Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) Voucher for Technical Assistance (VTA) Programme at the BSJ.


The BSJ will offer training and business support services to MSME through the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) Voucher for Technical Assistance (VTA) Programme.

This grant assistance provides funding of up to J$300,000 for accessing services to improve business operations and promote trade.

For information on if you qualify or how to apply, visit:


Free Open Source – Part 1

Free Open Source Software

Since the invention of the computer, humans have become dependent on the internet and software/applications. Buying software can be expensive, especially for persons who need access to multiple software to do a particular job.  With free open source software, the cost to do your job is drastically minimized.  Below are a few software you can use:

Software Description



Gimp is a powerful image editing software and is a free alternative to Adobe Photoshop.



Inkscape is a free multiplatform vector drawing software and is widely used by graphic designers for custom logo designs or vector drawings. Inkscape is a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator.



With Xmind you can create your own flow charts, and organization charts. Useful for your everyday meetings.



OpenOffice is a free alternative to Microsoft Office suite. The powerful all-in-one  software enables you to create and edit your documents.



LibreOffice is a productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and GNU/Linux. It is a free alternative to the Microsoft Office Suite providing document production and data processing.



Create your own video tutorials in a flash using this awesome screen recording software.



PSPP is a free alternative to SPSS. Perform descriptive statistics, run T-test, linear  regression and more. Designed to perform analysis as fast as possible.


Organize and manage your projects using openproj. This is a free alternative to Microsoft Projects.


LimeSurvey Using Limesurvey is a very easy and exciting way to create and upload online surveys using its built in PHP functions. Questionnaires are created with just the click of a button.


Caribbean Library Associations

  1. LIAJA – Library and Information Association of Jamaica:  The initiative to establish a library association was led by Mr. A. S. Bryant, the first Director of the Jamaica Library Service, as such a body was regarded as an ‘essential part of library organisation in the island.’ Accordingly in 1949, a year after the Jamaica Library Service was established, the Provisional Library Board approved the convening of a meeting of all persons working in libraries or having an interest in library development. The meeting was a success as 94 persons met at the St. Catherine Parish Library on July 14, 1949 and passed a resolution that the Jamaica Library Association be formed.
  2. ALJAS – The Association of Librarians in the Jamaica Library Service (ALJAS) was formed in 1975 by a group of “forward thinking” Librarians who sought to provide an avenue through which matters relating to the particular concerns of the group could be most suitably addressed.
  3. CIIP – The Cayman Islands Information Professionals (CIIP) is the first professional library and information science association in the Cayman Islands. It was founded in 2013 by information specialists, living and working in the Cayman Islands.
  4. ACURIL– The Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries (ACURIL) originated as part of a movement for Caribbean cooperation at the university level, initiated in the late l960’s by the Association of Caribbean Universities (UNICA). At that moment Sir Philip Sherlock, of the University of the West Indies, at Mona, Kingston, Jamaica, was its Secretary General.
  5. COMLA – Commonwealth Library Association: COMLA supports library associations in the Commonwealth by promoting the interests of libraries and librarians and facilitating networks for information delivery and exchange. Its membership comprises national library associations and major library institutions in countries that do not yet have an association. From 2002 librarians have been eligible to become individual members.
  6. LATT – The Library Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) was incorporated by Act No. 11 of 1985, which was assented to on 21st March, 1985.
  7. CARALL – Caribbean Association of Law Libraries: Established in 1984, the Caribbean Association of Law Libraries [CARALL] continues to be the only forum that focuses solely on the Caribbean law libraries and law librarians. The Association is committed to regional co-operation and networking among the libraries. It gives the Law Libraries of the Caribbean an opportunity to forge links, discuss  common problems and the information needs of their clientele and create ways in which greater regional Law Library co-operation could be achieved.
  8. LAB – Library Association of Barbados:
  9. LAB – Library Association of Bermuda: an active organization of enthusiastic professional librarians and paraprofessionals from all types of libraries in Bermuda. Whether it’s a small or large library, school media centre, college library, law or medical library, the goals of the members are the same. The librarians in Bermuda strive to enhance learning and to ensure access to information for every person on the rock.
  10. NALIP – National Association of Library and Information Professionals – Saint Lucia:  NALIP seeks to promote the value of Libraries and information units. Facebook page

Call for Experts to Building and Associated Materials Technical Committee

The Bureau of Standards Jamaica announces a call for experts to provide technical support to the Building and Associated Materials Technical Committee.


Scope of work:


The Committee is mandated to adopt, adapt international standards and review Jamaican standards relating to the construction industry for the purpose of ensuring that industry practices are aligned with international best practice and reflect the parameters that are applicable to Jamaica.


Eligibility requirements:


Interested persons should have extensive knowledge and experience in the construction industry, especially related to Structural Steel and Treated Lumber.


Interested persons are invited to contact Mrs. Sherieka Satchell-Knight at

Tel: (876) 632-4275, (876) 618-1534 ext. 3221, (876) 303-0818 or via email at

Are you limiting yourself? Break free in order to advance

Written by ,  LinkedIn Top Voice of 2016, SVP Marketing & Client Success

In life there are always reasons why something didn’t happen. You didn’t get a job because a younger candidate will work for less. Your big idea wasn’t considered because you’re just entry level. You didn’t get a promotion because you’re a woman and your company is run by an all-male board. But what if the problem isn’t life? What if it’s you constantly reaching for an excuse?

Everyone has circumstances they can’t control, and unfortunately workplace biases and hurdles exist that likely won’t go away anytime soon. Rather than limiting ourselves based on preconceived beliefs, what if we strive to give it 110 percent in order to break down barriers and really support each other to get ahead?

Read more

Three tips to boost your confidence

View full lesson:…

Made in partnership with the Always #LikeAGirl campaign.

When faced with a big challenge where potential failure seems to lurk at every corner, you’ve probably heard the advice, “Be more confident!” But where does confidence come from, and how can you get more of it? Here are three easy tips to boost your confidence.

Lesson by TED-Ed, animation by Kozmonot Animation Studio.

BOOK REVIEW: A Brief History of 7 Killings by Marlon James

My book club picked A Brief History of 7 Killings as our most recent featured book mostly because it won the Man Booker Prize for 2015 and it appeared to be about Bob Marley. Initially we almost immediately regretted it and I think I am one of only two of the six of us that actually finished it. I realise that this makes it sound like this is going to be a negative review. It’s not. It is going to be a challenging one though since Marlon James’ latest novel is a very challenging book.


Source: BOOK REVIEW: A Brief History of 7 Killings by Marlon James




By Yulande Lindsay (

Michael Thelwell’s classic novel The Harder They Come, chronicles the journey of one man’s evolution from ‘country bwai’ to urban legend. On the surface, the book details Ivanhoe “Rhygin” Martin’s journey from his rural beginnings through his quest for musical stardom and riches to his emergence as a gunman, a folk hero, an anti-establishment symbol. However, a closer examination of this richly evocative work reveals a deeply rooted love for and an in-depth analysis ofJamaica and its society.

The novel is as its protagonist. It is “rhygin” – “spirited, vigorous, lively, passionate with great vitality and force…” (Thelwell, p. 398). It does what the movie could not; it presents an audience with a kaleidoscopic tapestry, colourful and vibrant, rich in historical, political and cultural details, which fully illustrate the Jamaica of the time. The characters are finely drawn, each one playing its own pivotal role in the development of the main character, Ivanhoe-turned-Rhygin. Miss Mando, his grandmother, represents his foundation, his grounding personality. From her, he learns the importance and values of his ancestors, the usefulness and essential nature of the land on which they work and dwell, it is from her teachings that he develops a strong work ethic which prevents him from descending into petty crime when he first arrives in the city. Their relationship is close although it becomes severely strained when Ivan expresses the desire to go to Kingston to become a famous singer. He unintentionally brings to the fore Miss Mando’s greatest fear, that he will leave the land, abandon her as her children have done, never to return. The rift remains unhealed when she dies.

The scenes of Miss Mando’ s death and subsequent funeral are some of the most powerful in the book, representing as they do both the past and future, remembrance and prophecy. The ceremony follows strictly the traditions of times past: the recounting of the circumstances of the death (how was she sitting, did she have anything in her hand, was it a difficult death, etc.), the gathering and full participation of the community, the elaborate and expensive coffin and the Nine Night festivities:

“…everyone knew that the spirit of the dead remained in the grave for nine days after death, emerging at night to wander around the familiar places of the departed’s life. This being so, it was necessary to have some formal activity- set-up, singing meeting, or a quiet watch-on each of those nights when the spirit would be wandering.

…it was the ninth night that was of significance. On this night when the spirit finally departed the world, taking its last leave of the living, there was a great celebration…”(Thelwell, p. 89)

It is on this night that remembrance becomes prophecy and Ivan’s future is becomes clear, for during the Kumina ceremony, Miss Mando’s spirit pays her final respects to attendant friends and family. Upon acknowledging the presence of her grandson however, the spirit begins to wail and mourn:

“Aieee! Mi pickney, mi pickney. Mi pickney. Fire an’ gunshat. Gunshat and bloodshed. Bloodshed and gunshat, waiee oh.” (Thelwell, p. 97)

The book is worth reading just for this first section alone. The description of rural life, the funeral rites and traditions and in particular the Kumina ceremony are so vibrant one can almost see these images as you read, hear the frantic drums of the kumina, experiencing the sheer power of band leader Bamchikolachi and his drum Akete as they call forth the spirits.

Thellwell’s description of Ivan’s bus trip to the city is priceless in its hilarity. His first glimpse and experiences of Kingston leave us feeling sympathetic towards the country boy as he is robbed, not once but twice by persons in whom he has foolishly placed his trust. It is here that we are introduced to the characters that eventually shape and influence the adult Rhygin, the heroes and villains of the Westerns that Ivan comes to love and after whom he begins to pattern his behaviour: the lone mysterious man, walking cool and unconcerned through a hail of bullets, emerging unharmed and triumphant. Ivan’s experiences roaming the streets, homeless and seeking work among the suburbs of St. Andrew introduce the reader to a Jamaica rife with racism which leaves Ivan bitter and angry, his dreams temporarily on hold as he struggles for survival.

Ivan is rescued from the streets by Pastor Cyrus Mordecai Ramsey, Defender of the Faith, who provides Ivan with a home and job, introducing him to his true love Elsa, Preacher’s adopted daughter and subject of his unhealthy obsession and in the process ironically, reacquaints him with his love of music and his ambitions. Preacher, as he is known, is strict and consumed with his own humility and while Ivan is grateful to him, he cannot quite embrace fully his strict faith and beliefs. It is this defiance and Elsa’s return of Ivan’s love which pushes Preacher into madness and ends in Ivan’s brutalization by an unfair justice system, step one in the evolution of Rhygin. Step two occurs when Ivan, fully pursuing his dreams of fame, encounters the corrupt system which rules the music industry in Jamaica. The encounter with the music producer Hilton, who represents the white elite, serves as a crucial turning point for Ivan, for it is not just the fact that he does not gain monetarily from his music, but he learns that Hilton, as a form of punishment for what he perceives as Ivan’s arrogance, withholds the record, telling the DJs not to ‘push it’, thwarting him of the fame he has long dreamed of.

Ivan’s final descent into Rhygin begins, not with his involvement in the flourishing ganja trade, but when he returns home to Blue Bay. He is shocked and deeply disturbed by the changes he has found. His home has been left to decay; the area has become a tourist mecca where the American dollar reigns supreme. Even a comical scene where Ivan discovers white Rastafarians for the first time is tinged with disbelief and not a little sadness. The visit shocks Ivan to the core, completing his split with the past, there is nothing left and Ivan literally becomes a man without a past. From this sense of self-betrayal and loss, emerges a man determined to become independently rich, leading him to confront those with whom he does business, challenging the status quo.

“I have made a record of crime history.”

                                                          Rhygin (Thelwell, p. 354)

Ivan’s full transformation is complete when he is betrayed by one of his cohorts and is confronted by members of the police force. After killing four of them, Rhygin becomes a murderer and folk-hero. Murderer to the white elite, the police and clergy who fear that Rhygin will become the articulation of a despair and anger that has hitherto only bubbled beneath the surface of the inner-city society and folk-hero to those who regard the police as ‘Babylon’ and ‘down-pressers’, tools of the wealthy whose role it is to keep in them unending subjugation. Rhygin gains his fame at last.

Michael Thelwell’s use of the Jamaican Creole contributes to the excellence of the book. Also, his comedic instincts are flawless (see he scene where members of the Rastafarian community, attempt to capture the city of Kingston). The Harder They Come is a must read for all those thirsting for good and consistent Jamaican literature. Its relevance has not waned as its themes of fame, corruption, lust, love and tradition are still applicable in Jamaican society today.

(Source: Rereading Jamaica)