On This Day..
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Haile Selassie visited Jamaica on April 21, 1966, and approximately one hundred thousand Rastafari from all over Jamaica descended on Palisadoes Airport in Kingston, having heard that the man whom they considered to be their Messiah was coming to visit them. Spliffs and chalices were openly smoked, causing “a haze of ganja smoke” to drift through the air. Haile Selassie arrived at the airport but was unable to come down the mobile steps of the airplane, as the crowd rushed the tarmac. He then returned into the plane, disappearing for several more minutes. Finally, Jamaican authorities were obliged to request Ras Mortimer Planno, a well-known Rasta leader, to climb the steps, enter the plane, and negotiate the Emperor’s descent. Planno re-emerged and announced to the crowd: “The Emperor has instructed me to tell you to be calm. Step back and let the Emperor land”. This day is widely held by scholars to be a major turning point for the movement,and it is still commemorated by Rastafarians as Grounation Day, the anniversary of which is celebrated as the second holiest holiday after 2 November, the Emperor’s Coronation Day.
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From then on, as a result of Planno’s actions, the Jamaican authorities were asked to ensure that Rastafarian representatives were present at all state functions attended by His Majesty,and Rastafarian elders also ensured that they obtained a private audience with the Emperor,where he reportedly told them that they should not emigrate to Ethiopia until they had first liberated the people of Jamaica. This dictum came to be known as “liberation before repatriation”.
Haile Selassie defied expectations of the Jamaican authorities,[and never rebuked the Rastafari for their belief in him as the returned Jesus. Instead, he presented the movement’s faithful elders with gold medallions – the only recipients of such an honor on this visit. During PNP leader (later Jamaican Prime Minister) Michael Manley’s visit to Ethiopia in October 1969, the Emperor allegedly still recalled his 1966 reception with amazement, and stated that he felt that he had to be respectful of their beliefs. This was the visit when Manley received the Rod of Correction or Rod of Joshua as a present from the Emperor, which is thought to have helped him to win the 1972 election in Jamaica.
April 21, 2014

On This Day..

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Haile Selassie visited Jamaica on April 21, 1966, and approximately one hundred thousand Rastafari from all over Jamaica descended on Palisadoes Airport in Kingston, having heard that the man whom they considered to be their Messiah was coming to visit them. Spliffs and chalices were openly smoked, causing “a haze of ganja smoke” to drift through the air. Haile Selassie arrived at the airport but was unable to come down the mobile steps of the airplane, as the crowd rushed the tarmac. He then returned into the plane, disappearing for several more minutes. Finally, Jamaican authorities were obliged to request Ras Mortimer Planno, a well-known Rasta leader, to climb the steps, enter the plane, and negotiate the Emperor’s descent. Planno re-emerged and announced to the crowd: “The Emperor has instructed me to tell you to be calm. Step back and let the Emperor land”. This day is widely held by scholars to be a major turning point for the movement,and it is still commemorated by Rastafarians as Grounation Day, the anniversary of which is celebrated as the second holiest holiday after 2 November, the Emperor’s Coronation Day.

(PLEASE FOLLOW BOTH Tumblr’s  HERE & HERE)

From then on, as a result of Planno’s actions, the Jamaican authorities were asked to ensure that Rastafarian representatives were present at all state functions attended by His Majesty,and Rastafarian elders also ensured that they obtained a private audience with the Emperor,where he reportedly told them that they should not emigrate to Ethiopia until they had first liberated the people of Jamaica. This dictum came to be known as “liberation before repatriation”.

Haile Selassie defied expectations of the Jamaican authorities,[and never rebuked the Rastafari for their belief in him as the returned Jesus. Instead, he presented the movement’s faithful elders with gold medallions – the only recipients of such an honor on this visit. During PNP leader (later Jamaican Prime Minister) Michael Manley’s visit to Ethiopia in October 1969, the Emperor allegedly still recalled his 1966 reception with amazement, and stated that he felt that he had to be respectful of their beliefs. This was the visit when Manley received the Rod of Correction or Rod of Joshua as a present from the Emperor, which is thought to have helped him to win the 1972 election in Jamaica.

Row over Bob Marley’s Music (again).
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According to Barbados’ Nation News and the Jamaica Observer, two music companies are preparing for a legal battle over Bob Marley’s songs. Chris Blackwell’s Blue Mountain Music is set to defend their alleged misattribution, and diversion of income, among other things, in an attempt to retrieve “No Woman, No Cry” and other songs against plaintiff Cayman Music. The landmark trial date is set for May 12, 2014.
Cayman Music is the original, long-standing publisher for Bob Marley, one of the most successful reggae artistes of all time. They represented his catalogue from 1967 to late 1976. The defendants are the publishing arm of Island Records and sometime publisher of Bob Marley titles, from the mid-1970s to his death in May 1981.
Both publishers retain some of Marley’s work. Plaintiff Cayman Music was the publisher at the time the song was written but it was attributed to Vincent Ford, in an alleged “misattribution”. The move denied…[Full article HERE]
April 21, 2014

Row over Bob Marley’s Music (again).

(PLEASE FOLLOW BOTH Tumblr’s  HERE & HERE)

According to Barbados’ Nation News and the Jamaica Observer, two music companies are preparing for a legal battle over Bob Marley’s songs. Chris Blackwell’s Blue Mountain Music is set to defend their alleged misattribution, and diversion of income, among other things, in an attempt to retrieve “No Woman, No Cry” and other songs against plaintiff Cayman Music. The landmark trial date is set for May 12, 2014.

Cayman Music is the original, long-standing publisher for Bob Marley, one of the most successful reggae artistes of all time. They represented his catalogue from 1967 to late 1976. The defendants are the publishing arm of Island Records and sometime publisher of Bob Marley titles, from the mid-1970s to his death in May 1981.

Both publishers retain some of Marley’s work. Plaintiff Cayman Music was the publisher at the time the song was written but it was attributed to Vincent Ford, in an alleged “misattribution”. The move denied…[Full article HERE]

Tribute to a Salsa Singer
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Muralists in the Bronx are honoring the salsa singer Cheo Feliciano, who diedThursday in a car accident in Puerto Rico, The New York Timesreports.
In Hunts Point, the artists known as BG183 and HEF worked on a wooden panel that mimics a full-length subway car, behind the studios of TATS Cru, a Bronx group of artists.
The mural, which the two artists began on Thursday within hours after hearing of Mr. Feliciano’s death, is a short walk from what was once the Hunts Point Palace, where he performed as the vocalist for the Joe Cuba Sextet in the 1960s.
April 20, 2014

Tribute to a Salsa Singer

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Muralists in the Bronx are honoring the salsa singer Cheo Feliciano, who diedThursday in a car accident in Puerto Rico, The New York Timesreports.

In Hunts Point, the artists known as BG183 and HEF worked on a wooden panel that mimics a full-length subway car, behind the studios of TATS Cru, a Bronx group of artists.

The mural, which the two artists began on Thursday within hours after hearing of Mr. Feliciano’s death, is a short walk from what was once the Hunts Point Palace, where he performed as the vocalist for the Joe Cuba Sextet in the 1960s.

Armando Peraza, flamboyant Cuban bongo drummer, has died
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A self-taught musician, Armando Peraza performed with jazz artists like Dave Brubeck and George Shearing, and spent two decades with Carlos Santana, David Colker reports in this obituary for The Los Angeles Times. Follow the link below for the original report.
Cuban-born drummer Armando Peraza, a self-taught musician who transformed himself from a homeless orphan in Havana to a world-recognized bongo and conga expert who performed with Carlos Santana for nearly two decades, died Monday in a South San Francisco hospital.
The cause was pneumonia, said his wife, Josephine Peraza. Peraza had also battled diabetes for many years.
Officially, Peraza was 89, but he admitted that he made up a birth date to give to authorities when he came to the…..[Full article HERE]
April 18, 2014

Armando Peraza, flamboyant Cuban bongo drummer, has died

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A self-taught musician, Armando Peraza performed with jazz artists like Dave Brubeck and George Shearing, and spent two decades with Carlos Santana, David Colker reports in this obituary for The Los Angeles Times. Follow the link below for the original report.

Cuban-born drummer Armando Peraza, a self-taught musician who transformed himself from a homeless orphan in Havana to a world-recognized bongo and conga expert who performed with Carlos Santana for nearly two decades, died Monday in a South San Francisco hospital.

The cause was pneumonia, said his wife, Josephine Peraza. Peraza had also battled diabetes for many years.

Officially, Peraza was 89, but he admitted that he made up a birth date to give to authorities when he came to the…..[Full article HERE]

April 13, 2014

THIS is JAMAICA be PROUD

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The National Gallery of Jamaica to Celebrate 40th Anniversary
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The National Gallery of Jamaica will be celebrating its fortieth anniversary on November 14, 2014, and among several upcoming projects, there will be a major retrospective on the gallery’s trajectory, “In Retrospect: 40 years of the National Gallery of Jamaica.” The Gallery’s chief curator Charles Campbell writes:

2014 is shaping up to be a big year for the National Gallery of Jamaica. It’s been forty years since we first opened our doors as a gallery to collect, research, document and preserve Jamaican and other Caribbean Art. As I begin to settle into my role here as the new Chief Curator this year’s milestone has been an opportunity to look at both the Gallery’s tremendous accomplishments and how we may wish to change.

To celebrate our fortieth anniversary we’ll be mounting an exhibition that looks at the gallery’s history and the role it’s played in the Jamaican art world. “In Retrospect: 40 years of the National Gallery of Jamaica” will examine how…[Full article HERE]
April 1, 2014

The National Gallery of Jamaica to Celebrate 40th Anniversary

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The National Gallery of Jamaica will be celebrating its fortieth anniversary on November 14, 2014, and among several upcoming projects, there will be a major retrospective on the gallery’s trajectory, “In Retrospect: 40 years of the National Gallery of Jamaica.” The Gallery’s chief curator Charles Campbell writes:

2014 is shaping up to be a big year for the National Gallery of Jamaica. It’s been forty years since we first opened our doors as a gallery to collect, research, document and preserve Jamaican and other Caribbean Art. As I begin to settle into my role here as the new Chief Curator this year’s milestone has been an opportunity to look at both the Gallery’s tremendous accomplishments and how we may wish to change.

To celebrate our fortieth anniversary we’ll be mounting an exhibition that looks at the gallery’s history and the role it’s played in the Jamaican art world. “In Retrospect: 40 years of the National Gallery of Jamaica” will examine how…[Full article HERE]

READ A BOOK:
Cuba on My Mind: Book Spotlights Ramiro A. Fernández Collection
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Cuba Then: Rare and Classic Images from the Ramiro A. Fernández Collection (The Monacelli Press, 2014), with a foreword and poems by Richard Blanco, gathers spectacular vintage photographs of the island of Cuba. For example, the photo on the cover (above) shows Josephine Baker and Italian singer Ernesto Bonino in Havana in 1952. According to this article by Lorna Koski, this is the second book based on Cuban-born Ramiro A. Fernández’s collection. Here are excerpts with a link to the full article below:

Fernández, who lives in New York’s Chelsea district, left Cuba as an eight-year-old in 1960 and, when he grew up, became a photo editor. In 1981, when he was working as a receptionist at the Museum of Modern Art, a man came in one day with an album of albumen prints by the Spanish-born Cuban photographer José Gómez de la Carrera, which he offered to sell to photo curator John Szarkowski. The curator wasn’t interested, so Fernández decided to buy the album himself in installments. That was the beginning of his collection, which now spans from 1850 to……[Full article HERE]
March 31, 2014

READ A BOOK:

Cuba on My Mind: Book Spotlights Ramiro A. Fernández Collection

(PLEASE FOLLOW BOTH Tumblr’s  HERE & HERE)

Cuba Then: Rare and Classic Images from the Ramiro A. Fernández Collection (The Monacelli Press, 2014), with a foreword and poems by Richard Blanco, gathers spectacular vintage photographs of the island of Cuba. For example, the photo on the cover (above) shows Josephine Baker and Italian singer Ernesto Bonino in Havana in 1952. According to this article by Lorna Koski, this is the second book based on Cuban-born Ramiro A. Fernández’s collection. Here are excerpts with a link to the full article below:

Fernández, who lives in New York’s Chelsea district, left Cuba as an eight-year-old in 1960 and, when he grew up, became a photo editor. In 1981, when he was working as a receptionist at the Museum of Modern Art, a man came in one day with an album of albumen prints by the Spanish-born Cuban photographer José Gómez de la Carrera, which he offered to sell to photo curator John Szarkowski. The curator wasn’t interested, so Fernández decided to buy the album himself in installments. That was the beginning of his collection, which now spans from 1850 to……[Full article HERE]

Jamaica school serves as cradle for island’s music

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Barefoot and dressed in donated clothes, 12-year-old Renaldo Brown methodically plays scales on a flute under the canopy of trees at a Jamaican vocational school renowned for nurturing many of this music-steeped island’s top instrumentalists, as David McFadden reports for the Associated Press. “It’s challenging but I like it. I’m getting better ’cause I’ve been practicing nearly every day for two years,” said the serious boy from the gritty Jamaican city of Spanish Town, tapping the keys on the silver-colored wind instrument as he spoke. Renaldo is among two dozen boys from impoverished backgrounds who are discovering a new world through music after being placed by family courts at Alpha Boys’ School. Some of the boys are orphans, while others are placed at the home because of neglect, abuse or because their parents can’t control them. A residential facility operated by Catholic nuns since the late 19th century, the school has long been the cradle of Jamaica’s prolific music culture — and…….Full article HERE
March 24, 2014

Jamaica school serves as cradle for island’s music

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Barefoot and dressed in donated clothes, 12-year-old Renaldo Brown methodically plays scales on a flute under the canopy of trees at a Jamaican vocational school renowned for nurturing many of this music-steeped island’s top instrumentalists, as David McFadden reports for the Associated Press. “It’s challenging but I like it. I’m getting better ’cause I’ve been practicing nearly every day for two years,” said the serious boy from the gritty Jamaican city of Spanish Town, tapping the keys on the silver-colored wind instrument as he spoke. Renaldo is among two dozen boys from impoverished backgrounds who are discovering a new world through music after being placed by family courts at Alpha Boys’ School. Some of the boys are orphans, while others are placed at the home because of neglect, abuse or because their parents can’t control them. A residential facility operated by Catholic nuns since the late 19th century, the school has long been the cradle of Jamaica’s prolific music culture — and…….Full article HERE

Finally, a probe into Rodney’s death
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The Guyana government this week appointed a team of top Caribbean lawyers to probe the 1980 assassination of acclaimed historian Walter Rodney, a top opposition figure and international icon; but the party he helped found has said it hopes the truth will emerge as to who exactly ordered Rodney’s murder, Bert Wilkinson reports in this article for Caribbean Life News.
Dr. Walter Rodney, then 37, died when a bomb exploded in his lap near the main city prison facility in Georgetown on the night of June 13, 1980 as he was leading a spirited challenge against the then governing People’s National Congress (PNC) in the run up the 1980 general elections, which opposition parties had boycotted because of alleged widespread rigging.
Walter Rodney’s Working People’s Alliance (WPA) which today, ironically, is part of the main opposition APNU coalition with the PNC, immediately blamed the PNC for his assassination, contending that Rodney was handed the device by military intelligence agents who had infiltrated his inner circle.
Caribbean and international governments, academics and civil society also pointed fingers at the PNC led then by its founder, Prime Minister Forbes Burnham; charges the PNC has denied, even as it says it welcomes any probe.
Army Chief of Staff Brig. Gen Mark Phillips has promised full cooperation of the military with the commission, after meeting with the commission this week.
Rodney’s brother Donald, who was in the car with him when the explosion rocked the quiet of the city on that fateful Friday night, was injured and hid for several days before emerging, pointing fingers at the military for conspiracy in Walter’s death.
Barbadian Jurist Sir Richard Cheltenham, who incidentally is also part of a regional team investigating a 1990 Muslim-led attempted coup in neighboring Trinidad — will chair the three-person team that also includes Jamaican, Jacqueline Samuels-Brown and Trinidadian, Seenath Jairam.
The three were sworn in on Monday but the WPA Wednesday demanded “to see the terms of reference to determine whether it will enable the entire truth to come out in the public,” spokesman Desmond Trotman said.
Rodney was well known in the Caribbean, Africa and the U.S. for a series of well-acclaimed books he wrote, including: “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa,” a reference text that is widely used in American and other universities.
Cheltenham said the long delay in holding a commission of inquiry should not affect the outcome. At least 100 witnesses, many of them opposition and government politicians and ex-soldiers, are listed to testify. Others will have to be summoned.
He said the commission will likely sit for two-week stretches when work begins at a date to be determined by the readiness of organizers. He also noted that “many of them (witnesses) remembered the events as though they happened yesterday and (there were) several pieces of documentary evidence that allowed us to have no difficulties in finding facts and coming to conclusions. The fact that it happened 30 years or so ago need not be any bar to a full exposure of what took place and for the commission to make some firm conclusions,” he said.
March 23, 2014

Finally, a probe into Rodney’s death

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The Guyana government this week appointed a team of top Caribbean lawyers to probe the 1980 assassination of acclaimed historian Walter Rodney, a top opposition figure and international icon; but the party he helped found has said it hopes the truth will emerge as to who exactly ordered Rodney’s murder, Bert Wilkinson reports in this article for Caribbean Life News.

Dr. Walter Rodney, then 37, died when a bomb exploded in his lap near the main city prison facility in Georgetown on the night of June 13, 1980 as he was leading a spirited challenge against the then governing People’s National Congress (PNC) in the run up the 1980 general elections, which opposition parties had boycotted because of alleged widespread rigging.

Walter Rodney’s Working People’s Alliance (WPA) which today, ironically, is part of the main opposition APNU coalition with the PNC, immediately blamed the PNC for his assassination, contending that Rodney was handed the device by military intelligence agents who had infiltrated his inner circle.

Caribbean and international governments, academics and civil society also pointed fingers at the PNC led then by its founder, Prime Minister Forbes Burnham; charges the PNC has denied, even as it says it welcomes any probe.

Army Chief of Staff Brig. Gen Mark Phillips has promised full cooperation of the military with the commission, after meeting with the commission this week.

Rodney’s brother Donald, who was in the car with him when the explosion rocked the quiet of the city on that fateful Friday night, was injured and hid for several days before emerging, pointing fingers at the military for conspiracy in Walter’s death.

Barbadian Jurist Sir Richard Cheltenham, who incidentally is also part of a regional team investigating a 1990 Muslim-led attempted coup in neighboring Trinidad — will chair the three-person team that also includes Jamaican, Jacqueline Samuels-Brown and Trinidadian, Seenath Jairam.

The three were sworn in on Monday but the WPA Wednesday demanded “to see the terms of reference to determine whether it will enable the entire truth to come out in the public,” spokesman Desmond Trotman said.

Rodney was well known in the Caribbean, Africa and the U.S. for a series of well-acclaimed books he wrote, including: “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa,” a reference text that is widely used in American and other universities.

Cheltenham said the long delay in holding a commission of inquiry should not affect the outcome. At least 100 witnesses, many of them opposition and government politicians and ex-soldiers, are listed to testify. Others will have to be summoned.

He said the commission will likely sit for two-week stretches when work begins at a date to be determined by the readiness of organizers. He also noted that “many of them (witnesses) remembered the events as though they happened yesterday and (there were) several pieces of documentary evidence that allowed us to have no difficulties in finding facts and coming to conclusions. The fact that it happened 30 years or so ago need not be any bar to a full exposure of what took place and for the commission to make some firm conclusions,” he said.

Jamaican music theater stalwart Mercedes Kirkwood dies

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Mercedes Kirkwood, who last year at 92 years old received the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Commander (CD) for outstanding contribution to the development of the Jamaican musical theatre, has died, Jamaica’s Observer reports.
Kirkwood, who was affectionately called GG, was born in Del Rio, Cuba, and started singing at age three.
She relocated to Jamaica, and attended Jamaica School of Music (JSM), where it was discovered that “she had a stunning voice, perfect for opera”.
During her tenure at JSM, Kirkwood became a popular favourite, appearing frequently in several concerts, and on radio programmes.
After spending time in Jamaica, she migrated to the United Kingdom, and furthered her career in operatic theatre, for some 16 years, making her international debut.
During the height of her career, Kirkwood sang the title role of ‘Madame Butterfly’ in Yorkshire, and Mimi (‘La Boheme’) in Ireland; ‘Porgy & Bess’, ‘Carmen Jones’, and ‘Show Boat’.
After returning home to Jamaica, she made a number of local appearances at concerts, such as an Enchanted Evening with Jimmy Tucker and David Reid.
March 19, 2014

Jamaican music theater stalwart Mercedes Kirkwood dies

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Mercedes Kirkwood, who last year at 92 years old received the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Commander (CD) for outstanding contribution to the development of the Jamaican musical theatre, has died, Jamaica’s Observer reports.

Kirkwood, who was affectionately called GG, was born in Del Rio, Cuba, and started singing at age three.

She relocated to Jamaica, and attended Jamaica School of Music (JSM), where it was discovered that “she had a stunning voice, perfect for opera”.

During her tenure at JSM, Kirkwood became a popular favourite, appearing frequently in several concerts, and on radio programmes.

After spending time in Jamaica, she migrated to the United Kingdom, and furthered her career in operatic theatre, for some 16 years, making her international debut.

During the height of her career, Kirkwood sang the title role of ‘Madame Butterfly’ in Yorkshire, and Mimi (‘La Boheme’) in Ireland; ‘Porgy & Bess’, ‘Carmen Jones’, and ‘Show Boat’.

After returning home to Jamaica, she made a number of local appearances at concerts, such as an Enchanted Evening with Jimmy Tucker and David Reid.

The killing of Dr Rodney

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This article by correspondent Rickey Singh appeared in Trinidad’s Express.
NOW that Carnival 2014 is over, perhaps the people of Trinidad and Tobago could spare some time to reflect on developments in other Caricom states. One such country is Guyana.
An issue currently in sharp focus in Guyana is a probe into the killing, decades ago, of the internationally famous historian and crusader for freedom and social justice Walter Rodney.
Thirty-three years after this intellectual and writer was killed in a bomb blast in his car on the night of June 13, 1980, in Georgetown, a three-member team of Caribbean legal experts has been established to begin an enquiry into the circumstances surrounding the killing of Dr Rodney.
“Assassination” has always been the unofficial verdict of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), the party of which Dr Rodney was a founder-leader, as well as from thousands of its supporters across Guyana. They continue to blame the administration of late president Forbes Burnham for the murder.
The challenging task of the commission of enquiry is to unearth the truth—given the deaths of key figures—not the least being that of former sergeant of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Gregory Smith, who has been implicated in the killing. An electronics expert, Smith died some years ago in neighbouring French Guiana, to which he escaped and where he had started a new life.
The commission’s members are Barbados’s Sir Richard Cheltenham QC (chairman); Jamaica’s Jacqueline Samuels-Brown QC, and Guyana-born Seenauth Jairam SC, who lives and works in Trinidad and Tobago.
The commissioners were sworn in last week by President Donald Ramotar.
During his many years as Guyanese leader, Forbes Burnham and his People’s National Congress (PNC) never acquiesced to calls for an independent probe into Rodney’s death from various political parties and non-government organisations as well as from the widow and children of the slain historian and charismatic advocate for fundamental human rights and social, economic and political change in Guyana.
When efforts were made, after 1992, with a change in government led by the People’s Progressive Party’s Dr Cheddi Jagan to seek the cooperation of France for Smith’s extradition the French authorities made it clear it was not their policy to extradite an individual back to his country of birth to face a likely death sentence. France is opposed to the death penalty.
Earlier efforts by human rights advocates and organisations to secure the involvement in a probe into Rodney’s death by the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) had also proved fruitless.
In a telephone interview I had done as a regional correspondent for the Caribbean News Agency (CANA) with Smith while he was still in French Guiana, the fugitive claimed the tragedy “was an accident” and that he was “sorry” but preferred not to say anything further.
It was left to Burnham’s successor, Desmond Hoyte, under pressure from, in particular, Eusi Kwayana, the iconic cultural/political activist and a founding member of the WPA, to initiate a coroner’s inquest.
Eight years after Burnham’s passing, and in the absence of efforts to summon key witnesses and secure forensic evidence, the inquest concluded Rodney’s death had been caused “by accident or misadventure…”
Following the deaths of Burnham and Hoyte, there was the passage of a parliamentary motion calling for an independent probe into Rodney’s death, but only after the opposition PNC and WPA parliamentarians succeeded in getting removal of the word “assassination” with the argument that it would prejudge the circumstances surrounding the historian’s death.

Subsequently, and prior to Guyana’s last general election in November 2011, the WPA surprisingly opted to team up with the PNC— under the leadership of retired Brigadier of the GDF, David Granger—to contest elections under the umbrella of convenience known as APNU—A Partnership for National Unity. In this “partnership” Granger—always a “comrade” of the PNC—and the WPA’s “brother” Rupert Roopnarine, academic and writer, are respectively ALPNU’s chairman and deputy chairman. You think party politics in Guyana easy? We anxiously await the findings of the commission of enquiry.
Dr Rodney was at the height of his popular crusade against what he had described as the “Burnham dictatorship” when he was killed by the bomb planted in a walkie-talkie device and given to his brother, Donald Rodney, by Gregory Smith.
While we await the start of the probe, Rodney’s seminal work, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, is being translated for publication by China, whose economic and political influence in both Africa and the Caribbean/Latin America region is progressively rising. Stay tuned.
March 7, 2014

The killing of Dr Rodney

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This article by correspondent Rickey Singh appeared in Trinidad’s Express.

NOW that Carnival 2014 is over, perhaps the people of Trinidad and Tobago could spare some time to reflect on developments in other Caricom states. One such country is Guyana.

An issue currently in sharp focus in Guyana is a probe into the killing, decades ago, of the internationally famous historian and crusader for freedom and social justice Walter Rodney.

Thirty-three years after this intellectual and writer was killed in a bomb blast in his car on the night of June 13, 1980, in Georgetown, a three-member team of Caribbean legal experts has been established to begin an enquiry into the circumstances surrounding the killing of Dr Rodney.

“Assassination” has always been the unofficial verdict of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), the party of which Dr Rodney was a founder-leader, as well as from thousands of its supporters across Guyana. They continue to blame the administration of late president Forbes Burnham for the murder.

The challenging task of the commission of enquiry is to unearth the truth—given the deaths of key figures—not the least being that of former sergeant of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Gregory Smith, who has been implicated in the killing. An electronics expert, Smith died some years ago in neighbouring French Guiana, to which he escaped and where he had started a new life.

The commission’s members are Barbados’s Sir Richard Cheltenham QC (chairman); Jamaica’s Jacqueline Samuels-Brown QC, and Guyana-born Seenauth Jairam SC, who lives and works in Trinidad and Tobago.

The commissioners were sworn in last week by President Donald Ramotar.

During his many years as Guyanese leader, Forbes Burnham and his People’s National Congress (PNC) never acquiesced to calls for an independent probe into Rodney’s death from various political parties and non-government organisations as well as from the widow and children of the slain historian and charismatic advocate for fundamental human rights and social, economic and political change in Guyana.

When efforts were made, after 1992, with a change in government led by the People’s Progressive Party’s Dr Cheddi Jagan to seek the cooperation of France for Smith’s extradition the French authorities made it clear it was not their policy to extradite an individual back to his country of birth to face a likely death sentence. France is opposed to the death penalty.

Earlier efforts by human rights advocates and organisations to secure the involvement in a probe into Rodney’s death by the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) had also proved fruitless.

In a telephone interview I had done as a regional correspondent for the Caribbean News Agency (CANA) with Smith while he was still in French Guiana, the fugitive claimed the tragedy “was an accident” and that he was “sorry” but preferred not to say anything further.

It was left to Burnham’s successor, Desmond Hoyte, under pressure from, in particular, Eusi Kwayana, the iconic cultural/political activist and a founding member of the WPA, to initiate a coroner’s inquest.

Eight years after Burnham’s passing, and in the absence of efforts to summon key witnesses and secure forensic evidence, the inquest concluded Rodney’s death had been caused “by accident or misadventure…”

Following the deaths of Burnham and Hoyte, there was the passage of a parliamentary motion calling for an independent probe into Rodney’s death, but only after the opposition PNC and WPA parliamentarians succeeded in getting removal of the word “assassination” with the argument that it would prejudge the circumstances surrounding the historian’s death.

Subsequently, and prior to Guyana’s last general election in November 2011, the WPA surprisingly opted to team up with the PNC— under the leadership of retired Brigadier of the GDF, David Granger—to contest elections under the umbrella of convenience known as APNU—A Partnership for National Unity. In this “partnership” Granger—always a “comrade” of the PNC—and the WPA’s “brother” Rupert Roopnarine, academic and writer, are respectively ALPNU’s chairman and deputy chairman. You think party politics in Guyana easy? We anxiously await the findings of the commission of enquiry.

Dr Rodney was at the height of his popular crusade against what he had described as the “Burnham dictatorship” when he was killed by the bomb planted in a walkie-talkie device and given to his brother, Donald Rodney, by Gregory Smith.

While we await the start of the probe, Rodney’s seminal work, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, is being translated for publication by China, whose economic and political influence in both Africa and the Caribbean/Latin America region is progressively rising. Stay tuned.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY TO OUR FOLLOWERS FROM GHANA
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Ghana, officially called the Republic of Ghana, is a sovereign state and unitary presidential constitutional republic, located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in West Africa
ON THIS DAY 1957
March 6, 2014

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY TO OUR FOLLOWERS FROM GHANA

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Ghana, officially called the Republic of Ghana, is a sovereign state and unitary presidential constitutional republic, located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in West Africa

ON THIS DAY 1957

 St. Martin Women and the Culture of Natural Hair
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“Hard Hair: St. Martin Women and the Culture of Natural Hair” is a panel discussion organized by Rochelle Ward for International Women’s Day, March 8, 2014,at 7:30pm, at Philipsburg Jubilee Library, located at 12 Voges Straat, Philipsburg, St. Martin.
The lifestyle discussion of natural hair stories by St. Martin women is the first program in 2014 from Don’t Break the Comb (DBC), the island’s first natural hair group, said co-founder Ward. The panelists are Dr. Nilda Arduin, ombudsman, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, linguist, educator, Robin Boasman, author of Lizzy Lizard, the ACT Award book of the year, and two poetry-writing attorneys, Patricia Chance-Duzant and Ayana Tyrell.
“Robin Boasman, who is also a kindergarten teacher and mother of one son, is delighted to tell her story. Ayana Tyrell, a practicing lawyer at Alex Richardson and Associates in Anguilla, will speak about natural hair perceptions; and Attorney Patricia Chance-Duzant will share her fascinating childhood hair stories,” said Ward.
“Nature is beautiful,” said Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, “and if your hair is natural by design, though it may be adjusted to fit your moods and phases in life, it is already created perfect.” A former minister of education and culture, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, will share her thoughts on hair and identity.
“The panel will create greater awareness and appreciation for afro hair as a way of ‘being’ and accepting oneself,” said Dr. Nilda Arduin, whose “Aha! Moment” about her hair occurred at age 16.
“It is fitting for us St. Martin women to tell our own natural hair stories as many women from the Americas, Europe, other parts of the Caribbean, Africa and the South Pacific are returning to or taking this natural hair pilgrimage toward self-acceptance,” said Ward.
And as if hair stories will not produce a lively enough discussion, a table of books by St. Martin women will be added as a unique centerpiece of the program. “I think people will be surprised to see how many St. Martin women have written books within a short period of time,” said Ward, herself a leading new generation published poet, blogger, and high school teacher.
DBC is inviting all interested women authors of St. Martin who would like to participate in the book table exhibition to email DBC at contact@dontbreakthecomb.com. […]
The March 8 discussion is also a follow-up to last year’s hair workshop attended by over 200 persons,” said Ward. “That workshop was called ‘Natural Hair Mixology: How to make your own homemade hair products,’ and hosted by DBC at the 11th annual St. Martin Book Fair.”
March 3, 2014

 St. Martin Women and the Culture of Natural Hair

(PLEASE FOLLOW BOTH Tumblr’s  HERE & HERE)

“Hard Hair: St. Martin Women and the Culture of Natural Hair” is a panel discussion organized by Rochelle Ward for International Women’s Day, March 8, 2014,at 7:30pm, at Philipsburg Jubilee Library, located at 12 Voges Straat, Philipsburg, St. Martin.

The lifestyle discussion of natural hair stories by St. Martin women is the first program in 2014 from Don’t Break the Comb (DBC), the island’s first natural hair group, said co-founder Ward. The panelists are Dr. Nilda Arduin, ombudsman, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, linguist, educator, Robin Boasman, author of Lizzy Lizard, the ACT Award book of the year, and two poetry-writing attorneys, Patricia Chance-Duzant and Ayana Tyrell.

“Robin Boasman, who is also a kindergarten teacher and mother of one son, is delighted to tell her story. Ayana Tyrell, a practicing lawyer at Alex Richardson and Associates in Anguilla, will speak about natural hair perceptions; and Attorney Patricia Chance-Duzant will share her fascinating childhood hair stories,” said Ward.

“Nature is beautiful,” said Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, “and if your hair is natural by design, though it may be adjusted to fit your moods and phases in life, it is already created perfect.” A former minister of education and culture, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell, will share her thoughts on hair and identity.

“The panel will create greater awareness and appreciation for afro hair as a way of ‘being’ and accepting oneself,” said Dr. Nilda Arduin, whose “Aha! Moment” about her hair occurred at age 16.

“It is fitting for us St. Martin women to tell our own natural hair stories as many women from the Americas, Europe, other parts of the Caribbean, Africa and the South Pacific are returning to or taking this natural hair pilgrimage toward self-acceptance,” said Ward.

And as if hair stories will not produce a lively enough discussion, a table of books by St. Martin women will be added as a unique centerpiece of the program. “I think people will be surprised to see how many St. Martin women have written books within a short period of time,” said Ward, herself a leading new generation published poet, blogger, and high school teacher.

DBC is inviting all interested women authors of St. Martin who would like to participate in the book table exhibition to email DBC at contact@dontbreakthecomb.com. […]

The March 8 discussion is also a follow-up to last year’s hair workshop attended by over 200 persons,” said Ward. “That workshop was called ‘Natural Hair Mixology: How to make your own homemade hair products,’ and hosted by DBC at the 11th annual St. Martin Book Fair.”

IRIE FM boss dies at 27
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IRIE FM radio has reported that its CEO and managing director Chad Young died at his St Ann home today (Thursday, February 27) at age 27.
Young’s death follows a brief illness. Young took over management and control of Grove Broadcasting Company, which also operates ZIP FM, following the death of his father Karl Young, four years ago.
The company has expressed “its deep sorrow” over Young’s passing, the St Ann-based radio station reported.
February 27, 2014

IRIE FM boss dies at 27

(PLEASE FOLLOW BOTH Tumblr’s  HERE & HERE)

IRIE FM radio has reported that its CEO and managing director Chad Young died at his St Ann home today (Thursday, February 27) at age 27.

Young’s death follows a brief illness. Young took over management and control of Grove Broadcasting Company, which also operates ZIP FM, following the death of his father Karl Young, four years ago.

The company has expressed “its deep sorrow” over Young’s passing, the St Ann-based radio station reported.

February 19, 2014

A Rastafarian Promised Land

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Drive 155 miles south from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, and you’ll find yourself in a little patch of Jamaica, where dreadlocked Rasta settlers, many born in the Caribbean, have now made their home. Welcome to the community of Shashemane—Ethiopia’s version of “Amish country,” Tom Freston reports in this article for Vanity Fair. For the original report and additional photos follow the link below.

You do not have to look far in Africa to see the influence of reggae music. Once I met a Tuareg tribesman in the Sahara Desert who proudly played me a Bob Marley ringtone on his cell phone. Reggae music swept ’round the world in the 1970s, then receded a bit in most places. It still lives large in Africa. There is great reverence for the Jamaican classics, but there are also many lively local scenes. Reggae is music for the dispossessed, and Africa itself plays a leading role in reggae’s narrative. In reggae mythology, Africa is the Promised Land, the destined homeland where the African diaspora will someday be repatriated. Africa—and Ethiopia in particular—is the “Land of Zion” sung about in so many reggae songs.

Reggae has its own code and language, infused largely with the ideology of the Rastafarians—followers of a spiritual system that arose in the 1930s in Jamaica. A big influence on the Rastafarians was Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican political leader in the 1920s who led a Back to Africa movement among descendants of slaves throughout the Americas. Rastafarians regard Garvey as a prophet who predicted that one day a black man would be crowned king in Africa and would bring deliverance to dark-skinned people everywhere.

“Follow, follow, follow, follow Marcus Garvey’s footsteps,” sang reggae singer Burning Spear. And where exactly was Garvey going? “We’re leaving Babylon, we’re going to our father’s land,” Bob Marley told us in “Exodus.” Not Babylon, Long Island, mind you, but the metaphorical one where, as Marley sang, “the system is the vampire”—the wicked place that embodies all of what’s wrong with Western culture. Babylon, as Steel Pulse said, “makes the rules … where my people suffer.”……..[Full article HERE]