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Archive for January, 2009

Few persons around the Caribbean would dispute the fact that president Obama will need much luck to and acute political skills to lead America out of the second Great Depression which that country is now experiencing.

One of the many questions Caribbean leaders will ask Obama to make, is one which has the potential to affect the future of the whole Caribbean; the question of reversing America’s current policy towards Cuba. They also hope he has the wisdom to understand that change is more likely to come to Cuba if there is frequent engagement between the people of these two neighbours.

But let’s be realistic people, despite Obama’s many talents his no miracle worker.

Dr. Rupert Lewis, a professor in the Department of Government of the University of the West Indies mention recently that President Obama will not alter US policy, he will not play the “black role” and most disappointingly, they will be no major advantage to the Caribbean with Obama in the White House.

can we as Caribbean people, excuse Obama if he decides that problems affecting Cuba and the Caribbean will have to be left on the coal pot to simmer rather than placing it in the pressure cooker to boil along with major international crisis that the new Obama administration has been forced to confront.

Do you think? Will President Obama change the US policy towards Cuba? Have your say in the comments below.

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uncertaintyPhoto by:paveitapics

It is great that Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit reassured the people of Dominica that nation will be able to withstand the global economic downturn. However, riding out this crisis will inevitably exert even greater pressures on Dominica’s struggling economy, and the difficult period ahead requires careful handling by the government as well as the people.

Our economy has be in the depression since the beginning of the decade, and at the start of the New Year we find ourselves in the midst of an extreme global economic crisis that will definitely throw even more obstacles in the nation’s course to economic development.

In other for us to overcome these difficulties, there must be a collective effort from the government and the Dominican’s home and abroad. Why? Because we’re still under the microscope of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund with little room to manoeuvre. The island needs to generate overseas investments funds and resources which the government would have little or no direct control. Simply put, Dominica’s economic success depends heavily on highly unpredictable conditions at home and abroad.

If the global economy crisis continues, it’s likely to bring serious lifestyle changes for many Dominicans. Some may have to work harder. Some may lose their jobs and have to find alternative employment. It would put people in strange new situations and the government will have to find new ways to getting them to respond in a cooperative, understanding manner.

One practical approach the Government should consider, is to concentrate pro-actively on the needs of the most impoverished people and try to ensure that they can at least meet their basic needs – food, clothing, housing, education and recreation.

This will not be easy, but for our small island nation it’s necessary. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. And if is one thing Dominican’s know is tough times. Someone once said “It’s easier to get where you’re going, if you know where you came from.” Our only hope of surviving in this global financial crisis ought to be towards greater self-reliance and more diversified economy.

Dominican’s are some of the most resourceful and resilient people, this year, government should seek resourceful means of helping them to fully demonstrate these qualities.

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photo of a Haitian farmerPhoto by LindsayStark

I truly hope that Dominicans are not on the path of creating and sustaining a society that is not tolerant of other migrant groups of various races and nationalities.

I find that some forms of injustice and stereotyping of people because they are “the Other” is taking place in our society. Dominicans are migrants in other lands and I am sure that what we would not like for ourselves, we should not want for others. Yes, in every group some are bad but that does not mean that we should put all people in one negative category. I know that we know better than that.

One migrant group that has been a hot topic for years is the Haitian Community in Dominica. It is understandable that with a country with as limited resources and as small as Dominica, Dominicans will be concerned about their country and their survival.

However, there have been some negative reports about our treatment of other people in the region, especially the Haitians and I would be happy is Prime Minister Skerrit would deal with the issue of managed migration and creating a policy.

Another thing that I think should be frowned upon is discrimination in the workplace, especially in this economic climate where jobs are a serious concern in terms of how we can all survive in these difficult times that have already begun.

I especially sympathise with those in the disabled community, some of whom have encountered some problems in that area, but it is highly commendable that some employers look at a person’s ability and credentials and not that they are differently abled.

I did some checking through the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on this issue and the ILO also states that the most common form of discrimination is the denial of opportunities, both in the labour market, and in education and training to people with disabilities. Therefore, they are often trapped in low-paid, unskilled and menial jobs, with little or no social protection.

I am thankful though that in Dominica there are a few avenues for disabled people to sharpen their skill, even though there may be challenges. But do we as an island nation give migrant groups, and people who are disabilities a fair opportunity in the workplace? Let’s hear your opinion in the comments.

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