Saturday, July 15, 2006
JO - No easy home-coming for women who served time for drugsSay they face molested and abused kids, rebellious teens
No easy home-coming for women who served time for drugsSay they face molested and abused kids, rebellious teens
ALICIA DUNKLEY, Observer staff reporter
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
JAMAICAN women who have returned to their homes after spending jail-time overseas for drug trafficking say they are faced with the trauma of coping with sexually molested and abused children and promiscuous and rebellious teenagers.
Twenty-five women, who all served their time for drug trafficking, told a parenting workshop at the Jamaica Federation for Women in Kingston Monday that their children were displaying behaviours which called for more than the parenting skills they presently possess.
"Mi just don't know what else to try," said one frustrated mother who said her daughter's promiscuity had gotten out of control. She said despite her attempts to have her daughter counselled, the behaviour has continued.
Several of the mothers, mostly single parents, said they had been abandoned by the children's fathers and had no help to rear the children.
They said, too, that since their return they were unable to connect with their children, especially with the boys, some of whom have 'gone silent', the women claimed.
Sanya Ellis, the acting Co-ordinator for convenors, Hibiscus Jamaica Limited, an arm of the London-based Female Prisoners Welfare Project for women incarcerated in London as well as female ex-prisoners and their children, told the Observer that the parenting workshops were developed because it was found that when most women returned to the island their parenting skills needed to be sharpened.
".Some of the children are traumatised by them having left them so long; so we realise that they are unable now to deal with some of the issues that their children face and we want to make them better parents so we have the seminars in hope that they would be able to learn something and be better able to deal with the children," Ellis told the Observer.
She said the current session, which is a week long, will see some children being counselled as well. The intention is to use the series as a pilot to identify individuals in need of counselling so they can be referred, she said.
"This is really to identify those clients who are in need of counselling and thereafter we intend to refer them to professional counsellors," Ellis added.
According to Ellis, about 98 per cent of the women who return to the island after being incarcerated on drug charges in the United Kingdom are parents and most face the same circumstances upon return.
"Almost all of them come back and they are faced with similar issues, the withdrawal of a daughter, teenage pregnancy, the gangs, promiscuity and they are so uncertain as to what they are coming back to and how to deal with some of these issues so we feel it is necessary to have sensitization seminars like this one for them," she said.
In addition to encouraging and providing opportunities for further academic advancement and training, Ellis said Hibiscus, through its Anti-drug Education Campaign, is sensitising the school population about the dangers involved in drug running.
One participant, Winsome Morrison, who was incarcerated in London for three years, said the information provided by the seminar would help to renew her relationship with her 15-year-old son.
"I think this will help me to get around the various sides of him that I can't see right now because is like him lock off. Anything happen is like im nuh really tell mi, mi have to dig into him and seh 'tell mi how it go', something is bogged down in this little boy and in the future mi hope to get it out of him; mi really need to know what happening to mi child," she said.
"Mi stay away for three years and mi an him fada break up because of di prison ting and I think this is one of the main thing that keep him locked in," she added.
JG - Coastguard gets refitted vessel
Coastguard gets refitted vessel
published: Friday July 7, 2006
Mark Beckford, Gleaner Writer
Sydney Innis (left), commanding officer of the JDF Coastguard, with U.S. Ambassador Brenda LaGrange Johnson and Earl McLeod. - NORMAN GRINDLEY/DEPUTY CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER
THE JAMAICA Defence Force (JDF) Coastguard has received a well-needed boost with the donation of a refitted 40-foot Sea Ark Vessel from the United States Embassy's Narcotics Affairs Section.
The vessel was turned over during a ceremony at the HMJS Cagway port in Port Royal yesterday. The gift, which will aid the JDF in its fight against the illegal drug trade, was one of two vessels that were refitted by the U.S. Embassy at a cost of US$670,000 (J$43.5 million).
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Rear Admiral Harvey Lewin, Chief of Staff of the JDF, said the assistance from the U.S. Embassy will help defray the costs of the JDF Coastguard in their operations on the sea.
"It is very cost-effective to rehabilitate them rather than to go for new vessels ... what you have in effect is a brand new vessel at a lesser cost. These vessels will go on in the service of the JDF for many more years," Rear Admiral Lewin said.
U.S. Ambassador Brenda LaGrange Johnson said her embassy's donation was a practical display of the commitment of the U.S. Government in the war on narcotics.
"This is but a small representation of the U.S. Government's resolve to assist the Government of Jamaica in our mutually beneficial efforts to fight illicit traffic in drugs and other contraband," Ambassador Johnson said.
Commander Sydney Innis, commanding officer of the JDF Coastguard, noted that the vessel would greatly increase the capability of the JDF Coastguard. He said the JDF, which has six outposts, could use the vessel to respond more quickly and more effectively. He also said the JDF Coastguard could use this vessel in tandem with other vessels to better police the seas.
"One of the things about having a mix of vessels, from the large ones to this medium-sized one, is that we have greater flexibility of how we do things," he added. "This would increase our response capability considerably, out to 200 miles from any of the outstations."
Friday, July 14, 2006
re: "Young, Bearded Men" of Undisclosed "Nationalities" Named As Mumbai Train-Bombers
"Yeah, I remember when 19 "Kashmiri militants" crashed some airplanes into the WTC and Pentagon.
Conflating Nationality with Religion: Some will say I'm doing that above. To which I say: nonsense. I'm not the one conflating religion with national identity; they are.
Almost all Muslims are citizens of the Grand Caliphate. Period."
Re: "Bombay and Stoicism"
Even if you are not reading this we don't care. Time and again you tried to disturb us and disrupt our life - killing innocent civilians by planting bombs in trains, buses and cars. You have tried hard to bring death and destruction, cause panic and fear and create communal disharmony but every time you were disgustingly unsuccessful. Do you know how we pass our life in Mumbai? How much it takes for us to earn that single rupee? If you wanted to give us a shock then we are sorry to say that you failed miserably in your ulterior motives. Better look elsewhere, not here.
We are not Hindus and Muslims or Gujaratis and Marathis or Punjabis and Bengaliies. Nor do we distinguish ourselves as owners or workers, govt. employees or private employees. WE ARE MUMBAIKERS (Bombay-ites, if you like). We will not allow you to disrupt our life like this."
We are all "Mumbaikers" now.
JO - Ministry has ensured fair mix of foreign and local workers, says Kellier
Ministry has ensured fair mix of foreign and local workers, says Kellier
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
LABOUR Minister Derrick Kellier says that while most work permits issued last year went to foreign workers recruited for large construction projects, he has ensured a "proper and fair" mix of local and overseas labour at the sites.
The ministry issued 6,195 work permits last year, a 34 per cent increase over 2004/2005. The largest number was issued in the last quarter of the fiscal year, January-March, with Asians accounting for 48.8 per cent.
The minister, in the meantime, has urged local workers on these sites not to vent their anger against the foreign workers as "the ministry is the competent authority to regulate the number of foreign and Jamaican workers on these projects", and has given full consideration to all the factors involved.The work permits, Kellier said, were issued to meet the labour requirements of the large construction projects.
The construction projects, Kellier told Parliament in his contribution to the sectoral debate, included RIU Hotel in St Ann, Iberostar hotel development in Montego Bay, the North Coast Highway, Highway 2000 and the Cricket World Cup projects at Sabina Park and the greenfield site in Trelawny.
JG - Stroke gives UK woman Jamaican accent
Stroke gives UK woman Jamaican accent
published: Thursday July 6, 2006
LINDA WALKER awoke in hospital to find that her distinctive Newcastle accent had been transformed into a mixture of Jamaican, Canadian and Slovakian.
The 60-year-old may have foreign accent syndrome, where patients speak differently after a brain injury.
The former university administrator says she hates what has happened to her and now feels like a different person.
Mrs. Walker said: "My sister-in-law said that I sounded Italian, then my brother said I sounded Slovakian and someone else said I sounded French Canadian.
"But the latest is that I sound Jamaican, I just don't know how to explain it.
"Everybody is obviously hearing me differently.
"I didn't realise what I sounded like, but then my speech therapist played a tape of me talking. I was just devastated."
Researchers at Oxford University have found that patients with foreign accent syndrome have suffered damage to tiny areas of the brain that affect speech.
CLIPPING OF THE VOWELS
The result is often a drawing out or clipping of the vowels that mimic the accent of a particular country, such as Spain or France, even though the sufferer has limited exposure to that accent.
The syndrome was first identified during World War II, when a Norwegian woman suffered shrapnel damage to her brain. She developed a strong German accent, which led to her being ostracised by her community.
Dr. Nick Miller, a senior lecturer in speech language science at Newcastle University, said the condition could occur in patients who had suffered a stroke or other brain injury.
He said: "The stroke has affected the coordination between different muscle groups like the lips, tongue and vocal chords.
"The balance has been changed and certain sounds get distorted so vowels and consonants take on different sounds.
"Intonation is also affected so sometimes it will fall at the end of a sentence and sometimes it will rise."
Thursday, July 13, 2006
re: "An Open Letter to Random Big Bald Sri Lankan Man:"
re: " "Distrust of career employees by political appointees is the single issue causing the most dysfunction in the federal workplace." "
Money quote(s):"There's one guy I can think of who has managed to consternate, fluster and annoy just about everyone who has crossed his path. Last I heard he was on the road to senior management."
"CEO's talk about shareholders while political appointees talk about taxpayers."
"I know about seagull managers (the ones who fly in, crap all over everything, then fly away to leave other people to clean up the mess). Part of that, in my opinion, comes from the whole business school ethos, which says a good manager -- preferably one with an MBA -- can manage anything. The problem is that this assumes a manager doesn't have to know anything about a particular line of work, which denigrates the knowledge acquired by working up through the ranks. There's definitely something to be said for experience.
Then again, maybe it's just because the federal government has a huge number of lawyers."
re: "I’m proud to be an American!"
re: "BREAKING: New Pentagon Memo Gives All Detainees Geneva Protections"
JO - Go-fast boat rams US Coast Guard vessel
Go-fast boat rams US Coast Guard vessel
Sunday, July 09, 2006
MIAMI, Florida (AP) - A woman died and four others were injured early Saturday after an overloaded go-fast boat repeatedly rammed a U.S. Coast Guard vessel off the Florida Keys, authorities said.
The Coast Guard attempted to intercept the 36-foot (11-metre) go-fast boat with 31 Cubans and three smugglers aboard around 6:30 am, Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer James Judge said.The boat ignored orders to stop about 40 miles (65 kilometres) south of Key West, Florida, and rammed into the Coast Guard vessel more than five times, Judge said. Coast Guard officials then fired two shots into the vessel's engine to disable it, he said.
"The boat was bouncing all over the place. The seas were pretty rough and they actually rammed the Coast Guard boat," said Judge.One woman sustained a head injury and severe bruising to the face. She lost consciousness as she was receiving medical attention and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital at 8:34 am.
A pregnant woman aboard the go-fast boat was hospitalised, though her condition was not immediately known and three men were treated for minor injuries aboard the Coast Guard vessel."The boat was severely overloaded," Judge said. "All those add up for dangerous possibilities."
The remaining migrants were still on board the Coast Guard cutter and will be processed as usual, Judge said, adding that authorities detained the three smugglers.
JG - CARICOM SUMMIT - Haiti welcomed back
CARICOM SUMMIT - Haiti welcomed back
published: Wednesday July 5, 2006
Ross Sheil, Staff Reporter
( L - R ) GONZALVES, MILLER, PREVAL and DOUGLAS
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts:
GATHERED MONDAY in St. Kitts and Nevis for their annual meeting, CARICOM leaders joined to welcome Haiti back into the regional grouping while six countries of the nine-member Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) officially signed onto the CARICOM Single Market (CSM).
The countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Jamaica, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad Tobago all joined on January 1.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the four-day Conference of Caribbean Heads of Govern-ment held at the East Caribbean Central Bank, host Prime Minister Denzil Douglas stressed that despite the delay, the OECS was still committed to further integration. Mr. Douglas stressed that the OECS economic sub-union, due in July 2007, should not be seen as an attempt to subvert the CSM.
"Indeed, as we accelerate and deepen the integration process in the OECS, it is our aim that the OECS union would be seamlessly integrated into the CARICOM Single Market and Economy," he said.
The sub-union, he noted, was crucial to assist the smaller OECS in what he said was "bound to be somewhat lopsided" in joining with larger nations. He said that the Regional Development Fund alone, currently set at US$120 million with a target of US$250 million, would not be sufficient to help those countries integrate with their larger neighbours.
Although as Ralph Gonzalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines observed, the OECS was pioneering ahead of the CSM nations with their own integration process, which includes their own currency, the Eastern Caribbean dollar.
Assuming Jamaica's role as leader of CARICOM external relations, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller took the stage to a round of applause.
Mrs. Simpson Miller responded by telling her audience that: "To make regionalism real to our people, they must see that our deliberations and our decisions, have everything to do with improving their standard of living and reducing the poverty rate in our various countries."
STRENGTHENING OF TIES
Welcoming Haiti and recognising the presence of Haitian President Renee Preval, who was also attending the conference for the first time, Mrs. Simpson Miller said that its return (it was expelled in 2004 following the overthrow of then president Jean-Bertrand Aristide) restored CARICOM to its full strength.
"We must now look forward to a future with Haiti taking its rightful place in CARICOM. We look forward to the day when Haiti will become a full participant in the CSME," she said.
Speaking through a translator Mr. Preval congratulated his fellow debutante, Mrs. Simpson Miller, as well as thanking her predecessor P.J. Patterson for his role in CARICOM.
Said Mr. Preval: "During the next five years of my new mandate, I will work my hardest to contribute towards the strengthening of ties between my country and yours and I will work with you for the advent of a Caribbean which will be more brotherly, stronger and more united when faced with mutual challenges."
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
re: "7/11 Bombing Provides Backdrop For Aggressive Global Warming-Based Anti-Terror Measures"
"Radical Kashmir separatists detonated eight separate blasts on commuter trains in Mumbai on Tuesday, killing over 160 people in retaliation for anti-Islamic retribution rioting that will occur sometime within the next 12- 48 hours."
re: "This War Is For REAL!"
JO - Foreign language co-operation grows
Foreign language co-operation grows
Sunday, July 09, 2006
OPPORTUNITIES for the teaching and learning of foreign languages in Jamaica have been increasing, partly through the assistance of the local embassies whose countries are largely French and Spanish speakers.
BARTLEY. language education undergoing functional changes
The more immediate impact has resulted from a co-operation agreement between Jamaica and Chile, under which 8-10 Spanish teachers in Jamaica are being recruited for a month-long training course in Chile starting July 27.
Also, the number of Cuban teachers of Spanish is expected to increase this year, a representative of Cuba here disclosed.These initiatives were highlighted at a meeting of foreign language teachers at Shortwood Teachers College in St Andrew, Friday.
Martha Corbett-Baugh, education officer for Spanish at the Ministry of Education and Youth, encouraged the teachers to apply for the scholarships to Chile by July 10.
She said there were a maximum of 10 scholarships available for Jamaicans, out of a total of 30 for the 15-member Caricom bloc.
Co-ordinator of the Cuban Brigade of Teachers In Jamaica, Dr Raul Morasen, said 18 scholarships to Cuba had been allocated to the Ministry of Education.
He also indicated that the number of Cuban teachers of Spanish would be increased for the next school year, particularly at the primary level. There were 42 Cuban teachers working at all levels of the Jamaican education system during the school year just ended.
Participants in the Ministry of Education and Youth's general meeting of teachers of foreign languages, Friday, at Shortwood Teachers College, St Andrew. (Photos: JIS)
Sydney Bartley, convenor of the Modern Languages Panel of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), urged schools to increase the number of children studying languages at the CSEC level.He noted that although 50,000 children entered secondary school each year, only 8,000 sat CSEC Spanish, and less than 1,000 did the subject at the CAPE level.
CSEC and CAPE are high-school exams done at the fifth and sixth form levels, respectively.The Modern Languages Panel meets to determine changes to the CXC syllabuses each year.
Bartley said that coming out of a recent meeting of the panel, the CSEC syllabus had undergone a number of changes to be less grammar-centred and to reflect the functional modes of learning."The functional mode of language is that people can understand what you are saying, even if they are not saying it entirely correctly," Bartley explained.
He also challenged the teachers to be "dramatic, innovative and energetic" in the teaching of the subject. "There are not only changes to the exam, but also. the teaching strategies must try to engage more children into the subjects," said Bartley.
Representatives from a number of other embassies who have offered their support for the foreign language programme were at the meeting, including France, Spain, Venezuela, Haiti and Germany; alongside more than 40 Spanish and French teachers from across the island.
JG - Teachers, nurses to have free movement in CSM
Teachers, nurses to have free movement in CSM
published: Wednesday July 5, 2006
Ross Sheil, Staff Reporter
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts and Nevis:
CARICOM HEADS of government have decided to grant tertiary-trained teachers and nurses free labour movement across the Caribbean almost immediately.
Higglers, artisans, domestic workers and hospitality workers are also to be included, pending the agreement of an appropriate certification, which is expected be completed at a further meeting to be held by year-end. Currently, only university graduates, media practitioners, sports persons, artistes and musicians are eligible for a regional skills certificate.
A DAY OF DELIBERATIONS
Meeting at the 27th Conference of CARICOM Heads of Govern-ment, held at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank in Basseterre, leaders reached the decision following a day of deliberations on the CARICOM Single Market (CSM), and the single economy component due in 2008.
"This is good news for all of us in the Caribbean region who have been calling on us to remove the perceived perception by the Caribbean people that the whole movement of skills, of persons in the Caribbean was restricted to those of us who are university graduates and that the common man on the street would not see the benefit of free movement of persons within the Caribbean region," said Roosevelt Skerritt, Prime Minister of Dominica, who holds the CARICOM portfolio for free movement.
Mr. Skerritt was speaking at a joint press conference yesterday evening, along with Owen Arthur, Prime Minister of Barbados, who holds portfolio responsibility for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). Mr. Skerritt added that police commissioners are also to meet to discuss how best to share information on criminals to prevent them entering other CARICOM countries.
Observing that the meeting was the most productive in recent years Mr. Arthur bemoaned the fact that, within CARICOM nationalities, there were prejudices against each other despite the integration process.
"It is a reflection of a xenophobia that is maintained in too many Caribbean countries," he said in reference to the attitude of some immigration officers in his own country. He stressed that free movement of labour was the most important element of regional integration.
With all ready for the full implementation of the CSME in 2008, Mr. Arthur announced that heads had also agreed on a contribution formula to the Regional Development Fund (to help less developed countries integrate), tied to the wealth of contributing countries. CARICOM has so far committed US$110 million with a further US$20 million coming from Trinidad's Petroleum Fund and an eventual target of US$250 million.
The leaders have now also agreed on the establishment of a regional fair trade commission.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
interesting search parameter (II)
"denied entry to Israel because he had an A-1 visa"
JO - Female biology dictates family life in Rasta camp
Female biology dictates family life in Rasta camp
BY ROLAND HENRY Sunday Observer Reporter
Sunday, July 09, 2006
FOR 21 days of every month, sometimes 24, the women of the Ethiopia Black International Congress Church of Salvation (EBICCS), more popularly known as 'Bobo Hill', must deny themselves male companionship.
Some Rastafarians who live outside the communal camp setting favoured by the Boboshantis, though claiming they are not strict followers, say the ritual possesses some merit, even as others dismiss it as religious dogma.
The secluded Rastafarian Bobo camp in Nine Miles, Bull Bay, where the 21-day separation principle is practised. The building to the right is the camp's media centre and meeting hall, while hidden among the trees at far right is the male quarters for the 80 men who live at Bobo Hill. The female quarters (not shown) are in the valley behind the male quarters.
The Boboshanti who see themselves as the priestly sect among the 31 orders within the Rastafari movement, say that around the time of menstruation the female body is undergoing a process of cleansing and must be left alone until a seven-day window deemed fit for sexual intercourse.
"During that time, she is on a journey. it's a purification," Rastafari prophet Fisher told the Sunday Observer on a recent visit to the camp in the hills of Bull Bay, St Andrew.The window for intercourse is usually seven days ahead of the woman's monthly period.
This purification, the prophet said, "builds her up in life and health".Academic Aurthur Newland, a cultural expert and lecturer at the University of the West Indies, said the separation is referred to as the '21-day purification principle', adding that it represented a period of spiritual renewal and empowerment for women.
Newland, himself a member of the Boboshanti faith, said placing emphasis on the seven-day window "establishes a bias toward the male-construct", but the separation principle, he added, is really about the woman and her empowerment.
Men and women - the latter constituting only 20 per cent of the EBICCS camp's population of some 100 Boboshantis - live in separate dwellings and cohabit only for the week when sex is allowed. Some of the men have families that live outside the camp."She only sees her 'kingman' for seven days - the number of God," said Empress Sharon, a resident of Bobo Hill, adding, "the (menstrual) blood is a holy sacrifice which goes back to the earth."In fact, the separation extends also to young males, including toddlers as young as three.
Empress Sharon said her faith holds that "the mother is the first teacher", but that at age three, boys must be placed under the care of the 'second teacher' - his father - during the 21-day separation.
"A young boy should grow up with his father because that is who he is growing up to be," she said.But girls stay with their mothers learning how to do "craft work and the things that will prove economically viable for her and her kingman" in the future, she added.
Empress Sharon, who declined to be photographed, said that a pregnant Rastafari woman is allowed to see her 'kingman' anytime she wants, since there usually is no menstruation during pregnancy.
Another of the EBICCS council members, Rastafari priest Morant, interjected that the 21-day observation was determined astrologically, saying the woman's cycle was regulated by the moon.
"The sun represents man; the moon, woman. Everyday the sun come up but is not every night the moon come out," he said. But even mainstream Rastafarians believe in the separation rule, some for religious as well as practical reasons, though they may not adhere to the practice.
Rastafarian attorney Sandra Alcott said the 21 days apart serves to regulate the Bobo population."Apart from being a spiritual manifestation of livity, the effect is also a natural birth control," said Alcott, speaking with the Sunday Observer by telephone.
Boboshanti is the only Rastafari order known to practise this degree of separation, she said, noting that all Rasatafari women acknowledge the "power of the goddess" - a term Alcott uses to describe a woman's ovulation cycle.
"The blood cycle is a part of creativity. it is the womb that is shedding; it must make room to house a young human," she said.Before her advent into law, Alcott said she once led an isolated life in the Blue Mountains, where she farmed various crops."In my early Rastafari journey, I would not go into the fields during my menses," she said, noting that for her it was a time of serious reflection.
The attorney blasted industrialisation and modern technology for perpetuating what she described as a chasm between "woman and the natural order", in an apparent reference to child-bearing."So many young women are having hysterectomies nowadays, and that shouldn't be," she said.
Legal assistant and Rastafari-sister Tzhdne Ishigyhd said she does not strictly follow the 21-day observation, but she respects the practice, at least from a spiritual perspective."It's a time of glorification that you have the ability to bring life into this world," said Ishigyhd, who refuses to be confined to any particular Rastafari order.
Instead, she describes herself as a woman who "trods all mansions and is welcomed by all as an international agent of His Imperial Majesty (Haile Selassie I)", but admits that she sways towards the Nyahbinghi order.
Ishigyhd said the Nyahbinghis observe some aspects of the separation rule since women, during their menses, are discouraged from taking part in the 'binghi', or Rastafari celebration."The alter must remain pure. No blood can enter the temple," said the legal assistant.
But, the ban is not exclusive to women since "men with sores or flesh wounds also cannot enter."Not all Rastafarians, however, read spiritual messages into a woman's monthly period.
For Chandis, a 30-year old Rastafarian poet, it is a biological function and nothing more.The notions held by the Boboshanti, she said, are "simply ridiculous."
"I really don't see it as a big issue," she said, adding that it's a little hard for her to buy into the philosophy since she has an irregular period that comes four times per year. "It's nothing," she said dismissively, noting that medical science had long demystified ovulation. "It just comes out (as menses) because you're not pregnant and your body doesn't need it."An individual's sex life, added Chandis, should not be dictated by group norms.
Rastafarian activist and radio personality Muta Baruka, who also discounts the separation rule, said despite its Biblical origins, the practice is impractical outside of the secluded camp setting. "When a woman a see her period, me low her still, but me no really put her away," he said.
The Rastafarian said he is unsure whether male-female separation is a spiritual mandate to be observed in 'modern' society, or a rule that Moses had documented as a scheme to govern the Israelites of the Old Testament.
Muta said he sees a woman's monthly cycle only as proof of her fertility."Me no see the woman as unclean. A sore foot is unclean. Menses is a natural thing that occur every month."
JG - Foreign policy and development
Foreign policy and development
published: Sunday July 2, 2006
BRUCE GOLDING and Karl Samuda do not want Jamaica to do anything to anger the United States. They did not want Jamaica to give refuge to Bertrand Aristide and do not want Jamaica to support Venezuela's bid for a two-year seat on the UN Security Council. How will the Simpson-Miller/Anthony Hylton foreign policy regime eventually vote? So important is Jamaica's foreign policy that its first four Prime Ministers after independence Alexander Bustamante, Donald Sangster, Hugh Shearer, and Michael Manley - reserved the ministry of foreign affairs for themselves. Foreign ministers who were also deputy Prime ministers - David Coore, Hugh Shearer and Seymour Mullings, followed them. Then a former foreign minister and deputy Prime Minister, P.J. Patterson, became Prime Minister.
Portia Simpson Miller was never a foreign affairs minister but as Prime Minister, it is impossible for her to avoid international issues. Already, she has addressed the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Jamaican Diaspora, a regional conference on early childhood education, met with the President of Chile, and addressed a meeting of international bankers and investors in Miami. Before the year is out she will have the opportunity to attend the CARICOM Summit in July, the UN General Assembly in New York and the Non-Aligned Summit in Cuba, both to be held in September. Her administration will have to make the United States understand that, like the U.S. itself, Jamaica's foreign policy is pursued in the country's best interest and not to any other country's disadvantage.
At independence, Bustamante had famously declared 'we are with the West'. In today's post-cold war global order, Jamaica's foreign policy should be 'we are with the world'. It must pursue international relations for development.
MATCHING THE GLOBAL WITH THE LOCAL
The administration wishes to match global strategies with local objectives. The Prime Minister's local objectives are macro-economic stability, early childhood education, provision of basic shelter, and investment in education and training. She wants a foreign policy where gains are passed on to local communities to empower the poor.
She advised the IDB to be more relevant to development by investing, for example, in education. She wishes to see UNICEF do the same to transform early childhood education by assisting her initiatives to make children develop into better citizens and more valuable human beings. It could assist care centres and the objectives of government's Early Childhood Act.
Mrs. Simpson Miller has called upon the Jamaican Diaspora to be involved in the development process and explained her commitment to policies for the poor. She emphasises the importance of moral and spiritual values, these being important forms of social capital that will balance people's lives.
Jamaica similarly pursues an international relations of development within the hemisphere. Jamaica and CARICOM balance their interests among three groups. There are competing views of what the hemispheric order should be like among the 'free market' NAFTA partners Mexico, the U.S., and Canada; a moderate socialist group the ABC countries of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile; and the Bolivarian group of Venezuela, Bolivia, and Cuba, the most radical anti-U.S. group.
Jamaica and CARICOM have advantages to all of them - CBI status, market proximity, and votes in international organisations. For example, Brazil wants a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and Venezuela wants a temporary seat. The NAFTA group wishes to counter-balance the others, particularly the Bolivarian group. Jamaica has sought to avoid getting involved in their ideological quarrels and to focus instead on the particular areas that benefit the country's development.
Brazil wants to get into ethanol production in Jamaica because it is guaranteed duty-free export of ethanol to the United States under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act. This will help to save the jobs of 40,000 Jamaican sugar workers and could make Jamaica the leading cane sugar and ethanol exporter in CARICOM. Brazil's Coimex is already partnering with Petrojam and Aracatu is bidding with the Jamaica All-Island Cane Farmers Association for five state-owned sugar companies.
Venezuela offers PetroCaribe by which Jamaica gets 21,000 barrels of oil each day. It is allowed to keep 40 per cent of the cost as a loan. It repays this loan over 25 years at one per cent a year. The savings are put into a development fund, which sponsors projects like environmental protection and infrastructure. Depending on oil prices, Jamaica will save between $20 and $30 billion dollars a year. In fact, Minister Paulwell and a team were off to Venezuela last week to obtain US$300 million for highway spending, an additional 2,500 barrels of oil per day for Air Jamaica, and money for the rehabilitation of infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Ivan.
Cuba's contribution to health care in Jamaica and CARICOM is vital, particularly in treating HIV/AIDS and eye care. It is now believed that 25,000 Jamaicans have HIV/AIDS. Between August last year and May this year, 1,870 Jamaicans were treated for free in Cuba for eye problems. Another 531 relatives of these patients who accompanied them were also eligible for treatment at no cost. Almost 2,200 operations have been done. Cuba provides round trip transportation, hospital care, surgery, and medication during and after the operations. Another 500 patients are on a waiting list for the same benefits. In addition to all this, we have just received a critical supply of 200,000 bags of cement from Cuba and Cuba has given us 30,000 energy saving fluorescent bulbs.
POLITICISING HEMISPHERIC RELATIONS
Unfortunately, the United States is in an ideological war with Cuba and Venezuela and a trade war with Brazil. Yet, it trades with all of them. It is a little known fact that the U.S. is the largest exporter of food and agricultural products to Cuba. It has made exemptions under its embargo to please its agricultural states. Now its energy sector wants similar exemptions to explore for oil in the Cuban Basin and many suspect that the energy lobby is powerful enough to get them. Venezuela is the third largest export market for the U.S. in Latin America and is one of the top four suppliers of oil to the U.S. US-Brazil trade is worth US$30 billion and being the largest economies in North and South America, their trade could double if they sort out their trade disputes.
Jamaica has a right to benefit from trade with these countries just as the U.S. does. Brazil is the world's largest ethanol producer and no country has offered Jamaica the prospects for developing an ethanol industry, as has Brazil. Venezuela is the largest oil producer in the hemisphere and no country has offered oil concessions to Jamaica on the scale that Venezuela has. Cuba is the world's best provider of free health care to countries of the world and no country offers as much free health care to Jamaicans as Cuba does. None of these countries pressure Jamaica to vote for their causes.
Countries like Jamaica need help in development from wherever it can get it as long as the country's integrity is not compromised. I hope the Government supports Brazil, India and South Africa, and Venezuela's bid for seats on the Security Council. They clearly support regional integration and the fight against poverty. These are our objectives too.
Robert Buddan is a lecturer in the department of government at the University of the West Indies. Email email@example.com.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Money quotes (but you should read all of it):
"WMD in Iraq - when is the Bush Administration going shout out to everyone: YES, we have found 500 lbs of chemicals in Iraq. There’s more but hmmm, sorry, we don’t want to release the information. Meanwhile, the lie goes on that Bush lied, people died.
Illegal Aliens - the media’s continual sob stories of “immigrants, migrants, or undocumented immigrants” when you and I know they’re all talking about illegal aliens. SHUT UP. These people are illegals. They aren’t immigrants! If they have a child in this country and then are deported I don’t feel sorry for them. There is no quandry regarding the child. The parent who’s an illegal alien and being deported is free to take their now American citizen child with them. No one is stopping them."
re: "Welcome to WWIII"
"I do believe than a significant expansion of hostilities, a full world war, is probably inevitable. Any number of events, in hot spots around the globe, could take us there virtually overnight. It’s still 1939 all over again."
"I believed Iraq was the key, that if we prevailed there, momentum would shift in our favor. Now I'm not sure. We still must prevail there, but Iraq could mean nothing if Iran or Bin Laden get the bomb or North Korea uses one."
Taking The High Ground
Taken above The Bandit Lair at Camp Babylon, Iraq on Thanksgiving Day (November 27), 2003. In the right foreground you can see the muddy water-filled street and in the middle background you can see Saddam's palace overlooking Babylon through the overcast and fog.
The flag you see is that of the Whalebone Surf Shop. As standing orders forbade our flying a U.S. flag, this was how we let people know they'd found the right place.
JO - US Embassy hands over patrol boat to JDF Coast Guard
US Embassy hands over patrol boat to JDF Coast Guard
BY PATRICK FOSTER Observer writerFriday, July 07, 2006
THE US Embassy yesterday handed over a reconditioned 40-foot Sea Ark patrol boat to the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard that will assist Jamaica to better patrol its territorial waters and put a further dent in the drug trafficking trade.
This is the first of two vessels - owned by the JDF Coast Guard - that the US Embassy's narcotics affairs section agreed to overhaul and refurbish at a cost of US$670,000, US Ambassador Brenda La Grange Johnson explained.
She was speaking at the handing-over ceremony at the Coast Guard headquarters in Port Royal. The second vessel was expected to be refurbished and delivered to the Coast Guard by the end of the year, the Embassy said.
"This is but a small representation of the US government's resolve to assist the government of Jamaica in our mutually beneficial efforts to fight illicit traffic in drugs and other contraband," said La Grange Johnson, adding that the restoration of two of Jamaica's four Sea Ark vessels would help the JDF Coast Guard in gaining full control over the nation's territorial waters.
According to Commander Sydney Innis, head of the JDF Coast Guard, the state-of-the-art boats would be used to assist Operation Kingfish as well as in general patrol duties by the Coast Guard.
The JDF Coast Guard operates four such vessels - including the two that the US government agreed to recondition and upgrade. All four vessels were acquired by the Coast Guard in the 1990s through a US narcotics programme.
Meanwhile, Ambassador La Grange Johnson said that over the past two years, the narcotics affairs section of her embassy also provided US$133,000 to assist the Coast Guard in establishing a Black River station in St Elizabeth and the purchasing of spare parts for the upkeep of Coast Guard vessels.
JG - Hypocrisy & foreign policy
Hypocrisy & foreign policy
published: Sunday July 2, 2006
FORMER SOCIALIST ideologue Arnold Bertram seems to have swung away from any notion of morality or idealism in international relations and is now riding the utilitarian pendulum, according to his column in last week's Sunday Gleaner.
Assessing our choices in the regional contest between the United States and Venezuela, the former Michael Manley Comrade says, "The decision calls for a sober assessment of our national interest." While that smacks of a Machiavellian approach to foreign policy, it is fairly commonplace in international relations that the foreign policy of states is dictated by their national interests. Despite their often moralistic rhetoric and posturing. But, the former Leftist does not just leave it at that.
He goes on to say that in making the decision, "we might as well understand that we live in an age when nobody dies for principle except on the stage", a most crude and amoral philosophical principle. Deconverts from exclusivist ideologies usually make 180-degree turns and Bertram has moved so far from the principled and idealistic foreign policy thinking of his mentor Michael Manley that that former champion of the world's oppressed must be turning in his grave. It's a common and cynical approach to foreign approach, yes and one might even say it is commonsensical but people like Michael Manley and Julius Nyerere deplored it and were willing to suffer for principles.
To this day, to his everlasting credit, Fidel Castro stubbornly refuses to compromise any firmly held ideological position, even in the face of an economic embargo. Disagree with Castro's Communist ideology, as I do vehemently, but one has to admire his principled stand and his moral courage. Bertram, though, now the enlightened, de-ideologised pragmatist, urges Prime Minister Simpson Miller to think pragmatically about our national interests in negotiating the diplomatic high seas.
There has been a long debate in international relations between its idealist and realist schools. The idealists stress the importance of ideas, morality and principles in foreign policy, while the realists stress economics, balance of power and interests. Some of the neoconservatives of the Bush Administration, interestingly, stress both: making big polemical noises on issues such as liberty, justice and human rights, while stressing that the U.S. has to use its hyper-power status to maintain its primacy in international relations. What we have in neoconservative foreign policy thinking is a mixture of ideas and interests; the rhetoric of libertarian ideas and ideals mixed with the use of raw political and military power.
But, the U.S. is learning, and learning painfully, that its misuse of its soft power and its squandering of its goodwill and integrity carry a high price. The Supreme Court ruling on Thursday that decreed the Bush Administration's military tribunals in Guantanamo Bay contrary to not only international but U.S. law was a telling and severe punch to the moral face of the U.S. It confirmed what America's critics around the world have been saying for a long time, especially since September 2001: That the U.S. is behaving like a rogue state, flouting international law and norms of behaviour and taking a dangerously unilateralist approach in foreign policy.
The Supreme Court's ruling that President Bush's attempt to resurrect a type of military trial used after World War II violates U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions show that even in a uni-polar world, principles and international morality still have force. The President and his Republicans have signalled, of course, that they will try to find a way to carry out their illegality and disregard for international norms of decent behaviour, but they still can't escape the censure from their highest court of their land. (Which goes to show, too, the power of independent institutions and the superiority of Western democracy over so-called "revolutionary democracy".)
If we were left to a world of the Machiavellian and pragmatists in which "nobody dies for principle except on the stage"-a world now apparently endorsed by Bertram-then power would always trump principle and interests would trump institutional independence.
The irony is that the very United States which finds international law and norms so obnoxious and inconvenient was a principal architect of the international system we have today. In a tightly reasoned essay in the scholarly journal International Studies Perspectives (volume 6, 2005) Professor Geoffrey Wiseman says, "As a Great Power in the Twentieth Century, the United States developed a reputation for general compliance with international law. Even during the Cold War the United States justified military interventions abroad in terms of international law concerning the right of self-defence ... Such justifications were no doubt required to reinforce the West's moral superiority over the Soviet Communist system".
Yet Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Pipes, Cheney and other neocons acted as though the international conventions and norms worked out by the international community were imposed on the U.S.
The US felt no need to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, the International Criminal Court or the Biological Weapons Convention.
Interjection: the thing about treaty ratification by any particular state is that it's voluntary. The simple existence of any or all of the treaties, conventions or protocols mentioned above compels no state, the U.S. included, to ratify.
Says Wiseman in his essay: " The troubling thing in the Guantanamo case-reflected more broadly in the Bush Administration's questioning of such hallowed institutions of international law as the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions was that the Administration appeared willing to bend, even violate, the laws of war without seeking wide international support in its 'war on terrorism'".
The same day that the Supreme Court struck a note for international human rights, it was announced that the Bush Administration approved 18 new F-16 fighter jets for the militant dictatorship in Pakistan. Approved by the world's shining example of democracy promotion and liberty!
As America celebrates its independence this week, its people should examine how well their administrations have lived up to the ideals of the Republic. Would Woodrow Wilson, a prime advocate of what is now known as liberal internationalism, not grieve over the crude promotion of power over principle and money over morality?
BUSH DEAD WRONG
President Bush is dead wrong: People don't hate "the idea of America". They hate the hypocrisy of American political administrations which preach one thing and practice another. People respect the values America stands for rhetorically: Freedom, egalitarianism, justice, human rights and the supremacy of the individual over the state. Many Muslims might not like those values, but millions around the globe do. What turns them off from America is that it violates those very principles and puts in power and sustains in power Governments which are violently opposed to those values. American Governments have overthrown democratically elected Governments in Iran (1953) , Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Chile, among others. The Central Intelligence Agency has violated the sovereignty of states and has frequently intervened in the internal affairs of states, contrary to the Westphalian principle. People don't hate "the idea of America". They hate the fact that America does not live up to its own ideals and that it is so arrogant and obnoxious in its transgressions.
In our Latin American region, America has sponsored and supported murderous dictatorships once they were anti-communist. Its policy has been, "My enemy's enemy is my friend".
The latest authoritative Pew Global Attitudes Project survey of 17,000 persons globally is alarming, on the eve of American Independence celebration: "Outside of the US, only two countries-India and Russia-register majority support for the war on terror and among America's traditional allies support has fallen steeply since 2002.Confidence in Bush to do the right thing in world affairs has dropped in seven of the 11 countries where trend from 2005 is available".
The survey shows that Europe has a much higher favourable rating in the eyes of the world than America.
Why? Because Europe is respected for its ideals, its ideas and its principled stand, not on the strength of its military, its economy and its Great Power status.
America is losing the war for hearts and minds because it has been unwilling to show moral consistency. In their brilliantly argued book America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order, Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke, educated at Cambridge and Oxford and senior foreign policy analysts say: "America's founding premise was that it truly was a different political organism capable of resisting the path trod by imperial powers of yesterday ... The casualty in all of this, of course, is America's moral authority. This is why we are dismayed that the neoconservatives place so little value on this priceless asset and instead treat power-raw, military power-as the alpha and omega of America's interaction with the world."
American can regain its respect in the world if it decides to use its single-superpower status responsibly. If it is truly identified with liberty, democracy and human rights and uses it power to advance the interests of the international community, then it can win friends and influence people.
We must make a distinction between American regimes and the American people or the American ethos. For all its faults, the American system impeached one of its presidents and threw him out of office; turned the spotlight on the CIA and forced it into retreat; and the protests of the American people stopped a long war in Vietnam. America's system of Government, with all its failings, is still superior to the one which existed in the Soviet Union, and which exists today in the countries following Islamic rule.
The Bush Administration is more restrained and more cautious in its second term than it was in the first, as I predicted it would be. Its overtures to Iran, tempered rhetoric on North Korea, willingness to work with the United Nations and rapprochement with its European allies all indicate that the Bush Administration understands that in this globalised era, raw power and economic might are not enough to get your way. Apart from the new concept of "the power of the weak", there is the power of ideas and values. That power triumphed in the Supreme Court of the United States last week. A fitting tribute to July 4.
The ruling class is still dominant in the U.S., for sure, but there are windows of opportunity for the whiff of justice to pass through.
Ian Boyne is a veteran journalist. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, July 09, 2006
JO - 10 more J'cans for Japan exchange programme
10 more J'cans for Japan exchange programme
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
TEN Jamaicans who will serve Japan as assistant language teachers for one year, with possibilities of extension, will be hosted at a reception on Friday at the residence of Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Sakurai.
After six years of partnership between the Japanese and Jamaican governments in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET), several local government organisations in Japan have hosted more than 100 participants from Jamaica in this cultural exchange programme.
The 10 new participants will leave the island for Japan on July 28.
JG - J'can women jailed in UK could finish sentence here
J'can women jailed in UK could finish sentence here
published: Sunday July 2, 2006
Lovelette Brooks, Special Projects Editor
SOME 150 JAMAICAN women, most serving time for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act in British penal institutions, may soon have the option of applying for repatriation to finish their sentences at home through a memorandum of understanding signed between the governments of the United Kingdom and Jamaica.
Under this compassionate agreement which will be subject to stringent control, an inmate eligible for parole, or one who has almost completed her prison term, may apply for reprieve.
Although existing on the platform of cooperation between the U.K. and Jamaica for some time, the wheels of this latest initiative are set to turn in another two months, according to Donovan Nelson, spokesman for the Ministry of National Security.
"The agreement has been signed and Minister Peter Phillips, who last week returned from Britain, is in the process of working out the specifics and putting in place the appropriate safeguards," said Mr. Nelson.
Although Jamaican women prisoners may be able to take advantage of educational and training opportunities while incarcerated abroad, these prisons do little to prepare them for release. As a result, many inmates are ill-equipped to adjust to life outside and at home after spending years in a controlled environment.
Outlining the guidelines for the repatriation agreement, Commissioner of Corrections Major Richard Reece says the programme would help to soften the effects of a jail term, among other positive spin-offs.
"As a foreign national, upon parole or release, ex-inmates often find it difficult making their way home. Oftentimes they are still held after their term ends, because they have nowhere to go or no funds to travel, and if released, are at risk because they are not at home," Major Reece added.
An inmate must satisfy a number of criteria before repatriation will be considered. All parties --the British Home Office and Her Majesty's Prison representing the host; Jamaica, the country of reception; and the inmate must engage in a series of negotiations.
Similarly, British nationals serving time at the Fort Augusta Adult Correctional Centre in St. Catherine, Jamaica, can have their cases reviewed in a bid to continuing their sentences in the U.K. "Foreign nationals in Jamaica do suffer the same psychological separation as Jamaicans serving time overseas," says Major Reece, fully endorsing the programme.
Retaining family ties while in prison is one particularly promising dimension of the repatriation initiative. At present, as has been the case for many years when 'mule runners' were more active, Jamaican women comprised the majority of foreign nationals incarcerated in U.K. penal institutions. Many have left children behind, vulnerable to abuse, rape and recruitment into crime. While a repatriation programme does not promise freedom, it has the potential to bridge the geographical gap of separation.