Friday, August 31, 2007

The Jamaican Culture - Politics and General Elections in Jamaica

The Jamaican Culture and Politics

The Jamaican Culture is closely tied to Jamaican politics. Some of this was noted when reggae music was used to negotiate a truce between the two major political parties - the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People's National Party (PNP).

Bob Marley was asked by the leaders of the two major political parties to perform at a truce-making concert held on April 22, 1978. During the concert, Bob Marley encouraged Edward Seaga (JLP) and the late Michael Manley (PNP) to shake hands on stage.

The Jamaican Culture, through its music, is presently being used by both political parties in their 2007 election campaigns. All the songs being created for this campaign are based on our cultural music. The Jamaican politicians know that music is a key ingredient in their pursuit to attract the support of the Jamaican people.

Because Jamaicans love their music, Politicians are using it to their benefit!

Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller and the Abeng
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller says that she will sound the Abeng on election night at the People’s National Party’s (PNP) headquarters. "It was given to me by the Maroons of Accompong and I will sound it, the victory sound at Old Hope Road on the 27th" Prime Minister Portia Simpson said on Nomination Day in her South West St. Andrew constituency.

What is the Abeng?
The Abeng is a kind of bugle which is made from a cow’s horn and was used by the Maroons as a warning to others whenever they spotted the English forces.

Who are the Maroons?
The Maroons were the freed or runaway slaves left behind by the Spanish when the British took over Jamaica.

2007 General Elections in Jamaica

The major political Parties contesting the 2007 General Elections are the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People's National Party (PNP), along with some independent candidates. The leaders of the major Parties are Bruce Golding and Portia Simpson-Miller respectively. The Elections, which were scheduled to be held on August 27, 2007 was postponed until September 3, 2007, due to Hurricane Dean hitting Jamaica on Sunday, August 19, 2007.

Unfortunately, violence plays a significant role in the Jamaican political system.

It is being reported that this Election will be a close race between the JLP and PNP.

Politics & Jamaican History

  • In 1655, Jamaica became a British Colony.

  • In 1944, the first General Elections were held under Universal Adult Suffrage.

  • In 1953, Sir Alexander Bustamante became Jamaica’s first Chief Minister.

  • Norman Washington Manley was Chief Minister of Jamaica from 1955-1959 and Premier from 1959-1962.

  • On January 3, 1958, the West Indies Federation was formed to create a political union among its Caribbean members. This union was short-lived since the majority of Jamaicans voted in a Referendum in 1961 to come out of this Federation.

  • In April 1962, Sir Alexander Bustamante became the first Prime Minister of Jamaica.

  • On August 6, 1962, Jamaica gained its Independence from the British.

  • Since August 6, 1962 (Jamaica’s first Independence Day) Jamaica has been a member of the British Commonwealth. Queen Elizabeth II is its reigning Monarch and the Governor General is her Representative.

  • On August 7, 1962, Jamaica had its first Parliamentary Session. It was opened by Princess Margaret of England, who was representing her sister, the Queen of England.

  • In 2002, Jamaica’s Parliament removed the requirement for anyone holding public office to take the Oath of Allegiance to the Queen.


Marcus Garvey’s People’s Political Party (PPP) was Jamaica’s first political party. This Party was popular among poor black Jamaicans but the laws in force at that time prevented the development of the party. Universal Adult Suffrage, which gave the right to vote, was not yet granted and the Party was unable to gain the extensive support needed.

The People's National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) are the two major political parties in Jamaica. These two major political parties have historically been linked to the two largest Trade Unions - The JLP to the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) and the PNP to the National Workers Union (NWU).

A third party, the National Democratic Movement (NDM), was launched in October 1995. This party is not linked to a trade union and its activities have been significantly reduced. The Jamaican Leader of the Opposition (Bruce Golding) was a founding member of this Party.

The History of the JLP and the PNP

  • The JLP and the PNP were originally led by our National Heroes the Right Excellent Norman Washington Manley (PNP) and the Right Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante (JLP) respectively. These leaders were both responsible for leading the Jamaican people throughout most of its modern history.

  • Norman Manley was a Lawyer and Alexander Bustamante was a Trade Unionist.

    The symbols for the Jamaica Labour Party are the Bell and the V sign and the People's National Party's symbols are the Head and the Clenched Fist.
The Launching of the Bustamante Industrial
Trade Union

  • In 1938, dissatisfied workers throughout Jamaica identified Bustamante as their leader.

  • On May 24, 1938, Bustamante was arrested for unlawful assembling and obstructing the police. Bustamante appeared before the Court and was set free to prevent continued civil unrest among the workers.
  • In June 1938, to be able to better support the workers’ cause, The Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) was established.
The Launching of the People's National Party (PNP)

  • In September 1938, the People’s National Party was launched with Norman Manley as the leader.

  • The Presidents of the PNP have been Norman Manley, Michael Manley, P.J. Patterson, Portia Simpson.
Bustamante's 2nd Arrest
In 1940, due to World War II, Jamaica was under a State of Emergency. The Governor felt that Bustamante was a threat because he continued to speak out for the workers. Under the Defense of the Realm Act, Bustamante was arrested and sent to prison for 17 months. He was released on February 8, 1942.

What is the Defense of the Realm Act?
The Defense of the Realm Act (DORA) was passed during World War I in the United Kingdom. This Act gave the Government extensive powers during the war.

The Launching of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP)

  • Bustamante was a member of the PNP but he left the PNP and formed the Jamaica Labour Party on July 8, 1943. Bustamante also wanted to be recognized as a political leader in addition to being a Trade Union Leader.
  • The Presidents of the JLP have been Alexander Bustamante, Donald Sangster, Hugh Shearer, Edward Seaga, Bruce Golding.
Launching of the National Workers Union

The National Workers Union (NWU), which is an Affiliate of the PNP, was launched on April 2, 1952. Norman Manley was the founder of the National Workers Union.

General Elections

Universal Adult Suffrage:
Universal Adult Suffrage is the right to vote regardless of your race, sex, belief or social status. Jamaica was the first British Colony to be granted Adult Suffrage. In 1944, Jamaica held its first elections under the Universal Adult Suffrage. This election marked the beginning of "party politics" in Jamaica and was won by the JLP.

Constituencies - Elections:

  • Jamaica is divided into 60 constituencies for the purpose of elections.

  • These constituencies are distributed throughout its 14 Parishes.

  • These parishes are divided into 3 Counties namely:
    Cornwall (Hanover, Saint Elizabeth, Saint James, Trelawny and Westmoreland)
    Middlesex (Clarendon, Manchester, Saint Ann, Saint Catherine and Saint Mary)
    Surrey (Kingston, Portland, Saint Andrew and Saint Thomas).

  • Each constituency is represented by one Member of Parliament who is elected by the Jamaican people during the Elections.
Nomination Day:

  • On Nomination Day, the Candidates for each Political Party and Independent Candidates attend the Nomination Centres within their Constituency to hand in their Nomination papers. The proposed Candidate is required to submit a form with the names and signatures of 10 electors who are qualified to vote in the constituency. Traditionally, the 10 electors go along with the candidates to the Nomination Centre.

  • Each Candidate is required to pay a fee to the Returning Officer for the constituency at the Nomination Centre.

  • Party supporters usually visit the Nomination Centres on Nomination Day to give support to their Candidate.
Who is a Returning Officer?
A Returning Officer is responsible for a Constituency during Elections.

Election Campaigns

  • After the date of the Elections is announced, the political parties start their intense election campaigning. The Jamaican Culture is noted for radical political views among the majority of Jamaicans. This oftentimes results in violence between rival party supporters. The political campaigns involve motorcades, house-to-house visits, meetings, ads (TV, Internet, radio, billboards and newspapers).

  • JLP supporters refer to themselves as "Labourites" and will say "I am born a Labourite and I will always be a Labourite! "Labourite is in my blood". In the days of Bustamante, Labourites would sing: "I will follow Bustamante 'till I die...". PNP supporters refer to themselves as "Socialists" and will say "I am born a Socialist and I will always be a Socialist!", Socialist is in my blood!"

  • Colors (green for the JLP and orange for the PNP) are used as identification by both political parties in their campaigns.

  • Unfortunately, the period leading up to Election Day, is usually accompanied by some amount of violence by enthusiastic supporters.
Voting of the Security Forces and Election Day Workers:
The security forces (police and army) and Election Day Workers, vote before Election Day so as to be available for work on Election Day.

Election Day - Polling Stations:

  • All schools are closed throughout Jamaica on Election Day and, by Law, it is mandatory that all workers are given time off from work to vote.

  • Polling stations are set up at various Centres throughout each constituency. These centres are usually schools and church halls. Voting starts from 7:00 AM and closes at 5:00 PM.

  • After registering their vote, the Voter must dip their right index finger into a red ink to verify voting. This is to deter the casting of multiple voting.
Counting of the Ballots:
The Returning Officer, with the help of the security forces, is responsible for the transportation of the ballots from the polling stations to a designated area in each constituency for counting. All ballots from the various polling stations within each constituency are taken to this designated place.

Election Results:
When it is obvious as to which Party won the Election, there is usually a lot of jubilation in the streets by the supporters of the winning party. This involves massive motorcades and street dancing within each constituency.

Forming the New Government:

The Leader of the winning party usually becomes the Prime Minister of the new Government. The Governor General will advise the Leader to form a new Government.

Swearing in of the New Prime Minister
The Governor General swears in the new Prime Minister.

Who is the Prime Minister?
The most senior Minister of the Cabinet in the Executive Branch of Government in Jamaica’s Parliamentary System. The Prime Minister’s official residence is Jamaica House.

Who is the Governor General?
The Governor General is the Queen's Representative in Jamaica and resides at King’s House – his official residence.

Swearing in of the Leader of the Opposition
The Governor General swears in the Leader of the Opposition

Who is the Leader of the Opposition?
The Leader of the major political Party but not the Government.

The New Jamaican Parliament

  • George William Gordon House is the residence of Jamaica’s parliament.

  • On the day of the opening of the new Parliament, a large crowd, representing both political parties, assembles outside Gordon House.

  • Jamaica is governed under its 1962 Constitution. Jamaica is a parliamentary democracy with a bicameral legislative system which is made up of a 21-member Senate and a 60-member House of Representatives. Parliament is made up of an appointed Senate and an elected House of Representative. Thirteen members of the Senate are nominated on the advice of the Prime Minister and eight are nominated on the advice of the Leader of Opposition.
What is a Bicameral Legislative System?
A bicameral legislative system is a system of Government in which the legislature consists of two chambers or Houses.

Jamaican Politics - An Item of Interest

In 1940, at a public meeting, Bustamante made the following statement:
"I know this, that if Mr. Manley cooperates with me as I will with him, that we will do something for this country. I will say this without any boast, there is no greater power in this country than the combination of Manley and Bustamante. I intend to cooperate with the Party for the benefit of the masses. Any trouble that Manley and I may have in the future we will fight it out ourselves…"

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Jamaican Culture - Our 14 Parishes

Map of Jamaica

Please click on map of Jamaica above to enlarge

Jamaica has 14 parishes which are divided into 3 Counties as follows:

Cornwall has 5 – St. Elizabeth, Trelawny, St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland.

Middlesex has 5 – St. Catherine, St. Mary, Clarendon, St. Ann and Manchester.

Surrey has 4 – Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Thomas and Portland.

Each parish has its own parish council which is given limited powers. Each parish has a capital town.

St. Elizabeth:
Named in honour of Elizabeth, wife of a former Governor. St. Elizabeth is known for its farming activities and is called the “feeding basket” of Jamaica. It is Jamaica’s second largest parish. St. Elizabeth is a major producer of bauxite. There are two sugar factories in the parish and a number of crops (among them cassava, peas, pimento, tobacco). This parish is also the producer of livestock. The capital town is Black River.

Named after a former Governor, St. William Trelawny. Trelawny is known for its sugar estates. Rum and sugar are Trelawny's main products. The capital town is Falmouth.

St. James:
Named after the Duke of York who became James II. St. James is known as the second city of Jamaica. It is the birthplace of our National Hero, The Rt. Excellent Samuel Sharpe. Montego Bay is the capital town. Popularly known as “Mo Bay”, it is one of the most famous tourist destinations internationally.

Named after the English Monarch, George I, from the House of Hanover in Germany. Hanover is the smallest parish in the island and is the birthplace of one of Jamaica’s National Heroes – The Right Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante. Agriculture is its main product. The capital Town is Lucea.

Possibly named because it is the most westernmost parish in the Island. Westmoreland is Jamaica’s eighth largest parish. The parish depends on sugar cane for employment.

Negril has some of the world’s best beaches and is noted for its white sands. Negril is one of Jamaica’s main tourist destinations. The capital town is Savanna-la-mar.

St. Catherine:
Named after Queen Katherine, Charles II’s Queen, the name was changed to “Catherine”. St. Catherine is one of Jamaica’s largest parishes and is next to Kingston as an industrial center. The largest salt producing plant in the Caribbean and the Caymanas Park horse-racing track are located in this parish. The capital town is Spanish Town.

St. Mary:
One of Jamaica’s smallest parishes. Scott's Hall is known to be the home of the St. Mary Maroons. St. Mary has the largest number of (East) Indians in Jamaica. It is the parish with the most historic buildings, monuments and ruins. St. Mary has several Great Houses. It was named after its capital Puerto Santa Maria. It was one of the first sections of the island to be occupied by the Spanish. It produces a large variety of agricultural produce such as bananas, coconut, coffee and breadfruit. The capital town is Port Maria.

Clarendon was named in honour of St. Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon. An extensive amount of bauxite can be found in Clarendon. It is the location of the famous Milk River Bath and is Jamaica’s 3rd largest parish. The capital town is May Pen.

St. Ann:
Named after Ann Hyde, Wife of King James II of England. It is the largest parish in Jamaica and is also known as the “Garden Parish” because of its beautiful flowers. It is the birthplace of our National Hero, The Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey and Reggae singer Bob Marley. St. Ann is one of the major tourist destinations in Jamaica. The famous Dunn’s River Falls and a number of popular beaches are situated in St. Ann. Ocho Rios, popularly known as “Ochie”, is a town in St. Ann. Ocho Rios is the second major tourist town on the north coast. The capital town is St. Ann’s Bay.

Our National Hero, The Right Excellent Norman Washington Manley was born in this Parish. It is Jamaica's sixth largest parish. The area is mostly mountainous and the climate is usually cool. A number of Jamaica's businesses were started in Mandeville and it is the hub of the bauxite mining industry. One of the oldest hotels in the Caribbean, the Mandeville Hotel, is located in this parish. Citrus (oranges, ortaniques and grapefruit) are grown here in abundance. Manchester was named in honour of the Duke of Manchester, the then Governor of Jamaica. The capital town is Mandeville.

This is the capital of Jamaica and also the largest city in Jamaica. It is the centre of commerce for the Island. One of Jamaica’s National Heroes, The Right Excellent George William Gordon was born in Kingston. Two airports, The Norman Manley International Airport and Tinson Pen (smaller and more domestic) are located in Kingston. The capital town is Kingston.

St. Andrew:
The University of the West Indies and The College of Arts, Science and Technology (now known as The University of Technology) are located in this parish. The capital town is Half-Way-Tree.

The local government for the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew were merged to form the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC).

Important places that are located in St. Andrew are the Governor General’s residence at King’s House, the Prime Minister’s residence at Jamaica House, the National Stadium, Sabina Park (cricket) and the Bob Marley Museum.

St. Thomas:
Might be named after Thomas, Lord Windsor, Governor of Jamaica in 1662. Our National Hero, The Right Excellent Paul Bogle was born in that Parish. The famous Morant Bay Rebellion took place in that parish. There are many factories in St. Thomas and sugar and bananas are their main export crops. The capital town is Morant Bay.

Named after the Duke of Portland, Governor of Jamaica in 1723, Portland is known for its agricultural products. Breadfruits, bananas, coffee, coconuts and ackees are among some of the products. Portland has been known to be the host for the rich and famous many of whom own property there. The world famous Blue Lagoon is located in this parish. There is also rafting on the River Grande. Portland is also famous for its jerked food - especially its jerk pork! (Note: ‘Jerk’ food means spicy food. ) Port Antonio is the capital town.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Jamaican Culture - The Jamaican Christmas

Christmas is a very special time for Jamaicans - even if they are living outside of their country - Jamaica, W.I.

Beginning with the first day of December, Jamaicans begin to feel the 'Christmas Breeze' and prepare for Christmas. Houses are re-painted, new curtains are hung, christmas decorations are placed in and outside of houses and Christmas shopping begins.

The stores and other business places are also well decorated.

Poinsettias would now be in full bloom, Sorrel (a Jamaican favourite Christmas drink) would be available and Jamaicans prepare to make their Christmas cakes. The Jamaican Christmas Cake is a dark, rich spicy cake which includes fruits soaked in wine and white rum. The Jamaican Christmas dinner would not be complete without the Jamaican Christmas cake. Read my blog of December 16, 2005 entitled 'The Jamaican Culture - Jamaican Christmas Cake' for a Jamaican Christmas Cake recipe.

For Jamaicans, the 'Christmas dinner' is extremely important and it will include rice and peas, baked ham (the leg), chicken, roast beef, roast pork and potato salad.

The gungo peas is a favourite for the Jamaican 'rice and peas' dish and it is used to make soup with the bone from the ham after Christmas. This soup is known as the 'ham bone soup'.

During the year, Jamaicans will use red peas for their rice and peas and their soup dishes but, at Christmas, this is usually substituted for the gungo peas.

The Jamaican Christmas also includes the singing of traditional Christmas Carols and there are now Reggae versions for some of these Carols.

A Jamaican Christmas would not be complete without the John Canoe and Grand Market although the John Canoe is not as popular now as it was when I was a child. John Canoe is a celebration involving persons with various costumes including 'Horse Head', 'Queen', 'King' 'Policeman' and 'Belly Woman'. The John Canoe would go through the streets accompanied by music and people would give them money.

The Grand Market involves vendors selling toys, balloons, firecrackers, food, etc. in the streets. The Grand Market was a favourite for Children.

Christmas concerts and the singing of Christmas Carols are held at a number of Churches.

Attending church services on Christmas morning and Christmas Sunday is a must for a number of Jamaicans. Churches are overflowing at this time.

Yes.... Christmastime is a special time for Jamaicans. Christmas is truly part of the Jamaican Culture!

Recipe for Sorrel Drink

Sorrel is a plant which grows on trees and is picked between November and December.

If you live outside of Jamaica, you can purchase dried sorrel in Jamaican and West Indian food stores.

1 lb Sorrel sepals
8 cups water
Sugar (sweeten to taste)
1 1/2 ozs. Ginger (cleaned and crushed)
6 Whole Cloves
2 teaspoons Allspice
2 teaspoons Cinamon (to your taste)
White Rum (to your taste)
Wine (Optional)


Thoroughly wash the sorrel sepals and place in a deep container.

Add crushed ginger, cloves, allspice and cinamon to the sorrel.

Boil water and immediately pour over sorrel mixture. Cover mixture and let steep for 24 hours.

Strain and sweeten to taste. Add rum and wine (optional).

Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Serve with ice and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Tip From A Jamaican Webmaster

Building a Website is easier than you think!

Do You Have a Hobby or a Passion?

This post is unlike other previous posts to The Jamaican Culture Blog.  I would like to share some information with you about how easy it is to turn your hobby, interest, knowledge, etc. into a viable online business.

I enjoy building and repairing computers.  This is my hobby and I have been involved with it for a number of years.

I eventually decided to turn my hobby into an online business by building a Website. I provide content on my site which gives people information on how to build cheap computers using cheap computer parts. I also provide a lot of other information relating to buying cheap computer parts and ready-made computer systems.  You can view my site here.

I built my Website using a product called Site Build It! (SBI!). You can click here to read a number of real stories about successful people who have earned money from their SBI! Websites.

Click here to view this amazing video on Site Build It! Site Build It! allowed me to turn my hobby into a profitable online business. I provided the content and SBI! has provided me with all the necessary tools that created my Website. Remember, you will be writing about what you know!

After you purchase SBI!, you will be taught (via an Action Guide) how to brainstorm your site concept keywords and then use SBI's very powerful brainstorming tool to decide on your best keywords. You will simply enter your keywords into the SBI! tool and it will indicate which of the keywords will give you the maximum amount of free search engine traffic, but with the minimum amount of competition. In other words, the amount of existing Websites competing for the exact keywords as yours.

After following the instructions provided by this fantastic SBI! Action Guide, I started to write my cheap computer articles using the easy block-building sitebuilder provided by SBI!

As I built my pages, my site started to receive traffic first from Google and then Yahoo! and MSN.  It was such a wonderful feeling! ... thanks to SBI! 

I then joined the Google Adsense program (which is absolutely free to join) and which pays you to advertise sponsored ads.

The money that I make from Google Adsense really helps! I do NOT sell my own products. I earn commission from joining FREE Affiliate Programs.

All the information that I provide on my Cheap Computer Website is absolutely free.

If you are interested in turning your passion, hobby, interest, knowledge, etc. into an Internet business (as I did!), I would strongly recommend Site Built It! (SBI!) .  I use it and I can, therefore, say (without a doubt!) that it works!

I have also joined the SBI! free affiliate program and, if you decide to buy Site Build It!, I would like to encourage you to join the affiliate program (it's FREE!) and you could encourage your family, friends, co-workers, business associates, etc. to buy SBI!  You will earn $75.00 from their purchase and this commission is repeated when they renew their annual subscription.

Please note that SBI! is NOT a get-rich quick scheme;  so, if your plan is to make overnight money with little or no effort, I would discourage you from buying SBI!  Overnight get-rich schemes/products never work anyway!  Websites need content for its users to get information on the particular subject that they searched for and you could provide that information.

If you are really committed to doing something with your hobby, interest, knowledge, etc. and you will be willing to follow the SBI! Action Guide, I would like to recommend that you give serious consideration to trying Site Build It! 

The tools provided are so easy to use that even if you do not know anything about Website building, you can build a site using Site Built It! (SBI!). I am a living example - I knew absolutely nothing about building a Website before using SBI!  The majority of SBI! owners built their first site without knowing anything about building a site! Just follow SBI!'s Action Guide and you will succeed.  After all .... you have nothing to lose... You will receive a full refund if you feel that SBI! was not for you!  So, why not give Site Build It! a try?  You can click here.

All the best of luck to you!.....from The Jamaican Culture Blog Webmaster.

The Jamaican Culture - You will know a Jamaican when they......

  • Try to get your attention with a "psst...." sound.

  • Offer to help you with a problem -Jamaicans are very kind people.

  • Are your neighbours - They will always be there for you!

  • Laugh! A Jamaican laugh is spontaneous.

  • Refer to "small little" when they mean "tiny".

  • Have a kerosene lamp with a "Home Sweet Home" shade.

  • Tell a stranger "good morning", "good evening", "good night" - This is definitely part of our culture!

  • Cannot have Sunday dinner without rice and peas.

  • Go to the bathroom to "tidy".

  • Are your employees - Some of the best employees you will ever find.

  • Carry fried fish and bammy when travelling overseas.

  • Have Dettol or Bay Rum in their cupboard.

  • Refer to soda as "soft drink" or "aerated water".

  • Refer to Orientals as "Missa Chin or Miss Chin".

  • Refer to "horse dead and cow fat" in reference to a story.

  • "Hiss" their teeth in anger.

  • Say "glass of cold ice water".

  • Refer to green bananas, yams, etc. as "food".

  • Refer to mixed drink such as lemonade or fruit punch as "drinks".

  • Say "Simit" when pronouncing the name "Smith".

  • Blink their eyes (cut eye) when displeased with someone.

  • Use overproof white rum instead of rubbing alcohol.

  • Point to someone or something by pushing their mouth forward.

  • Refer to all nail polish (regardless of brand!) as "Cutex".

  • Refer to margarine as "cooking butter".

  • Refer to butter as "best butter".

  • Refer to supermarket plastic bags as "scandal bags".

Jamaicans are a unique people. We have our own language and our own way of expressing ourselves!

This is truly ..........."The Jamaican Culture"!

The Jamaican Culture - Do You Remember?......

Are you old enough to remember the "good ole Days" in Jamaica?  "Ole" is Jamaican Patois which translates "Old").

See below and try to remember the good "ole time" Jamaican days!: (NoteTo enable persons who are not Jamaicans to be able to read and understand this post, I have translated each item immediately following the question).  Enjoy!

  • "Jolly Joseph" (J.O.S.)
    The Jamaica Omnibus Service buses - This was a public transportation bus service used by commuters in Kingston - the Capital City.

  • The Lou and Ranny Show?
    A nightly show starring the late Louise Bennett (Miss Lou) and the late Ranny Williams (Mass Ran).

  • Red floor polish?
    This was a red polish which was applied to wood floors.

  • Coconut brush?
    Made from the dried coconut and was used to brush the wood floors after the red floor polish was applied.

  • Rediffusion?
    A radio which was tuned to one radio station in Jamaica named Radio Jamaica & Rediffusion (RJR).

  • Charlie Babcock - "The Cool Fool with the live jive"?
    A radio personality.  He was Canadian and he was employed to a radio station in Jamaica. Charlie Babcock continuously identified himself on radio as "This is Charlie Babcock, the cool fool with the live jive".

  • Neville Willoughby,  Adrian Robinson, Tony Verity, Dottie Dean (Dorothy La Croix) and Roy Reid?
    Favourite Jamaican announcers and programme hosts.

  • "Dulcemina"?
    A radio soap opera which was extremely popular in Jamaica.

  • Eating Paradise plum, ju-jup, car sweetie and icy-mint?
    Jamaican sweets loved by both Jamaican adults and children.

  • Suck-Suck?
    A mixture of syrup or Kool-Aid and water which was frozen in plastic bags.  This was loved by both Jamaican adults and children.

  • Jack Ass corn?
    An extremely tough biscuit.

  • Stinkin' toe?
    A Jamaican fruit which had an extremely strong smell.

  • Rolling Calf?
    Jamaican folklore - A ghost with a chain.  When the "rolling calf" was moving around, the chain would be heard rolling along!

  • The peanut cart with the whistle?
    A peanut vendor moving around with a cart with a whistle (like a kettle). The sound of the whistle could be heard a far way off and Jamaicans would be waiting at their gates for the vendor's arrival.

  • Sno cone which was later called Sky Juice?
    Shaved iced with syrup.

  • Back and Front?
    Shaved ice with syrup and a dab of ice cream on top - Nice!

  • Teenage Dance Party?  (T.A.D.P.)
    Pioneered by Jamaican musician Sonny Bradshaw. It was a radio programme which introduced Jamaican music to radio.

  • Asham?
    Roasted corn, which was ground to a powder and sweetened with sugar. Care had to be taken when eaten since the powder could cause coughing!

  • The "Fortunes of Floralee?
    A popular radio soap opera.

  • The "Black Heart" man?
    A wicked ghost!

  • Anansi Stories?
    Stories told about the Anancy. This was extremely popular among Jamaicans of all ages. As a child, these stories were told at bedtime. The late "Miss Lou" was famous for telling these stories. "Anansi Stories" is now phrased by Jamaicans when referring to information given that is not true.

  • Bulla?
    A sweet cake which includes flour, spices, baking soda and is dark in colour.

  • Bullo Slush?
    Free lunch given to students attending primary schools. This was a Government aid to children.

  • Eating Crust?
    Eating patty crust.

  • Grand Market?
    Grand Market (also called Christmas Market) is a popular Jamaican Christmas celebration.  The main streets leading to the market are blocked and no vehicles are allowed access. Parents took their children to Grand Market to purchase toys and gifts.

  • GBs?
    A rubber and canvas bootie (shoes).

  • Bata Shoes Store?
    A famous shoe store in Jamaica.

We should never forget these very "Good Ole Days in Jamaica!"

This is truly .....The Jamaican Culture!

Monday, July 31, 2006

"Walk Good" Miss Lou!

Tribute to The Late Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley, O.M, O.J., M.B.E., Dip R.A.D.A., D. Litt (Hon)

(September 17, 1919 - July 27, 2006)

Jamaica's Cultural Icon, the Honourable Louise Bennett-Coverley, died in Toronto, Canada on Thursday, July 27, 2006.

"Miss Lou", as she was affectionately called by the Jamaican people,
was a household name in Jamaica. Her contribution to Jamaica's cultural development was second to none. She was a Culture Preserver and earned the title Jamaica's Cultural Ambassador.

She was a Jamaican Poet and the country's leading Comedienne. Her poems (which were in Patois) brought out all the various facets of the Jamaican culture.

At first, Louise Bennett used to be 'out of favour' with educated Jamaicans who looked down at Patois since they believed in speaking Oxford English.

Miss Lou made Jamaicans proud of their Patois and was instrumental in helping them to recognize that this unique dialect will always remain a part of their cultural heritage.

She was a Poet, Storyteller, Actress and Broadcaster who devoted her life to the study of Jamaican folklore.

Some of her publications were:

Verses in Jamaican Dialect - 1942

Anancy Stories and Poems in Dialect - 1944

Anancy Stories and Dialect Verse - 1950

Lulu Says: Dialect Verses with Glossary - 1952

Laugh with Louise: A collection of Jamaican FolkLore, Stories, Songs and Verses - 1961

Jamaican Labrish - 1966

Anancy and Miss Lou - 1979

Lawd … Di Riddim Sweet: Explains the context of a number of Jamaican folk songs and poems

Aunty Roachy Seh: Collection of monologues in prose - 1993

Louise Bennett's poems will always remain current and relevant in the Jamaican society. She was successful in her mission to have folklore recognized as an important part of the Jamaican Culture and because of her perseverance, Patois was 'legitimized'.

Miss Lou brought respect to the Jamaican Culture especially the Dialect. She made Patois an important part of the Jamaican Culture and was instrumental in its international recognition.

Miss Lou had several sound recordings which included "Anancy Stories", "Listen to Louise" and "Miss Lou's Views".

She promoted the Jamaican Culture by lecturing and performing throughout the world on this subject and was a Celebrity within her own country, Jamaica, W.I.

The famous Jamaican weekly radio show - "The Lou and Ranny Show" had Jamaicans (including myself!) glued to their radio every week that this comedy was being aired. "Miss Lou" and "Mass Ran" became an inseparable duo in the Jamaican theatre and were loved dearly by the Jamaican people. Ranny Williams ("Mass Ran") died some years ago.

Louise Bennett, along with Ranny Williams, took part in leading humourous roles in several Jamaican Pantomimes and television shows. Going to these Pantomimes was a Jamaican tradition for us Jamaicans. I will always cherish the memories of attending these annual Pantomimes!

Miss Lou was inducted as a Fellow of the Institute of Jamaica at the Little Theatre in Jamaica.

Miss Lou hosted several radio shows in Jamaica and was the host on the famous Jamaican children's TV show "Ring Ding".

Her outstanding contribution to the development of Arts and Culture in Jamaica earned her several awards.

In recognition of her work as an Author, Dramatist and Comedienne, she was awarded the M.B.E. (Member of the Order of the British Empire); for her work in Jamaican Literature and Theatre - the Norman Manley Award for Excellence; the Order of Jamaica (O.J. - Jamaica's highest Order) for her work in the field of Native Culture and the Gold Musgrave Medal in 1978 in recognition for her contribution to the Development of the Arts in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

On Jamaica’s Independence Day in 2001, Miss Lou was presented with the Order of Merit (O.M.) for her distinguished contribution to the development of the Arts and Culture.

She received Honorary Degrees of Doctor of Letters from both the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, West Indies and the York University, Toronto, Canada.

She was also appointed Cultural Ambassador at Large for Jamaica by the Jamaican Government.

Louise Bennett was married to Eric Coverley who pre-deceased her.

I could not end this Tribute to this great and outstanding uncrowned queen of Jamaica without quoting one of her famous poems. Here it is - Enjoy!:

This poem relates to a Jamaican returning from the United States of America without a 'twang' (accent) which is unlike a Jamaican!

"No Lickle Twang"

Me glad fi see yuh come back, bwoy,
But lawd, yuh let me dung
Me shame a yuh so till all a
Me proudness drop a grung.
Yuh mean yuh go dah Merica
An spen six whole mont deh,
An come back not a piece better
Dan how yuh did go weh?
Bwoy, yuh no shame? Is so yuh come?
After yuh tan so lang!
Not even lickle language, bwoy?
Not even lickle twang?

An yuh sister what work ongle
One week wid Merican
She talk so nice now dat we have
De jooce fi understand?
Bwoy, yuh couldn improve yuhself!
An yuh get so much pay?
Yuh spen six mont a foreign, an
Come back ugly same way?
Not even a drapes trousiz, or
A pass de riddim coat?
Bwoy, not even a gole teet or
A gole chain roun yuh troat?

Suppose me laas me pass go introjooce
Yuh to a stranger
As me lamented son what lately
Come from Merica!
Dem hooda laugh after me, bwoy!
Me couldn tell dem so!
Dem hooda seh me lie, yuh wasa
Spen time back a Mocho!
No back-answer me, bwoy - yuh talk
Too bad! Shet up yuh mout!
Ah doan know how yuh an yuh puppa
Gwine to meck it out.
Ef yuh waan please him, meck him tink
Yuh bring back someting new.
Yuh always call him 'Pa' - dis evenin
When him comes seh 'Poo’.

This is truly The Jamaican Culture!

"Miss Lou, I salute you! Walk good, Miss Lou!"

May her soul rest in peace!

("Walk Good" was popularly used by Miss Lou and is a Jamaican "goodbye"!)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Dunn's River Falls - Jamaica's Pride!

Jamaica's Dunn's River Falls is one of the Island's national treasures. The Falls is world famous and is an extremely popular tourist attraction.

Dunn's River Falls is located near the town of Ocho Rios which is in the Parish of St. Ann.

The cascading flow of water down the rocks causes the regeneration of the rocks from the deposits of calcium carbonate present in the water from the river.

Climbing the falls will be the highlight of your trip.

After visiting the falls for the first time, you will definitely want to return!

Jamaica's Dunn's River Falls - Truly... a sight to behold!


The following comment was made to my Blog and I would like to say a very special "thank you" to the person who spared the time to write this beautiful comment about one of the most beautiful islands in the world .... Jamaica, W.I. Here is the comment:

"In my first visit to the island I expected it to be just another vacation, but it was so much more. I immediately fell in love with the beautiful smiles of the people. It will be a place that I will return to as often as I can. I have never had so many strangers make you feel at home, it was actually the first vacation that I did not get home sick on. It will always be a special place for me".

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Jamaican Culture - The Jerk Pit

The Jerk Pit - A Jamaican Restaurant

Jamaican jerk is a special blend of spices used to season meat. The three main ingredients are pepper, pimento (allspice) and thyme. Other spices and herbs could include escallion (green onion), garlic, cloves, salt, cinnamon and ginger. The meat is seasoned with the blend of herbs and spices and left to marinate overnight. It is then grilled. Delicious!

If you are a Jamaican or just LOVE Jamaican spicey food and you live in Baltimore, Maryland in the vicinity of the University of Maryland, you should visit the Jerk Pit. This is a real Jamaican restaurant which serves a variety of very tasty jerk dishes. Other Jamaican dishes are also served.

You can visit the Website and also enjoy some Bob Marley music by clicking here.

It is located in the Campus Villages, 8145-C Baltimore Avenue, College Park, MD 20740 (2 blocks north of the University of Maryland). Telephone: 301-982-JERK (5375). Opening hours are Monday through Thursday 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Friday and Saturday 11:00 AM to midnight.

This restaurant is owned and operated by the very charming Lisa Waddell-Rose, a Jamaican living in Maryland. Lisa is a perfectionist and her food speaks for itself! Lisa is my wife's niece.

Lisa also sells Jamaican coconut water (thirst quenching!) and Jamaican T-shirts.

Spread the word about this restaurant! Do you know anyone living in or who visits the Baltimore area near to the University of Maryland? Tell them to check out this restaurant. They will not regret it! The food is irie! Yeah man!