by Donna Hemans ... $16.10
---------------For the Life of Laetitia by Trinidad -born Merle Hodge Price: $10.54
a wonderful book about a young girl in the Carribean, the first of her family to go to secondary school.
Guyana opposition leader dies
Desmond Hoyte, leader of the opposition Peoples National Congress party of Guyana died on December 23 of an apparent heart attack. He had served as president of Guyana from 1985 to 1992. Born in Georgetown, Guyana in March 1929, Mr. Hoyte received the B.A. and LL.B. degrees from the University of London. He was a British trained lawyer, a Barrister-at-Law of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple and a Member of the Guyana Bar. He was appointed to Queen’s Council in 1969, which designation was changed to Senior Counsel in 1970 when Guyana became a Republic.
Conference on Guyana in Washington DC
On Saturday, December 14, 2002, gloomy prospects dominated the conference on Democratisation and Conflict Resolution in Guyana, which was held at Howard University in Washington DC. This conference was sponsored by the University of Guyanaand the Atlanta University Center Partnership Project. It featured panelists comprised mainly of Guyanese university professors from all over the US, Canada and Guyana itself.
The gloom arose from reports of the severity of the crime wave, the political crisis, and the racial polarization in Guyana. Constitutional reform to give black Guyanese an equal or at least stronger voice in government and to create a more efficient and responsive government was a popular sentiment and dominated the conference..
Hot Calaloo’s evaluation
Besides, constitutional reform in that hostile atmosphere is not feasible. The constitutional reform debate was big on some sort of racial power sharing but very vague on specifics. One idea was for some sort of alternating the presidents on the basis of race after every two elections.
Once again, as we hear everywhere else, was the call for some mythical leader to emerge and lead Guyana out of its troubles. This academia dominated conference was often just that, academic. It seemed lofty ivory towered discourse divorced from the reality of global and the everyday pressures in Guyana.
Many treated the flaws in the constitution as unique to Guyana. It is not and if a genuine concern for the welfare of Guyana rather than personal political gain was paramount, it would not be the obstacle that it is portrayed to be.
There is no question that political exploitation of race has poisoned the Guyana landscape. To expect constitutional reform to ensure some sort of political equity is unrealistic here or anywhere else in the world. The reality is that, sadly, race-based politics will not go away and is all over the world. Instead the focus needs to be on good government, to make sure that this race-based government does not discriminate, and if and when it does, address that specific problem then. The conference failed to stress the strength of diversity. The confluence of two cultures usually result in the formation of a stronger culture. That has happened in Guyana and needs to be acknowledged. I think many of the leaders need sensitivity training. But, we can’t leave it up to leaders. Every one of us, including myself and I am not even Guyanese, need to make a personal commitment to not just talk, but to work towards building that unity, trust and harmony that we in the West Indies typically enjoy.
The healing of Crown Heights
It has happened in Crown Heights. It can happen in Guyana and the garrisons of Jamaica!
Crown Heights then
Crown Heights now
"Crown Heights is a very exciting community," said New York Police Department Brooklyn South Commander. Rabbi Jacob Goldstein, president of Community Board 9 since 1980, added, "People are working together and sitting together."
In the words of Crown Heights City Councilman James Davis : "Crown Heights is a community of African-Americans, Caribbean-Americans, Jewish-Americans, Latino-Americans and Asian-Americans all living in harmony. ... We are a shining example of what dialogue and communication can accomplish."
Security patrols bring peace to ‘garrisons’ in Jamaica
Security patrols in hot spot areas of garrisons in Jamaica have been welcomed as peacemakers. A joint military/police team has been carrying out a holistic crime initiative in communities in West Kingston and South St. Andrew, for more than a week, as part of the Government's new crime-fighting initiatives. They have been cordoning certain areas in these communities and conducting spot checks and searches, their main aim being to recover illegal weapons, drugs and wanted persons, ultimately putting a dent in crime and criminal activities. Under the operations, the security forces are also clearing roadblocks and other makeshift blockades as well as garbage and unwanted debris, so as to allow quick and easy access to the law enforcers. Some of these roadblocks were made by the residents after attacks by gunmen from neighboring communities. As a result of this, many of the residents began throwing rubbish and other debris at these blockades resulting in the creation of dump heaps.
The Hannah/Denham Town border was the cordoned area in West Kingston. Last year, the border between both communities became a war zone resulting in the killing of several persons, the burning down of several homes and forcing many to flee from the area.
The security forces may remain in these areas for up to six months or as long as it takes to achieve their objectives. Similar operations are to spread to several other communities.
Having the security forces in these crime 'hot spots' have normally not gone over well with the residents, who have accused them of being brutal and intimidatory, and have often called for their removal. But such calls are not coming from residents now. Instead several inner-city residents have given members of the security forces high praises for the courteous and calm way they have been conducting themselves in their communities.
Jamaican herb might cure cancer
A Jamaican folk remedy might be a potential cancer cure. Jamaican Dr. Lawrence Williams outlined his findings based on 15 years of research conducted at a German university on the local plant, petiveria alliacia, known in Jamaica as guinea hen or strong man’s weed. He stated that in his work with scientists at home and abroad, one of the plants compounds, dibenzyltrisulphide (DTS), has proven successful in attacking and shutting down cancer cells without affecting healthy cells. He added that over the last few years the plant has become very popular in medicine and is now being sold over the internet for use in improving immune function. He stressed that DTS is now being tested on animals and if successful a cure could be completed in 5 years.
Killer bees send 25 to hospital in T&T
A swarm of "killer bees" went on the rampage in a village in the San Fernando region. Twenty five residents, including 10 children had to be rushed to the hospital, were treated and sent home. However, The bees killed two dogs as their owner watched helplessly from the safety refuge of his car. The African bees had been living in two nests in an avocado tree about 30 feet from the home of the owner of the dogs.
He was trapped in his car by the attacking bees but was able to shout to his wife to phone the Ministry of Agriculture for help. Two hours later, officers attached to the Bee Abatement Section of the Ministry arrived on the scene and destroyed the main colony with an insecticide.
A ministry official, confirming that it was African bees that attacked the villagers and dogs said: "Although the colony was destroyed the land owner has to cut down the avocado tree otherwise a new set of bees will return to nest."
‘Profiling' Jamaicans – UK style
A very high number of Jamaicans travel to the UK as cocaine smugglers. The numbers are so great that the UK was considering requiring Jamaicans to obtain visas. Instead a joint operation between Jamaica and the UK was devised to intercept these drug ‘mules’. It is basically a sophisticated ‘profiling’ system and it has worked well. It has weeded out many a drug mule. But, the inevitable flaw has occurred. The innocent also suffer.
The innocent this time was a police constable from Jamaica on a visit to the UK. The constable said that he traveled to London for the first time via Air Jamaica, where at Heathrow he was treated like a common criminal, at the mercy of an immigration officer who admitted that he didn't like Jamaicans. He was detained at the Heathrow International Airport in London. He said he was placed in a heavily secured detention center with drug couriers and other deportees for the night before being sent back home. Being a Jamaican policeman made no difference to the immigration but was a source of humiliating derision for his fellow detainees. First thing the next morning, he was put on an Air Jamaica plane with the other detainees and sent back to Jamaica.
The matter has been reported to the police commissioner and communication is to take place between the policeman, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the local British High Commission.
The US black vote, Trent Lott and Seaga
It is estimated that 90% of the black vote in the US goes to the Democratic Party. There is not a single Black Republican in the US House of Representatives. So, there is not a single black Republican serving on the Black Caucus since it is composed of black members of the US Congress. Typically leaders from the Caribbean visiting the US seek out known Caribbean advocates like Charles Rangel, Maxine Waters, other members of the Black caucus, Trans Africa, Jesse Jackson etc.. So it is very puzzling that Jamaica Labour Party leader, Eddie Seaga, in the height of the unrest and rioting in Jamaica of July last year, came here to visit Republican US Senator Trent Lott instead as reported in the Gleaner last year. Hot Calaloo expressed its concern then.
Now, we find that Trent Lott, in honoring the rabidly racist
segregationist Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday, has said that he thinks
that the US would be better off if Thurmond had won the Presidency in
1948, when Thurmond's racism was at its height.
By "problems," Lott means the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act -- laws that finally freed black men and women from the racist Jim Crow laws enacted by people like Trent Lott to keep blacks enslaved.
Privatisation of MoBay Airport in Jamaica underway
Jamaica is about to swallow the privatization hook again. This time the target is the management and operations of the Donald Sangster Airport in Montego Bay. This has been in the works for a long time. The new managers of the facility will be YVRAS Consortium out of Vancouver, Canada. They will upgrade the airport at a cost of US$200 million. Ironically this divestment is opposed by the Jamaica Labour Party. It is ironic because the government Party, the PNP, was the party associated with government ownership of the major resources – socialism, and the JLP was for private ownership.
In the words of JLP leader, Eddie Seaga, " The time has come when we must stop thinking of public property as something destined for divestment. It doesn't mean that every state asset must be divested."
Editors Comment: I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Seaga on this. Selling our assets like this might be a short term solution but will be like the historical exchange of beads and trinkets for Manhattan in the long run. Selling such an important resource, a vital gateway turned over to a foreign corporation, is like selling our birthright. We will never be able to afford to get it back again long after the money we receive for it is gone. Hot Calaloo has deplored the running of the airport before and is positive a PWP solution would provide much greater benefits for Jamaica than this privatization hook.
Mother of sniper suspect Malvo deported to Jamaica
THE MOTHER of teenage sniper suspect John Lee Malvo has been deported to Jamaica. She had been living in the Seattle area and had entered the US illegally in 2000. Malvo, 17, and John Allen Muhammad, 41, are suspected of shooting 18 people, killing 13 of them, in Maryland, Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Washington, D.C.
Jamaica’s Island Grill close overseas restaurants
After only a year operation, Jamaica’s fast food chain Island Grill has decided to close its two outlets in the US. Both were located in Florida and had experienced an economic downturn since 9-11 terrorist attack. Company officials say they might return to the US if economic conditions improve. In the meantime, they have added 5 new stores and are planning to add 5 more in Jamaica bringing their total there to 15.
Miss Guadeloupe crowned Miss France 2003
An engineering student from Guadeloupe was crowned Miss France 2003,
the first time a young woman from this French overseas department has won
the event since 1993, event organizers said. Miss Guadeloupe Corinne Coman,
19, was elected in Lyon, France from a field of 48 candidates.
CARICOM leaders meet in Cuba
Thirteen of 15 Caribbean heads of state and Government flew aboard a Cuban plane to Havana recently for a weekend summit to honour the region's trailblazing efforts exactly 30 years ago to open relations with Castro's Cuba. It was the largest group of CARICOM leaders to ever visit Cuba, an indication of how important both sides view relations, officials say. CARICOM Secretary-General, Edwin Carrington, said he hoped the leaders would back suggestions to act as a go-between with the United States and Cuba.
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations say they are ready to ratify a trade deal with Cuba and hinted that the country's entry into its regional club is inevitable. "We have made it clear to all our friends in the international and regional community that this is the way to go. Grenada would be the first one to support it," said the country's Prime Minister, Keith Mitchell.
Ironically, Grenada broke off relations with Cuba after U.S. soldiers invaded its shores in 1983, but restored them in 1997 and now has more than 100 students studying there, on scholarships largely funded by the Cuban Government.
About 2,500 students from CARICOM nations are studying in Cuba.
Several Cuban-trained nurses and doctors also work in Grenada, as they do in most CARICOM states.
Castro promised more assistance to his neighbours, including an annual increase in the number of academic scholarships offered to students, and co-operation in the region's fight against the HIV-AIDS pandemic by
This generous offer is so important and timely when we consider that approximately 440,000 persons are living with HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean. There were 60,000 new infections in 2002 and 50 per cent of HIV cases are women. About 21,000 persons in Jamaica are estimated to be infected with HIV/AIDS.
US wrecks cheap drug deal
While Fidel Castro was promising more valuable medical assistance to
the Caribbean, US vice-president Dick Cheney was blocking a pact to help
poor countries after pharmaceutical firms lobbied White House.
Democracy faces grave peril in hemisphere
Democracy is facing a grave peril. But, who cares? Who cares when democratically elected leaders who champion the poor, the downtrodden, the voiceless come to power and are overthrown? Their governments are rendered ungovernable by mob action. Right at this very moment in our hemisphere, this is happening in Venezuela, Haiti and Guyana. The leaders of all three countries are disliked by the Bush administration and would welcome ‘regime change’.
Of course the Bush administration is actively and openly pursuing ‘regime change’ in Iraq and in the Palestine Liberation Organisation. As soon as the UN arms inspectors identify just how weak and ineffective Iraq defenses are by their report, the US will use this report as a guide to attack Iraq to effect ‘regime change’. To effect ‘regime change’ among the PLO, the Palestinians will have to kick out their democratically elected leader, Yassar Arafat.
Now the US would love regime change in these three countries in this hemisphere, especially Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Aristide in Haiti. How far would Bush go to achieve this?
Venezuela would be the prime target. Chavez is a friend of Fidel Castro, a champion of the poor and because of OIL! Because of oil, Venezuela may be considered the Iraq of the hemisphere. Oil represents 30 percent of Venezuela's $100 billion gross domestic product and 70 percent of exports. Venezuela is the world's fifth-largest oil exporter and a major provider to the United States. Although Venezuela is an oil rich country the majority of its people have been living in abysmal poverty. The strike and unrest has virtually shut off oil production there and has helped push international oil prices above $30 per barrel. The unrest there is almost identical to the circumstances which overthrew Salvador Allende in Chile and installed the ruthless dictator Pinochet with documented CIA help.
The US has made no secret of their dislike for Aristide. They have undermined his government by withholding US$500 million badly needed funds under the pretext of election irregularities.
These countries have been ravaged and are teetering badly. Lets hope these leaders survive for if they fail it will be an ominous message to any leader right here in the Caribbean or anywhere else in our hemisphere who champions true independence and real change to benefit the poor. And, it will make democracy a lie and a fraud.
Street vendors pose problem
Street vendors continue to be a problem in some Caribbean countries. Typically, they block the sidewalk, and obstruct pedestrian and auto traffic as well as interfere with business of adjoining shopkeepers. Police have to be called in to move them. There is hostile confrontation and vendors keep coming back as fast as they are removed.
Santa Cruz and Linstead, Jamaica
I am positive the new Black River market will be just some marginal building hastily thrown up. No more of that. These market buildings should be professionally designed, maintained, and run so that they become shining centerpieces of the towns that attracts vendors and buyers alike. In other words they should become what malls in the US have become instead of the dingy hovels with filthy inadequate toilets. Check for more details in previous article on the subject.[Fixing the Markets the PWP Way - crafts markets, food markets deteriorate in Jamaica (12/9/98)]
For the first half of 2002, Jamaica’s trade deficit widened, while both imports and exports declined. During that period:
Hampden sugar Estate in Jamaica closes
More bad news about sugar continues. The Hampden Sugar Estate in Trelawny, Jamaica has closed. The government stated they had to close the estate because it was:
The government has pumped J$6 billion in the industry. The cane farmers of the estate are very angry as they see their livelihood in serious jeopardy.
Let us know what you think. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org