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Counselors are always giving advice to couples, yet their own relationships, marriage and lives are often in shambles. Still, wise counsel does serve a valuable purpose. We always hear about couples seeking counseling when their relationship is in danger. But usually that’s a case of not adhering to the principle of prevention being better than the cure. Maybe if they had seen a counselor before they took the plunge, they would not be in need of counseling now.

Sadly many people have no use for it and think they have the answer to everything. But, Caribbean people like to say, “Young bird don’t know storm.” Many enter marriage with no clue what they’re getting into. By that time they may or may not seek counseling. The wife may suggest it and may even go. The husband may reluctantly tag along. But to make it effective, both have to go with an open mind and believe they really need help. Only then is all the garbage displayed before them.


One lady was married for over five years, but was yet to have sex with her husband. The poor man was so frustrated. She too was angry and confused. It was discovered that she had been sexually abused by her stepfather and her uncle when she was a child, so she grew up with great intimacy problems.

Why did she marry? What did she expect? If they both had counseling before they wed, they would have been spared frustration and grief.  Counselors say they merely advise couples about life’s realities. After all, the proverbial bed of roses does have thorns. But many young people marry for the wrong reasons. Some want out of the house after living under their parents’ rule. But are they ready?

The counselor will know. Perhaps he may unable to change their minds, but he can advise them of the road ahead. If they take heed, they may not be surprised when they drop into the first pothole. Another wrong reason to get married is sex, counselors say. Some marry because they’re in church and fornication is deemed sin. To have sex and not sin, they marry. Others wed because the attraction is so hot. While some are having sex, enjoying it, then oops, an unwanted pregnancy results. So they marry. Without counseling, more than likely those marriages will flounder and fall.


Many young couples are disillusioned about sex and become confused, angry, withdrawn and despondent. So counselors advise a need for space. Couples must spend time together, but not become stifling. Sometimes, men and women need to have their partner on a leash. Now there’s the cell phone, a leash that can cover miles.

Couples must have their own interests, different workplaces and friends too. Yet they should be able to discuss, argue, even cuss, without ill feeling. Plus, they should never go to bed angry. Another thing is not to listen to idle gossip or have too many friends dipping into their lives. Couples should also be their best friends, the counselors advise. Love won’t conquer everything. Counseling is vital, if you’re serious about a long-term relationship.

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CCJ: It’s time Caribbean makes own decisions ~attorney Wayne Golding

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is a regional judicial tribunal established in 2011. The idea of a regional court surfaced in 1970 when the Jamaican delegation at the sixth Heads of Government conference, convened in Jamaica, proposed the establishment of a Caribbean Court of Appeal as a substitute for the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Wayne Golding, a Jamaican-born immigration lawyer based in Central Florida, United States, gave Caribbean Today’s freelance writer Kathy Barrett his views on the significance of the CCJ.

Question: What’s the significance of Caribbean Court of Justice to the people of the region?

Answer: My concept, even when I lived in Jamaica as young person, was that I never liked the idea of an outside authority being our final adjudicator in terms of anything. The whole significance of what the queen (of England) represents to me was always obnoxious. For people to sit in their own country and not make the ultimate decisions that affects them and their daily lives, especially when it comes onto your  rights, I never subscribed to the fact that you have to go to a foreign land. I was delighted when the CCJ was announced. It felt like Independence all over again.

Question: The CCJ has two jurisdictions, the original jurisdiction and the appellate jurisdiction. The only states in the region that have signed onto the CCJ, as their final court, are Barbados, Belize and Guyana. In your opinion what’s preventing the other countries from coming onboard?

Answer: The problem is the manifestation from some of our Caribbean countries. The problem is not that England wouldn’t relinquish their hold on our legal system, but it’s whether or not we are moving in the direction of unity in which a decision can come from a final arbitrator in the Caribbean that each country would be satisfied with.

I’ve heard rumblings and I've heard that certain countries are unwilling to sign onto the concept and it has been around for awhile. You really wonder what the motivation is and how long is it going to take.

Question: In October, the CCJ made a landmark ruling when it declared that the government of Barbados breached the rights of a Jamaican woman, Shanique Myrie, to enter the country. Could this ruling be seen as a turning point in the region’s approach towards the CCJ?

Answer: The Barbados situation kind of points out a potential problem we have where a country is indicating, by its actions, that it might not want to adhere, (although it may have to). This just indicates to me that we are going to have a problem with people complying under the system. Barbados is a tricky situation because the Barbadians have always been closer to England than anyplace else in the region. I love the concept. It’s the mechanism that needs to be put in place and whether we are going to have that total buy in eventually.

Question: What of the future of the regional court?

Answer: Another problem could be the issue of precedence, because like every system, be it in the United States, England or Germany, you have the body of law that people look to. So I think that is going to be one of the issues whether we have the body of law in our Caribbean countries that the final appellate court, being in the Caribbean, is really what we need. But the structure is still in question. People always look outside of their own borders for authority. We don’t need to do that anymore in the Caribbean. There needs to be a stronger push to have this up and going. It’s about time for us to really push, because we need to make our own decisions. It’s about time.

ghostFei Xiaotong, a world-renowned Chinese anthropologist, visited America in the 1940’s and thought it was a country devoid of ghosts. Americans live in brightly lit cities, he noted.

They illuminate all parts of a room. They believe in individual progress -- not clanship, not past history. Americans move about, forming few, if any, permanent ties to places and people. So how could ghosts find room to dwell in such a place?

salvesSteve McQueen's masterful 12 Years a Slave has already changed history in two major ways: It is the first Hollywood-backed movie on slavery directed by a black filmmaker, and based on Solomon Northup's 1853 oral account, it is the first film ever based on an actual slave narrative.

While the former results from the dearth of black directors who are able to get historical dramas funded and distributed by major studios, the latter reveals a more troubling truth. Despite the fact that nearly 200 narratives were published in the United States and England between 1760 and 1947, filmmakers have almost completely ignored these materials.