Violence in Guyana Begins

CARICOM Leaders' Gloom
It has begun. As Hot Calaloo predicted, violence has broken out precipated by PNC's "peaceful" demonstration. PNC leader and former President Desmond Hoyte has abandoned negotiations for demonstrations. Obviously CARICO leaders share Hot Calaloo's concerns. CARICOM chairman Grenada's Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell, reflected the views of all the leaders saying "very concerned ...what is taking place in Guyana...street demonstrations do not solve the problem...we are calling on the parties to handle their responsibilities so that stability of the country and .. by implication the region as a whole is not affected."

Still Hoyte-ing Guyana
CARICOM leaders have been very diplomatic dealing with this sensitive issue. Hoyte's action is grossly irresponsible and Hot Calaloo would be remiss if it did not say so and just watch Hoyte lead Guyana to a firestorm of racial destruction. The sad part is that journalists, especially those here in the comfort and safety of the US, not only condone Hoyte's action, but some even promote it. The Hot Calaloo refrain to all responsible Caribbean people, not just Guyanese: Write Hoyte now before the violence reaches the point of no return. Tell him to stop and return to negotiation. Do it now, while there is still a Guyana!        (3/8/99)


Back to Hot Calaloo


GUYANA IS DOOMED...unless...

It is with great sadness I am forced to acknowledge that Guyana is doomed. Leader of the Opposition Peoples National Congress, Desmond Hoyte, has announced that his party will withdraw from constitutional reform negotiation and take to the streets in resumption of protest. Last year 6 months of PNC protest sunk the country into violence, bombings, lootings, public disarray and fanned racial polarization to new highs. Every legal challenge Desmond Hoyte made to the Government was defeated by impartial adjudication, whether from local courts or CARICOM and other international organisations. Finally CARICOM brokered a peace accord which he signed after much delay and previous broken agreements with CARICOM negotiators. One of the terms of this accord, pushed primarily by Hoyte, was constitutional reforms. All parties agreed to the CARICOM selected negotiator, former Barbados Attorney General, Maurice King. Ever since his defeat at the polls in December 1997, Desmond Hoyte has defied the electorate, the courts, CARICOM, and international observer organisations. He has reneged on agreements, while mobs loyal to him have terrorized citizens of Indian descent.

What happens next?
How responsible black Guyanese citizens, in Guyana or abroad, can sit back and not raise one word of criticism or worse yet, support and encourage Hoyte’s irresponsible ruthless tactcs is indefensible. The death and complete destruction of Guyana is not unlikely! This is a likely chain of events to that destruction.

  1. Dsesmond Hoyte leads peaceful demonstration
  2. Demonstration turns violent
  3. There is looting and burning of mainly Indian stores
  4. Demonstrations continue
  5. Violence gets worse and police loose control
  6. Business close down and Indians get guns and star defending themselves and retaliating
  7. Racial tensions increase, bombings and random shootings with reprisals
  8. President Jagan house is attacked and she is killed
  9. Racial civil war breaks out
  10. Racial divisions erupt in the Police and rest of armed forces
  11. Police and armed forces split along racial lines and chaos rules
  12. The rule of law collapses
  13. Georgetown is in ruins and unsafe and almost deserted -no business, no schools
  14. Radio, and TV stations and newspaper offices are burnt down
  15. Gold mines, bauxite mines close down
  16. Agricultural products drop and food shortages arise
  17. Random racial shootings are commonplace
  18. Fear rules as houses are routinely burnt and the rule of the gun takes over as party leaders cannot keep control
  19. Guerrila groups are formed on both sides
  20. Brutal killings, rapes of young girls and women alike become commonplace
  21. Known vicious criminals, teenage soldiers with guns,run amok and and create terror even in their own ranks
  22. Rumors of foreign mercenaries abound
  23. Streams of refugees try to leave the country any way they can
  24. American peace force is sought to restore law and order and democracy
  25. Venezuela takes advantage of the chaos to invade and take over the 60% of Guyana that they have been claiming in the 60 year-old border dispute.

That is what is at stake. Some might say it can not happen. "No, not here in Guyana with our traditions." Just ask a Liberian refugee. It happened also in Bosnia, Ruwanda, Burundi, Algeria, Kosovo, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, and others. Just a few years ago Sarajeivo was the proud host of the Winter Olympics. Now, it is a shattered shell and the graveyard of war and the brutality of ethnic cleansing.

Yes, it can happen in Guyana. All the ingredients are there and thanks to Desmond Hoyte the process has already begun. Unless he changes his course, it's only a matter of time.

Act Now!
Tell Desmond Hoyte to stop! Write to:

    Mr. Desmond Hoyte, President
    Peoples National Congress
    Georgetown, Guyana


Back to Hot Calaloo


G-15 Summit in Jamaica Bash World Trade

"We are living through the terrible nightmare of the threat to our small societies and fragile economies in respect of banana exports. It is a real threat to our poorest people when treaty arrangements designed to redress centuries of inequality are endangered through the duress of retaliation by those in the developed world who are big and powerful".

These are the words of Jamaica's Prime Minister P.J. Patterson as he addressed the Ninth Group of Fifteen (G-15) Summit held in Jamaica recently. The G-15 consists of Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Senegal, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. It was formed in 1989 as a forum for Southern Hemisphere countries to focus on trade and investment. The dissatisfaction with trade and investment, as well as international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organisation (WTO), was so rampant there , it seemed like a Hot Calaloo commentary.

Prime Minister Patterson, also the Summit chairman, warned that the WTO ..." must not be allowed to betray the expectations of the developing world. It is time that values like fairness and equity are restored to their centrality". He also called for :

He drew warm applause but thunderous applause greeted the speech of the Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Bin Mohamad. Just as Hot Calaloo has been saying, he warned about the world financial crisis putting small countries in jeopardy of losing their independence to international financial institutions and "super-big" multinational corporations. These small countries are forced to open up their economies to unrestricted penetration to these "super-big" foreign multinational corporations, some bigger than the developing countries themselves, causing local industry to die when they or their products move in.."I am sure it is not their (super-big entities) intention to interfere in local politics but we know that in the Banana Republics, the managers of banana plantations wield more power than the Presidents of these countries. The temptation to interfere in local politics might be too much for the foreign giants to resist".


Back to Hot Calaloo

US Drug Certification Time

Caribbean and Latin American nations can now breathe a sigh of relief. Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Mexico are among the 22 countries which has been certified as either fully co-operating with the US or taking steps to combat the production or trafficking of illegal drugs. Failure to be certified could have led to financial sanctions by the US. Mexico's relief was mixed with anger as they see certification and the threat behind it as an insult to their goodwill and sovereignty, and say it will actually damage cooperation against drugs.

Editor's Note: Of course, in the future an unscrupulous American president can use certification as a pretext to force submission to the will of the US.


Back to Hot Calaloo

Buckle up Jamaica

Jamaica is promoting and enforcing road safety. Motorists may be fined and lose points for breach of new seat-belt law In an effort to curb the carnage on the roads, as of June 1, 1999, all drivers and passengers of motorcars will be required to wear seat-belts. Motorcyclists and pillion riders will be required to wear helmets.


Back to Hot Calaloo

Puerto Rico Completes Telecom Sale

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - After nearly two years of negotiations and a sometimes-violent labor strike, Puerto Rico completed the $2 billion sale of its telephone company to a consortium led by GTE Corporation. Gov. Pedro Rossello called the sale of Puerto Rico Telephone Co. "a significant step" in his ambitious privatization agenda, which includes sales of hotels and private management of state utilities and hospitals. The Federal Communications Commission approved the deal Feb. 12. In June, 1998, about 6,400 workers went on strike to protest the sale, fearing widespread layoffs. Weeks of protests, service outages, an airport blockade and sabotage of phone lines failed to derail the deal.


Back to Hot Calaloo

Haiti Unrest Continues

Doctors, teachers, students and the "usual suspects" added to the unrest and mayhem that is life in Haiti today.

Teachers went on strike closing the nation's public schools.They demanded an 80% wage increase that was promised them by the government last year. Elementary school teachers earn about $125 per month and secondary about $375.

Students in the thousands took to the streets to protest the teachers' action. Demonstrators threw rocks at passing cars and made fiery barricades of burning tires. Police had to use tear gas to restore order.

Just a few days later, doctors demonstrated by a protest march against the killing of one of their colleagues. He was shot dead in his clinic by unknown gunmen. The procession of 1000 doctors and nurses clad in their white lab coats, formed a slow-moving orderly white river of humanity in the Port-au-Prince streets.

Gunmen killed a senator ,from the main opposition party. The 47-year old Jean-Yvon Toussant was shot in front of his house as he changed a spare tire. He is the 3rd legislator to be assassinated since 1994.

Back to Hot Calaloo

Puerto Rico Demands End to Bombing

Angered by a three-week U.S. military training exercise, Puerto Rico's Senate has demanded the Navy stop using live ammunition at its bombing range on the eastern island of Vieques. Eighteen senators voted late last night for a resolution calling for an end to the bombing on Vieques, home to 9,000 residents. Nine senators abstained. "The island's people have directly suffered the consequences of military...exercises for the past 30 years," the resolution says. At some points during the war games, which ended Sunday, up to 20 bombs or shells exploded per minute, and vibrations from the bombing cracked several walls, the resolution said.


Back to Hot Calaloo

Where Is The Beef?

We need to do like Japan
Remember years ago Wendy's fast food restaurant chain popularized the "where is the beef" slogan. Well Wendy's opened up a store in Jamaica and the question is "Where is the beef...from"? At last! One of these multinational fast food chains has agreed to use Jamaican beef and chicken too! It is about time, for as reported in the previous issue of Hot Calaloo, the local beef industry, like many others were being decimated by imports. Furthermore, there is a report that the government will impose a temporary ban on imported meat. Good! It's about time we wised up. But, Jamaicans should not wait for government action. If Wendys can make a profit using local products, why can't McDonalds and the other fast food chains there? No, Jamaicans should not allow the Government alone to fight for local producers. Instead, they should join the battle by boycotting McDonalds and any other fast food chain which disdains local products for imports. Nationalism should not be limited to support of the Reggae Boys and WI cricket team alone!

Hot Calaloo continues to advocate imposing tariffs on these imported products which undermine the local industry not only in Jamaica, but all over the Caribbean. Of course, there is fear that such tariffs might come under attack from the US and international organisations. Japan clearly puts the welfare of its country above these fears as the following news report clearly shows.

Japan to Boost Imported Rice Tariff
Associated Press reports that in a move likely to aggravate trade tensions with the U.S., Japan plans to impose an additional tariff on top of standard duties on rice imports, according to a Japanese newspaper. Japan's cabinet endorsed a plan last month to impose heavy duties on foreign rice to protect Japanese rice producers. The Nihon Keizai business daily reported Tokyo also plans a "special safeguard" tariff, boosting those duties on imported rice by a third if the government determines domestic prices have been severely depressed. As of April 1, Japan will impose a tariff of $3.07 on each kilogram of imported rice. The import duty will be reduced to $2.98 per kilogram next year.


Back to Hot Calaloo

Nurse Merry-go-round in Jamaica

First Jamaica's severe nursing shortage was relieved by obtaining 20 nurses from Ghana. However, nurse headhunters from the UK descended on Jamaica and swiped 70 Jamaican nurses. Now, it's Cuba to the rescue as twenty nurses from that island have been assigned to 6 Jamaican hospitals. They all speak english and are under a 2-year contract.


Back to Hot Calaloo

Drowning Tragedies in Jamaica

It was intended to be a Valentine's Day boat trip of merriment. Fourteen mainly teenagers of the Gold Star Youth Club set out on a 28 ft single engine fibre glass boat from Old Harbour in Jamaica to Pigeon Island some 9 miles away. Only 6 returned that day. On the way back, to avoid getting wet from a sudden wave, all fourteen rushed to one side of the boat. It capsized. The six survivors including non-swimmers clung to empty plastic gasolene bottles for as long as 4 hours before reaching a small lighthouse located on reefs outside the bay.

In mid-January, 4 Jamaica College students drowned on a school field trip.


Back to Hot Calaloo

Banana War Heats Up

The Clinton administration has warned US importers of European products ranging from prosciutto to cashmere that they will face tariffs on $520 million worth of these goods. After rejecting compromise after compromise on trade protection of Caribbean bananas by the European Union (EU), the US is imposing these retaliatory sanctions. The EU is angry. The Caribbean is angry. An ugly trade war between US and the EU is threatened.

The European Union has filed a complaint against the U.S. before the World Trade Organization, saying U.S. moves to impose sanctions in a dispute over bananas violate global trading rules.

The Caribbean
Caribbean leaders have condemned the US retaliation against the EU. Furthermore they have threatened their own retaliation by suspending a treaty of cooperation with the US to fight drug trafficking. The treaty signed in Barbados by President Clinton in May 1997 calls for cooperation by Caribbean nations in anti-drug trafficking measures and extradition of suspects. But regional leaders have increasingly complained that Washington has ignored its end of the bargain by failing to address money issues so important to the Caribbean.


Back to Hot Calaloo

Press Freedom in Antigua

The Caribbean Association of Media Workers (CAMWORK) has rallied behind the editors of the Antigua Sun newspaper. The publishers forced the editor to withdraw a front page article from the opposition United Progressive Party critical of the Government of PM Lester Bird. The editors and staff staged a sick-out in protest of this censorship by the publishers. The editor and sub-editor were then sent home for 2 weeks to consider if they should resign.


Back to Hot Calaloo

Guyana Airways Losing Big

Guyana Airways, the national airline of Guyana, like so many of its fellow Caribbean airlines, are in dire financial straits. It has been forced to return a leased Boeing 757 to save the montly lease cost of US$260,000. That cost, plus technical difficulty plus a US$15 million dollar debt, made the short term lease of the aircraft used on its New York route a losing proposition.


Back to Hot Calaloo

Sandals in Cuba

Jamaica's hotel magnate and Air Jamaica's owner, Butch Stewart, has extended his chain of all-inclusive Sandals holiday resorts to Cuba. This brings the number of Sandals in the Caribbean to 14.


Back to Hot Calaloo


Lara and the West Indies Rebound

The West Indies did not win but regained some respect and even was able to give their fans moments to cheer about. The real Brian Lara and the West Indies rebounded to take a 2-1 lead in the current test series in the West Indies. Alas, Brian Lara could not do it alone. Instead the other West Indies bats failed as the Aussies took the final 4th Test to tie the series and keep the Frank Worrel Trophy.

The West Indies pulled a surprise by reinstating Brian Lara as captain. Basically, they explained their decision as giving him another chance. At first, it did not bear any fruit as Australia humbled the West Indies in the first test in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. Granted the batting was badly weakened by the absence of four regulars including Chanderpaul and Hooper. The only bright spot was Courtney Walsh captured his 400th test wicket to become one of only three to achieve that feat.

In the 2nd Test it seemed like more of the same. Australia had scored 256 and at the close of day 3, WI were struggling at 35 for 4. The next day, the Aussies failed to get a single wicket as Lara and Jimmy Adams stayed there all day. Lara was especially scintillating, while Adams was solid. A record breaking 5th wicket partnership of 344 resulted. Lara scored 253 and Adams 96 as the WI stormed to a lead of 175. This batting must have inspired the bowlers as they routed the Aussies for 177 in the 2nd innings, setting the stage for the WI openers to knock of the mere 3 runs needed for a resounding impressive victory.

In the 3rd Test, Australia started out very impressively scoring 490. The WI came up short with 279, most of which due to a sparkling 105 by Sherwin Campbell. In the 2nd innings, our bowlers came through again, led by Courtney Walsh 5 for 39, putting out the Auissies for 146. The WI needed 308 to win and at 80 for 4 things did not look too bright. But, once again Lara to the rescue. Also again with Adams, as they took the score within 70 runs of victory, when Adams was bowled. Two more wickets in the next over was alarming. But Lara, sacrificing singles to remain on the bartting end to shield the weaker batsmen, guided the WI to an exciting 1 wicket victory and himself scoring 153 not out.

The Aussies scored 309 aided by a century by Langer in the 1st innings of the 4th and final Test. However, even another century by Brian Lara could not rescue the WI and they fell behind with 279. Australia batted again to score 303, and by the end of the 4th day the West Indies were all out for 2xxx to give the Aussies a victory by 176 runs. It was an exciting series. Although the WI batting is still very shallow, the WI overall performance was a tremendous improvement over the humiliation in South Africa.

1st Test
1st Inning: Australia 269 (Blewett 58, Walsh 3 for 60, Ambrose 3 for 35); West Indies 167 (Lara 65)
2nd Innings: WI 51

2nd Test
1st Inning Australia 256 (S. Waugh 100, M Waugh 67, Walsh 4 for 55); West Indies 431 (B Lara 253, J Adams 96, McGrath 5 for 93)
2nd Innings:Australia 177 (Perry 5 for 70); West Indies 3 without loss

3rd Test
1st Inning: Australia 490 (S Waugh 199, R Ponting 104, Perry 3 for 102); West Indies 279 (S Campbell 105, RD Jacobs 68,McGrath 4 for 128)
2nd Innings:Australia 146 (Walsh 5 for 39); West Indies 311 for 9 (B Lara 153 n.o., J Adams 38, McGrath 5 for 92)

4th Test
1st Innings Australia 303 (Ponting 72, Ambrose 5 for 94); WI 222 (lara 100, McGrath 3 for 64)

2nd Innings Australia (Langer 127, Walsh 4 for 78, Ambrose 3 for 55); WI 211 (Griffith 56)


Back to Hot Calaloo

Busy Reggae Boys Hosted by T&T

Mixed Fortunes for Reggae Boys
Just before the Reggae Boys, Jamaica's national soccer team, went to T&T, they had been very busy. First they tied Costa Rica in Jamaica 0-0. Using the same team without their overseas pros they got humiliated in the return match in Costa Rica by 9-0. Hurting from that devastation, they travelled to Guatemala to participate in a 4-nation tournament, still without the overseas pros. Their first opponent was Bolivia, who had beaten their World Cup bound Reggae Boys by 6-0 the year before. This time they tied Bolivia 0-0 and went on to gain 2nd place in the tourney, losing 3-1 to winners Paraguay and defeating hosts Guatemala.

Jamaica vs T&T
Next they journeyed to Trinidad. T&T fielded the big guns which included Manchester United's star striker Dwight Yorke, MSL and 1998 goal scoring champion Stern John, David Nakhid of professional Swedish club Malmo, English based professionals Clint Marcelle, Anthony Rougier and Shaka Hislop, Switzerland-based Jerren Nixon, and Scottish based Russel Latapy and Marvin Andrews. Shaka Hislop, well known in the Washington DC area where he starred in goal for Howard University was a big surprise. He was born in England of Trinidadian parents and plays for West Ham in the English premier league. However, he has made England's B squad and has actually played for England's Under-21 team, so I wonder about his eligibility to play World Cup for T&T.

For this game, Jamaica unveiled a new English based pro, Donald Johnson of Ipswich. However, except for Paul Hall and Ricardo Gardiner, they were without their other overseas-based pros. T&T won 2-0.

Trinidad - Shaka Hislop, Shurland David (Reynold Carrington), Marvin Andrews, Anthony Rougier, Sherwyn Julien, Clint Marcelle (Arnold Dwarika), Russell Latapy (Travis Mulraine), David Nakhid, Jerren Nixon, Stern John, Dwight Yorke (Irasto Knights).
 Jamaica - Aaron Lawrence (Donovon Ricketts), Ian Goodison, Fabian Davis, Chris Dawes, Clifton Waugh, Ricardo Gardner, Winston Griffiths, Garth Peterkin, Theodore Whitmore, Ricardo Fuller (Ainsworth Kerr), Paul Hall (David Johnson).

Reggae Boys vs Paraguay in Ja
The reggae Boys returned home to meet Paraguay again a few days later on March 31. In the World Cup, Paraguay reached the 2nd round and were barely beaten by eventual World Cup champs, France, and by a sudden death overtime goal. But, Jamaica beat them 3-0 to avenge the 3-1 loss weeks ago in Guatemala.


Back to Hot Calaloo

Grammy Award Winner

Veterans of reggae, Sly and Robbie, won the 1998 Grammy award for their album "Friends" in the reggae music category. They beat out nominees Beenie Man -Many Moods of Moses"; Buju Banton -Inna Heights"; Wailing Souls -"Psychedelic Souls"; and Toots and the Maytals - "Ska Fathers" This is the 2nd Grammy for the duo as they won the 1st Grammy award in 1985 when they were part of the group "Black Uhuru".

T&T Carnival

Singing Sandra became the second woman to be crowned calypso monarch for her songs "Voices from the Ghetto", and "Song for Healing". Sugar Aloes placed 2nd and Gypsy came 3rd.

Senell Dempster took the road march with "River" and Kurt Allen came 2nd with "Dust Dem". WITCO Desperados emerged National Panorama Champions with "In my House" -Emmanuel "Oba" Synette.


Back to Hot Calaloo

Free Trade vs Fair Trade

Free trade..a noose
If you give me 4 pencils and I give you 2 starapples in return, that is trade. If I buy your 4 pencils if you buy my 2 starapples, that is still trade. If I buy your 4 pencils, but you do not buy my starapples and buy them somewhere else. That is not trade, but that is shopping. I end up with unsold starapples and the next time I'm unable to buy pencils. Trade involves reciprocity and trading partners set up the terms of that reciprocity. Along comes the ballyhooed "free trade" and removes the trading partners right to set terms. Instead the globe is one big open market, globalisation, free of tariffs, free of terms between partners, where price and price alone is the criterion. This global marketplace is then policed by international organisation like World Trade Organisation. Not only is free trade unfair, but it is not trade at all. It is shopping. And, worst of all, it will be a disaster for the Caribbean. It will be a noose around our necks

A case in point. The Fruits of Jamaica Co. is millions of dollars in debt. It has to discontinue sale of local grown pineapple products beause pineapples imported from Thailand are cheaper. From Thailand! My question is what does Thailand import from Jamaica in trade? I wait for a reply.

(Next issue we look at trade agreements, bananas and the WTO)


Back to Hot Calaloo

Teacher Strikes Hit West Indies

In St Vincent
On March 22 teachers went on a 2-day strike in St Vincent and the Grenadines. They were protesting the government's offer of 10% raise in three years in response to their demand for 20%.

In T&T
Teachers also stuck in T&T. However, this time it was not for wages . They stayed away from classes in protest against the increasing incidence of violence in schools. The teachers association reported that 80% of the schools were affected by the teachers abscence on the day of the strike.


Back to Hot Calaloo

1st Black Grandmaster - Jamaican

Jamaican-born Maurice Ashley became the first black to acheive the highest status in chess, grandmaster. The New York resident becomes one of only 45 grandmasters in the USA and of the 470 in the world. Ashley has also coached the Mott Hall Dark Knights, a Harlem middle school chess team, to 3 national titles.


Back to Hot Calaloo

Volcano Preparedness for Dominica

Could Dominica become another Montserrat? It lies in the same volcanic region. Besides, a series of earth tremors have been affecting communities in the south of the island since September. Plans are underway to test readiness of the emergency services if such a volcano erupts.


Back to Hot Calaloo