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Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Choiseul celebrates Emancipation Day 2012 with the over-arching theme “The people who came”.

The celebration which has three components begins on July 31 with a panel discussion at the Piaye Primary School. The panelists include Huggins Nicholas (Lawyer/historian), Tania Elias (Educator/Historian) and Russell Jean (Community Organiser from Parc Estate). The moderator is Mc Arthur Phillip, the Social Transformation Officer.

The Prime Minister was slated to make an appearance but indications are this is highly unlikely because of his absence from state; but we expect Acting PM, Phillip J. Pierre to fill in the slot on behalf of the PM. The Parliamentary representative/Minister for Tourism and the Creative Industries is expected to be in attendance.

The theme for the panel discussion is “What makes us St. Lucians?” – a sub theme from the “People Who Came”. We expect excellent presentations from the panelists who are all very qualified to speak on the subject.

Following the discussion, there will be cultural presentations featuring “drumming” virtuoso “Gibbs” from Piaye.

The celebration continues on August 1 with a Talk and a concert in the Village. The talk will be an exposition of the theme by Tania Elias.  The concert will include cultural performances which define us as St. Lucians plus inspirational music by Meshach, Kintu and Unity Band.

The third component is a “poverty-reduction” project in Parc Estate funded by a corporate citizen.

"Kudos" is in order for the planning committee headed Mrs Imogene Mitchell. The Committee was largely "multidisciplinary" and "cross-cultural" in nature, and in many ways mirrored the theme “The People Who Came”. It approached its task in a highly focused way, undertaking field visits, radio promotion, issuing press releases etc.

Once again, congratulations to Mrs Mitchell and her crew for a job well done!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Roach sets up crushing win for West Indies

By Kanishkaa Balachandran (a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo)

Victory didn't seem so certain at the end of the fourth day, but West Indies delivered the knockout punch on the fifth, thanks to their seamers, to cruise to a nine-wicket win and take a 1-0 lead in the series. West Indies needed to pick up the seven remaining wickets as quickly as possible, and Kemar Roach hastened that with a five-wicket haul to give the hosts an easy target of 102, which Chris Gayle and Kieran Powell approached without fuss.

It was a continuation of the good work put in by West Indies after they landed home after a tough tour of England. The inclusion of Gayle and Sunil Narine - giants in Twenty20 leagues - heightened the anticipation for cricket fans world over. Both made significant contributions in the victory - Gayle with 154 in the first innings and Narine with a match haul of eight wickets, including a five-for in the first innings. It was West Indies' third win in the last two years and arguably with their strongest XI in recent months.

For New Zealand, their tour only got tougher, having surrendered the T20s and ODIs to the hosts. However, they showed a lot of character on the fourth day to raise hopes of saving the game. The top order didn't allow the scoreboard pressure to weigh them down, and ended the day 28 ahead with seven wickets in hand. They needed their batsmen to sustain that intensity and bat out at least two sessions on the final day, but when their specialist batsmen let them down early, the writing was on the wall for the visitors.

A double-strike by Roach, immediately after a short rain interval, raised West Indies' hopes of closing out the game. The wickets heaped pressure on New Zealand as the battle for survival got tougher against an incisive Roach and Narine, who looked like striking every over. Neil Wagner impressed with his defence and perseverance for a nightwatchman, but New Zealand expected more from their specialist batsmen in a tense morning session.

With fielders hovering around the batsmen, run-scoring was a challenge. New Zealand managed just two boundaries in the morning. It was a battle of attrition as New Zealand scored just 26 runs off as many overs in the session. Not surprisingly, Narine shouldered the burden, bowling 12 of those overs. The ball spun and shot up off the rough, troubling Wagner in particular who hung on a cliff's edge each time he took guard against the spinner.

But it was Roach who provided the two breakthroughs. A short shower forced the players off the field for 20 minutes. Roach struck two balls after resumption, pitching it outside off and angling it into Ross Taylor, who was trapped on the pads just in front of the leg stump.

Taylor went for the review, but the on-field umpire's call was upheld. Roach struck again in his following over, uprooting Kane Williamson's off stump with a beauty that held its line and beat the bat. West Indies had struck twice in 11 balls for no run.

The pressure was on Dean Brownlie, who took 19 balls to get off the mark. In a ten-over period, New Zealand managed just five runs, showing just how much control West Indies had had over them.

Roach, now armed with the new ball, struck in the first over after the lunch break when he removed the resolute Wagner caught behind, trying to drive. Wagner's 103-ball vigil as nightwatchman should serve as a lesson to the specialist batsmen, who failed to hang around long enough to frustrate West Indies. Ravi Rampaul removed Brownlie the following over, inducing an edge to Chris Gayle at slip. Darren Sammy was tempted to take Rampaul off the attack and bring back Narine, but a fired-up Rampaul convinced his captain to change his mind, and he responded with Daniel Vettori's wicket.

Narine too had some success after lunch, though, when he trapped Doug Bracewell plumb in front of the stumps. Kruger van Wyk farmed the strike with Chris Martin and played some enterprising reverse sweeps to take the lead past 100, but Roach had the last laugh when he knocked back van Wyk's off stump to take his fifth five-wicket haul.

A target of 102 was never going to test the hosts, especially with the in-form Gayle around. He helped himself to an easy half-century to crown his return to the Test side after an exile of one and a half years. New Zealand only managed Powell's wicket with the score on 77, but at that stage the game was all but over. Assad Fudadin knocked off the winning runs and West Indies went into the second Test with an unassailable lead in the series.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012


"The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) will have to fork out $1 million to pay its former captain Ramnarace Sarwan for “publicly denigrating and humiliating” the Guyanese and Leicestershire middle order batsman. The payment is part of a $1.5 million payout in damages which the Board incurred recently. Sarwan was awarded the damages after winning his arbitration matter against the WICB, a case in which he was cleared of all charges levelled against him by WICB, CEO Ernest Hilaire regarding his fitness and attitude.

"Arbitrator Seenath Jairam SC, LLM, found the WICB guilty of breaching the selection process and not operating in a fair and transparent manner. The judgement also noted that Sarwan was publicly denigrated and humiliated. It revealed that the Board failed to comply with the appraisal process, breaching the principles of natural justice by failing to give Sarwan an opportunity to be heard, causing him significant loss and damage. In addition to the damages, 85 per cent of the cost of conducting the arbitration proceedings have to be paid by the WICB.

"This works out to be additional estimated 500,000. In total, the case has cost the Board an estimated $1.5 million. This comes on the heels of a $14 million awarded to the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) on behalf of its members over various breaches of contract. In the past 12 months, the WICB has lost an estimated 15 million at a time when sponsorship for their major events has not been easy to attract. The ruling is based largely on the WICB’s failure to adhere to basic principles of natural justice and blatantly ignoring the terms of the agreements with the players and their association, WIPA.

"Furthermore in reviewing the ruling and documents, the WICB and its CEO Ernest Hilaire, did not attempt to resolve the issues through good faith negotiations or even mediation. The first letter in the proceedings was written in January 11 2010, the Notice of Dispute sent to the WICB on September 30 2010 and the hearing was September, 2011. Accordingly, it is clear that there was adequate time to discuss and resolve this matter but Hilaire simply refused to do so.

 "The records showed that Hilaire wrote to WIPA on December 6, 2010 stating that the WICB submitted its request to mediate the issue, however, inquiries to the Dispute Resolution Centre in Trinidad (DRC) by WIPA revealed that this was not done until December 13, 2010. As a consequence, the DRC became unavailable and WIPA referred the matter to Arbitration.

 "In his 131-page judgement, SC Jairam awarded Sarwan damages for: (a) loss of retainer; (b) breach of contract (re: failure to ensure fair and transparent selection process for denigration of the Claimant); (c) loss of provident fund contributions given his age; (d) loss of publicity/reputation; (e) general damages; (f) interest on the damages awarded at a rate of 12 per cent per annum from the date of the award until payment.

"The WICB was represented by Derek Ali, while WIPA was represented by Ms Donna Symmonds, Denise Haynes, Sushilla Jadoonanan and former WIPA President and CEO Dinanath Ramnarine."


Tuesday, July 24, 2012


 The siltation problem at the Choiseul Fisheries is making headlines again and the news seems to be getting from bad to worse, as another “problem layer” of a “public health” and environmental nature has been added to it.

The pond was found to be littered with dead fish and the “pungent smell” emanating therefrom was simply unbearable!

A gift from the Japanese Government to the government and people of St. Lucia, the facility was most welcomed when it was first donated. Now it has  become more of a nuisance than a facility. The recurrent and perennial siltation problem has rendered the pond largely unusable and inaccessible for most of the time. Management - which has been at its wit's end - has been genuinely overwhelmed and and has been rendered helpless.

But the facility has immense and immeasurable benefits to the Village! Quite apart from serving a landing and docking facility for our fishermen, it is also a coastal protection project which has brought much safety to the villagers, especially during the hurricane season when the sea swells are overwhelming.

During its conception and birth, the project was compared to ‘motherhood’ – it had absolutely no disadvantages until “father time” made his indelible mark.

The fishermen have the right to be incensed by the “perceived lack of action on a recurrent problem”, especially in their knowledge that a sizeable donation of funds for the procurement of equipment to resolve that problem was made by the Japanese government.

It’s time for real action! We can't be adding plasters to sores and expect a lasting solution. We need to commission some serious scientific/engineering analysis of the coastal dynamics of the area and based on the results of that analysis to design structures to at least mitigate against that perennial siltation onslaught on our fishermen.

Yes! We need a purely scientific/engineering approach to this scientific/engineering problem!

Now, Mr Minister! I’m on the side of the fishermen; and don’t tell me that we don’t have the resource capability to begin to look into the specific causes of that problem!

We need to start acting differently from Mr Rufus Bousquet and move on with the job! It’s time for action!


CHOISEUL, ST. LUCIA: "Choiseul fishermen claim their bottom line is being affected by a perennial problem.

The incensed fishermen say they are appalled by the perceived lack of action on a recurrent problem with the fisheries pond in the community.

The recent discovery of dead fish in the water has stoked environmental and safety concerns among the local population".

You can view the HTS News video below


Friday, July 20, 2012


As the signs of an impending deepening tension between the Cultural Development Foundation and the Select Carnival Stakeholders Committee loom large, let us reflect on some aspects of Bacchanal 2012, focusing on the Power Soca Monarch!

Suppose I told you before that St. Lucians were fed up with the Trinidadian-invented “Rag and Flag” syndrome which has over the years supersaturated our Soca shows, would I have been vindicated by the outcomes of our just concluded Carnival? Did we see some evidence pointing in that direction in the song “Gallop” by Soca Psycho.

Soca Psycho is simply known as “Cuffy”. He works at DHL. He wrote “Gallop” on his own but the song was produced by Fross and mastered by Fross and Starchild (Darton “Reeves” Charles) from DOTCOM Sounds. Soca Psycho does not drink alcohol!

I have been following the "Rag & Flag" movement ever since it’s early inception by exponents like Iwa George and lately Machel Montano. No doubt, it has been an effective crowd participation technique; but lately I get the impression that it is losing its spontaneous appeal - a probable indication that it is losing some ground and hence its relevance among our local audiences.

In that sense, gallop came in as a breath of fresh air blowing away the monotony of the "Rag & Flag" and "Panty & Bra" malaise which has taken over our bacchanal. Yes! It virtually blew them away in the Road March arena!

When I first heard "gallop", I was ambivalent about it. I dismissed it as just another version of Twanche; but the more I listened to it, the more it dawned on me that the song was a beautifully-crafted and creative construction with universal audience appeal and which spontaneously engaged audiences wherever it was performed.

The Lyrics are simple but innovative:
Every year is people complaining
Year after year is de same ting
Raising Rags, Flags, Flags, Flags . . .
I’m getting pressure
They request a vibe to raise de temperature
When it come to jump up, this one has no remorse
This year we come out fit like a horse

So gallop; run to de back of de truck
Kick up to the front of the truck!
Giddy up . . . .

De girl doh want no donkey, donkey, donkey
Give her a stallion, stallion, stallion
Donkey too tired, tired, tired
She request a thoroughbred to pick up de pace
De horse is on the track
There’s no turning back
Hold onto the bridle, bridle, bridle
Hold onto the bridle, bridle, bridle
Put on your saddle
We’re getting ready to “pété pak” (mash up fence) 

However, despite the vast potential of the song, Soca Psycho didn’t do justice to it on the big stage on the night that mattered, even when he had overwhelming crowd support. He obviously needs more lessons in timing!

Having said all of the above, I have to confess that I'm afraid that "gallop" might just be another “freak Soca” song like Alpha's "down de road, Exodus' "metay brakes", and Ninja's "OK" etc.

If "gallop" was a commendable creative attempt, then "Born to Mash up" had all the elements of a veritable creative earthquake and Superman HD deserved the Power Soca monarchy. I particularly liked the tag line “everything’s gonna fall in here, everything is gonna fall!”

The caustic poetic flavour of the song thoroughly impressed me. The rendering and performance of it were masterful and superb and raised the bar by quantum leaps! The professionalism, theatrics and structure of/in the production approached the quality of a science fiction movie. HD had masterful introduction which flowed delightfully into a clear "line of development” culminating into a soothing closure which perhaps restored the equilibrium of the audience when the performance was done! We have to rank Superman HD’s performance as one of the greatest we have seen. He was explosive and made Ricky T look pedestrian.

Ricky T needs another quantum leap to reach Superman HD’s standard. To add insult to injury, I would say that his performance this year was like a “recycled dancehall act” from last year with too much “rag and flag” and “1-2-3! ready to go” antics. He sounded infantile and mundane.

Alva was way below national standard and looked like he is on his way out of the arena! It appears that Machel Montano’s influence has not had the desired impact on his pursuit of success. He is a far cry from the original Alpha we knew him to be.

Yardie’s “She loves my clock a lot” turned overtly “x-rated” when he placed a clock hanging from his neck down to his genital region and then invited his sexy dancing ladies to whine on the clock. At that point, it became clear that Yardie’s song wasn’t about his clock; but something else.

Sir Lancelot’s performance stood out in some measure; but his “lyrical conversation” seemed to lack poetry and organization. His lyrical mix tended to be too conversational and ex tempore. He was just bunching words around and that robbed him of a measure of professionalism.

Overall, the Soca Monarch had the potential to be a superb show but the organizers might have “piped” the segment when the patrons were waiting for the results. I didn’t think the slot given to “DJ HP” at that point was a well-thought out move. In my opinion, it took away the "euphoria" element from the show and brought the quality down a few notches. It was an ideal slot to fill in with some guest artistes like Mancius, Kakal or the good calypsonians that didn’t make it to the Big Stage. It was a way of recognizing, encouraging and appreciating them, not to supersaturate the patrons with more “panty and bra” effluvia from a dancehall DJ!

There's a silent suggestion that Carnival Stakeholders Committee/Cultural Development Foundation does not seem to have a clear and comprehensive policy for the development of the art forms; but that's for another show. Perhaps, it's a good time for the Stakeholders committee to pass the baton to Petrus Compton and his CDF team and to let them start the planning for Bacchanal 2013.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Cokes and Esai did not MC the Power Soca Finals; they MC'ed the Calypso Finals. I have edited and removed the references to them. My apologies for the the mix -up!

Thanks to "Anonymous" for pointing that out! 

Anonymous, HP did perform at the beginning of the Show and I have absolutely no issue with that! My issue was the slot given to him during the "judging interregnum". I thought it was declasse for a show of that magnitude!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

CARICOM chairman urges British chancellor to scrap APD

CASTRIES, St Lucia, Wednesday July 18, 2012 — Caribbean Community (CARICOM) chairman Dr Kenny Anthony has written to Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne on the "deleterious effect" the controversial United Kingdom Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax continues to wreak on Caribbean economies.

The APD, introduced in 1994, is a British environmental tax aimed at offsetting aviation's carbon footprint. In its initial stage, it was set at £5 (US$7.85) per person. Since then there have been several increases.

Essentially, the APD places countries in charging bands calculated on the distance of their capital cities from London. As such, flying from London to Hawaii or Los Angeles in the United States is calculated as being the same as to Washington DC, the US capital, while Caribbean destinations are charged at a higher rate.

Regional governments have been lobbying London to remove the tax, which they said negatively affects the Caribbean tourism industry.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has, moreover, revealed that new research shows that removing the APD would result in an additional 91,000 British jobs being created and £4.2 billion (US$6.5 billion) added to the British economy within a year.

In his letter, Anthony reminded the British chancellor that Caribbean leaders have raised the matter on several occasions, and have also discussed its negative impact with Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague.

"The Caribbean understands the fiscal challenge faced by the UK in respect of raising revenue, but we do not believe that APD should be imposed unfairly, or at the expense of the Caribbean economy and our community in the UK,” Anthony wrote.

"The Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region of the world. The industry, as Prime Minister Cameron himself has acknowledged, is developmental and should be contributing to growth at a time of economic difficulty.

"Our data shows the negative effect that APD is having in this respect and hampers our ability to obtain the greatest benefit from our most valuable export industry. It also has a significant financial impact on the UK companies, large and small, with which we partner and for whom the Caribbean has been a major market," the CARICOM chairman continued, adding that "it is also hurting our sizeable Caribbean community living in the United Kingdom".

Citing the case of his own country, St Lucia, Prime Minister Anthony said that "visitor arrivals from the UK declined every year for the past three years".

Anthony said in 2010, tourist arrivals fell 19.4 per cent below the 2008 level and in 2011 registered 14.4 per cent less compared to 2008.

"This decline in arrivals is exacerbated by a further reduction in on-island expenditure as the tax has had a negative impact on traveller's budget, resulting in reduced economic benefit to the country.

"Indications are that tourism receipts associated with these declining numbers in the last three years have fallen on average more than 25 per cent below the 2008 level."

The St Lucia prime minister, who recently took over the chairmanship of the 15-member regional trade bloc, told the British government minister that regional governments "remain committed to pursuing a positive dialogue with you and your government about alternative, revenue-neutral solutions that could address the discriminatory aspect of the current banding system by having the Caribbean and the USA placed in the same lower band".

He added that he is hopeful that the issue "can still be resolved amicably".

Earlier this year, a number of leading international airlines, including British Airways, EasyJet, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic urged Osborne to suspend the planned APD increase pending the outcome of an independent study of the economic effects of such a tax rise.

The airlines contended that the eight per cent increase introduced in April would reduce passenger numbers and hinder the UK's economic recovery.

They said that as a result of the increase, a family of four flying from the UK to the Caribbean would have to pay close to £400 (US$625.08) in taxes. In 2005 such a family would have paid a total of £80 (US$125.06) in taxes