Diaspora urged to invest in Jamaica’s stock market and reap rewards

Jamaica stock exchange

Jamaica Stock Exchange

KINGSTON, Oct. 21 (JIS): Members of the Jamaican Diaspora are being encouraged to actively participate in the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) as a means of helping to drive economic growth in the country.

“The Diaspora presents a wonderful opportunity to help the development of the country by investing in Jamaica through the stock exchange,” said JSE Chairman Allan Lewis, while addressing a JIS Think Tank on Wednesday, October 8. “To the extent that we can convince those living outside of the country to invest in Jamaica, the stock exchange stands ready to facilitate such investments,”  Lewis said.

Jamaica stock exchange

Jamaica Stock Exchange Index comparison.

He noted that the JSE, for its part, has a unique role to play by facilitating the transfer of savings to productive enterprises in the country.  Speaking of the ease with which people can now manage investments on the JSE, Mr. Lewis said persons can use the exchange’s website to view the list of companies listed and decide where they want to invest.

Jamaica Stock Exchange Chairman Allan Lewis (c) engages in discussion with other business executives.

Jamaica Stock Exchange Chairman Allan Lewis (c) engages in discussion with other business executives.

“The beauty of the stock market today is that you don’t have to physically come to Jamaica to do so, you can stay in New York, in China wherever you are and invest, and the more persons do that the better we believe Jamaica will become,” Mr. Lewis pointed out.

In the meantime, Assistant Vice-President of Treasury and Trading at Scotia Investments Gregory Samuels said that now is the right time to invest in the stock market. Noting the recent positive reviews of the Jamaican economy by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Standard and Poor’s, he said there is a direct correlation with the growth of the economy and the performance of the stock exchange.

JAMAICA_STOCK_EXCHANGE_LOGO_2“We have the companies that can help to grow wealth, that can help to give local manufacturers and owners the capital they need to continue this growth… the market has been under-priced for a while, it’s about to take off, and now is the time to invest,” he added.

The JSE is celebrating 45 years of operations, providing a fair, efficient and transparent stock market to create wealth for Jamaicans–OnPointPress.net.


Unemployment rate dips but blacks still struggle to find full-time jobs

Black men face a steep climb in finding well-paid jobs.

Black men face a steep climb in finding well-paid, full-time jobs, despite the decline in the unemployment numbers and the steady increase in available jobs, many of which are for part-time work.

By Carmen Glover

The October 3 report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics was mixed, showing some areas that are cause for celebration, such as the creation of 248,000 jobs. But  other areas are grim, such as the high unemployment rate for blacks, which elicit feelings of profound concern.

While the figures showed a dip in the overall unemployment rate down to 5.9 percent, they also showed that the unemployment rate for African-Americans is at 11 percent, almost twice the national rate, with black men facing the greatest challenge in finding a job. Conversely, the overall unemployment rate for whites is now 5.1%, Hispanics, 6.9%, teenagers 20% and Asians 4.3%. Also, the figures showed that the participation rate for workers held steady at 62.3 percent, which means that of the entire workforce almost 40 percent of capable workers have become so discouraged that they have dropped out of the employment race.

This week Month ago Year ago
Unemployment Rate 5.9 6.1 7.3

Furthermore, the industries that showed the greatest employment gains were unchanged: healthcare, retail, professional services, business and construction, with part-time employees having a better chance of holding a job, which often has no benefits, than a college graduate who is seeking a well-paid full-time job.

The stock markets rejoiced at the news of the low unemployment figures but discouraged job seekers have become frustrated with the paucity of jobs that match their qualifications and areas of interest. Despite the dip in the unemployment rate, and the consistent period of steady job growth, more jobs are needed to enable a higher participation rate, which can only be achieved when there is a greater variety of well-paid jobs available across a broader cross-section of careers.–OnPointPress.net.

Industry leaders organize day of service to promote financial literacy

Urban Financial Services Coalition (UFSC) and Operation Hope Future (BOOF) DC have joined forces to put on a Financial Literacy Day of Service in Washington, D.C. on September 24, 2014. Individuals attending the Congressional Black Caucus’ 44th Annual Legislative Conference, professionals and business owners in the Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland areas are invited to learn about how technology and money can empower a community, provide financial literacy for youth and enjoy an opportunity to network with power players.


On Wednesday, September 24, the organizations will put on activities which include an 8: 00 a.m. breakfast  to discuss money and technology. The breakfast event is billed as a  “thought-provoking panel discussion at the Microsoft Retail Store, at The Fashion Centre, Pentagon City Mall.” The discussion will feature panelists from Microsoft, government agencies and community organizations, who will talk about how technology and money can work together to make communities more financially savvy. The breakfast will be followed by a financial workshop for youth at Kenmore Middle School at 11:00 a.m.

“Nothing is more exciting than providing financial literacy for over 300 school students at Kenmore Middle school, located at 200 South Carlin Springs Road, Arlington, Virginia 22204,” said the event’s organizers. “We need 18 volunteers, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm that are passionate about depositing the seeds of financial literacy in the minds of middle school students that will grow into financially savvy minority professionals. Banking on Our Future (BOOF) – DC will provide training and financial literacy curriculum to all volunteers.”


The day will conclude with a Green Carpet networking reception at 5:30 p.m. at Washington DC’s newest financial institution, Premara Bank. Premara Bank Office is . located at 1299 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Branch, Washington, DC 20004.

The Economic Evolution of Our Future Selves

Operation HOPE’S Banking on Our Future (BOOF) program educates youth ages 9 to 18 at no cost to school districts and community-based organizations, with a focus on urban, underserved communities. The Urban Financial Services Coalition (UFSC), formerly known as the National Association of Urban Bankers (NAUB), is an organization of minority professionals in the financial services industry and related fields. Affiliation with UFSC offers a unique opportunity to influence the shape of the banking and financial services industries

For more information or questions, please email president@ufscnet.org or contact Ditu Kasuyi at 804-651-7739-OnPointPress.net.

VP Records’ pop-up exhibit makes debut at recent jerk festival


Jerk Festival patron examines the VP Records exhibit.

Jerk Festival patron examines the VP Records exhibit designed by Michael Thompson.–Ajamu Myrie Photo.

By Tiffany Mea

2014 marks the 35th anniversary when VP Records’ founders Vincent and his wife Patricia Chin moved their headquarters from Kingston, Jamaica to Jamaica, New York,- transforming their operations into the largest reggae company worldwide. The label celebrated with a special pop-up exhibit that debuted Sunday,July 20, at the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival 2014. The festival attracted over 15,000 patrons this year in Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, NY, and the VP Records 35th Anniversary launch event was among the main attractions.

Ribbon cutting

VP Records Co-founder Patrician Chin (c), surrounded by family and supporters,  cuts ribbon to launch the company’s  35th anniversary pop-up exhibit. –Ajamu Myrie Photo.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony kicked off at 2 p.m. VP Records Co-Founder Patricia Chin gathered with family and friends as media and fans caught the first glimpse of the historical feature, designed by Michael Thompson. Inside was an exclusive photo exhibit by Ajamu Myrie, documenting Jamaican reggae culture, an illustrative map exploring the global impact of the genre in every continent and a timeline covering each era, beginning in 1958 when the Chins established Randy’s Record Mart and Studio 17 in Kingston, Jamaica.

patc chin

Patricia Chin with Grace Jerk Festival Founder Eddy Edwards.-Ajamu Myrie Photo.

In a roped off area of the exhibit, Mrs. Chin debuted a short documentary video for the press. From ska to rocksteady, roots reggae to dub, lover’s rock to dancehall, VP Records has been at the forefront of Jamaica’s musical evolution. The video which was narrated by Sirius XM reggae personality Pat McKay, revealed the social and political history of Jamaican music and explained how VP Records is a key contributor to its growth, development and future.


A large crowd awaits performances by Maxi Priest and Etana at the Jerk Festival.-Ajamu Myrie Photo.

The label plans to take this traveling exhibit into other markets throughout the rest of the year, including Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival in Florida. More details will be announced at a later date. For more information contact tiffanym@vprecords.com–OnPointPress.net

Registration deadline looms for Silicon Harlem conference


New York, NY (July 22, 2014): Early registration for Silicon Harlem’s inaugural conference is approaching its August 15 deadline. Silicon Harlem, the pioneering group dedicated to transforming Harlem in to a technology hub, will present its inaugural Silicon Harlem Conference on Thursday, October 16 in Harlem, New York at My Image Studios (MIST), 46 West 116th Street. The title of the conference will be “Show Your Love” for technology, film, video games, apps, Harlem and more.

clayton Banks

Clayton Banks, business executive, is a co-executive producer of Silicon Harlem.

The event is a one-day interactive conference on how to transform Harlem into a technology and innovation hub. Inspirational speakers and leaders from software engineering, digital film and art, video game development, broadcast and video, graphic design, mobile and more will share actionable insights about technology, practical skill building, new creative techniques and business innovation that impacts the Harlem community. The event will also feature keynote speakers such as telecommunications expert and technology visionary Larry Irving, whose company The Mobile Alliance for Global Good” is using mobile devices to solve global problems.

“The Silicon Harlem Conference brings together the brightest and most creative minds in the industry to discuss ways to best serve our freelance, startup and anchored businesses and institutions,” said Clayton Banks, co-executive producer of Silicon Harlem. “We’re excited to have so many great people sharing their experience and setting Harlem on the path to thrive in the innovation economy.”

Technology expert Larry Irving will speak at the conference.

Technology expert Larry Irving will speak at the conference.

Silicon Harlem is a social venture focused on growing the technology sector in Harlem. The Silicon Harlem pillars include Gigabit infrastructure, Monthly Meet-ups and an annual conference to galvanize the community, provide opportunities in STEM education for the youth in the community, and collaborate with electives, stakeholders and the investment community to bolster business opportunities in Harlem. Learn more at siliconharlem.net.

The conference will be held at MIST in Harlem and includes a welcome breakfast, networking breaks, luncheon and an appreciation reception. For details, please visit http://showyourlove.mydagsite.com/For questions about registration, contact Katrina Monroe at info@siliconharlem.net or visit the Conference website. For sponsorship information, contact Von Joseph, at von@siliconharlem.net.–OnPointPress.net.

Scholarship opportunities available for students with UFSC


By Ditu Kasuyi

The Urban Financial Services Coalition (UFSC) is trying to find 30 of the nation’s brightest, motivated and highly intelligent high school and college students to participate in the nation’s most unique, exciting and challenging leadership development program for young people – the MARK I (MI) UFSC Emerging Leaders – National Apprentice Challenge (See attachment).

The MARK I Emerging Leaders – National Apprentice Challenge is a one-year group business competition that focuses on the development of critical foundational management and leadership skills through an intensive five-day leadership program. The components of this program include personal development and management issue oriented seminars, developmental heat through an apprentice style group competition and the opportunity to apply the skills learned through the completion of a challenging community action task.

The MARK I program will take place from June 1 through June 7, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Activities for the MARK I program will take place at the Club Quarters Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.

The MARK I program promises to make the young people stand out from the crowd and the cost is only $625 That’s right only $625. This registration fee covers the hotel room for 8 days and seven nights. UFSC will be covering the cost of facilitators, program materials, post conference webinars/tele-seminars, learning materials, breakfast and lunch and other cost associated with administrating such a dynamic leadership program. Only the UFSC can deliver a year-long leadership develop program such a low price. Participants will be responsible for their own transportation to Chicago, Illinois.

Interested students are asked to complete the attached application and return it to the UFSC national office by May 30, 2014, or Click Here to Register online. If you should have any questions, or need additional information, please contact Melanie Lee at Melanielee@mleelaw.com or me 804-651-7739/Email Ditu.Kasuyi@dla.mil.–OnPointPress.net.

5 ways to become more financially literate and savvy

Norman Forrester, Financial Advisor with Merrill Lynch in Connecticut

Norman Forrester, Assistant Vice President/Senior Financial Advisor with Merrill Lynch in  New Haven, Connecticut

By Carmen Glover

As the economy continues to make strides towards full recovery, a plethora of skilled, versatile and diversely trained potential employees are eagerly seeking the few job opportunities that exist. For some, fed up with the lack of job offers despite attending numerous job fairs, networking events or submission of applications, the path has led to entrepreneurship.

No matter the situation, financial literacy is fundamental to all decisions regarding survival. Quite often, people’s financial circumstances are clouded by the realization that income is woefully inadequate to meet all of the monthly expenses.

New Haven, Connecticut-based, Merrill Lynch Assistant Vice President/Senior Financial Advisor Norman Forrester is passionate about educating clients on the subtle nuances of financial literacy in order to help them make sound fiscal decisions and achieve stability. Financial health has been examined often in the month of April, Financial Literacy Month, and this has resonated with Forrester because he sees areas in which all households can enhance overall financial literacy . Below, Forrester provides five tips that can steer people towards financial freedom, regardless of their current circumstances. His tips are as follows:

1. Avoid Debt: “There are things within our conduct that impede financial health and one of the main things is getting into debt,” Forrester said. He explained that it is important to cut costs, keep cars for longer periods and pay off debts to improve credit and have peace of mind. “If you can pay less for a car by keeping your older model longer and then buying a certified used car you end up saving more that you would if you buy a new car that will depreciate as soon as you leave the car lot.”

2. Live Within Your Means: “We have to be able to sacrifice our ego on a temporary basis for financial security,” he said. “This is at odds with what we see in society as a black person. The norm is to buy fancy cars and expensive items to feel special.” Forrester said it is important to budget wisely and invest extra money into assets that appreciate. “Wealthy people bring their lunches to work and then invest the savings into vacation properties where they can relax after working hard.”

3. Pay Yourself First by Saving: “People keep saying they want to save but then they spend all that they earn. One of the best ways to pay yourself first is to invest in your company’s 401(k) or 402 (b) plan because most companies match the amount you contribute so if you start at age 20 by the time you are 30 you could have $100,000 put away,” he said.

4. Expand Your Financial Literacy and Embrace Entrepreneurship: “Make learning about finances mandatory by getting information from a financial advisor or from your church or civic organizations,” he said. “Use a multi-faceted strategy to solve financial problems. If you have a lot of bills and you just came out of college look at the three job approach: Get a job to pay the bills, get another job to network for jobs in your field of study and use your spare time to work towards entrepreneurship.”

5. Invest: “Learn about investing. Everyone should have a financial advisor so that they can tell you about asset allocation and your risk tolerance level,” he advised.

Forrester said that by utilizing these strategies and engaging the services of a financial advisor most people will find it easier to enhance their financial literacy and stay ahead of the curve.-OnPointPress.net.

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