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bulletA crime wave of despair in Jamaica
bulletFormer T&T PM arrested for corruption
bulletPPM wins Cayman elections
bulletSkerrit wins Dominican elections
bulletThe demolition of Haiti continues
bulletPosada Carriles, an American terrorist arrested
bulletT&T Jamaat Al Muslimeen leader sentenced in US
bulletJamaica Gov't workers overpaid millions
bullet‘Groundings’ tribute to Rodney in Guyana
bulletWillie Nelson to release reggae album
bulletAir Jamaica managers seeking unionisation
bulletPoor farmers get support from Guyanese govt
bulletMerlene Ottey statue for Independence Park
bulletWI finally wins Test match
bulletWorld Cup Soccer Update – T&T wins one


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 2005

A crime wave of despair in Jamaica

"Hurry up and come back
Is the last words
She said to her son"
But, her son never comes back.
Why? Because her son is murdered. These are the moving words of a very popular song in Jamaica these days titled "Footprints" by TOK (Touch of Klass)  and it reflects the mood of despair crime is creating there. All sorts of measures have been tried such as:

bulletNumerous crime plans by the Government
bulletNational prayer vigil in the National Stadium
bulletPrivate Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) led shutdown of business for a day
bulletWomen’s protest demonstrations against crime
bulletA number of other rallies against crime
bulletCrackdown against corruption in the police
bulletThe employment of crack experienced British police officer as Deputy police commissioner
bulletAll sorts of pledges by political leaders to disassociate from crime elements among supporters especially in the notorious garrisons
bulletThe spread of Peace and Love in Schools (PALS) conflict resolution training

Criminals target police with 9 murdered since the start of the year. Police stations have even been attacked by gunmen. Members of the force are quitting in droves. More than three hundred police officers have resigned from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) in less than three years and more than 29 in this year alone. Police officials minimize the departures giving other reasons such as migration abroad, employment elsewhere and for the furthering of their studies.

But in the midst of this vicious crime wave, police brutality charges abound. Amnesty International has vilified the police. There are numerous public demonstrations both for and against the police.

There just seems to be much cause for despair. The criminals seem to be destroying our cherished home. Only the indomitable spirit of Jamaicans can withstand such an assault. And, overseas Jamaicans, myself included, generally report having a great time on visits back home. But we too are very dismayed.

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Former T&T PM arrested for corruption

Trinidad and Tobago opposition leader and former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday has been arrested on charges of corruption. Seventy-two year-old Panday appeared in court along with his wife Oma, charged with corruptly receiving £25,000 from businessman Ishwar Galbarsingh and former minister Carlos John in December 1998.
Galbaransingh and John were also charged but were released on bail. The former Prime Minister refused bail and was remanded to the State Prison in Port of Spain.

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PPM wins Cayman elections

The Opposition People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) led by Jamaican-born Kurt Tibbets has won the recent general election, defeating the ruling McKeva Bush-led United Democratic Party (UDP). The PPM picked up nine seats of 15 seats.

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Skerrit wins Dominican elections

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit returned to power as his governing Dominican Labor Party won recent elections decisively. Skerrit's Dominica Labour Party won 12 of the 21 seats contested in the May 5 polls. At 32, Roosevelt Skerrit became the youngest ever person elected to head a government in Dominica and probably is among the youngest in the world.

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The demolition of Haiti continues

"The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." George Bush giveth democracy (in Iraq) and George Bush taketh away democracy (in Haiti). The result is the same, destruction of both countries.

Former democracy, Haiti gets worse daily. Haiti's last constitutional prime minister Yvon Neptune has been on a hunger strike in a Haitian prison since mid-April. He is gravely ill. Neptune has been in prison since June last year without having been brought to court -despite a constitutional requirement of a hearing within 48 hours of arrest. Neptune turned himself over to police after hearing a radio announcement of a warrant for his arrest relating to an alleged 'massacre' near the coastal city of St. Marc weeks before Aristide was ousted. Neptune is insisting that he be charged or released, amid reports that the interim government is trying to force him to leave the country.

A human rights investigation conducted in Haiti in November last year under the auspices of the Center for the Study of Human Rights at the University of Miami School of Law found that life for the impoverished majority "is becoming more violent and more inhuman as the months pass since the elected government's removal".

"After ten months under an interim government backed by the United States, Canada, and France and buttressed by a United Nations force, Haiti's people churn inside a hurricane of violence. Gunfire crackles, once bustling streets are abandoned to cadavers, and whole neighborhoods are cut off from the outside world. Nightmarish fear now accompanies Haiti's poorest in their struggle to survive in destitution. Gangs, police, irregular soldiers, and even UN peacekeepers bring fear. There has been no investment in dialogue to end the violence.

"Haiti's security and justice institutions fuel the cycle of violence. Summary executions are a police tactic, and even well-meaning officers treat poor neighborhoods seeking a democratic voice as enemy territory where they must kill or be killed. Haiti's brutal and disbanded army has returned to join the fray. Suspected dissidents fill the prisons, their constitutional rights ignored. As voices for non-violent change are silenced by arrest, assassination, or fear, violent defense becomes a credible option. Mounting evidence suggests that members of Haiti's gangs to kill Lavalas supporters and finance the illegal army."

So next time you hear George Bush ranting about democracy, remember what he has done to Haiti. He claims his re-election has given him political capital and he is going to spend it. I wonder which country he is going to destroy next under the pretext of democracy. Let us not forget Haiti. The mass media ignores it, hoping we will forget or not take notice. But Hot Calaloo will not let you forget.

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Posada Carriles, an American terrorist arrested

Fugitive Luis Posada Carriles was arrestred by federal agents recently after slipping into the country about two weeks prior. Venezuela is seeking his extradition so he can be retried for his alleged role in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner off the coast of Barbados that killed 73 people.

The Cuban government wants to prosecute Mr. Posada for hotel bombings that damaged tourist destinations in Havana and killed an Italian tourist in 1997. President Fidel Castro of Cuba has said that Mr. Posada is a terrorist and that the Bush administration would be guilty of a double standard if it allowed him to remain safely in the United States. Mr. Posada maintains that he would be persecuted because of his past work with the C.I.A. if he is extradited.

Posada Carriles, together with Orlando Bosch, who was then the boss of a CIA-created organization, was not only involved in destroying the Cubana airliner but for many years since then has organized dozens of attempts to assassinate the Cuban Revolution's top leadership and was behind the numerous bombs that exploded in Cuban tourist hotels.

Posada, the former Central Intelligence Agency operative has been charged with Illegal entry into the United States and is scheduled to face an immigration judge on June 13, 2005. But will the US will honor its extradition treaty with Venezuela? As the Brits would say: "Not bloody likely!"

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T&T Jamaat Al Muslimeen leader sentenced in US

A United States judge rendered a guilty verdict against a leader of the Trinidad-based radical Jamaat Al Muslimeen group. Lance Small, also known as Olive Enyahooma-El was found guilty of conspiring against the United States as well as being in possession of a number of machine guns and silencers.

He could be sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and fined US $250,000 after the 12 member jury found him guilty of all three charges in a Miami court.
Small, who is 70-years-old, had been extradited to the United States last year. He was a member of the Jamaat group that in 1990 staged an unsuccessful coup against the then government of Prime Minister ANR Robinson, stared straight ahead after the verdict was given at the end of the five-day trial.
Small had been charged with knowingly and wilfully conspiring with Keith Glaude and persons unknown to commit offences against the United States, being in possession of machine guns in violation of the laws of the United States and knowingly receiving firearms and silencers which were not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer record. The prosecution said the offences occurred between April 17, 2000 and May 30, 2001. Sentencing is set for August 4, 2005.

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Jamaica Gov't workers overpaid millions

Jamaica’s Auditor-General in his most recently released annual report, disclosed that Jamaica Government ministries and agencies overpaid staff in excess of $16 million in salaries and benefits during the 2003/2004 financial year.

Based on figures provided in the Auditor-General's March 2004 report, only about $500,000 of those funds had been recovered before the start of the new financial year. The greatest offender was the police force, whose members are currently in a battle with the Government over their demands for a wage increase. But the overpayments were not strictly related to errors in the computation of salaries. Some were apparently based on false claims made by officers attached to Government departments.

"Payments amounting to $112,326 were made for what appeared to be excessive mileage claims made by 30 officers," the Auditor-General said in highlighting concerns with the financial operations of the Inland Revenue Department. "It was recommended that the amounts overpaid be recovered and more effective internal checks implemented to prevent any recurrence."

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‘Groundings’ tribute to Rodney in Guyana

‘Groundings in Guyana’ , a tribute to the late Dr. Walter Rodney to observe the 25th anniversary commemoration of his assassination takes place June 10 to 13. The groundings will be collective discussions and deliberations and an impressive line-up of scholars, politicians and activists are expected to participate.

These include Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, African Professor Ali Mazrui, General Secretary of the Global Pan-African movement; Raheem Tajudeen, International Secretary of the Black Radical Congress,; Mr. Raffique Shah, Kenyan poet and playright; Mr. George Lamming, Caribbean novelist, Mrs. Selma James, widow of the late CLR James and Rodney’s widow.

The objective is to bring together women, men and youth from grassroots organizations and academia in Guyana, Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and beyond who share Rodney's core principles to examine today's social, economic and political environment and to renew the commitment to the struggle for another world. The organizers include Professor Horace Campbell(USA), Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine (Guyana), Andaiye (Guyana), Dr. David Hinds (USA), Mr. Jai Parsram (Canada) and Malaika Scott (UK).

Walter Rodney was born in Guyana in 1942. He graduated from UWI in Jamaica in 1963. Rodney earned his Ph. D. in 1966 at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, England. He travelled widely and became very well known around the world as an activist and scholar. He taught for a time in Tanzania after graduating, and later in Jamaica at his alma matter at UWI Mona. Rodney was sharply critical of the middle class for its role in the post independence Caribbean. When the Jamaican government, led by Hugh Shearer, banned him from ever returning to the country in October 1968, because of his advocacy of the working poor in that country, riots broke out, eventually claiming the lives of several people and causing millions of dollars in damages. The riots triggered an increase in political awareness across the Caribbean.

Rodney became a prominent Pan-Africanist.While living in Dar es Salaam he was influential in developing a new centre of African learning and discussion. His most influential book was How Europe Underdeveloped Africa.

Rodney was assassinated in 1980 by a bomb while running for office in Guyanese elections. He was survived by his wife and three children. His death was linked to a CIA plot against him.

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Willie Nelson to release reggae album

Country music icon Willie Nelson is trying something a little different. Nelson, 72, will release a long-awaited reggae album, "Countryman" in July. He shot video in Jamaica this month for a cover of Jimmy Cliff's reggae classic "The Harder They Come" and Johnny and June Carter Cash's country music classic "I'm a Worried Man." Of course the late Johnny Cash had a house in Jamaica and contributed to community improvements and charities there.

"Willie started the project 10 years ago when he first came to Jamaica, but it's only been completed now," Mike Cacia, who worked on the album videos, said Thursday.

Nelson, 72, began production on "Countryman" in 1995. The project was shelved when the country star switched labels, and revived in 2004 after he signed on with Nashville-Tenn.-based Lost Highway Records.

Cacia manages reggae singer Toots Hibbert, who appears in "The Harder They Come" video and sings on the 12-track CD, which Lost Highway will release July 12. Turn around is fair play as Toots himself recorded a country and western album years ago.

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Air Jamaica managers seeking unionisation

A large number of managers at Air Jamaica could soon become unionised. The managers have asked the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union, BITU, to lead to the process. BITU Assistant General Secretary, Kavon Gayle, says the union is awaiting word from the Labour Ministry on whether the Air Jamaica managers can get union representation. In the US many non-traditional union occupations such as even doctors, are seeking union protection during these vulnerable times.

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Poor farmers get support from Guyanese govt

Guyana's President, Bharrat Jagdeo, has announced a US $100,000 loan scheme to support farmers in the interior of the country. The initiative was unveiled when Mr. Jagdeo met with farmers at Moruca, close to the Venezuelan border recently.
Moruca is a predominantly agricultural area, but farmers lack the capital to invest in large-scale agricultural activities. A government statement said the funding was necessary, as the absence of a credit line for Moruca farmers has posed many difficulties and even prevented some farmers from replanting.
The scheme will be managed by a committee comprised of representatives from the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs; the Regional Democratic Council of Region One, and prominent citizens from the area.

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Merlene Ottey statue for Independence Park

The greatest sprinter in the English speaking Caribbean, Jamaica’s Merlene Ottey, will have a statue mounted in her honour at Independence Park by the government of Jamaica. The announcement was made by Sports Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller, during her presentation in the 2005-2006 sectoral debate in Parliament. Mrs. Simpson-Miller said Independence Park will also house a sports library and archive.

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WI finally wins Test match

West Indies defeated Pakistan by a massive 276 runs defeat with just over a day-and-a-half to spare in the opening Digicel Test match. Skipper Chanderpaul was man-of-the-match with knocks of 92 and 153 n.o., his 14th Test century. Brian Lara surged to the top of the batting world with his delightful 130. But opening batsman and sometimes off-spinner Chris Gayle was the surprise West Indies bowling hero, routing Pakistan with 5 for 91 in the 2nd innings.

It was the 21st victory for West Indies - and the first following four defeats dating back to 2002. It was also their first win in nine Tests since defeating minnows Bangladesh in Jamaica last year.

Pakistan in West Indies, 2005, 1st Test
at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados
Result: West Indies won by 276 runs to lead the 2-Test series 1-0
1st Innings: WI 345 ( Lara 130, Chanderpaul 92,); Pakistan 144 (Edwards 5 for 38)
2nd Innings: WI 371 (Chanderpaul 153 n.o., Hinds 52, Gayle 50); Pakistan 296 (S Afridi 122, B Khan 55, Gayle 5 for 91)

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