Tag Archives: 2012

Regional Roundup: The Caribbean’s input to the US Presidential Debates

The US Presidential Debates are over. The countdown to Election Day has begun.  This national event has generated International attention and opinion.  What is the implication of the final outcome for the over 39 million people in the Caribbean region?

While the region may not be the subject of hotly debated Foreign Policy, West Indians are nevertheless engaged and ready to cast their imaginary ballots! Today’s post will take you the heart of the issues – as seen from the Caribbean citizen’s perspective. This will be achieved through visits to the Regional Dailies. I hope you’re prepared for the virtual flight!

Guyana: Coming US Elections and CARICOM

This Op-ed contribution looks at first impressions and hopes following the 2008 Election. It goes on to explore the rise of the Latin American States and their influence, Drug trafficking in the region, FTA and Inter-American relations.

Trinidad and Tobago: Is Obama or Romney better for the Caribbean?

An interesting piece that looks at the impact of US Policies on the Financial Services Sector in the Caribbean, particularly through the passing of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). It also visits Development aid, Drug trafficking, Cuba and Venezuela.

The US Election is everyone’s business

Jamaica: Time to man up in face of dwindling foreign aid

While not specific to the US, the contribution looks at the change in European policy and position, particularly as it impacts on the availability of Development aid dollars.

Cayman Islands: Peering into the Future of Cayman

Here one writer in the Cayman Islands explores how contraction of growth in the US has affected their tourism and financial services sector.

Turks & Caicos: Caribbean Finance Industry faces up to FATCA

This article gives further insight into the Financial Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)

Turks & Caicos: Rebound expected in financial services and real estate

This contribution takes a look at the other side, the alternative perspective – how the Turks & Caicos hopes to benefit from low interest rates being offered in US and Canadian Banks.

Without a doubt, the Caribbean is engaged and contemplating the outcome of this election. Guyana’s Stabroek News reported “US Debate overtakes Parliament” Members of Parliament moved to dismiss the sitting of the National Assembly earlier than scheduled in order to facilitate viewing of the final Debate. This decision attracted a wide range of opinion amongst the Guyanese public.

A busy day in the heart of Port of Spain, Trinidad

Two other hot topics are China and Women’s Rights – more than sufficient material for another post. For now I will direct your attention to fellow blogger Catrionakn who wrote an excellent post Rights Round up, which looks at Women’s Rights across the globe – amongst others. I also thank her for inspiring this post. It is always great sharing, engaging with and learning from my blogging community.

My final question to you, after all you’ve read, what do you think is in store for the Caribbean – US relations in the next four (4) years and which Candidate do you think will best champion our cause?

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National Pride as Reggae Boyz finally beat USA

Hanging out with the Reggae Boyz before the big game against USA!

On Friday September 7th 2012, a milestone in the history of the Jamaican people was achieved.

After 21 outings, including 2 Olympic qualifiers (11 wins for the USA and 9 draws), Jamaica finally conquered their football nemesis and achieved a 2-1 victory over the USA! With a 27,000 strong crowd backing them in the National Stadium, the Reggae Boyz gave Jamaica a splendid gift on the anniversary of it’s 50th year of Independence. In typical Jamaican style, the game kicked off with a prayer. Spirits dampened quickly as the US scored within the first 45 seconds of the game. Thankfully it was their only goal for the night.

This game was an excellent reminder of the place of sport in nation building and national pride. For me, the most exciting part of it all was meeting the Reggae Boyz before the match. We gave them hugs and sent them off to win. So since it’s now established that I am partly the lucky charm, I’m off to find Trinbago’s “Soca Warriors” footballers. Just before I do – Congratulations Reggae Boyz!

Rags to Riches & Kingston pon de river 2012

During the day I eat with Royalty,

Converse with the powers that be,

Guide the movers and shakers…

But at night I dine like a pauper;

I commute with the poorest of society;

In the early mornings I converse with the King Himself,

Before leaving to start it all over again.

(Copyrighted 2012 OMB)

I was priviledged to join the Assemblies of Holiness church in a weekly trip to downtown Kingston – specifically the Poor Relief Department (aka “Poor House) to feed several homeless persons. Honestly, you don’t appreciate what you have until you’ve engaged in an activity like this. If you have a queasy stomach, perhaps its not for you, as sadly these street persons dont always have the opportunity for a bath or clean clothes. I was happy to be able to do the little that I could and felt awed at how they initiated the singing of a hymn of praise before eating the meals we provided.

On a different note, it was also the culmination of the literary, arts & music festival – “Kingston pon de river” in Boone Hall Oasis. What an experience! From the comfortable (& free!!) shuttle ride into the mountains to the Oasis, to the easy flowing river strewn with boulders, lots of local craft on display, food, drinks and good music. All set amidst lush bamboo and old trees, flowers, birds and thousands of insects. It was poetry galore from various artistes, some accompanied by drumming, a comedic interlude that set us rolling, a gospel jazz component featuring an American artiste on sax and live band rocking some serious oldies. Minister of Youth & Culture, Lisa Hanna, also did some reading from one of her favourite books.

Somehow I ended up on camera as one the performers jumped off stage, came over to me and started singing “Baby I love you” to which of course I had to respond in my best singing voice. Thankfully the rain did not start pouring! The evening culminated with drumming & dancing around a beautiful bonfire just after dusk and a walk along a pathway lit with tealight candles. Thanks Shalini for the great company as we took it all in from our vantage point on beach mats on the grass:) It’s really the little experiences in life that have the ability to give the greatest pleasure.

Forest Trek 2012 – 5000ft above sea level!

Today April 22nd is designated International Mother Earth Day. Earth Day has been celebrated annually since 1969 and is usually observed by events designed to increase awareness of the earth’s natural environment. Throughout the world thousands of persons volunteer their time, energy and efforts to projects such as tree planting and beach cleanups to name a few. The observance however is not without its critics, who see it as only another opportunity to celebrate the marginalisation of environmental issues in the world agenda and for businesses to promote “green” products, without necessarily caring about the real impact of our individual actions on nature.

For approximately 500 persons in Jamaica, it was an opportunity to participate in Forest Trek 2012, organised by the Forestry Department. I was one of the 500, along with eight other friends who chose to rise out of bed by 5:00am, stretch, load up and embark on a 7km journey into the Blue Mountains with the aim of planting a tree in the rare, high elevation botanic garden, located some 4800-5200 ft above sea level – Cinchona Gardens. It is the only one of its kind in the Caribbean. Having done this walk some 14 years ago, I could not help feeling nostalgic as I retraced my footsteps.

The day was perfect for such an endeavour and allowed for clear, panoramic views of steep plunging mountainsides dotted with homes, vegetable gardens and grazing animals in some of the most unlikely places. Some perched at seemingly precarious angles into the mountainside or almost hidden in the deep valleys – all a testament to human skill in building. Pine trees soared to heights of 30 metres and more, rivers and streams sounded their voice from hidden locations, birds called to us from their perches and exotic flowers greeted us along the pathways. An easy camaraderie and chatter amongst us would often wane as we were overcome by the beauty of it all. Passing through Clydesdale Estate – one of the first to plant coffee commercially in Jamaica – allowed for a few quick photos of the old water wheel and coffee mill. The Estate is over 200 years old and is now the largest forest reserve in Jamaica. Few words can descibe the beauty of Cinchona Gardens, with its soft grass, thousands of flowers, hidden pathways & trails and plunging views. My vocabulary is unable to do it justice. Hopefully my photos will.

I felt such a sense of accomplishment after digging a hole and placing my tree in its new home. A small action on my part, but one which I know will be of immense benefit in the future.  A special thank you to those who shared this journey with me – Irina, Delphine, Shalini, Denton, Wendy, Erin, Marije & Daan. Happy Earth Day. Enjoy the photos.