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February 07 2014

Caribbean Numbers Involved in Telephone Phishing Scam

If you see a missed call originating in the Caribbean from someone you don't know, it is likely that you have been targeted by perpetrators of the ‘one-ring phone scam’. While the numbers used in these phishing activities can originate anywhere in the world, Slate reports that Caribbean numbers have been noticed with alarming frequency over the past few weeks:

The Better Business Bureau lists calls from Antigua and Barbuda (268), the Dominican Republic (809), Jamaica (876), the British Virgin Islands (284), and Grenada (473) as potential scam threats. People who do call back could be charged something like $30 for the international call, depending on the carrier, and see fraudulent service fees showing up on their phone bills. This process of ‘cramming,’ when third-party scammers sneak bogus charges onto legitimate phone bills, is ever on the rise, according to the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission.

Affected persons around the world took to Twitter to report the issue:

Occurrences of these calls have also been reported in Trinidad and Tobago on Facebook. Shelley-anne L Thompson weighed in on the discussion:

I get that like once a month and have never called. come on, people you know this scam! dont let your curiosity trap you.

Maisha Hyman had this to say:

I'm glad to see this! I've recently had hang up calls from Antigua and Grenada! Like wtf?!

Others were more concerned about the impact of the scam on the region. Michael Nahous of Trinidad and Tobago was not amused:

How can they charge you $30.00 without some contract arrangement with the telephone carrier….its only digicel, cable wireless and the local telephone companies in these islands…if they know its a scam why cant they just disconnect the number.

People affected by the scam are being urged to alert their service providers if they spot any unusual charges on their phone bills.

November 07 2013

Pilots’ Strike Leaves Caribbean Travelers Grounded

Regional airline Leeward Island Air Transport (LIAT) was forced to ground its flights this week becasue of a pilots’ strike, apparently as a reaction to the indefinite suspension of Captain Carl Burke, the leader of the Leeward Islands Airlines Pilots Association (LIALPA).

According to Barbados Today, the suspension was due to Burke's intervention on the behalf of a suspended pilot, Captain Neil Cave: 

…the action against Captain Neil Cave and LIALPA boss Captain Carl Burke followed the grounding of an aircraft for technical repair on Saturday.
Cave, who was scheduled to fly the plane, was apparently not satisfied that the appropriate test procedure was used before bringing the aircraft back into operation.
He also reportedly highlighted discrepancies with the official paperwork and this led to his suspension the same day.
Cave reported the matter to LIALPA and Burke tried to intervene on his behalf during a meeting with Director of Flight Operations Captain George Arthurton, but he was also placed on suspension.
The pilots are now demanding the immediate retraction of both suspensions and a written apology from the airline.

Earlier, Burke had warned of an impending “meltdown” due to ongoing problemsat the airline including what was considered the poorly coordinated upgrade from Dash-8 to ATR planes.

There was a petition being circulated which called for the shareholder governments to completely revamp the management of the airline. (LIAT is collectively owned by the governments of Antigua & Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados.)

LIAT released a statement informing the public of the flight cancellations and advising them of the necessary actions to take:

 LIAT wishes to advise its passengers that due to action taken by its airline pilots’ trade union LIALPA, pilots who were scheduled to fly this morning, Tuesday, November 5, 2013, have not reported for duty. The company has not been provided with the required notification of industrial action as required under its agreement with the pilots.

As a result of the action, some of the company’s morning flights have been disrupted. This is also likely to affect service for the remainder of the day.

The statement continued:

LIAT also wishes to advise that passengers who decide to travel but are unable to complete their journey due to the disruption, will not be provided with meals, transportation, hotel accommodation, etc. Passengers with onward connections are advised to contact their respective carriers.

Fifteen flights across the region were affected. According to reports, until the issues with management are dealt with satisfactorily, the pilots will remain off the job. There was a meeting scheduled yesterday between LIAT's management and the union, but there has been no word on the outcome.

Despite being the main regional carrier, LIAT does not have a great reputation for being well run; his was reflected in the reactions on social media, which saw the strike as just the latest example of the company's dysfunction:

@princesshadmoss was hardly surprised at the shutdown:

Robert Tonge thought the company should file for bankruptcy and re-organize:

@ShonelleBaker expressed support for the striking pilots:

Natasha B. was just relieved that she got home before the strike began:

At Barbados Underground, David implored the shareholders (i.e.: the governments) to intervene for the sake of the travelling public:

These disruptions by LIAT simply cannot continue. We are seeing an impact upon the lifes (sic) of Caribbean people in a way which has gone passed (sic) being unacceptable. Surely the Chairman can do better than the pompous and arrogant mouthings which he offered yesterday by way of an apology. Next time he should encourage his Communication Specialist to give him a script.

Enough is enough, will the real shareholders please stand up!

In the Facebook group St. Lucians Aiming for Progress, Dane Gibson suggested that the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) bailout LIAT:

ALBA/PetroCaribe- is an international cooperation organization based on the idea of the social, political and economic integration of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. What better links the islands than a regional airline…… Put ALBA to the test …….Let ALBA bail out LIAT, put and agreement in place to purchase its fuel at the offered bargain prices, reduce operating cost for LIAT, and since their agreements are the best thing since slice bread broker a restructuring for LIAT . Open up the routes to promote travel and tourism with Latin America and the Caribbean. Lets not make it about largess. Lets make it about open transparent agreements, that benefit all the PEOPLE.

Leigh Allan believed that the governments should relinquish control of LIAT:

Government should stay out of LIAT because time and time again government around the world have proven they can't manage businesses. Not too long ago the board of directors gave themselves a huge Pay Increase or Bonus rather than pay cuts or paying their bills. Corporate governance lacking has always been a huge problem in the Caribbean.

Sandra Inglis disagreed

 LIAT started out as an investment by some of the govts in these islands, to generate inter island travel, first of all. Now you're saying these Govts need to get out of LIAT'S affairs? But LIAT is their affair! 

In Antigua, Joya Martin noted that after their initial release, LIAT hasn't given any updates on the situation:

No fb updates from Liat on pilot strike action in almost 48 hours. It would be nice to be pleasantly surprised once in a while. They wouldn't dare to be so lax in communicating if we islanders had a strong alternative choice in regional air travel.

March 14 2013

Cayman Islands, Antigua: “Get Out of Jail Free” Card for Rapists

Code Red blogs about “two recent cases reported in regional media [which] demonstrate the extent of the injustice which girls who survive sexual assault face.”

February 14 2012

Antigua, Guadeloupe: From the Common Past

For the past decade, the tight historical and geographical bonds between the West Indian islands of Antigua and Guadeloupe have been analyzed by historians. A recent conference entitled “Antigua: From the Amerindians to an Independant Nation” [Fr] was organized in Guadeloupe by the group Yo Té Pou Nou Sé. Bloggers at PerspeKtives [Fr] explain the importance of this project.

November 07 2011

Caribbean: the meaning of identity

Creative Commess hosts a blog symposium “about Caribbean people, about West Indian people, about our contemporary experiences … ranging through race & identity to culture, mental health to constructs of beauty and more,” with contributions from seven Caribbean bloggers.

July 25 2011

Caribbean: Commonwealth Stories for Online Time Capsule

The Royal Commonwealth Society is creating the world's largest online time capsule in honour of HM Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and wants regional/Commonwealth bloggers to share their stories. Get involved, here.

March 22 2011

Caribbean: Caribe Wave 11, the first simulated tsunami alert

Written by Claire Ulrich

On Wednesday, March 23, the first full-scale simulated tsunami alert exercise will take place in 33 countries in the Caribbean to test the effectiveness of alert, monitoring and warning systems (Hashtag on Twitter: EXERCISE - NOT REAL #CW11) . Open Street Map France [Fr] and Crisis Camp Paris [Fr] will join this exercise to encourage awareness and use of social media tools during emergencies in the French speaking West Indies.

March 04 2011

December 29 2010

November 12 2010

St. Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda: A Different Literature

By Janine Mendes-Franco

On the 8th anniversary of the passing of Tim Hector, whom Caribbean Book Blog describes as “one of the Caribbean’s undisputed intellectual giants”, the blog thinks it fitting to republish one of his articles, especially because “new literary developments in the region seem to be re-energising the Caribbean literary community.”

April 07 2010

Barbados, Antigua: Constitutional Crisis

“Wuhloss. Only in the Caribbean could a political victory unfold so spectacularly”: Barbados' Cheese-on-bread! blogs about a constitutional crisis in Antigua.

February 05 2010

January 30 2010

Haiti: Bloggers' Reactions to Regional Interventions

For more than two weeks, the governance of Haiti after the earthquake has been seriously questioned by Haitian bloggers. They are now discussing the reactions in the neighboring countries and islands of the Caribbean. Here is a review of the French-speaking posts dealing with this question.

Radio Kiskeya reacts to Fidel Castro's statement about the alleged “American occupation” in Haiti. After giving his “Lesson of Haiti” regarding health and cooperation, the former Cuban leader now condemns the military American intervention and above all the consenting silence of the UN [Fr]:

“Au milieu de la tragédie haïtienne, sans que personne ne sache comment ni pourquoi, des milliers de soldats des unités des Marines des Etats-Unis, des troupes aéroportées de la 82e Division et d’autres forces militaires ont occupé le territoire d’Haïti”, affirme le “lìder maximo” dans un billet publié sur le site officiel Cubadebate.cu.

“In the midst of the tragedy taking place in Haiti and without anyone understanding either how or why, thousands of US Marines, of 82nd Division airborne troops and other military forces are occupying the country of Haiti”,the “lìder maximo” stated in a post published on the official website Cubadebate.cu.

“Pire encore, ni l’Organisation des Nations Unies, ni le gouvernement des Etats-Unis n’ont fourni aucune explication à l’opinion publique mondiale sur ces mouvements de forces”, a poursuivi Fidel Castro…

Even worse, neither the UN nor the US government have provided any explanation to the world public opinion concerning these troops transfers, Castro added…

Radio Kiskeya reinforces this point by mentioning similar fears about the American intentions among other Latin American presidents [Fr]:

Avant Fidel Castro, les Présidents nicaraguéen Daniel Ortega, bolivien Evo Morales et vénézuélien Hugo Chàvez avaient dénoncé avec véhémence le déploiement sur et autour du territoire national d’un imposant contingent militaire américain qui devait s’élever dimanche à près de 20.000 hommes.

Before Fidel Castro, other Presidents, Nicaraguan Daniel Ortega, Bolivian Evo Morales and Venezuelan Hugo Chavez had already fiercely condemned the deployment on and around the Haitian national territory of a significant number of American military units, supposedly 20.000 soldiers.

Potoprincipe also takes interest in the question of the Caribbean countries, in a post entitled “Chavez cancels Haiti's debt” [Fr]

“Nous allons annuler (la dette). Elaborez les documents nécessaires et la dette est annulée”, a déclaré Chavez à l'issue d'une réunion des ministres des Affaires étrangères de l'Alliance bolivarienne des Amériques (Alba) sur Haïti à Caracas, sans préciser le montant de cette dette.”

“We are going to cancel (the debt). Write the necessary papers and the debt is cancelled” Chavez said after a meeting about Haiti of the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), which took place in Caracas. He did not tell the exact amount of the debt.”

As Potoprincipe concludes this post [Fr], the beginning of a Caribbean collaboration via ALBA is dawning:

Le plan inclut l'assouplissement des conditions d'accueil des Haïtiens dans les pays de l'Alba: Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivie, Equateur, Honduras, la Dominique, Antigua-et-Barbuda, Saint-Vincent et les Grenadines.

The plan includes relaxed reception conditions for Haitian citizens in ALBA countries like Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecaduor, Honduras, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Other bloggers have been either worried or sceptical concerning the intervention of Haiti's neighboring country, the Dominican Republic.

Blogger Réseau Citadelle expresses his total refusal at the deployment of soldiers from the Dominican Republic in Haiti [Fr]:

Rien n'est plus révoltant que de lire sur Radio Kiskeya un article faisant état d'une autorisation du gouvernement haïtien accordée aux Nations Unies pour le déploiement de 150 soldats dominicains en Haïti.

Nothing was more appalling to me than reading on Radio Kiskeya, an article dealing with the Haitian government permission given to the UN, to deploy 150 Dominican soldiers in Haiti.

In this same post, Réseau Citadelle advocates self-reliance so that Haitians provide support for their own people [Fr]:

Nous voulons démontrer aux étrangers qu'il y a encore en Haïti des hommes et des femmes capables d'assurer la continuité nationale. La destruction de Port-au-Prince, n'est pas celle d'Haïti.

We want to show the outside world that Haiti is still populated with men and women able to ensure national continuity. The destruction of Port-au-Prince does not imply the destruction of Haiti.

In a follow-up post, Réseau Citadelle insists on the psychological impact of this Dominican intervention [Fr]:

Le déploiement de soldats de la République Dominicaine sur le sol d'Haïti est un coup dur pour le moral des haïtiens. Dans la ville du Cap-Haitien, les observateurs n'y croient pas…

Seeing the deployed Dominican Republic soldiers on the land of Haiti is a psychological blow for the Haitians. In the city of Cap-Haitien, people can't believe their eyes…

In a post entitled “the Dominican solidarity” [Fr], Alterpresse lists all the initiatives from Dominican people and their government to help Haiti since Jan. 12th. However, the post mentions some distrust among some Haitians, echoing Réseau Citadelle's rejection:

Des migrants haïtiens, qui ont été contactés par AlterPresse à Santo Domingo, se sont montrés prudents, voire sceptiques quant à l’intention réelle du gouvernement dominicain d’aider Haiti.

Some Haitian migrants, reached by AlterPresse in Santo Domingo, consider the real intention of the Dominican government in helping Haiti, with caution and even scepticism.

Condemning altogether the Dominican Republic, MINUSTAH and President Preval, Réseau Citadelle is questioning the opportunity to resort to the Caribbean Community [Fr]:

Toutefois, pourquoi il ne fait pas appel aux soldats de la CARICOM ? Ils avaient intervenu en Haïti en 1994 au coté des troupes américaines.

Why hasn't he resorted to the CARICOM soldiers? They came to Haiti in 1994 along with the American troops.

Meanwhile, according to blogger Bajan Global Report, CARICOM considers an active participation in the recovery effort of Haiti. Following the same logic as Réseau Citadelle and Radio Kiskeya, former Jamaican Prime Minister PJ Patterson defines one priority - Haitians living inside and outside Haiti provide support for their own so that the recovery could be sustainable:

“Unless there is ownership by those directly affected, the best laid plans will come to naught. In addition to the involvement from the outset of the Haitian authorities, that of civil society and of the people of Haiti is also of overarching importance,” he added.
[…]
The former Jamaican leader further recommended the involvement of the Haitian Diaspora, as well as the urgent reinforcement of the public functions of the state, including the public service, to ensure that the progress made in the provision of public goods and basic services is sustainable.

November 30 2009

Video: Worldwide youth express themselves in 60 seconds

TheOneMinutesJr Logo

OneMinutesJr Logo

The OneMinutesJr project gives young people between 12 and 20 years of age from many corners of the globe the opportunity to express themselves, speak out and learn audiovisual skills to communicate across borders, languages and distances through 60 second videos.

The OneMinutesJr project results from the joint effort of the European Cultural Foundation, the One Minutes Jr. Foundation and Unicef, as well as other partner organizations. On their website, you can browse through years' worth of one minute videos from different countries, some sent in by individuals, others are results from workshops where youth are taught the skills to write, film and edit their ideas.

These short videos portray the concerns, ideas and dreams of youngsters from many different backgrounds, and give us a window into their daily lives. For example, from Poland, Ludmila Kierczak makes a video explaining who she is. To view the video, please click on the image below to go to the OneMinutesJr site.

Who am I by Ludmila

In Bangladesh, Mobasshera Tarannum Adiba illustrates a couple of articles from the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In his video, I want Freedom, he touches on Article 12: Children have the right to have their views heard and their voices should be respected and Article 16 which states that every child has the right to privacy.

From Mongolia, Tuvdenjamts (Tuvden) Altankhyag illustrates the right every child has to their own culture:

And in this next video, Simone Tonge from Antigua and Barbuda, exercises her right to freedom of expression in Confessions of a Female Adolescent:

Ibrahim Ide from Niger illustrates the right children have to a family that loves them and protects their rights in With or Without:

For more one minute videos, you can check out the main site for the project at TheOneMinutesJr.org or you can visit the UNICEF One Minutes Jr. Channel on Youtube to see many other 60 second videos created by youth on the topic of Childrens' Rights.

November 10 2009

Antigua: Sir Stanford?

Talk Antigua thinks “it is unfortunate that steps have been taken to revoke Stanford’s knighthood.”

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