MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING …….CARICOM AND THE 21ST CENTURY – Mike Singh

The Rt Hon. the Baroness Patricia Scotland of Asthal QC This week the usual suspects that constitute the leadership of the Caribbean Community & Common Market (CARICOM) will be gathered for a weekend of deliberations, musical chairs, fun, frolic and self aggrandizement compliments of the overburdened CARICOM tax payer at some chic locale that the proverbial ‘Island in the Sun’ (Barbados) has to offer. In the meantime, close to 300,000 persons of Haitian heritage will be facing the gruesome reality of being kicked out of the Dominican Republic whilst The Commonwealth of the Bahamas continues relentlessly in forcibly repatriating hundreds of Haitians (born in The Bahamas) back to poverty stricken Haiti. Haiti can ill afford to absorb any more persons because it is still struggling to get on its feet following the disastrous earthquake that struck in 2010. In fact, it is an absolute disgrace and an insult to humanity that whilst Haiti is a full-fledged member of CARICOM – Haitians do not enjoy the full privileges of free movement under the Caribbean Single Market & Economy (CSME) and the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. The following are some important issues that the leaders and decision makers of CARICOM need to be asking themselves: (A)    Cuba is about to get a boost with projected strong investments in the local tourism sector with even a report that a group of institutional investors from the United Arab Emirates are interested in building a new airport in Havana. The thawing of relations with the United

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MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE: LEARNING FROM GANDHI AND MARTIN LUTHER KING IN THE CONTEXT OF GUYANA’S FUTURE – by Mike Singh

On June 7th., 1893 –  Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi ,  the father of the modern Indian independence movement was unceremoniously kicked off the first class section of a train whilst travelling from Durban to Pretoria in present day South Africa.  Gandhiji  or ‘Bapu’ as he was later on affectionately called was asked to move from the first class cabin to that of the van compartment because a white man sitting in the first class section objected to an Indian person sharing his same space.  Gandhi refused to budge on the basis that he was holding a first class ticket which he paid for and secondly having been admitted to practice as an Attorney in The British Commonwealth (South Africa was still a British colony) that he was therefore a subject of the British Realm and entitled to the same privileges and civil decorum he had come to enjoy years  earlier as a law student in Great Britain. Regrettably, that right was not realized until Mandela became President of South Africa more than 100 years later.  That event was start of South Africa’s long walk to freedom This epochal event in Gandhi’s life is what ultimately shaped his outlook on life thereafter because as he was kicked off that train in Pietermaritzburg – he chose to spend that cold and shivering winter night in the train station’s waiting room where he decided to stay in South Africa and wage the struggle against socio-economic and human injustices not just for persons of East Indian heritage but for the local black community as well. It is out of his principled stand that his policy of

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GAYS ARE MARTYRS – Marlene Daley

GAYS ARE MARTYRS Somewhere around 13/14 years old my mind took a mental picture of a man being stoned as he ran down the incline of the road toward my home in my little community. He was wearing an ankle length bridal dress, a lopsided tiara with an attached veil blowing in the wind, and heels that at a guess I would say were three inches high. Despite this, in flight he wobbled some sort of gymnastics that kept my eyes peeled to his feet for every safe landing. My entire little neighborhood had come out to watch this debacle. Where bodies were not in full view, heads could be seen furiously bobbing atop craning necks shouting pronouncements of “gay” or some other unpreferred banter, over their concrete fence. I had never before seen or heard of homosexuals. My head swirled with thoughts of the whereabouts of his groom, the pastor and his bridal party. I wondered if this bit of exhibition was meant to be a statement in advocacy of rights and liberty, but certainly I knew that he had to be straight up gay because one could tell in the moment, that no one in their right mind would dare to run such a joke in Jamaica in the 1960’s. In 1978 while going about my business in The Village in New York, bundled in sweaters that came up a tad bit short of staving off the 50 degree temperature, that felt more like 0 Fahrenheit to a

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THE NEWER STAGE OF PRESENCE AND CONSCIOUSNESS – Marlene Daley

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCMunBFFY_A      ……Eckhart Tolle It is always interesting to listen to each individual’s delivery on spirituality, “consciousness and presence”, the various avenues through which one can seek self fulfillment, and the necessary shifting of one’s mentality to accommodate the emergence of the “new being”. However, these suggestions remain elusive to many who have fought hard in striving to achieve this. While I am convinced of the thought from which all ideas flow, seeds bear fruit, or conceived visions manifest, it becomes difficult when we begin to look at the parallels. It is certainly not due to lack of ambition or effort that the millions of people who continue to seek out a better life have not found it, despite some having paid handsomely to even walk across flaming coals as living proof of the power of the mind. It may lead one to think; might the clues be something lost in childhood? I am convinced that children’s awareness of who they are and their purpose rear its head somewhere during the formative years, and that it may be the inability of parent/s to read or interpret the signs, coupled with, possibly an inability to follow through on the prompts of this awareness, that leaves individuals falling short of realizing their highest purpose. Though these observations are not etched in stone or borne of research findings, they have been gleaned over many years of discussions on the subject. Those tender years are few in comparison and can become lost or deeply

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TRANSGENDER – THE ISSUE AT HAND – Marlene Daley

TRANSGENDER AND ADVOCATE GEENA ROCERO The John Hopkins University and John Hopkins Hospital are names that have long ago been etched in halls of the highest repute and recognition for outstanding innovations and continuous research in medicine, sciences, engineering and patient care. The university that was founded over 125 years ago remains the standard bearer of relevance on these topics. Nurse educator and transgender advocate Paula Neira, speaks to this excellence in terms of the caliber of staff one can expect to find at their institution. Neira served as an officer in the 1991 Gulf War, eventually became a registered nurse and pursued a law degree, per the institution’s publication. She was instrumental in the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in America and is an active advocate for the transgender population. But while nurse Neira has become comfortable in her skin, having transitioned some 20 years ago, Dr. Paul McHugh, the past psychiatrist-in-chief for John Hopkins Hospital has presented his findings on transgender procedures based on research that at worse could be disturbing for many, but none-the-less calls for more serious consideration on crossing the threshold of surgery into the world of transgenderism. While I am at a loss for understanding Dr. McHugh’s statement that “changing the sex of a human is not possible,” since organs cannot regrow, and given the fact that there is evidence to the contrary, this leaves me unclear as well on whether or not his statement was meant metaphorically. But he has certainly trumped the

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HOW CUBA MAY AFFECT JAMAICA’S TOURISM – by Marlene Daley

Just the thought of Cuba opening up made me tremble, as I sat at The Tropicana cabaret club in Santiago in 1997, watching their tourist presentation. The costumes were the finest, most fabulous…… what I relate to as French couture. I was having visions of tourists flooding the island and thought, “When they do, Jamaica is going to suck salt through a wooden spoon.” I was seeing the richest culture I had ever experienced on display. The support of The Soviet Union and Germany was evident in many areas but so too was the great importance placed on development of a tourist nature. I didn’t see how we could compete for scarce revenue generated through this sector. Those fears have now become a reality and those thoughts, I might add, have been echoed by friends that I regard highly. There is going to be a massive reduction of tourists, and consequently, the laying off of too many people whose lifeblood is dependent on this if we do not act fast. The four ladies at the airport singing Three Little Birds is not going to be enough. I have given much thought to how we as a country could touch the soul of our visitors in terms of having them experience the richness of our culture, and the only thought I have come up with is  creating an experience unique to us and expressed by our congo drummers pulled from across the island. This would be a concert of sorts, presented

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