Photo caption:Continental Airlines Area Sales Managers were recently guests at the Grand Lido, Negril. They were hosted to a cocktail party held in their honour. Joining them (L-R standing) are Grand Lido Resident Manager Mr. Joey Issa; Judith Hill (Assistant Manager) and Michelle Hacker (Social Director).
I n the midst of the 2014 pre-hurricane season (before June) Chairman of Cool Group of companies Joseph J. Issa, says Jamaicans should stop being complacent in their preparations for the annual hurricane season and calls on them to start planning for this year’s weather systems starting June 1 and ending November 30.
The website cited as critical an emergency contact list with 24-hour telephone numbers of essential employees and official response agencies, identification and security of vital documents and files, determination of responsibility for maintenance of the facility covering aspects such as needed repairs to roofs and windows, emergency lighting, essential supplies and First Aid training.
“Every year Jamaicans tend to wait for a hurricane to approach before they start taking measures to protect their lives and property with devastating consequences,” Joe Issa states, noting, “Last year the country was spared but it may not be as lucky this year even if a quiet season has been predicted for 2014.”
In Tyler Stanfield’s WunderBlog: The 2014 Hurricane season: What to Expect/Weather Underground, the noted forecaster states that there are conditions that hinder or enhance the development of hurricanes citing the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) as the biggest hindrance, limiting the amount of hurricanes and major hurricanes.
“With the increasing odds of an El Nino event developing by the peak of the 2014 hurricane season, unfavorable conditions will likely plague the storms of the Atlantic basin from start to finish. This will cause a limited amount of hurricanes and major hurricanes to develop during the season and decrease the likelihood of a hurricane landfall.
“Along with the anticipation of a quieter, below average season the overall lack of above average surface temperatures in the deep tropics, increased trade winds and low instability will likely be a large factor in less storms being capable of intensifying and becoming hurricanes and major hurricanes,” Stanfield says in the February 2014 outlook in which he predicted 10 named storms, three hurricanes and one major hurricane.
However, Stanfield warns, “You should not keep your guard down. An inactive hurricane season can just as easily have a major hurricane make landfall as much as any other season and this forecast should not be taken as a reason to write off the season. It only takes one to make a quiet season a bad season.”
Noting that it’s not only the big weather systems that cause massive damage, Joey recalls: “Last year while Jamaicans were napping waiting for the big hurricane to approach before they start to plan for it, they were caught off-guard by a lowly category 1 Hurricane Sandy which caused widespread damage,” stating, “It is this experience I hope will finally prompt them to take early action to minimize hardships this hurricane season; the experience of Hurricane Gilbert should have done that.”
“We need to act on many fronts simultaneously; we have to establish mandatory evacuation legislation and the associated penalties, develop the monitoring capabilities to stamp out construction in unsafe areas and stop the breaches of the building code and the flagrant littering of gullies and drains,” Joey states.
Posted on the ODPEM website, a January article quoted Acting Director General of ODPEM, Richard Thompson, as saying that Gilbert was for Jamaica a turning point.
“We have 947 communities in Jamaica and over 300 are considered highly vulnerable. There is a need to have no-build zones and we are looking at that,” he told the Jamaica Observer newspaper.
On the issue of mandatory evacuation Thompson said this was being discussed, while noting that due to a number of legal implications “it might be easier to maintain a compulsory evacuation regime.”
According to the website, Hurricaneville, some of the most notable hurricanes recorded since Jamaica’s independence in 1962 include: Flora on October 5-7, 1963; Allen on August 4-7, 1980; and the infamous Gilbert on September 12, 1988 which left 25 per cent of the population homeless, almost every home without electricity and 45 people dead.
Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Ronald Jackson, was also quoted in the Jamaica Observer article as saying that Jamaicans at the time of Hurricane Gilbert had probably used their experience of weather systems such as what was then called the ’51 storm’ (Charlie) and others to pre-judge what Gilbert would have brought only to be caught by surprise.
“By the time Gilbert would have come around there was a sense of complacency in our population that they just did not believe Jamaica could have been impacted and that was reflected not just in terms of the way people responded to that event but the whole culture of government, of our sectors and of our businesses; there was not a risk management culture in 1988,” he said, noting, “That behavior, however, might mostly be Gone with the Wind.”
“If we look at today’s Jamaica we see where more and more individuals are seeking out knowledge about how to be ready for these events; you would have seen improvements certainly in terms of roof construction and the securing of roofs, not that it is at the level where it should be but it is far advanced,” Jackson pointed out.
Science and wellness advocate Joe Issa is awed by the work of scientists which has shared light on what is referred to as one of the central mysteries of human life: why we need sleep, and how it happens, as he urges citizens to sleep right for a better and healthier life.
“I think we all know that sleep is important to the proper functioning of the body, and we feel it the next day if we have not had enough sleep. Some of us take it seriously and ensure we have sufficient sleep; but some don’t, and they pay for it in the end.
“So I’m urging everyone to develop a regular sleep pattern and ensure that you get enough sleep,” said Issa, noting, “This discovery is remarkable and far reaching in terms of building awareness and understanding of the existence of our biological clock.
Issa was hailing the work of Jeffrey C Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W Young, who received the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for Medicine for understanding the mysteries of how life tracks time and changes itself according to the movement of the sun, which explains what is called the biological clock.
According to The Independent, the Nobel Prize in medicine was given to the three scientists “for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm”, or the biological clock. Their work helped illuminate one of the central mysteries of human life: why we need sleep, and how it happens.
The Circadian rhythms are the ways that the body keeps itself regulated with the passing of the day, and that the process can affect sleep, behavior, hormone levels, body temperature and metabolism. They show why disturbed sleep – like in the case of jet lag, or people with insomnia – can have terrifying knock-on consequences, like an increased risk of various diseases, the article said.
The researchers reportedly discovered that all types of life on Earth – from plants to humans – regulate their body clock using the sun, with special technologies inside the body. They showed how the body clock can disrupt the central ways the body works, including things like metabolism, and explained how if it is thrown off it can cause huge problems for people and other parts of life.
Catastrophic’ lack of sleep is killing us, scientist warns
The researchers “were able to peek inside our biological clock and elucidate its inner workings”, according to the Nobel committee’s citation for the more than $1m (£750m) prize. The discoveries “explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with the Earth’s revolutions”, it said.
The work didn’t reveal any tips for regulating our own circadian rhythm or improving sleep, said experts. But it was a reminder of the importance of doing so – and of keeping good sleep hygiene, by ensuring that people maintain good sleep patterns and keep themselves in sync with the sun, they said during the press conference.
It said the win comes soon after one of the world’s leading sleep scientist argued that a “catastrophic” lack of sleep is slowly killing us and spreading damage throughout society.
The laureates reportedly used fruit flies to isolate a gene that controls the normal daily biological rhythm and showed how this gene encoded a protein that accumulates in the cell during the night and degrades during the day.
Thomas Perlmann, secretary at the Karolinska Institute Nobel Committee, described the reaction of Rosbash when first informed of the award: “He was silent and then he said ‘you are kidding me?’.”
Medicine is said to be the first of the Nobel Prizes awarded each year. The prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were created in accordance with the will of dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel and have been awarded since 1901.
Nobel medicine laureates have included scientific greats such as Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin, and Karl Landsteiner, whose identification of separate blood types opened the way to carrying out safe transfusions.
According to the article the prize has not been without controversy, especially with the benefit of hindsight, such as with 1948 award for the discovery of DDT, a chemical that helped battle epidemics but was later banned due to its harmful environmental impact.
North coast hotelier, Mr. Joe Issa, of the SuperClubs group of resorts, is the recipient of the first annual L.B. Creary Memorial Quality of Life Award for exemplary humanitarian and philanthropical public service, in the parish of St. Mary.
The award is given to the person, who, in the judgement of the awards committee, does the most during the past year, to uplift the standard of living for the less privileged in St. Mary, particularly through the Kiwanis Club, of that parish.
The award was presented to Mr. Issa jointly by Mrs. Norma Creary, widow of Mr. Luneville B. Creary, after whom it is named; and Mr. and Mrs. Creary’s son, Mr. Richard Creary, secretary of the St. Mary Kiwanis Club.
Introducing Mr. Issa at the awards ceremony, another of the Creary’s sons, First Life Insurance executive, Mr. Don Creary, praised Mr. Issa for his “unselfish, caring and extraordinary interest in helping the less fortunate of the parish”. Mr Creary added, “Mr. Joey Issa richly deserves this honour, award and distinction today!”
Mr. Issa was humble in his acceptance speech. He said, in part, “Assistance in this endeavor is necessary. The less privileged among us must always be at the forefront of our thoughts. I am thankful and grateful I am in a position to be of assistance, in this manner.”
Mr. Issa went on to encourage others in a similar position as his, to help the less fortunate. He congratulated the St. Mary Kiwanis Club for what he described as its “sterling example of humanitarian assistance to the community,” and pledged his continued personal assistance to the club.
Mr. L.B. Creary was a civil servant, returning officer and philanthropist. He died four years ago.
Mr. Issa, 27, was, until recently, the general manager for SuperClubs’ Couples Hotel, St. Mary. He took up the position of general manger of SuperClubs’ newest resort, Sans Souci Hotel and Spa – renamed the Sans Souci Lido – on November 1.
Mr. Don Creary was named St. Mary Kiwanian Of The Year, 1992/93, at the awards function.
St. Ann’s Chamber of Commerce Past President Advisory Committee member Joe Issa has tipped the economic growth momentum experienced in 2016 to continue into 2017.
“This year I expect higher growth in the economy than what we experienced last year when some of the policy measures implemented earlier in the year showed good results towards the end.
“2016 finished on a high note which will reverberate throughout this year to provide the momentum needed for improved performance…it’s what can be called the piggy-back effect…success feeding on success to achieve even greater success,” Issa posits in an interview on the outlook for Jamaica in 2017.
Noting he had seen the latest growth figures Issa says, “I am encouraged by the stats and more so when disaggregated as all sectors seemed to have pulled their weight…it all adds up and tells a story of increased output, consumer confidence and employment…the prime minister has been personally pushing the BPO sector so we may well be seeing the impact in the numbers.”
According to tradingeconomics.com Domestic Product (GDP) figures show that the economy of Jamaica had grown 2 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2016, the highest since the second quarter of 2014. The outturn for the September 2016 quarter was also higher than the 1.4 percent recorded in the second quarter.
The 2016 third quarter statistics also show that both goods and services played a part, which analysts say is the best structure within which to grow the economy.
Agriculture, forestry and fishing which has benefitted from a renewed focus on import substitution and greater linkages with the tourism sector improved from a growth rate of 9.4 percent in the second quarter to 29.1 percent in the third quarter.
Mining and quarrying also responded with the growth of 2 percent in the third quarter from -1.9 percent in the second, while manufacturing was up 0.1 percent from 0.6 percent in the second quarter.
Increases were also said to have been recorded for electricity and water supply which grew by 2.5 percent in the third quarter compared with 5 percent in the second quarter.
Hotels and restaurants grew from 1.3 percent in the second quarter to 2.2 percent in the third. Transport recorded growth of 0.5 percent compared with 0.7 percent in second quarter.
Further comparison shows that the GDP outturn in the September 2016 quarter was much higher than the 0.14 percent average recorded from 2003 to 2016. A record high of 2.2 percent was recorded in the fourth quarter of 2003, and a record low of -2.10 percent was posted in the third quarter of 2014.
Dr Wayne Henry, director general of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), agrees with Issa, not only on the strength of the growth experienced in the third quarter of 2016 but also what it means for the country.
Stating that the pace of growth represented the most reliable estimate since April-June 2007, Dr Henry said at a PIOJ quarterly press briefing that “overall, the projected out-turn largely reflects the positive impact of higher levels of business and consumer confidence and increased employment levels with supported increased demand.”
“This was also reflected in increased construction activities with the building of new, and refurbishment of existing hotel rooms, the build out of office space to facilitate the expansion of the business process outsourcing industry, and road rehabilitation and expansion work,” the Gleaner quoted Dr Henry as saying.
Popular Ocho Rios businessman and philanthropist Joseph John Issa, CD received the insignia from the Governor-General of Jamaica, His Excellency The Most Honourable Sir Patrick Linton Allen, at the national
and awards ceremony at King’s House on Heroes Day October 17, 2016.
Inspired by the words of late American journalist Charles Kuralt who once said “the love of family and the admiration of friends are much more important than wealth and privileges,” Issa has dedicated the medal to his family and friends.
“This is for my wife and children,” he says, as he holds up the insignia, adding, “especially my son and daughter whom I want to grow up believing that hard work and a good heart will pay off in the long run…it’s a proud moment for us…I am humbled by the recognition for doing what comes naturally to me.”
And to his many friends who have encouraged and supported him throughout the years, he says, “This is for you too…it’s a lasting manifestation of your contribution,” citing in particular, Father Howard James, a Roman Catholic Priest in the parish of St. Ann where Issa’s Cool Group of companies is headquartered.
Father James, who was born in London, England and raised in Jamaica, left the country as a boy and became the first Caribbean national to be ordained a priest in Britain. He met Issa in 1998 when he came to work in Ocho Rios as a priest. He says, “Joey always struck me as a kind, very generous and capable man.”
Touched by Issa’s philanthropy over the years, Father James has several recollections, including the day his car broke down ten times and it became clear that the church needed a reliable vehicle. “Joey led the charge to get the money, most of it from him without any burden on the parish,” noting “this is the measure of the man.”
When Issa, who is also a Eucharistic Minister of the Catholic Church was about to get married in 2003, Father James had already left Jamaica, but Issa, who had kept in touch asked him to return to conduct the ceremony. He says, “The generosity of the man is such that he asked that a collection be taken at the wedding to help educate young people.”
“Joey did the same thing for his 50th birthday celebration,” the priest also recalls, “when he told his friends and loved ones not to buy presents, but instead make a financial donation to the church to help the less fortunate and educate children.”
Issa’s many philanthropic gestures have also been praised by the media in Jamaica and the United Kingdom where, as a student at the London School of Economics (LSE) he founded the ‘Educate the Children Fund’, which raised over £3,000 to purchase Mathematics and English textbooks for students in Jamaica and other Caribbean islands.
When he returned from university he established ‘Global Education 2000’, which focuses on improving the physical condition of schools, increasing literacy among young children and fostering better relations between schools and the communities in which they exist, and with their counterparts in the United States (US). Since then, several local schools and teachers have benefitted through exchange programmes with US counterparts.
Issa also founded the ‘Cool Charities/Holy Cross Scholarship Fund’ which, along with other educational programmes, has been described by the Jamaica Observer as “a cool half million a month to education.” According to the newspaper, the scholarship programme also includes ‘Computers 3000 Education’, a project which donates air conditioning units and computers to educational institutions, thereby making for a more comfortable learning environment and giving more students access to the worldwide web.
Today, Issa’s philanthropic quest for less fortunate Jamaican children to receive a good education, to which he was privileged, continues through Cool Charities, a subsidiary of his multi-faceted group of over 50 companies, which defines his business strategies that have been likened to those of his colleague Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group of over 400 companies, whose ‘Centre of Entrepreneurship – Caribbean’ located in Montego Bay Issa supports as a mentor for young entrepreneurs on the programme.
A highly recognized multi-award-winning business strategist locally and internationally, where he is leveraging his Cool Group, Issa’s national honour is as much for his contribution to Jamaica’s business landscape partly through his presidency of the St. Ann Chamber of Commerce, as it is for his corporate citizenship, which Father James seems to value even more.
Says he: “While many will speak about his business skills, I speak to the good husband and father, churchgoer and philanthropist. He has never said no…I try not to bother him too much, but he has told me never to be afraid to ask him for help for others. So I believe it was only right that a national honour should be given to him so that everyone can know about the generosity of this very kind man.”
Not known to get carried away by his own success and wealth, allied with his desire to contribute to the education of children, Issa finds much comfort in a quote by late 19th century teacher, attorney, soldier, writer and Freemason Albert Pike from Boston, Massachusetts, where Issa studied at College of The Holy Cross in Worcester, graduating valedictorian and cum laude while becoming Jamaica’s youngest Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Self-taught with the distinction of being the only Confederate military officer with an outdoor statue in Washington, D.C., Pike’s sentiment resonates with Issa when he wrote, “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
Today, 125 years after his death, the Albert Pike Memorial Temple in Little Rock, Arkansas is a historic Masonic lodge listed on the National Register of Historic Places, according to Wikipedia.