There is something about sitting on a beach that puts you into a day dream. After a while, things get a little hazy, and you realize you have been staring at the same rock for at least ten minutes. It must be the hypnotic sound of the waves, the continuous, unhesitating wash of them. Someone says something to you, and you reply: “What?”
So it was when we escaped from town for a day with visiting relatives, ending up on Winifred’s Beach in Portland, eastern Jamaica. Winifred’s has always been one of our favorites. The road down there has not improved (violently bumpy) but the glimpse of the water through the trees as you jerk along downhill (preferably in an SUV) is alluring. It’s a little more built-up than when we first visited close to thirty years ago, when there was only the occasional tent and one or two shacks selling drinks. Now there are two or three unpretentious places where you can buy food. A couple of Rastafarian gentlemen diligently sweep the sand and tidy up, and ask for a small contribution for their services.
Yes, Winifred’s is a public beach – an increasing rarity in Jamaica. Much of our coastline – especially on the north coast – has been hijacked by monstrous all-inclusive hotels or fenced off by the owners of villas. To walk along what’s left of the severely-eroded Negril beach, you have to run the gauntlet of security guards whose main purpose is to keep you off a particular stretch of sand (if you look like a tourist, you might be let through). This is a huge contrast to other islands I have visited (notably Barbados and Grenada) where all beaches are open to the public.
Then, at Winifred’s, there is the spring. In one corner of the beach, it is a slightly muddy jade green at its deepest. A small stream makes its way gently into the sea. If you scoop up the sand there it smells strongly of sulphur. Its natural mineral waters (very cold) make your skin tingle, after a swim in the sea. My back felt wonderful after lying in it for ten minutes; I wish I could do it every day. At one time local people used to do their washing in the spring; the strong detergent was ruining the water and vegetation and flowing into the sea, threatening the coral reef. Now, there is a large sign up in patois telling people not to do their laundry there, and there were no signs of any washers.
Dear Winifred’s. I floated on my back in water clear as glass, the sun in my eyes. A wave broke on my face and made my eyes red. Memories drifted back of sitting under the same tree with twisted roots with my parents, during one of their visits here. Of sitting on the edge of the water watching our son’s ecstatic play in the waves. Of calling him endlessly to come out of the water, because it was time to go home. He never, ever wanted to come out of the water, even when the shadows lengthened.
But there I go. Day dreaming, again.
Time is galloping along, the uptown (and downtown) Christmas party season is gathering speed, and (in case you were wondering) I have not written one Christmas card yet. I am living dangerously.
The CARICOM tiff: After much blustering on the part of our Minister of Foreign Affairs and hysterical ranting on talk shows and elsewhere, Trinidad’s Minister of Foreign Affairs arrived on Monday. The matter of the denial of entry to 13 Jamaicans, the two ministers agreed, was not, after all, profiling; and the vast majority of Jamaicans are happily accepted by Trinidad. The two signed a trade agreement. So, a lot of smoothing over went on, although both Ministers were careful to assert their respective countries’ interests. Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves (never a man to stay quiet for too long) noted in a Jamaican radio interview that yes, there was some prejudice against Jamaicans in other CARICOM countries; and I think he is right. Now, all Caribbean leaders need to keep cool heads and discourage over-heated rhetoric that is based on very little fact. They also need to put their respective houses in order (including Jamaica) in terms of implementing all the requirements for the free movement of persons. (Read the Gleaner’s “No time for blame” – Nicholson, Dookeran Say Ja-T&T Meetings Fruitful.”)
Good question, scary answer: On the matter of international relations, a question from Opposition Senator Robert Montague prompted a disturbing response from Minister Nicholson. I did a quick count and it appears Jamaica owes approximately US$1,319,00 to the United Nations, including over $860,000 for peace-keeping operations (?). We will soon lose voting rights if we don’t pay some of it (so the Chinese and others might stop courting us). We have already lost voting rights in a couple of Commonwealth bodies and we are in arrears with all the international bodies we are members of.
Meanwhile, a woman named Shirley Richards wrote to the Gleaner asking the question, “Is Jamaica under UN rule?” The United Nations is our “new colonial master,” she suggested, with UNICEF incurring her wrath for referring to “sex” and “condoms” in relation to its reports on the desperate state of the nation’s children. OK, Ms. Richards, we will continue burying our heads in the sand. Let’s pretend sexuality is not a concern. Maybe doesn’t even exist. She concludes, “Forgive me, then, for asking, is Jamaica now under the rule of UN agencies?” No, I don’t think I will. Forgive you, that is.
Is it really a shock? I had the pleasure of meeting the Registrar of the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) last week at the launch of Eve for Life’s “Nuh Guh Deh” campaign. I wondered how he must feel about the reports of child abuse that arrive at his office in a continuous wave (or tsunami perhaps). Between January and August this year the OCR received over 8,000 reports (probably the tip of the iceberg). 1,730 children went missing, ten of whom were found dead (where are the others – did they all return? I have asked this question so many times in the past on my blog). Read the Observer: “Child abuse shocker – 8,030 cases reported between Jan & Aug.” (But is this really a “shocker” to us now? We know the enormity of the problem, don’t we?)
At a recent focus group on corruption, we struggled to find solutions to the tangled web we have been weaving for so long in Jamaica. I see “we” because, although I would hope that I have not engaged in a corrupt act of any kind, it is such a complex web that one could get unwittingly caught up in it; a cog in the corruption wheel, quite innocently. Meanwhile, Jamaica has not moved on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index since last year – still sitting pretty with a ranking of 38. Barbados ranked as the least corrupt Caribbean country – and came out pretty high on the list at 15th with a score of 75.
To quote former Contractor General Greg Christie on Twitter: “No country, region or community is immune to corruption, a serious crime that can undermine social & economic development in all societies.” He believes (and I agree) that this government has done nothing whatsoever to tackle the issue - in fact, it has done the reverse on occasion – despite the pious promises of the Prime Minister’s inauguration speech.
And on that subject, I am irritated (but not surprised) that the reinstated/reborn Junior Minister Richard Azan still wants to try to convince us all that he is squeaky clean. He has been granted a judicial review of the Contractor General’s investigation of his allegedly building and collecting rent for shops in contravention of the rules. Mr. Azan is “seeking a declaration from the court that he’s not politically corrupt, whether as defined by Transparency International or otherwise.” But I guess he doesn’t realize that, whatever the outcome of this legal move, corruption has a lot to do with perception, as TI will tell you. And I think the verdict has been reached on that one in the popular court. (Read more in the Observer: “Azan seeks judicial review of Contractor General’s probe”).
By the way, is Azan’s boss, Transport and Works Minister Omar Davies still in hospital? Have we heard any updates on his health?
Pleased to hear about improvements in forensic facilities – so essential for the Jamaica Constabulary Force. And especially, to hear from Police Commissioner Owen Ellington that Jamaica is now tapped into the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) eTrace program for tracing guns. This should hopefully make a real difference in the investigation of crime – and organized crime, at that. (Read the Observer: “Ellington points to significant upgrade of police forensic capabilities”).
I know the police have a tough job. Yes, I know. But somehow my heart does not bleed for those who have to cough up legal fees to defend themselves when they are accused of wrongdoing. And I do not think that taxpayers should foot the police officers’ bills; we already pay their salaries. Don’t they have a union? (Yes they do). My suggestion: start a legal fund. And don’t put yourselves in situations where you know you are breaking the law. Just like the rest of us. (Read the Observer: “Legal Woes”). This is perhaps more not-so-subtle police propaganda against INDECOM – the Independent Commission of Investigation set up by Parliament to investigate allegations of police abuse. Tired of it now. Just do your job and do it professionally. Thanks.
Brian-Paul Welsh wrote a very good letter to the Gleaner, regarding the Rasta Yute’s (Minister Damion Crawford) stout defense of dancehall music. The Minister is even encouraging lobbyists to oppose the anti-gang legislation, which includes a clause relating to lyrics that incite violence; this seems rather odd to me. Mr. Crawford needs to decide whether he is still a student who organizes dances at the University of the West Indies; or a government official to be taken seriously. At the moment he is an odd hybrid, and a very disappointing one at that. (Read the Gleaner’s Letter of the Day: “Crawford Off-Key on Dancehall“).
(Mis)understanding indeed: I have always enjoyed Grace Virtue’s columns and was sorry when she appeared to stop writing. Grace is the sister of Gleaner journalist Erica and she is based in the United States. This does not prevent her from writing insightful and balanced pieces, such as ”(Mis)understanding Media” in the Observer - on the matter of the RJR reporter, the mike, the PM and the security guards. Which has not really gone away, by the way.
I’m worried about Vybz Kartel. As I tweeted this evening, his appearance has changed dramatically since he has been languishing in prison (for nearly two years, no less) on two murder charges. He is now in the middle of the second trial (and if a journalist calls it “high profile” one more time I shall scream!) and – well, he has gone from skinny and weedy-looking to strangely bloated. What are they feeding him on in prison? Does he have an exercise regime? He seems very pale, still (the cake soap that he bleaches his skin with must have been smuggled into prison, some surmise). But his hair stylist seems to have gone AWOL. Oh, one does love the trivia sometimes!
If you want to read a lame editorial, try the Observer’s “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” for size. NO, the murder of eighteen-year-old Kimberly Simpson was not a case of “enraged jealousy” on the part of the man who had impregnated her when she was still legally below the age of consent (statutory rape) – and who had been abusing her physically ever since, according to her family (who appear to have stood by and done nothing). It was just that: domestic abuse; and initially child rape, which should have been reported to the police three years ago.
I am puzzled and confused by some of the facts paraded in the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s latest public relations effort – this time, comments by Deputy Commissioner in charge of crime Carl Williams on the so-called “clear-up rate” for murders. I will have to return to this at some point. (Read the Observer - ”Police vow to improve murder clear-up rate.”)
I often try to imagine the horror and grief of those left behind when their loved ones are killed violently. But I really cannot. All I can do is offer my condolences to the families and friends…
Herbert McKail, 70, Mandeville, Manchester
Gary Pinnock, 43, Hanover
Christopher Buddan, 22, Old Harbour Road, St. Catherine
Unidentified man, Brandon Hill, St. James
Omar Brown, Montego Bay, St. James
Busy week, but I hope I haven’t missed out too much. Please bear with me…
The struggle continues… Back to the political killing floor. Sorry to use this violent imagery, but many columnists and talk shows are still mulling over the Jamaica Labour Party skirmishes last week, that left several members suffering possibly mortal wounds. What will happen to Christopher Tufton and Audley Shaw and others, whom I consider to be the brightest of that bunch? I hope they find their place somehow, so that they are able to contribute to the governance of the nation. They have a lot to offer. And can Andrew Holness do a decent job in the Finance Spokesman role? His mentor Edward Seaga also handled that portfolio himself… I don’t know. We shall see. It’s pretty messy.
So now, the Supreme Court should tomorrow hear a claim by former Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate Arthur Williams, himself an attorney. He is seeking an injunction to block Holness from filling the two Senate seats vacated by himself and Christopher Tufton, after Holness’ crafty sleight of hand last week. Yes, Mr. Holness has been crafty and may well feel that he has been rather smart. However, he now has a legal case as well as a deadwood Shadow Cabinet of yes-men (and one yes-woman). Read more here: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=49401Is
Mr. Ruel Reid is a very good school principal, by all accounts. Last week, Opposition Leader Andrew Holness quickly named him as Senator. But does he have time for this, as well as serving on a couple of boards? And he had better be careful not to let the politics spill over into his work as headmaster of the famous Jamaica College. The Minister of Education sounds concerned and somewhat wary; so am I.
PetroCaribe is doing a “wobbly”: A recent article in the Christian Science Monitor suggests that all is not well with Venezuela‘s PetroCaribe arrangements with at least one of the 17 participating nations. Its oil contracts with China and India must be profitable than those with Caribbean countries. Will the terms of Venezuela’s agreement with Jamaica change, in terms of higher interest rates etc? Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell says the agreement is “intact” and unchanged. Venezuela’s economy is in a mess, with a soaring crime rate and actual oil production very low. The man with the mustache is also not a reliable character. He will be ruling by decree for the next year – at least – so a dictatorship is in place, at least a temporary one. Read more here: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2013/1115/Venezuela-s-regional-energy-program-Petrocaribe-wobbles
Financial news: The “big” news is that the economy grew in the last quarter by a whopping 0.6 per cent. After six consecutive quarters of negative growth, this is something to get mildly excited about. Inflation, however, is lurking in the wings and creeping up – as we are all painfully aware of when we visit the supermarket. It was 3.7 per cent in the last quarter – above the Bank of Jamaica target of two to three per cent. But financial reporting sometimes baffles me. The Gleaner reports that, in addition to increases in transportation costs, the reason for higher inflation was “higher costs associated with the summer holidays and preparations for the start of the new school year.” Er, doesn’t this happen every year? Read more here: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131120/business/business1.html
And in infrastructure news… An engineer has wisely suggested we build roads with concrete (which we actually produce here) rather than surfacing them with a (generally too thin) layer of imported asphalt. Concrete lasts much longer too. And over 600 street lights have mysteriously turned up in Trelawny – they have “moved” from somewhere else! So many? It is staggering. The poor Jamaica Public Service Company has to be constantly one or two steps ahead of the ingenious light thieves. Read more here: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Engineer-touts-benefits-of-concrete-roads_15432634 and http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131118/lead/lead6.html
Impunity basically means getting away with it. Impunity “tun up” these days (to coin a Jamaican phrase): for the electricity thieves; for the crazy bus and taxi drivers who threaten our lives daily on the road; for the operators of “Ponzi” schemes who have fleeced many Jamaicans of millions; for those police officers who break the law themselves; for those faceless, nameless rampaging mobs who regularly take the law into their own hands, as in the case of Dwayne Jones; and according to the latest study from the University of the West Indies (UWI), for the vast majority of murderers out there, who are never brought to justice.
UWI Professor Anthony Clayton tells us that the conviction rate for murder is less than five per cent per year. We always knew that this was a major concern, but the numbers are stark. Read more here: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131120/lead/lead1.html Are we going to hear from Minister of National Security Peter Bunting? Can he handle this portfolio, I have to ask? We cannot just blame the police; they are out of their depth and struggling. “Operation Resilience” (endless curfews, “shootouts” and the rounding up of young men in inner cities) is just not working. Those methods never have worked. A policy rethink is needed. A serious rethink, Minister.
It’s not just the murders. There has been a heightened level of violence and insecurity. A schoolgirl in Clarendon shot and injured accidentally by the police who were pursuing a suspect. A student in Portland stabbed by a fellow student and seriously ill in hospital. And again I ask, what was going on outside the Police Commissioner’s Office on Hope Road on Saturday evening – loud gunfire, huge traffic jam? Since I live just down the road, I would love to know.
As I mentioned in my last post, the brother of a journalist friend of mine was shot dead in downtown Kingston a few days ago. Here are Rohan Powell’s heartfelt comments on Facebook: “It has been more than four days since my brother Evon Powell was shot and killed on Sutton street, just a short hop from our childhood home. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to grasp that he was the target. The killer, like many others who have carried out similar dastardly acts, are known as cowards. He or she didn’t give my brother a fighting chance. The reality is that his life has been snuffed out by someone who wanted to “make a duppy”. My brother’s death speaks to the vicious cycle of what we call Life. Nothing can bring him back…all we can look forward to, is that he will enjoy a peaceful rest near to Joan..his mother…and that his children all , can lift their heads high and be proud to carry on the Powell name with pride and dignity….”
A mob of residents killed one man and injured two others whom they accused of stealing goats in rural Mocho. A teenage boy, a student of Morant Bay High School, was shot along with his grandmother and later died from his injuries. A teenage girl, a student of Lennon High School, was found dead in the Mocho area of Clarendon. A well-known farmer and businessman was shot in Black River. A bakery owner was shot dead on Monday morning on his way to the bank in Montego Bay. A teenage boy was reportedly beaten to death and another seriously injured by the police in Sandy Bay, Hanover. And so the sad stories continue. My condolences to the grieving families and loved ones left behind.
Everton Lewis, 63, Black River, St. Elizabeth
Kadiane Smith, 16, Bamboo River/Morant Bay, St. Thomas
Unidentified man, Queens Street/Morant Bay, St. Thomas
Rayon Lee Massie, 26, St. Thomas Technical High School
Carol Matthews, 43, Braeton, St. Catherine
Cedrick Ravine, 54, Rio Nuevo, St. Mary
Ralston Cole, 39, Castleton, St. Mary
Amariah Green, Mocho, Clarendon (mob killing)
Calecia Edwards, 15, Brixton Hill, Clarendon
Clinton Young, 45, Montego Bay, St. James
Everton Ewan, Johns Common, St. James
Killed by police:
Ashanti Clarke, 17, Sandy Bay, Hanover
Here are some more articles of interest, on the ongoing politics and such:
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131119/lead/lead1.html Security expert says police not aiming at right target to buck murder trend: Gleaner
http://jamaicapoliticaleconomy.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-november-17/ The good, the bad and the ugly: jamaicapoliticaleconomy.wordpress.com
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131118/cleisure/cleisure4.html Unconscionable political prenuptial agreement: Bert Samuels op-ed, Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Respect-my-mandate-_15459245 Respect my mandate! Holness tells the defeated: Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Holness-to-establish-order-within-JLP_15463787 Holness to establish order within JLP: Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Democracy-and-the-JLP—a-long-way-from-home_15459216 Democracy and the JLP – a long way from home: Louis Moyston column/Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/A-time-for-inspiration_15459069 A time for inspiration: Jean Lowrie-Chin column/Jamaica Observer
http://www.caribbeanlifenews.com/stories/2013/11/2013_11_15_vkp_jamaica_youth_minister.html Jamaica‘s youth minister pleads to UNESCO: Caribbean Life
http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/headline-Mentors-to-assist-Caribbean-fisherfolk-to-enhance-their-contribution-to-food-security-18715.html Mentors to assist Caribbean fisherfolk to enhance their contribution to food security: Caribbean News Now
Limbo Citizens or Stateless People? - Human Rights, Migration, and the Future for Dominicans of Haitian Ancestry
:: By Angelique V. Nixon, Ph.D ::
"No one can be hood-winked as to the reason and the purpose for this kind of discriminatory legislation. Within the region we have an obligation to speak and we cannot allow such inequities to go without our strongest condemnations." - P.J. Patterson
Caribbean people across the region and its diaspora have been responding with righteous (and necessary) outrage over the recent ruling by the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic that essentially strips away the birthright citizenship of Dominicans of Haitian ancestry.
ALL MEDIA and other interested persons, please do attend this important and informative meeting tomorrow in Kingston. Thank you! (PLEASE share with anyone who may be interested in attending).
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 6TH, 2013 at 10.00 AM
AT EARTH HOUSE, 11 WATERLOO ROAD, KINGSTON 10
Following the release of the environmental scoping study done by Conrad Douglas & Associates on the proposed Goat Islands transshipment sport in the Portland Bight Protected Area, we invite the media to attend a press briefing at the offices of the Jamaica Environment Trust, Earth House, 11 Waterloo Road, Kingston 10 at 10.00 am.
There will be a panel of experts on hand to answer questions about the scoping study and the review and approvals process.
Brandon Hay, Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation
Diana McCaulay, Jamaica Environment Trust
- http://www.portjam.com/PortJam/documents/PORTLAND%20BIGHT%20SUMMARY.pdf Summary of the Environmental Management Scoping of the Portland Bight Area, Inclusive of the Goat Islands: Port Authority of Jamaica
- Port Authority Refuses To Disclose The MoU Regarding the Logistics Hub and Port Development (petchary.wordpress.com)
- Support for the Campaign to Protect Goat Islands is Growing (petchary.wordpress.com)
- How Jamaicans Feel About the Portland Bight Protected Area (petchary.wordpress.com)
- An Open Letter to Minister Robert Pickersgill (petchary.wordpress.com)
- Interpreting Jamaican Heritage Through Birds: the Caribbean Birding Trail (petchary.wordpress.com)
- Flotilla to the Goat Islands (dwayneksmith.wordpress.com)
The Caribbean region has made great strides in reducing new HIV/AIDS infections, according to the latest UNAIDS report – a dramatic reduction of 33 per cent between 2001 and 2012, and 52 per cent among children. There has been a steady decline from the high of 2005, mainly due to increased access to anti-retroviral drugs (now at an estimated 68 per cent in Jamaica). I was happy and honored to have been part of the contribution made by the U.S. Government towards this effort over the years. As a member of U.S. Embassy Kingston’s team, which included USAID, the U.S. Peace Corps and the U.S. State Department, I helped administer the Small Grants Program in Jamaica funded by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). So I was happy to read this recent press release from the U.S. Embassy. The link is at http://kingston.usembassy.gov/pe_28102014.html
“Reducing stigma and discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS is the hallmark of the United States Ambassador’s PEPFAR Small Grants Program, administered by the United States Embassy in Kingston. This program is part of the global President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), established by President George W. Bush, which is the largest effort in history by any one nation to combat a single disease.
On October 9, 2013, Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater officially signed and awarded grants totaling US$50,000, to five Jamaican non-governmental and community organizations, which will each conduct programs aimed at fulfilling the mandate of the program.
The grantees are the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP); Mustard Seed Communities; National Council on Drug Abuse; Eve for Life and BREDS The Treasure Beach Foundation. These organizations will conduct sensitization seminars, provide counseling, mediation and public education sessions aimed at reducing the stigma and discrimination among marginalized and at-risk populations affected by HIV/AIDS.
In Jamaica, as in the thirty countries with PEPFAR programs, partnerships are crucial. The U.S. mission in Kingston supports the Ministry of Health and other governmental and non-governmental agencies with PEPFAR funding through the various programs managed by the Public Affairs Section of the embassy and other agencies, primarily USAID, Peace Corps, the Department of Defence and the Centers for Disease Control.
At the signing ceremony, Ambassador Bridgewater noted that the work to be done by each grantee signifies another milestone which advances the U.S. Government’s work towards an AIDS free world and will serve to improve the quality of life for persons living with HIV/AIDS.”
A note from me: Serious challenges remain, especially among marginalized populations, including men who have sex with men and commercial sex workers. Discrimination against these groups in Jamaica serves to deepen these concerns. It is something that must be addressed and cannot be ignored. So – we cannot give up the fight against HIV/AIDS!
http://www.pepfar.gov President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
http://www.unaids.org/en/regionscountries/countries/jamaica/ UNAIDS in Jamaica
http://kingston.usembassy.gov U.S. Embassy Kingston (also on Facebook)
http://ccrponline.org Caribbean Community of Retired Persons
http://www.mustardseed.com/site/PageServer?pagename=where_serve_jamaica Mustard Seed Communities/Jamaica (also on Facebook)
http://ncda.org.jm National Council on Drug Abuse (also on Facebook and Twitter @DrugFreeJa)
http://www.eveforlife.org Eve for Life (also on Facebook and Twitter @EveforLife)
http://www.breds.org BREDS Treasure Beach Foundation
That Word: Sustainability (petchary.wordpress.com)
HIV/AIDS and PEPFAR: From Emergency to Sustainability in Tanzania (washjournalclub.wordpress.com)
When I arrived at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, the room was already humming, completely filled with schoolchildren, teachers and assorted officials. I squeezed into a seat right near the door, next to a young woman tapping gently on a Samsung Galaxy Note (I felt a twinge of envy, quickly suppressed). Behind us sat a petite girl in a pale blue party dress. For the next hour or so, the doors were clogged with belated groups of despondent students and teachers, looking around for vacant seats. There were very few.
And everyone was on time, and the event started on time. Which is really worth remarking on, because this is quite a rarity in Jamaica. Perhaps it was because the Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen, was going to be there and one cannot be late for him. He had swished past us as we headed downtown, with outriders (police escorts in dashing white jackets) wailing their sirens. Of course, he had a head start on us.
And why was Sir Patrick attending this event? It was the National Youth Conference, supported by his own “I Believe” Initiative (IBI). With his very considerable influence and an enthusiastic band of workers, the project has been a great success so far. It has made an impact, with all kinds of empowering activities for youth taking place. Sir Patrick told us that the idea had taken root on February 26, 2009. After careful planning, I Believe was launched in May, 2011. The aim is not only to inspire and motivate young people, but to show them options. Even in these difficult times, the Initiative seeks to give practical advice as well as financial and moral support, as thousands of young people make their way out into the increasingly hazardous and uncertain world of (un)employment. Career development and encouraging youth entrepreneurship are two major thrusts.
“I Believe” sounds at first like the title of a gospel song; and indeed, Sir Patrick Allen is a religious man. But it is also about believing in one’s own abilities. And Sir Patrick’s remarks struck me as very sensible: “What we need is unity, so that the best brains, the abundant creative genius of our people may be brought together to devise and implement appropriate strategies for our advancement.” Who can argue with that? The IBI slogan goes something like this: “There is nothing wrong with Jamaica that cannot be fixed by what is right with Jamaica.” And we know – we know - that there is plenty right with Jamaica. It’s a question of harnessing it for progress.
You can find much more about the IBI’s programs on their website at http://www.ibelieveinitiative.org. I noticed that strong partnerships have served it well. Telecoms firm LIME (formerly Cable & Wireless) provides free Internet service at three computer centers in rural Jamaica, with computers donated by “a friendly Embassy.” An IBI Medical Centre has opened in Spring Village, St. Catherine – one of its “adopted” communities (an excellent idea, I think). There are sixteen IBI Ambassadors who help spread the word and offer mentorship. Students of a school that has been facing challenges, Holy Trinity High, were invited to a tour and picnic at Kings House, the Governor General’s residence. A parenting skills program will soon be up and running – something that was proposed by the youth themselves. And much more.
After a short break, during which we all scrambled for a drink of juice outside, Ms. Joan Vogelsang (born in the UK, grew up in Jamaica, now living in Montreal, Canada) told us about how she built up a huge animation company called Toon Boom – which calls itself “the global leader in digital content and animation software.” Much of this is applied in education, resulting markedly improved grades. Ms. Vogelsang told us about the incredible global stretch of the creative industries and the career opportunities therein. The young audience was very interested indeed (“Can teens join the company?” asked one), and so was a representative of Mico Teachers Training College.
“People always say you can’t do things,” said Ms. Vogelsang, “But don’t allow yourself to be constrained.” (Or, as my grandmother used to say – and it annoyed the hell out of me, but she was right - “There‘s no such word as can’t.”) “Belief, energy, focus, desire” are the qualities you need to succeed, suggested Ms. Vogelsang, who wants to help build the animation industry in Jamaica; I really hope she will. Already, the University of Technology (UTech), Caribbean Institute of Media & Communications (CARIMAC) at the University of the West Indies, and the HEART Training Academy are offering courses in animation.
Mr. Alvin Day is a motivational speaker. His own motivation is, one assumes, built-in. “I came to trouble you,” he announced, flashing a smile (what a lovely Jamaican word that is, “trouble” – real meaning, “I am going to bother you”). Mr. Day has a book, “If Caterpillars Can Fly, So Can I” and he is also a management consultant for some big firms (Forbes, Pepsi, among others). He also does coaching in public speaking. And he was born in Frankfield, Clarendon, Jamaica – a graduate of Edwin Allen High School (cheers from a section of the audience). “I came from a place where there was no dignity,” he told us. I understood that he suffered physical abuse as a child; at fourteen years old he was wetting his bed. But, in the ringing tones of an evangelistic preacher, he told us that he overcame his fears through sheer determination.
I liked Mr. Day’s discussion of risk. To risk greatness, he said, you also risk failure. “You are great on the inside,” he noted, but there is “always a risk in believing.” You might be wrong. He pointed us to the importance of developing this self-belief – what he called the Law of Vision. “You must believe in something before it happens,” he said. Prepare yourself, then just do it.
The organizers had a terrific ticket system for lunch, and we all managed to get served on time in one of the green, open courtyards that are a nice feature of the beautifully-designed Conference Centre. Four young men joined me at my table; they were all trainee chefs from the Runaway Bay HEART Academy. I talked to them, predictably, about food, and their favorite dishes. They will be cooking up a storm on Restaurant Night, ahead of Kingston’s annual Restaurant Week: reservations at 7:00 and 8:00 p.m. at 26 Haining Road in New Kingston on November 2. For more information call: 377-6509. The young men enthusiastically reeled off the list of dishes they will be preparing, and it sounds completely amazing. Why don’t you go along? (I will be out of town, but I would if I could).
Back inside, I had a chat with the girl in the powder-blue party dress, just fifteen years old, and very bright. I have posted a photograph of her. I also met up with a group of young people from the Eagles Marching Band, who posed for their photograph, and told me that they had lost everything – uniforms and instruments – in a recent fire and desperately needed help to buy them back. I wonder if IBI (or anyone else) can assist? This is a plea for help. The Eagles are a great band from the inner city, attached to the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Mr. Levi Roots had one simple message: “Be yourself!” (And he certainly was himself when he slipped out a good old-fashioned Jamaican expression, making the entire audience gasp. But we moved quickly on…) Mr. Roots has this special feistiness and humor that many West Indians who have lived in the UK for a long time acquire. Coincidentally, he was also born in rural Clarendon, the youngest of six children with dreams of attending Glenmuir High School (more cheers from another quarter of the audience). His parents migrated to England and worked hard to bring the family over, one by one. Mr. Roots learnt about cooking, and enjoyed music, while living with his grandmother. Then it was his turn to go to Brixton.
Mr. Roots is what you would call a “self-made man.” And if you think it is easy to walk into someone’s office and try to sell not only your product (in his case, a spicy sauce) but yourself as a black Rastafarian man in England… Well, it ain’t. At age 33, he plucked up the nerve to appear on television on a program called “Dragon’s Den” after fifteen years of selling his products (straight from his kitchen) at Notting Hill Carnival; there he was grilled about his plans for a major expansion of his business. You will find a fascinating 15-minute video clip of it on his website. There he also found a mentor, entrepreneur Peter Jones, whom he praises highly.
The secrets of business success, said Mr. Roots, are…
Create a long-term business plan. “Short term planning is just hustling,” he said.
Stick with it. “No business will be a success in less than five years…”
Passion. (And being yourself)
It’s not easy finding the right tone to address an audience with an average age of sixteen or so, but somehow Levi Roots pulled it off – I think perhaps because he didn’t try to lecture them. He was swamped with questions from the audience. Yes, Mr. Roots is a natural.
And yes, his net worth last year was forty million Pounds Sterling.
Mr. Roots mentioned the possibility of setting up a factory in Clarendon to produce his sauce; he also mentioned the establishment of a Levi Roots Scholarship at the University of the West Indies. I really hope he does make good on these wonderful plans.
“With focus, hard work and discipline you can do anything,” Sir Patrick Allen told the Conference in his welcoming remarks. And he is absolutely right. Our children must know this. As I recall a teacher saying on another occasion, “There are no short cuts.” You may think there are, but truly – there just aren’t. I think this is true in 2013, more than ever.
Good luck, and much love, to all our young people.
P.S. Special thanks to LIME, who provided free wifi for the occasion. Unfortunately, when the MC gave out the password to the hundreds of people in the audience, it collapsed. However, when Mr. Errol Miller, LIME’s chairman (who was at the Conference) realized this, he promised to get the bandwidth expanded on returning to the office. Which he did. It came back after lunch, and we “live tweeters” were all happy! Thank you, Mr. Miller and LIME.
Related articles and links:
http://www.ibelieveinitiative.org I Believe Initiative
http://www.kingshouse.gov.jm The Official Website of the Governor General of Jamaica
https://www.toonboom.com Toon Boom Animation
http://www.alvinday.com Alvin Day: The Empowerment Institute
http://www.leviroots.com Levi Roots official website
Our winter migrants are here! The “Butterfly Bird” (the female American Redstart, who flutters her bright yellow tail feathers in our hibiscus bushes) touched down in our yard first, about two weeks ago. The Black-Throated Blue Warbler potters around under our apple tree, looking very smart in crisp black and slate-blue, with a pure white front. And we spotted a Yellow Warbler – a flash of brilliant color in our tall hedge, picking insects off the leaves. They must be celebrating something! Oh, here it is…
(Kingston, Jamaica) October 18, 2013 –
Today the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB) , the largest single organization devoted to wildlife conservation in the Caribbean, announced the renaming of the organization to “BirdsCaribbean.” The name change reflects the proactive, multi-faceted, and inclusive nature of the organization, which continues in its role of assisting wildlife professionals, educators, and community members throughout the Caribbean in their efforts to understand and conserve birds and their habitats.
The organization also launched a new logo featuring the Bananaquit, a conspicuous and well-known bird common on most islands. “The shorter new name and lively logo reflect our interest in making our organization more accessible and well-known in wider Caribbean society,” commented Lisa Sorenson, Executive Director of BirdsCaribbean . “We need to reach more people and engage them in the wonderful world of birds and our mission to conserve the Caribbean’s rich but threatened natural heritage.” said Sorenson.
In the new strategic plan, which was presented and discussed at the organization’s 19th Regional Meeting  on Grenada (July 27-31, 2013), over the next five years the organization will shift from volunteer-led to one directed by full-time staff (an Executive Director, Programs Director and Administrative Assistant) under the supervision of an elected board of directors.
“Our new name and structure better positions us to serve as a leader in Caribbean conservation and support our partners,” said Dr. Howard Nelson, President of BirdsCaribbean . He added that, “We are very proud of our 25 years of service to the Caribbean conservation community and we are excited about what having full-time staff will mean for BirdsCaribbean.” Nelson remarked that under BirdsCaribbean’s new strategic plan the organization aims to work with a broader suite of partners, expand educational and monitoring programs, and promote best practices for the conservation of biodiversity more widely using the region’s unique birds as flagships for conservation.
Key elements of the new strategic direction include further developing BirdsCaribbean to work with and through its partners in the Caribbean and the rest of the world to promote conservation of birds and their habitats by:
- Serving as the Caribbean’s primary forum for sharing best practices, tools, innovations, and lessons learned about the conservation of birds and their habitats.
- Expanding and developing flagship programs, for example, the highly successful Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival that draws over 100,000 participants from 23 independent Caribbean nations each year  and the Caribbean Birding Trail, an economically beneficial program promoting nature-based tourism Caribbean-wide .
- Generating core operational funds needed to sustain full-time staff, field projects and Caribbean-wide education programs.
Tel: 1 876-807-4971.
Tel: 1 242-393- 1317.
If you would like more information, visit the BirdsCaribbean Facebook page and you may also follow them on Twitter @BirdsCaribbean. Why don’t you consider becoming a member? Help support and protect our beautiful birds!
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1. BirdsCaribbean is the largest single regional organization devoted to wildlife conservation in the Caribbean. It is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization whose goals are to promote the scientific study and conservation of Caribbean birds and their habitats, and to promote greater public awareness of the bird life of the region. For more details, see: http://www.scscb.org.
2. Dr. Lisa Sorenson is Executive Director and Past President of BirdsCaribbean. She develops and oversees all projects and programs of the Society, including the Caribbean Waterbird Census monitoring program, Caribbean Birding Trail Project, Caribbean BirdSleuth, the West Indian Whistling-Duck and Wetlands Project, and others. Sorenson, an ornithologist and conservation biologist, has been working in the Caribbean for 28 years.
3. The theme of the 2013 conference, held every two years, is “Bird Conservation in a Changing Climate.” For further information on the conference program, keynote speakers and meeting report please visit: https://sites.google.com/site/scscbmeeting2013/home
4. Dr. Howard Nelson has extensive research, policy and teaching experience in wildlife ecology, forestry and biodiversity conservation. He was also the biodiversity specialist at the Environmental Policy and Planning Division of Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Planning, Housing and Environment. Currently, he is the Coordinator for a Regional Biodiversity and Sustainable Development MSc Programme, and a lecturer at the UWI. He is also a member of the Board the Guardian Life Wildlife Trust of Trinidad and Tobago.
5. The Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival is a celebration of the region’s unique bird life. Celebrated for one month, the festival calls attention to the fact that more than 25% of the Caribbean’s bird species (148 of 564) are endemic—that is, they exist nowhere else on the planet. Local conservation organizations throughout the Caribbean celebrate through an array of events, including bird and nature walks, presentations, art and photography exhibits and competitions, radio quizzes, bird calling contests, beach clean-ups, tree plantings, distribution of materials, and more.
6. The Caribbean Birding Trail is a newly launched initiative by BirdsCaribbean  with funding from the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund. The mission of the CBT is to create and promote nature-based, authentic experiences that engage visitors and locals with the unique birds of the Caribbean and connect them to the extraordinary places, diverse cultures and people of each island. The CBT is a metaphorical trail that, when complete, will include important birdwatching sites throughout the entire region; using birds as a focal point for engaging birders and non-birders with the local nature and culture that lies beyond the beach. For more information, visit http://www.caribbeanbirdingtrail.org.
- Celebrating the Lives of Migratory Caribbean Birds (petchary.wordpress.com)
- Interpreting Jamaican Heritage Through Birds: the Caribbean Birding Trail (petchary.wordpress.com)
- Support for the Campaign to Protect Goat Islands is Growing (petchary.wordpress.com)
- Dominica celebrates migratory Caribbean birds (dominicanewsonline.com)
- In Caribbean, push to create no-take reserves (bigstory.ap.org)
Everyone is worrying about money these days, it seems. Not only individuals, but organizations, too. In particular, our non-profit organizations are not only not making any profit; many of them are hardly making ends meet. Putting a brave face on it, they struggle along, trying to at least pay their administrative costs. Some just live from one grant/donation to another, “making do” with fund-raising and volunteer efforts in between. NGO workers are often so focused on the “here and now” and the delivery of their programs, at all costs, that they don’t have the time to think about their organization’s long-term future and goals – including its financial viability.
And let’s face it, things are not going to get any better, any time soon. So, that word “sustainability” is key.
Now, World Learning is a forward-thinking organization, which partners with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Itself a non-profit, it works in more than sixty countries. In Jamaica and the Bahamas, World Learning supports NGOs with capacity-building and grant funding, to help scale up the level of response to HIV/AIDS, especially among marginalized populations. What is capacity-building? It is, basically, strengthening the organization, helping it to fulfill its mandate.
Bearing the current challenges in mind, World Learning launched products related to its Non-governmental Organization Group Marketing Initiative (NGMI) earlier this month. The aim of the project is to help NGOs that receive grants from them to find their feet economically – to become more independent financially. Grantees worked on the development of ideas, products and materials that would help them market themselves – and to think in a more businesslike way.
World Learning supports eleven NGOs in Jamaica. I was rather disappointed that only four grantees were able to come up with a marketable package and participate in the NGMI exercise. These four have now produced individual flyers and a combined brochure highlighting the products and/or services that they offer (and very attractive it is, too). World Learning has also assisted them in setting up a database of approximately 2,000 corporate entities for use in electronic marketing. All four made interesting presentations that did not downplay the challenges faced – but did show a way forward.
Panos Caribbean’s Indi McLymont noted her organization’s focus on “communicating for development.” In Jamaica since 2005, and with its head office in Haiti, Panos has focused on marginalized groups vulnerable to HIV/AIDS in Jamaica. It recently launched a booklet of testimonies by men having sex with men (MSMs). Its other focus areas are children, youth and violence, public health, human rights, climate change, livelihood and gender, and media development. Due to the general economic downturn globally, its funding from the UK Government and Sweden was drastically cut in 2010. Panos needs secured funding for the next three to five years to survive. It has a lot to offer in terms of services, and has started charging reasonable fees for them – for example, journalism and youth journalism training in focus areas; embedded journalism; cultural communication using music and drama (like their Voices for Climate Change); and the dissemination of products in four Caribbean languages – English, French, Spanish and Kreyol. “We are not out of the woods yet,” said Indi. No room for complacency.
RISE Life Management was originally called Addiction Alert, but switched its focus in 2005 to providing support for at-risk youth in inner city Kingston. Described as “one of the country’s best-managed NGOs by far,” it now finds demand for its programs is even greater, while funds are getting shorter. It has curtailed its programs drastically – from eleven funded projects in 2011 to three this year. The 23-year-old NGO has always believed in succession planning, says its founder Sonita Morin Abrahams; it pays its workers a decent wage and staff turnover is low. To cut costs, Sonita plans to “green” the organization and has sought funding for this. RISE set up an endowment fund in 1994, where the principal cannot be touched; the monthly interest is used to cover administrative expenses. RISE believes in putting itself up for awards – such as the American Chamber of Commerce Award recently – to raise its profile and get itself taken seriously by government and by the private sector. Among the services it offers are summer and Christmas camps for youth, training model packages which are sold to other community organizations, renting space in its downtown building, and hiring out trainers who teach employability and life skills and health-related topics, among other things.
Life’s Work evolved from a project originally supported by U.S. Peace Corps volunteers, as a self-support project of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, one of World Learning’s grantees. I have been buying their delicious scented candles for many years. Now, they are stylishly packaged, with nicely-designed labels. They have identified a niche market and they are building on it. They have a Business Development Officer, a Sales Representative and a Master Candle-Maker. The growth and success of Life’s Work over the past sixteen years has been a “powerful network of influencers” that has helped spread the word about their excellent quality products.
The ASHE Company (ASHE) is a one-of-a-kind organization. And it really knows how to market itself. ASHE’s Conroy Wilson explained that its Health and Wellness Program and its Success Skills and Empowerment Training module has helped pay the bills. Situated in a clean, bright and welcoming compound in the heart of Kingston, ASHE also prepares students for CSEC exams in five subjects, including Theatre Arts. It conducts workshops for schools and communities aimed at behavior change, and sells the resulting products on DVDs on a range of key topics for youth: conflict resolution/violence prevention, children’s rights, the environment, reproductive and sexual health, drugs and the family, youth and governance, and HIV/AIDS. This incredibly talented team (if you haven’t seen them in performance, you have really missed something) also offer live entertainment, creative production services, event coordination, PA systems and audio support, and branding/marketing services. All of this “pays our bills,” says Conroy, adding: “Our projects are all aligned to our mission, and we always meet and exceed that mission. This attracts more partners to our program.”
Saffrey Brown of the JN Foundation made some interesting observations. NGOs need to evolve, and quickly, she noted, as it is a question of “sink or swim.” She and the Ministry of Health’s Sannia Sutherland stressed that there is no “enabling environment” for NGOs, with Ms. Sutherland conceding that there was too much emphasis on technical output in project proposals, and not enough on…yes, you’ve guessed it, sustainability. The Small Business Association of Jamaica’s Colette Campbell (the SBAJ is itself an NGO) is seeking to raise its profile and profitability by offering mentoring, technical services, small business development services – and by serving on committees.
So non-profits… You need to put yourself out there! You have wonderful products, and amazing services. Value yourselves, and have others appreciate the value of what you offer. That way, you can make sure you will be around for many years, in the future.
Contact information for the NGOs mentioned in this article:
- Panos Caribbean: Main Office: 71, Impasse St-Marc, Frères 23, Route de Frères, Pétion-Ville, Haiti Tel: (509) 2942-0321 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Jamaica Office: 22 Westminster Road, Kingston 10 Tel: (876) 920-0070/1 Email: email@example.com Website: http://wwwpanoscaribbean.org Blog: http://panoscaribbeanblog.wordpress.com Twitter: @PanosCaribbean Also on Facebook
- RISE Life Management Services: 57 East Street, Kingston Tel: (876) 967-3777/8 Lifeline tel: 1888-991-4146 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.risejamaica.org
- Life’s Work: Tel: (876) 906-5645; 754-2340 Email: email@example.com Catalog: http://issuu.com/lifeswork/docs/lifesworkcatalog
- The ASHE Company: 8 Cargill Avenue, Kingston 10 Tel: (876) 960-2985 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com Website: http://www.asheperforms.com Twitter: @ashecompany
Many thanks to Project Director Ruth Jankee and World Learning for this much-needed initiative! You may contact World Learning – Jamaica and the Bahamas at (876) 978-9740. Website: http://www.worldlearning.org
The fate of the Portland Bight Protected Area, including Goat Islands, remains hanging in the balance. Despite some efforts by local journalists to obtain more information on whether the area will be sacrificed as a “logistics hub” to be constructed and operated by a Chinese firm, China Harbour Engineering Company, the Jamaican Government has continued to play its cards very close to its chest, not volunteering any information at all.
Anyway, I thought I would share with you this list – by no means exhaustive – of all the organizations that are in support of the campaign to save this precious piece of our ecological and cultural heritage. Many are overseas, and this shows the strong network of scientists and environmentalists working in the field. As we should be aware, scientists nowadays are global creatures, sharing information and discussing their findings and research across borders. They collaborate all the time on field expeditions and programs (such as the Caribbean Birding Trail which includes Jamaica and this protected area) and meet regularly – in person and online.
Incidentally, before I share this list I wanted to let you know that the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce, which apparently spearheads the logistics hub, will be hosting a one-day conference on the project in Kingston on Tuesday, November 12. Ironically, this coincides with a two-day meeting of the Iguana Support Group at Hope Zoo, which will bring together representatives of several zoos in the United States and elsewhere that have collaborated with Jamaican zoologists over the years on the breeding program for the Jamaican Iguana – which was saved from the brink of extinction in 1990. Now the iguana’s habitat is severely threatened by the hub. One politician (the Minister of Transport & Works Omar Davies, who has an interest in the logistics hub) dismissed the iguana as “two likkle lizard” that cannot get in the way of “progress.”
If I have made any errors in this list – or have omitted anyone that I should have included – please let me know. I will update this blog post, accordingly, and keep it updated.
- Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
- Avian Research and Conservation Institute, Gainesville, Florida
- Birds Caribbean (formerly the Society for the Conservation & Study of Caribbean Birds)
- Caribbean Birding Trail
- Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (C-CAM)
- Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Puerto Rico
- Centre for Biological Diversity
- Chester Zoo UK
- Conservation International
- Countrystyle Community Tourism Network, Jamaica
- Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (eLaw)
- Feel Like a Biologist
- 51% Coalition: Women in Partnership for Development and Empowerment through Equity, Jamaica
- Fort Worth Zoo
- Greenpeace NZ
- HuffPost Green
- I.F.R.O.G.S (Indigenous Forest Research Organization for Global Sustainability)
- Iguana Specialty Group (ISG)
- International Iguana Foundation (IIF)
- IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
- Jamaica Civil Society Coalition
- Jamaica Environment Trust
- Jamaicans for Justice
- Misty Mountain Herbs, Jamaica
- Mockingbird Hill Hotel, Jamaica
- National Coalition Jamaica
- NoMaddz Bongo Music
- North American Reptile Breeders Conference
- One World Wildlife
- Project Noah
- Queensland Ecotourism Authority, Australia
- Ramsar Convention (the Portland Bight Protected Area is a Ramsar Wetland of Importance)
- Reptile Lovers ACE (Awareness, Conservation & Education)
- San Diego Herpetological Society
- San Diego Zoo Global
- Seven Oaks Sanctuary for Wildlife, Jamaica
- Southern California Herpetological Society & Rescue
- The Reptile Report
- United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK)
- Vietnam Herpetology
- Wildlife Nature
- World Wildlife Fund
And thousands of people from Jamaica and around the world have signed the petition on change.org, which is here: http://www.change.org/petitions/no-to-port-on-goat-island-jamaica-no-trans-shipping-port-portland-bight-protected-area-jamaica?share_id=eqkTTbjcGd&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition If you have not signed it yet, please consider doing so and share with anyone who may be interested. Even if you have, do take the time to read the interesting information, articles etc shared on the page and join the ongoing, daily updates and conversation on Facebook: No! To Port on Goat Island Jamaica.’
In case you missed it, please see this statement from Jamaica Environment Trust, who first raised concerns over the logistics hub plans: http://www.jamentrust.org/education/media/media-archive/2004-archive/160-statement-from-jet-on-goat-islands.html
And here is the statement from the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition, which includes JET and many other non-governmental and community-based organizations: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Six-reasons-against-port-on-Goat-Islands_14960085
And enjoy/share this song! https://soundcloud.com/jamentrust/dont-mess-with-goat-islands Lyrics: Inilek Wilmot; Vocals: Quecee; Music: Jeremy Ashbourne.
Please support the campaign to preserve and protect the Portland Bight Protected Area, and Goat Islands! It is Jamaicans’ birthright…