Ruel Reid Better Tek Up Police Work

Two spelling systems are used for the Jamaican language below. The first, which I call ‘chaka-chaka’, is based on English spelling. The second, ‘prapa-prapa’, is the specialist system designed by the Jamaican linguist Frederic Cassidy. It has been updated by the Jamaican Language Unit at the University of the West Indies, Mona. After the two Jamaican versions, there’s an English translation.

 

CHAKA-CHAKA SPELLING

41HuQHM0IILKei Miller, one a fi wi top-ranking writer, win big prize inna April fi im novel Augustown. Same so him spell it. One word, one ‘t’, like how wi pronounce it. One Caribbean Media sponsor di prize: 10,000 US dollar! Di Bocas lit fest inna Trinidad & Tobago gi di prize to di best writer outa three category: story, poem an essay. Inna 2014, Miller did win first prize inna di essay category fi im book, Writing Down the Vision.

Inna Augustown, Miller still a write down di vision. An im sight di way Babylon system inna Jamaica fight down black people culture. Look how long teacher an police a tek set pon black people hair! If it no comb down flat-flat, it no civilise. It ha fi trim. Worse if a dreadlocks. Inna di first chapter a di novel, Ma Taffy a wait fi her grandson Kaia come home from school.

See di first sentence ya. An a judgement too! “Blind people hear and taste and smell what other people cannot, and what Ma Taffy smells on this early afternoon makes her sit up straight … . The smell is coming down John Golding Road right alongside the boy-child, something attached to him, like a spirit but not quite.”

 

‘DRY-EYED TRUTH’

 

 

Ma Taffy smell a ‘autoclaps’: “She asks her grandson in a careful and measured way, ‘Who has done this to you, boy? Tell me now.’ She asks it so calmly that Kaia too forgets to cry or blubber as he had been doing earlier. He reports the simple dry-eyed truth. ‘Is the teacher, Grandma. Is Mr Saint-Josephs who cut off my dreadlocks.'”

An a no Kaia one. Police arrest Ras Clarky fi nutten. An dem let im go without charge im. But not before dem cut off im dreadlocks. Oonoo know how long it tek fi grow one full head a locks? An wat locks mean to Rasta? An police dis cut off big man locks swips? Fi nutten? No, not fi nutten. Fi put Rasta inna dem place. Mek dem know seh dem a no smaddy.

Bob Marley gi strength to nuff Rastaman, Bongoman, Congoman, Binghiman an uman an pikni fi resist gainst di system:

“Keep your culture!

Don’t be afraid of the vulture!

Grow your dreadlock!

Don’t be afraid of the wolf pack!

Rastaman, live up!”

 

‘NOT HAIR POLICE’

 

thGleaner publish one article by Christopher Serju pon Friday, June 16 wid disya headline, ‘Not hair police – Ministry will still allow latitude with school grooming policy’. Ministry of Education a go lef di police work to di school dem. But all a di school dem no private. Dem can’t do weh dem feel like. Ministry supposen fi educate dem bout wa dem can an can’t do.

Hear wa Mr Saint-Josephs did tell di principal bout Kaia hair: “Dreadlocks! Like some little dirty African from the bush, and sitting right there in front of me, so brazen with his hairstyle. No, no, no! I will not tolerate it.” Ministry not supposen fi tolerate teacher lacka Saint-Josephs.

Inna one next article by Christopher Serju weh Gleaner publish pon Saturday, June 17, im report seh im ask one student, Alnast·zia Watson, bout wa Ruel Reid seh.  See di answer ya:  “‘We are really calling on the minister to intervene because you can’t leave it to the schools’ discretion to come up with these policies. Somebody (else) needs to review them,” Watson argued, adding that most of the sanctions are ridiculous.

“‘You can’t deny students the right to an education and lock them out of school for half an inch off the skirt. Oftentimes, some of them (teachers) go outside with tape measure to measure the skirt. If you need a tape measure to measure, then it couldn’t be that bad. So we do want the minister to intervene and for some amount of consultation with students because, when consultations are being made, they are made with parents. My mother and father aren’t the ones wearing the uniform. I am the one wearing it!'”  Ruel Reid better tek up di police work, if im know wat good fa im an di school pikni dem.

PRAPA-PRAPA SPELIN

 

BocasKei Miller, wan a fi wi tap-rangkin raita, win big praiz ina Iepril fi im novl Augustown. Siem so im spel it. Wan word, wan ‘t’, laik ou wi pronouns it. One Caribbean Media sponsa di praiz. 10,000 US dala! Di Bocas lit fest ina Chrinidad & Tubiego gi di praiz tu di bes raita outa 3 kyatigori: stuori, puoem an ese. Ina 2014, Miller did win fos praiz ina di ese kyatigori fi im buk, Writing Down the Vision.

 

Ina Augustown, Miller stil a rait dong di vishan. An im sait di wie Babilan sistim ina Jamieka fait dong blak piipl kolcha. Luk ou lang tiicha an poliis a tek set pan blak piipl ier! If it no kuom dong flat-flat, it no sivilaiz. It a fi chrim. Wos if a jredlaks. Ina di fos chapta a di novl, Ma Taffy a wiet fi ar grandson Kaia kom uom fram skuul.

Si di fos sentens ya. An a jojment tu! “Blind people hear and taste and smell what other people cannot, and what Ma Taffy smells on this early afternoon makes her sit up straight. … The smell is coming down John Golding Road right alongside the boy-child, something attached to him, like a spirit but not quite.”

 

‘DRY-EYED TRUTH’

 

Ma Taffy smel a ‘autoclaps’: “She asks her grandson in a careful and measured way, ‘Who has done this to you, boy? Tell me now.’ She asks it so calmly that Kaia too forgets to cry or blubber as he had been doing earlier. He reports the simple dry-eyed truth. ‘Is the teacher, Grandma. Is Mr Saint-Josephs who cut off my dreadlocks.'”

An a no Kaia wan. Poliis ares Ras Clarky fi notn. An dem let im go widout chaaj im. Bot nat bifuor dem kot aaf im jredlaks. Unu nuo ou lang it tek fi gruo wan ful ed a laks? An wat laks miin tu Rasta? An poliis dis kot aaf big man laks swips? Fi notn? Nuo, nat fi notn. Fi put Rasta ina dem plies. Mek dem nuo se dem a no smadi.

Bob Marley gi schrent tu nof Rastaman, Bongoman, Congoman, Binghiman an uman an pikni fi risis gens di sistim:

“Keep your culture!

Don’t be afraid of the vulture!

Grow your dreadlock!

Don’t be afraid of the wolf pack!

Rastaman, live up!”

 

‘NOT HAIR POLICE’

 

Gleaner poblish wan aatikl bai Christopher Serju pan Fraide, Juun 16 wid disya edlain, ‘Not hair police – Ministry will still allow latitude with school grooming policy’. Minischri a Edikieshan a go lef di poliis wok tu di skuul dem. Bot aal a di skuul dem no praivit. Dem kyaahn du we dem fiil laik. Minischri supuozn fi edikiet dem bout wa dem kyahn an kyaahn du.

intoleranceIer wa Mr Saint-Josephs did tel di principal bout Kaia ier: “Dreadlocks! Like some little dirty African from the bush, and sitting right there in front of me, so brazen with his hairstyle. No, no, no! I will not tolerate it.” Minischri nat sopuozn fi talariet tiicha laka Saint-Josephs.

Ina wan neks aatikl bai Christopher Serju we Gleaner poblish pan Satde, Juun 17, im ripuort se im aks wan styuudent, Alnast·zia Watson, bout wa Ruel Reid se.  Si di ansa ya:  “‘We are really calling on the minister to intervene because you can’t leave it to the schools’ discretion to come up with these policies. Somebody (else) needs to review them,” Watson argued, adding that most of the sanctions are ridiculous.

“‘You can’t deny students the right to an education and lock them out of school for half an inch off the skirt. Oftentimes, some of them (teachers) go outside with tape measure to measure the skirt. If you need a tape measure to measure, then it couldn’t be that bad. So we do want the minister to intervene and for some amount of consultation with students because, when consultations are being made, they are made with parents. My mother and father aren’t the ones wearing the uniform. I am the one wearing it!'”  Ruel Reid beta tek op di poliis wok, if im nuo wat gud fa im an di skuul pikni dem.

 

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

RUEL REID HAD  BETTER DO  POLICING

 

Kei-Miller-wins-700x400Kei Miller, one of our top-ranking writers, won a big prize in April for his novel Augustown. He spells it just like that. One word, one ‘t’, like how we pronounce it. One Caribbean Media sponsored the prize: 10,000 US dollar! The Bocas lit fest in Trinidad & Tobago awards the prize to the best writer out of three categories: fiction, poetry and non-fiction. In 2014, Miller won first prize in the non-fiction category for his book, Writing Down the Vision.

In Augustown, Miller is still writing down the vision. And he ‘sights’ the way Babylon system in Jamaica fights down black people’s culture. For so long, teachers and police have consistently attacked black people’s hair! If it’s not combed down flat, it’s not civilised. It has to be trimmed. Worse if it’s dreadlocks. In the first chapter of the novel, Ma Taffy is waiting for her grandson Kaia to come home from school.

Here’s the first sentence. And it’s a judgement too! “Blind people hear and taste and smell what other people cannot, and what Ma Taffy smells on this early afternoon makes her sit up straight … . The smell is coming down John Golding Road right alongside the boy-child, something attached to him, like a spirit but not quite.”

 

‘DRY-EYED TRUTH’

 

Ma Taffy smells an ‘autoclaps’: “She asks her grandson in a careful and measured way, ‘Who has done this to you, boy? Tell me now.’ She asks it so calmly that Kaia too forgets to cry or blubber as he had been doing earlier. He reports the simple dry-eyed truth. ‘Is the teacher, Grandma. Is Mr Saint-Josephs who cut off my dreadlocks.'”

And it’s not Kaia alone. The police arrest Ras Clarky for nothing. And they let him go without charging him. But not before cutting off his dreadlocks. You know how long it takes to grow a full head of locks? And what locks mean to Rasta? And the police cut off a grown man’s locks just like that? For nothing? No, not for nothing. To put Rasta in their place. Let them know they are subhuman.

bob+marley+dreadlocksBob Marley gives strength to many a Rastaman, Bongoman, Congoman, Binghiman and woman and child to resist against the system:

“Keep your culture!

Don’t be afraid of the vulture!

Grow your dreadlock!

Don’t be afraid of the wolf pack!

Rastaman, live up!”

 

‘NOT HAIR POLICE’

 

The Gleaner published an article by Christopher Serju on Friday, June 16 headlined, ‘Not hair police – Ministry will still allow latitude with school grooming policy’. The Ministry of Education is going to leave the policing to the schools. But all of the schools are not private. They can’t do what they feel like. The Ministry is supposed to educate them about what they can and can’t do.

Here’s what Mr Saint-Josephs told the principal about Kaia’s hair: “Dreadlocks! Like some little dirty African from the bush, and sitting right there in front of me, so brazen with his hairstyle. No, no, no! I will not tolerate it.” The Ministry should not tolerate teachers like Saint-Josephs.

In another article by Christopher Serju, published in the Gleaner on Saturday, June 17, the response of student, Alnast·zia Watson, to Ruel Reid’s statement is quoted:  “‘We are really calling on the minister to intervene because you can’t leave it to the schools’ discretion to come up with these policies. Somebody (else) needs to review them,” Watson argued, adding that most of the sanctions are ridiculous.

consult_3“‘You can’t deny students the right to an education and lock them out of school for half an inch off the skirt. Oftentimes, some of them (teachers) go outside with tape measure to measure the skirt. If you need a tape measure to measure, then it couldn’t be that bad. So we do want the minister to intervene and for some amount of consultation with students because, when consultations are being made, they are made with parents. My mother and father aren’t the ones wearing the uniform. I am the one wearing it!'”  Ruel Reid had better do policing, if he knows what’s good for him and the schoolchildren.

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‘Leggo Beast’ Tamed At School

vauxhill2

On May 30, three male teachers at Vauxhall High School allegedly held down a schoolboy against his will and forcibly assaulted him. No, it was not sexual exploitation. But it was certainly a demeaning abuse of power. The adults violently cut the child’s hair while he kicked and screamed in protest.  Why did these authority figures feel entitled to act in this shameful way?

I suppose they had determined that the student was a ‘leggo beast’ and it was their duty to tame him. But it is their own behaviour that is beastly. No adult should ever turn a child into an animal by robbing him of his dignity. Especially over a hairstyle!

Vauxhall High School has a dress policy that includes strict rules about how boys’ hair must be groomed. I gather that hair must be the same length all over the head. So no funky hairstyles are allowed. In addition, hair can’t be more than two inches high.

How did the powers that be arrive at that arbitrary figure? Why would another inch of hair not be acceptable? This regulation seems to be a direct attack on black hair, which grows up and out, not straight down. Is the two-inch rule equally applied to all kinds of hair?

BORN TROUBLEMAKER

I haven’t had a chance to talk to the student who was attacked by the very people who should have been protecting him at school. I would have liked to ask him what his hairstyle meant to him. I’m not assuming he has a grand philosophical reason for wanting his hair to grow past the two-inch limit.

Perhaps, the student was just plain unruly. I was told that he’s a bleacher and wears tight pants. As if those are clear signs that he’s a born troublemaker! But why did this young man feel so passionately about his hairstyle that he had to break the rules? I guess he’s a stylist for whom image is important. Why shouldn’t he be able to express his sense of style at school?

creative_hands_edit-960x480Students whose creativity is highly developed are inclined to be unruly. They are also likely to become the filmmakers, musicians, fashion designers, hair stylists, entertainment lawyers, etc, of the future. They need special care, not abuse. I think all high schools should identify creative students who can be allowed some freedom of expression.

Dress codes, for example, could be flexibly applied to these students. It is pure folly to cling to the superstition that wearing a school uniform and following all the grooming rules will guarantee academic achievement. In fact, all students could be allowed to dress casually one day per month. It just might enhance creativity.

SCHOOLS FOR THE ARTS

We keep talking about the creative industries as an essential component of economic development. But we don’t seem to understand that we have to nurture creativity. School should not be an institution that forces all students to fit into the same mould. There should be room for individuality.

It’s time for the Ministry of Education to establish schools for the arts that would allow creative students to learn in an environment that suits their temperament. There should be at least one school in each parish that would produce talented students, ready to contribute to national development through the creative industries.

Last Friday, I was fortunate to see the University Players’ brilliant production, ‘Garvey the Musical, Roots Reggae Rock’, written and directed by Michael Holgate. It was a special performance for students from Brooklyn College and The Queen’s School.

 

Garvey-The+Musical

Holgate, who is tutor-coordinator at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts, writes a mythic story. Garvey comes back to life and is alarmed to realise that black people still have deep-rooted issues with identity. Skin colour remains a perplexing issue as young black people say they hate black skin.

One of the most intriguing characters is Jonathan, who refuses to answer to that name. He prefers to be called Scrubs, for obvious reasons. He’s a committed bleacher and a DJ who is dying to ‘buss’ like his idol Vybz Kartel. And, by the way, I keep making the point that if there had been a recording studio at Calabar and if deejaying had been on the music curriculum, Adidja Palmer might not now be imprisoned in the role of Vybz Kartel. Instead of ‘sculling’ school to go to studio, he might have gone to university as well.

The conversations between Garvey and Scrubs are most entertaining. When Scrubs hears the story of Garvey’s two wives who were once best friends, he calls the national hero a “gyallis”. It’s a struggle for Scrubs to understand Garvey’s assertion of an ‘African’ identity. As a youth in Jamaica, Scrubs knows that Africa is a continent of shame. Eventually, he comes to understand Garvey’s message of race pride with the help of the ancestors.

Frederic Aurelien, a freshman student at Brooklyn College, told me that Garvey’s Pan-African vision was still relevant for Americans. And Amelia Smith, a grade nine student at Queen’s, said that Garvey’s message was applicable to her today. This inspiring play should tour the country as one of the premier events for Jamaica 55. And Garvey’s empowering message must again resound across the world: “Up, you mighty race, accomplish what you will!”

Unstylish Ejection From VIP Seat

StyleWeek+Logo+II

It all started with an email from our MP to the citizens’ association offering tickets to a StyleWeek event last Sunday. Gifts from politicians usually come with lots of strings attached. The exchange often goes like this: I’ll give you $5,000 wrapped up in a designer T-shirt and you’d better vote for me. Or else! But this wasn’t election season. So I took the MP’s email at face value:

“Complimentary tickets are available for FashionBlock. When: Sunday, May 28th 2017, starting at 8pm. Where: Knutsford Blvd. Please email me to let me know how many tickets you need. Thanks.” I didn’t have anything planned for that evening, so I decided to take up the offer. I was rather surprised to see on the ticket that admission was free.

A complimentary ticket is not quite the same as a free ticket. Usually, a complimentary ticket is given as a courtesy to attend a paid event. Not a free show. Getting a complimentary ticket for a free event from an MP was a lot like feeling obliged to be grateful that politicians are actually doing the job for which they are elected. And for which they are paid!

Anyhow, I put aside my reservations and headed to New Kingston. I parked at the lot at the corner of Barbados and St Lucia avenues, where some young men had a good hustle charging $200 for entry. I firmly pointed out the fact that this was a government parking lot, which should be free on a Sunday evening. They apologised, waved me in, and kept right on charging other patrons.

 

THE MORAL OF THE STORY

 

I went to the closest entrance to the Fashionblock event, at the corner of Knutsford Boulevard and Barbados Avenue. Unfortunately, I hadn’t read my complimentary ticket carefully enough. That entrance was only for VIPs. My free ticket said: “out barrier, restaurant side.” And it was standing room only.

Umbilical-Cord-Baby-Website-1200-x-683

Now I am not one of those people whose navel string is buried under a VIP tree. But there was no other seating. And I had no intention of standing up to watch “Jamaica’s Biggest Fashion Event Ever”. By the way, that tag line reminds me of Sean Spicer’s ‘covfefe’ declaration that Donald Trump’s inauguration crowd was the biggest ever. Period.

I asked if I could get a VIP ticket, and a nice young man went off to find out. He returned with a young woman who let me in and ushered me to a seat. But she didn’t give me a ticket. About half an hour later, before the show had even started, she came back and told me she was at risk of losing her job. He had broken the rules by putting me in the VIP section. So I had to go “out barrier”.

I asked if there was no one who could allow me to stay. She said no. The lady she would have to ask was not around. Earlier, Dewight Peters, who was putting on the show, had greeted me in passing. I don’t suppose the young woman thought she could ask him to give me a VIP ticket. She escorted me to the exit and I headed straight home.

This story has several morals: 1) beware of ‘freeness’ from politicians; 2) always read the fine print; 3) do not ask for and accept favours from powerless people; 4) know when to retreat; 5) always remember that where bones are not provided, dogs are not invited. In this instance: Where VIP tickets are not provided, certain people are not invited.

 

‘ARTS IN THE PARK’

 

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Earlier that day, I’d gone to Arts in the Park at Devon House. That was an excellent event for which neither a free nor a complimentary ticket was needed. It’s a pity it didn’t seem to have been well advertised. Lots of young artists were exhibiting their work and there was live music. A small exhibition from the JCDC art competition is at one of the shops. The main show is located at the Jamaica Conference Centre.

The National Gallery hosted a panel discussion on the Jamaica Biennial 2017, which closed that day in Kingston. The exhibition at Gallery West in MoBay goes on for another month. A very contentious issue came up. VIP artists are invited to exhibit. Less-important artists have to submit their work for evaluation. If they’re lucky, they get picked. Hopefully, this unfair system will soon be phased out. All artists should have an equal chance to be accepted or rejected.

From Devon House, I went to The Pantry on Dumfries Road, where the artists Philip and Marcia Henry were hosting ‘The Gathering’, an exhibition featuring masters like Alexander Cooper, George Rodney and Ireko Baker, as well as many younger artists. Philip’s Ambokele Vibration drummers and guest artists were in full flight. It was a beautiful marriage of art and music.

There is so much creative energy in Kingston: music, art, literature, fashion and a whole lot more! Last Monday, Jamaica’s first Centre of Gastronomy was launched at Devon House. This Friday, Caribbean Fashionweek starts at Villa Ronai in Stony Hill. With its lush sculpture gardens, the venue was a premier destination for cruise ship passengers coming into Kingston Harbour in the 1960s. In spite of our social and economic challenges, Kingston is a capital city. And not just for VIPs!

Taking Liberties With Marcus Garvey

Jamaican art critics can be very intolerant. Not just the professionals who arrogantly expect us to take as gospel their point of view. It’s also the amateurs who depend on the evidence of our own eyes to pass judgment about the value of art. Especially when it’s about public figures!

I remember the controversy over Christopher Gonzalez’s inventive sculpture of Bob Marley that the Government commissioned in 1981. Born in Kingston, Gonzalez was living in Atlanta. David Boxer, then chief curator at the National Gallery, was sent to check on the progress of the work. He immediately ‘sighted’ problems.

Bob-Marley-Statues-2

Bob was growing out of a tree root. Like a merman, the singer had no feet. Worst of all, the face looked nothing like Marley’s. When the sculpture arrived in Jamaica, angry reviewers comprehensively dissed it. They authoritatively declared, “Dat a no Bob.” The statue was a brilliant evocation of the spirit of Marley. But that’s not what the people wanted.

Neither did Bob’s family! Cedella Booker and Rita Marley insisted that the image was inappropriate. Edward Seaga, then prime minister, agreed. Alvin Marriott was commissioned to do a realistic sculpture, which stands (on feet) across from the National Stadium.

Gonzalez’s sculpture is now rooted at Island Village in Ocho Rios after languishing for many years in the National Gallery. It should be transplanted to The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. There it would inspire students to “be bright and out of order” – as a clever sign on the college campus advocates.

DEADLY REVIEWS

Two Fridays ago, a bust of Marcus Garvey, made by the renowned sculptor Raymond Watson, was unveiled at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona. The swift response of the amateur art critics was uncompromising: “Dat a no Marcus Garvey.” Some of the reviews I’ve heard are deadly: “Im look like im have cancer”; “It look like bees sting im pon im top lip”: “Im deh pon SlimFast”.

GarveyB20170523C

A Gleaner article by Paul Williams, published last Wednesday, records more responses: “‘Tek it dung,’ one woman said calmly. ‘That statue does not represent Marcus Garvey – that’s a fraud,’ pronounced an elderly Rasta, donning the colours of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). With photos of Garvey, and sometimes using expletives, he ranted until way after the formalities were over.”

Edward Seaga, a former distinguished fellow in the School for Graduate Studies and Research at the UWI, could have given valuable advice about the politics of commissioning public monuments. A student of anthropology, Seaga fully understands the power of symbols. He knows that Garvey is the embodiment of Black Power, not just for Rastafari but also for the black majority.

As minister of finance, Seaga played a leading role in bringing home Garvey’s remains from the UK in November 1964. That was an eloquent political statement. Seaga was also instrumental in ensuring that Marcus Garvey was declared Jamaica’s first national hero in 1969. I’m sure Seaga would empathise with those critics who are distressed by Raymond Watson’s representation of Garvey.

MOTHER MARIAMNE SAMAD

unknown-2The worst thing about the image is not that it doesn’t look like Garvey. Most of us haven’t seen Garvey in the flesh. Mother Mariamne Samad, who is 94, is the only person at the ceremony who actually met Garvey. She was five years old and she remembers being at the corner of 132nd Street and 5th Avenue in Harlem when Garvey briefly spoke to her.

Our images of Garvey have been mostly defined by photographs. We trust that they are accurate. But long before Instagram filtering, photos have been touched up, often to remove melanin. At the unveiling, Professor Rupert Lewis, eminent Garvey scholar, declared in a conciliatory tone, “There are many images of Garvey that you can get from his 52 years.”

True! Unfortunately, Raymond Watson’s image of Garvey reveals nothing of the authority, passion and power of more full-bodied representations of our national hero. I wouldn’t go as far as cancer. But Garvey seems poorly. His posture conveys passivity. He looks like a weakling. Who approved this diminished portrayal?

The bust should be replaced with an image that inspires unequivocal admiration of Garvey’s accomplishments as an illustrious pan-Africanist rallying the black world to affirm pride in race. Perhaps the CHASE Fund could support the commissioning of a new sculpture for UWI. And Watson’s could be donated to Liberty Hall: The Legacy of Marcus Garvey. It would take its rightful place among the many images of Garvey archived there.

Under the visionary leadership of Dr Donna McFarlane, director/curator of Liberty Hall, the interactive museum has recently been redesigned by the brilliant creative team, Art on The Loose, based in Chicago. Marcus Garvey’s life story is told in inspiring words, sounds and images. It’s a completely engaging multimedia experience.

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The best thing about the UWI monument is the Garvey quotation inscribed on its base: “What I write today may live with me, but when I die, my writing lives on; therefore, what you do or write must be so clear as to live on when you are gone, that others who may read it might get a clear conception of what you mean.”  The UWI needs a lucid monument to Marcus Garvey that portrays a clear conception of the meaning of the man. Perhaps, next time, it will be a full-scale statue.

FLOW Have Nerve A Raise Price

Two spelling systems are used for the Jamaican language below. The first, which I call ‘chaka-chaka’, is based on English spelling. The second, ‘prapa-prapa’, is the specialist system designed by the Jamaican linguist Frederic Cassidy. It has been updated by the Jamaican Language Unit at the University of the West Indies, Mona. After the two Jamaican versions, there’s an English translation.

CHAKA-CHAKA SPELLING

FLOW+2012+NEW+LOGOIt look like seh Garfield Sinclair lik im head. Im a di man in charge a FLOW Jamaica. Im no see seh di bigger boss dem fi Liberty Global, weh own FLOW, a gi im basket fi carry water? Seh dem waan mek more money offa wi. Di amount a customer weh a bawl bout FLOW bad service! An Liberty Global coulda a set fi wi, a plan fi raise price? No sah! Nutten couldn’t go so.

Mek mi tek dat back. Nutten shouldn’t go so. But dem have di handle an wi have di blade. So dem can do anyting dem waan. An nobody cyaan do nutten bout it. Yes, wi can switch to Digicel. Ih-ih? Oonu no hear seh Digicel owe so much money dem a look money fi borrow fi pay off di money dem owe? Debt top a debt. Digicel cyaan help demself, much more wi. Dem a raise fi dem price to. Watch out! No better pork; no better barrel.

Mi waan know wa Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) a do bout FLOW an Digicel. An by di way, mi no work fi OUR. Mi tired fi people a email mi a complain bout FLOW an Digicel. All mi can do a write bout it. Oonu fi email OUR. An call dem. An carry on bad. Oonu fi go demonstrate outside a OUR office. Mek dem know seh oonu serious. Oonu waan justice!

Hear wa smaddy email an tell mi last week. Im seh FLOW gi im bout 2 week notice seh dem a go raise dem phone rate from $2.99 to $3.99. Digicel gi im 2 day notice seh dem a go raise fi dem rate from $2.95 to $3.95. Oonu see seh FLOW an Digicel a sing di same Sankey!

 

MI NO SORRY FI DEM

 

Den ascorden to one Gleaner article weh publish pon May 17, ‘FLOW Jamaica hikes cable rates amid losses’. FLOW lost 533 million dollar fi di first three month a disya year. Mi no know a weh dem go put down dat deh whole heap a money careless mek dem go lost di whole a it. Mi no sorry fi dem. A wi mi sorry fa. FLOW a depend pon wi fi gi dem back all a di money weh dem lost. Anyting coulda go so? A no wi response.

late-show-stephen-colbert

Mek mi tell oonu bout fi mi FLOW cable service. Mi cyaan even get TVJ! Most a di programme dem mi waan watch off di air. Yu see all Stephen Colbert show. Dat a one wicked comedy show. A pure politics im deal wid. When im done wid di poppyshow weh a gwaan eena Merica, yu weak. Talk bout tek bad tings mek joke! Dat deh channel, 123, gawn. Mi ha fi a wait so til next morning fi ketch Colbert pon di Internet.

An a no like seh FLOW a cut dem price fi mek up fi all a di channel dem weh gawn. Dem a raise di price. Dem no ha no conscience. John Crow nyam it out. So now, wi ha fi go pay more fi less? If FLOW tink seh dem a lost money now, mek dem wait so til wi go pon strike an stop buy dem bandooloo cable service. A den dem a go lost money. Mi can get TVJ fi nutten. Mek FLOW gweh! Garry Sinclair better tell di higher heads seh wi tired a di advantage tecking. FLOW ha fi do better dan dis. Or wi go a block dem up!

 

PRAPA-PRAPA SPELIN

 

It luk laik se Garfield Sinclair lik im ed. Im a di man in chaaj a FLOW Jamaica. Im no si se di biga baas dem fi Liberty Global, we uon FLOW, a gi im baaskit fi kyari waata? Se dem waahn mek muor moni aafa wi. Di amount a kostama we a baal bout FLOW bad sorvis! An Liberty Global kuda a set fi wi, a plan fi riez prais? Nuo sa! Notn kudn go so.

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Mek mi tek dat bak. Notn shudn go so. Bot dem av di angl an wi av di blied. So dem kyahn du eniting dem waahn. An nobadi kyaahn du notn bout it. Yes, wi kyahn swich tu Digicel. Ihn-ihn? Unu no ier se Digicel uo so moch moni, dem a luk moni fi bara fi pie aaf di moni dem uo? Det tap a det. Digicel kyaahn elp demself, moch muor wi. Dem a riez fi dem prais tu. Wach out! No beta puok; no beta baril.

Mi waahn nuo wa Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) a du bout FLOW an Digicel. An bai di wie, mi no wok fi di OUR. Mi taiyad fi piipl a iimiel mi a komplien bout FLOW an Digicel. Aal mi kyahn du a rait bout it. Unu fi iimiel OUR. An kaal dem. An kyari aan bad. Unu fi go demanschriet outsaid a OUR afis. Mek dem nuo se unu siiriyos. Unu waahn jostis!

Ier wa smadi iimiel an tel mi laas wiik. Im se FLOW gi im bout 2 wiik notis se dem a go riez dem fuon riet from $2.99 to $3.99. Digicel gi im 2 die notis se dem a go riez fi dem riet fram $2.95 tu $3.95. Unu si se FLOW an Digicel a sing di siem Sankey!

 

MI NO SARI FI DEM

 

Den azkaadn tu wan Gleaner aatikl we poblish pan Mie 17, ‘FLOW Jamaica hikes cable rates amid losses’. FLOW laas 533 milyan dala fi di fos chrii mont a disya ier. Mi no nuo a we dem go put dong dat de uol iip a moni kielis mek dem go laas di uol a it. Mi no sari fi dem. A wi mi sari fa. FLOW a dipen pan wi fi gi dem bak aal a di moni we dem laas. Enting kuda go so? A no wi rispans.

tvjMek mi tel unu bout fi mi FLOW kiebl sorvis. Mi kyaahn iivn get TVJ! Muos a di pruogram dem mi waahn wach aaf di ier. Yu si aal Stephen Colbert shuo. Dat a wan wikid kamidi shuo. A pyuur palitiks im diil wid. Wen im don wid di papishuo we a gwaahn iina Merika, yu wiik. Taak bout tek bad tings mek juok! Dat de chanel, 123, gaan. Mi a fi a wiet so til neks maanin fi kech Colbert shuo pan di Intanet.

An a no laik se FLOW a kot dem prais fi mek op fi aal a di chanel dem we gaan. Dem a riez di prais. Dem no a no kanshens. Jangkro nyam it out. So nou, wi a fi go pie muor fi les? If FLOW tingk se dem a laas moni nou, mek dem wiet so til wi go pan schraik an stap bai dem banduulu kiebl sorvis. A den dem a go laas moni. Mi kyan get TVJ fi notn. Mek FLOW gwe! Garry Sinclair beta tel di aiya edz se wi taiyad a di advaantij tekin. FLOW a fi du beta dan dis. Aar wi a go blak dem op!

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

FLOW Has Nerve To Raise Prices

It seems as if Garfield Sinclair isn’t thinking straight.  He’s the man in charge of FLOW Jamaica. Can’t he see that his superiors at Liberty Global, who own FLOW, are asking him to do the impossible? Insisting that they want to make more off us.  There are so many customers complaining about FLOW’s bad service! And Liberty Global could actually be targetting us for a price increase? No sir! That simply couldn’t be true.

Let me take that back. That shouldn’t be true. But they have the handle and we have the blade. So they can do whatever they want. An nobody can do a thing about it. Yes, we can switch to Digicel. Really? Haven’t you heard that  Digicel is so deep in debt they’re trying to borrow more money to pay off their debts?   Debt on top of debt. Digicel can’t help themselves, let alone us. They are raising prices too. Watch out! We’re stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea.

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I’d like to know what the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) is doing bout FLOW and Digicel. And by the way, I don’t work for the OUR. I’m tired of getting emails  complaining about FLOW and Digicel. All I can do is write about it. You all have to email the OUR. And call them. And make a lot of noise. And demonstrate outside the OUR office. Let them know you’re serious. You want justice!

Here’s an email I got last week. The writer said FLOW gave him  about 2 weeks notice that  the phone rate was going to be raised from $2.99 to $3.99. Digicel gave him 2 days notice that their rate was going up from $2.95 to $3.95. You can see that FLOW and Digicel are singing the same tune!

 

I’M NOT SORRY FOR THEM

 

Then according to a Gleaner article published on May 17, ‘FLOW Jamaica hikes cable rates amid losses’. FLOW lost 533 million dollars in the first quarter of this year. I don’t know where they could have carelessly placed all that money so that they’ve lost all of it. I’m not sorry for them. I’m sorry for us. FLOW is depending on us to get back all the money they’ve  lost. How can that be? We’re not responsible.

Let me tell you about my FLOW cable service. I can’t even get TVJ! Most of the programmes I want to watch are off the air. For example, the Stephen Colbert show. That’s a  wicked comedy.  He deals with just politics. When he’s done with all the nonsense that’s going on in the U.S, you’re weak. Talk about making fun of a bad situation! That channel, 123, gone. I have to wait until the next morning to catch Colbert on the Internet.

2012021556no_to_conscience-crAnd FLOW isn’t giving price cuts to compensate for all the missing channels. They’re hiking prices. They  have no conscience.  It’s completely eaten away. So now, we have to pay more for less? If FLOW thinks they’re losing money now, let them wait  until we go on strike and stop buying their erratic cable service. That’s when they’re going to lose money. I can get TVJ for free. Later for FLOW! Garry Sinclair had better tell his bosses that we’re tired of being exploited. FLOW has to do better than this. Or we’re going to block them up!

 

What’s Sexy For The Goose?

The victory of Emmanuel Macron, president of France, is not just about saving his country from the hateful politics of Marine Le Pen and her far-right nationalists. It’s also a celebration of sexual love that decisively penetrates conventional barriers of respectability.

Macron’s wife, Brigitte, is 25 years his senior. She could actually be his grandmother if she grew up in certain societies where adolescent girls get married at a very tender age. But that’s not her culture. So let’s say she could be Macron’s mother. This became an issue in the French election campaign.

It was even rumoured that Macron must be gay to have a wife so much older than himself. She could only be his cover, not his real-real lover. Macron addressed the matter frontally in an interview on Le Parisien TV. He dismissed the speculation about his sexuality as rampant homophobia. The French? Homophobic? I thought Jamaicans, especially our DJs, had the monopoly on homophobia.

Brigitte-Macron-Emmanuel-WifeMacron also described the obsession with his wife’s age as pure misogyny.  If his wife had been 20 years his junior, it would not have been remarkable. The age difference between Brigitte and Emmanuel Macron is exactly the same as that between Melania and Donald Trump. But this hasn’t been an issue for them. I suppose there have been so many revealing distractions that age is a minor matter.

It is true that Brigitte and Emmanuel met in delicate circumstances. He was only 15 and she was his drama tutor at school. It’s not clear whether or not the romance started right away. In any case, the age of consent in France is 15. The affair would have been perfectly legal. But Brigitte was married.

What’s good for the gander is definitely not good for the goose. Married men have affairs all the time. It’s not a big deal for them, it seems. Why are men and women held to such different sexual standards? It appears as if women are not supposed to enjoy sex. Why should women settle for doddering old men? Why shouldn’t we marry hot young men? Who makes up the rules?

SERMON ON THE MOUND

Emmanuel Macron is quite right. It’s prejudice against women, pure and simple, that traps us in our ‘rightful’ place. In the kitchen! And the conditioning starts very early with all those tiny household appliances girls get as Christmas presents.

ge-mothers-day-adThe stereotyping continues right through life. On Mother’s Day, and I’m alarmed that so many men seem to think that women will shiver in delight if they’re given a fridge or a stove. Those are household appliances. They’re not personal toys. Why not give the woman an appliance she can enjoy in the bedroom, the other place in which she’s often trapped?

Which brings me to Ishawna’s sermon on the mound: the mons Venus. I know that the description of Ishawna’s dancehall lyrics as a sermon will seem sacrilegious to many pious readers. And the echoes of the biblical Sermon on the Mount will be even more upsetting. As Ishawna says about her own song, “Nuff ignorant people a go cuss this.”

But the original meaning of ‘sermon’ is not exclusively religious. Technically, what we now call a ‘sermon’ should be more precisely described as a ‘religious sermon’. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, ‘sermon’ comes from the Latin ‘sermonem’. It means ‘continued speech, conversation; common talk, rumour; learned talk, discourse; manner of speaking, literary style’. Originally, a sermon was ‘a stringing together of words’. Much like dancehall lyrics!

EQUAL RIGHTS

Ishawna-9Like many a Christian parson, Ishawna has a burden on her heart. It’s the very same issue that annoys Emmanuel Macron: unequal gender relations. And Ishawna expresses herself most passionately in her decidedly secular sermon. Admittedly, her sexually explicit stringing together of words cannot possibly pass the scrutiny of the Broadcasting Commission. Bleeping can’t help this one. Nothing much would be left.

But Ishawna also uses the occasional clever metaphor. The mouth of the Pepsi bottle is the mound and the lubricant produced by the aroused woman is “bag juice”. I was amused to learn recently that literal bag juice is also called “saline”. Typical Jamaican wit! After all, it does rehydrate. Then it struck me that men who sell bag juice may now start to be worried about the feminisation of their product. What a thing!

Once you get past the X-rated lyrics, the moral of Ishawna’s message is persuasive. Reciprocity in sexual relationships is the principle she advocates. And this extends outside the bedroom into the kitchen. Ishawna asserts that she’s literally eating properly, highlighting the benefits of pineapple juice. And she insists that her sexual partner must also be physically fit.

Naturally, male DJs have responded to Equal Rights. Kip Rich categorically states, “Mi done wid bag juice; mi no waan see no Pepsi.” Does “done” mean that Kip Rich used to enjoy bag juice? If not, that’s quite a slip of the lip.

Like Ishawna, Kip Rich promotes equal rights. He doesn’t pressure his partner to perform certain sexual acts because he’s not going to return the favour. And he advises men to eat healthily so they can function efficiently.

Instead of condemning dancehall culture, in general, and Ishawna’s sermon, in particular, we should all take heed. As the Bible says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

We Are To Pay For Trump’s Wall?

swine-flu-h1n11

HR 1813 is not the name of a deadly virus like H1N1. It’s the Border Wall Funding Act 2017. Republican Congressman Mike Rogers from Alabama and eight of his colleagues introduced the act on March 30. If approved, it would be as lethal as swine flu. The act would impose a two per cent tax on all remittances from the US to Latin America and the Caribbean. Tax evaders could face up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Jamaica is listed among the foreign countries to which the law would apply. But not Trinidad and Tobago. They’re not on the map? How we get mixed up in funding Trump’s wall? It’s a clear case of ‘cyaan ketch Kwaku, yu ketch im shut’. Donald Trump promised his supporters that Mexico would pay for the wall. It seems as if it never occurred to him that the Mexicans would kiss dem teeth and tell him to go to hell.

NBC’s comedy show Saturday Night Live did a clever skit on February 4 in which Trump calls the Mexican president, Enrique Pena Nieto. Taking on the role of a scammer, Trump goes straight for the kill: “Congratulations! You’ve just won a free cruise for two to Hawaii. We just need your country’s credit card number.” Trump is definitely not as successful as our MoBay experts. Pena Nieto immediately recognises his voice and mockingly says, “We’re not paying for the wall, Donald.” And hangs up.

Fun and joke aside, Trump now seems to realise that he can’t force the Mexicans to pay for his wall. So he tried to get American taxpayers to foot the bill. But Trump couldn’t muster enough support from even Republicans to get the wall in the Budget. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer sums up Trump’s dilemma this way in a Washington Post article published on May 1: “Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate were closer to one another than Republicans were to Donald Trump.”

REMITTANCE MULES

Congressman Mike Rogers and his posse of eight have broadened the search for sacrificial victims. It’s all of Latin America and the Caribbean that must now pay for the wall. It’s a lunatic proposition. There is no rational basis for it. Why should hard-working American citizens and legal immigrants be taxed to send remittances abroad? Even illegal immigrants should not be taxed. They already pay taxes all the time on goods and services. A two per cent tax might sound like nothing to rich people like Donald Trump who are ‘smart’ enough to evade taxation. But it’s a huge burden on the poor.

Furthermore, the proposed tax is counterproductive. By reducing the amount of money sent abroad, the tax would actually increase the likelihood that new migrants would try to get into the US to make money for themselves. Doesn’t it occur to the anti-immigration brigade that it would it make more sense to support potential immigrants outside the country with untaxed remittances? Then, in this unconscionable scheme, remittance companies would be paid five per cent of the new taxes they collect to cover their administrative costs. That’s on top of their own fee for doing the transfer.

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As one of my witty friends says, if the act is passed, a specialist job category would emerge: remittance mules. They would join the band of operatives who are trafficking illegal money across the world. Except that this trafficking would now be in perfectly legal money that the US government would have wickedly turned into contraband as a consequence of the inhumane remittance tax.

FAKE NEWS

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The headline of a New York Times article published on February 6, 2017 tells a complicated story. I suppose Donald Trump would say it’s fake news: ‘California Farmers Backed Trump, but Now Fear Losing Field Workers’. It’s a contradiction that makes perfectly good sense. Vote for Trump and cut off your nose to spite your face: “‘If you only have legal labor, certain parts of this industry and this region will not exist,’ said Harold McClarty, a fourth-generation farmer in Kingsburg whose operation grows, packs and ships peaches, plums and grapes throughout the country. ‘If we sent all these people back, it would be a total disaster.'”

Despite all the evidence that Trump’s wall will not stop illegal immigration, he simply refuses to abandon his fantasy. So the petitions keep swirling on the Internet to defeat his plan. The latest I’ve seen is an appeal to the Caterpillar company: “US President Donald Trump is about to take the next big step to make his 1,600km (1,000-mile) concrete wall along the US-Mexican border a reality. And he wants Caterpillar Inc, one of the world’s biggest construction equipment manufacturers, to help build it. Most of the world already sees this wall for what it is: a racist waste of resources and an international symbol of hate. With a majority of Americans against Trump’s wall, we think Caterpillar ought to reconsider the business opportunity.” Will they?

Even legal farm workers from the Caribbean would be trapped behind Trump’s wall. They would be caught in the remittance-tax scam. Caribbean governments must stand up to defend our citizens against exploitation. CARICOM must join with our Latin American counterparts to fight the Border Wall Funding Act. Like it or not, the economies of the region depend on remittances. It’s a matter of life and death.