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‘You have the Choice’ – Dr Beverly Manley

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That was the central theme of the presentation by Dr Beverly Manley at the Broward Community College’s Central campus’ library recently.

Dr Manley, was one of the noted speakers at the Broward County Library’s 2005 Pan African Bookfest and Cultural Conference, April 16-28.

The talented broadcaster, talk show host, gender specialist, political activist, political scientist, but who is unfortunately most often defined by others as the wife of former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Michael Manley, gave a hour long wide-ranging general presentation to a rapt audience of over 50 people, most of whom were women.

Dr Manley touched on many issues and concerns to Jamaica and the Jamaican Diaspora. In fact, she spoke more on behalf of the Caribbean as a region. She pointed out the beauty, creativity and resilience of the Caribbean people.

She spoke of gender issues and the necessary role of women in development. Quoting from a UN human development report she said, “Development, if not engendered, is endangered”.

She spoke about nurturing, saying that it is not a woman’s job, because she knows of many men who are just as capable and willing to take on the nurturing role. She spoke about relationships between men and women but between others also.

She spoke about the marginalization of the poor, about the need for a revolution in Early Childhood education, in order to equip from early, many who later in life have little or no life-coping skills and are lost in the bigger world.

She spoke about the lure of drugs in the communities and how difficult it is for young men, particularly those without proper parenting, to resist the get-rich-quick temptations. She spoke about the necessity of jobs for the youth.

She addressed the Jamaica Diaspora and by extension the Caribbean Diaspora. She reminded the audience that the impetus for independence came from outside of Jamaica and urged all outside of the region to get involved in an organized form.

At points, especially since her presentation was filled with many biblical quotes, the occasion was just a few ‘amens’ and ‘hallelujahs’ short of a pentecostal meeting, as many listeners fully supported the things she said.

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Written by Staff Writer