Thursday, July 21, 2016

5th Anniversary of Grenada Association of Retired Persons

Message from Carol Vazquez, President of GARP (Grenada Association of
Retired Persons).
We were delighted that our CCRP Member, Dr Annette Alexis represented us at
their 5th Anniversary celebrations

Dear Members and Friends of GARP,

These are just a few highlights of the beautiful afternoon at Wild Woods
Park when we celebrated GARP'S 5th Anniversary with an all inclusive beach
party. As you can see we also had the honor of the Prime Minister
celebrating with us and Grenada's top Calypsonian Ajamu. We had also
representations from Jamaica, Dr. Alexis, Carriacou, Mrs. Mary Simon and
Mrs. Gloria Smith, and from the USA Mr. Ed Clark. Our DJ was SWIFT and our
live band was CARESS.

A. silent auction was staged on the day with lots of wonderful and valuable
items which were donated to GARP and many enjoyed ticket prices of wines.
We had a coffee stall by Spice Isle Coffee who served ice and hot coffee
during the afternoon. Thank you for your kind support and donation.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank all the hard working
volunteers for their help in making this a successful and memorable event
and to our donors of air tickets with SVG, food, drinks, plates, glasses,
bowls and prizes thank you for your great reputation of giving back to the
local community and we greatly appreciated your support. To our divine
Savior, thank you for the weather that allowed us all to come and leave
safely, even those that came from abroad, for the delicious food and drinks
and the music and comradery that brought joy to our hearts.

Carol Vasquez

Sent from my iPad

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

All-round brilliance by Russell takes Tallawahs to top of Hero CPL

Jamaica Tallawahs 158-7 (R Powell 44, A Russell 44, K Cooper 3 for 22) beat Trinbago Knight Riders 139-9 (H Amla 42, A Russell 4 for 23) by 19 runs

The Jamaica Tallawahs have moved to the top of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) table with a fine win against the Trinbago Knight Riders at Sabina Park, their third successive home victory in three matches. A career best score by Rovman Powell and a brilliant display of hitting at the end of their innings from Andre Russell helped the Tallawahs to set a target of 159 to win.

Runs from Hashim Amla further cemented his place at the top of the Hero CPL run-scoring chart, but he played a lone hand with wickets falling around him as the Tallawahs won by 19 runs with Andre Russell backing up his batting display with four wickets with the ball.

Much of the speculation before the match was about whether Chris Gayle would be fit to play, and the Tallawahs would have been delighted when he was able to take the field. Unfortunately for the packed crowd at Sabina Park his innings did not last long. Gayle struggled to get off the mark and was dismissed for a nine ball duck when he edged behind off Kevon Cooper.

With both openers gone it fell to Sangakkara and Rovman Powell to rebuild. Powell has continued to impress in his first ever T20 tournament, he has been the find of the Hero CPL. Here he struck four Hero Maximums as he made a T20 high score of 44. Sangakkara and Powell departed within three balls of each, both falling to short balls from Cooper. Their partnership of 72 came from just 50 balls. 

Cooper was in fantastic form with the ball, getting extra bounce that troubled all of the Tallawahs batsmen. He finished with figures of 3-22, his best figures in Hero CPL, and those three wickets were Gayle before he got going and Sangakkara and Powell when well set.

It looked like the Tallawahs would set a sub-par total, but a brilliant counter-attacking 44 from Russell gave the home team a chance.  Russell smacked five fours and three sixes using a neon pink bat to give the Knight Riders a stiff chase.

Brendon McCullum came back into the Knight Riders team and opened the batting with Hashim Amla. With Colin Munro at three the Trinbago team have a very strong top order but two of those men were gone within the first four overs. McCullum was out stumped off the bowling of Imad and Munro spooned a catch into the covers off Dale Steyn.

That left Amla to hold it all together, and his innings of 42 did just that, but in the absence of a significant partnership the requited run rate climbed quickly. While Amla was at the crease with Denesh Ramdin the Knight Riders would have felt they were in this chase, but when Amla was out going for a big shot off Kesrick Williams there was still a lot of work to be done.

Dwayne Bravo struck back-to-back boundaries to bring the rate down but another cluster of wickets including two wickets in two balls from Russell ended TKR's chances of reaching the victory target.
Match 21, St Lucia Zouks v St Kitts & Nevis Patriots Preview

The next stop for the St Lucia Zouks is their home leg at the newly christened Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium that also now features the Johnson Charles Stand. Tickets for the opening fixture have been reduced by 50% to celebrate the first match at the stadium since it has been renamed in honour of the West Indies' World T20 winning captain.

It will be a big four games for the Zouks who are currently bottom of the Hero CPL table but with three games in hand over the leaders they are still more than capable of making the knockout stages. Sammy is still confident that his team can make the playoffs, despite defeat to the Barbados Tridents in their last match.

"We have six games to go, we just have to keep winning. Last year five games, or four and a half games, would get you into the playoffs. We just we have made it a little bit more difficult for us to qualify. But we are going to keep our heads up and look forward to going home."

The Zouks' first opponents at Gros Islet will be St Kitts & Nevis Patriots who are virtually eliminated from the tournament, but Sammy is not taking them for granted. The one win that the Patriots have achieved this season came against the Zouks.

"They defeated us at their home ground, we just have to keep believing and believe that we are a good team. We have just not clicked together, it is not how you start but how you finish a tournament. 

This week we could go home and play back to back games and gather some momentum. The first game at home is very crucial and hopefully we win at home against St Kitts." 
UPCOMING FIXTURES: Wednesday, 20 July – Jamaica Tallawahs v Barbados Tridents, Sabina Park (8pm), Thursday, 21 July – St. Lucia Zouks v St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots, Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium (6pm)

TICKETS: Tickets for all CPL fixtures in the Caribbean and Fort Lauderdale are on sale now from

For further information please contact:
Peter Breen
Head of PR and Communications
Caribbean Premier League
Mobile: +1-(758)-7287500
Skype: pbreen67

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Jamaica – worth the work

Excerpt from Jamaica Observer column published MON 11 July 2016

by Jean Lowrie-Chin

Our PROComm Team celebrating Jamaica Day 2014
If you had any doubt that our Jamaica is worth the healing and the nurturing, just check the news coming out of the US this week.  In this, the land of Marcus Garvey, of Nanny, Sam Sharpe, Paul Bogle, George William Gordon, Norman Manley and Alexander Bustamante, race is the least of our problems.  You may hear the odd racist remark, but with every new country I visit, I realise that Jamaica is the most racially harmonious that I know.

My late Mother of Indian heritage would relate many stories about her little district of Big Bridge in Westmoreland, where a healer woman named Granny Tuhtuh of African heritage would know exactly what herbs to combine to cure the residents in the area.  When her two brothers played “seh feh!” with a machete and four fingers were left dangling, it was Granny Tuhtuh who quickly pounded the herbs, put the fingers together and bound them. She did her version of physiotherapy because those fingers healed with hardly a scar and full mobility! 

Our family was a rainbow tribe – the Williams, Gopaulsinghs and Lowries. We attended St Mary’s Academy on Lewis Street, run by the Sisters of Mercy.  Principal Sister Veronica Doorly was a Jamaican of European heritage and Sister Magdalen Naudi was from Malta. We walked down to the Savanna-la-mar Fort to enjoy the sunsets, and watched the ‘Hosay’ marchers with their colourful crepe paper towers dancing and chanting on Great George’s Street. 

This is the Western Jamaica I grew up in.  But now, this Western Jamaica is recording multiple murders since the beginning of the year.  This has become the Westmoreland where one friend is afraid to visit her homestead because there are ‘too many strange faces’ with threatening looks. 
From whence have these infiltrators of the West’s peace come?  Someone who lives in a Kingston inner city community commented to us, “No state of emergency!  All the Kingston badman down in the West now woulda just come back and give us hell! You don’t see how downtown peaceful now?”
I can understand the anguish felt by Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte who hails from the West, and while I know she is a sincere and hardworking politician, I have to agree with the Jamaica Bar Association, who are not for tougher laws as they believe some on the books are already extreme, but for social change.  

"In JamBar's respectful opinion,” they noted in a statement last week, “aspects of these various laws unjustifiably abrogated the rights of Jamaicans, including accused persons, while failing to achieve the desired results …This is largely because the root causes of crime were not being properly addressed.”

We have to lay most of the blame at the feet of our dysfunctional leadership, but share in this blame because we, the citizens of Jamaica, the pious churchgoers allowed it.  We allowed them to establish garrisons and to empower ‘dons’ to terrorise our Jamaican brothers and sisters. 

As we criticize the police, we should know that some were threatened with demotion or worse if they did not fall in line with some of the dastardly deeds of these ‘dons’.  We allowed members of the police force to become brutalized and an embarrassment to those good officers who have steadfastly held on to high ethical standards.

Economist commentary

We can transform Jamaica’s trouble spots. The Economist magazine noted in a recent Schumpeter commentary: “Poor areas such as Trench Town used to be run by government bosses whose job was to bring benefits (notably public housing) in return for votes. Today social entrepreneurs offer a different model… Henley Morgan, a former consultant, has established a social company, the Agency for Inner-City Renewal (AIR)… Trench Town is no longer a war zone: Marley’s old neighbourhood is being dolled up; local recording studios churn out gangsta reggae; a few intrepid tourists venture into the area.”

“Turning round a country with a history of mismanagement and violence will be painful,” it stated. “The government needs to resist resorting to its bad old ways.” 

We the people must ensure that we promote positive leadership in both of our political parties – those who know better must do better.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

GraceKennedy Household Workers lauded by PM Holness

“Service is powerful” – PM Andrew Holness
Jean Lowrie-Chin

(excerpt from Jamaica Observer column published 4 July 2016)

Champion GraceKennedy-Heather Little-White Household Workers Michael Lawson and Millicent Clunis with GraceKennedy CEO Senator Don Wehby and Phime Minister Andrew Holness
With fellow judges, we interviewed some of Jamaica’s finest citizens.  They were intelligent, sincere, and dignified.  They were the shortlisted household workers from the 106 nominated by their employers for the GraceKennedy Championships, now in its third year.  On Thursday the top nominees from the women’s as well as the new men’s category were announced, and from them emerged Champions Millicent Clunis and Michael Lawson and runners-up Elizabeth Watson Warren and Earnestar Smith.
Meet Millicent Clunis, who tackles her job in an organised, energetic manner.  She is a list-maker and thorough, and she and her husband are dedicated to outreach activities. Ms Clunis also serves on the executive of the Jamaica Household Workers Union (JHWU).  Michael Lawson started out as a watchman and when his employer lost her household worker, he offered to take on that role as well.  When his employer returned from work to find her house spotless, Michael was allowed to work both inside and outside the house. Michael Lawson explained that his mother became disabled soon after he was born and so his grandmother taught him how to take care of himself and his mother. 
“I would take my mother’s clothes down to the river and wash them,” said Michael, who has no issues with people calling him “helper guy Mikey”. 
As the finalists relate their duties in the various households, we realise that they are playing several roles: nurse, security detail, chef, tutor.  Thankfully, they are also very mindful of retirement planning, and have been ensuring that their NIS payments are up to date, and have bank accounts. 
Prime Minister Andrew Holness who was guest speaker at the event was delighted to meet the dynamic Shirley Pryce, founder of the Jamaica Household Workers Union which last week celebrated their 25th Anniversary.  He described this as “another milestone in my journey”, as Shirley explained to him that Convention 189 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which protects the rights of domestic workers was still awaiting ratification in Jamaica, while she had successfully participated in lobbying for its adoption in 183 other countries.
Prime Minister Holness and said he would be contacting Labour and Social Security Minister Shahine Robinson so the adoption of the Convention can be expedited.  The Prime Minister lauded the outstanding household workers, noting that they were participants in the biggest part of Jamaica’s GDP: service. 
“Service is powerful,” noted the PM.  “We should never confuse service with servitude.”
GraceKennedy CEO Don Wehby spoke of the household worker who had a hand in raising him, and was now living in New York.  He said when he was a student, she would always enclose money in her letters to him, and when he visited her in New York, she expressed motherly pride that he was now a Senator. He noted that Jamaica’s household workers have played an invaluable role in supporting families, even while raising their own.

Last year’s winner Rosetta Steer said she used her generous cash prize to study practical nursing.  She introduced her grand-daughter Jewel to us, and said they studied together.  “I believe in commitment, honesty and integrity,” she said, and advised, “Get your employers to trust you.”

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Jamaica Experiences – know before you go!

Excerpt from Jamaica Observer column published 4 July 2016
By Jean Lowrie-Chin

The scores who attended VIP Attractions launch of Jamaica Experiences last Friday, were treated to a taste of this multi-media programme to promote our beautiful country.  From the grater cake lady, to the acrobatic coconut man, Ity and Fancy Cat's humour, DJ Bambino's great selections and a surprise performance by a super-mellow Bennie Man, we agreed that David and Liz Hall's concept will be a big winner for Jamaica.

Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett seemed delighted with this boost and was thanked for his encouragement in the launch of VIP Attractions lounges in the Montego Bay and Kingston international airports, which have been winning a string of international awards.  We have to make special mention of Shelly-Ann Fung who misses no detail in making the Club MoBay and Club Kingston memorable.

With its vivid offerings, Jamaica Experiences can tweak the JTB slogan to say, "Know Jamaica … before you go".  Thank you David Hall, for putting your money behind your faith in Jamaica.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Kudos Dr Arscott for Milk River Spa

There is the inevitable shake-up of boards of public agencies following a change of government, but I would like to shine a light on the fine contribution of the Board of Milk River Spa chaired by Dr Guyan Arscott, to the renovation of this treasure of Clarendon.  The Board described their mandate and vision of the Milk River Mineral Bath and Spa (MRBS):Milk River to become an iconic project to form the driving force of South Coast Tourism.”

An 18th century slave discovered the healing spring, bathing in its waters after a merciless beating by estate owner Jonathan Ludford.  Ludford promised never to punish the slave again, if he showed him the spring, whereupon he fenced it assigned the slave as the watchman.  Upon his death in 1794, he willed the property (about 100 acres) to the government. The tourism ministry website notes: “Analysis of the mineral spring has established that it is more radioactive than leading European spas, (fifty-four times as active as Baden in Switzerland and three times as active as Karlsbad, Austria). The waters are reputed to cure numerous ailments including rheumatism, gout …”

The seniors organisation, Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) organised an outing there last year, and we were impressed by the facilities at the large, sparkling mineral pool, enjoyed by adults and children alike.  The renovation of the main building was underway, and I am hoping that the well laid plans of the former board, which was also served by the amazing Scarlette Gillings, will be continued – this includes plans for retirement villas. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tivoli: never again!

Observer column published Monday 20 June 2016

By Jean Lowrie-Chin

One of the police stations set ablaze before the Tivoli operations -
We should feel compassion for the citizens of Tivoli, as well as for our security forces.  We cannot judge the women who marched in white a few days before the Tivoli operation, bearing signs declaring their willingness to die for Christopher Coke referred to as “The President” of Tivoli Gardens, nor can we condemn the decision of the security forces to attempt to arrest Coke, who was wanted for crimes committed in the USA.
The report of the Tivoli Inquiry concluded that the decision of the security forces to go into Tivoli was warranted. Following the announcement that the Government would implement the extradition order for Coke, two police officers had been ambushed in the Mountain View area, and slaughtered; two police stations had been set ablaze; the entrances to the Tivoli Gardens community had been blocked by LPG cylinders which had been chained together, video footage of which was carried in newscasts.
Before the operation began, citizens were offered transportation to leave the community.  Did they remain because they wanted to or because they were forced to do so? Chances are, we will never know.
What we do know is that Tivoli Gardens has long been regarded as one of over a dozen garrison communities in Jamaica led representatives of both political parties – PNP and JLP alike.  From reports, we understand that these garrisons are like modern day plantations, where thugs have replaced overseers. Crossing from one side of a street to another could be very dangerous to your health!
These thugs become very popular with some political representatives in the months leading up to elections.  They ‘control’ tenement yards, and I experienced this when I tried to take some supplies to a bereaved family in my hometown of Savanna-la-mar, Westmoreland.
“Is awright, I will give dem,” said a man when I asked to see the children whose parents had been shot to death after their door was kicked in, some months before. He took the bag from me, and walked off before I could utter another word.  Did those children of Dalling Street ever get the bun and cheese, and other Easter treats I took for them?  Chances are, I will never know.
Visiting our parents' graves at Calvary this Easter .. once again, Dad's grave has been vandalised .. Mom's grave awaits tombing - her burial was in February.  A security guard stands watch behind us. 
What I do know, is that to make a recent visit to my parents’ graves at Calvary Cemetery, adjoining Arnett Gardens, I had to hire a security guard and beg the police to be on the lookout.  This is in the Constituency now being hotly contested by Mark Golding and Colin Campbell, as Dr Omar Davies takes his leave of representational politics.
I believe Dr Davies was confronted with a toughness in that constituency, and he must have been a very grateful man when Dr Henley Morgan decided to set up his Agency for Inner City Renewal (AIR) in Trench Town, an organisation lauded in the Tivoli Report, its model recommended for communities like Tivoli Gardens. I am hoping his successor will make it possible for the communities in that constituency be finally and fully healed.
The Tivoli Inquiry is appealing to politicians to stop funding the “dons” in their constituencies.  Out of political garrisons have emerged gangs which have spread fear and grief far beyond the boundaries of these constituencies. How can Jamaica’s lawmakers be funding Jamaica’s lawbreakers? Further, in the national disgrace of scamming, I understand that some of those ill-gotten gains may have found their way into the coffers of political campaigns – if this is true, may such representatives never see the inside of Gordon House.
Hope on the horizon
Before we all hold our heads in despair, let me share that there is a move afoot where decent citizens are keenly inspecting political candidates, and deliberately putting their money where they are seeing honesty and dynamism.  Let this be the beginning of a movement, as we isolate those who are quoting “Vision 2030” with no intention of taking Jamaica there, and affirm those who are showing dedication and duty of care. 
Whether you can give in cash or kind, search for honest Jamaicans and support them, encourage good people to enter politics, so we can finally have the kind of leadership that our people deserve.  You may “see and blind, hear and deaf”, but that donation, even anonymous, can help turn the tide. 

Every well-thinking person is being asked to be a participant in this modern day emancipation of the oppressed citizens of Jamaica.  It is up to our political representatives and those of us who put them in office, that the dangerous challenges faced by the citizens of Tivoli, other garrison communities, and the security forces will come to an end.