UNDILUTED pays tribute to John Maxwell by featuring two previous columns by him from the Hot Calaloo UNDILUTED archives:
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a wonderful book about a young girl in the Carribean, the first of her family to go to secondary school.
Banana war again
The US, which does not grow a single banana, teamed up with its multinational corporations like Chiquita to wage the banana war against the impoverished countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. Caribbean countries lost and some, particularly in the Eastern Caribbean, have seen their banana industry, on which they depended heavily, decimated. And the war is not even over completely.
Now, the European Parliament has just approved a tariff deal between the EU and Latin American banana producers, marking the end of a 16-year long trade war. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) also urged the bloc to boost its compensation aid to the 10 former European colonies in Africa and the Caribbean (ACP) which stand to lose from the deal.
Under the new accord, the EU is set to lower import tariffs on bananas from Latin American countries from €176 per ton to €114 in 2017, narrowing somewhat the gap with producers from former EU colonies, who are currently exempt from paying tariffs.
In parallel, the bloc is expected to boost its aid to the 10 ACP states - Belize, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname.
The countries are getting €200 million in aid in the 2010 to 2014 period. But MEPs want this to be topped up and extended to 2020 to help them to diversify their economies.
French Green MEP Catherine Greze, who had voted against the deal, said that the agreement was a "blow to developing countries and small banana producers" that will benefit big fruit exporters such as US giant Chiquita.
Banana producers from the EU's overseas territories in the Canary Islands, Guadeloupe, Madeira and Martinique also slammed the EU deal.
The Geneva agreement - a WTO-sponsored deal in 2009 between the US, the EU and Latin American banana-producing states - ended a 16-year-long international trade dispute and latest paved the way for the latest EU agreement.
In the meantime, some Latino producers, such as Colombia and Peru, have negotiated tariffs well below the €114 line with individual EU countries on a bilateral basis. Brazil is angling for 200,000 tonnes' worth of zero tariff bananas. But, others, like Ecuador and Guatemala, had held out for the EU-wide deal, complicating the picture, and breeding resentment.
"Contrary to what the EU Commission claims, the Geneva agreement doesn't put an end to the banana war" the APEB producers noted.
The EU is the world's largest banana market and more then 70 percent of the yellow fruit sold in the EU comes from Latin America - mainly Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica and Panama. Not one single Caribbean banana is sold in the vast US market. Around 20 percent of bananas originate in former colonies Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, Belize and Surinam. The rest are grown on EU territories: Cyprus, Greece, Madeira, Canary Islands and French overseas departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique.
The "banana trade war" began in 1993 when the EU established a preferential policy for imports from former British and French colonies, but earlier tensions date back as far as the 1970s.
The importance of the banana trade in Latin American history is clear to see in Guatemala. A 1954 coup d'etat in the country - broadly supported by the United Fruit Company (nowadays known as Chiquita) - plunged it into a 40-year period of dictatorships and civil war, costing the lives of over 200,000 citizens.
"Baby Doc" returns to Haiti
Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier made a surprise return to Haiti on Sunday, 25 years after being kicked out. Now, a judge says he can't leave. A flight ban has been issued against Duvalier. He is barred from leaving the country because there is a court order against him. The court charged Duvalier with corruption, embezzlement of public funds and criminal association. Duvalier ruled Haiti from 1971 until 1986, when the public ousted him. He had been living in France.
The former dictator's return to Haiti sparked fears and unrest inside the country and around the world. While his motives remain unclear, analysts have speculated that he returned during a time of great political uncertainty in the impoverished country in the hopes of taking advantage of the power vacuum and resuming power.
Haiti to give Aristide passport
The Haitian Government has announced that it is ready to issue a new passport to former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, which would allow him to return after over six years in exile in South Africa. Mr. Aristide, who fled the Caribbean country in 2004, formally requested earlier that Haitian authorities issue him a diplomatic passport, and provide guarantees for his safety. A former priest, Mr. Aristide has long maintained he was forced to step down under pressure from the United States and France.
Mr. Aristide, who was Haiti's first democratically elected leader but was forced to flee following two stints as president, has said he wants to return to help his countrymen, as the Americas' poorest nation struggles to recover from last year's earthquake.
Cuban nurses to the rescue of Jamaica
In an attempt to stem the critical shortage of nurses in Jamaica, 35 nurses are now in Jamaica from Cuba to begin working in the public health sector.
According to the Ministry of Health Rudyard Spencer:
The 35 nurses include operating-theatre nurses, ophthalmology, paediatrics, neonatal, intensive care nurses and 15 to be deployed in primary health care.
The ministry was interested in attracting other health workers from Cuba, including physicians, biomedical engineers, biomedical technicians, other technicians such as a/c refrigeration and electro-mechanical, paramedicals, nurse educators, dental mechanical engineers and dental nurses.
The Government of Jamaica entered into a bilateral agreement with the government of Cuba to train and supply critical health workers for the local sector. They signed two agreements in July 2009, one which led to the development of the Eye Care Centre located at St Joseph's Hospital and the other which would supply health specialists from Cuba supporting our public health-care system". The current bilateral agreement comes to an end in July 2011.
According to the findings of a report published last year by the World Bank for Latin America and the Caribbean Region, at least three out of every four nurses trained in Jamaica have migrated to developed countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.
Jamaican LP nurses for Canada
It’s not only registered nurses who are being recruited in Jamaica to work overseas. A group of 10 nurses is the first from the batch of 77 who, last October, completed the licensed practical nursing (LPN) pro-gram offered by the Kingston-Jamaica-based Pre-University School. This is the first set of Jamaicans to be trained under a Canadian curriculum to take up jobs in the Canadian province of Alberta.
Pre-University School delivered a LPN curriculum developed by NorQuest College in Alberta, Canada. In addition, graduates received a one-year temporary license from the College of Licensed Practical Nurses in Alberta. The nurses are allowed to work up to a year on a temporary license until they write their final exam to get their permanent license. The arrangement was brokered by Canadian-based firm, Marmicmon Integrated Marketing and Communications.
The Bethany Group, employer of the group of Jamaican nurses, is a faith-based organisation that operates a wide range of homes and services for older, disabled and vulnerable people, offering varying levels of health-care and hospitality services in the province of Alberta.
Guyanese jailed in US terror plot
A 60-year-old Guyanese national Abdel Nur has been sentenced to 15 years after pleading guilty last year for his role in an alleged plot to carry out a bombing at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Nur is being treated for lung cancer and will likely be designated to a federal medical center with the ability to provide treatment while he serves his sentence. He faces deportation after completing his sentence.
Nur was part of a plot that federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said was masterminded by another Guyanese, Russell Defreitas.
Defreitas, a former air cargo worker accused of masterminding the plot to blow up aviation fuel tanks and a pipeline at Kennedy in 2006, sought out Nur`s help in connecting with a Trinidad militant group. Defreitas, 67, and Abdul Kadir, 59, a former member of Guyana`s Parliament, were convicted of criminal charges in the plot in August. Defreitas is awaiting sentencing but Kadir was sentenced to life last December for his role. A fourth defendant, Kareem Ibrahim, 65, a citizen of Trinidad, was granted a separate trial, slated for April, due to a medical condition.
The JFK plot members` ultimate goal was to reach Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, a wanted in connection terrorist and who is a member of al- Qaeda, the Muslim terrorist group led by Osama bin Laden, prosecutors said.
35 ackee poisonings in Jamaica
WITH THIRTY-FIVE cases of ackee poisoning recorded in Jamaica between December 1, 2010, and Wednesday, January 12, this year, the Ministry of Health has placed the country on high alert when consuming the national fruit. The ministry said all the incidents of ackee poisoning had been from ackees cooked at home. It said no case of ackee poisoning had resulted from the consumption of the tinned product.
The public has also been warned against eating unfit and unopened ackees. Sspecial attention should be paid to ensure that only fit and well-opened ackees are used by householders. Ackees should be allowed to open naturally and fully on the tree before it is picked and eaten or sold. The water that is used to boil the ackee should be discarded immediately, and should not be ingested or reused for cooking other foods such as ground provisions and rice."
Ackee, Jamaica's national fruit, if not properly ripened, contains high levels of a toxin called hypoglycin, which can potentially lead to death if consumed.
T&T PM retracts appointment of 21-year-old to head security agency
Controversy has raged in Trinidad and Tobago over Prime Minister Kamla
Persad Bissessar ‘s secret appointment of 21-year-old Reshmi Ramnarine
to head the Strategic Services Agency (SSA). Many contend that Ramnarine
was inexperienced and unqualified to hold such position and, although she
tendered her resignation a week ago, the press has been questioning her
appointment, since she jumped 20 other candidates and lied about her
Jamaica airport named after James Bond creator
"Bond, James Bond!....."
Well the author of the James Bond series, Ian Fleming, now has an an international airport in Jamaica named after him. Do you remember Dr. No, the first James Bond movie with Sean Connery and Ursula Andress? The English author wrote it and several others while living in Jamaica in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He died in 1964 in England.
Do you remember the Bond movie "Goldeneye"? That is the name of the Fleming home in Jamaica near Ocho Rios and not far from the Ian Fleming Airport. Several of the movies from his books also include scenes filmed in Jamaica.
The airport becomes the Caribbean island's third international airport aims to serve "high-end tourists," according to the government's Jamaica Information Service. In the words of Jamaica PM Bruce Golding as he officially opened the airport:
"Ian Fleming made a contribution to Jamaica and gave Jamaica an image much larger than it would otherwise have had, because this was where the adrenalin flowed; where the creativity emerged that enabled him to write 13 James Bond novels,"
Golding also thanked the Fleming family for allowing the Jamaican government to use the name.
Cholera kills 4,000 in Haiti
More than 3,900 Haitians have died of cholera since the outbreak of the disease in mid-October, according to thethe country's health officials.
The disease has spread across all 10 provinces of Haiti, infecting 199,497 people. Of the 112,656 patients hospitalized, 110,031 have been successfully treated. Artibonite, the northern province, accounts for 852 cholera deaths, while 632 fatalities have been registered in Ouest province, including Port-au-Prince, where hundreds of thousands stay in camps more than a year after the devastating earthquake that claimed some 300,000 lives. Only one of the 239 cholera cases detected in the neighbouring Dominican Republic has resulted in death.
Though the origin of the outbreak remains unclear, French scientists traced it to a unit of Nepalese soldiers serving with the UN Stabilisation Mission for Haiti. The Nepalese troops are suspected of dumping untreated human waste into a river that was the area's main source of drinking water.
T&T govt. and opposition agree to resume hanging
The Trinidad and Tobago government and opposition have united to pass
legislation to resume the execution of convicted killers.
For involuntary manslaughter it would be up to the judges to deliver sentences.
Cedella Marley to design Jamaica track team uniform
Cedella Marley, the eldest daughter of reggae legend Bob Marley is not singing with the Melody Makers anymore. But, she is busy. She has jointly announced with PUMA that she will be designing the Jamaican track and field team’s Olympic uniform and ceremony wear for the London 2012 Games.
Usain Bolt is reported as saying he loves the partnership. He also told reporters that he could think of no better person to design the Jamaican Olympic outfits. Bolt has described Cedella Marley as a great designer who carries on the Jamaican spirit through the legacy of the Marley family. Bolt is expected to show a preview of the designs this Summer at the IAAF World Athletic Championships
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