Friday, 12 June 2020

NEWS + NOTES: Millie Small’s legacy / Vernon James elected new IAJ head / JTA takes key lessons from COVID-19

>> NCB’s Vernon James now head of local insurance body 
Vernon St. G. James is the new President of the Insurance Association of Jamaica (IAJ). He was elected to the post at the body’s recent Annual General Meeting. James succeeds Peter Levy (BCIC’s Managing Director), who served as president for the past two years. He brings more than 20 years of financial-sector experience to the job. James is currently CEO and Managing Director of NCB Insurance Company Limited.

>> JTA’s Owen Speid: Time to embrace the ‘new normal’
President of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), Owen Speid, says the 24,000-member body will emerge from this historic coronavirus period even more resolute to execute the vision and mission. “COVID-19 has taught us some resounding lessons, and it is now upon us to showcase to the world that we have taken notes and are at a state of mental and physical readiness to undertake the requisite adjustments with respect to digital revolution in the interest of nation-building,” he said, delivering his 2020 Education Week message. Teachers should aim, he further stated, to get better and better at their jobs. “[The pandemic] has opened up the floodgates for new and creative thinking,” he argues. “We should never allow our minds to return to a state of the old normal, but strive to embrace the new normal.” 

>> Chris Blackwell recalls Millie Small’s talents, sense of humour
“She’s the person who took ska music international,” says Chris Blackwell. He is referring to Jamaican-born entertainment legend Millie Small, who died in England last month. She was 73. Small’s world-famous hit song “My Boy Lollipop” became the first Jamaican song to make it on to the British and American charts, reaching number one in Britain and number two in the United States in 1964. A country girl at heart, Small was born in Vere, Clarendon, on October 6, 1946 and grew up on a sugar plantation, later moving on to pursue her education before the music bug bit at the dawn of the rocksteady era. “She was such a sweet person; very funny with a great sense of humour,” recalls Blackwell, founder of the venerable Island Records. In 2011, Small was conferred with one of Jamaica’s highest honours, the Order of Distinction (in the rank of Commander) for her contribution to the development of our music.

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