UNDILUTED pays tribute to John Maxwell by featuring two previous columns by him from the Hot Calaloo UNDILUTED archives:
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study claims no connection between Zika and microcephaly
of contracting microcephaly has grabbed the whole hemisphere with athletes
withdrawing from the upcoming Rio Olympics. However, the absence of
microcephaly in several countries impacted by the Zika virus raises
serious questions about the assumed connection between Zika and
microcephaly, according to a new study published in the New England
Journal of Medicine.
have been warning about the potential effects of Zika infection during
pregnancy, with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
revealing that Zika is linked to severe foetal brain defects such as
microcephaly, as well as Guillain-Barre syndrome and other neurological
study published nevertheless showed that there were no microcephaly cases
found among almost 12,000 pregnant Colombian women who tested positive for
Zika virus infections. This
finding was in stark contrast to the large number of confirmed cases of
microcephaly in Brazil, where over 1,500 cases have been documented.
the same time, four cases of Zika and microcephaly were reported in
Colombia for women who were symptomless for Zika infections and therefore
not included in the study. The
Zika and microcephaly cases that were not part of the study indicate that
there are many more pregnancies affected by Zika without symptoms.
New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) in Cambridge, Massachusetts,
analysed the data and showed that the four cases of Zika and microcephaly
that were observed are just what would be expected given that the expected
microcephaly rate for countries with no reported Zika infections of
2-in-10,000 births gives exactly four cases. The study also noted that
until April 28 there had been a total of about 50 microcephaly cases in
Colombia, of which only four had been connected with Zika.
has consequently urged experts to reassess the microcephaly cases in
Brazil for the possibility that a pesticide used to kill mosquitoes could
be responsible for the birth defects in the nation. NECSI emphasized the
importance of reevaluating the Zika cases in Brazil since the pesticide
pyriproxyfen is known to cause microcephaly as it cross-reacts with
retinoic acid. Pyriproxyfen is commonly placed in drinking water in some
parts of the country to kill mosquito larvae carrying the Zika virus.
Meanwhile, fears over the presumed Zika-microcephaly link in Latin America have reportedly sparked demand for abortion pills purchased online. A new study that was also published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed an increasing number of women are opting for “extralegal” ways to terminate their pregnancies.
The British people have voted to leave
the European Union (EU). There is great uncertainty and apprehension about
the effect on leaving will have on Britain, Europe, the US and all over
the rest of the world. The Caribbean is no exception.
For trade with the Caribbean, the UK would also have to decide whether
it would re-join the European Customs Union which determines Europe’s
common external tariff and common external trade policy; or as some in the
exit camp suggest, will operate its own external trade policy
If this were to happen and the UK were to leave the EU customs union,
Britain would have to agree bilaterally or multilaterally, or negotiate
again, some or all of the international trade arrangements it has
previously with other EU states been a co-signatory to. This would include
the Cariforum Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the association
agreements with Central and South America, but more importantly those
arrangements Britain would wish to keep with its major global trading
partners. It would be a process that could potentially amend existing
levels of access or asymmetries, challenging the UK’s limited trade
negotiating capacity, most likely giving priority to the relationships
that matter most.
Cariforum will have to undertake a rapid analysis of the significance
of Britain outside the EU’s customs union to its flows of trade in goods
and services; whether its companies with manufacturing or other
investments in the UK would suffer if free movement into the EU was not
available; and determine whether the UK would seek to change any of its
transitional measures with, for example, competitor nations in Latin
America or elsewhere.
Just as importantly, because the relationship with a diminished EU
would remain in place, the Caribbean will have to decide how it ensures
its relations with the rest of Europe remain strong. This is because for
many years Britain’s voice for the Caribbean has been significant in
Council meetings in Brussels, and with the European Commission and many
other EU institutions, helping ensure that the region has had a better
hearing among an increasingly skeptical group of member states, that for
the most part have no relationship with the region.
Patrick Manning, Former Prime
Minister of Trinidad and Tobago dies at 69
Former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago,
Patrick Manning, passed away on July 2nd 2016. He was recently
hospitalized on Monday 25th June, 2016, after falling ill. Only one day
before his passing on July 1st, 2016, it was revealed that he was
diagnosed with cancer, Acute myeloid leukaemia.
Manning, a geologist who led the resource-rich Caribbean nation of Trinidad
and Tobago as prime minister through a boom in its
petrochemical industry until his party was defeated He was 69.
Mr. Manning was prime minister of the
twin-island country from 1991 to 1995 and again from 2001 to 2010. His
first government stabilized the nation’s currency and further developed
the gas industry, spurring strong growth in the economy. But his
administration also was hit by accusations of public corruption.
issues US travel advisory over racial tensions
US regularly issues travel advisories for Americans visiting other
countries, but it is rare for nations to issue warnings for their citizens
travelling to the US. But this time, t he Bahamas has issued a rare
travel advisory for its citizens visiting the US, recommending particular
care for young men in cities affected by tensions over recent police
advisory warns citizens to not get involved in protests and avoid
It comes after two black men were shot dead by police in Minnesota
and five officers were killed at a protest in Dallas.
The advisory comes as the country celebrates its Independence Day
holiday, on 10 July, a time when many locals travel abroad, including to
the US. The statement, issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tells
citizens to "exercise appropriate caution", especially in cities
affected by "tensions... over shootings of young black males by
particular young males are asked to exercise extreme caution in affected
cities in their interactions with the police. Do not be confrontational,
and co-operate," it says.
not get involved in political or other demonstrations under any
circumstances and avoid crowds."
countries to tighten rules for investors seeking citizenship
Caribbean island nations recently discussed boosting security to ensure
terrorists and other criminals do not gain citizenship by posing as
investors. As long as they have the money, some can become citizens
without even visiting the country.
Grenada's Prime Minister Keith Mitchell said that although the island's
citizenship-by-investment program has provided a major source of revenue,
the government is not prepared to sacrifice its national security.
"We have to come to terms with that, that in this global terrorism
atmosphere that we are now dealing with, we have to be extremely careful
that one incident, one person being allowed in our region can in fact
create havoc," he told reporters at a Caribbean leaders' annual
summit being held in Guyana, where the topic has been under discussion.
Having tightened its screening process, Grenada has rejected even some
applicants approved by international partners based on anecdotal
Kitts and Nevis -- which pioneered selling citizenship to investors for as
much as $500,000 per applicant, but whose economy depends chiefly on
tourism -- credited the revenue source with funding the construction of
internationally recognised hotels. Canada enacted a visa regime for St
Kitts and Nevis residents almost two years ago because of concerns about
its citizenship-by-investment program.
St Lucia, and Antigua and Barbuda have also cashed in on
citizenship-by-investment programs that have helped them weather declining
tourist numbers during economic downturns in Europe and the United States.
PROMESA passes US Senate
Senate has passed PROMESA (Puerto
Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act) Puerto
Rico debt crisis legislation 68 to 30. The legislation stops predatory
behavior and prioritizes the payment of pensions and social services ahead
of debt payments. It seeks to reduce child poverty on the island.
The legislation provides strong bankruptcy tools so the debt
returns to sustainable levels. Critics contend this legislation this
legislation is a sellout and reverts Puerto Rico back to colonial status.
Elizabeth, Ja., farmers say produce going to waste
weeks of toiling in the blazing sun and thousands of dollars spent
planting tomatoes and other crops, farmers in Pedro Cross, St Elizabeth,
say they have to watch their produce go to waste because they have nowhere
to sell them.
Citizens in the predominantly farming community have reported that
there is urgent need for an organisation which will ensure that farming is
done in a structured way. The farmers say they need a structured system in
place that would assist them in the types and amount of crops they should
plant and when. The absence of such an agency, they said, is to be blamed
for the frequent glut on the market.
President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Norman Grant said
that the organisation has a new program in place to address the issues.
According to him, the JAS will be setting up a centralised marketing
system which, along with addressing the marketing issues, will also serve
to guide the farmers on the amount of crops that they need to farm to
supply the country’s needs.
The JAS president said that the organisation, through a $10-million
grant from the Universal Access Fund, will be setting up a 20-station call
centre at its head office in downtown Kingston to match farmers with
buyers. Additionally, he said the JAS will also be partnering with the
tourism linkages hub to establish markets for the farmers.
“We are expecting that within a year, when this project is fully
rolled out all these constraints will be corrected,” Grant said.
The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona has partnered with the
Government of Colombia to establish a processing plant in Elim, St
Elizabeth,Jamaica, to manufacture cassava flour which will provide a
substitute for imported wheat flour.
Guidance in the project originated from negotiations with UWI,
Continental Baking Company, and the Colombia-based Latin American and
Caribbean Consortium to Support Cassava Research and Development (CLAYUCA)
at the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and the then
Colombian Ambassador to Jamaica..
first phase of the project, which started in 2012, was funded and led by
the Presidential Agency for International Co-operation of Colombia (APC-Colombia),
along with CLAYUCA to provide new varieties of cassava and train the
relevant technical personnel.
next phase of the project saw the donation and commissioning of a
processing plant by the Colombian Government in 2014.
now the plant, will be able to
produce one metric tonne of flour per eight-hour work day and is currently
operational three days a week.
flour is made by cooking, drying and grinding cassava root to a fine
powder. This flour is naturally gluten-free. As a side
note: Insects will not eat Cassava Flour, not even cockroaches. But, will
Of course cassava bread is not entirely new to Jamaica. We call it ‘bammy’.
of black Jamaican nurse unveiled in London
England, on July 5, 2016,
a memorial statue for Jamaican-born Mary Seacole, believed to be the
United Kingdom’s (UK) first black woman honored, has been unveiled.
Seacole, who was born in Kingston in 1805 and died in London in 1881,
cared for wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War from 1853 to
The unveiling of the memorial follows a 12-year campaign, which
raised £500,000 (US$ 653,086) for the erection of the structure.
Jamaica’s Acting High Commissioner to the UK, Diedre Mills, who was
among the speakers at the unveiling held in the gardens of the St. Thomas
Hospital, said Seacole left an indelible mark on society and will continue
to inspire generations to come. She said that Jamaicans are proud that
Seacole is taking pride of place in London.
A play, Black Nightingale, written by
Michael Bath and directed by Anton Phillips about Mary Seacole graced a
theater in London a few years
champion Jamaican patty eater shatters record
Queens, New York, it took Molly Schuyler only eight
minutes to devour 38 Jamaican patties and reclaim the Caribbean Food
Delights (CFD) World Jamaican Beef Patty Eating Championship title trophy
here last Sunday.
And to top it off, she won US$10,000 at the reggae and R&B fega
festival, ‘Groovin’ In The Park’ held at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens,
In 2013, Schuyler set a record of putting away eight of the 5-oz beef
patties in one minute 46 seconds. Last Sunday she shattered her own
record, consuming approximately 12 pounds of the Jamaican beef patties to
the consternation of over 20,000 spectators.
One of 10 contestants and the only female, Schuyler out-ate fellow food
eating giant, Patrick ‘Deep Dish’ Bertoletti, who finished second,
downing 22.5 patties and winning US$5,000.
The event was CFD’s 15th Annual Patty Eating Championship and a first
for Groovin’ In The Park, whose patrons were also entertained by
international reggae artistes Beres Hammond, Tessanne Chin, Toots Hibbert,
Duane Stephenson and R&B sensations, Brian McKnight, Peabo Bryson and
Concern rose over the track and field community that Usain Bolt might
not make it down to Rio after he missed Jamaica’s Olympic
trials with a left hamstring injury. But fear not, the fastest man in
history will be sprinting this August in Brazil. Bolt will be among the
names that the Jamaica Olympic Association confirms on Monday will be
heading to the games.
The world-record holder in the 100 (9.58 seconds) and 200 (19.19)
meters qualified for the events due to the medical exemptions that the
Jamaican team allows in the qualifying process despite not competing in
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