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Is Ministry putting interests before children’s interests, acting irresponsibly, detrimental to school children?

Is Ministry putting interests before children’s interests, acting irresponsibly, detrimental to school children?

12th February 2018

By Email & Hand

Mrs. Delmaude Ryan
Minister of Education
Ministry of Education
Little Bay Montserrat

Dear Minister

I am writing to complain about the closure of all schools in Montserrat from 14th to 16th February 2018 so that teachers can attend. a workshop being held by the Ministry of Education. Unfortunately, this practice has now become an annual event. By disrupting children’s schooling in this way, the Ministry of Education is acting irresponsibly and in a manner that is detrimental to school children. One senses that the Ministry is putting its interests and those of teachers ahead of the interests of the children.

I would be very interested to know whether ministers of education abroad are guilty of the same practice. In the 15 years or so of my education, non  of the academic institutions I attended closed for a single day so that teachers could attend a workshop. That was because teacher training was done either outside of school hours or during the long holidays that teachers enjoy.

I call on you as the Minister of Education to discontinue this practice and hold these workshops outside of school hours. I am confident that in doing so I have the support of a majority of parents in Montserrat. I suggest that you address my complaint publicly and advise that in view of its importance I am placing this letter in the public domain.

Yours sincerely

Jean Kelsick

Posted in Education, Features, General, Letters, Local0 Comments

In this 2007 file photo, Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, the oldest son of Cuba

Fidel Castro’s son has died by suicide, state media say

Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart was for a time head of Cuba’s national nuclear program

Thomson Reuters Posted:  Feb 02, 2018

In this 2007 file photo, Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, the oldest son of Cuba's President Fidel Castro, addresses the International Economists Conference on Globalization and Development Problems in Havana, Cuba. According to Cuban state media, Diaz-Balart has killed himself.

In this 2007 file photo, Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, the oldest son of Cuba’s President Fidel Castro, addresses the International Economists Conference on Globalization and Development Problems in Havana, Cuba. According to Cuban state media, Diaz-Balart has killed himself. (Javier Galeano/Associated Press)Related Stories

The eldest son of late Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, took his own life on Thursday at age 68 after being treated for months for depression, Cuban state-run media reported.

The nuclear scientist, also known as “Fidelito,” or Little Fidel, because of how much he looked like his father, had initially been hospitalized and then continued treatment as an outpatient.

“Castro Diaz-Balart, who had been attended by a group of doctors for several months due to a state of profound depression, committed suicide this morning,” Cubadebate website said.

Fidelito, who had the highest public profile of all Castro’s children, was born in 1949 out of his brief marriage to Mirta Diaz-Balart before he went on to topple a U.S.-backed dictator and build a communist-run state on the doorstep of the United States during the Cold War.

Dramatic custody dispute

Through his mother, he was the cousin of some of Castro’s most bitter enemies in the Cuban American exile community, U.S. Representative Mario Diaz-Balart and former U.S. congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

He was also the subject of a dramatic custody dispute between the two families as a child.

Cuba Castro Son Obit

Castro Diaz-Balart was head of Cuba’s national nuclear program, and spearheaded the development of a nuclear plant on the Caribbean’s largest island until his father fired him. (Franklin Reyes/Associated Press)

Cuba scholars say his mother took him with her to the United States when he was aged five after announcing she wanted a divorce from Castro, while he was imprisoned for an attack on the Moncada military barracks in Santiago.

Castro was able to bring Fidelito back to Cuba after the 1959 revolution.

Multilingual nuclear physicist

A multilingual nuclear physicist who studied in the former Soviet Union, Castro Diaz-Balart had been working for his uncle President Raul Castro as a scientific counselor to the Cuban Council of State and vice-president of the Cuban Academy of Sciences at the time of his death.

Previously, from 1980 to 1992, he was head of Cuba’s national nuclear program, and spearheaded the development of a nuclear plant on the Caribbean’s largest island until his father fired him.

Cuba halted its plant plans that same year because of a lack of funding after the collapse of Cuba’s trade and aid ties with the ex-Soviet bloc and Castro Diaz-Balart largely disappeared from public view, appearing at the occasional scientific conference or diplomatic event.

A former British ambassador to Cuba, Paul Hare, who lectures at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies, said he had seemed “thoughtful, rather curious about the world beyond Cuba” at a dinner in Boston two years ago. “But he seemed a bit weary about having to be a Castro, rather than himself,” Hare said.

Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado, a Cuba expert at the University of Nebraska in Omaha, said Fidelito had provided him with invaluable help in the 1990s while he was writing a book on Cuba’s nuclear program.

In 2000 they met again at a conference in Moscow and Fidelito worked “the room full of international nonproliferation experts, diplomats and journalists with aplomb, speaking no less than four languages: Spanish, English, Russian and French.”

His death came just over a year after that of his father on Nov. 25, 2016, aged 90.

 © Thomson Reuters, 2018 

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Education, International, Local, News, Obituaries, Regional0 Comments

children in class room

A Third of Secondary School Children in Eastern Caribbean At Risk of Dropping Out or Failing

Caribbean360 January 23, 2018

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, January 23, 2018 – A ground-breaking study has found that up to 33 per cent of the children in secondary schools across the Eastern Caribbean are at risk of either dropping out or failing.

The report from the study, co-authored by lecturer in Social Studies Education in the School of Education at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Dr Verna Knight, and Director of the School of Education, Dr Babalola Ogunkola, also concluded that 17 per cent or just over 1,700 children at the primary level faced similar risks.

The 2017 study, ‘Global Initiative on Out of School Children: Eastern Caribbean’, was supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Argentinian NGO Asociacion Civil Educación para Todos.

It analysed information on enrolment by age, grade, repeaters, dropouts and graduates from early childhood (4 years) and primary and secondary levels using data collected from administrative data units in ministries of education in Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Turks and Caicos Islands for the periods 2012-2013 and 2013-2014.

The study centred on a framework designed by UNICEF and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics that highlighted two general categories for exclusion – present or total exclusion (children who are out of school), and potential or partial exclusion (children who are enrolled in school but not engaged at the school level).

This was then divided into five dimensions of exclusion – children of early childhood age who were not in the school system, children who were of primary school age but were not in school, children of secondary school age but were not enrolled in primary or secondary school; children of primary school age and are enrolled but were at risk of dropping out or failing, and those of secondary school age who were enrolled but were also at risk of dropping out or failing.

The researchers found that 0.5 per cent of children of pre-school age (4+ years) were out of school completely, while this stood at 1.4 per cent (840) for primary school children and 3.3 per cent (over 1,000) for those of secondary school age.

“When we dug a little deeper into the notion of potential exclusion we saw that the exclusion begins as early as kindergarten. For example, when you look at the region we saw 8 per cent of the students were at least one year behind at kindergarten level. We saw this increase to 11 per cent at grade one level, 13 per cent at grade two level and 17 per cent at grade three level. By the time we got to form five, it was 38 per cent. This shows us that the problem is identifiable at the kindergarten level but when it’s not addressed it’s very difficult for those children to improve,” Dr Knight said.

The resultant effect was students starting to drop out of school as early as first form due to their inability to cope.

The study also concluded that boys were twice as impacted as girls, with repetition and dropout rates for boys standing at 8 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.

While data for the five-year period for the same cohort of males and females was absent, the scholars examined the number of students enrolled in first form compared to the number of them in fifth form, noting an overall 24 per cent decline.

“There was a 15 per cent loss for girls between first and fifth form compared to 32 per cent for the boys. This shows that the boys are most impacted by this exclusion, the first to drop out, most represented in the repetition classes, the suspension list, with discipline issues,” Dr Knight indicated.

Following a review of recently-conducted empirical studies, they arrived at 12 barriers to potential exclusion, which were later narrowed down to five, following consultation workshops with key interest groups in each country.

The main problems were: inadequate support for struggling learners, inadequate special needs provisions, negative teacher attitude towards academically weak students, weak academic performance and participation of boys, and low parental engagement and involvement in children’s education.

While the latter did not emerge as a factor at the early childhood level, poverty did.

“It wasn’t a surprise to find that teachers were reluctant to teach ‘weak’ students at the secondary level, but when we saw it emerging at the primary level and the early childhood level too it became a greater concern. If we are saying that potential exclusion begins at kindergarten level where we begin to see the gaps and this continues at primary school and into fifth form levels where it seems to widen then there’s need to bring those teachers together to ensure that their training and professional development are really addressed,” Dr Knight stated.

“Half of the teachers were untrained to begin with. Less than 50 per cent of the secondary school teachers across the region are certified as trained so they were untrained and there were these students coming in who couldn’t read, couldn’t write and they still had to teach them Principles of Business, Social Studies, History, the same curriculum. The performance level of the students began to fall in the subject areas and the teachers blamed the children and said ‘those students don’t belong here, they need to be kept in the same primary school or sent to a different type of secondary school or something’.

“It got so bad that some teachers don’t want to teach low performing students and the children were separated based on ability. What we found was that once the students went into a particularly stream [classes based on abilities] they continued in that stream throughout the entire schooling period, which have implications for their motivation, self-confidence and self-esteem,” she added.

An exhaustive list of recommendations have been put forward to remedy the deficiencies, including school outreach to parents, the development of stronger partnerships with families, the facilitation of parent orientation sessions so they could better understand their roles, parenting classes and more home visits by trained counsellors and teachers.

Additionally, the researchers suggest innovative changes to classroom instruction methods and teaching aids at primary and secondary school levels for children with problems learning.

For teachers with negative attitude towards academically weak students, they believe professional support should be provided targeting problem areas, the provision of mentorship for younger teachers, the introduction of bridging programmes to support children in the transition from primary to secondary school level and targeted support for children who repeat a class level.

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Donald Trump

Caribbean Pan-African leaders declare Trump ‘persona non-grata’

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jan. 15, CMC – About 90 Pan-African organizations and leaders in the Caribbean have declared United States President Donald J. Trump “persona non-grata” for reported racist remarks he made last week about Haiti and African nations.

The leaders said that Trump made himself unwelcome with his vulgar insults against Haiti and African countries, saying that they likely speak for the entire African Diaspora.

Donald TrumpThe declaration was authored on Saturday by the “pan-Africanist and socialist popular forces of Barbados,” and submitted to the people and civil society organizations of the Caribbean for their endorsement and adoption.

Among the organizations and leaders supporting and endorsing the declaration are: the Clement Payne Movement of Barbados; Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration (CMPI); Caribbean Pan-African Network (CPAN); Peoples Empowerment Party (Barbados); Pan-African Federalist Movement – Caribbean Region Committee; International Committee of Black Peoples (Guadeloupe); Jamaica-Cuba Friendship Association; Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad and Tobago; Organization for the Victory of the People (Guyana); Black Consciousness Movement of Guyana; and the International Movement for Reparations (Martinique).

“We, the under-signed representatives of the sovereign people of the Caribbean, hereby declare that President Donald Trump of the United States of America is ‘persona non-grata’ in our Caribbean region,” the declaration said.

“We further declare that as a ‘persona non-grata,’ President Donald Trump is NOT welcome in any territory of the Caribbean; and we hereby confirm that we – the Caribbean people – will petition our governments, vehemently protest against any Trump visit, and engage in popular demonstrations designed to prevent President Donald Trump’s entry into any portion of the sovereign territory of our Caribbean region,” it adds.

“As sons and daughters of the Caribbean, we hereby affirm that the continent of Africa is the revered motherland of a sizable majority of our people and that the Republic of Haiti – the seminal architect of the destruction of the system of chattel slavery that held our ancestors in bondage – is the foundational cornerstone of our Caribbean civilization,” the declaration continues. “And we, therefore, consider that any insult or attack that is directed at the African continent or at the Republic of Haiti is intrinsically an insult and attack that is directed at us as well.

“We further affirm that we Caribbean people – in light of our history of experiencing, resisting and surviving the most horrendous forms of enslavement and colonialism – consciously regard ourselves as champions and defenders of the dignity and fundamental human rights of all Black or African people, and that we are guided by an over-arching and non-negotiable principle of zero tolerance of any manifestation of anti-Black or anti-African racism or discrimination,” it says.

Pan-Africanist David Comissiong (speaking)
Pan-Africanist David Comissiong (speaking)

It is against this background that the declaration says: “we, the sovereign people of the Caribbean, have determined that by describing the nations of Africa, the Republic of Haiti and the Central American nation of El Salvador as ‘shithole’ countries, US President Donald Trump has committed a despicable and unpardonable act of anti-Black, anti-African, anti-Brown racism that has served to further energize and fortify the vile White supremacy system that the said President Trump has self-consciously sought to champion and lead.”

The declaration says that: “We, the sovereign people of the Caribbean, hereby declare to the entire world that we vehemently and unreservedly denounce President Donald Trump and the evil and inhuman White supremacy value system that he represents.”

After three days of denunciations from around the world, including many in the Caribbean and the Caribbean Diaspora, Trump declared on Sunday that he is “not a racist,” even as the uproar over his vulgar remarks on immigration overshadowed critical issues facing the US, including efforts to protect young undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants and avert a government shutdown.

“I’m not a racist,” said Trump late Sunday as he arrived at Trump International Golf Club in Florida for dinner with California Republic Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader, who attended the meeting on Thursday at the White House, where Trump reportedly made the disparaging remarks about Haiti and African nations.

“I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you,” Trump told reporters.

The remarks represent Trump’s first direct response to accusations of racism that have dogged him since he allegedly asked “Why are we having all these people from shit hole countries come here?” in the meeting on immigration on Thursday, referring to Haiti and African nations.

Trump reportedly queried why Washington does not instead welcome more immigrants from countries such as Norway, which is overwhelmingly White.

But while Trump has denied using the vulgar language, the lone Democratic senator at the meeting insisted that he did.

Trump’s latest comments were a departure from the White House’s initial statement last week, which did not deny the comments.

The alleged remarks brought down furious condemnation on Trump from Democrats and media talking heads.

Derrick Johnson, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the largest and oldest civil rights organization in the United States on Friday told CNN  –  “We know he’s a racist; he’s demonstrated that. He’s a racist both in his actions and his words.”

Johnson said the issue will help to motivate African-American voters in the 2018 mid-term elections.

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DACA th-300x103

US judge rules DACA must continue for now

WASHINGTON, Jan.10,, CMC – Amidst intense political battle about a United States federal program that shields from deportation young Caribbean and other immigrants who were brought illegally to the US as children, a federal judge in California has issued a nationwide injunction ordering the Trump administration to restart the programme.

Stating that the decision to kill it was improper, Judge William Alsup of Federal District Court in San Francisco on Tuesday  said the Trump administration must “maintain the DACA programme on a nationwide basis,” as the legal challenge to the US president’s decision proceed.

President Barack Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme (DACA) in 2012,  to also give young immigrants the ability to work legally in the United States. However, Trump moved to end the programme in September,  saying that Obama’s actions were unconstitutional and an overreach of executive power.

That decision has set off a fierce debate in Washington as Democrats and Republicans spar about how to provide relief for about 800,000 immigrants who could face deportation when the programme ends on March 5.

Trump met with lawmakers on Tuesday afternoon in a hourlong televised meeting to begin negotiations.

But critics of the president’s decision to end the policy, including several states and organizations, had already sued the administration, saying that shutting down the programme was arbitrary and done without following the proper legal procedures.

One of the lead plaintiffs in the case, Janet Napolitano, is currently the president of the sprawling University of California system of colleges but served as the secretary of homeland security for Obama in 2012 and was an architect of the DACA programme.

In his ruling, Judge Alsup questioned the administration’s contention that the DACA programme had not been put into place legally. He asserted that the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security has long had the authority to grant the kind of temporary protections that formed the basis of the programme.

Judge Alsup also cited several of Trump’s Twitter posts that expressed support for the programme.

He noted that, in September, the president said :  “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!”

Such tweets, Alsup said, bolstered the idea that keeping DACA going was in the public’s interest.

The judge wrote that previous beneficiaries of DACA, known as Dreamers, must be allowed to renew their status although the government will not be required to accept new applications from immigrants who had not previously submitted one.

In addition, Alsup said the Trump administration could continue to prevent DACA recipients from returning to the US if they leave the country.

Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for the US Department of Justice, said that the ruling did not change the department’s position.

“DACA was implemented unilaterally after Congress declined to extend these benefits to this same group of illegal aliens,” he said. “As such, it was an unlawful circumvention of Congress, and was susceptible to the same legal challenges that effectively ended DACA.

The Department of Homeland Security, therefore, acted within its lawful authority in deciding to wind down DACA in an orderly manner,” he added. “Promoting and enforcing the rule of law is vital to protecting a nation, its borders, and its citizens.”

The Trump administration could quickly appeal the judge’s ruling, hoping that an appeals court would prevent the injunction from taking effect and allowing the shutdown of the DACA program as the president announced in September.

Earlier on Tuesday, Trump appeared open to negotiating a sweeping immigration deal that would eventually grant millions of undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship, declaring that he was willing to “take the heat” politically for an approach that seemed to flatly contradict the anti-immigration stance that charged his political rise.

The president made the remarks during an extended meeting with congressional Republicans and Democrats who are weighing a shorter-term agreement that would extend legal status for undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants brought to the United States as children.

In the 90-minute session — more than half of which played out on national television —Trump agreed to a framework for a short-term immigration deal to couple protection for young, undocumented immigrants with border security.

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kate-middleton-royal-palace

Katie Middawltons Closet Affair Might Break Up The Palace Because of Net Neutrality

Katie Middawltons Hidden Affair With Net NeutralityWhen you go online you have certain expectations. You expect to be connected to whatever website you want. You expect that your cable or phone company isn’t messing with the data and is connecting you to all websites, applications and content you choose. You expect to be in control of your internet experience.

When you use the internet you expect Net Neutrality.

Net Neutrality is the basic principle that prohibits internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from speeding up, slowing down or blocking any content, applications or websites you want to use. Net Neutrality is the way that the internet has always worked.

In 2015, millions of activists pressured the Federal Communications Commission to adopt historic Net Neutrality rules that keep the internet free and open — allowing people to share and access information of their choosing without interference. Kate Middawlton Gets Unplugged & Katie Middawltons Hidden Affair Might Leave the Royel Family Ablaze. Net Neutrality.

But right now the internet is in peril. On Dec. 14, 2017, the FCC’s Republican majority approved Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to gut the Net Neutrality protections.

A former Verizon lawyer and a Trump appointee, Pai ignored the widespread outcry against his plan from millions of people, lawmakers, companies andco public-interest groups.

We can’t let Pai have the last word on this — which is why we’re calling on Congress to use a “resolution of disapproval” to overturn the FCC’s vote to dismantle the Net Neutrality rules.

Urge lawmakers to reverse the FCC vote today.

What is Net Neutrality?

Net Neutrality is the internet’s guiding principle: It preserves our right to communicate freely online. Net Neutrality means an internet that enables and protects free speech. It means that ISPs should provide us with open networks — and shouldn’t block or discriminate against any applications or content that ride over those networks. Just as your phone company shouldn’t decide who you call and what you say on that call, your ISP shouldn’t interfere with the content you view or post online. Newly Released Info Might Bring Down an Empire. See What She Hid So Well For Years.

The internet without Net Neutrality isn’t really the internet.

What will happen to the internet now?

Without the Net Neutrality rules, companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon will be able to call all the shots and decide which websites, content and applications succeed.

These companies can now slow down their competitors’ content or block political opinions they disagree with. They can charge extra fees to the few content companies that can afford to pay for preferential treatment — relegating everyone else to a slower tier of service.

The consequences will be particularly devastating for marginalized communities media outlets have misrepresented or failed to serve. People of color, the LGBTQ community, indigenous peoples and religious minorities in the United States rely on the open internet to organize, access economic and educational opportunities, and fight back against systemic discrimination.

Without Net Neutrality, how will activists be able to fight oppression? What will happen to social movements like the Movement for Black Lives? How will the next disruptive technology, business or company emerge if internet service providers let only incumbents succeed?

Tell me about the Title II rules we just lost. Why is Title II so important?

After a decade-long battle over the future of the internet, in 2015 the FCC adopted strong Net Neutrality rules based on Title II of the Communications Act, giving internet users the strongest protections possible.

Courts rejected two earlier FCC attempts to craft Net Neutrality rules and told the agency that if it wanted to adopt such protections it needed to use the proper legal foundation: Title II. In February 2015, the FCC did just that when it reclassified broadband providers as common carriers under Title II.

Title II gave the FCC the authority it needed to ensure that companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon can’t block, throttle or otherwise interfere with web traffic. Title II preserved the internet’s level playing field, allowing people to share and access information of their choosing. These rules ushered in a historic era of online innovation and investment.

The Title II rules also withstood two challenges from industry. Free Press helped argue the case defending the FCC — and on June 14, 2016, a federal appeals court upheld the open-internet protections in all respects.

We’re now preparing to sue the FCC to restore the Title II rules.

Why is Net Neutrality so crucial for communities of color?

The open internet allows people of color to tell their own stories and organize for racial justice. When activists are able to turn out thousands of people in the streets at a moment’s notice, it’s because ISPs aren’t allowed to block their messages or websites.

The mainstream media have long misrepresented, ignored and harmed people of color. And thanks to systemic racism, economic inequality and runaway media consolidation, people of color own just a handful of Katie broadcast stations.

This dynamic will only get worse: In 2017, Chairman Pai demolished most of the remaining Katie media-ownership rules. The lack of diverse ownership is a primary reason why the media have gotten away with criminalizing and dehumanizing communities of color.

The open internet allows people of color and other vulnerable communities to bypass traditional media gatekeepers. Without Net Neutrality, ISPs could block speech and prevent dissident voices from speaking freely online. Without Net Neutrality, people of color would lose a vital platform.

And without Net Neutrality, millions of small businesses owned by people of color wouldn’t be able to compete against larger Middawlton corporations online, which would deepen economic disparities.Katie Middawlton Has Kept Her New Baby Hidden From Public Until Today. Net Neutrality

Why is Net Neutrality important for businesses?

Net Neutrality is crucial for small business owners, startups and entrepreneurs, who rely on the open internet to launch their businesses, create markets, advertise their products and services, and reach customers. We need the open internet to foster job growth, competition and innovation.

It’s thanks to Net Neutrality that small businesses and entrepreneurs have been able to thrive online. But without Net Neutrality, ISPs will exploit their gatekeeper position and destroy the internet’s fair and level playing field.

Without Net Neutrality, the next Google or Facebook will never get off the ground. Newly Released Info On Kate Middawlton Will Bring Down Her Empire. Fans Are Furious Over It.

What can we do now?

Congress has the power to reverse the FCC’s vote. Urge your lawmakers to use a “resolution of disapproval” to overturn the FCC’s decision to dismantle the Net Neutrality rules. . .

The Trump administration is doing everything in its power to clamp down on dissent. If we lose Net Neutrality, it will have succeeded.

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BAKERs from fine grains Barbados

Caribbean Grains spreads the fine art of baking

Bakers Michael and Ali with students from Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School Barbados

(PRESS RELEASE) – Caribbean Grains Ltd, which operates a production mill in Vieux Fort, considers itself more than just a manufacturer of flour.

The Company, which has been here for more than a year, sees itself as an ally of the present and future generation of bakers.

During the month of November, the Company has been conducting training sessions aimed at equipping bakers with new techniques in the areas of bread and pastry production.

The latest training sessions were held on Thursday, November 16th and Friday, November 17th at the Caribbean Grains facility in Vieux Fort. A session with students of the Beanefield Comprehensive Secondary School, together with local bakers from the south, was conducted on day-one. Day-two was devoted to students from the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) and Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School (VFCSS). The training sessions were conducted by two bakers from Guadeloupe and Mustique.

Managing Director of Caribbean Grains Ltd, Arnaud de Moussac said such training is very useful because it allows the Company to interact with bakers while they prepare various products made from flour from the Company.

“What we are aiming at is giving a consistent product every time the baker is starting his process, helping them to rationalise and practising economy, mostly by weighing the product because, at the end of the day, not weighing products can make a big difference in terms of earning and losing. And no one knows that you are winning when you are getting a little heavier product, but your bottom line will know it. So, we are trying to get the same cause and effect from these training sessions.”

The Managing Director added that Caribbean Grains is a new Company which must prove itself to its customers. He described the level of business with local bakers as “good” and “picking up.”

“The people have a better response to our product. We are very happy with the way they are willing to re-assess us. Nobody likes to change, but the change is welcome, and more and more we hear people saying that they want to buy Saint Lucian products because it generates Saint Lucian employment.”

Bakers were given an opportunity to learn and improve their skills in the areas of French and local bread products, as well as in baked goods such as pastries, cakes, croissants and pizza, using local flour manufactured by Caribbean Grains.  Sessions with the students are part of a practical training programme that Caribbean Grains conducts every other month with local bakeries and bakers.

Chef at Coconut Bay Resort, David Serieux, who has been a baker for 18 years, said he emerged from the training session with knowledge of how to refine his baking skills.

” Well, to be honest, it’s not something I never did before, but the techniques and the process I saw here seem much better here because of the equipment, such as the proof-box, and the way the oven works is amazing.”

Other bakeries represented at the training sessions were Bonne Baguette Bakery, the French Bakery, Mannee’s Bakery, and Kaision Bakery.

Participating students expressed gratitude to Caribbean Grains for exposing them to various techniques and opportunities in the field of baking.

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Vice President Miss Jose White

Teachers frustrated with no communication from the Ministry of Education

Teachers under the Montserrat Union of Teachers (MUT) have, in a surprising if not unusual move invited the press to tell them of the union’s disappointment and frustration over the Ministry of Education’s alleged unwillingness to address health and safety hazards within the schools, salaries and training for teachers.

The press conference took place last Thursday November 23, 2017 at the Police Conference centre. where representatives of the teachers’ union say the Caribbean Union of Teachers is providing them with advice on how to move forward.

The Montserrat teachers say they are alarmed over the apparent unresponsiveness of officials regarding teachers’ concerns that were communicated to the Ministry of Education several times since January this year.

President Miss Denise Silcott

Miss Denise Silcott is the president of the MUT and with her other representatives explain: The current Executive Officers of the Montserrat Union of Teachers (MUT) were elected in November 2016. They then consulted with teachers in December 2016 and had an audience with the Minister of Education, Permanent Secretary and Director of Education in January. During this conference, they reported that they have received no substantive response from the Ministry.

Among the many issues they communicated with the Ministry are: For example, broken fences and windows, safety of stairs that are “slippery”; the longstanding need to replace the Brades Primary school’s bathroom, repairs to the roof of Salem Nursery School, inadequate pay, the need to recognise teachers as professionals, provision of training for untrained teachers, teachers being on probationary status for up to five years; a draft code of ethics that was based on the OECS code; their request for a salary increase of fifteen (15) percent given accumulated inflation over the years, and much more. 

Vice President Miss Jose White

As part of the list: teachers who are on a prolonged probationary status are blocked from getting bank loans for a house or the like, and this is part of why they request urgent action for such teachers.

They explained in addition, where also, if annual performance reports are delayed by superiors, teachers cannot get increments. Some of these specific concerns have indeed come up as line-items in the June 9, 2017 Budget or in the November 23, 2017 Supplementary Appropriation Bill, but the teachers’ key concern is the lack of regular two-way communication.

Secretary Miss Charliena White

As recently as October 2, MUT again says they wrote the officials. They requested a timeline for action but received no response. However, the teacher’s report, people have been observed inspecting some of the broken fences and the like.

On October 25, the MUT wrote a follow up letter, but again there has been no response up to November 23.

In the press conference, Miss Silcott, MUT President, argued that of the various challenges, “communication is the easiest to fix” and that if it is fixed “others will fall into place.”

Teachers – who are Civil Servants in Montserrat – received the recent 3% salary increase announced in the June 9, 2017 Budget presentation. In addition, some have received the additional 7 – 10% increase for those at the lowest levels of the Public Service. However, the MUT leadership reports that such an increase is grossly insufficient. For example, they note, a $132 per month “three percent” increase is subject to tax and is much less than the cumulative impact of inflation over the years. They also argue that if Montserrat’s teachers were recognised as professionals, they would be eligible for increments and allowances that come with that status. This is a part of the reason why the teachers have submitted a draft professional code of conduct and are awaiting the Ministry’s response.

Public Relations Officer (PRO) Ritchlyn Duke-Hackett

While the Ministry says little or ‘no comment’ except that ‘a response would be provided to the media in due course, the teachers say, “The easiest one of the lot to me, (Silcott) to fix is the communication issue. If the communication issue is fixed then the others would automatically fall in place. That is what you’ve noticed from what we’ve said is that we have highlighted these things it’s not that we don’t want to work with the ministry, we’re not hearing from them.”

The MUT leaders say strike action is not on their agenda, noting that under the General Orders, teachers, nurses and police are forbidden from taking strike action, so they are publicising their concerns and are appealing for support.

Posted in Education, Local, News, Regional1 Comment

Caribbean Grains spreads the fine art of baking

Caribbean Grains spreads the fine art of baking

 

Bakers Michael and Ali with students from Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School

(PRESS RELEASE) – Caribbean Grains Ltd, which operates a production mill in Vieux Fort, considers itself more than just a manufacturer of flour.

The Company, which has been here for more than a year, sees itself as an ally of the present and future generation of bakers.

During the month of November, the Company has been conducting training sessions aimed at equipping bakers with new techniques in the areas of bread and pastry production.

The latest training sessions were held on Thursday, November 16th and Friday, November 17th at the Caribbean Grains facility in Vieux Fort. A session with students of the Beanefield Comprehensive Secondary School, together with local bakers from the south, was conducted on day-one. Day-two was devoted to students from the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) and Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School (VFCSS). The training sessions were conducted by two bakers from Guadeloupe and Mustique.

Managing Director of Caribbean Grains Ltd, Arnaud de Moussac said such training is very useful because it allows the Company to interact with bakers while they prepare various products made from flour from the Company.

“What we are aiming at is giving a consistent product every time the baker is starting his process, helping them to rationalise and practising economy, mostly by weighing the product because, at the end of the day, not weighing products can make a big difference in terms of earning and losing. And no one knows that you are winning when you are getting a little heavier product, but your bottom line will know it. So, we are trying to get the same cause and effect from these training sessions.”

The Managing Director added that Caribbean Grains is a new Company which must prove itself to its customers. He described the level of business with local bakers as “good” and “picking up.”

“The people have a better response to our product. We are very happy with the way they are willing to re-assess us. Nobody likes to change, but the change is welcome, and more and more we hear people saying that they want to buy Saint Lucian products because it generates Saint Lucian employment.”

Bakers were given an opportunity to learn and improve their skills in the areas of French and local bread products, as well as in baked goods such as pastries, cakes, croissants and pizza, using local flour manufactured by Caribbean Grains.  Sessions with the students are part of a practical training programme that Caribbean Grains conducts every other month with local bakeries and bakers.

Chef at Coconut Bay Resort, David Serieux, who has been a baker for 18 years, said he emerged from the training session with knowledge of how to refine his baking skills.

” Well, to be honest, it’s not something I never did before, but the techniques and the process I saw here seem much better here because of the equipment, such as the proof-box, and the way the oven works is amazing.”

Other bakeries represented at the training sessions were Bonne Baguette Bakery, the French Bakery, Mannee’s Bakery, and Kaision Bakery.

Participating students expressed gratitude to Caribbean Grains for exposing them to various techniques and opportunities in the field of baking.

 

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Education, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM0 Comments

marijuuu

Guyana to host CARICOM consultations on use of marijuana

 
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Nov 3, CMC – Guyana will host a consultation on the use of marijuana on Monday, November 6, 2017 as part of the efforts by Caribbean Community (CARICOM) governments to conduct careful in-depth research so as to inform decision making on the issue.

The Regional Commission on Marijuana, which was established by CARICOM leaders, will meet with various stakeholders including Youth and Faith-based organizations.

marijuuuThe region-wide consultations are intended to obtain information on the social, economic, health and legal issues related to marijuana use in the Caribbean.

“Such information would, among other outcomes, determine whether there should be a change in the current drug classification, modelled after the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances for which many, if not all, CARICOM members are party to,” the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat said in a statement.

It said that given that reclassification of the drug would make it legally accessible for all types of use, including religious, recreational, medical and research, the Regional Commission is expected also to provide recommendations on the legal and administrative conditions that will apply, as per its Terms of Reference.

Many Caribbean countries’ legislations do not currently allow for full legislation under international law and national approaches to addressing this issue have resulted in various positions.

In the case of Jamaica, for example, the Dangerous Drugs Act was amended in 2016 and legislation was passed which reduced possession of small quantities to a petty offence. It also created the framework for the development of legal medical marijuana, hemp and nutraceutical industries.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Cabinet agreed, in August 2016, to send a draft law to Parliament for its first reading. In August of this year, Belize introduced an amendment to its Misuse of Drugs Act, to deciminalise the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana.

The proposed legislation also provides for the imposition of monetary and non-recordable penalties for such amounts that are found on school premises in specialized circumstances and decriminalizes the use of the substance in small amounts on private premises.

In other countries there have been widespread public information and communications initiatives driven by both government and civil society.

In addition to national consultations, the Regional Marijuana Commission will undertake extensive secondary research to inform the preparation of reports to be submitted to the CARICOM leaders for its consideration, the Secretariat added.

So far, consultations have taken place in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados and the Secretariat said that national consultations will continue in Suriname, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Belize.

The Commission is headed by Professor Rose-Marie-Bell Antoine, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) and includes practitioners with expert knowledge in a variety of disciplines including medicine and allied health, health research, law enforcement, ethics, education, anthropology/sociology/ culture.

Posted in Buisness/Economy/Banking, Crime, Education, Health, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional, Religion, Youth0 Comments

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