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GO-JAMAICA CHAT ONLINE
JANUARY 22, 2003
CARIBBEAN MEDIA - LLOYD WILLIAMS
TRANSCRIPT OF LIVE SESSION


Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:12:15 PM)
Do you think having less paid Members of Parliament in Jamaica would contribute in a positive way to the country's financial situation? And would it in anyway affect the way service is delivered to the people?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:12:15 PM)
No; I think parliamentarians should be well paid while they are serving the people's welfare. They should not have to worry about earning enough money legitimately to put food on their own table. One of the things that lead to corruption in many cases is when people are too poorly paid. This tends to makes them too susceptible to corruption.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:13:40 PM)
Is the government doing enough to contain the drug threat the society faces?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:13:41 PM)
Yes within the resources that it has. Jamaica is a relatively poor country and its performance at dealing with the drug problem is commendable compare to a country like the USA that has all the resources at its command and still has a serious drug problem.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:14:51 PM)
Will the government role back their pay? If not why?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:14:51 PM)
I don't think they will. Although in my view it would be a good gesture for them to roll it back. Their arguments for not rolling it back is that it is only a 16% increase and they are underpaid as things are.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:17:21 PM)
How would you rate the latest anti-crime measures in Jamaica compared to previous initiatives?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:17:22 PM)
It is too early to give it a meaningful rating because it is just 7 weeks old. What is different this time though and point hopeful to its success is the fact that security forces teams will be in for the long haul. While they are in each community they will be seeking this time around to bond with the law-abiding citizens and this augurs well for future police/citizens relationship.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:19:26 PM)
We have heard so much by the commissioner of police in Jamaica about the big players in the drug trade. How is it that none of these players have yet been arrested and exposed?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:19:26 PM)
The Mr. Biggs of the drug trade are always difficult to bring to book and no less so in Jamaica. However, a few months ago the commissioner gave the impression that all that was left for the Mr. Biggs to be put before the court was the signing of arrest warrants. We too are waiting with bated breath.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:20:13 PM)
What are the MPs getting paid for exactly are the drug dons not paying them?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:20:14 PM)
This question is best directed to the MPs themselves.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:23:38 PM)
Am living abroad for 30 years, and would one day like to return to Jamaica to live, but my foreign family and I are afraid to live in Jamaica because of the violence and killings. What are the plans for the new government to curtail this grave problem that seems to be a part of the Jamaica's culture?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:23:38 PM)
The government on December 1, launched a new initiative to reduce the level of crime. One of things that the Minister of National Security said would be different this time is that the initiatives will not be focus on inner city communities only, but will be extended to all areas of the island. Since the new crime initiative is only 7 weeks old we will have to wait and see how it works out. In the mean time we need more jobs and investments to get the economy growing to the level where crime will be at the minimal.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:27:13 PM)
Mr. Williams I am a concerned person, I am a Trinidadian and I love Jamaica but do you think that enough is being done to eradicate drugs out of Jamaica?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:27:13 PM)
The Government has launched a new crime initiative and a major focus of it is targeting the link between the drug trade and the sustain criminality that the island is experiencing. We are getting much needed assistance from the British, Americans and Columbian governments. We trust that this will bring about the results that are required.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:28:35 PM)
I beg to differ on the poor pay and parliament. The Jamaican Governmental parties are filled with nothing but greedy insensitive people. And why are they allowing the Columbians and drugs to run so rampant in Jamaica?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:28:35 PM)
The Jamaican government will be the first to tell you that the main target in its site are the international criminal gangs including the Columbians.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:29:54 PM)
Mr. Williams, what do you think is the number one solution to Jamaica's problem at this time?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:29:54 PM)
Speedy and certain crime detection to put the criminal gangs out of operation.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:31:48 PM)
Jamaica has fallen in shame and the poorer people are the ones that are suffering, our children are suffering, our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers are suffering because of the greed and corruption in Jamaica, what exactly is the government doing to make things better for the poor people in Jamaica? Too many lives are being lost by desperate people willing to transport drugs to another country for a few bucks.
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:31:48 PM)
The government says that its intention on providing jobs to ease the unemployment situation but it will take time.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:33:24 PM)
So what will they (government) do about the increase in the US dollar?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:33:24 PM)
The Bank of Jamaica, the Central Bank, has intervened to keep the Jamaican dollar from going much above the J$50 to US$1 level.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:37:15 PM)
You are placing Jamaica with power house countries like the US, you should segregate Jamaica from these country and then answer why you think that Jamaica's violence has escalated to such heights compare to countries like ourselves?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:37:15 PM)
I think both the police, the government and other sources have agreed that much of the violence being experience is sparked by the fact that between 100 - 120 metric tonnes of cocaine pass through Jamaica each year and it is this that has spawned the criminal gangs who offer protection and safe heaven for the drugs and have free frequent fights over turf and to ensure the smooth passage of the cocaine.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:40:09 PM)
I recently met a 23 year old Jamaican that is living aboard and has no intention of return home although it is obvious that she is pain of not being able to return due to the violence.
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:40:09 PM)
Not all the 2.6 million people who live in Jamaica face violence in their day-to-day lives. Much of the violence is attributed to domestic reasons and a similar proportion to reprisal/gang feuds. It is no comfort that last year on the average 3 people were murder each day, but by and large most of the murders or violence occurred in certain inner city communities.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:42:42 PM)
My question is, what programs are being implemented to attract our intellectual people that are in the US studying?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:42:42 PM)
From time to time high level teams from the government go to cities in the United States and else where there are large Jamaican communities and implore the nationals to return home to serve their country. These pleas have borne fruit from time to time but eventually it is the decision of the individual.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:44:21 PM)
Is 14 years not enough time to deal with unemployment, which they have already used up since they are in power and what have they done?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:44:21 PM)
The government's reply to this question is that it has been laying the foundation for growth all this while and that the growth of the economy is about to begin.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:47:39 PM)
No, Lloyd the Colombians is not the problem, and it is the political leaders that have led the people a stray. If people here had options then they would not swallow cocaine in order to feed their children.
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:47:39 PM)
A lot of people who offer themselves has cocaine couriers are driven more by greed more than by needs. For example, airline stewardess, police and other people employed in relatively well paying jobs have been arrested here and overseas for smuggling drugs.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:50:31 PM)
Should Jamaica retaliates against Bermuda by imposing visa restrictions on that country?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:50:31 PM)
There is precedence for this action because I have been informed that some countries, which require visas only from countries, which ask the nationals of other countries to, produce visas.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:52:56 PM)
We have know about the connection of crime and poverty for some time. What are the factors in you opinion that will move things in a positive direction? Is it the private sector?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:52:56 PM)
It is a situation in which everybody would have to chip in. The government, the private sector, the intelligentsia, and people at the grass routes. The problem is the leadership to motivate everybody to realization that we all swim together or drown together.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:54:25 PM)
We all now Jamaica is a great country, is great for a holiday! 'It's only a shame you must see so much security. It brings more dollars to Jamaica when they are not there. Just a tourist from Holland!
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:54:25 PM)
The security as off-putting as it is meant to assure not only our nationals but visitors like you and give you the peace of mind to enable you to enjoy your holiday.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 6:57:26 PM)
A lot of our murders today are extremely viscous. Does this suggest a growing relationship between the trade and our murder rate?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 6:57:26 PM)
Yes. Cocaine trade by its very nature is a murderous one. There is no recourse to the law or to conflict resolution once trust is broken the guns settles everything. Besides the gang members invariable venture into other areas of criminality including kidnapping, extortion, car jacking and arm robberies with fatal results for their victims.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 7:00:52 PM)
Most Jamaican politician lives in the hills and some have homes overseas. In Barbados politicians are known to live among the people they represent, they also make meager salaries. Isn't Barbados a good example of where people put country before their pockets?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:00:52 PM)
It is acknowledged that the level economic development in Barbados and their politician maturity are things that should be emulated by Jamaica. One of the reasons some people ascribe to this disparity is the higher level of education in Barbados compare to Jamaica.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 7:01:45 PM)
Do you think there is drug money being used in election campaigning in Jamaica?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:01:45 PM)
I would not be surprised if it is, but it is difficult to document without the cooperation of the politicians.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 7:03:07 PM)
Lets not fool ourselves no sensible minded businessman will invest until he is assured that his business will be safe from criminals namely the so call dons etc., do you agree?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:03:07 PM)
Yes. It is this high level of criminality in which the dons figure prominently which have led to this reluctance to invest in Jamaica.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 7:04:45 PM)
I see Jamaica as the next Haiti. How can we save the country from going down this road?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:04:46 PM)
First, we need more jobs, we need more investments, we need to get all our children in school and to ensure that they develop to their full potentials. But most of all we need the leadership to ensure that we achieve these things.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 7:07:24 PM)
Lloyd is the Jamaica press doing enough investigative reporting to expose corruption in high places? If why?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:07:24 PM)
No. Investigative reporting is expensive and its time consuming and it demands reporters with a certain level of skills. Of course, there are a lot of stories to be done. I don't know of any editor who is going to give a reporter two months off to work on a story. Again one of the obstacle to investigative reporting we don't have a freedom of information act that will provide us with timely relevant information that politicians especially want to keep hidden.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 7:11:01 PM)
What needs to be done in reducing the flow of cocaine to Jamaica?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:11:01 PM)
We need to get go fast boats because that is the only way we can chase the go fast boats that are bringing in and taking out cocaine to Jamaica. We have a coastline that is 1022km and our Jamaica Defense Force coast guard is stretched thin even to cover one small area. Besides we need closer cooperation with our South American neighbours and all the assistance we can get from the British and the Americans which have the technology to counter the well equipped drug trafficker.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 7:12:37 PM)
When government give contracts to known dons e.g., the Apostolic lane don down town and the Lords of West and East Kingston, are they not sending wrong signals to Investors and the Youths about Values and attitudes?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:12:37 PM)
The giving of contracts should be transparent otherwise these contracts will only attract adverse rumours to the people to whom they are awarded.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 7:14:44 PM)
Lloyd what would you say about the people in high places that back these dons?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:14:44 PM)
They are very much apart of the problem. Besides they are being hypocritical more often than not publicly they come out in support of transparency and honesty when they are as much mired in corruption as are the dons and they politician masters.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 7:15:50 PM)
Are Journalist not afraid in Jamaica? How has the treat of violence affect your work over the years?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:15:50 PM)
I have had my share of threats but if I were to let the threats get to me I would not get out of bed in the mornings.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 7:18:52 PM)
Do People see two Jamaica when they talk about Crime and Violence? Often Jamaica is seen as Kingston and other times Jamaica is seen as the North Coast and the Kingston the Wild West?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:18:52 PM)
Yes part of the problem is facing that in fact there are two Jamaica. The Jamaica of the inner cities and the Jamaica of the leafy suburbs. Very little of the violence occurs in the tourist resorts. Most of it occurs in the inner city but to the Jamaican overseas or nationals from other countries Jamaica are one small place and they feel threatened by this perception of violence.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 7:20:29 PM)
Lloyd I think we are seeing leaders that are more educated than before. What is your take on that?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:20:30 PM)
Yes, but education is not a guarantee of selfless service or good ideas or integrity or always giving priority to the public weal.

Question (Jan 22, 2003 7:23:19 PM)
How can the Caribbean region work together more effectively in dealing with the drug trade?
Answer (Jan 22, 2003 7:23:20 PM)
Already there is in Jamaica a Caribbean Regional Drug Law Enforcement Training Centre and it has been for the last 3 years since its establishment. Training people throughout the Caribbean to tackle the problem of drugs. As the training continues there will be a network of these highly trained specialists throughout the Caribbean who will not only act as a bulwark against drugs traffickers but themselves will train people in their countries to tackle the problems.


Lloyd Williams
(Jan 22, 2003 7:24:41 PM)
Thank you very much not have time to deal with this evening.


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