My Name is William H Harriss, and I am a citizen of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Six years ago, the police in Saint Vincent came to my house in Ratho Mill mob, some in uniform, some in plain suits, and some in jungle warfare military uniforms; they came in the backs of a fleet of pickup trucks. They brought a search warrant that they had obtained with knowingly false information. I say false because I sincerely believe they gave the Justice of the Peace who signed it knowingly untrue information to be able to obtain it.
They were at my house because I had been betrayed by a family member who had connections to Mrs Gonsalves and Prime Minister Ralph E Gonsalves’s bodyguards.
This was a politically motivated raid and is the subject of several conspiracies. I had been working on a research manuscript regarding the Prime minister’s ancestry, which I believed would prove Antonio Gonsalves, who historical records prove took the first black slaves from the west coast of Africa and transported them to Lisbon, Portugal, in 1441, was his family ancestor.
It is clear that the present government is handing out millions of dollars to only one section of the population under the guise of culture. It is an indisputable fact that Trinidad and Tobago is a multi-ethnic society with various groups of people practicing many cultural forms.
TT$5. million in taxpayers’ money has been spent on this year’s Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sport and Community Development, Angela Edwards, said it was well worth it. Which group in society mostly participates in Best Village?
For Carnival 2024, Cabinet has approved grants payable in the sum of TT$15 thousand in support of conventional bands and $7,500 in support of single pan bands. These grants would be made available to a total of 153 steelbands: 94 conventional bands and 59 single pan bands. Which group in society mostly plays steelpan?
Rebloged from the Caribbean Empowerment website. The international news-feed is choked with the ongoing impasse between HAMAS and Israel. What about Haiti? We know the answer, it is a Black country that is of little geopolitical importance located in a region where a one foreign policy remains a pipe dream – Blogmaster
On 2 October, the US presented to the United Nations Security Council a resolution calling for the authorisation of its long planned military attack on Haiti. The resolution was adopted by 13 votes to 0 with Russia and China abstaining. The states which voted in favour of the resolution were Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, France, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.
Resolution 2699 that authorises the military attack on Haiti has been passed under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter which allows for the use of violence against an individual state. A number of commentators have pointed out that, in fact, this resolution is illegal and itself violates the UN Charter since Chapter 7 focuses on defending international peace through addressing threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of aggression. Clearly, the activities of criminal gangs in an individual state do not present a threat to international peace and so are not the business of the UN Security Council and definitely not an issue that can be addressed by the use of Chapter 7. Not surprisingly, the drafters of the resolution do not explain how the situation in Haiti presents a threat to international peace. It is ironic that this resolution is being used to facilitate an act of unprovoked aggression against a member state, something that Chapter 7 is supposed to deter.
Speaking at the 78th session of the United Nations General assembly on 19 September, President Biden called on the UN Security Council to immediately authorise the planned US invasion of Haiti. This demand made by Biden from the podium of the UN underlines how determined the US is to launch its invasion and demonstrates that the occupation of Haiti and the plundering of its resources, including its rare earth iridium deposits, are of the utmost importance to the US corporations and the US government which represents them.
From December 1914, when US marines invaded Haiti and literally stole its gold reserves from the national bank, to 2004 when they kidnapped the elected president Jean Bertrand Aristide and 2010 when it once again sent its troops into Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake, the USA has given Haiti no peace, invading it time and again.
The current planned US/UN invasion is no different. Despite the lying propaganda that the US and its media outlets are spreading that, allegedly, the invasion is intended to benefit the Haitian people by addressing the problem of criminal gangs in that country, its real aims are clear. In reality, the US wants to invade Haiti to shore up the Ariel Henry government that it and its Core Group put in place both of which are completely rejected by the Haitian people.
The biggest concern is that as a Caribbean people we are able to unshackle our minds to appreciate for change to occur, we must look in the mirror.
In recent weeks two African development banks took root in the Caribbean with a goal to nurture economic links and fuel growth opportunities. It will be interesting to observe the extent the Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) are able to build a model for success that addresses ” the financial needs of stakeholders and improve the quality of life for Caribbean citizens“.
Already CAF has committed USD50 million to support the the Blue Green Bank initiative that focuses on the blue economy AND Afreximbank USD1.5 billion to finance trade and investment ties between Africa and the Caribbean by stimulating the “economic sectors, enhance trade infrastructure, and empower small to medium enterprises across the Caribbean“.
On the surface the blogmaster is happy to observe initiatives with the Motherland recognizing our cultural moorings and common challenges. Both the Caribbean and Africa currently have similar issues, we are countries struggling to unleash our potential on the world. We continue to allow our physical and mental spaces to be exploited by Western interests. The only way to break the shackles of dependency on the West – a legacy of our colonial past – is to transform how we think in order to discover new opportunities.
Last year then Minister of Tourism and International Transport Lisa Cummins shared with the country significant changes (a new Civil Aviation Bill) were in the pipeline to transform the local aviation industry in Barbados.
Off interest from the following Government of Barbados release:
Other works in the pipeline with regards to civil aviation include the Barbados Civil Aviation Department building on the creation of the Civil Aviation Authority and all the regulatory work that would be central to that which will ultimately pave the way for Category One Status for the Grantley Adams International Airport. An international consulting team has been contracted to help with achieving that status – GIS
Despite local talking heads perennially positioning Barbados as a major regional hub for airlines in the southern region with the goal to support flights to major destination, Barbados’ Category 2 “rating puts restrictions on the national airlines of the countries, such as a freeze on the number of aircraft operated and route expansions into the US”. It begs the question why Barbados has never committed to securing a CAT 1 designation to join Trinidad, Suriname and OECS countries. Another example of the OECS sub region – members of Caricom – showing the others the way.
The blogmaster admits this is a highly technical subject but from cursory research two perquisites are – commitment by the government and making adequate resources available. Accepting there is always heavy demand on national resources and allocation must be prioritised, one has to assume given the goal to make Barbados a hub player we continue to struggle with implementation. To quote then Minister of International Transport Cummins,
As had been widely predicted, CARICOM caved in to the intense and relentless US pressure on it that the regional body threw its support behind the planned US military attack on Haiti. Meeting in Trinidad and Tobago, from 3-5 July, in its 45th Heads of Government conference, which also marked the 50th anniversary of the organisation, CARICOM abandoned its months long opposition to the US assault on its fellow member state and issued a statement in support of the “immediate creation of a Humanitarian and Security Stabilization Corridor under the mandate of a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution, and agreed to seek support from international partners to help finance its establishment and the strengthening of security in Haiti”.
This change of mind on CARICOM’s part was no doubt influenced by the presence not only of a bipartisan US Congressional delegation led by Democratic politician Hakeem Jeffries but also of Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State.
June 26, 2023 will be remembered by fans of cricket and in particular those who support the West Indies team as another dark day. It was a day orange was the new maroon. It was a day an Associate Member team humiliated a West Indies team by scoring 374 runs to tie a 50 over game in an ongoing competition and finally won it in a super over. A super over which saw Jason Holder struck for 30 runs.
On July 13, 2009 a blog titled The Darkest Day In West Indies Cricket was posted by Barbados Underground. Not many West Indian cricket fans would have envisaged the precipitous decline in our cricket thirteen years later. Baby boomers in the BU household who were fortunate to witness triumphant West Indies cricket teams of the 70s and 80s have had to stop being fans of regional cricket, including the blogmaster.
To be honest the blogmaster feels unqualified to unpack the may problems obviously affecting West Indies cricket. What cannot be refuted is that the passion with which former players from the golden era played the game has long faded. The game has been commodified and our top players from all reports are paid very well, BUT, the passion that is a prerequisite to give of ones best is gone.
This is not the first time Prime Minister’s Roosevelt Skerrit’s name has been mentioned negatively on Barbados Underground. The BU family will recall his name was associated with a few prominent others as having an interest in the local Cost-U-Less. Here is the 2013 blog Who Are the Local Partners in Cost-U-Less?.
The blogmaster is encouraged to read that in some places, some citizens are not afraid to challenge the establishment. Unlike Barbados the Commonwealth of Dominica has enacted and operartionalized the Integrity in Public Office Act of Dominica. Since the 70s successive BARBADOS LABOUR PARTY (BLP) and DEMOCRATIC LABOUR PARTY (DLP) governments have been promising Barbadians to enact transparency laws.
Here is a story of interest posted in the Antigua News.
Having failed, so far, to strong-arm enough CARICOM member states to act as a fig leaf behind which it could launch an invasion of Haiti, the US is doubling down on its efforts. In early May, it was reported that Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the United Nations had visited Brazil to press the recently elected president, Lula da Silva to agree to Brazil leading the invasion force against Haiti.
There is a story brewing which involves the ‘abduction’ of an alleged Trinidadian arms dealer from Barbados. The blogmaster has not been following closely to do justice to the matter largely because the BU household decided to retreat to Cattlewash for the long weekend. However, the matter has raised a few times by members of the BU family reflected in messages to BU inbox.
Here are three links to the story for your consumption and discussion.
A recent news report about what was caused sea urchins to die hammers home the importance of protecting our coastal real estate by any means necessary. Important because Barbados is a small island state dependent on a pristine coastline as an economic resource as well as being a great place to live for residents.
When the Mottley government came to office in 2018 many inquired what was this blue economy being touted. The importance of focusing on a blue economy for a small island state cannot be refuted. One wonders if focus on developing a blue economy five years later was a gimmick to fuel political hype.
Whether in the private/public sectors or a small village shop maintaining an accurate inventory of all your internet connected systems and services is critical to protecting your entire organization from international cyber criminals, hackers, hacktivist, script kiddies and many more attacker types. Today many publicly reported data breaches worldwide occur in part or whole due to poor asset and inventory control which often leads to poor management and updating of systems connected to the internet. These factors when combined create a perfect opportunity for compromise by malicious actors or cyber criminals.
Key Question for Your IT Support Team or Yourself:
Do we have an up to date asset inventory of all systems and devices, and are they running routinely updated operating systems? Additionally are you have a ‘good’ anti-virus and malware protection application running (free is not always good) on all computers and laptops which is also routinely updated?
(2) BE AWARE THAT YOU MAY ALREADY BE A CYBER VICTIM AND JUST DON’T KNOW IT
Please find attached an English translation of a recent statement from a number of Haitian civil society organisations on the looming threat of a Canadian invasion of that country. I hope you will be able to publicise this statement as it gives the people of the wider Caribbean an opportunity to hear what people in Haiti think about this planned invasion.
Thanking you in advance for your support.
Submitted by Tee White with the above cover note:
The Caribbean must not remain the sounding board of former colonial powers and slaveholders that have now become imperialist powers
Honourable Heads of Government of the following States:
Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos,
We, the signatory Haitian organisations, have learned that the 44th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will be held in Nassau, Bahamas, on February 15 and 16. This Conference will be marked by the presence of the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, as a special guest and that of Ariel Henry, the much maligned de facto Prime Minister imposed on the Haitian people by the Core Group*.
Nassau The Bahamas – Political Leader and Activist Lincoln Bain and other peaceful protesters were arrested by the government yesterday 15 th February, 2023, as they attempted to protest the Illegal Immigration situation in the Country during CARICOM.
Bain along with the other protesters are being held illegally without charges until the CARICOM meeting that is being held in the Bahamas from 15 th to the 17 th February 2023 at the Baha Mar Resort, Cable Beach is concluded.
Protesters were blocked from entering the area of the hotel and directed to an area further away, where they were then followed by the officers, who commenced to harass and then arrest and assault the women in the crowd, punching some in the face and slamming and stomping another to the ground.
Barbados being a 49% shareholder in LIAT 1974 has a story to be told in regards to its actions or inaction which led to the unfortunate demise of the airline. It has been estimated that former Barbadian workers are owed in the region of $13 million EC dollars ($9.7 million) by LIAT.
On his recent visit to Barbados St.Lucia PM Phillip Pierre spoke to an “unfortunate demise” of LIAT. Although St. Lucia is not a shareholder in LIAT 1974, PM Phillip J Pierre during his 2022 budget presentation to Parliament promised that severance payments due to former St Lucian LIAT workers will be settled.Those workers were paid 100 per cent of their severance in a compensation package exceeding EC$6 million. The former LIAT staff got a one-off gift of $2,000 from the Mottley-led administration and were awaiting an additional $2,000-per-month loan from the government which will be recovered whenever Antigua decides to make good on the owed severance.
It is no secret Barbadians are addicted to the conspicuous consumption lifestyle. We can debate why educated Barbadians – successive governments included – continue to ignore the the consequences of having champagne taste and mauby pockets – wantonly running budget deficits in the post Errol Barrow era is with us. We can no longer support ourselves UNLESS we borrow as a creative approach to ‘reprofiling debt’ or lobby to access concessionary and grant funding. The question we must ask is if such an approach is sustainable. At some point the country must reengineer the economic model to organically grow GDP to effectively earn enough to pay our bills (support our conspicuous consumption habit). In other words running budget surpluses must not be jettisoned for the lazy and fashionable budget deficit approach to managing our financial affairs.
The historic violence Haitians are experiencing today can find its foundation in various groups trying to control essential commodities such as oil, gas, kerosene and diesel. When a national or economic crisis happens, those who control the means of energy and food sources control the population. Haiti has never been able to escape its exhaustion caused by continual natural and climatic disasters over the years. Unable to nationally and economically heal, Haiti had looked to the world for help, realising that assistance from outsiders has a cost. Haiti’s natural resources and production fall into that category.
The population reeled at the assassination of Haiti’s President about one year ago. There is no well-established government to name or rely upon. The Gangs of Haiti are many, allied to certain governmental and political parties, these gangs are fighting over gas stations, production facilities of anything energy focused, all in an effort to gain control and profit from Haiti’s on-going bad luck.
The indefatigable social commentator @KammieHolder tagged the blogmaster recently on a Facebook comment to highlight an issue he was having at the time with intra regional travel. The following interesting article written by @BrianSamuel posted to Caribbean Journal severl years ago was the result. The content is as relevant today as it was when it was written – Blogmaster
There’s no cheap travel within the Caribbean. Unlike Greece and other island archipelagos, virtually all travel within the Caribbean is by air. And as we all know, travelling by air within the Caribbean is, to put it mildly, “challenging”. For starters it costs a fortune to fly. As at mid-2014, average LIAT air fares were more than four times higher than intra-European air fares, on a per-mile basis. It often costs more to fly to a neighbouring Caribbean island than to New York.
Between 2010 and 2014, LIAT’s average fares increased by about 40 percent. It would be tempting to put this increase down to higher fuel prices; but sadly, this is not the case. Although global oil prices did increase over this period; given that fuel generally accounts for no more than half of an airline’s operating costs; it is evident that “something else” has been driving up LIAT’s prices. Whatever the reason, it is the beleaguered Caribbean traveller that bears the cost.
Not only that – it takes forever. Last month I did six takeoffs and landings in one day, to get from Trinidad to Saint Thomas. This was a new world record, for me at any rate. Six flights by themselves wouldn’t be so bad but it’s all the palaver in between. You get off the plane, get strip searched in the transit lounge; then get back on the same plane. It’s enough of a hassle when things go right; not to mention when things go wrong. As it does. Often.
We don’t visit each other. Our politicians talk endlessly about Caribbean unity; yet at the border we’re given the third degree. Only a small percentage of intra-regional travellers are on holiday; most are flying because they have to. It’s therefore not surprising that intra-Caribbean travel has been declining: LIAT’s passenger numbers have shrunk from 1.1 million in 2008 to 850,000 in 2013. Despite this falloff in its revenue base, LIAT last year invested US$260 million in a complete replacement of its fleet, switching from the tried and trusted Dash-8 to ATRs. Would you invest US$260 million of your own money into such a failing airline? Congratulations; you just did; LIAT’’s loans are all guaranteed by its government shareholders.
Yet we’ve got plenty of reasons to visit each other. The Caribbean has no shortage of carnivals, festivals, regattas or dozens of other reasons to have a riproaringly wanton time for a few days – these are but a few:
CARIBBEAN FESTIVALS: WHEN Party Time Is All The Time
Trinidad Carnival – Feb/March
Dominica Carnival – Feb/March
Carriacou Maroon Festival – April
St Lucia Jazz Festival – May
St Kitts Music Festival – June
St Lucia Carnival – July
Barbados Cropover – Early August
Carriacou Regatta – Early August
Grenada Carnival – Mid-August
St Kitts Carnival – December
You cannot buy a seat for love nor money. During carnival time in the Caribbean (i.e. most of the time), air travel in the region becomes murderous; because heaven forbid that LIAT would do something as radical as putting on extra flights in response to regional demand spikes. Every year a Trinidadian ferry does a special charter for Grenada Carnival; and every year it’s filled to the gills. But for most of the year we do not travel – because we can’t afford to. This is when we are crying out for a ferry.
We talk about sports tourism; yet it is prohibitively expensive to send sporting teams on tour in the Caribbean. This year the English cricket team – and their fanatical followers the Barmy Army – will descend on the Caribbean. And all the games are being played in the Eastern Caribbean. Can you imagine a creatively packaged ferry tour, catering to boisterous English cricket fans, following their team around the Caribbean? They would love it! Instead, we deliver them into the arms of LIAT – and say a prayer. This is when we are crying out for a ferry.
There are dozens of regional events, where attendance would undoubtedly be much greater, were it not for the high travel costs involved. Church groups, youth groups, community groups – just about any group of Caribbean people love to go on an “outing”. We used to go on outings to neighbouring islands, by inter-island schooners. We don’t do that anymore; nowadays we fly. Or rather we don’t fly; because it costs too much. There are family connections between all the islands of the Eastern Caribbean; everyone has that that they have not seen for too long. Repeat: this is when we are crying out for a ferry.
But wait, we DO have ferries. Indeed, there are 11 ferry companies currently operating in the Eastern Caribbean, running a total of 21 boats. These range from modern fast roll-on roll-off (Ro-Ro) ships that accommodate passengers, cars and trucks; to rusty old cargo “schooners” So, the question has to be asked: If there is this crying need for inter-island ferry services, why don’t more ferry companies offer cross-border services?
“It’s a nightmare!” say the ferry operators; with regard to the bureaucracy, cost and time involved in taking a vessel from one island to another. Only one company, L’Express des Iles out of Martinique, operates across international borders. All the other ferries stick within their national boundaries: Trinidad to Tobago; Grenada to Carriacou; St. Vincent to the Grenadines, etc.
The problem stems from the archaic, cumbersome rules regulating international marine trading in the Caribbean. These rules desperately need to be simplified and harmonized, so that all regional jurisdictions will be reading from the same book – literally.
Ferries are cheaper than flying. The average fare charged by the 11 ferry companies in the Eastern Caribbean works out to US$1.06 per mile. This is about 65 percent of the average cost per mile of LIAT fares, as at mid-2014.
Speed is expensive. One of the main determinants of ferry fares is the speed of the vessel. Fares charged by the region’s fast ferry operators are almost twice as high as the traditional slow boats. Sailing time between Trinidad and Grenada is 6 hours at 15 knots, and 4.5 hours at 20 knots. However, that additional 5 knots would result in a doubling of the fare – speed is expensive in boats.
Ferries are for short distances. Realistically, ferry voyages should be no more than about 4 to 5 hours duration; unless they are overnight trips. You have to take account of sea conditions. Hence, it is not feasible to consider a ferry route from Trinidad to Barbados; otherwise the boat would earn the same nickname as one particularly uncomfortable regional ferry: the vomit comet!
Don’t forget the tourists. In a survey conducted in 2014 among the UK’s leading tour operators; 75 percent of respondents felt that many of their clients (10 percent or more) would be interested in using a ferry service in the Eastern Caribbean. In 2013, the Eastern Caribbean received 1.3 million tourists; 10 percent of that is 130,000 potential ferry customers. That’s a pretty good base to start with.
Potential ferry routes: Based on established linkages among the sub-regions of the Eastern Caribbean, possible ferry routes include:
Northern Caribbean: Historically there are close links among the islands of the Northern Caribbean; where people move freely, seemingly immune from visa and other restrictions. The sub-region is served by ferries from Antigua to Barbuda, and from St. Kitts to Nevis; but there is no regular regional service.
Barbados-Saint Lucia: Both islands are major regional tourist destinations; however they offer vastly different products. Tour operators report that although their clients are interested in multi-destination holidays; they don’t like to fly – particularly on LIAT. A fast, safe ferry between both islands, where the journey becomes a scenic attraction in itself, would be popular among tourists. And, importantly, Saint. Lucia is the easiest point from which to sail to Barbados, where the Atlantic waters can sometimes be “a bit frisky”.
The Grenadines: The quintessential island-hopping experience; including the world famous Tobago Cays. There is a great deal of inter-island movement among the Southern Grenadines, most of which occurs in small informal boats and goes completely unrecorded. There is no scheduled ferry service between Carriacou (Grenada) and Union Island (Saint Vincent); you have to charter a private boat to cross this short stretch of water, from whence you can pick up a ferry to the rest of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Trinidad-Grenada: “Scratch a Trini; you find a Grenadian.” There are strong linkages between Trinidad and Grenada. Successive administrations from both countries have tried to launch ferry projects – all without success. Between LIAT and CAL there are about 5 direct flights per day; plus connections via Saint Vincent and Barbados. For low-cost travel, many people sail on the cargo vessels plying the Grenada-Trinidad trade; which are limited to 12 passengers per trip, and are far from comfortable. There is no doubt that a ferry service, charging fares significantly lower than air fares, could double the size of the travelling public between Trinidad and Grenada – or more.
If a ferry service is so badly needed; why hasn’t it happened up to now? Caribbean Rose, Bedy Lines Limited, Fast Caribbean Ltd: just three of the failed project initiatives within living memory – there are many, many more. There are many reasons why these projects failed to launch, including:
Most of them originated from unsolicited proposals submitted to one government; there has been no coordinated regional ferry project involving all the regional governments.
The economics of Caribbean fast ferry projects are often marginal, with untried routes, high operating costs and limited ability to pay on the part of the travelling public.
None of the participating governments have thus far been willing to commit subsidy funds to a regional ferry project.
Some of the vessels proposed by investors were not suitable for the intended purpose.
Is a regional ferry viable? I do not know; but I suspect that it could be. With the right structure and support; and given enough time for the concept of inter-island travel by ferry to catch on (again); I believe that a regional ferry service could become a self-sustaining commercial enterprise. It would probably require a subsidy, at least (hopefully only!) in the early years.
The key is low fares. People will not go through the extra travel time, unless there are substantial dollar savings to be made. Although a ferry would be expected to take away some demand from air travel; the real benefit of a ferry would be to expand the market, by making regional more affordable than at present.
You need lots of bodies. Let’s look at for example the Trinidad to Grenada route. Based on my own back of envelope calculations; a ferry would require about 120 passengers to break even on a Trinidad to Grenada voyage. This is based on current regional prices for diesel fuel.
Let’s drive. How difficult can it be, for the governments in the region to get together and do away with the cumbersome rules currently regulating the temporary movement of motor vehicles across Caribbean borders? There are plenty of international precedents to learn from. Apparently, the simple is impossible. But allowing the inter-island movement of vehicles would be a game-changer for intra-Caribbean travel; just look at Europe.
Public or private? After our grim experiences of government-run airlines throughout the Caribbean, the last thing we need is a “LIAT-on-sea”. Although governments of the region would play a critical role in launching and regulating the regional ferry; governments should leave the business of business where it belongs: in the private sector.
Donors support is essential. Undoubtedly, some international organization will have to take a leading role, in order to shepherd this regional project from concept to reality. The World Bank is ideally placed to lead the effort, but let us not forget our home-grown development institutions: CARICOM, CDB and the OECS.
The best way to get the best deal is to bid it out. Project preparation is an extremely expensive business; and someone has to make that “leap of faith” to take the project forward. In other words: spend money – a lot of it. Once we have this project champion/benefactor; we can then get on with the hard work of structuring and bidding out a regional ferry operation.
Just do it. This is a project that’s been dying to happen, for a long time. With the right support from regional governments and development institutions, this long-awaited, much-needed project can finally become a reality.
This article grew out of a consulting assignment Samuel undertook for the World Bank in preparing a paper entitled: “Improving Eastern Caribbean States’ Regional Competitiveness Through Tourism.”
S. Brian Samuel can be reached at email@example.com.
Note: the opinions expressed in Caribbean Journal Op-Eds are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Caribbean Journal.
This Trinidad and Tobago Republic Bank “Kern and Alana’s love story” advertisement is an attack on all Black women. Most of us are already struggling to survive as single mothers. Our Black men are often absent fathers in the home which is the main cause of so many of our sons, brothers and nephews being gunned down every day with their blood soiling the streets. Every day, two and three Black men are murdered like dogs. There are few Black role models for our young sons in the home.
And on top of that, you have our young black successful men leaving and making a new home with other women. The bank advertisement shows a fatherless young man living with his granny. He works hard making a backyard garden to eat food in the kitchen. He studies hard at university. He graduates. He buys a car. And after all that sacrifice and care with his grandmother, he gets a job and wants to settle. And who does he choose to marry? Certainly not a black woman. He is too ambitious and bright for that.
Where does this situation leave the Black woman? According to a 2018 U.S. survey, black mothers are four times more likely to be single and serve as the primary breadwinners of their home, as granny is depicted in the advertisement. The headline of a nbcnews item published in 2010 reads: “Blacks struggle with 72 percent unwed mothers rate”. The article begins: “Debate is growing within and outside the black community of how to address the rising rate of unwed mothers. Seventy-two percent of black babies are born to unwed mothers, government statistics say — and changing that is a complex issue.”
There is a clear link shown between family structure and delinquent or gang behaviour. Children who grow up in a single-parent household headed by the mother appear to be most at risk. This finding was published in an article entitled “Black Single Female-Headed Households and their Children’s Involvement in Gangs” published in 1992. These kinds of advertisements are setting a trend and promoting a model that is destructive to the black community with a negative impact on society with respect to an increase in crime by black youths.
This report out of the Virgin Islands identifies Barbados, Bermuda and The Bahamas in the top 5 most expensive countries to live in the WORLD. Allow the blogmaster to ask a silly question, is this reality reversible?
For the last several years the coastlines of Caribbean islands have from time to time been clogged with sargassum. It is a seaweed that floats on the surface of the sea, inevitably reaching the coastlines of landmasses in its path.
Besides the unsightly look of the seaweed covering the beaches, the stinking smell of the sargassum as it decays is worse than the smell of a thousand wet farts.
It does not matter if the sargassum menace is caused by global warming or a freak of nature. What matters is that it represents a formidable threat to the economic survival of small island developing states in the region. Since 2011 sargassum has been an economic threat to Caribbean islands and unsurprisingly, it has not provoked a collective response from our leaders.
It seems foolhardy for economic planners in Barbados and neighbouring territories to be committing millions, billions of dollars to the tourism plant and at the same time ignore the threat sargassum posses to the sector. After a decade the region seems helpless to fight back. We have to find a solution to trap and collect the seaweed at sea before it pollutes our beaches. Who wants to travel thousands of miles to have the rotting stench of sargassum assail the nostrils and the unsightly look it presents?
The following link is presented as a positive step to addressing the issue. Why are we not sensing greater urgency from leaders in the region about combating the threat sargassum posses to the livelihood of the region?
Stinky seaweed is clogging Caribbean beaches – but a New Zealand solution could turn it into green power and fertiliser
For as long as BU has been around there has been concern expressed about the shamble state of travel in the region. The HoGs are quick to remind us CARICOM/CSME is contingent on free movement of people. To be fair, some progress has been made by amending entry requirements to allow citizens from member states to visit for leisure and work, however, facilitating physical movement whether by air or sea remains a hindrance. The financial weight and mismanagement of LIAT finally caused it to crash. Today the region is without a viable and dependable means of regional transport for people and cargo.
It was interesting to listen to Minister of Tourism uttering words this week about a “high-level- vision for Barbados’ tourism sector with special mention the role of aviation. There is talk about creating a Barbados Aviation Centre of Excellence leading to Barbados being a cargo hub along with repair maintenance and other related activities. The eye opener was when she mentioned of a vision to establish a regional carrier using Singapore Airlines as a model. It goes without saying Barbados will have to push to acquire CAT 1 designation, something BU has posted on for many years. Without CAT 1 designation an airline based in Barbados would not be able to acquire permissions to land in US and other key countries important to flying important air routes.
The blogmaster agrees conceptually Barbados and regional governments must do a better job to smooth the environment to encourage transportation solutions from private sector. With the demise of LIAT it has brought the matter to a head and there must be a sense of urgency IF the HoGs are committed to a working common market. Maybe the leadership of CARICOM lacks the vision to mirror the OECS who has demonstrated the benefits of a working union. It is ironic the OECS are members of umbrella group CARICOM. The attraction of being a big fish in a small pond continues to feed the megalomania of leaders in the region.
In the OECS ferry services have been used as a transportation option for years. Why has the region been unable to enhance the model to include other countries with a view to create a viable sea transportation option? It is 2022 and what can be honestly stated about the state of regional travel?
Here is a perspective from BU family member Artax:
After the demise of the ‘Windward,’ which used to sail between BGI and SLU…… BGI and SVG, ‘every other week,’ there has been several discussions about a ferry service that would include other regional territories.
In 2018, the World Bank recommended a ferry service that would transport people, vehicles and goods from North to the South of the Caribbean, after completing a preliminary study. The Bank was also recommended private sector participation be sought in developing the ferry service.
In August 2016, the Daily Nation reported ,that a company registered in Barbados called, ‘Caribbean Ferry Service,’ was in the process of finalising paperwork to operate two vessels, ‘The Dream Jet Express’ and ‘The Opal Jet Express,’ for travel and cargo through the region, The service was supposed to be initially accessible to passengers from BGI, SVG and SLU. And, eventually, other islands would’ve been added to the itinerary.
I can understand ferry services between Antigua and Montserrat; St. Lucia and Martinique; St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius; Dominica and Guadeloupe…… because those islands are in close proximity to each other.
However, I question the viability of operating a service between Barbados and Anguilla, for example. Or, from Trinidad to Jamaica.
I am calling on all Vincentians at home and abroad to strongly object to the vitriolic attacks that Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is constantly unleashing on the US administration and in particular President Biden in favour of his rogue states and associates, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. His constant attack on the US is of no benefit to us, we can only suffer for it.
The sooner we realize this, the better. SVG. is not a friend of the US, it is not an enemy of the US, it is not an associate of the US, it is not an ally of the US, it is part of the US. It may be argued that the greater part of the Vincentian population lives in the US. Vincentians of all walks of life, like all other CARICOM nationals are engaged in a very meaningful way in every facet of American life, administrative and otherwise. For example, (1) Betty Boyea King of Byrea (first cousin to PM Gonsalves), was appointed US Ambassador to the UN under connective US Administrations, led by George Bush Jr. and Bill Clinton, (2) Roy Austin of Rose Place (Bottom Town), Kingstown was appointed US Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago during the 8 year reign of George Bush Jr.
Dr. Jan Yves Remy, Director of the Sir Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy and Services, Cave Hill Campus; under the headline:
SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS AND US- CARIBBEAN RELATIONS, wrote:
I’m sure you must have seen this article from GIS (see below).
While I totally agree with the need to address food security by regional leaders much more is needed to be done if we are to ever come close to satisfying the food requirements of the region from regional sources. With specific reference to Barbados there are several areas that we need to urgently address. These include:
Getting an effective praedial larceny act in place,
Giving meaningful incentives to small farmers,
Work towards removing the stigma associated with farming and agricultural work,
Allow would be small food crop farmers to have a real stake in the sector (provision of unused parcels of government land at viable concessions, revive the agricultural seed store with a wide variety of viable seeds),
Put conditions in place to control crop pests especially monkeys. I’m sure there are several other factors you can think of.
Food security and food crop farming must be seen as important by every member of society and government must do all it can to ensure this is achieved.
I remember the late Dr Keith Laurie saying that during the second world war Barbados was able to feed itself since no food was coming in from outside. There is no good reason why we can’t achieve this on a Caricom wide basis.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has used the platform of a major agriculture conference to make a strident call for regional heads to join together to ensure the region’s food security.
She made the call yesterday during the opening ceremony of the three-day Agri-Investment Forum and Exhibition in Guyana, as she spoke on the topic: Pursuing CSME and Removing Barriers to Enhancing Agri-Trade Within the Region.
Ms. Mottley told the large gathering that the ongoing crisis with Russia and Ukraine had reinforced the vulnerabilities of the millions of people living in the Caribbean, based on the effect of wheat and other food restrictions in place by some overseas countries which export wheat and its by-products.
The Prime Minister shared that Russia, the Ukraine and India had stopped sending important food and grocery items outside its borders, and warned of more restrictions to follow by governments to safeguard their food supplies in the face of soaring inflation.
She articulated the view that the entire Caribbean region had to be viewed not just in the context of the population in CARICOM of 18 million people, but also the visitors received on an annual basis, whose “responsibility is ours to feed”.
Ms. Mottley affirmed: “We are at that moment in time when it is up to us to stand up to the challenge or to recognise that the consequences of it will indeed be difficult and potentially devastating for our people. While we await the global initiatives to be announced by the UN Secretary General and the global crisis response team he has established on food, energy and financing with the expectation that what the world faces will be more challenging than what we faced in 2008 to 2010. We have a responsibility to take preemptive action in this region to protect our people.”
The Prime Minister and other regional heads also made a case for more regular transportation of goods across the region with the suggestion that a new solution be found to move the cargo.
“In this moment, when maritime transport is at its greatest challenge, we have to recognise that the bridge to resuscitating Caribbean tourism air transport may well be having regional air cargo moving to help offset the investment to move our people,” she emphasised.
Ms. Mottley continued: “We may need to look at different planes and we may need to look at more regular traffic. The regularity of movement may well be the solution for us rather than these large aircrafts that move once or twice a day.”
The three-day event was held under the theme: Investing in Vision 25 by 2025, which represents the goal to lower the region’s US $6 billion food import bill by 25 per cent within the next three years.
The arrest of former premier of BVI Andrew Fahie in the USA last week on a narcotics charge has caused regional tongues to wag for several reasons. It is disappointing to have to witness an elected officials betray the public trust expected of them. It is more disturbing when the arrested person is Black (note Fahie is currently on bail in the USA awaiting his day in court. A reminder a man is innocent until declared guilty).
It boggles the mind tinpot politicians to satisfy one of the seven deadly sins never learn, in this case still having the courage to cross US borders. In the famous words of Carlos Suarez – you do the crime you do the time.
Fahie’s arrest and possible incarceration serves as a reminder to Barbadians what happened to former minister Donville Inniss currently serving a 24 month sentence in the USA for money laundering. Another public servant based on the court hearing who betrayed a public he swore to serve. Some will debate this matter within the boundary of the law to suggest Inniss was ‘unfaired’ by the ‘system’, however, there is a strong ethical case still for him to answer to answer.
The most intriguing observation about regional politicians landing in hot soup is the patience of USA authorities to wait for the ‘fly’ to fly into the spider’s web. Is this a case of USA authorities lacking confidence in extradition treaties with regional countries? The case of former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner comes to mind, he has been fighting an extradition request from the USA since 2015. Alex Tasker has been fighting an extradition request from the US also since 2021 in connection with the ICBL/Donville Inniss matter.
The recent case of a St. Vincent court rejecting a request from the US government to extradite Kern Z Mayers to answer charges dating to 2006 makes for interesting reading. Has the time come for CARICOM to take a regional approach to extradition requests? Our friend Caleb Pilgrim is asking.
A court in St Vincent and the Grenadines has refused an application by the United States to extradite a Vincentian man, who is said to be among the most wanted in Pennsylvania.
“The court has considered carefully the arguments and submissions, examined all affidavits and other evidence, case law, statutory guidelines, and the court finds that given all the circumstances it would be unjust to return him,” said Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne in a recent ruling.
The authorities in the United States wanted Kingstown to send Kern Z Mayers back to Pennsylvania to answer charges in relation to a January 4, 2006 incident in that state.
“Law enforcement attempted to initiate a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by Kern Mayers. In an attempt to flee from the police, Kern Mayers struck several vehicles and injured police officers. After a vehicle and foot pursuit, Kern Mayers was captured. Mayers was released from the Luzerne County Correctional Facility and then failed to attend his scheduled court hearing on January 25, 2006,” the website Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers said of the allegation against Mayers.
While in St Vincent, the police in Kingstown arrested Mayers at a business place in the city on December 10, 2020, a few years after he returned to St. Vincent and the Grenadines..
Lawyers Joseph Delves and Grant Connell represented him in the extradition hearing.
Connell also testified on Mayers’ behalf during the proceedings in which Rose-Ann Richardson appeared for the Crown.
In her ruling, the chief magistrate noted that the Crown had submitted that Mayers is a fugitive and should be returned to the United States to answer to the charges.
However, Delves submitted that not all the offences are relevant and that the Crown had not shown that the extradition is permitted under the Fugitive Offenders Act.
The chief magistrate pointed out that Mayers was arrested on the basis of being wanted in Pennsylvania, as he had not appeared at court on January 25, 2006 for the preliminary enquiry.
She noted that evidence was presented viva voce or orally, by affidavit and documentary evidence.
Browne further pointed out that the Fugitive Offenders Act and the extradition treaty between St Vincent and the Grenadines and the United States govern extradition between both countries.
The United States charged Mayers with two counts with each charge comprising several charges, including alleged possession of two grams of cocaine and injuries to a police officer.
Only some offences extraditable
The court held that some of the counts were extraditable while others were not.
The chief magistrate noted that the law says a person shall not be returned if: the court of committal is satisfied by reason of the trivial nature of the case; the accusation against the fugitive, having not been made in good faith; the passage of time since the committal of the offence; any sufficient cause as it would, having regard to all circumstances be unjust or oppressive or too severe a punishment to return the fugitive.
The Crown argued that the issue of statute of limitation did not apply as Mayers absconded and had no reasonably ascertainable place of abode or work within the Commonwealth.
It was further contended that the offences were committed on January 4, 2006, and he was immediately arrested and charged and soon thereafter failed to show up on January 25, 2006, for the hearing.
Despite the fact that five-year and two-year statutes of limitation exist, the limit is not applicable as the respondent absconded, the Crown further argued.
However, Mayers’ lawyers contended that the passage of time was critical and having regard to all circumstances, it would be unjust, oppressive and too severe a punishment to send him back to face trial in the United States.
They argued that the offences were allegedly committed in January 2006 and the extradition proceedings commenced in 2021.
The lawyers told the court that 15 years is an inordinately long period and the prosecution of the offences should have commenced in 2011 and not in 2017.
They said there was no evidence that Mayers was not continuously in the Commonwealth between 2006 and 2011.
They also contended that an address of New York was given in 2017.
The court also noted that all charges were dated 2017, adding that even though the affidavit by James McMonagle Jr, the assistant district attorney for Pennsylvania, said that the complaints were destroyed in 2015, “What is the nexus between these matters before the court?”
US authorities said that the indictments were accidentally destroyed while documents were being purged.
And while they said that the court keeps copies of the original documents those exhibited in the extradition proceeding were documents filed in 2017, even as Mayers was indicted in 2006.
Mayers’ lawyers argued that the document that should be exhibited are those from 2006 and, therefore, the matter was really brought against Mayers in 2017 — way past the statute of limitation.
They pointed out that the US government did not explain why it took so long and raised issues.
The lawyers also argued that Mayers would not receive a fair trial in the United States.
The following is a press release issued by the Caribbean Network for Solidarity with Cuba (CNSC) – Blogmaster
The US must not be allowed to exclude Cuba from the Summit of the Americas!
Speaking in Havana on April 25, Cuba’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, denounced the efforts of the US government to exclude Cuba from participating in the upcoming 9th Summit of the Americas which is scheduled to take place in Los Angeles from 8-10 June 2022.
This summit, which is organised under the auspices of the US dominated Organisation of American States (OAS) and held every 3 years or so, claims to present an opportunity for leaders of the Americas and Caribbean to discuss and address key issues facing the countries of the region at both national and regional levels. Historically, as part of its policy to strangle and isolate Cuba, the US has excluded that country from participating in this event. However, at the 7th summit in Panama in 2015, the US was forced to accept Cuba’s participation when the countries which are members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) threatened to boycott the event unless Cuba was invited. Therefore, Cuba participated in the 7th summit and also in the 8th summit in Peru in 2018, while Trump was president of the USA. Therefore, the current efforts by the Biden white house to exclude Cuba represent an even more extreme stand than that taken by Trump.
Foreign Minister Parilla pointed out that in preparation for the event in Los Angeles, action plans are secretly being drawn up on the key issues of health, migration and democracy and human rights which will be the focus of the summit. With regard to the issue of health in the region, he noted that, the US proposed ‘Plan of Action for Public Health and Resilience in the Americas up to 2030’ is a surreptitious, neo-liberal document which lacks the necessary cooperation and funding to enable it to address the structural causes of our region’s precarious public health systems and the tragic consequences of the extremely high number of deaths which result from this. He stated that despite US efforts to sabotage it, Cuba has played an exemplary international role and particularly so in our region, with regard to strengthening the provision of health services for the people. In this regard, he noted Cuba’s medical intervention during natural disasters and epidemics, the provision of tens of thousands of medical study grants for Latin American, Caribbean and American young people on low incomes, the existence of the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) in Havana and Operation Milagro which restored sight to millions of people on low incomes. In our region, it well understood that whereas the US sends troops, Cuba sends doctors. It is therefore inconceivable that Cuba’s voice should be excluded from any discussion on public health in the region.
The second important topic to be addressed at the summit is that of migration. Foreign Minister Parilla pointed out that in secret and behind the backs of the participants in the summit, the US has prepared a document entitled, ‘Letter of Understanding on Migration Management and Protection of Migrants’ which seeks to impose on the Latin American and Caribbean states an obligation to repress emigration and to absorb those migrants that the US decides to process beyond its shores. This approach reflects America’s racist, xenophobic and exploitative view of migrants from our region while making no attempt whatever to address the real causes of migration. He further explained that, at the same time, the US is creating maximum difficulties for Cuban travellers and migrants by requiring them to travel to “Guyana to obtain migrant visas” at an exorbitant cost and great inconvenience. The US has also cut off the routes to and from third countries, and followed a policy of imposing obstacles on transit countries and of reducing visas for Cuban citizens. Given this reality, it is unacceptable for the US to attempt to exclude Cuba’s voice from the discussion of emigration from the region.
The final important topic to be addressed at the summit is that of ‘democracy and human rights’. In this regard, the foreign minister noted that Washington’s idea is to have all elections in the region certified by the OAS. Given the US domination of that organisation, this proposal, which represents a flagrant violation of the sovereignty of the countries in the region, is intended to institutionalise the current practice in which the US arbitrarily gives itself the right to decide which elections are ‘free and fair’ and which are not. It therefore creates an institutional mechanism through which Washington will declare as ‘free and fair’ those elections which bring its agents and puppets to power, while condemning and delegitimising those in which the people vote for candidates not favoured by Washington. Cuba has an absolute right to have its voice heard on this issue.
The current efforts of the US government to exclude Cuba from the 9th Summit of the Americas are part and parcel of its tried and tested colonial policy of divide and rule. This destructive activity was on full display in 2020 when then Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, bypassed CARICOM and invited his chosen group of Caribbean governments to meet him in Jamaica before inviting them to meet Trump in Florida. This ‘divide and rule’ strategy is aimed at weakening everyone in the region and must be resisted. CARICOM must make a clear and principled stand on this issue. It must demand that the US end its segregationist approach to the upcoming summit and facilitate the equal and full participation of all governments in the region who wish to attend, including Cuba. If the US government refuses to accept this demand, CARICOM member states should boycott the summit. Cuba is an important member of the Caribbean family whose contribution to the region is outstanding. CARICOM must stand in unity with Cuba.
In a recent post @TheoGazerts, suggested that my mirror image of our country, at this critical juncture, would be interesting. My mirror image of the country has not dramatically changed over the last fifty years. I still see an extremely conservative people, afraid of our past and extremely timid about our future. Too many are devoted to a nostalgic period, which is not returning and even those who profess to want change usually wilt, when the enormity of engineering it is revealed.
There are many who have thrown an old bed sheet over the mirror to hide the image they do not want to see. We have moved away from Little England and are now apparently living comfortably in Little Brooklyn. An amazing irony, of creating the often-maligned Diaspora, right here in Bim!
The cultural penetration, that most progressive voices warned of in the sixties, has been realized and there is extraordinarily little, that successive administrations, have done to curb our enthusiasm for things foreign. Our collective image of Barbados is one littered with sunworshippers from the tips of St. Lucy to Christ Church. Even the utter devastation wrought by COVID, and the persistent tremors in so-called source markets, from where we hail the blistered bodies with specks of sand, have not deterred us from putting our already slender economic future in such sunburnt fun seekers. But that is who we are and more frighteningly, whom we want to be.
We dare not remove the old bed sheet. The image of a well-functioning political engine, as our Prime Minister, now considered, the shining light of the Caribbean and a global political influencer emerges. Adroit at entering the kitchen and recreating dishes, which have been long tried and left to freeze, thawing them out and declaring those new recipes for development. The classical image of skillfully warmed-over soup now dominates our mirror image.
It is the image of a country, that obviously depends on the political docility of its populace to embrace and endure, the corrupt and sinister collective leadership of two political parties, which have long emptied their bowels of any remote semblance of progressive socio-economic policies.
I still visualize, a new and vibrant citizen emerging from our current predicament, within the next quarter century. Our youth are showing exceptional talents in business, the arts, and all aspects of social and economic endeavors. In many instances their ability to overcome the obstacles are rooted in the fact that most of them inherited no generational wealth, to propel them to the next level.
The story that recently appeared in the local press of a six-year-old girl, selling her first piece of art, is the best way to sum up the hope of the nation. We must invest in the cradle our end up as old broke and broken citizens in the grave.
Those who may want to declare this piece as pessimistic and a warped sense of a fading nationalism, should remember that optimism devoid of realism, is nothing more than delusion. It is high time to remove the old bed sheet from over the mirrors and see it for what it is; and change it.
Russia’s war in Ukraine will disrupt commerce and clog up supply chains, slashing economic growth and pushing prices sharply higher around the globe, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) warned Thursday….the 38-country OECD said that over the next year, the conflict would reduce gross domestic product (GDP) — the broadest measure of economic output — by 1.08 percent worldwide, by 1.4 percent in the 19 European countries that share the euro currency and by 0.88 percent in the United States.
The ongoing war in Ukraine obviously has implications for global trade and supply chains, consequently there has been growing attention to the issue of food and nutrition security. This comes on the back of the ongoing pandemic that has already disrupted the global supply with increase demand for certain products exposing challenges in production and distribution. With global challenges predicted to continue the obvious question for curious minds is to examine the Mia Mottley government’s agriculture mitigation measures under Minister of Agriculture Indar Weir.
The goal of the F.E.E.D programme is to involve more young people in agriculture by training them and providing them with land and infrastructure after training by initially targeting was 1200 farmers. The government is also reportedly spending millions of dollars in St. Phillip and St.Lucy. The water harvesting project at River in St. Phillip is almost complete.
However the agriculture project which captures the imagination of the blogmaster is the initiative at the Lears Land Lease project. It is a partnership between government and C.O Williams with the plan to allocate land between 5000 sq ft and 2 acres to 150 F.E.E.D programme participants. A component of the project is that it plans construction of a food terminal in partnership with Guyana and Suriname which should see Barbados becoming a southern Caribbean hub for the distribution of food throughout the region. Barbados hopes to benefit from competitive prices for food products which are not produced in Barbados. Also there is another upside- products produced in excess like onions local farmers will have access to a facility to export to the rest of Caricom to ease any glut.
Another initiative is the Blackbelly Sheep project which seeks to increase local blackbelly sheep population from 10,000 to 1 million in 5 years. This is being led by local black belly sheep expert Dr. Leroy McClean. The project is expected to utilize land space in Guyana for sheep farming and hopefully significant reduce lamb imports into Caricom.
These initiatives have resulted from the St.Barnabas Accords which is an agreement signed by Barbados, Guyana and Suriname on cooperation across several sectors. This partnership with Guyana – described for years as the bread basket of the region – is long overdue and was a part of the vision of the late Owen Arthur who all agree was a big proponent of the CSME, a component of CARICOM.
The blogmaster is about recognizing results, in this case the measure must be a spike in agriculture output by moving the GDP needle. However some marks must be given to the Mottley administration for the ongoing initiatives mentioned. For sure volatility in the global production and distribution commodities market demands the urgency of now by leaders for the region to cooperate and find ways to feed its people. Globalization as we knew it seems to be under threat- a new global order is emerging and countries are rethinking alliances and leaning more to smaller trading blocks. The St. Barnabas Accord along with others to be born maybe the way forward to circumvent more bureaucratic regional arrangements.
In December 2021 Prime Minister Mia Mottley revealed the launch of a digital bank was imminent while delivering the 16th Patrick Emmanuel Memorial Lecture, Forging a Nation Confronting New Realities. Last week SAGICOR Financial Company Limited (SFC) announced that it will establish a fully digital commercial bank come June or July 2022 through an entity called Sagicor Bank (Barbados) Limited (SBB). It is good to see the private sector stepping up to the plate to deliver on the vision which Mottley shared for Barbados in her address.
For small-island governments, the moment is now to be brave and to be strategic to build new frameworks of economic enfranchisement of our people, recognizing that we can do so not only through renewable energy but through embracing and understanding and deconstructing the power of the digital for our people to be able to … no longer be afraid of speaking and striving toward wealth creation…We need a generation of Caribbean millionaires and Caribbean billionaires if we are going to sustain these economies in our region – a generation of Caribbean young entrepreneurs that convert our particular sensibilities and approaches into billion-dollar global businesses…
What is a neobank?Neobanks are financial institutions that give customers a cheaper alternative to traditional banks. They can be thought of as digital banks, thus having no physical branches, and offering services that traditional banks don’t.
If Sagicor’s digital bank is successful delivering on its mission, it should drastically change the cost of services for certain types of transactions in Barbados. The blogmaster is supportive of any initiative that will benefit the public. Barbados Underground has been highlighting government’s digitalization initiative as well as local fintechs making a splash in the global space.
Of related interest, Barbadians who followed the recent budget debate learned that the National Payments System legislation and accompanying Fair Credit Reporting Act will be proclaimed on April 15, 2022 and a National Payments System Council will be in place by April 30th. The objective is to enable the new system to be in full operation by October, 2022. We wish the government well with timely implementation.
There is the popular expression credited to Sir Winston Churchill ‘never let a good crisis go to waste’. It is believed Churchill’s reference had to do with an alliance formed after World War II between himself (UK), Stalin (Soviet Union) and Roosevelt (USA) which resulted in the formation of the United Nations. It is possible that out of chaos can come order to quote another.
It is ironic the world is again witnessing a crisis that if left unchecked could escalate to nuclear war. The battle between Russia – successor to the Soviet Union – and the Ukraine – former member of the Soviet Union – is another indictment of mankind. What cannot be denied is that the conflict will continue to negatively impact the global economy because Russia and Ukraine are major suppliers of wheat, oil and other commodities. There is also the collateral effect of speculators who influence price in the global financial markets.
What an epoch unfolding!
The conflict in Eastern Europe lest we forget is occurring at a time the global community is waging another ‘battle’ against the Covid 19 pandemic. It is a time we are reminded by members of the nonsecular fraternity that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places” – Ephesians 6:12. To pragmatists the opportunity to create opportunities arising from crises is the goal while others remain anchored to being idealistic with perennial talk of end times. Truth be told for the blogmaster’s life and parents before this has been the refrain – soon come.
Conscious of the need to promote in the Community the highest level of efficiency in the production of goods and services especially with a view to maximising foreign exchange earnings on the basis of international competitiveness, attaining food security, achieving structural diversification and improving the standard of living of their peoples;
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine hopefully will galvanize a lazy political class to focus on food security for the region. Even if it is at the eleventh hour. Ever since the Treaty of Chaguaramas was established members have failed to exploit the resources of the region for collective benefit of citizens. The approach by leaders of CARICOM has been to feed inflated egos by luxuriating in the high offices of the land. Citizens of the region must hold themselves accountable by raising the decibel level on a dissenting voice, be as passionate to protest as is presently being demonstrated because of the Russia/Ukraine conflict.
The same can be hoped for regarding if we have learned from the Covid 19 pandemic. Are we satisfied our businesses have re-engineered storefronts to efficiently deliver products and services to the public if the pandemic escalates or another emerges? What about the public service – what is the status of the project to make it fit for purpose? Should another pandemic or event occur that requires a shutdown to face to face service, does it mean a large number of public servants sent home to suck indefinitely from the nipples of taxpayers?
It is two years and counting since the Covid 19 pandemic started and eight years the Russia/Ukraine conflict has been in the making with fighting in the Donbas regions. Are our leaders fiddling while CARICOM is burning?
Dubai is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and has become a regional business hub in the Middle East.
Behind the facade of respectability that Dubai has carefully cultivated over the years, the flow of illicit funds “has helped to fuel the emirate’s booming real estate market; enrich its bankers, moneychangers, and business elites; and turn the city into a major gold trading hub,” the authors of the Carnegie report added.
Dubai, in particular, has become the piggybank for corrupt politicians from around the world. Those who secretly plunder their countries finances hide their money there. It used to be Switzerland and Lichtenstein, but they have become so unsafe and transparent putting the stolen cash in their banks is a risk.
The Russians, South Americans, Caribbean leaders, and those who can still plunder their countries go there for holidays and visits. For many, the real reason to go there is to count their ill-gotten cash.
Some will remember the exposures that showed countries such as Saint Vincent and the Caribbean had millions tucked away in Switzerland. But, unfortunately, no one has got to the bottom yet who deposited that money, and it has not become public knowledge if they have.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are a money-laundering country. The U.S. State Department identified St. Vincent and the Grenadines as a significant money laundering jurisdiction. The small set of islands remains vulnerable to money laundering and other financial crimes due to drug trafficking and its active offshore financial sector.
The Americans say Dubai is a ‘haven for money laundering.’ The UAE’s unwillingness to tackle corruption and money laundering is a global challenge that must be addressed, says the U.S. think tank. The Gulf city of Dubai has been slammed as a “money laundering paradise” by the leading anti-corruption group ‘Transparency International.’ One of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, Dubai has built a reputation as the pre-eminent business hub in the Middle East, with an open economy that welcomes companies and individuals worldwide.
A new report from the U.S. ‘Carnegie Endowment’ has found that the wealth underpinning “Dubai’s prosperity is a steady stream of illicit proceeds borne from corruption and crime.”
The report from the US-based think-tank will likely further cast a long shadow on its much-vaunted projected image as a haven for respectable investment.
Dubai is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and has become a regional business hub in the Middle East.
Many politician thieves have adopted cryptocurrencies to move money without the paperwork and accountability. Banking watchdogs across the globe are making AML/CFT norms stricter for their subjects, forcing banks to upgrade their scanners for fear of massive fines. Having spent billions of dollars on new systems and personnel, they have reduced money laundering activities to a certain extent. However, criminals have also grown smarter. They employ professional money laundering cells that do not operate within the confines of static, predefined, overly-broad transactional actions. As a result, they can circumvent many regulatory norms, which were thought to be perfect, with the sophistication involved in the latest financial technologies. At the same time, some of the technological advances like cryptocurrencies helped them avoid the formal financial systems for value transfers while paying for and receiving goods and services and buying villas and property in the UAE.
Perhaps the public should ask questions about why their politicians are visiting Dubai? If your politicians or any close relative of theirs is involved in cryptocurrency, then I suppose extra scrutiny should be made.
But keep in mind it is not illegal to save your money in an overseas bank anywhere. The illegality comes into play when the money is illegally and improperly obtained. It is also not unlawful or unduly suspicious to visit Dubai because many do that without depositing or investing stolen money there.
If there is any information that the reader can give Transparency International, it will be gratefully received, and whistleblowers will be respected. firstname.lastname@example.org
At a webinar on Zoom recently, I presented part of a research paper I had originally delivered at a conference at the University the West Indies (UWI) in 2017 entitled “The Marginalisation and Exclusion of Indians by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) in the CSEC and CAPE History and Literature Syllabi”. I was later given an opportunity to do the same presentation to the CXC Board at its headquarters in Barbados. CSEC and CAPE are equivalent to the O- and A- Level exams of long ago. In the Zoom and CXC Board presentations, I focused on the history syllabi.
I argued that Indians constitute about half of the population in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname, and form the largest minority in Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent, Grenada and Belize. I emphasised that we must adopt socially-just educational practices and cited the recommendations by UNESCO, the World Forum in Dakar, and the World Conference on Education-for-All in Thailand, that minority ethnic groups should not be disadvantaged in receiving an education, or excluded from the content of the curriculum.
The CXC CSEC Caribbean History syllabus consists of ten Core Topics and nine Themes. I said that the ten (10) Core Topics outlined for the 2011 to 2017 examinations range from “The Indigenous Peoples of the Americas” to “Regional Integration up to 1985”, but that only two (2) of those ten Core Topics partially address Indo-Caribbean History (Indentureship). These are Core Topic F: “Coming of the Chinese, Europeans, Indians and Africans” and Core Topic G: “The Establishment of the Peasantry 1838 to 1900”.
Arriving in the Caribbean after Emancipation under the indentureship scheme, Indians constituted 82.4% (430,300) of all indentured immigrants, whereas the Chinese, Portuguese, German, French and liberated African indentured immigrants together amounted to just 17.6% (91,600). Despite this huge disparity in numbers, Indians are lumped together with all the other immigrant ethnic groups under one heading. Accordingly, there should be a Core Topic on the subject of Indian immigration by itself if the impact that Indian immigrants have had on shaping the region is to be fully understood.
Indian Indentureship virtually excluded
The Core Topic regarding the establishment of the peasantry deals with the period 1838-1900. However, that period cannot adequately document the establishment and development of Indo-Caribbean Peasantry because the majority of Indians acquired their own land, on which they cultivated sugar cane, cocoa, rice and vegetables and reared cattle, after the abolition of indentureship (1917), and so their history and experiences are not sufficiently represented in this Core Topic.
As for the CAPE History syllabus, the marginalisation of Indian history is even more egregious Unit 1: “The Caribbean in the Atlantic World” consists of three modules: Module 1 – “Indigenous Societies”; Module 2 – “Slave Systems: Character and Dismantlement”; and Module 3 – “Freedom in Action”. The topics of settlement and citizenship of Chinese, Indian and Portuguese immigrants constitute just one portion of Theme 1, Module 3, with (i) “their social and economic experiences during indentureship and post-indentureship”, and (ii) “resistance” forming sub-topics. Module 1 focuses on Indigenous Peoples and Module 2 concentrates on African Peoples, rebellions and revolutions. Practically no attention is given to Indian Indentureship which has been described as a new system of slavery by Hugh Tinker and other historians. This module should have at least addressed the Indian Hosay/Muharram Massacre in October 30, 1884 which has been described as the bloodiest massacre in Trinidad and Tobago under British rule.
Unit 2 focuses on the Atlantic World and its global interactions (the interconnections among Europe, Africa and the Americas). There are, again, 3 Modules: “Atlantic World: Interactions”; “Atlantic Development: Identity and Industry”; and “International Relations: Conflict and Liberation” Apart from the topic of Gandhi and the nationalist movement, the Indian/Asian world and its long-standing presence and influence on Caribbean history is completely ignored.
Let us not forget that it was European explorer Christopher Columbus’s search for a shorter trade route to India to acquire more tea, silk, cotton and spices that resulted in the discovery and occupation of the Americas which, in turn, led to the African slave trade. In its day, the spice trade was the world’s biggest industry. It established and destroyed empires, led to the discovery of new continents, and in many ways, helped lay the foundation for the modern world. Unit 2 of the CXC CAPE History syllabus should have also included a theme on the Silk Road or Silk Route which was a network of trade routes that connected China, India, Persia, Arabia, the Horn of Africa and Europe for thousands of years.
Using content analysis as my main methodology, I concluded that the CXC History syllabus was Afrocentric and that standards at the institution were beneath UNESCO’s requirements. Not one of the topics, whether core or theme, does justice to the subject of Indo-Caribbean history and Indian immigration to the region.
Early this morning (very early) I posted my analysis of Barbados Labour Party candidates 2018 vs. 2022. Now it’s time to have a look at the candidates the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) fielded in 2018 and what they are bringing to the 2022 elections. I will not go over the methodology used, as it is…Read More
UPDATE 1: Having received reliable information on the birth year of Senator The Hon. Kay (she is 54, not 55), I have updated The Table. No updates were required to the Discussion Points and the Age Distribution Chart. This is a revised post to the original one that was made on January 11 (and removed…Read More
The blogmaster has been a long time admirer of what is perceived as a higher level of expression of love of country expressed by Jamaicans, Bahamians, Trinidadians and a few others compared to Barbadians. A visit to the USA, UK and Canada to name three destinations Caribbean people have emigrated in numbers, you are sure to find ‘spots’ where food and other activities nurture the culture of the countries mentioned. Barbadians on the other hand are known to be more laid back and less visible to compare.
November is the month we celebrate the lowering of the Union Jack in 1966 – in 2021 there will be the added celebration of the seminal moment we shift to a Republic. We will jettison the Queen of England and install a local, current Governor General Dame Sandra Mason. In theory this SHOULD be a moment that infuses Barbadians everywhere with pride.
Barbadians have recently been subjected to several critiques of Prime Minister Mia Mottley from the Trinidad space. These so called social commentators have the same MO, first they register admiration of her oratory and other skills, the quick growth of her personal brand on the global stage, then proceed to attack the government of Barbados for its weak economy often citing our debt to GDP which has reverted to north of 140. True to form, Barbadians are quick to share these messages on social media platforms to bolster personal and political agendas.
There should be no argument that on the 24th of May 2018, key economic indicators confirmed the poor state of our economy. In a short three years the condition was made acute because of the ongoing pandemic, ashfall from La Soufrière volcano and hurricane Elsa did not help the cause. The blogmaster will accept the counter-argument that policies of successive governments which Mottley was a member significantly contributed to our current state. We get the political argumentation.
In the opinion of the blogmaster, these messages being crafted by so called social commentators from neighbouring countries are designed with the purpose to make Barbadians “know their place”. How dare a person from a 2×3 island with an economy in the dumps be perceived as the leader of the Caribbean. In this space Mottley and her government will continue to feel political blows as warranted, however, Barbadians must know when to defend our good name and bare teeth by separating the wheat from the chaff.
Earlier this month Dr. Terrence Farrell a former Governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad and current director of Republic Bank sought to publicly school Prime Minister Mottley on the rudiments of asset liability management in banking after her “off-the-cuff and quip laden” remarks at the Barbados Chamber of Commerce luncheon. It seems Mr. Terrence’s palaver was to deliver a message to Prime Minister Mottley [quoted below]. It is not hidden from some the head of the local banker’s association is headed by the managing director of Republic Bank, Trinidadian.
It certainly doesn’t help when regional governments get economic policy wrong, and then have to restructure their domestic debt, including taking the unprecedented step of restructuring Treasury Bills which banks rely on for short-term liquidity management.
Those attending the BCCI understood Mottley was engaged in what politicians do when a general election is on the horizon with an enraged public up in arms about banks and credit unions charging Barbadians a $6.00 fee for withdrawals at ATMs. The blogmaster is disappointed Barbadians at large – including the traditional media – have not seized the opportunity to defend these veil attacks against the office of prime minister and by extension BARBADIANS notwithstanding political affiliations.
Submitted by Caribbean Network for Solidarity with Cuba (CNSC)
It is now clear, beyond any doubt, that that the government of the USA and its spy agencies are planning a new attack on Cuba’s independence which is intended to instigate violence and insecurity in that country on Monday 15 November. US lawmakers and government officials, including Brian Nichols, the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Senator Marco Rubio, Juan Gonzalez, the National Security Council Senior Director for the Western Hemisphere and many others, have been at the forefront of pushing for their supporters to launch ‘demonstrations’ in Cuba on 15 November in open defiance of the Cuban constitution and Cuban law. As part of its historic effort to destabilise Cuba, the USAID has so far distributed over $6.6 billion to organisations dedicated to destroying Cuba’s independence and facilitating US regime change in that country.
A central part of the planned US assault on Cuba on 15 November is a wide ranging and sophisticated information warfare campaign which employs not only the traditional print and visual media but also social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. From the slick marketing of the planned provocation as ‘15N’ to the promotion of systematic talking points, this information warfare campaign is designed to pollute the public information space with lies and disinformation so as to sow confusion about events as they unfold in Cuba on that day. One of the key talking points that has already been identified is consistently describing as ‘peaceful protesters’ those who have been mobilised by the US and its spy agencies to carry out acts of violence against individuals and property. Connected to this is describing all law enforcement activities carried out by the Cuban police on that day as ‘repression against peaceful protesters’. A further talking point is that the planned provocation on November 15 is part of an effort to gain, ‘democracy and human rights in Cuba’ or to ‘oppose racism against Cubans of African descent’. The real aims of the US for the 15 November provocation are very different from these propaganda talking points.
As a country which was born in genocide against the First Peoples and enslavement of millions of Africans and which has never deviated from adherence to those practices, the US government is in no position to define for humanity what democracy is, to preach about human rights to any country or to present itself as a fighter against racism. In any event, the relentless US efforts to carry out regime change in Cuba is an open violation of international law and the right of the Cuban people to choose their own political and economic system without foreign interference. In reality, the US government and its spy agencies couldn’t care less about democracy, human rights or racism in Cuba, or anywhere else for that matter. Their real aim is to destroy Cuba’s independence and return that country to its position before the Cuban revolution, when it existed as a US colony run for the benefit of the US corporations and organised crime. This goal persists regardless of the administration in Washington. Hence, the current Biden administration has maintained all the sanctions imposed by his predecessor Trump and, in fact, it is the Biden administration which is organising the 15 November provocation.
Despite over 60 years of US bullying, harassment and economic suffocation, Cuba has proved itself time and again to be a reliable and supportive member of the Caribbean family of nations. Working within its limited resources as a result of the US blockade, Cuba has trained hundreds of Caribbean professionals, especially doctors, engineers and sports specialists. It has provided free eye care to thousands of people across the region and it has sent volunteers throughout the Caribbean to help with the provision of health care and education, and most recently, in the struggle against Covid 19. As Caribbean people, we cannot remain silent in the face of this US persecution of a fellow Caribbean nation and we cannot remain silent in the face of the new attack on Cuba’s independence that the US is planning for 15 November. Evil triumphs when good people do nothing.
The Caribbean Network for Solidarity with Cuba (CNSC) strongly condemns the planned efforts of the US and its spy agencies to instigate violence and insecurity in Cuba on 15 November and demand that the US government end its over 60 year- long campaign of persecution against that country. We call on individuals, social, religious and political organisations, trade unions, governments and regional organisations across the Caribbean to join us in this call and stand in solidarity with the people of our sister island.
No to the new US attacks on Cuba’s independence on 15 November! Lift the blockade and let Cuba live!
I do not think there is a police officer anywhere in the world today who does not know the dangers of death in making or attempting to arrest by strangulation hold.
In international law, police stranglehold and chokehold strangulation has recently been identified as one of the most lethal forms of violence: unconsciousness may occur within seconds and death –
-within minutes. When violence perpetrators choke (strangle) their victims, not only is this felonious assault, but it may be an attempted homicide. Strangulation is an ultimate form of power and control, where the batterer can demonstrate control over the victim’s next breath; having devastated psychological effects or a potentially fatal outcome.
Please watch the video. The recipient had to be treated at the hospital.
Sober and conscious victims of strangulation will first feel terror and severe pain. If strangulation persists, unconsciousness will follow. Although, before lapsing into unconsciousness, a strangulation victim will usually resist violently, it is an uncontrollable natural reaction to struggle violently, it cannot be said to be resisting arrest. The illegal hold often producing injuries of their neck to claw off the assailant, and frequently also producing damage on the face or hands of their assailant. These defensive injuries may not be present if the victim is physically or chemically restrained before the assault. In addition, victims may lose consciousness by any one or all of the following methods: blocking of the carotid arteries in the neck (depriving the brain of oxygen), blocking of the jugular veins (preventing deoxygenated blood from exiting the brain), and closing off the airway, making breathing impossible.
Very little pressure on both the carotid arteries and veins for ten seconds is necessary to cause unconsciousness. However, if the pressure is immediately released, consciousness will be regained within ten seconds. To completely close off the trachea (windpipe), three times as much pressure (33 lbs.) is required. Brain death will occur in 4 to 5 minutes if strangulation persists.
Be aware that strangulation may cause the following symptoms and consequences: difficulty breathing, raspy, hoarse or loss of voice, coughing, difficulty swallowing, drooling, nausea, vomiting, changes in behaviour, hallucinations, headaches, light headiness, dizziness, urination or defecation, miscarriage, swollen tongue, or lips. These symptoms may be an early indication of an internal injury such as swelling, bleeding, fractured larynx (“voice box”) or hyoid bone, seizures, pulmonary oedema (lungs filled with fluid) or death within 36 hours due to progressive internal injuries and complications. On the other hand, it is possible to survive the assault, regain consciousness, refuse medical treatment, and then die later from undiagnosed or unsuspected fatal injury.
Victims should look for injuries on their face, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, chin, neck, head, scalp, chest, and shoulders, including redness, scratches or abrasions, fingernail impressions in the skin, deep fingernail claw marks, ligature marks (“rope burns”), thumbprint-shaped bruises, blood-red eyes, pinpoint red spots called “petechiae” or blue fingernails. All these injuries change in appearance over time after the assault. Some injuries, like redness, may persist for only a few minutes. Others, like petechiae, persist for days. Observing the changes in these signs over time can significantly determine the nature and scope of internal damage produced during the assault and lend credibility to witness accounts of the force and duration of the assault. In addition, documentation by photographs sequentially for days after the assault is beneficial in establishing a journal of physical evidence.
Those assaulted may be able to have a case against their perpetrator heard in the international court if they can establish that they cannot receive proper justice in their own country.
So, if a police officer knows that and still decides to arrest someone by applying strangulation, they must be guilty of attempted murder. There can be no excuse in saying, Oh! I did not know that because, as a police officer, you should know that.
According to the US and the World media reports [it was even well reported in SVG], George Floyd lost consciousness after a Minneapolis police officer placed him in a chokehold. He later died. I know that you the reader knows that, everyone knows that. If the Vincentian police officer did not know, he should be fired from the force for being grossly ignorant and stupid.
In Saint Vincent, there is far too much police brutality with little care if a person lives or dies at their hands. I suggest that when these police officers conduct themselves so: they be named and shamed in the public media. We give their full names and addresses and tell the public who they are and where they live. What police station they are attached to, along with rank and number. Post their photos in public media and be sure to post everything on Facebook. That I believe will stop this kind of behaviour.
If the Minister in charge of the police fails in his duties in not reprimanding the police chief when his officers get out of control,
then we must do his job for him.
Let us start with the officer in the video who almost killed Mr Carlie John. Anyone who can identify him, please send me the details, everything you know about him –
The Vincentian ULP Government is out of control. With orders from above, unelected bureaucrats armed with arbitrary rules and no need to back them up stonewall and attack Vincentian citizens at every turn. Often bureaucrats and their minions are sent by the political hierarchy to harass and deliberately inflict financial and social damage on citizens unlucky enough to fall foul of what some see as a dictator’s whim or political disfavour. The damage can be overwhelming financially, emotionally, and even physically destructive, sometimes for the whole family. The attempted destruction of the unions, now at their lowest ebb ever, having had all their teeth pulled out.
And who is being held accountable? Government regulation and red tape run amok in Kingstown, and honest, tax-paying citizens are the victims of an administration’s misuse and abuse of power. Hopefully, some Vincentian lawyers who are not unpaid-tax compromised are taking an in-depth look at the legislation that tramples ordinary citizens’ rights, strangling their ability to conduct private, everyday activities without egregious government interference. We must also highlight the outrageous raiding of people’s homes with dubiously obtained search warrants, searches, seizures, and arrests and point to hundreds of regulations that have been added to the books since the ULP took office. Most importantly, we need new charts to direct us from this mess and toward renewed freedom for all Vincentians.
These stories are of everyday Vincentians badgered and harassed by the police and their government — -the very institutions supposed to serve us all. The gross breaches of our constitution are as frightening as they are accurate, and Government Bullies that we have suffered for twenty years are now being scrutinised. This is a call to action for all decent Vincentians.
Because up until now, almost but not entirely, all the Vincentian people have been almost, but not wholly, fooled all the time.
At last, the Vincentian spirit has awoken; people are no longer willing to stand the bullying, the hatred, the spite, and the malicious prosecutions and administration of the law based on falsities and rapidly made-to-fit-laws. Some of the laws are designed to protect politicians and keep them in power, perhaps forever. Spying on the people by politically charged Special Branch, also spying on other political parties. Using the police as a private politically motivated army against all dissenters.
One of the most dangerous things was to opt-out of the PACE Act, which contributed to the loss of SVGS democracy. As a result, police brutality increased a hundredfold.
Squads of politically activated police dressed in fascist black with no identifying numbers. Police dressed in army fatigues and jackboots, playing jungle commandos in the middle of Kingstown. All armed to the teeth, all regime loving, asking how high shall we jump? Beating the public about the head with batons, inflicting serious injuries during protest rallies.
Party faithful and party officials are protected when they commit crimes to be charged for lesser crimes, in lower courts, with charges designed for them to be acquitted or found not guilty. I am, of course, thinking about the police who almost beat a youth to death in the interview room. Then another case, we are waiting for the results of the shooting in the leg of Cornelious John. But, again, the charges against the alleged perpetrators are seen by many as lesser than deserved and designed for acquittal. A young woman committed to the mental home, made to take unwanted treatment of mind-altering drugs because of involvement with a dynasty member.
The people feel let down by lawyers and church leaders who stand by and say nothing whilst all the filth is happening to the people. Lack of comment by the Bar, and the elders of Church’s who are seen to be backing the ULP governments behaviour through their silence. These are professional people from whom the people deserve better. Magistrates willing to go along with the politically motivated court cases.
The year-on-year creep towards a one-party communist police-controlled state must end right now. After that, the people must take back their country, their rights, refurbish and repair their democracy.
The days of harvesting the people to mould into ever forgiving and ever supporting peasants are over. We do not want to be a Cuban or Venezuelan satellite. We want our freedom and rid of what has become a country owned and controlled by a family dynasty. It is over; we are done.
Let us have jobs, investment in industry, proper crime control, prosperity, and peace for all; let us have change. Let us have a government that is dedicated to introducing term limits for leadership positions. Never again to have a “must come back to papa” head of state. Never again allow the introduction of a family dynasty. Let us have full transparency in all matters.
Please let us have a peaceful transition, do not push the people into a corner of violence, they deserve better.
No law if it conflicts with the rights of the citizens under the Constitution is legal.
When the ULP, its Left-wing politicians, and unions blocked the road during the Roadblock Revolution. Ambulances were denied permission to take citizens to Kingstown hospital. As a result, people were dying; babies were born in ambulances, citizens were denied the right to go about their civil rights and liberties as guaranteed under the Constitution.
Ralph Gonsalves is one man, a member of government and parliament, prime minister, and minister in charge of the police. He decries his being denied the right to enter parliament on foot on August 5.
Remember he was involved in the roadblock revolution? Did he or others consider the rights of the dying, the rights of the pregnant mothers? Being an intelligent man, I would be surprised if he didn’t. He considered he had the political right to bring society to a standstill, ignoring the constitutional rights of others and replacing those rights with his own actions, opinions and aims. What happened at the Roadblock Revolution was far worse than anything that recently occurred in Kingstown. The roadblock was unconstitutional, illegal, and morally wrong; it injured many people physically, mentally, and politically. It threatened the whole fabric of Vincentian democracy. Perhaps it was designed to do just that. Even if not, that is what it did.
On August 5, 2021, there was protest loud and rowdy protest by people, many of whom generally knew nothing of supposed laws restricting their gathering, meeting and considered it constitutionally correct to do so. For some, that protest was organised. For others, they joined it unplanned, and passers-by joined in because they agreed with the words of the protesters, the banners, the written posters. The protesters were from all factions of society and political parties, ULP and NDP members and supporters.
The police were obviously prepared for the demonstration, they had obviously been pre-informed if not by the NDP, certainly by their own intelligence that spies on every meeting, including private ones, that the NDP holds. They have been doing that for years reporting back their findings to political masters. They were fully prepared and expectant on the August 5, putting many crowd barriers up, having a large contingency of police officers on duty from every section of the force. The police were armed with batons, which they use on the day to beat people about the head with. They were prepared to lash out and injure the people, but unprepared to be able to protect Ralph Gonsalves when he decided to try and go walk about amidst an angry and furious crowd of demonstrators.
Following that day of protest, NDP members at the protest were raided at their homes by what are seen by many as political Police. The raid victimised, put recipients through a process of humiliation, inconvenience, and intimidation. It turned out to be a fishing trip by the Police, perhaps egged on by their political handlers.
I believe Police used illegally applied for search warrants that were worded in such a way to fool the authorising JP. Every one of the warrants had the reasons for searching the property as “firearms, ammunition, electronics” the Police had no reason or information that “firearms or ammunition” was suspected or believed to be at the places they raided. Of course, these matters may be even worse if the JP signing these warrants knew the reason for including “firearms and ammunition” in the wording of the search warrants and did not object but approved of the inclusion. The real raiding reasons being the gathering of electronics and analysing those people cell phones and laptops. If the magistrate or JP knew that, it would mean they also were part of political support of the action by the Police. An act that is most probably traceable right back to the ULP leadership, if just one person would be truthful instead of taking the forefront in telling multiple identifiable lies over the years. Over the last twenty years, hundreds of Vincentian citizens have had similar if not identically worded search warrants served on them.
Here is one from five years ago, I have more, for different people, all worded the same.
The only thing the police took was electronics and documents, which was the only thing they expected to find, the only things the wanted to find.
Should the police be pre-informed of organised meetings, rallies, protests, taking in public places. There is nothing wrong with that because they need to plan for Police to control situations and protect the public. But people should still have the right to instant non-organized sporadic protests. People must have the right of free assembly.
Unfortunately, the Police are defending their political masters, and they have chosen to side with a political party instead of the public.
There is no requirement or reason in our Constitutional law to get or obtain permission from anyone, including the Police, to hold a meeting, rally, or protest. Having to apply for permission is unconstitutional. If you apply, the Police will almost always say no, refuse permission, even ban such meetings from taking place. Those refusals and bans will almost always in SVG be politically motivated. They want to please their political masters. Banning such protests removes the right of the public to protest what they have a right to protest. Refusing and denying is used as a political tool, and for that reason only, the Police happily instigate and support that.
Protests by the people against what is happening in parliament are healthy and vital because it brings the politicians to notice the depth of feeling of the people or sections of the public on subjects and proposed changes in the law.
The rules and laws that demand that people or organisers get permission to hold a meeting in a public place are immoral and unconstitutional. They are designed to stop protests which are a God-given right of every human being.
Whatever this missile was thrown at Ralph Gonsalves outside parliament on August 5, was thrown by a man, an easily identifiable person. There is a video in the public domain. A news media member published the video. I analysed it frame by frame, and it is evident that the man lobbed a missile, this very missile. Yet the woman arrested for allegedly throwing the missile, in other parts of the same video had no hard object in hand or hands. She was probably detained because she was wearing a yellow NDP T-shirt. She is provably falsely accused, falsely arrested, coerced into making a false statement, coerced into making a false confession, and should be compensated, not prosecuted for something she did not do.
As reported by a politician who witnessed another chase and capture that day. The Police also chased and caught another woman and accused her of throwing the same missile that hit Gonsalves.
They had no idea at the time who threw the missile. The Police failed to protect Gonsalves from an angry crowd. They had to get their brownie points by arresting and prosecuting someone, perhaps not caring even if they have the right person.
The political situation and the control of the Police by politicians is a sour mixture. It has brought about police brutality and Police acting as political enforcers for the Unity Labour Party. The situation is dire. The citizens of SVG are in danger from the very people who should be protecting them.
Please, people in the region, hemisphere, and anyone who can help us, take in what is written here because it is a truthful account. We need help from our traditional allies, the UK, US, EU, UN.
We need your help. We are drowning in left-wing politics that has seen the people brought to a level of poverty that did not even exist at the time of emancipation. We are being stifled in our rights to protest. Protesters are being beaten with truncheons and batons. People are taken to police interview rooms and beaten to extract false confessions; it has been going on for twenty years. People turn up in court with pulped faces and black eyes.
The report coming out of St. Vincent that a citizen felt emboldened to pelt an object at Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and in the process endanger his life and destabilize the country is reprehensible. We may have contrary political views but it does not mean we should disregard the fact Gonsalves’s Unity Labour Party (ULP) is a democratically elected government. What example are we setting for our children? Increasingly in the Caribbean we are witnessing behaviours associated with TV scenes depicting public disturbances from over in away. Another example of our small open societies in the Caribbean susceptible to external influences. The English speaking Caribbean has earned a reputation through the years as an area of peace (comparatively speaking) with Grenada the outlier. What happened in St. Vincent this week is an ominous sign for the region given we are battling similar issues. The lyrics of the great calypso Caribbean Man penned in 1979 should serve as a reminder.
One race (de Caribbean man) From de same place (de Caribbean man) Dat make de same trip (de Caribbean man) On de same ship (de Caribbean man) So we must push one common intention Is for a better life in de region For we woman, and we children Dat must be de ambition of de Caribbean man De Caribbean man, de Caribbean man
Songwriter: Sawandi Cassell
The world is struggling to protect citizens during the pandemic. It is reported over 4 million people have died since the outbreak of Covid 19. The virus has had the effect of stalling the global economy and in the process crippled Small Island Developing States (SIDs) like St. Vincent, Barbados and others. Before the pandemic our economic and social landscape was under stress. As developed and undeveloped countries respond to outbreak after outbreak of Covid 19, public health policy to fight the virus has not earned the trust of some members of the public. The issue has escalated to a point where the rights of individuals are challenging government’s obligation to enforce an effective national health policy. Members of the medical fraternity are divided, governments have been administering different approaches, individuals are conflicted on the best options to take to fight Covid 19. Unfortunately the matter has been politicised and the voice of the scientists have been trivialized. There will always be those who are anti this and anti that- this has been the case from time immemorial.
To ask for calm at a time various interest groups (including political parties) prefer to engage in rambunctious behaviour will be a struggle. One suspects it will get worse before it gets better. Many of our islands support service economies and will be directly impacted based on our ability to curb Covid 19 infections and in the process prevent failed state status. How long can our governments continue to pay the salaries of bloated public service employees. How long will private sector companies draw down on reserves and declining rate of returns on equity? Is the proverbial crap is about to hit the fan?
The Barbados government is currently working on a legal document to consider mandatory vaccinations that was promised to key stakeholders yesterday. Yesterday CNN in the USA fired 3 unvaccinated employees who entered the workplace violating policy. Buckle up!
The blogmaster thought the following read a useful exercise, a break from the vitriol.
Mandatory vaccination, including for COVID-19, can be ethically justified if the threat to public health is grave, the confidence in safety and effectiveness is high, the expected utility of mandatory vaccination is greater than the alternatives, and the penalties or costs for non-compliance are proportionate. I describe an algorithm for justified mandatory vaccination. Penalties or costs could include withholding of benefits, imposition of fines, provision of community service or loss of freedoms. I argue that under conditions of risk or perceived risk of a novel vaccination, a system of payment for risk in vaccination may be superior. I defend a payment model against various objections, including that it constitutes coercion and undermines solidarity. I argue that payment can be in cash or in kind, and opportunity for altruistic vaccinations can be preserved by offering people who have been vaccinated the opportunity to donate any cash payment back to the health service.
When the Russian built Sputnik became the first artificial satellite to enter space on Oct. 4, 1957, its alien beeping shocked America. Its signal stopped after just three weeks, and three months later, sky gazers could no longer see a little moving dot. It was the sputnik failure. Now there is another Sputnik failure.
An announcement appeared in the Russian publication ‘Tass’ and most regional press and online media sites. “Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was the first island nation of the Caribbean to register Sputnik V,” the statement said. “The vaccine was approved in Montenegro, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines under the emergency use authorization procedure without any additional local clinical trials.” They accepted it face value and commenced dishing it out.
Remember how the SVGs PM rushed to have his virus shots, said he was setting an example, hoping Vincentians would follow his example.
He chose to import the Russian ‘Sputnik V Vaccine’, which many, including myself, said was the worst of the batch. It was said initially at the time, it was only 50% effective. The Russians changed that, later announcing it was 80% effective.
Well, now it turns out it is hardly effective at all against the new variation of the virus, as Russia battles the surging Delta variant.
Vaccinated Russians are catching the Delta virus as Russia reported 24,353 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the third-highest number of daily infections since early January.
Moscow will start offering booster shots of the Sputnik V vaccine for individuals vaccinated more than six months ago, Moscow’s Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced last Thursday.
Germany started to close its borders to Russians starting Tuesday to prevent the importation of mutated Covid-19 strains, the German Embassy in Moscow announced.
Russia has confirmed the first Delta Plus coronavirus variant infections within its borders days after media sounded the alarm about the presence of the potentially more dangerous new strain.
Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said Tuesday that 151,000 people in Russia are currently in hospital with the coronavirus.
Vincentians who have had the Sputnik Vaccine should ask him/it when they get the required booster shot. Let us hope this is not left until it is too late. Venezuela has lots; it was their leading choice because it was free, a gift from Russia.
At this very moment, it is probably more important than ever to seal SVGs borders, yes right now, follow the science, follow Germany’s lead, who closed her borders yesterday. Every Vincentian is at risk again due to a wrong choice by him/it.
Germany partially closed its borders with the Czech Republic and Austria’s Tyrol on Sunday over a troubling surge in coronavirus mutations. A thousand police officers have been mobilized to ensure strict border checks, which recall the much-criticized early days of the pandemic when EU countries hastily closed their frontiers to each other. That action has since been proven to be the correct procedure. When in doubt keep them out.
Every choice made by him/it has been the wrong choice, just as Vincentians’ wrong choice was in choosing a know all no nothing, such a fat liability. Now it is time to follow the science and make the right choice. Lock down the borders and give all those Vincentians previously vaccinated with the Sputnik V vaccine a booster shot.
An Answer to “How did we get here?” by Heide Badenock Posted in annsvg.com 30/06/21
You can put the fall of overall standards in Saint Vincent of every kind down to one person; the decline has taken overall about twenty years.
The problem is it continues to decline with a massively flawed education system producing hundreds of badly educated people every year. Those that succeed regardless are but a few lovely flowers in a sea of underachievers. Please do not mistake me; I am not blaming the children; I blame the leadership and the fraudulent cry of an Education Revolution. Many children simply drop out of education prematurely. Education over, they are either unemployable, or no employment is available.
Usually, investors refuse to invest in a communist influenced country for fear of losing their investment. They have seen what happened in Venezuela, and know we are followers of theirs
There are more poor people in SVG than ever before. There was even a better standard at the end of slavery. There was a better medical system and hospital facilities then than today.
There are more people on poor relief than ever before.
We have seen the purposeful destruction of agriculture. Prime farmlands have been built on. Land at Buccament and Belle Isle a prime example. Farmers are only left with difficult hill lands.
Agriculture was supplied with a beautiful irrigation system; a system destroyed by the failures of one man. It no longer exists.
Banana export destroyed by failure to follow crop spraying norms during the black Sigatoka era. Everything that has taken place has furthered the ruin of agriculture and promoted the switch of people and systems to be reliant on tourism.
Opposition political leaders were beaten up and thrown out of parliament. Causing serious injury to one parliamentarian’s back as he was thrown down the stairs.
Wages have not followed inflation; dollar on dollar, people earn half as much as twenty years ago. I am not talking about amounts of money; I am talking about buying power; their dollar buys far, far less than twenty years ago. People are far worse off than they should be under a right-thinking regime of real Vincentian lovers. Instead of the false love of left-wing tyrants that we have currently been landed with.
Embracement of Marxism, Stalinism, Chavesism, Castroism, all the people who the world would have been a much better place without. One man’s warped ideals imposed on an unsuspecting nation.
The people are unknowingly paying tax on tax on tax. It all starts at the import shed, where the customs charge importers huge duties and taxes on behalf of the government. Then, of course, the importer passes that on to the next buyer. After that, the people pay VAT on what they buy, and eventually, the public buys something that has risen in cost three times. Remember they even put VAT on salt, never heard of anywhere else in the modern world.
Who must we blame for all this? The answer is. One man must bear full responsibility. I do not even need to call his name. Everyone knows who I am writing about without any clue from me.
Middle-class people can never be made into peasant class communists. But in SVG they had the formula for doing just that. It took twenty years to destroy much of SVG’s middle class. Many eventually joined the unemployed, others melted away and moved abroad. It took twenty years to make many people reliant on the government for handouts and not to do anything for themselves. Now there are many young people who have never had a job, and unless they strike lucky, will never work in their lifetime.
It took twenty years to turn fierce Vincentians into cowardly pussycats. It had to happen that way for this regime to stay in power; they hope forever. But there must be a continuity of top family leadership for forever to happen, so a dynasty has been created; it is already in place and operating.
The result of creeping pauperism has been in building a two-tier society. The people at the top protected by the regime from prosecution can literally get away with murder; they can do just about anything illegal with little consequence. As has recently been demonstrated, they can trespass on the property of others and shoot people with little or no consequences. In contrast, the new peasant society with no rights are just punching and shooting fodder for the police, and for anyone in the proletariat of this contemporary society to regard as open season game to hunt and abuse, a time to have fun without consequence. Even rape charges in leadership dismissed by the DPP.
We have seen businesspeople destroyed, multiple raids by police with illegally gotten search warrants issued by tame Justices of the Peace. Young women abused, and raped, young women used as a plaything, a sex toy, and eventually sent to the mental home to be pumped up with sedatives and mind-altering drugs. Many of the peasant class appearing in courts after police interviews with faces battered and bruised. The police take the view it is their duty to beat confessions from the accused in the interview room. They shoot first and ask questions afterwards, so if people run, they use the gun. They are also known to take people they have picked up into the mountains, to dump them, making them walk many miles home.
The whole system is affected; the magistery, the police, the DPP’s office, the judicial system has become answerable to just one man.
Many of the countries lawyers and barristers frightened to speak out less they get a 4 am knock on their door from the Tax Department and the Black Squad goons, an arm of the political police. They were warned about being tax cheats, some paying no tax at all. So, you can understand why they stand by and say or do nothing. There are a handful who do not fall into the category of being able to be blackmailed into being frightened.
People have died in questionable circumstances; people have disappeared too. The common denominator being politics. One of the biggest taboos seem to have been to change party loyalties, to go over to the opposition, that seems to have brought death to several. One of the strangest deaths which was indeed murder was that of Glenn Jackson.
The Religious leaders are cowering in the corner of their churches, not just from the fear of a man, but of a fear of losing their tax-free status, along with the ability to import whatever they want duty free. Thus, the nation has been sold out by the very people in whom they put their trust. These people have sold us all out for a few shekalim.
How will it end? Like during many past such events in the world, we must hope that the pussycats transform into tigers and take back what belongs to them, freedom, employment, and prosperity.
It will be a shame if the people eventually take to violent revolution. Please keep in mind people, peaceful protest and peaceful methods are the best route.
There is a political project being planned in Guyana by the Hindu-fascist PPP .of Jagdeo, aimed at covering up its racist conduct.
The PPP wants to dismiss 300 workers from the water authority,, the overwhelming majority of whom are Black.. They seek to replace them with Indians as they have a history of doing and have done since de rasssoul assholes in Caricom interfered in the elections to favour them.
To cover their apartheid policies the PPP is raising the spectre of Rodney as a distraction as they seek to combat complains about their behaviours, as made to the United Nations.
The argument to be made by the PPP is that the UN complaints are invalid because Walter Rodney, an Afro-Guyanese, is being lifted up. However, Black people in Guyana never had much love for Walter Rodney. They generally thought that he was an asshole, puffed up with a sense that he was the brightest man in the world.
Wrong on both counts.
As a youngster Walter Rodney was second to none in this writer”s estimation. However, his family is in no position to ask the PPP government of Guyana to rewrite the clear and true history of the circumstances surrounding his death.
The truth is settled knowledge. Rodney was trying to overthrow the government of Forbes Burnham and was plotting with a military man who was making a bomb with shrapnel intended to wreak substantial collateral damage.
Having arranged to test the bomb against the outer wall of the central prison complex it ended up in his, Rodney’s, lap and detonated, seemingly prematurely or at the betrayal of the military Confederates in this coup. Burnham had nothing to do with these events but currently this schema by the PPP could also cause a fissure within the opposition APNU coalition which comprises Burnham’s party and Rodney’s party.
About this plot to overthrow Burnham, Dr. David Hinds, a WPA member of Rodney’s party, at the time, spent years in jail and has since confirmed these events. Another senior member, of the WPA, we seem to remember his name as Roopnarine, we think, wrote a book detailing events much as we’ve tried to broadly outline.
This writer accepts the mantel of lacking hope in anything officialdom says to us. Doubled with experience of evaluating such plots, our central position is always to assume that everything is a fecking lie until proven otherwise.
David, your Caricom leaders, and the Caribbean, have no ideas about the demons they have let loose in Guyana. We trust that should the worse happen those same interfering misleaders will be military targets.
An aspect that should get people asking questions is whether drilling into areas of active magmatism might cause volcanism.
That controversy was sparked in the Philippines when 20 earthquakes were felt soon after drilling for a new geothermal prospect on Canlaon Volcano. A congressional enquiry has been suggested, an inquiry into the tremors and their relation to the drilling and Canlaon. This would be a serious issue as Canloan (the volcano) is close to Canlaon City (population ~50,000).
This is not a new accusation in the Philippines either, as the Aetas believed that drilling caused the 1991 eruption of Pinatubo.
Drilling is the most likely cause of the infamous “mud volcano” in Indonesia, but that is related to the water and heat rather than magma’s new movements. It must be easy to link geothermal drilling to any increase in “restlessness” at any volcano nearby, but there is no hard evidence that drilling can have such a direct effect on volcanism.
Because there is no evidence that drilling can cause a volcanic reaction does not mean that such actions cannot cause an eruption. Of course, drilling companies will never repeat such beliefs; they would be more likely to suppress those mutterings.
Nature being what it is, anything is possible when you interfere or tamper with it.
It is instructive to briefly look at the close spatial association between volcanoes, eruptions, and geothermal development as a means of justification. Active or potentially active volcanoes are often targeted in the search for high-temperature geothermal resources. One specific example of an existing geothermal installation at an active volcano is the 22 MW Momotombo geothermal relatively small eruptions, interspersed with occasional, considerable explosive activity. The most recent eruption at Momotombo was in 1905, when lava flowed down from the summit crater to the volcano’s NE base (Siebert & Simkin, 2002-).
There appears to be some correlation between geothermal development and Holocene eruptions; concern for the potential impacts of future volcanic eruptions on geothermal installations is warranted and should be extensively studied. As more geothermal development occurs near potentially active volcanoes, the chances of significant eruption will only increase.
In Iceland, on September 8, 1977, magma moving through a subterranean dike intersected a geothermal borehole at the Námafjall geothermal field in Iceland (Larsen et al., 1979). Three tons of magma erupted through an 1138 m deep borehole in 20 minutes, leaving a deposit of 968 tons of volcanic scoria and ash on the land surface around the well. The Námafjall geothermal field is located on Krafla caldera’s flank, which experienced a major volcanic rifting episode with associated faulting and magma intrusion since December 1975.
There are all sorts of stories regarding the volcanic eruption in Saint Vincent. Some say that the wells drilled for the geothermal project were on the island’s wrong part. The drilling took place there because ULP politics were in play, advice had been to drill elsewhere, but multimillion expensive drilling nevertheless was ordered and went ahead.
Drilling of the first well SVG01 lasted from April 30, 2019, to July 27, 2019, 89 days to a depth of 2,700 meters. With challenges due to the unstable formation in the well, it was necessary to correct the well’s inclination, which then collapsed at a depth of 1,889 meters. The total cost of drilling this well was $7.7 million, and a temperature of 155 degrees Celsius was measured at a depth of 1,880 meters. The project team announced there was still the possibility of successfully drilling a side-track from 1,800 to 2,700 meters and additional stimulation.
The second well, SVG03, was drilled between August 7, 2019, and October 29, 2019, including seven days of stimulation to a depth of 2,283 meters (total length 2,800 meters). The well collapsed at a depth of 1,627 meters and a side-track from 1,160 meters. The total cost of the well was $7.6 million. The well’s temperature was 220 degrees Celsius at a depth of 2,800 meters with though low permeability. They announced the well testing was outstanding, but they planned to continue stimulation to increase flow capacity.
Drilling for the third well, SVG02, began on November 4, 2019, and ended on January 15, 2020, including 19 days’ stimulation. The depth of the well is 2,990 meters (2,869 vertical depth). The drilling cost was $5.6 million with a temperature of 230 to 250 degrees Celsius. They announced this well would have to be stimulated.
Side-tracking the first well, SVG01 was next on the agenda with stimulation using a downhole packer to seal the downhole at 1,700 meters. The same was then tried to SVG03.
It was expected that testing would be concluded around July 2020; at that time, estimates could be made about the wells’ possible capacity for power generation.
In August 2020, Ellsworth Dacon, the Vincentian Project Director of the project, told local news. “The results weren’t as expected. We got permeability, but not sufficient enough for it to be commercially viable.” “While there is undoubtedly a geothermal source at Bamboo Range, the inadequacy of the permeability of the rocks means that the heat cannot pass through the rocks at the needed rate.” Dacon went on to say, “We are looking at some closed-loop systems and speaking to three companies, so we will see how it goes.”
In real quick time, the Icelandic company packed up and pulled out of SVG. The geothermal project on St. Vincent & the Grenadines spent over US$ 35 million since the start in 2012, with around US$700k from the Vincentian government, US$ 29 million in grant funding, and $7 million in funding from private equity.
Drilling equipment was hastily moved from the site and shipped overseas.
The ULP propagandist Vinciman said in 2017, “Our greatest fear is La Soufriere Volcano, and even so, we just go about our business as usual, like … it doesn’t even exist.”
In reply, Peter Binose wrote in 2017, “We now know the greatest fear of Ralph Gonsalves is La Soufriere Volcano erupting before Argyle officially opens. Because if that happened, it would be the end of the Argyle airport project; no airline would ever fly in there after that. There is the possibility that it will erupt in the future, perhaps even sometime soon.”
Binose went on to write in reply to Vinciman, “I am glad you mentioned La Soufriere Volcano and being worried about it erupting, so you should be. Because it is very much a live volcano and, according to records, is overdue to erupt. All aircraft sitting at the airport will be lost because the hot ash will destroy them. They will end up as scrap metal. They certainly will not be able to fly in the ash cloud, and the airport is within an area where hot rocks will rain down. Argyle may become an insurance nightmare for resident and visiting aircraft, with runway subsidence more than a possibility, huge winds when not expected and now a live volcano to consider.”
La Soufriere Volcano is an active volcano, it last erupted in 1979, and there is always steam and gasses rising from it, although it is currently resting. Looking at the record of La Soufriere’s past eruptions and the intervals between them, an eruption is now long overdue. So, it is not ‘if’ but when, and the regime knows that, which has frightened them. And as I previously said, “so it should”.
Binose wrote many articles about the Gonsalves folly of building facilities such as the Argyle airport and the Specialist Medical facility at Georgetown. But everything was built in those dangerous areas for ULP political purposes to generate jobs for the abundant ULP supporters in those areas. Binose even wrote about the folly of drilling where they did; perhaps if his advice had been taken, there would have been no current eruption and no investment damage.
Once more, we must place the blame squarely on the shoulders of Ralph Gonsalves actions, even in this current event. What has happened was on the cards to happen. He ignored sound advice from many critics and must be considered a fool.
Proverbs 12-15 – The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.
There have been more than 5,000 Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) nationals and citizens left outside of their homeland. The borders have been closed since March 2020 – a year ago – as a Government’s COVID-19 prevention measure.
It is more than 340 days, and counting, and some nationals and citizens are still stranded abroad.
Sangeeta Jagdeo, a T&T national who returned to the country after being stranded in India, said:
The Minister of National Security puts it very nicely on paper, but the implementation of the process is a total failure … They are misleading the population.
These citizens feel that they have been abandoned by the Government. They have been left in a foreign land, some of them hungry, homeless and penniless. They sleep in train stations and on the pavements, and are facing a very cold winter. Many of them – like the migrant seasonal farmworkers in Canada – are dying to return home.
Meanwhile, Government Ministers and their families (with their dogs) are granted exemptions to leave and return as they wish.
The following are HIGHLIGHTS of a ZOOM public meeting held recently (14/02/21) on the topic “5,000 T&T Citizens stranded abroad for 320+ days.” The Pan-Caribbean public meeting was hosted by the Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre (ICC). It was chaired by Sharlene Maharaj and moderated by Bindu Deokinath Maharaj, both women of Trinidad.
The speakers were KAREN LEE GHIN, a Trinidadian-American activist helping stranded Trinidadians in the USA since March last year; SHALLENA BUJAN, a T&T citizen in the UK whose mother is critically ill at home; GERALD RAMDEEN, an attorney-at-law who has taken legal against the Government to re-open the country’s borders to nationals; and ANONYMOUS STRANDED SPEAKERS (past and present) who did not reveal their names and photos for fear of victimisation.
Stranded in Venezuela,
SALIM wrote the following to us just after the ZOOM meeting:
“Please just give me hope that very soon I will overcome the worst and most disastrous time of my life, being stranded and abandoned here in Venezuela. I came here for 10 days on the 15th March 2020 to open a registered import-export company.
At first, I had been staying at a hotel here, who I now owe $5,800 USD for the period from 26th March 2020 to the ending of September.
I was put out on the streets from the said hotel because of the lack of money to pay. Then I stayed in a church for 5 days, then I had to move out and stay on the streets for 3 sleepless days and nights. I was robbed of my cell phone, my jewels and some of my clothes and $75. USD which my family had sent for me to survive.
Here in this country, Venezuela is facing a humanitarian crisis. People have no food, no medicine, no water and no justice – for their own people, much less for outsiders like me. I have sent numerous emails to the Minister of National Security, and Foreign Affairs, and I have never received a response, up to this date. None.
I met a vendor on the street who felt sorry for me and invited me to stay at his house until better can be done. I accepted the invitation because I had no choice. His house has 2 rooms, he has a family of 5, for him and his wife and 3 children.
He has no facilities in his house: no fan, no bed, little water and a small electric one-burner stove. No fridge, and little food for he and his family to eat. So I took my bed-spot on the ground where I have sleeping for the past 6 months. I got sick badly, and thanks be to god, I got better without any medication, only bush medicine.
A couple of times when my family sent me money and I go to town to buy food, the police would search me and take all my money without asking any question here. Sometimes I eat 4-5 times per week here, sometimes days without food, only water, and I go to bed. It’s disturbing my mental health now, and it’s affecting me very badly, emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Also, my passport has been expired since June 2020. Presently, I am illegal here in Venezuela – no money, no food, no justice. I must pay that hotel bill of US $5,800, before I depart for Trinidad. It is just frustrating and depressing here every day, more and more.
I urgently need help here. No food or money, no clothes, nothing. Just living here like a destitute, and I am praying to god. I am a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, and I have been denied my constitutional right to return home. Thank you for hearing my cry.”
The Caribbean Public Health Agency is aware that some countries in the European Union have suspended their AstraZeneca vaccination campaign, as a result of reports of rare blood coagulation disorders in people who had received the vaccine. This was done as a precautionary measure while a full investigation is conducted into the reports. At present, it cannot be determined whether there is a link between the vaccine and the disorders.
Adverse reactions that happen following immunisation with any vaccine need to be fully investigated to rule out various factors, for example concomitant illnesses, progression of a disease, and batch assessment, before a final decision is made by the health authorities.
It must be noted that the vaccine being used in the Caribbean is not the same version or batch as the one in Europe.