News and Views by Dionne Jackson Miller

pointed commentary on current affairs in Jamaica and the Caribbean


August 2014

Stephen Fray’s Appeal is Important

Image by David Castillo Dominici at
Image by David Castillo Dominici at

Today, I’m blogging at 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. 


The Killing of Mario Deane

image by sakhorn38 at
image by sakhorn38 at

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.



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. 


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!

Blog at

Up ↑