A week of lessons learned

A week of lessons learned

Jean Lowrie-Chin

Monday, April 15, 2019

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After his Fire Phone flopped, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said, “If you think that's a failure, we are working on much bigger failures right now. And I am not kidding. And some of them are going to make the Fire Phone look like a tiny little blip.” Bezos believes that failures are significant learning experiences.

Jamaica has not been short of such experiences. The People's National Party (PNP) is smarting over its loss in the Portland Eastern by-election, and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Government is having to take a sober look at the National Identification and Registration Act — popularly called NIDS Act — after Chief Justice Bryan Sykes announced that the Constitutional Court was unanimous in its decision to declare it unconstitutional.

“Opposition Leader and People's National Party (PNP) President Dr Peter Phillips is ripping into the media and pollsters, claiming they contributed to the party's loss in the Portland Eastern parliamentary by-election last week Thursday,” wrote the Jamaica Observer's Kimone Francis on Friday, April 12, 2019.

She quoted Phillips: “...When you calculate the political propaganda coming out of some sections of the media; when you calculate that poll seh we going lose by 20 points, some seh 10, some seh six, some seh it's climbing every day; and when you look at the result, you realise that it was just propaganda. [It was] pure, simple propaganda directed against the People's National Party and the candidate.”

It was refreshing, however, that the PNP's losing candidate Damion Crawford did not lose his sense of humour. After his defeat, he tweeted a photo of a crying baby and wrote, “Every time me wake and see say election day really gone.”

The case against NIDS was brought by PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson. In response to the chief justice's live-streamed announcement, Prime Minister Andrew Holness stated: “The Government is respectful of the court's ruling and will spend some time carefully reviewing the judgement, after which a more [comprehensive] response will be forthcoming. The Government would like to place on record its sincere gratitude to the full court panel, comprising Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, Justice David Batts and Justice Lisa Palmer Hamilton for their considered judgement.”

I must also to eat humble pie. Only last week this column was pushing NIDS without reading Robinson's argument. Another lesson learned. However, we do agree with Owen James' post on social media: “In the modern era when many countries are into artificial intelligence-oriented strategies to deal with crime and economic issues, I don't think Jamaica can totally ignore a NIDS-type regime. If some parts of NIDS are broken, let us fix them and move along.”

Respect is due to Julian Robinson.

Science rocks at St Catherine High

Students at St Catherine High lined the driveway for the arrival of their distinguished alumna, Member of Parliament Juliet Holness, last Wednesday. The occasion was the opening of the expanded and newly equipped science lab at the school, courtesy of the Digicel Foundation.

This is also the high school of her husband, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, as well as Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kingston Kenneth Richards. Other excellent graduates include media colleagues Dashan Hendricks and Dennis Brooks; school board Chairman Sharon Dale; Hugh Douse, founder of the talented Nexxus singing group; and Don Williams, CEO of CS Citi-Scape. Kudos Sister Mary Paschal for your seminal work in developing this great school.

“If we are to be the people of the future – the innovators and creators of the future technology,” said Juliet Holness, “then we have to start by training our students, and no better place to start than my alma mater, St Catherine High.”

Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Karl Samuda urged students to fully capitalise on the resources provided. Principal Marlon Campbell enthused, “Our students are full of exuberance and zeal at the sight of the laboratory in its completed state.”

When emcee Elon Parkinson announced that Head of Science Department Conrad Moore would give the vote of thanks, the audience erupted. And no wonder; Moore is a rock star of a science teacher. He gave a rousing vote of thanks backed by the talented St Catherine High School band. No doubt, science rocks at St Catherine High.

Farewell, Jean McIntosh

What a privilege it was to see Joyce Ann 'Jean' McIntosh's elegant journey as wife, mother, entrepreneur, philanthropist, worshipper, and lover of life. This inspiring leader — both in her capacity as co-founder and director of the McIntosh Bedding Company 55 years strong, and as a founding board member of the Stella Maris Foundation — brought her brilliance, wit and refreshing common sense to the organisations.

Peter Mais, the co-founder of the Stella Maris Foundation, recalls that McIntosh was “a caring contributor to the development of the foundation”. She shared her motherly love with children in the Grant's Pen area participating in Saturday activities at the foundation. She ensured that at the annual children's Christmas party everyone had a gift. Mais says that his lasting memory of McIntosh was that she was always available and accessible.

As a mother, McIntosh shared her joie de vivre with her lovely daughters, Stephanie and Annie. It warmed my heart to see them arriving at social events looking more like sisters than mother and daughters. It was a learning experience to watch her maternal mentorship of her daughters, guiding them to take their places as senior executives in the McIntosh organisation.

My deep sympathy to her husband Donald, and other family members, friends and the McIntosh Bedding Company team members. Rest in peace, unforgettable Jean.

Annual 'Gah San' Ceremony

Earlier this month, my husband Hubie and sister-in-law Doreen joined members of the Jamaican Chinese community to commemorate the Ching Ming Festival or 'Gah San' honouring the memory of their relatives interred at the Chinese Cemetery on Waltham Park Road. Hubie, who paid respect at his grandparents' graves, was impressed with the extensive renovation of the once-vandalised cemetery. Congratulations to the executive of the Chinese Benevolent Association (CBA) for the restoration of the location.

The committee for the Calvary Cemetery renovation is now facing a similar challenge, as the once-beautiful cemetery is in a dilapidated state. We hope to get guidance from CBA President Robert Hew as we face an uphill task.



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