Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jamaica leads the Western Hemisphere in press freedom

PAJ President Jenni Campbell

Kingston, Jamaica - January 30, 2013: The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) is heartened by the 2013 Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders, which shows Jamaica leading the Western Hemisphere in press freedom.
Ranked 13th in the world, Jamaica has replaced Canada as the country with the greatest level of press freedom in the Hemisphere, an achievement which every Jamaican should guard jealously.
In welcoming the latest ranking, PAJ President Jenni Campbell applauded State actors including the political leadership and members of the security forces who, by and large, have allowed journalists to do their work without restrictions.
However Ms. Campbell noted that Jamaica's ranking could be even higher if the planned reform of the archaic libel and defamation law is done.
"The libel and defamation laws remain the greatest restrictions for Jamaican journalists who want to get on with the job of informing the nation fearlessly and unbiased," said Miss Campbell.
 "The freedom of the local media is a significant achievement for the country and I am challenging the Portia Simpson Miller-led administration to stick to its word of tabling the amended legislation in Parliament before the end of this legislative year."
Contact: Arthur Hall - 2nd Vice President
C/0 922-3400

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Monday, January 28, 2013

‘It is cool to be bright’

by Jean Lowrie-Chin | Observer column | 28 January 2013

TARRANT High School is a microcosm of today’s Jamaica. Here we have a dedicated principal, Garfield Higgins, who has convinced his students that ‘it is cool to be bright’, losing the support of some of his teachers because he is a stickler for excellence.
HIGGINS… in 10 years, my objective is to have your perception so altered that you will choose Tarrant as your first choice
We had read about Mr Higgins in a feature written last February by Observer reporter Denise Dennis who noted that the school, which had introduced a sixth form just five years before, boasted 100 per cent CAPE passes in communication studies, food and nutrition, management of business, as well as art and design.
The school’s inspiring principal has his ‘Vision 2022’ well in place: “In 10 years, my objective is to have your perception so altered that you will choose Tarrant as your first choice,” he told Dennis. “And how do we achieve this? By increasing the output of the quality of passes that we get at the school.”
The report continued: “He added that he was not in the “business of bellyaching” that they do not get the best students. ‘We don’t get the best students, so what? We have to [make] do with what we get, and we can’t sit down and twiddle our thumbs and not do what we need to do, which is to educate people’s children. I am firm on that,’ Higgins said.”
Higgins may be a dream to his students and their parents, but it seems he is a nightmare for some teachers, thank God, in the minority, as he told a news reporter last week. Those teachers have a problem with attendance and punctuality, and do not want to stop their selling activities at the school!
Indeed, they had a demonstration against Mr Higgins. One day last week, some refused to take classes for several hours, although they were present at the school. One wonders if they will be paid for that day out of the country’s meagre resources.
We hope that the Jamaica Teachers’ Association and the Ministry of Education will be of one clear voice in their expectations of our teachers. The National Education Association in the US has been emphasising accountability and productivity in the profession, acknowledging that even as its mandate is to protect the rights of its members, uppermost must be the national imperative for quality education delivered by quality teachers.
The situation at Tarrant High is replicated across the land, where valiant Jamaicans who are trying to serve with excellence are reviled and sometimes ostracised. I have dubbed this ‘a conspiracy of mediocrity’ — lazy, corrupt managers and workers preserving their comfort zone by sidelining intelligent, enthusiastic producers. Excellence and accountability are anathema to the corruption that is practised in high and low places.
In that brave production by National Integrity Action (NIA), The Cost of Corruption broadcast on television recently, we saw the disgrace of Operation Pride, where millions of dollars have disappeared.
We saw the obstacles put in the way of the Financial Services Commission as they tried to bring Olint to heel. Justice was served eventually on Olint’s David Smith in the US, while we dragged our feet despite evidence that the majority of those burned by the scheme were Jamaicans.
The authorities in the US are trying to locate and return monies to US based investors — the Jamaicans have had to kiss theirs goodbye. NIA head Professor Trevor Munroe suggested that because both political parties had received big campaign bucks from Olint, there was no hurry to bring Smith to justice here.
The documentary also featured criminologist Professor Anthony Harriott explaining how ‘dons’ were allowed to embed themselves in communities. As we rightly show concern for the lives lost in the Tivoli operation to capture Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, we should take note of Professor Harriott’s observations.
He said that weeks before the operation, the community had been highly mobilised. He referred to a demonstration against the authorities by about 800 women wearing white, some of them bearing placards announcing ‘We will die for Dudus’. He reminded us of attacks against the State, with the murder of police officers and the burning of police stations. He said approximately 400 persons were involved in the armed defence of Tivoli. After the operation he said, “Almost 100 weapons were found including 45 rifles, grenades — pretty sophisticated stuff.”
This is what faced our security forces when they advanced on the community. No wonder the poor public defender Earl Witter is ill. How do you gather facts for a situation like this, where guilty and innocent alike were caught up in so much illegal firepower?
And so, as gangs still continue to fight for a foothold in our country, fuelled by the millions they have scammed from terrorised US retirees, we have to thank the US for pushing us to enact laws to fight this plague. We beg them to help us expedite the anti-gang legislation that keeps moving to the back of the line.
We also dearly hope that come March of this year, political campaign financing legislation will be passed, as it has already been adopted by Parliament. If that well researched reform drafted by the Electoral Commission of Jamaica had been on the law books, political parties would not have been able to accept donations from an organisation such as Olint. Thus, David Smith would not have been cosseted for such an extended period, and many families would have been spared from his wily ways.
We see that the scrap metal trade will resume today, even as our utility companies quake at the prospect. No one is trying to deprive folks of an honest living, and so we hope that the promises of stricter monitoring will be kept.
On behalf of Principal Higgins and all hard-working and truly patriotic Jamaicans, let us expose and address this pervasive conspiracy of mediocrity and corruption. And let us jettison anyone who would stand in the way of solid governance, the only way to give our economy a fair chance at recovery.

Read more:

  • Mocho a day ago
    Jean, you are onto something. I am not able to understand why they fight so hard for the status quo or to be maintain mediocrity. All I can say, more power to Garfield Higgins and to encourage him to continue to "block out the noise" - that is all it is. The picture of those kids in the computer lab look like they want to learn so why should anyone stand in thier way?

  • Joycelin Clarke a day ago
    I urge you Mr Higgins to continue to sell your vision. Not all will come on board but as you set sail those who see the light and are willing come on board because they don't want to be left behind. Those who are still in resistance mode will be left behind as the ship leaves the harbour.
    Leadership is not an easy task but worth all the effort you can give to it. Some teachers are too comfortable and will do anything to resist postive change but change is the only thing that is constant, so continue what you are doing. I have been there and understand the situation but maintaining the status quo which is not good is only a recipe for disaster. Keep the faith Mr Higgins; soon some of your opponents will laud you your effort.

  • Guest 21 hours ago
    Your column as always is a great informative piece that enlightened my spirit like the beautiful snow outside. I am not familiar with the other developments of the school as mentioned in one of the comments but I applaud the Principal's efforts to encourage teachers to attach performance (implied) to levels of compensation. The private sector does have periodic Performance Appraisals to which compensations are tied.
  • tyroneosborne a day ago
    Any effort to assist children to be their best should always be encouraged. In a few instances being a brilliant student will attract evil enemies even within your own family. Children needs all the support and the necessary tools to make learning fun and easier. Jamaica's future is tied to the education of our children. There are some vices in Jamaica that is well know to high up political figures,we need not even say them since the public knows then too well !

    • NikkiNikki tyroneosborne a day ago
      It is obvious that Jamaicans are concerned for the welfare of its children but trust me when i write ' all that glitters is not gold. Has anyone asked them self why Mr. Higgins was fired by the Schools Board. It can't simply be that he is being ousted because he is a nightmare for some teachers. I put it to you that Mr. Higgins is "bellyaching", squealing as loudly as he possible can to drum up support from parents, and unsuspecting Jamaicans who are not in the know.
      Mrs. Jean Lowrie - Chin please note according to Mr. Higgins the school is doing exceptionally well. He points to the Sixth Form programme started five years earlier with its 100% passes and the best CSEC grades two years ago. All this was achieved with the teachers who have issues of "punctuality, attendance and are non performers."

Friday, January 25, 2013

Scrap metal trade making folks nervous!

Nationwide Newsnet - from NNN's Facebook page
In Public Opinion we ask, "Are you looking forward to the reopening of the scrap metal trade on Monday?"


I am more looking forward to what measures am going to come up with to protect my garbage bin, my gate and even my vehicles....
Errol Washington Hobson Certainly not...anything that support 'POOR MAN FI EAT A FOOD' is always going to be a destruction to the very fabric of the country. The same problems are going to continue no matter what measures they put in. Mark My Word.
Kareem Constantine I am for multiple reasons, most importantly to see how the government will handle the situation this time around to ensure private property is illegally traded, and for the fact that it is a major source of income for many.
Oral ShowtimeExtreme Campbell I'll be looking out for a Scrap Metal Trade that will deprive me of my TV aNtenna, my Gas cylinder, my Grill on my house that is used to protect me and family, a Scrap Metal trade that will have intruders brake in my house to steal my pots, pans, knives...See More

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

RIP Heather Little-White - valiant Sister!

Heather Little-White - “My spirit continues to soar” - message from Heather on the 11th Anniversary of becoming a paraplegic

Tuesday July 6, 2010 marks eleven 11 years since I became a paraplegic as result of a car-jacking attempt in upper St Andrew in 1999. How time flies!

2010 has not been with out its challenges especially since the robbery I experienced in April. I am still hurting physically and mentally from the experience. However, I am thankful to be alive at a time when so many of our friends and family are dying for one reason or the other. I am inspired by the saying “when life gives us 100 reasons to cry, show life that you have 1000 reasons to smile.”

My spirit continues to soar with your continued expressions of love and support. I continuously give thanks for life and to know that with love and support from family and friends like you I am motivated to continue to make a meaningful contribution to people from all walks of life.  As a result of the second violent attack on my person, I will be establishing an NGO to help our young men. I anticipate your usual support as soon as this is established.

My friends, you are important to my life and when I count my blessings I always think of you. I know I could not have gotten though this experience without your love and support. I appreciate you more than you know and I thank God that you are a part of my life.


Heather Little-White

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Dress - by Jason Wu again!

As she did in 2009, first lady Michelle Obama wore a gown designed by Jason Wu for this year's inaugural balls.

Updated at 9:45 p.m. ET:
Just like in 2009, first lady Michelle Obama donned a dazzling gown designed by Jason Wu for the inaugural balls.
Mrs. Obama sashayed and swayed in the custom ruby-colored chiffon and velvet gown while slow-dancing with her husband to Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," performed by Jennifer Hudson.
The first lady also wore a handmade diamond embellished ring by jewelry designer Kimberly McDonald and shoes by Jimmy Choo.

Click here for more:

The First Dance!

Highlights of the President Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama's first dance at the Commander-in-Chief's Inaugural Ball! Jennifer Hudson sang 'I'm so in love with you' - later they were joined by two Army officers.

Taken with my trusty  BlackBerry® from Digicel

Jamaica’s blessed gene-pool

Observer column for MON 21 JAN 2013 | by Jean Lowrie-Chin
Michael Holding - photo from Wikipedia

Michael Holding, Jamaica’s legendary fast-bowler and now a sought-after cricket commentator, took us for a refreshing swim in Jamaica’s gene-pool at the recent RJR National Sportswoman and Sportsman Awards.  He recounted the exploits of our athletes, beginning with the iconic George Headley whose record double-century at the Lord’s Cricket Ground stood for 51 years from 1939 to 1990. He reminded us that our first Olympic Gold was reaped in 1948 by Arthur Wint and that Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce were the latest links in our chain of victories.

Merlene Ottey
He vividly projected in our mind’s eye, Don Quarrie’s Gold in the Montreal Olympics, Courtney Walsh’s long-standing record for the most Test wickets, the Reggae Boyz exciting entry into France’s World Cup arena, the reign of John Barnes as one of England’s finest League players, crowned by his captaincy of Liverpool, and Mike McCallum’s WBA Junior Middleweight Title.

As we glowed in these triumphs, Michael Holding told us that our Merlene Ottey still holds the record of having 9 Olympic medals, the most reaped by any woman in the history in the Olympics.  He hailed Deon Hemmings for being the first Jamaican woman to bring home the Gold from the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.  He said we should not forget that David Weller won us our first non-track-and-field medal in cycling in the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
Patrick Ewing

He said the replication of Bob Marley’s image worldwide is only matched by that of Che Guevara and Usain Bolt’s ‘To the world’ gesture is practised by celebrities (including Prince Harry) in every corner of the earth.
 He went further afield, reminding us that celebrated basketball player Patrick Ewing, retired from the New York Knicks in 2003 and football headliner Patrick Chung of the New England Patriots were both born in Jamaica. Ndamukong Suh, a recent sensation with the Detroit Lions is also of Jamaican parentage – his mother is Bernadette Lennon from Spanish Town, St. Catherine.  General Colin Powell is of Jamaican parentage and Dr Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations has Jamaican grandparents.

Then the light-hearted Mike Holding of my youth became very serious.  He was concerned about the violence in our beloved Jamaica, the bad press and asked us to devote ourselves to creating safe havens where this marvelous energy can be channeled.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Usain Bolt
“All our greats had abundant talent,” he said, “but it didn’t end there.”  He said Headley trained by swimming longer and longer distances in the Kingston Harbour.  And here we remember the brave Sarah Newland, winning the Kingston Harbour swim in spite of her physical disability.  He recalled a documentary on Bolt, showing him being sick after a grueling training session: “This kind of hard work shows us that fame comes from not just eating yellow yam.”
There is one other significant factor that revealed itself when Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce stood before the microphone, holding their awards: faith in God.  Said Shelly-Ann, “I give thanks to the Almighty” and Usain, “I thank God.”  This is the faith of our fathers and mothers that follows us in their whispered prayers wherever we go. 

The safe havens called for by Michael Holding are being created out of that faith – sports and community clubs, homework centres and youth groups in our multitude of churches. Faith in God and in Jamaica inspired Governor General Sir Patrick Allen and Lady Allen to launch the ‘I Believe’ Initiative (IBI) which last year established two ‘I Believe’ Communities in Westmoreland and St. Catherine, and will focus on career development, youth entrepreneurship and parenting skills this year.

All our religious denominations have created institutions and projects to educate and empower our people.  Let those who are dedicating their resources to the betterment of Jamaica, make their voices heard in condemning the acts of violence and corruption that are undermining their good work.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Readings - Jesus transforms water to wine!

 Second Sunday in Ordinary Time | Lectionary: 66

Dawn - from

Reading 1 Isaiah 62:1-5

For Zion’s sake I will not be silent,
for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her vindication shines forth like the dawn
and her victory like a burning torch.

Nations shall behold your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
you shall be called by a new name
pronounced by the mouth of the LORD.
You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD,
a royal diadem held by your God.
No more shall people call you “Forsaken, “
or your land “Desolate, “
but you shall be called “My Delight, “
and your land “Espoused.”
For the LORD delights in you
and makes your land his spouse.
As a young man marries a virgin,
your Builder shall marry you;
and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride
so shall your God rejoice in you. 
Brothers and sisters:
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.
To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom;
to another, the expression of knowledge according to the
same Spirit;
to another, faith by the same Spirit;
to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit;
to another, mighty deeds;
to another, prophecy;
to another, discernment of spirits;
to another, varieties of tongues;
to another, interpretation of tongues.
But one and the same Spirit produces all of these,
distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.

Gospel John 2:1-11


There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee,
and the mother of Jesus was there.
Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.
When the wine ran short,
the mother of Jesus said to him,
“They have no wine.”
And Jesus said to her,
“Woman, how does your concern affect me?
My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servers,
“Do whatever he tells you.”
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings,
each holding twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus told the them,
“Fill the jars with water.”
So they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them,
“Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.”
So they took it.
And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine,
without knowing where it came from
— although the servers who had drawn the water knew —,
the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him,
“Everyone serves good wine first,
and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one;
but you have kept the good wine until now.”
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee
and so revealed his glory,
and his disciples began to believe in him.

Returns stolen rings - 15 years later

So remember - if it's not yours - leave it alone! BTW - still waiting for apology from that person who read excerpts from my book 'Souldance' as part of their speech - without attributing them to me!  (photo from )

Friday, January 18, 2013

President Obama's new portrait

WASHINGTON (KABC) -- The White House released a new official portrait of President Barack Obama, just days away from his second inauguration.

The photograph, taken in the oval office last month, shows Mr. Obama smiling broadly with his arms crossed. It was taken by official White House photographer Pete Souza.

In a video released by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, the president talked about the meaning of the upcoming ceremony.

"The theme of this year's inauguration is 'Our People, Our Future.' I really believe that when our people are succeeding, when they've got the tools that they need to get a great education, get a good job, look after their kids, have some basic security, that there's nothing that can stop America," the president said.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Renowned Educator Dahlia Repole passes

Thursday 17 January 2013 – Former Principal of St. Andrew High School for Girls and more recently Excelsior Community College, Dr. Dahlia Repole CD, JP, passed away this morning after a valiant struggle with pancreatic cancer.

In March 2010 she made public her diagnosis, saying, "People need to be more aware of the risk factors associated with pancreatic cancer. If my fight with this disease can benefit others, why should I keep it a secret? To help another person makes all of this worth it."

Dr. Dahlia Repole gave over 40 years of selfless dedicated service in the field of education to the people and country of Jamaica. She served as Principal of St Andrew High School for Girls for 12 years, and later Principal of Excelsior Community College for nine years. She was recognized at the highest levels for her contribution to education, both locally (Order of Distinction - Commander Class) and overseas (Pioneer work in community colleges from the Community Colleges Baccalaureate Association, USA).

In a statement, The St Andrew High School said that the school community "mourns the loss of one of its most illustrious daughters, Dr Dahlia Winsome Repole."

They continued: "She epitomized the school's motto of Life More Abundant – excelling academically and professionally as well as in sports. She not only represented her school and Jamaica in hockey but she was also a charismatic and effective science teacher, head of department, Vice Principal and the only Old Girl to serve as Principal of her alma mater.

"We mourn our loving, caring, creative fellow student, teacher, colleague, Principal and friend, and we offer our sincere condolences to her family, friends and the entire community of educators in Jamaica."

In a 2010 citation on her retirement, The Excelsior Community College lauded Dr. Repole for her enthusiasm and passion for excellence, her concern and positive action for the less privileged and her outstanding vision and leadership, strategic thinking and commercial acumen.

"Under her stewardship," the citation noted, "Excelsior Community College experienced growth and institutional strengthening, as manifested in the improved programme offerings and accreditation by the University Council of Jamaica." This led to the introduction of Bachelor's degrees, expanding enrollment and new campuses in St. Thomas, St. Mary and two locations in Kingston. It also included the establishment of a Community Empowerment Programme in answer to worrying levels of strife in the College's surroundings.

The glowing citation noted her wide volunteer services, her quiet championship of diversity and equal opportunity, and establishment of dynamic partnerships for the College, locally and internationally.

Dr. Repole served on the Boards of numerous charitable organizations and gave courageous and dedicated service for her country, including in her capacity as a Justice of the Peace. In addition to the CD and Pioneer Awards mentioned above, she was honoured with the Prime Minister's Medal of appreciation and the Kingston Bookshop Award, for services in the field of education. As well, a building was named in her honour by her alma mater, St. Andrew High School.

Dr. Repole received strong support from family and friends, who joined together to form The Dahlia Repole Foundation (TDRF). Fund-raising towards Dr. Repole's treatment was the initial goal of TDRF, but the scope broadened much further.

"My mother's diagnosis with pancan (pancreatic cancer) was devastating," said Anika Repole Wilson, daughter of Dr. Repole and a Director of TDRF. "But it became apparent that others need to be in the know of this disease. Pancan does not discriminate, and we hope that by lending my mother's name to this cause"

Mrs Repole is survived by her children Kenzo and Ida-Chloe Anika; stepchildren Diane, Franz and Leon; a wealth of nieces and nephews whom she regarded as her own; her brothers, other family members, friends, colleagues and students.

Contact: Anika Repole Wilson – 876.354.7729

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sidjae says: 'Walk the Talk!'

Sidjae Robinson Walia

"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."  -  Jim Rohn

You have a big dream for your team and your organization. You are excited about it ... for one week! Life happens and the dream is placed on hold. There will always be fires to put out. There will always be "more urgent" matters! The questions that emerge are: Is the dream big enough to generate long term excitement? How important is it to your sustained survival and growth? What is really stopping you from moving it forward?

In 2001, in a survey of 9 health organizations, Aetna was number 9 on Fortune's list of most admired health care company. They were also a loss making entity and had a negative earnings per share. Ronald A. Williams had a vision for the organization which involved articulating and living the values of the organization. They developed what has been branded as "The Aetna Way" and rolled it out throughout the organization. In over 200 speeches that he made to the staff members, each one began with the values and their importance to the organization. An annual survey informed them about how well they were "talking and walking the talk". In 2004, the organization returned to profitability and moved to number 4 on the Fortune rankings. In 2008, it moved to number 1 and became an industry leader in the health care sector.

How big is your dream for your organization? How committed are you to realizing your vision? What steps have you taken to move from motivation to habit? 

To Your Unlimited Possibilities,

Leading Change: A Conversation with Ron Williams. Retrieved from


Sidjae Walia
Training that expands your mind and life
"The mind, once expanded to dimensions of bigger ideas, never returns to its original size" - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Twitter ID:
(647) 927 9289

*Certified to administer the MBTI for individuals and groups. Give me a call if you are interested in learning how your personality impacts your work, team, and personal life.*

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

PM should look to Master Plan

Jamaica Observer column | 14 January 2013 
by Jean Lowrie-Chin
(revised for Blog)

Prime Minister Simpson Miller

Imagine if the prime minister had opened her speech with: "Fellow Jamaicans, my Government would like to show solidarity with you our people. My Cabinet and members of parliament have decided to take a 10 per cent pay cut. All the advisors we have hired have also agreed to have their fees rolled back."

Such an opening would have wiped away our cynicism. Instead, we were given a pale performance, mercifully in a short 15 minutes. I admit that some solid work has been done in the past 12 months in most ministries, but it really has not been a sparkling first year.

I do not believe the PM was adequately served when she faced the teleprompter to have her address to the nation recorded. Barbara Gloudon's Pantomime, Schoolaz (catch it soon — it's great fun) has a comical take on how audiences get into a stupor when speeches miss the mark.

National Hero Marcus Mosiah Garvey
Nothing beats inspiring content and credibility. It is puzzling that our leaders are not quoting Jamaica's first national hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, in their speeches — talk about power and purpose! Imagine using this moving Garvey quote: "The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself, but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity." When the speaker gives the word, the receiver needs to believe in the speaker's sincerity to be in any way moved. Garvey took risks, sailed the high seas, went to jail for his beliefs. The Jamaican people are really not sure if any active politician has a fire in his or her belly for the nation, or just a belly for power.

The Jamaican public should know that the country does have a way out of this slump: a Master Rationalisation Plan (MRP) for Jamaica's public sector developed over three years in consultation with the Permanent Secretaries' Board, inspired by successful international models and supported by grants from the UNDP and IADB.
This was accomplished by the Public Sector Transformation Unit (PSTU) headed by the excellent Patricia Sinclair-McCalla, whose mandate was "to facilitate the establishment of an efficient, responsive and cost-effective framework of operations for the public sector, consistent with good governance, in order to promote national growth and development."

A voluntary body called the Consultative Monitoring Group (CMG) spent long hours reviewing findings and making recommendations for this comprehensive MRP. The CMG was chaired by that unflagging patriot, Peter Moses, city country officer, Citibank Jamaica. Other members were Ambassador Douglas Saunders, cabinet secretary; Dr Wesley Hughes, former financial secretary; Professor Alvin Wint, University of the West Indies (UWI); Wayne Jones, trade union representative; and yours truly.

So impressive is the MRP, that it is being viewed as a model to be used in several other countries. Unfortunately, only 20 per cent of the recommendations have so far been accepted by our Cabinet for implementation. There is, of course, a great deal of fear surrounding job cuts, but there are many public servants who are about to retire, and those may well make up the majority of cuts needed.

There are also models of privatisation that can be applied for certain agencies and departments, such as the Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP) implemented at the former Government Printing Office.
And so we are back at Marcus Garvey, whose gospel of self-reliance is what our leaders should be preaching. Why are we not more dedicated to Garvey's philosophy? Is it because once a man is educated, he will no longer want to hang out of a bus window ringing a bell or waving an orange flag? Is it because education will prevent folks from swallowing those platform platitudes?

"Transformation of the public sector is an imperative that must be dealt with expeditiously if the country is to move forward in achieving national growth and development," wrote Mrs Sinclair-McCalla in her December progress report published on the Cabinet Office website. "The political will to make this happen is critical for this to be a reality."
Having been so up close and personal to the work of the PSTU, and having worked with another public body, the EAC/ECJ as they reformed our electoral system, I know how complex and difficult change can be.

The reason that the then EAC was able to reform those laws eventually was that there was consensus among the political parties and strong independent members. I hope therefore that the next step will be for Government to form such a group so they can agree on the way forward for this important Master Rationalisation Plan. Hopefully, this plan and willing hands were the stars of the just concluded Cabinet retreat.

  • DT a day ago

    All these speakers do is speak, they have no action in them and this is because they have no idea how to fix the problems. The govt was elected by the people to serve the people but they are only serving themselves. The JLP took a paycut and ask the PNP to follow suit but they refused. This goes to show that they are there only for the money and not to serve the Jamaican poeple. If you are a bank manager, store manager or a factory worker and you are not performing up to standard on a consistent basis you will be terminated. In Ja politics you can underperform, steal, cheat and lie and not only remain in the job you will also get a pay increase. Only god can help Ja.

  • Tom Stroke a day ago

    The more I read how great Mama P can be, is
    the more I am happy I removed my children from Jamaica. For what is a great speech, when it appears that if the PNP is travelling from Constant Spring to Stony Hill they cannot even negotiate the corner called ‘Red Gal Ring’ much less negotiate an IMF deal? This is precisely the problem with Jamaica, many spent the decade of the 1970s listening to Michael Manly and gazing up on his portrait hanging on their wall, meanwhile Jamaica fell apart. As grandma often warn: “do not listen to the noise of the market, but mek sure you get you correct change”, I am happy my children will not be exposed to the ravages of the PNP the way I was. Thanks IMF for insisting for the right things to be done for Jamaica
    to move forward.

    • PLBOGLE Tom Stroke 21 hours ago

      Uncle Tom, please let Michael Manly rest in peace! How much the world has changed from the 1970s? We now have internet, cell phone, flat screen TV, run flat tires, and iPad tablet. We can no longer blame Michael Manly for our failures.

      • Tom Stroke PLBOGLE 18 hours ago

        I do not want to sound harsh brother-man, however such simplistic argument as the one you presented here is another obstacle to Jamaica. Even with the magic of Mr Seaga during the 1980s, do you believe Jamaica has
        recovered from the GDP it lost in the 1970s? Add this loss to his short stint in the 1990s where he went about selling Jamaica’s assets including those that were nailed down or had a big stone place on it, has Jamaica recovered from that also? What about the massive slide in the Jamaican dollar during the early 1990s? I could go on and on, however, if you are making the argument that what PJ Patterson and Omar did appear to pale in comparison, I will accept that argument, but the effects of good ole Michael is still here with us.

  • jamdun a day ago

    We need action..not better speeches

  • Milo 4 hours ago

    The premise of the headline is that there is, a Master Plan. If there is one it is well hidden.

  • best-government 2 hours ago

    Simple question "can depth be found in shallow waters: ??.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Shelly-Ann re National Award: "A Goal Delayed"

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce gave a moving address to the GraceKennedy business conference yesterday - an eloquent, lively presentation without the aid of a script. She explained that despite being disappointed on not being awarded the RJR National Sportswoman Trophy before, she stayed focused and never lost faith in herself. 

Shelly-Ann with GraceKennedy CEO Don Wehby
 She remembered that in the year 2010 when there were whispers about her use of certain painkillers, GraceKennedy signed her on as their Ambassador and for that she is forever grateful -"They gave me 100 percent support."
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (left) accepts her Sportswoman of the Year trophy from Milton Samuda at last Friday's RJR National Sportsman and Sportswoman Awards ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer
From Gleaner: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (left) accepts her Sportswoman of the Year trophy from Milton Samuda at last Friday's RJR National Sportsman and Sportswoman Awards ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer

Last year, she told us, she was determined to finish her degree at UTECH and win the Olympic Gold in London.  She described how she would load her car each morning with books, training gear, power bars, knowing that her class-study-training would not see her home till nine at night.  She gave kudos to her supportive husband for standing by her through those tough times.

To the GraceKennedy team members, she advised, "Go for the 100 percent!  Continue to work, have faith, energy and focus!"