Tuesday, August 31, 2010

'No better barrel, no better herring'

YENDI PHILLIPPS... her genuine smile and sparkling eyes reflect the warmth for which our country is renowned.

Jamaica Observer column | Jean Lowrie-Chin | 30 August 2010

While we were listening intently to the local news, we noticed that two young relatives did not appear in the least bit interested: one was nodding to the rhythm of his iPod while the other was smiling at a message on her BlackBerry. They say they are so sick and tired of politics that I shudder to think what the voter turnout will be in the next general election.

But thanks to our dedicated public servants and intrepid entrepreneurs, we continue to surprise ourselves. Cinecom's Natalie Thompson (Cool Runnings, How Stella Got Her Groove Back) just completed work as line producer for a movie filmed for the most part in Jamaica's inner cities and had nary an incident. Ghetto Life is written and directed by Chris Browne and was filmed in Rose Town, Craig Town, Trench Town, Grants Pen, the Stanley Couch Gym between Southside and Rae Town and Top Range in Mountain View. In fact, they worked mostly at night.

Our 4-H Movement is inspiring a growing number of young Jamaicans to go into farming. We are sitting on a gold mine of the world's best coffee, ginger, pimento and some of the tastiest organically grown fruits and vegetables. Chef Colin Hylton tells me that otaheite apple is finally being processed by a company called Goshen into jams and syrups. We caught up with friends Mike Nugent and Anthony Raymond in New York last weekend - they say the enthusiasm for Jamaican-grown and produced products has never been higher.

Over the past week, folks from our firm travelled across Jamaica for a series of culinary workshops presented by Norway's celebrity chef Espen Larsen. The Jamaican chefs worked magic, pairing saltfish with yam, breadfruit, Scotch bonnet and other spectacular Jamaican products. Award-winning chef Anthony Miller, who attended, will be guest chef of the South African Culinary Association in mid-September with the mandate to bring Jamaican flavours to their annual feast.

The view from the terrace of the Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios left our visitors breathless and vowing to return. We met US-based Jamaican Dr Walford Bancroft Lindo who was on his fourth visit to the property managed by the highly respected Peter Fraser.

"They say a man is not king in his country, but here, I feel truly honoured," Dr Lindo declared. "I am encouraging my fellow Jamaicans abroad to vacation in their homeland. I have been to many other destinations in the Caribbean and Jamaica remains my favourite."

At Tryall in Hanover, our guests marvelled at the flawless golf course nestled against the sparkling sea. Every step of the way, they lauded the outstanding service of the hotel staffers, the artistry of our chefs, many of whom were trained right here in Jamaica, and the extraordinary beauty of our country.

Every Jamaican, who can afford it, owes it to himself to become more familiar with this wonderful place we call home, at the same time making our contribution to the tourism industry, the biggest employer of our excellent hospitality workers.

Just as Yendi Phillipps did, we should be promoting this big world brand called Jamaica. We want it to prosper, so why do we persist in being so cynical? Our lovely Yendi with her open smile and sparkling eyes reflected the warmth for which our country is renowned. Was it her mention of God in her reply to the judges that lost her those precious points? Well, so be it - she may have come second in Miss Universe but she is Number One in our hearts. My friend Dave Rodney said Jamaicans up north were riveted to the television watching Yendi on Monday night, and calling each other at every stage of the eliminations. "It was like the Beijing Olympics all over again," he enthused.

Our legendary poster child Usain Bolt has been signed on by Puma for four additional years to the tune of US$10 million per year. Even when we were turning our noses down at our flag, long before the emergence of Bolt, Puma had decided that they would do Jamaica-themed products and decorate their store windows in our vibrant black-green-and-gold. Homegrown Jamaican companies need to understand the power of our flag in the world market.

After TVJ's June poll showed 87 per cent of Jamaicans wanting to migrate to the US, some took to Facebook to reaffirm their faith. Here are a few quotes:

Sheryl: "No weh nuh betta dan yard, the grass is not always greener, I guess some just don't know that. Ja just need likkle money."

Sandra: "Nope ...life is hard everywhere, crime and corruption is worldwide so is everything else that happens in Jamaica. If I have to fight to survive, I'd rather do it on the soil I was created on...always praying for Jamaica."

Christopher: "Absolutely not...I wish my family never left."

Talisa: "That's really something else. What people in Ja seem to fail to realise is that it's a complete different ball game from when u talk about "farrin" how money run vs actually living here. I'm in America and I'm poor, and feeling the effects of corruption. Cho man."

On the other hand, some are downright disappointed in their country:

Michelle: "Mi woulda tek a one way ticket right now, mi tired a di crime, corruption, discrimination and mismanagement!"

Horace: "I'd leave in a split sec. I miss the days when people could sleep with their doors even half open."

So are our politicians ready to redeem themselves and revive our faith? There is so much blame to go around that it would be a waste of time to start pointing fingers, the favourite pastime of the JLP and PNP. Our two major political parties should know that their shallow games of sophistry are unconvincing and tiresome. Give us the truth about Trafigura, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips and DB&G. Take your medicine and resolve to put Jamaica first.

We have placed our trust in our members of parliament to be the lawmakers, not the lawbreakers of our land. The world is in an economic depression so we are asking them not to make it worse for us. My grandmother would say, "You are no better barrel, no better herring." Let us get busy with the nation's work and stop this power-hungry bickering.



Devon T
Let us get busy with the nation's work and stop this power-hungry bickering... The best part of this article. I have no idea why we chat so much thing is ...40% of us chatting and claiming rights have given up the most important of those rights... TO VOTE. Do you believe that if we have a 100% voter turnout in Jamaica our politicians would behave like they do...Ever envisioned the thought of Politicians fearing the people that voted...Trust me that is the best possible thing we could do.
Ruby Shim
You are so right about us dwelling so much on the negatives and casting blame. Both our political parties spend more time casting blame on the other that we cant get anything done in this country. All the PNP want to do is regain power AT ALL COSTS no matter who suffers. They dont have the answer to our problems as we can see from the 18 years they were in office. They gave out contracts to their cronies and lied about Trafigura. What more do you expect from them.
Duncan Bertram
Will somebody inform these people that colonialism is dead. Just saying....
Martial Law
And your point is what exactly?
george watson
The writer must be the best PR strategist in the country. She begins with no better herring, no better barrel bit and then goes on to list a litany of positives in the country, without of course tying them to the JLP.
If I were reading this, my first thought would be, "despite what is happening then, why change the JLP." Of course this logic is flawed, because she is not one of the thousands of public servants not being paid what they are due, nor have the difficulty with school next week.
Chuck Emanuel
Jamaica, no problem mon !.
Jaye Stone
What is your point Jean? We have some great prospects lined up, but who will stand at the helm od leadership? We have thugs on either side to choose from, none of them really interested in taking the country forward until they are in opposition.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Newsweek: Jamaica best place in Caribbean

The Jamaican Flag stands out in this Newsweek graphic!

Jamaica ranked 47th out of 100 countries worldwide

Jamaica Observer | Thursday, August 19, 2010

JAMAICA is the top-ranked Caribbean nation to live in terms of education, health, quality of life, economic competitiveness, and political environment, according to Newsweek magazine.
Assisted by experts including Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E Stiglitz, the magazine compiled metrics across those five categories, which ranked the island 47th, three places above Cuba, among 100 countries surveyed.
Newsweek's first-ever Best Countries special issue attempted to answer the question, "…if you were born today, which country would provide you the very best opportunity to live a healthy, safe, reasonably prosperous, and upwardly mobile life?"
The survey will be welcome news for tourism authorities who have been struggling to rebuild Jamaica's image following the civil unrest in West Kingston in May. During this time some hotels in the capital reported that occupancy had fallen to zero levels.
Since that time the Jamaica Observer has been approved by Vogue magazine to participate in this year's global Fashion's Night Out on September 10, when for five hours, participating stores across Jamaica will be slashing their prices.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mohan believes in Jamaica

Mohan and his partner Dennis Hawkins of Spur Tree Ltd as they received their award as a Bold One in Manufacturing from National Bakery's Butch Hendrickson. Looking on is JMA Executive Director Imega Breeze-McNab

My friend Mohan Jagnarine recently hosted a wedding here for his daughter. Some of his overseas guests were fearful of coming to Jamaica because of the recent negative headlines. “Once they got here,” he said, “over 90 per cent of them said they were surprised at how lovely Jamaica still was, and that they want to come back!”

They went on a tour near Dunn’s River and a few fellows offered to take their money to buy them some beers. “They were afraid that they wouldn't see the guys again, but I assured them that they would and even promised to repay them if they didn't,” said Mohan. “Well, sure enough, the fellows brought back their beers and counted out their change to the last cent!” This is the Jamaica that people like Mohan continue to believe in.

Let's have a Marcus Mosiah Garvey Holiday!

We have the inspiring philosophy of Marcus Mosiah Garvey whose birthday we celebrate this week. August 17 should be a national holiday when we raise awareness of this most famous Jamaican National Hero, who was a champion of entrepreneurship and self determination. He was not a racist, and wrote about the achievements of America's white entrepreneurs in glowing terms. In fact, he was one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century.

Two years ago on Garvey's birthday, my husband and I headed to the Bird's Nest in Beijing for our third evening at the Olympics. I declared that we needed to win some medals for Marcus – he told me that I was being greedy because we had won Gold on the two previous days. Would you believe, it was that very night that our three women athletes made history with one gold and two silver medals (see report at blog linked below). A Russian who spotted our flag shouted at us, “Jamaica, you are great! 1-2-2!”

Check the August 2008 report in the blog!

The right to life – and a living

Jamaica's Ambassador to the USA - Hon Audrey Marks

by Jean Lowrie-Chin
Jamaica Observer | 16 August 2010

I had a long conversation recently with our dynamic new Ambassador to Washington, Audrey Marks. She has been explaining to some pretty big names on Capitol Hill that PM Golding had taken one of the greatest risks of his political life in the extradition proceedings against Christopher Coke. She is asking that “he and Jamaica need to be supported in the thrust to continue dismantling garrisons and revitalising downtown Kingston by providing security and socioeconomic resources similar to Plan Colombia”.

Marks says that some of the senior US folks were impressed that Golding took such an unpopular (if belated) stand in his own constituency. There is certainly no perfect situation under the sun, and though I was disappointed by his handling of the situation, there was a significant reduction in crime during the State of Emergency. We agreed that in time Jamaica's respected electoral system will allow the people to have their say.

This is in no way to defend Golding, but to defend Jamaica from those who would try to squeeze the last bit of political mileage out of every situation, even if it means squeezing the country half to death. Why in heaven’s name did the PNP “abstain” from the vote to extend the State of Emergency? Look at the heartless murder of eight Jamaicans at Tredegar Park on Friday morning! One colleague commented, “Don't these human rights people believe in the right to life?”

Jamaica's political front definitely needs some fresh faces and so we commend colleague Betty-Ann Blaine on the formation of her new NNC party. Ah yes, the fate of third parties in Jamaica seems almost inevitable, but who knows? The NNC may merge with the NDM and give Jamaicans a viable third option.

We should also acknowledge the relevance of Gordon “Butch” Stewart's call at this time, for less talk and more support for business. This is how we will keep our young people out of gangs. The problem of unemployment in Jamaica is a serious crisis and businesses are getting a beating, instead of being empowered to expand and create more jobs. Jamaica has no smog like Russia, no floods like Pakistan, no landslides like China, no desert like the Sudan, no war like Afghanistan. We have optimum conditions for productivity, but serious bureaucratic roadblocks.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Monk's mother calls on women to join one-day boycott of Mass 

The Irish Times - Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Monk's mother calls on women to join one-day boycott of Mass
PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent

AN 80-YEAR-OLD woman is organising a one-day boycott of Sunday Mass "by the faithful women of Ireland" next month.

Jennifer Sleeman from Clonakilty in Cork said she wants "to let the Vatican and the Irish church know that women are tired of being treated as second-class citizens".

She has called on the Catholic women of Ireland to "join your sisters on Sunday, September 26th. On that one day boycott Mass. Stay at home and pray for change. We are the majority. We may have been protesting individually but unremarked on, but together we have strength and our absence, the empty pews, will be noticed".

She said: "Whatever change you long for, recognition, ordination, the end of celibacy, which is another means of keeping women out, join with your sisters and let the hierarchy know by your absence that the days of an exclusively male-dominated church are over."

She told The Irish Times she had chosen the date of September 26th as her 81st birthday was three days previously, on the 23rd.

She said she looks at her "children and grandchildren and see no future for the Catholic Church. Some of the grandchildren go through the rites of sacraments but seldom, if ever, visit a church afterwards. Some of my children are actively looking for a meaningful spiritual life but they do not find it in the Catholic Church." But, she said, "I must except my eldest son who is a monk in Glenstal Abbey, another place that helps me keep some shreds of faith."

She noted her son, Fr Simon, was supportive of her in her action.

Over recent Sundays, Ms Sleeman had been to the Church of Ireland in Clonakilty, to Mass in Knocknaheeney, and back to the Catholic Church in Clonakilty. "I felt so welcome in the first two and just wondered what I was doing in 'my own church' [Clonakilty]," she said. "Since then I have been to the celebration of the Methodist Church's 150 years in Clonakilty, another joyful and welcoming occasion."

A former Presbyterian who converted to Catholicism 54 years ago, she said: "I am not a cradle Catholic. I chose to join as an adult helped by meeting a wonderful priest . . . but I now wonder did I do the right thing?" She has found that "somehow I have grown up but the church has not".

The sexual abuse scandals "horrified me. I find I belong to an organisation that seems caught in a time warp, run by old celibate men divorced from the realities of life, with a lonely priesthood struggling with the burden of celibacy where rules and regulations have more weight than the original message of community and love".

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How to Run Your Entire Business Using Free and Low Cost Web Apps

Courtesy of the PositiveTourism website

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Software as a service (SaaS) and all things related to cloud computing have grown enormously popular for small business use of the last few years, and why not. Many of the services needed to run today's businesses can be acquired for little of no cost and allow even the tiniest of start-ups to do things once only achieved by much larger organizations.

Access to online tools from virtually anywhere opens up markets, expands access to vendors and talent and makes collaboration something more easily done, even with internal teams.

The list below is a round-up of some of the tools available today. It's conceivable that organizations could run their entire business with little more than a web browser.


HeapCRM - Very intuitive product built specifically for small business

Infusionsoft – CRM with ecommerce, email marketing and affiliate modules built right in

ZohoCRM - Part of the Zoho family and an nice alternative to Salesforce.com for those that don't need all the extras

Graphic Design   

Sliderocket - Powerful way to build and share online presentation

WebNode – HTML and css editor robust enough to design and maintain entire web sites

Aviary - Suite of online graphic design tools for image editing, color and effects editing, illustration and even audio editing

Pixlr - Extremely popular free online photo editor

Jaycut – online video editing set of tools that also allows you to install video editing on your site for user generated campaigns


HyperOffice - Project and business management suite that is great for collaboration teams

Central Desktop - Project management that allows you to easily build wiki style intranets and operation's manuals

Torch - Integrates nicely with Google Apps and allows project management with bidding and invoicing built in.

Box.net - Simple file sharing and storage that plays well with mobile devices.

Mozy.com - Automatic and scheduled online back-ups for all that stuff you still keep on a computer.

Amazon S3 - S3 is just online storage that is part of Amazon's Web Services offering, but you can store and stream tons of content for very little here.  

Mindmeister – Online mind mapping and brainstorming tool

Evernote - Great tool for all your notes, thoughts, bookmarks and web clippings. Syncs well with mobile devices


Zoho.com - Zoho has become the mother of all online offerings. In fact, you could probably run your entire business with their suite of tools alone

Acrobat.com - Adobe's play in the application word of spreadsheets, docs, and presentations. More useful than Google Apps to me.

Google Apps - If you are a Google user than it's pretty natural to see how this Officelike set of tools would make sense.

30boxes - Easiest way to create and share calendars online.

Google Calendar - Google's calendar system is free and syncs with other desktop and mobile calendars well.

Tungle.me - Primarily a scheduling calendar for groups that need to find times that are open for all to meet.

Time Bridge - Does time tracking, scheduling and sharing well.

Tokbox – Nice group video chat tool that allows groups large and small to meet via video without downloading software.

Wobzip – online file compression tool that can replace software such as WinZip and StuffIt.

Zamar – Upload files to Zamar and convert them to the format you need - mp4 to mov or mov to flv.

Meebo – online based group chat. No need to download desktop clients as all chat is done via browser (nice way to offer chat to web visitors).

QuickBooks Online - QuickBooks, but online. Multiple user options and payroll add-on and a simple, free version.

Freshbooks - Great time and billing software with lots of personal options

Mint - More of a personal finance tool, but small businesses find it easy to use. Very nice budget tool.

Toggl -  Simple time tracking tool


Effortless HR - Employee HRMS/HRIS system online.

SimplyHR - Personnel management and recruiting tools.

You can even have a cloud operating system with iCloud.

This isn't the complete list of applications. For some of these categories there are dozens of options, but this should getting you started realizing the breadth of opportunities available for small business web apps.

Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blood Clots/Stroke - They Now Have a Fourth Indicator

Blood Clots/Stroke - They Now Have a Fourth Indicator, the Tongue
STROKE: Remember the 1st Three Letters.... S. T. R. A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally.. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough. 
Remember the '3' steps, STR . Read and Learn! Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. 
Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions: 
S *Ask the individual to SMILE. 
T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently - i.e. It is sunny out today.) 
R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS. If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.. 
New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue 
NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue... If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other, that is also an indication of a stroke. 

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved. I
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