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bulletVeronica Campbell leads the way to gold
bulletCaribbean athletes need better training facilities
bulletGuyanese referee takes over
bulletSt Lucia opposition United Workers Party ousts its leader
bulletHaiti's ex-soldiers demand back pay
bulletT&T Prime Minister gets heart pacemaker in Cuba
bulletCuba rejects US hurricane aid
bulletHospitals can claim bounty on illegal immigrants
bulletDeck stacked against Caribbean in trade negotiations
bulletCaribbean gets new funding to fight AIDS
bulletBarbados investigate sub-human housing
bulletMTV Bars Beenie Man as gays plan protest
bulletJamaica college grads complain of menial job offers
bulletThousands get pay increase in St. Kitts/Nevis
bulletBWIA announces $7 million losses
bulletHugo Chavez wins
bulletFighting corruption Dominican Republic style
bullet‘Not Just Tourist’  donate medicines to Guyana youth org
bulletScottish group sends tutors to Guyana
bullet2006 CONCACAF semi-final stage continues
bulletGuyana’s female world boxing champ to fight Ali


cover River Woman by Donna Hemans ... $16.10
  The Rio Minho in Jamaica provides much more than a setting for this potent, accomplished debut by Jamaican-born Donna Hemans.


cover  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.



September 2004

Olympics Special Edition

Veronica Campbell leads the way to gold

Veronica Campbell led the way as Caribbean athletes dazzled at the recent Olympics in Athens. She blazed to victory in the 200 m leading impressively from start to finish to earn her first gold medal. The girl from Clarkstown, Trelawny won in a time of 22.05, a personal best and although not a record, was the fastest time run since 1999. And Bob Marleys "One Love" played on the stadium public address system to celebrate her victory. Jamaican hearts were filled with pride as she and teammate Aleen Bailey, who barely missed a medal herself by finishing 4th, took a victory lap draped in the Jamaican flag.

By this time she had already won two medals. She had won bronze in the 100m but she had also won silver in the previous Olympics in Sydney where as an eighteen-year-old school girl she had helped propel the Jamaica team to a second place finish in the 4x100 m relay.

But more gold was yet to come. Teaming up with Aleen Bailey, Tanya Lawrence, and Sherone Simpson, they won the 4x100 m relay. The US challenge never materialized as a botched baton exchange killed their hopes. Ironically the US had such slick baton change in the semifinals while Jamaica had a terrible one on the last exchange. This caused them to finish 2nd to Russia, but at least they were not disqualified from the final. It was an impressive foursome consisting of three 100 m finalists and the silver madallist from the Sydney games and they lived up to expectations by their victory.

bulletTonique Williams-Darling added to the gold medal haul of the Caribbean as she captured the 400 m for the Bahamas. 
bulletFelix Sanchez stirred the hearts of the Dominian Republic as the World Champion did not disappoint his countrymen by winning the 400 m hurdles. Other medallists from the Caribbean include:
bulletDanny MacFarlane, Jamaica, silver in the 400 m hurdles
bulletDebbie Fergueson, Bahamas, bronze, women’s 200 m
bulletGeorge Bovell, T&T, Swimming 200 m IM
bulletJamaica 4x400 m team of Novlene Williams, Michelle Burgher, Nadia Davy, Sandie Richards, bronze.

But even the medal count does not tell the whole story of Jamaica’s impressive performance. Jamaican athletes were in contention everywhere as :

bulletThe women qualified for the finals in the 100m, 200m, 100m hurdles, 4x100m relay, 4x400m and the triple jump, while the men qualified for the finals in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 110m hurdles, 400m hurdles, long jump and the decathlon.
bulletDue to injuries Jamaica was without Injuries to 2000 Olympic 400m silver medallist Lorraine Fenton, Pan American high jump champion Germaine Mason, and world-leading long jumper Elva Goulbourne
bulletLong jumper James Beckford, triple jumper Trecia Smith, 110m-hurdler Maurice Wignall and Aleen Bailey in the 200 metres all finished one place shy of the medal podium.
bulletBrandon Simpson, Campbell, and Bailey all reached the final in the men’s 400 m and had made Jamaica favorites for silver in the 4x400 relay but were disqualified for a lane violation.
bulletClaston Bernard and Maurice Smith challenged for medals in the decathalon both finishing with over 8,000 points
bulletT&T’s George Bovell deserves special mention for his swimming bronze in the 200 m individual medley. He finished behind US phenom Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte to become the first swimming medal winner from the English speaking Caribbean.

But as usual, Cuba led the Caribbean with 9 gold medals. In the total medal count as the table with a partial list of countries shows below:

Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 USA 35 39 29 103
2 China 32 17 14 63
3 Russia 27 27 38 92
10 UK 9 9 12 30
11 Cuba 9 7 11 27
34 Jamaica 2 1 2 5
52 Bahamas 1 0 1 2
54 Dominican Republic 1 0 0 1
71 Trinidad & Tobago 0 0 1 1

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Caribbean Athletes need better training facilities

Some Caribbean athletes have benefited from the sophisticated training equipment and techniques in their American colleges. But the local athletes are often restricted to antiquated and inadequate facilities, which make their accomplishments even more outstanding.

IN 2003, Jamaica set up the High Performance Training Centre at the University of Technology (UTech) in Kingston to try to satisfy this need. It was established courtesy of a grant from the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) which picks up the tab for the living expenses of athletes there and pays the salaries of two of the center's seven coaches.

This was not enough as some athletes even on scholarship in the US needed financial assistance. So after an appeal by Minister of Sports Portia Simpson-Miller the CHASE Fund was established. It provides financial assistance to persons or organisations in the cultural, health, arts, sports and education fields. Several Jamaican athletes attending college in the United States have benefited from this scheme which is driven by money earned from the lottery.

Sprinters Asafa Powell, Usain Bolt and Sherone Simpson and hurdler Brigitte Foster, four of the athletes who competed for Jamaica at the Athens Olympics, train at UTech. Athletes from St. Kitts, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago also work out there. Facilities at the High Performance Centre are modest. For example, its gym is small and the equipment, while adequate, is incomparable to those in other developing countries.

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Guyanese referee takes over

In the Olympics women’s soccer final between the US and Brazil, regulation time the score was tied. The referee could not continue in overtime and Guyanese referee Dianne Ferreira-James took over and did an excellent job.

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St Lucia opposition United Workers Party ousts its leader

Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition in St Lucia and Member of Parliament in the House of Assembly, Marcus Nicholas, has been sacked by the United Workers Party. In a letter circulated to the media, the party said it terminated Mr. Nicholas’ membership "with immediate effect" following a meeting of the National Council.
Mr. Nicholas has pledged to challenge his dismissal. Among other things, Mr. Nicholas says he may consider joining the ruling party.

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Haiti's ex-soldiers demand back pay

Soldiers from Haiti's disbanded army who helped oust President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February have warned the interim government to give them 10 years of back pay or face being thrown out of office.
A spokesman for the former soldiers said they would oust the present government if it does not meet their demands. The ex-soldiers gave the US backed administration an August 20 deadline to meet its demands. Many of the rebels are former members of the Haitian army, which President Jean-Bertrand Aristide disbanded in the mid 1990s.
The rebels said that the interim administration has failed to honour a pledge it made to reinstate the army. There has been no comment from the government.

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T&T Prime Minister gets heart pacemaker in Cuba

The heart of Prime Minister Patrick of Trinidad and Tobago is probably beating a lot more regularly. This is because he recently had a pacemaker installed in a 45-minute medical procedure performed in Cuba. Manning, 57, had heart surgery in Cuba in 1998 to replace valves damaged because of rheumatic fever he had suffered. When he went for a medical check-up in Cuba on August 4, doctors told him he should return to have the pacemaker installed.

Manning, who also served as prime minister from 1991-1995, has praised Cuba's health system and sought assistance from the Cuban Government on health issues. Last year, the two countries agreed to allow 80 doctors and nurses from Cuba to work in Trinidad for three years to help ease a shortage of medical professionals.

Local newspapers report that the PM was reluctant to have the operation in Trinidad because Trinidad's doctors union has often been at odds with Manning's Government, striking twice last year.

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Cuba rejects US hurricane aid

Hurricane Charley battered western Cuba . At least four deaths in Cuba were blamed on the storm, which forced the evacuation of 200,000 residents. The US responded to the disaster by offering the generous sum of US$50,000. No, I did not leave off a zero. $50,000! Besides they stipulated that the money not be given to the government of President Fidel Castro, but be distributed by the U.S. Interests Section in Havana to independent, non-governmental organizations.

Cuba rejected the cynical offer calling the gesture hypocritical, the amount humiliating, and that the island will not accept supposed help from the government of a country that tries to take it under with hunger and need.
I think they will be able to survive without that $50,000.

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Hospitals can claim bounty on illegal immigrants

Hospitals looking to make additional cash will be able to do so by asking emergency room patients, including Caribbeans and Caribbean Americans, their immigration status. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Studies proposed reimbursing states $1 billion across four years for the cost of hospital services to these patients; allocating $250 million per year over the next four years to hospitals that ask patients' immigration status.

Hospitals don’t relish the role as cops and are seeking other ways to get this badly needed money. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus have also deplored this additional informant role for hard-pressed health workers by letter to the Bush administration. One Congressman, Dana Rohrabacher, even tried to force the hospitals by law.

State Departments of Motor Vehicles are getting into the act too. New York and Virginia are two states for which applicants must produce a social security card in order to get a driver’s license. The effect probably will be now such persons will be illegal immigrants and unlicensed drivers too.

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Deck stacked against Caribbean in trade negotiations

Ritu Sharma of the Washington-based Women’s Edge Coalition advises Caribbean countries to seek international assistance in negotiating complex trade agreements. The Caribbean is completely overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of negotiators needed.

As an example, she said "When Jamaica only has three or four negotiators and the United States has 150 negotiators, that is not a level playing field, and countries like Jamaica need some assistance from lawyers to advise them and coach them how to negotiate in the best interests of their own country." Consequently Caribbean societies are suffering the consequences of unfair trade practices.

Even more unfair, Ms. Sharma charged, is the effect of trade liberalization on women in Jamaica. It has caused women to suffer a net loss of 12,400 jobs in the agriculture and services sectors over the period 1993-2001, contrasted with a net gain of 45,500 jobs for men. She cited these statistics from a study conducted by Women's Edge and CAFRA (Association for Feminist Research and Action) at a seminar in Kingston, Jamaica.

In a subsequent interview she pointed out that, 'Trade has hit Jamaica's agriculture pretty hard, particularly poultry farmers and dairy farmers. The importation of powdered milk has wiped out the local dairy industry and the importation of chicken parts has almost wiped out the poultry industry,'

The collapse of the banana trade in the Windward Islands took away women’s reliable banana job and some were even forced into prostitution to survive. Given these experiences, the Women's Edge Coalition is urging the Jamaican Government to seek the most advantageous conditions for entry into the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

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Caribbean gets new funding to fight AIDS

The Global Fund for HIV/AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) is providing a US $12.6 million grant to fund a project aimed at reducing the spread of the deadly HIV/AIDS virus in the Caribbean region.
Officials from GFATM signed the agreement with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat. A CARICOM statement said that the funds would complement the many HIV/AIDS initiatives in the region and enhance the capacity of regional institutions and agencies, working along with communities to lessen the impact of the epidemic on already vulnerable populations.
The funds are to be utilised specifically to establish, consolidate and co-ordinate regional support to Caribbean countries working in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention and reduction, care and support and human rights issues.
The CARICOM Secretariat is the principal recipient of the funds and will act as the co-coordinating agency for all other recipients. The recipients include the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre, the University of the West Indies, the Caribbean Health Research Council, and the Pan American Health Organisation.
The Caribbean region has the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection rate after sub Saharan Africa.

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Barbados investigate sub-human housing

Health authorities in Barbados have launched an island-wide investigation into a growing practice of housing foreign workers in cramped and unhygienic conditions. This came about when 100 foreign workers were found sharing 18 rooms in a run-down former hotel building. It seems that the demand to house foreign workers has transformed may a Bajan home into a beehive of small rental units which often fails to meet health standards.

What is puzzling to this writer is that these foreign workers are all the way from the Philipines and Korea. Why not workers from the Caribbean?

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MTV Bars Beenie Man As Gays Plan Protest

Dancehall star Beenie Man, who has recorded anti-gay songs in the past, was yanked from a concert in Miami associated with the MTV Video Music Awards after gay groups planned a protest. MTV pulled the Jamaican singer from the roster after South Florida gay activists announced plans to protest the concert in Miami over some of his past lyrics, including "I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays" and "Queers must be killed."

Beenie Man has had his concerts canceled in Europe over the last few weeks after angry gay groups protested. Although he has previously defended his lyrics, earlier this month, Beenie Man issued an apology for his previous songs, including "Bad Man Chi Chi Man (Bad Man, Queer Man).

"It has come to my attention that certain lyrics and recordings I have made in the past may have caused distress and outrage among people whose identities and lifestyles are different from my own," stated Davis in the statement. "While my lyrics are very personal, I do not write them with the intent of purposefully hurting or maligning others, and I offer my sincerest apologies to those who might have been offended, threatened or hurt by my songs. As a human being, I renounce violence towards other human beings in every way, and pledge henceforth to uphold these values as I move forward in my career as an artist."
That statement was not accepted because gay activists contended that he did not say who he was apologizing to, or what he was apologizing for. Those murderous lyrics and the acceptance of them in Jamaica is a stain on Jamaica especially since recently the head of the gay activist movement there was killed. Besides, there is still a conspiracy of silence by human rights and religious groups there.

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Jamaica college grads complain of menial job offers

It is reported that many university graduates in Jamaica are being offered menial jobs as a reward for their diligent studies and investment of large fees for their education. Despite their educational credentials they complain about getting job offers for telemarketers and tour guides. But to add insult to injury, Dr. Leachim Semaj, chief executive officer of the Job Bank, a job placement in a typical ‘blame the victim" statement criticizes the graduates for aspiring to better claiming, ""In the United States, it is the college students who are employed by places like Burger King and McDonalds. It seems as if no university student in Jamaica would be willing to do this kind of work. They don't realise that the important thing is to get their feet in the door," he said. Education only gives you a trainable mind. It is training that makes you employable."

What nonsense! This statement is insensitive and absolutely untrue. College graduates are absolutely not settling for fast food jobs here in the US. If anything, I see more and more such jobs being taken by retirees who already have social security and Medicare health insurance. It is also popular with high school drop-outs.

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Thousands get pay increase in St. Kitts/Nevis

It seems Christmas came early. Over 4,500 persons, including civil servants, non-established workers and pensioners, shared in a multi-million dollar pay out package by the government of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The pay out follows an announcement made by Prime Minister and Finance Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas of a 10 per cent increase to all categories of public servants, retroactive to January 1, 2004. Two thousand eight hundred civil servants, 1,200 weekly paid or non-established workers and 600 pensioners shared in the EC $13 million package.
Some politicians do live up to their promises!

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BWIA announces $7 million losses

Trinidad based BWIA announced a near US $7 million loss for the first six months of the year 2004. But officials are insisting that the company is on target for improving as its financial results were in accordance with the Business Plan. BWIA says the Group would continue its efforts to stabilise operations and to increase its overall competitiveness.
BWIA returned to government control after the formerly majority privately owned airline was unable to recover from losses, as a result of the drop in air travel, sustained after the tragedy of Sept. 11. According to reports by the Associated Press, The government of Trinidad and Tobago regained control of the airline, which had been privately owned since 1995 after underwriting a $30 million debt-for-equity swap. The company recorded $23 million in losses in 2003.

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Hugo Chavez wins

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez won the recent recall election so will remain in office. He has now survived a US backed coup and a US backed recall referendum. This is good news for the Caribbean as it means that his proposal for special cheap oil prices for the Caribbean will now go ahead. 
(Also see Venezuela proposes cheap oil prices for Caribbean. August 2004 Hot Calaloo and also Racism aginst Chavez in UNDILUTED)

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Fighting corruption Dominican Republic style

The President of the Dominican Republic won a landslide victory in May 2004 on promises to fight corruption and restore the economy. He has just revealed his breathtaking plan to live up to that election corruption fight promise. He has awarded top jobs to four officials currently under investigation for fraud. The four officials he promoted are all awaiting trial on charges stemming from the alleged disappearance of US$100 million from the Dominican Republic's Temporary and Minimal Employment Program. Some plan.

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Not Just Tourist’ donate medicines to Guyana youth org

AN international group called, 'Not Just Tourist', has donated a quantity of medical supplies valued approximately $300,000 to Youth Challenge Guyana (YCG). 'Not Just Tourist' has been actively soliciting medicines and medical supplies from doctors, pharmacies, drug representatives and humanitarian aid agencies.

Youth Challenge Guyana has also received medical donations from Food For the Poor Guyana. These items were distributed to persons living with HIV/AIDS. Those donations were made through YCG's HIV/AIDS program.

The YCG is a non-profit, non-governmental and non-religious organisation, which was launched in 1993 by the late President Cheddi Jagan, with a vision of facilitating the development of youths and communities in Guyana through meeting the challenge of work, social action and culture exchange.

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Scottish group sends volunteer tutors to Guyana

Project Trust is sending volunteers from Britain and Holland to help tutor students in Guyana in mathematics and science. The volunteers all have passed the Advanced Level of General Certificate of Education and will serve in Guyana for a year.

Project Trust was founded in 1968 as an educational charity on the Hebridean Isle of Coll in North West Scotland. Since then, it has sent over 4,000 volunteers overseas. Its main philosophy is to provide young people with an opportunity to understand a community overseas by immersing themselves in it; living and working there for a year.

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2006 CONCACAF semi-final stage continues

World Cup playoffs for the Confederation of of North and Central America and the Caribbean Association of Football (CONCACAF) semi-final stage games continue for that region. 

The top two teams in each of the following three groups will advance to the final stage. Then, there will be one group of six teams. The top three teams qualify automatically for the finals. The fourth placed team will play-off with the winner of a knock-out match in the Asian region. Schedule and results for the three groups are as follows:

Group A Games Win Lose Tie Goals For Goals Against Points
El Salvador 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
Jamaica 1 0 0 1 1 1 1
USA 1 0 0 1 1 1 1
Panama 1 0 1 0 1 2 0


Group B Games Win Lose Tie Goals For Goals Against Points
Honduras 1 1 0 0 5 2 3
Guatemala 1 1 0 0 2 0 3
Canada 1 0 1 0 0 2 0
Costa Rica 1 0 1 0 2 5 0


Group C Games Win Lose Tie Goals For Goals Against Points
Trinidad & Tobago 1 1 0 0 2 0 3
Mexico 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
St Kitts & Nevis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
St. Vincent  1 0 1 0 0 2 0


Fixtures Through November 17, 2004 (Home team first)

Date 2004 Game
August 17 St. Vincent & The Grenadines 0 T&T 2
August 18 Jamaica 1 USA 1
August 18 El Salvador 2 Panama 1
August 18 Canada 0 Guatemala 2
August 18 Costa Rica 2 Honduras 5
September 4 Jamaica 1 Panama 2
September 4 USA 2 El Salvador 0
September 4 Canada 1 Honduras 0
September 4 Guatemala 2 Costa Rica 1
September 4 St. Kitts & Nevis 1 Trinidad & Tobago 2
September 4 Mexico vs St. Vincent & Grenadines
September 8 El Salvador vs Jamaica
September 8 Panama vs USA
September 8 Costa Rica vs Canada
September 8 Honduras vs Guatemala
September 8 Trinidad & Tobago vs Mexico
September 8 St. Vincent & Grenadines vs St. Kitts & Nevis
October 9 Panama vs Jamaica
October 9 El Salvador vs USA
October 9 Costa Rica vs Guatemala
October 9 Honduras vs Canada
October 10 St. Vincent vs Mexico
October 10 Trinidad vs St. Kitts and Nevis
October 13 Jamaica vs El Salvador
October 13 USA vs Panama
October 13 Guatemala vs Honduras
October 13 Canada vs Costa Rica
October 13 T&T vs Mexico
October 13 St. Kitts & Nevis vs St. Vincent
November 13 St. Kitts and Nevis vs Mexico
November 17 USA vs Jamaica (Columbus, Ohio)
November 17 Panama vs El Salvador
November 17 Guatemala vs Canada
November 17 Honduras vs Costa Rica
November 17 Mexico vs St. Kitts & Nevis
November 17 T&T vs St. Vincent

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Guyana’s female world boxing champ to fight Ali

The reigning WIBA light heavyweight title holder, Guyanese Gwendolyn ‘The Stealth Bomber’ O'Neil is set to fight Ali. Not Mohammed Ali, but his daughter Laila Ali in a ten-round bout for the vacant IFBA title. The bout is scheduled for September 24, 2004 in Atlanta, Georgia. O'Neil has won six of her nine victories by knockouts.


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