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 do this,
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.
G8 group forgives Guyana debt
At the recent concluded foreign ministers meeting of the G8 group of industrialized countries, there was a lot of pressure to forgive the onerous third world debt. Relief came. Guyana was the only Caribbean country in a list of 18 countries selected for a debt write-off.
Along with Guyana three other countries are from the Americas. They are
Bolivia, Honduras and Nicaragua. The other 14 are all African, counting
the Indian Ocean states of Madagascar and Mauritius.
The G8 countries are France, the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada and Russia. The heads of state or government of these major industrial democracies have been meeting annually to deal with the major economic and political issues facing their domestic societies and the international community as a whole. This year's summit begins in Gleneagle, Scotland July 6.
New US ‘passport required’ rule could dampen tourism
It is feared that the new US travel rules which make it mandatory for
its citizens to use their passports when returning from the Caribbean will
have very bad economic implications for the region. The US Department of
Homeland Security said Americans could no longer re-enter its ports
carrying only a driver’s license or birth certificate and effective
December 31, citizens arriving from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Central and
South America must show their passports.
Caribbean hoteliers say the sector will lose a big chunk of its tourism
earnings and there will be significant job losses as potential American
tourists look at visiting other destinations where passports will not be
Hugo Chavez offers low priced
oil for Caribbean
Gas prices are soaring almost to $3 per gallon at the pump right here in
America. However, thanks to President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, there is
relief for the Caribbean. Jamaica
is among 15 countries which will receive cheap oil supplies from Venezuela
under the Petrocaribe initiative which was officially launched by
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during a one day Summit attended by
Under PetroCaribe, Venezuela will supply approximately 34,000 barrels of oil a day to Caribbean countries. Venezuela's state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela will form a new subsidiary to handle the supply and transport of crude oil. This will be at no cost to Caricom.
What a great deal for the Caribbean! However the deal is not unanimous. All Caricom heads have signed except Trinidad and Barbados. Trinidad basically fears that the low price oil promised Caricom countries might affect their profit margin as an oil producer to the region themselves. Barbados produces some oil also, although it is refined in T&T. They claim to be studying the deal, but are concerned about profits too like T&T. T&T and Barbados are the richest Caricom countries.
The US already hates President Hugo Chavez and this great deal for the Caribbean must give them reason to hate him more.
Million-Woman March against crime in Jamaica
Plans are underway for a very ambitious display of the power of Jamaican women to protest the spiraling crime wave in Jamaica dubbed the ‘Million Woman March’. The march is being organised by the female support organisation 'Mother in Crisis', along with a group of 25 concerned Jamaicans residing across the world, from the United States to Canada and the United Kingdom.
The group's goal is to gather as many Jamaican women as possible, to collectively proclaim that they will do all within their power to 'clean up Jamaica'.
In the words of Founder of 'Mother in Crisis', Doreen Billings: "We are basically planning to declare on that day, to the gunmen and to the world, that we are the ones with the power not the thieves, not the murderers, but us, Jamaican women. The wives, mothers and sisters will proclaim, then and there, that Jamaica is ours, not theirs……. We are not only having a march. The march is only the beginning of a greater campaign. On the day of the march, we will be handing out leaflets with details of the course of action that we will be embarking on".
The proposed route for the march in Jamaica is from the National Stadium to Emancipation Park, and it is being planned for Emancipation Day, August 1.
Reader proposes US$1 million/month solution
My letter is not about any of the above topics however, but about a way
to help "Yard" without drug money. If every Jamaican living
abroad would send $5 a month to a fund which would then go to the coffers
of Jamaica, NOT TO FILL THE POCKETS OF POLITICIANS, but to be our own
source of foreign aid. It would only take two hundred
thousand Jamaicans to pump a million US dollars into Jamaica each
month. That is not to say you could not put more if you could afford it.
Our athletes are again rising to the forefront of the international
stage, our music continues to grow worldwide and we can also be the
leading third world country with innovative financial solutions. We could
set new meaning to the phrase, "Government for the people, by the
people." This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as my total idea
of making Jamaica a world power, did I say "world power?" Not in
arms and military might, but in brain power and people working together,
that's what I'm talking about.
Editor's reply: How?
It has been my experience that often ideas are proclaimed to be good, even great, and nothing further is done to follow-up or promote them. So the ‘great’ idea just fades away. Hot Calaloo does not want this fate to befall this ‘$1 million a month’ idea and invites readers to submit ideas as to how to execute this mission.
By way of example here is a report by a famous charity organization for which I have the highest regard, Oxfam. See Oxfam Publishes Tsunami Expenditures to Date
It might come down to supporting an existing charity that already is in place and satisfies our concerns. The list of Jamaican charities might help in this respect. See List of Jamaican Charities
T&T’s plan to hang 5 put on hold
T&T’s plan to hang 5 convicted killers were put on hold when the courts granted a stay of execution. The announcement of the multiple hangings generated strong criticism in the British Parliament. They passed a motion in the House of Commons which expressed "dismay that the government of Trinidad and Tobago has announced its intention of hanging every one of the 78 men and five women currently on death row in their prison." It also stated that, "This House believes that if the government of Trinidad and Tobago gets its way, these executions will be a permanent stain upon the state, its government and its legal system, in the eyes of the international community".
US retaliates against Barbados support of ICC
The US has retaliated against Barbados for its support of the International Criminal Court (ICC). As the US had threatened, they have withdrawn US military aid to Barbados for this support. Specifically the US is demanding that US soldiers, unlike soldiers from all other countries, should be immune from charges by the international court.
US bans 3 Air Ja employees accused of human trafficking
AT LEAST three Air Jamaica employees have reportedly been barred from entering the United States and their visas cancelled for allegedly being involved in facilitating the illegal entry of people into that country. According to an unnamed immigration officer who works at the American Embassy, everyone that was involved - meaning their signing codes were involved - as well as suspects, are on a list and they cannot enter into the United States pending investigation. The three are among several employees of the airline who are now under the microscope of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on allegations of human trafficking.
One of the accused related an incident in May where her Sabre signing code was used to check in three persons of Asian descent who were en route to Toronto, Canada, via Jamaica.
The affected employees said they have been unable to get an explanation from the management of Air Jamaica or the U.S. Government regarding why they have been identified as suspects in facilitating the trafficking of illegal immigrants. Responding to enquiries by one of the Air Jamaica employees, an official at the U.S. Embassy in New Kingston said the matter was being handled by their superiors in Washington. US officials have photographed, fingerprinted and banned them from entering the US and all without any sort of due process. 'Guilty until proved innocent' seems to be the new rule of Homeland Security. These employees rights and livelihoods have been shattered and without even any type of official investigation.
Central Americans say "No" to CAFTA
Legislators from four Central American countries told members of Congress recently that the proposed Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) would make multinational corporations richer while hurting workers in North and Central America. The legislators from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua joined members of Congress for a Capitol Hill rally against CAFTA June 15. However, CAFTA is very much alive as the US Senate has narrowly approved it and the House Ways and Means, voting largely along party lines, also approved the agreement, setting up a showdown vote in the House later in the month.
EU sets up special sugar assistance fund
THE European Commission of the European Union (EU) has offered to set up a 40-million euro (J$3 billion) fund. The purpose of this fund is to assist Jamaica and other sugar producing countries in the 18-member African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) grouping cope with a pending reduction in sugar prices. The fund is applicable for next year only, after which further assistance will be considered.
Announcement of the sugar assistance fund was made simultaneously with the formal proposal of a two-step cut in sugar prices totalling 39 per cent in what European Union (EU) importers will pay ACP sugar producers for their product. Under the EU proposal, the price of sugar will move from 632 euros (J$47,400) to 506 euros (J$37,950) per ton in 2005/2006. In 2007-2008, the price of the commodity will decline to 421 euros (J$31,575) per ton.
This aid might be slight compensation. Jamaican sugar industry officials say 40,000 direct jobs could be lost as a result of the impending price cuts, and approximately 250,000 persons could lose some indirect income. These type of losses are typical for the other Caribbean sugar producing countries.
Imported chicken hurting Jamaica chicken farmers
Hurricane Ivan had reaped havoc on the chicken industry. These local producers have recovered bravely only to come up against cheap imported chicken creating an oversupply in the island. Farmers have been forced to cut back production. Local producers charge than much of the chicken parts is imported illegally. The importation of chicken parts currently attracts a 280 per cent duty. However, the duty to import chicken "backs and necks" is five per cent.
Walter Rodney remembered in Guyana
A student groundings session was held recently at Linden, Guyana to
mark the 25th Anniversary of the assassination of Dr Walter Rodney. The
presentations reflected the wide range of interests to which Dr Walter
Rodney was devoted during his lifetime as an example of commitment to the
cause of social justice, to excellence in scholarship, and fearlessness in
pursuing the goals of justice. The students were encouraged by presenters
to develop the ability to question authority and demand answers. Over a
dozen of them asked questions relating to diverse topics such as why there
was no monument to Dr Rodney in Linden where he did much educational and
political work, to details surrounding his death. Some of the students
also read and recited poetic tributes to Dr Rodney. Fatah Ibrahim chaired
the groundings session with addresses given by Dr David Hinds, Working
People's Alliance executive member; Lincoln Van Sluytman, Walter Rodney
25th Anniversary Commemoration Committee member and Orrin Gordon, Interim
Management Committee Chairman.
Jamaica to get 48 nurses from
AT LEAST 48 volunteer nurses from Nigeria are expected in Jamaica , as
part of a bilateral agreement between the two countries. This is an
attempt to ease the dire nursing shortage created by foreign recruitment
of Jamaican nurses. Bertween 1999 and 2001 a total of 513 nurses
were recruited from Jamaica to Canada, the USA and the UK.
According to the agreement the Nigerian nurses will serve for two years
and will be distributed all over the country. The Nigerian Government will
be responsible for the cost of transporting the volunteers to and from
Jamaica and also for the appropriate allowances for the maintenance of
each volunteer during the period of assignment.
The responsibility of the Jamaican Government will be to provide suitable accommodation for each volunteer during the period as well as pay utility bills, offer free medical treatment as required, and provide suitable transportation to and from the place of work. The agreement also provides for the Health Ministry to offer employment to any of the volunteers at the completion of the two-year period.
Air Jamaica No.1 in meals
Air Jamaica may be losing money big time but its in flight meals are
ranked number one among
Caribbean airlines. The vote was by visitors to www.airlinemeals.net,
the world's first and leading site which deals with nothing but airline
food. Air Jamaica's cuisine earned a 7.85 average rating, outpacing
LanChile (7.18), Varig (6.71), Mexicana (6.63) and TACA (5.30) among
regional carriers receiving a minimum of 10 customer critiques.
Other notable awards recently bestowed upon Air Jamaica over the
past year include:
Exodus takes world steelband title in Madison Square Gardens
The World Steelband Music Festival competition was held in the famous Madison Square Gardens in New York, USA. Seven bands, four of which came from Trinidad, played before a jury comprising Americans Dr Eugene Novotney, Dr Larry Snider and Trinidadian Dr Ann-Marion Osborne (with Merle Albino-de Coteau as alternate). Sagicor Exodus Steel Orchestra, the Tunapuna-based T&T band beat all comers to cop its second consecutive World Steelband Music Festival title. Following closely behind was runner-up TCL Group Skiffle Bunch and T&T Defence Force in third place.
Model police station underway in Jamaica
Grants Pen in St. Andrew Jamaica is one of the too many communities that is plagued by crime. A new police station is being built there but unlike any other police station. The facility is the first of its kind to be established in Jamaica, as it not only houses a police station but also a health centre, postal service, an Internet café and ATM machine. The facility was conceived out of recommendations from the United States-based Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) report of 2001.
Already some 70 policemen and women are being trained for the facility which is being built to accommodate 100 police personnel. This will also be a model for other stations in the hard struggle against rampaging crime.
Battle launched against fake Jamaica brand products
Jamaica Exporters Association (JEA) claims that Jamaica is losing billions of dollars (US) to counterfeit products claiming to be made in Jamaica. The JEA will join forces with the Jamaica Government along with the World Intellectual Property Organisation to launch a copyright campaign to redress this issue.
The campaign will include legal actions demanding the cessation of the illegal use of the brand; and in some cases remuneration will be sought.
"We have a number of cases of infringement in a number of countries. You name it; from ackee to coffee, people are really terrorising our brand," Phillip Paulwell, Minister of Commerce, Science and Technology reported. He added that expected settlements from the legal proceedings are dependent on the extent of the sale of the product in question.
Copyright infringements include:
Oil tanker explosion in T&T take 4 lives
An explosion aboard an oil tanker in Trinidad and Tobago has taken 4 lives. The explosion occurred in the afternoon on board the Panamanian vessel MV Trade Wind Sunrise which is moored off the northwestern coast at Chaguaramas, the former United States Naval Base.
The missing workers are said to be Trinidad and Tobago nationals. According to reports, the tanker was docked at the inter-island facility for over a month. But it was removed and anchored about half a mile out at sea. There were reportedly 26 people on board at the time of the explosion. Most of the workers were able to get off the vessel, using lifeboats. But it is believed that four of them were killed in the explosion.
US House approves Caribbean-American Heritage Month
The US House of Representatives approved H.Con.Res 71, a bill introduced by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) to designate a national Caribbean-American Heritage month.
"Establishing Caribbean American Heritage month will celebrate the contributions of millions of Caribbean-Americans to the United States since the inception of the country," said Lee.
Last week, Congresswoman Lee co-hosted the annual U.S. Caribbean Legislative Forum where His Excellency Fred Mitchell, Foreign Affairs Minister of the Bahamas delivered the keynote address, and Jamaican Ambassador Gordon Shirley, St. Lucian Ambassador Sonia Johnny, and Grenadian Ambassador Dennis Antoine moderated panels. Many other representatives of the Caribbean diplomatic corps, including recently-elected Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Ambassador Albert Ramdin, attended. This event is an example of annual programming for the June Caribbean-American Heritage Month celebration activities.
T&T doctors end work action
After a few days T&T doctors at all public health institutions have called off their overtime and work-to-rule. The senior doctors took a decision to withdraw their services at all public hospitals between the hours of 4 p.m. to 8 a.m., on weekends and public holidays. It was the latest in a series of industrial action taken in the two-and-a-half-year pay dispute with Government.
The move prompted the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) and the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) to issue statements advising people to seek medical attention at the nation's hospitals "only in extreme emergencies".
Their protest ended after Health Minister John Rahael, disclosed that a proposal presented by the Medical Practitioners Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MPATT) was accepted, increasing the doctors' monthly basic salary. This resulted in senior doctors being advised to resume overtime services at all State-owned health institutions with immediate effect.
Separating boys from girls gains in Jamaica teaching experiment
Polly Ground Primary School in Ewarton, St. Catherine, Jamaica recently conducted an educational experiment. They separated the teaching of boys from the girls. The results showed significant success, with students, especially boys, performing well in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).
"The boys did well. Most of them were placed in good schools," stated Carlene Lewin-McDonald, one of the grade six teachers at the school. There was a 25 per cent increase in the students' averages in all subject areas. The experiment contributed significantly to the boys' performance as the school has never had such a significant increase.
All over the Caribbean, boys seem to be doing significantly worse academically than girls so this experiment might point the way to changes in teaching. It might be back to boys’ schools and girls’ schools. Even some years ago the highly regarded Queens Royal College high school in T&T reported that boys performance dropped when girls were admitted to the former boys school. So much for the merits of co-education.
Stella lost her groove
Do you remember the real-life autumn-spring romance behind Terry Mc Millan's 1997 best-seller, How Stella Got her Groove Back, and the subsequent Angela Bassett-Taye Diggs movie? The story was based on the true life experiences of the author finding, falling in love with, marrying and taking back to the US, a Jamaican, Jonathan Plummer, some 20 years younger than her. Well as we would say in Jamaica, "The dolly-house mash up!". Mc Millan,53, and her husband, Jonathan Plummer, 30, are going through an acrimonious divorce in the wake of the revelation that Plummer is gay. She now accuses him of defrauding her to get a green card. He claims he became gay later and accuses her of homophobia. Ironically, Jamaica is probably one of the most homophobic nations in the world.
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