Monday, December 3, 2012


Where is your Cultural Pride?

By Myrna Loy

While I was sitting distribution copies of “Blackbright Magazine” at the carnival, I noticed three noisy Black men. One of them was wearing a red, yellow and green t-shirt with the herb symbol on the front. He was holding a bottle of Remy Martin to his mouth and was gulping greedily. Another wore dreadlocks and was waving a half consumed bottle of whiskey over his head while being held around the neck by the third, who was wearing a t-shirt with the words “Jamaica – Irie Mon” on the front. If you hadn’t seen them laughing minutes before, you would thought they were fighting.

They were generally drawing attention to themselves and obviously under the influence. What infuriated me was that they were imitating Jamaican patios, wore symbols that identify them as Jamaicans when they were obviously not Jamaicans, and worse their conduct was doing Jamaicans a disservice. Even though their impersonation was poor, any non Blacks or non Jamaicans could erroneously categories them as Jamaicans. These men are what some call “Jafakans” i.e. fake Jamaicans. Their imitation of the Jamaican identity would not be so offensive if it did not negatively implicate Jamaicans, but it does! Onlooker seemed genuinely concerned of the affray. I was concerned as well, but for a different reason.

I was worried that non Blacks may not know that Africa is divided into 43 countries and there are approximately 21 Caribbean island territories, so that these men could have come from any one of them! I didn’t like the idea that if the affray was reported and descriptions were requested, “Witnessed” (being none the wiser), could easily say: “they were definitely Jamaican I could tell by their accent!” Hence the rap: “H’enting dat gwann a foreign, de yardie get the blame”. A Jamaican cannot be defined nor categorized. Jamaicans include Lord Ouseley, who is a member of the House of Lords; Delroy Lindo, who is a famous actor; Lennox Lewis, who is a World Heavy with Champion; Naomi Campbell or Tyson Beckford, who are supermodels; Patrick Ewing and Donovan Bailey, who are sportsmen; Dian Abbot, who is a Politician; Bob Marley, Busta Rhymes, Harry Belafonte, who are musicians to name a few. But for some reason, Jamaicans are seldom associated with high achievers, the famous and the infamous.

Because of biased media coverage that results in stereotyping and bigotry, the un-informed usually think of Jamaicans as trouble maker, aggressors, wear dread locks, smoke weed, sell coke and are gun- proud. As a result Jamaicans get a bad reputation and end up being apprehended (or blamed) for many criminal misdemeanors when the offence could have been committed by someone from another island or country pretending to be Jamaican. I am not sure why non Jamaicans try to implicate Jamaicans by mimicking their accent and their stance. Maybe they don’t realize that they are doing it or maybe, subconsciously, they lack cultural pride. All I can say is that if you from Africa, claim your African-ness. If you are from one of the island territories of the Caribbean- claim your true heritage. If you are born in this country (UK) – maintain your parent’s culture and don’t borrow someone else’s’. Everyone should be proud of tier heritage, their language and their culture and while “playing Jamaican” can be fun, if a non Jamaican is not behaving in a law abiding fashion yet imitation a Jamaican, they are reinforcing the negative stereotypes and making it difficult for Jamaicans to gain respect.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Winner’s Edge

Written by Janice K. Maxwell

If you’re going to hold someone down, you’re going to have to hold on by the other end of the chain. You are confined by you won repression.

Toni Morrison

US novelist-Nobel prize winner for literature 1993

Being an optimist, I don’t worry about the past; it’s the now and the future that is all we have. Hip hop mogul, Nellie has a song about being number one. It says that two is just a number and three nobody remembers. The Olympics is seen portrayed as an excellent representation of being a winner. We see the tangible of the athlete standing on the podium representing country, the medals and the 15 minutes of fame. Many people believe this as the only way to measure success and being a winner, but it’s not.

True winners posses attribute that are not noticed initially. For quite sometime, I have been receiving the email about the old woman in the purple hat. I’ve even seen the purple hat story expanded in the short story series by Ellen Burstyn and CCH Pounder. For those who have not gotten such a positive email, the following is a summation. It chronicles her life in decades.

As a teenager, she was concerned about her looks; as a woman in twenties, she was concerned about being worthy enough to be approved by her peers, husband ect… Now in her 70’s, she looks in the mirror, smile, puts on the purple hat, goes out to meet the world head on in confidence knowing that people will never stop her. Although we all have it, many of us do not know it: we are all winners. The intangible winner’s edge is measured by how well you do compare to what you could have done, which is to quit.

Persistence is the edge that true winners’ posses. The edge for such winners is giving it your best shot, personal achievement and having the right attitude regardless of the outcome. That edge is in college students who complete their degree on the seven year plan rather that the traditional four year. That edge is in marathon runners who finish dead last. They kept running hours after the race ended; they did not stop because the cameras and crowds were not there to greet them as they crossed the finish line. That edge pushes you to keep going because in the end, the race is with yourself.

The winner’s edge is finding contentment in your current space. Where you are right now is all you have because where you should be may never come. In many cases, the disappointments and unanswered wishes turned out to be some of the greatest blessings. The unplanned pregnancy becomes your only source of unconditional love when both parents died and the child’s father leaves you in a single year. The partner that you dated for three years and just knew you would marry once you got out of college – in four years but it really took seven. Acceptance and always moving forward is the edge.

Monday, October 1, 2012

October is Black History month in the UK

Written by Steve Stephenson

Steve Stephenson MBE is a former Principal Equalities Officer in Local Government. He is the Author of “Cold Arrival Life in Second Homeland” He has been actively involved in numerous projects in the Black Community for the past 30 years.

Steve has a tale or two to tell to about the Black Contribution to history; there is also a Black History Quiz with a prize at the end of the article.

Steve has been teaching Black History for the past 30 years, long before Black History Month became the norm in 1987. Steve said “I first became interested in teaching our history when I worked as a Voluntary Youth Worker in Luton in the early 70s. He taught his first course in 1976 at the Starlight Youth Club, after attending a course that was taught by Black History pioneer Sam Morris from Grenada. At the time many Black youngsters with whom, I worked, were alienated and marginalised and appear to have an identity crisis. The vast majority of these youngsters were aspiring to be Rastafarians.

In addition Steve background gave him a good understanding of the issues. He was born in Kingston and was lucky to be taught Caribbean History at O level. He went to school with and was in the same class as Robbie Shakespeare of Sly and Robbie fame. He played football in the same park as Bob Marley. “I had friend in the band, Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rasta Fari and I used to visit Count Ossie’s home as well as listening to Rastafarian reasoning in Wareika Hill.

Steve tells the following tale;

For instance, he points out that a Black man who was able to go to school only because his parents was bought out of Slavery, he helped plan the layout for Washington DC, his name was Benjamin Bannekar and he lived from 1731-1806.

Steve said, “Bannekar is best known for his part in planning the lay –out of Washington DC, the capital of America. Disaster struck when the chief planner return to France after a row, taking all the plans with him. But, lucky for America, Bannekar was able to draw them again from memory.

“He even chose the site for the White House. In 1791 he wrote a famous letter to the President of USA. It said, however variable we may be in society or religion, however diversified in situation of colour, we are all the same family and stand in the same, in relation to god. But for luck this man would have been a slave.

Steve adds, it is generally accepted that Commander Robert Peary was the first man to reach the North Pole in 1909, but this is not true, it was a Black man American Matthew Alexander Henson. Peary lost nine toes and could not go on any longer, so Henson plant the American flag on the North Pole.

Another slice of Black history Steve talks about reveals that, a West African people discovered the star Sirius B before Western Scientist new of its existence.

He said the Dogon people lived in Mali, West Africa.

In 1931 two French Scientist went to live with the Dogon. Sixteen years later the Dogon began to reveal their secrets about the stars and planets. The dogan knew about the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter and that the earth’s moon was dry and dead.

It was a surprise to the European that these so-called primitive people had such scientific knowledge. But what really shocked them, was that the Dogon also knew of a star called Sirius B, because the star is not visible to the naked eye. The Dogon knew more about the movement of the invisible star than Western scientist.

“What was more Dogon scientist had known about it for seven hundred years. Western scientists only discovered Sirius B in the 1890’s”.

Black History Quiz

Africa suffered the twin effect of Slavery and Colonisation that still affect the continent today.

The seeds of this were sown in the year 1441, when the Captain of European Country and his crew land on the West African coast and capture two African a man and woman.

They return and raid two Villages and 12 Africans were captured and brought to Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal. Before the Slave Trade started, this incident contributed to the enslavement of African people. What was the name of the Captain?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Jamaica and the relevance of Diaspora Bonds

Diane Abbott is the British Labour Party's spokeswoman on public health

Bonds are a bad idea that refuses to die. They reflect the idea that members of the diaspora are just so many walking dollar bills. For too many Jamaicans the diaspora is a financial resource to be harvested. Instead of mutual respect, the relationship between Jamaica and its diaspora can seem almost predatory.

Jamaica has the largest diaspora, relative to local population, in the world. It sends home billions of dollars a year. In net terms the diaspora is Jamaica's largest single source of foreign exchange. Furthermore remittance flows are constant. In good times and in bad loyal Jamaican's find the money to send home. Jamaican policymakers have long eyed those billions greedily. They lament the idea that these billions are going into mere "consumption" ie school fees instead of "investment" ie government projects.

More recently, the World Bank has taken up the idea. It is not suggesting the renegotiation of the unfair trade agreements that the Caribbean and others have been forced to sign nor has it any interest in further relieving poor and middle-income countries of the dead weight of foreign debt. Instead, the international financial institutions want poor countries diaspora to be corralled into making good their countries lack of foreign investment. Yet it is IMF insistence on cuts in public expenditure and opening up local markets to foreign investors (to the detriment of local business) that have made jobs in Jamaica for trained professional so hard to come by. Accordingly, millions migrate. Now international financial institutions want those same migrants to compensate for the catastrophic failure of IMF policies by investing in diaspora bonds.

Banks, financial institutions and bond salesmen are also keen on diaspora bonds. They know that they will make millions in profits by merely handling the schemes, whether or not the bonds make any serious money for the countries involved. What people forget about financial institutions is that they are not interested in whether the latest scheme they are peddling is actually a good idea. All they want to know is whether, in the short term, they can make money from it. These are the people, after all, who devised the financial instruments based on sub-prime mortgages which nearly crashed the world economy. Yet Caribbean politicians continue to pay heed to the siren call of the World Bank and foreign financiers to promote diaspora bonds.

The state of Israel is often cited as an example of a country that has raised significant sums of money through diaspora bonds. But Israel is not a relevant example for the Caribbean. It has an exceptionally wealthy diaspora and a tradition of involvement in financial instruments that goes back to the Middle Ages. Caribbean policymakers would be better advised to look at the experience of African countries in trying to raise money through diaspora bonds. Ethiopia's first attempt was unsuccessful. Now it's trying again and Nigeria and Kenya are also talking about these bonds.

It is important to stress that the Jamaican Diaspora is exceptionally loyal to Jamaica. Nobody who saw the thousands who queued to get into the Independence Day celebrations in London could doubt that. And they do send billions home. But they are not fools. They work extremely hard for their money. Often they are holding down two jobs. Many remember the implosion of Jamaican financial institutions in the '90s. They feel entitled to be sceptical about being invited to give their money to government rather than family. Too many financial experts look at the billions in remittances flowing into Jamaica and assume that the diaspora doesn't care about risk and reward. They do. But they care about their family more.

World Bank experts, for instance, claim the diaspora is less worried about local instability and currency depreciation than the normal investor. On the contrary, the diaspora is very aware of instability and currency depreciation. That is exactly why they send their hard-earned money home to put food on the table and pay school fees for their relatives. But sending money home to people you have an emotional connection to and for entirely transparent purposes (eg new shoes) is very different from giving to faceless bond salesmen. The diaspora knows exactly where their remittances go. And even in the worst-case scenario (eg money sent for new shoes spent in the rum bar) they know it is being spent in a community they care about. Remittances offer the diaspora transparency and accountability. Diaspora bonds offer neither.

At the very least, Jamaican politicians should wait and see how successful African efforts to promote diaspora bonds are before wasting time and money on such a scheme.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The 7 Biggest Mistakes People Make with Their Money!

Written by Howard Ramsamugh


1. Being too complacent with your income

This is a very common mistake. I am always very happy to assist someone in planning his/her future. But, there are far too many people who think that because their incomes are good enough to finance their current lifestyles, they do not need to save as much for the future. Current income is never a good reason to not save and help preserve your current and future lifestyle. Many people thought their homes were the perfect asset. You should know by now, it is just another asset with some “fancy curtains”.

2. Over investing!

There are many people who are over investing in the stock market. You should not invest based on your personality. For example, you may like and enjoy gambling at a casino. This is okay, but you should not invest your entire 401k account balance into aggressive stocks or company stock, simply because you are willing to take on the risk of gambling. If you do, you are labeling yourself as an aggressive investor unnecessarily. Being aggressive does not necessarily mean having a better rate of return on your investments. What you do in your leisure time is for recreation. Your future is your real life. Your investment strategy should match your goals and not your personality.

3. Making false assumptions based on others

This mistake has seriously hurt so many people. I know that your co-worker and brother may have bought two homes each, and flipped them for a nice profit. Real estate “must” be a great investment as so many people are making money flipping property. This could be true. But is it not also true that since so many people are buying properties to sell, that some of the sellers are really buyers? Therefore, prices can be artificially higher, and that lead to fewer people being able to afford home prices. Do not follow the trend; lead the trend!

4. Having a true emergency fund available

In order to have an emergency fund you must have a budget. This is true. Many people like to think they have an “emergency fund”; only to have an emergency and find “Mr. Visa and MasterCard” are just waiting to bury them in debt. If you do not have a budget you will spend your emergency fund on nonemergency things. Unnecessary debt is bad! A prepared individual does not need a credit card in an emergency and has less stress than an unprepared person.

5. Trying to guess how long (or short) you will live

When making financial decisions, try not to go too far with your assumption. Many people put off starting to save money in an organized way until later in their adult lives. It is common for younger people to say that they have a long time. Then there is a crisis, an accident happens and there is no money to sustain the hard times. An older person may be spending money at a fast and unsustainable rate, assuming that he or she will be gone by 75, only to be still living at 80 years old. Create a budget and a plan for a stable and financially independent lifestyle and live according to it.

6. Not knowing your benefit plan at work

More than 30% percent of people who have a retirement plan at work do not make use of it. If that number were 10% it would still be too many people. Many people do not know what benefits their employer plans have available. Is there a disability plan? What percentage of your income will it pay and for how long? This is a time issue. Spend the time to read that enrollment package sent to you, or take it to your financial advisor for clarification.

7. Not knowledgeable enough about financial matters

This may be the most important of the seven biggest mistakes people make. How is it possible to make a good decision about what insurance or investment strategy is good for you, if you have not read up on these issues yourself? Do you know what the Dow Jones Industrial Average is and what it is telling you? What is a Universal Life Insurance policy? Do you have a go-to source or person to get information as you need it? Just like a pianist practices her craft, so too you must grow and become a more informed and experienced decision maker. Start reading those statements sent to your home. If all else fails, have a good relationship with a financial advisor that you trust. If you are or are willing to work on avoiding these pitfalls in your finances, you are well on your way to being considered a “sophisticated investor” in my opinion. Best of wishes to you!

Visit for more financial information and share with others.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Too Afraid To Plan, Unprepared To Succeed

Written by Howard Ramsamugh

This is the dilemma many of us are experiencing now. Since leaving high school or college in the 70's, 80's or 90's, can you say that you really spent some quality time planning your financial future? Some of us are on our third or fourth job. The financial markets must seem like an uncharted territory to many of our brothers and sisters. Well, don't worry! I am going to try and get you moving again.

The first thing you need to do is to determine exactly where you are now. There can be big changes. By
now, I hope you have started putting money away for your future. If you did, then it is quite possible that your account balances are down significantly since in 2008, as the mortgage crises came to a head. Hopefully, you have recovered from some of your negative account value by now. Remember, you only have lost when you sell shares of stocks or other investments. Those shares still have value and you still own the same number of shares, if no sale has occurred.

Let us revisit the issue of the mortgage crisis so that we can reduce the chance of being blindsided again. What happened is that many Americans got caught up in the frenzy of making money easier and were willing to be less cautious in hope of becoming more financially secure. This trend of thought rippled across this great nation. This nation - teachers, policemen, lawyers, doctors, tradesmen, secretaries and others were told by their friends that real estate was "the" investment of the times.

The problem was not with real estate buying and selling. It was with the group thinking of the general public, and many professionals who were caught up in the conversation that real estate was the answer for all people. Blame can be assigned to buyers and sellers, regulators, and most importantly, lenders and appraisers to go around. As home prices escalated beyond historic norms, lenders became more enticed by the possibility of making more revenue selling mortgage debt to Wall Street firms.

This was allowed to perpetuate itself month after month and year after year. It grew into a bigger problem. It grew into Wall Street being on the hook for most of this bad debt. The problem got even bigger than that. Wall Street was on the hook, but who had the "stuff"? Millions of loans were put together to sell to investors. Many of the firms on Wall Street sold them to private and institutional investors. Institutional investors (your pension) manage assets such as 401k, 403b, 457 and IRA.

This was the environment many investors found themselves as the financial markets needed to correct itself in 2008. This has led many of us to be too afraid to plan, and unprepared to succeed as we adjust our individual finances. No problem! The first step to get back on track is to know what happened but to not get
caught up in the reverse of the mortgage crises. If you are too afraid to resume saving for your future, you are essentially giving up on your financial future and your retirement.

I know you do not want to do that. It makes no sense to be around for the CRASH, but nowhere to be found for the recovery. You may not have understood your investments before. Now is a good time to allocate some time to learning about your finances and getting a financial checkup done.

Secondly, you need to realize that things have changed and you may need to change. There was a time when fathers and mothers, aunts and uncles went to work and there was a pension in place to provide income for employees in their retirement. Strong companies prided themselves on their ability to provide a check to employees after years of service. You should know that that level of joint effort is dwindling fast and should not be expected in the future.

Therefore, if your employer provides a pension you should expect changes in benefits or contributions in years to come. I fully expect employers to have more and more workers to contribute to a pension directly and not the company making that 'contribution'. Contributions can always be cancelled or obligations shifted to another party. This is a common practice in many school districts in America, as teachers pay into their own pension plans directly. Be prepared to experience change and recognize the changes that may come in the future.

Thirdly, know your finances and be determined to win. Life has always been full of good and bad, ups
and downs. We are living during an era that requires knowledge and determination to retire comfortably. There is no cavalry coming to rescue you. You have to help save yourself... You are the architect of your own financial success.

Therefore, you are going to have to take more time and care making financial decisions and not put them off. The hardest part is to "refine" your thinking and have your thoughts defined, then you will be ready to implement your plans with conviction. Most people just need a little more information before making a decision to invest or purchase insurance. This can be your time to get it right. Believe that you are ready. You may have been knocked down but you are not knocked out. Visit for more financial information and share with others. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Friday, June 1, 2012


Written by Myrna Loy

Mothering Sunday is a very controversial event. For those who have lost their mothers, it is an insensitive and cruel reminder of someone they miss; for those who have mothers, but are not on good terms with them, Mother’s Day can conjure up feelings of guilt; for those who have been fostered out or have adoptive parents, this could be a moment when they reflect on their real mother; for those who have been treated cruelly by their mothers, this could be a time when they feel anger and resentment. What I am trying to say is that Mother’s Day does not necessarily conjure up nice memories or images of love and the giving of nice gifts - sometimes the emotions felt are hatred, disgust, anger, frustration and resentment.

Why is so much importance placed on Mother’s Day? I guess it is a reflection of how things are today – children are so busy, caught up doing their own thing, living their own lives, that they don’t have time to demonstrate how they feel about their mothers, so a day set aside once a year serves as a reminder of their mother’s gift of life to them. A separate day is set aside to honour fathers - I am not sure why they don’t make one day of it, and call it Parents Day?

Mothering Sunday as we all know, sews the seeds of cynicism because of its commercialism - it is a massive money making scheme for retailers, where the prices of flowers triple, as do the prices of other popular gifts. Restaurants make a killing by putting on a Mother’s Day spread, feeding into the guilt of those who have not spent as much time with their mother as they would have liked to. Mother’s Day forces many to think, I had better do something special - supposing my mother dies suddenly, or supposing she is diagnosed with a terminal illness, and so for this one day, many make an effort to do something special to indicate how much they love their mothers.

My mother will be in hospital on Mother’ Day. I usually give or send my mother flowers periodically throughout the year because she loves them, but she is not allowed flowers in hospital. My children will not call me up and tell me how much they love me, nor will they buy me flowers because they show their love for me in different ways. So when my friends tell me enthusiastically that their daughters are taking them out for dinner and ask me what are my children doing for me, I save bravely “nothing” - I may get a text saying “Happy Mother’s Day” and I may not - I really do not need material proof of their love, although it is good for my ego (smile)!

The history of Mother’s Day is centuries old and goes back to the times of ancient Greeks, who held festivities to honour Rhea, the mother of the gods. The early Christians celebrated the Mother’s festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent to honour Mary, the mother of Christ. Later on, because of the intervention of an American woman called Anna Jarvis, in 1907 who celebrated the way her mother raised the family alone, Mothering Sunday is now celebrated throughout the world to include all mothers.

The web definition of a mother is “a female person who is pregnant with, or gives birth to a child or a female person whose egg unites with a sperm, resulting in the conception of a child” However, not every woman who gives birth to a child deserves to be a mother, similarly not every man who biologically produces a child deserves to be called a father. It is the mother’s role to ensure her offspring feels safe, secure and loved. If she fails to protect her child from harm and does not allow the father to protect the child, it leads to many of the emotions cited at the beginning of this editorial. Love of a mother (like that of a husband) is enduring... ‘through sickness and in health’.

Mother’s Day should be deserved, and not a guilt-ridden ritual.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How can we truly honor Trayvon Martin and Steven Lawrence?

Written by Janice Maxwell

For the past few months the media has hyped a teenage senseless death. With all this media exposure, has this stopped the marginalization of Black youth in general and Black young men in particular? Trayvon Martin’s death is to Black America what Steven Lawrence’s death was to Jamaicans in the UK.

The similarities are eerie despite the fact that the incidents occurred in two different countries. Trayvon Martin was a Black American teenager; his crime was that he was walking to his father’s house, so a racist decided the he should die. Steven Lawrence was a Black British teenager, whose parents are Jamaican; his crime was that he was standing at a bus stop. A group of whites decided he should be killed because England has too many Blacks. These are the same English people that colonized Africa and exploited their natural resources. They use to brag that the sun never sets on the British Empire. In both cased, the police refuse to prosecute even though the evidence was obvious.

Since the news cycle highlighted these two young men, opportunist profited economically and politically. In the US and UK people marched, signed petitions and community leaders came out for their 15 minutes of fame. 20 years later Steven did not get justice. How long will Trayvon have to wait? In the meantime, the vultures circled.

Racism is big business. So far, the Steven Lawrence case has had two documentaries made; PBS made a Masterpiece theatre movie; the play of Steven Lawrence ran in the UK for a good while. Who made money on these ventures? Because Trayvon was wearing a hoodie, a line of hoddies and hats were patented on with his image. Black flesh has always made money for non Blacks.

Profiting from murder does not further race relations. Let’s not be like the money changers in the temple. Steven and Trayvon short lives deserve to be honored in a dignified manner and not fodder for a quick buck. Community groups should examine the structure of worldwide racism; create projects that will encourage entrepreneurship; revamp the judicial systems in both countries and change the common stereotypes that the media is more than willing to perpetuate. That way, no other teenage Black male will be targeted for death.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Adventure Vacation: Jamaica’s Best Attraction

Written by Maureen Wright-Evans

If I had to choose only one attraction in Jamaica, I would choose Dunn’s River Falls and your trip to Jamaica will not be complete if you do not include this tour in your itinerary.

Dunn’s River Falls… A magical Experience awaits you here….

Your adventure to Dunn’s River Falls starts on the bus ride to this awesome resort…

Feel the excitement as you travel through picturesque towns and rural villages where time seem to stand still as you see sugar cane fields standing tall and weary farmers chopping away in the sun…

Continue on your journey and see breathtaking sceneries of rolling hills covered with lush vegetation. Everywhere there is the spectacular sight of flora and fauna.

You know you have arrived at Dunn’s River Fall when you hear the roaring of the water rushing down the hillside…

Your tour will begin with knowledgeable and experienced guides who will guide you up the cascading falls in a human chain.

Your water shoes or strong sandals will be essential to help you walk and sometimes crawl on the rocks and stones… But you’ll be rewarded with some of the most exhilarating moments of your life as you savour the feel of water pounding on your head or just lose yourself in one of the many flowing pools.

Close your eyes and experience ecstasy…

For the less brave or the more cautious… take a refreshing dip in one of the many shallow pools that lead off the winding stairs that run along the falls… or take a ‘shower’

under one of the many waterfalls…

Climb the Falls as many times as you wish as there are no limits to the number of times you can climb. But there is much more than the Falls… You can swim in the crystal clear waters just below, go boating, diving, and surfing. If you do not want to do any of these, just do sun bathing or watch the numerous tourists or locals as they have fun… fun… fun…

Of course you wouldn’t forget to take your camera to capture these awesome sights….

Maureen Wright-Evans is the owner and operator of Smokey Manor, a company specializing

in packages to see Authentic Jamaica.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Jamaican Diaspora And The Brain Drain

By George W Graham

An examination of the effect American immigration policies have on Third World countries. 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.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A New Jamaica

Written by Hansen Von Shneir

Now comes a new era for Jamaica, under the stewardship of the Peoples’ National Party.  Transformation in Jamaica is about leadership, but can we expect anything new under the sun if we continue choosing leadership from the same old stock of career politicians?

Only the next generation can contribute towards this renaissance we so badly desire.   It’s time to commit to educating our young people in critical thinking and ethical service, values that will be crucial for the nation-building that lies ahead.

Jamaican Diaspora, will we continue to sit isolated and insulated in our little think-tanks and talk-shops, engaged in endless, idle chatter, trying to piece together the jigsaw images of the Jamaica of yesterday, relishing the past but having no real hope for the future of our homeland?  Where will we go when we feel the need to return home?

Nevertheless, We who are not yet willing to give up on Jamaica must find the courage to mobilize around our elected leaders, and in support of any approach that may empower our people; including greater synergy and partnerships with the Jamaica Diaspora.  In her role at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Minister Marlene Malahoo-Forte showed great prospects in re-engaging the Diaspora community.  We are hopeful that her replacement will be someone with similar qualities and inherent characteristics.  Ms. Lisa Hanna would be an excellent choice.

 I look forward to continuing our dialogue in 2012. And remember, your participation is still needed required with 2012 - Jamaica Matters  Compilation Project.  Stay up-to-date on:

Monday, January 2, 2012

SCHOOLS AND ‘THE RIOTS’ - Parents and Students Beware!



At a meeting in Manchester on Wednesday 31 August 2011 and the following day at a meeting in Lewisham, I warned parents and students that when schools reopen their children would most likely be targeted either by teachers or by the resident police in those schools to find out where they were and what they were doing during the recent civil unrest, or/and who they knew that took to the streets and became involved. Parents needed to be prepared for that and guide their children as to how to respond, as I was sure that many schools would see it as their business to ‘help police shop rioters’ as a newspaper headline put it.

And all of this at a time when, with the active encouragement of the Government, courts were ‘naming and shaming’ juveniles for taking part in the disturbances on the streets or for receiving looted goods.

On Saturday, one of the young people who attended the Lewisham meeting sent me an email saying that his brother was given the following homework which was set for his entire year group:

Write an eye witness account, describing what you saw during the riots:

-the setting

-the people you saw

-what happened

Definition of eye witness: a person who actually sees some act, occurrence, or thing and can give a firsthand account of it.

While that might look like an attempt to test school students’ writing skills and their powers of recall, it is clearly inviting children to incriminate themselves and others. In order to be able to give a firsthand account, one must have been present and observing (taking pictures on your mobile phone, for example) or present and participating. In either case, the police would be interested in you. The school for its part would no doubt form a view about the fact that you were present on the streets at all.

So, what might present itself as a straightforward curriculum exercise could result in school students being excluded from school or being referred to the police as having information that could support a prosecution, theirs or those they name or are cajoled into naming in their ‘eye witness’ accounts.

Ever since 6 August 2011 when the disturbances started in Tottenham, the police have been stopping and searching school students indiscriminately and more often than not in an intimidating, humiliating and provocative manner. Now, the schools are using their equivalent of ‘Stop & Search’.

Guidance to Parents:

Be watchful!

Talk to your child about what s/he is being asked in school concerning ‘the riots’.

Tell your children that since they are not ‘rioters’ they should not be running off their mouths about what happened on the streets. Their teachers would have seen on television or read in the newspapers the same things that they saw.

If your child brings home homework of the sort described above, telephone or write to the school as follows:

My child has been asked to describe what s/he saw during ‘the riots’.

I take it that s/he could approach this as a creative writing exercise?

I have been having discussions with her/him about the ‘Arab Spring’ and the civil unrest in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and Libya. Libya is especially interesting at the moment.

I want to make sure that my child will not be penalised for describing and commenting upon what s/he has been witnessing the citizens of those countries doing on their streets.

If the school insists that they want your child to write about ‘the recent riots in Britain’, tell them that your child is not a ‘rioter’ and cannot therefore give an account of what s/he saw during ‘the riots’.

Professor Gus John

Interim Chair: Parents and Students Empowerment

London England