Tuesday, September 25, 2018

PRSJ STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF ERROL K. MILLER

"WALK GOOD E.K."… THE PRSJ BIDS YOU "SLEEP IN PEACE"


SEPTEMBER 24, 2018, KINGSTON JAMAICA:  It is with an immeasurable sense of loss that the Jamaican community of professional communicators says goodbye to our beloved colleague, mentor, brother and friend Errol K. Miller who, at the time of his passing, was the Chairman of the LIME Foundation.  He had previously held several executive level appointments in public relations and integrated marketing communications with the company.

Errol Miller was a communication professional of distinction.  As a founding member of the Public Relations Society of Jamaica (PRSJ), 'E.K.', as he was affectionately known, will long be remembered as a man who represented and lived the values of our communication code of ethics.  In today's world of changing communication values and practice, E.K. was a calming and pleasant presence, while remaining faithful to his commitment to truth and fairness.

The membership of the PRSJ heard recently that 'E.K.' had suffered a health setback and was hospitalized, and were concerned, but preferred to keep hope and mutual support alive.   We could almost hear his voice doing what he did best – soothing nerves and calming ruffled feathers in times of crises, while crafting practical solutions.  In our email discussion thread prior to his passing, we recalled and paid tribute to the man whose impact on us, individually and collectively for over three decades, was of immeasurable value.

Past and present members of the PRSJ regret the passing of this consummate communication professional, volunteer, mentor and family man.  PRSJ past presidents and veteran communication professionals, Jean Lowrie Chin, Elaine Commissiong and Berl Francis spoke of 'EK' in glowing terms.  Mrs. Lowrie Chin recalled that Mr. Miller was always "...so courteous in all circumstances".  According to Mrs. Commissiong, "Errol Miller was a consummate professional, and a good example of the levels to which a true communicator can rise; adjusting to the demands of the profession. His legacy will live on".  Berl Francis remembers him as a man who had  great wit, and never took himself too seriously, carrying out his professional duties with quiet humility and an unerring sense of purpose.


Integrated Marketing Communicator and PRSJ member, Gerrard, 'Gerry' McDaniel remembered E.K. as, "A sharp, warm hearted and generous soul";  while Convenor of the PRSJ, Deborah Hickling Gordon said Errol always operated with dignity, principle and poise. "He always had a word of wisdom and advice for younger colleagues, and was always willing to provide us with mentorship, guidance and encouragement", said Dr. Hickling Gordon.  


A family man, Errol Miller's greatest tribute came from his son Stephen.  In a June 2013 Gleaner article, two quotes from his Stephen captured the essence of the E.K. we know - disciplined and nurturing.  "It was interesting growing up with dad. He always instilled the fear of God in you". Stephen defined his work relationship with his father as "youthful exuberance tempered by wisdom."


Errol Miller's long and dedicated commitment to the building of the communication.profession, the development of the  professionals in the field, advocacy for the sector and the Public Relations Society of Jamaica will always be remembered.  The Steering Committee and membership of the PRSJ offer our sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues.

-30-


For more information contact:

Deborah Hickling Gordon, Ph.D.
Convenor

Public Relations Society of Jamaica
876 817 2859
876 924 9421
prsj2009@gmail.com

Monday, September 24, 2018

Kingston leads in BPO Growth


Excerpt - Jamaica Observer column  published Monday 9 July 2018
by Jean Lowrie-Chin


Image result for bpo jamaica

Kingston is now the Caribbean city with the fastest expansion of BPO services, copping the Nearshore City of the Year Award at the Nearshore Americans Illuminate Awards last month.  Kudos to JAMPRO, led by Diane Edwards and Vice President Claude Duncan for their role in this growth, resulting in an investment of US$22 million over the past year in building or renovating BPO spaces to accommodate 5,000 new jobs.   
Now, we have heard complaints about strict regulations and modest pay from some BPO employees, but they should know that there are great prospects in this field if they stick with it.
“Our future in outsourcing is pretty bright,” noted Ms Edwards. “We are embarking on a huge upskilling programme for our young people in the skills that are necessary; not just customer service and technology support but all types of digitally based services, such as healthcare, accounting, finance, legal, as there are a range of services in the outsourcing arena that we have not touched.”

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

So much to gain from CARICOM unity


Excerpt from column published in the Jamaica Observer - 9 July 2018
by Jean Lowrie-Chin
Photo: Dave ReidPrime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, addresses the opening ceremony for the 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on Wednesday (July 4), at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James. Pictured in the background are the Heads of Government of the Community. - from JIS News
It was really hard on CARICOM to be holding its 39th Heads of Government Conference during the World Cup.  There they were, discussing and signing off on life-changing issues, and there we were, glued to ‘the greatest show on earth’. Lucky for them, but to the sorrow of many, the great Brazil lost to a powerful Belgium on Friday, and so folks could drown their sorrows in some positive news out of the conference which ended the same day.

Were it not for ‘the big dance’ in Russia, we would have been all over the arrival of newly elected Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley, especially as Jherane Patmore of WE-Change pointed out on Twitter, she was the lone woman among her colleague prime ministers.  No shrinking violet is this landslide winner, and so she stood up for the many brothers and sisters of CARICOM who have felt unwelcome in certain countries.

There would have been a buzz also around Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ assuming the Chairmanship of CARICOM.  He stepped up well-prepared, as our brilliant former Prime Minister Bruce Golding had chaired the Commission to review Jamaica’s CARICOM relationship, which produced a substantial report including 33 recommendations for strengthening CARICOM. JIS notes:

 “Among them is that member states should facilitate the full, free movement of people within CARICOM, except in cases of security and public-health risks. They should also push for the harmonization of customs laws, regulations and procedures, among other things.
“Another key recommendation is for Jamaica to seek a clear, definite commitment from all member states to a specific, time-bound, measurable and verifiable programme of action to fulfil all their obligations and complete other requirements for the CSME to be fully established and operational within the next five years.”
For too long we have overlooked the many opportunities and underestimated the value of synergizing our efforts for the greater good of the region. Thankfully, our PM signed three Instruments relating to education and security on the last day of the Conference as follows:
1.     Protocol Amending the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to incorporate the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement as an organ of the community and the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security as an institution of the Community.
2. Revised Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Examinations Council.
3. CARICOM Arrest Warrant Treaty.
We cannot begin to measure the gains of families, communities and countries created by our coming together to establish the University of the West Indies.  Imagine if we were to take this to the grassroots level, how much more we could be learning from each other.  I am happy to hear that the citizens of Haiti, a member of CARICOM, will now have the right to stay in member countries for up to six months.  In Jamaica’s case, I believe we should welcome them to stay as long as they wish so we could pattern their gentility and have them instruct us in creating exquisite craftwork. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

Practical preparedness from Craig Fugate

Excerpt from Jamaica Observer column published July 30 2018
by Jean Lowrie-Chin 

US Counselor for Public Affairs Jeremiah
Knight introduces Craig Fugate at the event
at Phoenix Central in Kingston.
 Former FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, hosted by the US Embassy in Jamaica gave one of the most practical presentations I have ever heard on the subject of disaster preparedness.  

He shared with us ‘The Seven Deadly Sins of Emergency Management’:
   1.    We plan for what we are capable to respond to. Instead, he said, we should be planning for the ‘maximum of maximums’.
   2.     We plan for our communities by placing the ‘hard to do’ in an annex – eg small children, elderly, pets. Instead, ‘plan for real, not easy’.
   3.     We exercise to success – unaware that the very responders, equipment that we are depending on, may be unavailable
4.     We think our emergency response system can scale up to manage disasters.
5.     We build our emergency management team around Government, leaving out voluntary organisations, the private sector and the public
6. We treat the public as a liability. He noted that the fastest response you can expect will be from a neighbour. In the Haiti earthquakes, the neighbours did the majority of rescues. 
Craig Fugate in front of a slide showing him touring New York
after the Hurricane Sandy event with then President Obama
7. We price risk too low to change behaviour – as a result, we continue to grow it.

Mr Fugate warned against building in high-risk areas.  He said that Moody’s has warned that climate change will affect us, so we must build resiliency into our projects. He advised that we must refrain from calling survivors ‘victims’ as this kind of language is condescending, not empowering – emergency management should be ‘survivor centric’. 

“The public is a resource,” he declared, noting that while they were shipping in all kinds of equipment to do rescues in Haiti, the Haitians were doing a great job on their own, and it would have been more effective to engage them and spend funds on the resources being offered locally.
“Government can’t do everything,” said Fugate. “Be prepared – remember that earthquakes do not have a season.”



Celebrating Spain's Shining Representative Carmen Rives Ruiz-Tapiador


Excerpt from Observer column published July 30 2018
by Jean Lowrie-Chin
Carmen with her Dancehall style poster
at the event she hosted celebrating
Jamaican music.

She came to Jamaica as a fledgling diplomat in 2015, but little did Carmen Rives know that she would be placed in the role of Chargée d’Affaires after the sad passing of Ambassador Aníbal Jiménez y Abascal.  She tackled her role wholeheartedly, welcoming Spanish investors large and small, embracing Jamaica’s culture, and promoting Spanish education and culture through the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation.  She wowed the audience of the ‘Powerful Women & Men’ show by performing poems by Gloria Fuertes in Jamaican patois.

Carmen was particularly impressed with the Alpha Institute and the rich history of its predecessor, Alpha Boys School, cradle of Jamaican music. She saw the uplifting work being done at the Institute by Sister Susan Frazer, Margaret Little-Wilson, Dr Joshua Chamberlain and dedicated teachers, and supported them, helping to find jobs for graduates and holding a sizeable fundraiser with big-name artistes.

“Meeting Carmen in 2015 was serendipitous,” notes Dr Chamberlain. “It was a time when Alpha needed lots of help creating a foundation for the Alpha Institute. Carmen's tireless support and special ability to bring the community together from business and foundations to the diplomatic community has helped to create opportunities for current and future students. Carmen also shares our big vision…We look forward to maintaining our friendship and know she will do great things long into the future.

Ever for unity, Carmen held a Rae Town Tribute to celebrate Jamaica’s Independence and Emancipation in 2016. Downtown came uptown with a pulsating dance party, ‘Tribute to Rae Town’, inviting the mellow Classique Sound System and Sister Norma to delight guests of various walks of life. No wonder then that at a farewell dance organised by friends last Thursday, the legendary Ken Boothe created special lyrics for Carmen, most appropriately to his song, “Lady with the Starlight”.  Long may Carmen’s light shine, as she heads for her next tour of duty in Mozambique.

UWI celebrates 70 Amazing Years

Excerpt from Jamaica Observer column published 30 July 2018

by Jean Lowrie-Chin

The week started on a high note, with a Jamaica House Reception to launch a week of activities in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the University of the West Indies.  It is remarkable, as noted in a documentary by Vice-Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles, that there are 15 current heads of Government in the Caribbean, who are graduates of the University of the West Indies.  These include Jamaica’s Prime Minister Most. Hon. Andrew Holness; our Leader of the Opposition Dr Peter Phillips is also a graduate. 
Professor Merle Collins gives the Reply on behalf of
Pelican Honourees

As for those of my generation, we were able to pay low university fees in the seventies, and I believe that we continue to feel a sense of responsibility to our country because of this precious gift. 

The citations for the seven recipients of UWI Pelican Awards, one for each decade, reflected this gratitude, a passion to give back, and so their distinguished careers have been marked by not only professional excellence, but also by their volunteerism and philanthropy.  The recipients, starting with the first decade were: Dr. Lloyd Stanford, Jamaica; Dr. Karl Massiah, Barbados; Professor Merle Collins, Grenada; Hon. Justice Dr. Irving W. Andre, Dominica; Ambassador Dr. June Soomer, St. Lucia; Dr Andre Haughton, Jamaica; Dr. Nicole Nation, Jamaica.

Legendary philanthropist Valerie Facey with Ryland Campbell
and Peter Williams
Phase Three Chairman Dr Marcia Forbes has sponsored the recording of interviews with the Pelican honourees, and related their emotional moments as they recalled their years at UWI. At the event, it was special to see two of my own amazing professors: Professor Maureen Warner-Lewis and Professor Edward Baugh. How blessed we were to be guided though the literary works of centuries and continents by these masters.

Congratulations to UWI Alumni President Jacqueline Sharp, Director of Alumni Relations Celia Davidson Francis and UWI Alumni Past President Cecile Clayton for pulling together such a meaningful week of activities for us proud Pelicans.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Icons of advertising in Jamaica

Scenes from recent media awards when 94-year-old Mrs Joyce Lindo, founder of LIndo FCB was presented with the AAAJ Lifetime Award. 
By Jean Lowrie-Chin
Excerpt from Jamaica Observer column published 20 August 2018

At the Advertising Agencies Association of Jamaica (AAAJ) event last Thursday, we saw a spritely 94-year-old Joyce Lindo, founder of Lindo FCB, mount the stage to receive the AAAJ Lifetime Award. For a woman to step out in this field at a time when we were being told that our place was in the home, fills us, her fellow women in advertising, with gratitude. Advertising guru Adrian Robinson was likewise honoured, and we cannot forget his stroke of genius in giving that great resort chain the name which resonates on cable worldwide: “Sandals”. Arnold ‘Junior’ Foote was presented with this award several years ago.

Agency owners who had served the industry for over 20 years also received Stalwart Awards:  Beverly Hirst, Terri Williams, Gurney Beckford, Robert MacMillan, Oral McCook, Anthony Gambrill and yours truly.

Agency representatives selected the following media for top recognition: overall winner Mello; Print – Jamaica Observer; Radio – Mello; Non-Traditional – Trend; Outdoor – Caledonia; Printer – Lithographic; Magazine – Buzzz. Big thanks to AAAJ President Kingsley Morris, Media Awards Chair Stephanie McGibbon and Stalwarts Chair Wayne Stewart, all volunteers, for pulling off an excellent event.

We in the advertising industry are proud of the brands we have built, contributing significantly to the development of our economy. Our code of ethics keeps us grounded, even as the galloping technology challenges us to move with the times. We work with production houses, copywriters, artists, photographers, brand ambassadors and musicians to create stand-out messages in a super-competitive environment. Before we start the work, we know we must do some serious listening to the most important people in the whole scheme of things: you the customer.

It’s time to mainstream Marcus Garvey



Cover of Ken Jones edited "Marcus Garvey Said ..." 

by Jean Lowrie-Chin

Observer column published MON 20 August 2018

My son with his bust of Marcus Garvey and
the precious book
Born in Jamaica on August 17, 1887, our first National Hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey took the world stage by storm with an estimated membership of over four million worldwide in his UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association) which he had launched in Jamaica in 1914. There was a groundswell of plaudits on his birthday, stirring my memory of that very special day at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
In a previous column I wrote: “I remember August 17, 2008 when my husband Hubie and I were there for the Olympics.  I remember saying on our way to the Bird’s Nest, “We have to get a Gold for Marcus Garvey’s birthday,” a bit ambitious as we had already scored two Golds and there were rumours that young Shelly-Ann Fraser was not at her fittest. This was her big day – her first Olympic 100-metres final, along with team mates Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart.

We were on our feet even before the starter’s gun, and as they stormed to the finish with our ‘Pocket Rocket’ in the lead, we shouted, “One-Two-Three!” But a Russian looked at the board and shouted back, “No Jamaica!  It is ONE-TWO-TWO!”  Later, as we stood teary-eyed for Jamaica’s National Anthem, two Jamaican flags made their way up the poles, as it had not been even imagined that they would need three.”

I remember returning to the hotel that evening, and clicking on the Marcus Garvey website, only to see a medal in the masthead, and his words, “Look for me in the whirlwind.” Talk about ancestral power!

Garvey urges us to read
Professors and writers have worked to keep Garvey’s philosophy alive, including a compilation by Garvey’s late wife, Amy Jacques Garvey, “The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey”, Ken Jones’ “Marcus Garvey Said …”, Professor Robert Hill’s 12-volume collection, “Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers” which was acquired by Duke University in 2015 along 300 boxes of material which he had begun compiling in 1970, and Professor Rupert Lewis’ publications, including ‘Marcus Garvey’, and “Garvey – Africa, Europe and the Americas”.

In recent conversations with Emprezz Golding and Dr Leahcim Semaj who shares a birthday with the great man, we agreed that if Garvey’s teachings had been mainstreamed since 1962, Jamaica would not be facing the issues of indiscipline and low productivity. I learned only last week from his daughter Justine Henzell, that the late Perry Henzell had written a play on Garvey for his Centenary, and it is among the archives at Liberty Hall. Like Trevor Rhone’s ‘Old Story Time’ this play should be a part of the CSEC syllabus and should be performed all over Jamaica.

With one political administration after the other refusing to fully incorporate Garvey’s works into primary and secondary curriculum, it leads you to wonder if Garvey’s message of dignity and self-reliance is counter to our political culture of conflict and dependence.  No one who recognizes their worth would be hanging out of bus windows on their way to party conferences, chasing down curry goat and T-shirts, and be willing to terrorise those who will not wear the orange or the green.

The challenge to both political parties is therefore a return to Garvey’s teachings and the fraternal collaboration between the founders of their two parties, Sir Alexander Bustamante and N.W. Manley. Jamaicans have become weary of the finger-pointing and yearn for compassionate leadership. How can it be that 30 percent of our population are said to be squatters? Those politicians who have been encouraging this behaviour to shore up votes instead of seeking legitimate housing for their constituents need to be outed.

This is a time for courage, a time when hardworking, decent politicians must stand up to the ones who are painting politics as a dishonorable calling. In 1923, Marcus Garvey wrote, “When Garvey dies, a million Garveys will rise up.” Jamaica is waiting and hoping.


Monday, August 20, 2018

Pope Francis' letter on child sex abuse and cover-ups

Reproduced from www.bbc.com

Today, August 20, 2018, Pope Francis has issued a 2,000 word letter following a new report into clerical child sex abuse in the Catholic Church - here it is in full.

Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis To the People of God

"If one member suffers, all suffer together with it" (1 Cor 12:26). These words of Saint Paul forcefully echo in my heart as I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons. Crimes that inflict deep wounds of pain and powerlessness, primarily among the victims, but also in their family members and in the larger community of believers and nonbelievers alike.
Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated. The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults.

1. If one member suffers…

In recent days, a report was made public which detailed the experiences of at least a thousand survivors, victims of sexual abuse, the abuse of power and of conscience at the hands of priests over a period of approximately seventy years. Even though it can be said that most of these cases belong to the past, nonetheless as time goes on we have come to know the pain of many of the victims. We have realized that these wounds never disappear and that they require us forcefully to condemn these atrocities and join forces in uprooting this culture of death; these wounds never go away.
The heart-wrenching pain of these victims, which cries out to heaven, was long ignored, kept quiet or silenced. But their outcry was more powerful than all the measures meant to silence it, or sought even to resolve it by decisions that increased its gravity by falling into complicity. The Lord heard that cry and once again showed us on which side he stands. Mary's song is not mistaken and continues quietly to echo throughout history. For the Lord remembers the promise he made to our fathers: "he has scattered the proud in their conceit; he has cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty" (Lk 1:51-53).
We feel shame when we realize that our style of life has denied, and continues to deny, the words we recite. With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives. We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.
I make my own the words of the then Cardinal Ratzinger when, during the Way of the Cross composed for Good Friday 2005, he identified with the cry of pain of so many victims and exclaimed: "How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to [Christ]! How much pride, how much self-complacency! Christ's betrayal by his disciples, their unworthy reception of his body and blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer; it pierces his heart. We can only call to him from the depths of our hearts: Kyrie eleison - Lord, save us! (cf. Mt 8:25)" (Ninth Station).

2. …all suffer together with it

The extent and the gravity of all that has happened requires coming to grips with this reality in a comprehensive and communal way. While it is important and necessary on every journey of conversion to acknowledge the truth of what has happened, in itself this is not enough. Today we are challenged as the People of God to take on the pain of our brothers and sisters wounded in their flesh and in their spirit. If, in the past, the response was one of omission, today we want solidarity, in the deepest and most challenging sense, to become our way of forging present and future history.
And this in an environment where conflicts, tensions and above all the victims of every type of abuse can encounter an outstretched hand to protect them and rescue them from their pain (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 228). Such solidarity demands that we in turn condemn whatever endangers the integrity of any person. A solidarity that summons us to fight all forms of corruption, especially spiritual corruption. The latter is "a comfortable and self-satisfied form of blindness. Everything then appears acceptable: deception, slander, egotism and other subtle forms of self-centeredness, for 'even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light' (2 Cor 11:14)" (Gaudete et Exsultate, 165). Saint Paul's exhortation to suffer with those who suffer is the best antidote against all our attempts to repeat the words of Cain: "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Gen 4:9).
I am conscious of the effort and work being carried out in various parts of the world to come up with the necessary means to ensure the safety and protection of the integrity of children and of vulnerable adults, as well as implementing zero tolerance and ways of making all those who perpetrate or cover up these crimes accountable. We have delayed in applying these actions and sanctions that are so necessary, yet I am confident that they will help to guarantee a greater culture of care in the present and future.
Together with those efforts, every one of the baptized should feel involved in the ecclesial and social change that we so greatly need. This change calls for a personal and communal conversion that makes us see things as the Lord does. For as Saint John Paul II liked to say: "If we have truly started out anew from the contemplation of Christ, we must learn to see him especially in the faces of those with whom he wished to be identified" (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 49). To see things as the Lord does, to be where the Lord wants us to be, to experience a conversion of heart in his presence. To do so, prayer and penance will help.
I invite the entire holy faithful People of God to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting, following the Lord's command.[1] This can awaken our conscience and arouse our solidarity and commitment to a culture of care that says "never again" to every form of abuse.
It is impossible to think of a conversion of our activity as a Church that does not include the active participation of all the members of God's People. Indeed, whenever we have tried to replace, or silence, or ignore, or reduce the People of God to small elites, we end up creating communities, projects, theological approaches, spiritualities and structures without roots, without memory, without faces, without bodies and ultimately, without lives.[2]
This is clearly seen in a peculiar way of understanding the Church's authority, one common in many communities where sexual abuse and the abuse of power and conscience have occurred. Such is the case with clericalism, an approach that "not only nullifies the character of Christians, but also tends to diminish and undervalue the baptismal grace that the Holy Spirit has placed in the heart of our people".[3] Clericalism, whether fostered by priests themselves or by lay persons, leads to an excision in the ecclesial body that supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today. To say "no" to abuse is to say an emphatic "no" to all forms of clericalism.
It is always helpful to remember that "in salvation history, the Lord saved one people. We are never completely ourselves unless we belong to a people. That is why no-one is saved alone, as an isolated individual. Rather, God draws us to himself, taking into account the complex fabric of interpersonal relationships present in the human community. God wanted to enter into the life and history of a people" (Gaudete et Exsultate, 6). Consequently, the only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the People of God. This awareness of being part of a people and a shared history will enable us to acknowledge our past sins and mistakes with a penitential openness that can allow us to be renewed from within.
Without the active participation of all the Church's members, everything being done to uproot the culture of abuse in our communities will not be successful in generating the necessary dynamics for sound and realistic change. The penitential dimension of fasting and prayer will help us as God's People to come before the Lord and our wounded brothers and sisters as sinners imploring forgiveness and the grace of shame and conversion. In this way, we will come up with actions that can generate resources attuned to the Gospel. For "whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today's world" (Evangelii Gaudium, 11).
It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable. Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others. An awareness of sin helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion.
Likewise, penance and prayer will help us to open our eyes and our hearts to other people's sufferings and to overcome the thirst for power and possessions that are so often the root of those evils. May fasting and prayer open our ears to the hushed pain felt by children, young people and the disabled. A fasting that can make us hunger and thirst for justice and impel us to walk in the truth, supporting all the judicial measures that may be necessary. A fasting that shakes us up and leads us to be committed in truth and charity with all men and women of good will, and with society in general, to combatting all forms of the abuse of power, sexual abuse and the abuse of conscience.
In this way, we can show clearly our calling to be "a sign and instrument of communion with God and of the unity of the entire human race" (Lumen Gentium, 1).
"If one member suffers, all suffer together with it", said Saint Paul. By an attitude of prayer and penance, we will become attuned as individuals and as a community to this exhortation, so that we may grow in the gift of compassion, in justice, prevention and reparation. Mary chose to stand at the foot of her Son's cross. She did so unhesitatingly, standing firmly by Jesus' side. In this way, she reveals the way she lived her entire life.
When we experience the desolation caused by these ecclesial wounds, we will do well, with Mary, "to insist more upon prayer", seeking to grow all the more in love and fidelity to the Church (SAINT IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA, Spiritual Exercises, 319). She, the first of the disciples, teaches all of us as disciples how we are to halt before the sufferings of the innocent, without excuses or cowardice. To look to Mary is to discover the model of a true follower of Christ.
May the Holy Spirit grant us the grace of conversion and the interior anointing needed to express before these crimes of abuse our compunction and our resolve courageously to combat them.
Vatican City, 20 August 2018


Saturday, August 18, 2018

GG Sir Patrick Allen: “The centre will and must be made to hold.”


His Excellency The Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen delivering the 60th Anniversary Distinguished Public Lecture at the University of Technology Jamaica, Papine Campus on July 12, 2018.

Jamaica Observer column published 16 July 2018

by Jean Lowrie-Chin

As we arrived at UTECH for the institution’s 60th Anniversary Lecture by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, Hubie and I reminisced on our first formal date.  It was several decades before at his CAST (now UTECH) graduation, and here we were almost at the same spot, marveling at the expansion of this great university.

It was a rich Lecture, tracing the history of tertiary education in Jamaica, and the emergence of the digital age. Sir Patrick noted that UTECH “has not only cemented its place on the landscape of the nation, but is producing work-ready graduates, and is the first and only university in the English-speaking Caribbean to
·       have a world-renowned School of Architecture.
·       Is the university with the largest and oldest School of Pharmacy in the region.   
·       Is the only university known anecdotally to be ‘The Home of World Class Athletes’. This makes Jamaica, arguably, the country per capita that produces the best runners in the world.

“Your 60th anniversary theme, ‘Pioneering Past; Bright Future’ aptly summarises and describes your history,” he declared. As he reflected on the benefits as well as the dangers of our digital age, and Vision 2030, Sir Patrick noted, “Having right values is an important component of development.”

Those of us who are concerned about poor governance in our public-sector agencies would do well to consider the Governor General’s resolve that we can overcome these challenges. “We have seen signs of the shaking of the moral foundations which belonged to an earlier time,” he stated. “The combination of easy access to information, the challenge to institutional authority, and the growing acceptance of a post-modern philosophy, when combined, call to mind the book title of the late Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart.”

“We may indeed begin to think that ‘the centre cannot hold’. But it must,” he urged. “Civilization has been through perilous times before, and the human spirit has overcome them. The philosophers speak of a perfection of civilization as we will come to know it …. For us, our obligation must center on the promotion and preservation of quality and excellence. The centre will, and must be made to hold.”

This significant Lecture, posted on the King’s House website (see link below) is well worth a good study.

https://kingshouse.gov.jm/speech/the-university-of-technologys-60th-anniversary-distinguished-lecture-promoting-excellence-to-enhance-development-pioneering-past-bright-future-thursday-july-12-2018/