Thursday, 28 May 2015

Who Will Punish State Child Abuse and Neglect?

Recently, the Jamaican minister, Portia Simpson Miller, addressed the issues of child abuse and neglectful parents. She added that the state was going to do in its power to hold negligent parents accountable. No one can argue with her on this point, as all well thinking Jamaicans will concur that we must do more to eradicate child abuse as a scourge affecting the society. However, one issue which was not mentioned by the Prime Minister and which was probably an oversight is the State’s neglect of its children. There are many places of safety or children’s homes which are under-funded. In fact too many of these institutions lack the required financial resources to impact the lives of their wards in a meaningful way. This is also a form of abuse. The continued shortfall in budgetary support from the state lends itself to child abuse as in many instances these children are not adequately supervised due to the lack of personnel. As a result their development and full potential are hijacked by the state’s unwillingness to adequately allocate the resources necessary. We also need to increase funding to all the agencies of the state with deals with children’s rights such as the Child Development Agency (CDA) in order to scaffold the rights and interests of our children.
A second form of state neglect comes in the form of Jamaica’s education system. There are different categories of schools as perceived by the general public. There are schools of first choice and then they are schools of last resort. These schools of last resorts are under-funded and spread across Jamaica. In fact for the most part these schools are left on their own. The students who attend such schools fare worse off than their counterparts not because they are not qualified teachers there but due mainly because of the politics involved in Jamaica’s education system. This negative political cultural practice is carried out by both major political parties’ and rewards mediocrity and political allegiance to the detriment of national and sustainable development.
Who will hold the government accountable for its neglect of the nation’s children? The magnitude of Jamaica’s child abuse cases are recorded in the report from the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR). According to the According to the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) between January to September of 2013 there were 8,527 reports of child abuse which is most alarmingly. Until we become serious about addressing the issues of child abuse and parental neglect we will continue to move from crisis to crisis. The time has come for us to become proactive.   

Wayne Campbell

Monday, 18 May 2015

Close Disconnect With Students In Classroom

As a society we continue to clamour for meaningful transformation of Jamaica’s education system. By now we all realize that there is a disconnect between what passes off as education and how this is perceived and received by our students.
The time has come for us to adapt a bottom up policy approach in moving forward and transforming the education system. We must listen to our students more and use this to plan programmes and policies to inspire and motive our students. 
Student engagement has become one of the new buzz phrases in education. Educators are always bombarded with questions about how they plan to engage their students. However, for many educators the process of engaging disconnected students becomes more challenging with each academic year.
Engaging disconnected students can be achieved by first addressing the relevance of the content being taught. We must ask ourselves whether the information being taught is relevant to what the student needs to learn. Most students by the time they reach high school or grade seven would have formed an opinion about the relevance of many things that are unrelated to learning. Students, indeed people are egocentric and what is relevant to the teacher such as curriculum is oftentimes irrelevant to them.
When a skill/concept is taught an attempt must be made to connect this to what is socially relevant to the level of the students.
Secondly, in planning our lessons we must ask ourselves whether the activity or the lesson itself evokes a sense of inquiry or curiosity. Too many teachers continue to use a teacher- centered approach. A student-centered approach encourages more enquiry. Every effort must be made to ensure that all lessons appeal to the sense of natural curiosity. It is well known fact that lessons that are centered around real world themes tend to evoke the natural curiosity in all students.
Last but by no means least, educators must ensure that all students can indeed connect with their lesson. In other words the lesson must be meaningful in a personal way to all students.
Engaging disconnected students, especially our boys is indeed very challenging especially since many boys who display school smarts are often ridiculed as effeminate by peers and even adults in areas where academic excellence by males is typically devalued.   
Our students need to see a clear pathway regarding where acquiring an education will put them.  We need to remove education from inside the four walls of the classroom and make it more practical if we hope to engage our disconnected students. Many of students who are not academically inclined would benefit more from an apprenticeship system or sorts whereby they are paired with a mentor in their practical area of choice. This could involve weekly field trips to the mentor’s place of work to see the real world instead of being stuck in a classroom five days per week. We need to institute a radical approach in transforming Jamaica’s education system in order to meet the needs of our students and prepare them for their future.
In the words of Nelson Mandela, education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

Wayne Campbell
Twitter: @WayneCamo

Sunday, 17 May 2015

No Discrimination

Being different should not be an issue, being treated differently is the problem. Embrace each person uniqueness and stop the discrimination and bullying. We all belong to one race, the human race.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Travel,Tourism and Gender

“Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”- Maya Angelou
Vacation is extremely important in the scheme of things in reinvigorating the human body and mind.  With the normalization of US/Cuba relations the Caribbean island will certainly be ranked among the favourite destinations for relaxation and recreation.
It is very clear that the Obama administration is extremely serious about normalizing relations with Cuba. On Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 it was announced that the Miami based Baja Ferries, which operates a passenger service based in Mexico was issued a license from the US Treasury Department to operate ferry services between the United States of America and Cuba. Another license to operate a ferry service was also granted to the Puerto Rico based American Cruise Ferries.
Before the 1959 Cuban Revolution ferries ran daily between Florida and Cuba, bringing American tourists to Cuba’s casinos, hotels and white sand beaches.
This recent move by President Barack Obama to meet face to face with Raul Castro in Panama at the Summit of the Americas meeting was rather bold and forward thinking and will undoubtedly facilitate hundreds of thousands US tourists making the journey across the Caribbean Sea to sample Cuba’s hospitality and culture. 
Tourism can be defined as travel for recreation, leisure, family or business purposes usually for a limited duration. The terms tourism and travel are sometimes used interchangeably.
Tourism can either be classified as domestic or international. Travelling within one’s own country is referred to as domestic tourism while travelling outside of one’s country is called international tourism.
Today, tourism is a major source of income for many countries, including those of the Caribbean. Income from tourism comes in the form of payment for goods and services needed by tourists. Our local farmers benefit tremendously from tourism as the many hotels and resorts purchase food items to cater to the culinary desires of the tourists.
The service industries which directly benefits from tourism include transportation services, such as, airlines, cruise ships, taxicabs. The hospitality services also benefits from tourism and this include hotels and resorts, entertainment venues, amusement parks, casinos, shopping malls, music venues and theatres.
There are various types of tourism, some of the more popular ones are: Ecotourism-A style of travel in which an emphasis is placed on unspoiled, natural destinations and on disturbing the environment as little as possible. There is also medical tourism which is defined as travel that includes arrangements for medical procedures, most often elective plastic surgery. The Caribbean is fast becoming a popular destination for tourists who seek to have surgical procedures done at an affordable cost.
Cultural tourism is defined as travel to experience the arts or history of a location or travel to immerse oneself in the language, society, or culture of a region.
It might surprise you as well to know that some tourists travel thousands of miles to destinations solely for drugs. Marijuana tourism is recreational travel undertaken solely or primarily to indulge in the use of marijuana in jurisdictions where it is legal. With the recent decriminalization of marijuana in the amount of two ounces or less, Jamaica stands to benefit from those who seek a quick high.
There is also sex tourism for which the Caribbean is fast becoming known as a destination for those who seek this hedonistic pleasure. Sex tourism is travel undertaken primarily or exclusively by men from developed countries, usually to third world countries, for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity, often of an extreme, forbidden, or illegal nature.
Last but by no means least there is also sport tourism. Sport tourism is travel undertaken for the purpose of engaging in a particular sport, such as skiing or golf, or to watch a favorite team play.
In 2014 Cuba recorded three million international visitors more than Jamaica. Cuba earned more than US$2.5 billion in 2014. The US has a sizeable Cuban population. Many Cubans fled island after the 1959 revolution which turned the island of eleven million people to a communist state.
In 2014, international tourism generated us$1.5 trillion in export earnings. International tourist arrivals grew by 4.4% to 1.135 billion. Tourism provides a substantial income for many families in related areas such as, transportation services, local art, and restaurant trade.
Over the decades, tourism has experienced continued growth and deepening ‎diversification to

become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. Modern tourism is closely linked

to development and encompasses growing number ‎of new destinations. These dynamics have

turned tourism into a key driver for socio-‎economic progress.

Today, the business volume of tourism equals or even surpasses that of oil exports, ‎food products or automobiles. Tourism has become one of the major players in ‎international commerce, and represents at the same time one of the main income sources for many developing countries. This growth goes hand in hand with an increasing diversification and competition among destinations.

This global spread of tourism in industrialized and developed states has produced ‎economic and employment benefits in many related sectors from entertainment, shopping, construction to agriculture or telecommunications.

According to Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Dr. McNeil, Jamaica recorded a 3.6% increase in tourist arrivals in 2014. Jamaica received an estimated US$2.2 billion in revenue. The island welcomed more than 2 million stopover visitors in 2014. Stopover arrivals out of Europe grew by 10.7%, Canada grew by 5.2%, and the United States grew by 2.2% with the Asian market growing by 9.2%. In 2014 Jamaica welcomed 1,423,797 cruise visitors.
A critical component of the tourism industry which oftentimes is overlooked is that of gender and tourism. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), women make up the majority of the tourism workforce. However, women usually occupy the lowest status jobs, as well as the lowest paid jobs. In keeping with the Third Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to promote gender equality and women,s empowerment, we must find ways and means to see how best we can use tourism as a vehicle to contribute to the empowerment of women.  The tourism industry can facilitate the empowerment of women by creating educational opportunities for women so that when they enter the industry they will occupy supervisory and managerial positions. The tourism industry can also sensitize and spread awareness of gender issues across all levels of the industry.  We should never undervalue to contribution of women to the success of the tourism to do so is foolhardy and spells disaster for such an important industry to sustainable development for many Caribbean societies. 
Given Jamaica,s historically good relations with Cuba, we should not fear the competition that Cuba will undoubtedly pose to brand Jamaica. Instead,we should work with Cuba in providing vacation packages which would facilitate tourists travelling to both destinations to sample the best that both islands have to offer. We should be equipping our students at the secondary level of the education system with a foreign language namely Spanish in order to take up the opportunities that will emerge as Cuba becomes a dominant player in Caribbean travel and tourism.    


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



Friday, 8 May 2015

Gender Identity And The Law

The world continues to change at a rapid pace. In some regards the change which is unfolding in front of our eyes is very much frightening, while on the other hand change, in and of itself can be a welcoming concept which bodes well for human sexuality and development. Human sexuality has not been spared these changes and this was clearly reinforced recently in the United States of America where the former Olympian Bruce Jenner who was born male came out in a television interview as transgendered after struggling for many years with his gender identity.  
Gender identity refers to one’s core conviction of being a man, woman, or another gender such as transgender. One’s gender identity is who you feel as if you are on the inside. However, there are many people who are at odds with their biological sex that is the way your body was made. Most people see themselves as either male or female. Indeed some people refer to themselves as transgender or ‘trans’ because they were born biological one sex but emotionally and mentally they see themselves as belonging to the opposite sex. Interestingly, Bruce Jenner was married three times and father six children, despite this he still did not feel he was a man. To a large extent we receive formal and informal messages about our gender identity from a multitude of sources, such as the family, the media, our peers and the wider communities in which we live. These messages can either empower or concrete our gender identity or in some instances the opposite happens and there are those who are limited by messages of gender identity.
Transgendering is an expensive process and in many instances the journey ends with the individual doing sex- reassignment surgery.  The course of action usually takes place over a number of years and involves hormone injections, psychotherapy and extensive plastic surgery. There are some who might argue that those individuals who chose surgical intervention are playing God. However, to feel trapped in the wrong sex is no laughing matter and it is best not to judge since we have no idea what it is like for some in the transgender community claim.    
For some it might be a bit puzzling to fully grasped man to female transition given the dominance and privilege men have in all societies. However, for some transgender identities transcend binary conceptualizations of gender and sex.  
In many developed societies, such as, Canada, Britain and Australia gender neutral laws are have become common place. Disturbingly, the recently tabled DNA Evidence Bill makes the assumption that all suspects will be males. The time has come for policy makers to be more careful with the personal pronouns in drafting our laws. In too many instances the laws of the land are gender specific which ought not to be. As a society we must become more gender sensitive. We must ensure that gender neutrality in language is carefully considered when drafting legislation to protect the people of Jamaica.

We shouldn't have gender roles and gendered products because people ...

Wayne Campbell

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Hebrews chapter 13 verses 7-9

 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Psalm 95 verses 1-3

O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.