Yes, late! It’s not July 3, it’s Happy 4th July, 2013

I am late! And it’s July 4, so may I extend a very happy Independence Day to the many loyal readers I have in the United States, friends one and all. I also omitted to wish Canadian readers happy Canada Day! Anyway, that said I do apologize. Life has been busy.

There has been much focus on justice issues lately, and I have posted several links below to articles on the various issues that are floating around. The recently passed anti-gang legislation is particularly sticky; and there are concerns (which I share) that it is just too broad. As journalist Dionne Jackson-Miller asks in her blog, could Bob Marley’s song “I Shot the Sheriff” be construed as supportive of organized crime? The definitions in the legislation are very broad, too – it could be interpreted in many ways in a court of law. And, as we often seem to do, the legislation just goes a little too far. The controversial part is: “A person may not use a common name or identifying sign, symbol, tattoo or other physical marking, colour or style of dress or graffiti or produce record or perform songs to promote or facilitate the criminal activity of a criminal organization.”

Justice delayed… A few high-profile court cases were postponed this week, for various reasons. This is the way the Jamaican justice system works. In the case of Keith Clarke (the accountant who was allegedly shot by the security forces in his upper-class home just outside Kingston on May 27, 2010 during the search for Christopher “Dudus” Coke), the Director of Public Prosecutions appeared to be at loggerheads with the head of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) which looks into abuses by security forces. There are numerous “issues.”  

Justice in Jamaica is old, tired and dragging its feet more and more slowly. Rather like one of our dogs at home these days; she spends most of her time sleeping…

Stopping and searching: The police had good reason to pat themselves on the back this week, after a huge find of eighteen – yes, eighteen – guns and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition. The police stopped a vehicle, and at first one got the impression that it was one of those random stops that a Supreme Court Judge ruled against just last week. But no, it wasn’t really. They had good reason to stop the car. The police were acting on intelligence, and the Jamaica Defence Force also helped by tracking a boat from Haiti that had brought the arms to Jamaica. The police have often told us about the “guns for drugs” trade between the islands. I have become convinced that it exists. What’s more, the six people arrested (four in the car) were all from Kingston, where the car was headed from eastern Jamaica. Chilling. And congratulations are in order! I’m trying to imagine the damage eighteen guns would do…

The man who dislikes mongrel dogs gets elected: Mr. Doran Dixon, whose antics on a public platform as recently as May of this year created quite an upset, has actually won the election for the next President of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA). The silver-tongued Mr. Dixon referred to “mongrel dogs” (apparently in reference to Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites – I am not sure who else it could have been) and refused to apologize or withdraw his statement. His employer, the distinguished Mico University College, distanced itself from his remarks. His name was withdrawn from the JTA ballot, but he was then reinstated as a candidate after he threatened legal action. So there he is, now, president-elect.

Well, the teachers have spoken. I just wonder how Minister Thwaites is going to sit down and negotiate wages and working conditions (for the JTA is, basically, a trade union) after all this unpleasantness. I am feeling sorry for the minister, really.

And on the same matter… I was taken aback by comments made by the current JTA President, Mr. Clayton Hall, on television this week. When questioned, he asserted that it was Minister Thwaites’ initial remarks that were problematic, not his colleague’s. Well, blow me down. I guess crassness wins the day. This is inspiring, coming from the people who are responsible for educating our children.

Not much news on the economy… It’s gone a bit quiet, apart from Labour and Social Security Minister Horace Dalley, who has been chatting optimistically to the media about Jamaica’s first test at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – which is currently ongoing. I must tune in to Ralston Hyman’s radio program “Real Business,” and get some updates. Mr. Hyman did comment on radio this week, however, that fourteen consecutive quarters of decline and five consecutive years of shrinking GDP might sound like a depression to some…

Presenting little bouquets to:

  • Young activist Karen Lloyd, who spoke eloquently on the topic of abortion rights on tonight’s “Live at Seven” on CVM Television. Kudos, too, to program host Simon Crosskill and his team for another excellent program, which did not descend into a slanging match. And for Mr. Crosskill’s plan to revisit the issue, which needs to be examined further. Personally, I also greatly appreciate his support for women’s rights. He’s one of my favorite feminists!
  • Digicel Foundation, who have been doing some good work with students from rural schools, recently. Yesterday I met with representatives from five high schools, all outside Kingston, at Digicel’s beautiful HQ in downtown Kingston. They were showcasing their mobile phone app ideas in Digicel’s “I am the Change” competition. More on this in another post…
  • Some really good work is going on in south St. Elizabeth, where hotelier Jason Henzell (of Jake’s fame) is working hard to develop and promote sports tourism. I think he’s on to something. I love Mr. Henzell’s community spirit over the years. His Breds Treasure Beach Foundation has started a football academy – and is embarking on a Little League this summer! You can find them at
  • Ms. Khadine Hylton (aka Miss Kitty), the ebullient radio star whom I had the pleasure of meeting recently (my conversation with her is at I am sorry that I could not make it to the launch of her new radio show on Nationwide News Network on July 1. But I know it was fantastic. She’s on weekday afternoons, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

The bloodshed continues almost unnoticed by some, day after day. My condolences to the grieving families of these people, who died between Sunday night and Wednesday night. The violence continues, too, in our schools. 

Detective Corporal Alphansus Gassop, Sunrise Crescent/Red Hills Road, Kingston

Unidentified man, Oxford Market, downtown Kingston

Aloysius Paul, 46, Portmore, St. Catherine

Devon Kane, 46, Yallahs, St. Thomas

Steven Patterson, 25, Mount Piece, Hanover

Howard Burke, Norwood, St. James

Unidentified man, Cave Hill, St. James

Related articles and links (local articles are in purple): Four held following killing of policeman: RJR News Policemen on double murder charge offered bail: Gleaner DPP, INDECOM in blame game over Keith Clarke trial delay: Gleaner Bull Bay community shocked after barber’s shooting, community wants answers: Gleaner Massive Portland gun, ammo find: Gleaner Cops: We have the power to stop, search all vehicles: Gleaner INDECOM advises JCF to stop arbitrary stop-and-search in light of ruling: Gleaner Freedom of expression and Jamaica’s anti-gang bill: Whither trial by jury? Bert Samuels op-ed/Gleaner Digicel reaches out to at-risk boys: Jamaica Observer Soldier returns for sentencing: Jamaica Star–Manley-Horne-for-St-Bess_14602738 The vision of Messrs. Jason Henzell, Manley Horne for St. Bess: Jamaica Observer editorial Weeping gays booted from upscale community: Jamaica Gleaner–the-beast-within_14601704 Homosexuality: The beast within: Jamaica Observer editorial How can a youth minister support abortion? Letter to the Jamaica Observer Abortion is still murder: Richard Ho Lung op-ed/Gleaner The “scourge of poverty” by Jeremy Dear, or what ails Jamaican journalism? Active Voice Parasitic, uncaring toll operators: Letter to the Gleaner The cost of freedom and the benefit of independence: Doeford Shirley 0p-ed/Jamaica Observer’s%20Sectoral%20Presentation%20Media%20final.pdf Contribution to the 2013/2014 Sectoral Debate by Minister of Tourism Dr. Wykeham McNeill: Jamaica Information Service Are beaches enough for a competitive Caribbeantourism industry? Carib Journal

By the way, I have recently opened a Pinterest account. If you are on Pinterest you can link up with me, or browse through the boards I have put up already. But it’s very much a work in progress. The boards I have started are: Caribbean, Caribbean Birds, Caribbean Art, and Jamaica. Much more to follow! You can find me here:

The guns seized when the police stopped and searched a car in Buff Bay, Portland. (Photo: Everard Owen/Jamaica Observer)
The guns and ammunition seized when the police stopped and searched a car in Buff Bay, Portland. (Photo: Everard Owen/Jamaica Observer)
Mr. Keith Clarke's bullet-riddled home after his death allegedly at the hands of the security forces on May 26, 2010. (Photo: Gleaner)
Mr. Keith Clarke’s bullet-riddled home after his death allegedly at the hands of the security forces on May 26, 2010. (Photo: Gleaner)


President-elect of the Jamaica Teachers' Association Doran Dixon. (Photo: Gleaner)
President-elect of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association Doran Dixon. (Photo: Gleaner)


High school tech entrepreneurs showcase their mobile apps at Digicel's Kingston headquarters. (Photo: Digicel Foundation/Twitter)
High school tech entrepreneurs showcase their mobile apps at Digicel’s Kingston headquarters. (Photo: Digicel Foundation/Twitter)
Hotelier and community activist Jason Henzell at the site of his new Sports Park & Academy in Treasure Beach, St. Elixabeth. (Photo:
Hotelier and community activist Jason Henzell at the site of his new Sports Park & Academy in Treasure Beach, St. Elixabeth. (Photo:
Khadine Hylton spotted at an event earlier this week. I see she has changed her hair style/color (again)... (Photo from Twitter)
Khadine Hylton (Miss Kitty) spotted at an event in Kingston earlier this week. I see she has changed her hair style/color (again)… (Photo from Twitter)



2 thoughts on “Yes, late! It’s not July 3, it’s Happy 4th July, 2013

  1. Yes, proud of Ms Kitty she “wheel and come again” as we say in our fair land. Great show she has too! I caught pieces of some of them this week.
    Back in the day, I wrote so many articles over the years on that abortion debate. I see it is now on again… and the powers that be should just take a decision already. It is really largely a health issue… and providing adequate access to good health for women.


    1. Yes – it is not easy to “wheel and come again” – she is a strong, no-nonsense woman and I admire her for it! On abortion…I am glad that Minister Hanna raised the issue, but as she said (and we know) it has been discussed for years in the media and the public arena without any kind of conclusion being reached – and then lapsed. It seems that every time it is discussed the “fundamentalists” start shouting so loud that everyone backs off! I agree with you and with Simon Crosskill, who said it is a health issue and not a “religious/moral” one. He also added that he wished the men would stop telling women what to do with their bodies (he’s a bit of a feminist, and I like it!) 🙂 We shall see whether this latest debate will get us anywhere. Times have changed…


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