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Jamaican Arts Odyssey

Expression in the arts, like that in science, education, statesmanship and the playing field, demonstrates the resilience of the Jamaican people and the inventiveness of the Jamaican mind. I am an art lover and began collecting Jamaican art some twenty years ago, having amassed a collection of over 200 pieces some displayed at my Shalom House, an Inn of Washington DC, and most at my Afro-Caribbean celebration of Afro-Jamaican arts and heritage, Great Huts resort near Port Antonio. The logo of Great Huts is a modified fragment of a mystical painting of one of my favorite intuitive Jamaican artists, the late Everald Brown.

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Sonne, Sand und Schul

JAMAICA SHALOM Ein Arzt ldt Studenten zu Erholung und jdischen Seminaren ein

Jdische Allgemeine Nr. 21/11 | 26. Mai 2011

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conscius travel

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Western Hemisphere and Caribbean :

International Year for People of African Descent in the Western Hemisphere
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs

February 7, 2011

"In the 21st century, diversity, openness, and tolerance are vital national assets" -Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

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Paul S. Rhodes, MD and Great Huts are proud to be major donors for the construction and administration of the homeless shelter in Port Antonio.

Our Donations through October 2010 - 75,000 USD

Portland Rehabilitation Center
Day Program and Night Shelter,
Port Antonio, Jamaica



Jamaica's New Tourism Spiel: Beaches and Reggae and Jews
Island Lures Travelers With Hidden History; Moses Cohen Henriques, Pirate of Caribbean

Paul Shalom Rhodes, MD, owner and designer of Great Huts, is a proud member of the United Congregation of Israelites in Kingston, Jamaica and can assist with tours of Jewish Jamaica, provision of Kosher kitchen at his Great Huts resort (separate kitchen in the newly built Bamboo Garden Hut) and welcomes those of all faiths to participate in the Havdallah Service preceding the African Cultural Performance at Great Huts each Saturday evening.
Shalom, Ya man!



Things to know about Jamaica
by Wellesley Gayle

  • Had electricity before the United States
  • Had running water before the United States
  • Had phone cards before the United States
  • Their phone system was so sophisticated it was copied by AT&T
  • Jamaica has the most "churches" per square mile of any country in the world. Source-Guinness Book of World Records. Over 1,600 "churches" all over Jamaica . That number is growing.
  • Jamaica was the first country in the Western world to construct a railway, even before the United States ! This was only 18 years after Britain !
  • Jamaica is the first Caribbean Country to gain Independence .
  • Jamaica is the first team from the English-speaking  Caribbean  to qualify for the Football (Soccer) World Cup. This was the 1998 championship.
  • Jamaica stands strong in 3rd place on the list of countries to win the Miss World titles the most!
  • The only countries to have won it more than Jamaica is India ,  Venezuela  and the UK , but considering the size of Jamaica , you have to say that this achievement is monumental!
  • The tip of the Blue Mountains in Jamaica was the first land sighted by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1494.
  • Jamaica was the first commercial producer of bananas in the  Western Hemisphere .
  • Jamaica also was the first island in the Caribbean to produce rum on a commercial basis.
  • The Manchester Golf Club in Jamaica , established in 1868, is the oldest in the western hemisphere!.
  • Apart from the United States , Jamaica has won the most world and Olympic medals.
  • 2006-2007: World Fastest man and woman- you bet, are Jamaicans [Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson].
  • 2008/2009 - Olympic/World fastest man and woman - Usain Bolt and Shelley-Ann Fraser
  • Jamaica has more multiple (two or more) live births than anywhere else in the world.
  • Jamaica was the first country to impose economic sanctions against the apartheid regime of  South Africa .
  • Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean .
  • Jamaica was the first Caribbean island to enact legislation, "The Motion Picture Industry (Encouragement) Act" to promote the making of films.
  • Jamaica is the first country to sign a Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria grant agreement.
  • Jamaica was the first tropical country to enter the IOC Winter Olympics. The bob sleigh team's efforts inspired the film ‘Cool Runnings’.
  • Jamaica was the first colony  England  acquired by conquest. This was in the year 1655 when the Spanish were driven from the island.
  • We have the second largest butterfly in the world? (The Giant Swallowtail).
  • Jamaica was the first British colonial territory to establish a postal service (in 1688).
  • Jamaica was the first Caricom country to liberalize the telecommunications sector. Since then, other Caricom countries have opened up to competition.
  • Jamaica was the first country in the Caribbean region to launch a web site, This was in 1994!
  • Jamaica is the birth place of Robert ("Bob") Marley.




Paul Shalom Rhodes, MD, owner and designer of Great Huts, is a proud member of the United Congregation of Israelites in Kingston, Jamaica and can assist with tours of Jewish Jamaica, provision of Kosher kitchen at his Great Huts resort (separate kitchen in the newly built Bamboo Garden Hut) and welcomes those of all faiths to participate in the Havdallah Service preceding the African Cultural Performance at Great Huts each Saturday evening.
Shalom, Ya man!


Paul Shalom Rhodes, MD in association with the
Jamaican and American Friends of Infirmaries and Shelters (JAFIS)

Is honored to present the Sixteenth Annual JAFIS Conference entitled


The Homeless People of Jamaica and the Organizations Entrusted with their Care”


Saturday and Sunday, August 21 and 22, 2010
In conjunction with a ceremony in memory and honor of Marcus Garvey
At Great Huts Resort, Boston Bay, Portland, Jamaica

Registration Limited to First 25 persons, Conference and Meals – no cost
Overnight Accommodations beginning at 25 US per person
Program including optional visits to PRM Shelter and Rehab Centre

Saturday – 9-10 AM registration and breakfast
10-11 Welcome and course overview and first presentation
From Less than Nothing to Something Real– Overcoming the Barriers
to Opening the Portland Rehab Center – Paul Rhodes presenter
11-12 Keynote Address by Dr Terrence Bernard –
Update on the Causes, Management and Treatment of the Schizophrenias
12-1 PM Luncheon in the Royal Lounge
1-2 PM Jamaican Premier of Film Empress Hotel (a homeless residence in US)
2-2:30 PM – What Would Jesus Would Do? -The Mission of Open Heart MoBay –
Presented by Robert Clare
2:30 – 2:45 Break
2:45- 3:30 – When Living Hurts- The Force and Anguish of Mental Depression
Presenter Yvonne Grant
3:30 – 4:30 The Life & Legacy of Marcus Mosia Garvey & his Philosophy Regarding Poverty and Community Responsibility of Relevance to Care of the Homeless- speaker to be announced
4:30 – 5:00   Break and Refreshments
5:00 – 6 PM Jamaican Preview of the Film– Art in the Streets (art by the homeless)
6 PM – 7 PM – Break and prepare for dinner and cultural show
7-9 PM The Journey: Music, Drumming and Dance of the African People by Richard Darby and the Manchioneal Cultural Group, with memorial ceremony in honor of Marcus Garvey
9 – 10 PM – optional- Film Shutter Island with commentary of Terrence Bernard
(historical fiction on schizophrenia and the use of frontal lobotomy in the 1940’s)
Overnight stay at Great Huts, other resorts or with neighbor’s –

Sunday 8- 10 AM Breakfast at Great Huts and Church Services Port Antonio
10:30 – noon Brunch & Summary of Friday’s proceedings by Joy Crooks and Panel Discussion
Facilitated by Paul Rhodes, Clinical and Administrative Vignettes and Best Practices of CUMI, Open Heart, Open Arms and PRM homeless programs
Noon – 1 PM Lessons Learned From Twenty Years of Homeless Care
And What the Jamaican Government Can Do to Better Help NGOs
1-5 PM Great Huts Beach Party and Jerk Cook Out and visits to PRM shelter and day program
Departures home or optional extended overnight stays





Paul S. Rhodes, M.D., is embarrassed to announce, against the advice of reasonable friends and business associates, the launching of a new line of tasteless clothing called “ The Claats of Jamaica”.

An artful expression of taboo cuss-words, elegantly illustrated by Jamaican artist Shahida Matthews.

Ras Claat! Bamba Claat!
Blood Claat!  Pussy Claat!

To reserve one tasteless tee write to me at



US$25 per shirt  - Specify size choice: S - M - L - XL - XXL  / Specify “cuss-word”
Soon come and the unveiling of “Claats of Jamaica” boxer shorts and panty.

Revenues support health care and housing of homeless women




April 10, 2007 The Jamaica Gleaner  has reviewed Great Huts. Read more on this fantastic article.






April 10, 2007 The Jamaica Gleaner . Read more on this fantastic article by

Great Huts Discussed in Sky Writings Air Jamaica




GREAT HUTS: Paradise on the Edge

My dream for a parcel of Boston Cliffs atop Boston Beach, Port Antonio

 By Paul Rhodes, M.D. , January 2002.

Great Houses are known for their spaciousness, architectural refinement and history within the slave based economics of the colonial plantation. Though slavery has long been abolished and Jamaica enjoys her independence from Great Britain since the 1960’s, several plantations function as profitable agricultural businesses while retaining the great house for managerial housing or as a grande hotel. Perhaps the finest example of the hotel-farm is Good Hope Plantation and Great House in Trelawny, Jamaica.

Jamaica is rich in architectural styles, particularly Victorian and Georgian style buildings. Of course the most common type of house is the simple one or two room wooden board house with tin roof and yard. While harsh economic realities dictate the disrepair of many of these family dwellings, most have a character which transcends their modest construction. The shining faces of the energetic and hopeful children -Jah pickneys -the religious fervor, warmth and good humour of the adults and elders  who live inside and the lush vegetation and azure seas, kiss  and beautify these  board house- huts, common in Jamaican town and country.

Sadly lacking in Jamaica, are remnants or re-creations of the simply elegant thatched huts, granaries, shrines and other expressions of daily life, ritual and celebration of the West African villages and countrysides from where the majority of Jamaica’s ancestral population came in the 17th and 18th centuries. Absent in Jamaica is the hut and building styles of the Jamaican natives, the Tainos, a population all but eradicated by slavery and disease. Despite the plethora of King David stars which adorn homes and roadside stands across the Island, notably absent  are the Hebrew and Islamic artistic elements of North Africa and Mother Ethiopia from which so many Jamaicans feel spiritually, if not physically, descended.

While long threatened by western influences and the misperceptions of superiority of European building styles (misperceived by both white and black) Africa and her people express function and art in the native building styles fortunately preserved in countless cities and villages across the African continent. While threatened as are all ethnic, religious and economic-system minorities and non – ‘mainstreamers’ –many of Africa’s Africans still construct and preserve their native dwellings built and decorated with materials of mother earth – natural woods, mud, dung, clay, bamboo and palm, fabrics and rugs, bones, and rocks, pebbles, etc.  Many popular pictorial books celebrate the people, traditional homes and arts of the African people, notably the two volume photo journalistic ‘’African Ceremonies”  and “African Canvas”, a celebration of women’s  annual, elaborate geometric painting of mud huts in equatorial Africa.

While African –Colonial style tent and hut Safari villages abound in East and South Africa for the well to do international traveler, few Afro-centric resorts are built for travelers to the Caribbean, a major branch of the African tree of life.  Arguably, Jamaica – the jewel of the African Diaspora – has little of African art to show.

Admittedly,  slick ‘super-clubs’ like Sandals  aggressively market  “all-inclusive” packages and many if not most travelers want the look and comfort of luxury  hotels by the sea while separated from the town and Jamaican people. In fact, with security risks overblown in the press and by the Tourist Board, guests are encouraged to not leave the resort grounds. Would not an authentic ‘all inclusive” seek to include African creativity, community and connection to the mother land?

In fact, native Jamaican tourism professionals expect the Europeanized and modern versions of Xamaca, the land of sea and wood. Wood and thatch are overcome by steel and glass. To illustrate this point, I shall not forget that when I announced to an executive of  the Jamaica Tourist Board that I would be building huts, strong and reinforced, but huts, she repeatedly queried, “do you mean villa’s ?!” “You mean cottages, garden apartments?” “No, I don’t mean villas! Huts and Tents, man, huts and tents,” I retorted.  Does Jamaica really need more high risers and Italian Villas?

Many island homes in the Caribbean are built with homage to the land, the elements, the breezes and Mother Africa.  A tent village in St.John is one example. And even super-clubs and large hotels sport thatched dining areas, bars, and seaside ‘gazebos’ though often lacking in authenticity.

Perhaps a leader in the Afro but seemingly more  Asia -centric building styles in Jamaica, are the  many of the guest houses  on the cliffs of Negril. They often serve guests who are successful business people, yet happily retain a core of 50s-60s-70s beatnik- ‘hippiedom’ along with memories of old Negril before the tourist boom. These Afro-natural retreats have lovely but unmanicured gardens, communal dining nooks  and seaside-cliffside thatched huts and tree-house-stilted huts,  reestablishing the Garden of Eden. Arguably, the finest example of this resort type is the very beautiful Tensing Pen in Negril, which inspired me. Might I add that I visited Ricks café in 1974 when it was a table and hammock and met the original Rick?

Jamaican Tourism is centered about Montego Bay (Mo- Bay), Negril and Ocho Rios (Ochi).Greatly underappreciated is Jamaica’s northeast coast. Here sits Port Antonio and her deep harbour and many outlying beautiful beaches, Blue Lagoon and waterfalls set before the foothills and peaks of the John Crow and the Blue Mountains, and the historic villages of the Maroons. The forest and foliage are mature, lusher and green here in Portland parish, fed by the generous rainfall and sunshine. The air is cooler, ever kissed by the fair trade winds. Europeans particularly, Germans and Italians favour Port Antonio in the East (Porti) while Americans seem to favour the West of Jamaica. Tourism in the East has not kept up, in part due to the distance Kingston’s airport, a 2 hour ride away, and for better or worse the super-clubs delayed entrée to the area. And of course tourism has suffered worldwide due to the horrific events of 9-11. And maybe tourism in Portland is going to catch up but hopefully never be as busy as Mo-Bay. Recently, Butch Stuart of Sandals fame acquired Dragon Bay Villas. (Sadly he closed it and scores of local persons  lost their jobs). Other big scale investments in the business of tourism in the East have been made, in particular the sale of Navy Island for high end homes and a resort and the development of the new Port Antonio Marina to welcome the big ships of the world and encourage world class sailing to destination Porti.

To date, no thatched hut African style community exists in Port Antonio and environs, although Portland’s rugged and virginal terrain begs for one so natural. Personally I am crazy about the cliffs of Negril and the natural huts of Tensing Pen but have fallen in love with Portland. Fascinated and comforted by the art and building styles of Africa, I seek to build a small African retreat in Port Antonio. I have for long volunteered as a physician in Jamaica and recently became licensed in Jamaica. Moreover, with the overwhelming need for rest and positive change of life, a sabbatical in Jamaica and building of a vacation home beckons strongly. Admittedly, the building of a home in Jamaica or anywhere else for that matter is no vacation. Nonetheless, when a parcel of land that I admired for more than five years was acquired by National Commercial Bank from the estate from the late Heinz Theinweibel  who died a premature death in the Trident Castle (Ms. Ziggy Fahmi’s castle actually but that’s another story), I jumped at the opportunity. Fortunately, no one else bid at the auction, perhaps because the were not able to see the potential or were afraid of the Jerk Center ‘element.’ (Actually the jerk stalls and the local crafts people and merchants there will add to our guests satisfaction.) Not the least of my motivation was to build an idyllic home (Afro-natural style) for myself and an exquisitely beautiful young woman I had been dreaming of and wooing over the Internet.  I would surely capture her love and we would adore each other always. I shall always recall that when I lifted this slight and beautiful woman in my arms and I carried over over the threshold of this idyllic Great Huts to be, she exclaimed, “I wish to live and die on the land!” But she did not mean with me (Paul)! The girl is gone (she ran away with the Chef of San San Tropez) but  the land is paid for and is all mine. Though waiting for the deed was exasperating and scary, having it finally feels wonderful!  And I am in the process of acquiring the adjoining parcels now.

I have pictures and drawings and even clay models of these wonderful huts to be. Now with the help of talented Jamaican builders and artisans I shall work and work hard. And my building plan has been modified. In considering the hardship and expenses and construction (laborers showing up, materials not coming or being stolen, cost rising above estimates and hurricanes blowing away roofs),I’ve got a new twist. As I began to research tents for my temporary quarters, I discovered that tents can be permanent, dramatic and finished with paint and wood details to look African and natural and old world. Tents surfaces can be painted with tribal designs and symbols as African mud houses are. And I will add the Hebrew art forms for Jewish-Rastafarian natural fusion. We the Tribes of Israel! Afro-Semitic fusion.

African Safari villages often include tent dwellings. And they can be set up in hours and dismantled quickly in preparation of tropical storms and hurricanes. No loss of thatch roof. Just take the house down yourself before Mother Nature does it for you! And I have been lucky to “find me” a tent expert, Ian Gibson, whose business in Kingston called Tent City has a stellar reputation of renting, designing and selling the best and strongest tents. Ian will ably assist me in building my tent African style village. So my little Paradise on the Edge will be on the edge of what is ‘normal’ building style not to mention that they will site near the edge of Boston cliff. My Black friends ask,  “why huts? “ My White friends shriek, “a tent?”  Too bad they can’t see it. Come closer to the edge (of design and the cliff)  man, and dream a little.

Jamaican Great Houses are beautiful. Huts and tents are open aire and seaside and  Irie. So huts and tents are GREAT also.  We now build a likkle village on the cliffs of Boston Beach –



Paul Shalom Rhodes, MD                                                                                                                             Hut keeper and Physician




Great Huts, african village in Port Antonio  Jamaica