Haiti President Bids Farewell, Cedes Power to Transitional Govt

Source:  TeleSUR
February 7 2016

Haiti’s political crisis and instability dates back decades, with the legacy of colonization, occupation, U.S. domination, and chronic poverty and violence compounded by the devastating 2010 earthquake, from which the country is still recovering

martelly bids fareweell.jpgHaiti’s President Michel Martelly gives the presidential sash to the Senate President Jocelerme Privert during a ceremony in Parliament Feb. 7, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Haitian President Michel Martelly bid farewell to the country on Sunday in line with an agreement to pass authority over to a transitional government to fill the power void in the wake of last month’s presidential run-off being cancelled due to violence and allegations of fraud.

In his final address before the Parliament, Martelly said his “biggest regret is that the presidential election was postponed,” but called for unity to tackle the ongoing challenges that plague the crisis-ridden country.

Provisional president to be chosen

Prime Minister Evans Paul is to remain in office and a provisional president will be chosen by Parliament in coming days.

“Today is a difficult day, but we have to unite ourselves to face the difficulties,” said Martelly to the National Assembly, which will now decide on the transitional government. “We are a brave nation, a nation that has honor and an important history for the world.”

teleSUR Correspondent Madelein Garcia reported from Port-au-Prince Sunday that Martelly passing the presidential sash without an elected president to receive it marked an unprecedented moment in Haitian politics.

Protests against his government

Martelly also called for peace and for Haitian people to abandon violence in the wake of some protests against his government that turned violent. The outgoing president also said he is “not going anywhere,” pledging his commitment to the country by invoking iconic figures of the Haitian revolution.

Martelly’s departure comes after he signed an agreement Saturday to leave his post when his term expired Sunday, after previously refusing to resign until another leader was secured.

The transitional government will have a mandate of 120 days, during which it will be responsible for organizing elections to select the president in April. The newly elected president will take office in May.

Alleged electoral fraud

The opposition has called for an investigation into irregularities in the first round of presidential elections last October before a run-off vote is scheduled.

Widespread and sometimes violent  protests over alleged electoral fraud in October’s presidential elections led to the indefinite suspension of the second round of voting, scheduled to take place Jan. 24.

The legacy of colonization, occupation, U.S. domination

Haiti’s political crisis and instability dates back decades, with the legacy of colonization, occupation, U.S. domination, and chronic poverty and violence compounded by the devastating 2010 earthquake, from which the country is still recovering.

Many hope the upcoming electoral process will be a step toward ending the political instability that has plagued the Caribbean nation for the past three decades.​

WATCH: Haitians Say They Will ‘Mobilize Till the End’ over Elections

Nearly 2 Million Ecuadoreans Lifted out of Poverty in 6 Years

Source:  TeleSUR
February 6, 2016

rafael correa feb 2015.jpgEcuadorean President Rafael Correa speaks to the gains made the reduction of poverty during his administration, Quito, Ecuador, Feb. 5, 2016. | Photo: Ecuadorean Presidency

Ecuador’s multidimensional poverty rate was reduced to 35 percent in December 2015 from 51.5 percent in December of 2009.

Ecuador’s National Institute of Statistics and Censuses reported Friday that the country’s multidimensional poverty rate dropped 16.5 percent between 2009 and 2015, translating into 1.9 million Ecuadoreans who no longer live in poverty.

“Socioeconomic poverty will be fundamentally solved through changes in the relations of power … through political processes,” said Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa.

Poverty reduction – a major objective of the government

The reduction of both urban and rural poverty has been one of the major objectives of the Correa government since his arrival to the presidency in 2007. The country is working to eliminate extreme poverty completely, having already successfully done so in the capital region.

Jose Rosero, director of the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses, said the multidimensional poverty rate was reduced to 35 percent in December 2015 from 51.5 percent in December of 2009.

Poverty is a multidimensional and multifaceted

Instead of just raw income or consumption, the multidimensional poverty measures four components: education; work and social security; health, water, and food; as well as housing and living environment.

“Poverty is a multidimensional and multifaceted phenomenon that has many aspects. You cannot describe it in a single or one-dimensional manner. In this regard, the metrics we use to measure it have to correspond to this feature of poverty, which not only focuses on the lack of resources but a lack of welfare or rights such as health, education, housing and employment,” said Rosero.

Ecuador adopted the multidimensional poverty metric two years ago in order to better evaluate the impact of social programs and investments. The metric is also used in Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica and El Salvador and is generally viewed by policy makers as a more effective way of measuring poverty.

Mugabe: Africa wants two members on the UN Security Council

26th au summit assembly group.png

The United Nations need to be reformed such that the African countries can be on equal footing with the countries on the Security Council.

The State of Palestine

“I take the floor after the representative of Palestine made a speech; wailing speech, crying speech.  A repeat of what happened before.  It happened last year; it happened the year before; it happened in 1963.  The voice of the Palestinians being expressed here, the cry of the Palestinians reaching our ears here.

“For how long are we going to listen to the leader of the PLO?  When shall we ever listen to the President of the state of Palestine (aaplause).  When shall that ever come Mr Ban Ki-Moon?

You are leaving us before the settlement of the people of Palestine; they are not settled yet.  They are in a State which belongs, I don’t know to whom; not free, some other people building homes in what is supposed to be their State.”

Almost ever day someone is killed, or disturbed or arrested … when shall this ever cease?

Obama – a voice made to speak their language

“There are blacks across the Atlantic … there are others who lie deep down in the sea … their skeletons have vanished … our forefathers were drawn across to a country where they laboured and toiled and died.

“There is Obama here today yes, … what is he?  A voice made to speak their language, to act their act and not our act but their act …  the blacks go to Harlem where they are in New York .. you shed tears today … there is no education for all, no healthcare for all … blacks in the streets … and nobody seems to talk about it … but instead they want to talk about us.

Regime change

“They are everywhere in Africa, if not physically but through NGOs (applause) through spies, through pretenders who come to us saying that they are here in Africa to assist us … (they are here) even in armed groups in some of our territories.

“What help is coming from them … regime change?  We are suppose to be free and independent.

The Security Council

“Mr. Ban Ki-Moon … we come to the UN every year … we pay lots of money to go there and in the General Assembly we make speeches then we go back home year in year out but the bosses in the Security Council say you shall never have the powers that we have as permanent members and we have asked and asked and asked  (applause) reform, reform the Security Council (applause)

“Mr. Ban Ki-Moon you are a good man but we can’t make you a fighter, that’s not what your mission was.  We will fight a fight for our own identity, fight for our own integrity … as Africans, we are Africans (applause).

We must be equal members of the UN

“If we decide, as we shall certainly do one of these days, that ‘down with the UN” we are not real members of it, we are artificial members of it; we can’t continue to be artificial members of it.

“How can only a handful of people -in fact, it is only the Americans and the Europeans; those who say they are white skinned … because they are white skinned anybody else who is not like us shall not have the power and strength and integrity that we have  … if the UN is to survive we must be equal members of it (applause);  members who can say when we go to the body, that we can now, speaking truly as members with a voice that is understood, respected and honoured.  But that’s not it.

Reform the UN 

“We met in Swaziland some years back to discuss the reform of the UN and especially the Security Council.  And we came up with a concensus; we have said that we want 2 permanent members with a veto if the veto is to continue although we don’t liek the principle of the veto.

“Two members … 54 (African) countries; here this is the body of respected people , the body of Africans … I wonder if you have told them that we also are humans (applause).  Tell them, tell them, that we are not ghosts, that we belong to the world; the part of the world called Africa and Africans will no longer tolerate a position of slavery – slavery by any other name; by denial  of rights, slavery by being treated in a manner we regard as not equal to the manner in which they treat themselves.

“You shall hear from us on this issue of reform of the United Nations … but you have doen a good job for us.  You have wept for us when disease have visited us , whether is was Ebola or some other.

“We thank you for that as a human being … so that distinguishes you from others … of course, you don’t come from those countries”

71st anniversary of Bob Marley’s birth

Source:  jamaicaobserver.com
January 14 2016

bob marley 20bob 5

Nyabinghi drumming

Plans were also rolled out for the official birthday celebrations. On February 6, Marley’s birthday, activities will commence at 6:30 am with Nyabinghi drumming, the release of doves, and sounding of the Abeng at the museum.

Kelissa, Iba Mahr and Jesse Royal

The celebrations continue throughout the day with the symposiums Rastafari Today, Sustainable Agro and Jamaica’s Reggae Music. This will give way to a live show featuring emerging acts, to be followed by performances from Kelissa, Iba Mahr and Jesse Royal — who have all been named ambassadors for the celebrations — and members of Marley: The Next Generation.

Sabina Park

Telecommunications company Digicel is also partnering with the Marley family to celebrate Marley’s birthday with a concert at Sabina Park in Kingston.

One Love Football Match

Other activities to mark the milestone include the two-day One Love Music Festival in Montego Bay on February 4-5, and the One Love Football Match, featuring masters and celebrities, at the Arnett Gardens Football Club on February 10.

Read full article here

Black History Month: What we want to see, is Africa’s liberty … Ziggy Marley

Ziggy Marley:  What we want to see is Africa’s Liberty

ziggy marley 1.jpgBlack my story, black my story
Not his-tory, black my story
Black my story, black my story
Not his-tory, black my story

From education to civilization
From astrology straight to biology
Black my story, black my story
Not his-tory, black my story
African glory, African glory
What we want to see, is African liberty
From Marakeshi to Egypt, Rio-De-Oro
From Cape Town to Addis-Ababa and Congo

African glory, African glory
What we want to see
African liberty, give it to me

Oh, black my story, black my story
No not his-tory, black my story
African glory, African glory
What we got to see, must be Africa’s liberty
From Mozambique to Libya
Oh land of the Uganda
From Senegal to Somalia
Oh land of the good Ghana

African glory, African glory
What we want to see is African liberty
Black my story, black my story
Black my story, not his-tory
A black my story, I and I story
Black my story, not his-tory
Black I story, black my story

Bob Marley: How many rivers do we have to cross?

Bob Marley:  Highlighting the plight of the poor and the downpressed through music

This morning I woke up in a curfew
O God, I was a prisoner, too – yeah
Could not recognize the faces standing over me
They were all dressed in uniforms of brutality.

How many rivers do we have to cross
Before we can talk to the boss?
All that we got, it seems we have lost
We must have really paid the cost.

That’s why we gonna be
Burnin’ and a-lootin’ tonight
Say we gonna burn and loot
Burnin’ and a-lootin’ tonight
One more thing
Burnin’ all pollution tonight
Oh, yeah, yeah
Burnin’ all illusion tonight.

Oh, stop them, give me the food and let me grow
Let the roots man take a blow
All them drugs gonna make you slow now
It’s not the music of the ghetto

Weeping and a-wailin’ tonight
Who can stop the tears?
Weeping and a-wailin’ tonight
We’ve been suffering these long, long-a years
Weeping and a-wailin’ tonight
Will you say cheer?
Weeping and a-wailin’ tonight
But where?

Give me the food and let me grow
Let the root man take a blow
I say: all and all them drugs gonna make you slow
It’s not the music of the ghetto.

We gonna be burning and a-looting tonight;
To survive, yeah
Burning and a-looting tonight
Save your baby lives
Burning all pollution tonight
Pollution, yeah, yeah
Burning all illusion tonight
Lord-a, Lord-a, Lord-a, Lord-a Lord

Burning and a-looting tonight
Burning and a-looting tonight
Burning all pollution tonight

Reggae Message:

Marijuana, Alternative Cash Crop to Bananas in the Caribbean?

Source:  TeleSUR
February 3 2016

ralph gonsalves 3

Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves on Wednesday said marijuana would be a suitable alternative cash crop to bananas for Caribbean countries, adding that five decades of commercial banana production has left many islands in the region in conditions of disaster.

“The upshot of the banana sector has been deforestation, erosion of the hills and valleys … it has been going on for nearly 50 years with bananas. So that when the rains come and you have flooding, the land gets washed away into the river. Trees themselves get dug out and they block up the rivers, mash up the bridges, destroy homes. And they kill people,” he said.

Research on marijuana as a viable commercial product

He told a major university forum in Barbados that it is time for the Caribbean to conduct serious research on marijuana as a viable commercial product, a statement that caused a positive reaction across the region, including in Saint Lucia, where residents have said his suggestion has merit.

“I feel, trust me, there will be more to export than the bananas, because you have more youth in the ghettos who will be happy to plant it, to sell it. The banana will not really sell fast like the marijuana,” said Saint Lucian chef, Valentine Clement James.

The economic benefits of marijuana

The Director of the Caribbean Drug and Alcohol Research Institute Marcus Day said it is time to give serious consideration to the economic benefits of marijuana.

“I think that we are being very shortsighted in our cannabis policy; our drug policy. I also think that looking at all the science that’s been revealed recently, there are not many downsides to using cannabis and there are much more benefits in terms of therapeutic use. So I think that it’s about time that we move into the 21st century and stop this prohibition that has caused much pain on a lot of people,” he stated.

Marijuana is illegal in most Caribbean countries

Currently, marijuana is illegal in most Caribbean countries, including Saint Lucia, but the 15-member Caribbean Community (Caricom) has established a regional Cannabis Commission to analyze the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

While opponents of decriminalizing marijuana say it will make it too widely available in society, citizens like Marius Modeste believe otherwise.

“The same way for rum. Rum is legal but some people choose to drink and some people choose not to drink. So the important thing you have to weigh is whether it is beneficial, whether it will help people when it comes to medicinal purposes and so on,” he said. “That is what is most important. So if at the end of the day the government sees that you can do something beneficial, the people can benefit and the government can benefit, I don’t see a problem with it.”

Proponents who support making marijuana the Region’s new cash crop have said that at the very least a collective needs to be created in order to have a Caribbean-wide approach to study the economic and other benefits of cannabis cultivation in the region.