On September 15, 2016 one of Jamaica’s most well-known clergymen Rev. Merrick “Al” Miller was sentenced to a fine of J$1,000,000.00 or a term of 12 months in prison following his conviction for “Perverting the course of justice.” This conviction has come about due to his now infamous role in the drama that ended in the ultimate arrest of Jamaica’s most wanted fugitive Mr. Christopher “dudus” Coke following the events of great upheaval in May 2010.

I have very strong feelings about this case in terms of the ethics of what Rev. Miller was doing on the day in question and the larger society is torn on this matter. There are some saying “no-one is above the law” and wished to see a greater punishment. Conversely, there are those who see Rev. Miller as a sacrificial lamb, who was giving a heroic and helping hand to the State in a perilous time who has been thrown to the wolves by those he indeed sought to assist. Ultimately, the final arbiter of legal right or wrong in the land has found the pastor guilty of an offence.

Rather than further delving into the merits of this conviction or the “rightness” of Rev. Miller’s actions, I actually want to tread on what might be more controversial territory and that is the interplay between ones moral/religious beliefs of right or wrong and the law. My conclusion is that the reaction of Rev. Miller to his fate, though seemingly begrudgingly on his part, is instructive in how I think this relationship between religion, in this case Christianity, and the law should be treated.

Rev. Miller has said and implied several things that I do not agree with but where we are at one is his explanation for why he will not appeal the decision of the Courts in this matter. He essentially stated that though he does not agree with the decision, as a Christian principle , doing what we feel is “right” can run counter to the law and/or have grave negative consequences. If we feel our action to be right then we are to do right no matter what the consequences are. Therefore rather than wishing for the legal consequences to be eased because of our Christianity, we should face them head on accepting that it is honourable to suffer for doing right if we truly feel we are right.

To be abundantly clear, I am on no way endorsing the choices of Rev. Miller in his episode with Mr. Coke, in fact based on the information I have encountered about the incident, his actions at best leave me uncomfortable. I am however saying that for persons who ascribe to the Christian faith or any moral compass really, doing what we feel is right can come with harsh repercussions. Too often especially Christians want everything in the world to operate based on their/our principles and all structures in the world should bend to the views of the Church.

I struggle to see a biblical basis for this self-entitlement syndrome but I stand to be corrected. The Bible, from my understanding, intimates that the Christian standard and the “world” or legal standard can and often will be at odds. If ascribing to the former leads to trouble with the latter sometimes we might just have to “hug it up.”

Don’t confuse me to be saying unjust laws should not be challenged. My larger point is that the role of the Christian is not to try and legislate morals and feel so special that the law will always be in alignment with one particular moral code. When we start to think that way we become lazy and want the law to do our job for us.

National servant or egregious wrongdoer? That is in the eye of the beholder. But for certain no-one is above the law. Though probably half halfheartedly, I am impressed by the Good Reverend’s “submission” to the law of the land. His alleged choice of “chariot” to leave his sentencing hearing…not so much.


“…the burkini ban is intended to liberate women from Islamist ideas.”

“Beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order…”

The two quotes above make me really really angry. They represent what can only be described as the hypocrisy and underlying racial/ethnic and religious bigotry that has come up Trumps over the past couple years, particularly since the so called war on terror and which has intensified with the rise of the so called Islamic State. And although we attribute a lot of this hateful aura globally on the New York billionaire, ironically, the land of Liberté, égalité, fraternité (liberty, equality, fraternity) has become (or for some continues to be) almost the headquarters for subtle and not so subtle discrimination

But let us pick them apart one by one.

I honestly think the first quote moves beyond the realm of irony and comes down to just plain stupidity. But not really stupidity at all but an underlying “us versus them” “we are good anything else is less.” Think about what it is really saying. We believe that every woman wearing this article of clothing (full body swimsuit and tunic) has been forced to wear it by an evil and wicked ideology that has committed the cardinal sin – taking away their right to choice. So what do we do to fix that problem…TAKE AWAY THEIR CHOICE!!! So either the anti burkini squad are clearly stupid and can’t reason logically or their minds and decision making are clouded by hidden or not so hidden bigotry and discrimination.

Then comes the second. It has a thin veil of believability. This current climate of Islamist attacks in France really makes it plausible that religious symbols might stir up trouble. The problem though is that the application of this principle is quite direct, obvious and skewed. Put simply, I’m sure a nun wearing a full Habit on the beach on the French Riviera would not attract the attention of the police. Also I’m sure no crosses, rosaries or yarmulkes are going to be confiscated and their wearers pressured. So again I ask is this legitimate security concern or is it plain bold face discrimination.


Liberté, égalité, fraternité – Fact or Fiction?


See articles below for more on this topic:


The Winner in France’s Burkini Ban? Its Inventor.




Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that the United States of America has been thrust back into the spotlight with two very high profiled police shootings of Black men – Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota. These acts have personally hurt me greatly but I have been trying very hard to not make any grand comment on this new wave of outrage. Today that came to an abrupt end as one letter to the editor in today’s edition of the Jamaica Observer “draw mi out” in the Jamaican vernacular.

The letter went down the increasingly popular road that the now popular Black Lives Matter movement is not only racist but akin to the Ku Klux Klan. that is where my restraint ended. Below is a version of a letter to the editor I immediately drafted in response.

I must confess a lot more could be said and I know I could have structured the response much better but as the words of the original letter (link below) really upset me I cannot say that my mind was operating at full capacity.


Here goes…

Dear Editor,

I usually read the letters in your publication and nod in agreement or shake my head in disagreement and move on but today is not that day. One regular letter writer, like many tend to do, has transgressed by way of distorting facts and oversimplification. Put simply the letter of July 12, 2016 entitled “Black Lives Matter is Racist!” was just short of a joke. To say that the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) is racist is clearly a misunderstanding of history as well as the reasons it emerged and how the group operates.

If I recall correctly the group emerged formally out of a twitter hashtag campaign which engendered so much support after a series of high profile and dare I say unjustified killings of young black men none more so glaring than the snuffing out of the lives of Trayvon Martin in Florida and Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. These were the latest in a long history of state excess against Black Americans in the great ‘Merica which continues almost unabated. As a response to these atrocities mainly young black people took the stance that enough is enough.

Now the letter writer has decided that this group is racist on two main accounts:

1)      It is not up in arms about the recent killing of five police officers in Dallas Texas and

2)      It should be using “All Lives Matter.”

Honestly not even sure which of the two claims is more ridiculous. Firstly, let’s take an analogy – would you gatecrash a funeral and tell those grieving that “I too have felt loss.” Or if there is a breast cancer rally going one would you interrupt it under the banner of “but people have AIDS too”? No you wouldn’t. There are multiple issues that exist simultaneously and the fact that persons are seeking to speak out on matters that are of existential importance to them does not make them racist. Never mind that all official BLM operatives I am aware of have cried foul on the murder of the Dallas police officers, that is a fact that is inconvenient to simplistic arguments. The kind of simplistic arguments that do not countenance that we can both denounce the senseless killing of these officers and demand justice and critique law enforcement when they stray into the realm of excess.

This is the thing, in the history of the world only black people are asked to tone down or apologise for not accepting atrocities meted out to them. All lives matter as a mantra spits in the face of the fact that the history of the USA in particular shows that the lives of Black people have mattered very little. And a news flash for the “All Lives Matter” crowd no-one saying Black Lives Matter has ever said ONLY Black lives matter or white lives should matter less, it is a simple cry for Black lives to matter equally recognizing that until they do then it is impossible to say ALL Lives Matter.

The objective facts are there, hundreds of people of colour, particularly black people have died at the hands of the state with impunity. At the same time several very dangerous white offenders have been in standoffs with the police that have been skillfully de-escalated so that they can rightly be arrested and ALIVE. All lives matter? As an ideal that is like saying the sky is blue, but it is unfortunately not the reality at this time.

Any person who cannot see this is willfully ignorant of history and facts.

Even worse the writer goes on to compare the KKK and BLM saying black groups “promoting the interests of black people” are no different from those “promoting the interests of white people.” Anyone who wishes to explicitly or implicitly define the KKK as a group “promoting the interests of white people” and at the same time equating Black Lives Matter, and by subtle implication, the long list of past Black Civil Rights organizations cannot and should not be taken seriously on this matter.  Like honestly, lynching people and burning crosses on their front lawns were all a part of protecting the “interests of white people.” Gimme a break.

I am tired of seeing black people forced to apologise for asking, and when fed up, demanding to be treated as human beings. If that is the new definition for racist sign me up and ship me my Black Lives Matter T-shirt.


The horrendous acts that transpired in a principally Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) Night Club in Orlando Florida and the raising of the Rainbow Flag at the US Embassy in Kingston plus the “interesting” response of Jamaica’s Attorney General have all combined to reignite the never ending “debate” on the morality, acceptability and rights afforded to the LGBT community in Jamaica.

Rather than some expansive prose, below is a list of my  main sentiments on the LGBT discourse in Jamaica in general and the above-mentioned incidents in particular.

  1. I am a Christian. My views on the morality of homosexuality are largely influenced by that. So if I am honest with myself I am not 100% comfortable with it.
  2. Christianity or no, the notions of Universal Human Rights are also a part of my personal morals.
  3. The right to life, the right to freedom of conscience (which enables free speech/free expression freedom of and from religion), and the right to freedom from discrimination based on being the member of some target group are all things that I value.
  4. With the above in mind especially freedom of conscience, privacy and non-discrimination I do not believe it is my place to impose my chosen way of life and perspective on another free adult.
  5. No matter how queasy certain things make me feel personally, what consenting adults do in their life, that is not significantly affecting me or the rights of others is their business.
  6. Tolerance is the standard that both sides of this divide should be striving towards. But tolerance can have a negative connotation so probably we can shift the standard to “mutual respect for difference.”
  7. Persons with strong moral objections to homosexuality and those who are far more liberal perhaps will never ever truly agree.
  8. However, those who object, should accept that moral objection does not have to be twinned with hate and discrimination and those who are more liberal should accept that not every moral objection is one of hate or means that the homophobia label must be attached.
  9. However, objectors especially self-professed Christians/religious people definitely need to realise, that the nature of their objection, particularly the inconsistency in the amount of effort spent on this sin versus others, helps to sow the seeds of hate and intolerance in a space where constructive conversation from a position of respectful disagreement may be more useful. It is his hate and aggression that when unchecked or continuously stoked that can lead to heinous hate crimes
  10. With respect to the night club in particular, if in any way you rejoiced in what has happened then you may need to look into your humanity. No matter what you feel about a man, that man has blood running through his veins. A life is a life and we should mourn any loss of life. Suggesting that this was somehow God inspired retribution would logically imply t hat the poor little children who died in Sandy Hook a couple years back were also somehow being punished. Careful with that line of thinking.
  11. I understand the persons who say but why is international outrage always more, when the lives lost are from “The West” I really do and I agree wholeheartedly. Evil acts occur daily but popular sentiment is skewed towards the west and/or groups with a strong international voice. But still a life is a life. So don’t position this as an either/or choice. And what irks me is that the same crowd that is quick to say “so what about what happened in X” often have nothing to say on these issues until something else happens and they bring it up as the reason they are not going to participate in the newer outcry. Let us, mourn and where possible do what we can to prevent tragedies no matter where they are. Also understanding the biases of the global media, don’t assume everybody knows of every tragedy that you do. Spread the word, help others understand issues that you understand better or know of before them. People who are willingly ignorant on the other hand…light them up for sure.
  12. With respect to the flag at the embassy, again, personally not my favourite thing, but my personal view shouldn’t and legally cannot stop others from utilizing their fundamental right of free expression, also as pseudo sovereign space of the US Government the larger message I feel was support for one set of citizens that were collectively mourning. I can’t see the big fuss with that in and of itself.
  13. I do however also think that a subtle or even not so subtle chess move/power play was also opportunistically taken by the embassy to remind us of their advocacy for a shift in popular opinion on the matter at hand. This utilization of soft hegemonic aka gently flexing that “world boss” power in this case is more offensive and noteworthy to me than what the flag itself represents.
  14. Late night tweets are not always the wisest decisions.
  15. Finally, pretty sure that the fire and brimstone and liberal coalitions will both take issue with aspects of this, but on this day I feel comfortable in where I stand. Just hope if you disagree we can do so respectfully and have a reasoned discussion if not…Oh well!




Three days ago I sat satisfying my regular need for social media and saw what I thought would be an article par excellence pop up on my newsfeed from one of the regular social commentators in Jamaica that I respect, even if I don’t always agree with the views he espouses. The article I refer to was published in the Jamaica Gleaner on Sunday June 5, 2016 and is entitled “Why Campion is So Loved and Hated” by Gordon Robinson.


The topic is very near and dear to me due to my being the proud if sometimes reluctant sibling of a Campion alumna and *whispers* a one-time Campion College aspiring student (prior to divine intervention). This experience has made it more obvious to me than the average joe that Campion College may be the most opinion splitting, controversy stirring and divisive institution in Jamaican society and a lot of the reason for this actually is no fault of the institution itself.

So recognizing the above reality and acknowledging the literary prowess and infinitely sharp mind of Sir Robinson I eagerly awaited the well nuanced and balanced discussion of this lightning rod that is Campion. Unfortunately, but not altogether surprisingly, Mr. Robinson took the default position that many more contemporary Campionites take when the rest of society leans in on them with  the mostly unwarranted negative sentiments – he presented us with the combination of the litany of reasons Campion is great, blended with the subtle condescension that “you all really wish you were us.” And to top it off for me on a personal level, for no apparent reason Mr. Robinson sought to juxtapose the virtue of Campion by pejoratively comparing the strong Jesuit ethos of Campion to, what for him is the seemingly useless braggadocio of the motto “The Brave May Fall But Never Yield.”

Don’t get me wrong either, I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Robinson’s quite brilliant depiction of why Campion is a truly great institution that all Jamaicans should be proud of. And indeed we all should really be proud and I go on further to state that the Jesuit principles that have guided the school’s development and that are so ably described by Mr. Robinson should really form a template for the development of truly rounded citizens for the benefit of the Jamaican society.

But what Mr. Robinson has robbed us of is balance. Though mostly unjustified, there are perfectly reasonable explanations as to why Campion is not everybody’s cup of tea, not least of which is the subtle and not so subtle reminders that Campionites give us that we wish we were them. Though the catch 22 there is that sometimes that is the response of an attacked animal backed into a corner. But still what the article I eagerly awaited did not do was adequately account for what Campion has become a symbol of. Though Mr. Robinson merely mentioned it in an almost throw away fashion, Campion for all the developmental strengths it possesses does get the nation’s best students in large measure thus possessing a strong leg up on everyone else. Also a large swath of the school’s modern day population and I may venture to posit its “back in the day” population as well consisted of societies well to do. Simply put, in a gravely inequitable education system which foreshadows a probably more inequitable society on a whole, Campion has unwittingly become to many a symbol of this social stratification.

So I agree with Mr. Robinson that some of the persons who were dying for Campion to lose this years’ School’s Challenge Quiz Final need to grapple with some internal insecurities and perhaps even inferiority complexes. (Although this year people had many legitimate grouses not with Campion but how the Organizers handled Campion’s matches, but that is for another day.) Notwithstanding this agreement, what I expected from Mr. Robinson, and was left disappointed, was an honest acknowledgement that a lot of the anti-Campion sentiment also emerges from it being a symbol, right or wrong, for the social divides that mar our Jamaican existence.


PS –  To Sir Robinson, though you may disparage it, beyond the bar talk and the obnoxious bravado, the words “The Brave May Fall But Never Yield” have been a rallying cry that has steered many otherwise rudderless young men from lives of obscurity and strife to the upper echelons of success in their chosen fields of endeavor. And for those who may have not reached such lofty heights, the spirit of the Rt.Reverend PW Gibson, which those words channel gives us a reminder that though we face challenges we can overcome. I am sure you can acknowledge that beyond the Old Boys who won’t grow up, the Fortis ethos is of great value as is that of the strong Jesuit philosophy.

Fortis, Fortes…Respect.

If you have read my blog before or even perused the archive you will realise that by a country mile my primary focus is usually on the most topical happenings in the social economic and political realms. However there is a category in said archive called “Random Me Stuff.” This episode of Reasoning is definitely a “Random Me Stuff” edition.

Sitting at my desk assisting the work day in becoming palatable by listening to the discography of the legendary Hip Hop/ Neo Soul band “The Roots” the melodies and superb wordplay had my mind drifting to “the good ol days” of my vintage. Overcome with nostalgia my mind couldn’t escape the need to jot down a list of some of the many things from my childhood and youth that I miss greatly.

90’s & Early 2000s Hip Hop/ R&B Music

With the inspiration for this mood outlined above it is only right that this list starts here. Whether it is the playful ABC rhyming of the Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff on songs like “Parents Just Don’t Understand”, the Bipolar, thoughtful and belligerent Tupac Shakur that would “Hit ‘em up” one day and teach us to “Keep ya head up” the next.  Maybe it is the crooning of real singing groups like Boyz II Men and Jodeci. Bringing it forward thoughts move to the undeniable word play of Jay-Z. Tracking back, the more conscious, soulful Hip Hop of Mos Def, Common, The Roots and Talib Kweli. I could ramble on this forever but rather than playing the grumpy grandpa that I have become and bash contemporary music, I’ll just rework the thought from Summertime by the Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff and instead of being shocked that “the smell from a (bbq) grill could spark up nostalgia” I’ll blame this feeling on a YouTube suggestion.

Innocent TV Shows About Teenage Years/Puberty

I don’t know about you but there are some TV shows that have a direct connection in my mind with my transition from “likkle pickney” to pubescence. Shows that just got it. Shows that understood the moment the first girl you ever liked looked at you. Shows that knew that friends at school were the first source of information (usually full of crap but still) about relationships and sex. Of Course that is followed by the eternal peer pressure. Shows that depicted family life for all its pros and cons, good days and bad days with siblings good days and bad days with parents. Some that come to mind for me are “Boy Meets world”, “Wonder Years”, to a lesser extent Soul Food: The Series and last but definitely not least The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. This classic show transcended just thoughts of growing up but spanned the gamut of family life and lessons mixed with straight up laughs. TV today is cool and all can’t deny that but… I miss those days.


Let’s keep this one short as the nutritionist, the doctor, the blood pressure machine and BK loving Jamaicans aren’t going to be happy with me. But for me, and at least three other people I know who will remain nameless, the day that the Golden Arches disappeared from the Jamaican landscape was a true tragedy and a sad day in the annals of Jamaican history. Just typing this right now I can feel the oranegish/yellowish box that held my beloved Quarter Pounder with Cheese on my fingertips. Burger in one half of the box fries in the other. Sad I tell you sad. I have to move on though the depression is steadily growing. Ronald we miss you dawg.

Youth Itself

Rather than continue this list of random memories what is becoming clearer and clearer as I type is that the truth is, sparked by a handful of YouTube videos, I am just really appreciative of the childhood and adolescence that I was blessed with. On the other side of Mother’s Day I must unequivocally declare that I have a pair of parents that I would never ever ever trade for anything and they created an enabling environment that allowed me to just be a child and grow up at my pace. As an adult each day gives me reasons to realise how great they were and how much they did for us without much fanfare.

Pausing the mushy part for a bit, ADULTHOOD IS THE BIGGEST SCAM IN LIFE. As a youth you spend your whole childhood yearning for the day when you get big. “I won’t have to listen to anybody, I do what I want when I want.” The sad part is when it hits you that the thing you want the most now that you have reached this hallowed adulthood, is to reverse the clock and fully spend the time enjoying every single blessed moment of that youth.

And that is the advice I just recently had to leave a young friend with who was cursing her youth. Not even being too far removed from my youth I can honestly look back at it and say those days were legendary and a treasure that I will never forget, and with the exception of a few “perks” of the now, would readily trade for and go back.

But alas, Benjamin Button is but fiction. Life, we must endeavor to move forward and grow and not just in waist size but in mind and relationships and emotional maturity. But lucky for us, although life is a forward trod, it never hurts when we get a chance to look back.




Baccra Massa Still Smiling in 2016

Baccra Massa Still Smiling in 2016

Baccra Massa Still Smiling in 2016

Every time I open my social media accounts and see the internet Molotov cocktails being chucked from the north western end of the Caribbean down to the south eastern end and vice versa I think to myself… Baccra did a really good job with this divide and rule thing and no matter how hard and often we proclaim emancipation and independence it is clear that we need regular doses of the words of Redemption song that Tuff Gong borrowed from the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey.

“Jamaican’s does be the reason the crime going up in T&T and allyuh does know it” vs “Who do these Trinis think they are, them think dem s!@# can mek patty, not even know why Jamaicans still want go there.” Baccra Massa Still Smiling in 2016.

But what really is going on here? What is the real root of all this? Why is it that every other year or month we have some reignition of these “wars” between Caribbean nations, with particular emphasis on the two largest English speaking ones? Is it resentment for one Jamaican National Hero saying Jamaica is walking while the rest of the region is crawling? Is it because one PM was tired of being the region’s ATM? All this while Baccra Massa Still Smiling in 2016.

But what of the current melee, it is clear to me that CARICOM and the CSME are valuable or at least potentially valuable but at present and perhaps from ever, they have been beset with regional, structural and national level issues that have hamstrung its potential. Most people do not even know what CARICOM/CSME is or is supposed to be. Here is the Cliff Notes version – CARICOM is a political and economic cooperation organization forged between mainly English speaking, former British colonies designed to face the” big bad” world in a vein of pooled capabilities. CARICOM is based largely on three pillars:

  • Functional Cooperation –  shared institutions like  CXC and UWI
  • Coordinated foreign policy – CARICOM joint positions in International Organizations and negotiating Trade Agreements as a unit
  • ECONOMIC INTEGRATION – common external tariff and the free movement of goods, capital and labour i.e. PEOPLE.

We do pretty well in the first two pillars if people are honest but the third pillar is really why we are here cussing each other on Facebook while…Baccra Massa Still Smiling in 2016.

What is required now is an honest introspection on the part of the entire CARICOM family, but particular the governments and citizenry of Jamaica and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Rather than get touted by the modern day dividers such as skewed media, influential civil society players that stand to benefit from the disharmony and government officials acting in the name of political expediency versus the greater good. My brothers and sisters from Jamaica must realize that as a sovereign state the Twin Island Republic has the right to protect its borders and seek to avert abuse of immigration laws in any way fit, especially in the face of illegal immigration from Jamaica that is at a fairly significant level by all accounts. Concurrently, my brothers and sisters from the Twin Island Republic must realise that not every Jamaican is coming to be a “leach” and that legitimate efforts at border protection are subject to the rule of law, fairness and humanity. It cannot be done in a pseudo-arbitrary fashion, where even persons who are above board are made to feel like criminals, all this while under CARICOM arrangements we are all “guaranteed” hassle free travel.


For example, and controversially, if one ascribes to the “free trade” school of thinking then the purpose of a free trade movement like CARICOM is the “efficient allocation of resources” therefore if T&T has an oversupply of manufactured goods and an undersupply of low skilled labour and Jamaica has an oversupply of low skilled labour and an undersupply of manufactured goods, then the concurrent influxes of goods into Jamaica and people into Trinidad and Tobago is something that should be perhaps promoted but in a streamlined fashion. But this paragraph is for another day and for more rigorous economic scrutiny, but the general point is that we might actually need each other more than we think but never ending pride, misguided nationalism and self-serving public voices are pushing us apart all while…Baccra Massa Still Smiling in 2016.

So here we are with powerful private sector voices and voices in the streets of Jamaica calling for a boycott of all Trinbagonian goods and these cries being met with social media and radio retorts of “round up all these Jamaicans in T&T illegally, they are the reason there is crime, crime was virtually nil before their infiltration.” But are these voices speaking for the majority? I hope not, too often in public discourse the voice of the misguided, lowest common denominator dominates the discussion and derails constructive reasoning.

Or am I wrong? Is it that this impasse between Jamaica and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is insoluble? Is it that the majority of us would rather just sever all ties with each other forever?

Whatever the case, I am tired of this whole debacle and I am also angry, angry because

Baccra Massa Still Smiling in 2016.