Items from December 2000 Hot Calaloo Update
Panday wins T&T general elections
Trinidad Prime Minister Basdeo Panday won re-election as his party, the United National Congress (UNC) won 19 of the 36 seats on December 11th. However, despite undergoing a bruising campaign, oft tinged with racial tensions, to win, he still faces a bumpy road. The biggest bump in that road is T&T President, A N R Robinson, a president that Panday himself appointed in 1995. Then they were part of a ruling coalition, Robinson being head of the National Alliance for Reconstruction party. Obviously a rift has developed between them and Robinson has joined with the opposition to erect obstacles to a smooth transition and the creation of the new Panday government.
The main opposition Peoples National Movement (PNM) challenged the results in 3 of the closely contested constituencies won by the UNC.
The US war on drugs has dragged on now for 30 years. Is the US winning that war? It has
Police reported arresting 2,876 people and seizing 20 tons of cocaine, 29 tons of marijuana and 82,170 ecstasy tablets during the Oct. 27-Nov. 19 operation. They said they also dismantled 94 drug factories and seized 100 tons of chemicals for drug-making.
Among those arrested was drug lord Martires Paulino Castro, whose apprehension in the Dominican Republic ended a two-year investigation in four countries. Agents say Paulino's 10-year-old network stretched from Dutch St. Maarten to New York and was capable of moving 4,400 pounds of Colombian cocaine a month to the United States. Paulino was arrested by American and Dominican authorities and will be tried in his native Dominican Republic on drug trafficking charges.
Nice haul but is victory in the drug war imminent? They have won a battle, a big battle, but only a battle, as it seems the war is far from over.
Quotes from those in-the-know
"We now have guns, ammunition, gang warfare that we didnt have before" Rear Admiral Richard Kelshall, one of Trinidads top drug fighters.
`What the drug war has done is to drive the price of drugs up, so the more the price of drugs goes up, the more money there is to corrupt people .. `until we remove the profit out of trafficking, nothing will change.'' Trevor MacMillan, former comissioner of Police Jamaica.
Editors comment: That solution will never happen in our lifetime. The US policy ruled by hysteria rather than pragmatism will never permit it. For example, in November 1998, the District of Columbia, the only US colony on the US mainland, had a referendum on the legalisation of medical marijuana, and after all that expense of the referendum, the US Congress and a Federal courts ganged up on the DC residents to ban release of the results! So to this very day, the public has no idea what the results were. Australia has its kangaroos, the US led by the Supreme Court, has its kangaroo courts.
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Mad cow disease, technically bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), which has wreaked havoc throughout Europe, has undergone a resurgence there recently, specifically in France and Germany. The disease has been linked to 80 deaths in the UK and now German and French meat has been banned.
Hundreds were in attendance in a pre new years mass in the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in downtown Castries, St. Lucia. Suddenly four or five men rushed in armed with machetes and a flammable liquid. They began slashing the members in a bloody viscous attack and dousing and setting fire to others. The attackers are thought to be members of an anti-Roman Catholic cult as they all wore the same clothes.
One nun, Sister Theresa Eglin, who served as an educator for many years, was chopped to death. Initially, 12 other people were taken to hospital for treatment for cutlass wounds and burns. Several others were injured in the stampede as worshippers sought safety from the flames and the cutlass wielding men. Since then arrangements are underway to fly 12 of the injured worshippers to the US for medical treatment.
During the attack, one of the men was subdued and held for the police by the worshippers. Since then another has been captured and a 24-hour-a-day manhunt continues for the others.
Unfortunately, this shows that the Caribbean too is not immune from such horrible senseless acts of violence that seems to afflict the US and other parts of the world.
Many an organisation is in trouble. Valuable organisations too. The biggest culprit responsible for this problem is boring meetings. From my experience, monthly meetings have become boring mind-numbing rituals in most organisations. I have often felt that any newcomer at one of these meetings, would not want to ever come back. But, meetings are one of the most important features of any Caribbean volunteer organisation. For the most part, meetings have become meaningless rituals, which try patience instead of generating enthusiasm. Yes, meetings can and should be generating enthusiasm among its members. But, we must abandon the current way meetings are conducted.
How to do this
I am sure people like to participate in this type of thing. So lets reach out to the people by including this scheduled informality in our meetings. People want it. It actually takes place right now in most organisations spontaneously. Unfortunately at the wrong time, during serious business, and is disruptive and an obstacle in that context. This way, it will make these meetings more enjoyable as well as improving discussion of the vital business of the organisation. So, lets give it a try. Too many organisations suffer from static or falling membership and could very well die leaving a void which may never be filled.
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According to the Associated Press, a mutated strain of polio traced to a vaccine has infected at least three people in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, causing the first cases of the disease in the Western Hemisphere since 1991, a regional health organization said. "This is not a desperate situation from the view of outbreak control...but it is still a surprise," said Pan American Health Organization spokesman Daniel Epstein. The organization is part of the Washington-based Organization of American States. The cases have been traced to the same oral vaccine that experts have used to eliminate the disease in many countries. Polio is a highly infectious disease that usually strikes children under 5. It damages the spinal cord and brain, causing paralysis and sometimes death.
The vaccine, known as Sabin 1 oral poliovirus vaccine, uses a weakened version of the virus to teach the body how to identify and fight active viruses.
Many Barbadians will be hearing this, but it will not be the strains of that old calypso. Instead it will be demands from the bailiffs of the Barbados National Housing Corporation. This is because the government owned corporation needs to recover US$4.75 million owed by renters and loan defaulters.
The Caribbean and Europe signed a multi-million dollar program in Georgetown, Guyana, recently designed to strengthen the institutional response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the region. At a ceremony in the headquarters of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) officials of the regional trade group and the European Union (EU) initialed a document for an infusion of 6.9 million euros (US$6 million) for the project. The program is designed to reduce the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the Caribbean, particularly in the worst-affected countries.
The people of Suriname have paid their final respects to former Prime Minister and Vice President Henck Arron, who died in the Netherlands recently, following a heart attack. The body of the 64-year-old politician who led the former Dutch colony to independence was cremated during a state funeral, following three days of official mourning. The funeral was attended by delegations from countries including the Netherlands.
On December 4th, Jamaican historian, Caribbean public servant and academic, Sir Phillip Sherlock died at the age of 98. He was one of the most notable sons of Jamaica, this distinguished scholar and educational pioneer, gifted poet and author, and acknowledged leader of the nations litererary and intullectual community. His most memorable contribution was his service to the University of the West Indies, which he helped to establish and which he served in many capacities, leading to the final distinction as Vice- Chancellor.
As a poet, author and folklorist some of his publications include "West Indian Story", Land and People of the West Indies", West Indian Folk Tales, Shout For Freedom", and "The Story of the Jamaican People" (in collaboration with Dr. Hazel Bennett), which he completed in 1995 when he was 94.
No wonder UWI Chancellor Sir Shridath Ramphal eulogized him as a man "who inspired a generation of West Indians to the compulsions of being true to themselves and their West Indian heritage."
This delinquency on landing fees have complicated plans to privatise the airport. Air
Jamaica CEO, Butch Stewart, however contends that despitpe his massive delinquent taxes,
the airlines is bringing in an estimated J$850 million per year to the island. Once again
it is reported the Government has made some accommadtion to pay off the arrears. This is
the very same government which is battling severe economic adversity and one which the CEO
is not shy to criticize.
Three soldiers died and 11 persons were injured in a mysterious explosion that rocked the Army Camp on the Linden Soesdyke Highway, about 46 miles outside the capital, Georgetown, Guyana. The Government has enlisted the help of the US in investigating the blast. Already three US army officers have arrived in Guyana to begin the probe.
Unfortunately, Jamaicas trade gap continues to widen. In the first 8 months of 1999:
Ah how many times we Jamaicans have enjoyed Louise Bennett and Ranny Williams in
Australia takes Test Series 5-0
Its all over as the Aussies clobbered the West Indies 5-0 in one of the greatest
humiliations the West Indies have ever suffered in Test cricket. At least two of the last
3 tests were competitive and performance by young newcomers Wavell Hinds, Ramnaresh
Sarwan, Marlon Samuels and Mahendra Nagamootoo is cause for hope. Let us hope these
become building blocks for a new powerful team, like the good oldays.
A British government agency is to order the withdrawl from sale of all supplements
containing nandrolone, the anabolic steroid at the centre of dozens of positive drug tests
In Britain alone, 24 competitors from 10 different sports tested positive for the steroid in 1999-2000, with most of them protesting their innocence. Many said they had only used legitimate supplements bought either over the counter at health food stores or by mail order. While many such supplements do not contain banned substances, there is a rapidly growing market for products that include nandrolone precursors -- chemicals that, when consumed, are converted by the body into nandrolone and which have the same medical effect as the steroid.
Sales of such products through one manufacturer are estimated to be worth more than five million pounds (US$7.39 million) a year. Britain's Medicine Control Agency is now to issue notices to manufacturers in the new year ordering the products to be removed from sale, under provisions of the Medicines Act 1968.