Monday, December 31, 2007



We have for too long shied away from solutions thatbring parrallel inconvenience. Someone has convincedus that progress and development is not difficult and that they should not take us out of our comfort zonesof fantasy! Who hath brainwashed you Jamaica? Hence,solutions that require us to give up our fantasies areoften rejected. But if the flow of illegal guns is tocease a change of heart and mind is vital.


It is no mystery how the illegal guns and ammunitionenter Jamaica. Let us list the options which areavailable:1. Barrels shipped by means of shipping companies;2. Air freight cargo;3. In commercial goods and equipment;4. Mail parcels and packages;5. Luggage carried by airline passengers;6. Illegal boats and ganga airplanes;7. Clandestine security agencies of foreigngovernments.8. From rogue cops and soldiers who have infiltratedthe security forces.


First, if it has not been done already, allmotorized boat owners should be registered with amonitoring agency and placed where the list can beaccessed through a password secured procedure, bysecurity officers. A government web site would beideal.


These boats should be identified by a lettering ornumber code painted in large block letters on bothsides and visible from hundreds of feet away.


We should deploy troops from Up Park Camp permanentlyto help monitor those parts of the coast line whichare susceptible to illegal intrusions from the sea.These troops would have at their disposal, sufficientmotorized boats capable of patrolling the entirecoastline, powerful binnoculars, walkie talkies forcommunication, loud speakers and should have localpolice officers on board so arrests can be made whennecessary. This would create an impenetrable curtainfor gun smugglers if we had one boat for every 20miles of coast line. This would take ten boats for thesouthcoast which is approximately 200 miles long.


This would be necessary to interdict any smugglers whoescaped the patrol boats.


Identify all the companies who shipbarrels into the island and write them a letterdemanding to be educated on the steps they take toensure that barrels which they ship are free from gunsand ammunition and other illegal contraband. Can youimagine these companies know how drastic the crimesituation is on the island and they have no procedurein place to ensure that illegal goods are not packedin the barrels? Ridiculous!


Here are the addresses of some of the barrel companies:

Feurtado Shipping

112-37 Guy Brewer Blvd

Jamaica, NY 11433800

640-1463 or 718-523-5099 email info@jafship.com2.

Trans-Continental Shippers

118-40 Montauk Street

St. Albans, New York, 11412718-341-29003.


608 Nostrand, Brooklyn NY 11216718-493-7118

718-227-7357 or 718-847-69394

Deans Overseas Shipping

217-21 Merrick Blvd., Laurelton, NY 11423718-525-3375


Parks International Shipping

3010 Eastchester Rd., Bronx, NY 10469718-671-20006

Dennis Shipping

1124-28 Utica Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11203718-451-3617-9

or 800-416-4624

D & L Freight Systems

925 Market Street

Paterson NJ 07513

973-720 96008

Reliable Overseas Shipping & Trading

239 - 241 Kingston Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11213718-771-16009

Boston Shipping & Travel Enterprise Inc

506 Decatur Street, Brooklyn, NY 11233718

443 6400 or 877 362 802210

Tony Barrels

427A 10th Avenue

Paterson, NJ 07514973

925 1300 or 973 332 7738

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jamaican Diaspora Potential

By George Graham

At this moment, somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, a Jamaican expatriate is looking out the window at snowflakes drifting from a leaden sky, coating the limbs and trunks of trees, sculpting pristine mini-mountains and creating a postcard-perfect winter scene.

So, you might ask, is the Jamaican expatriate marveling at the beauty of winter?

Not on your life.

The Jamaican expatriate is thinking of sun-drenched beaches and misty-blue mountains, of island music and belly laughter. The Jamaican expatriate is dreaming of home.

That expatriate could be a powerful source of tourism revenue for Jamaica.

I am not talking only about the Jamaicans scattered across the face of the earth. Of course we all want to go home. We go home to visit and, increasingly, we go home to stay. Friends in Jamaica tell me that retiring members of the Jamaican Diaspora are coming home and buying up houses and land at such a rate that real estate prices have escalated.

But there’s more to it than that.

The members of the Diaspora have made friends and business associates in their adopted countries. They have made contacts in various fields. The Diaspora could be a powerful sales force for Jamaican tourism.

There are many organizations that could help marshal the force of the Diaspora. Across the world, groups of Jamaicans have come together to form clubs and associations. The Jamaican American Club (which publishes this newsletter) is a case in point. And in some areas, Jamaican groups are joining with other Caribbean organizations for social and political strength.

I recently met with radio host and actor Ron Bobb-Semple and teacher/actress Evie Larmond to discuss the launching of the Caribbean Coalition of Associations, Inc. in Tampa, Florida. Ron is from Guyana; Evie is from Jamaica. Ron is noted for his portrayal of Marcus Garvey. And you may have seen him in television commercials. He also hosts an Internet radio broadcast.

Evie is founder of Project Read Initiative, which sponsors seminars for Jamaican teachers of Grades One and Two. The four-day seminars held in Jamaica focus on teaching reading and comprehension. So far, 700 Jamaican teachers have attended the seminars.

The Caribbean Coalition’s launching was set for Jan. 12 at the Clarion Hotel on Fowler Avenue in Tampa. It was planned as “an evening of cultural diversity,” including stage presentations by students reflecting the folklore and traditions of the islands.

These are just a few of the organizations that I think the Jamaican government should recruit to help promote tourism.

George Graham is a Jamaican-born journalist and author who has worked as a reporter in the Caribbean and North America for more than half a century. He lives in Lakeland, Florida. His books, "Hill-an'-Gully Rider" and “Girlie: A Love Story,” are available at

Monday, December 10, 2007

George Graham

My brother, Bill, who lives in London, Ontario, remarked recently that whenever an athlete from Britain or Canada wins anything, he or she turns out to be Jamaican born or the child of Jamaicans. He was exaggerating, of course. But there's a lot of truth in his observation. Jamaicans have emigrated in droves and many achieve remarkable success in their adopted countries.General Colin Powell is perhaps the most famous example.

I'm sure you know his parents were from Jamaica, although he was born in the United States. But the most publicized successes are in sports. In track and field, for example, Jamaicans have excelled as long as I can remember. "Little Jamaica Beats the World" the headline proclaimed when a Jamaican relay team won the men's 4-by-400-meter event at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952. And "little Jamaica's" athletes have been beating the world ever since - even if they often wear some other country's colors.The island has produced too many cricket stars for me to count. And if you're a boxing fan, you know Jamaica has given many champions to that sport. Former world heavyweight champion Lenox Lewis had Jamaican parents. But did you know that Patrick Ewing, acclaimed as one of America's 50 best basketball players of all time, was born in Kingston? Even in baseball, which is rarely played in Jamaica, we can claim at least one star - Devon White, who was selected for three All Star teams. I could go on and on.

Hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans now live in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The largest expatriate communities are in London, Miami-Dade, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles and Toronto. This "Jamaican Diaspora" - as it has come to be called - has enriched the destination countries. And it has impoverished Jamaica. You can see the effects reflected in our recent performances at cricket. And even in track, it's the Jamaican women who are left to carry the torch. But while sports may grab the headlines, the talent drain's impact may be more hurtful in other fields. Just think of the nurses the island has given to the world - for free. Jamaican taxpayers helped train them, yet many of them have taken their skills to other countries. In almost every walk of life, you will find the same kind of talent drain.There's little that Jamaica can do to stop the drain.

Jamaicans leave home because the grass is greener elsewhere. Even so, the island needs to do what little it can. Support for youth sports could be increased, for example. And attractive tax breaks could be provided for professions deemed vital to the island's prosperity. Other nations are not as generous as Jamaica. When the Boston Red Sox wanted to sign Japanese pitcher, Daisuke Matsuzaka, they had to pay about $50 million just to talk to him. The total cost of acquiring the baseball player topped $90 million. Now, Major League teams are recruiting talent in China. And it is costing them plenty. Perhaps some form of compensation could be worked out for exploitation of Jamaican talent. How about asking the United States, Canada and Britain to pay us what it cost Jamaican taxpayers to train a nurse who goes to live in those countries?

Having said that, my complaint is not so much against Jamaica as against the developed nations.These countries assume they are entitled to the riches of the world without argument. When the Statue of Liberty was erected, the proclamation inscribed on it called for other countries to send America their "poor, their huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Now, a more accurate inscription would be: "Send us your computer engineers, your rocket scientists, your doctors and nurses..." A furious debate rages in the United States over the influx of undocumented immigrants from Mexico. Employers in several industries benefit from these people who are willing to work for substandard wages, and their representatives in government are eager to keep the flow of cheap labor coming. But many Americans resent the Mexican "invasion" and protest that American jobs are threatened.

In all of the thousands (millions?) of words produced in this debate, no one has challenged America's right to accept only the cream of the world's crop. Official U.S. policy bars prospective immigrants who lack skills that the country wants. The same is true in Canada, where immigration officials use a scorecard to weed out less qualified applicants. This attitude seems to prevail throughout the developed world. But is this fair? What right does a rich country have to plunder the talent of a poor country while refusing to offer opportunity to that country's needy?The answer should be obvious. It is not fair. Indeed, it is downright immoral.George Graham is a Jamaican-born journalist and author who has worked as a reporter in the Caribbean and North America for more than half a century. He lives inLakeland, Florida.

His new book, "Hill-an'-Gully Rider," is available at

Midwest - West Region

I bring greetings as the elected Jamaican Diaspora Advisory Board Member representing approximately 18 states located in the Midwest-West region of the United States. The word Diaspora means the scattering of a people from their homeland. The Jamaican Diaspora was established by the Country of Jamaica in 2004 to connect with its people living all over the world. The Jamaican Diaspora is a first attempt of the Jamaican government to coordinate efforts to seek assistance from its people living abroad. Currently, there are two other regions that represent Jamaicans living in the United States; they include the Eastern and Southern Regions of the U.S, with other Jamaican Diaspora locations established and located in the United Kingdom and Canada.

The Diaspora is meant to be inclusive of not only expatriates, but first, second and third generations of Jamaicans, of all ages, living aboard who want to give back. For the last five years, the theme of the Jamaican Diaspora has been titled, "Unleashing the Potential." The main goal of the Jamaican Diaspora is to mobilize Jamaicans living aboard to become part of the Jamaica Diaspora MOVEMENT. The intent of this movement is to establish a communication network to galvanize the resources of all Jamaicans to assist and to support the country of Jamaica in initiatives such as health, investment, business, education, trade, policy formation, faith-based, youth, social and cultural activities and programs for the improvement of the country and the empowerment of the people living in Jamaica. Now the significance of the Jamaican Diaspora MOVEMENT is the people who will play significant roles in strengthening Jamaica.

The Jamaican Diaspora MOVEMENT is a historic opportunity for everyone to make their impact on how Jamaica will be shaped in years to come. This movement will not be a one time or a short term process; it will be a movement that will continue until Jamaica is strengthen, well positioned and regarded as one of the leading nations in the world. Many individuals and organizations representing several states within our region have already come aboard to be part of what they feel is a historic opportunity to make a difference.

We therefore, invite you to join us in what will be remembered as a historic time in the history of the county of Jamaica. We need your involvement, expertise, resources and financial support. There are several committees' and projects developed and underway, that needs your assistance. The work before us requires thousand of individuals working together collectively to make a difference. So, come join us in this the Jamaican Diaspora MOVEMENT, "Unleashing the Potential" of all of us who have a deep love for Jamaica the country we love.

For additional information and how you can get involve call 773-721-1207

Jamaica Diaspora MWW

P.O. Box 81292

Chicago, Illinois 60681-0292

The Jamaican Diaspora is counting on you to help us make a difference.

Best regards,

Valerie C. Beckley

Advisory Board Member

Ann-Marie Adams

Ann-Marie Adams, an award-winning journalist. She is writing a book on school segregation and its impact on Caribbean immigrants. Email:

Few people know about efforts to mobilize the Jamaican Diaspora. Even fewer know what the Jamaican Diaspora Movement is. That’s because there is a serious disconnect between the people who are leading this movement and the people who make up the Diaspora. What gives?Much to the unbelievable chagrin of certain individuals, I sought answers from pivotal sources. That meeting spurred two columns. Here’s the first of two: educating the Diaspora.For the uninitiated or the unenlightened, the dictionary’s definition of the word Diaspora is: the dispersion of people from their homeland. Jamaicans living in the United States, Canada, England and other countries constitute the Jamaican Diaspora, which parallels the Jewish situation. For example, more Jews live outside Israel than in Israel.

Similarly, more Jamaicans live off the island than on it.Using the Jewish situation as a blueprint, a group of Jamaicans are engaged in an effort to galvanize the Jamaican Diaspora. This effort mirrors the Jewish push to use political power harnessed from Jews who vote, hold political office or have influence in government and private sectors outside of Israel. This “movement” officially kicked off last June in Jamaica at a conference: “Unleashing the Potential.” A group of government officials and Jamaicans at home and oversees met in Kingston to discuss ways to engage more of the Diaspora in the island’s development. Several resolutions emerged from that conference; and since then Jamaicans in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Caribbean have been busy with projects to fulfill Jamaica’s ultimate goal: to compete in a global market. But some observers are skeptical and want to know how this “movement” is relevant to average Jamaicans, and why the government is now interested in reaching out to the Diaspora. And who can blame them? So I sought answers.

Janet Madden, community liaison at the Jamaican Embassy in D.C., says the government has realized the importance of the Diaspora and its role in the development of the island, especially after the country’s $1.6 billion remittances have been streamlined. “We realize these Jamaicans have been playing a significant role in developing the country and their families,” Madden says. “It’s time we recognize these Jamaicans and try to engage them in the developing of our country.” Madden says her role is to coordinate such efforts by Jamaicans in the US. She says she has been working with various groups to reach out to what the embassy estimates to be more than 800,000 Jamaicans living in about 19 states in the US.

The hope, she says, is that more people attend the next Diaspora conference in June 2006 to partake in this far-reaching effort to help build the nation. Moreover, O’Neil Hamilton, information attaché for the Jamaican Embassy in D.C., says the government will help facilitate efforts by Jamaicans looking to invest on a large scale. This speaks to the role and relevance of the government: to put a system in place to make the process simple. And the arm of the government to ensure this, Hamilton says, is Jamaica Promotions Limited (JAMPRO). “JAMPRO has the knowledge and the resource to help facilitate that,” he says. “What we are focused on is robust investments that can provide employment for Jamaicans.” But some people are skeptical about the government’s coordinated efforts. “It’s a big gab fest. I don’t see much going on,” says Patrick Beckford, chairman of Friends of Trelawny Association. Others fear this “movement” might eclipse other groups, like the National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organizations.

NAJASO is an umbrella organization that is supposed to facilitate efforts like these but instead has been languishing. Hamilton says an eclipse of such nature should not be a concern because the government is trying to make other organizations and NAJASO stronger so that it, too, can play a role in rebuilding the country. One way to strengthen organizations, it seems, is to send other organizations or individuals to help revitalized anemic ones. Another way of helping Jamaicans abroad is to facilitate philanthropic efforts. For example, Dr. Trevor Sewell, a professor and former dean at Temple University’s School of Education, heads the northeast Diaspora movement’s education team. He and his group adopted a high school in Jamaica. The government’s role is to partner them with the principals and other entities that can help facilitate this project to transform a low-performing, non traditional high school in St. James, Jamaica, Madden says.

Additionally, the embassy coordinated a health summit in August with 15 Jamaican cardiologists from the Association of Black Cardiologists to meet with noted healthcare leaders in Jamaica, she says. They discussed the prospect of health care and health care tourism in Jamaica. Embassy officials expect this summit to be a launch pad in developing business and commerce and to facilitate growth in the healthcare sector. These are a few ways the Diaspora movement is at work, Hamilton says. And he adds emphatically: “There’s nothing to be feared; everything to be gained.” Well, here’s what I say: only time will tell.