‘Wen U Large, U Large’ – Jamaican Wins Booker Prize in London

The chairman of the judging panel states, the novel is full of the ‘sheer pleasure’ of language.  Imagine that, reading a novel that appears as if you are watching a drama.  Each character has their own voice based on the depiction of the characters.  How rich can that be in a novel?  A novel that comes to life through its characters, speech and drama.

It is not often we can celebrate our achievements across the spectrum of the arts.  So it is with great pride that we can be proud that one of our own, dreadlocked and all is the first Jamaican to be the recipient of such a prestigious award.  Marlon James, ‘u a di literary man’.


Jamaica’s Marlon James wins Booker Prize

(Jamaica Observer) Wednesday, October 14, 2015     24 Comments

 Marlon James

LONDON, England (AP) — Marlon James became the first Jamaican winner of the prestigious Man Booker Prize for fiction Tuesday with a vivid, violent, exuberant and expletive-laden novel based on the attempted assassination of Bob Marley.

Michael Wood, chairman of the judging panel, said A Brief History of Seven Killings was “the most exciting book on the list” and a novel full of the “sheer pleasure” of language.

“One of the pleasures of reading it is you turn the page and you are not sure who the next narrator will be,” said Wood, a professor emeritus of English at Princeton University. He said the book had been the unanimous choice of the five judges.

The 44-year-old James, who in his early years wrote for the Jamaica Observer, was awarded the £50,000 prize during a black-tie dinner at London’s medieval Guildhall. A Brief History of Seven Killings is the third novel from the writer, who now lives in Minneapolis.

The book charts political violence in Jamaica and the spread of crack cocaine in the US, and hinges on a 1976 attempt on the life of reggae superstar Marley identified in the book only as “The Singer.” The story is told in a cacophony of voices from gangsters to ghosts, drug dealers to CIA agents and in dialects ranging from American English to Jamaican patois.

Critics have compared it to the stream-of-consciousness novels of William Faulkner and the hyper-violent movies of Quentin Tarantino, while James himself has cited Charles Dickens as an influence on his multi-character depiction of society.

Wood acknowledged that the book’s plentiful sex, violence and swearing might put off buyers who “like to give the Booker winners to their mother to read”.

But he said the novel’s verve and humour would win over readers.

Wood said although much of the subject matter is grim, “a lot of it is very, very funny”.

The Booker guarantees a big boost in sales for the winner, and can transform writers’ careers. When Hilary Mantel won for Tudor saga “Wolf Hall” in 2009, she went from being a modestly successful novelist to a literary superstar.

James beat five other authors, including two Americans: Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Tyler, for the multi-generational family saga A Spool of Blue Thread, and Hawaiian writer Hanya Yanagihara for A Little Life, the story of four male friends, one of whom is a survivor of horrific child abuse.

The other finalists were British writer Sunjeev Sahota’s immigrants’ story The Year of the Runaways; the fratricide fable The Fishermen, by Nigeria’s Chigozie Obioma; and British writer Tom McCarthy’s digital drama Satin Island.

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Damion Crawford – Bright Academically Yet Failed To Study His Political Job Description!!!

You came at full force, gaining support on social media which you used as one of your campaign tools.  Your comments below rather detailed shows your naivety versus your perspective at defining your role as a MP/Politician.  Maybe you would be suited for the OPM (Office of the Prime Minister) working on policy making.  One cannot in anyway discount the fact that you are an educated man who displays sharpness and knowledge in certain areas.  Notwithstanding you are in the political arena where the ‘people business’ has been defined from over forty (40) years ago based on our electorate. 

Your ability to flip it from the vernacular to the Queens English is not only sufficient when you are campaigning.  I thought you would have been smart enough to realise that your ‘real job’ actually begins once the campaign is over.  The very same community you expressed love for have residents that ‘live’ day in day out and as such if you did not think that attending  ‘nine- nights’, funerals and the occasional drink in the bars/pubs would be part of your job description; then young man you are indeed naive.  Who do you think you are in politics?  If you only attend events, offer condolences to those who are your friends, then why enter into politics?  You were quite comfortable when you were ‘shelling down’ at a ‘gig’ whilst in London for the Olympics; have you forgotten?  The very nature of an MP is opposite to your obvious predestined nature.  I personally could not enter into politics don’t get me wrong.  Then again, I have no preconceived notions as to my ‘personality/nature’ and am smart enough to know exactly what the role is and what would be expected from the delegates and the people once the cameras were off.

Mr Crawford you took a gamble and you lost.  You can learn from your mistakes but if your beliefs are as you speak of in this article, then your contribution would be best suited elsewhere in politics, if it is you wish to remain.  It was not your education plan that was the issue or even the hand-outs rather your absenteeism and your belief  ‘dat u an di people dem a nuh fren so wey u a siddung wid dem fah.  Mi nah look nuh votes now’.

For the record, I do believe you have a brilliant mind but never lose sight that in this life you can learn something from EVERYBODY………………..the young, the old, the in between, the educated, the not so educated and the illiterate.  There is always a lesson to be learnt as long as you are prepared to listen.  Wisdom also comes from experience, understanding, insight, common sense and good judgement not solely knowledge.  It is the  combination of all.

Clovis Toons – Monday, October 05, 2015
Clovis Toon

Damion’s dismay

Embattled MP admits to making adjustments, but denies trying to change system on his own

(Jamaica Observer) Sunday, October 11, 2015     114 Comments 

CRAWFORD… If you fight the system, the system will fight you back.

BRUISED Member of Parliament for St Andrew East Rural Damion Crawford has revealed that he did not try to change the existing political system of governance on his own, but felt compelled to make certain adjustments, some of which might have pushed the pause button on his political future.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Jamaica Observer last week, Crawford, who suffered a defeat in a vote by People’s National Party (PNP) delegates to St Andrew businessman Peter Blake last Sunday to determine who represents the constituency in the next general election, said that there are things that exist within the political framework that needed to be addressed, and he went about trying to deal with them, without attempting to change the system all by himself.

“I took a greater risk than many other people, and I was most vocal about it than most others,” said Crawford, who underlined his education programmes in a densely populated constituency made up of workers representing the proletariat, the upper and middle classes, and the poverty-stricken.

“I don’t think I am the only person trying education programmes, but education is of vital importance. Dayton Campbell (MP for St Ann North Western) replicated my education programme in its totality. He saw it when I sent it to CDF (Constituency Development Fund), he called me, we had a conversation, I sent him my people, and he did it exactly as I did.

“The size of my seat caused mine to be a bit more expensive, so therefore reduced my ability to do other things. But I have been the most vocal against handouts, the most vocal against dependency. It is a big thing when you affect a man’s expectations… he never used to get, but he might have hopes of getting. When you come and say you not into it, he is not getting and he has no hope of getting, that is not something that a man will readily accept. I have been, since I have known myself, the most vocal politician against dependency and against demands on the system,” he suggested.

Crawford, 34, who is also minister of state in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, said that he understood that his actions might have, at times, ruffled feathers and shot up the body temperature of some.

“It’s possible that I irritated some people, but in the hierarchy of the PNP nobody seemed irritated. Some would advise me that you can’t do it in one sweep. Even many Jamaicans said you have to do it little, little, you can’t just change it like that,” he said.

“I remember being on a programme where I said there is no middle ground between slavery and freedom — you are either a slave or you are free. Jamaica is in a crisis, and a crisis means that you are near a state of no return. If you are near a place of no return, then all actions are immediate. If we are only in a problem, then all actions need not be immediate.

“Therefore, I never saw that it was possible to continue a system whereby everybody nyam a food and nobody buy groceries. That’s why the pot so empty, because everybody was eating and nobody was buying, and so I had to take emergency steps to say when we look at the infrastructure in East Rural, when we had forest fires water trucks can’t reach … for 50 years. Why is it that that was so, and why would I make it continue to be so?

“I have to depend on the greatest thing that Bruce Golding did, which was to give the elected some power through the CDF. I go many times lobbying for things from NWA (National Works Agency), but we are going to fail because the number one basis for resource distribution is number of people served. Rural communities are not going to be at the head of the list. So, therefore, if I didn’t use the CDF to do those things, they wouldn’t have got many of them. That is the part of the marketing that I didn’t think I explained sufficiently to the constituents. All things were not possible. It was either, or,” he said.

Crawford, an outstanding student at Kingston College who went on to become president of the Guild of Students at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, and later president of the PNP Youth Organisation, kicked himself for what he described as the biggest mistake that he made while serving as MP.

That “biggest” mistake, he said, was to separate himself from the political responsibility of the MP by not participating a lot in the political side of things within the constituency.

He told the Sunday Observer that he believed that, as an MP, he had the responsibility to deliver, to ensure that there is no hindrance to people making the best for themselves.

“I have often heard people say they need a job description. My job description, and, by extension as an MP, is to ensure that there is no hindrance to an individual taking his talent and his motivation and making the best of himself. If the road isn’t fixed, there is a hindrance, because it means that you can’t get your goods to market, no matter how motivated you are, no matter how independent you are, and so I focused on the MP’s responsibility,” he explained.

“I didn’t have a group, I didn’t form a group … that’s my political responsibility. While others were forming groups, I didn’t. I didn’t engage the political directorate separate from the constituents, because while there are still constituents they play another role of chief soldiers, chief disciples, and I didn’t engage them sufficiently as chief disciples.”

Admitting that he had been let down by some members of his constituency hierarchy, some of whom went against him in the contest with Blake, Crawford said that it was difficult to get some people to accept some of the changes that he wanted to implement.

Interestingly, it was Crawford who replaced Blake in the seat for the December 29, 2011 General Election after Blake, the Jamaica College schoolmate of PNP General Secretary Paul Burke, was initially selected in a delegate vote that was labelled by some on the day as flawed.

Blake, too, was said to have been rejected by the party’s Integrity Commission, although the party’s hierarchy was silent on the issue.

“Not every man is going to believe the same thing. If you fight the system, the system will fight you back. I understand the councillors, because they interact with the people more than I do, so the pressure from the demands would have been greater,” Crawford went on.

“Equally, I established myself from very early as an anti-gifts person. Some of them established themselves as willing givers. Comrade [Oliver] Clue (councillor, Harbour View Division) and Comrade [Artnell] McDonald (councillor for the Kintyre Division) are willing givers, so because I expect to get from you, I am coming to you. Someone will say, ‘but I don’t expect to get from Damion, I am not going to Damion’, so a lot of the pressure might have been transferred to me because it was being placed upon me. So when a councillor say I need some help with back-to-school, and you says no, you are now risking his career too, and while you can take any steps to risk your career, a man starts finding you unreasonable when you are risking his career with it. So that would have created a resistance, because I am not going to allow you to kill me,” Crawford said.

“I hear them say there are political best practices … like going to a nine-night is a political best practice, and I didn’t subscribe to that. I feel that if I wasn’t going to run I wouldn’t go to your nine-night and therefore the only reason I am coming is to campaign, and I shouldn’t campaign on your grief,” he said.

“Another man say you are just showing me support, as a man who supports you, so it’s just support for support… it’s two fields of thought. That has always been historically a reality of life — one set of people think one way, another think another way. Some think that God made Adam and Eve, some think that two monkeys started things… so I am not one who is anti-debate to say that my theory is automatically the right theory, because I don’t think for another man.

“So I know that if I went to a funeral I would be campaigning, because in my heart I did not feel that I was supporting. I might not even know who died,” he explained.

“Even if I were attending a funeral to support someone I know, and I went to those that I knew very well, in the same way if I wasn’t running I would still go. These political best practices, like buying a drink, are not a part of me. Ideological debates have died to the point whereby the only differentiator between one politician and the next is who like you more. It’s now an emotional campaign, and because that is so, you have to make a man perceive you to be his friend, because it’s not about principles and policies and ideologies.

“It’s like I have a girlfriend and the other guy is trying to get her and is saying to her, ‘what did he get you for Christmas?’, and if she says ‘nothing’, he would say to her, ‘well, if I were with you, you would have got a car’. It’s no longer about, do you believe in Christmas? Those discussions are not being had anymore. Going to a funeral is a greater love, helping you with expenses is a greater love, coming on your verandah is a greater love, so when a man says ‘from yuh win, mi nuh si yuh’, it’s a ridiculous argument because you can’t campaign for five years,” Crawford said.

“He will tell you that when you are campaigning every day you are here, and that’s because I am campaigning. I don’t go to water commission, or NWA when I am campaigning, all I do when I am campaigning is campaign. You can’t expect that for the next five years that I will be campaigning, because if I am campaigning I am not working. So we have not separated that there is a time to reap and a time to sow,” Crawford said.

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Generation Of Vipers – Who Do You Blame??????

‘Same ole sankey’, shock factor has dissipated as this is common assault for a population such as ours on the Roc.

We still want to brandish every ‘bad breed’, ‘leggo beast’ upbringing, behaviour as ‘mental disorder’ in the making.  No doubt we are creating and have created a culture of youths who will not be fit to become the future of this country.  So when you look to the next generation, take a deep, hard look and ask yourself this question.  Does the Government have any legal or moral business in your ‘bedroom’?  Procreation starts somewhere between a man and a woman deciding to copulate.  Whether the birth was planned, or not, the decision most times than not was consensus.  Whose responsibility is it to provide the social, emotional, financial, spiritual needs for the child?  If it is the governments, then the government must have a role in deciding who will have the ‘luxury’ of procreating or not.

For those who are unable to see issues in black and white, and point to the grey areas, I suggest you find those grey areas in this particular crisis.  It is a crisis when 10 and 11 grade students decide to use a weapon to defend their arguments.  Whatever you practice becomes your norm.  So tell me with that mindset developing amongst our youths, will you be willing to gainfully employ them when they become young adults?  Only your truth matters and not the general opinions of others who are governed by the ‘status quo’; so I say speak your truth and speak it well.


UPDATE: Student in custody following schoolmate’s death

(Jamaica Observer) Thursday, October 08, 2015 | 7:06 PM     15 Comments 

ST ANN, Jamaica — The Brown’s Town High School student who this morning allegedly stabbed his schoolmate to death has been taken into custody.

Reports are that the Grade 10 student was involved in a dispute with Grade 11 student Jamala Barnaby when a knife was brought into play. Barnaby was reportedly stabbed.

Read: Thwaites expresses sadness at killing of St Ann studentThe incident has left students and teachers at the institution shocked.

The police are carrying out investigations.


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J$2.3B Private Hospital – Only For The Wealthy No Doubt??

Yes………………Montego Bay is ‘di place’ instead of Miami for our locals who travel to that destination ‘wen sickness tek dem’.  Note the price tag and then ask yourself if our public hospitals will ever be improved to a level where Jamaicans can feel comfortable in seeking medical care if their ‘pocket’ cannot afford private care.  I can confidently say until ‘pigs fly’ do not hold your breadth.

It would be interesting to see if those who love to ‘fly out’ for any kind of ache much less ailment will be flying down to MoBay versus flying out to ‘fareign’.  Exactly how many persons does a 22 bed facility house?  I note this will be in its first phase.  How many phases will there be?  The J$2.3B is that the final figure considering that the article alludes to ‘more to come’?

I personally would love to hear about a state-of-the art public hospital being built, how about you?


J$2.3B private hospital opens in Rose Hall

(Jamaica Observer) Friday, October 09, 2015 | 6:06 PM    

A section of the new state-of-the-art $2.3 billion private hospital – Hospiten Montego Bay –  which was officially opened on Thursday in Rosehall, St James. (Photo: Glenis Rose)

ST JAMES, Jamaica (JIS) – A $2.3 billion state-of-the-art private hospital was officially opened in Rose Hall, St James, on Thursday.

The first world facility – Hospiten Montego Bay –  is the only private Jamaican hospital with an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), outside the city of Kingston, and will be catering to the medical needs of both local and overseas patients.

“We are here to stay, to offer our experience, to generate wealth and employment,”  said Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Hospiten Group, Juan Jose Hernandez.

“We believe that an exceptional tourist destination as Jamaica cannot continue developing without medical services of an international standard. From a health care point of view, we are here to attend to the resident population of the entire north coast of Jamaica…from the birth of children to small emergencies…to prevent illnesses or for more complex interventions,” he said.

He noted that Hospiten is a family-owned company involved in the field of medicine since the 1960s, and that its founders, all physicians, have instilled the importance of offering those who turn to them for care, the very best of attention.  

Hernandez said the company sealed its commitment to Jamaica five years ago when it purchased the neighbouring Montego Bay Hope Medical Centre, catering to a large number of Jamaicans.

The Hospiten Group has a reputation worldwide for excellence. Their specialised services include: gynaecology and obstetrics, general medicine, Orthopaedics and trauma, cardiology, urology and internal medicine, general surgery, ophthalmology, ENT, neurosurgery, paediatrics/neonatology, dermatology and dentistry.

“In its first phase, Hospiten Montego Bay will have a 24-hour emergency room, a 22-bed hospitalisation area, a five-bed ICU, a clinical analysis lab, and outpatient service,” Hernandez said.

For his part, Health Minister, Dr Fenton Ferguson, said Hospiten’s investment and operations in the tourism belt have coincided with the massive new investments valued at approximately US$500 million now taking place in the tourism sector.

“I note with satisfaction that all your hospitals are endorsed by the strictest international norms of quality assurance and environmental management, thereby meeting all requisite technical and safety standards,” the minister said.

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An Ounce of Prevention: Breast cancer – prevention is the cure by Dr Tony Vendryes

(Jamaica Gleaner) Tuesday | October 6, 2015

Breast cancer is the commonest cancer in women. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is once again here. From its inception in America in 1985,  it has focused on the early detection of breast cancer, mainly by regular mammogram testing, as the most effective way to fight this disease.

Is this the best approach to breast cancer? Cancer research indicates that by the time a breast cancer is detected by mammogram, the disease has already been present for about eight years.

In my opinion, cancer is not a thing to wait for, then treat. Winning the war against cancer means preventing cancer. Breast cancer can be prevented.

Today, the chance of a woman developing breast cancer, at some time in her life, is about one in eight. Back in 1950, the risk was one in 20. Question: What has changed so dramatically? Answer: The way we live, our modern environment and how we now treat our bodies.

Medical research shows breast cancer is linked to lifestyle and environmental factors that can be controlled.

The recent expensive trend to search for a breast-cancer gene is of limited value. The causes of breast cancer are more than 90 per cent environmental and less than 10 per cent genetic.


Causes of breast cancer

The evidence is overwhelming that the female sex hormone, oestrogen, is closely related to the development of breast cancer. Oestrogen encourages the cells in the breast to multiply rapidly and increases the presence of abnormal cells. Most types of breast cancer are called oestrogen-dependent cancers. 

The use of oral contraceptives and oestrogen-replacement therapy, especially with early and prolonged usage can cause breast cancer. Repeated mammograms before the menopause: Data from the National Cancer Institute in the US indicates that, among women under 35, mammography could cause 75 cases of breast cancer for every 15 case it identifies.

Some non-hormonal prescription drugs such as some blood-pressure medicines, antibiotics, tranquillisers, antidepressants, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and the very drugs used to treat cancer itself can also result in women developing the disease. Indeed, patients on chemotherapy have an increased risk of developing other types of cancer.


Diet environmental factors

A diet high in animal fats contaminated with cancer-causing and oestrogen-like chemicals. Low dietary intake of fruit, vegetables and fibre. Exposure in the home or workplace to chemicals such as cleansers, aerosols, air fresheners, pesticides, or pollution from urban traffic, industrial and chemical factories are risk factors too.


Lifestyle factors:

Inactivity, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. Alcohol and tobacco, especially with early and excessive use. Prolonged use of dark hair dyes. Prolonged stress, when poorly managed.

Low vitamin-D levels associated with lack of exposure to sunshine.

In addition to avoiding the risks listed above, some key lifestyle recommendations should be strongly publicised during BCAM and, indeed, the entire year.


Eat anti-cancer foods

Food can protect against cancer. Aim to consume seven or more servings of vegetables and fruit daily. Cruciferons vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are particularly important. They help eliminate excess oestrogen from the body. Despite propaganda to the contrary, soy protects against breast cancer. It contains substances called selective estrogen receptor modulators. They block oestrogen receptors that relate to breast cancer. I recommend 25 grams of good-quality soy protein daily for breast-cancer prevention. Green tea, turmeric and pomegranate also have cancer-protective properties.


Exercise & correct obesity

A 2008 study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, indicates that women who exercised regularly reduced their risk of breast cancer by 25 per cent. The Georgetown University research showed that African-American women who vigorously exercised two hours per week reduced their risk by 64 per cent. Moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, cut the risk by 17 per cent. Exercise may prevent breast cancer by reducing obesity, stimulating the immune system and by helping to detoxify the body.

Obese menopausal women have a 150 per cent higher risk for breast cancer than those of ideal weight. The risk is reduced when a woman avoids obesity in her adult life, especially after menopause. Experts believe oestrogen produced by fat cells is the probable cause of this increased risk.


Get sunshine

Sun exposure will elevate your levels of vitamin D. Research from Columbia University, New York, demonstrated a very significant relationship between a woman’s vitamin D blood level and her risk of breast cancer. The higher her vitamin-D levels, the lower her risk of breast cancer.

Vitamin D is more a hormone than a vitamin. It helps to regulate other hormones. Black women, in particular, are quite commonly efficient in vitamin-D. Here is one sobering report: Women diagnosed with breast cancer who are deficient in vitamin D are 75 per cent more likely to die from the disease than women with adequate vitamin-D levels.

Ladies, don’t just resort to mammograms. Protect your breasts by changing your lifestyles. Awareness is good. Prevention is even better.

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Edith Dalton James High – A Model School

Use EDJH as a model, a template, for all other schools across the region.  Our biggest problem in this country is that we ‘put our hat wey our hand caan reach it’.   We have created a culture of practice where we ‘fling wey’after minimal usage for ‘brand new’ due to our insatiable appetite for all things ‘floss’.

Absolutely nothing is wrong when you can afford to do so and when it is from your own blood, sweat and in some cases tears.  However, when you are riding off somebody’s fender ie tax payers money, thieving or corrupt practices, it becomes a serious deficit in ALL our lives.  It starts with the ‘head’ and in this case the Principal has set the tone and we see compliance from parents, students and faculty.

There is big business in refurbishment.  We are quick to purchase from ‘fareign’ all things ‘reconditioned’.  I have news for you if you are not aware or if you are, as long as it is from ‘fareign’ you alright, but if it is from ‘yard’ you have a problem.  Reconditioned is the same as refurbishment, repair, used………………………..  Stop the ‘neva si come si buturisation of the mind’ and face your own reality.

Our Leaders in the public sector must also set the tone and stop live off tax payer’s money and perpetuate this ‘flossing’ mentality in your subtle way.  Too many ‘fat cats’ are present in our politics and you all could learn from Edith Dalton James High.



A school that saves up to $400,000 annually

Broken furniture repaired instead of being discarded at Edith Dalton James High

BY JEDIAEL CARTER Observer staff reporter carterj@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, October 04, 2015    

Edith Dalton James High Principal Ray Howell (right)shows a drawing table repaired by the school. Looking on are Earle Bisasor (left), head of the Industrial Arts Department, and Rafael Stewart, a worker who helped with the furniture repairs.

THE tradition in some Jamaican schools is to place damaged desks and chairs in a heap in a corner on the compound. Tradition also sees them using the little resources allotted by the Ministry of Education to buy new benches.

But at Edith Dalton James High School in Duhaney Park, Kingston, there is a different practice: broken school furniture are repaired, instead of spending money to purchase new ones.

“On an annual basis we look at our needs, we make requests to the Ministry of Education and out of those requests, if they are not forthcoming we look at our inventory in July and what will be the need in September and therefore we do the requisite repairs,” Principal Ray Howell told the Jamaica Observer.

“The ministry has assisted, but the ministry does not have the resources, and some of the desks, for instance, might just have a leg broken,” he continued.

With this cottage industry, the school is better able to channel its limited resources into other aspects of development.

The project, which started approximately eight years ago, sees the rehabilitation of about 100 desks and chairs annually.

“To date, we have repaired about 140 desks, and we may just do about the same in terms of chairs,” Howell stated.

According to Howell, the cost to repair the furniture is significantly less than purchasing new items.

The cost of a desk is $3,500, while one chair amounts to $2,500.

“So, if you do 100 desks it’s $350,000,” he said. “The actual cost to repair a chair is about $500, so we save $2,000 per chair… [and] we save about $3,000 per desk.”

The project, Howell said, saves the school up to $400,000 annually, even as they spend approximately $70,000 on both material and labour to repair the once damaged furniture.

The repairs are done during the summer holidays by teachers and other staff workers. However, Industrial Arts students are engaged in the repairs when school opens as part of their curriculum.

The school, which collects only 50 per cent in school fees annually, has had to become self-sufficient and creative to save and adequately manage its finances.

“Well, our parents who come to us are not from those who have it. We probably have about 400 students on PATH (Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education). A lot of them genuinely don’t have it,” the principal told the Sunday Observer.

He said currently, up to $15 million is owed in school fees, which is one of the reasons for the creative projects that have become a part of the school’s culture.

“We try to ensure that we maximise the [use of] resources. In fact, there are persons here who do the tiling, so all the tiling in the school has been done internally,” Howell boasted.

The principal said that the glass used in the modern windows and doors installed across the compound was created by Major Richard Carter, an engineer and retired head of the school’s Industrial Arts Department who continues to contribute to the school’s development.

He added that the school family was also responsible for the painting of the buildings and murals on the campus.

Major Carter said that for the past four years the school’s development has been incorporated into the curriculum of its Career Advancement Programme students.

“What we do is [with] any minor refurbishing, and that goes from carpentry to welding and any metal work type refurbishing, we integrate it into the teaching/learning process and use them as practical exercise for the students. So the school benefits and the students benefit,” Carter explained.

Not only do the students benefit academically, but according to Carter, with the “earn and learn programme” students are given a stipend for participating in the projects.

He said students who are a part of the Technical Vocational Education Training programme also benefit, as some use the rehabilitation projects as their work experience — a requirement for the completion of the programme.

The school has also been responsible for the creation of partitions for the computer labs in an effort to make more classrooms to accommodate the population. They have also created computer tables using the base of the damaged desks that would have been thrown out.

“These are material that people would have thrown away,” Howell stated as he showed the Sunday Observer the recreated furniture.

He said the school was also responsible for creating bistro tables for the cafeteria and the remodelling of shelves and tables in the library.

Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites has commended the initiative at Edith Dalton James High. He said this year the ministry spent up to $45 million in providing thousands of units of furniture to the island’s schools.

“Have you ever been to some of the schools in Jamaica and you always see a pile of mash-up furniture around the back somewhere? We can’t do that anymore and just order new ones and expect it to be paid for,” Thwaites said at a recent Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange.

“We Jamaicans, in every aspect of our lives, particularly in education where we are teaching people values and attitudes, have to do more with what we have,” Thwaites said.

He encouraged other schools to become more resourceful.

“These are ways we hope to add longevity to the capital stock that we have and, you know, it sounds like a poor man with a tear up pants with a patch on the bottom or something, but frankly this is the way we’re going to have to live. We have to get more use out of what we’re investing in and there’s no pride involved in doing something like that. In fact, the pride ought to be in the frugality and prudence of it all,” Thwaites said.

Two weeks ago, Clan Carthy High School in Kingston told 600 students to remain at home because of a shortage of furniture.

Last Monday, the education ministry said that 120 desks and chairs ordered by the school’s management, in addition to supplies provided through the ministry were delivered to the school.


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‘A Dis U Call Bravery’ – Man Saves 12 Year Old Boy Washed Away From Heavy Rains On The Roc

How do you respond to life or death situations?  In a split second what choice would you make between life and death if you saw it before your eyes?  What makes one person brave or another one a coward?  There are many brave souls out there on Planet Earth.  Each time you hear of their bravery, it should make you stop for a moment and reflect.  Reflect on this journey called life that throughout it all, there is much to be thankful for. 

I thank the Orlando Brown’s of our time.  One never knows when life or death situation may befall us and it is a good thought knowing that brave souls exists amongst us daily.

Ackee Walk resident saves 12-year-old boy from raging flood waters

Man braves raging flood waters to save 12-year-old boy

(Jamaica Observer) Sunday, October 04, 2015  

Orlando Brown (right), who rescued a 12-year-old boy from raging flood waters yesterday, is congratulated by his grandfather Donald Brown. (PHOTO: GARFIELD ROBINSON)

RESIDENTS of the Ackee Walk community in St Andrew yesterday chanted “Save a life” as Orlando Brown walked up the street. Brown, who yesterday was seen as the community’s hero after rescuing a 12-year-old boy from raging flood waters in the Sandy Gully in St Andrew, told the Jamaica Observer of his experience.

The boy, who according to residents was washed away by the flood waters from Mannings Hill Road, could be heard screaming as the water dragged him along.

“I was inside a house and I hear some screaming, so when I look round I see him (the boy) washing away. So I run go down the road here and I was standing at a bridge and I was watching him,” Brown told the Sunday Observer.

“Mi see him lick up him head, water a lick him go deh so, him lick go so and mi a seh ‘father God, mi have two youth still’, an mi a look inna miself an seh a coulda youth or anything still,” he continued.

He said upon the request of residents for something to be done, he decided to try to save the boy, whose cries for help softened his heart.

“So one car come stop deh and three a we go in deh… and it let we off round a Queensborough side,” Brown recalled. “We run go down deh and go cross a coal iron and is like mi go deh and mi a look pon di water wave, and some man a say ‘don’t go down deh, you a go wash weh, you a go lick yuh head’,” he continued.

Despite the advice for him to avoid the water, and the shouts of doubt, Brown said he was determined to help the child, who by this time drifted to the middle of the gully and was holding onto an object. Brown said he then tested the water to determine whether it was manageable.

“So mi jump off inna di gully, mi just plant mi foot now and mi walk go cross fi him now, and mi go deh and mi a try lift him up and him a seh him cyaan feel him foot them. Mi go so, and mi lif him up now and walk come cross wid him and somebody come help mi when mi push him out,” the 25-year-old Brown told the Sunday Observer.

His grandfather, Donald Brown, was proud of his grandson, but most importantly was happy a life was saved.

“Yea man, proud fi know seh all a life save. Cause when mi see it an see seh me cyaan go in deh so, you know seh me glad seh the younger one can go in and save him,” he said.

“A risk him risk fi him life too, enuh,” he said of his grandson, “cause everybody stand up deh an a say dem nah go in deh, nah chance it.”

He said it was truly God who gave his grandson the willpower to do what he did.

“The water high, mi a tell yuh, and the man jump off and save the little youth. A real life hero an we haffi congratulate the youth,” Dondre Maxwell said as he lauded the action of his community member.

The rescued boy was rushed to hospital by the police who were summoned by a passerby.

The Sunday Observer was unable to determine which hospital he was taken to and his condition.




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If Not ‘Leggo Beasts’, Then What Are They Again??

Can those including senior personnel from the Ministry  of Education do an undercover exercise and experience the Transport Centre themselves?

After that exercise have a honest assessment amongst yourselves then speak to the Nation in truth and stop the ‘out of body’ ramblings that are well articulated.  ‘Git up offa u high horse an go down deh, an see fi uself’.   That is our future!!!!!!!!!!  Some of you lot are so far removed from the ‘ground’ it makes me want to puke!!!!!!!

If Governments fail to implement strict measures with dire consequence for these students, then we have created ‘hopelessness’ for the future.   Hopelessness can be through our own design due to our failure in dealing with the issues appropriately.

While you source the ‘root’ cause you better enforce their actions NOW as ‘dog ago eat wi supper’.   You do not and it is appearing impossible to handle the crime on the Roc committed by adults due to ‘red tape’.  Now you have these ‘leggo beasts’ running wild in their own world while decent people have to vacate a J$4.3 billion transport centre. Does that make sense to you?


Enter at your own risk! – Frolics & fights as students run riot in Half-Way Tree Transport Centre 

(Jamaica Gleaner)Sunday | October 4, 2015

Commuters pass outside the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre last Thursday.
The entrance to the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre.
Students inside the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre last week.
Students inside the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre last week. 
Two stabbings within hours of each other inside the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre just over one week ago underscored the lawlessness which continues to rule the facility.

This despite media highlighting the problem repeatedly over the years and promises from the police, school administrators and the operators of the $4.3 billion facility, the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), that measures would be implemented to clamp down on the out-of-control schoolboys and schoolgirls who make the transport centre a no-go area for many.

“The pickney them rotten inside the centre, rotten bad, man,” said a JUTC supervisor who operates out of the facility.

“No care how you provide buses for them, they don’t go home. Two o’clock to five o’clock in the evenings is the most buses run in the transport centre. Every route wi try to fit bus on every five or 10 minutes and it don’t make any sense because they are not going home,” added the JUTC employee as he named several prominent high schools whose students are involved. 

Police Post And Private Security 

Since the initial reports of the violent and sometimes lewd behaviour of students in the centre, the authorities responded with the establishment of a police post on the top floor of the facility and a private security firm contracted to patrol the premises.

Deans of discipline from various schools were also tasked with the periodic monitoring of their students who use the facility.

But none of these measures has curbed the behaviour of the children, with almost total anarchy since the start of the new school year.

In one of the latest incidents two Fridays ago, one schoolboy had to be rushed to the Kingston Public Hospital after he was stabbed by a schoolgirl in the early afternoon. Two hours later, a second schoolboy was stabbed in the chest by three boys who accosted him. He had to undergo emergency surgery to repair a punctured lung.

According to general manager in charge of operations at the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre Linval Thompson, while the students are problematic every day, Friday is the worst day of the week.

“On Friday we have massive lingering because I guess they don’t have school on Saturdays, so they want to stay there as long as possible, timing their parents to get home.

“There are at least 10 incidents on a Friday. Not all incidents are police-related, but the police have their hands full on Fridays,” said Thompson.

“Pickpocketing, loitering, fighting, bloodshed, abusive language, that sort of thing. The security personnel roam and we do get reinforcement from the St Andrew Central on Friday to complement the five that we would have on shift from the police post, and we have four security core members as well, so it is a nine-member security team on a Friday evening, and we get some reinforcement from St Andrew Central.

“We have at least 40 police incidents per month, but the majority of what happens occur on a Friday.

“We lose a lot of money because the adults coming into the centre at five o’clock in the afternoon on a Friday will just turn back and seek the alternative because the crowd is still there at five,” added Thompson.

It was a similar story from the JUTC supervisor, who asked not to be named.

“Friday is the worst day in the transport centre because none of the kids want to go home. I don’t know why, but Friday, all seven, eight o’clock in the night and you find say the kids still in here. Friday is also when the most fights break in here. Is like every child has to fight before they go home, and I don’t know why.

“One evening mi see dem beat a youth on the staircase and him just stand up a take the licks, and then him go up the stairs and then me see him a come back down wid a big gun inna him hand and run down di boy them. Mi si that wid my own eyes just a few months ago,” said the supervisor.

Not Boarding Buses 

When our news team returned to the transport centre last week, students were seen entering the facility from as early as 2 p.m. and were still there at 6 p.m., making no effort to board any of the available buses.

Students from various schools could be seen in groupings, with some boys sporting earrings and caps turned backwards. Most had earphones and some were seen dancing up a storm.

Some boys jostled for the girls’ attention, latching on to the ears of any who bit the bait and grabbing on to others who dared to ignore their advances.

Some of the girls also sought the attention of guys and even other girls, with hugs being the mandatory form of greeting.

Persons who regularly use the bus centre told our news team that the loitering was a daily occurrence.

“JUTC persons say the Government say a six o’clock the latest they (students) should leave out here because some of them have extra things like sports,” one security guard told The Sunday Gleaner. “But I believe by 3:30 p.m., they should find themselves on a bus because some a come in here come look man and woman.

“No big people no come in here because of them, as they loiter, fight, cuss and do everything that is bad and don’t care.” 

Changed Out Of Uniform 

A lot of young boys were seen out of uniform interacting with those in uniform, and it is believed that some had changed out of their uniforms while others were past students who gathered daily at the popular meeting spot.

“They dress up and come in here and carry away the little girl dem and have them in a the back part a di centre. A so them behave in here,” said one JUTC driver.

“Some of them (girls) all change them clothes and man come pick them up, and when you look, you see them put on back uniform when them ready to go home and take off them false hair and all them something there.”

Convenience store operator Debra Martin said the students have been both good and bad for her business, which is based in the centre.

“You have some who come and they buy and leave while others loiter and they bang on the glass, and so the adults don’t want to come in,” said Martin.

One mother, who was spotted with her 13-year-old daughter awaiting a bus, said she believes the centre has turned out to be a negative thing for the schoolchildren.

“The centre is doing more harm than good because all they are doing in here is just grouping up, especially on a Friday,” said Chanelle Homes.

“They need police in here to put them on the buses and send them home. Sometimes I am in the bus and parents call the children and they will say ‘Mommy, I am at home’.”

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Japanese Prime Minister Appreciates Bob Marley Too

There are those amongst us who want, but refuse to ask.  Whether you want to call it begging, I prefer to call it network marketing with the sole intent on developing lasting relationships based on a fresh start with new commitments with a view to honouring such. 

I can recall when our Prime Minister had to be hoping all over the globe, only viable transport was the aircraft, our commentators and pundits had an all out field day in trying to quantify the purpose of such travel.  As usual our ‘wagonists’, and those refusing to use the brain that God gave them to think joined in on the raucous.  I must admit I myself after viewing some of ‘Clovis’ cartoons on the matter could not stop laughing hysterically.  My laughter was due to the depiction but make no mistake my laughter was not in agreement with the raucous.  I greatly appreciate comedy done well, and ‘Clovis’ caricatures can bring laughter to my soul.

When you are drowning ones haughty disposition or behaviour will not bring forth the life boat.  There comes such a time when you must ‘git up offa u high horse, lef u yaard an go do what it takes to get pon di life boat’.


Japanese PM brings gift of energy

Asian leader says music, sports bringing Japan, Jamaica closer

(Jamaica Observer) Wednesday, September 30, 2015     70 Comments  

 (L) ABE… Japanese people feel very close to Jamaica through various areas such as music and sports. (R) Junko, Japanese dance hall queen.

JAPANESE Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives in Jamaica for a one-day official visit today, bringing good news on technical cooperation to promote greater energy efficiency and development of Jamaica’s capacity to respond to natural disasters.

Describing Jamaica as a “beautiful land of wood and water”, Prime Minister Abe has also signalled his admiration for Jamaica’s prowess in athletics, in an interview requested by the Jamaica Observer and facilitated by the Japanese Foreign Ministry ahead of his arrival here.

“We were very impressed and excited with the performances of Jamaican athletes who participated in the 15th IAAF World Championships in China this year, having had pre-Championship training in Japan,” Abe said of Jamaica’s 12-medal haul highlighted by Usain Bolt’s three-gold strike and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s two-gold take.

The Japanese leader is coming to Jamaica at the invitation of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who visited the Asian country in November 2013. Simpson Miller renewed the invitation when the two leaders met again in July 2014 in

Trinidad and Tobago at

the first Japan-Caribbean Community (Caricom) summit.

“I had always hoped to visit Jamaica, so it was with great pleasure that I accepted the invitation from Prime Minister Simpson Miler,” said Abe. “I could say that if they are asked about Jamaica, any Japanese would answer that it is a country of athletics, Blue Mountain Coffee, Reggae and beaches. There are some persons who would add rum and ‘Cool Runnings’,” he said lightheartedly. “Although Jamaica is far from Japan geographically, Japanese people feel very close to Jamaica through various areas such as music and sports.”

Japan has become a must-stop for major reggae acts on tour of the Asian country which stages the biggest reggae festival outside of Jamaica. Japanese have also shocked Jamaicans by snatching the Sound System as well as the Dance Hall Queen crowns in international competitions.

Prime Minister Abe’s visit comes in the 51st year of bilateral relations between Kingston and Tokyo, which Abe hailed as “amicable”. He recalled that on the 50th anniversary last year several events were held in both countries, “bringing not only extreme enthusiasm but also greater mutual understanding among the people of our two countries”, and disclosed that his one-day visit to Jamaica was intended to further deepen the strong bonds of friendship and cooperative relationship.

“I also wish to expand the dialogue and cooperation with Jamaica as partners in the international fora which share fundamental values such as democracy, respect for basic human rights and the rule of law. When the first-ever Japan-Caricom Summit was held in July last year, I had fruitful meetings with Caricom leaders, including Prime Minister Simpson Miller. That first year of Japan-Caricom friendship has been very memorable for me,” he told the Observer.

“On that occasion, I announced Japan’s Caricom policy which consists of three pillars: 1) Cooperation towards sustainable development, including overcoming the vulnerabilities particular to small island states; 2) Deepening and expanding bonds founded on exchanges and friendship, and 3) Cooperation in addressing challenges of the international community. We will continue to build on these three pillars without undermining one pillar for another,” the Japanese leader said.

He noted that Japan, as an island country, and the small island states of Caricom shared common challenges such as hurricanes and rising sea levels caused by climate change. For this reason, Japan regarded environment and disaster risk management as a priority area for its assistance to Caricom aimed at overcoming the vulnerabilities particular to small island states, including the use of technology and expertise developed by Japan based on its own experiences as an island.

“Jamaica has had a major challenge in securing affordable energy. Last July, I received a request from Prime Minister Simpson Miller for cooperation in this area. Just like Jamaica, Japan imports much of its energy resources and is vulnerable to fluctuations in energy prices on the international market. Having experienced the oil shock twice, Japan has developed technologies to help us achieve energy efficiency and promote renewable energy. I believe that Jamaica can benefit significantly by taking advantage of these technologies and expertise.

“In addition, Japan will assist Jamaica in its development of capacity-building in the area of natural disaster response through the provision of Japanese experts, training and equipment.

“At the Japan-Caricom Summit, I expressed the importance of providing support from perspectives other than those based on per-capita income, taking into account the ‘vulnerabilities particular to small island states’ that Caricom member states face. The new cooperation with Jamaica will bring this policy into shape. Japan will continue to provide cooperation for Jamaica and other Caricom states, based on their needs,” Prime Minister Abe pledged.

PHOTO:Japan PM visits Bob Marley Museum

(Jamaica Observer) Wednesday, September 30, 2015 | 6:55 PM     

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today visited the famous Bob Marley Museum on Hope Road in Kingston, after arriving in Jamaica.

He is photographed in front of Bob Marley’s statue with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.

He also participated in a wreath-laying at the Cenotaph in National Heroes Park, in honour of soldiers who fought in World Wars I and II, and is also expected to attend a dinner hosted by the prime minister.

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Rain – We Wanted It, It Is Here!!!!!!!

Hoping those in charge is able to handle the down pouring of the much needed rain for many on the Roc.

It is one thing to lament on drought, it is another thing to ‘tun u hand mek fashion wen summen a come’.  There are those that have water in abundance since the drought.  Why is that we could not disconnect them for up to 6 hours daily in order to help a few?  Why is it we could not transport water from those who have in abundance to those who have little or none?  Could we not transport the water from those who have by night between the hours of 8.00pm-6.00am to the affected regions?  What happen, we have no one who wants to work between those hours?  I beg to differ.   I say we are lazy at management and until we ‘act’ out the phrase ‘thinking outside of the box’ and ‘paradigm shift’ we are going no where fast. 

Instead of telling me all the reasons why the above is not plausible, find a way to make it so, I challenge you.



Local weather forecast: Trough affecting the island

Saturday, October 03, 2015 | 10:39 AM       

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Meteorological (Met) Service of Jamaica says a trough induced by Hurricane Joaquin is currently affecting the island and the central Caribbean.

The Met Service in a news forecast this morning said that the trough is expected to remain across the central Caribbean for the next three days.

The forecast for the island this morning is partly cloudy with isolated showers over northern and south-eastern parishes.

For this afternoon, the Met Service said scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected across most parishes leading into tonight, where isolated showers and thunderstorms are expected especially over northern and south-western parishes.

Today’s forecast for selected towns and cities:

Morant Bay: am showers; Kingston: pm showers; Half-Way-Tree: pm showers; Portmore: partly cloudy; Spanish Town: pm thunderstorms; May Pen: partly cloudy; Mandeville: pm thunderstorms; Santa Cruz: pm thunderstorms; Black River: pm thunderstorms; Savanna-La-Mar: thunderstorms; Negril: thunderstorms; Port Antonio: pm showers; Port Maria: pm showers; Ocho Rios: pm showers; St Ann’s Bay: am showers; Brown’s Town: am showers; Falmouth: am showers; Montego Bay: thunderstorms; Lucea: thunderstorms

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