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Chairman's Report    March 06 - Feb 07

This year has been a very different year with no major funding being sought. However it has been another successful year as Jamaica 2K has worked closely with City College Birmingham where Liz Millman is Director of Faculty: Skills for Life. Liz is now also the Co-ordinator of the College’s Caribbean links and this is enabling some of the work started by Jamaica 2K to be taken on in her new role. Support for the Birmingham Jamaican Diaspora Education Group, chaired by Monica Coke, has also been supported by Liz’s role at the College.

City College Birmingham / Jamaica 2K Delegation to Jamaica

Jamaica 2K entered our 8th year of activities with a delegation in Jamaica in March 06 at the same time as the Lord Mayor of Birmingham.

The visit to Jamaica was very successful, the delegation worked closely with Melvah Blake, the Jamaica 2K Co-ordinator based in Jamaica. There were also visits to JAMAL Centres and meeting people to progress the stands of our work over there.  A real highlight was an invitation to the British High Commission with the opportunity to meet the Prime Minister elect the Hon. Portia Simpson.

Jamaica 2K hosted a seminar at the Hilton Hotel in Kingston on Thursday 23rd March. The Lord Mayor of Birmingham was the main guest and Honorary Ambassador Awards were presented to Joan Andrea Hutchinson, Amena Blackwood Meeks and others.

Back in England the next event was on Birmingham, England on Sat 29th April  to disseminate information about the delegations work in Jamaica.

Progress on work with the work re: Jamaican Language and Culture

Since 2002 Jamaica 2K has been working with colleagues in Jamaica to raise awareness about the issues around Jamaican and its recognition as a language.

On Saturday 10th June Professor Peter Patrick from the University of Essex, was the Key Note Speaker a well attended event at The Mahoe in Dudley. He introduced himself as a Jamaican language speaker (he spent most of his childhood on the North Coast) and gave his perspectives on the recognition of Jamaican as a language from a linguists point of view.

In July Melvah Blake, Jamaica 2K’s Jamaican based Co-ordinator came to the UK with Prof Devonish from the University of the West Indies.  This main presentation was an update of the work of the UWI Jamaican Language Unit Project. This event was hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat, in Pall Mall on Thursday 6th July. Professor Gus John, Chief Executive, Gus John Partnership also spoke on “Related language and cultural issues in education in the UK today”

On Saturday 8th July Professor Devonish gave a "Master Class" on Jamaican / Caribbean Languages at City College Birmingham.

The first accredited course in Jamaican was promoted during the Autumn Term and started in November, hosted by City College. The Awarding Body Consortium includes Jamaican as part of their "Practical Languages" programme from Entry 2 to Level 3.

Jamaica 2K raised the important issue in response to NIACE Committee of Inquiry into English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL)  stating that not only had speakers of Caribbean languages has not been included and neither has the related issue of African language speakers who speak a different English to Standard UK English or who speak a patois based on English.

“Jamaica 2K has been supported by City College Birmingham and the University of the West Indies, as well as other organisations, to explore the issues related to Caribbean languages for some time now to research informally the issues around this and to find ways to recognise and value the ways of speaking that have developed across the Caribbean. We think that there needs to be a recommendation that there is research done to establish the most effective way of supporting Caribbean language speakers, as there is a separate issue about assisting these learners to recognise and value their “mother tongue” and not to rubbish this as “bad English”, “broken English” “slang” or “laberish” and their need to be bilingual ie valuing and speaking in the way that reflects their culture and it’s history and also speaking, reading and writing Standard English.”

Computer shipment update

Press release: October 06  “We are tremendously grateful! That was the sentiment expressed by the Acting Postmaster General, Michael Gentles, upon having been recently presented with 104 complete reconditioned computer systems for the use of the Post and Telecommunications Department. The computers were donated by City College Birmingham, with transport arranged by Jamaica 2K, and presented by Mrs Monica Coke, Governor of City College Birmingham, as the result of months of research, establishing alliances, painstaking effort and direct interface by the postal service’s Human Resource Director, Ms Melvah Blake. Ms Blake wears ‘two hats’ in this respect, in that she is also the Jamaica 2K (Jamaica) Coordinator. Mrs Liz Millman, Coordinator of Jamaica 2K (UK), supported this mission by making arrangements within the UK for the contribution.

The Jamaica Producers’ Group (JPG) underwrote the transportation costs from the UK to Jamaica and utilised ships that carried JPG exports to the UK. Provisions were made with the Customs Dept for P & T to clear the items without incurring additional costs.

In his brief address, Gentles described the computers as “almost new” and declared that the intended aim of the project will be “right on track as they will be deployed in the Postal Training School at the Central Sorting Office” that was established last year, as well as training centres outside of the Kingston Metropolitan Region. He added that this equipment acquisition will prove to be of immense value to the staff who, as with the growing trend, have been steadily seeking to take advantage of training opportunities for personal and career development.”

Stephen Brooks
Chairman Jamaica 2K


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