Thursday, June 23, 2016

Kudos Dr Arscott for Milk River Spa

There is the inevitable shake-up of boards of public agencies following a change of government, but I would like to shine a light on the fine contribution of the Board of Milk River Spa chaired by Dr Guyan Arscott, to the renovation of this treasure of Clarendon.  The Board described their mandate and vision of the Milk River Mineral Bath and Spa (MRBS):Milk River to become an iconic project to form the driving force of South Coast Tourism.”

An 18th century slave discovered the healing spring, bathing in its waters after a merciless beating by estate owner Jonathan Ludford.  Ludford promised never to punish the slave again, if he showed him the spring, whereupon he fenced it assigned the slave as the watchman.  Upon his death in 1794, he willed the property (about 100 acres) to the government. The tourism ministry website notes: “Analysis of the mineral spring has established that it is more radioactive than leading European spas, (fifty-four times as active as Baden in Switzerland and three times as active as Karlsbad, Austria). The waters are reputed to cure numerous ailments including rheumatism, gout …”

The seniors organisation, Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) organised an outing there last year, and we were impressed by the facilities at the large, sparkling mineral pool, enjoyed by adults and children alike.  The renovation of the main building was underway, and I am hoping that the well laid plans of the former board, which was also served by the amazing Scarlette Gillings, will be continued – this includes plans for retirement villas. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tivoli: never again!

Observer column published Monday 20 June 2016

By Jean Lowrie-Chin

One of the police stations set ablaze before the Tivoli operations -
We should feel compassion for the citizens of Tivoli, as well as for our security forces.  We cannot judge the women who marched in white a few days before the Tivoli operation, bearing signs declaring their willingness to die for Christopher Coke referred to as “The President” of Tivoli Gardens, nor can we condemn the decision of the security forces to attempt to arrest Coke, who was wanted for crimes committed in the USA.
The report of the Tivoli Inquiry concluded that the decision of the security forces to go into Tivoli was warranted. Following the announcement that the Government would implement the extradition order for Coke, two police officers had been ambushed in the Mountain View area, and slaughtered; two police stations had been set ablaze; the entrances to the Tivoli Gardens community had been blocked by LPG cylinders which had been chained together, video footage of which was carried in newscasts.
Before the operation began, citizens were offered transportation to leave the community.  Did they remain because they wanted to or because they were forced to do so? Chances are, we will never know.
What we do know is that Tivoli Gardens has long been regarded as one of over a dozen garrison communities in Jamaica led representatives of both political parties – PNP and JLP alike.  From reports, we understand that these garrisons are like modern day plantations, where thugs have replaced overseers. Crossing from one side of a street to another could be very dangerous to your health!
These thugs become very popular with some political representatives in the months leading up to elections.  They ‘control’ tenement yards, and I experienced this when I tried to take some supplies to a bereaved family in my hometown of Savanna-la-mar, Westmoreland.
“Is awright, I will give dem,” said a man when I asked to see the children whose parents had been shot to death after their door was kicked in, some months before. He took the bag from me, and walked off before I could utter another word.  Did those children of Dalling Street ever get the bun and cheese, and other Easter treats I took for them?  Chances are, I will never know.
Visiting our parents' graves at Calvary this Easter .. once again, Dad's grave has been vandalised .. Mom's grave awaits tombing - her burial was in February.  A security guard stands watch behind us. 
What I do know, is that to make a recent visit to my parents’ graves at Calvary Cemetery, adjoining Arnett Gardens, I had to hire a security guard and beg the police to be on the lookout.  This is in the Constituency now being hotly contested by Mark Golding and Colin Campbell, as Dr Omar Davies takes his leave of representational politics.
I believe Dr Davies was confronted with a toughness in that constituency, and he must have been a very grateful man when Dr Henley Morgan decided to set up his Agency for Inner City Renewal (AIR) in Trench Town, an organisation lauded in the Tivoli Report, its model recommended for communities like Tivoli Gardens. I am hoping his successor will make it possible for the communities in that constituency be finally and fully healed.
The Tivoli Inquiry is appealing to politicians to stop funding the “dons” in their constituencies.  Out of political garrisons have emerged gangs which have spread fear and grief far beyond the boundaries of these constituencies. How can Jamaica’s lawmakers be funding Jamaica’s lawbreakers? Further, in the national disgrace of scamming, I understand that some of those ill-gotten gains may have found their way into the coffers of political campaigns – if this is true, may such representatives never see the inside of Gordon House.
Hope on the horizon
Before we all hold our heads in despair, let me share that there is a move afoot where decent citizens are keenly inspecting political candidates, and deliberately putting their money where they are seeing honesty and dynamism.  Let this be the beginning of a movement, as we isolate those who are quoting “Vision 2030” with no intention of taking Jamaica there, and affirm those who are showing dedication and duty of care. 
Whether you can give in cash or kind, search for honest Jamaicans and support them, encourage good people to enter politics, so we can finally have the kind of leadership that our people deserve.  You may “see and blind, hear and deaf”, but that donation, even anonymous, can help turn the tide. 

Every well-thinking person is being asked to be a participant in this modern day emancipation of the oppressed citizens of Jamaica.  It is up to our political representatives and those of us who put them in office, that the dangerous challenges faced by the citizens of Tivoli, other garrison communities, and the security forces will come to an end. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Dr Victor Chang recounts 1918 Anti-Chinese Riot

Excerpt from Jamaica Observer column published MON 13 JUNE 2016
by Jean Lowrie-Chin
Dr Victor Chang - from TalkingTrees -

Who has ever heard about an Anti-Chinese Riot in Jamaica in 1918?  We knew about the 1966 riots because the grocery store of our schoolmates, the Hoo Ping Kongs, had been burned down by rioters, although they had absolutely nothing to do with the conflict which had started in a downtown bakery.
So when we heard that Dr Victor Chang, known for his witty turn of phrase and great humour, would be speaking on this unbeknownst topic at the monthly meeting of the Chinese Cultural Association, we marked our calendars – this was a ‘must hear’. 

Dr Chang gave the background for the simmering animosity between African-Jamaicans and the Chinese: “Clearly, the entrenched oppositional stance between blacks and Chinese was part of a scheme by the colonial powers.  From the outset they had in mind that bringing the Chinese to the Caribbean was a sound strategic move since they would be “a barrier between us and the negroes, with whom they do not associate; and consequently to whom they will always offer a formidable opposition...”

This resentment grew when the Chinese were allowed to do trading on the estates where they worked, amassing enough to set up shops throughout the Jamaican countryside. 
Added to this, was the fact that the Chinese men had arrived without wives, and had African-Jamaican paramours.  This was the case for the grocer Fong Sue, of Ewarton, whose paramour, Caroline Lindo, lived with him.

 “The fact that the grocer had become involved with a black woman did not make him any more acceptable to the blacks because he still remained “othered”; there was some resentment that he should be taking one of the local women, and there were still bizarre speculations and beliefs about the Chinese which would be shown up in the riots.”

He quotes historian Howard Johnson’s account from a 1982 Caribbean Quarterly article: “Fong Sue, the Chinese grocer, had left his shop on Sunday, 7 July, in charge of his paramour, a creole woman, Caroline Lindo.  He was not expected to return that night.  Acting Corporal McDonald, who was in charge of the Ewarton Police Station, took advantage of Fong Sue’s absence to sleep with his paramour.  Fong Sue returned that same night unexpectedly, at about 11 o’clock, to find McDonald in an intimate embrace with Lindo… McDonald was given a beating by Fong Sue, with the help of a few Chinese friends, and then made good his escape.  He did not return to the police station but remained hidden in the bushes for two days.  He eventually re-appeared at the police station on the night of Tuesday, 9 July, to resume his duties.

Rumours swirled that Corporal McDonald had been killed, and attacks against the Chinese “encompassed St. Ann, St. Catherine, St. Mary and Clarendon.” Mischief-makers used it as an opportunity to loot the shops, and at the end of the melĂ©e on July 11, 22 shops had been destroyed. 

Prof Anthony Chen

Dr Chang’s address was preceded by the Annual General Meeting of the Chinese Cultural Association, at which Professor Anthony Chen was re-elected President. Membership in the association is open to everyone, not only persons of Chinese ancestry.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Saturday Opening for Museums at Institute of Jamaica

Great news from IOJ ...

The Institute of Jamaica (IOJ) has implemented several measures aimed at promoting the island's museums, enabling easier access to, and encouraging greater appreciation of Jamaica's heritage.

These include opening museums to the public on Saturdays, to allow more people to view the large collections of artefacts and art treasures.

Executive Director of the IOJ, Anne Marie Bonner, said that members of the public can now visit the Institute and its museums on Saturdays between the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The divisions that are opened are the National Museum Jamaica, the Natural History Museum of Jamaica, and the Jamaica Music Museum.

Current Exhibitions include: Taino, Rastafari, Uprsing: 1865 and its Afterlives, Curating Music: Building a National Collection and the National Art in School Exhibition. Click for details.

For bookings call: 922 0620 – 6 ext 284 or 320
Admission: Take a friend!

Contact : Josette Ricketts-Blake (Mrs)
Public Relations Officer

Institute of Jamaica | Central Administration 
10-16 East Street
Tel: 922-0620 | Ext: 290 / 922-0620-6
Fax: 922-1147

The Institute of Jamaica - "For The Encouragement of Literature, Science and Art in Jamaica"

“We are Richer for Having Known Them” – PAJ Remembers Veteran Journalists

"The media community has been dealt a severe blow."  -  Dionne Jackson-Miller,  PAJ President

June 7, 2016: The Press Association of Jamaica is offering sincere condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of veteran journalists Glenroy Sinclair and Gary Spaulding who, within the past few days, passed away within hours of each other.

"The media community has been dealt a severe blow," says PAJ President Dionne Jackson Miller. "Media circles in Jamaica are relatively small, so many of us worked closely with, and were good friends of both Glenroy and Gary. Because of that, the sense of loss is really very severe right now."

Both Sinclair and Spaulding were working at the Gleaner at the time of death. Spaulding had also worked previously at the RJR Communications Group, the Jamaica Observer, and the Jamaica Information Service.

"Our hearts go out to their families and friends, and especially to our colleagues at the Gleaner, who were still processing the reality of losing Glenroy, after he collapsed on the job on Friday, when they were hit with news of Gary's death," she says.

The PAJ says that both reporters were similar in many ways, especially in relation to their professionalism and dedication to their craft.

In his decades in media, Sinclair mastered the difficult crime beat, with sources that were the envy of every reporter.  Spaulding, in the meantime, after years spent covering Parliament and political affairs, was well known to politicians at every level, many of whom he could reach with a single phone call.   In recent years, Spaulding had started to parlay his considerable expertise and writing skills into political commentary, at which he proved adept, leading to his copping the prestigious Press Association of Jamaica's Morris Cargill Award for Opinion Journalism in 2012.

"Gary was my friend and mentor," says PAJ Vice President Karen Madden, who described herself as "heart-broken" and says Spaulding's encouragement and friendship were instrumental in her decision to pursue her dream of seguing from previously held administrative positions at the RJR Communications Group into journalism. 

That encouragement, she says, was typical of Spaulding, who never lost an opportunity to mentor and assist younger journalists. Sinclair similarly, could always be relied on to help guide reporters new on the scene.

"Every reporter on the crime beat liked and respected Glenroy," says  PAJ secretary Rohan Powell. "He was usually a step or two in front of everybody else when it came to getting the scoop on any crime story. He was also a really nice person who got along with everybody, and who you couldn't help but like."

"We are the richer for having known and worked with them, and journalism will be the poorer for their absence," says Jackson Miller. "Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends at this difficult time."

Contact: Dionne Jackson Miller, 792-3550

"A Free Press, Oxygen of Democracy"

Friday, June 3, 2016

Violet Mosse Brown – 116 amazing years!

Observer column published May 23 2016
by Jean Lowrie-Chin

Mrs. Mosse Brown exudes peace and contentment - Hubie Chin photo
In the quiet district of Duanvale, Trelawny is a lady whose life has crossed
three centuries.  She was six months in the making at the turn of the 20th century, and her parents Elizabeth Riley (who lived to 96) and John Mosse welcomed into the world their daughter, Violet on March 13, 1900, born on the same premises where she still lives, 116 years later.

“I live by the grace of God and I am proud of my age!” declares Mrs Violet Mosse Brown, the world’s second oldest living person according to the Guinness Book of Records and Wikipedia.

Mrs. Mosse Brown exudes peace and contentment as she sits on her cool verandah, enjoying the comings and goings of the district. Beside her is 96-year old son, Harold Fairweather, incredibly youthful in appearance and widely believed to be the oldest person with a living parent. He lived in England for many years but says he returned home to be with his beloved mother, noting that she had sacrificed much for him and his other five siblings.

96-y-o Harold Fairweather, oldest person with a living parent
yours truly, Hubie my husband and Mrs Mosse-Brown 
Mrs Mosse Brown receives support from her relatives, a devoted friend Ms. Elaine McGrawder and her caregiver Delita Grant.  They enjoy the company of this positive lady, who shares many gems of faith and poetry with them.  Her favourite is “The Vision of Belshazzar” by Lord Byron, which she recited to us without a hitch.

At 13, a devout Violet was received into the Baptist Church, where she was given to read Psalm 119, Verse 133 – words that she has never forgotten. She declared them to us: “Order my steps in Thy word and let no sin have any dominion over me.”

Mrs. Mosse Brown and her husband worked as cane farmers selling their crop to the Long Pond Sugar Estate.  Later he became the caretaker for the neighbouring cemetery, calling on his wife’s skills to assist him in record keeping.  Her son Harold showed me the book in which she diligently entered information on the individuals buried in the cemetery.  It dates back to 1952 and Mrs. Mosse Brown’s beautiful handwriting is a testament to the pride she took in her work, recording each name and other details for registration at the parish council.

We were impressed by the cheerful support in the Brown household.  ‘Miss V’ was asked several times if she wanted a cup of tea which she eventually had just before our departure.  Her son Harold told us that she enjoys small meals.

“She likes fish and mutton and sometimes she will have cow foot,” he says, “but she does not eat pork or chicken.” Her other preferences are sweet potatoes, irish potatoes, breadfruit, and fruit, especially oranges and mangoes.

I contacted Usain Bolt’s Manager Norman Peart about the possibility of Usain’s attendance at the Centenarian Day event planned for last Friday, since both are from the parish of Trelawny, but Norman explained that Usain would be off island. He was delighted to learn about Mrs Mosse Brown, explaining that Duanvale is a neighbouring district to Sherwood Content, where the Bolt family lives.

Quite a coincidence: the World’s Fastest Man and the World’s Second Oldest Person, born only a few miles from each other!

Harold Fairweather’s reply to racism
Mrs Mosse Brown's eldest - 96-Y-O Harold Fairweather - Hubie Chin photo

Harold Fairweather, Mrs Mosse Brown’s first child, appears closer to 60 than the century he is approaching in only four years.  He spoke animatedly about his experience as a migrant in Sheffield, England.  He had applied for a job, and was told by the manager that they did not hire blacks.

“I told the gentleman, ‘when your time comes for you to go to the City Road Cemetery, I don’t think colour will matter there”,’ Harold Fairweather said.  “I have a flower garden and I do not see only white flowers there.  God made them of various colours.  This is God’s world and all of us are in His beautiful garden.”

Mr. Fairweather said the gentleman seemed surprised and asked, “Where did you get that from?”  He hired him that day. “I became the first person of colour to be employed in that business,” said Mr Fairweather.  “I opened the door for other people of colour and would you believe that this gentleman became like a second father to me in England.”

It was indeed a moving visit, and we agree with members of Mrs Mosse Brown’s family, that she should be recognised for her lifelong contribution to the community, which continues as she counsels the citizens of Duanvale. Her family has created the Violet Mosse Brown Foundation and can be contacted at

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

DIGICEL UNITES THE CARIBBEAN WITH BRING THE BEAT CAMPAIGN - Usain Bolt takes on kiddies from the Caribbean

-       Usain Bolt takes on kiddies from the Caribbean

Kingston, Jamaica – Wednesday 1st June 2016: Today, Usain Bolt, the fastest man alive, teamed up with Digicel to launch its Bring the Beat campaign in front of an inquisitive bunch of little kids from across the Caribbean at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica yesterday. The launch took the form of a lively fireside chat session with Usain, hosted by nine-year old Naleighna-Kae McLean from Jamaica, followed by a 'Kiddie Press Conference'.

The Launch
Facing his toughest audience yet, the 30-strong kiddie press pack aged between six and ten years peppered Usain with questions they have been burning to ask all their lives. Seven-year old Ajani Brown, also from Jamaica, tried not to seem too keen but it was clear that he was eager to meet Usain and took advantage of the opportunity that presented itself asking; "Mr. Usain, can we be friends on Facebook when my mommy gets me one?" With laughter all around, Bolt responded; "Sure. But first let's take a selfie."

The Campaign
Digicel's Bring the Beat campaign represents the culture of the Caribbean and the irrepressible spirit which unites and ignites its people. Through music and the celebration of extraordinary talents, the campaign will connect the world to the Caribbean and its culture and support all of the athletes who are set to represent their countries in Brazil.

Inspired by the campaign, Trinidad and Tobago's soca monarch, Machel Montano released his latest single, 'Bring the Beat', featuring Jamaican songbird and winner of season 5 of NBC's The Voice, Tessanne Chin, as a tribute to the athletes as they take on the world in Brazil. Machel said; "The song represents and embodies everything the Bring the Beat campaign is about – connecting, inspiring and entertaining."

Six-time Olympic Gold Medallist, Usain Bolt, said; "It's really great to have the support of your country and the entire region when we are out there on the track. So I think this is a great campaign. For me I'm just focused on going out there and doing my best and showing the world how we bring the beat."

Digicel Group Director of Marketing, Peter Lloyd, said; "Music and sport have the power to bring people and nations together – and that is exactly what we are about. We will use beats, music, rhythm and talent to connect the world to our athletes no matter what flag they compete under."

Through social media, fans will have the opportunity to win tickets to some of their favourite sporting games this summer, like the NBA, CPL and of course, the biggest track and field event this year in Brazil to watch Shelly-Ann and Usain defend their titles.

For information on the 'Bring the Beat' campaign plus exclusive content and great prizes, fans can visit the campaign's hub at


About Digicel Group
Digicel Group is a total communications and entertainment provider with operations in 33 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and Asia Pacific. After more than 15 years of operation, total investment to date stands at over US$5 billion worldwide. The company is renowned for delivering best value, best service and best network.

Digicel is the lead sponsor of Caribbean, Central American and Pacific sports teams, including the Special Olympics teams throughout these regions. Digicel sponsors the West Indies cricket team and is also the title sponsor of the Caribbean Premier League. In the Pacific, Digicel is the proud sponsor of several national rugby teams and also sponsors the Vanuatu cricket team.

Digicel also runs a host of community-based initiatives across its markets and has set up Digicel Foundations in Haiti, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea and Trinidad and Tobago which focus on educational, cultural and social development programmes.

Visit for more information.