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bulletNew study claims no connection between Zika and microcephaly
bulletBREXIT and the Caribbean
bulletPatrick Manning, Former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago dies at 69
bulletBahamas issues US travel advisory over racial tensions
bulletC'bean countries to tighten rules for investors seeking citizenship
bulletPROMESA passes US Senate
bulletSt Elizabeth, Ja., farmers say produce going to waste
bulletCassava bread, anyone ?
bulletStatue of black Jamaican nurse unveiled in London
bulletWorld champion Jamaican patty eater shatters record
bulletBolt in

UNDILUTED pays tribute to John Maxwell by featuring two previous columns by him from the Hot Calaloo UNDILUTED archives:


Hot Calaloo's Undiluted Vol. 15, "The Audacity of Hopelessness"


Hot Calaloo's Undiluted Vol. 14, "Cuba's Benevolence versus US Belligerence"



Boycott Money and Save Your Soul - Launching the Goodwill Revolution
by Michael I Phillips

List Price $11.95 (paperback)
Special Clearance

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.  
For more book info see

Buy through Paypal or  send check for $5 + $3 (shipping) to 
Hot Calaloo
PO Box 411
Columbia MD 21045, USA


cover River Woman by Donna Hemans ... $16.10
  The Rio Minho in Jamaica provides much more than a setting for this potent, accomplished debut by Jamaican-born Donna Hemans.


cover  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.



July 2016

 New study claims no connection between Zika and microcephaly

Fear 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.

Scientists 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 complications.

This 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.

At 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.

The 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.

NECSI 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.

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 BREXIT and the Caribbean

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.

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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.

 Patrick 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.

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Bahamas issues US travel advisory over racial tensions

The 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 shootings.

The advisory warns citizens to not get involved in protests and avoid crowds.

It comes after two black men were shot dead by police in Minnesota and Louisiana, 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 police officers".

"In 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.

"Do not get involved in political or other demonstrations under any circumstances and avoid crowds."

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C'bean 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 information.

St 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.

Dominica, 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.

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PROMESA passes US Senate

The 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.

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St Elizabeth, Ja., farmers say produce going to waste

After 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.

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Cassava bread, anyone ?

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..

The 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.

The next phase of the project saw the donation and commissioning of a processing plant by the Colombian Government in 2014.

Right 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. Director General of APC-Colombia Alejandro Gamboa said by the end of 2016 the expectation is that the plant will be operational five days a week, producing more flour to increase the capacity of cassava production.

Cassava 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 Jamaicans?

Editor: Of course cassava bread is not entirely new to Jamaica. We call it ‘bammy’.

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Statue of black Jamaican nurse unveiled in London

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 1856.

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 ago.

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World champion Jamaican patty eater shatters record

In 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, New York.

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 Regina Belle.

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Bolt in

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 the trials.

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