|Mrs Gloria Langrin, Founding Member of BPW St Andrew presents the Mavis Watts Award|
to the phenomenal Dr Jennifer Mamby-Alexander.
Saturday, July 14, 2018
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
By Jean Lowrie-Chin
Observer column published MON 9 July 2018
It was really hard on CARICOM to be holding its 39th Heads of Government Conference during the World Cup. There they were, discussing and signing off on life-changing issues, and there we were, glued to 'the greatest show on earth'. Lucky for them, but to the sorrow of many, the great Brazil lost to a powerful Belgium on Friday, and so folks could drown their sorrows in some positive news out of the conference which ended the same day.
Were it not for 'the big dance' in Russia, we would have been all over the arrival of newly elected Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley, especially as Jherane Patmore of WE-Change pointed out on Twitter, she was the lone woman among her colleague prime ministers. No shrinking violet is this landslide winner, and so she stood up for the many brothers and sisters of CARICOM who have felt unwelcome in certain countries.
There would have been a buzz also around Prime Minister Andrew Holness' assuming the Chairmanship of CARICOM. He stepped up well-prepared, as our brilliant former Prime Minister Bruce Golding had chaired the Commission to review Jamaica's CARICOM relationship, which produced a substantial report including 33 recommendations for strengthening CARICOM. JIS notes:
"Among them is that member states should facilitate the full, free movement of people within CARICOM, except in cases of security and public-health risks. They should also push for the harmonization of customs laws, regulations and procedures, among other things.
"Another key recommendation is for Jamaica to seek a clear, definite commitment from all member states to a specific, time-bound, measurable and verifiable programme of action to fulfil all their obligations and complete other requirements for the CSME to be fully established and operational within the next five years."
For too long we have overlooked the many opportunities and underestimated the value of synergizing our efforts for the greater good of the region. Thankfully, our PM signed three Instruments relating to education and security on the last day of the Conference as follows:
1. Protocol Amending the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to incorporate the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement as an organ of the community and the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security as an institution of the Community.
2. Revised Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Examinations Council.
3. CARICOM Arrest Warrant Treaty.
We cannot begin to measure the gains of families, communities and countries created by our coming together to establish the University of the West Indies. Imagine if we were to take this to the grassroots level, how much more we could be learning from each other. I am happy to hear that the citizens of Haiti, a member of CARICOM, will now have the right to stay in member countries for up to six months. In Jamaica's case, I believe we should welcome them to stay as long as they wish so we could pattern their gentility and have them instruct us in creating exquisite craftwork.
Monday, June 25, 2018
Hon Gordon 'Butch' Stewart is congratulated by admirers at the ATL 50th Anniversary celebrations.
by Jean Lowrie-Chin
(Excerpt from Jamaica Observer column published 18 June 2018)
We were part of the happy buzz at Hope Gardens last Tuesday, when hundreds converged on Hope Gardens to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Appliance Traders Group. The Gordon 'Butch' Stewart organisation's ascent from a fledging supplier of air conditioning units in 1968 to the creation of the world-renowned Sandals brand reminds their fellow Jamaicans of our unlimited possibilities.
Little did Butch Stewart dream that his early talent at salesmanship would have sky-rocketed him to the pinnacle of the tourism world. Long before branding became a buzz word, Mr. Stewart understood its power. When he was finally able to afford a Mercedes Benz, gained from his success with the sale of Fedders air conditioners in Jamaica, he emblazoned the Fedders logo on the doors of his Benz! He told his critics that Fedders enabled him to buy his Benz, and so he was proud to promote it. ATL branding was big and bold on his ubiquitous fleet – making unfamiliar names like Hoshizaki a part of our lexicon.
In 2008, on the 40th Anniversary of ATL, this column celebrated Mr. Stewart's achievements. We noted that in his book "All That's Good", we could see the synergy of the three basic Christian principles, faith, hope and love: Only a person of faith would have invested in the run-down Bay Roc Hotel in 1981, rapidly rolling out a gold-standard hotel chain that would cop the most coveted international tourism awards.
Hope: The classy, meticulous Betty Jo Desnoes remembers the devastating blow dealt by Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 to the three Sandals properties in Montego Bay as well as two others being built in Ocho Rios and Negril. She said on hearing the news, "Mr Stewart…began galvanizing. He dispatched every truck he had and bought up every piece of lumber and nails."
Hailed by travel writers as "a miracle", the resorts were rebuilt and reopened three months after Gilbert in time for the beginning of the 88/89 winter tourist season.
Love: Butch Stewart's fatherly, love for his team was reflected in the many tributes featured in the 50thAnniversary video from his long serving employees. He is probably the only boss that calls man and woman alike "darling' – and it sounds perfectly natural! They spoke of his concern for their family members and his keen interest in their professional development.
The ATL/Sandals/Jamaica Observer/ATL Motors teams reflect our National Motto, "Out of Many One People", and so it was disturbing to hear the unjust accusations levelled at the hotel chain regarding their choice of entertainment, when the only artistes I have ever enjoyed in my many years visiting Sandals are local or Caribbean.
Some criticisms descended into downright racist remarks. We have to be very careful that we do not develop a one-sided view of racism. Racism is the act of pre-judging people based on their ethnic origin, whether African, Indian, Chinese, Middle Eastern or European. While everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, it is never alright to be racist. We see hurtful comments flying about on social media, and a friend of European roots who was subject to this said she dared not respond as she risked being torn to bits. This is unacceptable and we in Jamaica who are miles ahead of other countries in respect of racial harmony, should protect and nurture this important aspect of our country.
Indeed the Stewart family has been exemplary: the children who were not allowed to rest on their parents' laurels but had to forge their own paths to success. The eldest, Brian Jardim has made giant steps with his Caribbean-wide business, Rainforest Seafoods, a company which contributes extensively to education and housing for the poor. Adam Stewart has earned his place as CEO of the Sandals Group and ATL Motors, introducing their award-winning eco-friendly practices to their properties and launching the philanthropic Sandals Foundation. Daughter, Jaime Stewart-McConnell is driving the "Orijins" line of natural juices as well as other innovative endeavours.
The fireworks finale was a fitting metaphor for the star-powered ATL Group, the largest private sector company in the Caribbean. Congratulations to Butch Stewart, dedicated veterans and the entire ATL Team – may you celebrate many more milestones in the years to come.
Friday, June 15, 2018
|With CCRP members Poet Cecile Jarrett and Dramatist Dr Jean Small|
|Linton Kwesi Johnson engages|
|Always fun to capture one of my|
favourite photographers, Collin Reid
|Happy buck-up with Susan Pitter - now making waves in Leeds!|
|Hubie and I enjoyed catching up with |
Jamaica Constabulary Force Commissioner Antony Anderson and ACP Steve McGregor
at the #LawEnforcementTorchRun.
Photo by Justine Henzell.
|Our first real estate development project:|
Monday, May 21, 2018
by Jean Lowrie-Chin
|Veteran broadcaster Jean Meserve leads the discussion|
"Tidal Wave: Changing Ocean"
|With colleagues from Jamaica - Peta-Rose Hall|
Chair, Jamaica Forum of IWF and the
legendary Valerie Facey
|Lively discussion on "Evolution or Devolution:|
Fake News, Opinion, and media bias"
|At Dine-Around chez Sophia Beboff|
|With hosts Daniel and Elaine Mulcahy|
|Touring the Great Ocean Road with guide|
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Press Association of Jamaica Pleased with Press Freedom Ranking but Still Vigilant
Statement from PAJ President Dionne Jackson-Miller
April 26, 2018: The Press Association of Jamaica is pleased with Jamaica's continued good showing on the annual World Press Freedom Index, published by press freedom group Reporters Without Borders.
Jamaica moved up two places from eighth last year, to sixth this year out of 180 countries.
In its assessment, Reporters Without Borders stated that: "Jamaica ranks among the countries that most respect freedom of information. The very occasional physical attacks on journalists must be offset against this, but no serious act of violence or threat to media freedom has been reported since February 2009, a month that saw two cases of abuse of authority by the Kingston police. The law decriminalizing defamation passed by the House of Representatives in 2013 was a step in the right direction."
PAJ President, Dionne Jackson Miller, says "While we are happy about Jamaica's improved ranking, we cannot relax. We must be vigilant as the erosion of press freedom can be insidious."
"We continue to be concerned about the potential impact of the Data Protection Act on journalism in Jamaica. The Act is now being examined by a Joint Select Committee of Parliament. We have been calling for the practice of journalism to be completely exempted from the provisions of the Act," says Jackson Miller.
"Even as we celebrate our improved ranking, we acknowledge the threats our colleagues face elsewhere, including physical attacks, and verbal abuse from political leaders," says Jackson Miller.
The PAJ President notes that "We stand in solidarity with our colleagues around the world, many of whom work in oppressive and dangerous conditions, like the Philippines where the President has warned reporters that they are not exempted from assassination."
In its overall assessment of the state of press freedom as outlined in the 2018 index, Reporters Without Borders stated that there is "growing animosity towards journalists. Hostility towards the media, openly encouraged by political leaders, and the efforts of authoritarian regimes to export their vision of journalism pose a threat to democracies."
The report stated that "The United States, the country of the First Amendment, has fallen again in the Index under Donald Trump, this time two places to 45th. A media-bashing enthusiast, Trump has referred to reporters as: enemies of the people."
In Mexico, which ranked 147th, 11 journalists were killed last year, with RSF calling the country "the world's second deadliest country for journalists in 2017."
Reporters without Borders has described Turkey as the "world's biggest prison for professional journalists."
The PAJ says it will continue to add its voice to calls from advocates around the world for the protection of journalists.
Dionne Jackson Miller
Photo from Jamaica Observer
Friday, April 20, 2018
Excerpt from Observer column published 16 April 2018
By Jean Lowrie-Chin
The arrival of Special Olympics International CEO Mary Davis, hosted by the Digicel Foundation, ushered in a whirlwind of positivity for the special needs community last week.
We headed out to Lyssons, St Thomas on Tuesday morning for the opening of the 10th special needs centre in Jamaica, sponsored by the Foundation. The enthusiasm of Mrs. Jaqueline Wilmot Hendricks, Site Coordinator for Lyssons Special Needs Centre was contagious, as we toured the facilities where there are not only instructions in the basic subjects, but projects that can assist in promoting sustainability. The students proudly showed off large games boards they had painted – Checkers, Ludo and Snakes & Ladders, that will go on sale soon.
Later that day, we enjoyed the company of our Special Olympians, their staff led by Lorna Bell and Board headed by Alrick 'Alli' McNab, and newly appointed State Minister of Sports, Culture, Entertainment and Gender Alando Terrelonge, coincidentally brother of Emcee and Special Olympics Board Director Paula Pinnock. We watched the Unified Team of Special Olympians and students from Pembroke Hall Primary engage in a game of bocce – this sees the engagement of students with their intellectually challenged sisters and brothers, promoting respect and inclusion.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Minister Olivia Grange received us at Jamaica House, and we are looking forward to a Labour Day collaboration with Minister Grange, "Ramp it Up" as we build more ramps in schools and public buildings.
Our 'Conversations on Special Needs' at the Jamaica Conference Centre last Wednesday, included presentations by Pastor Phillip Johnson, the father of an autistic son, and Radcliffe Richards, the father of a daughter with Down's Syndrome. They moved us with their passion for inclusion, and their conviction that their children are God-given gifts, who have kindled in them and their families deep love and devotion.
Senator Floyd Morris, Director, UWI Centre for Disability Studies called on the Government to set an effective Date for the Disabilities Act, passed in 2014, to come into force. Indeed, we learned that countries that do not promote inclusion are losing millions as an increasing number of visitors and investors shop around for special-needs-friendly destinations.