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Montserrat has a Tourism Strategy

Participants at the strategy workshop

Tourism Intelligence International Inc. completed a Tourism Strategy for Montserrat.

Following a comprehensive tour, by the consultants who completed many one on one sessions, facilitated a stakeholders’ workshop in February, they submitted a draft to which comments were sought to be used to create the best path forward for Montserrat Tourism. A strategy was written and approved in early April after a deadline for submission of comments by March 11, 2019.

Here is a brief report of how the workshop in February progressed.

Dr. Auliana Poon

In the course of the February 14, 2019 Montserrat Tourism Strategy Workshop, Dr. Auliana Poon raised the questions, Montserrat’s vision 2050 and Montserrat’s uniqueness. Participants were invited to write on small strips of paper which were then posted on wall charts.

In trying to summarise Montserrat’s uniqueness, participants suggested:

  • Hassle free living
  • Strangers paradise
  • The Montserrat Oriole and Galliwasp
  • The active/living beautiful volcano
  • The volcano experience
  • Buried city
  • Clean, reliable water
  • Nature lovers’ paradise
  • Traditions
  • Safety/negligible or low crime rate
  • Lowest crime rate regionally
  • Dark skies at night for stargasing
  • Our collective experience in our specific environment (thus, history, culture, volcano impact)
  • It is the way the Caribbean used to be
  • Friendly people
  • Close-knit
  • Tradition
  • Peaceful
  • 50 shades of green
  • Pristine
  • Very easygoing lives
  • Getting here is an achievement
  • Tranquil
  • Culture and festival diverse
  • No traffic (issues)
  • Natural spring water
  • Exclusive black sand

The gist of these themes suggests that our key tourism and development assets are tied to our natural and cultural heritage, with particular reference to tranquility, peacefulness, friendliness greenness and the spiciness of a drive-in active volcano experience. At the same time, it was clear that it was a struggle for some participants to see the volcano as a value driver. Perhaps, also, we need to ponder to what extent we suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders, even in the midst of celebrating resilience.

In this context, Dr Poon’s other question on where we hope to be in just thirty-one years’ time, opens up another window on ourselves. In other words, if we now are how the Caribbean used to be, where do we want to go in the next generation?

Participants suggested:

  • Innovative
  • Pristine
  • Vibrant
  • The way the Caribbean used to be
  • Green, tranquil, inclusive and safe
  • Clean, green connected and beautiful
  • Clean, green and self-sustaining
  • Water, black sand, friendly people
  • Alive
  • Sustainable 100%
  • Carbon neutral
  • Crime free
  • Developed
  • Viable
  • Booming
  • Family friendly
  • Connected, green, thriving
  • Dynamic tourism industry
  • Competitively involved
  • Fulfill the National Vision (buoyant, inclusive, prosperous, God-fearing)
  • Wholesome, sustainable
  • Crime-free, God-fearing
  • Sustainably developed
  • Efficient
  • Economically efficient
  • Green, evolving and receptive
  • Highly valued

Here, we may see that there is a desire to keep the best of what we have and to gain self-sustaining prosperity in a green, wholesome, beautiful, God-fearing way.

Now see the completed strategy here:

http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/2019-03-29-Montserrat-Tourism-Strategy-2019-2022.pdf?

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM0 Comments

budget address5

2019 Budget Highlights new era of Transformation


Premier and Minister of Finance Don Romeo

The Hon Donaldson Romeo, Premier and Minister of Finance of Montserrat, for four years and seven months on Wednesday,  May 15, 2019, presented his fifth and largest budget of $202.2 million in a BUDGET SPEECH, under the theme, “A New Era of Transformation: A Platform for Progress”,  during a meeting of the Legislative Assembly at the Montserrat Cultural Centre where he outlined the spending and revenue expectations for this financial year.

No surprise that the budget focused as it did representing the largest sum of moneys over the time of the PDM government, which is represented in a modest increase of nearly 5% over  last year and substantial capital budgeted sums.

It was that capital injection that delayed the budget as the Premier noted when he was moved to address the matter through special interviews with the media.

The Premier stated “this budget which marks a milestone in the long journey to build strong and sustainable foundations for a better Montserrat, and in our development partnership with the UK.  Given the significance of the transformational projects in the budget, we now stand on the threshold of an era of growth and progress towards a robust future.  We have strengthened our governance framework, with financial management systems and controls that improve the trust and confidence in public spending.  In that context, we are now seeing key infrastructure investments and interest by local and international investors that could open up further opportunities for a new Montserrat economy”. 

The Premier highlighted that “the upcoming Little Bay breakwater and berth will bring better tourism and trade opportunities. The upcoming Fibre Optic Cable Project opens up room for a digitally based sector.  The new 250 kiloWatt Solar PV power plant points to a greener energy future.  The new tourism strategy and economic growth strategy lay out a ten-year road-map to take advantage of these opportunities.  That’s why projected growth in our economy for the year ahead is 3.2 – 3.5%.  We are on the way to the growth targets outlined in our economic strategy”.

The Premier continued to discuss the actual sums involved stating “We have moved to a much more credible budget which was critical to implementing the programs you the people have charged us to deliver.  Estimates of recurrent Revenue and Expenditure for 2019/20 provide for a total of $137.77 million dollars. This is a 4.81% increase over the previous year.  On the capital side there is EC$ 64.40 million to finance several key infrastructure projects that will open the doorway for faster, self-sustaining growth of our economy in years to come”.

Go here to find the speech and estimates:

http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Budget-Speech-2019-20.pdf

http://Budget Estimates- http://www.gov.ms/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Budget-Estimates-2019-20.pdf

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Featured, Government Notices, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

William Gelling

John Gordon and Will Gelling directors for OTS to visit Montserrat

William Gelling, Deputy Director, OTS at FCO, UK

John Gordon is the Deputy Director for the OTs and the Caribbean at DFID, along with Will Gelling, Deputy Director for the OTs at the FCO, will visit Montserrat from  Monday, for two days next week during a familiarisation visit to the Caribbean.

While on island, they are expected to meet with Premier and other ministers and senior officials in the Government of Montserrat. They will discuss a fair range of critical issues including disaster resilience and security, transport, environment, health, education and tourism polices and challenges.

They will also meet with key members of the business and political communities.

According to information from the Governor’s office, in between these discussions, both officials will visit the hospital, port and breakwater, airport, Montserrat Secondary School and the Davy Hill and Look Out communities. They will also view the volcanic exclusion zone.

The visit will end with a press briefing at the Governor’s Office in Brades.

Posted in Announcements/Greetings, Business/Economy/Banking, Environment, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

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Sold Into Sex Slavery

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by Mark Bassant and Hema Ramkissoon

May 18 2019

SOLD A LIE

Maria There­sa, a 19-year-old nurs­ing stu­dent from Tu­cu­pi­ta, saw the promise of a new be­gin­ning.

Like oth­er places in Venezuela, the econ­o­my of her small town in the Orinoco Delta had col­lapsed, caus­ing thou­sands of res­i­dents to flee.

Maria saw her chance when a friend told her about peo­ple who could take her to find a bet­ter life in Trinidad.

Some traf­fick­ers, an or­gan­ised net­work of Trinida­di­ans and Venezue­lans, promised Maria and her friends that they would loan them mon­ey for the trip. When they land­ed in Trinidad, the same peo­ple would find them jobs as hair­dressers or house­keep­ers.

So, one night in Jan­u­ary, Maria climbed on­to a pirogue from a hid­den in­let on the Orinoco Riv­er. About six hours lat­er, she land­ed in an area she be­lieved to be Ch­aguara­mas, where she and oth­er pas­sen­gers on the boat were met by a man they didn’t know. From there, they were tak­en to a house oc­cu­pied by oth­er mi­grants.

For three days, Maria and eight oth­er Venezue­lans were crammed in­to a room where day­light bare­ly crept in. Their pass­ports were tak­en from them and they were fed a di­et of Crix and wa­ter. One day, they had no food at all.

It was on­ly then Maria re­alised that the traf­fick­ers had sold her a lie.

On the third day, the door to her room opened and one of her han­dlers told her to get pret­ty; that some vis­i­tors would be ar­riv­ing soon. Maria was con­fused and afraid but did as she was com­mand­ed.

When a strange man came in and leered at her, she un­der­stood her fate.

“They said that we (were) go­ing to be pros­ti­tutes and if we didn’t like it, it didn’t mat­ter, be­cause they brought us here and we had to do it.”

Dressed in a green track suit, Maria gave this de­tailed ac­count from a safe house in Pe­tit Bourg.

“I would have worked in any job be­cause there is noth­ing in Venezuela. There is no op­por­tu­ni­ty. You can’t sur­vive. But not pros­ti­tu­tion,” Maria said, bury­ing her face in her hands.

BONDAGE DEBT PAID WITH SEX

Venezuela’s eco­nom­ic col­lapse has trig­gered an ex­o­dus of some five mil­lion peo­ple from the South Amer­i­can na­tion. By some es­ti­mates, some 60,000 have sought refuge in Trinidad.

A three-month Guardian Me­dia in­ves­ti­ga­tion has re­vealed how hu­man traf­fick­ers have swooped in to prey on Venezue­lan women seek­ing eco­nom­ic sur­vival. These traf­fick­ers have placed hun­dreds of young women in­to mod­ern-day sex slav­ery.

The net­works in­volve an en­tan­gled web of Trinida­di­an and Venezue­lan traf­fick­ers who smug­gle these women, cor­rupt po­lice of­fi­cers who fa­cil­i­tate the trade and pro­tect wrong­do­ers, and im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials who of­ten times take bribes to turn a blind eye to the women’s ex­ploita­tion. Un­der­world Venezue­lan fig­ures with il­lic­it arms and Asian crim­i­nal gangs are of­ten part of the crim­i­nal net­works.

The il­lic­it sex trade seems to span the en­tire coun­try, from the re­mote port of Ce­dros to high-ris­es in West­moor­ings, where sex slaves—some as young as 15 years old—are held against their will, locked in rooms and forced to have sex with men. Some vic­tims are drugged so old­er men can have their way with them.

The traf­fick­ers rou­tine­ly take these women to bars and night­clubs in search of clients. The younger the women, the high­er the price.

For a 30-minute ses­sion, traf­fick­ers charge $300, about the price of a doc­tor’s vis­it. The rates dou­ble to $600 for an hour. For the en­tire night, the traf­fick­er pock­ets $6,000.

The women are giv­en a mere pit­tance to sur­vive. They are forced to work night af­ter night un­til their bondage debt is erased; a debt owed to traf­fick­ers for their pas­sage to this coun­try.

These women are trapped in a cy­cle of debt with no re­lief in sight. And the traf­fick­ers find ways to keep the women en­slaved by adding the cost of food, cloth­ing, shel­ter, med­ical and pro­tec­tion fees to the orig­i­nal fig­ure.

SIX YEARS LAT­ER, NO CON­VIC­TIONS

Since the in­cep­tion of the Counter Traf­fick­ing Unit un­der the Min­istry of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty six years ago, on­ly 56 peo­ple—a lit­tle more than nine a year—have faced the courts for this of­fence, ac­cord­ing to a top law en­force­ment of­fi­cial. To date, no one has been con­vict­ed, au­thor­i­ties say.

In the last six months, po­lice have made some high-pro­file ar­rests, but hu­man rights ac­tivists con­tend that not enough is be­ing done.

The re­cent ar­rests in­clude:

On Feb­ru­ary 6, Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice Gary Grif­fith lead an op­er­a­tion that res­cued 19 young South Amer­i­can women from two homes in West­moor­ings and a restau­rant along Ari­api­ta Av­enue. The young women, ages 15-18 years, were locked in rooms and made to take drugs and have sex with men for mon­ey. Po­lice al­so round­ed up at least 18 sus­pects for ques­tion­ing. A Chi­nese man, Jin­fu Zhu, and his 23-year-old Venezue­lan ac­com­plice, Solient Tor­res, were lat­er charged with 43 sex charges un­der the Sex­u­al Of­fences Act. The young women, most­ly of Venezue­lan na­tion­al­i­ty, were lat­er tak­en un­der the State’s care and kept in a safe house.

Mere days af­ter this ma­jor bust, a 24-year-old Venezue­lan woman who had es­caped from hu­man traf­fick­ers was re­cap­tured by them in Diego Mar­tin. Po­lice in­ter­cept­ed the al­leged traf­fick­ers along the Solomon Ho­choy High­way in the Clax­ton Bay area. Bat­tered and bruised, the shak­en woman was tak­en to the Wood­brook Po­lice Sta­tion. Akeem James, a 28-year-old spe­cial re­serve po­lice of­fi­cer and 39-year-old Kevin Houl­der a truck dri­ver were lat­er ar­rest­ed .

In Oc­to­ber last year, a 19-year-old Venezue­lan woman was se­vere­ly beat­en in a house in Debe. A video of the beat­ing was post­ed on so­cial me­dia by her al­leged per­pe­tra­tor who be­rat­ed her. A Diego Mar­tin man, Aval­on Cal­len­der was lat­er charged with kid­nap­ping and wound­ing with in­tent.

Au­thor­i­ties ac­knowl­edge that the hu­man traf­fick­ing prob­lem in­volv­ing sex slav­ery is a mas­sive one.

Min­is­ter of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Stu­art Young said the res­cue of the 19 women last Feb­ru­ary had trig­gered a flood of tips about il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ty in­volv­ing hu­man traf­fick­ing across Trinidad and To­ba­go.

THE WORLD TAKES NO­TICE

Sev­er­al in­ter­na­tion­al agen­cies have fo­cused on the sex traf­fick­ing prob­lem dur­ing their in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the Venezue­lan mi­grant sit­u­a­tion in Trinidad.

Melanie Teff, who is UNICEF UK’s se­nior hu­man­i­tar­i­an ad­vo­ca­cy and pol­i­cy ad­vis­er, re­called in­ter­view­ing about 50 Venezue­lan vic­tims who re­count­ed how traf­fick­ers en­trapped them in­to lives of sex and drugs.

In an in­ter­view with Guardian Me­dia, Teff said, “We heard about these women and girls read­ing ad­ver­tise­ments for what seemed like jobs in bars that did not ap­pear to be pros­ti­tu­tion. Their doc­u­ments are tak­en away leav­ing them trapped in a for­eign land.”

Teff said the height­ened de­spair of these Venezue­lan women left them at the mer­cy of heart­less traf­fick­ers.

“They want to sur­vive and send back mon­ey to their fam­i­lies, who they feel a re­spon­si­bil­i­ty to sup­port. If they are not al­lowed a way of be­ing le­gal in Trinidad and To­ba­go, then they are go­ing to be at much greater risk of be­ing ex­ploit­ed,” she said.

‘COPS IN­VOLVED IN HU­MAN TRAF­FICK­ING’

PCA di­rec­tor David West con­firmed re­ceiv­ing many re­ports about po­lice of­fi­cers be­ing in­volved in hu­man traf­fick­ing and hold­ing girls and young women cap­tive.

Young girls are at the mer­cy of rogue po­lice of­fi­cers, West said.

“These young girls do not know the sys­tem and there­fore they are afraid to re­port it,” he said.

West said that the PCA had re­ceived a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of com­plaints in 2019 when com­pared to pre­vi­ous years.

“It is very wor­ry­ing, the sto­ries that the girls tell are…,” West said, paus­ing to com­pose him­self.

A fa­ther of two girls, West said, “I do not wish it on any­body’s daugh­ter, what they have al­leged­ly done to those girls.”

West said vic­tims should know that his agency will in­ves­ti­gate com­plaints against of­fi­cers. “Come to the PCA and we will take their com­plaints and in­ves­ti­gate the mat­ter and bring those per­pe­tra­tors to jus­tice,” he said.

Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice Gary Grif­fith said he could not com­ment on pend­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions in­to po­lice of­fi­cers in­volved in hu­man traf­fick­ing.

Grif­fith said he was mov­ing quick­ly to adopt poli­cies to tar­get and stamp out cor­rupt cops with the in­tro­duc­tion of poly­graph tests.

“Like any oth­er kind of il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ty hu­man traf­fick­ing we will treat through sting op­er­a­tions,” Grif­fith said. “If they don’t (stop),we will get enough ev­i­dence to put them be­hind bars.”

‘YOU’LL BE­COME PROS­TI­TUTES’

Cas­es in­volv­ing Maria and oth­er women im­pli­cate po­lice of­fi­cers who not on­ly held them cap­tive but fa­cil­i­tat­ed sex­u­al ex­ploita­tion of the women.

Maria was adamant that an of­fi­cer was the mas­ter­mind be­hind the hu­man traf­fick­ing ring that held her cap­tive for al­most six months.

An­oth­er woman who was held at the house in Debe, south Trinidad, said a po­lice of­fi­cer rou­tine­ly raped her and forced her to have sex with cus­tomers. “He col­lect­ed and kept all of the mon­ey.”

Guardian Me­dia spoke to their vic­tims…

Like Maria, Ju­marie Car­oli­na fled pover­ty and star­va­tion in her home town of Cara­cas.

She en­dured a nine-hour jour­ney from her home to Tu­cu­pi­ta. Car­ry­ing on­ly a knap­sack, she board­ed a fer­ry to Ce­dros.

A friend from her home town told her of the op­por­tu­ni­ties in Trinidad. The is­land at the South­ern tip of the Caribbean was de­scribed as an ide­al es­cape from the crum­bling Venezue­lan so­ci­ety.

At Ce­dros, she met a man iden­ti­fied as James who picked her up and took her to a house in Princes Town. James told her she would be there for a few days be­fore she could start work­ing as a wait­ress at a near­by bar.

Af­ter three days, one of the traf­fick­ers en­tered her room and raped her. Over sev­er­al days, he re­peat­ed­ly raped her. “He would force me to take (mar­i­jua­na), then rape me,” said Ju­marie, tears welling up in her eyes.

James made it clear that she owed him $1,000 for the trip and would have to work as a pros­ti­tute to re­pay him.

He bought her a back­less hal­ter-top and tight-fit­ting jeans and took her to a well-known San Fer­nan­do night­club fre­quent­ed by men, from all walks of life; hop­ing their mon­ey could buy them a good time with young Span­ish-speak­ing women.

When­ev­er Ju­marie seemed un­will­ing to com­ply with James’ wish­es, he would threat­en to harm her fam­i­ly while bran­dish­ing his firearm, she said.

Ju­marie said she knew she had to es­cape. A taxi dri­ver hired by James to take her to and from the club was her on­ly con­nec­tion to the out­side world. One evening, she asked him how much it would cost to take her to meet a Venezue­lan friend in Port-of-Spain. He agreed to help her.

Af­ter hear­ing Ju­marie’s sto­ry, her friend—de­ter­mined that it would be too risky to keep her—con­tact­ed an­oth­er woman who gave Ju­marie refuge.

But it seemed as though she was un­able to es­cape James’ reach. He sent a se­ries of men­ac­ing mes­sages, show­ing pic­tures of her fam­i­ly mem­bers in Venezuela, she said.

“You can’t hide here and you can’t hide in Venezuela,” he told her via text mes­sage.

Ju­marie had ini­tial­ly agreed to take Guardian Me­dia re­porters to sev­er­al lo­ca­tions where men had abused her. But on the day of the meet­ing, Ju­marie texted a friend, “I’m gone. He will find me.”

She then left on a boat from Ce­dros.

ES­CAP­ING CAP­TORS

One day in Feb­ru­ary, Maria es­caped from her cap­tors when she jumped through a bath­room at a bar in Wood­brook. She ran as fast as she could with no idea of where she was head­ed. She met some Venezue­lans on the street and bor­rowed a phone to con­tact a friend. Maria end­ed up in the same safe house as Ju­marie.

Af­ter ex­chang­ing sto­ries, Maria and Ju­marie re­alised they were vic­tims of the same sex traf­fick­ing ring. They had even stayed in sep­a­rate rooms of the same Debe house rent­ed by the po­lice of­fi­cer.

The sin­gle-storey house, paint­ed in brick red, had raised con­cerns among lo­cal res­i­dents who point­ed out that the house’s win­dows had been plas­tered over and ro­bust steel door kept oc­cu­pants in­side.

Many neigh­bours told Guardian Me­dia how Span­ish-speak­ing women would leave the house at night and re­turn in the wee hours of the morn­ing.

The same house was the scene of sev­er­al ques­tion­able in­ci­dents over the last year, in­clud­ing the vi­ral video of the beat­ing in­volv­ing the Venezue­lan woman.

PO­LICE OF­FI­CER DE­NIES IN­VOLVE­MENT

Both Maria and Ju­marie claimed that an of­fi­cer known as He­mant “Crix” Ram­sumair, who had ties to the po­lice of­fi­cer known as James, rent­ed the Debe home where they were once held cap­tive.

Peo­ple who live in the area said Ram­sumair resided ten min­utes away from the house in ques­tion.

Guardian Me­dia ap­proached Ram­sumair a few weeks ago out­side the Bar­rack­pore Po­lice Sta­tion where he worked. Ram­sumair was asked to ex­plain sev­er­al in­ci­dents at the house, in­clud­ing the beat­ing of the Venezue­lan woman last Oc­to­ber and the use of the prop­er­ty to en­slave Maria, Ju­marie and oth­ers.

Ram­sumair had been sus­pend­ed for some time from the po­lice ser­vice be­cause of a do­mes­tic mat­ter and had on­ly re­cent­ly re­sumed du­ty. He ac­knowl­edged tak­ing charge of the house about two years ago, but said he re­lin­quished it af­ter the beat­ing cap­tured in the vi­ral video.

Ram­sumair dis­tanced him­self from the al­leged beat­ing in­ci­dent at the house and de­nied any part in any hu­man traf­fick­ing ring that in­cludes the in­volve­ment of po­lice of­fi­cers.

He chalked up the in­ci­dent to noth­ing more than a lover’s quar­rel. He said, “That was the guy’s girl­friend and some­thing hap­pened and he could not take it and that is the gist of it. Se­ri­ous­ly.”

While Ram­sumair claimed to have giv­en up rental of the prop­er­ty, lo­cal res­i­dents con­tra­dict­ed that claim.

A rel­a­tive of the own­er, who re­sides in Cana­da, said they had been try­ing to evict Ram­sumair for sev­er­al months now with­out suc­cess.

Asked to com­ment on the as­ser­tions by Maria and Ju­marie and their or­deal, Ram­sumair said: “I would like to see that be­cause I knew all the peo­ple who stayed there. They were my friends. They can’t say any­thing bad. I think I have a good re­la­tion­ship with one or two of the girls I know who came to Trinidad.”

When asked if po­lice of­fi­cers in the area were part of this il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ty?

Ram­sumair said, “No, that is not so. It could nev­er be so.”

Ram­sumair said he had nev­er been un­der any in­ves­ti­ga­tion for hu­man traf­fick­ing.

Ram­sumair said, “Hon­est to God, I don’t know any­thing about the stuff, that pros­ti­tu­tion thing. My fam­i­ly taught me bet­ter than that.”

In the last sev­er­al months, dozens of Venezue­lan women have en­tered the coun­try in the hope of a new life. Many have been duped in­to sex slav­ery.

Un­like Ju­marie who es­caped, these women re­main be­hind trapped.

Hema Ramkissoon is the top ed­i­tor for the Guardian Me­dia Lim­it­ed broad­cast di­vi­sion. She has been with the com­pa­ny for more than a decade. Hema is the host of CNC3’s Morn­ing Brew pro­gramme which high­lights pol­i­cy and pol­i­cy­mak­ers in T&T.

Mark Bas­sant heads the in­ves­tiga­tive desk at Guardian Me­dia Lim­it­ed. He has more than two decades of ex­pe­ri­ence in jour­nal­ism and is a grad­u­ate of Ry­er­son Uni­ver­si­ty in Toron­to, Cana­da. He has won six Caribbean Broad­cast­ing Union awards for Best In­ves­tiga­tive Re­port­ing in tele­vi­sion.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Court, Crime, Featured, International, News, Police, Regional, Youth0 Comments

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Margaret ‘Annie’ Dyer-Howe gets elegant homegoing celebration

RT Hon Mary ‘Annie’ Dyer Howe

From related posts – adapted by Bennette Roach

The Right Hon. Margaret Annie Dyer-Howe OE, MBA was finally laid to rest at the Lookout Cemetery following a fitting state-sponsored ‘Service of Celebration…’ for her life at the St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church. She was born on November 18, 1941, and died on the night of April 6, 2019, after a long illness at the age of 77 years.

She was honored for her tireless crusade to elevate women, protect children and uplift the underprivileged. She was remembered for her calm and measured demeanor, generous spirit and quiet dignity. She was celebrated through words, song and even the steel pan.

“She took her beloved country under her wing. And now she flies with the angels.”

The Right Honourable Margaret Mary “Annie” Dyer-Howe O.E. received a bright homegoing Friday at the Roman Catholic Church in Lookout. Following the two-hour-plus service, a procession led by the Montserrat Defense Force, with marching band in tow, made a one-mile trek to the Lookout Public Cemetery. Mrs. Dyer-Howe received a gun salute and was laid to rest as family members, friends and dignitaries sang hymns.

Mrs. Dyer-Howe’s casket was regal as the woman herself, white with gold trim and a hint of the Montserrat madras, draped with the Montserrat flag.

“Miss Annie’s homegoing service was one that truly summed up the woman she was,” says Rose Willock, Dyer-Howe’s longtime friend and a broadcasting legend in Montserrat. “Outgoing, community-spirited in every way and dedicated to her homeland.”

“She empowered women at every level,” added Willock

“She was an ordinary woman who produced extraordinary outcomes,” said Hon. Donaldson Romeo, Premier of Montserrat.

“I have chosen simply to focus on an aspect of her personality that no one who knew her for any length of time could ignore: in all she did, this formidable professional and passionate champion of women’s rights, had a calm, unshakable dignity about her that set her apart,” he said.

He recounted like many others in tribute and recollection: “Mrs. Howe accomplished much as a Minister of Government, but she obviously did not need political office to motivate her forquality service to her island. During the years 1987 to 2001, a gap in her political career, she not only managed the Montserrat Water Authority with distinction, but also co-founded the very successful Howe’s Enterprise and established the Small Business Association. She thus used what was apparent loss, to shift her focus to another area on which to stamp her authenticity and to demonstrate excellence.  Giving to her community and country was always her overriding interest. Mrs. Howe has left much for us to emulate as a nation.”

Mrs. Dyer-Howe influenced just about every sector of Montserrat. Principled, pragmatic and devoutly Roman Catholic, she helped enact social change during a time when women were mostly excluded from prominent positions in society. Due to her efforts, the protocol for acceptance into the Montserrat Secondary School was changed to allow non-affluent students a fairer chance. Mrs. Dyer-Howe argued that students from wealthy families had an unfair advantage because their parents could afford private tutoring.

The Hon Speaker Shirley Osborne while delivering a really powerful tribute, said among so much more, “… there was really never any one name that captured everything she was, everything she represented, everything she brought into this world…

Former Chief Minister Dr. Lowel Lewis, said in tribute: “She also made her mark as Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Housing.

“Mrs Dyer Howe was a lady of dignity.  She knew how to recognize true loyalty and support.  Just a smile and a thank you.  Nothing else was required from her.  And she never expected anything from anybody she helped or was kind to.”

More expressions of her exemplary character as Dr. Lewis also recalls, “She never once said a word to me about the fact that I cut short her last term as a Minister of Government, when I changed to a coalition government with MCAP in 2008.  She understood the reason for that decision.”

Paying tribute on behalf of the St. Patrick’s community. Bennette Roach with Shirley Spycalla, sang in Latin the simple prayer, Pie Jesu (Blessed Jesus, grant her thine eternal rest and peace…). He preceded that with a few words speaking to the special character that she had passed on to her St. Patrick’s community, back in 1983-4 when she promised to correct the wrongs (perceived or otherwise) of the PLM party and strive for better and progress…

Mrs. Dyer-Howe, who was profiled in the book Gallery Montserrat by Sir Howard Fergus, was born Margaret Corbett on November 18, 1941 and grew up in St. Patrick’s in southern Montserrat. She was heavily influenced by her grandmother, who was a district midwife. She attended the St. Augustine School, which was then on George Street in Plymouth, and later taught at the school before migrating to the United States for secretarial training. In 1964, she married businessman and politician Michael Dyer. It was during that union that her political aspirations took shape, spending 16-17 years in that service.

In 1974, Michael Dyer passed away. In 1979, Mrs. Dyer-Howe competed in a by-election in the Southern district for the seat of the late Joe Taylor. She won, essentially reclaiming the seat lost years earlier by her husband. In 1983 she was re-elected and assigned the Ministry of Education, Health, Community Services, Women’s Affairs, Culture and Sports. She became only the second woman (of three elected up to that time) in Montserrat to hold a ministry, following Mary Rose Tuitt in 1970. She married Robert Howe in 1984.

“Miss Annie’s home-going service was one that truly summed up the woman she was.”

Fergus, a longtime friend, was among the luminaries paying tribute Friday. Speaking about Mrs. Dyer-Howe helping to break the female barrier in parliament, he said: “She was No. 2 to wear the toga of a minister, and she did more than warm the bench. She did more than any of her generation to elevate women in skills and consciousness.”

In 2018 she was presented with the Order of Excellence during the Montserrat National Awards for her exemplary contributions to the country.

It was again, Hon. Speaker of the House Shirley Osborne who perhaps summed up Mrs. Dyer-Howe’s legacy best during Friday’s service. “Many of the building blocks of Montserrat were put up, leveled out and cemented in place by this woman.

“So, Montserrat is Annie’s house.”

Mrs. Dyer-Howe is survived by her husband Robert, step-daughter Joycelyn Howe, brother Neville Corbett (aka Dick Martin) and many other family members.

The Right Hon. Margaret Annie Dyer-Howe OE, MBA was finally laid to rest at the Lookout Cemetery following a fitting state sponsored ‘Service of Celebration…’ for her life at the St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church. She was born on November 18, 1941 and died on the night of April 6, 2019 after a long illness at the age of 77 years.

She was honored for her tireless crusade to elevate women, protect children and uplift the underprivileged. She was remembered for her calm and measured demeanor, generous spirit and quiet dignity. She was celebrated through words, song and even the steel pan.

“She took her beloved country under her wing. And now she flies with the angels.”

The Right Honourable Margaret Mary “Annie” Dyer-Howe O.E. received a bright homegoing Friday at the Roman Catholic Church in Lookout. Following the two-hour-plus service, a procession led by the Montserrat Defense Force, with marching band in tow, made a one-mile trek to the Lookout Public Cemetery. Mrs. Dyer-Howe received a gun salute and was laid to rest as family members, friends and dignitaries sang hymns.

Mrs. Dyer-Howe’s casket was regal as the woman herself, white with gold trim and a hint of the Montserrat madras, draped with the Montserrat flag.

“Miss Annie’s homegoing service was one that truly summed up the woman she was,” says Rose Willock, Dyer-Howe’s longtime friend and a broadcasting legend in Montserrat. “Outgoing, community-spirited in every way and dedicated to her homeland.”

“She empowered women at every level,” added Willock

“She was an ordinary woman who produced extraordinary outcomes,” said Hon. Donaldson Romeo, Premier of Montserrat.

“I have chosen simply to focus on an aspect of her personality that no one who knew her for any length of time could ignore: in all she did, this formidable professional and passionate champion of women’s rights, had a calm, unshakable dignity about her that set her apart,” he said.

He recounted like many others in tribute and recollection: “Mrs. Howe accomplished much as a Minister of Government, but she obviously did not need political office to motivate her forquality service to her island. During the years 1987 to 2001, a gap in her political career, she not only managed the Montserrat Water Authority with distinction, but also co-founded the very successful Howe’s Enterprise and established the Small Business Association. She thus used what was apparent loss, to shift her focus to another area on which to stamp her authenticity and to demonstrate excellence.  Giving to her community and country was always her overriding interest. Mrs. Howe has left much for us to emulate as a nation.”

Mrs. Dyer-Howe influenced just about every sector of Montserrat. Principled, pragmatic and devoutly Roman Catholic, she helped enact social change during a time when women were mostly excluded from prominent positions in society. Due to her efforts, the protocol for acceptance into the Montserrat Secondary School was changed to allow non-affluent students a fairer chance. Mrs. Dyer-Howe argued that students from wealthy families had an unfair advantage because their parents could afford private tutoring.

The Hon Speaker Shirley Osborne while delivering a really powerful tribute, said among so much more, “… there was really never any one name that captured everything she was, everything she represented, everything she brought into this world…

Former Chief Minister Dr. Lowel Lewis, said in tribute: “She also made her mark as Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Housing.

“Mrs Dyer Howe was a lady of dignity.  She knew how to recognize true loyalty and support.  Just a smile and a thank you.  Nothing else was required from her.  And she never expected anything from anybody she helped or was kind to.”

More expressions of her exemplary character as Dr. Lewis also recalls, “She never once said a word to me about the fact that I cut short her last term as a Minister of Government, when I changed to a coalition government with MCAP in 2008.  She understood the reason for that decision.”

Paying tribute on behalf of the St. Patrick’s community. Bennette Roach with Shirley Spycalla, sang in Latin the simple prayer, Pie Jesu (Blessed Jesus, grant her thine eternal rest and peace…). He preceded that with a few words speaking to the special character that she had passed on to her St. Patrick’s community , back in 1983-4 when she promised to correct the wrongs (perceived or otherwise) of the PLM party and strive for better and progress…

Mrs. Dyer-Howe, who was profiled in the book Gallery Montserrat by Sir Howard Fergus, was born Margaret Corbett on November 18, 1941 and grew up in St. Patrick’s in southern Montserrat. She was heavily influenced by her grandmother, who was a district midwife. She attended the St. Augustine School, which was then on George Street in Plymouth, and later taught at the school before migrating to the United States for secretarial training. In 1964, she married businessman and politician Michael Dyer. It was during that union that her political aspirations took shape, spending 16-17 years in that service.

In 1974, Michael Dyer passed away. In 1979, Mrs. Dyer-Howe competed in a by-election in the Southern district for the seat of the late Joe Taylor. She won, essentially reclaiming the seat lost years earlier by her husband. In 1983 she was re-elected and assigned the Ministry of Education, Health, Community Services, Women’s Affairs, Culture and Sports. She became only the second woman (of three elected up to that time) in Montserrat to hold a ministry, following Mary Rose Tuitt in 1970. She married Robert Howe in 1984.

“Miss Annie’s home-going service was one that truly summed up the woman she was.”

Fergus, a longtime friend, was among the luminaries paying tribute Friday. Speaking about Mrs. Dyer-Howe helping to break the female barrier in parliament, he said: “She was No. 2 to wear the toga of a minister, and she did more than warm the bench. She did more than any of her generation to elevate women in skills and consciousness.”

In 2018 she was presented with the Order of Excellence during the Montserrat National Awards for her exemplary contributions to the country.

It was again, Hon. Speaker of the House Shirley Osborne who perhaps summed up Mrs. Dyer-Howe’s legacy best during Friday’s service. “Many of the building blocks of Montserrat were put up, leveled out and cemented in place by this woman.

“So, Montserrat is Annie’s house.”

Mrs. Dyer-Howe is survived by her husband Robert, step-daughter Joycelyn Howe, brother Neville Corbett (aka Dick Martin) and many other family members.

The casket of Margaret “Annie” Dyer-Howe is prepared for burial at the Lookout Public Cemetery in Montserrat.

She was honored for her tireless crusade to elevate women, protect children and uplift the underprivileged. She was remembered for her calm and measured demeanor, generous spirit and quiet dignity. She was celebrated through words, song and even the steel pan.

“She took her beloved country under her wing. And now she flies with the angels.”


The casket of Margaret “Annie” Dyer-Howe is prepared for burial at the Lookout Public Cemetery in Montserrat.

The Right Honourable Margaret Mary “Annie” Dyer-Howe O.E. received a bright homegoing Friday at the Roman Catholic Church in Lookout. Following the two-hour-plus service, a procession led by the Montserrat Defense Force, with marching band in tow, made a one-mile trek to the Lookout Public Cemetery. Mrs. Dyer-Howe received a gun salute and was laid to rest as family members, friends and dignitaries sang hymns.

Mrs. Dyer-Howe’s casket was regal as the woman herself, white with gold trim and a hint of the Montserrat madras, draped with the Montserrat flag.

“Miss Annie’s homegoing service was one that truly summed up the woman she was,” says Rose Willock, Dyer-Howe’s longtime friend and a broadcasting legend in Montserrat. “Outgoing, community-spirited in every way and dedicated to her homeland.”

“She was an ordinary woman who produced extraordinary outcomes,” said Hon. Donaldson Romeo, Premier of Montserrat.

He recounted like many others in tribute and recollection: “Mrs. Howe accomplished much as a Minister of Government, but she obviously did not need political office to motivate her for quality service to her island. During the years 1987 to 2001, a gap in her political career, she not only managed the Montserrat Water Authority with distinction, but also co-founded the very successful Howe’s Enterprise and established the Small Business Association. She thus used what was apparent loss, to shift her focus to another area on which to stamp her authenticity and to demonstrate excellence.  Giving to her community and country was always her overriding interest.

Dr. Lowel Lewis
Florence Griffith
Hon Speaker Shirley

“I have chosen simply to focus on an aspect of her personality that no one who knew her for any length of time could ignore: in all she did, this formidable professional and passionate champion of women’s rights  had a calm, unshakable dignity about her that set her apart.

 “Giving to her community and country was always her overriding interest. Mrs. Howe has left much for us to emulate as a nation.”

Mrs. Dyer-Howe influenced just about every sector of Montserrat. Principled, pragmatic and devoutly Roman Catholic, she helped enact social change during a time when women were mostly excluded from prominent positions in society. Due to her efforts, the protocol for acceptance into the Montserrat Secondary School was changed to allow non-affluent students a fairer chance. Mrs. Dyer-Howe argued that students from wealthy families had an unfair advantage because their parents could afford private tutoring.

Jackie Dangler
Genevieve Bailey

The Hon Speaker Shirley Osborne while delivering a really powerful tribute, said among so much more, “… there was really never any one name that captured everything she was, everything she represented, everything she brought into this world…

Former Chief Minister Dr. Lowel Lewis, said in tribute: “She also made her mark as Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Housing.

Easton Taylor Farrell
Premier Romeo

“Mrs Dyer Howe was a lady of dignity.  She knew how to recognize true loyalty and support.  Just a smile and a thank you.  Nothing else was required from her.  And she never expected anything from anybody she helped or was kind to.”

More expressions of her exemplary character as Dr. Lewis also recalls, “She never once said a word to me about the fact that I cut short her last term as a Minister of Government, when I changed to a coalition government with MCAP in 2008.  She understood the reason for that decision.”

Shirley and Bennette
Sir Professor Howard Fergus

Paying tribute on behalf of the St. Patrick’s community. Bennette Roach with Shirley Spycalla sang in Latin the simple prayer, Pie Jesu (Blessed Jesus, grant her thine eternal rest and peace…). He preceded that with a few words speaking to the special character that she had passed on to her St. Patrick’s community, when she promised to correct the wrongs (perceived or otherwise) of her PLM party and strive for better and progress…

Mrs. Dyer-Howe, who was profiled in the book Gallery Montserrat by Sir Howard Fergus, was born Margaret Corbett on November 18, 1941 and grew up in St. Patrick’s in southern Montserrat. She was heavily influenced by her grandmother, who was a district midwife. She attended the St. Augustine School, which was then on George Street in Plymouth, and later taught at the school before migrating to the United States for secretarial training. In 1964, she married businessman and politician Michael Dyer. It was during that union that her political aspirations took shape.

Mrs. Dyer-Howe, who was profiled in the book Gallery Montserrat by Sir Howard Fergus, grew up in St. Patrick’s in southern Montserrat. She was heavily influenced by her grandmother, who was a district midwife. She attended the St. Augustine School, which was then on George Street in Plymouth, and later taught at the school before migrating to the United States for secretarial training. In 1964, she married businessman and politician Michael Dyer. It was during that union that her political aspirations took shape, spending 16-17 years in that service.

In 1974, Michael Dyer passed away. In 1979, Mrs. Dyer-Howe competed in a by-election in the Southern district for the seat of the late Joe Taylor. She won, essentially reclaiming the seat lost years earlier by her husband. In 1983 she was re-elected and assigned the Ministry of Education, Health, Community Services, Women’s Affairs, Culture and Sports. She became only the second woman (of three elected up to that time) in Montserrat to hold a ministry, following Mary Rose Tuitt in 1970. She married Robert Howe in 1984.

“Miss Annie’s home-going service was one that truly summed up the woman she was.”

In 1974, Michael Dyer passed away. In 1979, Mrs. Dyer-Howe competed in a by-election in the Southern district for the seat of the late Joe Taylor. She won, essentially reclaiming the seat lost years earlier by her husband. In 1983 she was re-elected and assigned the Ministry of Education, Health, Community Services, Women’s Affairs, Culture and Sports. She became only the second woman in Montserrat to hold a ministry, following Mary Rose Tuitt in 1970. She married Robert Howe in 1984.

Fergus, a longtime friend, was among the luminaries paying tribute Friday. Speaking about Mrs. Dyer-Howe helping to break the female barrier in parliament, he said: “She was No. 2 to wear the toga of a minister, and she did more than warm the bench. She did more than any of her generation to elevate women in skills and consciousness.”

Added Willock: “She empowered women at every level.”

In 2018 she was presented with the Order of Excellence during the Montserrat National Awards for her exemplary contributions to the country.

Hon. Speaker of the House Shirley Osborne perhaps summed up Mrs. Dyer-Howe’s legacy best during Friday’s service. “Many of the building blocks of Montserrat were put up, leveled out and cemented in place by this woman.

“So Montserrat is Annie’s house.”

Mrs. Dyer-Howe is survived by her husband Robert, step-daughter Joycelyn Howe, brother Neville Corbett (aka Dick Martin) and many other family members.


Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Featured, Local, News, Obituaries, Politics, Regional0 Comments

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Here’s What Could Happen If You Get Measles While Pregnant

By Cari Nierenberg, Live Science Contributor | May 16, 2019

Here’s What Could Happen If You Get Measles While Pregnant
Credit: Shutterstock

The measles can be dangerous for people of all ages, but the highly contagious virus poses a particular threat to pregnant women.

That threat was clearly illustrated in a recent case report, which detailed the case of a 27-year-old woman in England — who had not been vaccinated — who got measles during her third trimester and ended up needing an emergency cesarean section to save her baby.

When the woman was initially hospitalized, it wasn’t clear that she had measles, according to the case report, published May 9 in the journal BMJ Case Reports. In fact, it took doctors nearly 2 weeks to make the proper diagnosis. [27 Devastating Infectious Diseases]Advertisement

Within a day of being hospitalized, the woman began having severe breathing problems.

Problems that arise from any respiratory infection are more severe in pregnant women, because the immune system is in a naturally suppressed state, said lead case report author Dr. Jassimran Bansal, an obstetrics and gynecology resident at King’s College Hospital in London. But the woman’s breathing problems didn’t improve; they worsened over the next five days, and her lungs showed signs of severe respiratory failure.

Because both the woman and her baby’s health were at risk from her illness, the woman’s doctors recommended she have an emergency C-section, where she delivered a healthy, but premature baby.

Measles during pregnancy

Measles can be difficult to diagnose during pregnancy, because the infection’s telltale rash is often absent, said Bansal, who was involved with the woman’s treatment. It’s not clear why the characteristic rash — which shows up as distinctive large red spots that typically spread from the face to the neck, trunk, arms, legs and feet— may be absent, but it’s likely due to changes in the immune system that occur during pregnancy, she said.

In fact, the woman did have a mild rash when she went to the hospital during her 32nd week of pregnancy. She told doctors that she also had a sore throat and fever. The rash, which was itchy with red bumps, had first appeared on the palms of her hands and then spread to her face, according to the report. But simply having a rash doesn’t mean a person has the measles; other viruses can also cause rashes, Bansal said.

When the woman was admitted to the hospital, doctors initially suspected she may have had a nonspecific viral respiratory infection, like the flu, Bansal told Live Science. Measles was lower down on the list of possible diagnoses, because the woman didn’t have the typical rash, and because measles in pregnancy is still very rarein England, she noted.

As her illness worsened, however, doctors noted that her rash did spread to her chest, back and stomach, a pattern that is more typical of measles, according to the report.

Making the diagnosis

As the woman recovered from both her C-section and the illness, test results suggested that her breathing problems were due to pneumonia caused by a parainfluenza virus, a type of virus linked to respiratory infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Throat cultures from people with measles will also test positive for parainfluenza virus, according to the report.)

But it wasn’t until a week after the baby was born — when the woman’s husband came down with measles — that the doctors decided to test her for the infection, too.

Indeed, the woman had also had the measles, the tests revealed. But luckily, her baby did not. (Babies can develop “congenital measles,” a form of the disease that can be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy and appears shortly after birth.) [7 Ways Pregnant Women Affect Babies]

After spending three weeks in the hospital, the woman was sent home. Both mother and baby are doing fine, Bansal said, adding that the woman’s two other children had, in fact, received the MMR vaccine before their parents had come down with the measles.

Pregnant women who have not received the MMR vaccine, as was the case with this woman, are at increased risk of severe illness and complications of measles, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The group also notes that getting the measles during pregnancy is linked with an increased risk of hospitalization and pneumonia, as well as an increased risk of giving birth prematurely, miscarriage or having a low-birth-weight baby.

Posted in Births, Health, International, Local, Regional, Science/Technology0 Comments

Trump takes over Fourth of July celebration, changing its location and inserting himself into the program

Trump takes over Fourth of July celebration, changing its location and inserting himself into the program

Fireworks after a campaign rally by President Trump rally in Panama City Beach, Fla., on Wednesday. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

By Josh Dawsey , Juliet Eilperin and Peter Jamison May 10

President Trump has effectively taken charge of the nation’s premier Fourth of July celebration in Washington, moving the gargantuan fireworks display from its usual spot on the Mall to be closer to the Potomac River and making tentative plans to address the nation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, according to top administration officials.

 The president’s starring role has the potential to turn what has long been a nonpartisan celebration of the nation’s founding into another version of a Trump campaign rally. Officials said it is unclear how much the changes may cost, but the plans have already raised alarms among city officials and some lawmakers about the potential impact of such major alterations to a time-honored and well-organized summer tradition.

Fireworks on the Mall, which the National Park Service has orchestrated for more than half a century, draw hundreds of thousands of Americans annually and mark one of the highlights of the city’s tourist season. The event has been broadcast live on television since 1947 and since 1981 has been accompanied by a free concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol featuring high-profile musicians and a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra.

The new event, to be called “A Salute to America,” will shift the fireworks launch to West Potomac Park, less than a mile southwest of its usual location near the Washington Monument. In addition to a possible address by Trump, the location may feature a second stage of entertainment apart from the performers at the Capitol, officials said.

Washington D.C. council member Mary Cheh, (D-Ward 3) says that President Trump is trying to mimic totalitarian regimes with his plans to hold a military parade. (Whitney Shefte/The Washington Post)

The revised Independence Day celebration is the culmination of two years of attempts by Trump to create a major patriotic event centered on him and his supporters, including failed efforts to mount a military parade modeled on the Bastille Day celebration in France. The new event has become a top priority for new Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, whom Trump tasked with the job three months ago, officials said. D.C. council member says Trump’s plans for military parade are all about his ego

[Trump’s ‘marching orders’ to the Pentagon: Plan a grand military parade]

The president has received regular briefings on the effort in the Oval Office and has gotten involved in the minutiae of the planning — even discussing whether the fireworks should be launched from a barge in the Potomac River, administration aides said. The president has shown interest in the event that he often does not exhibit for other administration priorities, the aides added.

“I think the president is excited about the idea, and we’re working hard on it, and I think it could be very, very meaningful,” Bernhardt said in an interview. “The president loves the idea, as probably all Americans do, of celebrating America on the Fourth of July, or thereabouts.”

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), who chairs the House Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, said in an interview that she is concerned that Trump could polarize what is typically a unifying event for Americans.

Fireworks illuminate the Mall in celebration of Independence Day in Washington on July 4, 2018. (Calla Kessler/The Washington Post)

“It’s not about any one president. It’s about how our nation came to be, because of a hardy band of brave men and women,” McCollum said. “It’s not about any one person, it’s about ‘We, the people.’ And if the president moves to make this about him, I think he will find the American public disappointed and angered by it.”

An official in the administration of D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said federal officials have informed the city government of potential changes to the Fourth of July celebration but that the logistics and cost of the altered format had not been finalized.

 The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss preparations for the event, said the city was concerned about moving the fireworks and about the logistics of the president traveling to the Mall to address the crowds, which could cut off the flow of visitors to and from nearby Metro stations.

 “We have a lot of people come to the Fourth of July. Logistically, over the years, the kinks have been worked out,” the official said. “We don’t want to throw off what already works.”

President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron during a Bastille Day parade on the Champs Elysees in Paris on July 14, 2017. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

The president’s idea for a Trump-influenced Fourth of July celebration began within hours of attending a lavish Bastille Day parade in Paris in 2017, former aides say. Before Air Force One took off to return from France, Trump came to the back of the staff cabin and laid out the particulars of a proposed military parade in Washington — down to the types of tanks that he wanted in the streets and the kind of aircraft he wanted to fly overhead.

[‘HOLD THE DATE!’ Trump announces Independence Day celebration]

The idea later shifted to become a Veterans Day-linked parade instead, before collapsing altogether last August as costs for the potential event ballooned. Trump blamed local officials in canceling the event.

Then, this past February, Trump announced on Twitter that Americans should “HOLD THE DATE!” on July 4 for a “Major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!”

There have been no public announcements since then, but federal officials are working furiously to adjust plans for an event that has been largely unchanged for at least two decades.

It is unclear whether the changes to the Mall celebration will increase costs for taxpayers. Launching the fireworks last year cost roughly $250,000, a figure that does not include the cost of security, portable toiletsTrump’s focus and fencing. The D.C. official said the city would expect the federal government to pay for any new costs incurred by changes to the celebration.

In justifying Trump’s changes, Interior officials argued that moving the fireworks launching site from the north and south sides of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool — where it has been located for at least 18 years — to West Potomac Park will allow for more visitors. 

National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said the agency typically has to close an area around the Reflecting Pool for about 10 days before the event, cutting off access to one of the Mall’s most popular sites.

Bernhardt said that, by altering the launch site, “that’s going to be a significant expansion of space that’s available to watch the fireworks from the Mall.” 

“And we might even have some more surprises in store for the public, very very soon,” the secretary added.

Trump has sometimes featured fireworks at his political events, including at a campaign rally this week in Panama City, Fla. The Trump administration is also taking steps to expand fireworks celebrations elsewhere in the United States. 

[Trump loves a military parade — it’s one reason he’s heading to Paris]

On Tuesday, Bernhardt and South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem (R) announced that they had reached an agreement allowing the Park Service to resume launching fireworks at Mount Rushmore in 2020. That practice, which began in 1998, stopped in 2009 after Park Service officials determined that a pine beetle infestation had heightened the risk of a forest fire igniting in the area.

“I am pleased to inform you that THE BIG FIREWORKS, after many years of not having any, are coming back to beautiful Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Great work @GovKristiNoem and @SecBernhardt! #MAGA,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

Fireworks go off as President Trump finishes speaking at a rally in Panama City Beach, Fla., on Wednesday. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

Trump’s focus on Independence Day reflects a broader pattern of focusing on the details of projects important to him personally. He grew obsessed, for example, with the renovation of FBI headquarters in Washington, asking for building specs, floor plans and even furniture and carpet schemes, current and former aides said.

“He wanted to be the project manager,” said a former senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe Oval Office meetings. 

No president has participated in a Fourth of July celebration on the Mall in recent memory, usually celebrating instead at the White House. President Ronald Reagan participated in a “Star Spangled Salute to America” at the Jefferson Memorial on July 3, 1987, which showcased an economic announcement, but the regular fireworks celebration happened the next day as usual. 

Reagan’s unveiling of an “Economic Bill of Rights” took place at 10 a.m., with the vice president, secretary of state and other members of the administration in attendance. The official White House diary estimated the crowd size at 10,000, though Reagan said it was half that. He later said that he “didn’t remember ever being hotter than I was on that platform in the sun.”

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Entertainment, Featured, International, Local, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Who of those serve in the LegAss understand being 'honourable'

Who of those serve in the LegAss understand being ‘honourable’

May 3, 2019

It was obvious that those of us listening to the events as they unfolded in the Legislative Assembly (LegAss), on that somewhat tumultuous March 29, 2019, that the story was not near what was coming over the airwaves. It was such that even those who might have been present in the gallery were unaware of what was taking place.

It turns out and there are those of us who would easily understand from being present in the gallery at times and those who would say what and this and that which they wouldn’t do, if they were the Speaker or a legislator, depending on the circumstances.

Over the last several years for over a decade, it wasn’t difficult to tell if a Speaker was being more than bias towards a government or opposition or different members as the case may be. Whichever way that was, except the members were prepared to take some action as may be or could be necessary, in an environment where people talk out mostly in gossip, it meant the situation would only get worse.

It was an unpleasant experience, though not surprising because somehow the lack of integrity and just ordinary common sense that is prevailing among many, leaves no doubt that being forthright for honesty and decency is somehow at an all time low to the point where good is unnoticed, wrong acceptable, and bad is seen as the norm, and good.

With regards to the behaviour of our legislators, or some of them, it was surprising taking into consideration the little rattle preceding here that the Speaker would hold this opinion when she said this. “I find it very troubling that there could be Members of this House, leaders in our community, setters of standards for the others of us who could declare that they find the occurrences of March 29t altogether out of order, regrettable, unacceptable and never to be condoned, and in the same breath also declare that the primary consideration is not the violation, but the votes that they might not get in the upcoming elections, from voters who might disagree with the penalties meted out to those members who violated the rules of the house.”

That is indeed really quite sad to hear, listening to the six charges she read out, and all she had said before. Of course, that may be because she had just said this prior to that statement. “Members are required to take a stand when problems arise and indeed where members are unwilling to take a stand it becomes a problem. To the extent that the members refuse to hold their members to the highest standards they also prevent the Speaker from properly defending the dignity and reputation of the House and, in this case, from addressing the indignity that was heaped upon the House.”

Let’s list them here, the infractions of the offending members. Disruption of house proceedings. Violation of the dignity and honour of the House. Disregard for the authority of the Chair. Unparliamentary language. Leaving the House without the permission of the Speaker. Grave misconduct in the House, including abuse of the use of parliamentary speech.

The Speaker says she doesn’t see these or much else as an attack on her or even disrespect to her. If a singe of those charges in any mix can be made against any other member of the house that does tell of the dire situation this territory faces as it is already looking out to hear or see those who from among them and others who will present themselves to the electorate in less than a year’s time.

There are those who were unhappy that she spoke so long on the matter, but from what she said it appears that it was necessary. It is difficult to believe that anything she said was new to any member and for those of them who were bored and falling asleep, we hope that they will seek to hold each other to the fire as is necessary. And what if she did not speak as fast as she did!

More than half of the members are new, four having served at least one term before with one having a third consecutive term. But they are in the fifth year. All have had training parliamentary training since elected, but could it be they misunderstand the title honourable?

And thinking that even after nearly an hour that there are still those who felt nothing wrong took place. And could it be that the Speaker was accused of lying when they thought they were not guilty as charged? After all, those who voted against or abstained from voting should be called upon to explain their position, if they still consider it honourable.

Posted in Editorial, Elections, Local, News, Opinions, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Berkshire

LIVE: 2019 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Meeting

Yahoo! News

Sam Ro Managing EditorYahoo Finance – May 4, 2019

   LIVEWATCH LIVE: 2019 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting

Warren Buffett is speaking to Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) investors as well as the rest of the world at the 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. The event is being streamed live exclusively on Yahoo Finance.

Known as the “Oracle of Omaha” for his track record of picking winning investments, Buffett is joined by his right-hand man Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire. The duo will share their unscripted views on their company, the financial markets, the economy, politics, corporate governance, and of course investing.

Their comments on the near-term have been known to move markets. Their insights on the the long-term have earned fortunes for investors.

We’re covering the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder Meeting live on this page, so hit refresh or click here for the latest updates.

Amazon, Coca-Cola and cannabis

News was breaking even before the meeting started.

On the Thursday ahead of the meeting, Buffett told CNBC’s Becky Quick that Berkshire had amassed a new position in Amazon (AMZN). He attributed the purchase to “one of the fellows in the office that manage money.” In other words, the decision was made by Todd Combs or Ted Weschler.

Over the past decade, Warren Buffett has been slowly taking a step back from his responsibilities at his company. Specifically, he hired two younger money managers, Todd Combs in 2010 and Ted Weschler in 2011, to eventually run Berkshire’s massive investment portfolio.

It’s worth noting that Buffett has acknowledged missing Amazon was a mistake.

“I always admired Jeff [Bezos, CEO of Amazon],” Buffett told Yahoo Finance’s editor-in-chief, Andy Serwer. “I met him 20 years ago or so. And I thought he was something special, but I didn’t realize you could go from books to what’s happened. He had a vision and executed it in an incredible way.”

On Friday, Buffett and Munger shared some thoughts on marijuana in response to a question from Fox Business Network’s Liz Claman.

“It would be a mistake for Coca-Cola (KO) to get into the marijuana — cannabis business,” they reportedly said to Claman. “They have a wholesome image and that would be detrimental to it.”

“Our chairman and CEO, James Quincey, has repeatedly stated we don’t have plans to get into this space,” a Coca-Cola spokesperson said to Yahoo Finance.

Coca-Cola is arguably the most successful investment Berkshire ever made.

Berkshire's portfolio has Todd Combs and Ted Weschler's finger prints all over it.
Berkshire’s portfolio has Todd Combs and Ted Weschler’s finger prints all over it.

It all began with a ‘monumentally stupid decision’

Buffett, 88, first invested in a Berkshire Hathaway, a failing textile company, back in December 1962, accumulating 7% of the company at $7.50 per share. The company was owned by a man named Seabury Stanton, who in 1964 asked Buffett for the price he’d be willing to sell his stake. Buffett said $11.50, and they had a deal.

However, Stanton later turned around and made a tender offer to shareholders for $11.275 per share. Buffett didn’t care for that behavior, so he ended up hanging on.

“That was a monumentally stupid decision,” Buffett said in his 2014 letter to shareholders. “Irritated by Stanton’s chiseling, I ignored his offer and began to aggressively buy more Berkshire shares.”

[Click here for full coverage of the 2019 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Meeting.]

Buffett took control of the company in May of 1965. And that was followed by another two decades of tough lessons.

“During the 18 years following 1966, we struggled unremittingly with the textile business, all to no avail,” he said. “But stubbornness — stupidity? — has its limits. In 1985, I finally threw in the towel and closed the operation.”

Despite his great success and status, Buffett’s career is riddled with failures. Ultimately, his real triumph is learning from his mistakes to eventually seal his legacy as the world’s greatest investor.

Furthermore, through letters, interviews, meetings and TV appearances, Buffett has shared his lessons with the public so that they can be better investors themselves. So while many know him as a great investor, there are plenty who will also remember him as a great teacher.

2019 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Meeting
2019 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Meeting

Sam Ro is managing editor at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter@SamRo

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Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Featured, International, News0 Comments

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World Press Freedom Day: “Media for Democracy”

Today’s celebration of World Press Freedom Day centers on the theme of “Media for Democracy: journalism and elections in times of disinformation”.

By Vatican News

The numbers speak louder than words: 95 journalists killed in the line of duty last year alone. 700 over the past ten years. 348 imprisoned.

The figures come from the International Federation of Journalists. In its own report, issued in April this year, Reporters Without Borders denounces “unprecedented violence” against journalists, claiming most victims were “deliberately targeted” precisely because they were doing their job. Still, journalists and reporters continue to risk their lives in conflict zones, providing truthful and reliable coverage of world events, and investigating stories of crime and corruption

World Press Freedom Index

One of the aims of World Press Freedom Day is to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the field. Another is to assess the state of press freedom throughout the world. The World Press Freedom Index, compiled every year by Reporters Without Borders, does exactly that by evaluating the state of journalism in 180 countries. Only 24 percent of those countries are classified as “good”. Norway ranks top of the list in terms of press freedom, with Turkmenistan at the bottom.   

According to the 2019 Index, “The hostility towards journalists expressed by political leaders in many countries has incited increasingly serious and frequent acts of violence that have fueled an unprecedented level of fear and danger for journalists”.  

World Press Freedom Day

World Press Freedom Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993 and has been celebrated every year since then. This year’s theme of “Media for Democracy: journalism and elections in times of disinformation”, discusses the challenges faced by media during elections, along with the media’s potential in supporting peace and reconciliation processes.

In announcing the theme, UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, said: “No democracy is complete without access to transparent and reliable information. It is the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions, holding leaders accountable and speaking truth to power”.

Truthful reporting and peace journalism were highlighted by Pope Francis in his Message for World Communications Day last year. In the message, he calls journalists “protectors of news” and describes what they do as “not just a job”, but a “mission”.   03 May 2019, 13:32

Posted in Editorial, Education, Elections, Featured, International, Local, News, Politics1 Comment

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