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bulletJamaica Central Bank head and top cop quit
bulletNew IMF policies come under new criticism
bulletBarbados makes top 40 list of best nations
bulletBarbados and Jamaica government bonds downgraded
bulletJamaicaís Cash Plus boss faces more fraud charges
bulletSerious crimes in Guyana fall in 2009
bulletJamaica turns to garbage for fuel
bulletAruba invests 90 million in renewable energy
bullet50% of Jamaica Grade 11 high school students fail
bulletBanned Jamaican Olympic athletes did NOT fail drug tests
bulletGuyana capital Georgetown is burning down
bulletJamaicaís School Garden Program flourishes
bulletUS green card lottery underway
bulletPhilharmonic cancels Cuba trip as sponsors can`t get travel approval
bulletJamaica goat farmers win court battle against ALCOA
bulletWyclef Jean starts new venture to help Haiti
bulletJamaica revamps its export model


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by Michael I Phillips

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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.  
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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 2009

Jamaica Central Bank head and top cop quit

The Governor of Jamaicaís Central Bank, Derick Latibeaudiere and the Commissioner of Police, Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin have resigned.

Mr. Latibeaudiere, 58, had served as governor of the central bank of the Caribbean island state since 1996. He was leading negotiations with the IMF to obtain a $1.2 billion stand-by loan. Jamaica has sought IMF help after being hit by a drop in revenues from bauxite mining and alumina exports, as well a falloff in tourism and remittances during the global recession. The resignation seemed to be a surprise but there had been open differences between the finance minister Audley Shaw and Latibeaudiere in the last two years over the country's monetary policy. Mr. Shaw said the resignation was by mutual agreement. However, PM Bruse Golding has stated Mr. Latibeaudiere had to go because he would not agree to a cut in his grossly excessive salary and perks. Shaw has named Financial Secretary Wesley Hughes would immediately take charge of the negotiations with the IMF.
Police Commissioner Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin had served two years since his appointment by Prime Minister Golding. It seems he also also resigned over differences with the Prime Minister. The PM has since stated that he was dissatisfied in the commissionerís ability to reduce crime.

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New IMF policies come under new criticism

Jamaica is to approach the IMF for a US$1.2-billion standby agreement. Recently, The Washington-based Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) noted that a recent study found 31 of 41 countries with current IMF agreements have been subjected to harmful monetary and fiscal policies.

The IMF refuted this by citing an analysis of 15 countries, the IMF said its supported programs were delivering the kind of policy response and financing needed to help cushion the blow from the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. Many of the severe disruptions characteristic of past crises have so far been either avoided or sharply reduced.

I hope the IMF is right this time because we all still remember the dismal failure of their structural adjustment policy on Jamaica and other poor countries.

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Barbados makes top 40 list of best nations

Barbados is the lone Caribbean nation to make the top 40 list of the 2009 Human Development Report Index. The Caribbean nation came in at 37 on the list, with UN analysts who compile the annual report, meaning it is very high on the quality of life scale.
The report measures quality of life and takes into account life expectancy, literacy, school enrolment and per capita gross domestic product in 182 countries in its measurement of the human index of development. Norway was number one with Niger last.

Rank Country
1 Norway
2 Australia
3 Iceland
4 Canada
13 USA
40 Barbados
47 Antigua and Barbuda
51 Cuba
52 Bahamas
62 St. Kitts
64 Trinidad and Tobago
69 St. Lucia
73 Dominica
74 Grenada
90 Dominican Republic
91 St. Vincent and the Grenadines
97 Suriname
100 Jamaica
114 Guyana
149 Haiti
182 Niger

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Barbados and Jamaica government bonds downgraded

Barbados may have gotten a high quality of living stamp but its bond rating was yesterday downgraded to the brink of junk. Moody`s Investors Service has lowered the Barbados government bond rating to the brink of junk territory, stating that the nation`s government debt has more than doubled. Barbados` bond rating was lowered to Baa3, or just one notch into investment grade.
Moody`s expects the island`s debt to exceed 100 percent of its economic output, compared with 65 percent in 1999. Moody`s said structural issues that have lead to a higher debt burden for the Caribbean nation, which is heavily dependent on tourism and offshore financial services for its income. The Moody`s report comes just four month after Standard & Poor`s Rating Services cut Barbados` credit ratings closer to junk territory, putting the rating at BBB, or two notches above junk.

If you think a BAA3 is bad, Standard & Poor's downgraded Jamaica one notch, to "CCC" from CCC-plus and kept the negative outlook on the island credit following the resignation of the central bank governor, the lead negotiator of a possible standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund. The government's room to maneuver continues to narrow as it becomes increasingly difficult to further cut public expenditures in order to sustain an interest burden of about 60 percent of general government revenue."

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Jamaicaís Cash Plus boss face more fraud charges

Last year, former Cash Plus boss Carlos Hill was charged jointly with his brother, Bertram Hill, and former executive officer of Cash Plus, Peter Wilson, for allegedly defrauding Cash Plus depositors. The three are on bail and are to return to court on January 19, 2010. More recently Carlos Hill, was slapped with 15 additional fraud charges and could face trial in the Home Circuit Court, where the penalty is more severe.
The new charges against Hill came exactly three days after liquidator Hugh Wildman announced that his team had discovered US$25 million that Hill and his brother, Bertram Hill, had allegedly lodged in a Swiss bank in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Wildman said legal steps were being taken to recover the money.
Cash Plus has 40,000 depositors who invested approximately $2 billion in the scheme.

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Serious crimes in Guyana fall in 2009

Serious crimes in Guyana fell in 2009 led by significant decline in murders. For the period January 1 to October 27, 2009 shows a 5% decline in the crime rate, led by a significant fall in murders of 30%. Serious crimes so far this year have fallen to 2,461 from 2,573 last year, with murders falling to 95 from 136.
The downward trend is supported by a 69.5% clearing rate of murder cases, with the GPF identifying 66 out of 95 perpetrators of murders this year to justice. A majority of these individuals have been charged and brought before the justice system, with a few on the run from the law. Wanted bulletins have been issued for these individuals and the police continue to actively seek them out.
There has also been a significant reduction of robbery with the use of firearms. For 2209, there have been 513 cases compared to 698 in 2008, a 26% reduction.

Unfortunately there seems to have been an increase of charges of police brutality also.

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Jamaica turns to garbage for fuel

Jamaica has hired a Florida company to build two plants that will convert garbage into energy and help save the Government $60 million a year in fuel imports. Energy Minister James Robertson says the plants could generate about 18 per cent of the country's electricity and eliminate the need to import more than 700,000 barrels of fuel a year. The plants will be constructed at the Riverton landfill in Kingston. It is unclear when construction would start.

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Aruba invests 90 million in renewable energy

Aruba has announced that work has begun on the islandís $90 million renewable energy project. Construction had broken ground in late-June at Vader Piet, the eastern part of the island, which has been designated as the location of 10 giant wind turbines with a potential of generating a total of 30 megawatts of renewable energy. This project is an investment by the Danish company, VESTAS, which in turn will sell electricity to WEB Aruba NV , the islandís water and power company.

This project is one of many recent upgrades in Aruba ís effort to be less dependent on fossil fuels, to lessen the ever increasing demand on the local plant, and to help preserve and protect the islandís environment.

The wind turbines are expected to generate an estimated 18 megawatts total based on the flow of the islandís constant trade winds. The project is scheduled to be completed in December 2009 and work is already under way with the necessary lines being set in place, running from Vader Piet all the way to WEB Aruba ís headquarters in Balashi.

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50% of Jamaica Grade 11 high school students fail

Jamaica Education Minister Education Andrew Holness revealed that 50% of Jamaicaís Grade 11 high school students fail to obtain any certification upon graduation. This alarming fact means that MORE THAN half of the students who left secondary school last year in Jamaica have no subjects and no skills.

Ministry of Education data show that last year, there were 51,676 Jamaican youth of Grade 11 age, half of whom were not certified for any further education or job.

The data suggest that only 40,690 of the Grade 11 cohort were enrolled in schools. No one knows for sure what was happening with the other 11,000 youngsters who should have been in school.

The ministry data show that only 31,604 of those who enrolled last year sat the external examinations. Of those who sat exams, 15,226 or 29 per cent of the students passed fewer than two subjects, including 6,004 who did not secure a pass in a single subject.

There is considerable data to show that the crime population is directly related to poor education.



12% (or 6,004) of Grade 11 students passed NO exams


29% of students who sat exams last year passed two or fewer subjects


63.9% of inmates incarcerated in 2008 were of poor or illiterate educational backgrounds


60.8% of new prison population is classified as unskilled persons


730 of 1,334 new inmates incarcerated in 2008 were between the ages of 17 and 30.


In 1996, nearly 1,000 out of 2,100 new inmates in correctional centres were either poorly educated or illiterate.

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Banned Jamaican Olympic athletes did NOT fail drug tests

A substance called 4-methyl-2-hexanamine was found in the urine of five athletes tested at the National Championship in June. The athletes were Sheri-Ann Brooks, Yohan Blake, Marvin Anderson, Allodin Fothergill and Lansford Spence.

The substance was described by the IAAF lab as "an adverse analytical finding" and has resulted in three-month bans being handed down to four of the athletes. Brooks was cleared because proper procedure was not followed for the testing of her B sample.

The athletes were banned failed to realize their lifelong dream of representing their country at the Olympics. But they did nothing wrong because 4-methyl-2-hexanamine is NOT on the WADA list of banned substances. Why were the athletes banned then? It is because the IAAF report stated that 4-methyl-2-hexanamine "has a similar chemical structure or has similar biological effect(s)" to tuaminoheptane. Tuaminoheptane is a compound on the WADA list of prohibited stimulants (section S6 b). The critical word in the report is "similar" which, as defined by the Oxford dictionary, means "like, alike, resembling something but not the same". Similarity is subjective unless there is agreement on the minimum criteria for similarity. As such, the term has limited use in things scientific. More critical is the extent of similarity. What is the minimum criteria which two compounds must meet before they are deemed similar? Is it 1 per cent, 45 per cent, 90 per cent or 99.9 per cent similarity? Which is it? How similar must 4-methyl-2-hexanamine be to tuaminoheptane? The WADA list does not address this issue of the extent of similarity.

Peter Ruddock, PhD, the branch manager of Tanaud International BV, Chemistry Department, University of the West Indies reports that in his examination of over 100 years of science literature, he has found no studies published which establishes that 4-methyl-2-hexanamine is useful as an athletic stimulant. It would be helpful if WADA or the IAAF shows the scientific basis of deeming 4-methyl-2-hexanamine a stimulant. In fact, scientists at a pharmaceutical company, Eli Lily, said over 60 years ago in a 1944 patent that (sic) "4-methyl-2-hexanamine has a negligible effect on the nervous system" (Shoule and Rohrmann, Eli Lily patent 2,350,318). One similar biological effect between 4-methyl-2-hexanamine and tuaminoheptane, however, is that both have been used as nasal decongestants. Is this similarity enough for the athletes to have been banned, or is this an irrelevant similarity?

Furthermore, the literature on the substance at the time of purchase was crystal clear in bold writing that it was WADA and NCAA compliant.

4-methyl-2-hexanamine itself is a natural compound which comes from the geranium plant.

It is clear that these athletes have been done a terrible injustice. Besides missing the Olympics their names have been tarnished. Their coach is threatening to sue and I hope he does.

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Guyana capital Georgetown is burning down

Remember a very long time ago when I was just a kid, there was a song we used to sing as a round:

London burning! London Burning!
Look yonder! look yonder!
Fire! Fire!
Fire! fire!
And we have no water!

Well substitute Georgetown, Guyana for London.

Another fire of unknown origin swept through Regent Street in Georgetown, the capital of Guyana, completely destroying three businesses. This blaze started around 3:30 am inside the Household Plus building, another branch of which suffered a similar fate less than two weeks ago. The fire quickly engulfed the household appliances store and spread to a Chinese variety store, then to Wireless Connections, a cellular phone store. When firefighters arrived at the scene, Household Plus was already engulfed, leaving them with the only option of trying to contain the blaze, but this got out of hand and quickly spread to the other two businesses.
But according to the Chief Fire Officer, Marlon Gentle, the intensity of the fire was not the only challenge for his men, since they had limited water available. He noted that the tenders arrived with only 4,000 gallons of water, which proved inadequate, forcing them to utilise water from a canal about 500 yards away from the scene
On October 9 last, a fire believed to be of electrical origin started at the other branch of Household Plus, also on Regent Street, and lasted several hours, destroying three businesses and a dwelling.
Most of the city's historical buildings are wooden in construction, reflecting the unique 18th and 19th century architecture. But this makes them vulnerable to fire. So it is no wonder that Guyana over the past months had been marred by fires, which have left hundreds of people homeless. As of end of September, figures from the Guyana Fire Service indicated there were 1,143 fire calls, of which 109 were buildings that were completely destroyed and 38 severely damaged, leaving 218 people homeless and 9 dead. However, since these figures were released, there have been at least 50 other fires that have destroyed several dwelling houses.
Local authorities have been blaming the upsurge in fires on the current El NiŮo being experienced and have been constantly urging residents to take precautions when burning rubbish and other waste.

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Jamaicaís School Garden Program flourishes

Jamaicaís National school Garden Program has targeted the establishment of 966 gardens in public schools islandwide over a three-year period. In the 2008/2009 financial year the program surpassed its target, having established 405 gardens, with a projection to set-up 322 in the current fiscal year. This program under the Ministry of Agriculture helps to provide a well needed supplement for hundreds of students whose nutritional status is at risk, The program is considered so important that it is exempt from the 20 per cent cut in capital expenditure mandated by Prime Minister Bruce Golding for all government ministries.

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US green card lottery underway

Caribbean and other nationals around the world, could win a US green card in the annual lottery of the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program of the US State Department.

At noon today, October 2, the DV-2011 Diversity Visa lottery, run annually by the U.S. State Department, will get underway. From October 2 to November 30, 2009, applicants may submit their free, electronic application at No paper entries will be accepted and no group, individual or attorney can get you a green card through this system. As with any lottery, it is all up to fate.

A computer-generated, random lottery drawing chooses selectees for DVs. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions, with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and with no visas going to nationals of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the period of the past five years. Within each region, no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year.

The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State and provides for a class of immigrants known as `diversity immigrants.` A maximum of 55,000 Diversity Visas is made available each fiscal year to countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

Haiti, Jamaica, as well as nationals of Brazil, Canada, China (Mainland-Born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam are excluded from the lottery.

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Philharmonic cancels Cuba trip as sponsors can`t get travel approval

Despite the new Obama administration, enough change has not come to the US-Cuba policy. The New York Philharmonic had to cancel its plans to perform in Cuba. Orchestra officials say they have been forced to put their plans on ice for now since the U.S. government has not allowed its sponsors to travel to Cuba.

`The postponement is due to existing U.S. Government restrictions on travel to Cuba which would affect project funders and supporters, without whose financial support the trip is not possible,` the Philharmonic said in a statement.

The orchestra had planned to travel to Havana from October 30 to Nov 2 to perform at two concerts. Some 150 patrons and supporters had pledged to pay about $10,000 each to accompany the orchestra on the inaugural trip but the Treasury Department had not issued a final ruling on the donor travel request. There is no category for donors to travel to Cuba under U.S. embargo rules in place since 1962.

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Jamaica goat farmers win court battle against ALCOA

Chalk up a victory of the little man against a mighty multinational corporation. Alcoa Minerals of Jamaica has been ordered by the Supreme Court to pay $28 million to two landowners for its failure to complete a 1995 agreement to provide seedlings to establish a forage for them to rear goats.

The landowners, Dr Albert Binger and his aunt, Ruth Lawrence (now deceased), had entered into an agreement with Alcoa in 1995 for its partner, Jamalco, to mine 18 acres of their land at Stewarton district, Clarendon. In exchange:


Jamalco would give the landowners 60 acres of land at Whitney district, Clarendon,


Provide a registered title for the land.


pay Lawrence the cost of establishing 14.5 acres of leucenia plants at Whitney to be used for forage.


The Forestry Department was to recommend how densely the leucenia would be planted, but that recommendation was not obtained until after the trial had commenced in July last year.


The land was to be returned to them after it was mined.

At the culmination of the trial, The judge ordered Alcoa to pay $8.8 million as establishment costs, which include the cost of the seedlings and $13.7 million as maintenance costs for the plants to Dr Binger and the estate of Ruth Lawrence. The parties agreed that Alcoa had previously paid $375,000 and the judge said the amount was to be deducted from the award. Alcoa was also ordered to pay damages of US$70,000 with interest to the claimants. Alcoa has also been ordered to deliver to the claimants, a duplicate certificate of title in the names of Ruth Lawrence and Albert Binger as tenants in common for the 60 acres of land at Whitney.

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Wyclef Jean starts new venture to help Haiti

Wyclef Jean has embarked on yet another project to heal his homeland Haiti. The Grammy Award singer, song writer and producer, has announced that he is teaming up with The Timberland Co. to sell eco-friendly footwear to support the reforestation of Haiti.

Timberland will also sell T-shirts designed by Haitian children and a new line of organic shirts and hats that will be sold at Jean`s concerts, with a cut of the profits going to Jean`s Yele Haiti foundation. Jean said he hopes the partnership will inspire children and put a new face on his homeland.

His effort comes as he gets ready to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway on December 11. This year`s show is set to also feature Toby Keith and Donna Summer, as well as Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi and Amadou & Mariam, a blues and jazz duet from Mali.

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Jamaica revamps its export model

Exporting raw agricultural is not good enough in these harsh economic times. No longer should shipping ackee, cocoa, Scotch Bonnet peppers or banana in its raw form be good enough, Jamaican farmers are being told. Can it, box it ó add value to it, government officials are demanding. As a banana producer explained, "We were exporting bananas. This year we are exporting banana chips and doing well at it. We are building a business slowly but surely."


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