Category Archives: Haiti

Barbadian-Produced film Papa Machete to debut at Sundance 2015

papa machete barbados haiti

On January 23, 2015, the short film Papa Machete will make its U.S. premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, one of the most prominent film festivals in the world. Founded in 1985 by actor Robert Redford, Sundance has launched the careers of many of Hollywood’s most acclaimed independent directors such as Quentin Tarantino and Steven Soderbergh.

Drawing on Haiti’s revolutionary history and modern struggles, the short documentary explores the mysterious martial art of tire machèt — Haitian machete fencing — through the practice of one man, an impoverished Haitian farmer named Alfred Avril. Continue reading

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Filed under Art, Barbados, Haiti

United Nations says a moderate earthquake or hurricane would destroy 80% of Barbados schools, homes. St. Lucia would lose only 20%.

What makes you think Barbados would fare better than Haiti did in 2010?

What makes you think Barbados would fare better than Haiti did in 2010? 80% of Bajan houses, schools, hotels and public buildings are expected to collapse during a MODERATE hurricane or earthquake! (Source: UN)

Grenville Phillips II sounds the alarm…

… and offers a low cost retro-fit solution for home-owners and government

The Government has indicated that a significant amount of the planned $2.5B new debt is to be used to build new infrastructure. Before spending any of this money on new infrastructure, let me suggest that the Government meaningfully regulate the construction industry.

Having trained over 500 construction personnel around the Caribbean, I can confirm that much of our infrastructure is indeed substandard.  I have spent the past 15 years providing explicit evidence supporting the accurateness of this claim, and while some countries have heeded and improved, Barbados has gone backwards.

The United Nations recently assessed Barbados’ infrastructure and concluded in its Global Assessment Report (2013) that Barbados is expected to suffer probable maximum losses of over 80% of its gross fixed capital formation (buildings, equipment and infrastructure) if we are impacted by a moderate earthquake, or hurricane.  This is the UN’s worst possible assessment category.  For comparison, the UN predicts that neighbouring St Lucia is only expected to suffer probable maximum losses of 10% to 20%.

When will we wake up and realise that we are doing something terribly wrong?  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Consumer Issues, Disaster, Haiti

In memory of Darlens

N’ap Degaje Nou…

This roughly translates to, “We are making due with what we have.”

We’ve followed the work of Licia, Enoch, Charles, Lori, Anna and their fellow angels at the Real Hope for Haiti Rescue Center since the devastating January 12, 2010 earthquake. Two and a half years later and the nurses are still sleeping with the little ones so they aren’t alone when they die of malnutrition – too far gone to be saved when they arrive at the clinic.

Barbados, and to be fair the rest of the Caribbean, did little to nothing for Haiti before or since the earthquake. In the first few months afterwards when so many lives could have been saved, Health Minister Donville Inniss and Foreign Affairs Minister Maxine McClean basically said, “No stinkin’ Haitians aboard the good ship Barbados. Not a one. Let ‘em die.

And so the Haitian children continue to die, while the angels at the Rescue Center make do with what they have…

Darlens

I was lying in bed late at night, with one of the kids in my care sleeping next to me, as his crib and the extra child’s mattress in my room had two kids on IV and oxygen sleeping in them.  I had just come back from preparing a little girl for burial, and wanted to try to sleep for a couple hours.  It’s not often that I find myself getting emotional about sick or dying kids anymore, but this night was overwhelmingly tough.  I found myself closing my eyes trying to hold back the tears, praying that these kids’ suffering would just end.  I felt small hands grab onto my neck and shoulders as a child pulled his body closer to mine.  He put his hands on my cheeks and touched his nose to mine, holding himself there until we dozed off.  This is one of many memories that I have of an amazing little boy named Darlens…

… continue reading about Darlens at the Real Hope for Haiti blog

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Filed under Disaster, Haiti, Human Rights

New Barbados WikiLeaks – Billie Miller confidential to US Ambassador: “Chinese owe Barbados for the favourable state construction deals…”

Billie Miller implies that Barbados Government Bid Process is rigged to favour Chinese Companies!

China “will continue” to win new construction contracts in Barbados!

You know why the Barbados news media doesn’t cover WikiLeaks

Barbados Free Press asks: “Can we expect a statement from COW or Bizzy Williams on the China construction contracts revelations?”

Every morning we rise ‘n shine, flip on the old PC and head for WikiLeaks first thing to see if there’s anything new about Barbados. We can’t imagine any Bajan journalist not doing that because we know that WikiLeaks has some 261 US Embassy cables sent from Bridgetown and up until April 18, 2011 only 3 had been released.

Maybe we missed some recent coverage in the Bajan oldstream news media, and if so we apologise. If it wasn’t covered, maybe the Bajan oldstream news media should apologise to Barbadians.

The latest release of 16 embassy cables is online now at WikiLeaks Bridgetown Embassy List. There’s only one “Confidential” cable in the bunch, but that’s not to say that the others aren’t important – we just haven’t looked at them yet.

Here’s some excerpts from the April 12, 2006 “CONFIDENTIAL” cable from Ambassador Mary Kramer, talking about some official and off-the-record conversations she had with Barbados Foreign Minister Dame Billie Miller…

China

“Miller told the Ambassador privately that the Chinese “owe” Barbados for all the favorable deals their state construction company has won – and will continue to win – in Barbados.”

Sugar Subsidies out, Service Industry in

“Ambassador Kramer asked FM Miller to share CARICOM’s vision of a desired future for regional and global trade. The Foreign Minister responded that for over 300 years Barbados has never openly traded sugar.  Her country has always had preferential treatment; sugar has almost always been subsidized.  Miller said Barbados has determined that
sugar is not the way forward; instead, the service industry represents the most promising future.”

Cameras at Airport and Port

The PS for Trade, Samuel Chandler, entered the discussion, noting how security regulation and requirements have added cost to both exporters and governments.  Miller remarked on all the camera equipment at the port and airport, saying, “These are not one-off expenses, they are recurring expenses, but without them one risks the loss of international access for the port and the airport.”

Barbados stifles open discussion with USA

Such a frank and wide-ranging discussion between the Barbados Government and senior diplomats is extremely rare. The Barbadians normally hold embassies at arm’s length, insisting on a rigorous adherence to protocol that stifles open discussion.  Barbados and FM Miller in particular are CARICOM leaders in many areas of foreign affairs, and her views on Haiti and trade likely hold true for most CARICOM members.

KRAMER

Full text of Confidential April 12, 2006 message from US Embassy, Bridgetown

C O N F I D E N T I A L BRIDGETOWN 000637 Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, CARICOM, China, Haiti, History, Politics

Spark of the Day! Why are these Haitian girls smiling?

Daphna, Lysemene, Fabienne and Loudia can’t stop smiling

Look at them. You know what’s happened in Haiti this year and it’s a wonder that anyone can smile, but these girls have good reason to be happy.

Go ahead: take a moment, click on the photo and discover why they are smiling. You know you want to!

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Filed under Haiti, Spark of the Day!

Please visit our friends at… Real Hope for Haiti Rescue Center

(Click on the banner to visit Enoch and Licia and all the angels. They do the best they can with what they have.)

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Filed under Disaster, Haiti, Human Rights

Hating Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for ending the hypocrisy

Trinidad & Tobago’s PM says no help for Hurricane Tomas victims unless it benefits Trinidad & Tobago too

The BFP crew joined the outrage against Persad-Bissessar’s statements made earlier this week – until Marcus walked into the room and gave us his outstanding impression of Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part II…

“We’re both part of the same hypocrisy…

…but Kamla’s decided she’d rather tell the truth.”

Proponents of CARICOM love to talk about how wonderful and strong the Caribbean Community could be if we would only unite and put aside our selfishness. If the stronger and wealthier countries would help our neighbours to the best of our ability, the entire family would progress.

Fine words. Fine thoughts.

The Caricom party line heard for decades ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

So when Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar said that Trinidad and Tobago taxpayers are getting tired of being thought of as the CARICOM family piggy bank, that she has to consult with the citizens before her government can make promises AND that if houses are to be built as a gift from T&T, it will be T&T companies that build them with T&T materials… WELL… that put the mongoose in the chicken pen!

Remember Haiti?

It’s been almost nine months since the devastating earthquake in Haiti. As with every major crisis there was lots of interest, promises and concern for a little while. Then we forgot about Haiti. All of us forgot, Barbados included. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, CARICOM, Disaster, Economy, Ethics, Haiti, History, Politics, Trinidad and Tobago