Posts Tagged ‘Diaspora’

Shaggy Talks about growing up in Jamaica

Shaggy, while doing an interview to promote their new 44/876 album, with Sting, on BBC Radio 1Extra spoke about his childhood growing up in Jamaica.

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The late Lowell Hawthorne. CEO of the Golden Krust Empire.

Over the past couple of days, the Jamaican & by extension the Caribbean Diaspora has been rocked by news of Golden Krust CEO Lowell Hawthorne committing suicide. Hawthorne through his empire has been seen as the pinnacle of success in the Jamaican, Caribbean and Immigrant communities. Here are some of the reports:

From the Jamaica Observer:

NEW YORK, USA — The founder and CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill killed himself inside his Bronx factory yesterday, police sources said. Lowell Hawthorne, 57, shot himself inside the Park Avenue building about 5:30 pm, sources said.

More than a dozen current and former employees stood in disbelief outside the factory for hours.

Hawthorne opened the first Golden Krust store on E Gun Hill Road in 1989.

He built the Jamaica beef patty purveyor into a national empire boasting more than 120 restaurants across the US.

It also produces more than 50 million patties a year for retail stores, and supplies them to about 20,000 outlets.

“We believe in the power of the patty,” Hawthorne, a former winner of the Observer’s Business Leader Award, said in May.

Some of his employees said they suspected something was amiss when they spotted his car, a silver Tesla 85D, parked oddly outside the factory. It was left straddling two lanes.

 

From the New York Times:

Death of Jamaican Fast-Food Magnate Stuns Friends and Workers

Lowell Hawthorne used the flavors of his native Jamaica to build a fast-food empire from scratch in the United States.

But after 28 years as the president and chief executive of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill, Mr. Lowell fatally shot himself on Saturday, the police said.

The entrepreneur’s death sent shock waves through the Caribbean community in New York, where he was seen as an immigrant success story, and in Jamaica. And it stunned his family, friends and customers.

“Our hearts are broken, and we are struggling to process our grief over this tremendous loss,” the Golden Krust company said in a statement on Sunday. “Lowell was a visionary, entrepreneur, community champion, and above all a committed father, family man, friend and man of faith.”

The Bronx-based company, where Mr. Hawthorne had worked with his wife and four children, offered thanks to supporters, and said funeral arrangements would be announced at a later date.

FROM the New York Post.
Golden Krust CEO killed himself over tax debt, fears of probe

The founder of the Golden Krust Jamaican beef patty empire killed himself amid fears the feds were investigating him for evading millions of dollars in taxes, The Post has learned.

A family member told detectives that Lowell Hawthorne, 57, admitted the huge tax debt to some of his relatives, and was “acting funny” and “talking to himself” in the hours before his suicide, a law enforcement source said Sunday.

Surveillance video shows the meat-pie mogul shooting himself in the head at his office inside the Golden Krust bakery and warehouse in the Bronx, said the source, who was briefed on the NYPD investigation into the shooting.

Before the shooting, the video shows Hawthorne speaking with a pair of workers who left the room, both of whom were crouched down when they later returned to his office, sources said.

It was unclear if they saw Hawthorne kill himself, but one of them could be seen making a cellphone call, which a source said was to 911.

Hawthorne employed dozens of relatives at the business he started in 1989, and the source said he left a note in which he apologized to his family.

Hawthorne’s younger brother, Milton Hawthorne, 55, met cops who arrived at the Golden Krust plant at 3958 Park Ave. around 5:15 p.m. Saturday in response to a 911 call about an emotionally disturbed person armed with a gun, sources said.

Lowell, a married father of three sons and a daughter, was found on the floor of his office with a single bullet wound to his head and a handgun lying nearby, sources said.

The Jamaican immigrant started Golden Krust with a single fast-food eatery on East Gun Hill Road in the Bronx and opened 16 more across the city before launching a franchise operation in 1996.

The company now has more than 120 outlets in nine states, and sells its beef patties in more than 20,000 supermarkets, as well as to the city school system, state penal system and US military, according to a news release issued last year.

In August, Hawthorne was slapped with a proposed class-action suit alleging he cheated as many as 100-plus workers at the Golden Crust plant out of overtime pay.

The suit — fairly common in the food service industry — remains pending in Manhattan federal court.

Al Alston, who befriended Hawthorne 30 years ago when they were both NYPD accountants and now owns a Golden Krust franchise in Queens, called his suicide “more than unexpected — it’s out of character.”

“He was always an upbeat guy,” Alston said.

“We’ve been in a lot of tough jams and situations, but he was always a person who’d say, ‘We’ll get out of it.’ And we would get out of it.”

Alston said he last spoke to Hawthorne two weeks ago, adding: “He was so happy about [the recent birth of] his granddaughter.”

“All his boys are married now. He was talking about taking on a different role as a father, making his boys into husbands and fathers themselves,” Alston said.

Mourners gathered at Hawthorne’s home in Elmsford, with son Omar, Golden Krust’s director of franchise and community development, saying via email: “We are still grieving, and are not conducting any interviews at this time.”

During a brief news conference at the Golden Krust bakery, company spokesman and Hawthorne nephew Steven Clarke said widow Lorna Hawthorne was making funeral arrangements and it was unclear if there would be a public memorial service.

“Right now we’re still processing and trying to wrap our mind around this tragic loss,” he added.

Additional reporting by Daniel Prendergast, Reuven Fenton, Shari Logan and Tea Kvetenadze

 

JAMAICA FLAG

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAMAICA LAND OF MY BIRTH
 
BY Jason Walker
 
Today JAMAICA is 53. It is a moment of blessing and happiness for those of us born in, descendant of and love Jamaica. It is also a time to share that happiness with those who love Jamaica although not born in the land of wood and water. There are many reasons to be proud of our young small nation and the peoples who have been brought forth from this nation that have put a stamp on human history. All this has been done while facing seemingly insurmountable odds from the first moment Europeans destroyed the aboriginal people in Jamaica, to the Africans fighting against slavery and having limited success against the most far-reaching holocaust in human history, to the influencing of PAn African thought through Marcus Garvey & Rastafarians and the infectuous Reggae music and powerful contirbutions in the areas of human rights, progressive thought, academia, Christian service, athletics and so much more.
 
We have done all this while dealing with challenges from both outside and inside of our communities and creating a Diaspora that by all estimates doubles our population on the island. I would like to see as a present on this 53rd year, all Jamaicans really coming together with a mindset of always supporting people and things Jamaican in positive realms and to use all these areas of GODly anointing that we show so successfully to truly make us advance in every area so that we not only benefit ourselves, but the whole human race.
 
Happy Birthday Jamaica to all Jamaicans, those of Jamaican descent and those who love Jamaica
 
National Pledge
 
Before God and all mankind, 
I pledge the love and loyalty of my heart, 
the wisdom and courage of my mind, 
the strength and vigour of my body in the service of my fellow citizens; 
I promise to stand up for Justice, Brotherhood and Peace, 
to work diligently and creatively, 
to think generously and honestly, 
so that Jamaica may, under God, 
increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity, 
and play her part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race.

 

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Jamaica Prime Minister NO SHOW at Jamaica Diaspora Event

by Jason Walker

               I know when you hear the words “No Show” they are normally associated with entertainers and concerts not Prime Ministers especially when it involves important audiences like the Diaspora. Well that is essentially what occurred on December 3 2011 in the state of Florida when Jamaican Florida Commissioner Dale Holness had arranged for a meeting between the very new Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness (Distant cousins) and the Jamaican Diaspora.

Let’s do a little a background Prime Minister (PM) Holness was sworn in as PM on the 23rd of October 2011 and as such became the youngest PM in Jamaican history. This brought intrigue and excitement in several quarters, and also extreme curiousity. There were questions throughout the Diaspora as to who exactly is Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness as a large percentage of the Diaspora was very unfamiliar with the new PM. To add to the fascination, former Prime Minister Bruce Golding had suddenly resigned amid a series of scandals that rocked the ruling party, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). To add to this earlier this year members of the Diaspora had shown a very public concern about the treatment of the Diaspora by the Jamaican government led by the JLP.

With the aforementioned reasons amongst others many members of the Diaspora jumped at the chance to meet the new PM face to face, they came from all over Florida and as far as the neighbouring states to Florida. The event was to start at 3:30 PM in the very large Christway Baptist Church in Miramar Florida. Hundreds of Jamaicans had already begun filling up the venue, surrounding parking lots were packed. Jamaicans of all stripes, classes and other strata were streaming in. Some identified themselves as PNP (People’s National Party the opposition) supporters, Independents and JLP supporters (wearing green in some part of their dress), the majority though seemed to be made up of independents who just love Jamaica. The general mood was they wanted to find out who their new PM was, to share Diaspora concerns and to hear the PM’s vision for a Jamaica.

3:30 came and went, 4:00 came and went and there was no Prime Minister. The audience was told repeatedly that the PM was on the way. Persons such as G2K vice president Sherman Calnek and the hilarious community member Easton Lee went on the podium to fill the time. Right before 5:00 it was announced that we would be hearing from the PM calling in on his SAT phone calling from his plane as it was taking off from Jamaica, yes I said taking off from Jamaica minutes to 5:00 when the event started at 3:00. The PM apologized for not being there and that he would be on the way. It was announced that he should be there soon. After 6:30 with no PM in sight Diaspora members began leaving in disgust, so disappointed that a promise made by the new Prime Minister was treated with such disrespect. Soon after when most of the Jamaicans from the Diaspora had left the event was cancelled.

Before the cancellation was made known, it was announced that later that night there was a fundraiser for the Jamaica Labour Party election campaign that persons could attend and meet the PM there. Understandably only JLP supporters were interested in such an activity while the invitation and no show left a bitter taste in people’s mouths.

Kudos must be given to Commissioner Dale Holness for arranging this event, for Jamaicans throughout the Diaspora still want to know who the man who is running the country they love is. Former Prime Ministers Michael Manley, Edward Seaga, PJ Patterson, Portia Simpson-Miller and Bruce Golding have a strong and positive record when it comes to making time for and honouring meeting engagements with the Diaspora. From here on in, if Prime Minister Holness wishes to interact with the Jamaican Diaspora, market to them and have them invest in Jamaica as he shared in a later interview, he is going to have to show some priority with the Diaspora when it comes to his scheduling. What happened on Saturday has been taken as a slap in the face by several who attended, even those who identified themselves as JLP supporters looked stunned and definitely disappointed as they left.

Jamaica Diaspora Conference November 5 South FLorida

With the examples set by Occupy movements, African and Arab springs we have seen what can happen when affairs are left to the hands of the few. The Jamaican Diaspora is no different in this context. If we of the Jamaica Diaspora are not involved in the steering of our course, others will. As we have seen with the direction and receipt of benefits of our national treasures (music, coffee, airline, marketing of our athletes, even the flag etc), we have been largely absent on both sides.

We need to get involved and we need to make our voices heard and change this trend. When it comes to the Diaspora movement I always hear large amounts of misinformation and negative perspectives from Jamaicans, yet all Jamaicans, their descendants, and their families are part of the Diaspora! Let us change this narrative, let us get involved and let us become one of the successful Diasporas on the planet, to paraphrase our pledge let us truly play our “part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race”

Jason Walker