Page 1

The Magazine

Bolt of Confidence:

A Story of National Inspiration Through Sports Suicide: State Of Emergency? Private Telecommunications: Jamaica’s Development

Private Telecommunications Jamaica’s Development Story

Health Fair: Top Ten Low Fat Jamaican Foods


Jamaica Republic Magazine jarepublicmag@gmail.com

Contents Private Telecommunications: Jamaica’s Development Story 1 Suicide: State of Emergency?

3

About The Magazine The Jamaica Republic is a non political, non-affiliated, non-partisan and impartial news publication that endeavors to play its role as a social and political watchdog in guarding Jamaica’s Democracy via the Mass Media . The publication, through applied research and scholarly debate will present detailed insight in problematic issues that recurrently present themselves as impediments to Jamaica’s Development. The Jamaica Republic will vividly profile those areas of our social and political landscape that are achieving significant strides in development and will highlight the major players that have been integral in this process. The publication will thus present features on individuals, organizations, sectors, industries and networks that have been impactful to Jamaica’s social and political landscape.


s, tion a c i ave mun ns h com e a l c i e of t ama J ree with g d e n d a sal ica Jama d a colos nt..... ye pme enjo elo v e d

Private Telecommunications: Jamaica’s Development Story By EXCESS14

to have more transcendent borders meant that technological advanceNot Since the invention of the ‘wheel’ ment had to be made to keep Jamaihas any single piece of technology ca competitive among its neighbors. been able to transform the landIf development can be measured scape of any single society. The idea by the ease with which people are that communication could be done able to access and interface different through sound waves within the spheres of life, then is it fair to say, forum of lightening speed transporwith telecommunications, Jamaica tation was unheard of prior the mid and Jamaicans have enjoyed a colos19th century. The technology did sal degree of development in the however develop and the speed with area of communications. which the technology has evolved in The History of Jamaica’s developsuch a short period has eclipsed even ment through communications can the speed with which the sound itself arguably be traced to the 1980’s travels to deliver voice communication privatization of the telecommuniacross space and time. cations sector. Many other sectors The luxuries enjoyed by early 21st where privatized within this period, century Jamaica is somewhat of a but none has enjoyed the warp phenomenon taking into account that speed of development and evolutoday’s telecommunications develoption that has begotten the commument only began in the very late 20th nications and technology sector in century, accelerated by an economic general. sector that demanded such innovaPrivatization was with keeping tions. Globalization and the need with the ideology of the period, as

the trends set by British and American rulers, Thatcher and Reagan respectively, where creating waves in the developing world as well. The Idea was for less government and more market activity. This led the way for the then communications giant and for a long time, monopoly, Cable and Wireless to take the charge to charter Jamaica’s telecommunications development. A recent article published in the Jamaica Gleaner, of Sunday August 14, 2011, highlights the role that the telecom organizations has played in bolstering the society towards development through Information and Communications Technology (ICT). The telecom firms were lauded for being dynamic, innovative complimented by a Jamaican public that was wholly embracing the new ideas and trends in communication , especially with the influx of mobile


Telecommunications and Diaspora relations There was once a time when a cell phone was a privileged item and the need to call overseas would have required a special pass code granted to you by the service provider, now we have Jamaicans individually owning two or more cell phones as a time. The rates to call overseas are so competitively low, that it mirrors what it cost to call from phone to phone locally. The cheap calling rates overseas coupled with the direct call access granted means that families both home and abroad can stay connected. The Connection can he heralded as part of the reason such a huge percentage of Jamaica’s economy is powered by foreign exchange facilitated primarily through remittances. In 2008, the percentage of Jamaica’s GDP fueled by remittances amounted to 14.9%, approximately U$ 2.02billion, signifying the impact that the telecommunications sector has had in being a catalyst to economic development. Gone are the days when money being sent back to Jamaica was sent through the mail where the governemt was not poised to earn from such transactions. The development of remittance services and wire transfers were made possible with the developments brought forth through the telecommunications sector. The Sector must also be heralded with the speed with which we have moved to make internet access within Jamaica almost a universal phenomenon, as the need to own a computer is no longer a requirement to browse the World Wide Web Telecommunications and Education The Sector must also be heralded with the speed with which we have moved to make internet access within Jamaica almost a universal phenomenon, as the need to own a computer is no longer a requirement to browse the World Wide Web. The ease of communication has granted not only greater interfacing for Jamaicans, but has also been able to

improve the methods of learning within the education sector. The use of the internet means that student now have a greater diversity of sources from which to garner knowledge and grant comparative knowledge processing, ensuring that knowledge gained is not speculative. The Internet as well has meant that at the highest level, within the tertiary institutions, students can consult other universities for resources for learning; professors no longer need to be within the physical classroom to deliver a real-time lecture and transfer of knowledge. The use of web based technology has meant that student spend less in experiencing school, as assignment no longer need to be printed for submission, but can now be e-mailed, saving valuable resources, both economically and environmentally. A Good Look for the Future? The telecommunications impact will generally be discussed under the broader umbrella of Information and Communications Technology, which highlights an even greater prospectus for further development of the Jamaican society. The United Nations (U.N) in 2008 through it report entitled The Global Information Society: a Statistical View, inferred that “ICT has become pivotal agents of social and economic transformation in developing countries”. The charge made by the U.N was echoed by research done by Nathan Associates, an American based international development economics consultancy firm, who recently estimated that ICT capital has seven times the impact on productivity than non-ICT capital in nations with lower levels of IT usage. In comparative view, the experiences of other developing countries that have emerged to become global economic players provide a picturesque backdrop for Jamaica’s

continued investment in technology. The case if India is on such nation that has garnered a major portion of its national growth through ICT. It is estimated that India’s economy has grown 7.5-8% annually in recent years and was expected to grow 8% in as recent as 2010. If mother always said to keep good company, then investing in ICT and facilitating technological innovation through privateers places Jamaica in an enviable crowd of modern global economic movers and shakers. The list of countries that have enjoyed such booming growth through technological investment includes Brazil, China, Singapore, The Republic of Korea and Ireland, not a bad crowd to hang out with. Thinking Ahead…Premonitions of a Regional Giant In its bid to become the most knowledge based society in the region, a vision proclaimed in 2001, Jamaica has to make some commitments to the further advancement, investment and facilitation of telecommunications and ICT expansion. As was with the case of The Republic of Korea, the Jamaican government must display a strong and sustained political commitment to developing the relevant policy initiatives necessary to take the industry forward. There must be greater vigor displayed in formulating strong Public/Private partnerships, as we aim to merge the profiteering ventures of the private sector with the public service obligations of the government. There is also required, heavy investment in human capital; concerted and deliberate training toward the use of ICT technology that can create a marketable workforce for Foreign Direct Investment.


Suicide: State of Emergency? “Nobody will make me kill myself…..” “ the Bible says if your right hand offend you.. you must cut it off.. life goes on… people alright….” “

The above are sentiments we often hear Jamaicans express in reference to things that often threaten to be problematic issues or stress catalysts in their lives. It Speaks to a JAMAICAN that is strong willed and full of resolve, a JAMAICAN that has the character to overcome and make life’s problems abstract, especially when such problems don’t factor in some broader and bigger life’s goal. Is that Jamaican a thing of the past.. is our resolve finally broken? “The official world suicide ranking ...places Jamaica at Number 55...suicide rate of 2.5/100000 persons” Since the Start of 2011, there have been a slate of suicides ranging from child suicide to adult murder Suicide. Three of the reported four child suicides occurred within a two week period and were within the same section of the parish. The reported adult suicides raised further Alarm as not only was there a case of suicide, but the victims also felt compelled to take the lives of others they blamed for their unstable condition before taking their own lives. The Crisis levels were raised further as the

first Five months of the Year revealed a doubling of the suicide stats compared to the corresponding period in 2010. The statistics revealed by the Ministry of Health stated that between January and May of 2011, there were 24 reported suicides compared to 12 a year earlier. Despite the spike in Suicides in the first half of the year, there is still skepticism surrounding the critical nature of the highlighted dilemma, especially when the facts about Jamaica’s Suicide experience is presented. Dr. Wendel Abdel of the University of the Westin Indies, a consultant psychiatrist, presents some of these fact based on a recently concluded study published in 2009. Fact1: Jamaica has a low suicide rate- the country has one of the lowest suicide rates in the world and one that has remained stable over the decades since independence. Fact2: Suicide is Higher in Men- The statistics on Jamaica’s suicide history reveals that the suicide ratio male to female is 11:1. The statistics however reveal that more women ‘attempt’ suicide than males, but male suicide attempts often employ more lethal means, example , male (hanging) vs female (pills). Fact 3: Suicide among

is low and not increasing- the records show that the numbers are significantly low and not in danger of increasing. Fact4: Not All suicide attempters intend to kill themselves- the research has shown that many who attempt suicide are attention seekers and engage acts of cutting themselves . Children who are depressed or abused often have a lack of sufficient outlets so they resort to such acts to gain attention to their plight. The official world suicide ranking of countries places Jamaica at Number 55, with a suicide rate of 2.5/1000000 persons, a ranking presented by the World Bank as part of its Development Indicators. The low suicide ratio that Jamaica boasts is being accredited by many as belonging to the highly religious background that characterizes the society. There is a widely held belief in the Jamaican religious society that those who commit suicide will not make it to heaven, a belief that has permeated the wider Jamaican value system that condemns the act as sinful and wrong. Sociologists have found that there is a correlation between religion, society and suicide rates. The German Emile Durkheim found compelling data that suggested that catholic societies for


Jamaica Republic Magazine jarepublicmag@gmail.com for example were found to be lower in suicide rates than that of protestant societies. The Catholic influence in the Jamaican education system thus can form a basis for understanding the low suicide rates among Jamaican children throughout the decades. The influence of religious values cannot be discounted for its role it plays in the Jamaican case, though it merely points to a correlation. The church itself having played a major role in the wider socialization of the Jamaican society through its messages of hope and overcoming adversity have served the Jamaican personality well. The facts however do not present qualitative insight about the changing Dynamics of the Jamaican society, coupled with the lingering values that have proven to be problematic in the old Jamaica. The advent of Globalization and its emphasis on a liberalized world system, also mean that Jamaica’s value system is not self tailored as it was in the past. The rapid increase in technology and ease with which other society’s values can transcend borders , is further cause for concern, making current trends in suicide within Jamaica more accentuated within the public purview. The Jamaican society in the first 30yrs subsequent to Independence has undergone substantial changes in its social infrastructure where much has been said about the breakdown of Social Capital within the Jamaican society. There is also a substantial lack of familial values and support being given to children, an issue cited by the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) in

Talk to Me ..I’m Listening

Jamaica which has called on families to play their role in offering greater psychological support to children in an effort to offer greater protection to children from suicidal tendencies. In report presented by a leading local news paper, the OCA states; “We wish to renew our appeal to parents, caregivers and teachers to take very seriously any signs of distress….such as sadness and withdrawal from regular activities including school work and play, such behavior requires immediate counseling…”. The repetitive call to parents suggests a lack of attention being given to children in the home, where we often dispel child withdrawal as children being ‘spoilt and loving attention’. In a society where social capital is eroding, the role of Fathers is increasingly important, too many absentee fathers means that many boys grow up feeling unwanted and angered at the world , wanting to just leave this life. The pressures associated with an increasingly commercialized society, means that poverty becomes an even greater burden, since it all about the competition of fashion within our society. The increased nature and diversity of sexual deviance, means a greater number of children are being molested and have no haven to which they can express these pains. Where statistics provide a worrying picture showing sexual predators increasing in numbers in the church, school, security forces,

the home, it means that trust in our social institutions have dropped to an all time low. This complimenting picture displayed is on in which we have a depressed and repressed Jamaican society that is set to implode. The conditions present amount to what sociologist and psychologist refer to as Anomic Suicide , which is a reflection of a person’s moral confusion and lack of social direction.

“All She Wanted

was Hug, Just a Hug...”


A worrying feature of the Jamaican Fact Card is the number of Males that continuously take their own lives on a yearly basis, averaging 41 per year. This statistic, according to Dr. Donovan Thomas, founder and president of the Choose Life Foundation(CLF), a suicide prevention organization, is a reflection of the way in which boys/ males are socialized in the Jamaican society. Dr. Thomas points to the chastising way in which emotionally expressive males are treated, where young males are taught that it is inappropriate to express their feelings. We have all heard it, where parents, friends and even strangers often liken an expressive male to that of being a female, viewing him as weak and effeminate . Dr. Thomas further reiterates that in addition to lacking an emotional outlet, the added burden of bearing the financial responsibilities , which sometimes can be hard to accumulate, males often decide they can’t take it anymore and turn to suicide. In his Estimation, Dr. Thomas concludes that; “ Psychological, economical and social factors help to push men overboard” In an interview relating to one of the child suicides reported since January 2011, one of the cases within the parish of St.James, a heart wrenching and emotional recount was given about the cyclonical demise of one of the children. A friend of the victim said; “ just two weeks ago, the little girl approached me in church and said.. Brother (name withheld), can I have a hug, with a bright smile on her face. Being mindful of how Jamaican can be and the rumors that can begin, I gently declined and told her, I will give u a hug next week, to which she replied, you may not see me next week to hug me…”, the gentleman recants with eyes filled with tears,

,

all she wanted was a hug , just a hug “, this he said with his face buried in his palms. This is an example of what Dr. Thomas describes as social factors, where the perception of frolic within the church restrained the church brother from extending a warm hug to a young church sister reaching out. This story is even more sad given the forum within this exchange took place, the Church, where the support systems are thought to be strongest. The type of non-existentialism that exists where emotional release is concerned leads Dr. Abel to highlight within his study alluded to earlier, that more mentalhealth services are needed. In reference to the lack of infrastructure available in this regard, he states; “….. Jamaica has failed to invest significantly in mental-health services, especially for young people. Counseling services for children and adolescents are limited…” The case of suicide in Jamaica from the presentation of the facts may not suggest a cause for alarm, but unlike the facts, we cannot discount the changing qualitative and even further quantitative dynamics of the Jamaican environment. The social institutions within Jamaica need to be enhanced and reinforced to safeguard the functioning fabric of the society. The impact of our social value system on young boys and males in general certainly is a cause for concern that needs to be addressed, but requires the requisite institutional resources to make a significant impact on the final outcome.


The Jamaica Republic Magazine

Avertise Here

The Jamaica Republic Magazine  

A social and plitical watchdog magazine