Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Press Association Calls for Immediate Investigation into Assault on Newspaper Photographer by Police

I am distressed to hear of this assault on my gentle colleague, Gleaner photographer Rudolph Brown. I wish him a speedy recovery. Below is a Statement from PAJ President Dionne Jackson-Miller.

Press Association Calls for Immediate Investigation into Assault on Newspaper Photographer by Police

February 14, 2018: The Press Association of Jamaica is calling on the Police High Command and INDECOM to launch an immediate investigation into reports of an unprovoked assault by the police on newspaper photographer Rudolph Brown on Tuesday, February 13, 2018.

Mr. Brown has reported to us that while in the Cross Roads area, he witnessed a commotion apparently caused by attempts by the police to arrest a man. He started to use his phone to record the incident. On being told to stop by the police sergeant on location, he says he clearly identified himself as a member of the media, both verbally and by showing his company ID card which was around his neck.

Mr. Brown says he continued to record the proceedings and heard the police sergeant tell a constable to pepper spray him. He says the police constable sprayed pepper spray directly into his eyes, causing him severe pain and distress, which continued for hours and worsened later in the evening.

The Press Association of Jamaica condemns unequivocally this blatant abuse of force by the police, and calls for an immediate investigation and response by the Police High Command and INDECOM.

Dionne Jackson Miller



"A Free Press, Oxygen of Democracy"

Jean Lowrie-Chin

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Solidarity with Yugge Farrell

Solidarity with Yugge Farrell: Regional Statement Amend the Mental Health Act of St. Vincent and the Grenadines NOW 

We the undersigned, condemn in the strongest possible terms, the persecution and mistreatment of Ms. Yugge Farrell by the legal, medical, and political authorities of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We are in full solidarity with Ms. Farrell and those Vincentians who stand with her.
Ms. Farrell was arrested on January 4th, 2018 and charged with the use of abusive language to Karen Duncan- Gonsalves, the wife of Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves and daughter-in-law of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. After pleading not guilty, an application was made by the prosecutor for Ms. Farrell to be confined to the Mental Health Centre for two weeks for psychiatric evaluation, as allowed under the nation’s Mental Health Act. 

However, according to a statement issued by the St. Vincent and Grenadines Human Rights Association (SVG HRA) - an independent Civil Society Organization - there was no apparent supporting evidence or behavior by Ms. Farrell which warranted the prosecutor and magistrate seeking and deciding to commit Ms. Farrell to the Mental Health Center. Furthermore, it appears that medication was administered to Ms. Farrell although the Mental Health Act only speaks to observation and evaluation of persons and does not include any mechanism to oversee involuntary admission and treatment practices. Also problematic is the fact that the Mental Health Center does not currently have trained psychiatrists or psychologists on staff. After the initial observation period passed, Ms. Farrell was detained for a third week and only released on bail on January 29th, 2018. 

The mistreatment of Yugge Farrell raises several serious concerns about the probable abuse of the existing Mental Health Act of St Vincent and the Grenadines. We ask- is commitment to a mental institution for use of insulting language a regular occurrence in SVG? We join the SVG HRA in questioning the validity of the observation report and treatment administered to Ms. Farrell. We note the alleged romantic relationship that Ms. Farrell has publicly claimed with Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves and caution those who rush to dismiss this incident as simply a matter of ‘love gone bad’ to reflect on the fact that state entities can easily use the excuse of mental instability to vilify, discredit, and institutionalize any critic or person(s) deemed a threat or embarrassment to the established political order.  

As human rights defenders, feminists, and persons who care about well-being and justice in the Caribbean and beyond, we condemn the actions of the judicial and medical authorities of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and their violation of the rights of Ms. Yugge Farrell. We deplore the misuse of mental health policies to oppress individuals and advance goals other than the safeguarding of wellness. Now that Ms. Farrell’s detention in the Mental Health Center has ended, we support calls for an investigation into the decision to detain and medicate her. We support her family members and demand independent medical and psychiatric care for her. 

We stand with the St. Vincent Human Rights Association who urge an immediate review and modification of the existing Mental Health Act so that it becomes compliant with international norms and standards to prevent abuses and protect human rights. 

Finally, we remind the government and authorities of St. Vincent and the Grenadines of their commitment to ensure their citizens’ right to free speech and protection from state persecution. The eyes of the world are watching you.  

There must be no more violations of the rights of Yugge Farrell or any other Vincentian. Amend the Mental Health Act of St. Vincent and the Grenadines now. 

In solidarity, 
1. Andaiye – Guyana 
2. Karen De Souza – Red Thread, Guyana 
3. Sherlina Nageer MPH – Guyana 
4. D. Alissa Trotz – Canada 
5. Jospehine Whitehead – Guyana 
6. Angelique V. Nixon – Trinidad and Tobago 
7. Gordon Forte – Guyana 
8. Delores Robinson – GROOTS, Trinidad and Tobago 
9. Tonya Haynes – Barbados 
10. Gina Singh-Trotz – USA 
11. Akola Thompson – Guyana 
12. Anya Dover – Guyana 
13. Indera Persaud – Jamaica 
14. Maya Trotz – USA 
15. Ronelle King – Barbados 
16. Julio Thijs – Canada 
17. Verna St Rose Greaves – Trinidad and Tobago 
18. Dr Nastassia Rambarran – Barbados 
19. Mellissa Ifill – Guyana 
20. Salima Bacchus-Hinds – Guyana 
21. Fatimah Jackson-Best – Canada 
22. Charlene Wilkinson – Guyana 
23. Stephanie Leitch – Womantra, Trinidad and Tobago 
24. Krysta Bisnauth – Guyana 
25. David Khan – Canada 
26. Mosa Telford – Guyana 
27. Jessica Joseph – Trinidad/ St. Lucia 
28. Paige Jennan Andrew – WE-Change, Jamaica
29. Kimalee Phillip – Grenada/ Canada 
30. Lana Finikin – Jamaica 
31. Romola Lucas – USA 
32. Nailah John-Price – Leave Out Violence in SVG, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
33. Shanya Cordis – Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Spelman College, USA 
34. Marcus Day – St. Lucia 
35. Zina Edwards – Guyana
 36. Karen Philip – Trinidad and Tobago 
37. Savitri Persaud – Canada 
38. Roy Kingston – Guyana 
39. Simone Leid – The Women Speak Project, Trinidad and Tobago
40. Ayesha Constable – Jamaica 
41. Kala Ramnath – UK 
42. Oluatoyin Alleyne – Guyana 
43. Naicelis Rozema Elkins – USA 
44. Maggie Schmeitz – Stichting Ultimate Purpose, Suriname
45. Alicia Wallace – Equality Bahamas/Hollaback, Barbados 
46. Derwayne Willis – Guyana 
47. Gerhard Ramsaroop – Guyana 
48. Raquel Thomas- Caesar – Guyana
49. Vidyaratha Kisson – Guyana 
50. Dawn Van Rossum – Antigua and Barbuda 
51. Shonnet Moore – Guyana 52. Lauricia Akeisha Henry – Antigua 53. Michelle Springer – Barbados 54. Chantal Antoine – USA 55. Holly Bynoe – ARC Magazine, St. Vincent and the Grenadines 56. Hilary Nicholson – Video for Change, Jamaica 57. Vashty Maharaj – Central Beat magazine, Trinidad and Tobago 58. Tandieka Johnson – USA 59. Reine Joseph – St. Lucia  60. Peggy Antrobus – St. Vincent and the Grenadines 61. Honor Ford Smith – Canada/ Jamaica 62. Alexandrina Wong – Antigua 63. Marlon Mills – St. Vincent and the Grenadines 64. Marguerite Allen – Jamaica Community of Positive Women, Jamaica 65. Vanessa Lumbley – Jamaica Community of Positive Women, Jamaica 66. Shaneka Allen – Jamaica Community of Positive Women, Jamaica 67. Althea Cohen – Jamaica Community of Positive Women, Jamaica 68. Olive Edwards – Jamaica Community of Positive Women, Jamaica 69. Eunice Graham – Jamaica 70. Beverly Bain – Canada/ Trinidad 71. Jean Lowrie-Chin – Jamaica 72. Erin Greene, CAFRA – Bahamas 73. Ann Maria Diran – Suriname 74. Marsha Hinds-Layne – NOW, Barbados 75. Maria Fontenelle – ECADE, Eastern Caribbean 76. Randall Theodule – St. Lucia 77. Majhon John – Mental Health Provider, USA 78. Maxine Allen – St. Vincent and the Grenadines 79. Cherrise Mcdowall – St. Vincent and the Grenadines 80. Jermain Ostiana – Curacao 81. Diane Cummins – Conscious Exchanges, Barbados 82. Nicole S. Hendrickson – Firecircle!, Trinidad and Tobago 83. Judith Wedderburn – Jamaica 84. Keturah Cecelia Babb – Order of Nyahbinghi, Dominica/ Jamaica 85. Sendy Brown – Canada 86. Arielle Aska – Antigua 87. Patricia Sheerettan-Bisnauth – Guyana 88. Sharda Ganga – PROJECKTA Citizens’ Initiative for Participation and Good Governance, Suriname 89. Mark Jacobs – Guyana 90. Nadeen Spence – Jamaica 91. Nesha Edwards – St. Vincent and the Grenadines 92. Catherine Sealys – Raise Your Voice, St. Lucia 93. Jamela Khan – Trinidad and Tobago 94. Carinya Sharples – Guyana 95. Priscila Francisco Pascoal – Brazil 96. Audrey Roberts – Bahamas
97. Emma Lewis – Jamaica 98. Ruth Osman Rose – Trinidad and Tobago 99. Beverly Nelson – Grenada 100. N’Delamiko Lord – Trinidad/ Barbados 101. Melissa Matthews – Trinidad and Tobago 102. Linnette Vassell – Jamaica 103. Bridget Lewis – Canada 104. Joan French – Jamaica 105. Ulelli Verbeke – Guyana 106. Jean La Rose – Guyana 107. Robert Cuffy – USA 108. Mark Moseley – Guyana 109. Derek Gomes – Guyana 110. Elton McRae – Guyana 111. Andrew Campbell – Guyana 112. John Shevrattan – Canada 113. Shayla Murrell – Barbados 114. Colin Robinson – CAISO, Trinidad and Tobago 115. Sasha Robinson – USA 116. Lisa Outar – USA 117. Bianca Wagner – Bahamas 118. Louby Georges – Rights Bahamas, Bahamas 119. Stephanie Stfleur – Rights Bahamas, Bahamas 120. Jackson Petit – Bahamas 121. Granville Knight – Jamaica 122. Jasmin Renee Wu – JRW Foundation, Trinidad and Tobago 123. Huiming Wu – JRW Foundation, Trinidad and Tobago 124. Celine Leid – JRW Foundation, Trinidad and Tobago 125. Ava Turnquest – Bahamas 126. Kevon Mc Kenna – Trinidad and Tobago 127. Winy Marango – Vanutu 128. Aroona Ramsahai – Trinidad and Tobago 129. Kenene Senior – Jamaica 130. Jean-Claude Cournand – 2 Cents Movement, Trinidad and Tobago 131. Mavis Mainu – Ghana 132. Soyini Ayanna Forde – Trinidad and Tobago 133. Alysia Christiani – USA 134. Namela Baynes-Henry – Rainbow House, Guyana 135. Tamisha Lee – Jamaica 136. Natalie Bennett – USA 137. Jamal Gilbert – Guyana 138. Rupa Singh – Guyana 139. Henna Guicherit – Foundation Women’s Rights Center, Suriname 140. Sandra Latibeaudiere – Jamaica 141. Shirley Pryce – Jamaica Household Workers Union, Jamaica 142. Marion Bethel – Bahamas 143. Carol Narcisse – Jamaica 144. Nadia Sagar – Guyana
145. Peta- Anne Baker – UWI, Jamaica 146. Ruel Johnson – Guyana 147. Nan Peacocke – Guyana/ St. Vincent and the Grenadines/ Canada 148. Roslyn John – St. Vincent and the Grenadines/ Canada 149. Norwell Hinds – Guyana 150. Thomas Eugene – St. Lucia 151. Delven Adams – Guyana 152. Halimah DeShong – St. Vincent and the Grenadines 153. Bianca Wagner – Equality Bahamas, Bahamas 154. Ashlee Burnett – The 2 Cents Movement, Trinidad and Tobago 155. Crystal Brizan – CAFRA, Trinidad and Tobago 156. Danuta Radzik – Guyana 157. Adriana Sandrine Isaac-Rattan – International Women's Resource Network (IWRN), Trinidad and Tobago 158. Jacqueline Hughes – Trinidad and Tobago 159. Terrence Blackman – Guyana 160. Japhet Jackman – Guyana 161. Margo King – St. Vincent and the Grenadines/ Canada 162. Alana Benjamin - Antigua & Barbuda 163. Natasha Yhap – Guyana 164. Clairmont Mali Chung – Stateless 165. Dianne Madray – Let The Women Speak, Guyana 166. Brenda Greaves – St. Vincent and the Grenadines 167. Sebastian Prescod – Canada 168. Sally Erdle – St. Vincent and the Grenadines 169. Maxine Allen – Canada 170. Sharon Watkis – USA 171. Lilian Ferrier – Foundation for Human Development, Suriname 172. M. Jacqui Alexander – Trinidad and Tobago 173. Heather. Y Deane – Past Chairman Mental Health Commission of Barbados, Barbados 174. Help and Shelter – Guyana 175. Leith Dunn – Jamaica 176. Vanda Radzik – Women’s Rights Advocate, Guyana 177. Florence Goldson – Belize 178. Indranie Deyal – Trinidad and Tobago 179. Wintress White – Red Thread, Guyana 180. Joy Marcus – Red Thread, Guyana 181. Halima Khan – Red Thread, Guyana  182. Vanessa Ross - Red Thread, Guyana 183. Susan Collymore – Grassroots Women Across Race (GWAR), Guyana 184. Paul Anthony Odell 185. Joel Simpson – SASOD, Guyana 186. Ann Harvey – Guyana 187. Andrea Weekes – Leave Out Violence Now St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Canada 188. Dennis Atwell – Guyana 189. Letitia Pratt – Bahamas 190. Shorna James – Canada 191. Amory Cumberbatch – USA 192. Jeanette Campbell – Jamaica

193. Sylvia Baker – Bahamas 194. Kristina Hinds – Barbados 195. Nicole Charles – Canada 196. Kaneesha Parsard – USA 197. R. Cassandra Lord – Canada 198. Yusuf Hafejee – Barbados 199. Gabrielle Hosein – Trinidad and Tobago 200. Gralyn Frazier – The Bahamas 201. Susan Mains – Grenada 202. Leslieann Seegobin – Trinidad and Tobago 203. Chelsea Foster – Girls of A Feather, St. Lucia 204. Paul Anthony O’Dell – USA 205. Roberta Clarke – Trinidad and Tobago  206. Kaylorn Jones – USA 207. Marijke Sonneveld – Projekta, Suriname 208. Antonia Meinecke – Germany 209. Jennifer Grant Wilson – USA 210. Mark Dacosta – Guyana 211. Marilyn Rice-Bowen – Past President, Caribbean Women’s Association 212. Vanya Martha David – Dominica 213. Peter Lyte – USA 214. Nathilee Caldeira – USA 215. Foundation Womens’ Rights Center- Suriname 216. Jemma John 217. Rosie Descartes 218. Coreen Irving 219. Tamara J Savoury 220. Cordelia Goodluck 221. Joan Cuffie 222. Ernestine Watson 223. Malaika Slater 224. Summer Lewis-Clarke 225. Cathy Shepherd 226. Shanta Grant 227. Kwame Nkosi Romeo 228. Marcia Braveboy 229. Jennifer Grant-Wilson 230. Jecliz Walker

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Olympian efforts to make Jamaica a place of safety

Observer column for MON 22 JAN 2018
by Jean Lowrie-Chin

The generous  Jamaican Olympic Legend Usain Bolt committed J$1 million to the
rebuilding of Walker's Place of Safety

I can write volumes about our experience thirty years ago with a so-called ‘place of safety’ for children. We had decided to adopt a second child and were told that we could visit the baby boy who was being kept at a ‘place of safety’ until our home could be passed for his relocation as the first step of the process.

We fell in love with the sweet four-week-old, and were concerned that he was so congested and that he was not being changed often enough.  We were permitted to take him to the doctor and filled his prescription.  We brought the medicine, diapers and other items to ensure that he was well supplied.
You can imagine our distress when we discovered by the next day that all the items including the medicine had been stolen.  We had to visit more frequently to give him his regular dosage and change him ourselves.

The facility was a disgrace – we learned to jump up the steps quickly because they were crawling with insects at night.  We were relieved when we could finally take our baby home, so sick that over the next three months he had to be on several courses of antibiotics.

We felt sorry for the manager of the home, a nurse who seemed frustrated in her efforts to manage the staff. Within that year, perhaps due to our and other complaints, that so-called ‘place of safety’, located on the lower end of Lady Musgrave Road was closed.

For us, the story has a happy ending, as our son Noel, now a protective six-footer and a manager in our business, is looking forward to the celebration of his 30th birthday this week.

For Anna Kay Moreland and Anika McCrea, who perished in the fire at the Walker’s Place of Safety last week, their story had the most tragic of endings.  The wringing of hands reminds us of what followed the fire at the Armadale Correctional Centre in 2009 which took the lives of seven teenaged girls.
We are not judging the staff at Walker’s Place of Safety, because we understand that some of these institutions can barely make ends meet with the resources they have.  However, we must judge ourselves who call ourselves leaders in this country.  Whether we are members of the private or public sector, we have to become more committed and passionate about the well-being of our fellow Jamaicans, particularly the most vulnerable of our citizens.

Too little is being done and too slowly – it is up to us to push the envelope on child safety. The donations are important, but these should be followed up with urgent action.  The victims of the Armadale fire had to wait seven long years before damages were awarded. 

‘we are at war with ourselves’

If we do not look to the protection of our children, whether in institutions, at home, in school or on the street, we will never be able to solve Jamaica’s crime problem. If children are ill-treated, we cannot expect humane behaviour from them when they become adults.

In his stirring message at last week’s National Leadership Prayer Breakfast, Rev. Astor Carlyle noted: “Warm and generous are the words our visitors use to describe us, but the homicide figures show that we are at war with ourselves.”

He challenged Jamaicans to move out of their self-serving comfort zones: “when institutions and office bearers of healing and accompaniment misappropriate the trust vested in us to satisfy our selfish lust, then we are a people at odds with ourselves indeed .. a daunting side of the Jamaican reality”.

Since the start of the year, we see the result of our inactivity and insensitivity as we have lost count of the number of murders committed. We support the state of emergency in Montego Bay, but we know it did not have to come to this – too many wrongdoers have hypocritical supporters in high places.  No state of emergency will have long term results if the thug-hugging does not stop.

Step up with sports

Legendary Veronica Campbell-Brown
receives Icon Award from Gleaner
Manabing Director Chris Barnes 
Special Olympian Dave Oddman
receives Award from
Wisynco's Francois Chalifour
Special Olympian Romaine
Austin receives his Award

Jamaica cannot be prouder of our National Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year, Alia Atkinson and Omar McLeod. At last Friday’s RJR-Gleaner National Sports Awards, they both spoke passionately about perseverance and hard work, faith and the ability to handle failure. McLeod noted that our sports stars were so outstanding that one had to be an international champion to win the Jamaican honour. 

We heartily applauded Veronica Campbell-Brown for receiving the Iconic Award, moved by the tears of this humble but determined warrior of athletics who has earned more medals than even the great Usain Bolt.  We also noted the patriotic dedication of Don Anderson, recipient of the Chairman’s Award, who was Jamaica’s Olympic Chef de Mission for six consecutive Olympic Games.

We applauded loudly for Special Olympian gold medallists Dave Oddman and Romaine Austin, both speed skaters on ice, awarded for their outstanding performances in the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games, held in Austria. Austin’s gold was the first ever for a Jamaican performing on ice, related Lorna Bell, untiring Special Olympics Jamaica Executive Director.

Sports for Peace

How then, can we infuse these great qualities to heal our wounded nation? There may be a solution staring us in our faces, as so brilliantly outlined by GraceKennedy CEO Senator Don Wehby. He referred to the Sports section of Jamaica’s Vision 2030, outlining a dynamic national plan for sports, including ‘sports for peace’. This ‘Sports for Peace’ had us sitting up and listening keenly.   

Don Wehby receives a gift of appreciation from
RJR-Gleaner Group Senior Executive Yvonne Wilks O'Grady
“The United Nations recognizes the practice of sport as an instrument for promoting peace,” said Senator Wehby, “and for playing a significant role as a promoter of social integration and economic development. I strongly believe that sports can play a larger role in Jamaica’s fight against crime.”

He made the following points:  
It has an ability to unify people in a way that is unbelievable.  When you look at the crowd that gathers in Half Way Tree when Jamaica is about to perform on the World stage.  Every man woman and child is out there some with their pot covers and all are dressed in their Jamaican colours united to cheer on their champions .. One Jamaica –united with love and passion.

It serves as a positive outlet for the youth providing a channel for expression, building friendships and can deter risky behavior. It shows what can be achieved through hard work, determination, self-belief and fair play. 

It facilitates social development in under-resourced communities. There are so many community sports clubs around Jamaica with opportunities to nurture the interest of the youth and for harnessing talent.  These clubs need visionary partners and financial support in order to become sustainable sources of social reform in their respective communities.  Public-Private partnerships can work when we begin to see these associations as viable business opportunities.”

The power of sports will have North and South Korea marching under one flag for the Winter Olympics – what a message for this tiny country Jamaica.  Let’s get serious about sports for peace.


Lester Woolery - The Renaissance Man

Tribute to the late Lester Woolery, The Renaissance Man 

Updated from Jamaica Observer column of September 2008
By Jean Lowrie-Chin

There are such tired old clich├ęs about our civil servants, that I am always glad to celebrate the excellent individuals who choose to remain in the service because of the passion for their country.  Indeed, my late friend Lester Woolery was a renaissance man, weaving scientific terms and Virgil in riveting conversations, creating rate hybrids of roses, and making himself accessible to every friend in need.

A former director of pharmaceutical services in the Ministry of Health, Lester became the man who could source any drug from anywhere in the world.  Lester left no stone unturned to find hard-to-get prescriptions for Prime Ministers, Ambassadors and ordinary joes. You see, Lester was as passionate about people as he was about his profession. He earned the respect of friends from the British Universities he attended in the 50’s, and colleague consultants at PAHO, WHO, USAID AND UNDP.

In a tribute to Lester, his former student and colleague, Permanent Secretary for Health, the late Dr. Grace Allen-Young described his thoroughness, approachability and astounding knowledge of pharmacy.

Having worked in the efficient Canadian system with the head of that country’s FDA, Lester believed that there needs to be a reduction in Jamaica’s bureaucracy.  The Canadian system assumes that everyone is honest, and if they are found to be otherwise, the full force of the law is brought to bear against them. Lester Woolery believed that the job of the public servant is to assist commerce and to work in tandem with the private sector, not to put obstacles in their way.

After retiring from the civil service in the 90’s, Lester Woolery carefully examined the many offers he had from various companies.  The then small company Lasco, appealed to his pioneering spirit and he opened doors for most of the low-cost medications that bear their name.  Lester’s approach?  He transfixes associates with his humour and brilliance, and his awareness of cultures around the world.  He shared much appreciated books on Jamaica’s art and plants with Dr. Lulla, the head of the powerful Cipla pharmaceutical company of India.

As a humble St. James school boy, Lester Woolery won a sought-after parish scholarship for Cornwall College and later copped the “Eighty Pound Scholarship” for vocational training.  At Cornwall College, two years after him the winner of a similar scholarship was his lifelong friend, the late Professor Rex Nettleford.

Lester was a popular pharmaceutical agent for GraceKennedy who awarded him an Independence Scholarship to study Pharmacy at the University of London.  While there, he gained a further scholarship for the Masters in Pharmacy at the University College Hospital, where he studied at the feet of its famed Head of Pharmacy, Douglas Whittet.

“Those of us who won this type of scholarship had a sense of devotion and gratitude to our country,” reflected Lester. “In the Health Ministry we had a deep sense of concern for the sick, and our decisions were centred on this.”

Lester Woolery’s philosophy of substance over form and goodwill to all, whatever their political persuasion, was one that should inspire all members of government, including those in the new Opposition.

Lester was sought after at any gathering: you could not sit with him at a dinner party and not learn something new.  Here are a couple of his gems: If you want to cure the burn of hot pepper, simple rinse with a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in a cup of water.  I tried this remedy and it worked almost instantly.  In your garden, if a fruit tree refuses to bear, bury a dead animal at its root.  Lester says this is an old Chinese practice.

Lester Woolery’s farm, Skyview, near the Blue Mountains, was home to some to some of the most exquisite hybrids of roses and rare birds.  He described himself as a flower friend to late prime minister, Michael Manley with whom he shared his special knowledge on horticulture, and whose farm was almost next door.  “Michael Manley instructed that only roses from his farm and mine should be used at his funeral,” Lester recalled. “And so it was.”

We marvelled at Lester’s youthfulness and attributed it to his sense of humour and his constant engagement with people and with nature.  He certainly kept the “civil” in his service to country, and we looked forward to hearing his tips on call in radio programmes, for which he attracted quite a following.  He was also a lecturer at UWI and the Kingston School of Nursing, Lester was a keen family man.  

A citation which I was proud to prepare for him read: “The excellence with which he has blazed through life has left a path so bright, and it is no wonder his children have all followed it.  A devoted father, it is to his eternal pride that he can view the accomplishments of each of his six children, who have established themselves as competent practitioners in the areas of medicine and business, and promising students in the fields of science and law.  He is a caring and witty husband to his lovely wife, Linda.”

Rest in Peace, my friend Lester!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Janice Budd - in God's garden

Below are Gerry McDaniel's reflections on the excellence and faith of Janice Budd, the late award-winning Jamaican journalist. 

*_From a Budd she grew to a  blooming flower in God's beautiful  garden_*

Yesterday I joined my media colleagues inside the Swallowfield Chapel in Kingston to say goodbye to an exceptional human being. 

In death, as in life, Janice Marjorie Budd was a uniting force in a divisive world. For two intense hours, there was no evidence of the typical bravado and egotistical vibe that characterizes most media gatherings. 

Inside that Chapel, we were all united by the stark realities of our shared humanity. We wept, we chuckled, laughed out loud...the mood moved through solidarity, sorrow, anger at the thief of cancer, introspection and personal hope for life everlasting. 

The experience was at once emotionally draining and liberating. 

It was *church* in the most redemptive and restorative sense. 

By its difference, it was a clear reminder of why I tend to dislike funeral. THIS was not your garden variety sad-fest. It was a rich send off for a sister sold out to Christ in her demonstrated conviction.

It was dignified and devoid of bling, drama and national hype. It was intimate, serene and sincere. 

No distraction of a body in the sanctuary, it was a celebration of the indestructability of the soul that dies in Christ. 

The lead text summarizes the context beautifully.

_1 Thessalonians 4: 13. Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15. According to the Lord's word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Encouraging it was too.
Extremely encouraging. 
... And yes, challenging. 

 I was personally challenged to step out of the way while God works his wonders. In less than 50 years, Janice Budd demonstrated what a life well lived looks like. She used her talent for good.she pursued work that truly mattered in the long haul from the the hilltop home of the Jippy-jappa - Westwood - to the world of media, cutting through public and private sectors, with brief stops in Corporate. 

Through it all she was obsessed with quality, imbued with an engaging smile and a calm and beautiful spirit. 


The road less traveled, the narrow door. She chose to abandon the default position of bullyism that marks the practice of so many journalists to adding value to our understanding of this complex little space that we share. 

In his homily, Pastor David Henry tagged one of Jan's favourite expressions, "all for God's glory".

As her brother Trevor mentioned in the eulogy, even in what could have been the depths of depression over her deteriorating condition, when asked if she questioned God about the situation. She took the high road, saying, "No enuh, I am just listening to what God is trying to teach me."

So the message was entitled... 

*Finishing strong... All for God's glory.*

In a concise and pointed message, Pastor Henry touched many sensitive points but I will share my favourite two. 

*Man cannot fix the mess we're in*
Pastor Henry who is also an attorney at law was recently tapped to be part of a team to look into the execution of the State of Emergency currently in force in sections of St. James. 

While he will apply himself prayerfully and dutifully to that assignment he reminded in no uncertain terms that none of this mess... This national crisis of runaway murders can be fixed by external measures. He then dropped a gem for all times. 

*_The only foolproof Crime Plan is to love God  and love your neighbour as yourself_*

Not surprisingly, when I shared that through social media, the skeptics came out in full attack mode. One sarcastically wanted to know if that was like praying and waiting... 

You know what the scriptures say about the message of the cross to those who have not yet surrendered... It makes no sense. (Ref. 1 Corinthians 1:18)

At the core of the brilliance of this statement by the good pastor was the message of reconciliation. It is as incomprehensible as it is revolutionary. 

Romans 5: 8. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10. For if, while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11. Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

The other point that resonated with me powerfully was this:

*True commitment to Christ by the standards of the world requires a 'scandalous exclusivity:*
The battle is not ours. We sow in faith and God will bless. His word never returns without some effect. 

_Isaiah 55: 10. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11. so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

From yesterday's whirlwind of emotions and introspection God has graciously granted me a quiet sense of peace and hope this morning, even as I feel the gap of Janice's physical absence from us. 

I want to encourage you with this reminder. 

_2 Thessalonians 3: 16. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 18. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Have a great Sunday and an awesome week. 

Nuff Love an' Bare BlessN
Your Brother
28 January 2018

Friday, January 5, 2018





Let us give thanks for those that provide moral and spiritual leadership to the Nation.
Let us ask God to equip them and use them to lead our citizens into living Godly lives.

Let us ask God to prosper them, those that work with them and the nation through them.

Let us give thanks for those who lead Ministries, Departments, Agencies of Government and Public Enterprises,
and manage the resources of the nation on behalf of its citizens.
Let us pray that God will bless them and their teams with wisdom, knowledge, integrity and the skills necessary to
improve national well-being.

Let us give thanks for the leadership of our Judiciary and Security Services that seek to reduce crime and injustice
despite the challenges and create a safer and more lawful Jamaica.
Let us pray that God will empower them to serve effectively and that they will serve with integrity, competence and
commitment. Let us especially pray that they will, with the support of all Jamaicans succeed in reducing crime and
preventing the abuse and killing of our children and vulnerable citizens.
Let us give thanks for our young leaders and those citizens who are taking on new roles of leadership.
Let us pray that their enthusiasm will grow, their wisdom will increase and their contributions will be positive and

Let us give thanks for those who provide leadership in the cultural and sports sectors, nurturing and promoting
talent, as we express our uniqueness as a nation.
Let us pray that God will inspire their creativity and develop their abilities to inspire performances and products
that uplift the spirit of the nation and enhance the life of our people.

Let us give thanks for those who formally and informally provide leadership in our communities and homes.
Let us ask God to inspire, equip and empower them to build strong families and healthy communities.

Let us give thanks to God for the men and women who give political leadership to the citizens of our nation. Let us
ask God to help them to provide exemplary leadership marked by; integrity, compassion, competence, character and love.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Congratulations Allison Peart - FCPA, Ontario

Excerpt from Jamaica Observer column published 18 Dec 2017 - by Jean Lowrie-Chin

EY Jamaica has announced that their Country Manager Allison Peart was named a Fellow by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario, recognizing her career achievements to date with the profession's highest mark of distinction. Fellows are outstanding members of the profession who, through their careers and community work, embody the designation's high standards of professional excellence and integrity.

Her achievement was celebrated at a presentation ceremony and dinner hosted by CPA Ontario earlier this month in Toronto. A dynamic patriot, Allison Peart was recently elected President of the American Chamber of Commerce Jamaica, and is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Downtown Kingston.

Photo Caption

Allison Peart at the Toronto celebration after being named a Fellow by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario.




Monday, December 18, 2017

Press Association of Jamaica Mourns Veteran Journalist Ian Boyne

December 18, 2017: The Press Association of Jamaica joins the rest of Jamaica in expressing shock and sadness at the passing of veteran journalist, Ian Boyne, C.D. who died this morning in the University Hospital of the West Indies, following a brief illness.

Ian's contribution to the field of journalism as Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Information Service, a columnist with the Jamaica Gleaner and host of Television Jamaica's programmes, "Religious Hardtalk" and "Profile", is well documented.

The iconic "Profile" achieved a record as one of the country's longest running programmes when it recently celebrated 30 years on air. It gave hope to, and motivated thousands of young people to believe that they too could achieve their dreams, regardless of their circumstances.

Ian served the journalistic fraternity with pride, passion and consummate professionalism. He was respected by politicians on both sides of the aisle, being recognized as fair and balanced even as he told his truth.

His meticulously-researched columns for the Sunday Gleaner were required reading for many Jamaicans, whether they agreed with him or not, and garnered for him on several occasions  the Press Association of Jamaica's Morris Cargill Award for Opinion Journalism, which he won in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009. He had strong opinions on a wide range of issues, and was never afraid to turn the spotlight on his beloved profession, and critique us strongly, if he felt it was warranted.

At the same time, Ian will also be remembered by young journalists as one who was quick to give advice and encouragement, and his ready laughter would put others at ease as they benefited from his wealth of experience.

The Press Association of Jamaica extends its deepest condolences to Mr Boyne's family, friends and colleagues on the loss of a giant of our profession.


Contact: Dionne Jackson Miller, PAJ President


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