Monday, June 29, 2009

Dominica's Melville Hall Airport

By Dr Emanuel Finn

Melville Hall is a small airport tucked away beneath the hills of Marigot on the northeast coast of Dominica. Since 1958 it has been a historic migratory corridor to points North, south and beyond of our people.

It has been the 'road of flight' for Dominicans from all walks of life and socio-economic classes. The road on which many who traveled to the Florida Straits and points across and further north along the Atlantic Ocean and other destinations.

It has been the port of departure for the labourers who had enough, and finally took their chances in other places far away from their small communities and villages and also for the young, brilliant and confident Dominican students heading to college campuses abroad.

Construction of the airstrip was completed in 1958 soon after the completion of the Transinsular road. In 1961, funds from the Commonwealth Development and Welfare program made it possible to lengthen the airport runway and the building of a proper terminal.

In spite of proposals and 'political talk' of an international airport by politicians and different administrations, Melville Hall is still serving the citizens of this country in the best possible way it can. In fact, lately there have been discussions of providing night landing capabilities. We eagerly await this development.

The departures at Melville Hall taught Dominicans of what it meant to leave home. With every LIAT's departure (and later American Eagle and others) meant that somebody's dream to leave our small island came true, and the road they will have to travel ahead was a dream too.

The flights at Melville Hall carried away the people you knew and loved dearly and later brought these same people back as disapora strangers. People who had experienced a different lifestyle elsewhere far and near from the shores of Dominica.

With the building of Canefield airport, the economic importance and popularity of Melville Hall decreased immensely for a short time The word Melville Hall sounded like a place that belonged to a 'by- gone' era.

What remained were the beautiful scenery of the surrounding lush green mountains and a wide open void of the small airport itself. Occasionally the high pitch and noisy sound of a cargo plane or the rattling of stairs of a rare daily LIAT flight would awaken the silence of the surrounding rain forests, coconut and Banana fields.

The convenience of the Canfield airport just outside of the capital city (Roseau), compared to the 24 miles from Melville Hall passing through the steep hills, valleys and hairpin turns and winding roads of morne Deux Branche and the from Roseau, seemed too much of a car hike for most travelers.

Due to the frequent and dangerous cross winds and the short length of the runway at Canefield airport, the airlines and aviation authorities were uncomfortable with operations there.

Due to the safety of passengers and aircrafts and other reasons, operations at Canefield decreased immensely. Also the initiation of the profitable American Eagle airline service to Dominica from San Juan, the resurrection, prominence and popularity of Melville Hall came full circle once again.

A few years ago while waiting at Heathrow International airport for a transatlantic flight to Washington DC, I met an American gentleman who was traveling to (LAX) Los Angeles Airport. He visited Dominica some time ago and landed at Melville Hall airport on a LIAT flight.

He said that he was very frightened as the pilot approached the airport. He asked why the government isn’t building another airport in another location to accommodate international Air travel. I jokingly asked him if he knew of any one in America who could underwrite the costs of constructing an international airport on the island.

I found myself defending Melville Hall and our most mountainous island in the eastern Caribbean. I told the American Businessman that Melville Hall was not LAX where some 770,000 flights depart and arrive annually, and in time it would be much easier to travel to Dominica by air from any point of origin.

At the end of our discussion I could not help but to remember and reflect on the contentious and divisive political debates and arguments that occur at home on the building of an International airport.

No matter what is done to Melville Hall, I will always remember the first time I flew out of that airstrip, destined for North America armed with my dreams and fears of the big city and the unknown.

I also vividly remember the silent, sad and confused faces of my relatives in the small departure area when that moment was disturbed by the rusty sounds of the LIAT’s aircraft’s engines.

The engines' roar signaled to me in a very real way that I would be saying goodbye to my kinfolks, La Plaine, Castle Bruce, Roseau and points in between. While the plane was taxiing just before it airborned, I recalled my grandfather saying to me, "there are some men who go and some who stay and there is a big difference between staying and going".

I also thought of my life's preparation which I received on the steps, classrooms and sport fields of the Dominica Grammar School and in La Plaine. A few seconds after these thoughts crossed the deepest recesses of my brain, the plane disappeared into the blue Caribbean skies under the watchful eyes of choppy waters of the southern Atlantic.

Life would never be the same again for me. Whenever I listen to Harry Bellefonte's hit song, Jamaica Farewell, I always remember that that sunny Sunday afternoon with blue skies, when I left home aboard a LIAT Jet Plane.

Since that maiden trip out of Melville Hall airport I have traveled in and out of many airports in world. I still remember that flight out of Melville Hall about two decades ago. It has left an indelible mark on my mind because of the anguish and range of emotions I felt. That routine LIAT departure required an extraordinary amount of self- introspection.

The cost of departure (migration), the cost of the sacrifice and the cost of transformation have been high and sometimes painful, but also very rewarding. Crowded with unforgettable portraits of various emotions when one leaves the safe and secure surroundings of home, says something about our resilience and something important about us as a people from a small developing nation.

Dominica continues to produce 'rich' citizens in variety, tones and textures whether they hail from the towns, valleys, villages or/and hills.

In the end, for those of us who are serious about life, the human spirit always prevails wherever we find ourselves after we departed Melville Hall. On my many return trips to Dominica, I still find it most interesting but also frightening witnessing the fear in the eyes of some passengers during take- offs and landings as the planes clear the mountains and battle cross winds.

General Douglas MacArthur, the supreme commander of Allied forces in the Pacific during World War II, once said, "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away". Melville Hall airport is like an old soldier who has stood the test of time and battle.

Plane crashes, political, and professional engineering expert condemnation, popularity contests and other injustices. What seems to determine if it still has life depends on who is occupples the seat of the Prime Minister.

It is a very sad story that for over thirty years, Dominicans have heard the same 'recycled nonsense' about Melville Hall by different political parties and politicians.

For brave, seasoned and restless air travelers, glancing at an aircraft's window during arrivals and departures at Melville Hall is a priceless bargain. Beautiful majestic rolling hills and mountains, tropical rain forests, lush green coconut and banana fields, and the rugged Dominican coastline, say hello and good-bye. History will always be kind to this small airport, which nestles in the foothills along the Atlantic Ocean.

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Statement on fertilizer purchase from Logistical Supplies

By Dominica ministry of agriculture

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry finds it necessary to issue a statement on the purchase of fertilizer by the Ministry from Logistical Supply Solutions Inc. in February and November 2007. Certain persons have seen it fit to make allegations which are completely unfounded. They did so without first making any inquiry of the Ministry of Agriculture in order to ascertain the facts.
colin mcintyre
Dr Colin McIntyre brother of the proprietor of Logistical Supplies was agriculture minister at the time of purchase.

The Main Allegations

A significant allegation was that the Ministry did not receive a portion of the
fertilizer which it had ordered and paid for. The allegation is patently false. The
other allegation is that the Ministry paid excessive prices. This allegation too is
false. The price paid by the Ministry was determined by (i) the quantity required;
(ii) the time required for shipment and (iii) the quality of the fertilizer ordered.
The Ministry also ordered organic fertilizer which is normally more expensive than
chemical fertilizer.

Some Background Facts

The circumstances which led to the order of fertilizer are straightforward.
This country faced a serious situation with escalating prices for essential and basic
foods and inputs.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry therefore took
a strategic decision, in the face of this imminent world crisis, to urgently boost
local agricultural food production in an effort to ensure that adequate food from
local agriculture would be available in sufficient quantities to counteract the
impending high cost of imported foods.

To achieve this strategy, it was essential
to have, and soon, adequate supplies of inputs for use by farmers - both
commercial and subsistence farmers. This would ensure adequate production and
food security on island, and contribute to the sustainability of the all important
agricultural sector.

The First Order of Fertilizer

In furtherance of these production support programmes, the Ministry of
Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry purchased a quantity of fertilizer from Logistical
Supply Solutions Inc. in February 2007. The first order of fertilizer was purchased
by way of an invoice No 0172 dated 8th February 2007.

The breakdown of the order for 3,225 bags of fertilizer was as follows:
1,000 bags NPK 16-8-24 (50 kg bags)
1,000 bags NPK 15-15-15 (50 kg bags)
1,000 bags Di Ammonium Phosphate (50kg bags)
225 bags Organic Fertilizer.

The total cost of the fertilizer was US $110,012.50 or EC $299,006.86. This
shipment included organic fertilizer, which is more expensive than chemically
based fertilizer. Also, it should be observed that this first shipment was a relatively small consignment.

As a result, the price per bag was higher than would be expected with a much larger consignment such as the second shipment. Payment was made to Andre Dopwell of Logistical Supply Solutions Inc on 12th February, 2007.

All of the fertilizer ordered by the Ministry of Agriculture was received in two shipments in May and July/August 2007. This fertilizer was distributed by the Ministry to farmers free to support local crop production, thereby meeting the important goal of the Ministry, and by extension the Government of Dominica, to assist our farmers and alleviate the burden of high priced agricultural inputs.

The Second Order of Fertilizer

A second order of fertilizer was placed with Logistical Supply Solutions Inc. in
November 2007 following the passage of Hurricane Dean (August 2007). It is
important that we recall the considerable damage to the agricultural sector caused
by Dean.

This urgent order of inputs was intended specifically to support the rapid
rehabilitation of crops in the agricultural sector which were destroyed by the
Hurricane. The fertilizer was purchased based on Invoice No11142007 dated 14th November 2007.

The breakdown of the second order was for the following:
375 tons NPK 15-15-15
350 tons NPK 16-8-24
350 tons NPK 12-12-17
175 tons White Lime.

The total cost of this order was US $612,805 or EC $1,664,929.90. Because of the
large quantities involved, the price per bag was less than in the first order. Payment was made to Andre Dopwell of Logistical Supply Solutions Inc. on
27th November 2007.

The Ministry requested that the fertilizer be shipped to Dominica in four (4)
shipments as follows:
- Shipment 1 – 375 tons, immediately upon payment
- Shipment 2 – 375 tons , two weeks following shipment 1
- Shipment 3 – 325 tons, three weeks following shipment 2
- Shipment 4 – 175 tons, three weeks following shipment 3.

Due to production problems at the fertilizer plant, and the high demand for
fertilizer at that time, the fertilizer order was received in eight (8) shipments
totaling 1057 tons over a period of seven months.

For the reasons set out below, the amount ordered was reduced from 1250 tons to 1057 tons. The Ministry of Agriculture communicated with Logistical Supply Solutions Inc.
consistently in order to ensure that the fertilizers would be made available to the
farmers in need promptly.

Faxes were therefore sent to the company on the following dates:
- December 12th 2007;
- January 29th 2008;
- February 18th 2008;
- February 29th 2008;
- April 4th 2008;
- June 20th 2008.

These faxes establish that the Ministry was intent on ensuring that the specific
instructions given to the Company were adhered to and that the delivery of the
inputs took place within the time agreed by the Parties.

In response to the Ministry’s Fax dated January 29th 2008, Logistical Supply
Solutions Inc. informed the Ministry of Agriculture that a breakdown at the
fertilizer plant from which the fertilizer was being sourced, would cause delays in
the shipments resulting in increased costs.

The Company also communicated to the Ministry via Faxes dated March 3rd 2008
and May 19th 2008 that there was an increase in the world price for fertilizers and
that it was proving to be expensive and difficult to transport inputs into Dominica.

It is important to note that the Company’s statement made in relation to the
increase in world prices for fertilizers was totally justified by the fact that during 2008, fertilizer prices rose sharply as a result of the increased cost of petroleum products, including fertilizers and increasing demand for some fertilizer
ingredients such as potash.

In fact, global fertilizer prices rose by more than 200% in 2007/2008.Consequently, the quantity of the fertilizer order was reduced by the Ministry from
the 1250 tons originally ordered to 1057 tons in order to take into account and
reflect the higher prices and costs.

The reduced quantity of 1057 tons was received by the Ministry. All of the fertilizer received was distributed free to farmers islandwide for the purpose of replanting their crops destroyed by Hurricane Dean.

It should be therefore clear with the presentation of these facts, that the allegations that the Ministry did not receive all of the fertilizer it requested and alleged excessive prices in relation to the purchase of fertilizer by the Ministry are completely without foundation.

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

August general elections in Dominica? Newsdesk

Speculation continues to be rife on Dominica that Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit will call early elections maybe as soon as the first week in August, 2009. While these expectations are not new, they have taken on added significance in recent days.
hugo chavez
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is said to considering early elections.

Last weekend, the Prime Minister told his supporters at a rally that they should be ‘ready’ to go to the polls at anytime. Many believe that an early poll is imminent because the Prime Minister believes that the parliamentary opposition is not ready to contest the elections.

Others speculate that the recent scandal surrounding the garbage bins and fertilizer purchase has dealt a serious blow to his party’s integrity and that if the scandal continues to gain public scrutiny then it could spell the end of his administration. Much has also been made of the recent publication by the Electoral Office of the voters lists in the various districts.

Still others argue that Prime Minister Skerrit may be thinking that his chances are better if elections were held today rather than next year, when it is constitutionally due on May, 10, 2010. Those who make this argument points to the unprecedented amount of financial resources that has been given by the Chinese and Venezuelans to Dominica. They believe that now is as good a time as any to call for elections even as Dominica appears to be comfortably riding out the global economic crisis.

One thing is certain, and that is the country is increasingly taking on the appearance of imminent elections. Just last week, the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) held a major rally in La Plaine and has scheduled another for Goodwill on July 5, 2009; many are expecting a declared date at this time.

The leading opposition United Workers Party (UWP) has also scheduled its convention for later this month and there has been stepped up political campaigning in all the districts particularly by the ruling DLP.

Government is well within its right to call snap elections since they are required by law to hold elections within three months of the dissolution of Parliament.In the 2000 elections, the ruling United Workers Party called a snap election six months early and lost at the polls. This recent history may be weighing on the mind of the Prime Minister as he considers the pros and cons for launching an early election.

He may also be aware that incumbent Caribbean governments have not fared well at recent polls. For the eight CARICOM countries holding elections over the past two years, only two incumbent governments have been reelected.

Ruling parties in The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica and St Lucia all lost reelection with the exception of the Trinidad and Tobago and Antigua governments that received a further five years.

Many consider these winds of change as probably the most likely to derail Prime Minister Skerrit’s aspirations for leading his DLP to a third successive win at the polls.

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Dominica, coffee and the Venezuelan president

By Thomson Fontaine

The recent pronouncement by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez that he would soon establish a coffee plant in Dominica have led to many raised eyebrows at home and abroad. The Venezuelan president may however have hit on the single commodity that could restore Dominica’s place as a leading agricultural nation, and, if properly pursued could translate to a much needed economic boon for the island.
hugo chavez
President Chavez recently promised to build a coffee plant in Dominica.

Today as in the distant past, coffee continues to be one of the most sought after commodities in the world, and for those countries that can position themselves to take hold of this market, then great economic opportunities await.

Dominica has a long and storied history of growing coffee. Historians believe that the Arabian coffee was introduced into Dominica in the second quarter of the eighteenth century by early French settlers.

With the introduction of coffee, Dominica suddenly became a country of great interest not only to the French but also the British. The country appeared ideally suited for coffee production because of its abundant rainfall and vast expanses of highlands. From 1743 to 1753 coffee production nearly tripled moving from 684 700 pounds to 1 585 400 pounds.

By the time the French reluctantly ceded Dominica to the British at the Treaty of Paris in 1763 on account of the 1759 British invasion, coffee production had reached 1 690 360 pounds.

Despite the British introduction of sugar, constant fighting, and abrupt population movements that affected agricultural production, coffee continued to thrive. At its peak, more than 3 000 000 pounds were exported annually and it was considered to be of such fine quality that it usually obtained the highest price in the British market. Indeed, when slavery was abolished in 1833, and despite declining output, coffee production still contributed more than half of the country’s export earnings.

Following its heyday, coffee production declined steadily and in 1874 only 10 877 pounds were exported as the Arabian coffee was almost completely ravaged by a blight. In 1874, the British introduced Liberian coffee into Dominica believing it to be more disease resistant.

These hopes were fully realized and the joy of that moment was captured by Dr. H. A. A. Nichols a leading Dominican agriculturist, and founder of the Botanic Gardens who wrote ,” hopes that the new plants would be impervious to the ravages of the blight were fully realized for the young plants soon shot up into vigorous large shrubs, and loaded with flowers, and ripe and unripe berries.”

Dr Nicholls went on to say that the productiveness of the Liberian trees is “one of astonishment to those of the older residents who remember the coffee estates of forty years ago. The Liberian coffee plant is much larger, it flowers for several months so that flowers and berries may be found on the same plant, and the berries are twice the size of the ordinary coffee bean.”

According to Dr Nicholls “the flavor of the coffee is excellent, quite as good as Java coffee.” The success of the coffee was quickly evident because within a few years it was being exported to neighboring islands and by 1896 export production had climbed to almost 30 000 pounds.

At the time, Dr. Nicholls noted that coffee was full of promise for the future of Dominica. “In the island there are large tracts of virgin soil, well watered with fine streams, eminently adapted for the cultivation of coffee.”

Unfortunately, coffee never regained its former eminence as an export crop even as sugar, vanilla, limes and then bananas dominated Dominica’s agriculture production. However, it continued to be grown for local consumption. I well remember my childhood in the late seventies having to pick coffee for sale in the local market. Even today, I still vividly remember the aroma of that freshly roasted coffee brewing in the early hours of the morning.

Hurricane David in 1979 dealt a severe blow to the coffee crop, and it has since not been actively cultivated. However, the same conditions that existed when Dr. Nicholls made his observations still exists today, and all over the countryside, the coffee plant is once again reemerging.

One hopes that the desire by the Venezuelan president to build the coffee plant will be enough incentive to our farmers to begin to grow coffee. More importantly, good coffee fetches a premium on the international market.

There is no doubt that if policy makers and the agriculture community in Dominica take up this initiative that within a very short space of time coffee production can regain its glory days, and play a leading role in helping to alleviate poverty in Dominica. And for this I would say, “thank you Mr. President.”

Now, could the planting begin?

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jamaica PM: CARICOM at risk

By Gerald J La Touche JP

The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding, is on to something in his caution, “that the existence of CARICOM, the only organisation dedicated to the economic interests of Caribbean countries, was at risk.”
bruce golding
Bruce Golding the Jamaica Prime Minister has warned that CARICOM is at risk.

When he goes on to say, "There are a number of things that are happening now that are destabilising and threatening the existence of CARICOM," and that, "The political integration that is being pursued by Trinidad and a number of countries in the Eastern Caribbean may very well be commendable, but I believe that it is at the detriment to the deepening and strengthening of CARICOM," this is a clear indication that something is already very wrong.

Warning against the support of a rival organisation, Golding said: "I believe that the membership of ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas), which now engages three CARICOM countries, is going to have a destabilising effect on CARICOM. It is going to distract, it is going to divert and it is something that I believe that CARICOM leaders need to examine."

What is shocking about this statement is the fact that the Prime Minister saw it fit to raise these views at a public function and not in a private meeting of or with fellow CARICOM leaders. The PM can sense, like so many of us Caribbeanists, that the Caribbean agenda is going askew. This is a desperate and commendable plea by the Jamaican Prime Minister to his colleagues in CARICOM that the Caribbean ship, if not sinking, is at the very least sailing in the wrong direction. Or is it trying to sail in too many directions all at once!

In his conclusion the Prime Minister shared his most foreboding observation when he said, “I do not believe that any of us can believe that we are going to be better off trying to swim in this Caribbean sea on our own, but it is time for us to stop playing games, for us to stop mouthing integration and professing our commitment to this process when the pragmatic demonstration of that commitment is so often not being brought to the fore."

And so I too concur with all that PM Golding had to say. As a post-grad student of International Relations – Globalisation and Governance, and as someone who has worked at the EU Regional level for the past six years, I have found it extremely difficult to understand any linkages or alignment between the myriad of regional-integration initiatives being pursued by the Caribbean region at this given time. Today the main drivers of Caribbean regional-integration appear to be CARICOM, OECS, OECS+T&T, CSME and ALBA.

My every commentary for BBC Caribbean or for any other Caribbean News network has highlighted the confusion for the Caribbean citizenry to make sense of all of these different initiatives. As a senior policy person I find this totally confusing and disconnected. How then is the average Caribbean citizen supposed to make sense of these?

The obvious danger with all these different initiatives is not just the simple fact that they all lead down different paths and not towards a shared common goal or objective, but it is the fact that finite regional resources are having to be spread too thinly in servicing all these initiatives.

Therefore no one initiative receives enough concentrated resource and focus to truly deliver real integration for the Caribbean. Because of the spread between and across CARICOM, OECS, OECS+T&T, CSME and ALBA, not enough time and energy are available to truly deepen any one of these to achieve real integration.

We are therefore left with a Caribbean region besieged with a plethora of good regional-integration intentions but no real substance and leadership to allow for true integration. Policy statements launching new regional initiatives coupled with haphazard attempts at a fragmented delivery does not make up for real regional-integration strategy/policy.

I should know because I have been the Regional Economic Strategy Manager at a UK Regional Development Agency for the past six years - now the Senior Planning and Performance Advisor, covering a region of 5.2 million people with a 5 year budget of £2.2billion.

The above article was written with extracts and quotes from Jamaican Observer - Wednesday, June 10, 2009.

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

The Goddess, the Darkness and the Silence

By Julius Lewis

The foreknowledge to be acquired when we are talking about the Goddess or better yet, The Feminine Principles is to know that we are going deep, very deep I might add – and the deeper we go the darker it gets. The surface, we know is superficial, and superficial it is, indeed. The deeper one goes the closer one gets to reality as well as the darker it will be.

First, let us try to contextualize a misconception, there was no such thing as a moon goddess. The moon is not a goddess it is just a representative, a symbol, an emblem of a Greater Feminine Principle.

She controls every form of water – water is magnetic. The sun likewise, it is just a representative, a symbol, an emblem of a Masculine Principle not a god. The sun is the major distributor or storehouse of both forms of light; sidereal and terrestrial – fire is electric.

They are both, among other in the womb of space while space itself is in the womb of the Great Intelligent Feminine Principle. To begin with, Darkness has always been stronger than light and silence has always been stronger than sound, both of these are Principal Feminine’s Principles.

Their understanding gives rise to the belief of the Goddess who was the principal deity in many a land in ancient times which was supplanted by the northern mind-set, left brain cognitive influence.

As disoriented as this might appear to modern logic, in today’s abstract thinking the study of darkness, silence and the Goddess reveals a different reality only the deep broadminded abstract cognitive individual can see.

In other words, when one says Goddess rather than God the former is deeper, much deeper than the latter. The foreknowledge to be acquired is to know that there is a school which I will call the “PTU”.

We take a moment to realize that things are not always as they look and just sometimes the key will come from elsewhere or one has to look deeper to find the key. PTU in this case will be understood from right to left - Universal Teaching Power – a subjective circular school verses the objective square school from where we came.

In passing let me say that we wrote spiritual documents predominantly from right to left and sociopolitical and socioeconomically documents where written predominantly from felt to right. This was the breath of our thinking’s – ambidextrous.

PTU is a circular “word” when one reads it from right to left and pronounces it from left to right - hence we form a circle. Let us pretend that the right to left represents the real and the left to right represents the illusion – nothing can exist without its opposite and at the same time they are one.

The fact that it is three in one is of mere coincidence, or should it is synchronicity, then, it will be of immeasurable importance.
Before we take a look at The Feminine Principal’s Principles, it is important to see how we are connected to the universe and what activates the divine nature in us.

This is analogical for if we were to get a proper or deeper understanding of The Feminine Principle in all of us. So called man is hotwired to his maker through the breath and the right side of the brain. We know that the breath – that circular ladder is our main connection to the universe and the right side of the brain is hotwired in the slow deep breaths.

In other words our highest calling is answered by the right side of our brain and the right side of the brain is activated in the deep slow breaths. To say it in another way, deep slow breaths calm one down as it activates the right hemisphere of the brain.

We are told repeatedly to take deep breaths when we are agitated, upset, angry, and the like, as anger and shallow breathing need a certain rhythm or frequency to operate effectively. That is to say, shallow breaths and negative thoughts have a wholesome and consentaneous relationship to our detriments.

The deep breathing will break the rhythm – of course it mainly depends on duration of such. Needless to say the more deep breaths one take the closer one gets to her maker. Here is a list of some of the characteristics of the right brain left brain cortexes. This fact is of capital importance.

Right hemisphere Left hemisphere
Intuition Intellect
Imaginative Deductive
Subjective Objective
Timeless Historical
Multiple Sequential
Abstract Logical
Nonverbal / Art Verbal
Holistic Analytic
Metaphoric Rational
Existential Differential
Simultaneous Successive
Continuous Discrete
Vertical Horizontal

The “word” PTU beautifully expresses the concept or rather the paradox in knowledge. In other words you can learn from the subject – who is in boundless harmonic relationship with the Creator, or you can learn from the objective school – man, a book, and so forth. The arc of the PTU is directly directing us to the direct direction and how do we know that? It was not made by man. That is to say it is the truth above the truth.

When one looks at the fact that speech is on the left side of the brain, and silence/ art is on the right side of the brain this give weight to the belief that the Creator is the Unspeakable. Coupled with the fact that sound was born from silence and it must return to silence.

Silence like darkness (and we will get to that) cannot be made by man – one can only keep silence. So if silence is on the right side of the brain, and if silence is stronger than sound, and if silence cannot be made by man – not only is the Creator The Ultimate Silence, The Unspeakable, The Unutterable, but as the ancestors said; “our highest form of praise is a moment of silence” – to this day we keep a moment of silence.

Bear in mind that silence is a feminine principle – it is non- active. History tells us that Gandhi would keep a day of silence a week – in honor of the Great Unspeakable, The Ultimate Silence, The Unutterable.

The Gnostic Christians, among others, before they were annihilated, they held a non compromising stance that the creator was unmovable, unutterable who created and controlled the universe with the power of thoughts. We know too that they held their women in the highest of honor.

Like silence, the study of darkness reveals a different reality that only the abstract mindset can see. To begin with darkness is source less light, or what one might call motionless light, this does not sound to accurate as darkness seems to be moving in the presence of light- but the idea is there.

Darkness is the form of all forms. Unlike light darkness has no source. Everything forms one in the darkness only in the light there are differences, distraction, distinctiveness, divisiveness, diffraction, disaffection, disharmony, diffusion, deviation, discrimination, disposition, dismembered and so forth.

Again the ancestors tell us that the Creator is the impenetrable darkness from which light emanates and must return. As sound is born from silence and must return to silence, in like manner light was born from darkness and it must return to darkness.

Science tells us that; “nothing can pass or penetrate the Black Holes – for to do so it must be traveling faster than the speed of light and nothing can travel faster than the speed of light”. Science continues; “the Black Holes are so dense they bend light”.

It is of capital importance to notice that the light comes from the darkness part of our eyes and it must return there for things to be revealed in the darker darkness of the so called brain.

It is the brain that sees not the eyes – science says, and we know that. Darkness like silence cannot be made by so called man. Light is active, dynamic it is masculine and it must have a source. In addition, for there to be light it must be aided by air or moisture, darkness can stand alone, inside and or outside.

Darkness is feminine; it rejuvenates us at night when we are still – as seen, stillness is synonymous with darkness and silence. The darker the night the better the sleep – this must be understood in relations to the city and away from the city areas.

We held a non- compromising stance that the sun is just a transformer transforming the energies from the planetary atmospheres into electromagnetic waves and projecting them back to the planetary atmosphere.

And not a burning star as science would like us believe. Our concept is in harmony with nature as everything goes around and is dependent on another and another and so forth.

And we know that electricity runs east west and magnetism runs north south which symbolizes to the ancient mindset the crucifixion of the sun twice a year during the so called equinoxes – as day light and night “lights” are equal, and when the electricity and magnetism is of equal proportion in the human body.

So the concept of the sun/ son from the virgin womb of space being crucified on a perpendicular tree constructed by the north south alignment of magnetism and the east west alignment of electricity and or the nailing of the horizontal body on the vertical spiritual tree predates Christianity by at least 10,000 years.

We will recall it was that understanding that led the Chinese to invent the compass – an instrument which the Europeans seemingly perfected. We have drifted a little.
The eyes are always in motion, jumping from one object to another.

It is the prime factor for the fall of man – it is predominantly what the eyes see the heart desires. The eyes create forms, if there are no forms there are no desires. “Man will pay for his desires and ignorance by being caught in the cycle of birth and rebirth and rebirth until he learns to transcend both-to be reborn and undying” The Hindus say.

So far we have seen light, motion and speech are masculine principle and they are in tune with the left side of the brain. The mind, where our evil thoughts originates, is forever chatting and moving back and forth from the past to the future or vice versa. It hardly ever stays in the present – the Now.

The eternal power of the present or the “Now” is not in harmony with the short life span of the mind. Science tells us we have two poles of thoughts; namely, discursive and intuitive. It is masculine, chatting and moving. So speech and movement fall in its domain - they are synonymous.

That is what the PTU is revealing to us without speech. One of the lines that came down from the ancestors regarding the brain cortexes is: “She shines from the right with no speech”. Speculation, of course, guesswork to be sure that Egyptologist has very little concept of feminine and masculine principles as it relates to nature and the interconnectiveness with philosophy – as to shine is a masculine principle.

Properly speaking that should read; “She reveals from the right with no speech”. Permit me to drift a fraction or two again. Throughout written history never has it been possible as it is now, to compile, combine and compare a combination or large body of ancient writings. This fact is complex.

To name a few, for one, our writings have recently been deciphered after the murder of our scribes in 391. Secondly; recent discoveries like the 104 psalms found in Kemet written centuries before the supposed time of David, the Dead Sea scrolls, and the 1945 immeasurable discovery of a library of Gnostic Scriptures that were discovered in a cave in Nag Hammadi in Kemet.

That is to say, history in its many forms has always been written by the victors, but the victors have to have bitten someone. Now some of the “someone’s” get to speak for themselves. And what a voice it is? This is where I insist that history is not lines in a book etc – it is a force and it is coming.

In time, I will, devote myself wholeheartedly in acquiring knowledge if I have not already. The PTU tell us that 90 percent of our thoughts, if not more, originate from images, symbols. We convert images/ symbols to words. It tells us that 90 percent of our memories, if not more, are images / symbols.

The PTU says 90 percent of our dreams, if not more, are symbolic. Words are ambiguous, they are the biggest illusions there will ever be – not a word in any language is actually the thing, maybe with the exception of symbols – words just point to a thing, a concept and the like. Words are the lowest form of communication – that is what we were supposed to use for so call man – not our maker.

The Gnostic for one insist that the creator is always at rest, unmovable who created and controls the universe with the power of thought. That concept was called Logos, not the word as some would have it. Not logic as some would like to believe, but the idea of ideas, the thought of all thoughts - the uniqueness that sprang from the same, all with the power of thoughts.

And even words have to be symbolized. The linguist Ferdinand de Saussure says; Language is an arbitrary and unreliable cultural conduct”. The alphabets are linguistics and phonic symbols. But symbols, nonverbal - art are not only on the right side of our brain, symbols are the language of spirits. Symbols are an expression of the truth a priori of the transcendent.

PTU has taught us that the root comes from the womb of the seed. The seed comes from the womb of the fruit. The fruit comes from the womb of the tree. The tree comes from the womb of the earth, earth is in the womb of space and space is in the womb of the great Intelligent Goddess – The Ultimate. (And if man is still coming from woman today there is nothing in the PTU to make me believe otherwise, as a matter of fact, there is an expression which says; “belief is false” Plato say: “belief are toys for kids”.

We ought to know not believe as the Gnostic says. So I will go with what I see and to dispel any misunderstanding when in doubt, the decision goes in favor of the PTU).

Science tells us that energy always moves from the positive pole to the negative pole. The woman’s positive sex pole is her breast; her negative pole is her Vagina. The man’s positive sex pole is his penis his negative pole is his breast.

So the Universal Teaching Power PTU is telling us that the woman’s positive pole is higher than the man’s positive pole, at our highest level of physical production - reproduction. And remember there is a spiritual counterpart of a physical reality. We know too that in the sex act, the man is in motion while the woman is motionless, he rising and falling while she is still waiting – in part she represents the unmovable.

Waiting is part of the feminine power this might explain why she is on the slower side when getting dressed – she outlives man, her strength is hidden, man’s strength is exposed – man is seemingly rushing to his death. This is why I say if there is such a thing as death, then excitement is what kills man; it is possible that what we now call life might as well be death.

As a general rule man is more incline to rush to move to search to discover to invent and the like – he start with what is already created. She is more imaginative, intuitive and holistic among others, creating or organizing the home/ and the like. History tells us that one of Socrates’ teachers was a woman Diotima.

Pythagoras said: “Women as a sex are more naturally akin to piety.” It was a woman, his daughter Damo, that he entrusted his writings. One of his disciples, a woman, Arignote was the author of a book called “The Rites of Dionysus” and other philosophical works. Aristotle, a sexist, a slave master, and possible a racist, had a very negative view of women.

“The woman is an infertile male”, said Aristotle. We know he left in his will that they should not sell his slaves but keep them thinking that freedom is always just around the corner. We know too that he had a very strong influence on the Pagan and Heresy hunters.

The Gnostics, we know, held their women in very high esteem. They were fully involved in the vibrant, sophisticated spiritual Gnostics teachings. This fact alone was fuel for resentment and antagonistic statements and behavior by those masculine egoistic, Pagan and Heresy hunters who saw them as a threat.

The Gnostic, (like the so called “Pagans – Free Thinkers”) philosophies were grounded and founded on an individualistic form of spirituality. This concept was not a very lucrative or marketable one coupled with that fact that they could not buy into the concept of an envy, and sometimes an angry God moving left and right and talking black is white, when their Goddess was forever at peace, unmovable and unutterable that created and controlling the universe with the power of thoughts.

That is to say; A Goddess so powerful, she does not have to move. A Goddess so confident she does not have to speak. A Goddess so strong she can create with the power of thoughts right where she is. This concept synchronizes beautifully with that of the Hindus and Buddhist – “she is sleeping”.

Such is the depth of her power to create and controls the universe with the power of thoughts while she is asleep. This brings to mind a very interesting conversation between Amanda, Buddha’s brother and Buddha. Amanda said; “throughout the years I have watched you sleep after your enlightenment, you don’t move at all. You stay in the same position all night until you are awake.” Buddha said; “I have only move once, then I realized that there is no need to move”.

Such a level of spirituality was demonstrated in his mental tranquility and control over his body even while he was asleep and he was just a man. This is undoubtedly one of the most powerful concepts we have heard regarding the creator.

We say in the golfing world; “I’ll take that” or “I’ll take it” when our golf shots ended up better than anticipated. A Goddess who is so powerful and confident – she is forever silence. A Goddess so powerful she does not have to move or even speak to create – she creates with her thoughts while she is a sleep. A Goddess so strong- she is impenetrable. I’ll take it!

This makes perfect sense with the Eastern Philosophy, “thoughts create illusions – forms, and no thoughts are the real”. Therefore the real have to awaken within or beyond the illusion of form and name, that is to say, the so called body is actually a tomb and a womb.

It was the death and resurrection that took place within that they called the “Christ” – a spiritually awaken one. The Gnostics were flabbergasted, and sometimes with staring bluntness they laugh their egocentric religious rivals for taking their crucifixion and the virgin mother and child story so literal. They went as far as calling it a religion for people who are in a hurry.

It was a mystical, philosophical, mythological and allegorical crucifixion. Their concept was never historical. Like I said, what a voice it is?
When the Greeks tell us that odd numbers are masculine and even numbers are feminine – that may be logical – left brain, but not abstract. Hereinbefore mentioned she is “motionless” at our highest level of physical production or reproduction while the man raises and falls – two motions.

We know that the physical only points to the spiritual, the real woman is immaterial; she is what we have come to understand as or our concept of sub consciousness. Consciousness is masculine – active. Knowledge is the penis. I sometimes prefer to conceptualize the mind as the spiritual vagina – calm down now, only in the sense that it has to be opened to receive the knowledge.

A better metaphor, of course, is you may want to see it as an overly protective dad with the wrong motives. Either way, as the ancestors said: “Our mind is like a veil that comes between us and our maker and only knowledge can reap it in two”.

This is the deeper meaning of male female relationship – sex – the two becoming one. Or what the Mystic might call the sacred marriage. In other words the body is actually a tomb and a womb simultaneously. In the deepest of sense man quest, is, in part to become a woman – to give birth to his higher self through self knowledge.

While I speak to you she is waiting – that is all she knows. She is waiting for us to learn spiritual knowledge subjectively. She is waiting to be penetrated by consciousness – knowledge - the penis – the active principle.

We should stop toying with objectivities,” lips stick”, “eyes shadows” and the like and go deep and connect with the silhouette – the real, the stillness, the peace. She is waiting to bring forth a son – “supper consciousness” the real sky – new awareness.

She is waiting for us to return to the womb of darkness from where we came – when we were fed before we were hungry – when we were alive without the breath. Now, now, now, man is anyone who is moving anyone one who is raising and falling – I will let you intuit this one on your own.

As men, from childhood, in the mornings we awake and find ourselves with an erect phallus. We must have been somewhere in or around the feminine principle in one form or another while we slept, as the physical always reflex the spiritual. That is to say there is always a spiritual counterpart of a physical reality.

It is very likely that she is breastfeeding us through the breast - our negative pole, and that energy is returning to her in the form of sexual contact, reproduction. All told, maybe it is a wee bit deeper than that. One thing is certain the nurturing power of darkness – is our prime revitalization, rejuvenation and in a sense a recreation of ourselves.

It has been said that in a distant past we treated our woman with greater respect than we do today – if or when we do today at all. This is why we called the sex position with the woman at the bottom the missionary style when we saw the missionary or strangers in the sex act it was not originally our gig.

To us it looks egotistic, dominating and so forth. We held the position that physically she is weaker or more delicate – therefore she should be on top. Her intuitive, imaginative and creative strength is hidden while man’s strength is exposed. Let’s put her on top again.

As a byword we should look through the lens of nature to reclaim our collegiums to authorize or reauthorized ourselves again and break the chains of authority, ecclesiastically, socio-politically and socioeconomically, as Hammurabi would say; “for all coming generations”.

That is to say what you make law no man can abolish. Let us realize, epitomize, symbolize, and contextualize The Greater Feminine Principal’s Principle that is omnipresent. It is time to reorient ourselves to the Goddess who is so powerful she is unmovable – she does not have to move or to be awake, even, to create. A Goddess who is so confident she is unspeakable. A Goddess so black she is impenetrable.

Please send your questions and comments to: [email protected]

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dominica’s Opposition Leader Ron Green

BY Dr Emanuel Finn

Mr. Ronald M. Green, leader of the UWP lead opposition party represents the south eastern rural agricultural constituency of La Plaine, Boetica, and Delices in the ‘Au Vent’ region. He brings with him a long record of activism, community involvement, commitment, hard work and experience of four and a half years as Minister of Education, Sports and Youth Affairs.
ron green
Opposition Leader Ron Green has faithfully served his community for more than three decades.

Hon. Green resides at the edge of the old family estate at Felicité in La Plaine along the banks of the Sari-Sari river with his wife, District Nurse Jocelyn Austrie Green. The Green’s have two daughters named Malaika (angel in Swahili) and Josina.

Malaika just completed a Masters degree in Environmental Sciences at the University of Syracuse. The younger daughter, Josina graduated last year with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of the Virgin Islands on St. Thomas.

Hon. Green was born in Roseau to a prominent Dominican family. He left the island at the age of 11 years to join his parents in New York City. After high school he received a bachelor’s degree from New York College City College in health and physical education then on to Manhattan College where he received a Master of Arts degree in education.

In between those two degrees, and just after, he spent six years in Africa teaching. First as a U.S Peace Corps Volunteer at a Teachers College in Nigeria for three years. Then at Makerere University at the National Teachers College in Kampala, Uganda.

Six important years understanding Africa- East and West. He then delved into Pre-doctoral studies in Educational Leadership at Columbia university.
After twenty years away, Ron returned to Roseau in 1974 and relocated to La Plaine in 1978 and lived in the old estate house where his grandfather spent the winter of his life.

His main reasons for relocating to Felcite was to make a contribution to the struggles of the times and issues of the day and work towards a meaningful contribution and participation in Dominica’s development. In La Plaine, Ron started a youth group which was called ‘Wassen’,-the patois word for roots.

Wassen’s mission was to empower the young rural men to focus on positive things in their community for themselves and their families.

The old family estate at Felcite at the edge of La Plaine was purchased in the 1920s by Ron’s great grand father Edward Richard Green who was a district magistrate. The estate was inherited by his grand father Rupert who was a town clerk.

His great grand father, grand father and father, Vivian, are all buried side by side on the estate overlooking the Atlantic ocean next to Ron’s house which he built in 1981 from the one acre of land which was left for him before the estate was sold.

Way back in 1978, this writer’s faith and belief in Ron Green as a true leader of our people were crystallized. Mr. Green’s critics and detractors are quick to label him as a softie and one who cannot be decisive.

This could not be further from the truth. Ron prefers to deal with issues in dignified ways and is not a ‘in your face’ type of politician. Given the macho overflow of male testerone in our political culture , shouting the loudest from the roof top means that you are the best, brightest, meanness and toughest. It is easy to understand why Ron is sometimes seen as a ‘light weight’.

Mr. Green prefers the cerebral, calm, respective and deliberative way of communicating. Unfortunately, Dominican society does not and for some reason cannot appreciate that professional and respectful demeanor and disposition.

Ron brings a new and refreshed sense of order and huge paradigm shift in the antiquated style of platform politics in Dominica. Hon Green stands tall like Gulliver among a sea of political Lilliputians claiming to be progressive.

Mr. Green was a member of the left leaning Movement for a New Dominica (MND) party which was comprised of young, patriotic and highly educated intellectuals. In 1980 he was elected to the La Plaine Village Council and served (16 years), five terms with the last term as chairman.

In the 1980 general elections, he contested the constituency for the Dominica Liberation Movement (Alliance) under the leadership of Athie Martin. This party was an amalgamation of different groups such as the late Prime Minister Rosie Douglas’ Popular Independence Committee (PIC) and Pierre Charles’ Worker Peoples Vanguard (PWV) and attorney at Law, Dr. Para Riviere Peoples Progressive Party (PPP).

Ron has been involved with NANGO (National Association of NGOs) community and project development work with the Dominican Christian Council for more than two decades. In 1981 he co-founded the Small Projects Assistance Team (SPAT).

Some of his national accomplishments and contributions (which are too numerous to mention) are: implementation of basic education reforms, universal secondary education drive, resuscitation of National Youth Council, enhancement of youth skills training and encouragement of youth policy development process.

A few note worthy constituency contributions that the parliamentarian has accomplished are; the development of the La Plaine Sports complex, La Plaine School Enhancement and the Petite Savanne, Morne Paix Bouche-Delices Road.

He was very instrumental in bringing pipe water supply to the hamlet of Boetica. He cofounded and managed one of Dominica’s leading Football clubs (Sagicor South East United Football club) which emerged as the 2007 Cable and Wireless B-Mobile Premiere Football Division champions.

For more than two decades, Ron has been a teacher, lecturer, community organizer and coach. These real life experiences have provided him with the foundation to view and treat all Dominicans with compassion, respect and as brothers and sisters.

Ron is an honest person with a high degree of integrity and sincere core political and personal values. He is an excellent listener and relates well with young and old, personal fan and foe, political supporters and detractors, visitor and ‘homeboy’ alike.

Ron has always put Dominica, its welfare and interests before his own and his political party and friends. He has been the ultimate family man and ambassador of Dominica outside of the island.

The well travelled and read statesman is very comfortable in the midst of generals and journalists, colonels and columnists, rulers and writers, scientists, saints and sociologists, investigators and investors, poets, pastors, presidents and politicians, artists and athletes and others from all walks of life.

The Leader of the Opposition has earned a deep sense of respect, admiration and credibility among his countryman and compatriots at home and abroad. He holds true to the belief that regardless of colorful and powerful personalities and party affiliations, Dominica and its collective agenda must be first and foremost.

These self evident beliefs, attitudes and practices of the honorable gentleman from La Plaine have lead him to conclude that parliament and government are necessary and central to ensure achievement of our island’s treasured developmental goals and objectives.

Dominicans all over should wish Hon. Green well and God‘s speed as he takes on the huge burden and mantle of chief custodian and guardian of Dominica’s democracy and its systems in these challenging times.

Fortyfive years ago La Plaine folks danced to the popular folk song ‘Cheme wevey Au Vent’ as they celebrated mortorable roads finally reaching this provincial capital of the Au Vent region.

Today ‘Jean La Pline’ and the rest of Au Vent’ have another important reason to be jubilant. For the first time in Dominica’s history, one of Au Vent’s outstanding and most deserving citizens has been chosen as the opposition leader, and could very well be the next Prime Minister of Dominica.

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bishop Joseph Oliver Bowers - The world's earliest ordained bishop

By Thomson Fontaine

At the age of 99, Bishop Joseph Oliver Bowers of Dominica is recognised by the Catholic Church as the fourth oldest Bishop in the world and the oldest in the Caribbean. Of all the bishops currently alive he is the one who was ordained the earliest (56 years ago).
Bishop Joseph Oliver Bowers
In 1953 Bishop Bowers was the first black bishop ordained in the United States and today no other bishop alive has served as long as he has.

More than fifty-six years ago on April 22, 1953, Bishop Bowers was celebrated all over the world, when at the height of the civil rights struggle for blacks in the United States, he became the first black bishop to be consecrated in that country. The first black bishop in the United States was James Healy who was consecrated in 1875 in France.

Bishop Bowers was born in humble circumstances in Massacre Dominica, on March 28, 1910 to Sheriff Montague Bowers (originally from Antigua) and his wife Mary Bowers. His father was for many years head teacher of the Massacre Government Primary School, and organist at the St. Ann's Roman Catholic parish church.

The young Bowers felt God’s call to service at a very early age, and upon graduating from the Dominica Grammar School he moved to the United States to attend St. Augustine Seminary, in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.where he studied for the priesthood.

Just two months shy of his twenty-ninth birthday he was ordained a priest on January 22, 1939. He continued to serve as a priest in the Mississippi area with the Society of the Divine Word from 1939 to 1952.

Throughout his time of service in the United States, the young priest never forgot his homeland making several visits to Dominica to encourage and strengthen his fellow country men of faith. At the time, more than 98 percent of Dominica’s population considered themselves devout followers of the Roman Catholic Church.

Deeply committed to his church, and exhibiting a profound love in the service of humanity, Father Bowers was named auxciliary Bishop to Ghana, and Titular Bishop of Cyparissia. On January 13, 1953 he was transferred to Accra, Ghana’s capital as its new Bishop. He would remain as Bishop of Accra until 1971.

Bishop Bowers arrived in Ghana just thirteen years after the death of an outstanding Dominican jurist George Christian James who served on Ghana’s national legislative council from 1929 to 1940.

On April 22, 1953 he returned to the United States to be consecrated and to take a vaunted position in the annals of black history in the United States. In a ceremony noted around the world, Bishop Joseph Oliver Bowers SVD, DD, JCL was ordained by Cardinal Spellman at the Church of Our Lady of the Gulf in Bay St. Louis, USA, becoming the first black bishop to be so ordained in that country.

One of his first tasks upon arrival in Accra was to continue work on the partially completed Cathedral of the Holy Spirit; a task which was completed with its opening on January 05, 1957.

Considered by many to be a visionary and dynamic leader, as well as having an endearing love for the poor and less fortunate, Bishop Bowers founded the congregation of the Sisters of the Handmaids of the Divine Redeemer (HDR) in Accra in 1957, which was dedicated to caring and comforting the poor.

Bishop Bowers is widely credited for tripling the catholic population and parishes in Ghana and for substantially increasing the number of Catholic priests and religious laity in the Diocese of Accra.

After serving for eighteen years in Ghana, he was appointed as the first Bishop of the newly configured St. Johns -Basseterre diocese on January 16, 1971. The diocese comprised the islands of Antigua-Barbuda, St. Kitts-Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands. He would reside in Antigua until his retirement on July 17, 1981.

Upon his retirement and at the age of 71, Bishop Bowers returned to his beloved Dominica to live as he always did humbly and without fanfare in the village of Mahaut, cared for by his sister, Blossom Ann Reid.

Always a man devoted to caring for humanity, he endeared himself to the people of Dominica through his thoughtfulness, kindness and a fine sense of humor.
When he was well into his eighties, the HDR Sisters, some of whom visited him in Dominica from time to time, invited him back to Ghana so they could care for him in his final days. Today he resides in the town of Agomanya, surrounded by the people that he gave so much of his life to.

And so, just one year shy of 100 years, this deeply religious, devoted and gentle soul continues to shine as a living example of sacrifice and service in the name of God and his church, directed to those he loved.

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Saturday, June 20, 2009

They fought for a freedom which we now enjoy

By Thomson Fontaine

“They fought for a freedom, which we now enjoy.” This according to Baroness Patricia Scotland, Attorney General of the United Kingdom as she addressed participants at an event honoring the brave men and women of the Caribbean who fought alongside the British during the two world wars.
Caribbean glory
Honorees including Thompson, Cross, and Christian along with the authors of caribbean Glory, Baroness Scotland, and other military personel.

Caribbean Glory as the event was called brought together diplomats, soldiers, government leaders, and ordinary people as they celebrated the sacrifice of the thousands of Caribbean nationals who fought and died in the pursuit of freedom.

The brain child of Dominicans Gabriel Christian and Justice Irving Andre, Caribbean Glory will long be remembered for bringing together the aging heroes of World War II together with the young and old in a once in a lifetime celebration at Andrews Airforce Base just outside Washington DC.

Participants were moved with the stirrings of patriotic fervor and relished in the company of three of the remaining soldiers and airmen who were able to make it to the ceremony.

Ninety-two year old Justice Ulrich Cross, who led a spitfire squadron over the skies of Europe, flying over eighty sorties, recounted the surprise of the British people when they heard them speaking English.

Cross, who was personally pinned with the Distinguished Flying Order (DFC) by King George at Buckingham Palace, also received the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFO) for his bravery and performance during the war. Of the two hundred and fifty airmen who joined from Trinidad and Tobago, fifty-two were killed in action.

During the evening, a film made by the British War Office in 1942 highlighting the role of the West Indian soldier was screened. It showed Cross and hundreds of West Indians engaged in the war effort. This included flying planes, cutting timber, caring for the wounded, radio operators, machinists, and a range of other professions where they served with honor and distinction.

Another honoree at the evening’s event was ninety-two year old Dudley Thompson of Jamaica, himself an airman during the campaign. He spoke of the pride, dignity and discipline, displayed by the Caribbean soldier as they fought during the dark days of the campaign.

Eighty-eight year-old Wendell Christian, who enlisted in the Caribbean forces and was garrisoned in St Lucia and Grenada, as they prepared for shipment overseas, vividly described the pride with which Caribbean people united around the British cause.

Although not present at the event, the daring and heroic story of Cy Grant was told. Shot down over Holland, interrogated by the dreaded Gestapo, this son of Guyana was able to survive prisoner of war camp and was liberated by the advancing Red Army in 1945. When caught, the unbelieving Germans took a look at his dark complexion and publicized his photo in a national Nazi paper with the caption: “A Captured RAF Officer of Indeterminable Race.”

Baroness Scotland, who was born in Dominica, told the honorees: “I needed to come to say thank you, thank you on behalf of my country, the United Kingdom. They (the soldiers) did not ask to go, they chose to go to fight for people they did not know, for people who might not acknowledge their equality or their humanity.”

The story of the Caribbean soldier and his sacrifice is well chronicled in the book “For King and Country” co-authored by Gabriel Christian and Justice Irving Andre. Already, many are hailing the book as a fascinating account of a story that has not before been told, but needs to be told.

The book, in addition to revealing the exploits of the brave men and women details how, coming out of the campaign, a new breed of leadership was born, which would go on to serve the Caribbean with distinction.

Those who served in World War I, such as Norman Washington Manley (Jamaica), Captain Arthur Cipriani (Trinidad), and Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler (Grenada/Trinidad) went on to become leaders for beneficial social change which enhanced freedom and democracy in the British West Indies.

Cy Grant would go on to become a lawyer and brilliant actor. Grant was the first person of color to have a show on BBC. He acted alongside notables of the stage such as Laurence Olivier and Richard Burton. Ulrich Cross also practiced law and served as Attorney General in the Cameroon, and Chief Justice in Tanzania, Ghana and Trinidad and Tobago.

Dudley Thompson, also a lawyer and Rhodes Scholar famously defended Jomo Kenyata of Kenya and served for many years as a minister of government in Jamaica. Wendell Christian, the father of Gabriel Christian returned to Dominica rising to the most senior position in the country’s fire service.

According to Baroness Scotland, “In fighting for our freedom they lit a flame, they brought the flame home, a flame that has never been extinguished.”

Now, the bearers of this flame including the organizers of Caribbean Glory, if last night’s event is any gauge, will continue to shine the light forth as we celebrate and pay tribute to the indomitable spirit, determination and accomplishments of the Caribbean person.

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Friday, June 19, 2009

Caribbean WW II Veterans to be honored in Washington ceremony

By Thomson Fontaine

Few people know that thousands of British West Indians including from Dominica served in the British armed forces during World Wars I and II. Those who served in World War I, such as Norman Washington Manley (Jamaica), Captain Arthur Cipriani (Trinidad), and Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler (Grenada/Trinidad) went on to become leaders for beneficial social change which enhanced freedom and democracy in the British West Indies.
Cy Grant
Grant was shot down over Holland and survived a Gestapo prison camp.

When World War II broke out on September 19, 1939, many British West Indians answered the call. About 16,000 West Indians volunteered for service alongside the British during the Second World War. Wendell Christian and Twistleton Bertrand served in the South Caribbean Forces which was created to secure the southern part of the region closest to Trinidad’s oil industry and the vital refineries in Curacao then under attack by marauding German U-Boats.

Over 100 British West Indian women were posted overseas of which 80 chose the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) for their contribution, while around 30 joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS). There were many more ATS and WAAF service women who stayed in the Caribbean region and did local duty.

Around 7,000 West Indians served with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in roles from fighter pilots to bomb aimers, air gunners to ground staff and administration. No other colony contributed more airmen to the RAF than those from the British West Indies.

Tonight these brave men will be honored and on Saturday the general public will have an opportunity to meet and greet some of the survivors of this great campaign. The Saturday June 20 event is scheduled for 1:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M. at 3060 Mitchellville Rd, Suite 216, Bowie, MD 20716.

The Rt Hon Baroness Patricia Scotland of Ashtal, QC, Attorney General of England will be the keynote speaker at Friday's event honoring the many Caribbean veterans who fought for Great Britain during the two world wars. She will also give a speech at the Saturday event in Bowie.

The event dubbed Caribbean Glory is the brainchild of Dominicans Gabriel Christian and Judge Irving Andre who just last year published For King and Country; a book detailing the sacrifice, courage and dedication of the many fighting men from the Caribbean who took up arms to help defeat Nazi Germany.
baroness scotland
Dominica born UK Attorney General Baroness Scotland.

Undaunted by racial and other stereotyping, the grandsons and great grandsons of former slaves eagerly signed up alongside their colonial masters to wage war. They fought bravely and with dignity in the British Armed Forces thus helping assure victory in the battle against fascism in both world wars.

The event will be held at Andrews Air Force Base Officers Club on June 19, 2009, just outside of Washington D.C. It will be under the auspices of Trinidad & Tobago's Ambassador to the US and the OAS, HE Glenda Morean Phillip, and will pay tribute to the many Caribbean heroes of that campaign.

Many of the RAF veterans returned to the Caribbean and gave much to our societies by their civic leadership; they include: Dominican scholar, journalist and politician Edward Scobie, Jamaica's Michael Manley, Barbados Errol Barrow, St. Vincent's Milton Cato, among others.

A few of the surviving members of this brave campaign will be present at the event. Already well into their late eighties and early nineties, Ulric Cross and Dudley Thompson of the Royal Air force, and Wendell Christian and Twistleton Bertrand of the British Army will represent the men of the greatest generation that ever lived. Former three star general of the United States army and Undersecretary of Defense for Education Policy, Lt General Samuel Ebessen (Ret), who was born on St. Croix, has also promised to be there.

Ulric Cross, was the only black in his squadron, rising through the ranks to become its leader. He would lead his squadron over the skies of Europe and was honored at Buckingham Palace by King George VI with the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), and later given command over the demobilization of all colonial forces. He would become a judge, and serve as former High Commissioner to the UK, and ambassador to France and Germany.

Dudley Thompson, Rhodes Scholar and Oxford graduate flew over Europe to defeat fascism and famously defended and freed former Kenyan leader Jomo Kenyatta from jail. He would serve for many years in the Jamaica parliament
Dudley Thompson
Dudley Thompson flew sorties over Europe and later became a leading lawyer.

The daring and heroic story of Cy Grant is one that must be told. Shot down over Holland, interrogated by the dreaded Gestapo, this son of Guyana was able to survive prisoner of war camp and was liberated by the advancing Red Army in 1945.

When caught, the unbelieving Germans took a look at his dark complexion and publicized his photo in a national Nazi paper with the caption: “A Captured RAF Officer of Indeterminable Race.” Later, a lawyer and brilliant actor, Grant was the first person of color to have a show on BBC. He acted alongside notables of the stage such as Laurence Olivier and Richard Burton.

Although, he will not be present at the ceremony, Grant will be honored for his outstanding service during the war.

Wendell Christian and Twistleton Bertrand, both from Dominica served with the Caribbean forces and later took leading roles in their country’s fire and defense forces.

For her part, Hon Baroness Scotland who was born in Dominica became the United Kingdom’s first black female Queens Counsel (QC) at the age of thirty-five. She later became a judge and served on the British Privy Council – the country’s highest court of appeals.

Baroness Scotland is into her fourth term in British politics having served in former prime minister Tony Blair’s foreign and home offices, and was elevated to the top legal position in her country with the ruling Gordon Brown administration.

A fifteen minute film - West Indies Calling - unearthed from deep within the archives of the Imperial War Museum will also form part of the event. The film features West Indians in London at the height of the war (1943) speaking of their experiences and contribution for the freedom campaign then underway.

It is considered to be the oldest film with West Indian notables that anyone in our generation will have seen. The famous Lord Learie Constantine is featured in that film alongside the British West Indians.

Also of note at the event will be a preview of the documentary Caribbean Glory! - The story of the British West Indian Military. The event is open to all interested parties for a small $100.00 contribution.

Collaborators for this event include: the Dominica Academy of Arts and Sciences,www.caribbeanaircrew-ww2,, The Institute of Caribbean Studies, Godfrey De La Rosa’s Under the Coconut Tree Restaurant, CariBeat Events and the West Indian American Military Members Association.

Further information can be obtained by sending an e-mail to [email protected] or calling the law firm of Gabriel J. Christian and Associates, LLC at 301 218-9400 to pay by credit card.CLICK HERE FOR INVITATION.

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Thursday, June 18, 2009

World's Oldest Person Turns 128

By Thomson Fontaine(Reprinted from January 29, 2003

Dominicans yesterday celebrated the birthday of the World’s oldest living person Elizabeth (Ma Pampo) Israel who turned 128 even as government vowed to increase pressure on Guinness World record officials to officially confer the title on the Dominican.
Ma Pampo
When she died in 2003 Ma Pampoo was considered to have lived for 128 years, a claim that has so far not been sufficiently validated.

Unfortunately, the Guinness World record has not officially recognized Ma Pampo since they are still in the process of verifying the claim. A Baptismal certificate has been issued by the Roman Catholic Church with her birth date stated as January 27, 1875, but since it is not an official record, it cannot be used to authenticate the claim.

The claim was further thrown into doubt when it was learned that at some point in her life she was called Minetta George. Guinness officials have said that it is important to clarify these various issues before the title can be conferred. Given the state of record keeping during that time in Dominica, it may be difficult to collect collaborative evidence to substantiate the claim.

At the age of 128, Elizabeth (Ma Pampo) Israel is considered the World’s oldest living person. Born in Portsmouth, Dominica, and the daughter of slaves, she started working on a plantation at the age of 25 and retired 79 years later. Ma Pampoo ascribes her longevity to her diet--including lots of dumplings and bush tea. She has survived her husband and two children.

There are at least seventeen centenarians in Dominica (with four residing in close proximity to Ma Pampo), from a population of 70,000 making it the country with the highest concentration of centenarians per 1000 of the population. Dominica’s pristine, largely untouched and unspoilt environment, which lies largely unpolluted, has been cited as the main reason for longevity on the Island.

Editor's Note: Since the publication of this article in January 2003 Ma Pampo died in October of that year without ever being recognised as the World's Oldest Person by the Guiness Book of World Records. Unfotunately, her death came before the scientific community could confirm her age.

As of May 2009, there were 22 centenarians in Dominica with the oldest at the age of 110. The US has the highest number of centenarians about 55 000, followed by Japan with 25 000. Based on the population of all three countries, Dominica has 3 centenarians for every 10 000 of the population compared to about 2 centenarians for every 10 000 for the US and Japan

Why do Dominicans grow old more garacefully and live longer than people elsewhere?

Dominica may have influenced biblical description of Garden of Eden

Eden with boiling lakes

And the Lord made this land

Dominica Paradise, Eden, Shangri-la

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lessons from the Soucouyant spectacle In Roseau

pm skeritt
The participant observer.

“To deny the possibility, nay, the actual existence of witchcraft and sorcery, is at once flatly to contradict the revealed word of God in various passages both of the Old and New Testament, and the thing itself is a Truth to which every nation in the world hath, in its turn, borne testimony, by either example seemingly well attested or by prohibitory laws, which at least suppose the possibility of a commerce with evil spirit” SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE, Commentaries, 1765.

Two days ago, most Dominicans remained in awe as we witnessed the spectacle that took place in broad day light in Roseau. To some it was funny, to some it was unbelievable, to some is was despicable, to some it was embarrassing, and to others it was real.

No other publication has drawn so many readers and comments on the Dominica News Online as this one did. To date there are two hundred and fifty (250) of them and counting. I have been reading those comments some with disbelief, and some with cautious amazement. Among the ones I found very interesting is this extract:

“What you saw in the street is exactly what is plaguing Dominica's progress, the spirit of control and manipulation. This is exactly the state of the nation. No one would let the other move. This was our political condition on display. This is also the religious manipulation of our people being demonstrated.

This is exactly the state of our business folks in our nation; they are like suicide bombers who are willing to kill themselves’ as like as they can get rid of those they hate. These two women represent our present political campaign going on, no one wants to let the other move.

This is really about the level of bitterness, hate and resentment governing our land, and how far we are willing to go to maintain control and dominance...WELCOME TO DOMINICA,” This says a lot if one really takes the time to think about it.

A witch is known as a person, esp. a woman, having supernatural power as by a compact with the devil or evil spirits; sorceress, but evil does not only come in witches, and witches are not only those who engage in these behaviors on the streets. Dominicans, let us use this an opportunity to look within, look deep within.

As to whether witches are real or not is another question. Deuteronomy 18-10-12 in the holy Bible (NIV) reads “Let no one be found among who sacrifices his son or daughter in the life, who practices divination, or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft or cast spells or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.

Anyone who does these things is detestable to the lord, and because of these detestable practices the lord your God will drive out those nations before you” If one truly believes in the bible it is fair to surmise that witches do exist, but in what form? This is another question.

Leviticus 20:26-27 states ”And you shall be holy to me, for I the LORD am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.

A man or a woman who is a medium, or who has familiar spirits, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones. Their blood shall be upon them.” God makes it very clear that witchcraft is evil.

If one believes in the bible, obeys the bible, and believes that the laws of God are superior to the laws of man, why didn’t one of the many bible believing Christians stone the people whom they thought were witches to death? Is it because of the laws of man that they would be punished by? Or they chose to disobey God’s laws? Get my drift?

Long before the famed Salem Witch Trials, in which nnineteen victims of the witch-hunt had been hanged, one crushed to death under the weight of stones, thousands upon thousands of men, women, and even children were in what was called the “witch craze," being tortured and massacred throughout Europe. (

These horrible acts were even condoned by the churches. Towards the end of the thirteenth century witchcraft was proclaimed an act punishable by death, and followers of the church executed the punishment.

The reason people in the civilized world do not stone those they suspect are witches as they did before is we have evolved in our thinking, hopefully. If we can evolve in our thinking in matters of faith, bible and religion, shouldn’t we be evolving in other matters such as respecting each other’s opinions and beliefs?

Shouldn’t we evolve in our thinking about the war we declare on each other during political campaigns? Should we evolve in our thinking about viewing those who do not support our party and our policies enemies?

The real lesson in what happened on the streets of Roseau on June 9th 2009, will not be lost in the attempt to find out who was the real Soucouyant I hope. If you really think about it we all Dominicans have a bit of Soucouyant in us
Also see Proverbs 3:1-6
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

A political fire storm is blowing in Au Vent

By Dr Emanuel Finn

The La Plaine Constituency consists of the communities of La Plaine, Boetica and Delices. It boundaries begin at the Taberi River in foothills of Morne Goveneaur and culminates at the banks of the mineral rich waters of La Rivere Blanc at Pointe Mulatre Bay in the shadow of the Watt Mountain in the southeast.

This rural Agricultural constituency hugs the rugged Windward Atlantic coast. It has always been called Au Vent due its windward location and the strong trade winds, high degree of rainfall and severity of tropical storms on that region of the island.
ron green
Opposition leader Ron Green.

Those of us who hail from this region proudly stand on the giant shoulders and legacy of Mr. Pierre Colaire who in April 1893 bravely and openly defied the British Crown. He lead a successful protest on a hillside overlooking the Sari-Sari river against the island’s British Colonial governor (Hayes Smith) and his military commander for imposing an unfair house and land tax on the District’s peasants.

He and his band of unarmed peasants fought for their dignity and that of generations that would follow.

Today in La Paine as in other parts of Dominica, history is repeating itself again as Dominicans are fighting for their dignity in leadership which they deserve. Dominica’s PM and his river of money from Paramount leader Hu Jintao of China and Strong Man Colonel Chavez of oil rich Venezuela is trying to hijack the upcoming elections not only in the Au Vent region but throughout Dominica. He is already boasting that his party will win all 21 constituencies.

One of Mr. Skerrit’s main missions is to dethrone the formidable, popular, professional and dignified MP of La Plaine and leader of the opposition, Hon. Ron Green. ‘Commander’ Skerrit has tapped a former school teacher, ‘Born Again’ Christian and Lay preacher named Peter St. Jean to do his unsavory bidding and capture the constituency. Skerrit regards Au Vent as ‘Ground Zero’ in the up coming elections and wants to beat Green by any means necessary.

The beleaguered PM has increased hand-outs to constituents, and is about to move the so-called housing revolution to La Plaine. Reports indicate that the Red Clinic has set up shop in La Plaine and the rest of Au Vent. Skerrit is of the mind set that the Red Clinic, big billboards and big money will deliver a ‘one- two’ combination punch to Green and knock him out.

Supporters of Mr. Green expect and are bracing for waves of ruthless and unfair attacks and assaults directed by Skerrit and his hired red political machine.
peter st jean
Senator Peter St Jean.

Skerrit's actions, words and behaviors and all the sandals and serious allegations that surround him have left Au Vent folks and the rest of Dominica confused and angry. They are wondering how large and deep is the culture of corruption in his government.

Given the frequency and serious nature of the convincing allegations, a large percentage of civil society have already arrived at the conclusion that Skerrit has lost all the moral authority to continue as Dominica’s Prime Minister.

One example is In the Garbage Bin scandal where the Prime minister continued to insist that he acted in good faith and was simply responding to a need from the Roseau City Council for assistance with providing garbage bins to residents of Roseau.

This statement however, contradicts statements from some members of the Roseau City Council who are on record as saying that at no time did the Council request garbage bins from government. Is there going to be an independent criminal investigation Mr. PM?

In his short radio address to the nation which occurred two weeks after the serious questions were raised, the Prime Minister did not address questions about earlier transactions between Andre Dopwell who is the half brother of Trade Minister Colin McIntyre. Questions had been raised by the opposition about the purchase of fertilizers from Dopwell when McIntyre was Agriculture minister.

Mr. Skerrit’s behavior is having a tremendous negative effect on his candidates and base. Recently his man in La Plaine ’ Brother’ St. Jean, abandoned the teachings of the good book and delivered a very low blow to Mr. Green publicly by calling him a lazy man. Not only is this is untrue it is also downright disrespectful, distasteful and unchristian.

While Mr. St. Jean must take responsibility for his actions and words, understand that he should not be blamed entirely. I know because I grew up with him and was witness to the fact that his hard working parents taught him and his siblings in their own simple ways dignity, understanding, respect for others, compassion and consideration.

Remember the proverbs: Show me your company and I will tell you who you are and birds of a feather flock together-or if you may;’ who you rolling with’? Has Brother St. Jean abandon his upbringings, Christian teachings and the words according to the bible and accepted the words behaviors and actions according to Skerrit?

But one must pity St. Jean who has found himself in the company of Roosevelt Skerrit. Is this the Peter who I knew whose house was a five minute walk from my house in the La Plaine Valley? Is this the ‘Te Brodar’ I knew spending time with him and his brothers on the banks of the upper section of the Laronde River? ---I suppose that was yesterday. Politics has a likely tendency to make mice, jokers and mockery of good and decent men (and women).

Skerrit‘s expertise of late has been insulting people and institutions, arrogance and belligerence. Was St. Jean counseled by Skerrit that he should be more respectful and refrain from making such statements?

The answer is most likely no. So naturally his ‘disciples’ and followers are taking clues from him on how to behave and conduct themselves-follow your 'leader; leader; leader'. That is the leadership that ‘Brother’ St. Jean looks up to.

Mr. Green ignored St. Jean’s low blow and instead maintained his statesmanship demeanor and temperament. He prefers to focus on the bigger issues and challenges of our island home, such as good and honest governance, anti corruption and sustainable development to name a few.

Mr. Green's record of hard work speaks loud and clear. He is a committed worker who during his tenure in Parliament as Minister of Education, Sports and Youth Affairs made it his mandate to further peoples’ development in La Plaine, Boetica and Delices, and Dominica. Whilst considered one of the hardest working Ministers with a very heavy Ministry portfolio, his successes at constituency level are no less notable.

In spite of being in the opposition with little resources, Hon Green has been intimately involved with projects and with human capacity resource development, including the resuscitation of the National Youth Council, enhancement of Youth Skills Training and encouragement of Youth Policy development processes.

Recently while at a library in Washington DC with my family, I met an American who worked in Dominica with an NGO a few years ago. During our conversation, she mentioned Mr. Green's name as a leader in the youth movement on our island.

I mentioned to her that he is considered one of the most honest and fair minded persons in public life in Dominica and has spent his adult life in public service to the people of Dominica. I told her that his wife and I were classmates at La Plaine School and Ron would be an excellent Prime Minister for all Dominicans regardless of party affiliation.

Mr. Green takes nothing for granted and will continue to work hard on voter registration, knocking on doors and campaigning relentlessly. He is confident that by the time the sun fades behind the mountains of the Au Vent region on election night, he will prevail as expected.

His supporters will have enough reasons to celebrate and dance in the streets of La Plaine, Boetica, and Delices and through out our beloved island home after a long, bitter and hard campaign battle.

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

President Chavez unveils facility promises coffee plant and bank on Dominica visit Newsdesk

The Dominica government is expressing its satisfaction with the weekend visit of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to that country as he unveiled a $35 million oil-storage facility, and promised to install a coffee treatment plant and a branch of the ALBA bank in Dominica.
hugo chavez
President Chavez paid his second visit to Dominica in as many years.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit lauded the Venezuelan leader and thanked Venezuela for its continued generosity to Dominica. Skerrit told a crowd gathered to see the Venezuelan president that “we must recognize the tremendous commitment of President Chavez and the people of Venezuela.

This is a leader with a vision. A leader who is prepared to use his friendship to extend a lending hand to many countries including Dominica and we thank God for Hugo Chavez.”

He also promised to supply free cooking gas to ‘poor people’, but he did not provide details on how this would be done. Skerrit has named the storage complex, which is located about five miles from the capital Roseau, "Waitukubuli," the Carib Indian name for Dominica.

In unveiling the complex, Chavez said that it will store 35,000 barrels of diesel, jet fuel and cooking gas. "Dominica will no longer have to concern itself about the supply of gasoline and oil," he told a cheering crowd. "All the oil Dominica will need for the next 200 years will be right there in Venezuela."

"Dominica will no longer have to concern itself about the supply of gasoline and oil," he told a cheering crowd. "All the oil Dominica will need for the next 200 years will be right there in Venezuela."

With oil prices above $50 a barrel, Petrocaribe members must pay 60 percent of their bills within 90 days and the remainder over the next 25 years at 1 percent interest. If oil prices rise to $80 a barrel, only half must be paid up front.

In commenting on the coffee treatment plant, the Venezuelan leader noted that it would be a state-of- the art facility aimed at increasing coffee production, “because your coffee is excellent, and we need to ensure food security in those regions. We cannot continue to bring in foods from beyond the ocean. All the food we need can be grown in this greater homeland called ALBA so we can ensure food sovereignty.”

According to the Venezuelan leader, Dominica would also benefit from a local branch of the ALBA Bank. He also used the opportunity to call on “the fishermen, students, children, soldiers and all of you, to play a major role in the construction of the homeland.”

In this his second visit to Dominica in as many years, supporters of the ruling Dominica Labour Party wearing red T-shirts in support of Chavez, lined the streets for about two miles as he made his way from the Canefield airport to the Gimit facility.

Opposition Leader Ron Green had just prior to the Venezuelan leader’s visit issued an open letter in which he urged Chavez to reconsider coming to Dominica since “ we are concerned and worried that our Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit may be opportunistically using you for his own selfish political ends in regards your upcoming visit to Dominica
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Two more die in Dominica as murder rate escalates Newsdesk

Dominica has reported two murders in the course of one night bringing the total number of homicides in Dominica so far for the year to seven.

Police are reporting that 25-year-old Kirtlen Polydore of Pointe Mitchel was shot to death in the Southern village of Grand Bay following an altercation between two individuals. The suspected shooter is said to be a 17-year-old from Grand Bay and Police are currently searching for the gunman.

Meanwhile, Police in Mahaut reports that a young man of that village was stabbed to death on Friday and died early Saturday. Police have launched an investigation and the name of the victim has not been released.

Prior to these weekend events, the most recent murder occurred on May 11 with Police reporting the death of Cecil “Abott” James of Concord who was found naked in a pool of blood. A young man has since been arrested in this case.

Dominica has now recorded seven murders in 2009, just one shy of the record eight murders seen in the whole of 2008. Grand Bay has recorded three, Mahaut two, and one each in Concord and Bense.

Many in Dominica continue to express outrage at the increased number of killings and point to drugs as a possible trigger for much of the increased violence.

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Open letter to President Chavez from Dominica Opposition Leader

His Excellency Hugo Chavez
President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Dear President Chavez

Whilst as a people and Country we are, and will continue to be, appreciative and thankful for the many resources Venezuela has made available to Dominica, and as a hospitable people, generally would be happy to welcome you to our beloved Country Dominica, we are concerned and worried that our Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt may be opportunistically using you for his own selfish political ends in regards your upcoming visit to Dominica.

On Sunday 7th June Prime Minister Skeritt at his Labour Party’s Annual Delegates Conference called on his supporters and the Nation to be ready for battle noting that “my watch tells me it is a few minutes before midnight. The clock shall soon strike twelve and the moment of truth shall arise. My question to you today, will there be oil in your lamps, will you be well rested and fully charged for the battle?”.

In effect expect a General Election very soon. Two days later the Prime Minister confirmed to the Nation your rumoured visit of 13th June 2009.

In the context of the soon upcoming General Elections we think this is a devious and calculated move by Prime Minister Skeritt to maximize his flagging Parties fortunes, seeking to gain Party political advantage at the expense of accepted international norms regarding interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.

Respectfully, we do not think, you are aware of this nor that this is your intention.
I had occasion in a Meeting with your Ambassador last week to raise our concern of the timing of your Visit, which was followed up with my letter of 9th June.

Our People are anxious to exercise their democratic rights to choose change, to choose economic opportunity, to work hard, to feel genuine hope that we can ensure the God-given assets of Dominica are used sustainably for a bright future.

Any interference in that process or attempt to abort or manipulate the people’s right to choose their destiny can only be considered a fundamentally unforgiveable act.

Already there are national issues of unresolved electoral reforms intended to ensure free and fair elections; unsettled charges of corruption affecting misuse of State finances; lack of transparency and full accountability regarding ALBA matters; and illegalities regarding the Petro Caribe Loan.

These are all matters we as a people must and will confront and settle in the National interest. You would well understand that adding to this list of issues, the manipulation of your Excellency’s Visit is unacceptable.

To the extent that this could impact the long standing positive relations between Dominica and Venezuela, and the respect we all have for you, as head of a friendly and progressive regional country, we are not happy.

Our Nation has partnered, and we as a Party in Government have partnered, with Venezuela, respectfully and constructively, for over two decades, and intend to continue so to do, on our return to office.

We therefore urge, at this time of intense preparation for National Elections, your greatest sensitivity and respect for our democratic process.
Let it not be said that your Excellency’s friendship and support for the valiant efforts of the Dominican people has been abused or in any way damaged.

Thank you

Yours sincerely,

Ronald Green (Hon)
| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Dominica set for visit of President Hugo Chavez

By Sean Douglas

The dream of Venezuelan President, His Excellency, Hugo Chavez Frias to bring about energy security to Latin America and the Caribbean through his PetroCaribe project will manifest itself in a tangible way in Dominica on Saturday with the official commissioning of the new US$35 million "Waitukubuli Fuel Storage and Distribution Plant" at Jimmit.

hugo chavez
President Hugo Chavez to pay second visit to Dominica.

President Chavez leads a delegation to Dominica on Saturday, June 13th 2009 for the official commissioning of the Plant, which was financed entirely by the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. This will be the second official visit by the Venezuelan President to Dominica after his highly successful visit in February, 2007.

President of Dominica, Dr. Nicholas Liverpool and Mrs. Liverpool, Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit and members of his Cabinet, members of Parliament, members of the diplomatic and consular corps as well as scores of invited guests are expected to attend the official commissioning.

Six (6) tanks have been constructed on seven (7) acres of land to store and distribute diesel, gasoline, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Jet A1 fuel.

The total storage capacity at the Plant is thirty-five thousand (35,000) barrels and this capacity is enough to cover two months consumption for the island of Dominica.

The joint venture company, PDV Caribe Dominica Limited has been supplying diesel to the Dominica Electricity Services Limited (DOMLEC) since February, 2008. The company is also selling diesel and gasoline to private sector entities on the island. It expects to start selling LPG within the next two weeks. It is also envisaged that gasoline and diesel will be sold to government departments and to fisherfolk soon.

Currently eleven (11) persons are on the permanent staff at the plant, ten of whom are Dominicans. There are five (5) persons on temporary staff. The staff complement will be increased to thirty-three (33) in the medium to long-term.

PetroCaribe is an initiative of the Venezuelan President to help cushion the economies of Latin American and the Caribbean from escalating fuel prices internationally.

Dominica and twelve (12) other Caribbean countries signed on to the PetroCaribe agreement in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, on June 29, 2005. On September 6, 2005, Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit signed a bilateral immunity agreement with Venezuela to give effect to the agreement.

The total number of PetroCaribe member states is now seventeen (17) with Guatamala expected to join soon.

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dominica mourns the death of Justice Slyvia Judith Bertrand

By Irving André

The Dominican community was saddened by the untimely death of former Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Supreme Court Justice Sylvia Bertrand on Sunday, June 7, 2009 at the Princess Margaret Hospital.
Justice Sylvia Bertrand
Justice Sylvia Bertrand was a distinguished Caribbean jurist.

Justice Bertrand was born in Portsmouth to pharmacist Tyrill Bertrand (now deceased) and his wife Octavia Bertrand (nee Savarin). She attended primary school in the town and later the Convent High School in Roseau.

A keen student and athlete, she excelled in sports such as netball to a point where, after leaving the CHS, she was an esteemed member of the Dominica Netball team which toured Trinidad and Montserrat in 1953.

Her commitment to the sport extended to becoming a founding member of the Dominica Netball Club in the 1950s and later a certified referee.

In 1956 Justice Bertrand gained employment with the colonial civil service as a court stenographer where she developed a keen interest and love of the law. She performed admirably in that capacity and won a number of accolades for her dedication and professionalism.

Career highlights during the period included her work with a 1958 Commission of Inquiry into the Carnival Day killing of persons in LaPlaine and the Commission of Inquiry into the 1963 Carnival Fire tragedy.

By 1965, Justice Bertrand had reached the pinnacle of success in her chosen field. Her only avenue for more responsibility within the legal field was to become a lawyer. Animated by a desire to maximize her talents, she resigned from her job and with her modest savings migrated to England to pursue her legal studies.

While in England, elder brother Hubert (now deceased) and his wife Maggie provided accommodation and support.

One memorable event demonstrated Justice Bertrand’s tenacity and faith in the midst of adversity. On the day of her last examinations, a strike nearly crippled London’s public transportation system.

She arrived late at the Victoria train station only to see the doors of the London “tube” shut tight. She pounded hysterically on the doors and repeatedly screamed: “Please let me in.” A conductor took pity on her and allowed her to embark on the train.

She later confessed that the Holy Ghost had helped her pass the examinations since she shook uncontrollably while writing it.

Upon graduation, Justice Bertrand returned to Dominica where she worked in various legal capacities including a stint as Registrar and as a local magistrate. Her most formidable challenge however occurred following the ascendancy of Dame Eugenia Charles, who became Prime Minister of Dominica in 1980.

The Dame’s administration was besieged by conspiracies to overthrow her government by some members of the disbanded Dominica Defence Force and by members of the Klu Klux Klan in America and Canada, and members of the former government.

As Director of Public Prosecution and as a close friend and confidante of Dame Eugenia Charles, Sylvia Bertrand emerged, much like Miss Charles, as the resolute, implacable and determined face of law and order who sought to bring the conspirators to justice.

With the successful prosecution of the men involved, she was appointed a Supreme Court Justice, a position which was the culmination of a legal career dedicated to serving her country.

From 1985 to 1992, the year she retired, Justice Bertrand served with great distinction on the Bench, presiding in St. Vincent, Tortola and Antigua. Upon her retirement, she returned to Dominica.

Over the next fifteen years, she served on several statutory boards including a stint as Chairperson of the Social Security Board between 1994 and 1996. She was a member of the theatrical group, Stars of the Fifties.

Justice Bertrand’s serious façade masked a warm and kind nature. She delighted in entertaining family and friends and kept pace with the political developments on Dominica.

She took immense pride in the accomplishments of her family and regularly kept in touch with those at home and abroad. She was a mother to many of her nieces and nephews. A devout Catholic, she attended mass on a daily basis and frequently trekked down Federation Drive in the early morning to attend mass at the St. Alphonsus Church in Goodwill.

Oftentimes she walked back up Federation Drive fortified by her faith and the rosary which she held tightly in her hands. Fittingly, she passed away on a Sunday, the day the Lord has made. She must have had a premonition that she was about to receive a divine summons since she spent much of her last hours reciting the Hail Mary and the Angelus.

In a strange coincidence, her devoted sister, Mrs. Mornlight Philip, met Father Thomas at the hospital. When advised of her presence, Father Thomas proceeded to her side and anointed her before her final goodbye.

Justice Bertrand will be missed by her mother, Octavia, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, relatives, friends and legal colleagues.

Throughout her life she epitomised the finest qualities of a human being. As a jurist, daughter, sister, aunt, relative, friend and citizen, she will be terribly missed.

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Political correctness, government and the media…. the conscience of the Society

Participant Observer

Freedom of the press is one of the essential pre-conditions for the evolution of a civil society and the development of democracy. A free press is the most important factor in the formation of public opinion and public control, and as such has a great role and responsibility. Robert Kocharian, President of the Republic of Armenia- 10th Annual World Press Freedom day.

As a citizen of Dominica I have some very pertinent questions that I feel obligated to ask of the government of my country, Dominica, and some comments directed at my Dominican people.
pm skeritt
The participant observer.

This morning I listened to Q95 FM and it was very disturbing to hear the representative of the Government implying that Mr. Linton as first and foremost a citizen of Dominica, and importantly a member of the Dominican press corps cannot and should not speak for the people of Dominica.

This indicates that the Government and its representative have absolutely no idea of what the rights and obligation of first a citizen, and moreover a journalist in the society. This is very disturbing. It presents a very real danger of interfering with the news media’s ability to report and go wherever they need to effectively perform their sacred duty!

First I ask that representative, is the system of our Government democratic? What role should the media play in a democracy like ours if indeed it is? Should the Government control the media including the internet, and decide what every citizen should speak about?

Should the Government deny the people’s right including the press, to freedom of speech, and should the Government deny the people the right to peacefully assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances? Should the Government and/or its agents be media traffic cops?

To the people of Dominica I want to say, the press is indeed the conscience of the nation, and they have not only the right, but also a moral obligation to undercover lies and tell the people the truth, and to explain the consequences without fear.
Freedom of expression has always been emphasized as an essential basis for the democratic functioning of a society.

The reasons for this are: the right of an individual to self-fulfillment, which right requires the communication of thought; the importance of constantly attempting to attain the truth, an attempt which is frustrated if information is suppressed or comment blocked; the inherent democratic right to participate in decision-making, which obviously implies the freedom to obtain, communicate and discuss information, and the practical importance of maintaining the precarious balance between healthy cleavage and the necessary consensus; coercion of expression is likely to be ineffective, and coercion of expression conceals the real problems confronting a society… It is likely to result in neglect of the grievances, which are the actual basis of the unrest and thus prevent their correction. (PUCL Bulletin, July 1982).

The Government of Dominica under a democracy like ours is based upon consent of the governed----Is this happening in Dominica today? Are the actions of the Government contrary to what the governed desires? Shouldn’t the governed have involvement in the policies and actions of government? As it is now, do they?
I ask these questions because if they are answered correctly, and not hampered by those of us who want to be politically correct, we must see the disturbing picture that is like a mural all over Dominica. This is what political correctness is all about.

Political correctness has powerful enforcement authority. On its own, it can charge, convict, and punish anyone who crosses the invisible line of offense.) How is this done? Change speech and thought patterns by spreading the idea that vocalizing your beliefs is disrespectful to others. "Political Correctness." and freedom of speech are contrary concepts and cannot co-exist.

In 1935, after Hitler came to power, the Frankfurt School moved to New York City, where they continued their work by translating Marxism from economic to cultural terms using Sigmund Freud's psychological conditioning mechanisms to get Americans to buy into Political Correctness.

In 1941, they moved to California to spread their wings, and it has spread far and wide Political Correctness remains just what it was intended to be: a sophisticated and dangerous form of censorship and oppression, imposed upon the citizenry with the ultimate goal of manipulating, brainwashing and destroying our society.

With profound dismay, I have seen how the scourge of political correctness has taken hold in the Dominica. What needs to be said is not said because it upsets certain people in the society. It is very well entrenched in our religious and community levels, the media, the workplace and even our government.

It is changing the Dominican society from within, and the citizens of this nation are increasingly censoring themselves and losing their freedom of speech out of fear and political correctness repression.

It is the nature of Western Civilization to be civilized – respectful of others and concerned with correcting injustices. We don't need political correctness to make us think we are not civilized on our own and must have our thoughts and words restricted.

We see shameful situations created in our Government system, and in the private sector, most have fallen prey to political correctness. The media and concerned citizens are being attacked viciously for expressing a point of view that differs from that imposed by a fanatical supporters of this Government, under the guise of nationalism and political correctness.

Those who do not agree with the current state of affairs and speak up have often suffered at the hands of dogmatists who have wanted to reduce their open-mindedness and civility to a formal or rigid code or blueprint.

They feel threatened by the possibility of the effect this will have on the status quo. Those who want to continue business as usual are scared to death; they are left vulnerable when their comfort blanket of political correctness is taken away from them. It distresses their programmed minds.

Those who do not conform should be ignored, silenced or vilified. There is a kind of soft totalitarianism about political correctness that we should to be aware of.
Many of us are outraged about what is happening to our country, and there are some of us who are outraged and ready for action.

There are also many who believe that we should be silenced, and are trying their utmost, using very unscrupulous means to keep us in quite submission, not only that we will not let them, we call on every Dominican to step up to the plate as one unified people working cohesively to save our nation?

Whatever we do, whatever we say, whichever political party we support, no matter how much we benefit from the Government of the day, we must recognize the important role that the media plays in our society; even sometimes they do not remain true to their moral obligations.

Those who do must be applauded and defended when others attempt to demonize and discredit them, deny them their rights and trivialize what is their moral obligations, they are supposed to be the conscience of the society.

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Dominica: The dawn of a new day

By Constance Dominique

Dominica has struggled with the issue of sustainable development over the past 30 years of independence. The island, like many small states is subject to geographic, economic, social and technological constraints.

There are however, many elements within the gamut of constraints mentioned, which are within the island’s ability to alleviate.
pm skeritt
There has been several calls for the resignation of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.
With limited resources, any national development effort must be predicated on sound management principles and practices. The subject of good governance then becomes an issue of paramount concern. This principle has formed the linchpin of the development model of small states such as Barbados, Malta, Switzerland and many others.

In 2000, the people of Dominica indicated that they wanted to move along the path of greater transparency and accountancy in the affairs of their government. There was much debate on the subject of integrity in public office legislation.

It was expected that the process of developing this new paradigm would take some time, given that the country was moving into uncharted waters. The process was however, taking much longer that the public had anticipated.

After waiting patiently for eight long years, a widely held perception among Dominicans was that the passage of the integrity legislation had in fact been conveniently derailed.

The ruling party had pursued an alternate agenda, which enabled some public officials to amass wealth at the expense of the public coffers. The registration of the Prime Minister’s land below par, depriving the Treasury of over $50,000 still did not resonate a strong enough signal to the an unsuspecting nation that our country’s leadership had gone amiss.

The revelations of the ‘Bin Bobol’ however, have without any shadow of doubt, astounded the nation. People are wondering how this could possibly be; recurring scandals involving such callous accounting practices by the designated primary guardian of the nation’s purse, the country’s Minister of Finance and Prime Minister.

The wanton disregard for well established and documented tendering and procurement polices and practices can be summarized by an 1887 quotation from John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

The nation anxiously seeks to address the current ‘Bin Bobol’ impasse and plot a new path forward; a path which recognizes the moral imperatives of transparent and efficient governance in which citizens feel that elected officials are accountable and working on their behalf.

In setting the new standards for our leaders, we can draw some advice from the words of President Ronald Reagan ‘Trust, but verify.” In pursuit of the ideals of justice and fairplay for our beloved nation, the Prime Minister must step down, allow an independent investigation and save the country from any further embarrassment and suffering.

The people of Dominica are fed up with malfeasance in government and the blatant abuse of power for political and personal gain will not be tolerated. Not this time Mr Skerrit. You must resign.

Now is the time for all honest men and women of this land to come forth and show the testament of their true character. This is an opportunity to write yet another chapter in the annals of Dominica’s history.

The President must call on the Prime Minister to resign before he himself looses the respect of Dominicans at home, abroad and throughout the global community. Some of the founding fathers of our nation envisioned the need for honesty and integrity as key tenets for a prosperous nation. In the words of W. O. M. Pond “Come ye forward sons and daughters do the right, be firm be fair.”

Given the languishing economic performance of our country in the recent past, coupled with this ‘Bin Bobol’, nonchalance and apathy on our part can only result in unmitigated disaster. We need all hands on board.

Instead of seeking to alienate our natives through the use of concocted homeland definitions, persons of influence need to encourage our leadership to harness the power of its human resources at home and abroad.

The object must be to build a better Dominica, a virtue extolled in the last two stanzas of our National Anthem “In which everyone rejoices, all for each and each for all.” Let this moment going forward mark he dawn of a new beginning for our beloved Dominica.

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

'Bobol' and Dominican society

By Dr Emanuel Finn

The root of what we call ‘Bobol’ (corruption, kickbacks /cover ups) is found and is pervasive in the structure of Dominican society. This practice by those in power and have access to power hasn’t abated with modernization, the internet and a greater openness to the world.

It is one of the factors which hinder economic growth, prosperity and development in developing (Third World) countries such as ours.
garbage bin
Bobol like the more recent arbage bin scandal is pervasive in Dominican society.

In the 40s and mid 50s during the construction of the trans-insular road, the first motorable road project across the island, which connected villages between Marigot and Roseau, it did not escape bobol by high ranking government officials.

In the late 60s the cultural group the Sifleur Montagne Choral recorded a popular folk song which tried to expose the bobol which was occurring during the Trans-insular project.

The song speaks to the large and pervasive degree of bobol that occurred during the road project when construction reached the area known as Norway (for its low temperatures) just outside Belles in the interior by high ranking administrators. ‘Let’s sing the song -in patois’: ‘If you were in Norway what would you do? ----I would buy an aero-plane’. ……In spite of the alleged corruption, no government officials were investigated or charged.

Accusations and perceptions of embracing various models of corruption and corrupt behavior have been leveled against most governments in Dominica with the exception of that of Premier Leblanc and Dame Eugenia Charles.

Despite being accused of bobol, no high government official or business person has been charged, indicted, convicted or held responsible in these administrations. Is this a double standard?

People who are at or near the bottom of society and commit simple crimes such as stealing are usually punished to the full extent of the law. On the other hand, bobol as it is understood and defined culturally is reserved for powerful and important people in high office and with high social standings.

They are usually untouchable by the justice system. Bobol and stealing are defined and punished in our society differently from a legal, political, socioeconomic and class standings.

This reminds me of the Solomon Cleaver’s historic novel, Jean Val Jean. The story starts in 1815 in Toulon, France, when 19 year old peasant Jean Val Jean was sentenced to five years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving sister and her family.

Val Jean was an ordinary man and not part of French Bourgeois Aristocracy. His crime was theft and not 'bobol' therefore mercy, grace and compassion were not applicable to him.

Both the Val Jean story and the situation in Dominica with the latest bobol scandals today examine and should remind us of the nature of law and it expounds on society, politics, justice or lack thereof.

Yes in Dominica we have many modern day ‘Jean Val Jeans’, who are products of our decaying and culturally eroding society. Also because of the choices they make as a result of their own characters.

We also have many persons in high standings who will continue to commit bobol along with their conspirators and opportunists. These ‘acrobats’ know that chances are they will never stand before a judge in a courtroom or a spend a day in jail on these charges in spite of society’s outcry.

Bobol (not theft) is always tolerated by those who need government services and are permanently trapped in dependence. To support corrupt regimes, politics uses corruption as an effective vehicle to buy, keep and get easy votes, keep opponents in check and maintain power.

"Respectable” individuals will receive and condone payoffs and bobol when it suits their purpose and still hold their collective noses and condescend to those in political life. There is no joy in these stories. It is a lose/lose for society at large and everyone.

People should care about corruption, no matter what the party or color and creed of the corrupt leadership. Corrupt politicians and people take the path of least resistance and their real creed is the ideology of self. Corrupt politicians and people are found in every political party, race, religion, or creed.

What corruption does is, it eats away at the fabric of society. Corrupt politicians and faux leaders have destroyed and are destroying many countries and communities.
Is corruption wrong? Does it matter the party of the crook? If one is so partisan and can't see corruption, it is just wrong.

When that does happen then we will get the kind of third world cess pool that causes millions of Mexicans to voluntarily migrate, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Cambodia and other hell holes.

Those countries that rein in at least the worst cases of official or unofficial corruption the quickest they will reap the benefits of the New Global Economic Expansion. If you don't believe me, look at what's happened with Singapore with its extraordinary developments which has very little or no corruption.

As compared with its neighbour Indonesia or our neighbour Haiti which have grinding poverty, human rights atrocities, cascading and cancerous decadence and mayhem.

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

A woman on a mission to transform Dominica's urban ghetto

By Cherryll Lafond

Dominica, the Caribbean island which boasts itself as the nature island of the Caribbean. It is best known for its natural beauty, pristine splendor; and mineral springs formed from its volcanic properties.

It is an island, which has produced the world’s youngest prime minister, some of the longest living centenarians, and the very first female prime minister to govern a Caribbean Nation.

silver lake
The heart of the Silver Lake community just outside of the capital city Roseau.
But behind all this pristine beauty, the social and political attributes, is a very dark side of societal ills of poverty, child neglect, child and sexual abuse of every form, faced by a child in every other household, particularly the less fortunate children in the island’s Urban Ghettos.

An unnoticed epidemic for decades, which has remain one the island’s deep dark secrets, but has continued to afflict the Dominican Society. In recent years, laws such as the Sexual Offenses ACT 1 of 1998, have been implemented to address some of these issues.

However, due to a lack of proper governmental structure, trained personnel, a non-bureaucratic, or a non-corrupt political system. This problem and many other inhumane situations continue to plague the society, particularly those who do not have a voice or an effective advocate who will let their plights be heard.

The stories told by some of its victims are heart-breaking, the perpetrators isn’t just the average person (a stranger), they are pastors, politicians, musical artists, teachers, a father, lawyers, law enforcers, child nurse practitioners, bank directors, doctors, family members, the neighbour, or a family friend in most cases these offenders are nearly three times the age of the victims.

The Dominican society has turned its back on these victims, and has desensitized itself from these ills; the treatment towards those who have succumbed to childhood sexual abuse is a very cruel one. Victims are ridiculed for their unfortunate circumstances; the government does not seem to care as to what is going on.

And has made no major efforts to address these problems, few are charged for such crimes, but in most cases, they receive a very light penalty, which may be a small fine and in very rare situations, may receive a short jail time, but no major penalties are given to sex offenders.
silver lake children
Some of the children of the Silver Lake community.

Based on who the offender is, and the position that they may hold within the Dominican Society, the charge or changes brought against them, quietly vanishes.

In some cases (most being the norm), the offender pays off the parent or parents of the victim, the matter is no longer considered a problem. As a result, some victims who have been scared by these ills are walking emotional time bombs; there are no therapeutic facilities or other such mediums for healing.

One individual, who has taken up a crusade in combating some of these problems, particularly in the city’s Urban Ghettos is Gloria Walsh.

Gloria Walsh is on a mission, and her mission is a one-woman fight, to help the children in Dominica’s Urban Ghettos, particularly in the Silver Lake community in attaining a better life, one out of what they currently live in.

Her concerns are very genuine; she is not deterred by any of the bureaucratic setbacks she faces in her quest. “It is sad, and those in high places are the very ones who are condoning the nonsense that is happening to these children.”

Gloria is no stranger to this field, a community activist for the past eighteen years, she has been involved in the community development of the Bath Estate Community, where she has lived. She also worked with Operation Youth Quake, a small organization funded by government to help in the development of young persons on the island.

A few years ago, she started a voluntary organization for youths, The Love One, Teach One Foundation Inc. (, to provide a supportive program for underprivileged children and troubled youth in the Roseau areas.

It also provides participants help with their homework; provide additional instructions to them in different subject areas such as Reading, Mathematics, Spelling, English and Writing. As part of the Reading Program, participants have the opportunity to enroll at the public Library, borrow books, and research homework, as well as educational field trips and other social events of interest.
gloria walsh
Gloria Walsh is a woman on a mission.

It is an agency, whose sole survival and success is based on the generosity of friends, family and other well-wishers. “Our society have become laid back, materials things are our comfort, once we have our comfort, it doesn't matter to us anymore.”

She gets clothing, food and other donations from a few concerned friends based in the US, others have promised to help, but these promises have never been fulfilled, without these types of assistance, her mission would have been a wasted effort.

She operates on a nonexistent budget and has sort the assistance of government for funding or any type of available aid, but these efforts have been useless. Her proposals to the government have never been read either can they be found.

“The Welfare Division’s hands are tied, not many workers to deal with what is happening right now, our Government don't care, and I will say it. Don’t you think they are not getting reports? So it doesn't matter to them.”
silverlake house
Gloria leads the charge in cleaning up.

It is 5 am, Tuesday morning; Gloria is up, and is preparing to embark on her day’s journey. It is the start of a typical day. A single mother of four, she prepares her younger kids for school, so that she can be on her way to the various communities and schools she visits daily.

She prepares meals at home, for some 30 kids and provides lunch two days a week. By 9 am, she has already covered a 10-20 mile walk, where she visits the first school, for a PTA (Parent Teachers Association) executive meeting at the Newtown Primary School, where she serves as executive secretary to the PTA, she also serves on the a sub-committee for parenting as well.

Along her way she may be stopped by someone in the community who may need her help with some matter or another. Recently, she coordinated an aid drive for a family who had lost their home to a fire. She is determined to cover as much as possible in one day.

In one day, she will visit the entire Silver Lake Community. The Silver Lake Community is less than a 30-minute drive from the capital city of Roseau. It’s a community, which is plagued, with poverty, social ills such as unemployment, school dropout, teen pregnancy, gambling, drugs, neglect, child abuse and many other issues.
Pipes used for washing in Silver Lake.

There are families in that community who hardly have a daily meal, and live from mouth to mouth or by the mercy of god for survival. One of the most disturbing things about this community, are the things the children who live there are exposed too, which range from drug trafficking, and sex exploitation of many forms.

As related by a resident who asked that their identity be kept anonymous, “some of the children are sexually abused by those bourgeois, and when they think you are going to the police, they will offer money to keep quiet. What money? Five hundred dollars, that kind of little money.”

By 10 am, Gloria whisks her way through the small narrow paths between the small-galvanized shacks, in the Silver Lake Community, where she meets with some of the parents. She is overwhelmed by the problems related to her.

Problems ranging from child support, child abuse, neglect, and in some cases a sexual assault, or abuse. “It's just too much in this little country of ours, I will say a lot of people are so caught up in the material world they don't care about their children, society has turned a blind eye towards a lot of issues concerning our kids.”

Most of these parents are young mothers, some of whom, barely made it through a basic education. She is their only form of hope. They look at her as the only person who can create a voice for letting their plights be heard. “It is for real, we are sitting on a time bomb of sexual abuse, physically, and verbally, all in all, the ills of our children are rampant in Dominica.”

It is also one of the areas, where the current Labour Party Government led by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, has its most loyal supporters; some literarily worship their young prime minister as they say. He is adored by many of the residents there, so for that moment in time, their burdens are relieved, forgetting the impoverished conditions, which surrounds them.

Although the government has been offering free homes and other housing amenities, with aid from the Venezuelan Government, under what it dubbed “The Housing Revolution”, the revolution has not yet reached the Silver Lake Community, so this vicious cycle of poverty continues.
silverlake house
A typical house in Silver Lake.

Some wait patiently for the upcoming general elections, which is roughly one-year away. It is the time when all the contesting politicians will visit these areas as part of their campaign strategy, every politician will promise a better life, a life out of the one they currently live in.

However, that too will disappear once the elections are over, and nothing would have changed. As noon approaches, Gloria shuffles her way out, through narrow walkways between, the cramped up shacks to the main road and heads home.

To be home in time when the students she feeds lunch to twice a week reaches her doorsteps. It is a hectic task but she is committed to her cause and forgets all the other setbacks she faces. “I am doing my fair share, and I am still doing for the less fortunate kids of society, I ensure that they going on the right track and I have spoken about the issues with CCF (Christian Children Fund), Ministry of Education, Welfare Department, but I will not stop.”

There is roughly an hour and a half break before she heads back to the Roseau Girls School, a small school in the capital city where she has secured a classroom for after school lessons with the kids from the Silver Lake Community.

During that time, she teaches life skills such as Personal Hygiene, Cooking, and Arts and Crafts. She tries hard to be the best motivator she can be to the kids in the program, by organizing community clean-up projects, with the kids there, and work with them on the various tasks, such as cleaning the public water supply and other communal facilities.

Gloria now looks forward to relocating the program to the Bath Estate Community Centre, which is within a closer proximity to the Silver Lake Area; it is also a bigger building, so more kids will have the opportunity of becoming part of the program.

She hopes that this will lead to the expansion of the lunch program from two days a week at her home to three days a week, at the Community Centre. Gloria also hopes that if this venture becomes a reality, it will offer a better sense of hope for the other kids in the Silver Lake Community. The situation may get worst.

However, Gloria will continue on her personal crusade to help ease the conditions there for the many children she helps. Her struggle will continue, but at the end, she is determined to bring about change.

Editor's Note: Persons wishing to support the efforts of Gloria Walsh can make donations to:
Gloria Walsh
Love Teach One Foundation
13 Balata Avenue
Bath Estate
Commonwealth of Dominica, W I,
Tel: 1(767) 615-4220/ or 1 (767) 276-3129
Email:[email protected]

Or Directly to Acc # 21009010
Roseau Credit Union
Roseau, Dominica.

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dominica Freedom Party reponse to PMs statement on purchase of 2700 garbage bins

By Judith Pestaina - Party Leader

Having heard Prime Minister Skerrit’s lame attempt at trying to spin the garbage bin scandal in his Address to the Nation, Dominicans are left to wonder why is he of the view that we are a gullible people. Why is it that with so many other important economic and social issues facing the country that the Office of the Prime Minister seems to be embroiled in rubbish?
judith pestaina
Freedom Party Leader Judith Pestaina.
The exposé given by the Prime Minister has made this more of a scandal and demonstrates that the ethical foundations of our country are quickly being lost and replaced with amorality, indifference and a latent acceptance of corrupt behaviour.

The plethora of excuses given by Prime Minister Skerrit in seeking to explain away this matter is grossly disrespectful to the intelligence of our people and shows clear evidence of an attempt to cover up blatant inconsistencies in the procurement of 2700 garbage bins which were clearly overpriced and of poor quality.

He has not explained why it is that Government paid US$102 for a garbage bin that only costs US$15. He has not explained why it is that it took Government until May 28 2009 to realise that the garbage bins did not have “wheels or secure covers”. He has not explained why it is that payment was made in advance of receipt of goods. He has not told the Dominican people how much tax payers money was paid for storage of bins on the port for that length of time.

In asking the Attorney General to review the matter to ensure that tenders are held in future transactions by Councils and Statutory Bodies, the Prime Minister has clearly disregarded or is ignorant of government procurement procedures which are already in place. Consequently, it is passing strange that Prime Minister Skerrit would seek to gloss over the irregularity of this acquisition, citing the fact that the purchase was NOT illegal as justification.

The Prime Minister has merely skirted the main issues which Dominicans want cleared by failing to respond to the following:
• How was contact established with Andre Dopwell and through whom?
• What, if any, business was conducted by Government with the individual in the past?
• Was it a coincidence that Mr Dopwell is the brother of the Minister of Trade and Diaspora Affairs who the Prime Minister said was not involved in this transaction?
• Why would the Ministry of Finance pay in advance a sum of more than ¾ million dollars to a company that is NOT registered in either the US or Dominica, or no other known country for that matter?
• Why did it take the Ministry of Finance so long to follow up on the short supply of bins?

It is clear that government procurement procedures were seriously breached in the purchase of the garbage bins. Yet Prime Minister Skerrit has sought to pass these off as mere mistakes by the Civil Servants concerned. Most modern Democracies would have sanctioned the Minister under whose Ministry such blatant mismanagement of our meagre tax dollars took place.

In Dominica however, we are fed with a diet of spin and an innate desire to remind Dominicans that past misdeeds somehow justify this kind of misconduct and lack of probity in public office.

As guardian of the National Purse, Prime Minister Skerrit cannot escape this blatant disregard and clear evidence of abuse exhibited in this Bin Bobol and must clear the air on those questions which still remain unanswered. This was not as some spin doctors have tried to describe it “an innocent mistake” or an “accounting error.”

We call on all Dominicans and all Freedomites who uphold and subscribe to the principles of the Dominica Freedom Party “People Before Power, People Before Politics, People Before Privilege and Things”, to condemn such abuse of public office and public trust.

We insist that an Independent Investigation be carried out to clear the air once and for all on this matter. Nothing less would suffice in this blatant case of the corrupt acquisition of Bins.

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Refund to be granted in fourteen days in garbage bin scandal Newsdesk

Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has denied any form of wrongdoing concerning the purchase of garbage bins from Andre Dopwell of Logistical Supplies Inc.

In a radio address to the nation on Tuesday, Mr. Skerrit told the nation that on May 28, 2009, three days after the scandal broke, and more than seven months after receiving the bins, his government wrote to Mr. Dopwell to inform him that the bins did not meet the specifications of the Roseau Town Council, and “would be grateful for urgent action.”
pm skeritt
The Skerrit government paid more than half a million dollars over for garbage bins.

On June 1, 2009 a correspondence was received from Mr. Dopwell in which he accepted that a reimbursement was required. “If your government is not happy with the purchase it is my responsibility to take action. Accordingly, we will revalue the bins at the known market value, deduct the net cost and make a reimbursement within fourteen working days.”

The Prime Minister also went on to say that no other action was required, since in his view, the matter was resolved. He also indicated that the shipment was short by over 500 bins and he was awaiting the supplier to send them to Dominica.

On the issue of Andre Dopwell being the half brother of Trade Minister Colin McIntyre, the Prime minister said that while it is true that the two are bothers, nothing in the public service regulations prevented government from doing business with Dopwell. “Further, at no time did the Minister (McIntyre) have any dealings with Logistical Supplies Inc.”

Another issue that the Prime Minister raised was the fact that the company was not registered. He said that it is not unusual for persons to act on behalf of companies that were not registered and that in itself was not a crime.

The Prime minister continued to insist that he acted in good faith and was simply responding to a need from the Roseau City Council for assistance with providing garbage bins to residents of Roseau.

This last statement however, contradicts statements from some members of the Roseau City Council who are on record as saying that at no time did the Council request garbage bins from government.

In his fifteen minutes address, the Prime Minister did not address questions about earlier transactions between Andre Dopwell and his brother who was agriculture minister at the time. Questions had been raised by the opposition about the purchase of fertilizers from Dopwell when McIntyre was agriculture minister.

Read Entire Address of the Prime minister

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

Monday, June 1, 2009

Nice Job - Senator Louis Hill

Reprinted from the Editorial of the Avis Newspaper - St Croix

“Let’s be honest. It could have been a few weeks – even months of extreme awkwardness.

When members of the 28th Legislature’s majority caucus voted to move in a new direction – with a different senator at the helm of the Senate, it would have been all too easy to spend the days and weeks pointing fingers, placing blame and engaging in the kind of politics that has become quite commonplace – and more than irksome to citizens – in our nation’s center of government.
senator hill
Senator P Hill originally from Dominica is President of the US Virgin Islands Legislature.

But a funny thing happened, instead. Senators got to work. Really got down to work. Within the first few weeks of taking over a Senate president, Sen. Louis Hill has shepherded more than a few bills down the Senate pipeline.

Some have been good, we think. Others needed some tweaking, we thought. But the point isn’t that the Senate passed a load of good bills or a load of bad bills.

The point is that most of the nonsense – the back and forth that makes the Senate meetings both entertaining and tedious at the same time – has taken a back seat to making some progress.

The Senate – like any other governmental body – is made up of 15 personalities all with differing points of view, psychological makeups, life experiences and personal agendas.

Even under the most normal of circumstances, making sure that all 15 members work toward a common goal would be difficult enough.

But the last few weeks have been not exactly normal circumstances. The majority caucus should congratulate itself for its decision to choose Hill to helm the ship.

It was a wise choice. It’s not just that the Senate has met and debated and passed a slew of bills during the past several days that should be commended – though the sheer number of bills that have come down the pipeline is impressive.

But through the trying times and the awkwardness, through the sometimes emotional outbursts and the general feeling of uneasiness, Hill has conducted himself – and by example, helped committee heads to conduct themselves – in a professional, businesslike manner.

Hill, so far, has demonstrated quality leadership and the kind of humility that puts citizens before egos, business before bashing.

And that will lead, we think, to an effectively run Legislature. . .”

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

The The garbage bin scandal and governance in Dominica

The The garbage bin scandal and governance in Dominica
Is the PM Serious about a report?
The Dominica government and the EC$ 749 797 garbage bin fiasco

| Home Page | Dominica |Welcome Message | Prior Issues|Flag and Symbols | Dominica Constitution | Bulletin Board |Contact Us |Local Headlines |Discussion Board |Radio & TV |Cricket | Current Issue

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]