MJ.9781594486005_p0_v1_s260x420Our congratulations to Marlon James for his new book, A Brief History of Seven Killings: A Novel (Penguin Group, October 2014). The novel centers on the assassination attempt of Bob Marley; this axis connects several decades, many interconnecting geographic regions, and the sundry histories that lead to today’s Jamaica and its diasporic community.

Description: From the acclaimed author of The Book of Night Women comes one of the year’s most anticipated novels, a lyrical, masterfully written epic that explores the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the late 1970s.

On December 3, 1976, just before the Jamaican general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert, gunmen stormed his house, machine guns blazing. The attack nearly killed the Reggae superstar, his wife, and his manager, and injured several others. Marley would go on to perform at the free concert on December 5, but he left the country the next day, not to return for two years.

Deftly spanning decades and continents and peopled with a wide range of characters—assassins, journalists, drug dealers, and even ghosts—A Brief History of Seven Killings is the fictional exploration of that dangerous and unstable time and its bloody aftermath, from the streets and slums of Kingston in the ‘70s, to the crack wars in ‘80s New York, to a radically altered Jamaica in the ‘90s. Brilliantly inventive and stunningly ambitious, this novel is a revealing modern epic that will secure Marlon James’ place among the great literary talents of his generation.

Publisher’s Weekly says: “There are many more than seven killings in James’s (Dayton Literary Peace Prize winner for The Book of Night Women) epic chronicle of Jamaica’s turbulent past, but the centerpiece is the attempted assassination of Bob Marley on December 3, 1976. Through more than a dozen voices, that event is portrayed as the inevitable climax of a country shaken by gangs, poverty, and corruption. Even as the sweeping narrative continues into 1990s New York, the ripples of Jamaica’s violence are still felt by those who survived. James’s frenetic, jolting narrative is populated by government agents, ex-girlfriends, prisoners, gang members, journalists, and even ghosts. Memorable characters (and there are several) include John-John K, a hit man who is very good at his job; Papa-Lo, don of the Copenhagen City district of Kingston; and Josey Wales, who begins as Papa-Lo’s head enforcer but ends up being a major string-puller in the country’s most fateful events. Much of the conflict centers on the political rivalry of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People’s National Party (PNP), which involves everyone from the CIA (which comes off as perennially paranoid about “isms,” namely communism) to the lowest Jamaican gang foot soldier. The massive scope enables James to build an incredible, total history: Nina Burgess, who starts the book as a receptionist in Kingston and ends as a student nurse in the Bronx, inhabits four different identities over the course of 15 years. She is undoubtedly one of this year’s great characters. Upon finishing, the reader will have completed an indispensable and essential history of Jamaica’s troubled years. This novel should be required reading.”

Marlon James was born in Jamaica. He is the author of The Book of Night Women, which won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He teaches at Macalester College.

For more information, see http://www.amazon.com/Brief-History-Seven-Killings-Novel/dp/159448600X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409328988&sr=1-1&keywords=9781594486005

Posted by: ivetteromero | August 29, 2014

The Panama Men–A Philatelic Celebration

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Dr. Henry S. Fraser (former Dean of Medical Sciences and Professor Emeritus of Medicine, University of the West Indies) brings attention to the official declaration of a yearly Panama Day in Barbados—which honors the thousands of Barbadians who contributed to the construction of the Panama Canal—and the commemorative stamps designed for this purpose. He also bring attention to the enormous disparities in wages, healthcare, etc., that Caribbean workers (Bajans and Jamaicans, among others) faced in those years.

It was announced a few days ago that “In recognition of the contribution of Barbadians to the construction of the Panama Canal, the Cabinet of Barbados has declared August 15 as Panama Day, a national day of celebration” (BGIS). [. . .] Panama Day will preserve the memory of the fantastic contribution of those many thousands of Barbadians to the construction of the Panama Canal – best estimates 40 – 45,000 although some suggest as many as 60,000 (see last week’s column and the national census of the period). Barbados was the largest source of foreign labour contracted by the United States Government to build the Canal. They worked like serfs, under horrendous conditions both of work, the rainy, muddy and mosquito infested gorge (See Hell’s Gorge by Matthew Parker) and the squalid living conditions. They were known, along with their Jamaican counterparts, as the Silver Men, because they were paid with silver while the American workers were paid in gold – this was the symbolic measure of the discrimination against them.

[. . .] But although there are many reasons for the success of the American project after the disastrous failure of the earlier French attempt, the Canal could hardly have been built without our hardworking, honest and devoted Bajan brothers, many of whom died from disasters – huge, catastrophic and unexpected landslides burying them by the hundred, or yellow fever taking them out. Massive public health measures to control the mosquitoes carrying yellow fever were moderately successful, as the cause of this devastating disease had recently become known. But many of our people would have also suffered from malnutrition and an absence of any health care. [. . .]

I am therefore excited and thrilled with the Government of Barbados declaring Panama Day in perpetuity, and with the Barbados Postal Service, through its Philatelic Bureau, creating a commemorative issue that has to be one of the most important in the distinguished work of this splendid agency: The 100th Anniversary of the Panama Canal.

[. . .] This Panama Anniversary issue has been well researched. It features five historic photographs on the five stamps: 1909, SS Ancon Arrival at Cristobal on the 10 cent stamp; 1912, Track Shifting Gang on the 65 cent stamp; 1813, Rock Slide at Gold Hill on the $1.00 stamp; 1914, Moving Building on the $2.00 stamp; and 1915, Floor Slab on Rock on the $3.00 stamp. I found the Rock Slide photo of particular interest because these terrible events often buried hundreds of workers as well as the huge steam shovels which “moved the earth itself”. Alan Huffman described these as “a proto-American machine capable of tearing the world apart, eight tons at a time”, and gave them the credit for the achievement of the Panama Canal.

I congratulate the Philatelic Bureau for this splendid issue. I hope it will be disseminated far and wide, and not only make pellucidly clear the role of Barbadian workers in achieving the miracle of the Canal, but stamp the place of Barbados in the philatelic world (pun intended). And I hope it will help to draw attention to our many magnificent stamp issues of recent times, such as Pillars of Worship, Lighthouses, and Seven Wonders of Barbados. Our several Barbados websites should figure our philatelic gems prominently.

For full editorial, see http://www.caribbean360.com/opinion/henry-s-fraser-the-panama-men-a-philatelic-celebration

Also see related article New Book—“Dying to Better Themselves: West Indians and the building of the Panama Canal”

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Posi+tive Magazine has posted more photos from the current series by Nadia Huggins, “Circa no future,” which we have been all following enthusiastically; see our previous post (27 July 2014) Nadia Huggins’ “Circa no future”.

Nadia Huggins is a self-taught photographer from St. Vincent & the Grenadines; her primary focus for the past 11 years has been documentary and conceptual photography. She has an invested interest in creating work of and about the Caribbean.  She is the co-founder of ARC Magazine, a contemporary Caribbean art publication and a full-time freelance graphic designer.

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For more of these evocative photos, see http://www.positive-magazine.com/photography/featured-story/circa-no-future/

Posted by: ivetteromero | August 29, 2014

Cryptocurrency: Free Bitcoin for Dominica

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A while ago, we posted that Coinapult and Aspen Assurance had chosen an unnamed island to make it a testing ground for massive Bitcoin use, turning it into “the densest population of bitcoin owners in the world” [see “Let the Bit Drop”: Coinapult to Transform a Caribbean Island into Bitcoin Test Ground]. Now we see that it is Dominica. Every resident of the Caribbean island is to receive free bitcoin next year; 70,000 residents will receive bitcoin via text message on March 14, 2015, at 9:26am— to coincide with Pi Day. The companies will create local information centers to educate people about bitcoin and how to use their new digital wallets. Read excerpts here:

Cryptocurrency markets have taken a slight stumble over the last 24 hours, as bitcoin and other major digital currencies saw their prices fall. The hardest hit of the big players was litecoin, which saw its value fall by around 7% since yesterday. Bucking the trend is darkcoin, the anonymity-focussed altcoin that has witnessed tumbling prices since June. The 1.5% increase in price has not made much of a dent on the $50m (£30m, €38m) that has been lost from its market cap over the last few months.

A new Bitcoin Sentiment Index (BSI) has been launched, aiming to gauge public opinion surrounding the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. The BSI takes data gathered by Qriously from questions to internet users in the UK and the US via amobile polling service. In total, 85 randomly selected people in the UK and 50 in the US are asked whether they believe the importance of bitcoin will increase or decrease in the next 12 months. “The motivation behind the Bitcoin Sentiment Index is to create a time-series tracking the popular sentiment towards bitcoin,” Chris Kahler, CEO and co-founder of Qriously, told IBTimes UK. “A lot of the interest in bitcoin at present is based on assumptions of this data so we think being able to track and quantify it will be valuable and revealing.”

The BSI will feature at the top of our daily cryptocurrency round-ups alongside the price of bitcoin. Every resident of the Caribbean island of Dominica is to receive free bitcoin next year in an effort to create the world’s largest and highest density cryptocurrency community.

The Bit Drop project will see over 70,000 residents receive bitcoin via text message on 14 March, 2015, at 9:26am – to coincide with Pi Day. [. . .]

“Before the party we plan to distribute educational materials via government channels on bitcoin and the ‘Bit Drop’ project,” the project’s website reads. “We will create local information centres to educate people about bitcoin and how to use their new digital wallets and then celebrate in style during the island’s holiday season.”

[Many thanks to Rod Fusco for bringing this item to our attention.]

For original article, see http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/cryptocurrency-news-round-free-bitcoin-caribbean-nation-public-feeling-tracked-1462975

Dr.-James-Fletcher

Anthony Sammie (St. Lucia News Online) writes about Caribbean participation at the 3rd International UN Small Island Developing States Conference in Samoa, to be held September 1-4, 2014. The chair of the CARICOM Task Force on Sustainable Development, Hon. Dr. James Fletcher—who is also the Minister for Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology in St. Lucia will represent the Caribbean.

The Republic of China on Taiwan is financing the participation of the Government of Saint Lucia in the 3rd International UN Small Island Developing States Conference in Samoa. Ambassador James Chang handed over a cheque to the Minister for Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, Hon. Dr. James Fletcher on Monday, to facilitate participation in the conference, which is aimed at determining how much progress has been made since the implementation of the Barbados Program of Action in 1994.

The Barbados Program of Action outlines the framework of action in support of small island states in the Caribbean, Pacific and Mediterranean regions. According to the Minister for Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, Hon. Dr. James Fletcher, the event is significant. “For Saint Lucia, it’s important because the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia is the one who, in the quasi CARICOM cabinet, has lead responsibility for sustainable development and climate change,” he said. “Much of what we will be discussing in Samoa revolves around sustainable development and climate change issues. Saint Lucia been very fortunate to be playing a lead role in a lot of the negotiations.”

Dr. Fletcher added that Saint Lucia chairs the CARICOM Task Force on Sustainable Development, which, in addition to handling sustainable development and climate change issues, is also responsible for preparing for the upcoming conference. The minister will be accompanied by technical staff from the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology. The conference will be held from September 1-4.

For full article, see http://www.stlucianewsonline.com/minister-to-attend-small-island-states-conference-in-samoa/

Posted by: ivetteromero | August 29, 2014

Who will write today’s Caribbean history?

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This commentary by David Jessop (Director of the Caribbean Council) focuses on the relative unavailability of primary sources on modern Caribbean history. Therefore, he says, “it is far easier to know in great detail about slavery, [. . .] the colonial experience, or [. . .] the process that led to independence, than it is to understand through first-hand accounts the late twentieth century Caribbean history that followed.” He explains why this is and points out that there are a few books that serve, at least partially, to fill in the gaps: Richard Bernal’s Globalisation, Trade and Economic Development and Sir Shridath Ramphal’s forthcoming autobiography, Glimpses of a Global Life. (Read full editorial in the link below.)

[. . .] This is made worse by the fact that access to high level Caribbean government documents is at best sporadic, idiosyncratic or limited, with much that might have been recorded remaining unknown, withheld or destroyed. The consequence is that many important moments in national or regional history are lost; making it increasingly hard to understand in retrospect what happened or is now happening. One consequence of this is that it makes for those coming into Caribbean politics, or others who need to understand regional or nations dynamics, stuck with political mythology, unable to grasp issues well, or respond in ways that understand Caribbean sensibilities. [. . .]

Foreign records: Instead, what is apparent is that much of the detail of the Caribbean’s contemporary history has been recorded through the eyes of foreign diplomats, their governments and those who are paid to have an interest in the region. This was most recently demonstrated by Wikileaks when it published online leaked US State Department reporting from Caribbean-based US diplomats, or in the opening to public views last year of key documents relating to the 1983 US invasion of Grenada, contained in the archive of Margaret Thatcher.

That said, there are a small number of journalists, columnists and academics both within the region and beyond who remain committed to trying to explain to a national or wider audience not just what is happening, but more importantly why. And there are also some very good regional investigative journalists mainly focussed on the abuse of power, criminality or corrupt practice, who are prepared to take risks in small nations where governments, if they so chose [sic], can be vindictive or worse. There are also sometimes hard to access newspaper archives which to a greater or lesser extent are online.

Missing records: For a region where everyone has something to say about politics, as is evidenced by the many online blogs, scurrilous or otherwise, it is surprising that detailed first hand Caribbean accounts of key moments in regional history remain missing. Why this should be is unclear. It may be that no one in the Caribbean’s political class wants to reflect on the detail of past discussions out of a sense of solidarity with their peers, or fear of retribution; it is in part about the absence, for the most part, of high quality journalism in much of the Anglophone Caribbean, able to consider seriously what might be written; and it may also be because there is no longer any money in undertaking such an enterprise. This is because Caribbean book publishers have largely come to focus on academia as the industry in the region is fast becoming unviable as a consequence of new technology, the Caribbean market for books is small and fragmented, and there are few bookshops. That said there is some hope.

ramphaJL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Worth reading: Last year, Richard Bernal, the former head of the Caribbean Regional Trade Negotiating Machinery published a largely academic book about the region’s Economic Partnership Agreement with Europe. The book, dryly entitled, ‘Globalisation, Trade and Economic Development’ is at one and the same time a manual for small states involved in international trade negotiations, a high level primer on the problems that have faced and still face the Caribbean in relation to its economy and international trade negotiations; and a quiet treatise on why negotiations for freer trade matter, and are a path to economic growth. It is in every respect worth reading. But what is interesting about the book is that at times it lapses into the first person and makes clear the difficulties Ambassador Bernal laboured under. For instance: ‘As principal negotiator for Cariforum’, he writes, ‘I had access at all times to Arthur, Golding and Miller, and the two Prime Ministers were indispensible [sic], particularly during the last scheduled day of negotiations. ‘Their ability to make courageous decisions and consolidate political agreement allowed me to fully exercise my initiative, discretion, and judgement within the mandate given to me’. While his book is in no way a biography, or the missing blow by blow account of what happened in key meetings such as that in Georgetown at the end of the EPA negotiating process, it does help explain a little why the Caribbean is where it is today.

More to come: Later this year, in November, the Caribbean’s elder statesman, Sir Shridath Ramphal, will publish an autobiography: ‘Glimpses of a Global Life’. The book is expected in part to reflect on the 15 years that he served as Commonwealth Secretary-General, during which time momentous events took place, including white Rhodesia’s unilateral declaration of independence, the struggle against apartheid and, in a Caribbean context, the US invasion of Grenada. It will be an important event, not just because it will chart Sir Shridath’s often difficult relationship with Britain’s then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, but because it will shine a Caribbean light on aspects of contemporary world and regional history.

For full article, see http://www.caribbeanintelligence.com/content/who-will-write-todays-caribbean-history

Also see information on the books mentioned: http://www.amazon.com/Glimpses-Global-Life-Shridath-Ramphal/dp/1906190925 and http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/globalization-trade-and-economic-development-richard-l-bernal/?K=9781137374974

Posted by: lisaparavisini | August 28, 2014

Belafonte, Miyazaki to receive honorary Oscars

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Caribbean-American singer and actor Harry Belafonte, French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere, Japanese animated film director Hayao Miyazaki and Irish actress Maureen O’Hara will be honoured with Governors Awards, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said yesterday.

The academy, which hosts Hollywood’s annual Oscars ceremony and is made up of some 6,500 members of the film industry, bestows the Governors Awards to honour a person’s lifetime achievements in film.

The Governors Awards, also called honorary Oscars, are handed out at a star-studded Hollywood ceremony in November.

Belafonte, 87, will be given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian award for his work in social causes, including famine relief and education. The academy noted that through his film work, which includes “Carmen Jones” and “Odds Against Tomorrow,” Belafonte strived to spotlight racial issues.

Belafonte, a native of New York’s Harlem neighborhood, is best known as the “King of Calypso,” emerging at the forefront of the Caribbean folk music wave in the United States in the 1950s. He will be join a select company of stars who have won the coveted “EGOT,” with Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards under his belt.

Miyazaki, 73, is a renowned animator and co-founder of Studio Ghibli, winning the Oscar for best animated feature film in 2002 for “Spirited Away.” “The Wind Rises” earned Miyazaki his third Oscar nomination earlier this year but may be the final work for the director, who announced his plans to retire from filmmaking last year through his production company.

Dublin native O’Hara, 94, is best known for the films “Miracle on 34th Street,” and “Sinbad the Sailor.” The red-haired screen siren was also a frequent collaborator with director John Ford, appearing in five of his films, including “The Quiet Man.”

Carriere, 82, began his career as a novelist before switching to film writing, winning an Oscar for best short subject in 1962 for co-writing “Heureux Anniversaire” with Pierre Etaix. He frequently worked with Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel on films such as 1967’s “Belle de Jour.”

Previous recipients of the Governors Awards include actor Eli Wallach and actress Lauren Bacall, who both passed away this year, director Francis Ford Coppola, actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie and comedic actor Steve Martin.

For the original report go to http://www.themalaymailonline.com/showbiz/article/belafonte-miyazaki-to-receive-honorary-oscars

Posted by: lisaparavisini | August 28, 2014

Feds list 5 Caribbean coral species as threatened

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Covering South Florida’s environment over the past two decades, Kevin Lollar has seen some really cool stuff, and at the top of the list is coral spawning in the Keys,a she reports in this article for news-press.com.

Among the coral species that spawned while I was diving with researchers from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Mote Marine Laboratory and University of Florida in August 2006 and 2007 was mountainous star coral, one of five Caribbean coral species listed this week as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also listed pillar coral, rough cactus coral, lobed star coral and boulder star coral, as well as 15 Indo-Pacific coral species.

Two other Caribbean coral species, elkhorn and staghorn, were listed as threatened in 2006.

“The Caribbean corals are already protected in the sanctuary and by state laws, but the ESA affords additional protections,” NOAA coral expert Stephania Bolden said. “For example, people are not allowed to import listed species. Also, the ESA requires other federal agencies to consult with us on projects so as not to jeopardize the species, and the ESA makes federal dollars available to partner with the state for conservation and research efforts.”

So, here’s what’s so cool about coral spawning.

Every August, a few nights after the full moon, corals reproduce by releasing gametes (packets of eggs and sperm) into the water; the problem is you don’t know which night or what time spawning will be.

When the spawning does occur, millions of pink gametes rise toward the surface, where they burst, and sperm from one coral colony fertilize eggs from another colony.

After the 2006 spawning event, Billy Causey, Southeast Regional Director for the National Marine Sanctuary Program, described it as “an upside-down pink snow storm.”

It’s a spectacular sight, but pink snow isn’t the only show.

Thousands of small fish zig and zag a few feet above the reef, feeding on the rising gametes; above them, hundreds of barracuda wait for their chance to eat the little fish.

On the nights I was there, this activity took place in the eerie illumination of a dozen dive lights as some researchers shot photographs and video while others collected gametes for research.

All in all, coral spawning is an extraordinary experience (if you ever get the chance, check it out); as NOAA coral expert Laurie MacLaughlin said:

“The reef goes crazy. It’s a darting mass of mayhem, such a circus, with a great cast of characters.”

Scat: Where it’s at

Who doesn’t like a little scatological poetry now and then?

Chaucer, Shakespeare, Jonson, Dryden and Swift all got into it.

To that august literary company we can now add biologists and interns at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, who have written “A Scat Poem” to teach folks what a bear and other wildlife do in the woods; and, of course, there’s a video, which you can link to at news-press.com.

For the original report go to http://www.news-press.com/story/life/outdoors/2014/08/28/feds-list-caribbean-coral-species-threatened/14772531/

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A post by Peter Jordens.

Miranda La Rose of Newsday reports that Verene Shepherd, Professor of Social History at UWI, Mona, co-Chair of the Caricom Reparations Commission, and Chair of Jamaica’s National Commission on Reparation, recently was the feature speaker at the National Action Cultural Committee 32nd Annual Dinner at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya, to mark Emancipation Day in Trinidad and Tobago. […]

Speaking on the theme ‘In Their Name: Caribbean Women, Slavery and Reparation,’ Shepherd noted that year after year, when the anniversary of Emancipation is observed, tributes are paid to male anti-slavery activists and women are exempt. “We even name emancipation wars after our men despite women’s involvement in them,” she said, pointing out that it is widely known that enslaved and freed women slaves also resisted the systems of domination. Women who fought against the injustices of African slavery and Asian indentureship are heroines and the call for reparations is to honour them and generations to follow. Prof. Shepherd called on Caribbean Heads of Government to recognise these women as heroines. “We call on Caribbean governments to elevate more of these women to the status of national heroine. It is for them that we call for reparation, and repatriation and resettlement in their homeland for those who require it,” urged Shepherd.

Shepherd made specific reference to one woman who was in the forefront of the struggle in Trinidad and Tobago – Adelaide Dison, alias Buzotter, a free woman and Queen of the Macaque Regiment. Buzotter was brutally punished along with slave men Roo and Bastian for their role in the so-called Christmas plot of 1850 – a slave revolt that was to take place on Shands Estate in Diego Martin. Shepherd recounted that Adelaide was sentenced to work in chains for life with an iron ring of ten pounds weight affixed to one of her legs. […]

Noting that not much has been written for use in schools about the role enslaved women and men played in resisting capture, human trafficking, the middle passage, enslavement and centuries of racial apartheid that subsequently ushered in the movement of freedom for enslaved Africans and indentured Asians, Shepherd said the history of resistance would not be familiar to Caribbean students “…because history is not a compulsory subject in any of our schools across the Caribbean and that is a travesty,” she said. Shepherd said people of African descent should ensure that the history of resistance against colonial domination be taught in schools from the perspective of Caribbean peoples. […]

On the contribution by women slaves to the development of the Caribbean economy, Shepherd said women outnumbered men in every field gang. In the sugar factories, many lost fingers while feeding the cane in the mills, she added, noting too, their unwaged labour as nurses in the night houses, in the cotton, coffee and sugar industries and for supplying food especially to the urban communities. These are but a few reasons for reparations. Shepherd said. […] She noted that towards the end of slavery, slave owners were forced to admit that the female slaves were more unmanageable than men. “Women and girls may not have always been in the vanguard,” she said, “but their strategies of non-co-operation undermined the efficiencies of the system and played a key role in the abolishment of slavery.”

Shepherd noted that her own involvement in the reparations issue came out of her own upbringing in Jamaica and the writings of people like Jamaican historian Lucille Mathurin-Mair, Barbadian historian Professor Hilary Beckles, Guyanese historians Elsa Gouveia and Walter Rodney, TT first Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams, and her own experiences at the University of Cambridge in the UK.

The Caricom Reparation Commission Justice Programme (CRCJP) ten-point action plan, she said has been accepted by all Heads of Caricom countries including Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. While the forms of reparation may differ, Shepherd said that first and foremost, Caricom was demanding a full apology, and repatriation and resettlement of those who desire it. “The healing process for victims and the descendants of the enslaved requires as a precondition the offer of a sincere formal apology by the governments of Europe,” she said. “I am sure that others will be open to dialogue,” she said and eventually include descendants of Indian indentureship and others whose ancestors were exploited by the European colonisers. She said a repatriation and resettlement programme must be established and all available channels of international law and diplomacy used to resettle those who wish to return. Other points in the plan include an indigenous peoples’ development programme, the establishment of cultural institutions, addressing the public health crisis, illiteracy eradication, the establishment of an African knowledge programme, psychological rehabilitation, technology transfer, and debt cancellation. The public health crisis of chronic diseases in the forms of hypertension and type two diabetes among the African descended population, Shepherd claimed, “is because of the diet they fed our ancestors. This pandemic is the direct result of the nutritional experience, physical and emotional brutality, and overall stress profiles associated with slavery, genocide, and apartheid,” she declared.

Over ten million Africans were imported into the Caribbean during the early 400 years of slavery. At the end of slavery in the late 19th century less than two million remained. Noting that financial compensation was not articulated by Caricom although it was on the minds of many, Shepherd said reparations was not only about money but a reparation package and that the case for reparations cannot be compiled without the experiences and contribution to industry and the region’s economy of enslaved African women and Indentured Asian woman. “Trinidad and Tobago must congratulate itself,” Shepherd said “for having been the first country in the world to declare Emancipation Day a national holiday.”

For the complete, original article, go to http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,199505.html.

Also see:

Verene Shepherd: “Get history back into schools”, http://www.trinidadexpress.com/featured-news/Get-history-back-into-schools-270828101.html;

Prof Shepherd: Public education necessary in fight for reparations, http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Prof-Shepherd-Public-education-necessary–in-fight-for-reparations-271002461.html.

Prof. Verene Shepherd will be delivering a lecture titled ‘Reparation, Psychological Rehabilitation, and Pedagogical Strategies’ on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at the Bermuda Society of the Arts at City Hall, Church Street, Hamilton, Bermuda. The event, hosted by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, starts with a reception at 5.30 pm while the lecture commences at 6.00 pm. See

http://bernews.com/2014/08/upcoming-historical-heartbeats-lecture-series.

On Tuesday October 28, 2014 Prof. Verene Shepherd will be giving the Walter Rodney Memorial Lecture at the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies, University of Warwick, Coventry, England (UK). Her lecture is titled ‘War Memorials and Black Liberation: “Groundings” with Walter Rodney on History, Heritage and Activism.’ For more information, check the Webpage http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/ccs or contact Dr. David Lambert at d.lambert@warwick.ac.uk.

Kamla-Persad-Bissessar-12Trinidad and Tobago will celebrate its 52nd political independence from Great Britain on Sunday, August 31, 2014.

This year will be a historic one for the country as Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar is moving to implement constitutional reform for what she said is the People’s Partnership (PP) administration policy agenda for development and progress.

The Constitution Amendment Bill 2014 proposes a term limit for the office of the prime minister, a recall provision and a runoff poll in elections for the House of Representatives.

The prime minister is proposing the second ballot runoff voting to change the way MPs are elected to strengthen the democracy in a way that makes the power of the people supreme.

The runoff poll is proposed so that each member of the House of Representatives will only become such a member if he or she obtains more than 50 percent of the votes cast in a constituency.

This means that where one of the candidates did not obtain more than 50 percent during the first poll at an election, a second poll will be held between the top two candidates within 15 days.

The prime minister said in such a system, the voices of the minority would be respected even as effect is given to the will of the majority and every single vote would matter and count as the possibility of voting a second time will breathe new life and meaning in the democratic process. [. . .]

For full article, see http://www.caribbeanlifenews.com/stories/2014/8/2017-08-25-azad-trinidad-cl_2014_8.html

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