There is joy in Jamaica and the rest of the West Indies. The CBI Bill passed both the US Congress and Senate to become law. This means that garments assembled in Caribbean and Central American countries countries, using American-made fabric, will receive duty-free access to US markets. It is expected that the parade of such garment manufacturing companies which have abandoned Jamaica in recent years for NAFTA member Mexico, will halt their exodus and new ones will even come in. This was part of the Africa, Caribbean trade Bill. The bill was a controversial one which saw traditional supporters of the Caribbean both on the pro and against side right to the very end. The Caribbean wanted it, but critics contend
Editors Comments: I remain skeptical of any policy which restricts even further Caribbean governments right to decide their own trade policy for the benefit of their citizens and also leaves local small investors even more unprotected from big rapacious multinational corporations.
The banana war with the US over the WI banana trade with Europe is not enough. Banana farmers in Jamaica are enraged by the importation of 70,000 pounds of peeled green bananas from Costa Rica by a banana chip manufacturer, ironically named Native Food Packers. The growers see this as a threat to their already beleaguered industry. There is also grave fears that this might bring in new banana diseases. A spokesman for the banana chip manufacturing company said the shipment of bananas had already been cleared by Ministry of Agriculture officials, and had been used. However, a contradictory story came from the Quarantine Division of the Ministry, who claimed that they had not issued and would not be issuing any permit for importation of bananas, peeled or unpeeled.
Hot Calaloo considers this an ominous development. The same "dollar" bananas of Chiquita and other American multinational corporations, which are trying to replace West Indian bananas from the EU market could make their way to Jamaica. Since they are reportedly much cheaper, they could be imported to Jamaica, undersell the local fruit and wipe out the industry in time.
Will the World Trade Organisation (WTO) allow this new Jamaican law or will they take punitive action. The Government of Jamaica says no. Foreign imports have been battering the local manufacturers in Jamaica and almost driving them out of business. So, the Government in an attempt to protect them will introduce a bill, the Safeguards Measures Bill, this July. The bills sponsor, Minister of Commerce and Technology, Phillip Paulwell, says it would give :
Although Mr. Paulwell considers this bill to be "WTO-compatible", there is still fear in some circles that the free trade provisions of the WTO might bring Jamaica in line for punitive action. The WTO does not care if Jamaican producers become extinct. This is irrelevant to them, regardless of the catastrophic consequences to Jamaica. This is typical attitude to most countries, and is why the WTO, more and more, is hated all over the world. Next they will be forcing Jamaica to import Costa Rican and Chiquita bananas or face sanctions!
US wealthier but gives less foreign aid
As America grows richer, the portion of U.S. funds going to the world's poorest nations is headed for the lowest level ever, according to two anti-poverty research groups. Other donating countries also are giving less aid in proportion to their wealth, but they all are now ahead of the U.S., said the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in a report Tuesday. The center, which generally deals with domestic poverty issues, is looking at U.S. nonmilitary assistance abroad for the first time. The Clinton administration's $10.7 billion foreign aid request for fiscal year 2001 - which Congress is likely to slash - ties a post-World War II low in the percentage of federal funds going to foreign aid. As a share of the overall budget, foreign aid would be 0.6%, compared to 0.92% in the 1980s.
With Antigua and Barbuda's main hospital significantly affected by atwo-day nurses strike, government and nurses are in a last last-ditch effort to end the work stoppage. They were huddled in talks up to late in the night. The state-run Holberton Hospital was said to be a virtual ghost town since 30 Cuban nurses -- recruited by the health ministry to beef up local health services were called off the job as they were being viewed as strike-breakers.
Grenada teachers to strike
Grenada's 1,500 teachers are going on strike. The teachers are withdrawing their labour to force government to agree to their demands for a 17 per cent pay hike over five years. They staged a series of sickouts in recent weeks to protest governments offer of a four per cent increase.
Trinidad nurses end 3-month strike action
After a long three-month protest thousands of Trinidad and Tobago nurses are back on the job. They returned to work following a marathon meeting. They agreed with the Regional Health Authorities to issues such as hiring of local and foreign nurses to deal with the staff shortage, improved nursing pool payment rates, better working conditions and new equipment.
The scourge of AIDS threatens the whole world. Jamaica is no exception. But, the government of Jamaica deserves to be congratulated in their pragmatic battle against this dreaded disease. One of the most vulnerable groups are ladies of the oldest profession, prostitutes, or as they are now termed, commercial sex workers (CSWs). Excuse me! The government has recognized quite rightly that prostitutes are here to stay, and that these persons need special protection not only for their own good but also for that of the nation.
Public Health officials of the National HIV/STD Prevention and Control Program are teaching prostitutes how to manage money wisely. This is because they recognize that these CWS are not in the profession for fun but engage in that high risk activity for the money. They hope to make enough money to get out. They often do make a lot of money, but, since they do not know how to manage money, they fritter it away, and end up trapped in that profession indefinitely.
This agency has tried before to get them into other jobs. However, income from these jobs could not compare and the CWS ended up back on the street. Now, through this new program, they receive money management training and education in protection against HIV and STDs (sexually transmitted disease). Groups meet in Kingston once a week and the National HIV/STD Prevention and Control Program hopes to expand to St. Catherine too.
The latest statistics from the Epediomology Unit of the Health Ministry:
Phyllis Coard, the wife of Benjamin Coard, both officials of the ill-fated Peoples Revolutionary Government, which overthrew the elected government of Grenada in the eighties, is now in Jamaica. The coup installed its popular leader, Maurice Bishop, as Prime Minister. However, then deputy leader, Bernard Coard, overthrew and replaced him as leader. Mrs. Coard, was among 17 PRG officials and soldiers jailed for life in connection with the subsequent murder of Maurice Bishop.
Mrs. Coard is on parole in Jamaica to receive treatment for cancer. The revolutionary Mrs. Coard is not a native Grenadian, but is from Jamaica. She is expected to resume imprisonment at the end of her medical parole which expires in September. A new play on the imrisonment of Mrs. Coard, titled "Sitting in Limbo" opened in London in 1998.
Correction : Source of this article referred to Phyllis Coard as Bernard Coard's widow. However, a reader, Dawn Penso, (one of the co-writers of the play about Phyllis Coard, "Sitting In Limbo") pointed out that Bernard Coard is still very much alive, so Phyllis is still his wife. Hot Calaloo appreciates this correction and invites readers input as more errors like this might slip through the cracks.
Germany plans to provide up to US$4 million to boost Guyana's forestryconservation program. The support package will target a pilot project in the Bartica area in Region 7 (Cuyuni/Mazaruni), Klaus-Jurgen Hendrich, the head of a six-member German parliamentary team which was on a two-day visit to Guyana, said. Hendrich said his country was keen on supporting conservation of tropical forests in Guyana and the Caribbean, because of its importance to mankind.
Jamaican curried goat
Eighty six percent of goat meat consumed in Jamaica is produced overseas.
Now 26 year old Al Saadi Gadaff wants to emulate his inspiration, Diego Maradona. The son of Libyan leader Muamar Kadafi, has hired Jamaican-born Canadian Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson to help him improve his fitness and speed. He is a striker for the national soccer team. Maradona, at present in Cuba recovering from his latest heart scare, recommended Ben Johnson when he visited Tripoli last year to give advice to the team. Maradona's coach from the 1986 World Cup-winning Argentina side, Carlos Bilardo, is masterminding the whole project.
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Jimmy Adams in a heroic captains role, guided the West Indies to a exciting nailbiting victory in the 3rd and final test by the slimmest 1-wicket margin. The previous two Tests had ended in draws, which set up a dramatic 3rd Test, which exceded all expectations especially on the last day where the game teetered between both teams. In the first inning Pakistan scored Pakistan 269, Yousuf Youhana 183no. The West Indies followed and just when it seemed they were poised for a big advantage at 214 for 3, suddenly they slumped to 273 all out, a puny lead of 4 runs!
In the second innings, Pakistan scored 219, setting the West Indies the modest total of 21 6 to win. The West Indies started the final day at 144 for 4, needing 72 runs to win. With wickets tumbling around him, Adams batted with grit and determination. The West Indies had sagged to 197 for 9, when bowler and non-batsman Courtney Walsh joined him. Things looked bleak for the West Indies. But, Adams sheltered Walsh by "farming" most of the strike until 73 minutes and 19 runs later, a thrilling victory was gained. Walsh scored a most valuable 4 n.o and skipper Adams a dogged 48 not out His 48 runs score was a methodical determined knock, which lasted 337 minutes and 212 balls, did not contain a single boundary, but consisted of 38 singles and five twos.
The man of the match was Pakistani fast bowler Wasim Akram who took 11 wickets for 110. This marks the fifth time he has taken 10 or more wickets in a test match.
Let us hope the West Indies cricket is on the way back to glory. After recent humiliating defeats, the team under Adams as skipper, seems unified and dedicated, has a high morale, and best of all, now has two consecutive winning test series. The batting is still inconsistent. However there are signs of a bright future as newcomers Jamaican Wavell Hinds and 19 year-old Ramaresh Sarwan impressed. The 23 year-old Hinds scored 165 and 52 in the 2nd Test to be named man-of-the match. Sarwan debuted in that test with a score of 84 not out. In the 3rd test, Hinds was run out for 26 and a 2nd inning top score of 63 earned him man-of-the-series honors.
Now its off to England. For the West Indies. Jimmy Adams got his wish. Star batsman, Brian Lara, has cancelled his retirement to join the team. His bat certainly will help, but unless he has become a true team player, put the past behind him, and becomes a positive influence, he will help neither the West Indies nor himself.
Scoreboard of Tests
1st Test - draw
Reggae Boyz lose at home finally
Jamaicas national soccer team under new coach, Sebastiao Lazaroni, got off
to a rocky start after Panama beat Jamaica 1-0 in a friendly international at
Jarrett Park, Montego Bay, Jamaica. This was Jamaica's first loss at home in over five
years, the last time being in December 1994 when the Jamaican team was beaten by German
Division One club Borrusia Dortmund.
Jamaica's Recent Games Summary
The 52 year old Scot straddles the fence better than most, having experienced life on both sides of it. Still known around the world for the goal which helped Sunderland lift the FA Cup in 1973 at the expense of Leeds, he was a club manager at Sheffield United, Rotherham, Reading, Aberdeen and Chelsea.
After leaving Stamford Bridge in 1993, he helped Zambia recover from an air crash, in which several members of the national squad were killed - taking them to within a point of the 1994 World Cup finals. He then coached in Saudi Arabia and made a brief return to Britain with Bolton in 1996 before becoming national coach of Oman in the Middle East.
Porterfield's extensive CV attracted Jack Warner, vice-president of FIFA and a driving force for football in the Caribbean, who wanted him to oversee the nation's football development. Trinidad and Tobago are widely accepted as having outstanding technical players in the region, but are often let down by a lack of organisation and overindulgence in tricks and pretty passing.