Monday, September 15, 2014

Food for the Poor equips Fishing Villages in Honduras

Food for the Poor has been providing boats and equipment for a series of
fishing villages in Honduras. President of Food for the Poor Inc in
Florida, Robin Mahfood sent us these photos with this note:
"These are first pictures out of the fishing villages in Honduras. We
opened 3 [equipped villages] and in about 4 weeks we will open another
3.They are very proud and thankful for this opportunity to better their

Friday, September 12, 2014

Roland Watson-Grant's 'Sketcher' is Aussie GQ summer pick!!

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Roland Watson-Grant's novel 'Sketcher' is Essential Summer Reading for GQ!!

GG congratulates Gleaner on 180th Anniversary

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Greetings in the name of our Lord!
September 13, 1834: Forty three days after the abolition of slavery and the beginning of the apprenticeship system, the Gleaner had its first publication. The former slave masters at that time received a compensation of £20 million. The newly freed slaves received nothing but a nominal emancipation in which they remained oppressed by new tough, vagrancy laws with newly built prisons and the undiminished right of the planter class to inflict corporal punishment on any one of them - male or female.
This was the social milieu, in which Jacob and Joshua deCordova printed the first edition of their four-paged weekly newspaper named "The Gleaner and Weekly Compendium of News", which is the ancestor of The Gleaner Company whose 180th anniversary we now celebrate. These brothers understood discrimination and persecution. Their parents were among the hundreds of Jews who had fled to Jamaica from persecution in Spain. Despite their achievements, they were still discriminated against by members of the planter class.
I want to take back to the social cauldron of post-emancipation Jamaica which provided gripping material for the factual, balanced news they were committed to publish. Small wonder that the initial issue carefully stated that "it certainly appears that the greatest care and precaution should be taken to prevent any outbreaking or the ebullition of any disorderly spirit among our peasantry" and that "unanimity and good feeling among all classes are so imperatively called for."

David Vann deCordova
Mr. David Vann deCordova, great great grandson of Jacob deCordova, can be proud of his pioneering ancestors as he celebrates with us today, the 180th Anniversary during this service.
The deCordovas could not have imagined that they had birthed a giant whose resilience has taken it through massively destructive fires and the disastrous 1907 earthquake which destroyed their building. It also killed Mr. Charles de Mercado, the first Board Chairman since the Gleaner's incorporation as a public company in 1897. Yet the Gleaner did not consider failure to be an option.
Therein also lies a tale of not only public/private sector partnership, but also the strong foundation of press freedom which Jamaica enjoys. As The Gleaner pushed on with its rebuilding, its temporary home was the Government Printing Office, which had also hosted it after fire destroyed their Harbour Street building in 1882. However, during all of this journey together, I have seen no evidence that The Gleaner acquiesced to the demands of government, even in those days.
The North Street media giant has taken advantage of every lesson learnt along the 180 years from Emancipation through to Independence and in these challenging times as we journey towards accomplishing Vision 2030. We enjoy their cutting edge technology which not only maintains its relevance, but also attracts a readership which is internet, digital and social media based.
When you add to that The Gleaner Company's successful foray into radio, you will readily agree that this company has evolved from being "The Old Lady on Harbour Street" as she was once affectionately known, to the proud "Giant of North Street".

In, this March 15, 2010 photo, Gleaner Chairman Oliver Clarke (second right) and Christopher Barnes (second left), who became managing director on February 1, 2011, are flanked by Gleaner board directors Professor Gerald Lalor, honorary chairman, and Dr Carol Archer.- Rudolph Brown/Photographer
In, this March 15, 2010 photo, Gleaner Chairman Oliver Clarke (second right) and Christopher Barnes (second left), who became managing director on February 1, 2011, are flanked by Gleaner board directors Professor Gerald Lalor, honorary chairman, and Dr Carol Archer.- Rudolph Brown/Photographer
This Giant takes its corporate social responsibility as seriously as it takes its commitment "to being the source for accurate and independent information".  I especially commend the initiative which led The Gleaner to launch the Jamaican Spelling Bee which is still going strong after more than fifty years, as well as their ‘Peace And Love in Schools' programme. As a founding partner of the Governor-General's Achievement Awards Programme, The Gleaner's support for our commitment to recognize and encourage effective contributions, volunteerism and excellence among our people, is deeply appreciated.
So, I am pleased by this opportunity to publicly thank the Hon. Oliver Clarke for his brilliant leadership of the Gleaner Company over several decades to now. Mr. Barnes, as Managing Director, has brought his own fervour and dynamism to serve a confident, committed and hard working team. I pay tribute also to the late veteran journalist, Theodore Sealy, for his indelible contribution to The Gleaner's development and the respect which it has earned.
I wish for The Gleaner Company continued success, in the assurance that at all times you will seek to remain true to your Mission and Principles, including your vision define your role as:
"to report and comment on the facts: to be the voice of reason; to champion the cause of a truly independent Jamaica; to help citizens in their exercise of freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship and association, and freedom from ignorance".
I trust that God will give you the guidance to accomplish your mission.

Thank you!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Keep the Mario Deane case alive

by Jean Lowrie-Chin | Jamaica Observer column published 8 September 2014
Wilmot Perkins - from
It was the late Wilmot “Motty” Perkins who made Agana Barrett a household name.   In 1992, Barrett, a carpenter in his twenties, and two other cellmates suffocated in a cruelly overcrowded cell at the Constant Spring Police Station.  Thanks to Perkins’ relentless hammering of the issue, along with the efforts of Jamaicans for Justice, the Jamaican public finally learned about the inhumane conditions of our lock-ups.  Sadly, history has repeated itself with the gruesome beating of a young construction worker, Mario Deane on August 3 in a St James police lock-up – he died three days later.
Reports are that Deane was battered by two men because he had sat on a bed for which one of his attackers had declared ownership. We hear that one man being accused of the murder is schizophrenic and the other is a deaf-mute. Describing Mario Deane’s injuries, United States-based pathologist Dr Michael Baden noted that there was no chance of survival, given the head injuries that he had received.  The photograph of Mario lying unconscious, his swollen face bandaged and tubed, haunts us, as it should. We in Jamaica have to stop talking about ‘love’ and ‘justice’ through two sides of our mouths. 
Items made by prisoners
Only a few month ago we visited the Horizon Park Correctional Centre where we saw on display furniture, paintings and accessories done by inmates in various prisons throughout Jamaica – they were excellent, market-ready. Then Commissioner of Corrections Jevene Bent-Brooks told the audience that there had been increased emphasis on rehabilitation for prisoners and their eventual re-integration into society. Regrettably, Mrs Bent-Brooks resigned the post shortly after, noting that the budget allocation for the correctional system was woefully inadequate. The comparison made by Professor Trevor Munroe makes it abundantly clear: $110 million for the entire year vs $100 million for last year’s and $54 million for this year’s one-day Independence Gala.
And so we cringe with embarrassment when after visiting the Barnett Street jail cell where the fatal incident took place, Dr Baden stated: "We toured the cell in which Mario was injured. It is bad. It is unconscionably small, it does not permit five adult people to reside in this cramped-type cell, with five concrete beds, not beds, just hard concrete.”
Evadne Hamilton (left), aunt of Mario Deane (right), weeps uncontrollably as her nephew’s body is whisked from the Cornwall Regional Hospital morgue by a hearse from Madden’s Funeral Home. (PHOTO: PHILLIP LEMONTE)
The grief of Mario’s relatives wrung our hearts. Observer reporter Horace Hines described the scene after the autopsy: “the sight of the hearse leaving the facility with Deane’s body was too much for his aunt, Evadney Hamilton, to watch. ‘Mario! Mario! Murder!..,’ she wailed as relatives tried to console her.
Let us be clear that this horrible fate could have been visited on any one of us. We know innocent people who have been jailed in error. Mario Deane was arrested because he was in possession of a single spliff. It is a parent’s worst nightmare. 
If we continue to make prisons a place of brutality, we will be turning first offenders into hardened criminals … if they manage to survive.  Is it any wonder then that we are all imprisoning ourselves behind burglar bars?  On a visit to Norway, we were told of the humanitarian conditions in their prisons, and noted that there were large neighbourhoods with just a couple of policemen on duty.  Many folks left their doors wide open. 
There are rich resources in our country that can turn our desperation into hope – what we need is the level of governance that will make every citizen feel respected and protected.  There are leaders who still have the love of our people – now is the time for them to step up and prove themselves deserving. Let us never tire to speak of Mario Deane and the many others who suffer injustice. As Black power activist Angela Davis wrote, “If they come for me in the morning, they will come for you in the night.” 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Water Tanks for Schools Push-Up Challenge!

Trisha Williams-Singh presents Water Tank courtesy of Digicel Jamaica to Newcombe Valley Primary – St Elizabeth
Digicel's creative Trisha Williams-Singh has come up with the Water Tanks for Schools Push-Up Challenge -  #wtspushupchallenge!
To see the wonderful folks who have taken up her challenge, please check her Instagram account ....

Below is the history of this Challenge in Trisha's own words ...

Hi Jean, 

Thanks so much and particularly to Digicel for support and inspiration, if we can all recall, Barry our CEO did not take this challenge and instead started putting water tanks in school which so happen to have been our planned extraordinary moments initiative for  month of August/September. 

From that he suggested what needs to be done is a localized initiative, having said that I got very excited and thought of a challenge that will help our beautiful country Jamaica hence the birth of #wtspushupchallenge. 

Water Tanks for Schools in Ja

National Commercial Bank

Matilda's Corner, 15 Northside Drive, Northside Plaza,  Kingston 6.

Account # 371088881

 If want to donate from overseas NCB Swift Code is JNCBJMKX.  It is a social media challenge.

 See message  below:

 Help Jamaican schools to get tanks so the children can have water #wtspushupchallenge #watertanksinschooljachallenge #givingback #healthylifestyle.  I now challenge...  You have 24 hrs to complete 10 push ups and only contribute JA $500 otherwise you have to donate JA $1000. Bank NCB JA Ltd ACCOUNT # 371088881  if contributing from overseas  then swift code is JNCBJMKX  Bank Address is 15 Northside Drive, Northside Plaza, Kingston

 Each water tank will cost approximately JMD20K and first target is to raise JMD500K.

 Yes I know it is like the ALS hence I said let's try it as ALS to date has raised over 100 million USD.

 Water is life and this basic need is keeping a lot of our children out of the news and we see, no water no school.

 You can do push ups as a healthy lifestyle however I wouldn't ask you to post it but if you want to please and encourage more or just asking for support.

 We also know for success you need star power and I train at Cutbert Fitness studio and she partnered with me so we are in this together, her star power started the video and here we are today.

 Juliet is holder of a silver medal holder and is in the history book.

 Key to note also is that this is not about any individual but more so to get person owing this issue and helping to fix.

Thanks as always,




Monday, September 8, 2014

Carl Williams is Jamaica's New Commissioner of Police

JCF Commissioner Carl Williams
Gleaner report
 The Minister of National Security, Peter Bunting, made the announcement today.
Williams' appointment comes into effect September 15.

The Ministry of National Security says Williams takes office with its the full support and that of the Government as he embarks upon the important national responsibility of leading the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

It says Williams holds a PhD in Criminal Justice and comes to the post with a track record of innovation and performance in a wide variety of command roles in the JCF.  He is the founding director of MOCA and the innovator responsible for conceptualising and developing the Anti-Lottery Scam Taskforce.

Williams also led Jamaica's anti-narcotics campaign from 2000-2004 with the successful prosecution and/or extradition of a number of major narcotics traffickers.

The Ministry says Williams will be mandated to continue the process of professionalisation of the JCF with special emphasis on respecting the human rights of citizens. 

"Given the track record of Williams, the JCF is expected to continue making significant progress in the fight against organised crime and corruption under his leadership," the ministry said.

Williams, who is 50-years-old, enlisted in the force on the February 6, 1984.  He is married to Dr Ann-Marie Barnes, and is the father of two daughters.

Observer report
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of National Security Peter Bunting has announced the appointment of Carl Williams as Commissioner of Police, effective September 15, 2014.
Bunting was this morning formally advised by the Police Service Commission and subsequently briefed the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Commissioner designate Williams comes to the post with a track record of innovation and performance in a wide variety of command roles in the Jamaica Constabulary Force and is highly qualified academically, with a PhD in Criminal Justice, the Ministry said.
Williams is the founding director of Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) and the innovator responsible for conceptualizing and developing the Anti-Lottery Scam Task Force.
He led Jamaica's anti-narcotics campaign from 2000 to 2004 with the successful prosecution and/or extradition of a number of major narcotics traffickers.
Williams, who is 50 years old, enlisted in the JCF in February 1984.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Let the new political conversation begin

Patrick Casserly (left) and Prof Trevor Munroe
by Jean Lowrie-Chin - Jamaica Observer column | Monday 1 September 2014

As we keep searching for a way out of the disillusionment of so many Jamaicans, there were encouraging signs last week from Professor Trevor Munroe and entrepreneur Ambassador Patrick Casserly.

Professor Munroe is the Executive Director of National Integrity Action (NIA) which is an affiliate of Transparency International (TI).  In a speech to the joint meeting of the Rotary Club of Portmore and Trafalgar, New Heights, he reflected on Rotary’s “Four-Way Test” and a question asked by the test: “Is it fair to all concerned?” He concluded that Jamaicans were not being treated fairly in too many aspects of national life, citing situations which have left many horrified and frustrated. 

He contemplated the fate of Mario Deane, who lost his life while being detained in a Montego Bay jail for possession of a ganja spliff. He decried the condition of our prisons, noting that “we and our representatives sat by while the 2013/2014 budget allocated a little over $110 million to maintain 70 lock ups for an entire year, while $54 million dollars this year and close to $100 last year was spent for a one-day grand gala. Is that prioritization of spending fair to all concerned?” 

He also mentioned our political system in which “a Member of Parliament who may be a total non-performer enjoys absolute job security for five years – the very same as an MP who is working hard.”

He asked, “is it fair to all concerned that the non-performer cannot be fired even if he or she says nothing in the House for five years, does nothing for five years, people in the constituency don’t see him or her for five years while he or she may be looking out for themselves.”

In contrast, he pointed out that “every other Jamaican, from the highest Appeals Court Judge to the janitor or household help enjoys no such job security and can, after due process, be fired for misconduct, negligence or incompetence at any time.”

Referring to the right of recall existing in Belize and recently passed by the House in Trinidad, he expressed the hope that this would be introduced in Jamaica, “where the constituents as boss can fire the Member of Parliament, of course, following due process as any boss should be able to fire any employee.”

Despite his criticism, Professor Munroe hastened to remind his audience that for Jamaica, “failing is not really our destiny nor our basic nature”.  He noted that the independence of our judiciary was in the top third of 148 countries according to the last Global Competitiveness Report, and similarly “in the strength of our auditing and reporting standards.”

“In health and wellness, believe it or not we rank above the United States (Social Progress Index 2014),” he continued, “and in Press Freedom we invariably top, not only the United States, but also Canada and the UK as well as other mature democracies.”
He also cited our political stability with “constitutionally mandated relatively free and fair elections” and reminded us that “we abolished slavery before the United States; achieved adult suffrage before any other predominantly black country in the world.”

On Cliff Hughes’ television programme “Impact” last Thursday, Ambassador Patrick Casserly, a wealthy Jamaican entrepreneur explained why he had decided to enter politics.  It had been announced a few weeks ago that he and former track star and gym owner, Juliet Cuthbert, had joined the Jamaica Labour Party.

Fortunately, on listening to Ambassador Patrick Casserly one quickly realizes that he is no starry-eyed JLP tribalist. He cited the groundwork of both our political fathers Sir Alexander Bustamante and Norman Washington Manley whose vision for Jamaica he believes has not been fulfilled. 

“Curry goat politics is over,” declared Patrick Casserly. He said Jamaicans have become so turned off from politics that large numbers are not participating in the electoral process.  He said that politics demanded a different conversation with the Jamaican people. When asked why he is making this move, he said “I intend to be a free man in my country – this is why I am participating.”  He pointed out that it was hardly desirable to be living behind a 15-foot wall in one’s own country.

As Jamaica grapples with speculation around the honesty of politicians, as many are afraid to express themselves for fear of victimization, we have to be grateful to folks like Professor Munroe and Ambassador Casserly who are willing to stand up for the truth knowing that the brick-bats could very well follow. The realistic Ambassador Casserly admitted that he could not predict the length of his political career, but felt it was worth the try, reminding us that the Opposition is an important part of the Government.  This is the conversation that Jamaica has been hoping for – let it begin.

  • We need more people like Mr. Casserly to enter politics coming from the business world. Fresh faces, new attitudes, and ideas we can turn this land scape called Jamaica around.

    What a statement from Ambassador Casserly! "I intend to be a free man in my country — as it is hardly desirable to be living behind a 15-foot wall". All of us know that feeling - onward Ambassador Casserly.

    Jamaicans wealth is a measure of the goods and services produced. Creating wealth and generating jobs happens because of ENTREPRENEURS. Jamaica lacks a dynamic ENTREPRENEURIAL culture. "Everybody" want to raid the barn in Jamaica but nobody want to plant the corn. The country needs to strengthen rule of law, improve education, practice good governance through system of checks and balances and promote ENTREPRENEURSHIP. People called ENTREPRENEURS create wealth. Borrowing money or waiting on remittances to buy products to consume does not make us richer. Only the people selling us the goods they produce get richer - China comes to mind. Therefore. China now has the wealth and ENTREPRENEURIAL expertise to do things we cannot do in Jamaica. China has become that relative we hit up for money at the family reunion because they have toiled over the years and become one of the most ENTREPRENEURIAL societies in the world.

    There is a breeze of commonsense coming into the Jamaican political sphere, not just in leadership, but also in follower-ship. The citizens are much less satisfied with embellishment of records, and promises which brings hope, but delivers misery, bellowed from stages and loud speakers. The desire to listen intently to rational sensible reasonings and arguments by political aspirants, though still in it's infancy, is growing steadily. The nutritional supplement of information access provided by the new media, is certainly boosting that growth. In due course the citizens may realize the TRUE nature of people power. Not the bought out, hyped up, shouted out brand bawled out on the political stage, but the quiet, contemplative one expressed in that solitary moment in the voter's booth.
    One Love!

    I hope you're right.
  • Five references to the dude as Ambassador but nowhere does it say ambassador of what or to where. SMH!!! Commendable that he wants to come from behind his 15 ft wall. SMH again !!!
  • Another rich Dude who wants us to believe that he can make a difference. And not surprisingly he is JLP. I have never heard of him, don't know what he has done as an Ambassador, have never heard of him critiquing the Cuury Goat politics. He has no long term commitments but wants to come from behind his protective wall. Mr. Casserly Sir, we have heard this before but just perhaps, perhaps you may start something new and lead your Party down a new road. Good luck boss!
    Also, we are the only country in the region that don't change governor general after every general election. And we can boast that all our citizens have equal rights under our constitution, the very thing women in the Bahamas are fighting for just now.
  • The most important statement he made was, "that the quality of ones life is inextricably linked to those around you". We have a simple choice, build more walls and grills or create opportunities for all?
  • I enjoy reading Mz. Chin's articles as they always contain an uplifting message. I hope Mz.Chin will excuse my cynicism and the readers will allow me to plagiarize from some of the great authors of classical and sacred literature.
    The fault dear Jamaicans, is not in our political parties, but in ourselves.
    Julius Bradshaw.
    Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie which we ascribe to the politicians.
    Peter Shakespeare .
    The heart of ------------------- (place the name of any past current or future politician) is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it.