• As Haiti political crisis deepens, international pressure grows

    Published on 25 March 2016 by ALTERNET.  (Written by Jake Johnston of the Centre for Economic and Policy Research in Washington DC.)

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    Economic growth is stagnant and millions of Haitians are facing food shortages after a series of droughts in the countryside.

    More than a month after his selection as Haiti’s provisional president, Jocelerme Privert finally has a government. His nomination for prime minister, and a 16-member cabinet, was approved by parliament in a marathon session that ended early this morning. It was a necessary first step in getting the delayed electoral process moving again, though no official date has been set. But as the political crisis drags on, international actors are increasing the pressure on the provisional government, reducing aid just as the country needs it most.

    Economic growth is stagnant, and millions of Haitians are facing food shortages after a series of droughts in the countryside. With inflation well in the double digits and a local currency that has lost 20 percent of its value in the last six months, many Haitians are scrambling to survive. But, an International Monetary Fund agreement, which could provide funds necessary to stabilize the economy and exchange rate, has stalled. Furthermore, support from the European Union and other donors is contingent upon the IMF agreement, leaving Haiti even worse off.

  • Ballot recount creates post-election tension in Jamaica

    Published on 1 March 2016 by teleSUR English.

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    The country’s outgoing and incoming prime ministers are appealing for calm, as recounting continues in an election that saw the Jamaica Labour Party securing an extremely narrow win.

    There have been quite a few developments since last Thursday’s surprise win by the Jamaica Labour Party, Feb. 25, removing the People’s National Party, which, under the stewardship of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, had governed the Caribbean country since December 2011.

    The election results were close and a number of recounts are taking place in key constituencies. Both outgoing Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and incoming Prime Minister Andrew Holness have appealed for calm as the recounting continues.   

  • Caribbean People do not Need Instruction from US on Venezuela Crisis

    Published 24 June 2017 by teleSUR

    The political and social battle that is now taking place in Venezuela is centred on an attempt by the local elite and their US backers to retake the Government and the oil industry.

    After reading the article by Ms Linda Taglialatela (the United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean) that was published in several of the newspapers of Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 under the headline “We Must Defend Venezuela's Democracy” or some such title, it occurred to me that only an ambassador representing the Administration of the egotistical Donald Trump would have the effrontery to believe that she is entitled to attempt to circumvent the national leadership of our countries by arrogating to herself the right to utilise our national news media to speak directly to the masses of our people and to enlist them in her (and her country's) unholy “regime change” crusade against the duly constituted and friendly Government of our fellow Caribbean state of Venezuela.

    Ensconced as she appears to be in an exaggerated sense of her own importance and authority over our people, Ms Taglialatela ends her article by admonishing the people of Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean as follows: “I urge you to let your leaders know that you stand shoulder to shoulder with the Venezuelan people as they fight for their fundamental human rights.”

    So, apparently Ms Taglialatela believes that she knows better than the prime ministers and other political leaders of our countries, and that it is up to her to inform and instruct what she no doubt perceives to be the ignorant and uninformed people of the Caribbean.

    Indeed, Ms Taglialatela seems to think that she knows the situation in Venezuela even better than Ms Ines Esparragoza, the mother of the late Orlando Figuera — the 21-year-old Afro-Venezuelan who was brutally beaten by a crowd of white Opposition supporters, stabbed six times, doused with gasoline, and set on fire. Orlando Figuera was burnt to death simply because he was black and was a supporter of the socialist party of Chavez and Maduro. His grieving mother publicly stated that the Opposition was directly responsible for his death. Does Ms Taglialatela really think that she knows better than the mother of Orlando Figuera?

    Well, I have news for Ms Taglialatela! The people of Barbados and the other Eastern Caribbean islands do not need any instruction from her. Our people are well aware that the defining feature of the history of the entire Latin American and Caribbean region is that for hundreds of years the masses of indigenous, mestizo, and black people were exploited and kept in an impoverished state by local white elites acting in partnership with the economic oligarchy of the metropolitian countries of Europe and North America.

    Our people are aware that just as this social pattern applied to Barbados and the other Eastern Caribbean territories, it applied to Venezuela as well.

    The masses of black and working-class people in Barbados and the rest of the Eastern Caribbean only began to experience significant social and economic upliftment when, in the 1950s, representatives of the black masses finally got their hands on the instruments of government and used them to share the national resources more equitably and to uplift the people.

    And so it was with Venezuela as well. It was only with the coming to power of President Hugo Chavez in 1999 that, for the first time, Venezuela became possessed of a president and a governmental administration that were deeply connected to the interests of indigenous, mestizo, black and impoverished Venezuelans.

    Ever since oil was discovered in Venezuela in the 1920s, big and wealthy American corporations had latched on to Venezuela and — in partnership with the white Venezuelan elite — had plundered and selfishly consigned the country's oil revenue to themselves, and to the exclusion of the black, mestizo, indigenous and working-class masses of the country.

    It was Chavez and his United Socialist Party that effectively snatched away Venezuela's tremendous oil resources from the hands of the US multinationals and the local white elite, and began to direct the oil revenue towards education, health, housing and other forms of social development for the impoverished masses.

    And so, our people know instinctively that the political and social battle that is now taking place in Venezuela is centred on an attempt by the local elite and their US backers to retake the Government and the oil industry that the Government now owns and controls.

    This is what you and the Trump Administration are really interested in, Ms Taglialatela — not in the welfare of the ordinary people of Venezuela.

    Indeed, the Government that you serve, Ms Taglialatela, has never been interested in the welfare of the ordinary people of Latin America or the Caribbean. It is well known, for example, that the US Government has a reputation for supporting any dictator who is willing to toe an American line and to permit American economic interests to flourish — Papa Doc Duvalier in Haiti, Somoza in Nicaragua, Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, Batista in Cuba, Pinochet in Chile, Marcos Perez Jimenez in Venezuela, Porfirio Diaz in Mexico, and a slew of brutal military strongmen in Guatemala, Brazil, Argentina, Honduras, El Salvador and Uruguay at various times between the 1960s and the 1990s.

    Finally, Ms Taglialatela, you must not believe that our people are so ignorant and uninformed about the situation in Venezuela that you can get away with the parroting of half-truths and distortions.

    You claim that the Maduro Government has “undermined” the Opposition-controlled National Assembly on the basis of “vague, unproven claims of electoral fraud allegedly committed by three legislators”. Surely you must know that this is a gross distortion. Why didn't you acknowledge that the Supreme Court of Venezuela ruled that the claims of electoral fraud had been proven, and as a result had gone on to instruct the National Assembly not to swear in the three legislators in question, but that the National Assembly openly and defiantly flouted the ruling of the Supreme Court and admitted the three disqualified legislators?

    You also claimed that the Supreme Court of Venezuela has stripped the National Assembly of all legislative authority. Here again, you must know that this is a half-truth. Why didn't you acknowledge that under the constitution of Venezuela the Supreme court has the legal power (and the responsibility) to temporarily take over the functions of any organ of the State that is failing to carry out its Constitutional responsibilities, and that the Supreme court took control of the functions of the National Assembly for a mere one day before rescinding the decision to do so?

    Why the need — Ms Taglialatela — for all the half-truths and distortions? Why not inform the Barbadian and Caribbean people that no nation on the face of this Earth has had as many internationally approved elections than Venezuela has had over the past 18 years, under the presidencies of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro?

    Why not inform our people that the United Socialist Party of Venezuela has won the vast majority of these elections, but that on every occasion that it has lost an election, it has respected and upheld the result? Indeed, isn't this why the opposition MUD party is now controlling the majority of seats in the National Assembly?

    Wasn't the December 2015 National Assembly election that was conducted under the auspices of the Maduro Administration not a free and fair election? And didn't the Maduro Administration accept the result, even though it was to their disadvantage? You insult our intelligence, Ms Taglialatela, when you suggest that Nicolas Maduro is an undemocratic dictator.

    The reality is that Nicolas Maduro won the presidential election in 2013 fair and square, and as a result he and his Administration are entitled to and will remain in office until the latter part of the year 2018, and hopefully — if it be the electoral will of the people — way beyond that date, as well. And no amount of orchestrated (and paid-for-by-wealthy-Opposition-politicians) violent street protests is going to change that.

    David Comissiong, attorney-at-law, is coordinator of the Caribbean chapter of International Network in Defense of Humanity.

    Originally published in the Jamaica Observer

  • Good news for the Eric Williams Medical Sciences complex

    Published on 25 January 2016 by Granma

    trinidad and tobago

    In the midst of the Caribbean, stand the “Twin Towers,” as the Eric Williams Financial Complex, located on Independence Square, Port of Spain, is known to locals.

    There is no other building as tall as this in Trinidad and Tobago, nor the rest of the English-speaking Caribbean, consisting of a pair of 22-story skyscrapers at a height of 302 feet (92m). Its construction, managed by architecture firm Anthony C. Lewis Partnership, started in 1979 and was completed in 1986. The first tower of the complex houses the country’s Central Bank, while the second is home to the Ministry of Finance.

    The complex, also known as Eric Williams Plaza, was named after Eric Eustace Williams, first prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, and also a noted historian and founder of the People's National Movement (1955).

    However, a few days on this island were enough to discover that “Sweet T&T”, as Trinidadians refer to their country, is a site of coincidences. Because there, in the northern central region of the island of Trinidad, which “floats” adjacent to the Orinoco Delta, stands another building with the same name, whose significance, at least in terms of life and death, is much more striking.

    They say the omen is usually “bad” when one arrives at the emergency room of a hospital. Perhaps it seemed so for the young man – about whom Dr. Rodolfo Arozarena Fundora now talks – who probably did not realize that Cuban hands, along with others from this land, were working to reverse his bleak prognosis. This is just one of the many stories that the Cuban medical brigade, collaborating in the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, has to tell.

  • Trump: "Persona Non Grata" in the Caribbean

    Published on 14 January 2018 by teleSUR English
    A statement by several Caribbean organizations declares Donald Trump "Persona Non-Grata" in the Caribbean. The statement, which will be formally announced at a press conference on Monday, is part of a chorus of condemnation emanating worldwide in protest at statements allegedly made by Donald Trump in regards to Haiti and El Salvador.

    "We, the under-signed representatives of the sovereign people of the Caribbean, hereby declare that President Donald Trump of the United States of America is "Persona Non Grata" in our Caribbean region!

    We further declare that as a "Persona Non Grata" President Donald Trump is NOT welcome in any territory of the Caribbean, and we hereby confirm that we - the Caribbean people - will petition our Governments, vehemently protest against any Trump visit, and engage in popular demonstrations designed to prevent President Donald Trump's entry into any portion of the sovereign territory of our Caribbean region.

    As sons and daughters of the Caribbean, we hereby affirm that the continent of Africa is the revered Motherland of a sizable majority of our people and that the Republic of Haiti -- the seminal architect of the destruction of the system of chattel slavery that held our ancestors in bondage -- is the foundational cornerstone of our Caribbean Civilization, and we, therefore, consider that any insult or attack that is directed at the African continent or at the Republic of Haiti is intrinsically an insult and attack that is directed at us as well.

    We further affirm that we Caribbean people -- in light of our history of experiencing, resisting, and surviving the most horrendous forms of enslavement and colonialism -- consciously regard ourselves as champions and defenders of the dignity and fundamental human rights of all Black or African people, and that we are guided by an over-arching and non-negotiable principle of zero tolerance of any manifestation of anti-Black or anti-African racism or discrimination.

    It is against this background that we, the sovereign people of the Caribbean, have determined that by describing the nations of Africa, the Republic of Haiti and the Central American nation of El Salvador as "shithole" countries, U S President Donald Trump has committed a despicable and unpardonable act of anti-Black, anti-African, anti-Brown racism that has served to further energize and fortify the vile White supremacy system that the said President Trump has self-consciously sought to champion and lead.

    We -- the sovereign people of the Caribbean-- hereby declare to the entire world that we vehemently and unreservedly denounce President Donald Trump and the evil and inhuman White supremacy value system that he represents"


    1. Clement Payne Movement of Barbados
    2. Pan-African Coalition of Organizations (PACO)
    3. Israel Lovell Foundation of Barbados.
    4. Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration (CMPI)
    5. Caribbean Chapter of the International Network in Defense of Humanity
    6. Global Afrikan Congress
    7. Caribbean Pan-African Network (CPAN)
    8. Peoples Empowerment Party (Barbados)
    9. Pan-African Federalist Movement--Caribbean Region Committee
    9. International Committee of Black Peoples (Guadeloupe)
    10. Jamaica/Cuba Friendship Association
    11. Jamaica LANDS
    12. SRDC Guadeloupe / Martinique Chapter
    13. Ijahnya Christian  (St. Kitts and Nevis)
    14. Dorbrene O'Marde  (Antigua and Barbuda)
    15. NswtMwt Chenzira Davis Kahina  (Ay Ay Virgin Islands-US)
    16. Ivana Cardinale (Venezuela)
    17. Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad & Tobago
    18. Organization for the Victory of the People (Guyana)
    19. Gerald Perreira (Guyana)
    20 Black Consciousness Movement of Guyana
    21. Conscious Lyrics Foundation  (St. Martin)
    22. Myrtha Delsume (Haiti)
    23 Anthony "Gabby" Carter (Barbados)
    24. Cuban /Barbadian Friendship Association
    25. Friends of Venezuela Solidarity Committee (Barbados)
    26.  Maxi Baldeo (Barbados)
    27. Dr. Nancy Fergusson Jacobs (Barbados)
    28. Ayo Moore (Barbados)
    29. Haiti / Jamaica Society
    30. Anthony Reid (Barbados)
    31.Cheryl Hunte (Barbados)
    32. Hamilton Lashley (former Barbados Minister of Government)
    33. Erica Williams (Guyana)
    34. Kilanji Bangarah (Namibia / Jamaica)
    35. International Movement for Reparations  (Martinique)
    36. Alex Sujah Reiph (St Martin)
    37. Thelma Gill-Barnett  (Barbados)
    38. Khafra Kambon (Trinidad and Tobago)
    39. Margaret Harris (Barbados)
    40. Jacqueline Jacqueray  (Guadeloupe)
    41. Garcin Malsa (Martinique)
    42. National Committee for Reparations (Martinique)
    43. Officers and Members of the Global Afrikan Congressuk  (GACuk)
    44. Jamaica Peace Council
    45. Ingrid Blackwood (Jamaica)
    46. Glenroy Watson (President, RMT's London Transport Regional Council / Jamaica)
    47. Paul Works (Jamaica)
    48. Abu Akil (United Kingdom / Jamaica)
    49. Kwame Howell  (Barbados)
    50. Ian Marshall  (Barbados)
    51. Michael Heslop (Jamaica)
    52. Andrea King  (Barbados)
    54. Cikiah Thomas  (Canada / Jamaica)
    55. Bobby Clarke (Barbados)
    56. Trevor Prescod, Member of Parliament (Barbados)
    57. David Denny (Barbados)
    58. John Howell (Barbados)
    59. Lalu Hanuman (Barbados / Guyana)
    60. Onkphra Wells (Barbados)
    61. Rahmat Jean-Pierre (Barbados)
    62. Philip Springer (Barbados)
    63. Cedric Jones  (Guyana)
    64. David Comissiong (Barbados)
    65. Selrach Belfield  (Guyana)
    66. Kathy "Ife" Harris  (Barbados)
    67. Andrea Quintyne  (Barbados)
    68. Felipe Noguera  (Trinidad & Tobago)
    69. Suzanne Laurent  (Martinique)
    70. Line Hilgros Makeda Kandake (Guadeloupe)
    71. Kerin Davis  (Jamaica)
    72. Delvina E. Bernard  (Africentric Learning Institute, Nova Scotia, Canada)
    73. Muhammad Nassar  (Barbados)
    74. Anthony Fraser  (Guyana)
    75. Troy Pontin  (Guyana)
    76. Nigel Cadogan  (Barbados)
    77. Ras Iral Jabari  (Barbados)
    78. Nicole Cage  (Martinique)
    79. Robert Romney  (St Martin / Guadeloupe)
    80. Anne Braithwaite  (Guyana)
    81. Icil Phillips  (Barbados)
    82. Marie Jose Ferjule (Martinique)
    83. Errol Paul  (Guyana)
    84. Erskine Bayne (Barbados)
    85. Robert Gibson (Barbados)
    86. Alister Alexander (Barbados)
    87. Mark Adamson  (Barbados)
    88. Junior Jervis (Guyana)
    89. Lee Bing  (Guyana)
    90. Akram Sabree  (Guyana)
    91. Rudolph Solbiac  (Martinique)
    92. Stephane Eveillard  (Haiti)
    93. Suzy Sorel (Martinique)
    94. Luciani Lanoir  (Martinique)
    95. Ras Bongo Wisely  (St Lucia)
    96. Caribbean Rastafari Organization
    97. Dr. Rodney Worrell  (Barbados)
    98. David Bannister  (Barbados)
    99. Ismay Griffith  (Barbados)
    100. Edson Crawford  (Barbados)
    101. Guy M A Vala  (Guadeloupe)
    102. Urielle Guillaume
    103. Laetitia Fernandez
    104. Fraiderik Jean-Pierre
    105. Vivi Romney (Guadeloupe)
    106. Emmanel Fleurant (France)
    107. Colette Galiby
    108. Monique Ravenet
    109. Djaka Apakoua
    110. Laura De Lacaze
    110. El B Gourdin
    112. Joseph Jacques
    113. Bella Nazaire  (Martinique)
    114. Jean-Claude Dorvil  (Haiti / Canada)
    115. Aisha Comissiong (Barbados)
    116. Donai Lovell (Barbados)

  • Venezuela negotiates “historic” deals with Trinidad & Tobago

    Published on 25 May 2016 by

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    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has struck a set of “historic” bilateral deals with his Trinidadian counterpart, including the creation of a joint energy project geared towards natural gas exportation.

    Both heads of state announced the series of cross-border initiatives in energy, security, and commerce on Monday from St Ann’s, Trinidad and Tobago, where Maduro met with Prime-Minister Keith Rowley during a whirlwind trip to the Caribbean.