January 1, the day when the entire world makes resolutions . Really cannot blame them. After looking back at the previous year it is a natural human want to improve on where you have fallen short. Sad thing is – resolutions always stay where they were conceived, either in the euphoria of the mind over a glass of champagne , with friends having careless banter, or in response to other people’s resolution just to make you feel as part of the in crowd. Our mind is never at a place of deep thought when we make our  resolutions neither are they achievable and so they usually fail or fall short . Where there is no grit, it won’t stick.

Resolutions are a personal commitment to self. It is paying good diligence to your time on this journey called Life and it gives you good discipline when it is used properly.  As we roll out a new year I begin to wonder about my homeland and trying to figure out what resolutions can be made for my country. After all my country is a living entity of 3 million people in a beautiful place called the Caribbean. But whiter Jamaica? Where do we go in 2014? The number 2014 defies our understanding of how the world has come of age and how fast it is moving.

Jamaica, like most places cannot boast of 2013 as a year of forward movement for its people, its economy and its cultural lifestyle. Yes there have been strides but as the athlete will tell you strides are like elegant footsteps on the way to accomplishing a goal. We cannot meet the goal if we don’t push and enlighten ourselves. We cannot meet our goals if we don’t accelerate with energy , power and form. In other words, if we are intent that our warm ups are good enough to take us to the finish line , then we must not be surprised when everyone has passed us and we are a distant last. This intent has been with us since we got our independence. There is this unspoken truth that because we live on  an island we must slow down, live on our own pace.  Living on an island means one thing here in Jamaica and that is to take life for granted.

Jamaica is not an island unto itself. We are part of the world and the world is and has changed. If we could only educate ourselves to that fact. If I were stranded in Jamaica a book I would certainly have is “How to build a country, not an Island.”  Our knowledge in Jamaica is a little island in a great ocean of knowledge and progress. We must change our mentality. We must change our perceived perception. Strides are good. But strides are like our beating heart. It reminds us that we are still alive. Lets move Jamaica, lets jump, lets sprint, lets throw as far as we can. Our island is a sea of ignorance. Being an island does not make us any less than other progressive nations. England is an island. England never allowed its size to be its reality. Neither should we Jamaica. We are better than an island. So here are my resolutions for Jamaica. We cannot quit on these either. We cannot afford to do nothing.

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. (Thomas Jefferson)

1. We resolve to ……BE ON TIME

TIME-MANAGEMENT-QUOTES-HD-WALLPAPER-Use-of-time-determines-the-quality-of-your-lifeJamaica Time is a tourism cliché used to attract guest to our island. It is meant for our guests to slow down., not for us to use it as part of our lifestyle and culture. TIME is money Jamaica. We lose it, we can never get it back. Stop this nonsense . Get up and be on time.

 2. We resolve to ……BE CLEAN  

Naifaru Beach Clean Up 2Every corner of our cities, roads, towns, beaches are full of human garbage. If we don’t keep our island clean, then we have not left the plantation and our parents and ancestors have not taught us anything. Its called pride Jamaica. We keep our homes clean but outside our doors it’s a garbage war zone.  Cleanliness is an attitude made powerful by action. If you don’t believe cleanliness can move your country a zillion miles forward, ask the Swiss. 

3. We resolve to ……RESPECT- ITS NOT A WORD..ITS AN ACTION.    

url A lack of respect usually means the person has no respect for himself either. Self respect leads to self-discipline. Respect our laws, each other, our visitors, our creativity and our culture. When we do, that is Real Power.  A country without respect and discipline is a country afloat with no wind to direct its sail. 



We promote sex in everything we do , degrading it to the lowest common human activity, in the things we wear and say, liberalism in how we drive, in how and where we live our lives, in how we do whatever we want when we want is not the sign of a liberated and civilized country. Let us instead be liberated by our education, not by our indiscipline. 

5. We resolve to…….PRACTICE CUSTOMER SERVICE                                         


Jamaica has a new word in its vocabulary..its NO, usually said with a stern face of robotic mechanism and eyes looking away staring at the floor as if you the customer is there, at the feet of the messenger.  Imagine the power of the word YES in everything we do and the power of the word NO accompanied with a positive alternative. Jamaica would be welcoming its 3 millionth visitor for 2013 and creating a society of doers , not followers.

6. We resolve to ……HAVE COURAGE                                      


Time and time again those that display courage reap the spoils and the citizens pack the streets and squares and jump in exhilaration at someone elses success. This is usually followed by the comments..‘yea mon, me feel good  she or he a mek Jamaica proud…” What does that mean..“make Jamaica proud”? Does it mean you are proud of YOURSELF as a Jamaican citizen basking in the collective euphoria or are you proud of Jamaica competing in the world of progressive nations? I think I know the answer. Courage is not overrated.It is the root to all things becoming right,  it makes all justice served equally, politicians & church leaders becoming accountable, it is the virtue that makes all other virtues possible. It is the wind beneath our wings. YES we CAN…TOGETHER!

7. We resolve to……BE DIFFERENT                           


Einstein quote is “education is what remains after you have forgotten what you’ve learned in school..” In Jamaica’s case we can also add “after what you have been taught by your elders”. Going to school does not mean you are educated. The “village” educates you, not the school. So think positively and progressively. Think out of the box.  Jamaicans like to follow fashion and believe that if it  comes from foreign it must be good or better than what they were doing. When you follow you are floating on a river going nowhere. Everyman is a good teacher because he is an expert of what he does So learn and think for yourself. Life is your education. Remember the saying…if you judge a fish by how he can climb a tree, he will think he is useless.

8. We resolve to ……DON’T BLAME THE SYSTEM                                      


It amazes me that we blame the system for our failure, for avarice, for selfishness, for decadence, for greed and we love these qualities in ourselves. And those  qualities of manners, kindness, honesty we admire them and convince ourselves those  qualities are the mark of the ‘Big Man” as if there are 2 kinds of people in Jamaica- the ‘big man’ and ‘the poor man.” Nonsense. That type of thinking is based on our emotions and is an illusion, a vulgar conception to soothe ourselves and give credence to our illusion. We create the system of which we complain. Fix it and succeed. Live with it and die. 

9. We resolve to ……SELL OUR BRAND                                    


Don’t be fooled . People visit our island because of YOU, US , nothing else. No beach, no sun, no mountain, no hotel, no music can replace or supersede the Jamaican, that smiling, friendly, confident, talented and beautifully speaking island man. So sell US. Sell YOU. This is what Brand Jamaica is – it’s not the THINGS made in the country..its YOU, its US. 

10. We resolve to…..PURSUE OUR OWN PATH      


“We run t’ings, t’ings noh run we “ is a common Jamaican phrase we use daily in our dialect and sometimes we need to stop and think on what we are saying. What we are saying is we decide our own path so Jamaica  let’s do just that. Jamaica was at her wealthiest when we were rooted in the soil. We were feeders of  the world once upon a time but we have turned our backs on our natural resources. We have rivers , brilliant sunshine , mountains, perfect soil and still we import things that can be grown here. We have wasted our resources on importing oil instead of focusing on expanding and developing  our solar energy resources.  A national policy of solar panel on every house in Jamaica would set world standards. That is where our leaders need to fight for its citizens. We need to run tings Jamaica. We have our own path. We are not producing . We are busy selling made in China and India cheap items when there should be a national policy of agriculture first, development of natural resources, national policies on river engineering for energy production, wind energy. We are destroying our own identity. Lets resolve to be Jamaican. Let us be leaders in the Caribbean again. Lets fall in love with Jamaica once again.  

Let’s start again Jamaica. it’s a new year but this time with feelings and resolve.






“We should not abandon those who helped us in the darkest hour in the history of this country.” Nelson Mandela.

Like him or not, agree with him or not Fidel played a role in the fight against apartheid. It’s funny how those that supported apartheid like the UK and the then president of the USA suddenly forgot about history. Well you can fool all those you want to fool. History will not be moved.

Other commentary on apartheid and Cuba’s role. Share your thoughts on the matter.



Never has TheVoice generated so much interest in the Caribbean diaspora as the present season with Jamaican born and bred #Tessanne Chin showcasing her talents and by extension raising the hopes of every Caribbean talent. She is motivating a region beyond words cannot explain. She not only represents herself but every wanna be singer /performer hoping to get that one chance. The interest is heightened even more as there seems to be another clash of the titans , this time not on the tracks but in the vocal arena. Team Tessanne and Team USA is heading for a showdown.

Blake Shelton  put the contest in perspective by this comments…..’  You are a world Class Vocalist… I wish people would focus more on that than about you and where you come from..”.  Sadly America sees everything in a category . They can’t help it . Its in their DNA. So lets move on. All the contestants are excellent vocalist. They all have immense talent and vocal ability and so they are entertaining but the one thing that will separate the winner from the losers is song choice.

The American people have shown the propensity to like Adam’s 3 artiste. He is the only judge with all 3 of his protege in the lineup but Adam has this uncanny talent to mess things up by making wrong song selections and that could be to his detriment.  Making sure the song fits  TheVoice of the performer allowing him/her to soar  is the mentor’s responsibility  and to a certain extent the performer’s reality. Adam’s age and experience, just like the other judges , have only taken the vocalists at this stage to the place they can take them. They need more. This is where the veterans and icons  can help.

The show needs to bring in older established performers to work with each contestant and coach to take the contestants to another level and expand their vocal abilities. The judges are becoming redundant and repetitive in their comments. Producers/Directors loose the comments of these judges. Its corny and bland . Get them to perform with their candidates. The show is stagnant and without Tessanne Chin Caribbean connection it would have lost a lot of interest, certainly from the diaspora. The show is becoming a marathon where it should be a sprint to the finish. Over processed group singing, tacky arrangements, boring song selections and dull boring dance numbers all equal to a production on resuscitation and at the crossroads – either the production team is tired and want to go home or they are out of ideas. I would think its the latter. The producers and directors are the only ones that can save it. The creative room is dull. Change the room. Go outside. See color. Let some fresh air in. Think out of the box.

The Voice is not a singing contest, It’s who has TheVoice that moves you, touches you and takes you to a place of unimaginable feeling of beauty inside. TheVoice therefore is the vocal Olympics..who can go higher, farther and stronger that they have ever imagined.



The music industry, notice I said Industry, is  big business and it has changed like everything else over the years and  is still evolving.

Has it got everything right? No. Like most things it’s a hit and miss, today for me, tomorrow for you. Reggae may have started from the shores of Jamaica but it cannot claim its exclusivity anymore just like the US claiming creativity.

Has Jamaica perfected the music genre in the last 50 years? The jury is still out on that but frankly we have not done ourselves any favor by not significantly and effectively managing and marketing our music and again that’s not entirely a fault of ours. We did not have the resources, the know how or connections to bring any international standard to the genre . The music at the time was localized to Jamaican musicians experimenting with the new ‘sound’ and soon others jumped on the reggae wagon and used it. Chris Blackwell comes along and took a chance and it paid off and guess what , the world started to listen to reggae through Bob. The movie ‘Harder they Come’ with Jimmy Cliff made one of the biggest introduction of reggae music to the world. The lyrics  of reggae music promoted love, friendship, a higher well-being and joy. The point is not until the music got into the hands of foreign resources and capital did it get any worldwide recognition and became a part of the music industry.

Jamaica’s music has evolved and seems to be focusing on  what I call “Sex Hall”  much to the disadvantage of persons like Tessann, Beres, Dianne King, Third World, the Marleys and all those  musicians  that we candidly call “Reggae Artiste” , whose voice  and music can only be appreciated by an overseas market , bigger than the Jamaican market, with a more eclectic taste of music. So Tessann taking the leap is no surprise. She, like so many others, do it for survival , show me the money.

At best she gets a recording contract and at worst she gets the promotion for a talented reggae artiste and a female one too. Remember there is sexism in the business as well.  Our reggae artiste do not and cannot make any real living here at home they all have to go abroad where the industry plays to a much wider market. The industry thrives on networking, experimenting and promotion and Jamaica , whilst it may think of itself as hip with culture, is still a texting society. Technology is gathering knowledge faster  than how the Jamaican society gathers wisdom.

How can we improve this? It starts with education from the homes to the school and to the business places. It involves a clear commitment on the part of Government through its new Ministry of Entertainment & Culture to have a vision and working with all sectors of the economy use the talents and resources to give reggae its rightful place in our culture.

It means the JTB through its marketing machinery using Reggae, the brand, as its marketing tool and not just sand , sun and sea; It means the JMA and the PSOJ think outside  the box and put in their budgets consistent opportunities for local reggae artiste to perform ; It means the local artiste understanding the art of writing and executing the art of performance; It means employing technology  to promote the music worldwide; It means understanding that music , like everything else requires discipline of thought and purpose and protecting the creativity is as important as performing. How can you protect your industry without enforcing the laws of copyright and intellectual property? Finally it means a paradigm shift in Jamaica’s culture of mediocrity. That may be a bigger challenge than Tessann winning The Voice.





Every country is exceptional however when you have to declare yourself exceptional is like a woman saying that she is a woman. Chances are she is not. Politicians always manipulate a conflict to convince themselves that there is a need for war and there are people who are convinced and sold on this lie. You never see a politician taking the first gun and head to the battle field.

Exceptional countries have exceptional leaders. No country is clean in this conflict and there lies the problem. Countries are following their want for blood like vampires. I am not convinced , no matter how exceptional the orator or letter or speech that exceptionalism is at play here.Calling on your desire to spill blood does not make the exceptional leader so Syria and the US are liars.

The world has only one exceptional leader to follow and whoever you choose to call him or refer to him as, he has only one exceptional rule to solve all problems- love one another. Unfortunately love is the exception than the rule hence people will always be at war. God made us exceptional beings capable of doing exceptional things. In all nations an exceptional man exists that compensates the deficiencies of the rest. In those moments, when humanity is found collectively in a state of decadence, there always remain those exceptional beings as point of reference.



Travel complaints illustration.

Ah vacation…that piece of human activity that most people would kill to have. It’s a time when we pack our bags, close our living space and leave our brain behind as well.

Most travelers will tell you – they leave their watches behind. But unknown to  them they also leave the one piece of humanity that distinguishes them from the animals and that is their  common sense. And for first time travelers they are tragically inept to deal with life’s real issues especially out of their own country.

Here are some  complaints received by Thomas Cook from their travelers. These 20 are the best of the best complaints.  Grab a drink, have a seat and enjoy.

1. “I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.”

2. “It’s lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallarta to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during ‘siesta’ time — this should be banned.”

3. “On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food.”

 4. “We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We assumed it would be included in the price”

 5. “The beach was too sandy. We had to clean everything when we returned to our room.”

 6. “We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow.”

 7. “They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach. It was very distracting for my husband who just wanted to relax.”

 8. “No-one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared.”

 9. “Although the brochure said that there was a fully equipped kitchen, there was no egg-slicer in the drawers.”

 10. “We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish.”

11. “The roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide-book during the bus ride to the resort. Because of this, we were unaware of many things that would have made our holiday more fun.”

 12. “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair.”

 13. “I compared the size of our one-bedroom suite to our friends’ three-bedroom and ours was significantly smaller.”

 14. “The brochure stated: ‘No hairdressers at the resort’. We’re trainee hairdressers and we think they knew and made us wait longer for service.”

 15. “There were too many Spanish people there. The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish. No one told us that there would be so many foreigners.”

 16. “We had to line up outside to catch the boat and there was no air-conditioning.”

 17. “It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel.”

 18. “I was bitten by a mosquito. The brochure did not mention mosquitoes.”

 19. “My fiancé and I requested twin-beds when we booked, but instead we were placed in a room with a king bed. We now hold you responsible and want to be re-reimbursed for the fact that I became   pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.”

and the last complaint that took the top 20 of all complaints by travelers….

20…..” We went to Jamaica and were surprised that all the people were black. No one told us that…”

So there you have it – the top 20 complaints ever from travelers in the history of travel. Are you one of them?  I hope not. I really hope not. Do you know of any other classic complaints in  the travel business? Please share your thoughts!



In the continuing series The 7 wonders of Jamaica here is Wonder # 2- Cannabis.

Cannabis. Everybody just pause for a minute. Let’s just stop and take a deep breath.

Growing up I remembered clearly being taught that this plant was a ‘bad’ plant ; that you can get thrown in jail so don’t smoke it, don’t be seen with it and if your friends have it leave them by. My Mom told me this. I was also told it would ‘turn you mad’, Jamaican patois meaning that the plant had side effects that would diagnose you as insane by the authorities. Some of the people I knew seemed to verify that as through their constant smoking their eyes would change color, they no longer looked ‘groomed’ and they were in a state of mental euphoria.  I remember seeing every day on TV the arrest made by the authorities and it reinforced what my Mom told me. And so I believed and I conformed. Never smoked it, always hating those that had it. But time has a way of teaching you things in life that you take for granted. I kept asking myself ‘why is this plant illegal?”. Everyone I asked did not give me a definitive answer? So I decided to do my research and this is what I found.


1. WHAT’S IN A NAME: This plant has more names than any other plant I know – Cannabis, pot, marijuana, weed, herb, bush, sinsemilla , cali weed, mary jane, hemp, grass, ganja, skunk (because it can smell like skunk spray),  hashish and many more. Not to mention that each “strain” of cannabis is given its own name, some of which are quite interesting.There are hundreds of other names for the plant and its derivatives. So with so many names in so many countries meaning so many things to so many people why is it so bad ?

2. IT PRODUCES HEMPCannabis – the scientific name has long been used for fibre (hemp), for seed and seed oils, for Industrial hemp products are made from Cannabis plants . Various extracts including hashish and hash oil are also produced from the plant. So if this plant has so many derivatives including hemp, a known product of immense use, why is this plant illegal?

3. MEDICINAL USECannabis has tested and proven medicinal values that ails a lot of the diseases that we are fighting now from glaucoma to cancer. Just recently Dr. Sanja Gupta , a chief medical correspondent for CNN reversed his opinion on Cannabis –   Hmmm. Ok so if this plant has medicinal purposes, tested or otherwise, then why is it bad, why is it illegal?


4. NO GROUNDS FOR ILLEGALITY: When you look at the historical timeline you will see that it was during the turbulent years of “Prohibition” , in the 1930’s that Cannabis  was outlawed. The legislations passed were all cock-eyed to please the various interest groups to make sure that their pockets were well-greased. Legislation was passed without he knowledge of the people at the time and what was fed to them they believed. Remember the old adage feed them what you want them to believe, and they will believe.  Cannabis was  declared a ‘drug’ and a narcotic that only the lowest of the lowest , the Mexicans and Indians at the time,  used. It was said it  gave these people the false pretense  that they were ‘equal’ to the dominant class at the time. The drug also caused them to rape white women. It must  be banned. In modern society the arguments presented in the 1930’s about Cannabis would be seen as racist, dumbfounded, has no legal or factual basis and full of self-interest and nepotism all grounds for an over turn.

5. IT IS NOT A DRUG: The anti-narcotics law written to  regulate narcotics–opium and its derivatives, such as heroin, cocaine  and morphine had nothing to do with Cannabis. Cannabis has not been proven to date that the side effects are devastating to an individual any more so alcohol , tobacco and all the other designer prescribed drugs that are legal.   If Cannabis makes you crazy, high and delusional then so too does alcohol, aspirin, Benadryl, coffee, and the list goes on and you can easily get these over the counter.  Tobacco, the great hope to millions, causes more deaths per year and it is fashionable to say the least. The contradictions don’t add up. Why aren’t these drugs illegal ?


6. RASTA DID NOT ORIGINATE GANJA: The Jamaican connection with Cannabis , commonly refereed to as Ganja , started from the 1800 brought here by the indentured laborers  as slavery coming to an end. These East Indians introduced Cannabis to the Jamaican populace and they used it for medicinal and recreational use. It was like smoking the hashish. Contrary to public belief the  Rastafarians did not originate Ganja in Jamaica. They , like the Indians and other herbalist then , used it and smoked it for the same reason everyone did at the time which was  the natural ‘high’ and medicinal purposes derived from the properties of the plant. Rastafarians considered Ganja the “wisdom weed” as its use helps one to gain wisdom. Rastafarians also use it as a part of a religious rite and as a means of getting closer to their inner spiritual self. They also equate it to being grown on the grave of King Solomon, but that is another story.

Bob Marley one of the most popular icon of the Rasta religion.

Bob Marley one of the most popular icon of the Rasta religion.

7. ILLEGAL IN JAMAICA: This is where you have to stop and ask why?  By virtue of being the Caribbean largest  producer of ganja , Jamaica was pressured to conform to ‘international standards’ and declare its use illegal. Why you might ask? Because the USA said so. My summation is that so much money was riding on the other combatting industries there was no way the US was going to defeat its own self-interest and allow a small minion like Jamaica disrupt its monetary base. So Jamaica declared it illegal on those grounds only, not by its own research or findings. The result of this immature action – the clogging up of the courts and jails with frivolous arrests and declaring Ganja a luxury product ,putting value , cause and effect on Cannabis. Hence the volatile drug trade.
...”Jamaica has signed three international treaties that make possession of marijuana a criminal offense, including the 1988 U.N. Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Hylton the DPP of Jamaica,  did not outline possible penalties for violating the treaties but said decriminalizing marijuana could put Jamaica at risk of losing its annual antidrug certification from the United States. Countries that lose U.S. certification can face economic sanctions.  The U.S. government, which gives Jamaica up to $2 million in annual aid, has consistently opposed the island’s efforts to loosen its drug laws…” (From cannabisnews.com)
8. THE DRUG TRADE: The Drug Trade was conceived , created, fostered and nourished by the same people who declared Cannabis illegal – the USA. The US consumption of Cannabis is at an all time high, the market exist  for the sale and distribution of the plant. Mexico and other  countries are the largest producers , with Jamaica used as a middle man in most cases. In recent times Jamaican middle men took the risk of going it alone , often to the demise of their product and their organization. Hence the vicious war and related crime and violence . Cannabis  is not the cause of war. Man is. Man is fighting with  himself. On one hand is Cannabis, on the other is oil, the only difference oil is restricted to a few countries so the war is ‘manageable”. Cannabis on the other hand is everywhere  in people’s homes, bedrooms , backyards and cellars. How are you going to fight a war where the enemy is all around you?
9. THE SECRET IS OUT: With the help of the social media, the secret is finally out and the people are no longer fooled as in the 1930s. Hence so many states and countries have made Cannabis legal for personal and medicinal use .
The battle is big and the system created by the US will untie itself but in time,  Cannabis will take its rightful place in society as a legal entity.  As for Jamaica , a forward thinking government would investigate , plan and manage the use of Ganja to help the country economically. A forward thinking government would decriminalize the personal use of Ganja saving its tax payers millions of dollars. The very country that forced everyone to sign the international treaty is the very one , little by little, legalizing the use of Cannabis. So why is Jamaica still worried and scared of the big bad wolf?
Jamaica is sitting on a wealth too vast to measure. When we don’t think for ourselves but for others we miss opportunities that others will take away. If Jamaica continues to govern not for its people and its own economic and social path but for the values of others , then we will continue  in economic constipation and its citizens the by-product of this harsh reality.
Status of Marijuana in the USA

Status of Marijuana in the USA

Countries where Cannabis is Legal/decriminalized: North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Portugal , USA at 14 State levels, Canada ,Uruguay AND COUNTING.