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bulletManning wins again in T&T general elections
bulletDual citizenship issue plague Caribbean politicians
bulletJamaican Practical nurses flock to seek jobs in Canada
bulletMalaysian plywood firm refuses to pay Guyana fine
bulletSri Lankan peacekeepers in Haiti sex scandal
bulletJamaican women workers outdo males too
bulletCaribbean to promotes itself as one tourist destination
bulletPoor maintenance degrade hospitals in Jamaica
bulletGuyana's president praises Cuban medical cooperation
bulletVanity Fair rates "Harder They Come" 3rd greatest soundtrack ever
bulletJamaica Comissioner of Police quits
bulletUN/World bank report calls for a special deportee office
bulletPreventing Negril from eroding away
bulletBarbados movie for American Black Film Festival
bulletCrackdown on illegal gas stations in Jamaica



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

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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 2007

Herb McKenley, Jamaica’s greatest athlete dies

Herb McKenley died at the University Hospital of the West Indies from complications of pneumonia. He was the greatest track and field athlete Jamaica has ever produced. He won a silver medal in the 100m at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952, silver medals in the 400m at both the London Olympics in 1948 and the Helsinki Olympics. However, in becoming the first man to run the 400m under 46 seconds, in breaking the world record for the 440 yards and the 400m on a number of occasions, in becoming the only man in the history of the Olympic Games to reach the finals of the 100, 200 and the 400m, and after finishing in fourth position in the 200 in London, after also becoming the only man in the history of the Games to win medals in both the 100 and the 400, McKenley, who won a gold medal in Jamaica's world record-breaking run in the 4x400m relay in Helsinki, left behind a record almost second to none.

Herb McKenley was born in Pleasant Valley, Clarendon, Jamaica. He attended the University of Illinois, and won the NCAA championships in 220 yd and 440 yd in 1946 and 1947. He was also the AAU champion in 440 yd in 1945, 1947 and 1948, and was also the head of the list of world best times in 100 m (10.3), 200 m (20.4) and 400 m (46.2) in 1947. He is the only person to have ever done this feat.

After retiring from sports, McKenley was a coach of the Jamaican national team from 1954 to 1973 and served also as a president of Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association. He remained active in promoting the sport, was a great role model and was an inspiration for many. Truly not just Jamaica’s athlete, but among Jamaica’s greatest.

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Malaysian lumber firm agrees to pay fine to Guyana

A Malaysian lumber company has reversed itself and has now agreed to pay Guyana $470,000 in fines for allegedly under-reporting the number of logs it harvested from the Amazon jungle. Barama Company Limited (BCL) said it would immediately pay the compensatory fines in good faith, without prejudice and without admission to liability.

Last month, when the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) announced the penalties, BCL threatened to fire workers and cut production while it appealed to the GFC to hire internationally-recognized experts to investigate the charges.

However, since then the company has admitted breaches by several low-level staffers harvesting in areas where permits were still being processed. The company also admitted to a number of anomalies, including unintentional mixing of tree tags and harvesting in areas where permits were still being processed, but it denied under-declaring all the logs harvested to the GFC. The GFC said its probe found that BCL declared less logs than it harvested in July from privately-owned Guyanese companies.
"The company takes the allegations very seriously and is committed to engage with the Guyana Forestry Commission to a comprehensive review of the timber operation procedures and improve the processes going forward," said BCL Chief Executive Officer Peter Ho.
Malaysian-owned BCL has been operating in the northwestern Amazon jungle of the impoverished South American country for almost 30 years.

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Asssistant police commissioner gunned down in Jamaica

Jamaica’s Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Gilbert Kameka was gunned down in the scenic hills of Irish Town, St. Andrew. Kameka, the ACP in charge of Area Four, is the 18th policeman to be murdered since the start of the year and the second in a day, which Opposition Spokesman on National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips, described as a "dark day in the country's history". Jamaica’s terrifying murder spree continues unabated as at least 12 persons were murdered within four days, two of them policemen.

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Poverty decreasing in Latin America and the Caribbean

There is good news this Christmas. A UN survey has found that Latin American and Caribbean countries have made significant progress in poverty alleviation with some 25 million people having moved out of poverty.
'Poverty fell a lot more than we had estimated,' Jose Luis Machinea, the executive secretary of UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), said.

Poverty declined 3.3 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2006. He called the achievement significant but also warned against complacency as 194 million inhabitants of the region still remain poor and, of them, 71 million are extremely poor. In absolute numbers, these figures reveal that last year 15 million people were able to get out of poverty and 10 million out of extreme poverty.

This is the first time since 1990 that the number of poor in Latin America has been calculated to be below 200 million. According to the Argentine economist, extreme poverty fell 30 percent in four years, 'which is a record worthy of emphasis'. He said that the reduction of poverty in the region is associated 'basically with (economic) growth, which has generated much employment, and to social programs, which have involved greater social spending.'

As a region, Latin America and the Caribbean is well-positioned to meet the first target established for the UN Millennium Development Goals, of halving the 1990 extreme poverty rate by 2015.  Latin America is 87% of the way towards meeting the first target, an achievement that raises the possibility of meeting a more ambitious target - that of halving the total poverty rate.
Between 2002 and 2006, according to the study, Argentina presented 'the most important progress', reducing its poverty index by 24.4 percentage points and its level of indigence by 13.7 percent. Venezuela was in second place, reducing its poverty and indigence levels by 18.4 percent and 12.3 percent, respectively. Following the two leaders are Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Honduras and Mexico, which achieved a reduction in poverty more than 5 percent between 2002 and 2006, the report said. Brazil, meanwhile, cut both its poverty and its indigence levels by 4.2 percent.

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UN praises Cuba's ability to feed people

A U.N. food expert hailed Cuba as a world model in feeding its population, some 18 years after the collapse of the Soviet Bloc ravaged the island's economy and sparked widespread hunger.

Jean Ziegler, who has been the United Nations' independent investigator on "the right to food" since 2000, spent 11 days in Cuba on a fact-finding mission, meeting with top officials and chatting up farmers, state managers and ordinary Cubans waiting in line for food allotted by ration cards.

"We haven't seen even one malnourished person" — a rare feat in much of poverty-stricken Latin America, Ziegler said Tuesday. "The right to being fed is the priority, without a doubt."

Cuba is one of 32 countries that include the "right to food" in their constitutions, and fewer still — including Brazil, Latin America's largest economy — meet pledges to provide food to all their citizens, he said.

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Employers owe Jamaica Govt. over J$4 billion in withholding taxes

Some 8,000 businesses have failed to pay over to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) income tax already collected from employees. Some $4 billion of PAYE (Pay As You Earn) deductions have not been handed over to IRD by approximately 8,000 businesses, including companies, partnerships and sole proprietors.

Effective January 15, late payments will attract the applicable penalty of 50 per cent applied against the outstanding balance, and interest of 40 per cent annually. The law requires PAYE deductions to be remitted to the IRD within 14 days.

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Global warming will threaten Caribbean

Global warming will create sea level rise. One of the greatest threats to tourism in the region is the phenomenon of rising sea levels, which will increase waves and storm surges occurring with hurricanes. Scientists believe that climate change, which normally occurs over long periods of time, is accelerating due to increased human activities such as burning of fossil fuels and that this phenomenon is causing increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters in the region. Global climate change has led to changes in sea surface temperatures and sea levels, which in turn can result in flooding, inundation and erosion in low-lying coastal areas.

Government policies which focus on coastal development fuelled by the demand for beach tourism and the preferences of developers for this type of development have resulted in over 65 per cent of the hotels in the Commonwealth Caribbean being located in coastal areas. Billions of US dollars are invested in coastal hotel development in the Greater Caribbean. In one southern Caribbean destination, over 90 per cent of the hotel rooms is built on the coast, less than half a mile from the high water mark.

Tourism stakeholders will face the challenges of sustaining business viability, income and property value. The cost of protection measures for beach and property will have to be met. The declining amenity value, the deterioration of the landscape and aesthetics, issues related to insurance and reinsurance, as well as the cost and availability of adequate coverage pose other serious concerns.

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Houston Jamaica Council donates medical equipment

The Jamaican Council in Houston, Texas, donating medical equipment to several institutions in the country at a cost of over US$300,000. The donations came in the form of incubators, walkers, needles, syringes, electronically maneouvrable beds, wheelchairs, protective gowns, and several other items applicable to the health industry. These items were donated to the infirmary, the health centre and the hospital in Spanish Town. The Cornwall Regional Hospital is set to be next in line, with two incubators and two birth beds.

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Make room Red Stripe beer

Red Stripe beer has company. There is a new beer in Jamaica. A little over a year on the market and Lascelles' new Kingston 62 Beer has made inroads in the market and is on track to capture 10 per cent of the $6.5 billion of the Jamaican beer market in 3-5 years, says general manager for marketing at Lascelles Wine and Spirits, Andrew Desnoes.

Lascelles introduced its new brew last October in partnership with Beverly Lopez's Big City Brewing Company Limited which was contracted to manufacture the beer. The product is described as a premium authentic pilsner beer, offering a on the market.

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Experimental AIDS vaccine increase infection

AIDS research received a recent setback. In the US, a cold virus used to make an experimental HIV vaccine that was discontinued in September somehow may have caused volunteers to be more susceptible to the AIDS virus, the vaccine's developers has admitted recently.

Researchers were doubly dismayed when it appeared that those who had been vaccinated were more likely to become infected, and cautioned more than 3,000 volunteers who had been testing the vaccine that they may be at higher risk of infection.

Merck and the National Institutes of Health agree that the vaccine itself could not possibly cause HIV infection. But initial data appears to indicate that people who got vaccinated had a higher rate of HIV infection that those who got placebo shots.

Experts are hashing out the confusing findings at a meeting in Seattle. Merck and the NIH say that men with the highest pre-existing levels of immunity to a cold virus called adenovirus 5 were the most likely to have also become infected with HIV after being vaccinated.

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Jamaican children in St. James crime areas live in fear

Despite the numerous measures instituted by the St. James police to combat crime and violence, there is a sense of hopelessness among children in the parish's inner-city communities, who see the problem as a threat to their aspirations. This is the perception of a group of teenagers - between ages 13 and 17 - who participated in a Gleaner Editors' Forum in Montego Bay recently. The students, who reside in some of the city's most violent communities, cited gun violence, rape, and peer pressure as part of their daily diet.

For example, Sixteen-year-old Tamara has a chilling story. She has witnessed two murders in her Hendon/ Norwood neighborhood. Another is Mark. This 14-year-old is coping with the constant bloodletting in Norwood, the trauma of witnessing the stabbing death of his friend last month and recently losing an uncle to gunmen's bullets.

Teachers at the Editors' Forum say their challenge with violence and truancy in their schools is linked to those students who reside in the inner-city communities. But what we are doing as a staff and as an administration is to ensure that we show two things: tolerance and love," commented Vice-Principal Jeanette Solomon, whose school is shedding its violent image.

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Volunteer UK medical team perform free operations in Jamaica

Twenty-four children suffering from life-threatening heart disease were treated free of cost by a team of specialists from the United Kingdom recently. The surgeries, coordinated by Chain of Hope Jamaica, were conducted at the Bustamante Hospital for Children and the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) in the Corporate Area.

Emma Scanlan, director of Chain of Hope, said the children who received heart surgeries were between the ages of six months and 12 years old. The surgeries included open-heart procedures, closed-heart surgeries and a PDA surgery, which is closing a dot in the heart. Ms. Scanlan told The Gleaner that the PDA surgery, done on Thursday at the UHWI, was said to be the first such procedure performed in Jamaica.

Chain of Hope consists of the volunteer medical teams from the U.K. who were on their 12th mission to the country to work alongside the local team in performing the surgeries. Professor Marc de Leval and Victor Tsang, both of Great Ormond Street Hospital in the U.K., headed the 20-strong medical team consisting of volunteer doctors, nurses and technicians.

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Garbage from cruise ships

As more and more and bigger and bigger cruise ships sweep Caribbean ports, garbage disposal is an increasing problem. At the moment, it is legal according to international law to dispose of garbage in the oceans, based on different categories of waste in relation to the distance from land.

For example, if a particular size of ship is 12 to 25 miles away from land, they are allowed to dump food waste, rags, and paper into the ocean, because within a year those things can dissolve. Plastic is never allowed to be dumped.

There is a move by the IMO to entirely prevent even such dumping from taking place in the Caribbean, by making the Caribbean Sea a "Special Area", as provided for in the convention. It was passed in 1993 but still has not gone into effect. "Special Areas" are particular bodies of water which, because of their oceanographic characteristics and ecological significance, require protective measures more strict than other areas of the ocean. The only garbage discharge that would be allowed is food waste, except under emergency circumstances.

As the sea, supported by the beaches and reefs, provides for most livelihoods, food and jobs from agriculture to tourism in the Caribbean, protecting the resource has become high priority.

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"Deportees" getting more expensive in Jamaica

These are the good "deportees", not the criminals. This is the Jamaica slang term for imported used cars primarily from Japan. Rising demand in the emerging markets of Europe and Asia, combined with fluctuations in the currency markets, is driving up the price of pre-owned vehicles in Japan and having a direct impact on the pocket of Jamaican consumers who are in the market for second-hand cars. In recent months, the price of used cars are risen by as much as 20 per cent.

Since the early 1990s, the opening of the Jamaican market to the second-hand vehicles, primarily from Japan, has enhanced the ability of Jamaicans to own vehicles and led to an explosion of cars on the island's roads. It is estimated that 19,000 vehicles come into Jamaica annually and that around 65 per cent of them, than 12,300, are used cars.

But with with the improving economic situation in former communist countries of eastern and central Europe, some of which have joined the European Union (EU), the demand for vehicles is on the rise. They, like Caribbean countries, have turned to Japan for second-hand vehicles and have been buying many top-end cars.

But worse for Jamaican buyers is the fact that the Japanese yen is appreciating against the U.S. dollar. At the start of the year, the yen was averaging 120.17 to the dollar. Now, it is closer 108.51 to the dollar - an appreciation of nearly 10 per cent.

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Jamaican netballers win bronze

Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls netballers played perhaps their game of the tournament with courage to capture the bronze medal over England at the 2007 World Netball Championships in Auckland, New Zealand.

In an exciting game, which saw the English team completely outscoring their rivals in the final quarter, after the world No.3 ranked team dominated the first three quarters in the match, the Caribbean team finished well and defended well as a group when it mattered to take third place in the thrilling 53-52 encounter. Australia defeated hosts New Zealand 42 to 38 to take the final.

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CARICOM supports suspension of Pakistan

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states have thrown its support behind the Commonwealth and its decision to suspend Pakistan from the councils of the 53 nation grouping.

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, set up specifically to deal with serious or persistent violations of the grouping's fundamental political values, announced the immediate suspension of Pakistan from the councils of the organisation.

The action came at the expiration of a previously set November 22 deadline for Pakistan to fall in line with Commonwealth requirements for President Prevez Musharraf's relinquishing of the post of army general.

In putting forward the position of regional governments on the issue, Antigua and Barbuda's Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer said the region is in agreement with the stance taken by the Commonwealth.

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Diasporo tourism

With the prediction that by 2031 the population of the UK will rise to over 70 million, with 70% of the rise over the next twenty years attributable to immigration, a new type of tourism is set to have a major impact on the travel industry – Diaspora tourism.

With projected net immigration there projected at 230,000 each year until 2012, many immigrants are looking to return to their roots, making the most of cheaper travel, thanks to an increase in low cost carriers serving Eastern Europe. Outlined in the World Travel Market Global Trends Report 2007 released recently, in partnership with market intelligence firm Euromonitor International, Diaspora tourism can be divided into three distinct segments – heritage, residential and festival.

Heritage tourism is predominantly driven by Diaspora tourists that wish to discover their ancestry and heritage. Residential tourists encompass Eastern Europeans that live and work abroad who have invested or plan to invest in property in their country of origin whilst Festival tourists include Diaspora tourists traveling back for important events and festivals such as Easter, Christmas, weddings and christenings. They spend more when they return to their home country on shopping and entertainment as costs are much lower than in their adopted country."

The fact is  diasporo tourism already plays a big role in the Caribbean.

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Simoes set to return to Reggae Boyz

Brazilian Rene Simoes, the man responsible for steering Jamaica to a historic berth in the 1998 World Cup, is expected to take charge of the Reggae Boyz as they bid for an appearance in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Days after being in office, the new Captain Horace Burrell administration terminated the contract of Serbian Velibor 'Bora' Milutinovic, who had signed a four-year contract with the then Crenston Boxhill-led administration in November of last year. The Brazilian, who has also had stints with Trinidad and Tobago's Soca Warriors, Honduras, the Brazil women's teams and the Iran Under-23 team, was, however, not immediately available, having still been bound by contractual ties to his Brazilian club.

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