UNDILUTED pays tribute to John Maxwell by featuring two previous columns by him from the Hot Calaloo UNDILUTED archives:
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leads T&T’ opposition PNM to election victory
The main opposition
People’s National Movement (PNM) won the Trinidad and Tobago
general election defeating
the coalition People’s Partnership (PP) of Prime Minister Kamla Persad
Bissessar that came to power in 2010.
The PNM, led by Dr
Keith Rowley, had won 23 of the 41 seats with the remaining 18 going to
the PP that had won 29 seats in the 2010 general election.
volcanologist, one of the longest serving legislators, said the election
proceedings “have gone down relatively smooth.
Bissessar and Rowley easily retained the seats they had in Parliament over
the past two decades. However, a number of government ministers including
Roger Samuels, Lincoln Douglas, attorney general Garvin Nicholas, as well
as the former president of the Senate, Raziah Ahmed, were among the
casualties of the poll.
Controversial Leader of the Independent Liberal Party and indicted COCCACF FIFA official Austin Jack Warner, who said his party would have been a major factor in determining the new government, failed to win the Chaguanas East seat he switched to after successfully contesting the Chaguanas West seat in 2010 and 2013. But, he took credit for pushing Persad-Bissessar out of government.
ruins Haiti's first election in four years
The recent elections
in Haiti was almost a complete failure. The Caribbean nation of about 10
million people has struggled to build a stable democracy ever since the
overthrow of the dictatorship of the Duvalier family, which led Haiti from
1957 to 1986, and ensuing military coups and election fraud.
For this election
men armed with rocks and bottles attacked polling stations in the
capital of Port-au-Prince and about 50 of 1,500 voting centers around the
country were "affected" by a mixture of violence and
bureaucratic problems, according to Haiti's official Electoral Council.
Voting was extended two hours at some polling stations that opened late or
were forced to suspend voting.
Haiti's parliament dissolved in January after scheduled legislative
elections in 2011 and 2014 were canceled. Since January, the 119-member
Chamber of Deputies has sat empty, and the Senate, with only 10 of its 30
members, has failed to field a quorum. President Michel Martelly, who
cannot run for re-election, has dozens of candidates running throughout
the country under the so-called Haitian Tet Kale (Bald Headed) Party (PHTK),
named after his famously smooth scalp. The Vérité (Truth) Party of
former president René Préval and the Lavalas Family party, linked to
twice-deposed former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, are also running
Following a violent campaign, the election was a test for the Haitian
National Police, which has taken full control of security during election
season from a downsized U.N. peacekeeping force.
The National Network for the Protection of Human Rights reported five
election-related assassinations in the month prior to the elections and 26
Police intervened in some voting centers to control overly aggressive
political party officials monitoring the vote, according top election
Balloting in this recent violent, chaotic legislative elections will be
rerun in 25 constituencies nationwide, including in the Artibonite Valley
where the vote for several seats in the lower Chamber of Deputies has to
be redone because of violence at the polls.
Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) made the announcement
while also declaring a number of corrective measures it plans to
take for the Oct. 25 runoff to prevent a repeat of the violence, late
starts and voters’ list problems that marred the Aug. 9 legislative
election. Among them: the campaigning period will extend beyond a month
for candidates in the runoff and credentials for political party monitors
will be available 15 days before the vote.
Officials also announced
that voter turnout was a measly 18 percent countrywide with the West
department, which includes Port-au-Prince, posting the lowest with 10
Election officials didn’t go into specifics about who among the 1,855
made the cut for the 139 legislative seats that were up for grabs. But
according to local radio reports, results show that none of the candidates
for 20 Senate seats managed to be elected in the first round. Meanwhile,
only four out of 1,621 candidates vying for the entire 119-member lower
Chamber of Deputies managed to avoid a runoff.
the senatorial candidates headed into a runoff: Guy Philippe, the rebel
leader who led the 2004 coup that toppled then-President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide. A former top police official, Philippe is wanted in the United
States on a sealed drug-trafficking indictment. Though blocked from
running in the 2009 senatorial elections, Philippe and dozens of others
were allowed to run this time around because of an omission in the
electoral law that allowed candidates to qualify without having to produce
police criminal records. Several of those candidates are headed into a
runoff, scheduled for Oct. 25.
Storm Erika ravages Dominica
Erika was not a hurricane, only a storm, but it did as much damage as
any hurricane. Streets across Dominica turned into fast-flowing rivers
that swept up cars as tropical storm Erika pummeled the eastern Caribbean
island, unleashing landslides and killing at least four people.
The storm knocked out power
and water supplies on Dominica as it dumped 15 inches of rain on the small
island and headed west into the Caribbean Sea. An elderly blind man and
two children were killed when a mudslide crashed into their home in the
southeast of the island. Another man was found dead near his home in the
capital of Roseau after a mudslide.
Five days after Erika hit, efforts were on in earnest to evacuate
residents from Petite Savanne — the area hardest hit by the storm. The
residents are being relocated to other family homes or hurricane
shelters in schools. Also, landslides posed a very big threat to residents
in Petite Savanne, as well as in the areas of Roseau Valley and Good Hope.
disasters like hurricanes and, of course tropical storms, are no stranger
to the Caribbean. Disaster relief from other countries often follows.
But, is that disaster relief administered effectively, efficiently
social entrepreneur named Bibhusan Bista might have the answer. As the CEO
of Young Innovations, a
Nepali technology company that developsinnovative solutions for
social impact, Bista sprang into action within 24 hours of the earthquake
to build the OpenNepal
Earthquake Portal, a data-sharing platform that brings greater
transparency to people, organizations, and countries pledging money to
and publishes international and national earthquake relief pledges to the
country. The site promotes aid transparency and accountability by
empowering citizens to access the raw data behind the headlines, dig
deeper for analyses, and independently verify claims. For example, the
United States pledged $130
million to Nepal’s
earthquake rehabilitation and reconstruction projects; the OpenNepal platform
breaks down which NGOs and government agencies will receive this money,
with links to relevant press releases and news articles for more details.
transparency has improved in recent years. Soon after the Haiti earthquake
in 2010, more than 40 countries adopted the International
Aid Transparency Initiative standard
for publishing data on their development activities, including budgets,
annual reports, and strategic documents for country plans. Now all
organizations, from government donors to private-sector organizations and
NGOs, use a consistent data format known as XML, which allows for better
analysis of aid data.
RJR, Gleaner announce merger
largest newspaper and its largest radio station have announced a merger.
Radio Jamaica Limited (RJR) and The Gleaner Company Limited
(Gleaner) announced the signing of an agreement which will see their
respective media operations merging. RJR News is reporting that the
transaction, “which is to be pursued through a court approved scheme
of amalgamation, will be a stock for stock deal” where it “will
issue and exchange 1.2 billion shares on a one-for-one basis to
shareholders of The Gleaner Company Limited for 100 per cent of a newly
formed subsidiary Gleaner Company (Media) Limited (GCML), which will hold
the assets of the media entities of the Gleaner Company”.
will result in the shareholders of the Gleaner Company Limited owning 50
per cent of Radio Jamaica Limited’s common stock and existing RJR
shareholders owning the remaining 50 per cent of the combined business,”
the RJR report said.
Rico default underway
Rico defaulted on some of its debts this weekend after years of battling
to stay current on its obligations, signaling the start of a long and
contentious restructuring process for the US commonwealth’s $72bn debt
just happens to be the largest muni bond default in the history of the
to a new investigation, many of those same billionaires demanding payment
from Puerto Rico have also profited from the debt crises in Greece,
Argentina, and Detroit. These hedge funds specialize in buying up
“distressed” assets and pushing governments to take on debt they
can’t afford under predatory rates and conditions. At the same time, the
groups are lobbying Congress to not allow the island to declare
bankruptcy, as doing so would cut into their profits.
cadre of Wall Street hedge funds have been making a bundle off of Puerto
Rico's woes for years.
Wall Street Journal recently reported that in 87 bond deals since 2006,
Puerto Rico sold $61 billion of bonds which resulted in fees to Wall
Street firms and their cohorts of $1.4 billion. The fees charged were
higher than those assessed on other financially troubled US states and
cities. In fact, according to Reuters, banks such as UBS, were paid gross
spreads averaging 31% higher than spreads charged to Detroit.
to retire $3 billion in oil debt to Venezuela
has forged a deal to retire $3 billion in oil debts to Venezuela thanks to
bond sales. It has issued roughly $2 billion in bonds on the international
capital market that will pay down the debt it accumulated through
Petrocaribe, a Venezuelan program that provides fuel to countries at
market prices but under generous credit terms.
say a negotiated settlement with Caracas will dismiss about $3 billion in
long-term debt in exchange for $1.5 billion. It was not immediately clear
Friday if Jamaica's deal will retire all of its Petrocaribe debt.
finance ministry said this bond issue transaction was "the largest
capital markets fundraising ever undertaken by the government of Jamaica."
Petrocaribe settlement is similar to one the Dominican Republic negotiated
with Venezuela earlier this year. That Caribbean country dismissed $4
billion in Petrocaribe debt in exchange for $2 billion.
Communications Director Gerry Rice said the organization supports
Jamaica's debt buyback. "It's an important step in reducing the
value of the country's public debt and will help to put debt firmly on a
downward trajectory," Rice told reporters.
is in the third year of a four-year $930 million loan package with the
International Monetary Fund and it has passed consecutive tests without
500 Jamaica sugar workers to lose jobs
More than 500 people who cultivate and harvest cane for the Seprod-owned
Golden Grove sugar factory in St Thomas are scheduled to lose their jobs.
Confirmation of the redundancies came at a recent meeting between the
trade unions and Seprod, and a list of the more than 500 workers to be
affected was presented to the unions.
The workers will receive notice pay of 14 weeks in August, while
payment of severance will be made in September. Workers at the factory
will not be affected by the redundancies.
The unions involved - the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU), the
National Workers Union (NWU) and the University and Allied Workers Union (UAWU)
-- will meet with the workers at the factory on Wednesday to explain the
details of the severance agreement.
Golden Grove which, according to Seprod, has lost approximately $2
billion on a $3-billion investment it made in 2012, is to contract out its
sugar cane cultivation and transportation sections to a private firm,
which speculation suggests is the Fred M Jones company in St Thomas. But
the unions have expressed concern that, while the majority of the workers
are likely to be taken on by the new contractor, the terms of their
working aragements could be severely altered, to their detriment.
help Rwanda bounce back
small, landlocked Central African nation has topped the Swiss by two ranks
to come in seventh in the world in government efficiency, according to the World
Economic Forum. The U.S. doesn't make the top
a rigorous look at dozens of factors, the not-for-profit global
organization credits Rwanda's low level of waste in government
spending and a factor called labor market efficiency for the country's
overall high ranking—noting that the nation of 10.6 million has seen
dramatic improvements in economic life: A GDP that hovered at around $200
per capita in 2000 rose to nearly $700 in 2013.
perhaps even more remarkable about Rwanda is buried in these stats: It
ranks third out of the 144 countries scored for the ratio of women in the
labor force. For every man working in Rwanda, 1.02 are women employed. To
boot, Rwanda is also the only country on Earth where more women than
men serve as elected officials.
part that's because the country created a constitutional quota in 2005
that women must make up at least 30 percent of leadership in
decision-making organs. That means women compose about 64 percent of the
nation's lower parliament and 38 percent of its senate. By comparison, the
U.S. has never elected a Congress that's more than 20 percent women.
losing athletes to Bahrain
the wake of news that three Jamaican athletes have made requests to
represent Bahrain, Commonwealth Games 100-metre champion Kemar Bailey-Cole
is calling on the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, (JAAA)
corporate Jamaica and the Government to do more for its athletes.
and World Championship silver medallist Shericka Williams and emerging
sprinters Andrew Fisher and Kemarley Brown are reportedly in the final
stages of completing the process of representing Bahrain at the next
Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil, next year, in a move that is seen as being
mainly about securing financial security in a sport where pickings are
slim for all but a few elite athletes.
the challenges that athletes like him face on a daily basis, Bailey-Cole
believes that if more is not done Jamaica could stand to lose more of its
elite athletes to countries willing to pay for their talents.
Stripe really Jamaican beer?
individuals represented by the law firm of Robbins Arroyo have filed a
suit in federal court against Diageo, the makers of Red Stripe, according
to the San Diego Reader, claiming that the company has committed unfair
and deceptive practices and has been unjustly enriched by marketing and
selling beer in a way that misleads consumers into believing that the beer
is made in Jamaica.
Stripe beer is not brewed in Jamaica but Diageo uses clever phrasing in
its promotion calling Red Stripe a “Jamaican Style Lager” that
contains the “taste of Jamaica.”
bottle structure is short, squat, and brown — closely associated with
Jamaican beer bottles, says the complaint. In 2012, Diageo moved
production of the U.S. supply of Red Stripe from Jamaica to the U.S.; City
Brewing Co. in La Crosse, Wisconsin and in Latrobe, Pennsylvania is
producing the supply. Desnoes & Geddes will still make Red Stripe for
Jamaica, Brazil, Canada and Europe.
Meanwhile in St. Croix rum
Citizens of St Croix claim a “sooty-looking” fungus has been
growing in their neighborhoods, including on water cisterns and fruit
trees, due to the ethanol from the nearby rum facilities.
Residents believe the mould is “Baudoinia” and are pursuing a class
action lawsuit requiring both companies to install technology to capture
ethanol emissions and pay damages to homeowners.
food good for your health
research published in the medical journal The BMJ (formerly The
British Medical Journal) found that enjoying a spicy meal at least
once a week just might save your life.
from Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, the
University of Oxford, Peking University Health Center, and various
departments of public health throughout China, explored the relationship
between eating spicy food and the risk of death from all causes as well as
specific causes like cancer and heart disease. The study examined 288,082
women and 199,293 men aged 30 to 79 from ten geographically diverse
regions throughout China to determine possible links. People with cancer,
heart disease and stroke were excluded from the study.
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