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Thursday, December 26, 2013


Despite the proliferation of barrels on the wharf, there wasn't any sign that we would celebrate Christmas this year. Somehow, the "Christmas feeling" wasn't there. Up to two shopping days before, Super J was practically empty of shoppers. 

Then Christmas Eve arrived and perhaps the most epic battle in recent memory happened. It was a battle between Man and Nature! And nature won hands down!

Here are some photos of the collateral damage that Choiseul suffered:




Friday, December 20, 2013


BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday December 20, 2013, CMC – Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, who four months ago ended a five-decade-old policy of funding tuition for Barbadians at the University of the West Indies (UWI), on Wednesday called on the UWI to graduate intellectuals with good ideas to ensure the Caribbean's future development.

“The possession of a university degree should begin to mean that its holder is equipped to meet a wide range of intellectual challenges because his mind has been developed to a level that admits of a certain flexibility based on a firm grasp of logic, of sequence and of a basic ethics,” Stuart said at a ceremony marking the end of the UWI Cave Hill Campus’ 50th anniversary celebrations on Wednesday night.

“Yes, the university will produce professionals and academics. But it must also concentrate on producing intellectuals. As I see it, the true intellectual is a man or woman who believes in the generation and elucidation of ideas. He or she has to earn a living and must, of necessity, live off of what he or she knows. But he or she must live also for what he or she knows.”

Stuart said that developing countries, like those in the Caribbean, could not afford to lose the battle in the area of ideas.

“We may not win in areas like oil, commodities and military hardware.   But we can be equals or, better still, superiors, in the realm of ideas,” he said, adding there was much ado nowadays about the need to produce graduates who could satisfy the demands of employers in the public and private sectors.

“What I find troubling from time to time, though, is when the end result is a graduate so narrow in focus, that he or she gets lost in his or her ‘professionalism’ and, taken beyond the immediate perimeters of the specific area of study, that graduate can reflect too little of the roundedness that graduate status should imply,” he said.

Mr. Stuart told the ceremony that there was a perception within the society that the university was no longer commenting on issues critical to the development of the region.

“It is the university which should be helping the population to perceive some kind of structure behind the complexity and seeming confusion of life today; some kind of ordered drama behind the daily whirl of events. If the supposedly leading thinkers in our society are not doing this, I ask, who should?

“If Barbados and the Caribbean ever needed clarifying voices it is now.   My sense is that these voices are either in too short supply at the university or are certainly too muted.   We live in a multidimensional world, and we have to manage even the things that we cannot see by effectively managing the things that we can see,” he said.

The prime minister noted that the world had changed drastically from the years when the UWI was established in 1963, noting also that socially, the region was experiencing a situation where an increasing number of people, across classes, face mounting frustration, hopelessness and insecurity as they seem to be losing control over the forces that determine the quality and content of their lives.

Stuart said that education provided the solid foundation for a society to develop its true potential, adding “the public services of this region are now better resourced than at any other time in the region’s history, thanks to the University of the West Indies; and to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, the Cave Hill Campus has contributed immeasurably in that regard.

“Many an individual, old and young, has been able to actualise a God-given potential through access to this campus and has set out on the path to a vertebrate life,” he said, describing the university as one which could stand head and shoulders above many in the world of universities, despite the many challenges.

“Its icons through the years now dot our landscape and have continued to serve the Caribbean and the world with distinction.”

But he acknowledged that a university in the West Indies had to reflect the legitimate aspirations of a post-slavery and post-colonial people, and not mimic the priorities of universities which were responding to a different set of historical and developmental imperatives.

“I concede that the task of the university can be made that much easier if governments are clearer about what kind of societies they want to create.  But the task of crafting a regional vision is not one from which the university can afford to divorce itself.  While not hostaging itself to governments of whatever stripe, the university must see itself as a partner in the process of development of the wider community which it is supposed to serve,” he said.

Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Chris Sinckler in his 2013-14 budget on August 13, said that effective 2014, Barbadian students pursuing studies at the university’s three campuses will be required to pay their own tuition fees, while the government continues to fund economic costs.

The decision effectively ended a policy of free university education for Barbadians dating back to the Cave Hill Campus's opening in 1963, a year after the government introduced full free secondary education to Barbadians.

Sinckler said tuition fees would range from BDS$5,625 to BDS$65,000 (One Barbados dollar=US$0.50 cents) and that the new policy would reduce the transfer to UWI by an estimated BDS$42 million a year.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


I felt awestruck by the outpouring of empathy demonstrated on Social Media for the cause of Choiseul. To me, that empathy is a reflection of the extent of humanity and care flowing in our blood for our fellowmen; it may also be a suggestion that St. Lucia may still be a country “intact”, with perhaps just a minority of us “dabbling” in counter-instances of humanity.

Perhaps, we can even set those "counter-instances" aside and attribute them in part to normal distribution theory.

The (unfortunately) noteworthy observation is perhaps that those who should demonstrate the greatest degree of sublime humanity are generally those who are trapped to the “left of the humanity curve”. Wouldn't it have been a much better Christmas season (for all of us) if only those who hold the relevant “levers of power” could foster greater optimism, hope, and joy in the hearts of “the deprived ones”? Indeed, Christmas is an ideal platform to make the assault. They did got the opportunity but frittered it away!

I cannot camouflage my position on the excoriation of Jimmy Haynes by his own parliamentary rep for the former's community activism. I ask: Why can’t we put the "dirty politics" aside for a moment, especially when we were responsible caps like "parliamentary rep"? Why should the SLP (who claim to know better than Jimmy’s Party) do just like Jimmy’s men?

Let me inform readers that I have been speaking with Jimmy; and I’m happy to inform you that we have agreed to put away the “political cannibalism” (according to the Minister for Social Transformation) and to come together for the greater good of Choiseul – and it is in this context that I take issue with the cannibalistic pronouncements that were made at the SLP constituency conference last month. Frankly speaking, they were uncalled for and déclassé!

But here’s the reality: Augustin Charles (Bolo), Jimmy Haynes (Jimmy) and Dedan Griffifth Jn Baptiste (Gillo) with all our imperfections have tacitly agreed to bury the political hatchet for the greater good of Choiseul! We have pledged (not only want to make “a good place better” but) to start the process to also make our community a great place! Choiseul has all the elements and ingredients of greatness - all we have to do is to "bang start" the "reconfiguration process".

Regarding the pursuit of that process, the pundits perhaps may have many questions: "Is that 'unity' initiative sustainable?" Isn't that Bolo-Jimmy-Gilo 'triumvirate' a charade? Can these opportunistic guys ever bury their hatchet for the good of Choiseul (or, for that matter, anything good)? Wouldn't that battle among these notorius triumvirate gladiators soon resume and Choiseul not suffering from major collateral damage?

While these questions are legitimate, they also express a deep existential pessimism. To some of us, the success of any initiative involving those three fellahs is simply impossible (even if those guys may be "success stories" in more than one sphere of life)!

But here are some facts you should know. I know Gillo and Jimmy very well; and they know me very well, too . . . and that mutual knowledge should  provide us with a sound platform. We all have done SWOT analyses of each other. I went to school together with Gillo; I also taught with him for a number of years. We played in the same Bands (Black Inspirations and Dread Tones). Gillo also taught me a lot about cricket to the point where I became the captain, opening bat and the frontline leg spinner for my club.  I never dreamed of those achievements and perhaps they would never become reality without Gillo.

I have to admit that I had a totally different relationship configuration with Jimmy which is grounded in familial of filial relationships. My first son is a close relative of Jimmy, who I first met when I visited my son in Delcer and thereafter, for all our lives we have been close, treating each other like relatives, like brothers. Yes! we've had bitter political exchanges but those have never torn asunder our filial connections.  His late Dad and mom are like mother and father to me.

No doubt, Jimmy (like all of us) has his imperfections and idiosyncrasies; he must have made an inordinate number of mistakes but isn't it also fair to say that those may have been far outweighed by his infinitesimal intellectual and organisational talents and commitment to community. It may well be a fact that the former may well approach zero when compared to the latter! 

Forget the politics, Jimmy perhaps may have done more for Choiseul than many of the politicians who have represented us and that gives him an indisputably well-deserved presence among us.

Jimmy like many genuinely patriotic Choiseulian wants to elevate his community above the Carib/Arawak "paradigm" which is perceived to circumscribe our existence and causing those who are in command of the levers of power NOT to treat us with the respect we deserve.  

Be that as it may, we are nonetheless prepared to be the sacrificial lambs on the altar of political cannibalism for the sake of a greater Anse Citron!

The “authorities” have obviously embarked on a campaign of "the excoriation of Jimmy" for his articulation of the problems of the constituency. Perhaps their hidden agenda is the pre-emptive destruction of the ROPE initiative before it gets off the ground; but the fact is Jimmy (like me) does not live on Mars or Jupiter! He lives in the heart of constituency and understands the trajectory of constituency problems because he, too, lives those problems everyday! His 70-plus year old mom lives mere metres away from the Delcer water facility and yet she is deprived of water – as is the entire community of Delcer!

Morne Sion, Lower Mongouge, Upper Reunion, parts of Cafeiere are also critically affected. Hence, when we speak, we lay no claim that our voice  is the "voice of God" but it not the "voice of Lucifer" either; our voice is simply the voice of our community. We hope that "those who ignore it" (and even excoriate us) when they hear it understand the full extent of their actions. 

This article is no tribute to Jimmy; it is no defense of him, either! it's just a gut reaction.

Saturday, November 30, 2013


My propensity for politics is waning precipitously these days - especially in the context of the ultra-thin skinned nature of some politicians.

You express a fair view or begin a new initiative aimed at national or constituency development; and there you have political “engineers” not just excoriating but grossly misrepresenting you in political fora. You also have your own parliamentary representative cowardly “jété-ing pawòl” for at his constituency conference. But I guess our "honourable" legislators under the constitution are guaranteed the same fundamental rights and freedoms as their constituents. The only problem is, I find it some of them seem to spend more time “being angry” at their parliamentary subjects instead of focusing on “representing” them – one of the justifications for the formation of “Representation Ourselves Par Excellence” (ROPE)
But the above is not the focus of this article - especially in a context where I have become fodder – and even being glorified by my rival blogs for my bold, unapologetic POWERHOUSE articles. I’ll take that as a victory of some sort, because it is underlined by an inherently deep message of unity and reconciliation coming out - and it can only be a good one! That’s should be a resounding education for our parliamentary reps!

As a science educator (retired), I will never be derailed by anger or flattery!  I will defend what I believe is "universally right" and in the interest of community. But even more so, I will strive to share ideas and opinions with others and to do so “in an intellectual honest form” with the highest ideals and universal ethical principles being my compass.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is from this perspective that I take issue with a “Caribbean News Now” article (US CORRUPTION COMPLAINT FILED OVER ST LUCIA OIL AGREEMENT) re-published on Facebook.

I'm see the article as a striking “replica” of UWP's campaign strategy. I note the article is "semantically" well-put together; but however devoid of a logically deductive argument form - what is technically referred to as "modus tollens".

Let’s take a quick look at the article (by paragraph) and note its excellent “semantic development” vis-a-vis its flawed modus tollens:

The first paragraph cites a "complaint has been filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the United States under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in relation to a contract purporting to grant oil exploration rights over some eight million acres of Saint Lucia’s maritime territory." It did not indicate who filed the complaint!

The second paragraph refers to 46-page document and at that point it goes on to name the St. Lucia PM and Jack Greenberg.

The third paragraph is largely academic: it puts the FCPA in historical perspective citing the DOJ website as its reference.

In the fourth paragraph, the article quotes what the deputy Attorney said recently about the FCPA:

“Using the FCPA, the Department helps ensure that US companies and individuals, as well as foreign companies and individuals where appropriate, are held accountable when they pay bribes to foreign government officials in order to get business,”

No reference, linkage (much less accusation) whatsoever of what the deputy AG said of the matter under discussion or to the persons named in the complaint.

In the fifth paragraph, the article discusses some aspects of the complaint:

"Specifically, the complaint notes that, in or about February 2000, Anthony, as then minister of finance, planning and sustainable development, signed a contract with RSM that purported to grant the company an “Exploration License” in respect of territorial maritime resources belonging to Saint Lucia amounting to 8,726,263 acres."

In the sixth paragraph, it links the complaints to the Minerals Vesting Act - a matter that has been put to rest by juxtaposing it to St. Lucia's Interpretations Act. Claudius Francis (now the president of the Senate) has aptly dealt with the rationalization of the powers vested under the former in the context of the latter. The Caribbean News Now article made absolutely no reference in that regard.

And the article went on to suspiciously regurgitate the Flambeau campaign effluvia of the last election.

But the article ended with a sorry logical anti-climax in its last paragraph:

"The complaint in question is an allegation of possible unlawful conduct. The allegations must still be investigated, prosecuted and proven in US federal court."

It never named the party or parties lodging the complaint.

Rick spoke about the degeneration of journalism in St. Lucia. Although many may view him as a “degenerate” journalist (himself), especially in the context of his failure to use his demi-god capabilities to revolutionise the journalistic landscape in St. Lucia, he probably has a fair point!

If the writer of the Caribbean News Now is a local journalist, then Rick is "bang on" with his “claims” and “blasts” against our media and journalist.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


In a brief FB comment, Kenny Bakie (former Manager of HOT FM and indeed my good friend) hinted at the consideration of the hosting of “Jounen Ehdianne”. In this “guava season” I’m sure it’s an initiative that the commercial sector would run away with, but what are the implications? Wouldn’t a "Jounen Endyen" lead to a sense of exclusivity and possibly cultural fragmentation? Perhaps, if Kenny listened more closely to Leonette Pierre's Palé Kwéyòl (, then he might have conceded that “Jounen Ehdianne” [in a strictly St. Lucia(n) context] may be deeply culturally embedded in Jounen Kwéyòl.

Leonette sang: "Madam, si ou sé on Sent Licien, memn si ou sé an Endyen . . . Palé Kwéyòl".  In fact throughout the song, she advocates a cultural integration by encouraging St. Lucian irrespective of identity to Palé Kwéyòl.

There's no doubt that St. Lucia is a nation of “mixed ethnicities” integrated into a whole: Amerindian, African, European, Chinese, Indian, Syrian etc. Our Kweyol may well be the one “cultural” common denominator that identifies and even differentiates us as St. Lucians. It goes far beyond the parochial Afrocentric view which seems to influence our interpretation and orientation. The global view is Kweyol is not just a language; it’s a way of life which captures a conflation of diverse cultures in a unique and dynamic way.

Leonette’s line - "Madam, si ou sé on Sent Licien, memn si ou sé an Endyen . . . Palé Kwéyòl" - dovetails neatly into the popular expression “Kweyol Kouli” (or “Kouli Kweyol”). Indeed some of the signature Indian cultural practices (like roti and dhal) have become irreversibly kweyolised to the point that they are inextricably embedded into the culture of St. Lucia. What more evidence therefore do we need to prove that kweyol runs naturally in the “Endyen blood” or vice versa?

The Endyens in Augier, Balca, Forestierre are as quintessionally Kweyol as the rest of St. Lucia. So are the persons of Amerindian descendants in Choiseul and our Shabins in Saltibus, Martin, Ponyon, Mongouge etc.

The Chappy's from Delcer are pure Caucasian; but who in St. Lucia spoke more or better Kweyol than them?

Country and Western (C&W) has arguably become the biggest “continental” component of our Kweyol to the point where Linus Modeste is referred to as the black George Jones. In fact, C&W has become so Kweyolised that we now affectionately refer to it as "Bwa". It is peripatetic and may have even overshadowed the other dance forms.

Contrary to the elite "city-centric" view that phenomena like "Bwa" are “Kweyol idiosyncrasies”, the reality is they are not.  If they were, then the very “hard core” of our cultural identity could arguably also be classified as idiosyncratic; but we are a proud people with values and customs which are dynamic. The fact that our “unofficial” national dish of green fig and saltfish does not comprise exclusively local foods does not take away anything away from us. The point is while our cultural identity must be exclusive (to an extent), it must never be exclusionary.

Even our national Flower Festivals (La Rose and La Marguerite) - the very essence of our Kwéyòl soul - did not originate here or from the mother country either. Anecdotal data from the Catholic Church archives suggest that the La Rose has Peruvian origin, hence the term “St. Rose de Lima” – Lima being the capital of Peru.

In fact, if we were to remove all the non-St. Lucian components from our Kweyol, then what would we be left with? The core of our identity would probably be seriously exposed to the elements! Just remember, like America, St. Lucia too is a nation of immigrants.

Leonette’s song is indeed a very serious “Kweyol” commentary which gives an apt historical (and telling philosophical) analysis/description of Kwéyòl at “a point in time” (which may have even been extended to the present). 

“Boots” and “Fish” and perhaps many of our Kweyol historiographers (like Dr’s Jn Pierre & Monsignor Patrick Anthony) were probably not “born in Kweyol” yet when she wrote the song . . . even if she may chronologically younger than them.

There is an “hypothesis” that the Kweyol neo-Cultural Revolution partly began in Choiseul with unsung heroes like Mc Authur Phillip, “Bolo”, Thecla Fontenard, the late Sabinus Thomas, Mr Dodo, Piaye Community Dancers etc. Those guys/ladies proactively marketed Kweyol at a time when there was a looming threat of marginalisation and even obsolescence. I'm aware that Laborie, Veux Fort North, Soufriere, etc were also in the vanguard of the renaissance.

Some Caribbean sociologist/historians contend that the Kweyol language was prevalent in Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada during the days of slavery and beyond but fizzled out with time and was eventually replaced by an English dialect. Fortunately, the St. Lucian’s went the other direction. We survived those threat of extinction - thanks to our resilience; Yes! “Rural St. Lucia” got its fair share of ridicule by the “brighter” city folk calling us “Neg Mawon” for our Kweyol culture; but that didn’t deter us.

It is instructive that the tables have now turned. The “Neg Mawons” have now been “rediscovered” as heroes by the Columbus’s of the city.

Much kudos are in order for the “post-Neg Mawon” heroes and their work. They constitute a diaspora far and wide fitted inside a little speck of dust. In Kweyol’s darkest days, they went on to ensure sustainability which helped shaped the renaissance. It was also during that tail-end of Cultural Renaissance that Leonette wrote and recorded the timeless classic Palé Kwéyòl.

It was no accident that Choiseul was chosen District to host the first historic Jounen Kweyol in 1984. That laid the platform for future successes. The first theme - “Kweyol an san nou” - (which was crafted by Choiseulians) is the mother of all themes.

Perhaps the Ministry of Creative Industries should consider the commissioning of more organised research of the models and modalities of that “epoch” that may have shaped the Kweyol Renaissance. That was the period when St. Lucia was transitioning from “Patois” to English but in the transition we made the Kweyol better and gave it greater legitimacy.

By the way, I have to pay tribute guys like Musa and his group, Lapo Kabwit, Ma Bébé, Mr Wowo, Rameau Poleon, the Soufriere Action Theatre (SAT) and the numerous groups around St. Lucia for their sterling contribution to the preservation of our Kweyol.

I’m so proud of my Kweyol; and I’m so happy that I can speak it. I may never live to see the day when Kweyol literature will be become an integral part of Lucian Literature and as a subject on our school curriculum; but I have faith it will happen one day. 

Friday, October 4, 2013


The article below is reproduced from Torrent Freak:

The London School of Economics and Political Science has released a new policy brief urging the UK Government to look beyond the lobbying efforts of the entertainment industry when it comes to future copyright policy. According to the report there is ample evidence that file-sharing is helping, rather than hurting the creative industries. The scholars call on the Government to look at more objective data when deciding on future copyright enforcement policies.

Over the past years there have been ample research reports showing that file-sharing can have positive effects on the entertainment industries.

Industry lobbyists are often quick to dismiss these findings as incidents or weak research, and counter them with expensive studies they have commissioned themselves.

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) jumps into the discussion this week with a media policy brief urging the UK Government to look beyond the reports lobbyists hand to them. Their report concludes that the entertainment industry isn’t devastated by piracy, and that sharing of culture has several benefits.

“Contrary to the industry claims, the music industry is not in terminal decline, but still holding ground and showing healthy profits. Revenues from digital sales, subscription services, streaming and live performances compensate for the decline in revenues from the sale of CDs or records,” says Bart Cammaerts, LSE Senior Lecturer and one of the report’s authors.

The report shows that the entertainment industries are actually doing quite well. The digital gaming industry is thriving, the publishing sector is stable, and the U.S. film industry is breaking record after record.

“Despite the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) claim that online piracy is devastating the movie industry, Hollywood achieved record-breaking global box office revenues of $35 billion in 2012, a 6% increase over 2011,” the report reads.

Even the music industry is doing relatively well. Revenue from concerts, publishing and digital sales has increased significantly since the early 2000s and while recorded music revenues show a decline, there is little evidence that piracy is the lead cause.

“The music industry may be stagnating, but the drastic decline in revenues warned of by the lobby associations of record labels is not in evidence,” the report concludes.

The authors further argue that file-sharing can actually benefit the creative industries in various ways.

The report mentions the success of the SoundCloud service where artists can share their work for free through Creative Commons licenses, the promotional effect of YouTube where copyrighted songs are shared to promote sales, and the fact that research shows that file-sharers actually spend more money on entertainment than those who don’t share.

“Within the creative industries there is a variety of views on the best way to benefit from online sharing practices, and how to innovate to generate revenue streams in ways that do not fit within the existing copyright enforcement regime,” the authors write.

Finally, the report shows that punitive enforcement strategies such as the three strikes law in France are not as effective as the entertainment industries claim.

The researchers hope that the U.K. Government will review the Digital Economy Act in this light, and make sure that it will take into account the interests of both the public and copyright holders.

This means expanding fair use and private copying exceptions for citizens, while targeting enforcement on businesses rather than individuals.

“We recommend a review of the DEA and related legislation that strikes a healthy balance among the interests of a range of stakeholders including those in the creative industries, Internet Service Providers and internet users.”

“When both [the creative industries and citizens] can exploit the full potential of the internet, this will maximize innovative content creation for the benefit of all stakeholders,” the authors write.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Nelson King

NEW YORK, United States, Monday September 30, 2013, CMC – St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says he plans to intensify efforts in addressing the issue of Reparations for Native Genocide and Slavery when he assumes the chairmanship of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) early in the new year.

“When I take over the chairmanship of CARICOM in January I hope to get letters to Europe,” Gonsalves, who is here for the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Debate, told a standing-room-only town hall meeting in Brooklyn late Saturday.

“We’re going for reparations because of state-sponsored genocide and state-sponsored slavery”, he added.

“Europe, by engaging us in this matter, can make us more free,” he continued. “We need reparations, but we need available resources.”

The Vincentian leader, who has been taking the lead in CARICOM on the issue, said efforts at seeking reparations from Europe are “not a conversation about protests.

“This is a serious conversation to see what is the legacy,” he said. “I’m not a little boy holding up a placard. I’m the Prime Minister of an independent country.”

Gonsalves warned that, as the reparations issue gains ground, European governments and their “agencies” are already “finding means to divide the Reparations Movement,” adding that “Reparations is for all of us.”

He noted that when former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide first raised the issue of reparations, in the early 2000s, from France, “the French Government organized for Aristide to – let me put it nicely – to go into voluntary exile.”

Gonsalves said some European governments and diplomats have stated that the reparations matter should not be adopted by governments but by the people.“But I represent the people, I speak for them,” Gonsalves retorted.

“Reparations are to repair the consequences,” he added. “The British carried out and killed 80 percent of the Callinago [St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ indigenous people].

“We’re looking at the legacy – the problems in education, in health,” he continued. “In the Caribbean, people of African descent have higher incident of diabetes and high blood pressure than elsewhere. How come in West Africa you don’t have that?”

Gonsalves said his country’s hosting of the recent, first-ever Regional Conference on Reparations for Native Genocide and Slavery was the first step in the Caribbean's quest to “address and redress a psychic, historical, socio-economic, and developmental wound that is, for CARICOM, 14 nations wide and 400 years deep.

“The genocidal oppression and suffering of my country's indigenous Callinago, the Garifuna, and enchained Africans have been rightly adjudged to have been a horrendous crime against humanity,” he told the UN General Assembly last week.

“Accordingly, the collective voice of our Caribbean civilisation ought justly to ring out for reparations for native genocide and African slavery from the successor states of the European countries, which committed organised state-sponsored native genocide and African enslavement. 

The awful legacy of these crimes against humanity – a legacy which exists today in our Caribbean – ought to be repaired for the developmental benefit of our Caribbean societies and all our peoples,” he added.

“The historic wrongs of native genocide and African slavery, and their continuing contemporary consequences, must be righted, must be

repaired, in the interest of our people's humanization,” he continued.

Gonsalves urged European nations to “partner in a focused, especial way with” the Caribbean in executing this “repairing.”

“Thus, the demand for reparations is the responsibility not only of the descendants, in today's Caribbean, of the Callinago, the Garifuna, the Amerindian, and the African. It is undoubtedly an agenda for all of us to advance, to promote, to concretise, and to execute,” he said.

The Vincentian leader said the struggle for reparations represents, immediately, a defining issue for the Caribbean in this 21st century, stating that it promises to make both Europe and the Caribbean “more free, more human, more good-neighbourly.”

Recently, CARICOM decided to place the quest for reparations at the centre of its developmental agenda.

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas told the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly that he was joining with CARICOM Member States in supporting the case for reparation associated with the atrocities of slavery.

Douglas said that though the repercussions of slavery “on the lives of those of our ancestors cannot be quantified, we are convinced that the deleterious effects which, even now, are translated into much hardship and poverty for the descendents of our ancestors, must be resolved.”

Nelson A. King

While speaking on the erection of a memorial at the UN in honor of the victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller also said she was supportive of the call for an international discussion on the issue but in a “non-confrontational manner.”

“We fully support the initiative for a declaration of a Decade for Persons of African Descent,” she declared.

Jose Francisco Avila, the Honduran-born chairman of the the Bronx, New York-based Garifuna Coalition, USA, Inc., who attended the town hall meeting with Prime Minister Gonsalves, said he looks forward to working with the CARICOM Reparations Commission, along with Garifuna representatives from the Diaspora, “in seeking justice for the crime of genocide committed against our ancestors by the British.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Friday August 30, 2013 – Clouds of African dust have been sprinkling their contents across the Caribbean for as long as there's been sand in the Sahara Desert. The phenomenon is nevertheless attracting increasing attention from regional scientists who believe that the clouds have grown, even if there's no global consensus on the issue.

Recently, an unusually large cloud dusted the Eastern Caribbean, generating hazy skies and vivid sunsets before drifting over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and moving on to be detected as far away as Wyoming in the United States.

Satellite images from NASA show these huge, smoky clouds wafting westward from Africa and blanketing hundreds of square miles.

Although the microscopic dust particles sent aloft by African sandstorms have hitherto been accorded little more than moderate interest, experts are now saying that the particulate matter may be cause for health concerns and merit more study to understand their potential impact.

According to Braulio Jimenez-Velez, a specialist in molecular and environmental toxicology at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, "It is a matter of great magnitude, interest and importance for health." 

So far this year, Sahara dust has prompted two health alerts in Puerto Rico for asthma sufferers and people with allergies. The Dominican Republic also issued a warning.

Many Caribbean territories, including Puerto Rico, have high asthma rates, but no direct link has been established between African dust and higher rates of asthma or lung cancer.

Over time, human activity has changed the composition of the clouds, with scientists saying that they now contain trace amounts of metals, microorganisms, bacteria, spores, pesticides and faecal matter, although no evidence exists that the quantities are sufficient to pose a threat.

African dust sampled in Barbados also had elevated levels of arsenic and cadmium, according to Joseph M. Prospero, professor emeritus of marine and atmospheric chemistry at the University of Miami.

"The specific impact on health is not known here or anywhere else. It has been extremely difficult to link specific particle composition to health effects," said Prospero, who is lead author of a paper on the dust to be published in September by the bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

"So it cannot be said what effect all this dust has, but there is reason for some concern," the expert added.

Eugenio Mojena of Cuba's Institute of Meteorology said the particles are believed to originate in the semi-arid Sahel region south of the Sahara Desert, where farmers raise livestock and employ chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Experts also worry that chemicals in the clouds may pose a threat to coral, although the theory is still a subject of debate.

The dust clouds can also complicate air traffic by reducing visibility to less than 3 miles, said Jason Dunion, a researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

On a more positive note, the dust-laden clouds may inhibit the formation of hurricanes and other tropical weather systems in the Caribbean.

According to Prospero, lower rainfall in West Africa presumably causes more dust, which reduces sunlight, lowers water temperatures and cuts evaporation, all factors in cyclonic formation