Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Support for our Beautiful Cathedral

PHOTOS BY CALVIN CHONG - Via Pokar Chandiram
David Gomez gave a passionate performance
Jamaica's celebrated violinist Steven Woodham conducted an impressive ICHS Orchestra
Calvin Chong captures scenes from 'Expressions of Love 2' - featuring celebrated Spanish pianist David Gomez who performed courtesy of the Government and People of Spain.

Our own Jamaicans were also amazing:
- The Immaculate Conception High School Orchestra conducted by Jamaica's world-famous violinist Steven Woodham
- The Kingston College Chapel Choir
- The ICHS Glee Club.

The turnout was impressive and all proceeds went to the Holy Trinity Cathedral Restoration - taken thus far by the kindness of Spanish and local benefactors.

A big 'Thank You' to gracious Patron, Her Excellency Celsa Nuño Ambassador of  Spain to Jamaica.

Troubling news on nuclear testing

Headlines on nuclear threats need to be taken seriously. We hope the UN will move quickly!
See news below from Twitter and Washington Post.

"@RT_com: N. Korea: Our nuke missiles can hit mainland US"

"@BreakingNews: North Korea claims its 3rd nuclear test was to defend its sovereignty, provide security against US hostile acts - @Reuters"
"@thedailybeast: Iran Develops Nuclear 'Plan B' #cheatsheet"
Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Don’t give up – look up!

Observer column for MON 25 FEB 2013
by Jean Lowrie-Chin
Professor Errol Miller’s encouragement last week was like a cool drink of water on a hot, dry day.  “We are a country in which we exaggerate our problems,” he declared. “Things are not as bad as they are said to be.”  Prof Miller says that although we get a great deal of criticism about corruption from developed countries, Jamaica is no worse than many of them.

Is this man joking?  Doesn’t he know our plight?  But the continuation of his address was a very good answer:  “We don’t fully understand and recognise what a unique people we are,” he told us, and continued: “I have confidence in their innate intelligence.”  He is right.  Even as some are cursing the darkness of our debt, remember that there are others like the Professor, who continue to burn the midnight oil to tackle our problems.  It is not a time to give up, but a time to look up at diligent visionaries like the Professor, and follow their lead.

Accolades rang out as Government and Opposition leaders, ECJ commissioners and the ECJ-EOJ islandwide team last week honoured Errol Miller for 12 years of superlative service as chair of the ECJ.  In his reply he observed that we should not judge folks by their address.  “There is nothing our people cry out more for, than for justice,” he said.

Prof gave us an important lesson when he named his three predecessors the Late Professor Gladstone Mills (who wrote that revealing book about his term in office, ‘Grist for The Mills); Peter John Thwaites and William K. ChinSee.  “I came, I saw and I have great respect for those who have gone before,” he said.  “I honour their sacrifice – we must not throw out what others have built.”
Indeed, the Electoral Advisory Committee, the ECJ’s predecessor, was the house built by the JLP and PNP in 1979 when the parties were led by two of our fiercest political adversaries, Edward Seaga and Michael Manley.  Yet, they put partisan feelings aside to agree, in Prof Miller’s words, that “a party will never use its majority to impose its will”.

Since then, nominated members of the JLP and the PNP have collaborated with selected independent members to hone an electoral system so fine, that it has become a model even for developed countries.  The synergy among ECJ members was evident at the Jamaica Pegasus last Wednesday, as they were of one voice in their appreciation for the leadership of this great Jamaican, Professor Miller.
JLP Senator Tom Tavares-Finson noted, “Not one of us ever questioned his decisions as he shared with us his vision of a nation he so clearly saw.”  He marvelled at the Professor’s intellectual capacity which was described in the ECJ citation presented by independent member Hon Dorothy Pine-McLarty: “A brilliant educator, indeed a veritable ‘walking encyclopedia’, Professor Miller has the uncanny ability to recall details of meetings and discussions conducted in the distant past, and his knowledge in mathematical and statistical matters baffles the ordinary mind.” 
PNP MP Dr D.K. Duncan lauded Prof Miller as “one of the most distinguished patriarchs of the ECJ … fondly called ‘The Emperor’ by some members, and leaving a legacy of which all Jamaicans can be proud.”  Dr Duncan opined, “The ECJ is the kind of model that our political culture should embrace… if we can break the back of the problems of our electoral system, then Jamaica can solve our other issues.”

Opposition Leader Andrew Holness said he “had to cope with [Prof Miller’s] independence, but it was easy because of his competence,” and quoted him: “I know I am doing something right when both the JLP and PNP are criticising me.” Minister Phillip Paulwell who represented PM Simpson Miller spoke of his “absolute devotion, fairness, equity and innovation” and of the ECJ model as one to be used for wider public service where we can have discussion on national issues “drained of political hysteria”.

ECJ independent commissioner Dr Herbert Thompson remarked that the professor had given “12 years of quality time” and through his leadership, “the differences at the table did not lead to disrespect.”  Humility is also the hallmark of a fine leader.  Director of Elections Orrette Fisher lauded Prof Miller’s “unquestionable benevolence …his willingness to seek and take advice…he was the tallest person I have ever met, after my father.” 

Last Wednesday we got some good lessons in leadership from those who were led by Professor Miller.  They beg the question: how are other leaders measuring up?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Now it's Dr Merlene Ottey!

Dr Ottey -UTech confers athletics icon with honorary degree

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter
Jamaica Observer | Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dr Merlene Ottey poses with her cannister after being bestowed with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Technology, Sports, Honoris Causa by the University of Technology (UTech) at the Ben Francis Invitational Meet yesterday. Sharing in the moment is Professor Errol Morrison, president of UTech. (Photo: Bryan Cummings)
 IT'S now official, Dr Merlene Joyce Ottey. Jamaica's legendary track and field icon was conferred with the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Technology, Sports, Honoris Causa by the University of Technology (UTech) at the Ben Francis Invitational Meet yesterday.
Ottey, 52, had to compete with the rain during the opening ceremony at the Vere Technical High School compound in Clarendon. But, as usual, she won, and after a 45-minute delay and a shift in location from the infield to the auditorium, Ottey was officially conferred with the doctorate.

Read more:
Excerpt from report Published: Sunday | February 17, 2013 
by Raymond Graham, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Olympian Merlene Ottey  being presented with flowers by  Chief Executive Officer of Grace Foods, Michael Ranglin, upon arriving at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston - JIS PHOTO
Olympian Merlene Ottey being presented with flowers by Chief Executive Officer of Grace Foods, Michael Ranglin, upon arriving at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston - JIS PHOTO

... However, the rain did not stop the function held for former student and many-time Olympian, Merlene Ottey, the honouree for this year's meet. Ottey also received the Doctor of Technology in Sports from the University of Technology (UTech).
Ottey was very pleased with her award.
"It was a fantastic feeling to be honoured by my former school and also to get an award from the University of Technology and I was really surprised by this knowing that at no time I was at that institution," she said.
"I am very blessed to be back at Vere although I only spent some eight months there and although there are not many things I can remember. The grass track looks the same to me," she added.

Ronald Mason leaves Nationwide

Below is a release just received from Ronald Mason:

Today February 20, 2013, my association with Nationwide News Network as host of "On the Agenda" came to a close.

I had tendered my resignation a few days ago and subsequently did not deny my impending departure on today's programme. Hence, today became my final programme.

I have enjoyed the acceptance of the media fraternity and look forward to the future.

Ronald Mason

Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Can the poor take any more?

by Jean Lowrie-Chin
Jamaica Observer | Monday, February 18, 2013 
SOME of us Jamaicans live good lives, as witnessed by the social pages in our press. Some live terrible lives, as witnessed by the nightly newscasts. We saw the valiant Marvin Campbell, St Ann manager of the Jamaica Public Service Company, explaining to Steer Town residents that illegal power connections were not just a financial issue, but also that they are dangerous.

Illegal connections to JPS power supply
 Sadly, danger is a way of life in the inner city. A man said he, his lady and six children were living in a one-room dwelling, so 'what we going to do?' One woman who was asked by the Jamaica Observer about the Government's tax package seemed diffident - she was unemployed. We heard a mother mention to a reporter that she had cooked dinner for a 33-year-old man who allegedly had been co-habiting in a neighbouring house with her 16-year-old daughter. Her child had been stabbed to death by the said man, who has been held by the Police.

We should not be living like this!
 On a weekend visit to a resort a few months ago, we met a Canadian couple who were so impressed with a young waiter that they asked to visit his family. They were shocked at their poor circumstances, but impressed by his dignified parents and young brother. They hosted them for a weekend at the hotel, and were moved by the simple things which were regarded as luxuries by the rural family: a flush toilet, a private shower, separate beds.
- from
 And so we say to our well-dressed, well-housed, well-guarded leaders: why, after 50 years of Independence in a tiny, well-endowed country does it take a foreigner to introduce the family of a hard-working man, to such a basic facility as a flush toilet? Is it because the folks who have sworn to uplift their people are too busy playing solitaire in meetings, as in that photo tweeted Thursday night by a fellow Jamaican?

Oliver Samuels
 This country could have been humming like a well-oiled machine decades ago, were it not for the misplaced priorities of our leaders. Here we are sitting on the gold mine that is Brand Jamaica, worrying about the repayment of rising debt. We brag about Jamaica trending after our Super Bowl buzz, the Bob Marley tribute at the Grammys and we have done so little about this opportunity. We should be planning a 'Talk Jamaica' World Tour with Oliver Samuels, Bello & Blacka, Joan Andrea Hutchinson, Ity & Fancy Cat and some of our wonderful artistes and bands. Could Jampro get this going?

I see packaged dried mangoes selling for good US dollars, yet mangoes rot on the ground every season. Distant New Zealand has found a way to make kiwis the rage, yet our delicious naseberries remain unknown, and we are a hop away from Miami.

No, I will not believe a particular critic who told me of our Cabinet members that "they are just plain lazy and arrogant - they are not interested in doing anything for Jamaica". When I called the names of my favourite ministers they scoffed saying, "They won't say a thing - they're too busy protecting their corner".

Sushil Jain
 Clearly, it is time for the private sector to ensure that this proposed oversight committee announced by the finance minister will have teeth - no one can be comfortable with this widening gap between rich and poor. At a meeting of PSOJ members on Friday morning, financial guru Sushil Jain observed that US President Barack Obama mentioned support for the middle class about 10 times in his State of the Union Address. "You can only grow the economy if you grow the middle class," he said.

Don Wehby
 For those who thumb their noses at the PSOJ, they should know that one has to be tax- compliant to be a PSOJ member and that these folks are responsible for the billions of dollars of revenue that flow into government's coffers, to build and light our roads, and pipe our water. GraceKennedy CEO Don Wehby pointed out that 70 per cent of corporate taxes was paid by one per cent of Jamaican corporations.

Instead of overburdening this group and taxing raw materials that are necessary to keep factories open and Jamaicans employed, we need to hear more about tax compliance. Two major manufacturers at the meeting noted that if taxes were imposed on molasses and corn, there would be a terrible fallout - a death knell for one business and a punishing increase for consumers. Can the poor take any more?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Digicel funds $28 million building for Step Centre

Samantha Chantrelle, Digicel Foundation’s Executive Director (left) and Kerry-Jo Lyn, Programmes Manager, have a chat with STEP student Brandon Thompson. Occasion was the groundbreaking ceremony last March for the School for Therapy, Education and Parenting of Children with Multiple Disabilities’ (STEP’s) new centre, which will be located on Tremaine Road. The Digicel Foundation has committed $28 million to construct the centre.
Career & Education writer
JAMAICA OBSERVER | Sunday, February 17, 2013
FOR the last 12 years, Hillary Sherlock, principal of The School for Therapy, Education and Parenting (Step) Centre, has been yearning for a school building she and her special-needs students could call their own.
Now, come September, she will be cutting the ribbon which will signal the opening of her own school building, located off Tremaine Road in Kingston.
It was in sharing her great need with others over the years that Sherlock's story touched members of Digicel Foundation, who last year set aside $28 million to build The Step Centre a new school.
The Step Centre is a special-needs institution which caters to students who have complex learning and developmental challenges such as cerebral palsy, global development delay and other syndromes. Since the start of the school in February 1992, they have been operating in the church hall of St Margaret's Church located in Liguanea.
According to Sherlock, who currently oversees the operations of a teacher, seven teaching assistants, a part-time speech therapist and a part-time physiotherapist, the school had long outgrown the church's hall before they were recognised as an independent school by the Ministry of Education and received the first subvention from the Government in 2000.
"I've been here for 12 years. We outgrew these premises years ago, but we are grateful for the church community which has allowed us to stay," Sherlock told Career & Education.
After the lot along Tremaine Road was identified, Digicel Foundation assisted with the paperwork while architect Douglas Stiebel offered his services by designing a new building for the institution.
Sherlock said she is extremely grateful.
"I feel wonderful," she said.
In addition to the new building for the school, the school will have one of Kingston's most interactive, user-friendly, educational playgrounds and garden centres which was designed by nine fourth-year architecture students from the University of Technology. Joana Sadler, Claudia Hesson, Jamar Rock, Nieco Marks, Stein Carrington, Owayne Hamilton, Sana Williams, Nathalie Ash, and Chinelle Joseph worked under the supervision of their Introduction to Landscape Architecture lecturer Mark Martin.
The students explained that the facility will engage the five senses, and will have a two-wheelchair carousel, strapped bed swings, an interactive floor which resembles a piano that will make sounds when touched, a train that holds wheelchairs, a short tunnel, an interactive game wall, and a plant and herbs garden.
"One of the goals that we all decided as a class was that we didn't want this to look like a playground for disabled children, it was going to be the playground," Martin said.
"The level of movement for many students is extremely limited and we had to find ways of creating positive educational stimuli. Apart from the five senses, we added vestibular (balance) and spatial orientation, and proprioceptive [receptors] which detect the motion of body and limbs."
Meanwhile, Samatha Chantrelle, executive director of the Digicel Foundation, said it is emotional projects like these that her foundation takes pride in sponsoring.
"We believe that every child has a right to a good education and special needs education is an area that we are committed to bringing to the forefront of the public's mind," Chantrelle stated.
She added: "The Step Centre is very close to our hearts, as it is the first special-needs school Digicel Foundation has fully funded."

Hon Neville 'Teddy' McCook - Hero of Jamaican athletics

Hon Teddy McCook - our shining star 
by Jean Lowrie-Chin | Jamaica Observer | 18 February 2013
Teddy McCook was easily the single most significant contributor to the development of Jamaican athletics. This passionate patriot ran a tight ship when he was JAAA president but was beloved because he inspired everyone with his golden vision for Jamaican achievement.
He became a sought-after expert regionally and internationally, and at the time of his death was a council member of the world governing body for athletics, the IAAF, as well as president of the powerful North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC).
Norman Peart, Usain Bolt's manager, said of his move to Kingston with a young Usain Bolt: "Under the guidance of Hon Teddy McCook, we decided to make the transition to the High Performance Centre at UTech that would take him to a professional level."
Teddy would regale us with his regime to develop four self-reliant daughters: from an early age they had to set up bank accounts and be responsible for their individual budgets. He and his dear Sonia succeeded well, and I extend to them my heartfelt condolences. There will never be another Teddy McCook, but we can keep his spirit alive by living by his values of integrity, discipline and excellence. Rest in peace, Brother Teddy!

Tributes/mentions of Hon Teddy McCook by JL-C in various Observer columns

Mr Teddy McCook
Teddy McCook receives the CCRP Jamaica 50 Living Legacy Awards last February from Chair Prof Denise Eldemire Shearer
 Written in 2006
Discipline is the watchword and at Teddy McCook’s Gibson Relays, every single event starts on time.  There are many stories about this strict, generous, die-hard KC man.  One of my favourites is about the friend who spots Teddy inside the crowded entrance to the Stadium.  He waves to Teddy, Teddy waves back, so the man elbows himself to the front of the line and looks expectantly at his friend.  “Hi,” says Teddy, “Let me have your ticket, man.”  “Ticket?” asks the incredulous friend.  “Yes,” says Teddy, pointing to the ticket office, “Go get it over there and then you can come back.” 
I can’t leave Teddy without telling you another story.  We worked together on the Guinness Road Race committee for many years, and pondered on the delays caused by last-minute entries.  Teddy suggested that we scrap late entries but we resisted, since this was a large percentage of the field.  “Scrap it - trust me,” said Teddy.  After we announced that no raceday entries would be accepted, early registrations poured in and we had the biggest event ever, that year.  Teddy McCook demands the best of his athletes, so he gets it. 
There is a lesson here for our leaders. As North America, Central America and Caribbean representative of the IAAF (International Amateur Athletics Federation), Teddy has international clout, but remains approachable and incorruptible.

Hon Teddy McCook is congratulated by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller after being awarded the Order of Jamaica in October 2006
Mon 23 Oct 2006
 Neville ‘Teddy’ McCook, Jamaica’s gold standard of discipline, world renowned volunteer in athletics, and IAAF regional representative, also received the O.J.   For the function to honour Teddy, IAAF officials flew in from as far away as the Far East to show their respect for a man whose honesty and dedication has taken track and field to new heights locally and globally. 
27 Aug 07 Congrats Hon. Teddy!
The matchless Hon. Teddy McCook, who headed the JAAA in its most formative years, has reached yet another milestone. Last week in Japan, he was elected president of the powerful North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC), succeeding the popular longstanding president Amadeo Francis. This is in addition to his remaining as the Caribbean Head of the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF)

For those who may not know, Teddy McCook’s name is synonymous with character and discipline. In the many years that he has organised the Gibson relays, you can set your watch from the scheduled start of each race – not a minute out.

There are many good stories about Teddy’s refusal to play favourites and his insistence on due diligence and due process. It is no coincidence then, that he has gained the respect of his peers and inspired generations of awesome athletes. Long may he reign.

Teddy McCook – You will be truly missed
Teddy McCook presents the Gold Medal and bouquet to Usain Bolt, whom he mentored - occasion was the 2012 London Olympics
 June 2009 interview with Usain Bolt’s Manager Norman Peart
“We looked down the road and made a decision,” said Peart.  “At the time, sprinting was at a low and we thought, ‘he is the next generation, this is the time’.”
“Under the guidance of Hon Teddy McCook, we decided to make the transition to the High Performance Centre at Utech that would take him to a professional level.  I got a job transfer to Kingston, set up house for both of us and he lived with me for three years. The adjustment was a challenge at the start, as I had no experience as a father.”
16 July 2012
That generous Jamaican couple Sonia and Teddy McCook used to invite aspiring young athletes from humble homes to have Christmas dinner with them. When they were presented with gifts, one teenager broke down in tears. When asked why, he explained that it was the first time in his life that anyone had ever given him a gift.  The things we take for granted are precious for some of our children.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Merlene Ottey - 52 years young and gearing for World Champs!

Is she 52 or 22?  A glam Merlene Ottey is now being feted in Jamaica and will be receiving an Honorary Doctorate from UTECH shortly. Merlene holds the world record of being the woman with the most ever Olympic Medals.  She told reporters this week that she has just returned from a 5-week training camp in South Africa and hopes to compete in the World Championships later this year.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Siri creator Adam Cheyer in Jamaica

Richard Chen (at mike) introduces the Transcel Team
Yours truly with the inspiring Adam Cheyer
Media and business leaders met Adam Cheyer and Jamaican tech whiz Hugo Daley at a reception hosted by Transcel director Richard Chen yesterday evening in Kingston, Jamaica. PROComm is doing a project for Jamaica's software company Transcel - for which Adam is a volunteer advisor. He says he is donating his unique services because of Transcel's potential to develop micro businesses through mobile technology.

Adam is the creator of 'Siri' the ubiquitous voice-activated personal assistant used on I-Phones. He says 'Siri' means 'Secret' in Swahili and also 'Beautiful woman that leads you to wisdom' in Norwegian.

Adam who worked in Silicon Valley with the Stanford Research Institute is also a great humanitarian. He founded which has 25 million followers and has facilitated petitions causing many positive social and environmental changes.

There is so much goodwill for Jamaica - let us use it to build our beloved country.

Statement by an International Monetary Fund Mission to Jamaica

Press Release No. 13/43
February 12, 2013

Mr. Jan Kees Martijn, Head of the IMF mission to Jamaica, issued the following statement today in Kingston:
“Over the last three decades, the Jamaican economy has experienced very low economic growth, declining productivity, and reduced international competitiveness. An important factor behind these problems has been Jamaica’s unsustainable debt burden, which has undermined confidence and elevated risks to economic stability. Additionally, Jamaica’s high debt service has limited the government’s potential to provide the services needed to achieve sustained rates of growth and increased welfare for its citizens.
“The IMF mission continues to work assiduously with the Jamaican authorities on an economic program that can help address these challenges and can be supported under a Fund arrangement. We have made significant progress in reaching key understandings on strengthening macroeconomic policies, including through achieving and sustaining higher primary fiscal surpluses, which can help underpin debt sustainability; on structural reforms that can pave the way for private-sector led growth; and on social protection for the most vulnerable.
“With regard to fiscal policies in particular, Fund staff have been working closely with the government and its advisors in exploring policy options that can help achieve a substantial reduction in debt, while promoting sustained growth. It will be necessary to reduce the debt by a very sizeable amount from current levels to restore debt and external sustainability. The targeted reduction will require significant fiscal consolidation as well as measures to reduce the debt burden upfront, given the magnitude of the task. In addition, the structural impediments to growth—including the excessive debt burden—need to be addressed with urgency, to lay the foundation for a sustained recovery in economic fundamentals. In that regard, a key challenge is how to balance trade-offs among these key objectives, within a specified time horizon.
“The mission welcomes the debt exchange announced by the Jamaican authorities for their domestic debt, which is an important element aimed at helping to put public debt firmly on a downward trajectory, reduce the stock of debt, and provide fiscal space for other needed government initiatives. In that regard, a successful debt exchange will require high participation from creditors to help secure financing assurances for a Fund-supported program.”


Public Affairs    Media Relations
E-mail: E-mail:
Fax: 202-623-6220 Phone: 202-623-7100

Monday, February 11, 2013

Shelly-Ann stars in New NRSC Jamaica ad

Just leaving Mona Prep where Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price is on location for a new Road Safety Commercial sponsored by the National Road Safety Council and the National Health Fund and produced by PROComm. She has such a wonderful way with children. Grateful for participation of Mona Prep JCDC prizewinners in Choral speaking.
Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Spain continues support of Cathedral Restoration

David Gómez, who gave his first concert at age 14, boasts a long international artistic career which includes performances at New York's prestigious Carnegie Hall.
Beautiful Restoration work at the Holy Trinity Cathedral supported by the Government of Spain
Immaculate Conception High School Symphony Orchestra
The Holy Trinity Cathedral, the Embassy of Spain and the Immaculate Conception High School Symphony Orchestra (ICHS SO) under the distinguished patronage of The Most Rev. Charles H. Dufour, D.D, C.D., Archbishop of Kingston and Her Excellency Celsa Nuño, Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica, will present "Expressions of Love 2" A Family Concert and Silent Auction, at 4:00pm on Sunday, February 24 at the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

The concert will feature Spanish concert pianist David Gómez as well as the ICHS SO, the ICHS Glee Club and the Kingston College Chapel Choir. All Proceeds from the event will go to the ongoing restoration of the 102 year old Holy Trinity Cathedral and the ICHS SO music programme.

David Gómez, who gave his first concert at age 14, boasts a long international artistic career which includes performances at New York's prestigious Carnegie Hall.

The ICHS SO is one of the largest school instrumental ensembles in Jamaica with over 80 members from all grades, under the direction of Steven Woodham.

Ambassador Nuño's patronage of the concert comes as result of her conviction that cultural performances can be used as a tool to support worthy causes. This concert blends these objectives together perfectly combining a National Heritage site and education.

Spain's role in the restoration of the Holy Trinity Cathedral's murals, whose beauty was once again revealed thanks to the technical expertise of  Professor Antonio Sanchez-Barriga, is continued through efforts at fundraising for the completion of the restoration work. As a result of efforts by many persons and institutions the Cathedral is becoming a premier site for extraordinary musical performances and a centrepiece of the revitalization of Downtown Kingston.

The event promises to be an extraordinary display of artistic talent and great entertainment for all. Tickets cost $2000 and are available at Liguanea Drug & Garden Centre, the Music Mart, Manor Park Pharmacy, and New Kingston Pharmacy.

For more information, please contact:
Enith M. Williams
Tel: 922-3335 Cell: 275-2475

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Wonderful Alpha classmates!

Recently got together with my wonderful classmates - Cinematographer Natalie Thompson and entrepreneur/real estate expert Annie Chin. Lots of laughter as we remembered those great times at Convent of Mercy 'Alpha' Academy.
Natalie was a great actor and Annie was the neatest of us all.
Natalie is Founder-CEO of the well-respected production house Cinecom. She headed the Jamaican production team for Disney's 'Cool Runnings'.
Annie ran a home-hardware franchise for many years before switching to real estate.  She found the perfect house for another friend in Toronto and Rosie's comment was - 'Annie is the most thorough attentive real estate expert I'd ever dealt with!'. So proud of my friends!
Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

Friday, February 8, 2013

Brave Reggae Boyz shine at the Azteca!

From Jamaica Observer 
MEXICO CITY, Mexico — Jamaica's record at football in Mexico is appalling, to say the very least.
And heading into Wednesday's CONCACAF Final Round World Cup opener here at the much-feared Estadio Azteca, not many gave them a ghost of a chance of earning anything but a battering.

MEXICO CITY, Mexico — Reggae Boy Demar Phillips (centre) attempts to get by Mexico’s Javier Rodriquez (left), while teammate Giovani Dos Santos keeps a close eye on the proceedings during their CONCACAF World Cup qualifying match at the Azteca Stadium here on Wednesday night. The match ended 0-0. (Photos: Garfield Robinson)
However, after the gallant and disciplined Reggae Boyz forced the Mexican supporters into a standing ovation at game's end, in addition to raining 'boos' on their players after a 0-0 stalemate, assistant head coach Alfredo Montesso has declared that the technical staff is anything but surprised by the team's performance.
"For us it was not a surprise," Montesso told the Jamaica Observer shortly after the team's return to its Radisson Paraiso Hotel after the game.
"... not with the performance, and not the commitment because we could see the vibes in training and at the hotel, and right after the game tonight (Wednesday) we told them that we need to keep our feet on the ground, we need to understand that we are just at the beginning, and we have to improve our performance because there were circumstances in the game that we never handled so well, but it is coming with time."
The Brazilian noted that though the Boyz earned a valuable point to be in joint second place with Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica, who played out a 2-2 result, and two points adrift of early leaders Honduras, who clipped the USA 2-1, the result could have even been better, as crazy as that sounds.
"It happened this way, but it could have been better. It could have been excellent if we capitalised on the chances that we had, but anyway what I saw was a committed team," noted Montesso.

From the Gleaner
Outstanding goal-keeping from Donovan Ricketts and robust defending helped Jamaica to neutralise Mexico's raids and forced a 0-0 draw in their opening game Wednesday night in final round of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Jamaica's Marvin Elliott (left) embraces Jermaine Taylor at the end of a 2014 World Cup qualifying match against Mexico in Mexico City on Wednesday night. The match ended 0-0. - AP
Jamaica's Marvin Elliott (left) embraces Jermaine Taylor at the end of a 2014 World Cup qualifying match against Mexico in Mexico City on Wednesday night. The match ended 0-0. - AP
The improving Reggae Boyz, dominated by foreign-based players, frustrated the Mexicans who failed to produce enough quality opportunities to beat an unexpectedly impressive Jamaican defence at the Azteca Stadium.
The drawn game was one of Jamaica's most impressive results in their footballing history on the strength of Ricketts' performance and a well-implemented game plan that kept El Tri largely at bay.
The Caribbean powerhouse squandered an early golden opportunity in the eighth minute.
Garath McCleary delivered a cross from the right that his Reading teammate Jobi McAnuff turned into a header that hit the post and rebounded neatly back to his feet.
However, the midfielder failed to exploit a clear cut chance by taking a shot that Mexico goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona raced back across the goalmouth to save.
Just before the half-hour mark, Jamaica's Rodolph Austin intercepted a poor throw-in and sprinted into the left side of the Mexican box.
The Leeds United midfielder took a left-footed shot that Corona tipped over the crossbar for a corner kick.
The Reggae Boyz spent much of the first half successfully repelling the CONCACAF champions as they relentlessly attacked.
Jamaica created a number of opportunities on counter-attacks, but the thin air at Estadio Azteca clearly affected them and restricted speedy onslaughts.
The second half featured more frustration for the Mexicans who struggled consistently to outpace Jamaica's stout defence.
The visitors pressed for an opener with McAnuff who was involved in many of the advances but failing to compensate for his mistake of not converting an early opportunity.
Jamaica could have won the game in the 68th minute off a miscue from Andres Guardado.
Ryan Johnson gained possession of the ball in the middle of the field and easily beat defender Carlos Salcido, before his weak shot rolled harmlessly into the waiting hands of Corona.
Incredible Performance from Donovan Ricketts
Jamaican custodian Ricketts was the most impressive player on the pitch with an incredible performance that deprived the Mexicans from seizing the advantage.
The Portland Timbers keeper flew around the goal line and came up with several spectacular saves, including his highlight of the night, keeping a point-blank shot from Javier Hernandez Balcazar out of the net.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


NEW COMPUTERS AT SOS CHILDREN’S VILLAGE:  Marjory Kennedy (2nd left), Chairperson of SOS Children’s Village, cuts the ribbon adorning the new computer lab at SOS Children’s Village. Sharing in the moment are team members from GTECH Corporation: Ann-Dawn Young Sang (left), Regional General Manager for the Caribbean, Michael Mello, Vice President of Government Relations and Debbie Green, Deputy General Manager for Jamaica. Occasion was the January 28 handing over of a computer lab to the SOS Children’s Village in Stony Hill, under GTECH’s After School Advantage Programme.

Saira Minter, GTECH Corporation’s External Affairs Director (centre) and Suzette J. Palmer, Chairperson for GTECH Jamaica's After School Advantage Programme, enjoy this little girl’s delight in a new computer. Occasion was the handing over of a computer lab to the SOS Children’s Village in Stony Hill, under GTECH’s After School Advantage Programme. 
Kingston, Jamaica: February 7 , 2013 – "This computer lab may not seem like a lot to you, but this means the world to SOS Children's Village," noted Paul Osbourne, Programme Director at SOS Children's Village at the opening of the GTECH After School Advantage Programme. "This was just a nice resource room void of computers, this is the  culmination of a dream we have had."

With its commitment to ensuring that children have an organized, computer-based environment in which computer skills can be learnt, the GTECH Programme has opened a fourth  computer lab at the Village in Stony Hill. The handing over ceremony took place on Monday January 28,  and over  120 children will benefit from this facility.

"At GTECH, our business is to provide the most efficient IT solutions for various organizations worldwide, and in the various territories that we serve, we saw the great need to enhance after school facilities for children—hence the establishment of the GTECH After School Advantage Programme," said Michael Mello, Vice President of Government Relations at GTECH Corporation who was on hand for the opening.

"What is important in today's society is no longer the brawn but the brain, and I want to thank GTECH on behalf of all the other schools and Homes where the After School Advantage Programme has been established. These are the children that need the opportunity the most," remarked Marjory Kennedy, Chair of the SOS Children's Village.

"One of our primary objectives is to enable computer access especially to those who do not have personal computers," noted Ann-Dawn Young Sang, GTECH Corporation's Regional General Manager for the Caribbean. "We live in a world where computer skills are an absolute necessity, we hope that this exposure will increase the interest of our young in technology and other related disciplines."

"We had a challenge with our inability to adequately assist our children with their research assignments. We had one functional computer in the office that students had access to after school," said  Paul Osbourne, Programme Director at the Village. "Research requests would come in at 3 pm and the office closed at 4:30 pm. Now that GTECH has given us more computers the children can do their research and homework after hours and also on the weekend. Our housemothers also have more flexibility in preparing their reports and budgets."

The GTECH After School Advantage Programme offers non-profit agencies and schools with computer services. The programme operates with the goal of bridging the digital divide that continues to affect the country's youth. It also strives to provide both a fun and meaningful learning experience for children and young people.  On average, the GTECH funded programme invests US$15,000 (J$1.35 million) to open and maintain each centre. Once the computer lab is opened, the company continues to make regular site visits to upgrade the software.

Since 2006, GTECH Jamaica has actively been engaged in providing assistance to a number of schools and institutions including Lawrence Tavern and Easington Primary Schools, Sylvia Foote Basic School, the University of Technology, Caribbean Maritime Institute and Portmore Community College.

In just over a year, the GTECH After School Advantage Programme has established computer labs in two schools and two children's homes. These are: Dunrobin Primary, Holy Trinity High, Jamaica Christian Boys' Home and SOS Children's Village. Over 190 GTECH supported after school centres operate globally with the aim of bringing technological literacy and advancement to our country's youth.

About GTECH Corporation

GTECH works with more than 190 After School Advantage Program centres, which successfully operate where GTECH conducts its business, and donates an average of US$ 15,000 (J$1.35 million)in computer equipment, software and volunteer hours to each center. GTECH Jamaica continues to look for partners in their campaign to bring technological literacy and advancement to the country's young people.

Incorporated in 1980, GTECH Corporation is a global information technology company that provides high-performance transaction processing for some of the world's leading lottery and gaming products, including those of Supreme Ventures Ltd. here in Jamaica. GTECH Corporation is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. 

Vicki Cann
T: 1(876) 413-4229