Saturday, March 31, 2012

Byron Purkiss Sr now safe

The family of Byron Purkiss Senior gave a huge sigh of relief when he was located yesterday at the Kingston Public Hospital, recovering from minor injuries they believe he sustained in a mugging. Mr Purkiss suffers from memory loss. We will keep him and family in our prayers.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Blaine calls for 'Parents' Watch'

NNC Release from Betty Ann Blaine

March 25, 2012


• Detailed Policy Regarding the Treatment of Children during Police Operations • Formation of "Parents Watch" groups • "Collective Security for Surety" Children's Advocate and New Nation Coalition Founder, Betty Ann Blaine, is calling on the Minister of National Security to immediately divulge to the public exactly what the Code of Practice is relating to children when police and military operations are carried out in volatile inner-city communities.  This after two teenage girls, Nicketa Cameron and Vanessa Kirkland were killed within a space of less than three weeks under questionable circumstances.
"In any civilized society, special considerations are given to children by law enforcement.  Is this the case in Jamaica, and what are those policies and procedures?", asks Mrs. Blaine.

"We cannot sit back and watch our children cut down this way", Blaine adds.  "When will it stop, and how can we together as concerned citizens fix this problem?"

 "Our hearts go out to the families, the loved ones and the communities in this time of grief.  It is now time for all of us to put aside our differences and collectively work towards a lasting solution."

"Already some communities are working on solutions, asserts Blaine.  In Fletchers Land for example, the citizens have come together and imposed a curfew for the time of evening that children should be inside their homes.  That community found their own solution and that is a model that can be replicated across the country.  Also, parents are the first line of defense for their children."

"The Fletcher's Land initiative is what Jamaicans call "collective security for surety".  If citizens in a community come together, the problem can be alleviated.  In addition, New Nation is recommending the formation of "Parents Watch" groups which will work closely with the police to build partnerships for safety."

"We are calling on Police Commissioner, Owen Ellington, to answer to the people of Jamaica regarding the policy of use of force by police officers.   "We believe that those details are crucial in understanding the magnitude and complexities of the problem", contends Blaine. "These are tragedies of immense proportions and yet tragedies that we believe can be avoided.  We expect that the Minister of National Security and the Police Commissioner will offer formal apologies for the killings of the two teenage girls, and will tell the public categorically how the police intend to correct and improve the situation."  
"The Minister of National Security must also now convince the public that the investigations will be carried out with speed, impartiality and transparency, particularly at this time when there is a public standoff between the police and INDECOM – the independent body with the responsibility to investigate police abuses.  These are questions that must be answered, and the public must be prepared to apply the pressure to get those answers", Blaine affirms.


Betty Ann Blaine: 294-8125, 462-0628

Aggrey Palmer: 381-4600

Celta Kirkland: 294-8123 

Our vision is of a New Jamaica in which every Jamaican is valued equally, where true security and justice prevails for all, and where every man, woman and child has the recognized right to a good quality of life, and an opportunity to achieve his or her God-given potential. 

18 Westminster Rd, Kingston 10

Jamaica W.I.

Tel:(876) 294-8125 / 462-6028/ 844-6922


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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

GraceKennedy – a fine 90-year history

James Moss-Solomon delivering the GraceKennedy Foundation 2012 Lecture

Jean Lowrie-Chin | Observer column | 19 March 2012

His Observer column has established James Moss-Solomon as an insightful patriot, and he was true to form at the Annual GraceKennedy (GK) Foundation Lecture last Tuesday. He gave us a fascinating history lesson as he traced Jamaica’s and GK’s history from the end of World War I to this, the company’s 90th year in business.

Namesake of his father James Moss-Solomon, who became a shareholder in the company in 1927, James walked us through the signposts facing GK and Jamaica as they came to various crossroads. Every company should take note of the options they faced:

- Invoke self-determination OR Cling to dependency
- Pursue private initiative OR Demand public underwriting
- Prioritise human capital development OR Condemn labour to low-skilled tasks
- Engage the small man OR Indulge the privileged
- Grasp opportunities quickly and decisively OR React sluggishly and half-heartedly to crises
- Diversify into new positions OR Over-invest in old positions
- Use geography strategically OR Disregard geography
- Require accurate information OR Be guided by sentiment
- Defend integrity OR Bow to corruption
- Vigilantly protect long-term interests OR Always gratify short-term wants.

Considering Jamaica’s checkered history, the topic of the Lecture is apt: ‘Jamaica and GraceKennedy – dreams converging, roads diverging’. On February 14, 1922, Dr John Grace, brother of the late head of W.R Grace Limited, joined forces with Fred William Kennedy to found Grace, Kennedy and Co Ltd. Both men had wide experience in management and accounting and brought this to bear on the fledgling company, producing its first audited statement of accounts – without fancy software – one year after its founding.

Moss-Solomon, the first of our columnists to note that 2012 would mark the 125th birthday of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, noted a Gleaner report published in 1921 on the formation of Garvey’s Black Star Line Shipping Company. Moss-Solomon said it was “consistent with the magnitude of world trading that Jamaica found itself in the midst of, by dint of its location.”

“Fabricated charges laid against Garvey would be the undoing of the Black Star Line but not of the validity of the model,” stated James, which was later made a reality by a joint effort of Grace, Kennedy & Co and Jamaica Producers who “saw the opportunities in shipping and moved accordingly.”

The company took training seriously, and from their workforce emerged long serving employees, ‘a buildup of … an experience bank.’ The company’s focused apprenticeship programme which saw ambitious workers moving up through the ranks, was in contrast to the attitude of then Governor Lord Denham. James quoted a Gleaner report of March 19, 1938 in which Denham said it was “useless to give a sick and uneducated man ... a road for the transport of produce which he has neither the money nor the strength to cultivate.” Why, asked Moss-Solomon did the Governor not make health and education a priority?

Moss-Solomon spoke of the friendship between Luis Fred Kennedy and Alexander Bustamante. An incident underlines the business leader’s integrity: “In 1954 two Cabinet members approached L.F. Kennedy and offered to sell him information on Cabinet discussions. He immediately went to Alexander Bustamante, who dismissed both persons and instituted legal proceedings against them.”

During the so-called “communist threat of the 70s”, there were closures and flight of capital. However, James explained that with high quality management, “the company was in a good position to buck the trend of capital flight and to attract capital without sacrificing its interest in Jamaica.” L.F. Kennedy made preparations to enter the London Stock Exchange and though the company did not eventually do so, they were in good form to list when the Jamaica Stock Exchange opened in the 1980s.

The Group has two foundations which has empowered thousands. At the Lecture, a young woman who had been counseled and supported by the compassionate Frances Madden of the GraceKennedy Foundation gave her personal tribute: “You are the best set of people,” she said tearfully.

We left the lecture heartened that despite the current cynicism around corruption in the country, we had a robust 90-year-old GraceKennedy telling us that one can be honest and be successful. They have proved that integrity guarantees prosperity in the long term for self, company and country. Leaders, take note.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dr Sonjah Stanley Niaah's Tribute to Ralf Bender

Sonjah: "Twas a beautiful service. The offering was taken up as a contribution to establish a scholarship for jewelry student at Edna Manley College."

For Ralf: A Lifetime of Gemology and Craftsmanship

They say people come into your life for a reason, season or lifetime and indeed, it all depends on what you understand each of those words to mean. A lifetime can be a moment, a day or as old as the baobab tree because arguably it is the impact that counts. For me, Ralf and I shared a lifetime. There is something timeless about precious things given to us by nature, something eternal about those things he nurtured and crafted that he has left in our hands, minds, in our hearts and, yes in our collections.

A friend, partner, lovely soul, I first heard about Ralf Bender from an undergraduate classmate of mine at the UWI. Sometimes it seems I've been at the UWI for a lifetime. It was my friend Suzanne Wynter's hand with a stunning wedding band that had caught my eye and I had to inquire of its origin. I decided instantly, long before I had even found a partner that the same jeweler would make my wedding band. We're talking about 1989 and I got married in 2000. I had to meet this man and more importantly I had to acquire one of his pieces. My status was then that of a student and though constrained with budget, my marriage which was now pending would occasion my acquisition of one of the custom built treasures that Ralf was famous for.

True to form, when the time came, I happened into Suzanne again, got details of Ralf's whereabouts and BAM!! the deal was sealed. I went to Ralf with my husband to be and having had a dream about the rings, I proceeded to sketch the idea I had in mind. The rings were made and they sealed the lifetime I share with my husband but also the one I share with Ralf Bender the gemologist and master jeweler par excellence.

However, our relationship merely began there. My husband who participated in the reflection for this tribute, wants me to share that for me Ralf Bender is somewhat of an addiction, because one finds oneself all sorts of excuses to return to his store, to have Lorna dazzle the eyes with the latest of her fineries or ideas for new pieces, sometimes beyond the reach of the pocket. Eventually I thought that I needed to make my trips in secrecy, so that my addition would only be known to those in the store and that they would help by not publishing my love, my virtual obsession.

The Bender pieces therefore mark important rituals in my life and systematically unraveled, they tell stories about achievements, milestones and progress. For example, when myself and my husband graduated with PhDs we once more acquired Bender pieces as our gifts and investments in ourselves and our achievement.

I have no need here for confession - because this tribute freely gives insights about me and my fascination for jewelry, their construction and design that Ralf helped me to nurture. But it also speaks of the man behind the pieces. The soul that created with duty and commitment much of what we are left with as reminders of his genius and dedication.

Whether it was the latest travel, desired excursion, orange stones I wanted to acquire, design ideas I had, or the explanation for the setting I was seeing for the first time, Ralf satisfied the needs of my longstanding love for nature, exploring the world, and design. I will never forget the stories of Iceland and the reggae band Lorna and Ralf discovered, the pictures of Ecuador, the profound stories about Christmas Island.

You see, I found a kindred spirit in Ralf in so many ways, and eventually I came to know Ralf and Lorna as close friends, and often-times family. I was attracted to the quiet strength that exuded from the space that they created for their clients, and I was impressed with Ralf's comfort in the Caribbean and his deeper spirituality that could only be hinted at through his vibes and aura. Ralf provided a meeting spot for different generations and cross-sections of people traversing this space and time… He allowed us to understand that Jewelry was in and of itself an occasion that should be enjoyed and he was always patient enough to provide his clients and friends with this occasion, and of course products.

Precious and timeless is how I wish to remember him as I bask in his treasures that humbly surround me—intimately on my neck, hands and ears, almost like whispers of comfort and wisdom beckoning us to a higher more magnificent splendor.

I will remember Ralf as a man with eyes that could see the soul of anything and anyone. A man who was more in touch with spirituality that the ordinary person would have known about him. A man who lived and loved in full, and man who was entirely passionate about and dedicated to his craft.

I am not one for regrets. But if I had one it is that I did not fulfill one of my dreams of becoming a jeweler under Ralf's tutelage.

Walk good Ralf. Your soul lives on. There is only a change in your garment.

I will forever cherish you and the role you played in my life.

March 16, 2012

S Sonjah Stanley Niaah | Ph.D
Senior Lecturer, Cultural Studies, UWI

Friday, March 16, 2012

CG Greg Christie Formally Advises GG that he will Demit Office


Contractor General Formally Advises Governor General that he will Demit Office

Kingston; March 16, 2012 – Contractor General, Greg Christie, by way of letter that was dated March 15, 2012, has written to the Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen, to formally confirm that he will neither seek nor accept an extension to his initial seven (7) year term of office.

The Contractor General’s initial term of office, which is prescribed by law, is set to expire either on November 30, 2012, or sooner in the event that he chooses to take up his outstanding leave.

The Contractor General has advised the Governor General that he will consult with him as to the precise date, between July and November, on which he will officially demit office.

The Governor General, who had asked the Contractor General to accept a re-appointment to office, is vested with the authority, under Section 6 (1) of the Contractor General Act, to re-appoint a sitting Contractor General for “periods not exceeding five years at a time”.

“The depth of my gratitude for the honour which has been bestowed upon me to serve my country as Contractor General, cannot be adequately articulated by words. Neither can the deep sense of pride and satisfaction that I have come to derive in consequence thereof”, the Contractor General said in his letter.

The Contractor General also said that he wanted to place upon record his sincere gratitude to the Governor General and to the many Jamaicans who had expressed their desire, in one way or the other, that he should remain in office beyond November 30, 2012.

The full text of the Contractor General’s letter to the Governor General is appended hereto. The letter was delivered to King’s House yesterday and was copied to the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate, among other State officials.


Contact: The Communications Department, Office of the Contractor General of Jamaica
C/o Craig Beresford, Senior Director of Monitoring Operations, Corporate Communications and Special Projects
E-mail: Tel: 876-929-8560; Direct: 876-926-0034; Mobile: 876-564-1806

“March 15, 2012

His Excellency The Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, ON, GCMG, CD
Governor General of Jamaica
King’s House
Hope Road
Kingston 6

Your Excellency:

It is with a deep sense of regret that I write to formally confirm my decision that was previously given verbally to you, to demit my office as the Independent Parliamentary Commission of the Contractor General of Jamaica upon the expiration of my current seven (7) year statutory term of service.

My letter to you is accompanied with substantial sadness, particularly in light of your generous insistence, which has been consistently conveyed to me, that I should accept a reappointment for an extended term of service.

As I was appointed into office effective December 1, 2005, my current term of office will necessarily come to an end either on November 30, 2012, or sooner between the months of July and November 2012, as I presently hold to my credit some five (5) months’ outstanding vacation leave. I will, therefore, in due course, consult with you as to the precise date on which I will demit my office.

The depth of my gratitude for the honour which has been bestowed upon me to serve my country as Contractor General, cannot be adequately articulated by words. Neither can the deep sense of pride and satisfaction that I have come to derive in consequence thereof.

I can, however, say, with sincerity and humility, that I have been truly honoured to have had so much confidence reposed in me and I trust that I have not in any way disappointed those who have looked to me to do the right thing during my stewardship of office. If I, along with my committed staff to whom much is owed, have assisted, in some small way, in advancing our country’s anti-corruption institutional objectives, or the strength of its good governance structures, I would consider myself to have been uniquely blessed.

The decision that I had verbally disclosed to you, from as early as mid-2010, and on a number of occasions thereafter, that I would neither seek nor accept an extension of my initial term in office, has now been herein confirmed. However, it would be remiss of me, Your Excellency, if I did not place upon record my deep gratitude to you and to the many Jamaicans who have expressed their desire, in one way or the other, that I should remain in office beyond November 30, 2012.

The consistent support and encouragement that I have received from you, and from those of my fellow country-men who have stood behind the Office of the Contractor General throughout my tenure, has been invaluable and immeasurable. I can assure you that it has strengthened and energized my personal commitment to the faithful discharge of my mandate and, in consequence, I shall forever remain grateful to you and to them.

The provisions of the Contractor General Act of Jamaica, and the solemn Oath by which I am circumscribed, stress, inter alia, independence and the requirement that I must act, at all times, on behalf of the Parliament of Jamaica. I had, therefore, from the very outset, fully appreciated, understood and accepted that my responsibilities and functions were, by extension, to be discharged solely for and on behalf of the People and Taxpayers of Jamaica.

Having regard to the requirements of my mandates, I can unreservedly assure you, the Parliament and the People of Jamaica, that, during my tenure of service as Contractor General, I have consistently performed my functions in good faith and in the manner which is prescribed by the Contractor General Act.

I hereby pledge that until I demit my office as the Commission of the Contractor General of Jamaica, I will, to the best of my ability, continue to fearlessly serve only the collective interests of the People and Taxpayers of Jamaica, whilst faithfully discharging my functions as Contractor General.

In closing, I am only left to state that it is my fervent hope that one day the vision that my staff and I have passionately sought to advocate and nurture for Jamaica will come to pass. It is a vision of a Jamaica that is, among other things, corruption-free and, consequently, one in which the full socio-economic potential of the country and of every Jamaican can be reasonably attained.

I have copied my letter to you to the Most Honourable Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, since Section 3 of the Contractor General Act mandates that my successor must be appointed by you “after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition”.

I avail myself of this opportunity to renew to you, Your Excellency, the assurance of my highest considerations.

Very respectfully yours,

Greg Christie (Signed)
Greg Christie
Contractor General

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Who is Usain Bolt's Lubica?

He might be the world's fastest man but Usain Bolt eased up recently to plant one on his designer Belle Lubica.
- Jamaica Observer exclusive photo (click title for link)

Info below from Wikipedia

Lubica Kucerova (born 27 April 1983), also known as Lubica Slovak, is a Ryerson University graduate and designer, who was born in Slovakia, but now resides in Jamaica.

Lubica's early childhood influence was her grandmother who was a seamstress. She debuted her self titled fashion line Lubica in Toronto at the LG Fashion Week in 2005 and has created several collections under her brand: Blue, Bliss, Bloom, Toucan, & Trinity.

The Lubica line includes bikinis, resort contemporary women's wear wear and is inspired by the tropics. Lubica is also recognized for her partnership with international recording artist Tami Chynn in opening a female boutique named Belle in Kingston, Jamaica and also their collaboration is designing the award winning Anuna collection.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tyler Perry - My Feet Are Off The Ground !!!

Thank you for sharing, Neville Hoo!

'My Feet Are Off The Ground'
From Tyler Perry: Writer and Actor

This morning I awoke and was so frustrated about all of the stuff that I'm dealing
with in trying to get this studio open.

I was about to open my mouth & start complain
ing when I remembered
something that happened to me a year ago.

I was walking to my car when this woman who appeared to be homeless started walking towards me.  I'm ashamed to say this but I thought, 'I don't feel like being hustled today.'  Then I got quickly convicted.  I felt guilty so I started digging in my pocket for some money. As she got closer I noticed that she had the kindest eyes that I had ever seen.

As I was reaching into my pocket she started to speak. I thought, 'Here goes the sales pitch'.  She said 'Excuse me sir, I need some shoes. Can you help me?'  My eyes filled with water because I remember being out on the streets and having only one pair of run over shoes. 
I was taken aback for a second.

I took her inside the studio and had my wardrobe people find shoes in her size.  As she put the shoes on she started crying, praising God and thanking Jesus, and saying, 'My feet are off the ground!  My feet are off the ' ground!  Several of the wardrobe people started crying.  I was crying.  But I never forgot those words. 'My feet are off the ground!' I thought, 'Wow! All she wanted was some shoes.'  She quickly disappeared and never asked me for a dime. I realized that I still had the money in my hand so I went out looking for her. She was gone just that quick so I looked all around the neighborhood for her.  I found her standing on a corner looking down at her shoes, still crying. I was so touched. I asked her how she had gotten homeless. She told me that she had AIDS and that she was waiting to get into a shelter..  She said that her family had turned their backs on her and that she had no place to go, but she knew that God would make a way for her. I said to myself, 'He just did


' Her faith and her praise moved me.  I took her to a nearby hotel and put her up until she was able to get on her feet I had someone that worked for me to check on her from time to time and to make sure that she had food and clothes.  After about a month or so we lost touch, but I never forgot her.

This past summer I was shooting 'Daddy's Little Girls' and this woman walks up to me smiling.  I didn't recognize her face, but her eyes were familiar.  She had on a really nice dress and her hair was done.  It was her!  She told me that the little help that I had given her had changed her life.

She was in a house now and doing very well.  I said all of that to say this.  After I met this woman, every time I think about complaining and mumbling I remember, 'My feet are off the ground!'

I wanted to share this with you just to let you know that when I say that I am thankful for you, I mean it. And when I say that you are a blessing to me, I mean it.

We take so much for granted sometimes that I just wanted all of you to know that I am grateful to God for you every day. Thank you for being in my life.

~Tyler Perry

When God takes something from your grasp. He's not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better... "When someone shares something of value with you and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others" Biblical Proverb  I know you will love this.

May you all be blessed and remember that today your feet may be off the ground, tomorrow may be a different story, so when you have the blessed privileged to help someone else, I pray that you won't hesitate to do it, no matter how great or how small you think your actions are.

Be blessed!



Prof Ajai Mansingh - A Man for All Religions


by Jean Lowrie-Chin







Thursday March 1, 2012


What an honour to address this wonderful gathering! This event gives spiritual meaning to our country's motto, "Out of Many One People".  In this beautiful space, we are also demonstrating that out of many faiths we are one people – God's people.  This 'Interfaith Awareness Day' challenges us to broaden our acceptance of each other, and to be grateful that we are in a country like Jamaica, where we can practise our various religions without fear of persecution.


This was the vision of the extraordinary human being to whom I am honoured to pay tribute today. Born in Fatehpur, India, Professor Ajai Mansingh and his beloved wife Laxmi came to us via Canada.


As a UWI lecturer, he was much loved by his students, to whom he was affectionately known as "The Chief". He joined the Department of Zoology (now Life Sciences) as a Senior Lecturer in 1973.  For the next 30 years, he made a wonderful contribution through teaching and research in the fields of entomology, and pest and pesticide management. Following his retirement, he served as the first Executive Director of the Natural Products Institute at UWI. There he helped to establish the International Society for the Development of Natural Products and served as the Founding President and President Emeritus.


He shared his knowledge and experience willingly, serving as a consultant to the World Bank, the Caribbean Environmental Trust, and as a director on various committees and statutory boards. He was also a well-respected historian.


Fascinated by reports of this multi-faceted, much enlightened gentleman, I sought out and interviewed Professor Mansingh in 2009 for my column in the Observer. He was so proud of his wife and her achievements in Library Sciences. Their children are much loved and have done them proud. The Professor spoke dotingly of his grandchildren, and mourned deeply the loss of a young granddaughter.


It is interesting to note that one of Prof Mansingh's experiences helped to cement my own Christian faith. In our meeting at his home, the devout Hindu described his personal encounter with Jesus in 1987, which led to his commitment to the National Interfaith Fellowship. He said he was sitting on his porch at College Common with students when, he related: "Suddenly I saw a golden aura that I identified as Jesus Christ, and I went towards Him to receive Him."


Professor Mansingh said he felt blessed with cosmic bliss. Especially significant for today's gathering, he reported "I could see nothing but unity in the world – one Source, one unity, pure divine bliss, not man-made".


It was immediately after that experience that he got together with Rev. Dr Ashley Smith, and started the Interfaith Group which evolved into the Jamaica Council for Interfaith Fellowship. They went on to collaborate with that extraordinary man of faith, Sir Howard Cooke, then Governor General, who hosted their first meetings at King's House, and has been their inspiring Patron to this day.


In Prof Mansingh's writings, he also explored the theme of national unity. In his brilliant book, "Home Away From Home – 150 Years of Indian Presence in Jamaica," he described the rescue of the Indian indentured servants by former African slaves after they had been thrown off the estates, and left to starve, because the owners said they were not strong enough for the work in the canefields.


It was the former African slaves, who themselves had experienced great inhumanity, who assisted the Indians, sharing their scarce rations and befriending them.


In our discussion, Professor Mansingh further explained that the Africans who had been attending Christian churches, observed the Indians gathering under trees to conduct their ethnic religious ceremonies.  This inspired them to return to their African forms of worship, Christian in belief but with Hindu influences including the central table laden with food and flowers.  "There is still a revival group in August Town that serves dahl bhat at their ceremonies," he said.


Truly, in this island of Jamaica, we are repositories of so many rich traditions, and our various faiths are part of these traditions. Like Professor Mansingh, we should celebrate our diversity and open our hearts to the one precious thread of divinity which runs through all of us.

The Jamaica Council of InterFaith Fellowship demonstrates to our political parties, to the various sectors of our society that we can celebrate, not desecrate our differences.  This was the dream of Professor Ajai Mansingh.


We bless his memory and thank him, Rev Dr Ashley Smith and the InterFaith Council for standing up for God -- by standing together for His people. 

Bus ride and Negril reflections

“Whom shall we fear?”
by Jean Lowrie-Chin (from Observer column - Mon 5 March 2012)

My husband had offered to drive me to Negril, but I decided to go solo as us ‘girls’ had not caught up for a while. I was a bit nervous as I mounted the steps of the South Coast Express, recommended by PR colleague Dave Rodney. I had never travelled this far on a bus by myself, but it turned out to be a comfortable ride with clean rest stops. My friend Christine Craig, who had read from her brilliant poetry collection ‘All Things Bright’ at the Talking Trees Literary Festival in Treasure Beach, joined me in Santa Cruz.

We passed through Belmont where there were several buses parked near the Peter Tosh Mausoleum. Scores of visitors were taking photographs of the vivid beach scene, and making their way to the memorial site of this poignant Jamaican. Tosh’s voice vibrated through my consciousness: “Jah is my keeper – so whom shall I fear?”

Now a resident of Florida where our bad news dominates while good news skulks in the scroll-downs, Christine seemed a little concerned that we didn’t know which taxi would be taking us from bus to hotel. As we alighted, there was the gallant Leroy with his small JUTA van. Once we established that we were fellow ‘Westmorelites’, we chatted away like long lost cousins and so we had a trusted driver for the evening.

We had decided to visit Rick’s Café at Negril’s West End, to see its famous sunset. Even in the rain, the atmosphere was magical as buses converged and the bars became thick with Appleton-loving tourists. Though partly hidden by the clouds, the sunset brightened the sky and we were happy to tick off this ‘bucket list’imperative.

Christine was overcome by the beauty of Negril’s seven-mile beach, which she had not visited for over 20 years. Lots of tourists were enjoying themselves and a restaurant owner told us it was her best season since she had set up four years ago. The next morning, I boarded a Vacation Tours bus and headed to Montego Bay to catch a flight. Mr Garrick the driver gave us accurate Jamaican history highlights. The proud Hanoverian showed us the extensive development taking place in his hometown, Orange Bay.

However, we found our enthusiasm for Jamaica surpassed by the tourists on the bus! The Canadian said he had postponed his return three times and was now reluctantly making his way home after “five wonderful weeks”. He visits several times a year and in three years planned on making Jamaica his retirement home. The young couple from New York echoed his sentiments and said they planned to invest in Negril property, because it was their “favourite place in the world”.

Lifted by their optimism, I recalled my earlier jitters on travelling solo on a Jamaican bus, and mentally rewrote Tosh’s words: “Jamaica is a great nation: whom shall we fear?”

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Deadly prison fire highlights need for Food For The Poor prison ministry – nonviolent offenders to be freed‬

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (March 13, 2012) — Food For The Poor will release nonviolent offenders in the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras and Jamaica in time to spend Easter Holy Week with their families. These prisoners were incarcerated due to their inability to pay the required fines, even though the amounts in some cases are minimal. Sometimes by the time they are tried, they have spent years longer in jail than their prison sentence requires.‬

Since the inception of Food For The Poor's Prison Ministry Program in 1998, Food For The Poor has assisted in freeing, training and reintroducing prisoners back into the community as productive citizens.‬

‪"Prison conditions and poverty are drastically worse in developing countries than they are in the United States," said Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor. "Overcrowded prisons are common, and perpetuate the spread of disease and violence. Through Food For The Poor's Prison Ministry program, we want to help nonviolent offenders make a fresh start."‬

‪Factors cited in the recent Honduras prison fire were severe overcrowding and an unstable environment. Prisoners were reported to be suffering from malnutrition and a lack of adequate sanitation. It has also been reported that inmates with mental illnesses, as well as those with tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, are routinely held among the general prison population. Similarly, the potential spread of cholera in Haiti prisons remains a concern.‬

‪Most of the 358 inmates who were burned alive in February's fire at the Comayagua prison in Honduras had never been charged or convicted, according to reports from The Associated Press.‬

‪"This case is neither the only one nor the first in the world," said Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and a member of Food For The Poor's Board of Directors. "The humane care of prisoners is the most revealing social indicator that can describe a complete society. By promoting the process of pardons, and the acceleration of trials, prisons can be less crowded and transform detainees into good citizens."

On March 2, thanks to the generosity of Food For The Poor donors, eight nonviolent offenders at Pastoral Penitenciaria in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, had their petty fines paid, so they could be reunited with their families.‬

‪Last month, Food For The Poor donors served warm meals to approximately 560 prisoners in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. The barracks were so congested, men were forced to sit in rows on the floor and hug their knees close to their chests - taking turns to stand, and stretch out their limbs.‬

‪Most of the nonviolent offenders to be released from prisons in Haiti were jailed because they stole food to feed their starving families. Last year, one man released during Easter's Holy Week had been caught stealing food in the marketplace and had already served a two-month prison sentence because he was unable to pay the 75 cent fine.‬

‪The nonviolent offenders, renewed with hope, are led outside the prison gate. Food For The Poor representatives and partners pray with them for God's forgiveness and blessing. Just prior to their release, they are fed a warm meal, given tools, a small stipend and groceries to take home to their families. Prison authorities have found Food For The Poor's Prison Ministry Program to be so successful that they have implemented a similar program themselves. Some prisons now offer inmates jobs in the prison where they are held so that they can earn money to pay off their fines.‬

‪Twice a year – the week of Christmas and during Easter's Holy Week – the Food For The Poor Prison Ministry Program releases inmates who have committed minor offenses. The ministry is based on the scripture, "…I was in prison and you visited me," (Matthew 25: 31-46).‬

To support Food For The Poor's Prison Ministry Program, checks payable to Food For The Poor can be mailed to 6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, Fla. 33073. Please include reference number "SC# 74122" to ensure your donation is accurately routed.‬

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

Food for the Poor Inc
Saving Lives...Transforming Communities...Renewing

Kim Mahfood Williams
‪6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, FL 33073 USA‬

‪Direct Tel: 954-596-4029, Main Tel: 954-427-2222  ext 4029‬
Fax: 954-570-7654‬
Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Google's Top 12 Jamaican websites

Jamaica Observer: Jamaican News Online – the Best of Jamaican ...
Breaking news from the premier Jamaican newspaper, the Jamaica Observer. Follow Jamaican news online for free and stay informed on what's happening in ...
News - Latest News - Sports - It's Portia!

Jamaica Gleaner News Online
15 hours ago – Jamaica Gleaner News at every turn seven days a week featuring Jamaican Sports, Island Business, Health, Education,Entertainment, ...

Lead Stories - News - Sports - Archives

News for jamaica
The Associated Press

Police Shootings Prompt Outrage In Jamaica
NPR‎ - 17 minutes ago
by AP KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Security personnel armed with M16s and machine guns manned roadblocks and detained dozens of young men Thursday as part of a ...

Prince Harry 'charms' on Jamaican tour
BBC News‎ - 5 hours ago
Jamaica 50: Advancing women's citizenship
Jamaica Gleaner‎ - 18 hours ago


JSE : Jamaica Stock Exchange
Provides details of listed companies, archived annual news headlines, list of brokers, publications, statistics and general stock market information.
You've visited this page 3 times. Last visit: 3/1/12

Jamaica - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jamaica Listen/dʒəˈmeɪkə/ is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, 234 kilometres (145 mi) in length, up to 80 kilometres (50 mi) in width and 10990 square ...

Visit Jamaica
Visit Jamaica is a travel and tourism site that provides all the information, photographs and tools you need to plan and purchase your ideal Jamaica vacation

Home | RJR News
The Jamaica Labour Party is taking steps to expel three of it members for breaching ... Jamaica's first Credit Bureau ... Jamaican to chair WTO Negotiating Group ...

Jamaica Information Service (JIS) - Government of Jamaica News ...
Jamaica Information Service (JIS) is the information arm of the Government of Jamaica that gathers and disseminates news and information on Government ...

Jamaica online takes a real look at Jamaica and Jamaican culture with recipes guides to patois, reggae, how to be a tourist, Negril, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, ...
Jamaica Travel Information and Travel Guide - Lonely Planet
7 Feb 2012 – Jamaica tourism and travel information including facts, maps, history, culture, transport and weather in Jamaica. Find popular places to visit in ...
Government of Jamaica - Cabinet Office
The Cabinet of the Government of Jamaica is the principal instrument of government policy. It consists of the Prime Minister, and a minimum of thirteen other ...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Wreath-Laying Ceremony March 8 for Lady Bustamante Centenary

The Bustamante Foundation, chaired by Mr Seragh Lakasingh, has organised a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the 100th birthday of Lady Bustamante at National Heroes Park this Thursday, March 8 at 5:00pm. Wife and life-long supporter of National Hero, Sir Alexander Bustamante, Lady Bustamante, born Gladys Longbridge was one of the leading figures in the struggle for worker’s rights and Jamaican self-government.

It is co-incidental that International Women’s Day was established on the birthday of this extraordinary Jamaican woman, who was born to a humble family in Westmoreland. Lady Bustamante passed away on the 25th July 2009 and was interred alongside her husband at National Heroes Park.

Prayers will be offered by Most Rev Archbishop Charles Dufour and the wreath will be laid by Most Hon Edward Seaga. The public is invited to attend.


Great story here --->

Sender: Anthony Turner

Sent: Mar 7, 2012 7:33 AM

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   AWARD-WINNING GERMAN REGGAE ARTIST GENTLEMAN EXCITED ABOUT DEBUT NYC PERFORMANCE   New York: With six albums under his belt and over one million collectively sold in Europe, German's multi-platinum and award-winning reggae artist Gentleman is fired up about his first major North and South America tour this month. The tour billed the "Gentleman & The Evolution Diversity tour," includes a west coast run supporting SOJA that will make stops in San Francisco; Santa Cruz; Hollywood & San Diego, California; Falls Church, Virginia and New York City.  
Earlier this week Gentleman did a private meet & greet and an intimate performance at Universal Music. He did interviews on MTV Iggy in Times Square; Intiative Radio (an NPR-affiliated radio program that is syndicated to over 10 markets in the North East and Nashville) and Irie Jam radio, 93.5FM, the loudest voice to the Caribbean Diaspora in NY. He also did an acoustic performance and an interview on Sirius XM's 'The Joint' with host Pat McKay. His debut live performance at Le Poisson Rounge in Manhattan, New York will take place on Tuesday, March 13 with special guest singer Richie Stephens.  "I am extremely excited about my debut performance in New York, home to the largest Jamaican population in the Diaspora. Any opportunity I get to perform for my Caribbean fans is an opportunity I cherish" the German sinjay noted. 
Gentleman's North and South American tour is in support of his VP Records album titled Diversity that was released in February. The international version of the album already sold Gold (more than 100,000 units) and charted at #1 in Germany as well as #2 in Switzerland and Austria and is the follow-up to his Europe platinum-selling record Confidence.
On Diversity, Gentleman stays true to his first musical love - roots reggae - teaming up with top Jamaican recording artist Tanya Stephens; the late Studio One veteran and dancehall pioneer Sugar Minott; Christopher Martin and producers Don Corleon, Red Roze, Shane Brown, Xterminator and Firehouse Crew.
Gentleman, the son of a Lutheran pastor was drawn to reggae's revolutionary spirit and truth-seeking lyrics ever since he was introduced to the island's sounds. He has since had a string of solo hits and platinum-selling records in Europe. He won Best National Artist five times for three different award shows (Echo Award 2003 & 2005, Comet Award 2005, 1Live Radio Award 2004 & 2005) and has been nominated twice for Best Reggae Artist (Martin 2004 Awards and Reggae and Soca Awards). He has collaborated with artists ranging from pop superstars Pink and Destiny's Child to reggae legends Michael Franti & Spearhead and Barrington Levy.
Last summer he teamed with Richie Stephens on the tribute single "Live Your Life" which topped reggae charts in Florida and Jamaica and was voted "Song of the Year 2011" in New York by Irie Jam Radio. Their follow up single/video 'Warrior,' has already started to make inroads on the play list of stations across the globe.
Earlier this year, Gentleman delivered a riveting live rendition of "Live Your Life" at the 16th annual Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival, where he was a special invited guest of Stephens. Their performance was hailed as one of the highlights of the festival.   

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bloomberg corrects statement made by PM Portia Simpson Miller

RJR News | 5 March 2012

Bloomberg News has made a correction to an article published on March 2, which quoted Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller as describing the Jamaica Debt Exchange programme, JDX, as a failure.

In a publication Saturday, Bloomberg corrected the statement made by the Prime Minister and added a comment from the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party, on the issue.

The correction quoted Mrs Simpson-Miller as saying that an IMF accord that included a 1.27 billion dollar loan fell apart after the previous administration failed to share information with the Washington-based lender for almost a year.

It added that the prime minister said the loan had been linked to the successful swap of 7.8 billion dollars of local bonds in 2010, for securities with longer maturities and lower interest rates.

Bloomberg, in its reworked story, said that an official with the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party called Mrs. Simpson Miller's statements inaccurate.

According to Saturday’s publication, Audley Shaw, Opposition Spokesman on Finance, has said "There was no failure to share information with the IMF for one year."

On Friday, the original article published by Bloomberg drew the ire of the former Finance Minister, who blasted the Prime Minister, and demanded that the story be corrected in order to preserve Jamaica's reputation on the international capital market.

However, Jamaica House said at no time during the interview with Bloomberg did the Prime Minister make any mention of the JDX programme.

A senior official said the original quote attributed to Mrs Simpson Miller was erroneous and that a retraction would be demanded.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ackee and salt fish number two in the World Top Ten

From Ruby Martin ...

I came across an article in National Geographic which rated Jamaica 's national dish, ackee and salt fish, as No. 2 in a list of the top 10 national dishes from around the world.

This may seem like a matter of little consequence to the average person, but I was really thrilled to see another positive story about our country in the international media, since we are so often pilloried and beaten down by others. I was a little indifferent to the fact that hamburger was rated number one, nonetheless, I felt good that there is strong acceptability of our culinary delights by others outside Jamaica .

It matters not that salt fish (cod) is not a native of the island. Our motto, 'Out of Many, One People', speaks to the diversity of our people and Jamaica 's cuisine has always been open to foreign influences. Think curried goat, mackerel and bananas. We have found a way to combine salt fish with the exotic yellow fruit and made it into something distinct and delectable.

For me, nothing beats a meal of ackee and salt fish. It's such a versatile dish that it can be served with roast breadfruit, boiled yam and bananas, fried dumplings, festival, and bammy. Although commonly served at breakfast, it can be had for lunch and dinner and I have seen some creative people use it for cocktails as a dip with breadfruit slices. Are you hungry yet? Jamaicans are always in concert with their tastes and this rating by as prestigious a publication as National Geographic puts our little country way up on the world's cuisine map.

O, how the Jamaica Tourist Board and the Ministry of Tourism are missing out on opportunities to play up such positive endorsements. I submit that no visitor to the island should escape a taste of ackee and salt fish because, as they say, 'If you have it, flaunt it.'

Friday, March 2, 2012


Our Team certainly enjoyed these Digicel $8.99 Flat Rate Cupcakes - talk about a Sweet Deal!
Release with details below:



Jacqueline Burrell-Clarke


+1876 470 9131  



Only JA$8.99 per minute – with per second billing

Friday, March 2, 2012 - Kingston, Jamaica: As the champions of competition in the Jamaica telecoms market, Digicel today unveiled its latest and greatest rate option with Digicel prepaid customers benefiting from a calling rate of only JA$8.99 per minute to any number, on any local network, at any time - with per second billing.


Always focused on delivering best value to customers – Digicel is proud to once again be ushering in a new dawn in the telecoms industry with its new 'One Rate Option' and the imminent launch of 4G Mobile. By putting paid to differences in 'on network' and 'cross network' rates and 'peak' and 'off peak' rates, Digicel is again putting the power firmly in the hands of consumers.

All prepaid customers can take advantage of this amazing option by dialing *155# for free then pressing 'send'. And to ensure that Digicel customers continue to benefit from the best of the best when it comes to value, they will still be able to avail of Digicel's Gimme Five promotion which delivers best value on texting and local and international calling. Options for postpaid customers will be launched later in March.


Mark Linehan, CEO of Digicel Jamaica, comments; "We are always ensuring that we deliver on our commitments to delivering best value, best network and best service and today we are happy to be delivering yet another best value option for our customers. With Digicel's 'One Rate Option' to any number, on any local network, at any time, there is only one number that customers need to remember – and that's $8.99.


"This latest move once again demonstrates that, at Digicel, customers come first. The simple fact is that with Digicel, your credit lasts longer."






After ten years of operation, Digicel Group Limited has over 11 million customers across its 31 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, 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.