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March 2000

Rene Simoes Quits as Reggae Boyz Coach

Reggae Boyz soccer coach, Rene Simoes is already back in Brazil. It all happened so fast as:

  • Jamaica competed in the Gold Cup soccer tournament for CONCACAF champions.
  • They exited quickly losing to Columbia 1-0 and Honduras 2-0.
  • In Jamaica, lots of criticism of the team and Simoes arose.
  • Simoes got permission from JFF to interview with Brazilian Soccer club Flamenco and to relinquish his contract
  • JFF accepted his resignation and he accepted the Flamenco offer.
  • Within days he packed his family and amidst many fond farewells, it was back to Brazil.

He is gone but not forgotten. How can we ever forget:

  • the joy and pride he broght Jamaica with the Rggae Boyz in their World Cup quest?
  • that glorious feeling that night in Washinton DC's RFK stadium, filled with gold clad cheering Jamaican fans as the Reggae Boyz took on US in a crucial qualifying match?
  • the heroic fight back from last place against El Salvador  in a near empty Jamaica National stadium to qualify for France?
  • How Simoes not only tried to rally suppot for the football team but even the West Indies cricket team when disillusioned Jamaican fans were ready to abandon then in game there against Australia?

I could go on because he left so many memorable moments. Personally. I think his departure is premature and Jamaica Football Federation should have made a greater effort to keep him. He will be missed. To be sure his successor will have a job on his hands as he must:

  • hold and mold the diverse players, foreign, local, amateur and pros, together as a unit
  • discipline, discipline, discipline
  • meet high public expectations probably no less than qualifying for World Cup  2002
  • deal with a critical verbal, sometimes know-it-all press and public
  • follow in the footsteps of a brilliant coach, Rene Simoes, a tough act to follow

But, Simoes went beyond being a brilliant coach. This little Brazilian involved himself and his family in the everyday life and concerns of Jamaica. His deparure is Jamaica's loss and Flamenco's  gain. Jamaica's Minister of Sport and Tourism, Portia Simpson, summed it up best at a farewell function for him when she said. " We salute you, 'Prof, for helping to elevate our conciousness of  how much we can acheive when we have faith in our abilities to overcome adversity with perseverance and hard work."


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(Poem brought back as a tribute to Rene Simoes, technical director of the Jamaica 1998 World Cup soccer team, whose words inspired this poem.)

Dance Reggae Boyz Dance

Our World cup runneth over
As that June day draws near
The excitement builds
O Reggae boyz
O Reggae boyz
Carry our banners high
Of gold and black and green
Jamaicans everywhere
And the whole Caribbean too
Captivated by you
Counting on you
Pinning our hopes
On you

Show the world
That we belong
With the titans of the game
Show the world
That we can overcome
Goliaths far and near.
And thirty two nations
Have that rendezvous in France
But when the going gets tough
And it will
Dance reggae boyz dance

Yes, dance reggae boys dance
With the ball,
Your precious girlfriend
At your rhythmic feet
Let no one cut in
Take her away
She is yours to keep
No selfish one-man game
For remember,
On the darkest night
How beautiful the sky can be
Because not one
But all the stars shine bright

So dance reggae boys dance
Let others drink French wine
Win or lose
We're proud of you
For we know,
Every one of you will shine

by Michael Phillips, Editor

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Globalization and Free Trade Marginalize Poor Countries

Once again the verdict is out on globalization and free trade. According to a recent U.N. report, the world's 48 poorest countries are failing to benefit from free trade and globalization and face worsening poverty, inequality and marginalization. It is but small consolation that the Caribbean territories, with the possible exception of Haiti, are not listed among the 48 poorest.
The report was released at an the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) meeting in Bangkok. It states that:

  • The least developed countries are being increasingly marginalized.
  • Economic production has declined for three straight years in the least-developed countries.
  • Their share of global trade has plunged during that time.
  • The number of countries, categorized by the United Nations as extremely poor, has risen from 25 to 48 since 1971.
  • Botswana is the one and only country to have graduated from that list during that period.
  • 33 of the poorest nations are in Africa, 9 in Asia, 5 in the Pacific and 1 in Latin
  • America.
  • Donor countries should provide more aid to enable poor countries to produce more so they can benefit from free trade.
  • Aid provided to the least-developed countries has fallen by 23 percent in In real terms, during the past decade.
  • The poorest nations are generally unable to turn to private investment for capital, and attract less than 1 percent of all foreign direct investment
  • Rich countries should remove all tariffs and quotas on products from the poorest countries to allow them to sell more.
  • Developing countries have complained that trade agreements negotiated by the World Trade Organization have cut tariffs on many products exported by rich nations, while falling to address agriculture, textiles and garments _ key products for poorer countries.


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Bermuda Leery of Mega-cruise-ships

Mega-cruise ships, stay away from my door! Bermuda seems ready to spurn these ships because of the strain it would put on the island. The government will continue consultations with the cruise industry before deciding if different sized ships will come in the future. But, for now, it looks like no Mc Donalds and no mega-cruise-ships for Bermuda.
I"m with you Bermuda!

Cruise Ships - Good or Bad ?

.......I rounded the curve and below me the Ocho Rios bay lay before me in all its splendor. Three cruise ships lay at anchor, gleaming white in the bright sunshine against the turquoise sea. How magnificent they looked, but they raised a deep concern in me.....

Caribbean countries are turning moe and more cruise ships for more tourist dollars. These cruise ships are floating hotels and are getting bigger and bigger. As floating hotels, they compete with real hotels. Compared to real hotels, they bring little income to these ports of call, often overwhelming the port facilities. I for one ,have witnessed the transformation of Ocho Rios in Jamaica. The cruise ship tourist dollar has been described as income from 'a coke and a pizza', as the ship provides all meals for free to passengers. Not only is the town inundated by the sudden influx of hundreds of ship passengers, but also is a magnet to every 2-bit hustler, prostitutes, and all sorts of unsavory tourist leeches. The "coke and pizza" income is not the main justification, but the hope that tourists will react positively to this brief introduction and come back and stay in the country. Some probably do, but with the overwhelmed port facilities and the unsavory port leeches, many might choose to stay as far away as possible. One bad experience by a tourists can torpedo multimillion dollar advertising campaigns, because bad news travels much faster.
       But even worse, cruise ships are not bringing only tourists, they might be bringing pollution too. Can you imagine how much garbage these floating mega-hotels generate? They also have a lot of used oil to get rid of. We have a fragile ecosystem in our waters. Already coral reefs are dying at an alarming rate. Cruise ships have the potential of polluting these waters on a massive scale. But, such dumping by cruise ships is illegal. Sure it is, but that is not sufficient deterrent to stop them. Besides, do we in the Caribbean have the resources to monitor them? It was not enough of a deterrent in the US, as in the last years, cruise ship lines have been tried and found guilty. These include:

  • In July 199, Royal Cruise Lines was found guilty of 21 felony counts for dumping waste oil and hazardous chemicals and lying to the US Coast Guard. The charge was for dumping in US waters, specifically involving, Miami, New York City, Los Angeles, St. Thomas, and Puerto Rico. For this crime, the cruise line was fined US$18 million.
  • In June 1998 Royal Cruise Lines was found guilty of a fleetwide conspiracy of dumping oil into the ocean and lying to the US Coast guard. The conspiracy included using fake "oil record books".
  • In July 1999 Regency Cruises was found guilty of illegally and deliberately dumping plastic garbage into the sea. They were fined US$250,000.
  • In August 1994, Palm Beach Cruises was sentenced to a fine of US$500,000 for discharging   waste oil from its bilges off the coast of Florida.
  • In April 1993 Princess Cruises pleaded guilty and was fined US$500,000 for illegal dumping of garbage off the Florida Keys.


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Dominica Elects New Govt

Rosie Douglas led his Dominica Labor Party to victory over the ruling United Workers Party of outgoing Prime Minister Edison James. The new Prime Minister Douglas vowed to end the highly controversial practice of selling passports to foreigners. During the campaign, he contended the government had been selling passports rampantly to criminals and criminal gangs all over the world which would eventually establish Dominica as a center of international crime. Dominica had instituted that passport selling program to raise funds and to attract capital. However, controversial from the very beginning, it had drawn even more notoriety recently. The US had criticized this policy charging 300 Russians, members of a Russian gang, had Dominican passports. Canada also arrested several Chinese nationals with Dominican passports, all suspected to be involved in a smuggling ring run by Chinese gangs.

The Labour Party won 10 seats, up from 5. The outgoing UWP won 9 and the Dominica Freedom party 2. Although it was a narrow victory, the DLP will be stronger because of a coalition with the DFP, which was agreed upon even before the elections. The new PM Douglas is 56 with a degree in political science from Canada's McGill University. Dominica has a population of about 60,000.


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Fat People Outnumber Underfed Worldwide

People are getting fatter. Are you a part of that worldwide trend? The number of overweight people in the world now rivals the number of hungry, underfed people, a study of global trends has reported. Drawing on research from a number of agencies and institutions, Worldwatch Institute, an independent research organisation in Washington DC, said in its annual study, "State of the World 2000", that:

  • 1.2 billion people, the largest number ever recorded are underfed and undernourished
  • another 1.2 billion people are eating too much or too much of the wrong food and have become the fastest group of the malnourished.
  • About 2 billion, including some from the first two categories, appear to be well fed, but are undernourished because diets lack essential vitamins and minerals.
  • People worldwide pursue a lifestyle of eating more and a decreasing level of physical activity. So, their caloric intake greatly exceeds their caloric output. That surplus translates into fat, unhealthy fat.

Food shortage was found not to be the underlying cause of hunger even in developing countries. It states that 80% of all malnourished children in third world countries in the last decade lived in countries that reported food surpluses. No, the underlying cause is poverty.

( See article on "Imported Sugar and Other Follies".)

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Imported Sugar and Other Follies

In many Caribbean territories, sugar is the chief agricultural product. However, many of them still import refined sugar. In Jamaica, sugar producers are complaining about the competition from imported sugar. A new regime allows the importation of refined sugar as a raw material. The local sugar costs J$28 per kilo while the imported costs J$82. Despite the high cost of the imported, local manufacturers claim that it deprives them of J$259 million annually. Besides cutting into their sales, they contend they drive the price of sugar up. Their request for a 40% tariff was rejected by the government.

Imports have created another crisis in eastern St. Elizabeth. Carrots, cabbage, and tomatoes rot in the field unreaped. Why? Because competition from imports make it uneconomic to reap them, so a bounteous harvest becomes wasted food for worms.
Caribbean imports sugar, Guyana imports lumber--- more coals to Newcastle and the trade gap widens!


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Correction - Singh Still There

Thanks to reader Mr Newton Wright for correcting an inaccurate statement in last month's Hot Calaloo. The report that Trinidad and Tobago's Minister of Local Government, Dhanraj Singh, had quit, was in error. The source of the story on the resignation was the Caribbean News Agency (CANA) which had cited the Trinidad Sunday Express as its source. Not only has Mr. Singh not quit but continues to play an active role in the Panday government.


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Ottey Returns With A Bang

Bang! Went the starters whistle, and when the 60 m race was over in Valencia, Spain, Merlene Ottey had won in 7.14 seconds. Yes, Jamaica's 39 year-old veteran sprint queen, Merlene Ottey is back. Her form is back. Her speed is back. But, is she back to stay? The Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association investigated and cleared Ottey for testing positive last summer for the banned substance nandrolone. Ottey has steadfastly maintained her innocence and vowed to not "go quietly into the night" without a fight for her innocence, her dignity and her hard earned reputation.

However, the International Amateur Athletic Federation is threatening to reimpose the ban on Ottey. It has rejected a proposal by the British governing athletic body to suspend disciplinary action against athletes who have testified positive for nandrolone. Something has to be wrong when last year alone as many as 343 athletes tested positive for this banned substance. The British body exonerated its athletes including Linford Christie. How come this amazingly sudden rise? Investigations have found that a food supplement which is supposed to be innocent has created these positive tests. The British body, and probably the Jamaican one too, came to the obvious conclusion that athletes were unwitting and innocent victims of this food supplement in lifting the ban.

I have been told that when Cocoa Cola was first introduced it was a phenomenal hit? It had a secret ingredient. Cocaine! But, ignorance was to blame and not a deliberate marketing strategy. I suppose the IAAF would have these unsuspecting consumers of this pioneer Cocoa Cola arrested for drug abuse!


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Lara Quits As WI Captain

'Tis the time for quitting, first Simoes, now Lara. Brian Lara recently announced that he is stepping down as captain of the West Indies cricket team. I think this is one of the best moves Lara has made as captain. West Indies cricket is the worst it has ever been. The batting is especially bad and world record holder batsman, Lara, will be able to concentrate on his batting. As I had predicted, his ruthless pursuit and acceptance of the captaincy placed too much pressure on him. I predict that it won't be long before he is back on top of the batting world, again where he belongs. Now, the West Indies, in complete disarray, must find a captain. For the once mighty West Indies has had a great fall and the new captain will have his job cutout for him. He will have to use great leadership skills to put the West Indies "back together again". My pick..Jimmy Adams.

Flash: Jimmy Adams has been selected to captain the team. Unfortunately he won't have the services of Brian Lara for the upcoming series against Zimbabwe at home. Lara has decided to take some time-off from international cricket.

Jamaica Cricket Champions

Jamaica defeated the Leeward Islands in the final of the Busta Cup at Sabina Park in Jamaica to claim the Championship of West Indies cricket in 4-day competition. Although the match ended in a draw, Jamaica won on the basis of their 1st innings victory. Scores were :

Ist Innings - Jamaica 333 (Wavell Hinds 127) Leeward Isles 142
2nd Innings Jamaica 161 for 9, Leeward 112 for 2

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Police Praised, Police Denounced - Tale of Two Towns

The residents of Linstead in Jamaica threw a big thank you dinner for the police in that area. The ceremony was organised by Mrs Ivy Hin and was well attended by a wide cross section of the community. Mrs. Hin acknowledged the difficult job the police had and also their willingness to listen and cooperate with everyone.

In direct contrast, not far away in the town of May Pen, the police there were targets of denunciation and vehement protest action. Unrest erupted when a man was shot and killed by a policewoman.  Angry protestors forced the closure of most businesses in the town. There were conflicting stories. The crowd alleged that the deceased was killed deliberately in cold blood. The police version said he attacked a female officer who was left behind to watch the squad car while other officers went in search of alleged robbers. A struggle ensued and the gun went off accidentally and killed the attacker. It took days before peace was restored.


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Reggae Grammy Award Winner

The nominees for the 42nd Grammy music awards for the best reggae album of 1999 were:

  • Roots Revival by Aswad
  • The Doctor by Beenie Man
  • Calling Rastafari by Burning Spear
  • Living Legacy by Steel Pulse
  • Generation Coming by Third World

And the winner is ........ Calling Rastafari by Burning Spear!

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Spring Breakers in Jamaica

Jamaica seems to be a popular spring break destination for American college students. It is not small potatoes. The tourist board expects about 34,000 and that they will spend an estimated US$24 million.

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