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bulletJamaica to cut 10,000 jobs
bulletTPS for Haitians
bulletBrits exclude largest island from Turks and Caicos constitution talks
bulletStudent nurses in Jamaica misled
bulletT&T PM fires govt. Minister
bulletJamaica, Dominican Republic cement row heats up
bulletIndia resists EU efforts to block affordable drug production
bulletFair treatment for Farm Workers Act in California
bulletJamaica domestic food crop production highest in 11 years
bulletTrench Town primary students get breakfast
bulletJamaica athletes face massive college setback
bulletChinese investors to pump US$200m into Grenada
bulletCanadian SEIU union donates to Jamaican hospital
bulletSurprise reggae flash mob in Manhattan

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.



June 2011

Jamaica to cut 10,000 jobs

Jamaica Prime Minister Bruce Golding has announced that at least 10,000 posts will be axed from the public sector over the next five years. The massive restructuring exercise is estimated to realise savings of between $40 billion and $50 billion to the coffers of Government.

Golding, in his presentation to the 2011-2012 Budget Debate, said the savings would accrue primarily from staff reductions and the disposal of assets arising from the privatisation certain functions. He said greater benefit would flow from improved efficiency and productivity. According to the latest census 118,163 persons are presently employed in the public service and this would reduce to between 108,000 and 109,000.

Golding advised that the administration would hold consultation with the trade unions as it implements the rationalisation program. He said functions that were carried out by some ministries, departments and agencies would be privatised. Under the rationalisation plan, 21 entities are to be merged, 13 privatised, and the services of 10 others will be outsourced. Another seven entities, including the Local Government Department, are to be abolished.

Reasons for public-sector rationalisation


Overlapping and duplication of functions


Organisations and structures that are no longer relevant


Shifts in mandate and core functions


Archaic systems and structures


Outdated statutes


High wage bill relative to GDP


Limited financial and material resources


Lack of appropriate technology


This public-sector rationalization study is very comprehensive, excellent and long overdue. However, the privatization of government functions is a big mistake. All these problems can be solved without privatization. Theoretically privatization is more expensive because it has a huge expense that government does not incur but is fundamental to private industry. It is called profit.

In my thirty plus years with the State of Maryland government, I have seen privatization close-up and it is a disaster. All over the world privatization has been proposed and adopted as a panacea to improve government efficiency. The most conspicuous failure of privatization in Jamaica is the rail system. When Jamaica announced their privatization of the railways, private industry gobbled up the money-making freight services, but none would touch the money-losing passenger service. So the government was stuck with it. Without the freight service profits to subsidize the passenger service, the government had to abandon it and the country has suffered without passenger rail service for many years now. Privatisation means private industry grabs up the profitable public enterprises and the government gets stuck with the losers. I could write a book on the folly of privatization, but time and space won’t allow.

All over the world, including right here in America, governments are facing severe economic disaster and often are scapegoating public employees. Nurses and teachers are being dismissed in vast numbers, pensions are being cut, employee rights are being undermined, layoffs abound, unions are being decimated, and thousands of workers are protesting austerity measures from Wisconsin, London, Spain, Greece just to name a few.

In Jamaica like many other developing countries, along came the IMF structural adjustment with its snake oil remedy of cutting public employee jobs. It was a dismal failure. We have faithfully followed the economic advice of the European and American experts. If these experts are so good, how come their countries are falling into economic meltdowns and disarray? This is no mere business cycle glitch but a complete system breakdown.

I entirely agree with former PM PJ Patterson when he said recently, ""It is necessary that you, the new generation of bright young minds, create a new system, a viable system, a system that works for rich and poor alike and is sustainable without destroying the weakest among us. ………The model of trickle-down economics has not worked. It is time for a new approach. Let us spend the money in the depressed communities and watch for the inevitable trickle-up effect. Let us identify what the young people need and work to provide this as a national priority."

Too bad he did not do that when he was prime minister, but then hindsight is 20/20.

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TPS for Haitians

The US has recently granted 'temporary protected status' (TPS) to Haitian quake victims. The move extending so-called temporary protected status to the Haitians marks a major shift for federal officials, who had resisted granting it to thousands of
Haitians in part to discourage a life-threatening mass migration by sea. The
announcement comes days after Haiti inaugurated a new president.
Under their new status, the Haitians who came after the quake will enjoy the
protected status until Jan. 22, 2013. The government also gave the 18-month
extension to Haitians who came to the US before the quake. It had been set to
expire in July.
The estimated 10,000 people who had fled after the quake on visitor visas,
which they overstayed because they had no jobs or homes to return to, ended up
crowded into relatives’ homes or homeless and living in motels, as the Globe
reported in January.
Haitian immigrants and advocates cheered the news with tears and hugs.
Most had spent the past year and four months in limbo, descending into poverty
while the reconstruction stalled in their homeland, leaving them nothing to
return to.

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Brits exclude main island from Turks and Caicos constitution talks

It seems overt colonization is alive and well in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). The constitution was revised in 2006 after it was suspended in part on August 9, 2009, when Britain imposed direct rule over the Turks and Caicos. The interim government is headed by Governor Gordon Wetherell, who took up his post in July 2008 but is due to demit office no later than August this year.
The schedule for the final round of consultations with Turks and Caicos Islanders and residents to obtain their views on the proposed constitutional changes has been issued. However, while meetings are planned for every populated island, including tiny Salt Cay with less than 100 residents, no meeting is scheduled for Providenciales (Provo), with a population of 25,000. Instead, the constitutional review team has opted to not face islanders but conduct a call-in radio show.
This has been viewed by many in the TCI as a move to avoid a repeat of the confrontations that occurred when constitutional consultant Kate Sullivan conducted her second round of meetings. Sullivan’s recommendations were burned in a parking lot and locals, angered by her recommended changes, spoke out loudly.
Sullivan and Governor Wetherell were also targeted at the Provo airport when Britain’s Minister responsible for the Overseas Territories, Henry Bellingham, arrived to announce that elections scheduled for July 2011 were being postponed.
The decision to not have meetings in Provo is also being viewed as another sign that the interim government and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London are seeking to impose their will on the future running of TCI affairs.

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Student nurses in Jamaica misled

Just last month, Hot Calaloo reported on the wonderful program that trained health workers in Jamaica for jobs in Canada. But too often things are not always as they seem. The Pre-University School with four campuses in Jamaica offered training to become a practical nurse for jobs in Canada with official sanction from the Canadian government and Jamaica's Ministry of Labour and Social Security. It also claimed to be in association with Okanagan College in Canada.

So students plopped down some between $250,000 and $300,000 in tuition alone for a chance to live and work in Canada.

Since the genesis of the program in 2008, some 156 persons have successfully completed the academic and practicum requirements. Of that number, only 30 have departed for Canada. Students became impatient and suspicious. The Jamaica government investigated and have suspended enrollment in the Pre-University School.

Other investigation has revealed that:

bulletThe program does not have the official backing of the federal government in Canada.
bulletThe Okanagan College is no longer associated with the program offered by Pre-University.
bulletMany students could not get the practical training required for graduation

It seems clear that there has been no outright fraud but Pre-University has overstated its claims.

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T&T PM fires govt. Minister

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has fired Mary King as Minister of Planning, Economic and Social Restructuring and Gender Affairs, as well as a Government Senator. Attorney General Anand Ramlogan found that Minister Mary King had "acted improperly in failing to disclose her interest and disqualify herself from the entire process" regarding the award of a $100,000 contract. He also concluded that a prima facie case was made out and the matter be referred to the Integrity Commission for further investigation.

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Jamaica, Dominican Republic cement row heats up

For over a month, a shipment of US$250,000 worth of cement remained on the docks of the Dominican Republic as that country refused to approve it for sale. The Dominican Producers Association of Portland Cement (DPAPC) has charged, however, that the Jamaican cement has not complied with all the quality standards requirements of that country. The price of Jamaica’s cement brand Carib would be RD$260 per bag, far below the RD$310 price for the locally manufactured brands.

However, Jamaica maintained that the DR standards body, DIGENOR, had tested the product and was satisfied that the cement had met all the integrity and quality requirements, issuing a certificate of conformity as a result. DR countered that that Carib Cement used the Dominican Republic Quality Stamp, printed on the imported cement bags was obtained without any previous evaluation and approval from the National Committee of Standards and Systems.

Jamaica issued a 48- hour ultimatum but DR ignored it.

Jamaican cement company going broke
These sales to DR are critical. The Jamaican company, Caribbean Cement Company Limited (CCCL), despite its best performance to date on export sales, reported one of its worst years of operation in which cement supplied to the market hit a seven-year low and its operating losses climbed above J$2 billion. Tax credits reduced the net loss to J$1.56 billion, or -J$1.83 per share, a result that was 10 times worse than the loss of J$144.5 million, or negative 17 cents per share, of 2009.

That result, some of it due to higher production costs linked to energy prices, as well as Caribbean Cement's lack of working capital, has forced the indebted company to acknowledge its vulnerability.

The 2010 results demonstrate Kingston-based CCCL's heavy reliance on domestic sales, which at 531,605 tons reflected decline of 121,000 tons in a year, and the worst cement sales performance in the past decade. Exports, meantime, more than doubled from 88,912 tons to 195,163 tons at yearend December 2010.


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India resists EU efforts to block affordable drugs production

Thank goodness India is standing firm. More than four years after the European Union (EU) started negotiating a trade agreement with India, a stalemate continues because of the EU's stubborn insistence in maintaining the so-called data exclusivity clause, despite fierce opposition by Indian government negotiators and Indian and EU non- governmental organisations (NGOs).
The EU and the Indian government started negotiating a trade agreement in April 2007. Already at the beginning of the process it became clear that the EU demand that India accepts a so-called data exclusivity (DE) clause in the agreement would present a significant obstacle. Today, four years later, the clause continues to deadlock the agreement.
Data exclusivity (DE) would forbid the Indian pharmaceutical industry to use available formulae of already patented products, especially medicines, to manufacture generic, low-cost copies and make them available to patients in developing countries.
"Data exclusivity is a backdoor way for multinational pharmaceutical companies to establish monopolies and charge high prices, even when their drug has been found not to deserve a patent or the patent has expired. DE would apply to all drugs.
India is considered the `pharmacy of the developing world'. For instance, over 80 percent of the medicines used by MSF to treat 170,000 people living with HIV and AIDS come from India. International donors rely on Indian generics in similar proportions. Many poor African states depend on generics for 90 percent of their healthcare needs.
Such generic medicines are essential to combating endemic diseases such as HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Africa and other poor regions.
The DE clause in the FTA currently under negotiations would mean Indian generic pharmaceutical companies would no longer be able to supply affordable medicines to people in developing regions. It is so obvious that the EU governing body is insisting on the DE clause in the FTA out of complicity with the European pharmaceutical giants.

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Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act in California

Many US farm workers come from Caribbean countries. Under a historic bill approved by the State Assembly after lengthy debate, California’s farm workers would be able to vote without fear for union representation. SB 104 – the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act – passed by a 51-to-25 party-line vote, prompting applause from 160 farm laborers packing the Assembly Gallery. Another 100-plus farm workers and their supporters watched the debate on television, in a legislative hearing room.
The bill, previously passed by the Senate, now awaits the signature of Governor Jerry Brown to become law. The measure, granting farm workers the same organizing rights enjoyed by all state employees, is strongly opposed by the state’s $36 billion agricultural industry.
Introduced by Senator Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), SB 104 would give the state’s more than 400,000 farm workers an alternative to on-the-job polling place elections to decide whether to join a union. The new option would allow them to fill out state-issued representation ballots in their homes, away from bosses’ threats and other interference.  If a simple majority – more than 50 percent -- of workers sign the ballots, their jobs would be unionized. All elections would be supervised by the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, with the workers choosing the process.

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Jamaica domestic food crop production highest in 11 years

Domestic food crop production in Jamaica for the January to March quarter was the highest in 11 years, with some 147,378 tons produced, 24.4 percent more than the corresponding quarter for 2010. This increased production propelled the agricultural sector to grow by 14 percent overall for the quarter, when compared with the similar period last year.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr Christopher Tufton told a press conference on Monday that the increase in crop production was attributed to very good weather conditions, and the continuation of a number of programs that the ministry has pursued under its production and productivity thrust.
All crops recorded increases in production, with vegetables increasing by some 20,000 tons or 55 percent. This was mainly influenced by an 80 percent increase in cabbage production; tomato, 82.7 percent; pumpkin, 36 percent; carrot, 37.8 percent; lettuce, 118 percent; cucumber, 67 percent; pak choi, 72.09 percent; and string beans, 97 percent.
Meanwhile, Tufton noted that longer term traditional crops, which require six to nine months of cultivation, were impacted by Tropical Storm Nichole at the beginning of the last quarter of 2010, preceded by severe drought. Despite that, coffee saw a 51 percent increase in volumes reaped, cocoa saw a 182 percent in volumes reaped, sugar a marginal 1.2 percent, and bananas, a decline of 14 percent.

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Trench Town primary students get breakfast

Bob Marley’s "Trench Town Rock" put Trench Town in Jamaica on the international map, but it remains a very poor depressed crime-ridden ghetto of Kingston. However, recently, a service-orientated organisation has turned its eyes to Trench Town. Professional Jamaicans for Jamaica (PJFJ), with members and linkages in Jamaica and overseas, has launched a breakfast program at the Trench Town Primary School. It is free, and it has made a big difference in the lives of students attending the inner-city school.

It may just be breakfast, but according to residents, providing the day's first meal is a challenge for many. Over the last few months, PJFJ has been providing Friday morning meals for the approximately 170-plus students registered.

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Jamaica athletes face massive college setback

Opportunities for Jamaican athletes seeking college scholarships in the United States (US) have been dealt a crushing setback, following a decision to restrict the number of foreigners who can compete for those schools.

Beginning August 2012, two-year or junior colleges will be required to cut the number of foreigners on team rosters, according to a recent vote by the board of directors for the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). Non-US residents will not be allowed to secure more than 25 per cent of the scholarships awarded any team.

The decision was made largely to stem the growing number of foreign athletes whose backgrounds - such as age and athletic affiliations - the NJCAA could not properly verify. Those rules are expected to have a huge impact on Jamaicans. Each year, dozens leave the island to attend junior colleges, primarily on football and track scholarships, if their grades do not make them immediately eligible to attend traditional four-year US colleges after leaving high school.

Many of Jamaica's top athletes, for example track stars like Veronica Campbell-Brown, Melaine Walker, Novlene Williams-Mills and Kerron Stewart, plus footballers including national player Dane Richards, attended US junior colleges before moving on to four-year universities and successful professional careers.

Usually those athletes spend a couple years at the junior college, pursuing required college credits needed to enter a four-year school. The new ruling will cut into the numbers acquiring those scholarships. The fallout, some believe, could be devastating.

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Chinese investors to pump US$200m into Grenada

Chinese investors have promised to plough US$200 million into Grenada 's struggling economy after wrapping up a one-week visit to the island. The investors have also announced a follow-up trip in August to present specific project proposals.

They have signed a number of memoranda of understandings (MOUs) after a busy series of bilateral meeting with top government and private-sector officials.

The investors from Beijing are targeting two major hotel projects, including a Four Seasons, which have been affected as a result of the global economic meltdown. Government has been seeking US$100 million in private sector funding to build the hotel after the International Monetary Fund cautioned against securing a state loan. Ongoing efforts by British developers to secure funding for the Four Seasons project have failed in light of a tight capital market.

The Chinese have expressed an interest in various other sectors, including agriculture, fisheries, mining, energy and tourism.

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Canadian SEIU union donates to Jamaican hospital

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has extended its reach to Jamaica with assistance to the St Ann 's Bay Hospital . The SEIU is one of the fastest growing unions in both Canada and the US .The SEIU Local 1 collaborated with Canada 's Multi-Faith & Community Network and Miracle Centre Ministries to donate more than 42 pieces of medical equipment to the hospital on Monday. 

The items included wheelchairs, resuscitators, walkers, canes and support stands. These were received by senior medical officer of the St Ann 's Bay hospital, Dr Nicole Dawkins, and the hospital's Chief Executive Officer Keith Richards, who both thanked the SEIU team for the contribution and described the items as "well needed".

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Surprise reggae flash mob in Manhattan

Hundreds of New Yorkers and visitors alike were able to experience the rhythm of Jamaica recently, when the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) partnered with Flash Mob America for a destination flash mob in downtown Manhattan in New York City.
Over 200 reggae enthusiasts performed to a choreographed routine, which included Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt's signature "Bolt to the World" dance move. The crowd also witnessed surprise appearances by notable Jamaicans, including Devon Harris, a member of the first Jamaican bobsled team, which inspired the movie Cool Runnings, members of the Jamaican national women's basketball team, Jamaican chess master Maurice Ashley, among others.


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