Stokely Carmichael aka Kwame Ture is Dead

He was a warrior for the cause. He fought many battles for the cause, the cause of civil rights for black people here in the US beginning in the sixties, a time when racism was open, vicious, legal, and deadly. Right up to the end he was fighting for the cause of black unity. But, he lost his last battle, an unwinnable battle against prostrate cancer and on November 15, it took his life. Yes, it took the life of one of the most brave, outstanding, dedicated and uncompromising black leaders of our times.
Stokely Carmichael was born in Trinidad in 1941. At the age of 11, he moved with his family to Harlem in New York City. He later attended Howard University in Washington DC, graduating in 1964 with a degree in philosophy. While a student at Howard, he was active in the civil rights protests and voter registration drives in the South. In the early 1960's, he was a founding member of the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) of which present Washington DC mayor Marion Barry was the first chairman. In 1966 Stokely, himself, became chairman. As a SNCC leader he suffered over three dozen jailings and faced the terrors of beatings, snarling dogs and racist brutal cops and thugs to:

.During his chairmanship he made his famous call for "Black Power" in which he championed the economic and political empowerment of black people so that they could gain " control of the institutions of the communities where we live and to stop the exploitation of non-white people all over the world".

In 1968 he left SNCC to become president of the Black Panther Party, A year later he left the Panthers, moved with his wife, the famous South African singer, Miriam Makeba, to Guinea in Africa where he dedicated his life to Pan Africanism. In Guinea he became friends with exiled President of Ghana, Kwame Nkruhmah, and his host, Guinea president, Sekou Toure. Subsequently, in honor and admiration he adopted one of each of their names to become Kwame Ture.
Without Honor in his own country
To be sure he was a controversial figure. Starting with his militancy, his rallying cry for Black Power, to his socialist views and his opposition to both American capitalism and Zionism. Even in the land of his birth, Trinidad, then PM Eric Williams declared him persona-non-grata and banned him from there for 18 years. Ironically, T&T's first and only Indian PM, Basdeo Panday, not only welcomed him there in 1996, but his government donated US$1,200 towards his medical expense.
Yes, Stokely is gone. But will not be forgot, as he will take his rightful place among the unforgettable heroes of black history.
(from Hot Calaloo, V 7#4, Dec 1998)

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Caribbean Deforestation Among the World's Worst - A Solution

Caribbean countries are among the worst in the world in deforestation. Haiti is in fact the worst, with vast acres and hillsides bare of trees. Jamaica is not far behind. Recently the Government of Jamaica launched its "Trees for Tomorrow" reforestation project. This project is a combined effort with the Canadian International Development Agency to fight the scourge of deforestation. Critics contend that this new program is woefully inadequate for so serious a problem.

Information was not available as to the type of trees to be planted. This might be very important as recently I received in the mail information on a type of "miracle" tree which might alleviate this problem. The information came from a charitable organisation called the International Center, New Forests Project It was soliciting funds to obtain seedlings of this tree to send to the poorest parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

These miracle trees are of the Leucaena family. It is native to Mexico. Its outstanding features include:

It is estimated that in most developing countries, firewood accounts for 90% of the energy consumed in rural areas. Haiti, Jamaica and many other Caribbean countries fall in this group and is probably the main cause of the deforestation crisis. The International Center estimates that it has distributed over 40 million trees worldwide to countries including Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Guatemala, El Salvador, India, China,and 80 more countries. Testimonials from all over the world were presented.

The Australian Center for International Agricultural Research describes Leucaena, technically Leucaena leucocephala, as one of the most productive and versatile multipurpose legumes available. There are a number of hybrids which can enhance some of these already outstanding properties. There are 22 recognized species. The plant is natural to the tropics, hailing from Leucaena, Mexico. For more details see the Oxford Forestry Institute publication Tropical Forestry Paper No. 37, "Leucaena: A Genetic Resources Handbook" by Colin E. Hughes. It is available for free to institutions in developing countries and to obtain it contact at e-mail address

Lets hope Caribbean governments have, or are making plans to obtain this book.

Leucaena seems to hold out the prospects of a "miracle" solution to the deforestation crisis in the Caribbean. Its merits seem to be well documented and researched. At the same time, we must be cautious about introducing new plant species. In the US a seemingly innocent vine known as Kudzu accidentally brought from abroad has spread like wildfire choking out and imperiling many forests with its thick mantle. There are many other instances where a seemingly beneficial foreign plant becomes itself a problem. So, although Leucaena could be a salvation, let's do our homework and prevent unwelcome surprises.

(from Hot Calaloo, V 7#4, Dect 1998)

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At War With Cable & Wireless Monopoly

Cable and Wireless has been a virtual telecommunications monopoly in many a Caribbean country. This monopoly seems to have become a large pothole on the information superhighway and an obstacle to benefits from the rapid growth in that dynamic industry. It is so critical an issue that a special Caricom conference was held on that topic. A unanimous resolution emerged pledging a united fight for more competition, issues of sovereignty and rate rebalancing. St Vincent Minister of Communications issued a rallying cry for the territories to prepare for battle. Cable & Wireless is not giving up without a fight and the battle is underway. For instance :

(from Hot Calaloo, V 7#4, Dec 1998)

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Jamaica Nurses Flock to UK Jobs

To relieve Jamaica's acute nursing shortage, nurses have been imported all the way from Ghana (as reported in the last issue of Hot Calaloo). But, now Jamaica's nurses might be bolting for greener pastures in the UK! A British employment agency visited Jamaica to advertise for nurses. There was an overwhelming response as over 500 nurses swarmed for interviews at the Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston. Jamaican nurses, obviously highly regarded in England are sought by the UK which itself has a shortage estimated at over 8,000. The agency was in search of 50 to 75 Jamaican nurses now, with more expected early next year. They are being offered a 1-year contract with a salary of between US$19,800 to US$33,000 per year, depending on experience and qualifications.

This really dramatises how poorly nurses in Jamaica must be paid. In comparison, nurses in Maryland, USA can receive a starting salary of as high as US$35,000.

Nursing shortage in Jamaica goes back as far as I can remember. If only there were some way that Jamaica could become a nurse factory, producing certain employment, and nurses not just to satisfy its own needs but to supply the world. (from Hot Calaloo, V 7#4, Dect 1998)

T&T PM Declares War on Press

The fight between Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, Basdeo Panday, and the press continues and is getting uglier. At a recent political rally, Panday declared war on the press for being racist and biassed. The crowd responded by menacing journalists there and one journalist was attacked.

The Trinidad and Tobago Publishers and Broadcasters Association has condemned PM Panday's attack on the media. This sentiment has been echoed by other Caribbean press associations.

To be sure, an unintimidated press is essential to democracy, so the condemnation of PM Panday is understandable. However, the press in the Caribbean has a bad reputation for political bias and little attention seems to be given to Panday's charges. All over the Caribbean, the press wields considerable influence. Many are stacked with politically biassed columnists (and cartoonists). They wield this power with arrogance and many a government faces the undermining of good innovative programs which depend on public acceptance by these unelected powerbrokers. Even here in America, the media, - radio, TV and the press - is dominated by conservative-to-right wing proponents. The media shamelessly carried out a Republican agenda with its never-ending bombardment of the Monica Lewinsky story, even though the public cried "enough already".

Instead of criticism of PM Panday alone, this is the time for us to put the Caribbean press under scrutiny. Too often it has contributed to the political polarisation so rampant and destructive in the Caribbean. They have an important role in nation building and democracy, but only by responsible journalism. Otherwise, they will continue to be part of the problem.

(from Hot Calaloo, V 7#4, Dec 1998)

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Peace and Death through Soccer in Jamaica

One of the horrible aberrations of 2-party democracy in the Caribbean is the horrible political party polarisition of its people. Nowhere is it worse than certain areas of Jamaica. Some neighborhoods of Kingston have Peoples National Party (PNP) residents and others have Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) adherents. These communities are virtually at a state-of-war between each other. It is at the risk of death for a resident to venture into a political opponents territory. Even the PNP Prime Minister under armed guard would be unsafe in some of these JLP territories. Raiding parties participate in drive-by shootings with retaliations from time to time.

A recent attempt to bring peace between these warring political factions was by a soccer match. Two such warring factions are Arnett Gardens and Tivoli Gardens. Jamaica's national team, the Reggae Boys, took on a joint Arnett Gardens/Tivoli Gardens (Premier League) team. It was staged at the newly constructed Tony Spaulding Sports complex in southern St. Andrew parish. The ceremonial kick-off was taken by both PM Patterson (PNP) and leader of the opposition Edward Seaga (JLP). Portia Simpson-Miller, Minister of Labour, Sports and Social Security, Omar Davies, Minister of Finance, and other political officials were among the special guests.

It worked. Relatives, former schoolmates, and others, who had come to hate, despise and forsake all communications because of their political differences, came together in peace and friendship for the first in a long time.

However, an attempt to duplicate this had fatal consequences instead of peace. This time, the match was between teams from rival Tower Hill and Penwood communities with bottles of beer for the winners. An argument between opposing players and their supporters broke out, gunfire erupted and when it was over, 2 players from Penwood and 1 from Tower Hill lay dead. So much for peace ....

Such is the scourge of political tribalism. All responsible citizens have a duty to do whatever they can to eradicate it. Hot Calaloo certainly will. Irresponsible ruthless politicians, such as Desmond Hoyte in Guyana, who tries to mix in race too, seek to capitalize on it. After months of fomenting such unrest in Guyana, he is still threatening to resume it again. Guyana is fortunate that, so far, it has not got the gun culture that Jamaica seems to have. Once that genie of political violent tribalism is out of the bottle, it is very hard to get it back in.

(from Hot Calaloo, V 7#4, Dec 1998)

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Air Jamaica Ups/ Downs

Air Jamaica continues to expand by service to new gateways. Air Jamaica continues to modernize by replacing its old 727 Jets with new planes this coming January. Air Jamaica continues an impressive on time record. Air Jamaica continues to dominate the travel market in the Jamaica. It carried a record 88,510 passengers for the month of October. This represented 52% of all passengers arriving in the island, compared to the 18% of its nearest competitor, the mighty American Airlines.
But, Air Jamaica continues to lose money at an alarming rate, and recent conflict with the Government of Jamaica has revealed how bad the situation is. Air Jamaica's CEO, Butch Stewart, blasted the Government's economic policy and soon after, the Govt. leaked the precarious financial position of Air Jamaica stating that: the Butch Stewart group has not lived up to its commitment to inject US$ 15 million into the airline

Air Jamaica CEO, Butch Stewart issued a caustic reply to this information that was leaked, but it seems he did not really dispute the figures. These figures actually seemed even worse from Air Jamaica president, Chris Zacca, who cited that:

Three questions arise. Can Jamaica afford to have a national airline? Can Jamaica afford to not have a national airline? Is Air Jamaica now really a national airline?
(from Hot Calaloo, V 7#4, Dec 1998)

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Guyana To Privatise Bauxite

Guyana has advertised 60% of the Linmine and Berbice bauxite mining companies for sale. A quarter of the remaining shares will be held for workers. The remainder of its shares will be sold to the public within 5 years after an investor buys the 60% shares and assumes operation.

Public Disorder, and Distrust Spread in Jamaica

Unrest has been breaking out all over Jamaica. In last edition of Hot Calaloo, we reported of the 3-day shutdown of Kingston by crowds angered by the arrest of "Zeke",someone they regarded highly in their community. In recent weeks similar public disturbances have broken out in varying degrees of severity. Citizens block roads sometimes with uncollected garbage, burning debris, their numbers, felled trees, boulders, and anything they can find. Police are usually overwhelmed and ineffective by the anger and sheer numbers of participants. Such actions took place in rural St. Andrew, Cross Roads and Grants Pen (at least 3 separate times) in urban St. Andrew, and Gayle in the parish of St Mary.
In Gayle, they were protesting the 6-week lack of water in their pipes. In Rural St. Andrew, they were protesting the poor conditions of the roads which are almost impassable. Not only there, but also Jamaica's world famous Blue Mountain coffee crops are in danger, because the roads are so bad, vehicles to transport the crops are unable to navigate them
But, the unrest in the other areas, has been sparked by reaction to police action. Crowds have been fired up by what they consider unwarranted arrests by police, as in the Zeke case. In one instance, it was triggered by just a routine police check.
Government officials have deplored these acts and have called on good citizens for their support This is not enough. It is obvious that the problem is a loss in public trust. Until that vital trust is restored, these problems will persist. These citizens must feel that these drastic means are the only way that they can get justice and fair consideration. About 8 years ago , I, and about 15 people, witnessed open public police brutality against a poor defenseless woman in broad daylight in Montego Bay. I dreaded to think what must have happened once they got her out of the public view. I complained immediately after to police authorities, the Daily Gleaner, high public officials by phone, letter and telegrams. They " did not even pay me bad mind". I did not hear a word from anyone. Nothing! It was 8 years ago, but have things changed? I think not.
One very positive thing is that politicians do not seem to be exploiting the situation. Desmond Hoyte, Guyana's leader of the opposition, could take a valuable lesson from this.

(from Hot Calaloo, V 7#4, Dec 1998)

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UN Votes Against US Embargo

It is now 7 years in a row. Once again the UN General Assembly voted almost unanimously against the US embargo of Cuba. This time the vote was 157 to 2. The negative votes were cast by the US and Israel. The entire Caribbean voted against the embargo. Abstentions came from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Morocco, Nepal, South Korea, Senegal, Macedonia and Uzbekistan. Unfortunately, despite the overwhelming vote, General Assembly resolutions are not enforceable, as that power lies in the exclusive UN Security Council.

Cruise Line Fined for Dumping

The worlds 2nd largest cruise line, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, has been fined US$8 million for dumping oil in the waters of Puerto Rico and Florida, and lying about it to investigators. The US Federal Court judge also put the company on legal probation for 5 years, meaning it could incur additional penalties if inspectors believe it is breaking environmental rules.
Hot Calaloo has expressed previously its great concern about the monitoring of dumping of garbage in West Indian waters by these fleet of floating hotels known as cruise ships. If they did that in American waters, it seems that a lot worse is probably done in West Indian waters, where lack of manpower and resources must make monitoring ineffective. Let us hope that this is not just the tip of a pollution iceberg building up day by day and ship by ship.

Privatisation of Sugar Flops

Deliverance was supposed to have come to the sugar industry in Jamaica in the form of privatisation. However, like the prodigal son, it grew tired of eating the husks of red ink, and after running up billions of dollars losses, has been returned to Jamaica Government hands. The Government is forced to take back this moneyloser because it is Jamaicas biggest agricultural crop and is among the greatest employer of labour in Jamaica. How many other money losing birds will come home to Government roost with taxpayer money footing these losses?
But through PWP, the Govt would share in moneymaking enterprises too.
(from Hot Calaloo, V 7#4, Dec 1998)

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NAFTA Blues for even US too

America ranchers are unhappy. The economic crisis in Asia has substantially reduced Asia's importation of beef from Canada and the US. Canada has responded by sending its beef south to its NAFTA partner the US. Consequently, these American farmers, are having a hard time competing right at home and many have gone out of business, blaming Canadian beef.
Could there be a lesson there for the Caribbean, drooling to join NAFTA? Could local manufacturers and producers suffer the same or worse fate in the Caribbean?

(from Hot Calaloo, V 7#4, Dec 1998)

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