UNDILUTED pays tribute to John Maxwell by featuring two previous columns by him from the Hot Calaloo UNDILUTED archives:
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Wikileaks reveal Jamaica resist US arm-twisting
Wikileaks has revealed that secret cables between the US and Jamaica governments have shown Jamaica to display real backbone rather than kow-towing to US diplomatic pressure. Jamaica had to remind the US, We are a sovereign nation".
The United States Embassy in Kingston was apparently ticked off by Jamaica's failure to vote in line with it at the United Nations. According to a May 2007 cable, embassy officials told Washington while it was not sure how Jamaica would vote on Belarus' candidacy for a seat on the Human Rights Council, it would not be surprised if the country did not vote in line with the Americans.
Jamaica responded to (US Embassy officials) that Jamaica is a sovereign nation and will excercise its own judgement at the time the vote is cast. Surprisingly Jamaica currently votes approximately 12 per cent of the time in concordance with the US.
Jamaican governments led by both P.J. Patterson and Bruce Golding have stood up to the mighty United States (US) and refused to fall in line with its position on Iran.
Patterson earned the wrath of the United States over his Government's 2005 refusal to publicly reject comments made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad while Golding left the US peeved after his administration rejected a request from the Americans to vote 'yes' on a resolution condemning Iran over its human-rights record.
According to a diplomatic cable from the US Embassy in Kingston, an American diplomat contacted the director of Jamaica's Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Bilateral Affairs Department on November 4, 2005 to ask whether "the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) had publicly rejected what the Americans described as recent disturbing comments from the Iranian president. The US responded with a veiled threat that Jamaica's position would be noted for future action.
In December of 2009, The Golding administration received a diplomatic cable from the US Embassy in Kingston which underscored the Jamaican Government's position on Iran. According to the cable, the chargé d'affaires delivered a request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs urging the Government of Jamaica to vote 'yes' on an upcoming Iran human-rights resolution in the UN General Assembly. Jamaica responded that it would abstain on the Iran resolution in the UN General Assembly vote. It further stated that it would monitor closely Iran's continuing human-rights record and note any deterioration when considering future votes on this matter.
WikiLeaks show US role in fraudulent Haiti election
In partnership with WikiLeaks, The Nation and the Haitian weekly newspaper Haïti Liberté are publishing a series of stories that so far highlight how America has been micromanaging and manhandling the Haitian government into aligning their policies with U.S. interests.
According to one of the cables, tThe United States, the European Union and the United Nations decided to support Haiti's recent presidential and parliamentary elections despite believing that the country's electoral body, "almost certainly in conjunction with President Preval," had "emasculated the opposition" by unwisely and unjustly excluding the country's largest party.
In other cablees show how the US used Haiti as a pawn in an oil war against Venezuela to the detriment of Haiti. Another showed how the Obama administration exerted pressure to keep Haiti’s minimum wage at 24 cents an hour for the benefit of American companies, like Hanes and Levi Strauss who contracted labor in Haiti to sew their clothes.
Officials sued in T&T’s CLICO meltdown
Trinidad and Tobago's central bank and CLICO has sued former CL Financial chairman Lawrence Duprey, high flying CL executive André Monteil and three associated companies. The companies are CL Financial, the parent or 'group' company of CLICO; Dalco Capital Management Limited, a company whose beneficial owner is Lawrence Duprey; and Stone Street Capital, a company owned by Monteil.
The civil suit arises from CLICO's meltdown in January 2009 - informed sources do not rule out, or rather, suggest criminal proceedings may be in the pipeline.
The central bank alleges that monies belonging to CLICO, ultimately its policyholders and investors, were used to fund its parent company CL Financial - in particular in the form of "advisory fees" or "management fees".
It claims that in 2007, as much as TT$200 million were paid in such fees, while dividends deriving from Republic Bank and Methanol Holdings (Trinidad) Limited (MHTL), or sums equivalent to such dividends were diverted from CLICO to CL Financial.
Republic Bank, formerly Barclays DCO in Trinidad, resided as one of the jewels in the CL Financial stables, while MHTL is one of the world's largest methanol producers, dominating the United States market and supplying a significant quantity of European demand.
The central bank's claim also alleges that Dalco Capital got "payments and financial assistance totalling TT$468.9 million" from 1997 to 2008 in the form of commissions and other payments. Monteil and Stone Street allegedly received salaries and consultancy fees of TT$45.6 million.
CLICO spread its wings across the Caribbean, from Guyana in the south right through the OECS chain in the north, inclusive of Barbados where its statutory fund was US$150 million in deficit. Its demise left innumerable souls in jeopardy with already fiscally weak governments unable to cope. CL Financial is entirely similar, a clear parallel to the groups of indigenous financial-services firms in Jamaica that suffered meltdown in mid-1996.
The CL Financial business model offered high fixed interest deposits attached to insurance or annuities defined and accepted by the authorities in Trinidad and Tobago as insurance products. These instruments paid top-dog interest and snared many, including university professors and public servants, who put the entirety of their lump sum retirement payments in CLICO's control.
Haiti parliament rejects prime minister candidate
Haiti's parliament has rejected President Michel Martelly's choice for
prime minister, delivering an early political blow to the new Haitian
leader. The chamber of deputies voted 42 to 19 against the appointment of
Daniel Gerard Rouzier, a 51-year-old economist and businessman.
African Union calls for end to bombing of Libya
Once again the major media has failed to report another important story. The African Union has emphatically called for an end to the US and NATO bombing of Libya. Instead they demand a political not military solution. The African Union is a union consisting of 53 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Their communique states:
"Careless assaults on the sovereignty of African Countries are,
therefore, tantamount to inflicting fresh wounds on the destiny of the
African peoples. If foreign invasions, meddlings, interventions, etc, were
a source of prosperity, then, Africa should be the richest continent in
the world because we have had all versions of all that: slave trade,
colonialism and neo-colonialism. Yet, Africa has been the most wretched on
account of that foreign meddling.
But the US, NATO and even the major media have has ignored this united voice of Africa. So bombs continue to fall and innocent people continue to die in Libya.
African land grab
A series of reports by the Oakland Institute charge that several prominent American universities -- including Harvard and Vanderbilt Universities and Spelman College -- are investing in hedge funds and companies that are driving African farmers off their land.
The California-based think tank, which focuses on social, economic and environmental issues, is producing a series of reports on how Western entities are investing in land in Africa and the effects of those investments. In the reports, the institute alleges that these investments are increasing price volatility and supply insecurity in the global food chain, and not returning to African nations the benefits that were promised.
Emergent -- the company tied to several American universities -- purchases and develops agricultural land to produce products for export. According to the report, these largely unregulated land purchases are resulting in virtually none of the promised benefits for native populations, but instead are forcing millions of small farmers off ancestral lands and small, local food farms in order to make room for export commodities, including biofuels and cut flowers. In an interview Anuradha Mittal, Oakland's executive director, said the group tried to find an example of a company that was improving the area but could not find one.
Jamaica’s Buju Banton gets 10-year prison sentence
Grammy award-winning reggae singer Buju Banton has been sentenced to 10 years in a U.S. federal prison for his conviction on a cocaine conspiracy charge. The Jamaican singer, whose real name is Mark Myrie, was convicted in February by a jury in Tampa, Florida, on charges of conspiring with two other men to possess at least 11 pounds (5 kg) of cocaine. Myrie, 37, argued unsuccessfully that he was entrapped by a government informant.
He won the Grammy for the best Reggae album of 2010, "Before the Dawn," on February 13, the day before his trial began.
At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge James Moody said the 10-year sentence was the minimum he could give under federal guidelines. He said the maximum was 151 months.
"This is a sad day for Mr. Myrie. This is a sad day for Jamaica," said defense lawyer David Markus. "He's a good man who has done great things in his life." He has since filed an appeal of the verdict.
T&T’s Jack Warner quits FIFA under cloud
Football strongman Jack Warner yesterday quit as a vice-president of football's world governing body, FIFA, ending a probe into a bitter corruption scandal that has rocked the Caribbean and global fraternity. A brief statement on the FIFA website said that Warner had resigned from his post in international football, effective immediately.
The resignation was prompted by an allegation against the 67-year-old football supremo that he and former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam had offered US$40,000 to national associations of the Caribbean Football Union at a meeting here on May 10 and 11, in return for their votes in the FIFA presidential election on June 1.
Subsequently, Trinidad and Tobago’s parliamentary opposition called on the prime minister to fire the former FIFA vice-president as minister of transportation, days after he resigned from soccer’s world governing body. He also has been serving as the ruling United National Congress (UNC) chairman.
Jamaica’s coral reefs valued at US$34 million
A new study has founds that Jamaica's reefs are worth US$34 million to the local economy, but was somewhat critical of the lack of investment to safeguard the coastal ecosystem, which is integral to the formation of sand and beaches and repopulating the marine fish stock. Destruction of Jamaica's coral reefs could affect the livelihood of more than 100,000 people and potentially eliminate US$23 million of income earned from vacationers traditionally drawn to local beaches.
The benefits from the coastal ecosystem through tourism, fisheries and coastal protection have been undervalued and at times even ignored in Jamaica, according to researchers.
The analysis for Coastal Capital: Jamaica was carried out by the World Resources Institute (WRI), the University of the West Indies' Marine Geology Unit, the Mona GeoInformatics Institute , and The Nature Conservancy.
This report follows another released earlier this year by WRI, Reefs at Risk Revisited, which found that all of Jamaica's coral reefs are currently under threat, with more than 60 per cent in the high to very high categories.
The Coastal Capital: Jamaica study found that reef-related fisheries support between 15,000 and 20,000 active fishermen and contribute directly and indirectly to the livelihoods of more than 100,000 persons, and make an overall contribution of 0.3 per cent of total annual GDP. Employment through fishing usually comes in the form of wholesale and retail vendors, processors, gear makers, boat builders and ice suppliers.
The study warned that over a period of 10 years, reef degradation rates could increase by more than 50 per cent in Montego Bay, 70 per cent in Ocho Rios and more than 100 per cent in Negril.
Bangladesh shows the way
Bangladesh is more underdeveloped than most Caribbean countries.
However, this underdevelopment may have spawned a positive electrical
power outcome. According to the AFP, years of under-investment in
infrastructure means state-owned power plants generate only around 4,700
megawatts of electricity a day against demand of 6,000 megawatts -- which
is growing by 500 megawatts a year.
Increasing funding for solar power development in rural area is one way
Caribbean countries could bypass the seemingly requisite dependence on
Jamaica’s Excelsior water cracker turns 100
For 100 years, the Jamaica Biscuit Company Limited (Jambisco) has been manufacturing its Excelsior brand water crackers which is considered a staple in Jamaica. (Right here in America I am never without a pack in my pantry,)They are manufactured at its plant in Kingston notwithstanding a change in ownership a dozen years ago.
Jambisco was founded in 1910 by Jamaicans Lionel DeMercado and Alfred DaCosta and American John Crook. The sole purpose then was the manufacture of water crackers, which was done under the brand name Excelsior. The business eventually became owned by Carreras group.
The product is yet to peak or mature in the local market and continues to show consistent growth of between two and five per cent annually, with higher growth rates of five to eight per cent abroad in areas where Jamaican migrants are concentrated.
Jambisco currently exports to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and some Caribbean islands. Another 10 per cent of revenue earned is derived from export sales, with both UK and US being the leaders. The Excelsior brand is carried by most major chains in the UK: Sainsbury, Tesco, and Asda; in the US: Wal-Mart, Target, Pathmark, and Publix; and in Canada: Loblaws, No Frills and Price Shopper, among others.
Renewable fuel-farm project for Surinam
Suriname has entered into an agreement with a United States company to establish farms for the production of renewable fuel and protein. The project will involve the Ministry of Natural Resources, the state-owned oil company Staatsolie, United Culture Companies (VCM) and the Florida-based biotech company PetroAlgae.
The operation will take indigenous crops, indigenous plant species that wwas studied for many years and put them into ther system and technology so that it grows very rapidly, and then will be processed that in a special way to create a fuel source.
The 'Lemna Growth Confirmation Project' will allow for the growth and fuel-production capacity of duckweed. VCM president Armand van Alen said protein from the duckweed will be processed into animal feed, while the residue will be the source for the biofuel. The project is expected to utilise at least 5,000 hectares, officials said.
Jamaicans choose the queen
With Jamaica getting ready to celebrate 50 years of political independence from the United Kingdom next year, most Jamaicans are of the view that the country would have been better off had it remained a colony of Britain. Pollster Bill Johnson, who, on May 28 and 29 and June 4 and 5, conducted an islandwide survey among 1,008 people, found that 60 per cent of Jamaicans held the view the country would be better off under British rule.
Conversely, 17 per cent of those surveyed said the country would be worse off had it remained a colony of Britain, while 23 per cent said they did not know. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus four per cent.
The island has been independent since August 6, 1962, after the lobbying and hard work of individuals such as National Heroes Sir Alexander Bustamante and Norman Washington Manley.
Over 700 Haitian doctors have graduated from Cuba's Med. School
With the graduation recently of 115 new Haitian physicians, the number of young doctors from that country who have graduated from the Santiago de Cuba-based Caribbean School of Medicine has risen to 731. This cooperation project, conceived by Fidel Castro 12 years ago, had its first graduation in 2005 and there are currently another 291 students from Haiti receiving training there with the purpose of graduating 1,000 Haitian doctors in medicine in a decade.
Arizona anti-immigrant laws spreads
Hot Calaloo has called for a boycott of Arizona because of its
anti-immigrant laws. Add Georgia and Alabama. Now those states are
following Arizona’s lead. In those states, a new law is similar to
Arizona's SB 1070 and allows local law enforcement to question suspects
about their immigration status, including demanding proof of citizenship
during a stop. Should that documentation not sufficiently satisfy
law enforcement concerns, the law empowers them to take suspects to jail
where federal officials could begin the deportation process.
Save Cayman Isle bay from destruction
The Cayman Islands’ Half Moon Bay is one of the most breathtaking underwater landscapes in the world. The bay’s sheltered waters are home to a kaleidoscopic array of rare marine life, making it a prime site for visitors and locals alike. Now, private developer Joseph Imparato is threatening to destroy it to make way for a modern seaport in the East End of Grand Cayman.
Critics contend that such a seaport is completely unnecessary and it would also destroy the irreplaceable natural beauty of Half Moon Bay, which is home to some of the world’s most popular dive sites. In addition, the introduction of large-scale heavy industry into such a delicate ecosystem would cause irrevocable damage to both the environment and these renewable resources. It will decimate the Islands’ East End area, razing seven healthy coral reefs and endangering several more.
Recently, hundreds of Cayman Islanders stood holding hands along the shore in a peaceful prayer and protest, letting the government know that industrial developments are not welcome in East End. The Cayman Islands National Trust joined in opposition stating that the project is culturally and environmentally unsound as it will adversely affect the environment both on land and off shore as well as the lives of the residents of the Cayman Islands, particularly those in East End.
Amazing Jamaica 100m male dominance
Jamaica is the first and only country to have all 100m sprint titles for all ages and all levels in males at once. Jamaica now has the gold medal in the World Youth Olympics (Odeen Skeene), the World Youth Championships (Odail Todd), the World Junior Championships (Dexter Lee), the Commonwealth Games (Lerone Clarke), the World Championships (Usain Bolt) and the Olympics (Usain Bolt). Jamaica is the first and only country to ever achieve this.
Merlene Ottey still running
Jamaica’s legendary track star Merlene Ottey is now 51. Merlene is still running at the highest competitive level for Slovenia. Some 30-plus years since she first appeared at the Moscow Olympic Games, the sprinter is hoping the team can secure a spot in Daegu, later this year and the next Olympics.
Her Slovenia relay team was recently disqualified at the First League division of the European Team Championships at Izmir in Turkey weeks ago, due to a faulty changeover. The age-defiant sprinter, who was honoured at the RJR Sports Foundation's Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year award ceremony earlier this year in Jamaica, still hopes the team will get things together in time to qualify for the World Championships.
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