Posts Tagged ‘Kingston’


I recently read an article in Loop Jamaica, which was written by Karyl Walker, a journalist who is accredited, supposedly, for previously working with two or three renowned media houses in Jamaica.

Mr. Walker’s writing was in criticism and opposition to Member of Parliament and Health Minister, Christopher Tufton, who apparently believes that former convict and famed reggae artiste, Buju Banton, owes the Jamaican people some explanation regarding his arrest, charges and finding of guilt in the United States of America, before being deported back to Jamaica in late 2018.

As much as I am a long-standing fan of Buju Banton and could care less about his explanation, personally, I must disagree with the journalist for defending Buju Banton’s muted stance on the matter surrounding his deportation.

Unfortunately, a celebrity status tends to draw similar attention and responsibility as all other public figures.

Buju Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, rose to fame on the support of people, who bought into the words of his music, whether it was “Boom bye-bye” or “It’s not an easy road”, people were led by the artiste throughout or during one of his two career phases.

In his heydays, Buju Banton sang about subjects such as “Batty Rider”, while leaning toward one area of the Jamaican culture and received full support from Jamaica, for his music, before crossing over to what was viewed as a sign of maturity and growth when he embraced Rastafarian and began portraying himself as a conscious and righteous individual in music.

Buju Banton took on a role as Shepherd, leading a flock out of darkness into a light, his lyrics were enlightenment to the dull and the ignorant as he philosophized, in music, under the light of a noble messenger.

Considering these facts, it is clear, in my opinion, whether Buju Banton owes the Jamaican people an explanation about his incarceration.

Of course, he does. He is a celebrity, he is a public figure, he chose to be a servant to the people.

People wants to know whether or not he was framed and sent to prison, falsely, under the US famed monotonous cycle of locking up innocent people or whether he had misled his fans into believing that he was a truly converted and righteous Rastafarian.

It is clear that if he has deceived the people with his image and music, he faces the loss of his fan base, but of no consolation, Buju Banton would not be the first celebrity to fall from grace, shamefully; either way, in respect of his audience, he should not remain mute on the matter.

© Ian T. Sebàs 2019

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Jerk Chicken is definitely one of Jamaica’s most renowned foods, alongside ackee and salt fish and patties. But if truth be told or faced, Jamaica’s Jerk Chicken, in the twenty-first century, deserves a “wrong bang”.

A Wrong Bang in Jamaican patois is a red X, given to failed, wrong or discredited results. Keeping in line with it’s definition, I have titled this article, Jerk Chicken – Wrong Bang, for a variety of reasons, starting with the fact that 90% of jerk chicken being prepared and sold in Jamaica and around the world are being done wrong.

Being Jamaican does not make a person knowledgeable or professionally versed in this particular area of cooking, but as for myself, a Jamaican born in the 70’s, I was fortunate to be around when the original practice of creating Jerk Chicken was still rife. And I say ‘creating’ instead of ‘cooking’ because that is what the original Jerk Chicken represented: creative food.

Jerk Chicken is one of those many meals that require great labouring, but consumed in minutes.

At face value, it appears to be an unfair investment of labour versus eating, but knowledge of its unique and delicious taste kept the creative tradition lingering among old-schoolers for centuries until its current status.

The practice known to me was usually done outdoor, it required a minimum of four sizeable rocks or cement blocks and pimento sticks to create a makeshift fire-bed, a few sheets of zinc metal and the following:

• Pimento
• Scotch Bonnet peppers
• Black Pepper
• Dark Sugar
• Nutmeg
• Scallion
• Thyme
• Onions
• Cinnamon
• Garlic
• Ginger
• Salt

After all these ingredients were acquired, the chicken would be rubbed vigorously before leaving to marinate for varied lengths at a time.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken, originally, is a ‘no filtered’ meal; by standard, it is a meat with peppers and spices embedded in it.

Recent times have brought the innovation of bottled Jerk Seasoning and a decline of sourcing individual natural ingredients; this was the first step in changing a creative cooking style, which had stood among Jamaicans for generations.

Pan Chicken, a new Jamaican practice, is an imitation of the U.S. barbecue chicken style, which uses Jerk Sauce instead of barbecue sauce and is often advertised as Jerk Chicken.

This was the second biggest blow to the infamous Jamaican Jerk Chicken and its culture. Pan Chicken practically created an easy way out of the hard labour required for creating Jerk Chicken, by using metal barrels, known as drum pans, in Jamaica, to create makeshift barbecue grills, eradicating the culture of rocks, cement blocks and some outdoor cooking.

This new practice has managed to dwindle a rich creative signature, which normally required a minimum of twelve ingredients, two hours of fire-pit preparation and constant monitoring, to a mere three-step: (1) A makeshift barbecue grill (2) A bottle of Jerk Seasoning and (3) Chicken.

And along with the dwindling of the required labour and ingredients, came the dwindling of a longstanding and original taste; Jerk Chicken has vanished.

As Jerk Chicken and its unforgettable taste loses its presence to the changes in practice, its origin is being furthered insulted and discredited:

Recently, while visiting Jamaica, I went to one of its highly recommended Jerk Huts and ordered a quarter pound of Jerk Chicken, and while eating, what I would describe as bland, dry, grilled chicken, I asked “Is this Jerk Chicken?”

Someone replied, “Yes!”

My next question was, “Why is it so dry?”

They replied, “You didn’t ask for sauce!”

Sauce?! This was mind-blowing to me; the only sauces I had ever seen accompanying Jerk Chicken, were ketchup or pickled-pepper sauce, but this person was not referring to either of those two sauces.

Jerk Chicken is now served separately from the ingredients and spices, which should be a part of its marination, allowing natural succulence.

Sadly, Jerk Chicken has long left the island of Jamaica and its culture, replaced by replicas, bearing its name.

This revelation is a great shame that such an original and delicious food will not be experienced by the extended generations of Jamaica and visitors to the island, and although this ugly truth is seemingly out of my control, I hope that my article provides guilt to those, who are aiding the change, and the original practice of Jerk Chicken will resume.

© Ian T. Sebàs 2018

© Ian T. Sebàs


It has only been recent since Jamaicans began to take pride in eating ground foods; known better as ‘grung-food’ on the island, yams, bananas, breadfruits, corns, chayote (cho-cho), callaloo and other locally grown agricultural foods have, in the past, suffered years of rejection and placed secondary, as choice, when it comes to what Jamaicans prefer to eat.

But because of poverty which shadows most Jamaican families, at different hovering proximities, ‘grung-food’ has been triumphant time and time again for being on dinner plates, as meals of the day, serving itself in many different fashions.

This victory is usually non-celebratory as most Jamaicans, before, ate these foods not by choice, but by affordability.

The only longstanding pride of eating ‘grung-food’, by Jamaicans, belong to the Rastafarians, who have always known, valued and embraced the nutritional offerings from nature as gifts.

Other than the Rastafarians, most Jamaicans hung a curtain of shame when these foods were to be consumed.

With a brainwashed mentality and being foreign-minded of wanting to keep up with the Joneses, many Jamaicans desired fancier foods. If it was advertised on television, afforded by the so-called upper class, then it was considered better than ‘grung-food’, and so, a facial expression of disgust on the sight of ‘grung-food’ being served as a meal became the norm for many.

Two types of Jamaicans, often ate ground foods; Rastafarians by choice and the poorer class by affordability.

Back then Jamaica was strongly seen as two parts, town and country, where Kingston was considered to be the only modern hub of the island; thus, seen as town aka The City, all other regions outside of Kingston were simply considered to be country and last for everything considered to be modern or trendy.

So, in reality, Country People eating ‘grung-food’ was very common and with that same notion, Country People who could afford to eat ‘fancy foods’ also had their egos boosted, believing that they were better than their neighbours, who were left with just ground foods as meals.

Still, the answer had always been transparently evident when comparing Town People to Country People; people from Kingston usually appeared feebler in structure versus the Country People, who often appeared fit, muscular and strong, but despite this, muscular and strong was never craved.

Before the island was stormed by US styled fast food chains serving burgers, pizzas and carbonated soft drinks as quick meals, the fastest serving foods available to Jamaicans were beef patties, meat loaves, bun and bulla cakes; these were also very affordable foods, by most, along with locally made boxed juices, drinks and carbonated sodas, which did not fall into ‘class foods’ and have always been equally embraced.

Unlike the local fast foods, rice versus dumplings, meats versus cabbage, callaloo and ackee told a different story.

Fish, Chicken, Oxtail, Beef, Pork and Mutton were meats that said, ‘a person was doing well, financially’ especially if it was coupled with rice and not dumplings, while callaloo, cabbage and ackee were seen as an opposite expression, especially if it was served with ‘grung-food’.

I remembered, as a youngster, during my displacement phase, I was temporary housed with one of my Aunts, who had an agreement with my parents to shelter me, in exchange for some money, which she never received.

This made my Aunt furious, and in exuding her rage, on Sundays, while she fed her children rice and peas and chicken, I was fed yam, banana and cornmeal dumplings with cabbage or callaloo, as punishment.

Interestingly, at the time, being served this kind of food made me felt grossly mistreated, a misconception held by me and my Aunt.

And as the world modernizes itself and information becomes more prevalent about all things, including the benefits of ground foods, which most Jamaicans have ate, often, throughout their lives, accreditation for their nutritional bodies, lifesaving and health preserving effects have now been widespread.

While the key formulas for biological repairs and disease suppression have always existed in these foods, there is an irony in the history of Jamaican grung-food rejection; a gift from nature which offers long life and great health were draped with curtains of shame, by millions, and my Aunt, who thought she was mistreating me, actually fed me better than her children.

© Ian T. Sebàs 2017

© Ian T. Sebàs

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Of the 195 Countries in the world, Jamaica is one of the most go-to places for tourists; thus, making it one of the top earners from nature. Sun, sand and sea might be its main drivers, but its other gaining muscles, such as a unique culture, foods, plantations and the land itself also help in making the dough for this piece of paradise.

Bottom line, Jamaica, though reputed as being poor, is wealthy in both natural resources and money. One do not need to be educated at an advanced level to calculate and realize that an island of such equals to billions of dollars in revenue. Still, this society is inhabited by citizens of which 70% live in poverty; a transparent driving force behind its crimes and violence.

The government of Jamaica breeds criminals by being a body of selfish individuals, who cares very little about the welfare of the Jamaican citizens, and for this reason, no solid infrastructure is in place to assist the unemployed and low-income individuals of the island.
mothernchild
Unlike other wealthy Countries of the world, where unemployed mothers receive financial assistance for their children, from a government body, Jamaican mothers are on their own. So, despite the billions of dollars that Jamaica has earned over the past thirty years, it’s citizens have never fairly benefited from the dividends of the financial pie.

Hunger and hopelessness have the power to convert the saintliest of Saints to criminals; it is a calculated time-bomb. So, as long as the Jamaican government continues to cheat its citizens of their share of the island’s annual earnings and or benefits, crime and violence will remain.
armed-robbery
Robberies and murders can only be deemed ‘senseless’ if a provision is in place, showing that assailants are already in a position of living above a humane poverty line; otherwise, despite the savagery, the crimes make all the sense in the world.

The Jamaican government can save many of its citizens from being victims of crimes by ceasing the exploitation of their ignorance; illiteracy is the commodity which fuels the enormous unbalance of the Jamaican lifestyle scale.

If privileged Jamaicans continue to aid the suppression of knowledge, human rights, democracy and the laws of Jamaica from the uneducated ones, the scorn of Jamaica and Jamaicans will continue to expand.

© Ian T. Sebàs 2017

© Ian T. Sebàs

© Ian T. Sebàs

Author Ian T. Sebàs takes us on a journey of his penmanship, starting from his birthplace in Kingston, Jamaica and into its violent capitals, where police raids, deaths and shooting were the norm, the effects of Jamaica’s dancehall and entertainers, his early education and the reason he began writing.

In this interview, Sebàs combed over his affiliation with music and his migration to the troublesome, crime-filled inner-city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States of America before journeying to the southern state of South Carolina, where he first ambitioned to become a published poet, and his association with the US Library of Congress, the ink trail of his writing’s passage, which led to Birmingham, England, where his publishing ambition experienced a series of pushbacks and diversions before reaching its success.

Learn about his first official publication, which interestingly was not a book, his current role as a Publisher and whether writing has made him wealthy.

“Writing is my everything” says the Author in this 30-minute interview “Writing is a powerful instrument.”

Fascinatingly, Ian T. Sebàs is not a fan of eWriters nor ePublishers, and despite seeing logics in the invention of eBooks, the author blames the technology for the invasion of fake authors and publishers.

While telling us about his favourite topic in writing, his favourite book, his bestselling novel and the inspirations behind some of his titles, he also elaborated on the cover of Coal in the Snow, another one of his books, and its transparent definition to his life in Switzerland.

Taking pride and full accreditation in being a role model, who broke the stereotyped expectations of inner-city children, who are born in slums of the world, which offer narrow to no escape from poverty, violence, early deaths and incarceration, Ian T. Sebàs explains the power of rebirth held by his adapted name and the significance of a changed life which it also represents.

As the sun rises and shimmers on the sea, nature’s alarm sounds for me to wake up and embrace an astounding surrounding of green vegetation, picturesque views, waterfalls, white sand beaches, a roster of leisure activities, from A to Z, whatever my heart may desire, and delicious foods, all before she sets again.

But entertainment continues through the night as if it is the sunset’s lullaby, because This is Jamaica, where daily hustle and bustles show that its people work as hard as they play, and despite its unconventional methods of discipline, contrasting neighbourhoods, like its variation of mothers, Jamaica is nurturing, Jamaica is home.

© Ian T. Sebàs 2016