Friday, September 23, 2016
The Press Association of Jamaica is again mourning the passing of one of its own, with the death of former Secretary of the Association and multiple-award-winning Associate Editor of the Jamaica Observer Ingrid Brown.
Ingrid served as Secretary of the PAJ from 2012-2014, a task she performed with her trademark diligence. She also represented the PAJ on the board of the Jamaican Copyright Licensing Agency (JAMCOPY).
Ingrid began her journalism career in 1994, working at the now defunct Jamaica Herald, and by 1995, had already won her first professional award from the PAJ for her human interest stories.
Ingrid also worked with the Gleaner, and the Jamaica Information Service, but most of her professional life was spent at her Jamaica Observer, where she thrived, rising to the position of Associate Editor.
Apart from additional Awards from the Press Association Award for Best Feature story in 2008 and Best News Story for 2010, she also won awards from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the Fair Play Awards.
In 2011, Ingrid spoke at the PAJ's World Press Freedom Day breakfast. She said, inter alia, the following:
"As journalists we must commit to performing our professional duties with intelligence, objectivity, accuracy and fairness. More important than having that front-page story or that leading item in the newscast is the commitment to ensure that the information being disseminated is accurate, true and fair to all parties concerned.
"As members of the fourth estate we have the awesome responsibility to inform, educate and entertain. But do we realise that information released in the public domain does not go away with an apology? We know that we Jamaicans are of the opinion that 'if it no go so, then is near so'. And for those of us who had the privilege of growing up in small, rural communities we would have first-hand knowledge of how information first told about someone can take on a life of its own and is told far and wide."
In a thought-provoking presentation which is worth revisiting as we in the media continue to grapple with ethical issues, she shared this story:
"I remember as a young girl growing up in deep rural St Catherine where the story is told of a man who stole his neighbour's donkey. In order to avoid detection he changed the donkey's complexion from a light grey to a lovely brown with the aid of a couple bottles of dye. And even as he disguised his neighbour's donkey he was instrumental in leading the search for this donkey who it was believed had broken free and wandered off. But, as the story is told, a few weeks later a heavy shower of rain came and washed the dye off the donkey, revealing the trickery which had occurred.
"To this day I still don't know if this story was true, but what I clearly recall is the hell the children of that man went through as they were teased and called all kinds of names by kids who, like myself, had no evidence that this did happen but had relied on second-hand information from even those who had heard it from someone else.
"Never let us, as journalists, contribute to disseminating information which, while making juicy and, as some of my colleagues say, "sexy" stories, will damage someone's reputation and that of family before ensuring that we have the facts."
Ingrid had completed her law degree, and was about to embark on her studies at the Norman Manley Law School. Although becoming ill several months ago, she continued her studies, as well as her editorial work at the Jamaica Observer until ill health forced her to stop. Her work ethic was beyond question.
But apart from her strong work ethic, and the high quality of her work, Ingrid was, quite simply, a sweet and wonderful person whom colleagues remember as a pleasure to work with.
In this year in which the media fraternity has suffered loss after loss, Ingrid's passing is yet another blow, yet another loss of an outstanding colleague and human being.
We express condolences to her family, the Jamaica Observer family and her friends. We mourn with you.
Contact: Dionne Jackson Miller, President
Rohan Powell, Secretary
"A Free Press, Oxygen of Democracy"
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Observer column for MON 19 SEPT 2016
by Jean Lowrie-Chin
|The famous Alpha Boys Band|
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Tragedy beyond description.... STGC Captain Dominic James collapses in game.... pronounced dead at hospital
By Lloyd Tenn
It is a very sad day for day for the St. George's College community.
Manning Cup captain Dominic James collapsed on the Stadium East football field after two minutes into the game against Excelsior High this afternoon.
He was rushed to the University Hospital but pronounced dead.
I am saddened to my core. I pray for his parents, Denise and David at the passing of their only child. They must now face the pain of this sad event.
May Dominic and the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. AMEN.
Monday, September 19, 2016
The renowned Sister Marilyn Lacey, a Religious Sister of Mercy (RSM) will speak on the topic, 'Mercy: the Unexpected Path to Justice' at Mercy Week Panel Discussions to be held in Commemoration of Jamaica's first Mercy Week, proclaimed to be an annual event by His Excellency, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen.
The Panel Discussions will be held on Tuesday, Sept 20 at 5pm at the UWI Library, Mona, and on Thursday Sept 22 at 4pm at the Mount Alvernia Conference Centre.
Sister Marilyn Lacey is passionate about making the world a more welcoming place for refugees and migrants. She has stood with displaced persons for over 30 years. Marilyn was personally honored by the Dalai Lama in 2001 as an "Unsung Hero of Compassion" for her life's work.
Although she holds an Master's in Social Work from U.C. Berkeley and 3 honorary doctorates, she insists that the poor have been her best teachers. In 2009 Marilyn wrote a memoir, 'This Flowing Toward Me: A Story of God Arriving in Strangers'. She is the founder and Executive Director of Mercy Beyond Borders, a nonprofit partnering now working with displaced women and girls in South Sudan and in Haiti to alleviate their extreme poverty.
Sister Marilyn has helped refugees in the Lao-Thai border, Sudanese and Somali camps in Kenya and has also worked extensively with the Lost Boys of Sudan helping them to resettle safely in the United States.
Monday, September 12, 2016
|Prime Minister Andrew Holness lauds Audrey Marks, Jamaica's newly appointed Ambassador to the US at Vale Royal last Friday. Sharing the moment is his wife, Mrs Juliet Holness.|
by Jean Lowrie-Chin
PM Andrew Holness has made the wise move of appointing Audrey Marks as Jamaica's Ambassador to the United States, her second such assignment. We applaud Ambassador Marks who has been the subject of this column more than once, because she is such an excellent role model for young Jamaicans. She has worked tirelessly, created employment for hundreds through Paymaster, and has taken leadership roles in both the public and private sectors because of her unflagging faith in her beloved country.
In her previous Washington assignment, she introduced such investors as Digicel Chairman Denis O'Brien to prospective US investors, so they could learn about the many opportunities we offer. She forged ties with the Jamaica Diaspora, traveling throughout the US, to stir their interest in their homeland.
We are blessed that this excellent entrepreneur and management guru is back in Washington DC, where she can enhance our country's image and build important relationships. She will do us proud!
With this commendation, who knows how I will be labelled this week? Last week I was branded a PNP when I wrote that greater respect was due to Opposition Leader and former Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller. Over the past 15 years, this column has lauded and criticized leaders on both sides of the fence. There are fine representatives in both parties whom I consider my friends and who know how passionate I am about the development of our beloved country.
That being said, I do see the dilemma that government operatives face in making appointments. In fact, I believe that the Bruce Golding-led JLP Government may have suffered a few setbacks because of an idealistic decision to keep certain individuals in certain positions. At that time, I recall having to convene a meeting at my office for a new Government official to meet the head of a government agency as the person's efforts faced daily roadblocks, which could only be described as sabotage.
We dearly hope for the day when Jamaica will be able to identify a cadre of brilliant professionals who have been proved to be trustworthy nation builders. If we believe there is a shortage of such persons, we should know that many have tried and have left this country in frustration.
Let our leaders work at finding the brightest and the best among us, and those in the diaspora who still wish to become nation builders. The recent Business and Consumer Confidence report shows that there is much optimism. With strong leadership we can fulfill the prediction of Jamaica Exporters Association President Michelle Chong, that 'Jamaica is ready to take off'.
Local Government Elections
As Local Government Elections approach, while the political representatives use so much of their energy and focus on gaining power, little is left to address the needs of the people. I remember one politician describing Jamaica as "a patient in crisis". He said that this "patient Jamaica" had so many multiple issues that even as one was being addressed, the other was getting worse.
With all due respect to that Minister, our leaders must ask themselves why countries many times larger than us, with fewer natural resources are thriving better than we are. The buck stops with our leaders both in Government and in Local Government.
The allegations and rumours around campaign financing are very disturbing. When we consider that a complete Food for the Poor house can be built for US$3,200, consider how many of our poor those millions could house!
We fully endorse the call by the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica for the laws governing Campaign Financing to be enacted so that our country can be viewed in a positive light by the many investors who have expressed interest in partnering with our people. If our political parties cannot embrace a transparent system for Campaign Financing, it calls into question their integrity.
Even as I believe that we should show respect for all persons as we sing in our Anthem, that respect has to be returned by our leaders. Those who have run afoul of the law and have unhealthy alliances are simply not worthy of leading us.
Our Luke Lane Visit
When a group of us from the 51% Coalition and the Women's Resource Outreach Centre (WROC) visited the family of young Demario Whyte, who was so tragically killed in what is being described as gang warfare, we were touched by the deep love and unity among the family members we met.
There was a poster near the gate with a series of hearts in which folks had written beautiful messages to baby Demario and there was a large colour poster from which the shining eyes of Demario broke our hearts.
Jamaica's children have a right to a safe environment in which to grow. The harsh words from political platforms have created an atmosphere of tension and hostility which is rippling throughout the nation. If our people cannot look to our leaders for responsible and mature conduct, where else can they look?
Week of Mercy in Jamaica
As we celebrate the Canonization of Mother Teresa of Kolkata, we look forward to the celebration of Mercy Week, beginning this Friday, September 16. As Shakespeare's character says in 'The Merchant of Venice': "The quality of mercy is not strain'd …It is an attribute to God himself."
The first Jamaican Sister of Mercy was Jessie Ripoll, who with two friends bought land at South Camp Road in 1880, and started Alpha Cottage, an orphanage. With the arrival of the Sisters of Mercy in 1890, this blossomed into islandwide missions for health, education and residential children's homes.
A highlight of the Week will be a Public Lecture and Panel Discussion next Tuesday, 20 September at 5pm at the UWI Library Multifunctional Room, by the inspiring Marilyn Lacey, a Religious Sister of Mercy (RSM), who has worked with migrants and refugees worldwide and has received multiple international honours for her compassionate outreach. Her topic is: 'MERCY: God's Unexpected Path to Justice'.
Other speakers and panelists are Dr Leith Dunn (Chair), Sr. Theresa Lowe Ching RSM, Dr Anna Kasafi Perkins, Rev Fr. Peter McIsaacs SJ, Sr. Mary Theresa Jackson, RSM, Rev Dr Margaret Fowler of Hope United and Sr. Dr Debbie Ann Chambers RSM.
This Friday evening, there will be a Launch of the Mercy Historical Centre at my beloved Alma Mater, Convent of Mercy Academy 'Alpha'. Guest speaker will be UK Deputy High Commissioner, Graham Glover.
Saturday, September 10, 2016
|A fitting farewell to a magnificent gentleman!|
Thursday, September 8, 2016
Opening of Digicel-USAID-Ministry of Education Enrichment Centre at top performing Horizon Park Primary.
Today, Thursday, September 8, is being celebrated globally as International Literacy Day (ILD), under the theme 'Reading the Past, Writing the Future' .
It will mark the 50th anniversary of the ILD, focusing on the efforts made over the past five decades in increasing literacy rates around the world, while addressing the current challenges and identifying innovative solutions to further boost literacy in the future.
In Jamaica, the Literacy Enrichment Programme a partnership of the Digicel Foundation, USAID and the Ministry of Education was launched three years ago to use ICT as an intervention tool to improve the literacy skills of children performing below the required aptitude levels prior to the National Grade Four Literacy Examination.
Since 2013, over 40,000 children have benefitted from the project, with over 250 teachers trained. Enrichment Centres are built and outfitted with computers, audio visual equipment and teaching tools within primary schools. Students between grades one and three who are reading below their grade level, are selected for enrolment and given special literacy and numeracy lessons to accelerate learning. The Foundation has been directly supporting the MOE's goal of achieving a national average of 85% literacy by 2015, which was not only met, but surpassed.
Year - National Literacy Average
2012 - 72
2013 - 74
2014 - 75
2015 - 86.5
These results are indeed heartening.
Jean Lowrie-Chin (Chairman, Digicel Jamaica Foundation)