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10/27/09

Permalink 05:57:26 pm, by Angel
Categories: Commentary

Informer – Good or Bad

On the topic of informers, I would guest that if someone saw a rather large man beating a woman at a bus-stop out of the three options put forward a) Ignore it and act as if nothing happened b) call the relevant authorities to the situation, trying to get as much evidence (photos etc) of the crime or c) try to stop the act, c, tying to stop the act may be the option against the law.
I must say I fully agree that an informer is certainly not a bad thing; however the reality is that people are afraid. The phrase ‘informer fi ded’ is not one to be taken lightly. Too often we have heard and seen where persons are killed because they are willing to talk. There are also no guaranties of protection from the law.
So, would I act, the truth is until you are faced with the situation you really don’t know. I remember being held up at gun point. When the gun man tried to grab me, I took off like Bolt, jumped over a six foot fence and got away. Normally, there is no way I could jump a six foot fence.
As a nation we definitely are in a dilemma. ‘Dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.’ I really do hope however that we can all find the will to do the correct thing before it’s too late.

Permalink 12:12:37 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Business

Would you act?

As I sit in my criminal law class I was presented with a situation which forced me to think hard on the Jamaican Psyche. Specifically the saying that we all know called which goes by the phrase - Hear and Deaf, See and Blind. For the unitiated out there, this saying simply means that. Things which you hear you should simply pretend you are deaf even though you clearly heard it, and things which you see, just pretend you are blind and you didn't see it.

This is something which carries across the Jamaican landscape quite regularly because as has been reported for years now, people who witness crimes rarely if ever report it. This is quite simply because of a fear of being called an informer or being sought out by the criminal offender and being harmed. While I can understand the fear of being harmed by a criminal offender, especially with the seemed failure of the Jamaican witness protection program (if any such thing exists). I cannot understand the fear of being called an informer.

An informer is certainly not a bad thing, this person has information, and informs the relevant authorities of the information. I dont see how this can be regarded as bad, maybe as a child if you tell your mother that your sibling stole some candy despite the fact that this affected nobody at all, then being called a taddle-tale (for the foreign readers) can be seen as bad. However if you see a man assault another man on the street with a stone or a knife, then maybe it makes sense to call the police and let them know that hey, this guy did a bad thing.

But what I cannot understand is where this culture came from, I doubt it would be something historical, though I can see how it can be linked to slavery I dont see why it would be something that is so perpetrated in our modern society. Jamaica being the society that we are, should be praising people who inform on criminals instead of berating them and giving them titles.

I put forward the following question to you however reader: If you see a rather large man beating a woman at a bus-stop do you a) Ignore it and act as if nothing happened b) call the relevant authorities to the situation, trying to get as much evidence (photos etc) of the crime or c) try to stop the act

As I just learned by the way... one of those may be against the law, guess which one :)

Permalink 12:02:13 am, by Melba
Categories: Commentary

Cashpot

While we are on the topic of gambling in Jamaica, I could not resist elaborating on the game of chance, Cashpot. Cashpot is a form of lotto where only one number is drawn. It is played three times a day, Monday to Saturday and has literally taken over Jamaica. Those of you who live here, known exactly what I mean. A lot of our people, especially the working class, eat, sleep and dream Cashpot. It’s the first thing they think about in the mornings and the last at nights.

First of all there are rakes. Everything that happens to you or those around you is a rake. For instance you are driving to work and several dogs run in front of your car, that’s a rake, you ‘haffi’ buy number 11 for dog. Or you walking on the street and a man call to you, that is another rake. In that instance the number depends on whether the man was a black man, a white man, a Chinese man or a police man. They each have a different number. As I said before, it doesn’t have to happen to you. If a family member or a friend should buck their toe or knock their heads, that’s also a rake. In the instance of the foot, make sure to find out if it was the left or right foot, as they represent two different numbers.

The next sure things are dreams. There is a number attached to almost anything and everything. You have to be careful how you talk about your dreams as any Cashpot enthusiasts within earshot is sure to run out and buy the associated number. What puzzles me is the reasoning process in deciphering dreams. How I see it, there are numerous numbers that could be derived from any one dream. For instance a dream in which you go shopping. The number could be the item(s) bought, or where they were purchased, or what you were wearing. So which number do you buy?

‘Follow on’ is the next sure thing. This one is hard to explain but I will try. Basically it depends on the last number drawn. Example if the number was 23 representing black man, the next number could be 16, young girl. Why? Because black man love young girl. Never mind that each number represents several things. It never fails to amuse me to hear, “A shouda did know sey a that di a come”.

The final qualifier for Cashpot numbers is that the number could ‘whappi back”. That one is easy; it means that the last number is repeated. Although some might find all this very amusing the truth is that it’s gospel to many others. Some keep records of Cashpot numbers and religiously purchase daily. Some will go as far as to tell you that many days Cashpot “gi dem a food”. So, is it right or wrong, it’s not for me to judge. The fact is that many have come to depend on it.

Nuff Love

10/25/09

Permalink 04:14:31 pm, by Melba
Categories: Commentary

Gambling in Jamaica

I remember when my grandfather used to hide and buy Dropan and Pickapow. The ‘sellers’ used to have to hide and sell, and the ‘buyers’ used to have to hide and buy from the law. Mark you, my grandfather used to have to also hide from my grandmother, but that’s another story. Now a day’s one can buy Cashpot, (different name, same game) not one, not two but three times a day, Monday to Saturday. And you don’t have to hide. In fact the draw is on national television for all to see.
Then there is also Pick Three, three times a day, Lucky Five and Dollars, daily except on Sundays. Lotto and Super Lotto are drawn twice a week. I’m not yet finished, live racing is at Caymanas Park twice a week with approval recently given for a third day, Sunday to commence sometime in November 2009. You can also bet on races overseas on the other days of the week including Sundays. Still not satisfied, got more money to loose, around every other corner we now have a Gaming Lounge, slot machines galore.
So the question is, is gambling in Jamaica, legal or illegal? If it’s illegal why is all of this ‘open’ gambling being allowed? If legal why are we not making some serious foreign exchange from it?
Bauxite, Sugar and Banana died or have been killed. Even our little piece of the sky’s, Air Jamaica, is on the chopping blocks. Tourism is the only thing we have left on the books to earn a dollar. We already have the sun, sea, sand, music, great food and fabulous, intriguing people. All we need now is some serious money to go with that.
So, does anyone know for sure? I would love to know the answer along with your views.

Nuff love

Permalink 07:12:56 am, by Melba
Categories: Commentary, News

Extradition request for Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke

One of the hottest topics in Jamaica for the last couple of weeks is the extradition request made by the United States government for Jamaican, Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke on alleged drug trafficking charges. It is also understood that the Jamaican Government has four other outstanding extradition files which includes at least two prominent Jamaicans. It has been weeks now and still the Jamaican Government is not ready to sign.

In fact subsequent to the request for Coke, extradition request were received and warrants signed for another Jamaican, Oneil Clarke. Clarke who is wanted by the Chicago Police Department was arrested at his home in the district of Mount Carey, St. James. So why are some extradition request being signed promptly while outstanding ones are still unsigned.

Why do we have to honour these extradition requests anyway? Well, Jamaica signed an Extradition Treaty with the United States on June 14, 1983 which was entered into force Citation on July 7, 1991. Extradition is the official process whereby one nation or state requests and obtains from another nation the surrender of a person for trial for a crime punishable by the laws of the requesting state and committed outside the state of refuge. It is regulated within countries by law (extradition acts) and between countries by treaties. The refusal of Jamaica to honour an extradition request by the United States could lead to strained international relations between the two states. (No more US visa)

Interestingly enough, Lester Lloyd Coke otherwise known as Jim Brown, the father of Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, died in a fire at the General Penitentiary in 1992 while awaiting extradition to the United States for alleged murder and drug trafficking.

It was reported that last year 19 other Jamaicans were extradited to the United States. So the question is why the hesitation for Coke and what will this really mean for Jamaica.

Nuff Love

10/24/09

Permalink 11:10:39 pm, by Melba
Categories: Commentary

The Jamaica Diaspora

Jamaicans can be found in every corner of the world. I remember being on a bus in Hong Kong talking to my companion when a man rushed from the top of the bus to meet us. He was a Jamaican living there and was so excited to hear a fellow Jamaican. The thing is, no matter how far away you are from home, and no matter how settled or happy you may be, there is a part of you that craves home and the things of your homeland. Not because you no longer live in Jamaica means you don’t care, you still want to see Jamaica flourish.

Jamaicans living abroad play a significant role in the development of Jamaica. They contribute financially in the form of remittances; they provide priceless charitable assistance in health care delivery, community development and medical missions. They sponsor basic schools and provide scholarships for tertiary education. They also contribute to tourism through their numerous visits to the island.

The Jamaica Diaspora is there to coordinate the efforts of individuals and small groups. A Jamaican Diaspora Foundation has been formed in the United States, in Canada and in the United Kingdom. The Foundation serves as a liaison with the Jamaican Diaspora, the government, the private sector and community-based organizations in Jamaica. Contributions are made to law enforcement, social development and health issues to name a few. Another area were the Diaspora Foundation is being effective is in education. An Education Trust Fund has been set up to provide well-needed school infrastructure and for funding scholarships and bursaries for all levels of education in Jamaica.

Most Jamaicans migrate to make a better life for themselves and their families. Between them, their children and grand children, they represent a talented, skilled and professional group with the potential to have a positive impact on the development of Jamaica. So if you are a Jamaican or the immediate descendant of a Jamaican living abroad, get involved with the Jamaican Diaspora Foundation nearest to you. Jamaica needs your help.

Nuff Love

Permalink 08:59:32 pm, by Melba
Categories: Sports, Commentary

Jamaican Netballers – The Sunshine Girls

After battling for third and fourth place in major netball championships world wide, for many years now, the Jamaican Sunshine Girls are finally poised to move to the up. They recently returned from England where they claimed the silver medal in the Fast Net version of the game at the World Fast Net Series in Manchester. This was the first time the Sunshine Girls placed second at an international event at the senior level. New Zealand claimed the gold and world champions, Australia the bronze.

Australia, New Zealand, England and Jamaica in that order have dominated the four top spots in netball for some time now. This week however the Jamaican Sunshine Girls proved that they are a force to recon with and want more. They drew their two-test series with both Australia and New Zealand at the National Commercial Bank Sunshine Series at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston.

The Jamaica's Sunshine Girls lost the first match 53-51 in their two-test series against the Australians, however they won the secon match by 56 -55. This was their first win over the Australians since 1998. They also had a similar faith over the New Zealand’s Silver Ferns losing the first test between the two nations 61-56 then winning the second test 53-50. This was only Jamaica’s second win over New Zealand in 44 attempts.

Personally I have a healthy respect for our Sunshine Girls. While the Australia and the New Zealand team can eat, sleep and play netball as a profession, our girls must work to earn a living and find time for netball. That takes a lot of dedication and commitment. With all of that our girls have maintained a very high standard to their game. I’m not sure what the New Zealand captain Casey Williams meant when she said "They are unorthodox, athletic and agile," but I’m sure it’s all good.

The next major netball competition will be the Commonwealth games in Delhi in 2010.
Australia, New Zealand and England watch out, the Jamaican Sunshine Girls are coming for gold. Good luck girls.

Nuff love

10/23/09

Permalink 03:20:05 am, by Melba
Categories: Commentary

Cuban Refugees 1996

On March 08, 1996, the boat in which fifteen Cuban refugees travelled, came ashore Jamaica in Discovery Bay, St. Ann. The vessel has since been restored and a monumemt along with the boat can be seen today on the site where they landed. It is situated along the beach on the Half Moon Hotel property.

Monument to Cuban Refugees

Cuban Refugees Boat

Cuban Refugees Boat # 2

Permalink 12:26:46 am, by Skillachi
Categories: Culture

Dr. Louise Bennett Coverly - "Miss Lou" as a national Hero

Not to seem repetitive but seeing as I covered a topic of one of our cultural icons as a national hero, I have to now go to the other end of the spectrum and cover another cultural icon in Miss Lou. Now any Jamaican should know about Miss Lou just as they should know about Bob Marley, if not I will be forced to take your Jamaica card from you.

When I searched for a nice little biography of Miss Lou I came upon lots of words like celebrated, loved, Legend... Seems like a complete opposite to my search for Bob Marley which only said that he was a musician and songwriter... But this isn't about Bob, its about Miss Lou.

Dr. Louise Bennett Coverly - "Miss Lou" was a folkorist, Poet, Writer, actor, and overall artiste. She is well known for her works which were able to show the Jamaican lifestyle to the world (Insert Usain Bolt pose here :) ). She was able to do this especially because her poems were done almost exclusively in the local Patois a language which she was notably very proud of as she insisted on using it throughout.

She was so celebrated in fact that she has received many national awards including the Order of the British Empire (MBE), Order of Merit and the Order of Jamaica (yet again awards not given to Bob Marley), and even received her Honorary Doctorate. She is certainly a woman accomplished.

Of course she is well known for her tv programme Ring Ding where she helped to continue her folk work teaching children songs and dance which was native to Jamaica. Next to ring ding she was known for recordings such as: Jamaica Singing Games - 1953, Jamaican Folk Songs (Folkways Records, 1954), Children's Jamaican Songs and Games (Folkways, 1957) Miss Lou’s Views - 1967, Listen to Louise - 1968, Carifesta Ring Ding - 1976, The Honorable Miss Lou - 1981, Miss Lou Live-London - 1983 and Yes M' Dear -Island Records. Her poems are also ones held in high regard with names like 'Mout-A-Massi, 'No Likkle Twang', and 'Colonization in Reverse" among many others.

Her impact in terms of spreading Jamaican culture is one which is far reaching. Though I daresay not as far-reaching as a Bob Marley. However she can take responsibility for helping to make Jamaicans around the world feel proud of their heritage.

With all of this known if I was to say that maybe Louise Bennett deserves to be awarded the title of National Hero, I am sure I would gain a resounding YES! from all people who read and even the wider public. However to me it seems strange that we as Jamaicans are more willing to accept Miss Lou as a Hero than a Bob Marley (yes I finally went there).

They have both done Jamaica a great deed and they both should be celebrated in the highest regard, however it seems that there is a certain bias towards Miss Lou which does not exist for Bob Marley. What is the reason for this? Is it because of the message they preached (Pro Jamaican vs Pro Poor People). Is it because Miss Lou is more lovable than Bob Marley, or is it because Miss Lou does not sport long flowing locks?

Yet again I am only posing questions for people to sit back and think deeply on. Personally I believe they should both be awarding the national honour as their work is quite simply im-measureable. I would just prefer to see less subjectivity and more objective views in the debate of whether or not they both should be regarded as national heroes

10/22/09

Permalink 02:49:36 am, by Skillachi
Categories: Religion, Entertainment, Culture

Bob Marley as a National Hero

Further continuing my Heroes Week postings I get to the controversial topic of whether or not our cultural Icon, Robert 'Bob' Marley deserves to be given the title of National Hero. There are many arguments out there for and against this, with the pro arguments speaking to the things that Bob has done for reggae music and for Jamaica and the against arguments speaking to his representation of Jamaicans internationally among other things. However I will look at the argument from as objective a standpoint as possible (of course I do have my own opinions).

I'll start off by stating what Bob Marley means for Jamaica... Of course the obvious answer to this question is that Bob Marley means Reggae. However Reggae isn't something to be taken lightly, especially in the Jamaican context. Reggae is what makes Jamaica... Jamaica, it is a part of our identity. The same way that Baseball is a part of the American identity and Food and wine is a part of the French identity we in Jamaica have reggae.

Reggae has been such an influence on our culture that it has evolved with our culture. From Bob Marley's Reggae, to Dennis Brown's roots rockers reggae, to the modern Bounty Killer and Beenie Man's reggae. Reggae Sumfest alone makes US$5 million dollars for Jamaica alone, and that is simply a 1 week festival. Imagine what the rest of the income from reggae is?

Bob Marley's influence also helped to put jamaica on the map not only in terms of music but also in terms of Tourism. Have you ever heard a Jamaica tourist board commercial? I can guarantee you at least 99% of the time you are hearing a Bob Marley song in the background. Further to this you also have the culture of rastafarianism, this is also a major part of the tourist advertisement which we use to represent Jamaica. So yes we have the beautiful white sand beaches, the lucious forests, flowing waterfalls, and of course dont forget the rastaman cutting a coconut to drink the sweet nectar within.

This is the picture that most everybody in the world has of Jamaica. Rastafarian culture has spread to the point where you can find pictures of Asian Rastafarians and White Rastafarians. People who have gone to great lengths to be a part of the culture which originated here in Jamaica and got popular because of Bob Marley. Of course all of these rastafarians outside of Jamaica must make their trek to the foundation of Rastafarianism ie Jamaica and this of course brings in the Tourist dollar. Whether or not we want to admit it, the tourist dollar is a very important source of foreign exchange for Jamaica, and is one of the greatest sources of foreign exchange for our country. Foreign exchange which we third world citizens greatly need.

However there are the negatives, of course with the picture of Bob Marley or the token rastaman's image in our advertisements... there is also the spliff sticking out of his mouth. For the uninitiated, a spliff is of course the name given to the Marijuana cigarette which some rastafarians smoke as a part of their sacrement. So of course most rastafarians can be seen with a spliff. Bob Marley is well known for this as many of his pictures do have a spliff in his mouth. (Dont believe me... do a google image search or Bob Marley).

So of course this brings negative connotations for Jamaicans as we dont want to be represented as 'weed heads' who simply listen to reggae and smoke marijuana all day. So of course this image isn't readily accepted by Jamaicans.

This to me is the extent of the negative connotation attached to the name of Bob Marley (If you can think of more please tell me). However I challenge people to think of this... would Jamaica be the world renowned country we are now without Bob Marley? Would reggae music have risen in its popularity to the levels which it has without the assistance of this great figure? Without reggae music where would Jamaica be right now?

Is Bob marley "a man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength", or maybe he is "a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities", or "the central figure in an event, period, or movement 4. an object of extreme admiration and devotion"... He certainly covers the most of these categories... maybe he really should be regarded as a hero...

Just something to think about

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The Small Sandal Shop

A married couple was on holiday in Jamaica. They were touring around the marketplace looking at the goods when they passed this small sandal shop.

From inside they heard the shopkeeper with a Jamaican accent say, "You!

Foreigners! Come in, come into my humble shop."

So the married couple walked in.

The Jamaican said to them, "I have some special sandals I think you would be interested in. They make you wild at sex."

Well, the wife was really interested in buying the sandals after what the man claimed, but her husband felt he really didn't need them, being the sex god he was.

The husband asked the man, "How could sandals make you into a sex freak?"

The Jamaican replied, "Just try them on."

Well, the husband, after some badgering from his wife, finally gave in, and tried them on. As soon as he slipped them onto his feet, he got this wild look in his eyes, something his wife hadn't seen in many years!

In the blink of an eye, the husband grabbed the Jamaican, bent him

violently over a table, yanked down his pants, ripped down his own pants,and grabbed a firm hold of the Jamaican's hips.

The Jamaican then began screaming; "YOU GOT THEM ON THE WRONG FEET!!!"

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