I was born in the parish of Manchester in Jamaica. Manchester is known as the coolest parish in Jamaica because, by Jamaican standards, it is very cold. I actually grew up in St. Ann, the garden parish. After spending the first six years of my life in St. Ann, my family moved to Kingston to allow my father to pursue his legal profession. Although I've lived most of my life in the Kingston & St. Andrew corporate city area of Jamaica, I consider myself to be a country girl.
I attended St. Andrew High school in Kingston. The Motto for my school was "Life More Abundant." As my relationship with God has grown - and particularly at this point in my life - that phrase and its biblical context has come to be more meaningful to me. The knowledge that Christ came so that I could have a more abundant life is amazingly exciting for me and provides a constant challenge for me to strive for excellence.
Already, I have been blessed with two wonderful careers - in journalism and in the law. And, by pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Florida, I am getting the opportunity to combine these two areas in my research which is focused on media law.
During my studies I have had the opportunity to live in several Caribbean countries including Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados and I have also lived in Miami and Gainesville in Florida. In that time - approximately a 20-year period - I have accumulated friendships from all over the world. This has sharpened my worldview and benefited me in my professions in the media and in the law.
I took my first degree at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica under the tutelage of some of the best scholars I have ever met. I believe the Caribbean has a top-class educational system.
In Jamaica, because approximately 95 percent of the population is black, images of black professionals are more common. Perhaps, also, because white Jamaicans have land and resources from the erstwhile plantation slavery days - black Jamaicans are encouraged that education is the key to our social mobility. In this context, many black people become professionals.
My parents brought me up with the understanding that I was going to enter a profession and definitely pursue a second degree. The logical choice for me was the law. This was because my father and several of my other family members were already attorneys. God had a larger plan for me. After completing my first degree in history and social sciences, I discovered my love for news writing as a rookie reporter at the Gleaner, Jamaica's major newspaper. Thereafter it was logical for me to pursue this interest through post-graduate studies at the University of Miami. However, after a few years of working in the field of communications as a reporter and, then, in public relations, I decided to study law because I became concerned that the communication field in Jamaica would not enable me to live the lifestyle that I wanted to.
After studying law for five years, I began what would be a four-year legal practice. I started as a criminal prosecutor. I learned, in this position, to love advocacy and the courtroom. However, after a couple of years prosecuting, the daily drudgery of recounting and discussing gruesome murders, rapes and assaults became unbearable and I decided to go into private practice.
My private practice included much chamber work - conveyancing (what is known in the United States as land law - the purchase and sale of a house, execution of mortgages), and the completion of estates. However, also found myself in the courtroom at times and I realized that I was good on my feet. Although I was shy, I had the benefit of preparation. Like journalism, the most important thing that allows an attorney to be good is preparation through research. I am proud of my legal record - in two years as a civil advocate I never lost a single case.
Today, my background in journalism, in advocacy, research and the knowledge of the importance of preparation is an important asset as I complete my doctorate. I have always seen myself as not just a survivor - but as being destined to be at the top of anything I decide I want to do - or rather, that God puts me in a position to do.
I have a strong recognition that nothing that I have achieved would have been possible without God's input. I feel God's work in my life on a daily basis and, sometimes, when I am weak and about to falter I become so aware of God's work in my life - keeping me going and opening up doors - that it is humbling.