Tag Archives: CARICOM

CARICOM WAS WARNED ABOUT THE THREAT OF MUSLIM EXTREMISM FROM GUYANESE MUSLIMS.

NOTE TO READERS: This material was published previously by me on other platforms. However, the content remains relevant and even more so than when it was first published.

In the presence of representatives from more than 25 countries, the international and regional community had been warned, that should there be any Caribbean involvement in terrorist activities. That the likelihood that there would be black Guyanese involved was almost 100% certain. The warning was made in 2005 by a Guyanese delegate who had made a study on the structure of Islam in Guyana, at an international Caricom seminar for a Small Business training program. The majority of black Guyanese men he noted were converted to Islam while in prison. The disaffected poorly educated men in prison are fertile soil for radicalization. Above left Abdul Kadir is the exact opposite of the profile given for radicalization by the delegate. Kadir is a former Guyanese parliamentarian, who was arrested along with his cohorts in the middle and right, in the plot to blow up the Kennedy International Airport in New York. Before he was arrested Kadir had repeated contacts with Mohsen Rabbani (an Iranian cleric involved in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish synagogue in Argentina), and Adnan Shukrijumah, using his extensive influence as a former parliamentarian Kadir was able to help Shukrijumah secure a Guyanese passport.

Above top FBI’s most wanted poster for Adnan El Shukrijumah, a Caribbean citizen of Guyanese extraction. It is uncertain where he was born since his father was a cleric in Saudi Arabia. Both his father and mother are from Guyana. Above an FBI most wanted poster for Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, and Adnan El Shukrijumah.
The ―plot‖ to blow up the Kennedy Airport was brought to Kadir and his blundering cohorts by convicted drug dealer Aaron Francis, Francis agreed to lure the men into a CIA masterminded the plot, whose aim was to entrap Shukrijumah. Kadir was targeted because he was an influential, educated Guyanese who had extensive ties in Iranian diplomatic circles and was seen as a threat by the US.April 2004, Muhammad Hassan Ebrahimi, an Iranian Shiite cleric affiliated with Guyanas International Islamic College of Advanced Studies (IICAS, received large amounts of money from the Iranian government ), was abducted by armed unknown assailants (whether his murderers were CIA or others is not known). His decomposed remains were discovered a month later buried in a shallow grave. More Iranians are beginning to make use of the Caribbean, due to the nonexistence of background checks before diplomatic passports are issued. Some Iranians have been given passports of Caribbean island nations as in the case of St Kitts, which issued a Kittitian diplomatic passport to Iranian Alizera Moghadam, he claimed to have paid $1million for the passport, en route to Canada he was detained in transit. While the prime minister of St Kitts and Nevis Denzel Douglas maintains that, it is impossible to obtain a diplomatic Kittitian passport through payment, reports coming out of various sectors in St Kitts and Nevis refute his statements. Apparently, under the ‗Citizenship by Investment‖ program, Moghadam was granted his passport, in other words, he did pay for his passport. The potential for criminals, terrorists, and others to make use of the ―citizen by investment‖, are enormous the ramifications of this practice will be felt throughout the western hemisphere in years to come.

Sheik Abdullah Al Faisal the Jamaican-born, a former Christian who converted to Islam at the age of 16, he was deported from Britain in May 2007 after having spent four years in a British prison and is now on the no-fly list. He was accused of inciting racial hatred and soliciting murder. He is said to have influenced the ―shoe bomber‖, Richard Reid, Germaine Lindsay (Lindsay like Faisal is of Jamaican descent), responsible for the 2005 underground train bombing in London, in which he and 26 other others died, Faisal Shahzad, the failed Times Square bomber was also named as one of the people he ―inspired‖. In 2010 the Sheik was arrested in Kenya and accused by the government thereof of entering the country illegally. His arrest sparked deadly riots and reprisals in Kenya that lasted well over a week. The Kenyan authorities later spent well over 500,000 dollars to have him flown back to his native Jamaica. The Sheik at the age of 16 traveled to Saudi Arabia where he spent eight years, he is believed to have converted to Islam in Saudi Arabia. He took a degree in Islamic studies before coming to the UK. An Associated Press, an article published on Fri May 27 2011 by David McFadden stated: ― U.S. diplomats have expressed concern that an Islamic cleric convicted of whipping up racial hatred among Muslim converts in Britain might do the same thing in his homeland of Jamaica, according to a leaked cable from the island‘s U.S. Embassy‖.The following are excerpts and quotes from Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA), The Project for the Research of Islamic Movements (PRISM.The report stated that the region’s Muslim population consists largely of South and Southeast Asians, with their roots stemming back to the colonial period, in the last decades the region has also witnessed an increase in migrants from the Middle East. According to the report, there is a growing number of Muslim converts in the Caribbean amongst disenfranchised populations of African descent. Many of the Caribbean people of African descent converting to Islam are perceiving Islam as a ―rite‖, of political empowerment as well as an adaptation of a ―suitable‖ identity. Many are adopting Islam as Christianity is being increasingly viewed as a ―white man’s religion‖, particularly by young men of African descent regionally. Recently across the region where Islamic communities have been entrenched for decades, a clamor for the Arabization of the society is taking place. The Arabization process is specifically being felt in the growing demands that Arabic be taught in primary and secondary schools. South Asia and the Middle East is impacting the region politically, culturally, and religiously, as Islamic missionaries from both regions are being sent to the Caribbean, while Caribbean Muslim students are studying in increasing numbers in the above-mentioned Islamic regions. The report highlighted what it referred to as the: Sunnification and Islamization process in Guyana. According to the Central Islamic Organization of Guyana (CIOG), there are 150 formal and informal mosques throughout Guyana. There are several Islamic organizations active in Guyana most notably, the Hajatul Ulamaa, the Muslim Youth Organization (MYO), the Guyana Islamic Trust (GIT), the Guyana Muslim Mission Limited (GML), the Guyana United Sad‘r Islamic Anjuman (GUSIA), the Tabligh Jamaat, the Rose Hall Islamic Center and the Salafi Group. In mid-1988 Guyana became a permanent member of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). In 1966 after Guyana won its independence it established diplomatic relations with Arabic countries including Egypt, Iraq, and Libya all of those countries opened embassies in Guyana. Guyanese Muslims, presently travel to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Libya to study Islamic theology and Arabic. The Guyanese Muslims upon returning to Guyana began and still continue to introduce Wahabism (a strict Saudi Arabic interpretation of Islam), into Guyanese society. The report cited a growing concern in Trinidad that elements of some Islamic groups have traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan and have fought in both countries in support of radical Islamists in those nations. What governments regionally nor internationally seem not to comprehend, is the Guyanese and TNT Muslim population are mainly of a Sunni Islamic persuasion, the Wahabist doctrine that has been spread, clandestinely throughout the Caribbean for years, mainly through Islamic organizations sponsored by Saudi Arabia, has borne fruit and are manifesting at present in Caribbean Sunni‘s from a broad spectrum of Caribbean nations joining the fight in Syria and Iraq in aid of their Sunni brethren in IS.

Regional Mobility actors charged to ‘Get Started.

(Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Press Release, 25 June 2020 |Bridgetown, Barbados) –  Stakeholders in the energy and transportation sectors were charged not to wait until a comprehensive plan and perfect conditions are available in order to get started on the Regional Electric Vehicle Strategy during an online discussion, which focused on innovation opportunities and the Caribbean reality.

The discussion, which was hosted by the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) and the Energy Unit of the CARICOM Secretariat, saw more than two hundred and fifty stakeholders gathered to hear from regional and global experts in the field. Stakeholders also had the opportunity to express their opinions and have their queries addressed.

The Need for Regional Coordination

During the online event, attendees in majority identified cost as the most important factor when deciding on an electric vehicle (EV) purchase versus an Internal Combustible Engine (ICE) vehicle. In response, panelist Xavier Gordon shared that the total cost of ownership of an EV was lower when compared to an ICE vehicle, as global market trends show a decline in EV costs.  He warned, however, that there was a need to produce economies of scale in the region, which could, in turn, further reduce costs for CARICOM Member States and consumers, particularly procurement costs.

Mr. Gordon added that both public-private partnerships, particularly in the installation of charging infrastructure, and regulator-utility collaboration for the development of attractive charging prices for consumers, were key innovative approaches to support the adoption of EVs. To stimulate market response in the region, project implementation and demonstration were important, panelists shared.  Antonio Sealy of the Barbados Light and Power Company Limited revealed that when the Electric Bus Project commenced in Barbados, they began to receive significant interest from global EV service providers.

Innovation Opportunities & Challenges

Head of the CARICOM Energy Unit, Dr Devon Gardner, responded to the charge to “get started” by sharing that CARICOM, with the financial support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) implemented TAPSEC Project, was in the process of having a Regional Electric Vehicle Strategy (REVS) prepared. Project implementation will continue at the same time, with a view to having relevant projects inform the strategy. This was in line with another recommendation from panelist Andrea Denzinger, who suggested that the region implement pilot projects and allow them to create data and build trust.

In their quest to support the development of the sustainable transport sector, the CARICOM Secretariat – through its Energy Unit – and the CCREEE have established a Regional Electric Vehicle Working Group to produce the Regional Electric Vehicle Strategy Framework. Having been presented with an overview of the framework, eighty-five percent (85%) of participants joining the discussion indicated that they were sufficiently convinced of the need for such a strategy. Nonetheless, there were cautions in light of the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. Panelist Xavier Gordon shared that he completed the region’s first empirical meter reading study in 2017 and, the results show that electrification makes sense for the region. Nevertheless, he noted that access to finance may be significantly slowed as countries and donors redirect available funds.

The Caribbean Reality

Within the region, several opportunities exist to propel a transition towards wide-spread use of electric mobility, according to panelists. Sharing on the Barbados experience in implementing the Electric Bus Project where 33 electric buses are being procured, panelist Antonio Sealy told attendees that there was tremendous value to the transport sector, through electrification of public transportation. He maintained that cost benefits were to be found through fueling and maintenance, with estimated savings of BBD $2M annually for the current project. Improved comfort and commuter experiences, as well as reduced environmental impact through lessenend noise and greenhouse gas emissions were also identified as advantages.

The University of the West Indies is also supporting the electric mobility sector through their Electric Vehicle Research and Development Platform (EVRDP) and, an application developed to control charging time, to avoid congestion in the electrical network. Professor Chandrabhan Sharma explained the characteristics of EV charging, noting that uncoordinated charging could put significant stress on the power system, whereas providing power from a vehicle to the grid could contribute to stabilising the power grid and improve contribution of intermittent renewable energy supply to the electrical network.

This discussion was another step toward the development and implementation of the Regional Electric Vehicle Strategy which will lean on lessons learned from other jurisdictions and projects; and incorporate plans and approaches to produce economies of scale, within CARICOM. This is all to be accomplished with the ultimate goal of transforming the regional energy sector, for the benefit of Caribbean people.

Francis voices terrorism concerns.

 

In a move unheard of in previous years, the National Security Minister of St Lucia, voiced concerns concerning the terrorist threat to the region.

I will quote here from the St Lucia Times: “National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis, has voiced concerns about terrorism  and the possible effect on tourism in an address to members of the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.

 

Addressing private sector representatives on Wednesday, Francis disclosed that he has discussed the issue of terrorism with the Director of the Regional Security System (RSS) and the threat it poses to the Caribbean.

 

“We do not have the exact number of ISIS fighters returning to their countries but we know that between 150 to 400 of these individuals, especially from Trinidad and Tobago, have returned,” the former Deputy Police Commissioner who is currently Chairman of the RSS said.

 

He asserted that the situation was very problematic for the Caribbean.

 

“Imagine, most of the Islands are depending on tourism and we have an incident with one of our tourist ships – maybe in Aruba, Martinique, Saint Vincent – you could imagine the sort of catastrophic reaction that is going to happen to our main export,” the minister stated.

 

Francis said that Saint Lucia will be addressing the issue by going to the primary schools to ensure that young children are not radicalised.

 

According to Francis, all the evidence indicates that children are radicalised from a very early age.

 

“That is one of the techniques that the ISIS movement uses,” he observed.

 

“We are going to make sure, with the help of our minister of education, to put in place programmes so that those young children – vulnerable children, can be taught how to deal with radicalisation,” Francis told members of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.

 

 

Study shows poor school infrastructure in Latin America, Caribbean.

Cross posted from the Jamaica Observer.

WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) — A new study has found that only one in four students in basic education in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) attends an educational centre with sufficient school infrastructure.

 

The study undertaken by the Education Division of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean involved a comparative analysis of the relation between the state of school infrastructure in the region and learning among students from 15 countries.

 

The research involved a comparison of students’ results in the assessments of the Third Regional Comparative and Explanatory Study (TERCE) and school infrastructure characteristics and it revolved around the concepts of sufficiency, equity, and effectiveness.

 

The TERCE study was carried out by the Latin American Laboratory for Assessment of the Quality of Education (LLECE), which is coordinated by the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

 

 

The study concludes that only one in four students in basic education in the region attend an educational centre with sufficient school infrastructure.

 

“Sufficiency is a concept related to access to six infrastructure categories: water and sanitation; connection to services; educational or academic spaces; offices areas; multipurpose rooms, and classroom equipment. In contrast, almost one third of the students in basic education attend schools with only two or less categories that met sufficiency levels of school infrastructure.”

 

Similarly, the analysis reveals significant inequalities in access to the different categories of school infrastructure, both in terms of students’ socioeconomic status and the geographic location of schools. In general, lower income students from countries that participated in TERCE attend schools with infrastructure in poor conditions.

 

The study also confirmed that most of the school infrastructure categories are positively and significantly associated with the students’ learning achievements.

 

“Although the situation is slightly different in each country, pedagogical and educational spaces (other than classrooms), followed by connection to services and the presence of multipurpose classrooms, are the infrastructure categories that are most often associated with higher learning achievements,” the report noted..

 

The IDB and UNESCO note that the research “highlights that the challenges for countries in the region lie not only in the provision of school infrastructure, but also in ensuring that these facilities truly become spaces and environments that promote a quality education”.