UNDILUTED pays tribute to John Maxwell by featuring two previous columns by him from the Hot Calaloo UNDILUTED archives:
Not just a book but an invitation to join the Goodwill
Revolution against an unfair, unjust and deceptive system that
keeps the world poor and without hope. Find out how you can join,
quit the rat race, and achieve a happier more meaningful life for
yourself and others through goodwill to all .
by Donna Hemans ... $16.10
---------------For the Life of Laetitia by Trinidad -born Merle Hodge Price: $10.54
a wonderful book about a young girl in the Carribean, the first of her family to go to secondary school.
Aristide returns to Haiti
Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has made a triumphant return to Haiti after seven years of forced exile in South Africa. "Today may the Haitian people mark the end of exile and coup d’état, while peacefully we must move from social exclusion to social inclusion," said Aristide, referring to the bloody 2004 US-backed coup, the second time he was driven from power after being elected with huge popular majorities.
Aristide’s return comes at a key turning point in the country’s history. Bolstered by a 14,000-strong UN military occupation known as MINUSTAH, and massive international aid following the January 2010 earthquake, Haiti’s tiny right-wing elite have become stronger, economically and politically, than at any time in the last twenty-five years.
This has been dramatically underscored by the return of former dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier from France earlier this year and an openly fraudulent electoral process that has barred Haiti’s most popular political party —Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas—from participation and put forth two right-wing candidates.
Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly, 50, a popular konpa musician, faced off against Mirlande Manigat, 70, the wife, and some say surrogate, of a former right-wing president. Both candidates backed the 1991 and the 2004 coups against Aristide and support the return of the Haitian army, which Aristide disbanded in 1995.
"The international community is imposing their will, using the guns of the UN troops, to impose two very right-wing candidates with Duvalierist elements on the Haitian people," noted Pierre Labossière of the San Francisco-based Haiti Action Committee.
Aristide’s return, which threatens the resurgent neo-Duvalierist movement and represents a victory for the popular movement, changes the political equation, according to many grassroots activists.
The extent of Aristide’s influence is clear from recently released Wikileaks cables.
A June 2005 State Department cable describes the US and Brazilian governments agreeing "that all efforts must be made to keep Aristide from returning to Haiti or influencing the political process." In another just released 2005 cable, US and French diplomats threatened to block South Africa’s seating on the UN Security Council unless South African President Thabo Mbeki managed to keep Aristide in exile there.
The French said Aristide’s return would be "catastrophic" and even plotted to hinder Aristide in the logistics of reaching Haiti by air from South Africa.
"Sweet Micky" wins Haitian bogus run-off election
Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly, once known as the
"President of Kompa"
Martelly boasted of his hatred for Aristide. A member of the dreaded
tonton macoutes in his youth, he had pledged that if elected he will make
Duvalier one of his advisors. Before entering politics, Mr. Martelly, who
just recently decided to run for
NY defraud recruited Caribbean teachers
Dozens of Caribbean teachers recruited from their homelands a decade ago live under the threat of deportation with promises by New York City’s Department of Education to secure them green cards, still unfulfilled.
The plight of the teachers came to light recently as Berthia Lewis of The Black Institute and Judith Hall Jones, a Jamaican teacher recruit who now heads up the Association of International Educators hit the airwaves of WWRL’s "Caribbean Corner" radio show. The two organizations recently teamed up to release a full study on the case titled "Broken Promises: The Story of Caribbean International Teachers In New York City’s Public Schools."
In the study, it is revealed that in 2001, 500 Caribbean-born teachers, from several countries, including Jamaica, were aggressively recruited by the then New York City Board of Education to come to the United States to work in the city’s public schools.
According to the report, they were promised New York State teacher certification, Master’s degrees, housing assistance and ultimately, a pathway to permanent United States residency for themselves and their nuclear families.
But the promises were never kept and while the teachers have remained in the city’s school system, teaching in license areas where there are teacher shortages, they have been classed as "unskilled workers" by lawyers filing their labor certifications petitions with New York State’s Department of Labor and many remain caught up in the certification backlog without the promised legal residency.
As such, most of the teachers are forced to live under constant threat of termination and deportation while their spouses and children are dependent on them since they cannot work under the present immigration system.
The teachers group says the stress of renewing temporary work visas has been a constant part of these teachers’ lives for the past decade and the financial costs have been steep since they have paid many thousands of dollars to the DOE’s designated attorneys to maintain their legal status yet many remain in legal limbo.
The group is also calling for:
Meanwhile, the number of overseas-trained teachers being hired in the United States is increasing steadily.
Canadian recruiters seek health-care grads in Jamaica
Canadian recruiters are seeking to fill more than 100 vacancies in Canada for a range of health-care workers who have graduated from training programs delivered by local Jamaican institutions.
The Pre-University School based at Taylor Hall, University of the West Indies, Jamaica, is one of three local institutions whose graduates are being interviewed by the Canadian recruiters. Already, another 20 graduates of the school's practical nursing program received visas to take up jobs in Alberta, British Columbia in Canada.
The Pre-University School and other local institutions have contracted Marmicmon Integrated Marketing Communications, based in British Columbia, to locate jobs in Canada for their graduates. Marmicmon, in turn, has organised a job fair in Ocho Rios for the Canadian employers to conduct interviews with prospective employees. Some of the employers already have Jamaican workers and are making their third trip to the island.
The job fair was not open to members of the public, only to specially invited graduates of Canadian-based health-care programs offered by the Pre-University School and other local institutions. But interested persons needed to first enroll in the various Canadian-based health-care programs offered by local training institutions.
2nd wind farm in operation in Jamaica
Phase two of the electricity generating Wigton Windfarm, in Rose Hill, south Manchester, Jamaica, was officially put into operation recently.
The wind farm, which sells electricity to the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), first began generating electricity in 2004. A subsidiary of the Government-owned Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), Wigton Windfarm started operations with 23 wind driven turbines which were put into operation at a cost of US$23 million, with the capacity to generate 20.7 megawatts of electricity into JPS' supply network.
In Phase two, nine new turbines, which will generate an additional 18 megawatts of electricity, boosting the Wigton Windfarm's generating capacity to 38.7 megawatts. The additional facility and turbines were constructed in December of last year under the technical management of the Dutch company Vestas Eolica. The turbines, according to the manufacturer, has a life span of 20-25 years.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding, lauded the management team of the Wigton Windfarm, for completing the project on time and under budget. He said the project was delivered at US$47.5 million which is 2.5 million less than the 49.9 million originally budgeted for. He said although the wind farm will only meet three per cent of the country's electricity need, wind - the fuel to generate the electricity, "do not cost us a penny", and will save the country 60,000 barrels of oil per year.
Barbados bans Black Swan movie
The Cinematograph Film Censorship Board (CFCB) of Barbados banned the movie "The Black Swan", featuring Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman, because it was "sexually offensive". Black Swan has received widespread acclaim from film critics. The film has received many nominations and wins from the likes of Producers Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild, Writers Guild of America, Golden Globe Award, Academy Awards, and many others. The censors have lifted that ban following an outcry from some members of the public, and one local cinema.
EU attacking access to affordable generic drugs
Millions of people in developing countries rely on affordable quality
generic medicines produced in India to stay alive. In fact, Medecins Sans
Frontires (MSF - Doctors Without Borders) sources more than 80% of
the HIV medicines it uses to treat 160,000 patients across the world from
India, and a recent study found that from 2003-2008, more than 80% of
donor-funded purchases of HIV medicines came from India.
Between 2003 and 2008 Indian generic manufacturers provided more than
80 percent of drugs used in internationally funded AIDS treatment
programs, including 91 percent of the pediatric ARVs. Government programs
to provide anti-HIV treatment, such as those run in Brazil and South
Africa, have depended heavily on Indian generic ARVs. Brazil's remarkable
turnaround in controlling the spread of HIV has been attributed to the
import of affordable generic ARVs from India.
Separating boys from girls reap success in Ja school
It seems that all over the world girls are doing far superior to boys academically. Jamaica is no exception. However, at Polly Ground Primary School in Ewarton, St Catherine, Jamaica, the boys have been separated from the girls in the classroom with successful results.
Retired principal, Beverly Jobson-Grant, was at the helm of the initiative implemented on a phased basis in October 2004, influenced by research findings that revealed that boys learn differently from girls.
"We tried the experiment here by separating the boys from the girls at grade six the first year. That year, with all the emphasis on them, our boys did just as well and a little bit better than our girls in grade six. When we saw the results, we implemented it in the classes where the boys were weakest and we saw improvement ... we added all the other classes in the third year".
If you use the GSAT results to assess this strategy, for instance, in 2008 in language arts, the average for the girls was 60, the boys 45. In 2010, in the same subject, the girls' average was 61, the boys' 57. We can also look at mathematics; in 2008, the girls scored a 60 per cent average, while the boys scored 50 per cent, and in 2010, the girls 57, while the boys scored 60.
The school has a population of 350 boys and 340 girls. The boys are taught by male teachers, while female teachers conduct the girls' classes. While noting that in some instances the boys and girls combine for special sessions, Blake said that separation has boosted the boys' self-confidence.
Trinidad government pays out $33 million to CLICO policyholders
Two years after the CLICO insurance company collapse and rescue by the
Trinidad and Tobago government, policyholders have finally started getting
back some of the money they invested in the country’s largest insurer.
After several promises to repay policyholders by Christmas and then
Carnival, the government has since paid approximately $33 million (US$5.2
million) to CLICO policyholders who invested in high-interest bearing
Executive Flexible Premium Annuity financial instruments offered by the
CLICO's EFPAs were short-term deposit instruments, which had 25,000
customers and had liabilities of about $12 billion, Finance Minister
Winston Dookeran said last September. There are about 10,000 policyholders
who hold investments of $75,000 each or less.
JPS hires foreign company to handle phone calls
The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) will begin transferring the operations of its call centre to a United States-based company, a process the utility company expects to take four months.
The power company, which began publicising the change internally, currently employs about 100 customer representatives, who, sources say, will be cut from its payroll. The JPS is advising the 'displaced' staff to seek employment with its outsourcing partner, Hinduja Global Solutions Incorporated (HGSI), which it said would be recruiting aggressively. The JPS also said it would redeploy staff inside the organisation "where possible".
JAMPRO has been negotiating Hinduja's entry into the Jamaican market for 18 months after the outsourcing firm approached the investment agency.
Hinduja, a Fortune 500 company, has signalled plans to grow its operations in Jamaica to about 600 workers in three years. HSGI has 37 years of experience in the call-centre business, employing 17,800 persons worldwide who serve 110 clients from 30 centres in six countries. Its clients include companies such as Sony, AT&T, American Express, Colgate, and McDonalds.
Editor’s Comment: I find this very troubling. JPS might have created a Frankenstein based on the American experience with call centers. There, call centers have been in the forefront of exporting jobs overseas to slave-wage countries. So far plans are for the displaced JPS workers to re-apply for their old jobs. Typically, there is no guarantee and they will face lower salaries and reduced benefits. Also there is the possibility after the novelty wears off, Jamaican workers could be also replaced by slave-wage ones overseas. Beware……
Caribbean gets tsunami ready
Jamaica is one of 33 participating countries across the Caribbean region participated in a tsunami alert simulation recently, using a 7.6 earthquake off the coast of the United States Virgin Islands as the premise.
Caribe Wave 11 is the name of the exercise developed by Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions with other climate organisations. It not only involves community action, but will be used as a test to see how well the Caribbean responds to tsunami alerts.
Following the issuing of bulletins from two tsunami warning centres - West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Centre, responsible for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands; and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre for the rest of the Caribbean - the participating countries will test how effective the warnings are, and how efficient the emergency management organisations are.
The organisations in Jamaica cooperating with the ODPEM are the Meteorological Service, Airports Authority of Jamaica, the Port Authority, the Jamaica Defence Force, the Tourism Ministry, the agriculture ministry's Fisheries Division, the Earthquake Unit, the National Works Agency, the Health Ministry, and the Jamaica Information Service.
According to information provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 75 tsunamis have presented themselves in the Caribbean within the past 500 years. This figure is approximately 10 per cent of all tsunamis in the world during that period of time.
Growth in the population and the number of tourists along coastlines are cited by the NOAA as reasons for the region's increased vulnerability.
UK freezes APD
The heavily criticised airport passenger duty (APD) has been frozen until April 2012, meaning that travelers to regions such as Africa and the Caribbean will not be forced to pay even more tax on airline tickets this year.
The move was welcomed by the travel industry, which had long denounced the tax as unfair and who had lobbied for the APD to be applied per plane rather than per passenger.
The current rises have meant that a family of four traveling to the Caribbean could fork out more than £300 in taxes alone, depending on whether they are traveling in economy or premium class. Caribbean tourist officials who denounced the tax are breathing a sigh of relief as it would have been a devastating blow to tourism. Lets hope the freeze is permanent.
Russian Co. wants concessions to reopen Ja. alumina plant
The Russian company, UC Rusal, the owners of the Windalco alumina refineries in Jamaica is insisting on financial concessions for reopening its Kirkvine facility that are, in most cases, more than twice as good as those it received for restarting its Ewarton works nearly a year ago - even though aluminium prices have risen sharply in recent months, foreign and local industry sources say. The Jamaican Government, however, has offered the Russian firm the same terms as previously, leading to uncertainty over the planned mid-year restart of the 550,000-tonne capacity Kirkvine, the sources say.
Should the administration, in the end, acquiesce to UC Rusal's demand, it will leave a gaping hole in the Government's revenue budget over the next two years, making it more difficult for Jamaica to meet fiscal deficit targets demanded by its loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Protest action closes Turks and Caicos airport
A "sick-out" by the stand-by fire fighting team at the Providenciales International Airport in the Turks and Caicos Islands has resulted in another shutdown of the airport. Reports from Providenciales (Provo) indicated that baggage handlers were unloading luggage and returning it to tourists and islanders who were waiting to leave. All outgoing and incoming flights were therefore halted during the peak of the tourist season. The relevant regulations prohibit airport safety personnel from striking but it is unclear how a "sick-out" situation will be addressed
US$269m cruise ship pier officially opened in Jamaica
Jamaica's 'most modern and elaborate' port, the Falmouth Cruise Pier in
Trelawny, was officially opened recently. The approximately US$ 269
million pier, which is still under construction, also saw the arrival of
the world’s largest cruise vessel, Oasis of the Seas, making its
inaugural stopover in Jamaica, with about 6,000 passengers and 2,000 crew
members on board.
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