Exhilarating US inauguration day

Exhilarating US inauguration day

Jean Lowrie-Chin

Monday, January 25, 2021

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As we watched the swearing-in of US President Joseph Biden and history-making Vice-President Kamala Harris, we held our breath. After the attack on the country's Capitol just two weeks before, there was talk of holding the event indoors, but President Joe Biden declared, “I am not afraid,” insisting that he would not cower in the face of domestic terrorists.

Having watched that tragedy unfold; the attacks on police, the smashing of windows, the noose erected in the yard, and hearing the chants of “Hang Mike Pence!”, I did not exhale until I watched President Biden and his family, then Vice-President Harris and her family enter the building and saw the doors close behind them.

We were lifted by young US Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old African American, who sang her healing lines into the hearts of the millions of viewers worldwide:

“We did not feel prepared to be the heirs

of such a terrifying hour,

but within it we found the power

to author a new chapter.

To offer hope and laughter to ourselves.

So, while once we asked,

How could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?

Now we assert,

How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?”

We hung on her every word because The Hill We Climb, the title of her poem, is the hill every nation in this world must climb. We felt the fear and anguish of our American family because we are intrinsically connected, and it made us appreciate the vision of our fore parents, who established universal adult suffrage in Jamaica in 1944. We hope that Gorman's call and the victories of young Georgia senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff will encourage more young people to register to vote — a right that should never be undervalued.

When asked what her priority was, Harris answered, “To get to work.” And so the president and vice-president went straight to their desks to conduct the business of the nation. They discovered that the previous Administration had no plan for the millions of doses of the vaccine that were sitting in storage, but by Friday more vaccinations had been given in one day than ever before.

President Biden, in his inaugural speech, outlined the country's many challenges and called for unity of purpose:

“We can join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature.

For without unity there is no peace, only bitterness and fury.

No progress, only exhausting outrage.

No nation, only a state of chaos.”

In synchronicity, Gorman recited:

“We will not march back to what was,

but move to what shall be.

A country that is bruised but whole,

benevolent but bold,

fierce and free.”

We understand that it was US First Lady Dr Jill Biden who had heard a reading by the young poet and recommended her for the inauguration. What a masterstroke that was. This brilliant, eloquent, young black woman captured the world and erased — at least for those moments — the ugly, backward, bumbling of the previous racist occupant of the White House.

COVID-19 solutions

My friend Paula Kerr-Jarrett is hoping that Jamaica will begin using CommonPass soon. She says tourism in Aruba is now booming because their Government, led by Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes, have subscribed to this digital health pass, which, according to a report on the World Economic Forum website, “enables safer travel by allowing people to document their COVID-19 test and vaccination status on their mobile phone and share it in a privacy-preserving manner with airline staff and immigration officials”.

We understand from Kerr-Jarrett that this was developed by the non-profit organisation The CommonTrust Network, funded by Commons Project Foundation ( press@thecommonsproject.org). She believes that by registering for CommonPass, which is a free service, we could see faster recovery of our tourism industry.

She also shared positive experiences from the use of drug Ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19. Users have reported that by taking the drug three days in a row after getting a positive result, they were symptom-free. “This is a low-cost way of treating COVID,” she noted.

Kerr-Jarrett shared a report which noted, “Ivermectin has been used for more than 30 years for the treatment of several diseases. More than one million doses of the drug are administered daily, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Due to the low prevalence of adverse events with the use of this drug, Ivermectin is considered to have a good safety profile and its potential benefit in other diseases is currently under investigation. An in vitro study of Ivermectin in SARS-CoV-2 in Australia showed a significant reduction of viral load in infected cells. Subsequently, a descriptive study of 704 critical patients with COVID-19 showed a reduction in mortality, hospitalisation, and intensive care unit length of stay in those patients who received the drug.”

We do hope the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Health and Wellness will explore the benefits of CommonPass and treatment of COVID-19 with Ivermectin.

Thank you, Ambassador Bosch

Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica Josep Maria Bosch ended his tour of duty here last December. He and his wife, Teresa, embraced our culture and warmly shared theirs on memorable Spanish national days. They gave extensive support to the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation, sponsoring teachers of the Spanish language, declared as Jamaica's second language. Our thanks and very best wishes to Ambassador Bosch and his wife.


We are saddened at the passing of Rev Fr Easton Lee, colleagues in the advertising business Gurney Beckford and Ronnie Nasralla, and creative photographer Peter Ferguson.

We continue to hear Easton's voice from his engaging poetry readings and his mentees remember him for his affirmation. Playwright David Heron wrote: “He was one of the kindest, most generous and most supportive human beings I have ever known … an icon of mine who was kind enough to offer words of encouragement to a young playwright.” Condolence to his dear wife Jean and other family members.

I experienced Gurney Beckford's creativity and good humour as a young employee of the agency he led, Dunlop Corbin Compton. He was a strong leader. My sympathy to his dear wife Pam and other family members.

Ronnie Nasralla was the energetic manager of Byron Lee & the Dragonnaires and Toots & the Maytals, and was co-founder of NCM Advertising. In his book Lessons to Learn we discovered that Ronnie led the charge for people of colour to join the Liguanea Club, and assisted the Jamaica Federation of Musicians in ensuring legal protection for their members. Our sympathy to his beloved wife Rosie and other family members.

It was only a month ago that Peter Ferguson's wonderful book, Changemakers – 101 Portraits of Women in Jamaica, was published. It was the result of years of planning and the artist's creative shoots at his South Camp Road studio, a legacy for the ages. Gratitude to Peter and deep sympathy to his beloved Paula and other members of his family.



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