Saturday, 11 July 2020

COMMUNITY BEAT: Aerodrome in St. Bess to be upgraded, plus more parish news

St. Mary: Health minister Dr. Christopher Tufton says his ministry has been paying keen attention to gaps in the health-care system and have come up with a plan for “quality access” so ailing citizens can be served in their parishes without having to make the trek into the corporate area to access health services. To that end, the government is investing $180 million to improve the services currently on offer at the Annotto Bay Hospital. At a recent groundbreaking ceremony, Minister Tufton said construction is slated to last for about 14 months. In addition to a new lab and physiotherapy building, the hospital’s new facilities will include a conference room, office space for senior medical staff and a blood bank. 

St. Andrew: Water is life. That remains the simple slogan of the National Water Commission (NWC), which has come to the rescue of scores of residents, recently replacing the Ferry pipeline. Known as the Ferry Eighteen-inch System, it serves communities along Washington Boulevard up to Dunrobin Avenue, interconnecting with a transmission main along Constant Spring Road. Among the communities to be positively impacted are Washington Gardens, Upper Waltham, sections of Molynes Road, Seaward Drive and Olympic Way. NWC president Mark Burnett says the new pipeline forms part of their comprehensive plans for efficient water distribution and to build resiliency and reliability within the network. 

St. Elizabeth: As the transport ministry deepens plans to expand and improve Jamaica’s aviation industry, a number of airport development projects are in the works. According to Minister Robert Montague, the Lionel Denham aerodrome will be upgraded under a reverse public-private partnership. The project is expected to cost taxpayers approximately $103 million. Other domestic aerodromes being eyed for rehabilitation and reactivation include Clarendon’s Vernamfield and the Holland Bamboo airstrip, also located in St. Bess.

LIFE & STYLE: White egg, brown egg / Introducing the Amazon Smart Oven / What ‘toolbox divas’ know

Face Value: Does the colour of an egg mean something? 
According to nutrition experts, the shell colour doesn’t indicate anything significant about the egg’s quality or its nutritional value. That is determined by hen breed. Hens that lay brown eggs tend to be bigger and require more food, which is why those eggs tend to be more expensive. 

The Future of Cooking: Kitchens ain’t ready for the Amazon Smart Oven 
Technology is making food preparation that much easier for busy households. Say hello to the Amazon Smart Oven, one of the buzziest new appliances taking the market by storm. You can sync this oven with an Echo device and ask Alexa to preheat it. Or why not scan your packaged food with the app and then let the oven take over the cooking? Alexa will alert you when dinner is ready.

Cool website: Toolbox Divas 
This DIY site, which aims to empower women all over the world by teaching them handy skills, was started by savvy US-based entrepreneur Timisha Porcher. “[Doing things myself] started out as a budget necessity,” she tells Better Homes & Gardens. “But it has turned into the thrill of looking at something and thinking, I made that! It gives me a sense of pride.”

Thursday, 9 July 2020

NEWS FEED: The Sexual Harrassment Bill / Birth of the JPP / Attracting more tourists to Falmouth

UNDER THE LAW: Breaking down the new Sexual Harrassment Bill 
Specifically, sexual harassment is not recognized on the books in Jamaica. Given the call for a statute to be introduced to protect citizens, a Sexual Harrassment Bill is now being reviewed by a joint select committee in the House of Parliament. The bill outlines the types of conduct that constitutes sexual harassment, while prohibiting certain related conducts. It also makes provisions for the complaints to be filed by persons who’ve been victims of various degrees of harassment. Committee chair Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange says it’s long overdue. “We need to put money into a public education programme to change attitudes and to change the culture,” she says. “We have to invest in making people more aware and to sensitize the public [about certain behaviours that] need adjusting.” 

FORWARD IN FAITH: Are we ready for the Jamaica Progressive Party? 
Shutting down strip clubs, abolishing income tax, raising the minimum wage and resuscitating the national carrier, Air Jamaica, are only a few of the target points being weaved into the developing narrative of the newly formed Jamaica Progressive Party (JPP), a church-based organization headed up by President Gilbert Edwards, a medical technologist by training, and General Secretary Pastor Robert Rainford. By mid-July, the Electoral Commission of Jamaica will decide if the party has been officially approved and stands to become the fourth party registered by the ECJ to contest the General Elections constitutionally due next year. “We have been doing work for four years,” General Secretary Rainford (above) noted in in an interview with the Gleaner, “and we are just now coming out for the public to see who we are and to support us going forward.” 

COMING ATTRACTION: New $700-M artisan village to open near Falmouth Pier 
As is in answer to the prayers of Trelawney residents who’ve long lamented the absence of a major attraction to serve as a strong foreign-exchange draw for Falmouth and its environs, the tourism ministry just announced the impending opening of an artisan village in the resort town – in the vicinity of the Falmouth Pier. Per Minister Ed Bartlett, the official opening of the village, constructed to the tune of $700 million, will hopefully coincide with the return of cruise ships to Falmouth later this year. “A few final details surrounding electricity are to be completed,” the minister points out, “separate from that, the village is ready. One hundred and seventy-five persons have been trained to offer [a] unique experience to Jamaicans and visitors alike.”

Saturday, 4 July 2020

MAN IN THE MIRROR: David Tulloch steps into the political ring fuelled by hope and ambition

THE CANDIDATE: “I’m not going to let my inexperience cloud my judgement,” says the 39-year-old contender.

FOR the last ten years, David Tulloch has been patiently waiting for an opportunity to enter the world of political representation. His time has come. But, interestingly, for his first assignment, the rookie politician (freshly minted PNP caretaker for North East St. Andrew), is going up against a juggernaut of Jamaican politics. “Delroy Chuck is a veteran, and he’s had the constituency for the last five elections,” Tulloch points out, speaking with TALLAWAH in New Kingston.

What Tulloch has in his arsenal is that famous blend of drive and determination, reliability and a willingness to go the extra mile for a cause he wholeheartedly believes in. “I’m not going to let my inexperience cloud my judgement,” he says. “People and progress is what I love. And win or lose, I’ll still be the party’s caretaker for the constituency, and that’s a responsibility to be taken seriously.”

Besides, Tulloch feels the people of North East, largely comprise of middle-lower income families, are ready for new representation. And he’s the man for the job. “I think, generally, people are ready for a younger and more innovative approach to the job of MP,” he notes, highlighting such communities/areas as Grant’s Pen, Constant Spring, Standpipe, Barbican and Shortwood, which have no shortage of socio-economic woes.

“The youth need to be engaged more. A lot of them are unemployed and that can lead to miscreant activity. Also, a lot of the residents are business people but most of those businesses are located outside the constituency. That is something I’m very passionate about changing.”

Passion has always been a driving force in David Tulloch’s life, charting his journey from academic standout at Wolmer’s to multi-award-winning thespian and show producer to his current perch as a second-generation politico. (David’s father, Francis, now 80, served constituencies in Hanover and St. James back in the day.)
This fresh chapter is utterly time-consuming and has him keenly focused on his next moves, not to mention the needs of the constituents. Even so, Tulloch is smartly making adequate time for himself – to remain whole and sane. “At this age, you don’t have time for mistakes. Things have changed. I’ve been praying a lot, thinking a lot, and just being grateful for this opportunity,” says the multi-talented go-getter (and father of two), who turned 39 in late April. 

Compiling material for a couple of book projects and working on new plays have not exactly taken a backseat, but Tulloch is clear as to what his immediate professional priorities are. What’s more, there’s been widespread talk, especially in recent weeks, that Jamaicans could go to the polls later this year, though the next General Elections are constitutionally due in 2021. “I’m now putting together a campaign team,” he reveals, “and raising funds to sustain the work that I plan to do.”

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

SOCIETY, SOCIETY: Juicy Derrick Smith memoir on the way … Mr. Chuck regrets … Vasciannie returns to Mona Campus …

>> Some people were just born to teach and that, unequivocally, includes Dr. Stephen Vasciannie, who has, according to the press, returned to the Mona Campus to serve as Professor of International Law. As we all know, Vasciannie was President of the University of Technology (UTech) for the past few years, but his trek back to the other side of Mona symbolizes a return to his roots. 

>> We are calling this one The People vs. The Justice Minister! Delroy Chuck has done the sensible thing by issuing an eloquent apology to victims of sexual harassment. After coming under fire for comments he made (about #MeToo and the time period within which non-criminal sexual harassment complaints can be made) during a sitting of the Joint Select Committee on the Sexual Harassment Bill last week, Chuck is asking for forgiveness. “I unreservedly apologize to anyone who found my remarks inappropriate, as I never intended to disrespect the #MeToo movement or to diminish the seriousness of the emotional trauma caused by sexual harassment,” he offers. “On reflection I understand the concerns raised by members of the public.” The Caribbean Women Theologians for Transformation were among those who took Chuck to task, arguing that his comments made light of the challenges that attend victims of sexual abuse and harassment. 

>> Derrick Smith is whetting appetites for his forthcoming autobiography, Turning Points, in which he’s spilling the beans about his vast and myriad experiences in politics and public service, including his stint as National Security Minister under then Prime Minister Bruce Golding. According to an Observer sneak peek, one very vivid chapter of the tell-all book (which is now about 98% complete) is titled “Humiliation,” and chronicles “the embarrassment that engulfed Smith’s family” when they discovered, through a newspaper report (!) that he’d been fired from the Golding Cabinet as Security minister less than a year after the JLP took office in September ’07.. Sound like Mr. Smith could have a hot bestseller on his hands. 

>> Milestones: Congratulations are in order for Pearnel Charles Sr. and Gloria Charles, who are celebrating 50 years of marriage. Here’s to another half-a-century and more… Big Ship maestro Freddie McGregor just turned 64, marking his earthstrong recently with a musical feast and virtual concert, alongside family, friends and well-wishers. 

>> Question of the Week: It’s been reported that Chris Gayle will not be suiting up for the St. Lucia Zouks after all, opting to sit out the 2020 Hero CPL tournament to spend more quality time with the family. Will he be back next year – or is this retirement?

Saturday, 27 June 2020

NEWS & NOTES: PEP results released / Carlo Redwood leaving Flow / Noted decrease in number of missing-children reports

>> 80% of successful PEP candidates get placed at school of choice 
The results of the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examinations have been released, and the Education ministry is reporting that 80% of the 39,689 Grade Six students who sat the exams were placed at one of their preferred high schools. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which forced schools to close their doors and give lessons online, not all components of the PEP exams were administered. The sixth-graders were assessed using the Grade Four Numeracy and Literacy tests done in 2018, the Grade Five Performance Tasks exams in 2019 and this past February’s Ability Test. In the end, students were placed based on a grading system that weighs 30% for Grade Four, 20% for Grade Five and 50% for Grade Six.

>> Carlo Redwood set to depart Flow on June 30 
What’s next for Carlo Redwood? The industry veteran is stepping down from his post as Flow’s marketing director at the end of the month. The telecomms company made the announcement via a press release on Wednesday. Prior to his eight-year stint at Flow, Redwood (who is credited with refreshing their brand strategy and significantly expanding their mobile subscriber base) served in several other marketing capacities in the corporate world, including at Pepsi-Cola Jamaica. Working at Flow, Redwood says, was super-productive for him because of the overall team effort. “It was packed with career-defining milestones and filled with great memories,” he says. “I would like to acknowledge the local and regional leadership of the business, the many external partners and stakeholder groups and, most importantly, the Jamaica marketing team for their tireless support.”

>> Authorities see downward trend in number of kids reported missing 
There has been a noteworthy decrease in the number of Jamaican children being reported missing. According to the National Children’s Registry, the latest figures released represent the lowest they have been since the May 2009 launch of the Ananda Alert system. As the new statistics (supplied by the National Intelligence Bureau) reveal, between January and June of this year, 516 children were reported missing. Of that number, 387 have returned home, leaving 129 kids still to be found. For the same period in 2019, some 836 kids were reported missing. Of that amount, 740 were reunited with loved ones. “We have seen for the past two years a real reduction in the number of reports for missing children,” NCR Deputy Registrar Warren Thompson noted during a recent online child-protection forum. “We are coming down from figures of around 2,000 per year. For 2018/19, we were in the 1,500 region.”

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

NEW MUSIC REVIEW: Hot new tracks from D-Major, Squash, Popcaan, Alkaline and Dre Island

Dre Island feat. Jesse Royal
“Be Okay”
Off one of the most buzzworthy reggae albums of the year (Now I Rise, out now), Dre Island’s captivating collaboration with fellow messenger Jesse Royal brings a timely social message backed by impressive vocal work and haunting melodies. [Take a listen] A-

He’s been keeping a low profile lately, but Squash proves he’s still a leader in dancehall’s new school. He scores a touchdown with this slick, swagger-drenched track, which references everything from success to fast girls to side-stepping the playa-haters. [Take a listen] B

D-Major feat. Busy Signal
“Something New”
Singer-songwriter D-Major (né Damian Codlin) has been crafting some of the smoothest, sexiest songs in modern/contemporary reggae for years. He gets a solid assist from Busy Signal on his latest, a repeat-worthy late-night jam sure to put her in the mood. [Take a listen] B+

Teeming with his signature fusion of attitude, clever wordplay and energy to spare, the prolific dancehall hitmaker continues his winning streak with this slim but memorable tune. [Take a listen] B

The Vendetta boss has a lot on his mind. He puts his rivals on notice with this fierce, take-no-prisoners number, laced with the kind of grit and bare-bones honesty that has come to define his best work. [Take a listen] B+