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Prime Minister Andrew Holness Arrival in the Republic of Namibia.

The Prime Minister left Jamaica for a working visit to Namibia and the emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit in South Africa. He arrived Sunday July 22/2018 on his birthday

Prime Minister Andrew Holness arrived in the Republic of Namibia to a warm traditional welcome. He explained, that it is the start of my historic official working visit to the African nation. He added, that he was pleasantly surprised by Namibian officials, Culture Minister Babsy Grange and our Ambassador to South Africa Angella Comfort who all presented me with a birthday cake. He went on to say, it was a good way to start off his birthday and working trip.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Prime Minister Andrew Holness BIRTHDAY

Please help us wish our Prime Minister Andrew Holness a HAPPY BIRTHDAY. 🇯🇲️.
We hope he has a long and prosperous life. We thank him for his hard work in working to make Jamaica a better place for all of us

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Prime Minister Andrew Holness challenged by church groups and the PSOJ to address corruption

Prime Minister Andrew Holness was challenged by the Jamaica Umbrella Group of Churches (JUGC), National Integrity Action (NIA), the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) to address the issue of corruption within government after the Petrojam scandal. They penned a joint letter to the Prime Minister urging him on what they describe as declining public confidence in Jamaican authorities, especially following the Petrojam scandal.

The organisations outlined several recommendation which they deemed are of great importance and must be address. The letter sums up their grievances, “Our respective organisations are of one mind that urgent action is demanded to deal with the situation at PetroJam, and more generally, to curb practices of nepotism, cronyism, favouritism and other evils that have long scarred governance of public bodies and contributed to waste of taxpayers’ money”.

Read the letter here:

Dear Prime Minister,

We write this open letter following an urgent consultation among ourselves, namely the Jamaica Umbrella Group of Churches (JUGC), National Integrity Action (NIA), the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) convened at the request of the JUGC and NIA on July 16, 2018.

The meeting examined in depth the longstanding erosion of public trust in institutions of governance, accentuated by allegations relating to Petrojam and agreed on the fundamental importance of urgent measures to strengthen integrity as well as good governance. In our considered opinion Prime Minister, declining public confidence in Jamaican authorities is now approaching crisis proportions reflected in many aspects of our society: in unprecedentedly low voter turnout; growing disregard for law and order; declining involvement in community organisations and increasing support for undemocratic solutions to deal with high levels of crime and corruption.

Our respective organisations are of one mind that urgent action is demanded to deal with the situation at Petrojam, and more generally, to curb practices of nepotism, cronyism, favouritism and other evils that have long scarred governance of public bodies and contributed to waste of taxpayers’ money.

Amongst the actions, Prime Minister, we urge that:

1. So long as the former Minister of Energy remains a Member of the Cabinet, he be immediately excluded or recuse himself from all deliberations of that body (or Cabinet sub-committees) relating to Petrojam, including discussions of reports, investigations, reforms and system reviews, etc.

2. The Integrity Commission, the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency and the Auditor General’s Office should be provided with the necessary resources to ensure the completion of their investigations and report into Petrojam within three months. These reports should be laid in Parliament immediately thereafter.

3. The terms of reference, composition and deliverables of the Strategic Committee to review Petrojam’s operations, which is to be chaired by Christopher Zacca, be disclosed publicly; further, that the committee submit its report and recommendations within three months, that these be made public and that the Board of Petrojam be required to report quarterly on the implementation of agreed recommendations.

4. The Codes (in particular the Code of Conduct for Ministers), guidelines (in particular the Corporate Governance Framework for Public Bodies and the Competency Framework) and laws (in particular Public Bodies Management and Accountability Act) relating to corporate governance for all public bodies be implemented, monitored and enforced with attendant sanctions when violated or not implemented. This process should be oversighted by a public-private-civil society partnership body, which would report to Parliament annually as well as provide quarterly reports to the public.

5. We are aware that the administrative responsibility for the development and monitoring of the adherence to policy guidelines is reposed within the Public Enterprise Division of the Ministry of Finance, but respectfully suggest that this Unit be strengthened, repurposed and positioned within the Cabinet Office with the authority to impose sanctions on delinquent Boards and to report Ministerial breaches to the Prime Minister. We further offer the services of the Governance Committee of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica to assist the Unit in the process of strengthening the Governance protocols and designing sanctions for their breaches”.

6. The main laws, codes, guidelines and regulations relating to good governance should be consolidated into one compendium within three months, and form an essential component of governance training for all Cabinet Ministers within six months thereafter. In the interim, we would ask that you disclose what action you are taking in relation to the recommendation in the Contractor General’s Report (July 2017) on de-bushing, and in relation to the failure of the Government to receive the 200 used cars that we purchased for the Jamaica Constabulary Force – two of the issues that have recently sparked considerable public concern.

For our part, we propose to contribute to the enhancement of public morality, ethics and accountability in governance, as well as more broadly, through engagements involving civic dialogues in town hall type settings, for the purpose of sensitising citizens on how erosion of public trust impacts the nation, as well as calling them to their responsibilities.

During the course of our consultation Prime Minister, we together examined reports and recommendations in the past from oversight bodies, particularly, in relation to Petrojam on which no corrective measures were taken. We therefore wish to emphasise that now is the time for action. We are together requesting an urgent meeting with you to discuss and seek agreement on the above recommendations, which we are making.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness ensure the public that corruption in government is a serious matter.

He explain that he will make it a standing practice that all members of the cabinet are expose to good governance training and practices so there is no misunderstanding of the rules. He argue that he will not allow corruption to affect his  government

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Contention over non-Jamaican running for political office

October 12/2018

As contention brew over newly nominated Dr Shane Alexis to represent the Opposition Party in St Mary South Eastern division, one must ask the question, is this a new occurrence? And should it be legal? Should there be laws against non-Jamaicans be able to run for Office in Jamaica?

The main justification given for Dr Shane Alexis to represent the Peoples National Party is that he is a Commonwealth Citizen. So does this mean a Jamaican can go to a Commonwealth Country and just run for Office claiming Commonwealth Citizenship? To be specific, can a Jamaican Citizen go to Canada and run for political Office?

The Election Canada and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs websites outlined who can become a candidate or run for Local Office Canada: The basic requirements for becoming a candidate are the following: · http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=pol&dir=can/bck&document=index&lang=e

  • You must be a Canadian Citizen.
  • You must be at least 18 years old on election day.
  • You must file a Nomination Paper (EC 20010) with the returning officer for the electoral district (riding) where you intend to run, along with all other documents required by the nomination process.

http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page10475.aspx :

On the day you file your nomination, you must be a Canadian citizen aged 18 or older, and qualify as a resident or non-resident elector. (For more information about eligibility to vote.

Please see: Eligibility to Vote in the 2014 Voters’ Guide).

The eligibility above would clearly disqualified a Jamaican citizen to run for Office in Canada. So why is the justification of Dr Shane Alexis legibility legal in Jamaica? In 2017 should there be laws against this?

The Member of Parliament for Portland Western, Daryl Vaz, at a press conference said the issue was not about legality but morality. He explained, "I find it hypocritical, I find it immoral that after the People's National Party made it a point of duty to carry five of us in our last term in office to court on a dual citizenship case that they would be so bold and brazen to confirm a candidate to run on their ticket who is neither the holder of a Jamaican passport or a Jamaican citizen". The Peoples National Party accepted Dr. Shane Alexis was born in Canada but they explained he came to Jamaica as a young child and attended Saints Peter and Paul Preparatory School and Campion College in Jamaica. He completed his undergraduate education in Jamaica before receiving a scholarship to study medicine in Cuba.  They went on further to say, “[t]he Jamaican Constitution is clear that individuals born in Commonwealth countries are eligible to sit in the Houses of Parliament”. The Peoples National Party further added, that after completing his medical training, Dr. Shane Alexis returned to Jamaica and worked in several public medical institutions, including doing training and working at the Kingston Public Hospital, Bustamante Hospital for Children and the Annotto Bay Hospital.    The Opposition also pointed out that Alexis has served as president of the Jamaica Medical Doctors' Association, and was appointed to the board of the National Health Fund (NHF) by the present JLP administration. The Peoples National Party noted in it’s release that there are members of the Jamaica Labour Party seated in the Houses of Parliament, who also hold Commonwealth citizenship. They explained that the doctor is now applying for his Jamaican Citizenship.

Let’s go back to the 1980s. One of Jamaica’s most honoured politician Edward Phillip George Seaga. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Jamaica, from 1980 to 1989, and the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party from 1974 to 2005. He served as leader of the opposition from 1974 to 1980, and again from 1989 until January 2005. Edward Seaga was born 28 May 1930 Boston, Massachusetts.

It is obvious there are a long list of Jamaican politicians over the history of Jamaican politics who are either foreign nationals or have dual citizenships from other countries. One could argue the laws must now be changed. Even though Jamaica is a Commonwealth Country, our Commonwealth privileges are very limited. Additionally, despite the fact Jamaica is a part of the Commonwealth, it is a sovereign Country and certain privileges must be limited to Jamaican citizens only.

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A glimmer of hope as the warring factions talk peace.

December 29th 2017

A glimmer of hope as the warring factions talk peace. A Civil War waging in Mountain View while the Prime Minister sits quiet, the army sits in Up Park Camp and some of the country’s police goes on Sick out.

The shots rang out as if it is Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan. The women and kids scream as the gunmen empty loads of clips of their heavy duty automatic weapons. This is not the Middle East. This is Kingston, Jamaica and specifically the Oliver Road and Jarrett Lane community in Mountain View.

According to reports, representatives from the two warring factions showed up at the Mountain View New Testament Church on Thursday December 28th/ 2017. The meeting includes the Peace Management Initiative and the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

Superintending Victor Hamilton told the Media that the men who are killing each other are men who grew up together. Other reports stated that the war began when a man was beaten and four high powered rifles were taken from him.  The war have claimed many lives and left the community trembling with fear. A two year old child was among those shot and were taken to hospital where he was treated.

In a video circulating on Social Media, you can hear the noise of bullets ran out like wild fire. A woman in the audio says, “one dead”. The person who was making the audio was right in the middle of the chaos. It is like she was part of the war. At least she knows the people who are involved because we could hear the gunmen talking to each other. One woman says, the men are killing someone because the other side killed one of their men. They begin to shout DEM A COME, DEM A COME, DEM A COME. She was warning the men the police are coming. It was very frightening to listen to and one must wonder how can the police not get control or end the situation?

How hard can it be to find this woman? According to what Superintending Victor Hamilton said, these are people from the community. Therefore, one could argue it is not hard to pick them up. This event is one of many endless wars and murders in the communities of Jamaica? The whole of Jamaica is in a State of Anomie. It is clear that the gunmen and women are not afraid of the authorities. From the audio one could easily argue these people see themselves outside of the laws of Jamaica.

There was a huge response of police including the Commissioner of police George Quallo in the area. A barrage of weapons were seized and many of the gunmen were taken in custody. According to the police, the fraction has caused other criminals to flood the area. But one must ask, is the police doing enough? Why is it so hard to bring peace and security to such a small Island and where everyone knows everyone and knows who are doing what?

What does this peace talk means? Does it mean the gunmen will keep their guns and stay out of lockup as long as they keep the peace? It is very well they are talking peace but with this not an isolated situation in Jamaica one can’t help not to hold the police and the government accountable. What is the government doing to stop the loads of weapons coming into the Island? Are there enough detective work being done in the communities to bring the ring leaders to justice and cease gun violence? Or is the overwhelming response  by the police just a band aide and not a real solution?

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The Collymore Saga; A Tale of Deceit and Infidelity

Another Insurance Murder

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The story seemed to have begun on January 2, 2018, with the brutal murder of 32-year-old business woman Simone Campbell-Collymore and 36-year-old taxi operator Winston Watson. Both were shot dead at approximately 4:00 pm on Stanley Terrace in Red Hills, St. Andrew, Jamaica.

With the murder rate continuing to spiral out of control, the slaughter could have been easily misconstrued as just another “senseless killing”, but for one crucial detail: the husband of the deceased woman lost his previous girlfriend in a similar fashion. Omar “Best” Collymore in 2008 was the sole witness of the murder of his then girlfriend, 38-year-old Angela Aguiar in downtown, Fort Lauderdale, USA

According to the police records, Omar reported that after parking his vehicle and getting out to tie his shoe-lace, he saw a white man who appeared homeless, walk up to Aguiar - who was seated in the vehicle - with a gun. He reportedly ran then heard gunshots. When Omar returned to the vehicle, he found his girlfriend dead with gunshot wounds. Her killer is still at large. 

Fast forward to 2018, the death of Omar’s wife, Simone, has exposed a web of lies and infidelity in what seemed like a picture-perfect marriage. It is alleged that Omar had several simultaneous affairs. Simone, fed up with the what seemed like never ending marital problems, moved out of their home only a few days before she was killed. Witnesses claimed that even after the shooting, Omar, who was inside the residence where the shooting took place, was slow to come to his wife’s aid.

The tea of it all? Two women, Angela Aguiar and Simone Collymore, were shot and killed leaving a substantial insurance to one beneficiary, Omar “Best” Collymore.

Angela was insured for a whopping USD $1 million from which Omar received USD $400,000, that he claimed two years after her death. Simone Collymore is rumored to be insured for an impressive sum of JMD $3 billion.

 

Omar wasted no time to jump on his wife’s insurance policy. His plan was however ruined when, on January 19, 2018, he was shot and injured by unknown assailants in the parking lot of the insurance company on his way to file the claim. Then, on January 27, Omar “Best” Collymore was accosted at the Norman Manley International airport amidst a desperate attempt to flee the country only a day before his wife’s funeral

A few weeks later, the police investigations finally caught up to what the rest of the world already believed, and a warrant was issued for Omar’s arrest. By this, two other persons were already in custody, and police are on the hunt for other suspects.
But Omar Collymore did not make it easy. In a nail-biting island-wide manhunt, he was finally caught hiding out at a guest house in the parish of St. Elizabeth, where he was allegedly making arrangements to leave the island by boat.

Omar “Best” Collymore, a US citizen, is expected to make his first court appearance this week.

The families of both deceased women have expressed their sentiments.

“We are very appreciative of the work that the police are doing and the progress that is being made, because it has been really difficult for the family,” Simone Campbell-Collymore's father Wayne Campbell told the Jamaica Observer, while Aguiar’s family hopes that new leads will come from the renewed interest in the case. 

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Has China Colonized Jamaica?

February 16, 2018

In a video which dominated social media a couple months ago, pan-Africanist Dr. Umar Johnson, made strong claims that Jamaica is well on its way to become the first colony of China in the Caribbean.

"The Chinese pretty much owns Jamaica,” he said. “The Jamaican Government is giving concession lands to the Chinese. They are building beach resorts, they are building two schools, and what the Jamaicans have to give them in return is the right to certain lands and waterways, and if it doesn't stop, Jamaica, the land of Marcus Garvey and Bob Marley, will become the first Chinese colony in the Caribbean."

The hype around the video has since died down, and all seem to have forgotten about the issue. But as I took a trip to my hometown in Manchester, Jamaica, this past weekend, I could not help but feel like I saw more Chinese than fellow Mancunians/Jamaicans. I know this statement resonates as a little dramatic, but I kid you not! And I am not referring to our Chinese-Jamaican neighbours who have become our friendly Mr. and Ms. Chin. I am referring to what seem like a tsunami of can’t-even-speak-English Chinese, who seemed to be everywhere.

The sight should not have shocked me as much as it did, since Manchester borderlines St. Elizabeth, the home of the bauxite giant ALPART, which was recently sold to the Chinese state-owned entity, Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCo.) for US$299m. But it did concern me, as I reflected on how “involved” the Chinese have become in our beloved country.

Dr. Umar Johnson knocked the nail on the head. The Chinese have made some major investments in Jamaica, especially throughout the last decade.

The Chinese built and financed a US$730m North-South Highway connecting Kingston to Ocho Rios, reducing coast-to-coast transit time to about an hour. The project gives the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), which built the highway, a 50-year concession to recover its costs from tolls. The company also received land alongside the highway to develop for residential and commercial use. Former Minister, Omar Davies suggested that the lands were “thrown in” to make the project more viable.

In 2017, we witnessed an intensive increase in trade and investment between both countries. The Jamaican Government announced that it had decided to use Chinese concessional loans to further upgrade the road network on the island. Speaking at a press conference, the Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, said that over US$300m in loan funding would come from China’s Exim Bank to construct a new road network in the southeastern and southwestern parts of the country.

Is it safe to assume that more valuable lands will be “thrown in”?

Jamaica was also banking on Chinese capital to transform PetroJam into a more efficient refinery. Sinohydro Corporation Limited, a Chinese state-owned engineering firm, was approached to finance, engineer, develop and construct the refinery upgrade at a cost of approximately US$1 billion. The political unrest in Venezuela, however, has crippled plans for upgrading the state-owned oil refinery.

The Government of Jamaica and China, in January 2017, signed an agreement for the construction of a 220-bed hospital for children in Montego Bay, St James.

In the same year, Prime Minister Andrew Holness came under heavy criticism from local architects over the decision to bypass local talent and use a Chinese firm to design Jamaica’s new Parliament building and offices at National Heroes Circle in Kingston. Some architects made their feelings known, stating that they felt insulted by the move.

The list of ‘investments’ and ‘gifts’ goes on… and on… and on.
People’s National Party Minister, Peter Bunting, had insisted that there is “a form of economic colonialism by Chinese businesses operating in Jamaica”. Bunting infuriated the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Jamaica with a video entitled “Chinese Take Over?” in which he made several claims and arguments against the Chinese. The Chinese Embassy in response blasted Bunting arguments and said it was offended by the “unsubstantiated claims” in the video.

My grandmother always said “if it no go so, it near go so” meaning - for our readers without Jamaican roots - that if the same point keeps coming up, especially from different sources, there might be some truth to it.

I am certainly not trying to seem ungrateful for the positive and lasting contribution the Chinese have made to our development, and the doors that have opened for investment in the auto industry, computer technology, commerce, manufacturing, construction, and other major enterprise. China has gifted Jamaica a number of projects of a total value of about JMD 9.4 billion, including the Chinese Garden at Hope Gardens, the Sligoville Sports Complex and two early childhood institutes. China has donated mobile container X-ray scanners for the security of Jamaican ports, water tanks to improve water supply and will donate energy-smart products with a total value of about JMD 400 million for the benefit of Jamaican environment.

So far, China has given full scholarship to more than 200 Jamaican youths and funded the training of over 1,000 officials and professionals. (Remarks by Ambassador NIU Quingbao, Feb. 9, 2017)

Also, we have to big up the social and economic value our resident Chinese-Jamaicans have made. Think of names like Tessanne Chin, Byron Lee, Michael Lee Chin, and so many more. Not to mention the Asian-operated businesses, all offering a range of goods at cheaper rates to communities throughout the island.

So, no, definitely not trying to be ungrateful. I acknowledge the positive side of the China-Jamaica-Partnership.

However, what will these investments cost us?

It is already widely said that if America coughs, Jamaica catches a cold, in light of how indebted we are to the United States. Now, Jamaicans are being encouraged to learn Mandarin in order to compete for jobs in our own country!

Over 200 work permits were issued for Chinese technicians to complete the ALPART takeover. When it comes to construction, local contractors are unable to compete with the powerful Chinese companies, inevitably increasing the number of Chinese companies landing big contracts in Jamaica. And none of these projects seem to be hiring locals for the ‘big paying posts’.

With the current arrangements, Jamaica is simply becoming more and more indebted to the Chinese, and the Chinese are owning more and more precious pieces of Jamaica. The Jamaican Government is also well known for being “vulnerable” to countries that invest heavily, sometimes “bending the rules” meant to protect the citizens’ individual rights and overall safety, in order to accommodate big investments.

It seems like all we continue to do is switch from one bakra master to another; the most recent change being the United States, who we still owe an unfathomable amount of money, for China. When will we understand that dependency is not the way, but rather, we should aim to create a business-friendly environment in which entrepreneurship and industrialization can prosper?

From where I stand, the Chinese is not ‘taking’ over. They already have. We just don’t know it yet.

~ Victoria Cole

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Floyd Grindley resign. No place for corruption in Andrew Holness government

Floyd Grindley, the General Manager of Petrojam was caught up in a scandal which many argued constitute breach of government policy.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness vowed to put ministers on notice about corruption and the misuse of power in government. He was under pressure to fulfill those promises in the Petrojam matter. Many Jamaicans were watching to see what action he would take in the matter.

In a thirty five minutes Parliament Statement on July 10 2018, he outlined a number of issues that was found in the Petrojam matter. He also outlined new rules and policy changes he wanted to implement to make sure this abuse of power does not happen again.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness speaking in Parliament on the Petrojam matter

On June 13/2018 the General Manager of Petrojam Limited (http://www.petrojam.com/about-us) Floyd Grindley and his committee members were summoned to the Jamaican Parliament to be questioned on what some deemed as corrupt activities within Petrojam under the management of the General Manager Floyd Grindley. The questioning sessions went on for a little over 3 hours and 31 minutes.

After an investigation Prime Minister Andrew Holness come to a conclusion of the matter. This conclusion resulted in the removal of Dr Andrew Wheatley from energy portfolio with energy now in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and the resignation of Floyd Grindley.

Prime Minister Holness noted that Floyd Grindley was in control of the company when a number of malpractices and improprieties occurred. He explained that the new body and system he will put in place will be responsible for correcting a number of issues that the report pointed to, including human resources, the accusations of corruption, nepotism and questionable spending at Petrojam.

He also pointed out that his government was concerned about the allegations made and acted upon them. He said his government place accountability on facts and went through the process of identifying those facts and have taken action to correct them.

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Edward Seaga, the Jamaican Visionary but what about Tivoli?

February 28/2018

The ruling Jamaica Labour Party is carving out a legacy for one of their most prominent leader, Edward Phillip George Seaga. The corporate office of Petrojam Limited, located on Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston, on Thursday (February 22/2018), was officially named ‘The Edward Seaga Building’. It was announced and supervised by the Jamaica Labour Party Leader and current Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Additionally, it has been announced that the Tivoli Gardens Comprehensive High School in West Kingston is to be renamed in honour of Edward Seaga. Desmond McKenzie, the Member of Parliament for West Kingston, made the announcement at a function at the institution on Monday, February 26/2018

According to McKenzie, a petition was made to the Ministry of Education some years ago, to have the school renamed in honour of Seaga, who was Member of Parliament for the constituency for 43 years. Edward Philip George Seaga was born on 28 May 1930, in Boston, Massachusetts. In April 1962, Seaga was elected Member of Parliament for West Kingston.

He was the fifth Prime Minister of Jamaica, from 1980 to 1989, and the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party from 1974 to 2005.[2] He served as leader of the opposition from 1974 to 1980, and again from 1989 until January 2005.

Edward Seaga

According to Loop News, Seaga helped to shape pretty much all the major infrastructure of the area, including the building of Tivoli Gardens Comprehensive High.

Seaga’s introduction to the Jamaican people was very much a champion of the Capitalist agenda, (opposing Manley’s Socialist agenda) and the representative of West Kingston Constituency but mainly rooted in Tivoli Gardens.

 The question is, seen as Edward Seaga is carving out a legacy in Jamaica as one of Jamaica’s prominent statesman and could one day be up for being a National Hero, will anyone honestly, analyse and critically assess Mr. Seaga’s legacy within Jamaica’s political arena?

In November 28/1988 The New York Times published an article titled “Showdown in Jamaica”. It is a long and detail article of the political climate at the time with Edward Seaga and the opposition of the Peoples National Party, Michael Manley. This paragraph taken from The New York Times which wrote “[t]he three blocks west of Gold Street in Central Kingston support Manley's party but the three blocks east of Gold Street, known as Southside, back the Jamaican Labor Party (J.L.P.) of the current Prime Minister, Edward P.G. Seaga. The Southside gang is led by Chubby, a tall, well-built Rastifarian warlord with an elegant mane of dreadlocks. He was wounded fighting for Seaga in the 1980 election and recalls 10 friends who were killed around Gold Street”. Read the details:http://www.nytimes.com/1988/11/27/magazine/showdown-in-jamaica.html?pagewanted=all

The New York Times~ Seaga's greatest economic accomplishment has been restoring confidence. Delroy Lindsay, the young director of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica, a lobbying group for entrepreneurs, considers Seaga the greatest Prime Minister in the history of Jamaica. ''He has brought reality to Jamaica,'' he said.

Then suddenly, he turned angry: ''There are a lot of people in the private sector who would like to join the J.L.P. but they don't because of Seaga's leadership. There is the impression that the man thinks he knows everything on every subject.''

Seaga does have a reputation of being unyielding. It was pure Eddie Seaga when we were discussing a recent minor tiff with Washington and he turned to me, with no particular emotion in his voice, and said, ''I've given the position that I don't give a damn. I'm not yielding. Take away the aid if you want.''~http://www.nytimes.com/1988/11/27/magazine/showdown-in-jamaica.html?pagewanted=all

It would be very bias and morally lacking to see Seaga’s name on the Tivoli Gardens Comprehensive High School Building and forget to mention that his name is synonymous with Lester Lloyd Coke (Jim Brown). Jim Brown and the Coke family had been a prominent part of Tivoli Gardens. In fact, in an article dated the 4/5/92, the US Paper Newsweek wrote: [t]o his friends, Brown was a hero who rose above the despair of Jamaica's ghettos. In Kingston's slums, he was a key enforcer for former Prime Minister Edward Seaga's Jamaica Labor Party; Seaga himself called Brown the "protector" of Kingston's poor, and helped lead the don dadda's funeral. But to local police-who had tried, and failed, to pin 14 separate murder charges on him-- Brown was the most influential of the city's gangland bosses~ http://www.newsweek.com/jim-brown-still-dead-isnt-he-197434

Since the death of Lloyd Lester Coke, (Jim Brown), Tivoli Gardens has slowly went into decline. The world watched when under the Jamaica Labour Party Government with Bruce Golding as the leader, where there was an assault on Tivoli Gardens. Christopher (Dudus) Coke, the son of Lloyd Lester Coke (Jim Brown) was wanted by the United States government for drug offenses. According to The New Yorker, [at the center of this mess was Jamaica’s then-Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, who also represented Tivoli Gardens as a Member of Parliament. Golding spent months delaying the extradition request. His party hired a Washington law firm to lobby against it. Golding has maintained that he was acting on principle and that the wiretap evidence used by the U.S. to indict Coke was illegal under Jamaican law. But many people have argued that Coke had influence over Golding and that Jamaica was on the verge of becoming a narco-state. Hardley Lewin, the former head of Jamaica’s military, has suggested that when the extradition request finally went through, Golding’s administration leaked the news to Coke, giving him time to muster his forces. https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/jamaicas-former-p-m-opens-up-about-coke-arrest-extradition

The result of this was an assault on Tivoli where many people died. The official number is seventy three but many said the total death far exceeded that amount. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jun/22/christopher-dudus-coke-arrested-jamaica

The question is, after 43 years as a representative of Tivoli Gardens, did Mr. Seaga left an environment or a legacy that allowed Tivoli Gardens and West Kington to become a successful and safe community? Since the removal of Christopher (Dudus) Coke, Tivoli Gardens have broken out into Turf Wars. Almost a no-go area. One can fairly say, the legacy is one of death, gangs and destruction. There are still holes with gunshots in many of the buildings in Tivoli Gardens. Tivoli Gardens is known as the Mother of all Garrisons and many foreign media see Tivoli as a downtown slum: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/may/25/ian-thomson-kingston-jamaica-violence

In an article by The New Yorker entitled “Massacre in Jamaica”, it outlined the destruction left behind: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/12/12/a-massacre-in-jamaica

Many called Mr. Seaga, one of the best economic leader Jamaica has ever had. They said he stabled the Jamaican dollar and kept the Economy afloat. Nevertheless, there were many who argued then, that what Mr. Seaga was achieving at the time was facade because he was getting assistance from the United States to keep the dollar stable.

The now declassified CIA document, lend some credibility to that argument. Additionally, with the current economic state of the Jamaican finances and a debt which will never be paid back in our lifetime, many argue this is where it all started.

Click the FIND OUT MORE button to see CIA release document: https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/e574cadd-022b-4852-a773-b225d611c0a2/downloads/1c7fn0f03_309229.pdf

There is no doubt Mr. Seaga has left his mark in Jamaica. Seaga’s passion for politics was probably fuelled from his love for economic/financial matters. This saw him being instrumental in the forming a number of institutions including the Urban Development Corporation – UDC (1968), the Jamaica Stock Exchange (1969), Jamaica National Investment Promotion Ltd. – now JAMPRO (Jamaica Invest), National Development Bank (1981), and the Jamaican Students’ Loan Bureau.

Additionally, did you know that the Honourable Edward Seaga founded HEART – Human Employment and Resource Training Programme? Seaga instituted the program in 1983 as an education/vocational training centre that has proved very critical to the empowering of the Jamaican workforce over the years. https://www.thecaribbeancurrent.com/edward-seaga-the-jamaican-visionary/

Tivoli Gardens is a vibrant community full of many hard working Jamaicans. One could argue that Tivoli have a culture of its own. A culture which was an envy of many in other communities in Jamaica. The people are beautiful and proud and despite what many consider as downfall of an Empire, they still stand with pride. Nonetheless, many would argue that Seaga’s biggest miss was Tivoli Gardens, the place that made his political and professional career and therefore his legacy in Jamaica.

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Jamaica Emancipation Day

August 1, 1834 marked a special day for Africans in British colonies as it was the day they received freedom from slavery. In Jamaica, the Emancipation Declaration was read from the steps of the Old Kings House in Spanish Town, St Catherine, the country's capital at the time.

The Slavery Abolition Act 1833, which abolished slavery throughout the British Empire (with the exceptions "of the Territories in the Possession of the East India Company", the "Island of Ceylon" and "the Island of Saint Helena"; the exceptions were eliminated in 1843), came into force the following year, on 1 August 1834. Only slaves below the age of six were freed. Former slaves over the age of six were redesignated as "apprentices" required to work, 40 hours per week without pay, as part of compensation payment to their former owners. Full emancipation was finally achieved at midnight on 31 July 1838.

Statue stands in Emancipation Park as a symbol of our liberation

Traditionally people would keep at vigil on July 31 and at midnight ring church bell and play drums in parks and public squares to re-enact the first moments of freedom for enslaved Africans.[7] On Emancipation Day there is a reenactment of the reading of the Emancipation Declaration in town centers especially Spanish Town which was the seat of the Jamaican government when the Emancipation Act was passed in 1838.

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