Bahamas Blog International
By Joaquín Rivery Tur:
CRITICISM of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20, have rained down from the moment that the draft version was known until the definitive document was signed.
Barack Obama did not even attend the event; neither did Angel Merkel, David Cameron and other European leaders in general.
However, there were other voices with more prestige and more forceful arguments than the absentees.
Bolivian President Evo Morales recalled at the Conference the message of the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, to the Earth Summit in Brazil 20 years ago.
"End hunger and not humanity… Pay the ecological debt, not the external debt," affirmed Morales, recalling Fidel’s words and noting in reference to these recommendations that, at this stage, the capitalist debt is unpayable.
The Bolivian leader attacked the so called green economy proclaimed by developed nations, calling it a new mechanism for subjecting the peoples and anti-capitalist governments, and noted that capitalism promotes privatizations, the mercantilism of biodiversity and the genetic resources business.
The green economy is making nature a merchandise and converting every tree, every drop of water and all natural beings into a merchandise, subjecting them to the dictatorship of the market, which is privatizing wealth and socializing poverty, he added. In his speech, Morales criticized environmentalism as an imperial strategy which quantifies every river, lake, plant and natural product and translates them into money and business profit, temporally safeguarding them for their future private appropriation.
"Capitalism is no solution at all, if we wish to pass into history we must establish economic, ecological and social policies directed at saving life and humanity, and re-launch ourselves toward humanity," Morales concluded.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa stated that the rich countries bear the most responsibility for environmental degradation on the planet.
He stated that Ecuador had aspired to a document that would enshrine the rights of nature, in order to save it, "now that financial rescues are in fashion."
In an interview with the Telesur network, Correa emphasized that while there is no change in the relations of power, there will no agreement to reduce net emissions into the atmosphere or to declare the universal rights of nature, as Ecuador proposed.
It would be difficult to reach a spontaneous and genuine commitment because the rich countries are consuming the environment of the poor nations, he noted.
Referring to the "green economy", Correa said that the concept, as managed by the developed countries, is an attempt to incorporate environmental assets into calculations of the gross domestic product, under the pretext of reducing contamination. In order to lower pollution levels, he commented, one has to change the notion of development based on materialism, accumulation, and consumerism into another, which would allow for sustaining the planet, such as the concept of development in harmony with nature, as advocated by indigenous populations.
"How can one understand multimillion bank rescues and not multimillion environmental rescues?" he asked.
Thanking the Brazilian government for its political will in organizing the summits, Correa observed that they have little value; however, "the problem is not a technical one, but a political one." For the Ecuadorian President, changes in the relations of power must be brought about by citizens of First World countries who are exploited by the system.
He observed that anyone can sign a document of principles, but asked, "Where are the concrete commitments, where are the emission limits, compensation for contamination, new international agreements, new binding concepts of compensation for net emissions avoided?"
For the Ecuadorian President, the four cardinal points are: "A change in the economic system; in the social context of poverty, inequality is incompatible with conservation; in the environmental context, the rights of nature itself and changing our vision of nature. And the fourth, the cultural dimension."
Even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated: "Let me be frank: our efforts have not lived up to the measure of the challenge," (…) "Nature does not negotiate with human beings."
The Rio Summit on Sustainable Development document is "disappointing" given that, 20 years after the Earth Summit, the most pessimistic trends noted in 1992 have become a reality.
June 28, 2012
Caribbean Blog International
The Queen and Jamaica
Related to country: Jamaica
By Ken Chaplin:
As the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II wind down, the special relationship between the Sovereign and the people of Jamaica comes to the fore. The Queen is head of state and is represented by the Governor General. She has very little power in the governance of the country as a president would have, if Jamaica were to become a republic, and whether she goes or not, it would make no significant difference in the economic and social life of the people. While Jamaicans blame the condition of the country on elected politicians, the Queen who is head of state is spared.
However, many people feel that it is time for the country to change its constitutional system and have a republican type of government with an executive president as head of state.
Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, has officially visited Jamaica several times and each time they are warmly welcomed. The first visit was in 1953. It was the first time a reigning sovereign visited Jamaica and the first investiture outside of Britain was held when she knighted Queen's Counsel Kennedy O'Connor at King's House. She also opened the Queen's Highway on the North Coast, the first highway in Jamaica which has stood up well over the years.
Among The Queen's other official visits were in 1966 in which I first served as chief media coordinating officer; in 1975, she came mainly for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference, then returned in 1983, l994 and 2002. Prior to her arrival here in 1975, a campaign was carried out against the visit by leftists who no longer wanted a non-resident Queen. A counter-offensive was launched and Her Majesty received a tumultuous welcome wherever she went.
Her Majesty's address to Parliament in 1983 on the occasion of the 21st Anniversary of Independence was most inspiring. It is right, she said, "that Jamaica should pay tribute to the National Heroes who have shaped your history and to the achievements of all the people of Jamaica. In the light of history 21 years may be only a moment, but in this century so furious has been the change of shifting values that young nations have been denied the luxury enjoyed by the older countries of coming to maturity in slower moving ages".
It was agreed by many that the most successful visits by Her Majesty were in 1983 and l994. Regarding the 1994 visit, Charles Anson, press secretary to the Queen, sent the following letter:
Thank you very much indeed for your very considerable help with all the media arrangements for the Royal Visit. As The Queen told you personally, she and Prince Philip very much appreciated all that you and your team did for them. In many ways Jamaica was the most exacting stop on the tour and the fact that the visit went so successfully on the media side is largely due to the meticulous arrangements you made throughout the preparatory period. I would be most grateful if you could pass on the warm thanks of the Royal Party to Winsome (Vanhorne who ran the press centre) and the other members of your team who helped to make the visit a success.
I thought the coverage in the media was excellent and look forward to seeing any follow-up pieces if you could kindly send them in due course.
The Queen's arrangements at the Laws Street Training Centre, the Civic Reception in Montego Bay and the splendour of Trooping the Colour will be abiding memories of the tour. It was a great pleasure to work with you and I hope that we shall keep in touch. Please let me know next time you are going to be in London so we can get together..."
For me The Queen's peech to the Jamaican Parliament on the occasion of her Golden Jubilee visit to Jamaica in 2002 was the most interesting she has ever made here.. She said in part: "As Jamaica prepares this year to mark the 40th anniversary if Independence,it is fitting to reflect both on your contribution during the past 10 years to the strengthening of the Commonwealth and on your potential in the years ahead for further growth and influence within the organisation.
"This Parliament has been one of the significant institutions for the fashioning and strengthening of your democratic society. It has created many important laws to protect the rights of citizens and to promote Jamaica's effective participation in the global economy through international trade. In recent years you have opened up your deliberations to make your procedures more accessible to the public. It is also encouraging that the government has sought to engage civil society more actively in the process of governance.
"The warmth of the people of Jamaica has always been much in evidence during our visit here. It is the same generosity of the Jamaican spirit which provides you in Parliament and Government with the energy and the will to serve and to lead. And I believe that this country can be justly proud of the outstanding contribution you have made in so many areas of international life. In the fields of scholarship, music and the arts, in the world of sports and in the area of international political dialogue, Jamaicans have continually excelled over many years. It is right to protect this heritage which has served you so well and which has allowed the talents and creative energies of Jamaicans to blossom and flourish."
One of the highlights of all The Queen's visits was meeting Jamaican journalists at a social gathering at King's House.
God save the Queen. Long live the Queen.
Sixty years later, a birds-eye view of the world: the good, the bad and the worst!
By Jean H Charles:
Queen Elizabeth has just celebrated her sixty-year Jubilee at the throne of England. She has presided with grace and gravitas upon the destiny of Great Britain and, by extension, of the entire Commonwealth.
Sixty years later, in a world where war, famine, extreme poverty, huge national debt with painful restructuration is the norm, England and the Commonwealth are doing well. From Canada, to Australia and New Zealand passing through The Bahamas or Cayman Islands, the Queen has done well for her subjects.
It is true there are some exceptions like Zimbabwe with its ruthless ruler who still manages to pull the strings and remain in power against the will of his people and of the international community. The former premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, who left the economy of the pristine islands in shambles while hiding in the Dominican Republic, and the Falkland Islands, disputed by Argentina but whose citizens swear their strong allegiance to England.
Sixty years later, the English-speaking world is doing well, including the populous nation of India that claimed its rightful place at the decision table of the Security Council.
Sixty years later, South Africa is no more an apartheid state. With the financial support of Trinity Church of Wall Street through Bishop Tutu, Nelson Mandela has been able to galvanize his people into creating a nation out of a divided land. It is a star in a continent where there are very few.
Sixty years later, Asia is riding into smooth water. China with its billion-plus population is converting its peasant class by the hundreds of millions every year into middle class status. Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, ruled no more by military, are the darlings of the tourist industry. Singapore and Malaysia are teaching the rest of the world, in particular the Muslim world, that hospitality for all is the key to a full and successful development.
The United States, free of its discriminatory practices against its black minority, has now a black President Barack Obama, who presides with grace amongst his brethren from Asia to Europe in steering the world into waters that may be calmer.
Not doing as well are the southern nations of Europe: Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy. They were the cicada who sang instead of labouring during the day. Now the roosters are coming home. France, Germany and England, the ants who saved for the dry days, are demanding stiff price to lend a hand.
The newly liberated nations from the iron grip of the Soviet empire are still languishing in a convulsive mode, where the stress of the new and the old order continues to create friction. Yet, I was expecting a smooth landing from the Gorbachev perestroika as he offered a silver plate to the western world.
The Western nations, in general, the United States in particular, were not ready to take the ball and bring it into the net. President Clinton and his foreign policy staff was too busy defusing his fling with Monica to take advantage of the silver plate package offered by Gorbachev to the Western world.
A Marshall Plan cocktail arranged by the United States and the European Union for Ukraine, Georgia, Estonia, Albania and all would have transformed Eastern Europe into a haven of peace and prosperity, a la Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
Sixty years later, Cuba is still ruled by the Castro brothers. They have brought education and good health care for all. Under an embargo imposed by the United States but maintained by the Cuban Diaspora in Florida, an opening is near, when and if President Obama is re-elected. His fear of the Cuban vote will disappear. As the Chinese, the Cubans will rush into middle class status.
Sixty years later, the autocrat rulers of the Arab world are crumbling. Following the immolation in Tunisia, Egypt with Mubarak, who lasted thirty years, is now in coma. Syria under Bashar Al Assad, in a regime handed down from his father Hafez Al Assad, is still holding tight, defying all standards of the civilized world to remain in power beyond the sixty years. Will the Arab spring be in vain, like the perestroika of Eastern Europe? I am observing the early signs they are: in Egypt the people have to decide between the bad and the worst; in Tunisia the new rulers want to go back to the dark days of Sharia rule of law. Will the western world help to usher in true democracy from the Arab spring and not miss the boat like the Soviet perestroika?
Sixty years later, Latin America, freshly recovered from a Marxist foray into land redistribution, guerilla warfare against a cocktail of drug dealers and leftist lunatics, is emerging slowly. Columbia, which transformed its poppy farms into rose and tulip farms, is doing well for itself, leaving Mexico still struggling with an army of drug dealers camped at the gates of the United States, feeding the users and creating havoc at the border towns.
Sixty years later, Brazil, the largest nation of South America still has some shantytowns in Rio and Sao Paolo but it is no more the ruthless Brazil of the generals. Lula has succeeded in a revolution that pulled Brazil into the ranks of emerging leaders with worldly ambitions. Albeit its role in leading the UN MINUSTHA stabilization force in Haiti has been a complete failure, a charade that needs retooling.
Sixty years later, the worst view on earth from the sky is located in the French-speaking world of Africa, in Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia. They represent the failed states of the globe.
Sixty years earlier, I was six years old; Haiti was in its golden age at the end of the Paul E Magloire regime, as in Iran, the Duvalier and the Aristide came in to chase the villain bourgeois so those who have will be no more in possession. The end result has been the pauperization of the majority of the population, pushing the intellectuals first and later the lowly toward better pasturage abroad.
Iraq and Afghanistan, the theater of a world coalition to chase the Mullahs and Al-Qaeda out of power, are still in shamble because the coalition did not bother to create nations out of a divided land ruled upon by clan not by citizenship.
Sixty years from now, I will be no more, but I am betting the failed states will remain the same as long as they (meaning their own leaders) do not take steps to follow the golden rule of Ernest Renan, transforming their states into nations where the glory of the past and the dream of building the future together is a state vision and a state practice.
In a global perspective, France should revisit Renan and give his philosophy of nation building a place of choice in its foreign policy. French Africa and its rebel daughter Haiti represent the dark side in this birds-eye view of the world. The United States must now include nation building in its foreign policy analysis otherwise the failed Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia will continue to haunt the rest of the world for the next sixty years.
June 23, 2012
Caribbean Blog International
...young people are both the cause and the solution to the escalating crime problem in The Bahamas - says Bahamas Against Crime (BAC) executive director - the Rev CB Moss
Related to country: Bahamas
'Young People Both The Cause And Solution To Crime Problem'
By VERSHONNA PRATT
Nassau, The Bahamas
BAHAMAS Against Crime executive director the Rev CB Moss said yesterday that young people are both the cause and the solution to the escalating crime problem.
Speaking at a press conference at Yoruba Home, Mr Moss said youth need to be more actively involved in the fight against crime
"Young people are at the heart of the problem and should be at the heart of the solution.
"In the face of this intolerable situation, Bahamas Against Crime (BAC) is again calling for strong, swift, and focused action in all areas if the nation is to be spared further suffering and grief," he said.
"It is imperative therefore that all sectors of the society step up to the plate NOW. BAC will be intensifying its efforts to mobilise Bahamians to focus on the battle against crime with more urgency and resolve.
"Bahamians should not be lulled into complacency because no murders have been officially recorded in the last week.
"Even with the best effort it's going to be a long while before a tolerable level of crime will be reached."
Mr Moss said BAC is out in full force to warn Bahamians about the climbing rate of crime.
He said crime is viewed as a police and government problem, when it really is about the community.
In this vein, Mr Moss said BAC will expand and strengthen existing programmes as well as introduce new initiatives.
Planned initiatives include promoting socialisation among young people, community programmes, and inviting high school students to empowerment activities.
Mr Moss also praised the new government for its focus on crime and the Urban Renewal Programme.
June 21, 2012
Caribbean Blog International
Domestic violence on the rise in The Bahamas
Related to country: Bahamas
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Domestic violence reportedly on the rise
Royston Jones Jr.
Guardian Staff Reporter
There has been a significant increase in the number of domestic violence cases reported in The Bahamas over the past several years, according to Director of the Bahamas Crisis Centre Dr. Sandra Dean-Patterson.
She yesterday noted that of the 1,200 interventions conducted in 2011, more than 30 percent were related to domestic violence.
Only 700 interventions were conducted in 2010, and while she did not say what percentage of that number was related to incidents of domestic violence, she confirmed the number is rising.
Although, she admitted the increase may be due to an increase in reporting and not an increase in actual incidents.
Dean-Patterson said her personal belief is that children are learning violent behavior at an earlier age, and the lack of involvement by extended family and the wider community in correcting such behavior has led to a more violent society.
“We have lost that sense of community, and in addition to that...people are completely desensitized to violence,” she said. “There are so many murders, shootings and violent crimes occurring and being portrayed in the media. All of those messages are reaching our children.”
She also said the poor socioeconomic status of many Bahamian families has left them in a fragile state.
And though society has become more desensitized to violence, according to Dean-Patterson, there is less denial about the occurrence of domestic violence than there was 20 years ago.
Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade recently said that many murders that took place this year were the result of domestic disputes.
Minister of State for National Security Keith Bell also stated this week that an estimated 45 percent of homicides that have occurred over the past 20 years can be attributed to domestic violence.
Jun 20, 2012
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