Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Understanding liberals and progressives

In order to understand the liberal and progressive agenda, one must know something about their world vision and values. Let's examine some of the evidence.

Why the 1970s struggle to ban DDT? Alexander King, founder of the Malthusian Club of Rome, wrote in a 1990 biographical essay: "My own doubts came when DDT was introduced for civilian use. In Guyana, within two years, it had almost eliminated malaria, but at the same time the birth rate had doubled. So my chief quarrel with DDT, in hindsight, is that it has greatly added to the population problem."

Dr. Charles Wurster, former chief scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, was once asked whether he thought a ban on DDT would result in the use of more dangerous chemicals and more malaria cases in Sri Lanka. He replied: "Probably. So what? People are the cause of all the problems. We have too many of them. We need to get rid of some of them, and (malaria) is as good a way as any."

According to "Earthbound," a collection of essays on environmental ethics, William Aiken said: "Massive human diebacks would be good. It is our duty to cause them. It is our species' duty, relative to the whole, to eliminate 90 percent of our numbers."

Former National Park Service research biologist David Graber opined, "Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. ... We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth. ... Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along."

Speaking of viruses, Prince Philip - Duke of Edinburgh and patron of the World Wildlife Fund - said, "If I were reincarnated, I would wish to be returned to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels." The late Jacques Cousteau told The UNESCO Courier: "One America burdens the earth much more than twenty Bangladeshes. This is a terrible thing to say. In order to stabilize world population, we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it's just as bad not to say it."

That represents the values of some progressives, but what about their predictions? In 1972, a report was written for the Club of Rome to warn that the world would run out of gold by 1981, mercury and silver by 1985, tin by 1987, and petroleum, copper, lead and natural gas by 1992. It turns out that each of these resources is more plentiful today. Gordon Taylor, in his 1970 book, "The Doomsday Book," said that Americans were using 50 percent of the world's resources and that "by 2000 (Americans) will, if permitted, be using all of them." In 1975, the Environment Fund took out full-page ads warning, "The World as we know it will likely be ruined by the year 2000." Harvard University Nobel laureate biologist George Wald in 1970 warned, "Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind." Former Sen. Gaylord Nelson, quoting Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, warned, in Look magazine (1970), that by 1995, "somewhere between 75 and 85 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct." In 1974, the U.S. Geological Survey said the U.S. had only a 10-year supply of natural gas. The fact of the matter, according to the American Gas Association, is that there's more than a 110-year supply.

In 1986, Lester Brown, who had been predicting global starvation for 40 years, received a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award, along with a stipend. The foundation also gave Dr. Paul Ehrlich, who predicted millions of Americans would die of starvation, the "genius" award in 1990. Note that these $300,000 to $400,000 awards were granted well after enough time had passed to demonstrate that Brown and Ehrlich were insanely wrong.

Just think: Congress listens to people like these and formulates public policy on their dire predictions that we're running out of something.

Monday, April 15, 2013

T&T moves to prop up falling tourism industry

(Trinidad Guardian) T&T is looking to the diaspora market and to the Caricom market to boost its tourism industry, says Tourism Minister Stephen Cadiz. He said T&T has lost 60 per cent of the Caricom market. Cadiz was addressing members of the local, regional and international media at a news conference held yesterday at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain.

The news conference marked the start of the 14th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development (STC-14) themed Keeping the Right Balance, Enhancing Destination Sustainability Through Products, Partnerships and Profitability. The conference is expected to explore the ways in which the Caribbean can enhance destination sustainability and competitiveness in the current global environment.

“Trinidad and Tobago have lost 60,000 Caricom travellers over five years. We have 100,000 Caricom travellers (who) come to T&T for whatever reason and that dropped off. I think one of the reasons for that is the cost of inter-island travel.” Cadiz said there is need to find ways and means of bringing T&T back to “where we were before, getting back the 60,000, so that is just within the Caribbean.”

Describing the diaspora market as a “huge” market he said there are millions of people living in Canada, the United Kingdom and United States and the ministry’s target is to attract the children of the diaspora to return, he said it is a “demographic we have to start looking at very seriously.”

Cadiz added that the ministry wants to designate 2014 as a “coming home year” for children of the diaspora and already Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) is achieving this, because 90 per cent of the passengers which fly Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) comprise of the diaspora. Referring to the marketing budget for tourism, Cadiz said it has always been low but, the ministry is not daunted as a lot can be achieved with a limited budget. He anticipated that in the 2013/2014 budget the ministry would receive a greater budget.

Monday, March 25, 2013

UN Backs Guyana Amerindians Control of Land

 A United Nations agency is urging Guyana to review the practice of granting mining permits and concessions in indigenous communities before obtaining consent from Amerindians who live there.

The letter was issued this week by the U.N.'s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It comes after the Amerindian People's Association wrote the U.N. to complain that although Amerindians received land titles from the government, they have no power to prevent miners from working in or near their villages.

Spokeswoman Jean LaRose said Saturday that the group has repeatedly sought permission from the government to prevent miners from exploiting indigenous people's lands.

Attorney General Anand Nandlall has said the government will not consider the group's request.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Britain's colonial shame: Slave-owners given huge payouts after abolition

David Cameron's ancestors were among the wealthy families who received generous reparation payments that would be worth millions of pounds in today's money.

The true scale of Britain's involvement in the slave trade has been laid bare in documents revealing how the country's wealthiest families received the modern equivalent of billions of pounds in compensation after slavery was abolished.

The previously unseen records show exactly who received what in payouts from the Government when slave ownership was abolished by Britain – much to the potential embarrassment of their descendants. Dr Nick Draper from University College London, who has studied the compensation papers, says as many as one-fifth of wealthy Victorian Britons derived all or part of their fortunes from the slave economy.

As a result, there are now wealthy families all around the UK still indirectly enjoying the proceeds of slavery where it has been passed on to them. Dr Draper said: "There was a feeding frenzy around the compensation." A John Austin, for instance, owned 415 slaves, and got compensation of £20,511, a sum worth nearly £17m today. And there were many who received far more.

Academics from UCL, led by Dr Draper, spent three years drawing together 46,000 records of compensation given to British slave-owners into an internet database to be launched for public use on Wednesday. But he emphasised that the claims set to be unveiled were not just from rich families but included many "very ordinary men and women" and covered the entire spectrum of society.

Dr Draper added that the database's findings may have implications for the "reparations debate". Barbados is currently leading the way in calling for reparations from former colonial powers for the injustices suffered by slaves and their families.

Among those revealed to have benefited from slavery are ancestors of the Prime Minister, David Cameron, former minister Douglas Hogg, authors Graham Greene and George Orwell, poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and the new chairman of the Arts Council, Peter Bazalgette. Other prominent names which feature in the records include scions of one of the nation's oldest banking families, the Barings, and the second Earl of Harewood, Henry Lascelles, an ancestor of the Queen's cousin. Some families used the money to invest in the railways and other aspects of the industrial revolution; others bought or maintained their country houses, and some used the money for philanthropy. George Orwell's great-grandfather, Charles Blair, received £4,442, equal to £3m today, for the 218 slaves he owned.

The British government paid out £20m to compensate some 3,000 families that owned slaves for the loss of their "property" when slave-ownership was abolished in Britain's colonies in 1833. This figure represented a staggering 40 per cent of the Treasury's annual spending budget and, in today's terms, calculated as wage values, equates to around £16.5bn.

A total of £10m went to slave-owning families in the Caribbean and Africa, while the other half went to absentee owners living in Britain. The biggest single payout went to James Blair (no relation to Orwell), an MP who had homes in Marylebone, central London, and Scotland. He was awarded £83,530, the equivalent of £65m today, for 1,598 slaves he owned on the plantation he had inherited in British Guyana.

But this amount was dwarfed by the amount paid to John Gladstone, the father of 19th-century prime minister William Gladstone. He received £106,769 (modern equivalent £83m) for the 2,508 slaves he owned across nine plantations. His son, who served as prime minister four times during his 60-year career, was heavily involved in his father's claim.

Mr Cameron, too, is revealed to have slave owners in his family background on his father's side. The compensation records show that General Sir James Duff, an army officer and MP for Banffshire in Scotland during the late 1700s, was Mr Cameron's first cousin six times removed. Sir James, who was the son of one of Mr Cameron's great-grand-uncle's, the second Earl of Fife, was awarded £4,101, equal to more than £3m today, to compensate him for the 202 slaves he forfeited on the Grange Sugar Estate in Jamaica.

Another illustrious political family that it appears still carries the name of a major slave owner is the Hogg dynasty, which includes the former cabinet minister Douglas Hogg. They are the descendants of Charles McGarel, a merchant who made a fortune from slave ownership. Between 1835 and 1837 he received £129,464, about £101m in today's terms, for the 2,489 slaves he owned. McGarel later went on to bring his younger brother-in-law Quintin Hogg into his hugely successful sugar firm, which still used indentured labour on plantations in British Guyana established under slavery. And it was Quintin's descendants that continued to keep the family name in the limelight, with both his son, Douglas McGarel Hogg, and his grandson, Quintin McGarel Hogg, becoming Lord Chancellor.

Dr Draper said: "Seeing the names of the slave-owners repeated in 20th‑century family naming practices is a very stark reminder about where those families saw their origins being from. In this case I'm thinking about the Hogg family. To have two Lord Chancellors in Britain in the 20th century bearing the name of a slave-owner from British Guyana, who went penniless to British Guyana, came back a very wealthy man and contributed to the formation of this political dynasty, which incorporated his name into their children in recognition – it seems to me to be an illuminating story and a potent example."

Mr Hogg refused to comment yesterday, saying he "didn't know anything about it". Mr Cameron declined to comment after a request was made to the No 10 press office.

Another demonstration of the extent to which slavery links stretch into modern Britain is Evelyn Bazalgette, the uncle of one of the giants of Victorian engineering, Sir Joseph Bazalgette and ancestor of Arts Council boss Sir Peter Bazalgette. He was paid £7,352 (£5.7m in today's money) for 420 slaves from two estates in Jamaica. Sir Peter said yesterday: "It had always been rumoured that his father had some interests in the Caribbean and I suspect Evelyn inherited that. So I heard rumours but this confirms it, and guess it's the sort of thing wealthy people on the make did in the 1800s. He could have put his money elsewhere but regrettably he put it in the Caribbean."

The TV chef Ainsley Harriott, who had slave-owners in his family on his grandfather's side, said yesterday he was shocked by the amount paid out by the government to the slave-owners. "You would think the government would have given at least some money to the freed slaves who need to find homes and start new lives," he said. "It seems a bit barbaric. It's like the rich protecting the rich."

The database is available from Wednesday at:

Cruel trade

Slavery on an industrial scale was a major source of the wealth of the British empire, being the exploitation upon which the West Indies sugar trade and cotton crop in North America was based. Those who made money from it were not only the slave-owners, but also the investors in those who transported Africans to enslavement. In the century to 1810, British ships carried about three million to a life of forced labour.

Campaigning against slavery began in the late 18th century as revulsion against the trade spread. This led, first, to the abolition of the trade in slaves, which came into law in 1808, and then, some 26 years later, to the Act of Parliament that would emancipate slaves. This legislation made provision for the staggering levels of compensation for slave-owners, but gave the former slaves not a penny in reparation.

More than that, it said that only children under six would be immediately free; the rest being regarded as "apprentices" who would, in exchange for free board and lodging, have to work for their "owners" 40 and a half hours for nothing until 1840. Several large disturbances meant that the deadline was brought forward and so, in 1838, 700,000 slaves in the West Indies, 40,000 in South Africa and 20,000 in Mauritius were finally liberated. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

How will the Guyana Police Service select persons with the capacities to meet the organization’s needs”

Dear Editor,

I do not think that rational Guyanese would, for one moment, deny the need for urgent reform of the Guyana Police Service (GPS), but I would suggest that Mr Rohee has succumbed to a flawed strategy in his anxiety to prove his critics wrong. The method used to arrive at the recently announced reform proposals, represents missed opportunities to garner the support of the Guyanese public. The plea for wide support rings hollow since the announcement bears the hallmarks of an in-your-face fait accompli.

I refer specifically to the heavy dependence on overseas consultants. Such behaviour by national policy-makers does not contribute to the development of Guyanese expertise, and could be seen as being unpatriotic. Will we ever rid ourselves of our dependency syndrome?  How much longer will Guyana continue to be dependent on overseas consultants at astronomical cost, and in many instances for questionable results? Apart from the Disciplined Forces Commission Report, what opportunities were made available locally, within recent times, for an input from civil society and interested persons?  Long-term solutions will, ultimately, depend on Guyana’s ability to solve her own problems.

The proposals speak of “the implementation of a strategy that emphasizes more training…”   But further training presumes that the beneficiaries are trainable. I am not at all confident that this particular goal is achievable within the near future, bearing in mind the low-level entrance requirements for police recruits. In relatively recent advertisements, applicants to the GPS are required to have a sound primary education. I am not quite sure where in Guyana’s public school system a sound primary education could have been obtained within recent years.

To quote from the Ministry of Education Strategy Plan 2008-2013: “Primary education is not enough for young adults who have to meet the demands of today’s world.   The education offering of the CHS (Community High School) is inadequate.  A good secondary education is perhaps the minimum requirement, even though it appears that it is from the tertiary level of education that young adults are more likely to acquire the [desired] level of functional literacy.   This… however, is probably a function of the erosion of quality in the lower levels of the education system.”

The Jan 5 SN article reporting the views of the local private sector (‘Pay raise critical for success of planned security reforms’), though not scoring a bull’s-eye, does indicate one critical issue that warrants the most urgent attention. It should be ack–nowledged that the GPS, through no fault of its own, cannot cope with the increased variety of crimes now being perpetrated in Guyana.

It simply does not have the intellectual capacity. It will have to offer competitive rewards if it is to acquire the essential brain-power.

But first, what are the real organizational needs of the GPS, as opposed to wants (example, the dysfunctional water cannon)?  Have these needs been assessed and prioritized? How will the GPS select persons with the capacities to match the organization’s needs? What will be the minimum required qualification at the point of entry that will ensure that police recruits are trainable, and that money will not be wasted in fruitless exercises? How will the capacities of under-qualified serving ranks be enhanced to enable them to benefit from further or tertiary level education? This is an absolutely critical requirement for ensuring quality throughout the organization.

In Guyana’s context of rampant crime aided by modern technology and fuelled by the narcotics industry, smuggling of the living and non-living, pervasive corruption, money laundering, and financial jiggery-pokery, the minimum entry requirement to the GPS should be the equivalent of a good high school diploma.

The term diploma is used because other relevant criteria should be required in addition to academic criteria.  In some countries, colleges offer associate degree and degree programmes in law enforcement, which is an entry requirement in certain jurisdictions.

The above are some of the questions and criteria that should be used in the evaluation of the reform proposals. If satisfactory answers are not available, then the proposals as they stand, do not merit the support of the Guyanese public.

It is indeed regrettable that a considerable amount of taxpayers’ money has already been expended on a project that appears to be seriously inadequate. Recent events in the Ministry of Home Affairs involving value for money demand that all aspects of the proposed reforms be subjected to the most intense scrutiny.
Yours faithfully,
Clarence O Perry

Monday, December 10, 2012

The MMA is not moving to take away state lands at Cotton Tree from the residents

In response to a totally inaccurate and grossly misleading article headed ‘Cotton Tree Residents battling MMA over titled lands‘ published in the Thursday, December 6 edition of the Kaieteur News, the MMA herein issues the following statement:

There is absolutely no truth whatsoever that the MMA or government is moving to ‘take away’ the state lands at Cotton Tree from the residents there. That will never happen.

Instead, there is an ongoing process which started in 2005 upon their request, to ‘divide up’ the lands and award them their individual titles. The original title (now cancelled) – Licence of Occupancy A105 -covering 1753 acres was issued in 1905 to the then proprietors of Cotton Tree.

Not unexpectedly, after 100 years, things have changed; the village population has grown and everyone wants to have a piece of the state land.

There was therefore the need to treat with their request for regularization.

So far, we have held a number of meetings in the village conducting investigations and gathering   information. This is very necessary for the transparency and fairness that is required.

Some aspects of the information sought included the following:

(a) Claims to entitlement – inheritance from foreparents, etc
(b)  Ownership of freehold (transported) lands at the front
(c)  Domicile history of claimants
(d)  Current and historical occupation and control of state lands
(e)  Speculation – sales and purchases – of the transported and state lands
(f) Needs – family size, source of income, etc.

During our interactions, we found some situations that concerned us gravely. For instance, we received representation of ownership for over 168 plots in the rice area and another 85 plots in the reef area.  However, only 27 persons controlled and cultivated all the lands with one farmer alone cultivating over 500 acres; another rented out over 230 acres.

Many of the purported owners had migrated but continued to exercise control over the state lands from overseas, having their agents renting them out to other farmers in the area.

A large number of plots had changed occupation by informal sale. Some of these transactions are done overseas. We even heard of situations where the son would sell while the father is overseas, who upon return would deem the sale illegal, and demand back the land without giving back the buyer any money. Any resistance from the buyer is threatened with court action.

Many other similar situations were brought to our attention which we believe were sufficient to justify our decision to have the situation regularized.

During all of this too the drainage and irrigation charges were not being paid. As a result we initiated the process to recover these charges. This process is the same as for all the other areas within the MMA and, as has been well publicized for some years now, the continued refusal to pay drainage and irrigation charges leads to re-possession and re-allocation of state lands.

As in 2008, we have been publishing notices for some months now. Many persons have responded and yet some have not. We take this opportunity to again warn those defaulters.

This is the real problem of Mansoor Khan, who is featured in the Kaieteur News article We first published his drainage and irrigation indebtedness during the re-possession/re-allocation exercise of 2008.  He owed three hundred and five thousand, one hundred and eighteen dollars ($305,118.00) then.  He refused to pay although the lands were cultivated by people who were paying him a rent.  Instead he filed suit in court against us. His case was “struck out as being wholly misconceived” in a ruling by Madam Justice George on May 21, 2009. Notwithstanding this he still has not paid anything as of date.

Currently his account stands at $428,518.00 as at June 30, 2012, and we have already received expressions of interest from other persons of Cotton Tree to be allocated the state lands that he controls. Mr Khan has had previous difficulties with the MMA in relation to land and payment issues.

So in summary, the issue is not, and has never been the taking away of the lands from the people of Cotton Tree. As we continue to move the process forward, however, it is our responsibility to ensure a fair and equitable process of allocation to them. Presently, we will be doing some surveys and we will be holding the next set of meetings with them.

It is our hope that all the residents and descendants of the proprietors of Cotton Tree will be given a title to or an interest in the state lands there as we guard against only a few persons, some of whom don’t even live in Guyana, being the only ones to benefit as is happening now.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Chris Brown Guyana Show Canceled After Protests Over His 2009 Assault Of Rihanna

Organizers say American R&B star Chris Brown has canceled a stadium concert in Guyana after local protests over his 2009 beating of then-girlfriend Rihanna.

Brown was billed to headline a Dec. 26 show. But he drew the ire of women's rights groups and opposition lawmakers who said Brown would not be welcome in Guyana three years after his assault of Barbadian superstar Rihanna.

Concert promoter Hits & Jams Entertainment said Thursday that Brown backed out, citing discomfort with the protests.

In 2009, Brown hit, choked and bit Rihanna during an argument in Los Angeles. He later pleaded guilty to assault.

Since then, Brown has worked to repair his image, undergoing violence counseling and putting out a new album. He has a duet with Rihanna on her recently released record.