Saturday, April 23, 2011

Honours For Dr Carol Jacobs - CBMP Chair

Chair of the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS (CBMP), Dr. Carol Jacobs was recognised and honoured as a "national treasure, regional stalwart and international icon" by the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP). The PANCAP Award of Excellence was presented at their historic 10th Anniversary Annual General Meeting recently under the theme: 'Reflection and Renewal'.

The ceremony's attendees included Caribbean Heads of Government; Mr. Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary-General; Dr. Michel Sidibeⅴ, Executive Director, UNAIDS; high-level government officials; regional and international donor agencies of the partnership; and media.

Dr. Jacobs was one of six Caribbean citizens recognised for their outstanding contribution to stem the region's HIV pandemic.

Dr Jacobs is the daughter of the co-founders of the Jamaica Family Planning Association Dr Lenworth and Mrs Beth Jacobs. It was the Jacobs' initiative that resulted in Jamaica's successful Population Policy.
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thank you Denis O'Brien - Happy 10th Anniversary Digicel!

Makonnen Blake-Hannah makes the first official Digicel call at the Launch held at the Jamaica Pegasus as then Deputy PM Seymour Mullings, Jodi-Ann Maxwell and Digicel Founder Denis O'Brien look on.

Today is ten years to the day that Jodi-Ann Maxwell and Makonnen Blake-Hannah switched on the Digicel service in Jamaica. Maxi Priest and river/reggae dancers wowed the awestruck guests whose complimentary phones lit up at midnight while laser lights glowed over New Kingston.

What made the company different from the outset were the unprecedented opportunities it offered not only for employment, but also for Jamaican entrepreneurs. One such is the CEO of Fimi Wireless, Bernard Henry, who had initially been hired as Marketing Director of Digicel. When Henry crunched the numbers and saw the dealership dollar signs, he promptly resigned his job and with the assistance of his former employer, joined with partners to launch a chain of islandwide dealerships. Henry then formed alliances throughout the region and is now doing business in several Caribbean countries.

Denis O’Brien has also lauded the Facey group, who came on board to supply handsets and flex cards and is now also a multinational force in the supply of telecoms equipment not only for Digicel networks, but in several other countries.

Digicel now employs some of the brightest young people I have ever seen in one place. We know about the company’s customer care, but their best kept secret is probably the care of their internal customers, their staff members. Denis O’Brien believes in mentoring and succession planning, establishing a tailored EMBA course for the staff which has seen the emergence of bright young managers.

The Digicel Foundation was launched with one of the largest single corporate donations in Jamaica’s history, $200 million for post-Ivan reconstruction in 2004. Since then the Digicel Foundation, headed by the excellent Major General Robert Neish, has completed 186 projects throughout Jamaica and many more in Haiti and the rest of the Caribbean. “Wherever we invest,” declares Denis O’Brien, “we are committed to giving back a percentage of our sales to the people.”

After the devastating earthquake in Haiti last January, Digicel was the first major corporate donor, pumping US$5 million into emergency relief efforts. The brilliant Colm Delves, Group CEO of Digicel, commented: “We are deeply upset and concerned at the news of the earthquake in Haiti and want to do whatever we can to support the desperately needed relief efforts...The people of Haiti welcomed us and made us their own when we launched there in 2007 and we are determined to be there for them in their time of need.”

Denis O’Brien is proud of Digicel’s Jamaican roots, telling journalist Cliff Hughes that “Digicel is a Jamaican multi-national – we want to spread the Jamaican DNA throughout the Digicel network.” Having worked with such stalwarts Bob Neish, Harry Smith, Lisa Lewis, Lesline Chisholm, Paddy King and Ken Mason you can understand Denis’ pride in his team.

No wonder then that a few months ago, Denis broke ground with Prime Minister Bruce Golding for the building of their stunning regional headquarters on the Kingston waterfront. Already, real estate experts say that downtown Kingston properties have been regaining their value since the announcement of the project, which is a stone’s throw way from the beautifully renovated Coronation Market. O’Brien had just committed personal funds to the rebuilding of Haiti’s historic Iron Market, when he was introduced to the Coronation Market. He immediately committed to its rebuilding and vendors and visitors alike are now enjoying an orderly, picturesque market.

The promising young Digicel employees feel fortunate that Denis O’Brien chose Jamaica and grew his business to not only employ them, but also train and promote them. In a country where 80% of our university graduates migrate in search of greener fields, you cannot help but be moved by the testimony of these youngsters, bright, confident and motivated.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

When Bob Marley died intestate ...

In his 100-year history of the law firm Livingston Alexander & Levy, Ken Jones' writes of one of their most interesting projects: the Bob Marley estate

From the Sunday Gleaner - 16 April 2011
By Ken Jones

(click link at end of excerpt for full article)

Bob Marley died intestate, leaving no will providing for beneficiaries including his children. It was understood that Rastafarians do not make wills. Administrators had to be appointed for the estate. They were Mutual Security Trust Company Ltd, George Desnoes and Rita Marley.

Some time after the appointment of the administrators, it was ascertained that Rita Marley was not qualified and an application had to be made to the court dealing with that. It was at this stage that the administrator Mutual Security Trust Company retained Livingston, Alexander and Levy to make the application concerning the disqualification. Thereafter, there were several cases which the firm had to deal with; one being to determine who the beneficiaries were. Bob had left a wife, Rita, and four children. However, there were several other women with children in different parts of the globe, who all made claims on the estate. Fortunately for them, the law in Jamaica had been changed to provide that children born out of wedlock are included as beneficiaries in the administration of an intestate estate.

Several other persons made claims. A man who called himself John was very persistent in stating that he knew that his mother had an affair with Marley. Eventually he was requested to submit a copy of his birth certificate. He did so and it clearly showed that he was older than Bob Marley. Another gentleman called Danny Simms claimed that he had a contract which entitled him to royalties and payment for works produced by Bob. He said he had discovered that Marley had produced songs and lyrics and had deprived him of his entitlement by registering them in the names of other persons. He brought an action in New York against the estate.

In investigating the matter, it turned out that there was a period when the songs Marley wrote were not put in his name. A classical example is the famous No woman, No cry. The record label purports the song to be written by Vincent Ford who, it was later learnt, was a disabled person from Trench Town. During the hearing in New York, it was shown that Simms was apparently aware of this alleged irregularity long before Marley's death and therefore his claim had been statute barred.

In selling the assets of the estate some of the persons whose names Marley had used in registering songs had to be paid. Vincent Ford received some compensation to assign the copyright in the song so that it could be sold. After many years, there are still some dissatisfied beneficiaries in the United States, endeavouring to reopen aspects of the estate and have gone to the Courts to get access to documents.
Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


(From left to right) Digicel Group CEO, Colm Delves and his wife Paula, former West Indies Captain, Chris Gayle and Digicel Jamaica CEO, Mark Linehan

Red Carpet Event Hosts World Premiere of ‘Fire in Babylon’

Monday, April 11th 2011 – Kingston, Jamaica: Digicel, proud sponsor of West Indies Cricket, on Saturday night officially launched the Digicel Series 2011 with a gala event held in Kingston, Jamaica.

This glitzy red carpet affair, which also incorporated the World Premiere of “Fire in Babylon”, saw more than 400 guests in attendance, including representatives from the West Indies Cricket Board, past and present cricket legends, the Caribbean business community and Caribbean Government officials.

From award-winning producers Charles Steel and John Battsek, “Fire in Babylon” tells the remarkable and compelling story of how the West Indies cricket team triumphed over its colonial masters through the achievements of one of the most gifted teams in sporting history during the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Digicel Group Head of Sponsorship, Karl Donnelly, said; “Our mission at Digicel – as proud sponsor of West Indies cricket since 2004 – is to find new and exciting ways to bring the full experience and excitement of the game to everyone and to provide the necessary resources to help grow West Indies cricket to its true potential so that players and fans alike can enjoy its benefits.

“I wish the West Indies team all the best as they face the best of the best in India and Pakistan in the Digicel Series 2011. Of course, we will also be running a number of exciting promotions and competitions – like “Cricket’s Biggest Fan” and “Crack the Cricket Code” throughout the Digicel Series – and our dedicated cricket website will feature lots of exclusive content, updates and interactions – so that fans can get the most out of the cricket action,” continued Donnelly.

Digicel also unveiled its brand new cricket campaign, “WI All In”, for the first time. “WI All In” is a full, through the line campaign which puts cricket fans at the centre of the action – making them the heroes of the game.

“It shows how cricket is deeply ingrained in the culture of the Caribbean; how important the fans are to the game of cricket; how their enthusiasm and support can fire up a team to achieve new heights of success; and of course how important the fans and their passions are to us at Digicel,” said Donnelly.

Following on from Saturday night’s World Premiere in Jamaica, each of the eight Digicel Series host countries – St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua & Barbuda, Jamaica and Dominica – will host a screening of ‘Fire in Babylon’ as their pre-match corporate event.


The Digicel Series 2011 kicks off on Thursday April 21st when the West Indies Cricket team take on Pakistan in the Beausejour Cricket Grounds in St. Lucia. The Pakistan tour will then visit Barbados and Guyana before finishing up in Dominica on May 24th.

The West Indies v India tour begins on June 4th in Trinidad & Tobago’s Queen’s Park Royal. The teams will then play in Antigua & Barbuda, Jamaica and Barbados before finishing in Dominica on July 10th.


In a turbulent era of apartheid in South Africa; race-riots in England and civil unrest in the Caribbean, the West Indian cricketers struck a wonderfully defiant blow at the forces of white prejudice world-wide. Told from a West Indian perspective, in their own words, “Fire in Babylon” celebrates the emancipation of a people through sport, whilst painting a fascinating picture of this extraordinary era of sporting dominance and its roots in politics, pride, anti-colonial fury and music.

With Caribbean flair, fearless spirit and a thumping reggae beat, they hijacked the genteel game of the privileged elite and replayed it on their own terms.

Directed by Stevan Riley (Blue Blood), produced by Charles Steel (the BAFTA-winning The Last King of Scotland), and John Battsek (the Oscar-winning “One Day In September”), with Ben Goldsmith and Ben Elliot as executive producers, “Fire In Babylon” boasts dynamic archive and classic music by the likes of Bob Marley and the Wailers, Gregory Issacs and Burning Spear.


After ten years of operation, Digicel Group Limited has 11.5 million customers across its 32 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific. The company is renowned for delivering best value, best service and best network.

Digicel is the lead sponsor of Caribbean, Central American and Pacific sports teams, including the Special Olympics teams throughout these regions. Digicel sponsors the West Indies cricket team and is also the title sponsor of the Digicel Caribbean Cup. In the Pacific, Digicel is the proud sponsor of several national rugby teams and also sponsors the Vanuatu cricket team.

Digicel also runs a host of community-based initiatives across its markets and has set up Digicel Foundations in Jamaica, Haiti and Papua New Guinea which focus on educational, cultural and social development programmes.

In 2004, Digicel developed Digicel Rising Stars – an annual talent show to support aspiring young music artists in the Caribbean. The show has spanned the Eastern Caribbean, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago ranking as one of the top-rated shows.

Digicel is incorporated in Bermuda and its markets comprise: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Nauru, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, St Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos and Vanuatu. Digicel also has coverage in St. Martin and St. Barts in the Caribbean.

Visit for more information.



Monday, April 11, 2011

Eat Jamaican Show for Port Antonio Friday



11 APRIL 2011




Kingston, Jamaica: The 'Eat Jamaican' Road Show makes its next stop in the Port Antonio Town Square this Friday April 15 at 3 pm , with the popular comedy duo Ity & Fancy Cat. Promoting its message "Grow what we eat - Eat what we grow", the national "Eat Jamaican" campaign aims at increasing local production and encouraging consumers to make healthy choices by eating local produce, fruits and vegetables.

The campaign is a project of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry, funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.


"Hunger and food insecurity are stomping all over countries of the world and our response must rise to the level of the challenges caused by this crisis," commented Agriculture Minister Dr Christopher Tufton.  "Population growth, changing diets, urbanization and unsustainable methods of farming and production are blamed for this current crisis. But whatever the reason, one thing is sure – our response to this global phenomenon has got to be local. It is imperative that we find a sustainable solution.


"As we take this concrete step to achieve food security in our country, we are extremely grateful that the European Union and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations have partnered with us in funding this campaign."


Visitors to the Portland show will enjoy displays and samples by Jamaica Broilers, Trade Winds, Wisynco and GraceKennedy, as well as giveaways from National Bakery and Island Grill.  The campaign mascot "Doctor Bird" will be giving great tips on nutrition.


RADA (Rural Agricultural Development Agency)  representatives will also be on hand to encourage Jamaicans to 'Plant Up Yuh Backyard', and will be distributing brochures with helpful tips for backyard gardening.


In the past two weeks, Manchester and St Ann residents enjoyed the show at Bronx Taxi Park in Mandeville and Buckfield in Ocho Rios. The Best Dressed Chicken danced up a storm with Doctor Bird and residents enjoyed eating and recipe contests. Ity & Fancy Cat have proved themselves to be the perfect spokespersons for the competition, riveting their audience with their humour while strongly driving home the "Eat Jamaican" and "Plant up yuh backyard" messages.


The Eat Jamaican campaign has also been supporting the farmers' markets throughout Jamaica, which have enjoyed significantly increase sales since the start of the project.


Six of Jamaica's top Olympians have endorsed the campaign.  They are Melaine Walker, Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Asafa Powell, Nesta Carter and Michael Frater. 




Cecil Thoms

Director, Communication & Public Relations

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries

T- 927-1872; E –


Akhter Hamid

Project Manager

Tel: +1 876 978 2352

Mob: +1 876 322 7284



Staci Smith & Cleo Walker
T 876-926-6740 | M 876-455-1166

M 876-375-9438

Something right about St Ann

Healthcare mogul Jennifer Kerr who has invested in St Ann tourism

Observer column | Mon 11 April 11 | Jean Lowrie-Chin

I fell in love with the garden parish of St Ann on regular trips to board meetings of the Jamaica Family Planning Association. Regardless of how many times I went, I was always left breathless by the lush green fields, enchanting Fern Gully and the sparkling Ocho Rios coastline.

The legendary Beth Jacobs would introduce us to some of the most gracious Jamaicans, steadfast members of the Association which she had co-founded many years before with her husband Dr Lenworth Jacobs. These were educated individuals who would hold forth on population issues at annual meetings and support the various fundraisers.

At events like the Appleton-Ting 10K in the 80s, St Ann volunteers would show up in their numbers to assist with hospitality and logistics. When someone remarked on a very different experience in another parish where every request was answered with a price tag, a gentleman replied, “If the event is being held in St Ann, you are our guests and it is up to us to help make it a success.”

Well, you may say, those were the good old days – things are different now. I am happy to report that I had yet another wonderful St Ann experience last week. The “Eat Jamaican” road show team was faced with the challenge of getting electricity at the Buckfield playground. Ms Lecia Mignott of the St Ann Parish Council offered to pay a visit to the JPS office and ensured that the power was switched on.

Then we discovered that an electrician was needed to make a proper connection. We were given the name of Courtney Hamilton, who arrived within 15 minutes and rushed to make the connection, good-humouredly reassuring us that all would be well. With obvious professionalism, he checked every single connection along the various lengths of cable and the voltage levels before switching on the sound equipment. VoilĂ  - the show came alive with music and jokes from the inimitable Ity & Fancy Cat.

But it did not stop there. Young Desmond Stephenson was booked the day before to arrive at 2 pm to clean up during and after the show. He arrived before time and did not wait to be told to get busy. In fact, he outdid the other members of the clean-up crew, as he worked tirelessly and cheerfully. We are not sure if it is the scenery or sea breeze, but there is something definitely right about St Ann.

We were delighted to see tourism investor Jennifer Kerr, that gutsy self-made mogul, well respected in Detroit where she owns a large healthcare business. Jennifer chose to repatriate a good chunk of her hard-earned fortune by purchasing the Liberty Hill Great House. She is a keen supporter of the “Eat Jamaican” message, having established a mini-farm on her estate to ensure that her guests get the finest Jamaican fruits, vegetables and ground provisions.

Jennifer has had some tough challenges with the local bureaucracy but is enthusiastic about the renovations she has made to the exquisite Liberty Hill property. I should pause here to mention an unfortunate experience that Jennifer had with an employee at the Jamaica Tourist Board. She had called the Kingston office to see if they could support her in getting telephone land lines for her establishment. She said the woman on the line announced to her colleagues, that Jennifer had enough already and should not be asking for anything else. I tell you, ‘badmind’ and bureaucracy can be a toxic mix! Lucky for Jamaica, Jennifer will allow no one to rain on her parade.

St Ann residents are not braggers, but you couldn’t blame them if they were. This parish is the birthplace of two of the most famous Jamaicans – Marcus Mosiah Garvey and Robert Nesta Marley. Many people do not know that these famous lines sung by Marley were actually written by Garvey: “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery/ None but ourselves can free our minds.”

St Ann boasts Discovery Bay where Columbus landed in 1494. It was the St Ann vista he surveyed when he declared Jamaica “the fairest isle” he had ever seen.

The residents of St Ann who streamed onto the field for the show were disciplined. We saw no shoving as they waited for refreshments, and heard lots of good humour. My friends who have opted to relocate in St Ann have expressed no interest in returning to Kingston. Of course the parish has its challenges, especially with inadequate housing for tourism workers and a few violent incidents. Generally speaking though, the people of this parish have somehow preserved an atmosphere of order and friendliness. Well done, St Ann.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Martin Luther King's Assassination: Watch the Original News Broadcasts

(From Huffington Post)

From the standpoint of history, April 4, 1968 has gone down as one of the most infamous dates of the 20th century. It was on that evening, 43 years ago today, that Martin Luther King was cut down by an assassin's bullet at a Memphis motel.

King had come to the city to support striking garbage workers and was just days away from going to Washington to launch what he called his "Poor People's Campaign." Instead, as he prepared to go to dinner at a fellow civil rights leader's home, he was murdered. Almost immediately news reports went out alerting the nation of King's death.

(More on Hear audio interviews with King's last living aides to witness his murder)

Click on headline above to hear the devastating newscasts of that dark day in history.