Saturday, 19 January 2019

The Alternative Development Programme For Growing Ganja

Maroon farmers listen to Prime MinisterAndrew Holness
Jamaican Prime Minister Announces Medical Marijuana Cultivation programme for Indigenous Maroons

By Stephen Weir

The government of Jamaica is paving the way for Indigenous Maroons to legally cultivate Medical Marijuana within the country’s Maroon communities. Late last week, Prime Minister Andrew Holness told a gathering of Maroon leaders and farmers that in the first quarter of 2019 they would have the legal right to grow ganja.

“We have made a decision to allow for what is called the Alternative Development Programme for growing ganja because it is a real fear that as the medical industry emerges to become more corporatized that Maroons, the original ganjamen will be left out of the gains and the benefits of growing Medical Marijuana. You were the first to sing the praises of Medical Marijuana and (your communities) so well know the curative benefits of Medical Ganja.”

The Government of Jamaica has made a decision that Agriculture will play a leading role in the development of the country and the Maroons.  One of the target areas is creating value products from the many medicinal herbal plants that grow in Jamaica.

According to Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture Audley Shaw, “ Ganja which has been seen to be part of the problems in Jamaica is now part of the solution for the economic and social development of the country. The Accompong Maroons bring a long history of using local Jamaican ganja as a medicine and together we are combing their local strains with international scientific research to develop valued added medical marijuana products for the rest of the world.”
“This programme is of significant importance to ensure that small farmers benefit legally from Ganja,” continued the Prime Minister. “The Maroon communities has  a certain discipline, a certain order, and a certain social system that will ensure that the crop is not used in illicit ways. I know that you've actually started a part of the programme but you are now awaiting the government's part of the project to come in. Within the first quarter of this year the Alternative Development Programme for  the small ganja farmers (will be up and running). I give my commitment that it will start.”
Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Shortly after the Prime Minister announced the Alternative Development Programme, one Jamaican Canadian firm promised the Maroon communities support in maximizing their ganja crops.  Timeless Herbal Care (THC) Jamaica Ltd  is one of the first companies to legally grow and harvest medical marijuana in Jamaica; its Jamaican Canadian CEO Courtney Betty is promising to help the Maroons maximize their harvest.  
“ The  Maroon ganja growers know their land and their crops like no other,” said Mr Betty. “What we offering the Maroons is access to our expertise in medical standards of  processing, research & development, and access to export markets.” Mr Betty’s company has assembled a team that includes the best doctors, scientists, researchers and growers to transform Jamaica into the medical marijuana hub for the world (the company has already made shipments to health authorities in Canada).


The Maroons descended from Africans who escaped from slavery and established free communities in the mountainous interior. To this day, the Maroons are autonomous and separate from Jamaican culture.  The four official Maroon towns still in existence in Jamaica are Accompong Town, Moore Town, Charles Town and Scott's Hall. They hold lands allotted to them by treaty from the British in 1740. These communities still maintain their traditional celebrations and practices, some of which have West African origins.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Short List for RBC Taylor Prize Is Full Of Surprisze


RBC Taylor Prize Jury Names 2019’s Five Best Books in Cdn Literary Non-Fiction

At a standing-room-only press conference held in downtown Toronto, the RBC Taylor Prize jury announced the five finalists for the eighteenth RBC Taylor Prize, selected from their previously announced ten-title longlist. In all, the jury, composed of Camilla Gibb, Roy MacGregor and Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin read and evaluated over 115 non-fiction books by Canadian writers submitted by Canadian and international publishers.
The shortlist and jury citations for the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize are:

Just Let Me Look at You: On Fatherhood, by Bill Gaston, published by Hamish Hamilton/Penguin Canada
Bill Gaston sets out on a solitary journey eighty miles across the Salish Sea in a boat he describes as “a piece of junk.” He’s heading back to the bittersweet place where he spent time as a child living aboard a boat with his father, learning to fish and learning to be wary of the fluctuations in his father’s moods when he drank. This is a quiet, meditative and tender-hearted exploration of childhood injury and its legacy across generations.
Jan in 35 Pieces: A Memoir in Music, by Ian Hampton, published by Porcupine’s Quill
Cellist Ian Hampson has created a lyrical reflection on the world of music and classical composers and musicians in the seven decades since World War II. Beautifully written, the book is structured around thirty-five pieces of memorable music. In vivid strokes, Hampson introduces us to the great conductors, performers and composers he encountered as a musician in England, California and finally, the west coast of Canada. Along the way, he introduces us to some of the finest music the world has produced. By turns reflective and humorous, this beautifully paced book chronicles the trials and triumphs of a life devoted to music and defined by the people he worked with and loved.
Lands of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Road, by Kate Harris, published by Knopf Canada.
From her vantage point of a student of the history of science, explorer and adventurer, Kate Harris presents a rare and unique vision of world, and explores the nature of boundaries. Unable to realize her childhood dream of travelling to Mars, she decides to trace Marco Polo’s Silk Road by bicycle. Vivid descriptions of the places and people she meets inspire deep and eclectic reflections on the nature of the world, wilderness, and the struggle of humans to define and limit them. This is a book that changes how one thinks about the world and the human compulsion to define it.
All Things Consoled: A Daughter’s Memoir, by Elizabeth Hay, published by McClelland & Stewart
In this brilliant and honest memoir, Elizabeth Hay traces the final decline of her parents — her father, a proud and ambitious school teacher possessed of a terrifying temper and moods of melancholy, and her mother, who kept the family peace and reconciled herself to life through painting. As she cares for her parents in their final days, Elizabeth — the difficult daughter — describes the truth of who they are and what they did. Tender, witty and brutally honest, the book tears open the cloak of shared secrecy to bare the dynamics of a family — the fears, sibling rivalries, joys, disappointments and grievances that have lain unacknowledged through the decades.
Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age, by Darrel McLeod, published by Douglas & MacIntyre.
A torturously-beautiful memoir of growing up in a world of violence and family trauma. McLeod’s writing is lyrical and offers a powerful examination of contemporary issues, from sexual self-identification to the scars of residential school to the contemporary search for reconciliation. “Mamaskatch” means “shared dream” in Cree, and while there are unavoidable nightmares along the journey, there are also dreams of hope, at times of exquisite beauty and renewed pride.
Noreen Taylor, founder of the Prize and chair of the Charles Taylor Foundation, spoke at the event and made these comments: “One of the many joys of my “job” is being brought into the orbit, on the page and in person, of the many astounding storytellers and truthsayers of our country. The searches that they describe — for truth, for reconciliation of all sorts, and for beauty, in people, art, nature — give us pause to consider the world and the people around us, and give us hope”.
Also in attendance was Vijay Parmar, president of RBC PH&N Investment Counsel, who added: “Congratulations to each of the authors who have been shortlisted for this year’s RBC Taylor Prize. This list reflects the best of Canadian non-fiction writers and celebrates their achievements. RBC Wealth Management is proud to sponsor the Prize as it helps put our country’s distinctive voice on the global literary stage by shining a spotlight on our talented writers from coast-to-coast.”
Public events already confirmed for the finalists include a free 90-minute Round Table Discussion with the shortlisted authors in the Brigantine Room at Harbourfront, hosted by Toronto Star Books Editor, Deborah Dundas, on Thursday February 28, 2018 at 7pm presented by the Toronto International Festival of Authors; and the Ben McNally Authors Brunch on Sunday March 3rd, at the Omni King Edward Hotel in downtown Toronto (for tickets, please contact Ben McNally Books at 416 361-0032 or visit
The RBC Taylor Prize winner will be revealed at a gala luncheon on Monday March 4th, 2018. The Prize luncheon will once again be held at the Omni King Edward Hotel in downtown Toronto.

About The RBC Taylor Prize

Established in 1998 by the trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation and first awarded in 2000, 2019 marks the eighteenth awarding of the RBC Taylor Prize, which commemorates Charles Taylor’s pursuit of excellence in the field of literary non-fiction. Awarded to the author whose book best combines a superb command of the English language, an elegance of style, and a subtlety of thought and perception, the Prize consists of $5,000 for each of the finalists, and a further $25,000 for the winner. All authors are presented with a custom leather bound version of their shortlisted book at the awards ceremony. All finalists receive promotional support for their nominated titles.
Sharing a commitment to emerging Canadian talent, The Charles Taylor Foundation and RBC will also grant the sixth annual RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writers Award. Shortly after the announcement of the 2019 Prize, its winner will name their choice of emerging author to receive this $10,000 award.
Continuing that commitment to emerging Canadian talent, we will again present the RBC Taylor Prize Emergent Author Mentorship Program, of nationally selected non-fiction writers from several of the many prestigious writing programs in Canada. The five selected Emergent writers will be paired with a shortlisted author and will travel to Toronto for professional development and mentorship.
The trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation are: Vijay Parmar, David Staines, Edward Taylor, Nadina Taylor, and Noreen Taylor. The Prize Manager is Sheila Kay.
The presenting sponsor of the RBC Taylor Prize is RBC Wealth Management. Its media sponsors are The Globe and Mail, Cision, Quill & Quire magazine; its in-kind sponsors are Ben McNally Books, Event Source, TIFA, and the Omni King Edward Hotel. Open Book is a Friend of the Prize.
To download high-resolution images of the shortlisted authors

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Press Conference in Toronto for new Money Transfer company

Like a bolt of lighting, PayPal’s Xoom jumps out of the starting blocks on Tuesday in Toronto

By Stephen Weir

PayPal fired a bolt over the bow of Jamaica’s GraceKennedy Currency Trading Services (Western Union).  Yesterday PayPal’s money transfer company, Xoom launched a new Canadian service by announcing it had just signed eight-time Olympic Jamaican gold medalist Usain Bolt as its global brand ambassador.
“At Xoom, we’re deeply committed to delivering the fastest possible money transfer experience to our customers, so Mr. Bolt was a natural fit to be our global brand ambassador,” Julian King, Vice President and General Manager of Xoom told the Caribbean Camera at the company’s Canadian launch.
“We look forward to working with Mr. Bolt during an exciting time as we expand our services. He will be appearing in our marketing materials and representing us at selected events,” King continued. “Is he coming to Canada? Nothing that I can announce ….  just yet!”
 On Tuesday PayPal and Xoom hosted a packed late morning press briefing in a conference room at the Bayview Mall in North Toronto. In addition to announcing the hiring of Usain Bolt, PayPal and Xoom laid out to the media what the companies are bringing to Canada.

Xoom’s owner, PayPal, is an American company operating a worldwide online payments system that supports online money transfers. The young company’s services are an electronic alternative to moving money using traditional paper methods like cheques and money orders
The press were told that Canadian immigrants can now use Xoom to quickly and securely send money, pay bills and reload phones for loved ones living in more than 130 countries globally, including all Caribbean islands except one!  “ No, you can’t use Xoom to transfer money to Cuba. We don’t have any partners on the island, and we are a US based company!”
Using a Smart phone, tablet or desktop computer, Canadians can use Xoom to send money on-line fast and line-up free to friends and family members around the world.  Media at the press conference were shown how a Xoom phone app could take money from Canada to the Caribbean in less than 30-seconds.
Xoom allows users to send up to $12,500 CAD in a single transaction to the Caribbean, and multiple transactions can be made in a single day. Senders choose from a number options: deposit money to a bank account, send cash for pick-up or have cash delivered directly to the recipient’s door.
According to PayPal, this is one of the world’s most diverse countries and is home to more than 7.5 million foreign-born people from more than 200 countries. Canadian immigrant families send nearly $24 billion annually to support family and friends back home.
Mr. King photo by sweir
Julian King is a Jamaican American based in California and understands how important money transfers are to the economy of the Caribbean.  He believes that Xoom will be able to gain a foothold in the business of moving P-to-P (person to person) money by offering low service charges, competitive currency exchange rates and guaranteeing all transactions.
Hiring Jamaica’s favourite son makes a bold statement one that Western Union, the world’s leading money transfer company, is sure to hear.  But it will take more than a famous runner to overtake Western Union’s grip on the Caribbean. Back in 2014, the company’s 25th anniversary in Jamaica, Western Union moved the equivalent of more than US$14 billion into Jamaica in collaboration with GraceKennedy Money Services.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

PayPals launches Xoom in Canada - international money transfer service

PayPal launches Xoom, a fast and secure international money transfer service to make sending money back home easier for Canadian immigrants
- PayPal introduces Xoom, a fast way to send money, pay bills and reload phones to more than 130 countries, including Jamaica, at competitive ra
TORONTO, December 11, 2018 – Today, PayPal launched Xoom, its international money transfer service in Canada. Canadian immigrants can now use Xoom to quickly and securely send money, pay bills and reload phones fast for loved ones living in more than 130 countries globally, including Jamaica. To send money abroad in a few simple steps, download Xoom’s mobile app on Android and iOS or go to Canadian immigrant families remit nearly $24 billion[i] annually to support family and friends back home.

 “At Xoom, we are focused on making the process of sending money home to loved ones in another country fast and convenient for hardworking immigrants. Sending money abroad is often expensive and time consuming,” said Julian King, Xoom’s Vice President and General Manager. “Bringing Xoom’s digital remittance services to Canada will help eliminate these inconveniences so it’s fast and easy for Canadians to send bank deposits, reload prepaid phones and pay bills to support loved ones back home.”
Canada is one of the world’s most diverse countries and is home to more than 7.5 million foreign-born people from more than 200 places of birth[ii]. Introducing PayPal’s Xoom will benefit more than one in five people living in Canada – many of whom support family members overseas for things like medical bills, education, utility bills and other financial needs.
Xoom offers fast money transfer services abroad to more than 130 countries, including Jamaica, many with limited access to digital remittance services, offering fast options including: cash pickup, bank deposits, bill pays and reload of prepaid phones. Xoom customers can also enjoy high send amounts in a single transaction, at competitive rates to conveniently send large bank deposits wherever they are, whenever they want, using only a mobile phone. 

Cost-effective digital money transfer services for a global market
Canadians can now send up to $12,500 CAD in a single transaction[iii] to JamaicaFor send money transactions, depending on the receiver country, users can choose from a range of options: deposit money to a bank account, send cash for pick-up or have cash delivered directly to their recipient’s door.
Xoom transfers can be tracked quickly and easily via text updates, email notifications or directly from the mobile app and website. Those who send money abroad can get their questions answered from customer support staff in English, French, Spanish and Filipino.
Xoom partners with highly credible banks and partners around the world to provide fast, secure and affordable money transfers. According to the ‘Migration and Remittances’ April 2018 report by the World Bank, globally, the top three receiver remittance countries are India, China and the Philippines. Xoom provides money transfer services to these key corridors in addition to the UK, Eurozone and many other countries in Eastern Europe and Africa.
Historically, the cost of securely and efficiently managing and moving money across borders has been high but advances in digital technology—in particular mobile—are enabling a significant reduction in remittances costs. Sending money overseas through a digital service like Xoom costs nearly half (3.93%) of the amount sent compared to the average cost of traditional remittances services (7.45%)[iv]
“Two billion people around the world are underserved by traditional financial institutions. Some must stand in line for over an hour just to cash a cheque,” adds King. “With Xoom, Canadians can now get a fast, painless and secure way to support loved ones back home.”
With this launch, PayPal and Xoom are helping to improve the financial health of Canadians and millions of people worldwide. Xoom’s increased presence in North America is an important milestone, signifying PayPal’s goal of democratizing the management and movement of money for people globally.
About PayPal
Fueled by a fundamental belief that having access to financial services creates opportunity, PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) is committed to democratizing financial services and empowering people and businesses to join and thrive in the global economy. Our open digital payments platform gives PayPal’s 254 million active account holders the confidence to connect and transact in new and powerful ways, whether they are online, on a mobile device, in an app, or in person. Through a combination of technological innovation and strategic partnerships, PayPal creates better ways to manage and move money, and offers choice and flexibility when sending payments, paying or getting paid. Available in more than 200 markets around the world, the PayPal platform, including Braintree, Venmo and Xoom, enables consumers and merchants to receive money in more than 100 currencies, withdraw funds in 56 currencies and hold balances in their PayPal accounts in 25 currencies. For more information on PayPal Canada visit
 Media Contacts
Malini Mitra                                                       
PayPal Canada 

Nicole Aikman-Smith
Marnic Solutions

Issued by Stephen Weir December 11, 2018

[i] Source: World Bank’s latest Migration and Development Brief.
[iii] Subject to Know Your Customer requirements. Sending more than $10,000 CAD in 24 hours takes additional days. The speed of transaction is dependent on partner processing hours, good funds availability, approval by Xoom’s proprietary verification system, and our partner’s systems availability. May not be available for all transactions.