Saturday, November 20, 2004

Some follow up on an article that I posted in the Abeng edition.

This story follows upon an article in my first issue of "Abeng" the article discusses Rasta in Barbados Government... it is taken from the "Barbados Nation" where my friend Amanda Lynch-Foster now works...

Tafari Will Trod On
Friday 19, November-2004

Ikael Tafari: has heard it all before.

Dr Ikael Tafari has heard it all before.

“It’s not the first time I’ve heard that I’m a white man,” says Tafari with a little laugh, referring to the controversy which has swirled around his recent appointment as director of the Pan-African Commission (PAC).

In his office at the commission on Hincks Street, the walls are plastered with posters and pictures celebrating noted Pan-Africanists, such as Marcus Garvey and Haile Selassie and those lesser known such as Rastafari elder Ras Boanerges.

None of them look like the man born Michael Hutchinson, who possesses piercing grey-green eyes, a straight, hawkish nose and silky locks tucked up into a black velvet hat.

“This identity thing has been very difficult for me. I have often been questioned...and asked: ‘what are you? Who are you?’ Sometimes they just look at me and ask, ‘are you’...?” he says, tilting his head quizzically in the way of his inquisitors.

These questions have been shouted in recent weeks since the contract of former director David Comissiong was not renewed and Tafari moved up to head the PAC.

From Rastafari brethren and sistren to cantankerous callers on radio shows to his fellow Pan-Africanists, Tafari’s melanin has been called into question and with it, his ‘right’ to lead the PAC.

“When you’re in the middle, you get this,” says Tafari, reflecting that, at one time or another, he has been told by both sides “you are not one of us.”

But for the university lecturer and sociologist, the question of his race has never been as simple as black or white.

Growing up in an extended family of mixed races, which included black, brown, white, Chinese and Indian elements, Tafari says the specifics of race never mattered to him.

“I always saw all of them as humanity,” he says simply.

In describing his heritage, he is detailed and technical, saying he is black through his mother’s side, “but that also includes the lighter-skinned ones that were on her side of the family” and that his father “could pass for white”.

“I’ve always accepted both. I don’t have a problem with the white in me. I do have a problem with some people’s response to my identification with the black in me. Except for a brief rebellion in my youth, I always admired my father, but I never saw [him] as white,” says Tafari.

Still, he admits that since the days of his youth, he was always drawn to those of a darker hue.

One of his darker aunts and her “very dark Vincentian” husband lived next-door with their son. Tafari, who has a sister, but no brother, in effect grew up with his darker cousin, Ronald Cox - like the brother he never had.

The powerful mould of this early relationship above all others, was to leave a lasting imprint and perhaps was the influence that moved Tafari closer with his African ‘brothers’ further on in his life.

“That was my favourite part of the family,” he reminisces.

When he went to Harrison College, again he was moved to associate with the darker students.

However, it took leaving the “very oppressive society” of his native island for his black consciousness to really bloom.

In 1968, he went to the University of the West Indies Mona campus in Kingston, Jamaica, and in his words “arrived there just to jump into the fire” that was the regional Black Power movement.

Jamaica was a country in upheaval during that time. In October, student protests broke out when the government banned legendary intellectual and university lecturer Walter Rodney.

“Firmly convinced that I was a black man, I marched with them. That was my baptism of fire,” recalls Tafari.

The protests turned violent when the students were brutally attacked by the police with tear gas and batons.

In a strange and turbulent new land, spluttering and eyes watering in the burning vapours of the tear gas, he knew for sure he wasn’t in Barbados anymore.

“My whole life changed... when I went to Jamaica.”

It was not just a pivotal time for young Jamaica, but for the young Michael Hutchinson who was soon to be no more.

“This helped lead me to Rastafari,” recollects Tafari.

Always a student of the Bible, he became captivated and started to explore the religion.

He was particularly fascinated by accounts of Haile Selassie’s character and drawn to the Rastafarian acceptance of all people, particularly because of his own struggles with his identity.

Those were the early “pariah” days of Rastafari before Bob Marley and others brought it closer to public acceptance and when he turned to the movement and started growing locks, “everyone on campus thought I was mad,” remembers Tafari.

Some fellow Barbadians “actually ran” from him, literally sprinting away from the dreadlocked rebel.

“To be rejected by your own really is a hard thing,” muses Tafari, remembering the experiences of that time.

When he moved off campus, he found he could not get a room to rent in all of Kingston and so he built a hut in the shanty town developing outside of the gates of the university in Mona Commons. He recalls with a wry laugh his first incompetent efforts at digging a pit toilet for his new home.

This was in the 1970s, when political passions and political tribalism in Jamaica were peaking and the squatter community – along with Tafari – would eventually be moved to another location in the same Mona area that Tafari and his mentor, Ras Boanerges, were able to develop into a new community called “Goldsmith Villa”, working with the ministry of Housing.

Unfortunately, given the politics of patronage of that time, some of the housing units fell into hands of the “political army” of the ruling People’s National Party and the housing area took on the more militant popular name of “Angola”.

At nights, as he walked across from the university to his home, Tafari would sometimes have to dodge the crossfire from the gunmen rampant in the area.

It was in this harsh, gritty environment that his parents came to visit him and first saw the new religion and life their son had adopted.

“Talk about two worlds meeting!” chuckles Tafari at the memory.

“My family was horrified. My sister and old lady both cried, but they never disowned me,” he says.

When Michael ‘Joshua’ Manley came to power in 1972, Tafari went to work with the government in the Social Development Commission, “one of the first Rastafari” to work with the more radical Manley administration.

He ended up living in Jamaica from 1968 until 1981, and even though he admitted that the country was often in a state of “civil war”, he was reluctant to leave the island.

However, it was a bigger cause that brought him back to the land of his birth – his daughter Nakazzi. Thinking it best that the six-year-old should be raised in a “more wholesome environment” offered by Barbados, he decided to come home.

When he returned, he naturally became involved with the local Pan-Africanist movement which like him, has moved from the fringes to officialdom.

Amidst the storm of controversy swirling around his appointment as head of the PAC, Tafari is calm.

“I think I have some very important work to do because my sense of history tells me when you find those kinds of forces trying to stop the man before he’s even started, it tells me I have something very major to do,” he comments about the opposition to his appointment.

Though he has replaced Comissiong, he says that his relationship with the former PAC director remains solid.

“I have not gotten any evidence that David Comissiong himself believes I have betrayed him. My relationship with David is the same as it has always been. He is my friend, my brother in the Pan-African struggle,” states Tafari firmly.

He says that, while sympathetic to Comissiong because of the note on which his tenure ended, his major concern when he learnt of the non-renewal of Comissiong’s contract as director, was to ensure that the work of the PAC continued.

He says the first six years of the PAC under Comissiong’s leadership “laid the groundwork” for a number of major initiatives that they intend to implement.

He plans to work on developing trade linkages with Africa which he believes is a major untapped market which offers much for local businesses.

Next year, in conjunction with the National Cultural Foundation, the PAC will also be developing the Season of Emancipation to a four-month-long season lasting from early April to late August, which will span most of the major days celebrating freedom from Heroes’ Day to the UNESCO day for the abolition of slavery.

Plans are under way to bring South African president Thabo Mbeki and Kenyan Nobel 2004 Prize Laureate, Wangari Maathai, to Barbados during the season.

Tafari notes laughingly that had he come to his present post when he was 34 instead of the older, wiser 54 he is now, things would have been very different.

“I would have been blazing hot and I would not have lasted two months.”

Now, he says he is “prepared to be strategic” so he can accomplish the goals of the PAC.

“I’ve done a lot of talking in my time. If it came down to a choice between rhetoric which antagonises and getting some crucial things done, right now I’m in my action mode,” he declares. - someone e-mail her and harass her please...
here is the original link:

Monday, November 15, 2004

Aluta Continua: Cuban Updates... issue #5

Large UK trade mission in Cuba
AFPTuesday, November 16, 2004

Britain's largest trade mission ever to visit Cuba arrived yesterday, one day ahead of a key European Union (EU) meeting in Brussels on future European relations with the communist island.

The 40 visitors include potential investors in tourism, biotechnology, agriculture, education and energy, said Lord Colin Moynihan, the head of the UK- Cuba Initiative.

The common EU policy since 1996 conditioned better political ties on political changes in Cuba.Relations, however, have been strained since a Cuban crackdown on political dissidents in 2003.

However, the Socialist government of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is seeking to change the common policy, arguing that the sanctions are not effective. Britain has stated it supports Zapatero's proposal.

The size and scope of the British trade mission clearly shows the strength of ties between Havana and London, said Moynihan upon arrival.

The trade mission will stay until Friday, he said. The British trade mission follows a brief visit to Havana ending November 4 by a group of five EU lawmakers aimed at improving diplomatic ties.

The EU lawmakers met with top Cuban officials, but did not meet with dissidents who represent the outlawed Cuban opposition.

Spain and UK press for a thaw in EU diplomatic freeze on Cuba

EU Seeks End to Diplomatic Freeze in Cuba

DaimlerChrysler fine may damage US-EU relations
By Inígo Moré in Madrid
Published: November 16 2004 02:00 Last updated: November 16 2004 02:00

DaimlerChrysler, the German car manufacturer, has been fined by the US for breaking the embargo on Cuba, it emerged yesterday.

US Treasury officials told Expansión, the Financial Times' Spanish sister paper, that DaimlerChrysler was guilty of "exporting goods to Cuba". The case was settled last month, after the company paid a fine thought to be $30,000 (€23,200, £16,200).

The dispute threatens further to undermine ties between Washington and Berlin, which were strained last year during the Iraq war. Gerhard Schröder, the German chancellor, was one of the strongest critics of the US-led invasion of Iraq.

The penalty was imposed on DaimlerChrysler North America Group, the US subsidiary of the company, because of exports by DaimlerChrysler Vehículos Comerciales, the Mexican subsidiary of the German manufacturer.

The officials said that Daimler had paid the fine, without admitting to any wrongdoing. People close to the settlement said that although the fine was relatively small, it was intended as a warning to other companies against doing business with Cuba.

According to US Treasury documents, Mercedes-Benz México, since renamed DaimlerChrysler Vehículos Comerciales, exported goods to Cuba in 1999. It is unclear why the company was fined five years after the event.

DaimlerChrysler is represented in Cuba by MCV Comercial, a joint venture that supplies spare parts for vehicles on the island.

The penalty follows another high-profile fine, imposed on Iberia, the Spanish airline carrier, which agreed two months ago to pay a fine of $8,000 after the US government accused it of breaking the embargo on Cuba. It had carried a 480kg shipment of Cuban cigars bound for Costa Rica via Florida. The US Treasury has imposed penalties on 60 companies this year for breaking the embargo legislation.

The latest episode could force the European Commission to make a fresh protest to Washington after a confrontation a few years ago over the application to third countries of the US embargo.

DaimlerChrysler was not available for comment last night.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Another New Section Dedicated to the Rest of the Caribbean I Dubbed: Abeng- issue #1

FIRST SERIOUS NEWS ABOUT ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA: This serious ramifications as it pertains WTO, Liberalization of education in the Caribbean, GATS and how we view the WTO and violation of trade acts. I think every one ought to read this.

Antigua beats odds: WTO confirms ruling against US on web gambling
Technology - AFP

Antigua and Barbuda beat long odds as the World Trade Organization confirmed a ruling that a ban in the United States on Internet gambling violates global trading rules.

The Geneva-based WTO, in a report released Wednesday, held that the US ban on web gambling is effectively an unfair trade barrier that hurts the gaming industry of the tiny two-island Caribbean nation.

US prohibitions on Internet gambling "are inconsistent with US obligations" under the 1995 General Agreement on Tariffs and Services, the WTO panel wrote in Geneva, affirming an interim decision in March.

In a statement, Antigua welcomed the decision and called it "reminiscent of the story of David and Goliath."

But Richard Mills of the office of the US Trade Representative called the decision "deeply flawed" and pointed out that Washington "clearly intended to exclude gambling from US services commitments" when the agreements were negotiated.

"We will vigorously appeal this deeply flawed report to the WTO Appellate Body and remain confident in the basis for reversing this panel report," he said.

A senior US trade official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that if the US appeal fails, Washington may simply revise its commitment under the GATS agreement to exclude gambling. (If uncle sam can revise why can't we revise our commitments as it pertains to the liberalization of education)

"The parties do retain rights to make changes under GATS," the official said.

The WTO panel ruling acknowledged that Washington may have intended to exclude gambling from the treaty but that Internet gambling is covered under the services agreement of global trade agreements.

"We have, therefore, some sympathy with the United States' point in this regard," the WTO panel wrote.

"However, the scope of a specific commitment cannot depend upon what a member intended or did not intend to do at the time of the negotiations."

A patchwork of regulations in US states regulate gambling, while federal laws ban any form of "interstate" betting. US Justice Department (news - web sites) officials contend that any Internet gambling is illegal, but prosecution has been spotty.

Antigua argued that since many forms of wagering are permitted in the United States -- such as casino gambling in Las Vegas and elsewhere and horse track betting -- that a ban on gambling from "remote" gambling from the Internet was unfair.

The senior US official rejected this argument, saying, "I don't think it's fair to say because there's gambling in Las Vegas it undermines a ban on Internet gambling, where you could have minors participating."

The official added that because this ban applies to US and non-US gaming operators, "Antigua and Barbuda is not being treated any differently from any US company."

Washington also maintained that GATS allows each member country latitude in regulating "public morals."

But the WTO wrote that the arguments from Washington carry less weight because of the wide variety of gambling options that are legal in the United States.

Antigua had claimed it lost more than 90 million dollars and 4,000 jobs because of the US ban.

"The United States has taken an aggressive approach to betting services based overseas," the government said in a statement.

"However, the US government raises significant revenue from betting services within its own borders and the Interactive Gaming Council (trade group) suggests the United States is home to at least half the worldwide online gaming market."

"The US says it wants open competition," said Ronald Sanders, Antigua's former WTO ambassador.

"But it only wants free trade when it suits the US."

CARICOM ban remains on Haiti
published in The Dailey Gleaner: Wednesday November 10, 2004
By Lindsay Mackoon, Gleaner Correspondent

CARIBBEAN LEADERS have taken a decision not to readmit Haiti into the fold of the 15-member regional grouping, CARICOM.

A ban was imposed on the French-speaking state following the ousting of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide earlier this year.

The decision against lifting the ban was made yesterday as regional leaders wound up a two-day special summit at the Hilton Hotel here.

CARICOM chairman, Dr. Keith Mitchell, the Grenada Prime Minister, told reporters the community was sticking to its guns. He said: There will be no interaction with Haiti at the regional level, even though individual countries may wish to do so. But we will continue to provide assistance as promised."


St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana and St. Lucia are vehemently opposed to the idea of dialogue with Haiti, arguing that the country's democracy was breached when Aristide was toppled in February.

It was also announced that implementation of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) has been pushed back. It was scheduled to become operational from the beginning of 2005.

Also last night, Trinidad and Jamaica signed an energy agreement. Trinidad's Prime Minister, Patrick Manning, declined to go into the details of the pact.

However, he did say Jamaica will supply Trinidad with bauxite for a multimillion dollar aluminium smelter plant to be established in South Trinidad next year. Prime Minister P. J. Patterson signed on behalf of Jamaica. The two men inked a similar agreement in Kingston last week.


The Bajan government appointed Ikael Tafari to be the director of the Commission for Pan African Affairs, Prime Minister Owen Arthur's office announced.

Tafari, 54, was a former sociology professor at the University of the West Indies' Cave Hill campus outside the capital. ( When will this ever happen in Jamaica???)

Trinidad sets up loan fund for regional companies
Observer Reporter
Sunday, October 31, 2004

A billion-dollar revolving loan fund aimed at encouraging regional market competitiveness and accessible to qualified businesses was launched in Kingston Friday as part of the region's deeper integration programme.

Trinidad and Tobago is offering the loan facility, and its businesses are exempt.
The fund, which is the main component of the Caricom Trade Support programme (CTS), is an initiative of the T&T government.

Aimed at promoting industry and market competitiveness in the region, CTS will disburse interest-free loans through regional commercial banks.

Traditional and non-traditional sectors, ranging from agriculture, tourism, entertainment and information technology, will have access to the loans which will be disbursed in three annual tranches over the period 2005 to 2007.

At TT$100 million which converts to J$1 billion or US$16 million, the fund represents a fraction of Trinidad's US$600-m trade balance with Caricom for 2002.
And according to Jerry Narace, the CTS head, the loan fund programme is meant to address some of that imbalance.

"Trinidad & Tobago is not comfortable with a Caricom balance of trade that tips so heavily in our favour and we feel that it's our responsibility to try and correct this for the region's long-term development," said Narace.

KD Knight, Jamaica's foreign affairs and foreign trade minister, quoted the Jamaica/TT 2002 trade figures which highlighted the imbalance.
Said Knight: "74 per cent of Jamaica's Caricom imports are from Trinidad and Tobago, while 14 per cent of Jamaica's Caricom export goes to Trinidad and Tobago."

He also made the point that while Jamaica imported more Caricom products in the last decade, deepening regional trade in the process, her Caricom exports declined over the same period.

"Caricom imports have moved from 3.7 per cent of total Jamaican imports in 1992 to 11.2 per cent in 2002, but our exports have declined from US$60m in 1992 to US$48m in 2002," said Knight.

The minister, however, quoted the 2003 foreign direct investment (FDI) figure of over US$720m that flowed to
Jamaica in efforts to temper the negative trade picture.
Under the CTS, eligible loan applicants should be profit-oriented entities based in a Caricom member state, except for Trinidad. They may be private companies, corporations, limited liability or public companies.

Companies without working capital, those at the start-up level of operation and which are void of trade experience and those who engage in harmful environmental practices, will not qualify.

Applicants can expect to have their loans processed within 45 days, once they have fulfilled the requirements.

"Trinidad and Tobago's economic health is linked with that of the rest of the Caribbean and so this is also in their best interest," said Dr Edwin Carrington, Caricom secretary-general.

He also underscored the point that the CTS was not meant for government, but to be used by the regional business sector.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

A new segment know as VERBATIM: issue #1

In this segment I quote people... gee

"Every time I'm around those guys, I feel 'sophicatid'. I need to BREATHE."
- Bounty Killer (from CVM's Onstage. Speaking on OUTRAGE and homosexual)

"Dem a popular guy, we a famous people!"
- Elephant Man

Yannick's Quotes- Edition: #4

"Yannick is such a waste of flesh"
-Carla Moore

"Yannick's light skinned, size zero fan club"
-Carla Moore, Shawna Burns, Dania(Kulu) aka F3: Fierce Fullfigured Feminists

"Let's see Yannick is arrogant, full of himself, and in his own little world."

"Yannick believes whole-heartedly and bases his relationships in the power of the superglue (sex)"
- Shawna Burns

"Imagine if you used your powers for good and not evil, can you imagine how the world would go Yannick?"
-Carla Moore

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Featuring Mo-Bay's (Montego Bay) biggest artiste...

Well I'm going to start featuring Mobay (Montego Bay) on this blog heavy heavy, so I begin with Mobay's finest artiste out now, well technical incarcerated but out in the streets an on the cds and in the dance dem.... Siccature Alcock a.k.a. JAH CURE

Longing For - Jah Cure

Yea yuh know
Only you
Only you
Only you can make me feel, just like a king
Love you give to me so real
Makes me give in

[Verse 1]
Girl, just like magnet to steel
Your love -- keeps pulling me in,
If its a battle I'll fight for you,
I have to win
To prove to you my love. is so deep within
Its even getting deeper
Since I reach prison

Longing for
My baby to love me more
What am I longing for?
Babylon release the Cure
What am I longing for?
My baby to love me more
What am I longing for?
Babylon release the Cure

[Verse 1]
When when when when?
Can we see each other again
When when when when?
Can we see each other again
I know there's someone, must be there comforting you
Whenever you need a friend
I'll make you mine, give me some time, I'll surely make you mine
It may be long, now forever.
I vow, to get myself together
I love you baby, always on my mind, No matter the time.

What am I longing for?
My baby to love me more
What am I longing ..longing..longing...
What am I longing for?
Babylon release the Cure

Only you can make me feel, just like a king
Love you give to me so real
Makes me give in

[Verse 1]
Girl, just like magnet to steel
Your love -- keeps pulling me in,
If its a battle I'll fight for you,
I have to win
To prove to you my love. is so deep within
Its even getting deeper
Ever since..

What am I longing for
My baby to love me more
What am I longing for?
Babylon release the Cure

Riddim: Drop Leaf
Producer: Don Corleone

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

A Poem I Saw Today and Liked

I met this poem today and like it, it reminds me of what alot of girls are now and I believe will be later, and it reminds me of how some grown women are today, it's sad in a way, but it seems to mock them as well an I like that.

~Pathedy Of Manners~

At twenty she was brilliant and adored,
Phi Beta Kappa, sought for every dance;
Captured symbolic logic and the glance
Of men whose interest was their sole reward.

She learned the cultured jargon of those bred
To antique crystal and authentic pearls,
Scorned Wagner, praised the Degas dancing girls,
And when she might have thought, conversed instead.

She hung up her diploma, went abroad,
Saw catalogues of domes and tapestry,
Rejected and impoverished marquis,
And learned to tell real Wedgwood from fraud.

Back home her breeding led her to espouse
A bright young man whose pearl cufflinks were real.
They had an ideal marriage, and ideal
But lonely children in and ideal house.

I saw her yesterday at forty-three,
Her children gone, her husband one year dead,
Toying with plots to kill time and re-wed
Illusions of lost opportunity.

But afraid to wonder what she might have known
With all that wealth and mind had offered her,
She shuns conviction, choosing to infer
Tenets of every mind except her own.

A hundered people call, though not one friend,
To parry a hundred doubts with nimble talk.
Her meanings lost in manners, she will walk
Alone in brilliant circles to the end.

by Ellen Kay-1931

The Bush Party

Imagine a party... we are celebrating the Bush re-election, DYCR's song 'bout "Chop Bush" in the background, lots of go-go girls swaddled in the U.S. flag... hahahaha Bush has won it again (I hope the sarcasm isn't lost on anyone).

Yup this edition celebrates Bush's victory.

As fitting tribute I have for everyone Bob Dylan's "Masters of War"...I', also putting up this song because I'm celebrating the fact that someone actually reads my blog and requested it, yup that's right... someone(Roxanne Burton) reads my blog. And then I'm also putting it up because my brother and I had a conersation today about this song as well.

So here it is...


Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead

While we all celebrate I beg you all to check out this site: