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Rev Jesse Jackson: Trump's approach 'not working'

Donald Trump slams removal of historic statues as Confederate figures come down

The US President predicts that monuments to George Washington could come down next – a claim historians say is “ridiculous”.

The far-right rally in Charlottesivlle was a protest against a statue’s removal
 By Aubrey Allegretti, Political Reporter

Donald Trump has said US history and culture is being “ripped apart” by the removal of statues.

The President, whose intervention follows the planned removal of a Confederate monument in Charlottesville that sparked a violent far-right rally, said such actions were “foolish”.

He wrote on Twitter: “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments.

Members of the Ku Klux Klan rally in opposition to city proposals to remove or make changes to Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Image: KKK members waved Confederate flags at the Virginia protest

“You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!

“Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!”

The Charlottesville statue is one of multiple memorials across the US – many depicting military figures who fought unionist troops in the American Civil War – planned for removal.


President Donald Trump delivers remarks following a meeting on infrastructure at Trump Tower, August 15, 2017 in New York City. He fielded questions from reporters about his comments on the events in Charlottesville, Virginia and white supremacists. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Both statues referred to in Mr Trump’s tweet were taken down overnight after the violence in Virginia.

Monuments to Robert E Lee, a commander of the Confederate army, and Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson, a Confederate general, were dismantled from the Wyman Park Dell in Baltimore.

Historians have suggested that while George Washington had some similarities to the two leaders, it was “ridiculous” to conflate him with them.

Of Robert E Lee, Professor Alice Fahs from the University of California said: “He’s not a founding father, and it’s as though Trump thinks he is. It’s really astonishing. It’s amazing.”


Historians said conflating Jefferson with Lee and Jackson was ‘ridiculous’

Gregory Downs, a history professor also of the University of California, said: “It is obvious that traitors in arms to the nation are not equivalent to those who created it.”

He added that statues of founding fathers, who despite being unionists were also slave owners, “force us to contemplate the centrality of slavery to the making of the nation”.

Civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson has called for all Confederate status to be removed and described them as “unfinished business in our country”.

He told Sky News: “There are no Hitler statues in Germany today or neo-Nazi material flying around.


Rev Jesse Jackson: Trump’s approach ‘not working’

“These guys sought to secede from our union, maintain slavery and secession and segregation and sedition, and so these statues are coming down and they should come down.

“When you lose the war you vanquish your symbols. Their symbols should exist in a museum someplace.”

But the governor of Maine has rubbished such calls, saying dismantling Confederate statues would be “just like” removing a monument to 9/11 victims.

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Streets cordoned off

Barcelona terror attack: One arrested after van driven into dozens of pedestrians

Thursday 17 August 2017

At least 13 people have died and 50 are injured after a white van hits people in a tourist area of Catalonia’s capital.

Streets cordoned off

Police have arrested a suspect after a van killed at least 13 people in a terrorist attack in Barcelona city centre.

A white van mounted the pavement of Las Ramblas, the main tourist area in the city, and struck several people, police said.

It came to a halt at the entrance to the Liceu metro station and the occupants escaped and ran off into the streets nearby, according to one newspaper.

Spanish police search streets and bars for terrorists

:: Barcelona terror attack: What we know so far

Catalan interior minister Joaquim Forn confirmed that 13 people have died and 50 are injured.

One social media video post showed bodies strewn across the pavement for several hundred metres along the famous street.

One TV station said two armed men entered a Turkish restaurant and took hostages, but the interior ministry denied this.

Debris on the ground after a van hit pedestrians in Barcelona

Image: Debris on the ground after a van hit pedestrians in Barcelona

Police initially said they were looking for a man of 5ft 5ins (1.7m) in height, wearing a white shirt with blue stripes.

The van used in atrocity is said to be a Fiat, that was hired from an address in Santa Perpetua Of the Mogoda about five miles north of the city.

El Pais has identified a man who the Civil Guard says is responsible. A Facebook account says he is from Marseilles and lives in Ripoll, Catalonia, about 50 miles north of Barcelona.

:: ‘I saw a woman screaming for her kids’

Security forces have found a second van connected to the attack in the town of Vic, 40 miles from Barcelona, 10 miles south of Ripoll, according to police sources.

There were also unconfirmed reports of shooting on a road near Las Ramblas, but the police has yet to comment.

Debris on the ground after a van hit pedestrians in Barcelona

Footage from reporters on the ground shows armed officers combing the streets and a market near where the van came to a halt, with a search said to be under way in several other shopping areas.

Numerous people have been trapped in shops after being told to hide following the initial crash. They are slowly being evacuated by armed officers.

Emergency services in Catalonia say they have asked the Metro to be shut down and the Renfe stations nearby have been closed and evacuated.

:: LIVE: ‘Armed men holed up’ after Barcelona attack

Police have also cordoned off the Las Ramblas and several of the streets nearby and shut down several of the shops.

A police car blocks the road after the collision

Image: A police car blocks the road after the collision

An eyewitness, lawyer Aymar Anwar, who’s at a conference in the city, said: “All of a sudden I heard a crashing noise, and the whole street just started to run screaming.

“I saw a woman next to me screaming for her kids.”

The Spanish and Catalan governments are meeting to discuss what has happened.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Brey said on Twitter: “To all administrations: the priority is to treat the wounded and aid the work of the security forces.”


The Foreign Office released a statement saying: “The British Embassy in Madrid and Consulate General in Barcelona are in contact with local authorities and urgently seeking further information following reports of an incident in central Barcelona.

The scene after the incident

“Local authorities have advised people to stay inside and stay away from the Las Ramblas area of the city. If you’re in the immediate area you should take care and follow the advice of the local security authorities.”

A White House spokesman said Donald Trump’s chief of staff is “keeping abreast of the situation” and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US stands ready to act.

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Three quarters of osteoarthritis sufferers say they are in constant pain

Arthritis in knees is a preventable disease, scientists discover

The Times

Three quarters of osteoarthritis sufferers say they are in constant pain
Three quarters of osteoarthritis sufferers say they are in constant pain REX FEATURES

Arthritis in the knees is a preventable disease rather than an inevitable consequence of wear and ageing, a study has concluded.

The condition is twice as common today as it was before the Second World War, according to researchers who put the increase down to lifestyle changes such as diet or footwear, as well as people getting fatter and living longer.

Osteoarthritis is a painful disease of the joints, affecting 8.8 million people in Britain aged above 45. More than 18 per cent of this group have the disorder in their knees. Yet scientists who studied more than 2,500 skeletons, from prehistoric hunter-gatherers to the present, discovered that rates of osteoarthritis had surged over the past few decades after centuries of stability.

Daniel Lieberman, professor of biological sciences at Harvard University and a senior author of the paper, said that many cases could be averted if doctors could determine what had driven the change over the past 70 years. The researchers are investigating whether factors such as physical inactivity, diets loaded with refined sugars, the shoes we wear and even the hardness of pavements could lie behind the increase.

“Knee osteoarthritis is not a necessary consequence of old age,” Professor Lieberman said. “We should think of this as a partly preventable disease. Wouldn’t it be great if people could live to be 60, 70 or 80 and never get knee osteoarthritis in the first place? Right now, our society is barely focusing on prevention . . . so we need to redirect more interest toward preventing this and other so-called diseases of ageing.”

In osteoarthritis, the cartilage protecting the ends of bones gets rougher and thinner, leading to changes in the joint tissues. Eventually, if the cartilage wears so thin that it no longer covers the ends of the bones, they rub against each other, heightening pain, changing the shape of the joint and shifting the bones out of position. Three quarters of those with osteoarthritis say that they are in constant pain. Treatment is generally limited to painkillers or steroid injections into the joint. For severe cases, the only further option is an artificial joint. In 2015 people with the condition accounted for 98 per cent of patients having a first knee replacement.

Ian Wallace, the study’s lead author, visited collections of human remains across the United States to look for the glass-like polish that the condition leaves on the thigh and shin bones over years of rubbing against each other. Rates of knee osteoarthritis among the over-50s appear hardly to have changed between the native Americans 3,000 years ago and the inhabitants of Ohio and Missouri in the first half of the 20th century. After the war, however, they more than doubled. The trend, set out in the journal PNAS, remained even after the researchers corrected for age and body-mass index.

“There are probably a lot of contributing factors,” Dr Wallace said, “but . . . two conspicuous ones are physical inactivity and the abundance of proinflammatory foods in our diet — especially really sugary things.”

Philip Conaghan, professor of musculoskeletal medicine and a spokesman for the charity Arthritis Research UK, welcomed the study. “The more we know about what causes it, the closer we will be to finding more effective treatments and even a cure,” he said. “We absolutely agree that there should be more focus on prevention.”

How to keep healthy knees

  • Exercise regularly, both to strengthen your muscles and to maintain aerobic fitness. But don’t overdo it: if your joints are swollen or painful, rest them before exercising again
  • Maintain a healthy weight, or lose weight if you are too heavy. Extra weight increases the stress on your joints
  • Avoid repetitive motions that are tough on your joints, such as excessive kneeling, twisting, or lifting
  • Regulate your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. Research has implicated diabetes as a risk factor for osteoarthritis

Posted in Health, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments


China denies being involved in “economic colonialism” in Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Aug 11, CMC – China Friday condemned a video circulating on social network in which an opposition legislator claims that there is “a form of economic colonialism by Chinese businesses operating in Jamaica”.

In a statement, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China it is offended by the “unsubstantiated claims” in the video and has generated widespread discussion on social media.

In the video, former national security minister, Peter Bunting, and a member of Parliament, makes the claim of “economic colonialism” .

“We believe these claims could encourage a backlash and create an unsafe environment for Chinese Nationals working in Jamaica,” the Embassy statement noted.

China-JamaicaBeijing denied allegations that Chinese companies operating here are government owned and therefore have unlimited resources which Jamaican companies cannot compete against.

“There are clear separations between the Chinese Government and the management of Chinese state-owned enterprises. State-owned enterprises operate independently under business rules and assume sole responsibility for their profits and losses.

“The Government does not underwrite losses of state-owned enterprises. The Chinese Government continues to encourage Chinese companies to invest in Jamaica as long as these projects bring value to the Jamaican people and are profitable,” the statement noted.

China also dismissed allegations that Chinese companies in Jamaica engage in unfair competition, saying “Chinese companies are by nature very competitive. Their primary aim is the satisfaction of their customers by delivering timely, within budget and high quality work.

“Duty concessions are usually offered for projects that are joint ventures with Government of Jamaica such as the North South Highway and in other cases as a way to attract foreign investors. Concessions offered by the Jamaican Government are not limited to Chinese companies but are made available to other Foreign Investors.”

The Chinese authorities also disagreed with suggestions that more of their nationals were employed here as against Jamaicans, noting that the number of Jamaicans on staff at all Chinese companies far outnumber Chinese staff.

“The allegation that Chinese companies use convict labour is offensive and false. Such serious allegations by a former Minister of National Security should at the very least be substantiated by evidence. If Mr Bunting can produce such evidence, the Chinese Embassy will not hesitate to support whatever sanctions the Jamaican Government would wish to impose on the offending company,” the Embassy said.

It also disagreed with allegations that Chinese companies here are not transparent.

“he companies operate under Jamaican laws and regulations. If any Chinese Company is found to be operating outside of the law, it is up to the Jamaican authorities to take action.

“This Embassy and by extension the Government of China support the rule of law. We have also taken steps to promote the learning of English by our Chinese workers and Chinese by Jamaicans to promote better communication and mutual understanding.”

The Embassy said that although Bunting claimed he has asked it for information, “the Embassy has so far not received any request via phone, letter or email from him on this matter.

“China and Jamaica have had a long friendship and over the years our economic partnerships have been mutually beneficial. Chinese companies will continue to offer to the Jamaican Government and people value for money in the contracts they pursue.

“As we did recently in granting a request from the Government of Jamaica to supply the fireworks for the Grand Gala Celebrations, and the construction of a Children’s Hospital in Western Jamaica, the Government of China will continue to support projects and events that benefit the masses the Jamaican people.

“Our aim is not to “colonise” Jamaica but to always find areas of cooperation and mutual benefit that will improve the lives of both our people,” the Embassy said in the statement.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that his administration will act in the best interest of the Jamaican people while remaining open to foreign investment in the country.

Holness made the comments as the government signed a partnership agreement with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) for the Barbican Road Improvement Works project.

“The government is very sensitive to what has been happening. I want to reassure the people of Jamaica that the Government of Jamaica will always act in the best interest of the people of Jamaica,” said Prime Minister Holness, noting that the country’s relationship with the People’s Republic of China dates back to 1972; and that Jamaica continues to support the One China policy.

He said that as the largest provider of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), China represents a window of opportunity for Jamaica to gain true economic independence.

““We have to be receptive to investments not just from China. Jamaica wants to see a diversified portfolio of investors coming into this country. We want investors from all over to come here and invest.

“We want people to choose Jamaica to invest; we want people to choose to make their homes in Jamaica and so the Government of Jamaica has, not just with my government but with the previous government and the government that I was a part of before that developed a strategic relationship and partnership with the Government of China,” Holness said.

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Getty Images

Usain Bolt pulls up hurt in final race as Britain win men’s 4x100m gold

Usain Bolt pulls up hurt in final race at World Championships

Given this was once a country of incorrigible baton-droppers, the British men’s relay team restored national pride in the most emphatic and improbable style last night with a gold medal to gatecrash Usain Bolt’s showpiece send-off. The juxtaposition of Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake jumping for joy as a tormented Bolt cursed a strained hamstring is one that will remain seared upon the minds of all who saw it.

Seldom has an evening of sport culminated in such an emotional maelstrom. Bolt must have played the script over in his head a dozen times: one more Saturday night gold, for old times’ sake, for the ultimate showman. Except the quartet of Mitchell-Blake, Chijindu Ujah, Adam Gemili and Daniel Talbot would have none of it. Running down the Americans in the closing strides, they produced Britain’s first 4 x 100 metres gold at world championships and the first ever by a host nation.

Bolt, prone and distraught on the track, was left to endure an exit as undignified as it was controversial. The finest champions are not defined by their last moments in the field of battle, but as heartbreakers go this was Donald Bradman’s duck at the Oval to the power of 100. It looked at first like the infernally-timed breakdown of his ageing legs, but each of Bolt’s team-mates argued that he had suffered a cramp brought on by unnecessary delays.

The man of the moment had been waiting interminably while the last medal ceremonies were conducted, which Yohan Blake claimed had contributed to cramp. “They were holding us too long in the call room,” Blake said. “Usain was really cold. In fact he said to me, ‘Yohan, this is crazy – 40 minutes and two medal presentations before our run. We kept warming up and waiting, and I think it got the better of us. We were over-warm.” Bolt, for his part, headed to the treatment room and left the scene without a word.

Getty Images
 Chijindu Ujah, Adam Gemili, Daniel Talbot and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake of Great Britain celebrate winning gold in the Men’s 4×100 Relay final during day nine of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 at The London Stadium on August 12, 2017 in London, United Kingdom

For four young British sprinters, however, this was a triumph of which they could scarcely have dreamt. The astonishment was writ large on their faces. Gemili was supposed to be the forgotten man of London 2017, not even selected for an individual event, and here he was a world champion. Mitchell-Blake had been in pieces barely 48 hours earlier, when he was squeezed out of a medal in the 200m by fractions, and now he was toasting an anchor leg to glory. Who was writing this material? Assuredly nobody Jamaican.


Amid febrile scenes at the Olympic Park, the British collective produced stunning individual efforts and seamless changeovers to thwart the US favourites in a time of 37.47 seconds, the fastest in the world this year and the quickest by a European since 1999. Mitchell-Blake had everything to do in bringing it home and yet he tore past Christian Coleman, the silver medallist, like a man possessed.

 Asha Philip, Desiree Henry, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita of Britain celebrates winning the silver medal
Asha Philip, Desiree Henry, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita of Britain celebrates winning the silver medal in the women’s 4x100m

“The feeling of euphoria was from infinity,” Mitchell-Blake said. “I wasn’t sure if I had won or not. I gave it my all, but I could see Christian out of the corner of my eye. I can’t register it. We smashed the British record to pieces.”

Gemili’s smile, one sensed, would stay fixed in place for days. He has experienced his share of turmoil in these settings, not least when he missed out on 200m bronze in Rio last summer by one hundredth of a second, but this was the richest recompense. “It is so special to come back,” he said, shaking his head in wonder. “Crazy.”

Talbot explained that that the grim comedy of errors that characterised their display in this stadium at the London Olympics in 2012 had been a motivating factor. On that occasion, Britain did not even reach the final, after bungling the first changeover in the heat between Christian Malcolm and Dwai Chambers. Their determination to atone here was palpable.


For Bolt, the pain was too much for him to articulate initially. A loss to Justin Gatlin over 100m he could take, just about, but to suffer this ignominy in front of a crowd willing him to one more wondrous flourish was the cruellest twist. Julian Forte, his Jamaican team-mate, at least had the decency to try to balm the wounds, reflecting: “Usain kept apologising to us but we told him there was no need.”

Jamaica's Usain Bolt falls to the track after sustaining an injury during the men's 4x100m Relay final at the London 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, Britain, 12 August 2017
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt falls to the track after sustaining an injury during the men’s 4x100m Relay final at the London 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, Britain, 12 August 2017 Credit: EPA

On an unforgettable evening for relays, that symbol of athletic kinship, the British women’s line-up of Asha Philip, Desiree Henry, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita also weighed in with an unlikely silver, holding off Jamaica by a mere seven hundredths. Delirium coursed through them as they set off on their lap of honour. While bronze at the Olympics had been a watershed success, but was an accomplishment of a different magnitude from a team with an average age of 22.

Asher-Smith, who has recovered from a fracture to her right foot, said: “To upgrade from Olympic bronze to world silver with these girls has been absolutely incredible, and to do it at home means so much. We are so proud to win the medal in London.”


Hers was a sentiment that would echo long through the Stratford night, even if the pleasure of the unexpected was tempered by the manner of Bolt’s goodbye. It was hard not to suppress the thought, as he headed off to his life of unlimited Jamaican leisure, that he deserved better.


The moment none of us wanted to see

The studio team covering the championships suspect Bolt was undone by a hamstring injury in the closing stages of the 4x100m relay. He won’t leave these championships with many happy new memories, but undoubtedly retires as one of, if not, the greatest athlete of all time.

The look on his face…

Not how we pictured it

We were expecting gold for both Farah and Bolt, not a silver and a DNF – these unpredictable championships took another dramatic twist tonight. Thank god it’s only one day left, not sure my nerves could take more!

Huge moment for Great Britain

These championships have delivered incredible drama at every turn. 

Mitchell-Blake made holding off Christian Coleman so easy. Second gold medal for Britain in the fastest time of the year – 37.4 seconds.

Horrible to see a DNF against Jamaica, mind.

Nathaneel Mitchell-Blake crosses the line

Nobody wanted to see Bolt limp off the track

Great Britain win in the third fastest time in history, a sensational performance, but Bolt’s injury has cash a shadow.

Bolt dejected after the 4x100m

Gold for Great Britain, but Bolt pulls up injured!

A new British record, but in truth, the event has been marred as Usain Bolt pulls up injured on the anchor leg.

Nathaneel Mitchell-Blake ran an incredible final leg, but the greatest ever athlete pulled up injured in his final track appearance.

Bittersweet to say the least.

They’re on the blocks now

Jamaica have wheeled out their A-squad featuring Omar McLeod, Yohan Blake, and of course Usain Bolt.

It’ll take something special for anyone to beat Bolt and co. but the combination of Gatlin and Coleman might just be able to provide exactly that.

Style points for Jamaica

A few questionable routines before Bolt and co. enter and treat the crowd to a choreographed shuffle before stepping onto the track.

The United States greeted by boos – It would have taken some special choreography for Gatlin to be greeted by anything other than boos.

Jamaica enter the stadium

Predictions from Michael Johnson

The 200m and 400m great predicts that the United States will win it outright.

Behind them, he says he expects Britain to go into the home straight in second place, but it’s simply a question of whether or not Nathaneel Mitchell-Blake can hold off Usain Bolt on the anchor leg.

Can Britain challenge?

Britain named an unnamed relay team for tonight’s final. They were second fastest, behind only the United States in qualifying for tonight’s final. 

Can they follow the women’s example and add to Britain’s medal tally?

Moments away

The 5,000m final medal ceremony has just finished, meaning that the last event of the evening will be underway shortly.

Fastest man in history – In numbers

Can Usain Bolt add one more gold medal to his already glittering career? He’ll be adding to an incredible list of accolades if the Jamaican quartet can win tonight.

The man to replace Bolt?

Christian Coleman looks like the most likely candidate to pick up the mantle over the next few years, but any of these sprinters could find themselves in the mix to establish sprint supremacy.

Ten minutes until Bolt bows out

As if anyone needed reminding, here’s a quick look at the life and career of the fastest man in history.

Silver for GB

Brilliant stuff from Asher-Smith et al to secure Britain’s third medal of these championships. 


You can follow the 4x100m women’s relay right here, where Britain are in with a medal chance. 

After that, it’s Bolt time…

Bolt arriving

#Boltdown is undoubtedly one of the worst hashtags going but that countdown clock is helpful. He’s in the stadium.

Credit: BBC

Looking back on 2012

Of course the last time Jamaica ran a Men’s 4x100m final in this London stadium, this happened.

Under an hour to go…


21:50 UK time is when you need to be in front of a screen somewhere, as Bolt alongside teammates Omar McLeod, Julian Forte and Yohan Blake, with Bolt naturally running the final leg.


Countdown to Bolt’s final farewell

What is it?

It’s the 4x100m relay at the London 2017 World Championships. It will also be Usain Bolt‘s last race.

When is it?

It’s on Saturday August 12 – ie today!

What time will it start?

The men’s 4x100m final is due to begin at 9.50pm.

What TV channel is it on?

It will be on BBC One. Coverage of the evening session begins at 18.30, ending at 22.10 to take in the men’s relay. 

‘No regrets’ for Usain Bolt after 100m final




What is the latest news?

Usain Bolt started the final countdown to his retirement by guiding Jamaica through to the 4x100m relay final this morning.

The eight-time Olympic champion anchored the squad to victory in the second heat.

Jamaica finished in 37.95 seconds – slower than Great Britain and the USA from the first heat – but will be expected to challenge for the podium in tonight’s final – Bolt’s last race of his career.

Great Britain – with Danny Talbot, Adam Gemili, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and CJ Ujah – qualified second behind the USA in 37.76secs in the first heat with Talbot hunting a medal.

“Definitely, that’s what we focus on, that’s what we want to do. It’s a great time to do it in front of a home crowd so hopefully we can do it this evening,” he told the crowd during a trackside interview.

The women’s squad of Dina Asher-Smith, Asha Philip, Desiree Henry and Daryll Neita qualified in a season’s best of 41.93 seconds by finishing second, also behind the USA.

Philip said: “We definitely embraced the opportunity. None of us competed here in 2012 so to have this crowd is breathtaking. They really carry you around over every changeover.”

What are they saying?

Usain Bolt

“For me it’s hard to be sad because of the energy I am getting from the crowd, I just feel happy and blessed.

“It’s been brilliant, the energy in the stadium is outstanding. I knew it was going to be like this, I appreciate you guys coming out and supporting not just me but the whole World Championships.”

What’s our prediction?

Jamaica won gold in Rio last summer and it’s difficult not to back Bolt to bow out on a high in London this time around.


Posted in International Sports, Local, News, Regional, Regional Sports, Sports0 Comments


How do we deal with “Cocobeh”- tainted big frogs in our region’s small ponds?

Contribution – Part 19/2017



The Caribbean’s tainted leadership challenge

 BRADES, Montserrat, July 13, 2017 – One of the old-time Caribbean superstitions is the one about how “frogs” (especially toads) carry “Cocobeh,” leprosy. Many an innocent frog has paid with its life for this myth. And even that crime against ecology is part of how useful “the Cocobeh model” is for understanding and solving the region’s tainted leadership challenge. For our governments, for our businesses, for education, media, even churches, regional/international bodies and sports.

Too many leaders in our region and far beyond seem to be part of a toxic leadership culture of being big frogs in a dirty, tainted pond. They have Cocobeh, they spread it to the pond, they infect those who work with them, they even use it as a weapon, spitting it on those who challenge them. So, Cocobeh is too often deeply embedded in our regional leadership culture. That is, a toxic brew of corruption, deceit, selfish ambition, envy, greed and too often critical gaps in character and capability that predictably turn promising projects into damaging failures. Under these circumstances, just getting into or living near the pond is a hazard, much less having to deal with infected leadership at close hand day by day.

This is a tough challenge, but it is hardly a new one. Nor is it unique to our region. Indeed, our region’s most common history book has in it a key case study from 3,000 years ago. Namely, the transition between the Saul and the David generations. Saul started well, but became tainted and was troubled with depression, jealousy and more. David first came into his life as a young talented musician who could help calm his troubled spirit. Then, one day the lad killed a giant, stirring jealousy as Saul heard the people praise David for a feat he had been too demoralised and tainted to attempt. So, even though David was now his youngest General, son-in-law and even head of his bodyguard, in his fits of rage and envy Saul began to throw javelins at him and to scheme against him. Ironically, the Crown Prince (Jonathan) Saul wanted to promote became David’s close friend and mentor. Eventually, David had to flee for his life, ending up at the cave of Adullam. Then, we read how:

1 Sam 22:2 “ . . . everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to [David]. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.”  [ESV]

This seemingly unpromising group became David’s mighty men and the core of the greatest generation of leadership in Israel’s history. They stood with him through thick and thin, even when he had to flee to exile among his enemies. And when Saul and his sons fell in battle at Mount Gilboa in the Jezreel region, they were joined by six hundred Philistines when David first returned to Hebron. (These, brought with them the key breakthrough technology of that day: Iron-making.)

The pattern is clear enough: in and around a tainted pond, genuine breakthrough leadership will always be under attack by javelin throwers and will be spied on and schemed against. Such alternative leaders therefore need to have support teams with a critical mass of capability, and opportunity to grow. Key technologies may be a big part of their secret sauce. They may need to go into exile to come into their full potential. They may need to bring in outside expertise. And, they will need to be purified from the taint of the dirty pond.

Big frogs will know this and they will fight dirty to protect their turf. They will try to lock out promising young people they don’t favour. The tempting offer of tainted funding or the tainted “compromise solution” or the dangerous “promotion” are obvious tricks. They will create false but persuasive stories. They will try to stir up scandals and will try to put up street theatre stunts, all to be barked up loudly far and wide by their media wolf-packs. They will throw javelins – whether rhetorical or real. They will drive out those they promoted but cannot compromise, capture and control. They will hunt them down after they have fled, driving them into exile. They will find every excuse to undermine and discredit expertise that is not under their tainted control. Lastly, it may take devastating failure, defeat and a long, confused leadership struggle before a David generation can come into its own. All of which seems all too sadly familiar.

So, we need to learn how to tell the difference between the Saul Generation trying to capture the future and an emerging David generation. The track record that shows Cocobeh-taint is a main clue. Character shown by diligent stewardship is a key test, as he who is untrustworthy with what is little will also be untrustworthy with what is much. Jealousy and dirty favouritism games will also speak. So will a track record of tainted projects. As will bad attitude towards truth, fairness, the right, the just. All across our region, it is time to move beyond the tainted culture of a dirty small pond.

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Montserrat to send delegation to CARIFESTA 2017

Montserrat to send delegation to CARIFESTA 2017

Kenneth ‘Rabo’ Silcott

A delegation of seven Montserratians is set to travel to Barbados for the 13th edition of CARIFESTA, to be held from August 17 to the 27. CARIFESTA, the Caribbean Festival of the Arts, is a celebratory display of the diverse Caribbean art forms.

According to the Montserrat Arts Council (MAC), Montserrat has not been represented at CARIFESTA since CARIFESTA X, hosted by Guyana in 2008. The Emerald Community Singers and the late Mr Reuben Furlonge (known for his Goat Water) represented us at CARIFESTA X. After our long absence, it is refreshing to hear that the MAC is reinstating our presence at these sorts of regional gatherings.

The Director of the MAC stressed the importance of our presence,” While the contingent is not what I personally wanted, I am grateful that we at least have a presence in the Grand Market where the rest of the Caribbean will see that Montserrat is still here. It is also refreshing that we are contributing to the Festival by including visual and literary arts at such a level. It is imperative that we attend regional events not only to take part as performers, etc. but also to see what’s going on as so to gage regional trends. What this does is inform us as to what our position is in the creative industries.”

A publication released July 13, 2017 from the MAC entitled, “MONTSERRAT DELEGATION TO ATTEND CARIFESTA XIII”,  informs the public that at the festival Montserrat, “ will have a booth in the Grand Market  while Mr. Edgar White, one of the Caribbean’s most respected creatives in the field of Creative Writing, will also host a Literary Workshop as well as take part in readings and panel discussions surrounding Literature, etc.

 The delegation comprises artist Mr. Kelvin ‘Tabu’ Duberry, local Entrepreneur Mrs. Christobel Daniel, author and playwright Mr. Edgar Nkosi White, Tourism Representatives Mrs. Rosetta West-Gerald and Ms. Cherise Aymer, and Head of Planning & Production at Montserrat Arts Council, Mr. Kenneth Silcott. Director of the Montserrat Arts Council (MAC), Mr Chad Cumberbatch is the head of our delegation.

Silcott will be lending support to the Junior Calypso Monarch as well as gaining insight as to the staging of this show, as Montserrat is being considered to host it in 2018. He will also use this to gain insight into Festival staging trends. The delegation leaves for Barbados on August 17.”





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Henry Mungalsingh

Trinidadian climbs Europe’s highest mountain to raise funds to assist women

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Aug. 10, CMC  – Henry Mungalsingh, a Trinidadian who lives in the UK, reached the peak of Europe’s highest mountain on Wednesday as he sought to fulfill his pledge to raise funds for a women’s home in the twin island republic.

Henry MungalsinghOn Wednesday morning, Henry raised the Trinidad and Tobago flag on the summit of the highest mountain in Europe, Mount Elbrus, at 18,500 feet.

With this accomplishment, Mungalsingh was able to raise TT$18,500 towards finishing the Elpis Centre’s Emergency Transitional Home for Vulnerable Pregnant Women in Trinidad.

The group ‘Project Halo’ posted the news on Thursday saying they were able to raise TT$25,500 from a lot of generous donors, both nationals and foreigners.

Mungalsingh, and his wife, Bi­anca, are the faces behind Project HALO, an NGO group whose focus is to assist with challenges faced by women.

HALO stands for Home for An­gels and Little Ones.

Mungalsingh first climbed for a cause in 2015 when he ascended Monte Rosa in Switzerland, climb­ing to 14,970 feet to raise money to provide a home for the vulner­able and marginalised families in Trinidad.

In 2015, Project HALO eventually raised TT$5,544 towards the home in 2015.

Mere hours before reaching the summit, gave an update of his progress.

“I just want to thank everyone who has contributed and given so generously….” said Mungalsingh as he approached the summit.

He said his mission is not just to climb mountains, but to plant the Trinidad and Tobago flag at the top of the highest peaks in the world.

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Photo of drug field at Dick Hill

RMPS with Mounts Bay aid destroy drug fields

RMPS with Mounts Bay discovery, but premature revelation destroy marijuana fields

Photo of drug field at Dick Hill

RFA Mounts Bay

There have been at least two occasions as recent as May this year the Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS) reported hauls of, and convictions for possession of cannabis sativa (marijuana) in different locations of Montserrat.


Prior to that and since they RMPS has been involved in the destruction of fields of marijuana plants also in various locations on the Island. Often these fields have been sought out by helicopter from visiting UK RFA navy ships.

Often reports of these activities come after the police have carried out surveillance in an attempt at discovering who the owners are of the productions, even after the ships’ captain had revealed their find to the relevant officials and the press on island.

Mounts Bay helicopter

But over the past weekend following the visit of the RFA Mounts Bay between August 7-10, a reconnaissance mission by a Wildcat (helicopter) crew during the visit of the Naval support ship, carried out over the tiny island, found nine suspected illegal drugs plantations on the island. Such reconnaissance have taken place before with finds in other areas such as duck pond and other areas on the unoccupied eastern side of the island.

C O, Captain Chris Clarke

The Watch British Forces News reported this news on the Forces Network on August 8.

This particular plantation was situated near Dick Hill in the still-inhabited part of the island, and will now be destroyed by the authorities.

However the news of this wildcat went virtually viral to the ire of the RMPS whose acting commissioner, Deputy Charles Thompson said, “mind I was rather surprised that this information was released.”

Thompson said the untimely publication of the discovery by the RFA Mounts Bay seriously compromised their efforts.

“…it meant that as a police service we would have had to change some of our previous plans that we would have to deal with these cultivations,” he said, commenting that this is in terms of what would have transpired since that.

He reported today, that “a number of our officers were able to go into some of the areas and they were able to uproot a total of 971 plants, many of which were several feet tall,” adding specifically that, “from the posting of RFA Mounts Bay story, there was a picture of a cultivation,” which he said, “was one of the cultivations that we would have uprooted today.”

Deputy Commissioner of Police Charles Thompson

The Ag. Commissioner said: “I think the fact that information was released into the public domain rather prematurely, placed a significant amount of risks not only to the police officers who are going out there to address these illegal activities…” But he added that the RMPS will take measures to avoid a recurrence, considering that communication is, “mainly done through the Governor’s Office with the RFA Mounts.”

“Clearly there has to be some discussions with the Office of the Governor because it is through that channel,” Thomson said, noting, “information would have already been communicated to the appropriate persons so that they see that we are seeking that no further reoccurrence of this takes place.”

On Labour Day, May 1, 2017 during the annual clean up exercise a total of 52 marijuana plants were discovered in the Davy Hill district. The plants were approximately 7’’ inches tall. No one was arrested in connection of the findings.

This caused Acting Commissioner Charles Thompson to encourage other members of the public to step forward and continue to provide officers with information, “as together we can make a difference.” The said plants recovered were to be destroyed in the presence of a Magistrate at a later date.

Following that, on May 10, 2017Acting Commissioner Charles Thompson has confirmed that RMPS officers recorded another successful drug eradication mountain patrol in the Barzeys area. Officers uprooted two fields – first consisting of 1125 Marijuana plants ranging from a few inches to as tall as seven feet; while the second field produced 314 plants.

The RMPS commended the effort because the Community and the Police by identifying criminal activities and seeking the assistance of the Police Department in addressing criminal activities. This time the said plants were destroyed on site due to the terrain.

During the previous visit of an RFA navy ship, the captain had made a similar reporting of sites of cultivated fields in Centre Hills which the police had eventually destroyed.

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Sandals Resorts says it will vigorously defend its good name

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica, Aug 11, CMC – Sandals Resorts International (SRI) says it reserves the right to initiate all legal options, including suing for slander and libel to protect its good name as the war of words continues with the Antigua and Barbuda government.

In a statement, SRI said “our main concern is the impact this is having on our 700 team members and their families…and many of whom have been a part of the Sandals family since inception”.

The row between the Gaston Brown government and SRI began last year when the two were engaged in a public exchange over Sandals’ retention of sales tax income under what St. John’s called “an unlawful agreement”.

Sandals collects an Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST) from its customers and, according to Prime Minister Browne, keeps 65 per cent of the yields.

SandalsThe government is trying to change this but Sandals chairman, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, is claiming it means the rescinding of a concession agreement with the hotel chain.

The agreement was signed in 2009 with the now opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) administration. However, Browne’s administration made it clear to SRI about its unwillingness to continue with the arrangement. The hotel claimed that this was a blatant breach of the agreement and called on the Antiguan government to revisit its decision.

On July 14, Sandals informed the Antigua government that it would close the 380-room Sandals Grand hotel for three months from September 20 to December 17 for essential maintenance work.

But Browne claimed that SRI’s decision to close the hotel was sabotage and an “act of hostility” designed to win tax concessions from the government.

“Some people might say they (Sandals) have four properties and can hold you accountable. I look at it from the perspective that Sandals has a substantive amount of its overall global inventory in St. Lucia. So I think the likelihood of them doing something similar in Antigua — I’m not so sure that’s possible,” he said.

In the statement issued Thursday, SRI said that it has 22 hotels in eight different territories throughout the Caribbean, and in 35 years of doing business with numerous governments “we have always operated at the highest standards and in the most ethical and transparent manner.

“As an upstanding and conscientious corporate citizen, we have always sought to work in harmony with the various stakeholders. Therefore, we are appalled at the unwarranted and vicious attack that has been launched against the company and its Chairman by Prime Minister Gaston Browne and his Government, after plans to upgrade the resort in Antigua and Barbuda were revealed — news that should have been cause for celebration for any investor-savvy administration as it will be beneficial to both the country as well as the resort staff and their families.”.

SRI said that it is no stranger to Antigua and Barbuda nor its people having “panted our flag here over a quarter of a century ago when we took over a floundering 99-room hotel …and over the years transformed it into a world-class, five-star resort and conference centre.

The SRI has also defended its decision to close down the hotel to carry out renovations and dismissed suggestions that the move was aimed at getting back at the government as a result of the present disagreement between them.

“If the Prime Minister and his government are indeed genuinely concerned about the people working here in Antigua then cease the unnecessary threats, posturing and false accusations and let’s work together to ensure that the maintenance work, which we have agreed to reduce from five months to three months, takes place as quickly and with as little disruption as possible.

“Sandals never has and never will be intimidated. It is not in the nature of our company, nor the nearly 15,000 proud team members who make up the Sandals family in Antigua and Barbuda and globally, and who continue to make our company the most sought after product on the planet. Indeed it will not be long before a number of new countries soon welcome the Sandals brand as well.”.

Earlier this week, the Antigua and Barbuda parliament approved an amendment to the Investment Authority Bill making it mandatory for large hotels to give notice of their intention to close.

The debate came on the heels of the announcement by SRI that it was closing for three months to carry out renovations and the government said that the legislation is intended to provide protection to employees within the hotel sector.

The government said that all stakeholders, including trade unions, should have at least two months’ notice of the closure of these hotels for renovations and that they run the risk of losing concessions granted to them.

Leader of Government Business Lennox Weston told legislators the bill simply codifies good business practices.

“We are codifying in law to make sure that all actors know that in the hotel industry if you have roughly a 100 rooms or more and you intend to close for two or more months, you should notify all parties.

“You couldn’t find something as non-contentious as that. I mean it is really good business practice,’ he added.

However, Opposition Leader and former finance minister, Harold Lovell, disagreed, saying the amendment “is really designed to use state power as a tool for intimidation.

“It is bad for the economy of Antigua and Barbuda, it will kill further investment, not only local investors but foreign investors,” he added.

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