UNDILUTED pays tribute to John Maxwell by featuring two previous columns by him from the Hot Calaloo UNDILUTED archives:
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 .
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.
Jamaica PM resigns, Holness takes over
Jamaica Prime Minister Bruce Golding has announced his resignation. Many were shocked by the announcement and despite supporters pleas for him to withdraw the resignation he did not. Since then the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has unanimously voted Minister of Education and on October 23 Andrew Holness became the new prime minister.
Golding did not give any reason for his dramatic action. There is speculation that the Dudus affair might have prompted it. However, he has weathered that storm of over a year ago, so why now? Others speculate that there could be problems with pending IMF loan needed to bail out the Government, but Golding claims negotiations are going fine.
It is very unusual for any politician to give up power so Golding's move is very puzzling. Could it be an ominous sign that things are much worse than it seems? Does he know something that we don’t know? I don’t think that we can rule out pressure from overseas too, but as Bob Marley says, "Time alone, time will tell".
This is the second time in less than two years that Golding has tendered his resignation as leader of the JLP and prime minister.
Golding, was Jamaica's eighth prime minister. He returned to lead the JLP in 2005, ten years after resigning as chairman amid a dissident row. He was invited to lead the National Democratic Movement (NDM) in late 1995, pitching its mission on a promise to transform Jamaica's political landscape by dismantling garrison politics. Former leader Seaga retired in 2005 to make way for Golding, whose party defeated the People's National Party in 2007 by a narrow margin - 32-28.
Incoming Prime Minister Holness, 39, has been the country's education minister since September 2007. He has been selected by the majority of Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) members of parliament as the man to replace Golding as prime minister. He has also been nominated to be the leader of the JLP at the party's annual conference on November 20.
New Haitian Prime Minister approved
U.N. development expert Garry Conille has been approved by the Haitian Senate as the country’s Prime Minister, after more than eight hours of debate over his residency qualifications.
Senators voted 17-3 with nine abstentions for the 45-year-old ex-aide
to former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
China’s increasing role in the Caribbean
China has committed itself to US$1 billion of loan support for the Caribbean at the Third China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum in Trinidad on September 12.
During the opening ceremony, China's Vice-Premier, Wang Qishan, said that the Chinese government intends further deepening of China-Caribbean cooperation in areas including finance and investment, capacity building, environmental protection, renewable energy, culture, education, health, trade, tourism as well as agriculture and fisheries.
To help achieve this, the China Development Bank
Mr Wang said that China will continue to support Caribbean countries' efforts in developing their economies, improving people's livelihood, promoting the Caribbean regional integration process and playing an active role in international affairs.
According to the Chinese government, China-Caribbean cooperation has moved forward rapidly over the last six years with bilateral trade, increasing by an annual average of 24 per cent, to reach US$7.2 billion in 2010.
Taken together, these two quite separate developments make clear just how China's role in the world is changing. In the Caribbean, China has become of major significance and is now involved in the economic development of every Caribbean nation that formally recognises Beijing and in some cases such as the Dominican Republic, that do not.
So far, US reaction has been muted to China's increased involvement in the Caribbean, although it is clear from US diplomatic cables posted by WikiLeaks that it is a matter to be monitored.
It is also apparent that some in Congress who have not recognised the way that the world has changed regard China as a growing threat across the hemisphere. It is also likely that the Chinese renminbi (RMB - the official currency of China) could become a reserve currency.
Jamaica, China sign agreements on J$280m in funding
Jamaica is set to receive grant funding totalling 21 million RMB (RMB - the official currency of China) or J$280 million under two bilateral agreements signed recently with the People's Republic of China. These agreements, coupled with the 30 million RMB China committed to Jamaica during talks in Trinidad and Tobago the week before, brings to 51 million RMB or just over J$688 million in grant funding the Government has received from the Chinese in less than a week.
Under the first agreement for economic and technical cooperation, China will provide 20 million RMB or J$270 million to fund projects that are to be mutually agreed on through consultation between the two countries.
The second agreement was an exchange of letters for a grant of one million RMB or J$13.5 million.
Both countries also signed a memorandum of understanding for agricultural cooperation, which is aimed at promoting development in the sector.
World Bank sanctions US$100m loan for Jamaica
The World Bank board of directors has approved a US$100-million loan for Jamaica to support the Government's reform program to enhance fiscal and debt sustainability. The initiative is part of a coordinated effort by the international financial institutions and development partners to help the Government sustain its long-term development agenda. The Second Programmatic Fiscal Sustainability Development Policy Loan is intended to support a series of measures to enhance fiscal and debt sustainability, increase the efficiency of financial management, and improve the effectiveness of the tax system.
Jamaica coffee farmers blast privatization of Blue Mountain coffee
The All-Island Coffee Growers' Association has blasted the Government for its planned divestment of the state-owned Wallenford Coffee Company, which it describes as the island's most prized coffee asset.
"The Wallenford brand is the most recognised brand in the world. The brand should never be divested," said Oswald O'Neally, president of the association.
O'Neally said the coffee company "should be kept and owned by the people of Jamaica," adding that "it was built on the blood and sweat of the farmers" and questioning, "what are we going to have for our heritage?"
Wallenford Coffee Company is the largest licensed processor of coffee beans, processing both Jamaica Blue Mountain and High Mountain coffee. The company owns about 2,430 acres of land, of which 405 acres are under coffee cultivation.
It also operates factory and processing facilities, several farms in the Blue Mountain region, a pulpery, and owns property located on Marcus Garvey Drive in St Andrew. Its assets total some J$2.77 billion, with capital and reserves of $445.3 million as at July 2011, according to documentation in the Jamaica Public Bodies, published by the Ministry of Finance. It was projected to lose J$1.5 million for its latest financial year, having amassed an accumulated deficit of J$1.5 billion.
The industry is currently experiencing a decline with sales down 40 per cent due to the softening of the major market in Japan, which traditionally purchased 85 per cent of the total crop. It has meant reduced earnings for both farmers and exporters of the crop, which usually earn about US$25 million annually.
Antigua PM demands reparations in UN speech
Mr Baldwin Spencer, the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, told the UN General Assembly annual debate that segregation and violence against people of African descent had impaired their capacity for advancement as nations, communities and individuals.
"None should disagree that racism and other legacies of slavery continue to shape the lives of people of African descent, thus reparations must be directed toward repairing the damage inflicted by slavery and racism."
He stressed that former slave-owning states should begin a reconciliation process by formally apologising for the crimes committed by the nations or their citizens over the 400 years of the African slave trade.
"And to help counter the lingering damage inflicted on generations of peoples of African descent by generations of slave-trading and colonialism, we call on those very states to back up their apologies with new commitments to the economic development of the nations that have suffered from this human tragedy."
He said that planned African Diaspora Summit in South Africa in 2012 would provide a platform for the African in Diaspora to put in place economic policies to ensure sustained economic cooperation among public and private stakeholders to promote development, entrepreneurship and business opportunities.
UN renews call for end to US embargo against Cuba
The toothless United Nations General Assembly just renewed its call,
for the 20th consecutive year, for an end to the economic, commercial and
financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba for the past
Boycott Alabama too
Hot Calaloo has already called for a boycott of Arizona and Georgia for their new legislation which persecutes immigrants. We now call for the boycott to extend to Alabama which has just passed even worse legislation. Civil Rights Groups here in the US have deplored the signing of Alabama’s brand new anti-immigrant bill.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed into law recently an anti-immigrant bill that goes even further than Arizona’s S.B. 1070, which encouraged racial profiling by requiring law enforcement officers to stop, question, detain, and arrest anyone that they have a "reasonable suspicion" to believe is undocumented.
House Bill 56 includes Arizona’s "reasonable suspicion" clause and takes it a step further by authorizing the Alabama Department of Homeland Security to hire and maintain its own immigration police force. H.B. 56 even turns Alabama schools into immigration agents by requiring them to verify the immigration status of students and report it to the state, and bars the undocumented from seeking higher education in Alabama. It also interferes with their ability to rent housing, earn a living, and enter into contracts, and prohibits transporting or "harboring" any undocumented immigrant while instituting stiff penalties for anyone who breaks this law.
"House Bill 56 is designed to do nothing more than terrorize the state’s Latino community," said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. "It will keep children out of school and destroy families and businesses. It will strip Latino workers of their humanity under the law and essentially turns them into workers with zero rights. The only possible end result of H.B. 56 becoming law is a permanent underclass in Alabama that would be driven into the shadows of society."
T&T bars donations from ‘fast food’ giants
"You could do it with adults if you want but don’t do that to children or go on to children’s wards. If they want to put the money directly to the Ministry of Health we have no problems but don’t go directly to the children’s wards."
Private water company in Ja hikes rates up to 131%
In Jamaica St Catherine-based water and sewerage company, Dynamic Environmental Management Limited (DEML) has applied to the utilities regulator for rate increases that, if granted, would result in its customers seeing their bills rise by between 32 per cent and 131 per cent.
DEML, which services four housing developments — Caribbean Estates, Portmore Country Club and Morris Meadows in Portmore as well as Vineyards Estate in Bushy Park — reasoned in its application that it hadn't applied for a rate increase since it began operations while operating costs, associated electricity and water purchase costs among others, have surged upwards. Moreover, the utility hopes to recover a planned $22.4 million capital investment it says will not result in an increase in revenue.
The proposed water usage rates include a 55 per cent increase for Caribbean Estate and Portmore Country Club, where the rates were set in January 2008, a 32 per cent increase for Morris Meadows (set in February 2009) and a 131 per cent increase in Vineyards (set in August 2006). The proposal also includes a tripling of the rate for connection and a 60 per cent increase in the service charge for all customers.
The Office of the Utilities Regulations (OUR) plans to meet with community members of Vineyards next Sunday and already held a public consultation in Portmore over the weekend.
DEML moved into the black for the first time in 2009 -- its fourth year of operations -- when it posted a profit of $6.4 million.
Jamaica’s National Water Commission (NWC) is the main institution responsible for all major water and sewerage operations, including: production of water and collection, treatment and disposal of urban sewage. Lets keep it that way. Hot Calaloo has raised warnings before about private water companies based on the experience in Bolivia and elsewhere. There, IMF ordered the privatization of the water supply. Big multinational compay came in and soon raised rates so high people were unable to pay and riots erupted. Jamaica, ‘the land of wood and water’. Well water is too precious to turn over to private profiteers and risk holding the country to ransom.
Windfarm saves Jamaica J$229 million in five months
Jamaica’s Wigton Windfarm in Manchester produced enough energy to save the country expenditure estimated at more than J$229 million on the importation of oil during the first five months of fiscal year 2011-12, according to data released by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ).
PCJ said that during the period April to August this year, Wigton, the largest such facility in the English-speaking Caribbean, produced a total of 46.32 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity. The energy produced was sufficient to allow the wind farm to sell power to the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) to power about 50,000 homes per month.
Production of the energy resulted in Jamaica avoiding the importation of some 27,253 barrels of oil, equivalent to US$2.67 million or J$229 million at the rate of US$98.06 per barrel, and the emission of 38,639 tons of carbon dioxide.
In 2008 when the PCJ decided to expand the wind farm, it projected that it would add 55 million kilowatts to the national grid annually and reduce the petroleum import bill by US$3.2 million. According to the PCJ, at US 10.7 cents per kilowatt-hour for energy without capacity, Wigton is the lowest-priced independent supplier of electricity to the JPS.
Wigton presently owns and operates the 38.7-megawatt wind-farm complex, which represents 4.5 per cent of generating capacity installed on the national grid, and 2.6 per cent of electricity generation, the PCJ said.
The Wigton complex, sited on a 683-acre farm, consists of the 20.7-megawatt Wigton phase one, commissioned in 2004, as well as the 18- megawatt phase two, commissioned in December 2010 with 100 per cent debt financing from the PetroCaribe Development Fund.
Phase one was done at a cost of US$6.7 million, while phase two, which improved on the technology used, cost US$50 million.
The wind farm is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the PCJ.
Gun crime killing Caribbean and Central America
According to the first Global Study on Homicide by the U.N. Office on Drugs & Crime, Gun crime is driving violent crime in Central America and the Caribbean. This is the only region where the evidence points to rising homicide rates which are "near crisis point."
The recently released study shows
Worldwide, the homicide rate is 6.9 homicides per 100,000 people and there were 468,000 homicides around the world in 2010. The highest homicide rates in the world are in the following countries:
The homicide rate in the United States was 5, in Canada it was 1.8 and in both the United Kingdom and Australia it was 1.2. There were two countries worldwide that reported no homicides in the last year: Monaco and Palau.
Former T&T PM Manning apologizes
Former Trinidad and Tobago prime minister Patrick Manning has apologized. He publicly acknowledged his administration may have "disenfranchised" certain sections of the national population by its policies, the former prime minister added that no leader of government or government was perfect.
"The people of Trinidad and Tobago may very well have thought that in me they would have found perfection. If that were the case, I could have said from quite early on you had the wrong man," Manning said, adding, "I am not perfect."
New US rules threaten Jamaica’s food exporters
EIGHTY per cent of Jamaican food exporters are not certified to standards that would allow their goods to enter the US under the country's new Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA), which comes into effect in four months' time. Jamaica’s food exports to the US were valued at US$118 million in 2010.
The FSMA passed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that by 2012, all processed foods entering the country must be tested by an accredited laboratory. The Act will be implemented in phases up until December 2012.
The FDA has advised that in early 2012 it will be conducting 50 audits among Jamaican businesses that export to the US. Under the new Act, among other procedures, companies are required to share their food safety plans with the FDA upon request; write and implement food safety protocols to mitigate potential hazards; and implement acceptable traceability and recall mechanisms. Meanwhile, the FDA now has the power to order a mandatory recall if it determines that there is a reasonable probability that a product poses a health hazard -- it could only recommend voluntary recalls before; and to block food from facilities or countries that refuse inspections.
An estimated 200 exporters could be affected by the FSMA, including 160 registered exporters of food products and more than 40 traders. While manufacturers have varying levels of ISO certification, there are just 10 Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certified firms in Jamaica.
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