Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010 Terms That Made Us Squirm

By Rob Kyff

Listen, my readers, and you shall hear
The words we overused this year.
Some were slang, and some were formal.
Let's just call them "the new normal."

The year began with "Snowmaggedon,"
Showing where we might be headin'.
"Cougars" we met and "Guidos" galore,
And not just at the Jersey Shore.

Amid the World Cup saturnalia
We heard -- my ears! -- the "vuvuzela."
In the Gulf, where fish (ill) swam
We focused on a deep "spill cam."

Ecologists were on the scene,
And soon we all were "going green."
When projects stalled or ran aground,
We just devised a "work-around."

Palin popped with quite a spate,
And none we can't "refudiate."
Always sharp and always fizzly,
She called herself a "mama grizzly."
In her verbal 'cyclopedia
Were brickbats to the "lamestream media."

Each pundit, scribe and news observer
Blabbed of "anti-incumbent fervor."
For these reporters, all declarative,
Every person had a "narrative."

They could never have a chat
Without remarking, "Having said that ... "
And they were always sadly hissing
Of some poor soul who'd just "gone missing."

Economists in hackneyed harmony
Would start each sentence, "In today's economy ..."
"Birthers" spoke out loud and hearty,
Pumping up the new "tea party."

In tirades that were never ending
They flayed and roasted "excess spending."
And when they thrashed "Obamacare,"
They gave Barack some more gray hair.
Voters deemed him sorely lacking,
And served him with a real "shellacking."

Facing Boehner, all tanned up,
The Pres told Dems to just "man up."
When liberals griped about this view,
Some said, "He's just not into you."

Then airline travelers, in a funk,
Screamed angrily, "Don't touch my junk!"
But in the end, we did repel
The worn-out phrase "Don't ask, don't tell."
From twenty-ten, I do surmise,
The term we'll keep is "compromise."


Rob Kyff, a teacher and writer in West Hartford, Conn., invites your language sightings. Send your reports of misuse and abuse, as well as examples of good writing, via e-mail to or by regular mail to Rob Kyff, Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Rob Kyff and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at 2010 Creators Syndicate Inc
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jamaica Air Shuttle - love them!

Jamaica Air Shuttle saves a ton of time! I have used the service and find them efficient, courteous and reliable. They are not my client but I just had to share this great offer with you.


Remember to Buy Jamaican and Eat Jamaican this Christmas - we have great, healthy fruits, vegetables, delicious sauces, condiments, meats.

Buy beautiful Jamaican gifts from Carby's, Craft Cottage, your neighbour who bakes, crochets, knits, local manufacturers of furniture.

Every Jamaican product you buy secures a Jamaican job.

Have a Blessed Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Reduce your speed!

Message from Dr Lucien Jones - Convener of the National Council for Road Safety

Pray for a big reduction in car crashes and fatalities. The Police have received 50 brand new speed guns. An intensive speed reduction campaign is now being conducted by the JCF islandwide, daily (night and day). They will be on highways, bad spots where crashes frequently occur and along roadways near to places of entertainment. They will also be on roadways near to events/fetes held over the Christmas season and new year .

They are also checking for seat belt use (front and back) and are doing breathalyser tests etc. Zero tolerance approach being taken by the JCF.

The JCF is now using a NEW fully automated traffic ticketing system (soon to be officially announced) which will easily detect drivers with outstanding tickets. Obey the rules of the road. Drive defensively. Look out for pedestrians. Don't become a statistic!

Please support this campaign for road safety by passing on / posting this message.
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Saturday, December 11, 2010


By Dr Lucien Jones

Lord, your Word declares that "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty". And your inspired song teaches us that "Great is Thy faithfulness.....and that 'there is no shadow of turning with thee'.....and that 'All I have needed Thy hand has provided'.

Now Lord, on this morning our need is great, as in faith, and according to the needs of our nation, we have set a target for safety on our roads so that more and more of thy children would be rescued from death and injury, from suffering and tragedy. And Lord, the forces of evil and the carelessness of the human heart have conspired to thwart the efforts of your servants.

So we, desperate in our need, and trusting in your faithfulness, cry out to you the God of Jacob, the Holy One of Israel, the great I AM, to stretch out your Right Hand and protect those who use our roads. Stretch out your Right Hand Lord, according to your Word and protect us from the anger of our enemies, as we are helpless without your intervention. And we pray God even more, that as you rescue your people that your Name may be exalted and that Thy will may be done in this nation.
We pray this in the strong name of Jesus, by whose blood, all humans have been Redeemed (though not all have accepted this precious gift) and therefore able to approach you, a Holy God, with confidence, and appeal for grace and mercy in times of trouble. Amen

Dr Jones is the Convenor of the National Road Safety Council
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Jonkunnu Baby

Mi Mother say it was a sight
That dark December Hartford night
When jonkunnu wheel into de yard
Beating all kinda contraption
Till she start feel contraction
Rolling calf dance wid pregnant ooman
Pitchy-patchy wid police
An me a jig into creation
A lively little exclamation!

So yu tek a big chance
When you ask mi for a dance
This quiet little lady
Is a born Westmoreland
Jonkunnu baby!

- Jean Lowrie-Chin
From 'Souldance'

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Saturday, November 27, 2010


National Journalism Week
November 28- Dec. 4




National Journalism Week 2010 takes on greater importance and resonance than in recent years, as the fraternity has been confronted with mounting criticisms. This commemorative week will present an opportunity for the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ), to not only rightfully celebrate its achievements, but to also reflect on its journey on the 'road' of democracy - assessing how far it has come and how much farther it has to go.

The PAJ for over sixty-five (65) years has been a purveyor of our country's democracy, consistently placing in the public domain, information with a high degree of credibility. This is crucial, especially in a dynamic environment, with competing forces and intents; and where fiction can oftentimes be skewed to resemble facts.

Our nation's journalists face a difficult task in the pursuance of their mandate, as they are vulnerable to massive lawsuits and libel charges. The Government has given its commitment to reviewing the outdated libel laws and has taken steps in that direction. We must recognize that while the truth must be ferreted out from those 'dark corners' and brought into the light; we should also be mindful that a balance must be reached between probity, accuracy and sensitivity and that the lawful rights and reputations of our people are not breached, but protected and remain in tact.

Jamaica boasts some of the best media practitioners who have brought the profession to a place of wide acclaim; and I would like to add my own commendations to these sterling professionals.

I wish for your organization every success in its planned activities for this important week.

Bruce Golding
Honourable Prime Minister

Message from PAJ President Jenni Campbell
We recognize the role of the press in Jamaica as critical to the very existence of our democracy. In fact, at the heart of what we do is how we interface with the public and provide our wider society with access to the national dialogue.
We ask questions of public officials on behalf of our people, we provide public information that leads to important personal choices.
In doing so, we bear a heavy burden of truth and accuracy. We must seek to get it right the first time. We know that often, words once spoken can hardly be retrieved and a good reputation is hard to come by.

We also know that being the eyes and ears of the public, we see and hear more than the average Jamaican.

We have seen the depth of poverty that many of our country men and women face daily. We have seen suffering, we have seen corruption. Equally, we have seen triumph and glory.

As passionate storytellers who stand in the gap, we are not immune to the true meaning of all that we see. We may claim that we are mere conduits, but we too, are often moved by the happenings about which we report daily.

As we face the job moving forward, I urge our fraternity to look within, seek out ways in which we can stand together to make positive changes in our society.

Earlier this year, we saw the RJR Group embark on a project to help our earthquake devastated neighbours in Haiti, we saw The Gleaner leading a campaign through its pages against crime and violence. As a body, the PAJ will lead national campaigns towards the restoration of respect for all and a return to the rule of law and order. We ask our membership to support these campaigns through public service announcements, blurbs and special projects, so that the message becomes a mantra to all of us.
If it is that we intend to live in Jamaica land we love, we must agree that things must be done differently, and as we stand in the gap - peddling truth, rights and integrity, we must be prepared to lead from our sphere of influence.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Jostling for power in the JLP

GOLDING... 2010 is his annus horribilis

Observer column | Jean Lowrie-Chin |Monday, November 22, 2010

Suddenly there is a chorus of "me first" in the Jamaica Labour Party. It seems that Christopher Tufton's triumph over Horace Chang for the JLP Area Four leadership has whetted the appetite of his Labourite colleagues. Deputy General Secretary Dr Aundre Franklin had been muscling up for the general secretary post when Daryl Vaz let him know that it would be no cakewalk. Mercifully, Karl Samuda has finally decided to withdraw from the race and so this will be a fight between the young bucks.

Then, out of the blue, veteran Mike Henry announced that he would be challenging fellow veteran Dr Kenneth Baugh for the chairmanship of the party. Karl Samuda has disclosed that he is backing Baugh. For this masterful campaigner to declare his support of two contenders in two different contests is significant. We should not forget that he was firmly behind the wheel for the 2007 JLP campaign and was able to take Bruce Golding past the popular Portia Simpson Miller, who had enjoyed a 20-25 per cent lead over her opponent just over a year before.

In a forum held at UWI's Mona School of Business a few months after the '07 elections, Karl Samuda told us of their unremitting efforts: "We drank gallons of coffee. We were a think tank that never slept." He said he had learnt an important lesson from the way the PNP had used their "cock mout' kill cock" campaign against him, after he had left them to return to the JLP. The savvy campaigner "started to use the voice of the individual to attack the individual".

Mr Samuda said they turned the spotlight on a negative incident featuring Mrs Simpson Miller. The "don't draw mi tongue" ad juxtaposing the then PM and Audley Shaw in what seemed like a heated argument featured clever editing and some digital manipulation at the end of the commercial. Sounds like whoever has Mr Samuda in his corner has a savvy strategist who has been able to win seats wearing either party hat.

If these internal party elections are allowed to proceed free from fear, we should have exciting matches to watch. However, fear has reared its ugly head in two sordid reports, from the west and from the east. One is an allegation that former Montego Bay Mayor Noel Donaldson has been threatened for his backing of Chris Tufton over the incumbent Horace Chang. Then there are the disturbing accusations of St Thomas businessman Ian Johnson against Member of Parliament and Mining and Energy Minister James Robertson.

We heard Johnson on the Newstalk programme Jamaica Speaks describing the trauma of seeing his mother in the morgue at the Princess Margaret Hospital with three bullet wounds. However, we have no idea who was responsible for her tragic demise, so we have to wait for a proper investigation before anyone can point fingers. To be falsely accused of a heinous crime must be one of the most devastating things to happen to a human being.

With these allegations of Labourite against Labourite, the Manatt, Phelps & Phillips issue, and this sudden jostling for power in the party, one wonders if there is some expectation that the leadership post may be vacated and if these contenders are lining up to be heir to the throne. To quote from Miss Lou's poem Back to Africa: "Wat a debil of a bump an' bore, rig-jig and palam pam!" This has been a hectic year and I would say to the hypertensive: make sure you fill your prescription because more excitement is definitely in store for us.

Olint head David Smith is now in the US, and the pundits are predicting that some of his evidence may very well "join the dots" in this ever growing mystery of who is in whose pocket.

There are calls for the prime minister to comment on the accusations against Mr Robertson. Perhaps Mr Golding is becoming a very silent philosopher after previous statements and apologies. He may be quietly hoping that this is a painful prelude to the "exorcism" of disgraceful political behaviour rightly demanded in an editorial in last week's Observer. Can he get away with saying nothing? Will he store up everything for his exit or for announcing a renewed JLP? This is being written two days before his address to the JLP conference - this morning we should know the direction he is taking.

Whatever may have transpired yesterday, every Jamaican should understand that we can have a hand in healing our country of this disease that has crippled our poor and dispossessed. Why is our music so violent and vulgar? Because it reflects the deprivation of our Jamaican brothers and sisters, trapped on the gully sides and in the ghettos by vote-seeking politicians. Because it expresses the depravity of those who are torn between becoming victim or aggressor.

Every time we shake our heads at the disturbing lyrics of the dancehall, we should know that they come out of this terrible environment. Every time we worry about our own personal safety, we should ask ourselves what we have done towards condemning the horrible politics in our country that has spawned so many menacing thugs.

We need to partner with our democratically elected political representatives - offer our support for impartial and honest constituency development and refuse to associate with any form of corruption. This is a very small country and politicians should stop being coy about what we know that they know.

Pollster Don Anderson announced on CVM-TV last week that Opposition Leader Simpson Miller is now 10 per cent ahead of PM Golding in the popularity ratings.

All in all, this has been Bruce Golding's annus horribilis, a year he could not have imagined on that mellow day of his inauguration as when he stated his resolve "that matter how shabbily he may be dressed ... will be protected and his dignity respected." Realising that this would be a huge challenge, he then added, "The task before me is enormous. But the Lord is the strength of my life. Of nothing shall I be afraid." For Jamaica's sake, we hope so.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Everyday Prayer

Dear Lord,
I thank You for this day.
I'm blessed because You are a forgiving God and an understanding God.
You have done so much for me and You keep on blessing me.
Forgive me this day for everything I have done, said or thought that was not pleasing to you.
I ask now for Your forgiveness.
Please keep me safe
from all danger and harm. Help me to start this day with a new attitude and plenty of gratitude.
Let me make the best of each and every day to clear my mind so that I can hear from You... Please broaden my mind that I can accept all things.
Let me not whine and whimper over things I have no control over. And give me the best response when I'm pushed beyond my limits. I know that when I can't pray, You listen to my heart. Continue to use me to do Your will. Continue to bless me that I may be a blessing to others. Keep me strong that I may help the weak...Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others.
I pray for those that are lost and can't find their way. I pray for those that are misjudged and misunderstood. I pray for those that don't believe.
I pray for my family and friends. I pray for peace, love and joy in their homes; that they are well or recovering well, and all their needs are met.
I pray that every eye that reads this knows there is no problem, circumstance, or situation greater than God.
Every battle is in Your hands for You to fight.
I pray that these words be received into the hearts of every eye that sees it in Jesus' name.  
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Friday, November 12, 2010

JA book drive makes Guinness Book of Records!

Great news from Deika Morrison -  

The last time I communicated with the recipients of this email was the morning of May 1 2010.  Then I was announcing the official start of the Guinness World Record attempt.

The Rotary Clubs of Jamaica is now the official holder of the Guinness World Record for the Most Books Donated To Charity In Seven Days.  The record is now 657,061. 

All of you made this possible - in various ways.  We have thanked you in the press and now that it is official, I will write to each organization - more than 150 inside and outside of Jamaica who made this happen.  I just wanted you to know that the certificate arrived yesterday. 

Thank you so very much.  Jamaica has set another world record.  This time - a record for charity.  And we did so working together - public sector, private sector, NGOs, individuals, international partners.

Many, many thanks!
Best, Deika


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Friday, November 5, 2010

Prof. Barry Chevannes - Jamaica's Beloved Peacemaker

Professor Barry Chevannes - Rest in Peace

Barry Chevannes’ message to the gunman: 'You can choose not to kill'

Jean Lowrie-Chin | Jamaica Observer | Monday, January 31, 2005

If you know a gunman, if you know a don man, could you give him Barry's message? Mister gunman, Mister don man, Barry Chevannes wants you to know that you're human, not an animal. He knows you have the power of choice. You are not a fly that must breed in garbage, you can remove yourself from the garbage. Just as you chose to kill, you can choose NOT to kill. You have a human will - you are not programmed to kill.

If anybody feels your pain, it is Barry Chevannes. Sure, he has the handle of "Professor", but that journey took him to St George's College from Glengoffe, St Catherine, every day with no breakfast in his belly. "The priests noticed I was listless and arranged with a lady to serve me breakfast, but after a while I stopped going. I was self-conscious, embarrassed."

St George's was a caring institution, he recalls, and remembers the good times shared with lifelong friend and teacher Horace Levy, classmates Norman Wright, Trevor Appleton, Walter Campbell, Tony Wong and Peter Judah. He was also a contemporary of Trevor Munroe and Ronnie Thwaites. "The Jesuits instilled in us a sense of calling," he says. "They told us that God had a design and we were to find it."

They nurtured the ideals of this brilliant boy, who decided to serve his people by entering the priesthood. He studied in Massachusetts from 1959 to 1966 in the fine ferment of the Black Civil Rights Movement. Fate thrust him in the vanguard of a march down Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, sharing the frontline with none other than Martin Luther King Jr as he strode into history. "I kept looking across, watching his face. I was so moved by his passion for his people that I wanted to work with blacks in the south."

But Barry's homeland had plans for him. He was away when Jamaica became independent, but joyfully received her anthem and learned it by heart. "When the plane touched down in Kingston in 1966, I found myself singing the anthem, glad to be home."

Barry Chevannes taught Latin at Campion College while teaching himself how to play the guitar. Then he joined Father Schecher in a two-roomed house in Rose Town, as they decided that church was too far from the people and began to share more deeply in their lives. I remember the long-robed scholastic Mr Chevannes earnestly teaching the rudiments of philosophy to our joint Alpha-George's sixth-form class. Best of all, I remember the "Spirit of the Laad" in his hymns about Pentecost, the Birth of Christ, Ruth and Naomi.

After receiving permission from his superiors to enrol at the UWI to study sociology, he finally decided that a celibate life was not for him. His thesis on the Rastafarians earned him his degree in social anthropology, and he continued at Columbia University with an even more in-depth study on them.

But the teachings of his practical mother, his kindly father and the caring Jesuits at St George's remained with him, as he mentored his students and used his findings to make important initiatives. He was also influenced by sociologist C Wright Mills who believed that sociology should be solution-oriented. He founded Fathers Inc, the organisers of the Model Father Competition, in 1991, and Partners for Peace in 1997. The Centre for Studies in Public Safety and Justice established a few weeks ago, and headed by Dr Anthony Harriott, is a direct outcome of this movement.

A Study on Urban Poverty and Violence was a joint project of Horace Levy and Barry Chevannes. The title of the final publication was "They Cry Respect", as their findings showed the alienation and disrespect suffered by Jamaica's poor. "Unemployment and poverty are not causes, but the conditions that breed crime," Barry believes.

The passing decades have added an edge of urgency to his earnestness. The gun has now become part of the accoutrements of manhood among our poor youth, he observes. "These factors will not be solved overnight. This is a mind-set that will now have to be unset with re-education and transformation. I believe job creation is key to this transformation."

"We need to approach the gunman through his friends, and help him unravel this knot of discontent that sends bullets to a man's heart," Barry believes.

Barry and his wife Pauletta have seen too much good come out of their efforts to ever give up on their country. Pauletta was principal of Charlie Smith High School for many years and Barry remembers her commitment to her students - mentoring, feeding the football team in training. Barry has seen the Partnership for Peace help to transform several individuals, including Sandra Sewell of August Town, who became a powerful force for peace. "It was a terrible blow when she was murdered last year," he says painfully.

It could not be a coincidence that Barry attended a meeting called by the US visionary Robert Roskind last year, to discuss plans for a peace concert to mark Bob Marley's 60th birthday. "I thought, why not make it a violence-free day? Robert and Colin Leslie embraced the idea, and Dimario McDowell's inspired graphics have given it impact. It is heartening to see the support from our entertainment personalities, the Ministry of Health Violence Prevention Programme, Jamaica National Building Society, CVM, JIS, TVJ, Worldtron, Hands Across Jamaica. Both the PNP and the JLP have endorsed our project. Miss Lindsay from Devon House called to ask how she could help, and now has a sign outside Devon House supporting our cause."

Barry wants February 6, No-Violence Day, to be the beginning of our movement for peace. "I am not so naïve to believe this will be easy," he says. "We have to change the conditions to sustain the peace. But you have to start. If you sit and contemplate how far the journey is, instead of taking the first step, you will never start."

So blessed - it's a test!

This map with Tomas' track over the past week shows how blessed Jamaica is.

Just so we don't get too carried away, we need to remember that "to them that much is given, much is required."

Once more the good Lord wants to see how an uninjured Jamaica will help an injured Haiti.

Please go to and make your donation now.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Norma Shirley - Jamaica's Culinary Legend - Rest in Peace

The ever-attentive Norma Shirley as she checked on a diner at her restaurant.

Scenes from Norma's Adventures with Chef Renaa from Norway last August - what a lady! Giving thanks that we could enjoy the creations of this beautiful lady who brought such taste and style to our special celebrations.

Time to work on our strengths

TURNING THE CORNER ON CORRUPTION... DPP Paula Llewellyn and Contractor General Greg Christie greet each other heartily after Prof Trevor Munroe (centre) revealed that Jamaica had improved its standing in the Corruption Perception Index. (Photo: Aston Spaulding)

Jean Lowrie-Chin | Monday, November 01, 2010 | Jamaica

EVEN our non-VIP tickets for the Bill Clinton Lecture last Monday were pricey, so I hope that by sharing it in this column, readers will get my money's worth. The audience hung on to Mr Clinton's every word — not because he told us anything we didn't know, but because this former leader of the world's most powerful country laid out his findings so well.

Mr Clinton said the mapping of the human genome revealed that, regardless of race, colour, creed or financial status, the genome sequence is almost exactly the same (99.9 per cent) in all people. This is the "common humanity" which was the theme of his address. He appealed to us to change our mindset from focusing on the 0.1per cent of what makes us different, to the 99.9 per cent of what we have in common. "We have to find solutions in which everyone can win," he urged, as he described himself as a "clear-eyed, hard-headed idealist".

When moderator Nigel Clarke posed the question, "How would you restore hope?" Mr Clinton related the rise of Rwanda from the massacre of 1994, in which 10 per cent of the country's population, an estimated 800,000, was lost in a terrible genocide. "In 1998, Rwanda's per capita income was $268 per year. Ten years later, it was $1,000... The people of Rwanda made up their minds to imagine a future that was different from their past."

He told us the story of a Tutsi basket-weaver, "Miss Cassi", who had lost her husband and seven of her 10 children in the massacre (her other three children were serving elsewhere in the military). She reached out to another lady from the other ethnic group and said, "Let's begin again." They created such exquisite baskets that they became popular, even in New York department stores.

As the business grew, young men joined the workforce. One day a 26-year-old worker confessed to his boss, Miss Cassi: "I killed one of your children." So filled with remorse was he that he told her that she should send for one of her sons in the military to come and kill him. "What good would that do?" asked the noble lady. "Go back to work!"

Could our human rights groups challenge themselves to this higher form of thinking, instead promoting this toxic atmosphere of conflict in our society? Could they use their influence to help the PMI heal our communities?

The former US President also commented on Jamaica's burdensome cost of electricity. Referring to our access to solar and wind power, he said, "The Caribbean could be the only region in the world to become the most energy self-sufficient." But where is the political will? Nearly 20 years ago the Jamaica Flour Mills sponsored a solar-oven project implemented by the resourceful Claudette Wilmot. She used about $300 worth of material - cardboard, glass and aluminium foil - to create the solar oven in which a three-course meal was prepared for the media and several officials. Representatives from the then Ministry of Energy all sent their apologies for absence at the last minute!

"Rising countries like Jamaica need to improve and build against the onslaught from destructive forces," said Mr Clinton. "No one expects you to be perfect." He then described Colombia's fight against the narcotics trade. Narco-traffickers "owned" 30 per cent of Colombia until the government and people pushed back, to the point where they have reclaimed their capital Medellin, which recently hosted the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the Inter-American Development Bank. In the Colombia experience, he gave us this Q & A:

Q: Are the people in charge accused of excesses? A: Yes.

Q: Have they made progress? A: Yes.

Mr Clinton said that "disagreements are natural" but appealed to us to agree to "a core of central objectives ... Do not be discouraged by failure. Don't quit - do something else."

He referred to the once 'paralysed' Middle East that now has a new generation of leaders who have forged a partnership with Israel. In Bahrain, their government has agreed to share power equally with the private sector, with the single objective of improving their economic rating. Mr Clinton said that they had a world ranking of number 49 three years ago and had now moved up to number 13.

Mr Clinton wants us to look at Jamaica's strengths: "There is a reason why people keep coming here ... don't just work on your problems, work on your strengths."

Bill Clinton would have been pleased at the news that emerged the following day, when Professor Trevor Munroe, director of the National Integrity Action Forum, announced that Jamaica had improved her standing in the 2010 Corruption Perception Index. He said that Jamaica had "improved its global ranking from 99 out of 180 countries to 87 out of 178 countries after successive fall in rankings in 2007, 2008 and 2009."

People power seems to have had significant impact on this. Prof Munroe noted, "In 2008, a Don Anderson poll showed that Jamaicans for the first time regarded corruption as the second most important thing wrong with Jamaica ... This sentiment fuelled the widespread and overwhelming public demand for Christopher "Dudus" Coke's extradition and for upholding of the rule of law. Nine editorials/columns/letters in three newspapers in January 2010 rose to 216 in May."

Signs are that Jamaicans may be moving away from the constant haranguing which has neither dignity nor direction. On Thursday, news came that five private sector organisations had decided to resume talks with the government on the Partnership for Transformation, based on PM Golding's decision to establish a Commission of Enquiry into the Christopher Coke/Manatt issue.

Like Paula Llewellyn, Greg Christie and Danville Walker, let us be honest and energetic in doing the nation's business. Like the brave people of Rwanda, let us imagine a future very different from our recent past.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Anthony Ziadie's Rainfall Stats for St Andrew, Jamaica

Weather watcher Anthony Ziadie has been diligently measuring rainfall since 2001 in St Andrew. “At my location …The total rainfall for the year stands at 71.86 inches. This is some 29.46 inches more than 2009. It has rained for 17 of the 20 days in October thus far, and was 10 consecutive days from October 1 to 10.”

Anthony prepared the chart above that shows a marked increase in rainfall in the past five years. We need to change our bad habits before they change our landscape.

Message from Anthony Ziadie - Oct 9 2010

For those of you weather hobbyists, rainfall figures for 2010 &
comparison to 2009 are:

As of Friday October 8th we have had in the Norbrook/Constant Spring
areas, 67.43 inches of rain this year. Compare that to the 42.2 inches
that fell for the entire 2009.

Of this 67.43 inches, 25.87" or 38% fell in September. This is mostly
due to Tropical Storms Matthew & Nicole which contributed 17.85
On Wednesday September 29th, a whopping 11.10 inches of rain fell in a
24-hour period. This is the largest single-day total since I began
keeping records in late 2000.

For the past nine years 2001-2009 we average 61.95 inches per year in
my location. From a low of 42.2" (2009) to a high of 81.72" in 2007.

So far in October we have had 5.83" on rain, more than half of last
October's total which was 9.75". Based on the rainfall so far &
historical numbers for October, November, & December, I am predicting
that the previous high of 81.72" in 2007 will be broken by 5 inches or
so, making this the most rainy year in past decade.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Beware of hackers on Facebook!

Beware of hackers on Facebook.

Below is the warning copied from Joan Andrea Hutchinson's page:

Joan Andrea Hutchinson: The hackers from texas are targeting Jamaican FB accounts big time. I've been hacked, Basil Dawkin's been hacked, Charles lannaman's been hacked. Who else? if you get a chat note from one of your FB friends saying "You look so stupid in this video"... DO NOT RESPOND... just delete. Now is a good time to change your password

Kimmy Lou 

I got that from you yesterday but didn't respond. Think I should still change pswd?

Joan Andrea Hutchinson 

Well yuh know say mi would not be so rude, so a mus di hackers dem. I woudl say change it, for since dem a target wi

Dorothy Cunningham 

We still don't find a cure for cancer or the common cold and dem people have time fi hackin?! a plague on all their houses!!

Dorrett Campbell 

I have been hacked twice

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

View from my table at Lingah Negril

A beautiful morning at the Lingah by the Sea restaurant at Mariners Negril Beach. All the freshest food for a great Jamaican breakfast.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Coconut Oil & Alzheimer's
Coconut Oil and Alzheimer's Disease
October 5, 2010
How worried should drug companies be about supplements eating into their monopoly profits? A lot—as this story will show.
Please share it with anyone you know who is suffering from Alzheimer's or is worried about it. Of course, just about everyone worries about Alzheimer's. It currently afflicts 5.2 million people in the US and is the seventh leading cause of death. The cost of treating it is estimated at $148 billion.
Mary Newport, MD, has been medical director of the neonatal intensive care unit at Spring Hill Regional Hospital in Florida since it opened in 2003. About the same time the unit opened, her husband Steve, then 53, began showing signs of progressive dementia, later diagnosed as Alzheimer's Disease. "Many days, often for several days in a row, he was in a fog; couldn't find a spoon or remember how to get water out of the refrigerator," she said.
They started him on Alzheimer's drugs—Aricept, Namenda, Exelon—but his disease worsened steadily. (It should be noted that the latest research shows that the various Alzheimer's drugs, like Aricept, have proven disappointing, with little real benefit and often distressing side effects.) When Dr. Newport couldn't get her husband into a drug trial for a new Alzheimer's medication, she started researching the mechanism behind Alzheimer's.
She discovered that with Alzheimer's disease, certain brain cells may have difficulty utilizing glucose (made from the carbohydrates we eat), the brain's principal source of energy. Without fuel, these precious neurons may begin to die. There is an alternative energy source for brain cells—fats known as ketones. If deprived of carbohydrates, the body produces ketones naturally.
But this is the hard way to do it—who wants to cut carbohydrates out of the diet completely? Another way to produce ketones is by consuming oils that have medium-chain triglycerides. When MCT oil is digested, the liver converts it into ketones. In the first few weeks of life, ketones provide about 25 percent of the energy newborn babies need to survive.
Dr. Newport learned that the ingredient in the drug trial which was showing so much promise was simply MCT oil derived from coconut oil or palm kernel oil, and that a dose of 20 grams (about 20 ml or 4 teaspoons) was used to produce these results. When MCT oil is metabolized, the ketones which the body creates may, according to the latest research, not only protect against the incidence of Alzheimer's, but may actually reverse it. Moreover, this is also a potential treatment for Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease), drug-resistant epilepsy, brittle type I diabetes, and type II (insulin-resistant) diabetes.
So Mr. Newport, not being able to get into the drug trial, started taking the coconut oil twice a day. At this point, he could barely remember how to draw a clock. Two weeks after adding coconut oil to his diet, his drawing improved. After 37 days, Steve's drawing gained even more clarity. The oil seemed to "lift the fog," and in the first sixty days, Dr. Newport saw remarkable changes in him: every morning he was alert and happy, talkative, making jokes. His gait was "still a little weird," but his tremor was no longer very noticeable. He was able to concentrate on things that he wanted to do around the house and in the yard and stay on task, whereas before coconut oil he was easily distractible and rarely accomplished anything unless he was directly supervised.
Over the next year, the dementia continued to reverse itself: he is able to run again, his reading comprehension has improved dramatically, and his short-term memory is improving—he often brings up events that happened days to weeks earlier and relays telephone conversations with accurate detail. A recent MRI shows that the brain atrophy has been completely halted.
Let's take a moment to consider what actually happened here. Synthetic (patentable) Alzheimer's drugs have failed. A drug company reluctantly decides to put a non-patentable natural substance (medium-chain triglycerides derived from coconut or palm) through an FDA trial. It works. But, darn it, a smart doctor figures out that a natural food can be substituted for the super-expensive drug. Not only that, the ketones from natural coconut oil last in the body longer than the drug version—eight hours instead of three hours. This is enough to make a drug company start worrying about its future. What if this natural health idea really catches on? Goodbye to monopoly profits!
Coconut oil can be found in many health food stores and even some grocery stores. One large chain sells a non-hydrogenated (no trans-fat) brand of coconut oil in a one-liter size (nearly 32 ounces) for about $7. It can be purchased in quantities as small as a pint and up to five gallons online. It is important to use coconut oil that is non-hydrogenated and contains no trans-fat. We would also strongly encourage the use of virgin oil (chemicals used to extract non-virgin oil are potentially dangerous, and better still, virgin organic, still quite reasonably priced.)
For more information, see Dr. Newport's website. Sadly, you will not find any information on ketones, or the use of coconut oil or MCT oil, on the Alzheimer's Association website.
Coconut oil is not the only natural product that has the potential to turn Alzheimer's around. We will cover some other ones, and drug industry efforts to steal some of them, in a future issue.
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Monday, October 11, 2010

Who will unite us?

Jamaica Observer | by Jean Lowrie-Chin

THESE folks in the governing Jamaica Labour Party need a reality check. The contretemps over the general secretary position is sibling rivalry to the extreme, bickering while Mama Jamaica is lying there, broken and traumatised. Who will tell these headlinegrabbers that Jamaica needs their undivided attention? A house divided cannot unite a nation, one that needs an authoritative, compassionate hand after our devastating rains.

People are slipping and sliding on gully banks, wondering when the next part of their house will follow the parts already washed away. In Lacovia, a resident sits in her house surrounded by water, unable to travel to work in Kingston, fearing for her family's safety in the rising waters. The road near Sheffield in Westmoreland is inundated with little drainage. That parish boasts some of the island's biggest mosquitoes (the bane of my childhood), and they now have acres of breeding space.

Did you see that lady from the Salvation Army speaking on the news about the folks near Treasure Beach? She was beside herself with worry over the danger of disease outbreak, remarking on the stagnant waters. The elderly are being ferried in makeshift boats cobbled from old refrigerators and plastic drums.

So you would think someone would be able to quell the conflict between the warring siblings, so that ODPEM and the NGOs giving aid could benefit from a government fully focused on … governing. At the rate we are going, whoever wins this “gensec” race may have a pyrrhic victory.

Writing from Atlanta, Jamaican engineer Garrick Augustus is so passionate about fixing his country's infrastructure, that he has launched a Facebook page, Jamaica Renaissance to raise US$3 billion for the cause. He plans to return to Jamaica and has sent a letter to Road and Works Minister Mike Henry offering to be a part of his road repair team.

Let me not be cynical (my friend Ronnie Thwaites wondered why I was not my usual optimistic self last week), but Garrick should know that a willingness to help and a passion for country (over party) may actually disqualify him in some quarters. It is happening all over Jamaica. Mediocre and dishonest people shun excellence and good character. They do not want anyone to mash up their “dolly house” of double dealing. This is why we notice that the layers of asphalt over some of our eroded roads look like they were applied with a paintbrush! The middlemen have to collect so much, that the roads have been shortchanged.

This is why, much as we may not agree with everything they say, we have to respect the monitors of law and order in our society – the political ombudsman, public defender, electoral commissioners, contractor general, commissioner of customs, rights and environmental groups. They probably seem harsh because we have been bending the rules so drastically, that now they no bear no resemblance to their original form. What a job they have!

Shakespeare wrote in Julius Caesar, that “men have fled to brutish beasts”. Decade after decade, generation after generation, we have watched our innocent, beautiful boy babies transformed into hardened criminals. Those who preside over this transformation are the biggest brutes of them all. Where does a gang leader get the power that makes him feel so unassailable? We have so brutalised our young men that they cannot see beyond the muzzles of their guns – they have not been given the tools to build a life, just the weapons to end it.

To our leaders both in the JLP and the PNP we say, whatever mistakes you may have made in the past, whatever sins you may have committed – today is the day you can resolve to put your suffering people first. Today is the day you will not rest until you have delivered relief and compassion to our suffering thousands. Today is the day that you can call your opposite number in your division or constituency and say, “Come! Our Jamaican people who entrusted us with their wellbeing need to see us working together to ensure that they get relief.”

Call me if you make that move today and I will give you all the PR your hearts desire. I will alert the media, beg for photo and TV coverage. I will storm the social media with the good news – that finally we have leaders who care more about their people than their own selfish ends. This column will be yours next week – and I will beg my colleague columnists to shout out your good works. Is that my phone ringing …?


Nejeeper KNG
I believe that us uniting as a people will not come from any individual it will most likely come from a sign or miracle. It has taken years of misrepresentation and lack of vision to get us where we are today so the change that we truly need will not happen overnight. The mentality of the people is a big factor; and even though politics have contributed greatly to our decline as a society, as individuals we have to accept responsibility. Great countries are built by the people not politicians.
Peter Lawrence
Actually I think that the Gen. Sec. challenge in the JLP is one of the few signs of transparency and vibrant renewal to come from that orgn recently. We don't need what seems to be paternalistic milk-and-water "unity" across the political spectrum in general. We do need mutual agreement on recognising overarching problems...crime , jobs, housing, roads, energy, tourism etc and VIGOROUS debate on the best policies to confront these. One side can't be just waiting for the othe to drop.BOTH DO IT
Stanley Palmer
Wharf Dawg, you are not the only one who takes note of this. The political elites and their friends seek to distract us with the process rather than the product. And why should they care when their bread is buttered on both sides? "Whited sepulchres" is the epithet that aptly describes the majority of those so-called 'leaders' who seem only able to lead us closer to the brink of total chaos.
Joycelin Clarke
The attitude of those who lead is disgusting; it is all about me, myself and I. With this kind of attitude how do they expect to lead 'Vision 2030'? Jamaica and Jamaicans need better than we are getting from our political leaders if we are to proceed to developed world status. However, their way of leading the vision maybe through bickering for power. Let me hope that those fighting for power and prominence will come to their senses soon.
Ray Stennett
The truth about politicians in Jamaica is, they are self-centered and egotistic. There are so many people calling for a united front to tackle the problems we are facing. Still, it seems that the politicians only aim is to sit on top of the rubble our beloved country has become. Why is it so hard for them to understand the longing many Jamaicans have to see Jamaica's full potential being realized. No party should think that they alone have the answer to our problems. Working together is unity.
Chuck Emanuel
What we need is Accountability and the taking of personal responsibility to achieve something meaningful . We cannot have "unity" when we have Leaders who are hell bent on aiding and abetting criminality and corruption, refuse to speak the truth, lacks integrity, credibility and is not trustworthy.
That type of "unity" is a threat to freedom !.
jody hyde
Who will unit Jamaicans? it start with you. Until you guys stop the bickering, they will not be any united. Simple things turn you guys against each other, and that's a damn shame.
Wharf Dawg
George Watson you are spot on with your first observation this morning.
This paper on one is preaching unity yet it takes great pleasure in using its editorial cartoon to be at as divisive as possible.

george watson
I know of at least one case where a company (experts at road building) offered to repair a road and the Parish Council refused. The money should be given to them instead and they would do the work themselves.
The writer, brilliant PR practitioner as she is, should know that if tomorrow morning the PNP and the JLP should decide to unite for the benefit of JA this would be unacceptable to the media. The media thrives on controversy and as a result are the biggest dividers in this country.
She should also know that this aside, it is not in everybody’s interest to have a peaceful, thriving progressive Jamaica, even though they may proclaim it from the rooftops.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wisdom for Leaders

By Paul Banta


I know personally that I was real hard on my players from the sideline in many games.  Encouraging as well, but demanding.  I sent mixed signals.  I wish I had not coached that way.  It confused my players too much.  They saw me loving them with the passion of the game and not liking them because I was too strict.  I believe we could have won more games had I not sent mixed signals.  I think I know the answer before I get to give my account to the Lord.  I hope He takes it easy on me.  I'll just have to be prepared. 

I'm trusting God to be more loving to me than I was to my players.  It's Satan's job to try to cause you to be a complaining and critical coach.  Don't be into helping Satan do his job.  Satan is the enemy, not your players.  You need to fight him, not join him.  Imagine the amount of time you've spent in the past in criticizing your team.  That energy, used positively, could have been developed in unifying them.  You would have won more games.  I've been there and done that. 

When you make critical judgments about your players, six things immediately happen to you based on biblical principles:

1. You temporarily lose your fellowship with God.
2. You show your pride against God.
3. You show that you are insecure and not trusting God to help you get your job done through love.
4. You're held accountable and judged by God.
5. You harm the bonding of you to your players and team. 
6 .You're breaking God's heart.
Refuse to listen to information that is full of gossip and slander. Gossip is information passed on that will potentially destroy team unity. 

In Proverbs 26:20 it says,
"Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down." 
Gossipers have one thing in mind; destruction of unity. Gossip kills like a pesticide does to erratic unwanted roaches.  A gossiper plans out carefully how to hurt others and if not stopped right in their tracks, their words can kill the innermost parts of the emotions of a team or individual players.  You need to squash these threatening messages and you certainly are never to be part of them and encourage hurting words.  Your role is to listen to your players and team, and give words of encouragement and hope.  Gossipers can't be trusted and they need to be strongly counseled and may have to be removed.  They'll even gossip about you. 
In Proverbs 26:24 it says,

"A malicious person disguises himself with his lips, because in his heart he harbours deceit."  Verse 28 says, "A lying tongue hates those it hurts." 


Support the leadership on your team and mentor them to lead.  Be that model they will choose to follow.  Although all your players have a responsibility to get their job done and lead their part of the team, you have carefully chosen several key players on your side to help you lead and take responsibility to unify the team.  Meet with them frequently to achieve and support their helping you and their teammates. 


In Matthew chapter 18 we see that it's your responsibility to work out the faults of your players with them and come to an agreement.  You may even want to bring others into the picture to assist you.  Often small group meetings or entire team meetings can be used to work out individual or group problems.  Sometimes its better when others point out a conflict that maybe happening with the team, rather than you have to do it.  You'll be surprised how the person causing conflict will see a different picture about himself when the rest of team says, straighten up, mister.  Verse 19 of this chapter says, "If two people come together and ask for an agreement, it will be done for you both by my Father in heaven.  For several come together in my name, there I [God] will be doing it for them."  Sometimes coaches go to a third party first, rather than directly to the player who needs to be spoken to.  You're not very courageous or smart using this method.  It only makes matters worse.  You need to speak directly to the player you're upset with.  This should be done as soon as possible.


Please God and put a solid effort into this part of your coaching duties. Early effort will keep your team on target and keep them unified.  The truth is that your players are looking for love and a place to belong to express themselves to you and their teammates through the game.  Each player wants you to care for him and he needs you. Really, they are no different than family members in your household.  Players commit to you not so much because they love the game, but because they want to play for you.  What a great opportunity you have as a coach to nourish each player on your team, to bring about the unifying of each person you're coaching toward a common goal.  Even greater is the opportunity when Christ is emphasized and players come to know Him personally and grow like the Man [Jesus] they want to play for.  Your job is to image God through His Son to your players.  The road isn't an easy one but with His help and your passion for the game, you can do it. Serving the Master through sound Biblical methods to bring your players into oneness is what God has for your purpose.  Once you start to move to a more solid commitment level to serve God you'll see impacting taking place in your program.  You will have success beyond your imagination.  It's here where you'll start to realize that your impacting others comes directly from the Lord.  What is going to happen next is that Christ will turn your personal successes into significantly impacting the lives of those in your sphere. We'll be sharing that in our next two series. 
God bless and stay in the game,
Proverbs 3:5-6
Paul Banta - President/Founder of GSM International 843.235.3762 USA Office

Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Not so Perfect after all ...

How are the mighty fallen! All the things I lecture my team about - diary - check and recheck - came back to haunt me today. I mixed up the date of a workshop I proposed with representatives of a top client!
So I am retracing my steps to see how Wed became Thur in my BB and then it dawned on me - when you scroll to down to 'pm', if you go too fast you end up in the next day.
Then because I am so 'perfect', I tossed my BB to my assistant and ask her to transfer all appts I had made the day before into my desk diary. So there it was, Thursday at 4.30 - beautifully highlighted.
I spend the 3 days before the workshop on 'What Editors Want' interviewing folks, editing my Powerpoint, marking pages in my Strunk and White.
Wednesday at 5.15pm I get a call - WHERE are you?
I am getting ready to emcee Dr Henry Lowe's book launch, I say.
We are here at the Terra Nova waiting for you says my valued client.
Profuse apologies given, emailed, BB-ed, voicemailed - I will probably have nightmares tonight.
Right now, it is very very easy to be humble. :-(
Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mother Nature laughed till she cried

People use a rope as a guide across the dry river in Harbour View, St Andrew, Thursday prior to the restoration of the high ford that was damaged during this week’s heavy rains. (Photo: Llewellyn Wynter)

JEAN LOWRIE-CHIN | Jamaica Observer | Monday, October 04, 2010

When she heard the argument between our political leaders over who had 'the power', Mother Nature laughed so hard that she cried. As her tears swelled our rivers and tore through our gully banks, politicians of both stripes were once again reminded of their powerlessness. But they refuse to learn -- some even act as if they are gracing the Lord with their presence when they attend church services.

Speaking of church, who told that poor police officer to annoy Local Government Minister 'Bobby' Montague? As the goodly minister spoke at the thanksgiving service for Constable Sheldon 'Sylvan' Williams, he grew increasingly emotional in his call for the officer's killers to be brought to justice.

The congregation responded in like manner, and a concerned officer tugged at the minister's jacket, signalling that time was going. To put it lightly, the minister was not amused and told him in no uncertain terms: "Don't pull mi jacket!" -- Great prime time footage!

But seriously, last week's heavy rains once again focused our news cameras on the terrible conditions under which our fellow Jamaicans live and made us wonder why we were paying so many elected officials to do such a bad job. There are 60 MPs, various mayors and councillors, all of whom are paid from the public purse. Their expressed role is service to the members of their respective parishes and constituencies and yet they cannot among themselves find solutions to prevent the tragedies that unfolded.

If we measure the column inches generated by their politicking, they dwarf the number that comes from producing genuine improvement in the lives of Jamaicans. No wonder Carlos King, founder of Jamaica EVA (Empowered Voters Association), sent information of his plan to encourage Jamaicans not to vote for a political party, but choose the best person for the job.

We have to agree with attorney-at-law Shirley Eaton that our leaders have a responsibility to ensure that those they choose as candidates are qualified under our Constitution. What kind of signal are we sending to the world when we sanction law breakers to become our law makers? May Jamaica EVA unmask the pretenders and help us to weed them out.

Jamaican people, let us to resolve to do the following:

* Choose politicians that have given us proven results in their constituencies.

* Encourage our family members and colleagues to shed political baggage and support decent politicians, regardless of party affiliation.

* Have absolutely nothing to do with a politician who consorts with criminals (we have a good idea who they are -- and they are on both sides).

I recently listened to two hard-working Jamaicans relate how they were barefacedly cheated of contracts they had bid for. One gentleman replied to a tender request and was advised that his was the lowest bid, and he was being awarded the contract. After sending abroad to buy expensive equipment for the job, he received a message that there was some problem with the tender process and the contract was being given to another company. "I subsequently saw the job done by my competitor," he said. "It was a disgrace. In fact, it is putting people's lives in danger."

It is better to appeal to our fellow electors to avoid being duped, than to hope for conscionable behaviour from our politicians. Let us examine their work to improve educational facilities in their constituencies and communities, their interest in healthcare, their support of the security forces. Watch them, Facebook and Tweet what you know for sure. This country has been kept barefoot and ignorant for too long. To paraphrase Bob Marley, let's "chase those crazy talking-heads out of town".

See Yourself As Beautiful: Replace Magic Potions With Cognitive Solutions

by Vivian Diller, Ph.D.

Psychologist, former professional dancer and model
Posted: October 5, 2010 08:00 AM

Face it: there are no magical solutions to feeling and looking attractive. You may be tempted by the promises made by the latest over-the-counter beauty potion. The current array of cosmetic procedures might appeal to your desire to fix what you've been told needs fixing. Why not try a little of this or a little of that, right? Well, instead, you might consider using these seven psychological tips that actually change the way you see yourself. I am not promising you a quick fix or miraculous cure. No nicks and tucks here, except to our attitudes. What I do guarantee is that these cognitive tips won't hurt your pocket or your body. They work from the inside out and they just may last a lifetime.

1) Beauty is not just a physical experience, but a psychological one as well. We tend to think of beauty as a skin-deep issue -- all about how we physically appear. But research tells us that what we deem attractive or unattractive is much more complicated: part objectivity, part subjectivity. Understanding beauty this way helps explain why a Michelle Pfeiffer or Uma Thurman have been known to draw more attention to their flaws than their assets. It helps make sense of beautiful women who say they never felt pretty. Similarly, there are women who may not be considered classic beauties yet exude confidence about their looks. Serena Williams, for example, doesn't cover up her unconventionally muscular physique and, in fact, by flaunting it comes across as more appealing. What makes women feel attractive is much more than meets the eye and being cognizant of that point of view might be more helpful than the latest potion!

2) Some aspects of beauty are universally attainable. We tend to enjoy how we look when we take time to care for ourselves -- exercise, eat right and sleep well. Simple, sound advice you have heard many times before. But this is how it really works. By taking care of ourselves, we tend to feel stronger, stand taller and smile more. We engage in more positive interactions with others. It takes effort to stick to healthy regimens, like working out regularly, caring daily for our skin, eating healthier foods and limiting our alcohol consumption. But research tells us that the results are experienced both internally and externally. Try walking into a room with proud strong steps, a smile on your face and eyes that communicate confidence. You would be surprised how far these universally attainable assets go toward enhancing your appeal to others. Remember, every one at any age has the capacity to smile and engage with others.

3) Self image is fluid and timeless. Self image is not an actual still-life picture of oneself, but rather an internal, ongoing, fluid experience. It is defined by how we see ourselves from within, throughout our lives. It is flexible and malleable. And if we understand that self image evolves over time, then we can take measures to continually enhance it internally. Fixing ourselves externally is a battle bound for failure. Success comes when we understand that boosting our self image results not only from caring for ourselves, but from making changes in the way we think about beauty.

4) Beauty is in the "I" of the beholder. Mirrors reflect an image that tells us superficially what we look like. Gaze at yourself and go beyond, past your reflection, and perceive who you are as a person. What you see is only the image of yourself that informs the world of your physical self. Who you are is more than what they see. Become your own internal "eye." You have the ability to change the internal lens through which you perceive not only yourself, but others as well. The result? Women will be less self critical and less critical of each other.

5) Chronological age does not have to define you. A particular number has little to do with how old you feel and look. You can define what it means to be attractive at 40, 50 and onward. Find real women in your life that you see as attractive and let them serve as your role models in place of the airbrushed and photoshopped women you see in magazines. Remember, some women in their twenties with smooth skin and shapely bodies say they feel ugly, while women at midlife and beyond tell us they feel beautiful. You can define beauty at any age.

6) Put your beauty in your identity, not your identity in your beauty. Your identity is made up of many aspects of yourself. Your appearance is just one. A self-definition supported by a broader base than just good looks leads to less reactivity when they change. Bad hair days, a few pimples or new wrinkles are less likely to get you down. No doubt our appearance matters. But it's a good idea to keep beauty in balance with your work, your creativity, your accomplishments, your relationships and more. Cybill Shepard and Linda Evans -- two beauty icons now in midlife -- recently told Oprah that they only began to feel truly attractive as their identities shifted away from their appearance. If you let beauty define you, you leave out so many other ways to feel good about yourself.

7) Rob beauty of its power over you. Take back the power you may have handed to others to define what it means to be beautiful. Our culture conveys who and what is beautiful through the media. Magazines, television and Internet ads persuade us to believe that beauty is equated with youth and perfection. Surely, youth is beautiful. Don't we all see babies as perfect? But to many of us, our grandmothers can be perfectly beautiful too. And we all know that some of the loveliest women in the world are not flawless. It is their confidence and ability to enjoy life that makes us see the beauty they feel. When the power of beauty returns to your own hands, you will become more attractive to yourself and others.

Bottom line: Looking and feeling great is a psychological process as well as a physical one. Master the first and the second will come with much more joy. When it comes to your face and your body, be smart, be thoughtful and you'll be more beautiful. Let me know what you think.

© 2010 Vivian Diller Ph.D., author of "Face It: What Women Really Feel as Their Looks Change."

Vivian Diller, Ph.D., is a psychologist in private practice in New York City. Dr. Diller was a professional dancer before she became a professional model, represented by Wilhelmina, appearing in Glamour, Seventeen, national print ads, and TV commercials. After completing her Ph.D. in clinical psychology, she went on to do postdoctoral training in psychoanalysis at NYU.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

'A noble act'

PJ Stewart (centre), fellow volunteer Neil Hendrickson and brothers from Missionaries of the Poor at the end of last Saturday's busy sale. (Photos: Donna-Hussey Whyte)

Monthly thrift shop donates proceeds to Missionaries of the Poor

BY KIMONE THOMPSON Features Editor — Sunday

Sunday, October 03, 2010

AS girlfriends often do, Lorna and her best friend Denise spent Saturday afternoon shopping. They bought a little black dress, two pairs of walking shorts and a handbag. But instead of thousands of dollars, they spent less than $1,000.

"I got a nice little black dress. I'm so pleased with it," Denise gushed. "I also got a handbag for my daughter to go to church."

"And I got two shorts," Lorna added.

The two were customers at Back on the Rack, a recently opened thrift shop on Collins Green Avenue in St Andrew where second-hand men's, ladies' and children's clothes go for as little as $50.

The venture, which was started by PJ Stewart and a small group of friends about six years ago as an annual sale on the basis that their closets were overflowing, is in support of the Father HoLung-headed charity organisation Missionaries of the Poor and is now done monthly.

"We basically wanted a win-win situation. We wanted people to get clothes that they could not otherwise afford, and at the same time, we wanted to make some money for Missionaries of the Poor," Stewart told the Sunday Observer.

"So we decided that we would have a monthly sale, an ongoing sale, so we could move the stuff fast, instead of (an annual sale). We decided to go with two prices: everything had to be either $300 or $100," she said.

There is also a boutique section where prices are either $500 or $1,000, and the "bend down" section carries $50 merchandise.

All proceeds go towards providing food for the sick and indigent in the six homes the Catholic brothers operate here. In addition, items that are unsellable, based on their condition, are turned over to the homes.

"It's a noble act," Father Charles Sushai said of the initiative.

"It's an act of great generosity. This is not just charity (for) it would be easier to write up a cheque. These are business people who didn't have to be here. They could be spending their Saturday with their family or be having a party, but they are here basically being higglers," he said of Stewart and her friends who dedicate the last Saturday of each month to the thrift store.

"It helps the people who are buying stuff, and the money that the Missionaries get benefits the children and it's all because of a group of people who have decided they don't want any profit from the initiative.

"It just shows that in these modern times there is something at the heart of every man and woman that compels them to give and when you give something without gaining anything for yourself, it makes you happy," said Father Sushai, who was among a small group of brothers assisting customers on September 25.

Stewart said she was fearful the idea of thrift shopping would not catch on in Jamaica, but given that the crowd, which she described as having come from "uptown, midtown and downtown", was "twice as much as last month" (August), she is pleasantly surprised.

She said she was doubtful that it would work here "because Jamaicans are very 'stoosh' and the idea of wearing somebody else's clothes is (taboo), so we decided that if we were going to do it, it would have to be very good quality clothes -- no stains, no tears, whatever".

But it takes a lot of elbow grease before the clothes go back on the rack.

"Each month we have benefactors. The people who contribute are our friends and people we know. We do mailings and we do e-mails and try to get people to donate. My home is a drop-off point and my dining room is the sorting table," Stewart said, laughing.

Once sorted, the donated items are laundered and ironed.

"What we think we can get some money for, we sell, because what we do with the money is we basically provide food for the centres. I don't know how many people he feeds per day, but to feed the centres the brothers have to beg, so we have committed to giving a sum each month," said Stewart.

"We're all here for the same reason: to support the work, in a constructive way, that the Missionaries of the Poor are doing."

Back on the Rack operates from a renovated cottage owned by the Sandals/ATL group -- of which the Observer is a member — and opens its doors the last Saturday of every month between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm.

Root out 'bad-minded' politics

by Jean Lowrie-Chin | Observer column | 27 September 2010

It was good to see that the PNP pulled off a well-attended, well-organised annual conference. Jamaica continues to enjoy a strong two-party system, in addition to the few brave souls like Michael Williams of the NDM and Betty-Ann Blaine of the NNC, who dare to challenge the status quo.

As much as the "Big Two" fight and quarrel, they close ranks when an intruder comes near their revolving door. Never mind. Williams and Blaine have brought a refreshing frankness to the political arena, and even if they never win an election, they will certainly keep the big guys on their toes with some memorable observations.

Williams: "There are two major 'gangs' in Jamaica: the PNP and the JLP."

Blaine: "You guys want to give Jamaicans chicken-back government. You don't care for the poor."

We hope though, that in the interest of this democratic system that we say we love so well, the Opposition party will show respect for the will of the people who voted for the JLP to form the current government in 2007. Not long from now, in 2012, the PNP will have their turn to woo us in our next general election.

Trying to be "the worst nightmare" of the ruling JLP can spill over into international disgrace if we are not careful. Will motorists and pedestrians have to wear green before entering any of the roads and bridges that are to be built in the China-backed Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme? The media will surely be open to any complaints about the selection of the 6,700 Jamaicans to be employed in the project. As far as I am concerned, we just need to start fixing our roads - they are in a terrible state.

In the same breath, we remember the "boos" the PNP government got from the Opposition JLP over the excellent Highway 2000. We have to give them kudos also for spearheading the transformation of the Norman Manley International Airport into one of which we are mightily proud. See? Both parties have their showpieces and should be allowed to get on with the country's business, instead of being harangued every step of the way.

Professor Freddie Hickling commented on this deeply rooted "bad-minded" attitude in Jamaicans when he spoke at a forum to mark World Alzheimer's Day last Tuesday, saying that it is causing stress and anxiety in our society. He believes seniors may be mentally "checking out" when faced with the ridiculous recriminations of our politics. "When one is in power, the other has to fight it down," he observed. "We have to demand that we will not live that way."

Head of the local Alzheimer's support group, Dr Albert Chen, stunned us with the statistic that 30,000 Jamaicans now suffer from dementia. He was passionate in his appeal for the authorities to make dementia a health priority and to develop national plans to deal with the disorder. Now, how can we be expending so much energy on political one-upmanship when elders are suffering such neglect?

I remember two prominent politicians of blessed memory - one PNP and one JLP - who suffered from Alzheimer's in their final years. When will we ever learn? Leaders must lead from the front, and quit the back-stabbing.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jamaica's promise and Tivoli's emancipation

Bruce Walker, inspiring student from Tivoli Gardens

by Jean Lowrie-Chin | Monday, September 20, 2010

MY head spinning with various local issues, I decided to Google “Jamaica” and click on some of the links. Wikipedia says, “Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles…situated in the Caribbean Sea, about 145 kilometres (90 miles) south of Cuba, and 190 kilometres (120 miles) west of Hispaniola.”

What Wikipedia does not tell us is that if you spread out the map of the Americas, Jamaica is at its crossroads, the third largest English-speaking country in this side of the world. Being an English speaker makes you a world citizen – English-speaking tourists and investors enjoy easy communication with our workers and Jamaicans segue smoothly into the workplaces of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Even without planting, seeds grow here, watered by our numerous rivers and springs, and yielding the most intense flavours in the world. In short, Jamaica has extraordinary attributes that have not been leveraged because of the crime and coarseness visited upon us for nearly 40 years by so-called “leaders”.

Continuing our virtual journey through Jamaica via Google, we see Xavier Murphy's started as an after-work hobby at his home in Florida, and now in the top five Jamaican sites on Google. There is an interview by Jennifer Lumley with Jamaican Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Chaplain to England's House of Commons.

Despite the prestige of her new post, the goodly pastor says, “My greatest accomplishment is to be a mother to my children, a wife to my husband and a priest and friend to the people of God given to my care. Cleaning up after an elderly parishioner is more important to me than a title.” She said she hopes to have “a positive, wholesome effect” on the diaspora: “They should never forget God's goodness and they can see the effect of God's love become reality.”

The JIS website – – reminds us of God's goodness with a heart-warming story about Bruce Walker, a St George's College sixth former and resident of Tivoli Gardens, who kept his focus during the May security operation, and was successful in the demanding CAPE examinations. “On the days when he had to sit the examinations, Bruce says he was escorted by the police out of Tivoli Gardens, and he stayed with a schoolmate's family and from there, went to the sittings at Ardenne High School,” reports Alphea Saunders.

Walker “speaks with pride and respect about his father, Melbourn Walker, describing him as a disciplinarian and the ‘backbone’ of his family, which includes three siblings, and his mother”.

Saunders quotes him on the transformation he sees taking place in his community: “You don't see people on the road as much. It's just different. If you live there, you can feel the difference in the people. Probably after this, children will start to stay in more and do their schoolwork." After its night of mourning, the community may finally be seeing a day of joy, an emancipation from mental slavery.

The report says Walker “believes that eventually Tivoli Gardens will be a better place, as the residents' eyes have been opened to a new reality, a new way of life”.

Does the transformation in Tivoli have anything to do with the continued lowering of the murder rate since June? Before my PNP friends come after me for actually saying something good about Jamaica, let me remind them that we are talking about Jamaican lives – not PNP or JLP – that have been spared.

The Observer website reports that, speaking at a recent private sector conference, Jamaica Defence Force's Head of Communications Colonel Rocky Meade said the events of May 23 – when organised criminal gangs in West Kingston launched their attack on the security forces – demonstrated that criminal elements were willing and had some ability to challenge the state.

“You've all got to realise what the illness was, but the illness is not yet cured,” Meade said. “The operation must be sustained and continued emergency powers would have further strengthened the security forces' efforts.”

Last Wednesday, the Jamaica Constabulary Force reported on the latest crime statistics. It turns out that in the three months after the Western Kingston operation, Jamaica has seen a significant decrease in murders, with August being the third consecutive month that the number of murders fell below 100. There were 81 murders committed last month, compared to 139 in August 2009, the best statistic for any one month since the start of the year.

"The overall figures for recorded murders from the start of the year to the end of August show a total decrease of 59 murders,” said a JCF release.

Even as we rightly demand that our leaders give us the facts, we should acknowledge that Jamaica has taken a step in the right direction in our fight against crime. We are puzzled over this back and forth between the PM and Harold Brady. As a colleague of mine said, PM Golding should not have even answered the question about Brady's membership in the party – he has a general secretary to deal with such matters.

What is happening to this prime minister who is legendary for his thorough approach to projects, his deep reading, quick grasp and analytical response? Could the answer lie in the very few hours of sleep he is taking? We hear stories about him, working late into the night and being back at his desk early in the morning. If this is a regular occurrence, it must take its toll. Studies are now showing that sleeping less than six hours per night can have a deleterious effect on our concentration and general good health. Has PM Golding become a victim of his own dedication?

Whatever decision he makes about remaining in office, history will remember that it was under Bruce Golding's watch that Tivoli Gardens took its rightful place as a community where its decent citizens were finally allowed to earn more respect than they had received for over three decades.

“Leader-ship” is a hard one to steer – let us see if the JLP captain can manoeuvre his vessel through these stormy waters.


Jah Selassi
Here we go with circular logics again. If a corrupted leader , in a desperate act to save his own dirty political future cleans up his own crime invested community he is now a hero. This madness must stop. Bruce is not hero, he is the worst of the worst. His motto is "Bruce for Bruce all time, no matter the price". After World War 1 Hilter brought back structure to the German population, should we hail him as a hero too?
george watson
I keep asking if this writer is the public relations representative. Why wont the Observer publish the posts.
I guess Facebook will provide the answer.
Ruby Shim
The small-minded among us will not give credit where it's due if it is not credited to the PNP. They will remain ever partisan and cannot see beyond their orange colour. What has the PNP ever done to clean up garrison politics. It will remain with us as long as the politicians see it as a way of it helping them to gain/remain in power. It was a brave move by Mr Golding and I sincerely hope other politicians will seek to rid their own constituency of the dons.
Kram Blake
It is an unquestionable fact that murder is down. We are pleased. The records show that it was under the JLP that it happened. Even if it was because of the incursion in Tivoli or SOE does that really matter? It was not the first incursion in Tivoli. We must give credit where credit is due.
Wharf Dawg
Jamaica has seen a significant decrease in murders, with August being the third consecutive month that the number of murders fell below 100. Stop the press!
I thought the State of Emergency was the reason why crime fell. Why is it continuing to fall?
Perhaps Mr Bunting was right after all. No safe haven means criminals are not as bold and if you noticed the arrest rates after crimes has also gone up.. Yes indeed Mr Bunting was RIGHT!!
Martial Law
Just goes to show that Tivoli was created as a criminal enterprise and hitting Tivoli Gardens lowers crime significantly. Tivoli should have been dealt with from it was in infancy. The security forces have always known this. Only the hypocrites in Jamaica including the media have pretended otherwise.