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.
General strike, murder and mayhem in Guadeloupe
On January 20, 2009, the Collective Against Extreme Exploitation (LKP, Liyannaj Kont Pwofitasyon in Guadeloupean Creole), which includes 47 unions, along with political parties and grassroots organizations implemented a general strike which all but shut down Guadeloupe. Even after three weeks the strike was still in force and had even spread to neighboring Martinique. Guadeloupe, like Martinique, is not an independent country, but an Overseas Department of France. That is french for colony of France.
The strikers had 146 demands centered around higher wages and lower cost for basic products. The strike has received broad support from Guadeloupe's 450,000 residents. Some 25,000 people demonstrated in Pointe a Pitre, the capital, at the beginning of the strike, and a demonstration held as negotiators met on Feb. 7 drew about 50,000 protesters.
Guadeloupe has an unemployment rate of more than 20% and a large disparity in wages between workers in the public and private sectors. The cost of living is a central issue: many goods have to be imported, and prices are sometimes twice as high as in France. Conditions are similar on the nearby island of Martinique and in French Guiana, also French overseas departments. On Feb. 5 a dozen unions held a one-day general strike in Martinique, shutting down transportation and businesses.
By the third week of the strike, Guadeloupe, was estimated to lose about 100 million euros (US$130 million) in a month, and economic damage was set to reach the same level in Martinique, where a similar stoppage began a week before. In Guadelope:
The conflict has exposed race and class divisions on the island, where the local white elite wields power over the black majority. The economy is largely in the hands of the "Bekes," the local name for whites who are mostly descendants of colonial landlords and sugar plantation slave owners of the 17th and 18th centuries.
French government negotiators representing the President of France Nicolas Sarkozy and French Prime Minister Francois Fillon finally have yielded to the union demands, promising to support payments to low-wage earners totalling almost 200 euros (US$250) per person per month.
T&T to bailout CL Financial Group
The CL financial group is one of the most powerful economic corporations in Trinidad and Tobago and the whole Caribbean. It’s holdings include Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO), Clico Investment Bank (CIB) and Caribbean Money Market Brokers (CMMB).
First CIB began having liquidity problems spurred by an unusually high level of withdrawal requests which put a strain on their available liquid resources. CLICO followed with the same problem to such an extent that the Government had to step in to bail them out.
At the end of January, the Trinidad & Tobago government announced CL Financial, would begin liquidating assets as part of a rescue deal with the government. CLICO, the life insurance and pension plan provider may incur losses of TT$10bn (US$1.60bn) in 2008.
The government has now appointed a new board at CLICO and intends to provide it "full backing and commitment," the central bank governor said. The government also plans to announce a new board for British American Insurance, another of CL Financial's insurance holdings. In announcing the deal with CL Financial in January, the government said it plans to return CLICO to financial health and subsequently list it on the country's stock exchange.
The CL Financial Group has an imposing presence with potentially systemic consequences for the financial sector and the economy of Trinidad and Tobago and the entire region.
The principal objectives of the bailout strategy are to ensure that resources are available to meet withdrawals of third-party CIB depositors and Clico policy holders.
But despite the 26 to 15 majority that Manning's People's National Movement (PNM) enjoys in the 41-seat House of Representative, success in the passage of the bills was made difficult by the opposition of the United National Congress and a disgruntled former PNM Minister of Housing, Keith Rowley, who had been fired by Manning the year before.
Haiti bars Aristide allies from running for Senate
Haitian officials will not let members of ousted President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide's party or a former rebel leader compete in
upcoming Senate elections, local radio reported Friday.
Economic crisis hit Jamaica bauxite
Bauxite producers in Jamaica are floundering as a result of the deepening world economic crisis. Just recently, Alumina Partners of Jamaica, ALPART, adopted a reduced work week in a bid not to let workers go. It was forced to send home more than 200 temporary workers following a 50% cut in production due to the fall off in the global demand for aluminium.
Also the West Indies Alumina Company, (WINDALCO) announced this month that it would temporarily close its operations come March. WINDALCO has however stated that it will retain all of its approximately 850 workers during the suspension of operations.
Even illegal sex biz hit by recession in Jamaica
The economic meltdown that has triggered massive layoffs and production cutbacks in the formal business sector has spread to the illegal sex industry as prostitutes and sensual massage parlours have reported at least a 50 per cent decline in profits and clientele. Here are some comments about the situation made to a Gleaner reporter:
"Men who used to take on three girls have to limit to one, as well as men who used to take a double round have to limit to strictly one time and so I am losing big time" .
"Things could be worse, considering the problem we are facing, so I can't complain. All I can do is thank the Lord for providing"
"Business rough, and that's why mi glad it never work out fi wi pay tax, 'cause nutten nah gwaan," ( referring to calls last year by a government functionary who lobbied for the incorporation of sex workers into the tax net).
"It nuh pretty on the street again but I just want fi make a smalls 'cause mi nuh have no money,"
Opinion is divided on decriminalising prostitution. Some health experts and liberal advocacy groups have said decriminalisation and regulation would reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections, as well as diminish personal safety dangers. However, political administrations have shied away from legal reform. Decriminalisation would be an unpopular move in some quarters, particularly with religious conservatives. Although there are no official figures on the underground sex industry, it is believed to generate several millions of dollars annually.
US Economic stimulus is not enough
1 The steady
degradation and wholesale export of good American jobs overseas
2. The wild extravagant irrational spending of
Peanut products recalled from Trinidad and Haiti
Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti are two of four
countries from which a US-based company has recalled peanuts, because
there is a possibility that it is tainted with bacteria that has sickened
and killed people.
Jamaican Jews support Israel bombing of Gaza
What a disappointment! I expected better from Jamaican Jews. I was surprised. Why?
Check out the following two clips:
1. Good History Lesson:
2. George Galloway "The West has DOUBLE STANDARDS
when it comes to Israel"
(I originally submitted this to a US newspaper)
Give this country a real cheap economic stimulus by not spending millions on the occupation and spend it where it is desperately needed, at home here in the US. National Priorities Project estimates that the war is costing $341.4 million per day, which is the equivalent of $4,681 per household and $1,721 per person. Let us earn the goodwill and respect of the world and withdraw within six months rather than trying to cozy up to recalcitrant Republicans. And, above all, let us do it because it is the right thing. Then we can talk to Iran.
Belize fails to pay international arbitration award
The government of Belize, despite the public assurances of
Prime Minister Dean Barrow, has failed to pay an international arbitration
award in the amount of US $4,420,586.63 in favour of Newco Limited, a
joint venture between German and US investors, relating to the wrongful
termination of a concession agreement for the privatization and
development of the Philip SW Goldson International Airport in Belize.
Libya to establish People's Bureau in Guyana
President Bharrat Jagdeo and his Libyan counterpart Muammar al Qadhafi continued meetings with other government and private sector officials in Tripoli where the Heads of State agreed that Libya would send a committee to open the Libyan People's Bureau in Guyana. This decision aims to further relations between both countries and enhance cooperation with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Grenada police clamping down on improper dress
Grenada Police Commissioner James Clarkson is getting
tough with young men who wear their pants on their buttocks and expose
some parts of the body.
He said that the crackdown by the police is intended to remind these people about the proper dress code when in public. Clarkson who was appointed as head of the police force in August said that he is making a special appeal to parents to remind their children about the decent way to dress.
Jamaica sugar industry woes
The late start of operations at the of Jamaica’s sugar factories cost some cane farmers millions of dollars as apparently frustrated persons lit fields, destroying hundreds of tons of sugar cane. Up to last week, nearly $22.5 million of cane had been damaged by arsonists prior to the start of operations at the Frome Sugar Factory in Westmoreland on Friday. Operations at the factory normally commence in early December.
SCJ's President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Richard Harrison, says the unavailability of parts to effect repairs to the factories was the reason for the slow start to the crop season. According to Harrison, the company was forced to seek the parts overseas. Local suppliers dispute that. They say most of, if not all, the parts needed to repair the sugar factories are available, but they have not been approached by the SCJ. The suppliers say they are owed millions of dollars by the sugar company, because of which they are dodging them to buy overseas.
Government has been trying to divest the five state-owned sugar factories owned by the SCJ, but has so far missed two deadlines - September 30 and December 3, 2008 - to complete the deal with Brazilian company Infinity Bio-Energy.
It is facing a projected $4.2 billion hole, representing a $2 billion operational loss, and bank penalties, apparently from continuous hefty overdrafts, incurred by the SCJ's four factories during the 2008/2009 season. With an already sizeable $21-billion debt and losses totaling more than $14 billion since 2005, the enterprise has registered losses over a number of years, resulting in a decision by the previous People's National Party-led government to sell it.
Burning Spear wins Grammy again
Burning Spear Winston Rodney has won his second Grammy. He won the Grammy Award for his 21st album, "Jah is Real". The 2009 edition of the Grammy Awards had about 9 persons from the Caribbean Diaspora nominated for at least one Grammy Award. Jamaicans Heavy D, Lee Scratch Perry, Burning Spear, Elephant Man, Sly & Robbie and Shaggy were all nominated for making the best Reggae Album; Grenada descent Estelle received a nomination for best Rap/Song collaboration, while Bajan Rihanna and Surinamese descent Jazmine Sullivan received multiple nominations.
Estelle and Burning Spear were the only ones to walk away with awards. This is a record eleventh nomination for Spear, while it is Estelle’s first.
Chavez wins in Venezuela
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez won with about 6.3 million votes in the recent referendum on a constitutional amendment for continuous re-election of public offices, by democratic decision of the people. In so doing he joins most other countries(including all the caribbean countries, Britain, France, etc.) which do not impose term limits on their elected leader. With 99.57 percent of the precincts reporting, the followers of Hugo Chavez increased their lead to 54.85 percent while the No option on the referendum had 45.14 percent. Chavez won the referendum in 19 of the 23 states, repeating the electoral triumph of the regional elections for governors and mayors held on Nov. 23, 2008.
This victory is not surprising considering that so far, over the 10 years of the Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution Venezuela has:
Bob Marley songwriter Ford dies
Vincent Ford, a songwriter credited with composing the Bob Marley reggae classic "No Woman, No Cry," has died in Jamaica. He was 68. He died at a hospital of complications from diabetes. The song, which appeared on Marley's 1974 "Natty Dread" album, was inspired by the Kingston ghetto of Trench Town where Marley and Ford lived in the 1960s. Ford is credited with the tune. However, some critics contend that Marley wrote it himself but gave Ford the credit to help his friend support himself with the royalties.
Ford, who ran a soup kitchen and lost both his legs to diabetes, is also credited with three songs on Marley's 1976 album "Rastaman Vibration."
Sexual explicit lyrics in songs raise ire in Jamaica
Schoolchildren singing and erotic dancing to a popular song sweeping Jamaica has raised the ire of the Government, churches, parents and a broad spectrum of people across Jamaica, from the Prime Minister down. Radio stations have banned it but that is obviously not enough. It has forced scrutiny on the loud raucous playing of such ‘dagger’ songs in public transport, notably taxis. More regulation against such songs seems imminent. Ah for the good old days of conscious lyrics.
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