FARM WORKERS MAKING THE SACRIFICE 05. ........................ 07. ................................ FROM JAMROCK TO FOREIGN: A MEMOIR 09. ............................... MICHELLE SECRET THE ONE AND ONLY 10. ........................... HILLS - N - PARK BARBERS 12. .............................. BOBSLEDDERS BRING PRIDE TO JAMAICA 13. ................................................. JAM-AMERICAN ACCULTURATION PART 11 14. ............................................... KRANIUM A LEGITIMATE ARTIST
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p GLADSTONE D. JARRETT (Aug. 12, 1962 - Feb. 19, 2014)
FARM WORKERS MAKING THE SACRIFICE Eight thousand Jamaicans will travel to Canada again this year, not as tourists, but as farm workers. For a half-century, Jamaica has been dispatching skilled men and women to farms all across Canada. What started out in the 1960s as a private enterprise became a national initiative. For Jamaicans, the farm workers program is an opportunity to travel abroad, make valuable friendships, experience a different culture, and most importantly, return home with a pocket full of money. For most, however, the program is clearly not meeting expectation. In fact, the program has become nothing short of utter exploitation. Some participants equate it to slavery, and as a result, the safety and welfare of Jamaican farm workers have come into sharp focus. In recent years there have been at least six Jamaican deaths on farms across Canada. For instance, in 2010 Paul Roach and Ralston White were both found dead after being exposed to toxic fumes. Last August, tobacco farmer Rudolph Sulph, 48, of Trelawny, suffered a life-threatening injury. A fragment of a blade from the saw he was sharpening on a grinder flew up and struck him in the neck. Canadian researchers found that workers perform their obligations under oppressive and diabolic conditions. Work days are 13-14 hours seven days of the week,
sometimes in even below sub-zero temperatures. The wages they receive are far less than that of Canadian born workers. Work related injuries are kept in secret out of fear of being sent back to Jamaica. Some workers are given bicycles instead of automobiles to commute during the Winter months. Women are frequently subjected to sexual harassments from their bosses. The housing conditions are deplorable and exist without adequate municipal inspections. They are forced to live in houses with “leaking sewage and inadequate washrooms.” Despite the horrific stories of: lives lost; the suffering of the injured due to over exposure to sunlight and dangerous chemicals; ignored cases of overt racism and sexual assaults; unfair wages; and, numerous investigations impeded, for a Jamaican immersed in poverty and languishing by the loss of hope from a failing economy, the purported opportunities of the farm worker program is like nectar to a bee. It is an opportunity to earn an honest living. One that can put food on the table, send their children to school, purchase a parcel of land, a vehicle, or, expand on their existing house. With the money they've earned and the things they can finally afford, life suddenly looks a lot brighter. The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) was officially created in 1966 as a way of send-
ing Jamaicans to supplement the shortage of agricultural workers. Today, the dynamic of the program has evolved, reports the Jamaican Gleaner, to include not just workers in agriculture but also in areas of: “construction, manufacturing, automotive and seafood packaging.” This is a growing one billion dollar a year industry built on exploiting workers desperate for employment. We saw similar measures of exploitation in the building of their national railroad with Chinese labor. But no one can fault the Canadian government for not doing more to protect these immigrants - it is cheap labor. It is the Jamaican government that must intervene to protect its citizens. But we know that the Jamaican government is weak and plagued with corruption. Unless safe working conditions exist and labor and health codes are improved, injuries will continue, and inevitably, more deaths will occur and the sacrifice for a better life will become undoubtedly the ultimate sacrifice of life.
From Jamrock To Foreign: A Memoir
couldn't wait until the end of Summer, by Christmas I'd be 14 and I think I will be head girl next year. How did it go by so fast, It seemed like only yesterday I'd passed my Common Entrance Exams to go to Old Harbour High. I was finally gaining my confidence, excelling at almost every subject. I was solid in my church life, but of course the social aspect was dim. When you are raised apostolic Christian, you are pretty sheltered, but with hat comes some exquisite values hat in the long run, are immeasurable and above all invaluable. The summer of 1994; the summer that would be the biggest catalyst for change in my youngadult life. That summer, I had church trips to go on and family in the country to visit. Little did I know, my plans, were just that plans; for they never became reality. My mother has always been my rock, my source of joy, faith, happiness, she's my everything. So, on that Tuesday morning when she said, “we are going to the embassy”, my little heart quivered and my mind was like a G6. I knew my father had immigrated to the USA, but I never had hopes of going there with him. I'd imagined visiting my aunt in New York, but daddy, well, not so much. Mommy got me all prettied up and then she prayed. “We are going to the photographer” she said, and I was puzzled, I thought we were going to the embassy. Mommy explained that I really didn't have to go, that daddy would go on my behalf. And so it was. Dem time deh mi nuh undastand a baxide why mi couldn't guh embassy like everybody else. On Friday, I got the news; I had been issued a 10 year visa to travel as I pleased to the United States Of America. I remember smiling so hard that my cheeks hurt. Even my mom was elated, she was overjoyed. My father was in the island on vacation and I and my brother would travel back with him, and spend our summer there in America. Listen, memeba mi tell yuh, nuh baddi nuh happier dan me Wah, Farin! For the summer?! It can't be real…
After the news settled, we started the preparations, I think it took 2 weeks. My dad was with his American wife (who everyone swore was white) and so he was busy showing her around, showing her off, and making the introductions. She had a killer body, and blonde jherri curl hair. She was a beauty, and daddy was proud. Mommy had a battle to fight. She didn't know if she should relax my hair or not. Of course, I wanted my hair straightened! Who wah guh farin wid course hair and bubbles fi kill?? So, off to the hair dresser we went, to get my hair “lightened”. Remember, apostolic Christian girls are virgin in every way. Wah! My hair was beautiful, bouncy, and shiny! I loved it. I had to “hide” out for the next few days, but, we did it, no one saw it. In a few more days, I will be off to America. By: Chinygurl
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Tamika Allardyce holds a B. A. in Accounting from Central Connecticut State University. She is a wife and a mother of two beautiful girls, ages 15 and 9. She and her husband are owners of Dyce Trucking, LLC, a business of five years. “My grandmother taught me the power of inspiration and courage…and she did it with such enormous strength and passion that I wish it could be bottled. Be thankful for what you have and you will end up with more.” Tamika's favorite quote: "Little is much when God is in it."
Lori Taylor is currently working on completing a master's degree in education. A daughter of a teacher, her mother has always stressed the importance of a good education. In high school she maintained A's and B's and graduated top of her class in college while pursuing a degree in nursing. Happily married and a mother of two, she tries to instill the same values her mother taught her. Though she calls Connecticut home, she frequently visits Brooklyn, New York where she grew up. Today, Lori is enjoying her career as a practical nursing coordinator for admissions. Recently, she received a “Of Service and Dedication” award for 10 years of service. Melanie Heaven is an Utrasonographer. In 2009, she earned an associate degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography at Sanford Brown Institute in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Melanie is also a 2005 University of Connecticut graduate with a B.A. in Psychology. Thirty years old and single, Melanie enjoys being a full-time mom. She treasures spending time outdoors and traveling. She also enjoys working out at the gym and playing basketball and other sports with her 10-year old son.
Marsha Fearing is a Technical Associate at Baystate Medical Center in the Oncology unit in Springfield, MA where she resides. A Branford Hall Career Institute 2001 graduate, she is a Certified Medical Assistant. In 2013, Marsha successfully completed the Radiology Technology program at Springfield Technical Community College and is actively seeking employment to fulfill her dream as a Registered Radiologic Technologist.
Beautiful, young and vibrant, Nicole Staple is a devoted mother to son Kodi and daughter Kianna, as well as to her step-children. Nicole Staple is a light to all those around her. Her glowing aura tends to attract people to her. Her close friends describe her as loving, caring and full of life. She is always willing to lend a helping hand. Proud of her Jamaican heritage, Nicole has been working in the medical field for fifteen years. Her patients are always a priority. Nicole is currently enrolled in a four-year college to further her education.
â€œI don't think I'll ever stop trying to be best I can be,â€? commented Michelle Brissett, an enterprising resident of Hartford, Connecticut, as her friend Melanie prepared her makeup for the photo shoot.
Known to many as Michelle Secret, she is a Jamaican native who was born in the parish of St. Catherine, but spent her childhood in Mocco, Clarendon. At age seven, Michelle's parents Hector and Doris Taylor, transplanted the family including she and her three sisters, Marvia, Suzette, Nadette and her brother Marvin to a residence on Capen Street in Hartford, Connecticut. Charming and well-mannered, Michelle is happily married to Rohan Brissett, the father of her four beautiful children, Chavar, Justice, Zhania and Bella. Her smiles are always as big as dreams. At age 37 she could easily be mistaken for 24. Michelle spent her early years working in retail. At age 27, she confidently opened her first business, Secrets Boutique, a lingerie store. Shortly thereafter, she acquired the name Michelle Secret. Though she would later sell the boutique, she continues to use the name to promote and market her annual June lingerie affairs and host events. Michelle and her husband are owners of Brissett & Company, LLC, a residential and commercial cleaning company. A lover of the latest trends and fashionably savvy, she thinks that
how you talk and how you look have a lot to do with how people respond to you. Michelle credits Stylistas Boutique for providing her with the latest in fashion designs. She also thanks Carlene at Superstarz Hair Salon, for styling her hair. Both are located in Springfield, Massachusetts. Michelle is not avaricious but aims for he finer things in life. A straight talker and forward thinker, she is ambitious and well-driven. Currently, she is working on opening another boutique in Windsor, CT. It is scheduled for a grand opening in May, 2014. Sparkles Boutique, in contrast to Secret Boutique, will be more sophisticated in style and decor. She is also poised to host soon, Girls Talk, a locally televised program that will air live on channel 5 in Hartford and on You Tube. In the future, Michelle plans to open an upscale restaurant to reflect her sophisticated style and etiquette. She also plans to write a cook book to share her mother's delectable recipes. Michelle credits her mother for being her everything and for indoctrinating her with a strong, moral rectitude and sophisticated tastes.
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St. Jago High School Labor Omnia Vincit - Work Conquers All, Labor Conquers All things
ST. JAGO HIGH SCHOOL is a publicly funded high school located in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, Jamaica. Founded in 1744 by Colonel Peter Beckford, then Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica, it is one of the oldest, continuously operated high schools in the Western Hemisphere. Established on the religious belief of Christianity, it has become the guiding spirit of the school’s existence. Their motto: “Work conquers all, labor conquers all things,” is transparent in their rich history of academia, sports and leadership. Winners of four School's Challenge Quiz Competitions, the most recent in 2010, St. Jago is proud of its high academic accolades. This prominent and historical coeducational institution boasts an enrollment rate of over 1800 students from 1st to 5th form and also lower and upper six forms. It has turned out some of Jamaica's most highly decorated military leaders, performing artists and sports figures which included nine Olympians.
•Norman Washington Manley, O.N., National Hero and Prime Minister
•Melaine Walker, Olympic Gold medallist
•Lensley Wolfe O.J., Chief Justice of Jamaica
•Michelle Freeman, Olympic medallist sprint hurdler
•Eleise Francis, Judge
•Juliet Campbell, Olympic medallist sprinter
•Dr. Ken Rattray Solicitor-General
•Gregory Meghoo, Olympic Silver medallist sprinter
•Michael Henry, Member of Jamaican Parliament
•Bertland Cameron, 400m world champion
•Carl Rattray, Member of Jamaican Parliament
•Kerron Stewart, Olympic Silver medallist
•Trevor Rhone, Actor/Playwright
•Peta-Gaye Dowdie Bronze medallist -1999 World Championships •Yohan Blake, Olympic Gold medalist
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ometimes in sports, winning is not everything. For the Jamaican bobsled team qualifying for 2014 Olympic Games was a victory in itself. Twelve years removed from their last Winter Olympiad appearance, the Jamaican bobsled team was at it again in Sochi, Russia where they finished 29th out of 30 teams. “There is no such word to explain how I felt being here,” exclaimed bobsled pilot Winston Watts. This was the experience shared by Marvin Dixon and Watts of the Jamaican bobsled team. In Kingston, Jamaica, Prime Minister Portia Simpson extolled: “Your contribution to brand Jamaica is invaluable. Your valiant effort at the highest level of competition has captivated the world and brought pride to your fellow Jamaicans.” Perhaps this finish for any other country would have been a great disappointment but not for
the tropical island of Jamaica where there is no snow. The opportunity to compete outside of their comfort zone was its own reward. Ever since the first Jamaican bobsled team debut in Calgary in 1988, they have been lauded for their sheer determination. The team qualified in the Winter Games in 1992, 1994, 1998 and 2002 but failed to make an appearance since then. Jamaica was notified of its qualification in late January Ÿ and needed at least $80,000.00 to cover their expenses. Desperate to compete, a lack of funds were not going to hinder the opportunity to slide down the ice. On a crowd funding website, www.crowdtilt.com, they raised in excess of $130, 000 from public contributions. This was a true test of the Jamaican spirit to rise to theoccasion There might not be another film like the 1993 Disney classic
“Cool Runnings” to depict Watts' and Dixon's experiences, but they have a "bobsled song” that will just as well endure to note Jamaica's return to the ice. Watt's and Dixon's unfettered spirit and sportsmanship are true testament of the temperament of Jamaicans everywhere.
Jam-American Acculturation Part 11 …so, Jamaicans at all levels of the Jamaican society aspired and continues to aspire to travel abroad. They primarily aspire to get a US visa to travel to the United States, a Canadian visa to travel to Canada, and a British visa to travel to the United Kingdom to “better themselves!” I ask you, is there such a thing as “better your-self” or “better opportunities” or “gainful employment” outside of our beloved Island Jamaica? I have often wondered about Jamaica, as I continue to reflect upon the difficult, painful transition and contradictions that we experienced when our family came to the United States. I continue to reflect as we continuously adjust and adapt to a foreign value system to meet their requirements with no end in sight. FRIGHTENING TO SAY THE LEAST! Let's start by admitting that our island has multi-dimensional flaws at all levels of our society. Our history of slavery, our revolution, independence and evolution as a nation lends our people various perplexities as the struggle continues. Otherwise, so many of us would have no desire to “escape” the beauty of our island, hoping for better opportunities elsewhere. Deeply embedded in our cultural and moral fabric is the notion that SUCCESS is tied to GOD or a HIGHER BEING JAH, a GOOD EDUCATION, GOOD MANNERS OR ETIQUETTE and HARD WORK, which in turn we hope ought to bring SOCIAL STATUS and EQUAL RIGHTS, JUSTICE AND OPPORTUNITIES for our families. As a people, as a nation, family,
laughter, music, dance, relaxation, story-telling from one generation to another is permanently tied to SUCCESS. Is this notion attainable living in a FOREIGN LAND? Or are we swapping “black dawg fi monkey?” Jam-American PRIDE and HERITAGE is strong and very often interferes with our acceptance and reliance on the dominant cultural group where we seek REBIRTH. The dominant culture very often misinterprets our SELF-RELIANT SURVIVAL SKILLS AND OR ATTITUDE to our detriment! Are we prepared to “tek weh wi get?” The price of acculturation in a FOREIGN land is painful, unforgiving, and tiring. Our children, our families pay the ultimate price. Dissolved marriages, neglect of our women and children, neglect of our men, moral decay and perversion of any kind were unacceptable in our homeland and were always kept private to prevent family embarrassment. As we INTERNALIZE the moral, social and ethnic values of the dominant culture of our choice, long work hours and multiple jobs, have become essential to SUCCESS and has weakened the Jam-American family structure. Leading to job LOYALTY instead of loyalty to FAMILY, what was once SHAMEFUL in our island, has become the new NORM in our foreign land of residence as we thrive and acquire wealth. Jam-Americans are losing the very essence of the value system of our fore-fathers and our identity as a people. Yes, Jam-American acculturation is chaotic, endemic among our peoples – teenage pregnancies, neglect, absentee fathers, prevailing discipline problems, various types of infidelities, eroding the very fabric of pride for which our forefathers worked, breathed and lived. Tell me how can we sing this song of
the freedom for which our forefathers worked and died in STRANGE and DISTANT LANDS? Jam-Americans it is called BALANCE IN OUR HOMES AND ON OUR JOBS, SELFRESPECT, SELF-ESTEEM, SELFP R I D E , L O YA LT Y T O O U R FAMILIES! IT IS A CALL TO TRUST, HONESTY, DEVOTION, COMPASSION, DEDICATION and COMMITMENT TO US AND TO OUR FAMILIES! Commitment to a cause- the cause, the advancement and creation of a strong foundation and transfer of our Jam-American heritage o f T R A D I T I O N A L FA M I LY principles that we APPLY IN OUR L I V E S D A I LY F O R O U R CHILDREN AND OUR NEIGHBORS TO SEE. Jam-Americans have clearly internalized the “dominant culture's” idea that success is best defined in tangible acquisition of concrete items such as house, car and land whether great or small. In our strange and distant land, let us chant a new war cry! Our war cry – before God before JAH we pledge the love and loyalty to our families and ALL MANKIND regardless of religion, race, or ethnicity. One love! To be continue’d... Written by Sharon E. R. Green
A Legitimate Artist “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
As I dug into his background, 2005 should have been the year the world came to know and embrace Kemar Donaldson otherwise known as Kranium, as a legitimate reggae artist. That was the year he recorded his first unsuccessful track while residing in Florida upon leaving Jamaica. Determined and resolute to beat the odds, Kranium did not languish in his failure to launch his career. In 2006, he moved to Queens, New York and matriculated at Jamaica High School. He then immersed himself in his dreams and took advantage of the after school performing arts program. There, after each performance the lights eventually began to shine brighter and the stage began to get bigger. In 2011, he was the recipient of the “Artist of the Year” award. In 2013, he was no longer a neophyte but had become a serious contender. We finally saw the official thrust of Kranium, and within a blink of an eye, the world became his stage. He became a star among stars with songs like 'Different Love', 'This Morning', 'Nobody Has To Know', 'Happiest Man Alive', 'Love For You', Another Saturday Night' and 'Up & Away'. Kranium's songs can be heard everywhere. The voice of this new reggae sensation is described as a “volt of electricity.” With simple verses, though edgy, transformed into catchy hooks, he is electrifying his fan base. With a smooth and dynamic voice, the music phenom already has a commanding universal presence. The journey of Kranium should inspire us all to think of a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
By: Sheldon S. Morgan
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Published on May 4, 2014