Sunday, March 27, 2011

March 29th 2011, BBC Caribbean Shuts Down

A few weeks ago people in the Caribbean were told that the BBC was closing it offices in a number of countries; including the Caribbean.  
D Day is finally here, the station is actually shutting down its  Caribbean Services within hours. 
There are literally thousands of people in the Caribbean who will miss this station.  It's the only radio station in the western hemisphere that provided news from a global perspective.  A yesteryear CNN.

If you ever needed to keep abreast of what's happening in any part of the world, the BBC had a correspondent there or would get one in as soon as humanly possible. The Briish lost there influence on many parts of the world in the last fifty years but the BBCs became a staple for people of many countries.

Human interests and breaking news from the Caribbean, Korea, Africa, the Middle East, Libya, or Afghanistan, they are have covered stories in countries whose names I cannot pronounce, . 

They provided almost instant news of people, events, catastrophes  and even conspiracies in government or business.  It was as though they were everywhere at the same time. Even the final shut down was done professionally done. . 

During its final week the BBC's Caribbean Service was busy as ever finding time to bring us breaking Caribbean news.

Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar made exclusive comments on Britain's Privy Council  and the Caribbean Court of Justice.

They were even scooped the official enquiry into support by Jamaica's ruling party for strongman Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.

For your listening pleasure and prosperity the Caribbean Blogger presents the final broadcasts of each BBC Caribbean presenter during the final  week of operation.  Click on the link to listen to the presenters:

A brief history of  BBC Caribbean 
Excerpt from BBC site

Una Marsden
It all started with WW2 Calling the West Indies'
The origin of the Caribbean Service was a programme called Calling the West Indies.

The programme began in 1939 featuring West Indian troops on active service during World War Two reading letters to their families.

From 1943 to 1958, the output became a programme called Caribbean Voices, highlighting West Indian writers.

Its producers and contributors included VS Naipaul, George Lamming, Andrew Salkey and Samuel Selvon.

In 1949, We See Britain  was introduced as part of the programming for the Caribbean under the management of cricketer-turned-producer Ken Ablack.

Over the next three decades, the Caribbean Service nurtured producers and presenters, including Trevor McDonald who became one of the best-known newsreaders on British television and Jones Madeira who returned to the Caribbean to work with Caricom and many regional broadcasters.

The Service closed in the mid-1970s, but in 1988 it re-opened as a news and current affairs department.

It started with a 15-minute evening drivetime programme BBC Caribbean Report which then grew to a short morning drivetime news edition and a weekly BBC Caribbean Magazine programme which dealt with cultural issues and the human face of the news agenda.

By the 1950s, the programme 'Caribbean Voices' allowed producers the room to work for the BBC and write their early novels.

From now on people in the Caribbean can still connect to the services on the Internet but sadly the news will not be about events in the Caribbean unless it is of global significance. This link is to the current BBC Caribbean page, it may change shortly.
I think we can all agree that we hate to see it go.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An Amazing Story Out Of Jamaica, Rasta Yam

 More Unbelievable Than Any "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" Story

Is that a mummified child in the picture?  

This story was so unusual that I had to be shared.  Reported in the Jamaica Gleaner and is posted on the Caribbean Fever  page.  Here's the story.

It was a cool November afternoon and 81-year-old Gervin Henry had just returned to his home in Struan, Manchester, Jamaica after an early-morning trip to Kingston.  

He decided to walk down to his farm located just behind his house where he grows potatoes, bananas and yam. It's the place the sprightly golden-ager spends most of his time and he was eager to reap some bananas he had deemed ready the night before.

While he was there he decided dig a piece of yam for his niece

"I dig out one piece and then I move to another side to dig another. I tell you, I get the shock of my life!" he said.

Out of the ground, Maas Gervin pulled a roughly four-pound piece of yam like no other piece of yam he had ever seen before.

"Never in my life! Never see anything like that in my life!" Maas Gervin exclaimed.

The yam had a long split halfway up the middle and a bump at the very top. To the seasoned farmer, it looked like a man wearing a tam, on his knees, praying.

"It clear, man. Is a Rastaman kneel down and praying. I couldn't believe it. Still can't believe it," he said.

 Maas Gervin spent only a moment alone on the farm examining the tuber before rushing up to the house to show his niece.

"She frighten so till she nearly fall down. I hang it up on a pole outside the house and she just stand up there staring at it," said Maas Gervin.

"She say she don't want that piece. She say I must dig another piece for her," Maas Gervin laughed.

The Yam has since been on show at a local shop in town and Maas Gervin has plans to show it at the annual agricultural show in Denbigh, Clarendon.

 Could it be obeah, voodoo or whatever it's called in Jamaica?  Whatever it is, it boggles the mind. 

Stay blessed.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Drama in Trinidad and Tobago Medical Profession

Spin With Circles, Not Blocks

As the muck thickens on the issue reported in my last post "Commonwealth Day Observance for Women, A blessing for Trinidad".

Since that post, the head of the union representing the nurses, the president of the Public Services Association PSA, Watson Duke, demanded an apology from the un-elected Health Minister Cornelius Baptist.  

 According to Mr. Duke, not one of the nurses had received a suspension letter.  He charged that the Minister’s announcement had traumatized all the nurses involved.

The Minister responded by instructing the Chairman of the Board of the Health Authority to fire the CEO of the hospital.  The Chairman, held a press conference to let the “dum-dum” people of Trinidad and Tobago know that the termination was effective immediately and the reason was “change in strategic direction”.    What a bunch of crap. 

Let us not mince words. Is it not obvious that when an organization  concocts a far fetched reason for termination it hurts the organization credibility?  These people shot themselves in the foot before they cut their noses to save face. .   

Apparently the Board was backed into a corner, their options limited.  How could they announce that; "she was fired her immediately because we were told to do it." or in other words "we are puppets for the government"   Instaed they opted to feed the public with nonesense. .  

There were many other options available but the action was harsh and intended to produce the greatest extent of hurt.   

"Hang them",  says Mr. Ramlogan and Jack Warner, "we can determine later if they are guilty"

Such a harsh, poorly scripted response reflects badly on the Board and has tarnished the government’s image.  Quite the opposite of what they would have preferred.   The dumbest child in school knows that the board acted on instructions from the government. No amount of “strategic lies” will change that.  But who is really listening? 

The general population’s concern revolves around proper care and attention at the hospital.  The hospital authority and by extension the government is more focused on how the minister looks to the public. 

The union, Medical Professionals Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MPATT), is coordinating a march today.  Is it that they are validating the dues they collect?  

 Their position is that the proper procedures were not followed prior to the suspensions.  They do readily admit that the proper procedures were not followed in the case of the deceased patient.  Please spare us the stupidity.   

Very few people will sympathize with highly paid doctors who almost all have private practices or are employed by for profit private medical institutions. Bringing down to the level of laborers by marching for their rights degrades the profession. 
They are protesting the suspensions of the doctors.  Who they think they are; the police?  It’s only the police in this country who can be caught in possession of controlled substance and be transferred to another station. 

Whether the right people were suspended is questionable.  The fact is somebody had to answer for the death of the young lady and the many others that have been in question.  

Everybody has an opinion and that’s mine. 

Stay blessed

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Most Dangerous Facebook Action You Can Take

Avoid Facebook Applications Like The Plague
In a previous post we pointed out how Facebook has penetrated the lives of at least a third of the Trinidad and Tobago population. (Facebook invades Trinidad and Tobago) High usage does not mean that most users understand the dangers of subscribing to applications on Facebook. 

Trinbagoians are the proverbial “babes” in the electronic woods.  Dangers lurk in seemingly innocent applications and games.  They appear so safe and “cute” that we may even invite our friends to participate thereby exponentially increasing its credibility and penetration. 

Hackers and spammers know this and rely on human nature to complete the loop of deception.  

Have you noticed that almost every application on Facebook requires you give permission to access your personal data before participating?  Your information includes one single piece of information that would allow access to much more than information on your Facebook account; your password.

It’s a fact of human nature; we are lazy.  We are all looking for the easiest, quickest and pain resistant way to do everything.  Some of us however, heed the advice of experts and take some very deliberate action to avoid future losses. 
Most people use one password to access all their web assets.  It’s easier to remember and they never have to go through the trouble of retrieving it.  Prior to the emergence of social networks hackers and scammers had to spend thousands of hours developing programs that identified your password; now they get it just for the asking. 

Many of theses applications are legitimate but to be safe, you should establish a policy to refrain from using them.  The benefits far outweigh the risks. 

Here is an example of one such application, the original version may have been innocent enough but hackers are constantly improving their strategy and it has become easier to duplicate and modify software. 

Have you seen the application that says? 

 Your friend (Mary) just answered a question about you!

The question is usually one that the friend could not possibly answer about you, especially a “Facebook Friend” whose knowledge about you is limited.  Don’t go down that rabbit hole. 

If you do, you must first give access to your personal information where the developers can now access your: 

·         Name,
·         Profile picture,
--> ·         Gender,
·         Networks,
·         User ID,
·         Friends  
·         Information you shared with anyone

You are also granting them permission to: 

·         Send you email ...
·         Post to your wall ... and ...
·         Access your data you or your friends post at any time

Add the fact that there is no way for you to unsubscribe and you will understand the extent of the problem. Visit the face book page “People Who Hate 21 Questions on Facebook” 1400 plus people cannot be wrong.
The point is that because a third of the Trinidad and Tobago population is actively using Facebook does not mean it is safe.  The best decision you could make is to resist invitations to access these games.  Your first and immediate benefit is that you save yourself tons of time.  More importantly, you will safeguard your information. 

Leave that to the people who think it takes to long to read an article like this.  They deserve it. 

If you are a parent, advise your child(ren), they can become the conduit for hackers to access your personal information.  Limit or better yet, eliminate the use of the Facebook applications.  Visis your Facebook privacy settings usually found in the dropdown box under your account and adjust your Facebook privacy settings immediately.

Be safe online, offline and stay blessed. 

Join me on BrotherKeepers on Facebook

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Has Corruption Become “Normal” In Trinidad & Tobago

Crime in Trinidad and Tobago appears to be pandemic.  But it’s not. T&T is not an island of criminals.  With one point three million residents less that 25,000 make this country unsafe. 
We are. however, victims of our own education raised with a corruption mentality.  We accept it as "da is how it is".. Very few of us question it or realize that it is so because we accept it.  We are a society that understands the need for "a man to eat ah food"”.  

The means, they say, justify the end.  

As individuals we accept errant and criminal behavior; first in schools.  We admire the bullies and potential bandits and scamps.   Actually, "admire" is not the right word, it’s more "tolerate" because it's all about "my safety"”

Secretly we wish they would disappear, die or go to jail forever. 

Our youths grow up with a militaristic mentality choosing fashion to express our need to be secure.  The government actually enacted legislation to prevent individuals from wearing camouflage outfits.    

As adults we know the military looking security guards with pant tails tucked into boots. All things military intrigues us. 

 It is against this backdrop of security that corruption is so pervasive.  It starts at the top.

The new government, elected on a ticket of transparancy, there have been instances where valid questions have been raised in the media' still without adequate answers.

And, if you live here and do not personally know of at least one individual who have gained favors because what can be rightly described as "government corruption" then you have not been living here for long.

The next level is at the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) with its own special blend of corruption.  And here we do not refer to the individual police officer but a systemic corruption.  How else would you explain the treatment of criminal activity in the service. 

A transfer is the harshest penalty an officer will get unless of course it's public murder which has already happened.  The more discreet are not so openly emotional.  

We do not need sophisticated polls or surveys to know that the level of trust and integrity of the TTPS is very low.  

Similarly, there is no need for a commission of enquiry to come up with obvious problems.  The system as it exists today gives officers a tap on the hand, "don't do that again ok" and they are transfered to a new station or division.  Maybe they are protected by the union but there are cases where even a union would agree on suspensions.  At least until all the facts of the case are known.  . 

When a police officer breaks the law and is not immediately and severely reprimanded the result is rippled through various segments of the society corrupting and instilling a feeling of insecurity in the citizenry.

Think one bad apple.  Even the "good ones" tend to go bad because they become "unwilling accomplices" due to their failure to report known criminal behaviors. 

Ultimately, the Chief of Police is responsible.   

Read this true story, an article buried on page 27 of today's Trinidad and Tobago Express.  .    

When you read it you would be amazed that this is still happening in a democratic society and that's with a Chief of Police from Canada. 

Comments? Suggestions?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Commonwealth Day Observance For Women, A Blessing For Trinidad

"Women As Agent For Change"

Yesterday we had two first.  Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar addressed the Commonwealth Day observance ceremony.   

For the first time in history a woman Prime Minister, representing Trinidad and Tobago gave her contribution to such a distinguished organization. 

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has made a plea for a review of the Commonwealth action plan to include pressing issues which affect women. 

She said; "The time has come for us to acknowledge the growing recognition and importance of women's participation in leadership across the Commonwealth. 
Together, the people, societies and organisations of the Commonwealth, the world's oldest political association of sovereign states, with 54 independent member states, can change the fortunes of women for the benefit of all,"

It was also the first time in history that immediate investigations were ordered in the deaths of anyone at a medical facility in Trinidad and Tobago.   

On March 4th Carnival Friday, Carapichaima housewife Chrystal Boodoo Ramsoomair, perfectly pregnant young woman died at the hospital after she gave birth by cesarean section.  An investigation is also being conducted in the still birth of a baby boy, by a pregnant mother  Simone Critchlow Taylor last Saturday.

Five doctors and four nurses were suspended because of this one death.

Overkill. Both you and I know that no normal patient gets five doctors and five nurses to attend to them in no hospital in Trinidad, especially Sando General.  People does die waiting to see one doctor; they’re investigating five?  Why would one case involve so many doctors and nurses?

The "shut up" battle axe, Health Minister Baptiste-Cornelis, declared Government will "no longer tolerate the untimely demise of our patients who have been put into our care".  

Add to that what Minister Mary King, the only Minister with a title that has two "ands"  had to say” “Trinidad and Tobago is the third best country in the commonwealth for a girl to be born.  New Zealand is first and Barbados second.  And by the way, Mary King’s title is Minister of Planning, Economic AND Social Restructuring, AND  Gender Affairs. 

She did not say how they arrived at that conclusion but we could assume they took into consideration socio-economic lifestyles, availability of services including medical and career opportunities.

PM Kamla primary concern, however, was clear when she said that the “Commonwealth action plan of 2005-2015 should include gender equality and areas of concern such as climate change, trafficking of women, food security and the impact of the global financial crisis on women”. 

I'm a little confused as to how women's issues would include climate change, trafficking in women and food security?  Seems like they all relate to men too.  But maybe that's because I'm a man. Duh?

She never mentioned the dangers women face in the delivery of medical care in developing countries.

Timing is everything, these events may appear unrelated but they are connected by a common tread.  Why the sudden concern for the quality of health care for women now?   

Is it mere coincidence that attention to these unfortunate events is all crammed into one week of ministerial announcements?

Thank God for the observance of Commonwealth Day for women.  Too many unusual things happen at our local hospitals; not only to women. 

The suspended medical personnel must still be reeling in shock.  But here is something you may not have thought about; with five doctors and four nurses suspended, how are the emergency patients fairing now?

For more details on cases mentioned here, follow the links below to the local newspapers.  

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