JAMAICA’S BOBSLEDDER DEVON HARRIS – A TOUCHING INTERVIEW

Speaking of Jamaica’s Bobsled team often elicits peals of laughter, not due to disrespect, but because it is well known that “snow cone” (which is sheared ice served in a cone shaped cup and topped with syrup), is the closest our little island in the sun gets to ice. But contiguous with Jamaica’s global brand is the reputation of its nationals going where no man has gone before. Devon Harris was such a man. He was one of the brave pack who ventured out onto this uncharted course not only for the intrigue and adventure but with a genuine quest for medalling. The 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Alberta, was significant because it saw the emergence of the four-man bobsled team coming out of Jamaica, relatively green, but undaunted nonetheless. Devon was an army man with a lieutenant ranking. Rigorous training showed the prominent muscular physique which was a necessary attribute for consideration. They crashed. The qualifying race was no mean feat and with little experience going down the track they lost control of the sled. But the shear novelty inspired the movie “Cool Runnings,” and Harris went on to compete in two other of the eight races in which Jamaica has competed so far. But the God consciousness or a deep sense of spirituality elucidated from this continuous evolving of Harris’ life, coming from very humble beginnings in Jamaica, has not been lost on him. Harris now 54, has embarked on the road of motivational speaking, a vocation

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DID OPRAH EXPERIENCE A SPIRITUAL SHIFT?

I connected with Oprah. I swear I did. It was back in 1994. But Oprah first came to my attention when she was featured on the cover of a magazine, Ebony or Essence, back in the 1980s, is anybody’s guess. She was featured with a throng of male graduates that she had put through college. It was Amazing. A Black woman who had done that and a Black woman, who could, resonated through my being. It was a sense of hope and inspiration, and no doubt, an essential life changing need fulfilled for those men. At that point Oprah couldn’t go wrong, for me anyway. If the offspring of all those men knew that she was the reason they landed on solid ground, and if she continued, she couldn’t go broke. The words of “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” took on a new meaning. I was dancing as if this was music created for me and only I could truly hear and understand… because Oprah’s doings became the second floor to that foundation. Migrating to the “land of opportunity” was far different than my vacation trips before. Following on the heels of my divorce meant I came searching for opportunities to sustain myself. Youthfulness and fun, while still in the mix, became second nature but my dreams were shot as opportunity remained elusive. I hadn’t the faintest clue of which direction to turn. Same view, same arena but now left standing alone to write my own game and chart my

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RELEASE THE PRISONERS!

Jamaica remains the pearl of the Caribbean despite centuries of struggle combined pre and post-independence. By 1962, the year of independence, Jamaica had come through the longest reign of British rule as a colony and a member of the Commonwealth Empire. But lest we forget, just post the extinction of the Spaniards, and the barbarous enactment of slavery for which Europe and Africa are equally responsible, Jamaica was known to be one of the largest producers of sugarcane, and having “the most perfected plantation system” in the Caribbean. In the evolution of time, thousands of Chinese and Indians descended on the island to pick up the slack of the 80% of Africans who had by then set their sights on other endeavors. HOW THE WEED GOT THERE The assumption is that the Indians brought the weed to the island and Rastafarians eventually dubbed it, the holy plant. This might explain why the Hindu word “ganja” is more widely used in Jamaica, as opposed to marijuana. The use of ganja soon found a foothold among the less privileged, in other words, people of a darker hue in Jamaica, and held sway within the Rasta “cult.” Not only was it deemed to have helped to deepen their faith in their own spiritual belief and black consciousness, but they had also found that ganja had medicinal values, especially when used for tea. The Rastafarian movement dates back to the 1920s and was somewhat fueled by the thought provoking Jamaican and Pan-African, Marcus Mosiah

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Into your hands I commit my spirit to love – Henri Almanza

We live in a senseless world and we must learn not to try to make sense of it. For all sense of understanding is wasted in emotions that distort and confuse what the very meaning of it is. What could be grasped within its complicated nature other than the knowledge that chaos and order are simultaneously in sink and that for every action there is a reaction, which can or cannot be predicted in the visible and the unseen. We must learn how to accept our existence no matter its status and try to elevate ourselves within it’s frame, to something higher and greater, while never giving up on the very existence that we live and share with each other and the vast universe from which we come. When and wherever we can, we must witness our impossibilities by being the very hope of love and understanding that is required in everything that makes no sense, for it is in the very giving and receiving of Love that is intrinsic in our DNA that allows us to survive and thrive, as if we are born of it! Even in the face of the greatest evil that exist, we must see that senseless acts devoid of love are not of the love that created us, but of the hope that binds us to be the love that created us. We must learn to see love even in the senseless illusions of evil, as that which was created for the sake of

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A REVISIONIST’S THEORY ON AFRICA’S PART IN SLAVERY? – Marlene Daley

 We are grateful to Martin Henry, an administrator of The University of the West Indies, for this eloquently written and riveting revisit of history as it relates to the African Slave Trade, published in The Jamaica Gleaner on October 25th 2015. It is hoped that this article will reach the far corners of the earth, to the ears and mind of those needing to know the gut wrenching truth behind slavery or for a paradigm shift to reality, in order to lay the blame of slavery squarely where it belongs. This will refute all myths of holding England alone accountable for the atrocities of slavery and torture that were meted out to Africans for over 300 years. It is timely, as talks continue to swirl on England’s impending handing over of a substantial gift of 25M Pounds to Jamaica for the building of a new prison to accommodate those of English citizenry incarcerated there and earmarked for deportation just as soon as these plans can be materialized. The gift smacks of disrespect and disregard for some Jamaicans who would have preferred the long outstanding apology from Britain for their part in slavery to go along with it, and also, the issuing of updates on how Britain plans to settle its indebtedness of outstanding reparations to Jamaica. But this article stands as a testament and a reconfirmation that while Britain was not an innocent bystander, the deliberation of such arguments should be directly addressed to those nations in Africa, who were

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