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bulletOpen Letter to the Killers of Sasha Kay Brown
bulletCaribbean on alert for Bird Flu
bulletLIAT becomes low cost airlines
bulletBad weather and ‘Wilma’ bring misery to Caribbean
bulletGuyana gets more debt relief from Trinidad
bulletAmerican is new Air J Chief Operating Officer
bulletBrain drain takes heavy toll on small poor countries
bulletSt. Kitts-Nevis adopt CARICOM passport
bulletJamaica’s Couples Resorts sweep tourist awards
bulletJamaican basketballer for NC State faces deportation
bulletOld-age homes in Jamaica face hard times
bulletMcDonalds saying bye-bye to Jamaica



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

List Price $11.95 (paperback)
Special Introductory Offer $9.95

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.  
For more book info see

Buy through Paypal or  send check for $9.95 + $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.



November 2005

This Hot Calaloo edition is dedicated to:

The Memory of Sasha Kay Brown

Sasha Kay Brown was a 10-year-old girl who burned to death when gunmen lit her house on fire and fired shots to prevent her rescue as reported in last month’s Hot Calaloo. The following 'An Open Letter to the Killers of Sasha Kay Brown' includes a poem I wrote over 10 years ago about a shooting in the US. I never thought worse could happen in my beloved Jamaica. This ‘Open Letter’ is basically an adaptation from a chapter in my recently published book "Boycott Money and Save Your Soul – Launching the Goodwill Revolution"

Open Letter to the Killers of Sasha Kay Brown

Dear vicious cold-blooded killers,
Please read the following poem first:

I Wanted to Live
or Drive-by Shooting

I wanted to live
I wanted to run and jump
To laugh, to play
To dance, to sing
Even to cry some more
I wanted to live
Some more
More than six
Six short years
I wanted to live

Up three floors
Behind locked, bolted
And barricaded doors
On that lime green chair
With the gray shiny tape
On one tattered arm
But on which I liked to play
It searched me out
It found me there
I no longer will play
On that broken chair
I wanted to live
But your bullet found me there
I wanted to live
More than six
Six short years
I wanted to live

I wanted to live
I wanted to grow some more
I wanted to go to junior high
To senior high
Be a cheerleader
"Hey! Hey! Wha’do’ya say
Turn that ball the other way!"
My graduation ceremony
My mother so proud of me
I wanted to live
I wanted to live
I wanted to love
To know the feeling
That first kiss
The exhilaration
To hunger for that special touch
Of that special one
And give myself to him
To wed
My little daughter
Just like me
But to work to make her
Better than me
I wanted to live
I wanted to live
I wanted to hold
My grandchildren in my lap
And tell them stories
Like my grandma
Used to do
And indulge them
Give them candies
Spoil them
Teach them to say
"How do you do?"
About the five little piggies
Who went to market.
Like my grandma
Used to do

I wanted to live
For more than six
Six short years
I wanted to live
I wanted to live
And how about you?
Do you feel remorse?
Or am I just another notch
On your gun?
Another boast to your buddies?
An uneventful incident?
Was it an armed robbery?
Or a drug bust gone awry?
Or did you miss the head
Of some disrespectful friend?
And found 6-year old me
Or was it just frivolity?
Could it have been
Or just shooting
Your beloved gun

I wanted to live
I wanted to live
And the outrage of my death dies down
And my killer they tell me
Was abused from infancy
The system’s to blame
Not he
It’s because it stole his dignity
He was just trying to be a man
I should forgive
I should understand
But, I can not
Probably because
I wanted to live
I wanted to live
I wanted to live
And also because
I am dead

But this was no drive-by shooting, no accident. It was brutal heinous cold blooded murder of an innocent 10-year old girl, a girl too who wanted to live, a girl who never did you vicious cold-blooded killers anything. You forced here to remain in the inferno of the house you set ablaze by shooting at and repelling her would-be rescuers. What did you feel as the fire silenced the screams of that innocent 10-year-old girl? Did you smile with glee?

I know not what you sought to achieve by that vicious barbarous act, but you have achieved the hatred of almost every Jamaican and all others who are aware of your awful deed. Now all of Jamaica hate, loathe and despise you. No Jamaican has ever been hated more. Not even the mother that bore you can love a vicious cold-blooded killer of a 10-year old girl. Do you have friends? If you have, do you tell them how you burned a 10-year-old girl to death? Do you? Or do you keep it a secret from them? Or do you boast about it to them? Do you think they admire you for it, or do they loathe, hate and despise you like the rest of Jamaica?

I doubt that any of you can have a girlfriend but probably must depend on rape to satisfy your sexual desires. No woman could possibly love any man who is such a vicious cold-blooded killer of a 10-year-old girl. So if such a girlfriend exists, she probably hates you too, but is afraid to leave you because you might kill her too.

So what’s next on your agenda? Are you gonna kill some innocent 6-month infant next or shoot up some children in an elementary school. Some gunmen recently held up a bar, abducted, raped and killed three women. Six-year-old girl, Shanika Anderson was brutally raped and killed in Rae Town on May 1st this year. You probably did that too. It sounds like your kind of action.

I am sure that most Jamaicans want you to be hunted down and a bullet put in your brain or subjected to a slow and even more painful death than your innocent defenseless 10-year-old victim received from you. Can you blame them? But, that will not bring Sasha Kay back. I want you to bring Sasha Kay back, by using her memory to dedicate the rest of your miserable life to the protection of innocent 10-year-old girls in Jamaica. Bring her back to life by keeping Jamaica safe for all the children like Sasha Brown until you are caught and brought to justice for your evil deeds. Or will you be evil, vicious, and an inhuman monster to the bitter end?

Yours truly,
Michael Phillips

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Caribbean on alert for Bird Flu

The United States and the World Health Organization on Wednesday warned that the economic impact from a flu pandemic would be enormous, and urged countries to prepare for a possible outbreak reminiscent of the infamous 1918 flu epidemic that killed as many as 50 million people. Officials have repeatedly expressed concern that the H5N1 strain of avian influenza that has swept through poultry populations in many parts of Asia since 2003 and jumped to humans, killing at least 60 people, could mutate to become contagious among people. So far, most of the infections have been traced to direct contact with sick fowl.

Caribbean poultry producers, in partnership with the respective governments and their agencies, are moving swiftly to ensure that adequate measures are implemented to safeguard against an outbreak of the deadly Evian Flu (bird flu). The region as a whole is aware of it and is taking steps to deal with it.

The flu is really communicated by migratory birds so attempts are being made to confine commercial poultry to poultry house operations that are wild bird-proof. There is surveillance for all the chicken houses in Jamaica (and) steps have been made to deal with some of those who are just being back yard chicken rearers.

Surinam exported parrots had the flu
The European Union’s announcement of a one month ban on the importation of wild birds after two parrots in quarantine died of a deadly strain of the virus. The birds had been imported from Suriname. The ban is worrying exporters in Guyana and Suriname about the effects the ban will have on jobs and on export earning.

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LIAT becomes low cost airlines

LIAT, in an attempt to curtail its losses in revenue, has become the Caribbean's new low cost carrier. LIAT announced that from yesterday, fares have been cut by an average of 20 per cent. From the examples given, the highest fare available was US$130 and the lowest fare was US$22. There will be differently priced seats on each aeroplane, introducing a concept of "The earlier you buy, the cheaper your seat". For example, from Barbados to Antigua will now be $130, with the possibility of it going as low as $30.

That formula seemed to work for South West Airlines in the US, one of the few profitable airlines.

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Bad weather and ‘Wilma’ bring misery to Caribbean

Hurricane Wilma was too far away to be the cause, but Guyana was rocked by mysterious unexpected raging waves that punched gaping holes in fragile sections of the sea defenses protecting the Guyana coast, triggering fears of another flood disaster. The furious tides that churned unprecedented waves lashing the coastal defences there also hit Trinidad, Antigua and Barbados. They wreaked havoc on the East and West Coast Demerara in Guyana and in sections of coastal Trinidad.

Guyana suffered the worst damage as the resulting flood damaged houses. It also spawned fears of a flood as great as the one in January which triggered the country’s worst natural disaster affecting some 200,000. Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo authorised the release of G$200M to urgently mend sections of fragile sea defences on the East and West Coast Demerara.

In Trinidad, the giant waves damaged and in some cases destroyed scores of houses and caused massive erosion along Trinidad's west coast. Swells reaching 15 feet ripped apart homes, taking some into the ocean off Cedros, Otaheite, San Fernando's King's Wharf and along the old train line at Marabella. Since the waves were unexpected, bathers, fishermen and villagers along Trinidad's north coast were surprised, panicked and were sent running for higher ground.

Hurricane Wilma and relentless rains wreak havoc
The rains of hurricane Wilma left a wide path of destruction. In Haiti, it triggered mudslides which killed 10 people.

Wilma did not hit Jamaica, but its rains did and with a vengeance. Rain, rain, go away. But it would not, but hung around for a long time, even before and after Wilma. As to be expected from such incessant heavy rains:

bulletRoads all over the island were made impassable due to a rash of landslides, were washed out or were under water. Major thoroughfares suffered. The Mandela Highway, the main highway out of Kingston was snarled so bad that a 30-minute drive took 6 hours. Of course, the Bog Walk gorge was blocked for many days requiring substantial repairs. In Montego Bay, shoppers in the town had to suddenly flee for high ground as waist high water from a gully suddenly rushed through the town.
bulletBridges were destroyed
bulletHomes were flooded
bulletAll Schools had to be closed and some were turned into shelters for people made homeless
bulletWhole Communities were cut off
bulletSpanish Town hospital was flooded forcing pregnant women to seek delivery in Kingston.
bulletIn Clarendon, the raging Rio Minho gobbled up bridges and roads.

After Jamaica, Wilma moved on to clobber the tourist resort of Cancun in Mexico, Miami, Florida and Cuba. In Florida it killed 6 people, some three million homes and businesses lost electricity and thousands of people had to go to public shelters. In Cuba, massive waves flooded Havana and inundated the southern coastline doing tremendous damage there.

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Guyana gets more debt relief from Trinidad

THE Trinidad and Tobago Government has written off US$123.2M of Guyana’s debt to that country. The two governments on October 6 last, signed a bilateral rescheduling agreement to write-off US$123,251,148.08 or G$24.9 billion of Guyana's debt obligations to Trinidad and Tobago in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Paris Club Agreed Minute of January 14, 2004. "This bilateral rescheduling agreement, which follows a similar agreement signed in October 1999, provides for a write-off of 70.08% of the relevant principal, including arrears up to December 1, 2003, and for the remainder of US$52,620,924.26 to be rescheduled over 15 ½ years, at a market interest rate", the ministry said.

In addition, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago has agreed to provide further debt relief to Guyana to assist in addressing the "formidable challenge of regenerating Guyana's social and economic infrastructure which was damaged by the flooding disaster early this year", the ministry reported. It said this additional relief will be delivered through a rescheduling of the debt service payments due in the years 2004 and 2005 amounting to US$4,502,213.76.

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American is new Air J Chief Operating Officer

An American, Michael Conway, has been appointed to take over as Chief Operating Officer at Air Jamaica. Mr. Conway, who has more than 25 years experience in the aviation industry, previously served as Vice President and Controller at Continental Airlines and was also the Co-Founder of America West and National Airlines, both in the United States. The new Chairman of Air Jamaica, OK Melhado said Mr. Conway's experience and track record in operating major airlines in the United States place him in a good position to take over the cash strapped Air Jamaica.

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Brain drain takes heavy toll on poor countries

Caribbean countries are among the worst affected. A recent World Bank study reveals that the countries of the Caribbean, as well as other developing countries across the globe, are losing large proportions of their college educated workers to wealthy democracies.

The study, International Migration, Remittances and the Brain Drain,was published last week and based on census and survey data from 30 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. It traced a massive exodus of professionals from some of the worlds most vulnerable low- income countries. For example, eight out of ten Haitians and Jamaicans with college degrees live outside of their respective countries. In Guyana, 89 per cent of the skilled workforce has left the country, the study found. 

Other areas hard-hit by the brain drain include Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. And, some areas of the Caribbean and the Pacific show rates of migration among professionals over 50 per cent, in stark contrast to larger countries like China and India, where only 3 to 5 per cent of graduates are abroad. Brazil, India, Indonesia, and the former Soviet Union countries also have low migration rates among the educated. 

Here are emigration rates for some Caribbean countries:

Guyana 89%
Jamaica 85%
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 84%
Haiti 83%
Trinidad and Tobago 79%
St. Kitts 78.5%
St. Lucia 71.1%
Antigua and Barbuda 66%
Dominica 64%
Barbados 63%
Bahamas 61%

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St. Kitts-Nevis adopt CARICOM passport

St. Kitts-Nevis has become the third regional state to bring the CARICOM passport into operation, making good on its promise to launch it before the end of the year. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said issuance of the document to citizens would begin on November 14. Suriname became the first CARICOM state to introduce the document in January, followed by St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The CARICOM passport is a national document, which is being issued in accordance with an agreed format for intra-regional and extra-regional travel. The introduction of the CARICOM passport is also part of the measures to promote hassle-free travel for CARICOM nationals, and a major thrust of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

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Jamaica’s Couples Resorts sweep tourist awards

ALL FOUR Couples Resorts in Jamaica have been awarded the Apple Vacation's Golden Apple Award at a ceremony held in Chicago.

Couples Resorts is the only all-inclusive in the Caribbean to have received the award for every resort within the brand. Pioneered by the legendary Abe Issa, Couples Resorts, headquartered in Montego Bay, Jamaica, owns and operates four properties in Jamaica - Couples Ocho Rios, Couples Sans Souci, Couples Swept Away and Couples Negril. Award recipients are chosen based on vacation satisfaction questionnaires completed by Apple vacationers upon their return home. Hotels and resorts are evaluated on the quality of their products, installations and services. The Golden Apple is only awarded to those hotels and resorts with the highest standards of excellence and exceptional hotel operations.

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Jamaican basketballer for NC State faces deportation

Jamaican basketballer Gavin Grant, a sophomore at North Carolina State University, faces deportation back to the island after United States Federal immigration officials determined he is in the country illegally.

Grant, 20, could face deportation after a hearing in federal immigration court in Atlanta. An immigration official claims that Grant entered the US from Jamaica after his mother did. Grant has lived in the U.S. since at least 1994. An NC State official said the school expected Grant to continue to be at practice. He remains on the team, on scholarship, and plans to play this season. His immigration status has been under discussion for weeks. The 6'7" forward averaged 4.2 points and 2.4 rebounds as a freshman.

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Old-age homes in Jamaica face hard times

Several of the Jamaica's old-age homes are screaming for financial support. The struggling institutions have sustained severe injuries after being battered by economically tough times over the years. At least one of the island's homes for the aged has been forced to scale down its operations and another is threatened with closure.

Sources within the homes have revealed that both private and public sector contributions to the maintenance of the homes have been reduced over the years.

The Golden Age Home in May Pen, Clarendon might have to send its residents home unless it receives more funds. It desperately needs a washing machine and a standby generator. During the many blackouts, the home is raided by hungry hoodlums under the cover of darkness.

St. Catherine's home for the aged in Spanish Town has also fallen on hard times. The money it receives just cannot keep up with expenses.

Now is the time for overseas help from some Hot Calaloo readers.

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McDonalds saying bye-bye to Jamaica

Soon the golden arches will disappear from the Jamaican landscape. The fast food chain, McDonalds, is packing it up. It is now auctioning fixtures and equipment from its locations across the island as the company prepares to leave the Jamaican market. The company announced a few weeks ago that it would be pulling out of Jamaica, as it was no longer profitable to remain there. McDonald's ran into difficulty as far back as 2000, when plans for aggressive expansion had to be suspended because of difficult operating conditions. At its peak, McDonald's Jamaica operated 12 stores, and there were plans to add 15 more.

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