UNDILUTED pays tribute to John Maxwell by featuring two previous columns by him from the Hot Calaloo UNDILUTED archives:
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 .
by Donna Hemans ... $16.10
---------------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.
Jamaica leads the western hemisphere in press freedom
Which country is the leading country in press freedom in the western hemisphere? "USA". "Wrong!" It is Jamaica. The 2013 Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders shows Jamaica leading the Western Hemisphere in press freedom. Ranked 13th in the world, Jamaica has replaced Canada as the country with the greatest level of press freedom in the hemisphere. Finland topped the world list followed by the Netherlands. US managed a ranking of 32 and the UK 29.
The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders based upon the organization's assessment of the countries' press freedom records in the previous year. A smaller score in the index corresponds to greater freedom of the press.
In a recent release Reporters Without Borders said political tension and judicial harassment have led to several Caribbean countries receiving low grades on its global Press Freedom Index.
It said Trinidad and Tobago, which was ranked 44th, has still "not stopped its illegal monitoring of journalists' phone calls and attempts to identify their sources although it promised to stop in 2010."
Reporters Without Borders said said the seven-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States fell eight places to 34th because of "often direct pressure from the political authorities on the news media and the failure to move ahead with the decriminalisation of defamation.
Cayman Premier ousted by no-confidence vote
Cayman Islands lawmakers voted 11-3 yesterday afternoon in favour of a no-confidence motion against the ruling government. Premier McKeeva Bush abstained from voting on the motion.
For the first time since the so-called 2001 government coup d'etat, lawmakers effectively removed Bush as the head of the current administration. Ironically, it was the 2001 change in government that vaulted Bush to power as leader of government business.
Bush's ouster came a week after he was arrested and questioned by police in connection with criminal allegations. He has not been charged.
After his release from custody last week, Bush travelled to Jamaica to address a commencement ceremony for the University College of the Caribbean (UCC). UCC, however, opted to hold off on the planned bestowing of an honorary doctorate on the Caymanian leader, who is considered a friend to Jamaica, until an outcome is determined in the current matter.
Bermuda elects new government
It was a new party. Now it is the new government as Bermuda chose change as the recently formed opposition One Bermuda Alliance, OBA, won 19 of the 36 seats in the general elections. The victory by OBA leader Craig Cannonier, a relative new comer to politics ended 14 years of rule by the Progressive Labor Party, now headed by out going premier Paula Cox.
Jamaica water company owed $billions
In more than 100 communities across Jamaica, the state entity, the National Water Comission (NWC) appears neither able to collect nor disconnect for the more than $3.5 billion it is owed. Labeling these communities 'red areas', the NWC teams are locked out by blatant criminality and other ills.
Weeks before it asked the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) to allow it to charge paying customers more, the NWC has confirmed that more than a million residents in inner-city communities islandwide are using the water it supplies without paying.
The NWC has argued that it needs a tariff increase as the rates it charges Jamaicans for potable water is relatively low and its last price hike was in 2008.
While the NWC has just over 400,000 registered accounts, it supplies about two million persons across the island. The company said although it "bills, and continues to bill individual premises for water consumed", it is only able to collect between five and 15 per cent of the total bills from these red areas. The cheats steal water mainly by making illegal connections to the NWC mains. However, in some instances, they steal from public entities such as schools and hospitals.
The NWC has also made MPs aware of the level of indebtedness by residents in their constituencies in an effort to get the political representatives to help the company to clear the arrears.
Editor’s Comment: Woe unto Jamaica if they ever privatize water and some big corporation comes in to take over. Countries like Bolivia was wooed by big foreign corporations who came in and overpriced consumers so outrageously that riots ensued. Water is expected to be the next battleground like oil. I am sure some foreign corporations are already knocking at the door.
US extends Haitians' immigration deadline
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services extended, through January 29, 2013, the deadline for Haitian nationals to re-register for TPS. This is intended to formally extend the re-registration period for Haitian nationals living in the United States (US) who have already been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and seek to maintain that status for an additional 18 months.
U.S. income inequality worse than many Latin American countries
Latin America has long been viewed as a region plagued by some of the worst wealth inequality in the world. But in recent years, those figures have turned around, while in the United States income inequality is on the rise.
Adam Isacson, analyst for the Washington Office on Latin America, notes the change on his blog. According to recent figures on income published by the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the U.S. income gap now exceeds that of several countries in the Americas. As Isacson writes:
The United States (wealthiest 20% earns 16 times more than the poorest 20%) is now in the middle of the pack. In 1980, the U.S. number was 10.5.
Uruguay -- whose famously humble president José "Pepe Mujica donates 90 percent of his salary to charity -- ranks as the most equitable country in Latin America, with the wealthiest 20 percent brining in 8 times more than the poorest 20 percent. Venezuela comes in at number two.
The United States takes eleventh place -- behind Costa Rica and ahead of Colombia, and several spots below its southern neighbor Mexico.
Advances in Latin America played a role in the trend. Wealth inequality has dropped throughout the region over the last decade, due to advances in education and successful social spending programs targeted at the poor, according to the Economist.
Meanwhile, in the United States, income inequality is on the rise, as working class and middle class salaries fail to keep up with those of people at the top of the income pyramid. The share of income for the top 1 percent in the United States has grown more than any other Western country since 1960, according a paper by Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economists and Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley published last year.
Jamaican schools rated unsatisfactory
A STUDY conducted by the National Education Inspectorate (NEI) has unveiled worrying data that students in approximately one-third or 45 of 135 primary and secondary schools in Jamaica are receiving educational services rated as unsatisfactory.
The NEI conducted an inspection of 135 schools in regions one and two, comprising the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew, St Thomas, Portland and St Mary.
In a report tabled in the House of Representatives, the NEI said :
The NEI inspections were conducted between September 2010 and March 2011.
The National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) is the latest organisation to support the call for the decriminalisation of the use of marijuana in Jamaica.
Executive director of the NCDA, Michael Tucker contends that the council is for the decriminalisation of the substance, but through a drug court program that would result in persons being rehabilitated instead of being incarcerated.
This comes a day after the Reverend Karl Johnson indicated that it is time Jamaica move towards decriminalising the use of marijuana.
Local parliamentarians have also supported the move by two states in America, Washington, DC, and Colorado to decriminalise and regulate the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana by adults over 21.
He recommended, however, that before decriminalisation takes place, a heightened education program be conducted to advise people about the negative consequences of the drug.
Stop tax dodgers from leaving Jamaica
With tax revenues running $7.6 billion behind projection as at October 2012, the Government is moving to place obstacles in the way of delinquent taxpayers who have to travel overseas to sustain their local enterprises. The tax authorities are getting ready to impose stop orders, barring persons from leaving the country.
Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) have urged persons with outstanding tax liabilities to contact the department to have the matter resolved or face the tough action.
The move by tax authorities is expected to have the greatest impact on business persons and other individuals whose jobs take them abroad on a regular basis. The TAJ has used this method in the past and it has resulted in a positive response.
A total of 55,742 criminal immigrants were deported from the U.S. and sent back to their homelands in the Caribbean and Latin America in 2012.
Data obtained and analyzed from the U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement agency on deportee rates to Latin America and the Caribbean,
found that while some 4,898 of all criminal immigrants were sent back to
the Caribbean last year, Latin America accounted for over 12 time that
number with 50,844.
Non-criminal immigrants deported to the Caribbean totaled 1,612 while to Latin America the number was 176,589. In total, the number of all immigrants sent back to the Caribbean region in 2012 was put at 6,510 by ICE and 227, 433 to Latin America. But the number was actually a marked drop from 2011 when 14,912 Caribbean migrants were sent back and 555,801 Latin Americans.
For the Caribbean in 2012, the most criminal deportees were sent back
to the Dominican Republic with 2,264 while Jamaica was second with 1,213.
For Latin America, Mexico topped the list with 289,686 total removals
including174,003 criminal and 115,683 non-criminals while Guatemala was
second with 40,498 total removals (14,251 criminal and 26,247
Jamaica sugar industry to focus on local market
Jamaica projects that for the 2012-13 year it will produce about 140,000 tons of sugar and will be supplying all the sugar needed for the domestic market from this amount, If the Jamaican factories hit the 140,000-ton target, Jamaica Cane Products Sales (JCPS) would be able to supply the 60,000 tons of sugar (brown sugar) to the domestic market, while the remainder will head to Europe. However, the additional 65,000 tons of the refined product (granulated sugar) that the country also consumes would still have to be sourced from overseas.
JCPS previously handled all sugar exports, but now they share marketing agent status with Pan Caribbean Sugar Company (PCSC) owner of Bernard Lodge, Monymusk and Frome sugar estates following the divestment of pieces of the Sugar Company of Jamaica's assets and sugar lands into private ownership.
Two Jamaican fishermen drifting at sea for days rescued
The two men had embarked on a one-day trip to sea which became an almost month-long ordeal. The two fishermen from the Food For The Poor fishing village in Lyssons left for sea on November 24 in a 28-foot fishing boat, with their tackle and just enough food and water for a few days. When the time came to head back, the boat's motor failed.
After a day, when the men did not return and efforts to contact them by radio failed, Food For The Poor sent out a search team that included a chartered plane and scanned the waters near Jamaica. When days turned into weeks and efforts by the search party failed to find them, family and friends started to fear they were forever lost at sea.
The boat drifted for more than 20 days and more than 500 miles with the two men reporting that they survived by eating dried fish and sipping melted ice from their cooler.
They were finally rescued by the crew of a Colombian naval ship off the island of Quitasueño near San Andrés - one of the Colombian islands in the Caribbean Sea - they went six days without water. The two Jamaicans were taken to San Andrés where they received food and medical treatment and eventually flied home to Jamaica.
Voters reject gambling in the Bahamas
Preliminary results showed that by a margin of almost two to one, the voters in the Bahamas voted "No" to the questions on "Do you support the regulation and taxation of web shop gaming" and "Do you support the establishment of a national lottery?"
The referendum had been conducted in a campaign similar to a general election with the ruling Progressive Liberal party (PLP) urging supporters to give the thumbs up to the initiatives that Prime Minister Perry Christie said would finalise a new source of government revenue and will facilitate new areas for local employment.
The main opposition Free National Movement (FNM) had opposed the measure with former prime minister Hubert Ingraham leading the fight.
Jamaica pays more for imported fuel than all exports combined
Trade data has revealed that the value of all the island's exports from January to August 2012 would fail to cover the cost of importing petroleum products for the same period.
Total exports for the period valued US$1.1 billion or J$97 billion, while imported petroleum products valued US$1.6 billion or J$142 billion. This represents a US$500 million, or J$45 billion trade deficit on petroleum products alone.
Added up, the total deficit for 2012 year stands at US$3.2 billion, in excess of J$284 billion. After the nation has collected its export revenue, Jamaica must find almost J$105,000 per citizen to pay for all the imports the island has made in this calendar year up to August 2012.
The story of Jamaica's ground plane
Only in Jamaica! Check out the story of "Sweet and Dandy", Jamaica's ground plane :
Jamaican swimmer medals in world meet
Jamaica Olympian, Alia Atkinson, created history at the FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, yesterday, when she became the first Jamaican swimmer to win a medal at a global tournament.The 24-year-old Atkinson clocked 29.67 seconds to capture the silver medal in the women's 50m breaststroke.
Atkinson's silver is also the best finish by a swimmer from the English-speaking Caribbean in a World Championship or Olympic event, eclipsing the bronze medals won by George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago in the 200 metres individual medley in 2004 in the Athens Olympics, and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace from The Bahamas, in the 50 metres freestyle at the Dubai World Short Course Championships in 2010.
She then went on to capture a second medal when she won silver in the women's 100 metres breaststroke later in the meet.
Cuba – Caribbean soccer champions
Cuba took the Caribbean soccer championship for the first time ever by edging former champions Trinidad and Tobago one-nil to capture the Caribbean Cup. Haiti defeated Martinique 1-0 to secure third place.
Jamaica failed to make it out of the first round, causing great consternation to Jamaica fans especially since World Cup hopes took a nosedive. Jamaica is the only Caribbean country still with a shot there. Although their coach, Theodore Whitmore kept his job, technical director and the goalkeeper coach has been fired. Now they face Mexico February 6 to begin the final CONCAAF playoffs for the World Cup.
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