Tag Archives: democrats

New thinking about the Caribbean


June 14, 2015

In North America and Europe there are from time to time international conferences that quietly enable new thinking. It is mostly an unseen process whereby governments, foundations or think tanks facilitate conversations, in ways that variously attempt to address intractable problems such as those in the Middle East, form a consensus on future policy, or enable the participants to look over the horizon.

These events allow invited participants to escape from their day-to-day responsibilities and usually in a group of 50 or less, debate and explore new ideas or solutions in private. The value is not just in the dialogue and the outcome, but in the freedom to say what you think knowing that no one will quote you, in the personal contacts made in the margins, and the associated trust that develops which can last throughout a career.

Such events rarely focus on the Caribbean, but a little over a week ago about sixty invited guests from the Caribbean as a whole, the UK and North America met at Wilton Park in the English countryside.

The objective of ‘Caribbean 2030: new thinking for a new generation’ was to bring together a mix of voices, young and more experienced, to consider what the region might look like fifteen years from now, and to hear in particular how younger participants from politics, government, the private sector, academia and civil society see the Caribbean’s future and how they might play a role in taking it there.

The conference, which was developed in conjunction with the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI) and Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, was wide-ranging in its scope, but a number of general themes emerged which suggest a different Caribbean in fifteen years time.

One of the more significant discussions that ran throughout the conference was whether the future fortunes of the region lay in economic convergence between complementary economies. It was suggested that rather than politically-led solutions, it was trade, investment and financial services between networked groups of nations that would create future growth and integration. One consequence was that participants from the northern Caribbean, and in particular from Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, argued that there was greater value in Jamaica, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic having a stronger economic relationship that might also involve Cayman as a financial hub. The view of some was that such an approach would enable the Caribbean to escape being defined through its colonial past.

This was not to say that in terms of foreign relations and on issues of international or thematic importance that the region should not act through Caricom, nor for most was it to suggest that Caricom should be set aside; but many participants felt there were better opportunities for growth through a more rational approach to economic integration linked to improved infrastructure. The suggestion was that this thinking ought to drive policy across the region.

FYI: Caricom members include

 Antigua and Barbuda 4 July 1974
 Bahamas 4 July 1983 Not part of customs union
 Barbados 1 August 1973
 Belize 1 May 1974
 Dominica 1 May 1974
 Grenada 1 May 1974
 Guyana
 Haiti 2 July 2002 Provisional membership on 4 July 1998
 Jamaica 1 August 1973
 Montserrat 1 May 1974 British overseas territory
 Saint Kitts and Nevis 26 July 1974 Joined as Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla
 Saint Lucia 1 May 1974
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1 May 1974
 Suriname 4 July 1995
 Trinidad and Tobago 1 August 1973 Founder of the Organization before handing over to Guyana
Associate  Anguilla July 1999 British overseas territory
 Bermuda 2 July 2003 British overseas territory
 British Virgin Islands July 1991 British overseas territory
 Cayman Islands 16 May 2002 British overseas territory
 Turks and Caicos Islands July 1991 British overseas territory
Observer  Aruba Country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
 Colombia
 Curaçao Country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
 Dominican Republic
 Mexico
 Puerto Rico Commonwealth of the USA
 Sint Maarten Country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
 Venezuela

There were of course dissenting voices, particularly in some of the working groups. Some in particular from the Eastern Caribbean and from academia objected and declared themselves all but wedded to making what the region already had work, though when it came to the detail there was little to demonstrate how this might take the Caribbean beyond where it is today.

A second prevailing theme was that of the new economy and the growing irrelevance of borders.

These thoughts came especially from some of the younger participants involved in information technology, new media, tourism and the private sector more generally, who made clear that what they were doing made traditional geographic concepts and the size of the Caribbean irrelevant.

The conference was also notable for leaping the language and cultural divide with participants from the Dominican Republic being able to demonstrate in a neutral setting how their experience in many areas from alternative energy to tourism had relevance to most of the region. It also allowed them to set out the country’s thinking in terms of how it might be better connected with and work more closely with the nations of Caricom.

As you might expect there were detailed exchanges on energy security, the environment, and education which all agreed was a development priority if the region was to succeed. There were interesting mentions of the blue economy − the region’s largely unrealised offshore resource − and important exchanges on governance and security about which more in a future column.

There was not a stand-off between the politicians and the private sector. In fact there was a surprising degree of consensus that both needed one another and that the region had to end this false dichotomy if growth were to be achieved. It was suggested that as the generations changed this may no longer be so much of an issue. However, for some, the balance between the competing interests of social equity and the role of the market in Caribbean development needed to be resolved if the region was ever to experience significant economic growth.

For some of the younger participants the real problem that the region has to face in the next fifteen years was to escape from the dead hand of the region’s public sector. In a rarely voiced opinion it was suggested that it is the public sector and those who work with it who have a vested interest in ensuring that thinking and their influence remain the same.

The suggestion was that this was holding the region back.

Strikingly the relationship with the UK, Europe and the US was little mentioned by the younger participants. It was as if the Caribbean had moved on and had a much more balanced view of when and on what issues it wished to relate to a much broader range of external partners. In this context it was unclear whether China’s presence in the region was a threat, an opportunity, or both.

The downside of the meeting was that there was no authentic Cuban voice able to discuss the way it saw the region, the way in which detente with the US may change the Caribbean’s political and economic centre of gravity.

These are of course personal observations, and in due course there will be a report with suggested actions.

The value, however, of this quite different conference will only be known if the synergies, new thinking and the relationships established begin to change the Caribbean for the better.

Previous columns can be found at www. caribbean-council.org

TAKE ACTION! Protect Caribbean Coral by Improving Fishery Management


Coral can’t live without parrotfish.

 

That’s why Earthjustice challenged the National Marine Fisheries Service’s failure to address the harmful effects of fishing for algae-eating parrotfish on important reef-building corals and their habitat. Elkhorn and staghorn corals once helped fish to thrive in the Caribbean. Sadly, these coral species  have dwindled by as much 98-99% since the 1970s due to threats such as disease, on-shore pollution, and overfishing.

Take Action: Protect Caribbean Coral>>

The Endangered Species Act tasks the NMFS with bringing back healthy populations of elkhorn and staghorn coral. It’s a big job. And a crucial one. The actions necessary to restore these corals will benefit entire reef ecosystems and the fish and human communities that depend on them.

The NMFS has identified the loss of habitat suitable for new corals to grow as a major threat to the survival of elkhorn and staghorn corals. Much of the Caribbean coral habitat has been overtaken by algae, leaving little space for coral to grow. Caribbean coral reefs need more, larger parrotfish to help clear the way for corals to return.

Tell the NMFS to use the Endangered Species Act to protect our coral now >>

The Fisheries Service has a duty to protect coral reefs from unsustainable fishing and other human impacts. With the development of new fishery management plans for the U.S. Caribbean, the agency now has an opportunity to update fishery management measures to promote the recovery of corals and the reef habitat they provide for so many other species.

Take action: http://action.earthjustice.org/protect-caribbean-coral

Sincerely,

Brian Smith
Campaign Manager, Earthjustice

August … a month full of historic events


270px-Hurricane_Katrina_Mobile_Alabama_flooded_parking_lot_20050829just another rant …

This month we remember Katrina … remind folks what happened on the Gulf Coast as the people fled, were forced out or died in the Katrina disaster trying to get out.

August 1, 1838 – Slavery was abolished in Jamaica. It had been introduced by Spanish settlers 300 years earlier in 1509.

August 2, 1776 – In Philadelphia, most of the 55 members of the Continental Congress signed the parchment copy of the Declaration of Independence.

August 4, 1962 – Apartheid opponent Nelson Mandela was arrested by security police in South Africa. He was then tried and sentenced to five years in prison. In 1964, he was placed on trial for sabotage, high treason and conspiracy to overthrow the government and was sentenced to life in prison. A worldwide campaign to free him began in the 1980s and resulted in his release on February 11, 1990, at age 71 after 27 years in prison. In 1993, Mandela shared the Nobel Peace Prize with South Africa’s President F.W. de Klerk for their peaceful efforts to bring a nonracial democracy to South Africa. In April 1994, black South Africans voted for the first time in an election that brought Mandela the presidency of South Africa.

August 4, 1964 – Three young civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, were found murdered and buried in an earthen dam outside Philadelphia, Mississippi. They had disappeared on June 21 after being detained by Neshoba County police on charges of speeding. They were participating in the Mississippi Summer Project organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to increase black voter registration. When their car was found burned on June 23, President Lyndon Johnson ordered the FBI to search for the men.

August 5, 1861 – President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the first Federal income tax, a 3 percent tax on incomes over $800, as an emergency wartime measure during the Civil War. However, the tax was never actually put into effect.

August 6, 1965 – The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The Act suspended literacy, knowledge and character tests designed to keep African Americans from voting in the South. It also authorized the appointment of Federal voting examiners and barred discriminatory poll taxes. The Act was renewed by Congress in 1975, 1984 and 1991.

August 6-10, 1787 – The Great Debate occurred during the Constitutional Convention. Outcomes included the establishment of a four-year term of office for the President, granting Congress the right to regulate foreign trade and interstate commerce, and the appointment of a committee to prepare a final draft of the Constitution.

August 9, 1974 – Effective at noon, Richard M. Nixon resigned the presidency as a result of the Watergate scandal. Nixon had appeared on television the night before and announced his decision to the American people. Facing possible impeachment by Congress, he became the only U.S. President ever to resign.

August 11, 1841Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave, spoke before an audience in the North for the first time. During an anti-slavery convention on Nantucket Island, he gave a powerful, emotional account of his life as a slave. He was immediately asked to become a full-time lecturer for the Massachusetts Antislavery Society.

August 11-16, 1965 – Six days of riots began in the Watts area of Los Angeles, triggered by an incident between a white member of the California Highway Patrol and an African American motorist. Thirty-four deaths were reported and more than 3,000 people were arrested. Damage to property was listed at $40 million.

August 14, 1935 – President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act establishing the system which guarantees pensions to those who retire at age 65. The Social Security system also aids states in providing financial aid to dependent children, the blind and others, as well as administering a system of unemployment insurance.

August 15, 1969 – Woodstock began in a field near Yasgur’s Farm at Bethel, New York. The three-day concert featured 24 rock bands and drew a crowd of more than 300,000 young people. The event came to symbolize the counter-culture movement of the 1960’s.

August 18, 1920 – The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, granting women the right to vote.

August 28, 1963 – The March on Washington occurred as over 250,000 persons attended a Civil Rights rally in Washington, D.C., at which Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made his now-famous I Have a Dream speech.

#ElectionsMatter for our next generation

Resource: http://www.historyplace.com

~Nativegrl77

Place … VENICE, LA. … In memory of Katrina


Fishermen Sign On to Clean Up Oil

Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Kim Vo of Sharko Seafood, a local seafood company in in Venice, La., was selling the company’s final 50 pounds of shrimp.

By ROBBIE BROWN
Published: April 30, 2010

VENICE, La. — About 1,000 angry and frustrated fishermen packed an elementary school gymnasium here Friday afternoon. In a cruel occupational twist, they were seeking employment with the company they blame for an oil spill that may wipe out their industry this year and beyond.

Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Fishermen gathered at Boothville-Venice Elementary School and registered to take a safety awareness class so they will be able to participate in the oil spill clean-up efforts.

Life in this coastal community centers on seafood — mullet, shark, shrimp and oysters. From May to December, dozens of boats haul shrimp here from the Gulf of Mexico. But aside from two days of fishing allowed this week ahead of the approaching oil slick, the shrimp season has been suspended.

So the fishermen came to receive training in how to clean up the oil spill that was creeping up on the nearby coastline. They were hoping to be hired by BP, the company blamed for the spill and responsible for cleanup efforts.

“Either the seafood industry or the oil industry — that’s the only jobs down here, so I guess I’m trying to move from seafood to oil today,” said Bernel Prout, 55, a fisherman and Venice native.

Friday’s training session was led by local firefighters and law enforcement officials and attended by representatives from BP, the parish government and the local fishermen’s association.

BP has said it will hire as many local residents as possible to clean the beaches and distribute booms through the surrounding marshes and waterways.

But the fishermen said they were reeling from the loss of revenue. They were not told how many would be hired, at what wages, or when. But they were asked to fill out forms listing their names, contact information and available equipment and skills.

“This is not our fault,” Mr. Prout said. “It’s the fault of the oil company.”

The mood inside the crowded, hot gymnasium was one of confusion and growing anxiety.

“We have bills to pay,” said Acy Cooper, the president of a local fishermen’s association. “I don’t care if it’s the federal government or BP, but someone needs to step up and compensate us.”

David Kinnaird, a project director for BP who is coordinating the company’s response in Venice, said BP would hire as many local workers as possible. “We’re not asking the community to do this work for nothing,” he said. “BP is willing to compensate them.”

But Mr. Kinnaird could not say when local fishermen would be hired, how much they would be paid or whether they would be compensated for their lost revenue.

The fishing industry is just now recovering from the hurricanes of recent years, said Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, where Venice is located. But he said the oil spill could be an even greater setback, potentially changing fishing conditions for years.

“This could be six Katrinas, where for years and years and years there’s not as much work,” he said. “These people have fished their entire lives. They don’t know anything else.”

Still, he said, his job requires balancing the area’s two dominant local industries. He urged federal officials to not let this disaster lead to less oil excavation in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Don’t overreact,” he said. “We don’t ground every plane every time one plane crashes.”

All skiffs were docked in their harbors Friday. A local seafood company, Sharkco, was selling its final 50 pounds of shrimp and had already been depleted of oysters and fish.

“Last shrimp for a long, long time,” yelled Kim Vo, the owner of Sharkco, to passing fishermen, who paid $3 a pound.

“This is for us to eat,” one fishermen said. “We can’t use it for bait. There’s not going to be any fishing around here for months.”

“First Katrina, then Ike, Gustav, the fishermen’s strike — and now this,” said Thi Lee, 35, whose husband lost his 45-foot skiff in Katrina and only recently restored a second skiff to working condition after it was battered by another hurricane.

“We have no idea what to do,” she said.

A group of fishermen who were gathered around a car in the Sharkco parking lot grew more agitated as they listened to radio reports about the worsening spill.

“This spill isn’t going to be fixed in a day, probably even in a year,” said Chuc Nguyen, 35, who emigrated from Vietnam as a child and has fished his entire life. “What else can I do? I don’t know how to read and write. If you tell me to do something other than fishing, I don’t even know what it would be.”

Chan Tran, a dock owner in Venice, said insurance had risen more than 200 percent since Hurricane Katrina. Insuring her fishing dock now costs $50,000 a year, and she planned on paying the bill due this summer with money from the sale of shrimp.

“I cannot sleep for two days,” she said. “I’m done for business.”

http://video.nytimes.com/video/2010/04/30/us/1247467746961/a-livelihood-threatened.html

One Caribbean or several different faces ~ Caribbean Island Countries ~


RTX1H6EIHaitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent yell slogans during a protest in Santo Domingo June 18, 2015. People took to the streets to demonstrate against the risk of deportation from the Dominican Republic due to a deadline of a national immigration law.  Reuters

just another rantRTR4YTSMHaitian Rolando Joshept (R), 19, sits near a Dominican soldier on a bus of the National Migration Office in Santo Domingo June 24, 2015. Joshept is returning to Haiti voluntarily after a new Dominican migration law requires hundreds of thousands of Haitians and people of Haitian descent to show identity documents or register for a so-called “regularization” program.  Reuters

Just another rant …

In 2011, Officials of the Dominican Republic warned DR nationals and after many changes to the rules, they seem determined to deport at least one hundred thousand Haitians.   According to the media, approximately 250K applied for residency but only about 10k had the proper paper work.  This means that DR Officials might implement the papers please rule as Arizona tried.

It has gotten worse.

There are reports that the Dominican Republic seems to be engaging in what some consider ethnic cleansing.  The idea that DR officials decided they needed to deport DR nationals without due process is disturbing. When In fact, some have DR descent, others  are undocumented most have worked and lived there for all their lives to only have a few weeks before being “rounded up” as stated by DR officials.  So far, approximately 26K undocumented DR nationals have left voluntarily.  Is it possible that Dominican elites want to regain their privileged lives at the expense of families.

Why is this bothering me? The last time I asked folks to boycott, there were reports of fights about who looks Dominican or not and in the wake of men women and children assaulted based on their looks and skin colour. This is not a new problem, but in this 21st Century, one would think the Caribbean Community would come together and implement solutions.  The problem seems to be an archaic caste system that needs to end.  Where is the CARICOM community and what side are they on?

There is a Common Wealth of and a Republic of; yet both are a part of the Caribbean Community.

They are suffering in some way, like crime, corruption and debt due to economic austerity. While some visitors choose to ignore, conveniently bring up the label given to differentiate the face of one Caribbean Community member from another.  I have read it so many times I roll my eyes at the clichés “not to be confused with” or “pronounced as”. The fact remains, the Dominica and all the islands on that coast are still apart of the Caribbean Community and more often than not; the not to be confused are groomed island destinations for the rich.  I know not all rich folks are, but a whole lot are buying land, usually white and from the UK, France or the US making it a place that is or was 86% to 95% black (Caribbean) low wage resort bartenders,  house cleaners, entertainers while being another place eaten up by eco-tourism.

Most of us would say eco-tourism is not bad as it mostly helps protect against deforestation, but now days you need to ask what are the locals getting out of it. We need to think about all the Caribbean islands or similar hard to get to places with extraordinary weather, climate, food, mountains, rainforests, freshwater lakes, hot springs, waterfalls, and diving spots that tourists tend to trample or buy up.  The waterfronts are now home to cruise liners that not only take up space, it has resulted in a loss of land,  some fishing rights, and reports are that cruise ships have been quietly dumping environment waste into what used to be pristine waterways. In the end, as so many destinations of paradise or eco-tourist friendly places succumb to new developments and modernization of facilities now have fewer visitors, even with all the tax perks which negatively affects the locals and their overall economy in far too many cases.

There is a difference between the Commonwealth and a Republic in my opinion.   If you read the news, the common wealth is far more likely to be groomed for “the people” most are hard to get to.  That means tourists, definitely user friendly,  the other is usually a little more urban and rugged.  The leaders in a common wealth are more likely and able to make a deal with countries like the US,UK or France the people of a Republic talk with China or any other resource seeking nation.  The fact remains that fifteen CARICOM members include the Dominican Republican as well as the Dominica and in this crisis, all members need to step up.

In a letter to CARICOM, chair Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie, the organization expressed shock that the regional body has not commented on the issue.  “We are shocked but not surprised about CARICOM’s silence during this period when the Chair has fallen to the Prime Minister of The Bahamas”.

A Haitian man is pulled back toward the Haitian side of the border by Dominican soldiers, at the Jimani border crossing, in the Dominican Republic last Wednesday. The man was later allowed to pass. Authorities are prepared to resume deporting noncitizens without legal residency in the Dominican Republic after largely putting the practice on hold for a year, the head of the country’s immigration agency said. For decades, the Dominican Republic has deported noncitizens, the vast majority of whom come from neighbouring Haiti to work in low-wage jobs. (PHOTO: AP)

I don’t know the answers … though I think Caribbean island nations and those that have like the Republic of Madagascar similar weather,lakes, water falls,  forests and amazons want to export what they make not have folks come in and take  promise or build massive structures making the indigenous people’s give up land, fishing rights only to get a small amt of help or a promise broken ~ people thinking they are doing good talk about jobs like tour guides cultural dances as helping or giving because they had nothing before … this is such bs We need to help our fellow man human rights humanitarian acts ! yes prevent stop the slashing burning  deforestation is one of many things that will prevent the next generation from thriving

These nations countries etc. should not be poor …

Resources:

jamaicaobserver.com

wiki

ft.com

Barbados today

12newsnow.com

Jamaica-gleaner.com

ibtimes.org

A Case of Mistaken Identity: Antihaitianismo in Dominican Culture By Ernesto Sagás

started June 18