Monday, December 30, 2013

Giving thanks and taking responsibility

Observer column for MON 30 Dec 2013 | Jean Lowrie-Chin

Finance and Planning Minister Dr Peter Phillips (left) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Representative in Jamaica, Dr Bert Van Selm (right), listen keenly as IMF Staff Mission Team Head to Jamaica, Jan Kees Martijn, addresses Nov 13 media briefing at the finance and planning ministry’s National Heroes Circle offices in Kingston. (PHOTO: JIS)
There was a lot to give thanks for this year.  We braced for an active hurricane season, and thank goodness we were not hit.  At one point, we were on the verge of a drought and water lock-offs were started, but the rain came and we were saved.  We wondered if we would be able to pass the IMF test and get our draw-down – we passed not one, but two IMF tests. According to a report on the website, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair of the IMF Board, Nayouki Shinohara, said that the overall programme implementation under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) remains strong.  He saw tentative signs of a gradual economic recovery.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Usain Bolt at the World Athletics Gala 2013 (Philippe Fitte)
Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce after being awarded IAAF Athletes of the Year
Our athletes
We must never take for granted the continued dominance of our athletes.  Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce again triumphed at the World Championships in Moscow.  It is no easy task for these athletes to keep returning these results.  They went on to cop the top Male and Female Athlete Awards from the IAAF, and only last week were named the top Caribbean sports personalities by AIPS America, the Continental arm of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS), via the votes of sport journalists.
Alia Atkinson
Alia Atkinson
While we were at the height of ‘Tessanne Fever’, Jamaica’s three-time Olympic swimmer Alia Atkinson was making history for her country too, in the FINA World Cup Series which started in the Netherlands in August and had its grand finale in Beijing last month.  Swimming against the world’s best, Alia impressed at all seven meets including two Gold in Eindhoven (Netherlands), two Silver in Moscow, two Gold in Dubai, Gold in Doha, two Gold in Singapore, and 2nd overall after the Japan outing. In the final leg in China, Alia earned two Gold and a Silver, earning a total of US$136,000, the highest for a Jamaican swimmer, and taking the third highest spot. 
Our Sunshine Girls
Our ever-dependable Sunshine Girls also brought us honour, ending their campaign in the FAST5 Netball World Series scoring 44-17 over South Africa to bring home the bronze.  Marva Bernard, big-hearted President of the Jamaica Netball Association, has the team touring various Jamaican communities to fire up enthusiasm for their upcoming campaign in England.
Gold Musgrave Medalists
Whenever our energy flags, let us remember those Jamaicans who have multiplied their God given talents through sacrifice, diligence and perseverance.
Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer
From left: Dr Trevor Yee), Bronze awardee; Earl 'Chinna' Smith, Silver; Governor General Sir Patrick Allen; Professor Franklin Knight, Gold; and Professor Michael Taylor, Silver, proudly show their citations during The Institute of Jamaica's Musgrave Medals Award Ceremony at the institute's complex on East Street yesterday.

, Kingston on Wednesday October 16, 2013. Here are Dr. Trevor Yee (left), Bronze Awardee; Earl "Chinna" Smith (second left), Silver Awardee; Governor General Sir Patrick Allen (centre); Prof. Franklin Knight (second right), Gold Awardee; and Prof. Michael Taylor (right), Silver Awardee.
Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer From left: Dr Trevor Yee), Bronze awardee; Earl 'Chinna' Smith, Silver; Governor General Sir Patrick Allen; Professor Franklin Knight, Gold; and Professor Michael Taylor, Silver, proudly show their citations during The Institute of Jamaica's Musgrave Medals Award Ceremony at the institute's complex on East Street yesterday. , Kingston on Wednesday October 16, 2013. Here are Dr. Trevor Yee (left), Bronze Awardee; Earl "Chinna" Smith (second left), Silver Awardee; Governor General Sir Patrick Allen (centre); Prof. Franklin Knight (second right), Gold Awardee; and Prof. Michael Taylor (right), Silver Awardee.
The Institute of Jamaica’s Gold Musgrave Medal is awarded for a lifetime of exceptional achievement. We are proud that one of this year’s two recipients is Professor Franklin Knight, eminent historian and retired professor at Johns Hopkins University, the first non-white tenured Professor in the history of the University. The Spanish-speaking Manchester-born Calabar and UWI graduate has also served on academic advisory committees for Harvard University, Princeton University, City University of New York, Swarthmore College, Ohio University, Colgate University, The Schomburg Library, The University of Florida at Gainesville, and the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras.

The second Musgrave Gold winner was Lee “Scratch” Perry, the Kendal-born musical genius, owner of the Upsetters label and band, who was asked by Bob Marley to produce one of his records in the late sixties. The Institute of Jamaica Citation reads: “Perry then opened his own studio, the Black Ark, in 1973.  Black Ark innovations attracted Chris Blackwell, and Perry began recording other Jamaican artists and his solo work with the Upsetters, including the popular Super Ape, for Island Records. The Island connection allowed Perry to inculcate his unique production technique onto foreign genres. Seeking to capture the Black Ark sound, Paul McCartney sent materials of his to be rearranged by Perry.” Yes, Paul McCartney himself wanted the ‘Scratch’ Perry touch!

National Honourees
Winston Chung Fah receives the Order of Distinction, Commander Class from Governor General Most Hon Sir Patrick Allen

Among those who received National Honours this year were my good friends Winston Chung Fah who received the Order of Distinction, Commander Class and Oliver Jones, inducted into the Order of Jamaica.  CPTC did an excellent three-part series on Winston Chung-Fah for their ‘Hill ‘n’ Gully’ programme and I urge football coaches to share this with their young charges. The honour to Chung Fah, the man who ensured that our humblest ‘ballers’ got a chance to shine in the sport, was long overdue.

Hon Oliver Jones - inducted into the Order of Jamaica

Last week Oliver Jones called me to say how moved he was to have been appointed to the Order of Jamaica. Oliver was the founder of the Island Life Insurance Company, which disappeared in the financial meltdown of the nineties. While he was quite outspoken about the then PNP Government’s handling of the economy, he refused to become bitter.  Instead, he decided to share his message of resilience with thousands in corporate Jamaica.  Oliver’s story is told in the book ‘Oliver Jones: An Entrepreneurial Journey’ written by UTECH’s Professor Rosalea Hamilton and Dr. Angela Ramsay. Oliver believes that this recognition sends a positive signal that Jamaica may be rising above her politically-divided past. 

Hard-working Tessanne

I have selected these personalities for special mention and of course, I must again hail the extraordinary Tessanne Chin.  On Thursday evening, CVM-TV showed excerpts from a Jimmy Cliff concert held some years ago, and there was a long-haired Tessanne with singer-trumpeter Dwight Richards doing back-up.  We noticed that she was no mere prop on the stage, but an energetic, expressive singer, and we saw why the great Jimmy Cliff gave her the thumbs-up for her ‘Voice’ campaign.  Those tours are not easy - she has certainly earned her stripes.

More success stories to be written …
Digicel Group CEO Colm Delves
Jamaica has so much promise, and this was highlighted in an interview last week with Digicel Group CEO Colm Delves by UK Guardian writer Elizabeth Braw.  He explained that by targeting the low-income majority, the company had helped to create sustainable growth, while remaining profitable. He noted that Digicel employs 1,200 Jamaicans directly and through dealerships, contractors and vendors, approximately 50,000 others. Jamaican managers have trained fellow employees in the 30 other countries where the company operates.
Digicel Founder and Chairman Denis O'Brien supports a market vendor in Downtown Kingston where he built a multi-million energy-efficient Regional Headquarters
The Digicel success story started right here in Jamaica when an entrepreneur named Denis O’Brien applied for a telecoms license advertised by the Jamaican Government.  There are many more success stories to be written.  Yes, we are concerned about crime and violence, the result of pathetic parenting and political tribalism. Therefore let us become mentors, activists and investors in the building of our nation. Jamaica waits.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Problem solving ... by Jerome Vadon

Jamaica is hilarious :)
Check here to identify countries ....

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Today - 4 road fatalies!

Report from Police Traffic HQ ..

Three (3) Fatal Collisions resulting in four (4) deaths was received by the Unit. Information on these collisions is limited as investigations are ongoing.

1. Saturday 28/12/ 13 about 6:00am along Perkins Boulevard. It is reported that two (2) occupants of the vehicle have died. Both female. Their categories are not yet known. AIRU personnel are on the scene.

2. Saturday 28/12/2013 about 7:15 am along the Toll Road involving a Toyota Mark X registered 7999 GH and a motorcycle information for which is not yet ascertained.

1 Motor Cyclist Male.

Motorcyclist was proceeding along the roadway towards Portmore when he hit a median and was thrown from the vehicle into the path of a motor car on the other side of the road.

3. Saturday 28/12/2013 about 12:34am along Portmore Pines involving a motor vehicle and a Pedal Cyclist.

1 Pedal Cyclist Male 35

Pedal cyclist was hit from his bicycle by a vehicle.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Lord is Come!

It was a joyful celebration at Stella Maris last night - our Pastor Father Howard, Choir, Steelband, Young Adults and Sunday School Children brought alive the message of Christmas.
To receive the Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist, on such a Holy Night was especially moving - this is Jesus' Gift of Himself for eternity.
The appearance of angels to humble shepherds reminds us that every single one of us is precious to God.
The best Christmas gift we can give to each other is respect and compassion, born out of this Divine Love that God bestowed on us in the person of his own Son, Jesus.
As the angels sang, let us live to bring:
"Peace on Earth - Goodwill to All"!

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Joy of Christmas

After the challenges of the past year, we can reflect on the message of hope that Christmas brings. This faith-lit prophecy is from Isaiah 9:6: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." 
It is in this spirit that we lavish love on our family and as many others as we can.  What memories we have of the simple Christmas gestures that brought us joy.  For me, it was riding up the escalator in Times Store on King Street when I was about eight years old with my Dad.  He took me over to the book section, and to my delight, told me I could choose any book I wished.  In those budget conscious times, we borrowed books to read from the library and returned them so having one's own book – not a text book – was an amazing treat.
Then, regardless of how careful she was with menu-planning the rest of the year, my mother would be shopping, baking and seasoning in the weeks before Christmas.  Her sewing machine buzzed constantly, as she transformed 'pound-cloth' into lovely curtains, cushion covers and new Christmas outfits for her children.
At church, we rehearsed Christmas carols – the commanding 'Oh Come All Ye Faithful', the stirring 'Oh Holy Night' and the ecstatic 'Joy to the World'. Midnight Mass was a feast for the senses: the music, candlelight, incense, Bible readings brought us to the comforting realization that "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" - John 3:16

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Paula Kerr-Jarrett calls for result-oriented crime-fighting strategy

This press release was issued last week by JLP caretaker for Eastern Hanover Paula Kerr-Jarrett. We have been seeing some brave efforts from the JCF. We hope community policing will remain an important part of our fight against crime ... 
December 17, 2013: Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Caretaker for Eastern Hanover, Mrs. Paula Kerr-Jarrett said that while she welcomes the latest attempt of the police in the Area One division at tackling the upsurge in crime across several Western Jamaica parishes, this should not be part of a "new strategy" but an ongoing and constantly dynamic operation inclusive of short, medium and long term strategies. The new crime strategy named, Operation Resilience II, should in no way she says, negate the need to provide a long term and sustainable plan to significantly lower crime rates across the region.
The JLP Caretaker noted that a part of that long term and sustainable plan is to seriously examine objectively the breakdown in trust and in many cases communication between residents and the police. Building trust to put in place meaningful and effective programs in communities to enhance citizens and police relations whilst simultaneously weeding out corrupt police men and women will go a very far way in tackling the crisis of crime.
Mrs. Kerr-Jarrett called on Jamaica's "Chief of Security", National Security Minister Peter Bunting to not just talk about "measures" being taken but apply them so that we can see their effect. She noted that, "If the application is being made and the results are not forthcoming he should get help! He would know as a renowned businessman that the majority of one's success is to consistently recognise the weaknesses of your organisation and in turn get the right advice and staffing to solve the problems."
The JLP Caretaker went on to state that Minister Bunting should treat the business of law and order just as how he would his own business by making the necessary changes and bringing home the "returns". 
For further information contact:  
 Mrs. Paula Kerr-Jarrett
Eastern Hanover, Caretaker

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Giving & Receiving – your Wings

Message from Sister Mariama Williams
Precious One,
We give and we receive all year long. And yet again in many traditions there is a specific season for explicitly giving and receiving. Be gentle with yourselves during such periods: whether you think you are in abundance and security or perched on the tip of insecurity and lack, simply acknowledge those feelings and let them go. 
Abundance surrounds you always. The key for the unlocking is usually in plain sight. When, and until you reach for it…
"Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings." — Victor Hugo 

Joan Grant Cummings
Development Specialist
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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Digicel gives Tessanne Royal Homecoming

Tessanne Chin at the podium with Emcee Michael Anthony Cuffe Sr - her father-in-law
Tessanne expresses appreciation to Digicel for their hospitality
Digicel Jamaica Director of Marketing Peter Lloyd presents Tessanne with a life-sized poster signed by guests at UBTR who attended Tessanne 'Watch and Tweet' parties
Tessanne displays her 'Voice' Trophy much to the delight of guests at the Norman Manley Airport VIP Lounge.
A jubilant crowd waving Jamaican flags and wearing Team Tessanne shirts as they await the arrival of their beloved star.
After her triumph on NBC's 'The Voice', the amazing Tessanne Chin was ready to return to her homeland, Jamaica to enjoy Christmas with her family.  However, all the commercial flights were booked.  Digicel's ever-generous CEO Colm Delves offered to fly her in from New York, where she had a whirlwind series of interviews on top shows.

Tessanne was delighted to accept and Digicel team members Heather Asphall and Tahnida Nunes flew up to smooth the way for Jamaica's Golden Girl.  Digicel literally rolled out the red carpet for Tessanne's arrival - she was met by her father Richard Chin, husband Michael Anthony Cuffe Jr, Sister Tami Chynn and her husband Wayne Marshall, mentor Orville 'Shaggy' Burrell and his wife Rebecca Packer; Government Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Wykeham McNeill, State Minister Damion Crawford, MP Babsy Grange,Digicel Jamaica CEO Barry O'Brien and his wife Ruth, Digicel JamaicaPublic Affairs Manager Trisha Williams-Singh, Public Relations Manager Jacqueline Burrell and Senior Comms Mgr Shelly-Ann Harris. Also present and receiving gratitude from Tessanne were WISYNCO CEO Andrew Mahfood and Marketing Director Francois Chalifour, ATL Group Chairman Adam Stewart and his mother the inspiring P.J. Stewart, booking agent Sharon Burke.

It was exciting to watch the touchdown of the Digicel jet emblazoned with the Twitter hashtag that was trending worldwide on Monday and Tuesday: #TeamTessanne.
Here are scenes from the reception.

Friday, December 20, 2013

KC Chapel Choir Christmas Performances 2013

Kingston College Chapel Choir

Christmas Performance 

Treat yourself and your family to something very special

Cost - $1,000

Saturday, December 21, 2013
Church of the Conversion of St. Paul,

Queens Park, 
5 West Greater Portmore
Time - 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
UWI Chapel,
Time - 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 29, 2013 
Church of St. Mary the Virgin,
Molynes Road
Time - 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, January 12, 2014
St. Johns Anglican Church Hall,
Milford Road,
Ocho Rios
Time - 4:00 p.m. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

An Anniversary to Remember

So Hubie and I arrived at Guilt Trip, Devon House, and were told by the incomparable Colin Hylton that he was not giving us a menu - he would be 'sending out' our courses!
Crispy spring rolls, followed by a Red Pea Soup with Smoked Turkey - the flavours so deep and enticing, we sipped it slowly. Then a salad sparkling with surprise ingredients - molasses-coated nuts and a dressing that made my lettuce dance!
Then a juicy roasted breast of chicken with a sorrel sauce that sang Christmas carols in every morsel.
Finally the arrival of a divine dessert - a seductive trio of fruitcake-in-the-round, Colin's famous silky cheese cake and a fruit soup! Fruit soup? There you have it in 2 angles from photos above - light, refreshing with chunks of fresh fruit.
But there was also no bill for us! Our daughter Anita, a chef in her own right, had colluded with Colin to create this amazing menu and had taken care of the bill!
When we arrived home and were thanking her profusely, we found out that our son Noel was also in on the planning.
How blessed we are! Here's to my dear Husband, our wonderful Anita, cool-cool Noel and a good friend Chef Colin ... Thank you for a memorable night - 16 December 2013.

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