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Archive for July, 2009

The editors over at BBC Caribbean have started a very interesting discussion on whether or not summer Carnivals in Caribbeans should scaled back.

Just earlier this month St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Lucia celebrated Carnival. Now Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada are gearing up for their own celebrations next month.

There’s also Notting Hill carnival, Caribbana and labour day which in the diaspora later down in the year.

And not forgetting our annual World Creole Music Festival, which the organizers have already admitted cash flow problems that’s affecting the staging of this year’s festival.

But with the current global financial crisis should Caribbean countries scale back or postpone these festivities altogether and use the money for social projects? Have your say in the comments below.

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In our small island society a firm handshake is solid building block not just in business but it’s also a fantastic way to share germs with each other. Do you avoid shaking hands, particularly in times like now when it’s so easy get infected with transmitted disease.

Neil Swidey over at the Boston Globe, pose a question which I found interesting: will we ever get rid of the handshake?

For as far as many of us can remember handshakes have been around for hundreds of years, and long thought to be a great way for two people to show that they were unarmed.

Nowadays we tend to settle matters with some type of verbal wit and less with actual handshakes; so the idea of this peace gesture has certainly lost some of its characteristic meaning.

Last month, swine flu officially became a pandemic. Public health officials have said so-called “social distancing” strategies — sharply reducing contact with others — have proved most effective in slowing the spread of previous outbreaks, such as the 1918 flu pandemic. And they told us to cut down on our handshakes as much as we could. Northeastern University heeded the advice, asking its graduates not to shake hands when receiving their diplomas during the school’s commencement ceremony in May. [via TechCruch]

Even before local public health officials were urging us to stop our collection of infectious organisms from the hand of strangers, many people were already growing tired of the hand shaking ritual. The way things are going, by the time the future generation reaches adulthood there will be no need for handshakes – thanks to merely internet and technology, we’re slow moving away from how we conduct business or greet a person.

So have you exchanged the handshake with another greeting? Still keep shaking but keep a hand sanitizer in your bag? Let’s hear your stance on handshakes in the comments below.

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Editor’s note:This article was published in the editorial section of the Chronicle Newspaper on July 03.

The involvement of youths in serious crimes continues to grow in Dominica despite public acknowledgment of the problem and a persistent outcry against it by concerned citizens, civic organisations and the police.

The police have recorded seven homicides to date this year and in two of these cases the suspects are youths under 18 years old.

A 14-year-old is in police custody after the stabbing death of a 42 year old man in Mahaut, and a 17-year-old is the prime suspect in the murder of a 25-year-old Pointe Michel man who was shot to death in Grand Bay. Both murders occurred during the same weekend in June.

These incidents are the latest evidence of the emerging phenomenon of youths under 18 years old committing serious crimes or being associated with extreme criminal activities. The involvement of youths in serious crimes was once unheard of in Dominica, but it is now becoming clear that our society is producing youths who are capable of committing monstrous, unthinkable crimes.

Dominican society has to take stock of this disturbing development, assess the variety of motives involved and take urgent steps to stop this new trend immediately. In particular, the nation should address the issue of youths joining violent criminal gangs with access to illegal firearms. Unfortunately, a recent amnesty by police, allowing persons to give up illegal firearms without penalty, was virtually unheeded. Youths joining criminal gangs and committing serious crimes has brought untold woe to countries worldwide.

We need to engage sociologists, criminologists and other professionals to deal with this problem while it is still in its embryonic stages. We must ask them to find out why so many of the nation’s youths seem to have rebellious tendencies and why some are committing serious crimes at a very young age.

Even without expert testimony, it is clear that some of Dominica’s children are growing up in violent environments and have violent role models. Influences from within their own households and communities cause these children to use violence for self-defense or just to get what they want. The propensity for violence and the inclination for criminality often go hand in hand, so children from violent and deprived environments, especially young males, are especially likely to get involved in serious crimes while they are still juveniles.

A host of social and personal problems contribute to the negative background of such youths; it is clear that children who grow up around violence and crime are at risk to become violent criminals.

The nation must move to reduce and eventually eliminate that environment in households and communities across Dominica. Society needs to ensure that more children grow up in a stable home and school environment. Communities and schools can easily tell which children — especially boys — are hyperactive, impulsive, and suffer from attention deficits and social adjustment problems. The nation needs to develop social and institutional mechanisms to allow qualified persons to detect such disorders and intervene accordingly; it would save many youths from drifting towards violence and crime.

Increasing involvement of youths in serious crime is an extremely ominous sign. All stakeholders must pool their ideas and resources urgently, and stop this problem from spreading.

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