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Jamaica's Rex Nettleford Is Dead
One of the most outstanding and most versatile Jamaicans ever, the Vice
Chancellor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies, Professor
Ralston Milton `Rex` Nettleford, is dead. He died in the George Washington
Hospital, Washington DC. He was 76, just a day short of his 77th birthday.
He suffered a heart attack while on a fundraising trip for the University
of the West Indies (UWI). He reportedly never regained consciousness.
"Many will no doubt refer to his many achievements: his
eloquence in the spoken and written word; his outstanding career as an
educator; his prolific writings; his seminal contribution to the arts and
culture; the articulate expression of his political philosophy.
In all of this, his central goal was simple: the recognition
of identity - the sense of self, and the upliftment of the marginalized
descendants of the African slaves, who suffered through the colonial
experience and still continue the struggle for development and prosperity.
Nettleford was a Jamaican scholar, social critic and choreographer. He was a recipient of the 1957 Rhodes Scholarship to Oriel College, Oxford, and returned to Jamaica in the early 1960s to take up a position at the University of the West Indies. At the UWI, he first came to attention as a co-author (with M.G. Smith and Roy Augier) of a groundbreaking study of the Rastafari movement in 1961. In 1963 he founded the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, an ensemble which under his direction did much to incorporate traditional Jamaican music and dance into a formal balletic repertoire.
For over twenty years, Nettleford had also been the artistic director for the University Singers of the University of the West Indies, Mona campus in Jamaica.
The extent of death and destruction caused by 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti is so great that it will take months, if ever, to determine. So far:
World famous son of Haiti, singer-songwriter Wyclef Jean, already a leading benefactor and unofficial Haiti ambassador, has led the way in rallying famous entertainers to join him in fundraising concerts on stage and on worldwide TV. CARICOM and other countries all over the world have responded with great generosity with massive aid, but with ports and infrastructure in shambles and the immense nature of the task, distribution to the victims proved extremely difficult. The aid stacked up as it could not get to the hungry, injured, grief-stricken victims leading to mounting tensions among a million people left homeless.
THE Caribbean Community’s emergency aid mission to Haiti, comprising
Jamaica has granted use of the Norman Manley Airport in Kingston as a primary hub, given its short distance from Haiti (45 minutes), for all emergency missions and waived all landing fees and invite aircraft parked in Haiti to come to Jamaica in a bid to free up space on the tarmac in Port-au-Prince so that more aid could get into that country.
Jamaica also offered the Reynolds Pier in Ocho Rios, St Ann, to Haiti-bound vessels transporting humanitarian aid as a point where the ships in the area can restock with potable water.
Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson accepted an invitation to be CARICOM's representative on a coordinating committee established to organise an international conference to flesh out a strategic plan for Haiti's reconstruction.
OECS signs economic union treaty
Leaders from the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) have signed a formal treaty to establish an Economic Union. The Treaty of Basseterre establishes the OECS Economic Union.
The signing of the agreement comes 28 years after the leaders signed
the original treaty establishing the OECS. The OECS groups the islands of
Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the
Grenadines, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla and the British
French-Caribbean say "No" to more autonomy
On January 10, two of France's Caribbean département d'outremer (DOM), Martinique and Guyane, rejected the possibility of greater autonomy. They did so by a substantial majority in a 69.8 per cent no vote in Guyane, and 78.9 per cent no vote in Martinique, and in an unusually high turnout of voters - 55 per cent. The rejection was unexpected, coming as it did after a year in which strikes and huge street protests had taken place, but reflected what might be best described as a latent realism on the part of voters about the DOM's and perhaps the Caribbean's economic place in the world.
Although views differ, there appear to be three reasons why voters decided to reject an option which could have led to independence.
Caribbean, Latin America lose 2.2m jobs
Latin America and the Caribbean lost 2.2 million jobs in 2009 amid the global financial crisis, reversing five straight years of falling unemployment, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said Monday. The United Nations agency said in its annual report that the downturn raised the region's urban unemployment rate to 8.4 per cent last year from 7.5 per cent in 2008, and the total number of unemployed rose to 18.1 million. High commodity prices for most of the last decade led years of high economic growth in the region, but falling prices hurt economies last year.
According to the United Nations' regional economic commission, CEPAL.:
The ILO's 2009 Latin American and the Caribbean Labor Review is based on household surveys and official government statistics in 14 countries.
Jamaica battles large scale illegal logging
CLOSE TO 900 pieces of lumber with a street value of nearly $5 million were seized recently in Jamaica by police investigators who have widened their probe of a lumber racket uncovered last week. Assistant Commandant Calvin Allen of the Island Special Constabulary Force said the lumber, some treated and ready for export, were seized from premises in the Red Hills area of St Andrew. He said his investigators were following strong leads, which indicated that the racket was very high-tech and well financed.
The lumber was derived from the juniper tree, commonly called juniper cedar, which is one of Jamaica's rare and native species. The Forestry Department said it came from the Cinchona section of the Blue Mountain Range. A team had been sent to the area to determine the extent of the deforestation cause by the illegal activity.
The trees were chopped up and treated before being sold to individuals locally. These individuals would then sell them overseas to be used in the high-end furniture industry. The juniper cedar, according to the Forestry Department, takes approximately 40 years to mature and are mainly found on the eastern end of the island. The wood derived from it is one of the most beautiful of the ornamental woods in Jamaica, with a reddish-brown colour, a fine and uniform texture and a very distinct aroma.
St. Kitts PM Takes Oath of Office
St. Kitts and Nevis`s Dr. Denzil Douglas, was yesterday sworn in on Thursday. Jan. 28, 2010 as the fourth prime minister of the federation. Among those witnessing the ceremony, which was carried live on radio and television, were several government representatives, Ambassadors of the Republic of China on Taiwan, Venezuela and Cuba and supporters and family members. Douglas` St. Kitts and Nevis Labor Party was returned to power in the January 25th election, winning six of the eight seats in the country`s parliament.
WI too dependent on imported foods
According to the recently published Caribbean Food & Drink Report, despite both land availability and a good climate, agricultural output remains low and the region remains heavily dependent on imports.
In Jamaica alone in 2008, the country exported food and drink products worth US$190.4mn but imported products worth US$1.03bn. However, the report concedes that regional governments have started to focus on increasing food production in order to decrease their dependence on imports and vulnerability to spiraling global commodity prices.
Citing Jamaica as an example, the report claims that the Jamaican government has also been looking to increase domestic production. In August of last year, it was reported that the country achieved a 22.3 percent year-on-year increase in domestic food crop production.
Editor’s comment: What about cheaper imported foods dumped in the region to unfairly compete and gobbling up the market for local foods? Haiti is a good example of that. For example, in the past dairy farmers have been forced to dump their milk unsold because of competition from imported powdered milk.
Guyana to receive US$1.5m grant from Iran
Guyana is to benefit from a US$1.5 million grant for its health sector,
and will also receive assistance from the Islamic Republic of Iran to map
its mineral resources. This was revealed by President Bharrat Jagdeo recently
during a press conference at the Office of the President, where he
discussed his recent trip to the Middle East that included visits to
Kuwait and Iran.
Jamaica’s Foreign Minister praises Cuba
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kenneth Baugh, has hailed the Cuban Government for its strong commitment to the advancement of the region and the developing world in general.
"Cuba, like Jamaica, has been a strong supporter of the
integration of the region through the established mechanism of the
Cuba-Caribbean Community Summit. Time after time, Cuba has asserted
herself as a champion of solidarity and South-South co-operation,"
Minster of Health, Rudyard Spencer, in July, signed an agreement with
outgoing Cuban Ambassador, Gisela Garcia Rivera, to establish the eye care
centre at St Joseph's Hospital, which will provide ophthalmology services
for the English-speaking Caribbean under the Cuba Eye Care Project.
France to cancel Haitian debt
France's Finance Minister says she has asked creditors of earthquake-ravaged Haiti to speed up plans to cancel its debt. Christine Lagarde says she "made contact with all Paris Club members so we accelerate the cancellation of the government of Haiti's debt".
France is president of the Paris Club of creditor nations, an informal group of industrialised countries. Lagarde said Friday she is also asking non-members Venezuela and Taiwan, who are owed significant amounts by Haiti, to help in debt reduction .
France was owed €58 million (US$84 million), of which €4 million was already cancelled. The rest was due to be cancelled in stages over several years until 2014. This will now be sped up.
Shaggy, Caribbean musicians on Haiti benefit track
Wyclef Jean is not alone. Jamaica's Shaggy has recorded a new song with a diverse Caribbean cast to raise money for earthquake survivors in Haiti. The song is called "Rise Again" and was written by the Jamaican reggae rapper. It features fellow Jamaican reggae star Sean Paul, Haitian musician Belo and soca singers Alison Hinds of Barbados and Destra Garcia from Trinidad and Tobago. Shaggy said the song lets Haitians know that "we are here for them." It is part of a relief fund established by mobile phone company Digicel.
Shaggy to the rescue of children’s hospital in Jamaica
Shaggy again! International reggae superstar Orville 'Shaggy' Burrell has come to the aid of the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Jamaica. He has established the Shaggy and Friends Make A Difference charity foundation. His assistance over the years has raised millions of dollars through his annual charity concert. This, twinned with donating equipment to assist sick Jamaican children at the hospital, has made a difference in the lives of several sick, needy and even dying children
The entertainer said, as was customary, this year's annual event was a success, with the foundation raising J$31 million for the only children's hospital in the island. He said he was pleased with the support of his fellow Jamaicans.
Linstead residents get free eye care
HUNDREDS OF persons turned out at the Lions Club Civic Centre in Linstead, St Catherine, Jamaica, recently to access free eye care. The service was offered through a partnership
between the Lions Club of North St Catherine and the Canadian Vision Care (CVC) group. In its quest to create quality health care, the club has been working with the team of Canadian doctors for more than 25 years to offer assistance to the most vulnerable in Linstead and its environs.
Dr Richard Watts, optometrist of CVC, said the team has been providing free examinations, glaucoma medications and eyeglasses for the less fortunate in the country each year. The group has been visiting the island since 1981.
Guyana gold, gem miners protest tree felling rules
Hundreds of gold and diamond miners in Guyana's main mining town on
Monday protested against restrictions on tree felling proposed by the
government as part of a $250 million forest-saving carbon deal with
2 Haitian footballers in Superbowl
Two Haitian players will grace this year’s Superbowl football championship game in Miami. They are Indianapolis Colts receiver Pierre Garcon and New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
Pierre Garcon was drafted by the Colts in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He played college football at Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio. During the 2009 season, Garçon had 47 receptions for 765 yards and 4 touchdowns. On January 16, 2010, during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game, he chased after Ed Reed during an interception and forced a fumble, recovered by Dallas Clark. On January 24, 2010 Garçon broke the record for most receptions in an AFC Championship Game, with 11 catches for 151 yards and 1 touchdown.
Jonathon Vilma was originally drafted by the New York Jets 12th overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of Miami. On February 29, 2008 the Jets traded Vilma to the New Orleans Saints for a 4th round draft pick in the 2008 NFL Draft and a conditional pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. In his first season with the Saints, Vilma was a bright spot on a weak defensive unit. Vilma played in all 16 games, and recorded 132 tackles with one sack.
Bob Marley's spirit lives on at Grammys
Ziggy Marley, 41, his eldest son, picked up the fifth Grammy of his
career, this time in the children's musical album category for his
all-star project "Family Time."
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