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Randy McLaren | The Artist as Activist

Originally posted on Re-IMAGINE JAMAICA:

Performance Poet, Randy McClaren. Photo Credit - Jamaica Gleaner.

Performance Poet, Randy McLaren.
Photo Credit – Jamaica Gleaner.

Randy McLaren is a 20-something Jamaican creative dynamite. He is at the forefront of a vibrant resurgent modern movement that employs a genre of poetry called dub-poetry – to protest conditions in his native Jamaica and mobilise support for various causes. An award winning performing artiste; actor, youth activist and creative social entrepreneur, Randy delivers provocative spoken word performances and dub poetry. He is the 2013 recipient of the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence in Arts and Culture, and named finalist in the Commonwealth Youth Award for excellence in development work. Randy is also Jamaica’s youth ambassador for culture and vulnerable youth. We caught up with Randy to talk more about his activism work with Jamaican youth.

Connect with Randy McLaren

Twitter: https://twitter.com/1RandyMcLaren

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randymclarenja

Watch Randy’s performance of “Jamaica World Class’ here -  – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpZtrvxqL-o


RJ: Hi Randy…

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Jamaica’s Reputation, Workers and Border Control

Originally posted on Re-IMAGINE JAMAICA:

Hotelier and Chairman of Sandals Resorts, Gordon 'Butch' Stewart. Photo credits - Nytimes.com

Hotelier and Chairman of Sandals Resorts, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart. Photo credits – Nytimes.com

‘It is impossible to get staff to work like the Jamaicans work once you train them’.

So said international hotel mogul and founder of one of the world’s top hotel chains, Sandals Resorts, Jamaican Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart in mid March 2013. Jamaica Stewart declared has the best workforce in the Caribbean region. And he should know.

Sandals is a massive employer of Caribbean workers, with 90% of workers in his Jamaica properties being Jamaicans. Stewart spoke of the ‘diligence’ of the Jamaican worker which he attributed in part to the flexibility of successive Jamaican governments  in allowing work permits for foreigners to work in Jamaica. The notion is that imported skills and expertise are of great benefit to the Jamaican workers who would learn and adapt new skills sets.

Sandals Resorts, Jamaica

Sandals Resorts, Jamaica

This is a massive compliment for…

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Jamaica may have something to learn from Switzerland

Originally posted on Re-IMAGINE JAMAICA:

By  Simon Anholt

The following blog post was reproduced from Simon Anholt’s Places Blog. Anholt is the leading theorist of nation brand, considered to be the father of the nation and place brand revolution now taking root around the world.  In November 9, 2007, he singled out Jamaica for mention in his blog stating that there are few countries that has a brand worth protecting. Click on the link below for the original article.


Flag of Switzerland. Photo credit - www.flags.net

Flag of Switzerland. Photo credit – http://www.flags.net

Just got back from Interlaken, where I spoke at a conference organised by Promarca. Switzerland is one of those very few places whose identity is so powerful, so positive and so universally understood and admired, that the main task facing Swiss industry, Swiss people and the Swiss government is not how to improve or even maintain their national image, but to protect it against contamination from sub-standard…

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Hume Johnson:

village tourism provides tourism income to a part of the country not usually visited while bringing attention to the troubles and successes to the unadvertised parts of Jamaica. The Jamaican media is yet to get wind of this project. Neither has the local Jamaica Tourist Board- which promotes a sun-sea-sand-all-inclusive resort-focused tourism model aimed at putting in their words ‘heads on beds’. For a tourism-dependent Jamaican economy, this model is inadequate. The enormous potential to attract increased tourism revenue by expanding what tourism means and what it looks like is yet to be explored, and is long overdue.

Originally posted on Re-IMAGINE JAMAICA:

Facilitator - Village Tourism Project - Petersfield, Westmoreland

Facilitator – Village Tourism Project – Petersfield, Westmoreland

Mathias Brown, a 70 year old native of Petersfield in Westmoreland parish, Jamaica is a man on a mission. His goal is to introduce and embed a new kind of tourism in Jamaica -  ‘village tourism’. He is off to a great start. For the last few years, Mr. Brown – through his role as the Chairman of Petersfield’s Association of Clubs – has been welcoming American college students to his small rural township of Petersfield to undertake what collaborating organisation, Amizade, calls ‘learning through service’.

Village Tourism is a concept where people enter a small town and essentially join the community for a set period of time. Students for example live in the homes of residents of the area whom become their ‘house mothers’. They engage in some kind of community or service project such as school painting, education, erecting fences…

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Hume Johnson:

This blog, which outlines the notion of ‘slum tourism’ in Medellin, Colombia, is one of the most interesting posts I have read in so long. It re-imagines the innercity and the informal sphere in Colombia, moving Medellin from a historically negative image of being a hub of narcotics trading, kidnapping and crime to a modern progressive metropolis. This may provide a template for Kingston, Jamaica to follow. Read on… feel free to share your views.

Originally posted on Places.:

Informal settlements in Medellin. Photo: Jaime Hernandez-Garcia, 2011.

Informal settlements in Medellin. Photo: Jaime Hernandez-Garcia, 2011.

by Jaime Hernandez-Garcia*

Since the 1990s the second biggest city of Colombia, Medellin, is undertaking programmes and projects in informal settlements, to try integrate them both physically and socially to the urban fabric. Public space upgrade and community services such as schools and libraries designed by prestigious architects have enriched the atmosphere and to some extent the quality of life, in these impoverished areas. To the point that the barrios of Medellin are commonly visited not only by Colombians but also by international visitors who want to see first-hand the projects and how the settlements and the city have changed.

Medellin, perhaps without noticing or anticipating, has found a role for informal settlements in branding the city, and promoting the tourism to those areas.

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PROFILE: Nicholas Wright – An Inspiring Story of Academic Excellence

Nicholas Wright, top student in Economics at the UWI and Rhode Scholarship Nominee.

Nicholas Wright, top student in Economics at the UWI and Rhode Scholarship Nominee.

By Hume Johnson, PhD

Nicholas Wright is the future of Jamaica,  a future which looks hopeful and bright for Jamaica. With knowledge in both Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methodologies, a vast experience in Field Research, Applied Econometrics and a working knowledge of the political framework in Jamaica, this young student of Economics and Political Science at the University of the West Indies Mona and one of the 2012 Rhode Scholarship nominees, aspires to become a noted Political and Research Economist. I reckon he will be much more.

During an  intriguing interview with him on Skype. I asked him about the reasons he sought professional coaching to prepare for his Rhode Scholarship interview and about some of the issues which plague his native Jamaica. Listen to this interview by clicking on the following link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/drhumejohnson/2013/01/04/rhode-scholar-nominee-talks-economics-interview-training

I met Nicholas only a few months ago when a friend and colleague of his, Stephen Johnson, approached me to coach him for his upcoming Rhode Scholarship interview.

No floozy becomes a nominee of this prestigious award. So I agreed to coach him for his interview. What I was to learn of him and from him was a true inspiration. Nicholas grew up in a poor community of Sandy Bay Clarendon, Jamaica. His mother migrated when he was 9 years old and his father, a struggling farmer, assumed the job of raising him and his siblings. The story of the Jamaican father is often not the kind Nicholas tells. His Dad is his inspiration and from whom he says he owes his values, his ambition and his will to succeed. And succeed he has….

Nicholas graduated from the University of the West Indies with first class honours despite having done a toilsome double major in Economics and Political Science. Even more impressive is the fact that despite the demanding nature of the double major he did, Nicholas was still able to graduate with a grade point average of 4.12, the highest in the faculty for his graduating class. As a result Nicholas received a number of departmental and course prizes, among these, the renowned Nethersole Award.

Due to his hard work and dedication to success, Nicholas has received a number of academic distinctions and awards. The most notable is his recent shortlisting for the 2012 Rhodes scholarship. He has also received the Ambassador Sue Cobb Scholarship in 2011 and currently holds the G. Author Brown Bank of Jamaica Memorial Scholarship for the duration of the current Masters programme in which he is enrolled.

Even more impressive – Nicholas has made the dean’s list for all the semesters since he has been enrolled at the University of the West Indies. He was a member of the Faculty of Social Sciences Honour Society and the University of the West Indies has recognized his outstanding academic achievements at the 2012 student awards.

He is currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Economics at the UWI. In his spare time, he provides research assistance to several lecturers at the University of the West Indies including, Dr. Lloyd Waller, Professor Ian Boxhill and Dr. Abdullahi Abdulkadri. He is an associate tutor of Research Methods in Political Science, a second year course in the Department of Government at the University of the West Indies. He also tutors a course in Microeconomics in the Department of Economics. His deep rooted interest in research has led him to become a partner in a booming research oriented company called Caribbean Action Researchers, operating within the Kingston Metropolitan area.

Nicholas is also a very service oriented individual and have held numerous positions in the Leo Club of Downtown Kingston, a volunteering organization in Kingston. He was very instrumental in the development and execution of a national essay competition hosted by this organization and has received a number of awards for his sterling leadership in all the portfolios he has held in this organization.

Nicholas says he is on a mission to ensure an equitable education system and a high standard of living in Jamaica.


Dr Hume Johnson is a Professor of Public Relations and Media/Communications Studies at Roger Williams University, Rhode Island, USA. She is also a Political Analyst, Broadcast Journalist and Author. Her latest book is entitled ‘Challenges to Civil Society: Popular Protest and Governance in Jamaica’ (Cambria Press, New York, 2011). She can be reached at humejohnson@gmail.com

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 7,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 12 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.