Get that precious COVID-19 vaccineMonday, April 12, 2021
THE Ministry of Health's COVID-19 vaccine roll-0ut continues islandwide this week. Meanwhile, the anti-vaccine WhatsApp messages continue to make the rounds. Those of us who know of the agony of this disease should make a special effort to convince others to take it. Explain to them the “long COVID” condition, in which symptoms can persist for months.
Last Wednesday and Thursday saw a total of 30 COVID-19-related deaths. In a country of three million people, this is an alarming number. It has got to the point at which most of us know someone who has succumbed to the disease.
Teachers, immigration officers, workers in the hospitality industry, and now media workers are eligible for the vaccine. Thank goodness media colleague Dashan Hendricks is fully recovered, Dionne Jackson-Miller is recovering, while Dr Orville Taylor is struggling with this debilitating virus.
I keep hearing of the courtesy and kindness of our health workers at vaccination centres. A senior who was vaccinated at the Mona Ageing and Wellness Centre (MAWC) at The University of the West Indies (UWI) remarked on the keen attention paid to the seniors by Professor Denise Eldemire Shearer. I was not surprised, as she has sought relentlessly to protect our elderly.
The Ministry of Health's website ( www.moh.gov.jm) has an efficient registration system. Younger folks have been helping seniors to register, and the age eligibility has been lowered. Please assist a senior in getting the vaccine, whether by registering them or by giving them a lift to the clinic.
Teachers in grief
Day after day, her fellow teachers joined with the police in their search for Nattallie Dawkins, who had gone missing on March 30.
A video of her singing as she started a virtual class showed us a woman who had joy in teaching, having served the profession for over 20 years.
Her car was located — one of the thugs trying to make a quick cheap sale was killed. As a result of keen police action, four individuals are now in custody.
As we get news of so many people going missing, we are on edge about the safety of our family members. Let us try to link with friends when going on the road.
St Vincent volcano
We extend our sympathy to Caribbean neighbours in St Vincent, where nearly 15 per cent of their population — 16,000 people — have been dislocated by the terrifying La Soufrière volcano.
Residents are dealing with heavy ashfall as well as small hail-like stones. The ash cloud has travelled as far as Barbados, where the national airport had to be closed for a part of the weekend due to poor visibility.
Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves tearfully thanked neighbours in Grenada, as well as Antigua and Barbuda, for offering to take Vincentians into their homes.
Our own Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness has been in talks with Gonsalves offering our assistance.
Food For the Poor has airlifted emergency supplies to St Vincent for the evacuees and has been liaising with partners in Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, and St Lucia, who are housing the Vincentians. Donations for this cause can be sent via www.foodforthepoor.org/vincent.
Happy 100th, Lady Kay!
Kathleen “Kay” Wilson, the driving force behind the establishment of the Jamaica Women's Hockey Association, celebrated her 100th birthday last Monday, joined virtually by family members and friends worldwide. Her niece, Jamaican poet Christine Craig, sent us notes on her amazing life.
Wilson was herself a national hockey player from 1956-1966, playing in tournaments in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Jamaica. The national team travelled extensively and played in many regional and international tournaments.
For her services to the development of sports she was invested into the Order of Distinction in 1994.
Wilson was recently feted by the Hampton Old Girls' Association, celebrated as their oldest-living alumna. Happy Birthday to a spirited centenarian!
Goodbye, my friend
Jamaican master chef Colin Hylton passed away suddenly last week. His enthusiasm for his art took us on journeys of wondrous flavour. His Guilt Trip Restaurant was popular for his unending range of exquisite cakes. His culinary adventures were world-class and his joie de vivre contagious. Heaven must be a delicious place now.
We explored Norway with Hylton and fellow master chef Anthony Miller on their prize-winning trip from the Norwegian Seafood Council. In the rough seas of Saltsraumen, Hylton and Miller managed the boat on their own, caught the fish, and prepared triumphant dishes outdoors in a snowfall.
We miss you. Rest in peace, my friend.
Legendary, Joe Mahfood
The Food For the Poor family is mourning the passing of one of the organisation's co-founders, Joseph Mitchell “Joe” Mahfood. He was not only a remarkable philanthropist, but also an industrial pioneer, building with his brother Sam the Wisynco Group of Companies.
His son, William Mahfood, who is now chairman of the Wisynco Group, says he remembers his father's research and the long hours he put in to grow the company. Despite his entrepreneurial successes, William said his father always regarded as his crowning achievement the founding of Food For the Poor with his brothers Ferdinand, Sam, and Robin in Jamaica in 1982. The organisation has grown into one of the USA's biggest charities, serving 17 countries in the Caribbean and Central America.
The staff of Food For the Poor Jamaica remember his compassion for his fellow Jamaicans and shared his mantra: “The most useful asset of a person is not a head full of knowledge, but a heart full of love, with ears open to listen, and hands willing to help.”
May his beautiful soul rest in peace.
Prince Phillip dies at 99
As one would expect, there were all sorts of remarks on the messages of condolence sent to Queen Elizabeth II by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen and Prime Minister Andrew Holness on the passing of her husband for 74 years. It was the right and proper thing to do, whether we believe that Jamaica should become a republic and have our own head of State or not.
In 1966 when the prince attended the Commonwealth Games here, my sister Fran and I, mischievous teens, decided to call him. She dialled the number of his hotel and handed me the phone. I asked for the prince and was shocked when he took the call. I abruptly said, “Goodbye!” but he asked me my name and thanked me for my stuttered welcome to Jamaica.
Rest in peace, gentle Prince.
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