Posts Tagged ‘Hero’

Buju Banton, arguably Dancehall’s greatest artist, a Grammy award winner, creator of the greatest Dancehall album ever (Til’ Shiloh), an international reggae Icon and much more to Jamaica, the Caribbean, the Reggae and music world, has returned home after 8 years incarcerated in the United States.

The artist who was welcomed by friends and family, joy and love, immediately focused on his loved ones who he has been separated from for so long. Jamaicans in Jamaica and abroad and Reggae lovers around the world celebrated the 7th of December 2018 like never before.

Photo caption: Buju reunited with his daughter.

Already it seems though that Buju AKA Mark Myrie will be working with his original manager, Donovan Germaine. also already celebrating managing Dalton Harris to the historic win in the X-Factor UK. They will definitely be working on some quality music that we all need to be exposed to.

Below is Buju’s father speaking about his son’s return.

Below is a statement from Buju’s team.

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




Marcus Garvey is Jamaica’s 1st National hero, history’s greatest Pan-Africanist and the founder of the largest mass movement in history, the UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association that claimed a membership of 4 million people with branches around the world), amongst many other seismic accomplishments. The title above might conjure up the rallying cry to have more access to education on the legendary man or more celebration of his accomplishments, words, vision and principles. That title might even bring forth a reminder that there is a need for much more adherence to his teachings of Pan-Africanism, black self-reliance, self-empowerment and other sustainable themes that he championed.

The title does not refer to the powerful sentiment of freeing or unleashing Marcus Garvey as the above paragraph delineates, however this title refers to a look at a movement that has been launched in response to the arresting and conviction of Marcus Garvey by the United States government on the charge of mail fraud in 1922. President Calvin Coolidge commuted Garvey’s sentence in 1927 and he was deported to Jamaica were he received a Hero’s welcome. Garvey passed in 1940. There is a consistent perspective among those who have researched the case and the events around the case that charges were unfounded and as such many believe Garvey should be pardoned.

One of the persons who have both researched extensively on Garvey and all that he has inspired and also demands exoneration is Jamaican poet, novelist and playwright Geoffry Philp. On speaking on the arrest of Garvey Philp lays out the reasons against the conviction: “J. Edgar Hoover used every legal maneuver to stop Garvey. In fact, before his eventual imprisonment on mail fraud, Garvey had been arrested several other times, which amounted to police and legal harassment.


However, Garvey was finally convicted on charges of mail fraud and sent to prison based on perjured confessions and the evidence of an empty envelope. Here are the words of two Garvey scholars, Colin Grant and Justin Hanford: “In order for Garvey to be found guilty of fraud, the prosecution would have to prove that the president-general [Garvey] had sent out adverts through the post, encouraging investors to buy shares in the Black Star Line knowing that these shares would be worthless. Strangely, the case turned on any empty envelope…Dancy’s only proof an empty envelope bearing a BSL stamp.

~ Colin Grant, Negro With a Hat, pp. 369.”


“On the day before the trial was set to begin, Judge Julian Mack received a mysterious correspondence from James Weldon Johnson, Secretary of the NAACP, in relation to the Garvey case. During the trial, Garvey submitted a plea for Judge Mack to recuse himself. Even though Judge Mack had participated “in meetings that finally led to the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People,” originators of the “Garvey Must Go” campaign that sought to “destroy Marcus Garvey’s credibility,” Judge Mack failed to recuse himself. On the basis of Berger v. United States, Judge Mack should have honored Garvey’s request for recusal.” There is this and other alleged judicial misconducts in Justin Hansfrd’s Jailing a Rainbow: The Marcus Garvey Case (December 29, 2008). Georgetown Journal of Modern Critical Race Perspectives, Vol. 2, 2009. Available at SSRN:


Philp has started a petition to Congress and President Barack Obama to pardon the historic leader. According to Philp “the target goals for the petition to Congress ( and the petition to President Barack Obama are set at 10,000 signatures.


On the response so far Philp shares, “So far we’ve had over 2000 signatures on both sites. This might not seem like a lot, but you have to realize that Marcus Garvey has been erased from our collective memory. There has been a total demonization of Marcus Garvey by the press, so-called scholars of Black history and many writers who ought to know better.”


Historically there have been several attempts at exoneration, Philp illustrated that “from the time that Garvey was in jail there have been many attempts for his exoneration among them the letters from Universal African Missionary Convention from Cape Town. The most recent has been Representative Charles Rangel bill that he introduced to the House of Representatives in 2007:  H.Con.Res. 24 to exonerate Marcus Mosiah Garvey. Check out the bill here:


When asked the reason for doing this now, Philp responded; “I believe the presidency of Barack Obama affords us a unique opportunity for the exoneration of Marcus Garvey. President Obama is an heir to Garvey’s legacy and in his book, Dreams from my Father, and then candidate Obama quoted Garvey’s famous words, “Rise up ye mighty people.””


Garvey represents one of the most powerful movements in history, a movement that started representing Africans in Jamaica and then onto the whole world. Philp passionately states “We are not exonerating Marcus Garvey for his sake; we are doing it for ourselves. For those inside and outside the Diaspora there is a broader question. The historian, Roy Augier, said that the most important question we have to ask ourselves is, “How do I negotiate the African presence in my life?” This has enormous implications in how we live our lives—how and what we eat; how and what we wear—every thing

“The color line” that DuBois wrote about is still with us. Marcus Garvey resolutely stands for Africa and there is no escaping his influence.


Jason Walker is a freelance writer for Caribbean Today Magazine who has had an award winning journalism career that spans 20 years. He can be followed on twitter at or emailed at


Former Prime Minister Michael Manley OJ

Former Prime Minister Michael Manley OJ

Celebrating My Jamaican and Caribbean Hero: Michael Manley

by Jason Walker

Michael Manley was born on December 10, 1924, so of course I was reminded of my hero as soon as his birthday came around. Manley made a big impact on on me from a very early age. The charismatic former Prime Minister of Jamaica had shined a light on the plight of the less fortunate and those who did not have a very prominent voice in Jamaican society. These consisted of the majority of the population (and also mainly those of African descent). Manley’s accomplishments are well documented and I list some below.

Manley came up in the era of Mandela, Nkrumah, Nehru, King, Castro, Marley and Tosh and as such became a part of a collective voice of leaders that cried out against colonialism, racism, imperialism, apartheid, Zionism and other forms of oppression. Manley’s commitment to social change in Jamaica (as evidenced in his speeches and legislation) and his call for a new international economic order that was more sustainable to developing and underdeveloped nations around the world, South-South cooperation, the fostering of the non-alignment movement and justice internationally and economic justice between states only through peace and equality helped to propel him as one of the major populists leaders of his time.

For me though my heroship started in a more personal space. I was only 5 years old, my father was taking me to a football game at the national stadium. Prime Minister Michael Manley had decreed that there should be no toy guns in Jamaica. This decree had upset my 5 year old mind very much. I loved to guns and had been waiting for a new one with blanks.

I digress, at the national stadium there was a large crowd on hand. I do not remember what teams were playing, but I do remember once in the stadium, I saw Manley was seated in the Royal Box and surrounded by police. I also remembered there was a lot of gunshots being fired all around the stadium. I would learn later that the gunmen were trying to kill the Prime Minister. In the moment though I did not care about any of that, I wanted to know why my favourite toy was banned from store shelves! I broke away from my father and ran towards Jamaica’s Head of State.

A police officer grabbed me as I reached the security circle around Manley. He held onto my shoulder very tightly until a bemused Manley waved him off and told me to come, like some celestial being beckoning from on high. I came over and he promptly hoisted me to his lap and asked me what can he do for me. I quickly glanced at my father who was by the police officer and jumped at my chance. I asked him how could he make such an unjust decree against the most wonderful toy in existence, without which I could not take the playing of police and tief to a higher level. I quickly followed with a question about when would this anti-toy gun law would end.

Manley laughed and what would follow would be one of the most surreal moments I ever experienced. I did not appreciate the irony then, that would come in later life, however as he leaned over me (I would realize later that he was shielding me), he proceeded to explain how he was trying to turn back the tide of violence that was growing throughout the country, instigated by outside forces, and he was trying to remove the thought process of using gun violence from the minds of young Jamaicans. While he was going through this explanation shots were ringing through the stadium at a more rapid rate and definitely coming closer. I do not remember too much after this except that we were separated and I went with my father and he went with the police and unfortunately, I would hear a man silenced by gunshots.

3 years later I met Mr. Manley again and he remembered who I was. I later met him at different times throughout my life and he was always welcoming, warm, and he always remembered! Another time we were in front of each other was in 1991 at the National Stadium, near the same Royal Box when Nelson Mandela made Jamaica the first country he would visit after leaving Jail because of the great Anti-Apartheid stance that Manley, many Jamaican artists and the whole country had taken. The last time I saw him I was in my twenties in Atlanta and he was lecturing at Emory University and the Atlanta Jamaican Association along with the Consulate for Jamaica in Atlanta had put together a small function for the former Prime Minister and guess what? Manley remembered. My earliest memory has become one of my most treasured memories and also has helped to shape the narrative of how I look at the hero Michael Manley with his heroic legacy that positively impacted people in Jamaica and throughout the world. Personally he has always felt like a loving, strong and powerful uncle who really cared and I will forever appreciate that. Happy Birthday Michael Manley and I thank you.


Here are some of Manley’s accomplishments:

  • Jamaica’s Order of Merit (OM) and

  • Order of the Nation (ON)

  • Order of the Caribbean Community (OCC)

  • UN Gold Medal for “significant contribution in cooperation with the United
    Nations and in solidarity with the South African liberation movement in the
    international campaign against apartheid”

  • World Peace Council’s Juliot Curie Peace Award for “contribution to the
    struggle of the Jamaican people and all people of the non-aligned world
    fighting for economic independence”

  • Socialist International’s citation for “contribution to the world economic
    debate on the New International Economic Order and for contribution to
    the deepening of democracy in Jamaica and the Caribbean”.

  • South Africa’s Order of the Companions of Oliver Tambo (Gold Award) for promoting the interests and aspirations of the Republic of South Africa “at the higher levels through excellent cooperation and active expression of solidarity and support”.

  • Induction into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, for “the outstanding contribution he made during his life, his powerful enduring legacy in civil rights and his prominent voice in raising international awareness about the great civil rights issues that continue to resonate around the world”

  • Renaming of the headquarters of the National Housing Trust (NHT) as “The Michael Manley Building” in recognition of his role as the principal architect of the Trust

  • A monument has been erected in National Heroes Park, in Kingston, to
    honour his memory.

  • An endowed Michael Manley Chair of Public Policy has been established
    at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona, Jamaica.

  • The UWI has announced the establishment of a Michael Manley Centre for Global Dialogue, on its Mona Campus, to include a Michael Manley Scholar in Residence programme, an annual distinguished Lecture and interdisciplinary undergraduate course titled ‘The Michael Manley Legacy’ and a co-curricular programme of cultural activities in Mr Manley’s name.

  • A Memorandum of Understanding jointly signed in 1998 by the
    Government, the bauxite/alumina companies operating in Jamaica
    and the trade unions was named The Manley Accord in recognition of
    work done by Mr  Manley in the last eighteen months of his life in the
    effort to work out rules of engagement to secure industrial peace at
    the workplace.

  • The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) has set up a
    CTO/Michael Manley Memorial Fund, through which it provides
    scholarships and other forms of subsidy for outstanding
    Caribbean students pursuing courses in tourism.

  • A produce market, a housing estate and a major thoroughfare on
    the principal route linking Kingston with the Norman Manley International Airport bear his name.

  • His image appears on the $1,000 bill.

  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, MorehouseCollege , Atlanta(1973)

  • Order of the Liberator,Venezuela (1973)
  • Order of the Mexican Eagle (1973)
  • Order of Jose Marti, Cuba (1976)
  • United Nations Gold Medal (1978) for significant contribution in the co-operation with the United Nations and in solidarity with the South African Liberation Movement in the international campaign against Apartheid

  • Juliot Curie Peace Award of the World Peace Council (1979) for contribution to the struggle of the Jamaican people and all people of the non-aligned world fighting for economic independence

  • Appointed to the Queen’s Privy Council (1989)

  • Honorary Doctor of Letters, Claremont University , California (1989)

  • Conferred the Order of Merit of Jamaica (1992) for distinguished service in the field of international affairs

  • Carlton Alexander Memorial Award (1992) for contribution and service in politics

Jason Walker is a freelance writer for Caribbean Today Magazine who has had an award winning journalism career that spans 20 years. He can be followed on twitter at or emailed at