New Yorker on Dr. Stuart Hall

This is an excellent piece in the New Yorker on who is probably Jamaica’s most underrated observer- Stuart Hall, the cultural theorist. Observer is not a sufficient term, however. Hall carved out a niche for himself as a cultural studies professor and academic and orator. I read some Hall for a paper I presented a couple of years ago and was struck mostly by his sensitivity- academics often cast only a cold, objective eye on what they are observing. In any case, I cannot do sufficient justice to his biography or accomplishments- the piece is worth a read.

Willocks pleads guilty

Some good news, if there can be any, coming out of the U.S. related to the lottery scam, which I wrote about a few months ago for the Guardian.

The mastermind behind one of the most lucrative scamming rings has pleaded guilty in a deal with federal prosecutors in North Dakota. Lavrick Willocks could face up to 40 years in prison and will be required to pay restitution.

Jamaica Military Band

Yesterday we attended a performance of the Jamaica Military Band. It is a free performance at Hope Gardens every third Sunday of the month. The field was filled with families and elderly people from the Golden Age Retirement Home, who sat in chairs at the front. The actual Military Band, clad in their full costumes, performed first, then after a break, another military band took the stage. This one had the crowd dancing and singing, as they put their spin on some reggae classics. It seems everyone had a great time, especially the children who ran back and forth up the hills.

Jamaica = 3rd Coolest Nationality

Not sure what this even means, but CNN has declared Jamaica to be the third coolest nationality in the world. I wonder how they define cool. If it is confidence, you can’t deny that Jamaica ranks up there, in fact, I would put them at number one. If it culture, same thing, but this is all subjective I guess. Not so cool? The high murder rate and “widespread” homophobia, according to the list’s author.

Who beat Jamaica? Brazilians and Singaporeans. Check out the list here .

President Trump’s view on development?

As I spoke about yesterday, I am currently in the midst of a project funded by USAID. And there are many other examples of USAID’s presence, in Kingston, around the island and in tiny towns in remote locations. I’ve been wondering how President Trump’s view on international aid and development would manifest in places like Jamaica. Will he cancel funding altogether? What about the Peace Corps?

This New York Times article sheds some light on the issue, and it is not promising. We don’t have any indication from the President in terms of policy or direction. Speculation is all there is right now.


Is this journalism?

I am currently in the end stages of a community journalism training program. We have trained roughly 30 people in how to be an investigative journalist. Everything from interviewing, to researching to writing and editing. It has been an exhausting but rewarding experience and at the end of it, we will have 10 investigative pieces published in the media. It seems this type of program is exactly what journalism needs here, when we see headlines like this:

Trini prostitute causing headache at ‘Back Road’

Granted, this story appears in the Jamaica Star, but I still wonder how the editor let it get through the door. It meets none of the basic criteria for a legitimate news story, although the reporter apparently did do an interview with the source. I guess it is more entertainment, although it seems to be slightly exploitative. In any case, check out the story here if you wish.