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Archive for August, 2008


bolt-usainPhoto by: Getty Images

In the recently concluded Olympic Games in Beijing, the United States Sprint relay teams appeared to be struck by a lightning storm or perhaps it was a single Bolt that made them so nervous that they found it difficult to come out of the paralysis. Could it been Usain Bolt and his two world record which nobody will be breaking anything soon?

It’s funny how some of the sports editors got all creative when headlining Bolt total domination.

“Bolt flashes to double gold”

“Lightning Bolt Strikes Twice!”

If I had the opportunity to headline one I would maybe suggested something like “Bolt Screwed US hopes for a Gold” but they probably would not have used that one anyway. 🙂

The reality was so shocking to those who consider themselves the best in the world that I wouldn’t be surprised if many American heads were to roll and the face of athletics change forever in the US. I hope the dope testers will be on guard because some athletes might take it seriously when they would have recalled the words of Malcolm X “by any means necessary.” Who knows, maybe what they have jailed the likes of Marion Jones for, will seem like Childs play in times to come as some try to recapture top position.

I too was amazed by the 21-year-old Bolt, even though I can’t say that I found anything impressive about his dancing following his record breaking victories, but when you have done such great work as a minority – the critics will have their say.

Meanwhile, the Jamaican women did their bit to keep the heads of the already breathless US sprinters under the water by dominating their rivals to the maximum. I believe it’s only a matter of time before some of the other countries in the Caribbean get to show their talent in various other disciplines and get the confidence to believe they can really come up against those who say they are the biggest and the best and still come out ahead. We have to do something quickly to make the people of this country believe that they indeed can be among the best in the world.

If it happens tomorrow, it would not have come soon enough as there are some people in the Caribbean that still find they are being treated as second-class citizens in their own little part of the world.

If you do not think this statement holds anything serious then just ask the media practitioners in Antigua, where they rank when it comes to police offering information to them as opposed to their British counterparts in relation to the recent killings of a British couple.The Antiguan Police Commissioner has got to show he has got more nuts than he has fruit and tell these English guys to cool down because they’re in his jurisdiction – but that’s a entire different story.

Anyway, I would like to take this opportunity to Congratulate Usain Bolt, the 2008 Olympic Games 100m and 200m Champion.

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In its present form, Government’s Draft Broadcast Act seeks to slam the door shut on freedom of the media and free speech in Dominica, while paving the way for severe censorship of information and entertainment.

The draft Act gives the Minister responsible for Information, sweeping and vaguely defined powers to control and suppress the activities of the broadcast media. The Minister’s powers are so loosely defined that a government could easily use a subjective interpretation of the Minister’s authority under the Act to muzzle broadcasters and deprive them of their fundamental right to police governments’ activities on behalf of the people.

Furthermore, certain important objectives and guidelines in the draft Act for the proposed Broadcasting Authority and its subsidiary committees are vaguely expressed and subject to multiple interpretations. Therefore, as time passes and the members of the authority and its committees change, it is quite likely that their decisions would be inconsistent, varying according to subjec¬tive interpretations of the Act by different personnel at different times.

The Minister’s wide discretionary powers are a key area of concern. For example, Part II, Section 5 of the draft Act states: “The Minister may issue such directions to the Board in relation to policy matters affecting national security, public order and safety of Dominica and the Board shall comply with these directions”. In effect, there are absolutely no checks and balances to ensure that the Minister directs the Authority appropriately and without political bias.

Since the draft Act does not specify any criteria or set any parameters for the Minister’s ability to invoke this provision, the interpretation of the terms “affecting national security, public order and safety of Dominica” is left entirely up to the Minister. As such, the Minister can block media coverage of anti-government commentary, activities or protests by arbitrarily declaring them threats to national security, public order and safety.

Part II Section 7 (d), subsections (i) and (ii) of the draft Act state that the Authority must ensure broadcasts do not “incite crime leading to disorder or offending public or religious feeling”. This pliable definition allows a wide range of subjective interpretations without giving any directives regarding what specific broadcast content incites crime or leads to disorder or offends public or religious feeling. The subjective interpretations of this provision are fuel for political mischief.

Again, Part II, Section 7 (£) of the draft Act refers to ensuring that broad¬casting services are of the “highest possible quality” without specifying how the acceptable level of quality is to be determined. Since the provision neglects to set down appropriate quality controls for broadcasts, it is left up to “the eye of the beholder”. This means the provision is likely to be applied in a whimsical and haphazard way, according to the personal biases of members of the Audiority.

Part II, Section 7 (k) of the draft Act refers to compulsory “public service” and “development support” broadcasts. Unless the criteria for these are clearly defined, a government could use this provision to force privately owned media to broadcast public relations material and propaganda. Also, Part II, Section 7 (m) refers to the “needs of the audience in Dominica”. Since these are fluid and change with the times, who determines what these “needs” are and by what criteria?

Part V Section 40 (5) refers to maintaining “taste and decency” in terms of violence and sexual content. This flexible definition could lead to rabid censor¬ship by the “standards committee” along vague moral and religious notions. The draft Act does not state with any clarity or detail what types or degrees of violence and sexual conduct should not be broadcast. Would future broadcasts of dancing at Carnival be banned for being offending taste and decency?

The list of concerns about the Draft Broadcast Act is too long for all to be included here. However, unless the Act is substantially revised before reaching Parliament, broadcasters could wake up one day with blinkers on their eyes and muzzles on their faces and wonder how they got there.

This Article was published in the Editorial section of the Chronicle Newspaper – August 22, 2008

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We live in a culture that uses labels as a means of understanding the world and the people living in it. As a result, many of us find ourselves laboring under a label that has a negative connotation. Unless we can find a way to see the good in such a label, we may feel burdened by an idea of ourselves that is not accurate. It is important to remember that almost nothing in this world is all good or all bad, and most everything is a complex mixture of gifts and challenges. In addition, different cultures revere certain qualities over others, but this does not mean that these qualities are inherently good or bad. For example, a culture that elevates outgoing behavior will label a shy person in a negative way, calling them antisocial. In truth, the ability to spend time alone is one that most great artists, mystics, and visionaries share.

Many famous artists and musicians were considered to be isolated loners or disruptive troublemakers, or sometimes both, yet these people altered history and contributed to the world an original vision or advances in our understanding of the universe. We should try to remember this as we examine our own selves, and when we label others because they don’t behavior like us or share different opinions. There is a bright side to any characterization.

If you have been labeled, remember that all you have to do to see the positive side is to turn the label around. For example, when I first met my fiancée I considered her to be overly emotional, and the fact that I have perceived her in such way got me in a lot of trouble in the early stages of our relationship. But notice, too, the gifts of being able to feel and express your emotions, in a world that doesn’t always encourage that and labels you to be weak. Being labeled as overly emotional, might help you see yourself as brave or open-hearted enough to stay alive to your feelings.

Everyone of us at one time or another in our lives have been labeled as something we’re not; sometimes it’s merely to the amusement of others – particularly here on our nature island. But as you turn these labels around, let them guide you on your way.

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