Wednesday, November 22, 2017

CCRP mourns passing of Lester Spaulding CD, founding Board Director

Governor General Most Hon Sir Patrick Allen presents the CCRP Jamaica50  Living Legacy Award to Lester Spaulding in 2012

Kingston, Jamaica – 21 November 2017: The Board, Management and staff of the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) mourn the passing of our beloved Founding Board Director, J.A. Lester Spaulding CD, who contributed greatly to the establishment and growth of our organization.

It showed the measure of the man, holder of prestigious chairmanships and directorships, that he accepted our invitation to serve a fledgeling entity and made himself available to oversee our financial management and give wise guidance. 

During his 43 years of service to the RJR Group, culminating with his Chairmanship, we saw the transformation of RJR under the brilliant leadership of Lester Spaulding. We will never understand how he did so much for so many, how he could see so far into the future of media to make the RJR Group and subsequently the RJR-Gleaner Group the Caribbean giant it is today. 

Lester also served on the executive of St. Andrew JPs for years and was a great mentor to younger members. 

It is difficult to face a world with no Lester Spaulding to call, meet and greet, but we are grateful that God blessed the CCRP with such a generous leader whose guidance will help us stay the course. 

Thank you, Lester Spaulding. Rest in Peace, Friend and Brother. Our deepest sympathy to his dear wife Lindamarie, children, other relatives and close friends.


- Jean Lowrie-Chin
Founder/Executive Chairman
CCRP

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Minna Israel has made Jamaica proud

Observer column for Monday October 30, 2017 - updated

by Jean Lowrie-Chin

Last Friday, ten outstanding women leaders strode onto the stage of the international women's Forum annual conference held in Houston. The leader who was inducted in the IWF Hall of Fame was former US Secretary of State and the first ever woman US presidential candidate Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Jamaica's first woman Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller is also an IWF Hall of Famer.

The other nine were honored as "women who make a difference", and Jamaicans should be proud that among them was none other than our own Minna Israel, the second Jamaican to be thus honoured.  The first was the IWF Jamaica Founding President the dynamic Pat Ramsay, who received the award five years ago at the San Francisco IWF Conference.

Minna was recognized as the first Caribbean woman to be the country manager of a major Bank and a leader in many other spheres of national life. In 2011 Minna Israel was conferred with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of the West Indies and the citation noted that the "fracture which Minna Israel has generated in the proverbial glass ceiling may very well have terminally compromised its structural integrity". 

Thirty years ago, banking was a male-dominated field; it must have taken tremendous competence and professionalism for Minna Israel to have moved up the ranks to become Scotiabank's country manager for the Bahamas and later the first woman president of the Jamaica Bankers Association.

This was a quantum leap not only for women in banking, but also for those in other areas of Jamaica's private and public sectors. From Minna, her fellow Jamaican women learned that they could be leaders while still embracing the fine qualities of their gender – dedication, compassion, and resilience. It is no wonder then that in a recent survey, Jamaica was found to have more women managers per capita than any other country in the world.

The photographs out of Houston last Friday showed the tremendous support that Minna received from her Jamaican IWF sisters, led by president Camille Facey, founding president Pat Ramsay and fellow members Patsy Atterbury-Latchman, Valerie Facey, Jeanne Robinson-Foster, Anya Schnoor, Jackie Sharp, Marcia Forbes, Allison Peart, Therese Turner-Jones, Scarlette Gillings, Corinne McLarty and Peta-Rose Hall. The bonds are strong as we celebrate and support each other, checking in ego at the door and stepping into a space of positivity and affirmation.

Jamaica is ahead of the curve in acknowledging gender equality, though lagging in our representation in the highest offices. We in the IWF and other women's organizations such as the St Andrew Business and Professional Women's Club, the Women's Leadership Initiative, Women Business Owners and WMW Jamaica, are not seeking dominance, but rather equality. If more decision-makers were aware that organizations which strive for gender balance are more profitable and successful, we would be leaps ahead.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

CCRP Honours some of Jamaica's finest




For Seniors Week last month, and the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) held their Living Legacy Awards event where Jamaicans of many walks of life were honoured.  

They are St John’s Ambulance Head of Nursing Marie Clemetson, lecturer/composer Noel Dexter, international sports organizer Michael Fennell, broadcaster and actress Leonie Forbes, volunteers and educators Cecile and Norman Jarrett, lecturer and human rights activist Horace Levy, lecturer and former Poet Laureate Professor Mervyn Morris, retired JDF Chief of Staff Major General Robert Neish, St John’s Ambulance volunteer and instructor Clembert Powell and NDTC founding member and dance instructor Patricia ‘Patsy’ Ricketts.


We were bowled over by the untiring efforts of these excellent Jamaicans. In his reply on behalf of the awardees, Mike Fennell also paid tribute to the many other generous Jamaicans who may never gain similar recognition.   

CAFFE celebrates 20 Years

CAFFE 20th:  Founding member of Citizens’ Action for Free & Fair Elections (CAFFE) Archbishop Emeritus Edgerton Clarke (centre) with Founding Chairman Dr Alfred Sangster (left) and current Chairman Dr Lloyd Barnett, after the presentation of a Citation to mark his 50th Anniversary as a Bishop. Occasion was the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the local election monitoring organisation held recently at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Cross Roads, Kingston.

Director Grace Baston led the Litany of Thanksgiving at St Luke’s Church recently for the 20th Anniversary of Citizens Action for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE) founded by the late Father Jim Webb SJ. The priest resolved to start CAFFE after he arrived at a polling station in Kingston’s inner city, and was told, ‘Fadah, yu vote already.’ 

Father Jim called up a group of us for a meeting at the Roman Catholic Chancery, hosted by then Archbishop Edgerton Clarke. It was great to get together with fellow founding members Archbishop Emeritus Clarke, founding chairman Dr Alfred Sangster, Dr O’Meally-Nelson and Anton Thompson who still serves as a Director and Treasurer. Other members of the hard-working civic organisation are Nancy Anderson, Director and Secretary and Mario Samms, Supervisor.

Being a consultant to the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ), I recused myself from CAFFE, but had the pleasure of organizing a meeting between Dr Sangster and then Director of Elections Danville Walker who heartily welcomed the formation of the election monitoring body. Chairman of the ECJ, Dorothy Pine-McLarty has also praised the work of CAFFE, and participated in the Anniversary celebrations.

CAFFE Chairman Dr Lloyd Barnett used the occasion to pay tribute to Archbishop Clarke, who was celebrating his 50th Anniversary as a Bishop.  In his response, Archbishop Clarke reminded us that ‘Jamaicans are a people of dignity’ and called for respect to ‘be given from the cradle’. He said it was respect that helps people ‘to become fully human … so make that a priority in your lives.’  He said that respect can only come from honesty. “We must learn to be truthful to selves and truthful to each other,” he declared.

Friday, November 3, 2017

EXCITING LINE-UP OF ACTIVITIES FOR 2017 NATIONAL JOURNALISM WEEK

Dear Readers

So grateful to the Press Association of Jamaica to be included among their veteran honourees! Thank you!

 

The Press Association of Jamaica continues to engage the public on topical and controversial issues involving the role of the media in society, with the theme for National Journalism Week this year being "Media Accountability in the Digital Age."  National Journalism Week is  being celebrated from Sunday, November 26 - Saturday, December 2, 2017, and promises to be another interesting and engaging series of activities and events.

 

"The theme acknowledges the current discussions taking place locally about the accountability of the media," says PAJ President Dionne Jackson Miller.

 

The week kicks off with the traditional church service, which is being held this year at the Temple of Light Centre for Spiritual Living, 4-6 Fairway Avenue, Kingston 10 on Sunday, November 26 at 9 am.  

 

The PAJ will be hosting a special event at PAJ headquarters at midday after the church service, a Pinning Ceremony & Members Lyme, to welcome new members to the organisation.

 

"We've had quite a few new members joining the organisation, as we continue to reach out to the media community to revitalise and renew the PAJ," says Jackson Miller. "We thought it would be a nice touch to carve out a space within Journalism Week to welcome our new members and provide an opportunity for them to meet and greet our existing members."

 

On Monday the PAJ hosts its popular Issues Forum, focusing on a topic of interest to the profession and the country. This year's topic "Who Watches the Watchdog" will focus on the very current and topical issue of holding the media accountable. The PAJ is again partnering with the US Embassy for this event, which will take place on Monday, November 27, at the Jamaica Pegasus, starting at 6 pm.

 

"We believe this topic is important at this time, given all the controversy and discussions recently about whether there is need for a type of Media Complaints Council to hold the media accountable," says PAJ Secretary Archibald Gordon, who is coordinating the event.

 

Seminars with the same topic will also be held in Montego Bay, at the Western Jamaica campus of the University of the West Indies, at 9 am on Tuesday, November 28; and in Mandeville, at Northern Caribbean University, at 2pm on Wednesday November 29.  

 

"The PAJ regards these seminars as an important aspect of our efforts to broaden the PAJ's work and outreach to students and media workers all across Jamaica," Jackson Miller explained.

 

The PAJ's annual Veterans' luncheon will this year be held on Wednesday, November 29. The PAJ is pleased to announce that this year's honourees will be Clinton McGregor, Senior Reporter and Producer at the RJR Gleaner Group; Garfield Myers, Editor-at-Large at the Jamaica Observer;  Jean Lowrie Chin, Observer columnist and Executive Chairman of PROComm; and Phillip Green, photographer at the Western Mirror. The event is once again being hosted by J. Wray and Nephew.  

 

On Thursday at 9 am, the PAJ Executive will pay a courtesy call on Information Minister Senator Ruel Reid.

 

The week's culminating activity will once again be the National Journalism Awards at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston on Saturday, December 2.  Cocktails, sponsored by Flow and the Victoria Mutual Building Society start at 6.30 pm, with the Awards Show starting at 8 am, and the hugely popular and well-attended After-Party sponsored by Sagicor.

 

One of the exciting changes this year is the introduction of a new award for Best Breaking News Coverage, as the Awards Show continues to evolve to better reflect the work of our media organisations. Another change includes the creation, for the first time, of an Award solely for Radio, in the Best Radio Feature category, and which has attracted significant interest.

 "We want to put on another great show this year, as we celebrate the best in journalism," says PAJ President Dionne Jackson Miller.  "Overall, we're looking forward to a fantastic week."

-30-

Contact: Dionne Jackson Miller, President

            792-3550

 


-- 
"A Free Press, Oxygen of Democracy"


Jean Lowrie-Chin

Monday, October 30, 2017

Jamaica’s household workers in the spotlight

Observer column published MON 9 October 2017
by Jean Lowrie-Chin
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS: GraceKennedy/Heather Little-White 2017 Household Workers of the Year, Anthony Houston  (left) and Cherriline Williams-Case (right) proudly enjoy their moment with Minister of Labour and Social Security Honourable Shahine Robinson (second left) and GraceKennedy Group CEO, Don Wehby.
Jamaica’s estimated 60,000 household workers now have the opportunity to join a union which promotes standards beneficial to both workers and employers. “The Jamaica Household Workers Union (JHWU) is now an official registered Union with over 5,700 members in 13 branches,” said President Shirley Pryce at the recent Household Workers Championships. “We educate, organize, and negotiate collective agreements. We enhance workers’ productivity and promote work harmony. We do mediation services and training and advocate for the rights of household workers.”
IT'S AN HONOUR: The Most Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller (right), shares a light moment with GraceKennedy Group CEO, Don Wehby (left) and Shirley Pryce, President of the Jamaica Household Workers Union at the 4th Staging of the GraceKennedy/Heather Little-White Household Worker Awards on Thursday, October 5, 2017 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. Dr Simpson-Miller was presented with
a Special Award for Outstanding Service to the People of Jamaica in the Areas of Labour, Decent Work and Gender Affairs.
President Pryce said the championships “are also very special because they are named in honour of Heather Little-White.” She noted that she had met her at Grace Kitchens, “where I was one of her first students.”  The inspiring late Dr. Little-White was her mentor: “She encouraged me and pushed me to complete my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees .. I now have an advanced Masters in Labour and Global Workers’ Rights from Pennsylvania State University.”

Yes indeed Shirley Pryce who started her career as a household worker now has a Master’s degree and this year was named Caricom Woman of the Year. As was done by her many mentors, so do we all owe it to our Jamaican family to be supporters of their dreams for a better life.
For the fourth year, the panel of judges for the Household Workers Championships sponsored by GraceKennedy had to blink away their tears as we interviewed the ten finalists. The employers who nominated them declared them to be nurse, teacher, sister, brother, florist, chef, money manager.  They were keepers of the keys: one employer migrated and arranged with the worker and her family to move in and assist an elderly relative. Another misplaced an envelope with thousands of dollars and was promptly called by her worker to return home to retrieve the funds. 
This year’s champions are Cherrilene Williams-Case and Anthony Houston. In their emotional responses, they spoke of the pride they had in their work.  Sadly, too many Jamaicans do not acknowledge the important role that household workers play in our lives; it is this disrespect of our humble, hardworking folks from various walks of life that is manifested in social disorder.

Honour for Former PM Portia Simpson-Miller
Former PM Portia Simpson Miller was honoured at the event as “an icon of public service and political leadership” and for her repeated “acknowledgement that the value of the household worker is inextricably linked to the work you have done.” She received a Special Award for Outstanding Service to the People of Jamaica in the Areas of Labour, Decent Work and Gender Affairs. In the citation, GraceKennedy recognized the former Prime Minister as “an icon of public service and political leadership in Jamaica,” who used her political and public administration platforms over more than forty years to “assist people to attain their dreams and actualize their potential.” 
“I am very proud of Ms. Shirley Pryce who has been a champion and lobbyist for the rights of household workers all around the world,” noted GraceKennedy CEO Don Wehby. As a result, the ILO Convention C189 that demands ‘decent work’ conditions for household workers was ratified by PM Holness last September and announced by him at the United Nations General Assembly. We look forward to the implementation of the articles as we believe that it is important that we support a life-work balance for Jamaica’s household workers. 
Our leaders have set a good example. Minister Shahine Robinson, who was guest speaker, noted that her family’s lifelong household worker Miss Edna’s children were like sisters and brothers, a bond that remains strong to this day.  Minister Robinson said that household workers had made a significant contribution to the growth of Jamaica’s economy. She declared, “Jamaica simply could not survive without this important contribution to our households…We salute you for your tireless and often overlooked work.”
Don Wehby shared that his boyhood caregiver Miss Carmen later migrated to New York to be with her children who had done well.  “Every year for my birthday Miss Carmen would send me US$20 in a card,” he told us. He became misty as he added, “This was the first year I didn’t get one, as she is no longer with us.”  







Saturday, October 21, 2017

Fifty one new grants for Jamaica's climate change adaptation

Great news to strengthen Jamaica's environmental resilience! 

Kingston, Jamaica. October 20, 2017. Fifty one community and civil society organisations will be implementing projects to boost climate change adaptation in Jamaica after being awarded grants totalling J$228,000,000.00 under the Special Climate Change Adaptation Fund (SCCAF) – one of two funding mechanism under the Adaptation Programme and Finance Mechanism Project (AP&FM) of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR).

"We are very excited that the AP&FM-PPCR is out there in the field, across the nooks and crannies of Jamaica, making its mark in building adaptation capacities. We are happy to be partnering with the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) which is administering the funds on behalf of the project to ensure that Jamaica can adapt to adverse climate impacts,' said Dr Winsome Townsend, Project Manager of the AP&FM.

In July 2016 the AP&FM collaborated with the EFJ to start providing grant financing to community based and sector drive adaptation initiatives island-wide. The SCCAF is financed by the Climate Investment Fund (CIF) and disbursed through the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in the amount of US$4.7 Million. In order to qualify for the grants interested entities respond to a Call for Proposals put out by the EFJ.

From the Call for Proposals in 2016 EFJ got 81 proposals and 29 were funded. For 2017's call one hundred and eighteen (118) proposals were received and fifty-one (51) have been approved. Approximately J$361.56 million has been allocated to the 80 approved projects.

"We will be signing the grant agreements with the 51 successful organisations at on Tuesday, October 24 at 10am at the New Kingston Business Centre on Dominica Drive. At that time we will also be doing some training with them to build their capacity to administer the grants,' said Barrington Lewis, Chief Executive Officer at the EFJ.

Collectively, of the 80 projects awarded 5 parishes received 72.5% of the grants – Manchester 20% (16 projects), Clarendon 16.25% (13 projects), St Andrew 13.75% (11 projects), St Ann 12.50% (10 projects) and St. Elizabeth 10% (8 projects).

The projects will help to reduce Jamaica's vulnerability to climate change. The island has been experiencing impacts such as stronger hurricanes, severe flooding, prolonged droughts and sea level rise. Between 2001 and 2012 Jamaica experienced 11 storm events (including 5 major hurricanes) and several flood events - loss and damage amounting to about J$128.54 billion.

The   Government   of   Jamaica   (GOJ), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank developed Jamaica's Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) to help the country to strengthen its climate resilience through enhancing adaptive capacity across priority sectors.  Jamaica's PPCR has 5 projects being implemented to address varying areas of vulnerability (www.ppcrja.org.jm).

 

The AP&FM is a part of Jamaica's PPCR. It works to help Jamaica adjust more easily to climate change. It supports the integration of climate change issues into development planning by government agencies. It also provides funds for climate change adaptation work in small and medium businesses as well as communities islandwide. It is being implemented by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and is funded to the tune of USD19, 869,963 by the Climate Investment Fund through the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the government of Jamaica.

 

For further information contact:

Indi Mclymont-Lafayette

Communications Specialist

Adaptation Programme & Financing Mechanism (AP&FM)

for the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) Jamaica:

Ministry of Economic Growth & Job Creation

16a Half Way Tree Road, Kingston 5

Tel: 633-7529 or 294-3608.

 

Photo Captions:

Head shots of:

1)       Dr Winsome Townsend, Project Manager of the Adaptation Programme and Financing Mechanism (AP&FM) of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR)

2)      Barrington Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica

 



Indi Mclymont-Lafayette
Development Communications Specialist 
Kingston, 
Jamaica. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Tremayne Brown also saved his own life

by Jean Lowrie-Chin
Jamaica Observer column published Monday 18 September 2017

Exhausted from endless reports of violence, Jamaica was energized by the news of the brave Tremayne Brown who jumped into the Trench Town Gully to save young Renaldo Reynolds. We understand from the Jamaica Observer report by Racquel Porter, that Tremayne’s father Stanford Brown is an elder in his Church. It must have been his godly upbringing that helped him to find strength from the prayers of Renaldo when he felt he could go no more.

What are families and the society doing to nurture Tremayne’s life-saving courage in their own children?  Because of his heroism, Tremayne did not save only the life of Renaldo Reynolds – he also saved his own.  The returning migrant, deported from the UK six months ago could only find casual labour at Boys Town. Now his bravery has brought him offers of jobs and financial assistance, as well as a soon-to-be-bestowed National Honour. 

Tremayne’s example of bravery should remind wrong-doers that they also have the ability to change their lives for the better. When I read that after the ZOSO exercise in Mount Salem, St James, scammers were now running like cowards to other parishes, I recalled the words of the late Professor Barry Chevannes.

 “You are human, not animals,” Prof Barry asked me to write in my column published back in 2005. “You have the power of choice. You are not a fly that must breed in the garbage – you can remove yourself from the garbage. Just as you choose to kill, you can choose, not to kill.  You have a human will – you are not programmed to kill.”

We can add – you are not programmed to lie and steal, scam away the livelihood of the elderly and then turn your guns on those who try to steer you away from your wrongs.  Reports are that these scammers are lighting their spliffs with US dollar bills and washing their cars with champagne. This, while missionaries of various churches are sacrificing their lives to care for the poor and abandoned in Jamaica.  Will these criminals, some well-educated, wake up to the stupidity of evil?

We are reminding those who have turned to a life of crime that you are human, you have the choice of pulling yourself out of the garbage. You can save yourselves, instead of running like rats from parish to parish, sleeping with one eye open, and ruining the lives of your own children.

The political representatives of both parties, sworn to serve the people of Jamaica, know more than most of us of the programmes available to help our youth out of the desperation that makes them easy prey for gangs.  Programmes are offered by the Social Development Commission, HEART-NTA, the National Youth Service, PATH.  There are myriad non-governmental and corporate programmes that offer scholarships, funding and mentoring for businesses start-ups. 

Our 63 MPs and over 200 Parish Councillors could guide their constituents in making applications for such programmes.  As I write, I know that there is a multi-million Queen’s Young Leaders fund for applicants who are involved in outreach in vulnerable communities.  Could our representatives set up desks to assist youngsters to apply for these funds?  In fact, it would protect the very MPs from being viewed as community ATMs. Our churches could establish such a service also, again sparing their slim budgets while opening up opportunities for needy members.  

The reason that the Tremayne Brown story has remained in our headlines for so long, is because Jamaica, the home of ‘One Love, One Heart’ is ready to reclaim this as our way of life.  Even as we support ZOSO, we are hoping that before criminals lose their lives in shootouts, they will be persuaded to give themselves up, pay the price for their crimes and free their hearts and their families from the terror of their depraved existence.

Climate Change – deadly reality

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have taken lives and left families in poverty and suffering.  As we see the plight of our neighbours, Cuba, the British and US Virgin Islands, Turks & Caicos and Southern states of the US, it is clear that global warming is not a myth, but a deadly reality. Reports of the deaths of nine residents in what should have been a safe haven, a Florida nursing home, will no doubt press the current US administration to agree to play its part as a signatory to the Paris Agreement.
After participating in an international conference on the environment in Copenhagen in December 2009, Professor Anthony Chen and Ambassador Anthony Hill wrote their ‘Copenhagen Letter’ which was published in the Jamaica Observer.

They wrote: “Make no bones about it: the greenhouse gases emitted by releasing energy from the fossil fuels of oil and gas, the pressure on the declining soil and water resources, the demand for food, minerals and fossil fuels, the pollution of the atmosphere are well beyond the equilibrium-carrying capacity of the earth.”

“In Jamaica,” they continued, “we face myriad threats ranging from sea level rise and droughts to increased incidence of diseases. These threats will increase in proportion to the increase in global warming which in turn depends on the increase in quantity of greenhouse gases emitted by man-made activity. The greatest harm will come to the poor and underprivileged who are less able to adapt to these threats.”

They identified “power generation across the national grid and its consumption by major industrial users” that could make the greatest impact if a low carbon-strategy were implemented and warned, “Climate change with its immense uncertainties and risks ‘threaten human health, disrupt economic activity, damage natural ecosystems irreversibly, and even (in worst-case scenarios) lead to mass migration, food shortage, and other global humanitarian crises’.” 
If the environmental initiatives of several local corporations and schools became the norm, rather than the exception, perhaps we would have saved those metres of beach that have been lost at Hellshire and other parts of our coastline.

It is not too late to take Professor Chen’s and Ambassador Hill’s research on board, but the window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

VPA Peace Day this Thursday

Dr Elizabeth Ward, Chairman of the Board of the Violence Prevention Alliance says the organisation will be observing Peace Day this Thursday, September 21 with activities in various schools.  We hope that educators throughout Jamaica will visit the Violence Prevention Alliance Facebook page and share their ideas with their students. 

CCRP Living Legacy Awards

It has been announced that 11 Jamaicans from various walks of life will be honoured at the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) Living Legacy Awards event later this month.   They are: Nurse Marie Clemetson, Noel Dexter, Michael Fennell, Leonie Forbes, Cecile Jarrett, Norman Jarrett, Horace Levy, Professor Mervyn Morris, Major General (Ret’d) Robert Neish, Clembert N Powell and Patricia ‘Patsy’ Ricketts. Congratulations!


Monday, August 28, 2017

Journey from Bolt-fest to Barcelona

Emotional Farewell Tribute to Legend Usain Bolt at IAAF
World Games, London 2017
Column published in the Jamaica Observer - Monday 28 August 2017

by Jean Lowrie-Chin

I warmed to the sight of our beautiful mountains, as our flight from London made its approach to the Norman Manley Airport.  This time I said a special prayer of thanksgiving, as we had seen the evil face of terrorism just three days before.


We were visiting Barcelona after the IAAF World Games in London, the home of my husband’s favourite football club, his beloved Bar├ža, and so that sunny Thursday, August 17, we visited their headquarters at Joan Camper.  And the end of the tour, I commented on the happy buzz of Las Ramblas from our visit the day before and suggested that we return there to eat. “No, too crowded,” said Hubie, a response that probably saved our lives.
Just a couple of hours later, we heard loud sirens and saw ambulances and police cars whizzing past us. “Ataque terrorista!” said an agitated souvenir vendor with her cell phone to her ear. A few streets away from us, a coldhearted terrorist had driven a van, zigzagging through the Las Ramblas median killing 13 persons, including a small child and injuring over 100.
My photo and message of solidarity
with Barcelona
The city went into shutdown – there was no metro and taxis were not stopping to pick up anyone as the attackers were still at large. We walked for two hours, trying to find transportation, slipping behind trees and columns whenever we saw a van or truck approaching, knowing that these attacks sometimes happen in clusters. We found out later that it was indeed the cynical plan of the crazed terrorists who had been preparing multiple gas cylinders at a house the previous night. The plan backfired as there was an explosion that destroyed the house and killed two persons including the vile Imam who had radicalized the youth in a small town called Ripoll, 85 miles away from Barcelona and formed a terrorist cell.   
As we watched the reports of death and injury at Las Ramblas, we mourned the innocent victims who like us, were enjoying a family holiday. We joined with the citizens and visitors who refused to cower and decided to continue our touring the next day.  We joined the line to visit the exquisite Sagrada Familia Basilica, and prayed the Rosary.   
On our return to Jamaica, we visited the Embassy of Spain to sign the condolence book, and spoke with the gracious Ambassador Josep Maria Bosch Bessa, who is himself a native of Barcelona. We shared with him our experiences, noting that despite the tragedy, his city continued to radiate courage, peace and warmth.  May we work to rekindle this loving humanity that is at the centre of every human being so that terrorism will find no harbour in any heart.
Our children’s safety
As we caught up with the local news, it was clear that we have very serious challenges to our efforts to achieve Vision 2030. The better off among us may be able to lock themselves away from the terror in our inner cities, but that desperation we felt as we tried to find our way back to our hotel, is felt every day by the decent people in our high-risk areas throughout the country.  It is sickening that 35 children have been murdered since the beginning of the year, including the bright young Mickolle Moulton of Meadowbrook High who did not live to find out that she had attained a total of 10 CSEC subjects and that she was a candidate for Head girl of the school.
Before it gets any worse, let us acknowledge that we are just 3 million in a small country that is highly fixable.  If every single politician on both sides commits to put country before party, Jamaica would be transformed tomorrow.  If they used even half the energy they expend on campaigning, we would have a safer Jamaica.  If our church leaders would join together and activate an islandwide plan to do as Jesus did, engage the poor and the lost, what a country we could build. The same goes for leaders in other spheres of national life where corruption is virtually a given and ego-tripping gets more play than productivity. If crimes are being committed by a minority, that is a damning judgment on the majority.
Our family at the QE Stadium in Stratford
Bolt-powered Brand Jamaica
We don’t seem to appreciate the Bolt-powered Brand Jamaica and its potential to lift those who are desperately seeking employment and a better way of life.  There were countless queries about where we bought our Jamaica jackets (yes, London was indeed chilly).  The plan to open 15 Usain Bolt Tracks & Records (UBTR) is marked for success.
Hubie and I were at the 2012 Beijing Olympics when Usain Bolt emerged as a star of the track. Countless folks from various countries asked to take photos with us and our flag.  Last year we journeyed to Rio and Bolt rewarded us with his superlative triple-treble – there we were outside the Rio Stadium, singing ‘One Love’ with Daddy Bolt!
As usual, for London we stocked up with Jamaican souvenirs so anyone who said anything kind to us about Jamaica, we would give them a token of our appreciation.  Luckily we had many, because the shouts of “Jamaica! Bolt!” were numerous. 
Jamaica, please know that our Usain St. Leo Bolt had much to do with those packed stands at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium in Stratford.  On entering the Stadium, there were only two flags being hawked: British and Jamaican.  Moreover, there were Usain Bolt scarves selling like hot bread and there were Bolt billboards everywhere.
Please know that the world’s love for our Usain has not diminished. Indeed, the 100 metre bronze and that heart-breaking injury in the 4x100 metre event, created even more empathy for our Legend because of his dignified response.  He congratulated Gatlin with grace, and he refused a wheelchair after the relay mishap, so he could walk across the finish line with his teammates.
The farewell tribute to Bolt and his gestures of gratitude on his final circuit around the London Stadium were met with thunderous applause and tears.  He is loved, not only for his phenomenal world records, but also for his warm personality, nurtured by his loving upbringing.  Mr and Mrs Bolt are models of parenting, and his mentor Norman Peart and coach Glen Mills are positive role models for our star.

There are so many promising Jamaican youngsters, just waiting for us to move the clouds out of their lives so they can shine like Bolt.  We must come together and give them that chance.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Statement on the Murder of Mickolle Moulton

August 9, 2017

 

Statement on the Murder of Mickolle Moulton

As Jamaican women, we the undersigned members of the 51% Coalition wish to express our deep shock and anger at the murder of 17 year-old Mickolle Moulton, a girl who had her whole life ahead of her and a promising future, and the wounding of her 12 year-old sister, who is still fighting for her life in hospital. We condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms, and trust that the perpetrators will be brought to justice as speedily as possible. 

 

We express our deepest sympathies to the mother, sister and family of Mickolle and share in their grief. We wish Mickolle's sister a speedy recovery from her injuries.

 

We see the issues surrounding crime and violence as a public health emergency, not only for our women and girls, but for all community members, including men and boys, the young, senior citizens and the disabled and especially vulnerable populations.

 

Mickolle's tragic death should underline the urgency of the situation and the particular vulnerability of women and girls to all forms of violence. While many women's human rights groups have raised awareness on this issue, much more remains to be done. We must actively support all the efforts of communities and organizations towards building more respectful and equitable relationships among women and girls, men and boys. 

 

The Child Development Agency (CDA) reports that the average age of alleged male perpetrators is 14 - 17 years. Many of these boys experience disturbing mental health problems, associated with trauma from experiences with physical violence. We suggest that additional resources be found to address the range of mental health problems faced by women, their families and children - both girls and boys.

 

Additionally, boys and men must actively take part in violence reduction and gender equity programmes. We must build a nation where women, girls, boys and men are valued equally and a strong sense of justice, fairness, equality, and integrity prevails. All Jamaicans, including our political leaders, must consider violence against women as a priority. 

 

Many women's organisations are engaged, in the face of great challenges, in helping to address the vast needs of vulnerable communities. We wish to restate our commitment to continuing this effort, in partnership with other agencies and communities.  We hope to see practical and sustainable community development initiatives from the government and private sector, which can meaningfully engage wider partnerships on a non-partisan basis. 

 

We urge the community to tell what they know, cooperate with the police and help bring the murderer/s of Mickolle to justice. 

 

Individuals:

Jeanette Calder

Marcia Forbes

Joan Grant Cummings

Emma Lewis

Jean Lowrie-Chin

Indi McLymont Lafayette

Carol Narcisse

Judith Wedderburn 


Organizations:

WMW Jamaica

Women's Resource and Outreach Centre

 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

UTech, Jamaica Presents Final Report on “Research on Regulatory Treatment of Small Cable Operators”

Members of the UTech, Jamaica and Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica teams (from left) -  Prof. Stephen Vasciannie, President, UTech, Ja., Prof. Anthony Clayton, Chairman, Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica, Mr. Cordell Green, Executive Director, Broadcasting Commission, Mrs Jodi-Ann Jackson, Project Manager, Broadcasting Commission, Dr. Valoris Smith, Lecturer, COBAM and project lead researcher, Mr. Sydney Lowrie, Lecturer, FELS and communication specialist on the research team, and Mr. Okeeto DaSilva, Attorney-at-law and legal consultant on the research project team.

On a personal note .. 
My brother Sydney 'Tony' Lowrie who was a researcher on the Project, noted: 'The research and recommendations considered the importance of providing communication and media services to areas that are under-served as well as the  promotion of media literacy, provision of internship programmes for students, and facilitation for the development and broadcast of local content.'
I can attest to the importance of small cable operators with whom we have collaborated on such projects as Voter Registration. They have influence in their communities and deserve this recognition. Well done team UTECH!

Press Release from UTECH 


The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech, Ja.) on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, formally presented the final report of a consultancy research project undertaken for the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica, examining the regulatory treatment of small cable operators in Jamaica.
The project, Research on the Regulatory Treatment of Small Cable Operators, was conducted by a multi-disciplinary expert team led by Dr. Valoris Smith,Lecturer, College of Business and Management (COBAM), Mr. Sydney Lowrie, Lecturer, Faculty of Education and Liberal Studies, and external attorney-at-law, Mr. Okeeto DaSilva. UTech, Jamaica was selected by the Broadcasting Commission in 2016 to participate in a competitive bid to undertake the research work.
In providing an overview of the project, Dr. Smith explained that the research was undertaken to provide findings and to make recommendations to the Broadcasting Commission on how the Subscriber Television (STV) operators within Jamaica should be regulated in relation to a tiered regulatory system.  The main focus of the research was on regulatory treatment of small STV cable operators.  The research included analysing large, medium and small STV operators with a view to considering a broader regulatory strategy to help to mature the STV industry.  Currently, Jamaica does not have a tiered regulatory STV system.
The researchers provided recommendations on regulatory and geographical boundary considerations related to the tiered regulatory system and various incentives to benefit the entire industry and in particular the small-sized STV operators. 
In receiving the report, Chairman of the Broadcasting Commission,Prof. Anthony Claytonunderscored the Commission's objective of ensuring fair competition on a "level playing field" within the subscriber television industry.  Prof. Clayton said "the only way we can actually help to level the playing field is by looking for ways that we could reduce the cost and burden of regulatory compliance in Jamaica." 
"Highly Policy Relevant"
He pointed out that many small operators serve areas which are not economically attractive to other players, adding that putting them out of business would not result in a better provider, but in no provider at all. "We realised that what we need is to make the divisions more explicit and to build in a strong incentive to improve," he asserted.  The Chairman thanked UTech, Jamaica for the research which he noted is "highly policy relevant" and provides a good foundation "on the exact model we are going to choose."
President, UTech, Jamaica,Professor Stephen Vascianniecongratulated the research team led by Dr. Valoris Smith and the School of Graduate Studies, Research and Entrepreneurship with Mr. Martin Henry as Project Manager for the coordinating role played in securing and managing the consultancy project. 
Prof. Vasciannie in welcoming the research partnership with the Broadcasting Commission said that "I think all of Jamaica will welcome the thrust by the Broadcasting Commission to facilitate the survival of small cable operators in the context of a more sophisticated and organised approach to regulation."  He added that the research "now paves the way for the Commission to utilize good evidenced-based data in pursuit of legislative amendments to facilitate the recommended three-tiered regulatory system for the STV industry." 
  
Corporate Communications Unit
Advancement Division
University of Technology, Jamaica
Photos: IMS, Calvin McKain Library
July 25, 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017

UCC confers honorary degree on businessman Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson


ACCOMPLISHED businessman Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson received an honorary degree from the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC) at its 2017 commencement ceremony yesterday where he delivered the keynote address.

Hendrickson was conferred with the degree of Doctor of Business, Honoris Causa, in recognition of his achievements in business and industry. He is chief executive officer of Continental Baking Company Limited (National) and has been a member of the American Society of Bakery Engineers for 30 years. He also operates the Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa in St Lucia – an all-inclusive, 254-room hotel.

Hendrickson is the chairman of the board at the EXIM Bank, a member of the board of directors of the Bank of Jamaica, and member of the boards of Rainforest Seafoods Ltd as well as Stationery & Office Supplies Ltd. In addition, he is a vice-president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica.

He also sits on The King's House Foundation and serves as president of the Council of Voluntary Social Services. His many awards include recipient of TheJamaica Observer Business Leader Award 2016, and induction into the PSOJ Hall of Fame in 2016.

The UCC commencement ceremony was held on Sunday, July 23 at the National Arena where approximately 600 graduating students received diplomas for successfully completing a range of master's and bachelor's degree programmes, along with other certifications