Caribbean News Round – up

A member of the Guarani-Kaiowa tribe recorded the demonstration outside the Presidential Palace in Brasilia

Brazil indigenous group Guarani-Kaiowa ‘attacked’

A member of the Guarani-Kaiowa tribe recorded the demonstration outside the Presidential Palace in Brasilia
A member of the Guarani-Kaiowa tribe recorded the demonstration outside the Presidential Palace in Brasilia

[BBC] – Members of the Guarani-Kaiowa indigenous community in western Brazil say they have come under attack from local farmers. A group of armed men in about 30 vehicles drove onto their land in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul and began to shoot randomly, they reported.

They said they had to run for their lives and hide in a nearby forest. Tension has been high since an indigenous leader was killed during a land occupation protest a week ago.

Federal troops have been sent to the area to try to restore order. Prosecutors have opened an investigation into allegations that local farmers have set up a militia to fight the indigenous groups in Mato Grosso do Sul.

‘Warriors pulled back’

The latest reported incident took place in the municipality of Douradina. The attack happened on Thursday afternoon but has only now been reported.

“They came in and began to shoot everywhere,” said indigenous leader Ezequiel Guyra Kambi’y.

“Our warriors began to pull back, but they kept pushing, driving towards us and shooting. We had to run away and hide in the forest.”

There were protests in the capital, Brasilia, after the death of Semiao Vilhalva
There were protests in the capital, Brasilia, after the death of Semiao Vilhalva

The farmers returned in the evening and fired more than 50 shots, he added. The violence started when about 1,000 Guarani-Kaiowa occupied five ranches on 22 August, taking hostages who were later released.

A week ago, indigenous leader Semiao Vilhalva was killed when farmers tried to retake the ranches. The tribe says those are their ancestral lands, which had been stolen.

The Brazilian Indigenous Agency (Funai) has already designated the area as an indigenous territory, but farmers got an injunction earlier this year suspending the process.

The state of Mato Grosso do Sul is a major cattle raising and soya producing area and has a long history of clashes between indigenous communities and farmers.

Many Guarani are forced to live in overcrowded reserves or in makeshift camps on the roadside where malnutrition, disease and suicide are high.


T&T Parties confident of victory

Rowley-Kamla_w504PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, (CMC) – The two main contenders for the government of Trinidad and Tobago Saturday appealed to supporters to vote them into office even as the latest opinion poll published here Sunday showed that the race is still too close to call.

Both the incumbent coalition People’s Partnership and the main opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) held final rallies a few miles from each other along the east-west corridor hoping to get undecided voters into their camps ahead of Monday’s general elections.

But while Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar and PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley were urging supporters to ensure victory, the Nigel Henry/Solutions by Simulation (SIS) pre-election tracking poll published in the Sunday Express newspaper said both parties were capable of winning 18 seats each with the remaining five to decide the outcome of the election. In the 2010 general elections the coalition had won 29 of the 41 seats.

“Poll results project that the winning party is likely to capture 21 or 22 seats,” SIS said after interviewing 1,997 adults by telephone during the period August 25 to September 3. The poll has a margin of minus or plus two per cent.

The pollsters found that the coalition People’s Partnership would receive 51 per cent of the votes when respondents were asked which party they would support in the general election while the PNM got 48 per cent.

“However, when voters were asked who they think would win in their district, the result was reversed with 37 per cent believing the PNM would win, 36 per cent the People’s Partnership and 25 per cent saying both major parties had an equal chance of success.”

Prime Minister Persad Bissessar, who is leading the coalition comprising the United National Congress (UNC), the Congress of the People (COP), the Tobago organisation of the People (TOP) and the National Joint Action Movement (NJAC) into the election urged supporters to return her administration to office.

“Do not take a decision you will live to regret. Stick on the right path to a better future.

“Stay with me, stay with the plan, stay on the road to a better tomorrow,” she said promising voters that her government “will remove VAT (value added tax) from utility bills for pensioners…create over 1,000 new jobs by establishing three economic zones…provide a tablet for every primary school student …(and) take a zero-tolerance approach to crime by requiring each police station to meet specific crime reduction targets”.

She said a Ministry of Defence would be established based on the new threats and clear and present danger all nations face both in border protection and problems encountered with illegal entry of weapons and drugs and human smuggling.

“I will never leave you, not in the worst of times. I will stay with you in service until the day when there are no more days,, until I cross the River Jordan and my ashes find their way to the River Ganges,” she told supporters as she sought their support for another five-year term at the head of the government.

But Rowley told PNM supporters that the government was bankrupt of ideas and the latest figures released by the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago showed both the Finance Minister Larry Howai and the government itself had been lying to the population.

“Last week the Minister of Finance said to us, we expected a deficit of four billion dollars (One TT dollar =US$0.16 cents), but we only recorded a deficit of one billion.

“Today it has been revealed that the Minister of Finance lied to the people of Trinidad and Tobago. The Central bank revealed that the country’s overall deficit has doubled from one billion to TT$2.17 billion,” Rowley said, adding “If the Minister of Finance could be so boldfaced to tell you such unvarnished lies, what business you have considering him as a minister,” Rowley asked supporters.

“Kamla Persad Bissessar and Larry Howai have a plan to bankrupt this country. I am appealing to the people of this country to save us from Kamla and Larry Howai,” he said.

In his address, Rowley also urged the supporters to reject the government’s position that everyone in Trinidad and Tobago is corrupt.

This government is about self-enrichment and making millionaires of their friends. There is one lawyer who is under criminal investigation, yet every time the government has a case, the UNC keep calling him over and over again.”

Rowley said that it was strange throughout the three month campaign none of the government ministers took to the podium to detail their successes “but they are the one who would run the country if you put your X anywhere expect the baliser”.

Rowley told supporters that there was light at the end of the tunnel adding “let’s go do this together, let’s go and save Trinidad and Tobago”.

The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) said just over 1.09 million people are eligible to cast ballots on Monday and that there are more than 2000 polling stations scattered across the two islands.

The polls are being monitored by teams from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Commonwealth.


Brooklyn to stage first J’can patty eating contest

NEW YORK, United States (CMC) – The first annual Jamaican patty eating contest will be held in Brooklyn on Sunday as a part of the Labour Day celebrations.

Brooklyn New York Borough President Eric L Adams said the event will be held in partnership with Golden Krust and the West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA) in expanding “Brooklyn’s celebration of Caribbean culture and highlight one of New York City’s most popular street foods”.

Jamaican patties are turnover-style pastries, developed after the introduction of the Cornish pasty to the Caribbean from England in the colonial era, with a variety of fillings that are typically spicy in nature.

The most popular varieties are ground beef, chicken, seafood, and vegetable. On average 54.8 million Jamaican patties are consumed from Golden Krust every year.

“The Jamaican patty is to Labour Day what the hot dog is to the Fourth of July, and it’s time that this staple of New York City street food culture has a top-flight competition of its very own,” Adams said.

“I am proud to host the first annual Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill National Jamaican Patty Eating Contest, partnering with the small business that has elevated the patty to the heights of the Big Apple itself,” he added.

“Experiencing Caribbean culture on Labour Day weekend, one of the most vibrant elements of Brooklyn’s diversity, deserves a celebration of all the senses and sensations that make this community one-of-a-kind, including our proud culinary tradition,” Adams continued. “This is one Brooklyn battle you won’t want to miss!”

He said the first patty eating contest will be held as part of WIADCA’s Dimanche Gras.

Dimanche Gras will also feature the Kings and Queens of the Bands costume competition, as well as musical performances by Caribbean legends such as The Mighty Sparrow.

These festivities serve as the preamble to the West Indian American Day Carnival on Labour Day on Monday, which brings millions of people to Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn for what many consider the city’s largest parade.

“Golden Krust is proud to partner with Borough President Adams and WIADCA for the first annual Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill Jamaican Patty Eating Contest,” said Jamaican-born Lowell Hawthorne, CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill.

Adams said he will select at random 10 competitors for the first annual Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill National Jamaican Patty Eating Contest.

He said whoever consumes the most Jamaican patties in a five-minute period will be declared the winner and will receive a trophy and Golden Krust gift certificate.


US coast guards seize ganja, nab smugglers off Jamaica

Drug-bustVIRGINIA BEACH, (CMC) – The United States Coast Guard says the Cutter Dependable has returned to its base here following a “successful drug interdiction of 650 lbs of marijuana and halting drug smugglers off the coast of Jamaica”.

The coast guard said for 38 days, the cutter patrolled the vast geographic area “steaming from the Florida Straits to the North Caribbean Sea to perform vital homeland security missions in halting the flow of illegal migrants and illicit drugs into the United States”.

The Coast Guard said last month, the Dependable’s law enforcement team interdicted a go-fast vessel smuggling narcotics north of Jamaica, detained four narcotics traffickers, and seized 650 pounds of marijuana packaged in 25 bales with a street value of about US$600,000.

The four suspected smugglers were escorted to Miami and are to face prosecution, the coast guard said.



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.