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

Photo-of-ACSXEROX-building-located-in-Naggo-Head -Portmore-St Catherine

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 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

 

funeral-attendees

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

 

picture of Rupert Ellis with Blood Appeal account details

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

 

“No Thanks”: 20 Reasons Your Blood Donation Was Disqualified

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Blood is a priceless commodity that cannot be manufactured or reproduced. It can only be given by charitable persons. It is easy to give blood and this blog strongly encourages those who can to consider making a donation.

Blood donations are critical in the care of cancer patients like my friend Rupert Ellis who inspired me to create the Facebook group, O Negative Blood Donations Network, an appeal and awareness campaign aimed at encouraging blood donations of this blood type for him and countless other Jamaicans  who are facing a health crisis because of the shortage of O negative blood group in the national blood bank reserves.

A blood gift can save the life of your own child, sibling, spouse, parent or friend.
However, according to the Blood Bank, because of common misperceptions and lack of understanding about pre- donor requirements, many potential donors who register either do not show up because of miseducation about the eligibility criteria and many who show are turned away from making a donation because they are ineligible.

Every time a potential donor is turned away or deferred, it reduces the survival rate for a critical care patient waiting to receive that blood. For rare blood type patients like those with O-negative blood, it can be a matter of life and death.

I’ve compiled a checklist of 20 of the most common reasons your blood donation could be disqualified or deferred at a blood collection centre. Use it to check your status.

Basic Criteria

But let’s start with the basic criteria that determine anyone’s eligibility to participate in the blood donation process.

To give blood in Jamaica, you MUST

  • be in good general health and feel well
  • be between 17 and 60 years old
  • weigh at least 110 lbs.
  • present a National Identification

Most donations will be deferred if you have a health condition that could put you or the receiver at risk. Below, you’ll find 15 health related issues which the American Red Cross Association says may cause your blood donation to be disqualified.

In most cases, you can usually make a second attempt to donate after a specific period has passed, usually a 12- month deferral. To read the full list of eligibility criteria and deferral timelines for blood donations, visit the American Red Cross. Find local information at the National Blood Transfusion Service (Jamaica).

Conditions That Will Disqualify or Defer Your Donation

Here is a summary checklist:
You may NOT be eligible to give blood if you have any of these health conditions:

#1. You are anaemic

Make sure you pay attention to eating well, especially foods rich in iron, before you attempt to donate blood.

#2. You are on Antibiotics

You are taking antibiotics for an acute infection.

According to the American Red Cross, “The reason for antibiotic use must be evaluated to determine if the donor has a bacterial infection that could be transmissible by blood. Donations can be accepted if you have finished oral antibiotics for an infection (bacterial or viral) even if you may have taken the last pill on the date of donation. Antibiotic by injection for an infection is acceptable 10 days after the last injection.”

“Blood donation may be acceptable if you are taking antibiotics to prevent an infection for the following reasons: acne, chronic prostatitis, peptic ulcer disease, periodontal disease, pre-dental work, rosacea, ulcerative colitis, after a splenectomy or valvular heart disease.

#3. You Have a High Fever

If you have a temperature above 99.5 F, you may not donate.

#4. You are Pregnant

If you are pregnant, wait six weeks after giving birth.

#5. You Have AIDS/HIV

Don’t attempt to donate blood if you have AIDS or have ever tested HIV Positive.

#6. You Bleed

Do you have a bleeding condition where your blood does not clot normally? You may have excessive bleeding where the needle is placed.You cannot donate blood if you have this condition.

For the same reason, you should not donate if you are taking any of the “blood thinners” named or not named on this list:

  • Atrixa (fondaparinux)
  • Coumadin (warfarin)
  • Eliquis (apixaban)
  • Fragmin (dalteparin)
  • Heparin
  • Jantoven (warfarin)
  • Lovenox (enoxaparin)
  • Pradaxa (dabigatran)
  • Savaysa (edoxaban)
  • Warfilone (warfarin)
  • Xarelto (rivaroxaban)

#7. You Have High Blood Pressure

If your blood pressure is at or above 180 systolic (first number) and at or above 100 diastolic (second number) at the time of donation, defer blood donation to another time when you have your blood pressure under control.

#8. You Have Received Blood Recently

If you’ve received a blood transfusion in ….less than 12 months.

#9. You Have Certain Cancers

Eligibility depends on the type of cancer and treatment history. If you had leukaemia or lymphoma, including Hodgkin’s Disease and other cancers of the blood, you are not eligible to donate. Other types of cancer are acceptable if the cancer has been treated successfully if it has been more than 12 months since treatment was completed and there has been no cancer recurrence in this time.

Lower risk in-situ cancers including squamous or basal cell cancers of the skin that have been completely removed do not require a 12 month waiting period.

#10. You Have A Cold/Flu

Postpone donation of blood if you have a cold or flu symptoms.

#11. You Have Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

If you ever received a dura mater (brain covering) transplant or human pituitary growth hormone, you are not eligible to donate. Those who have a blood relative who had Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are also not eligible to donate. Learn more about Creutzfeldt Jakob-Disease.

#12. You’ve had an Organ Transplant

Have you had an organ or tissue transplant with the last year? Sorry, you’ll have to try again later.

#13. You Have Body Piercings

If you have body piercings (ears, body) which were performed using a reusable gun or any reusable instrument, you may not be eligible for blood donations.

#14. You Have Certain Untreated STDs

If you have syphilis or gonorrhoea which you have not been treated or have not completed all treatment, you may have to wait until you have confirmed you are free of these ailments.

#15. You are Tattooed

Blood Collection Centres will not be able to accept blood from you if you have a tattoo.

#16.You were exposed to Zika Virus

If you have been exposed to the Zika Virus, your donation will not be accepted.

#17. You are a Smoker.

Smoking eliminates you to participate in any blood donation drives.

# 18 -20. You Don’t Meet the Four Basic Criteria 

I started the post mentioning the four criteria to give blood in Jamaica. From the 17 health reasons outlined above, you should have already concluded that your state of health and wellbeing will be scrutinised. Additionally, if you do not meet the expected age, weight and ID requirements, you will be unable to proceed with your donation. Here they are again:

  • Can’t provide a National Identification Card
  • Under 17 years old
  • Weigh Less than 110 pounds

Misconception about Diabetics

Existing misconceptions by themselves are a common reason for blood donors to eliminate themselves from the blood donation exercises. According to the Blood Bank, you should be mindful of a common misperception that persons who are either hypertensive or diabetic (non-dependent on insulin) are not allowed to donate blood. This is not the case and, even if you take oral medication, in many cases you are still eligible for blood donation. 

Your Turn

Which of the 17 conditions surprised you the most or cleared up a long-held misconception that prevented you or someone you know from donating blood in the past? Share it in the Comments below.

Council’s Greater Portmore “Cactus Garden” in Dire Need of Attention

On Monday, Portmore Citizens News took these photographs of the area outside the Greater Portmore Civic Centre Complex designated and landscaped as a green space by the Portmore Municipal Council several months ago.

As seen in the photos below, the current state of the once attractive cactus stone garden is not being regularly maintained, judging by the litter composed of plastic, debris and household garbage now piling up in the area. Bundles of cut dried grass which was never removed by the weeder have become litter mounds. The once aesthetically pleasing landscape details featuring cacti plants, boulders and rocks and a walkway is now hidden under a brown, dirtier, untidy version of what it was.

Who are responsible?

So who is responsible for this? These are several possible culprits. This vicinity is a frequent hangout spot for students from nearby schools. Across the road is the bus stop where commuters also await the JUTC buses as they enter the Greater Portmore bus bay which is just behind the complex.

Across the road is the bus stop where commuters also await the JUTC buses as they enter the Greater Portmore bus bay which is just behind the complex. Vending activity takes place in close proximity. Someone has also decided this was the best place to dump their old clothes and household garbage, so some illegal dumper (s) need to be exposed as well.

The area also gets a lot of foot traffic from commuters who make their own shortcut pathways to get to the Junior Centre, Library and Post Office housed on the Civic Centre Complex after disembarking from the route buses and taxis that travel along the busy West Henderson Boulevard adjacent to the park. It is not fenced.

Maintenance Staff and Schedule

The area is now in need of attention. We hope the Mayor will see this and send the relevant authorities to clean up. A better idea would be to put a regular maintenance schedule in place for the area. If the Council can harness community volunteers to do some of this maintenance work, it could probably curb the littering from residents.

Litter Campaign addressing Users

An on-site litter education campaign to directly address the frequent users of the area like students and commuters who may be responsible for the high numbers of plastic drink bottles in the area would be a practical move. Get the schools involved. Maybe the Junior Centre’s children can put a programme together to get the message across in an entertaining but serious manner.

Finally, may I also recommend that the Council put in garbage containers or attendants to pick up garbage daily and fence off the area as well. As for the persons dumping garbage, it may be ambitious but necessary to install some security cameras in the vicinity to see if we can catch these culprits as well as criminals.

 

growing garbage heap in middle of Greater Portmore green space

In need of maintenance. This photo taken on Monday shows the growing pile of litter and plant debris that now defaces the landscaped oval, a project done by the Portmore Municipal Council months ago.

household garbage now litters landscaped space in Civic Centre Complex, Greater Portmore

Someone decided to dump their household garbage in plastic bags smack dab in the middle of the recently created green space in the Oval at the Greater Portmore Civic Centre Complex across from the Shopping Centre.                                                                                          – PCN Photo

 

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Cactus plants and grass appears untended.                                                           – PCN Photo

 

Cactus stone park Greater Portmore defaced

This created green area which was landscaped by the Portmore Municipal Council in the months leading up to the National elections is in dire need of attention. The area which is in front of the Greater Portmore Civic Centre Complex is now littered with drinking bottles, debris and even bags of old clothes someone dumped there.                                     – PCN Photo

Dennis “Smashing Pianist” Rushton marries Portmore Singer in Romantic Garden Nuptials (See Photos)

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Updated: 5:40 p.m.

Prominent Jamaican pianist Dennis Rushton married his duet partner and sweetheart, Carrialeisa Henry, a Portmore resident and member of Newlands Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church in a romantic garden wedding over the Christmas holidays.

The bride recently started sharing photos of their special day on Facebook, including close-up images of her gorgeous gown and an inside look at her wedding. On Friday, Portmore Citizens News finally caught up with the newlyweds for a quick chat about their special day. I also have more inside photos from the couple’s wedding day to show you, so read to the end of the post.

The bride confirmed that it was a morning wedding and it took place on December 16 on the picturesque lawns of Hope Botanical Gardens in upper St Andrew under turquoise skies and a kind sun.

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Ready to play: Carrialeisa makes a striking pose in this ebony and ivory figure reminiscent of the piano keys so loved by her musical husband

Wearing an off-white fitted trumpet gown featuring floral appliques, lace and beadwork from Bliss Bridal Boutique of Barbican, the picture-perfect bride swept into view and serenaded her way towards the beaming groom with Whitney Houston’s “I believe in you and me.”

The ceremony got underway at about 10:00 a.m. and was officiated by Pastor Lancelot Henry of Swallowfield Chapel. The couple exchanged vows and rings before 50 guests made up of family and friends.

The ebony-skinned bride looked elegant in a chic sleeveless design made to flatter and accentuate the neckline and curves of a morning bride in a charming outdoor setting. (She later pulled out a cute white parasol which she used as a fashionable shelter from the warm morning sun).

A sweetheart neckline enhancing its bodice and beaded bridal belt self-tied at the back added a romantic, feminine layer to the dress. The figure-hugging trumpet skirt piece fitted and flaired to the floor with applique scattering the tulle, sweep train.

She also wore a trendy white birdcage fascinator headpiece with the netting partially covering the left side of her face/head. In harmony with the setting and her peacock wedding theme, she carried a combined bouquet made with large retouched red and white roses and white orchids dramatically accented with a cascading fan of peacock feathers.

The Rushton Bowtie

The groom looked debonair in a black suit designed by Mandeville-based designer Tie-hard, and keeping company with his signature bow tie style, wore a turquoise peacock feather accented bowtie against crisp white buttoned up shirt (He emphasised I should mention that the bowties for the groom and groomsmen were all made by his new bride, Carrialeisa who also makes all the bow ties he wears in the judge’s seat of All Together Sing)

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Dennis Rushton, talent judge on TVJ’s All Together Sing since 2005

His four groomsmen sported savvy black suspenders and bowties with peacock accents. Boutonnieres for the groom and groomsmen also favoured details from the bridal party’s peacock colour palette.

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The bridal party (from left) bridesmaids Donesa Green-McKenzie, Melissa Fullerton, Suegen Rhoden and Melissa Cheddan, Maid of Honor, the happy couple Dennis Rushton and  Carrialeisa Henry, best man and groomsmen Andae Campbell, Courick Clarke, Dale Brown, and Christopher Tyrell.

Bridal Party Styled by Cheddan

The bridesmaids, all friends of the bride, wore floor-length Greek goddess Chiffon dresses in vivid shades of red, teal and gold accessorized with a gold braided waistband and gold brooches placed at shoulder closure. More peacock feathered hair accents appeared in the matching buns worn by the ladies. Dresses were designed and styled by Melissa Cheddan (Cheddan Designs) Portmore-based designer and close pal of the bride.

wedding-party

Their Love Story

The couple met back in 2012 when they started singing together professionally as a duet. A friendship developed between them. Although he wasn’t totally blind to her attractiveness, it wasn’t until 2014 that romance sparked.  According to Dennis, while driving from Ocho Rios one day the thought occurred to him, ‘You know a you wife that (You know that’s your wife (English translation)?’ He said he ignored it but he was prompted again as he neared Kingston. This time he accepted it.

And the rest they say is history. They started dating, and in June 2016 he popped the question at a surprise dinner party with Carrialeisa’s family and friends at the couple’s favourite haunt, Courtleigh Hotel in Kingston. Two days later, they shared the good news with Dennis’ family in Florida.

Six months later, the couple culminated their mutual adoration, passion for music and earnest friendship into marriage.

The wedding reception was held inside the Pavilion at Hope Gardens. The gold and white decor flowed from the elegant tablescape, wedding cake (made by the bride and her mother) to the rustic breakfast menu catered by The Pantry.

In true birds-of-a-feather style, guests were entertained by the bridal band consisting of the groomsmen (all talented musicians) who delivered instrumental pieces backing musical renditions from the bridesmaids. Emcee for the evening was NCU FM’s Healthy and Happy host, Pastor Jovan Whyte.

That they met because of music is a fact the couple has chosen to celebrate with a custom designed wedding band with tiny piano key features that the bride has gifted to her jazz impresario husband.

dennis-the-pianistThe groom, fondly referred to as the “smashing pianist” because of his unrelenting and passionate assault of his keyboard while playing is widely renowned and respected among top musicians in Jamaica and North America for his prowess on the piano and is a talent judge on TVJ’s seasonal All Together Sing, a high school competition featuring school choirs across the island vying for a Championship title. Carrialeisa, herself a talented gospel music singer who is well- known in the local Adventist Church music circle in St Catherine is a specialist nurse/midwife.

The groom attends Swallowfield Chapel in Kingston while Carrialeisa hails from Cumberland, Portmore where she and her mom are longstanding members of the Newlands SDA Church.

Asked how it felt to be married, the new husband expressed his excitement. “It’s wonderful… all good!” When asked, Carrialeisa giggled but chose to remain close-lipped about where they spent their honeymoon.

“If music be the food of love, play on, Give me excess of it. . .” ― William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night.

As promised, here are more highlights from the day. . .

 

Credits:

Photography: Walters Weddings

Event Design (Including Table, Venue Decor, Accessories): Leisa’s Closet

Flowers, Bouquets and Boutonnieres: Lesia’s Closet

 

 

 

Copyright. Karen Taylor. All rights reserved.

Portmore Woman Among Six Arrested for Scamming American retiree

scamA Jamaica Observer report yesterday identified Christiana Curtis, 22, customer service agent of 34 Coral Gable, Independence City in Portmore, St Catherine as one of six persons who was arrested in a police operation last week for lotto scamming.

Curtis is believed to be part of an island-wide syndicate operating out of Westmoreland and St James. According to a police report cited by the newspaper, the arrests were made during a series of operations carried out by the Counter-Terrorism and Investigation Branch (C-TOC) between January 3 and 9 in Westmoreland, St Catherine, and St James, following allegations that they defrauded a 56-year-old, retired United States citizen of over $3 million.”

The 22-year old and the other five who are from Westmoreland were charged under the Law Reform Act but were subsequently released on station bail. They are Landique Woodbourne, 25, of Cambridge, St James; Fabian Ramsey, 27; Viviene Duncan, 39; and Gideon Wright, 22, all of Lambs River in Westmoreland; and Danny Williams, 31 of Darliston district in the same parish.

They are scheduled to appear in the St James Parish Court on February 1.