A New Police Commissioner For Jamaica

Today, I am logging at http://www.rjrnewsonline.com about the advent of a new Police Commissioner – check it out!

Jamaica_Constabulary_Force_emblem.svg (1)Carl Williams will be taking on arguably one of the toughest jobs in Jamaica at an especially difficult time for the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

The killing of St. James resident Mario Deane while in police custody in August has shone an unflattering light on one of the most problematic areas of the public’s interaction with those who claim to serve and protect – the conditions in police lock-ups and the ways in which people find themselves there. Read more here.

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Stephen Fray’s Appeal is Important

Image by David Castillo Dominici at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Image by David Castillo Dominici at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Today, I’m blogging at http://www.rjrnewsonline.com about the latest developments in the case of Stephen Fray, the Jamaican who aws found guilty of multiple charges after he boarded a plane in 2009 with a gun. Do read!

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Jamaica’s highest court, has granted Stephen Fray permission to appeal, a move which will lead to important developments in the area of criminal law. Fray is the Jamaican man convicted in relation to a hostage situation aboard an aircraft at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay in 2009. Read more here. 

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The Killing of Mario Deane

I’m blogging today at http://www.rjrnewsonline.com 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 http://www.rjrnewsonline.com 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 http://www.rjrnewsonline.com 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 www.freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by Stuart Miles at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

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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