Monday, May 31, 2010

Who is to blame?

Sergeant Wayne Henriques... brutally slaughtered by gunmen along Mountain View Avenue in Kingston.

by Jean Lowrie-Chin | Jamaica Observer | 31 May 2010
(Click on title for link to Jamaica Observer)

The past week in Kingston's history will leave us like amputees - eventually healed but never quite the same again. We are using some positive phrases, "tipping point", "cleansing", but the words stop in our throat as we count the cost in the body count. We mourn with Claude Clarke the tragic loss of his brother a horrible case of mistaken identity. Meanwhile, the target of this operation is nowhere to be found up to the time of writing.

Who is to blame for this? Is it the 41-year-old "strongman", nurtured in the lap of a previously impenetrable garrison? Is it the man who took this community from a slum called "Back-O-Wall" to a built-up community where one could only be admitted by lieutenants on guard at its entrances? Could it be Coke's legal team who did not persuade their client to turn himself in, despite pleas from the police over a four-day period before their eventual operation in Tivoli?

Could it be the church leaders from the community who silently watched the women of Tivoli conducting an illegal demonstration and declaring, "We will die for Dudus"? Oh no. None of these names will be called when Amnesty descends on Jamaica. It will only be the fault of the police.

We are not defending any alleged excesses by the police, but we must never lose sight of the fact that the 73 people who died in Tivoli and its environs last week, would be alive today if only Mr Coke had obeyed the law.

We will sit in our comfortable homes, in our secure air-conditioned studios and lash out at the men who must crawl in dark gutters to protect us. We will sit around our dining tables with our families and pick their procedure to pieces, even as their families wait in trepidation for their safe return home. I have been speaking to some senior police officers over the past week, and they are deeply hurt at the constant bombardment.

Could we spare a thought for Sgt Wayne Henriques and Constable Jason Davis who were ambushed on Mountain View Avenue and slaughtered by criminals, part of the wide offensive launched against the security forces as soon as the warrant for the arrest of Christopher Coke was signed? These were two of our many courageous officers.

The human rights group, Jamaicans for Justice, issued a statement saying,"Our deepest sympathies are extended to the families and colleagues of those law officers killed in the service of their country. The lawlessness displayed in some areas and by some people, since the announcement that the extradition request for Christopher 'Dudus' Coke would be signed, are utterly deplorable and cannot be tolerated in a free and democratic society."

We join with JFJ in condemning the lawlessness displayed by marauding gunmen who have attacked several police stations, including one as far away as Salt Spring in St James. We need to understand the depth of cold-hearted brutality to which our criminals have descended.

As I wrote in my blog last Monday, we the church must shoulder a good part of the blame for our nation's plight. All of us who call ourselves church must ensure that this tragic situation in Kingston never happens again. We need a proactive church to assign watchdog committees in every constituency of Jamaica, as we know that both PNP and JLP representatives have sanctioned garrison politics. We should have teams assigned to the offices of MPs and caretakers alike. We should learn their plans and partner with them to help their constituents to achieve self-reliance. If they are consorting with gangs, warn them, and if they refuse to stop, expose them. With CAFFE, we must ensure that no politician who is associated with gangs is ever again nominated to run for public office.

Jamaica's churches and we, their members, are accountable. We are more numerous than politicians and gangs - yet we stood piously by and allowed this to happen to our country.

As Rev Devon Dick wrote, "Let us not blame so much the unnamed woman for the affirmation "Dudus next to God", but perceive it as an indictment of the church which often engages in cowardice and inaction rather than confronting evil."

Dr Las Newman, president of the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology, had warned at this year's National Leadership Prayer Breakfast, that " Jamaica is no longer at a crossroads, it is going down the wrong moral and spiritual road ... None of us can wash our hands and proclaim our innocence ... All of us must accept responsibility."

Where is the energy, the productivity that Jesus promoted in his parable of the talents? We are the failures, even as we demand more of our leaders and security forces. We have fallen very short of the righteousness that we profess.

Let the heads of the umbrella groups agree on a list of actions that will ensure that churches engage in an organised and meaningful basis so that by collaborating with our elected leaders, we can deliver prosperity, not harm, to our vulnerable brothers and sisters. We must work to empower them and restore their dignity, so that never again will anyone be able to coerce them to defy the rule of law.


Marc Lockhart
@ Richard, I agree with you, bro. Everybody is just bent on playing this blame game. Throwing blame around will not help us. We need decisive transformative action by all well-thinking citizens. It seems the church is their banging toy; so everyone just turns on the church when things go wrong. Let us unite and rebuild Jamaica!
Christian Shaw
God neither slumbers nor sleep. I can only imagine how deeply the security personnel must be hurt by all the cry about their brutality etc. They are giving their lives daily for many unnecessary causes , causes which are oftentimes orchestrated by influential people including politicians.
Sometimes we just do not know the face of the enemy.I would like to assure these men and women of the forces that many in Jamaica depend on you to keep us safe and uphold the law . God bless you all.
Bobby Livingston
Despite the loss of innocent lives, and the cry of injustice to the poor echoed by some sectors of the society, let us all view these last few days with optimism. Golding ineptness has involuntarily open the door for change where our security force can finally performed their duty without political interference. This should be the final warning to all our politicians who have embraced these ruthless thugs for political gains. Next time around they will be better organized to cause instablity.
Richard Wayne
For a very long time many of you hypocrites did not care about what happened downtown (aka the ghetto). You sat in your ivory towers lived the high life and feted each other as the two Jamaicas emerged. It was the uptown white collar criminals in the 1990s that wrecked havoc in Jamaica and for the most part you were all silent. N ow that the ghetto is your neighbor you are all taking notice. Get off unnu baxide and help to make the changes necessary and screw the blame game!!!
Stephen Gunter
Re: Could it be the church leaders from the community who silently watched the women of Tivoli conducting an illegal demonstration and declaring, "We will die for Dudus"?
Was the demonstration illegal? If so, was anyone arrested? They were all caught on camera, so arrests should have been easy. Or, perhaps, it was a legal demonstration, described by many media reports as being so and non-violent.
Omar Kenyata
Agree with the a lot of this article but the role of the church she desires is a little tricky. Every time the church speaks , people say "shut up and stick to church business". When the consequence of ignoring the church becomes evident people ask" where was the church?" The Church comprises a long active force in society that by it's Lord's mandate CANNOT blow it own trumpet. Fortunately church has no power to impose only to propose and prod on National issues as it continues to work quietly.
Wa Tch
Could it be the PM and MP who interfered where he shouldn't have and allowed TG to continue it's descent into lawlessness?
How convenient that you have omitted the person who played such a significant role yet the church is to take the lion's share of the blame.
@Paul Gentles - well said.

Nicolas Henry
Well said ms Chin. my condolence to the families of the dead security officers. Thanks for your bravery, and I hope the politicians won't allow your death to be invain. I hope they will use this episode as a symbol for a better and safer Jamaica to come, so your children & grandchildren will have a safer country to live in.
tony williams
What is wrong with these privileged people. They keep harping on the role of politiciansin this sordid affair hoping to deflect the peolple's understanding of the real cause. The fact is the rich and priveleged have chosen, financed and used the political order to maintain their iron grip on their Economic and political structures of our country marginalising the rest to chronic poverty and despair. It is the struggle to rise out of this squalor that has led to the accommodation of the Duduses.
Chuck Emanuel
Blame the mal-contenders in the political leadership who has tacitly or otherwise encouraged and empowered the illegal actions of narco-traffickers, gun-runners, contract killers, extortionists and terrorists.
Now that the evidence is clear that these tribal/political ideologues were acting in concert with narco-terrorists and other criminal elements for political advantage, we must hold them accountable.
It will not be business as usual. Thanks to President Obama.
Paul Gentles
Yes,we are all to blame. But things cascade - as long as the PM have the power to tell the AG and various security ministries etc that "if you sign those papers you will be sacked" and no one enters this place without my say so etc. what can the ordinary citizen do?
Our greatest blame is not to have been holding those in high office accountable,our laws are governed in dictator style.
Human rights groups are effectively protecting those our laws are failing,why are we failing them?
Anthony II
We, everyone of us Jamaicans, failed the people of TG and similar places. We have all sat by all these years and tolerated the talk and gossip and the questions. We have done nothing. However, we need to move beyond assigning blame and to figuring out what we can do to ensure that TG will never see another incursion of security forces in another 4 or 5 years.
Security forces: I commend you for the sacrifices that you make each day to serve JAM. I encourage you to always do it right.
george watson
Security forces just keep cool. All well thinking Jamaicans both here and in the disapora owe you a depth of gratitude which we can never repay. In fact all members of the security forces who went into TG on this mission should be PROMOTED at least ONE RANK UP IMMEDIATELY.
If you get any obstructions based on your operations lock up the politicians of any ilk immediately.
Because of this foolishness, Dr. Eldemire, a gentleman who served his country with distinction and honour could not even be mourned properly. Rest in peace Sir, many of us knew that you were a decent man who loved his country dearly.

John Small
Thanks for the dose of balance. When everybody's hearts were in their throats on Sunday, worrying at the brazen display of criminal mayhem, they were begging thje Police to take charge. Now, all of a sudden, the Police is "wicked" because they died in fewer numbers than the gunmen.
Marc Lockhart
How did the church get into this? To me, this whole fiasco has to do with the nexus between politics and criminality. Period! The church is there to focus on spirituality and morality and may even fail in this regard. The problem is the heart of humans and human freedom, not church inaction or action for that matter. Why should we connect everything to the church? Somethings have a clear-cut non-church rationale for their existence. Let us stop the church bashing and the "religionizing".

Thursday, May 27, 2010

U.S. Set to Grab Alleged Jamaican Drug Lord

U.S. law enforcement officials have put Drug Enforcement Administration Air Wing pilots on alert.

DEA Pilots Alerted That Grab of Alleged Jamaican Drug Lord May Be Near

Christopher 'Dudus' Coke Negotiating Surrender With U.S., DEA Pilots On Alert

May 27, 2010 U.S. law enforcement officials have put Drug Enforcement Administration Air Wing pilots on alert and planes on standby as they wait out the ongoing discussions between alleged Jamaican drug lord Christopher "Dudus" Coke and the U.S. government -- and wait to see whether Coke will be brought out of hiding in handcuffs or in a body bag.

US Marshals, DEA agents and federal prosecutors are working hand in hand with senior Jamaican military and police officials in an effort to effect a surrender and extradition of Coke, who is wanted on federal drug and firearms charges, to the United States.

At least 60 Jamaicans, including both civilians and security officers, have died since Jamaican authorities began moving in on Coke's barricaded West Kingston neighborhood in an attempt to capture him Monday. The U.S. has wanted to extradite Coke since 2009, but the Jamaican government had resisted until this month.

The violence shows no signs of abating and has spread to adjoining neighborhoods. The police and military effort to curb it now has by some estimates "thousands" of troops on the streets. Jamaican authorities allege that Coke brought in gunmen from other parts of Jamaica and other Caribbean islands to help prevent his capture.

(Click on title for link to ABC website)

Ian Martin's comments

Letter to the Observer from Ian Martin

Disingenuous Politicians

Dear Editor: I write in reference to your page one editorial of Tuesday May 25, 2010 edition of the Jamaica Observer, captioned "It's been a long time coming".

Before, going into the contents of your editorial, I would like to express my sympathy to the families, friends, and relatives of members of the security forces and the decent and law abiding citizens of Tivoli Gardens and adjoining communities who have lost loved ones in the current civil unrest in Western Kingston.

With that said, I wholeheartedly support the sentiments echoed by your editorial. In fact, I allude your editorial to a well-outlined lesson for the crisis that now engulfs Jamaica, albeit its tardiness.

Interestingly Betty-Ann Blaine, Chris Burns, Jean Lowrie-Chin, Lloyd B. Smith are among the few of your columnist who in past and recent times have commented and warned readers of the danger that had been forthcoming. If my memory serves me right, Betty-Ann Blaine had gone as far as appealing to the Jamaican electorate, just prior to the last general election, to withhold their votes as means of protesting the unbecoming behavior of our politicians.

The problems and the mayhem that now beset Jamaica, as well as the beatings and bad publicity inflicted upon her by the foreign press in recent times must be placed squarely on the shoulders of our self-serving politicians. Some of that blame must also be attributed to the private sector. Truth be told, the private sector plays a very integral part in the funding of political parties. While there may be nothing illegal about the private sector funding political parties, the private sector has a duty to see or for that matter ensure that politicians and political parties, especially those receiving its funding behave as how decent citizens ought to behave.

Based on television footage coming out of Tivoli Gardens, it is indeed frightening to see general purpose machine guns (GPMG) at the ready mounted on army vehicles in such vicinity. Equally frightening is the intelligence coming from the security forces that the men operating in Tivoli Gardens have had at their disposal grizzly 50 boar rifles, and were very well prepared to use them. GPMG's and grizzly 50 boar rifles are extremely lethal weapons and are not usually recommended for close-quarters encounters. By definition, Tivoli Gardens is a close-quartered environment.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The painful truth

Excerpts from Observer columns by Jean Lowrie-Chin

Monday March 8, 2010 - Neck Deep in Denial
Those of us who lived in Jamaica in more peaceful times have watched some political leaders becoming more and more dependent on thuggery to marshal their votes. Our Electoral Office of Jamaica has ensured a fair and just electoral system. What happens before and after elections in certain neighbourhoods is beyond their power.

To this day, political tribalism divides many communities. "It is not politics, it is gang warfare," our politicians are fond of saying. To which we respond, where is the political will to rid us of these gangs?

Despite repeated calls in this column, CAFFE can neither be heard nor seen after elections. Once a politician is elected, all scrutiny stops. This is when it should intensify. Why has CAFFE not joined Dr Herbert Gayle in his appeal to have the constituency development fund administered by an independent agency? Gayle, a lecturer in sociology at the UWI, has done extensive research on the causes of crime. In last year's Ambassador Sue Cobb Lecture, he named this as an important measure to help tame the beast.

In the US, candidates go from door to door, winning over supporters, one vote at a time. But in Jamaica, some "clever" politicians have sullied the name of independent Jamaica by deciding on an easy, if not legal way, to lock up their votes. This door-to-door business is much too labour-intensive for them. And so, several political "stars" were born. These luminaries of the inner-city would never see the inside of Gordon House, but they would decide who would get a place there.

The politicians who may not have had direct contact with these "protectors" turned a blind eye, either out of fear or out of ambition. And we Jamaicans have whispered about such wrongs but did aught about it. The better-off ones among us, who could have used our money to insist on cleaner politics, did nothing and allowed two generations of Jamaicans to become brutalised by this selfish, cynical and short-sighted brand of politics. We are neck-deep in denial.

Monday 10 May 2010

If it matters to our leaders on both sides, they should know that we know how deftly they built those communities where our fellow Jamaicans may not walk or talk freely. We know and we feel very sorry for anyone who could believe that their fleeting power could be more important than the lives of their Jamaican brothers and sisters. They are now naked on the internet, naked on YouTube and people know that it is not a coincidence of criminality that has brought our beloved Jamaica to her knees. It is a cynical plan to hold on to power, passing from one party to the other every now and then, complicit in each other's cold confidence: "Today for you, tomorrow for me".

Yes, we know there are good politicians on both sides and we are now begging them to stand up and be counted as the ones who declared "No more!" and who will take Jamaica on the path of righteousness that she so dearly longs for.

But let the world know that good Jamaicans have been brought to our knees - not to cower before thugs, but to pray to the awesome God who sees all and sees far. What hapless souls are those, that no longer fear God.

Let the criminals - including the corrupt - know that there are simple, godly people in this country who still sleep well at night, who do honest work and share the little they have without chaining beneficiaries to lifelong obligation.

The Almighty who gave us free will, must have wept also, as He sees too many of us ignoring the condition of the poor, imprisoned in garrisons, fast developing across the island. In a CVM-TV interview, Dr Henley Morgan referred to our garrisons as "the society's terminal crime affliction". He said we had made the wrong diagnosis about crime, as it was not mainly about the international drug trade. He believes it is all about the "zones of exclusion" in Jamaica.

Washington Post report

Violence surges in Jamaica as troops hunt alleged drug kingpin

By Mary Beth Sheridan

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thousands of police and soldiers swarmed into slums in Jamaica's capital Tuesday in search of an alleged drug kingpin wanted by the United States, trading gunfire with masked supporters of the fugitive. At least 30 people, mostly civilians, have been reported killed since the battle erupted Sunday.

Slum standoff in Jamaica

In a gritty Jamaican slum, they are preparing for war. Kingston has been jittery since Prime Minister Bruce Golding reversed his long-standing refusal to extradite Christopher "Dudus" Coke to the United States on drugs and arms-trafficking charges.
The security forces were seeking Christopher "Dudus" Coke, one of the top targets for U.S. anti-drug officials. Jamaica's prime minister gave the go-ahead for his extradition last week, after nine months of resistance strained the island's relations with Washington.

The bloodshed in Kingston occurred as the Obama administration has become increasingly concerned about surging violence in the Caribbean linked to the drug trade.

The administration wants to more than double anti-narcotics aid for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, to $79 million for 2011. U.S. officials will hold a previously scheduled meeting in Washington on Thursday with security ministers from the Caribbean to discuss ways to reduce trafficking and increase safety.

The battles in Kingston have showcased the brazenness of the drug gangs, which have attacked five police stations since Sunday. The Jamaican government has declared a state of emergency in Kingston, and the U.S. State Department warned Americans not to travel to the capital.

The violence has not spread to the palm-fringed beach areas that draw millions of tourists each year.

Coke, who allegedly assumed leadership of the "Shadow Posse" from his father, was accused in a U.S. indictment in August of heading an international trafficking ring that sells marijuana and crack cocaine in the New York area and elsewhere.

Coke, 41, is often described as a kind of godfather in Tivoli Gardens, a West Kingston slum, where he reportedly provides food and assistance to the poor. But some analysts say residents might follow him more out of fear than love.

John Rapley, president of the Caribbean Policy Research Institute, a think tank, said Coke's case reflected how entwined Jamaica's drug gangs have become with the nation's political system. The alleged drug lord is believed to be close to members of the governing Labor Party, although not Prime Minister Bruce Golding himself, Rapley said.

Many Jamaicans believe that Coke "could bring down . . . members of the government and the opposition" if he pleads guilty and cooperates with U.S. justice officials, Rapley said. "So the stakes are very high for the politics of the country."

In West Kingston, masked gunmen darted down streets barricaded with barbed wire and junked cars on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. Gunfire echoed through the slums.

A police spokesman, Cpl. Richard Minott, told the AP that 26 civilians and one security official had been killed in the fighting in West Kingston.

Two officers and a soldiers were killed in earlier fighting, the AP reported.

Golding, who represents a parliamentary district including West Kingston, had come under heavy pressure from U.S. authorities in recent months to allow the extradition. A State Department report on global drug trafficking issued in March said that the delays in extraditing narcotics suspects "have called into question Kingston's commitment to law enforcement cooperation with the U.S."

Coke's lawyer has said his client is innocent.

State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said the U.S. government had agreed to send bulletproof vests to Jamaica to help its security forces deal with the violence.

Jamaica's ambassador to Washington, Audrey Marks, said in a statement that the island "faces a growing problem, in part generated by the linkage between drugs and arms smuggling. The security operations now underway are intended to have a decisive impact on this problem."

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Public Defender and Political Ombudsman to Visit Tivoli For Independent Assessment

JIS | Tuesday, May 25, 2010 | Kingston, Jamaica: Prime Minister Bruce Golding has requested the Public Defender, Mr. Earle Witter and Political Ombudsman, Dr. Hero Blair, to visit Tivoli Gardens today to conduct an independent assessment of the operations being carried out by the Security Forces. They have been instructed to ascertain the precise number of persons who have been killed or injured.

The Prime Minister has directed the Security Forces to make the necessary arrangements to facilitate this visit and to provide the necessary security to the Public Defender, the Political Ombudsman and those who accompany them.

The Red Cross will also provide support including ambulances to transport those who have been injured or are otherwise in need of medical attention.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mon 24 Mar 8.25 am - No traffic!

Had to be on the road - no traffic!
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We, the laid-back Church

All of us who call ourselves church must ensure that this tragic situation in Kingston, never happens again. How? Have teams assigned to the offices of each consituency representative - MPs and caretakers. Learn their plans, partner with them, attend all their public meetings. If they are consorting with gangs, warn them and if they refuse to stop, expose them.
Jamaica's churches and we, their members must take the blame for this debacle - we are more numerous than politicians and gangs - yet we stood piously by and allowed this to happen to our country.
Where is the energy, the productivity that Jesus promoted in his parable of the talents?
We have failed our Saviour and even as we demand more of our leaders, we should recognise that we have fallen very short of the expectations our God has for us.
Let the heads of the umbrella groups agree on a list of actions that will ensure that churches engage on an organised and meaningful basis so that by collaborating with our elected leaders, we can deliver prosperity, not harm, to our vulnerable brothers and sisters. We must work to empower them so that gangs will have no recruits. We must take responsibility if we say we are God's elect.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sitting here in limbo

At the airport departure gate waiting to board. BB msgs flying - Jamaicans of every hue discussing the situation. 'There's a God in heaven!' Says one - 'We'll be fine'.
Plans to travel together/travel in convoy - a sense of family.
Waiting to hear if Norman Manley Airport is still open.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sun, Sand and Sea to Culture and Content

How Americans Will Travel
By Dr Auliana Poon
From Sun, Sand and Sea to Culture and Content – How to Capture the Changing American Travel Market

The US is the largest and most important travel market in the world.  In terms of travel expenditure, Americans are top spenders, recording US$118 billion in 2008 onspending abroad, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. The US market is the second largest market in terms of outbound travel.  More than 40 million Americans travel abroad, accounting for 63.5 million trips.

A new report from Tourism Intelligence International entitled "How Americans Will Travel 2015", predicts that American outbound arrivals to overseas destinations will rebound after the global economic recession. US arrivals to international long-haul destinations will reach 32.88 million by the year 2015, up from 30.79 million in 2008. This represents an average growth rate of a mere 1% per annum or an absolute rate of 7.5% between 2008 and the year 2015, according to Tourism Intelligence International.

The region with the most promise in terms of growth of American outbound travel is Central America.  This region grew by 145% between 1996 and 2008 or an average annual growth rate of 7.8 percent.
"How Americans Will Travel 2015" from Tourism Intelligence International, points to a radical shift in the North American travel market and claims that destinations cannot continue to compete on natural attributes of sun, sand and sea alone.  North American travellers increasingly buy holidays with sense and sensibility and look for status and self-improvement on their holidays. Americans want value for money but they also need a sanctuary for their senses.  Culture and Content will need to be added to travel and tourism products in order to stay competitive.  This has important implications for destinations seeking to attract North American travellers, such as the Caribbean, where almost two-thirds (63.4%) of all arrivals are from the NorthAmerica, and Europe, which attracts 41% of American overseas travellers.
Dr. Auliana Poon, Managing Director of Tourism Intelligence International and author of "How Americans will Travel 2015" argues that the "Creative Class" of American Travellers do not want to merely take photos and sit on the sidelines.  They want to experience the culture of a place they visit; they what to know about the content or "goodness" of a product before they buy it; they want to be active participants. Not surprising, over two-fifths of all Americans who travel abroad chose Europe.
For Americans, taking part in activities of a cultural nature while on holiday is growing in importance.  More than half (51%) of the 40 million Americans travelling abroad visit historical places; almost one-third (32%) visit cultural heritage sites; and one-quarter (25%) visit an art gallery or museum, according to the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries.
Americans' interest in culture is definitely on the increase.  And not just for the big-ticket megaevents. North Americans are, in fact, keenly interested in small local eventssuch as the Tomato Festival in Buñol, Spain, musicals and theatre in London, England, museums and monuments in Berlin, Germany, circus and wrestling in Turkey, bistros, sidewalk cafes, street fairs, etc.  Definitely on the increase is demand for cultural events at local communities in which visitors participate and blend in with locals (rather than events put on just for the visitors and where they are in themajority and are onlookers rather than participants). 
Destinations will need to focus more on supporting and promoting local, indigenous events at the community level to attract the Creative Class of American travellers.

"How Americans Will Travel 2015" points to the growth in participation of the 'Creative Class' also known as the Bourgeoisie Bohemians (Bobos), for whom intrinsic values and content are important considerations in their travel decisions.  In terms of their attitude to food, they are not simply interested in drinking orange juice.  They want to know whether the juice is freshly squeezed; is it genetically engineered; is it organically grown; what is the carbon footprint associated with getting the orange juice to them; and are the farmers who produce them fairly paid? They are not just interested in the product and where it comes from, but in its intrinsic values and content. 

Similarly, with regard to holidays, the diverse and individualistic lifestyles of the Creative Class involve active participation and experiential activities that are multi-dimensional.  They enjoy 'Street Level Culture', considered as a fascinating blend of cafes, bars, rum shops, sidewalk musicians, and small galleries and bistros, where it is hard to draw the line between participant and observer, or between creativity and its creators.  Members of the Creative Class enjoy unique experiences and they would prefer to be a participant rather than a spectator.  They want activities that manage to appeal to their sense of status and self-improvement at the same time.
At the same time, the US travel market has been under tremendous pressure – from war, terrorism and recession; to fear, falling house prices, falling income levels, and rising unemployment.  This has had a negative impact on US outbound travel.  Analysts predicted that Americans will spend as much as US$30 billion less on leisure trips in spring and summer of 2009.
Dr. Auliana Poon asserts, however, that Americans are trading down but not out – they are travelling closer to home; staying away from home for shorter periods; using less expensive accommodation; but they are travelling.  In addition, with the 'Obama Effect',  Americans are more hopeful, less fearful and pent up desires will cause a major boom in travel with the emerging upswing.  Indeed, many stressed out Americans, who postponed or reduced travel because of the recession, would take advantage ofthe new growth in the economy to take a much-deserved vacation.
By the year 2015, the US would have been out of recession.  In fact, Tourism Intelligence International predicts that the recession will end by the close of 2010. 
The region selected by most Americans travelling abroad is Europe (41% of total overseas travel).  Tourism Intelligence International predicts that US travel to Europe will increase by almost 9% in 2015 over 2008.  By the year 2015 the US economy would have been out of the recession and the dollar would have caught up with the Euro, predicts Tourism Intelligence International. This would certainly bode well for travel from the US to Europe.
The close proximity of Central America to the US, the differences in culture and language and the growing concern for the environment augurs well for travel from the US to Central America.  One of the most popular destinations in Central America is Costa Rica, which is expected to receive many Americans inthe coming years because of the ecotourism attractions there.  Tourism Intelligence International predicts that there would be over 3 million US arrivals to Central America by the year 2015.  This represents an average annual growth rate of 2.4% or an absolute rate of 18% between 2008 and 2015.
The African region is also expected to do well, particularly South Africa with the World Cup taking place there in 2010.  US arrivals to Africa is expected to be volatile but could reach as high as 5% annual growth between 2008 and 2015.
The Caribbean, one of the bright spots of tourism, is not expected to perform well in the future in terms of American arrivals.  The Caribbean experienced consistent declines between the mid 1990s and the early part of the 21st century. After the terror attacks of 9/11, US arrivals to the Caribbean soared, growing by 32% between 2002 and 2006 alone.  Americans want to travel closer to home and to seemingly safer destinations.  Since 2006, however, tourism arrivals from the US to the Caribbean have been declining.  Tourism Intelligence International predicts that American arrivals to the Caribbean will continue to decline to the year 2015.  The decline is expected to be in the vicinity of almost 8% between 2008 and 2015.  This represents an average decline of 1.2 percent per annum.
To win in this changing American market and gain market share, however, tourism destinations should look beyond the numbers to the fundamental developmental and psychographic shifts taking place among North Americans, particularly the rise of the 'Creative Class'.  It is important for destinations to focus on the Culture and Content of their holiday offerings.
This volume will equip any travel and tourism provider with more than 30 key strategies to attract the different types of American travellers, including the creative class and other generations of American travellers – the Echo Boomers and the Generation Xers.
How Americans will Travel 2015 – Everything you need to know about the American and Canadian travel Markets – is available only from Tourism Intelligence International. Find out how the Americans will travel in the next five years? What havebeen the effects of the Global Economic Recession? What are the key driversthat affect the market? What are the 30 strategies your company can adopt insuccessfully targeting the North American travel market?
If there is one report that you should read this year to enable you to win in this market, it is "How the Americans Will Travel 2015".  This 350-page report – published by Tourism IntelligenceInternational, Trinidad – highlights the latest trends, data and essential information to fully understand the American market over the next five years.  The report, priced at €1,299 is presentedin a clear and concise format supported by over 200 tables and graphs. The Executive Brief is available at €499 and individual chapters are priced at €199 each.
"How Americans Will Travel 2015" was presented at the International Tourism Exchange (ITB) in Berlin, Germany on Wednesday 10th March 2010.

For further information kindly contact:

Dr. Auliana Poon (
Mr. Kevon Wilson ( or
Ms. Felicia Amow-Hosein (

Tel: +49 0521 163883 or +868676 6165.
Fax:  +868 676 6093.
Cell: +49 172 666 5823 or +868681 7109, +868 470 9996.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Top 12 Jamaica sites on Google

Visit Jamaica
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Say "No more!"

MARK DEFREITAS... how long oh Lord?

This column (excerpts below)was published the day before PM Golding's revelation in Gordon House that he sanctioned the hiring of Manatt Phelps & Phillips regarding the Jamaica-US Extradition Treaty.

Jean Lowrie-Chin | Jamaica Observer | 10 May 2010

In the midst of our anguish, the good people of this country continue to soldier on. Yes, many of us are "walking wounded", deeply affected by the cruel way our friends and relatives have been snatched from us. Yet good nurses keep nursing, good teachers keep teaching, and decent policemen take the heat for their honesty from corrupt "squaddies".

If it matters to our leaders on both sides, they should know that we know how deftly they built those communities where our fellow Jamaicans may not walk or talk freely. We know and we feel very sorry for anyone who could believe that their fleeting power could be more important than the lives of their Jamaican brothers and sisters. They are now naked on the internet, naked on YouTube and people know that it is not a coincidence of criminality that has brought our beloved Jamaica to her knees. It is a cynical plan to hold on to power, passing from one party to the other every now and then, complicit in each other's cold confidence: "Today for you, tomorrow for me".

Yes, we know there are good politicians on both sides and we are now begging them to stand up and be counted as the ones who declared "No more!" and who will take Jamaica on the path of righteousness that she so dearly longs for.

But let the world know that good Jamaicans have been brought to our knees - not to cower before thugs, but to pray to the awesome God who sees all and sees far. What hapless souls are those, that no longer fear God. In another place, I have written:

Under God's unblinking eye
We all have lived
We all have died
Dust and ash are wealth and glory
Our deeds are our enduring story.

Let the criminals - including the corrupt - know that there are simple, godly people in this country who still sleep well at night, who do honest work and share the little they have without chaining beneficiaries to lifelong obligation.

How precious are our young to us and how poignant was the thanksgiving service for Mark Che deFreitas, son of colleagues Paget and Angie deFreitas. Mark was gunned down last month, never to see his third child, a daughter who was born a few days ago. We listened to some of the finest tributes from friends of this bright, handsome young man, and silently asked ourselves, "Why, Lord?"

The Almighty who gave us free will, must have wept also, as He sees too many of us ignoring the condition of the poor, imprisoned in garrisons, fast developing across the island. In a CVM-TV interview, Dr Henley Morgan referred to our garrisons as "the society's terminal crime affliction". He said we had made the wrong diagnosis about crime, as it was not mainly about the international drug trade. He believes it is all about the "zones of exclusion" in Jamaica.

In a discussion about the pros and cons of publishing our murder figures daily, one inner-city social worker said it could be a negative, because there were communities competing to be "the baddest". He says when schoolboys threaten each other, they are heard to say, "Yuh better watch yuhself - yuh know weh mi come from?"

My friend says that these youngsters actually believe that the more vicious their neighbourhood, the higher their so-called status. This is the spine-chilling pass to which he believes we have come.

I received a note from the tireless Dr Elizabeth Ward of the Violence Prevention Alliance who wants us to market ... Peace. Yes, I agree with her that if the best marketing heads can come together, we could make Peace so glamorous, so attractive, so trendy that it could yet win the day .

We have successfully sold billions in cars, phones, bonds and burgers. Surely, we can sell Peace. Let us package Peace so she will call out to every bright-eyed youngster to embrace her. Let us promote Peace through the dancehalls of Jamaica. Let us position Peace that she will be on the front page, page 2 and primetime news.

In the name of the two five-year-old children so brutally killed in St James and Clarendon, we have to become the harbingers of peace through our guardianship of every child at risk. We hear the relatives and neighbours of little Evan Spencer of Frankfield, Clarendon, describing the cruelty the child had suffered and wonder how they could have allowed him to remain in that dungeon of despair.

We are bewildered by the happenings around the extradition of a "strongman" to the US. However, the faithful among us should know that more situations like this will arise if we do not allow Peace to be strongly branded so it will dominate our landscape. Dr Ward has a plan to involve the churches, we who say we serve a mighty God. If every church actively campaigns for peace, they cannot fail. We want "the peace that surpasseth all understanding" to leave the confines of pulpit and cover our country.

Comments from the Observer website:

Jamaica needs help from the world community i.e., the United Nations. The problem of crime is overwhelming and it is evident that the government cannot handle this problem. Get rid of the Dons and the politicians who support them. Jamaicans in the diaspora are grieving for their home and the innocent people who are brutally murdered. Something needs to be done to stop this bloodsheld !!!!
rag monty
I think it is better for us to fight for peace by declaring war on disorder. Lets start with the garrisons, Tivoli and Arnette first and mow down all others. Arrest those who are incited or somehow find a need to block roads because we get rid of their unlawful heaven. All in all, good people like you and I would say myself and many others want peace. Some of us however, see it as a political ploy to beg for once the target is from the other side, and that is really where the problem lies.
carlos king

Dear Jean,
Keep the torch of peace uplifted high! Jamaica can become a paradise once again, thru divine intervention, for with God all things are possible. The more impossible the situation- the more remarkable the miraculous victory! No one, no political administriation, no politician etc. last forever- only good salvation.

John John
Declaring peace is a novel idea but what about those that have no soul?
If you have a mangoose in your chicken coop declaring peace will not save one single chicken. First you must kill the mongoose, close up the hole, and then you can declare peace for a time.... a limited time.
If the mongoose dig another hole and enter your coop then its time to put peace on the backburner and break out the machette, kerosine and ammunition.
Yu see, peace cannot exist in some theoretical vacuum.
Sometimes the war mongers have to understand pain, deadly pain in order for their cronies to chose the peaceful path.
Neville Silvera
Thanks JL-C!!
That's a great piece to start my week. I too think that packages of peace can be hot items. We all have peace within us. Let us try to give a small piece of our peace to our neighbours; to the people we meet in the violent streets each day; to the child sitting next to us in class; to the unheralded cab driver; to our women-folk; to Waterhouse and Riverton; to Tivoli and to Glendevon. It might sound now like wishful thinking, but so did Columbus' theory that he could get to the East by sailing west. Let us ask the church to be on the front-lines with breastplates of righteousness and the healing sword of the Holy Word. A multi-faith worship service in your community each week will soften the heart of even one potential killer.
But let us not be fooled into thinking that every gunman will happily discard his weapon. Unfortunately, some Philistines will have to face the proverbial "jawbone of an ass".

Saturday, May 15, 2010

How to rebuild Haiti - Well-intentioned outsiders not enough

Financial Gleaner | 14 May 10
How to rebuild Haiti - Well-intentioned outsiders not enough
Robert Zoellick - Guest Writer

IN THE wake of the devastating earthquake, there has been an outpouring of international support for Haiti. The first priority has been saving lives.
That means getting water, food, shelter, medicine and other basic supplies to victims.
The first rush will have to be backed up by an ongoing logistics chain that will need to function for many months.
But even as we stabilise the humanitarian response, we need to turn to the delivery of basic services and reconstruction. As we do so, we must learn the lessons of the past.
After five peacekeeping missions, and billions of dollars in aid, Haiti remains a country with some of the worst human development indicators in the world.
Yet we know that progress is possible.
Long-term requirement
Before the hurricanes in 2008, and again before this month's earthquake, Haiti had been moving forward - including with successful and peaceful elections, stabilisation of chronic insecurity, increased revenue collection and investment.
Building on these successes, Haiti's reconstruction and recovery require long-term commitment. When the cameras depart - as they are already beginning to do - donors must not depart with them.
In the past, 'Haiti fatigue' has been as great a challenge to development as natural disaster.
Outside aid a must
The four hurricanes and tropical storms of 2008 did damage equivalent to some 15 per cent of gross domestic product. This will almost certainly be larger, and will require a more sustained and coordinated effort.
What are the lessons we need to learn?
Haiti can't be reconstructed by well-meaning outsiders.
Donors must work hand in hand with the Haitian government and people. And the Government and Parliament must show leadership and a commitment to work together.
Donor support for reconstruction should be in the form of grants. More money must go through the budget, so it can be linked to Haitian goals and building Haitian capacity, even if the early stages of work depend on actions by regional and international partners.
We must remove Haiti's debt burden.
Last year, with the International Monetary Fund, we cancelled US$1.2 billion of debt. But almost a billion dollars remains.
Less than four per cent of this - some US$38 million - is owed to the World Bank. We immediately announced that no debt repayments are due for the next five years and we are working to cancel all remaining debt owed to us.
Others should follow suit.
Geography an opportunity
We need better coordinated aid, fewer feel-good donor projects, less flag planting, and strong oversight, transparency and accountability to instil confidence that the money will be used effectively.
Building Haiti back better requires common sense and strategy.
We can support the transition from humanitarian aid to reconstruction through food or cash for work programmes, so Haitians can be paid for clearing and rebuilding infrastructure, and planting trees. Community projects can improve conditions for small-scale farming, which, over time, can supply and then replace food-assistance programmes.
With modest investments in supplies and equipment, Haiti can build labour-intensive construction businesses.
Repeatedly hit by natural disasters, geography has been Haiti's curse. But geography could be Haiti's strategic opportunity.
Six hundred miles from the United States, Haiti has enormous potential.
With access to the US market through the HOPE II Act, Haiti can create jobs in its apparel and agriculture sectors.
It can promote its private sector by creating an enabling environment for investment and building the infrastructure of power grids, ports, and roads.
We've already seen successes.
Our private-sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, has invested in Digicel Group, transforming cellphone coverage.
A free-trade zone near the border with the Dominican Republic has attracted American apparel companies, creating thousands of jobs. There are opportunities to scale up other zones.
For Haiti to prosper, legitimacy, security and development must go hand in hand.
Television viewers now understand how weak the Haitian state has been.
This extends not just to lack of heavy equipment to move rubble, but to a small police force, a thin judiciary, and a state with little capacity or revenue to protect its people or deliver basic services.
We need to 'secure development' with roots deep enough to break the cycle of fragility, poverty and violence. With political stability, security, and effective government, investments and development can grow.
We have the example of Aceh, Indonesia, to guide us. Today, five years after the tsunami, Aceh reconstruction is recognised as a success story.
There, 140,000 houses have been rebuilt, 2,500 miles of roads constructed, and 200,000 small and medium enterprises supported.
In Aceh, international partners supported reconstruction through coordinated approaches that were aligned behind government leadership and local priorities.
Fifteen donor countries and organisations pooled US$700 million in a multi-donor fund that was administered by the World Bank.
Instead of 15 separate housing and road projects with different procedures and criteria, which would have overwhelmed the limited capacity of local institutions, one well-coordinated programme was implemented by communities, government agencies, non-governmental organisations and international agencies.
Haitians don't want to be victims any more than we would. With strong Haitian leadership - and coordinated, consistent and efficient regional and international support - we can transform days of news stories into a decade of success stories.

Robert Zoellick
Guest Writer
Gleaner Company Ltd.
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Where’s Your Heart’s Desire? 

By Paul Banta
Global Soccer Ministries

Scripture: Proverbs 27:19 says, "A man's heart reflects the man".
I can remember many times telling my players, you've got to have heart to play this game.  Many of them understood by the way exhibited themselves in training and matches while other just never got what heart meant. The Bible uses the word "heart" to describe our desires, hopes, interests, ambitions, dreams, visions and affections that you have toward others. Our heart represents the source of all our motivations, what you love to do and what you care about most. Even today, we still use the word in this way when we say, "I love you with all my heart or I love this game with all my heart."

Proverbs 27:19 says, "Just as water mirrors your face, so your face mirrors your heart".

The Bible says what is in your heart is who and what you are really about, not what others think you are or what circumstances force you to be. Your heart is the real you. So if you coach and play the game of soccer with all your heart you're right where God wants you to be and nothing else matters to God. Your heart determines why you say the things you need to, why you feel the way you do, and why you act the way you do.

Physically, each of us has a unique heartbeat. Just as we each have unique thumbprints, eye prints, and voiceprints, our hearts beat in slightly different patterns. It's amazing that out of all the billions of people who've ever lived, no one has ever had a heartbeat exactly like yours.

In the same way, God has given each of us a unique emotional "heartbeat" that races when we think about the subjects, activities, or circumstances that interest us. We instinctively care about some things and not about others. These are clues to where you should be serving.

Another word for heart is passion. There are certain subjects that you feel deeply passionate about and others that you couldn't care less about. Some experiences turn you on and capture your attention, while others turn you off or bore you to tears. These reveal the nature of your heart; listen for inner promptings that can point to the ministry God intends for you to have.

When you were growing up you may have discovered that you were intensely interested in some subjects that no one else in your family cared about.

Where did those interests come from? They came from God!

God had a purpose in giving you these inborn interests. Your emotional heartbeat is a key to understanding your shape for service. Don't ignore your interests; consider how they might be used for God's glory. There is a reason that you love to do these things.

Listen for inner promptings that can point to the ministry God intends for you to have.

God bless and stay in the game,
1 Peter 5:7
Paul Banta - President/Founder of GSM International USA Office


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Friday, May 14, 2010

Media converging on Vale Royal

We just passed Vale Royal where the PM is locked in a meeting - speculations are that he may be considering resigning!
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happy International Nurses Day!

NAJ Nurse of the Year for 2009 Anthonette Patterson flanked by first and second runners-up Prudence Grandison and Jillian Mason-Cleary

Jamaica, let’s have justice for our nurses

by Jean Lowrie-Chin
(Updated Observer column - first published May 2003)

They are the angels who usher us into this world and who smooth our journey from it. Today, on International Nurses Day we should find the time to show appreciation to our faithful nurses. Coming on the heels of Mother’s Day, adoptive parents like myself have even more reason to be grateful: were it not for the nurses at the University Hospital’s Newborn Special Care Unit and at a Children’s Home, my precious ones may not have survived.

Yet our nurses continue to be among the most overworked and underpaid public servants in our country. We tend to be insensitive towards those who serve best but talk less. Maybe one of our lobby groups could advocate for just compensation of our nurses, many of whom reluctantly leave Jamaica simply because they cannot make a decent living.

Nursing requires not only a compassionate spirit but indeed a competent individual who must measure up to international standards through the International Classification of Nursing Practice which has been computerised and integrated into multidisciplinary health information systems. Our nurses are therefore computer literate and some of the most articulate individuals I have ever met. Nurse practitioners are qualified to write prescriptions for their patients.

Under the rules of the ICN (International Council of Nursing) nurses practise five global values: Achievement, Partnership, Flexibility, Inclusiveness and Visionary Leadership. These values give a universal, humanistic approach to nursing and should place our nurses in a well-deserved position of respect. Nurses ‘keep the care and caring in health care’ through the established guideposts of technology, information and evidence, human resource planning, innovations in practice and advocacy.

This means that they are continuously involved in professional development, in stark contrast to some well paid individuals who proudly frame their ‘piece of paper’ and lord it over others for the rest of their arrogant lives. Now that performance related pay is the song of the day, who will have the nerve to demand that everyone should become accountable and prove that they are deserving of their fat salaries?

Let us look at the dismal salaries of our well-educated nurses. It is shocking to learn that a graduate nurse takes home $26,715 per month after taxes. After eight years of service, this nurse will be rewarded with a scanty increase to net $31,756 monthly. A specialist nurse, eg a midwife, after three years service, takes home $36,565. This is an absolute outrage. It is full time that the medical fraternity, who acknowledge that nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system, stand up for their worthy colleagues and demand greater parity in the salary scale.

Despite this shabby treatment, our dignified nurses continue to give first class care. How they emerge from crowded buses looking impeccable, is indeed amazing. While unenlightened middle class Jamaicans may not show due respect, ‘Nurse’ is still queen among the humble folk. Even criminals have been known to take on a humane attitude towards nurses. A nurse who changed out of her uniform before coming off duty, was held up by a gunman in Cross Roads. After her took her bag, he spied her white shoes and asked if she was a nurse. When she replied in the affirmative he apologised, returned the bag and ran off.

Another nurse told me of her bedside watch over a dying man who asked if he could have a little syrup, his favourite childhood drink. She said she checked around frantically and was able to give him a few refreshing sips before he smiled at her and breathed his last. Past President of the Nurses Association Rupertia Smith recalls singing to a young patient who lay in a coma after a serious motor vehicle accident. Day after day she sang to him until one day he finally opened his eyes and she was able to nurse him to full recovery.

I have to brag about my brilliant cousin Winnie Gopaulsingh Mair who gained a higher degree in nursing, then moved into the field of public health. She is one of the most innovative health advocates, creating special programmes that promote prevention and provide relief to patients who suffer from chronic conditions.

Whenever there is an illness in our house, I still hear the calm, reassuring voice of my late friend and former University Hospital Labour Ward Sister Sonja Phillipps (Yendi's beautiful mother). Regardless of the time of day or night, Sonja would listen patiently and give invaluable advice. Even as she struggled for years with a debilitating illness, she conducted antenatal sessions at her home, expertly preparing hundreds of mothers-to-be for healthy deliveries.

Having been associated with the Nurses Week programme, my respect for our nurses continues to grow. As they discuss plans and unhesitatingly volunteer for various tasks, we have come to appreciate their humility, grace and wisdom. It is no wonder that former NAJ President, Senator Syringa Marshall-Burnett was held in such high esteem as the Leader of our Upper House.

Jamaica’s own Mary Seacole is one of the most famous nurses in history, bravely caring for soldiers wounded in the 19th Century Crimean war, and later working side by side with Florence Nightingale. A grateful soldier recalled Mary Seacole’s ministrations: “Her never failing presence amongst the wounded after a battle made her beloved by the rank and file of the whole army.” Our nurses have continued in this great tradition, and we should ensure that their many sacrifices are justly rewarded. Happy International Nurses Day to these valiant souls!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lena Horne in 'Jamaica'

We need to produce this here as a Tribute to Lena - great Tourism Attraction!

Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
Book by E.Y. Harburg and Fred Saidy

Original Broadway Cast Recording with Lena Horne, Ricardo Montalban, Josephine Premice, Joe Adams, Eric Rhodes, Ossie Davis and Adelaide Hall

Orchestra conducted by Lehman Engel

RCA CD 68041

Harold Arlen's 1957 musical JAMAICA is best remembered as a vehicle for the talents of the unforgettable Lena Horne, who created the role of Savanna, a savvy, sassy lass from the Caribbean who longed to exchange her West Indian address for the alluring shores of Manhattan. Not quite so well remembered is the fact that JAMAICA was originally intended as a vehicle for Harry Belafonte who, presumably, would have played a savvy, sassy lad who likewise wanted to go from a West Indian to a West Side abode.

After a typically fractious out of town tryout, the David Merrick production of JAMAICA opened on Broadway to reviews that lauded Miss Horne and featured players Ricardo Montalban and Josephine Premice, and admired the Harold Arlen/Yip Harburg score. Also admired were the dances, while the critics found little to praise in the book co-authored by Harburg and his long-time colleague Fred Saidy.

The ups and downs of JAMAICA's book need not concern us as we listen to the compact disc edition of JAMAICA, which unlike its long-playing predecessors includes both the show's overture and finale.

Lena Horne's performance still works its magic. Supremely feminine, lyrical, and alluring, Miss Horne sails triumphantly through the various songs Arlen created for her. These songs range in mood from the mischievously flirtatious "Pretty to Walk With". to the rapturous "Cocoanut Sweet", the broadly comic "Push de button" to the sultry "Napoleon" and "Go Slow Joe"

Most of the songs have lilt, some, including "Little Biscuit" and "Monkey in the Mango Tree" have wit, and all have charm Ricardo Montalban's macho but easygoing Koll is a likeable foil for Lena Horne's Savannah.

No one ever seems to revive JAMAICA, which seems a shame, since, however thin its book may be, it has a score that simply dazzles the listener. Arlen's gifts as a composer are so under-appreciated. This is an original cast album that belongs on every theatre-goer's shelf.

Reviewed by Kenn Harris

Kenn Harris has been reviewing theatre, opera, ballet, and film for more than twenty-five years. His published books include The Ultimate Opera Quiz Book (Penguin, 1997 a biography of opera star Renata Tebaldi (l974) and Opera Recordings A Critical Guide.

For many years he worked in cable television in New York City. Kenn Harris has written criticism for numerous magazines and newspapers, and is currently at work on The Ultimate Broadway Musical Quiz Book

Monday, May 10, 2010

Can we dismantle the garrison communities?

From Facebook 10MAY10 RJR Beyond-The Headlines Can we and should we dismantle the garrison communities? And if so, what does that phrase mean to you?
2 hours ago

16 Comments - Like

Selvin Jones at 6:46pm

i believe that our experience over the decades have proven that Garrison communities is a danger to our demacracy.
those who defends the continuation have personal goals and are in essence the enimies of freedom of speech and free choice and should be barred from taking part in our electorial process

Good 'N' Natural at 6:49pm

Yes. However, there is always the saying the political parties thrive on garrisons for safe votes. It means getting rid of areas in the society known as safe votes squalid areas...

Good 'N' Natural at 6:53pm

However, both the government and opposition will have to demonstrate the will and power to work together and lift the people out of the conditions just for vote...stop the hand outs...and also get rid the is a shame..I am sure most of the politicians reside in upscale areas and look on the areas that the roam for votes? Fine, poverty causes people to live in the condition but I do see anything being done to lift the people out of the conditions.

Alvarine Bennett at 6:56pm

garrison is a community with real people, where must we live.dismantle is not the way out its educating the people out.
i live in garrison i know that all of coomunity people dont have garrison mind. but we still have to live somewhere. things r not always what it seems.

Melisia Morgan at 7:14pm

How do we dismantle a monster created by members of the upper echelons of society, how do we tell the well to do uplifted motivated individuals in these communities that they will have to find place elsewhere and increase their cost of living? For any society to be functional, there must be some level of dysfunction and it is my opinion that some members of the garrison communities are the agents of this dysfunction. Education of these persons may cauterize the problems

Melisia Morgan at 7:15pm

If not education, then we simply have to make examples of the guilty ones... If all else fails as it has been going... Then we will NEED divine intervention

Jean Lowrie-Chin at 7:18p

Education is liberation - it will transform garrisons into safe communities where people can determine their own future.

Maurice Brown at 7:23pm

Garrison means "guaranteed votes" for politicians & since they know this all too well, hell would freeze over before garrisons are dismantled. Heaven help us.

Keisha Keish at 7:26pm

to elaborate on Alvarine's post, garrison does not equate 'squalid'. Many of us DO find a way out, eventually, because alot of us are much more than votes and cannot be bought or sold, contrary to popular belief. I've NEVER voted simply because I live in a garrison and do believe the politicians are losing their power...even if moving from frying pan to fire. In that regard, yes, alot of 'us' do need the empowerment & alot of mindframes dismantled. I've never seen anywhere else with so much potential and so little will-power/ so much hopelessness because of acculturation. A physical move isn't the answer.

Milton Forbes at 7:29pm

The problem is that symbiotic relationship between Politician and the criminal elements in the so called garrison communities. A political Will is needed to destroy this UNHOLY UNION

We can start with Fae Ellingtonton's suggestions published in Sunday Herald

Deanmarie White at 7:35pm


Keisha Keish at 7:47pm

Deanmarie, that's a rather ill-conceived statement coming from someone who obviously has never passed through a garrison community, except maybe with windows rolled all the way up. People if you don't have facts, don't broad brush and comment. Criminals come from all echelons, likewise decent law-abiding citizens. Garrison doesn't equal criminals anymore than politicians do.

Deanmarie White at 7:55pm


Deanmarie White at 8:03pm

Maurice Brown Garrison means "guaranteed votes" for politicians & since they know this all too well, hell would freeze over before garrisons are dismantled. Heaven help us.

Keisha Keish at 8:09pm

@Deanmarie: "WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT THESE PEOPLE ARE AS CONVICTED AND CONVINCED ABOUT THEIR CRIMINAL LIFESTYLE, EVEN MORE THAN WE ARE ABOUT WORKING HARD FOR AN HONEST BREAD" this is your former post but i'll accept that the latter is closer to the truth. Like you, I work with "these people" in the prisons, community, homes etc. In fact, many label me as "these people" simply because of my address. I convert "these people" everyday and after doing it for free from birth, now proudly do it on government service. But yes, I do know many people who neighbour me wouldn't be caught dead working a 9-5 and yes, I do know some 'rich' ones from 'uptown' too.
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Legendary Lena Horne dead at 92

By Alan Duke, CNN
May 10, 2010 11:50 a.m. EDT
(CNN) -- Legendary singer, dancer, actress and civil rights activist Lena Horne, 92, died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital on Sunday night, a hospital spokeswoman said.

No other details of her death were made public.

Horne was the first African-Americans to sign a long-term movie contract with a major Hollywood studio when she joined MGM in 1942.

Horne's expressive and silky voice made her a singing star, known best for her hit "Stormy Weather," after Hollywood failed to give her roles that might have made her a big screen starlet.

Horne complained she was used as "window dressing" in white films, mostly limited to singing performances that could be easily edited out for play in southern theaters.

The light-complexioned Horne refused to go along with studio plans to promote her as a Latin American.

She later said she did not want to be "an imitation of a white woman."

Horne, whose parents divorced when she was 3, lived a nomadic childhood traveling with her actress mother. She spent much of her time growing up in Brooklyn, New York, where she was born in 1917.

Horne was 16 when she began her show business career as a dancer at Harlem's Cotton Club. She later became a singer there, playing to packed houses of white patrons, with band leaders Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington.

She began taking singing lessons in 1935, and eventually landed a part in the all-black Broadway production "Dance With Your Gods."

Her work as a feature singer with touring bands and in nightclubs increased. She became the first African-American singer to tour with a white group in 1940, according to her official biography.

Her first film role came in 1938 in "The Duke is Tops," but her next movie didn't come along for another four years.

She was given a screen test by MGM and signed to a seven-year movie contract after a studio scout saw her performing in a New York club.

Her stepfather, Miguel Rodriguez, negotiated with MGM head Louis B. Mayer for her to never be cast as a maid or "Tarzan extra."

"I think the black boy that cleaned the shoes and me were the only two black people except the maids who were there working for the stars," Horne said in a CNN interview. "And it was very lonely and I wasn't very happy."

Still, Horne said she was grateful that her World War II era films -- including black musicals "Cabin in the Sky" and "Stormy Weather" -- were seen by black and white soldiers.

"But after I realized I would only go so far, I went on the stage," Horne said.

With only subservient roles available for a black actress in Hollywood in the 1940s, Horne turned to recording top-selling songs.

Horne said performing for live audiences was what she loved most.

"I'm always happy when I'm surrounded by people to react and feel and touch," she said.

While traveling with a USO tour during the World War II, she walked out on a show because German war prisoners were seated in front seats, ahead of African-American troops. After the USO withdrew her from the tour, she used her own money to travel to sing for the troops.

She has a son and daughter from a first marriage that ended in 1944.

Horne married again in 1947 to Lennie Hayton, who was then MGM's music director. She kept the marriage secret for several years, since Hayton was white. When it was made public, the couple received hate mail and threats of violence, according to her biography.

Radio, television, film and nightclub jobs were harder for Horne to find in the McCarthy era of the 1950s when she was blacklisted. That ended in 1956 when RCA gave Horne a new recording contract and she earned a guest spot in the movie "Meet Me in Las Vegas."

Horne returned to Broadway in 1957 for her first starring role there. "Jamaica" ran for 555 shows.

She became active in the civil rights movement after she was involved in a public altercation following a racial slur in a Beverly Hills, California, restaurant in 1960.

She was an active supporter of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s civil rights movement. Horne was there when King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech on the Lincoln Memorial steps in 1963.

Variety television shows welcomed Horne as a musical performer, especially in the 1960s. She appeared on numerous episodes with Perry Como, Dean Martin and Flip Wilson.

She returned to film for a final role in 1978 as Glinda the Good Witch, opposite Michael Jackson and Diana Ross, in "The Wiz," an adaptation of "The Wizard of Oz."

She got a special Tony Award for her 1981 one-woman Broadway hit "Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music." She also won two Grammys for the recording of the show.

Horne was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989, and she also won a Grammy in 1995 for best jazz vocal performance for her album "An Evening With Lena Horne."

In her later years, Horne said she found peace.

"The best time in my life I guess is now because I'm quiet and I'm logical and I accept without flying off the handle -- sometimes I do," Horne said with a laugh.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

10 Things You Need To Know About Sleep

Do you get enough sleep? Many people don't. 10 Things You Need to Know About Sleep reveals the science behind why so many find it difficult to nod off, and offers practical tips on the best ways to get a good night's sleep.

BBC - Health - click on title to go to BBC

(Lavender works for me! J)

1. Bath Before Bedtime

A hot bath has been a much-quoted remedy for sleeplessness for years, but how does it work? The body's normal core temperature is about 37.4 degrees Celcius. You might think that raising this temperature in a hot bath is what tricks your body into feeling sleepy. In fact, it is the cooling down that occurs when you get out of the bath that facilitates sleep. It is only recently that the drop in body temperature has been recognised as a trigger for sleep. If you're having trouble sleeping, try having a warm bath about an hour before bedtime.

2. Insomnia
Insomnia plagues people in huge numbers, and once the body has asserted an erratic sleeping pattern, it can be very hard to break. Sleep restriction therapy is one potential method of breaking such patterns. A sufferer is restricted to spending less time in their bedrooms, whether they sleep or not. But it's not easy, as Professor Colin Espie from the University of Glasgow Sleep Centre explains: "People with insomnia will typically spend longer in bed to try and catch up. What we do with sleep restriction is drastically reduce the amount of time they spend in bed. That's a difficult thing to do." The aim of this treatment is to make the subject so tired that their body will be forced to re-establish a normal sleeping pattern. If you're struggling with insomnia, a sleep restriction therapy programme is definitely an option to consider. The key is to stay in the bedroom only to sleep, and always get up at the same time each day. Consulting your GP is always a good first step towards tackling insomnia.

3. The Art Of Napping
The nap can be a great way of boosting energy levels, as long as you observe the rules over when you nap, and for how long. Naps are most effective when taken in the afternoon between two and five. The optimum nap duration is 30 minutes. Your body will naturally resist attempts to nap between seven and twelve o'clock in the morning, and between six and eight o'clock in the evening.

4. How To Stop Snoring
It's estimated that 15 million Britons snore. Snoring can be linked to serious health conditions and as it can affect the sleep of more than just the sufferer, it can have a negative effect on relationships. But what causes snoring? During sleep, the muscles controlling our airways can relax, causing the air passage to narrow. As a result, when we breathe, the soft tissues in the mouth, nose and throat vibrate, which we then hear as snoring. Help is at hand though, with a number of over the counter remedies available. Moistening strips can be employed that are designed to reduce the vibration of these soft tissues. Alternatively, mouth guards can prevent the tongue from falling to the back of the mouth. However, such remedies are not guaranteed, and if your sleeping and snoring is more serious, do consult your GP.

5. Don't Mess With Your Sleep Cycle
A good night's rest is usually an indicator that the body has undergone five specific stages of sleep, which together, form one sleep cycle. At stage one, a person will feel drowsy. Stage two is where someone drops off to sleep. The third and fourth stages constitute deep sleep. The final fifth stage is REM sleep, signified by Rapid Eye Movement, an indication that we are dreaming. Sleeping soundly requires that we go through four to six cycles in one night, and anything less will be detrimental to our performance when awake. The best way to ensure you have the right mixture of sleep stages is to avoid caffeine and alcohol before sleeping, as they can distort the natural sleep pattern, and ensure that you sleep for between seven and nine hours every night.

6. The Power Of Daylight
If sleeping isn't an issue for you, then how about waking up? Research into daylight reveals that it can be used to help us wake up more effectively. In 2002 scientists identified a group of receptor cells in the eye that regulate the production of a hormone called melatonin. This hormone determines how sleepy or awake a person feels. At night, the body's supply of melatonin will increase, causing us to feel sleepy. At daybreak, even with the eyelids closed, the receptor cells are triggered by the increasing light to signal the brain, and in particular, the pineal gland, to reduce the amount of melatonin in the body. This allows us to feel more alert and awake. By mimicking the qualities of natural light that trigger the receptor cells, scientists can use 'blue' lamps to fool the body into thinking it's naturally awake. These blue lights can help early risers to feel more awake. But for anyone struggling to sleep during daylight hours, dark heavy curtains could help.

7. Eat To Sleep

Did you know that different types of food can affect how you sleep? Meals rich in carbohydrates set off a chain reaction which makes us sleepy. When carbohydrates are digested in the stomach, they trigger the release of insulin, which in turn, helps the chemical tryptophan enter the brain. There, it's turned into serotonin, and serotonin makes us sleepy. However, eating proteins has the opposite effect to carbs. Proteins break down into amino acids, which reduce the amount of tryptophan entering the brain. So less sleep-inducing serotonin is produced. As a result, we tend to feel more alert. A protein meal at lunch may well prevent you from dropping off in the afternoon, and a carb-heavy meal in the evening should help you sleep.

8. How To Beat Jet Lag
Jet lag affects frequent flyers and holiday makers alike, but scientists believe they may have found a new method to overcome the afflication. The theory is based on the internal food clock which helps animals regulate sleep. In humans, it's largely dormant, but can be activated by controlled fasting. After such fasting, the theory is that eating at the next meal time of the new time zone can help quickly reset the body's internal clock. So if you want to avoid jet lag when you next fly long haul, try to avoid food on the flight, and eat your first meal on arrival at the destination. If the theory is correct, then this should help reset your body clock to your local time, and enable you to get a good night's sleep.

9. Relaxation
One simple and effective method to wind down is to repeatedly tense and relax your muscles, shortly before going to bed. Starting with the feet, tense all the muscles in one foot for a few seconds, and then release. Repeat this tensing, holding and relaxing for the rest of the body. The whole exercise should last for about 15 minutes, and should leave you feeling a lot more relaxed, and ready to sleep.

10. Herbal Remedies
Herbs like lavender and plant extracts like valerian root are just two natural sleep inducers. Valerian can be bought and consumed as a tincture, and lavender can be used to make a herbal tea, although studies indicate that it is the smell of lavender that helps people to sleep. Both are available from all good pharmacies.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Alpha: the power of one

Mother Claver, nee Jessie Ripoll, founder of Alpha

Sister Mary Bernadette Little who helped her students to dream big dreams ... and realise them!

It is difficult to imagine. A middle-class Jamaican lady, moved by the poverty around her, cleans out her bank account, asks her friends for contributions, seeks support from the church, and buys 43 acres of land to start a ministry for the poor.

But this is no fairy tale. This is the true story of young Jessie Ripoll who bought the land at South Camp Road for £800 in 1880, and taking in the first orphan on May 1 of that year, created Alpha. As her orphanage grew and friends joined her project, the Catholic Church suggested that the Mercy Sisters be invited to expand the mission. Jessie became Sister Mary Claver.

A few years later, the Alpha Boys' Music Programme was started, and a galaxy of stars has continued to emerge to this day. Several schools sprang up around the convent and chapel - Alpha Infant, Primary, Academy, the recently closed Commercial College and the latest addition, an excellent primary school bearing Jessie's name.

On a television feature in 2005 to celebrate Alpha’s 125th anniversary, we were treated to an account of the school’s history uniquely told against the strains of the Alpha Boys' Band. The crew marvelled at the poise and grace of the legendary principal of Alpha Academy and a graduate of the school, Sister Mary Bernadette, who has served as a Mercy sister for over 60 years. Then there was Aggrey Irons who happened to be my classmate at the now closed Alpha Prep School (to this day, he still pulls my hair).

I confess to becoming misty-eyed when I listened to past students Sister Marie Chin and Lorna Bell, executive director of the Special Olympics Association. These women of excellence remembered the feeling of family we had at Alpha as well as the quality of the curriculum.

Best of all were the performances of the current Alpha students - the band, the angelic dancers from the Jessie Ripoll School, as well as performers from the Primary School and the Academy. Sister Susan Frazer, Sister Shirley Chung and Sister Marie Goretti hovered over their charges with the focus and dedication that has nurtured tens of thousands of Jamaican children.

The Alpha Boys' School became so famous that the celebrated trumpeter Johnny "Dizzy" Moore of the Skatalites confessed to "acting up" as a child, just to be sent to Alpha Boys' School. Lennie Hibbert, Tommy McCook, Rico Rodriguez, Sparrow Martin, Don Drummond, Dwight Richards, Yellow Man, Leroy Smart all came out of Alpha Boys' School as do the majority of musicians in our military and constabulary bands.

Few can forget the motherly love of Sister Ignatius who was never short of visitors as she continued to counsel her graduates years after they had left school. The Alpha way of taking care of the young with love and understanding should be a standard for children's homes in our island.

When our parents deposited us in Alpha's lap each day, they were sure that we would be guided and disciplined without fear or favour - and with a good deal of fervour! During my years at the prep and high schools, I experienced a unique comfort level with classmates of all colours and addresses. I cannot help but think that, in seeing a woman of colour - the distinguished, elegant Sister Bernadette, so emphatically in charge of the institution, we all became aware of our possibilities.

The memory of Jessie Ripoll reminds us of the power of one. We are so used to blaming "them" that we forget that in the human equation, multiples of "me" equals "them".

There are too few Jessies, and too many jesters, acquiring without requiring from themselves a responsibility to this troubled society. We know this is a great country with fantastic potential, but we are driving drunk, putting many lives, including our own, in danger. As I contemplate the simplicity of the lives of Alpha's sisters and their wonderful joie de vivre, it is obvious that those of us who think we have so much are really depriving ourselves of the best, a service-oriented life.

My classmate Natalie Thompson, who owns the brilliant film production house Cinecom, wants to do a documentary on our class. One day when we were playing the fool, Sister Bernadette brought us up short and told us, "You are a powerful class." We seem to have digested those words well, as several of us now run successful businesses, five are doctors, one is the principal of a leading Florida high school, and most are serving their respective communities.

But our sad national statistics tell us that we are simply not doing enough to replace fear with faith. We should be getting as spiritually fit as possible to reach our young people, before they are held in the deadly grip of crime and violence. In 1880, without car, phone or internet, Jessie Ripoll did it. Why, then, are we doing so much less when we have so much more?