Category Archives: Caribbean News

Caribbean News from the Caribbean Regions and the Windward Islands

Notes From a Native Son: United we Stand, Divided We Fall – a Case for Greater Caricom Unity (In Memory of Norman Girvan)

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Introduction:
The premature death of Professor Norman Girvan has robbed the Caribbean of one of its genuine intellectuals and, in particular, of the leading theorist of the regional union, Caricom. I had the misfortune of not knowing Professor Girvan personally, but feel as if I did: we have a regular email correspondence and have been guests together on a couple radio phone-in programmes. What makes this virtual friendship more real is that a very good friend and mentor, the woman I can thank for most of my political education, Selma James, the widow of the late CLR James, would often remind me that I should make contact with ‘Norman’, as she addressed him.

After the failure of the West Indies Federation in 1962, the most practicable attempt at regional unity since then has been Caricom. But, as I have said on a number of occasions here and elsewhere, although the intention is laudable, the reality has been sadly flawed. Ignoring for the time being the ill-thought out idea of a free movement of people – in a public debate in London some time ago I raised the issue of the Barbados legislation being specific about free movement for those who have graduated from the University of the West Indies and the University of Guyana, but other graduates enjoying the same benefit with the minister’s ‘discretion’. Someone once tried to persuade me that this ‘discretion’ will only be a formality, but can you imagine some small-minded minister having this weapon in his/her hands and not using it, especially if it is someone they have political objections to?

Continue reading

Caribbean Repara­tory Jus­tice Pro­gram: Ten Point Action Plan

Submitted by Jahpaint
Citadelle Lafer­rire, Haiti

Citadelle Lafer­rire, Haiti

1.FULL FOR­MAL APOL­OGY, 2.REPAT­RIA­TION, 3.INDIGE­NOUS PEO­PLES DEVEL­OP­MENT PRO­GRAM, 4.CUL­TURAL INSTI­TU­TIONS, 5.PUB­LIC HEALTH CRI­SIS, 6.ILLIT­ER­ACY ERAD­I­CA­TION, 7.AFRICAN KNOWL­EDGE PRO­GRAM, 8. PSY­CHO­LOG­I­CAL REHA­BIL­I­TA­TION, 9. TECH­NOL­OGY 10. TRANS­FER,DEBT CAN­CEL­LA­TION

Read full text

Time to Right Ship Caribbean!

Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and watchdog Group
Caricom Heads

Caricom Heads

It should now be obvious to all and sundry, that the year 2014 will mean nothing more than depressingly minimal growth for most if not all Caribbean states. We are being directed by the International Monetary (Mercenary) Fund; relying on the cooked up statistics of agencies such as Standard and Poor and Moodys. Almost daily we are being “rated” by foreigners, who still see us as fun-loving natives who spend our time in lazy repose on our beaches. As far as they are concerned, we are non –productive and incapable of managing our own affairs. Imagine they come out of the United States, a country that is saddled with its own debt and whose economy and corporate corruption are directly responsible for much of the world’s current economic crisis, which was fuelled by the greed of the Wall Street titans, and brazenly try to project themselves as our saviours. Why do we subject ourselves to such humiliation is beyond the imagination but there is nothing more pathetic, than witnessing foreign economists come into our countries ,and treat us like some abandoned outpost, as obtained during the days of the wild west.

Certainly those workers who built these economies by the sweat of their brows would not have imagined that almost fifty years after independence and in some cases more, we have reached the sorry stage, where it is believed that we cannot manage our own affairs and resources. The victories over slavery, colonialism, and rampant racism should have better prepared us to be masters of our own fate but somewhere along the way, we lost focus of the journey that started in the 1930’s when the labour movement started to show serious signs of becoming the driving force of a truly democratic Caribbean region.

Continue reading

Macroeconomic Options for Very Small Open Economies

DeLisle Worrell, Governor of Central Bank of Barbados
Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, DC
April 17, 2014

DeLisle Worrell, governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, addressed the topic “Macroeconomic Options for Very Small Open Economies,” on April 17, 2014, at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Continue reading

The Bear Wrestler and POTUS

Presidents Obama and Putin

Presidents Obama and Putin

We live in the information age which gives currency to the view he who controls information controls the world. In response to the explosion of information governments  in the name of protecting national interest have been aggressively encroaching on the civil liberties of its citizens.  How far is too far when national interest is at stake?

BU has been observing events playing out in Eastern Europe and predictably positions will be drawn based for the most part where individuals were born, educated and socialized. No better place to observe a delineation in perspectives  – Russia or the USA, Putin or Obama – than to compare US media reports to African, Eastern and other non US sources. Any desire to be informed requires a methodical ferretting out of information to reach a fair conclusion. To retreat to dogmatic positions is to admit ignorance. A balanced view therefore requires operating on the premise both Russia and the USA have geopolitical interest to protect.

Barbados and the Caribbean are insignificant players on the world stage. However we should be concerned and react to how global conflicts continue to affect small island economies. This is even more critical in the current protracted and volatile global economic condition. Ironically the USA and Russia, two key players in the Ukraine conflict, makeup two of five five permanent members of the United Nation Security Council charged with policing the globe.

Continue reading

GTUC Will Participate in the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry

Submitted by Guyana Trades Union Congress
The late Walter Rodney

The late Walter Rodney

The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) has retained Civil Rights Lawyer Mr. Selwyn A. Pieters, to represent its interest on the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry. The GTUC met the commissioners when they were on their exploratory visit and expressed concerns with the Terms of Reference (ToR). Dr. Walter Rodney remains a national and international figure and in the present circumstance cannot be looked at as the property of a specific family or group, for he belongs to all of us, and consultation as to the way forward in arriving at the truth should have involved everyone. GTUC strongly holds the view that the ToR should have has the input of all the Members of the National Assembly since this was the forum that authorised and approved the decision for an inquiry.

That notwithstanding the GTUC considers the Inquiry an important factor in the nation’s activities, for Dr. Walter Rodney’s death has been used as a wedge in dividing families, friends, associates, political aspirants and communities. The GTUC is conscious of its role as a national organisation and guided by historical developments has taken a decision that it will not stand idly by and allow a national commission of this nature to commence and conclude without Labour making its position known. The GTUC prior to Rodney’s death had addressed issues surrounding him as a worker, historian and citizen, and on his demise called for an inquiry into his death. At this juncture, while there are understandable concerns about the absence of consultation and the ToR upon which the Commission will deliberate, GTUC owes this society a duty to assist in arriving at the truth.

Continue reading

Oh NO, Dennis Clarke!

Danny Gill is a member of the NUPW

Danny Gill is a member of the NUPW

I am responding to the attention grabbing headline carried on the front page of the Thursday, April 17, 2014 Nation Newspaper :- “CLARKE HITS OUT”. In that piece, which was accompanied with the additional headline No Solidarity on page 3, the General Secretary of the NUPW has been reported to say that the appointed and assumed “safe” members in the NUPW showed little or no interest in caring about their fellow comrades who were sent home or being sent home in the recent retrenchment exercise. He went on further to indicate that even when the prospect or discussion about striking to support their fellow comrades was put on the table or introduced, many of the appointed and “safe” civil servants hid beneath the burden of having a “mortgage”. I must take strong exception to this story. For the most part, it appears to be some sort of “public relations” face saving gimmick for the General Secretary Dennis Clarke. It also could be an attempt by him to explain away his failure to effectively lead the union in a time of crisis. It is an affront to all members to be “scape goated” for Mr. Clarke’s considerable failings.

I have been on the National Council of the NUPW for more than four years. The National Council is the NUPW’s highest decision making body outside of its Annual Conference. During my tenure, there has been no discussion or even a hint at striking against the current administration.

Continue reading

Windows XP Advisory to the Caribbean Region

Submitted by James Bynoe, Caribbean Cyber Security Centre
...Windows XP, which is no longer being supported by Microsoft as of April 8th 2014 ...

…Windows XP, which is no longer being supported by Microsoft as of April 8th 2014

The Caribbean Cyber Security Center would like to urge all Caribbean businesses, governments, and home users running the Microsoft Windows XP operating system (OS) to aggressively plan to upgrade from Windows XP, which is no longer being supported by Microsoft as of April 8th 2014.

So what exactly does that mean to you as a Windows XP business, government or home user?

It means that Microsoft will not be doing two key things needed to protect your Windows XP computer in today’s rapidly expanding cyber war being waged against the Caribbean by cyber criminals and hackers, (1) Microsoft will not be providing any XP system or security updates which means that hackers and cyber-criminals will be able to compromise systems running Windows XP with growing ease, and (2) if you have problems related to Windows XP, Microsoft will not be providing any free support as you will now have to pay Microsoft for extended support. It was recently reported that the U.S Internal Revenue Service (IRS) who missed their April 8th deadline to upgrade their systems running Windows XP had to pay Microsoft millions for extended XP support. Microsoft XP extended support is being reported at an estimated cost of $200.00US per system for the first year, which ironically is the approximate cost of upgrading to Windows 8.

Read full submission

It Can’t Happen In Barbados, No Sir, I Tell You That Can’t Happen Here

Submitted by John Farmer
Dr. Anthony 'Gabby' Carter popularized Jack - at cyan happen here in this country

Dr. Anthony ‘Gabby’ Carter popularized Jack – ‘‘dat cyan happen here in this country”

How many times have I heard those words spoken? Then the person who I have been speaking with goes on to qualify his/her statement. “Here in Barbados, we have one of the highest literacy rates in the world. We have the third oldest parliamentary system in the Commonwealth with a democratic governmental system almost four hundred years old. Also Barbados has a good education system plus a good Justice system. It is impossible for that to happen here!” Have you not heard these words spoken before?

I heard these same words uttered by Venezuelans just 15 years ago. At that time their democratic form of government was the longest surviving democracy in South America, a mere forty years of existence, but still the longest lasting democracy at that time in South America. Their primary and secondary education was good and they had many excellent Universities, with Simon Bolivar University rated one of the four top universities in the whole of South America. All education was free and on a scale of meritocracy the top students were selected by the top Universities, but they could apply to any university of their choice.

Continue reading

GTUC Forewarns Citizens of Goverment Pending Hysteria

Submitted by Guyana Trades Union Congress Press Statement – April 13, 2014
Donald Ramotar, President of Guyana, Guyana is awash with money laundering, drug-related crimes and other forms of financial improprieties.

Donald Ramotar, President of Guyana…“Guyana is awash with money laundering, drug-related crimes and other forms of financial improprieties

GTUC forewarns this nation to expect the government and its allies recommencing the hysteria in a few days regarding passage of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Bill. Guyana is scheduled to be evaluated by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) Plenary Meeting in Miami during 25-29th May. This deadline was given by CFATF in November 2013. The blame for not passing the bill to date must be laid at the feet of the government and those who condemned the effort to arrive at a negotiated settlement between the Executive and Legislature. GTUC condemns the government autocratic behaviour and denial of the rights of citizens in all forms. Given the government track record passage of the Bill without conditions is an abrogation of the opposition responsibility to the society.

Constitutional prescriptions are not considerations for any Member of Parliament (MP), Executive or citizen to determine whether or when they will be upheld. The president, ministers and every MP have sworn to uphold this instrument in its entirety.  The establishment of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC); respect for workers, local government autonomy and management of the Consolidated Fund are prescribed in the Constitution and must be put in place.

Continue reading