Saturday, January 28, 2017

Stay focused Jamaica!

Excerpt from Jamaica Observer column published 23 January 2017
by Jean Lowrie-Chin

In reflecting on the inauguration of President Donald Trump, a Facebook friend posted, “Today I express gratitude for not waking up in America this morning.” Still, many of our family and friends in the Jamaica Diaspora in the US continue to enjoy a better quality of life than we do in Jamaica.  The heartbreaking news out of Hanover that two small children were shot dead along with their father in what seems to be a reprisal killing, brought Member of Parliament Ian Hayles to tears as he expressed frustration to reporters.

When the cameras panned around the Grand Jamaica Ballroom at the Jamaica Pegasus at those powerful heads of church and state bowed in devotion at last Thursday’s National Leadership Prayer Breakfast, I was reminded of a passage from the Bible – James 2 14-18: What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? … Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

Our Jamaican landscape is dense with churches, and so if these churches can respond to this challenge, and call our local leaders into partnership, Jamaica would be a peaceful country.  Church leaders should seek to befriend the 63 Members of Parliament and the 226 Parish Councillors. They should also reach out to the appointees to boards of government agencies, and seek updates from them on how their agencies are serving their country. By inviting representatives of the Health Authorities, Social Development Commission, JAMPRO, HEART-NTA, NHT, NHF to your church council meetings, you may learn of opportunities for church members of which they were not aware. Our church leaders have the potential to be development monitors for Jamaica. 

JCF 150th Anniversary Launch
The Jamaica Constabulary Force had an impressive launch of their 150th Anniversary celebrations last Thursday.  We were reminded of the brains and talent that reside in the JCF as we heard addresses from Acting Commissioner Novelette Grant and award-winning officers, and the excellent performances of the JCF Band and the JCF Choir. The JCF continues to be one of the most philanthropic organisations in Jamaica.  Did you know that in recognition of having the largest youth organisation in Jamaica and annual fundraising for Special Olympics, the JCF received the award for the Most Outstanding Employee Giving Organisation from United Way of Jamaica in 2014? 

The crooks will always want to sow distrust for the JCF, so let us be smarter than them and not use the deeds of a few, to condemn the entire Police Force.  Congratulations on your 150th Anniversary, JCF!

Farewell Obama, Hello Trump

Excerpt from Jamaica Observer column published 23 Jan 2017

by Jean Lowrie-Chin

Within a few minutes last Friday, the United States of America, the most powerful country in the world, said farewell to former President Barack Obama and inaugurated their new President, Donald Trump.  According to the polls, Barack Obama is exiting with one of the highest favourability ratings of recent Presidents while Donald Trump is entering the White House with the lowest since polling on this began 45 years ago. One person on social media quipped: “In a few minutes, the leadership of the world changed hands, from Barack Obama … to Angela Merkel!”
Despite the many negative and misguided pronouncements of President Trump particularly his description of Civil Rights Hero Congressman John Lewis as “all talk and no action”, President Obama assured the media in his final Press Conference at the White House that “we’re going to be okay”. 

For those who found the Trump Inauguration traumatic, the late shows on Friday evening brought comic relief.  There was Trevor Noah suggesting that the low attendance at the event was the result of ‘draining the swamp’ while Stephen Colbert suggested that Trump had ‘put America back to work’ hence the turnout.  Both used the aerial views of attendance at the Obama and Trump inaugurations, which showed that Trump had less than one-third of the turnout that Obama did.

Bill Maher had Steve Olbermann as a special guest, so you can imagine the witty hammering that the incoming president received.  Maher’s guests ended on a serious note:  Americans should be vigilant and active to protect their freedom, and the rights of the most vulnerable in their society. 

Kudos, therefore to the hundreds of thousands who marched in Washington DC, throughout America and in cities across the world for the protection of women’s and human rights.  We should be particularly proud of Senator Kamala Harris, whose father is Jamaican-born for her stirring call to the marchers.

Thank you Barack and Michelle Obama

When Barack Obama won the US Presidential elections in 2008, we draped ribbons with Obama pins over portraits of our children.  For people of colour, the ascent of an African American to the White House represented the realisation of Dr Martin Luther King’s dream and the affirmation of Marcus Mosiah Garvey that when you have confidence, you have won before you have even started.
Of course, we were nervous, because with that cynical ‘birther’ movement initiated by Donald Trump who just recently admitted that he was wrong, we wondered if there would be not only digging, but ‘cooking’ of the facts around this brilliant, exemplary couple.  And so, we breathed a sigh of relief when we saw Barack and Michelle Obama, step out of the White House on Friday morning with their heads held high, their reputation not only intact, but enhanced.

We in Jamaica were at fever pitch when President Obama graced us with a visit in 2015. Below is an excerpt from my column of April 15, 2015

[President Obama] walked into the UWI Assembly Hall and hailed his audience with “Greetings, massive!  Wah gwaan, Jamaica?  … I want to thank the University of the West Indies for hosting us.  Big up, You-Wee!  Thank you.  I’ve been making myself at home here.”
As we awaited his arrival, all the talk was about his visit to the Bob Marley Museum, his singing along to “Exodus” and “One Love”, his reference to his collection of Marley albums… This President touched a special chord when he referred to Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce: “I get a chance to say hi to Usain Bolt and Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce. When you have the fastest people on the planet, you’ve got to say hi to them, right?  Because that’s fast. There are a lot of people out there, and they’re the fastest!”  

We do hope President (yes, he keeps his title) and Mrs Obama will visit us soon, so they can feel the love we Jamaicans will always have for them.  God speed, Obama family!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

This rich country, Jamaica

Observer column for MON 16 JAN 2017
by Jean Lowrie-Chin

Sportswoman & Sportswoman of the Year Elaine Thompson
and Usain Bolt receive awards from RJR Group MD Gary Allen
and Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport,
Hon Olivia Grange
Last Friday and Saturday, we attended The RJR National Sportsman & Sportswoman of the Year Awards glittering with world-beaters; the GraceKennedy Annual Business Conference punctuated by applause for captains of industry Butch Hendrickson and their own CEO, Don Wehby; a prayerful and hopeful meeting of the Associates of the Sisters of Mercy, and a laughter-rich evening with close friends, happy to escape the cold north. Yes indeed, we are ultra-rich in body, mind and spirit.

Special Award to Shelly-Ann
Fraser Pryce from Gleaner
Managing Director Chris Barnes
Special Award to Usain Bolt from
Selection Panellist Dr Carrole
Ascending the stage for top awards at the RJR event last Friday were our own Hon Usain Bolt, God’s gift to this country, guided by strong, decent parents, managers and coaches, Omar McLeod, Elaine Thompson, racehorse trainer Wayne DaCosta and world champion swimmer Alia Atkinson.   Yes indeed, Jamaican grit extends beyond the stadium to the Caymanas racetrack and to the water.
Hon Mike Fennell, our age-defying Jamaica Olympics Association President and Chairman of the Commonwealth Games, received the Global Icon Award, and here I must pause to also congratulate his radiant, practical wife Kathleen ‘Peggy’ Fennell who in her own right is a role model for Jamaican women.

Young Athlete Calabar's Christopher
Taylor receives his award from his
School's distinguished graduate Hon.
Mike Fennell
In accepting the Sportsman of the Year Award for the seventh time, Usain Bolt said he wanted to say a special word to the young people of Jamaica: "I am from Trelawny. I never thought I would be on this stage as one of the greatest ever. Hard work pays off so if you want to be great, work towards what you want, never give up. I have gone through a lot but I have never given up once, use me as an example to work to be the best you can be.” Please share this quote.

The guest speaker at the event Olivier Gers, CEO of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said he was in Jamaica to discover how our small country had been athletic world beaters since 1948.  He recounted the achievements of our greats, and acknowledged the past failures of the IAAF. He said that an independent unit would ensure the success of the Federation’s drive for integrity, and that there would be greater fan engagement to promote the sport.
Paralympian Gold Medalist Alphanso Cunningham
receives a Special Award
Omar McLeod receives Runner-Up
Award from Hon Molly Rhone

As I watched the younger athletes ascending the stage, I remember the words of my good friend the late Hon Neville ‘Teddy’ McCook in the early nineties, “Jean, if you know what was coming, your head would hurt you!”  Well, Mass Teddy, our heads are still spinning as we saw Shelley-Ann Fraser Pryce, always a queen and suffering from an injury, hugging Elaine Thompson after Thompson’s stupendous win of the 100-metre event in Rio.  We were dizzy with delight as we saw the flawless gold medal hurdling of Omar Francis, and that great burst of energy at Champs from People’s Choice winner, Calabar’s Christopher Taylor.
Alia Atkinson receives Runner-Up
Award for Sportswoman of the Year

Reports are that Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce said her bronze medal in the event was her "greatest medal ever …By far, I would definitely say that this is my best championship ever, because I knew how hard I worked, I knew the pain and the sacrifices and the tears."

In a similar spirit, world record holder swimmer Alia Atkinson rebounded from her Olympic disappointment to beat the Olympic Gold medallist and equal her 100-metre breaststroke world record, while also establishing a new world record for the 50-metre breaststoke short course. Dignity and perseverance - that is how our Jamaican royalty rolls!

We were honoured at PROComm when Alia attended our Christmas meeting with our scholars from Grants Pen.  Her genuine warmth and listening ear had our team swooning and the young students blushing with pride.  She is now organizing free swimming lessons for them!

A Bold 2017
Butch Hendrickson allows his passion for Jamaica to speak, and at the GraceKennedy event, it spoke clean and clear. Lauding the company for its 95 years of successful growth, its simplicity, unique vision and authenticity, he said the company was a blueprint for success.
He shared his beliefs: “ I believe in the raw value of hard work … in the power of ‘messing up’. After all, it is only from life's mistakes that we can 'get it' so to speak, and do it properly the next time around.”

National Baking Chairman Butch Hendrickson
inspires at GraceKennedy Business Conference
GraceKennedy CEO Don Wehby
leads the dynamic Business Confenrence
“I believe in the passion of patriotism. Love of country, pride in country, commitment to country, “he continued. “I believe in supporting the development of others, reaching out, and helping to realize someone else's dreams. … Our kids are indeed our future. There can be no wasted effort in nurturing them and providing them with all resources available to ensure a rock-solid foundation.”
Butch asked all Jamaicans to step up and do the simple things that are so important and to show more respect and courtesy. He explained the tremendous loss that can result from one single unrepaired pothole, including loss of life. He noted the effects of night noise on children in poor communities, who are deprived of sleep as they try to get an education.  He urged us to remember that “the individual rights of a few cannot obstruct the collective good of a country”

Don Wehby, the company’s CEO personifies the difference between a leader and a boss, as he was unstinting in his praise and challenged his team to be dedicated to the professional development of their younger colleagues, with succession planning intrinsic in their approach.  This is how a small Jamaican company became a global giant – it has never rested on its laurels.

And so, we are constantly reminded of our considerable national resources – our people, our culture, our crops, our strong democracy.  Let us invest our riches to bring everyone.

Standing up for what is right
In the midst of scandals and the very interesting press conference held by president
elect Donald Trump last week, the media both here and abroad is being challenged as never before.  How does one maintain credibility in the face of accusations of “fake news”?

How does a media house balance reporting on the tragic and sordid and the positive and constructive?  Take for example, the still unfolding reports around the alleged sexual misconduct of several local clergymen.  How does one report on this while still ensuring that the excellent work of the majority of our church leaders is not dismissed?  Without those churches, many of our excellent high schools would not even exist, many of our poor and abandoned would have no refuge.

Like Acting Commissioner Novelette Grant, we must be realistic but constructive. At her first press conference last Wednesday, she noted, “We have no miracles. For my 90 days as Acting Commissioner of Police, my team and I do not promise to work miracles. However, what we promise to do is to work together, and continue to partner with key stakeholders.” She thanked those Jamaican citizens who have stepped up to assist the police in solving crimes.  

This is what we all must do:  step up to do our jobs well, and be of help, not hindrance to the many who are working so hard to build and protect our country.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Press Association Hails the Late Peter Abrahams

Portrait of Peter Abrahams by his late wife,  artist Daphne Abrahams - from 


Press Association Hails the Late Peter Abrahams' Contributions to National Development & Journalism

January 19, 2017: The Press Association of Jamaica is saddened at the passing of veteran journalist, author and commentator Peter Abrahams.

"Peter Abrahams was a brilliant, incisive and analytical writer, whose significant output in the areas of  literature and journalism marked him as a major contributor to Jamaica's national development over the decades," says PAJ President Dionne Jackson Miller.

"Many of us grew up listening to his news commentaries, which always cut to the core of the political and social issues facing the country, offered searing insight, and very often, suggested solutions and a way forward," she added.

His years as Chairman of RJR were exemplified by steadfast support for the newsroom and the journalists who worked there, and he earned many times over the respect, admiration and love of the employees with whom he dealt.

But Abrahams, South African by birth, who adopted Jamaica as his homeland, was also well known internationally, for his contributions to the black liberation struggles, especially through his writing.

"The fact that on the day of his death, at the age of 97, the Gleaner had published a letter by Peter speaking to contemporary issues facing the country is an indicator of how sharp and relevant he remained to the very end," Jackson Miller said.

"We were privileged to have had him with us for so long. There is much that journalists today can learn from Peter's example and work. We are fortunate that he was dedicated to documenting so many of his experiences, which will prove a treasure trove for students of political thought and journalism for years to come," she added.

Contact: Dionne Jackson Miller, 792-3550

"A Free Press, Oxygen of Democracy"

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Jamaica can rise in 2017

by Jean Lowrie-Chin
published in Jamaica Observer column 9 Jan 2017

It is only January 9, and already the headlines here and abroad are challenging our resolutions for a peaceful and happy New Year.  Let us not be distracted from the work we must do, the part each and every Jamaican is called upon to play. 

The issue of crime is occupying our minds.  Betty Ann Blaine has pointed out that the monument to remember slain children has run out of space for the names! We keep saying that Jamaica is 99 percent good people, so here’s a reminder from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: “When good men remain silent, evil flourishes.”

We know there are credible representatives on both sides of the House.  Would they be courageous enough to join forces and be of one voice in promoting zero-tolerance for any association of their respective parties with so-called ‘dons’?

Would our JLP and PNP leaders have a different approach to crime if they were not surrounded by security officers who drive them everywhere in the cocoon of their high-end vehicles? Government Ministers in countries similar to ours walk, drive themselves around and go shopping with no security detail.  Why should the tax payers of Jamaica to pay so dearly for politicians’ safety when ours is compromised?

Our police officers are understandably under the microscope of oversight agencies, the media and the public, and several have been sanctioned for corrupt or unprofessional behaviour. However, we should commend Dr Carl Williams, who has retired as Commissioner of Police after thirty-three years of impeccable service, and welcome the appointment of the widely respected Novelette Grant as Acting Commissioner. We cannot expect her to work miracles if our leaders are not committed to building a more peaceful society.  Most of the 1350 murders committed last year were gang-related and many others resulted from domestic violence.  Clearly, programmes for unattached youth and wholesome family life require urgent attention.

As we continue to bombard the police with criticism, let us be reminded that the Police Youth Club, started over 90 years ago by a humble police officer, is the largest youth club in Jamaica. Let us also remember that the Torch Run for Special Olympics is a decades-old JCF initiative. Let us hear more about similar initiatives from our MPs and Councillors.

Last week, I called the ever-courteous Supt Daley at Kingston West for assistance to visit my parents’ graves at the Calvary Cemetery in downtown Kingston. When Constables McPherson and Stewart arrived, I was so struck by their youthfulness that I became protective of them, remembering how one of their colleagues was ambushed and killed just a few weeks before in the same neighbourhood. 
“Please stay in your vehicle and keep an eye on us,” I suggested, but they insisted on walking through the very challenging terrain, staying with us as we prayed. (Our mother had insisted on being beside our father who had passed away in 1977, when Calvary cemetery was a much better place.)  The young constables were on a 12-hour shift, and said that depending on the demands, this can stretch to 14 hours.  While we sit in our comfortable couches raining accusations on police, let us spare a thought for these young officers who are creating a courageous barrier between us and the gunmen. Respect is due.

Some gripe, others grow
The happenings of 2016 challenge us to step up.  The brilliant scientist, English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author Professor Stephen Hawking, wrote an article published in the UK Guardian, headlined “This is the most dangerous time for our planet”.  

“Whatever we might think about the decision by the British electorate to reject membership of the European Union and by the American public to embrace Donald Trump as their next president,” he wrote, “there is no doubt in the minds of commentators that this was a cry of anger by people who felt they had been abandoned by their leaders.”

He described these disaffected voters as “the forgotten … a reminder that we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity.” He called on world leaders “to acknowledge that they have failed and are failing the many.”

“With not only jobs but entire industries disappearing, we must help people to retrain for a new world and support them financially while they do so,” he urged. “If communities and economies cannot cope with current levels of migration, we must do more to encourage global development, as that is the only way that the migratory millions will be persuaded to seek their future at home.”

This brings to mind Jamaica’s nurses who must migrate in order to earn a decent living.  We have been bandying about the phrase, “health tourism” for years, but doing little to make this a reality, one that could provide higher salaries for Jamaica’s internationally respected nurses. 

Professor Hawking believes we can create this better outcome: “We can do this, I am an enormous optimist for my species; but it will require the elites, from London to Harvard, from Cambridge to Hollywood, to learn the lessons of the past year. To learn above all a measure of humility.”

Humility.  The ‘know-it-alls’ know little if the world is in such a terrible state.  How was that Fort Lauderdale shooter bearing arms legally, after his troubling confession to the authorities a few weeks before, that he was hearing the voice of Isis in his head? And here in Jamaica … why are we still selling so many foreign made souvenirs to tourists when talented lives are going to waste?  Why is solar energy still so expensive when tax incentives could ease our need for oil?  Why does the justice system seem to ‘remember’ certain criminals and ‘forget’ others?  We all need to humble ourselves to learn from the best practices of others.

 How will our little country weather the vagaries of world politics? A letter from our newspaper Chairman, Hon. Butch Stewart, speaks of his warm relationship with US President Elect Donald Trump and his expectation that Jamaica will continue to enjoy the friendship of the new US Administration.  This is encouraging, but we should not be over-expectant of anyone’s munificence when we are indeed very blessed in our own natural assets.

It is encouraging that there are three organizations focused on Jamaica’s economic recovery, which benefit from the voluntary work of exceptional business, union and civic leaders. They are the Economic Growth Council (EGC) chaired by Michael Lee-Chin, the Public Sector Transformation Oversight Committee (PSTOC) chaired by Danny Roberts and The Economic Policy Oversight Committee (EPOC) co-chaired by Keith Duncan.  Duncan succeeds Richard Byles to whom we are indebted for his dedicated co-chairmanship with BOJ Governor Brian Wynter, for oversight of the four-year IMF economic support programme which came to an end in November.
Jamaica can rise, not because of any single political entity, but because of the collective resolve of our dedicated patriots.  Join them by being resolute about your own personal commitments – together we can make this our best year ever.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Food For The Poor Frees 313 Nonviolent Offenders in Time for Christmas

The following release is posted in FFP's newsroom.

Link to release:

Bitly link:

 COCONUT CREEK, Fla.   Just in time for Christmas, 313 former inmates were home with their families to celebrate, thanks to generous donors of the international relief and development organization Food For The Poor. For 18 years, the charity has secured the release of nonviolent offenders in Guyana, Haiti, Honduras and Jamaica by paying their accumulated fines at Christmas and at Easter.

Hundreds of the poor, including women, in the Caribbean and Latin America are imprisoned for minor offenses because of their inability to pay their jail fines, even though the amounts are minimal.

"These prisons can quickly become a black hole of despair, especially for someone locked up with murderers because they do not have the money to pay a fine for a minor offense," said Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor. "Every year, we look forward to paying the fines of nonviolent offenders for Christmas. We are reminded in the Holy Scriptures to be merciful. We are truly humbled by the privilege of providing that mercy as a gift of a second chance."

From the prisons in Cap-Haitien, Fort-Liberté, Grande Rivière, Hinche, and Port-de-Paix, Haiti, a total of 195 people were liberated, including 18-year-old Malaica.

The young woman who works as a domestic worker is the mother of a 7-month-old baby. With money extremely tight, Malaica needed to buy food for her child and borrowed 15 Haitian Gordes (22 cents USD) from a friend. When Malaica could not repay the loan, that friend and a group of young women confronted her at her home demanding repayment. Malaica was arrested and imprisoned because she didn't have the money to repay her loan or the jail fine.

Malaica said she's extremely thankful to Fr. Jean Fils Chery who insisted on her release, because she didn't have anyone to care for her baby. Food For The Poor paid her fine and also provided her with a 100-pound bag of rice and other items.

"It's hard to comprehend anyone going to jail, let alone to prison with hard-core inmates, over 22 cents. The Food For The Poor-Haiti staff hears stories like Malaica's all the time. The majority of the people in the prisons are there because of the theft of an animal for food or for things of little value. Sadly, if that person cannot come up with the money, a night's stay in jail can quickly turn into months or even years," said Mahfood.

Also, for the second time in Food For The Poor's 18-year history of its Prison Ministry Program, Haiti has allowed nonviolent offenders locked up in the Prison Civile de Port-au-Prince to have their fines paid by the charity. Sixty-eight men have been liberated from the country's national prison.

The Food For The Poor Prison Ministry Program is helping to transform lives. Since the program's inception in 1998, the charity has assisted in freeing, training and reintroducing nonviolent prisoners back into their communities as productive citizens.

In Honduras, 18 nonviolent offenders were released from their prisons. Eight men from the Privados de Libertad Para Conmuta Penitenciaria and 10 men from the Pastoral Penitenciaria in San Pedro Sula, which included 30-year-old Orvin.

Four years ago, Orvin had moved from the rural tropical rainforest of Mosquitia to the city of San Pedro Sula in search of work to provide for his wife, children and his mother. It didn't take long for Orvin to realize there wasn't much opportunity for an unskilled rural laborer in the city. He said he became depressed, started to drink and got caught up with the wrong crowd.

He was picked up by the police for a minor violation and spent five months in the Pastoral Penitenciaria because he did not have the money to pay his jail fine. But in Orvin's case, his sentencing turned out to be an unexpected blessing.

"It's very hard to survive in a place like this, but while here, I learned how to make sandals. Now I have something to do once I get my freedom," Orvin said. "I am thankful for this program, because it has allowed me to return to my family."

Orvin, along with the rest of the men released, were provided with clothing, toiletries, food and a copy of the Holy Bible.

In Jamaica, 21 nonviolent prisoners were released from their cells. Four women were freed from the Fort Augusta Adult Correctional Centre, which is the only prison for women on the island, four men from Richmond Park, one man from Tamarind Farm, two men from Tower Street and 10 men from the St. Catherine Adult Correctional Centre.

That group of 10 men included a 63-year-old bus driver, who was placed behind bars on Dec. 1, 2016, for not wearing the required bus uniform. The man had two options for the offense, pay a fine of JA$32,000 ($246.15 USD) or spend 60 days in prison. Since he could not afford the fine, he opted to be jailed.

"I have a daughter attending university, and college expenses are quite costly, but I want to give her a better life. This is why I didn't have the funds to pay the fine," said the newly released man. "It has been hard in prison, especially when you think about not having the freedom you are used to. Being on lock down is not easy."

When the man found out that Food For The Poor had paid his outstanding fine for his early release, he went on to say, "I feel good! I didn't have it to pay and to know that people who don't know me would just do this for me, it makes me feel really good inside. Hearty thanks to Food For The Poor."

Immediately upon release from the different prisons, the former inmates were escorted from their cells to a room and later to that prison's chapel where they were each greeted by Food For The Poor staff who provided them with food, supplies and encouragement.

Eleven men were freed from Guyana's notorious prisons in Georgetown and New Amsterdam. The men were taken to the Food For The Poor-Guyana office where they were treated with a simple lunch and a copy of the Holy Bible and other books. They also received travel money and hampers filled with food and personal care items.

Each man was given the opportunity to express his gratitude for a second chance at freedom in a phone call from Georgetown, Guyana, to Mr. Mahfood in Coconut Creek, Fla. Sayad, 37, who was sentenced to three months for stealing, was beside himself with gratitude during the call.

"I am very happy to be out of prison to be with my wife and family. I am very thankful to you for paying this fine for me. I am really, really thankful," said Sayad.

To support Food For The Poor's Prison Ministry Program, checks payable to Food For The Poor can be mailed to 6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, Fla. 33073. Please include reference number "SC# 74122" to ensure your donation is correctly routed, or make an online donation at

"Words do not convey the gratitude we have for our loving donors and staff who have not lost faith on a segment of people who are often forgotten or written off as a lost cause. Thank you," said Mahfood.

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 95 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit

Wanda Wright
Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6079

Monday, January 2, 2017

CCRP - founded to honour my Mother & other mentors

With my beloved Mother Mrs Maisie Lowrie
who inspired the creation of CCRP 
After celebrating the 30th Anniversary of my company, PROComm (PRO Communications Limited), I decided to create and sponsor an organisation to honour my parents, Maisie and Joscelyn Lowrie, and other senior mentors.  Thus was born CCRP (The Caribbean Community of Retired Persons), launched in April 2010.
CCRP is a non-profit membership organization for persons 50 and over, retired or preparing for retirement. 
It is operated out of the offices at PROComm and funded by both the company and my own private funds, over J$15 million to date.

CCRP Board Director Mike Fraser
who advocated for our CCRP-Sagicor
Health Insurance
When our sister-company, PRODEV embarked on the development of the Phoenix Central professional complex, I ensured that the comfort of our senior members was considered in the design of the building. Thus there is an elevator with grab bars, large enough to accommodate a wheelchair. The Jamaica Suite comfortably seats 150 persons for our meetings as well as other activities, and the elevator goes to our finished rooftop where our members enjoy games evenings and fetes.
We are working to make the organisation self-sustaining, and are grateful to Sagicor for offering a Major Medical Health insurance for Seniors, and our over 60 discount partners.
Distinguished Line-Up of 2016 CCRP Legacy Awardees
At right is Honorary Chair Professor Hon Denise
Eldemire Shearer

The main goals of CCRP are: 

  • To ensure that retired persons are allowed to contribute to national and regional development as we acknowledge their vast resource of expertise, and experience.
  • To provide services to enhance the lives of retired persons and their families in the Caribbean community.
  • To serve as a unified voice for its members.
  • To be a powerful lobby group for national and regional issues, particularly those related to retired persons.
Headquartered at PROComm's offices, Phoenix Central, at 2 Phoenix Avenue, CCRP has established links with similar organisations in the Caribbean and in the Diaspora. 

For more information, please visit our website at