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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.
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.
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.
Barbados and Jamaica government bonds downgraded
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
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.
Unfortunately there seems to have been an increase of charges of police brutality also.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 www.dvlottery.state.gov. 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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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