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Items from October & September 2000 Hot Calaloo Update
Venezuela oil deal - good or bad for CARICOM?
Cheaper Venezuelan oil is now flowing in Jamaica to the tune of 7,400 barrels a day. This is the result of a special preferential oil deal, the Caracas Energy Pact, offered by the President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Jamaica was not alone to receive this offer, but it was made to the 11 countries of the San Jose Accord and Cuba. But, conspicuously it was not made to Guyana. Venezuela has renewed its border dispute claiming vast portions of Guyana territory. CARICOM countries are on record on supporting its fellow member Guyana. These factors had prompted a call by Antigua and Barbudas Prime Minister, Lester Bird, for members of CARICOM to decline Venezuelas offer.
Caracas Energy Accord
But how about Guyana?
Deal raises questions
To be sure the desperate poverty in the region forces desperate decisions It must be acknowledged that often Governments have to go along or face serious political consequencies at home. But, until all those breeches in CARICOM are shored-up, it acheives real unity and solidarity, and receives genuine commitment from its members right down to the people level, it will not be effective and will gain little respect from the outside world. It can achieve a lot, but obviously has yet a far way to go.
Even the phone of Prime Minister of Jamaica, P J Patterson, is reported to have been illegally tapped. The phones of others bugged include cabinet ministers, a senior Peoples National Party official, some area leaders and a high ranking police official. It was supposed to be an attempt to track illegal drug connections. But, who authorized it? Not the PM obviously. The Police Comissioner and the Minister of National Security have denied any involvement or any knowledge about it. Suspects are certain unnamed police officials and members of the now disbanded Civilian Intelligence Unit (CIU). The PM has ordered a high-level investyigation.
Editors Note: What a sinting! Illegal wiretap hmmmm sounds very American to me. Could the US CIA be involved? I know there is no evidence but modus operandi I wonder
The Republican congress continues to hold billions of dollars in back dues to the UN.
They have unilaterally demanded reforms, and when these reforms were made, they still have
not paid. President Clinton has made many appeals, but these Republicans will not budge.
Furthermore, they want to transform it into a rubber stamp for US policy. It is abundantly
clear that a vote for Republican presidential contender G.W. Bush is a vote against the
UN. So, if you value the UN and the indispensable work it does, you have to vote for Gore.
Former schoolteacher Pierre Charles was sworn in as prime minister of the small Caribbean island of Dominica on Tuesday, replacing Roosevelt Douglas, who died of a heart attack. Charles, 46, deputy head of Douglas' Dominica Labor Party, was sworn in by President Vernon Shaw. Charles promised to continue efforts to diversify Dominica's sluggish economy, which relies heavily on banana exports and tourism.
Enough already! Protest-happy Jamaicans are wreaking havoc all over the island. And in the case of the Olympics, they even took it to Sydney, Australia to Jamaicas great embarassment. But Jamaica itself has been the brunt of a seeming never-ending destructive protests as in the last month alone:
UN: Big foreign investment hardly help poor
Foreign investment is supposed to be the saviour of developing countries. Well foreign investmant surged to $865 billion last year, but most of that money went to mergers and buyouts of existing businesses, and it did little to help the world's poorest people, the U.N. has reported. The data, which came from an annual report issued by the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development, said 1999's total foreign direct investment worldwide was up from $640 billion the year before. Such a boost would appear to be good for developing countries, which need foreign investment in an era when foreign banks have been growing increasingly stingy with overseas loans. But of the 1999 total, 83% went for mergers and acquisitions, the report said, and most of those deals took place among a handful of rich countries.
Far from helping poorer workers, corporate consolidation often leads to plant closures and layoffs. It can snuff out local competition, particularly in countries that lack a strong government to offset the growing concentration of economic power in private hands, according to the report.
NAACP: Hotels' record on blacks bad
The 11 major American hotel chains have not kept their promises to improve business opportunities for blacks, the NAACP said Monday in urging people to avoid "underperforming" companies. In its fourth annual report card, the nation's largest and oldest civil rights organization gave the chains a grade of C-minus. Last year, no chain got a grade lower than a C, so things obviously have gotten worse. The grades in declining order are as follows:
The rich are getting richer it seems and especially in Jamaica. According to data from the World Bank and United Nations Development Project (UNDP),Jamaica has the highest level of income disparity in Latin American and the Caribbean.
In Jamaica, 83.7 per cent of the wealth is held by 20 per cent of the population. The richest 20 per cent is 44 times richer than the poorest 20 per cent. The poorest 20 per cent has only a 1.9 per cent share of the country's income.
The information was released recently during a Resources for Children workshop. The workshop is part of the fifth Minsterial Meeting on Children and Social Policy in the Americas which took place recently at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston.
"The gap between the rich and the poor (in the region) has widened considerably," said Julio Tresiarra, Programme Co-ordinator for the workshop. He told representatives from countries including Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador and Colombia, that
On a more positive note, Mr Tresiarra said there was:
He suggested that poverty reduction should begin with children and that governments, non-governmental organisations and other partners make the necessary investments in education, basic health care, water and sanitation systems. He also suggested reallocating existing budgets in order to address areas that would benefit children.
Trinidadian Anselm Douglas wrote the song "Who let the dogs out" for Carnival there in 1998. The song did not win, but since then it has blossomed internationally. Everyone in the U.S. seems to know it now. Kids know it from Disney and Nickolodeon programming, teens know it as a top 5 MTV video, adults and sports fans know it because every sports team is using it at their games. The song became an anthem for West Indians and for cricket lovers all around the world. In 2000, the song was recorded by the Baha Men, a trio from the Bahamas, and "Who Let The Dogs Out" and is running wild and barking everywhere. Woof!.
A Look at Fund Raising
(This is Part 2 in the series prompted by the greater and more vital role Caribbean organisations need to play in response to recent anti-immigrant sentiment here in the US.)
The need to raise funds is crucial to the success and effectiveness of these organisations. At the same time they must compete with other organisations and worthy causes for these same funds. Most of the times our organisations do not stack up too well with the competition because we do not acknowledge this competition and persist with traditional methods whether they work or not.
Types of fund raising
Raffle - We have all sold raffle tickets at some time. Raffles may have low overhead especially if the prize such as airline tickets are donated. So seek out donatios as prizes
Concert - Some organisations will bring down a popular artist from the Caribbean. Once again this is high overhead activity, requires same sort of planning and up-front expense as as the fancy ball, but if done right can be financially rewarding.
Telephone and letter solicitation -American organisations seem to base a lot of fund raising on telephone and letter solicitation. Its popularity must mean that it is effective. Caribbean organisations seldom use either. Why not? We need to reach those thousands of West Indians who will not come out to a concert or dinner, or dance, but are willing to contribute to our worthy and deserving causes. Telephone or letter solicitation might and deserves to be tried. But, do it right, paying special attention to detail, wording and tact.
The Jamaica Progressive League in Washington DC came up with a new fund
raising method. It was a bus trip to Atlantic City casinos.
( Hot Calaloo welcomes comments and ideas especially on this vital topic (email@example.com). Next issue Hot Calaloo tackles the scourge of many organisations, infighting and bickering.)
Guyana's Parliament speaker dies
Derek Jagan, the speaker of Guyana's Parliament and brother of former president Cheddi Jagan, collapsed and died Sunday (10/15/00) while doing yard work. He was 70. Jagan was found dead Sunday morning by a security guard at his home in suburban Georgetown. Peoples Progressive Party officials said they suspected a heart attack. A prominent lawyer and a lawmaker for more than 20 years, Jagan had been speaker of the Parliament for the last eight years. Cheddi Jagan was president from 1992 until his death in March 1997. Cheddi Jagan's wife and successor, Chicago native Janet Jagan, succeeded him as president until stepping down for health reasons last year
PM fires T&T Minister
Trinidad and Tobagos Prime Minister Basdeo Panday has finally fired Dhanraj Sing as the Local Government Minister. For many months now there have been calls for his dismissal, especially when his name became linked to a suspicious death.
Utah man is king of corn maze
Corn mazes in the US continue to boom. (see last months Hot Calaloo article "A-maze-ing Corn, Why not sugar") Here is more evidence.
Brett Herbst is the king of the corn maze. He carved out his first in 1996, after
seeing a photograph in an agricultural magazine. At the time, his only design experience
was mowing patterns in his front yard as a kid. That maze drew 18,000 people in three
weeks, and soon thereafter Herbst created his company - The MAiZE. He now makes a living
transforming corn fields into complex foot mazes, a sort of down-on-the-farm take on the
hedge mazes found on English manors.
Hot Calaloo continues to urge Caribbean countries to do the same with canefields. It is just a matter of time before other countries will cash in on this. The time to act is now as the tourist season fast approaches.
Despite the latest crime plan, the crime wave in Jamaica seems to be continuing. Of course, no one expected this or any plan to immediately break the crime wave. However, is the plan working? Have aarrests gone up? How is the plan evaluated? There seems to be not much information on critical obvious questions like these and Hot Calaloo invites answers from anyone with such information.
Also it seems that if the police carried out more "sting", stakeout, and undercover operations, they would bag a lot of criminals. Are these type of operations widely used, sparsely used, or virtually not at all?