Was Jamaica’s Agriculture Sacrificed In 1987?

In 1987, the Jamaican Government accepted an International Monetary Fund Loan of approx US$40 million which stipulated that imported agricultural products would enjoy unfettered access to our local market, an act of cruelty perpetuated on a poor unsuspecting and economically shackled third world country resulting in extreme hardships for thousands of hard working farmers right across the country. Since then, the constant cat and mouse game played between importers and farmers with onions for example, displays a sickening disregard for decency and fairplay whereby our very own Jamaican importers perpetuate economic genocide in Flagaman, St. Elizabeth each and every year by sneaking onions into the country and then engaging a price war, when and only when the poor farmers are reaping their local onions. And the nerve of that despicable organisation, the World Trade Organisation, requiring us to pass this belated Safeguard Act to be enforced only after a series of time wasting exercises, why the hell should we have to prove anything to the WTO, if we decide that our onion farmers are entitled to a decent livelihood then that should be that, try exporting 2lbs of irish potatoes to the USA when the Idaho farmers are reaping, what kind of world is this anyway? We don't need a debate at this time to determine who destroyed agriculture in Jamaica, we are all to blame, from the near sighed housewife who gravitates to the cheap imported garbage to the policy makers, let us concern ourselves with the task of rebuilding agriculture in Jamaica, Sept. 11 should have by now exposed the weaknesses in the other sectors, our problem is that we like to talk too much!


Dr. Gilbert Allen Lauded

Father, friend, a fine gentleman, a humble achiever. These were just a few of the noble adjectives used to describe an outstanding role model, Dr. the Hon. Gilbert Allen, Custos Rotulorum for Manchester at a Dinner/Reception held in his honour on Saturday October 20, at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville.
The event was hosted by the Lay Magistrates' Association of Jamaica, Manchester Chapter in collaboration with the Kiwanis Club of Mandeville and the March-born Fellowship of Manchester.
President of the Northern Caribbean University Dr. Herbert Thompson, who delivered the keynote address said, "There are very few people in our island who are as accomplished as our Custos and at the same time as humble as he is."
Noting that Dr. Allen always displays qualities of integrity, dignity and authenticity, Dr. Thompson said that the Custos rose from the ranks of poverty to a comfortable life. He said, "Those of us who have been afforded the opportunity of associating with Custos Allen should forever count our blessings because our lives have been positively touched."
Noting that Dr. Allen continued to exercise sympathy in his medical practice and renders free treatment to many who cannot afford their medical bills, Dr. Thompson said that "our Custos possesses qualities which our leaders in church and state should emulate."
For his outstanding contribution to the parish, Dr. Allen was awarded the Order of Distinction (commander class) at King's House on Heroes Day.
During the ceremony, the Gilbert Allen Scholarship Fund was also launched. This fund will assist one  student from the parish each year to pursue tertiary education. Herbert Brown, Justice of the Peace disclosed that the associations' aim is to raise $2 million to support the fund. And according to Mrs. Georgia Allen, wife of the Custos, "the total amount raised will be matched over time dollar for dollar by the family."
With his charming wife standing beside him, Dr. Allen said that the support received from his family and fellow Justices of the Peace was highly honoured.
Noting that he walked the halls of deprivation but never lost faith, Dr. Allen said that "for too long we have blamed the police and deportees for the level of crime and corruption that affect us" and implored that we be committed to fighting these unacceptable elements.



Government Committed to Quality Education

Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Fitz Jackson has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to improving the quality of education in Jamaican schools.
He was speaking on Saturday October 20, at the launching of the 100% Literacy Programme, during a brief ceremony held at the Manchester Shopping Centre in Mandeville. The 100% Literacy Programme is an initiative of the Ultimate Factor a programme aired on RJR 94 FM and endorsed by the RJR Group of Companies.
"The government has been paying keen attention to better access to education and most importantly better quality of education,” he said.
According to Mr. Jackson, in recent times, the government has constructed several schools in addition; a continual upgrading training programme costing some $4 million has been implemented.
Mr. Jackson implored the students present, to place value on education. "Many young man and women go in and out of school and leave not very competent” he said, adding, "Students must approach education with a renewed attitude and the zeal to maximize on the available opportunities to boast their proficiency.


TPDCo Trains Accompong Maroons In Craft, Tour Guiding Skills And Team Jamaica

Some 40 Accompong maroons on Sunday October 21 graduated from training programmes conducted by the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) as the organization moves ahead with plans to foster social and economic development in the community through tourism. The persons drawn from a wide cross-section of the community, received training in tour guiding skills, craft development and the Team Jamaica programme in which they were exposed to tourism awareness, customer service, personal development, history and geography and environment awareness. TPDCo signed an agreement with the Council of the Accompong Maroons earlier this year in which the organization committed to undertaking human resource development and certain infrastructual improvements to enhance standards in safety, security, aesthetics, and the identification and development of products and services related to tourism. Speaking at the graduation ceremony at the community centre in Accompong, Alison Anderson, Chairman of the Human Resource Development Sub-committee on the Board of TPDCo, said that the letter of agreement with Accompong was a signal of the organization's commitment to working in the community and acting as a catalyst for social and economic development. Accompong is to serve as a pilot for culture, heritage and community -based tourism. Ms. Anderson, who is also Project Manager in the Ministry of Health’s Child Development Programme, said the rich history of the Maroon people was one for which all Jamaicans should have profound respect, noting that TPDCo was well aware of the need to protect the authenticity and integrity of the Maroon culture, even as it sought to foster economic development." It is incumbent on all of us to ensure that the authenticity and integrity of the culture is preserved. If that is not done, then this entire exercise is pointless," she understated. She explained that Accompong held great potential as a tourist attraction based on the home stay experience where visitors would be able to stay in the home of maroons while immersing themselves in the culture of the community. TPDCo's role in the community has largely been geared towards equipping Maroons to effectively perform their duties as hosts to visitors and to impart information regarding their heritage," Ms. Anderson stated. 

(Continued Next Week)


John Joshua Roberts

Ever since he was enrolled in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) as a Constable in 1963, John Joshua Roberts has been an outstanding role model for the officers of the force.

Born in Santa Cruz, St. Elizabeth in 1936, Mr. Roberts was the first of fourteen children to Mr. & Mrs. Amos Roberts (both deceased).

After completing schooling at the Santa Cruz Elementary School (now Santa Cruz Primary & Junior High) Mr. Roberts went to Kingston where he pursued studies and later began working at the Custom's Department before joining the JCF.

After successfully completing training as a detective, he was promoted through the ranks of Detective, Acting Corporal, Corporal, Sergeant, Inspector, Assistant Superintendent and finally Deputy Superintendent before retiring in 1996.

Mr. Roberts also did several stints in other ministries during his working years.

Speaking recently during an interview with the Mandeville Weekly, Mr. Roberts said during his days in the force investigators placed much emphasis on getting to the root of criminal activities however, he said, "I am not quite sure that a similar approach still exists towards crime fighting."

Mr. Roberts has been awarded for contribution to national development, good conduct, long and meritorious service on several occasions.

Most recently the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) St. Elizabeth awarded him on Heroes Day.


B.B. Coke High School

-A Beacon In The South

Lying on the southern plains of Junction in St. Elizabeth is a monument of success in the academic arena, the B.B. Coke High School, (formerly Junction Secondary).

Established in 1971, the B.B. Coke High School was built to accommodate 600 students, however over time its population has grown and today the double shift school pervades educational training for over 1500 students.

The school, which was expanded under a programme of the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Urban Development Corporation six years ago, today boasts the status as an institution with an impressively clean environment.


Guided by the motto: "Together we build", the school has made significant strides in the areas of academics and sports. In 2001 there were 90.5% and 93% passes in agricultural service and integrated science respectively, while there was a 100% pass in information technology and social studies. The pass rate for the majority of the other subjects averaged approximately 50%.

Principal of the institution, Mrs. Z.D. Wellington, said that although there are several challenges at the institution the members of staff remain committed to fulfilling its mission to assist each child to discover his/her capabilities and to develop potentials in properly integrated classes and extra-curricular activities.

The B.B.Coke High School has produced notable individuals such as University of the West Indies Professor, Alvin Wint and Marylin Rochester, Principal of the Bull Savannah Primary School.

Recently, the association held several activities in celebration of their 30th anniversary.


According to Mrs. Wellington, while the school has made tremendous achievement in athletics, basketball and cricket, the lack of a proper playing field has significantly restricted their potential for greater achievement. The school was first runner up in the 1999 Jamaica Basketball Association (J.B.A.) Tournament and second runner up in Zone A in the 1999 Athletic Competition.

Extra Curricular Activities

In order to make students "totally rounded" individuals, the B. B. Coke High School makes it a priority for its students to engage in clubs and societies. These include, the Inter Schools Secondary Christian Fellowship (ISCF), 4-H, Key, Red Cross and Talent Clubs respectively. Mrs. Wellington boasted that the schools overall achievements may be attributed to the "family approach" which exists at the school.

The Stalwart

Vice Principal Ervington Mullings has dedicated over 31 years of invaluable service to the institution. He said that his tenure at B. B. Coke has been both challenging and rewarding. Although looking forward to retirement, Mr. Mullings plans to continue offering assistance to the institution, the father of five children, Mr. Mullings has played the role of paternity in the lives of many children and although it is impossible to catalogue all his achievements, the tremendous number of students who have grown out of his hands is tremendous evidence of his competence.


Contract Singed for Phase Two Of South Coast Sustainable Development Programme

Plans for the development of Jamaica's south coast took a major step recently. The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo.) signed a US$600,000 agreement with Scott Wilson Consultants of Great Britain for the start of the feasibility phase of the South Coast Sustainable Development Programme. The Programme is aimed at facilitating the integrated and sustainable development of the south coast taking into consideration tourism, fisheries, and protected areas management. Communities in five parishes along the south coast from Hellshire in St. Catherine to Little London in Westmoreland will be impacted by the development.

The Government of Jamaica and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) under the Multi-Sectorial Pre-investment Programme are jointly financing the programme. The Planning Institute of Jamaica (IOJ) is coordinating the programme on behalf of the Government of Jamaica while TPDCo. is the implementing agency for this phase of the programme.

Mr. Karl Binger, Executive Director of the TPDCo., the agency under the Ministry of Tourism and Sports that is responsible for product development, signed on behalf of the Government of Jamaica while Mr. Malcolm George signed for Scott Wilson Consultants.

(Continued Next Week)


World Food Day Celebrated

In recognition of World Food Day on Friday October 19th, dubbed: "Fight hunger to reduce poverty," the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Clarendon in collaboration with the Clarendon 4-H Clubs held a special function at the Mineral Heights Primary School, during which several culinary demonstrations of products made from cassava were conducted. Additionally, officers from the RADA office, set up a small farm at the school.

Deputy Parish Agricultural Manager of RADA Clarendon, Mr. Elton Bent read the message from the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). He said that it was disappointing that amidst the celebrations for World Food Day, almost 800 million people in the developing world remain locked in a desperate cycle of hunger and poverty and suggested that we must acknowledge the intricate connection between the two problems in order to reduce their numbers.

"While the global community has made a serious undertaking to focus on the World's poor, it has so far failed to attach sufficient importance to fighting against hunger" he said, adding that "undernourishment does not only debilitate people but also weakens nations."

Chairman of the Clarendon 4-H Clubs Advisory Council, Mrs. Ethel Brown, boasted that the 4-H Movement has always been supporting the nurturing of young people by providing training opportunities in home economics and other areas. She pointed to the importance of food security if we were to be a totally "independent" country.

Following the ceremony, students and 4-H clubbites among other participants indulged in the sampling of several delicacies on display.


Shelter Project For Westmoreland Street People

Something will at last be done to rid the streets of Savanna-la-mar of the increasing number of insane persons who roam it. The threat of hurricane Iris last weekend appeared to have brought home to the local authorities the urgent need for a shelter for these unfortunate souls.

Secretary Manager of the Westmoreland Parish Council, Mrs. Patricia Sinclair-Stairs told the October Meeting of the Council that an allocation of money from Council's budget was made with the understanding that it would be matched with another sum from the organization known as Westmoreland Association of Street People (WASP), which would go towards the refurbishing of a building to house the town's street people.

However, it appears the Association has been unable to find its share of the required amount. The Secretary Manager therefore recommended that the Council goes ahead and spends the budgeted amount on the proposed shelter. She said the threat of hurricane Iris has forced Council to ponder the question in respect of what to do with the street people in the event it struck.

Councillor Bernard Vanriel proposed that a law be put in place to compel known relatives of street people to accept responsibility for their care and support. But chairman Mayor Ralph Anglin opposed this and stressed that Council had a responsibility to do something about the matter. He admitted that Westmoreland was way behind in taking care of it's street people but pledged that the problem would be addressed urgently.

And the Council is proposing to make it mandatory by legislation for all electrical wires on homes and other buildings to be reinspected and passed after a specified number of years. The view was expressed that many of the fires taking place around the Country is the result of electrical problems, which could be minimized, with the reinspection of these wires.

A resolution to this effect is to be sent to all the Island's Parish Councils and the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) for their support.

Dear Andrea,

I am a twenty seven year old girl with an eight year old daughter. I presently operate a business but of late the income has reduced.

I am very attractive “so men say, “but I think they are just flattering me to get me to be interested in their solicitations.

I live with my daughter’s father but have been having some problems with him of late. He is jealous of me so he beats me occasionally when he suspects I am three timing him. You see I have three married men who are crazy over my body and sex appeal. I seem to fill a need their wives don’t fill. Often times `I cheat on my boyfriend by secretly dealing with them. I take news to them about their wives. Believe me the news are pure fabrications, but I want them to leave their wives and squander money on me to get my business alive.

Recently my boyfriend beat me up because he was out and I went on a date with one. He has finally left me because I caused the police to lock him up for his brutality to me. I have got what I wanted, now I’ll have all the time to meet my men whose sex organs satisfy me more. I really don’t care about the wives cause my men keep them under manners by mental abuse.

That is what they tell me whenever wifey suspects and asks questions they are threatened. I love this life because I get all the love and attention I want.

“Lovely Lu.”

Dear “Lovely Lu”

You are in for a big surprise. You continue to take those men from their wives and one day you might end up on the wrong side of life- dead meat. You have the nerve to boast about your married men and the abuse of their wives, what do you hope to achieve, only sexual satisfaction? Those men don’t want you, only your body, bet they are bragging about your sex appeal, and at the same time saying you are not wife material. Men lust after women all the time. If you are easy meat you will be had. As for the money, how much do you charge each man for your service? Two thousand dollars? Is that how cheap your body is? Come on! pray and ask God to make you think positively about relationships and ask God to help you focus on your own man.

Hope your beatings have taught you a lesson. Next time the wives might get knowledge of you and start the beatings too.

Hope you’ll change for the better when your wounds heal and remember “safe sex” is the order of the day, with your many rendezvous you could get infected with sexual diseases and pass those on to those wifeys at home who don’t have a clue of their husbands' unfaithfulness. Sick, sick indeed.