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.
Jamaica blacklisted? US State Dept. says no but…
"We are no longer permitted to conduct business with persons residing in Jamaica. We are also prohibited from maintaining any previously established relationships with clients residing in this country, even if their residency in that country is only temporary. Consequently, it is with sincere regret that we must advise you to cease all activity of any kind, including checkwriting and Visa debit card transactions, and give us written instructions to immediately transfer and/or liquidate your assets and pay the proceeds to you."
These ominous words were from A. G. Edwards & Sons, Inc. operating out of Norfolk, Virginia to the Jamaican engineering firm George P. Lechler. The American financial company is reported to have explained that the U.S. State Department had indicated to his company that Jamaica was on a list of countries that harboured money launderers and that there were serious penalties to pay if they continue to do business with persons residing - even on a temporary basis - in Jamaica.
Since then the Jamaica government checked with the US State Department and they denied that Jamaica was on any such blacklist. So far I am unaware of any explanation for the A. G. Edwards action. Furthermore, since that State Department denial another business in Jamaica received an almost identical letter of rejection from Bank of America. See a copy of this letter for yourself here.
Editor’s Comments: Colin, where are thou? US Secretary of State, Colin Powell has lied blatantly to the UN about Iraq. Son of Jamaican parents, Colin Powell is head of the US State Department. The US State Department cannot be trusted. I think they are lying. Is Colin Powell sinking the knife in the back of his ancestral Jamaica? What more infamy is he gonna do for Bush? (Belafonte was so right. see:Belafonte vs Powell..Nov 1, 2002) What other explanation could there be? I doubt it is because of any money laundering. Instead I think it’s US political reprisal and intimidation. Jamaica and the world could be in big trouble and might as well get ready to kiss their sovereignty goodbye. I hope I am wrong.
Activism from your armchair
Hot Calaloo calls upon its readers to be activists. You don’t have to go protest marching in sub-freezing weather as I did on February 15, 2002. Thanks to the Internet you can be a powerful activist right from your armchair. Let your voice be heard. The following sites enables you to join together with tens of thousands of others and make your voice heard. Bookmark these sites now and I implore every reader of Hot Calaloo to participate wherever they can.
Anti-police protests shut down Mobay
The police engaged in a shootout with gunmen in the Flankers community of Montego Bay, Jamaica. The gunmen escaped and instead the police shot three innocent elderly persons, killing two men and injuring the third a 60+ year-old woman. These shootings enraged the community and they took to the streets in great numbers in protest, blocking roads and highways with debris and fires. As fast as police cleared the streets new roadblocks were set up and soon the area looked like a war zone. The unrest forced a major shutdown of most sections of the resort city and a dramatic scale-down in commercial services, as vehicular and pedestrian traffic could not get in or out of the city via its eastern thoroughfare for several hours.
The protesters lit fires and used boulders, old vehicles and tree limbs to mount barricades along several sections of the Flankers main road. Montego Bay is not only the heart of one of the largest tourist area in Jamaica, but also houses airport access. With roads blocked, many tourists were trapped in their hotels and could not get to the airport. So several tourists and other travellers had to be transported to the airport by boat. Part of the airstrip was opened to accommodate vehicular traffic after throngs of commuters were stranded in downtown Montego Bay.
Police officials have removed all officers involved in the shooting and have announced that a very transparent and thorough investigation will take place. There is a hue and cry for the blood of these policemen from government officials, the political opposition, community leaders down to the man on the street.
Only days before, police had battled organized crime gangs in the nearby community of Canterbury. It was no Canterbury tale as it was an 8-hour gun battle with police up against gunmen some toting AK47 assault rifles. In the end, 3 gunmen were killed, 3 policemen injured and a large cache of ammunition was seized.
Jamaica’s lifeblood, tourism, has been hurt. The police’s credibility and reputation has been hurt. The police’s ability to enlist the public’s cooperation to fight the vicious widespread crime wave has been hurt. On the other hand, attempts to create anarchy and make Jamaica ungovernable have received a tremendous boost.
Sweet sugar news from Guyana
Guyana is leading the way. The state-owned Guyana sugar
company, Guysuco, says sugar production has increased by 154 per cent
between 1990 and 2002, when production figures were 331-thousand tons 12
And all this without privatization!
AP study show devastating impact of deportees
According to a six-month Associated Press (AP) investigation, the 'ripple effect' of the massive deportations from the US to countries in the Caribbean, as well as Latin America had triggered crime waves that were overwhelming the efforts of local law enforcement officials. The AP investigation included interviews with more than 300 police, deportees, church leaders, social scientists and government officials in the United States and abroad.
The disturbing report along with information from local and other sources found that:
But they are not all dangerous criminals
Train teachers and nurses for export proposal
Jamaica Prime Minister on a trip to Hartford, Connecticut, USA, has proposed a really new idea for export. Nurses and teachers. Rather than watch helplessly as these professionals leave vital Jamaican assignments to seek their fortune overseas, this proposal would set up special training facilities in Jamaica in cooperation with the US for the specific purpose of exporting nurses and teachers. Obviously with the raids of these professionals by overseas recruiters, there is a big export market for them especially at this time when traditional export products like sugar and bananas are doing so badly. Both nursing and teachers associations in Jamaica have supported the idea.
Another Jamaican market closed for repairs
Unsanitary and dilapidated conditions forced the closure of the Spanish Town market in that old capital of Jamaica. Hot Calaloo will continue to bemoan the deterioration of these open air markets in Jamaica, which forms such a vital part of Jamaican life. The recent delegation to Mexico to study their markets gave some hope, but the repairs underway seem stopgap and inadequate and give no indication that the lessons learned in Mexico will get any consideration. So, what was the point of the delegation? see Mexico’s vending markets impress Jamaican delegation
Abortions remain illegal in Caribbean
A woman’s right to choose abortion is pretty much nonexistent in the Caribbean and will probably remain so. The St. Lucian government bravely launched a reconsideration of the laws to make abortion legal in certain circumstances but ran into a flood of protest including from its own Home Affairs Minister Sara Flood-Beaubrun. The Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) , has been lobbying the government in Kingston for changes to the current laws on abortion, which date back to 1864.
Barbados seems to be unique. As far back as 1983 they passed legislation permitting abortion in certain circumstances. The National Organisation of Women in Barbados credits legal abortion with saving a large number of lives that would otherwise be lost to illegal unsafe abortions.
The Trinidad-based Advocates for Safe Parenthood: Improving Reproductive Equity (ASPIRE) estimates that more than 20,000 abortions take place in Trinidad annually and it costs the country more than US$166,000 per month to care for women suffering from botched abortions.
In the Caribbean public opposition to abortion regardless of the circumstances is high and intense. So only illegal abortions will continue. It is a political hot potato which will remain unchanged despite the fact that:
Bill Clinton arranges cheaper AIDS drugs for Caribbean
Nine Caribbean countries are welcoming a deal brokered by
former United States President Bill Clinton for pharmaceutical
manufacturers to cut the cost on anti-retroviral drugs for persons living
with HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean and Africa. Caricom's spokesman on health
issues, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. Denzil Douglas, had
initiated the discussions with President Clinton on behalf of the
Caribbean states in Barcelona last year.
T&T and Cuba rated least corrupt in Caribbean
Trinidad and Tobago and Cuba tied for being the least corrupt of the six Caribbean countries rated by the Transparency International Corruptions Perceptions Index 2003 (CPI). This index charts levels of corruption in 133 countries. The CPI 2003 score relates to perceptions of the degree of corruption as seen by business people, academics, and risk analysts.
Seven out of ten countries scored less than 5 out of a clean score of 10, while 5 out of 10 developing countries scored less than 3 out of 10. Cuba and T&T tied for 43rd with a score of 4.6. Belize placed 46th with a score of 4.5. Jamaica was 57th with a score of 3.8, Dominican Republic 70th with 3.3 and Haiti 131st with 1.5.
Finland topped the list with a score of 9.7, followed by Iceland 9.6 and Denmark and New Zealand tying for 3rd with 9.5. USA tied with Ireland for 18th with a score of 7.5 and the table below will show how these and some other countries stacked up.
Editor’s Comments: This is a very ambitious study but these results seem to depend too much on subjective opinions to be considered very accurate. This could also make them vulnerable to bias. Nevertheless where there is smoke there is fire so still can serve as a valuable guide and trend spotter.
Ja. Govt. spurns local for foreign printer for textbooks job
There is something very rotten in the state of Denmark….well not Denmark but something stinks!
The Jamaica Department of Education has awarded a contract for the printing of its textbooks to a foreign company instead of the local Gleaner Company. With local Jamaican companies dropping like flies, this action is a matter of deep concern.
For 16 years these textbooks had been printed by the Gleaner Company, but this year it was awarded to an overseas company Von Hoffmen Inc. Von Hoffman bid $51.7 million and the Gleaner bid $54.98 million for the 2003 contract, a difference of $3.28 million.
In addition to the bid price, the Government complained that the Gleaner delivered consistently late. The Gleaner confessed to some sporadic lateness because of tardiness of local subcontractors and mechanical problems but did pay the financial penalty of $385,016 for lateness. However, the Gleaner maintains that it had established a good record in general.
Awarding this contract overseas will
Editor’s Comments: In the present economic climate in Jamaica, for the Government to spurn a local company for those reasons is just not acceptable. Increase the penalties for tardiness and other measures could have been taken. This shows a callous disregard for the harsh economic conditions that Jamaican businesses and workers face. We certainly do not expect that from the Government. Instead they should be reaching out to work with them.
T&T Prime Minister warns BWIA
Privatisation of BWIA has not improved the airlines very much and the T&T government seems to be losing patience. Prime Minister Patrick Manning says the financial situation facing BWIA remains unacceptable and has warned that hard decisions will have to be made on the airline's future. Mr. Manning said his government was not willing to pump any additional resources into the airline, while expressing disappointment over BWIA's inability to meet any of its performance expectations.
The Prime Minister expressed his dissatisfaction even though BWIA reported it had a relatively good summer season and did not require any additional state assistance for September. BWIA has benefited from about 60 million of a 117 million dollar loan from the government since the beginning of the year. In January, the airline retrenched 617 workers and four months later its lessors, International Lease Finance Corporation, seized two of its aircraft.
Doping scandal involving several US athletes about to break
An athletic doping bombshell is about to explode. American anti-doping chiefs revealed that a new anabolic steroid, which up until now has escaped all known doping controls, has been found in the test samples of several American athletes who competed at the national championships. The United States Anti-Doping Agency, which has refused to name the athletes concerned, named the product Tetrahydrogestrinon (THG) - a synthetic anabolic steroid. USADA said in a statement the substance was initially found during analysis of the contents of a syringe handed in, under anonymity, by a "top" athletics coach who claimed the drug came from a well-known laboratory in California.
The USADA statement added: "In the last few days, several positive A sample results for the steroid THG have now been reported to USADA. These results have come from samples collected in-competition at the 2003 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and samples collected out-of-competition by USADA. The athletes, USA Track and Field, the national governing body for the sport in the United States, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) have all been notified of the positive A sample results."
Further In the words of a USADA official:
"What we have uncovered appears to be intentional doping of the worst sort. "This is a far cry from athletes accidentally testing positive as a result of taking contaminated nutritional supplements. Rather, this is a conspiracy involving chemists, coaches and certain athletes using what they developed to be undetectable designer steroids to defraud their fellow competitors and the American and world public who pay to attend sports events."
Past actions by the USA Track And Field (USATF) have come under scrutiny. They cleared quarter miler Young without any explanation after he failed a drug test in 1999 so that he could be on the victorius Olympic mile relay team. He recently won the 400 m in the World Champioships. This and other US medals could be in jeopardy. It is so serious that the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) has told the governing body of American athletics it must resolve doping issues and restore credibility to the sport in the U.S. or face possible sanctions, including "de-certification." That would mean stripping USA Track and Field of its powers and replacing it.
Guyana beat Barbados by 27 runs in the 2003 Red Stripe
Bowl cricket final at the Kaiser Sports Club in Discovery Bay, Jamaica.
After a rain stoppage, Barbados, set a revised target of 184 off 37
overs as they responded to Guyana's 212 for nine off 50 overs, finished on
156 all out off 36 overs.
Lightning strikes cricketers in Red Stripe competition
A bolt out of the blue….
Boom in remittances from overseas to Jamaica
What is the greatest source of foreign exchange in Jamaica? Remittamces. Over the past five years, remittances from Jamaicans in Britain, the United States, Canada and other parts of the world had doubled the earnings gained from tourism and bauxite. So keep sending money home and keep remittances number 1.
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