Merlene Ottey Cleared by IAAF
There is great jubilation among Jamaicans. On July 3, the International Amateur Athletic Federation cleared Jamaica's sprint queen and standard bearer, Merlene Ottey, of drug charges. The evergreen veteran will now be free to compete in the Olympics in Sydney, Australia summer of this year. In Otteys own words:
"I am very relieved and happy about this ruling. It confirms my innocence once again. It has been a difficult and emotionally draining time for me. However, I have been training well in preparation for the Olympic Games in Sydney and I am looking forward to my first competition. I would like to thank my defense team and all the people around the world and at home in Jamaica who have supported me during this difficult time."
Ottey won her first Olympic medal in the 1980 Olympics, a bronze for 200 m. Since then, her medal haul has included, 7 Olympic medals, 14 World Championships outdoors, and 7 World Championships indoors.
How the Caribbean ranks worldwide in healthcare
France is number 1 and Italy is number 2. No, this is not just the results of the recently completed Euro 2000 soccer competition, but it is coincidentally also the ranking of healthcare in the world, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Report 2000. San marino, Andorra, Malta, Singapore, Spain, Oman, Austria and Japan in that order, round out the top ten. How did the US fare? Only 37th ! This, despite the fact that it spends a higher portion of its gross domestic product than any other country.
These rankings were based on an index that measured the overall health system performance. Countries were also rated according to the different components of the performance index based on:
How did Caribbean countries fare? Top of the list was Dominica which came in impressively ahead of the US at 35. Here is how some Caribbean and other countries rated:
Police killings in Ja enrage
In the last month, police killings have enraged Jamaican communities. Sadly, once again, the same old pattern emerges. The police give their version and the community gives a totally different version.
Guyana Suriname border dispute
There cant be another country that has it as tough as Guyana. It has had internal racial tensions which crippled the country for months. Venezuela claims more than a half of its territory. Now. Its fellow CARICOM member, Suriname, has inflamed its century-old border dispute with beleaguered Guyana. Surinamese patrol boats evicted a Canadian-owned rig from an offshore oil concession awarded by Guyana. Suriname claimed the rig was in their territorial waters. Representatives of both South American neighbors met in neutral site in Trinidad and then in Suriname in an effort to resolve the serious differences. In this world climate full of bloody horrific border wars, CARICOM is deeply concerned and is trying to mediate.
US and T&T sign deportee pact
The USA and Trinidad and Tobago have signed a pact to tighten checks on deportees. US Attorney General, Janet Reno, signed a memo of understanding with PM Basdeo Panday and said it would be extended to the rest of the Caribbean. This is good news as Caribbean countries have lobbied Washington in recent years to deal with criminals who have been deported from the US to their home countries after serving prison sentences. These deportees are blamed for introducing more sophisticated crime techniques and aggravating the crime problem in the region. US figures show that 947 criminals were deported to T&T in 1999.
T&T hang 9
As violent crime continues to grow in many Caribbean countries, hanging seems to be also growing as a solution. In one weekend T&T hung 9 murderers. Barbados like many other Caribbean states is trying to sidestep the obstacle of the England based final arbiter, the Privy Council. Barbados is amending its constitution to facilitate the resumption of hanging there. The Privy Council has ruled that hanging prisoners after an extended term in jail was inhumane. This opposition by the Privy Council in the West Indies might spell its death, as many Caribbean states are seeking to replace it with a Caribbean Court of Appeal.
Making Petrojam flourish by PWP
So far the Government of Jamaica has been unable to divest itself of its petroleum
refinery. This might be a good thing as it provides an opportunity for a perfect PWP,
Partnership With People, project.
This Petrojam station would be set up as a PWP franchise. PWP would be responsible for obtaining management expertise to ensure high quality. They would be responsible for :
Partners or Franchisees
PWP would try to get franchisees already operating similar enterprises in the area.
Every attempt would be made not to compete and displace these existing entrepeneurs, but
to incorporate them in a more professional and of course profitable venture.
I am convinced PWP is not just a way out of poverty for Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean, but a blueprint for prosperity, and a means to recapture our economic sovereignty. (For more on PWP see IMF Privatisation or Real PWP Prosperity (10/22/98) and Introduction to PWP - the real economic solution for the Caribbean (1/17/99))
Trinidad fast food chain growing
Move over McDonalds! Prestige Holdings Ltd., a Trinidad and Tobago company which operates a fast food restaurant chain, has reported higher sales and operating profit this year - as well as plans for new outlets. Prestige Holdings enjoyed growth in sales of 19 per cent in the First Half of fiscal 2000, as compared to 1999, according to the weekly report on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange. Sales were TT$114.2 million (US$19.1 million) in 2000, compared to last year's level of TT$96.0 million. Operating profit increased by 31.3 per cent to TT$13.5 million from $10.2 million in 1999.
Filthy condition of markets
"Carry me ackee go ah Linstead Market"," Solas Market",
Haiti elections disputed
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - A Haiti election official is rejecting a claim by the Organization of American States that Haiti's method of determining the winners of its parliamentary elections was invalid. The OAS said Friday it found flaws in how the winning percentages in the May 21 local and legislative elections were calculated. It was the latest hitch in an election seen as a last chance for democracy in this impoverished Caribbean nation of 8 million people. OAS mission chief Orlando Marville asked the council to recalculate the percentage of votes for all candidates to preserve the election's credibility. A recalculation could force several declared Senate winners to run in a second round of voting. Electoral Council official Macajou Medard said on state Television Nationale late Sunday that the head of the OAS elections observer mission had no right "to order" any change.
The Lavalas party of former President Aristide won, but the US wants the election nullified because of fraud. Some OAS members are urging sanctions against Haiti or suspension from the OAS. CARICOM strongly opposes these actions and have sent a delegation to Haiti to investigate.
CGPC worried over the use of pesticides in Caribbean
The Co-ordinating Group of Pesticides Control Boards of the Caribbean (CGPC) ended a three-day meeting in Kingston last week with a pledge to warn regional governments that the continued use of very toxic pesticides is endangering health, food safety and the environment. In a five paragraph communique, the group said it was very concerned at the continued use in the region of pesticides "which have been scientifically proven to be extremely toxic and have been banned or severely restricted in most countries". The CGPC said these included Monocrotophos which is used in rice production.
Suspected chemical spill kills fish in Jamaica
Police and environmentalists in St. Thomas, eastern Jamaica, have launched an investigation into a suspected chemical spill in the Cane River that is said to have killed fish and shrimp. The Gleaner newspaper said game wardens and representatives of the St. Thomas Environment Protection Association (STEPA) found hundreds of dead fish and shrimp on the bank of the river that runs through St. Thomas. It is suspected that the fish and shrimp kill could be associated with agricultural chemicals being used by farmers in the area.
St Lucia seeks compensation for banana fraud
As if the US sponsored banana war is not enough adversity. Now Caribbean countries must battle fraud against them. The fraud involved the illegal importation of bananas into Europe without licenses. According to Press reports, since March 1998 some 160,000 tonnes of Ecuador bananas had been fraudulently imported through Italy, resulting in US$120.6 million of lost duties. St. Lucia is spearheading efforts among the Windward Islands to obtain compensation for banana farmers who have lost money as a result of this fraud on the European market.
Five Caribbean states charge smear tactics
Five Caribbean countries reacted angrily to the charge that they are among 15 nations which were listed yesterday as non-cooperative jurisdictions in the fight against money laundering in the offshore financial sector. Antigua and Barbuda was, however, among those given a clean bill of health by the France-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as a country having all the systems to counter money laundering through offshore banks. However, the task force of the 29-nation Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development pointed the accusing finger at the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. These Caribbean countries did not take this lying down. They countercharged vehemently that it was a smear designed to disguise their real agenda to restrict legitimate revenues coming to Caribbean off-shore financial centers because they are too much competition. Some of these countries earn as much as 56% of their total revenue from these centers, face the brunt of the US banana war against them and now feel victimized by biased, inaccurate and unfair reporting.
Earthquake shakes eastern Caribbean
An earthquake measuring 5.7 on the richter scale shook the eastern Caribbean recently. Fortunately the epicenter was located at sea 100 kilometers from Martinique. so no serious damage was done. Along with Martinique, it was felt in St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Guadeloupe.
Foreign Firms win big Caribbean contracts but..
Huge cost over-runs in Jamaica
Portuguese firm lands contract in Barbados
"Dem ah call us pirate," software pirates
Not only are they called pirates, but the police are swooping down on them. Recently it was a computer dealer in Kingston, Jamaica for computer software piracy. The police seized a number of computers and charged the proprietor with violation of new copyright infringement laws. It is reported that 7 out of 10 software programs in Jamaica are pirated. As reported previously by Hot Calaloo, a similar raid took place in T&T.
Another pirate was captured in Jamaica. This time it was a film pirate. He was caught red-handed or more accurately red-lighted. The flickering red light of his video camera, hidden under his shirt, as he secretly videotaped in the cinema, gave him away. Police escorted the man out the theatre and confiscated his camera. He is reported to be a supplier of video tapes to cable operators.
Test Cricket - WI vs England
Just when we thought West Indies cricket was back, brittle batting delivered up a victory to England to tie the 5-Test series at 1-1. In the 1st Test, the WI thrashed England in 3 days by an innings and 93 runs. In the 2nd Test, the WI looked like a similar rout was in store for England. After scoring 267, they skittled out England for 134. The disaster struck as the WI proceeded to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The collapsed for the second lowest total in WI cricket history, 54 runs! Set 189 to make, and with the WI bowlers breathing down their necks, they knocked off the runs, scoring 190 for 8 in a close finish.
Reggae Boyz get newer coach
Sebastio Lazaroni is history as Jamaicas National soccer coach. After only 2 months and 5 losses, he resigned abruptly. He cited lack of cooperation from the overseas based players, basically their unavailability, as the reason for leaving while his reputation was still intact. This threw the 2002 World Cup program in a crisis since Jamaicas first playoff was about only three weeks away. Out of this crisis, the Jamaica Football Federation came up with another Brazilian, Clovis de Olivera. But, de Olivera is no stranger to Jamaica, as he had actually coached the Jamaica under 23 team up to last year. Already, he had a hard job following in the footsteps of previous technical director Rene Simoes, but to take this recently winless team into such crucial World Cup matches in so short a time, will be a formidable challenge. (For World Cup 2002 playoff grouping and schedule see World Cup playoffs move to next round and remember to check Scorecard for daily scores as the games take place.)
Group DJamaica, El Salvador, St Vincent & Grenadines, and Honduras.
Schedule: (home team first; all dates 2000)
USA, Barbados, Costa Rica and Guatemala.
Schedule: (home team first; all dates 2000)