10 Captivating Jamaican Love Stories @natlibja

Originally posted by the National Library of Jamaica

In this season of love, we’re taking a look at 10 of Jamaica’s most captivating love stories. These stories of triumphant love gripped the nation and became indelibly entwined in the country’s social history and lore.


Maurice and Valerie Facey

Valerie and Maurice on their wedding day

Valerie Hart-Collins came to Jamaica from Europe at age 17. She arrived at Kingston Harbour on the banana boat the MS Bayan. As the boat approached the pier, she leaned over the rail of the boat’s deck to gaze at the beautiful city. It was then that Maurice Facey first laid eyes on the woman that would become his life partner. Within a year they fell in love and Maurice asked her to marry him. But Valerie’s parents refused to give their permission. They disapproved of Maurice as a mixed race Jamaican and insisted that Valerie was too young to get married. Still, the young lovers were unshaken and determined to become man and wife.

Valerie’s parents retained the legal services of none other than the eminent Norman Manley to prevent the wedding and even orchestrated to have Valerie arrested on the grounds of working in Jamaica without a permit. Valerie chose to spend the night in prison rather than be deported and separated from her love.

At the intervention of the then Governor of Jamaica, Sir Hugh Foot, they were finally allowed to marry without parental consent. It was a sensational scandal in 1950s Jamaica. Valerie and Maurice were married in a packed St. Andrew Parish Church in Half Way Tree. Hundreds of Jamaicans had come out to see the obstinate young lovers who had caused such a stir.

Their story certainly didn’t end there, however. In his early days as a businessman, Maurice experienced setbacks. In 1956 after the collapse of a business project, the family sold their Norbrook home and its entire contents. The Faceys and their two children left the house with nothing but the clothes on their backs. During these difficult times, Valerie remained by her husband’s side. Maurice Facey lived to become one of Jamaica’s most successful and wealthy businessmen. They were married for 61 years before Maurice died in 2013.  Looking back on their relationship, Valerie has said, “It was a marriage made in heaven…there is no marriage that is easy but I think we had a very good marriage, we fought the battle well.”

Valerie speaking into a microphone while Maurice looks on








“10 things you didn’t know about Valerie Facey.” The Jamaica Gleaner, 5 January 2014, http://jamaicagleaner.com/gleaner/20140105/out/out2.html

Allen, Desmond. “Valerie and Maurice Facey: A 60-year marriage that should not have been.”, The Jamaica Observer, 21 April, 2013. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Valerie-and-Maurice-Facey–A-60-year-marriage-that-should-not-have-been_14109521

“Portraits -Valerie Facey – Lucky Victim of Fate” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdkGu1uD2Xg



Louise Bennett and Eric Coverley

Louise and Eric stand beside a table in their home in Gordon Town

What can we say about the beloved Miss Lou? Simply that to know her was to love her – and perhaps no one knew her better than Eric Coverley. Louise Bennett met Eric ‘Chalk Talk’ Coverley, a popular actor and talent scout, in 1936 at a prize-giving concert at her alma mater, Excelsior. She asked him for autograph and he congratulated her on her performance. Eric invited her to be part of a Christmas concert at the Coke Memorial Hall (after asking her mother’s permission of course). The rest, as they say, is history.

They remained close friends for many years, during which time Louise lived in England and New York. While on a trip to New York in 1953, Eric called Louise on her birthday. They reconnected and began working together, co-directing a folk musical called, Day in Jamaica.  Eric would often escort her home after a performance or engagement before having to rush away to catch a late train back to where he was staying. It was one such night when he said to her, ‘Louise I can’t stop a minute to talk with you. It seems that I will just have to marry you.” In true Miss Lou fashion, Louise responded “Coverley, is that the way you propose? That could never be a proposal!”. She must have accepted because they were married on May 30, 1954 in Harlem. He was 42, she was 35.

The Coverleys on their wedding day

After returning to Jamaica in 1955, both continued their work in the arts. Enfield House, their home in Gordon Town, was the site of many celebrations and gatherings. Though they never had any biological children together, Eric and Louise often welcomed the children of extended relatives and community members into their home. They brought up these children together with Fabian, Eric’s son from a previous relationship.

When Eric’s health began to decline, he and Louise moved to Canada in 1987 to join Fabian who lived in Toronto. Eric died at age 91 in 2002 and Louise would follow four years later in July 2006.

Click here to view the NLJ’s Miss Lou Archives – including published and unpublished materials, photographs and audio-visual materials housed at the National Library of Jamaica.


Morris, Mervyn. Miss Lou: Louise Bennett and Jamaican Culture, Kingston: Ian Randle Publsihers, 2014.

“The Mother of Jamaican Culture Remembered”, The Jamaica Gleaner, 3 June 2012, http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20120603/ent/ent5.html

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Jamaican Football Standards @StandardsJa

#FootballStandards Check out this amazing video about the Standards for Safety & Performance of Football Goals.

#JamaicanStandardforSafetyandPerformanceofFootballGoals #JS325 #FootballStandards #JamaicanFootballStandards

Contact the Bureau of Standards Jamaica for a copy of this standard:
6 Winchester Road, P.O. 113, Kingston 10, Jamaica
Tel: (876) 926-3140-5; Fax: (876)929-4736
Website: http://www.bsj.org.jm

New Acquisition @NLJ:- The Bolt Supremacy

New Acquisition at the National Library of Jamaica.


Moore, Richard. The Bolt Supremacy: Inside Jamaica’s Sprint Factory. London: Yellow Jersey Press, 2015. Print.

Richard Moore’s work The Bolt Supremacy: Inside Jamaica’s Sprint Factory takes a different lane into discussions of speculations surrounding the success of Jamaican track athletes. Moore’s work offers some distinction from the general roar of the crowds skeptical of these success in that it attempts to distinguish “…facts and conjecture, opinion and evidence”. He holds firmly that success in sports can be achieved without performance enhancing drugs.

The Bolt Supremacy is among several other works featuring Jamaican sports available at the National Library of Jamaica. Visit their website www.nlj.gov.jm and peruse their catalogue for other interesting works. Or come down to the NLJ at 12 East Street, Kingston.


Jamaica Customs Integrating Business Processes

Chief Information Officer of the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) Andre Williams (left) and Acting Operations Manager, JCA, Owen Gayle, observe data on a laptop in the JCA’s server room. The JCA is implementing the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), a web-based system designed to transform the agency to a paperless operation through the use of electronic documents.
Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson

A wide cross-section of entities are making it easier for Jamaicans  to receive the products and services they need in the most cost effective and less troublesome way.

This change is quietly taking place at the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) where the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), a web-based system designed to transform the agency to a paperless operation through the use of electronic documents has been rolled out.  Full implementation of ASYCUDA is expected to be completed in March 2016.

The new automated system is in keeping with the Government’s strategy to improve trade facilitation and service delivery in customs administration and when completed will see customs declarations, shipping manifests as well as accounting procedures, and transit and suspense procedures all being conducted electronically.

The system is being implemented through a US$4 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Customs Broker, Junior Waugh, who has been using ASYCUDA since its pilot phase in December 2014, said he is pleased with the new processes being implemented.  He noted that the system is no longer paper-based and customs brokers do not have to print multiple forms to file declarations.

“So that is considered savings on our part and the importers as well,” he said. It is mandatory for all cargo agents, including Freight Forwarders, Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) and Sub-Agents who submit advance cargo information to do so using the ASYCUDA world system.

“It is a good thing. It is basically what one would expect in 2016 for us to be working in a smarter environment…to use information technology to guide the process,” Mr. Waugh told JIS News during an interview.

He noted that during the initial roll-out, some brokers have had challenges connecting to the system and filling out their documents.

“From time to time, the complaints that we get from individual brokers, sometimes they are not able to go on, but in talking to JCA we realized that we have a number of issues, in terms of the connectivity, in terms of the band width that we get from our Internet service providers,” he said, adding that some of these problems are being remedied.

“It’s a new thing and one would expect that you will have some teething pains. The teething pains are there and they are real but based on discussions, I am confident that they will get it right,” he added.

Mr. Waugh who is also President of the Jamaica Society of Customs Brokers said  since the roll out, training sessions have been organized for custom brokers in Kingston and Montego Bay.

“They had a train-the-trainer initially for the customs brokers to train other customs brokers …but since the roll out they have had sessions with custom brokers to re-sensitise them on the whole ASYCUDA System,” he said, adding that the brokers were brought up-to-speed with the changes and improvements made to the system after the initial training was done about a year ago.

He said that members of the Society who are having challenges will be monitored “in terms of getting them up-to-speed with the new system.”

“It [The system] has improved and trust me if we can save time in our business, time is really money and so it should be a win for everyone,” he added.

Chief Information Officer of JCA, Andre Williams said the system has eliminated the use of paper, which has reduced the processing and waiting times at various stages and has resulted in cost saving.

“Based on the number of yearly transactions, where it concerns exports and commercial imports, there is a saving of $66 million per year just for the purchasing of forms,” he informed.

“There is greater efficiency, transparency and accountability on the part of our business partners as well as the JCA [because] there is an immediate electronic submission of the declaration and supporting documents,” he continued.

The Chief Information Officer said ASYCUDA has allowed the JCA to be fully integrated with the Tax Administration of Jamaica (TAJ) and receiving “real time Tax Registration Number and Tax Compliance Certificate data.”

“We have also been transferring motor vehicle details to the Automated Motor Vehicle System by TAJ, so once the vehicle has been cleared of all liabilities to the agency and to the port, that information is relayed in real time to TAJ for the registration of the vehicle,” he added.

The data from ASYCUDA is also being used by the Island Traffic Authority to issue fitness certificates for motor vehicles, as well as by the Ministry of Finance and Planning and the Statistical Institute of Jamaica.

In addition, once a licence, certificate or permit has been issued by the Trade Board Limited or other bodies, including the Ministries of Health and Agriculture, the data that has been placed by them on their E-Trade System is automatically sent to ASYCUDA, eliminating the need for physical documentation and therefore allowing for the quick approval of declarations for processing.

As it continues to improve its business processes, the JCA will also be introducing an Electronic Single Administrative Document, which will integrate all forms currently used at the agency.

Commissioner of Customs and JCA Chief Executive Officer, Major (Ret’d) Richard Reese, said the form, which is being tested, allows for all the various types of entries to be made.

“In the past, we would have had a specific form for specific transactions. This combines all those forms into an electronic entry and [allows] you [to] select from a menu,” he explained, adding that the single form will save millions of dollars for the agency as well as its clients.

Under the ASYCUDA project, Major Reese said the JCA has completed implementation of the export and import modules for sufferance wharves. Additionally, he said the import module for personal shipments in Kingston and Montego Bay has been implemented.

“We will also be implementing the import module for commercial shipments, the incentive module and also the permits and licences. So at the end of the implementation programme all aspects of Customs operations will be fully automated and all payments, of course, will be electronic or by cash,” he added.

Since January 4, the JCA had mandated that all personal shipments will require the use of the ASYCUDA World System island wide.

“What this entails is the loading of that information by the various carriers whether by air or sea and the consolidators, so we will have that information in advance and when individuals come to clear their shipments it will make the process even faster,” he said, noting that personal shipments are being cleared within an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and 20 minutes.

“So that in itself is evidence of the level of efficiency when we compare to earlier periods when persons would travel to the warehouses or the ports and expect to spend a day or at least a half-a-day,” he said.

Changes at the JCA are being monitored under the Public Sector Transformation and Modernisation Programme designed to support the government’s priorities of improving ‘ease of doing business’ and public sector efficiency. Acting Principal Director, Public Sector Modernisation Programme Implementation, Cabinet Office, Wayne Robertson, said the Office has been working with all the entities that are involved in trade.

“We are currently working with the World Bank in terms of building out a sustainable programme of facilitating trade and we are not just looking at public sector entities, but also private partners and so all the entities that are involved in trade we work with them,” he said.

Mr. Robertson continued: “We are looking at how we can improve import and export service provision to MSMEs (Micro Small and Medium Size Enterprises) and so rather than making 10 stops, we are saying, listen, you need to make one stop.” He stated that one stop shop facilities will not only be implemented in the Kingston Metropolitan area but also in the second city, Montego Bay.


(Source: JIS)