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Whatever the Jamaican Dream is, education must be a key component towards achieving it as education leads to empowerment.


Sheena Gayle Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU: HE EMPOWERMENT of the Jamaican woman is said to be one aspect of the Jamaican Dream that has been realised in the 50 years since the island attained political Independence in 1962. “When I was younger, when a female dropped out of high school there was nowhere to go, and now, our girls and young women can get back into the educational system and rebuild their lives,” said Jeannette Solomon during a Gleaner Editors’ Forum in Montego Bay. Speaking in the context of what Jamaica has achieved over the past 50 years, the former St James High School acting principal further said that while she was not advocating that young girls become pregnant while still in school, the second-chance opportunity is most welcome. “Young women can now go back to school and realise their Jamaican Dream through places like the Women’s Centre,” said Solomon. In an era when neither the University of the West Indies nor the University of Technology, or any other prominent educational institution had extended beyond Kingston, Solomon was a pioneer in helping teachers to upgrade themselves through a successful programme she ran for North Carolina University. “Kingston is no longer Jamaica, and that is good because it has always been my dream to see not only Kingston, but places like Montego Bay and Mandeville flourishing as well,” said the veteran educator. Solomon, who is a graduate of Mico Teachers’ College, now Mico University, said that as a child, she represented the hopes and aspirations of her family, who saw her academic potential and decided to push her to attain academic success. “Today, we have more children going to school, and that is good for us,” said Solomon. “Whatever the Jamaican Dream is, education must be a key component towards achieving it as education leads to empowerment. “With the PATH programme to help children who can’t afford it, there is no reason why our children should not be exposed to all that education has to offer,” said Solomon. “Jamaica has made significant strides in empowering women through education in the past 50 years, and as a result, the Jamaican Dream is now more attainable for women than when I was a child.”


Vinnette Notice Donna Duncan Scott


Evelyn Smith

Jeannette Solomon

Vinette Robb Narda Simms

Claudette Crooks



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ST ANN: WHAT IS THE JAMAICAN DREAM? Adrian Brown I think the dream is for Jamaica to be a better country, crime wise and economic wise. So basically, we have to work hard to achieve that. I don’t think we are putting out enough effort to make Jamaica a better place.

Commardo Blackburn The dream is for us to have a better country, a better place, especially with the economy and the only way to achieve that is for politicians to stop living for themselves and start living for the people.

Lennox McFarlane The Jamaican dream is for there to be less crime and more educational and job opportunities. For this to happen we need to produce more, especially in agriculture and building more factories.

Nathan Green The dream is for Jamaica to become a better society, where we have honesty, punctuality and courtesy. We can achieve that with unity and equal rights and justice for all and also with education.

Horace Campbell

Derrick Robinson

The dream is for us to become more self confident and to work together to make the country a better place. To achieve this we have to start with education, start with the youth and make it better for all of us in the future.

The dream is for there to be more employment opportunities for the youth and also less violence. We can get there through education, first we need to build more training schools and more factories and use education to push development.

GSAT damaging the J’can dream Barrington Flemming Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU: ASSING THE Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) with excellent averages is the dream of Jamaican children for whom this is their only door to secondary education. Many have realised this dream but Executive Director of the Family and Parenting Centre, Dr Beverly Scott, is calling on the Ministry of Education to revisit the Education Policy and scrap the GSAT, which she believes is negatively impacting the search for the Jamaican dream, damaging the psyche of our children and perpetuating an elitist culture. Speaking against the background of the pursuit of the national dream, which is supposed to promote educational and economic independence, Dr Scott sees this method of predetermining the future of our children as counter-productive and not in keeping with the tenets of a truly independent nation. “The Government needs to revisit the Education Policy and make the necessary amendments. Some children believe that they are not worthy or are lesser beings than others when they are placed at the schools which are not considered tradition-


al,” she said during a Gleaner Editors’ Forum in Montego Bay. “Dr Scott, who also taught in the public school system, recommended an internal system of assessment and zoning of students as part of the changes to the system. “They should use an internal assessment system and send the children to schools which are close to them ... they will understand that they are going to that school because ‘it is close to me’ ... not necessarily because it is rated above another school,” said Dr Scott. “Many times parents cannot afford the fares and the lunch money to send the children to school. Children have to take two or three buses for the day to go to school. That should not be.”

NOT REACHING FULL POTENTIAL According to Dr Scott, the present system stymies the efforts of the students to realise their full potential, which in essence is robbing them of a chance to pursue their Jamaican dream to become empowered and self-actualised citizens. Jeanette Solomon, a former educator and renowned guidance counsellor, also supported the zoning of schools, noted that parents are encountering financial difficul-

ties to meet the needs of sending students to schools far from where they live. “I would love to see the government encourage zoning. Notwithstanding they have tried it before,’ said Solomon. “I do believe that parents also need to be educated about the importance of getting their child to get an eight-hour sleep, feeding them properly and ensuring that homework

is done. How can that be when parents and children are meeting up at bus stop at six or seven o’clock in the evening?” According to her, if the country is to go forward and realise the Jamaican Dream, government must move swiftly to ensure that the needs of children are properly taken care of.


Students from Jessie Ripoll Primary School in St Andrew (from left) Erica Taylor, Tanique Clarke, Radiesh Dolam, Calese Hare and Kyana Brown were quite excited and confident about acing the first day of the GSAT examinations.




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“Children need good role models. They are copycats, and whatever happens in the home will shape their personality ... ”


Students from Port Maria New Testament Church of God Early Childhood Institution in St Mary pose for a picture.

It begins in the home... and the communities Christopher Thomas Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU: HE PATH to the Jamaican Dream must be rooted in laying the right foundation in the homes, providing role models, and getting the community involved in raising children once again. A group of persons from western Jamaica, who participated in a recent Editors’ Forum, are all agreed on this. “Children need good role models. They are copycats, and whatever happens in the home will shape their personality,” said noted child psychologist Dr Beverly Scott. “Home background is very important, especially in the early years of the child. By the time the child reaches age seven, he already has his personality, and anything you do to him is just to modify it.” Scott received support from tourism consultant Godfrey Dyer. He recalled that in his childhood days, all children had to obey their elders as it was the responsibility of the community to grow a child. “The community raised the children ... . You’d never misbehave in the presence of an adult. Nowadays, you’re only raised by a few responsible parents, and I think that’s a big difference,” said Dyer. “I left home at age 19 to join the police force, and up to when I left home, when I wanted to go to the movies, I had to get permission and behave well because if I misbehaved, I would not get to go,” added Dyer.


Former international cricket umpire Steve Bucknor lamented that in today’s Jamaica, many young men are compromising their chances of attaining the Jamaican Dream by becoming fathers at too young an age. “We acted like boys and we were youngsters for a long time,” said Bucknor. “Nowadays, you can’t tell a 16-year-old, ‘Hey, youngster! Come here!’ He’ll tell you, ‘Who you talking? Me is a big man.’ Many of our 16-year-olds are fathers. In those days, you could never think about getting a young lady pregnant because the times you lived in, the requirements were so many.”

FAMILY VALUES AND CHILDREN’S RIGHTS Thorny issues in the nation’s quest to attain the Jamaican Dream, after 50 years of political independence, are positive family values and the protection of children’s rights. “Over the last 50 years, children have been abused, and many people are getting away with abusing children,” said Scott. “In some families, if children are being sexually abused, nobody wants anybody else to know because it would look bad on the family.” Scott is of the view that our children have been victimised by bad state policies, which have exposed them to abuse. “Quite a number of laws have been put in place, like the Child Care and Protection Act of 2004 and the signing of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, which were both designed to give children equal rights and to protect their best interests,” Scott said. According to Scott, having legislation to defend children’s rights is of no use if those laws are not being properly enforced. “I would really believe that they are there but are not being enforced,” she said. “I really don’t believe these policies, or legislation, matter much if they are in place and the Government doesn’t put the funds and resources behind it so people can benefit. Legislation in and of itself makes no sense.”






In the beginning ...

HRH Princess Margaret (centre) is surrounded by other dignitaries as she reads the Independence message on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

ifty years of Jamaican Independence has been a roller-coaster journey of historic highs and painful lows. But the transition and maturation from colony to independent nation has spawned dreams of a better Jamaica. Such dreams embody the hopes of those at the centre and those at the margin – a convergence of greatness that hurdles every obstacle to achieve the impossible. This is our Jamaican dream. Sleep it. Awake to it. Live it.

F Grants Pen Road with persons celebrating Independence Day on Monday, August 6, 1962, by dancing in the streets. In the background is the truck on which Count Casie and his band provided the music for the happy folk to twist, jive and rock.

One-year-old Andrea White poses on the first anniversary of Independence. Independence Celebrations spoons were given to all babies born in Jamaica on August 6, 1962.

Independence Float parade 1962.

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Jamaica Library Service participated in the Float Parade, one of the events organised to mark Jamaica’s Independence on August 6, 1962.

Police outriders as they escorted the Royal Party towards the section of the pavilion at the National Stadium reserved for them at the official opening on Saturday afternoon.

Both oldsters and youngsters enjoyed themselves riding the Ferris Wheel, which was one of the attractions at the parish fête organised by the St Thomas Independence Celebrations Committee at the Lyssons Recreation Centre on Thursday, August 9. Above, a full load occupies the wheel while eager onlookers await their turn.

Jamaica’s Independence flag arrives in Britain. Left: In this July 28, 1962, Gleaner photograph, a boy sells mini-Jamaican flags in Kingston days before the country is officially declared independent.

The beginning of the dream

Mr. Lyndon Johnson, then vice president of the United States of America and Sir Alexander Bustamante, August 1962.

INDEPENDENCE & TRIUMPH: The Royal Box at the National Stadium in August 1962. H.R.H. Princess Margaret and the Earl of Snowdon stands as the National Flag of Jamaica is raised to signal achievement pf Independence between them is the Governor General, Sir Kenneth Blackburne and on the right of the Princess is the Hon. Sir Alexander Bustamante, prime minister. At the Earl’s left is Mr. Norman Manley, Leader of the Opposition and at lower right is Mr. Norman Manley, Leader of the Opposition and at lower right, Vice-President Lyndon Johnson of the United States and Mrs. Johnson.

THE COMMANDER OF THE CARIBBEAN AREA, Brigadier Derek Lister, and members of the Staff and Services of the Headquarters Caribbean Area, saluting the union Jack as it was slowly lowered for the last time, wile two buglers of the Jamaica Regiment sounded the Retreat. The brief ceremony which took place at the flagstaff at Up Park Camp at lunchtime last Saturday marked the disbandment of the British Military Headquarters in Jamaica after 307 years. Until the Jamaica National Flag is hoisted on independence Day, August 6, no flag will fly and the flagstaff at Camp will remain empty.

Gleaner Photograph HRH Princess Margaret laying a wreath at the epitaph in King George VI Memorial Park on Friday in memory of JamaicaĂ­s war dead. Assisting is Mr. Tony Ableton, General Secretary of the Jamaica Legion.





We have just shifted from the estate with its hierarchical structure of Backra, Busha and field hands. I think this is what we need to address as we move forward so that we can deal with this elusiveness of growth and development to alter the economic infrastructure. FILE

Let’s cut colonial past for the next 50

The Old King’s House is situated in Emancipation Square in Spanish Town. After being burnt out, it was turned into a museum. In the colonial days, this was the governor’s residence until Kingston was renamed the capital of Jamaica in 1872.


Independence and the growth pattern that we set then,” said Dyer. “If we had maintained that, today we probably would have been a first-world country. But so many things have happened. We need not be ashamed but we can’t be too proud either,” added Dyer.

Nagra Plunkett Assignment Coordinator



S JAMAICA embraces its 50th year of Independence, it is being argued that the nation’s bid to achieve its pre-independence dream is being stymied by inequity, which is a by-product of its colonial past. “The problem is that we have not altered the economic O’DAVE ALLEN infrastructure that we have inherited,” said renowned Montego Bay-based community advocate, O. Dave Allen. “We have just shifted from the estate with its hierarchical structure of Backra,



Busha and field hands. I think this is what we need to address as we move forward so that we can deal with this elusiveness of growth and development to alter the economic infrastructure,” added Allen. “The whole notion of economic independence seems to be elusive and we have not been able to do too much to mobilise the nation around a big dream and a big vision,” continued Allen. According to Allen, who hails from the inner-city community of Granville, in St James, the nation needs to return to manufacturing and farming as a means of pro-

pelling the society forward and generating economic opportunities. Allen was among the panellists, who participated in a Gleaner Editors’ Forum, in Montego Bay, which examined the ‘Jamaican Dream’.

HOLDING ITS OWN However, unlike Allen, tourism consultant and businessman, Godfrey Dyer, opined that the country has held its own in the last 50 years. “Economically, I think the country has done reasonably well. We should have done a lot more when you think of the first 10 years ... the start that we had after

Despite Dyer’s assessment, Allen remains adamant that Jamaica is not fully utilising the untapped resources at its disposal for sustainable growth. “I want to applaud and congratulate the achievements of our sportsmen and women but we must be careful that Jamaica is not seen as the producers of new gladiators that perform at the stadia of the developed world or that we have become minstrels that we only can entertain,” cautioned Allen. “We are more than that and we must be very careful that we are not stereotyped in this role. We have grown accustomed to picking low hanging fruits that render us incapable of climbing the tree,” concluded Allen.

Norma Sinclair Return to the days when we have peace and quiet and murder is seldom heard about. We could try to live together as one, be more peaceful with each other. Seek counselling where we have problems and things would be better. It all has to start with us as individuals. We have to go back to our roots.

Calvin Kennedy Wilson For the society to change. The Government needs to be there for the people. Give everyone a chance in life - young and old, from all walks of life. Not just the privileged.

Leroy Jones More love and unity so that Jamaica will be better; we have to unite and show love to each other. This will make the country strive. People will invest more so the country will run better.

Roderick Wright For the two political parties to come together and join in peace and love and things will be better. The country will run much better.

Nattalee Hutchinson My Jamaican dream is to be comfortable and to live free from crime and violence. This can be achieved if people are more considerate and loving to each other.

Dawn Lindsay For Jamaica to be a place where there are opportunities for the young. In which you can stay right here and make life. For this to happen, the Government has to put in place more industries and improve on the ones we have in order to provide more employment.


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What is the Jamaican dream?


Residents standing outside the business place of a murder victim in Meggie Top, Salt Spring, Montego Bay. The community is figured in many of the crimes linked to lottery scam operations.

Of ill-gotten wealth and broken dreams Adrian Frater News Editor

WESTERN BUREAU: HILE IT has brought fame and fortune to many; the quest to attain the ‘Jamaican dream’ has also brought grief and pain to many, especially in the instances where illicit methods are used as the launching pad. In St James, it could be argued that Granville, which was the epicentre of the infamous multi-million-dollar lottery scam when it came to the fore in 2006, is a community which tainted wealth has brought grief to. “We have lost over 200 lives directly as a result of the lottery scam ... and the reality is, it has done more harm than good,” said social activist O’Dave Allen, who resides in that community. “The sudden wealth from ‘scam money’ has made us poorer by the many lives it has destroyed.” While noting that financial empowerment is a key pillar in the pursuit of the Jamaican dream,


“Some people might argue that scam money has given them their Jamaican dream but look at the price this community has paid in lives lost ” Allen said Granville’s experience has shown that there is much truth in the proverbial saying, “it is not all that glitters is gold.” “Some people might argue that scam money has given them their Jamaican dream, but look at the price this community has paid in lives lost,” said Allen. “Look how many families have been destroyed. Like Allen, renowned tourism consultant/businessman Godfrey Dyer also sees the lottery scam as a misguided route to the Jamaican Dream, arguing that Montego Bay has suffered as a result of the antisocial spin-offs and the damage to Jamaica’s image. “The lotteryscam has given Jamaica’s international image a terrible, bad name overseas,” said Dyer. “It is too bad that we have waited so long before pulling the plug on it.” While not seeking to give any form of legitimacy to the ‘lottery scam’, which has brought billions of dollars fleeced from unsuspecting Americans into the island – as much as US$300 million in 2010 alone, Dyer said it hurts to see how the illicit booty has been squandered. “It is just so hurtful to see how they (the scammers) waste the money,” remarked Dyer. “While what they are doing would still be wrong, it would look a lot better if they were spending the money wisely.” Based on information gathered from the Montego Bay underworld, a lot of the money generated through the scam goes into the arming of criminal gangs, which is primarily responsible for Granville being transformed into a killing field; and into the maintenance of flamboyant lifestyles. Internationally renowned umpire and sportsman extraordinaire Steve Bucknor believes true economic independence and the realisation of the Jamaican dream must be rooted in good family values and not in criminal activities. “When I was a child, if I passed an open cookie jar, I would not be tempted to put my hands into it because I was taught the value of honesty by my parents,” said Bucknor, an international icon in sporting circles. “As a nation, we need to get back to instilling positive values into our children as a way of putting them on a path to a worthwhile Jamaican dream.” According to Bucknor, the Jamaican dream will be significantly undermined if we continue to be proficient at doing the wrong things. “We must stop being successful at being bad,” said the man who got an OJ from the Jamaican Government for his enviable contribution to sports. “We need to put an end to gang warfare, lottery scamming and tourist harassment and get back to instilling good family values in our children ... that is the path to the Jamaican dream.”

Odane Taylor The Jamaican dream - everyone being economically independent, the elimination of crime and poverty and having a prosperous economy. In terms of eliminating poverty, we have to create an educated workforce, create more jobs through the manufacturing as well as other sectors, and also improve the information technology (IT) sector. We also can develop young people’s skills through HEART Trust and make HEART more accessible to everyone while at the same time improving the education system. Also, if we can get our young people to gravitate towards civic organisations such as the Kiwanis Club to improve themselves, then we are looking on a good road to sustainable growth and independence as a people and also as a nation.

Yanique Lewis To have a crime-free nation and more employment opportunities. This can be done, for example, through the creation of more jobs, by building more factories and craft markets where those who are unemployed or even the younger generation who are leaving school can be involved in productivity. This can decrease robberies and killings, as people would have the opportunity to earn a living and ultimately attaining their goals.

Gerda Wright That every school in Jamaica has at least one fully furnished computer lab, the transportation service on par with First-World countries and a reduction in crime. To realise this dream, all stakeholders would have to come together to raise funds to build computer labs and equip them with computers. With regards to the transportation service, overhead roads and bridges could be constructed in order to introduce the subway system along with more sophisticated buses on the roads. However, the roads would have to be rehabilitated. For a reduction in crime, Government would have to expand the labour force in order to employ more young people. This means building or re-establishing factories, revamping the Free Zone and calling on the private sector to offer some support as best as they can to open up the export market so as to attract new marketing ventures.


Norman Turner The Jamaican dream is to see Jamaicans united – out of many, we are one, the country being more self-sufficient and independent, with more educational and economical opportunities. In order for us to achieve these goals, we need accountability from our Government and the public and private sectors. We need more investment in education and infrastructure. Putting more arable lands to use would decrease our import bill, and investing more in the manufacturing sector and IT jobs would also help.


At 50 years as an independent nation, Jamaica looks ahead and continues to face the future with alacrity and determination. We know that we have been fortunate and look forward to an even brighter tomorrow. As an independent nation at 50, we are guardians of our own destiny. We still have the challenge of shaping the future. Our objective is to move forward with dedication so that Jamaica may continue its onward thrust towards realizing its full potential. Since 2004, after acquiring Esso’s local assets, TOTAL has been committed to serving Jamaica. We reafďŹ rm wholeheartedly, our continued contribution to the progress of this nation by supplying the retail, commercial and industrial sectors with quality petroleum products.

You know where to turn





Dreaming of

inadequate sporting infrastructure is negatively impacting the country’s bid to offer itself as a suitable destination for sports tourism, Bucknor says better facilities are urgently needed. “The (lack of) construction of our stadia is also a big problem because when we invite these people to come here, they will require good accommodation. So had we built our stadia with proper amenities around them, then the cost would have been easier for them to absorb,” Bucknor noted.

SUCCESS We get gritty sometimes. That’s part of what has defined us over the years and it’s ugly. But the important thing is that this gritty streak is just that – a streak. It is not widespread and we know that we have to step away from this darkness in order to advance. The majority of us are hard-working, loving people, known the world over, mostly for our warmth. So here we are 50 years later with our eyes towards a bright future. One Love.



Paul Clarke Gleaner writer

WESTERN BUREAU: AMAICA HAS become an international brand in the sporting world since 1962, according to the respected, former football referee and cricket umpire, Steve Bucknor. Much has been achieved, he said, and is worthy of being celebrated, including a battery of top-class athletes in track and field, football, cricket, tennis, netball and basketball, among other sports. That’s the Jamaican Dream in action. However, much more could have been done, he believes, but unaffordable costs


have been an obstacle. It is hurting, for example, Jamaica’s bid to embrace sports tourism as a part of the Jamaican Dream. Bucknor spoke to the need to broaden the scope of sports tourism at a Gleaner Editors’ Forum in Montego Bay.

SPORTS TOURISM If we make it more affordable and reasonable for foreign clubs (to come to Jamaica on summer tours and winter breaks) then sports tourism could be huge business. But as it stands, it is too expensive for these clubs to come. In examining the general feeling that


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Umpire Steve Bucknor (right) during a India vs England cricket Test match at The Oval cricket ground in London on Monday, August 13, 2007.



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“Instead, what is happening is that because of the high cost involved, they will have to be seeking accommodation in the hotels, where they will have to pay these hotel rates ... They will not come for that,” the renowned sporting icon says. Sports tourism is a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry offering major spin-off to many countries. Top-flight Barclays Premier League outfit Manchester United is known to take pre-season trips to Asia and North America. With Jamaica having a football brand in the Reggae Boyz, he believes we have the potential to exploit similar opportunities. “When you look at NBA teams, baseball clubs from North America, football clubs in Europe; why are they not coming to Jamaica, with our great weather, food and people?” asks Bucknor. “They will not come here (to Jamaica) because the cost is far too high. They would rather go the US and China where the cost is relatively low for them and where they can train and play in top-class facilities,” states Bucknor. Nevertheless, Bucknor thinks Jamaica is blessed with fantastic coaches in the various sporting disciplines, a feature that has led to many of the country’s athletes becoming world-beaters. “You look at track and field, netball, our cricket and football; you will find that we have been holding our own on the international scene, so why not translate this into the kind of thing that can bring wealth to the country? This is what sports tourism should be about,” said the man who believes that while sports tourism continues to be big business worldwide, it is a floundering dream for Jamaica.

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“I can recall the days when community tourism was alive in St James ... visitors could be seen in some of the now feared communities such as Granville, Glendevon and Sun Valley road,” said Allen. According to Allen, it is the attitude of industry players who were trying to keep visitors away from locals for selfish reasons that was destroying opportunities for locals to see their Jamaican dream via the tourism route. “Why are we not benefitting?” Allen asked, “We have more than 200 rooms in Montego Bay, if you go to Ironshore and Lilliput there are empty rooms that can

Tourism holds much but ... Mark Titus Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU: ARASSMENT AND crime are said to be two of the main factors negatively impacting Jamaica’s bid to fully maximise its tourism product, which is seen as one of the prerequisites in achieving true economic independence and a route to the Jamaican dream. In fact, the twin scourge of harassment, especially in regards to tourist, and crime, is being blamed in some quarters for the emergence of all-inclusive properties, which primarily keep visitors in the hotels and away from local communities. In dismissing the belief that keeping the visitors in the hotel is a ploy by hotelier to reap all the economic benefits for themselves, businessman and renowned hotelier Godfrey Dyer rubbished the notion. “When you know the facts, you can’t blame the hotels,” said Dyer, while speaking at a recent The Gleaner Editors’ Forum, in Montego Bay.


Hotelier Godfrey Dyer.

HARRASSMENT “In fact, Dyer said while the hotel would be only too happy to encourage positive interaction between local and visitors, they are wary of even allowing locals on the hotel beaches for fear of harassment and solicitation. “ “It is not that the hotels do not want to allow Jamaicans to use the beaches, but to open it to the general public will create problems.” While noting that free mingling between locals and visitors is encouraged in countries such as Barbados, St Kitts and Nevis, Dyer said Jamaica is not ready for such an experience. “Once you do it here, drugs are pushed on the tourist,” Dyer said, “Is not that they (Jamaicans) would use the beach and enjoy it, they would abuse the use of the beach

... it is the attitude of industry players who were trying to keep visitors away from locals for selfish reasons, that was destroying opportunities for locals to see their Jamaican dream via the tourism route. and that is what prevents hotels from allowing Jamaicans generally.” Tourism educator, Margaret Lawrence, a trainer with the Team Jamaica Project which trains persons for employment in the sector, believes there is a need to sensitise locals so that they, too, can cash in on this aspect of the Jamaican dream.

“Our people have a mindset that tourism is a key to eat a meal, and it defies what government wants when they talk about investment,” Lawrence said, “If you don’t educate the people to use what we have, it is not going to work.” According to Lawrence, the training now being offered, for the most part, is

inadequate and in other cases, trainees, who are being prepared to interface with visitors, are not being given sufficient time to absorb the information. However, renowned social activist Dave Allen said there was a time that the now forbidden interaction was common place in Montego Bay.

accommodate tourists but visitors are not going to these places.” “There are retired teachers with rooms who could benefit from such programmes, why is it that TPDCo (Tourism Product Development Company) instead of being a facilitator, is becoming a stumbling block to prevent people from benefiting from tourism?” questioned Allen. “Tourists came to Jamaica for us, and they are excluding us from the tourists.” However, Dyer refused to allow Allen’s characterisation to go unchallenged, again arguing that such a level of interaction cannot be encouraged in a climate of crime and violence. “I was the largest villa operator on this island,” declared Dyer, “In the ‘70s into the ‘80s I managed 80 villas into Ironshore, sometimes I have my own charters coming in ... why it failed? Crime, the people were robbed every other night and it killed the business.”





‘Painting is MY GIFT’ Carl Gilchrist Gleaner Writer

OCHO RIOS, St Ann: ELF-TAUGHT artist Jerome Taylor has a knack for capturing the Jamaican countryside on canvas – and it is paying off for the St Ann-born artist. After more than a decade making a living from painting, the artist is now celebrating his works being displayed in the Serengeti Gallery in Washington. “I’ve been an artist from I was a little boy,” explained Taylor. “Normally, as a little boy, you would have your pencil and you would do your little sketches. This is around 10 or 12 years old. When I reached about 15, I started to use colours. I started with crayons, then moved into water colours. Then I moved up to acrylic around age 18, 19, and started to learn more about art. It was at that age I realised I have the gift and decided to take it seriously. “I get a lot of advice from other artists on how to be a better artist, so I learn by experience. I’ve been


making a living from painting for over 12 years now.” Not fortunate enough to have attended a formal art school, Taylor, a Christian of the Pentecostal faith, taught himself by studying God’s wonderful creations which he sees around him every day. “What I do to study art to become a better artist is to study nature itself. When you study nature, you get to do the real art,” Taylor told The Gleaner.

THE LORD INSPIRES ME “Actually, to reach where I am, I couldn’t have done it by myself. The Lord inspires me more to reach this level. I’m a self-taught artist who gets more knowledge by praying to God more.” Taylor is mobile and takes his work from place to place to sell after doing the paintings at home. Just last week, he was at an exhibition in Montego Bay. “In Montego Bay, the people were awesome!” Taylor exclaimed. “The exhibition was about Jamaica festival, so when the peo-


Jerome Taylor and some of his artwork. ple saw the paintings, they reminded them of old-time Jamaica.” And ‘Old-time Jamaica’ is Taylor’s favourite theme. Growing up in the Wild Cane district, Taylor is quite used to the typical Jamaican country living of yesteryear – when kids carried water from the standpipe at the roadside; when the so-called ‘country bus’ passed through the rural areas with horn blasting; when kids would play marbles in

the road after school; or when Farmer John would lead his herd of goats along the road, searching for somewhere to tie them so they could feed; or when kids went to the river to swim. “I specialise in country scenes because I was born in the country,” the artist said. “I know what the

country looks like. I love the country, the feelings of the country. I love to go way back in the old days. I am inspired by the countryside.” His country scenes find a place in the hearts of many Jamaicans, especially those who live overseas and come home to visit.

“They remind people of where they are coming from. You have people who leave from Jamaica as a little boy, where they used to carry water on their heads, and now they live in big countries. They are rich, but they like to look back when they were a little boy. The paintings remind people of where they are coming from.” In March 2012, one visitor was so impressed by Taylor’s countryscene paintings that he bought four pieces to display in his Serengeti Gallery in Washington. This has lifted Taylor’s spirits even more, giving him a sense of satisfaction with the work he has been doing over the years. “There’s nothing to me but painting. I would choose no other career but art. When I was in school, grade seven to grade nine, the teacher would ask what we would like to become, and I always said I wanted to become an artist.”






Karen Sudu Gleaner Writer

SPANISH TOWN, St Catherine: S A child growing up in White River, Portland, ‘Granny Boy’ and ‘Granny One Son’ were names Clayton Hall, principal of Spanish Town High School and president-elect, Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), answered to proudly. “I liked the names as I was always proud to be associated with her,” said Hall about his grandaunt, Myrtle Grant, late retired principal of Fairfield All-Age School, who was his guardian from he was 11 months old. Though he was raised by his grandaunt, he said he shared a close relationship with his mother.


NOSTALGIC IDEAS “I remember both of them in her little car. You would always see both of them together - morning and evening,” recalled Yvonne Franklyn, principal, Buff Bay Primary, of Hall and Grant. He was transferred from Fairfield AllAge School to Buff Bay Primary School after Grant retired, and Franklyn was his grade-four teacher. “He was a brilliant student!” Franklyn related with a sense of pride. “He loved to read anything related to science, and when he came to school in the mornings, he would always come with a bag of questions,” she chuckled. “Sometimes I was scared because sometimes I could not answer the questions, and I had to promise him that I would look up the answers,” she confessed. Then an aspiring lawyer, the straight-A’s student sat the Common Entrance Examination while he was in Franklyn’s class at age 10, earning a place at Titchfield High School. Father Sedley Gooden, senior teacher at Titchfield, taught him religious education in grades 10 and 11. “I found him to be a very intelligent young man - always pleasant, very analytical, sociable, ambitious, and hard working,” Father Gooden shared. After completing sixth form, Hall was accepted at the University of the West Indies (UWI). However, lack of financial resources delayed his plans to pursue undergraduate studies. So he worked in Kingston for the summer and returned to Portland, where he completed a two-year

For Franklyn, Hall’s achievement is not surprising. “I always saw him as a leader. He is very knowledgeable and he understands what he is doing. Although I taught him, when I was acting as principal, he gave me advice and told me things I did not know,” said Franklyn, who has been in the profession since 1971.



Clayton Hall, principal, Spanish Town High School and Jamaica Teachers’ Association president-elect. At right, Hall shares a photo on his iPAD with Joan Neufville, vice-principal, lower school, and Leopold Porter, vice-principal for upper school. stint as a pre-trained teacher at Avocat Primary and Junior High School. “Even at that time, I still harboured nostalgic ideas of being a lawyer, but children grow on you, and a teacher at heart, I got addicted and have not looked back since,” an unassuming Hall said. Prior to obtaining a first-class honours degree in history at the UWI, Hall earned a teaching diploma at Mico Teachers’ College. “I went to UWI for personal development, but my grandaunt’s dream was to see

me in an office, so I went to UWI, partially fulfilling her dream. I started in 2002. She died in 2003, and when she died I promised myself I would focus specifically on her desires,” he recounted.

STARTING HIS CAREER Upon leaving the UWI, Hall taught at Convent of Mercy Academy in Kingston for a year before his inextricable ties with his birth parish took him to Mount Hermon Primary and Junior High in 2005, where he served as principal for almost three years.

Then, in March 2008, he assumed the role of principal at Four Paths Primary and Junior High School in Clarendon. His sojourn at Spanish Town High School, which he described as “the oasis of intelligence in the desert of ignorance”, began in August 2010. Hall’s association with the JTA dates back to 1995. Over time, he has served in various capacities at different levels – as president of the St George’s District in Western Portland in 1996; president, May Pen District; chairman, public-relations committee, under Michael Stewart’s leadership from 2009-2010; and member of the Central Executive and General Council. He also served as campaign manager for immediate past president, Nadine Molloy-Young. In 2011, the unrelenting 36-year-old defeated former president, Wentworth Gabbidon, principal, Albert Town High, Trelawny, and Stevie Williams, principal, Auchtembeddie All-Age in Manchester, in his second attempt to lead the association.

Hall’s calm demeanour, administrative skills, and dynamism have won him the admiration of both colleagues and students. “He is generally an easy-going, but hardworking person, very pleasant, not easily flustered. He has quite a good rapport with both staff and students,” Leopold Porter, vice-principal, upper school, Spanish Town High, shared with The Gleaner. Hall will be installed as president at the JTA’s 48th annual conference, which will be held at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort and Spa in St Ann from August 20-22. In fact, when he assumes leadership of the JTA, Hall will hold the distinction of being the youngest president and the first principal from Spanish Town High to serve in the position. Cognisant of this milestone, he has expressed gratitude to his staff, school board, and the wider community for their support and assistance since becoming president-elect last year. His vision is for an education system which facilitates total inclusiveness. Therefore, he is suggesting that special-education units be created within existing school to facilitate children with learning disabilities.





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