Monday, November 28, 2011
Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Are-they-Andrew-Holness-s--Lucky-13--_10255641#ixzz1f2dt6aIw
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 (http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/business-law/docs/w/11-745-women-on-boards.pdf) 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."
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
"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."
Friday, November 25, 2011
WHY WOMEN ACROSS THE WORLD COMMEMORATE NOVEMBER 25 AS
INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
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
THE BUREAU OF WOMEN'S AFFAIRS PRESENTS
INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
THEME: Unite to End Violence Against Women: Peace in the Home and in the Society
WEAR THE PURPLE RIBBON TO
COMMEMORATE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN (IDEVAW) AND THE 16 DAYS OF
ACTIVISM AGAINST GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE CAMPAIGN.
Each year, NOVEMBER 25 IS OBSERVED AS INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR
THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN (IDEVAW).
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
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: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/A-Jamaican-buzz-in-New-York_10202314#ixzz1eN73MkxW
Monday, November 14, 2011
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: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Electioneering--Jamaican-style_10148556#ixzz1dgvSmMYd
Friday, November 11, 2011
A wave of book lovers, tastemakers and literary luminaries are expected to show up on Wednesday evening at Ruder Finn in midtown
"Souldance is a lavish, well-seasoned buffet of some of the most tantalizing writings coming out of
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
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
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
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
Souldance is carried by Ian Randle Publishers and the book is available at leading book stores as well as at amazon.com. The launch is being executed by Dave Rodney and Anthony Turner of Images Media LLC in association with Rhum Barbancourt.
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
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
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.
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.
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: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Good-living-creates-employment_10096278#ixzz1d8CXexoN
Saturday, November 5, 2011
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 http://www.topchoons.com/vote.htmland 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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emn7nuz1NRg&feature=channel_video_title to see what you are voting for or check out his blog address at www.kronikmuzik.blogspot.com to learn more about him. It literally takes seconds to vote but the impact can be far reaching. Thanks for your continued help.
Tuesday, November 1, 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: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Unlocking-garrisons-to-end-a-national-disgrace#ixzz1cSopiJPN
@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.
@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.
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.
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.
This article is so true. I'm surprise at the lack of comments to this emergency.
@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: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Unlocking-garrisons-to-end-a-national-disgrace#ixzz1cSovtLao