Sunday, September 25, 2011


When will it end?

I had no words when on Sept 13th George Franklyn gunned down two women one of whom was his wife and left two young men also nursing injuries. At least nothing that didn't sound trite or contrived. So I sat quietly and listened to the voices around me relay a tale of horror. An all too familiar tale where the players differ but the script remains unchanged. Women are increasingly under attack with no let up in sight.

I made several attempts to write on the events but once more words failed me.So instead I shed tears for the victims and all the nameless,faceless women for whom violence is a part of their lives. This morning I woke to the news that 83 yr old Marion John was raped and killed. Something has to be seriously wrong with our society when old women are targeted for violence. If we agree that rape is more about dominance than sex then how do I wrap mind around the rape of an old woman? What kind of man seeks to exert dominance over a woman whose advanced age has already made her helpless? Is it even necessary to violate her to prove some point?

I don't have the answers so I am wondering how could women protect themselves. My friend Debra Providence put it nicely when she said " it's open season on women it seems and sometimes the coppers are just too far away to hear you scream". I would go a little further and add those close to us often do not hear our cries silent or otherwise either. So where does that leave us? My friends have offered up ideas ranging from self defense classes to acquiring weapons. Yet while this is real talk we know that the underlying issues driving this violence remain unaddressed. And so the killings and maimings continue. I am officially scared.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Memories of 9/11

I had awoken that morning still revelling in the fact that I was back in St Vincent. Three weeks earlier, after 4 years of big city/country life I had packed my bags and left JFK for home. It was an unpopular decision-at least to my US relatives who tried their utmost to dissuade me. I listened to their best pitch knowing I was tired of the loneliness, the emotional abuse, homesickness and feeling unappreciated. Sometimes, you simply need to be where everybody knows your name.

My reverie was interrupted by a phone call that demanded I turned to CNN. There it was, an airliner crashing into one of the World Trade towers. It looked like a movie scene but it was shockingly real. For some reason Malcolm X 's "the chickens have come home to roost" statement came to mind. Who had the US pissed off this much? We would soon find out. Passenger planes had been terrorist targets before but this attack was literally changing the landscape. Like most people the following days were spent watching horrific image after image. The grim images made me even more grateful to be home far removed from the carnage. My heart ached for the innocents who had lost their lives and their grieving relatives and friends. It was somewhat surreal too as in April 2001, I had flown from Newark to California. What if my plane was a weapon of mass destruction?

Ten years on I still think of all the innocent lives lost in that attack and those who died in the subsequent wars on terror. 9/11 made Talibans, Iraq, Afghanistan,the axis of evil and Osama Bin Laden household words. The master mind of the attack is no more but I don't believe the world is any safer. However, for me 9/11's enduring legacy has been the transformation of travel. Now it's a nightmare with endless security checks, restrictions after restrictions and earlier arrival times. On flights I have sometimes wondered if hijackers are on board quietly biding their time. I guess the days of innocence are really over.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


Those Wikileaks

PM Gonsalves is once again the subject of a Wikileaks exposure. This time Peter Wickham of Cadres is alleged to have said that a "sudden injection of $350,000 in the last two weeks of St Vincent's December 2005 election campaign allowed the ruling ULP to sway voters in a handful of hard fought parliamentary races by helping people pay overdue bills, fix leaking roofs and buy groceries. Additionally, Wickham offered the belief that the ULP flew about 400 people from the USA for the elections. Unsurprisingly, Wickham is quoted as saying that Caribbean political campaigns are awash with money from a variety of sources, particularly wealthy expatriates seeking to influence governments. Most interestingly, given the claims by a purported drug dealer that he gave monies to the ULP campaign; Wickham according to the cable thinks there is some truth to the rumors that certain individuals tied to the drug trade provided funding to Gonsalves's party. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm! Wickham has since denied ever making these claims to Embassy officials, however I suspect the fall out will be great. In fact Wickham has already been dismissed from his position as CBC's analyst.

I don't know where to start but Caribbean politics being awash with money is stating the obvious. Who funds the tshirts, stickers, fliers, billboards, buttons etc? Some will say the Government's treasury but what about the opposition parties who are just as gaily decked out as the ruling parties? Added to this is the new phenomenon of "free"concerts featuring some of the biggest regional names. Somebody has to be paying for all of this and demanding their pound of flesh in return. However, no questions are asked and parties are not compelled to declare their source of funding so the beat goes on.

Back in the day I've heard the choice of "bribes" was bully beef and galvanise. My Dominican friend Caribbean Man declares that today's bribes are more sophisticated ranging from scholarships to Housing schemes. He may have a point as the idea is to satisfy some needs that will hopefully translate into votes come polling day. I am not a fan of politics by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe I am jaded,cynical or something or the other but politically I believe that the more things change the more they remain the same. So i really do not get excited about these politicians and their parties.That aside if any party wants to buy my vote please leave a message here.

By the way, I'm loving these leaks. Nothing like some good ole "commess"" concerning public officials. PS was Glen Jackson a US spy or I'm totally misreading the newspaper story?

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