Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pope's Easter plea for Peace

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis delivered a plea for peace in his first Easter Sunday message to the world, decrying the seemingly endless conflicts in the Middle East and on the Korean peninsula after celebrating Mass at an outdoor altar before more than 250,000 people in flower-bedecked St. Peter's Square.

Francis shared in his flock's exuberance as they celebrated Christianity's core belief that Jesus Christ rose from the dead following crucifixion. After Mass, he stepped aboard an open-topped white popemobile for a cheerful spin through the joyous crowd, kissing babies and patting children on the head.

One admirer of both the pope and of the pope's favourite soccer team, Argentina's Saints of San Lorenzo, insisted that Francis take a team jersey he was waving at the pontiff. A delighted Francis obliged, briefly holding up the shirt, and the crowd roared in approval.

Francis has repeatedly put concern for the poor and suffering at the centre of his messages, and he pursued his promotion of the causes of peace and social justice in the Easter speech he delivered from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, the same vantage point above the square where he was introduced to the world as the first Latin American pope on March 13.

The Roman Catholic leader aimed his Easter greetings at "every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons." Francis prayed that Jesus would inspire people to "change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace."

As popes before him have, he urged Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace talks and end a conflict that "has lasted all too long." And, in reflecting on the two-year-old Syrian crisis, Francis asked, "How much suffering must there still be before a political solution" can be found?

The pope also expressed desire for a "spirit of reconciliation" on the Korean peninsula, where North Korea says it has entered "a state of war" with South Korea. He also decried warfare and terrorism in Africa, as well as what he called the 21st century's most extensive form of slavery: human trafficking.

The first pontiff to come from the Jesuits, an order with special concern for the poor, and the first pope to name himself after St. Francis, a medieval figure who renounced wealth to preach to the down-and-out, Francis lamented that the world is "still divided by greed looking for easy gain.

Earlier, wearing cream-colored vestments, Francis celebrated Mass on the esplanade in front of the basilica at an altar set up under a white canopy. He frequently bowed his head as if in silent reflection.

The sun competed with clouds in the sky Sunday, but the square was a riot of floral colour in Rome, where chilly winter has postponed the blossoming of many flowers. Yellow forsythia and white lilies shone, along with bursts of lavender and pink, from potted azalea, rhododendron, wisteria and other plants.

Francis thanked florists from the Netherlands for donating the flowers. He also advised people to let love transform their lives, or as he put it, "let those desert places in our hearts bloom."

The Vatican had prepared a list of brief, Easter greetings in 65 languages, but Francis didn't read them. The Vatican didn't say why not, but has said that the new pope, at least for now, feels at ease using Italian, the everyday language of the Holy See. Francis also has stressed his role as a pastor to his flock, and, as Bishop of Rome, Italian would be his language.

The pontiff improvised his parting words to the crowd. He repeated his Easter greeting to those "who have come from all over the world to this square at the heart of Christianity" as well as to those "linked by modern technology," a reference to TV and radio coverage as well as social media.

Francis added that he was especially remembering "the weakest and the neediest" and praying that all of humanity be guided along "the paths of justice, love and peace."

In another departure from Easter tradition, Francis won't be heading for some post-holiday relaxation at the Vatican's summer palace in Castel Gandolfo, in the hills southeast of Rome. That retreat is already occupied by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who went there in the last hours of his papacy on Feb. 28. Benedict became the first pope in 600 years to resign from the position, and eventually is to move back to the Vatican, after a convent there is readied for him.

Francis so far has declined to move into Benedict's former apartment in the Apostolic Palace, into the rooms whose studio overlooks St. Peter's Square. He is still in the Vatican hotel where earlier this month he was staying along with other cardinals participating in the secret conclave to choose Benedict's successor.

While Francis has just begun to make his mark on the church, it is plain he has little desire to embrace much of the pomp customarily associated with the office.

Jean's note - the Vatican hotel where Pope Francis is staying, is a modest place. He had booked into the Hotel when he travelled from Argentina for the Cardinal's Conclave, and had insisted on paying his own hotel bill.
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Friday, March 29, 2013

Perilous crossing in Buff Bay

500 residents marooned after bridge washed away in Buff Bay. Temporary bridge needed now!
Photos from tonight's CVM TV News
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Michael Lee-Chin receives Lifetime Chinese Canadian Entrepreneur Award

Tina Sarellas (left), RBC Regional VP, Commercial Banking presents Michael Lee-Chin with the 2013 ACCE Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs Award at Hilton Hotel in Markham.

Jamaican-Canadian businessman, Michael Lee-Chin received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs Awards recently.

Lee-Chin paid tribute to all those who have had the courage to embark on an entrepreneurial journey. "Being displaced from family, being displaced from culture, being displaced from language, ending up in Jamaica, in a foreign land and getting into business, yet still providing customer service; so when I think my burden is hard, I just think of my forebears and I am inspired. Tonight, I salute their boldness, I salute their perseverance, I salute their creativity."

Throughout the evening Lee-Chin took the time to talk to many young people who approached him.

He added that amidst the emotions of excitement and nervousness that entrepreneurs feel, they cannot be complacent.

Born in Port Antonio, Jamaica in 1951, Lee-Chin came to Canada at the age of 19 to study civil engineering at McMaster University. In 1983 Lee-Chin borrowed $500,000 and invested it in Mackenzie Financial. Four years later the value in stocks increased 700 per cent.

Today, Lee-Chin is reaping those seeds he sowed and is founder/chairman of Portland Holdings Incorporated. Headquartered in Canada his privately held investment company owns a collection of diversified businesses operating in such sectors as media, tourism, healthcare, telecommunications and the financial services.

Since acquiring the National Bank of Jamaica (NCB) in 2002 the Bank's profits have grown from US$6m to US$116m last year.

Minister of tourism and culture, Michael Chan said he was honoured and intimated to be amongst such highly accomplished entrepreneurs, "you contribute to our quality of life, you cease opportunities and you take risks."

"You play a valuable role in sustaining our nation's prosperity," read Tim Uppal, minister for democratic reform in the cabinet of Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a message on the prime minister's behalf.

The recipient of the ACCE Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes outstanding citizens whose business, humanitarian and/or philanthropic activities have made significant contributions to the Chinese-Canadian business community as well as the community at-large.

"On this evening, the very best in entrepreneurship in the Chinese Canadian community from coast to coast will be recognised and honoured," said Alan Wong, president of the Association of Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs (ACCE) that hosted the 17th annual awards gala, which was held at the Hilton Hotel in Markham.

Other award recipients this evening were: Dr. Aimee Chan (Best International Business Award), former NASA engineer and president/CEO of Norsat International Incorporated; William Cheng (Best Asia Pacific Business Award), CEO of Premier Candle Corporation; Ivan Ho (Best Start-Up Award), CEO of Fit Factory Fitness; Ivan Yuen and Alan Lau (Most Innovative Award), CEO of Wattpad; Jordan Deng (Most Progressive Award), CIR Telecom; Grant Kook (Best Community Service Award), CEO, WestCap Management Limited; Winston Mok (Award of Merit), CEO of Simply Good Technologies; and Emmie Leung (Entrepreneur of the Year Award), CEO of Emterra Tire Recycling.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

There's 'Gold' in Jamaica's Blue Mountains!

JCDT moves to earn carbon credits from Blue & John Crow mountains

BY DENISE DENNIS Career & Education staff reporter
Sunday, January 06, 2013

JAMAICA could earn as much as US$10 million if it is determined that the implementation of a proposed carbon forest project would be able to generate carbon credits to be traded on the international voluntary market.
Last April, the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT) made a proposal to the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change for the Government to endorse and support efforts to assess the carbon credit value of the forest of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park.
The JCDT proposed that a study be conducted to determine the feasibility of carbon credit trading, and to design a carbon forest project in order to generate additional carbon credits to be traded.
Countries such as Jamaica, whose carbon emissions fall below a set allowance, can sell the difference, in the form of credits, to other countries that exceed their limits. Credits are normally purchased by companies wanting to reduce their carbon footprint, that is, where their activities are resulting in the production of carbon, for example, airlines, oil or gas companies, electricity companies, and manufacturers. As a result, these companies need to support activities that will sequester more carbon in forests.
Susan Otuokon, consultant with the JCDT, told the Jamaica Observer that Minister of Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change Robert Pickersgill has responded positively to the proposal. The nongovernmental organisation is now seeking funding from the Inter-Development Bank (IDB) to put in place the feasibility study.
“If the proposal to the IDB is successful, which will not be known until the second quarter of 2013, then JCDT will establish a Project Advisory Committee to include representatives from the ministry, the Forestry Department, the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), the Commissioner of Lands, and other relevant agencies to guide the feasibility study,” she said.
Otuokon noted that if the proposal to the IDB is unsuccessful, then JCDT, along with the ministry, will pursue other options to source the funds required.
She said the proposal was made in order to identify new ways to generate income for improved and sustainable management of the national park, including conservation of the forest ecosystems and sustainable community livelihoods.
“JCDT believes that the income from the purchase of carbon credits from the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park should be used firstly to improve and sustain management of the national park and secondly to study or assess the possibility of other carbon forest projects in Jamaica,” Otuokon said.
She added that the implementation of a carbon forest project will lead to the conservation of existing forests through reforestation and agro-forestry, the enforcement of relevant legislation, the reduction of soil erosion, and improved watershed management.
While she could not specify the precise amount that could be earned through carbon credit trading, Otuokon said the estimated income from a carbon forest project in the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park is between US$5 and US$10 million. She noted that the current budget for the national park is US$300,000 — US$200,000 less than the ideal budget.
More than 70 per cent of the current budget is raised by the JCDT from a variety of donor agencies, while less than 30 per cent comes from the Government, through the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA).
“JCDT proposes that income from the sale of carbon credits be placed in its endowment fund, which supports management of the national park. Only interest generated from the capital within the endowment fund would be used for management of the national park,thus ensuring some level of financial sustainability and also the ability to increase the level of funding beyond the current level, closer to the ideal,” Otuokon said.
JCDT hopes that Pickersgill’s ministry will participate fully in the project, help source funds for the other studies and assessments that will be required for the development of a carbon forest project, and agree that JCDT be provided with a reasonable percentage of the income generated from trading the carbon credits.
In addition, Otuokon said the JCDT believes that a percentage of the income should be used to fund the necessary studies of other forested areas in Jamaica to guide pursuit of possible carbon trading as a source of income for those sites.
JCDT manages the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park under a delegation agreement with the NRCA through NEPA. It also has a collaborative management agreement with both the NRCA/NEPA and the Forestry Department since the boundaries of the national park and forest reserve overlap.

Count your Blessings!

A Holy Week Thought
via Hyacinth Chen

I dreamed that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels. My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said, "This is the Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received."

I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world.

Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section.

The angel then said to me, "This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them."

I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth.

Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing. "This is the Acknowledgment Section," my angel friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed.

"How is it that there is no work going on here?" I asked.

"So sad," the angel sighed. "After people receive the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments."

"How does one acknowledge God's blessings?" I asked.
"Simple," the angel answered. Just say, "Thank you, Lord."
"What blessings should they acknowledge?" I asked.

"If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy."

"And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity."

"If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day."

"If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 700 million people in the world."

"If you can attend a church/synagogue without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are envied by and more blessed than three billion people in the world."

"If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm. You're unique to all those in doubt and despair."

"Okay. What now? How can I start?'

If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you as very special, and you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

Have a good day. Count your blessings. 
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Independent reviews UB Tracks & Records Restaurant

This way to my place: Usain Bolt opens club and restaurant Tracks and Records in Jamaica
Usain Bolt's appetite for medals and fame is now enhanced by his very own eatery
Inside the foyer at Tracks and Records, the digits frozen in time spoke for themselves: 9.58 and 19.19. They were mounted on mock trackside clocks, with the legends "World Championships Berlin 2009", "100m WR" and "200m WR" accompanying them.


Lest there be any mistake, this was actually Usain Bolt's Tracks and Records, to give the establishment the full title displayed on the wall outside, complete with a logo of the world's fastest man pulling his trademark "To Di World" pose. Inside was a spacious bar and eatery, with lights dimmed and sporting action coming at you from a dozen television screens.
In one corner Papiss Cissé was heading a goal for Newcastle United. In another Andy Murray was playing a tennis match somewhere. On the screen in the far corner the Lightning Bolt was striking in the Olympic 100 metres final in London, taming Yohan "The Beast" Blake in the process.

On our table there was branded "Usain Bolt's Tracks and Records scotch pepper sauce" and "Usain Bolt's Tracks and Records reggae sauce". Such are the dressings of success, the condiment trappings that come with running the 100m in 9.58sec and the 200m in 19.19sec. And with being one of the most celebrated figures on Planet Earth.
"We actually have three in one," said Nick Taylor, the general manager of this suitably chilled-out Bolt hole, which has regular live reggae nights. "It's a joint venture; we have a casino adjoining us and a nightclub called Fiction adjoining that.
"Yes, Usain does come to the nightclub. He enjoys it. He's been to the casino too.
"We've been open two years at Tracks and Records and we've had people from all over – China, India, far away. The tourists who come to Ocho Rios on the north coast make a day trip to Kingston, visit the Bob Marley Museum and come here for lunch.
"So, yeah, what Usain has achieved around the world has boosted the jobs market here. I mean, he's a global brand of his own. And he represents Jamaica proudly."

Read more at:

Big night for Reggae Boyz in Costa Rica!

Gleaner and Observer reports below:

Melton Williams, Gleaner Writer | 26 MARCH 2013

The Boyz celebrate after their goal vs Panama last Friday in Jamaica. - Ricardo Makyn Photo
Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz will continue their hunt for a place in the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil when action in the CONCACAF qualifiers continues today with all six teams in action.

Jamaica will play away to Costa Rica in a match scheduled to start at 9 o’clock in the evening Jamaica time.

The game is the third of 10 in the final stage of qualifiers for next year’s World Cup finals.

Six countries in CONCACAF are competing for three automatic places in the FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil in 2014.

The fourth-place finisher will engage the winner of the Oceania region on a home and away basis for the last qualifying berth.

Jamaica is coming of a disappointing 1-all draw against Panama at the National Stadium on Friday.

That result leaves Jamaica with two points, the same as Panama and Mexico.

Honduras leads the round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying tournament with four points, followed by the USA on three points.

In the other Qualifiers today Mexico will play the United States, while Panama will be up against Honduras.

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SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — Reggae Boy Demar Phillips kicks the ball while teammate Montrose Phinn watches during a training session at the Piedades de Santa Ana facility here yesterday. (PHOTOS: GARFIELD ROBINSON)

Tappa: I think we are on the right track

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — The uphill struggle continues, as Jamaica's Reggae Boyz will be asked to beat the odds yet again in enemy territory if they are to get a positive result.
That's the situation when they face Costa Rica in-their third round CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier here at the Estadio Nacional at 8:00 pm (9:00 pm Jamaica time) today.

Jamaica are in joint third, with two points, following 0-0 and 1-1 results away to Mexico and at home to Panama, respectively, while Costa Rica are currently stuck at the bottom of the hexagonal with a solitary point from their 2-2 result away to Panama, and their contentious 0-1 loss to the USA in blustery conditions in Colorado.
This one point from six marks the worst start for Costa Rica since the hexagonal was established, and their hungry fans are hoping for nothing less than a victory, to kick-start their campaign, against a team, which has a vastly inferior record against the Central Americans. This marks the first game at home for Costa Rica, more popularly known as 'Los Ticos', since the final phase began on
February 6.
In 22 meetings between the two teams, Jamaica have managed just four wins, as against 10 losses and eight draws. It is therefore no surprise that the Reggae Boyz have never won, or even shared the spoils in Costa Rica, which puts into perspective today's task.
Coming off the high in the Azteca, the Boyz were far from their best on Friday, but there is every indication that they will give a better rendition today.
Head coach Theodore Whitmore is pleased with the reaction of the players since arriving here on Saturday morning.
"It (training session on Sunday) was very successful, the guys were somewhat lively, and that was the sort of response we wanted. No complaints so far, and I think the hotel facility has helped us a lot in terms of recuperation; so I think we are on the right track," he said.
He added: "The training was fun, they enjoyed it, and the good part about it is that I haven't heard any complaints so far."
On Saturday the Boyz used the spa and swimming pool at their Real Intercontinental hotel to recuperate, before taking to the pitch on Sunday. They went to the same venue last evening, before walking the new Estadio Nacional pitch for about quarter hour after.
On Monday, Whitmore's tactical session hinted at an orthodox 4-4-2 formation, with captin Donovan Ricketts being guarded by Jermaine Taylor and Adrian Mariappa in central defence, flanked by Demar Phillips and Omar Daley. Marvin Elliot and Rodolph Austin anchored central midfield, with Joel 'Jobi' McAnuff and Garath McCleary on the flanks, as Luton Shelton and Jermaine Beckford patrolled the front line.
However, at yesterday's final session, Lloyd Doyley, the Watford FC defender, was tried at right back in place of Daley, in an apparent move to utilise a more natural defender in that position, instead of the instinctive Daley. This could be the only change from Friday's game.
But there were other concerns from that game — the midfield — and Whitmore believes he has now remedied that situation, at least for the time being.
"After we lost Nosworthy (Nyron) in the game on Friday the midfield wasn't operating the way we wanted, so it was a concern. But we got the message across (for this game), so it is something we are looking to improve on."
There is no doubt that the Costa Ricans have their backs to the wall, and as such, technical director Jorge Luis Pinto, though defensive minded, will have no choice but to attack and go all out for victory, a situation which suits both Whitmore and his captain, Donovan Ricketts.
"We are aware of their (Costa Rica) situation, but we don't want their downfall to reach us, because with the game they played against the USA, there were a lot of complaints, but we are up for it, and I think the Boyz are ready," Whitmore noted.
For Ricketts, he said: "It should be a great game, you know Costa Rica is a good team. They like to play (positive) and that will open up space for us to also play, so it should be a good game.
"We are on the road and you know when you are on the road you try to get a point, and that will be a good result. But if we can steal three points that would be great, so we have to be solid defensively, well co-ordinated and compact," added the veteran goalkeeper from the 1998 Jamaica World Cup Finals squad.
Reports here suggest that the Costa Ricans are incensed with the conditions under which Los Ticos played on Friday, and to show their disgruntlement, they have decided to turn their backs on the FIFA Fair Play flag at the start of the game this evening in front of a capacity 35,000 spectators in the one-year-old facility.


Monday, March 25, 2013

6 Tips on Money Management for Young People


Have you ever wondered why so many young adults across the nation have monstrous credit card debt? The reason is the lack of having a proper and well-disciplined budget and financial life. People often make the indiscreet use of credit cards and do not pay bills on time. They do not adhere to their budget and spend money beyond their limits. All these lead individuals falling into overwhelming debt and making a get out of debt plan. To avoid such a precarious situation, it is wise to follow some money management strategies that can help them insure a healthy financial future.

1. Avoid credit card debt:
Credit card debt is one of the most common financial obligations in the U.S. millions of individuals have thousands worth of credit card debt. Credit card debt has been known to kill more savings plans than any other known financial cancer. So try not to make the indiscreet use of credit cards. Pay the bills on time in order to avoid accruing huge interest rates and wasting money on them. It high time to realize that credit cards are a trap that takes a long time to come out of it.

2. Buy used:
One of the most effective money management tips for young adults is to buy less expensive and used items. If you're planning to buy cars, furniture or any other expensive items, consider buying used ones. Finding one that is couple of years old can save you a good amount of money. Also, for fashion enthusiasts, it is advisable to buy designer clothes from consignment shops at a much lower price. They might take you a long time to find, but will help you save big bucks.

3. Start a retirement plan as soon as possible:
With the recent economy, when there is no guarantee to your financial future, it is important to start making a retirement plan on the very first days of your employment. Find out if your company provides you with the benefits of a 401(k) retirement plan. If yes, grab them. A 401(k) retirement plan is a special type of account to which employees can make contributions on a post tax/pre tax basis. Even employers offering a 401(k) plan can make contributions matching the plan on behalf of the employees and can add a profit sharing feature to the plan. So if you start now, you will be amazed by how much money you will have saved in as little as 5 to 10 years.

4. Set up an emergency account:
Setting up an emergency fund is extremely important, especially when there is no certainty in life or career. Put a fixed amount aside each month after meeting your daily routine expenses. Make sure you use this account only when an emergency situation arises, like ill heath or accident. This can also be used for some occasions, such as starting your own business.

5. Personal savings account:
No matter which bank you choose, it is important to start your own interest bearing savings account. Do not let your money sit in your drawer or checking account, you will spend it. Instead, put some amount in the savings account each month. Doing this, you will save a good amount of cash over a period of time. You may even ask your employer to delegate some amount of your paycheck directly into your savings account. This way, you can save effortlessly.

 6. Earn extra:
Find out some ways to earn extra cash, with which you can pay off your debt, if any and meet household expenses. If you have writing skills and knowledge on a particular subject, utilize it by writing web articles and earning money. You can also try things like babysitting, selling goods on Craiglist and ebay, tutoring, walking dogs and others.
In conclusion, following these above mentioned money management tips, young adults can expect to be able to manage their finances and have a stronger financial future.

About the Author – This is a guest post by Barbara Delinsky who is a financial writer of Oak View Law Group. Through her articles she helps people get answers to their questions regarding their personal finances. She also gives advice to consolidate debt and to live a debt free life.

A few of my own tips – Jean Anita

-        Use your debit card –- then you don't have to get nervous about that bill at the end of the month. That way, you know you have spent only what you have.
-        We have bought mostly used cars, furniture – remember once you drive a new car through the gate of the dealership, it has lost 20% in value.  Save money for investments that will appreciate like real estate.
-        Jamaica's insurance companies offer excellent investment-linked policies.  Take charge of your retirement now by shopping around for good insurance policies. Remember, banks also offer tax-free options for long-term savings
-        Discipline yourself by putting emergency money in a CD that you would think twice to break.
-        Remember, try to save up to 25% of your salary each month – pay yourself first!
-        Turn that hobby into a money maker.  Baking, personal care, fashion designing can become big money-makers.  A former banker told me his wife started a store just to keep busy.  While his business folded, the store prospered and now they have a mini-chain going.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Today's Palm Sunday Gospel (Illustrated)

Gospel Lk 22:14—23:56

When the hour came,
Jesus took his place at table with the apostles.
He said to them, 
“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,
for, I tell you, I shall not eat it again 
until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and said, 
“Take this and share it among yourselves; 
for I tell you that from this time on 
I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine 
until the kingdom of God comes.”
Then he took the bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 
“This is my body, which will be given for you; 
do this in memory of me.”
And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, 
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood,
which will be shed for you.

“And yet behold, the hand of the one who is to betray me
is with me on the table; 
for the Son of Man indeed goes as it has been determined;
but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.”
And they began to debate among themselves 
who among them would do such a deed.

Then an argument broke out among them
about which of them should be regarded as the greatest.
He said to them,
“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them 
and those in authority over them are addressed as ‘Benefactors’; 
but among you it shall not be so.
Rather, let the greatest among you be as the youngest, 
and the leader as the servant.
For who is greater: 
the one seated at table or the one who serves?
Is it not the one seated at table?
I am among you as the one who serves.
It is you who have stood by me in my trials;
and I confer a kingdom on you, 
just as my Father has conferred one on me, 
that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom; 
and you will sit on thrones
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

“Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded
to sift all of you like wheat,
but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; 
and once you have turned back,
you must strengthen your brothers.”
He said to him,
“Lord, I am prepared to go to prison and to die with you.”
But he replied,
“I tell you, Peter, before the cock crows this day,
you will deny three times that you know me.”

He said to them,
“When I sent you forth without a money bag or a sack or sandals,
were you in need of anything?”
“No, nothing, “ they replied.
He said to them,
“But now one who has a money bag should take it,
and likewise a sack, 
and one who does not have a sword
should sell his cloak and buy one.
For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me,

namely, He was counted among the wicked;

and indeed what is written about me is coming to fulfillment.”
Then they said,
“Lord, look, there are two swords here.”
But he replied, “It is enough!”

Then going out, he went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives,
and the disciples followed him.
When he arrived at the place he said to them, 
“Pray that you may not undergo the test.”
After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. When he rose from prayer and returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping from grief. He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.” While he was still speaking, a crowd approached and in front was one of the Twelve, a man named Judas. He went up to Jesus to kiss him. Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” His disciples realized what was about to happen, and they asked, “Lord, shall we strike with a sword?” And one of them struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said in reply, “Stop, no more of this!” Then he touched the servant’s ear and healed him. And Jesus said to the chief priests and temple guards and elders who had come for him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? Day after day I was with you in the temple area, and you did not seize me; but this is your hour, the time for the power of darkness.” After arresting him they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest; Peter was following at a distance. They lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter sat down with them.
When a maid saw him seated in the light, she looked intently at him and said, “This man too was with him.” But he denied it saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” A short while later someone else saw him and said, “You too are one of them”; but Peter answered, “My friend, I am not.” About an hour later, still another insisted, “Assuredly, this man too was with him, for he also is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “My friend, I do not know what you are talking about.” Just as he was saying this, the cock crowed, and the Lord turned and looked at Peter; and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” He went out and began to weep bitterly. The men who held Jesus in custody were ridiculing and beating him. They blindfolded him and questioned him, saying, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” And they reviled him in saying many other things against him.
When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, “If you are the Christ, tell us, “ but he replied to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth.” Then the whole assembly of them arose and brought him before Pilate. They brought charges against him, saying, “We found this man misleading our people; he opposes the payment of taxes to Caesar and maintains that he is the Christ, a king.” Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He said to him in reply, “You say so.” Pilate then addressed the chief priests and the crowds, “I find this man not guilty.” But they were adamant and said, “He is inciting the people with his teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to here.” On hearing this Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean; and upon learning that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod who was in Jerusalem at that time. Herod was very glad to see Jesus; he had been wanting to see him for a long time, for he had heard about him and had been hoping to see him perform some sign. He questioned him at length, but he gave him no answer. The chief priests and scribes, meanwhile, stood by accusing him harshly. Herod and his soldiers treated him contemptuously and mocked him, and after clothing him in resplendent garb, he sent him back to Pilate. Herod and Pilate became friends that very day, even though they had been enemies formerly. Pilate then summoned the chief priests, the rulers, and the people and said to them, “You brought this man to me and accused him of inciting the people to revolt. I have conducted my investigation in your presence and have not found this man guilty of the charges you have brought against him, nor did Herod, for he sent him back to us. So no capital crime has been committed by him. Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him.”
But all together they shouted out, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us.” — Now Barabbas had been imprisoned for a rebellion that had taken place in the city and for murder. — Again Pilate addressed them, still wishing to release Jesus, but they continued their shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate addressed them a third time, “What evil has this man done? I found him guilty of no capital crime. Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him.” With loud shouts, however, they persisted in calling for his crucifixion, and their voices prevailed. The verdict of Pilate was that their demand should be granted. So he released the man who had been imprisoned for rebellion and murder, for whom they asked, and he handed Jesus over to them to deal with as they wished. As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said,
“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ At that time people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?” Now two others, both criminals, were led away with him to be executed.
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” They divided his garments by casting lots. The people stood by and watched; the rulers, meanwhile, sneered at him and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.” Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.” Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last. Here all kneel and pause for a short time. The centurion who witnessed what had happened glorified God and said, “This man was innocent beyond doubt.” When all the people who had gathered for this spectacle saw what had happened, they returned home beating their breasts; but all his acquaintances stood at a distance, including the women who had followed him from Galilee and saw these events. Now there was a virtuous and righteous man named Joseph who, though he was a member of the council, had not consented to their plan of action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea and was awaiting the kingdom of God. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
from ourladyswarriors,org
After he had taken the body down, he wrapped it in a linen cloth and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb in which no one had yet been buried. It was the day of preparation, and the sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come from Galilee with him followed behind, and when they had seen the tomb and the way in which his body was laid in it, they returned and prepared spices and perfumed oils. Then they rested on the sabbath according to the commandment.

JHS SHOW - always fantastic - save the date!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Bolt, Shelly-Ann still with Digicel
From left: Denis O'Brien, chairman, Digicel Group; athletes Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Andy Thorburn, Digicel's chief executive officer, at Tuesday's official opening of the company's regional headquarters by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller. The headquarters is on Ocean Boulevard, downtown Kingston. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer
From left: Denis O'Brien, Chairman, Digicel Group; Star Olympians Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Andy Thorburn, Digicel Jamaica chief executive officer, at Tuesday's official opening of the company's regional headquarters by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller. The headquarters is on Ocean Boulevard, downtown Kingston. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer
Gleaner Sports - 22 March 2013: Digicel has scored an Olympic gold double with the news that it has extended its sponsorship contracts with the fastest man and woman on Earth, Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, for another four years.
With both athletes continuing to dominate the sprinting world with one sizzling and charismatic performance after another, the newly extended regional contracts - which run to the end of 2016 - will see Usain and Shelly-Ann representing Digicel in unique and engaging ways which are guaranteed to resonate with customers of all ages.
The double Olympic champions have been a part of the Digicel family for some time with Digicel spotting the talent in the young Bolt as far back as 2003 with Fraser-Pryce being signed up on the back of her stunning gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Commenting on the new partnership, Bolt, said: "I want to thank Digicel for supporting me from the very beginning. That kind of loyalty means a lot. I hope that together with Digicel - and through my own efforts and achievements - I can help inspire people to do extraordinary things in their day-to-day lives."

Read more at:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Beverley Manley-Duncan: shift to ‘a sacred place’

The inspiring Beverley Manley-Duncan

Jean Lowrie-Chin - Jamaica Observer column
 Beverley Manley-Duncan has been a favourite of this column, and if you were at last Monday’s Rose Leon Memorial Lecture, you would know why.  Her topic was ‘Is the Quota System an appropriate mechanism for advancing women’s participation in representational politics?’  She lauded the 51 Percent Coalition for their efforts, agreeing that we should work towards an initial 40 percent of leadership positions to be occupied by women.

She clarified the difference between sex and gender, using the World Bank definition of gender: “the social, behavioural and cultural attributes, expectations and norms associated with being woman and man.”  She called for equality to “ensure that women and men can partner at that power table,” quoting Chairman Mao, “Women hold up half the sky”. 

In commenting on Jamaica’s current dilemma, she noted, “We have over consumed and under produced.” In a previous conversation, Beverley had spoken of her mother’s money management skills, a lady who saved tiny amounts from the ‘house money’ contributed by her father and eventually bought a spacious home.  She believes that this debt trap in which Jamaica is caught, is a result of a lack of balance which has not included enough women in planning and decision making. 

The former First Lady of Jamaica made an important call: “The critical mass of us should be challenging the two political parties to start working together.” She wants us to move beyond the political divide to lead this change, reminding us that we have the experience. “Women understand the need to cooperate,” she declared. “We have been in a political trap since the 1930s.”  She said this continued tribalism in politics “has not given us the results.”

We should be clear that Jamaican women have been proving their worth for centuries and indeed have been mentoring their up and coming sisters.  As the Carnegie International Fellow pointed out, it is not true that women are not supportive of each other.  We were rapt in attention as she described the limitations of a patriarchal society, in which “sharing power becomes a problem.”  She said that although we have a woman Prime Minister, she is “subsumed in a sea of patriarchy.”   

Describing the pitfalls of patriarchy, the transformative speaker said, “In patriarchy a woman is not supposed to leave a man.  You leave at your own risk.  The woman is property – this is really a form of slavery.”  As we contemplated recent incidents in which women were attacked and children murdered by enraged spouses, we understood the danger of not addressing the issues of gender.

We were challenged to find a way “to shift those assumptions about men and women” and create a new paradigm which will require “a process of self enquiry”.  Beverley believes we can create “a sacred space – men and women sitting down and genuinely listening with empathy.” 
 She called for the kind of leadership exemplified by the woman whose memory we were honouring at this Lecture, Madame Rose Leon. 

“Rose Leon, Chairman of the Jamaica Labour Party for 11 years was an extraordinary leader,” Beverley reminded us.  She recalled her impeccable appearance, whether in conferences or on the campaign trail.  In a memorable interview I had done with Madame Rose, she had described her energetic fund-raising for the JLP and, as Minister of Housing, walking around various communities and asking, “Whose land is this?”  She said, when they told her it belonged to “Missis Queen”, she would get her officers together to organise titles so that the long dwelling decent folks could have ownership.  It is this proactive spirit that has nurtured so many good women and men in Jamaica.

Besides politics, Madame raised a loving family with her beloved Dr Arthur Leon and Beverley recalled that Madame had mentored her – “It is foolishness that women don’t support each other.” Founded in the 1940s, The Rose Leon School of Beauty empowered thousands of young women and Madame’s manufacturing company for her beauty products created even more employment.  Her daughter, that elegant, understated leader Gloria Millwood continues the business to this day.

In that auditorium in the PCJ building, were many high-achieving sisters: Jeanette Grant-Woodham and Syringa Marshall Burnett,  former leaders of the Senate, Dorothy Pine-McLarty, independent member of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica, St Andrew Custos Marigold Harding, Dr Blossom O’Meally Nelson, Judith Wedderburn, Hilary Nicholson, Dr Leith Dunn and Faith Webster.  We saw the dedicated members of the Jamaica Women’s Political Caucus (JWPC) led by the dynamic Merline Daley, Hermione McKenzie, Evelyn Smart who recently authored an important book on Jamaican women in politics, Dr Louise Spencer-Strachan, and Marie Thompson. There was Jean Wilson whose revolutionary poem ‘No More Smalling Up of Me’ was read by our powerful speaker.

Our sisters from overseas were there to listen as well: recently appointed Head of Delegation for the European Union to Jamaica, Ambassador Paola Amadei; South African High Commissioner Mathu Joyini and French Ambassador Ginette de Matha.

I noted however that we did not have enough of our younger women (and men!) in that room.  The World Bank Trainer’s Manual on Gender and Development says it straight: “Failure to address gender issues in project development interventions can lead to inefficient and unsustainable results... Addressing gender concerns in economic and social development status promises major payoffs not only at the individual level but, most importantly, at the societal level.” 

Gender equality is indeed ‘a sacred space’ as described by Beverley Manley-Duncan –  the space in which our girls and boys will be able to grow into the loving women and men who will take Jamaica to our rightful place.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Alpha Academy Alumnae Big Reunion May 30 - June 1

Should be wonderful - save the date!
Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

U.S. Moves to Protect Jamaican Parrot

18 March 2013
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the yellow-billed parrot, found only in Jamaica, is now protected as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on March 11 announced the yellow-billed parrot is now protected as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. This bird species is found only in Jamaica and is one of only two Amazona species endemic to the country. Ongoing deforestation and fragmentation, including loss of suitable nesting trees, has led to a decline in the yellow-billed parrot's range and population, the FWS said.
The Endangered Species Act requires the FWS to list species as endangered or threatened regardless of whether the species is found in the United States or abroad. Benefits to the species include prohibitions on certain activities including import, export, take, commercial activity, interstate commerce and foreign commerce. By regulating activities, the United States hopes to ensure that people under the jurisdiction of the United States do not contribute to the further decline of listed species.
For people outside U.S. jurisdiction, the Endangered Species Act can generate conservation benefits such as increased awareness of listed species, research efforts on conservation needs, and funding for conservation of the species in its range countries. The Act provides for U.S. financial assistance to develop and manage programs to conserve species in foreign countries.

Eva M. Barnes
Information Resource Associate/EducationUSA Adviser
Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy
142 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6, JAMAICA
Tel: 876-702-6172; Fax :876-702-6348
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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Records tumble at 2013 ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Athletic Championships

The packed National Stadium buzzed with excitement as 30 records were broken during what is being described as 'The best Champs ever'  (photo from my trusty BB)

Calabar athletes celebrate their Champs win - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer
Calabar celebrates joyfully - Ricardo Makyn photo
Holmwood athletes in an unusual celebration of their Champs win - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer
Colourful Holmwood Tech students celebrate mysteriously  - Ricardo Makyn photo
 Earlier today we were part of the packed National Stadium in Kingston Jamaica watching in awe the annual Boys and Girls Athletic Championships.  A big thank you to friends at GraceKennedy, major sponsor of the event,  for sharing their scare tickets with us. The atmosphere was charged with feverish excitement as we saw record after record tumble, with young athletes showing the conditioning and poise of their older counterparts.  

How could 30 records tumble in one meet, folks are asking?  We attribute it to that old saying, 'Nothing succeeds like success'. The achievements of such stars like Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce have signalled to our youngsters that they also carry that seed of greatness.  The fact that both stars are coached locally must be very affirming for our excellent coaches, trained here at the G.C. Foster College.

Below is a report from the Gleaner's Damion Mitchell - Jean

Damion Mitchell, Editor – Gleaner - Radio & Online

Saturday 16 March - Kingston, Jamaica: In one of the most spectacular clashes of high school athletic prowess, where 30 records were broken, Holmwood Technical High School this evening regained its hold on the girls’ title while Calabar High School was crowned king of the 2013 Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships at the National Stadium.

Holmwood finished ahead of the highly-fancied Edwin Allen High School who placed second while St Jago was placed third.

Edwin’s second place finish may be attributed partly to the failure of top athlete Marleena Eubanks to compete in the 400m and 800m two weeks after sustaining an injury when she was hit on the head by a discus during training.

In the boys section, Calabar overtook Kingston College who eventually ended in third spot with Jamaica College in second position.

It was a meet in which 30 records were broken, the most of them coming today – the last day of the five-day championships.

Munro College brought a fitting end to the Champs shattering the 4x400m record in 3:09.21; Calabar was placed second in 3:12.13 and Kingston College third in 3:12.59.

Coach Maurice Wilson of Holwood was grateful for the performance of his team.

“This was one of the most difficult and one of the most trying times for us,” he said on TVJ.

“We went through a lot from last year… Championships is about difficulties, one of our strong points was to have respect for the championships,” he said.

Wilson also revealed that he will be leaving Holmwood to pursue other aspirations.

Meanwhile, Calabar coach Omar Hawed was in awe.

“For us it was an overall team effort,” he said.

Hawes also said the objective is to win again next year.

“That’s the plan,” Hawes said.

“The foundation is laid, basically.”


Holmwood - 310.5
Edwin Allen - 305.5
St Jago – 208
Vere Technical – 202
Hydel High – 157.5

Calabar – 299
Jamaica College - 258.5
Kingston College - 247.5
Wolmer's – 121
St Jago – 107

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Jamaica's National Road Safety Council plans Royal 20th Anniv Celebs

Earl Jarrett (left), Chairman, Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) and Dr Lucien Jones, Vice Chairman / Convenor, National Road Safety Council (NRSC) complete the unveiling of the NRSC20th Anniversary logo at the launch of the Council's 20th Anniversary celebrations at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Thursday, March 14. During the Launch, Dr. Jones announced that His Royal Highness Prince Michael Of Kent, a member of the British Royal family, Royal Patron for the Commission for Global Road Safety and Patron of the non-profit organization, Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA); will be visiting Jamaica from April 15 to 19. The Prince's visit is one of the high points of the NRSC's 20th Anniversary celebrations.

Dr Lucien Jones, Vice-Chairman / Convenor , National Road Safety Council (NRSC) addresses the launch of the Council's 20th Anniversary celebrations at the Jamaica Pegasus on Thursday, March 14. At the table are (from left) Director Paula Fletcher, NRSC Executive Minister, Dr Morais Guy, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing and Mr Earl Jarrett, Chairman of the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA). During the launch, Dr Jones announced that His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent will be visiting Jamaica from April 15 to 19. This visit will serve as one of the central points of the anniversary celebrations.

Kingston, Jamaica – March 15, 2013: The National Road Safety Council (NRSC) is to host a private visit of His Royal Highness Prince Michael Of Kent, a member of the British Royal family, Royal Patron for the Commission for Global Road Safety and Patron of the non-profit organization, Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).  Both organizations, which have been supported by His Royal Highness, have been providing a leading role in the successful mobilization of the international community in its efforts to reduce road traffic injuries and deaths.
 Dr. Lucien Jones, Vice-Chairman / Convenor, NRSC, announced the Prince's working visit to the island from April 15 to 19 during yesterday's launch of the 20th Anniversary Celebrations of the NRSC at Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. "His Royal Highness is a road safety advocate of international repute and therefore, we are very delighted and quite privileged, to have him accept our invitation to share in this time of celebration with the Council," declared Dr. Jones.
The NRSC Vice Chairman outlined that while in the island, HRH Prince Michael will meet with the Prime Minister and NRSC Chairman Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, Opposition Leader Mr. Andrew Holness and government officials whose portfolio responsibility impact on road safety.  Dr. Jones added, "His Royal Highness will be taken on tours of facilities which promote road safety in the island, visit the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre in Mona and attend a banquet where former Prime Ministers will be honoured. Also, a posthumous award will be conferred on the founder of the Council, Sir John Golding."  The Awards Banquet will take place on Wednesday, April 17
Dr. Jones expressed confidence that the five-day visit of such a high ranking road safety advocate as HRH, will greatly assist  "in the efforts of the NRSC to raise the level of awareness of the importance of road safety for any nation and in particular for a small developing nation like ours." He expects the visit by His Royal Highness to strengthen the bonds of friendship and deepen the relationships which the NRSC has forged with the international community, in this the Decade of Action For Road Safety.
At yesterday's launch ceremony, the NRSC also unveiled its 20th Anniversary Logo and the BELOW 240 Logo.  The latter is a symbolic representation of the renewed initiative to encourage the reduction in road deaths to fewer than 240 per year.  
 Also introduced to the public for the first time were the new NRSC multi-media initiatives – the NRSC 20th Anniversary Jingle and Public Education Road Safety Infomercials.
 Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Olympic Gold Medalist, who is the NRSC 'Ambassador'/ Spokesperson for its 20th Anniversary year, is featured in the Infomercials. Composer, Musician/ Entertainer Grub Cooper is the composer of the Jingle. The campaign was produced by PROComm Limited.
In addressing the launch of the NRSC 20th Anniversary activities, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing commended the Council on its sterling work in road safety promotion. The Minister credits the Council's road safety strategies, programmes and advocacy for legislative change, for the successful reduction in road fatalities over the years. The Minister further indicated that the SAVE 300Lives Programme resulted in a 24% reduction in road fatalities over the 2008 to 2012 period. He cautioned Jamaicans that while less than 300 lives were lost last year there is no room for complacency, "as still too many lives are being lost."
Acknowledging the pivotal work that the NRSC has played in the review of the Road Traffic Act, Dr. Morais Guy announced that the new Act is at an advanced stage: "The Road Traffic Act is at an advanced stage and will be tabled in the next financial year." 
Mr. Earl Jarrett,  Chairman, Jamaica Automobile Association reminded participants in the launch ceremony that" every person lost on the nation's roads represents an economic loss, and therefore our road safety programme is as important as an IMF agreement." He contended that crashes will directly and indirectly stymie the country's economic growth and development.
Mr. Jarrett underscored the importance of all citizens paying attention to the efforts to reduce road crashes, especially since road crashes are the second leading cause of deaths in Jamaica, second to homicides. 
Among those who participated in yesterday's NRSC event, chaired by Executive Director Paula Fletcher, were representatives of the Council including the Ministries of Transport, Justice and National Security; Jamaica Constabulary Force, Island Traffic Authority, Transport Authority, and the Jamaica Gasolene Retailers Association. The media, as well as students from the Mona Heights Primary and Preparatory schools were also in attendance.

Erica James-King Communication Manager | PROComm
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