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The NCB Effect: Potentials, Opportunities and Downfalls of the Jamaican Bank

Alaina Hull



The NCB Effect: Potentials, Opportunities and Downfalls of the Jamaican Bank

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National Commercial Bank – Jamaica’s Largest Bank

National Commercial Bank (NCB) has its origin dating back to 1837. It was at this time the Colonial Bank of London headquartered in England, made its presence felt in Kingston. The banking practices that were prevalent in the country then, began to change over the years, following which a series of mergers and acquisitions took place. This gave birth to National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited in August 1977.

The NCB Effect: Potentials, Opportunities and Downfalls of the Jamaican Bank

Four years later, in 1981, the bank launched Keycard – its first credit card. This is the first credit card to be launched by a Jamaican bank. As NCB began expanding its operations, it introduced the NCB-SME that focused on offering financial solutions and services exclusively for small and medium enterprises.

Today, the bank is the biggest financial institution in the country and has a wide network of branches, automated banking machines (ABM), iABMs and kiosks across the island to its credit. NCB offers many personal and business products and services that are almost on par with what the international banks in the country have to offer. The bank is governed by both the local banking laws and the laws of the country.

NCB’s Recognition on an International Level

The year 2011 saw NCB receiving worldwide recognition. The bank was the proud recipient of three international awards. These are the Global Banking and Finance Award for being the best bank in the country, Euromoney’s Award for Excellence, and The Banker’s Award for Best Bank of the Year -CARICOM. Interestingly, the bank was the first financial institution to receive the Global Banking and Finance Award ever since the award was initiated.

The Banker Magazine from London also listed the bank among the top performing banks of the world. The institution also ranked at the third and 14th positions internationally with regard to return of capital and assets respectively.

Personal Banking Offerings

With the aim of giving its customers the best service, NCB has many private and premium banking services on offer. Customers can open savings and chequing accounts, as well as acquiring debit, credit, and prepaid cards. The minimum age to open an account with the bank depends on the account that you would like to open. The difference between a prepaid card and a debit card is that the Keycard Cash prepaid card can be used by anyone who is more than 12 years of age. The card allows cash reloads through a branch or through online or telephone banking. Using the Keycard Cash prepaid card has the advantage of getting a cash-back of 1% on any purchase made with the card. It can also be used to pay bills and top up prepaid mobile phone numbers at any of the ABMs of the bank.

The NCB Effect: Potentials, Opportunities and Downfalls of the Jamaican Bank

The bank also provides various types of personal loans, auto loans, and mortgages at feasible interest rates. Additionally, NCB offers retirement and educational plans, as well as many investment and insurance products. You can make investments in US dollars, Canadian dollars, and GBP, apart from Jamaican dollars. The financial institution also offers advice on helping one to understand whether a conservative, moderate or aggressive investment plan will work best for them.

Business Banking Offerings

For businesses, the financial institution offers different types of banking such as corporate, treasury & correspondent, and online banking. NCB also provides checking accounts in the form of business current accounts and a series of savings and value plans. Operating a business current account allows businesses to make use of overdraft services, short-term borrowing on the current account and personalised cheque leaves. The account also helps businesses with an easy way of keeping a record of all associated financial transactions. Statements for the current account are available for various time periods that can be daily, weekly, monthly or even quarterly. Additionally, the bank provides its own as well as VISA co-branded credit cards for businesses to take what best suits them.

The NCB Effect: Potentials, Opportunities and Downfalls of the Jamaican Bank

The bank provides investment options, auto loans, secured loans and unsecured loans depending upon the size and requirement of the business. Merchants have access to point-of-sale, bill payment, and e-commerce solutions.

Downfalls of Using NCB

Although NCB covers almost all the vital banking requirements of its customers, one of the major drawbacks is that it does not have debit VISA and Mastercard cards that are offered worldwide. This is a major inconvenience as customers are unable to access their money through a debit card when they travel. Customers unable or unwilling to take a credit card are left having to seek out other financial solutions when travelling. In 2011, a Jamaica Gleaner news release said that the bank had no intention of making the facility of VISA debit cards available. As of now, the financial institution has made no change to the decision. If it continues like this, NCB will be one of the very few banks in the country and international market that does not support this internationally recognized card. This can mean that there are fairly high chances of the bank ranking a step lower than international banks or other banks in the country that offer these cards.

The NCB Effect: Potentials, Opportunities and Downfalls of the Jamaican Bank

Moreover, you can use the NCB kiosk to only transfer amounts between the accounts with Jamaican dollar currency that are linked to a MIDAS debit card. In other words, it does not support fund transfer to a foreign currency account. Only funds between NCB accounts that can be accessed at ABMs and iABMs can be transferred.


NCB has created a new trend in the financial sector of Jamaica. This is the first bank in the country to offer its own private label and local proprietary credit cards along with co-branded counterparts. Most branches of the bank serve their customers during the regular bank working hours. Keeping in mind that customers are their key assets, some branches offer extended working hours so that one can reach out to them for a while longer than normal business hours. There are also a few branches and iABMs that render their services all through the day, every day of the week.

The commitment to deliver knowledge and information to the world is a duty that one should not take lightly; it is one that I do not take lightly. Equipped with 10 years of professional writing experience, and even more so of "scribbling in a journal", I aim to provide in-depth, accurate and expeditious news and information. "Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air."- Henry Anatole Grunwald [email protected]


Jamaican Patois: 50 Jamaican Dialect Phrases and Their English Translations

Alaina Hull



Jamaican Patois: 50 Jamaican Dialect Phrases and Their English Translations

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What is Jamaican Patois?

Jamaican Patois is a language spoken in the country and by the majority of the Jamaican diaspora spread throughout the world. It is an English dialect with a very strong influence on the local language. It is also known as the Jamaican Creole language in which English, the primary language, is layered with a single, or multiple Jamaican local languages.

Origin of Patois

The Jamaican Patois is an English Creole language that derives most of its words and the entire slang from a West African language named Akan.

Patois is largely spoken in Jamaica and among Jamaicans in the diaspora. It derives its major influence and origin from the Akan language. The Akan language is popularly spoken in the Ivory Coast and Ghana. With the advent of English culture, English became the primary language over which the Jamaican Patois is built on, and it came to be widely used by people of the land.

Jamaican Patois: 50 Jamaican Dialect Phrases and Their English Translations

The Jamaican Patois might sound quite unfamiliar to a newcomer because it is a mix of English, African and Spanish. The origin of the language began with colonisations over the centuries and gradually evolved to widespread adoption of this local language. While Patios is prominently spoken by Jamaicans, English is regarded as the official language. The citizens are capable of speaking the Standard Jamaican English, known as SJE, which tourists and people who come to Jamaica for various other purposes can easily understand.

As the official language of Jamaica, English is used in all government institutions and educational syllabi making it easier for the locals and visitors alike.

Fifty (50) Jamaican Phrases and Their English Translation

For a person who has just landed in Jamaica, Patois might feel pretty much like English but you may not be able to fully understand it because of the local slang and the mixture of languages. However, with this helpful guide and Apps out there, it should be easy to get a hang of what the Jamaicans want to convey with their unique way of speaking.

Weh yuh ah seh? – What are you saying?

Inna di morrows – See you later/tomorrow

Duppy Conqueror – A brave person

Mash up – Damaged or destroyed

Bless Up – Best wishes

Mi Soon Come – I will be right back/there

Nyam – Eat

Jamrock, Jamdown, Yard – Jamaica

Yardie, Yard man – Jamaican

Bredren (male), Sistren (female) – Friend

Big up, Respect – Well Done!

Sell off, Tun up, Wicked – Excellent!

Whappen?/Wah yuh a seh? – What’s up?

Mi deh yah/Everytingcriss – Everything is good

Wah Gwaan? – What’s going on?

Mi deh yah, yuh know – Everything is ok/I’m doing well

Obeah – Black Magic

Lickkle more –Goodbye/See you later

Madda/Fadda- Mother/Father

Chaka-Chaka – Poor quality/disorganized

Raggamuffin – Street-wise/tough guy

Kick Up Rumpus – Having a good time!

Likkle more/Walk good – See you later!

Zeen – I understand

Ova deh – Over there

Wha yuh deh pon? – What are you up to?

Mi nuh biznizz – I don’t care

Badmind – Jealous

Fling – Throw

De Party Tun Up – The party was great

Jeezum Pees!– Exclamation similar to ‘Oh My God!’

Nuh romp wid mi! – Don’t mess with me!

Small up yuhself – Move Over

Passa Passa – Mix Up

A long time mi nuh si yuh – I haven’t seen you in a while

Mi name… – My name is…

Mi deh… – I am…

Weh yuh come from? – Where are you from?

Gud mawnin – Good morning

Mi nuh kno – I don’t know

Mi nuh undastan – I don’t understand

Yuh talk Patwah? – Do you speak Patois?

Weh de bawtroom deh? – Where’s the toilet/bathroom?

Merri crissmuss! – Merry Christmas!

Call di police! – Call the police!

Move from ya suh!- Get away from here!

Fiah! – Fire!

Galang! – Leave me alone!

Gweh! – Go away!

Mi luv yuh – I love you

Making Life Easier in Jamaica with Patois

While locals can understand and speak Patois as well as the English language, newcomers, tourists and those visiting the country for work may take some time to understand what the people are talking about. The Android store has an App that instantly translates the Patois into English for easy understanding and it can also help people reply in an authentic manner.

Jamaican Patois: 50 Jamaican Dialect Phrases and Their English Translations

Compared to how English sounds, the local slang is very expressive and colorful. Instead of spelling out the words or using the grammar, the people may just blurt them out as sounds. For a local, it will be very easy to understand but if you spend a couple of days or live long enough in Jamaica, it will be obvious that all the sounds are actual English phrases in one way or the other even though pronounced differently because the languages are mixed into one another.

Simple Guide to Understand Jamaican Patois

The advantage of visiting the beautiful island of Jamaica is that the official language is English. When you come across locals speaking a different dialect, there is always a way to have it cleared by your local tour guide or someone helping you out in understanding the location or situation.

With smartphones, traveling is easier than ever as there are dedicated Android and iOS apps to help you translate the Jamaican Patois into English. You can even capture the voice to translate it on-the-go. Besides, all the instructions and manuals are found in English. The Jamaican government offices use the official English language making it easier for outsiders to communicate instead of having to learn Patois in a few days.

Jamaican Patois: 50 Jamaican Dialect Phrases and Their English Translations

Give the 50 Jamaican dialect phrases a glance along with their English translations. Most of them are phrases that you should be able to make use of during a visit or stay in Jamaica. It also helps to communicate with the locals in a much easier manner. Besides, it’s also fun to learn something new because the Creole language based on English is a completely new experience when compared to learning an altogether different language.

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What’s in a Name?- Most Popular Names That Simply Have to be Jamaican

Alaina Hull



What’s in a Name?- Most Popular Names That Simply Have to be Jamaican

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Origin of Jamaican Names

Jamaican culture is highly influenced by African and European backgrounds. Yet, when it comes to Jamaican names, the people of the country opt for names with their origins being from English and Spanish backgrounds. So, it is not uncommon to find people with names that are popular in these backgrounds. Names such as Nicolas and Dawn were much preferred over African names. The names also trace their roots to names of places, fiction, religion, colours, mythology, the elements of nature, and more.

However, throughout the generations, various other trends of choosing names began to show up among Jamaicans while naming their children. One such drift showed Jamaicans selecting names for their children from among names of popular American pop idols. Also, since Jamaicans traced their roots to several countries, it was not uncommon to find people who had surnames from these places.

Rules for Choosing Jamaican Names

Three basic rules are usually followed when it comes to selecting Jamaican names, irrespective of whether it is for boys or girls. These rules are as given below.

  1. It must be possible to pronounce the name properly without changing the way it is said originally. Jamaicans are very particular about the original name not getting destroyed and resulting in a new name altogether.
  2. Jamaicans like choosing unique names for their children. One way they do this is to opt for a name that is a combination of the names of both parents.
  3. Children are expected to be able to spell their names from a very young age. It is thus not surprising that Jamaicans choose names that the child can spell even when he or she is just three years old. So, Jamaican names are usually very simple and can be split into syllables if the name has more than five letters.

What’s in a Name?- Most Popular Names That Simply Have to be Jamaican

Some Male and Female Jamaican Names With Their Meanings

The list of names given here is not comprehensive. It is a list of some of the typical Jamaican names that you can consider if you are looking for a name for your boy or girl.

Ade (Boy) – Royal

Bembe (Boy) – Prophet

Chike (Boy) – Talented

Ekon (Boy) – Strong

Imo (Boy) – Knowledge

Jevaun (Boy) – Young warrior

Amoy (Girl) – Beautiful Goddess

Chandice (Girl) – Very talented and smart

Dada (Girl) -Curly haired child

Imani (Boy) – Faith

Kaleisha (Girl) –Strong-willed

Latoria (Girl) -Victorious one

During the period 1970 to 2000, there were quite a few Jamaican names that were popular over others. Some of them are:

Boys                                                                                                                      Girls

Delroy                                                                                                                   Jennifer

Mark                                                                                                                     Cynthia

Gary                                                                                                                      Tamara

Kevin                                                                                                                     Sharon

Paul                                                                                                                       Marlene

Nigel                                                                                                                     Kimberly

Nicknames in Jamaica

It may be interesting to note that almost everyone in Jamaica has a nickname. This practice has been going on for generations now. In many cases, nicknames have stuck to people till their end. As a result, these people have always been known only by these names. Like the normal Jamaican names, some standard nicknames have been in use for a long time.

These are some such nicknames that Jamaicans have used in the past and continue to do so. While most nicknames are irrespective of gender, some of them are gender-based.

Biggs or Bigga – A fat person

Cutie – A pretty girl

Stamma – A person who stutters while talking

Killer – Someone who is great at whatever he or she does

Screw Face – Someone who is always frowning or frowns a lot

Ticker – A muscular man

Lippo – A person with thick lips

Chin – A person who has oriental features

Red – A person with light skin complexion

Bready – A bread vendor

Jamaican Naming Trends Today

Jamaican names usually have two parts associated with it – the actual name and a family name. One trend followed is to name the person based on the occasion or the day of his or her birth. Jamaicans also tend to follow the Akan language tradition of naming their children in the order of birth. This is because they firmly believe that a person’s personality depends on the order, situation or day of his or her birth.

What’s in a Name?- Most Popular Names That Simply Have to be Jamaican

In some cases, a person may have a middle name apart from the actual name and family name. This middle name is often personal and is usually the name of an ancestor or it can be a name that indicates that the child is a twin.

Like the practice in most other cultures, Jamaican names for girls are based on various characteristics that are related to beauty and positive traits. These traits form a part of the name given to the girl child. The widely chosen positive traits comprise royalty, liveliness, and happiness to mention just a few. It is common to see girls’ names also include those traits associated with a Goddess, a queen or a princess.


Jamaicans give serious consideration to various factors when selecting a name. This is because the name is intended to be the same throughout the lifetime of a person. When choosing a name for their child, it is ideal for parents to opt for one that is appropriate throughout the lifecycle of the person starting from infancy to old age. They usually come up with names that the person will not be teased about by others or feel bad about at any point in time in their lives.

You may opt for names that others will be able to spell and pronounce easily so that it does not get misinterpreted. Last but not least, Jamaicans have started using the World Wide Web for new names. There are various websites available that are exclusively dedicated to helping you find many traditional and trendy Jamaican names for both your boy or girl. When you consider all these factors, you may be able to arrive at a name that you like and also one that best suits your child.

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The Education of a Nation: The Role of the Heart Trust NTA and its Impact on the Jamaican Workforce 

Alaina Hull



The Education of a Nation: The Role of the Heart Trust NTA and its Impact on the Jamaican Workforce 

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What is Heart Trust NTA?

The Heart Trust NTA which stands for Human Employment and Resource Training National Training Agency is an establishment pioneered to provide technical and vocational education. The association has been consistently expanding its line of teaching and curriculum to make it vast, covering different industries in the professional sector, thereby helping and providing opportunities for young graduates to find jobs in different sectors. The practical education provided by the Trust is widely recognised by employers in Jamaica.

The Origin of Heart Trust NTA

The Human Employment and Resource Training National Training Agency, abbreviated as Heart Trust NTA, was officially founded in the year 1982. However, the origin of the program and its operations go back to the Vocation Training Development Institute (VTDI) established in 1970.

Since the agency was established in 1982, it has consistently strived to introduce new courses and curriculum for the betterment of the employment sector. The funding for the setup is provided through the allocation of 3% of the employer’s wage bill. Such sharing of funds has been accepted since it predates Heart Trust NTA, back to the days of VTDI which specialised in training and updating workers so that they are competent to work in different industries.

The Education of a Nation: The Role of the Heart Trust NTA and its Impact on the Jamaican Workforce 

What Makes Heart Trust NTA Standout?

The VTDI has always played a crucial role, even from its inception in 1970 and it has received consistent support from the International Labour Organisation. The Heart Trust NTA provides the latest in vocational training from an improved curriculum to train and cultivate training instructors who, in turn, will provide the same to employees and students. The education and training are shared with those who have qualified for it, along with necessary certification and work opportunities at all levels.

Growth of Heart Trust NTA

With an experience of 28 years of operation, Heart Trust NTA has witnessed significant growth over the decades. The organisation operates in 27 different locations providing different training and professional certifications to help young Jamaicans acquire jobs in the right places. The Heart Trust NTA has been working towards adding more faculties and expanding the member line-up to bring about significant activity among the young members in society. The ultimate goal of the establishment is to make all Jamaicans fit to work in the various industries, on an international level and meet international standards. The initiative leads to the betterment of the individual which also contributes to the growth of the nation, its industrial development, as well as economic status.

The Education of a Nation: The Role of the Heart Trust NTA and its Impact on the Jamaican Workforce 

Heart Trust NTA Vs Traditional Education: A Comparison

There appear to be stark differences between the kind of vocational, professional training provided by Heart Trust NTA and the traditional education achieved through a college degree.

By associating themselves with dozens of professional communities, industries, and organisations, the organisers and trainers at Heart Trust NTA can provide the winning edge advantage for candidates and working professionals attending their training.

When compared with traditional education, the best aspects of the vocational, hands-on experience offered by the team include:

  • The vocational syllabi are created by tutors in association with professionals from the respective industry.
  • The syllabus and manuals created are designed to give hands-on job experience so that students are ready to work once certified.
  • The certification has wide acceptance and recognition rates among industries through multiple associations and partnerships.
  • The training is provided for both workers and students so that it covers a wide age group, leading to employees at every grade.

Creating New Opportunities

According to the official press releases and the recent blog updates, the Heart Trust NTA has worked meticulously towards the betterment of the employment sector. Because of this, a 14 percent increase in the number of student enrollment was recorded. It has completed training of over 174,000 people during this period.

Being a government board has helped Heart Trust NTA establish a strong base and access to various job roles and industries. The approach has helped establish better syllabi, studies and vocational training for the students that boost job prospects among all age groups and grade levels.

Employer Acceptance Rate for Heart Trust NTA Credentials

Aligning with the change and the future of industries in Jamaica, the Heart Trust NTA has had a significant impact on the workforce of the country. The courses are not only being offered for popular industries but also being future-proofed by adding lots of new and developing courses that students and professionals will find useful while seeking employment in new and developing industries and technology.

The Education of a Nation: The Role of the Heart Trust NTA and its Impact on the Jamaican Workforce 

The new additions include courses designed for Business Process Outsourcing, Big Data Engineers, Renewable Energy, Robotics Engineers and Drone Pilots. Many of these courses are geared towards the next decade, preparing professionals who are ready to work with the new technology.

Besides, the Heart Trust NTA credentials show the industries and employers that the training programs are aimed at. They include industries like tourism, hospitality, logistics, animation, and many others that are commonly found in the everyday job scenario.

Heart NTA Trust Factor

The trust factor of Heart Trust NTA has significantly developed over the years as the institution has been working towards building relationships with the professional sector. By establishing connections with industries and different labour organisations, it has been able to customise the studies and provide certifications that truly matter to the employer.

Best practices are always implemented by the tutors during the vocational training courses. The overall standard of the program has improved in the past years, allowing certified professionals to find jobs more easily. It has also helped companies and industries associate the Heart Trust NTA certification to a higher level of excellence when compared to traditional education.

The Education of a Nation: The Role of the Heart Trust NTA and its Impact on the Jamaican Workforce 

Also, the members of the group conduct research and surveys concerning the training and employment of the youth. With these research and survey reports, it is easier to adapt to the industrial requirements and customise the solutions offered, which in turn increases the job opportunities for the young. These days, the Heart Trust NTA certification adds more value and is recognised on a greater scale and with more respect by a large number of organisations.

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