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bulletJamaica’s debt crisis is cause for alarm
bulletPPP/C wins again in Guyana elections
bulletOpposition sweeps St Lucia elections
bulletUN ‘peacekeepers’ worsen things in Haiti
bulletCalls increase for end to state of emergency in T&T
bulletBarbados tops the Caribbean in quality of life
bulletCruise ships punish Grenada
bulletSlot machine gambling spreads in Jamaica
bulletJamaica’s UTech head gets international acclaim for diabetes work
bulletIMF commends Belize performance
bulletChinese hospital ship treats needy Jamaicans
bulletUS cuts off UNESCO funding after vote to admit Palestine

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.



December 2011

Jamaica’s debt crisis is cause for alarm

The world news has been dominated by the serious financial crises in Greece and Italy. Governments have fallen, thousands have taken to the street in protests and strikes. Now, According to front page Gleaner newspaper editorial, Jamaica is in similar financial crisis. 

Jamaica's lurching debt, at $1.6 trillion up to August, if untamed, threatens to overwhelm the country. The debt is 130 per cent of gross domestic product, which in relative terms, is 20 percentage points higher than Italy's and 30 points lower than Greece's, two governments that collapsed under the weight of their debt and lack of confidence by financial markets. The reported Jamaican debt grew over $400 million a day between January and August – and does not yet include many yet unaccounted for transactions.

Jamaica's debt crisis is the consequence of decades of borrowings that were not prudently spent and from which there has been inadequate returns. in the last fiscal year the government earned $314.55 billion from all taxes and grants and paid out $230 billion to service its debt. That left $84.5 billion, which was enough to pay only two-thirds of the wages and salaries, excluding pensions, of public-sector workers. So, the Government borrowed $212 billion to help cover its other expenses.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a rating agency have warned, the debt is unsustainable. Correction demands public-sector reform, which, inevitably, will include job cuts and an overhaul of the pension arrangements to require that all civil servants contribute. The system, too, has to be reformed to bring more people into the net.

Obviously there is big trouble ahead. Is this the real reason Prime Minister Golding quit?

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PPP/C wins again in Guyana elections

In Guyana, the latest results (as of this writing) show the Peoples Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) with 166,340 votes compared to 139, 678 for A Partnership For National Unity. The Alliance For Change secured 35, 333 votes while the United Force was last with 855.

No party secured a fifty percent majority. The PPP/C’s 48.6 percent hands them 32 seats while the APNU’s 40.8 percent will give them 20 seats in the country’s parliament. AFC will have 7 seats, meaning together, the APNU and AFC will control the House with a combined 33 seats

Donald Ramotar of the Peoples Progressive Party/Civic,has been declared the President following official results released by the Guyana Elections Commission, some 72 hours after voting concluded on Nov. 28th. This means he has taken his party to a fifth straight victory and will see the PPP/C now ruling Guyana for 24 years.


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Opposition sweeps St Lucia election

The St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) came storming back into government in the recent general election, five years after it was swept aside by the United Workers Party (UWP).

The SLP victory crushed the hopes of outgoing Prime Minister Stephenson King, who had predicted a 14-3 victory for the UWP and a second consecutive term in power. A number of Cabinet ministers, including Sports and Social Development Minister Lenard 'Spider' Montoute, National Security Minister Guy Mayers, Health Minister Dr Keith Mondesir, Tourism Minister Allan Chastanet and Foreign Minister Rufus Bousquet, all tasted defeat in the election, the ninth since the island attained its political independence from Britain in 1979.

However, there were immediate calls for recounts in some constituencies, such as Gros Islet, where Montoute was defeated by newcomer Emma Hippolyte by 15 votes.

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UN ‘peacekeepers’ worsen things in Haiti

The UN peace forces in Haiti, formally termed United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), is failing to stave off violence. Even worse, charges persist that they are contributing to the violence and making things worse. Haitians have been complaining bitterly, but such has been met with skepticism or considered isolated incidents. But not anymore, as a close examination reveals a pattern of systematic acts of heavy repression against the population. According to numerous Haitian commentators, not only has MINUSTAH been ineffective at providing security for the average Haitian, but it also has ignored extra-judicial killings and perpetrated acts of repeated violence against locals in cases such as the infamous Cité Soleil raid. Indeed, such violent abuses are MINUSTAH’s basic modi operandi for protecting the U.S.’ and other Western economic interests by targeting poor Haitians, many of whom are involved in Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s anti-neoliberal Fanmi Lavalas movement.

It seems the Haitian people would be better off without them so it’s time for them to go.

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Calls increase for end to state of emergency in T&T

The Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) has called on Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to end the state of emergency (SOE) that has been in place since August 21, saying that it has lost its effectiveness.

JTUM has joined with the non-governmental organisation Fixin T&T in circulating a petition urging citizens to sign and raise their objections to the SOE that also includes a five-hour curfew.

Even the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce said it would not favour an extension of the SOE and the curfew when it expires  December 5 2011. The private-sector group reiterated its position on Monday, saying that small businesses were feeling the effect of the government's crime-fighting plan.

JTUM spokesman and President of the Banking Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU), Vincent Caberra said that the SOE has negatively impacted on Trinidad and Tobago, including workers and the prime minister must put it to an end.

"The state of emergency has oppressed trade-union rights, political rights, civil rights, as well as economic activity on a very wide scale."

But while the trade unions and the private sector are calling for an end to the SOE and curfew, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) said that it wants the initiative to remain in effect. It said that gains had been made under the SOE and that the police were achieving goals it would not have been able to attain ordinarily.

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Barbados tops the Caribbean in quality of life

Barbados steps ahead of much of the rest of the Caribbean Basin, including the English-speaking Caribbean islands, in terms of its quality of life. The United Nations’ annual Human Development Report (HDR) showcases the Human Development Index (HDI) principles. Over the past two decades, it has been ranking its 187 member states and regions, while providing data on the measurement of three basic societal dimensions: health, education, and income. Barbados, a tourist destination with a population of approximately 280,000, has an HDI of 0.793, which translates to a rank of 47 out of 187 countries, leading all of the other English-speaking islands in its qualitative ranking in 2011; this represents an impressive improvement in its standing over the previous year.

With respect to the Caribbean and Latin American region, Barbados, which was deemed the only "developed" country in the 2010 HDR and labeled by the Commonwealth Secretariat’s 2011 economic report as "the most competitive country in the Caribbean", is above average for the region (0.731) and merits being placed in the ‘Very High Human Development’ category. Barbados is ranked third throughout the Americas and Caribbean for its HDI and first in the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index.

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Cruise ships punish Grenada

The Grenada government says cruise ships visiting the island this winter season are withholding payments. Junior Information Minister Glen Noel says the fees are now being deposited in a special account in the United States (US) because of a loan dispute between Grenada and Taiwan.

Grenada has accused Taiwan of seeking to cripple the island's economy over the repayment of the EC$76 million (US$28.1 million) loans given to Grenada before it broke off diplomatic relations in 2005. Taiwan has sought to seize Grenadian properties in the US in an attempt to collect the outstanding money, and had refused proposals for a negotiated settlement to the problem.

Taiwan has now filed injunctions with cruise ships and airlines servicing Grenada, demanding that whatever money due to Grenada should be paid to a special account in the US. It claims the loan, made through an export bank in Taipei, was negotiated by the former Keith Mitchell administration between 1997 and 2000, before it suddenly broke off diplomatic relations in favour of Beijing. "So this money is withheld and put into a special account, and later on, based on how that matter turns out, they would decide what to do with it. So temporarily, they are essentially withholding it".

Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GCIC) president Annie Braithwaite warned, "It is a difficult situation and people need to be cognisant of how serious the issue is. Our public image is being affected. We are being embarrassed out there and it could have an impact on foreign direct investment".

The Tillman Thomas government recently hired a US law firm as its seeks to have the injunction overturned.

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Slot machine gambling spreads in Jamaica

Just a few years ago slot machines were illegal in Jamaica. Now it is not only legal but seems to be spreading like wildfire.

Gassan Azan and business partner Adam Epstein say they will invest J$2 billion in a new chain of gaming shops, the first of which is already open for business in downtown Kingston. The partners plan to open 25 shops elsewhere in the capital city and across Jamaica within a one-year period under the name Sizzling Slots.

Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) said it has granted a non-gaming lounge licence to Azan and Epstein, which allows Sizzling Slots to operate up to 19 slot machines at each location. The new gaming operation enters a market that includes established players Supreme Ventures Limited, operators of Acropolis and Coral Cliff, and the smaller Vegas in Lane Plaza and Monte Carlo at the Terra Nova Hotel.

The size of the gaming market is unknown, but listed company Supreme Ventures makes more than J$210 million in revenue per quarter - J$636m for nine months ending September 30 - on the gaming/hospitality services segment of the business. The segment is a loss-maker for SVL.

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Jamaica’s UTech head gets international acclaim for diabetes work

President of the University of Technology Professor Errol Morrison is to receive the prestigious 2011 Hellmut Mehnert UN/UNESCO Award for the prevention of diabetes and its complications.

The award is to be presented at the 21st World Diabetes Congress of the International Diabetes Federation in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in December.

Morrison is being recognised for his "unique role in developing the epidemiological understanding and clinical care structures for diabetes in the Caribbean".

Named in honour of the physician, researcher and teacher, Professor Hellmut Mehnert of the University of Munich, the award recognises major contributions to the knowledge and understanding of diabetes, its complications, their causes and their prevention.

Morrison is the only individual from the Caribbean region and Central America to receive this distinguished award.

He shares the award with Professor Hans-Ulrich Häring of the University of TŸbingen, Germany, who is internationally renowned for his clinical and scientific studies of insulin resistance and insulin action in human diabetes.

Awardees are selected by an independent award committee advised by a nominating committee of internationally known diabetes experts.

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IMF commends Belize performance

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Belize has weathered the global financial crisis relatively well when compared with other CARICOM countries and is predicting 2.5 per cent economic growth for the country.

The IMF, which has just concluded its annual consultation with the country, said that:

bulletOutput expanded by 2.7 per cent in 2010, owing largely to activity in the electricity and wholesale and retail trade.
bulletThe 12-month inflation was at zero in 2010, reflecting primarily continued weakness in domestic demand, and picked up slightly in the quarter ending in May driven by higher food and fuel prices.
bulletThe country's external position strengthened, as a narrowing in the current account deficit, from 6.1 per cent of gross domestic product in 2009 to three per cent last year, underpinned an increase in foreign reserves to 3.25 months of imports at the end of 2010.
bulletThe public debt rose to 83 per cent of GDP.

But the IMF noted that in the fiscal year 2010-2011, the overall fiscal deficit widened by 0.3 percentage point of GDP to 1.5 per cent, reflecting an increase in expenditure and weak grant disbursements.


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Chinese hospital ship treats needy Jamaicans

The Chinese hospital ship, the Ark Peace. Has embarked on a mission of mercy as it docked in Kingston harbour, Jamaica.

Led by Rear Admiral Qiu Yanpeng, deputy commander of East China Sea Fleet, and Senior Captain Luo Yuan, the Chinese purpose-built ship boasts 300 beds, 2,406 sets of medical equipment, including ECGs and a CT scanner and eight operating theatres.

The Chinese doctors, distinguishable from the nurses and administrative staff by their white uniforms, attended to patients of all ages and ailments, either treating them at local sites, through the pharmacy or referring them for treatment on the 10,000-ton Ark Peace.

Coordinating the visit of the Ark Peace was Dr Marion Bullock-Ducasse, senior medical officer at the Ministry of Health.

Patients were seen at local hospitals and clinics in Kingston for general medicine, surgery, orthopaedics, paediatric, dermatology and ophthalmology, then were assessed and as necessary, they were treated on board the ship. Treatment such as CT scans and surgery are performed on the ship. Over 700 persons were expected from these medical treatments, all for free compliments of China.

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US cuts off UNESCO funding after vote to admit Palestine

The United States vowed to stop funding the United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), following its vote to grant Palestine full membership. Despite US arm-twisting opposition, the vote was carried by 107 votes in favour of admission and 14 votes against, with 52 abstentions. Of the CARICOM countries, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and Surinam voted yes, while Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis abstained. Guyana and Antigua were absent.

Wow! It's hard to believe not one single Caricom nation voted no with the US!

The United States provides 22 percent of the funding forof 

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