5 Online Resources to Help Chemistry Students ace This Year’s C-SEC Exams

The Caribbean Secondary Examination Council (C-SEC) Exam season has started.

It’s a season that many students along with teachers and parents approach with some trepidation, some optimism, and others with much skepticism. Especially when it has to do with Mathematics and hardcore science subjects such as Physics and Chemistry.

And one can hardly blame them. Over the last decade or certainly in the last three years, Math and Science CSEC pass rates from year to year have shown little improvement. Exam results show a consistent decline in student performance in these subject areas.

Look at these stats.

For the purpose of this post, I’ve lifted these quotes about performance in the Science subjects from the 2016 report posted by the Caribbean Examinations Council, the examining body that sets C-SEC exams for Caribbean students. On their website,www.cxc.org, the examination body reported “a mixed performance in the science subjects this year” with results recorded as follows:

Chemistry saw a three per-cent decline in performance this year when compared with 2015 with 56 per cent achieving acceptable grades this year compared with 59 percent in 2015.

There was a seven-point decline in performance on Integrated Science this year when compared with that of 2015, sixty-four per cent of entries achieved acceptable grades this year compared with 71 per cent in 2015.

Physics and Human and Social Biology improved marginally, the exam body reported.

It noted, “Performance on Physics improved marginally with 63 per cent of entries achieving Grades I-III this year compared with 61 per cent in 2015,” and  an “eight-percentage-point improvement in performance on Human and Social Biology this year, 53 per cent of entries achieved acceptable grades compared with 45 per cent in 2015.”Though a specialist area, Agriculture Science students performed best overall in this area of science,  with CXC.org reporting as follows:

“Both Agricultural Science Double Award and Agricultural Science Single Award recorded very good performance this year with slight improvement in the Single Award and slight decline in the Double Award. Ninety-two per cent of entries for Agricultural Science (Double Award) achieved acceptable grades this year compared with 94 per cent in 2015. Eighty-nine per cent of entries for Agricultural Science (Single Award) achieved acceptable grades this year compared with 87 per cent in 2015.”

Following the release of the results each year, the media has put a spotlight on the issue. The ensuing discussions have brought some insight into the reasons why the majority of Jamaican candidates are failing the Science subjects. C-SEC students have complained that the questions are challenging while some STEM educators here believe this is because students here are not making the necessary connections with real life and chemistry. One Ministry of Education STEM consultant who shared her views

One Ministry of Education STEM consultant who shared her views on a TVJ produced panel discussion, convened in 2015 to discuss the concerns over the declining pass rates in Math and Science, believes that the root of the student’s difficulty in addressing these ‘application’ level questions on exams stems from poor classroom preparation.hat same discussion, Math and Science teachers were challenged to integrate more high-level thinking and deeper learning strategies in their classrooms.

Out of that same discussion, Math and Science teachers were challenged to integrate more high-level thinking and deeper learning strategies in their classrooms.

Of course,  these are strategies that will benefit students right across the national curriculum, but Science and Math subject requires a stronger push at this time if we are to see an uptick in the C-SEC Math and Science pass rates. The Ministry of Education has also launched campaigns like the observance of National Mathematics Week and a

The Ministry of Education has also launched campaigns like the observance of National Mathematics Week and a Math Counts Expo to help primary school children engage in the subject.

To address the inherent fear for Math among citizens said to be the Ministry also embarked on television advertising to encourage Jamaicans to embrace Mathematics instead of fearing it. An emphasis on STEM in the school system and an e-Learning portal where students can freely access learning resources for Science and other subjects form part of the government’s plan to turn around the attitudes of Jamaican students and their parents to the Sciences.

One may argue that in this age of information and the world wide web, finding resources should never have been an issue for any student or teacher seeking supplemental material to expand on topics.

As a parent and teacher, I have found that there are enough free resources online to draw on, but it appears that many of us, especially our students, are not doing the needed research or maybe do not know where to start looking. Hence, the purpose of this post is to show you a few resources that will help prepare your child or student, if you’re an educator, tackle the C-SEC Chemistry curriculum. If your child is in lower school, these resources will also give them a head start in their Science studies.

The resources I’ve listed here are engaging and will help the Chemistry student learn the concepts faster as well as help them make those important real world connections. This is not a complete list, but you’ll find some interesting content to get your student or child interested. Here they are.

1. Science 360

Web page: (http://science360.gov/topic/Chemistry)

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Science360 is an up-to-date view of breaking science from around the world. The Science360 Video Library is a curation of the latest science videos which immerses visitors in the latest wonders of science, engineering, technology and math. The videos are provided by scientists, colleges and universities, science and engineering centers, the National Science Foundation and more. According to the site developers, Science360’s mission is to engage the general public, science junkies and students alike in the cutting-edge discoveries and big science stories of the day.

2. Ted-Ed video lessons

Web page: (http://ed.ted.com/periodic-videos)

Kids wishing to learn the entire periodic table can view a full TED-ed Lesson on each and every element in the Periodic table created by the team at Periodic Videos. Choose an element from the table found here: lessons allow kids to watch a video hosted by scientists on the element. Videos include demonstrations and explanations of the element. Students and teachers can Watch the video. For a short quiz on what was learned, click on THINK. To learn more, use DIG Deeper to find additional resources that will help your child/student see how the science is applicable in the universe. Join open and guided discussions through the Discuss button. All the videos are created by video journalist Brady Haran, featuring real working chemists from the University of Nottingham.

3. Nature Chemistry

Web Page: nature.com

Nature Chemistry is an open access monthly journal dedicated to publishing high-quality papers that describe the most significant and cutting-edge research in all areas of chemistry. Select from any of the free open access articles and blogs available on nature chemistry to tap into a comprehensive and rounded perspective of “applied” chemistry that will enable the deeper thinking required by the CXC Chemistry curriculum.

Follow the site’s Sceptical Chymist blog (http://blogs.nature.com/thescepticalchymist/) and in particular the Your Element Round Up post found at http://blogs.nature.com/thescepticalchymist/2012/09/in-your-element-round-up.html for a round-up of essays done on elements in the periodic table. To access the series of essays, click on each non-faded element tile and it will links out to the essay about that element in the journal. These are currently free to access, the website informs.

Nature Chemistry also publishes review articles, news and views, research highlights about important work reported in other journals, commentaries, book reviews, correspondence, and analysis of the broader chemical picture beyond the laboratory — including issues such as education, funding, policy, intellectual property, and the impact chemistry has on society. In this way, the journal aims to be the voice of the worldwide chemical community. Use this subject index to find what you are looking for.

4. Khan Academy

Web Page: (https://www.khanacademy.org/science/chemistry)

Khan Academy is among a growing number of sites called open education resource sites which offer learning resources to the public free of cost. Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study a range of subjects at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. “We tackle math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. Our math missions guide learners from kindergarten to calculus using state-of-the-art, adaptive technology that identifies strengths and learning gaps. We’ve also partnered with institutions like NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT to offer specialized content,” the website declares on their About page. The site owners tout the site as a global classroom, noting that resources are available in more than 36 languages in addition to the Spanish, French, and Brazilian Portuguese versions of the site.

5. Slow Motion Science films

Free! Slow Motion Science videos deliver as advertised: explosive methane bubbles, water rockets, Coke+Mentos bombs, and microwaved CDs– all in super-slow motion. The videos are a labour of love from the U.K.-based creator, Sam Hankin who recorded science experiments, a total of 30GB worth of video footage, in high resolution at 400 frames per second to 3000 frames per second. The videos were then compressed into a web-friendly format for our viewing pleasure. Physics and chemistry teachers will find among the collection, great lecture supplements and topics for inquiry-based learning. For students, the videos will be a treasure trove that you can use to demystify those abstract chemistry concepts.

So, there you have it. Five links to Chemistry resources which will help lift your child/students Knowledge, comprehension and application profiles in the next Chemistry examination.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, so feel free to share any additional resource that you’ve come across and that you could recommend.

Wish you every success in your upcoming exams.

Can You Slam Dunk this Sports Abbreviations & Lingo Pop Quiz? Only True Fans Will – Brainfit Trivia

Sports-pop-quiz-for-sports-fans

Sports-pop-quiz-for-sports-fans

Can you get 100 % on my Sports Abbreviations and Lingo Pop Quiz?

Answer each question correctly as we say in Jamaica “from off the top of your head”?

And without checking with Mr Google or any other sports references?

You’re shaking your head. You’re that confident.

If you do, I’ll gladly eat my hat if you can take this challenge on.

Yuck.

Ok. Not a tasty thought. I take that back. I won’t eat my hat.

But I’ll gladly give you your well-deserved ratings and respect if you can ace this quiz.

You’d be proving you’re a true, blue-blooded, die-hard sports fan and your sports mojo, in Jamaican slang “tun up.”

Whether you are an athletics fan or religiously watch cricket you are only a true fan if you know your sport inside out. To me, that means more than just knowing the first names and shoe sizes of the team or side you root for.

The true fan is the one who knows the intimate little details and the random facts that those who are not sports converts and enthusiasts don’t even care about. You’re that guy or that girl who is not afraid to show your fandom for your sport and team.

Fact is, your tv is stuck on ESPN and SportsMax or whatever your favourite sports channels are called wherever you are reading this from.

And dare anyone to try changing it. You probably hang out at Sports Bars. You eat, drink, talk and sleep sports. You may even be married to a sports fanatic like yourself. Or not. Either way, you are the one to beat should a pop quiz on anything concerning sports comes your way.

You probably hang out at Sports Bars. You eat, drink, talk and sleep sports. You may even be married to a sports fanatic like yourself. Or not. Either way, you are the one to beat should a pop quiz on anything concerning sports comes your way.

Or not. Either way, you are the one to beat should a pop quiz on anything concerning sports comes your way.

Either way, you are the one to beat should a pop quiz on anything concerning sports comes your way. And that’s why you are here. To prove you are that A-Grade sports all-rounder, hands down.

But what if you’re on the other side of a whopping by the guy I just described above? You’re not die-hard everything sport. You may specialise — cricket is your thing, or table tennis, or drag-racing. Or you just live with or hang with a bunch of ESPN addicts, who are sports-twisted. All you know about happenings in the basketball or athletics fraternity is what you pick up from hanging around so many sports fans or following the Sports News on local tv each evening.

No worries.

Sports Abbreviations and Lingo Pop Quiz is short – just 20 questions. The difficulty level ranges from Easy to Medium,  so chances are you’ll know the answers to even a few questions, or can hazard a guess. But you probably won’t know the lingo like the true sports fan does, the one who has been in the trenches.

In other words, if you’re just a ‘one-burner’ sports fan, as in you follow only cricket or football and are not too interested in other sporting forms, then some questions may be a bit challenging.

But, hey, why not use the opportunity to catch up on those terms that stump you? This is a learning game after all. Keyword: game. It’s not that serious, really.

A pop quiz is a great way to show off what you know, start a conversation or hang out with family members or friends who are avid sports fans or otherwise; show that you appreciate their interests, (if you’re that girl or wife whose partner is really into sports and you’re not so much); plus, everyone learns something new.

Whether you’re the one asking the questions or the person sailing through this pop quiz, the adrenalin rush, ego boost, and the “Yays” that erupt when the answer is right is bound to make this activity a great way to pass some time.

 

Ready to play? Let’s rumble.

Here’s a brief intro to start.

Quiz Instructions

The acronyms, abbreviations, and terminology in Sports Abbreviations and Lingo Pop Quiz are all related to Sports. The quiz is arranged in three sub-categories:

  1. Local and Regional Sports, referring to Jamaica and the Caribbean region;
  2. International Sporting Bodies, and
  3. Sports Lingo

How many of them do you know?
1) Give the meaning of each abbreviation or acronym, and
2) See if you can match it to the sport it’s is related to.

CATEGORY: LOCAL & REGIONAL (CARIBBEAN) SPORTS
1. JCA
2. CFU
3. CONCACAF
4. JAAA
5. KSAFA
6. NPL

CATEGORY: INTERNATIONAL SPORTING BODIES

7. ESPN
8. IOC
9. ICC
10. NBA
11. WTF
12. AIBA/IBA

CATEGORY: SPORTS LINGO

13. KO
14. WAGS
15. AVI
16. LBW
17. WA
18. SCY
19. DNS
20. SL

So there you have it. You should have seen some familiar lingo in there.

Are there some other popular and fun sports lingo that the quiz doesn’t cover that you’d like to see included in a future post? Share them.

Share your answers in the Comments Section below or over on my Public Facebook Group which you can find under the name: Brainfit Trivia & Games Funatics. Join me there. You can also leave your answers in the Facebook Group Comments as well.

Follow my blog so you’ll see and compare the answers which I’ll share in Part 2 of this post next week same time.

Ciao.

Karen,

Your Brainfit Quiz Creator/Quiz Night Host and Show Producer

P.S. Having a quiz night, want to start a Trivia Night at your establishment or just quiz content you can use to host your guests or customers? Need Jamaican-centric quiz content for your next Pub Quiz, promotion or blog?

Let’s talk.

I run Brainfit Trivia which creates quiz content for fun, fundraising, and marketing. I also am available for hosting your trivia/quiz night events in the Portmore and Kingston and St Andrew area. Also check back for locations where you can get our weekly printed publication across Portmore and the Corporate area, coming soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News Update: New Principal for Cumberland High following Recent Disciplinary Breakdown

photo-of-broken-rear-mirror-on-Brydson's-car-allegedly-broken-by-student

Car belonging to Cumberland Principal, Michael Brydson showing mirror broken allegedly by a female student who was reportedly involved in a dispute with the Principal on the school compound last week Friday

News Update on Cumberland High.  Friday, April 28, 2017

A new principal is to be appointed for Cumberland High come September 2017. According to Minister of Education Ruel Reid, the contract for acting principal, Michael Brydson ended last month and apparently will not be renewed. A breakdown of discipline and an altercation between a female student and Mr Brydson brought about the Ministry’s intervention.

Last week, the Ministry of Education reacted to cries from staff and school leaders for improves safety and security for teachers and students at the Cumberland High School. The intervention by the Minister rose out of a dispute at the school which put the school under intense media glare for the greater part of last week. On Thursday, it was announced that two security measures were to be implemented to return order to the St Catherine-based school campus.

This report was filed last Friday.

As a result of several high-level meetings that took place this week between the Minister of Education, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, school administrators and stakeholders, work will start immediately to erect a long-awaited perimeter fence around the school while an assistant Dean of Discipline will be deployed at the school to boost security and safety, reports released by JIS and RJR News confirmed on Thursday.

The corrective actions come after the Ministry and school came under week-long media scrutiny for what has been described as “a break-down of order” at the school after a dispute involving acting principal of the school, Michael Brydson and a female student of that institution last Friday, April 7, 2017.

Here is a timeline of the incidents leading up to the recent announcements.

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Michael Brydson, Acting Principal of Cumberland High School, St Catherine Photo Credit: RJRNews Online

According to media reports, last Friday a female student used a stone to break the windscreen of the car belonging to Acting Principal, Michael Brydson after he reportedly chided her for using  expletives in his presence.

The girl later told reporters that the administrator had hit her with an implement he had in hand at the time which conflicting reports described as a stick; another report said it was a rule. Her mother has subsequently claimed that her child was abused.

On Monday, April 10, teachers at the school then reportedly staged a sit in to protest attacks on staff,  RJR reported.

The Gleaner reported on Tuesday that classes were disrupted for the second day at the school. Representatives from the Ministry of Education led by Director for Safety and Security in Schools at the Ministry, Sergeant Coleridge Minto visited the school and had a meeting with the restive teachers on the same day.

On Wednesday, Mr Brydson spoke to the media denying an allegation he said was circulating that he had physically assaulted the teen.

RJR News attributed these comments to the Cumberland High Principal who was speaking in an interview with the media house:

“That is very unfortunate that an incident like that happened…and just to clarify that that beating, and ‘boxing’ and stepping in the girl’s back – that never took place and would never happen under my watch,” he asserted.

“Pressed as to whether he did beat the student with the stick, the principal responded: “The child was reprimanded and she got upset over it, ” RJR News Online reported.

teachers-at-Cumberland-High-protest-indiscipline

Classes were disrupted for two days at Cumberland High. Here, restive teachers at Cumberland High stage a sit-in protest.

Ministry Moves to Correct Security Complaints

Following the much-publicised incident in the media, Minister of Education, Mr Ruel intervened and summoned the acting principal along with the school board to a meeting. Minister Reid told Cliff Hughes of Nationwide News that discipline and order had broken down at the school and the Ministry would be taking steps to correct this. It was also disclosed that the school has been without a Principal since the passing of former principal Ms Dahlia Black in 2015. Mr. Brydson has been acting in the position since then. The journalist questioned why the school which has been deemed a failing school since 2012 had not warranted action on the part of the ministry and school officer prior to this.

Following the week’s spotlight, other problems facing the school have come to the fore. One issue, the lack of a perimeter fence has long created security and truancy issues for the school, Mr. Brydson told the radio station.

News that this perimeter fencing would be immediately addressed by the Ministry of Education was relayed by Mr Brydson who expressed pleasure at the development.

“Mr. Brydson states that this is being corrected,” an RJR article reported, quoting the acting principal as saying this:

“The ministry is working on the fencing as we speak because the last time we had an incident like this, we were promised some advancement in the work and so far we have done some measuring and I am expecting some work to start through this new budget,” he outlined on RJR’s Beyond The Headlines on Wednesday.

He said this would prevent students from going over the fence “as easily as they now do” and also prevent outsiders from invading the school property.”

The report was corroborated by a JIS report released on Thursday which also stated that the school would also be getting an assistant Dean of Discipline.

For the full report, follow this link.

A November  2016 report also carried by the JIS documents the long-standing  security issues faced by the school.

According to that report, the issue had been first brought to the Ministry of Education late last year after “students at the school were recently attacked by outsiders who gained access to the compound.”

In an interview with media personnel following a meeting at the school on November 14, Portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid reportedly told the media that the institution would be provided with funding to acquire additional private security personnel.

The Ministry of Education had also “committed to putting in place several medium- to long-term security management strategies at Cumberland High School in Portmore, to mitigate the possibility of any further breaches,” the JIS produced report noted.

Mr. Reid had also promised that the Ministry would also be supporting the school in procuring and constructing perimeter fencing, which will make students safer as well as reduce the potential for truancy.

The Minister had also noted that the school was granted permission to hire an additional dean of discipline.

This week, the principal said that requests previously made to the Ministry of Education for more special education teachers had not yet been addressed.

Ministry technocrats attending that November 2016 meeting included a range of  school stakeholders, including acting principal Brydson: Deputy Chief Education Officer of School Operations, Dorrett Campbell; Assistant Chief Education Officer of Guidance and Counselling, Fern McFarlane; Director for Region Six, Maxine Headlam,  Board Chairman, Rupert Pryce; Education Officer, Barrington Richards; Member of Parliament for St. Catherine South Eastern, Colin Fagan, and other stakeholders.

The school’s Dean of Discipline, René Level, and Director for Safety and Security in Schools at the Ministry, Sergeant Coleridge Minto, were also in attendance.

Coming out of the 2016 meeting, the minister had reportedly told the media that the school’s leadership had been tasked with putting in place a school-improvement plan and that the Ministry would be “working along with stakeholders to customise the curriculum to meet the needs of the cohort at Cumberland High.”

“We want Cumberland to be a centre of excellence where every student that comes here will excel, but we need to customise our instruction programme to meet the students where they are and take them to the level we want them to go,” Minister Reid had pronounced at that time.

But apparently, this is still in the pipeline. In his interview with Nationwide on Wednesday last, the Minister tendered a similar discourse. He stated that the school’s continued failings were tied to the school being established as a feeder for students with low scores in GSAT Examinations in the region.

He said that he would be taking a personal interest in the school towards resolving its most pressing problems and expediting necessary actions to turn the school around. He also said on air that a new Board would be appointed to replace the current one and that the Ministry would look into restoring leadership to the troubled institution.

Subsequent reports have not provided any further update on the promised new board appointments.

Investigations continue into the assault claims tendered by the student and parent against the school principal.

Up to press time, no updates had been issued on the outcome of these investigations which are being conducted by the Ministry of Education and the Children Services Department.

 

 

Portmore Basic School Gets Generous Cheque from JCAA to Support School’s Certification Goals – Portmore Citizens News

 

Principal-Marlin Avenue Basic School - accepts - representational - cheque - from - JCAA's Rohan Campbell

Principal of the Marlin Avenue Basic School in Portmore, St. Catherine, Margaret Campbell, accepts a representational cheque for $809,309.31 from the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority’s Deputy Director General, Regulatory Affairs, Rohan Campbell. The presentation was made at the school on Monday, April 3. The cheque will be used to assist the school in achieving full certification under the Early Childhood Commission 12 Operating Standards for Early Childhood Institutions. Photo credit: Contributed Photo/JIS

 

On Monday, the Marlin Avenue Basic School in Portmore, St. Catherine received over $800,000 in financial aid from the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA). The gift will boost the school’s efforts to achieve full certification under the Early Childhood Commission’s (ECC) 12 Operating standards for Early Childhood Institutions (ECI).

According to a release from the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), on Monday, April 3, Deputy Director General of Regulatory Affairs at the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Rohan Campbell, presented the cheque valued at $809,309.31 to the principal of the School, Margaret Campbell, to assist in the certification process.

“We saw it as a great opportunity to assist. As an organisation that values Jamaica’s development, we have always had a great interest in supporting education. We are in the business of regulation and, therefore, appreciate the need for standards in early-childhood development,” Mr Campbell said.

The elated principal, Mrs. Campbell, was close to tears as she accepted the much-needed donation.

“We were strapped for cash and this injection will assist us to achieve certification. We are so grateful for the help of the Early Childhood Commission team and others who offered their support,” she said.

The funds will be used to improve lighting in the classrooms, establish a playground and repaint playground equipment and the school building.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for St. Catherine South, Fitz Jackson, who contributed the perimeter fencing for the school, added his support for the early-childhood standards.

“It’s a universally accepted fact that preparation of a child at the early-childhood level bears significance at the primary and secondary levels,” he noted.

Marlin Avenue Basic School was opened in 1979 and has 28 students enrolled and five members of staff, including two trained teachers.

The school has, so far, met 72 per cent of the operating standards required for certification by the ECC.

The 12 Standards for the Operation, Management and Administration of Early Childhood Institutions cover the areas of staffing; development and educational programmes; interactions and relationships with children; physical environment; indoor and outdoor equipment; health; nutrition; safety; child rights, child protection and equality; parent and stakeholder participation; administration and finance.

 

 

3000 BPO Jobs Coming to Portmore; Conduent Takes Xerox BPO Business

Prime-Minister-Holness-and-other-stakeholders-break-ground-for-new-Portmore-BPO-company
Prime-Minister-Holness-and-other-stakeholders-break-ground-for-new-Portmore-BPO-company

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (centre), breaks ground for the development of 150,000 sq. ft. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) space at the Portmore Informatics Park in St. Catherine on February 16. He is joined by (from left): President and CEO of the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), Professor the Hon. Gordon Shirley; Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang; PAJ Chairman, Ambassador Nigel Clarke; and Portmore Mayor, His Worship Leon Thomas. The US$23 million project is being implemented by the PAJ and will create 3,000 jobs. Photo courtesy of JIS.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness broke ground at the Portmore Informatics site yesterday (February 16) to start the construction of a new Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) company in the Portmore Area. When completed, the 150,000 sq. ft space is expected to provide 3000 jobs.

According to a release from the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) the US$23 million project, being implemented by the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), is expected to be completed in one year.

Addressing the groundbreaking ceremony at the Park in Portmore, St. Catherine, Mr. Holness said the commencement of this project represents the Government’s commitment to cutting through dense bureaucracy for the fast-tracking of critical programmes.

“My job is to reach into that deep pipeline of projects and rip them out…to cut through the dense bureaucracy that sometimes becomes self-serving and get to this point,” he added.

The Prime Minister further said the Government remains committed to the expansion of the BPO sector as one of the faster ways to create employment.

“The aspiration and the ambition to get Jamaicans employed is a serious one and the Government must move with alacrity, determination and instrumentality to provide employment for our people,” he said.

“Employment is the greatest tool in fighting crime and the greatest tool in bringing prosperity to our people. Employment is independence in our hands and that is what I am here to do,” Mr. Holness added.

The development of the Portmore Informatics Park forms part of a wider project being advanced by the PAJ in support of the Government’s vision to expand the outsourcing sector to realise a goal of 200,000 jobs within four years. A total of $4 billion is being spent on the development in Portmore as well as on work now underway in Montego Bay, St. James.

Expected BPO Services Sector Growth

Chairman of the PAJ, Ambassador Nigel Clarke, said the BPO sector is being targeted as one of its strategic growth areas in order to fulfil the agency’s mandate of facilitating development that support the growth agenda of Jamaica.

He said with the BPO services sector expected to grow by over 50 per cent, the PAJ is responding to those prospects and keeping pace with rising demand.

“Today’s ceremony represents another step towards the achievement of market leadership within the sector and it provides support to the national growth agenda,” he noted.

The PAJ has pioneered work in BPO sector development since 1987, through the agency’s Montego Bay Free Zone and the Kingston Free Zone. The agency manages accounts for some 10,200 employees within the outsourcing sector in  Jamaica.

Meanwhile, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, urged all Government agencies to collaborate in leading the charge to expand the BPO sector, which he said provides a diverse set of professional options.

He said the Government is committed to ensuring that Portmore and other similar communities can be involved in the growth of the sector and gain meaningful employment.

Portmore Informatics Park…. finest BPO Destination? – Dr Chang

“Portmore is an ideal area…with a huge population of educated, capable Jamaicans looking for jobs and if we provide the opportunity and the training, they can in fact, make Portmore Informatics Park one of the finest destinations for Business Process Outsourcing,” Dr. Chang said.

The new BPO company will join two other BPOs already operating within the growing Portmore commercial district– IBEX Global, which now occupies 10,000 square feet of space in Portmore Pines Plaza, owned by Mount Royal Development Ltd, and ACS XEROX, located in Naggo Head.

IBEX Global Jamaica has two operations- Kingston and Portmore– from which it hires sales, customer service and technical support talent for its call centre operations.

Conduent -Xerox Split Leads to take-over of Business Process Services from XEROX; Staff  Dislocated in Portmore

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ACS Xerox, Naggo Head, Portmore

 

Xerox, the world’s largest printing and software solutions company with headquarters in Washington, USA hires about 6,500 Jamaicans and has been the private sector largest employer since establishing in the year 2000.

But recently, the company was in the news after RJR News announced that it had cut staff cuts at the Portmore branch. Portmore Citizens News has since learnt that the action was part of a separation between Xerox and Conduent Incorporated.

Conduent disclosed in a news release dated January 3, 2017 published on its website that the US -based Fortune 500 company had completed a separation agreement with XEROX at the end of 2016 and launched as an independent publicly-traded business processes services leader.

The move was apparently driven by Conduent as part of a major cost transformation programme which it’s CEO announced will “streamline the business, improve margins, and enable investment into growth opportunities.”

“Under the terms of the separation agreements, on the distribution date of Dec. 31, 2016, Xerox shareholders received one share of Conduent common stock for every five shares of Xerox common stock they held as of the close of business on Dec. 15, 2016, the record date for the distribution,” the Conduent release stated.

It was not clear whether staff who lost their jobs at the Portmore location would be relocated or reemployed, although when asked, a XEROX employee told this blogger that the disclocated staff would be reemployed. PCN was unable to confirm this.

Over 4,000 new jobs have been added to the BPO sector within the last three years to increase employment for about 22,000. Revenues from the industry grew from approximately US$230 million in 2012 to US$400 million in 2015.

Portmore Informatics Park is located at 7 East Trade Way and is located closest to the Maxie Department Store.

 

ibex

IBEX GLOBAL, Portmore Pines

 

 

 

CISOCA to Address Domestic Violence Tonight at Hellshire SDA’s Christian Home and Family Week -Portmore Citizens News

hellshire-sda-church-family-life-week-flyer

Portmore, St Catherine – February 15, 2017:

The Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) will be addressing domestic and intimate partner violence in a presentation at the Hellshire SDA Church in Hellshire Park, St Catherine this evening.The presentation is one of a weeklong series of seminars currently underway at the Church as part of its Christian Home and Family Week.

“Healing in the Home” is the theme of the nightly series which started on Saturday, February 11 and continues into the weekend with more interesting presentations all geared toward disseminating Bible-based guidance for improving spousal and family relationships from a Christian perspective.

Host pastor Mervin Morris, who is also a trained family therapist and counselling psychologist is the main speaker. In his lead presentation on Sunday night, he addressed issues such as adultery and how couples should maintain intimacy in their marriage.

Tuesday night’s presenters were husband and wife team, Norma and Oswald Morgan, the church’s Family Ministries Directors who spoke on the topic “Reclaiming the Family Altar,” addressing the importance of parents cultivating and following Christian lifestyle and worship habits in the home.

Asked why the topic of domestic and intimate partner violence is being specially featured this evening, Mr Morgan noted that including the topic in the line-up and having CISOCA present was a deliberate move to bring community awareness to the issue which has dominated the public and media spotlight recently.

“We were looking at different families and we know that domestic violence is one of the issues families are agonising over and yet not talking about although it’s there. We believe that people need to be aware of the trigger factors to help them identify domestic violence in their relationships as this would help them identify the potential for violence that exists and tell them if the relationship is moving in the right direction.”

“And not only theirs but maybe a neighbour, family member or friend. So we hope that with education, the community can also reach out to other families experiencing domestic and intimate partner violence. We felt it would be good to bring CISOCA in to share in this week’s seminars because of the high level of experience the Agency’s leadership has in partner violence,” he stated.

Pastor-Damian-Chambers

Pastor Damian Chambers scheduled to speak to youth in Sabbath sessions as Christian Home and Families Week winds down this weekend. Photo Credit: CJC

Another featured speaker billed for the rest of the week is Director of Communications, Health and Assistant to the President for Evangelism at the Central Jamaica Conference, Pastor Damian Chambers.

Pastor Chambers will speak to the youth through the first of two presentations beginning Friday evening, February 17. He will speak again on Saturday at the 11 a.m. mid-day service. These presentations will take on a youth focus as the church celebrates its Youth Day.

The nightly sessions begin at 7:00 p.m. nightly.

Parents, couples and families of the Portmore and Hellshire community are invited to attend these presentations.

See the flyer for more details.

 

hellshire-sda-church-family-life-week-flyer

Join Hellshire SDA and CISOCA for domestic violence seminar this evening at 7:00 p.m. Flyer Credit: Jovan Munroe

For directions to the church, view the Google map below and plot your travel route here.

 

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Why I Almost Lost My Lunch Today

police-tape

I nearly lost my lunch today. Someone in my Facebook news feed decided it was nice to post a photo of a woman’s body chopped into pieces and neatly arranged beside each other on the ground.

Well, let me tell you, it was not amusing. I didn’t lose my lunch after all, although I came close, but I lost my temper, and I left the poster a piece of my mind.

In short, I told her to take it down as it was nauseating and dark and evil and unconscionable.

I’m not the only one revolted by this newfound appetite some people have for death images. The complaints on and off air have been getting louder, with even the Minister of National Security using a Nationwide news interview yesterday to appeal to people to stop sharing fake pictures on social media.

stop-sharing-crime-pics

There are three possible sources of these photos that are circulating chiefly on Facebook and WhatsApp.

  • The killer himself or herself.
  • A police officer on the crime scene
  • A member of the public

 Killer with a Camera?

Let’s say it is the killer. Far-fetched? Not if you watch cop shows or read the studies I shared in this post.

I find it disturbing that someone could stand over a person cut to pieces and calmly take a photo then go and post that on social media. I don’t get that kind of sadism. Am I the only one who has wondered who could be holding that camera?

When civilians are posting photos of bodies they discover and voice notes which indicate they know much more than the police about a murder or can say where a missing girl is found before reporting it to the police, it begs common sense for the police to summon these persons and interrogate them. As long as it doesn’t breach the rights of the person, I can see no harm if the police trace individuals who post such updates, summon them and find out where and when such photos were taken, what time they arrived on the scene and what they saw. This kind of collaboration could help to find any connection with the killer.

Inside the interrogation room, the police should be able to check cameras and phones to see the date and time said photos were taken.

If it can be proven that the image was sent to that person, the police should follow the Fcebook Shares trail until they find that person.

There are other recent activities I noticed on WhatsApp that could warrant some attention from the police as well. Let me say first though that the channel could be a useful tool which citizens are using to identify criminals, but only if it’s being done responsibly.

People are sending around photos of persons they deem “rapists” and abductors” without providing any evidence. This is a dangerous practice. Anyone –someone I offend or someone who has a vendetta against me — could very well decide to tarnish my reputation on social media by posting my photo and things about me that are not true. With the society in an angry mood over the recent spate of murders involving women and young girls, that “suspect” could find himself lynched by an angry mob jungle justice style, no questions asked.

The public should be warned and educated about the dangers of this and using the App to help rather than harm.

Facebook, the owners of WhatsApp should also monitor the spread of fake news which came under the spotlight during the American election campaign, and continues to thrive on WhatsApp spreading conspiracy theories about people. This kind of culture can only serve to incite more violence and contribute to the growing crime problem in Jamaica.

Police Sharing Crime Scenes

My reason for pointing fingers at the police as a possible poster lies in previous media reports about officers being chided by the Police Commissioner for sharing crime scene photos on social media. It’s a practice the American police have had issues with as well.

One such notorious offense occurred in 2006 (before Facebook’s preeminence). As was reported in US media, photos of an 18-year-old woman killed in a car accident went viral after two highway patrolmen shared them via email. The young woman’s family suffered years of torment from morbid pranksters who spread the photos, posted them on a MySpace memorial page and sent emails that either contained the photos or derogatory comments.

The Los Angeles Times reported that four staff members were fired and three disciplined at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, Calif. after photos of a victim with multiple stab wounds showed up on Facebook — despite federal laws and growing zero-tolerance hospital policies.

In the United States, the practice evoked the public’s wrath and calls for such postings by law enforcement officers and hospital emergency workers to be made a felony.

With no law to punish those public servants who choose to join the crime paparazzi here in Jamaica, it’s hard to bring those who practice the act to justice. But the cries from citizens who are sickened by the practice will no doubt get louder.

In the image I saw today, the photo shows no one else at the scene. Now, I don’t know if this could be based on the angle the photo was taken from, but this photograph appeared to be taken from close range. I just hope it didn’t come from one of our law officers.

Civilians on Crime Scenes

It would come as no surprise to learn that this photo was taken by a member of the public who was on the scene.This is a typical, almost cultural scenario in Jamaica.

Recently, someone was shot by gunmen in my area. After about half hour I heard activity and voices outside my gate. When I went outside, I saw that a crowd had gathered in the vicinity where the man had been shot.

Curiosity got the better of me and I went to a nearby shop where some officers were standing. I enquired who had been killed. The lady who turned out to be an officer in plain clothes told me she did not know. People had gathered on the periphery on the street where the man was killed.

I stood there in the crowd for a while and was there for about half an hour before an officer came over and told us to disperse as they were going to cordon off the area with police tape. This to me was a redundant decision taken too late as the area surrounding the scene where people stood would have been contaminated, and any possible clues disposed of by the shooters already trampled on.

Grief Porn

But back to this nauseating photo that nearly made me lose my lunch earlier. All I can say is this shooting and then sharing of homicide scene photos by crime scene paparazzi is a vile practice.

I understand it goes by the name grief porn, which is defined as hyper-attentive, intrusive, and voyeuristic activity engaged in by people when there is a disaster.

The practice did not originate in Jamaica. Most of us would recall the early presentations that we oohed and aahed over when that woman fell into the tiger’s lair at the zoo and was speedily snatched by the animal, never to be seen again, or most recently the famous shooting of that baboon trying to drown a small boy who had fallen into his bathing pool. The one that left me shell-shocked by far though was a stomach turning, horrifying gaslighting video showing a Pakistani lady who supposedly had converted to Christianity that someone thought I’d want to see. I said that left me shell-shocked? How can I get the vision out of my mind of the charred bodies of that family (children included) whose house was allegedly razed by a family member in Spanish Town last year. It was a close up that left me imagining the deceased’s torturous final moments. It left me traumatised and depressed.

So it seems to me we are feeding a morbid and unhealthy fascination with death and suffering in this country. The way I see people falling over themselves to shoot a video or photo of victims at an accident scene while someone bleeds out unassisted is inhumane. It sort of reminds me of same vultures congregating around roadkill and fighting for the first pick at the entrails.

It’s an underbelly of Jamaica that makes me want to gag, and one must be careful not to get caught up in it’s demonic and barbaric tentacles.Having to view it in my newsfeed as I did today leaves me feeling tainted.

Feeding a Killer’s Ego

I can’t help but wonder whether the sharing of photos of these murdered women is not stroking the ego of her killer somewhere and egging him on to go after another defenseless woman or girl. Recently, the police expressed similar sentiments about their reservations in sharing too much crime data. These monsters get their rocks off people’s grief and suffering. As shared in this post What We Must Start to Stop Jamaican Femicide (See Census Idea) , the psychodynamic elements of the perpetrators of these mutilations must become a subject for analysis as one of the priorities of the security minister as he prepares to release another raft of crime measures.

Do you really want to be used by this blood-sucking villain?  

Ready for Your own Body Shots?

Every time we create and share fake death photos of girls gone missing, reduce human bodies to roadkill, collect crime scenes and accident scenes as though we are collecting tokens, we become a little more inhumane; we traumatise our souls and our psyche; we breed fear and paranoia in the population; we make it more difficult for people in real danger to get help and for the police to solve cases. Finally, collectively we break down the last vestiges of civil society.

Soon it won’t be the chickens but the John crows who will come home to roost. And the worst part is that we may be the twitching mutilated roadkill on pieces of plastic paper whose remains these paparazzi will plaster all over the internet. Is that the last memory you’d want your loved ones to be left with? Is it your job to help further the grief of these people who did you nor the killer any wrong?

Would you want to see your body parts framed on some sick person’s wall? Because that’s kind of what we are doing here, only that the frame on our wall is our social media screens. 

One last thing . . .

The Minister of Security has to do more than appeal to people to stop this horrible business of posting homicide crime scene photos and fake photos on social media.

I believe that the force of law and a zero tolerance policy for public servants who are guilty of this must be implemented, and it must have sharp teeth.

I understand that Facebook is quite cooperative and willing to work with law enforcement officers to get these photos down so I would recommend that the Police Commissioner initiate that request to Facebook.

The use of cameras by people at crime scenes should also be banned, even if it means that the police obtain technology to jam any phones in the area of the crime scene until the body has been removed and the crime scene processed.

Anyone who is seen on a crime scene when the police arrive should be arrested.

Sounds harsh? Order must be returned to our communities. It will help the police solve more murders and help us live longer. And I will be happy not to lose my lunch when I check my newsfeed in the near future because of shock and disgust.

Your Turn

What do you think would help stop this crime scene paparazzi behaviour and sharing of such scenes on Facebook and WhatsApp? Do you agree with my recommendations?

 

What We Must Start In Order to Stop Jamaican Femicide (See Census Idea)

o-violence-against-women-facebookToday, an anti-violence campaign requesting  Jamaican women and all citizens to wear black clothing for a public show of solidarity and protest against recent murders committed against women and girls in the island gathered some support in pockets across the island.

People on social media have also been putting antiviolence message filters around their profiles and posting Stop Violence Against Women memes. A street protest was also planned. 

Let me say, I wholeheartedly endorse and support any stand taken to increase awareness about violence against women and girls that seems to have grown in momentum since December, moving from domestic to something more sinister and serial in appearance and odour.

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As I pause to grieve over the latest image of a partly nude female body with bloody puncture wounds all over her chest and upper torso, it leaves me frustrated that these murders are happening everywhere across the island now, have been happening repeatedly in seasons, but only few are being solved by the police. As a woman’s body is found, the news elicits loud public outcry and then goes deafeningly quiet until another spate happens again.

With the majority of murderers still loose, which of us as women can feel safe?

So this pause for thought made me question whether our collective or individual gestures like social media campaigns, colour code protests and even blog posts like this one make a difference.

My conclusion? These can make a difference if they are pressuring the police and government to do more. It can help if the result is more awareness and urgency to take personal safety and security more seriously. But in the end, these are gestures, and require sustained follow up and deeper study to upend the root of the crimes targeting women and any demographic in the country. If violence affects one, it affects all. 

So, at this juncture the dark forces attacking the wombs of this nation demand that we each examine the crime scenes with much more analysis and from different filters in our search for the patterns of killers behind these murders. I say ‘we’ because this introspection must start at all levels to stop the violence. The solution will not be found only in the forensic science toolbox of the police.

My post will look at the psychodynamics surrounding the femicides and gender-based violence in our country and my take on some possible actions we should commit to collectively and individually to tackle these root issues.

The partially decomposing body of 15-year-old schoolgirl, Shineka Gray turned up in bushes in Irwin Meadows, St James about five days after she went missing. She was last seen on January 29 at the Bogue taxi stand.

On Sunday, the body of another  young woman, a Burger King employee was found in a barrel in St Thomas. And even this evening, more news come via WhatsApp that another young woman’s life has been snuffed out

These are the stories that have been populating news reports since the start of December 2016. Two suspects have now been held in connection with Grey’s murder, something  I’m sure offers little solace for the deceased’s family and her community who now mourn.

Out of the discussions swirling around the airwaves, one of the recurring topics that is coming to the forefront is personal safety. As Shenika was last seen at the taxi stand, the discussion has turned to how to stay safe when taking public transport, especially taking unlicensed taxi operators.

START THESE ACTIONS:

  • Download and use the Stay Alert app. This is a free application made available by the Ministry of National Security for citizens to use. Two of its key safety features allow the user to send anonymous reports to the police and make contact when in distress.
  • Facebook Live. If you have the Facebook app, create a Facebook live video for friends once you get into the taxi or anywhere else you are facing a threat.
  • Keep a Taxi diary noting down the license plate number and any other data you can gather about your driver, location picked up and destination. Let your family members know about this diary so should anything happen, you’ll be helping to solve your case. Sounds morbid? That’s how the cookie crumbles.
  • Pay attention. Stay alert to your surroundings. Look at taxi drivers, strangers, anything odd. Do not enter transportation where you are the only commuter. If you are the last one left after others have exited, exit too.
  • Avoid late travel. If you have to, try asking someone you know and trust to come and get you. If you have to take public transport, keep your family or friends updated on your whereabouts at regular intervals depending on the length of the ride.
  • I propose something that has become cliche these days, and to which we turn deaf ears, and it’s as simple as this. We, each of us, must start to be each other’s keepers. Not just for girls and women, but for our neighbours. Watch out for others.
  • Pepper spray, sharp implement, some strategic defence moves? These will all come in handy. Leave a wound. Scream. Fight for your life.

So let’s turn to the factors that may be contributing to violence against women and what we should start doing to stop femicides, beyond the crime plan.

Start boycotting Brands Whose Ads Glorify Violence

We as a society have to accept we have played a role in sleazy gender profiling and violence. We may not be the ones physically slitting, slicing, raping and stabbing women

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but do you know that buying into advertisements such as the ones above glorify violence against women by making light of rape, domestic violence, and other misogynistic violence or profile them as sexual objects, we are not as blameless as we’d like to believe.

What are little boys made of?

Marginalised men.

Failing men.

No good men.

More women graduated this year than men.

How many times this year have you seen or heard these phrases on your radio or television? Lots. Repeatedly over the last 10 years, I have been audience to these public castigations of our Jamaican males. 

While there is plenty data to support the perception that many of our men are cruel, prison birds, poor fathers, cheats, lazy and uneducated men and many of our women are progressive, hard working, victims, and independent, perhaps it’s time to realise that we have unintentionally or intentionally planted an impression that men are less worthy and important.

It’s a question begging to be asked: Could the current increase in femicide in the country be the curse of the chickens coming home to roost?

Could our acculturalization that little girls are made of sugar and spice and all that’s nice, and little boys (men) are made of horrid snails and puppy dog tails have set up a fixed mindset in our males that has lowered their sense of self-worth and increased envy towards women?

CONCLUSION: It is quite plausible that the increase in stress levels in the society, female leadership, increasing financial independence of women and the perception of low male inequality and worth has helped create angry men who are now exacting their dominance recovery revenge on their girlfriends, daughters, wives, female colleagues, strangers, female leaders, and female interests in their countries.

ACTION: Make the gender playfield equal for men and women again. While we will always see antisocial behaviours, with some effort we can emphasize and communicate a more positive image about the Jamaican man and showcase more good male models. The media can level the playfield with more balanced discussions, more male presence on panels so the male perspective is heard. 


The Disorders that Make Men Hate, Hurt and Kill Women

It’s time to look beyond the obvious to the root of femicide, the psycho-dynamics or pathology of the criminal who kills women.

Pathology is the study of a particular subject- a disease. It is the diagnosis of an abnormality through careful examination of the constituents of the diseased body. When crime is considered to be a disease, the psychodynamic elements manifest and is precipitated as/by disorder and disruption of existing social norms and values. It is precipitated by mental illness, stress, disorganization in society, and anti-social psychopathological mindsets.

And many times, the first signs appear in behaviour patterns during childhood and youth and left unattended transition into adulthood. One homicide researcher, Vernon Geberth has found a clear link between early manifestations of antisocial personality disorder in the childhood of some serial killers.

According to the DSM-IV, the essential feature of the disorder is to be found in patterns of irresponsible and antisocial behaviors beginning in childhood or early adolescence and continuing into adulthood. Lying, stealing,truancy, vandalism, initiating fights, running away from home, and physical cruelty are typical childhood signs. In adulthood the antisocial pattern continues …

Geberth’s article entitled Psychopathic Sexual Sadists: The Psychology and Psychodynamics of Serial Killers (1995) discussed a study which examined a population of 387 serial murderers, who killed (under various motivations), three or more persons over a period of time with cooling-off periods between the events. The author identified 232 male serial murderers who violated their victims sexually. The author then employed a case history evaluation protocol based upon the DSM-IV criteria of Antisocial Personality Disorder (301.7) and Sexual Sadism (302.84) to examine the population of 232 serial killers, who had violated their victims sexually. The research found certain pattern among killers with Antisocial Personality Disorder.

With findings like this, we are forced to confront the pressing question that is begging to be asked: What quality of parenting allowed these boys to run amok and untreated with these behaviours? Why were these red flags ignored?

Still another expert has also identified the role of parents in the pathology of boys who hate and hurt women. In this case, British psychotherapist, Adam Duke author of “Why Men Hate Women” puts the responsibility for boy’s misogynistic behaviours squarely at the feet of their mothers. In an interview with The Independent, Duke explained that a boy’s hatred against his mother usually begins in infancy when a perception of rejection leads to him later punishing women for not providing the perfect love experienced in infancy before he had to make the psychological separation necessary to ‘learn’ to become a man.

Another study from the University of Montreal has linked boys’ aggression and anti-social behaviour to their mothers. The study established that boy’s testesterone levels in infancy were “not inherited genetically” as widely believed, “but rather determined by environmental factors, mostly early environmental factors which the child experiences in relation to its mother both before and after birth,” the lead researcher reportedly divulged in the May 7, 2012 report published in Psychoneuroendocrinology.

CONCLUSION: Too many of our men have been socialised poorly. Many have been emotionally neglected by their mothers soon after being weaned. Poor parenting and unstructured homes have helped created boys who hurt and kill women in adulthood. The red flags were there, but for some reason were seen as inconsequential. Except that now we are reaping the whirlwind of these antisocial behaviours.

START SOME ACTION: So much for the saying, Boys will be boys. This finding will make it necessary for mothers to start scrutinising how they behave around their sons. Parenting education and economic support have to become a priority so Jamaican mothers with troubled boys can gain access to early psychotherapy and parenting interventions if we intend to change the trajectory of these boys before they become men.

Eliminate Male Bias In Classrooms

Some educators believe that single-gender classes and schools, female-dominated classrooms, less attention paid to boys’ learning styles could help promote gender inequity and male marginalisation in our schools. While I have no documented evidence of the gender disparities in Jamaica schools, the education outcomes for boys in this country seem to suggest that girls are advancing and boys are straggling behind. Making our education system equitable for boys and girls have to be a part of the psychodynamics we look at as we contemplate the way forward.

Teacher preparation colleges and churches can also help change the outcomes by upskilling and enabling teachers to teach boys according to their learning styles. Parenting for fathers must be part of the social intervention as well.

Churches have a role to play too in helping with the spiritual development and engagement of males in their communities.

Sexist Cultures Contribute to Femicides -Study

The high rate of sexual harassment in Jamaica, manhandling of women, and the projection and treatment of women as sex objects is often scoffed at as normal male and cultural behaviour. But this next study puts our “sexist cultural practices” under the microscope.

Underscoring the connection between sexism, misogyny, and violence, Rodriguez Gilda, researcher/author of this study: From Misogyny to Murder: Everyday Sexism and Femicide in a Cross-Cultural Context points out that everyday sexism which devalues women does play a role in the culture of violence against women. Gilda had this to say:

 …femicide is not only related to other forms of explicit violence
against women but also to everyday acts of misogyny that contribute
to the creation of a culture of sexism and devalorization of women
and their lives. These everyday sexist acts are often ignored or
minimized, in such a way that their connection to large-scale forms
of violence against women is obscured.

He went on to note that the disconnect between everyday misogyny and femicide in much of popular and media discourse is problematic for two reasons:

the mischaracterization of gender-based murder as simple killing, without a misogynistic component, which makes it difficult to address the root causes of such violence. Secondly, when “small” incidences of sexism occur, they are more easily dismissed as inconsequential and even harmless. My argument is that commonplace sexist practices lay the conditions for femicide and for the political discourse that surrounds it.

CONCLUSION: Sexism and misogynism are root components of gender-based murders.Although we have grown as a society, there are still worrying traits of sexism in our society. We see it being played out in domestic violence and other forms of violence carried against women and girls.

START SOME ACTION: Unmask gender-based murder. The government and leaders of institutions should weed out evidence of sexism in our institutions. The police must treat crimes related to sexism as potential signs of more serious gender-based crimes. Treating the symptoms and addressing the pathology of our crime and criminals becomes mandatory to cinch the problem.

So, how can the police deconstruct the psycho-dynamics of those with a history of violence against women? Read on to see how one country is doing it.

Femicide Census

The Security Minister and Police Commissioner are struggling to fight crime, but I’ve heard little about them collecting and studying the data to develop perpetrator profiles of criminals, including those crimes that are femicides. Maybe, if more data was being collated and tracked, we would connect the dots faster to find the perpetrators of the murder, rape, subjugation, domestic violence, female slave trafficking plaguing our society.

In February 2015, a British campaign group launched a Femicide Census, a database with profiles of every woman who was killed by a man. According to the Guardian newspaper, the campaign initiated by the Nia Project, a London-based domestic violence charity was “designed to force a recognition of the scale and significance of male violence against women.”

The record is a culmination of several years of work by Karen Ingala Smith, Nia Project’s Chief executive, who started counting Britain’s murdered women and putting their names on her own blog back in 2012.

The database collates details of the perpetrators and the murder incident itself, including the date, names, police force area and information about children, recorded motive and the weapon.

The campaign was run in collaboration with another women’s organisation, Womens’ Aid and a legal firm. The Femicide Census Report presented several recommendations aimed at prompting the government to stem the rise of violence against women.  Explains the Guardian:

. . . this will mean a public tally of the dead is kept in a more formal manner, using police statistics as well as court reports. The site will be used to store as much information as possible on the background and the crime, available for approved subscribers – the first time such details have been held together – to make research and studies easier.

Find more details on the content of the released Census here.

CONCLUSION

There’s no question as to whether the Jamaican Police has crime data. We occasionally hear crime statistics reported,  but what is the quality of this database and how thorough it is in capturing all the data remains a mystery to me. How acccessible is it? Then there is the issue of tracking, evaluating  and reporting on that data. A recent request I made to access statistics to  explain the uptick in domestic violence related crimes I was tracking for a blog post late last year did not yield a response from the Constabulary Communication Network. That was after two documented tries in December and January.

START THIS ACTION: I’m calling on the government to lead a Femicide Census to collect and publicise statistics on female victims of male violence. Not just numbers but records  that will put a face to the name and details of her life before she was killed. This will not only provide a record of the incidents and track the patterns that emerge in the murders but humanize these deaths. This kind of action is also necessary in order to move the debate from what some may see as a polarised feminist viewpoint, towards a purposeful search for solutions.

Media Influence

And of course, the silent facilitator in this constructed mayhem is our mass media (including online and social media) who profess to just be society’s mirror. You deflect responsibility very well. But you too are often culpable. Yes, you are our society’s reflector via your news coverage, when you are reporting on events that have occurred. 

But in the arena of programming that mirror role disappears, and in its place stands media as facilitator or enabler. All rhetoric has the ability to persuade and appeal. So whether it’s an opinion programme like a talk show, the lifestyle and entertainment content (music, movies and documentaries) or news items you select and share, media influences its audience. 

For good or evil, the media we tune into and allow our children to absorb  has the capacity to impact how a society interprets and accepts the moral, values and laws of society. Media helps and harms parenting as it could ultimately define the character and behaviour  of those who are part of the audience.

How we use broadcast and social media at the end of day demands responsibility. How does it benefit you to spread videos of someone butchering a woman, show the exposed lifeless body of a young woman or video of child or teen being sexually abused exposed. How is it being responsible when you spread false news about a girl gone missing? What all this exposure does is minimize public trust and promote hopelessness, fear, and inaction.

CONCLUSION

Stopping the violence against women and kids call for an acceptance of personal responsibility for our role in preserving our society. You can start today to work with your spouse and children, your community and state agencies to re-implement law, order, and respect for yourself and others in your part of your city. Love, respect, protect, and preserve the life around you. It starts with me and you.

START RESTORING LOVE, PEACE and ORDER  

  • Take personal safety actions to protect yourself. Avoid unsafe behaviours
  • Be your brothers’ keeper.
  • Make men know they are important and valued. Respect them. Engage their views.
  • Vow to stop perpetuating and facilitating crime, especially with your social media actions and entertainment choices.
  • Choose to help save instead of being a bystander.
  • Help settle disputes, not ignite or fan them.
  • Report signs of violence and victimization of women and girls.
  • Protect all children. Get help when troubled behaviour appears.
  • Start some action to stop gender-based violence and femicide.
  • Examine the psycodynamics of women killers, start using and tracking our crime data for patterns
  • Humanise and respect the dead.
  • Aim to be blameless.


Then, and only then will violence and murders, gender-based and otherwise decline in our communities.

Your Turn

The question I want each of us (parents, teachers, citizens, ministers, government representatives, state protectors, employers, workers, media communicators and users) to ponder today is this:

  • Are you entirely blameless in the gender violence? Are we enabling or helping to perpetuate this mushrooming problem?
  • How will you start taking responsibility at the level, in the space, and in the role you occupy now?
  • What can you do now to stop not only violence against women and girls but violence against the people you come into contact with daily?
  • How do you plan to protect yourself from threats?

Greater Portmore North Councilor, Michael “Fisha” Edwards laid to rest

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The late Michael ‘Fisha’ Edwards, Councilor for Greater Portmore North Division and businessman was laid to rest on Sunday, January 29, 2017.

Hundreds of persons, both politicians and constituents from the Portmore and St Catherine municipalities, along with representatives from the Opposition and ruling party hierarchy, friends, family and well-wishers turned out to pay their last respects and celebrate the life of the well-known public servant and Portmore resident at the funeral service held at the Portmore Seventh day Adventist Church, 7 Port Henderson Road.

Mr Edwards was eulogised by fellow councillors, PNP party representatives and family members in numerous tributes as a consummate professional and a peace-loving and amicable individual with a ready smile. One of the most moving tributes was reportedly delivered by Member of Parliament, Fitz Jackson who shared many fond memories of his friendship with Mr Fisher. The homily was delivered by Pastor of the Portmore SDA Church Pastor Sean Hamilton.

Mr Edwards reportedly died from a stroke on January 6. Family members found him unconscious at home and rushed him to the Spanish Town hospital where he was pronounced dead. A close friend and political peer, MP Fitz Jackson revealed that Mr Fisher had been hypertensive and diabetic. He had also reportedly done brain surgery a few years ago, but had “showed no signs of illness up to the time of his death.”

Michael Edwards, a chartered accountant by profession, entered local government representation in December 2007 when he joined the Portmore Municipal Council. Up to the time of his death, he was the sitting Councillor for the Greater Portmore North Division. He also served as Chairman of the Planning, Development and Climate Change Committee in the Portmore Municipal Council. Prior to that, he served as  Chairman of the Finance Committee at the St Catherine Parish Council. The late Portmore native was a St Georges College Old Boy and the owner/operator of Fisha’s Sports Bar located at the Portmore Pines Plaza.

Mr Edwards was interred at The Dovecot Memorial Gardens.

He is survived by his widow, Sophia and children.

 

Below are photo highlights of the final rites.

Disclaimer: All photos were curated from the results of Facebook Search and the public domain. Credit is hereby given to the respective original owners.

 

PNP leaders pay tribute to the late Portmore Councilor Michael Edwards.

St Catherine South MP, Fitz Jackson (centre) shares his fond memories of the late Michael ‘Fisha’ Edwards. He is joined in tribute by MP, Greater Portmore East Yvonne McCormack (left) and Opposition leader, Portia Simpson Miller (right) at the funeral service held this past Sunday at the Portmore SDA Church. Sitting in the front row (back to camera) is PNP Chairman, Robert Pickersgill.

 

 

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Former Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, other government representatives and family of the deceased listen attentively during the funeral service.                                                                                                                                                           Photo Credit: Kenisha Allen

 

 

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Section of the funeral crowd who turned out to pay respects to the beloved councilor at Sunday’s funeral.   Photo Credit: Arnaldo Brown

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The interment scene at Dovecot Memorial where Councilor Fisher was laid to rest

 

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Cecile McCormack, Manager-Implementation & Logistics, Community Renewal  at the Jamaica Public Service Co. shares a light moment with  Julian Robinson, PNP Member of Parliament  for South East St Andrew at Sunday’s funeral service for their fallen comrade. Photo credit: Cecile McCormack

 

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From Jamaica Labour Party Councillors Kenisha Allen(Spanish Town Division), Theresa Turner(Hampton Green Division) (2nd right) and Jennifer Hull (Horizon Park Division) (far right) grabs a friendly photo with PNP MP Denise Daley (2nd left) at the funeral service of the late PNP Councillor, Michael Edwards.                                    Photo Credit: Kenisha Allen

 

 

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Former PNP Minister of State/ Portmore MP, Arnaldo Brown shares a light moment with two of his constituents at the Dovecot Memorial Park.                                                            Photo Credit: Arnaldo Brown

 

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Sophia Edwards, widow of the late Michael Fisher Edwards (centre) caught in a candid moment by the graveside at Dovecot Memorial Gardens.              Photo Credit:

 

Photo of Councilor Fisher with wife Sophia Fisher

Councilor Edwards and wife, Sophia in happier times. The couple had recently celebrated their 13th anniversary. (Photo taken from Mr Edward’s Facebook page)

 

Report compiled by Karen Taylor Bennett

A Gift of Blood, A Gift of Life: The Rupert Ellis Story

 

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Cancer survivor, Rupert Ellis

A unit of blood can help someone survive life-threatening illnesses and accidents. Rupert Ellis, 62,  of Hellshire Park in Portmore, St Catherine is one example of a cancer survivor and blood recipient who is saying thanks to his blood donors this evening.

Diagnosed with multiple myeloma (bone marrow cancer) in 2015, long time Hellshire resident and founding elder of Hellshire Seventh Day Adventist Church has been fighting a cancer that destroys his vital red blood cells (these are the cells that make blood in the body) and bone marrow. This condition landed him hard in the hospital preceding his diagnosis and has since caused his blood count to fluctuate to dangerous levels and have landed him in the hospital.

As he lay on his back in the University Hospital, Mr Ellis recalls that his doctor’s diagnosis made the future look grim and it appeared that the spectre of death loomed over him.

Fighting Back 

However, with the donations of kind blood donors, a resilient faith in God, and an indomitable and cheerful spirit, he and his doctor fought valiantly to increase his blood count. His health rallied and he was able to regain his strength and an active lifestyle.
So much so that in September 2016, his doctors felt it was safe enough to cut back on his treatment which while helping had side effects that were less than healthy. He discontinued some of his treatment.

Then the tables turned. At a subsequent visit, he learnt that this decision had not produced the results hoped for and had sent his blood count into a downward spiral (falling below 5). This renewed his struggle with his cancer. Deeply discouraged, he told me during a visit with him late in December, “I got down on my knees at my bedside and cried tears to God.”

To make things worst, his doctor was coming up short in her search to find O Negative blood for him. Things looked hopeless. He had donors but none were O Negative blood donations.

A Campaign to find the Missing Type

It was Mr Ellis’ story and current situation that inspired the creation of the O Negative Blood Donation Network Facebook Group on December 26, 2016. The intent was to create a campaign that would launch an Appeal for more O Negative blood donations, not only for Mr Ellis but others facing a similar crisis.

 

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The aim of the Group is to provide a community for persons with O Negative blood, increase awareness about blood types, match needs to donors, attract, and nurture members with information about the blood donors eligibility, the collection process as well as voluntary donation opportunities like blood collection drives, weekly local and national blood bank reserves data, and convert non-donors into  first time blood donors, one -time donors into repeat donors.

By sharing receivers’ stories, it is hoped that the Campaign will persuade the public that blood donation requires a personal commitment that starts with each person signing up as a volunteer and life saver. The mission is to increase blood donations of this universal O Negative resource at the community and neighbourhood levels inside and outside of Portmore and provide inspiration and support for those who are ill and need blood donations.

Blood donor prospects and members can sign up to donate using a form posted in the Facebook Group’s Files. This information will be collated and passed on to the relevant collection centres or Drive organiser identified by prospects.

The initiative will be adopted and promoted as a grassroots cause by Portmore Citizen’s News published by blogger and Group administrator, Karen Taylor.

Transfusions Bring Improvement 

In the last month, Mr Ellis has had approximately two transfusions from blood received from the hospital’s blood stocks and friends. The scramble to find more for him continues at the hospital level.

Speaking with him this afternoon, Mr Ellis reported positive news and steady progress following these gifts of blood. His blood count has been inching up and now stands at seven, he reported. To help his body halt his receding bone marrow, he needs to maintain a blood count level of 14.

Expensive New Treatment to cost $130,000 Monthly

He also shared plans by his doctor to start another intervention which, if successful, could help put his cancer into recession. This will, however, cost $130,000 per month, an expense he says one of his daughters has made a commitment to underwrite. He is especially grateful for a discount offered by the treatment provider to make two of the injections available free of cost when two purchases are made. He will require this dosage monthly.

Until this treatment begins to rebuild his body’s ability to fight on its own, Mr Ellis will need your gift of O negative blood. Blood donations of this type can be made to his account at the blood Collection centre at the UWI Hospital, Mona.

So What If I’m not an O -Type?

If you are not O Negative, but have another blood type, you can still donate to his account, but ensure you ask for a receipt from the collection drive staff or centre where you are donating. You can then send him the receipt so the Blood Bank at the Hospital can do an exchange when he needs a transfusion.

The collection of this receipt with his name on it is crucial for him to benefit from your gift to him. To send him the receipt, make contact by sending a message to Mr Ellis or me via this blog’s contact form page orthe Facebook Group so arrangements can be made to receive the receipt.

 

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Blood is a gift of life. All around Jamaica every day and this very second, are people like Mr Ellis needing a blood donation, people in accidents, mothers in labour wards, babies who need a unit to save their lives. Help save someone’s life today with a donation of your blood.

Have you given before? Consider making a repeat donation by signing up and indicating your interest in doing so on the membership form and sign up forms found in Group Files.

Are you a first timer? Learn more about the process by following this blog. Don’t know your blood type? You could learn what that is by participating in an upcoming blood drive or stopping by a Collection Centre.

Set aside time to donate today. Save the date to save lives, receive your own account, and pay it forward. Join us. Open a Neighbourhood Blood Bank in your community. Make Blood reserves for your family, friends and neighbours when they need it.

All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2017. Karen Taylor