Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cliff Hughes - a passion for news -

Cliff Hughes - a passion for news -

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Lady Bustamante's Legacy

We are thankful that our dear recently departed Lady Bustamante took the time and care to write her memoirs. The Memoirs of Lady Bustamante (Kingston Publishers), the former Gladys Longbridge, is generously sprinkled with the Who’s Who of the past seventy years and makes great reading for all Jamaicans, regardless of your politics.

Constantly at the side of National Hero Sir Alexander Bustamante, she gives a riveting account of Jamaica’s emerging labour movement, the birth of our two major political parties and the triumph of Independence.

Born in Westmoreland, Lady B studied commercial subjects at Tutorial College with several notables, including educator Wesley Powell. She applied for and easily landed a job with the handsome financier Mr Bustamante, whose concern for the poor was expressed in many letters to the Gleaner and at community meetings. One evening Busta was invited onstage at Victoria Park by the fiery St William Grant to address the crowd. “The people cheered,” recalls Lady B, “and in the end, Grant told them that he was prepared to join forces with Bustamante, even as he had joined with Garvey.”

While Bustamente served as Treasurer of the Jamaica Workers and Tradesmen Union, founded by another Garveyite, A.G.S Coombs, a young accountant named Florizel Glasspole was chief organiser of The Clerk’s Union, founded by the distinguished Jamaican Erasmus Campbell.

On Monday, May 23, 1938, thousands of port workers took strike action and marched to Victoria Park to get direction from their leader, Bustamante. Lady B was there at that watershed moment in our history, when a police inspector aimed his gun at the crowd, and Sir Alex bared his chest, declaring, “Shoot me, but leave these defenceless hungry people alone!”

The next day Busta and Grant were arrested, resulting in islandwide protest. Lady B recalls the strong bond between Bustamante and his cousin, the celebrated lawyer and fellow National Hero, Norman Manley. With Kingston in a state of disorder, Edna Manley telegraphed her husband who was in Frome, to return immediately. “Her urgent call to Mr Manley made a difference that week,” writes Lady B. She recalls that during the strike at the waterfront, “Edna Manley …and Aggie Bernard…helped to look after relief meals …with Bustamente in jail, Norman Manley became very active.” In June 1938, the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union was formed and grew rapidly. “Norman Manley had supplied us with an initial list of two thousand potential members,” writes Lady B.

Manley with a task force that included young Howard Cooke, then launched the People’s National Party in September 1938, with Bustamante joining its metropolitan group. During his two-year detention at Up Park Camp, a rift developed and soon after he was freed, the JLP was formed in July 1943. Bustamante spotted a bright young man who produced the organisation’s publication, The Jamaica Worker, and mentored him. His name was Hugh Lawson Shearer.

The “yeoman work of the late Professor Sir John Golding” was recalled as she recounts the serious outbreak of poliomyelitis in 1954, as well as the “deep love and abiding interest” of Sammy Henriques and his daughter Norma. She tells us of an endearing youngster, Seragh Lakasingh, and his eventual marriage to the beautiful Effie Curtis who also was a favourite of the Bustamantes: “These two have been by my side through thick and thin, and remain near to my heart to this day.”

On their first trip to England in 1948, they were met by a young Jamaican student, Gladstone Mills, and they visited with members of Jamaica’s Olympic team Arthur Wint and Herb McKenley who later won gold and silver medals in the summer event.
When the PNP won the 1955 elections, the JLP reorganised itself “with such outstanding politicians as Donald Sangster, Clement Tavares, Robert Lightbourne, Herbert Eldemire and Rose Leon.”

Bustamante’s “take charge” approach is described lightheartedly when Lady B talks about their marriage: “He just announced to me that he was going to marry me.” This took place in September 1962, a few months after the JLP won the general elections and Sir Alex was sworn in as the first Prime Minister of independent Jamaica.

On Sir Alex’s retirement in 1967, they moved to “Bellencita” in Irish Town, where they enjoyed gardening and light farming. They stayed in touch with Jamaica’s young leaders. Of Edward Seaga she writes, “He has been a tower of strength …His care and concern has created a close bond between us.” On National Heroes Day, October 20, 1975, exactly 28 years ago, she recalls that “Prime Minister Michael Manley with his wife Beverley paid us a visit … spending an enjoyable time with us.” She remembers Sir Alex’s last official appearance that afternoon, at the Salute to Heroes ceremony at the National Stadium where they received a tumultuous welcome.

When Sir Alex passed away on August 6, 1977, Lady B “was paralysed with grief.” She forced herself to stay active, still continuing to serve as Treasurer of the BITU for 59 unbroken years until 1997, and lent her support to many causes including her beloved Bustamante Hospital for Children.

I have my own story of the Bustamantes. Since they were old friends of my parents-in-law Ralph ‘Justice’ and Ruby Chin, I was taken to in Irish Town in 1972 so they could meet the fiancée of the Chins’ son. We were warmly welcomed by Lady B, who ushered us into the bedroom where Sir Alex was resting . He was a striking figure, still a lion in the winter of his years. “Chief,” said Lady B, “Hubie has brought his fiancée to meet us.” His eyesight failing, Sir Alex called out,“Come here, my dear and give me a hug!” He smoothed my hair, caressed my face and exclaimed, “But Hubie, you’re a lucky man – this is a beautiful girl.” Joy!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Senate Passes Sexual Offences Bill after Long Debate

Kindly sent by Jennifer Williams
Policy and Research, Bureau of Women's Affairs

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The landmark Sexual Offences Bill, which reforms and amalgamates various laws relating to rape, incest and other sexual offences, was finally passed by the Senate today (July 17).

The Bill will repeal the Incest (Punishment) Act, as well as several provisions of the Offences Against the Person Act. It also provides for the establishment of a Sex Offenders Registry, which will maintain a register of sex offenders.

It was passed in the House of Representatives on March 31, tabled in the Senate in April and the debate started in May. However, over a lengthy process in the Senate, 28 amendments were made before the Bill was passed.

These amendments cover a number of crucial provisions, including: violation of persons suffering from mental disorders; procuring violations by threats, fraud or administering drugs; abduction of children to have sexual intercourse; unlawful detention to have sexual intercourse; living on earnings from prostitution; and protecting the anonymity of complainants and witnesses.

The Bill also provides a statutory definition of rape, as well as provisions relating to marital rape, specifying the circumstances in which such rape may be committed.

It was piloted through the Senate by Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, who is also the Leader of Government Business.

In her closing remarks, Senator Lightbourne noted that the Bill was examined rigorously by Senate, and that the members had, in large part, made useful comments on the provisions.

Senator Navel Clarke who spoke on behalf of the Opposition members, welcomed its passage. He described the Bill as being "in the interest of the people", and expressed the hope that the Senate will continue in that direction.

Monday, July 20, 2009

'Queen Ifrica is a creative, life-enhancing individual '

From Kay Osborne

Jean, I’ve attached for your use a copy of my presentation at the launch of Queen Ifrica’s remarkable new album titled Montego Bay. Queen Ifrica is the talented artiste who last year sang the powerful anti-incest anthem, Daddy, which is on the Montego Bay album. Queen Ifrica is among the few dancehall artistes who have not succumbed to the lure of violent and explicit lyrics and instead writes and performs songs that empower and celebrate. Kay

This gathering serves a single purpose: To celebrate our Jamaican, Rastafarian, sister, mother, daughter, Queen…Ifrica and to thank her for dropping her sophomore album, titled Montego Bay which is also Queen Ifrica’s debut album for VP Records. Montego Bay is an awesome collection of sounds that showcases the inner workings of the mind and heart of a gifted songwriter, DJ, singer, performer, social commentator.

With this album, it is clear that this unique, woman-of-truth has something worthwhile to say and to contribute. Things are going on in societies all over the world that need urgent, lyrical intervention that Queen Ifrica delivers with authenticity and grace. This is why Queen Ifrica’s lyrics and riddims resonate inside our heads, penetrate our hearts and enrich our souls.

Derrick Morgan’s daughter, Ventrice, who is widely known as Queen Ifrica, began singing as a child. Later, a Club Inferno date became an important milestone. Still later, under maestro Tony Rebel’s guidance, Queen Ifrica and her collaborators have created the body of work that we celebrate this evening. In 2007 Queen Ifrica’s big hit, Below the Waist, foreshadowed what was to come. Last year, Queen Ifrica followed up with the musical tome, Daddy that earned our everlasting respect.

This evening, ladies and gentlemen, we are also here to give thanks and praise for Tony Rebel and others who have contributed enormously to this awesome, musical gift to the world titled, Montego Bay. The excellent production works of featured producers, Donovan Germain, Christopher Hurst, Donovan "Don Corleon" Bennett, Kemar McGregor, Adrian & Steve Locke, Rickman Warren, and the inimitable Tony Rebel.

On one level, "Montego Bay’s" opening nyahbingi drumming and chant T.T.P.N.C. is a reverent tribute to the Pitfour Nyahbinghi Center. The tune also foreshadows the musical feast that follows. When Queen Ifrica chants…The Lily of the Valley, This Bright and Morning Star, we are reminded of Queen Ifrica herself.
Help me Make wise the simple…
Let the words of I mouth
And the meditation of I heart be acceptable in thy sight….

Friends, Queen Ifrica’s words are indeed acceptable for they arise from a space that is pure in spirit; a spirit that is introspective, self aware, and, above all, supremely confident. The music pours forth from a heart that is gentle and compassionate, from lips that know tact, a soul that is emotionally honest and humane.

And so the lyrics and riddims merge with irony, solemnity, humor, all the time delivered with authority and sensitivity so we come to understand that a woman can at once be vulnerable and emotionally strong.

Ladies and gentlemen, By their works ye shall know them. What do these well known words mean? The phrase means that an artiste’s body of work reflects something essential about him or her. It is through his or her work that we come to know the creator of the work.

With Montego Bay it is clear that Queen Ifrica is a skilled and talented artiste. But she’s no mere artiste. Queen Ifrica is a creative, life-enhancing individual who is also an artiste.

When you relax and let Queen Ifrica’s music penetrate your consciousness, you come to realize that this beautiful sister has transcended self consciousness and has freed herself psychologically to draws inspiration from a wide range of sources that she transforms into something beautiful, no matter how ugly and repulsive the source material. By so doing, Queen Ifrica consistently brings something unique, original and beautiful into the world. This quality marks a psychologically whole person who has much to contribute.

As if this were not enough, Queen Ifrica’s music presents a paradox for she expresses the personal universally: She creates music that resonates with boundless meaning. Queen Ifrica’s music says to us that she is the kind of person on whom nothing is lost for she turns everything, good and bad, into something of value for the ultimate benefit of humanity.

By contrast, a large chunk of Jamaican music has degenerated into a dysfunctional performance culture that is characterized by narcissism, exhibitionism, hedonism, image-manipulation, image worship, where packaging is ranked over substance and the mere ability to attract attention is rewarded as a major achievement. The pursuit of excellence replaced by opportunism, grace and class subsumed by crass and coarse. In this scenario, everything is reduced to violent or sexualized denominators that are commoditized, packaged and sold to a youthful audience that no longer can distinguish between right and wrong, good and bad, delectable and vile.

The music operatives are less concerned with values and principles or the use of musical talents for the common good. The music serves to display personalities who claim their “specialness,” and are so revered, regardless of the devastating collateral damage.

Far too much of our music has come to serve disturbed scoundrels of both genders with calculated positions that corrupt, manipulate and seed chaos. Crude objectification of women is rationalized by academics who ought to know better. Children’s natural curiosity and innocence are warped by goal seeking perverts and predators who find refuge and support inside the music and transportation businesses and among communication practitioners whose main concern is to attract attention so the public can be sold something, anything.

This is why so much of our music has degenerated into what is slack, explicit, degrading, disrespectful, demeaning, exploitive, violent, stabbin’, daggerin’, murderin,’ with no redeeming quality. Yet, despite this chaotic milieu that threatens dominance, Queen Ifrica makes the conscious choice to forego the beguiling bling of the valley of the shadow of death. She chooses her culture path that reinforces her values that are informed by self love and high self regard.

From TTPNC to the Spanish version of Daddy, Queen Ifrica provides a musical feast that nourishes, challenges, empowers, seduces, even as it rocks and entertains. All aspects of the new album, the lyrics, vocals, backing, sound quality, production are marked by exquisite taste and quality.

Title track Montego Bay is extraordinary social commentary that is informed by the writer’s power of observation and courage.
The lyrics, riddim, vocals combine to one drop the stinking irony that is Montego Bay, the full hundred.

The repetitive Welcome to Montego Bay line mocks and deplores sin city’s exclusive wealth and white that’s juxtaposed against black and blight exclusion. In the end, Montego Bay is a universal lamentation for justice.

Coconut Shell is no ordinary herbalist anthem. It is a fresh and innovative Satta riddim that rocks herbalists and non-herbalists alike.

"Lioness On The Rise"
celebrates women but the astute songwriter is well aware that whenever rules change in the middle of the game, the lioness is harmed and so she may not rise. This is why the qualifier, Once the rules remain the same repeats and repeats for all who have ears to hear.

The deceptively simple love tune, "Far Away" is a deceptively celebrates seduction and feminine guile that men find irresistible. The tenderness, yearning, enticing, implicit promise….Notice that nothing is explicit yet everything is said.

Perhaps the good advice and professionalism in "Don't Sign" bears witness to a pattern of professionalism and wisdom that is passed down from one generation of musicians to another, from Derrick Morgan to Ventrice Morgan aka Queen Ifrica,, from Jimmy to Taurus Riley, Cat to Shya Coore, Lloyd Parks to Left Side, Denroy Morgan to Morgan Heritage, the Marleys all, Ibo to Ariff Cooper, Freddie McGregor and Judy Moyatt to Yashema McGregor, and to Steven and Chino McGregor, and among the Hammond family. This is an area of research that academics could contribute something worthwhile. Help us understand whether these generational relationships are predictors for professionalism and conscious riddims. Maybe they are, maybe not.

The Kemar McGregor produced, worldwide hit, Daddy is not just a lament and revelation. It is a call to action against malevolence and the culture of silence that abets it. With this song, the girl-child has come to know that she is as sick as her deepest secret and so she is compelled to tell on you - Daddy I swear…and so she finds healing and becomes whole with this bawling out. The story teller knows the secret power of words to heal and to bring freedom.
"Keep It To Yourself" is clever obfuscation. Why risk controversy and confusion when “don’t want no fish in me ital dish?” will do? Parables galore….I’ll leave it at that, except to say that the tune is not about vegetarianism as one analyst claims.

Solemn and sad Streets are Bloody reminds me of Simone and Makeba. Life, love and keep this life, don’t mistreat this life, is straight up Makeba….the superb guitar work reminds me of Clapton, world class, kudos to producer Tony Rebel, this is a gem.

In summary, Queen Ifrica’s Montego Bay is a musical treasure that reflects the good heart and open soul that resides within this music. Thank you Queen Ifrica and your collaborators. Thank you especially Mr. Tony Rebel with all the honours.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

TONY DEYAL LAUGHTER! 'Give me a break'


Jamaica Gleaner | Saturday | July 18, 2009

Click on title above for link to full HILARIOUS column!!

What is the difference between God and an orthopaedic surgeon? God doesn't think he is an orthopaedic surgeon. I suppose God's ubiquity is part of the reason. You can find God here, there and everywhere among the common people but orthopaedic surgeons are much more particular - you find them only in high-class joints. We take God for granted but orthopaedic surgeons demand an arm and a leg for their services even when the problem is a finger or a toe.

As I kept repeating to my friends and family alike, I took a break from the afternoon cricket practice with my son and his friends. At first, because I was having a swell time, I thought it was a sprain and tried hot water, ice and various unguents but when the pain refused to go away and the swelling seemed to be going up rather than down I exchanged the rub for a doctor who rubbed me the wrong way.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

ISSEY MIYAKE's 'Flash of Memory'

When I saw Issey Miyake's byline - I thought there was some mistake - had no idea that this brilliant fashion designer was a six-year-old in Hiroshima when the bomb was dropped - J

New York Times | July 14, 2009
Op-Ed Contributor
A Flash of Memory


IN April, President Obama pledged to seek peace and security in a world without nuclear weapons. He called for not simply a reduction, but elimination. His words awakened something buried deeply within me, something about which I have until now been reluctant to discuss.

I realized that I have, perhaps now more than ever, a personal and moral responsibility to speak out as one who survived what Mr. Obama called the “flash of light.”

On Aug. 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb was dropped on my hometown, Hiroshima. I was there, and only 7 years old. When I close my eyes, I still see things no one should ever experience: a bright red light, the black cloud soon after, people running in every direction trying desperately to escape — I remember it all. Within three years, my mother died from radiation exposure.

I have never chosen to share my memories or thoughts of that day. I have tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to put them behind me, preferring to think of things that can be created, not destroyed, and that bring beauty and joy. I gravitated toward the field of clothing design, partly because it is a creative format that is modern and optimistic.

I tried never to be defined by my past. I did not want to be labeled “the designer who survived the atomic bomb,” and therefore I have always avoided questions about Hiroshima. They made me uncomfortable.

But now I realize it is a subject that must be discussed if we are ever to rid the world of nuclear weapons. There is a movement in Hiroshima to invite Mr. Obama to Universal Peace Day on Aug. 6 — the annual commemoration of that fateful day. I hope he will accept. My wish is motivated by a desire not to dwell on the past, but rather to give a sign to the world that the American president’s goal is to work to eliminate nuclear wars in the future.

Last week, Russia and the United States signed an agreement to reduce nuclear arms. This was an important event. However, we are not naïve: no one person or country can stop nuclear warfare. In Japan, we live with the constant threat from our nuclear-armed neighbor North Korea. There are reports of other countries acquiring nuclear technology, too. For there to be any hope of peace, people around the world must add their voices to President Obama’s.

If Mr. Obama could walk across the Peace Bridge in Hiroshima — whose balustrades were designed by the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi as a reminder both of his ties to East and West and of what humans do to one another out of hatred — it would be both a real and a symbolic step toward creating a world that knows no fear of nuclear threat. Every step taken is another step closer to world peace.

Issey Miyake is a clothing designer. This article was translated by members of his staff from the Japanese.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Reservedly happy

TONY REBEL... 'What a nice place to live - sweet Jamdown!'

JEAN LOWRIE-CHIN | Jamaica Observer | Monday, July 13, 2009

"I just came back from Afghanistan," the building contractor said, "and I am convinced that Jamaicans don't know the meaning of the word 'suffer'." Just so we didn't get too carried away, he added, "Mark you, I think I did well there because after 14 years in the construction business in Jamaica, you know how to deal with the 'baddest don'."

The contractor proceeded to describe the dry, dusty, scrubby landscape of Afghanistan, the stifling heat, the IEDs (improvised explosive devices) lurking at every step. The more I listened to him, the more I remembered the desolate pictures from my young relative, a soldier in Baghdad five years ago, and the more I appreciated Tony Rebel's song: "What a nice place to live/Sweet Jamdown/The only problem is/Money nah run. Help me big up Jamaica/the land of wood and water/the system may no proper/But we love the vibes, the food and the culture/Woi, can't you see/The beauty of this country/Me never know a serious thing/Until me reach a foreign."

These thoughts came to me as I read a report on Jamaica's rating as the third happiest country in the world. Happy, of course - I remember those joyous summers when my sister and I "spent time" with Grandma who had no electricity and few of those conveniences that we now regard as necessities. Claude McKay's Flame-Heart captures the beauty of Jamaican country life: "I have embalmed the days,/Even the sacred moments when we played,/All innocent of passion, uncorrupt,/At noon and evening in the flame-heart's shade./We were so happy, happy, I remember,/Beneath the poinsettia's red in warm December."

"Happy" had a far less complex definition then than it has today, now that our taste has been honed by Hollywood and corrupted by cable. "I looked in my grandchildren's cupboard and it was just a mountain of untouched toys," said a friend of mine. "I convinced them to donate them to charity. When their closets were cleared and tidy, the children looked so relieved."

In the Facebook responses to Nationwide's request for reactions to the rating, we saw comments ranging from, "I guess the old saying really is true: 'Ignorance is bliss'." to "It's long time we telling them... Jamaica No Problem, Mon, we too blessed to be stressed."

There were some humorous ones: "Out of how many countries, three?" and "Truth is I would not want to live anywhere else. To think Jamaica is the third happiest place on earth, more of us need to smoke weed, then we will all be so happy at Number 1!!!!"

Jamaicans know how to have fun. When Blakka had his last comedy show at Backyaad a few months ago, we had to park a good distance away, so large was the attendance. In any given week, there are plays, movies, shows and parties being advertised. (Then again, two leading DJs are alleged to have committed gun crimes and we cry shame on those politicians who have embedded the gun culture in our poor communities, now being manifested in so many tragic events.)

We worried for the Observer Food Awards in this recession, but at $8,000 a pop, the grounds at Devon House were overflowing. Reggae continues to be the beat of choice for upbeat movie soundtracks, on Travel and Food TV, Jamaican cuisine is often featured and of course, we are "lightning" on the track.

According to the new "Happy Planet" report from British non-profit group New Economics Foundation, "Jamaica's appearance in the top three of the Happy Planet Index (HPI) table comes somewhat as a surprise. It is fair to say that the country has been in some economic trouble for over 30 years, resulting in high levels of inequality and unemployment, and some of the highest homicide rates in the world. Moderate levels of life satisfaction perhaps reflect this reality."

(click on title for full column)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Jamaica: 3rd Happiest Place on Earth!

My Mom, her granddaughter Danya and great-grandaughter Leila enjoy the warm Negril sea - pure happiness!!

According to the new “Happy Planet” report from British nonprofit group New Economics Foundation, if you’d like to live a more rewarding life, it might be work trading in your Rolex for a surfboard and heading south. Their comprehensive new report, which compares nations according to their populations’ life expectancies, life satisfaction, and ecological footprint, combining all of the factors to create a “Happy Planet Index” score, ranks the sunny, fun-loving Costa Rica as the number one place in the world to live, followed by the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Guatemala, Vietnam, Colombia, El Salvador, Brazil, and Honduras to round out the top ten.

Jamaica Report (click link on title for details)

3rd place: Jamaica
Life sat: 6.7 Life exp: 72.2 years Footprint: 1.1 HPI: 70.1
Jamaica’s appearance in the top three of the HPI table comes somewhat as a surprise. It is fair to say that the country has been in some economic trouble for over 30 years, resulting in high levels of inequality and unemployment, and some of the highest homicide rates in the world. Moderate levels of life satisfaction perhaps reflect this reality.

And yet, despite these problems, the island is able to maintain some of the best levels of health in the developing world, as indicated by its high average life expectancy. Together with its very small ecological footprint, it is this which puts Jamaica towards the top of the HPI table.

In his book Poverty and life expectancy: the Jamaica paradox, American historian Professor James Riley traces the roots of the island’s good health.119 He finds that gains in life expectancy began to be made in the 1920s, as the British imperial apparatus began to pull out of the island, and continued for 50 years. What is notable is that these gains were made regardless of economic growth. For example, between 1920 and 1950, life expectancy increased from 36 years to 55 years, despite stagnant GDP growth. He attributes the progress to well-targeted low-cost government solutions such as good sanitation and public awareness campaigns. As a result, most Jamaicans have access to improved water – unusual in a county with a GDP per capita one-tenth that of the USA.

Also of note are the conditions around childbirth in the country: 97 per cent of babies are born with the assistance of skilled health professionals, and only four per cent of children are underweight – a figure comparable to richer nations such as Argentina. Lastly, it is worth noting that, despite high inequality, Jamaica is able to ensure that few people fall in the most extreme poverty bracket. The proportion of people living on under $1-a-day is less than in richer countries such as Costa Rica, Argentina or Turkey.

With regards to its ecological footprint, Jamaica is starting to move towards renewable energy sources. The Wigton Wind Farm, constructed in 2004, provides 63GWh per year of electricity.121 Currently, approximately five per cent of its energy requirements are met from renewable sources – a low figure but roughly the same as that of the UK.

Sushil Jain - Grow your money

Click on Title for full column

JEAN LOWRIE-CHIN | Jamaica Observer column | Monday, July 06, 2009

"If you had a business, wouldn't you want someone like Douglas Orane to be working for you?" asked Sushil Jain. "Well anyone can - you just have to buy shares in GraceKennedy!" The financial analyst was explaining the power of the ordinary shareholder and urging more Jamaicans to invest in local companies. "It is a good time to invest," says Jain. "Many Jamaican blue chips are now priced below book value."

Ever since the global economic meltdown, I had been promising myself to share the wisdom of Sushil Jain in this column. I had occasion to hear him give sound advice on investment in the past, and I knew that if such a man had been in charge of those Wall Street giants, they would not have fallen so hard.

"There was failure of the regulatory authorities
in the US, failure of corporate governance, excessive leveraging, failure of the system in allowing such high levels of corporate compensation, failure of the rating agencies - everybody failed to play their role," commented Jain.

"It is a crime against humanity, a tragedy that has affected the lives of billions, and yet the offenders have not been punished. I applaud the efforts being made at reform, but even now the lobbyists are trying to block them."

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Click on title and take a look at this video - please!

Merrick Needham responds to John Maxwell's 'A FI WI! ANO FI DEM!'


Response to 'A FI WI! ANO FI DEM!'


Thursday, July 02, 2009

I read with interest but also in respect of two particular paragraphs, some disbelief, John Maxwell's full-page piece under the heading above, in the Sunday Observer of June 21. John is an old friend and someone for whom I have much regard, as well as respect for his writings in many subject areas, notably including the environment - and for whom I wish the best of health.

However, in his article written on the 50th anniversary of the launch of the former Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation he stunned me just as much as he stated, of the
JBC, "We stunned Jamaica."

Immediately after that short sentence, he went on to write of "the Jamaican accents which had never before been heard on radio. Until then two kinds of diction were permissible on Jamaican radio: the clipped BBC accents of Dennis Gick and his ilk with their JB Priestley plays, or the real (and occasionally fake) American accents of the announcers on Radio Jamaica".

John, you graciously apologised in a subsequent letter to the editor for your omission of any mention of Sonny Bradshaw's unquestionable contribution to Jamaica's music development, especially through the JBC in its earliest days. However, I really feel you owe a similar apology to the RJR of the 1950s and all the many Jamaican-sounding Jamaicans whose voices and talents were regularly heard on that station throughout the decade that preceded the advent of the JBC.

"Jamaicans heard... for the first time at last, the voices of Miss Lou (Louise Bennett-Coverley), Mass Ran (Ranny Williams), Charles Hyatt, 'Pro Rata Powell' (Ken Maxwell), Jack Neesberry (sic) (Carol Reckord)."

No, John; with the possible exception of Carol Reckord they had all been on RJR repeatedly in the decade before the JBC existed. How could one make the accusation that Jamaican accents "... had never before been heard on radio", when Archie Lindo was an RJR staff broadcaster throughout the 1950s, so was Ken Maxwell in the first couple of years of the decade; Alma Hylton (later MockYen) similarly was a staff broadcaster through the second half of the 50s.