International Rural Women’s Day in Cockpit Country (and beyond)

Happy International Rural Women’s Day! This year, the focus is on women farmers. Frequently lauded for their strength, hard work and resilience, they are a solid presence in rural Jamaica – over one third of rural women are farmers. Three years ago, I met a group of them at a Farmer’s School graduation ceremony, and … More International Rural Women’s Day in Cockpit Country (and beyond)

Some Marley news, Part 2: Cedella Marley kicks off new women’s football initiative with international friendly between Jamaica and Costa Rica

I get excited about football. Our Reggae Girlz are doing very well, although they don’t get the support they deserve. So, enormous gratitude goes out to Cedella Marley, who has been championing the Jamaica women’s team for years and is not only a huge morale-booster but also helping to raise the profile of the team. … More Some Marley news, Part 2: Cedella Marley kicks off new women’s football initiative with international friendly between Jamaica and Costa Rica

Some Marley news, Part 1: Inaugural Rita Marley Scholarships awarded

This is about hope, and support. Did you know that Rita, the widow of Bob Marley and Founder and Chair of the eponymous Foundation, was once a nurse? Now, three tertiary students of nursing have received scholarships from her Rita Marley Foundation, in honor of Rita’s 75th birthday on July 25. The recipients are Esther … More Some Marley news, Part 1: Inaugural Rita Marley Scholarships awarded

Concentrating minds: the Caribbean at the UN in 2021 was shorter and sharper

Fast forward to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) 2021 – and what a difference two years can make. In my last post, I offered a critique of Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s somewhat unfocused speech at the UNGA in 2019. Well, the world has changed. Ms. Mottley’s 2021 speech hit home and gave the … More Concentrating minds: the Caribbean at the UN in 2021 was shorter and sharper

Jamaican gender activist Linnette Vassell tells older women: “Step out of fear”

I have a mental gathering of “Jamaicans I admire” in my head. They never cease to inspire me. They are young, and older, and in between, and in all walks of life. Linnette Vassell is one. This quiet afternoon – the first in three days of COVID-19 lockdown – I listened to a short interview … More Jamaican gender activist Linnette Vassell tells older women: “Step out of fear”

“There is no freedom where violence exists”: Emancipation Day 2021 Message from the Prime Minister of Jamaica

As I mentioned in my last news update, I found this year’s Emancipation Day message from Prime Minister Andrew Holness hit the right note. It is very well written, weaving in the legacy of violence from slavery days and looking at the dire situation our society finds itself in now. While noting that violence “in … More “There is no freedom where violence exists”: Emancipation Day 2021 Message from the Prime Minister of Jamaica

The Community Paralegal Programme: supporting Jamaican victims of violence

The discussion about gender-based violence continues in the Jamaican media; in fact, it never really goes away. But very often, those who suffer are not aware that help is available. The Community Paralegal (CP) programme is there to help. It is delivered by the non-governmental organization Stand Up For Jamaica, with grant funding from the … More The Community Paralegal Programme: supporting Jamaican victims of violence

No more silent cries! Thursday in Black campaign to end gender-based violence and child abuse continues tomorrow

We have to continue speaking out on issues that concern us. A lot of these issues get forgotten about when they are no longer headline news – but it really needs to be a continuous reminder of what’s wrong in our society (whether people want to hear it or not). Advocacy must be consistent, and … More No more silent cries! Thursday in Black campaign to end gender-based violence and child abuse continues tomorrow

Jamaica Update, July 27, 2021: Insults hurled, apologies not proffered, and COVID-19 fraying nerves

The problem-plagued Olympic Games in Tokyo finally got under way, and has proved a helpful distraction for Jamaicans fretting about COVID-19 and everything else. And we had some soothing rain – although it has been a contentious week, with insults flying here, there, and everywhere. Oh, and on a personal note…our roof is still leaking. … More Jamaica Update, July 27, 2021: Insults hurled, apologies not proffered, and COVID-19 fraying nerves

A strictly security-focused approach to crime prevention is costly, ineffective and paves the way for human rights violations

Just a couple of days ago, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said, frowning heavily as he spoke at the opening of a new police station in his own constituency of Olympic Gardens, Kingston: There is no doubt that our use of States of Public Emergency has worked to reduce murders and shootings where ever they have … More A strictly security-focused approach to crime prevention is costly, ineffective and paves the way for human rights violations