Sun | Nov 19, 2017

Devon Dick | Youth and technology to shake up Emancipation lecture

Published:Thursday | July 27, 2017 | 12:00 AM

On Sunday, July 30, youth and technology will take centre stage at the 2017 Churches' Emancipation Lecture. Some might wonder what does technology have to do with Emancipation? Unfortunately, too many young persons believe that technology started with mobile phones and smartphones, facsimile machines, aeroplanes, microwave ovens, television sets and the Internet.

However, we need to recall that the European Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries moved from labour-intensive production methods to using machines. Thus, there is a link between the Industrial Revolution and sugar production fuelled by the enslavement of Africans.

Furthermore, it must not be assumed that technology began in the western world. Pyramids were built in Africa decades before the birth of Christ and, obviously, advanced technologies were used to build these great monuments. Buddhist temples were built in the sixth century in Asia, and again it is obvious that advanced technologies were used.

It is a masterstroke that the Emancipation committee has linked technology with youth and is using its youngest-ever speaker in Parris Lyew-Ayee. He is the first person born after our 1962 Independence to be the main speaker. Hopefully, more young people will get excited about issues related to emancipation from chattel slavery, instituted and perfected into the Caribbean by the British, and the connection to technology. Parris is the right person to lead this charge.

 

Impressive credentials

 

Parris Lyew-Ayee, conceptualizer and primary developer of the Caribbean's first GPS navigation system, comes to the lecture with impressive credentials. He is an eminent Caribbean geologist and researcher. He has undertaken extensive geography-based analyses showing where the criminal hotspots are and where the gangs are concentrated as well as movements of gangs. These are vital to crime and security management. Similarly, his analyses show where the road accidents hotspots are, the number of homeless people and where they congregate. In addition, he does mapping for public health services, natural hazards and the environment, business development, business distribution modelling and software engineering. He has done mapping on the location of major churches; the educational qualification of areas, etc. His recent publication, Natural Hazards Atlas of Jamaica, is a classic.

The contribution of Parris is not in providing data only on many topics, but he can apply data to make predictions about the future which can inform strategic plans. This will make the presentation interesting and could shake up the emancipation lecture.

This is the 24th annual staging of the Churches' Emancipation Lecture. When it started it had an aim of getting Emancipation Day, August 1, to be a national holiday. And P.J .Patterson, a prime minister who was never hesitant to declare a national holiday, did agree to its reinstatement; and what a blessing it has been to refocus on the contributions of our ancestors in the struggle for freedom. The Churches' Emancipation Lecture series has highlighted reparations and the Caribbean Court of Justice. Youth and technology is a most potent topic.

This year's staging will be held at the Meadowbrook United Church with support from other churches, including Bethel Baptist, Boulevard Baptist, Hope United, Webster United, as well as from the United Theological College of the West Indies. The lecture, which commences at 4p.m., is a MUST HEAR!

PS: Merrick Needham, CD, one of Jamaica's leading logistician took issue with the sentence 'once one has served within the JDF whether as a colonel, major or captain, one retains the title for life. However, it is not so for the JCF'. Needham states that one should not retain the title of 'captain' from the JDF. Why did the media and wider society give a title to a prominent Jamaican which was not proper and the JDF said nothing?