Picture courtesy of Fahad Martin Pinto
Picture courtesy of Fahad Martin Pinto
Picture courtesy of Fahad Martin Pinto
Picture courtesy of Fahad Martin Pinto
Picture courtesy of Fahad Martin Pinto

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Letter from Jamaica’s Minister of Justice

Happy 50th Anniversary of Independence Jamaica

I remember standing on the roof of our house on Tankerville Avenue… – across from the National Stadium – and up the road from Sir Alexander Bustamante’s house…that night, the Union Jack was lowered and the black green and gold hoisted. My parents and their friends were excited. The next day at school we got miniature ‘copper’ cups with the coat of arms…and a miniature of the black green and gold. With much pride and aplomb we walked tall that day waving our miniature flags…knowing something special happened…but ignorant of the gravity of the occasion …little did we know then, that Aug. 6, 1962…was a defining moment in our country’s history…that would forever change our lives. So who were we? We were the hope and future generation…the hope of a country that was about to unleash its strength, power, potential and positive vibrations…unto the world….we were the children of the newly independent nation of Jamaica.

Fifty years goes by fast. As we celebrate Jamaica’s Golden Jubilee we thank our forefathers founders and national heroes. We are proud of the achievements and accomplishments of our small, young, nation state……but are mindful that there is much to be done and more to be accomplished. Jamaica’s leaders… public and private sector…in every facet of life… must inspire and be inspired to work with all Jamaicans to ensure that our collective ‘positiveness’, vision, energy and love for our beloved homeland… translates into action… further enabling us to take our rightful place as a model nation, in the annals of history.

As we embark on the next 10 decades and beyond, we may consider the sage words of Mahatma Gandhi:
“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.” One by one we lift up Jamaica, Land We Love.

Respect and Thank You to the extraordinary women and men of the Grand Jamaica Homecoming 2012 – committee, advisory council, patrons, volunteers worldwide, special ‘ambassadors’ and every single person who helped.

Happy 50th Anniversary of Independence Jamaica…may you shine forever!

Donette Chin-Loy Chang
President
Jamaica Homecoming Canada
Grand Jamaica Homecoming 2012

Investing In Early Childhood Education Leads To A Better Society

From the Jamaica Gleaner, July 25, 2012.

Douglas Orane

When all children have access to a quality education rooted in human rights and gender equality, it creates a ripple effect that influences generations to come.

This was the message delivered by GraceKennedy’s non-executive chairman Douglas Orane at the Seventh-day Adventists Laypersons Services and industries conference, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston recently.
Orane spoke against the background that there was need in Jamaica to invest more at the early- childhood level of education, a cry echoed by many Jamaicans, including Early Childhood Commissioner Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan. He made reference to research done by Samms-Vaughan, which showed that the malleability of a child’s brain is greatest at birth and, therefore, the child learns the most in the first few years of life.

Referring to seminal work done by Nobel Prize winner Dr James Heckman, Orane noted, “It is ironic that it has taken an economist to elaborate on a principle that sociologists have known for a long time.”

ONE-DOLLAR INVESTMENT
Heckman demonstrated that a one-dollar investment in early- childhood education results in a return to society of $17. Heckman also identified other societal benefits of investment in early-childhood education, among them a more productive workforce, greater economic growth, lower crime rates, smaller prison populations and substantial savings for taxpayers.

“What he has demonstrated is that investment in early-childhood education not only creates a better educated person, but has spin-off effects in terms of better coping skills, mastery of language, better family dynamics, reducing anti-social behaviour among young people on reaching adulthood, and a host of other benefits to society.”
Orane opined that Jamaica has virtually starved early-childhood education of resources, instead focusing on financing secondary and tertiary education.

To correct the imbalance, Orane recommended a series of prescriptions, which have also come out of Heckman’s work, including high- quality early care and education as an investment to help our children – future citizens.