Doing good on the Sabbath


Monday, June 11, 2018

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It was a lovely morning, last Saturday, when scores gathered at the entrance of the Police Officers' Club on Hope Road for the Law Enforcement Torch Run. This event is held worldwide by members of the security forces to raise funds for their countries' Special Olympians. We can be proud that Jamaica was the first country outside of the US to start the torch run several decades ago.

One of my favourite people in the world, Lorna Bell, organised her Special Olympians to pass the torch to our Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson. It was also great to catch up with Assistant Commissioner Steve McGregor, who has been lauded by this column for his leadership in community policing, and to learn that Deputy Superintendent Cosford Cole continues to farm watermelons each year, donating his sales to the torch run. If only all our police officers could follow their example.

On arriving near the Hope Road/Kingsway intersection, journalist Kemesha Kelly crossed over to us to explain that she had been parked on Kingsway for over half an hour because a police officer said he could not move the barrier for her to cross over to turn on Phoenix Avenue. Further, there was a nurse whose car had also been stopped at the barrier, who needed to just literally cross the street to start her workday at Andrews Memorial Hospital. Gordon Swaby of EduFocal was also stuck in the line, and I learned that his request was met with an insult from the said young officer. This is the type of attitude that gives the Jamaica Constabulary Force a bad name.

At this point, I figured only God could help us, so I made my case.

Me: Sir, God blessed you with the power of discretion, would you please just use it allow these good people to go their way?

Young Officer: I have my orders and I must stick to the rules.

Me: But, Sir, Jesus Himself taught us that sometimes you have to bend the rules. Don't you remember when Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath and answered his critics? And, actually, today is the Sabbath.

This stirred something in him, because he, who had been talking non-stop, paused thoughtfully and then finally signalled that the barriers be moved.

Meanwhile, heartiest congratulations go out to those caring police officers who, year after year, volunteer their time and other resources to raise funds for our Special Olympians.

Calabash was 'lit'!

When we told members of our seniors group, Caribbean Community of Retired Persons, that we were having a bus trip to Calabash, we had to lay on a second bus. Such is the magic of this Caribbean Literary Festival in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth, founded by Colin Channer in 2001 with the support of two stalwarts, Kwame Dawes and producer Justine Henzell.

Four well-chosen readers started on Sunday, the final day of Calabash, with excerpts from The Arrivants by Kamau Brathwaite — Isis Semaj-Hall, Winsome Hudson, Linton Kwesi Johnson, and Alwyn Scott. The open mic session had great hits and a few misses. Emcee Carolyn Cooper managed to control the long-winded ones with good humour and offered to post poems on her new blog. I am looking forward to that as I would love to revisit some of the excellent pieces.

The grand finale of the 'Tribute to Don Drummond' had us on our feet. The Calabash Ensemble, featuring Wayne Armond, Ibo Cooper and Steve Golding, hit all the right notes with a treasury of Drummond, with Bob Marley mixed in for good measure. Great going, Team Calabash!

Dave Rodney honoured

Dave Rodney received the prestigious Marcia Vickery-Wallace 2018 Memorial Award for Excellence in travel journalism at the Caribbean Tourism Awards held at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel last Thursday. Vickery-Wallace was a former editor at Brides magazine.

Each year the Jamaica Tourist Board, in conjunction with the Caribbean Tourism Organization, dedicates an award to a journalist who has followed in Vickery-Wallace's footsteps with the same dedication for promoting the Caribbean region.

The cordial Rodney is a multilingual, trailblazing media-marketing consultant, TV host, author, and freelance writer who is co-president of Images LLC. The former Ardenne head boy and teacher of French has regularly orchestrated network television promotional opportunities for Jamaica and the Caribbean and creating brand awareness, and is increasing sales for several high-profile companies.

He has also anchored several high-profile international media-driven events in Jamaica. Among his innovations are the creation of a one-hour reggae programme in French that quickly became syndicated in 11 markets in Quebec, Canada.

The University of the West Indies graduate and Sorbonne postgrad student served on the board of the National Gallery of Jamaica, becoming at the time its youngest member, and pioneered the first dancehall signing to a US major label through Atlantic Records as far back as 1988.

Rodney has also pushed relentlessly for the promotion of overseas-based Jamaican authors. He is himself the author of a book on pop sensation Usher (Rosen Publishing Inc, New York), and he has also written much of the Jamaica Tourist Board's promotional brochures.

Congratulations, my generous brother-friend Dave!

Mark Connolly leaving

As country manager for UNICEF for the past five years, Mark Connolly has been the untiring defender of children. He continues to study and cite statistics to wake up our nation, as well as celebrate young achievers.

He has travelled the length and breadth of Jamaica leading a dynamic programme to reach thousands of primary school children.

In the area of special needs, Connolly invited the Digicel Foundation to partner in the registration of hundreds of disabled Jamaicans, thereby giving them access to special benefits provided by the Government. Mark somehow manages to cover multiple engagements in a day — I cannot recall him missing any Special Olympics event.

Connolly has the gift of connecting and motivating people from all walks of life, creating long-lasting synergies.

As he takes up his new post in Honduras, we thank him and wish him well in his quest to protect and uplift the world's children.

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