Monday, September 1, 2014

Farewell Roger Clarke

The late Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke as he entertained friends in the Digicel booth at Denbigh with his good humour.

The late Roger Clarke was a likeable man and a hardworking politician.  We met him at a few events sponsored by clients and it was clear why PM Portia Simpson Miller valued him as a great fundraiser for the PNP.  He smiled and joked himself into the heart of corporate Jamaica – it would have been very difficult to refuse this jovial man

A great story I heard about him was on Sharon Hay-Webster’s programme on “Newstalk” last Friday.  Ambassador Derrick Heaven said the late talk show host Motty Perkins had been criticizing the sugar divestment programme being undertaken by the Government, and Roger Clarke volunteered to go on air with Motty.   The Ambassador said the Minister arrived with several sets of documents and told Motty he was willing to spend the entire programme with him to explain the raison d'ĂȘtre of his Government’s plan. Ambassador Heaven said that Roger Clarke had the special gift of being able to translate ‘legalese’ into layman’s language and by the end of Motty’s programme, he had won over the talk show host.

It was touching to see how moved Minister Clarke’s colleagues were at his passing, especially those in his constituency.  Members of the JLP were also generous in their praise of the late Minister. His sudden departure has brought into sharp focus the reality of our mortality, and the value of a life now lost.  Let us use these sad moments to deepen our compassion for our fellow Jamaicans, beyond superficial political divisions. Rest in peace, Roger Clarke.

Friday, August 29, 2014

James Foley 'would share everything'

Excerpt from Jamaica Observer column by Jean Lowrie-Chin - 25 August 2014

James Foley - from
An article written by journalist James Foley for the magazine of his alma mater, Marquette University, brings some measure of comfort as we consider his horrific demise: he was a man of prayer. After being freed from his first kidnapping in Libya in 2011, he described how he tried to connect with his family through prayer: “I began to pray the rosary. It was what my mother and grandmother would have prayed. I said 10 Hail Marys between each Our Father. It took a long time, almost an hour to count 100 Hail Marys off on my knuckles. And it helped to keep my mind focused.”

The final sentence in the ‘Hail Mary’ is: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Despite that first kidnapping, Foley decided he had to return to the Middle-East to report on the suffering of the Syrian people. It was there, in 2012, that he was captured by IS. His cellmate, a French journalist Nicolas Henin said in a BBC interview that although one develops survival instincts in prison where you grab at everything, “James was the opposite – he would share everything. If you were cold, he would share his blanket, if you were hungry, he would share his ration.”

James Foley lived the life of a true Christian and died a martyr for the truth.  Serious journalists know that their career is more than a profession – it is a vocation. Here in Jamaica, our journalists have faced some terrifying moments (yours truly included), but we soldier on in the name of truth. 
Foley’s death has revealed to the world the depth of evil that is IS – now the international community must act not only to avenge his sad loss, but also to bring justice to the good people of the region who have been living under a reign of terror.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr said, “Undeserved suffering is redemptive.” The only way we can try to understand how such a good person could have had such an unspeakable death, is to consider him a holocaust – a sacrifice for some greater good.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Courageous Novlene Williams-Mills

Jamaica's Novlene Williams-Mills (left) outlasts the United States' Francena McCorory competes to win the women's 400 metres during the IAAF Diamond League DN Galan meeting at the Olympic Stadium, Stockholm, Sweden, yesterday. - AP
Jamaica's Novlene Williams-Mills (left) outlasts the United States' Francena McCorory competes to win the women's 400 metres during the IAAF Diamond League DN Galan meeting at the Olympic Stadium, Stockholm, Sweden, yesterday. - AP - from Jamaica Gleaner -

by Jean Lowrie-Chin | excerpt from Jamaica Observer column | 25 August 2014
Congratulations to Novlene Williams-Mills on her fantastic run last Thursday in the women’s 400 metres at the Stockholm Diamond League.  The Jamaica Observer reported that she triumphed ‘on a wet track in 50.09 seconds, ahead of Sanya Richards Ross and Francena McCorory.’ Her strong outings are all the more impressive after her battle with an aggressive form of breast cancer that resulted in her having a double-mastectomy in 2012. 

Last year she spoke of the loving support of her husband Jameel: “I hoped my husband still loved me the same. We met when I wasn’t like this and now he’s seeing a whole different person. But I didn’t have to worry about him. He was my nurse, my rock.”

During the recent Commonwealth Games, Williams-Mills told Observer reporter Sean Willams, "When you have family and friends like mine, don't matter what, you have got to keep going... A friend once told me that God always gives His toughest soldiers the toughest battles to fight, and I think he gave me that battle, and you know what, I am still fighting."
Thank you for the inspiration, Novlene!