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bulletFBI forced to release 2 BWIA pilots
bulletPeace breaks out in Grants Pen/Shortwood communities in Jamaica
bulletGuyana and Jamaica ban US beef
bulletMany Jamaican schools face closure for lack of Govt. funds
bulletGirls leaving boys behind according to UNICEF
bulletFrance seek Jamaican teachers too
bulletT&T importing sugar
bulletSugar company owes Jamaica national insurance (NIS) millions
bulletNew vice-chancellor for UWI
bulletJamaican elected speaker of Ontario Provincial Legislature
bulletJamaica’s Highway 2000 face unexpected problem
bulletJamaica sets 40% tariff on imported cement
bulletImported fish undercut Jamaican fishermen
bulletKingston airport runway extension too expensive
bulletSouth Africa clinch Test cricket series despite Lara heroics
bulletAir Jamaica boasts 89% on time record


cover River Woman by Donna Hemans ... $16.10
  The Rio Minho in Jamaica provides much more than a setting for this potent, accomplished debut by Jamaican-born Donna Hemans.


cover  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.



January 2004

FBI forced to release 2 BWIA pilots

The US continuing war on terrorism continues to wreak havoc on the innocent. This time the bungling Department of Homeland security head Tom "Duct tape" Ridge used the FBI to hold two BWIA pilots as suspected terrorists.

BWIA Captain Hugh Anthony Wight and First Officer Joseph were detained by the FBI in Miami and New York on suspicion of being terrorists, after their names appeared on a "no-fly" list issued by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of the US Department of Homeland Security.

Both Trinidadian pilots had over 25 years experience, They had piloted their respective planes into New York and Miami, and their flights had to be taken over by replacement pilots flown in from T&T. They were denied Christmas with their families in Trinidad as they were detained on December 23 and 25th. They were held and restricted to  their hotels for two days before being released without even an apology.

Editor’s Comments: This is an outrage! Trinidadian pilots with over 25 years of experience flying into the US to be considered terrorists is preposterous. The blundering and abuses by the Department of Homeland security just goes on and on and receives no criticism, just passive acceptance. This is intolerable.

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Peace breaks out in Grants Pen/Shortwood communities in Jamaica

Maybe there is hope for 2004. Peace has come to the Grants Pen/Shortwood communities in St. Andrew, Jamaica. Previously these two communities were wracked with political violence and hostilities, but now a new attitude prevails manifested by clean streets, newly painted walls and pride in their community.

This change has been brought about mainly by a result of the interventions of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) inner-city development programs which are designed to attack the twin problems of crime and poverty, using a two-pronged approach: community policing and the Peace and Prosperity Project (PPP). The PPP - piloted by the Kingston Restoration Company (KRC) and the USAID - was set up after a US$2.6 million grant was awarded by the United States Government to the Jamaican Government. Employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for the residents of Grants Pen and Cedar Valley/Standpipe neighborhoods of St Andrew have been created, and over 100 jobs have been sourced for residents of both communities.

In addition, a monitoring program is set up to measure and keep track of those who have gained jobs. The success rate has been very high, and that's because the residents are well prepared before they are sent on interviews. Counselors of the Center screen each of them, counsel those who are not immediately employable, and hold monthly workshops which teach them effective interviewing techniques and how to keep a job once they have acquired it.

There is a Peace Center located there which provides trained mediators who offer counseling and conflict resolution sessions.

Sports has played a big role in uniting the community. Groups which used to be engaged in wars with each other now compete in different age groups in football, cricket and netball instead.

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Guyana and Jamaica ban US beef

Guyana and Jamaica has banned the importation of US beef. after it was announced that a sick cow slaughtered near Yakima, Washington, tested positive for mad cow disease. Several other CARICOM countries have banned US beef too.
In Guyana, the ban has been placed on a variety of products, including raw and pickled meat from cows, turkeys, ducks and pigs, including tripe and loins, and other products used to feed pets. Beef from Australia and New Zealand are expected to take up the slack but already in Jamaica prices for local beef are soaring.

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Many Jamaican schools face closure for lack of Govt. funds

THE MAJORITY of some 80 re-classified (upgraded) high schools, with a total population of 120,000 students, face closure come January if they do not receive substantial amounts in school fees owed by the Ministry of Education for students who benefited under the Government's school fee assistance programmes and by parents, according to the Association of Principal and Vice Principals.

According to Alphansus Davis, principal of the Spaldings High School in Clarendon, "Our schools now face threats of closure due to lack of funds (because) we are starved of resources (and) we are starved of finances."

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Education gave a commitment that it would be financing the school fees of some 44,000 students who were selected for assistance under the Government's Program of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH). Additionally, it had assumed responsibility for half of the school fees of more than 100,000 students under the Cost Sharing Program.

But the principals say that with less than one month to go before the end of the first school term, the Ministry of Education has not given a clear indication as to when the payments ranging between $500,000 and $6 million will be made.

For example in one school, the principal stated that of the 855 students enrolled at her school, only 11 had paid their fee of J$5,500 (about US$110) in full, while 203 had paid a part totaling just over J$600,000, including J$251,000 in subsidy from the Ministry of Education. However, she said this was minuscule to fund the school's J$4.5 million budget. "I am now stuck because of the J$400,000 that I collected, I had to pay J$270,00 for light bill because they had cut off the light," she said. (US1$ =J$50)

Editor’s Note: Now is a good time for Hot Calaloo readers to fund a tuition scholarship for a mere US$110!

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Girls leaving boys behind according to UNICEF

According to United Nations Children’s Fund publication, the State of the Worlds Children 2004 boys of Latin America and the Caribbean continue to underperform badly in education when compared to girls. The problem was hidden for decades because it was generally accepted that girls outperformed boys in language and humanities subjects and that everything was being balanced as long as boys performed better in mathematics and science. But guess what. Girls are performing better in those two subjects also.

"In Latin America and the Caribbean, boys generally have higher repetition rates and lower academic achievement levels than girls and in some countries, a higher rate of absenteeism," the report said.

A major factor proposed is the poor socialization of boys are things like:

bulletBoys have more freedom and less responsibility at home
bulletLack of participation of fathers in their children’s care, development and support
bulletLack of positive male role models even in schools as so many are dominated by female teachers
bulletBoys more accepting of negative messages that encourage violence and unruly behaviour

In Jamaica, this report has prompted closer looks by educators to try to remedy this situation.

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France seek Jamaican teachers too

The recruitment of teachers in Jamaica is not limited to the US and the UK. France has now joined these two. The French Embassy has announced that France is now hunting Jamaican English language assistants for next academic year.. The positions will be available in mainland France, and the French overseas departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique.

"The aim of this program is to allow Jamaican foreign assistants to master the French language and customs while providing French students with the authenticity of their language and the richness of their culture," said a release from the Kingston embassy. These positions are only short term as for the 2004/05 academic year, assistants will be posted for six to nine months according to the level they will be teaching. Assistants will be working 12 hours weekly and receive a monthly gross salary of approximately 900 euros, while the round trip to France will be at the candidate's expense.

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T&T importing sugar

Another CARICOM sugar producing country is joining Jamaica and Barbados to import sugar. This time it is Trinidad and Tobago. T&T is set to import 60,000 tons from Guyana at an expected price of $425 per ton.

Trinidad has a refinery capacity of 60,000 tons of sugar, the bulk of which (55,000 tons) is sold to Europe at a profit to meet T&T’s quota under the Lome agreement.

The sugar being imported from Guyana will be used strictly to meet domestic consumption.

The problem was that T&T is producing sugar at a price higher than what they are able to sell it for. Now they are importing sugar at not the best price, but at a price that is much lower than what they can produce it for.

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Sugar company owes Jamaica national insurance (NIS)millions

Jamaica’s National Insurance Scheme is Jamaica’s version of US Social Security. It is sustained by deductions by employers and employees. Well it is supposed to but the Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ) has not made any payments to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) for several years, with arrears now at nearly $50 million.

"They owe us millions of dollars and the bottom line is that we really need to collect from these people," a senior officer at the NIS office reported. According to the officer, every time a visit or telephone call is made to the SCJ's office, the president and chief executive officer, and the vice-president of finance, are either in a meeting or not there.

The Sugar Company of Jamaica was formed in November 1993 by a consortium made up of J. Wray & Nephew, Manufacturers Investments Ltd and Booker Tate Ltd. The three companies each held 17 per cent equity in SCJ, with the remaining 49 per cent being held by the Government of Jamaica.

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New vice-chancellor for UWI

THE COUNCIL of the University of the West Indies has appointed Professor Eon Nigel Harris to succeed Professor the Hon. Rex Nettleford as vice-chancellor.

A Guyanese by birth, Professor Harris is currently Dean and senior vice-president for Academic Affairs at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, USA. He is internationally known for his work as a Rheumatologist. With colleagues in London, he helped to define a disorder which they called the Antiphospholipid Syndrome and for which they devised a diagnostic test (the anticardiolipin test). For this work he shared with Dr Graham Hughes and Dr Aziz Gharavi of Hammersmith Hospital the Ceiba-Geigy Prize.

Professor Harris graduated from Howard University, with a degree in Chemistry and proceeded on a fellowship to Yale University, where he received a Master of Philosophy degree in Biochemistry. He earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania, completing this within three years and again graduating with honours. He then returned to the Caribbean where he completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of the West Indies at Mona and was awarded the post-graduate degree, Doctor of Medicine (DM).

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Jamaican elected speaker of Ontario Provincial Legislature

JAMAICAN-BORN ALVIN Curling was on Wednesday elected Speaker of the Ontario Provincial Legislature, becoming the first black Speaker for the province and the second in all of Canada.

Curling, 64, was elected without opposition at the first sitting of the House following the October 2 election of the new Liberal Government headed by Dalton McGuinty.

Curling has served as Minister of Housing and Skills Development under a previous Liberal government. He gained notoriety in December of 1995 when, during a contentious debate of a controversial Conservative bill, he refused to leave the legislative chamber when he was ordered to do so by the then Speaker.
Curling, then an opposition member, staged an 18-hour overnight sit-in to protest against the bill.

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Jamaica’s Highway 2000 face unexpected problem

So far Jamaica’s first toll road and super highway, Highway 2000, is moving large numbers of traffic speedily and toll collection is as planned. But what is a wonderful highway to motorists has become a big barrier to pedestrians of the little village of Sharper Lane. The highway has separated the people and there are not enough places to get across. People who lived close to a shop and friends find themselves cut-off. Close but very far changing the whole demographics. Some cut the wire fence and risk crossing the high-speed highway on foot which is not only very dangerous, but also illegal. Next thing animals wander through the cut fence to their death. Even school children have been seen trying to cross. As expected a lot of people are unhappy about it Many times as soon as the fence is repaired, despite 24 hour police patrol, it is cut again. There seems to be a need for more crossovers but that many could prove very expensive.

So far several persons have been arrested and fined for attempting to cross the roadway; but no one had been held so far for the much more serious offence of cutting the fence or destroying other property along the highway, which attract fines as high as $200,000.

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Jamaica sets 40% tariff on imported cement

As reported in the December update of Hot Calaloo, the local cement company had appealed to Jamaica’s Anti-dumping and subsidies Commission for tariff protection from imported low-cost cement. They charged that the imports were being dumped and was driving them, the sole cement manufacturing company, into bankruptcy. The commission has now ruled a 25.83% increase in the tariff to a total of 40%. Cement importers and consumers and Opposition members are not happy with this increase in order to save the one and only Jamaican cement company.

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Imported fish undercut Jamaican fishermen

The fishermen of Whitehouse in Westmoreland in Jamaica are catching a lot of fish but they are also catching a hard time as they cannot sell it. Large amounts of local catch that would normally be sold to the hotels and restaurants are now in the deep freeze because the imported fish has been coming in at less than half the price at which the local fish is sold. The fishermen are appealing for government support charging that the foreign fish are being dumped in Jamaica. The foreign fish sells for J$60 per pound. The local fishermen claim that to cover their high operational costs for engines, gas, and mesh, they must sell their fish at J$130 per pound to make a fair profit.

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Kingston airport runway extension too expensive

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (FCAO) has stipulated a new requirement for airport runaways. The new requirements would extend the Norman Manley Airport runaway about 300 yards into the sea.

Under the ICAO's stipulation, establishing Runaway Safety Areas (RSAs) are necessary to safely accommodate large, wide-bodied aircraft and cargo planes. A RSA is a defined area surrounding the runway that is established for reducing the risk of personal injury and damage to airplanes in the event of an operational undershoot, overshoot, or excursion from the runway. Previously the stipulation was just a recommendation but now it has become a requirement.

The Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ) estimates that this would cost J$800 to J$900 million to extend the Kingston airport. The Montego Bay airport has more land space so would cost a lot less. The AAJ has submitted to the ICAO a modified plan for the Kingston airport which would cost less.

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South Africa clinch Test cricket series despite Lara heroics

South Africa took the first two test matches impressively from the touring West Indies to clinch the 4 game series. Despite this, WI skipper Brian Lara has been dazzling setting new records. In his sparkling 202 in the 1st test he set a new world record when he scored 28 runs in a single over with a sequence for the six balls of 4-6-6-4-4-4. The physical condition of the WI team members is suspect as one by one, many players have come up with injuries. From the outset Marlon Samuels was left home with knee injury. Relative newcomers pacer Jerome Taylor and Omari Banks were sent home injured. Paceman Collymore and Chris Gayle were injured in the first test, the latter requiring a runner, and both were forced out of the 2nd test.

WI vs South Africa 

1st Test (SA won by 189 runs)

1st innings: South Africa 561, (Kallis 158, GC Smith 132, Jaarsveld 73, Gibbs 60); WI 410 (Lara 202, Ganga 60, Ntini 5 for 94);
2nd Innings: South Africa 226 for 6 dec. (Kallis 44, Smith 44, Rudolph 44);WI 188 (Chanderpaul 74, Ntini 4 for 53, Pollock 4 for 31)

2nd Test
( South Africa won by an innings and 65 runs)

1st Innings: WI 264 (Lara 72, VC Drakes 67, Jacobs 58, M Ntini 5 for 66); SA 658 for 9 declared (JH Kallis 177, HH Gibbs 142, G Kirsten 137)
2nd Innings: WI 329 (Sarwan 114, Chanderpaul 109)

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Air Jamaica boasts 89% on time record

Air Jamaica has set a 89.43% on time record to beat out major competitors like America, Continental and United Airlines. This is really impressive considering that only a few years ago it had the worst record. Now, if only they could make some money!

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