Friday, December 30, 2011

Hughes called it at 7.45 PM!!

A telling Election Timeline

7.11pm PNP leading in 39 seats – at 40% counted – 7.11 pm – PNP ‘winning handsomely’ - 2766 boxes – PNP 52.7% JLP 47.4% - 184,000 vs 166,000 votes

7.25 declaring Wheatley SE St Catherine

7.34 PNP leading 36/JLP 27 – Cliff: PNP enjoying a comfortable lead 57% to 43% JLP

7.45 Cliff Hughes has called it! PNP has won the election!

7.58 West Rural St Andrew lost by Andrew Gallimore – won by Buchanan

Montague trailing

8.08 5,955 BOXES COUNTED – PNP 404,400 votes

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Looking for Christ in our leaders

Jean Lowrie-Chin | Observer column | Tuesday 27 Dec 2011

As we avidly watched the news with the Election highlights, the telephone rang. It was Anne Marie Rhoden who assigns readers for our church services – she asked us to participate in the New Year’s Eve Mass. Suddenly we were reminded that we as Christians were in the midst of one of the most important religious celebrations and that we should be looking beyond this struggle for earthly power.

“The people who walk in darkness will see a bright light…A child will be born for us. A son will be given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. He will be named: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and peace will have unlimited growth … He will uphold it with justice and righteousness now and forever.” (excerpt from Isaiah 9:2-7)

This ‘justice and righteousness’ is what we are seeking in our leaders, as we head to the polls on Thursday. Here are some thoughts from an address I made recently to a splendid group of young people from The St John the Baptist and Our Lady of the Angels church parishes.

It may seem like a far stretch, but we can actually draw inspiration from the electoral process that is unfolding around us at this time. Like the good servant who multiplied his talents, our electoral officials have continued to improve on an excellent system, developed through the collaboration of our two political parties.

For one thing, we can take great pride in the fact that, through the efforts of the founders of the two parties and other noble pioneers, Jamaica achieved universal adult suffrage (one person, one vote) before the United States and many other world powers did. Jamaica had our first election under universal adult suffrage in 1944, the same year that France introduced adult suffrage including women. Japan came on stream similarly in 1945.

All American citizens were supposed to have had the right to vote long before us, but that was an illusion. Many southern states prevented African Americans from voting. It was only in 1965 that America achieved universal adult suffrage, thanks to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For Switzerland it was 1971, for South Africa it was 1994 before every citizen had the right to vote, and in Kuwait, it was only six years ago that women got the vote – provided they vote in polling stations separate from those used by men!

We are indeed fortunate to live in this God blessed country. Our electoral system has had the approval of the Carter Centre in the US and our local group CAFFE has been monitoring proceedings for the last four elections.
Our Jamaican system is so well respected that our officials are now being asked to help organize and preside over elections all over the world. ECJ Chairman Professor Errol Miller said that recently, two officials from Tunisia visited Jamaica to familiarize themselves with our system on the recommendation of an international funding organisation, as that country resolves to become a democracy following the demands of a popular uprising.

Last Thursday we went to our EOJ Constituency office to collect our new Voter Identification cards, and were out in five minutes! The professional, courteous officials located the cards quickly and presented the documents for us to sign in confirmation of collection. This is a well-oiled, proper functioning system of which we can all be proud.

Remember to check if you are on the Voters’ List at Once you are on the list, you have a right to vote, whether or not you collected your voter ID card. Remember that the ballot is secret. Your vote cannot be traced back to you. Vote with pride – you have the same single vote as the most powerful person you know. On Thursday, you will make your mark for a democratic Jamaica. Whatever the result may be, let us respect the will of the majority.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Dave Rodney!

Advertising/PR executive/author Jean Lowrie-Chin of PRO Comm (third from right) hosted a birthday luncheon for Dave Rodney, (third from left) visiting media marketing specialist from New York, on Wednesday at Devon House On The Terrace. Others from left are: Barbara Ellington, Gleaner Lifestyle Editor; Alison Ross, SVP, The Portfolio Marketing Group, New York, Sharon Shroeter, TVJ

Dave Rodney is a down-to-earth intellectual, speaker of many languages, talented organist and publicist par excellence. It was wonderful to celebrate this special Jamaican, now co-Principal of IMAGES Media LLC in New York.

Here He is - Holy! Holy!

Christmas Message from Mustard Seed

Please stop what you are doing and think on this. It is a prayer we say with our children every morning at 3:45 in the Chapel.

As we prepare to RECOGNIZE Christ even more in this Christmas Season we should know that:


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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Food For The Poor Organises release of 85 Prisoners

Food For The Poor Organizes Prisoner Releases

Nonviolent Offenders Freed in Jamaica, Guyana, Haiti and Honduras


COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Dec. 20, 2011) – In anticipation of Christmas, Food For The Poor released prisoners who have committed nonviolent offenses in Jamaica (22), Guyana (25), Haiti (36) and Honduras (2). They were incarcerated due to their inability to pay required fines. Eighty-five prisoners have been released in these countries in time to spend Christmas with their families.


"When you visit a prison, desperate eyes peer out of the dark cells, into the light, pleading silently for help," said Robin Mahfood, Food For The Poor's CEO/President. "They want to feel a connection with the outside world, to be a brother in Christ, to be prayed for – and to not be forgotten."


In developing countries, the destitute sometimes have no way to feed their families other than to steal food. The consequence often is imprisonment without first appearing before a judge, or receiving a prison sentence. Sometimes, by the time they are tried, they have spent years longer in jail than their prison sentence requires.


Food For The Poor's Prison Ministry Program is based on the scripture, "When was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you," (Matthew 25: 31-46).


Mahfood visited a prison in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, this year with 17 priests and pastors. Together they prayed for the inmates, who live in decrepit buildings and are at the mercy of disease outbreaks, such as cholera. Prison cells measuring 16-by-16 feet sometimes hold more than 30 men.


Since the inception of Food For The Poor's Prison Ministry Program in 2000, more than 1,048 prisoners have been reintroduced back into the community as productive citizens. Food For The Poor works with the prisoners before and after they are released to ensure they will not be repeat offenders.


"Behave yourself, because in there [it is] rough," said a 34-year-old former Jamaican inmate, when asked if he had any advice for youngsters outside of the penal institutions. "I appreciate the help from Food For The Poor," he continued, "because my mother had been helping to take care of my children while I was in there, but they are my responsibility and I just wanted to come out and be a father to them."


This year in Jamaica, a total of 22 inmates were released from prisons in Mandeville, Spanish Town and St. Catherine.


"All of us deserve a second chance and we have given these men and women that opportunity," said Sandra Ramsay, administrator of the prison ministry at Food For The Poor-Jamaica.



Twice a year – during the Christmas and Easter seasons – the Food For The Poor Prison Ministry Program releases inmates who have committed minor offenses. Prison authorities have found Food For The Poor's Prison Ministry Program to be so successful that they have implemented a similar program themselves. Some prisons now offer inmates jobs in the prison where they are held so that they can earn money to pay off their fines.


Food For The Poor, the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian agency provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit                



Photo credit: Food For The Poor

Photo captions:

 The sole female inmate to be released from the Fort Augusta facility was a 25-year-old mother of three who was convicted of larceny after taking money from a family member, without permission, to purchase food and other items for her sick infant.

 Some of the inmates shed tears as they learned their fines had been paid, and that they would be reunited with their families in time for Christmas.

Jennifer Leigh Oates
Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054

Food For The Poor, Inc.

6401 Lyons Road

Coconut Creek, Florida 33073 USA

Main Tel: 954-427-2222 

Main Fax: 954-570-7654

Food For The Poor (FFP), the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed the millions of hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian agency provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96% of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor.

For more information visit our Web site at

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Black Belgian Nurse Who Saved GIs In WWII Honoured

Augusta Chiwy (Photo: Clark Boyd)

Thank you Neville 'Gladdy' Hoo for sharing this story!
BRUSSELS December 12, 2011, 04:32 pm ET
BRUSSELS (AP) — A Belgian nurse who saved the lives of hundreds of American soldiers during the Battle of the Bulge at the end of World War II was given a U.S. award for valor Monday — 67 years late.

Congolese-born Augusta Chiwy, now 93, received the Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service medal from U.S. Ambassador Howard Gutman at a ceremony in the military museum in Brussels.

"She helped, she helped, and she helped," Gutman said at the ceremony. He said the long delay in presenting the award was because it was assumed that Chiwy had been killed when a bomb destroyed her hospital.

The Battle of the Bulge was a ferocious encounter in the final stages of World War II. In desperation, Adolf Hitler ordered a massive attack on allied forces in the Ardennes, in southern Belgium. More than 80,000 American soldiers were killed, captured or wounded.

Chiwy had volunteered to assist in an aid station in the town of Bastogne, where wounded and dying U.S. soldiers in their thousands were being treated by a single doctor in December 1944 and January 1945. Chiwy braved the gunfire, helping whoever she could, and saving the lives of hundreds of American GIs.

The Nazis hoped the surprise attack would reach the sea at the Belgian port of Antwerp and cut off the advancing allied armies. Bastogne, a market town that was also a critical road junction, was quickly besieged.

The U.S. troops — led by paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division — found themselves surrounded. But they resisted fiercely, and the key crossroads was never taken.

During the battle, Brig. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, the 101st's acting division commander, delivered his famous reply to a German surrender demand when he scribbled: "To the German commander: Nuts! The American commander."

In the ensuing siege, Bastogne was heavily shelled and quickly reduced to ruins. Another Belgian nurse — Chiwy's friend Renee Lemaire — was killed along with about 30 patients when a bomb penetrated a cellar where she was tending to the wounded.

Gutman said the diminutive Chiwy combed battlefields during the battle, often coming under enemy fire, to collect the wounded in the deep snow.

"What I did was very normal," Chiwy said during the ceremony. "I would have done it for anyone. We are all children of God."

But Col. J.P. McGee, who commands a brigade of the 101st Airborne Division based in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, said that to the wounded soldiers Chiwy was "a goddess."

"Men lived and families were reunited due to your efforts," he said.

McGee said the army's doctor in Bastogne, John Prior, had joked that the German snipers couldn't hit Chiwy because she was so tiny. But Chiwy, who moved to Belgium from the colony of Congo before the war, responded that they were just bad shots.

Historian Alexander Omhof, who has dealt extensively with the history of the allied advance, also praised Chiwy's deeds during the month-long battle.

Chiwy then received a letter of appreciation from Gen. David Petraeus, himself a former commander of the 101st Airborne.

After the battle, Chiwy slipped into obscurity, working as a hospital nurse treating spinal injuries. She married a Belgian soldier and had two children.

She was finally located several years ago by a British author and historian, Martin King, who had heard stories about a black nurse at Bastogne.

Chiwy was knighted by the Belgian king in June.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

News Alert: Breaking News: U.S. formally ends war in Iraq

Thursday, December 15, 2011 5:50:49 AM
U.S. formally ends war in Iraq BAGHDAD — Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta paid solemn tribute on Thursday to an "independent, free and sovereign Iraq" and declared the official end to the Iraq war, formally wrapping up the U.S. military's 81 / 2-year mission in the country."After a lot of blood spilled by Iraqis and Americans, the mission of an Iraq that could govern and secure itself has become real," Panetta said at a ceremony at Baghdad 's international airport. "To be sure, the cost was high – in blood and treasure for the United States, and for the Iraqi people. Those lives were not lost in vain. "The 1:15 p.m. ceremony (5:15 a.m. in Washington) effectively ended the war two weeks earlier than was necessary under the terms of the security agreement signed by the U.S. and Iraqi governments in 2008, which stipulated that the troops must be gone by Dec. 31.But commanders decided there was no need to keep troops in Iraq through the Christmas holidays given that talks on maintaining a U.S. presence beyond the deadline had failed. The date of the final ceremony had been kept secret for weeks, so as not to give insurgents or militias an opportunity to stage attacks. Read more at visit TO A FRIEND
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Monday, December 12, 2011

A professor, a bishop and two Delanos

ECJ Chairman Professor Errol Miller
Political Ombudsman Bishop Herro Blair

Observer column by Jean Lowrie-Chin | 12 December 2011

This Jamaica takes us through so many highs and lows! We have been enjoying a great deal of sober public discourse on all sides about the December 29 general election. But then, we see these disturbing clips of gunmen engaging the police in a shootout on the grounds of St Jago High School in Spanish Town. (Thankfully, the students were unharmed.) The news also carries the usual political platform drama, with KD warning Dwight, Andrew apologising to media, and Portia wagging her finger at Andrew.

We saw an excellent group of Jamaicans on TVJ's Impact last Thursday, signalling that Jamaica's electoral system was in very good shape. The probing Emily Crooks hosted Professor Errol Miller, chairman of the Electoral Commission; Bishop Herro Blair, political ombudsman; and those cookie-cutter campaign spokespersons Delano Franklin and Delano Seiveright for the PNP and JLP respectively.

We learned a lot. Prof Miller made three important points:

*If you are not on the voters' list published on November 30, you simply cannot vote. He said that voters may check for their names at post offices or on the web - You should vote at your location on the list, even if you have changed the address of your residence since being enumerated.

* Agreement on the location of polling stations was reached after dialogue with both political parties and much planning. He emphasised that there can be no change of these locations.

* The ballot in Jamaica is absolutely secret. If you expose your "X", the ballot will be taken away from you. The presiding officer may not look at your choice and may not ask for whom you voted. The ballot is folded in such a way that even when the numbered counterfoil is being removed, the section with your mark remains folded and unexposed. Once the counterfoil is removed, and the ballot placed in the box, there is absolutely no way that it can be traced back to the voter.

Prof Miller also mentioned a criticism of a party representative that four candidates with dual citizenship had been accepted for nomination for the last general election by the respective returning officers. Prof Miller made it clear that the Electoral Office has no jurisdiction over such matters. Today, nomination day, we should bear in mind that the returning officer must accept the nomination of the candidate once the person satisfies three requirements:

(1) The prospective candidate has the endorsement of 10 registered voters

(2) The individual makes his/her application at the designated location between 10 am and 2 pm

(3) The individual pays a nomination fee of $3,000.

Congrats to the Women's Political Caucus of Jamaica supported by the Rose Leon Memorial Trust - they will pay nomination fees for all women candidates, irrespective of their political affiliation. For this election, there are 18 such candidates - five from the PNP led by Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller and 13 from the JLP - the highest ever in Jamaica's history.

Bishop Herro Blair disclosed that he had been kept extremely busy. "It is the first time since 2002 that I have had so many calls and complaints," he said. He explained that if his office decides to pursue a complaint, it is heard by a tribunal comprising the general secretaries of both political parties. Some of the matters they have dealt with for this election include the defacement of the Danville Walker billboard in Central Manchester.

The political ombudsman says there are 20 investigators attached to his office, all of whom are sergeants with the JCF. He says it is incumbent on the political parties to field candidates who are "people beyond doubt". He is asking the parties to quell "unacceptable behaviour" and reminding them that it is illegal to hoist green and orange flags to mark areas that are purported to be JLP or PNP. "There are provisions under the NSWMA Act against affixing anything in a public place, as this is contributing to the defacement of the environment," he noted. "This includes light posts."

Of course, both Delanos declared victory for their respective parties. "The JLP is on the verge of a possible landslide," opined Seiveright. "The people want something different, we are about Jamaica, about moving our country forward."

Franklin predicted that his party "will take 32 and more" and that they are campaigning aggressively because "Jamaicans want something new and different". Pundits are looking at a worldwide tendency to vote out incumbents in two ways: it could be a win for the PNP or it could be that the recently appointed JLP leader is seen as a fresh face in politics.

Read more:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lowell Hawthorne - From Minibus Driver to Observer Business Leader

We continue to be inspired by courageous entrepreneurs, and this year Moses Jackson and the Observer Team shone the light on Jamaican entrepreneurs in the Diaspora. Lowell Hawthorne, Co-Founder and CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill emerged the Business Leader of the Year. With his six siblings, The Oberlin High School graduate and former minibus driver, inspired by the example of his parents, started a bakery in the Bronx. Now they have 122 branches in nine states, 1,800 employees and more than US$100 million in gross annual sales!

Please read the amazing stories of courage and perseverance of all eight nominees on the Observer website. We salute Verona Greenland, Monique Hamaty-Simmonds and Marcus Simmonds, Vincent and Janette HoSang, Vincent and Lorain Lai, Beverly Nichols, Richard Powell and George Yap. Everyone a true winner!

Read more at:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jamaica – not all about elections

Patricia Sinclair McCalla - CEO of the Jamaica's Public Sector Transformation Unit

Observer column for MON 5 December 2011
by Jean Lowrie-Chin

Don’t let the headlines fool you. Today’s Jamaica is not all about elections. As a matter of fact, because we know what must come right after elections, regardless of the winner, discerning Jamaicans know we are in a serious plight. What must come very soon, is no indictment on one party, nor a recommendation for the other – what is coming is akin to an unstoppable weather system, where the global economic storms demand clear thinking and preparedness.

Lucky for us, our geographical position, natural beauty and the gift of the English language, bestowed on us by General Penn and Admiral Venables, have made us an attractive destination. However, the international community which has been hugely supportive in the past must now attend to financial crises on the home front.

Jamaica really needs to grow up and have a conscience. How some of our benefactors wish that they could produce crops all year round, that their summer facilities could remain open after October, that their homeless would not be in danger of freezing to death. For decades, Barbados gave tax relief to homeowners who installed solar water heaters. I am still not sure what incentives exist to harness this unlimited solar power around us.

We have to make productivity a priority. Patricia Sinclair McCalla, CEO of the PSTU recently gave us a snapshot of the public sector in a public lecture: “Sixteen ministries, approximately 230 entities, including statutory bodies, limited liability companies and other public bodies, to include executive agencies that are departments of Government, all of which comprise over 120,100 public officers, excluding the 4,500 Jamaica Defence Force personnel. The Government is in fact, the largest employer contracting just over ten per cent of the Jamaican labour force.”

She reminded us that we have a public sector wage bill of $127.9b, which currently stands at 10.4 per cent of GDP in the current financial year, “and which is expected to be reduced to 9.0 per cent of GDP by 2015/16”

She had good reason to cite the Singapore transformation, explaining that their public servants were not only well-trained, but also well paid to minimise the temptation of corruption. “The enabling environment was created by Lee Kuan Yew, through the provision of education to its citizens focusing on, English language, science and technology,” said Mrs Sinclair McCalla. “He challenged old cultural norms ...ensured that his ministers were already successful businessmen who were highly educated and well resourced.”

“In Jamaica where there resides little faith in political agencies and government institutions, governance is vitally important,” wrote Al Edwards Caribbean Business Report’s editor in his timely lead in Friday’s Observer. “The country has declared that it wants to hold developed-country status by 2030, that status would be difficult to attain without adhering to good governance practices.”

Such practices have to be underpinned by strong values. Our impressionable youngsters are fed a steady diet of images on television and the internet which create false expectations and lower their self-esteem. Unfortunately, they are getting a lot of these very images on the campaign trail as well, and we should be watching to see how the leadership of both parties panders to this element in the coming weeks as election fever takes hold.

As we look back on a successful Journalism Week spearheaded by dynamic PAJ President Jenni Campbell, and the tributes to the brilliant Dr Aggrey Brown, media practitioners are reminded of their responsibility to nation building. Certainly, we have the attention of the nation and therefore we are important participants in Jamaica’s development.

Women’s Media Watch’s new study and training manual, “Whose Perspective: A Guide to Gender-Aware Analysis of Media Content”, describes the negative effect media images are having on impressionable minds and challenges us to move out of our comfort zone.

Judith Wedderburn of the FES Institute pointed to the expanding impact of social media, commenting, “This now makes the process by which the media itself shapes and reflects political culture and public discourse far more complex, fluid and challenging.” Those of us who have been blessed with an education can use social media to enlighten and inspire. Nothing wrong with the great jokes, but let us stay away from bile and vulgarity. We have young minds to mould and a country that needs positive thinking and action, to take us beyond Election Day.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Why PROComm created the Lasco Teacher of the Year

We need to avoid objectifying our women as this encourages the very violence that we condemn. It is for this reason that our company has a policy of not promoting beauty contests. After our refusal to do so for Lasco in 1998, we created a better gender-balanced alternative, the "Teacher of the Year" programme. We salute tomorrow's recipients. This led to the other affirmation programmes for nurses and police officers. Last year, we suggested the reservation of shares in the Lasco initial public offer (IPO) for these groups and CCRP seniors, thus contributing to their financial empowerment. Women do bring a practical perspective to issues. We do not have to follow the status quo - indeed, it is by looking higher, that we grow.

Read more:

Are they Andrew Holness's 'Lucky 13'?

Jean Lowrie-Chin | Observer Column | Monday, November 28, 2011

If we are to use the findings of the "51% Coalition" as a yardstick, they could indicate that the JLP may have a significant edge over the PNP in the next general election. In a full-page advertisement declaring "Respect and Recognition", the JLP announced 13 women candidates, the highest number ever fielded by a major political party.

The 13 JLP candidates are: Olivia Grange, Shahine Robinson, Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, Senator Marlene Malahoo-Forte, Sharon Hay Webster, Dr Sandra Nesbeth, Dr Saphire Longmore, Camille Buchanan, Dr Patrece Charles-Freeman, Joan Gordon-Webley, Beverly Prince, Paula Kerr-Jarrett and Rosalee Hamilton.

Ironically, the PNP - led by Portia Simpson Miller who is the first and only woman prime minister in the history of Jamaica, has only four other woman candidates: Lisa Hanna, Natalie Neita-Headley, Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, and Denise Daley, having lost Sharon Hay Webster to the JLP. Some may argue that powerhouse Simpson Miller packs the punch of 10!

Last Tuesday, several women's groups launched a coalition and campaign for quotas for women in decision making - "The 51% Coalition for development and empowerment through equity", supported by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung - Jamaica and the Caribbean.

Dr Marcia Forbes, one of the organisers of the 51% Coalition, so named to represent the percentage of women in the Jamaican population, shared her excellent notes of the meeting and some interesting findings from Studies re Women On Boards - UK Report, February 2011 ( prepared by committee led by a former minister for trade, investment and Small Business 2009 to 2010 UK.

Companies with more women on their board of directors outperform their rivals with42 per cent higher return in sales; 66 per cent higher return on invested capital; and 53 per cent higher return on equity. It was observed that women bring different perspectives and experiences to bear.

The current situation in Jamaica shows that we are far from the mark. In the case of boards of directors, women serve on only 33 per cent of those in the public sector - over 10 years from 1998 to 2008 this grew by only four per cent. Women served on only 16 per cent of private sector boards in 2008, increasing by only two per cent over the previous 10 years. In the case of government, women make up 13.3 per cent of MPs, 11 per cent of Cabinet and encouraging 23.8 per cent of the Senate. Sixteen per cent of local government councillors are women, and a tiny 7.6 per cent are mayors.

"Quotas often create controversy in society," observed guest speaker Mathu Joyini, South Africa's High Commissioner to Jamaica. "Women's rights and gender equality have not been separated from human rights in South Africa. When you do business with the South African government they ask, how engendered are you and how black are you? Who benefits from your corporate social responsibility programme? If you don't measure up well on these points then you cannot do business with the government.

Some of these measures are self-imposed quotas so there are problems with implementation. So we are doing assessments to see what measures we can put in place to ensure enforcement."

She told the audience that pre-1994, women were two per cent in Parliament but when the ANC came into power in 1994 it went up to 18 per cent. "Today it is now 45 per cent. Thirty-six per cent of women are in senior positions in government - managerial positions... but we have had challenges in the private sector...(there is) 37 per cent of women in senior management but not many on boards, so there is still work to do in this area."

Linnette Vassell of Women's Resource Outreach Centre (WROC) suggested that the Coalition "challenge our sisters in the JLP to step out of the accustomed mode and say that this cannot stand, eg, NWC board with all men." Government Senator Camilla Johnson-Smith, in congratulating the initiators, said, "It is your work why I am in the position I am today. What is democracy without advocacy? The coalition is playing a key role in promoting gender sensitivity. I found the South African experience very inspirational."

Siddier Chambers of the Bureau of Women's Affairs observed that Minister Olivia "Babsy" Grange had "tabled the policy this afternoon at Parliament. The Bureau stands ready to support this coalition."

"We have to make it clear that we are women of competence that will transform decision-making in Jamaica," said the UNDP's Carol Narcisse. Patricia Donald of Women's Media Watch and the Ministry of Health gave "big endorsement for quotas - I used to be ambivalent about the quota system but now I think that we need it. We need to learn how to respond to the critics".

"I am in favour of quotas," noted entrepreneur Peta-Rose Hall, secretary of the International Women's Forum. "We should be practical in the sense such as suggested by Donna Duncan re shareholders asking more about the representation of women on boards. Women have purchasing power but we don't use it."

"For the last 20 years, we have been encouraging women to take the leadership," said Merlene Daley of the Jamaica Women's Political Caucus. "There was a time when I felt quota was taking it beyond, but having served so long it seems that quota is the only way to go forward. I endorse it."

More good news about coffee

Coffee may do your body good.. (IStock Photo)

Washington Post | Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 11/28/2011

By Jennifer LaRue Huget

If you’re enjoying your Monday morning cup of coffee, take a moment to appreciate it for its deliciousness and the good it may be doing your body.

As I wrote in the “Eat, Drink and Be Healthy” column a couple of weeks ago, recent research has found that coffee’s potential health benefits may outweigh any health risks it might pose. Coffee consumption may help ward off Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and a score of other conditions.

That growing list may now include endometrial cancer: A study published last week in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention (a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research) found that coffee consumption may reduce women’s risk of developing endometrial cancer.

The endometrium is the lining of the uterus. An estimated 46,470 women will be diagnosed in the United States in 2011, and an estimated 8,120 deaths will result from the disease.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed data for 67,470 women taking part in the Nurses’ Health Study in 1980. Over 26 years, 627 cases of endometrial cancer occurred among study participants.

The data showed that drinking four or more cups of coffee daily reduced risk of endometrial cancer by 25 percent compared to drinking less than a cup a day. The association held true for decaffeinated coffee, though the link was less robust — perhaps because only a tiny fraction of the women in the study reported drinking decaf. No association was found between drinking caffeinated tea and endometrial cancer risk.

Coffee is believed to alter the way estrogen and insulin, both of which influence our risk of chronic disease, work in our bodies.

The study notes that regular exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight are the best defenses against endometrial cancer. Still, adding coffee to the mix could potentially help keep women healthy. Unless, that is, they add cream and sugar to their coffee, in which case the added calories and fat might undo any good the coffee might offer, the authors suggest.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget | 07:00 AM ET, 11/28/2011

Watch Geminid meteor shower

Message below from Jennifer Rowe, Secretary of the wonderful Astronomy Association of Jamaica - reminding us of the wonder of this vast Universe!

"Check this link:

"The best time to watch December's 2011 Geminid meteor shower is from midnight to dawn, on December 14 and 15. You should also see meteors on nights before and after that. 
"This year, however, a large waning gibbous moon 
will wash out a good number of Geminids in 2011. 
"Best direction to look? The meteors radiate from a point that's east in mid-evening – and overhead by 2 a.m. But, like all meteors in annual showers, they will appear in all parts of the sky."

Kind regards

Friday, November 25, 2011

Bob Marley -- A Celtic fan !!!

Great information from Neville Hoo

Lisbon Lion Zion

Bob Marley and Brazil's Paulo Cesar
APBob Marley and Brazil's Paulo Cesar
As they trail arch-rivals Rangers by ten points in the SPL, Celtic could really do with a shot [The Sheriff] in the arm and former Hoops striker John 'Dixie' Deans provided one this week when he revealed that Bob Marley was a huge Celtic fan and could even name all of the Lisbon Lions side that lifted the European Cup in 1967.
In his new autobiography, Deans, who scored 124 goals in 184 appearances for the [Bad] Bhoys, tells of a chance meeting with the Rastafarian reggae legend, who approached him during his time at Adelaide City in the late '70s and said: "Are you the Dixie Deans who used to play for Celtic?"
Marley went on to name all of Jock Stein's side that beat Inter Milan 2-1 at the Estadio Nacional in Lisbon, adding: "I'm a big Celtic fan. I would love to go to Scotland to see Celtic Park and maybe even kick a few balls there. Celtic has always been my team."
Deans, who admits he didn't know who Marley was at the time, wrote: "I was greatly impressed by the great man's football knowledge. And when we got down to training, I was just as impressed by his football ability."


The Mirabel Sisters


Between the years 1940 to 1961, the Dominican Republic was subjected to a political regime under the leadership of President Trujillo that was as cruel as it was corrupt. During this period, a group calling itself the 14th June Resistance movement was formed, which was led by the militant Mirabel sisters, Minerva, Patricia and Maria Teresa. This organization was accused of plotting to overthrow the Trujillo regime, and as a result, the husbands of the three women, as well as Patricia’s son, were arrested.

The three sisters were eventually ambushed, tortured and raped. They were then placed in their jeep and pushed over a cliff in an unsuccessful attempt to make the murders appear accidental.

This incident took place on November 25th, 1960.

When women from Latin America and the Caribbean met in Bogota in 1981, they proposed that a day be set apart each year that would be recognized as an international protest against violence against women.

Minerva, Patricia and Maria Teresa Mirabel had never been forgotten; and so November 25th was chosen as the day when the world would be asked to remember them, and the countless other women and girls all over the world who have died as a result violence.
- Information courtesy of the Women's Bureau - Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture

Unite to End Violence Against Women



THEME: Unite to End Violence Against Women: Peace in the Home and in the Society




On this day, women and girls all over the world who are, or have been victims of
violence are remembered.

As a symbolic gesture to mark this year’s unique observation of IDEVAW and the
16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Campaign, we kindly request that
you wear the purple ribbon throughout the 16 days of scheduled activities
beginning November 25 to December 10.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Jamaican buzz in New York

Former US ambassador to Jamaica Sue Cobb presented the AFJ International Humanitarian Award to Denis O’Brien, Founder and Chairman of Digicel.

Lester Spaulding, Mark Linehan and William Mahfood join in the festivities

JEAN LOWRIE-CHIN | Observer column | Monday, November 21, 2011

We had traffic delays in New York City last week as the "Occupy Wall Street" protests gathered momentum. Jamaicans should put politics aside when they examine the efforts of the current and previous administrations to ensure a higher level of fiscal responsibility after our own 90s meltdown.

Yes, there were those Ponzi schemes that attracted too many otherwise level-headed Jamaicans even as the Financial Services Commission published warnings and rolled out an ad campaign created by our firm, appealing to Jamaicans to "Think and check before you invest". One of the biggest challenges of the regulatory bodies was that some individuals with valuable airtime actually accused legitimate investors in the financial sector of not wanting to give "the little man" a break, an implied endorsement of unregistered financial organisations. We have yet to receive a public apology from them. Columnist John Maxwell had seen through these dissemblers and had been one of the first persons to express a strong caution - no wonder he is so greatly missed.

And so, we were encouraged to hear Denis O'Brien lauding the steps Jamaica had taken in recent years to address our fiscal crisis. "We could do with 10 or 20 Audley Shaws in Europe right now," he declared at the American Friends of Jamaica Gala in downtown Manhattan where he received their 2011 International Humanitarian Award, in the presence of Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Mrs Holness.

O'Brien also praised Jamaica's Ambassador to the US Audrey Marks, expressing his delight that he was able to support her efforts to promote "good, high quality" foreign direct investment in Jamaica. Earlier this year Ambassador Marks had held an event in Washington DC, where O'Brien shared his positive Jamaican experience and invited top US business moguls to come on board.

Jamaica is extremely fortunate that the American Friends of Jamaica, led by former US Ambassador to Jamaica Sue Cobb, continue not only to fund our needy causes, but also make important business connections for us. The Board of the AFJ includes a Who's Who of diplomacy and business: honorary chairs Ambassadors Pamela Bridgewater and Audrey Marks, former Ambassadors to Jamaica J Gary Cooper, Glen Holden, Brenda Johnson, Stan McLelland and former Chargé d'Affaires Lacy Wright Jr, as well as the dynamic Monica Ladd and Dr Laura Tanna.

We also spoke with former USAID Mission Director Dr Karen Hilliard who disclosed that USAID would be supporting the Digicel Foundation's market upgrading by contributing to the restoration of the Queen's Market in downtown Kingston. Dr Hilliard has been one of the most active, knowledgeable supporters of local community policing and SME business development that we have ever met.

In replying to the AFJ's accolades, including videos lauding his contributions in Jamaica and Haiti from Prince Charles and Bill Clinton, Denis O'Brien affirmed his company's Jamaican roots: "We have taken Digicel and grown it into a Jamaican multinational with our global headquarters in Kingston. Our Jamaican managers are now scattered far and wide throughout the world and their talents have made a massive impact on our operations. Our ethos is to create a different, more responsible form of capitalism. That is why the Digicel Foundation is such an important part of what and who we are... We also have taken risks that hopefully will be seen to be the right thing for Jamaica, for instance, by moving our global headquarters to the vibrant downtown Kingston area and backing the government's plan for urban renewal."

Successful Jamaicans abroad

One of the high points of my visit was the opportunity to meet so many successful New York-based Jamaicans at the launch of my book. They have been making their mark in commerce and industry. It is coincidental that only last Monday the Observer editorial spoke of these fine Jamaicans, several of whom have been nominated for the Jamaica Observer Business Leader Diaspora Investor Award as "the most patriotic, hard-working, and law-abiding citizens. In many cases, they give back to this country beyond measure".

The editorial condemned "the vicious animosity of their fellow Jamaicans who subject returnees to many unpleasant acts, including robbery". We should condemn this abhorrent behaviour which the Observer believes is attributable to three factors.

"First is jealousy, the most pandemic of human emotions spawned by resentment that Jamaicans who lived and worked abroad come back economically better off...," the editorial stated. "There is, too, an entrenched feeling that with more Jamaicans returning home, the more people will have to share scarce resources like land... Then there is the misguided view that once a Jamaican goes abroad to live and/or work, he or she is somehow no longer a 'true' Jamaican. The departure is subconsciously viewed as an act of betrayal and the sojourn in foreign lands is assumed to contaminate them."

As we try to keep our heads above water, we had better guard our returning residents, willing to invest here, from predators and bad-mindedness. One of my colleagues says this extends to public servants who have actually responded to a legitimate request with, "So why you want any more convenience? You don't think you have enough already?" Oh yes, the line was open so my associate has witnesses!

The sad truth is that there is a remittance-barrel mentality among some folks - diligence was never taught nor productivity encouraged. Now that returnees have brought back their funds, hard-earned as they slogged through cold and ice, lazy louts are hovering dangerously. That tireless defender of returnees, Percival LaTouche, has some sad stories to tell about unsuspecting Jamaicans who have fulfilled their dream of returning to Jamaica to retire, only to experience the nightmare of these criminals.

The good news is that never before have we heard so much enlightened discussion around important national issues. Decent Jamaicans are standing up and being counted. Let us serve notice on all pretenders - we are finally taking charge of our country.

Read more:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Electioneering, Jamaican-style


Paula Kerr-Jarrett, who will represent the JLP for the Eastern Hanover constituency
PNP's Dr Dayton Campbell, a medical doctor, who will contest the St Ann North West seat

JEAN LOWRIE-CHIN | Observer Column | Monday, November 14, 2011

Jamaica's multifaceted personality sparkles at election time. Oh yes, this is democracy grooving to a dancehall beat, bells and trumpets. In a single breathless day, there is an exciting panoply of sights and sounds, thanks to the omnipresent media. Let's take last Thursday. In the morning, we read that Dr St Aubyn Bartlett would be replaced by Dr Sapphire Longmore-Dropinski as the JLP candidate for the Eastern St Andrew constituency. By evening, we see Dr Bartlett on the news saying that his supporters do not want him to go, so he may be staying.

The Observer website has photos of the PNP motorcade in Portland, with a lot of orange-garbed folk protruding through windows. On television, we see KD Knight swaggering on the campaign trail like a Jamaican John Wayne.

We hear Danville Walker explaining on morning radio that he saw a transport deficit for the Central Manchester police and asked Stewart's to donate vehicles, whereupon MP for the area Peter Bunting sent up howls of protest. By evening, it is announced that the vehicles will go to the commissioner's office for his decision on where they would be assigned.

We enjoyed a refreshing interlude when three young, fresh-faced candidates spoke on Cliff Hughes' Impact about their resolve to make a difference. The luminous and energetic Paula Kerr-Jarrett, who will represent the JLP for the Eastern Hanover constituency, explained her belief that "to those that much is given, much is required". As a daughter of privilege, the attorney-at-law is not your typical politician, but she explained that service had always been a way of life as she grew up in a home where her parents Chris and Michelle Bovell were fine exemplars of patriotic philanthropy. She spoke about spending time "listening" to the people and reflecting on their positive attitude despite their humble circumstances.

The two young PNP candidates were also inspiring. Mechanical engineer Leonard Green, who will be vying for the Western St Thomas constituency, and Dr Dayton Campbell, a doctor, who will contest the St Ann North West seat are accomplished young men who had humble beginnings. They were both born in the constituencies for which they are running, and in recalling their personal struggles, want to give a hand up to the residents in their respective areas. Dr Campbell, who is only 28 years old, is now studying for a law degree.

On the news, we saw the brilliant Senator Marlene Malahoo-Forte announce her plans to serve Westmoreland, the parish of her birth. The former Mannings High School head girl is proving to be an energetic JLP campaigner for the Central Westmoreland seat. However, one should not underestimate the PNP's jovial candidate Roger Clarke.

The new candidates, PNP's Damion Crawford for West Rural St Andrew and JLP's Collin Virgo for South Manchester, also acquitted themselves well on CVM TV's Direct. Soon we will find out if the land of Bob Marley will embrace a Rastafarian representative. Like Dr Dayton Campbell, Virgo is only 28 years old.

Shakespeare must have witnessed our election cut and thrust to declare "all the world's a stage". On Thursday, Luther Buchanan, the PNP's member of parliament for Eastern Westmoreland, also planned to apologise publicly to JLP caretaker Don Foote for tearing his shirt in a fracas during the 2007 election campaign. Later in the day, the plot thickened as we were told that there was a demonstration against Mr Foote's representation by JLP supporters.

As we approach November 20, the second day of the JLP Annual Conference when we expect Election Day to be announced, we will be seeing much excitement and drama. Our prayers are with the brave members of the JCF as they work to keep the peace.

Read more:

Friday, November 11, 2011


Guest of Honour Ambassador Audrey Marks



A wave of book lovers, tastemakers and literary luminaries are expected to show up on Wednesday evening at Ruder Finn in midtown Manhattan's East Side for the New York book launch of Jean Lowrie-Chin's Souldance, a collection of poems and writings.


"Souldance is a lavish, well-seasoned buffet of some of the most tantalizing writings coming out of Jamaica presently", author and Olympian Devon Harris gushed. "This short and sweet literary feast explores the subtle sensibilities that make up the very complex tapestry called Jamaica", he continued.  


Lowrie-Chin is a gifted writer with a perceptive eye for detail.  Her early rural and urban experiences have enabled her to soulfully and skillfully dance through over thirty years of an enduring love affair with Jamaica. Sometimes her lexicon takes on the flavor of rock steady and at other times it embraces a rhythm of reggae.


In her epic poem Yu See Mi? she explodes with the  unabashed poignancy of dancehall. Souldance is a delightful and delicious read as it journeys through Jamaica from coast to coast, sometimes making crucial stops to pay homage to outstanding Jamaicans like Miss Lou, Usain Bolt and Jessie Ripoll.


Wednesday's launch is being hosted by Gail L Moaney, executive vice president, Travel & Economic Development, Ruder Finn Inc. Guest of Honor  is Jamaica's ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency the Hon. Audrey Marks. Other high profile Jamaican guests visiting New York during the week are also expected to attend the event. 


Jean Lowrie Chin will kick off a reading session at the launch and she will be ably assisted by Jamaican actor and playwright David Heron who has just returned to New York from a California TV commercial shoot. A press day for Lowrie-Chin will follow on Saturday when she will have the opportunity to tell Jamaican residents in several US cities about her book.  


Souldance is carried by Ian Randle Publishers and the book is available at leading book stores as well as at The launch is being executed by Dave Rodney and Anthony Turner of Images Media LLC in association with Rhum Barbancourt.



Dave Rodney, (212) 767-9000 or

Anthony Turner, (845) 206-5906 or

Howard Aris - our family Hero

Howard Aris celebrates Usain Bolt's first World Record in May 2008 - l-r Howard Aris, Yvonne Wilks, Paula Pinnock-MacLeod, Usain Bolt and yours truly.

Howard Aris, our family hero

We are deeply saddened at the death of that fine Jamaican, Howard Aris, who passed away suddenly while travelling with the PNP campaign in Portland yesterday.

For our family, Howard Aris is a hero. When we were children, he volunteered to take my wheelchair-bound Dad for physiotherapy at his Tangerine Place office. Mr Aris would drive to our home, collect my Dad, take him for therapy and drive him back home, refusing to charge extra. His expert care added many more years to our father’s life, enabling him to continue his accounting practice at home. We mourn with his beloved wife Sandra, other members of his family and the sporting fraternity that he served so well.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

No US restrictions on Jamaican food exports

Kingston, Thursday, November 10, 2011: The U.S. Embassy in Kingston confirms previous media reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has placed no restrictions on Jamaican food producers who wish to export to the U.S. In a press release yesterday, the PNP reported that temporary bans had been imposed on some Jamaican food processors after they were inspected by the FDA.

The FDA inspection the PNP referenced was a routine check of agricultural products' production and processing, and was coordinated through the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries of Jamaica, the Bureau of Standards of Jamaica, and the exporters themselves. Such inspections assist Jamaican exporters by assuring that the FDA's standards are met, and that Jamaican goods will be eligible for importation and sale in the United States. FDA inspection is a service provided at no charge to either the Government of Jamaica, or Jamaican exporters.

Citing concerns about the mischaracterization of the FDA inspector's visit, the agency decided to suspend the assessment having completed only one of four scheduled inspections of Jamaican food processors. The FDA will determine if and when the remaining three companies will be rescheduled for inspection.

The Public Affairs Section

United States Embassy - Kingston

142 Old Hope Road, Kgn. 6

Tel: 702-6161; Fax: 702-6348


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Good living creates employment

Businesses like this generate employment. (Photo: Bryan Cummings)

BY JEAN LOWRIE-CHIN | Observer Column | Monday, November 07, 2011

WE read where a commentator reflected on the cost of a fancy dinner, the plight of the poor and in the end opted for a couple of patties. It all sounds very admirable until you realise that in his figuring, he said he would have given the waiter a $1,200 tip. That $1,200 tip would have probably given the waiter's children bus fare and lunch money for the next day.

It makes us stop and think about events like Caterers' and Restaurant Week. The cynic may flip through the pages of delicious offerings and dismiss them as fluff, but businesses like these generate many thousands of jobs across Jamaica.

How will this economy keep going if we don't keep employers in business? Of course, we shouldn't spend what we don't have, but passing on a few dollars in a store or at a restaurant is like giving way in bad traffic — keep the flow going, keep the stress at bay.

This current political campaigning is like a second Christmas for non-garrison communities — yet another argument against garrisonisation. Wake the garrisons and tell the people — let the politicians court you, not cow you! Let them buy you T-shirts, caps, lunches, dinners and drinks. Let them fix those disgraceful roads and tear down the zinc fences, creating work in the communities. Elections may not pass this way for a very long time again, so "make hay while the sun shines".

Seriously, the gap between rich and poor is getting ridiculous. We have to ignore those minimum wage guidelines and make up our minds to pay our workers properly so they can afford even the transportation to get to work. We have to ensure that our helpers receive proper meals when they are on the job, because Lord knows what awaits them when they get home. The adage that "Charity begins at home" has new meaning now — we have to save the dignity of our sisters. Make sure that what you are offering is a job, not "a work".

Even if you can't create a job, look out for our up-and-coming entrepreneurs. It is heart-warming to see teens now sporting Bridget's sandals. Bridget Brown is a creative Jamaican lady who sent herself to Italy to learn the basics of shoemaking, and has been producing stylish sandals for over 20 years, now supplying a second generation of Jamaican women.

My friend Jan Young Sang is so proud of a friend's Solomon Gundy that she buys lots of bottles as gifts. But that budding entrepreneur has been facing roadblocks. She was encouraged by her admirers to do proper labelling and market her product to the stores. She did so and has been waiting in vain over many months for word on the label from the authorities. Why are we so hard on each other?

We know that buying online is on the rise, but Jamaica is where we live, and this is the economy that needs every dollar we may have to spend. We hope the bureaucrats will simplify their approval processes — supporting local businesses means more jobs. We have great role models. Digicel CEO Mark Linehan commented at a World Project Management Day event on Thursday: "A sense of urgency underpins our strategy. We are constantly seeking ways to challenge ourselves." We need to feel this sense of urgency in the public, as well as the private sector.

Kwame Gordon-Martin
Every politician knows that our government is too bureacratic, that too many procedures are triplicated to keep too many employed, that it's a drain on resources and a waste, that if we are more efficient in service delivery we could modernise our government without increasing spending, etc, etc, etc. Yet no one does anything about it, EVER! When these things change you will know that we have elected serious people instead of the children we have now scurrying about on either side.
Ruby Shim
One of the ways we can increase employment is to support our local industries. Whenever I do my supermarket shopping I always ensure that the products I purchase are locally grown/manufactured. Furthermore, the foods we import are not as flavourful as our home grown produce. I have had visitors from abroad tell me this fact so many times, so why are we buying foreign fruits and vegetables when we go shopping.

Read more:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Kronik now at World #2

Message from Peter Brooks - Father and Manager of STGC Old Boy Kronik:

Thanks for everyone that has been voting for KroniK's "Shake It" on the Music World Radio Top 20 Chart for the past few weeks. Through your help the song has risen to # 2in the charts. We have done well so far by garnering in excess of 45,000 votes this week. We still need your help. Ensure that you vote right now by visiting casting your vote for a fellow Georgian (Class of 2007) and my son. We also need your further help by asking you to forward this mail to as many people as you can this week so we can make a major push to get the approximately 60000 votes we need in a week to get to #1. Please remember each person only has 1 vote each week so we need it spread to as many people as we can. Not only will this be of great assistance to the artiste but it will be a great accomplishment for Jamaica, as it will be historic for a dancehall song to top one of the most diverse charts in the world . You can check out the video for the song on youtube to see what you are voting for or check out his blog address at to learn more about him. It literally takes seconds to vote but the impact can be far reaching. Thanks for your continued help.                                             

Kind regards

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Unlocking garrisons to end a national disgrace

BY JEAN LOWRIE-CHIN | Observer Column | Monday, October 31, 2011

DURING the years that my widowed mother was a small shopkeeper in Savanna-la-mar, she would lend tables and lamps to both political representatives to hold their meetings by the fountain in front of the courthouse. Once, a disgruntled party faithful demanded to know why she helped out the other side and she replied, “You all buy at my shop: I can't support one and not the other.” They laughed it off, and all was well. Perhaps in another time or place, her shop would not have seen morning!

This is why we were heartened when Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared in his inaugural address, “It is time to end garrison politics… It is important that people living in these areas get to see other political representatives without the objection of enforcers. Let us start the process by getting the leaders to walk together in these areas of exclusion.”

Mr Holness wisely observed, “It is not only that the rest of Jamaica is locked out of these communities; I am concerned that the residents of these closed communities are locked off from the rest of Jamaica… Criminals must never be seen by the community as protectors. Once there is this integrated and shared national vision, garrisons will no longer be havens for criminals.”

Indeed, we must address the lukewarm response from young professionals to voter registration – they are disillusioned by this national disgrace of garrison politics. The PM referred to them as “casualties to the politics of exclusion”. Women in particular are intimidated by this kind of politics, and we have heard enough to know that sometimes those who venture out are given some of the most challenging constituencies that place them between “a rock and a hard place”. We will never forget that discussion at the Rose Leon Lecture Series when Olivia “Babsy” Grange and Jennifer Edwards (on behalf of Portia Simpson Miller) spoke of the abject conditions of their constituents and their uphill battles.

I surprised a group recently when I appealed to them to “find a politician to love”. I explained that there were indeed good, earnest Jamaicans who had entered politics and who were being demoralised by the negative labels we pin on them. If we try to identify and support them, we would send a strong signal to their negative counterparts.

When it comes to national issues, our business leaders have no difficulty in getting together to tackle them. This is the level of leadership which we should require from the two major political parties. The Partnership for Progress, which has been renamed the Partnership for Transformation (PFT), requires that both political parties join hands with major national stakeholders in business, labour and civil society for Jamaica's advancement. This seven-year effort has been stalled by “cute” politics – we must not allow this to happen again. No wonder productivity remains low while unemployment is skyrocketing!

I have been having interesting discussions with friends from either side of the political fence. They are well-meaning, but some are so fanatical that they are convinced they have the patent on our solutions. Come on now, time to unload the tribalist baggage. We enjoy the colourful chat – “loader man” did not faze us – but when it moves from banter to vitriol, remember the communities you leave to digest your messages, after you have packed up your handsome SUV and headed out. Did you leave behind thugs with cynical instructions? Did you sow discord that will split families asunder?

No true Jamaican can wish ill on an individual, family or community, in their quest for political power. That is not the dance of democracy: it is the dance of death.

We want to hear our politicians encouraging their followers to seize the day, rather than each other's democratic right. In reminding Jamaicans of their own power, we create a more governable society. Let us support those leaders who are stirring ambition in our people, versus those who are stoking division.

Read more:

Nejeeper KNG
@PL saying that you are neither with nor against the Security Force is illogical. Your explanation of a garrison is someone who is in denial. Statements like “The problem is not of such political, it’s more a social and economic problem” is laughable. Garrisons are enforced by area leaders/dons who will kill in their effort to control who people in the constituency votes for. I grew up in KGN 11, this is 1st hand account. Social and economic issues are a problem but it didn't create garrisons.
Nejeeper KNG
@PL BOGLE I grew up in Olympic Gardens; I remember when Keith 'Trinity' Gardner use to put on his full black suit. I know what police brutality is. Police brutality is an unfortunate state of affairs that affects countries worldwide not just JA that is why countries like Canada and the US has “Internal Affairs.” PL I cannot be against the police they need our support. I hope you are not condoning criminality and I hope that you will report crime for peace’s sake and our children’s sake.
@Nejeeper KNG. "PL BOGLE are you with or against the security force?" Neither! I'm with equal rights and justice. My friend I grew up in Olympic Gardens the same community that Mr. Holness is asking Portia Simpson Miller to walk with. So I’m speaking from personal experience. The problem is not of such political, it’s more a social and economic problem, if not addressed from the root cause, and then all efforts will be useless. Inequality and injustice that's embedded in the system is the root cause of garrison communities. Every man woman and child that’s living in these communities is exploited because of their social and economic status, by politicians, the security force and criminal elements.
Chipmunk L.
Great article!
Now is the time for Politicians to walk the walk in cleansing the Island of dirty folly-tricks and practice clean politics. Jamaicans are ready for positive actions which will change the dynamics within the Country.
The Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition needs to clarify their goals for the betterment of life in Jamaica and whichever member does not want to toe the line should be booted out regardless of tenure or perceived clout.
Jamaica first ! Now and always.
Ruby Shim
It's obvious that some of our politicians do not want an end to garrisons - this is how they retain their seats in the house of parliament. They dont want to educate the people in these constituencies for fear that they might wise up to them and vote them out. Why wont the Opposition leader walk with the Prime Minister to demonstrate her willingness to end this garrison type politics.
Luv Quest
This article is so true. I'm surprise at the lack of comments to this emergency.
Nejeeper KNG
@Jean Lowrie-Chin thank you so much for this article, the title is a national emergency. There is an article today “we must do better on selecting party candidates.” The thing is in a garrison constituency electorates are not given the choice to evaluate a candidate’s ideology/policies and make a choice. The choice is made for them by area dons. Where is the legitimacy in our political system? Some of us are so accustom to this tribal politics that we accept this backwardness as the norm.

Read more:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Coconut Oil helps Alzheimer's patients! 

Important message from Neville 'Gladdy' Hoo:                                             How worried should drug companies be about supplements eating into their monopoly profits? A lot, as this story will show. Please share it with anyone you know who is suffering from Alzheimer's or is worried about it.

Of course, just about everyone worries about Alzheimer's. It currently
afflicts 5.2 million people in the US and is the seventh leading cause of death. The cost of treating it is estimated at $148 billion. Mary Newport, MD, has been medical director of the neonatal intensive care unit at Spring Hill Regional Hospital in Florida since it opened in 2003.

About the same time the unit opened, her husband Steve, then 53, began
showing signs of progressive dementia, later diagnosed as Alzheimer's
Disease. Many days, often for several days in a row, he was in a fog; couldn't find a spoon or remember how to get water out of the refrigerator, she said.

They started him on Alzheimer's drugs--Aricept, Namenda, Exelon--but his
disease worsened steadily. (It should be noted that the latest research
shows that the various Alzheimer's drugs, like Aricept, have proven
disappointing, with little real benefit and often distressing side effects.) When Dr. Newport couldn't get her husband into a drug trial for a new Alzheimer's medication, she started researching the mechanism behind Alzheimer's. She discovered that with Alzheimer's disease, certain brain cells may have difficulty utilizing glucose (made from the carbohydrates we
eat), the brain's principal source of energy. Without fuel, these precious
neurons may begin to die. There is an alternative energy source for brain
cell fats known as ketones. If deprived of carbohydrates, the body produces ketones naturally.
But this is the hard way to do it; who wants to cut carbohydrates out of
the diet completely? Another way to produce ketones is by consuming oils that have medium-chain triglycerides. When MCT oil is digested, the liver
converts it into ketones. In the first few weeks of life, ketones provide about 25 percent of the energy newborn babies need to survive.

Dr. Newport learned that the ingredient in the drug trial which was showing
so much promise was simply MCT oil derived from coconut oil or palm kernel
oil, and that a dose of 20 grams (about 20 ml or 4 teaspoons) was used to
produce these results. When MCT oil is metabolized, the ketones which the body creates may, according to the latest research, not only protect against the incidence of Alzheimer's, but may actually reverse it. Moreover, this is also a potential treatment for Parkinson's disease,Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease), drug-resistant epilepsy, brittle type I diabetes, and type II (insulin-resistant) diabetes.

So Mr. Newport, not being able to get into the drug trial, started taking
the coconut oil twice a day. At this point, he could barely remember how to
draw a clock. Two weeks after adding coconut oil to his diet, his drawing

After 37 days, Steve's drawing gained even more clarity. The oil seemed to lift the fog, and in the first sixty days, Dr. Newport saw remarkable changes in him: every morning he was alert and happy, talkative, making jokes. His gait was still a little weird, but his tremor was no longer very noticeable. He was able to concentrate on things that he wanted to do around the house and in the yard and stay on task, whereas before coconut oil he was easily distracted and rarely accomplished anything unless he was directly supervised.

Over the next year, the dementia continued to reverse itself: he is able to
run again, his reading comprehension has improved dramatically, and his short-term memory is improving; he often brings up events that happened
days to weeks earlier and relays telephone conversations with accurate
detail. A recent MRI shows that the brain atrophy has been completely

Let's take a moment to consider what actually happened here. Synthetic
(patentable) Alzheimer's drugs have failed. A drug company reluctantly
decides to put a non-patentable natural substance (medium-chain
triglycerides derived from coconut or palm) through an FDA trial. It works.
But, darn it, a smart doctor figures out that a natural food can be substituted for the super-expensive drug.

Not only that, the ketones from natural coconut oil last in the body longer than the drug version--eight hours instead of three hours. This is enough to make a drug company start worrying about its future. What if this natural health idea really catches on? Goodbye to monopoly profits!

Coconut oil can be found in many health food stores and even some grocery
stores. One large US chain sells a non-hydrogenated (no trans-fat) brand of
coconut oil in a one-liter size (nearly 32 ounces) for about US$7.

It can be purchased in quantities as small as a pint and up to five gallons online. It is important to use coconut oil that is non-hydrogenated and contains no trans-fat. We would also strongly encourage the use of virgin oil (chemicals used to extract non-virgin oil are potentially dangerous, and better still, virgin organic, still quite reasonably priced.)

For more information, see Dr. Newport's website. Sadly, you will not find any information on ketones, or the use of coconut oil or MCT oil, on the Alzheimer's Association website.

Coconut oil is not the only natural product that has the potential to turn Alzheimer's around. We will cover some other ones, and drug industry efforts to steal some of them, in a future issue.
NB - Coconut oil is widely available in Jamaica's shops and supermarkets.