Right Steps & Poui Trees


#AToZChallengeJamaica: Q is for Queen

For Q in our #AToZChallengeJamaica, Emma has written about Queen Elizabeth, who is still Jamaica’s Head of State, more than half a century after Independence. Although we’ve had the power to remove her all this time.

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Queen Elizabeth II officially turned ninety years old on June 11 this year. She is the only person I know who has two birthdays. Her real one is April 21. Why? I hear it has something to do with June being a nicer month for celebrations, in terms of the weather. It might even be summer in England by then, with a bit of luck. As the Queen’s representative (and Head of State) in Jamaica, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen and his wife traveled to London to wish her a happy birthday. No, the Prime Minister is not our Head of State. We have a Queen of Jamaica.

In the Jamaican context the Queen is an obvious choice, besides the fact that there aren’t that many Q-words. She is an ever-present and at the same time ever-distant figure. She beams benevolently (one hopes) from afar on our island, once a…

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Weed Flowers: “Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.”

Weed: A wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants.

 

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Weed: A valueless plant growing wild, especially one that grows on cultivated ground to the exclusion or injury of the desired crop.

 

Weed: Any undesirable or troublesome plant, especially one that grows profusely where it is not wanted.

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A good garden may have some weeds. – Thomas Fuller

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Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. – (Wrongly attributed to) A. A. Milne

 

 

What would the world be, once bereft

Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,

O let them be left, wildness and wet;

Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

– Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Inversnaid”

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#AtoZChallengeJamaica P is for Potpourri of Problems

For the #AToZChallengeJamaica today, Dennis covers a range of problems from prisons to politics. A potpourri indeed.

Jamaica: Political Economy

Let me lay out some issues to consider.

Prisoners & payments: Vybz Karkel, musician–in Jamaican jail for murder. Buju Banton, musician–in US jail for drugs offence. Vybz is busy releasing new music, and ‘ruling dance hall’. (He’s following in the well-trodden path of the late Tupac Shakur.) Buju just gained a master’s degree in music business management. Both are doing ‘positive’ things during their time in the pokey. Some people find that time in jail not breaking rocks and visibly suffering–to put it simply–is a travesty. Many Jamaicans disagree. Vybz and Buju are extremely popular: see how one media outlet ‘celebrated’ Vybz’s last birthday.

What do people really find objectionable, though? The crimes, or the fact that prison is seemingly not full-blown hardship? Do we really believe in rehabilitation in prison?

Popularism and propriety: Some of our politicians have recently found themselves not really knowing how to walk the line between these two peas in…

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.#AToZChallengeJamaica – O is for Out of Many, One People

The Jamaican national motto is ‘Out of Many, One People’, and is based on the population’s multiracial roots.

Jamaica - Coat of Arms

The motto is inscribed in the scroll of the Jamaica Coat of Arms, and was adopted at the time of Independence in 1962. Prior to that, the motto in the Coat of Arms was in Latin –  Indus Uterque Serviet Uni. (The Indians twain shall serve one Lord). It was felt that this motto had no relevance to modern independent Jamaica, and I would have to agree.

Ministry Paper No. 20, dealing with proposed National Emblems, indicates that the decision to change the motto had been made, but a replacement hadn’t yet been selected.

Ministry Paper No 20  - motto

The Ministry Paper was tabled in the House early in 1962.

Ministry Paper No 20 - end

 

Is our motto an existing reality, a guiding principle, an ideal to be aimed for?

To end, a verse from one of Louise Bennett’s poems – “Independence Dignity”, written at the time:

Teet’ an tongue was all united,

Heart an soul was hans an glove,

Fenky-fenky voice gain vigour pon

“Jamaica, land we love”.

 


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#AToZJamaicaChallenge: N is for Newcastle

Emma writes today about Newcastle & its environs, a favourite of mine also! With yet another series of great photos! 🙂

Petchary's Blog

If I didn’t live in Kingston, I would have to live somewhere in the Newcastle area. It attracts me on so many levels: the delicious air, the views of the city and the sea, the mountains and the moving clouds, the drifting mist and sunlight. Oh – and there are birds.

Formerly a coffee plantation, the military camp at Newcastle was established as a hill station for British troops in 1841 by Sir William Maynard Gomm (Britain’s longest ever serving soldier). The death toll from yellow fever down in the plains was growing too high (about two or three soldiers per week); many died soon after arrival. Newcastle was more salubrious. In the old days, soldiers marched in their red coats all the way up (and down) from Kingston to Newcastle, a distance of 16 miles. Phew!

Since Independence in 1962, Newcastle has been a Jamaica Defence Force training camp…

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Report of West Kingston Commission of Enquiry Made Public; Now Online

Today (June 15, 2016), the report of the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry was tabled in Parliament by Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck. The report is the culmination of the work of the Commission which began its public hearings on December 1, 2014 and held its final sitting on February 19, 2016.

 

The three Commissioners who presided over the 90 sittings have now signed off on their report.

WKGNCOE report - signatures

The full report is available on the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) & Parliament websites. Below, I have included links to the report on both sites. The report is in two volumes, the first with the main contents and the second with the Appendices.

In the coming weeks, there will be much review and analysis of the contents and findings of this report. Its release marks the beginning of the next phase of the search for justice for those who died as a result of the May 2010 events. Minister Chuck informed Parliament that a sub-committee of Cabinet would be established to review the report and that the report would also be subject to review in Parliament. It is essential that the wider society engages in this process as well.

Links to Parliament’s website Report of Western Kingston Commission of Enquiry 2016

The Ministry of Justice website went down recently, but is now back up. If ever none of the links to the report posted below are working and you want to find the report, try the Nationwide News Network site at http://nationwideradiojm.com/west-kingston-commission-enquiry-full-report/ (December 15, 2018)

Click here for Volume 1

(Link to report on Parliament’s website no longer functions. Scroll down to use link to report on Ministry of Justice website. Edited 29/4/17)

WKGNCOE Report Vol 1 (Parliament)

Click here for Volume 2

(Link to report on Parliament’s website no longer functions. Scroll down to use link to report on Ministry of Justice website. Edited 29/4/17)

WKGNCOE report Vol  2 (Parliament) aWKGNCOE report Vol 2 (Parliament) b

Link to MOJ web page with Report of Western Kingston Commission of Enquiry 2016

(At times the Ministry of Justice links stop working, though they are currently working. If the links don’t work and you want to find the report, try the Nationwide News Network site at http://nationwideradiojm.com/west-kingston-commission-enquiry-full-report/ (July 10, 2019)

WKGNCOE cover vol 1

Introductory Sections

Chapters

  • Chapter 1 – Introduction

  • Chapter 2 – Background to the Commission of Enquiry

  • Chapter 3 –  THE SITUATION IN WEST KINGSTON AND RELATED AREAS IN MAY 2010 PRIOR TO THE ATTEMPT TO EXECUTE A PROVISIONAL WARRANT FOR THE ARREST OF CHRISTOPHER “DUDUS” COKE AND THE REASONS AND CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE DECLARATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY IN MAY 2010 – ToR (A)

  • Chapter 4 – THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH, AND BY WHOM, SEVERAL POLICE STATIONS OR OTHER STATE PROPERTY (INCLUDING POLICE OR MILITARY VEHICLES) WERE ATTACKED AND DAMAGED OR DESTROYED BY FIREBOMBS, GUNFIRE OR OTHER MEANS DURING OR AROUND THE PERIOD OF THE STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED IN MAY 2010 – ToR (C)                                    &  WHETHER, AND IF SO, UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES, STATE OFFICIALS AND LAW EXFORCEMENT OFFICERS CAME UNDER GUNFIRE ATTACKS DURING MAY 2010 IN INCIDENTS CONNECTED TO THE ATTEMPTS BY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS OF JAMAICA TO ARREST CHRISTOPHER “DUDUS” COKE – ToR (B)

  • Chapter 5 – THE ALLEGATION THAT PERSONS WERE ESPECIALLY ARMED TO REPEL ANY LAW ENFORCEMENT EFFORT TO CAPTURE THE FUGITIVE CHRISTOPHER “DUDUS” COKE AND, IF SO, BY WHOM – ToR (E)                               &  THE CIRCUMSTANCES CONCERNING THE RECOVERY OF ILLEGAL FIREARMS AND OTHER MUNITIONS IN WESTERN KINGSTON OR ANY RELATED OR AFFECTED AREAS – ToR (M)

  • Chapter 6 – WHAT WERE THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH, AND BY WHOM, EMBATTLEMENTS AND BARRIERS WERE SET UP IN TIVOLI GARDENS, AND WHETHER EFFORTS WERE MADE, AND BY WHOM, TO RESTRICT INGRESS AND EGRESS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS OR TO PREVENT THE ARREST OF CHRISTOPHER “DUDUS” COKE – ToR (F)

  • Chapter 7 – WHAT ARRANGEMENTS WERE MADE, AND WHAT PRECAUTIONS WERE TAKEN, TO PROTECT CITIZENS IN TIVOLI GARDENS AND OTHER AFFECTED AREAS FROM UNNECESSARY INJURY OR PROPERTY DAMAGE DURING THE LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTION IN THE STATE OF EMERGENCY, AND THE ADEQUACY AND APPROPRIATENESS OF THOSE ARRANGEMENTS AND PRECAUTIONS IN THE PREVAILING CIRCUMSTANCES – ToR (G)

  • Chapter 8 – THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH, AND THE PERSONS BY WHOM, PRIVATE PROPERTY WAS DAMAGED OR DESTROYED DURING OR AROUND THE PERIOD OF THE STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED IN MAY 2010 – ToR (I)                                                                                                                                              & WHETHER MONIES, BENEFITS OR COMPENSATION WERE PROVIDED BY THE STATE TO COMPENSATE RESIDENTS OF WESTERN KINGSTON INCLUDING TIVOLI GARDENS AND, IF SO, HOW MUCH WAS ACTUALLY PAID OR DISTRIBUTED, THE MANNER AND RECORDING OF SUCH PAYMENT OR DISTRIBUTION, AND THE ADEQUACY OF SUCH COMPENSATION – ToR (Q)

  • Chapter 9 – WHETHER, AND IF SO, UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES, CIVILIANS, POLICE OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS OF THE JAMAICA DEFENCE FORCE WERE SHOT AND KILLED OR INJURED DURING MAY 2010 IN CONNECTION WITH THE SECURITY FORCES SEEKING TO EFFECT THE ARREST OF CHRISTOPHER “DUDUS” COKE ON A PROVISIONAL WARRANT IN EXTRADITION PROCEEDINGS – ToR (H)

  • Chapter 10 –  WHETHER THE RIGHTS OF ANY PERSON OR PERSONS WERE VIOLATED IN ANY OF THE AFFECTED OR RELATED COMMUNITIES BY EITHER LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS OR BY ANYONE ELSE AND, IF SO, WHOSE RIGHTS WERE VIOLATED, AND THE MANNER AND EXTENT OF SUCH VIOLATIONS, AND BY WHOM SUCH VIOLATIONS WERE PERPETRATED – ToR (J)

  • Chapter 11 – THE CHAIN OF COMMAND IN RELATION TO THE DECISIONS CONCERNING THE OPERATIONS BY THE SECURITY FORCES IN TIVOLI GARDENS AND RELATED AREAS DURING MAY 2010, AND THE RESPECTIVE RESPONSIBILITIES OF EACH PERSON IN THAT CHAIN OF COMMAND – ToR (K)    & WHETHER ANY DERELICTION OF DUTY OR UNLAWFUL CONDUCT IS ATTRIBUTABLE TO ANY PERSON OR PERSONS IN THAT CHAIN OF COMMAND IN CONNECTION WITH THE DECISIONS CONCERNING OR THE EXECUTION OF THE OPERATIONS BY THE SECURITY FORCES IN TIVOLI GARDENS AND RELATED AREAS DURING MAY 2010 AND, IF SO, TO WHICH PERSON OR PERSONS, AND THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF SUCH DERELICTIONS OF DUTY OR UNLAWFUL CONDUCT – ToR (L)

  • Chapter 12 – WHETHER THERE WAS ANY DIRECT OR INDIRECT COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE FUGITIVE CHRISTOPHER “DUDUS” COKE AND ANY JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL (OR OFFICIALS) OR ANY AGENT THEREOF, DURING THE PERIOD BETWEEN WHEN THE REQUEST FOR EXTRADITION WAS FIRST COMMUNICATED TO THE JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT OR ANY OF ITS AGENTS OR OFFICIALS AND WHEN THE FUGITIVE CHISTOPHER “DUDUS” COKE WAS ARRESTED; AND IF SO, BY WHICH OFFICIALS AND/OR AGENTS THEREOF, THE NATURE OF ANY OR ALL SUCH COMMUNICATIONS, BY WHAT MEANS, AND FOR WHAT PURPOSE – ToR(N)                                                          & WHETHER COPIES OF AFFIDAVITS AND OTHER CONFIDENTIAL SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS ATTACHED TO OR RELATED TO THE REQUEST FOR EXTRADITION OF CHRISTOPHER “DUDUS” COKE WERE FOUND IN COKE’S OFFICES, AND THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH AND THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THOSE DOCUMENTS CAME TO BE THERE – TOR(O)

  • Chapter 13 – THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH THE FUGITIVE CHRISTOPHER “DUDUS” COKE MANAGED TO ELUDE ARREST DURING AND AFTER THE OPERATION BY THE SECURITY FORCES OF JAMAICA IN TIVOLI GARDENS AND RELATED AREAS IN MAY 2010, AND THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF HIS CAPTURE – ToR (P)

  • Chapter 14 – THE CONDUCT OF OPERATIONS BY THE SECURITY FORCES OF JAMAICA IN TIVOLI GARDENS AND RELATED AREAS DURING THE SAID STATE OF EMERGENCY IN THE MONTH OF MAY 2010 – ToR (D)

  • Chapter 15 – Recommendations

    WKGNCOE cover vol 2

    Volume 2 – Appendices

  • Appendices 1-30 & AC1-14 can be accessed by clicking on the appropriate tab on the MOJ web page.

(I discovered yesterday that the links to the report online at the time I published this post were no longer working. The Parliament link no longer functions and the Ministry of Justice links had changed when it updated its website. I have gone through and updated the links for the report on the Ministry of Justice website; they are all working now. My apologies if you tried unsuccessfully to use the post to access the report. Edited 29/4/2017)

The Ministry of Justice website was down recently, but is back up now. If ever none of the links to the report in the post are working and you want to find the report, try the Nationwide News Network site at http://nationwideradiojm.com/west-kingston-commission-enquiry-full-report/ (December 15, 2018)

 


AtoZChallengeJamaica M is for Maroons

Today, for our #AToZChallengeJamaica, Dennis has chosen a great topic to write about – the Maroons and the upcoming Maroon Conference in Charles Town!

Jamaica: Political Economy

Sadly, I know little about Maroon history and culture, probably like many Jamaicans. I’m familiar with Nanny, one of ourNational Heroes. Cudjoe…Accompong…the Abeng.

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 8.51.49 PM Blowing the Abeng (Image courtesy The Jamaica Gleaner.) I attendedUWI’slaunch last week of the new McIntyre/Nettleford scholarship fund, pushingnew initiatives to make the university more relevant for ‘indigenous’ and ‘neighbouring’ communities. Avideo showedUWI’s efforts to connect with both groups; it’s expand opportunities for the Kalinagos in Dominica andMayans in Belize. I asked a UWI luminary about our Tainos/Arawaks. But my mind also drifted to the Maroons. Why?

Maroons: our closest direct historical connection to our African ancestry That morning I’d read about the upcoming 8thMaroons Conference(Charlestown, Portland, June 23-26).

This year’s theme:‘Toward a Borderless Indigenous Community’, linking the recurring struggle of indigenous people…around indigenous rights. Discussions will involve a broad range of scholars, ending with theannual celebration of Quao Day on

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350 Words Or Less: The Attorney General Tweets An Opinion Which Invites Explanation

Yesterday, in the wake of the killings of 49 people at a gay bar in Orlando – a horrendous targeted attack on LGBT people – the US Embassy in Jamaica flew its flag at half mast (as instructed by its President) and flew a rainbow flag also. It tweeted the following:

US Emb tweet of flags 13-6-16

Last night, Marlene Malahoo Forte, Jamaica’s Attorney General (AG), posted this tweet, which has become the subject of much discussion online and off:

AG MMF tweet 13-6-16

I do not understand what the AG’s reasoning is for finding the US Embassy’s action “disrespectful of Jamaica’s laws” and am genuinely interested in finding out. I asked last night:

SG tweet to AG  MMF 13-6-16

By way of a hashtag in her tweet, AG Malahoo Forte indicated that she was giving her personal opinion. However, for a number of reasons, I think that the AG should share the thinking behind her opinion.

Malahoo Forte in her public and professional role as AG is the principal legal adviser to the Government of Jamaica. Although she stated that she was expressing a personal opinion, it is an opinion to do with the laws of Jamaica, something she could be asked to advise the Government on. Her publicly expressed view, therefore, would be of valid interest and concern to the Jamaican public, since she was not commenting on something unconnected to her area of public responsibility.

Additionally, I would have had less interest in her publicly expressed personal opinion if she had held some other post, Minister of Finance, for example, or Minister of Transport and Mining. Those portfolios would not be directly related to the topic of Malahoo Forte’s tweet – her opinion that a foreign embassy disrespected the laws of Jamaica.

So, I think it is entirely valid to ask the AG to explain

  • which of Jamaica’s laws specifically she was referring to, and
  • in what way she thought the action was disrespectful of those laws.

I look forward to hearing the AG’s explanation.

Though with developments today, I suspect we will never publicly hear that explanation.

US Embassy response this morning:

US Emb tweet responding to AG MMF - 14-6-16

PM Andrew Holness’ speech this morning

OPM statement re PM speech 14-6-16

The deletion of Malahoo Forte’s original tweet this morning:

AG MMF tweet deleted on 14-6-16

 

 

 

 

 

 


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.#AToZChallengeJamaica: L is for Lizard

Lizards are not the most popular animals in Jamaica. In fact, many Jamaicans have a positive dislike for these reptiles, sometimes bordering on a phobia.

The other day, I spent some time observing a lizard in my garden, taking some photographs while he let me.

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Anolis lineatopus. The Jamaican Grey Anole or Stripefoot Anole, which is endemic to Jamaica. (I learned more about the classification of Jamaican lizards, while trying to identify this little chap, than I have ever known before! The internet is a fascinating place.)

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When I first spotted him, there was a female nearby, but she scurried off as I approached. He stood his ground, however, and looked at me askance.

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In fact, he stared at me face to face, not backing down at all…

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He even stuck his dewlap out at me, though I wasn’t quick enough to take a picture of him with it fully extended.

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Eventually, when I wouldn’t go away, he decided to. He hopped down off his perch and scampered away into the nearby bushes.

If you are interested in seeing lizards with their dewlaps fully extended, take a look at this delightful series of short video clips of Caribbean anoles. I laughed out loud a few times!

Caribbean anoles video clips

And do you want to know even more? Then watch this video about a study of Anolis dewlaps. Lineatopus comes in for specific mention!

Anolis dewlap study

 


#AToZJamaicaChallenge: K is for Kingston

Emma’s lovely tribute to our shared city, Kingston! Varied, complex, alive. Home…

Petchary's Blog

It may be an obvious choice, but how could I not pay homage to the city of Kingston, Jamaica for my letter “K”? It has been my home city for many more years than anywhere else – including London, where I was born (yes, I’m basically an urban animal).

Strictly speaking, Kingston is what we call “downtown.” The rest is the parish of St. Andrew. But for residents, Kingston is uptown plus downtown. We often call the whole thing the “corporate area” governed by the Kingston & St. Andrew Corporation – population around 600,000 as of five years ago.

Midday in Liguanea. Midday in Liguanea.

My house sits firmly on the Liguanea Plain; the city is surrounded by the Blue Mountains, Red Hills, Stony Hill – and Long Mountain to the east, which is now somewhat developed. Kingston is becoming less green; townhouse developments are sprouting in every corner uptown. Parks are relatively…

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