Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The political campaign season is well underway in The Islands... ...The governing Free National Movement (FNM) has officially launched its full slate of candidates for the upcoming general election... ...Its apparent messages were ‘We Deliver!” and that the FNM is, ‘Best for Bahamians and Better for The Bahamas’

Will the FNM deliver?



Erica Wells
Guardian Managing Editor
erica@nasguard.com

Nassau, The Bahamas




When Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham addressed the nation last week in his annual New Year’s address, there was something decidedly different about the tone of his presentation.

Outside of political rallies, formal communications such as an address to the nation are often relatively void of emotion.

Last Wednesday’s address was different.  It sought to give Bahamians a reason to believe.  At a time when many are struggling under the weight of a sluggish economy, and some are simply hopeless, it could not have been more appropriate.

Ingraham assured Bahamians that despite the tumultuous times brought on by the global economic downturn in 2008, and the impact that it has had — and continues to have — on The Bahamas, the country is headed in the right direction.

“Despite the severe economic shock of 2008 and the challenges of tomorrow, we are a fortunate country and we are moving in the right direction,” the prime minister said.

“So I say to you... that as a people, we can rightly feel a spirit of gratitude for the many blessings of our Creator.  Let us build on this spirit of gratitude with a spirit of hope.  Let us do so in grateful acknowledgment of the many blessings and the promise of our beautiful Bahamaland.”

This could turn out to be a hard sell for the hundreds of unemployed and underemployed Bahamians who are finding it difficult to meet the most basic of necessities.  Many cannot afford to pay their utility bills and are laboring hard to buy groceries.  Some have lost their homes.  Others have given up any hope of finding a job after months and months of searching.

Convincing Bahamians that the country is headed in the right direction may prove to be a difficult task.  Yet, as a general election looms, convincing voters that the country is headed in the right direction will be crucial to the Free National Movement’s success at the polls.

Progress

Even Ingraham’s harshest critics would have to admit that the Free National Movement in the last five years has accomplished a number of items on its ‘to do’ list.

Whether it has been enough to secure another term in office, and whether the party has been effective in communicating what it views as its major accomplishments, remains to be seen.

In his New Year’s address last week, Ingraham took the opportunity to remind Bahamians of the FNM’s accomplishments.  The New Year’s address reads a lot like a progress report.

The list of accomplishments highlighted by Ingraham was extensive.

It included job preservation and creation, the re-development of Lynden Pindling International Airport, the Airport Gateway project, the New Providence Road Improvement Project, an increase in funding for the resources for formal education, an increase in youth development programs, and sports funding.

Ingraham’s list also cited transforming the country’s crime fighting and judicial legislative structure and facilities, investment in healthcare through the prescription drug benefit and the upgrade of facilities at the Princess Margaret and Rand Memorial Hospitals, improved public educational facilities, the relocation of the downtown container port, the dredging of Nassau Harbour, the construction of a new straw market, and infrastructural improvements in various Family Islands, among others.

While Ingraham has not articulated the ‘national plan’ that many have called for, the significant infrastructure projects on which he has placed a priority in this term in office provide some insight into his vision for the country.

“Investing in infrastructure is a means to achieving essential national goals and creating jobs,” said Ingraham.  “Investing in infrastructure and in housing is an investment in people and communities.  It is an investment in the quality of life, livelihoods and life spans.  It is an investment in the future of The Bahamas.”

But some of the significant infrastructure projects, such as the New Providence Road Improvement Project, may do more harm than good when it comes to the party’s re-election prospects.

This point has not been lost on the prime minister, seen in his public apology to motorists during last week’s address.  Many have been greatly angered and inconvenienced by the extensive roadworks undertaken in the troubled project.

“I again thank you for your patience and apologize on behalf of the Government of The Bahamas for the delays, inconveniences and disruptions,” said Ingraham.

“Despite these challenges, we believe that in the end it will be well worth the sacrifice.”

But by the end of the project will it be too late for some voters?

The message

The address also provided an insight into how the party plans to convince the voting public that it deserves another term in office.

It attempted to drive home a message of action, a message of an administration that “gets the job done”, in comparison to a PLP administration which the FNM has labeled as indecisive and slow to act.

Referring to what he described as a response to “urgent infrastructure requirements” in the context of the global economic crisis, Ingraham said in the address: “No responsible government could have followed the path of delay, indecision and half measures.  We had to act decisively and comprehensively.  Not only was a collapse (of the Bahamian economy) prevented.  We are now moving forward.”

The campaign season is well underway.  The Free National Movement officially launched its slate of candidates for the entire Bahamas last night.  Its apparent messages were ‘We Deliver!” and that the FNM is, ‘Best for Bahamians and Better for The Bahamas’.

One is a familiar refrain from the “Delivery Boy” slogan used when Ingraham first joined the FNM as its leader.  The other seems a clear strategy not to cede any ground to the PLP on which party is more committed to the interests of Bahamians.

But it remains to be seen if these messages will deliver to the FNM and Hubert Ingraham a fourth election victory.

 

• Log on to thenassauguardian.com and take part in our regular web poll: Do you agree with Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham that the country is headed in the right direction?


Jan 30, 2012

thenassauguardian

Sunday, January 29, 2012

What an end to 2011 for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Jamaica!

Let's Do More To Protect Gay Rights For Jamaica 50





By Corbin Gordon and Tyler Thomas, Contributors- Jamaica Gleaner

What an end to 2011 for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Jamaica! For the first time in Jamaica's history, on the occasion of our 50th year of Independence, there is a prime minister who has publicly stated that people should not be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
This is evidence of the strides we have made as a people in promoting respect and tolerance for the human rights of LGBT Jamaicans. We all deserve applause.
Today, approximately seven per cent of HIV/AIDS organisations in Jamaica are working with men who have sex with men (MSM); more and more research is being done on homosexuality and homophobia in Jamaica; there are social and entertainment spaces that are friendly and for LGBT people; and there are more than five LGBT-focused organisations and many support groups islandwide.
Notwithstanding all of that, the concerns about the continued discrimination and of acts of violence being perpetrated against the LGBT community are still legitimate. In 2011, 84 incidents of human-rights abuses on the grounds of real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity were reported to J-FLAG. This included murder, home evictions, mob attacks, sexual violence, extortion, blackmail and other forms of harassment meted out mainly to young males. Family members, friends, landlords, mobs and even the police perpetrated these.
Recently, in November 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Committee recommended that Jamaica "send a clear message that it does not tolerate any form of harassment, discrimination or violence against persons [because of] their sexual orientation, and should ensure that individuals who incite violence against homosexuals are investigated, prosecuted and properly sanctioned".
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller's bold historic statement did just that. It should be seen as a step in the right direction, at the right time, as we celebrate our Jubilee year of Independence. Her statement will go down in history and there is much hope for the future of LGBT persons living in Jamaica.
Achievements
LGBT persons, their families, friends and allies have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for. Many positive things happened last year. Here is a rundown of the top seven positive statements and actions, progress, and achievements in 2011.
1. In August, Police Commissioner Owen Ellington, in the Jamaica Constabulary's Force Orders 3,351, instructed police personnel to respect the human rights of persons, inter alia, their sexual orientation. There were also clear instructions on how to proceed with investigations and arrests to bring perpetrators to justice. And in July, the commissioner withdrew Senior Superintendent Fitz Bailey's controversial claims suggesting links between homosexual men and organised crime.
2. Throughout the year 2011, there were many objective media outputs, both print and electronic, about the human rights of LGBT persons, the buggery law, and having gays in the Cabinet.
3. There were a number of incident-free gay-rights public stands in front of Devon House, Emancipation Park, and The Little Theatre, as well as near the Office of the Prime Minister.
4. In April, former president of the Senate, Professor Oswald Harding, spoke out against the Parliament's continued stance of ignoring discourse around the issues of repealing the buggery law and protection based on sexual orientation.
5. In June, the National Youth Survey, conducted by then Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, found that street youth are far more tolerant and accepting of gays. Earlier in May, the first National Survey on Attitudes and Perceptions of Jamaicans towards same-sex relationship highlighted that 20 per cent of Jamaicans are tolerant.
6. Coca-Cola apologised to Jamaica for sponsoring a music event with anti-gay lyrics sung by Sizzla.
7. In October, the first legal challenge to the buggery law was launched by Jamaican gay-rights activist Maurice Tomlinson through AIDS-Free World.
These achievements were possible because more and more of us are realising that human rights belong to every one of us, without exception. More of us are promoting human rights. However, much more needs to be done to make Jamaica a cohesive and just society where everyone can live, work and raise his or her family.
Therefore, unless we know them, unless we demand that they be respected, and unless we defend our rights to love and care for each other, without distinction, these rights will be just words in decades-old documents.
As then Health Minister Rudyard Spencer declared on December 1, 2011 at the Leaders' Breakfast on HIV and AIDS, "We should not ignore the cries of those who continue to suffer because we fail to do what is right. It is time to be courageous and to be strong. It is time to usher our country into a new day where justice, liberty, and freedom prevail for all."
It is important that we begin recognising and respecting the rights and beliefs of others.
This jubilee year, more of us must demonstrate our respect for the rights of our friends and loved ones, as well as others we come in contact with. We must be ready to support the Government in demonstrating its commitments to protect and promote the human rights of all Jamaicans, regardless of their socio-economic status, sexual orientation, health status, disability, work, and political and religious persuasions.

Corbin Gordon is the programme and advocacy coordinator at the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals & Gays (J-FLAG). Tyler Thomas is a young gay university student.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Majority Rule and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) in The Bahamas

Majority Rule and the PLP



By KHALILA NICOLLS
khalilanicolls@gmail.com

Nassau, NP
The Bahamas



EVERY year when January 10 rolls around, I often feel as though the Progressive Liberal Party's glorification of Majority Rule Day is a political strategy to guilt me into pledging my allegiance to the PLP as a show of respect for all they did to bring about the liberation of the black masses in the Bahamas.

As an African woman who should surely see the importance of Majority Rule, the feelings are troubling. Not because the political strategy, if it were one, is tasteless, but because I believe contrarily that the PLP has failed to bring about true advance for black Bahamians as a collective body.

That is not to say I deny the contributions of our nation-builders and the significance of their accomplishments. But that is to say I do not think the PLP is exempt from the scrutiny of black Bahamians. The political organisation has a 59-year-old history, and it seems to me, all of their black cred(ibility) is based on pre-1980s glory.

Furthermore, I believe a true test of national progress is not to be found by assessing the best of us, speaking here in terms of economics and access, but the least of us.

And one only needs eyes to see that the underdevelopment of black Bahamians over the past 30 years has been and continues to be a national disgrace.

Surely there has been progress, but many examples are anomalous: black Bahamians who received handouts under Sir Lynden Pindling's arm of influence; who profited from illicit activity, whether drugs or gambling; who benefited from political connections or exceptional educational opportunities; and black Bahamians with destiny working in their favour.

Outside of those examples, the PLP would have to admit that economic progress for black Bahamians predated the PLP. By the time Majority Rule slipped through, there was already a thriving black middle class, for which the PLP cannot lay claim. This progress was achieved under the United Bahamian Party (UBP) government, albeit in spite of the UBPs efforts.

Within the black middle class. there was the Adderley family of Wilford Parliament Adderley, which was comprised of lawyers, politicians and doctors; the Bethel family of Marcus Bethel consisting of undertakers and politicians; Sir Milo Butler, patron of Milo B Butler and Sons, who produced a line of grocery merchants; Jackson Burnside, a dentist, who paved the way for his future lineage of professionals; noted patron of the Eneas clan, Bishop Wilmore Eneas, who was a religious leader.

Others in the black middle class included Dr CR Walker, restaurateur James Russel, banker A Leon McKinney, candy maker Ulrick Mortimer, and clothing retailer Erdley Moss. Irwin McCartney and Dwit Thompson owned a custom brokerage business; Audley C Kemp was in the liquor business, as were Charles and George McKinney; Hugh Campbell Cleare owned an East Bay Street bicycle shop; and Harcourt Carter sold Japanese electrical appliances.

The PLP did not make these men. On the contrary. Many of these men made the PLP. And since then, what? What progress has there been for black Bahamians who are not counted amongst the established lot.

On balance, as a collective community, black Bahamians are still in an economic and social quandary despite the hope-filled promises of better for blacks and the idealism of the Majority Rule era.

Although the PLP is still the most vocal champion of Majority Rule, whatever momentum it had as a galvanising force for the black community back then, today it has no credible basis to portray itself as the people's party.

For all of its former glory, the PLP has turned into just another political party, arguably no better or worse than any of the others, white, black, red or green. Far from being revolutionary, the PLP has been a mere "tweaker of the status quo". So what then is the meaning of Majority Rule, the PLP's symbol of black liberation?

Many of the people who take exception to the concept of majority rule at the same time promote the concept of One Bahamas. But both constructs are based on race. Proponents of One Bahamas try to express a raceless reality, but there is no such thing.

One Bahamas simply expresses an identity based on the negation of race. Majority Rule on the other hand does so based on the affirmation of race. In either case, without a racial consciousness One Bahamas and Majority Rule would be meaningless, redundant phrases.

For One Bahamas to have relevance and validity, it needs to express a vision of racial cohesion in the Bahamas, not based on the denial of race but on the acceptance of race.

Racial difference is not something to shun. It is part of our cultural diversity, and it is an important to understanding our cultural heritage. We should not seek to deny or inflate race, which exposes us to insult and political manipulation. We should accept it.

In one sense, Majority Rule is an inherently paradoxical concept, because in a system of political representation, presumed to be democratic, any elected government is a majority government. Therefore, even under the UPB's tenure there was majority rule.

One could argue that based on the UBP's racially discriminating laws that privileged white people, men and land owners, the body of eligible voters represented a national minority. If this were statistically true, then any claim to majority rule prior to the 1962 election could stand to be challenged. But even still, within the legal framework of governance, the UBP was without question a legitimate majority government.

So what then do we make of the 1962 election, which represented the first vote in which there was universal suffrage, and the 1967 election, which represented first time in Bahamian representational politics that the racial composition of the House of Assembly reflected the racial composition of the Bahamas society?

In order to give majority rule significance beyond its racial character, some point to the fact that in 1967 for the first time, "the will of the majority was finally expressed and converted into political power".

After all, in 1962, the PLP won 32,399 votes. But because of seat distribution, with only 26,826 votes, the UBP retained its power and went on to lead the next government.

However, the argument does not stand scrutiny. First, the 1962 conundrum was a flaw of the political system, not the racial dynamics or a kind of social imbalance peculiar to the age.
Although the gerrymandering related to seat distribution was a major obstacle, the fundamental flaw in the system was inherent. It still exists today, and it is globally felt.

In the modern democratic system, a government can form a majority even without the popular vote. Arguably it happened in 1967 - which questions the very basis of the PLP's claim to majority rule.
In 1967, the PLP won only 18,452 votes. Collectively, the PLP opposition secured 24,633 seats.
That hardly represents a popular majority. And in terms of seat distribution, the PLP came out even with the UBP: 18 seats each.

It was only after forming an alliance with Randol Fawkes of the Labour Party and independent candidate Alvin Braynen that the PLP was able to secure a majority. So what does that really say about Majority Rule?
From the standpoint of a popular uprising or black advancement then, 1962 was a much more impressive showing, because at least then the PLP won the popular vote hands down.

Given all that has been said, clearly Majority Rule requires further examination to separate fact from fantasy, and to arrive at true meaning over myth.

Another element that flies in the face of Majority Rule's traditional narrative is the PLPs struggle with an ideology of black empowerment.

Compared to the likes of black nationalists in the United States like Kwame Ture (Stokley Carmichael) or Marcus Garvey, the PLP's concept of race was very tame. And the accomplishment of Majority Rule was no sign of black power. It represented change, yes, even political progress, but a revolutionary concept of black empowerment, no.

So what I find interesting and often overlooked is that, for all of its rhetoric, the political leadership who led blacks into an era of majority rule did so while at the same time running away from its black identity. Although it used race as a political tool to galvanise its constituents, the PLP did not use an affirmative ideology of blackness.

I spoke to one of the few living black parliamentarians of the 1967 election, and he admitted that black Bahamians were not joined in their common struggle for equal rights and justice, by an affirmative black power struggle. There was no such concept within the PLP's public platform.
I found further proof of this in an account of Sir Arthur Foulkes, who documented in short what he called the "PLP's long lie about race".

"Miriam Makeba, the celebrated black South African singer, was among a number of prominent blacks in America who wanted to do business in the new Bahamas.

"But Sir Lynden stopped her when he heard she was romantically linked with black power firebrand Stokely Carmichael. She left Sir Lynden's office in tears and never came back. The new Bahamas was having nothing to do with that," stated Sir Arthur.

He also recounted the story of Lady Marguerite Pindling, African American songstress Nina Simone and Bahamian journalist, Oswald Brown. Nina Simone, a known activist who used her music to share the struggles of black people and spread black protest songs, performed a concert in Nassau with Lady Marguerite and Mr Brown in attendance.
Mr Brown was so moved by the performance that he ran on stage and kissed Ms Simone's feet. By his own account, it was a sign of support, because there were some in the audience who started to boo her.
Lady Marguerite was reportedly unimpressed with Mr Brown and Ms Simone. According to Sir Arthur, Mr Brown was rebuked and chastised by the party.

Some would argue that the PLP supported black power, just a moderate version of it, but I wonder if the documented contradictions call this into question.

The PLP was not alone in this contradiction. The black dilemma was most notably played out in the United States between the differing ideological stances of Martin Luther King Jr and Malcom X.

However, what is often overlooked is that even Martin Luther King became more radical in his latter years. His famous lament was, "I fear I have integrated my people into a burning house".
In the white community, Sir Lynden is vilified as a being a black radical who racialised the country. In the black community he is heralded as a pragmatic moderate who knew how to balance delicate dynamics.

To me, there are any number of anecdotes that speak to a black government that was simply conscious of its inherent lack of power.

Nothing can invalidate the fact that Majority Rule represented the shattering of a glass ceiling for black Bahamians seeking political office. But there is much to question about some of the traditional narratives of Majority Rule: that it represented the expressed will of the majority; that it represented a form of black liberation; and that it established some incontrovertible black cred for the PLP.

It is not that I have a problem accepting Majority Rule as a mammoth accomplishment for black Bahamians. I believe Majority Rule marks an important political milestone; it recognises the political progress of black Bahamians in breaking a new barrier. I do not, however, believe it is a sign of black liberation or progress.

History has shown that black representation failed to bring about progress for black Bahamians as a collective body. The Bahamas still has an economic structure that favours the merchant class. Now, instead of profiting families like the Moskos and Pinders, the policies profit the likes of Franklyn Wilson and Tennyson Wells.

Although there was growth in the black middle class in the 70s and 80s, it has remained virtually stagnant since then. In the industries of merit, finance and tourism, Bahamians still have little ownership, and struggle to assume some of the top posts.

For Majority Rule to have had meaning beyond a recognition of progress for blacks in political representation, the PLP would have needed a true black mandate rooted in the affirmation of blackness.

In its 1968 constitution, the PLP stated as one of its objectives "to strive for and maintain the political emancipation of all the people of the Bahamas". For a political organisation, this would seem appropriate. After all, black people were under-represented in the House of Assembly. Looking skin deep, that was obvious.

What would have been more visionary and appropriate as an objective for a black majority government rooted in a shared ideology of blackness was the emancipation of every black person from the shackles of mental slavery. It is a task no white individual or white government can achieve for black people, and to this day, few if any black governments have undertaken the task with institutional purpose or strength.

A black government undertaking a black mandate would have examined all of the institutions of black oppression and represented the self-interests of black people.

To me, the promise of Majority Rule suggested that now we are going to make black people better off. Not just those at the top, but as a nation of black people we are going to grow. And no matter how much the PLP boasts, I just cannot see how it has lived up to that promise.

* Pan-African writer and cultural critic Noelle Khalila Nicolls is a practising journalist in The Bahamas.

January 25, 2012

tribune242

Thursday, January 26, 2012

If we are to empower Bahamians in the 21st century Bahamas, creating jobs alone from foreign direct investments and empowering a handful of Bahamians is not the course of action to be taken... ...Bahamians need a government in place that is sensitive to the needs of its people at large... ...Sir Clifford Darling, Sir Randol Fawkes, Sir Milo Butler, Sir Lynden Pindling and Arthur D. Hanna, among others are men who were radicals of their time, understood the needs of the people and fought for majority rule

The Bahamian Dream II


By Arinthia S. Komolafe




The hope and expectation of every parent is to produce offspring who attain higher levels of success than they did.  The genuine desire of each generation should be one that is built around the attainment of higher heights and charting of new territories by successive generations.

The Bahamian Dream was born out of dissatisfaction with a substandard life and discomfort with the status quo.  It is one of deep aspiration, a cherished desire, unique ambition and daring vision of a Bahamas in which the average Bahamian can be all that he/she hopes to be.  It is a dream embedded in the minds of our forefathers and defined by the achievement of feats unimaginable in that era, but conceived in the hearts of our founding fathers.  This dream peaks at the juncture where Bahamians hold their destinies in their own hands and their strength lies in their unity, fortitude and beliefs.

It has afforded Bahamians like myself, born in Farm Road to parents who formed part of the working class at the time, educated in Bain and Grants Town at the Willard Patton Primary and C.R. Walker Secondary schools with opportunities to receive tertiary level education, command decent salaries and become homeowners.  The pursuit of this dream has also encouraged some of us to take risks and become entrepreneurs in spite of the challenges associated with such endeavours – a sacrifice made willingly to provide a better way of life for our children and generations yet unborn.  However, as impressive as this may sound, reality dictates that far too many Bahamians, particularly of my generation, have yet to claim the same testimony.

It appears that the Bahamian Dream is met by roadblocks due to an inability to foster ownership of the economy by a wide cross-sector of Bahamians.  This is ‘the tragedy of the shrinking middle-class and select upper class’ that characterizes the 21st century Bahamas and threatens the very essence and crux of the dream.  There is the accepted fact that there are more educated Bahamians up to post-graduate levels today than there were before, as well as more Bahamian entrepreneurs.  In addition, we acknowledge that The Bahamas has the third highest per capita income in the Western Hemisphere and it can be argued that we enjoy a decent standard of living as a result.  However, one may ask the following questions: Why aren’t we satisfied?  What more do we want?  The reality is that as a people collectively, we are yet to lay hold of the entire dream.  There is still much more to be achieved, more grounds to cover and we owe it to ourselves and future generations not to stop until we have done so.  The dream encourages us not to become complacent or lackadaisical, but to continue pressing until we have witnessed widespread prosperity.  To many this is a utopian outlook and nearly impossible, but I belong to the more optimistic crew of believers who dare to believe that it is possible and at the least, we should attempt to make it possible.

 

Banks and the government

The global economic crisis is real and has impacted us severely.  Atlantis, the country’s largest private employer which has created thousands of jobs for Bahamians and effectively improved the standard of living and quality of life for many, has been plagued with rumors of possible defaults on their obligations which can place thousands of jobs at risk.  There is a rising concern that the inability to bring this matter to a quick resolve can have a negative impact on an already depressed Bahamian economy.  The inability of successive governments to diversify the economy and reduce our vulnerability and dependency on employment by foreign employers has contributed to the catastrophic position that we find ourselves in today.  A robust small-medium sized business sector would have safeguarded to some extent against such possible misfortunes.  We are still waiting on the government to pass legislation concerning SMEs and it is unclear why such an important piece of legislation has not been enacted to date.  In the same manner that we passed vital legislation to save the turtles and the sharks almost overnight to preserve our marine resources, the passage of legislation to make Bahamians more self-sufficient should have been met with equivalent and perhaps more priority.

It is challenging for today’s Bahamians to become entrepreneurs being faced with start-up costs that many of them are unable to meet.  There are insufficient venture capital funds to provide access to seed money and there are limited alternative sources of funding.  Bahamians complain regularly that financial institutions won’t lend them money to start a business, but instead are quick to provide funds to finance the purchase of vehicles, vacations, grocery, furniture, etc.  If this is in fact true and the facts suggest that it is, why do they continue to enjoy our patronage?  After all, they have made millions and billions of dollars which some of them have expatriated back to their home countries or issued in dividends.  We must come together to demand more from these institutions and in the mean time patronize the financial institutions, banks, co-operatives and credit unions that will assist us in achieving the Bahamian Dream and provide more attractive rates and offers based upon the credit risk posed to each customer.  The power rests with the people and this power should be activated to make this dream a reality.

 

Empowering Bahamians

In recent times, the government has made several moves that will delay the economic advancement of the average Bahamian and defer the attainment of the Bahamian Dream.  In addition to the questionable levels of borrowing, the country’s fiscal position forced the government to carry out what was viewed by many as a fire sale of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC).  The firm was sold to foreigners reportedly under value and the bidding process appears to have been tainted.  A Bureau of Public Enterprise should have been formed to oversee the privatization process to ensure transparency in the bidding process and lack of political interference by politicians who are primarily concerned about the electorate’s and/or special interests’ concerns.  It is worth considering the approach adopted by the U.K. in privatizing its equivalent of BTC about three decades ago.  In 1981, then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s government announced that her government would be privatizing British Telecommunications (BT), which held the monopoly on telecommunication and informed the public of a program to phase in liberalization of the market prior to the sale.  The irony of this transaction from a Bahamian perspective was that Cable & Wireless, who bought BTC, was the first firm to offer alternative telephone service and receive an operating license through their subsidiary Mercury Communications in this newly liberalized market.  In 1984, legislation was passed empowering the state to sell BT.  In the same year, up to 51 percent of BT shares were sold to “British” private investors.  Legislation was also enacted that enabled BT to be in a position to succeed in the midst of an already established local competition by allowing BT to form joint ventures, expand globally and manufacture its own apparatus.  The remaining government shares were eventually sold in 1991 and 1993.

What Thatcher effectively did was expand the middle class and create wealth for hundreds of thousands of Britons through liberalization and eventual privatization.  Contrasting the U.K.’s approach to the government’s modus operandi in choosing to sell to foreigners, one wonders whether the government is a proponent of the Bahamian Dream or whether it has a vision for its people.  It is little wonder that we are faced today with a tragedy of the shrinking middle class and select upper class.

If we are to empower Bahamians in the 21st century Bahamas, creating jobs alone from foreign direct investments and empowering a handful of Bahamians is not the course of action to be taken.  Bahamians need a government in place that is sensitive to the needs of its people at large.  Sir Clifford Darling, Sir Randol Fawkes, Sir Milo Butler, Sir Lynden Pindling and Arthur D. Hanna, among others are men who were radicals of their time, understood the needs of the people and fought for majority rule.  They denied themselves and swallowed their pride to meet those needs.  That is why, more than half a century later, they are still loved by many Bahamians.  We cannot allow our progress in advancing economically to be retarded.

This generation and future generations will not be satisfied with just a job in the civil service, hotels or banks, which are not owned by Bahamians.  An economy dominated by job seekers, as opposed to job creators, will not experience the rebuilding or expansion of the middle class.  The lack of ownership within The Bahamas’ economy by a broad spectrum of Bahamians fosters job insecurity and impedes the chance for a better way of life thereby choking the Bahamian Dream.

 

•Arinthia S.Komolafe is an attorney-at-law.  Comments can be directed to: arinthia.komolafe@Komolafelaw.com

Jan 26, 2012

thenassauguardian

The Bahamian Dream pt.1

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Belize needs to legislate a clear path to obtain amnesties, permanent residencies and citizenships after a criminal background and national security check on potential candidates have been completed... ...This is the only way that Belizeans and foreigners alike would know what our government’s requirements are to obtain the change for foreigners’ immigrant status in Belize

Time for immigration reform in Belize



By Wellington C. Ramos



Prior to the independence of Belize on September 21, 1981, it was difficult for the country to grant amnesty, permanent residencies and citizenships to foreigners because Belize was a colony of Great Britain and Belizeans were still technically considered as British subjects.

Born in Dangriga Town, the cultural capital of Belize, Wellington Ramos has BAs in Political Science and History from Hunter College, NY, and an MA in Urban Studies from Long Island University. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science and HistoryAt that time, the police department was responsible for immigration matters and people who entered the country illegally were arrested, brought to the magistrate courts and sent back to their respective countries. There were times when the police would escort these aliens all the way to the Guatemalan and Mexican borders but, by the time they got back to their police stations, those same aliens would return back to their districts and it was frustrating.

During those years, the minister that was responsible for the police department under the People’s United Party (PUP) was Carl Lindbergh Rogers, better known as Lindy Rogers. He abused his power when it came to prostitution, illegal immigrants and the apprehension of some of the members of the People’s United Party when they committed crimes in Belize.

There were also other ministers in the PUP government who had immigration stamps in their possessions and they were granting aliens permission to stay in Belize as if they were immigration officers. When police officers would arrest the prostitutes, illegal aliens and the PUP members who committed crimes, orders would be sent from Belmopan from the commissioner of police to release the people from police custody. All the police officers did was complain and if they spoke about it they were transferred from their stations, refused promotions, victimized or expelled from the police force for trivial reasons. Anyone who was a member of the Belize Police Force during my time can support me with what I am saying because this was the way the Belize Police Force was functioning during those days.

When I was a Corporal of Police in Orange Walk District in the late 1970s, I went on a drug operation in Indian Church village, which is far from Orange Walk Town. We discovered that some Guatemalans were living in the country illegally and they were cultivating marijuana in the village. We found the marijuana plants and arrested the ten Guatemalan nationals. I then ordered the other police officers to have the prisoners pack up their belongings and we confiscated the bags of marijuana and took them to Orange Walk Town for processing. I told one of the prisoners that I was going to charge him for “illegal entry into the country of Belize”. He said to me that I cannot charge him for “illegal entry” because he works for Minister Florencio Marin from Corozal. I was shocked and amazed by this so I asked him to show me his Guatemalan passport. When he gave me his passport I looked inside of it and it had a stamp with the signature of Minister Florencio Marin.

Upon examining the other prisoner’s passports, they all contained the same stamp. I was so angry, I brought this matter to the attention of the inspector and he told me that he was going to discuss it with the Commissioner of Police in Belmopan. I then left the police station to have supper, with the intention of continuing the processing when I returned. When I got back to the station, I was told by the police officer who was the station diarist that all the prisoners had been released from custody. I went into the inspector’s office and demanded an explanation and he said that he received orders from Belmopan to release the prisoners. The operation started at 4:00 a.m. that morning and ended at 6:00 p.m. that evening, a total of about seventy miles of journey all in vain.

I can point to several other incidents where the ministers of government obstructed the duties of the Belize Police Force when enforcing the laws of Belize and I eventually decided to leave the country afterwards. Police officers cannot exercise their duties properly anywhere if ministers of government continue to interfere with the internal affairs of the police force.

After the independence of Belize, the People’s United Party, under the leadership of George Cadle Price, granted amnesty to hundreds of Guatemalan and Salvadoran nationals and created a village for them called The Valley of Peace. Not only were they given citizenships but also land, housing and other privileges that most natural born Belizean citizens were being denied even up to this day. This amnesty made me angry because it was the Guatemalan and Salvadoran armies that were assembled by the Belizean border to take Belize by force in 1976 under the presidency of Kjell Laugerud Garicia, a military general.

Shortly after the amnesty, Belize came up with the economic citizenship program where Belizean citizenships were sold for thousands of dollars to Chinese nationals and the funds were unaccounted for. This program was done without the approval and knowledge of the Belizean people and continued under the UDP administration until a commission on inquiry was held to decide whether to continue or discontinue it. Sometimes you can see on the internet that Belizean citizenships can still be obtained under this program but I do not have enough information about it like most other Belizean citizens to confirm.

The constitution of Belize prohibits citizenship to be granted to Guatemalan citizens because their country does not recognize the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Belize. Once Guatemala changes its position with Belize, this restriction will be removed. However, a minister of the Belize government can grant a waiver to the Guatemalan national to get his or her Belizean citizenship.

Belize needs to legislate a clear path to obtain amnesties, permanent residencies and citizenships after a criminal background and national security check on these potential candidates have been completed. This is the only way that Belizeans and foreigners alike will know what our government’s requirements are to obtain the change for foreigners’ immigrant status in Belize. I think that there should also be an “oath of allegiance” that people swear not to bear arms against our country but to defend Belize against any other country if it is attacked.

January 25, 2012

caribbeannewsnow

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jamaica is suffering from a poverty of ideas ...and already it appears as if the new administration is ready to fall into the same ditch of intellectual and creative stagnation that characterised previous governments

The poverty of ideas and action

HEART TO HEART

With Betty Ann Blaine
Betty Ann Blaine



Dear Reader,

For a country with some of the most brilliant minds one could find anywhere, I continue to be perplexed by the deficit of ideas, and worse yet, the lack of courage and conviction of those who are educated to challenge the status quo.

The recently concluded election campaign was an insult to the intelligence of any thinking person. It wasn't just that the platforms boiled down to a "tracing" match between the two main rivals about who was more corrupt than whom, it was also the complete lack of intellectual rigour commensurate with a society that has such a large class of educated people and a wide assortment of schools, colleges and universities.

The questions that I keep asking are, "How can a country with such a high concentration of intellectual capital be teetering on the verge of collapse? What is it that accounts for the gap between the "brilliance" on the one hand, and the "broken" on the other?

I would hope that these are questions occupying the minds of the leaders of our major educational institutions, and if they aren't, then clearly something is radically wrong and they ought to "wake up and smell the coffee". As far as I am concerned, if the country's tertiary institutions are not producing transformational leaders, then they might as well call it a day and go into some other kind of business.

The point is that if the society is failing, then so are our institutions of higher learning, and those who continue to live in the ivory towers of academia had better begin paying attention to what is happening on the outside of those walls.

What is even more perplexing is the fact that we now have living examples all over the world to emulate and encourage us to action. Globally, 2011 can be best described as "the year of people power". In the most striking and spontaneous fashion, people all over the globe took to the streets last year. To my mind, the Arab Spring best epitomises the dynamism of the movements in the Middle East, followed by the "Occupy Wall Street Movement" in the United States and across the world. Of note was the huge population of young people positioned at the forefront of the various uprisings and direct action campaigns.

So what is the difference between those young people and ours? What exactly is going on at our colleges and universities that is inhibiting youth activism? The Prophet Muhammad was quoted as saying, "If you see something wrong with the world, change it with your hands". That powerful statement should be inscribed on the walls of our educational institutions and embedded in the policies, programmes and culture of all those places where learning takes place.

One of the criticisms I have of the new People's National Party (PNP) administration is its perpetuation of political "parochialism". So far, every major appointment made is based entirely on loyalty to party, and while we understand that rewarding party faithful is germane to politics as we know it, it's a pity that the PNP doesn't appreciate the need to engage some of those in the society who are independent, progressive thinkers into its administration. The example set by US President Barack Obama in the way he embraced and invited his Republican rival into his Cabinet, was not only exemplary, it was smart. Obama made it clear that it was going to be country over party and he reached out for the best man to do the job.

And there are numerous scholars and experts with excellent ideas for reconstructing the Jamaican society and economy. Not only is there a repository of knowledge and experience waiting to be the tapped, but the capacity of those to network with colleagues and contemporaries outside of Jamaican is clearly underestimated.

Jamaica is suffering from a poverty of ideas, and already it appears as if the new administration is ready to fall into the same ditch of intellectual and creative stagnation that characterised previous governments.

Among the critical areas of national development is education reform and there are experts both inside and outside of Jamaica with a lot to offer. Last Thursday, I had the distinct pleasure of attending a public lecture hosted by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) at the University of the West Indies. The main presentation was delivered by Professor Pedro Noguera of New York University, a leading expert in education and education transformation. Addressing the topic, "Education for Social and Economic Development: toward a more equitable and Just Jamaica in the 21st century", Professor Noguera, whose mother, interestingly, is Jamaican, skilfully outlined the problems and the solutions for education transformation. The ideas were fresh, dynamic and workable, and the only thing that I regretted was that the new minister of education was not present. It was definitely information and ideas for policy makers and implementers.

It is high time we narrow the huge gap between the intellectual prowess on the one hand and the realities of day-to-day living on the other, not only for the stimulation and sustenance of progressive and enlightened thought, but also for the advancement of the common man.

With love,
bab2609@yahoo.com


January 24, 2012

jamaicaobserver

Monday, January 23, 2012

Majority rule was a Bahamian victory... It tells the story of a group of people who fought in the Quiet Revolution to bring about social, economic and political change in The Bahamas... It promised the Bahamian people gifts of hope and prosperity for all ...and not just a small few...

Today, 45 years later, it appears as though we are losing sight of the Bahamian Dream and regressing rather than progressing...


The Bahamian Dream pt.1


By Arinthia S.Komolafe




The issue surrounding majority rule is for Bahamians the ‘elephant in the room’.  It’s the issue that is ignored and goes unaddressed because it is both socially and politically incorrect to do so due to its close ties to the history of race and discrimination in our country.

It is unfortunate to see such a major achievement in our country won by men and women of that day who believed that successive generations of Bahamians deserved a better life than what they were experiencing.  The issue has become so politicized that it appears supporters of the Free National Movement (FNM) have little emotion for the event and the supporters of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) have claimed the event as a personal victory.

Politics has taken hold of our nation in such a divisive way that everything is politicized whether it relates to the attainment of a job in the civil service, appointments to government boards, and the bench.  This cancerous philosophy has affected us right down to the color of the garment that we wear.  It is an unwritten rule that supporters of the FNM should not wear yellow/gold outfits.  The reverse is true if one supports the PLP – it is almost a taboo to wear red.  More recently, an individual’s allegiance and loyalty to his party is now being questioned if he wears the color green, the banner color of the newly formed Democratic National Alliance.  Where did we lose our way and when did we seek to ignore matters of national importance and focus on such trivial things that add little value to our lives?

 

A victory for all

Majority rule was a Bahamian victory.  It tells the story of a group of people that fought in the Quiet Revolution to bring about social, economic and political change.  It promised the Bahamian people gifts of hope and prosperity for all and not just a small few.  It is my view that God ordained it that its fruition would depend upon the cooperation of the former United Bahamian Party (UBP) member turned independent, Sir Alvin Braynen, and the Labour Party leader Sir Randol Fawkes.  It was indicative of the fact that The Bahamas is for Bahamians of all backgrounds, black or white, rich or poor, liberal or conservative and those who believe in workers’ rights.  It was the culmination of struggles that started with the abolition of slavery in our islands, and other events such as the Burma Road Riots, the General Strike, one man one vote, the women’s and universal suffrage movements and Black Tuesday.  In those times there was no PLP or FNM, but a fight toward equality and opportunity for all and the chance for democracy to reign in our nation.  It is worth noting that the founders and the supporters of the Free PLP, the dissident group who left the PLP in the early 1970s, were all present and participated in this common struggle.  In the eyes of some, they were seen as traitors for later joining forces with the very group of people who oppressed the masses for so long.  The merger of the Free PLP and the UBP would give birth to what is today the FNM.  Nevertheless, it begs the question whether this merger has prohibited the recognition of majority rule by the FNM on a national level?  Further, to many Bahamians, majority rule has been touted as a sole PLP victory.  While it is accepted that the PLP played a major role in bringing majority rule to fruition, the continuous annual private celebration of the event on PLP territory is frowned upon and will not accomplish much to bring a non-partisan national awareness of this historical achievement of our nation.  Why can’t the leaders of the PLP, FNM and the trade unions join forces annually to mark this event?  Such divisions and lack of unity have contributed to the inability of the full Bahamian history to be passed down to successive generations of Bahamians.

It is a grave error on the part of the leaders of today to fail to make a conscious effort to celebrate this achievement on a national level.  Majority rule holds a place in history similar to Emancipation Day, Labour Day and Independence – accomplishments that played major roles in the prosperity that we experience in The Bahamas today.  More importantly, majority rule gave birth to the ‘Bahamian Dream’.  It was a clear demonstration to Bahamians of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds that we possess the ability to govern ourselves and that we could be whatever we aspired to be.  It was the stepping stone that brought about independence from British colonial rule a short six years later on the July 10, 1973.  After delivering on the promise of political freedom, it paved the way for economic freedom.  In this sense, faced with a largely illiterate population, the then PLP administration placed significant importance on educating the masses.  They understood that education was the currency that would advance a people to a better way of life.  Hence, education was very essential to the attainment of the Bahamian Dream.  They embarked upon a task to expand the learning institutions that were available.  They built more primary and secondary schools and built the College of The Bahamas as well as technical and vocational institutions of higher learning.  They also made provisions for scholarships to be provided to attend local and international institutions of higher learning.  It was clear to all and sundry that education would lead to higher paying jobs that would enable many to own a home, save for retirement and educate their own children.

Further, that administration instituted a safety net for Bahamians through the implementation of National Insurance, expanded healthcare services and commenced a low-cost housing program that afforded thousands of Bahamians access to home ownership, hence the creation and expansion of the middle class.

 

Where we are

Today, 45 years later, it appears as though we are losing sight of the Bahamian Dream and regressing rather than progressing.  We are witnessing in unprecedented numbers Bahamians losing their jobs, homes and properties while many cannot afford the basic necessities of life and access to higher education.  We have yet to bring about advanced economic freedom to our people on a large scale.  We are not in full control of our economic destinies with ownership within our main sectors of tourism and financial services, for the most part, resting in the hands of foreigners.  Although their presence has generated jobs for thousands of Bahamians and improved their standards of living (and for this we are grateful), jobs alone will not be sustainable for the 21st century Bahamas, but instead the added ability of Bahamians to create jobs themselves.

Bahamians do not want a hand-out, but rather a hand-up and The Bahamas must not be allowed to evolve into a welfare state.  The role of the government is to create an environment that is conducive for its people to prosper, and in turn we must be committed to work toward the desired economic freedom.

Furthermore, we must place priority on educating our people once again; otherwise we will not be able to compete in our own country much less the world. We must transfer ownership to Bahamians and the environment must be created for small and medium-sized businesses to prosper by way of appropriate fiscal and monetary policies, reduction in the cost of energy and improving access to capital for growth and expansion.  We must expand our industries to provide job and entrepreneurial opportunities for Bahamians outside of tourism and financial services, which are heavily dependent upon the stability and prosperity of the U.S., E.U. and Canadian economies, for the most part.  A failure to do so could result in a brain drain and an exodus of some of our nation’s brightest minds.

We must make every effort to reduce the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ and a revised tax code to bring relief to the poor, working and middle class is imminent.  We are witnessing a threat to our nation’s stability through the increased level of crime that is spiraling out of control.  Arguably, this has a direct correlation with the economic challenges that we face as a nation today.  It is imperative to state that we all have a role to play in building a better Bahamas and increasing the possibility of laying hold of the Bahamian Dream.

Parents must take their parenting and nurturing responsibilities more seriously and revert back to the values that our nation was built upon by distinguishing between right and wrong.  Churches must be more aggressive in spreading the message of Christ above any other message and branch out into the communities where people that are in need of spiritual fulfilment reside.  Likewise, teachers, civic leaders and their organizations must also continue to provide checks and balances to the work that the family, government and church are undertaking.  The old African adage is true that “it takes a village to raise a child”, and without all hands on deck, the Bahamian dream may be reduced to just a dream with no hope of becoming a reality for many.

 

•Arinthia S.Komolafe is an attorney-at-law.  Comments can be directed to: arinthia.komolafe@Komolafelaw.com

Jan 20, 2012

thenassauguardian

The Bahamian Dream II

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Jamaica finally becoming a republic would represent a coming of age for the country

Jamaica a republic: Time has indeed come

By Diane Abbott
Diane



THE announcement by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller that she wants to move forward to having a Jamaican head of state is very appropriate in the 50th year of Jamaican Independence.

It is important to stress that it will in no way threaten the strong political, economic, cultural and social links between Britain and Jamaica.

The first thing to bear in mind is that it will not mean Jamaica leaving the Commonwealth. There are a number of republics that remain happily in the Commonwealth. Notable amongst them are India, Dominica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. The fact that they are republics has in no way weakened their ties with Britain. Most of the practical benefits to Jamaica from the British link come from membership of the Commonwealth. This can continue.

The ties between Britain and its former colonies have remained largely because most of the first generation of Commonwealth leaders studied in Britain. But this was a more important psychological link than whether or not the Queen was the head of state of those countries.
However, over the years, the ties have weakened mostly because of the inexorable tide of North American popular culture and the rise of alternate economic powers, notably China.

Of course, there remains a huge sentimental regard for the Queen amongst ordinary Jamaicans. My own mother was typical in this regard. Portia wisely reflected this when she made a point of saying how much she personally loved the Queen.

This affection for the Queen has some historical basis. Jamaican slaves regularly appealed over the heads of their own planter class to the British monarchy for justice. They saw the monarchy as their protectors against the harshest aspects of chattel slavery.

I became a member of the British Parliament in 1987. My mother was obviously thrilled. But I have no doubt that the highlight of that year for her was the opportunity to attend the State Opening of Parliament and see the Queen in person wearing her ceremonial robes and glittering crown.

Some Jamaicans might worry that the British will feel that it is a snub if Jamaica chooses to become a republic. In fact, I suspect that if most British people were asked they would assume that Jamaica is already a republic. Scotland is reaching the climax of a long campaign for its own independence. If a country that forms part of the British Isles can contemplate becoming a republic, why not Jamaica?

Jamaica finally becoming a republic would represent a coming of age for the country. Ideally it should be done on an all-party basis. Admirers of Jamaica all over the world will wish Prime Minister Simpson Miller well in steering the Jamaican ship of state into the safe harbour of republic status. The time has come.

Diane Abbott is the British Labour party's shadow public health minister

www.dianeabbott.org.uk

January 22, 2012

jamaicaobserver

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Haiti and a new road towards sustainable change

Definitive solutions to the problems of Haiti


By Jean H. Charles


I have been simmering long and hard trying to find the definitive solutions to the problems of Haiti. I have, in a two-part column a week before the earthquake of January 12, 2010, presented a detailed plan for Haiti’s re-building. Whether it has inspired the policymakers and the NGOs’ directors to take the course and lead Haiti after the earthquake into sustainable development, the result is not visible to the naked eye!

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.comHaiti has failed to use this crisis resulting from an act of God to transform itself into a growth oriented country. As such I am urged now to condense in a four-point part, how Haiti can take a new road towards sustainable change?

1. First and foremost, Haiti’s urgent problem is the revival of its environment. The famous French environmentalist Jacques Cousteau some thirty years ago in a moving documentary “Waters of sorrow”, warned that Haiti’s vegetation cover was only 15%. Urgent actions should be undertaken immediately to reverse this ecological disaster.

I remember a day after the inauguration of Jean Bertrand Aristide on February 7, 1991, I advised his executive assistant, Henry Claude Menard, that I was observing the complete destruction of the flora for bread making and the dry cleaning plants. His answer that we do not have time for such triviality was indicative of what was going to happen to Jean Bertrand Aristide and to Haiti some years later.

Haiti’s vegetation cover is now only 2%. If drastic actions are not taken, Haiti vegetation cover will be soon 0.2%. There will be no Haiti to enjoy after any redevelopment is undertaken. As such I am proposing that all effort should be focused on tree-planting, sewers and ravine cleaning. Haiti must engage itself in the culture that made Dominica the Nature Isle. Stop destroying its trees for daily survival and engage in systematic tree-planting and soil conservation.

I am proposing this citizen to citizen movement. On November 18 and May 18, Haiti celebrates its heroes and its flag days. The government should declare November 17 and 18, and May 17 and May 18, volunteerism days. Starting on May 18, 2012, a vast marketing program should start on preparing seedlings with black bags of all the fruits consumed in the homes. Churches, schools and businesses will engage group leaders to promote the movement.

The first planting will take place on November 17 and November 18, 2012, with mature plants in all the homes, the churches and the schools. The mountains surrounding the towns and the cities of the country will be the first target of this environmental action.

Once the first volunteer days are over, immediate action will be taken to prepare with seedlings gathered for the next planting days that will take place on May 17 and May 18, 2013. As such, Haiti will slowly become a second Nature Isle in the Caribbean after Dominica.

2. Having renewed the physical environment, we shall now attack the spiritual environment. Haiti is a country not a nation. It will not be developed unless and until the sentiment of appurtenance is cultivated by and amongst all the sectors of the society. Haiti is the product of the culture of swimming to get out on your own without communal life support. It is the culture of hating and hurting one’s own brother and sister. It is the culture of damaging the environment without the conviction of destroying one’s own patrimony.

Dr Tunelb Delpe, a political leader, has for the last twenty years called for a national conference to reconcile the nation with itself. His appeal has gone nowhere, in part because of his own non-articulation of the goals and motives of such an initiative. We must create a Haiti that shall become hospitable to all. I have often said in this column that Haiti practices the culture of discrimination against 90% of its population. It practices political, economical and social discrimination against 85% of its population that represents the rural and the urban favellas dwellers. It practices political and social discrimination against 4% of its population that represent the Diaspora. Last but not least, it practices political discrimination against 1% of its population that comprises the mulattoes.

A country cannot become a nation with such an endemic discriminatory practice and culture. I am observing how Haiti is amassing more and more resources without the sentiment of appurtenance that would make a difference in services delivery. Bishop Pierre Andre Dumas of the Diocese of Nippes region of Haiti is another voice in the desert promoting this love and concern for each other.

The sentiment of appurtenance is the glue, the blood and the oil that can transform the individual energy into a force that will move mountains to create a prosperous nation.

I am suggesting a massive campaign of solidarity mixed with concrete actions to attack this gangrene of each one for each one promoted by the last governments of Haiti in particular the Rene Preval government.

3. These renaissance actions must start in the rural counties of Haiti, not in City Soleil or Canaan – Port au Prince -- the two largest slums of the Caribbean. I came back yesterday from Jacmel the picturesque city on the southern coast of Haiti. Driving through the mountains to Jacmel is pure delight, crossing the small rural villages of Macassin, St Etienne, Cormier, Fondwa, Tom Facto and Decouze, before crashing into Jacmel; it is easy to lay the groundwork for the renaissance of the region.

An excellent school in each one of the villages, with institutions, infrastructure and economic incubation that will spur the monetization of the human and natural resources of each region will make a significant difference in the way citizens value their nation. They will be no more nomad Haitians that seek a better life in the slums of Canaan or a leaky boat towards The Bahamas or Florida.

4. This proposition cannot be outsourced to the international community. It must be owned, executed and implemented by the Haitian people themselves (of course the cooperation of the international community is welcomed).

My resolution this year is to demonstrate a positive attitude towards life in general. This search for a solution is the first of many more to come. With the support of the political platform Repons Paysan that succeed in electing a president in its young age of two years, the platform will not wait either for the NGOs or even the president of Haiti to start this movement of renaissance that must begin with the peasants of Haiti in their own neighborhoods!

January 21, 2012

caribbeannewsnow

Friday, January 20, 2012

Is HIV Actually Harmless?

Have you guys heard about this? It's a theory put forth by Peter Duesberg at Cal Berkeley. You can find his Web site here:

www.duesberg.com...  

Some interesting points about this.. Duesberg wrote a book on this topic, called "Why We Will Never Win the War on AIDS".. The Feds banned the book(!) In fact, to the best of anyone's knowledge, this appears to be the first time in history that the Feds have EVER banned a book.. which I suppose goes to show that the content contained therein is pretty explosive.. 

Below I summarize some info from the Duesberg Web site.. not that I believe 100% of it (although a lot of it makes a lot of sense), but it's definately interesting: 

HIV is completely harmless. HIV is a retrovirus.. if HIV does in fact cause AIDS, it would be the first and to date only known retrovirus that causes a fatal, or any serious, disease in man. Humans have a very highly evolved immune system. Retroviruses are super primitive, even by viral standards.. they're basically little more than strands of RNA. To think that a simple little retrovirus could cause such a litany of immunologicaly disorders, esp ones involving the brain (retroviruses cannot cross the blood-brain barrier) stretches the imagination. 

What happens when you're infected w/ HIV? You might come down w/ some mild flu-like symptoms for about 3-5 days. Or, you might notice anything at all. In either case, your immune system springs into action and successfully fights off the virus. 

Fact: 98% of all AIDS "tests" do not test for the prescence of HIV; they test for the prescence of HIV antibodies. If you catch the common cold, you're going to carry antibodies against that virus for the rest of your life. Same w/ HIV. If you're infected w/ HIV, and you come down w/ the mild flu-like symptoms, your immune system will fight it off, and you'll carry antibodies against HIV for the rest of your life. THAT'S WHAT YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM IS DESIGNED TO DO!! This explains these "miraculous survivors" who are somehow able to live for 10 years, 15 years w/ HIV "infection" and somehow "magically" never develop symptoms of full blown AIDS. 

So why do so many people get "sick" w/ AIDS? Post-1984, when Gallo "discovered" HIV as the "cause" of AIDS, the medical establishment has evolved a new way of treating diseases. If you come into the hospital w/ TB, you'll be treated for TB (and probably recover). If you come into the hospital w/ TB, and you test positive for HIV antibodies, suddenly you're an "AIDS" patient.. They'll immediately start on a regime of hard-core AIDS drugs like AZT.. drugs which, for the most part, COMPLETELY DESTROY YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM. AZT (for example) was developed as chemotherapy against leukemia and other cancers that infect the immune system.. these drugs are, by definition, designed to destroy immune cells. 

After a couple weeks/months on the AIDS "treatment", your immune system has been thoroughly weakened, your body has been thoroughly toxified, and suddenly you start developing a whole host of immune-related disorders. After another year or two, you're dead and a statistic.. cause of death: AIDS. 

Remember Ryan White? Hemophiliac poster boy for AIDS back in the 1980s? Innocent kid who happened to catch HIV from a blood transfusion and later succumbed to "AIDS"? Congress passed some big federal spending bill for AIDS research in his honor.. guess what? Ryan White didn't die of AIDS. In the first place, hemophiliacs suffer from a general degeneration of their immune system anyway.. that's been documented for centuries, ever since physicians have known about hemophilia.. (hemophilia is after all a blood disease, and immunology is centered in the blood).. secondly, Ryan White died (I think, can't quite remember based on my reading..) from liver complications stemming from one his transfusions.. whatever it was (can't quite remember right now), it certainly wasn't from AIDS-related immune system collapse.. 

So what gives? What the heck is AIDS? AIDS first surfaced in San Francisco.. gay men suddenly started coming down w/ Kaposi's sacroma, a very rare form of skin cancer usually only seen in patients w/ highly compromised immune systems (like those who have been on chemotherapy, etc). Researchers were at a loss for what to call it.. eventually, HIV was isolated in some of those patients, and so the hypothesis was formed that HIV might be the "cause" of this weakened immune response.. 

So doctors started testing for HIV more routinely.. soon people from the general population were testing positive for HIV.. and if they happened to have some wierd, rare, disease not usually seen in the general population.. well.. they must have AIDS! Start them on the AZT treatment! Oops! They died already!? AIDS is such a killer! Notice that the biggest risk groups for AIDS, however, ARE people who are going to tend to have compromised immune systems to start w/: drug addicts, heroin users, hemophiliacs. 

As for gay men, guess what? You know those nitrous "poppers" that some people (esp, it seems, gay men) love to take before having sex?? Medical studies have been conducted that suggest a correlation between nitrous "popper" use and an increased risk in developing Kaposi's sacroma. Moreover, many gay men in San Francisco apparently hit antibiotics really hard (for some reason.. not sure why.. I think there might be antibiotics that kinda get you high or something).. abuse of antibiotics is (very well) known to weaken the immune system. So you have a bunch of gay men, abusing prescription drugs, doing nitrous poppers, and coming down w/ a rare cancer.. a cancer that is in no way (probably) related to HIV, and yet somehow the whole "mistake" goes out into the public as a brand new, fearful, terrifying disease we have to watch out for called "AIDS" 

There are a whole host of other "medical" issues related to this that I cannot do justice to (like explaining the apparent "communicability" of AIDS, etc, and explaining the other apparent immune-related disorders that seem to be popping up in the population, etc), soo.. I'll defer to Duesberg on those: 

www.oralchelation.com...  
www.virusmyth.net...  
www.virusmyth.net...  
www.virusmyth.net...  
www.virusmyth.net...  
www.virusmyth.net...  
www.virusmyth.net...  

Now that's the science part. The federal government, for the most part, isn't interested in science, and they wouldn't ban a book just b/c of scientific content... 

So why did the Feds ban the book? (something completely unprecendented in the 200-some-odd-year history of the United States)?? Duesberg suggests in his book that the Feds want to cover this up. There are lots of obvious reasons for this.. In the first place, spreading fear and paranoia throughout the general population is a good thing when soulless International Bankers are running your country. They learned this from Orson Well's 1939 reading of "War of the Worlds", and have been using it ever since. 

Also, it's good to spend money if you're the federal government. B/c of the nature of the relationship between the federal government and the federal reserve bank, Washington has an obligation to SPEND AS MUCH MONEY AS IT POSSIBLY CAN. The more money Washington spends, the more in debt it goes, the better it is for the overall system. Doesn't matter if you're spending money on war, drugs, poverty, crime, AIDS or cancer. The goal is to spend money. Period. AIDS is a great thing to spend money on.. the Feds don't want to lose that. 

The final reason that's been suggested for why the Feds would want to cover it up is far more sinister, and more speculative, but.. also plausible.. and that's the AIDS "crisis" in Africa. In the first place, Duesberg suggests that there is no genuine AIDS crisis in Africa. True, many Africans are infected w/ HIV, but so is much of the general population everywhere on Earth, often w/o knowing it. wehn an African contracts AIDS, he comes down w/ the "Slim" wasting disease.. when a gay man in SF contracts AIDS, he comes down w/ Kaposi's sarcoma.. gay men in SF don't get Slim, and black Africans don't get Kaposi's sacroma.. which suggests that Duesberg that neither disease is related to HIV and that you're dealing w/ two separate pathologies altogether (the African Slim disease probably has a lot more to do w/ complications from malnutrition, in Duesberg's opinion, as well as other co-factors.. there could be a communicable agent responsible, but at best HIV is a co-factor). 

But the final suggestion (made in the banned book) is, what of all this news from Africa about how AIDS (or, more accurately, Slim Wasting Disease) is destroying entire villages and cities? Well.. Duesberg suggest, it *could* be Slim that's killing off entire villages and cities.. oor.. more onimously, you could also have U.S.-government-sponsored death squads roaming the African countryside, murdering entire villages and blaming it on "AIDS".. (U.S.-sponsored death squads have murdered tens of thousands in Central America, so it's been known to happen before.. ) The U.S. has standing "depopulation plans" in place for the Third World, the most famous of which is known as NSSM 200 and was drafted by none other than Henry Kissinger himself. The author suggests there may be ongoing de-population activities occurring in Africa right now, using AIDS as a cover.. 

Food for thought..



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