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bulletPeace on Earth, Goodwill to all
bulletBerbick's own nephew charged in former champs death
bulletIDB to cancel debt of Guyana and Haiti
bullet90% special education graduates leave Jamaica
bulletTrinidad and Tobago unveils new airline
bulletAir Jamaica plane seized for debts
bullet24% increase in tourism earnings in Jamaica
bulletBarbados the least corrupt Caribbean country
bulletGunmen terrorize Rockfort and Mountain View areas of Jamaica
bulletGroundbreaking for special 'green' resort in Jamaica
bulletNon-white actors face limited acting jobs in US
bulletIndia-funded stadium averts Test cricket ban in Guyana
bulletFlood rains swamp eastern Jamaica
bulletPolice Inspector defies judge to adjourn court
bulletUgly bauxite mud lake to go
bulletGuyana gets medical equipment from Cuba
bulletDon Quarrie to coach China athletes
bulletJamaica's Asafa Powell named World Athlete of the Year
bulletJamaica big fish story



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

List Price $11.95 (paperback)
Special Introductory Offer $9.95

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 $9.95 + $3 (shipping) to 
Hot Calaloo
PO Box 411
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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.



December 2006

Peace on Earth, Goodwill to all

This is the true message of Christmas. In my book, "Boycott Money and Save Your Soul – Launching the Goodwill Revolution", the message is that we must have goodwill to all in order to have peace on earth.

The Jamaican roots play "Pasa,Pasa" came to town. I went to it. The audience obviously enjoyed it. The humor of the play depended on the belligerence, hostility and derision of every single character to each other. I did not like that. In Jamaica, we have come to admire, respect and practice belligerence, hostility and derision. Many Jamaicans are actually proud of our reputation for belligerence. This admiration, respect and practice of belligerence has poisoned our culture. It has seeped into our music, our politics, our journalism and into many aspects of our everyday life. Violence, mayhem, meanness can and does flourish in such an environment, but not goodwill.

So as the new year approaches, let us make a personal commitment to reject belligerence, hostility and derision and spread goodwill instead. In other words, lets join the Goodwill Revolution. I did. It is not easy because revolution never is. But, it will make you feel good to your very soul.

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Berbick nephew charged in former champs death

Harold Berbick and Kenton Gordon have been charged with the murder of Jamaica’s former world heavyweight boxing champion Trevor Berbick.  Harold Berbick is the 20-year-old nephew of the slain fighter, and Gordon is only 18. They both lived in the quiet Portland village of Norwich where the ex-champion was born and where he returned in 2001. Bail was denied both men.

Trevor Berbick was the last man to fight Muhammad Ali, winning a 10-round decision in 1981 that pushed the legend into retirement, and was the man whose loss in 1986 made Mike Tyson the youngest champion in heavyweight history at age 20. Berbick fought for Jamaica at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, then enjoyed a pro career with a record of 50-11 with one drawn and 13 knockouts. He held the World Boxing Council heavyweight crown for eight months in 1986.

Trevor Berbick was buried with a pair of red boxing gloves and robe in the family plot at Norwich, Portland. A host of foreigners from North America, along with local politicians, family members and other distinguished guests packed the Christ Church in Port Antonio at a thanksgiving service honouring the life of the former boxing champ.

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IDB to cancel debt of Guyana and Haiti

The Inter-American Development Bank plans to forgive as much as $3.5 billion of debt owed by the five poorest countries in the Caribbean and Latin America, including Guyana and Haiti, the US Treasury said.

The bank's governors agreed at a meeting recently in Washington to cancel the debts of Bolivia, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua, the Treasury said in a statement. Officials will begin talks on implementing the pledge in January, the release said.

At the IDB's annual meeting in April in Brazil, Clay Lowery, the US Treasury's assistant secretary for international affairs, said debt relief would free up more spending to invest in infrastructure projects and boost growth.

The IDB, set up in 1959 to provide financing to Latin American countries, is owned by its 47 members, with borrowing members holding about 50 percent of total votes and non-borrowing members holding the other half. The US, with a third of the votes, is the biggest member.

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90% special education graduates leave Jamaica

According to Mary Dixon, head of the Mico College Special Education Department, there is a yearly exodus of trained teachers from Jamaica, leaving behind only about 10 per cent of teachers each year. This is resulting in a severe shortage of special education teachers for schools catering to children with learning disabilities.

Since the Mico program serves the Caribbean region, often half of the graduating class return to their own country. Others often got to the Cayman, Bahamas or Turks Islands or are recruited elsewhere overseas., which represents another 40 % of the graduating class.

There are about 390 teachers currently working in special education institutions. Only 100 of them are trained in the field. They are not specially compensated either, says Hixwell Douglas of the Special Education Unit in the Ministry of Education, because teachers trained in special education are not necessarily considered specialists.

Some institutions try to fix the teacher shortage problem them-selves by training their own staff. Mrs. Rodriguez reports this is what is done at the School of Hope. The institution has ongoing workshops to make up for the shortfall in trained specialist teachers. The ministry also conducts training workshops for some teachers in the mainstream to help pad the lack of professionals.

In addition to inadequate teachers, there is also another staffing problem in these institutions. Most need clinical psychologists and there are not enough. The island's clinical psychologists are educated at the University of the West Indies, but the university only recently introduced post-graduate studies in the area. Not many of them remain on the island, choosing to migrate because the salary is low.

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Trinidad and Tobago unveils new airline

On December 31 we will ring out the old year and On January 1st, we will ring in the new. But in addition to that on December 31, Trinidad will ring out the old BWIA and on January 1 ring in the new Trinidad Caribbean Airlines (CA). CA already unveiled its first aircraft, a Boeing 737 with a seating capacity for 150 persons.

The 66-year-old BWIA had become unprofitable and a huge drain on the financial coffers of Trinidad and Tobago. Even the vaunted privatisation could not save it. A team headed by Trinidad businessman, Arthur Lok Jack, was then appointed to look into ways of restructuring for viability but this met with a decision to shut down the airline, making way for the new Caribbean Airlines (CA).

At the launch of Caribbean Airlines, Lok Jack said it marked a new era in Caribbean aviation and that it came with what he called "a clean balance sheet". Chin Lee added that he believed new technology, which is being brought to Caribbean Airlines, will assist in making it a profitable venture, unlike BWIA. Some 1,8 00 BWIA workers are expected to receive termination letters by December 31, thus ending an era in Trinidad and Tobago air travel.

Editor’s Note: This raises some troubling questions for which I do not know the answers. What’s in a name? Why will this airline succeed where BWIA failed? What about the BWIA employees? I am suspicious because of a popular trick used by corporate America to exploit their employees. They claim to sell the company to rid themselves of employees pension plans and wage structure only to maintain ownership surreptitiously under another name. Then they hire new employees or even the old ones with substantially decreased benefits and wages. But this could not happen in T&T, right?

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Air Jamaica plane seized for debts

Jamaica government officials are breathing a sigh of relief after one of its Air Jamaica planes was returned. International Lease Financing Corporation (ILFC) had seized the plane at Miami International Airport, leaving passengers stranded. Some passengers flew back with other carriers later the same day while the rest flew back with Air Jamaica the following day.

The lessor which leases half of Air Jamaica’s 16-plane fleet reportedly became concerned about the carrier's ability to repay debt amid talks of downsizing and a failure to return one jet due several weeks ago. That plane is still undergoing safety testing.

Air Jamaica’s accumulated losses amounted to US$136 million in 2005. This prompted the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its July report, to suggest radical decisions including closure. "No way!" said Jamaica government officials as Air Jamaica transports nearly 50 per cent of Jamaica's passengers and about a third of all tourists to the island. Instead the airline would have to work on a new business plan aimed at downsizing and eliminating unprofitable routes. The board of Air Jamaica must minimise the airline’s operating cost in keeping with the Government's annual commitment of US$30 million to the national carrier.

The seized plane is back but the fight against red ink, that has downed so many airlines all over the world, most recently BWIA, will continue without increasing the tax payer’s burden.

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24% increase in tourism earnings in Jamaica

Preliminary estimates from the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) have revealed that gross foreign exchange earnings have reached US$1.4 billion for the period January to September 2006.  This is a difference of 24.6 percent above the total for the corresponding period in 2005, reflecting record growth in visitor arrivals and visitor spending.

For the first nine months of 2006 stopover arrivals grew by 17.2 percent to reach 1.3 million, exceeding targeted expectations by 6.4 percent.  The cruise passenger market segment continues to show robust growth as well, reflecting a 15 percent increase during January to September 2006, with a total of 950,329 cruise passenger arrivals.

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Barbados the least corrupt Caribbean country

Barbados has been named the least corrupt country in the Caribbean by Transparency International, which gave Barbados just over seven out of 10, placing it at number 24 on the index.

Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Belize, Cuba and Grenada – all score below five, which indicates serious perceived levels of domestic corruption. Other regional countries scoring low in their efforts to combat corruption were Guyana, the Dominican Republic and Suriname. Haiti ranked as the most corrupt country in the world, giving the country a score of 1.8 out of 10.
The index is based on the views of analysts and the business community on levels of corruption among public officials and politicians. In its latest report the Berlin-based anti-corruption agency has called on Latin American and Caribbean countries near the bottom of the list to strengthen democratic institutions and boost accountability of public resources.

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Gunmen terrorize Rockfort and Mountain View areas of Jamaica

Residents were helpless as gunmen invaded the Rockfort area and firebombed at least 8 homes. Despite the deployment of heavily-armed members of the security forces to the area, gunmen used the hilly terrain to sneak down and hurl firebombs callously over the fences. People are leaving the community in droves and those who have nowhere complain bitterly that since the flare up began about two weeks ago they have not had a good night's rest. Close to a dozen persons have been murdered since then and more than a dozen others shot and injured. Police blame the violence on rival gangs.

Monntain View
Gunmen also held Mountain View area under siege. In about a week of violence. four persons were shot and killed and five others, including two military personnel, were injured. One of the victims was murdered near the school. Teachers and students who heard the barrage of gunshots and later saw the body lying on the ground became emotional and were left traumatised. Students gave accounts of how they had to run under the bed at nights when they heard the gunshots, while others explained how they had sleepless nights. It was so bad that it forced students from St. Albans Primary school, Curlene Johnson Basic School, and the Solomon Levy Basic school to stay away. Even the Mountain View New Testament Church had to suspend services.

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Groundbreaking for special 'green' resort in Jamaica

Spanning three magnificent beaches along the Hanover coastline of Jamaica, Fiesta, a multi-national Spanish group, will build two properties initially, tagged 'Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort' and the 'Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort and Spa' . The property will house a total of four resorts on completion, and will provide permanent employment to 2,000 persons directly and 1,000 temporarily during the construction period. But what is special is it will be a premiere eco-tourism resort.

Abel Matutes, chairman of the Fiesta Hotel Group - who said Jamaica's 'King of Reggae,' Robert Nesta Marley, had invited him to invest in the island years ago - said this development would take the lead as the 'Green Holiday' resort for all his other properties. The Matutes family owns and operates 41 hotels worldwide.

"We will preserve the landscape, use renewable energy and introduce the strictest measures adhering to local and regional best practices," he told the gathering, while making a firm commitment to form partnerships with the community and environmental protection agencies.

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Non-white actors face limited acting jobs in US

A new study by the UCLA School of Law and UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center finds that Latino, black, Asian American and Native American actors have few acting opportunities available to them.
The findings, which are based on a 2006 survey of casting announcements, or "breakdowns," from Breakdown Services, a communication network and casting system, found that 69 percent of the roles were reserved for white actors and another 8.5 percent were open to white actors as well as non-white actors. Actors of color were limited to between .5 percent and about 8 percent of the roles, depending on their racial background.
The study, authored by Russell Robinson, UCLA acting professor of law, found that women also compete for fewer roles. According to the professor's analysis of major films in 2005, men were almost three times as likely as women to work in the first-billed lead role. Women made up 44 percent of second-billed roles and 40 percent of third-billed roles, but they were outnumbered by men in each category.

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India-funded stadium averts Test cricket ban in Guyana

Can you imagine the land that gave us Clive Lloyd and Rohan Khani could be stripped of playing Test cricket? But, India to the rescue. India is financing a new stadium in Guyana which will avert an International Cricket Council (ICC) ban on Test cricket in the South American country.

According to Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo, "It was just a matter of time before the ICC stopped sending matches to Guyana, because there were already security requirements and a number of venue related requirements that were not met," he said at a dedication ceremony. Among those on hand was India's Vice President, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, who ends a three-day visit to Guyana on Thursday.

Authorities intend to replace Bourda Cricket Ground here in Guyana's capital with a 15,000-seat stadium being built at Providence Village, about 11 miles south. Jagdeo said the new stadium would guarantee the playing of Test cricket in Guyana for the next 75 years, the life-span of the new facility which is the first of its kind there.

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Flood rains swamp eastern Jamaica

An old Jamaican folk song goes,"…rain,rain, rain, what a heavy rain a fall".
Well several days of rain was so heavy that the east coast of Jamaica was inundated. It was so heavy that:

bulletThe entire town of Port Maria was under water and persons were marooned inside their business places.
bulletMembers of the Jamaica Defence Force and the Fire Brigade were mobilised and were evacuating persons who were stranded.
bulletThe police were trying to assist but they too were marooned as the police station was flooded with water rising in the administrative office.
bulletIn Portland, more than 200 residents had evacuated their homes with a flash flood warning still in effect.
bulletThe Haughton Bridge in St. Mary had to be closed for many days forcing motorists heading to or from Kingston to Port Antonio to take long detours.
bulletMore than 1,200 students of the Port Maria Primary School in St. Mary had to stay home for days as dozens of parents and teachers toiled cleaning up the school that had been covered in mud and water.

This was the picture at the Port Maria Primary school as described by one of the teachers:

"Even when we finally get the mud out of the classrooms, we cannot reopen with so much mud in the yard. We have to think about the health of the children," she said, taking a break from sweeping water out of a classroom. Ms. Downer was one of several teachers, parents and community members who turned out to help clean up the school. It was a gloomy sight. Dozens of destroyed textbooks, pieces of furniture, documents and even clothing were being thrown out of rooms that on Thursday were almost filled with water. "We lost computers, tape recorders, very important documents and library books. Everything is gone," Ms. Downer said.

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Police Inspector defies judge to adjourn court

Only in Jamaica… A police Inspector upset with the conduct of the judge in a recent sitting of the Spanish Town Resident Magistrate’s Court assumed new powers and adjourned the court to the amazement and bewilderment of the presiding judge.

It all started about midday Monday when Constable Wendy Brookes was presenting a case to the court. Resident Magistrate Sharon George instructed the constable to produce more statements on the matter and the frustrated policewoman said she had seen exactly what had transpired in the case and did not think it necessary to get any further statements.

The spat developed between the resident magistrate and the policewoman when the judge asked Constable Brookes if she was "making a face" at her. Constable Brookes denied it but the judge did not buy it, became angry and then ordered that the constable be taken to the holding area for contempt of court.

But the matter did not end there as, some time later, the judge summoned the policewoman to return to the courtroom.

"You were very rude," she told Constable Brookes, while warning the policewoman to never behave that way in a courtroom again. Following procedure, the woman constable's superior, Inspector Patrick Murdock, head of traffic in St. Catherine North, was summoned to face the court.

Enter Inspector Murdock who made it clear to the judge that he found it hard to believe that the woman constable had done anything wrong, given what he said was her good reputation.
The judge then asked him if he saw the constable roll her eyes and Inspector Murdock admitted he did but suggested that "perhaps it has something to do with her religious beliefs."
This further angered the judge who gave the inspector a tongue-lashing of no mean order.
"You are damn rude!" she said.
"You're damning me?" Inspector Murdock retorted. "This court now stands adjourned!" And out he went.
Demanding the inspector's name, the judge ordered that he be held in contempt of court. He, however, had already walked out and was long gone. The following day, Harry Daley, superintendent in charge of St. Catherine North, apologised to the court for the inspector's behavior and assured the judge that the matter would be dealt with.

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Ugly bauxite mud lake to go

At last, at last, the ugly bauxite mud lake is slated to go. Canadian bauxite company, Alcan, has completed plans for the rehabilitation of its former waste landfill lake at Mount Rosser, St. Catherine in Jamaica.

Used until 1991 for waste from Alcan's plant at Ewarton, the lake is the last remaining unsealed 'wet pond' bauxite landfill site in Jamaica. The project, which has been approved by Government, will begin with the pumping out of the lake and ditches to channel away rain water. The lake contains 1.5 million cubic meters of water. Alcan expects this work to take between one and two years to complete. The waste is then to be cleaned up and the land regraded to make it free draining. It will then be planted with trees and returned to government ownership.

"This is fantastic for the environment, because this pond is old - from the 1950s and done in the days when we didn't under-stand the hydro-geology of our country," said Dr. Parris Lyew-Ayee, general manager of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute, which oversaw the rehabilitation plans.

The landfill is one of several sites that the company retained ownership and responsibility for rehabilitating after selling its Jamaican operations to Glencore, now Windalco, in 2001. Under this agreement, Alcan was made responsible for rehabilitating and returning the sites to government. In the 1980s, Jamaica changed from wet ponds to 'dry stacking' by which bauxite waste is sealed underground and kept in mud consistency.

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Guyana gets medical equipment from Cuba

The first consignment of modern equipment to furnish diagnostic and treatment centers in Guyana has arrived and will soon be installed at two of the facilities which are nearing completion. Among the items are oxygen/gas machines and x-ray materials for the centers’ surgical department. It is hoped that installation will begin before the end of November.

More equipment is expected in Guyana for another two centers and a team of Cuban technicians will be facilitating the installation process. The team will also be supervising the quality control capacity of each center, upon testing of the equipment.

Each of the four diagnostic and treatment centers will be manned by a 27-member team of Cuban doctors and technicians who will be housed in quarters established at the facilities. Each center will facilitate general surgery and intensive care for seriously ill patients. They will also include units for laboratory and ultra sound services.

The construction of the diagnostic centers is a collaborative agreement between Guyana and Cuba which was sealed between Presidents Bharrat Jagdeo and Fidel Castro when Jagdeo visited Cuba earlier this year. The agreement also provides for a modern $140M ophthalmology center which is already under construction at Port Mourant, Corentyne, Berbice, an increasing number of Cuban doctors and training in the medical profession for several Guyanese. The ophthalmology center will be occupied by a 35-member team of specialised doctors and nurses who will be providing their services initially on a contractual basis.

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Don Quarrie to coach China athletes

China has turned to Jamaican sprint legend, Don Quarrie, to help inspire its runners to gold medals at the Asian Games in Qatar, in December.

Quarrie won four Olympic medals in a glittering career, including 200m gold at the 1976 Games in Montreal, and has been enlisted by China's Athletics Association to deliver a series of coaching clinics. It will be the second time he has helped out after conducting training sessions during a 10-day trip last November to China's National Training Camp in Guangzhou.

"This proposal for Donald Quarrie to go back to China has come out of the agreement between the governments of Jamaica and China," Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association (JAAA) President, Howard Aris, told the Doha Asian Games website.

China, which has traditionally performed better at distance running rather than sprints, is sending a team of 41 track and field athletes to Doha, led by 110m hurdles world record holder Liu Xiang. The Games, the last major multi-sport event before China hosts the Olympics in 2008, run from December 1-15.

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Jamaica's Asafa Powell named World Athlete Of the Year

Jamaican heritage featured strongly in both awards as male and female World Athletes of the Year. Jamaica's world 100m record holder Asafa Powell and Jamaican-born American 400 meter runner Sanya Richards were named World Athletes of the Year by the IAAF. Powell is the first Jamaican male to win the prestigious award, and achieved the feat for some phenomenal performances in a year where he twice equaled his world record of 9.77 seconds in the 100 meters.

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Jamaica big fish story

Lauriston Reid had fished along the Palisadoes Road in Kingston Jamaica many times, standing on the lonely beach with his line bobbing in the blue waters. But this morning in all his fishing for over 25 years would be a lot different. Suddenly he had a bite. A big bite and he soon realized he had the fight of his life to land his fish. He fought gallantly and finally, success. What he hauled up on the beach was no ordinary fish but a 6 feet 6 inches long 150 pound tarpon! The average tarpon weighs about 50 pounds.

A huge crowd descended on the man and his fish along the Palisadoes Road which is the only road to the Norman Manley airport. At one point, traffic on the roadway came to a complete standstill. People were jumping out of their cars to have a look at the giant catch. Mr. Reid seemed to have been relishing his moment in the spotlight. He posed for pictures and related the story of how he came to catch the fish to any and everyone who asked. The man said he planned to sell the fish but, up to midday, he still had not figured out just how he was going to move it.


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