Friday, September 30, 2011

Ja Computer Society - leaping into the future

Important communique from the Jamaica Computer Society - we're "Likkle but Tallawah"!

The Jamaica Computer Society opened its 2011 Knowledge and Exhibition Forum at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston on Thursday 29th September. The theme of the 2011 event is "Certification: the Key enabler for the Knowledge Economy".  President and Council Members in continuing the focus of their administration on the critical role of the human capital asset in the ICT sector, reiterated the rallying cries for the 2010-2011 administrative period of

"Likkle but Tallawah" and "Punching above our weight class".Platinum sponsor for this year's event is Anixter.  

The nearly 80 attendees in this year's event are eagerly participating in Security +, Project +, Web Design and 3D Animation training classes.

During lunchtime on Thursday, the participants were addressed by Regional Manager for Microsoft, George Cobin on emerging solutions for unifying technologies for increasing personal productivity and business effectiveness, locally and globally.

Over the past year the "Likkle but Tallawah" theme has gained tremendous traction and will be the background soundtrack for the Knowledge Society Foundation's 16-part series  to be aired on CNS starting  Wednesday October 5th.   

Jamaica Computer Society "Likkle but Tallawah is strong message for leaping into future"

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Economist on PM Golding's resignation

Jamaica's prime minister
Golding goes
The political price of an extradition

The Economist | Oct 1st 2011 | from the print edition

ON THE face of things, the announcement on September 25th by Bruce Golding that he plans to step down as Jamaica's prime minister in November is both a surprise and a puzzle. Mr Golding has his critics, but there was no huge pressure on him to resign. No powerful opponents within the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) have openly challenged him.

And, sometimes almost despite himself, he has been Jamaica's most successful leader in decades. 

Mr Golding narrowly won an election in 2007, ending 18 years in opposition for the JLP. His government restructured the country's debt and reached an agreement with the IMF, shoring up the economy amid the global financial turmoil. Jamaica is the only English-speaking Caribbean island where tourist numbers have kept on growing. Mr Golding's poll ratings are poor but not disastrous, with 32% approving of him in June, up from 25% a year earlier.

He said that the "challenges" of four years in office had "taken their toll". Most testing was an American request in August 2009 for the extradition of a leading drug "don", Christopher "Dudus" Coke. For months, the prime minister stalled, reluctant to take on a gang leader who ruled the streets in Mr Golding's own Kingston Western constituency, handing out school books and hosting Christmas parties. When the government finally moved against Mr Coke in May 2010, arresting and extraditing him, the confrontation left 73 dead. But it has been followed by a fall of more than 40% in the murder rate.

In 1995, as a youngish MP, Mr Golding called for a clean break with Jamaica's "garrison politics" in which both main parties formed alliances with local gang leaders. But in 2002 he replaced Edward Seaga, the JLP's veteran leader, inheriting his parliamentary seat through a by-election and with it the unwelcome problem of Mr Coke. "Dudus" seems to have damaged Mr Golding doubly: taking him on has turned the prime minister into an electoral liability in his own constituency, while his delay in doing so has hurt him nationally.

A general election must be held by the end of 2012. Nobody has yet claimed the JLP leadership, but it may pass to a younger generation. With a fragile economy, gang violence and pressures from the Americans, whoever wins will not have an easy job.

from the print edition | The Americas
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Yvette Taylor-Hachoose's Life Lessons

Members of the CCRP (Caribbean Community of Retired Persons)were delighted to have been hosted by the US Embassy's Hanan Ghannoum, Deputy Public Affairs Officer and Emma Lewis, Public Affairs Specialist last Thursday September 22 for a brilliant presentation on Estate Planning by Yvette Taylor-Hachoose. The column below reflects on the importance of her presentation.
Getting our lives in order
by Jean Lowrie-Chin

Jamaica Observer | MON 29 SEPT 2011

Before she went into her lecture on estate planning, US attorney Yvette Taylor-Hachoose shared some principles of wealth which we would do well to follow. These included:

(1) Love what you do. Once you enjoy what you are doing, the money will follow.
(2) Adhere to a spending plan. She urged us to have a budget and discipline ourselves to live within it. This includes paying credit card bills in full when they become due.
(3) Put your money to work for you. She cited the book, ‘The Millionaire Next Door’, to explain that some of the wealthiest folk are living humbly. They are investing their money, not throwing it around on a flashy lifestyle.
(4) Protect your resources. She wants us to be prudent and not react to hype, for example get-rich-quick schemes.
(5) Save for your retirement.

These are invaluable guidelines, for young people who are just starting their careers, as well as for parents who may believe that their children are making wrong career choices. In ‘Catch A Fire’, we learn that Bob Marley had been advised to stick with welding because some folks thought his obsession with music was not going to take him anywhere in life!

Yvette Taylor-Hachoose (pronounced Ha-choo-say) has a distinguished legal career as former VP with Prudential Insurance Company and Assistant General Counsel with both Prudential and CIGNA Corporation. She decided to go into private practice and focus on estate planning after seeing many cases of poor planning resulting in conflict and heartbreak. Here in Jamaica the phenomenon of ‘dead lef’’ has torn families asunder, and so this series of free lectures sponsored by the US Embassy, is well needed.

Mrs Taylor-Hachoose explained that estate planning did not mean simply writing a will to say who would get your belongings. She showed us the wisdom of establishing a trust which would ensure that funds and property left for a beneficiary are well managed. She urged us to write a ‘living will’, citing the case of Terri Schiavo, who was kept on life support for 15 years until the courts had to make a ruling. A living will states your wishes, should such a fate befall you.

Another important consideration is specifying whom you would entrust with the guardianship of your minor children. In her excellent book, Stop! What are you waiting for? Your step-by-step Guide to Estate Planning, Mrs Taylor-Hachoose shares the case of the former Playboy model celebrity Anna Nicole Smith’s five-month-old baby who became the subject of a custody battle.

“My advice is to take the time now to survey the list of potential guardians for your minor children,” she writes. “Make a decision regarding guardianship, and stay current by updating your will when necessary.”

Dr Taylor-Hachoose reminded us that proper estate planning saves money, ensures peace of mind, protects resources, establishes a legacy and addresses special concerns. She said that this legacy was not just physical property, as one of the most treasured possessions she and her siblings share, is a book written by her father about his life. She said they learned about his challenges as a young soldier in the Korean War and understood how he overcame his bout of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to become a fine educator and family man.

Dr Taylor-Hachoose paid tribute to her professor from her undergraduate years in Maryland, none other than US Ambassador to Jamaica Pamela Bridgewater, who invited this brilliant attorney to share her knowledge with us. Let us act on her important advice and get our lives in order, so we can give our families a worry-free legacy.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Acts of the Apostles

Father Richard Ho Lung speaks at launch - please support this world class musical - every cent goes to the poor.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Strength in our diversity

Observer Column | 19 September 2011

I will never forget that day in the mid-sixties when always-present Carol Hoo did not turn up for class at Alpha. Her parents' little grocery store on Victoria Avenue in downtown Kingston was torched by a mob. Luckily, no one was hurt in the fire. The Hoo family had no quarrel with anyone. However, one dispute on Spanish Town Road between an employer of Chinese extraction and a worker escalated into anti-Chinese clamour, spreading to the other side of town.

Recently, a couple of idiots told HEART/NTA that they want to hire only "brownings" and the issue is being blown out of proportion. Yes, there was a time when colour was an issue in Jamaica but today such bigotry is an aberration. At every bank, every hotel, every major corporation, we see proud black Jamaicans taking their rightful place.

Well-known Jamaican companies are not only colour-blind when they hire, they are also ensuring that humble employees are given the chance to move up through the ranks. Thus, Debbie Williams, the cordial receptionist at the Digicel Group office actually joined the company ten years ago as an office attendant.

The best way to deal with a bigot is to hit him/her in the pocket. Name them and shame them - before you say "bankruptcy" they will straighten up and fly right. The majority of Jamaicans - of every colour - would boycott such establishments.

On Facebook, I saw a discussion about last week's All Angles TVJ programme, which had Wayne Chen as a panellist. One writer dismissed Wayne as "elitist". Clearly, that person does not know the history of the Chen family. His mother, Hyacinth Gloria Chen was, an orphan who struggled to raise her children. As a book-keeper at Frenchman's Cove in the 60s, she begged a gardener job in the summer for her teenage son Michael Lee-Chin, who was attending Titchfield High. Her husband Vincent Chen applied for a job at Barclays Bank and was told he was not light-skinned enough for the position. In 2002, Vincent Chen's stepson Michael bought NCB, formerly Barclays Bank. It is led by the admirable Patrick Hylton and managed by competent Jamaicans of every shade and colour.

These are tough times when the scarcity of jobs can make people bitter. However, they should guard against judging without knowing the facts. As a so-called "browning", I have found myself being the marginalised one on certain occasions. I remember with some pain, visiting the family of a dear friend who had died suddenly and watching a group of persons whom I considered to be mutual friends, whispering arrangements for her funeral. It was clear from their furtive glances in my direction that they were pondering whether I should be asked to participate or not. After the discussion ended, none could look me in the eye. They had decided not to include me - I did not match the "colour scheme".

We had better be careful that Jamaicans of other ethnic backgrounds do not become sidelined. Only last week as we pondered the expansion of a well-needed committee, a dedicated member suggested a name and quickly withdrew it. When we asked why, she said she did not want people to think that she was bringing too many "white" people on the committee! This is crazy! Jamaica is, for the majority of us, colour-blind and respectful. Let us not allow this isolated incident to poison our relationships and deter solid, generous Jamaicans from making their contribution.

Our diversity is our strength. What would have become of Bob Marley's music, had it not been for the visionary Chris Blackwell? Edna Manley sculpted one of the most iconic pieces, symbolising the ascendancy of the labour movement in Jamaica, "Negro Aroused". The late Dr Ajai Mansingh described how the recently freed African slaves rescued Indian servants who were thrown off the estates because they were considered too weak. I want to believe they shared their spices and thus was born Jamaica's love for "curry goat".

So let us make it very clear that we don't do prejudice in Jamaica, neither against black nor white. We are streets and lanes ahead of many countries in this respect - let us show the world that "One Love, One Heart" and "One Blood" are not just nice words, but the living philosophy of a proud people.


pete delisser
Good article Mrs Lowrie-Chin. But colour coding has always been, and will always be apart of our colourful culture- I guess. Ever notice our Miss Jamaicas are mostly light skinned, long 'pretty' hair??...It may seem trivial, but its real. Bleaching creams still sell like hot bread. Im brown too..Im always called "brown man" or "red man" out on the streets- doesnt bother me in the least. but Ive had doors/opportunities open up cuz of my look..and my name. Gotto luv St Andrew, Thanks much!!
Peter Sparks
There are those that enjoy being victims and blame others for their failures; they also excuses (sex. melanin inskin lack of money, etc) as well. This is unfortunate. enough of the "american import" te deliberte intent to use race as a wedge. These so-called people who think Jamaica is for "black people" are sadly mistakened. Jamaica is the product of all races and ulurtrs that have lived there, whether we like it or not. "Out of Many, One People!" Skin colour- nuh put food pon' table!. Stop it!
Anthony II
II. I am glad that this debate is taking place; it is an issue that wi need fi trash out. We have never had a serious discussion about race/color/class in Jamaica (none I recall). We hide behind disingenuous claims about diversity and "Out of many one...", even when we know the realities "on the ground." We know many JAMs have problems with skin color and race (e.g., paying deference to others based on this). We see people bleaching; we see 'beauty" encoded as "light skin." We need this debate.
Anthony II
I think what is overblown is this idea of our "diversity." Yes, there are many non-black Jamaicans. I went to a HS that had students of white, Chinese, and Indian background, and so on. But the overwhelming 98% were black Jamaicans (be they light or dark skin; yes "browning"; unnu black inna countries where skin color matters!). To be constantly talking about our "diversity" fails to recognize that we live in a country where over 90% of the people are of African descent. How diverse is that?
wanda woeman
The writer is quick to dismiss the color problem as overblown, although at the same time acknowledging that it exists. Good for her. She and her kind have never been subject to the humiliation of being denied a job based on the color of their skin.
I would not blame the light-skinned people as the perpetrators of the act, however. We all know that even the darkest skinned among us will bow and scrape to people of a lighter hue and will seek mates with this feature.
We also know that the probability of who will get the job, given that one is lighter skinned than the other but equally qualified. We need to face the problem head-on and not skirt around it and not necessarily put the blame on the lighter skinned people. My father who used to be as black as they come (God rest his soul) used to admonish us, “anything too black nuh good.”

Jean Lowrie-Chin answers: I have been kept off committees and out of projects because I am not black enough. Reverse racism has hurt me many times - So yes, I HAVE been denied! Also check the Black Jamaican and the Black Barbadian - then you'll see how mixed race the majority of us are. Come on - let's stop this rubbish!!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Message from Antonia Graham - CONCERN WORLDWIDE

As you know, one and a half years on from the 7.0 earthquake that devastated the city of Port au Prince in Haiti, the people there are still desperately in need of assistance.

One area particularly in need is education. With 87% of schools were damaged or destroyed in the earthquake – today, 50% of primary school children are not enrolled in school.

There simply isn’t enough funding or resources to build and rehabilitate the schools, train and hire teachers or purchase the materials to administer the education. And the hardest part to comprehend is that it costs less than US$1 per day per child to provide a complete education to Haiti’s children. And with 42 percent of Haiti’s population under the age of 15, it’s not an oversimplification to say that a brighter future for Haiti depends on getting kids into school.

As such, I am proud to be a part of a project with the NGO, Concern Worldwide, to do something about this.

Our “YOUR DOLLAR OUR FUTURE” fund raising campaign – proceeds of which will go to Concern’s education programmes in Haiti.

Our aim is to raise US$2 million between now and the end of the year – so please visit our website at and check out our campaign – any donation or show of support is gratefully received and goes to the very best of causes – helping Haiti’s kids to a brighter tomorrow.

Thank you in advance.

Best regards

Antonia Graham

Head of Group Public Relations

Digicel Group

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Separating truth from propaganda

Observer column for MON 12 SEP 11 | by Jean Lowrie-Chin

Electoral Commission Chairman Prof Errol Miller has reminded us that last Wednesday, September 7, marked the first day of the final year of the current Government’s term of office. So here is Jamaica, once again in heightened election mode. We say heightened, because our political parties are always campaigning. Depending on the perspective, we can either be glad that our economy has shown slight growth and our crime rate has decreased; or we can be worried that our unemployment rate is disturbingly high and productivity lower than most of our Caribbean neighbours.

In the coming year, the Jamaican people will be subject to a tsunami of propaganda. We are therefore calling on the church and civil society to lead the charge in helping to educate the public on how to assess their political representatives, and how to uncover the kernels of truth in the various messages that will be inundating press, broadcast and social media.

We saw a glimmer of the use of social media in the last elections, but with over 600,000 Jamaicans on Facebook and an ever increasing number on Twitter, our politicians will be facing off and tweeting as never before! We who timidly put ourselves on Facebook so we could keep in touch with family and close friends, have slowly widened our circle. For me, it has been a mostly positive experience. I have learned a lot from Dr Leahcim Semaj and Francis Wade, received spiritual upliftment from Pastor Winston ‘Bello’ Bell and enjoyed the good humour online.

Should we ‘friend’ politicians? I believe we should. Criticise them all you want, they have a very tough job and social media is going to make it tougher on them. It is actually an act of bravery on their part to put themselves up for such close scrutiny. We can check their profiles to get a glimpse of their philosophy of life. We can hear from their status notes what is dearest and most concerning to them, we can write on their ‘walls’ and see how they respond … or not. Of course they all dream to be as popular as Barack Obama (notwithstanding recent polls), who has 23,003,775 fans ‘liking’ his Facebook page.

We should also encourage each other to upload and ‘tweet’ links from the various websites that play a role in our country’s governance: Electoral Office, JIS, PNP, JLP, CAFFE, Political Ombudsman. But most of all, we should be careful that our utterances are based on fact, not rumour and that we remember the basic tenet of human interaction: ‘Do No Harm’. As the fever gets high, we tend to forget that politicians have parents, husbands, wives, and children. Through social media, they are even more vulnerable to negative reports and opinions.

And what of those who are not on the internet? There is no shortage of outlets, with 19 radio stations plus several other community stations, three free-to-air television stations and multiple community cable channels, everybody has the chance to be a star … even if only in their neck of the woods.

The ability to drive all of these communication vehicles will probably be the deciding factor in who will win the next general elections. This will be particularly difficult for the party in power, as they must not only be performing, but also be telling the public how well they are doing. The opposition have far more time on their hands to strategise.

In an analysis I had presented at a forum on political advertising held by the Research and Policy Group at the Mona School of Business soon after the September 2007 elections, I pointed out that the JLP had shown more new-media savvy than the PNP, and that it may have given them the edge. Interestingly, the spokespersons for the two political parties at the time were Karl Samuda for the JLP and Sharon Hay-Webster for the PNP. Samuda gave kudos to ‘The G2K geniuses’ while Hay-Webster said there were ‘lessons learned’, and reminded her audience that the JLP had won by the slimmest margin ever.

The advice to choose words carefully and speak truthfully should be heeded by candidates. Now more than ever before, they will return to haunt whether on YouTube or elsewhere. In the same breath, members of civil society are being called to bring the highest level of scrutiny to bear on our candidates, not only as they campaign, but also on their biographical data. The way they have performed as parents, spouses, professionals and community members will help us to decide if they can handle the highest positions in the land.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

PROComm Education Grant

PROCOMM GRANT: Vanessa Gaynor (centre) of Mona High School is delighted to receive a PROComm/Stella Maris Education Grant from PROComm's Noel Chin and Anita Chin. The Scholarship Fund was established over 10 years ago and has benefitted several students from Grant's Pen and other inner city communities. Vanessa was one of five recipients of Grants for this academic year. The Fund is administered by The Stella Maris Foundation.

NY Times - 'A Day That Stands Alone'

Click on headline above to see moving photos from the NY Times

New York Times | September 11, 2011
Just as Sept. 11 was unthinkable, Sunday was inevitable: the 10th anniversary of a day that stands alone. In history. In memory.

Three-thousand six-hundred fifty-two days have now passed. At 8:46 a.m. — the time when the first plane slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center — 87,648 hours had gone by. Another 5,258,880 minutes. Another 315,532,800 seconds.

Once more, the families gathered at ground zero, where 2,749 died, and in Northern Virginia and in Pennsylvania, paying tribute to the 224 who died there.

Once more, there was an outpouring of grief. But there were also fresh jitters about security as the Obama administration’s top counterterrorism official, John O. Brennan, appeared on television news programs to say that the administration would “leave no stone unturned” in its pursuit of an intelligence tip that Al Qaeda was plotting to disrupt the anniversary.

“It’s not confirmed,” he said, “but we are not relaxing at all. This is a 24/7, round-the-clock effort by all elements of the U.S. counter terrorism community.”

The ceremony at ground zero brought together the officials who were in office 10 years ago — President George W. Bush, Gov. George E. Pataki of New York, Gov. Donald T. DiFrancesco of New Jersey and Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani — with their successors: President Obama, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who said the attacks had turned “a perfect blue-sky morning” into “the blackest of nights.”

“We can never unsee what happened here,” the mayor said.

Mr. Obama read Psalm 46, which talks about God as “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” and Mr. Cuomo read from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union address, the “four freedoms” speech — freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear “anywhere in the world.”

Mr. Bush quoted Abraham Lincoln on the casualties in the Civil War as he commemorated the casualties of Sept. 11. “I pray that our heavenly father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement,” Mr. Bush read from a letter Lincoln had written in 1864 to a mother whose five sons had died in the war.

He added, “President Lincoln not only understood the heartbreak of his country, he also understood the cost to sacrifice and reached out to console those in sorrow.”

There were also long moments of silence, first at 8:46 a.m., the time American Airlines Flight 11 struck the north tower, and again at 9:03 a.m., when United Airlines Flight 175 smashed into the other tower. Another silence — at ground zero and at the Pentagon — came at 9:37 a.m., when American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into what had been considered the unshakable nerve center of the world’s most powerful military.

“There are no words to ease the pain that you still feel,” Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta told relatives of the 184 people who died there.

Another moment of silence, at 10:03 a.m., marked the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa. — the plane on which passengers tried to fight back, storming the cockpit and trying to take control of the plane from the terrorists who had hijacked it.

“There is nothing with which to compare the passenger uprising of 10 years ago,” said Gov. Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania. “It has no companion in history in my mind.”

“Their uprising marks the moment in history when Americans showed what makes us different,” he added. “We refuse to be victims. We refuse to settle for the term ‘survivor.’ Captivity will not suit us.”

Later, Mr. Obama — who left ground zero to travel to Shanksville —laid a wreath at the Flight 93 memorial. He and the first lady, Michelle Obama, stood for a moment of silence, then left to applause and chants of “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”

At ground zero, the silver bell was rung to remember passengers from Flight 93, as it had been rung through the morning to remember the passengers on the other hijacked airliners and the people inside the twin towers — office workers, custodians, people having at breakfast in the restaurant a quarter-mile above the street.

The bell tolled again at 10:28 a.m. “North Tower falls,” read large letters on video monitors — three short words that described the destruction of one of the world’s largest buildings, one that had taken some six years to complete.

That silence was the longest, and was the last scheduled at ground zero. But the vigilant did not pause. On a construction scaffold of 1 World Trade Center, on a deck of the World Financial Center, on the post office building across from the site, police officers with binoculars scanned the crowd below and the sky above.

Then Mr. Giuliani, who was approaching the end of his tenure on Sept. 11 — and who provoked criticism for seeking an extension — stepped to the lectern. “The perspective that we need and have needed to get through the last 10 years and the years that remain are best expressed by the words inscribed by God in the book of Ecclesiastes,” he said before reading the famous passage that begins, “To every thing there is a season.”

“A time to be born, and a time to die,” Mr. Giuliani read, as his wife, Judith Nathan, stood behind him. He was applauded after the last line: “A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

Once more, the names were recited — solemnly, but sometimes with poignant, personal reminiscences. One man was thanked for looking down from heaven and helping the Dallas Cowboys. Another relative mentioned “your laughter, your smile and your meatloaf.” And Jefferson Crowther stood at the microphone with a red kerchief in his shirt pocket.

The ribbon’s significance became clear when he got to the last name he read.

“And my courageous son, Welles Remy Crowther,” he said, his voice cracking. “The man with the red bandanna.” Welles Crowther had worn a red bandanna on Sept. 11 as he tried to help people escape from the World Trade Center.

The 10th anniversary dawned on a city and a nation that has changed immutably, with continuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and persistent security worries at home. And no longer is ground zero a scarred reminder of what was, but a symbol of resurgence, with the National September 11 Memorial about to open and a not-yet-finished skyscraper now 961 feet above the street where thousands fell.

What was then the site of the World Trade Center is now surrounded by construction fences. But reminders of what happened were everywhere: There were flags on the new Tower One, the “Freedom Tower.” The subway station nearby has an exit sign that identifies it as the “Rector Street 9/11 Memorial,” with the “11” written to look like the twin towers.

Ten years ago, it was just another morning — a Tuesday, a day when ordinary people did the most ordinary of things: Scrambling to work, kissing their families goodbye, running for the train. And then there was the dark gash and the ball of fire high up in one of the buildings, and a few minutes later, a second gash, a second ball of fire and a plume of smoke visible for miles.

“Things were never going to be the same again,” said Charles Mintzer, a now-retired New York State employee. On Sunday, he returned to the place he had watched a decade ago, the promenade overlooking the East River in Brooklyn Heights.

So did Marcy Chapin, a retired foundation executive, who had gone there on Sept. 11 and remembered hearing shouting in the streets about New York being under attack. She reached the promenade — as the second plane hit.

“I thought: ‘What could be next? The Brooklyn Bridge?’ ” she recalled.

Sept. 11 put New York, a city that had not faced combat in more than 200 years, on the front lines in a global war on terrorism. Sept. 11 made slogans created by Madison Avenue like “If you see something, say something” as widespread as “Loose lips sink ships” once was.

But Sept. 11 redefined so much more.

One measure of how Sept. 11 changed everything was how little grumbling there was last week as drivers waited to crawl through police checkpoints after officials began investigating the report of a possible Qaeda plot to coincide with the anniversary. The acceptance of the police inspections was a sign of how Sept. 11 had redefined bridges and tunnels in a way that generations of commuters had never imagined, as potential targets.

Sept. 11 redefined so much more.

It brought color-coded threat levels (though the Department of Homeland Security, itself a post-9/11 creation, phased them out several months ago).

Still travelers worry: Is it safe to fly? Now airline passengers have to pull off their shoes and empty their pockets, and they have feel embarrassed when they forgot they had a too-big bottle of shampoo or mouthwash in their carry-on.

And still there were episodes when terrorists on international flights tried to set off plastic explosives hidden in their shoes or sewn into their underwear.

Is it safe to open the mail? A week after the Sept. 11 attacks, letters containing anthrax killed 5 people and infected 17 others. It took the Federal Bureau of Investigation five years to conclude that an Army microbiologist had been responsible. In the confusion at first, people hoarded antibiotics, and officials briefly grounded crop-dusting airplanes.

But this anniversary played out against a different backdrop than the first anniversary, in 2002, or the fifth, in 2006. For the first time, Osama bin Laden was dead. “We’ve taken the fight to Al Qaeda like never before,” Mr. Obama declared Saturday in his weekly radio address.

For the first time, too, there was tangible progress toward fulfilling the promise to rebuild — a promise made in the aftermath of the attacks but delayed by squabbling over architects, plans and finances. Buildings are rising between Church and West Streets in Lower Manhattan, and the National September 11 Memorial will open to the public on Monday. Relatives of those who died at the World Trade Center will get a first look on Sunday.

If they were to measure it, they would see that the memorial covers about half of the 16-acre World Trade Center site. They will see that the names of the dead have been inscribed on the walls of two reflecting pools that now fill the footprints of the old towers — pools that hold 550,000 gallons of water and are lined with 3,968 panels of granite, each weighing 420 pounds. A museum is to open next year. For the memorial and the museum together, the plans called for some 8,151 tons of steel and 49,900 cubic yards of concrete.

“The size of it all is kind of breathtaking,” said Paul Schlenr of Cincinnati, who said his wife’s sister, Margaret Seeliger, died in the south tower.

Christine Corday, an artist whose husband runs the company that installed the bronze plates with the names, had been at ground zero early on Sunday, polishing the letters that had been etched in. “Every name has run under the palm of my hand,” she said. “Each name here is a life, and that’s never been lost on anyone that’s worked on this project.”

Mary Dwyer of Brooklyn, whose sister, Lucy Fishman, also worked in the south tower, said it was moving to be able to stand, for the first time, near where Ms. Fishman had died. “It’s the closest I’ll ever get to her again,” said Ms. Dwyer, adding that she is 36, the same age her sister was on Sept. 11, 2001.

Of the waterfalls, Debra Burlingame, whose brother, Charles, was the pilot on American Airlines Flight 77, said, “Some people think of them as tears” — an idea echoed by Alice M. Greenwald, the director of the museum, as she walked along the pools.

In late-afternoon sunlight, Mr. Greenwald said, rainbows appear in the pools. And at night, lights shining from below create patterns that remind her of the latticelike skin of the twin towers.

“The difference for me is seeing people here,” Ms. Greenwald said. “This is now a place, not a construction site, not a design. It’s now a place in New York.” She said the difference was “transformational.”

Beyond ground zero, there were other signs of remembrance. The U.S.S. New York, commissioned in 2009 and made with seven-and-a-half tons of steel from the twin towers, spent the weekend at anchor in the Hudson River. On Sunday morning, it was to cruise to Lower Manhattan, stopping within sight of the new tower at the trade center site. And the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the trade center site, planned a moment of silence for 1 p.m. and issued a statement asking Americans to “cease all regular activity for one minute to reflect on the lives lost and those affected by the tragedies of 9/11.”

Other communities remembered those lost.

In New Jersey, which lost more than 700 residents, nearly every town, it seemed, had someone to mourn. Churches held special masses; ceremonies were held across the state. In Jersey City, firefighters used their ladders to hoist an American flag on the waterfront, with the rising 1 World Trade Center in clear view on the far bank of the river. Nearby, as in many New Jersey towns, was a piece of twisted steel from the twin towers.

In Atlantic Highlands — one of numerous communities along the Jersey Shore where nearly everyone knew someone who died at the World Trade Center — drums rolled and bagpipes played.

“That day brought the world’s problems to our door,” said Jayne Swiercinsky, 31, a product manager from Howell, N.J., who joined a crowd of 150 in a ceremony that commemorated the anniversary.

In Massapequa, N.Y., one man stood by a wall of gray and black granite by the beach honors 89 residents from the Town of Oyster Bay who died in the attacks. The man, Eric Szillus, 42, is a retired New York City firefighter who was wearing in his dress uniform and talking about the lieutenant who had saved his life.

On Sept. 11, Mr. Szillus was assigned to Ladder 114 in Brooklyn and rode to the World Trade Center.

“As we were about to go in,” Mr. Szillus said, “O’Berg sent us back to our rig to give us a talk.” Mr. Szillus remembered that the lieutenant asked if Mr. Szillus and his colleagues understood the seriousness of the situation. By then, they were certain the attacks had been orchestrated by terrorists.

“It was those 15 to 20 minutes of pep talk that saved my life,” Mr. Szillus said, because when the lieutenant finished, they saw the south tower begin to collapse. They did not go in, he said.

Lieutenant O’Berg’s son, also named Dennis O’Berg and also a firefighter, was also at the disaster site. After the towers fell, the lieutenant hunted for his son, but found only his fire truck, smothered in debris. And still what happened on that morning seems as impossible as it did in those first few minutes, when one friend called another and said something like: “Go turn on the television. A plane has crashed into the World Trade Center.”

Or when, in the seconds before the picture came on, an anchor was heard saying something like: “Wait. These are live pictures, not the tape? So that was a different plane, and it hit the other one?”

Like the day when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, or the day when the space shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986 or the day when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941, Sept. 11 was one of those days that divided things into “before” and “after.”

New Yorkers still talk about what a bright morning that was, after a thunder-and-lightning show in the sky the night before. They talk about how late-summer days are forever different. They talk about the foreboding that has replaced the promise in the pink of the sunrise and so much joy in the deep blue of the midmorning sky.

And they talk about what the World Trade Center was, a city-within-the-city that dominated the skyline. Below 14th Street, it was a direction-finder as sure as the “N” on any compass. It had been bombed in 1993. The damage had been repaired, but the two buildings remained a target for Al Qaeda.

Reporting was contributed by Anemona Hartocollis, Christopher Maag and Tim Stelloh from New York; Angela Macropoulos from Massapequa, N.Y.; and Nate Schweber from Atlantic Highlands, N.J.

Avocado - The Wonder Fruit

This is good ol' Jamaica 'pear'! (emailed by Ruby Martin)
Avocado - The Wonder Fruit
by Jackie Silver

The avocado has been misunderstood in the past because of its high fat content, but avocados provide more than 25 essential nutrients. A serving of avocado, which is one-eighth of the fruit, has only 5 grams of fat per serving, but that fat is the monounsaturated kind, which is heart-healthy and may help to lower cholesterol. Avocados are also rich in omega-3s, another heart-healthy ingredient. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the avocado is the potassium content. Compared to bananas, avocados have 60 percent more potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure. Adequate intake of potassium can help to guard against circulatory diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure or stroke. Remember, though, everything in moderation. A whole avocado has 520 calories and 40 grams of fat. Even though it's "good" fat, it can still add up to weight gain.

According to the California Avocado Commission, the avocado (Persea americana) originated in south-central Mexico, sometime between 7,000 and 5,000 B.C. But it was several millennia before this wild variety was cultivated. Archaeologists in Peru have found domesticated avocado seeds buried with Incan mummies dating back to 750 B.C. and there is evidence that avocados were cultivated in Mexico as early as 500 B.C. Find out more about avocados at the California Avocado Commission (

Here are some creative ways to enjoy avocado:

1. Instead of slathering mayo on your sandwich, why not mash up some avocado and spread it on your sandwich? One tablespoon of mayonnaise has about 110 calories of pure fat. One-fifth of a medium California avocado has 50 calories, with 35 calories from fat, but remember – it's the "good" fat.

2. In a food processor, mash one half of an avocado with a half cup of organic cottage cheese, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on top, sprinkle with black pepper and use it as a dip with cut vegetables for a protein-rich, tasty, healthy meal or snack.

3. Make an avocado boba drink. Boba drinks usually contain soft, chewy tapioca balls in the bottom of a drink such as tea or coffee, but here's a creative twist: Using a small melon scoop, make avocado balls and add them into tomato or vegetable juice for a new, healthy spin on boba.

4. Cut up avocado chunks and put them on top of gazpacho, the cold Spanish tomato soup, for a filling snack that's veggie-licious.

5. Add avocado on top of any omelet for a burst of extra flavor.

Jackie Silver is the founder and president of Aging Backwards, LLC and author of "Aging Backwards: Secrets to Staying Young." Send your questions or comments to: Sign up for her free newsletter at: and follow her on Twitter, @AgingBackwards.

Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

Thursday, September 8, 2011

‘Lifting as We Climb’ by Lanvell Blake Jr

Esmie L. Walters Essay Competition 2011

Topic: Explain this Quote: ‘Lifting as We Climb’.

St. Elizabeth Technical High School (Sixth-Form)

You might appreciate the deliberateness that influenced the selection of “Coming together as one people” as the title and focus of my essay.
For me, Lifting as We Climb means that as you climb, move towards your goal you help to uplift not only yourself but your community, your country and it could also be seen as symbolic where you become a model for others as you motivate or uplift them as well.

Personally, Lifting as we climb, means that as I climb the ladder of success, elevate myself, I am also in the process of trying to help others ‘reach the top’ as well. I show my unselfish love for others by giving them a helping hand, not allowing others that are ‘less fortunate’ to ‘fall by the wayside’, but instead help them to elevate themselves into productive individuals of society, contributing to nation building- “United we stand, and divided we fall”. Lifting as we climb, emphasizes teamwork, and that we are all in this together, and that really nobody ever gets anywhere without the help of others. It’s humbling. It reminds us not to be so self-focused but to assist as much individuals we can in our quest for success.

Those familiar with the early Chinese philosophy may point to the “YIN-YANG” principle. This principle explains the balance that is necessary in human behaviour. It implies how having a basic understanding of “give and take” could improve human relationships, and ultimately bring about a better world/society. It is simple “one hand can’t clap” and it takes “two to tango”. This is why we must aspire to come together as one people, lifting as we climb, because the commonness of our humanity imposes such conditions that we truly need each other. Now, as a farmer needs rain and a baker needs flour, so too do we need one another. We need each other help us to win the fight to overcome the bad stereotypes that have held us back in the backwaters of life. After all, “No man is an island. No, man stands alone”. We need to lift each other as we climb.

And since we were socialized to separate ourselves and to see ourselves through vastly different prisms from how we see our less fortunate brothers and sister, coming together as one people could continue to be a fleeting dream for many around the world. For, year-in-year-out, our only purpose is to expand the kingdom of the crab. It is a state where we are perpetually at war; pulling each other down in order to push ourselves forward, because we cannot stand to see the other crab crawl out of the barrel ahead of us; even when that forward movement stands to benefit the larger group. We call it the “crab in a barrel’ syndrome.

The results from these behaviours manifest themselves in ways unthinkable. We kill our own ideas. We do not ventilate our misgivings in amicable ways. We amplify the negatives. We dig ditches for our brothers and sisters to fall in them, without knowing that we could be “hoisted by our own petards”. We play tricks, backbite, plot, and weave some monumental webs. We come to the table of dialogue always well-prepared to defend, but never to amend, our proposals.

We must overcome other deeply entrenched socio-cultural barriers. You see, we erected these enormous fortresses of stratification just to protect our individual status, but none of it was earned. Yet, we claim paternity, so we can wallow in self-importance; without an ounce of mortality to back it up. And no references ever made to the commonness of our humanity, or to the sameness of the essential elements and functioning of our bodies! Still, "we are cooled by the same winter, warmed by the same summer, and if you prick us, we all bleed!"
The impact has been painful and we still struggle with extricating ourselves from the paradigm of the plantation.

If there are any doubts about the lasting legacy from the plantation culture, just look about you for today’s form of class prejudice that mirrors those divisions between the house slaves and field slaves. And if there are any questions about the harsh realities of racism then just look about you for today’s version of that saying: “If you are white then you’re right, if you’re brown stick around, but if you’re black stay back”.

There are other times too when coming together as one people is very difficult not because of any of the aforementioned conditions, but because of our obedience to, and reliance on, the weird dogma of mental and psychological supremacy. Some of us harbour the foolish thought of being better than the person sitting next to us, and then justify it by pointing to advanced sociological and psychological development. They never get access to the contracts or contacts and do not have a seat at the table, but we do not try to help them up, we push them down.

There are great benefits to be derived from coming together as one people: the benefits are not limited to financial matters, they go far beyond that to include social cohesion, cultural preservation, environmental protection, environmental, technological advancements, political stability, good and effective governance and importantly to create networks of ideas. I hope my friends in CARICOM could hear and understand the urgency that must accompany the finalization for CSME (Caribbean Single Market and Economy)- for instance- coming together as one people is as parochial as it is regional.

And finally, let the coming together motivate us to action, where we hold ourselves accountable for our behaviour, where were decry foolishness and condemn hate, discord, violence, disingenuousness and pretense. For in the long run only when we join forces together, speak on one accord, lock hands and hearts in the movement to advance ourselves, our communities and our country will we be true stewards of this precious citizenship we hold-first as Jamaicans and then as citizens of the world.

Esmie L. Walters Essay Competition
Name: Lanvell A. Blake Jr
Proof of I.D: See attached school picture
Address: Accompong Town
Bethsalem P.A.
St. Elizabeth

Name of School: St. Elizabeth Technical High School (Sixth-Form)
Name of Parent: Lanvell A. Blake (Snr.)

Monday, September 5, 2011

J'can charm sweeps World Championships

Medal haul includes 4 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze
Monday, September 05, 2011 | Jamaica Observer

DAEGU, South Korea — A blistering world record run for gold by the Jamaican male relay quartet, in the wake of a silver run by their female speed counterparts, brought the 13th IAAF World Championships to a dramatic climax in Daegu yesterday.
With nine medals including four gold, four silver and a bronze in the pocket, the Jamaicans stamped their magic and island charm on the closing day of the nine-day World Championships, ensuring that the IAAF's gamble to end the championships with the 4X100m relays had paid off in brilliant style.
The World Championships traditionally ended with the 4X400m relays.
Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man, powered the Jamaican team to a new world record of 37.04 seconds for the men's world 4x100m relay title, the final event of the highly eventful competition.
Bolt, who missed out on defending his world 100m title after a dramatic false start saw him disqualified a week ago, rebounded to retain his 200m crown Saturday in an electric 19.40sec.
And come the relay, it could not have been better scripted for Bolt and his Jamaican sprint teammates of Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Yohan Blake, who won 100m gold.
Carter went off like a bullet from the blocks, and smooth handovers to the dependable Frater and Blake saw Bolt in prime position for a record home stretch sprint. He did not disappoint.
Teeth clenched and eyes stuck on the trackside clock by the finish line, the 25-year-old dipped in determination, his head pivoting to see if the record had been broken.
"For me it was just to go out there fast," said Bolt. "We did just that. I am proud of my team, I'm happy with myself. I enjoyed being the anchor," he said in reference to the fourth leg normally run by Asafa Powell, who missed these Worlds with a recurring groin injury.
"I had a little problem with my achilles, I can't run the bend. It was decided I would run the anchor.
"Yohan Blake ran a great bend — I'm happy with that," said Bolt.
New addition Blake added: "We were feeling wonderful. We got this and knew we could do it. When Usain got the baton I could see the record come tumbling."
The previous record of 37.10 sec was set in the final of the Beijing Olympics by Carter, Frater, Bolt and Powell (who ran a 8.70 sec for the anchor), and yesterday the Jamaican quartet were presented a cheque for $100,000 for their efforts by IAAF head Lamine Diack.
There was, however, disaster for Jamaica's main rivals, the United States.
Lying in second place coming into the final bend, Darvis Patton made contact with Briton Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, crashed to the track and failed to get the baton to Walter Dix.
"I felt a knee on my arm," the Englishman admitted. "I didn't come here for this...I am sorry to the nation and the whole team. I was in my lane but I still have to say sorry to the American guy."
France, with 200m bronze medallist Christophe Lemaitre running the second leg, took silver (38.20 sec) and Saint Kitts and Nevis bronze in 38.49.
"You never take anything for granted when you have these Caribbean guys running in the same race," said Lemaitre, the triple European sprint champion.
"It's a pity for the US team because after the Jamaicans they are usually the strongest. They will be back and we will be ready for them in 2012."
For St Kitts and Nevis veteran Kim Collins, it was a bronze to add to a similar medal he won in the individual 100m.
"Whenever I come to the championships, I want to bring home a medal," the 35-year-old said. "I'm very pleased we managed this today."
— AFP/Observer

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