Thursday, December 1, 2011

Marcus Garvey 2011

“Nationhood is the only means by which modern civilization can completely protect itself. Independence of nationality, independence of government, is the means of protecting not only the individual, but the group. Nationhood is the highest ideal of all peoples”  
The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, Or, Africa for Africans. Compiled by Amy Jacques Garvey. Dover: Majority Press, 1986.
 These words of Marcus Mosiah Garvey are still true, and it is no wonder that Garvey is Jamaica’s first national hero. Marcus Mosiah Garvey was a man of determination, and he believed in the principle of success. As Garvey said in a speech in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1937, “At my age I have learnt no better lesson than that which I am going to impart to you to make man what he ought to be—a success in life. There are two classes on men in the world, those who succeed and those who do not succeed” (Marcus Garvey: Life and Lessons, xxv). So, on this day of  the celebration of our nationhood, what does Garvey’s life mean to Jamaica in the face of beheadings,political corruption, and a seeming loss of faith that we may be heading toward being defined as a“failed state”?
 No doubt, many Jamaicans will be going to church tomorrow and they will listen to various speeches about this and that, platitudes that balm a cancer. Commentators will have answers to every question under our beautiful sun. But the real questions that we should be asking ourselves are ones that I pose to the characters in my fictions: Who are you? What do you want? How will you get what you want?
 I never begin a first draft until these questions are answered, Then, I make a rough outline of the plot with an inciting incident, lock-in, first culmination, main culmination, and what I think will be the third act twist, where the hero makes a discovery–which surprises the audience and the hero–or something/someone reminds the hero of who she really is. Whether she has the courage to act on what she knows, means that that I will be writing (in the broadest sense of the terms) a tragedy (she fails to achieve her goal) or a comedy (she achieves her goal). Once I know these elements, I begin writing. I never begin writing before I know how the story will end.
 As far as the short [her]story of Jamaica goes, we’ve been through the inciting incidents of resistance, lock-in of Independence, first culmination in the exodus of the 70s, and main culmination in the recognition of the Diaspora. I don’t know what the third act twist will be. If our story will be a tragedy.
 But we do have the wisdom from our heroes and a wealth of courage in our people But how will we answer the question: Who are you?
 When the “right time comes,”–which is always now– I hope as Brother Bob says, “when the preaching and talking is done, ” we will “live up/ Cause the Father’s time has come” (“Survival’).
 Surprise me, Jamaica

Garvey, Amy Jacques. The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, Or, Africa for Africans.  Dover: Majority Press, 1986.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Obama’s Advisors Should Respect Marcus Garvey

Written By George Graham

I never knew Marcus Garvey. He died when I was 6 years old. But my mother heard him speak when he visited Guy’s Hill back in her childhood. And, if my information is correct, my granduncle, the Rev. William Graham, advised and encouraged him.

To my mother, Garvey seemed rather strange. In those days black men did not command the kind of respect they did in later years – after Jamaica achieved independence from England. Today, black leaders occupy the highest positions of power and privilege in Jamaica, which is only to be expected as the country’s population is overwhelmingly black.

Back in the Twenties and Thirties, Garvey’s ideas were considered – to say the least – unusual. If my memory is accurate, he was among the first, for example, to claim that Jesus was not a white man. He urged the black Diaspora to return to Africa and called on black people everywhere to join forces and reclaim their dignity. “Our union must know no clime, boundary, or nationality… let us hold together under all climes and in every country,” he said.

To Americans like FBI czar J. Edgar Hoover, his ideas were seditious. Hoover is suspected of framing Garvey and having him put in jail. The Jamaican-born agitator was convicted of mail fraud in 1923 and was deported after spending two years and nine months in an Atlanta prison.

Now, nine decades later, Jamaicans want Garvey pardoned. The American conviction is a blemish on the legacy of a native son who is revered in the island today. He was the first person to be proclaimed a National Hero when Jamaica became independent. And to Rastafarians, Garvey is a prophet.

The Jamaica Observer reports:

Florida-based Jamaican-born attorney Donovan Parker has been writing to president Obama every week since January requesting a posthumous pardon for Garvey, who many believe was set up by the J Edgar Hoover-led Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), fearful of his widening popularity among downtrodden US blacks.

In a shocking response – shocking to Jamaicans like me, anyway – the Obama Administration has refused. The Observer reports:

In a tersely worded reply to Parker’s request, White House Pardon Attorney, Ronald Rodgers said such a move would be a waste of time and resources since Garvey had been dead for ages.

“It is the general policy of the Department of Justice that requests for posthumous pardons for federal offences not be processed for adjudication. The policy is grounded in the belief that the time of the officials involved in the clemency process is better spent on pardon and commutation requests of living persons.

“Many posthumous pardon requests would likely be based on a claim of manifest injustice, and given that decades have passed since the event and the historical record would have to be scoured to objectively and comprehensively investigate such applications, it is the Department’s position that the limited resources which are available to process requests for Presidential clemency — now being submitted in record numbers — are best dedicated to requests submitted by persons who can truly benefit from a grant of the request,” Rodgers replied on behalf of Obama, who is the first black president in the history of the United States.

This might seem like quite a reasonable argument. But it is an unfortunate one.

Respect is important in the Jamaican culture. And, to me, this shows disrespect not only for Garvey’s memory but also for the sovereign nation of Jamaica.

I see this as one more example of the Obama Administration’s deplorable tone deafness. Hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans now live in the United States – one small city, Miramar, has about 50,000 residents from the island. And many of us have become citizens. President Obama has enjoyed enthusiastic support from the Jamaican Diaspora. We expect him to be more sensitive to our feelings.

I certainly do not think the president is personally to blame, but I wonder at his administration’s political insensitivity. The elements in American society who elected Obama have been poorly treated. Black unemployment, for example, is more than twice the national average. The anti-war movement and other progressives are ignored and derided. Organized labor is so disenchanted that the AFL-CIO has threatened to withhold financial support in next year’s elections.

To me, this is a poor re-election strategy for the nation’s first black president.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Black Woman! Love Thy Hair & Skin!

             Miss Angola  Leila Lopes has won  Miss Universe 2011

Carol Carter aka Ripuree wrote this.

Black African daughters of Jamaica or wherever

Mothers of all skin shades and textures of hair.

Carrier of prototype human material

Yet promoting only lighter shades with straight hair?

Yes; there was a time when we could do no better

When our bodies, mind or space we could not control

When we were raped anywhere, anytime before loved ones

Thus we and our men, are still challenged to connect.

It wasn’t possible to experience that degree of self negation for centuries

And not end up wanting to portray any image, but our own

Thus, too few Negro men admire Negro women’s beauty

While we encourage our sons to continue such ways.

Still, it matters not what we did yesterday, yesteryear or the last moment

All that matters is who we decide to become from now on.

We couldn’t do better, when we didn’t know better

Or when we were mentally blindfolded, with our limbs cut off.

So daughter of Africa and mothers of mankind

What causes will we make to correct our plight?

What future do we want for successive generations of our children

In the world of tomorrow and beyond?

Sisters, we’re sensuous and we’re gorgeous

We’re the mothers of the human race.

But we’re retarding our own growth, plus that of all others

Mindlessly making causes; not considering future effects.

Critically examine our views of God and Allah

Can they unite and inoculate our minds from self hate?

And can we stop being so Heavenly focused for a moment

To honor other Negroes, with whom we share earth space?

Should we still shout black love, unity and power

When our most Negroid features, we so strongly detest?

Should we expect anyone else to accept us color-blindly

When we cannot accept ourselves “as is”?

Do the blackest children have a chance in Jamaica

When the Bible and Western culture tell us that black is sinful and bad?

Can we refuse such self-defeating nonsense

And choose uplifting self descriptions instead?

Today we know that verbal and physical traumas

Can negatively impact us for life.

While self-love produces healthy self image,

So why accept degrading meanings of ourselves?

Why do our children still ingest fear-filled Bible notions?

Which are: violent, unjust, irrational and ungodly

As much as, or more than censored T.V. show.

How are such things wise for compromised minds?

Sisters, many of us sow negativity further

Encouraging fathers to not support children they had when we met.

But what lessons are we teaching by such actions?

And would we want our daughters, to meet same fate?

Can we not think more lofty than lower animals

Who ensure that only the best are reproduced.

By looking for others already with good character

Not their weakness to manipulate?

Can we cultivate and elevate a new default mindset,

That considers what is ultimately best for the whole

Not just a Chosen Few

As when only a few prosper, they must fear everyone else.

Sisters, men have ruled the world in Wars and economic businesses,

but we’re the molders of the character of those Men.

So when our wealthier men mostly choose Caucasian

It’s our words and ways, they replicate.

Yes; we do have the power to uplift or demote

And we’re truly stagnating our collective progress

By refusing to acknowledge that we hate our own color;

Thus the reason others disrespect us, where we’re most.

Our men we must respect and cherish

Because without them, we’re only half.

Plus, they’re products of our uterus,

And were nourished to grow from our breasts.

We first taught them to be men

But whatever we’ve been teaching has been flawed

So now it’s our maternal right and responsibility

To teach anew, from our authentic images and selves.

Selfishness, greed and stupidity, were the life- conditions prevailing

When some Negro Africans profited from the Slave Trade.

And those vibes have now expanded exponentially

Since worldwide, we seem most against ourselves.

Many of us (self included) have acted dishonourably.

But we needn’t remain marinating in guilt and shame.

All that matter is who we’re committed to becoming

With every thought we think, and action we take.

Negro women of the world

No matter what any Teacher, Bible or Society tell us

Let’s know; that before us there were no others

And after us, none shall remain.

As first humans we have great responsibilities

Overtime, and by dilution Negroes produced all others

While no other two, can produce Negroes overtime

Prototypical Negro state must therefore be protected, respected, and not despised.

Black is not less important than white, nor equal to sin as the Bible imply.

And darkness is not obliterated by light

Therefore; rethink all the nonsense we’ve been taught

By the Bible, and all else that inform our minds.

Negro daughters of Africa, and mothers of all human

It’s our duty, in Jamaica and worldwide

To honour our selves in ways that make it impossible

To be scorned and denied, where we’re the most.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Can the UK looting be justified?

Written by Myrna Loy

Can the looting be justified? This of course depends on whose perspective you are looking at. The teenagers will say it is justified because they are getting back at the police for killing Mark Duggan, a mixed-race 29 year old who was shot in the back of his head while in a taxi going home. They will say that they are getting back at PM David Cameron for making their parents lose their jobs, putting their family below the poverty line; they will say that because their parents can’t buy them the things they deem necessary, they have a right to take them if the opportunity presents itself. They say there are no jobs; no opportunities, it is time to take something back. “We pay taxes, said one female looter, so we are entitled!”. For those suffering the impact of the recession, it became payback time! Opportunism and greed fanned the flames in Tottenham and around 26 different cities in the UK

From what I have read and heard, the family carried a banner which said “Justice for Duggan” and marched to Tottenham Police Station to get answers. What started off as a peaceful demonstration to ascertain why the police shot Mark Duggan, turned into another Broadwater Farm riot after a female member of the Duggan family was bludgeoned by a police officer outside the station when imploring for an explanation. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back: the demonstration spiraled out of control, fuelled by an angry, frustrated members of the Tottenham community.

The first Broadwater Farm riot occurred on 6 October 1985, when Cynthia Jarrett, a black woman died from stroke after a police raid in her home; exacerbated by another black woman being shot during a police search a week earlier. What followed culminated in the death of Police Constable Blacklock. It is ironic that yet another death in Tottenham has resulted in mass rioting, not only in the area where it happened but in other cities around the country.

According to sources, 1.4m are living below the poverty line; 1.3m are living with substance abuse parents. 1 in 5 young Britons are out of work - 1 in 2 black people are unemployed but we are told by politicians that a lack of values was the cause of the riots, and that social networks, like Facebook, twitter and the Blackberry BBN, enabled the way the riots were organized. They seem to forget that values come from enjoying a stable upbringing; earning a living; feeling respected and proud – but with 1 out of 2 black people denied the right to have their basic needs satisfied, it is no wonder that the riots involving them, are the outcome. It is surprising that the sensibility of what seemed like senseless, uncontrolled rioting ceased as quickly as it started when they realized their irresponsibility resulted in the death of three innocent traders who were trying to protect their property.

Now the government is now seeking to give parents back the right to discipline their children (after the horse has bolted!); and they are planning to give teachers that right too. Too little too late!

3,000 perpetrators have been arrested, meaning there will be even more unemployable black people. Employers will not employ someone with a prison record – so the unemployment statistics go up, and the downward spiral and vicious cycle continues.

Different perspectives

The perspective of those who lost their homes, lost their cars, and other property: why did they suffer the impact of Mark Duggan’s death? Many left homeless – they feel should not have lost everything to fire. They could understand if the rioters had burned down police stations, but they didn’t, they burned down innocent people’s homes and left people jumping from buildings for their lives.

From the perspective of the deceased’s family: Mark Duggan was a family man, a father of four, living with is fiancé of 12 years, with plans to move out of Tottenham and get married. “He always avoided confrontation and would not have fired at police”

From the perspective of the police watchdog: “There is no evidence Mark Duggan opened fire at police before being shot dead by a firearms officer, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has said. The police watchdog said ballistic tests showed "no evidence that the handgun found at the scene was fired".

BBC News understands firearms officers discharged their weapons in the belief there was a threat to human life. Their guidelines allow them to open fire in such circumstances”

The David Starkey, politician said that white people were acting black, and that Jamaican patois and black culture fuelled the riots, while Prime Minister David Cameron said that it is not a race issue but a crime issue and that we live amongst a broken and sick society.

Compare my generation to the new generation when we were respectful to our elders; we couldn’t back chat; we opened up doors, gave up our seats; didn’t speak unless we were spoken to – and did do any harm? No! These days you will find that while there are always exceptions to the rule, the majority of young people in the UK are arrogant, disrespectful to their parents and/or authority.

According to Angela Bajaican – “we must look for solutions to the crisis. … the backlash from the riots is: 'Bring in Robo-cop', 'Stolen bottled water - first offence - six months in prison'; 'white is the new black', 'Gas all the coons' - there is no question which community is in the firing line, despite the facts that illustrate many races were involved, the blame is on the black people as being the instigators, so the challenge for the Black community therefore has never been greater.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back Home In Jamaica

Written By Carol Lawton

I am coming close to my year 5 of being home in Jamaica. Do I miss the streets of America, I would say yes. Do I miss less stress I would say yes. Do I miss less aggression , I would also say yes. But with all the stuff I miss I would say it was worth it. I now have a better understanding of my Jamaica. I was a bum( aimless visitor) just partying and eating food then I worked as a lawn boy, NYS camp manager, consultant, an environmental activist, fish monger, a farmer, a juice manufacturer, gas attendant, a liason on a bridge and now find myself in remittances. Why so much jobs. Just did not know what to do and wanted the experience. My Jamaica is just that an exciting place with negative and positives. It’s not the same for every Jamaican, its mine.

There’s nothing like the restaurants of Kingston, and Fiction, The beaches of the island, going into the hills or mountain, The walks through the market or a simple local bar, the garrisons and uptown, customers and the high cost of living. My Jamaica is not a perfect place. Here I saw more deaths than I should have in such a short time with most being very personal. The reason for this is to be poor here is looked upon as being nothing so the poor die without a second thought and this lesson of the garrison I hold near. Yet most who consider themselves not living in the garrison is less than one generation from poverty. An important thing to look at because if the world recession had hit harder many without their jobs would return to the lot. Lesson two of this culture, Guns are as easy to get as bread and butter yet the law abiding citizen can carry a knife. Conflict resolution is nil here so its fight or flight and think fast if your action can not back your mouth.

Waste is the order of the day and its with everything. Waste of ideas, waste of food, waste of water, waste of talent, Waste of money, waste of time and the very expense waste of energy. SUVs and the biggest appliances. Forget solar its all oil yet they complain about the bill. Cant buy food or send kids to school but money for party , weed and hair. Just used the rent money for car gas cause cant be seen taking the bus . So many become beggars with polite words about how the pay check short. Long line to get to the teller wondering what’s happening here don’t mention the ATM. Here few recycle but the scrap thief will destroy new to sell for old and wonder why no water coming to his house. Red tape linger like a mummy on business and government process.

Here in Jamaica, we kill for work yet sit around doing nothing expecting the work so extortion must be the end result. In a worst case the expext politics to come to their gate and give it to them and sad to say some people get work only that way. Government projects are prone for this as the people expect corruption and plan for corruption and to go around the corruption even if there is no corruption. In the belly has taught me much that it’s a hostile environment that contractors operating in and too many factions that think they have a right to work and no skills to complete the task but because of fear the contractors give in. Imagine having to pay the RATS! When they do not work but are a sunk cost in how business is done in the construction industry. Sometimes a gun is a paycheck in our Jamaica so why wonder many youths first ambition is a gun vs education. Most major project will see death and corruption and its not the politician, it’s the people.

They want more than what exist thus creating a system of revolving work which really only revolves poverty and frustration. Can you imagine get a job think 5-6 months finally some work and then after 2 paycheck get laid off to see someone doing the same work with the same people. The money finish and now there is 2 more in the rotation and two on the side who know decide to threaten to eat someone “food “to show power just to get a $1500 a day job. JIC rates are a wonder now. That’s something I learn and will use as a standard guide for all work even on the farm. Can you imagine having border where you can and cannot work in Jamaica. The garrison is strong and alive in ways that many cannot even imagine and in place that seem nice and quite as well

Here weed smoke and oxygen is one in the same as in every 20 feet walk and you smell a next grade. Young men here have a serious hand cupping and rubbing problem that need attention and not jail time. Time to decriminalize weed and set up laws like Dutch! In my Jamaica, young women know sexual exploitation and harassment and sad to say some young men are changing their sexual lifestyle to get a job. Some have to sleep with the interviewer to get to the interview table and still don’t get the job. Here even so call up town girls are as cheap as a bottle of Moet because its all hype to say who they slept with or which club/hotel they just came from. That’s just the life.

Race and class is still an issue. So much bleaching that maybe one day they will need body bubbles to protect them from skin cancer. Speaking properly makes you a weak person so middle and upper class are sometimes bullied or believed to be from another country if they are not black Jamaicans. The poor are blocked from jobs as many are darker. Everyone looking a browning so pose with as a sign of success and this is both males and females. There is the idea that the upper class and middle class did not work for anything and that it was given so nothing wrong is taking from them. For all the changes nothing have really changes from when I was young. I still remember “Black is beauty and red is corruption” but its crazy to see black person lighter than me and sisters.

My Jamaica does not value the environment . Parks are few and respect is nil. Nothing worse that walking along a sidewalk with the high ammonia smell of sun baked piss. Here bags juice bags litter the place as plastic cover everything include a certain beach in Rockfort. A person once laugh Jamaica land of garbage and litter bugs. Sewage is everywhere yet the bills are sky high. But cant blame all on people as are receptacles at times but why put in if the bottom is rotten and not there. Here you can build anywhere even in the water sheds of the mountains. Coal burning is still in full swing as forest run away.

Farmers rush to farm with limited knowledge of new technology and they prove that they can farm. Here the farmer is looked down on even though they smile in your face in the Banks. . Farm labour is at nil but farm product thief is at a all time high. Here Banks give you negative returns on your savings as the interest given is below inflation. But lately their loan packages are not so bad the interest is tolerable and trending down. You better not dear go to a mirco loan company because the hussle the poor with over 120% APR on their loans yet usury laws are in place. Here technology is at a finger tip yet few use it to develop opportunity for economic development.

Our universities are producing mindless graduates who equate education to more money yet they have no experience. They are unwilling to work their way up but expect executive pay. The country educate them it seems to become educated lumpens. They stand for nothing yet expect everything. Some read Garvey, Che, Mao and think that makes them a militant yet none have any new idea to change things as they will not stand out in a crowd. None have the backbone to move against a system.

Investigative Journalism is dead here. The media waits for things to happen then repeats it over and over. Columnist write chatter on things that mean very little most time. Thank God for the Cartoonists in the paper. So much talk and insight into world affairs on America, Libya, Israel and Arab Spring as many rush to show that they have intellect but with only the research of CNN and AL Jazeera and yet very little on Jamaica and its root problems. In America, I clung to the media via the net here I cant tell when I watch the news. The gleaner when I buy it are for the classified ads and postings of opportunity. Everyone is an intellect because of position. All the high office and titles cannot buy intellects!

The middle class wonder how did it come to this. Personally I live in a community control with fear as to who live in the squatter community on the hills. The politician focus on them and they receive the spoils of the tax dollar. Cant blame them either as they come out to the polls while the middle class come out in a high 15% as the hide behind complaining about what is wrong and high walls. Both parties used to depend on the middle class now it has changed. So do not wonder what happened because we caused it by not being a part of the electoral system yet still have to foot the bill.

I do business in a town where more than 60% of the adult are illiterate. I do business in a parish that can not even come together to keep a chamber of commerce going. Customer service in business is hard here as the customers are agressive and do not xpect customer service and the people behind most of the counters do know how to deliver customer services so it always leads to frustration at some point. Mr. Vaswani was right when he told me that that will be my biggest headache after bills. Yet they wonder and complain about no growth when they are not ready for investment but ripe for plundering as outside see that we will buy anything. I get to look and watch the fact that socially Jamaicans treat each other with contempt, disrespect and rarely can work together for long periods. Strong men sit in buses while old women hang on stand with one hand to a bus rail as comfort is more important. Here I have become more aggressive to match the environment yet when confronted and I show that I am far more aggressive that thought, it look at as being wrong. Are we all sheep for the slaughter?

In my 5 year journey I did not drive, I walked and as I walked and reflect about what I saw each day. I started to look objectively at my Jamaica. Here the pretend and façade is high no matter where you go or the social circles as it all HYPE. A car is deem a part of success where it can make or break you or even exclude you out. People build larger and larger house with smaller and smaller families. There is total lack of self esteem that the material determine the person value or intellect. Its not always the case but the social cliques are strong here and the circles very small. In my Jamaica, it not about merit but the same old story different spin.

In my five years, I wanted to understand power and politics in Jamaica. One day I got called in a room to be told that I have year of politics left in me so go to the side lines and I am too aggressive and uncontrollable. In politics your friend is your enemy and your enemy your friend but don’t go across party lines at times. Politicians here die a million deaths it seem. I have gained a deep understand above and beyond the garrison. Its not as easy as most think. Democracy is just that. Politics is about system so you better can fight your own to get in and up the ladder in the party then fight the outside. Politics here is not for the weak or faint of heart. The politician gives up a lot in the pursuit and sometimes get lost in the mass and forget why they entered politics in the first place. Its not weakness but just how the system is. They don’t run the system, the people do and sad to say the people are the ones who support corruption and sometimes use the politician to implement and give it out as that’s how the spoil are had. At the end of the day, morals and ethics come to play and that’s where backbone comes in. Tons to do here in that regard but it’s the people not the office.

I wanted my right to vote in Jamaican when I was in America so I return because the Diaspora can not vote while overseas. I thought it ridiculous and still do but I understand better the issue now and why most should not vote who are citizens of other countries yet we find some in Parliament. I read my Constitution in grade 10 in America. Yes the Jamaica one as that was when I knew even the word and what it was good for. Most Jamaicans do not know their rights from their right hand so the courts are filled. The courts are a story to themselves and is best to avoid if possible. But the green card holder must be allowed to vote as they are still 100%. The issues of living here is far different from being in America or any other place, how can you vote on issue you don’t know anything of expect word of mouth especially after becoming a citizen of another country. Worries are abound since week about the Diaspora conference. My question is who cares. Who knows these people. Who elected them to represent the Diaspora. I certainly did not care when I was in America as my eyes and ears were here because of a simple thing and that was Jamaica is home and America was where I worked. Many times there are nothing new coming from the conference so its like beating an empty box and it made sound because there is noting in it but it does make headlines. What does it really matters as long as it just all talk coming from these people at the conference whose ideas and voices do not impact the ground and no action in a time when real action is needed.

In five years I met many deported and they have excellent ideas. There is nothing stupid about them but they have issues that will cause problems when they return home. Remember Marcus Garvey is a deportee most have forgetten this fact. The deportee return is not smooth to transition into this more aggressive and class driven culture and that is the first problem as the land here with no document or expired documents and no clue where to get them. They return with only the negative and fail to realize that they have an advantage to do good because of their experiences. Nothing dies faster than a deportee who forgets that this is not foreign but Jamaica. It’s cold but the truth.

I have come to a sobering conclusion based upon my experiences both good and bad since I have return. Even though I highlighted the negatives because they are so easy the difficult parts are the how to do more good. I am now a local again but the Diaspora is still in me. It is time for those who shout the loudest to shut up in the Diaspora and put up. Stop the bickering and decide to help with more than just money. Money here in Jamaica is worthless without hands and minds to put it to work. Start integrating Jamaica into your businesses in America so that our young people can get summer employment like the European student do to get exposed to new ideas and experiences. Come home and implement new businesses which are not here to offer services for local and international clients while providing employment . Come home and do some hands on charity or environmental work to change. Come together and build new schools or create scholarships to get the most talent out. Put your force and challenge the government to create new policies so you can invest in nation building such as low interest US based government bonds to do key development project and refinance debt.

I am not offering any solutions as too busy fixing what I have to fix to live here in Jamaica. Too much talk and no action. He who feels it knows it. I have heard so much things of why Jamaica is so bad and I have felt so much that if I was negative I would think cursed place. Jamaica is alright to live, work and raise a family in. Its not perfect and there is tons of work to do. I now find myself balancing farm, business and loans with a growing staff from 2 to 12 in less than 2 years and slated to expand more as casual labour is not included or business expansion. So yes the economy is growing as small business gear up to move. Was it solely government policy? I will tell you all no. It’s consumer confidence. The people must feel good about Jamaica for it to grow! The government can do better, the citizens must do better, the Diaspora must do better. Respect our land and environment, respect our people (out of Many One), respect for self goes along way.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Written by Carl Foster

In the current climate of world recessions, high cost of living and job cuts, fuel costs and house prices rising every year, you may feel like throwing in the towel and giving up on the good life. The idea of success seems like a distant dream and a distant memory. The temptation to follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing may seem a desirable option. All though these may be challenging times, one thing is for sure there are still people winning in this world. The dreamer lives on. There is still room to dream. No matter how bad it gets you can still win. In the 1930's America suffered a great depression of which brought suffering and hardship onto millions of people. People lost their jobs and their lives. They saw no hope and no way out. It was inconceivable to even think of success in those conditions, but sure enough during the great depression there were still people winning, there was still people making money and living the dream. Such people as:

1) Henry Ford (Ford car motor company)

2) Luther Burbank (World famous scientist)

3) John D. Rockefeller (Inventor)

4) Andrew Carnegie (multimillionaire)

5) Napoleon Hill (author writer and philosopher) Napoleon Hill once “said anything the human mind can believe, the human mind can achieve“.

The power of faith. The dream was still alive just a little dusty, but the dream was still here. In life we live by the law of polarity: Polarity is a point of view and your level of awareness.

For example for every up there is a down, for every right there is a left. For every back there's a front. There are some people wining, there are some people lousing. There are some people living, there are some people dying, there are some people working, there are some people out of work. Rich or poor these are the laws of POLARITY. Depending on your mind set if ever positive or negative, this will determine which group you will fall into. POLARITY states that there is always opportunity no matter how bad it gets. It just depends on your level of awareness. If you have a prosperity consciousness you will see opportunity for success in all situations and if you have a poverty consciousness you will see lack of opportunity and limitations. The world will seem like a dark and empty place to you. The dynamics of prosperity are always there, which means the opportunity for happiness and success is all ways there too.

The great 18th century philosopher James Alan once said: Man is made or unmade by himself. As a beings of power and the masters of his thoughts. Man holds the key to every situation and contains within himself the transforming and regeneration agency by which he may make himself that he wills.

As human beings we are natural born survivors and creators. When one resource dries up we find new resources, new solutions and new opportunities. We have a mind that is so powerful it has the answers to all things possible. We need not worry as one thing is for sure, we will succeed and overcome our challenges and obstacles. In fact we will grow stronger than ever. We will think and create new ideas, new jobs, new inventions, new inventions, new technology and new ways of living. When one thing ends another is created that’s polarity. That’s the law. There are always positive conditions and negative conditions side by side. Despite the media and wide spread fear for loss of jobs. There are millions of people right now happy as ever and living out their dreams. They are enjoying their life as they see it.

The rich and famous hold dear to their dreams and never give up despite a forever changing world. In today’s current climate despite recession and job cuts there are many successful people enjoying great wealth and fulfilment such people as:

1) Richard Branson (Multi millionaire)

2) Allan Sugar (Multimillionaire)

3)Oprah Winfrey (Actress, talk show host and multimillionaire)

4) Simon Cowell ( Creator of X factor, reality show and multimillionaire)

5) Katie Price aka Jordan (Model and multimillionaire)

6) Donald Trump (Multimillionaire)

You need never give up on your dreams as you can win too. Your success is important to us all, as your success may be an idea that could change the world for the better. Your success could be the solution: Let’s take a look at the dreams of the past that came true and changed the world and made human life more comfortable for us: A house, the motor car, the phone, the aeroplane, the train, buildings, great cities, Sky scrapers, ships and boats, Radio, television, the phone, the computer, the internet, the mobile phone, all these dreams that came true and many more have changed the world for the better. These creations seemed impossible in the beginning but somebody was persistent and what is sure someone kept the faith. That’s why your success in life is important as your ideas, your goals and dreams may change the world for better too. You see it’s all connected success is important to us all in one way or another. Are you serious about your dreams? How serious are you? Do you want a happy and successful life? Freedom, love life, happiness, great health and wealth. It’s up to you. You hold the key to your new life. Your success is buried deep in your subconscious mind, with all the answers you need to succeed.

Earl Nightingale from Greatest Secret said: All you need is a purpose and FAITH.

Understand you hold the key to your dreams. KEEP THE FAITH. Your success begins now. You can win
Keep the faith written and created by author Carl Foster March 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Jamaica in my heart

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

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Economic Development, Biorefineries And The Carbohydrate Economy

by Trevor Bogle

Change is scientific. Progress is ethical.
Bertrand Russell

Jamaica sits battered and hopeless at a crossroad at the beginning of the 21 century. Its current leaders tenaciously hold on to an economic model hopelessly mired in the paradigm of the last century .The ship of state meanwhile is relentlessly buffeted by geopolitical waves while narrowly avoiding the shoals of the unfurling energy crisis. This author has seen a glimpse of the future and like Prometheus the one who brings light, I seeks to bring the light of the new century to the people, a new paradigm and the beginning of a prosperous future for our nation. The nation’s leaders, fixated on the dying remnant of the 20 Th century; the hydrocarbon century are hardly recognizing the nascent birth of the Carbohydrate century and the promise it hold for the nation. The hydrocarbon century favored those nations who by luck of geography were endowed with the precious elixir, oil. The carbohydrate century favors all, for all are endowed with carbohydrate. All economies require an engine and fuel for growth. The preferred fuel that drove the worldwide engine and growth over the last century was inarguably oil, a hydrocarbon. Today it is consumed at an astounding and unsustainable rate of 1000 barrel per second, 80 million barrels per day, and 30 billion per year. Unsustainable in sheer quantity even without considering the deleterious environmental consequences now known as global warming and climate change. Jamaica, like all small island states, suffers all the physical , economic and social vulnerabilities, that severe climate change will and has wrought and must in its national interest as well as moral and ethical ones, move expeditiously and boldly into the carbohydrate century ; the carbohydrate economy.

What are carbohydrates and what is a carbohydrate economy? Plants takes carbon dioxide (CO2) from our atmosphere, water (H2O) from the soil and energy from the Sun and synthesize or bond them together in the presence of a cellular catalyst chlorophyll. The product CH2O is carbohydrate the cousin of hydrocarbons or CHn , Hydrocarbons are dead carriers of carbon and compact form of energy produced over millions of years in the earth’s crust, wherein the extreme heat and pressure have stripped the Oxygen away. Carbohydrates are living carbon and energy carriers. Carbohydrates are trees, plants, grasses, tubers, generically call biomass or living carriers of carbon and hence energy. While having much in common with their hydrocarbon cousin in that they can fuel our cars and trucks, our power plants and stoves, they are also feedstock for a chemical industry. They do so without significantly polluting our environment and most importantly are sustainable, renewable and indigenous. Carbohydrates democratize the world. All are endowed.

The key to the Carbohydrate Economy is the knowledge that every chemical and fuel produced from hydrocarbon can be produced from carbohydrates. Dow Chemical list at least 200 chemicals now produced from hydrocarbon that can be produced from carbohydrates. Fuels include Ethanol, Butanol, Methanol and Dimethyl- Ether or DME. DME and Butanol are touted as the fuels of the 21 century .DME, is a superior diesel fuel, cooking fuel and every manufacturer of gas turbines has endorsed its use in electricity generating power plants. Worldwide, current production is primarily from natural gas, a hydrocarbon. However, Sweden is pioneering the synthesis of DME from biomass, in particular from forest trees. Locally it can be produced from indigenous biomass sources such as sugar cane stalks, bagasse, guinea grass etc. via biomass gasification technologies being pioneered by Sweden. Butanol on the other hand is a superior fuel that can effectively replace gasoline. It has 1.5 times more energy per gal than ethanol. It is less volatile and thereby less hazardous to handle than either gasoline or ethanol. Moreover and most importantly it can be used in current automobile in high concentrations without costly engine modifications. While plant capital cost is significantly less than a similar capacity ethanol plant, in fact in the order of 35-50% cheaper.

In addition to fuels, carbohydrates are natural feedstock for plastics, polymers, paints, detergents, tinctures, gels and too numerous consumer products to mention all (including textiles and apparel; construction materials including hemp fiber reinforced limestone that is superior and cheaper than cement blocks and steel), pharmaceuticals and medicines, a virtually endless compendium of useful and exportable range of products made locally and from carbohydrate. Of the over 200 chemicals derived from sugars this author is recommending a pilot scale project to select a niche from which to launch a sugar based biotechnology industry in Jamaica. Foremost among these are the so called Polyol or sugar alcohols. Polyol can be recovered from molasses generated as a byproduct of sugar production. Polyols as non-nutritive sweeteners, find wide uses in low calories beverages, bake products and cosmetics. Polyols , although derived from sugars are not processed by the body like sugar and have many advantages such as reduced calories as compared to sugar; reduced insulin response; does not promote tooth decay and does not brown in bakery applications. Polyols can be produced from plant based sugars much more efficiently and cost effectively than from petroleum from which they are currently produced. Secondly furandicarbooxylic acid or FDCA from succinic acid derived from sugar cane to make biodegradable PET bottles a US$12 billion industry worldwide as container for beverages and juices. Thirdly, other sugar derived organic acids i.e. levulinic acid for deriving methyl tetra hydrofuran as fuel oxygenate and solvent and numerous other industrial and cosmetic products.

The carbohydrate economy represents the necessary paradigm shift to mobilize the entire Jamaican people and to revitalize the moribund Jamaican economy on a scale supplanting the 1950’s and 60’s, the period of greatest economic expansion in our history. It shifts focus from urban to rural; from primary production to value added; from low technology to high; from brawn to brain. The new economy conservatively has the potential to produce 200,000 direct, indirect and multiplier effect jobs. These are high skill and high value added enterprises. They will employ scientists of all disciplines (bio-physicist, bio-chemists, botanist, and agricultural sciences), engineers, technologist, technicians etc and last but by no means least farmers. The carbohydrate economy elevates our farmers and farming to a status unprecedented in their long service to humankind. The farm becomes the engine of growth and the hub around which biorefineries and biochemical laboratories revolve, regenerating rural economies and rural life, the bedrock of the Jamaica soul. These are not cottage industries in the common sense but advanced production units located close to their feedstock. The carbohydrate economy would usher in a revolutionary electric age in Jamaica wherein married to other indigenous electricity generating technologies such as photovoltaic, wind energy and ocean thermal energy conversion the cost of electricity generation can be reduced to US$0.06 per kw-hr instead of the currently prevailing US$0.23. With a cheap, renewable, sustainable and environmentally friendly energy base the Jamaican economy can at last provide for the well being of its entire people. The carbohydrate economy is not only scientific it is ethical. I humbly urge our decision makers to consider and dream.

Friday, April 1, 2011


By Diana McCaulay

One of the most frequent questions I get asked about my novel Dog-Heart is this: How did you, an uptown woman, put yourself in the mind of a 12-year-old inner city boy? (I often think the sub-text is – how dare you? And please add the word “white” before woman and the word “black” before boy, although they are never actually uttered…)

I always say in response that I went through a period of very focused observation of children on the streets of Kingston, and then I thought about what I had seen, tried to imagine what the lives of the children were like, tried to feel what they might feel. So no, I tell my questioners, I didn’t research Dog-Heart, I empathized it.

Since May of last year, following what is now being euphemistically called the “Tivoli Incursion” where between 70 and 120 Jamaicans died in circumstances that have never been fully explained, I have been struck by the lack of empathy in the way in which we regard our fellow Jamaicans. This is not a new revelation; of course, we Jamaicans have always been fierce individualists. But as I continue to think about possible solutions to the apparently intractable problems of our society, I wonder if the answer is to be found in that simple word – empathy. What if we could put down the baggage we all carry – racism, classism, a host of categories by which we identify “us” and “them,” our perfectly justified hurt, rage and fear – and just ask ourselves: how would I feel if that were me?

I look at one of the photos on line of recently-apprehended Christopher Linton – I refuse to call him Dog Paw – and I see a thin young man, sitting on the floor, wearing only his briefs, his hands obviously handcuffed or tied. This is Jamaica’s most wanted man, a boy I knew, a child with a sweet character and a bright future, had he been born into other circumstances. And I ask myself – how does he feel, there on that floor? How does his mother feel, seeing that picture? I ask myself about his victims too – assuming he did commit the crimes he is accused of – and I can all too easily imagine their anger and pain and their wish for revenge. But suppose they were to put themselves in the place of a fifteen year old boy, out of school, no real programme for him to join, no one to champion or guide his life, his much loved older brother beaten to death while in the custody of the police? Might we be able to understand the hardening of his heart? At a more day to day level, might we be able to appreciate the driving of taxi drivers, if we understood the economics of their lives, might we marvel at the smiling faces of market vendors if we had taken their journey to market the night before and slept for a few hours on a piece of cardboard on the ground, might we support the railing against authority that is now being defined as a “personality disorder” if we appreciated the arbitrariness and incompetence of that authority when directed against those without friends in high places?

This morning, having made a song and dance about the outstanding performance of the security forces in apprehending Christopher Linton and his “lieutenant” Nicholas Nesbeth, we learn that somehow or other Nesbeth has simply walked out of police custody due to a “processing error”. I want someone to explain to me why that sort of authority is due our respect and deference.

Perhaps the best thing we could do for each other is merely to listen with our whole attention, to hear the true stories of each other’s lives, to say to each other: I understand. I see you, sister, I hear you, brother. We don’t like to do this in Jamaica, we call it washing our dirty linen in public and our leaders complain about the effects on tourism. We think empathy equates to softness on crime and call those who express it bleeding hearts. But if we empathized, all of us, concerning big things and small, we would not play our music so loudly as to keep school children and old people awake, we would yield to taxi drivers and pedestrians, we would give our time and our money to those organizations that try to help the young people on our streets. Empathy might just bring us a country worth living in.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Black Woman I Am

March is Woman History month

The Black Woman I Am

Written by Alicia Fleming

When they look at us black women,

They see the old-cotton-picking field hand, the old slave cook.

But that was a long time ago,

Now, the Black woman has arrived!

She has moved up from being a housewife to a

Business woman to a politician

She has taken charge!

Charge of her life, charge of her future

All the fears, all the reminiscing of the past,

The humiliation, are all behind her now.

When I look at the black woman of today, I see me.

I see my future, what I would like to be.

How I would like people to see me as a person, as a career woman

The black woman has combined fulfilling her role as a

mother and being a career woman

People look upon her and respect her.

The 80’s have brought new prospects for the black woman,

It has opened doors…

Open the outlook on careers and other opportunities

As a woman and …being Black

She has moved up from being an ordinary nurse to a

doctor, an engineer

People may try to put her down

They tell her that her place is in the kitchen!

Some even told her to go back to picking cotton

But, what does she care?

She is strong and determined to get ahead.

That’s the black woman I am.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Brief Tirade On Insurgency And Government

Written by Carol Lawton
In the timeline of history one thing holds true in regards to governments, liberation movements and paramilitary groups and that is they wrestling for power within the state. These struggles between the factions may be covert, overt or collaborative. But the end result is always the same as the formal structure now has to deal with the dynamics which will always lead to social unrest.

In the development of dictatorships, it is the state failure to control and maintain society because of the compromise given to the factions. Democracy is a scaring concept if the parties involve are not willing to safe guard it. Theocracy in of itself cannot be avoided as in any society one religion will be dominant but with this dominance it must allow all to seek their own enlightenment in the belief of a higher being. Socialism is an artificial state because of the availability of limit resources yet unlimited wants and the difference in talents and ability between people. Capitalism in its pure state is by far the best but pure capitalism without safeguards to protect the weakest of society will lead to corruption and social unrest hence no system is superior.

What is striking is the balance needed between them all. The strong arm of the state while give the citizen the choice to choose which opportunity to purse to build wealth while protecting the weakest to allow them to have access to the capital that they need to survive. Such a system is the ideal but where does the system begin or end.

To have seen democracies where there is none. Socialism in Capitalism is a paradox. The ism of government is an illusion as good governance is about making decisions based upon the need of the state. Hence to allow covert or overt groups to develop system above the platform of government will lead to strife and the eventual take over of government. In war torn region, it is the warlord who governs not the state, in inner city fiefdom it is the don through the collection of gains from transaction (unofficial tax), in war, the military rules the ground while the insurgency rules the night, and then the terrorists who rule by fear due to their ability to strike without regards for damage ; human or material.

The state of government can only exist in peace. Hence peace is the objective of all government in the end regardless of the form. So when a state foster insurgency groups or terrorists with agenda against another state. They have entered into a formal war under the veil that they are in the country as unknown participants. Functionaries of the state will always have access to the information hence it will always move information up the chain of command and the objective is the survival of the state and information is key. So when a country like Lebanon allows for Hezbollah to organize, finance, set support social systems and military logistics system it should not be surprise that if Hezbollah can not destroy its enemy, it will turn against its host like a parasite as it has already undermined the state in that an entity can wage war against a sovereign nation and undermine the state ability to protect its borders and deploy diplomatic policy that leads to peace. Woe be unto a state that believe that it can exist in peace while pseudo governments exist within.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Revolution Evolution and Devolution of Jamaica

Written by Carol Lawton

Jamaica! What is it really to the people? We are in the time of Olympics and Independence where all eyes are glued to the track including myself and party out from last week. Have we evolved from the plantocracy or have we devolved into a mess of garbage that even we don’t know who we are, where we are going or where we are at. Many young speak of revolution but to what purpose whether it is social, economic or political what will it benefit us if we are unable to channel that energy to building a nation. All a revolution will due is adding more chaos to this volatile mix.

Here it is, bare face materialism with nothing tangible holding it together other than the fact that we are stuck on a rock in the sea. First world plans are just those plans, which will remain a myth to keep the population dreaming of a world to come when it is here. And while this may sound angry or aggressive, I would I would yes and no. I am not angry or am I aggressive in simple language I would say I am piss off has I am tired of this drawn out saga of words that lead to nothing. Why tell the youths about 2030 for First World. When up town or Mobay it’s at your fingertips. Why tell them 22 years for it when we can fly to it in less than a hour in Miami or Cayman? I will be 60 when that day arrives in Jamaica. I lived it, worked in it, and got educated by it as did many like myself. Why should we wait on this plan? This first world does not mean that you have to live abroad but the use of systems that make life easier. That’s first world!

But our system has failed us and is flatling on life support through loans for overseas and remittance. As a Trinidadian told me this week, do business in Jamaica is a foolish move just get a container of goods and market it, they will consume anything, that’s how you make money here. And he is right as even simple products are now imported into the country. Labor does not want to work because of the hustle paradigm of the black market and capital does not want to invest as the risks are too high. Our economy has evolved to nothingness as we have evolved to a nation of dependents live on remittances which is even figured into the GDP.

Public administration has failed us and that a fact as that is the only constant as government change but the civil administration remains the same. Its failure is placed at the feet of one man as a woman has not held that position has yet. Mr. Governor General it is you would is in charge of the Civil Service. You have the power to fire, hire and change. Get some political balls and do something as this figurehead deal is wearing thin on this generation. You don’t seem to be fulfilling the responsibilities that the constitution says. So either this guy works to help in the evolution and stop the devolution of the governing system so that aggressive elements do not respond with senseless revolution to leads to nothing as they have no common vision of what they want!

So to end this tirade by being brief, revolution in what, we are already killing each other as one just has to look at the murderer rate. We are killing each other by having so many functional illiterates in our mist. We are killing each other as there is no bond between country and self as symbols, folklore and history, constitution and rights are not known by masses. So where are we at in this process is the final question to you all that read this tirade as we have a 2030 plan that no one has ever seen, the masses don’t know where they fit into it, the middle class already living it and the rest want to fly a hour to it or live it through the cable TV. In order for Jamaica to evolve, devolve, or have a revolution, it has to have vision and our leaders can’t seem to relate that to us.