The editor is Michael Phillips,
Hot Calaloo, PO Box 429, Riderwood MD 21139, USA.
Mosquito one Mosquito two Mosquito jump Inna HOT CALALOO ---Jamaica Skipping Rhyme
(This article was modified 1/26/99 after receiving a communication from a Scripps-Howard official)
American Spelling Bee officials have retaliated against Jamaica's victory by barring them from this year's competition. They made sure there would be no repeat this year. Last year, Jamaica's Jody Anne Maxwell was such an impressive winner of the US National Spelling Bee then. She defeated 248 other contestants to become the first black winner and also the first foreign winner ever. Not only that, but Jamaica served notice they were formidable contestants in the two years they have entered the 71 year-old competition. In their first year, Jamaica's Jason Edwards James finished 8th. Last year, in addition to the winner, Jody-Anne, Bettina McLean finished 6th.
But not this year. The spelling bee officials have changed the rules in a obvious deliberate move to keep out the Jamaicans. Jamaica had their spelling bee as they have always done in August. Now the US National Spelling Bee officials have barred these winners by now requiring contestants to be selected after February 1 of this year for the May competition. This rule change was made known 2 weeks before Jamaica held their competition, obviously too late to comply with it. They claim the early date of Jamaica's bee is an advantage.
Preposterous! The long wait the Jamaicans must endure before the US National Spelling Bee is not an advantage. On the contrary, it is a disadvantage. It is competition that provides the edge, so after preparing and honing their skills for the Jamaican bee, that long intervening wait makes it more difficult to maintain that edge. If Superbowl Team A had to wait months between their last game and their opponents, Team B, had only a week off, Team A would be at a tremendous disadvantage.
The real reason
Someone made a mistake. It was very gracious to allow Jamaica to join other countries like Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Bahamas, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands, to enter the US National Spelling Bee. This was fine but the mistake was they did not expect little Jamaica to win. Not only did a Jamaican win, but Jamaica's collective performance was so good that they probably would win again! The US national Spelling Bee won by non-US nationals! Houston, we have a problem! So, a pretext was found and now Jamaica is out this year.
Could Race be a factor?
One cannot overlook the racial component too. Prominent American black leader, Jesse Jackson, has noted his concern that this action excluded black contestants. Even before this broke, Extra (November/December 1998), a magazine that monitors fairness and accuracy in the US media, noted the unequal press coverage that Jody-Anne received when she won. This Extra article cited the Jody-Anne coverage as an example of how the US press snubs young black achievers. It noted that:
-The day before Jody-Anne won, another contestant, a four-time veteran and the favorite to win, received a front-page, 1539-word profile in USA Today newspaper. In contrast, Jody-Anne's stunning victory received a mere 225-word story and on page 7 (5/29/98).
The famed New York Times in their coverage of her victory did not even mention her name until 7 paragraphs into the article.
Many leading newspapers, such as the Dallas Morning News, Indianapolis Star and the Boston Globe, who traditionally feature this story prominently, buried her victory many pages away from the front page.
The reigning local Jamaican champs are bitterly disappointed at their exclusion from the coming competition. These kids must feel cheated. As the news spreads, Jamaicans at home and abroad are enraged at this transparent cowardly act. However, to exclude Jamaica because Athem fraid ah we@ shows the tremendous respect they must have for Jamaica. To now exclude Jamaica to ensure a victory by a US national is wrong and they have compounded their mistake. Hot Calaloo urges its readers and Caribbean organisations to write letters to the spelling bee sponsors, the Scripps Howard newspaper publishers, to appeal to their sense of fairplay and justice. Write to:
Mail: Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee, P.O. Box 371541, Pittsburgh, PA 15251-7541
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Jamaica, the Caribbean and the World Economic Crisis
In Russia, this once mighty Soviet Union, government workers go three months without pay. Even in the recently privatised industry there, workers not only go without pay, but sometimes are paid off in goods produced. For example, they receive some manufactured clothing and have to hawk it on the streets to earn a buck. The former Asian tigers, symbols of prosperity, like South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, have seen their economy tumble and now face hard times and disillusionment. With the exception of the US and some of the European Union (EU), countries are mired deep in this economic crisis. Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean are no exceptions.
Enough is Enough
In Jamaica like most of the world, the economic "salvation" was imported. Privatisation, globalisation, IMF imposed structural adjustment, currency liberalization, free trade, etc. have failed. How much longer shall we pursue these policies before our leaders realize this? Unfortunately, our leaders may be powerless to change course. Even in their own countries, they have no say. The fact is these policies have undermined the economic sovereignty of our countries to international organisations like the IMF, the World Trade Organisations, the World Bank, etc. These organisations are dominated by big rich countries and multinational corporations. Right now the WTO has imperiled our banana trade with EU.
In Jamaica the failure of these policies are so evident as shown by:
For Whose benefit?
Who is benefitting from these policies? Not the people of Jamaica. But, multinational corporations, like Chiquita, are. Not only here, but all over the world, even in NAFTA countries. They bear down on the local industry, driving them into bankruptcy, like a Wallmart up against a mom-and-pop store. Privatisation, globalisation, free trade...they all play into the hands of multinational corporations.
Partnership With People (PWP) - the Way to Prosperity
Still the IMF is calling for more aggressive privatisation for Jamaica and most other struggling countries. This privatisation is a bound-to-fail policy. Governments end up selling off their money-making entities, for which there is demand, and get stuck with the money-losing ones. This is a clear formula for failure. If it were the other way around, then I would be an enthusiastic supporter. But this privatisation is not the only game in town. I am proposing a new game, Partnership With People (PWP). PWP will not only bring prosperity, but has the potential to restore the country to its people and from the clutches of powerful insensitive multinational corporations.
Introducing Partnership With People (PWP)
The Govt will set up PWP corporation. PWP will in turn form subsidiary corporations specifically to provide goods or services at a profit. These PWP corporations would be relatively autonomous but under the umbrella of PWP. Some features of these PWP corporations will include:
An important aspect of PWP is that since unlike other Govt. operations, this one is for profit, employees salary would depend on the profits of PWP. Basically, the bigger the profits, the better the pay. Given a certain time to turn a profit, PWP should not only pay for itself but provide revenues to the Govt.
In a nutshell, PWP is a franchise operation in which the Government is the franchiser and private individuals, partners, would be franchisees. Currently franchises are very expensive, making it difficult to find partners. So, creative financing. substituting products and services for financing, manipulation of fees and royalties, and such flexibility might have to be used to ensure supply of partners, each with a real stake in the business.
Recently I was in France. There, I obtained a map of Paris. The map was free and produced by the McDonalds Fast food corporation. There were little golden arches all over the map, each indicating where a McDonalds was located. I thought something was wrong with that picture. Well PWP will fix that picture without doing like Bermuda, which banned McDonalds from that country.
Franchises are everywhere for everything here in the US, from Kwick Copy printing shops, maid service, Post Office boxes....everything. Besides they have a greater than 90% success rate and soon I predict they will be sweeping the Caribbean. All that money leaving the Caribbean, unless PWP is launched......
Back to McDonalds... A very good friend of mine, a fellow Jamaican, attended high school here in the US. He then went to college, my alma mater, Howard University. Upon graduation, he went to England and became a barrister. He then returned to Jamaica. About 4 years later, he threw in the towel, abandoned Jamaica, and returned to the US. A barrister in the US! Worthless. In a few months I heard he had exchanged his legal wig for an apron and had become a manager at McDonalds. Now, years later, he has 2 McDonalds franchises and is wealthy!
The immediate challenge is can the Government successfully set up its own franchises? Now is the time to find out before we have to compete with more multinational corporations coming in and taking the bread out of our mouths. There are lots of information and expert consultants on franchising. We do not have to re-invent the wheel. A visit to the Internet will show a wealth of information on all sorts of franchises.
Ben and Jerry Ice Cream deserves special mention and real consideration as a model. They are a franchise corporation with a social conscience and proves that this is not incompatible with profit. Their highest paid employee up till recently by policy made no more than 8 times the lowest paid employee. Of course, this ratio is probably too low to attract partners, but it shows how this can be an incredibly fair and equitable system. "Yes Virginia...we can use the incentive of the profit motive, but without the contamination by greed."
Sources of PWP Franchises
Recently I saw in the Jamaican papers much fanfare about the opening of a Century 21 Real Estate office in Jamaica. More franchise profits to a foreign company and also getting free advertising advantage over our own Jamaican real estate companies! That map of Paris...roads of money leading back to McDonald corporation! These multinational corporations are coming and it will be "join them or go out of business". We'll become like the little stores in the US when a WallMart comes in the area. They all die!
These franchisers do provide excellent management, but they all follow a proven formula. In this information age, PWP too can follow that formula, elevate the level of service and business standards extensively, make money for our partners and the Government, and rescue our respective countries from rich multinational corporations. PWP is flexible too as it can decide what operations to undertake, and the rate at which to spread these operations. It can select the more feasible. PWP invites partners to join it without forcing anyone. Critics might contend that PWP is not new. To be sure, franchising is not new, which is good, because it has an established record of success. But, PWP is a new role for Government. The choice is clear. Is it the enfranchisement of our people by PWP or our continued disenfranchisement by rich multinational corporations? The choice has got to be PWP or at least it deserves a try!
This article and the following letter were sent to selected Caribbean Officials. The letter is as follows:
Dear (Caribbean Official),
I remain deeply concerned about the economic plight of my native Jamaica, the Caribbean
and all other developing countries. I am alarmed at the current policies such as the IMF
structural adjustment, globalisation, "free trade", privatisation, which all
make rich powerful multinational corporations even more rich and powerful, and leave
countries politically weaker and so far with no positive economic benefits to show for all
this. I am proposing something new for Government to follow, which I am confident will
lead to real prosperity and regain or retain our country from insensitive multinational
I have attached some brief characteristics of this program, which I call Partnership With People (PWP). Please give it serious consideration and do not ignore it because of its seemingly overly optimistic goals. I am sending this package to other Caribbean officials, including Heads-of-State. I would be glad to discuss it with you and so address any questions or provide further details.
I have also included a copy of the October issue of Hot Calaloo newsletter. An article in it, "Whither...IMF Privatisation or PWP Prosperity?" In this article I set the stage to introduce PWP. I have been the editor/producer of Hot Calaloo from 1992. The Hot Calaloo web page is located at: http://www.dclink.com/hcal/index.htm (since moved to http://gonow.to/hotcalaloo)
I do not intend to publish the description of PWP in the newsletter or on the Web until I give you and the other Caribbean officials a chance to respond. Also, I have to consider whether such details might be better withheld now to keep it from enemies of the Caribbean.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Michael Phillips, Editor
(As of 1/10/99 I have had response from 1 official)
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IMF REPORT FAULTS JAMAICA
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) through its executive board of directors gave Jamaica a bad report on its economy. It called for
Sounds like more bitter medicine, although Finance Minister Omar Davies has already
defied the report by promising "no more taxes". Worse yet, for this bitter IMF
medicine, not one single country has shown positive results from adopting it.
Privatisation Bound to Fail
In most countries, privatisation has been imposed by outside experts and is supposed to be the savior of the struggling economies of these countries. Jamaica and most of the rest of the Caribbean fall in this category. Privatisation is no savior. It is bound to fail and leave countries worse off. The government is busy selling off all its assets as ordered. The plums, the moneymaking ones, are grabbed up eagerly, and the moneylosers are hard to unload. Often these moneylosers were primarily intended to provide a service to the public. So, the Government gets stuck with them. At least before, the moneymakers could subsidize the moneylosers. The Jamaica Government railroad is a perfect example. It privatised by selling of easily the moneymaking freight sector. However, they have been unable to unload the moneylosing passenger sector for years. So the Jamaican citizens are deprived of this service and their trains have been deteriorating unused except for the occasional goat or other errant farm animal.
Privatisation sure did not help the recently privatised Jamaica sugar industry which for the 1997/98 production year is J$1.2 billion in the red with a sugar production of 185,000 tonnes, the lowest in 20 years! Jamaican banks, with their supposed superior private enterprise skills have been tumbling and it is the government with taxpayer money to the rescue in reverse privatisation.
Examining the IMF
So, does the IMF have a track record to be proud of in this area? In 1987 the IMF expanded its existing structural adjustment program to create an "Enhanced Structural Adjustment Program" (ESAP). To obtain loans countries had to agree to certain conditions such as:
The IMF would follow up by checking if countries continued to comply with these
elements and would award a passing or failing grade. A fail means the country is denied
further drawings on previously agreed to loans.
These 'structural adjustments" have been hated by the masses and have sparked dramatic and often violent protests worldwide wherever imposed. They have brought hardships especially to the poor. Now the word is out. Countries which have followed this IMF recipe have done no better than the ones that did not. Instead of the economic growth by these draconian measures, a majority of these participating countries "have experienced profound economic crises, low or even declining growth, much larger foreign debt and the stagnation that perpetuates systemic poverty." (Ravaging the Poor, IMF Indicted by its Own Data by Gabriel Kolko, Multinational Monitor, June 1998)
But all's not well for the IMF. The US house of Representatives voted not to authorize $18 billion in new funding to it. Even right wing Republican Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, blasted the IMF as " an international bank institution, that is totally secret, that is run by bureaucrats whose major policy is to raise taxes on workers in the third world to pay off New York banks".
The alternative to IMF Privatization PWP
But, is there an alternative to this IMF forced privatisation? Hasn't everything else failed? There is an alternative. It is not feasible at this time to reveal the details of this, which I call the Partnership With People Plan (PWP). I am confident that PWP can bring prosperity, yes prosperity, to Jamaica and any other Caribbean country in less than 10 years! Although the plan is new, it is based on tried and true procedures with success rate of over 90%. It is flexible, requires no austere law and will enable us to take back our country and reverse the selling off of it as privatisation does. (Details of this plan will be forthcoming in future issue of Hot Calaloo. I will be sending these details to selected Caribbean officials.)
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Your excellencies, officials of the WHO, distinguished delegates. All praise to the World Health Organization, which together with UNICEF, has helped to save the lives of hundreds of millions of children and millions of mothers, which has relieved the suffering and saved the lives of many more millions of human beings.
These two institutions -- together with the Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations Development Program, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the World Food Program, the United Nations Population Fund, UNESCO, and other organizations so bitterly opposed by those who would like to erase from the face of the earth the noble ideas which inspired the creation of the United Nations - - have made a decisive contribution to the establishment of a universal awareness of the serious problems of the world today and the great challenges which we have before us.
According to the calculations of renowned economists, the world economy grew six-fold and the production of wealth and services grew from less than five trillion to more than twenty-nine trillion dollars between 1950 and 1997. Why then is it still the case that each year, 12 million children under five years of age die -- that is to say 33,000 per day -- of whom the overwhelming majority could be saved?
Nowhere in the world, in no act of genocide, in no war, are so many people killed per minute, per hour and per day as those who are killed by hunger and poverty on our planet -- 53 years after the
creation of the United Nations.
The children who die and could be saved are almost 100% poor and of those who survive, we must ask why 500,000 are left blind every year for lack of a simple vitamin which costs less than a pack of cigarettes per year? Why are 200 million children under five years of age undernourished? Why are there 250 million children and adolescents working? Why do 110 million not attend primary school and 275 million fail to attend secondary school? Why do two million girls become prostitutes each year? Why in this world -- which already produces almost 30 trillion dollars worth of goods and services per year -- do one billion 300 million human beings live in absolute poverty, receiving less than a dollar a day -- when there are those who receive more than a million dollars a day? Why do 800 million lack the most basic health services? Why is it that of the 50 million people who die each year in the world, whether adults or children, 17 million -- that is approximately 50,000 per day -- die of infectious diseases which could almost all be cured -- or, even better, be prevented -- at a cost which is sometimes no more than one dollar per person?
How much is a human life worth? What is the cost to humanity of the unjust and intolerable order which prevails in the world? 585,000 women died during pregnancy or in childbirth in 1996, 99% of them in the Third World, 70,000 due to abortions carried out in poor conditions, 69,000 of them in Latin America, Africa and Asia? Apart from the huge differences in the quality of life between rich and poor countries, people in rich countries live an average of 12 years longer than people in poor countries. And even within some nations, the difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest is between 20 and 35 years. It is really sad to think that just in the area of maternal and post-natal services, in spite of the efforts of the WHO and UNICEF over the last 50 years, the number of deaths from lack of medical services has been 600 million children and 25 million mothers who could have survived. That would have required a more rational and more just world.
In that same post-war period, in the area of military expenditure, 30 trillion dollars were spent. According to UN estimates, the cost of providing universal access to basic health care services would be 25 billion dollars per year -- just three percent of the 800 billion dollars which are currently devoted to military expenditure -- and this after the end of the Cold War.
There is no let up in arms sales, which have the sole purpose of killing, while the medicines which should be provided to save lives become increasingly expensive. The market in medicines in 1995 reached 280 billion dollars. The developed countries, with 14.6% of the world's population -- 824 million inhabitants -- consume 82% of the medicines. The rest of the world -- 4 billion 815 million people -- consume only 18%.
Prices of medicines are prohibitive for the Third World, where only the privileged sectors can afford them. The control of patents and markets by the large transnational companies enables them to raise those prices as much as ten times above their production costs. Some of the latest antibiotics are priced at 50 times their production cost.
And the world's population continues to grow. We are now almost six billion and growing at a rate of 80 million per year. It took two million years to reach the first billion people, a hundred years to reach the second billion, and 11 years to reach the last billion. In 50 years, there will be four billion new inhabitants on the planet.
Old illnesses have returned and new ones are appearing: AIDS, the Ebola virus, Anthrax, BSE or mad cow disease -- more than thirty according to the specialists. Either we defeat AIDS or AIDS will destroy many Third World countries. No poor person can pay the 10,000 dollars per person each year that current treatments cost -- which merely prolong life without actually curing the disease.
The climate is changing. The seas and the atmosphere are heating up. The air and water are becoming contaminated. Soil is eroding, deserts are growing, forests are disappearing and water is becoming scarce. Who can save our species? The blind, uncontrollable law of the market? Neo-liberal globalization, alone and for its own sake, like a cancer which devours human beings and destroys nature? That cannot be the way forward or at least it can only last for a brief period in history. The WHO is fighting heroically against these realities and it also has the duty of being optimistic.
As a Cuban and a revolutionary, I share their optimism. With a current infant mortality rate of 7.2 per thousand live births during the first year; a doctor for every 176 inhabitants -- which is the highest level in the world -- and a life expectancy of more than 75 years of age, Cuba has fulfilled the WHO Health for All program for the year 2000 since 1983 -- in spite of the cruel blockade it has suffered for almost 40 years, in spite of being a poor, Third World country. The attempt to commit genocide against our country has only made us redouble our efforts and increased our will to survive. The world can also fight and win.
Thank you very much.
Special Poetry Corner Intro: Cute Chiquita is ugly United Fruit Co.
What ever happened to the United Fruit Company? This US company was notorious for having economically colonized Central America. It used US political and even military influence to dominate these countries with their support for hated dictators. It was these countries that the derogatory term "banana republic" applied. from which the United Fruit Co. reaped super huge profits. In the fifties, dissent right here in America and elsewhwere at the US-United Fruit Co. collaboration was intense. Now, that wolf in sheep's clothing is Chiquita Banana, the instigator of the US banana war against the West Indies.
(This poem, The United Fruit Co is by famous Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, Nobel prize winner for literature 1971)
The United Fruit Co.
When the trumpet sounded,
everything was prepared on earth,
and Jehovah gave the world
to Coca-Cola Inc. Anaconda
and other corporations.
The United Fruit Company
reserved for itself the most juicy
piece, the central coast of my world,
the delicate waste of America
It rebaptized these countries
and over the sleeping dead,
over the unquiet heroes
who won greatness,
liberty, and banners,
it established an opera buffa:
it abolished free will,
gave out imperial crowns,
encouraged envy, attracted
the dictatorship of flies.
Trujillo flies, Tachos flies
Carias flies, Martinez flies,
Ubico flies, flies sticky with
submissive blood and marmalade,
drunken flies that buzz over
the tombs of the people circus flies,
wise flies expert at tyranny
With the bloodthirsty flies
came the Fruit Company,
amassed coffee and fruit
in ships which put to sea like
overloaded trays with the treasures
from our sunken lands.
Meanwhile the Indians fall
into the angry depths of the
harbors and are buried in
the morning mists,
a corpse rolls, a thing without
name, a discarded number,
a bunch of rotten fruit
thrown on the garbage heap.
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