Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Jamaica Observer lead: £7.5 trillion for slavery

 I had to post this revolutionary lead in today's Jamaica Observer! - Jean Anita
from The Jamaica Observer

Reparations commission says Ja would be due £2.3 trillion of total for Caribbean
BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter
Tuesday, September 23, 2014     54 Comments

THE National Commission on Reparations (NCR) says Jamaica would be due at least £2.3 trillion (approximately J$416.3 trillion) from any slavery reparations paid by Britain to the region.
This money would be able to pay off Jamaica’s national debt of $2 trillion and set the nation on a new economic path.
The figure was based on the NCR’s calculation of Jamaica’s 30.64 per cent of the £7.5 trillion calculated by British academic theologian, Dr Robert Beckford, as being owed by Britain to its former colonies.

Read more here ...

  • When will we start to focus on the real problem. If Jamaica got the whole 7.5 trillion, we would be back where we are in a few years.
    We have wasteful corrupt politicians who put party before country and a lazy corrupt populace who give them undying support/
    The PM's mouth slipped: We are spending MORE to do LESS....and everyone at the stadium applauded!

  • I seriously hope that Britain, does not even glance at anything named reparation to any failed BLACK state like ours. Jamaica failed because Jamaicans allowed it to fail. The reason why Jamaicans cant even go to Britain freely is because of Jamaicans. When will Jamaicans and people of African descent, start admitting that the reason why our states cannot escape failure, is because we still think we are enslaved and continue to blame colonialism for OUR failure

    Our present situation stems directly from slavery, to say otherwise would indicate grave ignorance. Everything that occurs leads to some kind of consequence, be it good or bad. Slavery has set us back tremendously and that's very obvious. If I'm wrong, ask yourself if we would be in the same situation today if slavery didn't happen. The answer I'm sure will be NO!

    I applaud and support any move for any empire that benefitted financially and otherwise to pay reparations. Folks who hear " Reparations" immediately sees and thinks $$$.....and why not?? The JEWISH people were paid (still being paid) for their pain and suffering. Apologies have come to them from all angles and I salute those brothers/sisters for being resolute in demanding their reparations which has come in words and deeds. What people has failed to understand and grasp pis the long-term damage that slavery has wreaked on generations of people of African decent. Countries like Franch and Britain et al must be held "accountable". If that means zeroing out the Caribbean's National debt then so be it. The fight for Reparations should be a national and regional battle cry. It should be a matter of pride. REPARATIONS MI SEH!!

    I like your post. The jews suffered for 4 Years. FOURS!!!!!!. We suffered for over 600 years.

    They claim it was a bit longer than that.
  • No money can compensate for any.form of human. Bondage

    The people feel that it fair that their country be compensated for the free labor.

    Good luck collecting anywhere near that amount...didn't you hear Britain is so broke they are borrowing from China? Good luck iyah. I will work for mine..
  • Yes sireee!!! Story a come to bump. Hmmmmm so if this is owed by Britain to Jamaica I wonder how much the Spanish owes Jamaica?

    • How much do the Jamaican government (past and present) owe Jamaica.. WE are our worst nightmare... Slavery was horrific I do agree, but we were on a path of progress after we gained independence... Could you please tell me what happened?

      • What happened is that slavery didn't actually end, it just transcended to what it is now.

      • What happened was that people were delusional thinking we were on some path to progress in 60s. From looks of it some people still are. Path to progress LOL!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Jamaicans among South Florida's Most Influential

Here's a message from Attorney-at-Law and Immigration expert Dahlia Walker-Huntington, who with three other outstanding Jamaicans, were recently honoured:
Dahlia (right) with fellow awardeees
Humbled, honored and proud all at the same time - thank you Legacy Magazine for the honor of being named one of South Florida's 25 Most Influential & Prominent Black Women in Business & Leadership for 2014. Congrats to my fellow awardess: Catherine Foote Malcolm of Jerk Machine, Rep Hazelle Rogers and Joy Thomas of Grace Foods.
To God goes all the glory Horace Ward, Georgia Robinson, Beverly Findlay and Allison Smith - thanks for your support and Glen Huntington, my rock, much love

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Jamaica needs more ‘Indecoms’

by Jean Lowrie-Chin | Jamaica Observer column | published 15 Sept 2014
I look at every Commissioner of Police with so much sympathy!  Past scenarios have rumours swirling and before you know it, “Commish” falls from someone’s good graces and the taps begin to sound. We do hope that Commissioner Carl Williams will be able to weather the many storms he must face in this rigorous post.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Glenmore Hinds (right) presents the baton to new Commissioner of Police Dr Carl Williams signalling the change of command at the installation ceremony yesterday at the Police Officers’ Club for the new Commissioner. (OBSERVER PHOTO: MICHAEL GORDON)
It is a fact that there are some terrible rogues in the JCF, but Jamaica should know that those are in the minority.  Most of our police officers are dedicated, hardworking Jamaicans, some of the most courageous and disciplined you would meet anywhere in the world.
This is why we must never read or listen to the news in a vacuum.  This is why we should ask probing questions like … why is it that there is an Indecom for wayward cops, and no similar organisation for wayward politicians?  Why is it that a semi-literate can build a shack, put a cross on it, put on a pastor’s collar and dupe poor people into buying him/her house and car while they walk miles to church?  Where is the church’s version of Indecom?  Why do teachers continue to resist any form of performance assessment, while police officers must look sharply at Force orders and are closely scrutinised before each promotion? Who reviews these top-heavy public boards of directors who attend retreats at posh resorts, the tab picked up by struggling taxpayers who are treated with scant regard by the very organisations these boards are supposed to lead?

So you see, my dear reader, that with only so many column inches and hours of news, it suits many that Jamaica has an official beating stick – the criticized, vilified police force!  Worse yet, we have heard from several respected, retired officers how they have suffered from the machinations of corrupt fellow officers, manipulated by even more corrupt politicians.  One such distinguished gentleman related how he was accused of visiting the house of a top politician in an opposing party when he did not even know where that person lived.  Before he knew it, he was virtually ostracized by the very organisation which he had served with distinction all his life. 

David and GoliathNow, if we really want a Jamaica where ‘justice, truth be ours forever,’ how can we continue to be so sheep-like in our public opinion?  Every study shows the terrible burden of crime and corruption on a country’s economy.  On almost every newscast we see the sub-human conditions under which our fellow Jamaicans are living.  This, in a country with 63 Members of Parliament, 216 Parish Councillors and a hefty Cabinet of 20. They preside over ministries and councils that are to ensure that this tiny little rock can be well-run.  Where is the ‘Indecom’ to ask why citizens must have sewage running through their streets and mountains of uncollected garbage? Who can a poor taxi man turn to, when potholes send him to the garage to replace expensive parts almost on a monthly basis?
If you read Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, ‘David and Goliath’, you will understand why we can do nothing efficiently under this top-heavy system. That well-aimed slingshot by a smart and courageous shepherd boy brought down a giant made slow and foolish by his heavy armour. We need the courage and smarts of a David to fight this persistent poverty of our people.  Interestingly, I see some promising ‘Davids’, male and female, joining both the PNP and JLP.  Let them not be drawn into this ‘conspiracy of mediocrity’ that is holding us back.  I have coined the phrase ‘conspiracy of mediocrity’ with good reason, and very soon, it will be the subject of a book by a wonderful Jamaican thinker.
Yes, we are glad there is an Indecom to help keep our police officers honest, but let us not believe that this alone will address the injustice that is enslaving our people.  We wish Mr Williams a successful tour of duty and all other leaders the courage to step up, so they can withstand the level of scrutiny to which Mr Williams will be subjecting himself.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Food for the Poor equips Fishing Villages in Honduras

Food for the Poor has been providing boats and equipment for a series of
fishing villages in Honduras. President of Food for the Poor Inc in
Florida, Robin Mahfood sent us these photos with this note:
"These are first pictures out of the fishing villages in Honduras. We
opened 3 [equipped villages] and in about 4 weeks we will open another
3.They are very proud and thankful for this opportunity to better their

Friday, September 12, 2014

Roland Watson-Grant's 'Sketcher' is Aussie GQ summer pick!!

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Roland Watson-Grant's novel 'Sketcher' is Essential Summer Reading for GQ!!

GG congratulates Gleaner on 180th Anniversary

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Greetings in the name of our Lord!
September 13, 1834: Forty three days after the abolition of slavery and the beginning of the apprenticeship system, the Gleaner had its first publication. The former slave masters at that time received a compensation of £20 million. The newly freed slaves received nothing but a nominal emancipation in which they remained oppressed by new tough, vagrancy laws with newly built prisons and the undiminished right of the planter class to inflict corporal punishment on any one of them - male or female.
This was the social milieu, in which Jacob and Joshua deCordova printed the first edition of their four-paged weekly newspaper named "The Gleaner and Weekly Compendium of News", which is the ancestor of The Gleaner Company whose 180th anniversary we now celebrate. These brothers understood discrimination and persecution. Their parents were among the hundreds of Jews who had fled to Jamaica from persecution in Spain. Despite their achievements, they were still discriminated against by members of the planter class.
I want to take back to the social cauldron of post-emancipation Jamaica which provided gripping material for the factual, balanced news they were committed to publish. Small wonder that the initial issue carefully stated that "it certainly appears that the greatest care and precaution should be taken to prevent any outbreaking or the ebullition of any disorderly spirit among our peasantry" and that "unanimity and good feeling among all classes are so imperatively called for."

David Vann deCordova
Mr. David Vann deCordova, great great grandson of Jacob deCordova, can be proud of his pioneering ancestors as he celebrates with us today, the 180th Anniversary during this service.
The deCordovas could not have imagined that they had birthed a giant whose resilience has taken it through massively destructive fires and the disastrous 1907 earthquake which destroyed their building. It also killed Mr. Charles de Mercado, the first Board Chairman since the Gleaner's incorporation as a public company in 1897. Yet the Gleaner did not consider failure to be an option.
Therein also lies a tale of not only public/private sector partnership, but also the strong foundation of press freedom which Jamaica enjoys. As The Gleaner pushed on with its rebuilding, its temporary home was the Government Printing Office, which had also hosted it after fire destroyed their Harbour Street building in 1882. However, during all of this journey together, I have seen no evidence that The Gleaner acquiesced to the demands of government, even in those days.
The North Street media giant has taken advantage of every lesson learnt along the 180 years from Emancipation through to Independence and in these challenging times as we journey towards accomplishing Vision 2030. We enjoy their cutting edge technology which not only maintains its relevance, but also attracts a readership which is internet, digital and social media based.
When you add to that The Gleaner Company's successful foray into radio, you will readily agree that this company has evolved from being "The Old Lady on Harbour Street" as she was once affectionately known, to the proud "Giant of North Street".

In, this March 15, 2010 photo, Gleaner Chairman Oliver Clarke (second right) and Christopher Barnes (second left), who became managing director on February 1, 2011, are flanked by Gleaner board directors Professor Gerald Lalor, honorary chairman, and Dr Carol Archer.- Rudolph Brown/Photographer
In, this March 15, 2010 photo, Gleaner Chairman Oliver Clarke (second right) and Christopher Barnes (second left), who became managing director on February 1, 2011, are flanked by Gleaner board directors Professor Gerald Lalor, honorary chairman, and Dr Carol Archer.- Rudolph Brown/Photographer
This Giant takes its corporate social responsibility as seriously as it takes its commitment "to being the source for accurate and independent information".  I especially commend the initiative which led The Gleaner to launch the Jamaican Spelling Bee which is still going strong after more than fifty years, as well as their ‘Peace And Love in Schools' programme. As a founding partner of the Governor-General's Achievement Awards Programme, The Gleaner's support for our commitment to recognize and encourage effective contributions, volunteerism and excellence among our people, is deeply appreciated.
So, I am pleased by this opportunity to publicly thank the Hon. Oliver Clarke for his brilliant leadership of the Gleaner Company over several decades to now. Mr. Barnes, as Managing Director, has brought his own fervour and dynamism to serve a confident, committed and hard working team. I pay tribute also to the late veteran journalist, Theodore Sealy, for his indelible contribution to The Gleaner's development and the respect which it has earned.
I wish for The Gleaner Company continued success, in the assurance that at all times you will seek to remain true to your Mission and Principles, including your vision define your role as:
"to report and comment on the facts: to be the voice of reason; to champion the cause of a truly independent Jamaica; to help citizens in their exercise of freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship and association, and freedom from ignorance".
I trust that God will give you the guidance to accomplish your mission.

Thank you!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Keep the Mario Deane case alive

by Jean Lowrie-Chin | Jamaica Observer column published 8 September 2014
Wilmot Perkins - from
It was the late Wilmot “Motty” Perkins who made Agana Barrett a household name.   In 1992, Barrett, a carpenter in his twenties, and two other cellmates suffocated in a cruelly overcrowded cell at the Constant Spring Police Station.  Thanks to Perkins’ relentless hammering of the issue, along with the efforts of Jamaicans for Justice, the Jamaican public finally learned about the inhumane conditions of our lock-ups.  Sadly, history has repeated itself with the gruesome beating of a young construction worker, Mario Deane on August 3 in a St James police lock-up – he died three days later.
Reports are that Deane was battered by two men because he had sat on a bed for which one of his attackers had declared ownership. We hear that one man being accused of the murder is schizophrenic and the other is a deaf-mute. Describing Mario Deane’s injuries, United States-based pathologist Dr Michael Baden noted that there was no chance of survival, given the head injuries that he had received.  The photograph of Mario lying unconscious, his swollen face bandaged and tubed, haunts us, as it should. We in Jamaica have to stop talking about ‘love’ and ‘justice’ through two sides of our mouths. 
Items made by prisoners
Only a few month ago we visited the Horizon Park Correctional Centre where we saw on display furniture, paintings and accessories done by inmates in various prisons throughout Jamaica – they were excellent, market-ready. Then Commissioner of Corrections Jevene Bent-Brooks told the audience that there had been increased emphasis on rehabilitation for prisoners and their eventual re-integration into society. Regrettably, Mrs Bent-Brooks resigned the post shortly after, noting that the budget allocation for the correctional system was woefully inadequate. The comparison made by Professor Trevor Munroe makes it abundantly clear: $110 million for the entire year vs $100 million for last year’s and $54 million for this year’s one-day Independence Gala.
And so we cringe with embarrassment when after visiting the Barnett Street jail cell where the fatal incident took place, Dr Baden stated: "We toured the cell in which Mario was injured. It is bad. It is unconscionably small, it does not permit five adult people to reside in this cramped-type cell, with five concrete beds, not beds, just hard concrete.”
Evadne Hamilton (left), aunt of Mario Deane (right), weeps uncontrollably as her nephew’s body is whisked from the Cornwall Regional Hospital morgue by a hearse from Madden’s Funeral Home. (PHOTO: PHILLIP LEMONTE)
The grief of Mario’s relatives wrung our hearts. Observer reporter Horace Hines described the scene after the autopsy: “the sight of the hearse leaving the facility with Deane’s body was too much for his aunt, Evadney Hamilton, to watch. ‘Mario! Mario! Murder!..,’ she wailed as relatives tried to console her.
Let us be clear that this horrible fate could have been visited on any one of us. We know innocent people who have been jailed in error. Mario Deane was arrested because he was in possession of a single spliff. It is a parent’s worst nightmare. 
If we continue to make prisons a place of brutality, we will be turning first offenders into hardened criminals … if they manage to survive.  Is it any wonder then that we are all imprisoning ourselves behind burglar bars?  On a visit to Norway, we were told of the humanitarian conditions in their prisons, and noted that there were large neighbourhoods with just a couple of policemen on duty.  Many folks left their doors wide open. 
There are rich resources in our country that can turn our desperation into hope – what we need is the level of governance that will make every citizen feel respected and protected.  There are leaders who still have the love of our people – now is the time for them to step up and prove themselves deserving. Let us never tire to speak of Mario Deane and the many others who suffer injustice. As Black power activist Angela Davis wrote, “If they come for me in the morning, they will come for you in the night.”