Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Kathleen Johnson: Jamaica's PR trailblazer

Members of the PR fraternity are mourning one of our trailblazers, the insightful, dedicated Kathleen Johnson. Kathleen was a dynamic founding member of the PRSJ and a legend at Desnoes & Geddes Ltd. 

Later she started her own PR company KJ Associates and did yeoman's service for the Jamaica Society for the Blind. She was also a passionate supporter of Woman Inc.  Journalist Rowena Christene King has noted, "She was a PR stalwart and pioneer. She was a Founding Member of Woman Inc. She gave so much ... Eternal Rest Kathy." 

Kathleen inspired her younger colleagues - we noted her dignity, professionalism and forthright manner. She was a woman of high principles. We are grateful that Kathleen Johnson brought so much respect to the PR profession. Our thoughts and prayers are with her beloved family. 

May Her Beautiful Soul Rest in Peace.

- Jean Lowrie-Chin

Below is a tribute from the PR Society of Jamaica:

Dear Colleagues,
We pause to note the passing today, July 11, of Honorary Member of the PRSJ, Miss Kathleen Johnson, and express condolences to her family.

In her pioneering role as the first Public Relations Officer, promoted to Manager, at Desnoes and Geddes from 1968 - 1984, Miss Johnson was a business leader who was also a dedicated volunteer. 

On retirement, she ran her own boutique PR consultancy until a few years ago.

Kathleen was an exemplar of how to connect the related business streams of public relations, marketing, sponsorship management, media relations and community relations, thereby vaulting the role of business communicator into the corporate boardroom as well as staying relevant on the sports playing field  and  at the domino table. She is the recipient of the Prime Minister's Medal for Community Service in the Field of Sports.

Kathleen was the Founding Secretary when the PRSJ was formed in 1981, and she later served for more than 20 years as the Treasurer of the society. Her dedication helped to ensure that the PRSJ was financially viable as it undertook the nurturing of a generation of professional communicators. 

Kathleen's last contribution to the PRSJ was an article in the August 2013 edition of the society newsletter PR Brief. A link to that article is set out below. Do take a refreshing dip in her recollections.

Volunteerism, a great way of living.

"When you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve." said Nobel Laureate Ernest Hemingway in A Farewell to Arms

We remember Kathleen as she communicates to us, her own farewell to arms.



Saturday, July 8, 2017

Top 20 Jamaican 🇯🇲 High Schools

Congratulations to Jamaica's Top Twenty High Schools. As a Roman Catholic - represented by only 2 percent of Jamaica's population - I am delighted that 25 percent including the top two schools, was founded by our Church. 

As a Convent of Mercy 'Alpha' alumna, I am happy that my school is showing significant improvement - moving up from #18 to #15. 

NB - #1 Campion College's Principal, Grace Baston is a Convent of Mercy 'Alpha' alumna ☺️ - Ad Verum et Bonum! 

Campion College (100%)
2017 ranking: 1
2016 ranking: 2

Immaculate Conception High (99.9%)
2017 ranking: 2
2016 ranking: 1

Montego Bay High School for Girls (98.2%)
2017 ranking: 3
2016 ranking: 3

Westwood High (97.7%)
2017 ranking: 4
2016 ranking: 7

Hampton High (97.09%)
2017 ranking: 5
2016 ranking: 6

St Andrew High for Girls (97%)
2017 ranking: 6
2016 ranking: 11

Wolmer's Girls (96.9%)
2017 ranking: 7
2016 ranking: 4

St Hilda's Diocesan (96.7)
2017 ranking: 8
2016 ranking: 4

Mannings School (95.86%)
2017 ranking: 9
2016 ranking: 5

Wolmer's Boys (94.93%)
2017 ranking: 10
2016 ranking: 14

York Castle High (94.7%)
2017 ranking: 11
2016 ranking: 16

Glenmuir High (93.1%)
2017 ranking: 12
2016 ranking: 8

Belmont Academy (93%)
2017 ranking: 13
2016 ranking: 32

Ardenne High (92.4)
2017 ranking: 14
2016 ranking: 13

Covenant of Mercy Academy Alpha (92%)
2017 ranking: 15
2016 ranking: 18

Knox College (91%)
2017 ranking: 16
2016 ranking: 12

Bishop High School for Girls (90.8%)
2017 ranking: 17
2016 ranking: 10

Mount Alvernia High (90.49%)
2017 ranking: 18
2016 ranking: 15

Manchester High School (89.4%)
2017 ranking: 19
2016 ranking: 27

Holy Childhood High School (88.14%)
2017 ranking: 20
2016 ranking: 17

From May 2017 report in the Jamaica Gleaner

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

IWF Jamaica presents $1.4M to Women's Crisis Centre

Members of the International Women's Forum (IWF) Jamaica Chapter handed over J $1.4 million to Joyce Hewett (centre) of the Women's Crisis Centre to assist with the building of a housing facility for women fleeing domestic violence. Looking on are, from left (front row), Winsome Wilkins, Executive Director of United Way, Lisa Soares-Lewis; Jamaica IWF President Camille Facey, Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade, Angela Jones-Stewart, Founder, Woman Inc, Pat Ramsay the first President of IWF Jamaica, other IWF members. The funds were the proceeds of an IWF event held in March featuring Futurist Edie Weiner, which attracted a wide cross-section of Jamaican leaders.

The funds donated will be used for the refurbishment of a property, a transition home for women fleeing domestic abuse, a most worthy cause! 

Special thanks once again to the Edie Weiner Organising Committee: Lisa Soares-Lewis, Sharon Lake, Dr Marcia Forbes, Patsy Kelly, Minna Israel and Dana Dixon.  Gratitude also to the event's cash sponsors: Scotiabank, Ernst & Young , BPM Financial & JN Bank and in-kind sponsors: Phase 3 Productions, Sandals, Great People Solutions, JetBlue, Pegasus, C&W and JAA whose hard work, cold cash and in-kind contributions helped us to achieve this amazing result which will benefit  the less fortunate women of our country.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Whatever my ancestry, I am Jamaican first!

The Jamaica Gleaner invited me to participate in their Ancestry DNA feature - this was published this week.

As I said to the interviewer, it was an interesting exercise but the results do not affect my self-identity as I am Jamaican first and foremost!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Here's to you - the Good and the True!

Convent of Mercy 'Alpha' Academy Class of 2017



As I look out at the Sacred Heart Building I remember that rainy day when we were having a 'beret war' and suddenly there was a hush in the room - our Principal Sister Mary Bernadette had entered. She looked at us, shook her head and said, 'You know, they say the rain brings out the animal in you!' (laughter)

It is indeed a great privilege and honour to be addressing the Convent of Mercy 
“Alpha” Academy graduating class of 2017.  It is exactly fifty years since I stood on these
 grounds to receive my Alpha High School diploma from the then Bishop John McEleney. 

And now you, my dear graduands are part of this strong and beautiful tapestry which is 
Convent of Mercy “Alpha” Academy.
You carry the ‘Alpha DNA’ – you can shine out the compassion and courage of that great Jamaican woman, Justina ‘Jessie’ Ripoll, founder of Alpha. Yes, it was a Jamaican lady just like you, who founded Alpha . 
Brilliant, dynamic Principal, Mrs Kali McMorris
As history tells us, there was great suffering among the ex-slaves and many passed away leaving orphaned children.  Jessie Ripoll led the first resident, a little orphan girl, to Alpha Cottage, the site of the now Sacred Heart building on May 1, 1880.

Sr. Mary Bernadette Little’s History of Alpha “You Did It Unto Me”, describes the hardships 
that Jessie and her team faced as the population of the Alpha Children’s Home grew. 

Jessie Ripoll entered the Order of the Sisters of Mercy who arrived in 1890 to support her 
work  and later joined the order and took the name Mother Claver.  

These 40 acres were not enough to contain the zeal and passion of Jessie and the Sisters of Mercy for educating Jamaicans of every walk of life.

Sister Theresa Lowe-Ching presents
an Award to an outstanding Graduate
This zeal that took them islandwide.  So there was I, a six year 
old in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, when our ambitious 
widowed mother of humble means decided that her two eldest should go to the best school in town.  That school was run by 
none other than Alpha’s Sisters of Mercy and we were 
welcomed by Sr. Mary Veronica Doorly, yet another brilliant
 Alpha graduate who was Principal.  When my mother 
remarried and we moved to Kingston, she and our Dad 
were sure of one thing: their children would go to Alpha.  

Then there is St. Catherine High, also founded by the Sisters 
of Mercy, from which we have two distinguished graduates: none other than the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Most Hon. Andrew Holness and the Archbishop of Kingston, Most Rev. Kenneth Richards. Their dynamic Principal Sister Mary Paschal recalls four boys being sent to her office and she notiiced that one of them was young Ken Richards. "You're a good boy", 
she said. "You can go back to your classroom."  Archbishop 
Ken loves to tell that story!

How blessed we were – and YOU are -  to be schooled in an environment where the 
emphasis was not only on education but also on the responsibility we have as Christians to look out for the less fortunate. 

I know your outreach activities continue, and I congratulate Mrs. McMorris, the faculty and 
staff  - including my fellow Mercy Associate Mrs Velia Espeut - and all of you graduands for living our Gospel. Indeed, our National Pledge requires this dedication of our love and loyalty 
to our people.

Dear graduands, it is this spirit of giving, inculcated in me by my parents and my teachers at Alpha, to which I ascribe my business success.

I was working for an ad agency which sponsored an outing to the Pegasus Hotel for the National Children’s Home.  I noticed that the children were given only a sweet snack and 
asked if they could be served hamburgers.  The response was that the budget could not include it. 

Board Chairman Mrs Joyce Archibald
rewards a top Graduate
So, inspired by the Alpha motto to be “Good and True”, I went to the Marketing Manager and offered free PR Services in return for the meal.  They accepted, The Pegasus received great publicity and a few months later, they offered me my own office in their hotel in exchange for PR services.  This was how PROComm started in January 1979.

And so, the first of three messages that I ask you to take away today is that you live your National Pledge and your school motto, nurturing generosity of spirit. 

Some of you may be wondering how I can be sounding so positive when Jamaica is faced with so many challenges.
This is my second message to you:  there is power in positivity fuelled by prayer.  I will never forget when Sr. Mary Bernadette Little of blessed memory, said to our Fourth form class “ You are a powerful class and I want you to think big”.  With these words, she woke up our confidence and optimism. 

So I say to you the class of 2017, that you are a powerful class and you have been equipped to think big.  You have been moulded by your proud parents and guardians who are here witnessing your graduation and who have made countless sacrifices 
to take you to this milestone in your lives. 

If they did not think big for their children, you would not be on this stage today.  You have been prepared to step forward with the same courage and resolve that they have for you.  It is said that no one can stretch a dollar like a Jamaican mother and some of you have witnessed such miracles.

Here at Alpha, as a fifth former, I experienced the power of positivity and prayer that morning when my mother was admitted to KPH for surgery.  I had slipped out of assembly to pray 
in the Chapel and there saw my sister Frances, a sixth former also on her knees. 

Our Dad was wheelchair bound so at break-time we called home to check on him.  Lo and behold our Mother answered the phone!  At about the same time that we were on our knees right there in Christ the King Chapel, they were examining her and could not find the lump in her breast! She was home, healed and hearty!  Such is the power of prayer!

And so that brings me to my final message:  please remember the words of a wise person who said, “It is not happiness that makes you grateful, but gratitude that makes you happy”.

When we realise that education is considered a luxury for girls in some countries, there is 
much for which to be thankful.  When you consider the support group that did not give up on you, give thanks! 

Graduate Leila LaFayette
makes a presentation to
Teacher Ms Kadian Parkinson
Our Alpha class of ‘67 is planning a Reunion dance in Florida in November – we give thanks that most of us are still around – 
and that we can still dance!

Give thanks dear Graduands to that great and good God who has blessed you with this very special day in your lives.  It is in 
thanking God that we remain humble, knowing that everything we have is a gift of the Lord’s mercy. 

I close by saluting the VVIPS of today – YOU dear graduands.  Please know how much you are loved and admired. 

First you made your family proud by gaining a place at this very special school that continues to rise in the rankings of Jamaica’s top high schools. 

You have tackled the tough examinations, trained for various sporting events and attended a range of spiritual exercises as 
you participated in the building of mind, body and spirit. 
Today, as you stand here, you deserve the accolades and commendations!

In every sphere of Jamaican life, there are graduates of the
Convent of Mercy “Alpha” Academy who hold high office. 
Like them, you Convent of Mercy “Alpha” Academy Class of 2017 can make a difference 
in the future of this country. 

Our motto “Ad Verum et Bonum” – to the good and the true, is one that can take Jamaica
 out of a cloudy past and into a bright future. 

You have the blessings of the saints of Alpha, strengthening your strides and taking you to heights that you had never dreamed possible.  

My heartiest congratulations to you, your caring families and Teachers.
May God continue bless you and our beloved Alpha!
Ad Verum et Bonum – Here’s to you, The Good and The True!

Thank you so much! 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Financial Abuse of the Elderly is a sad reality

Excerpt - Address on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day - Thursday, June 15, 2017
by Jean Lowrie-Chin, Executive Chairman, Caribbean Community of Retired Persons
Seniors display placards asserting their rights
The Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) is joining the National Council for Senior Citizens in observing this very important day - World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, with the theme for Jamaica being, “Understand and End Financial Abuse of Older People: A Human Rights Issue”.

We in Jamaica should be resolute in addressing this serious matter as the scourge of scamming has brought suffering to many elderly in the United States of America and shame on our nation.

Here at home, financial abuse of the elderly is also taking place. We are getting distressing information only a month ago that there are heartless individuals who have attempted to trick NIS beneficiaries into giving them authorization to collect their funds and have stolen these funds from our helpless citizens.

One senior related that a friend's adult child wanted her to
move out of her room to accommodate his girlfriend!
We have been warned by representatives of the police force that there have been several fraudulent attempts to steal banking information from the elderly and only recently I heard of a heart-breaking incident where someone who was thought to be trustworthy, tricked an elderly gentleman into accompanying him to the bank and signing documents which resulted in the gentleman being left penniless having lost his entire life savings.

It is also very painful to know that even in families there are uncaring relatives who will take advantage of the kindness of their elderly while withholding humane care from them.  This is particularly disappointing in Jamaica where the elderly have been pillars of the family.  Many children have been raised and nurtured by their grandparents.  These heroic elderly Jamaicans deserve honour and protection when they can no longer fend for themselves.

We want our elderly to know that Part Five of the Maintenance Act of December 7, 2005 states “Every person who is not a minor has an obligation to the extent that the person is capable of doing so, to maintain the person's parents and grandparents who are in need of such parent - maintenance by reason of age, physical or mental infirmity or disability.”        

We urge our church and community leaders to inform their members about this Act.  We are hoping that soon we will be able to make examples of those uncaring adult children who, having been nurtured and educated by dedicated parents, have left them neglected and suffering.
Seniors stage a skit showing the disrespect they suffer at various

Jamaica has introduced some helpful programmes for our elderly. We acknowledge that the introduction of JADEP, the Jamaica Drugs for the Elderly Programme, has resulted in significant savings to older persons.

We applaud the National Council for Senior Citizens spearheaded by then Chairman of NCSC, Prof. Denise Eldemire-Shearer, for their excellent National Policy for Senior Citizens and tabled in the House of Parliament in 1997.  This is a comprehensive policy, reflecting the International Principles for Older Persons.

However, we are appealing to the authorities to revisit some of the strategies stated to provide income security for senior citizens.
These include:
·       Organize and fund foundations for rendering assistance to senior citizens with no income or to those with insufficient income.
·       Ensure availability of training opportunities and technical  advice and guidance for self-employment ventures, as well   as financial assistance to senior citizens.
·       Make available tax incentives for organizations supporting income-generating activities among senior citizens.

We would like to see HEART-NTA include courses for retirees so they can seek additional income to supplement their pensions.  Indeed, the the majority of Jamaicans have no pension plan, so it is our national budget that will suffer, if seniors are not given the opportunity to earn.  We have established a Skills Bank at CCRP to assist our members in obtaining part-time employment. 

We at the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons have been holding workshops to advise our seniors on Financial Management and the importance of using trusted investment advisors.  Jamaicans of all walks of life have access to a variety of registered financial institutions and these are the organizations on which we should depend for financial guidance.

We have seen too many of our elderly lose their hard-earned savings having been coerced by representatives of unregistered financial organizations. We are requesting of our financial organisations, that even in this age of technology, you put aside certain days or times when you can give our elderly detailed information and options and patiently guide them in making investment decisions.

We at CCRP are therefore reminding those who are approaching retirement or who are retired to seek professional guidance and to engage a trustworthy group of friends and relatives with legal guidance so that you can protect yourself, as the day may come when you are unable to speak for yourselves.

As we pause to recognize and address the suffering of those elderly who have been financially abused, this day gives us hope that we are affirming our humanity and standing up for those who are at this stage of their lives, may be unable to stand up for themselves.

As we look back on the wonderful Tribute to our Olympic Superstar Usain St. Leo Bolt recently, we should note that in his autobiography, he salutes his late grandfather, a farmer who would give him weekly supplies of fresh milk, and his grandmother, who he says, never stops praying for him when he sets out from Falmouth until he calls her to tell her that he  has arrived safely in Kingston.  Such is the nurturing and love that has given us our amazing Legend of the Track!

On the shoulders of our grandparents and parents we stand, so let us do the right thing for our seniors, and ensure that they do not suffer from financial abuse or any other kind of abuse.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Award from Business & Professional Women's Club of St Andrew

I am very grateful to the St. Andrew Business & Professional Women's Club (BPW) for presenting me with the Inaugural Mavis Watts Award as Outstanding Woman of the Year for the founding of the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons - #CCRP. 

Photo shows (from left) family of BPW St. Andrew Founder Ms Watts - niece Mrs Sanguinetti (seated), grandniece Ms Judith Ramgolan, President Dr Marcia Williams, yours truly, Founding Members Mrs Gloria Langrin and  Ms Marjorie Brown (Past President). 

The event held at the Alhambra Inn last Saturday sparkled with contributions from Past Presidents Emcee Mrs Monica McNeil, Dr. Williams, Ms Beryl Ennis, Mrs Langin, Dr Lilieth Nelson and Dr Mearle Barrett. 

We were entertained by the charming DiMario McDowell, and the young duo Tamara Norman and Floyd Casanova. 

Please visit our website at www.ccrponline.org to learn more about the organization and how we help Jamaicans 50+ to enjoy 'Life to the Fullest'.

We are honoured that an august body as St. Andrew BPW could recognise us in such a meaningful way.  This affirmation energises our cause. Thank you BPW!

Jean Lowrie-Chin JP MA
Executive Chairman | CCRP
Phoenix Central | 2 Phoenix Ave
Kingston 10 | JAMAICA WI
P 876 665-5025

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Remembering Captain Horace Burrell

It is hard to believe that Captain Horace Burrell who transformed the sport of football in Jamaica is no longer with us. What a mark he has made: his strong leadership of the Jamaica Football Federation took our team to the World Cup in France in 1998. He also made his 'Captain's Bakery' a household word, here and in Cayman.

Captain Burrell related to me a conversation he had with a passerby as he watched the construction of his new bakery in Cayman some years ago.

"The man asked me if I knew this Horace Burrell who was making this investment. When I responded that I was Horace Burrell, he could not hide his surprise." Horace laughed heartily.

I had the pleasure of teaching his son Romario in Sunday School - what a proud father Horace was!

In our various collaborations Horace was professional and accessible. The JFF was efficiently run under his watch. His impeccable appearance and deliberate manner of speaking give him a Garvey-like aura.

Rest in Peace Captain Horace Burrell. My condolence to his family and close friends.

Here is an excerpt from a column I wrote in the Jamaica Observer in 2013:

People like Captain Horace Burrell always make a statement - what a durable gentleman! The Captain announced the firing of his overseas staff members last week, explaining his 30-day-notice contract: "No performance. No job." Say what you want to say about Horace Burrell - he took us to France and I will always give him kudos for that shining moment in Jamaica's sporting history.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Taking a break as a columnist

Dear Friends

With increased demands from the three organisations that I head and a new book in the making, I have had to resign as a columnist with the Jamaica Observer after 15 great years.  Hearty thanks to Observer colleagues, Vernon DavidsonDesmond Lloyd AllenHorace G. HelpsGloria Maragh and Miguel Thomas ... also to my eagle-eyed proofreader Hubert Chin.

I will keep blogging when I can, and sharing links on social media. As fellow columnists will tell you, a weekly column demands much time and focus. I must now shift this focus to my PROComm, PRODEV and CCRP responsibilities and a second book that has been in the making for far too long. I must also give more support to my daughter Anita F. Chin's Café Nita.

CCRP (Caribbean Community of Retired Persons Ltd) which I founded in 2010, has grown in membership and the risks to our elderly demand greater advocacy. We plan to increase CCRP’s islandwide reach, with Central and Western Chapters. 

Then there are my other commitments as board Chairman/Director of several organisations, the Catholic community and of course, my family. 

It has been wonderful to engage with readers the world over, and I hope my blog www.lowrie-chin.blogspot.com will help to preserve those precious ties. I made some inspiring friends through my column and I thank them the stalwart friends and family members for keeping me motivated. 


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Futurist Edie Weiner in Jamaica - 'Take the power’

by Jean Lowrie-Chin

Futurist Edie Weiner had us in rapt attention as she explained to her audience in Kingston, Jamaica earlier this year, the impact that galloping technology will have on every aspect of our lives.  

Her company "Future Hunters" has been in the business for over forty years using well researched data to advise Fortune 500 companies on significant trends and how they should adjust their strategy to prepare for the future.

Ten years ago, she says her clients were so impressed with guidance that wondered how her predictions were so accurate.  She said that they used 30 different thought processes to arrive at their theses. Most important of all, she says, is to recognize your "educated incapacity" - knowing so much about what you already know that you are not looking outside. She said it was human nature that educated people having acquired so much knowledge, held on to it like an expensive piece of luggage but noted that while we were hanging on to that, someone is racing past us with their futuristic "backpacks".

Edie Weiner said that scientific research has shown that "there is no solid matter, everything is energy".  She explained that if there were a certain type of tiling in the Grand Central Station, it would capture the energy of commuters, enough to power the Station.  

She says that currency is undergoing radical changes.  The Economist magazine has noted now that the second most circulated currency is reward points – second only to the US dollar!  She observed that even organized crime is now using virtual currency and that more and more people are practicing barter economics.  

She turned to the hot topic of education, reminding us that the brain grows fastest before the age of three and that it is ridiculous that after being exposed to Ipads and handsets, children are then taken to schools that are still using the same system that was designed for their grandparents.  This was actually quoted at the finale of the Education Enrichment Programme which, with the support of the Ministry of Education, Youth & Information, USAID and the Digicel Foundation, covered 104 schools improving the literacy and numeracy of 43,000 primary school students.  The Enrichment Centres in 43 schools are heavy on information technology and bright visuals which are particularly attractive to boys, have turned unenthusiastic students into high achievers.  This was reinforced by Weiner as she demonstrated the difference between the way that male and female brains develop and what stimulates this development.

Edie is predicting a dramatic transformation in the delivery of education. Information technology will make education available to millions in experiential forms.  Therefore she says "critical thinking is the most important thing we can teach our young people". 

She says that this theory of repetitive practice will be overturned because of what she describes as "cranial stimulation" whereby what used to take 10,000-20,000 hours to learn may now only take a couple of hours.  She warned however that the real consequence of this is boredom – "we are giving birth to kids who are more bored than ever before".

She says that all of this new technology is creating disruption.  What was described as a recession in the early 90s was actually a result of the new disruptive technology. "This was not a recession", she said, "it was a global fundamental revolution".  

She says when asked "what should children be studying now to be ensured of employment", her answer is they should become plumbers, electricians and stonemasons.  I would add 'chef' to that! 

"In future," she says, "no one will be paying for 'smart', only 'intelligent'.  This is the kind of intelligence that will enable you to figure out things that you have never seen before."  

She suggested that university students should not major in any one thing but take multi-disciplinary courses and challenge themselves to see the connection.  

She noted the presumption of making employees happy  and said there was no study that linked happiness to productivity.  She recommended three responsibilities of leaders:
1)    Make sure that everyone is treated with respect
2)    Ensure that persons are treated in a equitable manner and paid according to their skill sets and responsibilities
3)    Ensure that you remove all obstacles to their being able to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

She left us breathless with her description of what could become "4D", whereby an item could be manufactured and then after its arrival to its destination be transformed into something a thousand times larger by adding, say water.

For those of us who have been limiting the time that our children spend playing video games, Weiner noted that there is a brand new category of sports called "e-sports".  These same video games are evolving into competitive events, one of which has been held in California, attracting 35 million online viewers.  She says that universities will shortly be recruiting students who excel at e-sports for their teams.

Turning to Jamaica, Edie is optimistic. She noted that economies in many countries are being challenged by a high proportion of senior citizens while here in Jamaica, half of the population is still under 25.  She urged us to focus on two things:

1)    Focus on education
2)    Build pride and respect in your people for their country.

She says if we don't want people to litter, we should be enhancing our landscape with sculpture and murals, thereby giving our people a sense of ownership.  She says you can determine the culture by asking two questions:
1)    What are the carrots?
2)    What are the sticks?
Even as you incentivize there must be consequences for those who endanger our society.

She surprised us by indentifying two strong leaders – the revered Mother Teresa and the face of evil, Adolf Hitler and said that they had three things in common:
1)    Vision and passion
2)    The ability to articulate in words and deeds with passion
3)    Lack of embarrassment in the articulation.

Here are six suggestions that Edie left with us to make the best of our successes:
1)    Within your organization, on a regular basis, challenge your own assumptions using "figuregram" to identify more quickly your market e.g. Toys R Us discovered that appealing to grandparents was a great way to market their products.
2)    Subscribe to publications on topics in which you have no interest.  If you read about different topics on a regular basis, it will be develop the 'neuro-plasticity' of your brain
3)    Hire interns and use them wisely.  Have them shadow you and debrief them to use their 'alien eyes'.
4)    Stay current with music. (This is why I love 'Onstage','Digicel Rising Stars', 'Altogether Sing' and 'Saturday Night Live')
5)    Hire a 15-year old mentor who is not a family member and spend three hours a week with them
6)    We need to know she said, that everything is moving off the grid that we are used to – it is the end of a  particular civilization.

"Power is something you take for yourself", she advised. "Don't wait for permission – take the power and do it!"

Edie's visit to Jamaica was made possible by the Jamaica Chapter of the International Women's Forum. Top organisers were President Camille Facey, Past President Pat Ramsay, Members Lisa Soares-Lewis, Sharon Lake, Marcia Forbes and Patsy Kelly. 

© Jean Lowrie-Chin

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Zoleka Mandela’s impassioned plea

by Jean Lowrie-Chin

#SlowDown!! After signing #slowdown pledge for Jamaica, Prime Minister Andrew Holness with Zoleka Mandela, granddaughter of former South African leader, Nelson Mandela and Ambassador for the Global Initiative for Child Health & Mobility.  They are flanked by (from left Saul Billingsley, FIA Foundation Executive Director; Earl Jarrett, Managing Director, Jamaica National Group; Paula Fletcher, Executive Director, National Road Safety Council (NRSC); Yohan Blake, Olympian; Dr Lucien Jones, Vice-Chairman, NRSC; Jean Todt, United Nations Special Envoy for road safety and Mark Connolly, UNICEF Jamaica representative.

As we heard the crack in Zoleka Mandela’s voice, describing her pain and the pain of other parents who have lost their children in road crashes, we pondered on the ‘why’ around the dangerous, careless behaviour on our roads.  We were gathered at the Office of the Prime Minister on May 10 for the observation of the UN Global Road Safety Week (GRSW), as Jamaica’s Chair for the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) is always the sitting Prime Minister. 

The NRSC was formed 24 years ago, when the late Orthopedic Surgeon Professor John Golding, became so distressed with the mounting deaths and serious injuries from road crashes that he appealed to then Prime Minister Michael Manley to start the organisation, comprised of stakeholders in road traffic oversight.  The NRSC formed an alliance with the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile – translated International Federation for Motor Vehicles) currently led by racing superstar Jean Todt.


The national convener Dr Lucien Jones has brought the passion of his Christian ministry to bear on his work with the NRSC; this combined with the business wizardry of Earl Jarrett resulted in the arrival on our shores of Ms Mandela and Mr Todt. They joined with Prime Minister Andrew Holness, UNICEF Jamaica Country Representative Mark Connolly and Road Safety Ambassador Yohan Blake in a special appeal to stop the madness on Jamaica’s roads, resulting in 115 deaths and many more seriously injured.


 “Worldwide, more young people are killed on the roads than from any other cause of death. Each day, 3000 children are killed or injured on the world’s roads,” said the regal Ms Mandela.
Zoleka Mandela with South Africa
 Charge d’Affaires for Jamaica, Philip Riley
“The scale of this crisis is bad enough. But what is perhaps even more shocking is how little is being done to prevent it. We have the solutions, but too often they are not being put in place.  The measures we need to save lives are simple: safe crossings for kids going to school; sidewalks to separate pedestrians and the vulnerable from vehicles; enforcement against drink driving; and action on speeding.

“Action on speed is the focus of this Fourth UN Global Road Safety Week and it is a great example of exactly what needs to be done. With effective policing and measures such as road humps and traffic calming we could save hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide each year.

“We’re facing a man-made epidemic and we have the vaccine – we’re just not using it. Can you imagine having a vaccine for a killer disease and not using it? Imagine leaving children to face illness or death and not acting. Yet this is really, what we are doing. In failing to use the low-speed vaccine around our schools, we are failing our children. It is their lives at stake.

“I’ve seen it in my own country. In my work with the Global Initiative for Child Health and Mobility we launched a project in one of South Africa’s poorest communities – Khayelitsha in Western Cape.”
Her words are familiar to our local situation: “In Khayelitsha you see the kids by the road each morning. Little ones, five and six year olds, with their brothers and sisters. Terrified to cross the road as the traffic bears down on them at 80 km/h.

“Early in the morning, you see them, trying to cross in the dark, taking their lives into their own hands. You don’t need to search too hard for what needs to be done. The answer is quite simple. Our children, our little ones, hundreds of them walking to school each day, should not face traffic at more than 30 km/h.”

“Faster than 30 is a death sentence,” she emphasised. “For the sake of our children, low speeds are non-negotiable. It’s not just my own country, the story I witnessed in Khayelitsha is one repeated each day around the world. Millions of children are facing this horror every single day and we are failing to protect them.”

Ms Mandela’s beautiful 13-year-old daughter Zenani Mandela was killed by a drunk driver in June 2010, and so she commented, “When the policies are not in place, it’s our families and our children that suffer.”

She evoked the courage of her grandfather: “I take inspiration in the life of my grandfather, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. We would all do well to listen to his words. We must not despair. We must not accept defeat. We must not forget that it is in our power to change the world”

In response, our Prime Minister Andrew Holness noted, “There is no amount of enforcement that is going to be as effective as behaviour change,” and urged the more frequent use of the Agent Sasco and Tessanne Chin road safety music video. He pledged, “We are committed to using all the utilities at our disposal to reduce road crashes by 50 percent by 2020.” He has been an engaged Chairman, and so we are optimistic.  Let’s do it – everyone can take the pledge to #slowdown and #savelives.  

Excerpt from Observer column published 15 May 2017