Tuesday, 21 May 2019

CHAT ‘BOUT: The ‘Mackerel’ phenomenon / What kind of police force do we want? / J’ca means serious business, and more hot topics

“When you look at starting a business, Jamaica is number six in the world. Yes, this little island. We are now starting a business in three days. Five years ago, we were starting a business in 31 days. That is a huge achievement for a small country. That is the type of thing that puts us on the investment map.” – Jampro’s Diane Edwards on Jamaica’s continued impressive performance according to the latest World Bank Doing Business Report 

“This phenomenon of [women taking other women’s men and men taking other men’s women] exists not only in Jamaica but everywhere in the world. People from all sections of the society do it. So I hope folks don’t believe people who ‘tek weh people man’ have home issues like Mackerel or are only poor people. The only difference with Mackerel is that she seems proud of it, while many folks doing it will never be proud of saying [so] in public.” – Concerned citizen and St. Ann resident Teddy-Lee Gray in a letter to the Observer’s editor 

“The difficulties of managing solid waste in Jamaica are compounded by the fact that a significant portion of the waste generated remains uncollected. A lot of the uncollected garbage is washed down gullies and into the sea.” – CEO of Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) Suzanne Stanley on the need for greater efforts to minimize pollution and improve air quality in city Kingston and islandwide 

“We believe that the market will recover over time. Coffee is a long-term crop. We are encouraging coffee farmers not to abandon their coffee farms as the market will regain strength, even though this is not going to be overnight.” – Mavis Bank Coffee Factory CEO, Norman Grant, expressing optimism about the future of Jamaica’s depressed coffee market

“Will a name change solve the problems of the constabulary? Of course we know there are good and bad cops in the force, and change is needed to make sure those who we depend on are doing just that. But what do we really want from the police? While some clamour for a state of emergency, which suggests more forceful policing, there are others who are asking for a softer, gentler constabulary.” – Columnist Barbara Gloudon on constantly changing attitudes towards the role of the JCF

THE TALLAWAH INTERVIEW: Theatre lovers Shakquera South and Faithy Lynch provoke thought with their one-woman show Common Sense

THE STORYTELLERS: Lynch and South take on a touchy subject matter.

GIVEN the stigma attached to mental illness in contemporary Jamaican society, actress, writer and School of Drama grad Faithy Lynch teamed up with producer and close friend Shak-quera South to mount Common Sense. It’s a provocative one-woman show in which Lynch convincingly disappears into a series of characters to highlight the abuse and neglect that so many persons with head disorders – diagnosed and misdiagnosed – suffer at the hands of other people. TALLAWAH spoke with the ladies about shining a light on this sobering issue so often swept under the rug and why ignorance is never bliss. 

TALLAWAH: Why was it important for you to put on Common Sense? 
Lynch: This was my final-year project at [the School of Drama]. Shak-quera came and saw it and wanted to produce it. 
South: I care about communicating important issues to people through the arts space. Art is so important and powerful, and art is a great way to relay something to people, to teach people. 

TALLAWAH: What’s your personal connection to mental illness? 
Lynch: I know people that I think suffer from mental illness but have not been diagnosed. People have even diagnosed me as bipolar. What I’m interested in is how individuals feel, those who are constantly and unfairly ‘diagnosed’ as suffering from some form of mental issue. How does it affect the individual? In my thesis I call it “community misdiagnosis” because as Jamaicans, we are always putting people in that box. 
South: Thankfully, I don’t have anyone in my family, that I know of, who has any such illness. Personally, I have had my own demons that I’ve had to face, and I want to know how to deal with that. I learned so much from working on this project, and I think it was very important for us to get the information out there. 

TALLAWAH: What surprised you the most during the research for Common Sense
South: I wasn’t involved in the actual research, but as I said, I learned a lot from the performance and the panel discussions afterwards. Someone, a Type 1 bipolar person, said that at church they had an exorcism performed on them. And I think that just speaks to the ignorance of the church. This play really revealed a lot about how Jamaicans treat people who have these challenges. 
Lynch: What stood out for me was how people responded to Stacey, the main character I developed. I don’t think she suffered from any mental disorder, but I know the kind of story I wanted to tell, to highlight certain things. I think her main problem was a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy,’ which is believing and absorbing what other people say about you. 

TALLAWAH: Faithy, as an actress, you’re incredibly thorough, but how challenging was it to tackle multiple characters? 
Lynch: What I did was create the characters individually and then work out the transitions. I like working alone. I do a lot of work by myself. Being honest is the challenge, with each and every character, to learn them and understand them.

TALLAWAH: Shak-quera, as a producer what kind of projects interest you? 
South: I like projects that have substance and deliver important, relatable messages. I want it to inform. It has to be way more than entertainment. Jamaican theatre is too much comedy, and that’s what we feed the public – things they want instead of what we think they need to see. So I want to create my own space to put on more of these projects. I’m looking forward to it.

Friday, 17 May 2019

THE OTHER SIDE OF: Senator Aubyn Hill loves his fish, old movies and a good joke

WORK & PLAY: Hill is all about living (and enjoying) his best life.

HOW does Senator Aubyn Hill spend his time away from the hustle-and-bustle of the corporate world and public service? What interests and hobbies help him enjoy his downtime to the max? Here, the man who wears multiple hats (Corporate Strategies Ltd. CEO; Economic Growth Council team leader) shares some of his favourite things:

The secret talent he wish he had: Actually, for a long time I wanted to be one of those fighter pilots. 

The best thing he can cook: I don’t do any cooking, but I’m excellent at preparing eggs.

His favourite Bob Marley song is: “One Love” and “Buffalo Solider” is a close second.

The last time he laughed out loud: Today. I’m always laughing. It’s an important part of my emotional well-being. 

How he spend his spare time: I watch a lot of sports, particulary tennis and football.

Oxtail or pork?: Really and truly, I love snapper. (Laughs).

His idea of a great weekend: Spending it with a great book and a cup of coffee.

His favourite films are: 12 Angry Men and the Mission Impossible movies.

NEWS FEED: Lorna Gooden steps up as SVREL’s new GM … Fill prescriptions faster with ‘Quick Prescript’ app … Food for the Poor salutes its sponsors

BUSINESS: Hailed by CEO Ann-Dawn Young Sang as “a dynamic, respected and long-standing member of the Supreme family,” Lorna Gooden has been appointed the new general manager of Supreme Ventures Entertainment Limited (SVREL). Gooden, who joined the Supreme family in 2001 as a finance manager, is a fellow of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica (ICAJ). “The position of general manager is very critical in advancing the many business strategies that have been implemented by SVREL to propel the company’s revenue growth and profitability,” says Chairman Solomon Sharpe, “so I am pleased with this [appointment].” 

HEALTH: The National Health Fund (NHF) has stepped up promotions for its ‘Quick Prescript’ app. Introduced in 2018, it was devised to help reduce the waiting time for clients accessing medication in public pharmacies. The application allows users to initiate the processing of prescriptions using their smartphones. Individuals are alerted when the medication is ready. The medication may be collected on presentation of the original prescription. According to the NHF, patients and potential customers without smartphone access can utilize the ‘Quick Prescript’ kiosks at selected pharmacies islandwide.

CHARITY: The life-changing work that charity organization Food for the Poor continues to do in Jamaica is largely possible due to the support of corporate entities (based locally and overseas) that don’t hesitate to give. “Food for the poor, over its 35-year-history in Jamaica, has built over 25,000 housing units, which gives me goosebumps when I think about it,” said Chairman Andrew Mahfood, speaking at the recent launch of their 5th annual 5K Run/Walk. “I have to thank our donors from overseas – in Canada, America, Europe – and especially Jamaica because without them there would be no Food for the Poor. It just shows the kind-heartedness of many people around the world. Over 500 lives have been improved.” The 2019 Run/Walk will be held in New Kingston on Sunday, May 19.

Monday, 13 May 2019

2019 MIDDLE MANAGERS’ CONF: Nuggets of wisdom from the experts

THE MAIN EVENT: The conference offered a splendid opportunity for networking and business connections. 

>> Being a CEO for 25 years and counting, says Peter Melhado, has been about adapting to roles and adapting to new things. Not only has he learned to be more precise and well-prepared for whatever he’s doing, the ICD Group President and CEO has also become more “super-analytical” over time. “Being a leader is equal parts teacher and learner,” he says. “Whenever you’re not being authentic you’ll have a hard time being consistent and trustworthy.” Melhado outlined five things his experiences have taught him about being a team leader:
1) Get to know your people first and foremost. Nothing trumps that.
2) Prepare, prepare, prepare. It’s a big part of moving up the ladder.
3) The further up you go, the less feedback you get. Be vigilant.
4) Let go of the outcome.
5) Be brutally honest with yourself.

>> For Grace Burnett, moving from the legal fraternity and the insurance industry to the corporate world (she’s now the CEO of GraceKennedy Financial Group), has been a journey replete with empowering, life-changing lessons. What’s paramount for her, she told her rapt audience, is thinking B.I.G.
1) Be authentic “Each time you’re moving towards your dream without compromising, you’re winning,” she said, quoting Michael Dell. She’s also a fan of Steve Jobs (“Don’t let the noise of others drown out your inner voice.”) and Brian Tracey (“Be the type of leader people want to follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position.”)
2) Inspire Management, Burnett believes, is about persuading people to do things they don’t want to do; leaders, on the other hand, inspire people to do things they never thought they could do.
3) Grow Says Burnett, “Before you’re a leader, success is about growing yourself. As a leader, success is about growing other people while growing yourself.”

>> Rochelle Cameron, always a hit with her audiences, closed out the conference with a refreshing and informative session dubbed “Building and Unleashing Breakthrough Networks.” She urged attendees to look the part and act the part. “When you walk into a room all energetic, people are immediately drawn to you, that confidence,” she said. “Always ask yourself, ‘How am I presenting myself?’” She couldn’t emphasize enough the supreme importance of body language as you strive to make those important connections. “The body language of people tells us so much. It’s much more truthful. The eyes, especially, speak louder than the voice ever will,” noted Cameron (Assistant VP, Jamaica Broilers), who highly recommends the book Presence by Amy Cuddy. “You want your presence to say I own my value and I feel powerful in my value.”

THICKER THAN WATER: Face the Truth crackles with explosive dialogue, strong performances

LISTEN MI: Murray, Jarrett and Edwards sharing a scene from the play.

Face the Truth (Majesty Productions)
Director: Andrew Brodber
Cast: Rosie Murray, Tesfa Edwards and Angela Jarrett
Venue: Pantry Playhouse, New Kingston

FOR the fast-approaching observance of Mother’s Day, I highly recommend that you go see Face the Truth. An alternately humorous and sobering domestic dramedy, it vividly highlights the perils of spoiling your child, especially when they are long past the age when they should be out in the world making life and fending for themselves. It’s a cautionary tale.

Written by Angela Jarrett and directed by Andrew Brodber, the creative team behind last season’s Something Fishy, the play stars Rosie Murray as Dorothy Norton, a rich 75-year-old maven, who could be accused of being an enabler. Her adult son Ray (Tesfa Edwards) can be described as a deadbeat Rastafarian sponging on his mother quite heartlessly, taking full advantage of her kindness and her soft heart.

This makes Miss Norton’s assistant Babs (Jarrett, superb) very angry and consequently she never spares Ray a firm tongue-lashing. They are at constant loggerheads.

Frequent mention is made of Ray’s missing family (including wife Jasmine), a Mr. Drummond, who seems to hold a special place in Miss Norton’s heart, and a Pastor Finley, a fit and sexy white man who has Babs hitting the early-morning jogging trail to catch his attention.

But the action primarily unfolds inside Miss Norton’s living room (in Hope Pastures), which becomes a heated battleground as Babs and Ray finally square off in response to the free-loading situation that has escalated.

Jarrett knows people, and this wisdom and understanding of human relationships manifests repeatedly in her dialogue-heavy script, which Brodber and the three-member cast and crew bring to rousing life – in spite of minor technical flaws. 

You’ll laugh, you’ll cuss, you’ll be entertained by this frank and true-to-life account of dysfunctional family dynamics and ferocious greed. Tyrone’s Verdict: B

Thursday, 9 May 2019

WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE: Jacqueline Coke-Lloyd sees success as helping others achieve their best

LEADING LADY: "There are lessons in opportunities and mistakes," Coke-Lloyd says on reflection.

“IN my high school yearbook I was singled out as the person most likely to start their own company,” says a glowing Jacqueline Coke-Lloyd, speaking with TALLAWAH inside the Grand Ballroom of the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. To say the least, she’s more than lived up to that promise.

Not only has she been the driving force behind Make Your Mark Consultants (her own company), she’s been transforming the lives of countless Jamaicans through personal and professional development.

In fact, Coke-Lloyd and the diligent staff at Make Your Mark Consultants take this work so seriously that they started the Middle Managers’ Conference, which has bloomed into a calendar event now in its 10th year.

“Every year I marvel at how much space I take up in this ballroom. It’s a good feeling,” she told the conference during Opening Ceremony on Tuesday morning, referring to the massive turnout. “Most organizations don’t get to celebrate 10 years of achievement.” 

To start your own enterprise, Coke-Lloyd will be the first to tell you, it only takes a spark. She uses her own experiences and the genesis of the conference as an example. “It started with a dream to make you the best asset to your organization and the people you serve – [while] contributing to the growth of the public and private sector and our beloved country, Jamaica,” she told the gathering. 
Today, at 50-plus, Coke-Lloyd radiates charm. She’s poised, she’s eloquent. A plump woman in full, and a big fan of pearls and pants suits, she wears her success well. “I’m most proud of the fact that we continue to improve lives and contribute to the growth of managers. The responses and feedback we’ve received from persons we’ve trained has been amazing,” she tells me during coffee break. 

She’s had quite a journey to this point on her career arc. In addition to her mom, Coke-Lloyd hails Claudette Parsons on her list of Jamaicans who inspired and motivated her when she was coming of age. “She gave me my first summer job, and she is still an entrepreneur to this day,” she recalls. “My mom taught us that life is going to be filled with tough challenges, but you should always give of your best, irrespective of the situation.” 

And, as with any success story, Coke-Lloyd has had her hurdles and disappointments. What has she learned? “There are lessons in opportunities and mistakes,” she emphasizes. “It’s just for you to learn from them and make the most of your next opportunities.”