Friday, January 21, 2011


Contract killing

Yesterday, speaking from Parliament Dr Ralph Gonsalves informed the nation that a plot to assassinate him had been unearthed. It's not the first time the Prime Minister has spoken about such a threat but it was certainly the most details he has given. According to him security forces had indicated that within one week of the December 13,2010 elections, the conspiracy to kill him was hatched by two cocaine traffickers.

A man who had previously been acquitted of a murder charge was was contracted but was apprehended after a man hunt that lasted little over a week. Acting on a tip, police were able to arrest him as he sought to flee the island via a speedboat. The Prime Minister went on to say that the man was subsequently charged for serious offences unrelated to the conspiracy of murder to protect intelligence sources. A high powered assault weapon was also recovered during the exercise.

Within 24 hours of the arrest another "hit man"was recruited but got cold feet when he learnt of his prime ministerial target. The services of a Trinidadian was then procured but remains at large despite police searches.For now I have no other comment save to say these are interesting times.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Women and Politics

When I was a little girl politics and my world collided.Back then "upful' was the word and a relative was on the platform boldly going where few women had dared to go. Always a maverick, she had defied the conventional wisdom of the day by throwing her hat not only into the political ring but for a third party burdened by the dreaded communist stigma. I speak of course of the tireless Nelcia Robinson to whom I owe a debt of gratitude.

Women in politics or lack thereof is a topic that attracts considerable debate. While women are always at the forefront vocally supporting their parties the parliamentary representation remains minimal.Ivy Joshua blazed a trail as the first woman to win a parliamentary seat and went on to hold it in five consecutive elections. yet despite this phenomenal achievement she remains a name that is hardly ever mentioned or given the respect it deserves. In fact, too many believe that women in government began with Yvonne Francis Gibson or Rene Baptiste. The trailblazing Ivy Joshua, was to many a social outcast, with little or no formal education and a figure of ridicule.

Today with more access to education the put downs are more subtle. However, they are present. Women's lives are dissected, mocked for their weight and their dress in a way that most men are not. This sexism or violence as one family member calls it probably accounts for women's reluctance in entering the fray; although last election saw 7 women on the Green Party's slate. However, that occurrence is an exception more than the rule. Despite all of this even as an apathetic political follower I believe more women's voices are needed in parliament.

So with much interest I followed the GHS lecture series where one of our distinguished alumna Ambassador Betty King,appointed by Barack Obama was delivering on said topic. Given that we had just come off a testy election campaign where one woman was elevated to the post of deputy PM and two others were appointed opposition senators interest was high. While I appreciated her shining the light on violence against women I came away feeling cheated because the reasons for women shying away from politics were not explored.

Neither were the challenges women face in a male dominated field explored.For that matter the Vincentian context was not even touched. To me it was not enough to put the figures out there without offering up some theories. While it is true that for every Eugenia Charles et al many others fail on the flip side did they succeed by trading in (in the public's view) their femininity. So pardon me if I felt shortchanged because I just didn't think the debate went far enough.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011



Lately I've been thinking a lot about earthquakes. Almost one year ago a massive earthquake caused widespread devastation in Haiti.Sadly, the lives of its inhabitants remain chaotic. The pledged aid has not materialised- well not in significantly large quantities. As if tent cities were not bad enough the embattled nation has had to contend with cholera. It's really a dire time for our neighbours who must be wondering when normalcy will return.

If the other Caribbean islands thought they were immune from major earthquakes they/we were given a wake up call. Following on the heels of the Christmas Eve earthquake that hit Trinidad, Dr Joan Latchman of the Seismic Unit UWI has alerted the region to the possibility of being hit by a major earthquake. With images of the Haitian earthquake still fresh this news is chilling to say the least. As if to guard against complacency, on the 31st Dec Dominica was rocked by a 5.0 earthquake. So excuse me if the "Drop..Cover..Hold on" jingle keeps playing in my head.

However, are we really prepared or are we sitting ducks waiting for the worst? Some will say our buildings are sturdier than Haiti's but do we have a disaster plan? I hope we don't have to find out soon.

PS: Happy New year

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