newpalm.gif (5880 bytes) 

Back to Hot Calaloo

bulletTrinidadians held in Turkey as ISIS suspects
bulletZika vaccines effective in  monkey trials
bulletJamaica in worldwide Zika vaccine trials
bulletDigital money adopted in Jamaica
bulletSt. Kitts company gives OK to resume production of bottled water
bulletChinese company takes over Alpart bauxite mines from Russians. in Ja.
bulletDominica leads CARICOM in renewable energy use
bulletDisease-resistant Honduran bananas offer hope for local industry
bulletPre-paid electricity — grows in Jamaica
bulletDrinking water cleared in cause of sudden deaths in Barbados
bulletMarley makes UK’s top 60 album list
bulletRihanna 13th  highest-paid celebrity

UNDILUTED pays tribute to John Maxwell by featuring two previous columns by him from the Hot Calaloo UNDILUTED archives:


Hot Calaloo's Undiluted Vol. 15, "The Audacity of Hopelessness"


Hot Calaloo's Undiluted Vol. 14, "Cuba's Benevolence versus US Belligerence"



Boycott Money and Save Your Soul - Launching the Goodwill Revolution
by Michael I Phillips

List Price $11.95 (paperback)
Special Clearance

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.  
For more book info see

Buy through Paypal or  send check for $5 + $3 (shipping) to 
Hot Calaloo
PO Box 411
Columbia MD 21045, USA


cover River Woman by Donna Hemans ... $16.10
  The Rio Minho in Jamaica provides much more than a setting for this potent, accomplished debut by Jamaican-born Donna Hemans.


cover  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.



August 2016

 Trinidadians held in Turkey as ISIS suspects

Turkish media  reported that nine Trinidadians are due to be deported after authorities foiled a plan by a Syrian man to smuggle them from southern Turkey to join ISIS in Syria.

And Trinidad and Tobago’s Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi is assuring the country that the men will be kept under strict surveillance when they were sent back home, even as he indicated that evidence was being gathered to determine what charges they could face.

According to the Turkish media, police stopped a car in which the nine were travelling and detained them and their Syrian driver on suspicion. Sources told the media that initial investigations discovered the driver was trying to take foreigners to be recruited by the terrorist organization, ISIS, in Syria.

The man was remanded in custody and the Trinidadians transferred to an immigration centre for deportation.

Al-Rawi told the newspapers that ISIS was listed in the local courts as an internationally recognized terror group, and if any of the twin-island republic’s citizens were found outside the country attempting to engage with the group, the law would take effect.

  Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

Zika vaccines effective in  monkey trials

 One day after U.S. health officials announced an early start to a clinical trial to test a Zika vaccine in humans, researchers reported in the journal Science that three types of vaccines designed to block the virus all worked to perfection in monkeys.

The three experimental vaccines had already proved effective in mice, and their success on rhesus monkeys is “raising optimism for the development of a vaccine for humans,” the study authors wrote.

With more than 50 countries and territories battling active Zika outbreaks, the need for a vaccine is clear. Hundreds of thousands of people have been infected.

Although most infections cause only mild symptoms at best — including fever, rash, headache and joint or muscle pain — women who contract the virus while pregnant fear that they will put their unborn children at risk of microcephaly.

 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

Jamaica in worldwide Zika vaccine trials

 Jamaica will soon be participating in clinical trials to find a vaccine to treat the mosquito-borne Zika Virus. Jamaica Minister of Health Dr. Christopher Tufton says the island’s participation is part of an international study and fight against Zika. The clinical trials are supported by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Jamaica is among some 65 countries fighting Zika. And the Health Minister reiterated that the virus isn’t going anywhere in any hurry. The Zika virus is new and there is no resistance. The immune system has not experienced it and developed the capacity to fight against it.

By mid-July, Jamaica has recorded 44 confirmed cases of the Zika virus, but there are more than 3,000 suspected cases.

 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

Digital money adopted in Jamaica

THE Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) on Tuesday granted a license to the Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League (JCCUL) for Conec — the mobile wallet payment service that will allow delivery on a full commercial basis.

Conec, which began with top-up services, balance enquiries and bill payment, now includes person-to-person cash transfers and merchant services.

Mobile wallets are essentially digital versions of traditional wallets that someone would carry in their pocket. So, with money deposited in Conec, you can make electronic payments by cell phone instead of actual money.

The central bank’s approval in September 2013 for Phase 1 of the project allowed JCCUL to offer limited services to customers of the credit union movement. And, in August, 2014 the Central Bank issued an approval to the JCCUL for a Phase 2 pilot, which allowed for an extended suite of services to these customers.

Conec hosts major billing companies, including Jamaica Public Service, National Water Commission, and telecoms companies Flow and Digice — allowing almost 20,000 subscribers a way to pay their bills.

In accordance with BOJ regulations, users are allowed a wallet limit of $50,000 only if a valid identification and tax registration number (TRN) is provided.

Tier two allows wallet transaction limit of $100,000 where the subscriber requires a valid ID, TRN and proof of address. The final tier allows a wallet size of $150,000 where the subscriber can provide a valid ID, TRN, proof of address and proof of income.

Daily spending limits are different. Wallet users will have daily transaction limits of $15,000 for tier one; $40,000 for tier two, and $53,000 for tier three.

The JCCUL, in collaboration with its technology partner MOZIDO, launched the mobile money service to be carried by JaMobile.

The company is planning to partner with international remittance providers to enable Conec users to retrieve their remittance directly to their wallet without having to commute to a traditional brick and mortar remittance agent at a fraction of the cost.

 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

St. Kitts company given OK to resume production of bottled water

In St. Kitts bottled water produced by  the local company, Island Purified Water was pulled off the shelves recently amid concerns that tested samples had showed it to be contaminated with fecal matters.

However a week later, health authorities have given the green light to resume  use of the   drinking water. A statement issued by the St Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards noted that corrective measures had been taken to deal with the situation.

“The corrective measures included, among other things, halting production and disinfecting bottling lines and tanks.  Following the conclusion of these measures, the St Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards conducted a series of testing and analysis to determine and establish the sanitary quality of the water produced for bottling,” the statement noted.

 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

Drinking water cleared in cause of sudden deaths in Barbados

It was not something in the water.
There were serious concerns about recent cases of young and middle-aged Barbadians collapsing and dying suddenly. There were fears that contaminated drinking water was the cause. However,  the Ministry of Health has sought to assure citizens that the deaths are not due to any new public health problem, but non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

In a statement issued a day after the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) sought to dispel rumours that the deaths were linked to lead contamination from new water meters, the ministry said preliminary reports indicate that the recent deaths were linked to “the usual causes of sudden death in Barbados and universally”.

The ministry said there was no cause for alarm.

“According to autopsy reports, the majority of these deaths were the result of non-communicable diseases which were either poorly-controlled, undiagnosed, or untreated,” Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kenneth George said, identifying those problems as heart attack, stroke, brain haemorrhage, acute pulmonary embolism (clotting in the lungs) and acute arrhythmia.

The Chief Medical Officer stated that available statistics revealed only a slight increase in the number of sudden deaths in persons 60 years and under so far this year compared to last year. Statistics available up to June 16 this year showed 24 sudden deaths compared to 21 between January and June 16 last year. For that period in 2015, 11 men and 10 women died suddenly, while this year, the figures stand at 12 men and 12 women.

 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

Chinese company takes over Alpart bauxite mines from Russian Co. in Ja.

The Alpart alumina refinery in Nain, St Elizabeth was recently acquired by China-based Jiuquan Iron and Steel (Group) Company Ltd (JISCo) from Russian mining company UC Rusal. The new company  should complete its takeover of the Alpart plant in Nain, St Elizabeth, Jamaica, by November.

Transport and Mining Minister Lester ‘Mike’ Henry has stated that:

 JISCo will utilise the services of approximately 200 Chinese personnel at the site to carry out major processing modification and capacity upgrading, for whom the Government will consider short-term work permits.

 It is expected that approximately 700 jobs are to be created as early as October to November this year.

The project will cost some US$2 billion, and should eventually create 3,000 new jobs within five years.

Major processing modification and capacity upgrading work will be carried out on the plant, and the total first-phase investment will be up to US$220 million.

Part of this upgrading includes a plan for a 1,000-megawatt coal-fired plant to power the Alpart alumina refinery  Despitee an assurance that Government and JISCo would pay “great attention to the environment and its protection”, the The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) strongly opposes a coal plant of this scale for Jamaica due to the harm to human health and climate posed by coal-fired power plants.

JET contends that, “ The pollutants from coal-fired plants that pose significant risks to human health are sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury, and particulate matter,” it added “A modern coal-fired plant emits 762 kilogrammes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per megawatt-hour of electricity generated, if there is no CO2 capture. This plant alone would emit roughly 6.7 million tons of CO2 per year, just over half of our 2025 target under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which we signed on Earth Day 2016. Meeting our intended nationally determined contribution to greenhouse gas emissions under this agreement would become virtually impossible. Further, the planned energy matrix in the National Energy Policy calls for only five per cent petcoke/coal,”

JET argued. It added that the scenario is “another case” of the Government “ignoring its own policy documents” as it had strongly touted renewables while pledging to reduce the country’s carbon footprint in the National Energy Policy developed 2009.

Henry also gave an assurance that Government and JISCo would pay “great attention to the environment and its protection”, which he said are critical in the project construction and production processes.

 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

Dominica leads CARICOM in renewable energy use

With renewables accounting for 28 per cent of electricity generation, Dominica is the CARICOM member which consumes the largest proportion of its energy from renewable sources, according to the newly released ECLAC study ‘Barriers to Identification and Implementation of Energy Efficiency Mechanisms and Enhancing Renewable Energy Technologies in the Caribbean’.

In the wake of the 2008-2011 financial crisis, and recognizing that its dependency on fossil energy increased its vulnerability to supply and price fluctuations, Dominica decided to pursue sustainable energy strategies that support the promotion of energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives.

Today, Dominica is at the forefront in the use of renewable sources of energy among the OECS countries, having achieved 28 per cent of its present electricity generation from hydropower and wind.

Dominica aims to become energy self-sufficient by 2020. As much as US$20 million in investments have already been made to develop the island’s geothermal energy potential. Solar and wind energy sources also exhibit high potential to satisfy this country’s energy needs.

The new ECLAC study forms part of a series of reports on Sustainable Energy in the Caribbean commissioned jointly with the German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation. According to the reports, countries that have made the most efforts towards promoting energy efficiency – Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines – have up to three policies currently implemented, while six out of 16 countries are currently considering new measures to promote efficiency in their energy sector.

 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

Disease-resistant Honduran bananas offer hope for Jamaica

NEW varieties of banana developed by the Honduran Agricultural Research Foundation (FHIA) are finding favour among local industry stakeholders.

The varieties — which include the ‘Goldfinger’ (FHIA-01), ‘Sweetheart’ (FHIA-3) and ‘dwarf hybrid’ (FHIA-25) — are renowned for being disease-resistant and more suitable for cooking and processing into snacks.

They are cooked within five minutes when boiled, remain soft after being cooled and, as such, are marketed in their unripened state.

Research and market studies conducted in Jamaica and Honduras show that the new varieties are deemed ideal for the production of chips and other value added outputs.

The dwarf hybrid is one of the popular varieties among local industry stakeholders.

It is highly resistant to the Black Sigatoka fungus, which devastated Jamaica’s banana crops in the past, as also the Panama Disease ­— a soil pathogen that initially infects the root system before destroying the entire tree.

Managing director of Maroon’s Pride Banana Chips Factory in St James, Robert Chambers, is one the stakeholders using the dwarf hybrid in the production of the popular snack. He believes the FHIA varieties can be a local industry game changers that serve to further strengthen Jamaica’s economy.

 “When you plant one FHIA banana tree it reproduces 10 times. While it will take you approximately 14 months to get the first bunch of bananas, after that, every six to eight months you will get successive bunches,” he explains.

Chambers contends that if the work being done to develop the varieties locally continues, “I guarantee that, within a few years, we will be exporting instead of importing bananas.”

 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

Pre-paid electricity — grows in Jamaica

Prepaid metering is a growing energy management tool in the utilities industry. And now, Jamaicans are joining millions of consumers across the globe, including parts of the Caribbean, who have the option of using a prepaid metering system for their electricity consumption.

Since 2014 when the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) introduced prepaid electricity to Jamaica, over 600 residential and small business customers have been enjoying savings of up to 40 per cent of the electricity costs they incurred when they had a regular postpaid meter.

Landlords and owners of rental properties no longer absorb the debts of their tenants. Community centres have successfully transferred the responsibility of electricity costs to the users of their facilities. Jamaicans who earn on an irregular basis can pay when they earn and importantly, customers with prepaid meters have seen reduced costs by simply taking control.

Today, customers in Kingston and St Andrew, St Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester, St Elizabeth and St Thomas are enjoying the benefits of a metering system which allows them to purchase what they need by matching their consumption to their pockets.

Each qualifying customer receives a meter and a Customer Interface Unit (CIU), with a keypad attached. Customers then purchase a prepaid electricity voucher of any value at Bill Express, or online at The 20-digit voucher number must then be entered into the CIU keypad. The meter is immediately uploaded with the number of kilowatt-hours equivalent to the dollar value of the purchase.

Once this is done, customers can monitor their electricity use by calculating the kilowatt usage by the second, minute, hour or day. Importantly, customers on the prepaid system are protected, since the credit bought on each customer’s meter cannot be used on any other meter. Also, in the event that the prepaid voucher is lost, the voucher number can easily be retrieved from the text message sent to their phone, or from the notification e-mail they would have received, or from the JPS Customer Care Centre.

While prepaid metering has been working for individuals, the product has also been rolled out by the Community Renewal Division and customer service office, on a community basis, as part of the recently embraced social partnership strategy to get customers back on the grid. The first community to benefit from prepaid metering so far is McGregor Gardens, where there have been slow but positive results.

The new meters allow consumers to monitor energy use in real time via the display unit that is installed in the home. There is no bill at the end of the month; therefore no disconnection, no fees, no deposits and absolutely no cost to switch.

Prior to the engagement with Member of Parliament Julian Robinson, fewer than 10 residents in the community were paying JPS customers. Today, the partnership has seen close to 230 residents enjoying JPS prepaid metering, with close to 50 per cent of residents purchasing electricity credit monthly.

So far, the 99 per cent prepaid customer retention rate and range of customers who have embraced prepaid electricity demonstrate that prepaid electricity is the ideal energy management solution for landlords, community centres and sports venues. It is also an excellent option for customers with income periods outside their JPS bill due dates, and generally anyone who wants to manage their electricity consumption.

 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

Marley makes UK’s top 60 album list

The late Reggae King Bob Marley has garnered another accolade, 35 years after his death. In commemoration of 60 years of existence, the United Kingdom’s Official Albums Chart has compiled its top 60 best-selling albums of all time in Britain. Marley’s Legend, released in 1984 by Island Records, has captured the number 16 slot.

This is not the first such recognition for this popular compilation project by the late reggae act. Widely regarded as the best-selling reggae album, with more than 15 million copies sold in the United States and an estimated 25 million sold globally, Rolling Stone magazine in 2003 named Legend among the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, placing it at number 46. The album contains tracks which have become anthems for Marley.

 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

Rihanna 13th  highest-paid celebrity

Barbados’ pop princess Rihanna has claimed 13th place on Forbes annual list of the world’s highest-paid celebrities, coming in way behind first-placed Taylor Swift, but well ahead of such entertainment heavyweights as Katy Perry and Calvin Harris.

The Bajan superstar hauled-in a whopping US$75 million over the past year, Forbes magazine disclosed on Monday. According to Forbes: “Though Rihanna’s latest album, ‘Anti,’ has sold less than any No. 1 album in history, the Barbados native is still topping the charts.

 Top       Back to Hot Calaloo

Let us know what you think. Email us at