Sunday, December 08, 2013

Madiba: Aluta Continua

African leaders whose vision could be toppled by the secret hand of capitalism!
“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” ― Nelson Mandela

The chronicle of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, and the variety of ways in which his story crossed paths with Jamaica is important to the island's history and that of our diaspora. It must become part of the story of the emerging self-belief of people of African descent. It is also an account of a human being allowing his best and noblest self to prevail.

It is easy and very plausible to tell Mandela's story without also speaking to Jamaica's story. But as a Jamaican it would be remiss of me not to mention, how this little nation, smaller than the population of Soweto and separated by thousands of nautical miles from the shorings of South Africa, prognosticated for the isolation of South Africa in response to apartheid from as early as 1961, three years before Mandela was condemned to Robben Island.

One of Jamaica's prime ministers, Michael Manley, was in numerous ways the designer of the sporting and cultural boycott of South Africa, which, incidentally, was more cogent than economic sanctions to that degree that the psychology of being a white South African was concerned. It is little wonder that Jamaica was one of the first two countries visited by Madiba after his incarceration. He visited Jamaica and Cuba in July 1991, with our beloved Winnie Madikize Mandela at his side, and they received honour from the Jamaican people.

He was a visionary, he had a grand project. He was political. He had an avid sense of strategic timing. Yet he wasn't Machiavellian. He was loved because he was neither Mugabe nor Blair. His vision ran through his life. He was noble. And, like a virtuous father, to be kind, he sometimes could be cruel.

He was distinguished and most especially he had an vast love for his people and for the project of establishing a non-racial and non-sexist South Africa.

Mandela vigorously defended of his loyalties to Iran, Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, all of whom supported him in his battles against South Africa's apartheid regime.

Mandela was on the U.S. terrorism watch list until 2008, when then-President George W. Bush signed a bill removing Mandela from it. (Obama is yet to oblige Marcus Mosiah Garvey similar courtesies.)

South Africa’s apartheid regime designated Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) as a terrorist organization for its battle against the nation’s legalized system of racial segregation that lasted from 1948 to 1994. (Marxist legal theory at work here: Karl Marx argued that the law is the mechanism by which one social class, usually referred to as the "ruling class", keeps all the other classes in a disadvantaged position).

Former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher also described Mandela’s ANC as a “typical terrorist organization” in 1987, refusing to impose sanctions on South Africa’s apartheid regime. President Ronald Reagan did as well.

But Madiba was more than that, he was an African man of moral sense. He was a man of virtue. Moral excellence and moral sense that made him so acclaimed globally since he led a nation at a time when virtue and morality were universally absent amongst global leaders. He slammed Bush and Blair for the war on Iraq: 'What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight and who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust.' For Blair he had these words: 'He is the foreign minister of the United States. He is no longer prime minister of Britain.'

He rose above acrimony and bitterness. He was unselfish and could reach out to his enemies and cross many divides. He was eminent because he was the great unifier. In many ways he was the designer of the New South Africa.

Mandela was neither magnate nor angel. Mandela wasn't unaccompanied in the grand journey of African redemption in South Africa. One only has to read Bertolt Brecht’s great poem, Questions From a Worker Who Reads, to know: 'Who built Thebes of the 7 gates? / In the books you will read the names of kings. / Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock?...'

The fight to emancipate South Africa was a collectivized crusade. Furthermore it was the force of the most oppressed, the workers in the factories, the destitute in the community, blue-collar women and youth that ultimately carried the apartheid government, if not totally to its knees, at the least to talk terms and discuss the conditions of the end of their racial scheme.

All struggle requires a vehicle, a social movement with leaders that can present political focus, tackle the arduous strategic and tactical routes. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela's ANC came to prevail. Even so, Mandela was the first to recognise the parts played by a broad array of social movements that formed the fight for national liberation and the mass democratic movement.

And while Mandela was the one to start dialogue with the apartheid government, he tied himself to the collective leadership of the ANC. He took the first steps, he led but he did so as part of a collective. He was an organisational man. He took pains to explain he was a product of the ANC. He was a man of the black, green and gold – but he could reach beyond organisational limits.

He had this quality of being able to keep people together. Even his critics – and he had them – submitted to him at the end of the day as a moral leader. Without him I can't envision how the transition would have gone.

Aye, zillions of words will be spoken and written on Madiba’s legacy, now, in the months to come, next year and thenceforth. And we will scramble to do this legacy justice. The hardest part will be to catch the essential Mandela, going beyond myth-making whilst precisely evaluating the inconsistent nature of that legacy.

Since the present can't be interpreted without understanding the past, and not everything that is haywire with current day South Africa can be put at the doorway of Zuma or Mbeki. The negotiated resolution that effected a democratic South Africa on the cornerstone of one person one vote will be reckoned as Mandela’s greatest accomplishment. It avoided the scorched earth route of bloodletting which we at present see in Syria. And even so it's those compromises that are nowadays falling apart at the seams. The unharmonious social inequality (very Marxist in nature) that has given rise to South Africa as a country of two nations: one white and relatively prosperous, the second black and poor (I believe arx would have termed these the: bourgeoisie and proletariat respectively).

Social divide the hallmark of society today!

Mandela’s legacy will likewise have to be weighed by the reality that South Africa is more disunited than ever as a result of inequality and social exclusion. The rich are richer and the poor poorer. The great unifier could undertake great emblematic acts of reconciliation to pacify the white nation but because, by definition, this involved sacrificing the redistribution of wealth, reconciliation with the whites was performed at the expense of the large majority of black people.

Mandela was great, but not so great that he could bridge the social divide built into the 21st century capitalist economy that has given us the era of the 1 percenters. It is the ill-fated timing of South Africa's transition, coming about as it did in the period in which global power got inextricably tied into the global corporation, empowered through the conventions of neoliberal globalisation. Reconciliation necessitated the forsaking of ANC policy as vocalised by Mandela on his discharge from jail, 'nationalisation of the mines, banks and monopoly industry is the policy of the ANC and the change or modification of our views in this regard is unimaginable.'

Nevertheless it's this forsaking of nationalisation, nationalisation representing the redistribution of wealth which was determined by the needs of reconciliation not just with the white establishment but with the international capitalist economy. His encounters with the international elite at Davos, the home of the World Economic Forum, convinced him that compromises needed to be made with the financiers. In the words of Ronnie Kasrils: 'That was the time from 1991–1996 that the battle for the soul of the ANC got underway and was lost to corporate power and influence. I will call it our Faustian moment when we became entrapped.'

It's exactly this capitalistic road that's verified such a calamity and which could ultimately demolish Mandela’s life’s work. To do justice to Mandela’s lifetime of commitment and sacrifice for equality betwixt black and white, the fight must continue.

It today has got to stress on subduing inequality and attaining social justice. In this fight the entire African Diaspora will require the greatness and sapience of umpteen Mandelas. Our brethren and sistren in South Africa require an organisation committed to marshalling all South African black and white for the freeing of the wealth of that state from the hands of a bantam elite. It will necessitate a movement akin to Mandela’s ANC, a social movement based on a collective leadership with the blended qualities of Steve Biko, Neville Alexander, Walter Sisulu, Albertina Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Fatima Meer, Chris Hani, Ruth First, Joe Slovo, Robert Sobukwe, IB Tabata and the many greats that led the battle for African liberation. But most importantly the African Diaspora and South Africa will need the multitude who take their fate into their own hands and become their own liberators.

Are these the things that Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela struggled to achieve?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Mitchell and Jamaica People Stress: The Trauma of Police Encounters

Sooooo..... BAAAAMMMM! 2:30pm Saturday afternoon. Paradise becomes abuzz with activity, residents scampering to cell phones, "weh dem deh, weh dem deh?" "Tek dung di line!" At the same time here comes one flock of residents taking a variety of unpopular routes, escaping and avoiding the JPS disconnection teams, who have in tow the long arms of the law. It is also alleged "one white lady weh look like di ooman who own JPS pon di TV did dih deh."

After the moments of flurry and outbursts of fluster and frustration and utter confusion, "nuff" ole me, decided maybe I should take a look in Bread Lane, site of what seems to be the police action and scene of quite a few arrests. Mothers and Grandmothers in police custody, young women and a "baby father." And here is where my head ache starts. The police are man-handling the baby father, who is in possession of his child at the moment.

Now I happen the particular child and new here mother was not in the vicinity at the moment, I also knew the baby father was not a resident of the community but was babysitting and staying in what is his woman's family yard. So technically he is being arrested for a crime he hasn't committed. And att the same time the police while jostling the youth is insisting on trying to palm of the baby off to any arbitrary community member so that he can carry through his arrest by any means necessary. Even if it means he has not left the child in proper or legal custody of an official guardian or family member.

Here is where I made the unfortunate mistake of pointing out to the Police man who I gleaned goes by the name Mitchell, that he is a bit to eager to carry out the arrest without following proper or due procedure and that he can't just give the baby to a passerby. This is when the ass loses his cool. and screams at me "Yuh a fool, aye  Rasta bwoy leff di place before mi tek a rock and mash in yuh head side, yuh know nutten bought rights? a stir u come fi stir up supm, cause a problem... a soon kick yuh and nuh stop kick yuh till bend up."

This is where I pause look at him, gaze intently, for I have met rude police men, but this man tops the list as the worst offender and most moronic. In holding his gaze, I see when his certainty breaks, for I am not moving , nor am I intimidated. So eventually I reply, "Lick who?"

To which he retorts with another expletive filled tirade. Then I say to him "Yeah I know my rights, but is like you nuh know them!" he then trys to make an explanation for dealing with the baby father and the issue of the child in the way he is, at the same time still eating up himself and badding up an explanation. At which time I turn to leave...

As I turn to leave, I can see his friend with either the oozy or mini-k/or 16 swinging round his neck like one of Flavour Flave's oversize pendants, is incensed that I haven't cowered, become a coward and completely capitualted with fear. While I a walking away, the Po-Po whom I shall call Gun-pendent is walking me down. When I turn round to meet him, he is already grabbing my left arming and turning me. Now thank Selassie that I have a PRESS ID, which is the first thing that greets him when he spins me, it stalls him. He is now taken aback, and I start chuck more ID's at him.

To which he responds, "Stop! Yuh seem like a educated yute, yuh couldn't have so much paper and nuh have eucation, so hear wah, we a do we ting, and we nuh need no trouble so jut gallang weh yuh a go, go dung deh so and nuh come up yah again, caah u seem like a trouble yuh waan start."

Mitchell then asks him as I am going away... " A who him?" T which Gun-pendent replies "NOBODY!"

So there it is like slaves, we have limited access to resources, police come and arrest on premises without warrants, squatters, landless, dispossessed, and baddup brutalized and pushed around. 21st century slavery I say.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Of PNP's Lost Roots and Forgotten Culture: Dorothy M. Thompson Must Be Remembered!

Now I would like to speak on the PNP's neglect and disrespect. My Grand Mother Dorothy M. Thompson has carried the party on her back since I came into existence and I am 32 and she is 94 and she  has been doing it longer than I was alive. In my lifetime, she was the cornerstone on which the PNP rested in certain areas of Montego Bay. She was close friend of Mayor Charles Donaldson who lived up the road and on the next drive. She was the ear Carl Miller needed. She was the reason Michael Manley and Howard Cooke stopped at the house, in Paradise, not Ironshore or Reading or Mango Walk! But time can forget but to ask about why someone is forgotten and to try to be silenced. How the PNP can forget Dorothy M. Thompson, how they can come to Paradise and not stop at her house? How they hand out awards and forget her? This is the reason they will lose the next election, for the have neglected their grass roots, and  have forgotten the last election was not a PNP win, but just a backlash and effort to oust a bullyism run JLP. Not a PNP mandate, not a yea for PNP, not any vouch of faith. Just a NO to JLP! But let them continue the folly they follow. Leave all my e-mails unreplied, leave all the real journalistic questions unanswered, send the wrong MP's, send old and slow councillors, do whatever convention wisdom tells them, ignore me, ignore the electorate, ignore the suffering Jamaicans, ignore the voice of the people! Jamaica is getting better, and Jamaicans are happy with the administration of the community, city and nation.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Reflections on Summer, Youth and Community

I-sah, summer draws to a close and there is much to reflect upon for the summer that is 2013! It's been hectic and I am certainly a different man. U-nah-mean so much in my meditations now. Firstly, I spent an immense and intense amount of time with Keekee in Paradise... our relationship is on another level right now... I feel a tighter bond. She all make me proud since this past week, when friends come to link mi fi mek a small check on a (problematic CQ61 HP Compaq) laptop headed to the pawn shop at City Centre, anyway... out comes Keekee out the house into the garage... "I'M YOUNGGG, GIFTED AAAND BLACK!" Mi breddrin dem look in amazement then pop up and seh "Coulda only fi yuh pickney Rasta!" But sitting a 3 year old while you have signs to paint, brochures to design, t-shirt fi design, your own newspaper to try and start, your blogs to write, articles, drawings to finish, paintings to be finish, Artistes biography, PR for Artistes/Breddrin, moeny to try make, bills to pay, Cashpot fi study and try ketch... It can be heavy and cumbersome sometimes, when every 15 minutes, Daddy I'm hungry, Daddy I want juice, Daddy tie this for me please, Daddy I want to go to the bathroom (All when she a do this by herself now), Daddy can I get a paper, Daddy can help me draw this, Daddy I want to go to the shop, Daddy I want to go by Jayla. YOW! More time mi feel mi brain go sprain... but a so it go. Daddy love you.

My Grrrl Boss: Ms. Young Gifted & Black!

Then there is the added task of trying to be a good son, assist Mommy with her burdens, as they are many, do the little I can, drop the goods to the hospital etc. That wobbled some here in the summer owing to all the constant things, things, things happening.

For one their is the Youth Club as well. AH BWOY! A real story and saga, and partially the inspiration for this article... for other than the intense Keekee hours, alot of the other hours were spent throwing mental and physical powers to the Youth Club and general community matters. And can you imagine after all that effort, in the Youth Club, it went up in flames I-YAH! Jah know! You can read the Observers small take on the matter at this link: Paradise Fire! Youth Club went in the Blaze!

Just to attend is a great effort on my part to, sit, stay, pay attention. But I did... eventually now I operate as PRO. But to imagine... the Kid's Treat today and stuff gone up in flames, free food, free slippers, second hand text books etc etc etc. And granted the media says fire of unknown origin, I suspect arson.

Anyway how all this ties with summer and youth, is because between having to be constantly around my 3 yr old daughter, and her 5 and 10 year old cousins, who host tea parties and stage shows ("Paradise Sumfest" with a painted sign included) outside my un-closed door and interacting with the communities tweens and teenie boppers and teenager cockroaches more than normal, with back-to-school here and ll this youth energy, it gave me a chance to remember a lot of my youth and mildly relive and remember what those youthful days of girls boys and summer adventure and the hassle and havoc and turmoil that, that social period and various stages and cycles of development are like... Do you remember what they were like?

We live in an age today, where President Obama Nobel Peace Prize winner will trumpet his second officil war, Libya being the first, now we see the trumped up charges with no UN proof for a Syrian War. Yes come September Obama and World War 3 will be in the backdrop of the children and the youths lives and TVs. Occupy this and that and 99%ers will probably be protesting. And just like when I came into to Earth, a war was in full swing on JBC... I would grow up in the ending years of the cold war and would hear Mikhail Gorbachov and Yitzak Rabin and Yessar Arafat, Gaddafi etc... constantly in the back drop of my life.

But what about the foreground... do you remember those Calvin and Hobbes-esque summers of immortality, infinite energy and endless hours. The more well endowed among us will remember there first cars, some the first job, or even the first summer job, most will remember that first kiss! Don't! Nuff a unnu must remember when it seemed like the whole world was exploding with new ideas and you were searching and reaching out for new experiences, wanting to see and know this world. Seeing through new eyes. Youth, Puberty, Adolescence, Growth, Change. It's a bitter sweet journey and beautiful sight.

But this article has to be continued as Keekee's pressing need to watch TEAM UMIZUMI (did I spell that right) oh well... youth.... gwaan listen this Avicii till when next I write

P.S. Youth(Dax) Happy B-day! To days of summer and youth, cricket and basketball!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bulla Tun Bully: The Bad-man-ification of Homosexuality and The Dawn of Heterophobia

Is it just me... but I have thought for along time now that there is an agenda apparently to evangelize homosexuality, the movement towards morbid asexuality or heterophobia... and the new bullyism by gays where they make it seem like one has no right to decent or dissent and no right to say or express his or her belief that homosexuality is not right or that you don't approve of it... I am not saying anyone should light anybody at the stake or go about making hate crimes or speech... But I have to ask "Is freedom of speech being impeached?" Can anyone disagree with homosexuality without it being politically incorrect? Why are homosexuals so sensitive to any form of criticism? Is homosexuality above and beyond criticism?

Huffingtonpost and Global Voices for all their citizen journalism, all the moral high ground, all the insightful commentary, they never examined once the tyranny of terror that was Bebe and Jasper and how they were the origins of scamming in Montego Bay... a pair of maniacal cross dressing gun wielding homosexual scammers, parading with "straps" and thongs from Fairview's Texaco to KFC downtown to Baywest to Pier 1. How they rooted themselves in Granville is fairly common knowledge in the city. But the darker sides of scamming money and murders, poverty and gay pedophilia in Jamaica are swept under the rug for this untruthful campaign against Jamaica and what is perceived as its attitude to homosexuality. NO ONE investigated the serious link with homosexuality and scamming.

I would also like people to stop comparing BLACK and civil rights to gay rights, I think it is also a poor analogy (anal-ogy) and beyond that analogy  is the weakest form of argument as no two situations are parallel or exactly alike ... as a black man, I simply find it an offense and it simply is not the same thing... and why is every gay poster guy black or some house cleaning O.C.D. Chinese/Ethnic minority guy??? And what is this movement to shut up dialogue about sex, sexuality especially if it isn't profoundly and "enlightening-ly" pro-gay...

Why is that so many are unwilling to accept the truth or speak to the darker realities of homosexuality? The promiscuity poverty and exploitation that was possibly apart of his life... he was living in a house filled with homosexuals partying and dancing... go view his YouTube channel... let us examine sexual health hygiene... how homosexuals are not GAY for gay denotes HAPPY... and gayness carries with it the implied niceness that gays are rich happy wealthy wine sipping cheese biting limp wrist-ed glamorous folks. But most homosexuals live with some level of alienation and isolation, for they probably the product of SAD realities growing up in garrison... without a solid father figure... poor, feeling insecure different and awkward absorbing all the female dance-hall energy around him and the open sexuality and sex energy that is easily and readily available in peep hole filled zinc fence close quarters communities, which shanty town and garrison "livity" and lifestyles carry with it, they probably grew up in the malnourished spiritually and mentally, if not just physically, and mutated by ill informed messages and wrong signals, by secret perverts hiding in garrisons... rich men passing in Benz(es) and Beamers, by old men, the screwy quirky cousin... and many of the monsters that come with urban life and urban poverty in the human metropolitan condition...

The community member who creeps into the yard and puts his penis into a little boys mouth at age 12... and after sometime he acquires a liking for the attention it gets him from this male of the adult world... he forms ill informed notions of psycho-sexual relations.

No one wants to look that deep at all these ills the sad places, both internally and externally, the mal formed social relations that births homosexuals... the sad realities that mutate them..

To oppose the homosexual lobby is to be unpopular and court the life of a pariah.

I am pro-tolerance and never promote harm to humanity, but I disapprove of homosexuality and feel a sincere attempt to shut up, lock off, label, libel and slander any intelligent opinion that does not agree with homosexuality as antiquated, draconian, non-progressive or not with the progressive liberal agenda... dunce... outdated and overly or unnecessarily militant. Is there a polite way to just say no to homosexuality! Once you show any dissent on homosexuality you are branded ’homophobic.’ While these accusation do not fill me with indignation, I know they are an inaccurate description of what I do, who I am, or how I think. This sudden groundswell of Anti-heterosexuality, Anti-hetero-pathy, Heterophobia, Anti-hetero-philia... would seem as if they are in the process of being consecrated into an ideology. If your straight shut up. Our have no right to free speech straight people... shut up... u can have no legitimate grouse against homosexuals! The terms “homophobic” and "homophobia" are usually used by the Gay Activists and Lobby Group to discredit and inaccurately define its critics. Once someone is branded homophobic, the chances are that he or she will be judged before they are heard, and the argument will be lost in the welter of bruised gay pride and ego.>>> But what do the terms “homophobic” and "homophobia" mean? Do they mean you are anti-music or Elton John or Luther Vandross? Or that you’re opposed to freedom of choice? That you don’t delight in listening to Diana King (whom I love dearly, I listen to her version of "Say a Little Prayer" ritually) or Freddie Mercury (everyone in Jamaica sings "Another one bites the dust)? That you have a quarrel with Shebada? Does it mean that you don’t admire the positive work of hundreds of thousands of possibly and notably gay persons who have contributed positively to the advance of humanity? Does it mean that you hate gay people? Truth be told it does not. One can disapprove of smoking and not hate the smoker, one can disapprove of homosexuality and not hate a homosexual and not be homophobic.

It is without adoubt a conflation to try and say that every time someone disapproves of homosexuality or every act or event that went unfavorably for the homosexual community was or is based in homophobia. It is not just a conflation but borders on intellectual dishonesty. It is also most crucially a failure of the imagination. An inability to see the world in terms other than those the group mind, the institutionalized Gay Lobby, international establishment has set out. If you’re not homosexual you’re a homophobic. If you don’t love us, you hate us. If you’re not Good, you’re Evil. If you’re not with us, you’re against us.

I say right now, bun GAY BULLYISM and GAY badness that acts as if, straight people must not say anything! BUN a Bully in General... funny though that "Bulla tun Bully: The Badmanification of Homosexuality and Dawn of Heterophobia"

Top 20 Schools List: Mt. Alvernia vs Mobay High!

The List of top 20 schools in Jamaica is officially out it seems and the figures are quite intriguing to say the least...

Hmmm Mt. Alvernia surpasses Mobay High... Historic if not monumental...

Well as back-to-school time rolls around... one thing I am certain of is this... Mt. Alvernia girls gonna be walking this September with an academic swagg like no other...

Mrs. Cherian will undoubtedly be beaming!!!

Only Westwood from made it into the top 10 from the west, which has shook up teachers and academics out west, for as much as Westwood has a long track record of success, it is still overlooked.

This list has spark the expected Facebook comment and thread wars of MBH vs MHS, Barbra Grayhounds vs Sister White Fowls as youth in my times referred to it.

Hats off to Mt. Alvernia... 'cause I remember back in the day when youths at Cornwall had it that Alvernia a fi dunce or screbbeh screbbeh girls and Mobay High is where you go hunting for high calibre... but as a young gallis... I never prescribed to such a philosophy or doctrine... I and I seek and finds the brightest and the hottest any where dem deh! Also... mi 'member when mi walk over the hill and pass Alvernia in the mornings and all those voices a mystery to me Yannick! Yannick! Yannick... man a Alvernia fuss tun mi inna mega star so... big up Alvernia a thousand times!

But one has to ask... what of Cornwall College... Bastion by the Sea! Disce Aut Discede!

Errol Watts of the "Cornwall College Alumni" FaceBook page posited the following arguments in Cornwall's defense for not being on the list...
"Notwithstanding the fact that CC has to continue to strive for excellence at all times, there are extraneous circumstances that might have been overlooked when analyzing the results. For example, CC does not hold-back any students from sitting the exams; while, other schools are known to submit only their best students that they think will have a chance to pass. We have an 85% (CSEC), and 93% (CAPE) average. We have one of, if not, the largest 6th Form Student Body in the country (130). And, to get into our 6th Form, you need to have 6 passes in grades 1, and 2. You might have noticed that the results offered, included English and Maths; however, we have one of (if not ) the best Physics, and Chemistry programs in the country. We have 30 distinctions at unit 1 and 2, including 50% in Physics and Chemistry. Presently, 15 out of the 138 students enrolled in Medicine at UWI, are from CC, the highest from one school in Jamaica. This year, we have 190 students applying to attend our 6th Form, which has a capacity for approx. 130. Finally, the number one student overall in the country,for the recent grade 6 achievement test, Mark Brown, and the top student from the county of Cornwall, Devin McIntosh, will be attending CC. Yes, we need to improve our English and Maths scores, but all is not lost. SATIS VERBORUM! CC...CC...CC!"
Well he has a point about Cornwall's academic past and current successes... but one has to ask... If Cornwall's admin is running away nobody and not regulating the exam sitting process and everybody sit exam etc... then Disce Aut Discede is a farce... "Learn or Leave" becomes a myth!


As the back-to-school debacle begins, parents and children will no doubt begin the battle of the brands... kids want Clarks and Jansports... straight, close fitted khaki pants vs tailor made or home made and no name bought at Bashco or Market shoes etc etc etc...

I wonder what the literature syllabus is like now for 7th graders/1st formers... aah the good old days of Sprat Morrison!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Document | Article: Proposals on Revolutionizing and Fixing Education.

An open letter to the Jamaican Ministry of Education

To whom it may concern:
For a long time the media and most thinks have purported the idea that we live in the information age. We live an age where cell phones and gadgetry pervade all walks of life. Computers and the internet are constantly creeping into our lives. Sociologists will contend that the family is the primary agent of socialization. But most of know and will very well contend that it is the TV. Especially in an age where the family is in crisis and in the third world where the core notion of family lives in a state of flux, the television and cable have taken prominence.
Folklore, Anansy and the oral tradition have been usurped by Sponge Bob, Dora and Hannah Montana. With absentee or limited supervision parenting rampant and the television controlling brain space and time at all times and any given hour, whilst the education system will only have them for 6 to 7 out of 24 hours much of which will be ruled by televisions and corner time no wonder we are unable to transmit and pass on the education, knowledge and morals we need to.
Mister Minister on the heels of your party’s message of change and changing the course, the courses and course of the education system has changed little. At this crucial moment in history the education system with all its short comings are in need of radical overhaul and requires new approaches and revolutionary thought. We need to design a curriculum to stimulate the development of analytical skills. The thing I care most about is that we focus not on the specific set of tools, but on the ability to “learn and apply a current tool set”.
The truth is that we constantly acquire and discard sets of tools. So we should not be fixated on one specific set of tools for all of life. Society, technology and the times change so fast that any fact, process or algorithm we learn at school is by definition not going to be useful for any length of time. The real skills that serve us are the ability to adapt, learn, apply the products of that learning, and participate in the discussions and challenges of the day. That doesn’t mean that facts are useless, or that specific tools don’t matter. Unless you can demonstrate an ability to absorb and apply both, fast, you haven’t actually gained the knack of becoming effective in a given environment.

How can we better communicate with them? 

The traditional talk and chalk won’t work with this generation. Our communication style is structured, yet they want freedom. The old order stresses learning, they like experiencing. We react, they relate. We focus on the individual, while they are socially driven. Here are four essentials to consider when engaging with youth today:
Not only must our communication style be credible, but we must be also. They don’t expect us to know all about their lifestyle, nor do they want us to embrace their culture. They are simply seeking understanding, and respect. If our communication has a hidden agenda, or we are less than transparent, it will be seen. This generation can sniff a phoney from a long distance.
Today’s youth have access to the most advanced technology, movie special effects, and video games with which we can never compete. But the good news is that they are not impacted by slick presentations. They don’t want a rehearsed talk, or a manufactured spiel. The more spontaneous and interactive we are in the classroom, the less intimidated, and more open they will be.
Obviously what we are communicating has to fall within their area of interest. But the style, as well as the content of our message must be relevant to a generation who are visually educated and entertained. There is no point in giving music to a friend on a cassette tape if they only have a CD player, or on CD if they only use MP3. Similarly we must research in the most appropriate format for those we are reaching. So in understanding the communication styles of our target cohort we will be better equipped to reach them.
There is an old and true saying in education circles: “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!” Communicating to this generation requires openness, vulnerability, and genuine interest in those we are trying to teach, and above all else, understanding. The more relaxed the environment, and the more socially conducive to discussions; the better will be the quality of the learning.


The Issue of Text Books and Learning Materials

Today, many children and individuals have MP3 Players, I-Pods, Smart-phones, computers, DVDs and DVD players, Radios and Televisions. Lots of in Jamaica are in some way linked and have some access to the various media. Today, I believe it is a tragedy that books, audio-books, tutorials and classes and the entire Jamaican and Caribbean syllabus are not posted online in PDF on accessible sites, material and content for our youths’ education should already be on their cell phones, in their DVD players, on YouTube.
It is an even more horrendous thought that every entrepreneur with a two-bit dream of becoming a media mogul can implement far reaching cable stations, whilst JIS is relegated to a time slot on TVJ, instead of being a Caribbean BBC, the U.S. has PBS and as a matter of fact the BBC has managed to pervade the island. We have an A.M. Band going to waste and yet I have seen people in small communities with their small means and incomes set up small radio stations and internet radio stations, why is JIS being broadcast, why aren’t we making full use of all the channels and vectors we have that can be used to bombard people with sensible, useful, practical, culturally relevant information.
I have lived to see middle-aged women become interior decorators watching HGTV and seen nearly illiterate dog lovers in the garrison swear they are dog trainers after a few episodes of dog whisperer on Discovery channel. In this vein I do believe if we have relevant content people will be willing to watch it. If you build it they will come. I do believe we have a wealth of content that can be drawn from, old documentaries from JBC and such. More can be commissioned, after all this is the era of YouTube movie directors, Open Source content and citizen journalism.
I am convinced the government has been lacklustre in pursuing technologies such as Linux, Open Source and notions such as FOSS. Brazil, Mexico and India are already using these to bring technology more cheaply to their nation. There are also revolutionary methods of implementing technology in the class room all throughout the Americas.

Also Mr. Holness I am sure you will probably have played dominoes with illiterate people as I have and been beaten by people who have never learnt primary school mathematics, which is proof that the education is disconnected from the everyday realities we face. Someone must have the potential to learn math if he can grasp the process of deduction and numerical elimination it takes to play domino well. We live in the Caribbean and still don’t learn enough about where we live. Why isn’t there our national geographic?
The other day I had to watch on foreign news that lizards that do morning exercises had been discovered in Jamaica. Lots of municipalities and small nation states have set up their own, local intranet that can provide the general populace with basic informational resources, like wikis and encyclopaedias and educational material. Today it is the nation’s own fault we are falling behind in education.
The government must become the primary agent of socialization, as parents and the family are lagging. If we are to grow a nation we need to grow people. We need our human resource to grow and develop. Technology, TV, internet, cell phones and the Radio are the way to reach them.
A Final Word:
The quality outcome of our education system is dependent on our understanding of the youth. Once we have a foundational grasp of their characteristics, communication styles, and social attitudes, we will be well equipped to effectively impact this enormous and emerging generation.

We want to create a curriculum that can:
  • Be self taught, peer mentored, and effectively evaluated without expert supervision.
  • Provide tools for analysis that will be general useful across the range of disciplines being taught at any given age.
  • Be an exercise machine for analysis, process and synthesis.
The idea is not that children learn tools they use for the rest of their lives. That’s not realistic. I don’t use any specific theorems or other mathematics constructs from school today. They should learn tools which they use at school to develop a general ability to learn tools. That general ability – to break a complex problem into pieces, identify familiar patterns in the pieces, solve them using existing tools, and synthesize the results into a view or answer… that’s the skill of analysis, and that’s what we need to ensure the youth graduate with.
Yannick Nesta Pessoa

One Laptop Per Child

Monday, July 08, 2013

The Sexuality of Semantics: How the Jamaican Public Makes Every Word Pubic!

Have you ever noticed how... Jamaicans "sexualize" every word... veggie/vaggie... pork/pokey... Boy don't make any mistake and ask for Coco Bread at the shop. Other words like wood, rod or plank means penis... pole etc...

Think about it for a minute: hole, pot/pat hole, hold u, squeeze... quint, squint, cat, pussy, all have vaginal references... in Jamaica words mean 1 of 4 things... penis, vagina, oral sex or anal sex/batty man business... This horror and tragedy is not subject to words, but numbers as well... look at the much maligned 2, once a symbol of balance and duality and harmony and such... now! Look at 666... what an evil number, do we even know why? 

The animals are in uproar too... Richie Spice, one of my all time favourite artistes... "seh nuh styles me as dawg, dawg a sittn shit a people yaad" and Dawg seh nuh styles man as me... mi nuh shot mi bredda and abandon mi pickney or mek nuclear weapon fi destroy earth... and Cat objects to being the symbol of all vaginas and cowards, (by the way, where did we even inherit this disgust for vagina... men are pussies, go suck yuh ma pussy... yet we all born from it as men and spend our lives going back there).

Almost the entire sea community is in uproar about us land lubbers use of the word fish... not to mentions horses and donkeys pissed at what we call ass, chickens that make a daily task of standing up to chicken hawks and mongooses and rid our yards of forty legs... are hurt that we call cowards, chicken... as if a species that has to live off domesticated animals and is afraid to hunt... has the right to call them cowards...

I am through talking in patwa and english... too sexualized and we cast the worst aspects of ourselves and human psyche on the animal kingdom... mi need a new mental space... more linguistic freedom... a place where being a cunning linguist has no punny punishment or consequences... mi done... Rosetta Stone here I come... SWAHILI... AMHARIC... ARAMAIC...AFRIKAANS... new mission #OccupyAnotherLanguage

Monday, June 24, 2013


How Can a Youth Minister Support Abortion?

May, Child's month not even fully a month behind us, and our Minister of Youth is endorsing eliminating youth... it seems somewhat absurd, if not paradoxical.

This reality reveals much of what is wrong with public policy discourse in modern Jamaia. Our politicians lack character, insight and vision, that is why they will endlessly regurgitate white America's intellectual drivel. A 10 minute Google would have shown our dear Minister of Freakonomics that the abortion-cut-crime theory has not even come close to meeting the burden of proof, but, instead, she like a lot of  our nation's intelligentsia fell inlove with the theories perpetuated in the book Freakonomics by Donohue and Levitt. Being innumerate, most politicians, presstitutes and the punditariat are willing to dupe the proletariat, the masses. It is easier to simply engage in intellectual yes-man-ship and take a guru figure like Levitt on faith, than even ask a local statistician or economist. A few book reviewers, like James Q. Wilson (America's leading expert on crime for several decades), expressed deep skepticism about the books propositions.

It amazes me that in todays day and age, an influential person such as our Minister publicly endorsed the theory, when a bit of diligence with Google would have shown her it was dubious, if not racist and prejudice.

It is an attention-grabbing theory, to be sure, possibly even more noteworthy than recent research indicating that liberalizing abortion increased pre-marital sex, increased out-of-wedlock births, reduced adoptions and ended so-called shotgun marriages.

But a thorough analysis of abortion and crime statistics leads to the opposite
conclusion: that abortion increases crime.

There are no statistical grounds for believing that the hypothetical youths who were aborted as fetuses would have been more likely to commit crimes had they reached maturity than the actual youths who developed from fetuses and carried to term.

A theory such as the one by Ms. Hanna has far reaching social, political and moral implications and, as such, needs to be rigorously debated and researched. The intent of this letter is to illustrate that, although the abortion-crime theory gained much attention and popularity in the United States, Donohue and Levitt’s findings are not apparent and obvious, nor are they indisputable, hence ought not to be taken as fact.

The criticism of the book's conclusions need to be given as much attention and consideration as the findings and arguments originally put forward in the book. Indeed, much of the research done after Donohue and Levitt’s study was published disproves the abortion-crime theory and casts serious doubt on whether such a link exists at all. Since then several times in articles, Donohue and Levitt acknowledge that a number of factors may have contributed to the falling rates crime rates during the 1990s. So why do we follow blindly American schools of thought?

Indeed many in the academic community contend that Donahue and Levitt’s research suffered from methodological flaws. As The Economist noted, “Donohue and Levitt did not run the test that they thought they had.” Work by two economists at the Boston Federal Reserve, Christopher Foote and Christopher Goetz, found that, when the test was run correctly, it indicated that abortion actually increases violent crime. John Whitley and I had written an earlier study that found a similar connection between abortion and murder — namely, that legalizing abortion raised the murder rate, on average, by about 7 percent.

We need to be doing our own research and not slavishly following North American trends of thought.