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Jamaica's Lady "B" is dead
The wife of Jamaica's national hero and first Prime Minister Sir Alexander Bustamante, Lady Gladys Maud Bustamante has died. She died at the University of the West Indies hospital at the age of 97. She was born Gladys Maud Longbridge Westmoreland on March 8, 1912.She and Sir Alexander Bustamante were married on September 7, 1962.
Lady Bustamante's contribution to public service started at the age of 19 when in the early 1930's alongside Sir Alexander Bustamante, their work with workers led to the formation of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union in 1938.
The much-loved and highly-admired Lady B, as she was affectionately called, was also a part of the team which assisted in the many strategies as the trade union movement took root especially among the cane cutters and port workers. This led to the formation of Jamaica’s first political party, the Jamaican Labour Party in 1943. The Jamaica Labour Party would go on to form the first Jamaican Government when independence was achieved in 1962.
Lady Bustamante has been presented with a number of awards including: the Order of Jamaica, 1982;
Since her death, tributes have flowed in from all sections of Jamaica as well as the rest of the Caribbean.
B-estowing a love
By Kay McGregor-Phillips
(The author is Hot Calaloo editor’s mother, who was a friend of, and worked with, Lady B in the BITU office in the early days. )
Remittances fall sharply
All over the Caribbean, the economic downturn has produced a severe drop in remittances from abroad. For instance, Jamaican families are feeling the squeeze. Since the start of the year, they have had to make do without their share of the more than $12.7-billion shortfall in foreign exchange recorded in the first five months of 2009. A remittance update published by the Bank of Jamaica showed that, between January and May 2009, remittance inflows declined by more than US$140 million when compared to the same period last year.
Jamaica and St. Lucia turn to IMF
The world economic crisis has forced Jamaica and St. Lucia back into the arms of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Jamaica’s Finance Minister Audley Shaw has confirmed that Jamaica would be seeking to draw down US$1.2 billion in support from the IMF through its Special Drawing Rights to shore up the 2009-2010 budget which has suffered internal and external battering, due mainly to the effects of the global recession. A significant drop in revenue from the bauxite and alumina sector; a fall in remittances, the island's leading earner of foreign exchange; and shortfalls in income tax and general consumption tax collections have led to the Government's dilemma and added speed to the Bruce Golding administration's efforts to seek external funding.
In St. Lucia, the IMF has approved a $10.7 million loan. The island has seen a sharp drop in tourism, foreign direct investment and remittances as a result of the global financial crisis. According to the IMF, unemployment is set to rise sharply and gross domestic product in Castries is expected to fall by as much as 2.5% this year.
The IMF has assured the countries that the draconian conditions of ‘structural adjustment’ imposed in the past will not be used again.
NY, NJ immigration raids violated rights
A report analyzing arrest records has found that immigration agents raiding homes for suspected illegal immigrants violated the U.S. Constitution by entering without proper consent and may have used racial profiling,
The Immigration Justice Clinic at Yeshiva University's Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law analyzed home raid arrest records from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices in Long Island and throughout New Jersey. Latinos made up a disproportionate number of the people arrested who were not the stated targets of the raids, and many of their arrest reports gave no basis for why they were initially seized. Agents are required to obtain a resident's consent to enter a home or else they are in violation of the constitutional right to protection against unreasonable searches.
On Long Island, 86 percent of arrest records from 100 raids between January 2006 and April 2008 showed no record of consent being given. In northern and central New Jersey, no record of consent being given was found for 24 percent of about 600 arrests in 2006 and 2007. While the report only analyzed data from two states, it said the pattern suggested the problem was nationwide. It listed examples from California, Texas, Arizona, Massachusetts, Georgia and other places.
Divestment deal for 2 Jamaican sugar companies
The Jamaica government has announced a deal for the sale of the Trelawny and St Thomas sugar companies. It is the first positive move to divest the assets of the debt-ridden Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ) since Brazilian company Infinity Bio-Energy's failure to consummate a deal with Government to purchase the five state-run factories and Petrojam Ethanol Limited earlier this year.
The factories are being sold to local private entities Fred M. Jones Estate Limited, Seprod and Everglades, for less than their commercial value. The St Thomas factory will go to the consortium of Seprod and Fred M. Jones for US$500,000, while Everglades will receive the Trelawny assets for US$1.5 million.
The Government reported that SCJ debts exceed $16 billion, growing by approximately $2 billion per annum. The new owners will maintain 60 per cent of the leased lands for sugar-cane production or related products for 15 years.
Reggae Sumfest honors Michael Jackson
Jamaic’s 17th Annual Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay paid special tribute to the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson. The event was graced with a performance by Michael’s brother, Tito Jackson. Accompanied by a nine-piece band, and clad in an ivory suit and black hat, Tito delivered a succinct set that included traditional blues, Jackson 5 hits such as "Can You Feel It" and "Rockin' Robin," and a skanking cover of Bob Marley's "One Love."
His 3 a.m. appearance, midway through the week-long event's closing night, concluded with the presentation of a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award for Michael: "the greatest entertainer that this world has ever seen." The ceremony capped 10 days of speculation about which members of the late King of Pop's family would attend.
Tito Jackson, in turn, presented government officials with a small glass clock "as a symbol of solidarity between the Jackson family and the Jamaica family." The union was formed more than three decades ago when the Jacksons opened for Bob Marley in 1975 at the National Stadium.
Bob Marley songs – a legacy for peace
Bob lives on in his music! Check it out at:
Bob Marley’s music features prominently in Playing For Change. "Playing for Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. The idea for this project arose from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. No matter whether people come from different geographic, political, economic, spiritual or ideological backgrounds, music has the universal power to transcend and unite us as one human race. And with this truth firmly fixed in our minds, we set out to share it with the world."
The Playing For Change Foundation provides resources (facilities, supplies, educational programs, etc) to musicians and communities around the world. The foundation is working with South African poet Lesego Rampolokenga to build the Mehlo Arts Center in Johannesburg, South Africa and building and supporting the Ntonga Music School in the South African township of Guguletu. In addition, Playing For Change is working to enhance and rebuild Tibetan refugee centers in Dharamasala, India and Kathmandu, Nepal. You can find news about their benefit concerts and programs, and listen to additional songs, on their Web site: Playingforchange.com.
Antigua liquidators win fight over Stanford assets
A firm appointed by Antiguan authorities to liquidate the assets of R. Allen Stanford's offshore Caribbean bank won control of assets in the United Kingdom worth more than US$100 million, a defeat for a US-appointed receiver in an ongoing fight over jurisdiction in the case.
UK-based Vantis Business Recovery Services said the High Court of Justice ruling allows it to proceed with its effort to collect Stanford assets from around the world and distribute them to thousands of investors who purchased the allegedly fraudulent certificates of deposit issued by Stanford International Bank Limited. The losing US-appointed liquidators said they will appeal.
The two receivers are fighting over who has jurisdiction over the Stanford assets, frustrating investors who are eager to recover money they invested in what US authorities have alleged as a US$7-billion Ponzi scheme. US prosecutors have filed charges that include fraud and money laundering against Stanford, 59, who is in custody in Houston.
Cuba eye care center to open in Jamaica
On July 28th Jamaica and Cuba signed two agreements that will
strengthen public health care services on the island. Under the first
agreement, the Cuban government will provide specialist eye care staff
and some equipment for the Centre over a three year period. Jamaica will
in turn provide the Cuban medical team with services including
accommodation, travel and meals. The Centre will be located at St.
Joseph's Hospital in Kingston and its services will be available to
ophthalmology patients from the entire English speaking Caribbean. This
is the culmination of an offer of an eye care center made some time ago
by former Cuban President Fidel Castro.
We are number 3! - The third happiest nation in the world. This surprising conclusion came from a report by the the Happy Planet Index (HPI) 2.0, which was recently published by the New Economic Foundation (NEF), an independent British research body. According to the report, "Aside from feeling 'good', it also incorporates a sense of individual vitality, opportunities to undertake meaningful, engaging activities which confer feelings of competence and autonomy, and the possession of a stock of inner resources that helps one cope when things go wrong ... " the report stated.
I think a lot of Jamaicans struggling to put food on the table might disagree.
Imprisoned in my home sweet home
And because of these
To leave behind their
To leave all that behind
By Michael Phillips, Editor
Antigua renames its highest point Mount Obama
Antigua's highest mountain officially became "Mount Obama". Antigua celebrated the American president on his birthday and saluted him as a symbol of black achievement. Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer presided over the re-christening ceremony at the base of the mountain, unveiling a stone sculpture and plaque honoring the president as an inspiration in the twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda and throughout the Caribbean.
"As an emancipated people linked to our common ancestral heritage and a history of dehumanizing enslavement, we need to at all times celebrate our heroes and leaders who through their actions inspire us to do great and noble things," Spencer said.
The plaque on the rock sculpture at the base of the mountain reads: "Mount Obama, named in honor of the historical election on Nov. 4, 2008, of Barack Hussein Obama, the first black president of the United States of America, as a symbol of excellence, triumph, hope and dignity for all people."
Haiti more than doubles minimum wage.
After long hours of debate and clashes between police and protesters
who were complaining about not being able to feed and shelter their
families on the current pay of about $1.75 a day Haitian lawmakers voted
to increase the minimum wage. The plan adopted by the lawmakers fell
short of the $5 wage demanded by the demonstrators, but it's expected to
more than double the minimum pay to about $3.75 a day.
Jamaica aluminum company retirees lose health benefits
Two hundred and fifty retirees who received health-care benefits financed by the Alumina Partners of Jamaica (Alpart) lost that assistance effective July 31, 2009. This means the senior citizens will now have to find alternative ways to finance their medical costs at a time in their lives when they are most likely to be most in need of health care. The company had already ceased operations on March 15. because of the continuing severe decline in the global aluminium industry and the corresponding reduction in demand for alumina worldwide.
Guyana and Dominican Republic to sign visa-free travel agreement
Guyana and the Dominican Republic (DR) may sign an agreement allowing their citizens to travel between the two countries without a visa, aimed at increasing trade and cultural interchange between the nations.
Guyana’s PM Jagdeo, who is also the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) chairman visited the Dominican Republic recently along with his Tourism , Industry and Commerce Minister Manniram Prashad and CARICOM’s Assistant Secretary General for Foreign Relations Colin Granderson. Iroinically fellow CARICOM member Barbados has raised the ire of Guyana by mass deportation of Guyanese illegal aliens from Barbados.
T&T chances grim in World Cup soccer
T&T chances to advance to the finals of the World Cup next year in South Africa looks very slim. With three games remaining, they would have to win them all to stand a chance and they have not won a single game yet as they sit on the bottom with 2 points.
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