Oct 9





After George Orwell nuh more dan me! So…picture this…



We are now in the year 2030, 12 years after the Great Financial Collapse that saw the Jamaican Dollar hit an overnight low of $350 to one US dollar. The shock to the economy brought about a rapid swell of public outrage as prices of basic consumer items spiraled out of affordability! [Flashback]…Meanwhile, two months before the crisis struck, a game changing international conference had been held in the then troubled City of Montego Bay. It was called ‘CanEx Jamaica’ and was attended by representatives from around the world, seeking alliances in the swelling global Cannabis revolution. Jamaica was finally taking advantage of its natural prime position and the conference was as a bright flame to many moths.






At that conference, a mystic man dressed in white robes ignited the passion of the matriarchs with an earnest plea for them to take charge of the future of Jamaica, it’s Cannabis industry in particular, in order for it to fulfill its prophesied potential of becoming ‘the healing of the nation’. He spoke to the throng about Cannabis saying…”talk to that plant yourself from the root up…the females have been appointed by Mother Earth herself to heal the planet…“. Spontaneous applause erupted in the packed auditorium. One woman, at the helm of the new giant industry, heeded the Sage’s call and gathered unto her a team of Jamaica’s brightest, upstanding, integrous and nurturing women, then rally-cried to all the women of the nation to join them in heralding lasting peace and prosperity for ALL on the island.



We will all recall that day in history, when powerful women from down town and uptown joined forces and marched on ‘The Government’. Mothers across the island unanimously echoed the refrain that enough was enough…too many of their sons were dying, far too many of their daughters lived in fear! Collectively and without the shedding of a drop of blood, the matriarchs ‘persuaded’ Government officials to stand down from duty. Fairly and squarely, under the collective leadership of twelve conscious, virtuous and genius Jamaican women (sorry men, it was unanimously referendum-ed, that you had been at the helm a tad too long and basically…destroyed the fabric of our society…along with the environment), a new island order was established. Integrated left and right brain reasoning, heart centred women’s intuition and wisdom from a few ‘elder’ matriarchs were the orders of the day. Security force personnel were replaced by an all-woman troupe of Peace & Love Keepers…Wakanda style of course!. My brothers, I’m hoping you are still with me and not hissing your teeth at this point in the fantasy. Anyway, for those still open to their untamed imagination, read on.





With the donations from the booming Cannabis industry…the trusted stewards of which having seen to it that development and integration programmes were set up to assist the stalwart ‘ganja farmers’ of yesteryear…a cohesiveness and communal spirit spread across the land. Those with ailments who previously could not afford medical care/treatment were given natural herb medicines at CBD Clinics set up across the island and run by Jamaica’s first class NHS (Naturopathic Health System 😉 ). The headquarters were at the newly rebuilt Cornwall Regional Health Oasis.


Refocused former ‘Scammers’ put their brilliant young minds to jobs created in legal Cannabis related business ventures that seamlessly replaced their previous illicit gains. Prisoners were trained by freed GRC (Ganja-Related-Crime) inmates, in the cultivation of Cannabis from soil to reaping. ‘Mi Likkle Ganja Book’ (written by a dear friend of mine, Nereree Edwards) was the official comprehensive text! Students in schools were similarly taught the rudiments of cultivating Cannabis (alongside other beneficial herbs and organic vegetables), about the numerous beneficial products derived therefrom and about the various business opportunities within the sector. The sustainability and longevity of the industry was therefore secured, causing it to overtake tourism as Jamaica’s main income earner…resulting in the rapid development of the island. Loans to international donors were paid off earlier than scheduled and imports reduced significantly while demand for Jamaica’s agricultural exports, Jamaican culture and Jamaica’s new army of expert Cannabis Consultants, grew exponentially worldwide. The Queen of England reigned no more as the Queens across the nation rose to assume their rightful royal roles.



All citizens of this beautiful paradise island were nurtured and cared for…by other more able citizens; Neighbours practiced the true meaning of the word and all ‘ate a food’, sharing, bartering, exchanging. Over a period of only two years, crime levels had fallen to mere minor skirmishes (mainly amongst the group that had experienced major trauma at losing their material status symbols. Jamaican people recreated communally based communities based on a co-hesive, co-operative livity and family life flourished once again. Eased of financial stresses, mothers and fathers reunited and harmoniously co-parented the children.



Environmentally sensitive  architects designed future builds that no longer represented the industrialised, non-family-oriented structures, but areas fostering the wholesome development of children and peace of mind of their parents. Pre-existing concrete structures were ‘softened’ with greenery e.g. roof gardens and the children played in the numerous new parks across the island, constructed as gifts by conscientious Chinese corporate donors. Corrupt law enforcement officers were rooted out, internally. Peace and harmony reigned for and within all people, from all sides of the island and former colour lines (political and racial). Citizens were keen to relinquish excessive material possessions in exchange for the harmony and happiness of a crime free land. Former Minister of National Security, Peter Bunting, was given a national honour by the Women, in recognition of his prescriptive and prophetic declaration some years before, that Jamaica needed ‘Divine Intervention’. He was spot on! The changes that came about in Jamaica could indeed be described as nothing short of miraculous.





In the true spirit of resilience and as evidence of relevance, The Communal Party still remains in SERVICE today, without challenge, fuss or fight. They represent all citizens without bias or curried favour, having been assembled by the Council of 12 Women, from the pure of heart found within the dissolved political parties (don’t ask me how many), proud upstanding Jamaicans (from home and the diaspora), the spiritually awoke/conscious ones and the ego-free elders. An arm of the party is dedicated to the Rastafarian movement and led by a wise Empress named Barbara, in recognition of one and one’s sacrifices made over the years to keep the sacramental herb burning in the land. One named Chronixx is their appointed Youth Leader, who consults with members of all the houses of Rastafari that were re-assembled in unity, under the Seal of Solomon ;). The Rastafari Indigenous Village in Montego Bay, was used as a model for groups across the island, and subsequently the world, wishing to learn a successful nature based way of living. A new Communalism…





The story above may read a little far-fetched, as I’m sure George Orwell’s ‘1984’ seemed at the time of first publication, but I don’t think any of us will disagree that we are living in serious times, that cry out for radical change. Could it be time for us to consider, then vision and then (re)build our communities based on a more all-Jamaican-lives-matter basis? It may not be called ‘Communalism’, as the strict definition of the word speaks of governments and federations, but we sure would be living and working together in harmony…supporting one another. Living in the ‘spirit’ of what communes of cohesive citizens represent. Perhaps we can simply call it Community-ism? Again, it may sound utopian, but that’s the reality I would use my vote to achieve! Now just to work on my detachment from unnecessary material things.





[DISCLAIMER: Only read further if you are already considering detachment from the consumer treadmill and resultant routine lifestyle, considering an alternative, less cluttered life or on the verge of a stress-induced breakdown. The content may be particularly disturbing to staunch Commercialised-Capitalist-Consumerists, causing possible in cold sweats and panic attacks at the visualization of the outlined content]



So, here we go…


1. When all is said and done it is up to YOU to create the time and dedicated brain friendly space to be able to take a real stock of your current life-style. First thing in the morning when you first awake from slumber, catch your thoughts! No, literally, if you don’t consciously step in front of your thoughts, they will race ahead of your consciousness like a racehorse galloping from the stalls!


2. Hold a ‘meds’ (quiet time of reflection/meditation/prayer) each morning. Make the time! It’s important. Start by taking at least 5 refreshing deep breaths. Then in ‘your right mind’, ask yourself some simple questions, like…”Am I happy?”. “Am I healthy?” If you have just asked, “Am I wealthy?” return to the beginning and start the process again…maybe breathing in and out a little deeper. Don’t ‘tek dung’ when the answers come. Simply become non-judgmentally aware of your current realities.


3. Now it is time, after being in your right mind consistently for at least 14 days…consecutively, to start thinking about and visualizing an alternative way of living. Start gradually. Perhaps focus on the more intangible ‘things’ (read less consumer driven), like peace of mind, joy, good health, harmonious family life, quality time with children…the positive things you want to manifest in your life. See them clearly in your refreshed mind’s eye.


4. Then PAUSE for as long as feasible, to bear witness to the joy these thoughts alone bring to your being. Start preparing space and time for your revised livity…and watch it unfold.




6. Once the self and family lifestyle has permeated your psyche, extend the vision outward over the next 30 days until you have visualized your-self, your family, the community, then the whole of Jamaica in harmony. Sound fool fool? Try it nuh, just in case.


7. Once you can see clearly now, because the strain has gone…prepare for the eureka moments, in those quite contemplative moments you have awarded yourself daily, when the penny drops, the big reveals as you catch your-self and determine…there is NO REAL NEED for the item you were about to purchase/order online!


8. CONGRATULATIONS! You are on your way to detachment!


I know it’s not easy. Even when we all know, even when we studied marketing (like myself), the ‘apparent’ need for certain ‘things’, a need created without our ‘knowing’ has becoming overwhelming to many of us. That was the plan. But there is hope. Mass detachment by market force or voluntary detachment by building a better alternative livity.





Label me a ‘rose tinted glasses’ wearer, but I truly believe that we each have to go back to basics, especially in these pivotal times on our plane. Be courageous enough to press the mental refresh button, review our current ‘livity’ then re-define our selves and what is really important to us, from the heart & soul perspective and not the intellect or ego. Given that our perceptions of our world are fed by our thoughts and solidified in our beliefs, surely we have nothing to lose in collectively re-thinking a better reality? Join me in the optimistic visualization of such. A new dimension awaits us all.


P.S. Of course Sarifa Insurance Brokers, with its diversified service offerings, remained intact after the crash, as the vibration emanating from the entity resonated with the new cosmically aligned paradigm. 😉



Dec 6




Image result for WORLD MAP

“Today…was that day” (well Saturday gone to be precise)!


I heard my dearly departed mother’s voice, loud and clear… (in my head).


“Just wait until you have children of your own…then you will understand”…


For those of you that are parents, the parental milestone I am about to outline will likely resonate with you, or, if your children are younger…in the coming teen years.


So back to ‘that day’ that I mentioned.


My son, now 14yrs old, asked to attend the fete at Kingston’s Immaculate Conception high school on Saturday, with a friend from his school. The plan was that said friend’s mother would ‘drop off’ and I would ‘pick up’. Easy enough. I was cool with that…though I had to quash some spontaneous thoughts about a potential ‘incident’ that could arise at a school fete. But then I chided myself for being a ‘worrier mom’. As a mother, I may not be able to take him out to ‘hunt the lion’, but I sure can send him out into the ‘jungle’…right? I can do this. It’s time to let go. The very night before I had discussed my son’s making his transition to manhood and my need to release the reigns somewhat and give him latitude to venture further from the safety of the nest. All the text book stuff that his uncles have been guiding me on in recent years. They went off looking very dapper.



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Then, THE call came in…”Mom, can we walk to the bowling alley at Manor Park and you pick us up there in a few hours?”


Silence. As God is my witness I…the calm, optimistic, divinely protected, look-on-the-positive-side, law of attraction, ‘your thoughts create your reality’ spouting optimist…PANICKED! My heart started pounding and my head started swimming…in the background I could hear the chattering of excited teens, the giggling of girls and the extra-base voices of teen-boy laughter. I was on the spot!!!


His firm (to impress those around him no doubt) voice still possessed the pleading quality of my little boy. In it I heard the unspoken, mommy, please say yes…the other teens are waiting to hear if I can go or not. Hurry and please don’t ask me one million questions to break my cool!!


I stammered, I hummed and awed…torn between the desire to let him fly free, to go with his mates to the very well populated bowling joint AND the dread that raged through my mind as images of Khajeel Mais…Nicholas Francis popped into my mind. “Moooommmmm!” Came the demand again from the anxious Prince. In a split second, he wanted an answer. Wait. Stall. Let me call the mother of the other young man. Maybe I can transfer, I mean share this onerous decision. I needed back up! Having an older son and being more knowledgeable of the route and venues in question, back-up mom reassured me that she was fine with it, but (which sent me into indecisive mode again)…”follow your gut feeling” she finished. I calmed my flip-flopping gut and engaged my left brain for the split second needed to decide to allow and trust!


OK son…YOU CAN GO! (I’m sure I heard the theme tune from the Rocky movie).


He contained his clear exuberance and said a cool, in his new deeper voice… Thanks Mom!


I did it.


That’s when I heard my mother’s voice. Clear Clear!


Each time I, or my teen brother would go out my mother would be at the window, unable to sleep, until we came home. When I asked her why she didn’t go to bed, she spoke those prophetic words…”Just wait until you have children of your own…then you will understand.”


Boy do I understand!!!!



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The reality of this story is that it is becoming more and more difficult to think of a place in this world where one can be certain of the safety of a child. I had made the conscious decision to raise my son in Jamaica, as opposed to England, where we were both born. There are a myriad of reasons, but the main one, which is now very relevant in the post Brexit and post Trump age, is his safety (emotional as well as physical). The realities of being a young boy of African descent in a predominantly Caucasian populated country I knew only too well. Yes, I know I am a female, but I witnessed the disparities in treatment and justice second hand, in the treatment meted out to my own brother and his friends, while growing up in Great Britain in the 70’s/80’s.


So here we are in Jamaica. With its own peculiar challenges, but a historical record of protecting children. There…I said it…historical. Sadly so, in the wake of the recent atrocious child deaths. My maternal senses are heightened. I find myself asking the question again…”Where in the world is it safe to raise a boy child?”…any child for that matter?


I guess, the answer for each parent might be different, but at the end of the day, we can only protect our children to a certain extent, while in the meantime, equipping them with as much ‘street smartness’, awareness and confidence as possible. As it was in my teen years…parents will continue to worry, regardless of the country, social dictates or reassurances from the inexperienced teens themselves.




While you ponder these thoughts parents, you can consider securing Personal Accident Cover, Health Insurance, Pension Plan or even a Life Insurance Policy through us at Sarifa…just to cushion any ‘blows’ that might fortuitously arise while we love and protect our offspring.


As well as our good parental advice, it is a good idea to arrange some financial cushioning for their present or future.


Feb 1



Who will make up the next generation of insurance professionals in Jamaica?


This is a very serious question given the fact that persons entering the insurance industry usually do so by ‘buck-up’ (chance). Seriously, if you ask most of the industry’s current employees, from company heads to clerical assistants, the resounding response will be that they entered insurance out of a series of events, rather than it being a career choice made from school or college days. The reality is, we, the industry players have been so caught up in ‘running the business’, that we haven’t, collectively been blowing the rallying trumpet in the interest of succession planning.


Jamaican Students & Career Options



Tell me, how many children on Schools Challenge Quiz have you heard state…”my name is Shanique Brown and when I grow up, I want to be an Insurance Broker…or Risk Manager…or Insurance Actuary…or Claims Clerk or Loss Adjuster (and the ‘ors’ go on). It just doesn’t happen; hence the ranks of teachers, lawyers, doctors and gynecologists (yes this one comes up quite often) continue to swell, while there is a real industry concern that there won’t be sufficient ‘fresh blood’ entering the insurance sector to replace the baby boomers that are nearing retirement!


My Experience


Ok, I admit it…I am one such baby boomer and my introduction to an insurance career path was 100% buck up! I joined the industry in my home town in England as part of a Youth Opportunities Programme (YOP). My placement could have been in any category of business, but it just so happened to be at a small family insurance broking house. I started in the filing room and soon worked my way up the ladder, as the scope of career and study options unfolded before me. I’ll never forget overhearing my late father boasting to a friend that his daughter has ‘letters after her name’. ACII (Associate of Chartered Insurance Institute) and CIP (Chartered Insurance Practitioner) are just a few of the accreditations that are earnable within a very diverse sector…and that’s just the general insurance side. The Life Insurance sector offers a whole other world of pursuits and rewarding careers.


So, what are we going to do about it?




So, because we have become alerted to the potential future crisis, caused by the downward trend in young folk entering the industry, Sarifa Insurance Brokers has joined an exciting global movement geared towards raising awareness of the many career options within the insurance sector and to promote insurance as a compelling career choice. The movement, led by Hamilton Insurance Group, Lloyd’s of London, Marsh & McLennan, The Institutes, MyPath, Valen Analytics, The Jacobson Group, InVEST and PCI…(heavyweights to say the least), was kicked off today. This group of Risk Management and Insurance Organizations across the global industry started the major multi-phased collaborative effort a few months ago and has declared February the First Annual Insurance Careers Month. The campaign is focused on spreading the message of Insurance as the Careers Trifecta: stable, rewarding and limitless.


Here is what Inga Beale, the CEO of Lloyds of London had to say on the matter…




Sarifa responded to the call for action and registered with the overseas participants to lead the charge in Jamaica. We join over 320 companies and 400 industry professionals worldwide that have signed on to support the initiative. What we all have in common is that we recognise the importance of attracting the next generation of industry leaders…the alternative spells a personnel crisis in our industry. Under the initiative, each participating company (or individual) is encouraged to develop their own strategies and initiatives to address the underwhelming number of millennials interested in a career in insurance.


The Jamaican ‘Insurance Careers Month’ Initiative


Insurance Association of Jamaica (IAJ)










Here in Jamaica, Sarifa has joined forces with CIPS (College of Insurance and Professional Studies) and IAJ (Insurance Association of Jamaica) and will be embarking on a month long information sharing and millennial outreach campaign including participation at University and School Careers Expos across the island.


Sarifa, itself led by a millennial CEO, Christopher Blythe, will also use its 21,000 strong social media following to encourage millennials to consider a career in an ‘old but sure’ industry that shows no signs of ceasing to exist worldwide. We are already leading the technological revolution in the industry with the first broker based online quotation platform, so it’s only fitting that we should reach out to the brilliant young minds that will connect with and embellish our technological cutting edge thrust.


Listen up and look out over this month…insurance is about to get sexy! Alright then, that might be a little bit of a stretch…’exciting’ then! 🙂