by Donna Hemans ... $16.10
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a wonderful book about a young girl in the Carribean, the first of her family to go to secondary school.
Bush invades Iraq and torpedoes the UN
I remember vividly how George Bush’s Goering, Colin Powell, threatened at the UN to make that valuable respected organization "irrelevant" unless they approved their invasion. Iraq is about to fall to the invaders, but the UN has already fallen to the might and power of the new American Empire. Right wing groups here in America have long advocated the demise of the UN so they must be jubilant.
The UN has been the most powerful international organization of countries. With the destruction of the UN, other international organizations must come under scrutiny also. The new American domination must also render any international organisation, of which America is a member, "irrelevant" also and relegates other members to being just rubber stamps of US will. For us in the Caribbean, what now is the value of the Organisation of American States (OAS) other than a venue to accept US orders? Already US has been breaking the NAFTA rules by imposing quotas on Canadian lumber imports. We in the Caribbean will have to follow WTO rules even at our economic peril, but the US does not. Already the upcoming Free Trade Association of the Americas was going to devastate local Caribbean industries as they could not be protected by tariffs from marauding multi-national corporations who are actually the forces behind the FTAA anyway.
Of course George Bush might try to make his empire more palatable by offering a honeymoon period for these organizations. In this case, CARICOM countries should be ready to demand complete freedom to negotiate whatever trade deal with whatever country at whatever conditions we desire as long as we are mired in poverty and until an agreed upon per capita rate is achieved. Right now, instead some time limit is the criterion which in reality is a time bomb. This time limit is artificial and will never make us competitive enough to survive the FTAA. Under those conditions we will lose not only our present export markets but our local markets too. Because of CARICOM we have voting numbers in the FTAA, 17 out of 35,and we must not be shy to use them to our full advantage. It’s our only chance.
The UN failed Iraq
The UN failed to protect a small country like Iraq from invasion by superpower US. Not only did it fail but there is no evidence that it even tried to protect it. Worse yet by its inspectors, with the invaders massing on its borders, it forced Iraq to weaken its defences by
Now as the invaders ravage the lands evidenced by:
CARICOM condemns invasion but risks US wrath
CARICOM has joined the majority of peoples of almost every country in the world (including even co-invaders England and Australia) in opposing the US invasion. But, they have been threatened by this stance.
Special Envoy to President George W. Bush for Western Hemispheric Initiatives, Otto Reich, said the US was disappointed at CARICOM’s criticism of the war and urged regional leaders to study the consequences of their words. He said he was not blacklisting them, but just warning that Congress and the American people might become pissed off and take it out on their banana trade. The notorious Otto Reich is another Iran-Contra conspirator restored to power by Bush, whom he appointed Assistant Secretary of State by bypassing Senate approval.
Barbados was especially vocal in rejecting US threats and
CARICOM stuck to their opposition to the invasion. Their position may be
summed up best by words of Chancellor of the University of the West Indies
Sir Shridath Ramphal.
War wrecks airlines here in the US and in the Caribbean
The war has been the last straw for many an airline. Already struggling, Bush’s war has predictably significantly reduced airplane passengers and sent airlines reeling towards bankruptcy. The mighty American Airlines and US Air have filed for bankruptcy. In the Caribbean, T&T’s BWIA and Jamaica’s Air Jamaica struggle to survive.
Jamaica trade deficit widens and will continue unless
Jamaica’s deficit between imports and exports increased again. For the first 9 months of 2002, total imports were valued at US$2.59 billion while exports amounted to US$ 837 million. When these figures are compared to the same period of the preceding year, 2001, imports rose by 3.4% and exports fell by 12.8%. This is very bad news and too often we tend to disregard how bad it is. Let us examine these figures more closely.
This means that if we had some fantastic export improvements and doubled or tripled our total market share we still would continue to run a deficit. In fact we would have to increase our total exports 7 times to make up for the deficit! It is abundantly clear that Jamaica will never make up that deficit. It gets worse and will continue to get worse especially when WTO regulations strips away more of our trade protections and thus accelerate the decline of our export markets. In any event, a major product like sugar costs us more to produce than the price we get for it outside. Some estimates are that it costs us 30 cents a pound to produce to be sold at 18 cents per pound. All evidence indicates that the highly trumpeted Free Trade Association of the Americas will dramatically increase the deficit. And at the same time , trade is supposed to be our vehicle to prosperity!
On the contrary, these global trade agreements have robbed us of our sovereignty to deal with these problems and have placed Jamaica and many other countries like her on a fast track to economic calamity. Trade in these agricultural products seems to be a losing game. We are selling our products for peanuts and dooms us to perpetual poverty unless there is substantial change. Gasoline was selling here in the US for 33 cents a gallon until gas producing countries got together and formed OPEC. Shortly afterwards gas was selling for over a dollar and these countries began to enjoy real prosperity. Seems obvious there is a lesson there.
Canadian company buys twin Mutual Life Towers in Jamaica
Recently, FINSAC LTD. sold the twin Mutual Life towers, Oxford Road, New Kingston, Jamaica,for $650 million. Canada-based AIC Ltd. acquired the prime office complex after prolonged negotiations. FINSAC had been trying to sell the towers for more than four years with potential purchasers for the North Tower, including the US Embassy. A FINSAC spokesman said that based on the net rental income potential of the property, it was valued at $677 million last year. Michael Lee Chin, chairman of AIC, and Jamaican-born, said the purchase was being made using the $100 million in quarterly dividend income AIC receives from its 75 per cent holding in NCB. He said, "This is the first of the acquisitions we intend to make."
Guyana launches solar power for communities
Solar power has come to Guyana. The Government has commissioned a $4M solar-powered electricity supply system in Bethany, an Amerindian community in Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam). Just two weeks ago another power supply system was commissioned in Moraikobai, Region Five (Mahaica/Berbice). The system, which was funded by the Social Impact Amelioration Program (SIMAP), will supply regular electrical energy to the Bethany Community Centre, the Primary/Nursery School, and the Health Centre, among other community buildings. This new project also depended on the contribution of free labor and security by the residents themselves.
Amerindian communities across Guyana have been making efforts to be abreast with technology and development and require a regular supply of electricity in these remote areas, an initiative supported by the Guyana Government.
Louima philanthropy to Haiti
Five years after the assault by New York police that brought him a record $8.7 million settlement, Abner Louima is turning his attention to his native Haiti. The man whose case came to symbolize police brutality in the United States says he's convinced he can make a difference in his impoverished homeland.
Louima, who now lives in Florida, is setting up a nonprofit group, the Abner Louima Foundation, and hopes to raise money to build a community center and much-needed hospital in Haiti. He says he plans to use his own money and donations to open community centers in Haiti, New York and Florida for Haitians and others seeking legal, financial or other aid. In the hills that fringe Port-au-Prince, Louima also is paying school tuition for 14 poor children in Thomassin, a small community where he grew up.
Louima’s life changed forever on Aug. 9, 1997, when he was sodomized with a broomstick in a New York City police precinct restroom after being arrested in a brawl outside a Brooklyn nightclub. Louima suffered severe internal injuries. One officer is serving 30 years for the attack, and another is serving a five-year term for perjury. Louima sued and in 2001 the city and police union agreed to pay $8.7 million, the largest settlement ever in a police brutality case in New York. After legal fees, Louima walked away with about $5.8 million.
Cable and Wireless rates drop as monopoly ends
British Telecom giant that has dominated telephone systems is dropping its rates as it’s monopoly in the Caribbean ends and it feels the heat of competition. In St. Lucia and Grenada the company has announced a drop in rates as low as 59% reduction for international calls. Similar changes are to be made in Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Kitts and Nevis.
Union busting charge in Jamaica
A union busting charge has been leveled at the Jamalco Alumina refinery in Halse Hall , Clarendon, Jamaica. Jamalco is a 50/50 partnership between Alcoa Inc. of the United States, and the Government of Jamaica, with Alcoa as the managing partner. Caribbean Constuction Company (CCC) has been a major subcontractor at the site.
On February 20 the National Workers Union won a poll at the site, but the workers lost their jobs the following day after the contractor, CCC, pulled out. The union has accused the company of union busting, since the very day after the CCC workers elected the NWU as their union, CCC’s contrat was terminated, leaving 64 workers jobless. The newly jobless workers responded angrily blocking some entrances to the site in confrontations with police and this action jeopardized planned plant expansion.
The NWU and the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union jointly claimed bargaining rights on behalf of some 300 workers employed by nine contractors involved in various aspects of the expansion at the alumina refinery.
The contractors involved are main contractor Kier/Commercial Contracting Company (Jamaica); Joint Venture of San Antonio, Texas; and sub contractors- PAHK, Solid Rock Contractors, Jamaica Installation and Ducking, Automatic Computer System, F.C. Reynolds, Chicago Bridge Iron Company, ONYX Contractors and Trevor Dunkley & Company.
BRITISH CUSTOMS is pleased with how effectively the ion scan drug trace detection machines at Jamaica's two international airports have been fingering cocaine swallowers before they get to Britain. So pleased, in fact, that the British Foreign and Common-wealth Office is thinking of providing with the same technology, some Eastern Caribbean countries which have been experiencing increased smuggling of cocaine to Britain by mules who swallow the drug.
Customs and police action in both Jamaica and the UK has resulted in a fall by two thirds in the number of cocaine couriers detected on arrival in the UK. At the same time, the number of couriers arrested in Jamaica has risen 10-fold, compared with the same period (June to November) the previous year, British Customs states.
Since the installation of the IonScan machines at Norman Manley International Airport, east Kingston, and Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay, many of the drug couriers arrested in the United Kingdom have come from the Eastern Caribbean, especially St. Maarten in the Dutch Antilles. Theree smugglers have been swallowing the cocaine in cat and goat intestine, instead of latex-made condoms, in a bid to thwart detection by x-ray machines.
The smuggling of cocaine from Jamaica by ingestion had grown steadily since the late 1990s and in 2001/2002 more than 800 couriers from Jamaica were arrested in the UK.
Privatisation of motor vehicle inspection by June in Jamaica
Plans are being finalized for the take over of motor vehicle inspection by a private company, Mustang Jamaica Ltd. The government is expected to turn over inspections by June. The company was registered at the Registrar of Companies to offer motor vehicle inspection services, operate service stations and conduct certain engineering services. Plans for the divestment of the motor vehicle inspection services at the Island Traffic Authority stretch back to 1999, but have been severely delayed.
Spring breakers volunteer services in Jamaica
Spring breaker are associated with riotous rowdy celebrations usually. But not the 17 students who came to Jamaica this spring from James Madison University in Virginia, US. The students had heard about the Committee for the Upliftment of the Mentally Ill (CUMI) through a programme at their school called the Spring Break Alternative. The programme encourages students to give voluntary service to welfare agencies throughout the United States and in several other countries, including Jamaica.
During their week-long stay, the students formed three groups and spent their time helping out between CUMI, the Blossom Gardens Children's Home and the Montego Bay Christian Academy. The students, ranging in ages from 18 to 21, raised their own funds to pay for the trip plus accommodation and other expenses. The only cost to CUMI and the other agencies is time to share the local culture with the students.
Hot Calaloo went to Jamaica in the form of me, the editor. I was a keen observer and I am happy to say that conditions were better than expected. Among the observations were:
Hail Barbados, Caribbean cricket champions
Barbados emerged as double champions of Caribbean cricket.
Having already won the Cup for 1 day cricket, they proceeded to take the
Carib Beer Cup too in a most convincing manner. In the final they defeated
Jamaica in Barbados. They scored 369 to which Jamaica could only muster
184. Forced to follow-on Jamaica scored a mere 219. Barbados then knocked
off the 35 runs needed with 7 wickets intact to seal the victory and win
Lara named WI captain again
Brian Lara has been named captain of the WI team for their upcoming series with the visiting Aussies. The first test starts on April 10, 2003. He replaces Carl Hooper and was somewhat of a surprise.
CONCAAF Gold Cup Soccer 2003
T&T falters, coach resigns
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