Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dominica: The Caribbean’s Next “Terror Island”?

Senior Research Fellow of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (A Washington-based think tank) Nikolas Kozloff have raised the issue of whether Dominica is the next terror island? Translation, the next Grenada.

Writing under the caption Dominica: The Caribbean’s Next “Terror Island”? in COHA’s newsletter of February 28, 2008, Kozloff noted that “the possibility of Dominica emerging as a “Terror Island” for a radicalized U.S. regional policy is very real.”

He went on to say that “in the event that John McCain is elected president, the stage could be set for confrontation with the Dominica leadership.”

Kozloff warns rather ominously that “the prospect of a tough operator like McCain taking command in Washington must genuinely worry those committed to a new emphasis on regional self-determination. With the grim fate of Grenada and Chile under Salvador Allende in mind, tiny Dominica has good reason to be apprehensive over its approaching destiny, whatever that might prove to be.”

Read the entire article

Starret Francois of the Gaylords Power Union dies

Dominicans who were alive in the 60’s and 70’s remember the Gaylords Power Union, they remember “Hit me with music” and of course they remember the blind music genius Starret Francois, Dominica’s own ‘Stevie Wonder’.

Sadly, Starret who hailed from Thibaud, died in London at the age of 60 from acute renal failure, leaving behind a son, four daughters and five grand children.

I was too young to remember everything about the band but throughout the years I have occasionally thought about and remembered the Gaylords and Starret Francois.

Read entire article

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dominican Patriot, War Veteran and Civic Hero

The news this morning of the death of my friend and former employer Allan Buntin comes as a shock. Of interest was a remark yesterday by Karol Phillip that there may be a military funeral on Dominica soon. He had made that remark to me when I referred to Alan in a conversation when I asked where we could get acid for batteries and Karol said - maybe Martinique. That was strange that we would have to go to Martinique now for acid, as we used to make battery acid at Alan's firm, Smith & Lord, back in 1976. Now this news.

Read Entire Article

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Former DLP Senator to Contest Next Elections for the UWP

Former Dominica Labour Party Senator Griffin St. Hilaire called on the poor and working classes of Dominica to not lose hope, but to hold on until the UWP takes office at the next general election.

St. Hiliare who lost to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt for the leadership of the DLP in 2004 recently announced that he would contest the next elections, due in 2010, with the opposition United Workers Party (UWP).

The former senator who is currently employed with the United Nations said that the DLP had betrayed the working class of Dominica. He said that the UWP would place Dominica back on track, on the development path from where they left off in the year 1999.

St. Hilaire noted that Dominicans are very unhappy at the moment, as a result of the high cost of living and a poor economy. He lamented the fact that the current labour party leadership is comfortable with collaborating with the local chamber of commerce to stop the importation of barrels of foodstuffs and home toiletries for the poor people of Dominica.

According to St. Hiliare, that type of thinking is contrary to the thinking of the late Prime Minister Rosie Douglas who had intended to increase the number of duty free barrels of foodstuffs that would have been permitted to enter Dominica for poor Dominicans.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Reflections on Education in Dominica

Growing up in Dominica, I was taught that a good education was the means by which I could provide a better life for myself and for my future children.

This belief was instilled in me at a very early age, first by my mother, then by my teachers at primary school and high school, and finally by my professors at college.

A good education was defined as getting A’s and B’s in all of my courses with an emphasis on A’s. A better life was defined as having a husband and children and taking my rightful place as a caregiver in society.

See full article at Reflections on Education

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Desperate Plea for Charles Lawrence (Charlo)

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." Ralph Waldo Emerson.

In life we never know how we will end up. We are in control of our destinies to a certain extent. Charles Lawrence was in control of his destiny up to a point. He did all the right things. A handsome young (in his mid 30s) and strapping man he was, but now he is a sick, sick young man.

What is so amazing about Charlo is his will, his outlook on life. Never in my life have I seen someone like Charlo, he just will not allow his sickness to get the better of him. His body wants to leave him, but Charlo's mind, his heart, and his loving soul will not allow his body get the better on him. I feel so humbled when I speak with Charlo as I did yesterday.

He is indeed an inspiration! I remember Charlo growing up as a young man in La Plaine, he was always one that the other young men could emulate. He was involved in church, in all village activities especially dealing with the youth, respectful and helpful to his elders.

He was a teacher before going to study in Cuba. Charlo was an elected member of the village council, we served together, and he was a force to reckon with on the council, vibrant, energetic, and smart.

His smile was and still is intoxicating! Charlo's laugh would make one forget about his or her sorrows even for a while.He has not lost that spirit. He is a champion, one of the unsung heroes of my village.

Charlo has been living in New Jersey for the past eight years, and even though he is quite sick, he remains involved in community activities around New Jersey, it is just a profound part of him.

Charlo needs us now, he needs us badly and urgently. His life is well worth saving, and we can help do that. He has been suffering from kidney disease and has been on dialysis for a long time now, but it has reached a point where he needs to move to the next level, which would be a kidney transplant, although he has been reluctant to do it, he finally agreed.

His sister is willing and ready to donate her kidney to him, but it will cost over $100.000 US to get it done, he has no insurance and since he is not a legal resident, he can’t get it done through any State or Government programs. Please let us help Charlo.

There are some of us in the group who can help in different ways. Our medical people may know of programs or well wishers in the medical profession who would be willing to help Charlo.. Our other members can help raise the funds. We can do it if we want to and Charlo is worth it. Please! Please! Please ! I beg you my brothers and sisters let’s do whatever we can to save Charlo’s life.

Editors Note: The Dominica Academy of Arts and Sciences has fully embraced the plea to help a fellow Dominican, and we are urging everyone to contribute through the DAAS by going to http://www.da-academy.org/memberfees.html and click on the Pay Pal donate button. All contributions are tax deductible, and can be made via credit card. Check payments can also be mailed to Treasurer – DAAS, P O Box 27254, Washington, DC, 20038.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Grand Fond Villager Turns 100

The number of Dominicans living above the age of 100 increased to sixteen with the 100th birthday celebration of Christiana Cuffy James (Ma Price) of Grand Fond.

Of the sixteen, two are men.Ma Price celebrated the special occasion in the presence of government officials, relatives and most of the villagers of the small South Eastern village.

She attributed her longevity to a simple, happy lifestyle, and eating well with her favorite dish being roast codfish and cocoy (a type of banana), with no oil.

She also loves eating tonton (food, usually breadfruit pounded in a wooden mortar). The number of centenarians in Dominica reached a high of 22 in 2005.

The oldest living person in Dominica is Violet Joseph of Roseau at the age of 109.

PM Skeritt Places on Hold Plans for the Building of an Oil Refinery

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt has announced that he is placing on hold plans to build an oil refinery in Dominica.

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela pledged to build the oil refinery in Dominica during a visit to that country in February, 2006.

There has however been mounting pressure from environmental groups, the opposition parties, the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association, and a wide segment of the Dominican population who were opposed to the building of the oil refinery.

Many maintained that such a facility would be at odds with Dominica’s image as the Nature Isle of the Caribbean.

In responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement, Opposition Leader Earl Williams said that this was simply a ploy by the Skeritt government to take off the pressure that has building in opposition to the oil refinery.

He expressed concerns that government will revisit the issue when the pressure has died down.