Friday, July 27, 2018

Staying safe and well in retirement

Members of the CCRP Central Jamaica Executive: (l-r) Dr Owen James (also a member of the CCRP Board), Mrs Sadie Johnson, Mrs Sonja Allen, Jean Lowrie-chin, Founder & Executive Chair, CCRP, Mrs Patricia ‘Pesh’ Blackwood (volunteer coordinator), Mr Leighton Ritch. 
The Central Jamaica Chapter of the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) is now in full swing with a great turnout for our first members meeting recently, chaired by CCRP Board Director Dr Owen James and held at the St. Mark’s Anglican Church Hall in Mandeville. The chapter is fully powered by volunteers: executive members Dr James, Coordinator Mrs Patricia ‘Pesh’ Blackwood, Mrs Sonja Allen, Mrs Sadie Johnson, and Mr Leighton Ritch. Mrs Jean Seaga Anderson has kindly given CCRP a part time desk at Global Travel Service in the Mandeville Plaza.

Members from St. Elizabeth, Manchester and Clarendon turned out to meet each other and to hear details of the Sagicor major medical insurance offered to members, from their helpful representatives Clive Ebanks and Errol Morris. It is a welcome relief for those who have had to exit other health plans after retirement. The organisation has also been promoting good money management and at our Kingston meeting last Monday, Karen Mullings, senior executive at VM Wealth urged members to invest wisely so they can maximise their savings.

We also shared the encouraging news that old-age pension benefits payable through the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) has been increased from $2,800 to $3,400 per week, while effective August 1, funeral benefits will increase to $90,000. We appreciate the keen interest that Minister of Labour and Social Security Shanine Robinson has been taking in the welfare of Jamaica’s elderly.
Now we have to look to their personal safety and security. CCRP issued a statement last week, condemning the murders of several senior citizens including two couples who had returned from abroad to retire in Jamaica.  The organisation asked for urgent measures to keep seniors safe.  They recommend that seniors create more neighbourhood watch groups, and that families of the elderly equip them with safety devices being offered by various security companies.

Safety and Security: A Growing Concern for Senior Citizens
INTERACTIVE SESSION: Lieutenant Commander George Overton of the Guardsman Group talks safety and security with members of the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons at the group’s Wellness and Lifestyle Evening held on Tuesday, July 24 at Phoenix Central, 2 Phoenix Avenue, Kingston 10

Kingston, Jamaica. (25 July 2018) – With the high level of crime and violence in the island, personal safety has been a growing concern for senior citizens. The Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) invited the Guardsman Group to make a presentation on ‘Security for Seniors’ at its Wellness and Lifestyle Evening held on Tuesday, July 24 at Phoenix Central, 2 Phoenix Avenue in St. Andrew. Lieutenant Commander George Overton of Guardsman gave an enlightening talk on the vulnerabilities of senior citizens, and others, and the safety measures to be taken in addressing these vulnerabilities. 

Lieutenant Commander Overton welcomed the opportunity to address the group of senior citizens: “Any one incident that I can help people avoid is a plus for Jamaica and that is where I put my heart and my soul - in ensuring that people who live in this country can live safely and not have to worry about various threats that are around them.” He said that contrary to the belief held by many, “We all have vulnerabilities that must be acknowledged if we are to plan and decide how we are going to mitigate against those vulnerabilities.”

The three vulnerable areas highlighted by Lieutenant Commander Overton are as follows:

1. At home
Vulnerabilities increase with age. Engaging in set patterns of activity makes it easier for persons to become targets. For example, do you like to go jogging early in the mornings? What time do you go to the supermarket? What time do you go to bed?  If the answers to these questions are the same each day, then it becomes quite easy for predators to study your routine as to when best they can attack you. He recommended the use of security devices.

2. In transit 
When moving from place to place, persons, especially the elderly, are vulnerable to criminals and accidents. Having the right security system in place makes it easier for security companies to know your whereabouts and send help in an emergency.

3. Who do you open your doors to?
A common issue discussed at the meeting was the aspect of letting persons inside your home without knowing enough about them. As such, much effort should be made to gather adequate background information on those who have been contracted to work in your home. Sufficient information can be gathered by creating contact forms with simple need-to-know questions, followed by proof of identification. 

Founder and Executive Chairman of CCRP, Jean Lowrie-Chin, urged attendees to share the security information with others as she, too, is concerned about the safety of senior citizens. “There are simple things we do not think about that could really make the difference for your safety.” 

The Caribbean Community of Retired Persons continues to tackle the growing issues that affect retired persons or those preparing for retirement. The CCRP Wellness and Lifestyle Evening is held monthly with presentations on various subjects of interest after which members socialize and play board games.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

BPW Woman of Excellence - Dr Jennifer Mamby-Alexander

Mrs Gloria Langrin, Founding Member of BPW St Andrew presents the Mavis Watts Award
 to the phenomenal Dr Jennifer Mamby-Alexander.

by Jean Lowrie-Chin

Observer column published for MON 2 July 2018

When the youthful Dr Jennifer Mamby-Alexander stood up to accept the 2018 Mavis Watts Award from the Business & Professional Women’s Club (BPW) of St. Andrew a week ago, no one would guess that she had been diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer 32 years ago.  Dr Mamby-Alexander has used her experience and triumph to encourage others in their fight against the disease. 

One story she shared in her acceptance speech, shows you the resolve and grit of this woman.  Accepting an invitation to be guest speaker at a function in Nigeria, she packed three suitcases with copies her book, “A Practical Guide to Coping with Cancer” to donate to ladies who had invited her.  When she arrived at the British Airways check-out counter she was told that her bags were too heavy and would not be accepted.  She proceeded to show the representative the book and to explain why she wanted to share them with the Nigerian women she had been invited to address.

“When I was finished explaining,” she told us, “They checked in the three bags and upgraded me to first class without charging me one cent extra!”

Dr Mamby-Alexander, a graduate of St. Hugh’s High and the UWI, has used her cancer experience to help others to fight the disease. The BPW citation notes: “She is owner and founder of Surgipath & Cytology Lab Service, the first non-hospital-based cytopathology laboratory in Jamaica, where fine-needle aspiration biopsies (FNABs) are performed.”  She has even gone even further, qualifying herself in trichology, and establishing The Hair Loss Clinic of Jamaica, “” the first clinic of its kind in the country where patients receive hair transplants and other non-surgical methods of treating hair loss.”

The relentless Dr Mamby-Anderson reminded us that “with challenges come responsibilities”, and dedicated her Award to her Mother, healthy centenarian Isola Mamby and family who supported her “through my darkest days”. BPW St. Andrew could not have chosen a more deserving recipient, aligned with their own mission to work for “equal opportunity and status for women in economic, civil and political life.”

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

So much to gain from CARICOM unity

New CARICOM Chairman - Most Hon Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica

By Jean Lowrie-Chin

Observer column published MON 9 July 2018

It was really hard on CARICOM to be holding its 39th Heads of Government Conference during the World Cup.  There they were, discussing and signing off on life-changing issues, and there we were, glued to 'the greatest show on earth'. Lucky for them, but to the sorrow of many, the great Brazil lost to a powerful Belgium on Friday, and so folks could drown their sorrows in some positive news out of the conference which ended the same day.

Were it not for 'the big dance' in Russia, we would have been all over the arrival of newly elected Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley, especially as Jherane Patmore of WE-Change pointed out on Twitter, she was the lone woman among her colleague prime ministers.  No shrinking violet is this landslide winner, and so she stood up for the many brothers and sisters of CARICOM who have felt unwelcome in certain countries.

There would have been a buzz also around Prime Minister Andrew Holness' assuming the Chairmanship of CARICOM.  He stepped up well-prepared, as our brilliant former Prime Minister Bruce Golding had chaired the Commission to review Jamaica's CARICOM relationship, which produced a substantial report including 33 recommendations for strengthening CARICOM. JIS notes:

 "Among them is that member states should facilitate the full, free movement of people within CARICOM, except in cases of security and public-health risks. They should also push for the harmonization of customs laws, regulations and procedures, among other things.
"Another key recommendation is for Jamaica to seek a clear, definite commitment from all member states to a specific, time-bound, measurable and verifiable programme of action to fulfil all their obligations and complete other requirements for the CSME to be fully established and operational within the next five years."
For too long we have overlooked the many opportunities and underestimated the value of synergizing our efforts for the greater good of the region. Thankfully, our PM signed three Instruments relating to education and security on the last day of the Conference as follows:

1.     Protocol Amending the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to incorporate the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement as an organ of the community and the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security as an institution of the Community.

2. Revised Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Examinations Council.

3. CARICOM Arrest Warrant Treaty.
We cannot begin to measure the gains of families, communities and countries created by our coming together to establish the University of the West Indies.  Imagine if we were to take this to the grassroots level, how much more we could be learning from each other.  I am happy to hear that the citizens of Haiti, a member of CARICOM, will now have the right to stay in member countries for up to six months.  In Jamaica's case, I believe we should welcome them to stay as long as they wish so we could pattern their gentility and have them instruct us in creating exquisite craftwork.

Comments published on Observer website:
    John DePass2 days ago

    So very true. There is far more to gain from being united rather than this unproductive "my island is better than yours" competitive nonsense. It is way pass time to grow up and focus on the important issues like having a true single market, a complete freedom of movement within each island and economic cooperation rather than needless fighting and import protectionism. It makes no economic sense to continue like this and unable to move on from past generational disputes. The Caribbean people, especially the younger generation have moved on and can see the benefits of integration but for these old fogies currently controlling things and hindering all progress. Gentlemen the game is over you have done your time, the gig is up, please move over and allow the next generation to run things. Thank God for Motley and Holness the new generation of Caribbean leaders.

      • Avatar
        Chad Chen2 days ago

        It is increasingly hard to understand why West Indians keep clinging to the unworkable idea of "regional unity".
        The economies of the individual islands are NOT COMPATIBLE. Listen and learn, folks! Jamaica needs a cheap currency. Barbados would be ruined by a cheap currency. Jamaica's manufacturing sector suffers at the hands of Trinidadian manufacturers. 
        Even worse, Jamaica and Trinidad are crime-infested hell-holes that have abandoned the pursuit of decency and high ethics in government. But Barbados and the Windward Islands are frantically trying to avoid the slide into pervasive corruption.
        Guyana and Trinidad have aggressive emerging Hindu majorities that despise the Negro. The remainder of the region would be wise to limit the influx of Hindus into their territories, unless they want to be trampled underfoot and returned to the serfdom they once suffered at the hands of Europeans.
        CARICOM is bad news.