Remembering Bob Marley

  Artists have often reworked the music of Bob Marley for new generations. But even without the help of remixing and redoing Marley’s music still has currency. Decades after his death it seems that Marley was much more than a man of music.

The sun rose for Robert Nesta Marley in Nine Miles a small village in the hills of St. Ann in the north of Jamaica. Today it’s become something of a shrine and a tourist attraction.

People come from all over to see the place, he was born where he lived up to the age of thirteen and the place he would often return to, to write and meditate.

In some ways it is where his story started, ended and continues.

He was born in 1945 the son of a Jamaican mother and an English father. His songs and guitar licks, the small axe that would make a large impact on the music world.

He moved to Kingston the concrete jungle of Trenchtown, experiences like others that would be remembered in song. This inner city area was a place of struggle for young men then, as it is today.

For today’s youth looking for opportunity Bob’s legacy is among the things that can help.

These days the Trench town Cultural Yard hopes to bring people into the area to show a different side, something different from the fear associated with the inner-city and to suggest alternatives for those who live there.

Marley did escape through music.

The man many knew for his  rebel music the denim and dreads didn’t start out that way, he joined a vocal group whose music like that of others at the time  reflected the influence of U.S. soul and r and b,  tight harmonies and sharp suits.

Soon he would find a different source of inspiration, in Rastafarianism. He would infuse his music with the message and bring Rasta man vibration to a wider audience.

 Whilst much of his music looks at slavery, Rastafari, injustice, struggle there was still time for romance and not just as a musical theme.

As his music took off, he had no need to remain in Trenchtown and made a home in a large house on Hope Road in the centre of Kingston.

This is now a museum, pictures of Bob form a mural on a wall on the compound, inside memorabilia and sombre guides take you through the rooms where he ate,  played music and where he survived being shot.

At times his message was simple.

“Don’t worry about a thing”…. or “one love” now an often used theme for tourism commercials and sometimes a greeting of sorts.

The National Arena, in Kingston’s sporting complex is where thousands came to pay their last respects after the death of Marley. Just across the road stands a statute of Marley, surrounded by a fence that seems to proudly protect the monument to the man.

Some come to have their pictures taken with it as a backdrop, others to debate if it really resembles him and there are others in Jamaica who never really knew what the fuss was all about.

Wrangles over his estate continue, some wonder about the man behind the music and  the life he led.

One thing is clear from the steady stream of record sales, memorabilia,  the star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and  induction into the Rock Hall of Fame show that he’s helped put reggae and Jamaica on the map internationally.

On the anniversary of his death, May 11th each year visitors from home and abroad make the journey to Nine Miles just to be there on that day. And if they’re not sure which road to take they simply ask the people they see on the road which way to Bob Marley?









Archives for UWI

Head of BBC Caribbean Service Debbie Ransome, University Librarian, Jennifer Joseph and UWI Vice Chancellor Professor E. Nigel Harris


85,000 minutes or three thousand hours whichever way you describe it or count it that’s a lot of material. It actually describes the amount of material in the BBC Caribbean Service radio and online programming archive. On November 4 2011, there was a ceremony to mark the official handing over of the archives to the University of the West Indies. The event took place at the multi-function room at the University of the West Indies Library, on Mona Campus in Kingston Jamaica, but the archives will be available to researchers and scholars through all of the university campuses and sites across the region.

The BBC Caribbean Service was part of the BBC’s World Service Radio, which broadcasts in English and other languages across the world. In March of 2011, the team Caribbean Service team made the final broadcasts.

The Caribbean Service was a casualty of cuts across the BBC World Service aimed at reducing costs. The cut was final and there was to be no reprieve this time. The University of the West Indies will be the only entity outside of the U.K. and the BBC to have a full copy of the archives.

The material from 1988 to 2011 represents the broadcasts of news and current affairs programme Caribbean Report and the human interest and culture magazine programme Caribbean Magazine, in later years the service expanded with morning and daily versions of the programmes and an online news presence.

The idea for the donation came from the Head of the Caribbean Service Debbie Ransome, and according to the Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies Professor E. Nigel Harris, there was no hesitation in taking up the offer.

To make it happen would prove to be quite a task and members of the service and UWI library department worked on compiling the archive in London in the months after the service went off the air. The result, material from 1988 to 2004 is on a large collection of compact discs and digitization of the later material is underway with the hope that it will be completed by January 2012.

What was over the years of the service, part of the cut and thrust of daily news gathering now provides a unique record of the events and the reaction to them from the ordinary person in the region and diaspora to the leaders in business, politics and advocacy.

Given the recent history of the region the material bears witness to coups, natural disasters, elections, achievements and much more.

The BBC Caribbean Service may be no more, but the body of work, a unique and insightful record of the region’s recent past will not be forgotten or locked away gathering dust in a series of shelves virtual or real  in the bowels of the BBC but an accessible and tangible resource, for research and scholarship in many areas.

Go there:

Read More:


Tinkering with Taxation


It is often said those there only two certainties in life death and taxes, whether you believe that or not tax  often has an important place in most societies.

Wars have been fought over taxes; the American war of independence was sparked by the notion of no taxation without representation.

George Bush the elder was famous for his saying read my lips no new taxes…. he said it at a Republican convention when he was a presidential candidate

In 1999 the Jamaican government raised the tax on gasoline.

Result, three days of rioting and after which the government cut the tax on gasoline.

There may have been no new taxes in the budget that but persons knew that a raise in the tax on gas would mean higher prices for everyone.

In Jamaica there has long been talk of tax reform, and plans to widen the tax net.

The TRN or tax registration number was said to be a mechanism to bring more people into the tax system.

People need this number for a certain transactions. The idea to spread the tax burden beyond those who pay tax as they earn or pay traditional taxes.

In the entertainment industry there are many cautionary tales both from home and abroad of the danger of ignoring or paying little attention to tax matters, some have ended up in devastating debt and even in jail all due to the trouble with taxes.

In Jamaica the government this year has announced it will be adding tax to a range of goods that had been zero rated the idea behind it is that in these cases whilst the goods are a lower price it is those who are better off who benefit because they can afford to buy more of these goods and therefore save more…. It’s time to change that, says the government.t

As it tries to balance the budget by raising some taxes and reducing others. Let’s hope those making the decisions will steer clear of some of the strange taxes in force elsewhere, according to billshrink .com in an article outlining 13 weird taxes in Germany the cost of bribery is deductible, in Tennessee there is a tax on the illegal drugs, you are not supposed to have and in Europe there are said to be discussions on  a tax on cow flatulence something to do with concerns about  global warming.