Inspired Thoughts

Eliminating regret by doing my best

As I thought deeply about the direction in which my life was going and whether or not it was in line with my life’s purpose, something hit me. It was somewhat like an epiphany: so sudden, but so very profound. It shifted my focus from wanting to find out my life’s purpose to what I was doing now. Was I doing enough in preparing and positioning myself for the untold future? This question reverberated in my thoughts ad nauseam. Contemplation of my life’s purpose made me myopic, to say the least. It blinded me from the many possibilities that lie ahead. I then concluded that I was not doing enough.

This semester has been particularly rough. At one point everything seemed to have been going terribly wrong. But this was not caused by any supernatural force of evil wreaking havoc in my life, no. It was me, all me. I was the one who had lost focus; I had lost sight of the goal at hand. As my classes came to an end, I looked back with utter regret. How and why did I allow myself to sink so low? Never again will I allow that to happen.

This is something I struggled with during high school. I never really gave thought to where I would end up. I lived life carefree. I was somewhat delusional. On entering university, this carefree attitude was tossed out the window for a variety of reasons. I committed to not making the same mistakes I did back then because it had left me with so many regrets. I committed to do my best. They always say “old habits die hard’ and this was proven as the carefree attitude found it’s way back into my life. This semester or rather the end of the semester proved to be a wake up calI. It reminded me of what I committed to do/ not to do when I began my tertiary education. It shed light on my many downfalls. I have since then vowed to myself never to let that happen again.

There are so many things I want to accomplish during my academic career. Things that I will accomplish only by sticking to the task. It is my duty to keep my eyes on the prize and do my utmost best. I’d rather look back and say “I have done my best” than to say “I wish I’d done better.”

In the words of the Toltec spiritualist Miguel Angel Ruiz:

“Always Do Your Best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.”

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Inspired Thoughts

NICKOY WILSON for USM VP of Academics 2015/16

Why I want to be USM VP of Academics

            The United Student Movement (USM) is the premier student representational body of Northern Caribbean University and thus presents a unique opportunity to serve students. During my time at NCU, I have seen how the institution works and the culture that exists as it relates to students’ academics, support of academic based events, activities, clubs etc. and students’ attitude towards the USM. I was a part of the USM Mentorship programme 2014-2015 and so I have been exposed to the internal workings of the movement. I want to serve in the office of USM VP of Academics because I am passionate about re-energizing all aspects of academic life at NCU as well as increasing the credibility of the office and to a greater extent, the United Student Movement.

What I want to do

            If I am elected to serve as USM VP of Academics, my tenure will see the implementation of several things. My leadership will be based on four commitments: servant leadership, increased transparency, increased student awareness and increased research on campus.

A servant leader is one who cares for the wellbeing of the people he/she represents and who puts their needs first. To achieve this, an online system that will make it easier for students to put forward their academic concerns will be created. The concerns that have been put forward through this online system and otherwise, will be addressed in a timely manner so that students may receive feedback within a reasonable time frame. My servant leadership style will also see the continued staging of public forums in which students can voice their concerns.

One issue the current student body has with the Administration and the USM is their lack of transparency. I plan to address this by facilitating communication between the Administration and the student body as well as increased communication between my office and the students. Students will then be provided updates on how their grievances are being dealt with in a timely manner, the student body will be provided with monthly updates on what the office has done and a report on what has been accomplished by the office will be disseminated to the student population at the end of each semester.

I also want to increase student awareness. Several students are not aware when academics events such as the USM Debates and School Impact are being held and so I plan to effectively promote these academic based events and activities so that greater support from the student body may be received. There are also several students on campus who are interested in activities, such as debating, but they are unaware of when and where these clubs and societies meet. Through regular bulletins, students will be made aware about the meeting place and time of these various clubs/societies. I also aim to sensitise students on procedures that may become pertinent at some point in their academic careers, such as making a petition and reporting ineffective members of faculty.

Research is something that is usually only emphasized at the graduate level. There are many students on campus who will seek to pursue graduate level education after graduating NCU. I would like to establish the NCU Undergraduate Research League (URL) in partnership with the Office of Graduate Studies and Research in order to increase research by undergraduate students and to somewhat give them a head start before entering the world of graduate studies.

Why I am right for the job

            I am a highly motivated, goal oriented, industrious, passionate, resilient and consistent individual. Having been a part of the Journalism Week Fall 2013 steering committee, president of the Chaplaincy Office outreach “Touch of Faith” in Fall 2014 and a member of the current HuBSS projects team, I believe that I am suitable to take on and properly execute the tasks as required by the office of USM VP of Academics.

 

News

Rise in Crime A Cause for Concern Among Mandeville Residents

Several residents of Mandeville and surrounding areas have become more concerned about their safety due to the rise in criminal activity in recent months.

Mandeville and its environs are viewed by many as usually peaceful areas, but there has been an increase in the occurrence of break-ins, robberies and shootings as the festive season approaches.

A parent who has a child who attends Northern Caribbean University (NCU) Early Childhood Division, said that they tried to break into her apartment on deCarteret Road a few weeks ago. She said, “It was after two in the morning, when I heard someone trying to pry open the bathroom window. I quickly got up and turned on the outside light and by the time I was ready to call the police the thief was gone.” She said that since then she has been searching for a new apartment as she is fearful that the perpetrators might come to her home again.

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deCarteret Road at Nights

Leroy Parker, who also lives on deCarteret Road and who oftentimes travels to the town by foot, said that he has become very concerned about his safety especially after the shooting of 44-year-old construction worker, Kenroy Montaque and 45-year-old carpenter Aaron McGeochy on the same road last month. He said, “Since the shooting I make sure that I walk home from Mandeville as early as possible because it gets dark very early…I don’t want to end up in the same situation.” Parker also said he is very wary of robbers and expressed that there have been a few instances where he has been forced to take a taxi because he was afraid.

deCarteret Road is just one of the many areas being affected by the rise in criminal activity.

Communities especially surrounding the local university, NCU, such as Knockpatrick, Newport, Cedar Grove, Cedar Gardens and Waltham have been affected by this rise in crime. There were numerous reports of students of the university being held up and robbed of their belongings. A female student in particular was reportedly held up, robbed and stabbed several times.

Third year student of NCU, Daniel Nicholas has been living in the community of Knockpatrick for the past 2 years. He said that since he has lived there it is obvious that crime in the area goes up when it comes around to the yuletide season. He said, “When Christmas time is coming, I have to be extra careful because the thieves lay wait you in an attempt to rob you.”

These sentiments were reiterated by Alex Brown who is also a student at NCU. He went on to add that “sometimes I pay the taxi extra to bring me right to my gate because I don’t want to risk getting robbed.” He also said that where he lives the streets lights are on now and then off the next and so this creates a camouflage for the criminals who tend to hide in the bushes.

With all this happening in Mandeville and surrounding areas, residents are wondering what is being done by the police to battle this rise in crime.

News

Police Make Efforts to Stop Crime During the Yuletide Season

Efforts are being made by the Mandeville police to battle the rise in crime that has been evident in the town and its environs since the start of the yuletide season this year.

The rise in criminal activity being observed in Mandeville at this time is no anomaly, as this is a trend that occurs every year.

Detective Corporal Jean Miller of the Area 3 division said that “In an effort to combat crime, we [the Mandeville police] have ramped up our efforts in community policing and so have assigned a patrol car to every community.” She said that this assures resident of their safety as this enables quick response from the police. She went on to say that residents can contact their community patrol officers rather than the

Mandeville police station.

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Photo of the Mandeville Police Station

Karae Brown, resident of the Woodlawn housing scheme acknowledged the presence of police patrol in her community. When asked if she felt afraid, especially considering the fatal shooting of a man in the nearby community of Richmond, she said, “Well kinda but am not feeling fearful really as Richmond is not really exactly where I live and the entire area is under police patrol.”

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Head of Mandeville Police, Superintendent Melvin Brown

In addition to police patrol, a massive operation was carried out by the Mandeville police in collaboration with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) in the town of Mandeville on Friday, December 12 in an effort to battle the perceived rise in crime. Head of Police in Manchester, Superintendent Melvin Brown said that, “We want to do our best to bring a sense of calm and comfort to people ahead of Christmas.” He also added that he aims to disrupt criminal activities by whatever means necessary.

There has also been a noticeably greater number of police personnel in and around the town since the start of the festive season. Police have been mobilized in areas such as the market and other crowded shopping areas like Regency Centre and Willogate, bus parks and taxi parks. Police officers are always seen stationed in areas where ATMs are present. At the Regency Centre in particular, the police can be observed questioning individuals who are are deemed as suspicious.

A street vendor known by her first name Marv who has her stall in the Christiana bus park said, “Police deh all bout inna Mandeville ‘an every minute me haffi a run with me goods.” She also indicated that although it was exhausting constantly looking out for police, she felt safe knowing that they were around especially during this busy season.  .

Another vendor who sells phone cards on the corner of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Johnson’s Pharmacy also reiterated the presence of police on the road. She said, “Police are always out here in the town centre. Them always pulling over people and searching people who they think do things.”

Police began their efforts at the start of the yuletide season at November 1 and will continue to the end of the season to January 2, 2015.

News

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)/ Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) to provide hundreds of jobs to residents of Manchester

He gets to work early in the morning, signs in, heads to his cubicle, sits down and waits for the phone to ring. Finally, the phone rings and he answers, “Good day, you’ve reached… How may I help you?” He goes on to help the caller and moments later he ends, “Thank you for calling…have a good day.” This routine is that of Jevorn Daley, employee at Southerland Global Services located on the Mona campus of the University of West Indies in Kingston. This is a routine that is familiar to many persons who work at an Information and Communication Technology (ICT)/ Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) centre in Jamaica.

ICT is similar to Information Technology (IT), but it focuses primarily on communication technologies and chiefly refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications, while Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is the contracting of a specific business task, such as payroll, to a third-party service provider. In Jamaica, when people refer to ICT, they are usually referring to a Business Process Outsourcing company that uses ICT to carry out their various tasks.

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Photo of the ICT centre being constructed on Ward Avenue in Mandeville.

There are several such centres in Jamaica and currently there is one being constructed on Ward Avenue in Mandeville, Manchester and it is said that this will help to not only boost the Mandeville economy by creating employment, but also will help to stimulate growth in the Jamaican ICT/BPO sector.

Freezone Mobday
Photo of Montego Bay Freezone Company Limited (source: MBFZ website)

These centres are found mostly in areas such as Kingston and the Freezone of Montego Bay.They have benefited from the establishment of these centres by creating job opportunities for locals and by creating an environment where ICT based businesses can flourish. This environment helps to attract foreign  investment to the local ICT sector, since many of the businesses that utilize ICT services in Jamaica are based overseas. Consequently, this helps the sector to earn large amounts of foreign exchange for the local economy. Montego Bay alone has several ICT centres set up in the Freezone area and currently they employ in excess of 1000 individuals.

That level of employment and more is expected for Mandeville when the ICT centre is complete. Member of Parliament for central Manchester, Peter Bunting says he expects that “hundreds if not thousands” to be employed at the centre when the project is complete. The centre could also provide part time employment for students of tertiary institutions that are located in or close to Mandeville as seen on UWI Mona campus, especially in light of the fact that Sutherland Global Services are the fore runners for start-up of the ICT business at the new centre.

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Photo of Dr. Michael Reid, Vice President of Technology at NCU (source: NCU website)

Dr Michael Reid, Vice President of Technology at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) believes that the establishment of this ICT centre would spur growth in the use of information and communication technologies. He said, “When you look at the landscape in Mandeville, there isn’t much happening in ICT. There is only NCU.” Because there is little to no ICT development in Mandeville, he believes that the ICT centre will help promote ICT jobs and training. He also said that this would boost the Mandeville economy and further encourage ICT development not only in Jamaica, but also in the region.

Resident of Manchester, Fiona Worgs, said that the establishment of this centre is very encouraging because of the jobs that it will create. She thinks that this will create opportunities, especially for individuals who are currently unemployed. Worgs said, “I think the centre is a good thing because…it can create jobs for people who is not working”. She also expressed that her son, who is 18, is also in need of a job and so he may be able to be employed at the centre.

Since residents of Mandeville are being made aware of the construction of this centre, many of them who are currently unemployed may be thinking about applying for jobs there. Yanikie Mahoney, who recently graduated from the National College of Professional Studies with a certificate in health care assistance, said that she has not been able to get a job in her field. She said, “Since I left school I haven’t been able to work so I think I may be able to get a job at the new place they are building.”

The establishment of the ICT centre is hoped to provide hundreds of jobs for the people of Mandeville. If what is happening, particularly in Montego Bay, is any indication of what will happen in Mandeville, then the people of Mandeville can expect increased employment opportunities and economic growth in the years to come.

Inspired Thoughts

Twenty Five Percent discount for New Students at NCU

Students who apply and are accepted to the Northern Caribbean University(NCU) for the January 2015 semester are expected to get a twenty five percent discount, but although this came as good news to many some were not pleased.

This announcement came while Mr Bylton Clarke, Coordinator of the Capital Advancement Project Secretariat of Northern Caribbean University (NCU), addressed the Manchester Adventist Youth Federation (MAYFED) at the Spur Tree Seventh-day Adventist Church on Sunday, November 2.

Discount for Current Students

Camelita Levy, a second year business administration major said, “it is a good look for news students but I think returning students should also get a discount.” When asked how much discount current students should get, she said, “they should get at least five percent discount each semester, it may not be much but it can help.”

Jodian Kennedy, a mass communication major said, “I think that it is a great move by the university to offer discounts to new students, but I think that current students should also be given such opportunities, whether based on academic merit or need.”

Presenting Opportunities

Although some students think that it is unfair, it is presenting opportunities for many individuals. Mark McLean, an employee at the Registrar General’s Department (RGD),  expressed sentiments that this discount has made him rethink where he should get a tertiary education. He said, “I have been contemplating going to NCU for a quite a while now, but the tuition cost is one factor as to why I haven’t made up my mind. Although this discount is for one semester, it will help me to at least start my journey to getting my degree.”

This tuition discount comes after the NCU Mediathon, an annual fundraising event aimed at getting scholarship money for students who want to attend NCU.

Inspired Thoughts, Religious

Spiritual Procrastinator

Ephesians 5:15-17:24

15″ Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”

Procrastination is or at least was one of my bad habits and so this semester I decided that it was not an option. It was just one of those habits that had over stayed its welcome in my school life; one that had to be exterminated like termites from wood only that, it didn’t eat away at me but instead my time. Quite efficiently if I might add. My precious time. Time that could have been used doing rather more important things but let me not stray from the point. Though procrastination was, for the most part, eliminated from my academic life, what say the other aspects of my life? And not just any other aspect but the spiritual side?

The Sabbath is a very important part of my spiritual life.  A day where I forget about the happenings of the week; a day of rest; a day of complete devotion to God. This day starts at sunset on what we call Friday but before the Sabbath begins I have to prepare. I have to iron, clean etc. as work on the Sabbath is a no no. As I said, it is a day of rest. Now let me get back to my point. The first few months after my baptism I took the Sabbath quite seriously. I ensured I ironed, cleaned my living area and did all that needed to be done so that I could properly usher in the Sabbath with praise and worship and the reading of God’s Holy Word. Slowly it began to be polluted. I began doing the things on the Sabbath that I should have done before. It was all apart of my spiritual procrastination.

I began to slip. I neglected my quarterly and more importantly my Bible. I read it when I wanted to and when I finally got around to it, in the spirit of true procrastinator, I put it off for a later time. I soon  saw the error of my ways. I saw that this was unacceptable. I saw that God wasn’t pleased. This week’s lesson reminded me of how important the Sabbath is, not only to us but to God. It is a memorial of creation. It is the day when he expects us to devote our all to him. The Bible verse above says you should be “making the most of every opportunity”. We should take advantage of every opportunity we get to connect with God. Only when we connect with God constantly that we can truly focus our minds on heavenly things. We should focus on those things because that is where our future lies.

Procrastination is never a good thing. The results may be dire. It can cause you to lose sight of what is important. It may cause a separation between you and God. Whether in your personal, academic or most importantly your spiritual life, my message to you is DO NOT PROCRASTINATE!