Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Know Your Worth


                                      written by Janice K. Maxwell

If you are planning on getting a new job, learn your worth. Business relationships have to be mutual. Before one dollar is exchanged for labor, products or services, understand what both parties are bringing to the table. There is currency and value in everything. Apply these nuggets when making employment decisions:

1.       On your resume, be sure to include your tangibles skills. Are you good at social media marketing? Many companies need an influencer to expand their brand. Your expertise in these area will impact your salary.

2.       Do your research on the company. What are their areas of needs and wants? Visit their website. Learn about the product or services they provide. Filling that gap is your employment security.

3.       Is this company is publically traded? Did their stocks go up or down? This is an indication of this company’s future. Who knows how long will company will be around before you invest.

4.       If you want to know what to ask for at the time of salary negotiation, visit www.Glassdoor.com or www.Salery.com  Do this before you accept an of offer. 

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Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Reflections of a Jamaican Father


By Donald J. Harris

Reflections of a Jamaican Father By Donald J. Harris As a child growing up in Jamaica, I often heard it said, by my parents and family friends: “memba whe yu cum fram”. To this day, I continue to retain the deep social awareness and strong sense of identity which that grassroots Jamaican philosophy fed in me. As a father, I naturally sought to develop the same sensibility in my two daughters. Born and bred in America, Kamala was the first in line to have it planted.

Maya came two years later and had the advantage of an older sibling as mentor. It is for them to say truthfully now, not me, what if anything of value they carried from that early experience into adulthood. My one big regret is that they did not come to know very well the two most influential women in my life: “Miss Chrishy” and “Miss Iris” (as everybody called them). This is, in many ways, a story about these women and the heritage they gave us.

My roots go back, within my lifetime, to my paternal grandmother Miss Chrishy (née Christiana Brown, descendant of Hamilton Brown who is on record as plantation and slave owner and founder of Brown’s Town) and to my maternal grandmother Miss Iris (née Iris Finegan, farmer and educator, from Aenon Town and Inverness, ancestry unknown to me). The Harris name comes from my paternal grandfather Joseph Alexander Harris, land-owner and agricultural ‘produce’ exporter (mostly pimento or all-spice), who died in 1939 one year after I was born and is buried in the church yard of the magnificent Anglican Church which Hamilton Brown built in Brown’s Town (and where, as a child, I learned the catechism, was baptized and confirmed, and served as an acolyte). Both of my grandmothers had the strongest influence on my early upbringing (“not to exclude, of course, the influence of my dear mother” Miss Beryl” and loving father “Maas Oscar”).

 Miss Chrishy was the disciplinarian, reserved and stern in look, firm with ‘the strap’, but capable of the most endearing and genuine acts of love, affection, and care. She sparked my interest in economics and politics simply by my observing and listening to her in her daily routine. She owned and operated the popular ‘dry-goods store’ on the busy main street leading away from the famous market in the centre of Brown’s Town. Every day after school, I would go to her shop to wait for the drive home to Orange Hill after she closed the shop.

It was here that she was in her groove, while engaged in lively and sometimes intense conversation with all who came into the shop about issues of the day. Business was front and centre for her, a profession and a family tradition that she embodied and carried with purpose, commitment, pride, and dignity (next to her devotion to the church that, as she often said, her ancestor built). She never paid much attention to the business of the farm at Orange Hill. Her sons took care of that side of the family business.

Her constant focus was on issues that affected her business of buying and selling imported ‘dry goods’ as well as the cost of living, issues that required understanding and keeping up with the news – a task which she pursued with gusto. She was also fully in charge of ‘domestic affairs’ in our home and, of course, had raised eight children of her own at an earlier age. There was a daily diet of politics as well. She was a great admirer of ‘Busta’ (Sir William Alexander Bustamante, then Chief Minister in the colonial government and leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

She claimed, with conviction and pride, to be a “Labourite” (as members of the JLP were called) and for the interesting reason that, as she argued, “labour is at the heart of everything in life”. Little did I know then, what I learned later in studying economics, that my grandmother was espousing her independently discovered version of a Labour Theory of Value! Her philanthropic side shone through every Easter and Christmas when she had my sister Enid and me package bun and cheese (a favourite Jamaican Easter fare) and other goodies in little boxes that we carried and delivered to families living in the area around our home. She died in 1951 at the age of 70.

Her departure left me, then only fourteen, with a deep sense of sadness and loss. Miss Iris, mother of eight children too, was the sweetest and gentlest person one could meet, but underneath it was a tough farming woman who ran the cane farm at Thatch Walk (near Aenon Town) jointly owned with her husband “Mr Christie”. She was always ready to go to church on Sunday to preach and teach about the “Revelations” she saw approaching the world at that time (during and after World War II) in accord with the Bible. I spent summers with her, roaming around the cane field, fascinated by the mechanical operation of cane ‘juicing’ by the old method (a wooden pole extended out from the grinding machine and tied to a mule walking round and round to grind the cane), and eager to drink a cup of the juice caught directly from the juice flowing into the vat to be boiled and crystallized as ‘raw sugar’.

No Coke or Pepsi could beat the taste of that fresh cane juice! It was a joy and a learning experience for me to hang out with the workers on the cane farm, see them wield a ‘cutlass’ (the machete) with such flourish and finesse, listen to their stories of exploits (some too x-rated for me to repeat), and sit with them as they prepared their meal by putting everything in one big ‘Dutch’ pot, cooking it over an open fire in the field and serving it out on a big banana leaf for all of us to eat sitting there. Looking back now I can say, with certainty and all due credit to Miss Iris, that it was this early intimate exposure to operation of the sugar industry at the local level of small-scale production with family labour and free wage-labour, coupled with my growing curiosity about how these things came to be, that led me, once I started reading about the history of Jamaica, to a closer study of the sugar industry.

I came then to understand its origin as a system of global production and commerce, based on slave labour, with Jamaica as a key component of that system from its very start. Miss Iris died in 1981 at the grand old age of 93 and I grieved over the loss of someone so dear and close to me. She is shown here in photo (taken by me in 1966), just back from church, proudly holding in her lap little Kamala, and confident in her firm prediction even then of the future achievements of her great-granddaughter (after giving her ‘blessings’ by making a cross with her finger on the child’s forehead)

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Thursday, October 1, 2020

Natalee’s letter

Written by Natalie Clark Richards


 During this time of global pandemic where COVID-19 has caused us to literally go inward. I imagine I have at least one person who is doing some inner reflection and having great memories of sweet, sweet Jamaica. Like myself, you are grateful for all the lessons and fun over the years. During self-reflection, I wrote her this letter.

Dear Jamaica,

I truly miss you; I reminisce on the days I grew up in the hills of St. Ann. I would wake up before the sun rises, and watch its entrance over the majestic mountains, listen to the birds sing, the butterflies flutter by, the smell of the fresh morning dew and the harmony of nature.

I love how relaxed and at peace I feel when I spend time with you. You truly know how to calm my spirit and set my mind at ease. Jamaica, when I spend time with you all I see is abundance. You are creative, vibrant, joyful and have a divine spirit. These are the same sentiments I seek within me and share with the world. Thank you for teaching me, and showing me, I already have that which I seek.

Jamaica, I love you so much, being away I am able to see your true strength. You are resilient, creative, confident, bold and courageous. You stand tall and own your beauty, you know you were meant to be here, to share your love with others and also tell them of their beauty and courage.

I know you have had some challenges, we all do. I am always captivated by your ability to rise above the challenges, to keep going and reaching toward your goal. When I am apprehensive, I am also reminded of my exceptional ability within me to rise above and grow through to new opportunities.

Jamaica, I love you! I am overjoyed to say I really know what it means to say No weh no betta dan yaad! No problem man! Nuff respect!

If you have never been to my Island, or it has been a while since you have soaked up her beauty. You owe yourself a travel treat. Enjoy & One Love! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020



In my book, "Leave The Rat Race To The Rats", I deal extensively with racism from a very unique perspective. I blame racism on what Occupy Wall Street refer to as the 1%, the richest one per cent of America who dominate American politics. Instead of calling them the 1%, I refer to them as American Supremacists. Here is an excerpt on racism from my book:


 Blacks have been and continue to be the victims of racism in America. It is worst in the ghetto. They have suffered at the hands of whites. Even today there is still hostility between blacks and whites because of this. But alas, most people have missed the big picture. Racism is unnatural. Black and white kids play together to grow up as enemies. Why? Because as Rodgers and Hammerstein points out in “South Pacific”, “you have to be carefully taught, you have to be carefully taught”. Racism has not only been carefully taught, but it has been promoted and exploited for political gain by the 1%, the American Supremacists. Even the worst crime committed against black people, slavery, was not done for the benefit of white people. It was done for the benefit of the 1%. Lots of white people lost their jobs to slaves, just like lots of Americans are losing their jobs to near slave labor overseas.

 Many white people think these promoters of white supremacy and white privilege care about them. What folly! Do these American Supremacists care that millions of white people do not have basic healthcare? Do these American Supremacists care that jobs for white Americans are being sent overseas wholesale? Do these American Supremacists care that millions of white workers do not make a living wage? Do they care that millions of white workers are losing their full-time jobs to become part-time, thus losing job benefits like pensions, promotion opportunities, job security, vacation and sick leave? Not only do they not care, but they oppose them. They do not care about black people but they do not care about white people either. The way to fight racism is to fight divide and conquer. Too often fighting racism worsens conditions between white and blacks to the delight of the 1%. The solution lies in the goodwill-to-all revolution. The solution lies in the pursuit of goodwill towards all. In the ghetto, we will seek to use the goodwill revolution to eliminate racism. All America will be next."


Monday, August 3, 2020

Declaration of Freedom

Alphonso McGriff

I’ve got no GURANTEES for NOBODY. If we cross paths and enjoy some time, then wonderful I’m having GREAT CHALLENGES with meeting EXPECTATIONS of myself and COMMITMENTS to myself. I CAN NO LONGER LIE to YOU with the idea of meeting YOUR anticipated expectations and commitments from ME…too impossible, too unreasonable, and too stressful


TIME don’t give one single damn about how we use it. IT’S GOING TO PASS REGARDLESS.


I have chosen to ENJOY TIME such as much as possible. YOU wanna’ ROLL? That’s cool, If not, then that’s cool also, but EXPECT to be DISAPOINTED if there is any hope that I am going to attempt MEET YOU EXPECTATIONS of ME. That’s OVER.


Call it SELFISH. Call it WEAK. Call it INSENSITIVE. If that works for YOU, then that’s BEAUTIFUL. But Imma’ do what works for ME ‘cause there is NOTHING more IMPORTANT in this entire existence than HOW I FEEL ‘BOUT ME.



Wednesday, July 1, 2020


The goal of all entrepreneurs is to service a want or desire. If you can find out want your market wants or needs, the money will come into your hands. What is money? Memorize this acronym:

M- My brand

O- Own the message

N-Natural emotion

E-Energy in product

Y- Yield profits

Monday, June 1, 2020


As an entrepreneur, we will have to be cook, bottle washer, and waiter in the early stages. However, you must have mini goals for each position or everything will be pointless. For example, if my goal is to open a culture center for the community, one must be focused. Otherwise, the project cannot be achieved. We have to develop relationships with others.

 We choose our partnerships carefully to be in harmony. As visionaries we belong to a specific community and our closest fellowships should be on the same accord. Mavericks must never forget our objectives; we are innovators for the futures. What is the definition of focus: 



* Course

* Unit

* Successfully

Tuesday, May 19, 2020


1.       Memba a go undaneat the cellar fi the fowl egg (yes I do)

2.       Memba playing "Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack, All Dressed In Black Black Black"

3.       Memba a kick foot ball wid yu fren dem roun' a ball grong

4.       Memba when Cristmus come and we watch JohnCunu jump up and down and we get fraid?

5.       Memba yu madda sen yu go a shop and yu sing the list all the way deh ... "one pint milk, one bread, 1 lb a flour. But when yu reach deh, yu tell the shop keeper yu want "1 pint of bread, 1 lb of milk & a flour

6.       Memba when yu last yu madda money and yu fraid fi go back home because she might beat yu

7.       Memba settin up the roosta dem fi fight

8.       Memba all dem good duppy story, and nancy story wi 'ear growing up

9.       Memba how yu use to fraid fi walk a night cause yu tink sey black-heart-man woulda tek yu weh

1.   Memba when bokkle cut yu foot bottam dung a gully

1.   Memba when yu use to stone Missa Smith mango tree dem, and we use to tink seh him have gun

1.   Memba when yu left all day and go a rivva an go cook and when yu come come yu get a beaten

.   Memba when yu unifarm get dirty Monday marning, and Yu madda beat yu ina di evening

Sunday, March 1, 2020


1.            Memba Christmas time when everybody a mek a suit fi gran market night, mama stay up a bake cake, draw sorrell, cook curry goat, don't figet the case a D&G soda and red stripe beer weh unda the bed

2.            Memba when a ginnep seed fly dung yu throat and smaddy 'ave fi lick yu back fi mek it fly back up

3.            Memba when yu swallow chewing gum & dem seh yu ago ded cause it ago tie up yu tripe Memba a come fram school and stap fi get the last piece a Miss Brown toeto and a sky juice

4.            Memba dem seh nuh buy nuh sky juice fram Mr. Tom because 'im ave sore foot

5.            Memba when dem seh nuh buy bun & cheeze from juicie cause him use di knife cut & clean him toenail

6.            Memba saving part a lunch money fi buy ice cream fram creamy weh come pan Sunday

7.            Memba a fling stone fi lick dung ginnep and the stone bus yu bredda head

8.            Memba the peanut man ... the jackfruit lady ... the orange man ... the sarda-pan man

9.            Memba a play marble wid yu bredren dem

10.          Memba a go a bush wid yu fadda

Monday, February 3, 2020


1.            Memba when yu and yu fren dem decide seh unu a go run a boat, the biggest cart wheel dumplin yu eva si!

2.            Memba when coming fram school ina di rain and yu tek off yu shoes and walk barefoot all the way home a race board horse inna di gutter water

3.            Memba when dem use fi gi weh free milk powder and bulga rice a school, an' yu play milk powder war all the way home

4.            Memba when dem good rice and peas and chicken Sunday dinna with a nice refreshing glass ah carrot juice

5.            Memba when yu 'ave roast breadfruit and ackee and salt fish breakfast jus' barely a day afta yu Saturday Peas soup wid cho-cho, turnip, carrot an' punkin

6.            Memba when teacha beat yu because yu neva do yu homework

7.            Memba marning time when yu reach a school jus in time fi devotion and yu betta mek sure yu ave yu hym book and yu bible, yu pleat dem betta in order and yu khaki well starch

8.            Memba dem good ole starch uniform ( coudda stan up by demself ) and yu nice shine brown or black shoes

9.            Memba when yu madda use fi seh "Go pick a switch mek a beat yu"

Thursday, January 2, 2020


1.            Memba when you do all you homework at school so dat as yuh reach home you ramp so til you hear smadddy shout out...

2.            "yuh madda a ccooooommme!" and yuh dash inna yuh house and change yuh school uniform as yuh would surely get a beaten fi inna yuh uniform at 6pm.

3.            Memba when yuh go school 7 days a week fi keep yuh outa trouble. Mon - Friday regular school and private lesson, saturday class, and sunday school at church which is a half day affair.

4.            Memba if yuh 'kin poopah lick' and bu'st out you pants, yuh get a beaten

5.            Memba 10 cent bulla and jackass corn

6.            Memba when you turn on the tv at 4pm and wait till JBC sign on at 5pm, stand at attention sing the national anthem, and den sit back and watch some cartoon. And dont figet di Big Bwoy story whey you did haffi hide and tell

7.            Memba when yu a come fram school and stop fi pick cherry off Mass John cherry tree and dawg run yu dung

8.            Memba when yu madda sen yu fi tek the clothes fram affa di line but yu wait til night den yu fraid fi go by yuself

9.            Memba when yu fraid fi go a shop by yuself a night because Miss Matty jus' dead and yu tink yu might si har duppy