Sunday, 29 March 2015

ISSA Boys And Girls Championship; Is It Time To Increase The Seating Capacity Of The National Stadium?

The annually sought after inter-secondary school sports association (ISSA) boys and girls championship has once again delivered scintillating performances, suggesting that Jamaica has a bright track and field future. Many Jamaican youths see track and field as the way out of poverty; where young individuals are provided a medium to access higher education by way of full scholarships, and or pursuing a career as a professional track and field athlete.

National Stadium; Independence Park. Source of image: Trackandfieldja

Edwin Allen and Calabar were the respective girls and boys champions, beating longtime rivals Holmwood Technical and Kingston College. The ISSA boys and girls championship started on Tuesday, March 24th of the past week, and culminated on Saturday, March 28th (yesterday).

This year's championship marked the 105th anniversary of the event. Boys and girls "champs" is also rated as the greatest age group championship of Its kind globally; many opine that champs is similar to a mini-olympics, Jamaicans can be proud be proud of the boys and girls championship.

Is It Time To Increase The Seating Capacity Of The National Stadium?

Jamaica's Premier sports complex; Independence Park, encompasses a swimming pool, arena, national stadium, etc. The national stadium is home to Boys And Girls Championship, as well as Fifa friendlies and qualifiers. The Seating capacity of the national stadium is somewhat uncertain, however, the stadium seats between 30, 000 and 35, 000 individuals.

Never mind Its capacity, demand for tickets significantly outweigh what's available on the final day of champs. Plus, the stadium is sold out annually on the final day of champs. Incidentally, a week before champs, grandstand tickets were sold out virtually instantaneously. The grandstand seats approximately 5000 individuals, with 2500 seats available to the public.

In this regards, cries have grown louder to build a new stadium or expand the existing facility. However, building a new stadium is out of the question for the time being; a new stadium could easily cost in excess US$ 300 million. Expanding the seating capacity is likely to be more feasible. Though, it is posited that champs occurs once a year, and football games seldom have capacity crowds. However, the stadium was inaugurated in 1962, making the stadium 53 years old.

I would suggest adding 5000 to 10, 000 seats in the medium to long term. In the short term, we should consider expanding the grandstand, helping to reduce shortage of the aforementioned tickets.

Thanks for stopping!


World Stadiums, Jamaica.

We are ready, says Forbes, Jamaica Star.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Riverton City Dump Is On Fire...Once More

A perennial problem has once again raised Its ugly head; the Riverton city dump is on fire for the umpteenth time. Additionally, approximately half of the 120 acres property is said be on fire. This was conveyed by Jennifer Edwards, executive director of the national solid waste management authority (NSWA) in a 3:30 P.M. press briefing on Friday. Furthermore, Jennifer Edwards surmise this is the worst Riverton city fire.

Hell-like inferno at the Riverton city dump. Source of image: loopJamaica

The fire at the dump has been raging since Wednesday, March 11th; and a definitive timeline hasn't been given to extinguish the fire, though it is anticipated that 6 days should be adequate. The fire has been exacerbated by relatively strong winds (gusting to in excess of 25mph), attributable to an high pressure ridge. The wind has brought hazy conditions to Portmore and much of Kingston city.

Furthermore, noxious fumes associated with the Riverton fire, led to respiratory problems within the Kingston metropolitan area (KMA). Numerous individuals, including children were taken to health centers and hospitals across the KMA. Thereby leading to a closure of in excess of 40 schools on Friday.

Possible Solutions To The Riverton City Debacle

Residents within Kingston and Its ambient environment has lost count of the numerous fires at the Riverton disposal site. However, a solution is yet to be determined and implemented. As I've stated earlier, Jennifer Edwards opines that the current fire is the largest fire at the dump, suggesting that a solution should be sought with alacrity.

Relocation of the dump should be considered, as Riverton's location in Jamaica's largest metropolitan area is untenable. However, relocation may prove to be cumbersome; especially if a new dump/landfill was sited in the parish of St Catherine. As commercial and residential towns are aplenty. Namely, Spanish town, Old Harbour and Portmore. Additionally, the state should consider divesting the dump.

However, a more feasible and short term measure is to simply increase NSWMA's budget. The entity has been operating on a string-like budget for many years. I have no doubt with an adequate budget should limit or eliminate possibility of future fires at the problem plagued Riverton dump.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, 6 March 2015

Jamaica's Relatively High Road Fatality Rate...Revisited!

Just over a month ago, I wrote an article entitled Jamaica's Relatively High Road Fatality Rate, And Preventive Measures; the estimated road fatalities in 2014 were approximately 330. The officials aim to have this figure at 240 or fewer in 2015 and beyond. However, the officials may have difficulties achieving this target.

To see why, at least 56 individuals have been killed on our roads since January 1st. If we continue at this pace, the dreaded 300+ figure may be on the cards. March is not looking good either. On Sunday March 1st, 2015, four foreign nationals were along the Braco section of the north coast highway in Trelawny. Subsequently, two young females were killed in the parish of Clarendon.

Mangled car along the Braco main road in Trelawny. Source of image: OTGNR

Braco Crash And Ensuing Debate

As stated above, four foreign nationals were killed along the Braco section of the north coast highway, three Dominican nationals and a Spanish national. They were employed at the Gran Bahia Principe hotel in St Ann.

Following the tragic accident, concerns have been raised about the aforementioned stretch of road. Carvel Stewart, president of the incorporated masterbuilders association of Jamaica (IMAJ), evinces that polishing of the Braco road surface is taking place. Mr. Stewart surmise friction of the road surface has been reduced (making the road prone to skidding), largely attributable to inferior material and prolong wearing of the surface.

In light of the tragedy, a meeting involving stakeholders is planned for Monday March 1, 2015, as expressed in an article entitled Meeting planned after horrifying Trelawny crash. However, not discounting the surface of the road, it seem as if speeding played a significant role in the crash.

The Role Of Speeding In Crashes

It is generally accepted that speeding plays a major role in road crashes, add to that improper overtaking. Jamaica is often given the moniker "land of speed", unfortunately, excessive speeding has taken numerous lives on our roads.

Juxtaposed to a car travelling at 50kmph (31mph), a car travelling at 100kmph (62mph) has four times more energy; this can be seen using the formula of motion, Kinetic energy = 1/2MV^2; mass remains constant, however, the velocity is squared, I will give examples with a car of mass 1500kg; Ke = 1/2*1500*50^2; Ke =  1.875*10^6N (for a car traveling at 50kmph); Ke = 1/2*1500*100^2; Ke = 7.5*10^6N (for a car traveling at 100kmph).

Essentially, a car traveling at 100kmph has an exponential probability to do work/result in damage, vis a vis a car travelling at 50kmph.

Seat Belts And Airbags

A chronic problem in Jamaica is not wearing of seatbelts. It is often seen as a toy, especially in public passenger vehicles. Sometimes seat belts are faulty, or non-existent. However, seatbelts and airbags are often the difference between life and death during a collision. These devices keep an individual from being thrown from a vehicle, and gradually dissipates energy.


Various studies suggest that Jamaica has a behavioral problem when it comes to road usage; excessive speeding, not wearing of seatbelts, etc. These behavioral problems may take a generation to fix. But in the short term, greater enforcement of traffic laws are needed. Additionally, the new road traffic bill should be promulgated in parliament with alacrity. Plus, I want to urge motorists and pedestrians to use roads with caution.

It likely that I will revisit topic going forward. Thanks for stopping by!


Seat Belts And Airbags, Advice on safety, Safe ride.

Road surface retexturing processes, Idiots' guide to highways maintenance

Bahia mourns as 4 staffers perish in Trelawny crash, Jamaica Gleaner.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Marijuana Has Been Decriminalized, Now What?

Historic, momentous and groundbreaking, these are some of the adjectives used to describe the move to decriminalize small quantities of marijuana. Marijuana is widely known as Ganja in Jamaica and the Caribbean, largely attributable to east Indian influences.

Marijuana plants. Source of image: Voice Chronicle

Senate Passes Ganja Law, this was an headline in a Jamaica Gleaner article on February 7, 2015. Following the aforementioned move in Jamaica's upper house, the lower house followed suit, by enacting the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act.

The Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act makes possession of two ounces of marijuana a ticket-able offense, without the fear of being apprehended. Moreover, individuals convicted of pass offences correlating to Ganja shall have their records expunged. A Jamaica Observer article entitled Ganja Law Gets Green Light made mention of further amendments:

Additionally, the bill prohibits the smoking of ganja in public places, and makes provisions for the granting of licences, permits and other authorizations to enable the establishment of a regulated industry for ganja for medical, scientific, and therapeutic uses.

Now What?

The amended Dangerous Act removes criminal punishment with possession of two ounces of ganja or less. However, trafficking of large quantities of ganja remains illegal. This was seemingly missed an individual, who went to a police station seeking directions, with in excess of 90 pounds of ganja in his possession. Is he naive or misinformed?

Additionally, importation of ganja into the US is prohibited. This was affirmed by assistant secretary of the bureau of international narcotics and law enforcement affairs (INL), William R. Brownfield. Essentially, extensive export of ganja is not permitted.

However, opportunities exists to develop a nascent medical marijuana industry. Local scientist, Dr Henry Lowe, is poised to be a beneficiary of medical marijuana and hemp industries. Dr Lowe, through Medicanja limited, opines that Jamaica stands to accrue significant benefits from a US $ 2.5 billion industry. Additionally, Dr Lowe is seeking to launch an initial public offering (IPO), as expressed in an article entitled Lowe Launches Jamaica's First Medical Marijuana Company.  Medicanja IPO By Early 2015.

Many Jamaicans foresee an increase in tourist arrivals from recent amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act. Furthermore, ganja is being touted as a solution to Jamaica's economic problems. Though, this is an overly optimistic expectation. However, if managed properly, Jamaica should stand to attain numerous benefits by decriminalizing ganja.

Thanks for stopping by!


US official cautions Jamaica on ganja legalization, Jamaica Observer.

Ganja, Urban Dictionary