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Showing posts from March, 2013

News and Comments

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Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad -Bissessar recent description of some journalists as “rogues” was quickly pounced on by Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley, as a sure sign that the fall of the Peoples Partnership government was imminent. While we understand his desire to be washed in the blood of the lamb, as a fighter for press freedom, we find his memory to be quite short, since all political parties, including his Peoples National Movement (PNM), in Trinidad and Tobago and indeed the entire Caribbean are skilled in bashing journalists when it suits them. We stand firmly by the journalists, in Trinidad and Tobago, who are perhaps the very last practitioners of independent journalism in the region. While, we note from time to time, there are those who support particular party lines, we find the independent voices to be more fully represented than in  many other Caribbean nations.
The Warner(s) Affair It is now common knowledge that Jack Warner’s problems are far from over…

Protect Our Children

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Parenting in these times cannot be an easy task. The “children of today” are more informed, more direct in how they express themselves and have access to information that guarantees they have an opinion! Teachers and religious leaders will be challenged. The days of an authoritarian approach to discipline are all but over and those of us who fail to communicate and understand our children will fail as parents.  Many of us in the Caribbean grew up with the mantra of our parents and guardians: “Children are to be seen and not heard”. Those days are now over and those who cling to them or hope they return are victims of a dangerous form of nostalgia. We expect the pressures of the pressure cooker society to propel many parents to the land of parental hopelessness and despair. They should not become figures of ridicule and branded failures but we should employ whatever it takes to prevent them from ending up there or try our utmost to retrieve them. Drugs, divorce, peer pressure and in man…

Trinidad and Tobago's New President Carmona

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Nations, like individuals need some breathing space at sometime in their affairs. It can come as a festival, a big sporting achievement or a national son or daughter gaining international fame in his or her chosen field. We welcome such developments because while one individual gets the achievement the entire country or region gets the recognition or at least some mention. There was a time in our region, when we were literally guaranteed that breathing space, whenever our then formidable West Indies cricket team played. Unfortunately, “our boys”, as we affectionately call them, have been rather spasmodic in recent years, and are almost at the bottom of the international test ratings of cricketing countries. We hope for better days although they seem so slow in coming. Against this background, we welcome to office the new President of Trinidad and Tobago, President Anthony Carmona. Hailed as a brilliant legal mind, regarded as one of high integrity and highly respected by his peers for h…

Marijuana: We Support Justice Worrell

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We are in full support of High Court Judge Randall Worrell’s call to   decriminalize marijuana for personal use. We are also in full support of his position that our court system is clogged up with old cases involving marijuana charges.  We do not condone drug abuse in any form but we believe that if cigarettes can be legally sold, there should be sales of marijuana as well. At least we know that cigarettes destroy millions of lives annually and place tremendous pressure on  health services. We hope that a more progressive approach is used in assisting those afflicted with the addiction of marijuana. We strongly believe that prison should be use for the punishment and rehabilitation of hardened criminals and not those who for one reason or another find themselves addicts. We know that many kids today are addicted to their parents’ prescription drugs and there are those amongst us who are addicted to medication. Certainly a modern judicial system cannot continue to waste time, resources…

Education System Needs Reform

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by William Skinner


As impossible as it is to produce a car for 2013 on a production line of 1960, so is it to produce a citizen for the new emerging world economy from an education system that has been on automatic pilot since the 1960’s. We are still describing an educational system as the building of school plants but we really need to focus on building citizens. It is common nowadays to describe some people as brilliant without furnishing the slightest evidence. We have reached the stage of accepting mediocrity and dazzle. We have some scribes amongst us, who have mastered the art of regurgitating every idea they have read or heard somewhere else. We have fallen victim to the over worked clich├ęs but the simple truth is that when separated from all the fancy sound bites,  we are really shouting loud, writing pretty but saying absolutely nothing. There are no real thinkers about and the few that we have, who can really make a difference, we are trying to pull down. Everybody seems to be…

Our Caribbean Woman

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Today March the 8Th. is International  Women’s  Day. The Mahogany Coconut Group reaffirms its commitment to the progress of women worldwide. However, we have been forced to comment, on the violence directed against our Caribbean women and women globally. We urge all governments in the region to strengthen where necessary and implement where possible more laws to defend the rights of our women. Today we also salute our grandmothers in the Caribbean nation, who have made a sterling contribution to holding entire families and communities together. The grandmothers are getting “younger” age wise but their importance to our region should not be underestimated. They carry that extra special touch that our children need in this fast paced technology driven world. Sometimes a thoughtful word or parable, from a grandmother, helps to guide many a young citizen back to the correct path. The Caribbean woman’s unique contribution to our development has not always been properly documented or promoted.…

President Hugo Chavez

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The passing of Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela,  will leave a serious void, in the leadership of Latin America and the Caribbean. President  Chavez was easily, the most influential ally the Caribbean had in international leadership circles. His sterling efforts to assist Caribbean Nation economies with the PetroCaribe project cannot be overlooked and this will no doubt continue to be part of his legacy to the region. It is most unfortunate that some Caribbean Nation states, were apprehensive in participating in PetroCaribe because they did not want to offend the United States and others who were very critical of President Chavez. To his great credit, President Chavez never hid his admiration of Fidel Castro, the former president of Cuba, who is also a great friend of the region ,highly respected and revered by the dwindling  or perhaps extremely inactive  progressive nationalists  in the  Caribbean region.
President Chavez is correctly credited with reducing poverty in Venezuela…

Jack Warner Must Go !

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"Over the past two weeks, the media and the general population at large, has been preoccupied with the Warner "phenomenon", for phenomenon it is. Warner is without doubt our most colourful politician. He is garrulous, hubristic and has out promised all our political leaders combined. He often talks and behaves as if he were the duly elected Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and that the doctrines of ministerial and collective responsibility do not apply to him. It would seem that Warner learnt his politics in the smoke filled rooms of FIFA and that he believes those norms, values and processes can be made to apply to Trinidad and Tobago. In so doing, he often lands the Prime Minister in a lot of political trouble. The fact that the Prime Minister is a woman serves to complicate the problem, but we will deal with that on another occasion. It is sufficient to say, for the time being, that the mix is toxic, and that Jack would be responsible for Kamla's early poli…

Stop the Violence Now

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Mourners view the body of  Haile Selassie High School Student Sheriefa Saddler, 14, at a Thanksgiving Service On February 24,.Saddler was kidnapped, murdered and her battered body thrown from a car on Lothian Avenue, Kingston 11 on January 30. (Photo ,caption and story compliments of Jamaica Gleaner).


Here is a link to the accompanying article:

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130302/cleisure/cleisure4.html


Mahogany Coconut Comment


We consider violence in one Caribbean country to be violence in all Caribbean countries. Hence we see violence , especially against women and children, as a problem in our Caribbean Nation. The easy access of guns and the failure of Caribbean Nation governments, continue to alarm progressive citizens , who know that our crime problems can be solved with firm leadership, and the depoliticization of our major crime enforcement agencies such as our police forces throughout the region. While we recognise the limited resources which we have to fight crime and …