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Thursday, May 31, 2012

FROM "BRAIN" TO "TWANCHE": A NEW CULTURAL REVOLUTION IN ST. LUCIA?



Two significant announcements were made during the course of this week: one by CDF director about the state of our Flower Festivals; and the other by St. Lucia’s foremost Music virtuoso Ronald (Boo) Hinkson about the quality of our music!

CDF DIRECTOR
The announcement by the Director of CDF about the moribund state of our flower festivals was disappointing but not surprising. Perhaps, if there were continuity between successive CDF “regimes”, he probably would have realized that this has been the case for some time now.

The statement by Ronald “Boo” Hinkson about the emerging daggering phenomenon which seems to be so successfully penetrating our ‘Soca’ music is like a “cultural hurricane warning” to St. Lucia; and one - which I believe - we should pay serious heed to, especially as it has got to the point where some of our so called radio DJ’s have intimately embraced those songs and they tend to indiscriminately blast them over the airwaves with little regard to the tender sensibilities of listeners.

The Dying Flower Festivals
The unfortunate paradox of the dying flower festivals is CDF itself may have been an architect of their decline by its own demonstrable lack of interest and strong advocacy for those art forms. Consider the millions poured into carnival every year compared to the very little or nothing given to the flower festivals to at least ensure their survival. In my view, that is an institutional injustice tantamount to cultural homicide.

Another contributing factor may well be the lack of airplay of our indigenous music - you hardly hear La Rose and La Marguerite music on the airwaves. In that regard, Helen seems to be losing an entire legacy which is incipiently being supplanted by a new cultural “Twanche” revolution promoting the downgrade of our thinking from “the brain” to “the twanche”.  Our popular radio DJ’s now seem to have an aversion to the songs with “brain”: double entendre, wit, creativity and poetic “romanticism”; they only seem to favour the songs that induce “twanche” gyrations.

Emergence of twanche
MAD ELLE: Disciple or inventor of "twanche"
The “twanche” revolution probably began with the evolution of what is referred to “studio rats” who style themselves as DJs. In fact, St. Lucia now has a proliferation of those un-competitive and untrained DJ’s who - by accident or design - worked themselves into our radio stations. Their seeming agenda is the unconscionable promotion of explicit material or the corruption of good music! I can’t recall hearing any of those DJs playing a single La Rose or La Marguerite song!  Only twanche or applied twanche! Perhaps, they don’t know better!

AFRICAN KANDA BONGO MAN
Applied “twanche” is very popular on one of our radio stations where the DJ’s accelerate the “speed’ of the music beyond recognition. In fact, they equate speed – not rhythm - with quality! To them, the faster the music, the better it is! And indeed, speed seems to be the essence of twanche!  Listening to the twanche “rhythms”, I get the impression that they are nothing more than “plagiarized” adaptations of some old or obsolete African Rhythm - usually two semibreves long looped at unbelievable velocity! That’s certainly not creativity.

SESSENNE DESCARTES
“Twanche” also appears to have affinity to daggering dancehall music! It has the same rhythm patterns and characterized by the same naughty, explicit and insolent lyrics. In many cases, it has the “cadence” of the traditional nursery rhyme/happy song/Christmas carol, which explains why they catch up so fast with our vulnerable kids.

When Exodus did “tjenbáş» brakes” a couple of years ago, it wasn’t obvious what his motives were; but two years down the line and with productions like “Calle” etc, the daggering became obvious. In fact, Exodus’ daggering took a political turn when he recorded “Lorne Tiwe Chilot” - Bousquet’s flagship 2011 campaign song.


Challenges for the creative arts industry
With the indigenous culture dying and daggering increasingly asserting itself, the question is: what is next for us? Is there a relationship between the moribund indigenous culture and rise of the twanche revolution? Does that explain the rise of Country and Western (C&W) Music? Is the rise of C&W music an appropriate cultural “antithesis” to “twanche”? Are we going to sit down and let the Flower Festivals die or are we going to begin to institutionalize them using our schools, our clubs etc? These are some of the challenges for the Creative Arts Industry, which up this point does not seem to be sufficiently and clearly defined!
GEORGE JONES

Country and twanche
A certain calypso referred to Country & Western as a weapon of mass destruction; however, it is largely argued by the country music community in St. Lucia that the art form is a variation of folk. Perhaps, “Boo” can do an analysis and inform us accordingly of his findings.

In our specific circumstances, don’t you see the “twanche” may well be the true cultural IED; and indeed, the gambling machines installed by the last Ministry for Social Transformation may well be the cultural WMD! What do you think?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION AND POVERTY


Thu, 2012-05-10 11:14 -- jacques.compton

 “Social Empowerment” and not “Social Welfare” is the approach which will be taken by government to tackle the issue of poverty in Saint Lucia.    Presenting his 2012/2013 Budget Address on Tuesday May 8th, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Honourable  Dr. Kenny Anthony explained that throughout the world persons living below the poverty line have been hit the hardest during this global economic crisis. The groups most vulnerable as noted in the Prime Minister’s address are the young, the poor and single mothers.

In an effort to ease the financial squeeze, the Saint Lucian Government has made various promises which include focusing on two areas. The first area of focus is the provision of assistance and support to the vulnerable groups mentioned before. The second would be to improve on the actual delivery of these services. As in most cases in any civil service, bureaucracy tends to hamper the efficiency.

Out of the various social transformation programmes envisioned by the government, Dr. Anthony signalled two of the most prominent in his budget address - the Basic Needs Trust Fund BNTF and KOUDMEN SENT LISI.   According to the Prime Minister the former “seeks to assist poor communities in improving basic infrastructure and services and increase their potential for generating economic activity.” The BNFT programme will also seek to provide the much needed resources “for the implementation of sub-projects that support and improve the capacity of community-based organisations in the application of participatory approaches for planning, monitoring and decision-making.” It was stated that over nine million EC dollars would be allocated to the funding of this programme.

The second programme - 'Koudmen Sent Lisi', - according to Dr. Anthony “is aimed at providing families with comprehensive support systems, services and benefits to graduate from a situation of poverty, deprivation and vulnerability to a sustainable livelihood status.”

This strategy hopes to empower impoverished families by improving their living conditions and productive assets. Dr. Anthony noted - “The programme focuses on ensuring the presence of the minimum conditions a family needs to improve their quality of life and this is achieved by generating opportunities, access to essential services and providing them with needed resources to develop or recuperate their capacities. I am allocating $3.0 million for the implementation of this project.”

Additionally, the Public Assistance Programme will see many reforms. One of the most note worthy being the transferring of public assistance from the Ministry of Health to the Ministry of Social Transformation. In defence of the change, the Prime Minister heavily criticised the current processes involved.  In his own words “Saint Lucia’s current Public Assistance Act does not adequately meet the needs of the poverty reduction agenda of the country, because of the way it defines the poor and targets persons for assistance.  It also does not address issues of empowerment and human capital development of the poor or provide for a programme of assistance geared towards differential responses to poverty.”    It was stated that therefore the proposed reforms will address the weaknesses and shortcomings of the current system. Accountability, the Duplication of Services and the Receipt of Assistance under False Pretences will be dealt with under the proposed reforms within the public assistance services.

It is hoped that these reforms will add to the efforts of poverty reduction and improvement “of fiscal performance from medium to long term.” According to the address in the long term “This will ultimately bring improved robustness to Government’s social spending which would yield increased value for the money expended.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

FORENSIC AUDIT OF COUNCILS ON THE WAY!



The Minister for Social Transformation must be complimented for his scientific approach to governance. His language, his methodology and his general demeanor all speak to that.
Minister Dalson

In his budget presentations, he spoke of evidence-based policies and programmes. According to him, these are policies and programmes driven by the data available; and he sounds not just very serious but he is on the ball.

Honourable Dalson (aka Major Mose) is indeed a major! He generally tends to be very unassuming and occasionally engages in repartee and occasional witticisms – a gift of a logical mind; but he does not mess around. He is never afraid to take bold decisions when they become necessary. Those who served with him in different spheres (Tourist Board, Soufriere Foundation, Soufriere Town Council, Soufriere Boys School and Soufriere Comprehensive School etc) can attest to that.

Honourable Dalson has ruled that he will subject the operations of city, town and village councils to a “forensic audit”.

A forensic audit is defined as “the application of accounting methods to the tracking and collection of forensic evidence, usually for investigation and prosecution of criminal acts such as embezzlement or fraud”. It is also referred to as “forensic accounting”.

It involves the investigation of fraud or presumptive fraud with a view to gathering evidence that could be presented in a court of law. A forensic audit - which can be ‘reactive’ or ‘proactive’ - is generally designed to prevent fraud by identifying and rectifying situations which lead to fraud.

I’m not aware of the terms of reference for the forensic audit; however, I expect the auditors to look into the three types of potential corruption fraud: conflicts of interest, bribery and extortion.

In a conflict of interest fraud, the fraudster exerts his/her influence to achieve a personal (and political) gain in a way that “detrimentally affects” the organisation. The fraudster may not benefit financially, but rather receives an undisclosed personal (and in our case political) benefit as a result of the situation.

In our case, it is alleged that that council approved contracts (to political cronies and even to its own members) for political advantage.

Bribery was seemingly also rampant, as money and contracts were allegedly used to exert political influence on behalf of a political candidate.

Extortion may also have been present – extortion is the opposite of bribery, and happens “when money is demanded (rather than offered) in order to secure a particular outcome”. I’m sure we remember the “bedroom bully” case.

The move by Honourable Dalson to commission a forensic audit into the financial operations of Local Authorities is highly commendable. It should not only act as a strong deterrent to potential malfeasance, but I also expect it to  contribute to much better corporate governance practices.

BRAVO! MAJOR MOSE!



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pietersen wants Gayle return


by George Dobell
May 22, 2012


Kevin Pietersen has said it would be "brilliant for the game" if West Indies recalled Chris Gayle for the remainder of the Test series against England.

Gayle has not played Test cricket since December 2010 following a much documented fall out with the WICB. But, with both sides having moved to patch up some of their differences and Gayle's involvement with the 2012 IPL season now over - his team, Royal Challengers Bangalore, have been eliminated despite Gayle being the leading run-scorer in the round-robin stages - it has raised the possibility that he could be recalled to the Test squad although Darren Sammy was cagey on the matter.

West Indies, suffering from some brittle top-order batting and a lack of depth in their bowling, lost the first Test at Lord's by five wickets. Gayle, with more than 6,000 Test runs and over 70 Test wickets, could strengthen both departments.

"It will be brilliant for the game if he comes back to play this Test match," Pietersen said. "He is an entertainer. People want to watch entertainers. They don't want to watch people blocking the ball. They want to watch entertainers. He is one of those people that people will pay their money to watch him play and if he comes back that could be brilliant for the series. He is a superstar and he is one of my real good mates in cricket. I love the way he plays."

From an England viewpoint, Pietersen expressed his delight in Andrew Strauss' return to form. Strauss made his first Test century since November 2010 at Lord's though Pietersen insisted he never doubted the England captain.

"The wheel was going to turn at some point and it turned at Lord's," Pietersen said at a Chance to Shine event. "It's brilliant for English cricket. I have been through a period where I didn't score a hundred for a while. It just turns and since then I have scored I don't know how many hundreds. Strauss is a fantastic guy and I was more happy for him scoring that hundred than I have been for any other team-mate when they have scored a hundred. I loved the fact that he did that.

"Somebody's going to get it from the media at one stage in the month or the year. That's just what happens in our job. So long as you just accept that and understand that and concentrate on the ball as a batter, or the areas you bowl as a bowler, then everything's fine. You just have to park that to one side and just do your job. But the wheel turns for everyone. Everyone should notice that by now."

Pietersen also suggested that the "cricketing world" will be eagerly anticipating England's forthcoming Test series against South Africa later in the season. It will be contest to decide the No. 1 Test team in the world if England go on and complete victory over West Indies.

"We are going to have to play very good cricket because the South African team is a very strong cricketing unit with some fantastic players," Pietersen said. "We will have to play really positive cricket too at every opportunity. I think the cricketing world will be looking forward to that South Africa series."

source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/england-v-west-indies-2012/content/story/565866.html?CMP=chrome

Government going after Clico for TT$20 billion


PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday May 21, 2012 – Trinidad and Tobago Finance Minister Winston Dookeran has gone on record to state that his government has put in a claim to CL Financial for an estimated TT$20 billion before the expiration of the Shareholders Agreement in three weeks' time.
Winston Dookeron

The Shareholders Agreement which was signed on June 12, 2009, succeeded the Memorandum of Understanding of January 30, 2009 signed between the Government, CLF and the Central Bank.

The Shareholders Agreement allows the Government to have controlling interest of the CL Financial board.

Government appointed directors on the CL Financial board include former Citibank executive Steve Bideshi, Krishna Boodhai and Marlon Holder while former finance minister Gerald Yetming is chairman of both CL Financial and CLICO. Steve Castagne and Andrew Mitchell, QC were voted on the board by the shareholders.
It was Government's guarantee for a return on its bailout of Lawrence Duprey's companies that made up CL Financial.

Dookeran told local media over the weekend that his ministry was being advised by a team of lawyers from the United Kingdom on its negotiationss with CL Financial.The lawyers, explained Dookeran, will negotiate with a limited liability company called United Shareholders Ltd (USL) which was established by Kirk Carpenter and Roger Duprey following agreement by CL Financial shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting held on May 16.

A resolution was also passed for the CL Financial board to form a shareholders' sub-committee, consisting of individuals appointed by USL.

That committee, it was reported, shall have the authority to negotiate and recommend to the CL Financial board any agreement, consent, extension or any other documentation supplemental to or derived from the Memorandum of Understanding of January 30, 2009 and the Shareholders' Agreement of June 12, 2009.

CL Financial chairman Gerald Yetming is currently in London to take part in arbitration proceedings brought against the Government by foreign holdings company Consolidated Energy Ltd for its shareholding of Methanol Holdings Trinidad Ltd.
To date, the government has reportedly transferred TT$8.2 billion in cash and bonds to the CLICO policyholders and has spent an estimated $17 billion on CL Financial and its subsidiaries.


Source: http://www.caribbean360.com/index.php/news/trinidad_tobago_news/579234.html#ixzz1vbQoixYz

Monday, May 21, 2012

KING OUT! RIGOBERT IN?


Will Dr Gale Rigobert soon be the New UWP Leader? Unconfirmed reports indicate that the Flambeau executive has resigned en masse, and Dr Gale Rigobert (Micoud North MP) has been appointed as interim leader.

Apparently, there is mass disenchantment within the ranks of the Opposition Party and it is believed that this enchantment has its roots in what is dubbed as "the current ineffectual leadership" which never seems to be "getting it right".

The latest blow to the party's credibility was an “unproportioned” king-sized embarrassment brought to bear on the party and nation by its very own leader during the recently-concluded 2012 House of Assembly budget debate. King (Leader of opposition) demonstrated a bungling inefficiency in managing the fallout from the falsely proclaimed 4.4% growth which he - so vociferously and vaingloriously - touted about during the last election campaign. 

The Leader of the Opposition went on to flay the Director of Statistics and went as far as to call for his dismissal - a position that the PM Anthony did not share. In fact, the PM during his rebuttal called on King to apologise to the director!
 
On the ground of that dishonesty alone, I agree with the UWP to excommunicate King from the leadership of the party.

I hope Dr Rigobert will eventually be confirmed as the new leader. She deserves it!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

CHOISEUL’S POOREST COMMUNITIES


According to 2010 census, of the 43 communities which make up Choiseul/Saltibus, Parc Estate is the poorest.  
Park Estate youth Liming with Lorne

In the 2005/2006 Country Poverty Assessment, Parc Estate was rated as the poorest community in St. Lucia.  Based on the results of the 2010 census, it has now been overtaken by 17 communities, with Fond Campeche in VF North (at the top of the list), and including Roseau, Baron’s Drive, Conway, Malgretoute (Micoud), Venus, Bruceville, Anse La Verdue and Millett; but Parc Estate continues to be the poorest community in the constituency of Choiseul/Saltibus.

The question is: has living conditions improved in Parc Estate between 2005/6 and 2010? I will argue, if anything, it has deteriorated. just take a drive through and you will see!

Strangely, Christian Hill (Choiseul Village) is at no 2, followed by Bois D’Inde (no 3) , New Field/Fiette (no. 4), Franciou (no. 5), Cafeiere (no.6), Balca (no. 7), Esperance (no.8) and then La Maze, Monzie, Derriere Morne and La Perle at nos 9 – 12 respectively.

Choiseul’s most well-off communities are Balembouche, River Doree, Reunion, Sauzay, La Fargue, Piaye and Le Riche. Balembouche is ranked as the 24th most “well-off” (out of a total of 367) community in St. Lucia. Cap Estate and Rodney Heights as expected are the most well-off communities in St. Lucia.

The Table below provides the summary of rankings for communities in Choiseul (from the "poorest" to "richest'). You can use it to know how "poor" or "rich" your community is in relation to others. It also provides information on the number of households and the population of each community.

TABLE 1: SUMMARY OF COMMUNITY RANKINGS FOR CHOISEUL 

 SETTLEMENT
 LOCATION
RANK IN CONSTITUENCY
RANK IN
COUNTRY
NATIONAL
INDEX
NO OF HOUSEHOLD
POPULATION
PARC ESTATE
LABORIE
1
18
10.84
28
99
CHRISTIAN HILL
CHOISEUL
2
26
11.1
25
82
BOIS D'INDE
CHOISEUL
3
33
11.2
35
127
NEWFIELD/FIETTE
CHOISEUL
4
35
11.25
53
205
FRANCIOU
CHOISEUL
5
36
11.29
28
89
CAFFIERE
CHOISEUL
6
41
11.5
102
307
BALCA
LABORIE
7
44
11.54
70
215
ESPERANCE
CHOISEUL
8
45
11.59
16
59
LAMAZE
CHOISEUL
9
49
11.64
58
190
MONZIE
CHOISEUL
10
51
11.65
17
35
DERRIERE MORNE
CHOISEUL
11
53
11.7
23
81
LA PERLE
LABORIE
12
54
11.73
53
154
LA POINTE
CHOISEUL
13
72
12.06
72
247
RAVENEAU
CHOISEUL
14
76
12.14
42
135
DELCER
CHOISEUL
15
79
12.18
74
228
GAYABOIS
LABORIE
16
89
12.35
23
71
TETE MORNE
CHOISEUL
17
90
12.37
23
99
ROBLOT
CHOISEUL
18
96
12.47
72
216
VILLAGE
CHOISEUL
19
99
12.56
69
159
PONYON
CHOISEUL
20
101
12.59
35
119
DABAN
LABORIE
21
105
12.64
59
166
MORNE SION
CHOISEUL
22
109
12.68
116
368
SALTIBUS
LABORIE
23
112
12.75
153
467
INDUSTRY
CHOISEUL
24
115
12.77
71
232
MORNE JACQUES
CHOISEUL
25
123
12.85
69
189
GETRINE
LABORIE
26
132
13
125
401
DUGARD
CHOISEUL
27
144
13.16
38
93
MONGOUGE
CHOISEUL
28
147
13.2
94
306
SAVANNES GEORGE/
CONSTITUTION PARK

CHOISEUL

29

159

13.37

23

86
LONDONDERRY
LABORIE
30
163
13.46
75
246
CHOISEUL
CHOISEUL
31
166
13.53
18
49
VICTORIA
CHOISEUL
32
177
13.77
98
315
DACRETIN
CHOISEUL
33
189
14.01
55
152
DEBREIUL
CHOISEUL
34
215
14.38
78
223
GIRAUD
LABORIE
34
223
14.56
24
74
BELLE VUE
CHOISEUL
36
231
14.67
114
325
LE RICHE
CHOISEUL
37
242
14.88
55
154
PIAYE
LABORIE
38
262
15.56
191
606
LA FARGUE
CHOISEUL
39
270
15.96
196
586
SAUZAY
CHOISEUL
40
285
16.86
28
85
REUNION
CHOISEUL
41
290
17.18
108
331
RIVER DOREE
CHOISEUL
42
296
17.41
35
112
BALEMBOUCHE
LABORIE
43
343
21.18
25
70


SOURCE: STATISTICS DEPARTMENT