RED, RUM….STILL WAITING ON THE SOCA

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THE RED DOOR

Once again the team from Red Door should be congratulated for putting on a very nice and well appointed UPT Lyme. However, if one was looking for a party or worse one that would be a fist thumping, gyration fest then Red Door’s Red, Rum and Soca Lyme was not the place to be over the weekend. Indeed for real connoisseurs of soca music, the Lyme was a massive let down. Yes, there was a higher than average volume of soca music than one would find at a regular party, however, the threshold for a soca party or Lyme is that it must have a 70-80% soca rotation. As it were, the soca rotation was closer to 30-40%.

Yet notwithstanding the misrepresentation in advertisement, it may be comfortably argued that Red Rum and Soca is a concept that could, as an annual event, mark the community’s end of the soca season and provide that seamless transition to the rest of the year.

The Analysis

 PINK will admit that whilst we never expressed publicly our misgivings about the location, we were worried. Our concern, had somewhat to do with the potential for a police invasion; but also included the fact that the location has been used in the not too distant past to accommodate a much different crowd to the one that normally attends the Red Door events. As a consequence, we felt that the management of the Red Door was doing the Rainbowland equivalent of bringing a 5 star state function to the banks of the McGregor Gully and trying to pass it off as a riverside affair. Happily no such deceit occurred!

Not only was the décor simple and elegant but most importantly functional. In fact we will go so far as to say that it (the décor) had the same transformative effect as the act of kissing a frog and turning it into a Prince. The only things missing from the ensemble was club lighting and sponges or some other sound proofing along the windows to allow for an increase in the volume of the music- to a point where normal functional human beings could hear and appreciate! Some patrons would argue that fans or some other cooling mechanism should be added to the list of missing items. Whilst we agree that the building could have been a degree cooler it is our projection that the heat combined with the affordable drink prices caused a spike in drink sales. Thus from a purely commercial perspective, it may be wise to not invest too much in an elaborate cooling mechanism for future events at that location.

At PINK we bow in adoration to the majestic brilliance of the person who decided to put the bar area at the back of the building. This simple decision not only avoided replicating the Chinese bend down plaza business style of the valentine’s party but eliminated the search for the bar by patrons and allowed for adequate lighting so that support staff could handle money efficiently and still not interfere with the lighting on the dance-floor.

Other notable good points about the event were that:

  1. Security was present, effective, and efficient without being intrusive and given into naughty habits of feeling up patrons. In fact the security arrangements for this event were so complete that it included an attorney and was able to turn away the police 3 times by PINK’s count but reportedly 4 times.
  2. The portable bathrooms were in a location that you did not have to climb a hill to reach nor have to search to find.
  3. The bar was well stocked and served by professional bartenders.

The Negatives

Yet, whilst the location of the bar was excellent and the professionalism of the bartenders’ noticeable, stock management was at best pedestrian if not Fourth World. Throughout the night there were too many instances whereby patrons having purchased their drinks tickets had to wait until a message was sent to  the drinks truck to indicate that stocks had ran out and then the troops would lug through the dance area with the beverages. This was simply TACK TACK TACKY. The management of Red Door must always strive to remember that theirs is a premium brand where expectations are justifiably high as such everything must be done to ensure that words such as tacky and Fourth World are never used to describe any aspect of their work. It is simply beneath them.

However, our greatest condemnation is saved for the Dee-Jay. Here at PINK we are convinced that this was the plague that the Lord Almighty spared Egypt and visited upon us. The selection was so terribly off, we almost in a fit of desperation asked the Chindian to take over the turntable. We have been advised that this Dee-Jay was a new recruit. Our advice to Red Door management is that he needs work. Further, Dee-jay selection should represent the standard of the event and new recruits should be made to work their way up from the lower league parties unless they come with the HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION! As it were this Dee-Jay should be made to refund his night’s salary to the event managers.

 Social Commentary

It was indeed a pleasant surprise to see such a large turn out from the Rainbowland Civil Service. Heading the list was of course the Secretary of the Cabinet, Dame Jason Mcfarlane of JFLAG also in attendance was the ever resplendent Lord Ambassador to the United Nations, his Excellency Lieutenant Charlton, the Permanent Secretaries in the Ministries of Education and Religion respectively, Drs Tekwe Yuself and Wid Wahning and Senior Director in the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Lady Poison Ivey. Missing from the event was Grand Ayatollah Al Mcknight first imam of JAS. We do hope that, these personalities so important to the community in terms of their work will view the party scene as a mechanism where in which they can meet the people that they do serve.

At the rate we are going we may soon have to publish a Table of Precedence

Selah

CAREER OPPORTUNITY: Programme Funding Officer, Haiti- CHRISTIAN AID

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Haiti is a country in crisis. Christian Aid is raising vital funds to support the essential work of their Haitian partners as they reach out to the devastated populations across Haiti. To accomplish this task Christian Aid requires a new Programme funding officer to join their team.

The level of need in Haiti has meant that there are a large number of donors that want to support the relief and reconstruction efforts. Our partners on the ground in Haiti have the capacity to deliver real and meaningful support in some of the most devastated and affected areas. We want to ensure that they have the funds they need in order to continue their essential work.

The programme funding officer will have a key role to play in sure that we are liaising appropriately with the different donors in Haiti, in ensuring the efficient and effective management of externally funded projects and in fund-raising for new projects where appropriate.

You will have experience in successfully raising money from donor agencies; reporting back successfully to them and in maintaining good relationships with them. You will relish the challenge of doing this in a difficult setting.

In order to work with the partner organisations, with the wider Christian Aid and with the donors in Haiti you will need a very good level of French and English. A good working knowledge of Creole is highly desirable.

More than half the world lives in poverty. We aim to put a stop to that. So we campaign against the structures and rules that keep people poor. And we work with local organisationsto give people strength to find their own solutions to the problems they face, irrespective of their religion. If you’re as determined as we are to end poverty and injustice across the world, work with us to make change happen.

Please show your suitability for this post by filling in an application form. In that form you will have to respond to the following questions which relate to competencies required for the role:

Creativity and innovation

Please describe an example of where you came up with an approved approach to getting work done?

Decision making

Please describe the last time you had to make an important decision when delivering a project or assignment, and how you made that decision.

Planning and organising

Describe a specific project or activity in which you had to identify tasks and set priorities for others. Tell us how you went about planning and organising so that the group would reach the goal.

Information gathering and processing

Please give us an example of where you have had to research complex texts in order to locate specific information.

Download the role profile (62 KB pdf)

To apply for this post, please download an application pack from http://www.christianaid.org.uk/aboutus/jobs/applicationpack/Application.aspx and email your completed International application form to: gdonaldson@christian-aid.org (quoting the reference number), or send by fax to 00 1 876 754 8808. Alternatively, your completed application form can be printed out and posted to us at:

Christian Aid
14 South Avenue
Kingston 10
Jamaica.

Please note CVs will not be accepted.

Job reference: CB/04/10

Closing date: 12 midnight, Wednesday 5 May 2010

Interview date: Between 10 and 18 May 2010

Fixed term appointment for one year

Salary: US$33,032 – US$ 37,623 pa

Christian Aid values diversity and aspires to reflect this in our workforce. We welcome applications from people from all sections of the community, irrespective of race, colour, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief.

Ministry of the Public Service announces new hiring freeze

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Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding makes a point during his contribution to the 2010/11 Budget Debate, in the House of Representatives, today (April 20).

The Ministry of the Finance and the Public Service on Tuesday, in a circular to all Permanent Secretaries, Heads of Government Departments, Agencies and Public bodies, including government companies and statutory bodies announced sweeping changes to the public sector hiring policy. The circular noted that with immediate effect:

  1. Steps must be taken to limit the expansion of staff and/or posts in the public sector
  2. Vacancies in the existing establishment should be filled from within the existing staff structure or by reallocation of duties
  3. Where it is deemed absolutely necessary to establish new posts, the existing requirement for and approval therefore by the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service must be strictly adhered to and detailed justification for such posts will be essential;
  4. There will be no retroactive approval for the establishment of new posts; and
  5. In any event, new recruitment must not result in additional expenditure beyond existing budgetary allocations applicable to emoluments

This circular provides the latest indication that the government is moving swiftly to contain the public sector wage bill and implement the terms of the Medium Term Economic Program signed with the International Monetary Fund in January. This program, amongst other things, calls for a containment of public expenditure to within 10% of GDP over the next 4 years.

The move is expected to provide opportunities for career advancement for those currently working in the public sector. However, students graduating from tertiary institutions this year and up to 2013 will be especially hard hit by this policy shift, given the employment constraints currently being experienced in the general economy. It is not immediately clear if the new policy will affect the 2010 class of graduating medical students.

AFTER THE MARCH WHAT NEXT?

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Unfurling the Rainbow flag

It is clear that April is the month for road marches and demonstrations. Just this week the rank and file members of the police force have decided to march on the Gordon House Parliament complex for retroactive pay owing to them and over the weekend revelers took to the streets of upper St. Andrew in what became a virtual rain dance! However, the march that this article is concerned with is the March for Tolerance which occurred on the 7th of April along the Howard Cooke Boulevard, terminating at the Dump Up Beach in Montego Bay.

In some quarters of the community, the argument has been made that the organizers of the march choose the City of Montego Bay to play host to the island’s “first PRIDE MARCH” because of its status as the tourism capital and as such is a relatively safe venue. If this argument is true, then we here at PINK must congratulate the organizers for letting cool heads and good sense prevail. However, we suspect that Howard Cooke Boulevard and the Dump Up Beach point was chosen because of its significance to those in the Rights community. For it was along that route and on that beach that on Friday, June 18 2004 Victor Jarrett was chopped, stabbed and stoned to death by Montego Bay residents under the alleged supervision of uniformed officers of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

Notwithstanding the above, it was never the intention of the organizers to plan a PRIDE March. Yet irrespective of the noble intentions of the organizers, a Pride March did occur! That fact owes much to a confluence of circumstances- chief of which was the importation of a large rainbow flag from the United Kingdom and naivety on the part of march organizers. Whilst questions remain as to what could have and should have been done differently it is abundantly clear that Pandora has been let out of her box and that those questions belong firmly in the past. The Pandora realization does raise significant questions as to whether anything has really changed but more importantly what next?

A Suggestion

If the strategic direction of the organizers and the wider leadership of the LGBT community is to only plan more street marches for this year, then the answer to the first question is that not much has changed as far as strategic thinking is concerned. Such a move would only serve to concretize the perception that those currently in the leadership of the rainbow community are lacking in vision and serve no useful purpose beyond racking up frequent flyer miles and making noise when funding requires it. The fact is that marches on their own are just events and media bytes unless they are couched in social and behavior change programmes aimed at targeting the very intolerance being demonstrated against. Sadly neither the Jamaica Aids Support for Life (JASfL) nor the Jamaica Forum for Lesbian All Sexuals and Gays (JFLAG), have the programmatic capacity to design and engineer such a programme. In any event, we do hope that they recognize that it is no longer possible to duck under the banner of a Tolerance March. So what will the strategy be to get the permits for more marches?

We also must not forget, that in the case of Jamaica and indeed the wider English speaking Caribbean, the intolerance as far is it affects male homosexuality is legislatively grounded. That is whilst there is no specific law making homosexuality or MSM relations a crime, Sections 76 (the Buggery Law) and Section 79 (the Gross Indecency law) of the Offences against the Person Act, criminalizes expressions of intimacy between two adult men even  in private. The time has now come for the legitimacy of these sections to be tested in relation to their consistency with the Jamaican Constitution and the larger body of International Law on Human Rights that Jamaica has both signed and ratified. As a consequence, PINK’s own view on the matter is that the next march that should be planned, should occur on April 8th, 2011. This march ought to proceed down King Street to the Supreme Court building in Kingston. The purpose of which is to make an application to seek redress from that body. Indeed, this time the organizers can pull together a gay marching band and eliminate the potential for collateral damage.

In concluding, we encourage all involved in the march’s organization to bring out the champagne, throw a celebratory party but remember, this was just the skirmish before the war. The lesson of history is that in spite of all of Martin Luther King’s speeches and marches, it was Brown vs Board of Education and other similar civil rights cases that established minority rights and caused tangible and real social change in the United States. In Jamaica the same rules apply.

Selah

Summer’s Hot List

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The list has been completed and the men have been ranked, at the end of the day this truly is a religious experience- as we marvel and revel in the fineries that nature has served us.

Now let us be clear, this is not the Principal’s Office nor are we Deans of Discipline; as such we will not be handing out demerits for bad behaviour (in fact, in our estimation a little naughty is a good thing!). Further, we will not pander to those who would want us to intellectualize this experience by trying to develop objective criteria to assess beauty, nor will we go down the route of developing weights and measures. Rather we will take the high ground and follow the time honoured carnal tradition of letting our “other head” do the thinking, it has served us well over the years and in fact our only criterion for selection is identifying who we want to be rubbing paint on at Beach J’ouvert.

Yet notwithstanding the above it is interesting to note that the gentleman that tops the list is an over 40 year old, and No It Aint Who You All Thinking!!

The Rankings

10. Is the Clown Prince of Facebook, Sir Morton. This is one of Rainbow Society’s most colourful personalities, and truth be told if this was medieval times he would occupy the position of court jester. However, he is the epitome of big, beautiful and masculine and it has to be noted that his face is truly a work of art. Not to be outdone is his hair, as its various styles only seem to add to the Swagger that this Knight commands.

9. Is Our Lady of Haiti, Dr. Molly. Now here is a guy that probably should be ranked higher, but he is such a little goody 2 shoes, that we have to look at him more like a Barbie doll. He has perfect, flawless skin; a smile that makes your heart flutter and a body that bangs more than shots fired by Dudus’s gun. However, if the cost of being UPT is being boring, then this one has certainly paid the price

8. Is Mid-Town’s original RUDE BWOY. Now this character is a strange one, he is easily one of the most intelligent persons one may come across in a lifetime. He speaks, Spanish, French and apparently Portugese and his sense of style is worthy of being studied. However, he is seemingly so caught up with Thug culture and crass and uncouth behavior that we get the feeling he is short changing himself. However, as we noted this is not the Principal’s Office and quite frankly the thug appeal and thug chic he is busy cultivating does give him hotty points.

7. Now we are not quite certain if Cash4Gold is a member of the Sweepstakes Crew. However, once your eyes rest on him, it is almost certainly impossible to not become drunk on how truly attractive he is. Somehow, he manages to have a slim body, a big square head and a full head of hair that would make Hyacinth Bennett jealous and still make it work. Now whilst it is clear he was born a brown boy, we admittedly-cannot vouch that the current tone of his brown was naturally acquired.

6. Is the Baroness von Ensom of the Royal Court of Spanish Town. This courtier’s face is just HU, the body is just AHHHHHHHHHHH, the butt is HU HU HALLELUJAH! In fact there are no words to describe under 35 A-lister, except loud animalistic grunts.

To Be Continued