My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Jamaican Transport Sector and Excel Motors Limited - Russian Roulette and Top Gear


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jamaican Transport Sector and Excel Motors Limited - Russian Roulette and Top Gear

The true University of these days is a Collection of Books

Carlyle, Heroes and Hero-Worship

It seems that Jamaica is poised for great things in the Transport Sector, as Senator Mike Henry, and his Ministry of Transport and Works is in the news more often than should be regular. This issue of transportation via Planes, Buses and Trains was such a theme last week that it was my featured blog article: “JUTC and the Downtown Municipal Transport Center - Planes, Trains & Automobiles”. Surely, he must be tired of his name being called up in every thing locally!

Still, the grumbling persists, now with Downtown Commuters suddenly resigning to the reality of the Downtown Municipal Transport Centre. Now, they chew their mouths against it, reflecting on its long term viability as their next moot point. So says the man on the street and backed up by the follow-on article entitled “Commuters fear downtown shuttle service unsustainable”, published Sunday, January 23, 2011 BY DONNA HUSSEY-WHYTE Sunday Observer staff The Jamaica Observer.

Lick them for six!

Poor Commuters, blissfully unaware that the Shuttle Service will soon be contracted out to a Dedicated Government Contractor, most likely subsisting on Advertising Sponsorship on the Contractors Shuttle Bus, as very little in wear and tear occurs in such a short distance. Thus this Sunday January 23rd 2011, my article is basically part update, part expansion, the spotlight thrown by itself on the problem that touches the lives of every Jamaica: Reliable transportation!

Great plans are afoot, with the Railway system soon to come on stream as stated in the article “JRC close to resuming the Passenger Rail Service”, published January 4, 2011, 11:54 am, The RJR Communication Group and expanded upon in my blog article entitled “JATOO and the Transportation Revolution in Jamaica - Babylon by Bus”.

Diesel powered Trains, by the way, can be powered by LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) via simple modification. Throught this article, you will not stop seeing this three-lettered acronym as it will be repeated oft, as Senator James Robertson, Minister of Energy and Mining, is spot on with LNG!

Everyone can see that the JRC (Jamaica Railway Corporation) is gearing up to restart passenger service on our islands decayed and dilapidated Railway Network! First time, too, many Jamaican will be traveling in a train!!!!!

Aircrafts too will not be left out with the Senator Mike Henry, and his Ministry of Transport and Works placing their cards on the table, James Bond style and pushing ahead with ambitious plans for Vernamfield Aerodrome cum Air Academy in Clarendon (please let it be a Virgin Intergalactic spaceport!!) as stated in the article “Henry to make Cabinet submission on Vernamfield in Clarendon”, published Tuesday, January 04, 2011, go-Jamaica.

However, difficulties abound that were not highlighted in this Gleaner Article so Caveat Lector !

Add to those difficulties is the protest about the recent necessary rebranding of the St. Ann Aerodrome to Ian Fleming Airport as stated in the article “Ian Fleming Airport sign defaced”, published Tuesday, January 18, 2011, The Jamaica Gleaner and echoed in the article “Storm over Airport Name”, published Sunday, January 23, 2011 by ALESIA EDWARDS Sunday Observer staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Shakespeare Style and Storm in a teacup!

Jamaicans are not familiar with the concept of Branding, which the Prime Minister Bruce Golding grasps perfectly as stated in the article “Ian Fleming Airport strategic decision - PM”, published Friday January 14, 2011, The Jamaica Gleaner and is clearly explained in the follow-up article “From Jamaica, Ian Fleming gave the world James Bond”, published Sunday, January 23, 2011, The Jamaica Observer.

Plus, as far as I am concerned, Ian Fleming was not anti-establishment, a traditional moot point among Governments Internationally when choosing to name State Property after someone. Thus arguments for Bob Marley and Marcus Garvey fall flat, as both sang and fought respectively against the respective Governments of their time.

Thus, naming the Airport after Ian Fleming effectively allows the Government of Jamaica to collect a “Creativity” Tax for deriving inspiration from living in Jamaica in his villa which tousled his moist cerebellum (brain, people, brain!!). Ian Fleming produced those masterpiece spy novels that later became the James Bond 007 movies, hence the naming of the airport.  Simple!

Some work for Jamaicans may also be coming our way al la repairs done to JUTC (Jamaica Urban Transport Corporation) Yellow Buses as stated in the article “JUTC to renovate Buses here”, published Monday, January 17, 2011 by COREY ROBINSON Observer staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

Hopefully, the JUTC Buses will be made to run on LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) as the People’s Republic of China has the intention of doing with their Public Transport System as stated in the article “JUTC to renovate Buses here”, published Monday, January 17, 2011 by COREY ROBINSON Observer staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer and slyly suggested in my blog article entitled “JUTC, Challenger and LNG - Journey to the Center of the Earth”.

WE got tons of LNG coming from Venezuela as stated in my blog article entitled “Alternative Energy and Natural Gas - Genesis of the Hydrogen-electron Economy”, but the People’s Republic of China can pitch in too at reasonable prices – we will certainly buy!

Especially now as the IEA’s (International Energy Agency) Anne-Sophie Corbeau, a Senior Gas Expert, has declaring that the world now has a combined total of two hundred and fifty years (250) of Natural Gas Reserves as stated in the article “IEA doubles global Gas Reserves Estimates”, published 20 January 2011 at 18:06 GMT by Roger Harrabin, Environment analyst, BBC World News. This is once Shale Gas extraction in the US of A is factored in along with all those other recent large “supergas” well finds in the last decade.

Certainly an interim solution to look into in Jamaica as it relates to the so-called problem of “cleaner diesel” and thus enabling the importation of flex-fuel vehicles as stated in my blog article entitled “Alternative Energy and Jamaican Policies on Vehicle Importation - Gattaca”, and Diesel powered European vehicles that the EU is abandoning for All-Electrics.

The Politics of lowering import duties can be trashed out in Parliament. Savings in Reduced Oil importation and an increase in vehicle purchasing power among cash-strapped motorists – not a bad combo and a one- two punch combo, The Contender (2011) Style, against the Recession’s Effects on Jamaica!

Curious how this theme of LNG seems to be permeating everything in Jamaica, as most vehicles can be easily modified to run on the fuel, significantly reducing fuel usage as stated in my blog article entitled “LPG and the Challenger Transport Co. Ltd - A Cheaper Fuel”. So if this is true, why does the JGRA (Jamaica Gas and Retailers Association) not support this, as opposed to pursuing the route of cleaner diesel?

Even stranger is All-Electric Vehicles NOT being supported by Kent LaCroix, President of the Automobile Dealers Association (ADA) and others as stated in the article “Is Jamaica ready for Electric vehicles ?”, published Friday, October 01, 2010, The Jamaica Observer.

Meanwhile more of their members have died off since 2010 AD as stated in the article “25 used car dealers drop out of market” , published Friday, January 21, 2011 The Jamaica Observer, leaving John Public to speculate that the fight is divided between the younger set who are pressing for vehicle importation but an older set still wanting vehicles that use traditional Diesel and Gasoline fuel as my blog article entitled “Alternative Energy and Diesel Sulphur Content - Casino Royale”.

So it is heartening to see that aside from Challenger Transport Company Ltd (926-6414), another innovator is now steadily on the rise, that being Patrick Marzouca. Mr. Marzouca’s fledgling ten (10) year old company, Excel Motors Limited, is now getting the much needed recognition it deserves.

His company, Excel Motors Limited, based out of Savanna-la-Mar, St. Elizabeth, has been manufacturing a set of 1500cc five-speed automatic engine Island Cruiser Sports Vehicles tailored for the Tourist Market in the Turks and Caicos Islands on request from their Government since November 2010 as stated in the article “Cruising Jamaica Style”, published Sunday November 21, 2010 by Brian Bonitto, Special Assignment Editor, The Jamaica Gleaner.

His vehicle, the Island Cruiser, is a speedy little thing designed and made here in Jamaica by this Florida University trained entrepreneur. It tops out at 170 Km/h and, in his words, quote: “It has a 70-inch wheel track and equipped with structural roll bars which are part of the chassis. It's like you are sitting in a protective box which makes it very safe”. His words speak volumes for his other vehicles too, namely the Island Pick-up, the Wasp and the Gabrielle.

With a two (2) week turnaround time from chassis to completed vehicle, US$15000 (US$30,000 with air conditioning!) is not too bad a price. Especially considering that it is made from easily moldable and fixable fiberglass and its durability is well tested in the Turks and Caicos, as the salt air would have rotted a heavier aluminum alloy frame vehicle.

But like this article that is Transportation themed, the follow-up article by the same Gleaner Writer Brian Bonitto is where Mr. Patrick Marzouca’s line of vehicles sparkle. After only receiving an order of three (3) vehicles initially from the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, he is now faced with a surge in business, this time with a request for approximately thirty (30) of his rugged contraptions as stated in the article “Cruise control: More Ja-made cars for Turks and Caicos”, published Sunday January 23 2011 by Brian Bonitto, Special Assignment Editor, The Jamaica Gleaner.

And why would they not? After all, with a forty four mile per gallon (44 mpg) rating, it could escape the gas-guzzler tax if it were to be exported to the United States of America. Its fiberglass construction makes it a tad hot for the tropics, especially if painted black, necessitating bright reflective colours – perfect for tourist roundabout vehicle. But even more interestingly, thanks to its engine construction, it can be modified to run on LNG.

Ironic words in Jamaica, a country not known for manufacturing muchless vehicles, now exporting vehicles while the import business is slowly dying off as stated in the article “25 used car dealers drop out of market” , published Friday, January 21, 2011 The Jamaica Observer. Marzouca sums it up best, quote: “Finally, my vision for the cars has been recognized”, making this article worth reading, as he has played the game of Russian Roulette (2010), Rihanna Style and has come out victorious!

Thus, when word gets out as to the success of this vehicle in the Turks and Caicos, do not be surprised if the next time you hear of Excel Motors Limited, they will be on BBC Top Gear! Or more Caribbean Orders, be it local or Jamaican!

Then later some Chinese Investor would have sunk VC (Venture Capital) money into his company to make an All-Electric version of his lightweight design. Sky High (2005) is the limit of what once can achieve with determination a little “elbow grease” as the American are wont to say and some well needed VC funding as our Transport Sector develops…..
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