Columns

A 'Bold' morning at King's House

Jean LOWRIE-CHIN

Monday, March 17, 2014    

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LET the world know that there are resourceful, courageous and ethical Jamaicans who are investing in their country and providing employment. Eight new manufacturers are reminding us that all is not lost with Jamaica. Every other year, the National Bakery team, led by Chairman Butch Hendrickson, sets out to select 'Bold Ones of manufacturing: Jamaicans who have created new companies which manufacture products from indigenous material, employ at least five persons and are tax compliant.

Continental Baking Company, owners of National, then invests $30 million in building comprehensive advertising campaigns for these ingenious 'Bold Ones' -- media ads, documentaries, a fully outfitted display area at Expo Jamaica, and a mobile campaign.

The third Bold Ones mobile campaign was unveiled by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen and Lady Allen at King's House last Friday. You will be seeing National's bread trucks sporting brilliant artwork of these manufacturers. Standing proudly was also a truck dedicated to the "I Believe Initiative" of the GG and his wife -- a positive programme that is action-packed with engagements, Wi-Fi provisions for students, and attractive tertiary education scholarships.

An impressed Sir Patrick paused to speak to each of the Bold Ones and lauded Continental Baking Company for looking beyond their own interests to those of their fellow citizens. He announced that the Bold Ones campaign will receive the governor general's Seal of Excellence which they can now carry on their stationery and promotional material.

National Bakery's 2014 Bold Ones are:

* Bartley's, owned by Lacey Bartley, makers of wooden furniture and accessories

* Dorrette Ubanks' D'NexStep, which produces leather goods

* Grace Foster-Reid's EcoFarms, producers of Jamaica's first mead (honey wine)

* Racquell Brown's Irie Roc, maker of beauty products

* Howard Coxe's Journey's End, maker of wines

* Devon and Nayana Williams' Lifespan, bottlers of spring water

* Lincoln's, owned by Lincoln Gordon, producers of sauces, cereals, teas, and specialty flours

* Sandra McLeish's Springvale, makers of OMD Dressings

As our relatives abroad become disheartened with the negative news coming out of Jamaica, let us hope that our media colleagues will find the stories of these and many other valiant citizens more newsworthy.

Jamaica's trial

As we followed the unfolding of Friday's drama of the Vybz Kartel et al verdict on Twitter, we were concerned about those confused souls -- the shouting masses who had gathered behind police barriers in support of the dancehall-gangster character.

Even as we were in our various places of work pontificating on the sad fact that a musician with potential had gone down a dangerous road, these huddled masses obviously had nothing constructive to do -- and the whole day in which to do it.

We see similar crowds at various political gatherings and wonder if they are conveniently fobbed off to gang leaders until another rent-a-crowd is needed for the next campaign. If the teachings of National Hero Marcus Garvey had become a part of the school curriculum decades ago, such values as dignity and diligence would have been second nature to our people. Clearly our leaders and policymakers have dropped the ball. Hopefully, the sickening details of this trial will focus us wonderfully on the healing of our wounded nation.

Instead of nurturing our children, they are being used and abused, immersed in violent and demeaning lyrics into the wee hours instead of resting their fragile bodies. My friend Cecile Jarrett wrote a poignant poem, Where is the village?, in an appeal to do better for our young ones:

I see a lickle girl

A dodge from a Don

In dis village

Weh a raise wi child

No, Mammie, no

Leggo mi han

Nuh tek mi to such a big, big man...

We are the village to raise the child...

Come with respect

Come with strength

Come with your will

Come! ...build the village.

Senator Duncan-Price bats for gender balance

Extensive research shows that a gender balance in governance benefits nations and corporations. Senator Imani Duncan-Price, in her address to the Senate on March 7, 2014, noted, "...studies published by Forbes magazine and Catalyst (a research NGO) in 2011 indicate that companies with a higher number of women on their boards had a '53 per cent higher return on equity, 66 per cent higher return on invested capital, and 42 per cent higher return on sales'.

"According to the current data for 2014," she noted in Jamaica's case, "women now represent a mere 12.7 per cent of the members of Parliament, 20 per cent of the Cabinet, and 28.6 per cent of the Senate". The senator made it clear that she is not advocating any sort of takeover by women. She recommended "a gender neutral quota system for the Senate and for the candidate slate of political parties which ultimately results in the gender composition of MPs in the Lower House. Within this frame, neither gender would fill more than 60 per cent nor less than 40 per cent of the appointed or elected positions in either the Senate or the House of Representatives".

Therese Turner-Jones, Inter-American Development Bank Country Representative for Jamaica, underlined the importance of gender balance when she addressed a Women's Leadership Initiative function last week. She pointed out that, while women make 70 per cent of consumption decisions, only nine per cent are in global boardrooms. She said that just to 'lean in' as suggested by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in her book of the same title, is not enough -- policies are required to support this.

She encouraged women to do more networking and to sponsor, not just mentor, promising young women to become leaders.

Michael 'Tony' Pickersgill -- a life of excellence

We can learn so much from the life of Michael Anthony 'Tony' Pickersgill, a gentleman whose hallmark was excellence from his school days at his beloved Clarendon College, which he later served as chairman. It was there that he and his beloved Fay (née Nam) fell in love and became one of Jamaica's most admired couples. It was heart-rending to see the pain of loss in his family and friends, yet we left edified by their remembrances. Tony Pickersgill was the ultimate family man and patriot; may we emulate his values. Our condolence to his dear Fay, his two beautiful daughters, Shakira and Taryn, his brother Minister Robert Pickersgill, and other family members.

lowriechin@aim.com

www.lowrie-chin.blogspot.com

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