Dear Mr Ramos,
We have a voice.

Signed- Vincentians who understand Human RIghts

thecatcherbloc

Keywords: UDHR; Universal declaration on Human Rights, ICCPR; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ICESCR; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  

 Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. – UN office of High Commission of Human Rights (1996)

Together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), make up the International Bill of Human Rights. In accordance with the Universal Declaration, the Covenants recognize that “… the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom and freedom from fear and want can be achieved only if conditions are created whereby “everyone” may enjoy his…

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ASK Ralph……?

Posted: August 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

Did you know?#ULP2015 #CaribbeanPolitics #StVincentAndTheGrenadines

thecatcherbloc

Good Governance – Let have an Honest Conversation 

St Vincent and the Grenadines is a Sovereign State (independence 1979) and a relatively small island located in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean with a population of “102,918 “(CIA, World Fact Book, July, 2014). In addition, St Vincent and the Grenadines GDP sits at $736 million (Official Exchange Rate) on the other hand, GDP Purchasing Power Parity sits at $1.184 billion.  What does this mean? Economy has always been employed as a “measuring stick” to determine a country’s strength, progress and how well they are doing. To stress the point, economy have been used since the Roman and British times to determine “Superpower” and today it is still employed as such. For instance, we hear the constant debate about China’s rise to “Global Superpower” status in regard to its “economic power” match up to the United States.

Now, St Vincent and…

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Something worth reading! -Radikally Approved

thecatcherbloc

July 20th, 2015  – “Double Up”

– United States & Cuba relations; UN Security Council vote on Iran Nuclear Deal;

The United States and Cuba are separated by 90 miles of water, but brought together through the relationships between the two million Cuban Americans and Americans of Cuban descent that live in the United States, and the 11.27 million Cubans who share similar hopes for a more positive future for Cuba. However, what was evidently clear is that; decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish the U.S. enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba. In addition, longstanding U.S. policy towards Cuba inadvertently isolated the United States from regional and international partners. Furthermore, it constrained the United States ability to influence any positive outcomes throughout the Western Hemisphere. Albeit, the policy at the time may have been rooted in the…

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shakeupprogram

There is no doubt that under the 1979 constitution, which is still today the supreme law of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, that the Office of the Prime Minister holds very important powers.

Spread out through different sections of the constitution, the Prime Minister can; call general elections (snap elections) whenever he wants, appoint the head of state (Governor General), reduce any sentence of imprisonment or determine life and death in such matters as he is in charge of the prerogative of mercy committee, appoint Senators and Chairperson of the Service Commissions and so on.

Yes… those are big powers.

But even as big as those are, here are five (5) things that the Prime Minister cannot do (at least, if he /she is of sound mind):

1. Just wake up one day and fire senior or other Public Servants he thinks are sabotaging him

It may seem like a great…

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Are the Great Man Theory and Trait Theory still relevant in Contemporary Society?.

quote-Mario-Puzo-finance-is-a-gun-politics-is-knowing-112918

Who is Robert Wade?

A professor of political economy at the London School of Economics and fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study, Berlin, 2000-2001

Summary of Article:

The financial crisis of 1997 made the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the U.S Treasury less emphatic in dwelling upon the idea of opening capital markets around the world. Robert Wade believed that “when the dust settles, the push for unrestricted capital flows will strengthen again”. He expanded on his believe by appointing the case study of Ethiopia.  In 1997 the governing body of the IMF (the Interim Committee) sanctioned a plan to change articles of agreement to add “the promotion of capital flows” to the goals of IMF and add “thecapital account” to the jurisdiction of the Fund. The change was to bring about a thrust towards a bigger goal, which was to increase the freedom of capital movement worldwide.

The Financial Services Agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) also tried to promote this change but failed within a year of trying to do so. The East Asian financial crisis (1997-1998) made the IMF and US treasury silent on the topic, they never changed their commitment to free up capital markets but they were not pushing it.

Before the Asian crisis broke, the Fund was trying to force Ethiopia to open a capital account which would lift restrictions on money flows in or out and on foreign investment in the domestic economy, with the idea that Ethiopia would eventually lift their restrictions on the entry of financial-service firms to the domestic market.  Taking note that Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world, they were a walking negligence for foreign investors; they were a risk but IMF still paid attention to them.

The IMF in the 1990s introduced the Extended Structural Adjustment Program (ESAP) which was meant to give cheap loans to poor countries and this came with attached conditions. Once these conditions were met a country was eligible and received membership for a three-year period.  The countries had to provide an annual report of their progress and in doing so the Fund officials would be able to judge if the conditions are being fulfilled. Fund officials had great power over whether a country’s ESAP continues.

In 1996 Ethiopia was approved an ESAP program, the following year (1997) the management Fund decided to end the program- for one of the poorest countries’ in the world. Why? The Ethiopian government “lent” the money to the Ethiopian Airlines to pay off a loan they had with the American Bank, the same year of receiving the money.  “The American bank was furious” and “the Ethiopian government misbehaved in the eyes of the Fund, the U.S Treasury, and a prominent American bank”. While the bank complained (to the U.S Treasury) that Ethiopia “acted in bad faith”, questions about Ethiopia’s status were being raise.  IMF official said that the Ethiopian government failed in their responsibility to gain approval before using the reserves the way they did. The Ethiopian government was offended by this. They went to Joseph Stiglitz (a chief economist and senior vice president at World Bank) for help, he did try to help and upon finding out the Fund called it “betrayal”, Stiglitz was fired from the World Bank.

Ethiopia now had a bad reputation for being a “reluctant reformer” and a country that was “off track”. Though most of things said were not in fact true, they were said by important people and this made others believe them. Seeking the help of Stiglitz and on top of this the Prime Minister called himself Marxist, this was a recipe for disaster, for Ethiopia.

With further help from Stiglitz and the World Bank President James Wolfensohn and the Fund’s managing director, Michel Camdessus, the Fund resumed negotiations for a new ESAP program for Ethiopia. In April 1998 Ethiopia got approved a new program, the Prime Minister made sure that Ethiopia met all conditions and they were met at a high degree. In 1999 the Fund declined to extend Ethiopia’s status for the second year. They claimed the reasonto be the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. This was an opportunity for revenge; the IMF officials “had a gut dislike of the Marxist government”.

In the year 2000 the program was now called the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) and Ethiopia’s negotiations for it were delayed till 2001, they were also supposed to get debt relief and this too was delayed. Ethiopia was made a lesson for other African countries.  This story shows the “invisible power” of IMF officials and it is a lesson for leaders of poor countries.

What do I think?

Well…

Is Robert Wade right; did the IMF acted out of malice towards Ethiopia?  The key point of Robert’s article is that the IMF and the U.S Treasury sought revenge on one of the World’s poorest countriesand at that the IMF has the power to rule out whom they please when they feel they have been crossed. Hence the name of the article, Capital and Revenge. As Wade stated in his article, change was being integrated to promote capital flows worldwide, thus the intention was to make the government of poor developing countries operate more effectively.

According to Joseph Stiglitz (1998) “part of the strategy for a more productive economy is ascertaining the appropriate role for government: identifying, for instance, the ways in which government can be a more effective complement to markets”. He further stated that “given very different starting points, very unique history, culture and societal factors, how does one make the state more effective? Part of the answer is that the state should match its role to its capability. What the government does, and how it does it, should obviously reflect the capabilities of the government… Low-income countries often have weaker markets and weaker government institutions. It is especially important therefore that they focus on how they can most effectively complement markets… States can improve their capabilities by reinvigorating their institutions. This does not mean merely building administrative or technical capacity. But more importantly, it means instituting rules and norms that provide state officials with incentives to act in the collective interest while restraining arbitrary action and corruption.”  The question that arises here is, did Ethiopia do so by lending their reserves to the Ethiopian Airlines to clear debt? How was this beneficial to the country as a whole?  I do agree with the IMF, the World Bank and the American bank that Ethiopia acted out of conduct. Mainly because the country was approved the ESAP program for reasons of growth and they offered a state-owned enterprise a bail out, which was in fact not necessary, from the very country that was trying to help in the long run. Therefore, they did act in bad faith.

In addition, Robert Wade wrote that the prime minister of Ethiopia called himself Marxist and this made the IMF and the Treasury wanted to strike back. Firstly, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are both liberal organizations, the prime minister then calling himself Marxist, what did he then expect? A trophy of rebellion?

Notwithstanding the above, Robert Wade makes several valid points inthis article.  Firstly, the IMF declared in 1997 that “no more tranches would be given the Ethiopian government- the government of one of the world’s poorest countries and an obvious candidate for an ESAP program.”  In this case it does seem like an extreme consequence. In another one of his articles
“Global Inequalities: What is all the fuss about?” (2005)  Wade highlighted that “The lengths to which the IMF go are extraordinary. The IMF tried to force Ethiopia, to open its capital account. When Ethiopia refused (secretly advised by incoming World Bank vice-president for research Joe Stiglitz), the IMF refused to extend Ethiopia’s eligibility for a program under which very poor countries which undertook a raft of policy reforms got access to very cheap credit (not only IMF credit but also World Bank credit, Paris Club concessions, and the like), even though the Ethiopian government had amply met the other targets… the Fund, backed by the US Treasury, wanted to send a strong message that all its member states, including the poorest, should move towards open capital accounts.”

Moreover, it does seem like an act of revenge because the Fund showed themselves to be opportunists, they looked for the flaws of the Ethiopian government and revealed it like a cleavage. In another one of his article “The Invisible Hand of the American Empire” (2003) Robert Wade called it “a twisting of Ethiopia’s arm”.  They went so far as to ruin the country’s reputation when they called them a “reluctant reformer” and said they were the “breakdown of the program”.  Also, these proclaimed liberal organizations got Joseph Stiglitz fired for acting as a liberal, quite ironic.

In Capital and Revenge Wade made mention of Michel Camdessus, IMF managing director, who initially helped to get Ethiopia back on to the ESAP program in 1998. Even after witnessing the financial crisis, Camdessus in 1999 stated that he “believe it is now time for momentum to be re-established … Full liberalisation of capital movement should be promoted in a prudent and well-sequenced fashion.”  Wade in another piece of his work said and I agree that “What is scary about statements like these is that they reflect not so much “failure to learn” as a process of “unlearning”. The present push for free capital mobility is a repetition of that of the 1920s. Then, the US and British governments and bankers concerted their demands for a new financial architecture based on balanced budgets, independent central banks, restoration of the gold standard, and free capital movements. They pushed this agenda through bilateral dealings with the war-devastated countries of Europe and through the financial committee of the League of Nations. The policies helped to usher in a spectacular financial boom that ended in economic collapse.”

The case study of Ethiopia is a perfect example for examining the IMF,from the article I saw two stories, 1: IMF being a liberal organization and 2: I saw them as a group that one should not cross because they have “invisible powers”.  I do agree that Ethiopia was made an example of and I, too, believe it was revenge, however I am not overlooking the fact that their situation was of their own government’s doing.

– Radika Deane

Dear Life

Posted: December 8, 2014 in Uncategorized
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I’ll go easy when you do.

-Radika Deane

Alex

Posted: September 2, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Oh purest love that knoweth no dirt till the earth covered thee.

 

-Radika Deane

Whose life is it anyway?

Posted: September 1, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Don’t expect me to exceed expectations

To Something you know I will never meet.

 

-Radika Deane

Already Spoken

Posted: September 1, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Listen as I speak

I speak

Wait I have A.D.D

As I speak truth about life.

 

I spend my life savings in classrooms

On an educational system that can’t get it right

Who teaches who

When everyday there is a substitute

 

I tried to find love and plant it

But it never took root

My soul has roots

But it never set sail because the roots are too deep

 

My roots are too deep

*A.D I said my roots too deep

 

I found fear

He came and he took me

Loved me then left me

Insecure

But I still found hope

Strength to say goodbye

But before I say it..

Hello fear

We need to talk

It may take a while

Because our roots run deep

 

My roots run deep.

 

 

-R.Deane & K.Franklin

*attention deficit