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a wonderful book about a young girl in the Carribean, the first of her family to go to secondary school.
2 brutal massacres shock Guyana
It started in Lusignan, a tiny village in East Coast Demerara. It houses a predominantly East Indian community. There, a gang of about 25 men launched a vicious merciless attack against unarmed people and killed in cold blood 11 people, including five children.
Residents reported that they made several attempts to contact the Vigilance Police Station during the siege. However, the police did not respond promptly, and arrived at the scenes of the crime well after the gunmen had escaped. As such, angry residents staged protests to vent their disappointment with the country’s fractured national security.
A former soldier, Rondell "Fineman" Rawlins has claimed responsibility of the Lusignan massacre. He has been wanted for the December 2006 assassination of Agriculture Minister Satydeow Sawh. Rawlins’ girlfriend, 19-year-old Tenisha Morgan, vanished on January 18, 2008 while on her way to a city hospital to deliver her baby. Rawlins believed that his girlfriend was kidnapped by law enforcement officials in an effort to force Rawlins to turn himself in. The Joint Services has repeatedly denied these claims.
The police have offered a G$50 million (US$250,000) reward for Rawlins' capture. He is wanted for several murders, including the April 2006 assassination of Agriculture Minister Satyadeow 'Sash' Sawh, several of his siblings and a bodyguard.
Almost three weeks later, before Guyanese at home and abroad recovered from the shock, another brutal massacre took place. This time it was the in the small mining town of Bartica, near the Brazilian border. The town has a population of about 15,000 and is the launching point for people who work in the bush mining gold and diamonds.
Twelve people, including three lawmen, were gunned down during a one-hour assault. At least 20 unidentified gunmen using speedboats first attacked a police outpost Sunday, killing three officers and seriously wounding two others, before taking away various firearms and freeing a number of inmates. Reports said the men then hijacked a police vehicle which they used to run amok, shooting indiscriminately at homes and businesses. Police believe that the gang that carried out the attack was the same group which killed 11 people, including five children at Lusignan. This time both Afro- and Indo-Guyanese were among the victims.
Police have also since linked that attack to the gang led by the country's most wanted man, Rondel 'Fine Man' Rawlins. The police found the one of two speed boats used in the massacre. They have also arrested three suspects who turn out to be local residents of Bartica. So far despite suspicions they have not been linked directly to Rawlins. The arrests were possible due to an intense search exercise by that country’s Joint Services , comprised of police and army police forces.
These arrests followed the detaining and formal charging of 19-year-old James Anthony Hyles in connection with the previous Lusignan massacre.
Caribbean US citizens rally behind Obama
There is passionate support among Caribbean citizens of the US for Barack Obama. Hot Calaloo is delighted to join in that support and enthusiastically endorses him for president.
I'm enthusiastic about Obama, because this time there will be a real choice. I am tired of compromise presidential candidates. Ferraro and Lieberman were once our VP nominees for God's sake!
I like Obama's emphasis on 'good judgement'. That is key, and not because I stress that in my book ("Boycott Money and Save your Soul"). If Democrats used good judgment we would never have invaded Iraq.
Obviously Ferraro does not have good judgment and dares to stick by her atrocious statements. She charges that Obama got 90% of the black Mississippi vote because he is black and he would not get such support if he were white. One of Obama's greatest strength has been his ability to blur the line between races and that has been critical to his success. This was a deliberate racial tactic by Ferraro to undermine that unity and highlight that blurred line. If Hillary was a black woman, would she have gotten 75% of the white vote in Mississippi? My apologies for even posing the Ferraro-like question, but only to make the point of how ridiculous Ferraro is.
The complete results of EVERYBODY'S, the Caribbean-American magazine, presidential survey conducted between February 21 and March 1 is on www.everybodysmag.com. Here are some findings:
Even calypso icon, the Mighty Sparrow and Jamaica's reggae artist
Cocoa Tea have songs in support of Obama. Check them out! Listen to them right here below.
JLP and PNP unite in tributes to Fidel Castro
Jamaica made a huge step forward towards political maturity as both the ruling JLP and PNP paid glowing tributes to Fidel Castro upon the announcement of his retirement. Gone was the intense hostility between the parties generated by the US in the turbulent seventies and eighties to destabilize the Michael Manley-led PNP government for its friendship to Cuba. The present JLP Prime Minister, Trevor Golding, deserves credit for not following his predecessor Edward Seaga in those divisive political games orchestrated by the US at Jamaica’s peril.
Senator Dwight Nelson, deputy leader of government business acknowledged that Castro has indelibly stamped not only on the history of Cuba, but on the considerations of governance throughout the world. He also reminded that Cuba under Castro has provided invaluable assistance to the Jamaican society.
Mr. K.D. Knight, a former foreign minister in the last PNP administration under P.J. Patterson, was severe in his criticism of the US for what he described as the hypocrisy of that country's policy of isolating Cuba, characterised by a stifling economic embargo. The US continues to enforce this illegal embargo while communist China has become its biggest trading partner.
Senator A.J. Nicholson, leader of opposition business in the Upper House, spoke of Fidel Castro's "kindness to the people of the Third World". There were several lessons to be learned by Jamaica from Castro's rule, he said. Among these, he cited self-reliance and discipline. It was this approach to life in Cuba which allowed the Castro regime to resist outside pressure, he said.
Good government is not good enough in Barbados
The Government of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) had provided one of the most stable economies in the Caribbean, has a corruption-free record and had maintained good control of the crime problem which plague so may other Caribbean countries. In short, they seemed to have done a good job. But, obviously in the mind of the voters, "..not good enough. For, in the recent general elections, then Prime Minister Owen Arthur, saw his BLP routed as the opposition Democratic Labour Party (DLP) took 20 of the 30 seats.
DLP leader, David Thompson, has been sworn in as the new Prime Minister. The Barbados Labour Party had been seeking a fourth consecutive term in government. It took power in September 1994 under outgoing Prime Minister Owen Arthur.
In defying the odds, Mr. Thompson, a 48-year-old attorney, had lost the leadership of his party following his second successive defeat at the polls in the 2003 general election. He had resumed the DLP leadership when the man who replaced him, Clyde Mascoll, defected to the ruling BLP two years ago, and became a Minister of State.
Antigua won but gets ‘peanuts’ in US compensation
Antigua won compensation of US$21 million per year from the United States in a long-running trade dispute about gambling. However, the amount was far lower than the US$3.44 billion of 'cross-retaliation' it had been seeking as compensation for being shut out of the U.S. online gambling market. This victory came about in 2005, when the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled that a U.S. law allowing only domestic companies to provide online horse-race gambling services discriminated against foreign companies. It's expected that the twin-island state would claim compensation by withholding intellectual property and related fees.
Of course, the United States is pleased that the figure arrived at by the WTO is more than 100 times lower than Antigua's claim. With such a small amount, the real victor unsurprisingly is the US and not little Antigua.
WTO side with Mexico in steel "dumping by US
Mexico has joined Antigua in winning a trade dispute against the US. Thisd time the World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel ruled recently against some United States (US) anti-dumping measures to combat imports of Mexican stainless steel, in another rebuff for a controversial U.S. trade remedy. But the panel said the controversial method of calculating penalty duties on imports sold at unfairly low prices - known as 'zeroing' - was permissible in some circumstances. The net result of this complicated 'zeroing' formula is that it seems that Mexico, like Antigua, may have won the case, but could lose the war by inadequate penalty compensation.
Protestors block funeral in Jamaica
Jamaica seems to be the world champions of protest. This time the target of protests was a cemetery in the usually very quiet rural town of Shettlewood in Hanover.
There has been a long-standing dispute between the residents of the area, operators of the funeral home and National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA). The residents are adamant that no one should be buried there as the chemicals used to preserve bodies will contaminate the water table, thus affecting their water supply.
Hundreds of angry, placard-bearing demonstrators thwarted Delapenha's Funeral Home from conducting its first burial at the controversial Royal Rest Cemetery. The protesters took up position from mid-morning, blocking the main entrance with boulders and limbs and standing guard at the other entrance with the intention of preventing the hearse from entering.
The hearse had reached as far as Anchovy, but drivers were informed by police of the demonstration. Hopes that the protesters would disperse were dashed, and at 6:19 p.m. the hearse was forced to return to the funeral home with the body. The protest in Anchovy caused traffic snarls for more than a mile.
Vehicles large enough to carrying a coffin faced intense scrutiny by the demonstrators, as the protesters checked if attempts were made to sneak the body into the cemetery. Placards hurled insults at NEPA, the environmental body responsible for sanction of such projects. Some read, 'NEPA sold us out,' 'The Jamaican agencies are corrupt and we want international help,' 'No burial today', and 'Where is the public defender who will defend our rights?'.
NEPA has defended the siting of the cemetery, saying that due process was followed in approval.
Air Jamaica cutting employees and service to St. Lucia
Air Jamaica is cutting a whopping 30% of its employees. Staff at both the Kingston and Montego Bay airports were advised by their managers that there was uncertainty as to who would remain employed to the company within the next two weeks, a source disclosed. This latest news came as a surprise, particularly to the National Workers' Union (NWU), which represents the workers.
The airline has also served notice that it is suspending its current thrice weekly service to the island of St. Lucia, effective April 1, 2008. It is expected to be a blow to St. Lucia’s tourism.
These moves are among the desperate attempts to cut costs which could ground the airline.
Morning-after pill hard to get in Jamaica and Barbados
In Jamaica a woman does not have the legal right to choose as abortion
is illegal. But, it is legal in Barbados. Nevertheless, the ‘morning
after pill" is very hard to get even though it is legal in both
According to the study, titled Jamaican and Barbadian Health Care Providers' Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Regarding Emergency Contraceptive Pills, conducted by Eileen A. Yam et al of Population Council, almost half of more than 400 health care providers surveyed in the two islands have at some point refused to provide the method to women seeking it.
The reasons the survey said they gave for refusing the method to eligible women included the negative attitudes towards the method and lack of supplies.
The researcher found that nearly all surveyed providers had heard of the method, a majority of the health care providers mistakenly believed there were medical reasons not to dispense emergency contraception to some patients, such as women with thromboembolic disease or liver disease, breastfeeding women and smokers older than 35, though use of the method would not pose a risk to such women.
The survey, which was conducted between 2004 and 2006, also revealed that two out of five Jamaican and one in four Barbadian providers had refused a woman access to the method because she had recently used it, though there is no medical evidence that women should not use emergency contraception as often as necessary.
Twenty-nine per cent of providers in Barbados and 13 per cent in Jamaica believed the method was effective only within 24 hours of intercourse. These findings suggest that providers may be denying access to women they mistakenly believe cannot benefit from the method.
In Jamaica, the study said, providers tended to be more accepting of emergency contraception, perhaps because Jamaica has offered it without a prescription since 2003.
UN adopts late Cheddi Jagan's New Global Human Order
The United Nations General Assembly has adopted by consensus the role
of the United Nations in promoting a New Global Human Order which was
first promoted by Guyana’s late President Dr Cheddi Jagan.
Jagan recognised the potential problems of poverty, which could result in the undermining of democracy. He sought to influence world leaders and educate people with regards to "the environment of intense economic and social crisis". Living in a world where issues of politics, the economy, social justice and the environment were at a watershed.
Bahamas, Jamaica and Barbados among top 10 destinations
Internationally-renowned travel site Expedia dot com has published its ratings for top destination countries.
Cockpit Country gets million-dollar conservation grant
A number of local environmental organisations, including the University of the West Indies (UWI) are to benefit from several million dollars geared at beefing up efforts to conserve Jamaica’s eco-forest, the Cockpit Country. The United States based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced the approval of three grants valued at US $840,000 (J$59,000,000) in November of last year to continue efforts to protect the ecologically sensitive area.
The grants were awarded to the Windsor Research Centre, which operates from within the Cockpit Country, the UWI's department of life sciences and the Miami-based Fairchild Botanical Gardens. A portion of an additional grant was also awarded to Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide, which is supporting local lobbyists, Jamaica Environment Trust, in its bid to protect the Cockpit's unique landscape.
Returning residents praise Jamaica police
Many overseas Jamaicans, like many other overseas Wet Indians, yearn to return home to retire. However, often this dream does not always have a happy ending in Jamaica. Returnees are often perceived as rich and become targets for crime. Although there was a high rise in criminal activity in 2007 - such as murders, robberies, rape - at least one group, the Resettlement of Returning Residents Association, had high praise for the much maligned police.
Their president Percival Latouche, said the police, along with the airport authorities, customs and other agencies worked well in 2007, especially over the Christmas period, to cut down on criminal activities against returning residents.
According to the association's statistics, over a seven-year-period, 309 returning residents were murdered and over 500 robbed. Mr. Latouche said that, in previous years, several acts of robbery were committed against returnees and it was good to see that at least attempts have been made to minimise this negative effect.
Food subsidy for Jamaica
Dramatically rising costs have hit Jamaicans harshly especially the poor. The government has responded by promising a subsidy for certain food stuff. Under a $500 million initiative, Karl Samuda, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, announced that for three months a subsidy would be placed on five food items. The items are counter flour, baking flour, rice, skimmed milk powder and bulk oil.
The subsidy was delayed as a number of wholesale proprietors, who provide for the most vulnerable consumers, are trying to sell off their old stock before the roll-back prices take effect after they purchase new batches at the subsidised rates.
Transport Center at Half-Way-Tree, Jamaica
I remember many, many, many years ago in Jamaica venturing out in search of what was then called the bus terminus or bus park in Kingston. Instead of stopping the bus enroute as I was accustomed to, I would do something different this time. Finding the bus park was not that easy as it was located in downtown Kingston in some maze of lanes. I gingerly made my way, side-stepping vendor-crowded sidewalks until I came to this dingy open land, a sort of big parking lot with a lot of "May-reach" busses (busses so dilapidated that they 'may reach' their destination) scattered about it. There was a lot of activity, with bustling hand-cart men, more vendors, hustlers and an array of unsavory characters hanging around. I never went to the bus terminus again.
Things are different now. Jamaica has just opened a Transport Center in Half-Way Tree for buses. It is an imposing looking building with massive columns. It has two levels. Gone are the encroaching sidewalk vendors as on the upper level there are shop spaces marked with specific units for a pharmacy, barber and beauty salon, bookstore, pastry shop, Internet café and document centre, jewelry shop, music shop, deli, remittance services, clothing shop and a mini-mart.
Security cameras, ventilators, route maps and real-time bus schedule displays are all mounted on the lower level. Hard but comfortable plastic seats line the bus bays. It is also noteworthy to say that the bathrooms in the facility are quite spacious and accommodating.
The information on the bus schedule monitors is displayed under the headings Route, Destination, Time Delay and Zone. A display, for example, stating Route- 17A, Destination- Gtr P/More , Time - 1:05 p.m. and Zone- 2E means that bus number 17A, heading for Greater Portmore leaves at 1:05 pm and is parked at loading bay 2E.
Once in the transport centre, all tickets must be purchased at the ticket outlets at the facility and not on the buses. Smart card holders, however, may proceed to the buses and conduct the normal procedure.
The centre is beautiful, inside and out, but the challenge will be to keep it like that.
Michael Manley inducted into Walk of Fame
The late Michael Manley, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, has been inducted into the international civil rights walk of fame in a ceremony held in Atlanta, Georgia. Manley’s name was added to the Walk of Fame along with 10 other 2008 inductees including Dr. Maya Angelou; Sammy Davis Jr.; Tom Joyner; Senator Edward W. Brooke; Tyrone L. Brooks, Sr.; Jesse Hill, Jr.; Dr. Benjamin Hooks; Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker and Herman Russell, Sr. and Attorney Clarence B. Jones. Former inductees include President Jimmy Carter and Justice Thurgood Marshall.
As the widow of Michael, Glynne Manley, stated at the ceremony, "This is a tribute not only to Michael, but also to the people of that amazing little country called Jamaica".
New gas discovery offshore Trinidad and Tobago
There is more good news for oil-rich Trinidad and Tobago. Stocks on the
Canadian Superior Energy Inc. and Challenger Energy Corp. soared after the
Calgary-based explorers reported a natural-gas discovery off the Caribbean
island nation. Canadian Superior, Challenger Energy and BG Group Plc, the
UK's third-biggest oil and gas company, made the discovery in Intrepid
Block 5(c), located about 60 miles off the east coast of Trinidad,
according to a statement on Monday from Canadian Superior.
T&T will not sign on to PetroCaribe
T&T has lots of oil. The rest of the Caribbean has none. T&T sells oil. The rest of the Caribbean buys oil, and at very high prices except for oil from Venezuela as a result of the PetroCaribe agreement. So, it's no surprise that Trinidad has refused to sign on the PetroCaribe agreement. Prime Minister Patrick Manning told reporters that his administration would not sign on to the initiative - PetroCaribe - as his country remains committed to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).
Someone needs to tell the PM that FTAA is pretty much dead and should stay dead.
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