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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Jamaica

Unbelievable!

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That’s the word that sums up the Olympics for me. It’s what we heard the athletes saying again and again. It’s what their performances amounted to. It was the enthusiasm and support of the crowd. It’s what was achieved in grand style by those who organised and ran this extraordinary celebration of human endeavour.

One of my most vivid memories will be of switching on the television for the news each morning at 7.00am, then finding the tears streaming down my face even before I’d properly woken up. As each of the previous day’s triumphs were relived so the heroes were paraded on the breakfast TV sofa.  Also, as I’ve travelled to the country on several occasions I was so, so proud for Jamaica.  I can just imagine how their sprinters’ achievements were celebrated at home.  I am in huge admiration of the respect that Usain Bolt and Johann Blake showed for other countries’ national anthems, even stopping TV interviews when the flags were raised.  Both of them also sang their own anthem with unashamed pride, something I wish more of our athletes had managed.

Britain is truly great. The games and our achievements at them prove that. We exceed every reasonable expectation that we could have of ourselves. That is why we have such a proud history, why we are the leaders  that we continue to be and why we hold a place in the world out of all proportion to our size and resources.

That our athletes and those who train and organise them can achieve so much sheds a very harsh light on those that now run our government and economy.   Today we are let down by leaders who are pygmies compared to the giants that have made Britain great.

The British people can achieve the unbelievable. All we need are the leaders to show us the way. If we replaced the 29 members of the cabinet with our 29 gold medal winners I think we might do far better.

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Written by Peter Reynolds

August 13, 2012 at 7:08 pm

It’s Not Drugs, It’s Drug Laws That Killed the Bradford Girls

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Forced Here By The Law

If heroin was legally available on prescription the three Bradford prostitutes would be alive today.  It is our discredited, ludicrous policy of prohibition that has led these women to their terrible deaths.  Cowardly, self-serving politicians who will not address the real issues about drugs policy have blood on their hands.

Today we also learned that the sensationalist, exploitative treatment of the death of two young men in Humberside “linked with mephedrone” was nothing but hysteria.  See the story here.  Humberside Police shares responsiblity with the media for leaping on a bandwagon, seeking kudos or some unknown advantage through lies, propaganda and misinformation.  Trying to look tough.

It’s not a good idea to use heroin or mephedrone but criminalising users and creating a lucrative black market for criminals to exploit is an absurd idea.  It’s exactly what America did with alcohol in the prohibition era when, in fact, it created organised crime.

Created By The Law

For those who become addicted to illegal drugs there is very little help available.  Almost all street crime is related to feeding a drug habit.  If, instead of the unwinnable “war on drugs” we put our money into a regulated supply and treatment facilities we would massively reduce the harm that current laws cause.

The girls in Bradford, the poor people of Jamaica, our young heroes who are dying in Afghanistan, the young man who is selling his body right this minute in Manchester, Baltimore, Hamburg or Singapore, the downtrodden people of Columbia.  They are all victims of our absurd, self-defeating drug laws.  When will our politicians and leaders stop chasing cheap political points (and expensive bribes) and face the facts?

Fighting For The Law

Legalise, regulate, tax – you pull the rug from under organised crime, you eliminate the need for most street crime, you have the resources to address the issue as a public health problem.

Transform Drug Policy Foundation has the answer.

I Weep For Jamaica

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Ocho Rios

The events unfolding in Jamaica are disastrous for the country, its reputation, tourist industry and economy.   They give an impression that is completely false.  In reality it is a wonderful place, full of kind, warm, generous people.  I was astonished on my first visit to find the countryside lush and green, rather like Cornwall or Wales and the people more friendly than anywhere else I have ever been.

I was very privileged to be introduced to Jamaica by a Jamaican.  It was no all-inclusive tourist resort for me.  There the poor Brits hunker down and never move anywhere.  They seem to believe that right outside the gates are a bunch of Uzi-toting crack dealers but it’s simply not true.  I’ve been back several times and I love the place.  I recommend Ocho Rios on the north coast of the island.

True, the murder rate is one of the highest in the world but it all happens in a very small area of Kingston.  The rest of the island is peaceful and probably safer than London.  I have been through the Tivoli Gardens and Trench Town districts where all the trouble is.  It’s not a good place.  You lock the car doors and windows and you don’t stop but it is tiny.  According to my memory it’s not much bigger than, say, Regent’s Park so it’s easy to avoid.

My Local

Undoubtedly at the root of these problems is high level corruption and I wouldn’t be surprised if that extended to US officials as well as Jamaican.  The cocaine trade is a huge curse on the country but while the world continues with its ludicrous, discredited policy of prohibition it will never solve the problem.  Drug laws support and encourage organised crime and corruption.   If we stay on our present course things will only get worse.

I weep for Jamaica and its wonderful people.  Without radical international action, I have no idea how this problem can be solved.

Walking The Dog 12

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We returned to lashings of ginger beer and a plateful of scrumptious ham sandwiches.  That’s not the actual menu but as we had been struggling in Kimmeridge clay all morning, the Famous Five comparison felt right, particularly as we’d just had a huge adventure, even bigger than we’d expected!

It wasn’t the Famous Five that set off from Ringstead that morning but the Intrepid Three: Carla, Capone and me.  We were set on continuing our Jurassic Coast walk and so drove to the end of the last episode – and the beginning of the next!

The White Nothe

The White Nothe

We were heading for the White Nothe headland.  It’s the tallest and furthest headland you can see from the top of our mountain above Sutton Poyntz.

We left Ringstead Bay but then cut back towards the beach and descended using the sort of steps that are just pegged shuttering into which the hill slides.  Onto the beach and the dogs wanted to swim but there was no time for that.  I planned to keep along the beach as far as possible and then climb up the fallen clay cliff before we reached the towering chalk cliffs of the the White Nothe itself.

burnwavSo, at what seemed a sensible point, I turned away from the sea and started to pick my way up through the clumps of clay, each surmounted with a brush of coarse grass.  Climb up further and there are vicious gorse bushes and and little trees with thorns like hardened steel.  In some areas a raw wound of open clay has appeared where a minor landslip has taken place.  This was almost real climbing, all the weight on the feet but still reaching up at head height and above for support.

The Burning Cliff

The Burning Cliff

This, in fact, is the Burning Cliff.  In 1826 a landslide uncovered deposits of gas and oil which caught fire and famously smouldered for about three years.

At last, at the very top, the thickest brush of all so, heroically, I rolled into it with my back and the dogs slipped through underneath me.  Then a semi-tropical glade, completely enclosed by thorn and flower.  A strange, even light and ferns of all sorts rooting in the carpet of leaves.  We were trapped.  The way back out was prickly and difficult. In every direction was more thorn and bramble.  I swung at some branches to clear a path and I was cruelly shot in the eye by a sloe berry hurtling back towards me, an eclipse of the sun seared in my eyeball and I actually felt dizzy and slightly feint.  Had she been there, George would have immediately volunteered to go for help.

No such rescue was open to us though.  Forcing our way back out through the thorns I picked, slipped and slid a perilous path back to the beach.   No option for it but to go back up the way we had come down.  That was hard work too.  We wearily resumed the footpath but when I saw that we had made exactly half a mile’s progress from our start, discretion proved the better part of valour and and we returned to the car.

Undaunted, undefeated and determined to reach our goal we returned this morning.  Avoiding the pull of the sea and the beach itself we stuck to the path winding upwards through an area that reminds me of Fern Gully, near Ocho Rios in Jamaica where are there is supposed to be a greater variety of ferns than anywhere else on the planet.  Here, now safely above the Burning Cliff, this area has a similar ambience.

Finally up onto moorland then close to the edge of some truly scary cliffs.  This was “Vertigo City” for me and I was filled with that priomordial fear that at any moment I might flip, run and throw myself headlong into space.  Concerned only as to who would look after the dogs, I restrained myself and we made the summit.  There we sat and communed with nature until that intense moment of peace arrived.  It comes very easily.  You just sit, look around you and wait.  The very moment you forget yourself it arrives.

So Carla and Capone scampered down the hillside with me in close pursuit.  Another thrilling and exciting adventure completed!  I wonder what will happen on our next visit!famous-five1