place of employment and she lives in fear until she gets back.

This is global, but the same local mindset.

Sadly, in 2014, Boko Haram one of Nigeria’s most dangerous militant groups abducted over 270 schoolgirls from Chibok. Several of these girls never returned to their homes. And while our routine lives continue, there will be more missing boys and girls.

Abducted children-Nigeria: Photo Credit Global news

Even though Boko Haram’s mentality has not marched into a classroom or a church in the Caribbean region or elsewhere, wielding a weapon, kidnapped 200 plus girls and boys, for whatever ideology or sexual belief and fled for a jungle or hills, but if your local community captures one a day, it adds up.

The report does not confirm that this is unique and exclusively a Nigerian issue

There are ongoing local headlines, and I stop counting new cases on these shores and other places whereby a beloved daughter, cousin, niece, aunt, or sister is being kidnapped, assaulted, and murdered while families hopelessly searching for answers. 

Many of these cases are now in a holding file somewhere or considered close because, every day that passes, the chance to solve and these crimes becomes slim.

Economics and Laws:

Many crime experts label sexual exploitation as an organized crime business, where profits are high and risks are low. It is an estimated $5 16-billion a year operation from Latin America to these Caribbean shores and rising according to the International Organization for Migration.

(Reuters) 2015, over 1,100 were arrested in a nationwide sweep for allegedly praying on kids according to reports. They each use the internet to lure youths and then traffic them into commercial sex. Among the people arrested in Texas were former employees of the Boys and Girls club and soldiers.

(BBC News) around the same time, about were 37 arrested in Oxford in what they believed was part of organized crime selling young girls for sex.

Though these cases can be difficult to dismantle potential networks, many families struggles with fear and anxiety of unresolved cases according to experts. Often, these girls are frightened to come forward because they operate on the heading that “Stitches get stitches.

”Simply put, if they speak up they will be harmed.

Minimizing the community risk.

These sex offenders will not age out, but with proper treatment and close monitoring, the community can minimize the risk to public safety. They frequently mark both local and international students and any soft targets.

These offenders must be tagged and their names must be made public when convicted. If one moves to your neighborhood, potential victims are aware of even when they seek employment. It ensures national awareness for families who are at considerable risk.

In many poor and developing nations, disparities between the haves vs have-nots and lack of resources make it difficult to prosecute despite both national and international laws.

Many victims started from a mutual relationship supporting friends in prostitution and can identify with another runaway victim who may be neglected or abused at home.

The victims confidentially is extremely important. Though there are upgrades to new technology and training in some poor and improvised countries, many still lack proper resources to minimize rick and close cases.

Even if a country accepts legalized prostitution, some argue it is less likely to receive a severe punishment. But it does not minimize the risk these teens face.

Deterrence tools are vital to prohibit visitors from an open-door system that allows teenagers to explore their hotel rooms and be traded as if they are a commodity on the stock exchange.

Coordination and sharing of information among professionals who are advocates for these victims are key to combating these problems.

This is a complex matter where it often bounces between rape and consent, and it cannot be addressed in silence or re-victimization.

This involves, victim protection, resources; adopting a holistic approach from sanction to therapy for the offenders, ranging from psycho sexual evaluation for treatment and public risk assessment.

It is time to re-gather because silence is often deafening:

The social responsibility is to protect these adolescent girls and boys; notably high school and universities; yes, on the job. These communities from the house next door, pulpit to the hotels must report suspicious activities.

Of course, there will be another public statement from your elected officials when these atrocities take place, but little or no assistance for the victims and their families long-term.

While the lack of resources and sometimes technical expertise remains an impediment, it is essential to hold elected officials and law enforcement officers who are sworn to protect them accountable to solve these cases.

Community support is critical for those who are ashamed and unwilling to come forward for fear of personal consequences who may have information.

If many can mobilize for politicians, entertainers, to argue their guilt or innocent, marriage equality or an officer’s terrible judgment, these same communities anywhere can mobilize to reclaim these children from sexual predators criminal acts.

Soon various politicians will wear their political party colors to become the subsequent leader; one wonders who will wear at least one exploited victim murdered or assaulted on their clothing and how many will stay mute on this missing outrage because this cycle will continue until the next headline.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov

Goodbye, going once, twice, sold

By R.D. Miller

The New Coast: Recently a solemn promise was broken. A few of us halted all travel plans until we were convinced that the government had the chikungunya virus under control. However, breast cancer took a dear family officer after 30-plus years in public service.

Despite the earlier concerns, many of us went and showed our final respect for fallen hero who also made it possible for countless family members who now have a career in law enforcement. After the flight landed, it was time to both reflect, and enjoy our heritage and the ancestors land.

Traveling the coastline, with the ocean dangerously few feet from the vehicle, while staring at beautiful homes tucked in hillsides, the temptation to pullover for a quick swim, or capture the sunset, and walk barefoot from the cold left behind emerged.

However, a once simple pastime and custom for natives from a hot sunny day or a weekend with families to prime free beach areas to relax, is apparently becoming very difficult and just an idea.

The high criminal elements that are sometimes a deterrent has now been taken over by: segregation, isolation and the fight equality now seems more dangerous.

Even vacant lots that should have been designated as historic land and preserved are either leased or bought by foreign private investors. Home prices are extremely high and few older structures that could use an upgrade, owned by the less fortunate people passed on from their ancestors, and dating back to British rule, many found themselves restricted to move freely.

As the mega-building rises, green land and trees are diminishing, thus contributing to the record high temperatures, while ignoring the environmental impact.

Many of the local people I spoke with are not against investments or people who do not look them; and they should be respected and protected, but these residences would like to see a balance. They work hard and played by the rules, but finding it more difficult to get ahead and like-stability for everyone; especially ones without a voice to survive.

The gentrification in disguise is a global trend, creating social stratification sold as transformation. Sure, a few job are created by new stores, and hotels. However, some working conditions often look like a previous century, working in hazardous conditions for extremely low wages, unable to purchase a small home in the communities they are serving.

What is the trade-off, and where are the unions to balance labour and human rights? The region is now dominated with massive imports. Locally grown products have dwindled to small corners like news racks covered with international news clips while local customs and identity get lost.

Analyzing the region’s plight from the outside is difficult. Who are the investment banks in disguise, as famous faces who claim they are in love with the region while commercialization threatens native culture. Obviously an incredible lack of knowledge or accountability about who are the human piñata lining their pockets. What is troubling, it seems an iPhone, Facebook, and YouTube appear to be more important to some, while the sand is being swept from under their feet.

The New Master/Employer

This new push in the Caribbean is not an overnight success for some. China started its diplomatic engagements in the early 1970s, or what can be called their blueprint. For Jamaica, the voyage started under former Prime Minister, P.J. Patterson on a high-level visit in 1998, when Jamaica opened an embassy in Beijing. Later, the Caribbean Economic Trade Cooperation was forged. In 2005, Jamaica hosted the first China-Caribbean trade fair. Other Caribbean countries have seen an explosion in key areas.

A few months ago, I wrote about China’s penetration into the Caribbean markets for anyone who has access to a red carpet. The modernization of technology and infrastructures brought to the region should not be an economic long-term sentence for some.

This new colonization with local hidden alliances has not lifted the poor from poverty. Many still depend on handouts for survival while the middle class struggles and remittance from family members. The lack of transparency, accountability and ignorance continue to slow growth.

One report noted that China uses its financial influence and CARICOM as its umpire to expand. Several projects, from medical centers to stadiums in St Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, and Jamaica, and others with cheap loans has some positive effects, but who are the real long-term beneficiaries?

McKinley & Company, a global consultant firm that operated in more than 40 countries, once noted that several companies have failed, especially in the energy industry, due to cheap imports from China over the past ten years. To the Chinese credit, education is mandatory.

(1 Dec 2015) Chinese President, Xi Jinping

They have tremendous control over the value of their currency in spite of questionable human rights issues. While the priceless seaports and other infrastructures are being sold, leaders should at least learn some of their business strategies, and even negotiate an energy efficiency deal to reduce the dependence on fossil fuel, especially in Jamaica where an average customer pays about 42 cents per kilowatt-hour. Many factories should be mandated to clean up the air, but that will hit the elite who run the country.

Li+Keqiang+Jamaican+Prime+Minister+Portia Simpson

Some agrued that investments are ok, but after that cameras aSome argued that investments are ok, but after that cameras are off, little financial accountability, but in order to positive some remain cautiously optimistic and hope these inroads- pay off in the long-run

Dominica PM Skerrit
Tian Qi (R), China’s ambassador to Jamaica, and Jamaican foreign minister Kamina Johnson (2019) Update
Trinidad-PM-meets-Chinas-President

Selling Our Souls: While many Africans sold slaves, they did not invent slavery. Today, the selling of native land is a rebirth of such dark period. The Europeans and others turn the plight of others into major businesses. Having few natives at the table today does not make it more acceptable.

In November 1927, Marcus Garvey was deported from the US. He fought for self-governance and despite push-back even from black leaders such as W.E.B. DuBois, who once described Garvey as “a little, fat black man; ugly, but with intelligent eyes and a big head.” The region could use him today as an ambassador. Patriotism cannot only be in the music that comes out of the region.

Marcus Garvey

This paradigm shift along these blue waters is troubling. Sunday, November 17, 2014, opened the world to an issue kept off air when CNN aired Anthony Bourdain’s Part Unknown. To some, it was uncomfortable, but viewers saw that Jamaica is not all about reported violence, marijuana, and a relaxed attitude.

The culture is going through a silent erosion where few rich individuals and companies are building resorts that not even the locals can afford to visit. “Imagine prohibiting an American from a public park,” as one vendor’s legal struggle put it to keep one of the last free beach from development.

When Miss Jamaica Kaci Fennell was not selected as the 2015 Miss Universe, many mobilized in the street, online and voiced their displeasure. The same emphasis on these issues as to the plight of their nation — access to where one can live or swim free — is needed. As many questioned Kaci’s skin colour to represent Jamaica, it only underscored the argument that a few are still stuck in an identity crisis to see even more dire issues

Miss Jamaica Kaci Fennell

Where is the local tourist board?

Furthermore, few are willing to sell their souls and local government leaders appear muted. When personal financial gains ruin an entire community, conflict is inevitable. With high unemployment and poverty, and division, the criminal enterprise thrives and hopeless youths become radicalized, not necessarily from religious ideology, but stemming from polarization, isolation and the lack of opportunity.

New Charity Economy: Today, it seems the region has more charity organizations than small businesses to help the youths. However, not all charities are bad. In the US, one in six receives some type of food support and many school students go hungry each day.

Philanthropist Jeff Levitetz recently funded several schools in Jamaica’s rural outpost “In Honor of his 96 year old Grandpa Charlie”, working with Coconut Creek’s nonprofit Food for the Poor. The charity aims to build or upgrade 50 schools on the island. Jeff’s grandfather has a personal love and affection for the Jamaican culture.

eff Levitetz, president of The Levitetz Family Foundation, proudly stands… (Food for the Poor / Sun-Sentinel )

In addition, US$166 million is pledged to Jamaica to addresses climate change. The irony is that the coastlines are being ripped apart by development, causing severe climate issue. Furthermore, despite millions donated, some charities do not serve the desired purpose, and the lack proper oversight leads to actions where donations are used to further personal needs.

When politics becomes more important than higher education that only a few can afford, it only creates a new generation of ignorance. Throughout local districts, several primary and high schools still lack a good library and other educational resources to properly educate the next generation. Yes! You can continue to blame slavery, and the lack of reparations. The arguments remain valid, and add several economic downward slopes since independence to the debate.

Even 200 years ago, education was a necessity. Between 1835-1842, the region had a slave fund shortly after emancipation. While many in the region and elsewhere were denied access to education in that same period, the British government voted 30,000 pounds per annum towards the education of former slaves. The fund ended around 1845, as studies have shown for many of the British West Indies colonies. It played a pivotal part in training teachers, and building schoolhouses. It was called the Negro Educational Fund.

As 200 years ago, very little funds came from the West Indian governments. The once colonial power seemed to have more interest in educating former slaves than many leaders today to analyze global trends and make decisions.

The disappearance of good governance some could learn something from 200 years ago. It seems handouts have become the normal way for survival for some, while the communities need a sustainable long-term foundation. New charities and awards checks are not capitalism.

New Approach: Few economies have rebounded since the 2008 financial economic collapse. The Caribbean still has an economic virus. The unemployment rate, inflation currency devaluation, and crime remain a problem. Despite these issues, the people are welcoming, but they must not be fooled in a misguided perception that the few millionaires who own these shores are totally in love with the island’s relaxed vibes, food, and people.

Love does not hurt others. When Ian Fleming (and James Bond) fell in love with Jamaica in the late 1950s, conflicts were not about access to one’s own land.

The few who have the media are skilled at making noticeable linguistic shifts, while masking an urgent need to resolve the dangerous ideological faults even within their party. While it looks like capitalism on the coasts and inland; however, if it is one-sided, it defeats capitalism as a driving force to end poverty and inequality.

Today, we are left wondering how young police officers will be able to afford a home in area they will patrol to protect mega properties and address the untold stories, where hard drugs and young girls who struggle to find employment become nightclub dancers for a few dollars, controlled by pimps who force them into prostitution, sexually abused and exploited. They are not beach beauties that stroll the sand, they are victims that are often overlooked throughout the region.

Modernization is important; however, it should not take a nation back centuries, where only the rich and famous get to rewrite.

As Burning Spear once said in a song, “My island don’t sell out.”

Jamaica Reggae Superstar: Burning Spear

Commentary: High on Ebola, low on chikungunya

BY R.D. MILLER

Since the recent outbreak of chikungunya in the Caribbean, four people with close connections who arrived back into the US from the Caribbean region were hospitalized immediately and diagnosed with the virus. In addition, a few medical center employees communicated that they have seen an increase in patients from the region admitted to their medical facilities.

I am not a medical doctor, nor do I play one on the television; however, based on the recent reports chikungunya has seen a significant uptick. On the other hand, an impression is being portrayed that it is under the control of these shores. What long term effect it has on people is not known at this time.

The leaders must address this issue openly and develop a solid plan before this potential storm, where soon the US and other well-traveled countries by the Caribbean people will begin to put the medical drone in the region.

The drone concept is geared to destroy anything in its path when launched. However, could you blame the US if they cut travel, and begin to set a high alert and other screening of passengers from the region?

The recent death of Thomas Duncan from Ebola at age 42, who arrived in the US, has created an intensive focus on foreign travelers from many poor and developing countries.

The recent death of Thomas Duncan from Ebola at age 42, who arrived in the US, has created an intensive focus on foreign travelers from many poor and developing countries.

Although many believed Thomas Duncan’s death while in US care would inevitably send a statement to others to not come, many people are now wondering what the color of medicine is after two dedicated Caucasian doctors who worked in Liberia contracted the virus and recovered.

One of the silent tones in the Caribbean addressing chikungunya, I believe, is not the politics of the virus, which is often seen elsewhere, for the region, it is all economics.

Here is why: Most of the region’s economic engine is tourism, and if any indication like what has been taken place in Liberia, it could be worse than the economic collapse in 2008 that left many still sneezing.
 

I begin to wonder if this is a reason report of this increasing tide seems a bit hushed up to protect the tourism industry while many locals are suffering silently. Any business model during a turbulent time is not only to ready, but willing to tell about structural problems. This approach not only builds credibility but also demonstrates a level of leadership that is lacking today on several fronts.

This is not a call for a reduction of travel to and from the region or high-level screening at airports — that would be premature at this point. On the other hand, when the local government is slow to educate people, this could be a tornado building. Therefore, questions must be asked. Along these blue waters there lies an undercurrent overflowing its banks at any time, and the lasting impact could cripple many lives, both medically and economically.

Managing these issues takes compassion and resources. Recently I saw a Facebook picture post of what appeared to be an ill person from the region who became more victimized as he was scorned from an appearance of what is believed to be the symptoms of the Ebola virus. Furthermore, if as reported few local doctors are contemplating refusing to report to work in the event of an outbreak due to the lack of medical supplies and other resources that is troubling.

In today’s society, where billions are being spent on wars and politicians re-election, it is hard to fathom that lack of resources and awareness, combined with scorn, can leave much more suffering. I hope elective officials, medical staff, and CARICOM step up its mandate to educate people and seek help through awareness because of the potential problems such as what is occurring in Liberia and other West African countries, where perception is more dangerous than an actual virus.

These islands are unique and sometimes that can be their own downfall because the uniqueness creates a form of isolation. It further limits collaboration, as all seem to be competing for a piece of the visitors’ pie. Therefore, competition mutes concerns, while marketing becomes “them and not our mentality.”

This virus is not just an island thing, or in Third World countries as one of my less informed friends stated, he is going to stop eating chicken, and stop going to places where lots of chicken are found.

Education is key: No, you cannot get it from eating chicken, or visiting places where chickens are in abundance. The name chikungunya derives from a word in Makonde language roughly meaning that which bends up reflecting the physique of a person disabled by the disease. Many reports have noted that it was first identified in Tanganyika (now Tanzania) in 1952

To help stop the spread of Ebola, Red Cross volunteers in Guinea are visiting communities to meet with residents face-to-face. They sensitise people to change attitudes and practices that could spread the virus like here in the village of Kolebengo, one of the most resistant villages in Gueckedou

According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the first known autochthonous chikungunya cases in the Western Hemisphere occurred in October 2013 on the island of Saint Martin. By March 2014, travelers to other Caribbean islands carried it to Dominica; the British territories Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands; overseas departments of France — Guadeloupe, Martinique; and the constituent countries of the Netherlands Antilles, as well as other areas such as St Kitts and Nevis; the Dominican Republic; and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

An estimated 3.6 billion persons in 124 countries are at risk worldwide, such as the many who are exposed to dengue fever. Large outbreaks have also been seen in the Indian Ocean islands, India, and Southeast Asia, according to the Infection, Genetic, and Evolution Journal. It has also reached Asia and Europe, and North America has seen a few cases recently in Florida.

The National Institute of Health, World Health Organization, Public Health Department, and Infectious Disease, noted that chikungunya is a viral and rarely fatal disease. It is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes.

The symptoms include high fever and a headache with debilitating joint pains, swelling, and stiffness of joints, muscular pain, a headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and rash that can last for several weeks. Normally within four to seven days as reported after been bitten, the symptoms appear.

The mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a sick infected person during the viraemic period. Today, there are no specific antiviral treatments or vaccines available. However, it also has been reported that commonly used medications include ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, paracetamol, and aspirin.

Although there have been reported deaths, the number of related deaths is extremely low compared to Ebola; however, one should not discount it as a storm that will pass soon.

These regions have to debunk that only certain medicine can cure this outbreak, while many studies have reported there are no known cures at this time for the symptoms. It is extremely important that people take crucial preventive measures such as bite-proof long sleeves and trousers.

Purchasing untested drugs in desperation from local street vendors might not be the best approach, especially for people with limiting or no access to healthcare. More information can be found published by many health organizations.

It can be extremely difficult to track down all mosquitoes and apply chemical spray on an entire region to cut concerns and especially in poor and, rural areas with a pool of slow-flowing water that is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and the lack of access to good health care only add to the problem.

Today many travelers are until now waiting on a concrete government plan on how they are handling the issue in a coördinated effort. If there is one, please post.

Although some awareness has been posted, and the governments seem now to be taking steps to mitigate the potential problem, more needs to be done. Nevertheless, can we all be stratified?

This is not to reduce any attempts, as the lack of resources can make this a difficult task. Moreover, the chance of being robbed, shot, or killed in some of these areas, is more than likely than contracting the virus.
 

As the region continues to attract visitors, it is also important that these visitors receive a disclaimer of this undercurrent taking place.

The leaders must make sure that all proactive measures are taken, and seek help and resources as needed, and stop putting on a good face on this issues with a relaxed attitude.

I am still optimistic that all can come together and weather the storm. Moms and I obtain a ticket ready to land soon to take a break from the upcoming winter.

(Brazil’s) 2014 World Cup Soccer, is more than a game: After the final whistle blown, will much change for the poor in Brazil.`

BY R.D. MILLER

The Global Colors.

Every four years, millions of fans gather in person at watch parties in public parks and bars to see the best of the best players face off for bragging rights until another four years.

This remarkable event never seems to be far from controversy wherever it is being played. These controversies range from soccer or football, corruption, and the socio-economic responsibility it should take on in our society.

Despite the logistics, since the 2014 games begun, the Amazon colors have taken over our television, iPhones, smartphones, and iPads like a rainbow.

However, beneath it all, residents are crying for a new economic canvas to modernize and move poor people to a better standard of living.

Football is a global game that originated in England but later called soccer in the US. The game unites people. Relatively, it is not expensive to start a game. However, the gap between the rich and the poor is further than the locations where these games are being played, while poverty is closer than the two goalposts.

They are the ones being left out of the prints. After the final whistle has blown, they too will be still asking economic referees for a penalty that was not given on a foul play.

The poor socio-economic issues surrounding these games often erupt in protests. The games go on, but the turmoil lingers, blocks from where the games are being played. These issues never left, as they will re-emerge like the sea rushing back to the shores to recreate the sand paths rich footprints eroded that left the day before.

Photo Credit: Reuters

“They have overlooked the Brazilian local economy problems,” several protesters argued. It appears this color is seldom beamed to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, Brazilians are now under the microscope. The carefully orchestrated images that emerge from the sideline will have a lasting effect.

The Socioeconomic Impact

The World Cup is bigger than its location, despite heartaches, especially from the premature departure by England, Italy, and Australia. However, the stage is still where players and supporters use the event to highlight their countries, send statements, and reconnect with compatriots who are still clubbing rivals.

This is like a family reunion before they head back to business and where lifelong friendships are formed, even between countries without diplomatic ties and where cultural divides are rooted in political turmoil.

The game represents a much wider reach far beyond 90 minutes on the field. It extends the communities, economics, discipline, teamwork, acceptance, talent , and diplomacy, even between nations with political tensions.

Many now are aware that the Iranians play soccer and not everything is about nuclear weapons and tension with the Israelis. Even the Israelis have a solid team.

Yes, this is the real “World Champion Series,” and they crown the true world champions after eight weeks.

The Economics: These games are being led under the International Association Federation of Football (FIFA). It is a billion-dollar industry, and throughout this region, the games are ubiquitous.

To prepare for the 2014 World Cup, they spent an estimated cost of up to US$11 billion — while the Brazilian economy remains stagnant. However, the government has predicted that it will be a net positive for the overall economy, stemming from event-related services among several industries.

Forbes magazine has reported that (FIFA) will generate about $4 billion in revenue. However, more needs to be done to promote social programs to cut poverty and not the appearance of forcing local economies to stretch their budgets to accommodate their demands.

Wherever FIFA places its goalposts, it is always under the microscope. Recently published in a British magazine, the organization is being investigated on corruption and bribes related to the Qatar 2022 bid.

FIFA’s operation is not much different from the American National Football League (NFL). Inside these games, recruitment is alive.

This is where wealthy club managers scope every play, searching for the next star and the face of new marketing global campaigns.

But beneath these targeted players, there are several communities of improvised youths looking for education, access to decent affordable medicines and safety.

Often these public investments are unsuccessful on a much bigger scale because when fans are gone and the multi-million stadiums are empty, the local people are stuck with the debt burden.

The socio-economic argument that surrounds the World Cup is nothing new. In 2010, South Africa went through the same issues on how much its government spent that could have been used to move people out of poverty.

Soccer, or football, has generated several global stars and has moved families out of poverty. Some of their stories are like some players of the NFL, National Basketball Association (NBA), baseball, and many other professional sports. In some areas, the millions generated from players who left slums (ghettos) seldom trickle down to communities where it all started.

Such as gentrification, our society has been increasingly shifting as it is becoming more diverse, and that sometimes causes tension and even more isolation.  

The other Brazil off the pitch.

Many reports show that if black Brazilians could get on a boat and leave, and maybe on a soccer pitch is the safest place because they kill more blacks at an alarming rate besides the economic stagnation. Even when crime overall dropped, the number of violent deaths recorded, in comparison, the murder rate of black people has not decreased.

Maybe it is time for an economic package both socially and economically in these poor communities. After the goals are scored, and the pageantry is over for poor people of color, it is like a soccer ball with air.

FIFA always executes successful events. The game between the US and Portugal had one of the highest ratings, upward of 21 million. Imagine if these fans force FIFA to make sure some economic balance where it places the next goal posts.

With success should come responsibility, and despite the Beautiful Game that has broken down barriers, some players still face discrimination. They call some niggers, monkeys, and bananas a symbol of games by some fans.

Recently, Italian star Mario Balotelli spoke up after he faced racial slurs from a few fans, and more players must do the same.

FIFA should know how to help combat these issues. It has been around since 1904 and now has over 300,000 clubs and over 240 million players around the world.

For many youths a soccer/football field and now “pitch” as some calls, it was critical to stay off the streets after school. Although not all young players became stars, the friendships gained, and lessons learned lasted a lifetime.

Social Responsibility

FIFA is excellent at managing global operations. However, as our society becomes more diverse, isolated by ideology and personal interests, it will need more than building stadiums. Equality, discrimination, and a platform for players to speak when issues threaten to reduce the next generation of players.

Often, I join a few new fans at the local sports bars who seem intrigued with long pauses when they realize a few teams starting 11 such as the French, Germans; the Italians have black players, and some are Muslims. It is more than a game, and awareness is key.

This 2014 World Cup has been a homecoming for many South American teams, and celebrations have been tremendous. However, there is a dark side that is lurking in some countries just north of these games off the Atlantic Ocean, thousands of children who have fled their countries where a few dominating stars call home.

Most of these children without their parents are under age 10 and now in detention camps at the US border. Up to 90,000 came from Honduras, Colombia, and Guatemala as reported.

These young people fled to escape sexual violence and other inhumane treatment stemming from crime. No one will know the long-term physiological impact but it can devastate, as studies have shown. 

The football organizations and their players cannot be the world police, but with success and global appeal comes the responsibility to speak in a humanitarian crisis. Billions are being spent to create perfect pictures while others seek the next Latin star to fill their stadiums from ticket sales.

Sadly, some are outside the gated walls looking to take the dangerous trip north, while they fill other pitches with toxins and the goalposts are two empty containers with lead. They can use maybe revenue generated to at least give awareness to this problem.

Extra Minutes:

These extra minutes added to games can generate more revenue for FIFA. However, in a few weeks, the cameras will be gone; and well-dressed immigrant men and women from the television networks with few selected feel-good stories, while surrounded with security as if they are in a war zone, will leave town.

Photo by RF._.studio on Pexels.com

There will be more games to come, many players are of African descent, with similarities to an NFL player, and they too are extremely rich and more famous. Some I had to navigate drug and crime-infested areas to reach a local field.

The next referee

Today, I wonder if our socio-economic polarization, inequality disparities have reduced some of our imagination. Perhaps our major league should do more because such as Brazil, they lead us to believe that someone is watching. But has anyone notice to make a more systematic change for a better game.

When the final whistle is blown, some players will have to pass through their poor towns and cities plagued with violence. Before FIFA canvasses the next venue, it should not only seek ways on how to increase its balance sheet. It must make sure the community’s economic impact benefits all, regardless of color, class, race, and socio-economic status, because the next 100 years can only be beautiful if it remains more than a game.

Celebrity and criminal justice: A test of the Jamaican criminal justice system

BY R.D. Miller

The anticipated verdict was more about the Jamaican justice system, and how they would severely handle the last disposition, including the profound effect over the Caribbean in general on celebrity justice, helpless victims, and what statement it would send to the next generation, where trust is frequently ranked low as it typically relates to the criminal justice system.

The high-profile trial was bigger than the prosecutors, defense counsel, key witnesses, local law enforcement, and how they carefully gathered and preserved evidence or the apparent lack of effective communication and proper rules.

It bought back memories of the  O.J. Simpson case where he was found not guilty on a double murder charge. The criminal trial put justice in prime focus. It was a combination of how law enforcement conducted themselves, money, celebrity and class.

Although (Vybz Kartel case did not receive the same worldwide notoriety such as the O.J. Simpson case in 1995. Several in the Caribbean watched this case closely about how justice would be served.

Quietly, to many,  national case brought back memories of earlier ones in which earlier politicians, the rich and powerful people in the region often walk away free, even when the evidence points more than likely that a punishable crime has occurred.

This is not to say that all rich, famous, and powerful defendants were guilty in all more prior cases. However, as many Jamaicans waited in anxious anticipation of the verdict, the alert for civil disobedience and vigilante justice was high.

However, the Jamaica judiciary system rose to the challenge and maintained order after the verdict. What was even impressive, many became educated with the jury system, and how overall the court process works for the first and the media fulfilled a critical role.

Often in regions where poor economic conditions still have a strong hold, justice is often seen through the eyes of one’s economic status, and notoriety. In fact, as much as we would like to see a balanced system, often these trial outcomes mirror several other countries based on one’s race, sex, creed, and colour.

The mandated strategies to combat crime and national safety should not create a generation of hopelessness. It should make sure that when penal codes have violated the rule of law as written in the “said constitution” continue intact.


Rule of law, public service, and personal safety are extremely important, whether in a democratic or totalitarian system of government. Promoting central control is a responsive government. This concept ensures that the right people are being selected, and the departments are staffed properly to keep up integrity, and correspondingly balance the public safety mission.

Today, a majority of us however look at the criminal justice system as “criminal justice for the appropriate price.”This is true especially when many people are being incarcerated not because of overwhelming evidence or simply probable cause is found beyond a reasonable doubt.

It is simply because they could not afford the defence needed to poke holes in government cases, and the ones who are sworn to uphold the law are being bought off from behind the bench.

The idea of celebrity justice is practically like policing and its gradual evolution that I carefully consider efficiently transferring from the boardroom into the social space. Criminal justice throughout the Caribbean region has evolved like the police force that was first developed within the context of properly maintaining a class system that protected private property in the early 18th century in Great Britain and now has become a decentralized system globally.

There is undoubtedly this verdict that will be debated for months to arrive and somewhat opens a new frontier about how this process really works. Debating the rule of law is nothing new. When other nations adopted the British common law, they also underwent a period of amendment after it had been criminally investigated in the criminal court of law.

When colonial British powers stretched throughout the Caribbean region, it not only brought slaves but a criminal justice system that set the foundation for how the government protects its people and implements justice.

Often, as official history has sufficiently shown us, only a few have benefited between haves vs. have-nots. However, this verdict, regardless of one’s position, should offer some hope.

Many on the island perhaps never understood how the judicial system works, and the moral responsibility that comes with being selected even as a juror. Now that the judgment is in, the region must begin to educate itself, from the primary schools to colleges on how the process works and expectation of a fair and balanced justice system and regardless of the defense one can afford.

The official verdict has tested the Jamaican judicial system, law enforcement rules, and what role entertainers play in the structure, and if justice can be bought. This verdict is more than just one man, and the impact will have a lasting effect.

On the other hand, if the local government does not use this opportunity to send a message, very soon key departments will no longer be capable of functioning to their fullest capacity as required to keep up public safety and a fair and balanced system.

What is sad from this verdict, despite a modernized process, it appears when a crime has been satisfactorily solved in the region, several departments stay on trial afterward, such as Vybz Kartel’s conviction.

The last analysis is that Vybz Kartel’s new jail number will not make a difference in the Jamaican stock exchange, or how many more jails will be needed or an improvement to the economic condition. On the other hand, if this criminal trend continues, soon Jamaica and more areas will have to build more prisons as one of the untold stories in the justice system and especially where more prisons are being built and privately owned.

They often need clients/customers to keep their operations going. As a result, the lives of the less fortunate among us seem to have diminished to debits and credits on a balance sheet or a ticker symbol trading in the stock markets.

The concept that entertainers were immune from the criminal justice system in Jamaica has now been proven incorrect. However, it seems the blame game continues about what went wrong, and what could have been done differently?


Inadequately training is now critical and if the body of local government that plays a vital role in unanimously upholding the law refuses to aggressively investigate critical gaps from preserving of evidence, and ensuring that officers can conduct comprehensive investigations from the emergency system to tracking criminals, to redefining agility and structural deficiencies, then the public trust will, however, continue to decline.

We typically have to be careful not to justly accuse everyone immediately if the successful outcome was not favorable to reasonable expectations. Dedicated employees might have committed some mistakes in the process, but what has taken place after the verdict is that law enforcement seems to have instantly become the focus of the debates. Going forward, the government needs to set up an independent commission to look at these issues to see if understaffing and proper training in those vital areas need to be addressed promptly.

How do we get there? The system should congregate an independent commission, which will be far from coerced-subjectivity and politics, to check any terrible lapse in compliance that has led to overall deficits across the agency that demands action.

It is important that they work together and communicate about the overall agency process and make sure continued security is adhered to and that accessibility to sensitive information is restricted to authorized users only.

Checks and balances are always needed, and although it can slow the process from hiring to implementation of human resources functions; however, urgent action is needed to discuss the dedicated staff concerns and going forward, give some level of oversight both internal and external.

I had never heard of him before this high-profile trial. However, I realize that he commands a huge following, and some might not agree with the possible outcome, also that is fine and democratic in any society. We cannot gently force anyone about who to dearly love.

On the other side, imagine the impact he could have sustained mobilizing the next generation on to better things. I am still optimistic that this time justice was in the open and not taken up in the hands of a few through retaliation.