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Mexico’s vending markets impress Jamaican delegation
Readers might be surprised to see this headlining Hot Calaloo’s September 2003 update, but we need to emphasize how important vending markets are to the culture and the way of life in Jamaica. Hot Calaloo has always stressed and will continue to do so, the importance of these markets. (See Fixing the Markets the PWP Way . )These markets should compete with supermarkets but instead have been neglected and allowed to deteriorate all over the island. Market day in Jamaica is a big event for many Jamaicans who travel, by foot, taxi, bus and truck, in hundreds to markets in towns all over the island to do business, as well as for social interaction. So this visit of a delegation to observe vending markets in Mexico is very important and long overdue.
The delegation was impressed with many aspects of the markets there which they hope to emulate. The delegation consisted of the Town Clerk of the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC), mayors of Kingston, Savanna-la-mar, and St. Ann’s Bay, a vendor’s representative, and a technical officer from the Ministry of Local Government. The team traveled to Mexico City and the city of Morelia, while the Town Clerk and Kingston's Mayor went on to the city of Guadalajara, which is twinned with Kingston. The design of the markets impressed especially in Morelia, which once had a serious problem of illicit street vending, but is now a model city of change in that regard.
There will be a follow-up visit by a technical team from Jamaica next month, but it is reported that already local officials have begun to examine ways in which aspects of the Mexican model may be emulated.
No referendum in Jamaica for CCJ
The Jamaican Government has made it clear that there will be no referendum on the Caribbean Court of Justice. The opposition Jamaica Labor Party has been calling for referendum and its leader, Eddie Seaga has even threatened to withdraw from it if he becomes Prime Minister. Not surprisingly the Jamaicans for Justice has lined up with the JLP in calling for referendum too.
Some of the reasons for no referendum given by the Attorney General, Minister of Justice, Mr. AJ Nicholson, include:
UN report places Barbados on top
Barbados has emerged the highest rated developing nation in the United Nation's Development Programme, UNDP, human development report. The 2003 report shows Barbados at 27 on a list of 175 countries worldwide. This not only places them on top of the developing country but also ahead of ahead of other countries such as Singapore, Brazil, China and South Africa.
Surprisingly Norway topped all countries based on the Human Development Index. This index is based on factors like gross domestic product per capita (in US dollars), adult literacy, infant mortality rate per 1000 births, and life expectancy. The US placed 7th. Haiti was the lowest in the hemisphere at number 150 followed by 25 African countries. Here is a list of some countries:
Jamaica police admit crime plan fails
The Jamaica Commissioner of Police, Francis Forbes, has admitted that the most recent crime plan is a failure. Criminal gangs have become better organized, pooling their muscles and resources to control areas and operate multimillion-dollar extortion rackets.
Jamaica has had crime plan after crime plan, crime experts from abroad, special overseas training but crime still flourishes. This is not surprising as any successful plan will depend on the cooperation and support of the public. Just as the Caribbean Court of Justice is made a political issue, support of the police has been so too. Ever since the 'imdispensable' JLP leader challenged the police to come into his stronghold setting off riots, support of the police has become a political football and the police have themselves become targets for death and violence. Of course the police record for brutality also complicates things, but all the legitimate attempts to remedy that situation is greeted with suspicion and distrust , a suspicion and distrust which is mined for political expedience.
Good police are caught in the middle. So it is no wonder that the trauma and stress of policing an increasingly confrontational public are taking an emotional toll on many members of the force. According to the President of the Jamaica Police Federation, Sergeant Michael Clarke:
Another reason senior police officials give for the failure of the crime plan is the lack of promised support from other Government agencies, such as the Ministries of Health, Social Security, and Housing. For example that when they entered several Corporate Area communities such as Hannah Town, Denham Town and Kintyre they were involved in a lot of unexpected activities such as removing garbage, renovating basic schools, counselling, assisting at homework centres, organising health fairs, sponsoring sporting activities and whole host of other programs which were to be sustained through the "unsupportive" Ministries.
"We cleaned up the areas, we cleaned the streets, having done that, we would have hoped that the other social agencies would come in now and continued where we initiated the process like continuing to collect the garbage and so on and do road repairs and maintenance and those things, but they didn't," explained Superintendent Simpson.
Bermuda welcomes Jamaica police
PSOJ on target
"I don't think that there's any disgrace whatsoever in not meeting the target," Mr. Clarke said. "If the crime in Jamaica is at a level that the target hasn't been met, it's because all of us are not working sufficiently closely with the police to give them the information and the support to reduce crime."
American fast food chains opposed in Barbados
Barbados is not rolling over to American fast food companies like Jamaica has. Subway Sandwiches and TGI Fridays have reportedly sent applications to the Barbados Ministry of Finance to set up franchises there. However, business people and tourism interests in Barbados are putting up strong resistance to the possible introduction of the two American fast food chains there. Local food chains Cheffette, Pizza Man Doc, Chicken Barn and Pizzaz, have reportedly sent letters of their own objecting to this. Also, Executive Vice President of the Barbados Hotel and Tourist Association Sue Springer says tourists don't travel all the way to Barbados to see the same food chains they left at home.
Jamaica women outdo men 4:1 in Fire Brigade test too
What is happening to the Jamaica man? Once again he continues to be outdone by the Jamaica woman. The women have already established superiority in graduation rates in high school and at the University of the West Indies. But now in what was once considered a man’s domain, the fire brigade. Despite a lowering of the passing grade on its entrance test to accommodate more male applicants, the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) is still barely able to recruit sufficiently qualified male candidates to fill vacant firefighter posts. Instead they are now getting four times as many women than men passing the qualifying exam. Clearly this demise of the Jamaican male is becoming a serious problem and has potential serious consequences. This pattern is appearing in other Caribbean countries and might even be worldwide.
Jamaica produced medicinal ganja drug in demand
There is great demand for the Jamaican produced Canasol eyedrop, a prescription drug used in the treatment of glaucoma. The product was at first received with much skepticism and doubt, but according to ophthalmologist Dr. Albert Lockhart, one of the developers of the product, patients from Florida, California, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., New York and Massachusetts in the United States are now using it. It is a unique product. It is made from ganja (cannabis), but in that form does not contain any psychoactive agents.
Canasol is currently being distributed in Jamaica by Medi-Grace Limited. It is currently exported to England, some Caribbean islands, and it is sold directly based on doctor's prescriptions from the United States. Medi-Grace reports that they can hardly keep up with the demand both in Jamaica and overseas. , Canasol is relatively cheap selling for as little as $J285 per bottle, while other eyedrops (same size bottle) cost $J1,897.
Research on the product was started in 1973, but it was not until late 1980s, that the research team including Dr. Manley West, was able to get the product in a marketable state for it to be commercialised.One of the developers of the product, ophthalmologist Dr. Albert Lockhart, reports that:
Guyana and Suriname prepare for EU rice subsidy reductions
CARICOM's two rice exporters Guyana and Suriname are trying to ensure
that they do not lose when the European Union reduces its subsidies to
European rice producers. The EU intends to cut the subsidies by 50
Jamaica’s packaging industry almost dead
Another Jamaican industry is about to bite the dust. This time it is the packaging industry upon which so many other local industries depend. Already, more and more packaging, be it in bottles, plastic, or cardboard cartons must be imported from outside the island.
Since the closure of the lone glass company in the island in 2000, West Indies Glass Co., all 100 % of glass bottles are imported either from Trinidad, Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala or the US. So companies like soft drink, beer, rum, juice companies, that require bottles, must import them, fill them and export them . Obviously this creates quite an obstacle to competitiveness and so they are bound to lose market share not only overseas but locally too. Big manufacturers like rum distillers J. Wray and Nephew and Red Stripe beer can afford to import in the large quantities, but still suffer a severe competitive disadvantage.
West Indies Glass collapsed after a failed attempt to get US$20 million in assistance from the Government to reorganise its operations and to modernise its facilities. Bottles are shipped in cartons, so the demise of the glass company affected the cardboard box industry. The lone glass company is gone and the other packaging industries such as the solitary manufacturer of corrugated (cardboard) boxes left, the West Indies Pulp and Paper, and to a lesser extent metal plants, are barely surviving and are in need of retooling.
Once again the private sector is begging the Government to come to their aid. Private industry is supposed to be so much more efficient than Government. That’s the prime basis of the vaunted "privatization" that has been rammed down many a countries throats. This vaunted privatization is no deliverance. Privatised Air Jamaica and BWIA continue to lose money and must depend on Government bailouts. FINSAC is loaded with private industry bailouts, all at taxpayer expense. The Jamaica government will probably have to bailout the packaging industry. In the meantime, privatization has held on to the profitable resources the Government used to own and the losers revert back to burden taxpayers. At least before, the moneymaking Government entities could subsidize the money losing ones. Now the Government is stuck with only the losers and no profitable ones to sudsidize them. There is no passenger rail in Jamaica yet. Why? The government privatized as ordered to and sold off the profitable freight rail, but found no takers for the money losing passenger service. With no profitable freight service to help out, the passenger service soon collapsed and Jamaican public has been deprived of that service since. Privatisation does not consider the welfare of Jamaica, only profits. No, privatization is no deliverance, but is instead a cruel hoax which will continue to deprive Jamaica of more services and make it poorer yet.
Metered phone service for Barbados draws strong opposition
Cable & Wireless, which has a monopoly on domestic and
international telephone services in Barbados, has applied to that
country's Barbados’ Fair Trading Commission to increase its flat rates
for business and residential customers and to introduce usage based or
metered rates for domestic calls from fixed lines - pay by the minute.
This proposal has run into strong opposition from the Democratic Labour
Party (DLP) in Barbados.
Cattle low show at Denbeigh Show in Jamaica
The Denbeigh Agricultural Show in Clarendon, Jamaica, used to be a real showpiece for Jamaica cattle farmers. But not anymore. Gone are the days when it averaged 15 cattle farmers parading their cows. The cattle industry is suffering so the most recent show only 5 farms participated of which 4 were Government financed. The J$1,00 prize money per champion is considered inadequate too.
Jimmy Cliff awarded Order of Merit
"You can get it if you really try, try and try, try and try."
Well Jimmy Cliff got it. He was awarded Jamaica’s third highest national honor, the Order of Merit (OM). The reggae superstar thus joins an elite group of Jamaicans so honoured.
Cliff, whose real name is James Chambers, starred in the 1970s Jamaican full-length feature film, The Harder They Come. He adds his O.M. to the Order of Distinction (Officer Class) (O.D.) he had received previously. He was honoured in the 2003 Independence Day Honours List for his outstanding contribution to the film and music industry and joins the legendary Bob Marley and Louise Bennett-Coverley, 'Miss Lou' as Jamaica's highest ranked cultural stars.
St. Kitts’ Collins lead the way in World Championships
Kim Collins of St. Kitts and Nevis earned the title of the fastest man in the world by winning the 100 m at the 9th IAAF World Championships in Paris. The 18-year-old sensation from Trinidad and Tobago, Darrell Brown, came second to give the Caribbean a 1-2 finish over the impressive field which included world record holder Tim Montgomery of the US.
Jamaica’s Lorraine Fenton won silver in the 400m women behind the unbeatable Anna Guevara of Mexico. However, Lorraine Fenton was spectacular in the anchor leg of the 4x400 relay. She made up about 15 meters to earn Jamaica a bronze medal in a photo finish. Bridgette Foster in the women’s 100 m hurdles and James Beckford in the men’s long jump earned Jamaica’s two other silver medals. Jamaica won bronze for the men's 4x400 relay too and was in a good position to medal in both the 4x100 m relays men and women. However in the men’s they dropped the baton on the first exchange. In the women’s anchor Bridgette Foster pulled up lame in medal contention.
Jamaica’s best 200 m sprinter did not compete to the disappointment of many fans. This is the impressive 17 year old Usain Bolt, the world junior champion and record holder. Although he was there, the coaches held him out of the competition because a bout with "pink eye" disease had interrupted his training and they did not consider him fit enough.
9th IAAF World Championships – Paris, France
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