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Items from 
November 2000
Hot Calaloo Update

December 2000

US Elections - Bogus Bush

And we used to think America was a democracy. One man, one vote. Majority wins. The question is where were the international observers to certify the elections? Absent. So Bogus Bush looks destined to steal it by a margin of 537 votes.  People have died for the right to vote, but in Florida, thousands of voters, mainly black and Hispanic, have been disenfranchised. Aristide won in Haiti by about 90% of votes cast, but America refuses to recognize his victory. How ironic. The Republicans have mounted a coup to overthrow the will of the majority, not in Haiti, but right here in USA. Gore's fight is not just a fight for the presidency, but a fight for every single citizen who cast his vote, the very foundation of democracy. A speedy decision on president is irrelevant. If the thousands of disputed Florida votes are not recounted accurately, then the results are bogus, and the president is bogus.

Defender of democracy
It is time for all who value democracy, Democrat or Republican,  to join Al Gore in the fight to protect democracy. It is high time  to rally not just to the side of Al Gore but against the disenfranchisment of voters by the Republicans. Or, shall no one fight for the rights of these voters? Democrats have been wimping out in response to Republicans' gutter tactics for years now. If the shoe was on the other foot, Republicans would have demanded and got not only a recount, but also a revote and an investigation into conspiracy by special prosecutor. In fact, there are lots of coincidences. But is it coincidence or conspiracy?

Meanwhile a reader sent this letter on this subject:
From: Philippa J
Subject: Just imagine......

Here's something to chew on... A history professor from Uppsala University in Sweden read an article in which a Zimbabwe politician was quoted as saying that children should study what is going on in the U.S. elections closely for it shows that election fraud is not only a third world phenomena.
1. Imagine that we read of an election occurring anywhere in the third world in which the self declared winner was the son of the former prime minister and that former prime minister was himself the former head of that nation's secret police (CIA).
2. Imagine that the self declared winner lost the popular vote but won based on some old colonial holdover (electoral college) from the nation's pre-democracy past.
3. Imagine that the self declared winner's 'victory' turned on disputed votes cast in a province governed by his brother!
4. Imagine that the poorly drafted ballots of one district, a district heavily favoring the self declared winner's opponent, led thousands of voters to vote for the wrong candidate.
5. Imagine that members of that nation's most despised caste, fearing  for their lives/livelihoods, turned out in record numbers to vote in near universal opposition to the self declared winner's candidacy.
6. Imagine that hundreds of members of that most despised caste were intercepted on their way to the polls by state police operating under the authority of the self declared winner's brother.
7. Imagine that six million people voted in the disputed province and that the self declared winner's 'lead' was only 327 votes. Fewer, certainly, than the vote counting machines' margin of error.
8. Imagine that the self declared winner and his political party opposed a more careful by hand inspection and re-counting of the ballots in the disputed province or in its most hotly disputed district.
9. Imagine that the self declared winner, himself a governor of a major province, had the worst human rights record of any province in his nation and actually led the nation in executions.
10. Imagine that a major campaign promise of the self declared winner was to appoint like-minded human rights violators to lifetime positions on the
high court of that nation.

Just imagine...........

See previous articles UN and US elections  and US elections loom Cheney a disgraceful, insulting choice

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Police vs citizens confrontations continue to stifle crimefighting

All over Jamaica, confrontations between police and communities are continuing. The pattern is too familiar. The police say they are just trying to apprehend a criminal, and communities defend the suspect as an upstanding member of their community, or at worst, a harmless petty crook being subjected to police brutality. Even crack crimefighting teams formed by the new crime plan have faced these obstacles. For examples:

  • In Negril residents protested the killing of an 18-year-old youth. The police said he was a robber but the crowd denied it
  • In Greenwich Farm, St. Andrew, crowds held a protest demonstration against the police arrest of a 58-year old Rasta. A vehicle was burned in the protest. The crowd claimed the suspect was beaten, dragged by his locks and thrown into a police vehicle. He was charged with possession of ganja and ammunition. The crowd also denied that he was an area don, but instead, a man well respected for his wisdom and peacemaking abilities. The arrest was made by one of the special anti-crime units. They contend that the suspect is involved in a retalliation killing for the killing of his brother in a gang feud two weeks previously.
  • In Lacovia residents staged a two and a half hour protest against a police killing there. During the protest, the police were splattered with eggs. The police claim that a car with 3 men in it, disobeyed a traffic rule. They refused police commands to stop and as they fled, they fired at the police. In the ensuing gun battle one of the men was killed. Police report that a revolver, J$39,000, two cell phones, and ganja were found in the car. Neighbors admit that the victim may have grown "a lickle ganja" but was not involved in gun crimes.
  • In Grants Pen, another special crime management unit was the subject of citizen protest. In a special operation, the special police unit arrested 12 men in the area. The crowd accused the police of brutality and picking on and harassing their community. One of the arrestees in particular, they considered an upstanding and highly respected member of the community. The police were unmoved, declaring that a heavy presence was needed there and that another similar arrest sweep operation was likely.

Code of Conduct for police
Things like this complicate crimefighting. Still there are calls for foreign assistance in this battle against crime, but would be useless in these circumstances. Citizens, with the best of intentions, might be aiding and abetting criminals. They cannot be judge and jury and need to let the courts do their jobs. There is now sensitivity to police brutality as the Comissioner Francis Forbes, seems to be making a genuine effort to eradicate it. Recently, the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce has come up with a code of conduct for police The code is based on fundamental rights and freedoms of all Jamaicans. It incudes strict rules on search warrants. It also includes, quite rightly, the responsibility of citizens to cooperate and assist the police. In addition, moves are underway to set up community conflict resolution councils in various communities. All these steps have gotten the support of the Commissioner of Police and the Minister of National Security and Justice, K.D. Knight.
(See Hot Calaoo's crime fighting plan  DWP - essential for reducing crime in Jamaica...8/28/99)

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Pentecostal campaign winning over Hindus in T&T

Battling for Trinidad’s Souls
All over Trinidad and Tobago a big battle is underway. It is a battle for souls and is being waged by the US-based fundamentalist Pentecostal Church. It has been winning such a large number of converts that they have completed building their US$2 million Christ the Castle Church in the little town of Chase Village. The church has a flock of over 3,000. Although many converts are at the expense of traditional Christian churches, two-thirds come from T&T’s Hindu Asian community.

Hindu religious leaders are upset and accuse the Pentecostal of conducting an aggressive disinformation campaign against their religion and spreading intolerance. "They say we worship idols!"

Hindus point to recent desecrations of temples and cremation grounds, as well as of a Catholic church, as evidence that these Protestant fundamentalists are fostering a climate of intolerance which never existed before. The Pentecostals deny that any religion is targeted for converts or that they encourage intolerance.

The number of Pentecostal churches in T&T have doubled in the past decade to more than 150. Their leaders anticipate that their religion will replace Anglicans as the 3rd-largest in that nation of 1.2 million. According to the 1990 census, Catholicism with 29% of the population is the largest, followed by Hinduism with 22% and Anglicanism with 11%.

The new Christ the Castle church is resplendent with purple satin drapes, glittering chandeliers, waterfalls and arrangements of color-coordinated artificial flowers. It is equipped with radio and television studios. Besides the church offers members financial planning, a Montessori pre-school and domestic violence counseling. Recently, even the Government contracted with the church to provide vocational training for 500 youths.

The Pentecostals even advertise for converts on TV. Hindu leaders accuse the Pentecostals of using the American dollar to buy souls. They vow to fight back to retain their members, but they don’t seem to stand a chance.

(For comments,  email

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US Black Caucus to work with CARICOM

CARICOM is to work closely with the US Congressional Black Caucus to further strengthen relations with Washington on issues of regional concern. This was one of the decisions made in a meeting in Montego Bay , involving CARICOM government officials and the 13-member Black Caucus. The Black Caucus is a coalition of black members of the Congress of the United States committed to primarily promoting and protecting policies favorable to the African American community.

The meeting was chaired by Jamaica’s Prime Minister, P.J. Patterson. The Black Caucus, led by the dynamic Charles Rangel, recommended that CARICOM should develop a blueprint of priority concerns and establish communication channels to facilitate ongoing reviews. The group has promised to give urgent attention to all matters raised by Caribbean leaders and to use its protective power to protect Caribbean’s interests.
Editor’s Comment: It’s good to have their support and we need it bad there.

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Elections in T&T set for Dec 11

President Basdeo Panday has announced that general elections for Trinidad and Tobago will be held on December 11, 200.


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Making Caribbean Organisations Better: Bickering and Infighting

Many of us are inclined to criticize our Caribbean governments for inefficiency, ineffectiveness and partisanship. These governments must face a divided and undereducated electorate, vigorous vocal entrenched party opposition, and the confining restrictions of being a poor country. Overseas Caribbean organisations, on the other hand, do not face such obstacles. Instead, they are blessed with a relatively highly educated membership, with a unity of purpose and commitment to Caribbean causes, and no formal entrenched opposition party to deal with. With all these advantages, one would think they would be models of efficiency. But, unfortunately most of them are not. Instead, too many are so bogged down with petty bickering and infighting that they fail to acheive even the most modest goals.

Like a cancer
Infighting and bickering are the scourge of many Caribbean and many other types of organisations. It

  • lowers morale
  • saps vitality and enthusiasm
  • wastes valuable time
  • creates unfriendly environment
  • derails legitimate organisation objectives

In short it is like a cancer, eating away at the heart of the organisation.

Fighting this cancer
The first step in getting rid of this problem is to recognize this as a problem. Too often, this is seen as normal and acceptable routine. The leadership has to :

  • identify the problem
  • acknowledge it
  • tactfully deplore it
  • use ingenuity, tact and cooperative effort to end
  • establish a working business-like environment to minimize this problem. In other words be an action-oriented organisation of deeds, not just words. Infighting and bickering do not survive well in such an atmosphere.

Organisations are loaded with critics. If only they had as much doers as they have critics. Besides, instead of constructive criticism, most are frivolous, petty and destructive criticism. Constructive criticism, on the other hand, is a vital tool to provide :

  • valuable input
  • a wider perspective
  • a feeling of involvement, belonging and participation in the membership.

However, some groups just listen to constructive criticism and do nothing about it. What a waste. It should not only be listened to, but it should also be evaluated and acted upon if it is worthy.

From my experience, the greatest source of infighting and bickering is generated by the democratic process called elections. For some strange reason, the most trivial of elections can generate the most fanatical partisanship and divisiveness in an organisation. I have seen elections so polarize the membership, and isolate good hard-working loyal members, that the organisation itself becomes ineffective. If only such passions could be used to promote the aims of the organisation instead. On the other hand, I have seen organisations without the "benefit" of elections, remain focussed and really make meaningful accomplishments.

But, for most organisations, elections are a necessary evil. The leadership therefore, must make a conscious effort to tone down campaign rhetoric, and, promote and embrace the unity and value of all its members.
(Part 3 in series) See also Part 1, and   Part 2

(What do you think? Let's know by email

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"Unuh shut up unuh mouth or get out!"

Speaking of meetings…… This is probably what the cop said to a meeting being held in a room beside the Resident Magistrate Court room of Savanah-la-mar in Jamaica. He was just demanding order not only in the court but in the room beside the court. But this was not just a meeting, it was a meeting of the Westmorland Parish Council presided over by the town mayor. They tried to protest to the cop, but he would have none of that and ordered them to "Silence". Out stormed one councillor and the Deputy Mayor leaving a quieter but outraged mayor and parish councillors.


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CARICOM trade gap widens

The IMF has told us foreign trade is the way to prosperity. Not the way we are going. The first ever survey of trade and investment in the 14-nation CARICOM has revealed some alarming figures for 1999. There is still a significant if not disastrous trade imbalance between CARICOM countries and their international markets. Total CARICOM exports grew by a modest 4%, while imports mushroomed by 55%!

Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago received the bulk of foreign direct investment. There was more than US$1.6 billion in total investment, an amount considered well above average considering CARICOM’s relatively small population and national income. Of this amount T&T topped the list attracting US$633 million. Jamaica was next with US$520 million.

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Privatisation of road maintenance hits bumpy road

New extensive privatisation program
Jamaica joined the worldwide hue and cry for privatisation and turned over maintenance of its roads to the private sector. Twenty-three contracts were issued in the pilot phase of the Routine Maintenance Program which covered work in five parishes. Another 32 contracts were awarded in phase two of the program which extends islandwide to cover 4,600 kilometres of main road.

Under the program, maintenance work in the form of bushing, clearing of drains and culverts and patching of potholes is carried out on an ongoing basis. The Ministry said the program will be a permanent one in an effort to prevent the island's main roads from falling into disrepair.

Not so good so far
No more government inefficiency and competition from private contractors would make the rough roads smooth, right? Not really. Instead complaints have come streaming in. For example Ensor Town in St. Catherine, was the scene of angry protests against road conditions. Taximen withdrew their services to join angry placard-carrying demonstrators. Road maintenance contracts are being terminated all over the island as contractors fail to live up to their responsibilities. There have been labour disputes. To show the severity of the problems, the Ministry of Transportation:

  • Terminated TKB Construction with contracts in Hanover and St. James valued at J$14.5 million
  • Terminated Beecher Construction with contracts in St. Mary
  • Terminated H and J Heavy Equipment and Construction with contracts in St. Mary, Portland and St. Ann
  • Terminated Danem Construction with contract in St. Elizabeth, St. Catherine, Manchester, and Westmoreland for sub-standard work
  • Terminated Trafalgar Construction with contract in Portland
  • Some companies have created labour unrest because they have paid their workers late or with bad checks

These failures are not surprising. Privatisation (also known as contracting out) of road maintenance has been more a product of anti-government hysteria instead of being merit based. In the State of Virgina, they adopted it extensively. There is no claim that it will save taxpayer money. There is no claim that it will do a better job. It will take 5 years to bring it up to present levels. Often instead of savings to the taxpayer, there is big profits to the contractor usually derived by replacing permanent career workers with temporary-no-benefits workers. Since unions in Jamaica still have a voice, labour unrest was inevitable. Already after 2 years in Virginia, unanticipated problems, so numerous that it rated a series in the Washington Post newspapers, have cropped up. So, why? Why?

In Jamaica and the West Indies, we cannot afford to fail. If we adopt a change, it should have demonstrated a record of accomplishment, rather than be a politically expedient fad.

(What do you think? Let's know by email

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World Cup: T&T leads the way

Trinidad and Tobago downed Panama 1-0, while Mexico was held to a 0-0 draw by Canada, to take top spot in Group D of the CONCACAF world cup semifinal round. The rest of teams that qualified to move on to the final round of 6 are Mexico, Jamaica, Honduras, and USA. The 6th spot is still undecided as Guatemala upset Costa Rica 2-1 so that both teams ended up with identical records. A special play-off game will determine which of the two will join the other 5 teams in the final round. The final round is expected to begin in spring of 2001 with the top 3 going on to compete in Japan/Korea, a very tough road.

Aussies humiliate and embarrass WI cricket

By the time the 1st Test began on their tour of Australia, the West Indies had failed to win a single first class game there. So, it was not surprising that the West Indies have gone on to lose the first two Tests. Not only did they lose, but they lost in most humiliating fashion and must now be firmly entrenched as the doormats of test cricket.  So far, star batsman Bryan Lara has made 3 ducks n four test innings!
Test 1
1st Innings: WI 82 (McGrath 6 for 17); Aussies 332 (B Lee 62 n.o., M Slater 54, Black 4 for 83)
2nd Innings: WI 124 (Chanderpaul 62 n.o., McGrath 4 for 10)
Australia won by an innings and 126 runs with McGrath taking an impressive 10 wickets for 27 runs named man-of-the-match.

Test 2
1st Innings: WI 196 (R. Jacobs 96 n.o., W. Hinds 50); Aussies 396 for 8 declared (M. Waugh 119, M Hayden 69)
2nd Innings: WI 173 (W Hinds 41, J Adams 40 n.o., Lee 5 fro 61)
Australia won by an innings and 27 runs. Waugh man-of-the-match.


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US post office clerk delivers learning to Jamaica kids

The Book Mon
In 1979 Peter Gresser and his wife Marilyn of Minnesota, US, were celebrating their honeymoon in Jamaica. They accepted the invitation of a 10 year-old boy to visit his school. There they found eager students, but a severe text book shortage. When he went back home to Minneapolis, this postal clerk, with just a high school education but obviously a very big heart, mailed back to the school his 20-year collection of National Geographic magazine. This was the start of something big and wonderful.

By 1988, the Gressers founded The Children's Chance, a volunteer, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. That year, the first cargo of hundreds of boxes of books was sent to Jamaica. Gresser does not know what happened to the 10-year-old boy he met. But, the shipments have grown at an astounding pace. Eight containers, or about 200,000 books, have been sent this year. The books come from churches, Hennepin County libraries, area school districts and private donations. The Gressers' parish, Peter's Church Spirit of Hope Methodist Church in Golden Valley, makes up a large part of the effort.

Reading materials include paperbacks, children's books and encyclopedia sets. Children's Chance also ships school supplies, stuffed animals and soccer equipment to the island. Haddan Thomas of Minneapolis grew up and lived in Jamaica until 1993. He volunteered this time because he said the help was needed. ``We never had enough books,'' Thomas said. The book-giving also puts a smile on Gresser's face. ``When I close the door of the container at the end of the day -- that's the best feeling,'' he said. ``Or walking into a school or having a child come up to me and say, `Are you the Book Mon?' ''

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 Boycott polluters

In a meeting in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, sponsored by the National Environment Planning Agency (NEPA, the Coastal Water Improvement Agency (CWIP), and the Ocho Rios Environmental Advisory Group (OREAG), there was a call to boycott polluters. The meeting prsented data collected on the Ocho Rios coast and the White River showing pollution of the waterways by individuals and businesses such as garages, car washes, and dry cleaning establishments. Let us hope this environmental vigilance and awareness is maintained throughout Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean.


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Former Jamaica GG Glasspole dies

Former Jamaica Governor General, Sir Florizel Glasspole, died recently at the age of 91. He was appointed Governor General by Michael Manley in 1972. Tributes have flowed in acknowledging his distinguished career of public service. Some of the highlights of his achievements:

  • A founding member of the Peoples National Party
  • Member of the House of Representatives for Kingston and Port Royal constituency from 1944 to 1972
  • Attended Oxford University on a trade union scholarship
  • Ex-officio member of the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporarion from 1944-45
  • Minister of Labour under Norman Manley from 1955-1957
  • Knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1982
  • Awarded the Andres Bello First Class by Venezuela in 1975
  • Awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit by the Federal Republic of Germany in 1982


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Grenada PM Loses Libel Case

The Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. Keith Mitchell has lost his court case against one of the leading journalists of that country. The Grenada High Court threw out the criminal libel case against newspaper editor George Worme. Mr. Worme was arrested and charged in September, 1999, in connection with a letter in his newspaper, accusing the Prime Minister of bribing people for votes. The court ruled that the case against Mr. Worme was unconstitutional since it violated his constitutional rights to free expression.

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UN General Assembly votes against the US embargo of Cuba, 167-3

Make it now 9 consecutive years. Once again the UN General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly against the US 38-year-old blockade of Cuba. In another lopsided vote, 167 countries sided with Havana. Only three sided with the US. They were the US, Israel and the Marshall Islands. There were 4 abstentions.
Of course the General Assembly has no real power other than molding world opinion. The real power lies in the UN Security Council.


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Del Monte and Tropicana seek Jamaica orange farm

The largest orange farm and export operation in the Caribbean is up for sale. It is the United Estates of Bog Walk in Jamaica. The 5,422 acre farm, , vehicles, buildings and citrus concentrate and juice maunfacturing plant that produces the popular "Tru Juice"has reportedly drawn bids of J$2 billion dollars from US multinational juice giants Del Monte and Tropicana. The sale came as a surprise since the entire crop had been recently replanted because of the citrus Tristeza virus. A recent unfavourable ruling by Industrial Dispute Tribunal (IDT) is suspected to have contributed to the decision. It employs 1,200 seasonal and permanent staff. However, present owners, the McConnell family, say they have no intention of also selling their sugar estate holdings, the Worthy Park Estates.

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Petrojam oil refinery fire

From 7 miles away spectacular orange flames could be seen lighting up the night sky of the Kingston horizon. It was Petrojam, the Jamaica Government-owned oil refinery, on fire. Fire trucks from 4 stations as well as the water ministry’s rapid response units battled the blaze for more than 3 hours, before they got it under control. It could have been much worse. It could have endangered nearby Greenwich Town. But, luckily the fire emanated from an empty kerosene tank. Early estimates are that gasolene production will be reduced by only about 10% because of the quick action and the confinement of the fire.


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Massive Fish Kill in Jamaica

In Jamaica, thousands of dead fish lined the shoreline, from the Rockfort mineral bath along Harbor Head, to the Palisadoes, leading to the Norman Manley airport. The mystery of these vast number of dead fish, some still gasping for life in the water, did not bother onlookers. Many saw these fish as "mana fom heaven". They disregarded any danger and gleefully scooped them up and it was obviously "fry fish for dinner" that day. It was "eat first and worry afterwards". Nearby gulls disdained the easy pickings however. Environmentalists will try to determine the cause and also whether there is any danger in consuming these fish.

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