Friday, September 22, 2017

Tremayne Brown also saved his own life

by Jean Lowrie-Chin
Jamaica Observer column published Monday 18 September 2017

Exhausted from endless reports of violence, Jamaica was energized by the news of the brave Tremayne Brown who jumped into the Trench Town Gully to save young Renaldo Reynolds. We understand from the Jamaica Observer report by Racquel Porter, that Tremayne’s father Stanford Brown is an elder in his Church. It must have been his godly upbringing that helped him to find strength from the prayers of Renaldo when he felt he could go no more.

What are families and the society doing to nurture Tremayne’s life-saving courage in their own children?  Because of his heroism, Tremayne did not save only the life of Renaldo Reynolds – he also saved his own.  The returning migrant, deported from the UK six months ago could only find casual labour at Boys Town. Now his bravery has brought him offers of jobs and financial assistance, as well as a soon-to-be-bestowed National Honour. 

Tremayne’s example of bravery should remind wrong-doers that they also have the ability to change their lives for the better. When I read that after the ZOSO exercise in Mount Salem, St James, scammers were now running like cowards to other parishes, I recalled the words of the late Professor Barry Chevannes.

 “You are human, not animals,” Prof Barry asked me to write in my column published back in 2005. “You have the power of choice. You are not a fly that must breed in the garbage – you can remove yourself from the garbage. Just as you choose to kill, you can choose, not to kill.  You have a human will – you are not programmed to kill.”

We can add – you are not programmed to lie and steal, scam away the livelihood of the elderly and then turn your guns on those who try to steer you away from your wrongs.  Reports are that these scammers are lighting their spliffs with US dollar bills and washing their cars with champagne. This, while missionaries of various churches are sacrificing their lives to care for the poor and abandoned in Jamaica.  Will these criminals, some well-educated, wake up to the stupidity of evil?

We are reminding those who have turned to a life of crime that you are human, you have the choice of pulling yourself out of the garbage. You can save yourselves, instead of running like rats from parish to parish, sleeping with one eye open, and ruining the lives of your own children.

The political representatives of both parties, sworn to serve the people of Jamaica, know more than most of us of the programmes available to help our youth out of the desperation that makes them easy prey for gangs.  Programmes are offered by the Social Development Commission, HEART-NTA, the National Youth Service, PATH.  There are myriad non-governmental and corporate programmes that offer scholarships, funding and mentoring for businesses start-ups. 

Our 63 MPs and over 200 Parish Councillors could guide their constituents in making applications for such programmes.  As I write, I know that there is a multi-million Queen’s Young Leaders fund for applicants who are involved in outreach in vulnerable communities.  Could our representatives set up desks to assist youngsters to apply for these funds?  In fact, it would protect the very MPs from being viewed as community ATMs. Our churches could establish such a service also, again sparing their slim budgets while opening up opportunities for needy members.  

The reason that the Tremayne Brown story has remained in our headlines for so long, is because Jamaica, the home of ‘One Love, One Heart’ is ready to reclaim this as our way of life.  Even as we support ZOSO, we are hoping that before criminals lose their lives in shootouts, they will be persuaded to give themselves up, pay the price for their crimes and free their hearts and their families from the terror of their depraved existence.

Climate Change – deadly reality

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have taken lives and left families in poverty and suffering.  As we see the plight of our neighbours, Cuba, the British and US Virgin Islands, Turks & Caicos and Southern states of the US, it is clear that global warming is not a myth, but a deadly reality. Reports of the deaths of nine residents in what should have been a safe haven, a Florida nursing home, will no doubt press the current US administration to agree to play its part as a signatory to the Paris Agreement.
After participating in an international conference on the environment in Copenhagen in December 2009, Professor Anthony Chen and Ambassador Anthony Hill wrote their ‘Copenhagen Letter’ which was published in the Jamaica Observer.

They wrote: “Make no bones about it: the greenhouse gases emitted by releasing energy from the fossil fuels of oil and gas, the pressure on the declining soil and water resources, the demand for food, minerals and fossil fuels, the pollution of the atmosphere are well beyond the equilibrium-carrying capacity of the earth.”

“In Jamaica,” they continued, “we face myriad threats ranging from sea level rise and droughts to increased incidence of diseases. These threats will increase in proportion to the increase in global warming which in turn depends on the increase in quantity of greenhouse gases emitted by man-made activity. The greatest harm will come to the poor and underprivileged who are less able to adapt to these threats.”

They identified “power generation across the national grid and its consumption by major industrial users” that could make the greatest impact if a low carbon-strategy were implemented and warned, “Climate change with its immense uncertainties and risks ‘threaten human health, disrupt economic activity, damage natural ecosystems irreversibly, and even (in worst-case scenarios) lead to mass migration, food shortage, and other global humanitarian crises’.” 
If the environmental initiatives of several local corporations and schools became the norm, rather than the exception, perhaps we would have saved those metres of beach that have been lost at Hellshire and other parts of our coastline.

It is not too late to take Professor Chen’s and Ambassador Hill’s research on board, but the window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

VPA Peace Day this Thursday

Dr Elizabeth Ward, Chairman of the Board of the Violence Prevention Alliance says the organisation will be observing Peace Day this Thursday, September 21 with activities in various schools.  We hope that educators throughout Jamaica will visit the Violence Prevention Alliance Facebook page and share their ideas with their students. 

CCRP Living Legacy Awards

It has been announced that 11 Jamaicans from various walks of life will be honoured at the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) Living Legacy Awards event later this month.   They are: Nurse Marie Clemetson, Noel Dexter, Michael Fennell, Leonie Forbes, Cecile Jarrett, Norman Jarrett, Horace Levy, Professor Mervyn Morris, Major General (Ret’d) Robert Neish, Clembert N Powell and Patricia ‘Patsy’ Ricketts. Congratulations!


Monday, August 28, 2017

Journey from Bolt-fest to Barcelona

Emotional Farewell Tribute to Legend Usain Bolt at IAAF
World Games, London 2017
Column published in the Jamaica Observer - Monday 28 August 2017

by Jean Lowrie-Chin

I warmed to the sight of our beautiful mountains, as our flight from London made its approach to the Norman Manley Airport.  This time I said a special prayer of thanksgiving, as we had seen the evil face of terrorism just three days before.


We were visiting Barcelona after the IAAF World Games in London, the home of my husband’s favourite football club, his beloved Barça, and so that sunny Thursday, August 17, we visited their headquarters at Joan Camper.  And the end of the tour, I commented on the happy buzz of Las Ramblas from our visit the day before and suggested that we return there to eat. “No, too crowded,” said Hubie, a response that probably saved our lives.
Just a couple of hours later, we heard loud sirens and saw ambulances and police cars whizzing past us. “Ataque terrorista!” said an agitated souvenir vendor with her cell phone to her ear. A few streets away from us, a coldhearted terrorist had driven a van, zigzagging through the Las Ramblas median killing 13 persons, including a small child and injuring over 100.
My photo and message of solidarity
with Barcelona
The city went into shutdown – there was no metro and taxis were not stopping to pick up anyone as the attackers were still at large. We walked for two hours, trying to find transportation, slipping behind trees and columns whenever we saw a van or truck approaching, knowing that these attacks sometimes happen in clusters. We found out later that it was indeed the cynical plan of the crazed terrorists who had been preparing multiple gas cylinders at a house the previous night. The plan backfired as there was an explosion that destroyed the house and killed two persons including the vile Imam who had radicalized the youth in a small town called Ripoll, 85 miles away from Barcelona and formed a terrorist cell.   
As we watched the reports of death and injury at Las Ramblas, we mourned the innocent victims who like us, were enjoying a family holiday. We joined with the citizens and visitors who refused to cower and decided to continue our touring the next day.  We joined the line to visit the exquisite Sagrada Familia Basilica, and prayed the Rosary.   
On our return to Jamaica, we visited the Embassy of Spain to sign the condolence book, and spoke with the gracious Ambassador Josep Maria Bosch Bessa, who is himself a native of Barcelona. We shared with him our experiences, noting that despite the tragedy, his city continued to radiate courage, peace and warmth.  May we work to rekindle this loving humanity that is at the centre of every human being so that terrorism will find no harbour in any heart.
Our children’s safety
As we caught up with the local news, it was clear that we have very serious challenges to our efforts to achieve Vision 2030. The better off among us may be able to lock themselves away from the terror in our inner cities, but that desperation we felt as we tried to find our way back to our hotel, is felt every day by the decent people in our high-risk areas throughout the country.  It is sickening that 35 children have been murdered since the beginning of the year, including the bright young Mickolle Moulton of Meadowbrook High who did not live to find out that she had attained a total of 10 CSEC subjects and that she was a candidate for Head girl of the school.
Before it gets any worse, let us acknowledge that we are just 3 million in a small country that is highly fixable.  If every single politician on both sides commits to put country before party, Jamaica would be transformed tomorrow.  If they used even half the energy they expend on campaigning, we would have a safer Jamaica.  If our church leaders would join together and activate an islandwide plan to do as Jesus did, engage the poor and the lost, what a country we could build. The same goes for leaders in other spheres of national life where corruption is virtually a given and ego-tripping gets more play than productivity. If crimes are being committed by a minority, that is a damning judgment on the majority.
Our family at the QE Stadium in Stratford
Bolt-powered Brand Jamaica
We don’t seem to appreciate the Bolt-powered Brand Jamaica and its potential to lift those who are desperately seeking employment and a better way of life.  There were countless queries about where we bought our Jamaica jackets (yes, London was indeed chilly).  The plan to open 15 Usain Bolt Tracks & Records (UBTR) is marked for success.
Hubie and I were at the 2012 Beijing Olympics when Usain Bolt emerged as a star of the track. Countless folks from various countries asked to take photos with us and our flag.  Last year we journeyed to Rio and Bolt rewarded us with his superlative triple-treble – there we were outside the Rio Stadium, singing ‘One Love’ with Daddy Bolt!
As usual, for London we stocked up with Jamaican souvenirs so anyone who said anything kind to us about Jamaica, we would give them a token of our appreciation.  Luckily we had many, because the shouts of “Jamaica! Bolt!” were numerous. 
Jamaica, please know that our Usain St. Leo Bolt had much to do with those packed stands at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium in Stratford.  On entering the Stadium, there were only two flags being hawked: British and Jamaican.  Moreover, there were Usain Bolt scarves selling like hot bread and there were Bolt billboards everywhere.
Please know that the world’s love for our Usain has not diminished. Indeed, the 100 metre bronze and that heart-breaking injury in the 4x100 metre event, created even more empathy for our Legend because of his dignified response.  He congratulated Gatlin with grace, and he refused a wheelchair after the relay mishap, so he could walk across the finish line with his teammates.
The farewell tribute to Bolt and his gestures of gratitude on his final circuit around the London Stadium were met with thunderous applause and tears.  He is loved, not only for his phenomenal world records, but also for his warm personality, nurtured by his loving upbringing.  Mr and Mrs Bolt are models of parenting, and his mentor Norman Peart and coach Glen Mills are positive role models for our star.

There are so many promising Jamaican youngsters, just waiting for us to move the clouds out of their lives so they can shine like Bolt.  We must come together and give them that chance.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Statement on the Murder of Mickolle Moulton

August 9, 2017

 

Statement on the Murder of Mickolle Moulton

As Jamaican women, we the undersigned members of the 51% Coalition wish to express our deep shock and anger at the murder of 17 year-old Mickolle Moulton, a girl who had her whole life ahead of her and a promising future, and the wounding of her 12 year-old sister, who is still fighting for her life in hospital. We condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms, and trust that the perpetrators will be brought to justice as speedily as possible. 

 

We express our deepest sympathies to the mother, sister and family of Mickolle and share in their grief. We wish Mickolle's sister a speedy recovery from her injuries.

 

We see the issues surrounding crime and violence as a public health emergency, not only for our women and girls, but for all community members, including men and boys, the young, senior citizens and the disabled and especially vulnerable populations.

 

Mickolle's tragic death should underline the urgency of the situation and the particular vulnerability of women and girls to all forms of violence. While many women's human rights groups have raised awareness on this issue, much more remains to be done. We must actively support all the efforts of communities and organizations towards building more respectful and equitable relationships among women and girls, men and boys. 

 

The Child Development Agency (CDA) reports that the average age of alleged male perpetrators is 14 - 17 years. Many of these boys experience disturbing mental health problems, associated with trauma from experiences with physical violence. We suggest that additional resources be found to address the range of mental health problems faced by women, their families and children - both girls and boys.

 

Additionally, boys and men must actively take part in violence reduction and gender equity programmes. We must build a nation where women, girls, boys and men are valued equally and a strong sense of justice, fairness, equality, and integrity prevails. All Jamaicans, including our political leaders, must consider violence against women as a priority. 

 

Many women's organisations are engaged, in the face of great challenges, in helping to address the vast needs of vulnerable communities. We wish to restate our commitment to continuing this effort, in partnership with other agencies and communities.  We hope to see practical and sustainable community development initiatives from the government and private sector, which can meaningfully engage wider partnerships on a non-partisan basis. 

 

We urge the community to tell what they know, cooperate with the police and help bring the murderer/s of Mickolle to justice. 

 

Individuals:

Jeanette Calder

Marcia Forbes

Joan Grant Cummings

Emma Lewis

Jean Lowrie-Chin

Indi McLymont Lafayette

Carol Narcisse

Judith Wedderburn 


Organizations:

WMW Jamaica

Women's Resource and Outreach Centre

 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

UTech, Jamaica Presents Final Report on “Research on Regulatory Treatment of Small Cable Operators”

Members of the UTech, Jamaica and Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica teams (from left) -  Prof. Stephen Vasciannie, President, UTech, Ja., Prof. Anthony Clayton, Chairman, Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica, Mr. Cordell Green, Executive Director, Broadcasting Commission, Mrs Jodi-Ann Jackson, Project Manager, Broadcasting Commission, Dr. Valoris Smith, Lecturer, COBAM and project lead researcher, Mr. Sydney Lowrie, Lecturer, FELS and communication specialist on the research team, and Mr. Okeeto DaSilva, Attorney-at-law and legal consultant on the research project team.

On a personal note .. 
My brother Sydney 'Tony' Lowrie who was a researcher on the Project, noted: 'The research and recommendations considered the importance of providing communication and media services to areas that are under-served as well as the  promotion of media literacy, provision of internship programmes for students, and facilitation for the development and broadcast of local content.'
I can attest to the importance of small cable operators with whom we have collaborated on such projects as Voter Registration. They have influence in their communities and deserve this recognition. Well done team UTECH!

Press Release from UTECH 


The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech, Ja.) on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, formally presented the final report of a consultancy research project undertaken for the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica, examining the regulatory treatment of small cable operators in Jamaica.
The project, Research on the Regulatory Treatment of Small Cable Operators, was conducted by a multi-disciplinary expert team led by Dr. Valoris Smith,Lecturer, College of Business and Management (COBAM), Mr. Sydney Lowrie, Lecturer, Faculty of Education and Liberal Studies, and external attorney-at-law, Mr. Okeeto DaSilva. UTech, Jamaica was selected by the Broadcasting Commission in 2016 to participate in a competitive bid to undertake the research work.
In providing an overview of the project, Dr. Smith explained that the research was undertaken to provide findings and to make recommendations to the Broadcasting Commission on how the Subscriber Television (STV) operators within Jamaica should be regulated in relation to a tiered regulatory system.  The main focus of the research was on regulatory treatment of small STV cable operators.  The research included analysing large, medium and small STV operators with a view to considering a broader regulatory strategy to help to mature the STV industry.  Currently, Jamaica does not have a tiered regulatory STV system.
The researchers provided recommendations on regulatory and geographical boundary considerations related to the tiered regulatory system and various incentives to benefit the entire industry and in particular the small-sized STV operators. 
In receiving the report, Chairman of the Broadcasting Commission,Prof. Anthony Claytonunderscored the Commission's objective of ensuring fair competition on a "level playing field" within the subscriber television industry.  Prof. Clayton said "the only way we can actually help to level the playing field is by looking for ways that we could reduce the cost and burden of regulatory compliance in Jamaica." 
"Highly Policy Relevant"
He pointed out that many small operators serve areas which are not economically attractive to other players, adding that putting them out of business would not result in a better provider, but in no provider at all. "We realised that what we need is to make the divisions more explicit and to build in a strong incentive to improve," he asserted.  The Chairman thanked UTech, Jamaica for the research which he noted is "highly policy relevant" and provides a good foundation "on the exact model we are going to choose."
President, UTech, Jamaica,Professor Stephen Vascianniecongratulated the research team led by Dr. Valoris Smith and the School of Graduate Studies, Research and Entrepreneurship with Mr. Martin Henry as Project Manager for the coordinating role played in securing and managing the consultancy project. 
Prof. Vasciannie in welcoming the research partnership with the Broadcasting Commission said that "I think all of Jamaica will welcome the thrust by the Broadcasting Commission to facilitate the survival of small cable operators in the context of a more sophisticated and organised approach to regulation."  He added that the research "now paves the way for the Commission to utilize good evidenced-based data in pursuit of legislative amendments to facilitate the recommended three-tiered regulatory system for the STV industry." 
  
Corporate Communications Unit
Advancement Division
University of Technology, Jamaica
Photos: IMS, Calvin McKain Library
July 25, 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017

UCC confers honorary degree on businessman Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson


ACCOMPLISHED businessman Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson received an honorary degree from the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC) at its 2017 commencement ceremony yesterday where he delivered the keynote address.

Hendrickson was conferred with the degree of Doctor of Business, Honoris Causa, in recognition of his achievements in business and industry. He is chief executive officer of Continental Baking Company Limited (National) and has been a member of the American Society of Bakery Engineers for 30 years. He also operates the Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa in St Lucia – an all-inclusive, 254-room hotel.

Hendrickson is the chairman of the board at the EXIM Bank, a member of the board of directors of the Bank of Jamaica, and member of the boards of Rainforest Seafoods Ltd as well as Stationery & Office Supplies Ltd. In addition, he is a vice-president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica.

He also sits on The King's House Foundation and serves as president of the Council of Voluntary Social Services. His many awards include recipient of TheJamaica Observer Business Leader Award 2016, and induction into the PSOJ Hall of Fame in 2016.

The UCC commencement ceremony was held on Sunday, July 23 at the National Arena where approximately 600 graduating students received diplomas for successfully completing a range of master's and bachelor's degree programmes, along with other certifications



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Kathleen Johnson: Jamaica's PR trailblazer

The cover of the Programme for Kathleen's Thanksgiving
Service.

Farewell dear Kathleen! Members of Woman Inc, of which Kathleen was
a Founding Member formed a Guard of Honour for their beloved colleague.

Members of the PR fraternity are mourning one of our trailblazers, the insightful, dedicated Kathleen Johnson. Kathleen was a dynamic founding member of the PRSJ and a legend at Desnoes & Geddes Ltd. 
Later she started her own PR company KJ Associates and did yeoman's service for the Jamaica Society for the Blind. She was also a passionate supporter of Woman Inc.  Journalist Rowena Christene King has noted, "She was a PR stalwart and pioneer. She was a Founding Member of Woman Inc. She gave so much ... Eternal Rest Kathy." 
Kathleen inspired her younger colleagues - we noted her dignity, professionalism and forthright manner. She was a woman of high principles. We are grateful that Kathleen Johnson brought so much respect to the PR profession. Our thoughts and prayers are with her beloved family. 
May Her Beautiful Soul Rest in Peace.

Below is a tribute from the PR Society of Jamaica:
Dear Colleagues,
We pause to note the passing today, July 11, of Honorary Member of the PRSJ, Miss Kathleen Johnson, and express condolences to her family.
In her pioneering role as the first Public Relations Officer, promoted to Manager, at Desnoes and Geddes from 1968 - 1984, Miss Johnson was a business leader who was also a dedicated volunteer. 
On retirement, she ran her own boutique PR consultancy until a few years ago.
Kathleen was an exemplar of how to connect the related business streams of public relations, marketing, sponsorship management, media relations and community relations, thereby vaulting the role of business communicator into the corporate boardroom as well as staying relevant on the sports playing field  and  at the domino table. She is the recipient of the Prime Minister's Medal for Community Service in the Field of Sports.
Kathleen was the Founding Secretary when the PRSJ was formed in 1981, and she later served for more than 20 years as the Treasurer of the society. Her dedication helped to ensure that the PRSJ was financially viable as it undertook the nurturing of a generation of professional communicators. 
Kathleen's last contribution to the PRSJ was an article in the August 2013 edition of the society newsletter PR Brief. A link to that article is set out below. Do take a refreshing dip in her recollections.
Volunteerism, a great way of living.
"When you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve." said Nobel Laureate Ernest Hemingway in A Farewell to Arms
We remember Kathleen as she communicates to us, her own farewell to arms.

Regards,
PRSJ 
 






Saturday, July 8, 2017

Top 20 Jamaican 🇯🇲 High Schools

Congratulations to Jamaica's Top Twenty High Schools. As a Roman Catholic - represented by only 2 percent of Jamaica's population - I am delighted that 25 percent including the top two schools, was founded by our Church. 

As a Convent of Mercy 'Alpha' alumna, I am happy that my school is showing significant improvement - moving up from #18 to #15. 

NB - #1 Campion College's Principal, Grace Baston is a Convent of Mercy 'Alpha' alumna ☺️ - Ad Verum et Bonum! 

Campion College (100%)
2017 ranking: 1
2016 ranking: 2

Immaculate Conception High (99.9%)
2017 ranking: 2
2016 ranking: 1

Montego Bay High School for Girls (98.2%)
2017 ranking: 3
2016 ranking: 3

Westwood High (97.7%)
2017 ranking: 4
2016 ranking: 7

Hampton High (97.09%)
2017 ranking: 5
2016 ranking: 6

St Andrew High for Girls (97%)
2017 ranking: 6
2016 ranking: 11

Wolmer's Girls (96.9%)
2017 ranking: 7
2016 ranking: 4

St Hilda's Diocesan (96.7)
2017 ranking: 8
2016 ranking: 4

Mannings School (95.86%)
2017 ranking: 9
2016 ranking: 5

Wolmer's Boys (94.93%)
2017 ranking: 10
2016 ranking: 14

York Castle High (94.7%)
2017 ranking: 11
2016 ranking: 16

Glenmuir High (93.1%)
2017 ranking: 12
2016 ranking: 8

Belmont Academy (93%)
2017 ranking: 13
2016 ranking: 32

Ardenne High (92.4)
2017 ranking: 14
2016 ranking: 13

Covenant of Mercy Academy Alpha (92%)
2017 ranking: 15
2016 ranking: 18

Knox College (91%)
2017 ranking: 16
2016 ranking: 12

Bishop High School for Girls (90.8%)
2017 ranking: 17
2016 ranking: 10

Mount Alvernia High (90.49%)
2017 ranking: 18
2016 ranking: 15

Manchester High School (89.4%)
2017 ranking: 19
2016 ranking: 27

Holy Childhood High School (88.14%)
2017 ranking: 20
2016 ranking: 17

From May 2017 report in the Jamaica Gleaner