Friday, December 31, 2010

The real reason Cannabis has been outlawed has nothing to do with its effects on the mind and body... ...MARIJUANA is NOT DANGEROUS ...Pot is NOT harmful to the human body or mind... ...Marijuana does NOT pose a threat to the general public... ...Marijuana is very much a danger to the oil companies, alcohol, tobacco industries ...and a large number of chemical corporations... ...Various big businesses, with plenty of dollars and influence, have suppressed the truth from the people

The Real Reason Hemp Is Illegal

 

From 420Magazine:




The real reason Cannabis has been outlawed has nothing to do with its effects on the mind and body. MARIJUANA is NOT DANGEROUS. Pot is NOT harmful to the human body or mind. Marijuana does NOT pose a threat to the general public. Marijuana is very much a danger to the oil companies, alcohol, tobacco industries and a large number of chemical corporations. Various big businesses, with plenty of dollars and influence, have suppressed the truth from the people.

 The truth is if marijuana was utilized for its vast array of commercial products, it would create an industrial atomic bomb! Entrepreneurs have not been educated on the product potential of pot. The super rich have conspired to spread misinformation about an extremely versatile plant that, if used properly, would ruin their companies.

Where did the word ‘marijuana’ come from? In the mid 1930s, the M-word was created to tarnish the good image and phenomenal history of the hemp plant…as you will read. The facts cited here, with references, are generally verifiable in the Encyclopedia Britannica which was printed on hemp paper for 150 years:

* All schoolbooks were made from hemp or flax paper until the 1880s; Hemp Paper Reconsidered, Jack Frazier, 1974.

* It was LEGAL TO PAY TAXES WITH HEMP in America from 1631 until the early 1800s; LA Times, Aug. 12, 1981.

* REFUSING TO GROW HEMP in America during the 17th and 18th Centuries WAS AGAINST THE LAW! You could be jailed in Virginia for refusing to grow hemp from 1763 to 1769; Hemp in Colonial Virginia, G. M. Herdon.

* George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers GREW HEMP; Washington and Jefferson Diaries. Jefferson smuggled hemp seeds from China to France then to America.

* Benjamin Franklin owned one of the first paper mills in America and it processed hemp. Also, the War of 1812 was fought over hemp. Napoleon wanted to cut off Moscow’s export to England; Emperor Wears No Clothes, Jack Herer.

* For thousands of years, 90f all ships’ sails and rope were made from hemp. The word ‘canvas’ is Dutch for cannabis; Webster’s New World Dictionary.

* 80f all textiles, fabrics, clothes, linen, drapes, bed sheets, etc. were made from hemp until the 1820s with the introduction of the cotton gin.

* The first Bibles, maps, charts, Betsy Ross’s flag, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were made from hemp; U.S. Government Archives.

* The first crop grown in many states was hemp. 1850 was a peak year for Kentucky producing 40,000 tons. Hemp was the largest cash crop until the 20th Century; State Archives.

* Oldest known records of hemp farming go back 5000 years in China, although hemp industrialization probably goes back to ancient Egypt.

* Rembrants, Gainsboroughs, Van Goghs as well as most early canvas paintings were principally painted on hemp linen.

* In 1916, the U.S. Government predicted that by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees need to be cut down. Government studies report that 1 acre of hemp equals 4.1 acres of trees. Plans were in the works to implement such programs; Department of Agriculture

* Quality paints and varnishes were made from hemp seed oil until 1937. 58,000 tons of hemp seeds were used in America for paint products in 1935; Sherman Williams Paint Co. testimony before Congress against the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act.

* Henry Ford’s first Model-T was built to run on hemp gasoline and the CAR ITSELF WAS CONTRUCTED FROM HEMP! On his large estate, Ford was photographed among his hemp fields. The car, ‘grown from the soil,’ had hemp plastic panels whose impact strength was 10 times stronger than steel; Popular Mechanics, 1941.

* Hemp called ‘Billion Dollar Crop.’ It was the first time a cash crop had a business potential to exceed a billion dollars; Popular Mechanics, Feb., 1938.

* Mechanical Engineering Magazine (Feb. 1938) published an article entitled ‘The Most Profitable and Desirable Crop that Can be Grown.’ It stated that if hemp was cultivated using 20th Century technology, it would be the single largest agricultural crop in the U.S. and the rest of the world.
The following information comes directly from the United States Department of Agriculture’s 1942 14-minute film encouraging and instructing ‘patriotic American farmers’ to grow 350,000 acres of hemp each year for the war effort:

‘…(When) Grecian temples were new, hemp was already old in the service of mankind. For thousands of years, even then, this plant had been grown for cordage and cloth in China and elsewhere in the East. For centuries prior to about 1850, all the ships that sailed the western seas were rigged with hempen rope and sails. For the sailor, no less than the hangman, hemp was indispensable…
…Now with Philippine and East Indian sources of hemp in the hands of the Japanese…American hemp must meet the needs of our Army and Navy as well as of our industries…
…the Navy’s rapidly dwindling reserves. When that is gone, American hemp will go on duty again; hemp for mooring ships; hemp for tow lines; hemp for tackle and gear; hemp for countless naval uses both on ship and shore. Just as in the days when Old Ironsides sailed the seas victorious with her hempen shrouds and hempen sails. Hemp for victory!’

Certified proof from the Library of Congress; found by the research of Jack Herer, refuting claims of other government agencies that the 1942 USDA film ‘Hemp for Victory’ did not exist.

Hemp cultivation and production do not harm the environment. The USDA Bulletin ..404 concluded that hemp produces 4 times as much pulp with at least 4 to 7 times less pollution. From Popular Mechanics, Feb. 1938:

‘It has a short growing season…It can be grown in any state…The long roots penetrate and break the soil to leave it in perfect condition for the next year’s crop. The dense shock of leaves, 8 to 12 feet above the ground, chokes out weeds.

…hemp, this new crop can add immeasurably to American agriculture and industry.’

In the 1930s, innovations in farm machinery would have caused an industrial revolution when applied to hemp. This single resource could have created millions of new jobs generating thousands of quality products. Hemp, if not made illegal, would have brought America out of the Great Depression.

William Randolph Hearst (Citizen Kane) and the Hearst Paper Manufacturing Division of Kimberly Clark owned vast acreage of timberlands. The Hearst Company supplied most paper products. Patty Hearst’s grandfather, a destroyer of nature for his own personal profit, stood to lose billions because of hemp.

In 1937, Dupont patented the processes to make plastics from oil and coal. Dupont’s Annual Report urged stockholders to invest in its new petrochemical division. Synthetics such as plastics, cellophane, celluloid, methanol, nylon, rayon, Dacron, etc., could now be made from oil. Natural hemp industrialization would have ruined over 80f Dupont’s business.

THE CONSPIRACY

Andrew Mellon became Hoover’s Secretary of the Treasury and Dupont’s primary investor. He appointed his future nephew-in-law, Harry J. Anslinger, to head the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
Secret meetings were held by these financial tycoons. Hemp was declared dangerous and a threat to their billion dollar enterprises. For their dynasties to remain intact, hemp had to go. These men took an obscure Mexican slang word: ‘marihuana’ and pushed it into the consciousness of America.

MEDIA MANIPULATION

A media blitz of ‘yellow journalism’ raged in the late 1920s and 1930s. Hearst’s newspapers ran stories emphasizing the horrors of marihuana. The menace of marihuana made headlines. Readers learned that it was responsible for everything from car accidents to loose morality.

Films like ‘Reefer Madness’ (1936), ‘Marihuana: Assassin of Youth’ (1935) and ‘Marihuana: The Devil’s Weed’ (1936) were propaganda designed by these industrialists to create an enemy. Their purpose was to gain public support so that anti-marihuana laws could be passed.

Examine the following quotes from ‘The Burning Question’ aka REEFER MADNESS:
a violent narcotic.
acts of shocking violence.
incurable insanity.
soul-destroying effects.
under the influence of the drug he killed his entire family with an ax.
more vicious, more deadly even than these soul-destroying drugs (heroin, cocaine) is the menace of marihuana!

Reefer Madness did not end with the usual ‘the end.’ The film concluded with these words plastered on the screen: TELL YOUR CHILDREN.

In the 1930s, people were very naive; even to the point of ignorance. The masses were like sheep waiting to be led by the few in power. They did not challenge authority. If the news was in print or on the radio, they believed it had to be true. They told their children and their children grew up to be the parents of the baby-boomers.

On April 14, 1937, the Prohibitive Marihuana Tax Law or the bill that outlawed hemp was directly brought to the House Ways and Means Committee. This committee is the only one that can introduce a bill to the House floor without it being debated by other committees. The Chairman of the Ways and Means, Robert Doughton, was a Dupont supporter. He insured that the bill would pass Congress.

Dr. James Woodward, a physician and attorney, testified too late on behalf of the American Medical Association. He told the committee that the reason the AMA had not denounced the Marihuana Tax Law sooner was that the Association had just discovered that marihuana was hemp.

Few people, at the time, realized that the deadly menace they had been reading about on Hearst’s front pages was in fact passive hemp. The AMA understood cannabis to be a MEDICINE found in numerous healing products sold over the last hundred years.

In September of 1937, hemp became illegal. The most useful crop known became a drug and our planet has been suffering ever since.

Congress banned hemp because it was said to be the most violence-causing drug known. Anslinger, head of the Drug Commission for 31 years, promoted the idea that marihuana made users act extremely violent. In the 1950s, under the Communist threat of McCarthyism, Anslinger now said the exact opposite. Marijuana will pacify you so much that soldiers would not want to fight.

Today, our planet is in desperate trouble. Earth is suffocating as large tracts of rain forests disappear. Pollution, poisons and chemicals are killing people. These great problems could be reversed if we industrialized hemp. Natural biomass could provide all of the planet’s energy needs that are currently supplied by fossil fuels. We have consumed 80f our oil and gas reserves. We need a renewable resource.

Hemp could be the solution to soaring gas prices.

THE WONDER PLANT

Hemp has a higher quality fiber than wood fiber. Far fewer caustic chemicals are required to make paper from hemp than from trees. Hemp paper does not turn yellow and is very durable. The plant grows quickly to maturity in a season where trees take a lifetime.

ALL PLASTIC PRODUCTS SHOULD BE MADE FROM HEMP SEED OIL. Hempen plastics are biodegradable! Over time, they would break down and not harm the environment. Oil-based plastics, the ones we are very familiar with, help ruin nature; they do not break down and will do great harm in the future. The process to produce the vast array of natural (hempen) plastics will not ruin the rivers as Dupont and other petrochemical companies have done. Ecology does not fit in with the plans of the Oil Industry and the political machine. Hemp products are safe and natural.

MEDICINES SHOULD BE MADE FROM HEMP. We should go back to the days when the AMA supported cannabis cures. ‘Medical Marijuana’ is given out legally to only a handful of people while the rest of us are forced into a system that relies on chemicals. Pot is only healthy for the human body.

WORLD HUNGER COULD END. A large variety of food products can be generated from hemp. The seeds contain one of the highest sources of protein in nature. ALSO: They have two essential fatty acids that clean your body of cholesterol. These essential fatty acids are not found anywhere else in nature! Consuming pot seeds is the best thing you could do for your body. Eat uncooked hemp seeds.

CLOTHES SHOULD BE MADE FROM HEMP. Hemp clothing is extremely strong and durable over time. You could hand clothing, made from pot, down to your grandchildren. Today, there are American companies that make hemp clothing; usually 50emp. Hemp fabrics should be everywhere. Instead, they are almost underground. Superior hemp products are not allowed to advertise on fascist television. Kentucky, once the top hemp producing state, made it ILLEGAL TO WEAR hemp clothing! Can you imagine being thrown into jail for wearing quality jeans?

The world is crazy…but that does not mean you have to join the insanity. Get together. Spread the news. Tell people, and that includes your children, the truth. Use hemp products. Eliminate the word ‘marijuana.’ Realize the history that created it. Make it politically incorrect to say or print the M-word. Fight against the propaganda (designed to favor the agenda of the super rich) and the bullshit. Hemp must be utilized in the future. We need a clean energy source to save our planet. INDUSTRIALIZE HEMP!

The liquor, tobacco and oil companies fund more than a million dollars a day to Partnership for a Drug-Free America and other similar agencies. We have all seen their commercials. Now, their motto is: It’s more dangerous than we thought. Lies from the powerful corporations, that began with Hearst, are still alive and well today.

The brainwashing continues. Now, the commercials say: If you buy a joint, you contribute to murders and gang wars. The latest anti-pot commercials say: If you buy a joint…you are promoting TERRORISM! The new enemy (terrorism) has paved the road to brainwash you any way THEY see fit.

There is only one enemy; the friendly people you pay your taxes to; the war-makers and nature destroyers. With your funding, they are killing the world right in front of your eyes. HALF A MILLION DEATHS EACH YEAR ARE CAUSED BY TOBACCO. HALF A MILLION DEATHS EACH YEAR ARE CAUSED BY ALCOHOL. NO ONE HAS EVER, EVER DIED FROM SMOKING POT!! In the entire history of the human race, not one death can be attributed to cannabis. Our society has outlawed grass but condones the use of the KILLERS: TOBACCO and ALCOHOL. Hemp should be declassified and placed in DRUG stores to relieve stress. Hardening and constriction of the arteries are bad; but hemp usage actually enlarges the arteries…which is a healthy condition. We have been so conditioned to think that: Smoking is harmful. That is NOT the case for passive pot.

Ingesting THC, hemp’s active agent, has a positive effect; relieving asthma and glaucoma. A joint tends to alleviate the nausea caused by chemotherapy. You are able to eat on hemp. This is a healthy state of being.
The stereotype for a pothead is similar to a drunk, bubble-brain. Yet, the truth is ones creative abilities can be enhanced under its influence. The perception of time slightly slows and one can become more sensitive.

You can more appreciate all arts; be closer to nature and generally FEEL more under the influence of cannabis. It is, in fact, the exact opposite state of mind and body as the drunken state. You can be more aware with pot.

The pot plant is an ALIEN plant. There is physical evidence that cannabis is not like any other plant on this planet. One could conclude that it was brought here for the benefit of humanity. Hemp is the ONLY plant where the males appear one way and the females appear very different, physically! No one ever speaks of males and females in regard to the plant kingdom because plants do not show their sexes; except for cannabis. To determine what sex a certain, normal, Earthly plant is: You have to look internally, at its DNA. A male blade of grass (physically) looks exactly like a female blade of grass. The hemp plant has an intense sexuallity. Growers know to kill the males before they fertilize the females. Yes, folks…the most potent pot comes from ‘horny females.’

The reason this amazing, very sophisticated, ET plant from the future is illegal has nothing to do with how it physically affects us.

POT IS ILLEGAL BECAUSE BILLIONAIRES WANT IT THAT WAY!!!

by Doug Yurchey

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bahamas: Tracing the root of crime and murder in the Bahamian society

Tracing the root of a problem
thenassauguardian editorial


As the year 2010 comes to a close and as one reflects on all that the year had to offer, it’s hard to ignore the major problem that has affected the Bahamian society not just during 2010, but for the past few years.
That is the issue of crime and murder.

Like Rudolph’s red nose, the issues beam brightly, making them hard to ignore.

With over 90 murders recorded thus far for the year, already the country has set a new record in the amount of homicides within one year. And to think that there are still one more day to go before the end of the year. But even if the count does not reach 100, there is still nothing to celebrate, for already we have passed the mark.

As Bahamians look forward to 2011, they cannot help but wonder what the new year holds as far as crime is concerned. Will this new record of homicides committed in 2010 be broken again in 2011?

These once quiet island communities that were the envy and jewel of the Caribbean have now become a prison of fear for most Bahamians, as they listen to the murder count rise with each passing week.

The high rate of crime is evidence that all of the programs that have been put in place, and those that are being activated, are not having the kind of impact those who created them hoped they would have.

While some of the youth programs are having some positive impact, the effects are minimal and slow in taking place. Perhaps it seems that way because the news about crime becomes the main focus.

But the numbers speak for themselves.

The government is stumped about what exactly to do about crime in the country. They’ve watched most of the programs they’ve implemented fail and now they are between a rock and a hard place on what to do next.

The new murder record serves as a reminder of what 2010 was like and a grim prospect of what 2011 holds.

If the high murder rate and the increase in crime in the country is allowed to continue at the rate it has, eventually it will become more than just a big deal.

Like a former chief justice pointed out in a recent interview, crime will eventually affect everything within the country, including tourism and politics. If the government cannot get a handle on crime there will be no more Bahamas as we know it.

As the government, the police and all of the authorities necessary put their heads together to find solutions to crime, perhaps the best thing to do is find the cause.

Putting up Christmas lights brings an idea to mind. When a string of lights refuses to blink on, the only way to make them work is to find the one bulb that may be blown. In order to do that it may mean having to trace all of the wires to find the problem.

That is what needs to be done to get a handle on crime, trace the underlying reasons and causes for crime and begin there. With so many studies that have been done, perhaps now is the time to begin tracing the most immediate causes and begin the campaign to fight crime there.

The bottom line is unless something substantial is done to deal with the crime problem in this country, 2011, 2012 and the years that follow will only promise an even deeper spiral downward.

12/30/2010

thenassauguardian editorial

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Shantytowns are a major problem in The Bahamas

Addressing the shantytown problem
thenassauguardian editorial


Tragedy hit a Haitian community in the Carmichael Road area on Sunday. A large part of a shantytown burned down, destroying more than 100 houses. Hundreds may now be homeless.

Shantytowns are a major problem in The Bahamas. In 2009, then Minister of State for Immigration Branville McCartney said that 37 shantytowns had been identified in New Providence alone.

With houses having been built too close together; with some homes being powered by stolen electricity connected by low hanging wires; and with large communities with inadequate or no sewerage systems, these shantytowns are public health hazards.

For some reason, especially in New Providence, the agencies of the government responsible for policing this problem have failed.

More aggressive action on this problem is needed in 2011 for the sake of the Haitians living in shantytowns and for the Bahamians who live nearby.

When proper sanitation and safety protocols are not followed, mass tragedy could ensue from fire or disease. Sunday’s fire could have led to the deaths of hundreds.

For the Bahamians who live near shantytowns, their property values are reduced because of the unsanitary communities next door. This is unfair to hardworking, honest citizens of the country.

The problem is, in part, that governments of The Bahamas have been unable to regulate effectively the flow of people from the failed Haitian state. Those looking for a better life have just set up communities on any vacant land.

Once the illegal structures are built, for humanitarian reasons, it is hard to destroy them. Where do you send the poor and stateless once their homes are removed?

We must not let genuine concern for our brothers and sisters from the south to overrule commonsense, however. Illegally built shantytowns need to be removed.

Those migrating to The Bahamas must find legal and safe accommodation. We cannot continue to ignore this problem. It is a matter of law, order and public safety.

No one in this country should be allowed to ignore public health and town planning regulations. The laws exist to keep us safe and to protect property rights.

The government just decided to enforce the seatbelt laws, which were originally enacted in 2002. It should next move to rigorously enforce the public health and property laws being violated by many who reside in shantytowns across the country.

12/29/2010

thenassauguardian editorial

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Deconstructing the Haitian political crisis

By Jean Herve Charles



The Republic of Haiti is at a stalemate. A national election took place on November 28, 2010. It was encrusted with so much irregularity, government-led violence and polling manipulation, including international mishap and corruption, that the final results cannot be proclaimed. One of the most popular candidates, Joseph Michel Martelly, was relegated to the third place, denying him the right to a second round of balloting.

Jean H Charles MSW, JD is Executive Director of AINDOH Inc a non profit organization dedicated to building a kinder and gentle Caribbean zone for all. He can be reached at: jeanhcharles@aol.com 
There was rioting, and protests all over the country. The candidates, the pundits and the electoral board as well as the international community are all shooting at each other, diverse formulas to redress this gross disrespect for the sacred principle of democracy, which is the right of the people to choose their own leader without interference.

Haiti, as most third world countries, is familiar with the strength of a long hand (national and/or international) that manipulates the electoral transition to ensure that political stability is equal to or tantamount to the status quo.

There was an election recently in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The people of St Vincent at home and abroad for the past five years in the media and out loud have cried out against the arrogance and the ill advised policies of their government. Yet at election time, the same Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves has been returned to power for the next five years, albeit with a slim majority.

Rene Preval, after two five-year, non consecutive mandates has led the Republic of Haiti with a desinvolture so pregnant with ineptness that all types of catastrophes are falling to his people, inundation with landslides, earthquakes with disastrous consequences, rampant disease such as cholera, causing thousands of deaths and immense hospitalization. Yet his slogan of political stability is translated into using all the state and international resources to put his own son-in-law into power to continue the culture of keeping Haiti in the state of squalor.

My eureka in the process of the deconstruction of the national and international link of the Haitian political crisis started in September 2009 at the Clinton Global Conference in New York. I was hobnobbing with world leaders when a personal friend introduced me to the mighty and the powerful of this earth as the next head of state of Haiti. One of them took my friend on the side and told her, “Do not listen to this lad; the next president of Haiti will be the wife of President Preval!” President Preval was not married yet to his present wife; the wedding took place in December 2009.

In the meantime, God himself got into the fray! A powerful earthquake on January 12, 2010 shook the land under the capital, Port au Prince, destroying most of the governmental buildings and killing more than 300,000 people. A plan B was designed by President Rene Preval. He would incubate the former Prime Minister Alexis as his successor. Alexis had a good following amongst the legislators, but he was decried by the people as a poor policymaker when they forced him out during the first stage of food riots that would circle the whole globe in 2008.

This choice was secretly endorsed by the international community. The American Democrat Party was ready to lend its best technicians in campaign practices to the Unity Party. I had no information or knowledge about the preferred candidate of the Republican Party.

At a conference organized by the OAS in Washington for the Haitian Diaspora to participate in the reconstruction of Haiti, I was warned by one of the operatives that my intrusion into Haitian politics was not welcome, Alexis was their man!

CARICOM, through their associate director Colin Granderson, was proposed and accepted to anoint, supervise, tabulate and give credence to the gross organized deception that the Haitian people have called a selection not an election. CARICOM has no funding for such operation.

Another plan was devised to have the American government and the American taxpayer pay for the macabre exercise. It did so to the scale of 12 million dollars, with no strings attach, with Mr Granderson doling out the dollars at his choice under the pretext of international observation.

Elizabeth Delatour Preval has other plans; she does not get along with Frederika Alexis, a strong willed lady in her own right. The reigning First Lady will not accept that the aspiring first lady occupies the National Palace. She put her veto to the choice. President Preval had to come up with option C. Jude Celestin, his aspiring son in law, was the nominee of the brand new party, Unity, reconstructed overnight as the Senate and the assembly deserted the president in his choice.

Massive resources of the national treasury brought some of them in line; Jude Celestin had an open checkbook to plaster the country with posters and giant billboards. His credentials for the top job of the nation has been honed by the president who created the CNE (outside of the governmental scrutiny) to build roads and provide national sanitation. He was also in charge of collecting the bodies after the earthquake.

The people of Haiti have decided to grant a failing grade to the Preval government that exhibited any constructive leadership under the lowest standard of good governance during the last five years. The balloting of November 28, 2010 reflected that evaluation.

Yet, through national and international connivance, (OAS, CARICOM and the Canadian expert in charge of the tabulation) a massive fraud was concocted to position the candidate of the government as eligible for a second balloting.

The people of Haiti as one have stood up to stop this gross violation of their rights. The political crisis has since been in full force. The Haitian Constitution has provision for such a crisis. A new government must be in place on February 7, 2011 to replace the Preval administration. In his spirit of callousness, he has avoided during the last five years to name a chief of the Supreme Court who by law would be named the next chief of state in case of political stalemate.

The Constitution foresees also the investiture of the oldest judge of the Supreme Court as president in case the chief judge is not available. The Haitian civil society, the international community, the political parties will agree to nominate a prime minister who will organize a government in the spirit of the Constitution to organize new elections and lead the transitional reconstruction of the country.

The people of Haiti have exhibited, according to the Wall Street Journal, a saintly patience and resilience during the successive waves of national trauma. Haiti is not St Vincent and the Grenadines; its patience with an arrogant and inept leader, unwilling and unable to hear and empathize with its suffering, is not without limit!

Stay tuned next week for an essay: One year after, taking stock of the Haitian situation: Building Corail or rebuilding Haiti!

December 25, 2010

caribbeannewsnow

Friday, December 24, 2010

HURRICANE ANNA NICOLE WREAKS HAVOC IN THE BAHAMAS

Rough Cut
By Felix F. Bethel

“…cry havoc…”

Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 15:15

SUBJECT: HURRICANE ANNA NICOLE WREAKS HAVOC IN THE BAHAMAS

This cable describes how an eventful residency by the late model Anna Nicole Smith left several key institutions in the Bahamas in disarray and even managed to reinvigorate the country's media.

SUMMARY: Several months into her Bahamian residency, American B-list celebrity and regular entertainment television fixture Anna Nicole Smith has changed the face of Bahamian politics.

1. Not since Category 4 Hurricane Betsy made landfall in 1965 has one woman done as much damage in Nassau. Lying in disarray in her wake are Doctor's Hospital, the Coroner's Court, the Department of Immigration, local mega-lawyers Callenders and Co., formerly popular Minister of Immigration Shane Gibson, and possibly Prime Minister Christie's PLP government.

2. At the eye of a series of scandals over her Bahamian residency application and the death of her son, Anna Nicole has inspired a revitalized Bahamian media to take aim at a system that too often rewards the privileged….”


With this –then –as background; I speak of havoc and shame and rot and corruption to the core in this land that is mine.

Welcome to a corrupted, cruel place; a place where greed, slime and crime routinely cavort.

Take note that, with Christmas lurking in the shadows; and with my pocket as tight as ever –and with some of my children far, far away in countries far away from these troubled shores - I have today decided to take a kind of break from thinking about love affairs; my own creeping decrepitude – or for that matter, about Out East and the old days when I grew up young and green in one of yesterday’s fetid nigger-yards.

Happily, the break I take is liberally assisted by information coming my way from somewhere out-there in Cyber-Space; that same space that has allowed so very many Negroes to take a chance on losing even more of their hard-earned money to the magicians who own the so-called Web-Shops.

And so, the break I take concerns information purportedly coming from the United States Embassy; information involving some of this land’s most prominent citizens; and for sure, information that mesmerizes.

And since, I still remember what happened to Rodney Smith in the aftermath of his decision to rip off a speech made by John Sexton; I have decided to tell you [up-front and direct] that the words I quote are not mine.

1. The Anna Nicole affair has severely damaged Shane Gibson's political career, tarnishing one of the PLP's brighter stars. It also killed the Coroner's Court and may lead to changes in the laws allowing foreign property owners to obtain Bahamian residency.

2. Whether the scandals also determine the fate of the PLP in coming elections is still to be seen, but a newly energized media holding the government accountable will almost certainly make the campaign more difficult for the incumbent party. END COMMENT. ROOD

3. In Anna Nicole's wide swath of destruction, one entity has flourished -- the Bahamian media. At Post's quarterly media reception in October, a newspaper editor gushed about the increase in sales on days when Anna Nicole coverage is featured.

4. Not since Wallace Simpson dethroned a King and came to Nassau has an American femme fatale so captivated the Bahamian public and dominated local politics.

5. On August 11, Anna Nicole Smith filed for legal residency in The Bahamas as a result of her alleged ownership of a local home, pursuant to local immigration law permitting residence for persons owning homes of $500,000 or more. In September, the application was granted and Anna Nicole allegedly provided a $10,000 check directly to Immigration Minister Gibson at a meeting at her home.

6. According to Anna Nicole, Minister Gibson personally approved her residency permit on September 20. In response to concern over the timing of the approval -- residency approval typically takes years in the Bahamas -- Gibson and PM Christie sought to reassure the public. They said that Anna Nicole was treated as any other applicant, noting glibly that the Ministry of Immigration should not be criticized for "improved efficiencies in government for which it deserves praise."

7. (SBU) Gibson's protestations of distance with the matter were shattered by a prominent local law firm and a local gossip publication. Callenders and Co., the law firm that handled Anna's home purchase and residency application, said it delivered a $10,000 check from Anna Nicole directly to Gibson at Anna Nicole's residence, and that it communicated to Anna Nicole repeatedly on Minister Gibson's government cell phone.

8. The resulting public furor over Gibson's favoritism has been strong. Before Anna Nicole came to Nassau, Minister of Immigration Gibson enjoyed strong public support as a result of his aggressive anti-immigrant policies. His midnight raids of Haitian communities and restriction of residency options for Haitians was widely applauded by a Bahamian public fearful of losing Bahamian opportunities to illegal immigrants. The Anna Nicole scandal has recast Gibson as puppet of the privileged rather than defender of the common people of The Bahamas.

9. In response to the public outcry and mounting calls for Gibson's resignation, the Government promised a review of procedures in the Department of Immigration at the same time it fired back at Callenders and Co. for its role in the affair -- tactics that have brought criticism to others but have not helped turn the tide of public opinion.

10. During a November meeting with Poloff, an opposition Free National Movement Central Committee member gleefully reported polling in Gibson's parliament district foretold a clear FNM victory in coming elections. Local newspaper and radio feedback on Gibson has been brutal.

11. Even in the normally friendly Bahama Journal, Christie and Gibson have been roasted and a poll of the Journal's largely PLP readership showed 90% disapproval with Government handling of Anna Nicole.

11. At the heart of Gibson's problems is the fact that Anna Nicole received residency in a matter of days, when the process normally takes many months or years. His reported direct receipt of the $10,000 check for residency represents another flagrant violation of the normal process, leading to bitter denunciations of the whole process by which residency is granted to persons for buying property here.

12. Gibson and the PLP have not been the only victims of Hurricane Anna Nicole. Following the death of her son in Nassau's Doctor's Hospital on September 10, international media descended upon Doctor's Hospital, which carefully guarded Anna Nicole's privacy in the face of heavy criticism.

13. The quality of care at Doctor's came under fire for its treatment -- or more pointedly its complete lack of treatment -- of Anna Nicole's son while in Doctor's. For the record, Doctor's Hospital is regarded as the finest medical institution in the country and has enjoyed an excellent reputation among the expatriate community.

14. The criticism of the hospital was nothing compared to the criticism of the Bahamas Coroner's Court. The Court, which served to review death cases and determine cause, was under heavy fire for its inability -- or unwillingness -- to provide a cause of death for Anna Nicole's son.

16. It had yet to issue a statement when a US pathologist issued a report concluding that a toxic cocktail of drugs caused the death, leading to speculation that the government was protecting Anna Nicole from embarrassment by delaying its findings.

17. Before the Coroner's Court concluded its inquest, the government disbanded the inefficient Court and fired the Coroner…

There was even more, but suffice it to say – even now- I cry havoc at what the flunkies, lackeys, blood-suckers and pimps have made of this land that is mine.

Merry Christmas to all-a-yinna from Bettul.

December 23, 2010

The Bahama Journal

Thursday, December 23, 2010

WikiLeaks, wiretapping and democracy

By Rebecca Theodore


All eras contain words that more or less accurately define them. There is very little doubt, in my opinion, that democracy and national security are the words that characterize our present time. Democracy is an internal form of government within states and gives the power of the government to the people.

National security, on the other hand, maintains the survival of the nation state through the use of economic, military and political power and the exercise of diplomacy. However, the trend appears to be moving towards a new communication revolution, leaving critics in contemplation as to whether it is an obvious good and positive sign.

Rebecca Theodore was born on the north coast of the Caribbean island of Dominica and resides in Toronto, Canada. A national security and political columnist, she holds a BA and MA in Philosophy. She can be reached at rebethd@aim.comIf democracy is a government that includes the right to free press, and allows for individualism and freedom of opinion among its citizens, then democracy’s natural place is civil society, as it interprets democracy more as a civic culture of association, participation and mobilization.

To state, as Kamla Persad Bissessar has done, that “the SIA's wiretapping operations in Trinidad and Tobago without the people’s consent is contrary to democracy, is representative of dictatorship and illustrate the dark and sinister side of any government,” ignores the fact that there must be a useful criticism of democracy in a constructive way, which is something the system needs in order to keep growing to produce an honest transmission of the truth.

Government diplomats and high ranking government authorities, who knowingly tell lies to influence serious events, and who misrepresent the trust and honour given to them as public servants, threaten the very process of democracy because, to start with, democracy was born out of the reality of res publica, public issues, or public life.

If we are going to evolve within the realms of democracy, then we should start by acknowledging that our interest in public life and common good is a long way from that of the fathers of democracy, as everything seems to be shrouded in private life rather than public life. Today, our current democracy is much different from the Athenian model, which was concerned with knowledge, wisdom, debate, and discussion and possessed a civic culture that we just simply lack. Citizens actively participated in the public life of the polis -- thus the origin of the word politics.

Not only do I join the chorus with Texas congressman and former presidential candidate Ron Paul on the WikiLeaks debacle that in “a free society we are supposed to know the truth and if truth becomes treason, then we are in big trouble,” but also share the thoughts of social scientist Alexis de Tocqueville in evaluating human society, as he provides us with a simple, clarifying, and thought-provoking parameter that the future of humankind is linked to democratic society and not to aristocratic society.

Democratic society promotes the level of human development, emphasizes individualism and the pursuit of personal happiness. Since it favours equality before freedom, a democratic society favours public sector expansion, which will provide government with the resources it needs to equalize conditions between classes or income. Ministers of government, members of the judiciary, trade unionists, editors, journalists and businessmen are not all that constitute the people. Everyone should be involved in the decision making process.

In the court of public opinion, the alleged actions of former prime minister of Trinidad, Patrick Manning, and WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange are drowned in a sea of terrorism and dictatorship, whereas if we examine the dubious coin carefully, we will at once notice that they have made the Caribbean and the world a better place for democracy.

It is important to understand that spying on law-abiding citizens, under the guise of battling crime and ensuring national security, is something that has been happening all the time. How doomed could we have been to the Owellian drama? It just got out of control in Trinidad and Tobago.

On the other hand, Assange’s imprisonment for publicizing secret cables, exposing crimes and conspiracies carried out by US officials is nothing more than a psychological protective mechanism loaded with political overtones. There is no evidence that either Mr Assange or Mr Manning committed a crime in Australia the US or Trinidad and Tobago.

The wiretapping and WikiLeaks has not comprised the national security of Trinidad and Tobago or the US because the public right to know should not be censored. If the debates over the wiretapping and WikiLeaks are about the role of secrecy then, while most world governments would argue that they must be allowed to conduct their dealings with a certain amount of secrecy, it is my contention that full transparency is also a better way to cure the ails of a democratic society as it determines who the biggest law-breakers are and also encourages democracy in the public interest.

It cannot be doubted that the advancement of new technological changes emboldens civil society with ways to act in which our forefathers could not and this might very well be a new challenge in information technology. As to whether the instigators of the wiretapping and Mr Assange have boldly gone where no one has gone before, it is clear that they have empowered conspirators with new means to conspire a new wave of literacy and trigger a communications revolution regardless of Trinidad and Tobago’s Communications Bill 2010 or Assange’s imprisonment.

One way or another, the communications revolution is upon us. It has already exploded and the only real question is whether we will realize it in time to stop another WikiLeaks controversy or another wiretapping saga.

Richard Holbrooke in Foreign Policy has admitted “The chances of catastrophe grow as organizations grow in number and in size and internal communications become more time-consuming, less intelligible, and less controllable...” Hence, we must be prepared for the coming of the communications revolution.

December 22, 2010

caribbeannewsnow

Monday, December 20, 2010

Caribbean narco-triangle: The US-Cuba-Jamaica connection

By Norman Girvan


Among the most fascinating documents to come out of the WikiLeaks revelations is a cable allegedly sent by the head of the US Interests Section in Havana, Jonathan Farrar, on August 11, 2009.

The document is a virtual diplomatic bombshell. It could prove a source of embarrassment to all three governments concerned—the US, the Cuban and the Jamaican.

Norman Girvan is Professorial Research Fellow at the UWI Graduate Institute of International Relations at the University of the West Indies in St Augustine, TrinidadThe Americans are believed to have made determined efforts to keep the WikiLeaks cables out of the regional media, especially those originating in their Caribbean embassies. The content of the despatch, however, has been splashed all over the Jamaican media.

In Jamaica’s domestic politics, it will be another embarrassment for the Bruce Golding-led Administration, whose credibility in fighting narco-trafficking is already on the line. Earlier this year there was a huge uproar of the government’s reluctance to extradite to the US an alleged drug lord entrenched in the Prime Minister’s own political constituency, with strong ties to the ruling Jamaica Labour Party. The Opposition People’s National Party has already weighed in on this point.

The cable details a number of instances where the Cuban anti-drug police and Ministry of Interior officials report a less than enthusiastic response from the Jamaican authorities to their appeals for cooperation in stemming the use of Cuban airspace and territorial waters for shipments of narcotics -- notably marijuana -- from Jamaica.

Jamaica’s Minister of National Security has angrily denounced the accusations of non-cooperation. According to the published report, however, he did not deny that the specific incidents mentioned in the leaked cable actually took place.

For the US authorities, the implications of the content of the cable are intriguing.

Cuba has been consistently demonised by US government officials and media, to the point where it has been officially designated as a state that sponsors terrorism.

Yet the U.S. Coast Guard Drug Interdiction Specialist assigned to the U.S. Interests Section in Havana is reported as having had multiple meetings and conversations with Cuban Ministry of Interior officials over a period up to August 2009.

The contact included a two-day trip to Camaguey, where the senior US official received a briefing on a Jamaican drug flight en route to the Bahamas which had to make an emergency landing. The crew of three were in detention by the Cubans.

US officials held individual and collective conversations with up to 15 officials of Cuba’s Interior Ministry, including on provincial trips outside of Havana. US officials appear to have been granted generous official and physical access to Cuba.

A recurring complaint of the Cubans was lack of Jamaican cooperation in information sharing. On one occasion a meeting was arranged between Cuban and Jamaican anti-narcotics officials. The meeting was reportedly arranged by the UK Defence Attaché and held on a British naval vessel assigned to drug interdiction duties, which was then in the Port of Havana. The cable says that at the meeting, the Jamaican officials “just sat there and didn’t say anything”.

On another occasion in May 2009, the Cuban Border Guard, acting on real-time information supplied by the Americans, intercepted a Jamaican go-fast vessel and seized 700 kg of Jamaican marijuana. This operation is actually referred to as a “joint-interdiction”.

Joint interdiction? The US and Cuba? Is this the terrorist state that poses a threat to the national security of the United States?

(A separately leaked memorandum recently published in the United States shows US military strategists expressing grave concern about US security should there be a ‘regime change’ in Cuba. One can now see why. To begin with, the kind of cooperation now taking place could not be counted on.)

Cuba, with one of longest coastlines in the island Caribbean, has probably the best system of coastal border security in the region.

The reason is straightforward. The island has lived for the past 50 years under constant threat of invasion from the United States. The Cubans never let their guard down.

There is considerable irony that it is this very system that is now proving to be an asset in protecting the security of the US against narco-trafficking.

As far as the Cubans are concerned, the revelations in the cable are a double-edged sword.

The Cuban government has always maintained that it is utterly opposed to narco-trafficking; and does everything in its power to prevent the use of Cuba for the trade and to cooperate with the US authorities.

The US does not deny this. But the extent and intimacy of the cooperation may surprise many in both countries. To that degree, the revelations are unlikely to harm Cuba.

There may be some, embarrassment, however, in its relations with the Jamaican government, which have in recent years been very cordial.

Just recently (December 8), Cuba-CARICOM day was simultaneously celebrated in Havana and in several CARICOM capitals with diplomatic receptions and speeches.

To be seen to be complaining to the US -- presumably in the hope that US pressure on Jamaica would succeed where Cuban pressure had not -- might not fit the image of friendship that Cuba has so carefully cultivated over the years.

Still, if the facts reported in the US cable are true, the Cuban frustration is understandable.

Why take the rap from the US for Jamaica’s inaction, especially when the stakes for Cuba are so high?

As for this coming to light, the Cubans have the perfect response.

Don’t blame us, blame WikiLeaks.

December 20, 2010

caribbeannewsnow

Saturday, December 18, 2010

With friends like the UN, OAS and CARICOM, the Republic of Haiti needs no enemies!

By Jean Herve Charles


The Republic of Haiti was present at the baptismal fountain at the creation of the United Nations in 1946. Its active and diligent diplomacy facilitated the emergence of several countries from colonialism or occupation to nationhood -- we can mention amongst others Libya, Ethiopia, Belgium and Israel as the direct beneficiaries of Haiti’s international leadership.

The Human Rights Charter was drafted by none other than the Haitian delegate Mr Emile St Lot, the Rapporteur of the 3rd Commission of the 94th Session.

Jean H Charles MSW, JD is Executive Director of AINDOH Inc a non profit organization dedicated to building a kinder and gentle Caribbean zone for all. He can be reached at: jeanhcharles@aol.com 
Yet, in 1957, some ten years later, when the Duvalier dictatorship established its grip into the country, the UN did not come as a friend to help Haiti liberate itself from that repression, instead it spirited to Africa the best minds of the nation (those who could have forced a change of the status quo) for a nation building project in the Congo as that nation was emerging from its colonial status.

Those Haitian doctors, lawyers and teachers did such an efficient job in helping the Congolese to become nation builders that they were soon declared persona non grata by the same UN that cancelled their contracts. From there, the Haitian pioneers went to Quebec, Canada, where they helped the land of Cartier to become fully developed. They went also to the United States where they established themselves in Flatlands and Flatbush, New York, renovating and stabilizing the neighborhoods fled in haste by the Italians and the Jews.

In the meantime, in Haiti, successive governments, whether dictatorship, militarism or populism, have continued to engulf Haiti into an abyss where a return to the homeland could not be organized.

Against the good advice of learned veterans of the UN operation overseas, not to invite the UN into your country -- “the UN does not leave a country, once it has been invited in; nor the fate of that country will be improved” -- the government of Ertha Pascal Trouillot introduced the UN into Haiti to supervise the election.

The UN has managed since to remain in the country under different acronyms for the past twenty years. It is now under MINUSTHA -- a mammoth operation involving more than seventy countries.

With no concern for the environmental impact, MINUSTHA has flooded the Haitian capital with cars and other vehicles going and coming to and from no specific destination, with no specific purpose. The real concerns of the country in food and personal security, political stability and social integration have remained unattended. Yet the UN has stated as its purpose: “to be a critical factor in the consolidation of social peace stability and the rule of law in Haiti”.

Mr Edmond Mulet, the UN resident, has monitored against the advice of the Haitian civil society an election flawed in its conception and unacceptable in its final delivery. When the Haitian masses went on a rampage to manifest their anger at the outcome of the election that does not reflect the popular vote, the UN retreated to its barracks instead of protecting life and limb.

The lowest rank of the MINUSTHA professional draws a tax free salary of $81,508 per year while the senior staff commands a minimum of $166,475 annually.

To add insult to injuries, the French scientists have just proven that the UN Nepalese contingent was indeed the carrier of the cholera germ into Haiti, killing 3,000 people, sending 40.000 to hospitals and exposing the entire nation to the contagion.

The only compensation that Haiti may derive from the UN experience will be to benefit at the UN departure, of the war equipment, the cars and the trucks brought into Haiti, for the building of the country’s own army in the future. Haiti will need, though, a responsible and nationalist government to negotiate such an important and sensitive deal!

The UN stabilization force has not been a positive experience in the rest of the world either. After forty -- 40 -- years of regretful engagement in the Congo, the UN has been disinvited from that country.

President George W. Bush did try to reorganize the UN to make it more relevant to the pressing needs of the world poor, but Mr. Bush engulfed himself prematurely and regretfully in Iraq, compromising his credibility and aborting the American-led UN reorganization project. Le Monde, the French newspaper has recently described Haiti as the Waterloo of the UN Stabilization force!

May it rest in peace for the emergence of an effective UN nation-building force that will help poor nations of the world to educate their citizens, rebuild their infrastructure and create relevant institutions for their people!

The Haitian experience with the OAS and CARICOM has not been any better. Bundled together for the first time and only in Haiti, the joint operation was commissioned by the Preval government to supervise, monitor and tabulate the result of the election. The United States has offered a purse of 12 million dollars for the operation. The coffer was handed to a veteran of Haitian Affairs, Colin Granderson, who enforced the OAS imposed embargo that destroyed the flora and the Haitian economy some fifteen years ago.

He is now pushing the Haitian political crisis to another abyss. Mr Granderson, back in Haiti, embedded with the predatory Haitian government, is at the heart of the tabulation that provided the contested figures in the last election. He has been described as an opportunist chameleon who sought to sleep with the military when they were in favor, with the populist when the tables have been turned; he is now Preval’s best hope of legitimizing a criminal fraud. The delegation of a forensic international auditing firm will certainly shine light on the dirty hands who falsified the tabulation of the ballots.

Hopefully this time around, his stint in Haiti will be the last one!

The OAS has also taken on the responsibility of providing the Haitian people with electoral identification cards and the electoral lists. The operation has been conducted with such inefficiency, chaos and disregard for elementary safeguards that it seems it was pre-arranged to provide the snafu of the November 28 election day.

The combination UN, OAS, Caricom is instrumental in facilitating the negative Africanization process of Haiti where rival tribes have been killing each other for decades, while the spoils went to the former colonizer. With the vast majority of the Haitian people determined to bring about fundamental change in the country, the old guard loaded with the national and the international purse at its disposal will maintain the fight with all its might, even igniting and perpetuating a civil war in Haiti.

With friends like the UN the OAS and CARICOM, Haiti indeed needs no enemy!

Stay tuned for next week’s essay on “Deconstructing the latest Haitian political crisis”.

December 18, 2010

caribbeannewsnow

Thursday, December 16, 2010

...the health of the tourism industry and its myriad of impacts on The Bahamas

Surviving in These Hard Times
The Bahamas Journal Editorial


As in the case of any number of professionals working in the tourism industry, Robert ‘Sandy’ Sands has his finger on the pulse of this aspect of the nation’s economy; and here as everyone knows, tourism provides the very life-blood of this nation’s economy.

In good times, very many Bahamians flourished and prospered; thus that situation where today’s taxi drivers, straw vendors, jet-ski operators, hoteliers and a host of others are today parents and family to so very many of this nation’s professional classes.

Evidently, while this pattern might be maintained for a while yet, there are indicators suggesting that the industry will become more competitive; that it will demand more from those who work in it; and commensurately, that the government and its social partners should – as a matter of the most urgent priority – see to it that, this industry remains well-maintained.

Here we sincerely believe that, when all is said and done, Bahamians can and should be given a crash course in tourism; with the subject matter being focused not only on the safety and well-being of the tourist; but on the fact that, the tourist need not visit the Bahamas.

This is the fact that must be drummed in day and night and until such time as the vast majority of Bahamians get it that no one owes them anything; and that, they are obliged to work for every penny they take home.

This point is today being underscored by none other than, outgoing Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) President Robert ‘Sandy’ Sands.

This man –as we learn – “… is calling the year“ a mixed bag of revenue gains, higher operating costs, and global uncertainty”, even as most tourism indicators inched up in 2010…”

Sandy Sands goes on to note that, “Indicators in general moved closer to our 2008 pre-recession benchmark…”

Here we note – albeit in passing- that, he made these remarks while addressing members of the BHA at its 58th annual general meeting on December 3rd at the Wyndham Nassau Resort.

As he explained, “Projections for next year show continued marginal growth as we slowly pull out of one of the most difficult economic periods in decades.”

This is the unvarnished truth about that matter currently concerning the health of the tourism industry and its myriad of impacts on the Bahamas.
But ever the optimist, Sands suggested that, despite the current slew of challenges, BHA members could and should be optimistic about the future; this due to the fact that, “foundational steps which have been and are being undertaken,” [are taken together] leading or tending in the direction of an “…emerging interest in tourism investments in The Bahamas…”

Here take note that, Sands also indicated that, measures that were put in place in 2010 by the public and private sectors should steer the industry out of the doldrums quicker than many of the nation’s competitors.

As he also pointed out, “These include major airport infrastructure improvements well underway in Nassau and Abaco and the liberalization of the telecommunications industry…”

And so, the conclusion beckons that, despite much of the noise in the market, things are trending in a positive direction for our country.

But for sure, this is not to suggest for even a moment that things are set to bubble up and that happy days are somewhere right around the corner.

Indeed, every indicator – social and otherwise- suggests that, the Bahamian people are in for a fairly rough ride as they adjust their life-styles and expectations to what is being termed in the United States, the New Normal.

In this regard, and as in the case of so very many other Bahamians, we can attest and affirm that this has been a very difficult year; and that, it has also been a time when one’s faith has been tested.

But as in all things human, we give thanks not only in good times, but also in these times of trouble. As we have been taught – and so do we believe- hard times bring with them very important life-lessons.

Among the lessons that are there to be remembered is the one that suggests that we should lay aside some of what we have earned or harvested so that when the hard times roll in; we need not trouble ourselves with unnecessary despair.

But even as we take note of the truth inherent this nostrum, we know it for a fact, that very many Bahamians are today mired in distress precisely because they dared yield and cling to the illusion that, things would always be good.

In the ultimate analysis, then, the times are changing; and as they do, some of our people will gird up their loins, take pattern after other industrious people and thereafter make some things happen.

This they must do if they are to prosper in conditions where the New Normal is the pervading reality.

December 16, 2010

The Bahamas Journal Editorial

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Economic prosperity in The Bahamas and the Overseas Territories

By D. Markie Spring
Turks and Caicos Islands


The Bahamas and the overseas territories, especially the British Territories -- British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos islands -- have always declined the idea of regional integration -- sometimes from an individual prospective and at times from governmental concerns.

In fact, The Bahamas is mostly dependent upon tourism to grow its economy. This country’s proximity to North America has placed it in an ideal position, which ignites, propels and escalates the tourism industry there. Furthermore, its tourism industry accounts for about 60 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), whilst other important sectors of the GDP, such as tax and the financial sectors, make up the other 40 percent of GDP.

The author of a number of published works, D. Markie Spring was born in St Vincent and the Grenadines and now resides in Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands. He has an MBA from the University of Leicester, England, and a BA from Saint Mary's University, Canada 
Let me stress that, although the economy there seemed vibrant hitherto, in years to come The Bahamas tourism industry will not be able to sustain its economy. From an economic prospective, The Bahamas economy is not diverse enough for future sustainability.

Recently, the global economic downturn has resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs in The Bahamas alone. Because its economy relies heavily on visitors’ arrivals, which experienced a sharp decline, hoteliers were then forced to lay off workers. Some hotels had more employees than guests in-house.

The government of The Bahamas has an obligation to further diversify its economic environment through regional integration. When the tourism sector is affected, whether by natural disasters or by an act of terrorism or by challenges derived from social, environmental, political and economic factors, The Bahamas must be able to turn to an alternative sector for economic sustainability.

Similarly, the overseas territories -- especially Britain’s -- have also illustrated lack of support for regional integration. With much focus on the Cayman Islands, this country’s economy relies heavily on its humongous financial services industry, which is ranked fifth in the world’s banking centers. In addition, the government also piled up revenues from its taxation system. This together has placed the Cayman Islands at the top in the region, relative to the standard of living.

Looking at Cayman’s economic environment allows me to conclude, hitherto, that this country’s economy is not diverse enough to maintain viability in the long run. With the financial challenges faced by the United States and the European Union, the financial sector there is gravely affected.

Additionally, the Cayman Islands were forced to regulate its banking operations under the principles of the European Union Savings Directives (EUSD), coupled with intense pressure from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to prevent Cayman Islands’ offshore financial centers from becoming a tax haven. In addition to this, the current US president has disclosed his intention to exert severe pressure of the use of Cayman’s financial centers by multinational corporations.

Moreover, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has set up programs that regulate the money laundering regime, and the country’s banking, securities and insurance industries. Similar environments exist in the other overseas territorial states.

Constructively, I looked at the lack of interest in regionalism from a Bahamian and from the prospective of the overseas territories and I understand the reason. Picturing the many people who would move from countries with weak economies and high unemployment rates to seek jobs in those places; figuring the movements of other Caribbean national – creating mass migration – I do understand. However, if the situation is being looked from a wider prospective then it should be known that there will be many benefits to gain and that rules and other stipulations will be in place, which would govern the movement of foreign citizens, such as having an assigned job before taking up residence in another country where more jobs are available.

The Bahamas and the Caymans Islands along with the other overseas states must join the rest of the Caribbean to integrate their efforts in making the Caribbean a region a region to reckon with. I stress that individually we won’t be able to sustain our economy and these countries’ economies are not diverse enough to stay strong for much longer. Some citizens purported that too many Caribbean countries are economically disabled to have successful integration; this does carry some concerns; however, the EU has successfully integrated with only the countries in Western Europe having strong economies.

Interestingly, the US, the world economic power, has established many regional bodies to enhance the country’s economic sector.

December 15, 2010

caribbeannewsnow

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nassau's immigration detention centre versus Guantanamo Bay detention camp

Our Gitmo?
Tribune242 Insight
Nassau, Bahamas


There are few places in the world more notorious today than the detention camp attached to the US Naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Described by Amnesty International as "the gulag of our times", it has become a symbol for arbitrary detention, abusive treatment, degradation, torture. For many who esteem America's role as a promoter of human rights, it also represents betrayal and hypocrisy.

To draw a comparison with Nassau's immigration detention centre might seem a bit far fetched. One was for several years at the very heart of the global War on Terror, a testing ground for the acceptability of new "interrogation" techniques, and a powerful challenge to the standard interpretation of the Geneva Convention. The other is a modest facility on a little island, designed to hold a few hundred illegal immigrants until they can be repatriated.

But as I considered the latest accusations of abuse and poor conditions at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre, it occurred to me that they are both underwritten by the same fundamental attitude toward human rights - that they are optional, and can be dispensed with in certain situations or for certain people.

Consider Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette's response to last week's reports of overflowing and stinking toilets, insufficient food and bedding, and sexual assault at the Detention Centre. Promising he would investigate only some of the allegations - specifically, the part about the toilets - Mr Symonette added that "if conditions are uncomfortable then people shouldn't break the law."

Then consider Dick Cheney's 2005 comment that no other country would treat people "determined to kill" its citizens as well as America had treated Guantanamo detainees.

The assumption in both cases was that the people in these camps are guilty as charged - despite the fact that not a single one of them had actually been formally charged with anything and certainly hadn't been convicted.

The Bahamian constitution establishes that all persons accused of a crime are innocent until proven guilty. It also says every accused person has the right to a public trial. Yet every suspected illegal immigrant detained in this country is denied both these rights, and subjected instead to the murky procedure known as "processing" - which, if it entails anything at all beyond immediate deportation, is presumably even less impartial than, and certainly just as secret as, Guantanamo's much vilified military tribunals.

In assuming the guilt of detainees at their respective camps, Messrs Cheney and Symonette not only ignored the law in their own countries, but also long established international law - not to mention the tradition of individual rights that stretches back to the very foundations of western civilisation; presumption of innocence was enshrined in ancient Greek and Roman law, and established in the Book of Deuteronomy.

Biblically inclined readers will know this is also the book which established retributive justice, the concept that the punishment should fit the crime - another cornerstone of our ethical heritage. Mr Symonette's seems happy to ignore, unless he actually believes those guilty of fleeing terrible conditions - including, in Haiti, a cholera outbreak - have committed a crime heinous enough to deserve the alleged conditions at the centre, including hunger, severe beatings and rape.

Mr Symonette again echoes the former US vice president in his insistence that conditions are better than we have been led to believe. When last interviewed, he said there are "no outstanding issues at the detention centre." According to Mr Cheney, Guantanamo detainees were "living in the tropics. They're well fed. They've got everything they could possibly want."

Both men could feel safe in making these claims, even in the face of sustained condemnation by international human rights groups, as there was no way for average citizens to uncover the definitive truth for themselves.

What cannot be hidden so easily, however, is the fact that both facilities trample on another right of historical pedigree: namely habeas corpus, the right of an imprisoned person to demand that the legality of his or her incarceration, and in particular its length, be examined by a court.

DIFFERENCES

So much for the similarities between Guantanamo Bay and the Carmichael Road Detention Centre; what of the differences?

One particularly telling distinction concerns the reaction of the public in each case. The Bush administration suffered a huge backlash over the treatment of Guantanamo detainees, as many Americans agreed with-soon-to-be president Barack Obama that it represented a "sad chapter in American history."

In the Bahamas, by contrast, the public seems to have no problem whatsoever with the way immigrant detainees are allegedly treated.

Whenever claims of abuse or neglect are raised, they are either met with silence, or worse, with cheers of approval.

This explains the attitude of virtually every local politician who ever fielded questions about detainee treatment. The public's reaction leads them to believe the average Bahamian is petty, insular and viscous enough to actually enjoy the brutalisation of another human - man, woman or child - provided that person is a foreigner.

It also explains why, of all the claims that surfaced last week - underfed detainees being offered vermin-infested porridge, overcrowding and lack of beds, rapes and denial of medical treatment - the only one which animated Mr Symonette into promising an investigation was our source's "horrifying experience" in the men's bathroom, where faces was "everywhere".

"There just looked like so much potential for disease to spread throughout the place," the detainee told us.

The minister's reaction was presumably influenced by the outbreak in Haiti of a strain of cholera so potent that if untreated, victims can die in as little as two hours.

Overflowing toilets in an area shared by many people is exactly the kind of situation in which cholera is spread. If this were to happen, it is unlikely the disease could be contained at the centre.

Now that would be a real political disaster with a general election approaching, unlike a handful of foreigners being mistreated.

Those sensitive to spiritual explanations might feel a plague of Biblical proportions could indeed be on the cards - a just punishment for our callous disregard for our fellow man.

To the more practically inclined, it should be obvious that all those who are unwilling to accept this characterisation of the Bahamian people must stand and be counted, must make our politicians aware we will not accept the stain on our collective conscience which the detention centre represents.

We must demand the release of a report on conditions at the centre commissioned more than a year ago but never made public, and push for the establishment of a truly independent investigative commission that includes journalists and human rights activists, and is empowered to inspect the facility and speak with detainees.

What do you think?

email: pnunez@tribunemedia.net

December 13, 2010

Tribune242 Insight

Monday, December 13, 2010

...the revenue losses The Bahamas will suffer from signing on to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe...

WTO to force 50% Bahamas tariff reduction
By ALISON LOWE
Business Reporter
alowe@tribunemedia.net


A CARICOM trade specialist warned yesterday that the revenue losses the Bahamas will suffer from signing on to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe will be little compared to the "much more significant impact" that will be felt from new free trade deals with the US and Canada.

Sacha Silva also suggested that the most significant revenue loss to the Government under the EPA will not come from dropping tariffs on imports coming into the Bahamas from Europe, but on those imports from the Caribbean and Dominican Republic.

The economist, a consultant with Caricom's Office of Trade Negotiations (OTN), argued that between $2 million and $3.8 million each year in tax revenues from trade with the Caribbean could be lost by this nation on the 5,000 tariff lines that will become duty free not only for Europe but for the Caribbean community, too, under the EPA.

"The Bahamas is for the first time liberalising trade with CARICOM and the Dominican Republic under the EPA - the same 5,000 lines to be liberalised with the Europeans," said Mr Silva.

"The fiscal implications here are a little more significant (than with respect to losses stemming from droppin tariffs on trade with Europe). There is relatively speaking quite a bit of trade (between the Caribbean and the Bahamas)."

Meanwhile, Mr Silva warned that while the loss of revenue from tariff reductions on imports from Europe is "highly unlikely to have a significant impact, given the Bahamas' small trading relationship with Europe", another development which will have "a much more significant impact on development" will be the Bahamas' accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and deals soon to be signed between Caricom, Canada and the US on trade between our nations.

He was addressing a technical workshop on the EPA organised jointly by the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) and the Caricom EPA Implementation Unit yesterday.

Speaking of the WTO accession and the Canada/US trade deals, Mr Silva said: "These are things that the Chamber and the Government need to keep a very close eye on because there is likely to be a much more significant impact. Those coming in (to the WTO) at this late stage pay a very high price. Tariffs will have to come down in the Bahamas by about 50 per cent. And the people on the other side, particularly in the US, negotiate very, very hard.

While Europe, which held Caribbean states as former colonies, has a "special understanding" of the region, which may make it more prone to offer concessions in trade negotiations, "this does not exist anywhere else - the Canadians and the Americans do not have this understanding," contended Mr Silva.

Challenged on the premise that Canada would take a harder stance with the Caribbean in its ongoing negotiations over a new trade deal with the region, Mr Silva said his position is based on analysis of previous trade deals Canada has struck.

"When I look at what they have granted and what Europe has granted, the difference is enormously large. If you look at the negotiating stances Canada has taken in free trade agreements it's not appreciably different from the US. Traditionally, they ask for liberalisation of agricultural items and a lot of non-agricultural items. The EPA did not go this far," said the economist.

Mr Silva added that while the EPA will be a "spur" to the process of internal tax reform in the Bahamas, "the WTO will be a more serious kick to that", as the Bahamas seeks to finds means to replace the revenue sources that will be phased out with the tariff reductions the two trade-related processes demand.

December 10, 2010

tribune242

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bahamas: Members of the financial industry are concerned about the lack of information on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) - between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States...

Concerns raised about lack of awareness on EPA
By JAMMAL SMITH
Guardian Business Reporter
jammal@nasguard.com


Awareness needs to be raised about the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiated between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, and its impact on the local private sector, with several members of the financial industry raising concerns about a lack of information on the agreement.

Investment specialist for the CARICOM Implementation Unit Allyson Francis told Guardian Business yesterday that the private sector needs to increase its knowledge about the EPA given the important role of that sector.

“In terms of challenges my major concern is awareness from the private sector about what the EPA involves,” Francis said. “It’s a challenge for the region in terms of changing our mindset and being more proactive, and understanding the global environment we’re living in now and to position ourselves, we can’t necessarily sit back and wait on government to do things for us.

“I hope that at the end of the day a better understanding of the agreement will help the Bahamas business sector to be able to do that.”

Discussions on the EPA were conducted yesterday at a technical workshop hosted by the Caribbean Export Development Agency, the CARICOM EPA Implementation Unit and The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce at the Sheraton Resort. Various speakers presented an overview of the EPA, and discussed opportunities and challenges facing The Bahamas and the region as a result of the agreement.

The EPA creates a free trade area between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). It’s a response to criticism that the non-reciprocal and discriminating preferential trade agreements offered by the EU don’t comply with rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The Bahamas signed the EPA agreement as a part of the CARIFORUM sub-group within the ACP on October 15, 2008, however Article 63 of that agreement allowed The Bahamas and Haiti to have their commitments on services and investment incorporated into the EPA following a decision of the CARIFORUM-EC Trade and Development Committee. Negotiations related to services were completed on January 25, 2010.

Francis added that upcoming meetings with the government will give her a better feel for what the country’s plans are in terms of the EPA.

Members of the local business community were also present during the seminar, including CEO of the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) Wendy Warren. She expressed her concerns about the amount of information available to the country and the need for communication to be improved.

“To even take advantage of the EPA you have to first of all understand what the offers actually provide for and what the conditions are, and if it’s possible to meet those conditions,” Warren said. “I would [like] to see us analyze those offers, particularly financial services in far greater detail to understand what market access have we actually achieved in Europe.”

She added that a proactive approach has to be taken in terms of those relationships between the European countries and The Bahamas, which will enable the EPA to be more effective.

Francis believes that the EPA can be enormously benefical to the country and the rest of the region.

“The EPA will have some great potential for [the Caribbean] if we could clearly understand where we are and where we want to go, and utilize the agreement the best we can,” she said.

12/10/2010

thenassauguardian

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Perfecting the Dominican Republic while pulling the Republic of Haiti into nation building

By Jean Herve Charles


The Dominican Republic on the island of Ayti (made up of the Republic of Haiti and the Dominican Republic) has been for the past ten years the darling nation for investors, tourists and travelers. Its budding infrastructure is equal to or even better than any developed country. Santo Domingo has a brand new subway metro system; the highway from Santiago to Santo Domingo is smooth, large and efficient. The Dominican Republic has achieved food security for its people while feeding Haiti with all types of produce from coconut to plantain, including eggs and macaroni.

Jean H Charles MSW, JD is Executive Director of AINDOH Inc a non profit organization dedicated to building a kinder and gentle Caribbean zone for all. He can be reached at: jeanhcharles@aol.com 
It is led by Leonel Fernandez, a savvy New York based lawyer with the street smart of a Manhattan cab driver, yet draped with the finesse of a well bred gentleman issuing from a proud and good family. He is forging the Dominican Republic ahead according to the defined Renan Doctrine repeated so often in my essays on nation building process.

You will recall, it includes:

– A strong army to protect, defend and enhance the territory while valuing national heritage through the veneration of heroes, and the passing through of the ancestors’ code of morality and conduct.

-- rooting the citizens in their localities with infrastructure, institutions and services as well as cultural traditions so they will not become internal nomads in their own land, moving from villages to the cities, from the cities to the capital and there seeking a better life abroad.

-- Last but not least taking all the necessary steps to leave no one behind, including the aliens and the belongers.

The Dominican Republic has a strong army visible from the border to the capital. Travelling from Port au Prince by bus to Santo Domingo, you will be scrutinized by no less than 19 different army posts that check your visa your passport and your belongings, ensuring that each visitor has been invited in. The army is also ensuring that each tree is not uprooted unless there is a permit or it is in the interest of the largest forest to do so. Last but not least the military plays its part in the development of infrastructure as well as in the protection of the civilians in case of disaster.

The government has also done its best to root its population in their localities. Whether the citizen is living in Bani or Santiago, they have easy access to decent and low cost transportation. The children of the country wear the same uniform all over the nation -- khaki pants with a blue shirt -- representing a concern of the government to provide basic education to the next generation of Dominican citizens. Services are well represented all over the country, the Dominican week-end is alive and vibrant, so vibrant that the well-heeled Haitians do not spend their weekends in Haiti, from Friday to Sunday they flock to Samana, Cabaret or Puerto Plata for fun, fete, and frolic.

The Dominican Republic needs improvement, though, with the concept of leaving no one behind. Perfecting the Dominican Republic will mean making the country hospitable to the entire population whether they are citizens, visitors or aliens. This concept is difficult to accept and to implement. Yet is the hallmark of a great nation on its way to complete fulfillment. It will imply the enforcement of strict control on the borders. The end result will be all those who are already inside the territory must receive the red carpet treatment in terms of education, health care and economic development. They are the potential citizens who will continue the process of nation building of the Dominican Republic.

To avoid the story of the battle of Sysive where victory is all always at hand but never achieved, the Dominican Republic should engage the Republic of Haiti in the process of nation building and development. While in the past it represented a magnet mainly for the Haitian farmers in the sugar field, it has now became a magnet for the young Haitians in search of a proper higher education instruction and a secure job at the end of it. We have seen earlier, it is a magnet for the Haitian businessmen who leave the Haitian capital at the weekend, avoiding the stress of, as well as the lack of a night life in Haiti.

The culture of complete indifference of the Haitian government towards its citizens is detrimental not only to Haiti but it is also detrimental to the Dominican Republic, which shares the same borders. The Dominican government must have a policy of enhancing good governance in Haiti. Its own future is at stake.

The international community, (United Nations, OAS and CARICOM) has professed good will towards Haiti. This manifestation of good will has not been translated into a minimum of welfare for the Haitian people. I met recently the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic in Santo Domingo while the UNICEF president was camping in the capital en route to Haiti. Looking me in the eye, the Minister of Foreign Affairs told me: ‘‘We have re-directed our policy towards Haiti.” He did not elaborate.

The fact is the Dominican Republic has been extremely generous toward Haiti after the earthquake, even offering the building of a large university in the northern part of the country. The Dominican Republic has also profited handsomely from the Haitian catastrophe, being the vendors of choice of all the necessities that are utilized for Haiti’s recovery.

The Dominican take off will be fully operational when it includes Haiti on the locomotive train. With a population of 20 million people (10 million on each side of the border) this Caribbean market, well integrated in tourism, tropical organic produce, services and industry, will have no competitor in the Western Hemisphere.

Haiti needs above all good governance that breaks away from the tradition of corruption and the lack of respect for its own people. It is the business of the Dominican Republic to foster such happenstance. Haitian civil society, the opposition must be regarded as a natural ally in bringing about that fundamental change in the country.

The Dominican Republic in contrast to the international partners completely embedded with the predatory government must follow these three principles:

a) Facilitate the largest democratic forces inside the country.
b) Rely not on the functioning government but on a democratic principle ... for example: “leaving no one behind” for its policies on Haiti.
c) Speak to everybody not only to friends.

The people of Haiti are now angry over the theft of the vote in the last election. The national police as well as the MINUSTHA were totally nonexistent in protecting life and limb during the political and electoral crisis. Under a flawed or a fair election, the people of Haiti have chosen Joseph Michel Martelly as their viable leader for the next five years.

Does the redirection of the Dominican government policy toward Haiti include also facilitating the respect of the voice and the vote of the people of Haiti in the last elections?

Stay tuned for next week's essay: With friends like the UN, OAS and CARICOM, Haiti needs no enemy!

December 11, 2010

caribbeannewsnow

Thursday, December 9, 2010

United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and the cholera epidemic

Reflections of Fidel
MINUSTAH and the epidemic

Taken from CubaDebate


APPROXIMATELY three weeks ago news and footage came in of Haitian citizens throwing stones and angrily protesting against the forces of the MINUSTAH, accusing it of having transmitted cholera to that country via a Nepalese soldier.

The initial impression, if one did not receive any additional information, is that it was a rumor born from the antipathy that every occupying force provokes.

How could that information be confirmed? Many of us were unaware of the characteristics of cholera and its means of transmission. A few days later, the protests in Haiti ceased and there was no more talk of the matter.

The epidemic followed its inexorable course, and other problems, such as the risks associated with the electoral battle, occupied our time.

Today, reliable and credible news came in concerning what really happened. The Haitian people had more than sufficient reason to express their indignation.

The AFP news agency textually affirmed that: "Last month, the eminent French epidemiologist Renaud Piarroux headed an investigation in Haiti and came to the conclusion that the epidemic was generated by an imported strain, and extended from the Nepalese base" of MINUSTAH.

For its part, another European agency, EFE, reported: "The origin of the disease is to be found in the little town of Mirebalais, in the center of the country, where Nepalese soldiers had based their camp, and it appeared a few days after their arrival, which confirms the origin of the epidemic…"

"To date, the UN mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) has denied that the epidemic entered via its blue berets."

"…French Dr. Renaud Piarroux, considered one of the principal world specialists in the study of cholera epidemics, leaves no doubt as to the origin of the disease…"

"The French study was ordered by Paris at the request of the Haitian authorities, stated a French diplomatic spokesperson."

"…the appearance of the disease coincides with the arrival of the Nepalese soldiers who, moreover, originate from a country where there is a cholera epidemic.

"There is no other way of explaining such a sudden and fierce eclosion of cholera in a little town of a few dozen inhabitants.

"The report also analyses the form of the propagation of the disease, given that fecal water from the Nepalese camp was draining into the river from which the town’s inhabitants take their water."

As the same agency communicated, the most surprising thing that the UN did was "…to send an investigative mission to the Nepalese camp, which concluded that that could not have been the origin of the epidemic."

In the midst of the destruction wrought by the earthquake, the epidemic and its poverty, Haiti cannot do without an international force which can cooperate with a nation ruined by foreign interventions and transnational exploitation. The UN must not only fulfill its elemental duty of fighting for Haiti’s reconstruction and development, but also that of mobilizing the resources needed to eradicate an epidemic that is threatening to extend to the neighboring Dominican Republic, the Caribbean, Latin America and other similar Asian and African countries.

Why did the UN insist on denying that the MINUSTAH brought the epidemic to the people of Haiti? We are not blaming Nepal, which in the past was a British colony, and whose men were utilized in its colonial wars and are now seeking employment as soldiers.

We made inquiries with the Cuban doctors currently providing services in Haiti and they confirmed to us the news circulated by the abovementioned European news agencies with notable precision.

I will make a brief synthesis of what was communicated to us by Yamila Zayas Nápoles, a specialist in comprehensive general medicine and anesthesiology, director of a medical institution that has eight basic specialties and diagnostic tools from the Cuba-Venezuela project, inaugurated in October 2009 in the urban area of Mirebalais, with 86,000 inhabitants, in the department of Nord.

On Saturday, October 15 three patients were admitted with symptoms of diarrhea and acute dehydration; on Sunday 16th, four were admitted with similar characteristics, but all of them from one family, and they made the decision to isolate them and communicate what had happened to the Medical Mission; surprisingly, on Monday 17th, 28 patients were admitted with similar symptoms.

The Medical Mission immediately sent a group of specialists in epidemiology who took blood, vomit, fecal samples and data, which were sent with urgency to Haiti’s national laboratories.

On October 22, the labs reported that the strain isolated matched to the one prevalent in Asia and Oceania, which is the most severe. The Nepalese unit of the UN blue berets is located on the bank of the Artibonite River, which runs through the little community of Méyè, where the epidemic emerged, and Mirebalais, to which it then rapidly spread.

In spite of the sudden way in which cholera appeared in the small, but excellent hospital in the service of Haiti, only 13 of the first 2,822 sick persons died, giving a mortality rate of 0.5%; subsequently, when the Cholera Treatment Center was set up in a remote area, out of 3,459 patients, five in a serious condition died, giving 0.1%.

The total number of persons suffering from cholera in Haiti rose today, Tuesday, December 7 to 93,222 persons, and the number of patients who have died reached a total of 2,120. Among those treated by the Cuban Mission the mortality rate rose to 0.83%. The mortality rate in other hospital institutions stands at 3.2%. With the experience acquired, appropriate measures and the reinforcement of the Henry Reeve Brigade, the Cuban Medical Mission, with the support of the Haitian authorities, has offered a presence in many of the isolated 207 sub-communes, so that no Haitian citizen lacks medical attention in the face of the epidemic, and many thousands of lives can be saved.



Fidel Castro Ruz
December 7, 2010
6:34 p.m.

granma.cu