The Killing of Mario Deane

I’m blogging today at about the killing of Mario Deane and why I have a problem with the government’s reaction to the killing. Check it out!

Following the death of Mario Deane, the government has sprung into action. Deane had been taken into custody in St. James for possession of a ganja spliff (cigarette), and several hours later was dead, beaten to death while in the custody of the state. The police claim that he was beaten by cell-mates and have quickly arrested two of them.  Since Mario Deane died after being arrested for having a ganja spliff, the government apparently reasoned, the most important step to take now to fix the problem that caused Deane’s death is to fast track the decriminalization of the possession of small quantities of ganja.  The approach thus far has all the hallmarks of muddled and muddy thinking. Read more here.



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Emancipation, Independence & Reparations

The Inspection and sale of a slave  Image from Wikipedia

The Inspection and sale of a slave
Image from Wikipedia

I’m blogging today at on Emancipation, Independence & reparations. Check it out!

As Jamaica celebrates 52 years of Independence, and 176 years since  Emancipation, a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Commission is working to make a case that the region’s former colonial masters owe us reparations for the evils of slavery, and its lasting impact on the peoples of the region. But is this consistent with our celebrations of Emancipation and Independence? Read more here. 


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Denbigh 2014 – Emancipate Yourself From Foreign Food

DJ Miller photo

DJ Miller photo

I spent Emancipation Day this year at the Denbigh Agricultural Show in Clarendon, and I must say that this time around I had a slightly different attitude. The crowd, dust and heat often associated with agricultural shows can make you (me) wonder why you (I) bother, but this year was a little different for me.

Going early on the first day of the show may have helped, before the crowds were out in full force. Apart from that though, I found myself very impressed with the wealth of knowledge and expertise displayed across the many booths and exhibits, and the variety of agricultural by-products on show. I must

Goat by-products  IICA Photo

Goat by-products
IICA Photo

say, I kept wondering why it’s so hard to find some of these products, such as a beautifully packaged goat (milk?) soap we found in the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA) booth, along with the rum tamarind balls also on  sale there made by a member of a community agricultural group. I saw posters of the youth award winners in agri-business (noted for future discussions!)

Then there was the Jamaica Organic Agricultural Movement, off to one side, near pan chicken row (go look for them!)  There was a solar dryer on display, with dried fruit products, and honey and honey products from the St. Thomas Bee Keepers association. I was shown an exhibit by Icon Importers and Distributors of a solar-powered drip irrigation system that exhibitors said is set up to store rain water to make you independent of both water and power suppliers in one go. Yes, these types of exhibits have always been there, but I guess I was just more interested this year.

vacation 2014 and denbigh 2014 142


Solar Dryer Demonstration DJ Miller Photo

Solar Dryer Demonstration
DJ Miller Photo


Beeswax body butter, solar dried mango and chunky honey (with honeycomb)

Beeswax body butter, solar dried mango and chunky honey (with honeycomb)




So, I didn’t make it to the drumming or vigils, free concerts or reasonings this Emancipation Day (maybe next time), but I did get a lot of food for thought (pardon the pun). We are doing so much, and seem to have the potential to do so much more.  I am the first to admit that not everything I buy is Jamaican, but I do make an effort and like to patronise small producers if possible. Many of their products are excellent, but there are often still some issues with consistency, availability and packaging. I can think of one dried fruit product I fell in love with, dried otaheiti apple bits, but have never, ever seen on sale anywhere. I’m not going to enter today the discussion about whether we can really feed ourselves, but it seems to be a given that agriculture and agricultural by-products are an important income source for many rural communities. There is a fair amount of developmental assistance going into these communities,  and it perhaps is an area to which we should pay more attention. More anon!

What would Denbigh be without some Boston jerk to take home?

What would Denbigh be without some Boston jerk to take home?








Denbigh = new plants!

Denbigh = new plants!

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Should There be a Right to be Forgotten?

I’m blogging today at about the controversial “right to be forgotten.”  It’s a fascinating discussion for the Internet Age. Check it out and tell me what you think!

Should you have the right to be forgotten? The phrase sounds peculiar the first time you hear it, but there’s a lively discussion now taking place globally about whether people should have the right to have information about them circulating on the Internet deleted or made inaccessible by search engines. Read more here.

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Jamaica Seeking to Protect Rights of the Disabled

Photo by Stuart Miles at

Photo by Stuart Miles at

I’m blogging today at Oxford Human Rights Hub on the rights of the disabled and Jamaica’s proposed new legislation. Check it out!

Jamaica boasts of being the first country in the world to both sign and ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, on March 30, 2007. Seven years later, the Disabilities Act has been tabled in Parliament. This is an important step, but there are questions about whether the proposed statute’s actual impact may fall short of expectations, especially when it comes to implementation in a small, developing country. Read more here.

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Flag_of_CARICOM.svgI’m blogging today at about CARICOM. Please check it out!

On July 4, as the red, white and blue was being hoisted all around the world in celebration of the birthday of the United States of America, CARICOM (the Caribbean Community) marked the establishment of the regional grouping with CARICOM Day.

The word marked, as used in the preceding sentence, is a gross exaggeration, however, seeing that very few people seem to know anything about this. Read more here. 

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Rallying for the CAUSE on Gay Pride Week-end

This is my post on

In a show of force similar only in recent times to the biggest of political rallies, thousands of Jamaicans gathered in Half-Way-Tree on Sunday, heeding the call of the new church-backed coalition – CAUSE: Churches Action Uniting Society for Emancipation.

The coalition describes its mandate as a loosely defined preservation of Jamaican values, but it is the resistance to any attempt to decriminalize anal sex – buggery – and the associated resistance to the perceived “normalisation” of homosexuality that got thousands of Jamaicans out of their homes on a hot Sunday afternoon. Read more here.

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