Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Valerie Facey: 'A powerful influence for good'

Mrs Valerie Facey, who recently received an Hon Doctorate from the UWI, with her late husband the Hon Maurice Facey. - Gleaner photo

Excerpt from Observer column - 24 Feb 2014
When I hear folks criticising Jamaica and Jamaicans, I have to remind them that because ‘bad news sells’, we don’t hear enough about the heroes in our midst.  It was therefore important that the Jamaica Association for the Deaf (JAD) had a special event last week to honour Valerie Facey for her 60 years of voluntary service to the organisation. We learned how she worked to establish the Danny Williams School for the Deaf when she discovered that there were many deaf youngsters virtually locked away for years with no skills training.  In the 1950s, this twenty-something American-Jamaican was knocking on doors in such communities as Jones Town and Passmore Town to encourage parents to allow their children to develop skills.  A brochure circulated at the event showed exquisite restoration of old books at the JAD bindery. 
As expected, Mrs Facey passed on the kudos to her father-in-law Cecil Boswell Facey who was Chairman of the organisation, founded by Rev F.W Gilby in 1938, and to R. ‘Danny’ Williams who was also invited by his father-in-law Lister Mair to volunteer.   But those who have worked with Valerie Facey know of her hands-on commitment to any cause she espouses.
Governor General Sir Patrick Allen saluted Mrs Facey’s “powerful influence for good” and her “tangible commitment to the marginalized and overlooked”.  We saw Valerie Facey at work on the Advocacy Committee of the Women’s Leadership Initiative – she inspired us with her insight and respect for the opinions of the young mentees with whom we worked.  A great lady indeed.
- Jean Lowrie-Chin

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Anti-gang legislation – time for our MPs to check themselves

Excerpt from Jamaica Observer column | by Jean Lowrie-Chin | published Mon 24 Feb 2014
“No one is perfect’, and even more so, no law. The Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Bill – commonly referred to as anti-gang legislation – was passed in Jamaica’s House of Parliament last Wednesday with 22 amendments. We have to agree with human rights activists that this Bill could be tough on misguided young folks, as it will see persons associated with gangs locked away for a very long time. However the terrible crimes that are now being reported call for a strong response.
Attorney General Patrick Atkinson
A JIS report on the passage of the Bill quotes Attorney General Patrick Atkinson: “While it is understandable that civil society and persons are concerned about their individual rights, we must bear in mind that this piece of legislation will not exist in isolation …Indeed, when the police act under it they still have to go to court and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the allegations against the particular person they take before the court are proven.”
Delroy Chuck MP
Guyana’s Stabroek News also reported on this development, and quoted former justice minister Delroy Chuck, who “challenged his parliamentary colleagues to dispense with political capital in order to dismantle criminal gangs”: “In this Parliament, some of us, all of us, will have to be prepared to give up some political capital to dismantle some of these garrisons. I think that we are never going to fully break up the gangs until we agree, between us, both sides and all politicians, that we must free the minds of our members in our communities so that they respect how others exercise their vote.” 
The report stated that some of Mr Chuck’s colleagues answered back, “Speak for yourself.”  To which we would say, it is time that all parliamentarians check themselves and their fellow MPs before they wreck this country!
Dr Henley Morgan
Our human rights activists, government agencies and all concerned citizens must now move quickly to help protect at-risk youth.  We need to have more social workers on the ground to counsel our young people and assist them in making themselves employable.  I would like to recommend such sustainable models as Dr Henley Morgan’s Agency for Inner City Renewal (AIR) in Trench Town, the St. Patrick’s Foundation in Olympic Gardens and the Stella Maris Foundation in Grant’s Pen.

  • Am curious to know who was the politician who said "speak for yourself" maybe he or she should be running the country, clearly that person is one of virtue. (Sarcasm). Am not sure Mugabe is dissimilar from any of our leaders enuh. He took over a country with wealth (although unequally distributed) and turn it into one of the laughing stock of the region. All the while retaining power. He, by his actions kindly ask the those with knowledge/knowhow to leave the country etc etc. Food for thought no? If I am wrong in my interpretation, please correct me.

    Say what you want about the USA but they do level the playing field for their citizens. They respect their citizens (including minorities) inalienable rights. Can't say the same about Jamaica.

    Its full time all of them leave parliament, because all who are over 60, years have done their time, and should give way to the younger generation of upcoming bright individuals. Get out of parliament old heads, and give someone a chance to live.
    • It does not work like that. Those who aspires to lead our people must be measured by the guiding principles of integrity, morality, and the rule of law, not age.
      • If that is the yardstick, then every single pol should resign. Not one of them has a shred of integrity or morality

        • speak for yourself and leave the peoples cant decide for the people . unless you dont believe in democracy .
    • Do you really think having only the younger generation will provide a stable government? It would be like the blind leading the blind if you get where I am going.
      Lie. Quietly unno love Mugabe. Once upon a 1978 it was pure love and praises. What has happened is we have been proven wrong. And now we get defesive becuase as 'oppressed' people, we are never to be wrong. That's all folks!
    • Should the people of Zimbabwe seriously care to take the lecturing from Jamaicans who lives in a country highly ranked among the Murder Capitals of the world ?. As the saying goes "look a yard before you look abroad".

    • Mugabe reminds me of Idi Amin. He was a Ugandan president known for his brutal regime while in power from 1971 to 1979.
  • Atleast mugabe show him true colours and you know exactly where you stand with him. You know to stay clear, what I dont like is people who sneak themselves around you, your people, and their country and pretend to like them while secretly hurting them.
  • When the head of a criminal organisation was to be extradited, all the MP's in the then govt sided to thwart the process. What a joke now to hear these words from Chuck!
    • I concur. Hopefully the MP Mr. Chuck will not turn back on his newly found journey to Damascus.
      • LOL, he has change even Paul change his ways.What he need to do now is to bring andrew to church