UNDILUTED Vol 16 – in their own undiluted words: - Fidel Castro reflects on the assistance Cuba has given to Haiti compared to other more powerful countries and international organisations. UNDILUTED Vol 16
Not just a book but an invitation to join the Goodwill
Revolution against an unfair, unjust and deceptive system that
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quit the rat race, and achieve a happier more meaningful life for
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by Donna Hemans ... $16.10
---------------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.
Barbados Prime Minister dies
Prime Minister David Thompson of Barbados died on October 23 following
a struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was 48. Thompson became prime
minister in January 2008.
Hurricane Tomas clobbers Caribbean isles
For hurricanes according to the rhyme "..October all over, November remember…", but not for Tomas. The October-November has left a trail of death and destruction across the Caribbean.
Haiti – Earthquake, Tomas and cholera epidemic
|A Range Rover and a Land Cruiser from the upper St Andrew home of dancehall superstar Rodney Pryce, otherwise known as 'Bounty Killer'. The authorities say the entertainer, who was recently stripped of his US visa, was a delinquent taxpayer but would give no details about his case.|
|a luxury Mercedes-Benz motorcar from the Hillcrest Avenue home of dancehall star Elephant Man, whose real name is Oneil Bryan.|
Even Grammy-award winning deejay 'Beenie Man', whose real name is Moses Davis, was also hauled before the tax court in 2008 for allegedly owing millions of dollars in taxes.
While Caribbean tourism ministers were in Britain lobbying London to change its Air Passenger Duty (APD), the German government has implemented a new levy on airline tickets that will result in an increase in prices to the Caribbean.
Initially announced earlier this year, the charge will add €8 (US$10) on tickets to 52 European destinations; €25 (US$31) to destinations in Asia and Africa; and €45 (US$57) to all other destinations, including those in the Caribbean. The levy is part of a proposed budget designed to save the German exchequer €80 billion (US$101 billion) in the period to 2014.
The British government plans to increase an air passenger tax for travellers to the region. Currently, each economy class traveller to the Caribbean pays £50 (US$77) in APD. But from November 1, this will increase to £75 (US$115) - the second in as many years. The levy for premium economy, business and first class passengers will rise from £100 (US$154) to £150 (US$291).
Dutch authorities abolished a similar tax in 2008, conceding the revenue raised was far less than the revenue lost due to a decrease in traffic as customers switched to competing airports.
Editor's Note: First Britain, now Germany. It looks like European governments are pricing the Caribbean out of their tourism markets.
President of the Nurses' Association of Jamaica (NAJ) Edith Allwood-Anderson yesterday told her team to return to work following two days of high levels of absenteeism from some hospitals. The Government and the NAJ have been at odds for some time over the delay in the payment of outstanding salaries and other benefits.
Health Minister Rudyard Spencer said the high levels of absenteeism caused significant strain on the sector, forcing the ministry to activate its standard emergency protocols.
Only emergency cases were being handled by medical staff and non-critical patients were discharged. Elective surgeries were cancelled, and senior nurses manned critical areas of hospital operations.
Earlier, Spencer told journalists at a press conference that the nurses are not likely to receive their payment due under a reclassification of the health sector until February when the other groups are addressed.
The Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) is urging the Government to
take swift action to prevent a total collapse of the ailing health-care
system. The MAJ urged the Government to rescind the current model in the
sector to reduce cost and prevent an entire system breakdown.
The association called for the Government to implement the recommendations from the review of the health reform process to address what it described as the ineffectiveness of regionalisation of health planning, service delivery, accountability, transparency, communication, and community involvement. The MAJ also cited a flawed health-sector reform exercise and a poorly implemented no-user-fee policy.
Not only the nurses, but lawyers are having problems receiving pay from the Government. The local court system could face some major challenges as lawyers who provide legal aid are threatening to withdraw their service. The lawyers are upset over the failure of the Government to pay millions of dollars owed for work on legal-aid cases. The 320 lawyers on the legal-aid list are owed more than $30 million.
Most of the lawyers who do legal-aid cases are members of the Advocates Association of Jamaica was owed $2 million for legal-aid cases, and has so far been paid less than a quarter of that amount. According to a spokesman, they have received two payments so far this year totalling $160,000. Last year, he received three payments of $80,000 each.
According to the lawyers, it is time-consuming and strenuous to prepare the legal-aid cases and then they have to wait an unacceptably long time to be paid. Some lawyers said that they had stopped submitting claims because "it made no sense".
Legal aid is available to all defendants in criminal cases except those involving money laundering and drug offences.
The British newspaper, TheEconomist, it was disclosed that victims of
multiple sclerosis (MS) since June 21 this year can legally purchase a
marijuana-based medicine known as Sativex in Britain to alleviate the
excruciating pain and spasms associated with their condition.
"Sufferers from multiple sclerosis and other painful illnesses have
long smoked marijuana to alleviate the discomforts of their condition.
Doctors, who had previously advised their patients to buy the drug from
shady types on street corners, will now be able to write them a private
prescription costing about £11 a day.
"Free supplies courtesy of the National Health Service await a formal finding that the medicine is cost-effective."
Jamaica, which has an enduring cultural and law-enforcement association with the herb, had set the pace globally in terms of research and development of legal drugs from ganja since the 1970s through the groundbreaking efforts of Professor Manley West and Dr Albert Lockhart at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Back then, Professor West and Dr Lockhart isolated a compound in cannabis which they discovered could be used in the treatment of glaucoma, a broad term which encompasses disorders of the eye in which pressure within the eye is elevated, resulting in damage to the organ causing pain, visual disturbances, and even blindness. The upshot of their collaboration was the development of canasol, which contains an alpha agonist, which helps to relieve the pressure in the eye without the side effects of other therapies.
Meanwhile, back in Jamaica, the fight to eradicate ganja continues to consume significant resources of the security forces and the wider legal system, with hundreds of prosecutions annually for trading in and using the herb.
According to the bridge management report of Jamaica’s National Works Agency (NWA), 44 per cent of the country's bridges were built before 1950. The agency says 135 of the 736 bridges currently inventoried on the NWA main-road network are defective. "The term defective is one used to define a state of condition where a critical component of the bridge has reached the end of its serviceable life," the NWA stated in the report. Since 2005, Jamaica has had 28 bridges in stock but the bridges have not been installed because the Government was unable to find the money to put them to use.
Rev. Lucius Walker Jr., a vocal critic of the US embargo of Cuba,
passed away on September 7, according to Pastors for Peace. He was 80.
Walker led 21 annual caravans or `friendshipments` to Cuba through countries such as Canada and Mexico. His most recent caravan took place this summer. He always refused to apply for a U.S. government license to take the shipments to Cuba, adding that to do so would be to dignify the `immoral blockade.`
Walker always argued that the U.S. embargo against Cuba hurt the people on the island and had failed in five decades to topple the regime.
Walker was the first pastor of the Salvation Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York, a center of progressive preaching and social activism. He was the founder and head of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) in New York. IFCO said that as of this year, the annual caravans had delivered more than 3,200 tons of aid to Cuba.
The United Nations General Assembly voted for the 19th consecutive year
to urge an end to the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, which the
government in Havana has labeled an "act of genocide."
The non-binding resolution, adopted by a 187-2 vote with three abstentions, asks the U.S. to "repeal and invalidate" the embargo. The trade ban has been in effect since 1962, three years after Fidel Castro seized control of Cuba.
Israel was the only nation to join the U.S. in voting against the resolution. Palau, Marshall Islands, and Micronesia abstained.
Montserrat’s soca super star Arrow is dead. The acclaimed
international performer passed away quietly at his home in Lime Kiln after
a long illness. Arrow, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2009,
returned from Antigua days ago after being hospitalized in Antigua.
Arrow is responsible for taking to soca genre to the international music scene with his 1982 smash hit Hot, Hot, Hot. He won the local calypso competition on four occasions before embarking on his smash international career.
Singer Gregory Isaacs, whose dapper outfits and smooth delivery made
him reggae's undisputed 'Cool Ruler', has died in London after a yearlong
battle with cancer. He was 59.
Isaacs had racked up numerous hits in a 40-year career, including Love Is Overdue, All I Have Is Love, Soon Forward, Tune In and Night Nurse. His career reached a high in the 1980s when he teamed with the Roots Radics Band to cut a series of lovers' rock numbers like Front Door, Out Deh, Sad To Know (You're Leaving) and Night Nurse. The latter was his biggest seller and signature tune, and was later covered by Mick Hucknall of British band Simply Red.
His last performance was at the Big Chill Festival in England on August 8. His final show in Jamaica was Pulse's Studio 38 series in July.
The DREAM Act was aimed to grant US permanent residency to immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and who have completed sometime in college or in the armed forces. It was attached by Democrats to the Defense spending bill but Republican lawmakers refused to budge. Instead they attacked the Obama administration and accusing them of seeking amnesty for illegal immigrants through administrative changes within the Department of Homeland Security. The vote was 56-43. with 2 Democratic senators siding with the Republicans.
The Jamaica government is faced with a bill of J$500 million to cover the cost of the west Kingston incursion in May, and the total cost is not yet finalised.
Finance Minister Audley Shaw said state agencies were still tallying the bill based on the economic fallout, plus the human and infrastructural damage, during the almost week-long clash between members of the security forces and gunmen in Tivoli Gardens and adjoining communities. More than 70 persons were killed and several buildings damaged as police and soldiers swarmed sections of west Kingston in search of then fugitive Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.
The Coronation Market, the Hannah Town and Darling Street police stations were among the buildings extensively damaged during the operation. Members of the private sector has offered financial assistance to the government to repair the market and at least one of the damaged stations.
A Jamaican-born United States nurse practitioner, Muriel Gordon, is
fuming over what she describes as the debilitating democracy cramping her
efforts to assist needy institutions in the island.
During a visit to the Fruitful Vale Primary School in Portland on Monday, she complained that a 20-foot container loaded with gifts for a hospital, clinic and the school had been held up since July.
Gordon, who was born in Kingston and grew up in Fruitful Vale, said she had been advised to seek the assistance of a minister of government in clearing the 20-foot container in time for the gifts to be handed out to their beneficiaries.
"I contacted the office of the government minister and I was advised what to do," she told The Gleaner. "I followed the guidelines and the container arrived in Jamaica in July. I took time out to come back home to oversee and spearhead the distribution, only to be told that the invoice cannot be found. It is absurd and unacceptable. All the relevant documents indicating the contents of the container and its donors were submitted."
The obviously disappointed nurse practitioner said her desire was to have the contents of the container handed over to the Port Antonio Hospital, the Shrewsbury clinic and the Fruitful Vale Primary School before she returns to work in the US on Friday.
"The gifts are all brand new, and were donated by persons with good intentions, and who genuinely want to help people here," she added. "I am worried about returning home on Friday and not being able to provide my local government and donors with an update regarding the distribution. There is simply too much red tape involved."
"Despite the disappointment, I will not be deterred by this," Gordon said. "I intend to carry on with the effort of donating gifts to the school, the community, hospital, and clinic. Even if I have to spend my own money to ensure that containers are cleared, but nothing is going to derail this effort. I am Jamaican, and I love my country and its people."
Editor’s Note: There is no question. Jamaica is hurting financially. Can’t pay nurses, legal aid lawyers, medical system on the verge of financial collapse and bridges just about of falling down. But when an overseas Jamaican like Ms. Gordon tries to help, she is virtually strangled by callous red tape. I am sure this is no isolated incident but just the tip of the iceberg. This type of thing is almost criminal negligence on the part of the Government to allow this to continue. The government has an obligation to welcome and encourage such heroic deeds and had better make it a top priority.
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