Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014

As the year comes to a close many of us will ask where did the time go? Twelve months, three hundred and sixty five days have flown by so quickly. What did you accomplish throughout the year? Did you make an impact in your neck of the woods? Could you have done more? The year was indeed challenging, however, despite the challenges 2014 also provided opportunities. We saw the best and worse of humanity. There were wars, outbreak of diseases such as Ebola and Chikungunya Virus. In spite of that there were opportunities for professional and spiritual growth. The Lord has kept me and I am sure He has protected you and your family as well.
As we pause and look back at the year that was let me wish for you all the very best for 2015. I wish for you a New Year filled with a sense of purpose and clarity of vision. May the year be a safe and blessed one. Take time to recommit yourself to God. Take time out for your family. Remember none of us is an island and we all need the help and support of our another. Let us give a helping hand wherever possible during the New Year.
Blessings!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Malachi chapter 3 verses 16-18

Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.
“On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him.
And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

Friday, 26 December 2014

The Negative Side of Social Media

There is a positive and negative aspect to most things in life.  There are few exceptions to this rule. In recent times we have witnessed the negative side of popular social media sites. Disturbingly, social media have been featured in the alleged murder of a St. Catherine based young woman. According to police reports the young woman decided to meet face to face with the teenager with whom she had been corresponding. They met at his home and, in the end her body was found in a shallow grave nearby to his house. It has been reported that the teenager has since confessed to being a part of a satanic church. Additionally, the gunman who shot and killed two New York City police officers in Brooklyn, New York last Saturday also used on social media in posting some disturbing information about his intentions.
It cannot be said often enough, be careful who you meet on social media. Very often the persona behind the monitor is not the same individual you will interface with.
Schools are now on the Christmas break; resulting in more and more young people turning to the internet. Students surf the internet in search for some entertainment, to speak with old friends, seek out new friends and do research for homework.
Parents have the added responsibility to guide and monitor their children regarding how to use the internet in a safe and efficient manner. It’s always best to have the family computer stored in a central area in the home. However, with more and more children having access to smart phones with internet capacity the job of parents and guardians have become more challenging.
Parents should be mindful this Christmas about the kinds of gifts they give to their children. Of course as a parent you aim to make your child comfortable and happy, however, there are some gifts that if given should be carefully monitored. As a parent you probably will need to know the password of your child email account and smart phone.
Yes, each child has a right to privacy; however, each child has a right to be safe more than the need for privacy. It’s always best to spend some quality time with your child, some of which can be used to navigate the internet. This Christmas speak with your child about the reality and responsibility of having social media.
Have a happy and safe Christmas and a wonderful new year.
Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Spirit of Christmas

May the Christ of Christmas be with you and your family.
May the Spirit of Christmas bring you good tidings and much joy.
May the bonds of familial and friendship be rekindled this festive season.
May you love your neighbour as much as you love yourself.
This Christmas make a commitment to make a difference in the life of someone.
Have a safe, happy and merry Christmas.

© December 2014 Wayne Campbell

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Prayer For Divine Help-Psalm 70

Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O God. Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul: let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt. Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say Aha, aha. Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continaually, Let God be magnified. But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help and my deliverer; O Lord, O Lord make no tarrying.    

Friday, 19 December 2014

Human Lives Matter

The structural trappings of racism needs to be dismantled. God created us all equal, however, mankind has intervened and put in barriers to differentiate shades of skin colour. Always speak out for your rights. Black lives matter.
© 2014 Wayne Campbell

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Black Lives Matter

The collective consciousness of a people needs to be stirred into action. Black lives matter.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Be Wise

It cannot be said often enough, be careful who you meet on social media. Very often the persona behind the monitor is not the same individual you will interface with.
 © 2014 Wayne Campbell

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Thinking Out Loud

The dispensation of justice for all social classes will only be achieved when language as a barrier to communication no longer exits.- Wayne Campbell

Monday, 15 December 2014

Language and Communication: The Social Class Divide

Jamaica is truly a beautiful and comical place to live, work and raise families.  The ongoing Tivoli Commission of Enquiry bares testimony to this fact. Among the suggestions emerging from last week’s proceeding is the suggestion from a university lecturer that language interpreters maybe necessary at the ongoing Tivoli Commission of Enquiry to ensure that the lawyers clearly understand the witnesses as well as for clarity for the witnesses from counsel. As Jamaicans we all are familiar with and indeed speak two languages. Jamaica English or Patois and Standard English are the official languages of Jamaica. The suggestion that interpreters maybe need in order to decipher or decode what the witnesses at the Enquiry are saying belittles our rich culture as well as highlights the fact that we are not really one despite what the Jamaican Motto says. Social class prejudice and discrimination are very much alive and well in 2014.
As far as I am aware all the lawyers at the Enquiry are Jamaicans. As a result they are all capable, familiar with and competent to speak and understand the language of the people. Interestingly, the Chairman of the Tivoli Commission of Enquiry, Sir David Simmons is not a Jamaican and he appears not to have any problems understanding the language of the witness. As a people Jamaicans we are very versatile and witty. Why is it that the lawyers at the Enquiry cannot speak in a manner that the witnesses will be able to understand? Is it that the lawyers are beyond code switching in languages ? Included in the terms of Reference for the commissioner to examine are the reasons and circumstances for the declaration of a State of Emergency in Western Kingston and related areas in May 2010, as well as, to ascertain the conduct of the security forces during this period.  As a nation we deserve to know what really happened in May 2010 regarding the incursion of the security forces in Tivoli Gardens. The people of Tivoli Gardens need closure so to the society. Those who suffered injustices or those whose rights were violated by the State should be compensated by the State.  

Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Poem-Hope

I see the hope of the next generation
Young, gifted and full of promise
I see their potential.
I hear their confidence daily.
They will succeed,
with determination,hard work
and an unwavering commitment to country and family.
I see the future in those bright eyes,
eyes as bright as neon lights on a bill board
The future is so very bright.

© 2014 Wayne Campbell

Friday, 12 December 2014

Psalm 71:6

From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother's womb. I will ever praise you.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Jamaican Parliamentarians Are Selfish

Political betrayal- how else could one describe the recent actions of our parliamentarians after they voted to amend the Representation of the Peoples Act? With the passage of this Bill the state will be asked through the already tax burdened and stressed Jamaican tax payers to fund political parties.  The thought of their actions has almost rendered me speechless. It is abundantly clear that our parliamentarians are out of touch with the economic reality of the times with the move to amend the Representation of the Peoples Act. It is quite possible that this will be viewed among the most self- serving, unconscionable and unacceptable acts of Parliament since the country’s political independence in 1962.
In a tough economic era such as like with the pending closure of Best Care Lodge children’s home due to a shortfall in budget this action is most improper. In a time of wage freeze why is it that the Jamaican tax payers are being asked to finance our political parties? What is to be gained by the state and tax payers by funding political parties?  Will we see a corresponding piece of legislation to have more accountability and transparency of our elected government officials? Instead of passing legislation to strengthen the democratic process in Jamaica which is woefully lacking our Parliamentarians continue to major in the minor with acts of political selfishness. The forcible extraction of money from the already downtrodden Jamaican tax payer gives the appearance that our legislators are uncaring and insensitive to the needs of the people whom they serve. The move by our Parliamentarians at this time to amend the Representation of the Peoples Act runs counter to good governance and is injudicious.
Let us look at some of social issues that need attention. The Jamaican education system is under-funded and bursting at the seam facilitating the majority of our students to fall through the cracks. Our roads are in a deplorable condition contributing too many road accidents. The public health care system needs urgent attention and funding. According to the 2012 Survey of Living Conditions by The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) more 500,000 Jamaicans or 1 out of every 5 Jamaicans are now living below the poverty line. Considering this survey is two years old one can conclude that the living conditions of Jamaicans, as well as poverty have gotten worst since then. The focus of the Parliamentarians should be to try and eradicate poverty instead of applying additional measures to increase poverty.
If Jamaicans are be called upon to finance political parties we should expect something in return. The time has come for Constitutional Reform in Jamaica. We need to impose term limits on those who serve in Parliament as this would be one measure to strengthen our democracy. Democracy is more than free and fair elections. Democracy goes much further by giving the electorate a voice after the elections and holding elected officials accountability. Gone are the days when any individual should be in Parliament for life. Is it any wonder that Jamaica has dropped to 85th out of the 175 countries listed on the latest Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index list. There is a close association between the perception of corruption and good governance. Sadly, the global perspective is that Jamaica is a corrupt place and not much is being done to change this view.   Having term limits is the way to go regarding good governance. In our society there is no need for us to have any parliamentarian serving more than two terms or ten years. We also need to enshrine in the Jamaican Constitution the power to recall poor performing Members of Parliament who use poor judgment to make decisions. It is truly shameful that our parliamentarians could have passed such a bill. Despite what some of our politicians think the inarticulate majority are not stupid.

Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Poem-Live For The Moment

Our eyes met at first
Tall, dark skinned, elegantly but teasingly attired
I looked away at first,
then our souls made that connection,
butterfly- like feelings engulfed my being and stirred my manhood.
I looked away
She stared at me seductively
I stared back
She was heading in my direction
Sweaty palms along with a butterfly filled stomach
what must I do?
Hello there, what is your name?
I hesitated and stuttered for a moment,
maybe more.
I whispered in her ears.
She held my hands and smiled
and pulled me in her direction.

© December 2014 Wayne Campbell

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Poem- Journeying Through The Senses

Emerging from the darkness I see
Listening in silence I hear
Scouring my taste buds I taste
Being human I feel
Your perfume tingles my nostrils I smell.
© 2014 Wayne Campbell

Friday, 5 December 2014

Recycle or Perish

Globally more than one trillion plastic bags are used annually by the more than 7 billion people on the planet. We use plastic bags daily even without making the connection between our quality of life and the negative impact discarded plastic bags has on our environment. According to some reports more than seventy per cent of all plastic bags used are non biodegradable and forms the basis for severe damage to the environment which inevitable affects the quality of life on the planet. Abandoned plastic bags pollute the soil and water, increase greenhouse gas emission and undoubtedly kill thousands of marine animals.  Plastic bags also remain toxic for hundreds of years even after they break down. Plastic is harmful because of the chemicals found in it. One such harmful chemical is phthalates. Phthalates are chemicals used in many plastics to make them soft or flexible. Exposure to this chemical is a cause for concern since in some quarters it is linked to declining human sperm production. In many societies, there is a significant increase in the number of respiratory cases such as Asthma along with an increase in our usage of plastic bags.  Surprisingly, plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to degrade. On any given day the destructive nature of useless plastic can be seen across Jamaica. Plastic is strewn alongside the roadside, coastline and litter many communities in this beautiful island. Our obsession for all things plastic, whether it’s the shopping bags, bottled water, or bag juice has created an environmental nightmare for the society. Our beaches and streets are under attack with lightweight plastic bags commonly referred to as scandal bags. It is indeed scandalous that we have not acted in a manner to curtail the individual consumption of plastic bags per citizen. This is an eyesore that needs not be; however, as a society matters of the environment is usually not high on the priority list. The Jamaican society urgently needs some policy guideline that will limit the number of plastic bags used by our retailers, consumers and business establishments. How many of us as consumers are aware that there is a limit in the use of microwavable plastic containers? This number is usually encased at the bottom of the container. If this is not adhere to the plastic breaks down into the food inside the container causing many health issues including cancer.
Recently, the European Union (EU) Parliament recommended some guidelines for all twenty eight (28) members of the European Union to curtail usage of plastic bags per citizen. The EU has proposed that by 2025 citizens will be limited to 40 plastic bags each year. I must admit we are a far way from such an optimistic goal, however, we must begin somewhere. There is no need for us in Jamaica to reinvent the wheel in this regards, however, the leadership is lacking in this area like in so many spheres of public life in Jamaica we lack courageous and bold leadership.
Interestingly, within the EU, Denmark and Finland are the best performing countries with an estimated four (4) plastic bags per citizen.  It is a scary idea to think of the estimated plastic bag count for each Jamaican citizen per year. On the other hand, Portugal, Latvia, Slovenia and Poland are among the worst performing EU countries with an estimated 466 plastic bags consumed per citizen per year.  I suspect Jamaica is close to those worst performing EU countries regarding plastic bags usage per citizen per year. China alone uses over 3 billion plastic bags daily; while in the United States of America over 100 billion plastic bags are used per year.  With the invention of the Microwave Oven, we have witness an increase in the usage of plastic to heat food items and then as a storage mechanism. Most reports indicate that more than ten per cent of household waste in plastic. What can we do? We need to move urgently towards using bio-degradable plastic bags which are more environmentally friendly. We must be realist in this narrative, plastic bags have their functions and we will never be able to totally eliminate them. For example, plastic bags are needed for fresh meat and fish. We need to have the necessary legislation passed by the government to reduce waste prevention and the number of plastic bags used by every Jamaican citizen. We could appeal to retailers to voluntary stop distributing or reduce the number of plastic bags given to their customers. Where this fails or falls short the state could impose a fine/tax on retailers who continue to use plastic bags. We could reward shoppers with coupons/discounts who refuse from using plastic bags. We should encourage retailers and wholesalers to desist from using lightweight plastic bags by giving them a tax incentive.
Additionally we would need to get all the stakeholders involved to discuss the issue. The manufacturers of plastic bags are an integral part of the discourse. They provide employment for many Jamaicans so we need to be mindful of this. However, those who make the plastic bags could shift emphasis to bio-degradable plastic bags. While some jobs will probably be lost initially by those who manufacture plastic/scandal bags this would shift would also create more and better paying jobs than lost. This is a great opportunity for some investor who is thinking of which industry to put his/her money into. There is certainly a critical need for environmental conscious investors to put some of their resources in recycling plants as well. Investing in the technology to recycle our waste not only forms an integral part of waste disposal and management, but will also provide employment for more Jamaicans and improve our quality of life. It is a shame that a country this size has not moved ahead in terms of recycling some of its waste. The time to act is now to reverse our throw away plastic bag culture as well as our littering culture in general. The time for a campaign against the widespread use of plastic begins with each one of us. We need to encourage our consumers to use reusable shopping bags not only to save our environment but to save ourselves from the toxic plastic gives off. 
As consumers of plastic we must make a concerted and practical effort to reduce our dependency and consumption of this product which we all find convenient.
The time has come for us to invest more in recycling our refuse and garbage and save the environment. We have spent too much time talking about recycling. It is now time for action. Mother Earth can be very unforgiving if forced to take action on her own.

Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues.
waykam@yahoo.com
 























































 
 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

The Importance of Educational Field Trips to Teaching and Learning

Childhood is the most beautiful of all life's seasons. ~Author Unknown
What was your fondest childhood memory?  Was it hearing the school bell to indicate lunch time? Was your fondest childhood memory spending time in the country and bathing in the river? Perhaps it was going on educational field trips? As schools struggle with budgetary constraints and stretch their human resources to improve test scores in numeracy and literacy it is becoming more difficult to justify taking students out on educational field trips. However, this out of the classroom experience is very vital in the teaching and learning process. Students who are exposed to experiences outside of the classroom often have a more balanced and enriched teaching and learning journey.  Still, too many of our educators are conservative and believe that real teaching and learning can only take place in the confines of a classroom. There is a tendency for some educators to take students on a “reward” field trip to places such as the beach and amusement parks. I fondly remember my grade six teacher at St. Jude’s Primary because of this. We were rewarded for passing the then Common Entrance Examination with a class excursion to the Norman Manley International Airport. For the most part we live in a society where there is an under-utilization of our museums, zoos and other places of culturally significance. It is no wonder our students are so violent given that many of them lacks the culturally exposure that only comes from having a guided experiences outside of the classroom. Added to this many of students do not consider a career in the Arts since this avenue is rarely  presented to them as a viable career option given the misconception the wider society has regarding opportunities in the Arts. Successive governments and corporate Jamaica over the years have given very little support in supporting the Arts.  Sadly, many of our practitioners in this field continue to find it challenging to earn a living solely from their participation in the Arts. A significant number of our students have never been to the National Gallery, or the Institute of Jamaica Museum, nor the Hope Botanical Garden commonly refer to as Hope Gardens or even the museum at the Bank of Jamaica. As a result we now have a culturally deficient society that is more aware of cultures and practices outside of the Jamaican experience. Many of our students lack the knowledge of their history more so since the teaching of History is optional in most of our schools.  The nature of culturally enriching field trips is that they are often to places that students do not yet know and as such they might enjoy visiting. Culturally enriching field trips have significant educational benefits for students. Among these benefits are greater levels of tolerance for others, to foster a level of historical empathy, an increase in knowledge as well as supporting critical thinking.  Field trips or educational tours provide children with hands on learning experience which is invaluable. We live in fast changing world where information is readily available just by the click of a mouse. However, when we facilitate our students to visit places of educational value and significance they discover for themselves and enrich the teaching and learning process that no textbook could have provided for them.  
According to Dr. Trevor Forbes, a Jamaican born, United States based psychiatrist, “field trips add to the cultural enrichment of students, field trips open up a student’s perspective to the world outside of their created boundaries”.
Additionally, when students go together on a particular field trip, it gives them an opportunity to socialize with each other. Educational field trips provide a great way of promoting team spirit among our students which is a necessary skill which will become extremely useful in the work place. Field trips are great ways for teachers to make students understand that learning can be a fun filled activity. When students are exposed to different subjects in a practical way, they start generating interest in it. Despite the challenges associated with planning and executing any educational trip, the benefits clearly outweighs such difficulties. Our educational institutions need to incorporate this strategy more as they move forward in educating the nation’s children.
All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual. - Albert Einstein
Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues.
waykam@yahoo.com

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A Psalm of Praise-Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.


















 
 
 









 


Monday, 1 December 2014

The Work Continues to Eradicate HIV/AIDS Stigma and Discrimination

Today, December 1, World Aids Day, is one of the most recognizable international health days. On

this day the world pauses to bring awareness to the struggles of those impacted and living with

HIV/AIDS. The theme for the 2014 World is “Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) some 35 million people worldwide are living

with HIV/AIDS, of this number 3. 2 million are children. Since the first cases of HIV/AIDS were

reported in 1981 some 39 million individuals have died. It is estimated that some 240,000 people in

the Caribbean are living with HIV/AIDS. Jamaica has an estimated 32, 000 people living with

HIV/AIDS. The Caribbean is second to Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of HIV prevalence. The WHO

estimates that over seventy percent of those infected live in the Sub-Saharan region. It is estimated

that The Bahamas has the highest HIV prevalence in the Caribbean at 3.1 percent of its adult

population, Trinidad and Tobago has a HIV prevalence rate of 1.5 percent of adult population and

Jamaica’s HIV prevalence rate is 1.7 of its adult population. The Caribbean like many other parts of

the world continue to struggle with discrimination and stigma as it relates to those individuals who

have been infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.To some extent this stigma and discrimination is borne

out of many misconceptions and myths surrounding the transmission of this virus. As a result many

persons who are afflicted with this disease choose not to disclose their status with their partner/s

and family members out of a fear of being rejected. The unwillingness among the wider society to

show passion and kindness contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS.  It is this entrenched
discrimination and an unforgiving culture that helps to fuels the spread of AIDS.  For many young

Jamaicans who are embarking on their sexual journey it is very daunting for them to readily access

condoms. We need to eradicate the stigma that is very much alive and pervasive in the Caribbean,

particularly in Jamaica. We need to thoroughly examine the various messages that are being

circulated especially within the popular culture, some of which are clearly negative. Probably, we

need to use more of the popular culture art form to fight the harmful spirit of stigma and

discrimination which is still an issue regarding HIV/AIDS.  The availability of antiretroviral drugs has

contribution greatly to delay the progression from HIV to AIDS. In fact with advanced treatment

individuals with HIV are almost at undetectable levels due to the breakthrough in medical science.

Such treatment and medication have drastically improved the quality of the life for those living with

AIDS. We now live in a time that with diet, exercise and medication (which is relatively expensive)

an individual who is HIV positive can live well into his/her 70,s which was not possible some years

ago. However, we should never let our guard down regarding HIV/AIDS; instead we should continue

to educate the population using all available resources and media, including social media to

promote a message of sexual responsibility and healthy lifestyle choices for all Jamaicans.

Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com
@WayneCamo