Best News & Current Affairs Blog (2011 & 2012) and Jamaican Blogger of the Year (2011) at The Jamaica Blog Awards.

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INTRODUCING GRASSROOTS JAMAICA.


Dear Reader,

A little over two years ago, a friend of mine read a post I made on Facebook arguing about the country’s crime problem. Having read the post, he became convinced I should take up writing, according to him; I had “blogging potential”. I kept shrugging him off, telling him I was too busy to seriously consider being a full time anything, let alone a blogger. That was only half the truth. You see, I worried about how people would receive my opinions, and I secretly feared criticism and backlash. Eventually I decided I would write, on the condition that I remain anonymous, and thus Mr. Editor and Veritas were born. For the better part of a year, this strategy worked for me and people read my work and appeared content with it. I was a masked crusader with a pen, or at least I liked to think of myself that way. This was not to last as to my surprise and delight; Veritas received five nominations at the 2012 staging of the Jamaica Blog Awards. I had a choice between either ignoring the nominations to preserve my identity from the general public or show up and own my craft. I chose the latter.The blog would go on to win 4 of the 5 awards, including Top Blog Post of the Year and the coveted Jamaican Blogger of the Year Award. One hundred and thirty five posts, five blog awards, and over 200,000 hits later, I have decided that the time has come to take my craft in a new direction. Introducing Grassroots Jamaica.

In my two years of writing, I realized I had a knack for political commentary and so I began to focus on that to the exclusion of everything else. I became so obsessed with political writings that people started thinking of me as a political pundit. As flattering as that was, I realized I had not stayed true to the original intent of Veritas, which was to be a wide ranging blog covering a wide array of issues. In order to return to the roots, so to speak, I have decided to discontinue Veritas, effective Wednesday June 4, 2014. I will no longer be writing here, but will now transfer my energies towards Grassroots Jamaica, which promises to be even bigger and better. That is my pledge. I have assembled a team of competent and innovative writers to bring you a wide cross section of opinions and analysis in politics, entertainment – movies, music, sports, culture, lifestyle etc. etc. etc. I’m excited about this new venture and I am counting on your continued support. I am inviting ALL OF YOU to visit Grassroots Jamaica and subscribe and become a part of the community.
I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Every single person who has ever read, commented, criticized or shared one of my posts, it meant a lot to me and assisted greatly in building my confidence in my ability to put a few words together on a page. I look forward to new ideas and new discussions, and I hope you’ll be a part of that.

Goodbye Veritas. I must move on in search of a new truth.

With Nothing But Gratitude,
Ricardo.

Environment vs. Development: Choose Investments Over Frogs, Bird & Fish.


ImageJamaica Blog Day concentrates the efforts of the vibrant national blogging community on one theme each year; last year we shone a light on the all too important issue of police abuses, and this year we are called upon to examine the debate between environmental preservation and development. This theme is particularly relevant in light of the government’s stated intention to develop a port and logistics hub in the Portland Bight Protected Area. Predictably, an overwhelming amount of Jamaicans are suddenly environmentalists, decrying the government as greedy, short sighted and any other emotionally charged description that will grab a headline. I’m particularly concerned that most, if not all, the arguments coming from our recently converted environmentalists are emotionally charged. There is a kind of reckless refusal to accept that the extraordinary economic challenges we face as a country necessitates an extraordinary response. It’s unfair and disingenuous to characterize our politicians as greedy when they seek to do the job the people elected them to do. This present government was largely elected with a mandate to address the dire economic situation facing the country. We can quantify the value and effect of the construction of the port and hub on our economic sustainability, what exactly is the practical and tangible value of saving the Portland Bight Area from industrial development?

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NCU Has Rights Too !


ImageChristianity is not dynamic, it remains static. As society’s understanding of rights and freedoms evolve, Christianity must necessarily remain steadfast. Anything else would disturb the supposed infallibility of the religion’s tenets. It is against this backdrop that I approach the controversy currently surrounding the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Central Jamaica. The University stands accused of suspending a female student for “depicting homosexuality in a (cheerleading) routine”. This depiction amounted to dressing like a man and proposing to another female student, all in the name of fun. The decision of the University has come under fire from human rights advocates who charge that the suspension is in violation of the student’s most basic rights as a citizen, with many condemning the draconian and theocratic approach of the tertiary institution. While I agree that the action is draconian and startling, I am persuaded to stand with NCU in this matter. It is my considered opinion that the University has the right to determine, as a matter of conscience, what behaviours and attitudes it deems acceptable under the existing “ethos” of the campus.

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Guilty! : How the Kartel Trial Shamed A Nation


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After deliberating for just under two hours, the 11 member jury returned its verdict. The three men and eight women found Adijah Palmer, and three of his four co-accused, guilty of the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams. The verdict has put to rest a legal drama that began in 2011, one which fascinated and mystified the nation, but there were more sinister undercurrents at play here. As much as my own conscience tells me justice has been done, and as much as I would rather not see any selfless heroism in a convicted murderer; I am unable to shake the feeling that in the end Vybz Kartel was able to serve as a living testament, a sacrificial lamb of sorts, for many of the realities dancehall music has explored over the years. Kartel’s arrest, trial and conviction put the very state on trial, and on nearly all counts, Jamaica was found guilty.

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International Women’s Day: Say No To Quotas!


ImageToday is being celebrated the world over as International Women’s Day; a day to celebrate the achievements of those of the fairer sex, while highlighting the work that is still to be done on behalf of women in some of the forgotten corners of our world. Perhaps inevitably the conversation today will turn to towards finding solutions to the real and perceived inequalities facing women. That conversation will undoubtedly rest on quota systems. In fact, a member of the Jamaican Senate has already raised the issue, arguing that it would compensate for the disparity between men and women in the Parliament.  I’m no expert in these matters, and I do not pretend to be – these are my opinions having thought about the issue. I have no doubt that the Senator has good intentions, but I cannot support quotas on the basis of gender, especially in political representation. Here’s why.

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#AHSCoven: Clearly The Worst Season


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American Horror Story: Coven was terrible, the entire season. What is truly shocking is that it took the finale to bring me to that realization. It’s now clear that the season survived on the reputation and acclaim of the two that preceded it, while throwing in some big names for safe measure. To their credit, the writers almost got away with it, except for the truly underwhelming finale. When one reflects on the season as a whole, we realize that there was little more than a lazy attempt at a plot, interwoven with a few moments of shock value, just enough to keep us wanting more. And while we went on week to week, surviving on the “OMG” moments and the pseudo displays of feminine might and power, we missed the truly terrible storyline, poor character development and “half assed” attempt at horror – all culminating in the very least impressive character being declared Supreme.

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Leave Trinidad Alone!


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A friend of mine recently accused me of being a political conservative. He went on to point out that such a characterization will undoubtedly cause me to find myself on what he described as the “wrong side of history.” The characterization and accompanying condemnation arose as a result of my defence of Trinidad and Tobago in the ongoing drama surrounding the decision of immigration officials in that country to refuse entry to thirteen (13) Jamaican nationals. Apparently defending the right of a sovereign territory, particularly Trinidad and Tobago, in the exercise of its legitimate right to decide who can and cannot enter its borders is an unforgiveable sin, a politically conservative sin and possibly even an unpatriotic sin. Jamaicans in our righteous anger and pride have condemned Trinidad and Tobago in this matter and many have gone as far as calling for the secession of Jamaica from the Caribbean Community, CARICOM. I take strong exception to this, and wish to share my unpopular thoughts on the issue.

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