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12/02/09

Permalink 07:28:41 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Culture, Business, News

Wray & Nephew on Fire

In case you havent heard, yesterday the J. Wray and Nephew factory was set ablaze. So large was the fire that seven fire trucks were all on hand to try to put out the flames and there were constant explosions coming from the warehouse which was followed by power outtages, and forcing the authorities to open the toll road to regular traffic so as to prevent too many people from travelling too close to the fire. Instantly all Jamaicans who appreciate the products they produce cringed and some were even drawn to tears as they thought of how the christmas season would be without the rum that is number one choice among party goers, and bakers in the christmas season.

wray an nephew fire** Picture courtesy of Go-Jamaica

I cant deny it, I was one of those people who upon hearing about the fire went into a panic as I thought about a christmas where I would not get to enjoy my mother's egg nog, a tradition that goes back as far as I can remember where Christmas Day starts with Egg Nog with just enough White Rum to wake me up in the morning but still leave mein a mellow mood. Or what about having a dinner without a glass of sorrel spiked with the signature white overproof rum, a drink which I've always been told by my mother to sip like a wine but who's fruit and ginger accented flavour almost makes me want to gulp each time. To have those 2 products made with any other white rum is simply blasphemus and even mere thinking about it makes me shudder.

cake

Or what if after dinner I was to live without the smooth taste of a black scrumptious fruit cake that is normally laced with copious amounts of white rum which is sure to give a kick to anyone who dares to take a bite. All of these things together make drinking on christmas quite challenging because after a meal alone alot of people end up tipsy and to those that are still left standing, more sorrel is always a welcome after dinner drink. It is these things which left alot of people wondering during this the best season of the year, people were forced to wonder "will prices rise?", "will there be a rum shortage?", "how will I bake?", "is everybody alright?", "what about the employees?". Surely a hike in prices, or loss of jobs would definitely not be a welcome effect in this period of economic challenges

But there is a silver lining to all fans of the brand, it seems that in addition to the fact that nobody was hurt, the warehouse and all materials were insured and also:

"General Manager of the Corporate Affairs Division, Greta Bogues said the fire did not impact the warehouses used to store its rum products."

So there you have it, the rum is safe guys. There will be no major loss of jobs and it seems that operations will return to normal after investigations have taken place and rebuilding has commenced. *whew*

white rum

12/01/09

Permalink 06:15:45 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Technology, Business

Shopping online from Jamaica

As most of my readers will realize, I tend to write articles that are based on my opinions/experiences. This is another one of those topics... It regards shopping online from Jamaica. This is something I've been doing for quite a few years now and since the first time I attempted it the level of frustration involved has not eased one bit. More and more I find myself wanting to stab websites for their silly rules which make me have to work extremely hard just to spend my money... Do you realize how silly that sounds? Imagine having to run 5 miles to go to a store to spend your money there, I'm pretty sure you would stop shopping at that store wouldn't you? But this is what we have to go through to buy anything from here. The other silly thing is, due to the internet, we are supposed to be in the whole global marketplace thing, but it seems that Jamaica was left out of that equation and are completely ignored.

The first issue is the payment method. Despite the fact that we can get visa and mastercard and american express cards in Jamaica billed to Jamaica without any issue. It is nearly impossible to use these cards when shopping online. Wat the heck? Why? How does this even make sense? The payment will still be made in US dollars, companies will definitely be payed (I'm sure visa doesnt lack in that area), so why is it that they refuse cards which originate outside of the US?

Then there is also these numerous online bank accounts which have now become available; paypal, google checkout, amazon is coming out with one as well... But these all lack one major flaw, just like a Jamaican credit card, a Jamaican online bank account with US dollars in it is a no-no... It simply baffles the mind really, it's the same money, you will be paid and all you have to do is just ship as per usual. Oh right thats the other thing... shipping.

Alright fine i'll agree its more expensive to ship to Jamaica, theres plane fares and shipping and handling costs and whatever, but most of these are done through a 3rd party (DHL, Fedex) and are billed as a part of the payment... So, yet again its going to go through and it's going to be out of your hands. Why then? Why is it that I cant order and ship and item. Furthermore if its that big and issue to ship it overseas, why can't I choose a destination in the US to ship it to and then sort out how it reaches Jamaica myself? It seems to be pretty simple logic to me.

It wont even make sense to go into how much taxes I have to pay to get the item cleared at customs so that I can have it for my own private use. But the fact still remains the amount of work that goes into online shopping is astounding! Is it that companies dont want my money? Or is it that they dont care about willingly paying customers in Jamaica? Cuz it's not like I'm the only person who wants to buy stuff, I know a few people who know more people and the list goes on. But hey maybe it just wasn't meant to be.

11/30/09

Permalink 09:28:29 pm, by Melba
Categories: Entertainment, Culture

Jamaican Christmas Carol – ‘Christmas a Come’

What I love most about Christmas is the singing of carols. No matter how depressed you are feeling, Christmas carols always helps to lift your spirits. I particularly like Jamaican Christmas carols as they are generally livelier and easy to sing. Not being a singer myself I don’t have to worry about being melodiousJ.

 

Today I thought I would share a Jamaican Christmas carol with you. It’s called ‘Christmas a come”. It dates back to slavery days and is actually a Jonkunnu song. At Christmas time people wear masks of different characters and parade dancing through the streets. Some of the characters portrayed are horses, cows, the devil and a bride. In slavery days the procession of Jonkunnu merrymakers would collect money from the onlookers for their own Christmas celebrations. This song was sung to draw attention to their lack of finery. Now a days, we still have parades of Jonkunnu however its all for fun and no money is collected form the spectators.

 

Two words that you may not know from this Christmas carol are, ‘lama’ which means presents, and ‘deggeday’, which means finery. The last three lines are substituted for ‘not a shoe to me foot’. You can also add your own verses as you are led. Have fun.

Nuff Love

 

Christmas a Come 

 

Christmas a come, me wan me lama,

Christmas a come, me wan me lama,

Christmas a come, me wan me deggeday,

Christmas a come, me wan me deggeday,

 

Pretty, pretty gal, me wan me lama,

Pretty, pretty gal, me wan me lama,

Pretty, pretty gal, me wan me deggeday,

Pretty, pretty gal, me wan me deggeday,

 

Not a shoe to me foot, me wan me lama,

Not a shoe to me foot, me wan me lama,

Pretty, pretty gal, me wan me deggeday,

Pretty, pretty gal, me wan me deggeday,

 

Not a frock to me back…….

 

Not a hat to me head……

 

Not a bangle to me han…..

Permalink 12:12:27 am, by Melba
Categories: Sports, Commentary

Sunday Horse Racing at Caymanas Park

Like it or not Jamaica, live horse racing on a Sunday is here. Today, November 29, 2009 the first ever Sunday race meet was held at Caymanas Park with an eight – race programme scheduled to go off at 1:10pm.

 

Now, there has been a lot of controversy leading up to today’s historical event. The Church won a small victory in that they were able to get the Cabinet to disallow Caymanas Track Limited (CTL) Off –Track betting parlors from opening for business on a Sunday. Although these parlors account for 70 percent of CTL take on local racing I say a small victory because I’m sure with time and given the technology at hand today other ways will be found to allow betting to take place island wide.

 

The director of CTL, Chris Armond, is hoping that Jamaicans will see Sundays at Caymanas Park as a family fun day. I’m not sure what kind of entertainment is being offered for the children, but in my opinion gambling is no lesson any good parent wants to teach their child on any day of the week.

 

At the end of the day, those who want to gamble will do so whether it is local or overseas horse racing. For that mater whether its horse racing or a gaming lounge. I just think that as a nation we need to make up our minds. Do we want to allow gambling or not. The Government closing the Off-Track Betting parlors on a Sunday but allowing gaming lounges to open is the heights of hypocrisy. You may bet your money here but not there. Or is it, I will allow one man to ‘eat food’ (as we say in Jamaica for making money) while I restrict another. Somehow the equation is very unbalanced.

 

The economy is in a bind, Christmas is coming and everyone is looking for a way to make a fast dollars. All these many access to gambling, cash pot, pick three, lucky five, lotto, super lotto, horse racing, gaming lounges and I’m sure I have missed a few, is far too much. It’s like placing candy in front of a child then saying, don’t eat. I must confess I don’t have the answer, but for starters I definitely believe that the frequencies of most of the games need to be cut back. They are far too accessible and much too frequent. I would sure hate to see Jamaicans self destruct because of gambling. Our nation is already in enough problems to create more for ourselves.

 

Nuff Love

11/28/09

Permalink 07:30:06 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Sports, Culture

Jamaican Sports culture

Earlier today I was listening to the radio when it came to the sports reports, while listening to the sports reports they went across all the major things happening, West Indies Cricket vs Austrailia coming up among other things, and it was at this point that I was inspired to write this post. You see I feel the need to highlight something that many people in the world are baffled by and that Jamaicans for some strange reason just fall into line and follow and that is simply our sports culture. I can be brazen enough to use the word culture because quite frankly sports are a major part of Jamaican culture. Every Jamaican person whether tall or short, fat or slim, left or right handed... all possibly have a sport that they have played, would like to play or watch so intensely that to question their knowledge would be no less than blasphemus. It is for this reason I believe that we have so many successful Jamaican men and women as far as international sporting goes.

But how far does this culture go really. Whereas in other regions of the world children start to take sports more seriously at the beginning of high school, in Jamaica it is quite different, we take it as far back as kindergarden level (age 4... sometimes earlier). This isn't to say that we all are hoping that if we train them early we will have a future Usain Bolt or Lebron James on our hands, no sort of pressure like that... its simply to instill in our children the value of sports in their lives and to introduce them to the world of competitiveness before they even learn their A B Cs. Dont believe me, Jamaica has a prep championships. These championships are an all island championship which consists of children (age 5-12) competing against each other in athletic events. Its so intensely competitive that prep schools carry 68 member teams to compete, and of course as is the Jamaican style, records are set and broken. Dont think however that since they are only kid's nobody will really pay much attention to them either, these championships have a fairly large following and while it doesnt pack the national stadium it does still garner a following. In addition to these prep championships we also have football(soccer) competitions, netball competitions and even swimming championships, which are so followed the chances are more than likely you will hear the results in the news.

running kids

But it doesnt end there, it is at High school level that our sports culture really heats up and begins to shine. As a matter of fact you will find most people aligning themselves more with their high schools than with any other institution that they have attended. I am one of the victims of this system as I find that during the school year I need to be kept up to date on everything that Wolmers (my high school) is doing and feel the need to rub it into the face of all my family and friends when we win and hide away when we lose. At the high school level sports like basketball, volleyball, swimming, table tennis etc begin to gain a following with rivalries going back to days long forgotten and "big" matches where 2 rival schools meet up. It culminates at the end with the Boys and Girls championships, this is where schools gain their bragging rights, where stars are born and where talent is seen. These championships are the biggest of their type in the world, and consist of over 150 high schools competing for the crown and the year worth of bragging rights. Dont believe me? Check out the history of the boys and girls championships and I guarantee you that any Jamaican athlete currently dominating on the world stage had their not so humble beginnings at the Boys/girls champs. Even international bodies such as the Iaaf have to watch out for the champs as this is where the future Otteys, Bolts and Powells all start.

ashmeade

Its things like this which make Jamaica such a unique and fun island to live in. Everybody in Jamaica has a champs story, everybody in Jamaica has a high school who they will defend to the grave (whether they like to admit it or not) and everybody is an expert in some level of sport. Heated debates can be heard at every dominoe table, every rum bar and every social gathering about which schools have the better football team, or which school will take champs and these arguments normally culminate in a group of people heartily singing their school songs even more proudly than we do our national anthem. Our sports culture is truly something of marvel but its something which I love.

wolmers

ps: yes I had to post a picture of wolmers winning something. I'm a victim of the sports culture, AGE QOUD AGIS!!!!

11/27/09

Permalink 10:04:18 am, by Melba
Categories: Commentary

Cash Pot Golden Days

Well, Supreme Ventures Limited is at it again. Now they are sweetening the pot a like more by increasing the odds on selected days. With Christmas fast approaching every one is looking for some extra cash. So they are enticing us to spend more in an effort to gain more. The thing is, who really gains, us or them? But that’s another story. So again today is a Golden Day.

How does it work, you ask? Normally the odds of winning are 26 to 1. Players win $260.00 for every $10.00 wager made, or 26 times the amount wagered. Example, if a player selected a number for a Cash Pot draw and wagered $200.00, if the number was selected as the winning number for that draw, the player wins $5,200.00 because: Amount wagered x 26 = $200 x 26 = $5,200.00. Minimum wager is $10.00 . On a Golden Day, any of the days draw, and there are 3 per day, could be a golden draw where the odds become 30 to 1. So for every $10 bet, you can win $300 if your number is selected.

The numbers to choose from are 1 through to 36, which makes the probability of winning 36 to 1. All things considered that’s not bad odds at all. To day is a Friday and as one Cash Pot enthusiast had told me, ‘Di man love play big number pon a Friday’, so a get it, so a give it to you. Anyway, I’m going for gold so my number for today will be 32. Good Luck.

Nuff Love

11/26/09

Permalink 09:50:56 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Commentary

Thanksgiving in Jamaica

Well in the spirit of the season I have to wish a happy thanksgiving to all the Americans and all the Jamericans who are currently enjoying their turkey day celebrations and the requisite meal that goes with it. Yes this is the day when Americans give thanks for... well for everything they have, its pretty noble I guess, if you forget the whole killing off of the Indians and taking their lands and then relegating them to the crappiest lands in their own lands and then treating them like they weren't citizens and then eventually after years of protest made them citizens *exhales*. Yea Americans have got alot to be thankful for. But Americans aren't the only people who have something to be thankful for, we here in Jamaica have alot to be thankful for too.

I'm thankful that, despite the mere fact that our economy has been run by a set of incompetents for quite a number of years still remains afloat and looks like it may actually survive a little longer, despite being run by a newer and even more stupid set of idiots.

I'm thankful that Jamaicans, while we currently are in a position which is not envied by any country in the world, still manage to party and enjoy ourselves.

Further to this previous one, I'm thankful that Jamaica produces the best set of rums in the world (Whites!). Not to mention the best beer in the world (Red Stripe).

I'm thankful that through the NEPA our beaches are still some of the most beautiful in the world and I can easily brag about that fact anywhere in the world I travel to as I laugh at their poor quality beaches.

I'm thankful that I dont have to import my dancehall and reggae music - even though it seems we have to import everything else we use/consume.

I'm thankful that Jamaican food is also easily among the best in the world,  (Cant wait for some ackee and saltfish and some roast breadfruit... or some jerk pork or chicken... *sigh)

I'm also thankful that I have a family that loves and cares for me and is willing to stick with me through my law degree.

And finally. I'm thankful that despite all the hardships, struggles, and pains I go through, I was born in, still live in, and am a proud citizen of this the most beautiful Island in the world JAMAICA!

Permalink 07:44:19 pm, by Melba
Categories: Business

ATM Scam

I don’t known how many of you might have already heard of the car scam, where thieves are lay waiting persons in parking areas and copying their car information by air waves. I’m not too technical so if I’m using the wrong terms bear with me. Apparently the thieves are able to get the code to open your car doors when you use your automatic button on your car alarm to lock the doors. As soon as you leave the car unattended they proceed to rob you.

Well I understand that the same concept is being used at the ATM machines. A device is attached to the door of ATM booths that captures the information on the magnetic strip when you swipe to open the door. Then they have a hidden camera inside of the booth to get your PIN number.

 One recommendation is to use a card like a Magna Rewards card or even a health insurance card with a magnetic strip to open the door to the ATM. Yes, it contains some personal data, but not assess to your money. Can you imagine if we were to use the ‘cunning’ in this country to build it rather than to tear it down? From what I’ve heard, the good news is that four persons were arrested for fraud in the New Kingston area. I’m sure there are still more car and ATM thieves out there so please be careful.

Nuff Love

11/25/09

Permalink 07:48:51 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Entertainment

Vybz Kartel really is a demon.

Ok maybe my title was a little provocative. I wasn't going to really say that Vybz Kartel is a demon in the sense of being a servant of satan, I dont want to say anything like that because well I dont know about that. What I'm speaking about this time is just his demeanor, he seems to just be annoyed with just being a regular artiste producing music, without being in clashes (whether lyrically or physically) with any other people in the music business. This constant need to be in conflict to me seems pretty demonic or even more like Loki (for all those greek history and mythology lovers out there).

So lemme start at the beginning. Vybz Kartel was of course a member of Bounty Killer's camp, under Bounty's tutelage his career rose to great heights and he became one of the most popular dancehall artists in Jamaica. He then fell out with Bounty and left and became his own artist. He continued to gain in popularity and then started his own group of artists called the "portmore empire" which eventually became known as Gaza.

vybz

Now this may seem to be a pretty much normal evolution of an artist until you look at what happened in between this. After leaving the allliance (bounty's group), he almost immediately begun badmouthing Bounty. I mean really really bad, things you dont even say to your enemy, he was saying. It was at this point in time that another Alliance artist (Movado) decided that he was going to step in because Bounty didnt seem to want to counteract (seems like Bounty finally got mature), and Movado started to counteract, and there was a fun lyrical war going on between Gaza(portmore empire) and Gullyside(alliance). Eventually thoughthe lyrical war started to get serious and became a physical war. This is the point where I began to realize that kartel really is seemingly a evil war loving demon.

Now it was bad enough that he started bad mouthing the man who gave him the boost to step up into the dancehall business. But he's also started warring with members inside his own clique. He kicked out his hype man in Jeffery Hype (coincidentally), as in really kicked him out. There have been reports of Kartel literally beating Jeffery before he got rid of him. Then Aidonia left Gaza and instantly Kartel start cussing him as well. It seems as if to make matters worse Kartel then decided that he wont just be pissed off with Aristes alone, he then decides that he is gonna start hitting out against Stephen "The Genius" Macgreggor because apparently Stephen decided to do a song with Movado... For all who dont know, Stephen is a producer, he doesnt even sing much but Kartel thought that he might as well. And in his most recent escapades, he kicked out (both literally and figuratively) Lisa Hype after pictures were released of her giving oral sex (just google it, I cant post those pics here). And has also apparently been kicking out other members of his own clique slowly but surely.

This activity by Kartel leads me to conclude that he's either mad or just doesnt like to just have some level of peace or equilibrium around him... So... he's a demon

kartel

11/24/09

Permalink 08:06:03 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Politics, Business

Can the economy recover (Final part)

Ok so this is basically the last of a series of rants I have regarding our economy and the possibility of recovery. I've touched on the overall issue and I've touched on the issue of crime (however briefly). Now the next thing i'm going to touch on is the actual economy and the things that need to be done. Ok i'm gonna start by looking at the problem. Simply put we import too much. What? You're surprised? Of course the rebuttal that always comes out from all these people is that "but we aren't a 1st world country, we dont have the manufacturing prowess..." etc etc shut up, just shut up. This is the exact kind of thinking why we are in this position right now.

Yes Jamaica doesnt have oil, nor do we have metals to produce cars, or computers... So why are we importing anything else? Hm... makes a little sense doesnt it. How many Jamaican's realize that we import water.... yes the land of wood and water imports water... and from all places we import water from as far away as singapore (ps singapore has no rivers). We even import mangoes and coconuts... The same fruit that during mango season you find in such abundance its almost sickening. Yet we import... what the F*&(%?

The fact is, the key to becoming a productive and money making society is to produce. This "buy Jamaican build Jamaica" is an excellent program but at the same time it is only the beginning. We need to stop investing in other things and the only thing we should be importing are things which aid the manufacturing process. Do you realize that Trinidad the oil sheik of the Caribbean now has production facilities for alot of the packaged foods that we ourselves import (Sunshine snacks is the major brand). Ever thought about why this happens despite the fact that they have oil? Because they are planning ahead, oil will eventually become useless to us with alternative energy and its important to have a backup, in Trinidad's case its food and they are doing quite good job of it. As a matter of fact Trinidad now imports raw materials from Jamaica and sells it back to Jamaica as a packaged good for 3x! How smart do you guys feel? Jamaica has plenty of raw materials which we can use to fuel our own industries, but we just need to develop the industries, and its possible, dont believe me, check out the JMA website. Stop importing unnecessary crap!

jma

Speaking of alternative energy. Yes we need to start investing in alternative energy too. Oil continues to rape the Jamaican economy when there are LONG TERM solutions to our energy problems. The only reason we have for oil is to fuel our vehicles nothing else. There are too many alternatives in and around Jamaica to depend on oil. We have the energy from waves in the ocean, solar energy (we have sun most of the year!), wind energy, geothermal energy etc and a large investment now will pay of 10 years in the future when the next oil crises hits us.

But where are we to get all the money from. Its simple, first of all when we stop importing we'll have more money to spend elsewhere, we wont need foreign exchange as much and therefore wont be wasting the local currency (remember a currency is only as important as its value, if we value it less, its value will fall). Also as we import less we'll have more money to shuffle around which could then be used to pay the rest of the nurses and teachers etc. The next thing is... Govt pay public sector workers retroactively in bonds. Because if you are going to loan somebody loan your own locals. Please note people that bonds are worth much more than regular money and can easily be sold to banks and other people who realize their value if you need the immediate cash (yes i even brought the pvt sector into this)

However some of the money has to come from taxation - Yes I touched on this. Just look at the facts, tax compliance is only at about 30% and the majority of this comes from the middle class (the people who bear the brunt of the tax burden). So how do we get the upper and lower classes to pay taxes... its really simple, the matalon report 10 years ago said the same thing: CUT ALL TAXES... and then implement a single tax. This tax will cover all goods except BASIC NECESSITIES. Therefore everybody has to pay taxes, nobody can be exempt from a tax that they have to pay to eat etc. Therefore tax compliance shall rise (it wont be perfect but it can rise). This extra income will then be reinvested in Jamaica and repay debts and the cycle continues.

Of course this will mean people will have to "ban dem belly" for the next 10 or so years but look at what will happen afterwards. We'll have independent industries, as a matter of fact outside people will start to depend on us, we'll produce enough for ourselves and probably have enough to even start exporting, our debts will be in control (though we wont be out of it I assure you) and oil will be a thing of the past for us. Sounds real simple huh?

*exhale* *grumble grumble*

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Reasons why I love my Jamaican Mom

1. My Mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait till we get home."

2. My Mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You going get a ass'n when we get home!"

3. My Mother taught me to MEET A CHALLENGE.
"What di backside yu thinkin'? Answer me when me talk to you...Don't talk back to me!"

4. My Mother taught me CONSEQUENCES.
"If yu run cross de road an' cyar lick yu dung, a goin' kill yu wid lick."

5. My Mother taught me THE VALUE OF EDUCATION.
"If yu no go a school, yu a go tun tief or walk an' pick up bottle."

6. My Mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If yu tun over yu eye lid an fly pitch pan it, it a go stay so fi evva."

7. My Mother taught me to THINK AHEAD.
"Is not one time monkey goin' wan' wife"

8. My Mother taught me ESP.
"Yu tink a don't know what yu up to nuh?"

9. My Mother taught me HUMOR.
"If yu don' eat food, breeze goin' blow yu 'way."

10. My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT.
"Come an' tek yu beatin' like man."

11. My Mother taught me about SEX.
"Yu tink say yu drop from sky?"

12. My Mother taught me about GENETICS.
"Yu jus' like yu faada."

13. My Mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Yu tink mi come from "Back A Wall?"

14. My Mother taught me about WISDOM OF AGE.
"When yu get to be as ol' as me, yu wi understan'."

15. And my all time favorite... JUSTICE.
"One day wen yu have pickney, a hope dem treat yu same way."

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