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bulletUK Economist magazine pronounces Jamaica ‘unfixable’
bulletHaiti gets new Prime Minister
bulletSend them all to war
bulletTrinidad's LNG exports to US decline
bulletDominoes for Peace and crime reduction
bulletGuyana and Venezuela sign US$18m rice export deal
bulletJamaica to buy more of its own sugar
bulletBarbados least corrupt in WI
bulletHaiti`s Wyclef Jean gets another human rights honor
bulletBolt and Richards named athletes of the year
bulletOAS head rejects elections in Honduras
bulletFAO hails Guyana for forest preservation
bulletCommonwealth summit on climate change in T&T
bullet4 of recent fires in Guyana capital ruled arson


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

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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 2009

UK Economist magazine pronounces Jamaica ‘unfixable’

The highly regarded Economist, a weekly United Kingdom-based news magazine focusing on international politics and business news, is painting a "gloomy picture of Jamaica", suggesting that the country's burden of debt and crime are "unfixable". The article, published in the November 12 edition of the magazine, made reference to the huge debt the JLP inherited and the country's high debt-servicing bill. Some 60 per cent of government's revenue goes towards servicing debt.

Outlining an even darker future, The Economist reported that "the world recession has hit tourism, bauxite and remittances from Jamaicans abroad, the island's three big foreign-exchange earners. UC Rusal, the country's biggest bauxite operator, has shut most of its Jamaican mines because of low world prices".

It continued: "With tax revenue down and privatisation plans stalled, the fiscal deficit has soared."

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Haiti gets new Prime Minister

Lawmakers overwhelmingly gave final approval to Jean-Max Bellerive as Haiti's new prime minister Tuesday, making him the sixth
person to hold the post since 2004 in this politically unstable nation.
The Chamber of Deputies voted 70-2, with two abstentions, to back the
appointment of Bellerive, who in a question-and-answer session with lawmakers
earlier in the day promised to court investors and lift people out of poverty
in the hemisphere's poorest nation.
His credentials had already been approved by both parliamentary houses, and 
the Senate approved his Cabinet and plan of government Monday. Bellerive was nominated by President Rene Preval after the Senate ousted
Michele Pierre-Louis on Oct. 30. She was removed after a year in office 
because of alleged failures to ease poverty in Haiti and help it recover from storms
last year that killed hundreds and caused $1 billion in damages.

Bellerive is an economist who served in the administration of President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was forced from office with US complicity in a violent rebellion in  2004.  In recent years, he has played a major    role in coordinating and attracting investment and foreign aid.

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Send them all to war

Valuable nurse and teachers from Jamaica and all over the Caribbean have been recruited to fill US needs. There is an opportunity for the murdering criminals that plague the Caribbean to obtain gainful employment too. Send them to war and let them become mercenaries for the US. According to the Christian Science Monitor, as the U.S. tries to draw down its military presence in Iraq, as many as 10,000 Ugandans, hired by private security firms, have stepped up to take their place. Many of these Ugandans are paid just $600 per month, as opposed to the $15,000 per month paid to some American guards, making the country a lucrative venue for private recruiters.

But certainly the murdering criminals that plague the Caribbean could join these Ugandans too.

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Trinidad's LNG exports to US decline

Trinidad and Tobago's LNG exports to the United States, its major market, declined during the first seven months of the last fiscal year, while increased shipments went to higher priced markets in Europe and Asia.
Between October 2008 and April 2009, the United States received 129 billion cubic feet, or 33.2 percent, of the Caribbean nation's total liquefied natural gas exports, according to the government's recently published Review of the Economy 2009.
"This, however, represents declines of 6.7 percent in market share and 22.4 percent of US imports when compared to the comparative 2007/2008 period, and reflects increased shipments of LNG to higher priced markets in Europe and Asia," the document stated.
The United States and Spain are the two largest importers of LNG from Trinidad and Tobago. Spain's share of total exports also fell, from 25.6 percent to 24.8 percent, during the first seven months of 2008-09. About 50.5 percent of natural gas produced in Trinidad and Tobago during that period was utilized for the production of LNG.
LNG for export increased by 4.4 percent to 12,393 million cubic meters, from 11,875 million cubic meters in the October 2007 to April 2008 period.

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Dominoes for Peace and crime reduction

THE POLICE in the Kingston Western Division, Jamaica have turned to a national pastime - dominoes - in an effort to reduce crime in usually volatile communities.

Dominoes for Peace is the latest initiative from the police who patrol communities such as Arnett Gardens, Tivoli Gardens, Rema, Trench Town, Rose Town and sections of Maxfield Avenue.

"The aim is to let the people see that there is a different way of life than violence, and we want to use dominoes to break down the imaginary barriers that have been erected between these communities," Superintendent Hugh Bish, reported head of the Western Kingston police.

"We had teams from gangs, including Action Pak, Gully Side, Entourage, Fatherless Crew, Federal, Jones Town, Arnett, Tivoli, Denham Town, Ramsey Road and Sunlight Street participating in the competition," Bish said. These are all areas in the Western Kingston Division and homes to some of the most notorious gangsters in the Corporate Area. A police team also participated in the day-long competition which Bish said was played in good spirit.

He noted that several agencies, including the Social Development Commission, the Dispute Resolution Foundation and the United Nations Development Fund, contributed to the competition and remain on-board for other competitions.

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Guyana and Venezuela sign US$18m rice export deal

Guyana and its South American neighbour Venezuela have entered into a US$18.8 million (GY$3.7 billion) export deal that will see Guyana exporting over 50,000 tons of rice to Venezuela. An initial 10,000 tons of white rice and 40,000 tons of paddy will be exported to Venezuela. The paddy will be exported at US$330 per metric ton including the cost and freight while the white rice five percent broken at US$560. These two prices represent "a very substantial percentage" above what is taking place in the market from export and based on recent trends.
Guyana’s agriculture minister Robert Persaud  commented, "I must say that we are very appreciative of President Chavez’s government of Venezuela for entering into this agreement, it is the first agreement we have of this kind and perhaps the first time we will be exporting rice to Venezuela."

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Jamaica to buy more of its own sugar

Jamaica has announced plans to buy more of its own sugar and sell less overseas. Jamaica has been importing some 60,000 tons of brown sugar annually, mainly from other producing countries in the region, to satisfy local demand.

The 65,000 tons of the refined product that the country also consumes would still have be sourced overseas. This is because Jamaica does not refine sugar, so will still have to import refined sugar for the local market. Assuming the Jamaican factories hit the 148,000-tonne target, Jamaica would be able to supply 58,000 tons of sugar to the domestic market, after the US and Europe contracts are filled. Jamaica last hit that target in 2007.

Sugar is now selling below 23 US cents on the world market, coming from a high of 25 US cents in the summer, but future contracts suggest the price could come down from those highs and normalise at 14 to 15 US cents next year.

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Barbados least corrupt in WI

The 2009 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) from Transparency International shows Barbados as the least corrupt country in the Caribbean. Of the 180 countries studied, the highest scorers in the 2009 CPI were New Zealand at 9.4, Denmark at 9.3, with Singapore and Sweden tied at 9.2. Barbados placed 20th with a score of 7.4. However, don’t accept the study as gospel as it has been criticized as imprecise and too subjective.

Jamaica ranked 99 behind countries such as Canada, Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago. Haiti continues to be the country perceived to be most corrupt in the region and among the worst in the world, with a CPI of 1.8. For the actual scores over the last three years of some countries, see below:

Rank Country 2009 2008 2007


 New Zealand

























 United Kingdom





 United States










 Saint Lucia





 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines










Puerto Rico 5.8 5.8  


Cuba 4.4 4.4 4.2


Suriname 3.7 3.6 3.5
99 Dominican Republic 3.0 3.0 3.0
99 Jamaica 3.0 3.1 3.3
168 Haiti 1.8 1.4 1.6
179 Afghanistan 1.3 1.5 1.8
180 Somalia 1.1 1 1.4

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Haiti`s Wyclef Jean gets Another Human Rights Honor

Grammy Award-winning Haitian, singer, songwriter and producer is raking in the honors – the human rights honors. Jean, along with U2`s Bono, was presented with Ripple of Hope Award at Chelsea Pier in New York City by The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

Jean, The Haitian ambassador at large, was honored for his work to strengthen and inspire change in his native country of Haiti through his Yéle Haiti organization.`As champions of justice, Bono and Wyclef have brought the national spotlight to human rights violations, empowered local activists, and transformed the lives of millions of people living in poverty from Port-Au-Prince to Darfur,` said Kerry Kennedy, founder of the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights. `Their efforts evoke the spirit of my father and we are honored to recognize them.`

Jean also performed at the ceremony. The award comes on the heels of several other human rights awards presented to the singer this year, including by ASCAP and BET in June, 2009.

New York Governor David Paterson and New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine were among the celebrities at the event. There was also a special tribute to Senator Edward Kennedy, who served as a member of the RFK Board of Directors from 1968 until his passing this year.

The RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the human rights movement through innovative support to human rights defenders around the world. With an over forty-year track record of attaining concrete results on cutting-edge social justice issues, the RFK Center carries forward Robert F. Kennedy`s vision of a more just and peaceful world.

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Bolt and Richards named athletes of the year

Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt and Jamaican-born United States 400 metres runner Sanya Richards were named athletes of the year in Monte Carlo.

Bolt, 23, wooed the crowds again this year at the world athletics championships in Berlin when he took the 100 and 200 metres individual titles in world record times and also for good measure was part of the Jamaican 4x100 metres winning team. Those titles were added to the Olympic triple he won in Beijing last year and came off the back of him starting his season with a car accident.
Naturalized American citizen, Sanya Richards, has dominated the women’s 400 meters. After failing in the Beijing Olympics, she recovered to capture gold in both the 400 and 4x400 relay in the World Champs in Berlin.

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OAS head rejects elections in Honduras

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, stated during a special session of the Permanent Council held to analyze the political situation in Honduras that the agreements reached in relation to the following points are still fully in force:


the condemnation of the illegitimate removal of Constitutional President José Manuel Zelaya that was unequivocally qualified as a coup d’état;


the demand for the reestablishment of constitutional order in Honduras that includes explicitly the return of President Zelaya to his authorities;


the total rejection of the de facto regime and its actions;


the suspension of the State of Honduras from its participation in the OAS, in strict appliance of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and the diplomatic steps taken to fulfill our purposes.

Referring to the recent elections of November 29, the head of the largest hemispheric body warned that "an election does not erase, on its own, the forced deposition of the constitutional President, his expulsion from the country and his seclusion, even today, under precarious conditions in the enclosed Embassy of a sister country (Brazil)."

Also, the Secretary General appreciated the fact that immediately after June 28 all member countries of the OAS condemned the coup d’état, as well as the fact that no "State of the hemisphere or of the world has recognized the government of Roberto Micheletti." This, he added, "is an enormous success for our Democratic Charter and constitutes a precedent that we must value and protect."

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FAO hails Guyana for forest preservation

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations today hailed Guyana’s pioneering efforts in the climate change fight as laudable during a two-day workshop held to discuss concerns regarding financial reward for countries with high forest cover.
FAO Representative Clause Ecklemann said that other regional countries can learn from Guyana which has vast knowledge in pioneering for compensation The session is being held at the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) and attended by representatives of various organisations including Conservation International, the Office of Climate Change and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Ecklemann said that during a meeting of the Caribbean Subgroup of the Latin American and Caribbean Forestry Commission in Ecuador the Directors of Forestry in heavily forested countries expressed concerns of not being able to benefit from transfer payments for forestry preservation.
He noted that countries like Guyana and Suriname, which have an 80 percent land mass, low population density and about four persons per square kilometer, have basically maintained their forest cover. Cuba was also named as having 30 percent net gain in forest cover in comparison to Barbados and Antigua which have very little forest of less than five percent.

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Commonwealth summit on climate change in T&T

Commonwealth leaders are holding a three-day summit in Trinidad and Tobago. The meeting was opened by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth. Host Prime T&T Minister Patrick Manning said the meeting aimed to send a firm message in favor of cooperation to limit global warming ahead of UN climate change talks due in Copenhagen on December 7-18. Around half of the 53-nation Commonwealth group, mainly former British colonies, are island nations scattered across the world's oceans. Some of these fear they could be swamped or even literally wiped off the map in coming decades if sea levels rise as a result of worsening climate change. Leaders of the 53-nation body took up that challenge, issuing a declaration on Saturday that backed upcoming talks in Copenhagen meant to draft a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol.

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4 of recent fires in Guyana capital ruled arson

The report is out. Four of the fires that plagued Guyana capital Georgetown have been ruled to be arson by the Guyana Fire Service investigation. The historic wooden buildings of that city are particularly vulnerable to fire which is made even worse by inadequate water supply problems.

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